Region: Wales

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Gwili Steam Railway, Bronwydd Arms Station, Carmarthen, Wales SA33 6HT

Contact: 01267 238213

Website: http://www.gwili-railway.co.uk/

Description

The Gwili Steam Railway operates a standard gauge preserved railway from Bronwydd (near Carmarthen) in South Wales along a short section of the former Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway that closed for passenger traffic in 1965, the track being lifted in 1975.

The Gwili Railway was formed in 1975 and, by 1978, had purchased and rescued about eight miles of trackbed and was running an initial steam-hauled service on a one-mile section of it. The Gwili Railway has the distinction of becoming the first standard-gauge preserved railway to operate in South West Wales when it re-opened the one-mile section of the Carmarthen-Llanpumsaint route from its base at Bronwydd Arms, three miles north of Carmarthen. Since then, the railway has expanded to Danycoed and the company continues to hope to expand to Llanpumsaint.

Currently, the railway is working south towards Carmarthen to a new station called Abergwili junction which will be located alongside the roundabout at the northern end of the A40 Carmarthen By-pass. The locomotive stock of the Gwili Railway is unusual in that it mostly represents local industrial and wartime operations rather than mainline services.

A LITTLE BIT OF THE HISTORY...
An extension to the south of Bronwydd Arms has been on the cards for several years. About one mile of track was laid from Bronwydd to a small bridge ("Bridge 6") several years ago. This bridge took the track over a leat that used to supply water to drive the wheels in the old Carmarthen tin works. The leat was six foot wide, just over four feet deep and crossed under the track in a stone lined channel. The trouble was that it crossed the track at such a shallow angle that it took almost 30 yards to cross and the iron deck and girders were a bit of a mess! Another problem was that whenever it rained (here in Wales? Surely not?) the leat collected a lot of surface water run-off which flowed through the channel and drained into the river.

Everything stopped while (many) discussions took place as to what should be done to repair this (and how it was going to be funded!). Then it was discovered that the side walls (under broad capping stones) were only 12 inches thick and bulging out into the leat so it was no longer a case of just putting a new top on old walls, everything needed attention. Many more discussions followed with various solutions ranging from rebuilding it from the ground up to digging it all out and flattening it being proposed. Whatever was done had to include some form of drainage to allow the run-ff to flow to the river. More discussions...

Finally in May 2012 we found the solution - we decided to "Time Team" it - In other words - measure it, photograph it, record it - then fill it all in! Yes it's still there, you do still cross Bridge 6 but it's now about two feet under the track bed and a new culvert to take the run-off water across the track has been installed just upstream of the crossing.

Length of the line
The line is currently two and a half miles from Bronwydd Arms Station to the end of the line at Danycoed Halt. The round trip is 5 miles and takes just over one hour, though your standard ticket lasts all day so you can return on a later train or take more than one trip during the day (on dining and special events, conditions and times vary).

Trip along the line
Having arrived at Bronwydd Arms Station and purchased your ticket from the Booking Office situated on the platform, you can then join the train for your trip to Danycoed Halt. A gentle climb out of Bronwydd village, takes you through the open fields and wooded hills, hugging the River Gwili all the while. You are never far from water on this line! Keep an eye out for the herons, which frequent this valley, dipping for fish in the river.

The train climbs once again as it leaves Pentre Morgan and its old mill, now converted into a home. Here iron was smelted, to be taken to Carmarthen for dispatch by ship from the Quay. The train now crosses the river with its weir, and enters Llwyfan Cerrig Station. This is the home of the Miniature Railway the Travelling Post Office (TPO) and the picnic site down by the river.

Leaving Llwyfan Cerrig, the train hugs the river, for 3/4 of a mile, along the extension, opened in 2001, before entering Danycoed Halt. This halt resembles those built by the GWR on their country lines. Alight and look around. Walk to the end of the platform and view the next obstacle in the progress to go north. The Gwili Railway owns the track bed for a further 3 miles from this point. Watch the engine run around its train as it prepares to return to Llwyfan Cerrig. At Llwyfan Cerrig, the train waits for those who just want a quick trip on the Miniature Railway, browse in the TPO or take a stroll down to the picnic site. When the weather is fine, stay a while and relax alongside the weir, enjoy a picnic or explore the site in greater depth.

Llwyfan Cerrig was opened in 1988 and is built on the site of an old loading platform for stone which came from the quarry across the river and the one which forms an impressive backdrop to the station today. The station building came from Felin Fach on the Aberaeron line and was taken down plank by plank by the volunteers and then rebuilt on this site. Imagine buying a return ticket to Aberystwyth, Newcastle Emlyn, Tregaron, Strata Florida, Carmarthen or Bronwydd Arms!

Re-board the train for the return to Bronwydd Arms and on arrival, visit the Museum, well stocked shop in the Station Building and also the Signal Box. The Station building was originally a signal box from Llandovery and the Signal Box came from Llandybie. Both were dismantled and brought to this site, to be rebuilt by our volunteers. Stand by the signal box and look across the road through the crossing gates, the line going away from you is the start of the Carmarthen North extension. Finally round off your visit by visiting the 'Gwili Tea Room' in the Station yard, where you can get a range of snacks, tea, coffee and cold drinks.

Do you have a video on YouTube or anywhere else that you would like to link to?
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLydqOqG2f8slxlHz_QLspw

Are you on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media?
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheGwiliSteamRailway/

Twitter https://twitter.com/gwilirailway?lang=en

Why you are you a great place for educational visits?
Gwili Railway is pleased to announce the launch and start of our educational services at the railway. Scott our marketing manager has worked in education since 2007.

Scott has mentored year 4-6 pupils and created inspirational projects for SEN and pastoral pupils. Using a mix of creativity and storytelling we can offer you the following;

Reasons to visit
• Competitive discounts for group travel (driver and courier go free)
• Our unique hosted visits with a colourful telling of the history of the railway from our resident historian, Jeremy John

Your visit includes:-
• A nostalgic trip by steam train or heritage diesel alongside the picturesque Gwili River
• An entertaining talk about the role of the railways
• Take a tour of the Signal Box, small museum, visit the engine crew on the footplate

Popular add ons:-
• Tailored bespoke classroom packages for small groups (20-30) in our café classroom
• Cartoon character workshops, learn to draw and create cartoon comic book characters and storytelling
• Puppet making workshop (classroom based or on-site), make paper bag puppets, write stories, perform and film the show using a real puppet theatre
• Story telling workshops (classroom based), learn the craft and write your stories which will be turned into a book to give to your parents/pupils
• Evacuee Experience - dress up, and learn about WW11 history of the railway - call for a bespoke travel package today

Contact our friendly team to get a visit tailored for your school 01267 238213 or send an email enquiry to info@gwili-railway.co.uk

Classroom projects contact Scott Artus on 07812 554592 or email: sartus@gwili-railway.co.uk

Please note transport to Gwili Railway is not included, quotes for coaches can be arranged on request.

Teachers travel on group visits for FREE.

What does a typical educational visit include?
KS2, learn about the railway and evacuees, write and create a railway puppet project, prices on request.

What group sizes do you cater for?
Small class visits 30 for projects - literacy/puppet project, large group travel 110 train trip only plus talk

Do you provide projects, teacher’s packs, work sheets or any useful information?
Teachers packs and activity sheets provided on request KS2

Are you happy for children to take photos, video or audio?
Yes no restrictions

What is your process for booking pre arranged risk assessments?
No teachers must call/email to arrange 01267 238213

Does your venue have an education officer?
Scott Artus - Marketing Manager/Education Specialist 07812 554592
email sartus@gwili-railway.co.uk

Jeremy Johns Group Bookings 01267 238213
email info@gwili-railway.co.uk

What is the cost of the visit?
Normal cost for children is £5.00 per ticket. Group discounts are available £3.00 per ticket Supervising adults travel free. Coach driver get’s travel and food.

Is specific clothing required for the trip?
Hi-vis

Do you have first aid on site or will the group need to bring a qualified first aider?
First aid boxes but bring first aider

Please list facilities available.
Shop, canteen, picnic, dining areas available. Pocket money needed £5.00. Facilities to eat a packed lunch are available in our Vintage Tea Room and TPO.

What are your disabled facilities?
Disable toilets, ramp for guard train, disabled friendly but must pre-arrange.

Access Information
The Gwili Steam Railway is a tourist railway run by volunteers and a small number of paid staff. It has been called the 'Friendly Line'. We pride ourselves on being helpful to all and will do what we can to make your visit enjoyable. We run a mixture of Steam and Diesel engines, throughout the year.

Due to the nature of our operation, some areas are not accessible to wheelchair users and those with mobility problems. The carriages are pre 1950's design and have narrow corridors leading to the compartments. Some wheelchair users may not be able to access the carriages from the corridor. The Dining carriage has fixed tables which cannot be moved which may not be suitable for some bariatric guests, and those with mobilty problems.
If you have a unusual or specific requirement, please feel free to telephone beforehand, so we can make any reasonable adjustments so you can better enjoy your visit.

The Railway is approached off the B4301 road approximately 300m from its junction with the A484. Entry to the Railway is adjacent to the Signal Box.
There is a regular bus service from Carmarthen town - details and timetables should be obtained from Morris Brothers and First Great Western Buses.

There are three dedicated disabled parking places to the left as you enter
the Car Park. There is also parking available for coaches.

Bronwydd Arms Station
• The Car Park at Bronwydd Arms is level and part tarmac finish.

• There are toilet facilities at the North end of the Car Park, which has a larger space WC suitable for those in wheelchairs and incorporates a unit for baby changing. There is an alarm system in this WC and retractable hand rails. The toilet block is accessed by ramp.

• The Signal Box is accessed via ten steps and is not wheelchair or pushchair accessible. Care must be taken with children and guests who have mobility issues and sight impairments when accessing the signal box.

• The Tearooms are located below the Signal box and is built from 2 converted Victorian railway carriages. Access to the Tearooms is either up 4 steps at the north end or through the larger fire exit at the south end of the Tearooms which has a ramped approach.

• The tables are fixed but the chairs are free standing which does allow easier access for wheelchairs. The entrance to the rear carriage is a narrow archway which wheelchairs may not be able to go through.

• Pushchairs and buggies should be left outside of the Tearooms.

• Access to the platform is via a tarmac path which runs behind the Signal Box. Crossing the track to the platform is level and is a rubberised surface. Care must be taken with wheelchair users and those with sight imparements as there is no guard rail to the trackside.

• The platform has a tarmac finish with a ramp from the path to the platform. There are gates either side of the pedestrian crossing behind the signal box and at the end of the platform to prevent pedestrian access during train movements across the level crossing. The platform edge has a tactile surface finish for those guests with sight impairments.

• The Booking Office is located in the Station Building on the platform, which also doubles as the souvenir shop. There is one step into the shop. The shop is wheelchair accessible with care but is small. Staff will assist passengers where necessary to get access into the shop.

• A converted guards compartment is available on the train which is large enough to take wheelchairs, pushchairs and prams.

• Please let the staff in the Booking Office know if you require any additional assistance to get access to the train compartments and they will inform the train guard. Please advise the Guard where you intend to get off of the train so that suitable arrangements can be made.

• A ramp is available for train access.

• The train ride is approximately 10 to 15 mins between stations.

Llwyfan Cerrig
The train stops on its way to Danycoed Halt and again on its return.

• The platform surface is tarmac.

• The station building has double doors which allows wheelchair access.

• A larger space WC is available at this station and doubles up as a baby changing facility. There is an alarm system in this WC and retractable hand rails.

• All WC's at this station have level access off of the platform.

• A sloping gravel path leads onto the lower picnic site. Staff will be happy to provide assistance to passengers in negotiating this path should they wish.

• The lower picnic site is grass and uneven in places.

• Catering outlet is located next to the Station Building on the platform.

• Access the the Miniature Railway is across the south crossing adjacent to the toilet facilities. The surface is uneven and laid to stones but is accessible to wheelchair users and pushchairs with care.

• The Miniature Railway is not able to carry wheelchairs or pushchairs.

• The catering staff will bring refreshments to passengers should they wish. If you have any allergies or specific dietary requirements, these should be notified in advance. Snacks from the Quarry Kitchen are all pre packed and allergy information is displayed on the makers packaging.

• During Santa's Magical Steamings in December, the marquee is on the level and is usually carpetted and is accessible for wheelchair users. However, the grotto is quite small and restrictive for larger parties.

• Care must be taken by ALL guests visiting the Railway and obey ANY and ALL instructions given by Railway staff. Railway staff are usually identified by them wearing Orange Hi-Vis work wear and/or name badges. If you are unsure of anyones identity or the instruction appears unreasonable, you should report this to the Booking Office in Bronwydd Arms, who can advise the Line Manager.

For an independent review of The Gwili Railway for wheelchair users, click here to see the entry on the Disabled Holiday Info website.

The Gwili Railway Company Ltd can accept no liability for failure to operate advertised services or attractions.

What are your opening days and hours?
See website, seasonal, open 10.30am-4.00pm check website for running times.

Do you have any testimonials from previous schools we can include?
Trip advisor

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g209942-d1832998-r476559495-Gwili_Railway-Carmarthen_Carmarthenshire_Wales.html#review476559495


Age of Children / Pupils: Pre-school 5 – 7 years 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Heritage Railways

Curriculum Topics Covered: Engineering Geography History

Months Open: All Year Round January February March April May June July August September October November December


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