The Barry Railway Company was established in 1884 when the docks were being built. The company created a dock and a railway that linked the South Wales Coalfields to Barry Docks.
In 1896, a Spur Line was built on the railway lines to Barry Island. This brought many day trippers to the beaches and cafes and shops soon opened up. P & A Campbell began operating paddleboat cruises from the pier. This was followed by cruises run by the Barry Railway Company.
The Birth of Barry Docks
By 1913, Barry was now the largest coal exporting port in the world. The Barry Railway was responsible for bringing all of that coal to the docks. In 1923, The Barry Railway Company became part of the Great Western Railway.
Construction of the Vale Line began in August 1894, and ran through Llantwit Major, Gileston, Aberthaw, Rhoose and Barry.
In the 1950’s, there was a drive to replace all the steam locomotives with diesel and many of these steam locomotives ended up in Dai Woodhams scrapyard. Many of the surviving steam engines that can be seen in action today, were rescued from that scrapyard.
In 1994, the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Welsh Development Agency began developing a tourist railway in Barry. This is now a part of the Barry Rail Centre and is open to the public.