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Pembroke Coast Express, huge success!

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GWR Nunney Castle leaving Pembroke Dock - Pic Gareth Davies, Hundleton

GWR Nunney Castle leaving Pembroke Dock – Pic Gareth Davies, Hundleton

THIS WEEKEND hundreds of train enthusiasts took  a rare opportunity to travel by steam train over the scenic branch line from Whitland through Tenby to Pembroke Dock. The “Pembroke Coast Express” recalled the 1950’s days of named steam trains on the former Western Region of British Railways. The train ran from London Paddington through South Wales to the Pembroke Coast. Enthusiasts have recreated this train hauled by ex-Great Western Railway Castle class steam locomotive No. 5029 “Nunney Castle”.

Neil Davies who travelled on the service said: “It cost me a fair few hundred quid to get me and my family on this train, but it was worth every penny. Its an experience that I will never forget.”

The “Pembroke Coast Express” left Bristol Temple Meads at around 08:04 on Sunday (Aug 31) hauled by Castle class steam locomotive No. 5029 “Nunney Castle”. It headed west through the Severn Tunnel calling to pick up further passengers at Newport and Cardiff before continuing into West Wales. The 1934 Swindon-built locomotive passed through Bridgend and Port Talbot and at Briton Ferry, and took the Swansea District Line to Llangennech. From Llanelli it ran by the sea wall most of the way to Carmarthen where the iconic steam locomotive was serviced. 

On lookers waved as the train passed through Kilgetty and Saundersfoot before stopping at Tenby to set down passengers who were spending time at the seaside resort. The train continued through Penally, with adventurers commenting on the fine views over the Irish Sea, to Pembroke Dock.

The train left Pembroke Dock hauled by steam locomotive No. 5029 and returned to Tenby to pick up passengers who left the train there. Continuing to Whitland, she rejoined the main line from Fishguard Harbour. Avoiding the terminus station at Carmarthen by taking the south curve, the train passed through Kidwelly and Llanelli before the steep ascent of Cockett Bank – a 1 in 50 gradient. The train avoided the terminus station at Swansea High Street and passed through Neath to join the main line at Briton Ferry. There was some ‘fast running’ en route to Cardiff, the first set down stop. The Pembroke Coast Express stopped at Newport to set down further passengers before continuing through the Severn Tunnel and onwards to Bristol, the journey’s end.

 

Mainline Career

Built at the GWR’s Swindon Works in 1934 to Charles Collets design, Nunney Castle was one of a 171 strong class designed to haul the fastest of the GWRs express passenger services.

Named for the castle near Frome in Somerset, 5029 spent much of her working life based at Old Oak Common depot in London. The engine moved to Worcester in 1958, then had spells at Newton Abbot and Laira before a final transfer in December 1962 took it to Cardiff East Dock, where it was to remain until being withdrawn along with other members of its class in December 1963.

The locomotive was used in many publicity and “life on the railway” type of photographs. During the first day of the World War II Evacuations the locomotive hauled trains carrying children being taken from London to the safety of the countryside. Nunney Castle was also used to haul the Royal Train in October 1957 from Paddington to Gloucester.

Preservation

Nunney Castle was sent in 1964 to Dai Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry, arriving in June where it was to languish for 12 years. 5029 was in fact the last steam loco delivered to Barry Scrapyard by rail. She was rescued in 1976.

The locomotive was restored from scrap yard condition at Didcot and returned to service in 1990. Since then it has been a regular performer on the mainline. In the late 1990′s the engine underwent its first overhaul, during this time she was fitted with dual air and vacuum braking. The tender was also modified to give a larger water capacity. Both of these modifications were made to enable 5029 to increase its operational capacity on the mainline.

She has continued to perform regularly on both the mainline and preserved railways and recently returned to mainline service from an intermediate overhaul.

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Fishguard: Traws Cymru bus destroyed in vehicle fire

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THE TRAWS CYMRU T5 Bus caught fire on Friday evening (May 17) in Fishguard, no passengers onboard.

According to local reports, only the driver was in the bus, which was on the way back to the depot.

The Herald understands that the driver got off safely.

Police and fire service were at the scene and the blaze was quickly extinguished.

Bus enthusiast Jim Horrissey said on Facebook: “The bus was Optare Tempo X1200 YJ56 WUG.

“It had finished it’s device on the T11 and was heading back to Fishguard when the fire started. Nobody was hurt, and only the driver was onboard.”

The 19 year old bus was formerly on service with the Norfolk Green Line, which is owned by Stagecoach before being put into general Statecoach service.

It was most recently operated by Richard Brothers.

According to their website, The TrawsCymru T5 provides a regular and direct service along the scenic Cambrian Coast, linking Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, New Quay, Cardigan, Fishguard and Haverfordwest.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Parked up: Bus before the fire

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Dementia Action Week

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LIBRARIES across the county will be supporting Dementia Action Week this month.

Dementia Action Week (20-26 May) aims to unite individuals, workplaces and communities to take action and improve the lives of people living with dementia.

“Unfortunately there are many people living with dementia in Pembrokeshire,” said Laura Evans, Library Development Officer.

“It is important that we do all we can to raise awareness of the condition and to help those people who are living with it.”

Reminiscence sessions will be the focus in some libraries, with members of the public invited to bring along old photographs of their local area to help people recall events, places or people.

Craft activities will be taking place to make ‘twiddle sheets’, that provide visual, tactile and sensory stimulation to people with dementia, with the finished sheets being donated to local groups and charities.

Libraries in Pembrokeshire offer a range of books about dementia, including the ‘Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia’ collection.

The collection, which has been recommended by experts and endorsed by well-known charities and health organisations, provides information and advice for living well after diagnosis, as well as personal stories and practical support.

Information on all Dementia Action Week events taking place at local libraries will be available from:

· www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture,
· on the Libraries Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PembrokeshireLibraryService
· or ask at your local library for details

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TPS scam alert issued

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PEMBROKESHIRE Trading Standards are warning local residents of a current telephone scam.

Callers claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) have been phoning residents asking them to pay for the service or to update their contact details.

In fact, the TPS is free – and it does not contact its customers to update their details.

“The TPS is the official service for people to register to opt out of receiving marketing phone calls to land and mobile telephones. It is free and once a phone number is registered, it remains on the list with no need for it to be updated,” said Sandra McSparron, Trading Standards Officer at Pembrokeshire County Council.

“If you have been contacted by phone asking you to pay for TPS services, or update your details, it is a scam.”

Pembrokeshire Trading Standards has also received a report of someone being phoned regarding national insurance fraud and asking for details of the person’s National Insurance number.

Trading Standards would advise people not to share this information with unknown callers.

· If you suspect a scam call, hang up and report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 / 03454 040505 (Welsh Speaker).

· Registering your telephone number with the TPS can be done via their telephone number 0345 070 0707 or the website www.tpsonline.org.uk

· The Trading Standards Team offers talks to any groups in Pembrokeshire advising how to spot and avoid scams and what to do if you or someone you know is receiving these contacts. For further details please phone 01437 764551 or email tradingstandards@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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