LNWR SWANSEA (VICTORIA) - PONTARDDULAIS (12½ miles)
4.10.1965 (Gds). Swansea - Gorseinon;
complete closure 1986
Swansea Victoria; Swansea Bay 1st (closed 1892); Swansea Bay 2nd (opened 1892); Mumbles Road; Killay, Dunvant, Gower Road renamed 1886 Gowerton renamed 1950 Gowerton South; Pontardlais South renamed Gorseinon; Grovesend (opened 1910, closed 1932); Pontardulais renamed 1980 Pontarddulais still open (Central Wales line).
Swansea Victoria (Paxton Street) 87K six-track shed (closed 1959).
The Llanelly Railway, supported by the LNWR, opened a single line from Pontarddulais to Swansea in 1866 with ownership eventually passing to the LNWR in 1873. It formed the southern section of the Central Wales line that started at Craven Arms and provided a through route from Crewe to Swansea. It is the only part to have suffered closure. In 1910 the LNWR ran 14 passenger trains over this section of line including three Shrewsbury expresses that ran non-stop between Swansea and Pontarddulais. In LMS days trains were mostly worked by LNW/LMS 0-6-0Ts or LMS 2-6-4Ts but following transfer to the WR in 1949 GWR pannier tanks took over many local duties with LMS Class 5 4-6-0s on long distance trains. Today (2010) there are four weekday trains on the Central Wales route, invariably single car Class 153s, and these run from Swansea along the main line to Llanelli where they reverse.
Route when open
Leaving the terminus at Swansea Victoria (SS658927) the high-level lines and lines from the South Dock came in from the left. The line then followed the coast SW with the Swansea & Mumbles Railway alongside but approaching Mumbles Road station it bridged the tramway and turned north. The A4118 was carried over the line just north of Killay and it then dropped down to cross over the River Clyne. It next negotiated a long curve and began to climb, passing under the B4296 to reach the summit of the line at Duvant station (SS594938). It then dropped down at 1 in 72 through a mile long cutting before following an embankment to Gowerton South where the Penclawdd Branch turned away west. Leaving Gowerton it bridged the GWR main line and the Afon Llan and continued north running through an industrial landscape of pit workings and steelworks. Approaching Gorseinon it passed under the A4070 (now B4620) and after bridging the Afon Lliw reached Gorseinon station and a level crossing over the A484. Grovesend Steel Works and Colliery were on the left and after passing under the Swansea District Line and a level crossing over Water Street (A48) it reached Portarddulais station (SN588040) where the line from Llanelli came in from the SW.
Swansea City Council has converted most of this line into a cyclepath and it forms part of their Bikepath Network and NCN4. In Oystermouth Road, the long and high stone faced embankment alongside the South Dock now forms the northern boundary of the Maritime Quarter. The path starts on the sea wall from where you pass new housing built round the marina, the site of two large warehouses and sidings. Beyond County Hall the trail curves to join the main coast road which it follows fairly closely all the way to Blackpill. Originally the LNWR ran along the sea wall with the Swansea & Mumbles alongside but the road widening here has removed all traces of both lines. From Brymill the LNWR alignment forms the modern promenade and the cycle trail, after following the SMR a short distance, switches to the LNWR which it then follows all the way to Mumbles Road. You are now in the Clyne Valley Country Park where one of the most striking features is the lake at SS613913. The trail continues NW and can be followed to the site of Gowerton South station. The 2½ miles between the B4260 at Gorseinon and a minor road at Waungron (SN595017) forms part of the Gower Way long distance footpath. Between the M4 and Pontarddulais 600 yds (SN593025 to 591031) is a public footpath. Most of the section between Gowerton and Pontarddulais will eventually be converted into a cyclepath.
Swansea Victoria demolished - site occupied by a leisure centre and small park; Swansea Bay demolished - site now a car park for the adjacent Swansea City stadium; Mumbles Road demolished - site now a park; Killay part of platform and SM's house survive - site now collection point for recycling; Dunvant part of platform survives - site now car park for bike path; Gowerton South demolished - today the shallow cutting is an attractive small park; Gorseinon demolished - site redeveloped; Pontarddulais is still open. It once had four platforms and a long footbridge but is now reduced to one platform serving the Llanelli to Craven Arms line. Goods shed in use by local council.
North of Swansea Bay station a massive girder bow-string footbridge (known as the Slip Bridge) crossed the road and all three running lines (two LNWR and one SMR) at SS643921. After closure and until 2004 it survived, crossing a dual carriageway road built on the alignment. It was then removed supposedly due to H&S concerns and now stands on the Promenade. A long-running campaign has been calling for the bridge to be returned to its original site or at least replaced with a replica. Gowerton abutments only of bridge over South Wales main line (SS592965); Gorseinon bridge carrying Swansea Road B4620 (was A4070) survives; Waungron (SN595017) bridge carrying minor road in place; Pontarddulais station the footbridge spanning all four platforms and sidings dismantled.
Swansea Victoria (SS652923) on south side of line west of station, demolished 1966 - site now occupied by a modern hotel and County Hall.
If you are able to add to, update or correct the 'Route Today' and/or the 'Relics' sections and you do not subscribe to the Bygone Lines Yahoo! Group would you please email the information to the Webb Master who will pass the information on.