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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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Permit applications open for Tenby pedestrianisation scheme

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is now accepting applications for vehicle access during this year’s Pedestrianisation of Tenby.

The scheme, which is due to start on Monday, July 5 and conclude on Friday, September 10, will again see the walled town divided into three ‘zones’, each having varying degrees of vehicle access.

Whilst all necessary plans are being put in place for it to start and finish on the above dates, the scheme will remain under constant review in light of Government guidance relating to Covid-19, and the Council will provide any updates as necessary.

Possession of an ‘access permit’ does not provide any exemption from Government restrictions, and any regulations relating to travel and the occupation of holiday accommodation or second homes must be observed at all times.

Following the success of last year, the permit application process will continue online, with paper application forms and guidance notes no longer being delivered to residents and businesses.

The application form and guidance notes are available from pembrokeshire.gov.uk/tenby-pedestrianisation

Residents and business within Tenby are encouraged to complete the application process as soon as possible, to ensure that there is sufficient time for the application to be processed.

Permits will be issued approximately 7-10 days prior to the start of the scheme.

For enquiries, e-mail tenby.pedestrian@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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Join the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel as an independent member

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THE Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is looking for two members to join them in their work to support and challenge the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Panel is made of up of members nominated by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys county councils along with at least two independent members.

Opportunities have now arisen for two independent members to join the Panel and carry out key statutory roles that will support the Commissioner exercise his role effectively.

Members will be expected to attend and take part in regular meetings and take part in decision making, creating reports and making recommendations to the Commissioner.

They will review the Commissioner’s annual draft Police and Crime Plan and annual draft budget, review and scrutinise his decisions and actions, and if necessary review the proposed appointment or removal of the Chief Constable and other senior police force appointments.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they can take a balanced and objective approach in supporting the Panel and the Commissioner, make strategic and well-informed decisions, and interpret and question financial, statistical and performance related information.

They will also need to be able to act as a ‘critical friend’, challenging views or proposals for change constructively.

Applications close on May 31, and appointments to the Panel will be made until October 31, 2024. 

For further information, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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Successful Fire Service and Health Board partnership to enhance COVID-19 vaccine roll out comes to end

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TUESDAY 11 May 2021 marked the end of a hugely successful partnership between Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Hywel Dda University Health Board, initiated to enhance the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to the communities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Since February, Community Safety Staff from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have transported 125 passengers over 9450 miles to ensure they were able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Recognising the configuration of our Service, the areas we cover and indeed the people we employee, this seemed an ideal opportunity for us to widen our response to the pandemic and support our partners in safeguarding our communities.

“Whilst we already collaborate with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, this opportunity enabled us to expand our assistance further within the health arena. This partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board was the first of its kind for Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and paved the way for a number of similar partnerships for us and the other Fire and Rescue Services in Wales.

“I am extremely proud of our staff who have participated in this collaboration and have made a huge difference to the lives of so many people. Their contribution has without doubt had a positive impact on our response to this global pandemic”.

Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, coordinated the Service’s response to this call for assistance.

“Our communities are at the heart of our core business. Knowing we were in a position to make an impact, we put in place a robust solution in record time, to not only ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, but to also safeguard those who were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, but may have had barriers preventing them from attending their appointments.

“Using this partnership as template within which we could expand, we have since been able to offer our assistance to other Health Boards across the Service area. Indeed, a group of 10 vaccine heroes from our Service have joined Powys Teaching Health Board’s vaccination team, playing their part in distributing vaccines at mass vaccination sites in Newtown and Builth Wells. This is another fantastic example of how working together has been vital in our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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