THE SAUNDERSFOOT RAILWAY
GR Given is top of Bonville's Court Incline at Winding House.
The 4 foot gauge Saundersfoot Railway was built in 1829 to carry primarily coal in the developing Daucleddau coalfield where Saundersfoot was rapidly developing as an industrial centre, by 1846 7 collieries were using the line. It was the first railway in Pembrokeshire and remained independent until the end. It consisted of two main mineral lines and a number of small branches and was originally worked tramway style by pairs of horses pulling 3 loaded drams. One main line connected Stepaside/Kilgetty Collieries & Ironworks (a mile east of Kilgetty railway station) to Saundersfoot Harbour, running along the coast through a series of short tunnels. In Saundersfoot itself the Street now known as The Strand was originally Railway Street where it passed thru the town. The other line ran from Saundersfoot Harbour to Reynalton. It went up an incline of 1 in 5 approx a ½ mile from the harbour, passed beneath the GWR station in a narrow long tunnel and contined in a north westerly direction to Broom and Thomas Chapel Collieries. The line then swung west to Reynalton Colliery. The lines success was based on the continuing success of the collieries in the area and as such by 1874 it became necessary to relay the whole line with flat bottom rails on wooden sleepers enabling the use of locomotives. By the late 1920’s the industry was in recession and the line at a standstill but in 1932 a brief renaissance in the local mines lead to the line becoming active again, but once again economic and geological conditions prevailed and by 1939 the mines were silent for good.
The 2 Locomotives were used on the line these being a low profile (for the tunnel) Kerr Stuart 0-4-0ST named Bulldog (Wks No 2040 of 1915) and a classic Manning Wardle O-4-0ST named Rosalind (Wks No 476 of 1874)
When the line finally closed in 1939 the rolling stock (71 drams and the Manning Wardle) along with the lines were scrapped just after the outbreak of WW2. Bulldog however survived and lasted until 1951 at Llanelly steel works.
A long section of the route follows the coast from Saundersfoot to Wisemans Bridge and is very attractive as it weaves thru 3 small tunnels in the cliffs at one point. Substantial sections of the route can be walked today as part of the Miners Path trail.
Significant remains can be found at the following GR’s:
Bonvilles Court Incline Winding House SN 126053
Tunnel under Saundersfoot Railway Station SN 124060
Saundersfoot Harbour at SN 136047
Coastal Section Hean Castle to the Tunnels at SN 142056 to SN 140054
Main Colliery and industrial sites served by Railway apart from Harbour were at the following GR’s (assume levelled unless otherwise stated)
Grove Colliery (Eng House Preserved) SN 138071
Kilgetty Iron Works (Preserved Building) SN 140073
Kilgetty Colliery SN 138078
Lower Level Colliery SN 133075
Bonville’s Court Colliery SN 124052
Woolson Colliery– inc Hean Castle Brick Works and Woodside Fdy SN144059
Broom Colliery SN 109081 (approx)
Thomas Chapel Colliery SN 104087 (approx)
Reynalton Colliery SN 090086 (approx)