Located in what was once the bustling area of Tiger Bay in Cardiff docks, Cardiff Bay railway station (Bae Caerdydd) is the southern terminus of the short Butetown Branch Line, which runs one mile (1.5 km) from Cardiff Queen Street station.
The line was opened in 1840 by the Taff Vale Railway, with the station originally known as “Cardiff Docks,” before being renamed “Bute Road” by the Great Western Railway in 1924 and given its present name in 1994.
Despite being located close to the National Assembly for Wales and the Wales Millennium Centre, there’s now only one platform in use.
The station building lies behind the buffer stops and enjoys Grade II listed status – partly because it was the origin of the first steam-powered passenger train service in Wales.
Restored in the 1980s to serve as a railway themed extension to the National Museums and Galleries of Wales and the Butetown Historical Railway Society, the building is now boarded up and has been effectively abandoned for some time.
Despite its desolate appearance, Cardiff Bay enjoys a regular service, with a shuttle service between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay every 12 minutes on Monday to Saturdays (between 0630 and 2330) and every 12 minutes on Sundays (between 1100 and 1630).
Before the First World War, more than 10 million tonnes of coal was exported annually from Cardiff Docks, with Cardiff’s Coal Exchange being host to the first million pound business deal in 1907.
Although the docks saw a huge decline after the Second World War, Cardiff’s port traffic has started to grow again, with over 3 million tonnes of cargo passing through the docks in 2007.
September 1957 early morning view.
View from April 1963 showing the now-disused platform and extensive trackwork.
[Archive photos © Michael Hale, Steam In South Wales v3, published 1982]
The Grade II listed building remains boarded up.
Derelict second platform.
Station from Lloyd George Avenue.
» Cardiff Bay history
» Cardiff Bay photos, 2004
» Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay
» Cardiff Barrage
» Millennium Centre
» Cardiff Bay photos, 2009
» Cardiff Bay – more photos
» Wales photos
» More railway features