A Brief History of the L&MMR
The Carmarthenshire Tramroad was established in 1802 by Act of Parliament. It began running trains in 1803, the initial line being a tramway, with motive power provided by a pair of horses. This distribution line allowed for coal extraction in the hinterland to be connected to the Sandy area and Llanelly Docks and in 1798 the Stradey Iron Works established by Alexander Raby had begun trading and later received his coal, ironstone and limestone for its furnaces via the Carmarthenshire line.
By 1844 the company ceased trading and it was to take over 30 years for the line to reopen. At a meeting in Llanelly Town Hall chaired by C.N.Neville Esq. M.P., it was resolved to reopen the line and to extend it to Cross Hands. In 1880 Mr Waddell the contractor stated that he was ''pushing ahead with vigour''.
The railway reopened in 1883 operated by the newly formed Llanelly and Mynydd Mawr Railway Co. That company disappeared in 1922 on being absorbed into the Great Western Railway which was in turn of course absorbed into British Railways in 1947. Throughout the twentieth century the line continued as a main artery for coal distribution from the Gwendraeth Valley, until the closure of Cynheidre Colliery in 1989.
In the early years the LMMR had a fleet of its own steam locos to work the line but following absorption to the GWR pannier tanks were in common use on the line until phasing out of steam in the 1960's. In 1965 0-6-0 PT 1607 of Llanelly shed 87F was purchased by the NCB and worked at Cynheidre Colliery until 1969 when it was condemned with a cracked frame, and was subsequently scrapped on site.
In the latter years Class 08 diesel shunting locos (up until the closure of the Cynheidre North section) and Class 37 diesel locos were the staple diet. Class 37's were the final class to traverse the line and can still be seen in daily use to this day on the UK network.
Cynheidre Colliery opened in 1954, closing in 1989 and was one of the west Wales ''Super Pits''
If you wish to read more about the history of the line then a book is available written by Price, M.R.C. The Llanelly & Mynydd Mawr Railway, Oakwood Press, 1992, ISBN 0 85361 423 7.