Dan Do Shed Appeal makes a breakthrough

Saturday 30th September saw contractor Robert Jervis clear away vegetation as part of the work to determine the exact position of an underground water main. Although comparatively only a small job, it was significant as it was the first physical work to be done in association with building the Abergwili Junction Carriage Shed.
A comprehensive and compelling submission was completed by a small team and forwarded to the Welsh Assembly Government by the stated deadline of 14th September. A decision is now awaited as to whether a grant of £128,000 will be awarded to the project.
This, coupled with the sums raised to date (over 40k) and our promise of pound-for-pound match funding by a sponsor (you do the maths!) will go a considerable way to ensuring we have a suitable storage and display facility for our important rolling stock at Abergwili Junction, commencing the second phase of our development of the site.
Grant for improving Tourism sites
The Grant Fund applied for is specifically for the purpose of improving existing tourism sites, so the aims and objectives of Dan Do are wholly compatible with this. When we were informed of the stage one pass to the application in July, it was known we only had a short time to complete the application form for stage two. Thankfully much of the work done previously in branding and launching the project has assisted on this occasion. Passenger survey carried out To ensure we could evidence need, a passenger survey was initiated with over 100 replies received. Pleasingly, over 99% of respondents’ confirmed they would make a return visit to the Gwili Railway if Dan Do was open. The results of the survey also highlighted the age ranges of our visitors, and that we have both day trippers and holiday-makers who come to see us, with more of the former in August and more of the latter in September.
Letters of Support received
We also sought letters of support from key partners, and it is pleasing to report we had many positive responses from some significant or-ganisations including the National Railway Museum; Transport Trust; Heritage Railway Association; National Museum of Wales; Carmarthen County Council; Carmarthen Town Council and Carmarthen Tourism Association.
The support of these bodies we hope will also be a key factor in our vision of a “Welsh” railway museum, something that currently does not exist in South Wales and is (we be-lieve) a gap in the tourism market.
Business Plan
As well as promoting the project externally to passengers and or-ganisations, we had to focus on the internal mechanics. The Company’s business plan has been revised and re-incorporated and a marketing plan specific to Project Dan Do has been produced.
Thank you
On behalf of the Board can I thank all those who have helped whether by chasing letters of support, handing out survey forms, proof reading documents and general promotion of the project, your assistance is greatly appreciated.
Nothing guaranteed
So what are our chances? Nothing is guaranteed but aside from the vision of a “Welsh” railway museum, we already hold some key partnerships, not least with the National Railway Museum and the loan of Taff Vale Railway 28. The Gwili Vintage Carriage Group collection also offers further display items and we are negotiating with the National Museum of Wales to see if any of their items can also be displayed. Therefore we believe that we have made a compelling a case as possible, and combined with the availability of match funding and planning permission, should all count in favour of the project.
We now await the result of the submission, which should be known by the end of the year. If all goes to plan then work on site could start before Christmas this year.