Retired Section Swansea Docks


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The photos on this page were sent to us by Robert Hopkins and belong to Adrian Nicholls. We thank Robert for taking the time in putting them together and sending them to us. We also thank Adrian Nicholls for his permission to show them on our site

37 308 in Swansea Docks East End Yard.
Photo Taken : 13.02.1987.

On a cold grey February morning 37 308 runs light up towards King's Dock Junction having just backed a loaded train of coal wagons into Swansea Docks East End Yard. After collecting the brake van it will fetch a rake of empty wagons out of Swansea Docks Violet Sidings or Swansea Tin Yard to return to the South Wales western valleys coalfiled for loading. This whole operation was abandoned a few short months after this photo was taken with coal for Ireland going over to containerisation.

Swansea East Dock branch.
Photo Taken : 25.09.89.

This view looking east from Port Tennant on the eastern suburbs of Swansea shows the Swansea East Dock branch. In the centre of the shot can be seen Crumlin Bog Level Crossing with the storage sidings for Port Tennant Wagon Works beyond. The works being served by a spur just visible in front of the tanks. In the distance is Burrows Junction near the humped road bridge while out of view behind me the line continues to Swansea East Dock where it served a domestic fuel depot. The skyline is filled by the steam from the cooling towers at Baglan Bay. The East Dock branch line was once parallel to a passenger route which is the track bed between the branch and main road but it closed to passenger traffic as far back as 1933. The passenger line used to terminate at Swansea Riverside station. The change of alignment in the branch opposite the wagon works turnout marks the spot where Port Tennant Junction signal box once stood. It is also the point the track changes title from the Swansea Eastern Loop line to the East Dock branch. The latters down line being lifted into the distance towards Burrows Junction but the up line being retained to serve the wagon works. This BR branch I believe closed to freight traffic beyond the wagon works in 1993.

Swansea King's Dock coal chute and wagon hoist (3).
Photo Taken : 13.02.1987.

A line of five 21tonne end and side door MDO coal wagons sit on the spur up to the coal drop on the quayside. This view of the coal chute and wagon hoist at the western end of Swansea King's Dock was the last working example in the dock area by 1987. It once shared this quayside with four other such towers. Within a few months of this photo being taken it was all out of use as the coal traffic to Ireland went over to containerised loading at the pits and was shipped to Ireland through Ellesmere Port on the River Mersey. The line beneath the tower was the southerly line from King's Dock Junction to Swansea Prince of Wales Dock avoiding Swansea Tin Yard.

Swansea King's Docks coal chute and wagon hoist (2).
Photo Taken : 13.02.1987.

Swansea King's Dock coal chute and wagon hoist (1).
Photo Taken : 13.02.1987

A close up view of the wagon hoist and chute on the last remaining at the
time coal drop in Swansea King's Dock. Note the unusual rail arrangement.
Wagons would arrive on the right hand track and after emptying would return
by gravity on the left hand track towards the yard.

In 1987 this was the last useable wagon tipper chute where coal was tipped into boats for export to Ireland. Later the same year the Ireland traffic was mostly containerised and moved to Ellesmere Port on the River Mersey

08 400 in Swansea Docks Tin Yard.
Photo Taken : 13.02.1987.

On a cold chilly February morning in 1987 08 400 sits idle in Swansea Docks Tin Yard. In the distance can be seen the large King's Dock Junction signal box operated by ABP (Associated British Ports). Swansea Docks Tin Yard had a very elaborate track layout to deal with unfitted coal wagons. The arriving loaded wagons were shunted by one of two resident class 08's up to the hoists and chutes on the King's Dock quayside (lines in the foreground). After the coal had been tipped into waiting boats the empties were gravity worked back to the yard and made up into empty trains for destinations in the Western Valleys
of the South Wales coalfield. Just a few months after this photo was taken the whole coal operation using unfitted 21 tonne end door wagons was over and the vast majority of the MDO wagons were cut up on site here.

08 400 stabled in Swansea Docks Tin Yard.
Photo Taken : 13.02.1987.

A second view of 08 400 stabled in Swansea Docks Tin Yard alongside some lengthy rakes of unfitted MDO 21 tonne end door coal wagons. The line on the extreme left is one of the abandoned inclines up to a coal chute. The one in the centre was then (1987) the last operational incline up to the westerly most hoist and chute.

08 769 shunting Swansea Docks.
Photo Taken : 14.08.1987

 British Rail shunter 08 769 is seen propelling covered steel wagons along No.1 Quay at Swansea King's Dock. The steel coils were being loaded onto a Greek registered vessel. Associated British Ports relied upon British Rail to carry out shunting duties in the docks and at the start of 1987 there was a requirement for four shunting locomotives in the docks area. With the loss of the coal export traffic to Ireland this dwindled to just the pilot booked to shunt Swansea Burrows Yard which would do the docks trip as required.

37 308 at King's Dock Junction.
Photo Taken : 13.02.1987

21tonne end door coal wagons past Associated British Ports owned King's Dock Junction signal box. This photo was taken in the final year before export coal traffic to Ireland was containerised and concentrated on new facilities at Ellesmere Port on the River Mersey. The train seen here would be returning empty to one of the many pits in the western Welsh Valleys. 37 308 was the last of the class built in 1965 and spent much of its life allocated to nearby Swansea Landore Depot. To avoid a clash of number sequence when the regeared CP7 bogie fitted class 37s appeared on the scene 37 308 was renumbered to 37 274 in 02/1989. This cleared the 37 3xx number range for the modified CP7 bogie fitted locos. It was therefore somewhat unusual in 2000 when it was renumbered back to 37 308 and for a while became part of the EWS Heritage traction fleet caption: 37 308 gradually eases its lengthy train of unfitted MDO.