The Railways and Industry Series, Volume 4: Rail Freight Wales and the Borders
The changes to rail freight in Wales and the Borders since the 1980s have been dramatic in many ways and have often been a knock-on effect of huge transformations in the industries that the railway serves, most notably, the coal-mining sector. These have led to a railway with a slimmed-down infrastructure and renewed traction and rolling-stock fleets.
Until the 1980s, coal was still the lifeblood of many railway lines in South Wales. However, one by one, the pits closed, leaving just a handful of surface operations still active in 2020. The sight and sound of a Class 37 winding its way up a steep-sided valley is now a distant memory. Industrial decline has affected other traffics too, with the loss of the heavy iron ore trains to Llanwern and many other flows. However, Welsh rail freight is far from dead. Class 60-hauled oil and steel trains still ply the South Wales main tine, and there have even been small revivals such as cement from Penyffordd.
Illustrated with over 150 stunning photographs, many of which are previously unpublished, this volume looks at the changing face of rail freight in Wales and the Borders, detailing the changes in traction, rolling stock and railway infrastructure over four decades.
Softback, 96 pages, black & white and colour photographs
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Updated: 1 July 2021