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Description based on material supplied by the layout owner
Cwmderi is at the head of a valley on the north-west ridge of the South Wales coalfield. It is the town in which the BBC Wales soap Pobol-y-Gwm is set.
Since the closure of the Pwll-y-Dderwen colliery - where the 'mid-level' lines once ran - the tourist industry for the visitor and the outward-bound centre at Y Plas generate sufficient traffic to warrant through services from the Swansea to Fishguard main line, as well as the local services.
Cwrtmynach Quarry provides a high volume of traffic through its reception sidings (high level) as well as receiving supplies by rail because of its remote location. The old steam shed has been replaced by a diesel stabling and fuelling point. The trackwork is as it was when it was re-aligned not long after the end of steam services. The layout is normaly operated in the 'BR Blue' era, just after the introduction of TOPS but some pre-TOPS numbers are still in evidence. The signalling has recently been modernised as part of an area scheme and full multiple-aspect colour light signalling is in evidence.
The layout is based on nowhere in particular although it is intended to be typical of the confined places that the railway builders were forced into by the lack of ground space in some South Wales valleys. Trackwork is all Peco code 75, with all buildings being scratch-built from Plasticard. Train operation is by Lenz DCC but pointwork and signalling is controlled by a traditional switch arrangement. All stock is fitted with Kadee couplings for hands-free shunting operations with some of the wagons and coaches working as fixed rakes.
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