Porthcawl’s old station gets revamp – and it’s all thanks to the work of the … – WalesOnline

It was the artery that brought in the lifeblood of coal, iron ore and visitors, which nourished Porthcawl and helped the town to grow.

Yet few people today realise the significance of the railway in the town.

But a new regeneration project aims to change all that and at the official opening of the revamped Station Hill area last Friday, residents showed that while the trains and tracks might be long gone, they are not forgotten.

Unveiling a blue plaque commemorating the joint Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) and Porthcawl Town Council-funded project led by the Porthcawl Shout Forum, Bridgend AM Carwyn Jones said the community-led enterprise had brought together people of all ages “to properly link this part of the town with the rest of the town again”.

‘Great day for Porthcawl’

“It’s a great day for Porthcawl and Porthcawl Shout,” he added.

Station Hill in its hey day

Following on from the Porthcawl Shout and BCBC-led refurbishment of the Station Hill subway in 2011, the group decided the dilapidated 100 square metre entrance area around the subway – formerly the site of the signal box and railway crossing and now adjacent to the bypass – should also be spruced up.

Working with Groundwork Wales, Porthcawl Shout and BCBC and Porthcawl Town Councils, environmental artist Nigel Talbot and landscape architect Geoff Whittington came up with the idea to create an innovative wooden sculpture, representing a cluster of railway signals, and a paving scheme, which is inlaid with coloured stones depicting the many railway tracks that used to cross the site.

Beeching cuts

Working with Nigel, pupils from Year 5 Newton Primary School learned about the railway and designed plaques that have been attached to the signal sculpture.

Carwyn Jones with Year 5 pupils from Newton Primary School

At the official opening the pupils also performed a poem called Terrific Trains.

Porthcawl Mayor David Newton-Williams said it had been the infamous Dr Richard Beeching cuts which saw the closure of Porthcawl’s station and railway in September 1963 after more than a century.

The railway had originally opened in 1829 as a horse-drawn tramway bringing coal and iron ore from the Llynfi Valley to the harbour for export and then a steam train service.

Still in demand

He said Beeching used poor ticket sales at Porthcawl station as the justification for closure, but failed to realise that most people bought their tickets outside of Porthcawl to travel in as they were visitors and that as a result, the station and the railway had still been very much in demand.

Pupils from Newton Primary School at the station

An information boardhas been erected at the top of Station Hill.

Porthcawl Shout’s Gary Victor said: “Besides the Blue Plaque the redesign of this square illustrates to a younger generation its historical past.

“For more than 100 years steam trains brought people and freight to Porthcawl yet some young people are surprised Porthcawl ever had a railway.”

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