© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 This was a short "overnight" - two days out, with a very pleasant stay at St. Davids - just about as far west as one can get in Wales. The line from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth closed 40 years ago - however, a branch to Newcastle Emlyn remained open for milk trains, along with the southern section of the through route. When that closed, the scene was set for two preservation schemes. We visited the 2' gauge Teifi Valley Railway first, taking a light lunch before joining the train. It was to be headed by an "old friend" - "Sgt. Murphy", a rather nice Kerr Stuart 0-6-2T (built as an 0-6-0, no. 3117 of 1918), which I had last seen thirty years previously, as a rusting hulk off the track at Teddy Boston's Cadeby Light Railway. And now here he was again, resplendent in lined black livery. We rode the couple of miles or so up the line from Henllan to Llandyfriog, the present terminus, then back down to the intermediate station at Pontprenshitw (which apparently means "shaky wooden bridge"). Here, it's "all out" to have a look at the waterfalls beneath the (no longer shaky, wooden or sh@$%y) bridge, and perhaps more interesting, the remains of an iron age leet - a channel constructed to feed water to a settlement below. Most passengers rejoined the train - we decided to walk back to Henllan, along the very pleasant path beneath the trees, which coincidentally (!) gave the opportunity for an action shot of the train. Finally, a quick look in the shed - where Hunslet "Alan George" (606 of 1894) was being worked on, another Kerr Stuart ("Joffre", 2442 of 1915) was in the preliminary stages of restoration, and visiting loco "Taffy" (he certainly gets around...) stood ready for action over the bank holiday weekend. Link: The Teifi Valley Railway "Sgt. Murphy" runs round at Henllan Ready to depart Return to Henllan "Taffy" - and Alan George (behind) This standard gauge line is just a couple of miles north of Carmarthen, running up the very pleasant wooded valley of the river Gwili (oddly enough). The train runs via the intermediate station of Llwyfan Cerrig, then on a little further to Danycoed, a halt and run round loop opened just two years ago. Although the railway owns the trackbed beyond for several more miles, a weak bridge precludes the extension of services until funds can be found for restoration. The railway also has plans to extend southwards, to a terminus near the Carmarthen bypass, which now severs the trackbed back to the main line. Like many other "lesser" standard gauge lines, motive power is provided by a fleet of ex-industrial locomotives, such as "Welsh Guardsman", the loco for our trip, a 1944-built "Austerity" 0-6- 0ST (RSHN 7170), ideally suited for work such as this. Once again, a smart black livery was carried, this time unlined. I have to admit it didn't seem to run quite as well as it looked - were the valves a little out? The exhaust was somewhat syncopated at low speed, though it sounded better as we got going. After running round at Danycoed, the train returns to Llwyfan Cerrig and pauses for 15 minutes or so. There is a little more to "Welsh Guardsman" at Bronwydd Arms Running around at Danycoed look at here - the fine station building in particular, reassembled here from its former location at Felin Fach, on the Aberaeron branch. And that was it - two very enjoyable little trips on two very pleasant little railways. Both have given some thought to the overall visitor experience - both have miniature railways for the very small (and not so small...), both have established woodland walks and trails beside the line, with picnic places too. A very informative leaflet provided by the Gwili is especially worth mentioning. Both railways have plans to extend - both are just a bit off the beaten track, although the area seems to be popular with holidaymakers, and there seemed to be no shortage of custom. If you're in the area, pay them a visit - help them to thrive and expand. Link: The Gwili Railway Station building, Llwyfan Cerrig Lunch break - and somewhere convenient to sit! Sgt. Murphy - at Cadeby, May 1973