Transport - Trains
The Victorian buildings of Pembroke have suffered badly - many like this lovely old station have been demolished. A nondescript shelter now stands in its stead but we will remember the good old days when the Pembroke Railway was important.
First we have some stories remembering the railway (click on the symbol to listen); and below is a short account of the founding of the Pembroke and Tenby Railway.
1844 The South Wales Railway [SWR] was formed to expand the railway into a harbour in Pembrokeshire to promote the trade with Ireland. Initially Brunel planned to lay his main line to Fishguard with a southern branch to Pembroke from Whitland. But the plan changed when in 1846 it was decided to proceed with a main line through Haverfordwest to Neyland, where a harbour was to be built on the shores of Milford Haven, thus abandoning the southern route to Pembroke altogether.
While the North Pembroke railway went ahead culminating in the Neyland terminus, named New Milford by the South Western Railway and opened in April 1856, Pembroke remained unconnected. Communication was as before by stage coach to meet the train at Narberth Road (later named Clunderwen); or across the ferry from Hobbs Point to Neyland.
1859 The Pembroke and Tenby Railway Company was formed and an Act of Parliament on the 21st July 1859 authorised the construction of the Tenby to Pembroke Dock section. The same Act gave the Company powers to raise the necessary capital of GBP80000 as well as a further GBP26000. The scheme was delayed for two years until enough capital was raised and David Davies of llandinam and Ezra Roberts of St Asaph in Denbighshire were appointed as contractors agreeing to construct the Pembroke and Tenby line for the full GBP106000.
1862 Construction began on the first stage of the railway from Tenby to Pembroke; the stretch from Pembroke to Pembroke Dock involved much heavier construction work including building a tunnel.
1863 July 30th was set as the opening date of the new line, the day starting off with the usual celebrations which accompanied such events: a sumptuous breakfast was held at Tenby, and the first train to Pembroke departed at 7.30 am after a number of speeches had been made. During the day no less than 24 trains were run, all of these being hauled by the contractor's own locomotive as the first of the Company’s engines did not arrive until August 4th (five days later). Half an hour was allowed for the journey in either direction, with a further 10 minutes being allowed for the turnaround. The final train of the day left Pembroke at 9.10pm. On arrival at Tenby the coaches were left ready for the first train of the morning. After a lot of uncertainty, the Tenby and Pembroke railway was now a going concern, although the undertaking was far from complete.
This first section was some nine and a half miles long, with intermediate stations at Penally, Manorbier and Lamphey. All the stations were modest affairs with one platform each; the crossing loop and the down platform at Manorbier were not apparently added until much later. The original Tenby terminus only boasted one platform but was the headquarters of the Company, the locomotives being kept there, and the only turntable being situated there. Trains left Tenby at 7.30am., at 1pm and at 5.15pm. Departures from Pembroke were at 10am, at 3.15pm and at 7.30pm. A coach connection ran from Pembroke station to Hobbs Point where passengers could board the ferry for the short trip across the haven to New Milford (later named Neyland) station and the South Wales Railways company.
A further three years were to elapse before Tenby people could reach the outside world other than by this somewhat circuitous route. No Sunday trains were run despite the fact that there was a demand for these; the religious beliefs of the contractors operating the line dictated that they and their employees should have their day of rest.
FARES: Pembroke to Tenby
1st Class: 2 shillings
2nd Class: 1 shilling and sixpence
Fares to and from Manorbier were charged at half price.
During the first five months that this section was open no less than forty thousand passengers were carried. Meanwhile work was underway on the extension of the line to Pembroke Dock.
9 August 1864 Official opening of the Pemroke Dock line, carried out in a remarkably short time bearing in mind the engineering problems of a deep cutting and tunnel.