Margam Depot - RIP
Margam Depot (servicing shed) was built on a landfill site and opened during March 1964. Its function was to service locomotives using the marshalling yard, which was acclaimed as being the most highly mechanised in the United Kingdom when it was opened in 1960.
When Margam Depot opened, Port Talbot Duffryn Yard closed and its's allocation of Class 08's, D3429-D3438 were transferred to it. During March / April 1974 D3429-D3438 were renumbered to 08359-08368.
Although no mainline locomotives have ever been allocated to Margam Depot, nearly all British Rail classes of locomotive have visited the depot for servicing.
During the late 70's British Steel opened their new iron ore terminal at Port Talbot Docks and Margam Depot was responsible for providing 3 x Class 37/0 locomotives to haul a rake of 27 x 100T iron ore tipplers from Port Talbot Docks to Llanwern steel works. This was the heaviest freight train to run on british rail requiring strenghthened couplers and reached a maximum speed of 8mph over the severe and long incline of Stormy Bank.
With the decline of oil, coal, steel and wagonload traffic in south wales, Swansea Eastern, Llanelli, Pantyffynnon and Landore Depots closed and the work transferred to Margam Depot.
Margam Depot became part of the privatised freight company of EWS in July 1996.
A further decline in freight, mail and parcel traffic saw the restructuring of EWS resulting in the closure of Canton Depot in May 2004 and thirty fitters transferring to Margam Depot. Canton Depot's stored Class 37 and 56 locomotives were also transferred to the site of the old Margam marshalling yard and subsequent to this further Class 08/09 and Class 60 locomotives were added.
As a result of the transfer of staff from Canton Depot, Margam Depot increased its maintenance coverage to four shifts of five fitters working twenty four hours per day, seven days per week with mobile gangs operating from Avonmouth, Newport East Usk Yard, Cardiff Tidal Sidings and Margam Depot. To facilitate with examinations and component changes, a one locomotive extension was made to the shunter bay, complete with a 2.5T overhead crane.
Margam Depot temporarily undertook Class 60 'B' xam and rogue engine work from Toton Depot due to over capacity in 2006 - 2007.
The access lane to Margam Depot was very prone to flooding and its severity in Septemeber 2008 caused a major failure of the power supply from Corus steelworks to the depot. It was deemed uneconomic to repair and a 200kW mobile generator was brought in to provide power the depot.
A further contraction of EWS's maintenance requirements brought about the closure of Margam Depot on 1st August 2009 but a second power unit change on 08752 kept the facility open until 17th September when 08752 was taken by low loader from Margam Knuckle Yard to Celsa Sidings. Drivers and maintenance staff were moved into a new facility at Margam Knuckle Yard.
The closure of Margam Depot has left south wales with very basic fuelling and servicing facilities at Margam Knuckle Yard, with all other work being undertaken at Toton Depot.