Posts Tagged steam train

The Brecon Mountain Railway

The second part of our Bellringer’s coach outing was to the Brecon Mountain Railway which is a narrow gauge steam railway that goes from Pant to Torpantau high in the Brecon Beacons.

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The Brecon Mountain Railway was conceived over 40 years ago when a search started to find a suitable site to build and  operate a steam railway using locomotives collected from around the world.

Merthyr Tydfil seemed ideally located at the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park with its beautiful mountain, lake and forest scenery. At one time Merthyr Tydfil was the greatest iron making town in the world, most of the very early railways used rails rolled in Merthyr Mills. Merthyr witnessed, in 1804, the trial run of the worlds first steam railway locomotive built by Cornishman Richard Trevithick.

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The section of line chosen for the Brecon Mountain Railway was part of the abandoned Brecon and Merthyr Railway, originally built in 1859 it finally closed in 1964. This Railway fought its way through the Brecon Beacons using steep gradients to the summit at Torpantau 1313-ft above sea level.

Pant Station is at 1134 Feet (346m) above sea level and the first 600 yards (500m) of the route are built on a new alignment some of which was cut through solid rock. The original station site at Pant was not available when the trackbed was purchased.

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Upon leaving the platform at Pant Station the line curves right then left on a climbing gradient before joining the original trackbed of the Brecon and Merthyr Railway.

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We travelled in loco number 2 called Baldwin, which originally ran in South Africa.

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On the journey back we stopped at Pontsticill station, where as it was a hot day, most people purchased an ice cream from the little café there.

The return journey was 1 hour and 30 minutes with a 25 minute stop at Pontsticill.

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Trip to Minehead on the West Somerset Railway

Today Neil and I took the unusual step of having a day off working in the garden. Instead we had a day out on the West Somerset Railway with a trip from Bishops Lydeard, just outside Taunton, to Minehead on the north Devon coast.  Yes it was grey and overcast, and we hadn’t exactly picked the best day to go, but we decided to go for it all the same.

Flowers at Bishops Lydeard

I admired the lovely flowers everywhere at the station as we waited for the steam train to arrive.

Neil admiring one of the steam engines

The train gently chuffed it’s way through the various stations and across the countryside for an hour and a quarter before arriving in Minehead.  This was a typical English seaside town with the normal assortment of amusement arcades and novelty gift shops, although out of season not that busy.  The tide was in when we first arrived at the beach.

Looking towards the harbour at Minehead

We took a leisurely stroll along the prom to the harbour where we found a quiet pub that served food, and treated ourselves to fish and chips. It was very reasonably priced and delicious.

Boats in the harbour at Minehead

We strolled back and on the way passed an old car parked in the front of a hotel.  It was a vintage Rover in excellent condition.

Vintage Rover

We sat in one of the many shelters along the sea front just watching the world go by.

Us sat by the sea front

There were some really gorgeous flower beds in colours of red, white and blue, which had been planted for the jubilee.

patriotic flower bed

Making our way back to the train station we could see the smoke from the steam engine coming into the platform.

steam train arriving in Minehead

They shunted the engine up and down the track to latch onto the other end of the train to drive us back to Bishops Lydeard.

steam engines at Minehead

The early afternoon train rambled back along the track to Bishops Lydeard and the sun came out as we were chuffing along.  With the rhythm of the train and and warmth of the sun, the effect was quite soporific.  We arrived back home early evening to a nice cup of tea.  All in all a great day out and thoroughly recommended.

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