Aberystwyth railway station


Aberystwyth railway station

This station opened in 1864, when passenger trains began over the newly built extension of the Cambrian Railways line from Whitchurch to Machynlleth. Parliament had authorised the Aberystwyth & Welch Coast Railway (which soon merged with the Cambrian) to link towns along the Cardigan Bay coast.

A second railway opened in 1867, linking Aberystwyth to Lampeter and Carmarthen and bringing in new crowds of tourists from industrial South Wales. Trains departing for Carmarthen made a wide U-turn after leaving the station and climbed towards the coastline south of the town.

Old photo of Aberystwyth railway station
Aberystwyth railway station c.1960, courtesy of the RCAHMW and its Coflein website

The grand station frontage you see today was erected by the Great Western Railway in 1924-1925 as part of a general upgrade for the Cambrian Railways system, which had recently been merged into the GWR. The GWR also extended the platform canopies at Aberystwyth station, to keep passengers dry. Buildings on the station’s south side, dating from 1872, were incorporated into the rebuilt station and continue to provide passenger facilities today.

The old photo, courtesy of the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales, shows the station c.1960. It is from the Rokeby Collection of the National Monuments Record of Wales.

The service to Carmarthen ended in 1964 but the Cambrian “main line” survived and continues to provide a vital connection to Shrewsbury and Birmingham. Only one platform is needed. In 2010 the Cambrian services became the first in Britain to use the European Train Control System (level 2), under a pilot installation by Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales.

In 1968 the area of the station previously used for Carmarthen trains became the new terminus of the narrow-gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway, which still uses vintage GWR steam locos.

The GWR building and part of the former platform area is now a JD Wetherspoon pub called Yr Hen Orsaf ("The Old Station"), continuing a long tradition at the station. In 1870 the Cambrian News reported that a Mr Proger was granted a licence for the new “refreshment room at the railway station … notwithstanding the urgent opposition offered against him by proprietors of alehouses in that vicinity”.

Postcode: SY23 1LH    View Location Map

Copies of the old photo and other images are available from the RCAHMW. Contact: nmr.wales@rcahmw.gov.uk.

Website of Yr Hen Orsaf

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