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Barry Island photos - breakwater, pier and railway - info needed!

Discussion in 'Wales/Cymru' started by editor, May 31, 2011.

  1. editor

    editor Like an ultra left hatboy on heat

    [​IMG]

    I came across this old breakwater near Barry Island and it rather strangely had a railway running along its length to the lighthouse.

    Anyone know anything about it?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  2. Crispy

    Crispy Fond of drink and industry

    Probably used to transport materials for the construction of the lighthouse. Why it was left in place though, I don't know...
    Greebo likes this.
  3. editor

    editor Like an ultra left hatboy on heat

    That's pretty unlikely - the lighthouse is small and made from made from cast iron so building an entire railway just for that would be real overkill!

    Besides, I suspect that the track would be in a far worse state if it hadn't been used since 1890. Actually, the rail track clips prove this - they're stamped 'GWR' while the originals would have been stamped Barry Railway.

    I'm guessing that there was some of pier/jetty leading into the harbour, with the track perhaps used to load ships with coal for fuel.
    Greebo likes this.
  4. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Greebo likes this.
  5. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Also this from the Barry Railyay Company Wiki page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Railway_Company

    Services were maintained despite deteriorating financial fortunes, but as a cost saving measure, PS Gwalia was sold to the Furness Railway on 7 May 1910. Five days later the remaining three steamers were sold to Bristol Channel Passenger Boats Ltd. The latter company struggled to make the business pay and after two seasons, sold out to P and A Campbell.
  6. editor

    editor Like an ultra left hatboy on heat

  7. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Then it looks like cargo/harbourworks might be the better guess?
  8. editor

    editor Like an ultra left hatboy on heat

    The original railway pier can be seen to the right of the LB station in this map (the breakwater is to the left)

    [​IMG]
  9. Crispy

    Crispy Fond of drink and industry

  10. editor

    editor Like an ultra left hatboy on heat

    Looking at the aerial view it makes you wonder where the crane was unloading stuff to as the breakwater rocks stretch out quite a way and it all looks rather shallow and sandy.

    There has been talk of reopening the line through the tunnel from Barry Island station, although I can't see that happening any time soon. It would open up that part of the docks though.
  11. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Yes - Especially when you consider the split level and as there is a similar crane visible on the opposite breakwater in that old photo?
  12. 1927

    1927 Community Statesman

  13. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    There is some book available (cant recall now) , about the life of a young railway fireman in Barry in WW2 , - there was an easy job on some shunting engine which scampered around as a "dock pilot" (carying bits and pieces , tools , stone etc - in those non mechanised and rubber / petrol rationing days) - where he describes taking stone out onto the breakwater lines for maintenance. Quite a good read , If I can find it, will post the ISBN etc.
  14. editor

    editor Like an ultra left hatboy on heat

    So it looks like the railway and (motorised?) crane was there for the maintenance of the breakwater? That makes sense, especially considering how busy the port used to be. I wonder if that curious shed on wheels was created from the base of the old crane.
    Greebo likes this.
  15. 1927

    1927 Community Statesman

    I remember the shed on wheels it was used by the yacht club as a sort of starting hut for races. If you look at your photos of Cardiff bay Ed you will see that you photographed a pink thing on the Penarth side of the barrage that does the same job!

    [​IMG]
    Greebo likes this.
  16. editor

    editor Like an ultra left hatboy on heat

    That one might have trouble moving :)
  17. agricola

    agricola atomic materialist

    I know nothing about Barry breakwater, but that reason above is definately the same one for why Holyhead breakwater's railway was kept going, along with its unique engines.
  18. ddraig

    ddraig obstreperous eastside

    not sure how relevant but there is an article in yesterdays echo called "A waterside history" about an exhibition covering the history of Penarth Docks and the Ely Tidal Harbour
    from the photocopy i can see that there is a pic of a chain ferry around 1898, construction of the sea gate, the Red House pub and a publicity poster for South Wales Docks, the old subway 1897
  19. 1927

    1927 Community Statesman

    On the subject of Penarth Docks did you know, or do you care, that the SS Great Britain made its final working voyage from Penarth Docks! ANd theres a painting to prove it!

    [​IMG]
    Greebo likes this.
  20. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Now that is an amazing find ! - thank you very much for this :)
  21. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards No boss. No alarm clock. No stress.


    Only just come across this thread.

    Normally, the rail lines were used to construct the breakwater itself. There are some incredible structures around the coast of Europe. In Spain, I was pretty gobsmacked by the size of the breakwaters at La Coruña. A huge engineering feat.
    Greebo likes this.
  22. Gethin

    Gethin New Member

    I think its there for maintenance purposes.

    Different question: does anyone know when the council house estate was built on Barry Island? My guess is around 1950/52.
  23. ddraig

    ddraig obstreperous eastside

  24. Kerensky

    Kerensky Bob Bank exile

    "Captions on two of the pics in the lower part of this page suggest the line was used to meet pleasure steamers and that it remained operational till 1975"

    I can vouch for that.
    As a school kid in Barry I can remember our annual school trip to Bristol Zoo, and for a change we went on the paddle steamer across to Avonmouth.
    We all marched down to the train station, and boarded a special service which went thru Barry Island station, thru the tunnel, and onto the dockside, where we all embarked onto the paddle steamer.
    (I get the feeling it was a few Barry schools, not just ours - High Street)

    Then we dis-embarked at Avonmouth & got buses to the Zoo.
    If memory serves me, we all returned by train.

    Had to have been about 1965/66 ?
  25. ddraig

    ddraig obstreperous eastside

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  26. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Untermensch, and proud!

    I'm just shocked that there aren't loads of dead bodies washed up against the breakwater, after phildwyer's tales about Barry being tougher than hell's Kitchen. :)

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