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“A Good, Enjoyable Day Out!”
Review of Gwili Railway

Gwili Railway
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Take a step back in time at the Gwili Steam Railway, a delightful preserved railway just outside Carmarthen in West Wales. Running steam train services every day of local school holidays and selected days throughout the remainder of the year, this is the perfect trip for all ages to enjoy. Experience a typical country branch line from the 1950s with a stop off at Llwyfan Cerrig Station in a beautiful spot alongside the River Gwili.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Baby buggy parking, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase
Reviewed 17 June 2014

We visited the Gwili steam railway during a 1940s themed weekend. I wasn’t expecting much from the day out, but was pleasantly surprised!

Many volunteers attended the day in period costume and even some of the passenger had turned up in period dress, which really added to the feel of the day.

The train journey, whilst not long, was enjoyable. It was nice to sit in the old style compartmental cartridges. On the return stop a refreshment stand and some 1940s themed stalls had been setup along with a couple of exhibitions depicting life during the war.

For those with the Engineering Bug, there was plenty of fire boxes and boiler internals to stick your head in and cure your cravings.

I was very impressed with what the Gwili steam rail way had achieved bearing in mind that most of the people working there are volunteers. All of the volunteers I spoke to were very enthusiastic, courteous, professional and passionate about what they were doing.

I was pleased to hear the railway is extending shortly to incorporate a stop in Carmarthen.

Well done to all, keep up the good work!

Thank BucketChemist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fiona E, Front Office Manager at Gwili Railway, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2014

Thank you for providing a review of the Gwili on Trip Advisor. We really do appreciate you taking the time out to let us know that you enjoyed yourself.

The 1940's weekend is an annual event here at the Gwili but this year, with it being a special anniversary of the First World War, the event took on new meaning. I know that the whole weekend was enjoyed by everyone including the volunteers. It is due to run again next year, so we hope it will continue to be a special event.

The extension has been delayed somewhat and as yet an opening date has not been agreed. We do hope that the whole extension will be formally opened early next year.

We have enjoyed a busy summer season and have been able to extend our Strawberry Cream Teas until the end of October. We are then in the run up to Santa's Magical Steamings, another very busy but enjoyable time of the year.

Please keep an eye on the website for other special events as we are hoping to run a few new events throughout the year.

Thanks again for taking the time to leave a review and we all hope to see you and your family again soon.

Fiona
(Volunteer)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"signal box"
in 48 reviews
"cream tea"
in 40 reviews
"scones"
in 24 reviews
"bouncy castle"
in 19 reviews
"face painting"
in 17 reviews
"run by volunteers"
in 15 reviews
"mince pie"
in 14 reviews
"rolling stock"
in 14 reviews
"steam engine"
in 12 reviews
"post office"
in 13 reviews
"step back in time"
in 11 reviews
"strawberries"
in 10 reviews
"sunday lunch"
in 15 reviews
"santa express"
in 9 reviews
"afternoon tea"
in 9 reviews
"picnic area"
in 14 reviews
"murder mystery"
in 8 reviews
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355 - 359 of 472 reviews

Reviewed 13 June 2014

My wife and I decided to visit after catching sight of a steam train running along the line while we were driving along a nearby road. As it happened they had a World War 2 special event on, with many people in costume. It was great fun. For me the particular highlight was a visit to the signalbox and a chat with the signalman. The ride, while relatively short, was quite delightful, and without a single exception all the volunteer staff we met were friendly and helpful. My only real complaint is that I don't live a lot nearer, as I would like to get involved with such a welcoming organisation.

Thank Brian W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fiona E, Front Office Manager at Gwili Railway, responded to this reviewResponded 28 August 2014

Thank you for taking the time to write a review for the Gwili Railway on Trip Advisor and for giving us such a great rating. It gives all the volunteers such a boost when their hard work is recognised.

Its sad that you live so far away as we are always looking for new and enthusiastic volunteers. We are fortunate that we have some very experienced and enthusiastic volunteers who enjoy telling tales of their experiences on mainline and other steam railways.

We have also a younger group of volunteers who are teenagers and young adults. We have guards, fireman and drivers of our steam trains as well as volunteers who paint the buildings,man the car park and carry out general duties of which there are many. We also have youngsters who help with manning the shop which can be really busy at times, as well as running the food outlet at Llwyfan Cerrig and carrying out the heavy work involved with the extension.

We are fortunate to have volunteers right across the age spectrum, as our oldest regular volunteer is well into his 80's and is as active as any of our youngsters and he carries out the majority of the track maintenance.

We are now entering a very busy time for the railway, with final push to complete the extension and getting ready for Santa's Magical Steamings so it is going to be a very busy time for the volunteers.

We hope that you will visit us again soon.

Many thanks
Fiona
(Volunteer)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2014 via mobile

I had a lovely trip here with my husband. It was so much more than expected!
The train ride itself was quite short in miles but slow in speed to make it last.
The stations and setting are really lovely and you can appreciate the hard work of the voluntary staff who are happy to their their railway knowledge and skills.
Can't wait to go back!

1  Thank Claire R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fiona E, Front Office Manager at Gwili Railway, responded to this reviewResponded 28 August 2014

Thank you for leaving a review on Trip Advisor and for giving us such a great rating.

We are so glad when our visitors enjoy their trip with us. We are busy working on the extension which we had hoped was going to be open this year but we had to take up the newly laid track for a utility company to carry out work on a bridge. However, that has all been done now and we are relaying the track. There is still a lot of other work to be done before the line can be opened as its not just about the track. The trees and weeds have to be cut back and other heavier work such as clearing and making good water culverts so rain can drain away properly.

As we are busy with the extension, we are also getting ready for the Christmas season. There are quite a few changes this year, learning from what went well last year and what didn't. This is where trip Advisor reviews from our visitors are so useful.

We are continuing to run our Cream Tea's on every Thursday until the end of October as they have been very popular this year. Hopefully, we will see you again this year.

Thanks again.

Fiona
(Volunteer)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2014

Bit delayed putting this on but however well worth letting people know how lovely it was.

We pre booked our tickets in July 2013 and they arrived within a week, They were not overly expensive and considering what we had and the running costs I think they were very reasonable.

When we travelled up the weather was absolutely appauling pouring rain and wind! Undettered my husband my self and our little two year old bundled into our waterproofs and went on!! When we arrived there were masses of people there. However it was all very well organised as we had travelled a fair distance we checked with the station master who said we could get on the earlier train and have some time up at santa's village. We boarded the train into our own compartment ( however I would imagine at times you may have to share we did consider ourselves lucky!!) Once the train set off all adults were offered a small glass of sherry the views through the journey were lovely and our little one truly believed he was going to santas village. After a short 10/15 minute trip on the train we arrived at the stop. There were two area one either side of the track; the one side was where santa was the other held a medium sized marquee and the biggest snowman I have ever seen!! The marquee had a few local craft stalls in it and a makeshift café serving bacon rolls and the such like ( I have to say these smelt fantastic!! ) We would have loved to have sampled these however there was extremely limited seating and no where for us to settle so we didn't stay here. The snowman was a large bouncy castle which the children seemed to love , as our little one is only two we didn't put him on there as there were some children a lot older on it and this was somewhat intimidating to him, however the children that were on it were having a whale of a time and it was a really good idea especially in the rain that we were experiencing.

We then crossed back over the line to the 'santa side' Here we went into another larger marquee where a table was laid out and you could have tea or coffee a slice of stollen for the adults and a juice and cookie for the children ( all in the price of the ticket) the queue started here for santa and this was a bit of a wait it has to be said. We waited for over an hour in the queue which was hard work with a fidgety two year old. There was alongside the queue a shop set up with a vast amount of Thomas tank items and other train and Gwili Railway memorabilia, this was lovely but could possibly have been set up elsewhere as was a big temptation for the children to pick things up especially whilst waiting so long. Once we got closer to santa there was a small area cordoned off which had a magician set up also a lady who was balloon modelling this did entertain the children and they worked really hard to ensure all the children had a balloon shaped as what they wanted. Once we passed this we entered what our little one called the magic a slightly darkened area with fairy lights and fake snow. We were when at the front taken to santa how magical!!! the little room set up with chimney out of which the gift came, there was no rush and it was absolutely lovely that santa took the time to speak with our little one in Welsh and English, which he thought was amazing! The Santa took his time with our little one and was happy to have photos taken and I must say the whole atmostphere makes your heart melt! Our little one was given a book from santa which was perfect for him and he loved it was nice book not a cheap one. Gifts appeared to be all age related and were well suited.quality items not the usual tat.

We then waited for the next train back and again was lucky enough to have a compartment to ourselves. Our little one really enjoyed himself and I have to say so id we!!

I cannot praise the staff there enough they dealt with us in a pleasant manner throughout this fantastic trip even though they were obviously rushed off their feet. The only downside for us was the wait, our little one was ok and well behaved although we could see several others getting very very impatient, and as a suggestion we would have spent more time at the village had the marquee on the other side been bigger so that we could have had food and sheltered from the rain as it was we left and went elsewhere for lunch and we would have undoubtably stayed there. There is another small café at the returning end but again this was absolutely packed so we cant comment on this however it was as with everything else spotless.

This is something I think you have to visit to experience the magic and I would recommend, we will also be visiting now the weather has improved and taking our baby as well.

Thank srh19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fiona E, Front Office Manager at Gwili Railway, responded to this reviewResponded 28 August 2014

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review on Trip Advisor and for giving us such a great rating.

I noted that your review was about the Santa's Magical Steamings in December 2013. It is great to receive your recommendations and suggestions now, as we are getting ready for this season's Santa's.

As the weather was so bad at times last year, its been decided that everything this year will be undercover. We are having a very large marquee which is going to house somewhere for parents and grandparents to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and a small bouncy castle to keep youngsters amused as well as entertainers to keep everyone occupied whist queuing to see Santa.

We are not planning on having a second marquee in the picnic area, as visitors were getting very wet between that area and the main marquee, and this was spoiling their experience. The bouncy castles were also making the children very wet and once it started to rain, they had to be collapsed in case of accidents which is one of the reasons for bringing it under cover.

You mentioned about the shop. This has been a bit of a concern to us as well, so this year we are not planning on having a shop within the marquee. There might be a much reduced 'shoplet' with small items only but the main shop will remain on the platform at Bronwydd Arms. Hopefully this will reduce the 'pester power' that children enjoy using on their parents at this time of the year.

Unfortunately, the number of people who visited us last year made the wait to see Santa, longer than we wanted but we are working on a system this year which should make this shorter although we obviously, still want as many people as possible to enjoy visiting us and for as many youngsters to see Santa in his grotto.

Thanks again for leaving such a great review and hope that we see you and your family at this years Santa's Magical Steamings. Booking early to avoid disappointment is a must, and you can book on line now.

Fiona
(Volunteer)

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Reviewed 7 June 2014

Nice way to spend a few hours (to be fair train enthusiasts would probably like this a lot more).
The Chrismas 'Santa' train is excellent. Well run, efficient and very atmospheric. A must for families

Thank Cornflake180
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fiona E, Front Office Manager at Gwili Railway, responded to this reviewResponded 28 August 2014

Thanks for taking the time to leave a review on Trip Advisor.

I can see that you included a comment about the Santa trains. We are busy getting ready for the Santa's Magical Steamings which run every weekend up to Christmas week and then every day up to Christmas Eve. We have already started taking bookings so we hope that it is going to be a busy time.

Whilst we are getting ready for Christmas, we are still working hard on the extension. There is still a lot of work to be carried out but we are all looking forward to getting the extension open so out guests can enjoy a longer train ride. Hopefully, we can run trains part of the way down the extension later this summer but the formal opening won't be until early next year.

We all hope to see you again soon

Fiona
(Volunteer)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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