Held at:

Private Collection




Private research; Google Earth


Satellite pictures of the route and stations of the Golden Valley Railway

Place name:

Golden Valley




It is over half a century since trains last ran on the Golden Valley Railway [1881 to 1899] and later the Golden Valley Branch of the Great Western Railway [1901-1953]. The story of their rise and fall is narrated elsewhere on this website [click here to view], and as with many branch lines considerable efforts were made after closure to remove the entire infrastructure and return the land to its original use. Few traces of the railway are therefore visible to the casual eye in the Golden Valley today, and such as remain are largely on private land.


Courtesy of Google Earth, however, satellite imagery provides a different picture. In the same way as older archaeological features often leave traces in the landscape visible from above, so too did the work of the Victorian railway engineers. The Google Earth images below of the station sites at Pontrilas, Abbeydore, Bacton, Vowchurch, Peterchurch, Dorstone, Westbrook, Green’s Siding, Clifford and Hay have been overlaid [with the aid of contemporary maps of the railway] with the approximate original track [in red] and station [in purple] layout. As can be seen, this [with only a little imagination] relates closely to features still plainly visible in the photographs, including in many cases the goods yards associated with the sidings and the station forecourts. On a wider perspective, the Google images also clearly show the full original track of the railway over most of its length.

The route of the Golden Valley Railway from Pontrilas station on the old GWR main line, branching off from a bay on the main up platform before turning north-west across the A465 Abergavenny to Hereford road

Spur branching north from the Golden Valley line towards the old Royal Ordnance Factory dump at Elm Bridge, which was protected by a security gate. The outlines of the military rail network and sheds inside the facility can also still be seen

The site of the GVR station, track and siding at Abbeydore. The ramp up to the station platform was at the side of the road, and the loop siding had a goods yard alongside, now largely covered by modern buildings.

The site of Bacton station, with a loop siding beyond the level crossing gates. The roadway to the west of the siding corresponds to the old access to the goods yard. American tractors were assembled here from imported components during WWII.

The site of Vowchurch station and siding. The station platform sloped down to the road by the level crossing. The large goods yard to the west of the line can still be seen outlined by trees; substantial quantities of timber were shipped from here, and during WWII much of the hardcore for Madley Airfield was brought here by rail for onward transport by lorry.

The site of Peterchurch station and siding. The station was just west of the church, and the goods loop siding had a spur to a loading dock off the platform

The site of Dorstone station and sidings. The platform was southeast of the B4348 level crossing, with a goods spur to the loop siding. The passing loop and platform opposite date from the 1889 Hay extension, when the line was worked with more than one engine.

The site of Westbrook station and siding. The B4348 is at the top of the picture.

The site of Green’s siding and goods yard, with a small passenger shelter and platform installed by the GWR about 1901 to the north of the B4352 road bridge.

The site of Clifford station, with a goods yard alongside a loop and spur siding

The junction of the Golden Valley Railway with the Midland Railway, whose tracks were then used southwards into Hay station. At the junction, towards the top centre of the picture, the line of the old Midland track northwards can also clearly be seen.





Photographs courtesy of Google Earth

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