Visiting Swansea Railroad Station, Swansea, Wales: a fine terminus dating from 1934
Familiar, historic backdrop and a gateway to the Republic of Ireland
The fine building which houses this rail terminus in Swansea (Welsh: Abertawe) dates from 1934. Executed in stone, the building exhibits window pilasters which particularly serve to give the main frontage a Neo-Classical aspect.
As a terminus the original facility was commenced in 1850, and was constructed in wood. In the 1880s, office buildings in stone were added to the original complex.
This building has historically been known as Swansea's High Street Station, although since the 1960s it has been known officially as simply Swansea Station.
The different rail companies which have managed the Station since the 19th century are illustrative of the development of the rail network — and official thinking — in Great Britain. The original station in 1850 was built by South Wales Railway. 13 years later, this company merged with the historic Great Western Railway (the initials of which — GWR — even developed legendary status, with the company's links with such personalities as engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel). British Rail was the emerging national rail network after nationalization in 1948, while in the 1990s privatization eventually led to Arriva Trains Wales becoming the sponsoring rail company.
For the past several years, upwards of 2 million passengers per year have used Swansea Station.
In the days when rail was the principal means of travel, Swansea's High Street station was the scene of some important meetings when prominent personalities came to town. Historian Ralph A. Griffiths records that in 1923 the Station was the backdrop to the arrival of British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin meeting his host local landowner Admiral Walker-Heanage -Vivian, of Clyne Castle (1).
I have uploaded, below, a photo of Swansea Railroad station, dating from 50 years ago in the closing days of steam.
The familiar curved frontage of the main building of Swansea Station faces Ivey Place. Also close to the Station is historic Ebenezer Chapel, in Ebenezer Street.
Even for international travellers who may claim over the decades to have been 'through' rather than 'to' Swansea, this Station is likely to have been familiar: at various times travel with ferry services to the Republic of Ireland — whether Swansea-Cork or Fishguard-Rosslare — has included passage through this facility.
June 5, 2015
(1) Ralph A. Griffiths, Clyne Castle Swansea, Swansea: University College of Swansea, 1977, p. 54. Clyne Castle is now a student residence of Swansea University.
Also worth seeing
In Swansea itself, Swansea Castle,dates from the 12th century; visible remains date from the late 13th or early 14th century; Singleton Abbey belonging to Swansea University; Sketty Parish Church; the Guildhall and the Brangwyn Hall form a fine, Neo-Classical and Art Deco complex; Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles,is a ruined Norman structure dating from the 11h century, situated near the scenic Gower Peninsula.
Afan Forest Park, Visitor Centre and South Wales Miners Museum (distance: approx. 27 kilometres) contains many, scenic walks, with copious local information.
How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport , from where car rental is available. London Heathrow is 286 kilometres from Swansea. There are also rail (from London Paddington railroad station) and bus links to Swansea. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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