Gwili Steam Railway

Taff Vale Railway Coach No.153

This Taff Vale Railway designed coach was built in 1874 by the Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Works on Birmingham. It had five compartments for Third Class passengers and was mounted on a four wheeled under frame. It was built in the same workshop at the same time as TVR No 145,another carriage in the GVCG collection.

Although it had five separate compartments they were not divided off by partitions and therefore was open from one end to the other.

It was painted maroon with white panels above the waist and straw coloured lining. Lettering on the doors indicating Third Class and a coat of arms of the Taff Vale Railway Company appeared twice on each side.

Some of the Taff Vale Railway's Third Class compartments were upholstered but and others were not. No 153 is one of those fitted with wooden seats for the increasing amount of miners and dockers. requiring transport to and from their workplace along the Taff Vale Railway lines.

Similar wooden seats can be found in TVR coach No 220/GWR 3846.

After some years the coach was taken out of normal service being replaced by more modern, comfortable and bogie fitted stock.

The coach was then renumbered 0153 and along with other carriages would have been fitted with vacuum brakes about 1878,gas lighting to replace oil in 1893 and should have been fitted with steam heating equipment in 1912.

The Taff Vale Railway Company was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on the 23rd March 1923 and 0153 was renumbered again to 4012 on the 16th June 1923.

Of the 408 Taff Vale Railway carriages taken into GWR stock all were renumbered with most of the older stock not being repainted knowing that their days were numbered under GWR control. 4012 was repainted, lined and lettered in GWR livery with the garter crest emblem of the GWR replacing the proud Taff Vale Railway emblem. The carriage lasted another three years being withdrawn from service on Christmas Day 1926 after serving this community for fifty two years.

The body was shortly afterwards sold to become a holiday home at Hayling Island near Portsmouth. An asbestos tiled roof was put over it, extensions built and rooms added. All the seats were removed along with the five doors on one side.

It remained in use as 100 Southwood Road, Hayling Island until the Summer of 1989 when the owner , Mrs Mills, needed it removed to build a bungalow. Although the offer was also made to the Gwili Railway, it was only the Caerphilly Railway Society who took up the offer. After protracted negotiations and preparations the coach was moved on the 31st May 1990 to the CRS base at the

Harold Wilson Industrial Estate, Caerphilly.

Here an under frame was acquired from Allied Steel and Wire Works in Cardiff and the body was soon mounted on it. Work commenced to get the vehicle back in use. New seats and five new doors were made and the carriage was used to carry passengers on the quarter mile railway.

With the closure of the site at Caterpillar, the carriage was disposed to the Vale of Glam organ Railway located at Barry. Here it was encompassed into the newly built Heritage Skills Centre with the aim of teaching traditional skills to youngsters by using the carriage as an exercise. After the dismantling of the coach, doors off, window glass removed, end wall removed and the floor taken up the direction of the Skill Centre changed and work stopped.

It was in this condition the GVCG acquired the carriage from the Vale of Glam organ Railway in 2008 and arrived at the Gwili Railway on 16th June 2008.

The aim is to restore TVR 145 and TVR 153 to as near as possible to their original condition and have them run with TVR 220/GWR 3846. We now have the opportunity to turn out a three coach train of identical design, shape and livery to replicate a train used by miners that would have run over a 135 years ago.


Testimonials

Gwili Steam Railway, Bronwydd Arms Station, Bronwydd Arms, Carmarthen, SA33 6HT. Tel (01267) 238213 (Mon-Fri-10am-4pm)