The Rhymney Railway with Jonathan David.
The Rhymney Railway: prototype and model.
Jonathan David gave a very interesting talk on the history and development of the Rhymney Railway in South Wales. He explained how his interest in this Company grew from living for a time quite close to the line.
With detailed maps and drawings he expertly teased out the history of the Rhymney Railway from the maze of early tram roads and competing lines in the South Wales area up to the time of the grouping when the G.W.R. took over. In its early days the Railway was largely involved in providing transport for the iron industry which had developed in the area but as this declined coal transport became the main focus with numerous collieries opening which provided opportunities for the Rhymney Railway as it was for the neighbouring Taff Vale Railway. He explained the challenges the Rhymney Railway faced in getting access to the South Wales ports notably Cardiff and to the numerous schemes to make a rail connection to the south and also to the north to the heads of the valley area.
He showed a collection of photos and drawings of the locomotives mainly saddle tanks which were used on the Railway along with wagons and coaches from the early days up to the grouping in 1923. His slides also showed buildings and structures on the Rhymney system as well as signals and signal boxes. He touched on a number of personalities who had contributed to the development of the Rhymney Railway Company notably Cornelius Lundie who had an influence over many aspects from the use of flat bottomed rail and the Westinghouse brake system to his love for outside framed saddle tanks.
Jonathan also showed the rolling stock which he had brought along and which was chiefly scratch built as there was little trade support for Rhymney prototypes. They were of a high standard and built to EM gauge.
This was a most interesting and well presented talk with a great collection of rolling stock on aspects of a railway company at the centre of industrial development in South Wales, of which many of our members would not have been too aware.