Usk station, Monmouthshire
A disused railway station in Wales
Monmouth's first railway was built by the Coleford Monmouth Usk and Pontypool Railway in 1856, with the principle aim of carrying iron ore from the Forest of Dean to furnaces near Nantyglo (at the head of the valleys, near Ebbw Vale).
Diverging at Little Mill Junction, two miles north west of Pontypool Road, the line had stations at Little Mill, Glascoed Halt, Usk, Cefntilla Halt, Llandenny, Raglan Road Crossing Halt, Raglan, Elm Bridge Halt, Dingestowe and Monmouth Troy.
Apart from Monmouth Troy station, only Usk had two platforms, with its platforms standing immediately west of Usk tunnel. The tunnel was carved through sandstone, which yielded several fossils that can now be seen in the National Museum at Cardiff.
The station site was cramped that the goods yard stood a quarter of a mile away on the other side of the river Usk.
Passenger traffic was always light, although some attempts were made to revive ailing fortunes with the addition of an evening train from Monmouth and the opening of a halt at Elm Bridge in the 1930s.
Curiously enough, there was one last halt built less than a year before closure. Cefntilla was less than 16ft in length, with no ramps, no platform and offered only a single nameboard, a safety rail and a solitary lamp.
Needless to say, this half-arsed attempt to stave off the imminent decline of the line failed miserably and the line was closed after the passing of the last passenger train on 30th May, 1955.
Usk station, near the end. In this photo, you can see a westbound autocar preparing to depart for Little Mill.
Exactly one hundred years after opening (and two years after its official closure), an enthusiasts' special by the Stephenson Locomotive Society ran along the line to celebrate its centenary. This was the last passenger train into Usk.
(Pic: C J Gammell October 12th,1957)
Usk station, summer of 1960. Despite being closed for three years, the station remains almost entirely intact. Note the vintage station sign still in situ - whoever finally grabbed it must have made a mint as such signs can now command handsome fees in auction!
(Pic: C J Gammell July 3rd, 1960)
In this mid winter shot, wisps of ghostly smoke float out of the tunnel entrance.
Standing on the old platform, you could still smell the smoke of steam engines!
(Pic: winter, 1982)
Close up of the tunnel entrance taken from the overgrown eastbound platform. By 1982, none of the station buildings remained and the platforms were completely overgrown.
(Pic: winter, 1982)
Usk station factfile:
2nd June 1856: Coleford Monmouth Usk and Pontypool Railway Opened from Little Mill Junction, Pontypool, to Usk.
12th Oct 1857: Line extended from Usk to Monmouth (Troy).
1861: Line leased by the West Midland Railway.
1873: Branch to Coleford opened.
1st Jan 1917: Coleford branch closed.
July 1829: Remaining sections of Coleford branch removed.
30th May 1955: Coleford Monmouth Usk and Pontypool Railway Newport to Monmouth closed to passengers.
24th April 1961: Workers trains cease to serve Glascoed Royal Ordnance Factory.