Early railway track, New Quay


Link to French translationLink to Welsh translationEarly railway track, New Quay

In the grassed area beyond the low walls here you can see a short section of early railway track, made of iron. It’s a reminder that New Quay once had a railway, although it was never on the national railway network!

Contractors bidding to build New Quay’s stone pier were told by the New Quay Pier & Harbour Company in 1835 that the chosen contractor would also be responsible for “quarrying, raising, and carrying all Stone, and finding all Lime, Gravel, Sand and other Materials and Implements”. In tandem, the harbour company would lay a railway between the quarry at Fron Dolau and the construction site, a distance of c.600 metres.

If you take a closer look at the surviving section of railway you’ll see that the cast-iron chairs in which the rails sit are bolted to individual stones, rather than the transverse wooden sleepers used on later railways. This primitive method depended on the stones remaining in place, otherwise the gap between the rails could alter and wagons derail.

The shape of the rails shows that the wagons had flanges to keep them on the track. Earlier tramroads typically had flanged track – with raised edges along the rails – and flangeless wagons.

Nearby is a memorial to Alan Bryant (1922-1997) who, with his wife Jean, founded the New Quay Bird & Wildlife Hospital, primarily to rescue birds whose feathers had been damaged by oil spills.

In this vicinity there was once a limekiln, where limestone was burned to produce lime. Farmers needed lime to fertilise their fields by making the soil less acidic. Lime was also used for buildings.

Postcode: SA45 9NZ    View Location Map

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