Ebbw Vale

Ebbw Vale Town stationIt takes an hour from Cardiff Central to get to Ebbw Vale Town by train. The line heads towards Newport and then swings off north just before Newport and heads up the valley through Rogerstone and Risca.

Up until 2015 the line used to stop at what is now Ebbw Vale Parkway but the new station of Ebbw Vale Town was constructed at a cost of £11.5 million. You don’t get a lot for your money judging by looking at the station buildings but I guess it is all to do with laying the like and signalling etc.

My train at Ebbw Vale Town station
My train at Ebbw Vale Town station still in Arriva livery.

The Ebbw Vale Works Museum is based in the General Offices, the former HQ for the Steelworks, and what a grand building it is. The museum, staffed by former employees it seemed, full of enthusiasm to tell me all about the former steel works. Entrance is free but donations always welcome. It is well worth a visit.  The building, with its fine clock tower, also houses various other offices and a small café.

Ebbw Vale Works Museum
Ebbw Vale Works Museum

Anyone with ancestors in Gwent will find the modern Gwent Archives building a very useful resource, and easy to get too as it is next to the station.

There is a small funicular present that takes you up from the level of the station and college up to the level of the town. When I was there it was pretty busy with students from the college using it.  Unfortunately is does seem to get vandalized on a regular basis and is frequently out of operation.  It cost £2.3m in 2015 and has broken down 250 times since then. For some reason the press wants to call it a cable car.

Ebbw Vale Funicular

Once I was up in the town of Ebbw Vale I had a wander up and down the main street.  There were a few modern sculptures that interested me as did the  old Ebbw Vale Literary and Scientific Institute, now preserved and used for arts and entertainment purposes it seems. It was built 1853-55 by the Ebbw Vale Iron Company.

A town still somewhat struggling to recover following the closure of the steel works there 40 years ago.  The ‘Circuit of Wales‘ race track on top of a mountain never came into being which I can’t help think was a good thing, or may be I’m just saying that because it is not a sport that attracts me.  Cyber security company Thales have recently announced jobs going being created in Ebbw Vale which sounds good.  Lots of European money have invested but the population still has a significant pro-Brexit majority.

Ebbw Vale dragon
In 2014 a derelict piece of land was transformed into an attractive public open space featuring a four metre high dragon. I must admit I liked the dragon. There is a geocache nearby too in case you are wondering.

Date of visit: 6 February 2019

See progress to date: A-Z of Railway Stations

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