Caerfyrddin i Gastell Newydd Emlyn Cledrau Coll


Caerfyrddin i Gastell Newydd Emlyn

Cerdded yr hen reilffordd o dref Caerfyrddin i Gastell Newydd Emlyn. A walk along the old railway from Carmarthen to Newcastle Emlyn.


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Transcript


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-This week on Cledrau Coll, we follow

-the line from Carmarthen town...

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-..through Pencader Junction

-to Newcastle Emlyn.

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-Evidence of the old station

-is still visible here in Carmarthen.

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-The station that replaced it

-is in continued use...

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-..on the West Wales

-to Cardiff line...

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-..but many years have passed

-since it saw sights like this.

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-Our journey doesn't start

-in the present station...

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-..but a stone's throw away

-the other side of the bridge.

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-This is all that remains

-of the original station, Gwyn.

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-Something of a pitiful sight.

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-Something of a pitiful sight.

-

-Yes, very sad.

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-Things were very different

-and very busy once...

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-..and several rail companies

-used the station.

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-The main company was

-the Carmarthen-Cardigan...

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-..which was originally

-a railway built by Brunel.

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-It was an extension

-of his South Wales line...

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-..with wonderfully wide tracks,

-7ft apart.

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-At the time it was the state of

-the art, the high-tech of the age.

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-Why build a line to Cardigan

-in the first place?

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-The main aim was to tie in with the

-development of a port in Cardigan.

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-There were also rural concerns that

-they needed this new technology.

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-They feared that without the

-railways, they would be left behind.

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-Cardigan eventually got its railway,

-but not from this direction.

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-This line ran no further

-than Newcastle Emlyn.

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-Here we are in the old goods shed.

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-What kind of work

-would have gone on here?

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-Sheds like this one...

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-..were used to unload goods

-that had to be kept dry.

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-Looking at the architecture,

-can you spot any typical features?

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-What about the doors?

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-What about the doors?

-

-The doors are original.

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-Heavy, solid and secure doors.

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-There would have been

-a platform here...

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-..to unload directly from the vans.

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-The corresponding level of the door

-meant carts could be wheeled in.

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-The old window frames

-are interesting as well...

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-..and they've survived because

-they are metal and not wood.

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-They were made to endure decades,

-if not centuries.

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-The new bypass closely follows

-the old line as far as Abergwili.

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-There, it splits the junction, with

-the Llandeilo line to the right...

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-..and heading off left is

-the line to Pencader, Llandyssul...

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-..and Newcastle Emlyn.

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-The next station ahead of us

-is Bronwydd.

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-Our next stop is Bronwydd, Gwyn.

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-Our next stop is Bronwydd, Gwyn.

-

-And I'll be ready to stop too!

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-It's hard to imagine

-this was a broad gauge track...

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-..because we're

-talking about 7ft or so.

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-Nature recovers ground quickly.

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-But look back to

-the overgrown boundaries...

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-..and you can see there was

-sufficient room for two tracks.

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-Quite a drop here on the right.

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-That's evidence that

-only one track was laid...

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-..with no need for a double line.

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-Until now, we've spoken

-about the line in the past tense.

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-But this section of the line

-has a present, if not a future.

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-We're approaching Bronwydd here.

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-The section from Bronwydd and

-up the gorge towards Conwil...

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-..has already been reopened and

-is a busy line during the holidays.

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-I can smell the steam

-of the engine from here.

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-Volunteers on the Gwili Railway

-still endeavour to extend the line.

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-They have managed to restore

-Bronwydd Arms station...

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-..close to its original condition.

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-You're keen to take

-some photographs, Gwyn...

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-..so I'll see you later after I have

-a chat with some of the volunteers.

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-Huw, during the week,

-you work on the railway in Swansea.

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-On the weekend, during your leisure

-time, you still work on the railway.

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-There's quite a difference between

-working for First Great Western...

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-..and working for

-the Gwili Steam Railway.

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-It's nice when people can see how

-the railway used to be in the 30s...

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-..and can compare the days

-of steam with today's diesels.

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-It's nice for the children

-to see the steam trains.

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-It's wonderful too when people who

-remember this line before the 60s...

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-..come back to see it

-with a smile on their faces.

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-The volunteers who make

-the Gwili Railway possible...

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-..come from all walks of life

-and all ages.

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-Yes, we include doctors, office

-workers, all kinds of people...

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-..and without their determination

-there wouldn't be a railway here.

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-Did you get your photos, Gwyn?

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-Did you get your photos, Gwyn?

-

-Yes, Arfon, one or two or three!

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-I can't wait to see them. Right, off

-we go on the rest of our journey.

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-I'll be the porter for now.

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-I'll be the porter for now.

-

-Thank you, Mr Porter.

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-Geoff, you're responsible

-for publicity on this line.

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-I'm sure the line sells itself

-on a fine day like this.

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-It's wonderful when the weather's

-fine and we get lots of passengers.

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-Over Easter, we had

-Thomas the Tank down here...

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-..and we had a record number

-of passengers - six thousand.

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-The appeal of a ride in a train

-pulled by a steam engine...

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-..is something you just can't beat.

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-There's nothing better than

-the smell of the oil and steam.

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-What are your hopes for the railway?

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-We hope to reopen another half-mile

-between Llwyfan Cerrig and Tanycoed.

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-That extension should open

-later in the season.

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-Then we hope to extend the line

-as far as Abergwili...

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-..close to the new bypass.

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-For once, it's not easy to follow

-the line's route from the air...

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-..because of the dense woodland.

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-But the route is clear enough

-on foot.

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-The eventual aim is to extend

-the line as far as Abergwili...

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-..which would include Cynwyl Elfed.

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-..which would include Cynwyl Elfed.

-

-That would be wonderful.

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-This used to be a freight line -

-what kind of goods were transported?

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-Timber and farm produce, heavy

-machinery came in from England...

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-..and it was also important

-for the milk industry.

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-Speaking of milk,

-just take a look at this.

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-It's obviously some kind of wagon.

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-This was originally a special wagon

-for carrying milk.

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-Looking at it now, you wouldn't get

-a pint of milk on it.

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-It once carried a huge tank...

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-..which was aluminium on the outside

-and glass on the inside.

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-The wagon had six wheels to try

-and avoid churning the milk...

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-..on its journey

-from Cardiganshire to London.

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-They were pulled behind passenger

-trains or in special trains.

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-Even the suspension springs were

-better than your usual goods wagon.

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-The hope was that the milk

-would get a smoother ride.

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-I didn't expect to see

-a wagon like this here.

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-There are very few of these

-still in existence.

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-Who knows where you'd get

-a tank to fit on it today.

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-There's a challenge, to renovate it!

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-There's a challenge, to renovate it!

-

-The tank and the glass.

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-Forward we go on our journey

-to Newcastle Emlyn...

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-..to meet and chat with someone else

-who loves retracing the old tracks.

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-How are you, Richard?

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-Richard, walking along these old

-tracks is something new for us.

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-But you've been doing it for years.

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-But you've been doing it for years.

-

-Yes, seven years.

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-I'm interested in what engineers,

-contractors and navvies did...

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-..as they worked on

-the railways around Wales.

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-For years, I used to go for

-a run in the car with my family.

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-I'd disappear off down some line

-while the family sat in the car!

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-One day, I stood looking down from

-a road bridge onto an old cutting.

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-It was an old line

-that Dr Beeching had closed.

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-I wondered where the line led to,

-how many stations were along it...

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-..and innumerable questions

-to which I had no answers.

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-That was when I decided to

-walk along the old railway lines.

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-I write down my observations,

-but the walking isn't always easy.

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-I usually have to

-struggle through bramble...

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-..and you sometimes find old bridges

-that have long since disappeared.

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-Finding somewhere to cross a river

-can add four miles to the walk.

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-Four miles and several hours later

-you end up just across the river!

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-Let's hope

-that doesn't happen to us.

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-You're heading for Carmarthen and

-we're heading for Newcastle Emlyn.

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-Good luck. I've a sickle in the car

-if you'd like to borrow it!

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-Richard will reach Carmarthen long

-before we get to Newcastle Emlyn.

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-Our next task is to locate

-the old station at Llanpumpsaint.

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-I suspect two lines

-crossed this bridge at one time.

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-It's wide enough for two lines.

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-There are stones set in the wall to

-take the girders of a second bridge.

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-And these solid looking fences

-look like recycled railway tracks.

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-What would these

-cross-bars have been?

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-They were boiler tubes.

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-It's strange to think these would've

-been inside the engine's boiler.

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-The energy and the steam produced

-would have flowed through these...

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-..as the journey started,

-and out up the chimney.

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-I bet this fence has been here

-for about fifty years...

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-..and I'm sure it will last

-another fifty at least.

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-Into the tunnel at Pencader...

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-..whose entrance is now hidden

-by trees and vegetation.

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-But a few relics remain visible.

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-Local farmer Glyn Jones has

-a keen interest in the line...

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-..and he has a host of memories

-of the line.

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-I'm sure it could be dangerous

-during the winter months...

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-..with the lines freezing

-in January and February.

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-If the gates were closed

-across the line...

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-..the train was supposed to stop

-at that distant signal.

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-The train would come through

-at six or six thirty in the morning.

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-If there was ice on the line

-it couldn't stop.

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-Even if they put sand down the train

-would plough through the gates...

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-..and I remember the gates

-going at least three times.

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-How busy was this line?

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-Very - it carried petrol and coal

-to Llandyssul and Newcastle Emlyn.

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-On a Sunday, you might see

-two engines and a troop train...

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-..heading for Newcastle Emlyn,

-carrying soldiers to Aberporth.

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-You had tractors being transported

-to James' supplies in Crymych...

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-..and all the machinery and so on -

-it was a very busy line.

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-You could always judge how busy

-the mart would be at Llandyssul...

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-..because you'd see the trucks

-going past carrying the livestock.

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-I remember twenty-two trucks coming

-past here once from Llandyssul mart.

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-On towards Llandyssul where, as

-luck would have it, it's market day.

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-There's a lot of coming and going

-here today with the mart...

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-..and this is how it would have been

-when the steam trains came through.

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-Everything is transported

-by trucks and lorries these days.

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-The mart is conveniently situated,

-and we're standing among the pens...

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-..which have been built

-by recycling old railway material.

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-They're all made

-from the old tracks.

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-Brunel's broad gauge tracks are

-still put to good use even today...

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-..when the livestock comes in, and

-the yard is full of lorries today.

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-Well, this is the way to Newcastle

-Emlyn - it isn't very inviting.

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-Mind my manners - after you!

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-Mind my manners - after you!

-

-Thank you. You're too kind.

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-We won't make it very far this way.

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-You can see the end of the platform,

-and the old bridge further down...

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-..but there's no way through for us.

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-We'll cross the bridge later.

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-We'll cross the bridge later.

-

-First in, first out.

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-We leave Llandyssul

-for Pentrecwrt and Henllan...

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-..and the Teifi Valley

-Railway Society.

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-As with the Gwili line, the

-volunteers here have worked hard.

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-This must bring back

-some memories, Brian.

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-When I was a boy in Pentrecwrt

-in the late 40s...

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-..it was the heyday of the railway.

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-I have childhood memories

-of that time.

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-We used the railway for trips to

-Newcastle Emlyn three times a year.

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-On Whit Monday we'd go to scripture

-readings in Newcastle Emlyn...

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-..and then there were

-the May and September fairs.

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-There was only one way to travel on

-those trips, and that was by train.

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-My father worked

-at the Alltcafan factory...

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-..and in those days, the train

-stopped here at Pentrecwrt Halt.

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-We'd catch the train sometime after

-eleven and return just after four.

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-I remember,

-as we came through Henllan...

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-..we'd stick our heads

-out of the window.

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-Our eyes would be filled

-with the soot from the engine!

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-It was a lot of fun, really.

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-As it passed through Pentrecwrt...

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-..you had Alltcafan factory on one

-side and the railway on the other.

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-As children, we often played down

-there, doing things we shouldn't!

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-Close to Alltcafan factory was Siop

-Pen-bont run by Ifan the shopkeeper.

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-We used to lay a ha'penny

-on the railtrack...

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-..and hope the train running over it

-squashed it to the size of a penny.

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-Then we hoped Ifan Pen-bont wouldn't

-notice the difference in the shop!

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-I remember my grandmother had

-this exceptional 8-day clock.

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-She lived about a mile from the

-railway running through Pentrecwrt.

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-I'll always remember, as the

-7 o'clock train came through...

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-..if the wind was in the right

-direction she'd hear the whistle.

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-She'd set the clock by that whistle

-because the train was always on time

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-How different things are today.

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-I remember, as well, how babies

-were cradled in shawls at the time.

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-If a child had been ill

-with whooping cough...

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-..they'd go and stand outside the

-tunnel until the train had passed.

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-Once it was gone they'd

-walk through the tunnel...

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-..and almost without fail

-it would cure the whooping cough.

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-The course of the old line parallels

-the road to Newcastle Emlyn...

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-..another agricultural town that

-once relied heavily on the railway.

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-Well, the station railings

-are still there, Gwyn.

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-And so is this old buffer.

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-And so is this old buffer.

-

-Still here, but standing idle.

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-Was this essentially a freight line?

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-It closed to passengers in '52, but

-trains ran for another twenty years.

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-Commerce thrived all along the line.

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-Looking around this yard...

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-..I can easily imagine half a dozen

-sidings choked with wagons.

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-The end of another line, Gwyn.

-Let's go and look for another one!

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-S4C subtitles by

-Testun Cyf

0:24:220:24:26

Cerdded yr hen reilffordd o dref Caerfyrddin i Gastell Newydd Emlyn. A walk along the old railway from Carmarthen to Newcastle Emlyn.


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