BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE – PENARTH STATION AS IT WAS IN 1949

Penarth Railway Station as it was in 1949 - complete with moving trains - digitallt re-created by local photographer and pleasure boat operator Ben Salter

Penarth Railway Station as it was in 1949 – complete with moving trains – digitally re-created in HD video on YouTube by local photographer and pleasure boat operator Ben Salter

An extraordinary HD video of Penarth Railway Station as it was in 1949 has been digitally created and placed on the internet  by noted local photographer and pleasure-boat operator Ben Salter.

What we see isn’t the cut-down – single-platform, stark, 80s-era station of today,  but the Victorian Penarth Station – or “Penarth Town Station” as it was originally known – in all its glory with all its original platforms and bays and sidings.

Both the original main platforms are in evidence. On the right is Station Approach - now garages and workshops

Both the original main platforms are in evidence. On the right is Station Approach – now garages and workshops

The 3D graphics are all based on the original 1904 Ordnance Survey map  – showing just how much territory in the town the railway system then occupied.

Until 1968 Penarth Station had two platforms, one on each side of the tracks for down and up traffic and still retained its original Victorian stone-built ticket offices and waiting rooms. British Railways demolished them in 1984.

The existing railway bridge - carrying Stanwell Road over the railway - is still in place - but gone is the passenger bridge which linked the two platforms

The existing railway bridge – carrying Stanwell Road over the railway – is still in place – but gone is the passenger bridge which once linked the two platforms

Also to be seen is the now missing –  but much lamented –  passenger-bridge over the railway which once linked the two major platforms.

The graphics aren’t accurate to the last brick and shopfront – but they’re very close – and give a great idea of what railway  travel was like in Penarth in the first half of the 20th century – and what we’ve lost in the process of “modernisation“.

We take a ride along what is now the Railway Path - but was then a busy two-track railway.

We take a ride along what is now the Railway Path – but was then a busy two-track railway. The original railway bridges are still in situ

Distinguished local photographer and pleasure boat operator Ben Salter

Distinguished local photographer and pleasure boat operator Ben Salter

Viewers are taken on a journey from Penarth Station – along what what is now the Railway Path –  along Sully Terrace and as far as Alberta Halt – and are left to muse what might have happened if nationalisation and Dr Beeching’s cuts  had never happened, –  and all that railway infrastructure had been left in place.

This digital re-creation is set in 1949 – just after British Rail absorbed GWR – which accounts for the large amount of GWR liveried rolling stock to be seen .

Just for fun, Ben Salter (skipper of the pleasure-boat “Daffodil”) has also created a scenario in which all the lines west from Cardiff have been closed so that “all rail traffic is passing through the Penarth, Lavenock, Sully coastal line to Barry and beyond”.  

That means that Penarth station is seen as a hectically-busy place – and in keeping with the smoke and steam era – there isn’t an Arriva diesel train  to be seen anywhere.

Alberta Halt as it might have been in 1949.

Alberta Halt as it might have been in 1949.

In February last year, top transport expert Mark Barry, Metro Advisor to the Welsh Government, told Penarth Town Council  that Penarth’s Railway Path could revert to being a railway again – using units similar to those on Manchester’s light rail system – and could link Penarth with Sully and ultimately with Barry . Mr Barry’s proposals also included re-opening a station in Penarth Dock.

Mr Barry told the council that when it came to organising a transport infrastructure “the Victorians were ahead of us in that respect”. Ben Salter’s video gives us graphic evidence of just how advanced those Victorians were.

The realistic video can be seen on YouTube using the link above.

Below is a map showing just how extensive the railway system in the centre of Penarth system was in the 1920s :-

Penarth Town Centre's rail system in 1920. Much of the town was built around the railway

Penarth Town Centre’s rail system in 1920. Much of the town was built around the railway. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time.
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31 Responses to BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE – PENARTH STATION AS IT WAS IN 1949

  1. Pamela & Alan Armstrong says:

    Thank you so very much for putting this together it’s amazing to watch, our history. How wonderful it would be today if the station still had all these lines and halts still working. Thanks again.

    • pompousfruit says:

      It would be but on the other hand there wouldn’t be the cycle path to Lavernock. The rest of the railway should never had been built upon and the railway bridge over Lavernock Road should not have been demolished so the cycle path be extended through Sully.

  2. Christopher David says:

    Fantastic. Yes thanks.

  3. Ben Salter says:

    This was a surprise! Sorry about the continual squealing sounds, I hope to get that sorted in a future version. Enjoy🙂

  4. Jeremy says:

    How grotty everything is nowadays yet people seem to think they’re amazing.

  5. Mark says:

    Brilliant! Thank you very much to Ben Salter.

  6. Casl says:

    Such an interesting article. Thank you

  7. Vincent Pugliese says:

    Nice one Ben, you should add a voice over in your best Ringo Starr accent.🙂

  8. Outstanding work Ben. This is the best rendition of Penarth Station since I saw Peter Brabham’s photographs from 1960 on Flickr.

  9. Andrew sarchus says:

    Brilliant work. I remember it quite well. Thank you Ben and PDN.

  10. Martin gossage says:

    Excellent .Looking at the map does anyone know when and why Coastguard lane became Tower Hill ???

  11. Janet says:

    It was such a pleasure to watch the video, which brought back memories of travelling from Penarth Station to Cardiff and back again for school and work “back in the day”. The station was always clean and bright with lovely flowerbeds. Thank you very much for creating this video Mr. Salter, and thanks also to PDN for bringing us the article and link.

  12. Peter Church says:

    Bloody seagulls were there in 1949 also!

  13. Johnabutt says:

    This brilliant piece was also posted on the FB page about Bygone Penarth, where there is much recent history to be found about Penarth.

  14. snoggerdog says:

    well done ben aka captain gorgeous,my mates & i used to go down by train to lavernock halt on a sunday to go swimming at st marys well bay i remember one sunday standing on the cliffs listening to what soundedlike a thousand transisters all playing the top ten the dj was fluff(alan freeman) not arf! wonderful memories.

    • Janet says:

      I did that with my friends too snoggerdog:) Great times, great music and wonderful memories! (Alan Freeman – remember the Alamo! Haha! )

  15. Rob Scott says:

    There is an “Internet Cafe” in station approach!!
    What a forward looking place Penarth was.

  16. Paul A says:

    Truly Awesome work by Mr Salter. One can only imagine the amount of time he spent creating his 3D model and CG animations. But obviously it is a labor of love for his beloved home town, as indeed is all his work.

  17. penarthblog says:

    It just goes to show how much has been lost and there’s no way of getting it back.

  18. AK says:

    Amazing.

    I have a late 1940s map of South Wales which shows the railway still in place. No M4, no airports (St Athan would still have been top secret) and may of the Cardiff / Penarth / Barry suburbs shown as distinct villages.

    With the increasing road traffic and endless congestion it is sad that these railways are gone forever.

  19. snoggerdog says:

    ive said once before it would be brilliant to see capn bens portfolio in the turner house,this video could be on a loop,lovely for the local youngsters to see. (youngsters_ie anybody younger than me.

  20. Andrew sarchus says:

    I agree Mr Church but still a good idea Snogger. Turner House needs sorting quickly .

  21. Barrie Howell says:

    Well done Ben, has brought back memories of travelling to & from Clark’s College in Cardiff during the 50s, along with dozens of others. A great video sim

  22. hope to see from penarth to barry island in the future great video🙂

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