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The Gwili Railway thread

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by Matt78, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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    Hi all,

    Last year's Gwili thread seemed to go down reasonably well so I thought it was time to bring you up to date with all the goings on.

    The confirmed passenger figures for 2011 are 27,875 which is our best ever year since we started running trains in 1978. Like many railways we finished with a strong santa season. All in all a very pleasing result considering the tough economic conditions, and the fact we had to rely on Diesel traction a fair bit due to problems with the steam fleet.

    On that front, Haulwen is having routine maintainence and should be ok to start the season in April.

    Welsh Guardsman is at Llangollen for contract repair, a new steel firebox will be fitted to replace the life expired copper one.

    Olwen's boiler is being worked on at Bronwydd, foundation ring rivets and copper stays are being renewed. A new outer firebox patch is required.

    The two diesels (03 and 14) are both serviceable

    On the carriage front, the Kitchen Car is in the shed for repainting into Southern Green (Dining Train livery)

    Another MK1 FO is being repaired and is planned to be repainted into green to add to the dining train, making a 4 coach set.

    Taff Vale Railway No.220 of 1891 is undergoing door repairs and GWR 216 of 1888 is having replacement beading made. We hope both may make an entry into service in the latter part of this year!

    The north point at Bronwydd Arms is being replaced as part of the winter P Way Programme.

    Another project pending is the conversion of two Taff Vale Coach bodies into a Cafe for Bronwydd platform

    Plans are also afoot to carry out some much needed repairs to the signal box at Bronwydd.

    So lots to do to get the railway ready for the new season, which starts with Day Out With Thomas over the Easter period. To see the timetable for 2012 visit www.gwili-railway.co.uk

    Regards
    Matt
     
  2. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    Thanks Matt

    Any news on the southern extension? Also, I read recently a major trackbed clearance and tidy-up is planned for the stretch north through Conwil to Llanpumpsaint. I realize this is part of a regular assertion of landowner rights, but I hope it also signals a long term aim to run through to Llanpumpsaint eventually!
     
  3. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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    Things are a bit quieter on the extension front at the moment, with priority being given over to the existing railway at this time of year. The planning stage for the repairs to the small bridge over the stream continues, and once this is completed the aim will be to continue tracklaying.

    As soon as there is anything concrete to report then it will be on the forum.

    Llanpumsaint is very much part of the dream, but will be some time in the future on present form. 40 years of tree growth are being tackled on the northen sections that we own. Step forward lottery winners......

    Here is a Youtube promotional video which was made several years ago and has just been posted to the railway's YouTube channel. It features some discussion about Llanpumsaint...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=johCkZjje2k&context=C382d6fdADOEgsToPDskI1F5H2qwjHaw-563RfqGhx
     
  4. svr-rodgers

    svr-rodgers Member

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    Keep a look out on this thread for an announcement of an event which will be held later in the year, info will be posted ASAP.
     
  5. svr-rodgers

    svr-rodgers Member

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    Hi Folks

    I am very pleased to confirm that over Friday 12th and Saturday 13th October there will be a Photo Charter at the Gwili Railway near Carmarthen, using Haulwen and Welsh Guardsman which is returning to steam this summer.

    The Friday will be recreating a Miners train which would've carried the miners up to one of the many mines over the country, followed by a night shoot at Bronwydd Arms and the Saturday will be recreating an Army Supply’s train during WWII, We shall be using both loco's on the Saturday which will be the FIRST time that they will have been paired together facing the same way in steam in the railways history. I am currently arranging a few extra bits for both days of the charter but these will be kept as a surprise.

    We will be starting on the Friday at 9am from Bronwydd Arms station finishing at 5pm ready for the night shoot to start at 6.30pm and finish at 8.30pm.
    The Saturday will start at 8am and finish at 5pm.

    If you are interested or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me on jrphotocharters@live.co.uk or PM me for details.

    Regards

    James Rodgers
     
  6. jamesd

    jamesd Member

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    Is there any chance of having some sort of gala this year? The diesel gala a couple of years ago was good, what about an everything goes event using anything that runs?
     
  7. svr-rodgers

    svr-rodgers Member

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    We are looking into doing something next year jamesd
     
  8. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    I think the progress of the Gwili has been exciting and has been achieved in a professional manner! The possibilities are endless for a line in such beautiful surroundings.
    I do wonder though if the erection of an engine shed like that of the Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr Railways and the PBR would preserve the carriages during the winter and enable cover for locomotives. Would this shed be able to be located in Bronwydd? They are not expensive comparably with the amount saved from continual refurbishment of stock left to nature. They can be constructed in the same way as agriculture barns so are economical and can be constructed quickly. This may also encourage private owners of locomotives to locate to the Gwili! Just an idea I thought I would post. The Gwili seems to be doing very well though! and good luck!

    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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    Thank you Thb17 for your kind words and welcome to the forum.

    the railway is now starting to turn corners and I put this down to the decision we made at the end of 2010 to become a full time railway, with extra paid staff and a general manager. We can now look forward with serious confidence knowing that we are growing as a business, although of course nothing is ever straighforward! Having staff on site Monday to Friday to tackle the job lists is something I can't overstate the importance of though especially in this "SMS" age.

    Work continues on the locos with Welsh Guardsman having a new steel firebox being built at the SDR. Olwen's boiler has gone to Somerset for replacement of some of the outer firebox. With Haulwen in working order then the prospect of 3 working steam locos during 2012 is getting brighter. The P Way chaps are busy on the north point at Bronwydd and work has started on the foundations for the "Taff Vale Cafe".

    Rgearding a shed, it has been on the wish list for some time. As you can see from the above, the locos themselves are requiring some major work which does tend to strech what available finances we have. Once we have got through this spell then who knows..?


    Regards

    Matt
     
  10. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    Thank you very much for your detailed and informative reply.
    That will be great for the railway! Will Olwen be painted back into Percy? Once the cafe is open what will happen with the current buffet car? Will this be an opportunity to have a couple of assorted wagons in the station or will this be used as extra parking space? A crazy golf in Llwyfan Cerrig always seemed like a good idea however they do require maintenance! The Gwili once it reaches Carmarthen I think will see it become twice as busy! The site is so well situated next to the bypass there will always be families driving past looking for something to do on holiday in Carmarthenshire. Also the hospital I suppose many people come down to visit loved ones and want a break! However do you think vandalism could be a problem now you are in a far more populous area? Although the site is pretty road locked!

    Its great to hear from an ever evolving railway with a great strategy. I believe the railway becoming full time is the only way to progress as otherwise often the work load is to much for volunteers and it becomes one step forward one step back! Any possibilities of any grants for a shed and one could be erected by your selves as they come in kit form. Paint it then in GWR chocolate and cream surely its a very strong argument for a grant as it preserves and protects!

    Its great to hear what is going on there and I believe the hard economic times may help the Gwili as it is now far cheaper than most other attractions in the area Oakwood, Heatherton, Paintballing......

    Regards
    Tom
     
  11. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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    Hi Tom,

    The plan is that Olwen will continue in "Percy" guise and that Welsh Guardsman will be black as per previously.

    The cafe siding at Bronwydd will become part of the car park to provide much needed space; however we do intend to park a fully restored GWR Mink Van in the siding as well fora bit of atmosphere. Restoration of this van is proceeding apace.

    The MK1 coach used previously as the tea room will be restored to running order and again work is ongoing. It is a former 1st class open with 34 seats and the plan is to add this to the dining train to make a four coach set with a capacity of almost 100 for this train.

    You raise some very relevant points about Carmarthen and the future. We are currently priced at £20 for a family which we think is right considering the economic conditions. The problem we have is of course that the Oakwoods and Heathertons can be "all day attractions" whereas one trip on the train won't use up more than half a morning. Getting a longer ride and "other" things to do would improve this.

    Grants for a shed are possible but it's not easy to find 100% grants these days and therefore the railway still has to find something in match funding. As I mentionned above what is available at the moment is being invested in the fleet but we have a rough plan to get something in place, just depends on the figures etc.

    Regards
    Matt
     
  12. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    hey Matt
    Will you have a large car park in Carmarthen North? Often there are no spaces (especially in winter as every one is ill) haha in the hospital car park! while the railway does not run a pay and display car park could that bring revenue for the railway? Would this be possible? In war department welsh gurardsman looked smart. maybe for a short period it could be painted in Felinfoel livery to match the four coach set that would look extremely smart! I can see the dining train doing very well as its very comparable to the price of a normal 4 course meal with entertainment let alone the train! The countryside is truly beautiful and I think the extension will make this more apparent. Any ideas on whats going to happen when the class 14 goes back next year?

    regards
    Tom
     
  13. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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    The plan at Carmarthen North is to have a large car park but offhand I couldn't tell you how big. Pay and Display might be possible, but the challenge is going to be getting the funding to build it first...

    The Class 14 has been a popular performer on the railway and we have enjoyed having it. At the moment we are looking towards the 2012 season and haven't started planning for 2013 yet so couldn't say at this stage what's going to happen.

    Regards
    Matt
     
  14. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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    Some brief news-

    we have agreed an extension to the loan of Jennifer so the loco will be working with us in the first part of 2012.

    Haulwen test steamed last week, all ok.

    the replacement of the north point at Bronwydd Arms has been completed sucessfully

    Meanwhile we now have an online booking system up and running on the website for certain events such as Dining Trains, Driver Experience etc. See www.gwili-railway.co.uk for more details.

    Regards

    Matt
     
  15. svr-rodgers

    svr-rodgers Member

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    And to add to Matt's post above, the Photo Charter in October is still going ahead, Friday Only ticket is £40 including Night shoot, Saturday only is £30, Both days is £60. Lots of interest already shown and booking coming in so if you want to secure yourself a ticket then get in touch soon! jrphotocharters@live.co.uk
     
  16. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    Has track laying on the extension started yet? Regards TOm
     
  17. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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  18. shredder1

    shredder1 Member

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    It all sounds very exciting stuff, I was in Carmarthen on monday night, but only for a short visit, I really must get down there and pay you guys a visit, reading your website I see you own from Llanpumpsaint in the north to the site of Abergwili Junction in the south, although it is appreaciated it may take sometime to get this section operationable, are there any plans to obtain any more of the trackbed, possibly north of Llanpumpsaint, or is this no longer possible? I was talking to one of the supervisors at Carmarthen on Monday evening who told me that an housing estate had been built over part of the trackbed around Carmarthen somewhere?
     
  19. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    The Gwili 2012 Thread

    With the extension of Jennifer's loan if you could get Jennifer to overlap with arrivals of Owen and welsh guards man then with haulwen the shunted ainz the 03 and the 14 this would make for an awsome industrial gala spread over a 100 years from Owen right up through to the 14... Just an idea
     
  20. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    The Gwili 2012 Thread

    Well 70 years! Would be good for the vintage transport weekend!
     

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