Aberffrwd Railway Station Grand Re-Opening
The Vale of Rheidol Railway received a visit from Edwina Hart AM/AC, Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, to reopen Aberffrwd Railway Station on Thursday, 19th June. The Minister travelled to Aberffrwd from Aberystwyth on a special double-headed charter train, made up of heritage coaches, where she met with Station Restoration Project volunteers, as well as railway staff and management.
The Station Restoration Project is the Vale of Rheidol’s first large volunteer project, restoring many of the stations and halts with replica buildings, traditional fencing and in some cases gas lighting to give visitors a flavour of how the railway appeared in the 1920s. Other improvements include raised platforms and shelters, to make the stations more visitor friendly. To complement these improvements, one of the Station Restoration Project volunteers, Maurice Kyle, has published a walkers guide in conjunction with the Vale of Rheidol Railway. It is hoped this will encourage visitors exploring the scenic Rheidol Valley to use the newly restored stations as the starting points for walks, as well as to visit some of the other attractions near the railway. Working closely with Ceredigion County Council, the Station Restoration Project has been funded through the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007 – 2013.
The Minister said: “I’m delighted to have this opportunity to open Aberffrwd Railway station. The Vale of Rheidol is a very popular attraction for the area and welcomes around 45,000 visitors from all over the world and generates £1.3 million to local economy. I’m pleased that the Welsh Government has been able to support this development which will improve the visitor experience at this unique attraction. I’d like to thank all the volunteers for all their hard work and commitment towards this development and I hope many visitors will enjoy the railway over the summer.”
The re-opening ceremony was attended by about eighty dignitaries, friends of the railway, other guests and the media, Ceredigion County Council leader Ellen ap Gwynn sharing a platform with the Minister. After speeches, Aberffrwd Station was blessed by the Venerable Dr. Will Strange, Archdeacon of Cardigan. Guests were serenaded on the train by the Ysgol Penweddig Youth Band, and at Devil’s Bridge by a choir from Ysgol Mynach.