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Latitude: 51.5267 / 51°31'36"N
Longitude: -3.7024 / 3°42'8"W
OS Eastings: 281994
OS Northings: 182241
OS Grid: SS819822
Mapcode National: GBR H7.H1FD
Mapcode Global: VH5H8.SW0H
Entry Name: Marlas Road Overbridge
Listing Date: 5 April 2016
Source ID: 87695
Location: On Marlas Road near to its junction with Kenfig Road
Community: Pyle (Y Pîl)
Built-Up Area: Pyle
Traditional County: Glamorgan
Constructed as part of the development of the South Wales Railway (SWR) from 1844 by the Great Western Railway (GWR). The Chief Engineer of the GWR Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed as engineer for the SWR. No direct evidence exists that shows that Brunel was directly responsible for the engineering of the line but is probable that he had direct influence on the laying out of the line and the design of the structures along it.
Initially the SWR was connected to the Cheltenham branch of the GWR across the Severn estuary, to Chepstow and then Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend, Neath and Swansea, eventually to Carmarthen, Fishguard and Pembroke. The route was laid out to follow the largely level coastal plain, avoiding the difficult contours of the South Wales Valleys but still requiring substantial engineering works along the line, notably at Neath (the Neath Abbey Viaduct across the River Clydach) and Landore (where a timber viaduct was constructed). Brunel would have been responsible for designing or supervising these works.
Work on the construction of the SWR began in 1846 with the line from Chepstow to Swansea opening in 1850. With the construction of the Wye Bridge in 1852 the South Wales Railway was connected to the rest of the railway network via Gloucester. The Severn Tunnel was constructed in 1886 taking the line on the more direct route from Severn Tunnel Junction to Bristol. To further improve journey times the line from Newport to Cardiff was quadrupled in 1941, removing many of the original line structures. The line west of Cardiff has not been quadrupled.
Marlas Bridge overbridge carries the Marlas Road over the railway and is of a more unusual flying arch design. Some of the coping stones have been replaced but it is otherwise unaltered. A pedestrian bridge has been constructed on the low mileage side but is not attached to the masonry bridge.
Railway bridge, single span masonry overbridge with a flying arch and projecting wingwalls. Constructed from coursed and squared rock faced sandstone with rusticated voussoirs. Intact parapet of four even courses. Plain sloping wingwalls.
Included for its special architectural interest as a well preserved example of a mid C19 railway bridge, one of the original structures of the South Wales Railway.
It is also of special historic interest for being associated with the renowned Victorian engineer IK Brunel, forming part of a remarkably complete body of work by him and a significant contribution to the engineering heritage of the UK. It forms part of the growth of the railway network in the age of ‘Railway Mania’ in the mid C19, a period when long distance travel was revolutionised and South Wales became linked much closer to England, leading in part to the industrial and urban boom of Victorian South Wales.
Other nearby listed buildings