Swansea railway station

For the station in South Australia formerly known as Swansea, see Largs North railway station.
Swansea National Rail
Welsh: Abertawe
Place Swansea
Local authority City and County of Swansea
Coordinates 51°37′31″N 3°56′27″W / 51.6253°N 3.9409°W / 51.6253; -3.9409Coordinates: 51°37′31″N 3°56′27″W / 51.6253°N 3.9409°W / 51.6253; -3.9409
Grid reference SS657936
Station code SWA
Managed by Arriva Trains Wales
Number of platforms 4
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05   1.386 million
2005/06 Increase 1.422 million
2006/07 Increase 1.572 million
2007/08 Increase 1.824 million
2008/09 Increase 2.014 million
2009/10 Increase 2.052 million
2010/11 Increase 2.156 million
2011/12 Decrease 2.148 million
2012/13 Increase 2.162 million
2013/14 Decrease 2.116 million
2014/15 Increase 2.166 million
Original company South Wales Railway
Pre-grouping Great Western Railway
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
19 June 1850 (1850-06-19) Opened as Swansea High Street
6 May 1968 Renamed Swansea
National Rail – UK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Swansea from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Swansea railway station is a railway station serving Swansea, Wales, and is the fourth busiest in Wales after Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street and Newport.


The station opened in 1850.[1] It was built by the South Wales Railway, which amalgamated with the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1863,[1] but it was not originally on the South Wales Railway main line, planned to connect London with the port of Fishguard, and Swansea passengers had to change at Landore, two miles to the north until at least 1879. The station has been renovated and extended several times in its lifetime - most notably in the 1880s, when the stone-built office block facing High Street, on the west side of the station, was added, and in 1925-7 when the platforms were lengthened.[2] The present-day frontage block, facing Ivey Place, was completed in 1934. Nothing now remains of the original wooden station with its two platforms and galvanised iron roof.

The majority of the rebuilt station remains intact, although the facilities have been reduced. The umbrella-type platform roofing which replaced the 1880s train-sheds in the 1920s is mostly intact although the canopy on platform 4 has been shortened. The number of platforms was reduced from five to four in 1973 under British Rail when the old Platform 1 was eliminated, along with the loading bays and fish dock that once stood beyond it. The remaining platforms were renumbered at the same time, so that what were platforms 2 to 5 are now platforms 1 to 4, respectively. On the east side of the station there was a connecting line which bypassed the platforms and ran at one time to coal tips on the North Dock (closed in 1929 and subsequently infilled) and on to a junction with the high-level line from Eastern Depot to Victoria station (closed in 1965). Part of the route of this line, alongside the station itself, is now a staff car park and the remainder, which was carried on viaducts alongside the Strand, has been obliterated by modern development. High Street goods station was on the west side of the line, just north of the passenger station. The site has been completely cleared and used for housing and also the dedicated bus road that runs from the Landore park-and-ride facility into the city centre. On the opposite side of the line were extensive carriage sidings (Maliphant sidings), large areas of which are, as of 2014, being redeveloped as the Hitachi IEP (Intercity Express Programme) rail service depot.

GW 0-6-0PT bringing in empty stock in 1962

There was great competition between the different railway companies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Swansea had seven stations in 1895, owned by five different railway companies: High Street (GWR), St Thomas (Midland Railway), East Dock (GWR), Riverside (Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway, by which it was called simply Swansea; renamed Swansea Docks by the GWR in 1924 and Riverside two years later[3]), Victoria and Swansea Bay (both London & North Western Railway), and Rutland Street (the town terminus of the Mumbles Railway). Only High Street now remains in the city centre.


A First Great Western HST at Swansea station

To the east, trains operate along the South Wales Main Line. Swansea is a western terminus for Great Western Railway inter-city services to London Paddington that do not terminate at Cardiff Central,[4] with the majority of local train services west of Swansea timed to connect with London services.[5]Arriva Trains Wales provides the Swanline service to Cardiff Central (for connections to the South Wales Valleys, Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton, Southampton Central, Portsmouth Harbour, Gloucester, Birmingham New Street and Nottingham), and services to Manchester Piccadilly.[6]

To the west, Arriva Trains Wales trains run along the West Wales Line to Carmarthen and then to Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven or Fishguard Harbour. Certain services to Fishguard Harbour connect with the Stena Line ferry to Rosslare Europort in Ireland. Swansea is the eastern terminus for a few of the services from West Wales.[7] Services on the Heart of Wales Line between Llanelli and Shrewsbury often start from Swansea.[8]

Rail & sea corridor to Ireland

Some of the Arriva Trains Wales boat trains to and from Fishguard Harbour commence at Swansea. These connect with the Stena Line ferry to Rosslare Europort in Ireland with a daily morning and evening service in both directions. This route has been in existence since 1906.


The station is a terminus, at the end of a short branch off the South Wales Main Line and the West Wales Line, so that all through passenger trains must either reverse at Swansea or omit calling there. In practice, almost all passenger services do call there.[7]

The station has four platforms. Great Western Railway trains from London normally enter the station with the standard-class carriages leading, and usually use platform 2. The platforms are covered for part of their length.

Until January 2004, the mail train to London was a regular service from the station.[9]

In February 2013, Swansea station won the "Wales’ Best Staffed Train Station" award, supported by Keep Wales Tidy.[10]

In May 2013, Swansea station was named "International Station of the Year" and won the "Best Large Station" award at the International Station Awards.[11]


Swansea has four platforms, numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. Platforms are generally used for the same services, but can change if it is not available. The normal pattern is the following:

Name of the station

For most of its history the station was known as Swansea High Street to distinguish it from other stations in the area. Following Beeching's cuts in the 1960s and the closure of Swansea Victoria, the name was shortened to Swansea. Today the station is called Abertawe/Swansea on platform signs, the facade, public timetables, by the National Assembly of Wales and by Swansea County Council.[12][13] Before the station was re-vamped, a sign above the station entrance said High Street Station, as does Network Rail route documentation.[14]

Future development

Swansea station is currently being revamped, with new facilities including new waiting rooms, bicycle racks and digital information boards. The first phase was completed in June 2012 and officially opened by the Welsh Government Minister with responsibility for Transport, Carl Sargeant, on Monday 11 June.[15] The second phase was due to be completed by 2014, when the whole project for the other stations is said to be completed as well.[16][17]


Preceding station National Rail Following station
Llansamlet   Arriva Trains Wales
South Wales Main Line
  Arriva Trains Wales
West Wales Line
Gowerton   Arriva Trains Wales
Heart of Wales Line
Neath   Great Western Railway
London Paddington-South Wales
  Great Western Railway
London Paddington-Carmarthen or London Paddington-Pembroke Dock

See also


Further reading

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