There has been a quarry at Penmaenmawr since Neolithic times. Axe-heads and other implements fashioned from its
distinctive stone have been found at archaeological sites throughout the British Isles.
There is still much evidence of the thriving axe factory that existed at Penmaenmawr more than 5,000 years ago.
The ancient quarry was replaced by a newer quarry in the 1830’s.
In those days Penmaenmawr stone was carried by tramway to loading jetties on the seashore, from where it was taken by ship
to Liverpool and other major ports, then by canal or road to its final destination.

With the coming of the railway to Penmaenmawr in the 1840’s, the shipping trade fell into a decline from which it never recovered.

Today, the quarry at Penmaenmawr continues to thrive. The stone is now despatched by rail and road, and it remains universally popular
for rail ballast, road building and the making of concrete.

Examples of its modern usage include the Mersey Tunnel and the Hamburg By-Pass in Germany.

The stone trains are now a common site on the North Wales Coast main line and John Powell took time to photograph the varied
movements during the 1970's and 80's which are shown below.

All photographs below are by John Powell except those clearly marked with photographers name.

All photographs on this page are copyright protected and no attempt to copy any image should be attempted before prior permission
is obtained from John Powell, who can be contacted through the email link on the HOMEPAGE.


20049 & 20056 ready to leave Penmaenmawr for Liverpool. 22.7.85.

47079 ( Green ) approaches Rhyl on Stone Train. 25.10.85.

Empty stone train to Penmaenmawr passes Prestatyn, 40090. 11.10.82.

Penmaenmawr yard. 20056 & 20049 just arrived to collect stones. 22.7.85.

Stone train trundles through Rhyl station. 40194. 23.3.82

Stones from Penmaenmawr nears Prestatyn, hauled by 47281. 21.4.83

Stones from Penmaenmawr pass Prestatyn hauled by 47648. Oct 1988

Stones from Penmaenmawr pass Prestatyn hauled by 45046. Oct 1986.

Stones from Penmaenmawr passes Mostyn. April 7th, 1982. 40184.

47143 passes Prestatyn with a stone train. June 13th 1986.

47431 (ETH) heads for Penmaenmawr with empties at Prestatyn on July 1st 1988.

Holywell Junction. April 27th 1983. 40077 passes with stones.

Stone train hauled by 45145 passes Prestatyn. June 10th, 1987.

40118 ready to leave Penmaenmawr. 10.12.84.

25273 ready to leave Penmaenmawr with stone train. May 18th, 1979, 47534 next in line.

Class 8F 2-8-0 hauls stones from Penmaenmawr near Colwyn Bay. c1964
. Photographer unknown.

75050 near Chester with stone train. September 1957. Photo S.D Wainwright.

8F No.48667 nears Chester with stone train from Penmaenmawr. c1963.
Photographer unknown.

I enjoyed the recent 'Glorious Years' articles by Gavin Morrison, in Steam Railway magazine, and I would
like to thank him and Steam Railway magazine for allowing us to publish his photo of the 'Super D' below, which featured in the articles.

Former LNWR ‘Super D’ 0-8-0 No.49416 approaches Llandudno Junction on April 8th 1958 with an empty ballast train, no doubt
heading for Penmaenmawr Quarry.
It was allocated to Widnes (8D) from October 1953 to November 1958 before moving to Edge Hill (8A) where
it was withdrawn on July 14th 1962.

LMS 8F 2-8-0 48246 passes Prestatyn at about 11.30am on 10th April 1964 with a Ballast train from Penmaenmawr, at the time such
trains often ran to Edge Hill, Liverpool to an Engineers yard there.

A selection of four shots below, from John Hobbs, shows where some of the Penmaenmawr stone ends up as against where it comes from.

LMS 8F 48441 at Nant Hall. Prestatyn with spent ballast being loaded from the Ballast Cleaner on the Down Fast.
An interesting selection of wooden wagons in use for this train; on the 8th September 1963.

Ballast Cleaning operations on the Down Fast, just east of Bodnant Bridge, Prestatyn, the assembly is winching
itself along towards Nant Hall on Sunday 8th September 1963.

The overall scene looking from Bodnant Bridge, 48441 on the up fast.
Nant Hall box can be seen in the background on 8th September 1963.

The view from the Nant Hall end showing the operation continuing with interested parties looking on from
the footbridge on 8th September 1963.
Nant Hall box is visible just to the right of the footbridge.

24023 leaves Penmaenmawr June 15th, 1973.

20056 & 20049 pass through Llandudno Junction. 22.7.85. This was the introduction of Class 20's on
ballast workings -
the first of many more to work these heavy trains.

20104 & 20052 pass Prestatyn with stones for Liverpool. 29.4.88.

Same train as above heads for Liverpool leaving Prestatyn. 29.4.88.

25095 passes the site of the new A55 Expressway at Colwyn Bay. January 19th, 1984.

25249 heads through Rhyl with a load of stone from Penmaenmawr. December 1st, 1986.

25276 passes Abergele with empties. July 5th, 1983.

25902 enters Rhyl with empties, 45122 is ready to leave 23.9.86.

31120 passes Prestatyn with empties for Penmaenmawr. May 27th 1987

31206 passes Prestatyn with empties for Penmaenmawr  3.10.1986.

31234 passes Prestatyn with stones from Penmaenmawr June 24th,1987

31238 passes Rhyl station. c Mid 80s.

31309 & 31446 head through Prestatyn. 14th June 1988.

37029 heads for Penmaenmawr at Prestatyn. June 5th, 1987.

37676 & 688 with stones from Penmaenmawr to Salford leave Prestatyn. July 15th, 1988.

37685 and 37678 on empty stone train for Penmaenmawr pass Prestatyn, 12.2.88.

40001 nears Prestatyn with stones from Penmaenmawr. 6th Sept 1983.

40025 passes through Rhyl station. c1983.

40001 passes Rhyl station with ballast train.July 1983.

40047 at Llandudno Junction. 8.8.1983.

40129 near Prestatyn with empties for Penmaenmawr. 22.8.1983.

40129 passes Rhyl with empties for Penmaenmawr. July 1983.

40143 being loaded, 40172 passing. 9.8.83. (Photo Les Nixon)

45060 passes Rhyl with stones from Penmaenmawr.August 2nd,1985.

47299 ( ex works), enters Rhyl with stone train. 30.11.84.

47310 leaves Prestatyn with stones from Penmaenmawr. 5.6.87

47318 passes Mostyn dock with empties for Penmaenmawr. 14.4.88.

47324 leaves Prestatyn with stones from Penmaenmawr. 26.6.87.

47340 passes Rhyl station with empties for Penmaenmawr. 31.7.87.

47347 near Prestatyn, with empties for Penmaenmawr. 26.10.1987.

47341 passes Rhyl station heading for Penmaenmawr. 24.5.88.

47372 passes Prestatyn with empties for Penmaenmawr  June 5th,1987

97407 passes Mochdre with empty stone train.November 6th, 1985.

Abergele. 16.7.86. 31184 passes with stones from Penmaenmawr.

60066 is ready to leave Penmaenmawr. December 10th, 1996. (Photographer Unknown)

66515 has just left Penmaenmawr for Basford Hall. ( Undated ) Photo Lewis.

Class 40 leaves Penmaenmawr. ( Undated )

Empty stone from St Helens nears Rhyl. 20113 & 20052. 15.7.86.

Same train as above leaves Rhyl for Penmaenmawr. 15.7.86.

Empty stone train from Salford to Penmaenmawr passes Prestatyn hauled by 37687 & 684. July 3rd 1987.

Nearing its destination, 31152 with empty wagons. 25th, Oct.1988

Penmaenmawr. August 22nd 1997 -  short train pulled by 37375.

Prestatyn. 25160 passes through with empties. February 1983.

Stones from Penmaenmawr to Salford pass Prestatyn hauled by 37682 & 37685. 6.9.1988. ( Watch the dust )

The Dignity, Scotrail 47642 waits for the road. Rhyl. 2.11.87.

The Dignity, Scotrail 47642 waits for the road. Rhyl. 2.11.87. 001

Two Class 31s near Penmaenmawr with empty ballast wagons. ( Undated )

47249 enters Rhyl with stones from Penmaenmawr for Crewe. 31.7.1987.