The Bute Docks were built by Cubitts, the company founded by Thomas Cubitt, and opened in 1855.
The Taff Vale Railway was built to transport coal from the South Wales Valleys to the docks. Its headquarters were a currently derelict building in Cardiff Bay railway station. The building was turned into a railway heritage centre in 1979 by the Butetown Historic Railway Society. By 1994 the Society had started to run steam locomotive hauled passenger services up and down 500 metres of track. However, as the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation had no interest in the railway, the Society changed its name to the Vale of Glamorgan Railway and moved from the site in 1997 to Barry Island railway station.
The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was created in 1987 to counter the effects of economic depression in this run-down area.