A Look at Cardiff’s Butetown Branch Line

CARDIFF, Wales — The Butetown branch line is a roughly one-mile-long rail line in the Welsh capital city of Cardiff.

While most visitors to the city arriving by train likely come and go via the historic Cardiff Central railway station, it is just one of the rail stations serving the city.

The Taff Vale Railway built the Butetown branch line in 1922 as a link to Cardiff’s Bute Docks. The Great Western Railway subsequently absorbed the line along with the Rhymney Railway.

Eventually, with the drop in coal traffic, the Bute Docks closed. Today’s line, which measures one mile and six chains long, only sees passenger trains.

The line had two stations: Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay.

The five-platform Cardiff Queen Street opened in 1840 as Cardiff Taff Vale. Railroads reworked, rebuilt and expanded the station over the years; the current station emerged as part of a 2014 redevelopment.

The Cardiff Bay station opened in 1840 and is a Grade II listed building. Originally named Cardiff Bute Dock, in 1845, the Taff Vale Railway renamed the station to Cardiff Docks.

The Great Western Railway renamed the station Cardiff Bute Road in 1994 and assumed its current name in 1994.

The only service at Cardiff Bay — and on the Butetown branch line — is a Transport for Wales shuttle between the station and Cardiff Queen Street. The shuttle ride takes roughly four minutes.

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