Caerphilly bus station

Caerphilly bus station

The bus station alongside Caerphilly rail station was created in 1973. It occupied land which was previously taken up by railway tracks, until the reduction in coal traffic and closure of the railway lines to Machen and Pontypridd reduced the station’s footprint.Photo of Carphilly bus station 1962

The bus station was remodelled in 1999 to form part of the Caerphilly Interchange. Before the remodelling many of the bus stands were on traffic islands in the bus station. The revised layout improved safety, and allows passengers to change between train and bus under cover.

Before 1973, buses used a cramped bus station around the corner from the present one. You can see the bus station’s basic shelters in the photo above right, taken in 1962. St Martin’s Church is in the background, and Mountain Road climbs behind the shelters. The block with the castellated top beyond the shelters housed the “Public Conveniences”.

Photo of Caerphilly UDC busAs the route network expanded, the lack of space meant the Graig y Rhacca service of Bedwas & Machen Urban District Council had to terminate on Bartlett Street. This was also where the joint service from Newport to Rhymney Bridge, operated by Western Welsh, Red & White and Gelligaer UDC would stop en route.

Caerphilly played a part in Welsh bus history in 1917, when the urban district council became the first local authority in Wales to obtain legal powers to run its own bus services. The first routes, started in April 1920, connected Caerphilly to Nelson and Senghenydd. Bedwas & Machen UDC also obtained powers in 1917, and in 1922 began a joint service with Caerphilly UDC to Trethomas. The photo on the left shows a preserved Caerphilly UDC bus.  A 1968 Bedwas & Machen double decker, with a special low roof, is preserved in Barry.

Caerphilly bus station in 1987The Brecon & Merthyr Railway, whose line passed through Bedwas and Machen, petitioned Parliament in 1916-1917 to try to stop both councils being allowed to run “omnibusses in the district served by the [railway] company,” according to a press report.

Several other municipal operators served Caerphilly over the following decades. In 1974 three (Caerphilly, B&M and Gelligaer) were combined to form the large bus fleet of Rhymney Valley District Council, whose brown and yellow livery dominates the photo (right) of the bus station in 1987.

With thanks to Mike White and Richard Williams of Caerphilly Local History Society

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