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.”