The Swansea-Mumbles Railway, 1804 – 1960
Slideshow and Video
Although technical industrial know-how is often named and known by rail enthusiasts the world over, such as the invention of the steam locomotive, and speed record marvels, which are wonderful, of course–little known is the fact of the Swansea-Mumbles Railway line, the world’s first passenger rail service.
On March 25, 1807–the same day that the British Parliament passed the law outlawing the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Swansea opened the first passenger train in the world, charging a fee for passengers to be pulled on a rail line. At this time, the passenger carriages were pulled by horses. Then more carriages were added for form a multi-carriage horse-drawn rail train along the beautiful Wales coast line between Swansea and the charming town of Mumbles.
The line was closed and was derelict for a while, and various wealthy proprietors refurbished and re-established the line.
In 1877, steam locomotives were introduced to the line and pulled the train from that year to 1929, when trams took over. Steam locomotives of the wheel arrangement 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 steam locomotives, of various “tank” types, were used the pull the trains in the heyday of steam. The line began electrifying its motive power in 1928.
In 1960, after closing a couple of more times, the line was closed officially by the government, even though there were an overwhelming amount of signatures protesting the closure. The new owners at the time wanted to make busses the main way of travel, regardless of what the majority of local people wanted.
Golden Swansea website: http://www.welshwales.co.uk/mumbles_railway_swansea.htm
BBC: Early Mumbles Railway: Early Mumbles Railway
Swansea-Mumbles – Wikipedia
History – Video Clip from BBC Wales 1998:
* * * * * * * * *
Reminiscences of Swansea-Mumbles. circa 1960 – by AceMovieCo:
The Union Pacific (UP) 844, is one of the most famous locomotives in the United States. It has been called one of the most elegant and sleek locomotives ever created in the United States. It has also been the only locomotive of all the US railroad companies to have never been taken out of service, and is the longest-running steam locomotive to be in service in the US.
When it was due to be scrapped, along with most of the steam locomotives during the late 50s through the 60s, public pressure to save the locomotive was strongly heeded by the Union Pacific Railroad and the 844 was re-installed quickly. Its name was briefly changed to 8444, when a diesel locomotive by the name of 844 was built. The original 844 name was restored later.
Nowadays, the Union Pacific is proud of saving this locomotive, along with the giant 3985 Challenger. Their special excursion trains that run throughout the year at various times, are sold-out routinely and draw huge crowds, of young and old alike. There’s something about the steam engine…….