The Gwendraeth Valleys Railway
In its final form the Gwendraeth Valleys Railway (GVR) was a line of the utmost simplicity - 2½ miles of track running north from the South Wales main line at Kidwelly to serve the quarries of Mynydd-y-Garreg, and the tinplate works in the valley below. Away from Kidwelly there was no signalling, and ‘one engine in steam’ operation prevailed. All this belied the line’s long and intricate history. This book endeavours to explore that history. In doing so it has been necessary to delve not only into the story of railway promotion and politics in Carmarthenshire, but also into the story of the several industries served by the line. If there is a recurring theme it is one of brave ideas brought low, either by want of finance or by some element of dishonesty. The mineral wealth of Mynydd-y-Garreg was certainly useful, but it was never really the El Dorado that some imagined. With more careful and sustained investment it is possible that it might have done more for the local economy. The nearby tinplate works was always undercapitalised in the 19th century, and struggling for survival.
The arrival in the 20th century of some able industrialists gave the works its one period of slight success. With their departure its fortunes declined, leaving the line once again to the mineral traffic which had inspired its construction. By the 1960s it was all over, and the railway was swept away, save for the locomotive Margaret which remained in its shed at an amazingly intact tinplate works until 1974.
Softback, 136 pages, black & white photographs
NB Some marking to front cover, otherwise book in Very Good condition
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Updated: 1 June 2020