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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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Mount Estate: Man arrested after gas explosion threat

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Armed police: In the Mount Estate (pic. Herald)

ARMED POLICE have arrested a man on the Mount Estate in Milford Haven this afternoon (Oct 16) after responding to reports of a man who is threatening to set a fire using the gas supply in his flat.

The windows of the first floor flat, in Birch Mead, were smashed and a man was shouting to officers below threatening to cause an explosion.

Threatening: To cause an explosion (pic. Herald)

A Herald reporter at the scene had counted at least a dozen Dyfed-Powys Police vehicles, including vans and undercover cars.

Nearby residents have been evacuated and a cordon has been set up.

Emergency services: Gathered by the flat (pic. Herald)

Police asked residents and a Herald reporter at the scene to move back further after the arrival of the armed officers.

Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue, as well as specialists from the gas board, are also at the scene.

Watching: Locals were evacuated (pic. Herald)

A large crowd has gathered by the cordon.

MORE TO FOLLOW.

Armed officers: Locals were asked to move back upon their arrival (pic. Herald)

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Work goes on for NRW in aftermath of storm

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AFTER a weekend of heavy rain and floods which hit South West Wales particularly hard, the clear up has begun.

For Natural Resources Wales officers this means inspecting flood defences and other assets to assess and repair any damage caused by the high river levels and volumes of water.

Jeremy Parr, NRW Head of Flood and Incident Risk Management said:

“Our sympathies go out to anybody impacted by these floods and Storm Callum, it is an unwelcome reminder of the damage that severe weather can do.

“While some communities were significantly affected, for many the flood defences did their job and reduced the worst of the impacts.

The weekend storm caused 80 properties to flood across south west Wales and led to major disruption of businesses and transport across the whole of the country.

The River Teifi at Llandysul reached its highest level since records began in 1971 and the Towey above Carmarthen was at its highest since 1987.

NRW officers were on duty around the clock ensuring defence structures were sound, operating flood gates, erecting temporary defences and clearing trash screens.

In Abergwili, in the Tywi Valley, the flood gates were closed and prevented flooding despite the water level rising to within 180mm of the top of the gate, just short of the evacuation trigger of 150mm.

More people than ever visited NRW’s website to check the latest flood warning information. Before and during Storm Callum NRW’s flood pages received more than half a million-page views, while warning and informing messages on social media reached over 110,000 people.

Jeremy added: “After any major flooding event there are lessons to be learned and Storm Callum is no exception, so we will review what took place and how we responded to identify where improvements can be made.

“As is usual after any flood event, we now have our people out and about checking our defences for any damage, and to ensure they can continue to help protect people and property.”

“We won’t just look at the flood defence network, but also at our incident response and our warning and informing before, during and after the incident.

“While there were significant impacts in some areas, the initial indications are that these elements worked well.

“We will be working with our partners in local government and the emergency services to ensure we continue where possible to reduce the impacts of incidents like this.”

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Police appeal following five burglaries

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for information that could help their investigation into five burglaries in the Solva and St Davids areas.

They are thought to have happened between 8pm and midnight on Sunday, September 30. Cash, jewellery and a mobile phone were stolen.

A witness has described seeing a man wearing tracksuit bottoms in the area at the time. He may have been a passenger in a small silver car.

A man (aged 32) and woman (aged 39) from Cardiff have been arrested on suspicion of burglary. The woman has been released under investigation while the man has been recalled to prison for a separate offence.

The investigation is ongoing, anyone who saw anything, or has any information is asked to contact Sgt. Huw Watson at Haverfordwest Police Station by calling 101.

If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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