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There has been a very positive response from the local community to Nia Griffith MP’s call for rail enthusiasts and people wanting to improve Llanelli’s image to join a group which will officially speak up for and look after Llanelli railway station. The group will also link in with Arriva and the Heart of Wales Line Travellers’ Association, and their project to create a 120 mile garden along the Heart of Wales line from Swansea to Shrewsbury. At an initial meeting held on Saturday in Paddock St Hall,there were offers of help with gardening and clearing up around the station, as well as plans by Llanelli Community Heritage for colourful information boards. The meeting also heard how volunteers working on the upkeep of the station could earn “time credits” which are vouchers which can be exchanged locally for treats like visiting Llanelli Leisure Centre or Botanic Gardens.

Setting the scene for the meeting, Nia Griffith explained:

“I was shocked to find when reading the Heart of Wales Travellers’ Association’s latest newsletter that two of the stations in the Llanelli area – namely Llanelli and Bynea – are amongst the very few stations which do not have a named group of people to speak up for them and look after them. This means that we are missing out on the help that could be available to enhance these stations.

Good work has been done in the past by local volunteers and schools, but we need a more consistent link, such as a group with a formal structure which will also then be able to apply for grant funding for some improvements.  We know that there are ambitious plans for a complete revamp of the station, and none of what we do should detract from efforts to continue to lobby hard for the necessary funding for that transformation – but that is not going to happen tomorrow and, in the meantime, there is still a lot that we can do. “

The meeting agreed that rather than set up a new group, it would accept the offer from Charles Watson to bring the responsibility for looking after the station under the auspices of the Environment and Regeneration Group which he chairs – next meeting 2pm Thursday 28th August in Emmanuel Chapel, New Dock Road. All welcome.

In the meantime, to get things going, a meeting will be set up with Network Rail as soon as possible, hosted at Chooselife, to enable volunteers to get started on clearing up the south side of the station.