Ancient Monuments

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Merthyr Tramroad: Morlais Castle section

A Scheduled Monument in Vaynor (Y Faenor), Merthyr Tydfil (Merthyr Tudful)

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Latitude: 51.7778 / 51°46'40"N

Longitude: -3.3823 / 3°22'56"W

OS Eastings: 304729

OS Northings: 209694

OS Grid: SO047096

Mapcode National: GBR YP.Z3NT

Mapcode Global: VH6CR.BL80

Entry Name: Merthyr Tramroad: Morlais Castle section

Scheduled Date: 21 November 2006

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1103

Cadw Legacy ID: GM594

Schedule Class: Industrial

Category: Tramroad

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Merthyr Tydfil (Merthyr Tudful)

Community: Vaynor (Y Faenor)

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument comprises the remains of a well-preserved section of the Merthyr Tramroad, running from the quarries below and to the west of Morlais Castle. The section is an important surviving stretch of the nineteenth century Merthyr (or Penydarren) tramroad. The tramroad was built in 1793 and ran from the ironworks of Merthyr Tydfil to the Glamorganshire Canal at Abercynon, the Morlais section being built to supply the ironworks with lime. The tramroad ceased to be used in about 1880. The section is well preserved at its terminus at the quarry - including several sidings and visible stretches of concurrent sleeper blocks - and runs for about 600m to the south-south-east, where it is lost to more recent development. The tramroad appears to boast evidence of both dual guage lines on the tramroad itself (thus serving both Dowlais and Penydarren) and tie bar rails (wooden sleepers) contained within the sidings into the quarry.

The great Railway Era was the product of two distinct lines of development: the growth of tramways and the appearance of the locomotive steam engine. These were first brought together, albeit in a tentative manner, by Richard Trevithick. On the 21st of February 1804, Richard Trevithick's high-pressure steam engine travelled the Merthyr Tramroad, pulling five wagons that contained ten tons of iron (the haulage of which was intended to discharge a substantial wager) and seventy passengers (the great majority of whom being last-minute opportunistic day-trippers). This was the world's first journey by a passenger-carrying railway locomotive.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance and illustrate our knowledge and understanding of the development of the transport network associated with the iron industry. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the survival of detailed historical documentation - and well-preserved structural features such as stone sleepers and sidings.

The area scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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