LLANDUDNO JUNCTION 1961 - TIME TRAVEL
The year 1961 was one of those glorious long, hot, summers that we always dream of getting but rarely do.
In August, as a 14 year-old schoolboy, I went on holiday with my
to a small farm B&B near
Betws-Y-Coed where we stayed for two weeks, exploring Snowdonia.
I say exploring but
actually my parents knew the area well, my Dad having been born
at Mochdre, near Colwyn Bay.
This was my second visit and, having thoroughly enjoyed the first, this time I had a (very basic) camera
with which to record the happy memories I now have.
I had always admired Stanier locomotives in
particular and, living in an electrified area of the
Southern Region, these holidays presented me with a rare chance to see and photograph those magnificent
machines, revelling in the constant parade of them that ran – especially on Saturdays – along
the North Wales coast line.
had seen, when pondering what to do with an empty room in the maisonette I had
just moved into, twenty years later.
A double-bedroom, I thought, presented the
opportunity to build a fair representation of
Llandudno Junction and a much shortened branch to Llandudno.
I had previously run a Hornby Dublo 3-rail layout in the attic
friend’s house and still had most
of the equipment, all stacked in boxes in the corner of my spare room.
I sold the
locomotives and track and many other items but kept most of the rolling
suitable for 2-rail running where necessary.
Then I took a deep breath and made a start on my grand plan…
baseboard construction until a,year later, when I was sure I had what I wanted.
It all came together quite
quickly after that, even though I was then working
full-time (just as well, as it is an expensive hobby!) and after two years I had the basics of the layout as
it is today, with boards, track and wiring all complete.
Things slowed down quite a bit after that, as the inevitable distraction of running trains delayed
the slow process of constructing the stations, sheds, signalboxes and scenery.
Also the signalling, most of which is
mechanically controlled, took the best part of a further year
to build and make operational.
like the original 1961 summer timetable and, having acquired all the necessary information, I set about
creating my own station, locomotive and stock workings.
These have been tweaked a bit over the years
as I have added more stock
(I now have over 150 locomotives!) but most running sessions today are still to the original timetable
and all the more pleasing as a result.
renewals, and has required surprisingly little maintenance considering its extent and complexity.
It relies on the time-honoured system of cab
control, whereby the track is split into sections which
are energised as required.
Computer control – indeed the
personal computer – was non-existent when I was building the layout and
I have not considered attempting to incorporate anything so radical!
Everything is clunk-click switched electrics or mechanical and as it works very well that’s how it will stay.
past to as closely as the availability of suitable models allows, there is never a dull moment when
operating as it is possible to start at any time of any day, positioning the trains and stock as required and then
starting the clock and sorting out the inevitable tangles as they occur, this last part just like
the real thing, of course!
Ideally three operators are
needed, one at each end of the Junction and one at Llandudno, and it
is possible to run up to six trains simultaneously.
is, however, possible for me to operate to
the timetable on my own by dashing about between
panels, but this involves much stopping of the clock in order not to very quickly
fall ‘behind time’, especially on a Saturday!
of this will know how busy Saturdays were at the Junction, with trains
departing every few minutes between mid-morning and mid-afternoon and replicating this, with
the tremendous variety of engines (not all were Black 5s, although sometimes it seemed like it!) is great fun.
to those I have when ‘shutting myself away to play trains’ and that they may even inspire you to start your
own project – if so, good luck and have fun!
All photographs on this page were taken as a collaboration between Chris Evans and Tim Easter.
All the images are copyright protected and permission from Chris Evans should be obtained before any
attempt to copy or publish is made.
Contact with Chris Evans can be obtained through the email link, to this website, on the HOMEPAGE.
Fleetwood of Warrington (8B)
platform 3 with a Saturday holiday extra for Llandudno.
‘Ivatt’ 2MT 41235 (6G) can be seen with empty
stock in bay platform 1A and, over on the down avoiding line, one of
the distinctive high running plate Caprotti ‘Black 5s’ (both of which were allocated to
6G), 44686, has earlier brought in a ‘Butlins’ holiday camp train for Penychain.
This will have been taken over by a Bangor-allocated engine and 44686 will now retire to its home shed, in the
background, where one of 6G’s low running plate ‘Caprottis’, 44750, can be seen (on the nearest track).
Rhyl and Llandudno to Towyn and back.
Although the train was not in the public timetable it was extensively publicised locally and provided an
interesting day out during the week for holidaymakers.
Motive power was usually one of two BR Standard Class 4MTs allocated to Rhyl (6K) specifically for
the purpose and here 75028 (6K), carrying the appropriate headboard, is waiting to restart the
9.15am train it has brought in from Rhyl, following attachment of the Llandudno portion.
as ‘Britannia’ 70033 Charles Dickens of Willesden (1A) runs through platform 3 with a
relief boat train bound for Holyhead.
A Blaenau Ffestiniog DMU is in bay platform 4A, whilst in the background further DMUs can be seen in the
carriage shed roads; also awaiting their next turn of duty is an assortment of locomotives in the shed yard.
The distinctive structure provided some protection from the weather whilst locos were being coaled by hand from
mineral wagons, which were brought alongside the coaling road at a higher level, but must
have been extremely unpleasant when the wind was blowing straight through it!
The water tank on top, for the filler pipes below, would have made a great swimming pool in the summer – I wonder if
anyone was ever brave enough to try it, perhaps accidentally!
After disappearing into the tubular bridge the line runs through the scenery in the background and along the back
of the layout, to eventually emerge in the fiddle yard formed by the four tracks leading into the east end of Llandudno Junction.
Bridge with a Royal Scot providing the power.
I drew the plans for the castellated portal from a photograph of the original and then scaled it down to give some impression
of distance when viewed from the operating positions at the station.
It is made from balsa wood, plastic card, toilet rolls and Smarties tubes!
station (north) end.
Two of the inevitable ‘Black 5s’ are on view.
were occasionally seen at the Junction.
No. 90227, is here seen heading a train of empty mineral wagons from Menai Bridge past
No.2 signalbox and onto the up avoiding line.
This would be a weekday, as no such freights ran during busy summer Saturdays, and the train will terminate
in the extensive marshalling yard at the engine’s home, near Chester.
was that they were of the
Caprotti valve-gear variety, resulting in them having a very different appearance from
the standard locos, with either lower or higher running plates.
These were not available as ready-to-run models so had to be modified, using white metal and brass
parts and fittings made by Crownline.
Showing off its different design and valve-gear in the evening light as it runs into Llandudno Junction
platform 1 is 44741, one of four of this type I have on the layout and a long-time resident at 6G.
These engines were ideal for the near-level tracks of the North Wales Coast Line, not being perhaps
as strong on the banks as the Walschaerts-gear locos but free-running and very quick in accelerating
from stops, with a characteristic strong exhaust bark.
By all accounts they were very much liked by the 6G loco men.
Shrewsbury (89A) shed, as engines were changed there.
The Western Region painted their allocation in green livery and here one of these, 73096, is seen
restarting the train from platform 3 at the Junction.
At the same time another interesting train to appear was the 10.10 Sheffield-Bangor, as this was
sometimes worked by a 9F 2-10-0.
Normally confined to heavy freight duties, some of these engines (which were easily capable of maintaining
the 70mph speeds usual along the North Wales Coast Line) were often pressed into
service on summer Saturdays, as were Stanier 8F 2-8-0s on some occasions when additional specials were run.
92116 (18B, Westhouses) was one engine sometimes allocated to the 10.10 and here it is seen waiting in platform 4.
Unfortunately the limited space available didn’t allow me to arrange the tracks so that trains to Llandudno from
platform 3 and those towards Bangor from platform 4 could start simultaneously, as they could in real practice.
The sky back scene is not a feature of this part of the layout and had been placed only for the photo, to hide the operating area.
dominating the scene.
These formed the backbone of the many additional services that ran on summer Saturdays and many would be from
sheds in the Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Some will have arrived the previous Saturday and stayed on shed all week: not a very cost-effective way
to work but interesting for the spotters of the day – including me!
rostered to work the heavy ballast trains from the nearby quarry at Penmaenmawr.
Glimpsed from the top deck of a Crosville Bristol K in Llandudno Junction station’s road
entrance, adjacent to the goods yard, 48246 (6G) runs slowly through platform 1 with one of these trains, bound for Chester.
The hopper wagons are not quite the same as the engineer’s wagons used on the real trains.
of the original station, with the daily 9.40am local freight from Llandudno.
It is already 10.30am, as this train made a leisurely stop at Deganwy to shunt the yard there.
a regular turn for a
This was usually from Crewe North (5A) but the roster was sometimes used as a running-in turn for an ex-works engine which
could, therefore, be from any of the depots to which these magnificent machines were allocated.
Hornby ‘Coronation’ has been modified as the superb 46256 Sir
Stanier F.R.S. which was one
of the last two built, with detail differences, and it is seen approaching Llandudno Junction No.1 signalbox on the slow line with this train.
awaited eagerly, as its massive load of up to twenty bogies was booked for a Crewe North (5A) ‘Pacific’.
On this occasion this heavy train has been entrusted to ‘Princess Royal’ 46209 Princess Beatrice (5A) and it can be seen
drifting down the gradient from the Conway tubular bridge at the approach to Llandudno Junction, just as ‘Black 5’ 45390 of Holyhead (6J) comes
off shed to take over a train to its home town.
The Hussar from Willesden
(1A) shed prepares to start the 10.00 to Euston, a very popular
holiday train, from platform 3 at Llandudno.
This service left at the ideal time for holidaymakers, at the end of their summer fortnight away, to have breakfast
at their B&B or hotel, pick up their luggage and reach the station, perhaps on the bus or by taxi.
An Ivatt 2MT, 41235, is on station pilot duty and a ‘Black 5’ is in platform 5, ready to leave with
another busy train, the 09.45 to Manchester Exchange.
Lack of space meant that I had to lay carriage sidings, where a Stanier 3MT tank can be seen, adjacent to this platform and this in turn
resulted in platforms 2 and 3 being narrower than the original, with the cab road omitted.
ex-works 46127 ‘Old Contemptibles’ of Crewe North (5A) is running through platform 3 at Llandudno Junction with
the down train, the summer-only 8.10am Euston – Holyhead.
heavily loaded holiday trains in and out of Llandudno back in 1961.
Sadly they were not to last more than another year and none was preserved, although one is now being
constructed and will hopefully be in service in time to commemorate the Armistice centenary in 2018.
Here, unnamed 45547 (8A) waits in platform 4 at the Junction with a Saturday special from Liverpool
to the Butlin’s holiday camp at Penychain, near Pwllheli, while one of the ubiquitous ‘Black 5s’ stands
in platform 3 with yet another holidaymaker-filled train for Llandudno.
The Patriot will have been replaced at Bangor, probably by a pair of 2-6-4 tanks.
Rebuilt Patriot 45525 Colwyn Bay, from 8A Edge Hill shed, takes over an up express from a ‘Black 5’ seen
standing on the adjacent avoiding line.
Engine changes at the Junction were not that common, especially at busy times, and usually confined to trains working
to or from the Bangor-Caernarvon-Afon Wen line.
locomotive carrying the name ‘Bangor’. Although based at far-away Willesden shed it was quite often
seen at the city from which it took its name and in this shot passes Llandudno Junction at the regulation 50mph with
the down ‘Welshman’ from Euston.
This popular, multi-portioned express left London at 11.10 on Saturdays, with through coaches for
Porthmadog, Pwllheli and Holyhead; a separate train ran complete to Llandudno leaving the capital at 11.18.
In the background a 6G-allocated Ivatt Class 2 tank is waiting to start a local to Llandudno from bay platform 1A.
the ‘Llandudno Club Train’ and used by businessmen who required only a short day in the city, and
could afford the commute from the North Wales coastal towns.
There was dedicated first class accommodation provided for them (the second coach in the picture) and here
the ‘club’ atmosphere amongst the regulars was much prized.
This important train was the preserve of a 6G locomotive, usually maintained in a very clean condition.
In 1961 a Caprotti ‘Black 5’, an exceptionally free-running, rugged and reliable locomotive, was the
favourite choice and here the 4.30pm is seen approaching Llandudno at the end of its journey with 44741 having
been entrusted with the duty.
Unfortunately it would appear that the
demands of the summer timetable and seasonal staff shortages
have allowed the usual cleaning standards to slip somewhat, or perhaps the locomotive was a last-minute substitute!
Visible in the turntable roads are ‘Jubilee’ 45671 Prince Rupert of Crewe North (5A) and ‘Black 5’ 45438 from Mold Junction (6B).
Junction No.2 signalbox with one of the most important freight trains of the day, the Class ‘C’ 11.45am
Holyhead – Broad Street, which conveyed Irish meat for the London markets in insulated ‘FM’ containers
loaded on ‘Conflats’.
years it would be
some time before the majority of locals between Llandudno Junction and Bangor lost their steam power.
They were often rostered for Bangor (6H) 2-6-4 tanks and here ‘Fairburn’ 42077 (6H) starts one such train from
Llandudno Junction’s platform 4, whilst ‘Black 5’ 45401 of Edge Hill (8A) waits in platform 3 with a Liverpool – Llandudno train.
(6G) standing on
the down avoiding line waiting to work the morning freight service down the Blaenau branch.
When building the station I left enough space between this line and that serving platform 4, where the coaches are
standing, to include the wind screen that was a prominent feature of this side of the station.
However, the fact that it would not have been seen from the normal operating positions on the north side of the station, and would
have been an obstacle when coupling/uncoupling and track cleaning, made me decide not to include it.
station pilot duties or
working local freight trips.
It was one of the class that had the protection of a cab-end built onto the tender, a modification I had to make myself.
Here the engine is seen between duties in 6G shed yard, with the ‘coal hole’ in the background.
round the branch-line curve to join the down slow line at the eastern approach to Llandudno Junction.
This 18-inch radius
curve is the sharpest on the layout, and is used for testing the route
availability of all locomotives and stock.
The fictitious bridge in the background forms a scenic break, beyond which the branch line joins the track leading to the
fiddle yard, necessitating reversal.
June 21st 2013.
Michael Williams and responses from Chris Evans are reproduced below.
I wonder if you would be kind enough to pass on a query I have regarding what trains would be running along the The North Wales coast during August 1961 please.
I have fond memories of family holidays in Colwyn Bay during the 1960s and am a great admirer of Chris' Llandudno Junction layout
and would like to construct one of my own.
As Chris seems to run his model trains to an authentic schedule for the
summer of 1961, I was wondering if he had a list
of trains that actually ran (or that he runs on his layout) that covered the August period when my family normally went to Colwyn Bay.
numbers, reporting numbers, etc that he could provide would be
If Chris actually had details of all the trains he runs for the summer of 1961, that would be even better.
I am a great fan of the 6g website and always look for the latest information and updates.
A reply from Chris Evans is shown below.
Below is Mike's
reply to Chris Evans.
Many thanks for your kind offer of assistance.
I have been a great admirer of your layout for a while now and was keen to construct one of my own.
This too would be based on workings during the summer of 1961 (the first year I went on holiday to Colwyn Bay) and
would consist of two main sections.
The first being a representation of the North Wales Coast line at Colwyn Bay and the second a representation
of Llandudno Junction shed as it might have looked if plans to construct the first stages of a new Coast Road had actually
begun in 1957 - the year I believe the shed itself was redeveloped (or at least repaired).
As I said in my initial email to Geoff, I have have very fond memories of family holidays in Colwyn Bay during
the 1960s, and felt that constructing a layout like this would help me to recapture those wonderful days.
Any help you can give me regarding train details (engine numbers etc.) would be gratefully received Chris - indeed any
information at all would be absolutely fantastic.
I was really interested to hear that you had used the Llandudno Engine Arrangers book and your own observations
as your main sources for the Saturday trains for late July/ early August 1961.
Do either you or
John Kirwood have any plans to publish these at some point? I am sure a
lot of people would be interested.
Anyway, thanks again Chris, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
NOTE FROM GEOFF POOLE.
The book Mike refers to above, and Chris below, is the enginemen's arrangement book relating to Llandudno.
The book was drawn up by two drivers from 6G, Tommy A. Hughes and Meirig Roberts.
It details engine numbers, times, turns,
and destinations of all engines in and out of Llandudno
during the 1960's.
The book's custodian is now ex- 6G stalwart John Kirwood.
I have tried on numerous occasions to make
John Kirwood aware that the 6G website would be a
perfect platform to display the unique data this book holds which would be so interesting and helpful to
all ex - 6G workers, 6G website visitors, railway enthusiasts and railway modellers worldwide.
I have to report that to date I have not
had a response from John Kirwood to this request.
My open request to John Kirwood still
stands and if he wishes to contact me I will pick up the book, scan it
and return it safely to his possession.
Below is Chris
Evans's reply to Mike.
N T E N T S
EXPLANATION OF REFERENCES
MAPS: Llandudno Junction No.1
Llandudno Junction No.2
LLANDUDNO JUNCTION FIDDLE YARD WORKING
LLANDUDNO JUNCTION STATION WORKING
LLANDUDNO JUNCTION START/FINISH AND SHUNT WORKINGS
LLANDUDNO JUNCTION MPD LOCO WORKING
LLANDUDNO STATION WORKING
LLANDUDNO SHUNT WORKINGS
LLANDUDNO TURNTABLE LOCO WORKING (SO)
LOCOMOTIVE-HAULED COACHING STOCK DIAGRAMS
FREIGHT TRAIN CONSISTS
22nd July 1961
column (2) Saturday 29th July 1961
column (3) Saturday 5th August 1961
column (4) Saturday 12th August 1961