Penarth railway station is the railway station serving the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. It is the terminus of Network Rail's Penarth branch running from Cogan Junction to Penarth station, 1mile 12chains from the junction and 2 miles 67 chains (4.6 km) south of Cardiff Central station. NB: Contrary to certain railway orientated sources, the official Network Rail Vale of Glamorgan Line does not run from Cardiff Central to Barry or Penarth. It starts at Barry Junction and runs to Bridgend via Llantwit Major, the line from Cardiff West Junction to Barry Island being the Barry branch. The officially named 'Penarth branch' ran from Cogan Junction to Biglis Junction, a rail mileage of 5miles 65chains and was officially closed beyond Penarth on Saturday May 8, 1968 (Last passenger train)
Penarth Station (or Penarth Town as it was originally known) was built for the Cardiff, Penarth and Barry Junction Railway, and opened in 1887 as part of that company's new line to Lavernock. This was a continuation of the Taff Vale Railway's Penarth Extension Railway, which had been completed in February 1878 and gave the town its first rail link to Cardiff.
The Taff Vale took over the CP&BJR in 1889 and had the line completed from Lavernock to Biglis Junction east of Cadoxton) on the Barry Railway in 1890. The extension attracted holiday and weekend traffic from Penarth to the beach at Lavernock or Barry Island Pleasure Park for the day, with steam trains running every 30 minutes from 7.15 am until 11.45 pm in both directions. There was also a sizeable amount of commuter traffic from the station eastwards into Cardiff. As first constructed the station had two side platforms & tracks (plus a non-platform line for goods traffic), a signal box and a goods yard at the Lavernock end of the station.
After The Reshaping of British Railways report, British Rail withdrew the passenger service west of Penarth on 6 May 1968. General goods traffic over the route had previously ended on & from 7 October 1963 (the date the goods yard here also closed), leaving only the cement trains from the factory at Cosmeston and so the line beyond there closed to all traffic. The remaining section to Penarth followed suit in November 1969 when the Snowcem works closed, leaving the station as a dead-end terminus. The line has been single track between Cogan Junction and Penarth since February 1967.
Parts of the disused trackbed through Lower Penarth and towards Sully have been blocked and built on. Other parts have been turned into a rural railway walk and cycle path from north of Alberta Place (south of Penarth station) to Brockhill Rise road overbridge, approximately ½ mile north-east of the former Lavernock station.
Until 1968 Penarth station had two platforms, one on each side of the tracks for down and up traffic, with a gated foot crossing. After the branch was singled and the line on towards Sully and Biglis Junction closed, the platform buildings on the Plymouth Road side were sold and used as a garden centre until they were demolished in the 1980s and a new Government Jobcentre plus and private offices were built in their place. The loss of the down platform and its station building also effectively closed the station's main car parking area in the specially widened eastern end of Plymouth Road.
Closure of the coastal rail line removed the direct link between Penarth and Barry, Barry Island, Rhoose or Llantwit Major. Completion of the journey from Penarth by rail today entails first travelling north as far as Grangetown, before catching a connecting train in the reverse direction to Barry or any of the stations mentioned above, thus doubling the journey time and distance travelled.
BR had most of the original 19th-century station buildings demolished and replaced with modern ones in a major remodelling in 1984. Since 1971 the station's original ticket office building, built in 1887, has been let as a fast food outlet.
The original Railway Hotel no longer provides accommodation but is still a public house.
The station has a small "drop off and pick up only" car park in Station Approach. The current ticket office in the station building is open early morning to mid-afternoon from Monday to Saturday.
All services on this line are currently operated by Arriva Trains Wales as part of the Valley Lines system of the National Rail network.
The usual service pattern is four trains per hour to Bargoed from Mondays to Saturdays during the day, of which one continues to Rhymney. In the evenings, services terminate at either Ystrad Mynach or Caerphilly and the frequency pattern decreases to two trains per hour. There are several evening services to Treherbert, one combined with a Rhymney departure and a second with one to Caerphilly (both split at Cardiff Central).
On Sundays there is only one train every two hours, totalling six trains all day, there is no late evening service, and trains run only as far as Cardiff Central. There are plans to increase this service to an hourly service.
Services are operated with Class 142, Class 143 Pacer units — usually run in pairs to provide a four-car train, and Class 150 Sprinter units — usually run singly as a two-car train.
Since 1968 Penarth has had no direct rail link to Barry Island, although travel between the two towns remains popular. Rail passengers for Barry must travel in the opposite direction and change at Grangetown, before heading back to Barry. Alternatively, passengers may walk about 20 minutes from Penarth to Cogan railway station.
Plans have been outlined to move the platforms at Cogan to the other side of the Penarth spur junction so that passengers for Barry could change at Cogan instead of having to travel to Grangetown.