Friday, 9 August 2013

brecon mountain railway

Huge car park, which was certainly needed!

The workshop - passengers can watch proceedings from the mezzanine, a very useful feature!

Running round at the end of the line (for now).

Heading north.

Running round.

Lakeside view.

Pontiscill station.

Intriguing roadside stretch at Pontiscill - sadly just a connection to the depot and not a running line!

Loco detail.

An idea as to how busy this little line is.
My birthday treat this year was a trip to the Brecon Mountain Railway. I usually make it a rule to visit rail connected lines only but the original plan to visit the Dean Forest Railway was scuppered by them not running a service on my birthday - BMR was the next closest.
It was a real treat. I'm a fan of narrow gauge lines and this is a very well organised and friendly line. It's not very old, and still has a mile or two of track to reopen. It's not a volunteer run line but a real business.
First surprise was Pant station, a new build. It had some of the atmosphere of a Swiss mountain station. It did have probably the worst shop I've ever seen on a steam line though, which was a surprise. Definitely one for tourists and not rail enthusiasts! But everything else was excellent. Fast and efficient service at the ticket office, reasonably priced, no barriers at the station so could get to see everything. The mezzanine into the workshop was excellent.
As for the trip itself - fantastic! Scenic all the way, into the Brecon Beacons National Park within a mile, following a lake and through the woods. But the best bit - and this was a real surprise - was that you were allowed to stand on the open platforms of the train! I haven't done this since a trip on the Mollibahn in Germany about 8 years ago! Which meant that going out I was right next to the engine and coming back I got a nice clear view of the track.
The train passes intermediate station Pontiscill non stop going out but coming back stops for 20 minutes so you get to see the lake and spend some money in their (very reasonable) café.
All in all a great day though I'd like to have spent my £40 birthday money there as well, but I spent that the next day at Modelzone in Bristol!

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