Railways Edwardsville/Quakers Yard
Quakers’ Yard in the Taff Valley was the location of an extremely busy railway junction from the middle of the 19th century until the period after World War II. It is so called as it was the site of a Quaker burial ground.
The Taff Vale Railway ran down the eastern bank of the Taff until it crossed it on an impressive viaduct designed by Brunel and built in 1840, with six broad arches. This viaduct still carries the railway between Cardiff and Merthyr and is the focus of this entry. The track of the Merthyr Tramroad also passed beneath it and is still visible from it. (see OTH entry Merthyr Tydfil)
Quakers’ Yard was the point where the Taff Vale Extension (TVE) of the Newport, Abergavenny & Hereford Railway met the Taff Vale Railway. It also continued past the Taff Vale over a second viaduct and penetrated the hillside in the Cefn Glas tunnel to emerge in the Cynon Valley below Aberdare. It then continued all the way to Neath and Swansea. As an east-west railway, it had to cross the South Wales valleys over bridges and through tunnels.
Subsequently, the Rhymney Railway built a line from the TVE at Quaker’s Yard up the west bank of the Taff to Merthyr, which entailed the building of a third viaduct, parallel to the second but curving away northward from it.
Quaker’s Yard had two stations, one on the TVE, ‘Upper’, and another on the Taff Vale, ‘Lower’. This is the only station surviving as both the TVE and Rhymney lines have been closed and their viaducts demolished.
Quakers Yard High-Level Station
Date opened: 11.January.1858
Location: Just Below the Great Western hotel, Edwardsville:
Great Western Railway Date closed to passengers: 15.June.1964
Date closed completely: 15.June.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (Western Region)
Present state: Demolished
Now a housing development called Taff Vale estate 2009
The station is actually situated in the small village of Edwardsville and the large Western Hotel stands at the entrance to the former High level part of the two level stations.
This High Level station was built to compliment the low level station when the Pontypool to Neath route was finally completed. Trains would leave the station and travel across two viaducts that straddled the valley. One leading to the Cefn Glas tunnel the other leading to the Quakers Yard and & Merthyr joint line that travelled on the opposite side of the valley and connected to Merthyr via Aberfan.
In 1951 the Quakers Yard & Merthyr line closed and that hastened the closure of one of the viaducts. The remaining viaduct across the valley was also suffering from mining subsidence and that was reduced to a single track.
Train at the High level
A Train approaching Quakers Yard station near Windsor road picture courtesy of Adrian Evans
A train Passing Through the High Level (A Evans)
The last ever train at the High Level
Quakers Yard low level
This is the original station and was built approximately 1841 on the main Taff Vale Cardiff to Merthyr line. Another viaduct was needed to reach this station from Abercynon and a great viaduct was built by Brunnel. Initially a single track led to a tunnel but later it was decided to build a second viaduct to take another track, and the tunnel was demolished and there was a cutting created to take the two tracks.This station is still in use today and the great viaduct is the last of the three Quakers yard viaducts to survive. It is a very small station now with no booking office and a small shelter. It is the only passenger station left in the Treharris district.
above 4 Photos courtesy of Adrian Evans Edwardsville
How it was in the 1960’s (picture by Graham Dale)
A photo courtesy of Alun Williams
Haulage train leaving station
The low level station
Above are two photographs of a steam train passing through the station in 1991.
leaving from the station towards Merthyr or through tunnel to Cynon Valley
Taken approx 1970 and still a waiting room
This single track viaduct led to a tunnel that allowed trains to travel between Quakers Yard and Abercynon, it was later decided to build a second viaduct to take another track, and the tunnel was demolished and there was a cutting created to take the two tracks.
Below are two photos of the construction and also a photograph of the completed single track Viaduct
Below more views of the viaduct thanks to Graham Dale and Tony Evans
Below we see the remains of one of the three great viaducts (A Evans)
visit May 1973 by Nick Catford shows the remains of the station
These photographs were taken by Nick Catford and he kindly allowed permission for their use on this website, he has taken hundreds of fantastic photographs of by gone Railway stations, See his excellent work at www.subbrit.org.uk
1978 Above the station has it stood until the housing development
Below we see some photographs taken by Adrian Evans of what remains today of the area near Quakers Yard station
Above is the station itself 2007
2009 and a new shelter added, its very similar Today 2014 below
Above we see some old sleeper beds below Quakers Yard station at Edwardsville (A Evans)
The cutting between Quakers Yard and Abercynon stations, now just one track, but extra crossing lines have been added further up the line to allow two trains per hour to arrive at the station.
The tunnel was built in 1851 and is 704 yards long, it is still possible, but not advisable to walk through the tunnel, and below we can see some photographs taken by Adrian Evans who took the chance during the summer of 2010.
The tunnel was constructed so that the Great Western railway line could progress between the Taff valley and the Cynon valley on the impressive Pontypool to Neath route..
The tunnel was a single line and was always filled with smoke when a train passed through, it also suffered drainage problems during its lifetime, it was finally closed in 1964 after 113 years of service.
Adrian Evans emerging from the old tunnel