Building on the future of the Gwili Railway’s Heritage
Carriage Shed Appeal - Help Us raise £150,000+
With the opening of the new Abergwili Junction extension, the Gwili Railway is now embarking on the next exciting phase of development. Like many heritage lines, the Gwili Railway makes use of the standard British Railways Mark 1 carriages.
A storage facility is badly needed to protect them from the worst of the Welsh weather. The new shed will hold four Mark 1 carriages on each road. We have several historic items of stock which relate to Wales. The public display of such vehicles and artefacts is seen as essential in informing and educating our visitors.
The carriage shed will allow us to obtain further historic Welsh carriages for display and create a educational classroom facility. Potential funding partners are fully supportive of a building with an emphasis on display, education and storage.
The full cost of the proposed building will be £300,000 and we have informal pledges of over half this amount provided we can raise the remainder.
We are therefore looking to raise a further £150,000 to complete the funding package and to allow construction to begin. Just Giving is the easiest way for you to donate online, cheques can be sent to the railway by post. See our news section for pictures and updates.
Download your appeal booklet here..
The future of the railway and Abergwili Junction
The plan is to develop the facilities that the railway can offer. Car parking improvements with a new station and car park at Abergwili are planned together with better catering facilities at Llwyfan Cerrig Station.
The Gwili Railway Company announced the opening of the Abergwili Junction Extension on the 1st July 2017 with the first public day of service starting Sunday 2nd July. From this date the new line will be open to the public on every operating day except Christmas services.
The first extension to the Gwili Railway in over 15 years is now complete. In 2017 works have now been completed which included the laying of track, ballasting, fencing, Signal and Telegraph works , tree clearance and the construction of a new platform at Abergwili Junction.
The new route will add a considerable appeal to the railway, with operations extended over the Great Western Railway style level crossing, and the minor road crossing at Pontyfelin. Along the route there are some spectacular views of the turbulent river Gwili, with perhaps the highlight being the mini waterfall near milepost 248 (III). The relatively straight route contrasts with the curved formation further up the valley, and the A484 road is never far away for much of the journey. The new destination ends on the edge of Carmarthen itself, bringing a tourist attraction to the town for the first time.
We know that the future of the Gwili Railway depends on better car parking and visitor attractions. Should funding allow and Welsh Development grants become available we will work towards the goal of having our main station on this important site. The dedication and hard work of our volunteers over four years helped us achieve this landmark site.
The new line is 1.75 miles long and will see the line expand to a total of 4 miles, the extension adding to the present 2.5 mile run from Bronwydd Arms to Danycoed. The extension is the biggest so far in the 40- year history of the line and the first since 2001. The project has been 17 years in the making and has cost in money terms over £500,000 with much track material donated from the former Swansea Vale Railway in 2009.
Matt Bowen, extension director commented "the opening of the extension sees route mileage grow by 70% of the existing length. We are proud of all of the hard work by our volunteers, staff, members and shareholders in making the project happen. We are also grateful to the assistance and support of both local businesses and those in the railway industry that have contributed. We look forward to a new chapter in the history of the railway".
Abergwili Junction, The GWR meets the LNWR
Your journey back to Bronwydd Arms Station starts here when you board the restored 1950’s coaches pulled by one of our Austerity Steam engines or travel in a heritage diesel railcar. This station is a ‘New Build’, as one did not originally exist here. This was the junction where the LNWR line from Carmarthen to Llandeilo branched off on its journey to meet up with the Central Wales line.
Spot the Old Tin Works
The A40 trunk road now covers the old track bed, from Carmarthen and onwards to Abergwili, but parts may still be seen as you travel from Carmarthen, by road and pass the old Tin Works site (now occupied by Jewson). The line to Aberystwyth branches off on your left, about 100 yards, before you reach the roundabout.
Leave Carmarthen Town and follow the Gwili River
When you leave the Station, the valley is comparatively wide and shut in by lofty undulating, beautifully wooded hills. The train passes behind industrial buildings and dips under the stone bridge carrying Dolgwili Road and the hamlet of Glangwili appears to your right. As you travel north, the line is now hemmed in by the A484 road and the picturesque Gwili River (Afon Gwili) which will soon meander away to your right.
Look out for kingfishers and herons at the ‘Gwili Falls’
The track here is fairly straight in comparison to further up the valley and the valley sides to your left are fairly steep. On your right you will pass the ‘Gwili Falls’ where the river tumbles and foams over rocky outcrops in the bed. The valley is rich in wildlife - look out here for the kingfishers looking for food and the herons wading in the river.
Listen for the whistle before the crossing
As you travel on towards Bronwydd Arms, you will pass over an occupation crossing before coming to a minor un-gated crossing where the engine will whistle loudly before proceeding slowly across. Milepost 249 is reached before your train crosses the B4301 with its gates made of of Douglas fir which are accurate reproductions of the 2-gate system used by the Great Western Railway.
Llwyfan Cerrig and Conwil
Interesting visitor attractions for both adults and children are to being introduced to Llwyfan Cerrig Station adding to what is already provided.
Ultimately, our aim is to extend the railway north along the beautiful valley of the Afon Gwili towards Conwil where the roads are left behind. From this point the river and the railway share the valley with creatures of the wild and farm animals as eventually Llanpumpsaint is reached.