Heart of Wales Line


Heart of Wales Line

The Heart of Wales Line ( _cy. Llinell Calon Cymru) is the railway line from Llanelli in South Wales to Craven Arms in Shropshire and runs through, as the name suggests, some of the heartlands of Wales. It crossed the earlier Mid Wales Railway at Builth Road, but was unable to get any nearer to the town of Builth Wells. It serves several other fashionable spa towns en-route, as well as more rural centres. The line outlasted the Mid-Wales route, which closed in the 1960s.

History

Historically the line was known as the Central Wales Line ( _cy. Llinell Canol Cymru) and also included routes through Gowerton, where the railway crossed the West Wales Line and ran through Dunvant and Killay then down through the Clyne Valley to Blackpill, and then along the sea wall to Swansea Bay Station, (near the former slip bridge) before finally reaching Swansea Victoria. This section, originally built by the Llanelly Railway and Dock Company to compete with the Great Western Railway and break the monopoly they held on Swansea Dock, closed in 1964. Nationalisation of the railways had removed the need for competing routes, and the running down and closure of Swansea North Dock ended the need for freight services on this path.

As a rural branch line the remainder of the Heart of Wales Line survived the Beeching axe since it carried extensive freight traffic and served the steelworks at Bynea and industrial areas such as Ammanford and Pontarddulais, linking them with the docks at Llanelli. It also passes througth six marginal constituencies, which was the main reason why Harold Wilson saved the line from closure. During engineering work the line is still used as a diversionary freight route. There are four passenger services a day from Monday to Saturday and three services on Sundays.

The line is single track throughout. There are five passing loops, at Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llanwrtyd, Llandrindod and Knighton. Normally the Llanwrtyd passing loop is in use on the Monday - Saturday service and the Llandrindod passing loop is in use on the Sunday service.

Services today

As of 2007, the service runs 4 or 5 trains per day in each direction, and 2 on Sundays. Trains are 1 or 2 carriages each, with a small team of staff and a buffet trolley. The Heart of Wales line proper runs between Llanelli and Craven Arms. However train services normally terminate at Shrewsbury and Swansea. One train a day terminates at Cardiff Central.Some stations are request stops. Places served by the route include:

Wales
* Llanelli
* Bynea
* Llangennech
* Pontarddulais
* Pantyffynnon
* Ammanford
* Llandybie
* Ffairfach
* Llandeilo
* Llangadog
* Llanwrda
* Llandovery
* Cynghordy
* Sugar Loaf
* Llanwrtyd Wells
* Llangammarch Wells
* Garth
* Cilmeri
* Builth Road "(For Builth Wells)"
* Llandrindod Wells
* Penybont
* Dolau
* Llanbister Road
* Llangynllo
* Knucklas
* Knighton (station in England; town in Wales)England
* Bucknell
* Hopton Heath
* Broome
* Craven Arms

At Craven Arms, the line joins the Welsh Marches Line to Church Stretton and Shrewsbury.

Passenger services are operated by Arriva Trains Wales using Class 150 or Class 153 diesel multiple units, although Class 175s have been used on rare occasions.

External links

* [http://www.heart-of-wales.co.uk/ Heart of Wales Line website]
* [http://howlta.ruralwales.org/english/default.htm Travellers Association]
* [http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/WorkArea/showcontent.aspx?id=4380 Arriva Trains Wales: Heart of Wales Line timetable]


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