Abergwili Junction

Bridge 5 to Abergwili

 BR5 SouthJune 2013. Photo taken from Bridge 5 looking South

This was the clearest section of trackbed with only a few trees needing cutting back here. The platform will be on the right of the curve in the far distance. The turnouts on the left have been recovered from the brambles ready for the runaround loop. Unfortunately not one was completely usable so we recovered all the rails and chairs and had to start again with fresh sleepers.

 Because of the layout of our road access (north of the bridge) all vehicles had to come under the bridge and down the trackbed to access the new station area. The bridge is only wide enough for a single track so track laying had to be put on hold while the platform was built and some major earthworks carried out opposite the new platform. These earthworks were one of the worst jobs we had to do. We had a 10 Ton 360o excavator and two dumpers running almost continuously for three weeks in between the torrential rain storms and howling gales just to re-profile the embankment and a serious amount of earthmoving behind this. Our grateful thanks must go to Parker Plant for the huge amount of support they have given us by allowing us to 'borrow' large excavators (with drivers) and dumpers for the odd week (!) here and there. Finally, we got to track laying...

 B5 South track laid

 Jan 2014. Looking south from bridge 5 again. (Photo. Les Budd)

 The turnouts have been moved to the ends of the platform, the rail pile on the right has all but disappeared and, if you look closely at the background you can see the whitish edging stones of the new platform!

 What is not obvious is the huge amount of earthworks that have been carried out to re-profile the embankment opposite the platform and form a siding south of the platform for all our… "Stock awaiting restoration" (I think that is the polite way of putting it!)

 If you look closely where the platform disappears around to the right you can also just make out one end of the water main overbridge. This photo was taken just before Welsh Water asked us for access to that water main to refurbish and re-clad it. With the only access for vechiles along the trackbed all of the track you see here has had to be lifted and set aside while they worked. Part of the old cladding may have been asbestos so we were very happy for it to be removed.  To make sure none escaped the whole pipe bridge had to be wrapped in plastic...

water main tent 

26/2/2014 The water main in its plastic tent. (Photo John Jones)

 Not the best of days for photo's - it was a very dull day so the 'tent' does not show up that well. And you may have noticed - it's been raining - again….

So while we wait for thigs to dry out I've time to tell you about a couple of interesting little events that happened on this section...

Some of you reading this might wonder what all this disturbance has done to the local wild life… well I was lucky enough to witness the following event that happened here while we were lifting rail from the pile on the right in the top photo and then dragging it north for laying… Unfortunately, no one had a camera to capture the event… You can imagine the noise and disturbance made by a grab excavator dragging rails from the pile up onto the trackbed for sorting and then dragging them behind a dumper north to where we were tracklaying… so imagine our amazement when a buzzard flew down and perched on one of the fence posts for the chain link fence right next to the rail pile, literally only a matter of feet away from the rails and happily sat there watching us work! The next thing we knew the bird had jumped (yes, jumped, not flew) off the post into the pile where we had just pulled a rail and with a couple of flaps of its wings was back on the post with a vole in its beak.  This went on for about half an hour (and another couple of voles) before it finally flew off. I always thought buzzards were shy birds… Perhaps it had just decided to eat in and not take away… 

Another incident, which could have been the same bird, came while we were ditch clearing a little further north. We had noticed a buzzard regularly perching on tree stumps quite close to where we were working. Each time it appeared it would land a little closer. Eventually this bird flew down onto the trackbed, within a few feet of the excavator, and stood watching intently as each bucketful came out of the ditch we were re-profiling. Even the bucket swinging over its head didn't seem to bother it! It just ducked a little each time and then watched with interest as the bucket dug its next load. If this was the same bird it must have fancied a change of menu because this one jumped into the hole just as a full bucket came out and was last seen disappearing with a rather fat frog in its beak!

A short while later... It's stopped raining,The sun is shining and so is the lovely new cladding on the pipe! The platforms ready (complete with greenery - already!) ballast is down just waiting for track...

New platform at Abergwili Junction

And that Folks is the end of my little sagas. More news updates will be published as we progress. I hope you have enjoyed the story of how we've got this far and look forward to seeing you all at the Gwili when the extension is fully open. AH


Gwili Steam Railway, Bronwydd Arms Station, Bronwydd Arms, Carmarthen, SA33 6HT. Tel (01267) 238213 (Mon-Fri-10am-4pm)