Hercules Steam PacketBefore the advent of the South Wales Railway in 1852, travel out of Wales from Llanelli up to the middle of the 19th century involved a long and perilous journey by stage coach or wagon over a poor road system. A stage coach service operating from Llanelli was run by Mr Francis McKiernan of the Ty Melyn Inn Llanelli, who ran the Royal Mail between this town, Swansea and Carmarthen. The alternative was to go by sea. One such service was offered by the ship 'Hercules'. This steam packet was berthed at New Dock and sailed direct to Bristol depending on the weather conditions.

Llanelli Railway Timetable 1858

Passengers travelling on the upper deck of the Hercules were charged a fare of five shillings and sixpence (approx 28 p) while children who were under the age of twelve went at half price. The 'well heeled' traveller was offered the luxury of the after cabin at a fare of ten shillings and sixpence (approx 53p). An extra shilling (5p) was charged for the assistance of a steward. Any dogs were charged 2 shillings (10p) each. This was quite an expense considering that the week's wages of a labourer in 1843 was about ten shillings (50p). Refreshments were offered on board at 'moderate terms'.


A cargo service was also offered to local farmers and merchants who could convey their livestock across the Bristol Channel at a cost of one shilling and sixpence for each sheep or pig. Connecting this shipping service to the Carmarthenshire hinterland was a local railway, the Llanelly Railway which in October 1842 operated an early passenger service up to Pontardulais, Cross Hands and Garnant. Passengers travelling to and from New Dock by rail alighted at the station, not the Station that we are familiar with today, but an earlier railway station that once stood approximately south west of Dafen Row. Goods were distributed from this transport network to Carmarthen and Llandeilo by Charles & Sons and Nathaniel Rees, both wagon companies.

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