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The Birth of Barry – When Coal was King

The Barry Dock & Railway Company, as it was first known, was renamed the Barry Railway Company in 1891. Lord Windsor, who was created Earl of Plymouth in 1905, and owned much of the land at Barry, was chairman and David Davies, deputy chairman, effectively the chief executive.

Railway travel prices
© Barryaxis.org.uk
The railway was completed in 1888. The main line from Trehafod to Barry was 18½ miles long with a few small branches and running powers over other lines. By 1922, when it was merged with the Great Western, it had 68 route miles and extensive running powers. As well as coal, the company also ran suburban passenger services, including holiday traffic to Barry Island, the resort which was its creation, and, for a short time, Bristol Channel steamers.

The first sod at Barry Dock was cut by Lord Windsor in November 1884. Water was let into the then 73 acre dock in June 1889, with the ceremonial opening and celebrations, attended by 2000 guests, taking place a month later. The ceremony was conducted by David Davies, since Lady Windsor, who should have opened the dock, was unable to attend.

Words: Richard Watson

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Look back into the past using the Legacies' archives. Find nearly 200 tales from around the country in our collection.

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Internet Links
Axis Historical Society
– Local History For Barry, South Wales, UK
Welsh Coal Mines
– Photos, stories, and poems about Welsh Collieries
Barry, South Wales
– More about Barry
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