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13, 60.3720, 41.5823
Dinas a Cantref Caerarthen
FlagCoat of arms
FlagCoat of arms
CountryTircambry-national-flag.png Tircambry
 • ProvinceState flag morionys.png Morionys
Ethnic Groups
Tircambran (87%), Other (13%)
NationalitiesTircambran (93%), Other (7%)
 • MayorAngharad ferch Owain Bronwen
 • Total
 • Urban
 • Rural
 • Estimate (2015)1,373,954
 • Census (2012)1,354,566

The City and Cantref of Caerarthen (Cambric Dinas a Cantref Caerarthen) is the capital and largest city of Tircambry and also the provincial capital of Morionys. It is also the commercial and a major cultural hub of Tircambry and was once a major port, although it has been largely superceded in the latter role by the container port of Abercanelli to the south.


There has been a settlement on the west bank of the River Canelli at Caerarthen for at least 1,500 years. According to legend it was founded by the mythical Lord Arthen as a base from which to defend his domains from attack by land and by sea. The Lords of Caerarthen eventually became the most powerful rulers in southwestern Tircambry, becoming dukes of Tirmorion in 1206 and Kings of Morionys 110 years later.

The original Caerarthen Castle served as a stronghold against foreign sea-borne invaders and as a based to oppose and defend against lords on the other side of the River Canelli, in particular the Lords of Meirfod and later the High Lords of Ceirwtir. In the 11th century, Lord Rhidion of Meirfod began construction of his own castle on the east bank (Lan Dwyrain) of the river, from which to "watch over and guard against" the aggresive lords in Caerarthen. This did not prevent the eventual conquest of the eastern lands, which became absorbed into the new Duchy of Tirmorion (predecessor of the Kingdom of Morionys).

Caerarthen and Lan Dwyrain remained separate towns, each with its own mayor and corporation, long after they had been absorbed into a single realm, and even after the building of bridges between them, including the fortified Castle Bridge (Pont Castell) which connected the two castles.

Middle Era Caerarthen was the centre of both government and religion in Morionys, with the Archbishop of Caerarthen being based in the magnificant Caerarthen Cathedral in the north of the walled city. It was also home to the University of Caerarthen, the Cambric lands' second university, found around 1287 as a religious institution attached to the cathedral. When six scholars were evicted from the university in 1358 they moved across the river and founded the rival University of Lan Dwyrain, which became, and remains, one of Tircambry's most distinguished educational institutions. Caerarthen University continued to function until conflict with the crown resulted in it being dissolved in the 17th century.

Caerarthen came close to being captured by Patriarchal forces during the Second War of Unification in the 1730s, and parts of Lan Dwyrain, including the castle, suffered significant damage.

In 1764 the King and Parliament of the now-unified Tircambry decreed that the separate cities of Caerarthen and Lan Dwyrain, with some additional surrounding land, should be unified into a single City of Caerarthen Mawr ("Greater Caerarthen"), within the administrative Duchy of Tirmorion (a similar municipal merger had been enacted for Porthbrenin two years earlier). The boundaries of the new city were changed three times over the next 140 years to accomodate its expanding urban area. In the local government reform of 1921 "cantrefs" replaced duchies and counties, and the city became a cantref in its own right. The word "Greater" - which had become rare in every-day usage - was dropped and the new entity became the "City and Cantref of Caerarthen" (Dinas a Cantref Caerarthen).

Public Transport

Public transport in Caerarthen is operated or regulated by the Caerarthen Transport Agency (Asiantaeth Trafnidiaeth Caerarthen - ATC), which is an organ of the City and Cantref Council. The ATC operates Caerarthen's underground railway system (Metro Caerarthen) and scheduled bus services (Bysiau Caerarthen), and it licences and regulates privately-owned transport services, especially taxis and private buses.

Metro Caerarthen

Metro Caerarthen passenger map

Metro Caerarthen consists of four lines, mostly underground, serving 71 stations. Eight of the stations are interchanges between lines (one of them covering three lines), five provide interchanges with mainline rail services operated by Rheilffyrdd Tircambry (Tircambry Railways) and there is a station at each terminal at Caerarthen Lleifwr Airport.

The geographical layout of Caerarthen's metro lines


An underground railway system was first proposed for Caerarthen in 1917, but only received serious consideration after the local government reform of 1921, with the establishment of the new Cantref and City Council. The construction of the first line (the Central Line - Llinell Ganolog) began in 1927 and the line was opened in 1936. The line ran from Lleifwr (the suburb; not the airport, which did not yet exist) in the west to Maerfod in the north-east. The line was extended at both ends in the 1980s - to Caerarthen Lleifwr Airport (west) and Skenfwy (east).

A second line - the Western Line (Llinell Orllewinol) was approved by the Council in 1928 and it opened just a year after the Central Line, in 1937. The Western Line ran along what is now the western part of the Northern Line from Ffermbryn, sharing track with the Central Line for most of the central route between Penheiron and Trysorlys, and then ran south along what is now the southern part of the River Line as far as Llesîon.

The original intention was to build an Eastern Line on the other side of the River Canelli, running north to south through Lan Dwyrain, but no further development occurred until the 1950s, by which time the need for a more ambitious expansion was unavoidable. The Cantref and City Council approved the establishment of three new lines in a single decision taken in 1954. The new lines were : the Northern Line (Llinell Ogleddol), opened in 1963, which took over the northern half of the existing Western Line and extended across the river and northwards to Parc Blynas; the River Line (Llinell Afon), opened in 1967, which inherited the southern half of the former Western Line and extended northwards to Glinlais; and the Southern Line (Llinell Ddehoeul), opened in 1973, which was almost entirely new and ran in an arc from southwest to southeast Caerarthen through the city centre. Apart than extensions further into the suburbs, no new lines have been built or planned since 1973.


Unlike the bus service, Metro Caerarthen has always been owned by the Cantref and City Council and run by executive agencies responsible to the Council. It was originally operated by the Caerarthen Metropolitan Railway Authority (Awdurdod Rheilffyrdd Metropolitan Caerarthen). In 1953 bus services were brought into Council ownership and the new Caerarthen Transport Agency (ATC) took over responsibility for all public transport in the capital.

Caerarthen Buses

ATC's bus service logo (red-and-yellow compared to the Metro's blue-and-yellow)

The ATC runs an extensive network of bus services, under the brand name Bysiau Caerarthen (Caerarthen Buses), from suburbs into the centre, to Metro and Rail stations, and around outer Caerarthen, linking suburbs without the need to enter the city centre. The majority of routes are self-funding from fares, but the Cantref and City Council subsidizes some routes which are not profitable but seen as socially necessary.

Bysiau Caerarthen operates a variety of types of buses, from minibuses on low-use routes to large double-deckers. The busiest routes have conductors to collect fares as well as drivers, but others, including most suburban-only routes, are one-person operated. In 2013 the latest generation of double-decker bus - the BU5 - was brought into service to replace the aging fleet of BU4s which were designed in the 1970s.


Caerarthen's new BU5 double-decker bus. "BU" stands for Bws Uchel - "high bus"

Until the opening of the Metro in the 1930s, all public transport in Caerarthen was in the hands of private operators. The first horse-drawn buses were introduced in 1838, and the first motorized vehicles in 1912. The last horsebus was withdrawn from service in 1923.

Rising demand for public transport in the mid-twentieth century led to an increase in the number of operators, all pursuing the most profitable routes. Competition and the lack of coordination created an increasingly chaotic situation. Bowing to public pressure, in 1952 the Cantref and City Council sought approval from Parliament to take control of all bus services, compulsorily purchasing the private companies' operations and stock at very low prices (protests by the company owners received very little public sympathy). The ATC and Bysiau Caerarthen began operations in 1953, since when private non-charter bus services in the city have been illegal.