Aberystwyth railway station


Aberystwyth railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Aberystwyth
other_name=
code = AYW


caption = Vale of Rheidol Railway's Aberystwyth station is accommodated within the former Carmarthen bay.
manager = Arriva Trains Wales
locale = Aberystwyth
borough = Ceredigion
usage0405 = 0.241
usage0506 = 0.254
usage0607 = 0.257
platforms = 2
latitude = 52.4139
longitude = -4.08157
years = 23 June 1864
events = "Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway" Station opens
years1 = 19 July 1867
events1 = "Manchester and Milford Railway" station opens; later amalgamates with A&WC station
years2 = 31 July 1925
events2 = "Great Western Railway" station opens replacing Aberystwyth Smithfield
years3 = 1925
events3 = Extended
years4 = 31 August 1939
events4 = Great Western station closes (World War 2)
years5 = 23 July 1945
events5 = Great Western station reopens
years6 = 1964
events6 = Carmarthen Line services cease
years7 = 17 April 1968
events7 = Great Western station amalgamates with Cambrian station
years8 = 1968
events8 = Vale of Rheidol Railway services start

Aberystwyth railway station is a railway station serving the seaside and university town of Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales. It is served by passenger trains operated by Arriva Trains Wales, being situated at the terminus of the Cambrian Line, and also by the narrow-gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway.

History

The original station was built in the 1860s by the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway to serve trains arrived on the now-closed route from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth via Lampeter and the route to Machynlleth which remains today. The original railway station was greatly extended in 1925 with the original station building on one side of the platforms being replaced by a grand terminus building. This was built by the Great Western Railway, to show the locals their power, and to reassure them that the GWR had a vested interest in maintaining the railway service in West Wales- something that had been called into question at the grouping when the Cambrian Railway which owned the station and all the lines into it had been absorbed by the larger, rather more faceless GWR, that had its headquarters far away in London.

The station at this time had five platforms: platform 1 at the south end of the station, and 2 island platforms. Platforms 1 & 2 were essentially bay platforms, with the same amount of indent. They were used for the Carmarthen services (though platform 2 would occasionally be used for mainline purposes). With the closure of the line to Carmarthen in 1968, platforms 1&2 were given to the Vale of Rheidol line; however, their trains unload at ground level, so a new ramp and island platform has been constructed in the space between the 2 original platforms. Platform 3 is on the other side of platform 2; it is the only platform still in use for mainline rail. Platforms 3&4 served the Cambrian mainline. Platform 4 is now taken up by the "Craft" 'freecycling' shop. The running around line between these 2, for locomotive hauled trains, still exists. Platform 5 was an emergency platform on the other side of platform 4; little trace remains. This area is now an oil storage area, and the marshalling yard is the Rheidol Retail Park

With the decline of railway usage and of tourism within the United Kingdom the facilities were far too large for its purpose. The railway yard was lifted in the 1980s, and the row of buildings along the front of it demolished in the 1990s to allow construction of a new retail park and bus station. The 1925 station building has seen several uses, including as a local museum, but was eventually sold off and converted into a Wetherspoons pub. This conversion maintained the architecture and won awards. Other parts of the building have become an Indian restaurant, office space and accommodation for a local furniture-recycling scheme.

Aberystwyth Motive Power Depot was notable as being the last steam locomotive depot on the British Rail network; all steam services ceased in 1968 with the sole exception of the Vale of Rheidol line, which was steam operated until privatisation in 1989, and remains so today. Accordingly it was an often requested posting for staff.

Today

The station itself as of 2006 has a single mainline platform used by trains to Machynlleth with a loop that is used to reverse locomotive-hauled specials, including steam services and maintenance trains. The second mainline platform had the track removed in 1982 and the signal box was also closed. Access to the station and the station facilities are now primarily via the original 1864 building.

The platform that was originally used by trains via Lampeter to Carmarthen is now used by the narrow gauge steam-operated Vale of Rheidol Railway. Opened in 1902,this railway originally had its own terminus at "Aberystwyth Smithfield" (named after Smithfield Road, now Park Avenue). This closed in 1925 and was replaced by a station a short distance from the main railway station; the station site is now a supermarket car park. In 1968 it moved again, this time to use the now-free platform at the main Aberystwyth station where there is a runaround loop and access to the former mainline railway shed. Nowadays this is used as the storage and works area by the Vale of Rheidol Railway.

Services

Arriva Trains Wales services operate to Shrewsbury and Birmingham New Street approximately every 2 hours although there are proposals, funded by the Welsh Assembly, to increase the frequency of this service to hourly. They currently call at Borth, Dovey Junction, Machynlleth, Caersws, Newtown, Welshpool, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Telford Central, Wolverhampton, and Birmingham New Street. Some services, particularly on Sundays, go to Crewe instead of Birmingham New Street, running fast between Shrewsbury and Crewe

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