Let the Good Times Roll…

The peak years of the Swansea and Mumbles Railway were from its extension in 1898 until the early 1950s. During this period the railway went through a period of enormous growth and even as late as 1953 it was said to have carried more than 3 million passengers.
As you can imagine the most popular days were bank-holidays.

LAC/85/A15 ©FirstGroup plc Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

LAC/85/A15
©FirstGroup plc
Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

On the left is a list of passenger numbers during selected holidays 1892-1900 . The list shows that entertainment and social gatherings provided by the Swansea and Mumbles Railway quickly became a popular past-time. Indeed, according to these statistics there appears to be an increase of passenger numbers immediately after the building of Mumbles Pier in 1898.
Please click on the image to see more detail.

LAC/85/A15 ©FirstGroup plc Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

LAC/85/A15
©FirstGroup plc
Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

The Swansea & Mumbles Railway may not have been an inter-city line but it was used for both pleasure and every-day purpose. The railway ran all year round but would peak during the summer months. Part of the railway’s charm was its every day use for the general public. A time-table supplied by South Wales Transport shows the amount of trains during a typical week circa 1935. 61 trains made the five mile journey to Mumbles per weekday, whilst 64 would be used on Saturdays. At the peak times a train would leave ‘Rutland Street’ station every 12-15 minutes!

It is interesting to note that the Swansea & Mumbles Railway did attract important figures of society. Indeed the Swansea & Mumbles Railway was visited on two occasions by royalty; once by Edward VII to celebrate the lines centenary and again in 1920 when George V came to open Swansea’s Queen Dock. It was an usual railway purely because it had its benefactors from upper-class status yet the railway itself was used by all members of society. Of course, the benefactors of the railway has received their own benefits as the two ‘free passes’ below suggest. Please feel free to click on the images to see in greater detail.

LAC/85/F24/001 ©FirstGroup plc Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

LAC/85/F24/001
©FirstGroup plc
Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

LAC/85/F24/012 ©FirstGroup plc Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

LAC/85/F24/012
©FirstGroup plc
Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University