Gwili Gala 22-23 June – Events will include…
- An intensive timetable on both days.
- All available traction in use,
- Road steam on display at Bronwydd Arms (full size and miniature)
- Demonstration goods train in use.
- Evening trains with on-board bar on Saturday night (curry and rice served on board: £5 with valid travel ticket).
Further details will be published below. We hope to see you there!
The Gala is a day ticket event. Adult £12, Child £8, Senior £12, Dog £2, Family 2+2 £35. Curry train please book on day with proof of ticket purchase.
22-23 June – Gala time is approaching!
Back in 2018, our “Gwili 40” gala showcased the past 40 years of the Gwili Steam Railway in the preservation era – as well as harking back to early days in preservation in 1978. However, there was still steam to be found in industrial service in South Wales at the time.
For the 2019 gala therefore, we’re shifting our attention back 41 years to Graig Merthyr Colliery (who were still running steam in 1978) – which has a special connection with our own RSH No.71516 “Welsh Guardsman”.
Our 2019 gala falls exactly on the 41st anniversary of the end of steam at Graig Merthyr colliery. Our own “Welsh Guardsman” carries the boiler from Bagnall No.2758 – which famously worked the final train out of Graig Merthyr.
In the latter years of Graig Merthyr colliery, the steam workings were extensively photographed – featuring heavily in the enthusiast press in later years (particularly through the work of photographer Geoff Silcock).
There are many stories surrounding the final train before closure, as it was heavily reported in both the enthusiast and local press at the time. The reporter (for a syndicated paper) was a young Anne Robinson (of “Weakest Link” fame), who rode on the footplate for the final run down the Dulais valley.
41 years on (to the day), we will recreate the spirit of the final day at Graig Merthyr – with an austerity carrying a wreath on the smokebox, as well as both the English & Welsh flags (as it did back in 1978). The loco will be working a demonstration goods train (featuring a series of photographic runpasts), to try and capture some of the atmosphere of the final train at Graig Merthyr back in 1978.
In addition, there will also be plenty else to see! All the usual ‘gala’ attractions will be available. Look out for:
- Intensive timetable in operation on both days, with all available motive power in use.
- Trains crossing at both Llwyfan Cerrig and Bronwydd Arms, with the signalling at Llwyfan Cerrig in use.
- Demonstration goods train.
- Displays and stalls at Bronwydd Arms, from other preservation societies and groups.
- D2178 on brake-van rides at Llwyfan Cerrig – a rare opportunity for haulage.
- Live music at Bronwydd Arms (Saturday only).
- Road steam on display at Bronwydd Arms – featuring both full-size and miniature engines.
- Unusual movements – including an afternoon ‘non-stop’ from Abergwili Junction to Danycoed on both days.
- Sentinel steam wagon “Typhoo” on display (in steam) at Bronwydd Arms. It will also make occasional demonstration runs on the A484 between Bronwydd Arms and Conwil, pacing the passenger trains through the valley.
- “Echoes of Graig Merthyr”: a photographic opportunity (all welcome – no prebooking necessary) with “Welsh Guardsman” on Saturday early evening at Bronwydd Arms (approx.5pm onwards). The loco will work a series of ‘run pasts’ through the station on a demonstration goods, carrying the wreath and flags to recreate something of the spirit of the final run at Graig Merthyr.
- “A Midsummer Night’s Steam” – a leisurely steam-hauled evening round trip on the Saturday night, celebrating the 75th birthday of “Welsh Guardsman”. Curry and rice will be served on board, and the bar will be open. £5 for food (on production of valid ticket for travel), no pre-booking necessary. 7pm ex Bronwydd Arms.
Further details to be announced in the coming days – including copies of both the public and working timetables. We hope to see you there!