This book is dedicated to the memories of all those people who once worked for the former Great Western Railway in South Wales, at Pontypool Road loco depot and on the Eastern Valley and Vale of Neath lines, as well as to those people who worked in the industries once served by the railway in those locations.
Today the UK coal mining industry is all but extinct, and the future of the steel industry is in the balance. This book serves as a reminder to future generations as to what an amazing place the South Wales valleys once were for heavy industry and transport infrastructure, and also as a tribute to the pioneering 19th-century railway builders.
Local railway enthusiast Phil Williams, who sadly died suddenly before he was able to see his book in print, talked extensively to former railwaymen and recorded their stories. The result is an intimate portrait of Pontypool Road shed painted by those who worked there in the days of steam. It depicts not only the layout of the shed itself and its associated signal boxes and goods yards, but also the equipment that the shed contained and the many jobs undertaken in it. Supported by well over 300 photographs and maps, this book also describes the goods and passenger trains that were served by the shed in the days when an unimaginable amount of goods traffic was carried by the railway everyday. But mostly it brings vividly to life the stories and characters of the railwaymen of the steam age who worked at Pontypool Road - the sheer hard physical work as well as the comic interludes.