Deep Duffryn Diddler
A DMU railtour run by the Monmouthshire Railway Society covering rare track around South Wales on Saturday 20th October 1979. Highlights were: NCB system at Mountain Ash, Aberdare, Maerdy and Nantgarw.
The National Coal Board had an extensive system of its own lines at Mountain Ash and extending up and down the valley from there. For this part of the tour, 19 MDV coal wagons were provided, with two steam locos as motive power - RSH 'Austerity' 0-6-0ST NCB No 8 as 'North' end loco, and Barclay 0-6-0ST Llantarnam Abbey as 'south' end loco. Here the train starts its journey, travelling over the link line from the BR (ex-TVR) station at Mountain Ash, towards Deep Duffryn colliery, with No 8 in charge.
The DMU was formed of 2 3-car sets. For the duration of the steam tour, the DMUs continued on to Abercwmboi, to clear the single-line section.
The NCB steam shed at Mountain Ash. No 8 has magically appaered on shed, waiting for us to pass so that it can follow the train down to Penrhiwceiber.
Having travelled down the valley to Penrhiwceiber behind 'Llantarnam Abbey', 0-6-0 No 8 hauls the train back to Mountain Ash. The train was not 'top and tailed' - Llantarnam Abbey followed a short distance behind.
And on, following the former GWR tracks from Mountain Ash to the phurnacite plant at Abercwmboi. At this point, No 8 was borrowed to do some real work.
Back on the main train, the tour visited Aberdare HL - closed to passengers at that time. On the extreme left is the original 1851 Brunel timber terminus station for the Vale of Neath railway. By this time in use as a garden centre, it was listed in July 1979 but was destroyed by fire on 7th November 1982.
With a reversal at Pontypridd, the tour then ran up the Rhondda Fach to Maerdy. This view, looking down the valley, shows the remains of the sttaion on the left, which seems to have been further diminished by a runaway coal train from the colliery further up the valley.
The train reached the usual reversing point near the old station.
Then on to the branch from Taff Well to Nantgarw colliery and coking plant. In the background is ex-BR Class 11 shunter 12063, which had been at Nantgarw for 7 years at this time, and would eventually be cut up here in 1987.
For more details on this tour and the route taken visit Six Bells Junction