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Tramroad
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When was it built?
Who built it?

Why was it built?
What did it look like?
What was its route?
What did it cost to build?
How was it operated?
When (and why) did it close?

What is left of it now?
How did it affect Caerleon?
References
WHAT DID IT COST TO BUILD?

Tramroads cost upwards of 1000 a mile to construct (approximately 80 000 today's value) so a cost of six to twelve thousand pounds for the complete track seems a fair estimate (up to a million pounds today's money).

HOW WAS IT OPERATED?

The ledgers for the Ponthir Works show that in 1834 it had its own trams (known locally as drams) - 39 to be exact - five for tin, twenty-four for coal and ten for iron. The works also had six horses for pulling the trams - Jolly, Boxer, Norman, Shaper, Bright and Spinker. It seems likely that other businesses along the tramroad also kept their own trams and horses.

It was necessary to have a strict set of rules for the use of the track to ensure its smooth running, especially as, for much of the route, there was probably just a single track. As yet no rules for the Caerleon Tramroad have come to light, but rules such as these applied to other tramroads and probably applied here:

· Wagons should have no less than 4 wheels.
· Loaded trams were not to weigh more than 2 tons unless the load was in one piece. (Later; stronger tracks meant that heavier loads could be carried).
· Speed was not to exceed 4 miles per hour.
· When loaded and empty 'trains' (or to use the correct term 'gangs') met, the loaded one had priority. When both were loaded (or both unloaded) the first to reach the passing post had priority.
· Travelling was not allowed at night or on Sundays or public holidays.
· No driver was to block the tramroad for more than fifteen minutes. In the case of a breakdown, if a faulty tram could not be repaired in that time it had to be removed from the track.
Right, newspaper cutting, January 1st 1838. Coal carried from Cwmbran Colliery to the Wharf at Caerleon by the Tram Road.
WHEN AND WHY DID IT CLOSE?

In 1874 the Pontypool, Caerleon and Newport (PC&N) Railway opened. For much of the route North of the Ponthir Works the tramroad disappeared under its tracks. Indeed, the PC&N was given powers to acquire the Caerleon Tramroad. South of the Ponthir Works, the tramroad seems to have continued operating for some time at least - the new railway following a different route. In fact, just north of the Caerleon Forge where the bridge was built to carry the road across the railway line, a bridge was also built over the tramroad. (The mill leat also ran under the road at this point.)