CRUMLIN VIADUCT by JACK Lewis The Crumlin Viaduct, a product of the Industrial Revolution, was hailed in its day as a railway and civil engineering wonder due to the revolutionary lightweight design evolved by its designer and builder Thomas W. Kennard of the firm of Kennard & Sons of Blaenafon. In fact its fame was such that orders flooded in and Kennard was soon building bridges in Europe, and ultimately a river bridge in Calcutta. Apart from coal workings, Crumlin was not known for its industry at the dawn of the 19th century, but a stone bridge over the River Ebbw at this point provided one of the few river crossings in the valley, and the locality became known as "Crumlin Bridge". The Newport to Crumlin branch of the Monmouthshire Canal became operative in 1796 and tramroads were laid to provide con- nections to the ironworks at Beaufort and coal workings at Llan- hilleth. In common with other valley canals shortage of water and increase in traffic proved an embarrassment, and in 1829 the tramroad was extended down to Risca to link up with the Sirhowy Tramroad at that point and to relieve the canal. This tramroad was converted to a standard gauge railway in the 1850's and became the Monmouthshire Railway. About this time a new company, the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway, was seeking extension to increase its traffic and started to build its "Taff Vale Extension" to join the Taff Vale Railway at Quakers Yard, where it planned to attract iron traffic from Merthyr and Dowlais destined for the Midlands. The line was difficult to build, as anyone who has travelled from Pontypool Road to Aberdare well knows, for it is a succession of cuttings, embankments, tunnels and bridges, and the valley crossing at Crumlin was the supreme challenge. The contract for the viaduct was awarded to Kennard & Sons in 1853, and they set to work without delay, establishing a local works (later known as the Nut and Bolt Works and lasting until 1910-11) at the eastern end of the projected viaduct. This site was then known as Llanhilleth Junction (later Crumlin Junction) and the N.A. & H.R. laid a line, with gradients of 1 in 38, to connect with the Monmouthshire Railway at Llanhilleth. Two locomotives, 0-6-0 with five foot wheels and eighteen inch cylinders, purchased from Wilsons of Leeds, were used on this line. An inclined plane was set up to deliver ironwork (wrought-iron from Blaenafon, fabricated