Swansea rail station
Swansea rail station
This station is the first – and last – of seven passenger terminus stations which once existed in Swansea. It was opened in 1850 by the South Wales Railway, whose line from Chepstow to Swansea was engineering by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Almost 700 guests gathered to celebrate the line’s opening at the two-platform station, which had an overall roof.
For decades the station was known as Swansea High Street, as there were so many others in Swansea. It was enlarged by the Great Western Railway in 1879 and from 1923 to 1932, when the platform canopies we see today were installed.
The station is on an exposed hillside, and the wall to the right of platform 4 was built to shelter passengers. East of the wall was a branch line, opened by the SWR in 1852, down to the North Dock, which had just been opened to cater for the booming export of coal and copper. The track was extended in 1863 to the South Dock, now home to Swansea marina. Also east of the station was the Swansea Canal, owned and operated by the GWR from 1860. Morfa Road follows the canal’s course past the station and rail yard to the north.
In 2012 Arriva Trains Wales and Network Rail completed a £7m project to improve the station’s facilities and renovate historic fabric, including the decaying frontage. The concourse was remodelled, with a new ticket office and a glazed roof for daylight to penetrate. A new glass screen between the concourse and platforms reduced draughts while allowing natural light to pass through.
Inscribed in the floor outside the station entrance are the words “Ambition is critical”, a product of Swansea council’s 1992 commissioning of local artists to produce poems about a sense of place. Poet David Hughes came up with “Ambition is critical” as a riposte to an old saying that Swansea is the “graveyard of ambition”.
Swansea is now the terminus of regular services from London Paddington. Although it’s a dead-end station, it’s also an intermediate stop for hourly trains (which reverse at Swansea) between West Wales, Cardiff and Manchester.
Postcode: SA1 1NU