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Talgarth and district
The Hay Tramroad
  Horses under the hill  

The early horse-drawn Hay Tramroad needed as smooth a route as possible through the hilly country of mid-Wales. This involved the building of bridges, raised embankments, cuttings into hillsides, and even a tunnel !

Drawing by
Rob Davies
The original tunnel on the tramroad route was at Talyllyn, between Brecon and Llangorse. It was 674 yards [616m] long, which was a long distance for horses to pull their load through, for it must have been very dark away from the tunnel entrances ! Leaving the tunnel
  The length of trackway which passed through the tunnel used metal tie-bars between the parallel sets of plates. It was obviously vital that the trams were kept exactly in line through the dark tunnel.  
This portion from a map of 1887 shows the Brecon side of the Talyllyn tunnel when it was used by the Brecon and Merthyr Railway.
Part of 1887 OS map

The tramroad tunnel was later enlarged to take steam trains for the new railway which opened in 1864. The route of part of the old tramway can be seen on the map at bottom left.
Further along the line towards Hay the old tramroad crossed the River Enig over a stone bridge at Talgarth.
The old horse-drawn tramway from Brecon to Herefordshire carried a huge quantity of essential goods needed by the small towns and villages of mid-Wales for over 40 years. It lasted until the new steam railway took over, and even this service owed much to the construction work done for the original tramroad over 50 years earlier.

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