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Pantyffynnon Station​ shortlisted for award​

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A​ HISTORIC railway building renovated with Carmarthenshire County Council support has been short-listed for a national award.

Network Rail, which owns the building at ​​Pantyffynnon Station, has recently completed extensive renovation works giving it a new lease of life.

The project was made possible thanks to support from Carmarthenshire’s Built Heritage Team and significant grant funding from the Railway Heritage Trust.

The building has now been short-listed for National Railway Heritage Awards this December. The awards recognise, acknowledge and reward, for the public benefit, the very best in restoration, conservation and re-use of our historic railway infrastructure.

Network Rail Asset Engineer Darren McKenna said: “The station building is a rare example of a ‘Brunel chalet’ which was a standard design by the famous railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.”

The Station Building and the signal box have a Grade 2 Listing. The Listing marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest, and protects it for future generations.

Network Rail owns more listed assets than any other organisation in the UK. It has worked closely with Carmarthenshire’s Built Heritage Officer James Yeandle to ensure that the building was sympathetically restored whilst allowing the building to come back into full use.

Mr McKenna added: “The restoration work has been of great benefit as we have restored a Brunel-style chalet that represents an exemplar of high quality architectural railway restoration. The building is now an asset to the local community’.

As with any restoration project, there were challenges. Over the years, the building had been altered, extensions had been added and features such as the chimneys had been lost. Members of the local community were able to help by sending in their old photographs which provided evidence of how the station looked originally.

The beautiful sandstone tooled window surrounds were very dirty so great care was taken to find a method of cleaning that was effective but also preserved the detail to the tooled dressing.

The building had also become very damp so lime plastering was reinstated on the internal walls and a ventilated limecrete floor was installed as these are materials that allow the building to ‘breathe’. The reinstatement of the chimney provided an additional ventilation system allowing airflow and prevention of damp.

Council executive board member for culture, sport and tourism Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “I’m delighted that the Pantyffynnon Station Building has been short-listed for this prestigious award.

“Network Rail, the contractors, the Built Heritage Team and the Railway Heritage Trust, worked closely together to overcome the challenges resulting in an exceptional building restoration to be proud of.

“The project also offered a great learning experience to Tywi Centre Carpentry students who were able to work alongside contractors Towy Projects on the carpentry repair work at the Station.”

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Drink driver hospitalised and arrested

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A MAN who was hospitalised after crashing his car on the B4310, Drefach, has also been arrested for drink driving.

The crash, which happened in the early hours of Sunday morning (Feb 18), destroyed the Mercedes he was driving.

He hit a van which was parked outside of a property, which was also damaged.

Dyfed-Powys Police, Welsh Ambulance Service, and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service personnel attended the scene.

A spokesman for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were called to reports of a road traffic collision at 12.50am on Sunday morning on the B4310 in Drefach.

“We sent crews from Pontyates and Tumble at the scene and one male was cut out of a car using hydraulic cutting equipment and taken to hospital.”

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‘Connecting Carmarthenshire’ campaign takes a leap forward

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Making progress: Jonathan Edwards MP, Adam Price AM and Geraint Trello

EFFORTS to improve the availability of high speed internet and good mobile phone signal took a leap forward this week as EE sets about switching on new mobile phone masts and launches its 4G Home Broadband solution.

Representatives of EE came to Carmarthenshire this weekend to meet with Member of Parliament, Jonathan Edwards and Assembly Member, Adam Price who have led a ‘Connecting Carmarthenshire’ campaign.

Their meeting, which took place near the site of one of two new mobile phone masts near Abergorlech, focused on the upgrades and improvements the company is undertaking across rural Carmarthenshire, with a particular focus on EE’s new 4G Home Broadband solution which can provide superfast broadband via an antenna on the house – a solution EE says could help around 580,000 homes nationwide gain access to high speed connectivity.

The Plaid Cymru politicians said the new improved mobile signal was itself “a big advancement”, but said the launch of the 4G antenna was “a leap forward” for connecting rural Carmarthenshire communities.

Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards said: “It was a pleasure to welcome EE to Carmarthenshire and continue our discussions on improving connectivity in rural Wales. One new mast will be switched on in Abergorlech in a matter of weeks, with another new mast for the Llansawel region with us later in the year.

“These new masts add to the 27 4G upgrades EE has carried out to existing sites in Carmarthenshire over the last 12 months, providing better coverage for rural communities including Llanybydder, Pencader and Llanarthne, adding to the upgrades from other mobile phone giants across the county.

“Perhaps the most impressive news this week is the launch of EE’s Home Broadband solution which, with the use of a small antenna on the home, can bring superfast broadband to the house. This looks like it could be the answer for many properties which have been left behind during the fixed line upgrades, or where they can only receive slower fixed broadband speeds.

“It’s not for an elected representative to promote a particular private company, but where there appears to be a solution for so many properties to get high speed internet, I have no problem in promoting the product – particularly because when it was trialed it delivered speeds over 100Mbps! This is a giant leap forward.

“Connecting Carmarthenshire is really starting to see positive results, but I’ll keep on working to ensure everyone I represent achieves good connectivity.”

Assembly Member Adam Price said: “The new sites in the Abergorlech area are the latest in a long time of upgrades in recent months, with the added bonus of those mobile signals being used for superfast internet in the home.

“Given that various grants for broadband solutions are available from the Welsh Government, we believe those who can’t get access to fixed broadband connections or receive a glacial pace connection may well be able to receive a grant to have products like 4G Home Broadband installed at their homes.

“I’d encourage anyone who is interested in a grant to cover the costs of delivering a step change in their broadband speeds to visit the Welsh Government’s website to check eligibility, or contact Jonathan and I where we can send information to them directly.

“More and more people across our Carmarthen East and Dinefwr constituency are seeing the benefits of good mobile phone signal and much faster broadband. We’ve still got a little way to go, but local residents are seeing big advancements. We’re delighted the Connecting Carmarthenshire campaign is delivering tangible results for the county.”

On the launch of EE’s 4G Home Broadband solution, Max Taylor, Managing Director of Marketing, EE said: “As our network continues to expand into some of the most remote parts of the UK, we’ve seen the amazing impact that 4G connectivity can have on rural communities. Our newest 4G home broadband router and antenna takes this one step further, ensuring thousands of families in rural areas across the UK could enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband inside their home for the very first time – whether video-calling the grandparents or streaming their favourite TV series.”

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4.4 magnitude earthquake felt across Wales

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AN earthquake of 4.4 magnitude has been felt across Wales and England this afternoon (Feb 17).

There are numerous reports of the earthquake being felt across west Wales, including Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The earthquake originated near Swansea, where it is was felt strongest, at around 2:30pm.

However, the earthquake was felt across Wales, and many parts of England.

The EMSC, an independent monitor of earthquakes, said: “Latest update of the effects of the #earthquake in #Swansea region. Was felt up to 300 km from epicentre.”

Dyfed-Powys Police received many reports about the incident, but said that there was no need for concern, and that they felt it themselves in their control room.

The police force said: “We are receiving an extremely high call volume reporting some sort of earth tremor in the area – we are receiving reports from across the whole of Wales (we felt it in our control room too!). For now – it is unexplained – but there is nothing to worry about.”

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