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Taff Vale Railway

The Taff Vale Railway is a railway in Glamorgan, Wales

In 1804, a young engineer, Richard Trevithick, drove the world's first ever steam locomotive along a track at the Penydarren ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil. The track, which was built as a tramway to carry iron ore in horse-drawn carriages, proved too weak to carry his heavy loco, but this isolated experiment would foreshadow the creation of the Taff Vale Railway 32 years later.

On 21st June, 1836, Royal Assent was given to a Parliamentary bill allowing for the creation of the Taff Vale Railway Company by the ironworks owners of Merthyr.

Construction of the railway was started in 1836, and completed in 1841. It was built by Josiah Guest and Anthony Hill, owners of ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, to transport iron from Merthyr to the port of Cardiff. The engineer responsible for the construction was Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The mainline of the TVR, from Merthyr to Cardiff docks, was 24 miles long. However, no fewer than 23 branch lines took the full length of track to 124 miles and 42 chains.

The line proved its worth immediately. At its peak, two trains a minute passed through the busiest station, Pontypridd.

Table of contents
1 Main Line
2 Branch Lines
3 Strike
4 Later history
5 See also

Main Line

The main stations on the TVR main line were:

Branch Lines

Some branch lines include:


In 1901 the Taff Vale Railway Company successfully sued the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, a trades union, for damages due to losses accrued during a strike by their members. The Company was awared 23,000 in a landmark decision, shattering the belief that unions were immune to damages due to the actions of their members. It lead, following the election of the Liberal Party in the general election of 1906, to the 1906 Trades Disputes Act, guaranteeing union immunity from damages.

Later history

The TVR became a part of Great Western Railway in 1927, and part of British Rail following the nationalisation of the UK railways in 1948.

It is currently run by Valley Lines.

See also

Much of the information in this article comes from Taff Vale Railway Miscellany by John Hilton, published by the Oxford Publishing Company, ISBN 0-86093-414-4