Its beginning to look like a car park

As the festive season draws near, it is time for the Abergwili team to pause, look back at what has been achieved and then look forward to what remains to be done.

As many of you will know the development of Abergwili Junction has been in the fore front of the railways thinking since the first trains started running to Abergwili in the summer of 2017.

Since then a huge amount of behind the scenes work has gone on in developing the plans to the point where we were able to start physical work on the project this year.

The sight that greeted volunteers in early January was one of dense brambles and bushy goats willow. Our volunteers keenly got stuck in to the task of cutting back the willow and attacking the brambles. No mean feat with a number of strimmer blades succumbing to dense brambles. After about six week of work the site was ready for the contractors to move on to site.

After a thorough and exhaustive tendering process for the project, the tender was awarded to Ian Davies Plant Hire of Neath. In early July the contractors moved on to site and started the process preparing the site.

As the site had been used as a ‘borrow’ pit for the building of the Carmarthen bypass in the late 1990’s the site was made up of various mounds of differing materials. So to create the large flat space we need a large amount of material was removed from the southern end of the site to the northern end of the site. This seeing levels at the northern end of the site rising between five – six feet.

During the levelling period we were extremely lucky to enjoy an extend period of dry weather allowing the contractor to make some serious headway. After initial levelling a number of tons of stone of differing grades were brought to site to start to bring the car park area close to its final finish.

The finishing touches were then added at the end of October when the access road was tarmacked and painted along with the installation of the new automated barriers

As well a developing the car park, work also started on developing the southern end of the site ready for our new carriage shed. As mentioned earlier this material removed from here to make up the car park levels. This in turn helped create a second flat area, where we could build our much need carriage shed.

After the area was cleared the foundation where laid and the concrete allowed to cure. The shed structure is currently out to tender and we expect to appoint a contractor during January, with a view to the building being completed by October 2023. The shed will initially be two road wide and able to hold a total of eight BR Mk1 carriages.

There is however scope to extend the shed further in the future to create a five road road shed, with the addition of two further storage roads and a new workshop road.

Whilst our contractor focussed on the development of the car park and Dan Do Carriage shed area, our volunteers focused on the provision of a new Booking office and shop. This is to take the form of the rescued Kings Dock signal box. This box was constructed by Worcester signalling contractors McKenzie & Holland for the Swansea Harbour Trust, it opened about 1905 and was of the attractive all-timber design used extensively by the pre-grouping railway companies of South Wales.

This box originally arrived at the Gwili in the late 2009 when the Swansea Vale Railway society relocate from its site in Swansea. What arrived in a 40ft container was akin to a life sized thousand piece puzzle. Since starting on the project in late October a small skilled team have made great strides in reassembling the key components to from the outline of the building. It is hoped that the building will be finished and ready to welcome customers at some point in the summer of 2023.

So having achieved a huge amount in 2022, there is still a lot to be done before we can welcome our first fare paying passenger :

  • Diversion of the overhead power lines that currently on site
  • Installation of Water, electric and sewage connections
  • Relocation of our Café
  • Relocation of the toilet block from Bronwydd
  • Installation of an original GWR ‘3’ way switch.
  • Along with a whole host of other small items.

One response to “Its beginning to look like a car park”

  1. iwan.davies4@gmail.com Avatar
    iwan.davies4@gmail.com

    cant wait for the opening of gwili station, this is going to be start of something really big, exellent location ease of parking, tourist and locals will flock to support you, very well done all of you,

    Like

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