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Gwili Railway

INFORMATION FOR THE VISITOR

RCD’s Overview

This heritage railway travels through attractive countryside alongside the course set by the River Gwili from which it derives its name. It is centred at its station close to the village of Bronwydd Arms, about 3 miles north of Carmarthen. It runs on what was once part of the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway. Trains currently travel north from Bronwydd Arms to Danycoed, and south towards Abergwili Junction (on the outskirts of Carmarthen). A new station and rail complex is being developed at Abergwili Junction which may open in 2023. The rail operation is small but very friendly, there typically being 3 daily trains scheduled in each direction. These services may well be expanded once Abergwili Junction is open as that will give the line significantly greater operational scope.

 

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Bronwydd Arms to Danycoed (and to Abergwili Jct from 2023)

Principal Visitor Centre:

Bronwydd Arms Station (SA33 6HT)

Period of Operation*

- Easter to September: Daily (except Mondays and Fridays)

- July and August (near daily)

- Late Oct to early November, and December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 

 

Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Primarily steam. Occasional diesel railcar

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Small industrial steam locomotives

Length of Line:

4 miles (Danycoed to Abergwili Jct)

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour 30 minutes

Number of trains per day:

Up to 3 in each direction

Number of Stations:

4 stations (however only Bronwydd Arms currently has public access)

Prices:

Adult Rover: £15. Child Rover: £11

Time to allow for Visit:

2 to 3 hours

Museum:

No

Shop/Cafe:

Yes/Yes

Picnic/Play areas:

Yes

Preservation Established:

1975

Car Park Facilities:

Limited parking available at Bronwydd Arms Station

 

Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- Cream Tea & Steam                                                                               

Event Trains:

- Halloween Lights of the Valley Train: Late Oct to early November

- Santa Specials: December 

Principal Galas:

- Steam and Diesel Gala: Summer/Autumn

 

Contacts

Email:                                                                  info@gwili-railway.co.uk

Telephone:                                                           01267 238 213

Website:                                                               www.gwili-railway.co.uk

Social Media:                                                       www.facebook.com/TheGwiliSteamRailway


INFORMATION FOR THE ENTHUSIAST

Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The heritage railway runs along part of the former Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway, built by a number of companies and completed in 1867. The line has an interesting history being partly promoted by the Manchester and Milford Railway, a company intent on connecting Manchester and the North West with the deep-water port on Milford Haven as a possible alternative to Liverpool. The line would run off the Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth line 5 miles west of Newtown, and run via Llanidloes and Tregaron. The scheme was only partially successful as it ran out of finance having only completed the route north from Carmarthen to the village of Ystrad Meurig (station named Strata Florida). Unable to find the finance to complete the line towards Llanidloes, a shorter and easier deviation was implemented from Strata Florida running to Aberystwyth. Although the line was completed, it was so circuitous that it failed to attract the Manchester - South West Wales traffic hoped for, and it became a rural branch. The Manchester and Milford Railway went into administration in 1875 and was eventually absorbed by the Great Western Railway in 1906. Although a convenient route between Carmarthen to Aberystwyth for which there was no rail alternative, the line was slated for closure in the Beeching Report. It was closed to passengers in 1965, but remained open for milk traffic from Carmarthen to Felin-fach (near Lampeter) until closed completely in 1973. A preservation society was then formed with the intent of preserving at least 8 miles of line from Carmarthen to Llanpumpsaint station. However, track lifting had already started and only one mile of track north of Bronwydd Arms was still in place. Acquisition of the 8-mile tracked was however achieved and since then the heritage railway has worked on relaying the line. It has now reached the outskirts of Carmarthen at Abergwili Junction, and is now considering its northern section and expansion towards Llanpumpsaint.

 

Principal Aspiration

To complete and open its new station and rail facilities at Abergwili Junction, and commence planning for possible expansion northwards to Llanpumpsaint.

 

Steam Operational Locomotives:

- RSH 0-6-0 - No. 7849 ‘Moorbarrow’

 

Diesel Operational Locomotives:

- BR Class 03 shunter - No. D2178

 

Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) Taff Vale Railway 01 Class 0-6-2T - No.28

(2) Hunslet Austerity - No.3879 ‘Haulwen’

Diesel Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) Heritage DMU Class 117 2 car - (W51347 and W51401)

(2) Ruston shunter - 312433 ‘Abigail’

 

Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- RSH 0-4-O - No.7058 ‘Olwen’

- Peckett 0-4-OST - No.1345 ‘Mond Nickel No.1’

- Hunslet - No.3829

- Peckett 0-60-DM No. 5014 ‘Aberthaw’

- HST power car 43056

 

INFORMATION ON THE SUPPORT GROUP

Name of Support Group:

Gwili Railway Preservation Society

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £25. Junior/Student: £10. Family: £35

 

Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Discounted travel on the railway

-          Magazine, ‘Gwili Messenger’ issued twice a year

-          Monthly e-mail Volunteer Newsletter (VNL)

 

How to Join:                                Go to www.gwili-railway.co.uk/gwili-railway-preservation-society

 

What They Say About Volunteering:

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Gwili Railway. As well as preserving a valuable part of our Welsh railway heritage, their work gives pleasure to tens of thousands of our visitors every year. Our volunteers come from a range of social and occupational background and range in age from students to the retired. There is more to a railway than just running trains. Our volunteers lend support in many other ways. We are always looking for new volunteers to train in a number of operational and non-operational roles.

 

How to Volunteer:                                       Go to www.gwili-railway.co.uk/become-a-volunteer

 

How to Donate:                                           Email railway for information on how to donate

 

WHY JOIN: Help the railway complete its development of Abergwili Junction station and its rail complex to enable services to commence from Carmarthen.


INFORMATION ON OTHER SOCIETIES WITH RELATED INTEREST

Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this

website:

 

Traditional Railway Societies:

- Welsh Railway Trust

- Great Western Society

- Welsh Railways Research Circle

 

Model Railway Clubs:

- Swansea Railway Modellers Group

- Llandovery and District Model Railway Club

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