Brecon Mountain Railway
Merthyr Tydfil, Brecknockshire
photo by Pete Chapman Brecon Mountain Railway, Pontsticill Station
3½ miles of 2ft gauge track from Pant to Dol-y-Gaer, though its ultimate destination is Torpantau, location of the highest railway tunnel in Britain.
One of the Great Little Trains of Wales, this railways takes you along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir to Dol-y-Gaer, travelling in an all weather observation coach behind a vintage engine.
You arrive at the car park, located on what was the branch line into Dowlais near the now closed old L&NWR railway tunnel running 80 foot below, but with three ventilation shafts still visible. The station has expanded greatly since first built for this narrow gauge line, with more facilities, such as a restaurant, shop, and disabled facilities. There are also workshops and rolling stock stored here. The first 600 feet of the line is on a new alignment while most of the remainder reuses an old track bed. Around are signs of a lot of railway heritage.
On the journey it passes through Pontsticill station without stopping, (but stops here on the way back).
At the end of the line, the engine runs around and connects back on the front, but you cannot get out here.
At Pontsticill station there is a temporary lakeside snack-bar and toilets are provided in three converted ex-British Rail covered carriage trucks. There is scope for walking, with three walks detailed on their website, or looking at the scenery.
They have three engines running, two built in Philadelphia and one in Germany and are building two more in their workshops, to designs by the Philadelphia builder. The workshops both service their own trains but also carry out work for others as well, so you may see more visiting trains. In addition they have a number of non running engines.
Plans exist for the line to be extended as far as Torpantau, at the southern entrance to the tunnel that carried the line through the hills, along the side of Glyn Colwen and as far as Brecon, but I haven't seen any reports of any expansion started, since the turn around just short, but across the road from the old Torpantau station.
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