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Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr Railway Company

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Location: 51 41N 4 11W National Grid Ref: SN49 07

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History....The line today....Rolling Stock .... How to Get There

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The Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr Railway (LMMR) Company Limited was formed in April 1999 to reinstate  a mile-long length of track at Cynheidre built on part of the alignment of the Carmarthenshire Tramroad, one of the oldest public railways in the world.
Included in the LMMRC's plans are a heritage interpretation centre, detailing the history of coal mining - the industry which the tramroad served - in the area. Longer term, extension of the track to cover more stretches of the historic route are planned.
Track has been laid at the Cynheidre site, and as part of the bedding-in process, the Company's Sentinel shunter traversed the track on 14th July 2009

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The Carmarthenshire tramroad was authorised in 1802 and opened in 1803 as a twelve-mile horse-drawn system linking Llanelly (the anglicised form of Llanelli) with Gorslas, but the company folded forty years later. The dock which it had built was bought by the Llanelli Harbour Commissioners, but it was not until 1875 that the LMMR was formed to relay the track on the route of the former tramroad. By 1887 the track had been extended a further mile to The Great Mountain (Mynydd Mawr) collieries at Cross Hands. In thirteen miles the line through the picturesque Swiss Valley rose through an elevation of some 500 feet, and with gradients of up to 1-in-40 the branch witnessed some spectacular sights when as many as three locomotives struggled to get trains up and down the tortuous route.
Never a passenger railway, other than workmen's trains and the occasional holiday excursion, the line was totally dependent on coal traffic from the mines along the branch. But like other parts of the country, the demand for coal declined, so that, by the mid-1960s, Cynheidre - just under seven miles from Llanelli - was the only remaining colliery on the branch, In 1988 this, too, closed. Early in 1995, it seemed likely that the branch would once more see coal traffic, when a mining company sought to open a mine at Cynheidre and establish a railhead nearby, but again, this came to nothing when planning permission was refused.

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The line today

Since Cynheidre closed, several attempts have been made to reopen the historic route but, for a variety of reasons, have been thwarted at every turn.
One of the unwanted costs which reopening the branch originally entailed was replacing stolen sections of track, but LMMR members were encouraged that they attracted grants which allowed them to purchase the freehold of the twelve acres of land on which Phase One of the scheme is being built. An access road was completed, a 2,000 square-metre wildlife pond created, and, with army help, the site was fenced, cleared and levelled. A car park area has also been surfaced with recycled stone.
Initially, the mile-long track will run between Cynheidre and Cynheidre North, while subsequent phases will see extensions north to Sylen Bridge, south to Swiss Valley, and longer term, ultimately will connect Llanelli and Tumble, a total distance of around ten miles.
Steady progress is being made, but no opening date has been given due to the uncertain nature of grant-aid.
The route is, however, secured following the signing of an agreement in 2000 with Carmarthenshire County Council and Sustrans, which has resulted in a cycleway along the former trackbed.
A dual purpose locomotive shed and heritage centre has been constructed, and a Heritage Lottery Fund grant secured for the restoration of the Avonside saddle tank loc Desmond.
Except for Desmond, all of the LMMR's rolling stock has been brought on site at Cynheidre.

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Rolling stock

Over the years, the railway has seen a steady increase in its locos and rolling stock.

Steam Locomotives
Avonside 0-4-0 No 1498 Desmond, built 1906 (donated by the National Museums and Galleries of Wales). This loco is currently undergoing restoration at the Llangollen Railway.
Avonside 0-6-0 No 1680 Sir John (owned by the Vale of Neath Railway and awaiting restoration.)

Diesel Locomotives
Sentinel 0-4-0 Rolls Royce powered Diesel No 10222 Peter J Griffiths (donated by Hanson Aggregates, Machen Quarry into whose livery the loco has been painted)

Ex-BR Diesel Multiple Units

Class 117 2-car DMU vehicles Nos 51354 and 51396, built 1960
Class 107 DMU vehicle 52029, built 1961

Rolling Stock
Ex BR Mk1 Brake Corridor Second W34676, built 1955, purchased by a member of the LMMR from the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway
Ex-BR Mk II First Class Buffet Car No 1206, Built 1973
Leyland prototype coach on Mk1 underframe ADB977091
GWR Six-wheel Luggage Composite Carriage No 8597
GWR Six-wheel Lavatory Composite Carriage (Number unknown)
The last two listed are minus wheel frames, and are intended as long-term restoration projects.)

GWR Toad Brakevan No DB35377
Ex-BR Tar Wagon 40225
Ex-BR Tar Wagon 40229
Tar Wagon (Number unknown)
Tippler Wagon, now converted to a flatbed engineering wagon
(The Tar Wagons are ex- Caerphilly Tar Works and Cwm Coking Plant)

How to Get There

Cynheidre is served by First Cymru services 194/195 from Llanelli. For details of these and connecting services, including travel planner and timetables, visit the Traveline-Cymru website.

Select link to visit the LMMRC's official website.

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Copyright 2006/7/8/9/10/11 /12/13/14 by Deryck Lewis. All rights reserved.
Page created October 20 2006; Updated
January 1 2013
If you have any suggestions, comments, or glitches to report, please contact the author at WalesRails