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Some Early Lines – LNWR in North Wales

Some Early Lines

LNWR in North Wales

Bettws-y-coed station in May 1947 during the last days of LNWR coal tank working.  No.7841 is arriving on the afternoon train from Llandudno Junction.  P.B.Whitehouse

North Wales was a happy hunting ground for LNWR engines, even to the end of the LMS days, a few of the surviving 4-4-0s could be seen on the occasional express.  The same could certainly be said of the branches where smaller engines (virtually all of them were Webb) worked into Nationalisation.  The doyen of the Bangor shed in 1947 was John Maxwell Dunn, a man who didn’t suffer fools gladly but an enthusiast and a gentleman of infinite charm once one was accepted.

Amlwch Station, Anglesey, in May 1947.  The two coach set and loco (Webb 2-4-2T No. 6643) were based at Bangor.  The Red Wharf bay line was then open to goods, the usual engine being an 18” goods 0-6-0.  P.B.Whitehouse

Bangor in those days was responsible for working several branches, including Bethesda, Anglesey (Amlwch and Red Wharf Bay) plus, of course, the long South Caernarvonshire Line which met the Cambrian at Afon Wen.  This latter was the only one to have standard locos, but that had been so since the 1930s when the big Bowen Cooke 4-6-2 tanks were replaced by Stanier 2-6-4 tanks.  The interim before the arrival of the modern engines was filled by the use of 18” goods 0-6-0s who blasted their throaty way to the sea via Dinas Junction and the erstwhile Welsh Highland Railway.  Starting from sea level the inland branches tended to be steep, resulting in much noise and spark throwing.  A never to be forgotten sight and sound was to stand at Felinham on the Bethesda branch adjacent to the Penrhyn quarry main line in the dusk to await the arrival of the coal tank plus two coaches.  The sound came before the sight but the two combined and the resulting firework display has remained a very nostalgic memory.  Sadly it was only something to watch, photography could not record it.

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