This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Back to Search page

Cynghordy Viaduct

Impressive railway viaduct with eighteen arches on the Central Wales Line.

Red Wheel Site:
Transport Mode(s):

Cynghordy Station, SA20 0LY

SA20 0LY
Visitor Centre:

About Cynghordy Viaduct

The Central Wales Line was a creation of the LNWR in its efforts to reach Swansea. The process proved complicated and involved a number of railway companies and several financial disasters. At the southern end it was the Llanelly Railway, one of the earliest in Britain (founded in 1829) which opened a line as far as Pontardulais in 1839. By 1857 the railway had reached Llandilo. A separate company, the Vale of Towy Railway, opened between Llandilo and Llandovery in the same year, and was leased to the Llanelly.

Meanwhile at the other end of the line, in 1858 the Knighton Railway was formed to build a line from Craven Arms, on the north/south Shrewsbury to Hereford line, as far as Knighton. A year later the Central Wales Railway was formed to take the railway on to Llandrindod, and in 1860 a further company, the Central Wales Extension Railway was formed to make the link with the Llanelly at Llandovery. Behind the scenes was the LNWR.

It took until 1868 to complete the line with a branch from Pontardulais to Swansea. In that same year the LNWR took over the Knighton, Central Wales, and Central Wales Extension Railways and took a half share in the Vale of Towy. Part of the reason for the time taken was the construction of the Sugar Loaf tunnel and the Cynghordy Viaduct just to the north of Llandovery on the Extension line. From that date the LNWR had access to Swansea.

The Cynghordy viaduct, with eighteen arches built in sandstone and lined with brick, is 259 m (850 ft) long on a gentle curve, rising to a height of 31 m (102 ft) above the valley. It is a fine sight. 


First two photos by Ben Salter - with our thanks.

By road: Off A483, best seen from a minor road north of the village of Cynghordy.




Barrie, D.S.M., A Regional History of the Railways of Britain: South Wales, ISBN 0 7153 7970 4 (1980)

Baughan, P. A, Regional History of the Railways of Britain. North and Mid-Wales, David & Charles (1980)

Biddle, Gordon, Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)

Biddle, Gordon & Nock, O.S., The Railway Heritage of Britain : 150 years of railway architecture and engineering, Studio Editions, ISBN-10: 1851705953 (1990)

Biddle, Gordon and Simmons, J. The Oxford Companion to British Railway History. ISBN 0 19 211697 5 (1997)

Conolly, W. Philip, British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas And Gazetteer, Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 0-7110-0320-3 (1958/97)

Doughty, A., The Central Wales Line, OPC Railprint, ISBN 0 86093 516 7 (1997)

Jones, G.B. and Dunstone, D., The Origins of the LMS in South Wales, Gomer, ISBN-1 85902 676 1(1999)

Jones, G.B. and Dunstone, D., The Vale of Neath Line, Gomer, ISBN-1 85902 446 7 (1999)

Reed, M., The London & North Western Railway, ISBN 906899 66 4 (1996)

Smith, D.J. Shrewsbury to Swansea, Town & Country Press, ASIN: B001QX7BES (1971)

Smith, Martin., British Railway Bridges and Viaducts, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 2273 9 (1996)

National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR