What, when or where? Images from the SLS collections. (Last updated - 12th December 2011)
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No. 151– Negative 25805 - South Wales Shed.
(Originally posted on Page 192 of the July/August 2010 ‘Journal’, Answer is as included in Journal No 866 Nov/Dec 2010)
The photograph is of the shed at Dowlais Cae Harris on the north eastern edge of Merthyr Tydfil. The terminus is behind the photographer and the double track line curving past the shed leads to Nelson and Llancaiach 9½ miles away on the Pontypool – Neath line. [Famous for Crumlin Viaduct, now demolished, through Aberdare to Neath].
The line from Nelson & Llancaiach was the Taff Bargoed Joint Line (GWR/Rhymney Railway) opened in 1876 and closed to passengers on 15 June 1964. Freight continued after this time from Nelson & Llancaiach to Cwm Bargoed. The line was steeply graded at 1 in 40/49. Cwm Bargoed was the ‘summit’ at 1250ft above sea level, about 2½ miles from Cae Harris.
The line descended to Dowlais past Zig-Zag Junction, one line on to Dowlais Cae Harris station and the other, equally as steep, in three sections and through two reversing junctions (Furnace Tops and Ffos-y-Fran) to its termination at the steelworks. There is now opencast mining in the Ffos-y-Fran area.
The shed had about eight 56xx 0-6-2T locos allocated to it in early BR days. They were used on both passenger and freight workings, often banking the freights up to the Cwm Bargoed plateau. In 1950 the allocation consisted of 5652, 5653, 5666, 5671, 5674 and 5694.
For most of its life, it had the unusual feature of a coaling stage separated from the main buildings by running lines. The structure overhanging the tracks on the right is a corrugated steel coaling stage built in 1957. The track on which the two locos can be seen standing led to a turntable at the other end of the shed. It was closed as a sub shed to Rhymney, which itself was given the same code as Merthyr (88D) in BR days – lococmotive transfers were not published in later years. The shed closed in December 1964.
The photograph by W.A. Camwell is un dated. As the nearest locomotive carries a smoke box number plate and in cogniscence of the advice above concerning the coal stage and shed closure date the picture is likely to have been taken between 1957 and 1964.
Once again the inclusion of a ‘steam scene’ generated a valued response from members. Information supplied by Howard Burchell, Alan Clothier, Philip Coker, Robert Darlaston, Brian Dotson, Alan Gilbert, Allan C. Paterson and Hamish Stevenson is acknowledged with thanks.
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