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Photographs by Chris Jennings (Part 1). Chris Jennings' excellent photographs have featured in these pages before, and here we present a selection of his work on the lost railways of south Wales. His one misfortune was that his visit, in late April 2008, did not exactly coincide with the best of Welsh weather …

Above: Abersychan was once served by two stations, Abersychan Low Level on the GWR line from Pontypool to Blaenavon via Pontnewynydd, and Abersychan & Talywain on the higher joint GWR/LNWR line which linked the same two communities via a more roundabout route to the west. The latter railway is now part of NCN492, and this is the former goods shed at Abersychan & Talywain, which received its Grade II listing in 1997. The building will be found at grid reference SO 260394 with the station site close by. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)

 
Above: This is Garndiffaith Viaduct, also known as Talywain Viaduct, which is a little further north along the line at SO 263043 and on the LNWR part of the route. It has nine arches of 50 ft each which carry the line over a tributary of the Afon Lwyd. The village of Garndiffaith also had a small halt on the branch. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)
 
Above: The site of Blaenavon High Level station at SO 252083 before the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway extended there from the north in May 2010 and tidied up the scene. The remains of the platforms can just been seen on either side of the track, with the end-of-platform slope just visible in the right foreground. NCN492 now runs past the site and parallels the restored railway up to and then beyond The Whistle Inn, south of Brynmawr, which is famous for its collection of miners' lamps. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)
 
Above: At Blaenavon, the railway-based NCN492 connects with the LNWR's former Heads of the Valleys line east to Abergavenny, which is now in use as NCN46; this is one of the most heavily engineered former railways anywhere in the country. This is the view south along the trackbed to the privately owned Clydach station, whose stone-faced building can be seen right of centre. Just in front of the station, the cycle trail bears right and bypasses the nearby tunnels by using the course of the earlier tramway. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)
 
Above: A near aerial view of Clydach Viaduct and station from the nearby quarries. The bifurcation of the railway and tramway can be seen clearly, with the tramway bearing right between the two buildings, and the old LNWR trackbed showing up as the grassed area to the left of the white van in front of the station building. The location is SO 232127. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)
 

Left: The well preserved station at Gilwern (SO 243140), the next east from Clydach, offers plenty the photographer plenty of opportunities thanks to its good state of preservation, but possibly none more redolent of a lost railway than this view down the station steps. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)

 
Above: Gilwern also boasts that most rare of railway survivors, an in situ station sign. We like the enigmatic quality of the instruction 'Passengers must' – as if there could be any passengers nearly 50 years since the last passenger train ran – but the full board probably read 'Passengers must not pass this point' or 'Passengers must not cross the line except by means of the footbridge'. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)
 
Above: While in the area, our intrepid explorer went out to the site of Crumlin Viaduct, also on the Heads of the Valleys Line, and found the Bridgend Inn, whose name commemorates its existence – and loss. (It is sad to relate that this pub, like so many throughout the UK, is now shut.) The viaduct spanned the valley of the Afon Ebwy, springing off the east side of the valley at ST 215985. Click on the picture for a full size view, and note the illustration on the pub sign. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)
 
Above: This extraordinary gate, which includes a model of the viaduct, was situated at the entrance to the pub's car park; after the pub closed, it was last noted at the foot of the former beer garden. The Crumlin Viaduct Works Co Ltd produced the ironwork for the viaduct, which at 200 ft was the highest in the UK throughout its working life (1857-1964). The model is one pier short, presumably because the gap occupied by the gate is not to scale. In the original, there was a catwalk beneath the running line, which can be viewed here; Sophia Loren appears in an accompanying photograph because she was filmed on this walkway for scenes in the film 'Arabesque'. 21st April 2008. (Chris Jennings)