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The Harbourmaster: Special rail excursion draws crowds to Milford Haven

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MILFORD HAVEN witnessed an extraordinary event yesterday as a special charter train, operated by UK Railtours, made a unique visit to the town, drawing in 500 railway enthusiasts. Departing from London Paddington, the 13-carriage train, which included both first class and standard accommodations, travelled off the usual passenger routes to provide a scenic journey along the south Wales coast.

Starting the day with pick-ups from various locations including Slough, Reading, Swindon, and Bristol Parkway, the train ventured through the Severn Tunnel into Wales, showcasing a series of rarely used freight tracks. Notably, the locomotive switched at Newport to a pair of GBRf Class 66 freight engines, enhancing the experience for those on board by traversing tracks seldom seen by passenger services.

The journey took passengers through Cardiff, Bridgend, and Port Talbot Parkway, deviating at Court Sart Junction to follow the diversionary Swansea District line. The train paused at various locations including Llanelli and Haverfordwest, where passengers enjoyed a 90-minute break while the train was serviced.

A major highlight of the trip was the exploration of the seldom-visited Robeston branch, a treat for the rail enthusiasts who filled the train to capacity, necessitating a waiting list for hopeful travellers. The venture concluded at Milford Haven, where passengers disembarked for a photo session before the train commenced its return journey to London, including a final scenic pass via the Swansea Avoiding line and the Bishton flyover.

Local Councillor Nicola Harteveld of Milford Haven Town Council expressed delight at the influx of visitors, noting, “What an incredible sight at Milford Waterfront today with passengers enjoying our local scenery. It’s a testament to the unique charm and appeal of special rail tours.”

First class passengers were treated to The Great British Breakfast and a four-course dinner, while a buffet car served those in standard class, ensuring all passengers enjoyed their journey with comfort and style.

This tour, fully booked in all classes, underscores the continuing enthusiasm for unique rail experiences in the UK, combining a love for heritage rail with the exploration of less-travelled tracks. As the train made its way back to London Paddington, the participants reflected on a day filled with adventure and picturesque landscapes, leaving them with memories of a rare rail journey along the historic and scenic routes of Wales.

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Community

Castle Square Bike Night raises funds for Blood Bikes Wales

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HAVERFORDWEST was abuzz with excitement recently as Castle Square hosted its much-anticipated Bike Night. The event, held on Wednesday, 22nd May, saw an impressive turnout of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the region, all gathering for a worthy cause.

Castle Square Bike Night, which began at 6:30 PM, transformed the heart of Haverfordwest. The event aimed to bring together bikers of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate their shared passion for motorcycles while supporting Blood Bikes Wales, a charity dedicated to providing free, out-of-hours transport of essential medical items to NHS facilities across Wales.

The square was a sea of colour and chrome, with bikes of all makes and models on the town square. From sleek sports bikes to vintage classics, the variety on display was a testament to the diverse biking community in Pembrokeshire. Riders and spectators alike admired the impressive machines, swapped stories, and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Donations were collected throughout the evening, with all proceeds going directly to Blood Bikes Wales.

The charity relies entirely on volunteers and donations to operate, and events like these are crucial in ensuring they can continue their vital service. “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported us tonight,” said a representative from Blood Bikes Wales. “The generosity of the biking community is truly heartwarming, and it makes a significant difference in our ability to provide life-saving services.”

As the evening drew to a close, the success of Castle Square Bike Night was evident in the smiling faces and the positive feedback from attendees. The event not only celebrated the love of motorcycles but also highlighted the power of community action in supporting charitable causes.

Castle Square Bike Night has firmly established itself as a key event in the Haverfordwest calendar, and the organisers are already looking forward to the next gathering. With its combination of passion, community spirit, and charitable giving, it is sure to remain a highlight for years to come.

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Lucky dog rescued by lifeboat crew after 250 foot cliff fall

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WHIST on a coxswain training exercise on Monday (May 20), the lifeboat Haydn Miller was tasked to Rhossili, following a report that a dog had fallen 250ft from the cliffs at the Rocket Pole.

Whilst the volunteer crew made best speed to the area, Rhossili, Mumbles and Oxwich Coastguard rescue teams also made their way and deployed a cliff man to assist with the search.

Once on scene, the Y-boat was launched and the crew located the dog, which appeared to be well considering its fall. The dog was picked up by the crew, before being recovered back to awaiting Coastguard teams at Kitchen Corner, Rhossili.

The lifeboat then returned to its exercise.

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Community

New town and extra streets can now bid for paint scheme grants

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A SCHEME supporting businesses in town centres to spruce up their exteriors is being extended to include Tenby.

Since the start of the year businesses on certain streets in some of Pembrokeshire’s biggest towns have been invited to access a Streetscape Paint Scheme, part of the County Council’s Street Enhancement Programme.

Tenby is the latest town to be included and businesses on High Street, Tudor Square, St Georges Street, Church Street, Upper and Lower Frog Street, and South Parade can apply for up to £4,999 per property.

The fund will support owners of eligible properties and tenants/leaseholders who have the written consent of the property owner. Grants can be used for the purchase of materials (primer, masonry undercoat and exterior masonry paint) or towards the cost of using a contractor.

Grants will provide 80 per cent of the total capital expenditure and schemes must be completed by November 2024.

Additional streets added to the scheme in towns already benefitting from the grant include Market Square and Main Street in Fishguard, Market Street and Picton Place in Haverfordwest, Pembroke Dock’s Meyrick Street and Northgate Street in Pembroke.

Cabinet Member for Place, the Region and Climate Change Cllr Paul Miller said: “This is just part of the County Council’s commitment to regenerate Pembrokeshire’s towns and their wider communities.”

Cllr Miller, who is also Deputy Leader of the Council, added: “Business owners can access funds to improve the overall look of their properties which in turn makes them a more attractive place to visit.

“We want our town centres to thrive and this scheme is one way to help support that.”

For full information on the Streetscape Paint Scheme, including details on grant eligibility and a link to apply for the scheme, please

The project is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Levelling Up Fund to encourage vibrant town centres.

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