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The Gwili Railway thread

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Matt78, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Jark91

    Jark91 Member

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    I'm pretty sure any extension to Llanpumsaint is in itself an extremely long-term goal which is hampered by the need to replace a number of bridges north of Danycoed...
     
  2. shredder1

    shredder1 Member

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    Yes of course, but isnt that what I said? What I was asking about was any longer term plans. 40 years ago the ELR had longer term plans, most of which have now been achieved, we now have some more long term plans, some of which I`ll probably not see in my lifetime
     
  3. Jark91

    Jark91 Member

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    Well my point is that they're probably not thinking any longer-term than that. That in itself is long term.

    I hope it can be achieved. I can easily imagine visitor numbers would double if they were operating an 8 mile railway out of Carmarthen compared with the 2.5 mile railway out of a tiny village which they have now (not that I'm knocking it at all).
     
  4. shredder1

    shredder1 Member

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    Look let me rephrase my question, how much of the original trackbed outside the section that the railway presently owns is still available, I`m not familiar with the area and was told that an housing estate was built on a section of the old line, I`m aware of the railway history in that part of the world and just curious about the longer term potential. But yes 8 mile would be amazing and I`m sure with effort, time, money and most importantly the will to do so, this will be achieved.
     
  5. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    The railway owns all the trackbed from a point just north of the old Abergwili Junction at Carmarthen to the southern abutment of the road bridge immediatley before the site of the old Llanpumsaint station. This is a total of 8 miles and includes 7 river bridges.

    South of our land at Carmarthen, part of the old trackbed is now under the Carmarthen bypass but a narrow corridor of land adjoins the bypass and could be adapted to suit a single track railway. The old trackbed continues to the old goods yard at Carmarthen, just before the missing river bridge over the river Towy that used to link the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line to the main Network Rail station at Carmarthen.

    The local council have a planning policy in place that no development is permitted which would prejudice a possible southern extension of the railway to Carmarthen Goods Yard. Building a bridge over the river Towy to get a mainline connection is as improbable as re-openning the whole route to Aberystwyth....

    A new Transport and Works Order would be needed for this secion (approx 1 mile) but it is by no means impossible that this section of railway could be built one day (to the goods yard).

    North of Llanpumsaint we have the magnificent Pencader Tunnel, 900 yards long and still owned by BRRB. I think I am right in saying the trackbed is relativley clear until Pencader, where I think the old station site has been developed. I believe ownership of the trackbed between Llanpumsaint and Pencader may be fragmented but can't be sure.

    So in the wildest flights of optimisim I can see the Gwili being a 9 mile railway (blank cheque anyone....) but the section between Cynwyl Elfed and Llanpumsaint, if we did get that far is probably the best section we own. Not a road in sight, just the railway and the river with 3 river bridges and all uphilll!

    down to earth though, our more immediate focus must be on getting to Carmarthen

    Regards
    Matt
     
  6. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    The Gwili 2012 Thread

    Hi Matt. Do you think you will get an
    Access road council funded? Regards Tom
     
  7. shredder1

    shredder1 Member

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    Thats great information, many thanks Matt, I really need to pay you a visit soon, it sounds fantastic, great achivement mate
     
  8. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tom

    Whatever external funding we might secure, the railway is going to have to find a proportion itself, that's just the nature of these things. At the moment the plan with the extension is to achive what we can when we can and these things do end up with a certain momentum. All the track materials needed are in stock, we have a team of tracklayers plus the "experts" needed by ROGS so we are in a position to make some decent progress.

    Jennifer is contracted to August and we hope Welsh Guardsman is due back in July, but who knows with overhauls....
    So it might be feisable, either way it will hopefully be good to have a surplus of available steam!
     
  9. svr-rodgers

    svr-rodgers Member

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    I cant wait ti have another go on Jennifer! was a lovely engine to fire last year :)
     
  10. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    The Gwili 2012 Thread

    Thanks Matt!! Yes I suppose constantly getting in the journal as much as possible with little bits of news will make people get behind the railway and weight behind the railway will bring grants hopefully! Carmarthen is busting for a well facilitated tourist attraction! All the best regards Tom
     
  11. Harleyman

    Harleyman New Member

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    My two-pennorth, FWIW, as a Carmarthen resident and having more than a passing interest though sadly not enough free time to get involved.

    I think the Gwili has got its priorities right in seeking to extend to Carmarthen first. The benefits of having a visible presence near to a main tourist route (A40) cannot be over-stated; at present I suspect the line suffers from being somewhat hidden away up the Cardigan road even though it is signposted.

    With the expansion, though, must come "proper" motive power. My experience in the earlier days of GCR, before the Rothley extension, tells me that industrial locomotives would struggle to cope on round trips greater than 5 miles, and much-loved as they are it goes without saying that they lack the realism factor of Praries, Pannier tanks and the like which would have been more common in BR and GWR days.

    One thing that's always impressed me about the Gwili is that it seems to be able to jog along very nicely within its own limitations; I do not recall any financial crises of the type which beset GCR and many others up till fairly recently. I daresay the railway has learned much from the mistakes of others and that is to its credit.
     
  12. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    The Austerities and Olwen have been valuable workhorses over the years and we have a lot of affection for them. I do think that the Austerities have their place on our line given the links to South Wales generally. However, we do need some more variety and more appropriate motive power, as a Western man myself this would really set the place off.

    This is linked to the point about money- we always seem to have enough money to survive, but never enough to implement capital investment. This is one of the reasons why we are making all out efforts to become a full time railway.

    I do believe that with full time MPD staff, a shed of some description and a decent run, that we will sooner or later attract some ex BR Motive power based on the line. Openning of the extension would be good too- after the last one openned in 2001 we had a flurry of visiting ex BR power. The problem with hiring these days is that the transport costs have increased dramatically since those days. With a two day photocharter and a good wind we used to cover costs- but now we have to work a little bit harder to break even- one of the prices of being out on a limb.
     
  13. nanstallon

    nanstallon Part of the furniture

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    The Gwili Rly is a very pleasant line, and can easily be combined with general tourist attractions in the area to make a worthwhile weekend for the family even from a distance; even the 'network' in the area has its interest with the pretty lines to Pembroke and Fishguard. It would be a sad day when South Wales was without a working Austerity somewhere - fond memories of these in the 70s - Maesteg, Aberdare Phurnacite to name just a couple of locations.

    Good luck with the extension;meanwhile plenty of bums on seats will help!
     
  14. Harleyman

    Harleyman New Member

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating getting rid of the small engines, Heaven forbid! You're absolutely right Matt they do have a place and it's well earned too; but as you say the cost of hiring in visitors has to be justified.
     
  15. shredder1

    shredder1 Member

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  16. Respite

    Respite Member

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    "Proper" motive power comes with superheaters and bogie wheels and a heck of a lot more maintenance and expense, that's just what the railway doesn't need. Yes it would be fine to hire in "proper" motive power for gala or main season. Haulwen and Guardsman are South Wales engines and more than enough power for the traffic demands at Gwili. Industrial locos do not struggle to cope on round trips greater than 5 miles. The NYMR used Antwerp and Meteor on 6 mk 1s over 18 miles. I have spoken to ex BR men who handled Antwerp and Meteor and they say they didn't have a problem with them. A driver at the KWVR told me only last month that 'Fred' an austerity could take 5 coaches up the KWVR on one big fire, Monckton at Embsay has taken 8 coaches up the long 1 in 100 with little fuss.

    Regarding a possible gala when Welsh Guardsman returns and/or before Jennifer leaves, Yes please!
     
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  17. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    It is worth recalling what the situation was when the railway was set up in the 70's. We literally had a bare platform and a single line when we moved into Bronwydd, not even a siding. Our motive power policy was dictated when the NCB disposed of the remaining South Wales steam locos in the early 80's. The ones remaining were to be shared between the various South Wales preservation schemes at the time, we received what is now Welsh Guardsman and Mountain Ash No.1 a fine Hunselt which we sold years later (shame). We did look at Pannier 7754 (ex Mountain Ash), but the cracked cylinder block was felt to be too big an issue and in the end it went to Llangollen. The bottom line was that the industrials were thought to be far easier to restore than anything at Barry, or 7754. We did secure Dinmore Manor but this was always going to be a tall order out in the open with volunteers. At the time keeping the 0-4-0's going was a major achievement!
     
  18. Harleyman

    Harleyman New Member

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    That was effectively what I was suggesting. Since I had a hand in the restoration of 92212 I'm more than familiar with the extra complications and costs of restoring and maintaining ex-main-line locomotives, and until the Gwili gets a shed it's unlikely to happen anyway I'd guess.

    The inescapable fact remains though that whilst the general public are in the most part quite happy to see anything in steam on the front of the train, and the "Thomas" stuff seems to remain an important part of the Gwili's revenue stream, some sort of variety is needed for the more discerning enthusiasts or they simply won't bother with repeat visits. I stress that this is not criticism, just observation.
     
  19. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    It'll get there, one day... At least the Gwili's getting fairly close to having two vintage carriages up and running at some point in the next year or so. Or rather, it will when I decide to turn up to weekend sessions again (and forcing myself not to daub the carriage sides with the words Southern Railway)!
     
  20. JWKB

    JWKB Member

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    Yeah,
    You and me both Tom, work seems to be getting in the way. Although I think we can be a little more precise than the next years or so, I believe that September is the aim!
     

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