Pontsticill rail station

Pontsticill rail station

The station at Pontsticill is now a pleasant place for passengers to linger, savouring the view over the Taf Fechan reservoir to the Brecon Beacons, while taking a ride on the narrow-gauge Brecon Mountain Railway. The original station was very different, a busy junction on the standard-gauge Brecon & Merthyr Railway.

The railway from Brecon reached Pant in 1863. Originally trains climbed from Talybont-on-Usk to the summit at Torpantau on the “seven mile bank”, now part of the Taff Trail (NCN Route 8). Five years later the railway was completed into Merthyr Tydfil, but the company had bigger ambitions. It built a railway from Pontsticill to Newport via Dowlais, Bargoed and Machen. This became the main line, with a connecting shuttle train for passengers between Pontsticill and Merthyr.

The infrastructure became part of the Great Western Railway, then British Railways, and was finally closed in 1963. The Brecon Mountain Railway took over the derelict route from Pant to Pontsticill and began operating passenger trains in 1981, later extending the run to Dolygaer.

Part of the station waiting room was used as a workshop for the BMR in its early years. It now houses the Steam Museum, where the exhibits include a former quarry locomotive called Sybil, which hauled the BMR’s first trains. Also here is a vertical-boiler quarry loco built by De Winton of Caernarfon, and a smaller replica of such a loco built for the owners of Penmaenmawr granite quarry to run on a track in the grounds of their home.

About the place-name: Written as Pont Stucketh in 1698 and Pontystickill in 1748, it means “bridge near a stile”. To hear how to pronounce Pontsticill, press play: Or, download mp3 (24KB)

With thanks to Richard Morgan, of the Welsh Place-Name Society

Where is this HiPoint?

Website of Brecon Mountain Railway

Other RAILWAY HiPoints in this region:
Pant rail station - Brecon Mountain Railway terminus, above the disused Morlais rail tunnel
The Railway Inn, Abergavenny - named after its proximity to the Merthyr-Abergavenny line, closed in 1958


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