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 the following recollections and
photographs, in memory of his old friend.




       Ken Wood – memories continued

      There are many 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 ferries,
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 box.
It was 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 Crossing.  
      If the 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 cab.  
      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, the coal
obviously came 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.

      The days when the pick up goods would be stopping off in Llanfair PG yard were interesting, the movements involved in getting
the 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 located
on a post next to the ground frame adjacent to the ‘down’ main line opposite the sidings. 
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. 
The chain and the clapper had gone by 1963.   The bell itself went sometime in the late 1970’s or early 80’s.
      The sidings, coal drops, weighbridge, goods warehouse and radial warehouse once stood where
Pringles and most of the car park are now.

      Before the enamelled signs which displayed the station name were put up (mid/late 1950’s) the name was displayed using white
painted rustic style wooden letters, about 2 feet high (see old postcard below),
I found these letters stored in the goods warehouse beneath the loading platform on one of my 'exploring days'.


      Ken’s home to work transport arrangements got a boost when on 17th July 1963 he bought a maroon Vespa scooter, although
he didn’t actually get it until a few days later.  
Ken asked if I fancied having a trip to Caernarfon 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 below. 

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
to 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 quite a laugh and took the sting out of the situation.  
Over the years he would remind me of that occasion.

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 three children.


      Ken 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 anything to 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.
   The station poster from the 1960’s (see photo below) was one such item which he eventually gave me.

      The photographs of the tickets I thought may just be interesting in remembering some of the closed stations and other interesting stations.
   The 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 name.  
Hugh 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).


The other request would be “would you take a photograph of us in front of the station name board”
      just as the photograph of my mother taken by me in August 1958 which must have been my earliest ‘railway’ related photograph.

Some time ago my cousin, Joan James, sent me
the attached newspaper articles/photos with the following information :

Article 1) The heading says 'Staff of Valley (station) in the Fifties'
Then 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 people!"

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 know
which newspaper this appeared in).

      Chris Hazelhurst of Boston Lincs. who shares his holiday memories from North Wales elsewhere on this website
mentions the value of the Holiday Runabout Ticket, they certainly were good value, like him
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 the ‘later’
      named trains window destination stickers, unfortunately not one from the ‘Irish Mail.

 Train 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 railway hat
as the train ‘flew’ past, never actually saw him wearing it, it may have been the box’s allocated hat for ‘ceremonial’ occasions. 
One of those very tickets showing the extent of the travel possibilities using a holiday runabout ticket
can also be seen amongst the photographs above.

   Another 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 Pwhelli branch)
so it was Castles, Kings, Halls, Manors, County’s etc.  

The trains from Crewe to Shrewsbury on the two occasions I went were actually
      hauled by Warships (NB. the Westerns were just starting to appear for crew training) and some years later I was reminded
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 services. (see photos below).

33003,  (a stranger) stands in Bangor station with the 11.16 Crewe to Holyhead train (ex. Cardiff & Portsmouth)
dated Friday July 11th 1986.

A selection of class 33's are shown below on various dates at various locations.

33027 'Earl Mountbatten of Burmah' stands in Holyhead with the 14.08 to Cardiff service on Thursday July 10th 1986.

33030 Stands in Llandudno with the 17.40 to Crewe service on Monday July 7th 1986.

33030 Approaches Bodorgan with a Holyhead bound train on Wednesday July 9th 1986.

33030 Runs through Deganwy with the 17.40 Llandudno to Crewe service on Monday July 7th 1986.

33030 Stands in Llandudno Junction with the 12.00 Cardiff to Llandudno service  (Ex Portsmouth) on Monday July 7th 1986.

The two photos below show 6G in 1986 and 1993.

25322 'Tamworth Castle' on Llandudno Junction Shed on Monday July 7th 1986.

Units 'in store' at Llandudno Junction Shed on Friday July 2nd 1993.

As a comparison the two photos below show the Britannia Bridge before and after the fire.



      When Ken moved to Gaerwen box towards the end of 1973 or early 1974 when Llanfair PG box
job became a crossing keeper’s 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 gate wheel.
Gaerwen box was so much bigger, it actually had a (BT) landline telephone because of the Amlwch goods traffic
so I was able to ring and talk to Ken whenever the fancy took me.

    Then, I am not sure when it was, sometime around 1989, Ken moved on to Bangor box, which was ‘cavernous’.
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.

      Happy Memories.