Local community help Network Rail win national award

Network Rail has celebrated winning a national award for the restoration of Pantyffynnon Station, thanks to input from the local community. Local carpentry students were able to work alongside the team in restoring the building, helped by the local community, who sent in pictures of the original station, ensuring it was restored sympathetically.

The station has been awarded the Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award at the National Rail Heritage Awards following its recent renovation by Network Rail. The project was made possible thanks to support from Carmarthenshire’s Built Heritage Team and significant grant funding from the Railway Heritage Trust. A plaque was unveiled at the station today (Friday 19 January) to celebrate its recent success.

The station, near Ammanford, Carmarthenshire sits on the Heart of Wales Line, which is celebrating its 150 year anniversary this year. Adam Price AM and Jonathan Edwards MP, for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, joined representatives from Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales, Carmarthenshire Council, the Railway Heritage Trust and the National Rail Heritage Awards to unveil the plaque and take a tour of the Grade II listed building.

Network Rail won the Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award for the ‘best restored structure’ at the National Rail Heritage Awards, for its extensive renovation work at the station. The award is to recognise, acknowledge and reward the very best in restoration, conservation and re-use of historic railway infrastructure.

The project offered a great learning experience to Heritage Carpentry students who were able to work alongside contractors, Towy Projects, on the carpentry repair work at the Station.

Andy Thomas, route managing director for Network Rail in Wales and Borders said: “The railway is vital in connecting people, businesses and communities across Wales and Borders, and our team worked tirelessly with Carmarthenshire’s Built Heritage Team and the Railway Heritage Trust to ensure that this impressive building was restored to its original form.

“We are delighted to have received this recognition of our work and continued commitment to improving the railway for the communities we serve.

In a joint statement, Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards and Assembly Member Adam Price, for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr said: “We are full of admiration for the hard work and meticulous attention to detail which has been invested in restoring the station to its former glory.

 “The project has been possible because of the help from local residents, the specialist advice of the Council’s Heritage team, and the funding from the Railway Heritage Trust – all of whom have worked together with Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales to give Pantyffynnon station a new lease of life.

 “We are absolutely delighted to have joined the team today to mark the fantastic work at the award-winning station.”

Andy Savage, Executive Director for The Railway Heritage Trust said: “It was a pleasure for the Trust to have funded this project, particularly for me as a former Divisional Engineer for British Rail in South Wales, as it’s an area I know well.

“It’s been a great opportunity to celebrate the restoration and award win today, which is a credit to all those involved, and fantastic to see an ongoing use for the building.”

John Ellis, Chairman of the National Railway Heritage Awards said: “Since 1979, the National Railway Heritage Awards have been the sole awards body dedicated to encouraging best practice in the restoration and continued upkeep of historic railway and tramway buildings and structures.

“Pantyffynnon Station reflects this aim as a rare survivor at one of the earliest railway companies in Wales, the Llanelly Railway.

“The attention to detail and craftsmanship is very impressive and true to the original building and it is a worthy winner of the Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award 2017.”

Nell Hellier, Senior Built Heritage Officer for Carmarthenshire County Council said: “It was fantastic for us to have a Heritage Carpentry apprentice at Pantyffynnon Station, during the renovation works.  We are so proud of the work that has gone on at the station – a real credit to local talent and partnership working”

Thomas Owens, Arriva Trains Wales station manager of Pantyffynnon, said: “It’s fantastic that our little station in the heart of Carmarthenshire has won such a prestigious national award. Having grown up just a few miles away myself, I know how important it is to the community here. We’d like to thank our partners in Network Rail for doing such a good job on the station as we begin a year celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Heart of Wales line.”