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Powys Digital History Project
Talgarth and district
The Hay Tramroad
  Horses between the rails  

The tramroad from the canal wharf at Brecon passed through Talgarth on its route to Hay.
The line was built as a single track system with passing places at intervals. These were sections of double track just long enough for two horses and several wagons to move to one side to make room for the "horse train" coming the other way.

Although similar tramroads were built in other places to provide links with the new canals, the Hay tramroad became the longest of the time after it was extended into Herefordshire.
Part of 1877
1st Edition
Survey map
Portion of 1st Edition OS map  
The 1877 map section above shows the Mid-Wales Railway line just to the north of Trefecca. Much of the line built for the steam railway which opened in 1864 used the route of the old tramroad.
Places where the old and new lines moved apart were marked on this map, as seen here. The "
Old Tramway" heading north towards Talgarth from Brecon is clearly shown above.

The "trams" used on the line mostly carried lime and limestone (used for fertilizers)Trams in use, coal, timber, iron, building stone, bricks, and slates. The operators of the line had different charges for carrying various goods, and the loaded trams were weighed before being moved away.
There were stables along the route where horses could be changed for fresh ones, and where an extra horse could be added to help pull heavy loads up the steeper lengths of track.
Find out more about this early railway on the next page...

Taking horses underground...


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