South West Wales

Gwili Steam Railway: Full steam ahead for track opening

Steam train Image copyright SCOTT ARTUS
Image caption Passengers will be able to take in scenery not seen by the travelling public for almost 50 years

A new stretch of track at a Carmarthenshire railway will be officially opened following a £350,000 project.

The new 1.75 mile (2.8km) line at the Gwili Steam Railway will see the original length of the track doubled.

Sylvia Davies, whose late husband Geler Davies drove the line's last passenger train in February 1965, will open Abergwili Junction on Saturday.

Peter Nicholas, from the project, said he hoped it would draw more visitors.

The Gwili Railway was established by enthusiasts in 1974, with a view to re-opening a short section of the former Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway that closed to passenger traffic in 1965.

The original track was lifted in 1977.

Image copyright SCOTT ARTUS
Image caption Sylvia Davies unveiled a plaque at the official opening on Saturday
Image caption The steam train will take passengers along the new track which follows the River Gwili, passing alongside the Gwili Falls

A group of some 20 volunteers have worked on the 17-year project, with the line being opened two years later than scheduled.

Mr Nicholas said: "I have to keep pinching myself, I can't believe it.

"The track we laid came from the Swansea Vale Railway when they closed down, so it's really nice to put it back into use.

"Over the last few years, visitors have been asking when we're opening, people are very interested, so we hope it will attract lots of people to the railway."

About £350,000 has been spent on the project, including funds from CWM Environmental, Carmarthenshire County Council Rural Development Fund and County Collaboration Fund, together with money raised by supporters.

More than 300 lengths of rail, 4,000 concrete sleepers and 5,000 tonnes of ballast have been used to complete the new section.

More on this story