Bronwydd Arms with our party on the platform, 'Abigail' is at the other end.
[© Rowland Pittard 2018]
A full party of members met at Bronwydd Arms for a 09.45 special to Abergwili Junction. Unfortunately the stock had not been marshalled as filming by Warner Brothers at the railway the previous day was not completed until 20.00. For the same reason the dining set was in the platform and not in the station loop and had to be pushed north out of the platform by Class 03 D2178 and hauled into the north end of the loop. Ruston 88DM No312433 'Abigail' brought Toad brake van 68465 and Weltrol 42115 (once a bridge vehicle at Fishguard Harbour) into the platform from the south siding through the level crossing. After D2178 had raised enough vacuum to stable the coaches it joined the south end of the train. The Weltrol had been used by Warner Brothers to move a generator to Abergwili where a security guard was still looking after it.
Eventual departure was at 10.20 with an arrival at the Abergwili Junction north point at 10.35.The train then became the first carrying passengers to run into the loop where coach 24825 (used as a mess vehicle by Warner Brothers) was stabled. It was attached to D2178 and pushed by the train as far south in the loop as possible, but not beyond the south point, the train reversed with the coach in tow to the north point and then entered the platform where there was time for photographs. The consist moved south to the head shunt (another passenger first) but the Toad with our party did not reach the south point due to the aforementioned coach. The special left Abergwili Junction at 11.18 and back at Bronwydd Arms it reversed into the south siding completing 'Abigail's' first ever passenger working.
The Gwili DMU arrived empty from Llwyfan Cerrig and left for Danycoed at 11.50 (50 minutes late). It was not possible to enter the loop at the latter due to the sharp curve after the south points. The DMU returned to Bronwydd Arms and continued to Abergwili Junction. First it entered the loop and almost reached the south point and after reversing back to the north point entered the platform and, following photographs, ran into the head shunt as far as the stop board crossing the south point. The DMU was experiencing fuel supply problems which hindered progress at times. As a result the last DMU trip was cancelled at Bronwydd Arms and D2178 worked forward to Abergwili Junction instead with the Weltrol and Toad. The train stabled in the platform while the diesel ran round. Arrival back in Bronwydd Arms was in time for the booked Routemaster bus connection at 16.35 to Carmarthen.
The highlight of the visit was 'Abigail' hauling her first passenger train. The ambition of completing the loop at Abergwili was not achieved due to circumstances on the day. However it could be called the tip of an iceberg as there is much more non-passenger track on the railway that could be covered. Our reporter feels the Gwili would be willing to allow a much more thorough tour