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CONWY VALLEY RAILWAY

FLOOD REPAIRS 1994.

 ALL PHOTOGRAPHS BELOW OF THE 1994 FLOOD DAMAGE REPAIRS, TO THE CONWY VALLEY RAILWAY
BRANCH LINE, ARE COPYRIGHT OF ALAN HAYWARD.

ANY ATTEMPT TO COPY ANY IMAGE OR REPRODUCE ANY PART OF THIS PAGE, MUST NOT BE CARRIED OUT WITHOUT
WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THIS WEBSITE.


Previously unpublished photographs, taken by railway worker Alan Hayward, in privileged locations during the devastating flood
damage of 1994, which closed the branch line in order to carry out these extensive repairs.

ALL CAPTIONS ARE BY ALAN ROBERTS

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COMPILED AND EDITED BY GEOFF POOLE
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History of the Conwy Valley Branch Line.

The first section from Llandudno Junction to Llanrwst (now called North Llanrwst) was built as the Conwy and Llanrwst Railway and opened in 1863.
 The LNWR took over in 1863 and opened the extension to Betws-y-Coed in 1868.

The next extension was to Blaenau Ffestiniog to access the output of the large slate quarries there. At first the LNWR proposed a 2' narrow gauge railway via the steeply
 graded Lledr Valley to Blaenau Ffestiniog, this being the 'Bettws & Festiniog Railway'; authorisation was sought in November 1870.

After construction began, it was decided that the extension would be built to standard gauge, allowing through running of trains.
 Between 1874 and 1879 the railway tunnel underneath Moel Dyrnogydd was bored, and in July 1879 a terminus was initially opened by the tunnel entrance.
 The line was subsequently extended by the best part of a mile to a terminus in the town, which opened 31st March 1881.

Blaenau Ffestiniog's other standard gauge railway, the Bala and Ffestiniog Railway, was closed to all traffic in 1961, and a portion was flooded in the creation of the Llyn Celyn reservoir.

 A rail connection was desired for the nuclear power station under construction at Trawsfynydd, and a connecting line was built from Blaenau Ffestiniog North to the site of
 the demolished Blaenau Ffestiniog Central station for freight use.

 With the reconstruction of the Ffestiniog Railway, passenger services were relocated to a new joint station on the site of the old Central station in 1982.
 Regular freight traffic to Trawsfynydd ceased in 1995, and the power station is being decommissioned.

The line's proximity to the River Conwy at its northern end has led to periodic problems with flooding over the years.
 The most recent instance saw the line closed between February and April 2017 after Storm Doris when a tree fell on the track.
 Engineers had to move over 300 tonnes of rock and fallen vegetation during the recovery work.

The line was closed from 27 December 2015 for seven weeks, after the formation was damaged by floodwater in more than 100 places following heavy rain on Boxing Day.

Previous episodes in 1994, 2004, & 2005, also resulted in prolonged closures whilst the trackbed & embankments were rebuilt - the 2004 floods putting the
 line out of action from early February until 22 May that year.



Modern services

The line from Llandudno Junction to Blaenau is single track, and includes the longest single track railway tunnel in the United Kingdom (over 2.5 miles or 4.0 kilometres).

 Between Llandudno Junction and Llandudno the service uses the double track branch line from the North Wales Coast Main Line.

 The fully signalled passing loop at North Llanrwst is the last remaining between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog and trains on the branch must
 stop at the signal box there to exchange tokens for the single line sections on either side.

The line is currently served by 6 trains per day in both directions from Monday to Saturday between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog (and vice versa), with the first two southbound
 services of the day starting (and first northbound service turning back) at Llandudno Junction and terminating in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

 The service is reduced to 3 trains per day in both directions on Sundays, though the Sunday service only operates in summer (mid May until early September).

A rail replacement bus operates in lieu of the train on Sundays for the remainder of the year.

The train service is operated by Arriva Trains Wales and is being marketed as the Conwy Valley Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Dyffryn Conwy).
 A feature of the service is the availability on Conwy Valley trains as well as on local buses in Snowdonia of the new "Tocyn Taith" day ticket.

From 20 May 2007, Concessionary Travel Pass holders resident in Conwy and Gwynedd have been able to travel free of charge on the Conwy Valley Railway line between
 Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog, as well as between Llandudno Junction and Llandudno on all Arriva Trains Wales services, as a result of
 funding provided by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The Office of Rail Regulation says 116,500 passenger journeys were made on the line in 2013/14, excluding exits and entries at the main line stations of Llandudno Junction, Deganwy and Llandudno.

 This was a small increase compared with the figure of 112,134 in 2012/13. Figures show that Blaenau Ffestiniog is the busiest of the line's stations with 44,828 passengers in 2013/14, followed by Betws-y-Coed with 35,400.
 Other stations have very low footfall with Dolgarrog attracting just 828 passengers in 2013/14.

There are plans to upgrade the line to take slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to the coast, sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The line is still susceptible to heavy flooding even after the £7.5 billion that has been spent on defences since 2004.

The photographs below all relate to 1994.


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Conwy Valley flood damage at 12 Milepost near Llanrwst 16.11.1994


 




31237 stands in the down loop at Llanrwst awaiting to load ballast 18.11.1994







31538 shunts ballast wagons from the up loop to the down loop for loading 18.11.1994
 







A washout at Tan Lan Crossing near Llanrwst. Amongst the workers are Terry Harrison, Emlyn Davies, Dick Owen, Alun Tanner, and
Paul Nevitt in the "hole".15.11.1994







Washed ballast at Tan Lan Crossing near Llanrwst with Emlyn Davies and Steve McMillan on the right. 15.11.1994
 








31327 at Llanrwst 18.11.1994
 






31538 on washout site south of Llanrwst  19.11.1994






Conwy Valley Flood Repair at 12 Milepost south of Llanrwst 16.11.1994
 








Conwy Valley Flood Repair. Another view at 12 Milepost south of Llanrwst 16.11.1994
 







31538 at Llanrwst  19.11.1994.






31538 at Llanrwst loading ballast. 19.11.1994
 






31538 at Llanrwst loading ballast. 18.11.1994
 







Loading ballast which arrived by road at Llanrwst 18.11.1994
 







Two rake of "Rudd" ballast wagons loaded and ready for moving at Llanrwst. 18.11.1994
 








31.144 at Llanrwst . Garth Shingles standing on the right (now works as ATW Driver at 6G)
 









 A Class 31 with Seacows ballast wagons at Llanrwst 19.11.1994
 






Ballast Washout at 9 Milepost between Dolgarrog station and Tan Lan Crossing. 14.11.1994









 Between Llanrwst and Betws y Coed 14.11.1994
 







Alun Morris, Engineering Movement Inspector stands near a section of suspended track at 12 Milepost. 16.11.1994
 








Floods at North Llanrwst station 18.11.1994








 Llanrwst as viewed from the box 18.11.1994
 





Floods at North Llanrwst station 16.11.1994








 Permaquip Inspection trolley at Llanrwst 14.11.1994










 Another view of Permaquip trolley put on the line at Llanrwst 14.11.1994










 Placing a Permaquip trolley on the rails at Llanrwst. Manned by Phil Jones and Dick Owen 1994









 Preparing to put the guide rails for the Permaquip trolley 1994
 


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