The Maesteg Line is the descriptive name given to the services in South Wales from Cardiff to Bridgend and Maesteg. The line follows the South Wales Main Line as far as Bridgend, where it then diverges to continue to Maesteg.
The lines over which this service operates are in two sections:
The South Wales Railway, between Cardiff and Bridgend. The line between Chepstow and Swansea opened on 18 June 1850; it later became the GWR main line.
From Bridgend, the Llynfi & Ogmore Valley Railway (L&OVR) was formed on 28 June 1866 (itself the amalgamation of earlier lines); a standard gauge line as opposed to the main line. When the L&OVR threatened to build a competing line to the GWR, it forced the latter to change the gauge over its whole line from Didcot. On 1 July 1873 the GWR took over the L&OVR.
The line from Bridgend originally operated beyond Maesteg through Caerau and the Cymmer Tunnel, know locally as the 'Gwdihw', to passenger stations in Cymmer, known as Cymmer General and further to Abergwynfi. The lines also connected colleries in Abergwynfi and Glyncorrwg. Junctions at both Tondu and Cymmer connected with east-west routes across the Llynfi and Afan valleys.
The Maesteg branch was closed in 1970, and the link with the Afan Valley was lost due to the closure of the Cymmer Tunnel.
A long campaign in the late 1980s and early 90s, resulted in the reopening of the line reopened in 1992 as far as Maesteg. The new stations and line were officially opened by Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and a plaque was unveiled at Maesteg station.
The railway north of Maesteg continued to exist until 2004, however it was removed as part of the Maesteg Washery reclamation scheme. The track to the north of Llynfi North junction, including the former Nantyffyllon and Caerau stations, have been part of a major housing developments. Reconnection with Cymmer (Afan Valley) is impossible and the Cymmer Tunnel is no longer visible.
Today the line is operated by Arriva Trains Wales on services from Gloucester to Maesteg via Cardiff Central and Bridgend, and repeated from Maesteg to Gloucester.
Maesteg Line Principal stations
The line is currently operated by Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) as part of the Valley Lines network. ATW replaced the previous franchise, Wales & Borders Trains in December 2003.