Teifi Valley Railway

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Coordinates: 52°02′10″N 4°24′40″W / 52.036°N 4.411°W / 52.036; -4.411

Teifi Valley Railway
Rheilffordd Dyffryn Teifi
Motor Rail Sammy at the original GWR station site in Henllan in 2002.
Commercial operations
NameCarmarthen and Cardigan Railway
Built bySouth Wales Railway
Original gauge7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) Brunel gauge
Preserved operations
Owned byThe Teifi Valley Railway Ltd / Teifi Valley Railway Society
Operated byTeifi Valley Railway Ltd
LengthWas 2 miles (3.2 km) until 2014.
Up to 6 miles (9.7 km) is currently planned.
Preserved gauge2 ft (610 mm)
Commercial history
1872converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preservation history
1981Track bed bought by Dyfed Railway Company Ltd.
1983Reopened to Pontprenshitw.
1987Reopened to Llandyfriog
2006Reopened to Llandyfriog Riverside - since renamed Pontgoch
2014Closed for rail services
2016Reopened for rail services
2016Reopened to Forest Halt
Teifi Valley Railway
Carmarthen to Aberystwyth Line
to Carmarthen
End of restored line
Shed & Sidings
Henllan Parking
Bridge 52 (Road)
Bridge 53 (Footpath)
Forest Halt
Bridge 54 (Pontprenshitw)
Bridge 55 (Mini-Pont)
Bridge 56 (Access)
Bridge 57 (Admiral's Bridge)
Bridge 58 (Farm access)
Bridge 59/Pont Goch
over Afon Teifi
Carmarthen to Aberystwyth Line

The Teifi Valley Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Dyffryn Teifi) is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway hoping to operate between Pentrecwrt and Newcastle Emlyn along the River Teifi, West Wales. It is a tourist railway built on the GWR part of the Carmarthen and Cardigan Railway and operated on about two miles of track. A new platform was constructed at Henllan, on the original GWR location, from where the service had been planned to continue to Newcastle Emlyn and, eventually, to Pentrecwrt. Trains ran up to 2014 from Henllan station to Pont Goch (Red Bridge; formerly Llandyfriog Riverside).


The Teifi Valley Railway was originally conceived as a 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) Brunel gauge line between Carmarthen and Cardigan. The line was opened temporarily in 1860, under the South Wales Railway and was fully opened the following year. It was operated by the Carmarthen and Cardigan Railway between Carmarthen and Cynwyl Elfed. In 1864, the line was extended to Pencader and Llandysul and, by 1872, had been converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge. By this time though, the line was bankrupt. Eventually the line was bought by the Great Western Railway which extended the terminus to Newcastle Emlyn. Passenger trains ceased to operate in 1952 and, in 1973 when freight services discontinued, the line was closed and dismantled.[1] All that was left were platforms, bridges and a tunnel.

Although attempts had been made in 1973 to preserve the railway at standard gauge, it was not until 1981 that any true restoration project got under way. A group of enthusiasts bought the trackbed and, in 1983, laid a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge track. The line originally ran from Henllan to Pontprenshitw, where passengers were invited to take a short walk to see the waterfall under the railway bridge. In 1987, the line was extended as far as Llandyfriog and, in 2006, was extended to Pont Goch. From July 2009, the Henllan platform was relocated to the site of the original GWR site. [1]

From this date, the Railway suffered a loss of trained personnel and operation for a full season became more and more difficult. In 2013 two directors resigned fearing that the Railway was facing closure. A local businessman took on the tenancy of the cafe and shortly after, operation of the whole business. Reports on the poor condition of the railway track, locos and rolling stock were ignored and eventually brought about the closure of railway operations. There were however no attempts to repair the track, but the tenant removed the first stretch of rail and began operation of a land train. Following an ORR inspection the Teifi Valley Railway suspended rail services in June 2014 and the Company was reprimanded for having passed rail operations to another operator.

From July 2014 the Teifi Valley Railway no longer operated as a railway; no trains ran and the track was removed from Henllan to Pontprenshitw, a tractor-hauled 'land train' providing rides on a short section of the trackbed. It was discovered in the autumn that the tenant had no intention of repairing or relaying the track, but rails had been removed so that commercial timber fellers could access the large spruce plantation just past Pontprenshitw. The track beyond Pontprenshitw had not been taken up and was severely damaged. The tenant left the scene and declared himself bankrupt. In November 2014 a new group took over management of the Railway and funds were being sought to relay some track and resume operations in 2015. [2] As of May 2016, track relaying had reached as far as Forest Halt, and train operations had resumed.

The line[edit]

The track near the waterfall at Pontprenshitw 04.07.2002 (Matt Buck)

The line between Henllan station and the old Llandyfriog station, currently (Jul 2016) only running as far as Forest Halt, is built on the side of a valley, with a succession of bridges and the remainder to Pontgoch on an embankment:

  • Bridge 52, a road over bridge
  • Bridge 53, a small access bridge
  • Bridge 54, 'Pontprenshitw', a large single-arch bridge (built by Joseph Hamlet of West Bromwich in 1893) carrying the railway over the River Cynllo gorge and a historic Celtic leat
  • Bridge 55, 'Mini-Pont', a small access bridge
  • Bridge 56, an access bridge to a farm and the River Teifi
  • Bridge 57, 'Admiral's Bridge', providing access to a house on the bank of the Teifi
  • Bridge 58, an access bridge to a farm
  • Bridge 59, 'Pont Goch', a large piered-beam bridge, part of which threatened to collapse into the Teifi when high water levels following heavy rainfall in the autumn of 1987 washed out the support of the section nearest Newcastle Emlyn, which was later removed. The remaining half is sound and is used as a viewing point at Pont Goch Station.

Rolling stock and locomotives[edit]

Name Builder Works
Type Year built Year arrived Notes
Sgt. Murphy Kerr Stuart 3117 Steam 0-6-2T 1918 1998 Haig Class, bought from Gordon Rushton. Due to return to service in 2018 after overhaul.
Alan George Hunslet 606 Steam 0-4-0ST 1894 1983 Built for the Penrhyn Quarries. In regular service.
Sammy Motor Rail 11111 4wDM 1951 1987 Awaiting overhaul.
Sholto Hunslet 2433 4wDM 1941 1983 Awaiting overhaul.
John Henry Ruston Diesel 0-4-0 1959 In regular service.
Name Type Year built Notes
Annie Bogied 1983
Esme Bogied 1984
Jacqueline Bogied 1987
Lisa 4 wheeled 1990
Rhoysen 4 wheeled 1994 Base flat bodied wagon no.254
Emma 4 wheeled 2003
Nancy Bogied 1973 Previously owned by the Welsh Highland Railway (Porthmadog), known as the 'Cote coach' or Coach no.1
Number Type Notes
101-106 Side tipping wagons (Hudsons)
120-121 End door box wagons Built at Henllan in 1984
140-141 Single bolster wagons Built at Henllan using frames of two side-tipping wagons
190-191,196 Box wagons
374 Flat bodied wagon
ex-War Dept. vehicles x5 Require re-gauging

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About the Railway". Teifi Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
  2. ^ "Train gets steamed up for society". Tivyside Advertiser. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  3. ^ Industrial Railway Society (2009). Industrial Locomotives (15EL). Industrial Railway Society. ISBN 978-1-901556-53-7.

External links[edit]