Don’t stop believing…..

Good Friday, 7th of April 2023 marked the culmination of nearly twenty years of dreaming, two years of planning and fundraising and twelve months of hard work by the railways volunteers.

Turning this previous brown field site, in to the new HQ of the railway.

Photo courtesy of John Jones

Good Friday was the first running day of the 2023 season and as such was the first time that trains have started there journey from Abergwili.

The crew of the first public train from Abergwili. (L-R) Simon Jones, Christian Hartley-Woolley, Dyfan Rees, Rob Cross and Alan Cox.

The following day was another key date in the history of the Gwili Railway. Not only was it the formal opening of the Car park but it was also 45 years since the running of the first trains on the railway in preservation. To mark the occasions the were a few speeches and small ribbon cutting ceremony. Presided over by long term supporters of the railway Mr Brian Jones and Caroline Langsdale.

Alongside this we were also joined by Peter Gabell and John Jones. John having been the driver on the original opening train and Peter having been the guard.

Since the last blog update work on site had been focused around ensuring the site was ready for use on Good Friday. This has seen a huge number of task completed.

As we mentioned in our last blog preparation work was well underway for the installation of the new power supply and diversion work. This was successfully carried out in early March. The removal of the overhead power lines creating a much more open feeling to the site.

Since then a small team of electrical volunteers have spent hundreds of hours kitting out the switch room, pulling cables to all four corners of the site and wiring up a huge variety of kit. At the time of writing a large portion of the work has been completed and is ready for testing.

Alongside the electrical work our fencing contractor has been on site and completed the fencing off of the car park areas. This has also allowed final painting of the barriers and sleepers the mark out the various parking bays.

Work has also continued on the laying of the new incoming water feed. The pipe now extends nearly 500m and is now within the station limits. It is hoped that if we get some dry weather in the next few weeks that it will be possible to complete the final 150m to the new tank room.

The water pipe just to the left of the run round loop. Just waiting to be placed in the trench on the far left.

Just before the contractor left site at the end of March, the opportunity was taken to cast the base for the new water tower at Abergwili.

This will see the current GWR water tower relocated from Bronwydd Arms and placed alongside the run round loop at Abergwili. This will allow us to top up with water without needing to stop at Bronwydd.

Alongside this the development team have also been working hard on developing partnership with other organisation within the community.

To this end on 21st of February the railway submitted a new planning application to Carmarthenshire county council. The aim of this application being to agree a slight amendment to our existing permission on site. This being to enable us to work jointly with the Hywel Dda health board to allivetae some of the staff car parking issues they currently experince on there site.

Finally not to be forgotten but the steel work for our new carriage shed, has this week been sent away for galvanising. It is hoped all being well that erection of the shed will start in a weeks time on the 17th.

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