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ALLAN JUDD PAGE
Allan Judd was a life - long friend
of the late Ken Wood.
Allan was inspired by the Ken Wood page, on this website, to contribute
photographs, in memory of his old friend.
EDITED BY GEOFF POOLE
memories of time spent
with Ken Wood.
I recall several night shifts at Llanfair PG
box with him during 1962, was
something of an adventure for a young boy, there were more
trains than you might think, the ‘Mails’
2 or 3 in each direction to and from Holyhead serving the night Irish
quite a few
freights but the ones I most remember - the cattle trains,
memorable because of the smell as they
passed, even worse when one was held at the signal just outside the
fascinating especially because the trains were steam hauled watching
for the first glimpse in the darkness of
the loco’s lights, or sometimes ‘sparks flying’,
as they rounded the curves coming from the
‘Tube’ or in the far distance along the long straight from Llandaniel
train was a freight it would rattle and clank past the box - the brakes
on the wagons screeching with
buffers crashing together
as it started to slow on its approach to the tube. If the
firebox doors were open as the train passed there would be an
orange glow lighting up the locomotive
This along with the steam and smoke was so atmospheric.
Even though it was summer the nights
were still pretty chilly and the means of keeping warm was a coal fire,
from the same source as did the loco firing coal as there were some
pretty big lumps which had to
be broken up, this was
achieved by smashing them with an old tensioning toggle bar from a
steam loco coupling.
up goods would be stopping off in Llanfair PG yard were interesting,
the movements involved in getting
wagons to the required locations in the sidings was no mean feat,
especially if there were
coal, cattle wagons and
vans to be dropped and picked up.
If there were
vans to get to the radial
warehouse these had to be manually propelled then turned
on the ‘mini’ turntable and pushed to
the off loading platform.
If a train was due on the main
line there was a lever (painted green)
in the signal box for a gong, this would be pulled a
number of times to alert those on
shunting duties in the yard that a train would be coming, the gong was
on a post next to the
ground frame adjacent to the ‘down’ main line opposite the
There was also
a bell just above the signal box front window, I only remember it being
used a couple
of times whilst I
was there and that was to warn some track workers of the impending
arrival of a train.
chain and the clapper had gone by 1963. The bell itself
went sometime in the late 1970’s or early
The sidings, coal drops, weighbridge,
goods warehouse and radial warehouse once stood where
Pringles and most
of the car park are
Before the enamelled signs which
displayed the station name were put up (mid/late 1950’s) the name was
displayed using white
rustic style wooden letters, about 2 feet high (see old postcard below),
I found these letters
in the goods warehouse beneath the loading platform on one of my
arrangements got a boost when on 17th July 1963 he bought a maroon
Vespa scooter, although
actually get it until a few days later.
Ken asked if I fancied having a trip
where he was going to have a look at some scooters / motorbikes so we
went by train changing at Menai
Bridge, the tickets are amongst those
shown on the photographs
The first group of tickets in the
photo below shows an Excess Fare
Ticket from Llanfair to
Bangor from 9th August 1962 the day I
fell foul of a travelling ticket
inspector, it just so happened that
Ken was going back to his
‘roots’, to Wakefield, on the same train as I was returning home
Middlesbrough on and
we started from Llanfair PG but my ticket was from Bangor, can’t
remember why that was, I
was quite embarrassed
but Ken made some comment which caused
laugh and took the
sting out of the situation.
Over the years he would remind me of
At the bottom of the first group is a
return day trip ticket from
Llanfair P.G. to Rhyl in 1973, for a Mr & Mrs Ken Wood and
kept a very precise record, dates,
mileages, costs etc. of all aspects of running his Vespa.
He would give
me an update on my visits
of the current mpg or cumulative cost of running
his scooter – wonder if that was
do with him being a Yorkshireman ?.
His locker in the
signal box was like Pandora’s box he
would often open it up and share the ‘secrets’ of it’s contents with me.
station poster from the 1960’s (see photo below) was one such item
eventually gave me.
photographs of the tickets I thought
may just be interesting in remembering some of the closed stations and
Llanfairpwll..…gogogoch platform ticket brings back
memories of having to learn
how to pronounce the
station name, when the platform
tickets went on
sale there was an
increased call by visitors for the station staff to
pronounce the full station
Jones would sell the platform tickets then ask me to pronounce the
name, it took some
practice (for a
Yorkshireman, yes another one) to get it right so it sounded
authentic, I also learned how to spell
it and the translation (see photo of station poster above).
other request would be “would you
photograph of us in front of the station name board”
the photograph of my mother
taken by me in August 1958 which must have been my earliest ‘railway’
time ago my cousin, Joan James, sent me
attached newspaper articles/photos with the following
Article 1) The heading says 'Staff
Valley (station) in the Fifties'
before the names it says 'from left to right'
Joan says - " As
I recall it appeared
in 'Y Glorian' which is a Welsh local newspaper that
is published once a month. It has news of the
West side of the Island and sometimes
people send in old photos. I really can't remember
how long ago it appeared as I cut it
out without the date but I've a feeling it's a few
years ago. I've just noticed that they have
added photos into the photo of people who were
obviously missing at the time it was taken
but there are fourteen names
and only 13
Joan is the daughter of the late
John (Jack) Thomas who appears in the 'Valley Photo' above
and whom I wrote about in my first write-up, on
page (1), along with the photo of him on his
motorbike taken by Joan's brother Gordon.
Article 2) Self
explanatory photo & article from Llanfairpwll.....gogogoch. (Don't
which newspaper this appeared in).
Boston Lincs. who
shares his holiday memories from North Wales elsewhere on this website
value of the Holiday Runabout Ticket, they certainly were good value,
I would buy
one and make the most of it.
Journeys down the Caernarfon
Branch to Afon Wen and on to
Pwllheli, Amlwch, Llandudno etc. etc.
The extent of available travel on the Area 7
Holiday Runabout Ticket issued in 1962
The photograph below shows a
selection of some of
trains window destination
stickers, unfortunately not one from the ‘Irish Mail.
window destination stickers from the 1980's.
I would also get a train to Holyhead
in time to get
the IRISH MAIL to Chester, being its first stop, just for the fun of
being on an express train
which as it seemed then ‘flew’ through
Bangor, the Junction and the
other main stations, then just
get another train back to Llanfair PG.
I remember on one occasion when Ken
was on duty and he
knew what I was doing opened the side window of the box and waved a
as the train
‘flew’ past, never actually saw him wearing it, it may have been the
box’s allocated hat for
One of those very tickets showing the
extent of the travel possibilities
using a holiday runabout ticket
can also be seen amongst the
memorable trip was to Shrewsbury, via Crewe, had to pay extra (5s 3d
about 27p) for the journey(s) between
Chester & Shrewsbury, at that time
Shrewsbury was within the
Western Region (as was the
so it was Castles, Kings, Halls,
from Crewe to Shrewsbury on the two occasions I went were actually
by Warships (NB. the Westerns
were just starting to appear for crew training) and some years later I
of these when
for a period during 1986 former Southern Region Class 33’s hauled some
of the Crewe (ex
Cardiff & Portsmouth) to
Llandudno , Bangor or Holyhead
(a stranger) stands
in Bangor station with the 11.16 Crewe to Holyhead train (ex. Cardiff
July 11th 1986.
of class 33's are shown below on various dates at various locations.
of Burmah' stands in Holyhead with the 14.08 to Cardiff service on
Thursday July 10th 1986.
in Llandudno with
the 17.40 to Crewe service on Monday July 7th 1986.
Approaches Bodorgan with a
Holyhead bound train on Wednesday July 9th 1986.
Runs through Deganwy
with the 17.40 Llandudno to Crewe service on Monday July 7th 1986.
Stands in Llandudno
Junction with the 12.00 Cardiff to Llandudno service (Ex
Portsmouth) on Monday July 7th 1986.
photos below show 6G in
1986 and 1993.
'Tamworth Castle' on
Llandudno Junction Shed on Monday July 7th 1986.
at Llandudno Junction Shed on Friday July 2nd 1993.
comparison the two photos
below show the Britannia Bridge before and after the fire.
to Gaerwen box towards
the end of 1973 or early 1974 when Llanfair PG box
job became a
position it was like going to a dance hall by comparison.
Llanfair PG box was so small, and before
most of them were removed, had about
18 levers, plus a large crossing
Gaerwen box was so much bigger, it actually had a (BT) landline
telephone because of the Amlwch goods
so I was able to ring and talk to Ken whenever the fancy took
Then, I am not sure when it was, sometime around 1989, Ken moved on to
Bangor box, which was
Although I went to see Ken at Bangor box we
still occasionally met up at Llanfair PG box
to remember times past.
My story started with my uncle John (Jack) Thomas at Bangor
(No.2) in the early 1960’s and has now gone the full circle.
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