Merthyr Tydfil could be set to celebrate its railway history with the creation of a heritage centre in the area.
The Welsh town was the scene of the first ever steam train journey which saw a Penydarren locomotive travel four hours to Abercynon in 1804. Now, the BBC reports that a £20,000 study is looking to assess whether this famous journey could be replicated in the modern day. The ambitious project could even see the creation of a working replica of the train, made by Richard Trevithick in the early 19th century.
This year marks the 210th anniversary of the invention of the steam locomotive in South Wales. For the 200th anniversary, the town welcomed the then Welsh first minister Rhodri Morgan and train enthusiast and record producer Pete Waterman, who unveiled a freight engine after Mr Trevithick.
Ten years on and Merthyr Tydfil wants to create a long-term shrine to the invention of the steam locomotive and highlight the town's role in the development of the UK's railways. The Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Regeneration Trust project has already gained the backing of six valley councils and, if completed, the scheme could provide a huge boost for the area's tourism.
Officials want to see whether the journey can be recreated. In 1804, the Penydarren locomotive pulled five wagons carrying a ten-tonne load of iron and 70 passengers for nine miles. It was a huge step forward for train travel and gave birth to the commercial service, despite only travelling over such a short distance.
The feasibility study has received the support of the European Union-funded South East Wales Community Economic Development programme. This is supported by councils in Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen.