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Cwm-Mawr (Drefach) to Kidwelly line


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Hi,

I was playing about on Google Earth and came across this line. Follwing it down the valley, although very overgrown, the track was in situ at the time of the passing of the camera van. Is it still there or has it been lifted? What was the line used for? I assume it was coal, but were any other industries involved?  Can anyone direct me to further information?

Kind regards,

Tony

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Google 'Burry Port and Gwendreath Valley Railway'. There are a pair of very good books available from Oakwood Press about it. The main line originally ran from Cwmmawr, via Coedbach, to Burry Port docks; the link to Kidwelly had been derelict for many years, but was rebuilt in the 1980s to alllow main-line locos to reach Coedbach. Previously, motive power was restricted by the loading gauge from Burry Port; 16xx panniers in BR steam days, then 03 diesels with cut-down cabs. Fascinating little line- didn't carry much barring coal and pit-props, though.

p.s. the railway's name is spelt differently to the valley, due to an error when the original papers seeking permission to build it were issued.

Edited by Fat Controller
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Interesting model could be forthcoming!  I like the idea of multi-03s! Apart from the previously mentioned 16xx and 03s, did nay other locos appear?

Tony

Before the 16xx's, the BP&GVR had a motley collection of more-or-less off-the-shelf industrial locos, mainly of Yorkshire origin; this was possibly because many of the directors came from there..As these wore out, one or two small panniers (2021 class?) were brought in. My father claimed that a 'normal' loco was sent up in error, but got no further than the first bridge under the main line, west of Pembrey station (which was confusingly in Burry Port). One of my great-aunts kept the Cambrian, adjacent to the point where the Achddu branch crossed the main line; I remember watching shunting in the yard in the early 1960s. The yard at Burry Port lasted until the mid-1980s; as well as serving as exchange sidings for the branch, Marcrofts had a wagon works that lasted until about the time the yard shut, so wagons for repair or modification were staged there. These included things like Cartic-4s, an exotic type in West Wales. The yard somehow hung on to a GWR shunter's truck until the end.

Until the 1950s, a line left the east end of the yard, crossed the main line at an oblique angle, and then meandered towards Sandy Junction, Llanelly, where it met two other oddities; the Llanelly and Mynydd Mawr Railway and the Nevill's Dock Railway. This latter, which ran through the streets of Llanelly (as it then was) was owned by a consortium of local interests, and escaped both Grouping and Nationalisation.

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Here is a shot of three of the 03s departing Pembrey and Burry Port,

attachicon.gifscan0040.jpg

03145 and 03141 at the front, 03152 at the rear of the 21t coal hoppers, 15/6/83

 

cheers

All gone now; the railway, the locos and wagons, Carmarthen Bay Power Station, and the old Copperworks (latterly Frickers). This latter is visible behind the loco to the right. Parts of this were almost two hundred years old.
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I've just acquired a copy of "Past and Present West Wales" which has pictures of the line from Burry Port to Cwm Mawr, including some of the stations.

Plenty of ideas for a model of the line...

I've also got a copy of the DVD of the last week of running of the Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr railway, with 37s on the coal trains.

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I've just acquired a copy of "Past and Present West Wales" which has pictures of the line from Burry Port to Cwm Mawr, including some of the stations.

Plenty of ideas for a model of the line...

I've also got a copy of the DVD of the last week of running of the Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr railway, with 37s on the coal trains.

I was brought up a few hundred yards from the lower end of the L&MMR, and my primary school was closer still. Lessons would halt when the double-headed 16xxs went up on a train of empties, and again when they squealed past with a loaded train. The EE Type 3s were just starting when I was in my 11+ year; they used to make the building shake. At one point, when Cynheidre was still under development, electrification was seriously suggested, as the pit was supposed to produce a million tons a year. Sadly production was more usually a quarter of that; anthracite's a hard coal to win.
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I've emailed the Gwendraeth Railway Project to see if they have any updated information, as the website doesn't seem to be updated from 2008.

Tony

To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised to see that they'd given up the ghost; there's another society (the Llanelly and Mynydd Mawr one) at Cynheidre competing for more-or-less the same market, and I doubt there's either the population of willing volunteers, or potential tourists to make a success of it. Whilst pleasant, I wouldn't classify the BP&GVR railway as particularily scenic as, not only does it run on the bottom of the valley, but it does so (partially) in the bed of a disused canal..

I do find their adoption of the 'Gwendraeth Railway' as a name a bit curious; this was another, independent, company that linked the silica quarries of Mynydd-y-Garreg with Stephen's Brickworks in Kidwelly

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The cut down Cl.03 locos operated in pairs, coupled cab to cab as in "Rivercider's" photo.

.

Between the two cab backs were a number of pipes that formed the multiple working equipment (operated by a pneumatic system) allowing one driver to operate both locos - a third loco would often be used, but required an additional driver.

.

I have a BR drawing of the m.u. pipe system somewhere.

.

Brian R

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There is a good book on the industrial railways of Llanelli. Mine is currently 1200 miles away, but the publisher is Wider View and I think it is distributed by Lightmoor/Black Dwarf.

'The Nevill's Dock and Railway', by Michael Denman; the cover features a pub formerly run by another great-aunt of mine, along with the childhood home of a good friend of mine.
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 My father claimed that a 'normal' loco was sent up in error, but got no further than the first bridge under the main line, west of Pembrey station (which was confusingly in Burry Port

 

I can't find it now but there is definitely a picture of a rearranged 'normal' 08 that had an argument with that low bridge, it was referred to as an "italicised 08".  However, you can see an undamaged low roof 08 here: http://railphotoprints.zenfolio.com/p191445442/h22EEADFD#h22eeadfd

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I can't find it now but there is definitely a picture of a rearranged 'normal' 08 that had an argument with that low bridge, it was referred to as an "italicised 08".  However, you can see an undamaged low roof 08 here: http://railphotoprints.zenfolio.com/p191445442/h22EEADFD#h22eeadfd

This was a little earlier; in the 1930s.. (dad would have been 101 this year). Prior to the reopening of the Kidwelly- Coedbach link, even a cut-down 08 wouldn't have made it up the line.
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I think that was what happened, the special 03's were having maintenance or something and someone just sent a regular 08 up the branch instead, forgetting about the low bridge, which the 08 got no further than.

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I think that was what happened, the special 03's were having maintenance or something and someone just sent a regular 08 up the branch instead, forgetting about the low bridge, which the 08 got no further than.

By the time the (soon-to-be) trapezoid 08 arrived, operation had gone over to Kidwelly- Coedbach-Cwmmawr, with mainline locos to Coedbach, then cut-down 08s to Cwmmawr. The bridge that was collided with was on the (Llanelli)- Trimsaran- Kidwelly road, just north of Coedbach washery- IIRC, it also carried a watermain and a gas main, the former bursting and leading peeople (this is the Michael Howard spelling..) to believe that Khymer Canal had come back to haunt them..
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I haven't heard back from the Gwendraeth Railway Project. 

Does anyone know what's happening there?

There was a video uploaded on You Tube showing track clearance, but that was uploaded in 2008, so it's probably grown back by now.

Tony

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  • 4 weeks later...

I would have to say it was more than slightly bent! The 08 was 08898. It was sent to rescue one of the cut down 08/9's. It was recovered to Landore. Where it was stored for a while before it was moved to Bescot.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/barry13092/3309208542/

In some ways it still lives on as I recovered the vacuum exhausters and various parts for the class 11 on the SVR  at Kidderminster !

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