The Ceiriog Valley is one of the most beautiful in Wales.Its prime attraction for most visitors is its essentially unspoilt character and charm which appeals to visitors from all over the world.
Alongside the Ceiriog Valley’s supreme environmental attributes, the Valley also enjoys a remarkable industrial heritage based on the mining of granite and slate. It was the need for transport for industry that led to the building of the tramway.
A century ago, the Glyn Valley Tramway was the spur to trade and to the economic prosperity of the Ceiriog Valley. Its quaint trains, puffing sturdily up the valley, brought in passengers, mails and the essentials for community life; in return, the trains took away the mineral wealth of the area to pave the streets of growing towns and cities and to construct the roads that, ultimately, rendered the little line redundant.
After 62 years, it is surprising how much of the old Tramway still remains. While most of its trackbed alongside the Valley road (B4500) has disappeared as a result of road widening, traces of the route are apparent near Chirk, at Dolywern and above Glyn Ceiriog, where part of the track is now a public footpath. Apart from bridges at Chirk, Dolywern and Pandy, original structures exist at Pontfadog and Dolywern (waiting Rooms) and at Glyn (locomotive shed and station). Some partial buildings also exist at Hendre Quarry.
Original artefacts from the Tramway are preserved on the Talyllyn Railway (two restored coaches, in modified form), in the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum at Tywyn (a locomotive nameplate), in the collection of the Group, and in various private collections. Approximately 350 photographs of the Tramway are also known to exist. In life, the Glyn Valley Tramway was certainly unusual. In ‘death’ it has proved to be unique. Almost no other abandoned narrow-gauge line can claim, over 60 years after its closure, to command such widespread interest. It is quite remarkable that a line, virtually ignored when it was operating, can today generate interest and enthusiasm sufficient to sustain active research, its own “preservation” group and countless scale models both at home and abroad.
Within the Valley community, the Tramway was the key to employment and prosperity – a spur to the very development and progress that finally rendered it obsolete. It is understandable, therefore, that “The Tram” is remembered with affection throughout the Valley and occupies a central place in the broad tapestry of the local heritage.
Read more on the Glyn Valley Tramway history by following the links in the Main Menu on the top right.