New book explores disused Brecon and Merthyr railway line

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A new book detailing the history of the old Brecon and Merthyr railway line has been published, giving an overview of locations along the historic route.

Railways and Industry on the Brecon & Merthyr, by John Hodge and Ray Caston, is the first modern book published on this ancient railway. With detailed coverage of all locations, collieries and major works along the line, as well as numerous photographs to illustrate each location, the book is a must read for local historians or those interested in history. locomotives.

The old railway line ran from Bassaleg (north of Newport) to Brecon and Rhymney B&M, the latter line being closed north of New Tredegar in 1930 due to a landslide – one of many in this region.

The largest and most lucrative traffic was coal from the many collieries on the line, largely to Newport Docks, although there was a regular passenger service to both Brecon and New Tredegar which operated the Rhymney B&M before 1930.

At Machen the line was again diverted to Caerphilly and Pontypridd with coal and passenger services, mostly covered by automatic trains. Each location along all lines of the area is covered in detail with photos, along with an early 20th century OS map to present detailed coverage of each area. The line is still open from Bassaleg to Machen Quarry for occasional stone traffic trains using modern traction and wagons.

John Hodge is a retired railway worker, who began his working life in the West region of South Wales in 1961, before moving to London Paddington and the British Railways Board. He grew up in Barry, which has strong rail links, once an important port for coal traffic and later famous for the Woodham Brothers scrapyard, which contained over 200 locomotives, which are now mostly kept on heritage lines . John is a lifelong railway enthusiast and historian, with many published railway histories.

Ray Caston is a former chemist, working for Monsanto in Newport. He has a lifelong association with B&M where both his father and grandfather were employed. He has lived all his life in Bassaleg, where he is a municipal councillor. Since 1970 he has maintained a lifelong interest in the workings and history of the B&M line, Bassleg being its southern terminus. Ray has a great knowledge of the South Wales rail scene and is a valued member of local rail companies.

Railways and Industry on the Brecon & Merthyrpublished by Pen & Sword Books LTD, sells for £35 in hardcover.

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