Sunday, June 3, 2018

Saturday 2 June - Vale of Rheidol Railway and Aberystwyth

This is the object of my journey, a Vale of Rheidol two foot gauge steam locomotive at Devils Bridge.
The rain storm must have been pretty severe last night as there were sand bags on shop latch as well as lots of pieces of moss which had been uprooted by the rain and came down the drain pipes.
The train to Aberystwyth was supposed to have gone from platform 3 but finished up leaving from platform 5.  OK for me but a climb and a walk for a couple with small children.
Good view of the largest mechanical interlocking box in the world

One curious feature of the signals in Shrewsbury - this puddle jumper from Crewe comes into the station under a lower quadrant GWR signal.

The same train, on its way back leaves under an upper quadrant LMS signal
The trip was made on time through the beautiful mid Wales countryside. Lots of sheep and some purebred horses. It was enlivened by a party f large women who were going to Borth to celebrate a 60th birthday and had the balloons to prove it. We climbed up to Talerddig and then the was the long down slope through to Machynlleth.  An Osprey was sitting on the nest at Dovey Junction
To prepare myself for the trip I had a beer and a Shropshire cheese pork pie at the Weatherspoons pub in the station. The seating area was completely sealed with wire netting - not sure whether this was to keep the pigeons out or the drinkers in

There was plenty of time to buy my ticket and still too much time to look around the town. Aberystwyth can really only be described as scumbag central. There was lots of large ladies who had grown copious amounts of skin for their tattoos.  They were accompanied by equally large, loud men with lots of noisy kids who were using ice cream cones for face painting and lethal weapons.
Someone said that a donkey had escaped and was wandering around the town. It would be difficult to spot among the other scabrous inhabitants

This reminded me about the rock shop owner who was put out of business by a disgruntled employee. He finished up with a quarter of a mile of rock with "Bugger Off" written through t.

Treacke tart - the nearest treacle mine would be at Wem in Shropshire
The earlier train from Devils Bridge arrived at Aberystwyth

The engine ran round its train, took coal and water and coupled on to the other end

I was surprised to see a second train running today. This was returning empty after rnning a private wedding train up to Devils Bridge

Nicely polished copper cap to the chimney/stack

On the climb up to Devils Bridge the engine was working hard. The beats were clean and it sounded square.
At Devils Bridge I didn't feel like walking along the narrow road to the falls so I just wandered around

A great feature of all GWR engines was the varnished hardwood handles to the steam valves which could be turned by hand as they didn't get hot and there was no need to hit them with the coal pick as frequently happened on other engines

Lots of purple rhododendrons in full bloom

I was interested to see they still use corks to stopper the oil cellars


GWR insignias on the carriages

On the way back, two red kites were circling the valley looking for small animals.

The narrow gauge came in a little early, we passed a cricket match on the outskirts of town - the players all stopped to wave at the train. The journey back was full but relatively uneventful. Four people sat opposite around a table with a large retriever sitting on the table. The light was beautiful and I enjoyed the climb up to Talerddig - we went up as fast as we had come down this morning. The steam engines had quite a job to get up here.

It was a great day and it seems both Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury managed to dodge the heavy storms moving across the country.

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