Swansea and Mumbles Railway / Oystermouth Railway



Owner The Oystermouth Railway or Tram Road Company
Opened April 1806 (goods traffic [horse])
First passenger service 25th March 1807 (horse)
Operator Benjamin French (subsequently joined by Messrs Rose and Llewellyn)
Taken over (ownership) circa 1820 (control of the the ORTRCo acquired by Sir John Morris, as mortgagee)
Passenger services ceased mid 1820s?
Taken over (ownership) circa 1840 (George Byng Morris took 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 from George Byng Morris
Steam services introduced 17th August 1877
Operator SI&TCo
Taken over (ownership)
31st October 1877 (a local consortium)
Company steam services introduced circa March 1878 (local consortium) - note that the SIT&Co continued to operate its own services by virtue of its lease
SI&TCo steam services withdrawn 17th August 1878 - following a High Court order
SI&TCo horse services withdrawn
October 1878 - following a legal ruling, which was eventually over-turned
Ownership change 31st March 1879 (local consortium formally incorporated as the Swansea and Mumbles Railway Co Ltd)
SI&TCo horse services reintroduced
1st May 1880 - following confirmation of its right to operate on the railway
Taken over (ownership)
1884 (Sir John Jones Jenkins and Robert Capper) - initially via a leasing agreement, but with the former subsequently securing a major stake in the S&MRCo.
Taken over (operation)
1st July 1885 (SI&TCo) - sub-leased by Jenkins and Capper, with the SI&TCo taking over all steam services and withdrawing its horse services.
Horse services withdrawn
1st July 1885 - in favour of SITCo-operated steam services
Took over (steam services)
1st January 1892 (S&MRCo)
SI&TCo horse services reintroduced 1st January 1892
Taken over (S&MRCo) 26th July 1893 (Swansea and Mumbles Railways Ltd) - a newly constituted company
SI&TCo horse services withdrawn 31st March 1896 - following a binding agreement between the S&MRCo and SI&TCoCo
Taken over (SI&TCo) early 1898 (controlling interest in the SI&TCo acquired by the British Electric Traction Company Ltd)
Taken over (operation) 1st July 1898 (Mumbles Railway and Pier Company)
Taken over (operation) 1st July 1899 (SI&TCo), on a 999-year lease, including the extension to Mumbles, which was as yet unopened
Opened 26th August 1900 - extension to Mumbles
Transferred
1st January 1927 (operating lease transferred to the South Wales Transport Company Ltd, a bus-operating subsidiary of BETCo)
First electric route 2nd March 1929
Taken over (ownership) September 1929 - S&MRCo and MR&PCo acquired by the SWTCo, as a precursor to closure
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 SI&TCo - 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 SI&TCo! 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 SI&TCo for 999 years.

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