Modelling the Taff Vale Railway

compiled by Mikkel Kjartan


The Taff Vale Railway is one of several Welsh Valley lines that provide an excellent basis for an unusual layout set in either pre- or post-grouping days.

The TVR connected the harbours at Cardiff to the Taff Vale mines and the ironworks at Merthyr Tydfil, competing fiercely with its neighbours the Rhymney Railway and Barry Railway. It played an important part in the railway history of Wales and was the oldest and largest of the companies absorbed into the GWR at the grouping.


TVR 3-plank Open No. 9512

TVR 3-plank Open No. 9512

TVR Brake 3rd No. 203

TVR Brake 3rd No. 203

Modelling potential

For modellers, the TVR does have some trade support – it isn't much, but certainly enough for a layout and better than what you get for most other Welsh companies.

If you want to stick with the pregrouping era, one precondition is that you'll have to work with kits. If that is not to your liking, there is always the option of doing a post-grouping TVR layout: After 1923, many of the standard GWR locos worked the TVR lines along with the ex-TVR types.

The tables on the following page outline the TVR kits that I know of, as well as selected books, links and liveries relevant to the 'Taff'. Before buying any kits, check that they tally with your chosen time-period, as substantial rebuilds often took place after grouping.

Apart from this, note that several of the TVR designs came quite close to similar GWR types. For instance, a kit for the GWR 'Iron Mink' vans can be converted into the TVR variant without too much trouble, as can some of the open wagons. There is also a close similarity between some GWR and TVR 4-wheel coaches, which might be exploited.


Map of the TVR Map of the Taff Vale Railway


Derek Mundy's 7mm TVR layout 'Glynmawr'. Photo courtesy Rob Kievet.


Finecast 4mm TVR Class U1 on an RTR chassis


TVR books

The Taff Vale Railway D.S.M. Barrie
Oakwood Press, 1962 (rev.ed.)
Taff Vale Railway Miscellany John Hutton
Oxford Publishing Company, 1988
Locomotives of the Taff Vale Railway M.C.V. Alchin
Published by Author (14 pages)
Taff Vale Lines to Penarth E.R. Mountford & N. Sprinks
Oakwood Press 1993
Llatrisant Branches of the Taff Vale Railway Colin Chapman
Oakwood Press 1996
Nelson and Ynysybwl Branches of the Taff Vale Railway Colin Chapman
Oakwood Press
Aberdare Railway E.R. Mountford and R.W. Kidner
Oakwood Press
The Cowbridge Railway Colin Chapman
Oxford Publishing Company, 1984
Great Western Way
(section on TVR liveries)
J.N. Slinn
Historical Model Railway Society 1978


TVR links

History of the TVR Extensive history on the Trackbed site
TVR Signal Boxes From the Signal Box
The Port of Cardiff Includes role of the TVR and GWR
Taff Vale? Dyffryn Hafren! The restored TVR No. 85 in action
Welsh Railway Research Circle Includes contact details for this group
London Road Models TVR 4mm kits
Connoisseur Models TVR 7mm kits


TVR liveries, 1880–1923

  • Black, lined with red/yellow/white band
  • TVR Garter crest on sides
  • Domes polished until WW I, then black

Passenger stock (I)
  • Chocolate * below waist, varnished white above
  • Upper panels edged yellow/vermillion
  • Roofs white
  • Numbers/wording in waist panel
  • Two Garter Crests below waist

Passenger stock (II)
  • From c WWI, some lowly passenger stock all-over brown
  • No crests or lining
  • Large yellow numbers on doors

Goods stock
  • Body light grey until c WWI
  • Post WWI bodies brown
  • 6" 'T.V.R.' lettering at lower left until 1909
  • Post 1909 'TV' 16" lettering at center
*   A recommended colour match is Precision Paints P428 'Caledonian Railway Valance & Frames Purple Brown'


Taff Vale Railway garter crest

TVR Garter Crest, picture courtesy James Hilsdon


Some 4mm TVR wagons


ex-TVR brake van in GW livery

Rob Evans' model of a Taff Vale brake van as running in GW livery, based on a Falcon Brass etched kit. The construction of the model, with some historical discussion, is detailed on RMweb. Another peek of this van can be found at the bottom of this page.


Below is a selection of Taff Vale Railway wagons scratchbuilt in EM by Brian Bale. The wagons were intended for a TVR layout that never materialized, and have since been sold on.

Scratchbuilt Taff Vale guards van. The model was made from Plastikard and scaled down to 4mm from the original manufacturer's blueprint.
TVR Carriage Truck, scratchbuilt in Plastikard with fully compensated 3-point suspension. Built from the original works drawings.
TVR covered van with very unusual diagonal planking. Scratchbuilt in Plastikard with compensated 3-point suspension.


7mm ex-TVR coaches

The following 7mm coaches are displayed courtesy of Home of O Gauge. At the 1923 Grouping, the Taff Vale handed over 414 passenger train vehicles to the GWR, and although more than half of these were condemned by the late 1920s, a fair number survived and came to run in GWR livery.

7mm ex-TVR 51' non-corridor composite carriage No. 89, with metal body, plastic bogies and steel wheels 7mm ex-TVR 51' non-corridor composite carriage

7mm ex-TVR 26' Passenger Brake Van No. 456, made from a Branchlines kit, with a compensated chassis 7mm ex-TVR 26' Passenger Brake Van