We do like to be beside the seaside, but getting there can be half the fun, as Birmingham passengers are discovering
Passengers at Birmingham New Street are enjoying a taste of the golden age of steam this month, as the stunning new atrium of the station plays host to a week-long event celebrating rail travel into Wales and its fabulous coast.
The Great Little Trains of Wales, a collection of narrow gauge steam railways, together with the Community Rail Officers of Wales, were invited to New Street by Network Rail to promote the Cambrian Line - a scenic through service that runs from Birmingham to the Welsh coast via the heart of the Mid Wales countryside.
From Machynlleth, in west Powys, the line splits, taking the southern side of the Dovey estuary to Aberystwyth or turning north towards Pwllheli, hugging the coast all the way.
In all, seven of the 11 Great Little Trains of Wales are within easy reach of stations along the line. Alight at Fairbourne station, for example, and the little train awaits, which could be Sherpa (pictured above), Fairbourne Railway's locomotive that's crossed the Border for the week to hog the limelight at New Street as part of a seaside-themed stage.
Sherpa's normal route runs out from the little village of Fairbourne, along the sand dunes to Barmouth Ferry Station on the edge of the Mawddach estuary in beautiful Mid Wales. And if the beaches of Cardigan Bay are spectacular, then the views from them looking inland are breathtaking, taking in the Mawddach estuary itself towards Cadair Idris, with the iconic Barmouth Bridge in the foreground.
The promo event at Birmingham New Street has been timed to coincide with Wales Tourism Week - which runs from 12th-20th May - with the Wednesday being ACorP Community Rail in the City day.
Staff and volunteers from a wide number of organisations will be on hand to inform people as they pass through the station about the beauty of Wales and its coast, its wonderful little steam trains and the benefits of getting there by rail. There will also be a competition and spot prizes throughout the week. So come along and join in the fun.
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