- Heart of Wales Line
The Heart of Wales Line ( _cy. Llinell Calon Cymru) is the
railway linefrom Llanelliin South Walesto Craven Armsin Shropshireand runs through, as the name suggests, some of the heartlands of Wales. It crossed the earlier Mid Wales Railwayat 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 ruralcentres. The line outlasted the Mid-Wales route, which closed in the 1960s.
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 Lineand ran through Dunvantand Killaythen 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 SwanseaVictoria. This section, originally built by the Llanelly Railway and Dock Companyto compete with the Great Western Railwayand 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 axesince it carried extensive freight traffic and served the steelworks at Byneaand industrial areas such as Ammanfordand Pontarddulais, linking them with the docks at Llanelli. It also passes througth six marginal constituencies, which was the main reason why Harold Wilsonsaved 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.
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:
* Sugar Loaf
* Builth Road "(For Builth Wells)"
* Llanbister Road
* Knighton (station in England; town in Wales)England
* Hopton Heath
At Craven Arms, the line joins the
Welsh Marches Lineto Church Strettonand Shrewsbury.
* [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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