The Gwili Railway operates on the former Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line. It is currently about 4 km long, but a new extension back to the outskirts of Carmarthen, at Abergwili, will add an extra 2.8 km.
The Society is now based at the Gwili Railway in Carmarthen.
It was previously based for many years
at the former locomotive and carriage works of the Great Western Railway at Caerphilly,
but moved due to continual vandalism. On one occasion someone climbed over the fence and made off with a lamp post which had been wired into the mains!
History of the Society
In 1901, the Rhymney Railway Company built a Locomotive and Carriage repair shop at Caerphilly for the repair and maintenance of its rolling stock. In 1926, the Great Western Railway greatly extended the locomotive side of the works and in 1939 did the same with the carriage side.
Although British Rail planned improvements to the works, these were never carried out and the layout of the buildings never changed. In 1963, the Works ceased repairs to locomotives and carriages, and the site was sold to the local council for use as an industrial estate (becoming the Harold Wilson Industrial Estate).
The main erecting shop was bought by South Wales Switchgear and railway enthusiast employess of the firm formed a Society and had the good fortune that ex-Taff Vale Railway locomotive number 28 was placed in their care for restoration. The society also built a platform and erected a signalbox recovered from Rhiwderin station alongside the only remaining track on the site.
In 1968, the Great Western Society (South Wales Group) were looking for a site on which to restore an ex-GWR loco number 5322, which was at the now famous Barry scrapyard. SWS Ltd gave their permission to place the loco at Caerphilly and it was moved from Barry in 1969. By 1971, the loco was back in working order and a number of steam days were held.
In 1973, 5322 was moved to Didcot, so the South Wales Group of that time formed themselves into the Caerphilly Railway Society, which in 1975 was incorporated as a Limited Company. The Society approached the National Museum of Wales with a view to finishing the restoration of the Taff Vale loco, as the Switchgear Society had by now disbanded. Permission was granted and the Museum asked about placing more locos in the care of the Society. Agreement was soon reached and by 1977 another four industrial locos had arrived. In 1974, a member purchased 41312 from Barry and this loco was transferred to Caerphilly by rail.
Over the following years, the Society obtained other rolling stock and additional locos, fenced off the site and extended the platform. In conjunction with the Museum, a further 300 meters of track outside the site and running up to Caerphilly Station had been obtained, giving a total running length of 450 meters.
By May 1976, the Society had restored to working order two industrial locos belonging to the Museum and these, together with a restored GWR brake van were used to provide brake van rides each year.
July 1981 saw the first arrivals of Society ownede locomotives. Haulwen, a 0-6-0 Austerity was delivered from Mountain Ash colliery by low-loader (the rail connection had by now been severed after the Society refused BR the £1000 per annum needed to keep it). This was followed by Deighton, a 0-4-0 diesel-electric Yorkshire engine from BSC Whiteheads at Newport.
May 1983 saw Taff Vale engine number 28 returned to steam and this engine was to do sterling service over the following years. In 1991 it was taken to Cathays Depot, Cardiff for display during the Taff Vale 150 celebrations there. Unfortunately, after this event, lack of funds prevented the Society returning this magnificent loco back to steam and it was placed in store at Caerphilly.
1984 saw the arrival of ex-BR class 03 diesel from Coed Ely coking works. This was doonated to the Society by National Smokeless Fuels. The engine was in a partly stripped down state but the loco had been to Swindon Works for an overhaul only five years previously. The good condition of this loco meant it was soon put back into service.
1990 saw the Society extending their line up to just short of Caerphilly Station. It was after several visits by the Railway Inspectorate that permission was finally granted to operate over the new section of track, the first passenger train to run over the extension did so on May Day 1991.
In May 1996, The Society was broken into several times. As a result, we were unable to
provide water for Victory and an EGM was held. At this meeting, we decided that we had to move, and the move would be to the Gwili Railway.
In the move, we took Victory, Haulwen, the 03 D2178, a GWR guards van, a Fruit D, the Southern S&T van and a GWR Pooley.
We also took signal equipment, various tools and many other items.
Victory and D2178 have been involved in both Passenger and Freight work. Haulwen is at the moment dismantled for future use on the railway.
Both the Toad and the Fruit D have been re-painted. The Fruit D is now in its first color of BR red.
The Pooley was sold to a member of the Gwili railway.
I believe we have become an important part of the Gwili Railway since our move.
CRS Open Day - 30th April 1989
Caerphilly ca. 1975
Haulwen is a Hunslet Austerity locomotive, a type which were built in large numbers during the Second World War.
Constructed at the Vulcan Foundry in 1945,
she initially worked on the Longmoor Miltary Railway before being transferred to the Woolmer Institutional Railway.
Sold by the Army to Hunslet in 1959, she was
re-built and re-numbered before being sold again to the National Coal Board to work initially at Cambrian Colliery, and
then alongside Number 1 at Mountain Ash.
the engine was placed on loan to the Caerphilly Railway Society in 1981 and was later bought by them.
The name Haulwen means "White Sunlight", "Bright Sunlight" or "Bright Star" depending on the translation
from Welsh and was the name of Mountain Ash Colliery
2002 was an interesting year for the society. The restoration of Haulwen finally started in earnest during the year, more of this latter in the report. The 03 has been the mainstay of the Railway, doing all the shunting and helping Santa. The Toad and Victory have been available for the railway.
There have been changes on the committee during the year when Howard Chant decided to resign from the committee, then John May and Gary Price both decided that due to other commitments it was time for them to resign from the committee. May I thank all three for their many hours of work that they have done for the society over many years, both since our move but especially when we were at Caerphilly. Thank you again and hope to see you from time to time on the railway. We have co-opted Dr Simon Fosbury to the committee , Simon is a director of the Gwili Railway and has been working hard for the Haulwen project, Simon will stand for election at the AGM.
The Haulwen restoration project started during the year and started to move with some pace when an agreement was made between the Railway, John Jones and ourselves to use John's workshop at the Riverside in Carmarthen for restoration work, Haulwen moved there at the back end of the year and it has been totally stripped. Unfortunately, during this exercise problems were found with the cylinder block - this is being addressed. Of course, this will increase the restoration costs and a joint fund raising effort is being made to cover the extra costs. If you can help with any fund-raising please contact me - all help will keep us on target to steam Haulwen as soon as practically possible. Also if you would like to help with the work we are on site most Sundays.
Work has continued on items under the care of the society, Dave and Pain Davies have
completed the repairs and restoration of the society's station bench. Much work on the
Staff and Tool van with one being completely rebuilt and part of one side has been
replaced thanks to help from Mike Simmons from the railway. The 03 has done sterling
service for the railway.
With regard to Haulwen it is disappointing to have to report that the restoration
programme ground to a halt due to the project leader's other employment. Along with
railway were lucky to find a member of the railway who was willing to sort out the
restoration programme. Not only this Barry Frobel has prepared and submitted a grant
application with the Heritage lottery Board. We are still awaiting the results of
this application but hope to know by the AGM. We would like to put on record our thanks
to Barry for all his efforts on behalf of Haulwen.
Our future direction will depend on the outcome of the grant application. We are pleased
that David Morris has allowed his name to be put forward to strengthen the board. Your
continued support is appreciated.
2015 will be the 40th anniversary of the limited company which was formed in 1975 to take over the operational liability of the society which had been formed in 1973.
Since we moved to the Gwili Railway in 1997 our stock has been put to good use and has given the railway sterling service. Both Haulwen and D2178 have worked trains, our toad has been used on goods trains and charters and staff and tool van as MPD and telephone dept stores
2014 had a tinge of sadness with the end of our stewardship for locomotive Victory, the cost of restoration to steam and our small workforce leading to this decision. The move to Blaenavon should lead to Victory steaming
2015 will be Haulwens 70th birthday. How long the current boiler ticket lasts before work will be needed is in the hands of the boiler inspector
TVR 28 was built by the Taff Vale Railway
Company in May 1897 at West Yard Works,
Cardiff. It is a class '01' 0-6-2 mixed traffic tank
engine and as a result of the groupings of 1922,
was handed over to the Great Western Railway to
become No.450. At its handover point in 1922,
the loco had a recorded mileage of 483,189. The
engine was withdrawn from service in 1926 and in
the following year passed on to the Longmoor
Military Railway where it was named Gordon and
A the end of the Second World War the engine
was again sold, this time to the South Hetton
Colliery in County Durham. Nationalisation of the
coal industry brought about another number
change, this time becoming No.67 of the National
Coal Board. The NCB rebuilt the locomotive in
1955 and it was eventually withdrawn from service
in February 1960.
TVR 28 was first donated to the British Railways
Board (WR) by the NCB, then moved to Caerphilly
Works. This unfortunately closed and on the 24th
June 1963 the loco moved to Swindon. Eighteen
months later TVR 28 was on its way again, this
time to be stored at Stratford in London, following
custody of the locomotive being given to the
National Museum of Wales as part of the National
In 1967 the loco returned to Caerphilly Works
which by this time had been taken over by South
Wales Switchgear Ltd. The reason for the move
appears to have been to place it on display until
1971. The locomotive again faced an uncertain
future. However, the newly formed Caerphilly
Railway Society, its members working in less than
ideal conditions, managed to complete the
restoration and return TVR 28 to steam during
1983 - some 20 years after its donation to the
British Railways Board.
On May 16th 1996 the loco moved to its new
home at the Dean Forest Railway, on loan from
the National Railway Museum, into the safe
keeping of the Dean Forest Railway Society.
A small committee was set up to manage a
restoration programme and eventually the long
job of dismantling the locomotive began in June
1997. This was completed on November 11 1997
when a crane was hired to lift the boiler from its
frame and the frame from its wheels.
Quotations were obtained to machine the wheels'
tyres, the axle bearing journals and the outside
coupling rod crankpins. These components went
to Swindon Locomotive Carriage & Wagon Works
in December 1997 and were returned to Norchard
in May 1998. Successful fund raising via the DFR
Society's annual prize draw enabled the next
stage of restoration to be undertaken. This
involved a difficult overhaul of the axle boxes,
horn guides and horn ties with work carried out by
the Swindon Railway workshop at Bream, near
Lydney. In the meantime the frames, boiler and
wheels were sandblasted, then painted where no
further work was required.
The axle boxes proved to be a very expensive
item, considerably exceeding the original budget.
This work was completed by midsummer 1999
and attention then turned to the loco's springs.
Disaster! ...they proved to be beyond repair.
Brand new springs needed to be manufactured
and they are being fitted this winter.
Although it had been intended to return TVR28 to
steam in 2000, the programme has been revised
with the boiler overhaul delayed until the autumn
and a number of smaller tasks still to be done.
The TVR 28 restoration team sincerly thanks
everyone who has purchased prize draw tickets
and donated monies in aid of the fund-raising
appeal and invite you to Norchard to see where
the money is spent.
Ivatt Tank Locomotive 41312
Built in May 1952, this locomotive spent all of itís 15 year life
working on the Southern region of British Rail, seeing service
initially in the Dover and Margate areas before being transferred
to Barnstaple Junction on the North Devon coast.
In 1963 No. 41312 was re-allocated to Brighton, but moved
again a year later, this time to Bournmouth. As the steam services
were gradually withdrawn over the coming years, No. 41312
worked the last booked steam service over the Lymington branch
before being transferred for the last time to Nine Elms, where it
spent the remainder of itís BR days on shunting duties around
Waterloo station, until the end of steam. Sent to Woodham Brothers scrap yard in Souh
Wales, the loco spent 6 years amongst the ranks of condemmed
locomotives before being acquired by the Caerphilly Railway
Society in August 1974.
then was bought by John Jones in 1985. No 41312 moved to Ropley, Mid-Hants
Railway for its major overhaul.
Built by Andrew Barclay in 1945 to an order by Stewart and Lloyds, she spent all her
working life at their Newport
Tube Works before being loaned to the
National Museum of Wales in 1974. The locomotive was placed in the care
of the Caerphilly Railway Society.
In 2014, it was transferred to the Pontypool and Blaeanvon Railway - see story here
1998 saw the delivery of the Great Western signal box from Caerphilly to the
Teifi Valley Railway. "It had been vandalised and it has
taken time to get the money together for the repairs and resiting, but it is hoped that this
work will be completed for the opening of the 2002
Photos from Caerphilly
Photos from the Society's former base at the Harold Wilson Industrial Estate in Caerphilly.