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Taking the Welsh seaside to Birmingham New Street

The wonders of Mid Wales and the spectacular Cardigan Bay coastline will be promoted at Birmingham New Street Station next week.

The Great Little Trains of Wales (GLTW) and Arriva Trains Wales are working with the community rail officers of Wales to stage a week-long event from May 13-19 in the atrium of the freshly revamped station to promote travel into Wales and its coast by train.

Rail passengers in Birmingham will be encouraged to visit members of the GLTW who either run close to the sea or on the route to the coast.

Staff and volunteers from a wide number of organisations will be on hand to inform people as they pass through the station about the beauty of Wales and its coast, its wonderful little steam trains and the benefits of getting there by rail. There will be a competition and spot prizes throughout the week.

The event is being held during Wales Tourism Week (May 12-20), which this year has chosen ‘Collaborating to Compete’ as its theme, highlighting the power of partnerships across the industry.

Visit Wales, the Welsh Government’s tourism arm, has also chosen the Year of the Sea as its theme for 2018.

In addition, Wednesday, May 16 is ACorP Community Rail in the City, an annual event where Community Rail Partnerships get together in major stations for the day to highlight their work and reasons to travel along their lines.

Star of the show in Birmingham will be Fairbourne Railway’s locomotive, ‘Sherpa’ set in a seaside themed stage. This seaside railway runs out from the little village of Fairbourne along the sand dunes to Barmouth Ferry Station on the edge of the Mawddach estuary in beautiful Mid Wales.

If the beaches of Cardigan Bay are spectacular, then the views from them looking inland are breathtaking. Fairbourne Railway embraces this with views up the Mawddach estuary towards Cader Idris with the iconic Barmouth Bridge in the foreground.

A through service, operated by Arriva Trains Wales, runs from Birmingham New Street into the heart of Mid Wales and on to Machynlleth where it splits, taking the southern side of the Dovey estuary to Aberystwyth or turning north towards Pwllheli, hugging the coast all the way.

No less than seven of the 11 GLTW are within easy reach of stations along this line, called the Cambrian Line. For example, alight at Fairbourne station and the little train awaits you, its crew eagerly watching for potential travellers.

What better way of promoting the Cambrian Line and the Mid Wales coast than by bringing the seaside and its train right to the heart of the newly refurbished Birmingham New Street Station.

The event is part financed by a grant from Visit Wales to encourage and enhance the visitor experience to Wales.