Margam Depot - RIP

Margam Depot (servicing shed) was built on a landfill site and opened during March 1964. Its function was to service locomotives using the marshalling yard, which was acclaimed as being the most highly mechanised in the United Kindom when it was opened in 1960.

When Margam Depot opened, Port Talbot Duffryn Yard closed and its's allocation of Class 08's, D3429-D3438 were transferred to it. During March / April 1974 D3429-D3438 were renumbered to 08359-08368.

Although no mainline locomotives have ever been allocated to Margam Depot, nearly all British Rail classes of locomotive have visited the depot for servicing.

During the late 70's British Steel opened their Iron Ore terminal at Port Talbot Docks and Margam Depot supplied several rakes of 3 x Class 37/0's with 27 x 100T Iron Ore tipplers to convey Iron Ore to Llanwern Steel Works. Utilising 3 x Class 37/0's became an operational and maintenance nightmare for Margam Depot, getting them to work in multiple together and carrying out modification work to strengthen the couplers. Stormy Bank challenged the locomotivs to their fullest and a maximum speed of 8mph was attained at the top of the bank. 2 x Class 56's replaced the 3 x 37's during the 80's and with the reduction of one locomotive three additional wagons were added to the train, which was the limitation for length at Llanwern head shunt. Class 56's historically were the preferred traction for this train with most drivers as 12mph could be attained at the top of Stormy Bank. However 2 x refurbished Class 37/7's replaced the 2 x Class 56's in the late 80's and they in turn were replaced with 1 x Class 60 locomotive in the early 90's. Class 60's became the regular traction for this train until the service was withdrawn during 2003 when Llanwern lost its hot section and focussed on rolling. For a short period of time in early 1999 EWS's newly purchased Class 59/2's from National Power were used for the service.

During the past forty years oil, coal, steel and wagonload traffic has severely declined in south wales resulting in Margam Depot taking on the work from Swansea Eastern, Llanelli, Pantyffynnon and Landore Depots which closed or restructured as in the case of the latter to an Inter City depot.

Prior to the introduction of Class 60 and Class 66 locomotives most freight traffic originating from Margam Depot was restored for 2 x Class 37/0's, 1 x Class 37/5, 7 or 9, Class 47 or Class 56 locomotives, with the valleys being exclusively operated by Class 37 locomotives.

One most notable weekday workings passing Margam reaching the most westerly parts of wales was a Tinsley Depot, Railfreight Distirbution locomotive working 0450 Gloucester - Trecwn, Trecwn - Carmathen and finally 6M60 Carmathen Bescot. This speedlink service often conveyed traffic for the MOD at Trecwn, timber and fertiliser to and from Carmathen.

Very sadly Canton Depot closed in May 2004 and thirty fitters were transferred to Margam Depot. This enabled four shift working, 24/7, and as a consequence of this the maintenance Team Leaders increased from one to four. To facilitate with examinations and component changes, a one locomotive extension was made to the shunter bay, complete with 2.5T overhead crane.

Today Margam Depot has a head count of approximately 69 drivers and four shifts of five fitters per shift with mobile gangs operating from Avonmouth, Newport East Usk Yard, Cardiff Tidal Sidings and Margam Depot.

Margam Depot officially closed on 1st August 2009 but a second power unit change on 08752 kept the facility open until 17th September when 08752 was taken by low loader from Margam Knuckle Yard to Celsa Sidings. Drivers and maintenance staff began moving into the new facility at Margam Knuckle Yard from July onwards. The closure of Margam Depot now leaves south wales without any facility to undertake safe brake block changes and C xams on Class 08/09 locomotives. With very basic facilities at Margam Knuckle Yard, locomotives are now moved DIT to Toton Depot for repairs.


Last Updated 25/09/18