When I was young, my parents used to take myself and my brother out to Cefn Onn Park to the north of Cardiff. Back then it was a drive over the old bailey bridge over the River Taff between Llandaff and Llandaff North, through Whitchurch, past the tax offices and the (now gone) Monico cinema and out into the countryside.
I remember playing in the snow there, walking around, playing hide and seek in the bushes and walking around the ponds and playing in the summer house.
But one of the most mysterious parts was the railway halt right in the middle of the park. I remember seeing trains stop there and people getting out and walking through the park, even though there wasn’t a house in sight. I guess at the weekend some of them were out to walk in the park, but some of them would have lived nearby and used it regularly to get to and from the city. There were also the tunnels that went through the mountain to Caerphilly/Caerfilli (with its wonderful castle), and very occasionally you’d hear this rumble before a train appeared from nowhere. I remember the footbridge that you could walk across to get to the other platform, high above the tracks, and the long, bramble bounded paths that ran down to the quiet platforms. There were white picket fences and gates, green tinged with moss, and a feeling of better times that had passed. I guess this is one of the things that stirred my (still passionate) interest in history.
Now all this has come flooding back through stumbling onto a tribute page by Mike Slocombe about Cefn Onn Halt with some lovely photos of the station at various times, including the two I’ll link to below; one showing it in its hayday and another as I remember it as a child. Mike also has a wonderful 360º panorama shot of the station (Java required), including the footbridge as I remember it, before the walkway was removed.
Cefn Onn Halt in its hayday – Photo (c) S. Rickard
Cefn Onn Halt as I remember it from childhood – Photo (c) Mike Slocombe