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Taff Vale Rly
(Note: Numbers in brackets refer to specific references)

This line was built to replace the Pen-y-darran tramroad which ran between a series of iron works to the Glamorganshire canal for carriage to the coast. The TVR was built when traffic on the canal became congested and the line carried considerable quantities of freight, mainly coal. Welsh steam coal was widely used and there was a considerable export traffic prior to the First World War. The Aberdare valley had been the chief source of South Wales steam coal, but in the 1850's interest focused on the Rhondda and by the 1880's this had become the principal European source of high quality coal.
The TVR was the largest of the Welsh coal railways with over a hundred route miles of track and the line featured extensive use of quadruple track. In 1917, without recourse to a formal amalgamation (which required Parliamentary approval), the Rhymney Railway's manager, E. A. Prosser, was also appointed the manager of both the TVR and the Cardiff Railway and thereafter the three companies were operated as a single railway.

According to the Great Western Society book 'Great Western Way' Taff Vale goods stock body colour was originally light grey body and underframe, this changed about the turn of the century to a darker grey and by the end of the First World War dark red or red oxide was being quoted by people making drawings of the stock.
Railway Modeller of June 1979 has drawing of a van made in 1919 by Ken Werrett quoting the red oxide body colour and Model Railway Constructor Annual 1980 has two drawings of open wagons by S. J. Cunningham described as being dark red. The builders photo of the older three plank wagon shows plain all-over grey but a builders photo of the five plank wagon in early livery shows the ironwork picked out in black (not including the three door protector plates). I believe that at least in some cases body ironwork was black during the red oxide era.
On older stock the initials T.V.R. (full stops after each letter) were painted about eight inches high somewhere to the left of the body, usually on the bottom plank on the light grey wagons, about four planks up the side of vans in the dark grey period (1). The TVR were shaded black until about 1903 after which they were in plain white. After about 1910 this changed to 16 inch high T and V as high as possible, where diagonal strapping got in the way on the sides of opens the letters were painted inside the strapping. The TVR was one of the companies that relied on the cast wagon number plate rather than painting numbers on the sides of goods stock but after 1903 they added cast number plates to the ends of wagons and vans. Mr Cunnigham's drawing of the later livery on a three plank wagon shows the number painted centrally on the side and no end number plate but this may be incorrect. The tare sometimes appeared under the small T.V.R. in the grey period but was also sometimes found in the lower right. One source suggested that with the change to red body colour the number was on the second plank up in the lower left with the tare underneath and the load (in the form LOAD 10 TONS) was placed in the lower right. I have found no photographs showing this and I suspect it was incorrect. On Mr. Werrett's drawing of the red bodied van the only lettering shown is the T and V on the sides and from the drawing these are two foot high.

Passenger coach livery was chocolate below the waist with whiteish cream upper panels, similar in appearance to the GWR's house colours. The chassis were black and lettering was in gold shaded red. Non passenger coaching stock vehicles were all brown on black underframes with white roofs and unshaded yellow lettering. (3)

The tarpaulins owned by this company were described in 1891 as having T. V. R. along each side and the sheet number across each end. Additional markings were described as "red and green stripes running corner to corner", if this followed the pattern of other company markings this would have been an X of red stripes each with a green line running along it

Fig ___ TVR


The Taff Vale Railway three plank wagon shown in Sketch X is a slice cut from a ventilated van body, shortened and fitted to a planked floor of 1mm scribed card mounted on a shortened Peco ten foot wheelbase chassis. This wagon was modelled from a builders photograph showing a wagon built in the 1870's or 1880's. The chassis, aside from being rather short, was unusual in other ways. It had a full set of brake gear, with two brake shoes, on one side only and there were metal tie-rods between the axle boxes.
The seven plank wagon is a Peco kit with the upper doors modified. This is actually 2mm too long but I did not realise this when I made the model so I did not shorten it.


(1) Great Western Way - J. N. Slinn - HMRS - 1978/79/85 - ISBN 0 902835 09 2
This book details the livery practice of the GWR and also briefly covers the principal liveries of absorbed companies. There are not as many photographs as one might wish but there are plenty which suggest modelling ideas.

(2) The Taff Vale Railway by D. S. M. Barrie, 2nd (revised). edition published by Oakwood in 1962 - Unseen.

(3) Historic Carriage Drawings Vol. 3 Non Passenger Coaching Stock compiling editor Peter Tatlow - Pendragon Partnership - 2000 A really useful book containing scale drawings and photographs with potted histories and details of livery for a wide range of rolling stock, mostly pre-grouping designs. Highly recommended.

Welsh Railway Research Circle

Available Models.
No specific models known in N/2mm Scale


Considerable thanks are due to Tony Miller and Ray Caston, both of the WRRC, for their assistance in the preparation of this article.

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