Vale of Neath Railway Plans of Merthyr (Abernant) Tunnel

Scope and Content

Plans of Merthyr (Abernant) Tunnel copied from Mr Brereton's drawings of 1857

Administrative / Biographical History

The Vale of Neath Railway was a broad gauge railway line from Neath to Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan and also operated the Swansea and Neath Railway which gave it access to the docks at Swansea. It was opened on 24 September 1851 and amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on 1 February 1865. The railway was authorised by Act of Parliament on 3 August 1846. The first section to be opened was the main line from Neath to Gelli Tarw Junction, and the branch from there to Aberdare, on 24 September 1851. The line from Gelli Tarw to Merthyr Tydfil was opened on 2 November 1853.

In 1845, Isambard Kingdom Brunel surveyed and prepared parliamentary plans for the Vale of Neath Railway which involved a 2,497-yard hole through the hill between Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare, the second longest of Wales' tunnels. 650 feet below ground at its deepest point, it was built to accommodate broad gauge and formed part of the 6¼-mile Gelli Tarw Junction-Merthyr extension, opening on 2nd November 1853. It regularly takes two names - Merthyr, which is to its east, and Abernant.


Original order retained.

Access Information

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Received from Network Rail, National Records Centre, York, June 2018

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Poor condition - some items may be unavailable for production

Archivist's Note

Compiled by H Thomas for Glamorgan Archives, with reference to Grace's Guide to British Industrial History website ( and Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age website ( both viewed 17 July 2018

Conditions Governing Use

Normal Glamorgan Archives conditions apply.

Appraisal Information

All records which meet the collection policy of Glamorgan Archives have been retained.

Custodial History

The records remained in the custody of the donor until transferred to Glamorgan Archives.


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