Pontarddulais/Abertawe Cledrau Coll


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Pontarddulais/Abertawe

Cyfle arall i weld Arfon a Gwyn yn cerdded ar hyd y lein o Bontarddulais i Bae Abertawe a'r Mwmbwls. Arfon and Gwyn walk the old line from Pontarddulais to Swansea Bay and Mumb...


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-Gwyn, we're here at what was once

-Pontarddulais Junction station...

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-..as we concentrate this week on the

-line from Pontarddulais to Swansea.

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-We're standing on the spot

-where the double line ran...

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-..and there was a crossing here too.

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-The station stood behind us at

-the point of the junction itself.

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-It's possible to imagine

-the line leading away from us.

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-Yes, it's still fairly visible

-at this point.

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-The station has changed but there's

-still a waiting room here...

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-..but today it's a doctor's

-waiting room.

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-It used to be extremely busy here.

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-There were six tinplate works

-in Pontarddulais, a foundry...

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-..as well as the chemical works

-- all supplied by the station.

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-Anything that went in or out

-went via the station.

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-There were no lorries in those days.

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-There were five stations between

-Pontarddulais and Swansea Victoria.

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-There was the halt at Groves End.

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-Then you had Gorseinon,

-Gowerton, Dunvant, Killay...

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-..Mumbles Road, Swansea Bay

-and Swansea Victoria.

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-I used to go down with the children

-at ten on Saturday night...

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-..to collect the papers

-and then run back up with them.

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-The shops would be open with

-everyone waiting in Pontarddulais...

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-..ready to receive

-their Saturday night paper.

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-We'd run back up from the station,

-selling our papers on the way.

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-During the rugby season...

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-..the train journey to Scotland

-was a regular highlight.

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-I remember the trains when Wales

-used to play against Scotland.

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-They used to come back

-on the Sunday afternoon.

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-We used to stand at the gates

-and wave to them...

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-..but the lads were all too tired.

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-Thank goodness the trip to Scotland

-only happened once every two years!

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-But instead of going north today,

-we'll head south.

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-Leaving Pontarddulais Junction, the

-first stretch is straight and level.

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-Waving goodbye

-to the town's industries...

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-..the route of the M4 today

-cuts across the old railway line...

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-..near the site of the former

-Groves End colliery.

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-Gorseinon is today

-completely transformed.

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-The station buildings, the platform,

-the signals, the bridge, the track.

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-All of them have disappeared.

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-Today, memories are all that remain.

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-It would be too risky to walk

-where the track used to be...

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-..because that's where

-the main road is now.

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-Yes, a new road took over

-when the line was closed.

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-But this adjacent path

-is quite convenient.

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-It's easy to imagine the trains

-rushing past here, Gwyn.

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-I'm not sure about rushing past.

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-You had a lot of slow freight trains

-with their clattering wagons...

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-..and the banging sounds

-as they shunted.

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-This northern stretch of the line

-serviced the industry around here.

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-It's still busy enough, anyway.

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-The nature of the line changes

-as it heads south.

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-Next stop, Gowerton. Away we go.

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-Goodbye to the old station at

-Gorseinon and on with our journey.

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-At one time there were

-two stations here in Gowerton...

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-..as well as the junction

-for Penclawdd on the left.

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-Now, only the old GWR station on the

-Swansea to Fishguard line remains.

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-What used to be on this site, Gwyn?

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-The junction was here and the line

-to Penclawdd went off that way.

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-When was that line closed?

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-When was that line closed?

-

-It closed to freight in '52.

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-It had already closed to passenger

-trains before the war in the '30s.

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-But our line continues ahead.

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-But our line continues ahead.

-

-Yes, it does.

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-The old station and the bridge

-have long since disappeared...

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-..but the authorities have granted

-due respect to the line's old route.

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-Some people still have

-happy memories of the trains.

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-We used to call it the push'n'pull,

-because it couldn't turn around.

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-It would push us on the ride down

-to Swansea Bay and Victoria...

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-..and then pull back up

-towards Pontarddulais.

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-It was great, with our heads out of

-the window on the ride to Swansea...

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-..but coming back wasn't such fun.

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-The train was pulling

-and the steam was blown backwards.

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-As children, we had our heads out.

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-But we'd get the sand and steam from

-the loco coming back into our eyes.

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-When we got home we were blind,

-our eyes full of sand and steam!

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-From Gowerton,

-the landscape changes.

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-The line twists and gradually

-descends through the trees...

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-..in the direction of Dunvant,

-Killay and Swansea Bay.

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-Gwyn, this is all that remains of

-the old platform at Dunvant station.

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-No trains, but there's still

-coming and going along these tracks.

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-It's busy and even dangerous at

-times with all the bikes going past.

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-You can ride as far as Swansea

-on your bike now.

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-So I hear.

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-So I hear.

-

-When did you last ride a bike?

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-I haven't been on a bike

-since the age of steam!

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-Many old railway routes have

-been reopened as cycle paths...

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-..under the auspices of the cycling

-charity that renovates paths...

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-..giving memorable, appealing

-and safe detours for cyclists.

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-I don't know how safe this

-cycle path is with us riding on it!

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-It's almost forty years

-since trains passed this way...

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-..but the name on the inn

-is a reminder of past times.

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-At the Railway Inn we met an old

-guard who once worked on the line.

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-Every Thursday we had

-two large wooden boxes...

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-..chained around the brake

-and padlocked.

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-I'd lock the door to the train.

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-In my book, everyone

-had to sign for their pay.

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-I'd give out the pay at every

-station from here to Llandrindod.

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-Then I'd send the box

-back to Swansea.

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-I bet you were popular.

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-I bet you were popular.

-

-Yes, every Thursday!

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-On the way back we'd pick up calves

-at nearly every station.

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-They were tied inside sacks

-but could stand up.

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-Sometimes they'd

-work themselves free.

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-If the corridor door opened they'd

-end up charging through the train!

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-At the next station

-I'd have to herd them back together.

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-People would bring me pigeons in

-baskets and pay me half a crown...

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-..to release the pigeons in Builth

-or Llandrindod or Craven Arms.

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-Once, after releasing the pigeons...

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-..they flew into the train

-instead of out!

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-The passengers must have enjoyed

-some wonderful views, Gwyn.

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-Yes, although they may not always

-have fully appreciated them...

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-..if they were reading newspapers

-or sleeping.

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-Look there in the trees.

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-Look there in the trees.

-

-Is that the original one?

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-Yes, it is.

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-What is the significance

-of the number 8 on each side?

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-It denotes eight miles,

-visible from both directions.

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-Does it also tell us

-we've come halfway?

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-I suppose so. We're about halfway

-between Pontarddulais and Swansea.

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-

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-When we heard the Sunday School trip

-was going on the train to Swansea...

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-..we were over the moon!

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-We had never been on the train,

-the war was over...

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-..and we were so excited we just

-couldn't wait for the day to arrive.

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-When the day finally came,

-we all met outside some local pubs.

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-That was ironic

-for a Sunday School outing!

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-So we stood outside the Fountain

-or the King or the Farmers...

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-..and then walked down together

-to the station.

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-Before us is the sight that

-awaited passengers coming through.

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-Let's take a look from

-the top of the wall here.

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-There's the first glimpse

-of the sea.

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-Was the track at this level too?

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-Yes, the track crossed

-above the road on a high bridge.

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-Opposite, you can still see the high

-ground which the bridge joined up.

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-From Mumbles Road

-to Victoria station...

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-..the line practically

-runs along the beach.

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-Today's cycle path closely

-follows the train route.

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-Here we are Gwyn,

-not at the end of the journey...

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-..but the end of the line on

-the site of Swansea leisure centre.

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-Victoria station was roughly here...

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-..but can you identify

-any points on this old map?

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-There's this small building.

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-We can see the location

-of the station itself...

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-..and on the other side of the road

-stands the Baptist chapel.

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-In this old photograph we can see

-the corner of this building...

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-..which can still be

-clearly identified today.

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-The station was bombed

-during the war.

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-The glass panes on the roof

-were destroyed and never repaired.

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-No more money was spent on it and

-it became quite a depressing place.

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-It was a wooden construction.

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-Well, iron constructions

-with the buildings made out of wood.

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-The original station was built

-out of wood, which was widely used.

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-The line came to an end here but

-where did the trams go from here?

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-The trams came out from the station

-and crossed the road over there.

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-Let's see if there's any

-indication of the old trams.

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-There are no trams now for certain.

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-Ten stations were scattered along

-the line from Swansea to Mumbles.

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-It's nearly 200 years since

-the Mumbles Railway opened.

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-Its appearance changed

-several times over the years...

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-..and some of Swansea's residents

-still remember it fondly.

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-Wonderful memories - walking along

-the coastline brings it all back...

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-..the Mumbles Railway running

-along the beautiful Swansea Bay.

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-It was a black day on 5 January 1960

-when they closed the line.

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-Tourism and everything went with it.

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-What kind of an experience

-was the ride on the tram?

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-It was great fun, everyone looked

-forward to arriving at the beach.

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-The trams used to be full of mothers

-with their children - it was great!

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-We tend to think of trams

-as catering for tourists...

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-..but not so the Mumbles Railway.

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-No - it was useful and practical

-to come into Swansea for shopping.

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-Mumbles wasn't such a big place

-at the time...

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-..and cars weren't such

-a common sight in those days.

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-So the tram ran a regular service

-and was always full of passengers.

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-What about safety?

-Were there accidents on the tram?

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-It used to rattle as it went!

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-It used to rattle as it went!

-

-Apart from the sand...

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-..the biggest problem was people

-who were drunk crossing the line.

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-They said they used to carry a look

-out on the front of the tram...

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-..to see if there was a drunk

-on the line.

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-But it was always great fun.

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-Here we are on the bridge, looking

-towards the old Victoria station.

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-I still find it hard to imagine

-how at one time...

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-..three different modes of transport

-used to pass beneath this bridge.

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-The line from Pontarddulais ran

-more or less where the pavement is.

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-You had two lines slightly wider

-than the width of the pavement.

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-Then you had a stone wall

-like this one...

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-..with the Mumbles line

-the other side of it.

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-Beyond the Mumbles line

-was the main road.

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-Was the sand a major problem?

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-Yes - you can imagine how the wind

-blew the sand during storms...

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-..over the wall and onto the track

-and right inside the steam engines.

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-Gwyn, we've walked along the

-old route of the Mumbles Railway...

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-..which has tremendous

-historical significance.

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-It is unique in that it was

-the world's first passenger line.

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-Passenger services started in 1807

-when horses drew the carriages.

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-It's said there were sails on

-some carriages to harness the wind.

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-After that, passengers travelled

-on steam engines...

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-..and then on electric trams.

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-If it were running today it would

-attract visitors from everywhere.

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-There is such interest

-in railways today...

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-..people would flock here from

-America, Europe and everywhere.

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-Then they could say they'd been

-on the world's first passenger line.

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-Cars now occupy the route

-of the old Mumbles Railway...

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-..but the pier has survived

-with little change.

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-There I met Mair Griffiths

-from Pontarddulais...

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-..who once worked on the railway.

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-She was the only female

-member of staff at the time.

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-We were always on it as children.

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-If the tide was in,

-the view was beautiful...

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-..with the sun shining on the water

-and I loved it on the little train.

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-On the pier we can hear

-the lighthouse in the background.

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-Did a lot of people come here

-for the day from Pontarddulais?

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-Yes, yes, the train would leave

-at about 1.50pm.

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-Mothers would ride

-with their children...

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-..and we'd be busy selling tickets

-and loading prams and pushchairs.

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-They'd alight in Swansea Bay...

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-..and the porter would escort them

-across the line to the beach.

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-The journey's end, Gwyn

-and I must say I've enjoyed myself.

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-The combination of train and tram...

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-..and the geographical variety

-from the mountain to the sea.

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-It's a pity we've lost this line...

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-..as a result of mismanagement

-more than anything.

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-The loss of this line

-is a loss to Wales.

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-The seagulls are crying above us

-and as we're at the seaside...

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-..I think we deserve an ice cream

-as we search for the next line.

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-I think it's my turn to buy,

-isn't it, Arfon?

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-I think so, after all

-the cups of tea I've bought you!

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-S4C subtitles by

-Testun Cyf

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Cyfle arall i weld Arfon a Gwyn yn cerdded ar hyd y lein o Bontarddulais i Bae Abertawe a'r Mwmbwls. Arfon and Gwyn walk the old line from Pontarddulais to Swansea Bay and Mumbles.