Vale of Rheidol Aberystwyth Station

Discussion in 'Railtours & Preservation' started by muddythefish, 3 Apr 2019.

  1. muddythefish

    muddythefish On Moderation

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    Visited Aberystwyth today for the first time in many years, and took a ride on the Vale of Rheidol from its newly opened station next to the old BR steam shed..

    I may be wrong but the last time I visited I'm sure I remember VoR trains running into the main ex-BR station.

    Can anyone tell me why VoR trains no longer run into the main line station?

    Why the tracks have been taken up in the former Carmarthen (?) and VoR platforms?
     
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  3. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    I did that line a few years ago. It reminded me a bit of some of the scenic Swiss mountain lines. I think we departed from the right hand side, there only seemed to be one National Rail Platform in use. Aberystwyth Station itself seemed quite large. Maybe VoR can have more flexibility in their own station/operating area?
     
  4. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    You are correct, until last year they did indeed run into the side of the NR station. I'm sure I heard that they wanted to extend their station facilities, which they couldn't do at the old position, plus the new site will give better public access to future developments in the old Shed.
     
  5. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    This is what it was like in 1988, sorry the photos are not great quality. I'm not sure why they altered it, which I think was done fairly recently.

    VoR 7 at Aberystwyth 6.9.88.jpg

    VoR 7 & 8 at Aberystwyth 6.9.88.jpg
     
  6. muddythefish

    muddythefish On Moderation

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    Thanks for the replies

    What is going to happen now to the southern side and platforms of the NR station, now that the VoR has vacated it ?
     
  7. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Ah the BR blue days.
    I wonder if they’d have ended up in Regional Railways livery if BR had kept hold of the line a little bit longer..? ;)
     
  8. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    I just had a look at the VoR Website, it gives a good description of the plans for their part of Aberystwyth Railway Station. There is also quite a bit on the internet about the history of the mainline station too and what is there now in the way of Rail use along with other retail units and a pub.
     
  9. Worf

    Worf Member

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    Home for the proposed NR link to Carmarthen (possibly!)
    http://trawslinkcymru.org.uk/our-proposals/
     
  10. 341o2

    341o2 Established Member

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    The Vale of Rheidol survived under BR ownership until it passed on to new owners in 1989, It originally had its own station in Aberystwyth, but under BR economies, this was closed and VoR line diverted to the former Camarthen platform. The new owners have now created a new separate station by making the line slightly shorter
     
  11. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    Is the new station near/accessable to the NR Station? I think when I went, we walked along the NR Platform to the VoR trains.
     
  12. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Yes it is accessible.
    You walk down the same path that existed before, between the old platform and the wall of the shopping centre, and then into the railway car park.
     
  13. 341o2

    341o2 Established Member

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    I believe it is, because the VoR site advises against parking in the NR station to visit the VoR, however please appreciate that I last visited the VoR to travel on in the 70's
     
  14. 341o2

    341o2 Established Member

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    There was an old saying that VoR train crews were paid danger money and the engines had square boilers.

    In earlier days, Ffestiniog's no4 Palmerston was loaned to the line. I wonder if this will ever be repeated
     
    Last edited: 5 Apr 2019
  15. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    There are only 10 parking spaces at the NR station, plus a set down spot where the taxi's wait, to the side of the station.
    The VoR have a reasonably sized car park off Park Ave and there is a large Pay & Display car park a bit further up the road.
     
  16. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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  17. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    There used to be (before the Carmarthen line shut) 5 platforms for full-size trains; now there is only one National Rail platform as you say. There is a standard-gauge loop but it's not adjacent to a platform. The other 4 platforms are not just out of use, the track is gone.

    That's much how the station (but not the rolling stock) looked when I first visited. Since then the Vale Of Rheidol station has changed at least twice. First, the very low platform between the two narrow gauge tracks seen in that picture was replaced by a raised one (presumably to make boarding/alighting easier for passengers with reduced mobility) which was not between the tracks but beyond them (roughly where the original standard gauge platform 1 would have been). That can only have been a few years ago and now they've moved their station entirely.

    What I want to know is what has happened to the plan to use part of the old roof from London bridge station to build a museum alongside the new loco shed they built a few years ago?
     
  18. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Well I know they still have all the roof pieces, and there is a comment in this month's Narrow Gauge World that the new station is only the first phase of a £2.1 million programme at the station, so perhaps they are part of that.
     
  19. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I have to say I’m a little likewarm about the V of R having moved from what seemed like a prime spot in the centre of the action at the mainline station, to a location that’s in all fairness a little tucked out of the way. However their plans do seem quite well thought through, and to be fair they’ve clearly put a lot of thought into the design of the new station, so hopefully it will all work out for the best. I can’t help but be a little cynical to read that part of the rationale was to make the platform nearer the car park (presumably so the biddies on coach tours don’t have to walk a few yards!).

    The new platform is more civilised for sure, the layout at the old platform with everything being concentrated down one end did lead to a scrum at times. It could be like dogs being released from a pen, the sudden frenzied dash to the train in order to secure the best seats!

    The V of R is a superb railway and is run by a first-rate team of people, so they deserve every success with this.
     
  20. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    Interesting; so they still have the roof pieces... The information on their website suggested that the old loco/carriage shed would become a museum of sorts though (displaying stock that's not in use), in which case what would the structure with London Bridge's roof be used for?
     
  21. duffield

    duffield Member

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    When I joined BR in 1985 I was pretty 'chuffed' to discover that one of my included perks was the still BR operated VoR steam railway!
     
  22. talerddig

    talerddig Member

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    Interesting debate, here's hopefully some answers:

    • The VOR was moved by BR in 1968 to the bay platform that had serviced the standard gauge line to Carmarthen before Beeching. It was moved to ensure that the line was not forgotten by BR and to utilise the then closed engine shed. It wasn't to save money. the old station was dilapidated.
    • For this, tickets were purchased from the main station in what is now a pub. People accessed the line not via the redundant platforms', but a ramp to ground level. You then needed to climb into the carriages. In recent years, the original platform 1's height was reduced to create a platform that was the height of the running board of the coach. The railway then developed an additional mobile 'step' to allow those that need it to access the carriage via two smaller steps in. In recent times, two of the summer cars have been adapted with a ramp. Work is currently being undertaken to adapt the brake 1/3 coaches to have ramp access. one is currently being rebuilt this season.
    • The aim is not to service the needs for biddies on coach parties. There are a quite high demographic of people who have mobility issues - some are diehard rail enthusiasts! there is nothing wrong with trying to assist in giving access to everyone who wants to travel.
    • There is a large project for which the new station is the start. The new platform is designed to suit the needs of a narrow gauge railway and its passengers, whilst retaining the GWR feel of yesteryear. The new platform is sited next to the car park. A new booking office has been provided twice as large as the pokey old one.
    • The project also involves the building of a purpose built carriage shed in the old platform area. During this project, the path accessing the railway is closed (partly because the core has been removed to build the old platform. On completion of the shed, the path is going to be restored. At present, access is through the nearby retail centre's car park and down the road to the car park entrance for the railway. A map is available at the standard gauge station where the path is currently blocked. Bearing in mind passengers needed to walk 'two lengths' of the platform under the old set up to access from town, this does not represent a massive detour in distance.
    • This will make the old GWR engine shed redundant in its current use. The plan is to utilise the shed as a display/events area.
    • The railway announced a few years ago a long term plan to build a 'museum of narrow gauge', utilising the London bridge canopy. the girders are in store for that purpose. there's some neat architect drawings on t'internet. The railway also has a collection of engines awaiting restoration for this purpose. The list is on their website. It's interesting....
    • Palmerston visited in 2014 for two weekends. the railway fashioned a method of adapting the couplings and placed a compressor in the old guards van to allow the vacuum braked engine to pull air-braked coaches.
    • The feasibility study for the reopening of the Carmarthen line cited utilising the existing standard gauge infrastructure, as the line would join the Cambrian line somewhere near Llanbadarn. Given the main station was a three road track, you could conceivably build a new platform on the currently unused side and tilise the middle track to create a second platform. The Carmarthen line was a later addition to Aberystwyth's rail links and the railway company built its own platforms to avoid paying rent to the Cambrian Railways for use of theirs.
    The VOR website is pretty regularly updated, which is where most of this comes from
     
  23. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Thank you for that excellent explanation Talerddig.
    And my condolences on the death of Peter Rampton, a great inspiration and benefactor to the Rheidol.
    It's time I had another trip from "over the mountain"
     
  24. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    One of the things I don't understand is why they didn't relocate the station at that point, rather than creating the interim higher-level platform (for easier boarding) at the old station location.
     
  25. talerddig

    talerddig Member

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    My take on it is to do with cost and work involved. The project to relocate the platform also saw re-organising the track, the shed, the infrastructure. Part of the money needed is grant funded. Was the grant or similar funding available at the time to assist? Personally, I don't think it was. Problem is with railway heritage projects, we all wish it was as simple as buying a Hornby piece of kit and taking it out of the box, but the reality takes longer and is costlier. and invariably involves a few intermediate steps to get to where you want to go. A common situation! world-wide :)

    There's more to it than just building another platform - isn't there always!
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2019
  26. anamyd

    anamyd Established Member

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    [​IMG]
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    This is the site of the old VoR part of AYW on the evening of the 4/11/19.
     
  27. anamyd

    anamyd Established Member

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    [​IMG]
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    The wall between the station and Ystwyth Retail Park has been reduced in height, but does anyone know what these works will actually involve / result in...?
     
  28. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Thought I had read on the Rheidol web site that they were going to build a carriage shed where the old station was and that the footpath from the NR platform was being resurfaced.
     
  29. anamyd

    anamyd Established Member

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    Thanks for that, can't say I've been on their website :p
     
  30. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Think it was under Future Plans on one of the drop down menus
     

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