South West Wales

Gwili Steam Railway back on track after line extension

Steam train
Image caption The steam train will take passengers along the new track when it opens next year

Next year will be an important milestone for the Gwili Steam Railway near Carmarthen.

After a 15-year project, a new 1.75 mile (2.8km) extension to the line will be opened, doubling the current length of track.

Some of the views seen along the length of the line have not been seen by the travelling public for almost 50 years.

Guests were given a preview recently, travelling in steam train carriages to a new station at Abergwili.

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 caption Passengers will be able to take in scenery not seen by the travelling public for almost 50 years

Over £300,000 has been spent on the recent project including funds from CWM Environmental Carmarthenshire County Council Rural Development Fund and County Collaboration Fund, together with money raised by supporters.

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

The new line follows the River Gwili, passing alongside the Gwili Falls.

From there it heads to a new station in Abergwili, where there are long-term plans to build a visitor centre.

Volunteers are hopeful there will be an official opening in time for the 50th anniversary of the last passenger train, which ran on 20 February 1965.

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