Winter sunshine and semaphores in South Wales

Passing a pair of new Transport for Wales (TfW) Class 197 units while travelling from Newport to Craven Arms on Monday, 20 February, inspired me to pay a visit to Ferryside and Pembrey & Burry Port on 23 February 2023, in the hope of photographing the new CAF sets passing the doomed semaphore signals.

Under the current weekday timetable, Class 197 units, which are being assembled at Newport, are scheduled to operate around a dozen daily test/mileage accumulation diagrams from Swansea to Carmarthen, all beginning with the prefix 3E, although how many of these are actually run seems to vary from day to day.

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A great new vantage point at Craven Arms

After I had last paid a photographic visit to Craven Arms in May 2022, I lamented the blockading of a footpath across the line just north of signal box and level crossing that would have been a great place to see trains passing the surviving semaphores.

A sign at the entrance to the footpath from the A49 had said that it would be closed until early 2023 “pending the installation of safety features”, which I assumed would be the sort of lockable gates and warning lights that I have seen at other foot crossings.

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