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Swansea, Victoria - Pontardulais Railway, 1964 (June)

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Swansea, Victoria - Pontardulais Railway, 1964 (June)

“It would be difficult to find a more lovely train journey”, declares Swansea’s Librarian, the film-maker and narrator. Prepare to be beguiled, station by station.

Amateur film 1964 12 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales

Overview

Record of one of the last train rides – on the “old puff puff” - from Swansea’s Victoria Station to Pontardulais. The line was closed soon afterwards, part of the reshaping of the railway system undertaken by Dr Beeching, chair of the British Railways Board. The footage was shot by Swansea’s Borough Librarian, Leslie M Rees, and his deputy, with Mr Rees later providing a commentary (he happens to mention that the jail, seen in passing, has an excellent branch library).

This line ran from Swansea Victoria to Pontardulais, calling at Swansea Bay, Mumbles Road, both Killay and Dunvant at one time, Gowerton, Gorseinon and Grovesend. Once the Beeching axe struck, the train ran simply from Swansea to Gowerton and on to Llanelli and from Llanelli to Pontarddulais via Bynea and Llangennech. The ‘new face of British Railways’ is seen – a diesel train (“not half so romantic as the old puff puff”) heading for Shrewsbury, few passengers embarking or disembarking. “Of course”, comments Mr Rees, “that probably is the reason why all these trains are being taken off, we just don’t use them.”