|THE INDUSTRIAL RAILWAY RECORD
© JUNE 1966
THE SHORTEST INDUSTRIAL RAILWAY ?
SYDNEY A. LELEUX
On a recent tour of South Wales I camped one night at a farm situated on the west side of the Upper Clydach River valley near the new Abernant Colliery. The farm was reached by going down a lane from the Pontardawe to Glanamman road (A474), under the colliery branch line and up the farm track which joined the lane at the first zig-zag bend. Shortly before the farm, the track ran out of a small wood and across an open field which sloped steeply up the side of the valley. At one point the green surface of grass and bracken was interrupted by a small heap of broken stone which was obviously a tip. Investigation showed a small mine tunnel beside the tip which ran into the hill for a distance of about fifteen feet. The entrance was barred, but I noticed that the tunnel was unlined. A 2'0" gauge line was laid in the tunnel; outside it curved through ninety degrees and ended on the tip, the total length being an estimated sixty feet. The rolling stock consisted of one side-tipping wagon of the type commonly found in quarries, which was stored in the tunnel. It seems that two men had decided to mine for coal, and the tunnel was the beginning of their adit. Then they quarrelled and work was abandoned. Future visitors to the district may care to make further enquiries about this, one of our shortest industrial lines. The grid reference is 695081 on O. S map 153.* * *
Unseen, darkness fills the place
Took to task a million years of trees.
Black water runs on rails that
The song of trams.
The end of the tunnel, where the
Is wet with drippings and with tears -
A tired symphony of echoes.
That water jack; was it Daiís or Twinís
Or Garethís - who should have been
Look! Those timbers notched by Rees -
Flower stems holding up a forest.
That tram - the chalk mark, what does it say?
Number three hundred and four - a
On living with coal.
(Reproduced by kind permission of the Features Editor of the "Western Mail".)