Victorian Powys for primary  schools
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  An extension to the tramroad  

An extension to the Great Forest tramway was built down to the River Tawe at Ynysgedwyn so that coal and lime could be brought directly to the iron works.
This meant bringing the line down a slope which was far too steep for horses to work. Instead,the experienced engineer William Brunton was brought in to construct a special system with a workforce of 500 men.


A great steam engine was installed at the top of the ridge in a special building, and it hauled trams up the slope by cable. There were two tracks side by side on the incline and the weight of a loaded train going down the slope would be used to counterbalance a lighter train coming up the slope.

As well as timber and other loads hauled up the incline in this way were the carriages of local gentry which were occasionally taken up the mountain, where they could hitch a team of horses and continue at the higher level.
At the bottom of the incline a bridge took the tramroad over the river by Ynysgedwyn National School. This was often known as "Claypon's Bridge" locally, after the owner of the tramroad.


The Great Forest tramroad was never a massive success, but it did play an important role in the development of the iron and coal industries in the Upper Swansea valley.
As the iron industry locally went into decline so did the tramroad. By the 1860s the great new steam railway technology took over and horse drawn railways were finished except underground in the coal mines.

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