My plans changed today at the last moment so I find myself sampling the railways of Pembrokeshire, starting out at Pembroke Dock.I’d no idea what to expect as I’d never been here before, so I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the old station building was not only intact – it was also in use as a bar and restaurant! In fact, it has been for the past 26 years, which is pretty good going when you consider the train service is one every two hours! The station Inn is one of those rare beasts nowadays as it’s also a live music venue (I’ll add a link to them later). There’s also a seating area outside for those who want to catch a bit of sun, which is what we’ve got today.
The sparse train service is relaxed to say the least as there’s a long turnaround time here. The inbound working arrived at 12:23 and it’s not due out until 13:09. I’m assuming there must be a crew messroom in the station building somewhere.
I’m now pootling my way along the branch which is actually very pretty as we pass castles, backyards and countryside whist stopping at a variety of single platform stations and level crossings where our driver still makes liberal use of the train horn – something that’s forbidden on many parts of the network due to complaints from those living alongside the line.13:44.We’ve now left Tenby, the major station on the line. It’s a town I’d never visited until this week but I can see the attraction. It has an interesting history, lovely beaches and good places to eat. Sadly, it’s a bit of a beer desert! Tony’s one of those towns that’s been taken over by the curse of ‘Doom Bar’. In many pubs it’s the only real ale you can find, which is why the arrival of the Tenby Harbour Brewery has been such a saviour!14:51.I’m now kicking my heels in Whitland, which is the junction for the Pembroke Dock line and the routes to Milford Haven and Fishguard. The station has two platforms, a BR(W) era signal box and rudimentary passenger facilities.
The single-storey modern station building is used as a base for Network Rail. At least there’s a platform canopy. Passengers on the Westbound platform have to make do with two bus shelters.
I’m now on the 15:44 from Whitland which is heading for Milford Haven from Manchester. When you think about it, that’s quite a long trip. I wonder how many passengers (if any) do it point to point?
The line’s double track as far as Clarbeston Rd where the two lines diverge. The junction’s still controlled by an old GWR brick built signal box. The landscape around here puts me very much in mind of Devon & Cornwall, it’s gently rolling hills and rural nature are very similar, although they have a far better train service!
Wer’e now West of Haverfordwest, a two platform station whose brick built buildings look like they date from the early 1950s. Unlike many stations it still sports a goods yard, although I’m pretty certain it’s only used by the occasional engineers train.
I’ve arrived at Milford Haven, just over a mile from where I started. It’s another badly truncated branch line that’s seen far better days. After getting a few shots at the station (most if which is now shops) I’ve wandered through the harbour to explore. The inner harbour basin’s full of yachts whilst the quayside is lined with mock warehouse buildings that are a mixture of residential and retail. It’s a far cry from the harbours origins as a massive fish dock. I’m observing all thus from a modern restaurant/bar called The ‘Harbourmaster’ which straddles the yacht basin and the real docks on the other side of the river under the former refineries. The fact they’re mothballed now is evident from their chimneys which are all dead. Tankers still dock her, but only to fill the storage tanks on land.