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Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by Great Western, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Pesmo

    Pesmo Active Member

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    Having cycled the full length of the cycle track up from the south to the P&B and onto Waunavon, that must have been one of the most impressive long climbs to observe with a steam loco anywhere, back in the day. I suppose the heavy trains were going down hill from the pit in those days though and uphill would just have been the empties so perhaps not so dramatic as it could have been. Some of the views south of the current terminus are quite impressive in a Vale of Rheidol 'clinging to the side of the valley' kind of way, so I predict this line becoming very popular in the medium to long term.
     
  2. Alex G

    Alex G New Member

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    Andrew Barclay Rosyth No. 1 left us yesterday to go on loan to Chasewater Railway until the new year.

    This weekend is our 1940's weekend and also your last chance to see visiting pannier 1501, Andrew Barclay 1219 will also be out this weekend working shuttle trains from Big Pit to Furnace Sidings.
    http://pontypool-and-blaenavon.co.uk/#/Event?id=37

    Alex.
     
  3. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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  4. acorb

    acorb Active Member

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    Had the pleasure of spending a few hours at the gala today. Despite the disgusting weather conditions, the blast up from High level behind the visiting 41312 still put a massive smile on my face. For a small railway it packs in so much; incredible gradients and a stunning setting in a World Heritage site, with it's unique post industrial landscape.
    Reading through this thread there is so much ambition, with extensions planned both north and south. This railway really could become premier league in a short amount of time if these plans came off. Is there any more news? Unfortunately the shop had sold out of the line's magazine and there is very little news on the website.
     
  5. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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    Popped to the gala on Friday (first ever visit) and was also impressed. Got chatting and it appears that the next planned extension is northwards, although I couldn't find any more information. I did manage to get a copy of the last magazine but it said there would be further updates next time! A good excuse to join I guess...

    Regards

    Matt
     
  6. Great Western

    Great Western New Member

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    Fantastic 2017 Gala, here's to 2018!


    IMG_4173.JPG IMG_4172.JPG IMG_4170.JPG
     
  7. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

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    The P&B fascinates me especially as I may be moving to the area. It seems raw yet packed full of potential, not least because a substantial amount of the track bed remains virtually untouched, teasingly waiting for rails to be re-laid. I genuinely watch with real interest
     
  8. burmister

    burmister New Member

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    Indeed a line with much potential with places of interest in the local area and it can offer tourists a trip from somewhere to somewhere. In view of its location I am also reassured that the management has got its head before its heart by the investment in covered accommodation so stock can be worked on year round ahead of say further track extensions or WIBN loco restorations sucking the life blood out of the railway. Thank goodness all those decrepit Barry steam locos got sold and left site ditto the large diesels.

    Brian
     
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  9. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk New Member

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    Is the branch to big pit museum still on use?
     
  10. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes it is.
     
  11. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk New Member

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    Thank you
     
  12. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

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    What's the like phases of extension of the line? North first, then south?
     
  13. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Seems a bit of an exaggeration; most loco projects tend to be stand alone.
    The Barry locos were privately owned, not the property of the railway.
     
  14. Luke McMahon

    Luke McMahon New Member

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    Burmister - only a couple of the diesels left, still resident are 2 excellent locos IIRC owned by a guy called les emery.

    31203 "steve organ gm" - currently operational, seems in very good nick & from a mate who's a 31 basher says it's a good strong performer. Sadly it doesn't have heating capabilities so doesn't work through winter unless top & tail with steam.

    37216 - Recently had the engine re-started after a few months layoff for bodywork repairs which from the recent pics I've seen is nearly complete.

    The diesel fleet have their place, whenever the 37 or 31 have running days they've seemed well attended. I agree though undercover storage has to be top priority as being in a fairly rugged rural area the welsh weather can be pretty damn vicious at times!!!

    Anyone know what the plans are for heading northwards. Also do the railway plan to obtain any more rolling stock? Think atm they've got a rake of 3 MK1s which will serve them well, however a couple of spare coaches might be handy for if any coaches need repairs etc.
     
  15. Great Western

    Great Western New Member

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    A dedicated carriage and wagon shed is in the ground prep stage of construction, which will provide undercover maintenance and restoration space for the MK1 and vintage vehicles.

    The railway will then have a dedicated steam running shed, dedicated C&W shed, dedicated diesel and steam restoration shed !

    Extension wise, I believe the focus is to go north and an alignment is safeguarded in the official plan with the council for the local area. The railway is also in the early stages of remodelling the basic train control equipment, in preparation for a signalling scheme later on.

    All in all a very bright looking future, but as it always the same issue we need more people to push these things forward !
    £15 will buy you membership, you'll be trained in whatever department you wish...S&T hint hint is a rather exciting but one hand in numbers deportment
     
  16. Tuska

    Tuska New Member

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    I'd rather the railway commit itself to tidying up the huge exchange yard, and getting rid of any unsightly wrecks that have no hope of restoration, or putting them uncover at the very least, as they only serve to make the attraction look, well, like a dump.

    Extension wise.... Northwards. Walter Mining were completely uncompromising on allowing the Railway through, and sold the land/untouched track-bed to... ugh... Celtic Energy who own the land to the summit of the line, Waunavon. Celtic Energy have made a rather fine mess of the Margam Opencast site, and did a runner with the money to the Caribbeans. Whoever was responsible in Bridgend Council for allowing this scandal to happen should face criminal charges. Effectively, the area is mothballed unless the Council seize their ill gotten gains off them, or other, I can see no progress.

    Southwards. We have... ugh again... Sustrans, who are completely uncompromising, period. However, the Council recognize the railways potential, and may shut them up when they force route-sharing through. If you were to ask me which direction is the best to proceed in - I honestly couldn't tell you.
     
  17. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    I must admit I was totally unaware of this, what an utter disgrace.

    https://www.theguardian.com/comment...l-keep-it-in-the-ground-energy-opencast-mines
     
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  18. Henry the Green Engine

    Henry the Green Engine New Member

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    What are the official plans for the future?
    Will it extend to at least the B4248 or, further?
    Where does the Celtic Energy ownership start?

    Have the railway considered a Heavy Haulage Gala, with the usual passenger trains for revenue? A combination of WR and industrial locos, the mainline loco works a train in, an industrial takes over and shunts. 56XX, 42XX, 28XX, 57XX would obviously be the right classes. Perhaps charge for brakevan rides.

    Is there any chance of extending the Big Pit branch to the pit sidings, which are isolated from the rest and, restoring the Big Pit 0-4-0St which is marooned there, so it can do its old job again?

    Some of the views are in danger of being lost, as lineside trees are starting to obscure the view for both passengers and linesiders, often the same people remember. By next years Gala, many good views will be hidden. Pruning branches would do it rather than cutting down, in most cases. Mostly on the stretch opposite the loco shed.
     
  19. Luke McMahon

    Luke McMahon New Member

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    If & its a big IF sustrans will play ball then an extension might be possible.

    However their pretty well known for digging their heels in & trying to block any extend plans by preserved railways. I think though on a positive note that there's a way to force them to share an old trackbed as has happened before, the pres line runs alongside the cycleway which leaves plenty of room for both.
     
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  20. hyboy

    hyboy New Member

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    I am sure there will be those who think they know otherwise but its a great shame that Sustrans didn't exist 20 years earlier and inherit all lines closed by Beeching in the 60's . We would still have the alignments protected and the possibility of returning them to railway use . Shared use by cyclists and railway as on the P&B and my local preserved line the Avon Valley Railway successfully shows how that can work to the advantage of both users.
    Personally I often leave the car at home and travel to preserved railways by train with my bike , its a great way to travel.
     

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