Swansea and Mumbles Railway / Oystermouth Railway



Owner The Oystermouth Railway or Tram Road Company
Opened April 1806 (goods traffic)
First passenger service 25th March 1807 (horse)
Operator Benjamin French (subsequently joined by Messrs Rose and Llewellyn)
Company ownership circa 1820 (controlling interest acquired by Sir John Morris)
Passenger service ceased circa 1830
Company ownership circa 1840 (George Byng Morris obtained full possession)
Passenger service reintroduced 1860 (horse)
Operator George Byng Morris
Taken over (operation) 1st July 1877 (Swansea Improvements and Tramways Company) - horse services (and steam for a short period), by means of a direct lease, even though they acutally possessed legally binding operating rights
Taken over (ownership) 31st October 1877 (owning company sold to a local consortium, which was formally incorporated on 31st March 1879 as the Swansea and Mumbles Railway Co Ltd)
Steam services introduced 1878 (owning consortium) - note that the SITCoLtd continued to operate its own horse-drawn services by virtue of its operating rights
Taken over (owning company) 1884 (Sir John Jones Jenkins and Robert Capper) - intially via a leasing agreement, but with the former subsequently securing a major stake in the S&MRCoLtd.
Taken over (operation) 1st July 1877 (Swansea Improvements and Tramways Company) - leased by Jenkins and Capper, with the SITCoLtd taking over all steam services and withdrawing its horse services.
Took over (steam services) 1st January 1877 (S&MRCoLtd)
Horse services reintroduced 1st January 1877 (SITCoLtd)
Taken over (ownership) 26th July 1893 (Swansea and Mumbles Railways Ltd) - a newly constituted company
Took over (steam services) 1st April 1896 (SITCoLtd)
Taken over (operating company) 1897 (controlling interest in the SITCoLtd acquired by British Electric Traction)
Transferred 1st January 1927 (operating lease transferred to the South Wales Transport Company Ltd, another subsidiary of British Electric Traction)
First electric route 2nd March 1929
Closed 5th January 1960
Length 4.14 miles
Gauge 4ft 8½ins

Button description (Pattern 1) Block initials 'S&MRY' on two lines
Materials known Gilt
Button Line reference [None]

Button description (Pattern 2) Title (‘Swansea Improvements and Tramways’) in circlet surrounding arms (shield with castle beneath a small shield, surmounted by a sailing ship upon a wall) with lion and dragon supporters with garlands, all above motto: 'Floreat Swansea' (Let Swansea flourish)
Materials known Brass; Japanned brass
Button Line reference [None]

Button description (Pattern 3) Wheel, magnet and electrical flashes
Materials known Brass; nickel; chrome; black horn
Button Line reference [113/16]

Comments The Swansea and Mumbles Railway opened to coal traffic in 1855, five years earlier than passenger traffic was introduced; it was in fact a partial relaying of the earlier, but by then defunct Oystermouth Railway (actually a tramroad). The operating history of the line was complex to say the least, with the SITCoLtd - who had operating rights over the line - constantly at odds with the owners, who at various points either ran their own steam trains or leased these services to a third party who in turn leased them to the SITCoLtd! This bizarre situation - two companies running services over a single track formation, one steam operated and the other horse-drawn - was finally resolved on 1st July 1899 when operation was leased to the SITCoLtd for 999 years.

It is assumed that railway employees wore the Pattern 1 'S&MRY' button, SITCoLtd employees the Pattern 2 button until electrification, thereafter the Pattern 3 button.