Presenter: Iain McCall
Iain McCall introduced us to “The Gwili Railway” on 16th March. This standard gauge preservation line in West Wales was the first to get going in the country earning its Light Railway Order in 1978. Resting on the formation of the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth Railway, headquarters is at Bronwydd Arms from where it runs north to Danycoed and south to Abergwili Jct. The railway runs through the Gwili Valley which closes in on the line in places with steep sided valleys. The River Gwili is crossed several times. Iain took us through restoration of the track and stations and highlighted some of the rolling stock. Most trains operate with one of the railway’s tank locomotives and up to three carriages. Diesel enthusiasts are catered for with some delightful former BR or industrial shunters. Coaching stock includes some trusty BR Mk.1s, alongside two charming Taff Vale Railway carriages, which look at home when coupled to Taff Vale 0-6-2T No.28. Future plans include extending north to Llanpumpsaint. This involves restoration of a bridge which is inaccessible by road. The railway did not have a crane which was strong enough and with extended reach to manage this restoration – until recently, that is, when the railway acquired a telescopic jib crane from Network Rail. Probably the newest crane in preservation, it is a game changer.