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There’s no doubt that KW was a master at his game, he had the ability to sniff out the most obscure of previously unrecorded narrow gauge railway locations. Living in London and employed by London Transport, KW had an open ticket to travel at no cost on the rail system anywhere in the country. During my time as editor of Narrow Gauge News I met up with him on a few occasions in the mid 1990s to explore some of the remote private mine locations in the Swansea and Neath Valleys. He’d send me an itinerary so I could plan the route and then I’d arrange to pick him up at Neath station and off we’d go exploring for a few hours, very often finding nothing. My negative file shows that in March 1995 we visited Horeb Brickworks near Llanelli and a private mine near Pontardawe. Although we found no evidence of narrow gauge remains at Horeb, the private mine proved more fruitful and I quote from my brief report published in Issue 209 of Narrow Gauge News:

Coal tub on the tipping chute at Lechart private mine.Lechart Mine. After a lengthy walk a previously unrecorded narrow gauge tramway was discovered at this remote private coal mine near Pontardawe. Gauge was measured as ‘three boot lengths and a heel’ which later interpreted as 3ft. The mine is obviously abandoned with a vandalised lorry still under the tipping chute. The two adits were not securely fenced off and it would have been an easy matter to gain entry underground. Two large coal tubs were on site, one off the rails, the other on the chute. About 20 yards of surface track was noted with a further isolated section nearby.

Coal tub on its side at Lechart private mine.Unfortunately, I didn’t record the map reference of this mine and in the intervening years the exact location has slipped from my memory. I think I’ve found it on the OS map but a virtual drive-by on the nearest road has not jogged any further memory. The photographs shown here were taken on my Mamiya C330, a hefty camera to be struggling with to remote locations.

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