Jump to content
Jongudmund

Cardiff Clarence Road station

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone

 

I've just finished reading The Taff Vale Railway by DSM Barrie (which my Dad gave me thinking I might be interested) and it kept mentioning the GWR terminus at Clarence Road. I live just across the river from Butetown and I'd love to know more about this.

 

Can anyone point me in the direction of some information about Cardiff Clarence Road station in the docks. I'm presuming it's not the current Cardiff Bay station. Pointers to good books on the subject (with pictures!) would be really welcome.

 

Thanks all.

 

Jon

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The various Middleton press books are usually a good starting point, but I'm not sure which - if any - has specific information on Clarence Road. I'll have a dig through my collection and see what's in them. I also have the three part John Sutton Taff Vale history, but I've temporarily mislaid volume 1.

 

Edit: I had a look through several of the Middleton and John Sutton books last night but couldn't find anything about Clarence Road other than its indication on maps and references to the Penarth-Clarence Road service. The station was distinct from the old Bute Town terminus (which is more or less where the present Cardiff Bay Station is now situated) but parallel to it and to the west.

Edited by Barry Ten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clarence road station was opposite the Police station i think there is one wall of it left standing ! I have got some photos off the net somewhere so will try and put them up for you ! I remember driving past it and following the railway in my dads lorry in the school holidays !  Brian will probably find this subject ! he is the fount of all knowledge on things Cardiff I expect he has some Photos of Clarence road there are a couple of Photos on line if you Google Cardiff Clarence street station, along with the riverside platforms at the General.

Edited by welsh wizard
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Section 43A of 'Track Layouts and Diagrams of the Great Western Railway and BR (WR) by R A Cooke has a series of plans shewing the layout changes on the branch over the years. It apparently closed on 16/03/1964 to passenger services, with the 'box closing 14/06/65. Some of the branch remained until 08/07/1969, whilst the platforms of the former Riverside station, next to Cardiff General, served as a parcels depot into the early 1990s, being lifted in early 1993.

It's worth keeping your eyes peeled for copies of the Cooke books; they seem to be republished intermittently. I picked my copies up at Ian Allan in Cardiff.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cometh the hour - cometh the man !

.

Many years ago now, our club modelled Cardiff Clarence Road station, and the adjoining (GCR) Glamorganshire Canal Railway (latterly owned by Cardiff Corporation).

.

I've attached some scans from photos/slides in my  collection.

.

The first photo is an aerial view of the complete Riverside Branch with Cardiff General station at the top and is taken sometime between 1945 and 1950. The River Taff wends its way along the left side, and the Glamorganshire Canal is along the left (east) side.

.

The Riverside Branch winds through the centre and the canopy of Clarence Road station can be seen on the bottom edge of the photo.

.

There is so much detail and info in this photo, I could wax lyrical for hours on in it.

e.g.

Towards the top can be seen the former 'timber float' upon which Zurich now have their offices. Next to it you can just see one of the canal locks (Lock No.51 ??).

.

The canal south of this lock was drained quickly, and dramatically one night in December 1951 when the sand dredger Catherine Ethel (75 tons registered, capable of loading 150 tons and IIRC owned by J & R Griffiths) hit the sea lock gates and was swept out to sea in a 'Niagra of water' !.

By 1951 he 'sand wharf' was in Harrowby Street, where the now new town houses are standing, and back onto the linear park that was the former canal.

.

Coming south along the canal, can be seen a small dock off the canal on the eastern bank, this may be the former Taff Vale Railway 'Little Dock' which was alongside the TVR West Yard Works all accessed by rails from the TVR Cardiff Docks Station (later Bute Road) across Bute Street.

.

The new houses and square are built on the sight of Hodges Dry Dock (perhaps that's why it was named Hodge's Square ?)

.

The second photo is taken over the fence from Harrowby Street (as it was then) and shows Clarence Road station. James Street/Clarence Road runs left to right in the distance beyond the station - i.e. between the station and the Avondale Hotel.

.

The ramshackle buildings on the left of the photo are where the now Cardiff Bay Police Station stands.

 

The third photo was taken a few hundred yards north from the last photo, and is looking in the opposite direction (north) and shows Riverside South S.B. against the buildings of Edward Curran Ltd.

 

By tracing the route of the Riverside Branch in the aerial photo, the locations from which the two colour photos were taken can be found.

.

My dad, and Welsh Wizard's dad worked together - at Cardiff Corporation's Trade Street Depot, which is at the top of the photo - hence our interest in the area.

 

 

If you require any further info, please let me know.

.

Brian R

post-1599-0-74922100-1406888312_thumb.jpg

post-1599-0-49083500-1406888755_thumb.jpg

post-1599-0-11574300-1406888773_thumb.jpg

Edited by br2975
  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the info. It's amazing what has disappeared from that end of town. I only moved to Cardiff in 1994.

 

Bryan, do you have any photos of the lay-out, by any chance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian presumably your pics date from before the rebuilding of the station building - I always thought it was rather incongruous among the dereliction of that end of the branch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the big aerial picture, it looks like Dumballs Road now follows the line of the railway up to where Callaghan Square now is. Is that right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Brian presumably your pics date from before the rebuilding of the station building - I always thought it was rather incongruous among the dereliction of that end of the branch.

Mike

 

The aerial photo is pre-1951, but post war - it came from the Welsh Indutrial & Maritime Museum many years ago, and as it can be downloaded from the 'gtj' (gathering the jewels) website I don't believe there's any copyright infringement (cue further posts from more knowledgeable bods than I)

.

The mounts on the two colour slides are marked 1959.

.

Unfortunately, I can't recall Clarence Road, and only just recall the GCR as the one 'driver' lived in our street, and my dad, also working for Cardiff Corporation blagged us a ride one Friday when we went to collect his pay packet at Trade St. !

.

Brian R

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Looking at the big aerial picture, it looks like Dumballs Road now follows the line of the railway up to where Callaghan Square now is. Is that right?

Yes mate, Dumballs Road (and at the town end, Tresillian Terrace) ran parallel to the Riverside Branch.

 

Some of the rails that served Curran's and the yards and warehouses off the GCR are still in situ here and there.

 

Probably the most notable service on the branch was the erstwhile "St. Fagans Pullman" the Abercynon "JB" duty auto train.

 

Brian R

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Thank you all for the info. It's amazing what has disappeared from that end of town. I only moved to Cardiff in 1994.

 

Bryan, do you have any photos of the lay-out, by any chance?

Don't think so, and I only have a poor shot of the successor "Bute Road" which we last exhibited at Cathays C&W Works for the TVR 150 celebrations.

.

I have got some more shots of the Riverside Branch taken again around 1959-1960 which I'll post later.

 

Brian R

Edited by br2975
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another aerial view of the sea lock pound of the Glamorganshire Canal.

.

Clarence Road station is visible, with a 56xx approaching from Cardiff General on a passenger service.

.

Of interest is James Street swingbridge which crossed the canal which, by the time this photo was taken was in such a condition Cardiff Corporation wouldn't sanction its opening.

.

This meant no vessels could navigate the canal upstream of the swingbridge, and Bowles sand wharf on the far (west) bank just upstream of the bridge was relocated to the Grangetown side of the Taff just downstream from Clarence Road Bridge .... also visible in the picture.

.

The crane at Bowles sand wharf adjacent to the canal can be seen, and this is now Cardiff Bay Police Staion, with the canal a park...... an area much favoured by the BBC for the filming of Dr. Who and Torchwood.

.

The course of the Glamorganshire Canal Railway can be traced along the west bank of the canal.

.

On the seaward side of the swingbridge can be seen the sand wharves of Messrs Sandrige, and then J&R Griffiths.

.

At the bottom end of Harrowby Steet (pronounced 'arraby street) can be seen the gabled end walls of the 'New Sea Lock' one time watering hole of both the Bay Model Railway Group and the Cardiff 4mm Club, where licensing hours were observed only in passing - in fact it was like drinking in someone's front room (God bless you Rita).

 

At this time the railway, as was the canal was owned and operated by Cardiff Corporation and the loco used was a Greenwood & Batley four wheeled battery electric, which was shedded at the bottom left hand corner of the picture (the shed is under a tree in shadow) adjacent to the sea lock.

.

The GCR closed in February 1963 and the loco scrapped in 1965 by Western Metals of Ferry Road, Grangetown.

.

I have more, if anyone's interested ?

.

Brian R

post-1599-0-47885400-1406910727_thumb.jpg

Edited by br2975
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Mike

 

The aerial photo is pre-1951, but post war - it came from the Welsh Indutrial & Maritime Museum many years ago, and as it can be downloaded from the 'gtj' (gathering the jewels) website I don't believe there's any copyright infringement (cue further posts from more knowledgeable bods than I)

.

The mounts on the two colour slides are marked 1959.

.

Unfortunately, I can't recall Clarence Road, and only just recall the GCR as the one 'driver' lived in our street, and my dad, also working for Cardiff Corporation blagged us a ride one Friday when we went to collect his pay packet at Trade St. !

.

Brian R

When I was first working in Cardiff back in 1968 a colleague and I explored the area around there and were very surprised to find what had clearly been a lately rebuilt station building at Clarence Road.  Seemed to us like a variation of a common them on the railway in those days which said if something is painted it will be closed or demolished within 6 months - I don't know what the gap might have been at Clarence Road but it was decent job with a brick built building and, amazingly, very little vandalism and the style suggested early 1960s.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My father started his railway carear as a shunter at Cardiff General, one of his stories Involves the Clarence Road branch, when one Saturday after the branch had closed to passengers, he was taking some stock (from a rugby specal) to be stabled, on the branch, not wanting to walk the length of the train he jumped off, and waited until the loco was level with him, un hooked and had a lift back to the General, On the Monday, his shunter mate said to him you were lucky Saturday... another couple of feet and you would of been in the dirt, un beknown to him they had started lifting the branch, and he was a few feet from the end when he un hooked.

 

Steve

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was first working in Cardiff back in 1968 a colleague and I explored the area around there and were very surprised to find what had clearly been a lately rebuilt station building at Clarence Road.  Seemed to us like a variation of a common them on the railway in those days which said if something is painted it will be closed or demolished within 6 months - I don't know what the gap might have been at Clarence Road but it was decent job with a brick built building and, amazingly, very little vandalism and the style suggested early 1960s.

 

The previous building was an extremely decrepit timber one that probably dated from the opening of the line. Brian's first photo above shows the original building and IIRC there are a few close up photos in the Railways of Cardiff book;-

http://www.amazon.com/RAILWAYS-OF-CARDIFF-LAURENCE-WATERS/dp/0711023808

Edited by sparks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The previous building was an extremely decrepit timber one that probably dated from the opening of the line. Brian's first photo above shows the original building and IIRC there are a few close up photos in the Railways of Cardiff book;-

http://www.amazon.com/RAILWAYS-OF-CARDIFF-LAURENCE-WATERS/dp/0711023808

Thanks - I've got that book somewhere but I've an idea it's not in any of the 'Welsh' sections on my bookshelves - correction it is in fact between a book on Talerddig and 'Hopkinstown 1911' but in an area where books tend to get pushed back and overwhelmed by others ('The Nelson & Ynysybwl branches' has also just been pulled forward to remind me of its presence at that end of the shelf!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another view on the Riverside Branch.

.

Here we are looking south toward Clarence Road station, with Dumballs Road on our left i.e. the east side of the railway line.

.

The Glamorganshire Canal ran behind the buildings to our left, and the Glamorganshire Canal Railway (GCR) ran between the buildings and the canal..

.

There are one or two things of interest here.

.

The up and down lines are the furthest from the photographer. The nearest is a shunting spur.

.

The photographer was leaning over a level crossing gate, which protected a siding leading into the Lloyd's Bute Proving House, which can be seen on the left. The proving house was used for testing ships anchors and chains for insurance purposes. There was also access to the proving house from the GCR using wagon turntables. Many of the chains tested here had come from the works of Brown,Lenox at Pontypridd which was alongside the Glamorganshire Canal, but also rail connected to the Newport (South Wales)and Alexandra Docks Railway, later GWR.

.

In the distance can be seen the premises of Harris Fireplaces.

.

Another siding leads off to the left over a level crossing - this line was known as 'the lane' and was the connection between the GCR and GWR and by which traffic was transferred between the two companies.

.

After 'the lane' we can see a row of single storey warehouses, the nearest of which has semi-circular window in its gable end. This was formerly leased by Burton's a Bristol Channel shipping company, but for many years after the war was leased by Cardiff Corporation for storage, mainly scenery (built by my and 'naturols' dad) from the (late lamented) Cardiff Searchlight Tattoo.Whilst working for 'the Corporation' one summer (circa 1970-1971) I spent a day there, alone, waiting for the electricity man to come and read the meter, as it hadn't been read

in living memory !!!!!

.

To the right, or west of the branch are buildings that are about currently to be demolished to make way for a further housing development - a northern addition to the existing Century Wharf which was built on the site of Edward Curran Engineering - who also had an internal railway system and operated several locos over the years until the early 1960s.

.

Brian R

post-1599-0-86312600-1407013091_thumb.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an aside - the area south of the GWR South Wales main line and west of the River Taff is Grangetown.

.

The narrow area east of the River Taff and west of the Glamorganshire Canal was known as "Rat Island".

.

The area east of the Glamorganshire Canal and west of the Bute West Dock was known "Tiger Bay".

.

Brian R

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet another photo of the Riverside Branch circa 1959-1960.

.

Again we are on the east side of the branch looking toward Clarence Road station.

.

Note the wooden post bracket signal, with right hand stop signal and calling-on arm controlling access to the solitary platform, and left hand bracket for the loop. Not being a signalling expert, I assume the calling on arm is/was for use in running around ?

.

Again the photographer was leaning over the fence from Dumballs Road.

.

In the centre can be seen the premises of Jas. (James) Arnott oil distributors, which was rail served off the Glamorganshire Canal Railway (GCR) and a couple of opens on the GCR can be seen on the extreme left.

.

On the opposite side of the branch (west) are structures within the Edward Curran complex, including the water tower which can be seen in some of the other photos posted above.

.

Stand here today, and there's nothing immediately apparent to locate this picture - definitely not a 64XX and auto trailers on a Clarence Road - Pontypridd jaunt via Cardiff General, Ely (Main Line), St. Fagans, Ty'n Y Caeaua Jct.  Creigiau, Efail Isaf, Tonteg Jct. and Treforest.

.

Brian R

post-1599-0-02268700-1407145679_thumb.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking back at Cooke's plans, on the 1890 one there is a wonderfully-named private siding near the site of Clarence Road station; 'The Crown Preserved Coal Company'. In later plans, it's shown as 'Patent Fuel Works'.

What did Currans make? They seem to be a latish arrival (their works was on the site of a timber pond that was filled in in 1937, with an extensive rail network. The Private Siding Agreement is dated 1937 (though the sidings were in use in November 1936), with the original company (E Curran and Co. Ltd.) being wound up on 21.04.1947, and the site then operating under the name of E Curran Engineering Ltd. at least until the last PSA was terminated on 30.06.1968.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking back at Cooke's plans, on the 1890 one there is a wonderfully-named private siding near the site of Clarence Road station; 'The Crown Preserved Coal Company'. In later plans, it's shown as 'Patent Fuel Works'.

What did Currans make? They seem to be a latish arrival (their works was on the site of a timber pond that was filled in in 1937, with an extensive rail network. The Private Siding Agreement is dated 1937 (though the sidings were in use in November 1936), with the original company (E Curran and Co. Ltd.) being wound up on 21.04.1947, and the site then operating under the name of E Curran Engineering Ltd. at least until the last PSA was terminated on 30.06.1968.

Cor, Crown Patent Fuel - I remember a huge stack of rectangular Crown Patent Fuel somewhere down in, I think, the vicinity of East Dock but it might have been further west if that was where there works were; easy to identify as each block had 'Crown Patent Fuel' stamped into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking back at Cooke's plans, on the 1890 one there is a wonderfully-named private siding near the site of Clarence Road station; 'The Crown Preserved Coal Company'. In later plans, it's shown as 'Patent Fuel Works'.

What did Currans make? They seem to be a latish arrival (their works was on the site of a timber pond that was filled in in 1937, with an extensive rail network. The Private Siding Agreement is dated 1937 (though the sidings were in use in November 1936), with the original company (E Curran and Co. Ltd.) being wound up on 21.04.1947, and the site then operating under the name of E Curran Engineering Ltd. at least until the last PSA was terminated on 30.06.1968.

 

In recent years Currans made bath tubs - enamelled, for the use of !

.

However, several years ago now, whilst researching the local industries alongside the GCR, Hywel Thomas (of this parish) sent the following re Currans :-      ".. Most interesting traffic was in Centurion tank track segments which were made by Currans &, almost certainly, moved by rail (via the Riverside branch) probably to a factory in Lancs & possibly elsewhere. They did a huge amount of work in WW2 including building the mine flails for Sherman tanks for D-Day! ...."

 

Brian R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cor, Crown Patent Fuel - I remember a huge stack of rectangular Crown Patent Fuel somewhere down in, I think, the vicinity of East Dock but it might have been further west if that was where there works were; easy to identify as each block had 'Crown Patent Fuel' stamped into it.

 

Mike,

 

I think, the last 'patent fuel' works in the area was on the land south of the Roath Basin and north of the Queen Alexandra Dock and east of the Mountstuart Dry Dock(s) - more or less beneath the brand new BBC studios known as 'Roath Lock'.

.

The redundant concrete structures survived until the late 80s at least.

.

If one walked south from the former Cardiff East Dock shed, passing the docks engineering shops on your right, then crossed the lock between the Roath Dock & Roath Basin the fuel works would have been on your right.

.

This was one of a number in the Cardiff area over the years........ just imagine, the blocks  (slightly bigger than a house brick) being produced alongside the canal at Blackweir, Cardiff - loaded by hand into a GCC narrow boat, then taken to the West Dock and unloaded by hand onto a conveyer, up onto a ship then stacked by hand in the hold !!!!!!!

.

Brian R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.