First Passenger Railway

The Swansea and Mumbles Railway was the first, and longest surviving passenger rail route up until 1960. It originated as a goods line, and passengers never came into the picture in 1804. However, in 1807 the train began a service to carry passengers between Swansea and Oystermouth.

The Swansea and Mumbles Railway collection makes it possible to explore the oldest passenger railway in the world, before the iconic Orient Express, Blue Train and Trans-Siberian express.

With the railroad being the world’s first passenger railway, this is arguably the most unique element to the railway itself. It is possible to track the birth and growth of the passenger element to the railway through the use of cash books and financial ledgers housed in the collection.

We can explore the price of tickets and the numbers travelling. For example, it is possible to see that 1800 was the peak amount of passengers on a single journey, of whom first class passengers paid 3d (per mile), second class passengers paid 2d (per mile) and third class passengers paid 1.5d (per mile)

With passengers, came usable railway stations. Using the collection we can track the rise of the commercial railway station, that again originated along the line, in Swansea. 12 stations were housed along the line, stretching from the Swansea Harbour to the Mumbles Pier.