Crosville in the Rhyl, Prestatyn and Denbigh areas

The predecessor to Crosville in the resorts of Rhyl and Prestatyn was Brookes Brothers Motors Limited which traded as White Rose Motor Services. The company started operations at the beginning of the 20th Century operating horse drawn coaches which were mainly employed to run tours around the Rhyl area. By 1913 motor buses were being operated and the development of a large network of services in and around Rhyl took place. Over a period of time depots were established in Rhyl at the Albion Garage and at Crescent Road. In Prestatyn the depot was in Sandy Lane and in Denbigh it was at Lenten Pool. A Bus Station was also built in what was the White Lion Yard in High Street, Rhyl.

Crosville did not venture into the Rhyl area but initially developed a working arrangement with White Rose. Both firms timed their services so that passengers could travel through from Chester to Rhyl and transfer at Greenfield near Holywell. Similarly passengers could travel by Crosville from Mold to Denbigh and change there for Rhyl by White Rose.

One of the competitors to White Rose was Rhyl and Potteries Motors Limited so in 1924 their bus operations were acquired by Brookes but the coaching side of the business remained but changed its name to Primrose Motors.

(Line up of White Rose vehicles led by Leyland LSP1 Leviathan DM5256 which was new in 1927 - Photo courtesy of Rob Richardson)

The bus and coach operations of White Rose together with the depots and the bus station came under the control and ownership of Crosville in May 1930. As it happens the same day that Crosville itself changed its identity again . 86 vehicles were transferred. For more information about White Rose <<LINK to White Rose>>

One further operator, who had a number of significant routes around the Denbigh area was W Edwards who traded as Red Dragon Motor Services. Crosville bought 'Red Dragon' a couple of months later and 12 vehicles transferred. This secured all of the bus workings around Denbigh. For further information on Red Dragon <<LINK to Red Dragon>>

Crosville now had almost a complete monopoly on the provision of bus services in the Rhyl, Prestatyn and Denbigh areas. They were able to build up on the foundations laid by Brookes using their former premises as their bases for a number of decades. Some 50 buses from the fleet acquired from Brookes were withdrawn within a couple of years of their acquisition but 16 of the transferred White Rose fleet survived for another 30 years.

In addition to the network of services that they had almost exclusively the company also operated tours and private hire. There was a number of other local independent coach operators that also attempted to operate day tours from the resort. In 1944 some of these independent operators worked together and formed a company Rhyl United Coachways Limited <<LINK to Rhyl United>> to counter act the main competitor. This venture was successful and it was eventually sold as a going concern to Peter Evans of Pentre Motors near Denbigh who continued with the day tour work. In 1984 the business was sold to Voel Coaches of Dyserth. However by that time the demand for day tours in Rhyl had severely declined.

(Rhyl United's Bedford SB / Duple coach outside their booking office in Rhyl -

Photo courtesy of Rob Richardson)

Crosville acquired from White Rose property in the main High Street known as the While Lion Yard. This was used as the main bus station by Crosville for a number of years until the 1990s when it was closed.

(The Bus Station in Rhyl High Street - probably in the 1930s. One of the lanes being used for buses to enter)

Crosville added a roof to this Bus Station in 1954. It became a three lane system with access for buses from the rear direct from Kinmel Street. The right hand lane was used for buses travelling eastwards to Prestatyn, Chester etc., the middle lane was used for buses travelling south to Rhuddlan, Dyserth, Denbigh and Ruthin etc and the left hand lane in the winter for anything else. In the summer it served buses going to Holywell and Trelogan via Dyserth, Rhyl town services such as the Grosvenor Avenue circular together with buses to the Maes Gwilym Camp later called Pines Caravan Park. There was an efficiently run enquiry office, a tea bar for passengers and an excellent canteen for the Crosville staff.

Having survived the war during the early 40's disaster struck Crosville in Rhyl when in July 1945 the depot at Crescent Road was seriously damaged by fire thought to have been caused by a smouldering cigarette in the Social Club that was situated above the entrance to the depot. 10 Crosville vehicles together with 2 others loaned from other companies were destroyed. However the depot normally housed nearly 50 vehicles and a number of these were rescued. Writing in 'The Sowing and the Harvest' W J Crosland – Taylor explains how the company coped with the disaster and in particular how they managed to provide a full service in Rhyl the following day.

(Crosville's Crescent Road depot shortly after the fire in the summer of 1945)

The Crescent Road depot was re-built and became an extremely busy coach station where holidaymakers arrived from all of over the UK. It was also the base for the day coaching fleet and the open top buses that operated in the area.

(The Crescent Road Coach Station during the summer of 1973 -

Photo courtesy of Dennis Kerrison)

Crescent Road depot closed in the 1980's and was subsequently sold and today is a car park.

The iconic bus station in Rhyl's High Street was never big enough to cope with all the summer services. An overflow was utilised on the Railway Station approach mainly for buses travelling in a westerly direction towards Towyn, Abergele and Llandudno.

(The Railway Station Approach being used as a bus station during the summer season - early 1950s - Photo courtesy of Dennis Kerrison)

The Railway Station Approach being used as a bus station during the summer season of 1966 with DFB151 (AFM114B) about to leave for Caernarfon on the Cymru Coastliner -

Photo courtesy of Dennis Kerrison

After the High Street Bus Station closed in the 1990s the Railway Station approach was used as the main bus station in Rhyl. This new Bus Station was built in the era when minibuses were being used and therefore it became inevitable that a full rebuild of the Bus Station had to take place. This was opened in September 2010 at a cost of £3.7m.

(Crosville's M72 CFM374 a Leyland Titan working the sea front service in Rhyl -

Photo courtesy of Dennis Kerrison)

One feature of buses around Rhyl was those used for promenade and other holiday services. As mentioned earlier a popular vehicle used for this service was the 'Toast-rack'. In 1938 Crosville purchased new six Leyland Titans double deck buses which were capable of having their roof removed. These were supplemented after the war with 7 second hand open top vehicles obtained from Brighton. Between1954 and 1956 a total of 16 new Bristol convertible open tops were purchased and these served the resort for a couple of decades. In the late 1960s their use as open tops had declined but they were instantly recognisable as even with their closed roof on they carried the cream livery.

(Crosville's DLG817 (XFM 229) from a scene in Holiday on the Buses)

One of these Bristol open tops DLG817 (XFM 229) was loaned to a film company and featured in the film Holiday on the Buses. Despite the sequence in the film that appeared to show it drowning near Talacre it was never actually in the sea and resumed its normal duties of running between Robin Hood Camp and Winkups Camp in the summer season of 1973. In fact it survived until 1982 serving its last period on the Wirral with its cream roof re-fitted - however by that time the rest of the bus was green!!

In 1986 Crosville became Crosville Wales as a result of the Governments policy to de-nationalise and de-regulate the bus industry. One effect of this was that a number of local independent operators made attempts to run in competition with Crosville Wales. This included Gold Star (Ossie Blythin), KD Coach Hire, Selwyns of Llanrwst, Towyn Travel (M Owen) and coming into the area from Cheshire for one season was Nova Scotia. Crosville Wales also experienced competition on the Denbigh corridor from KD Coach Hire and later Wrights of Wrexham <<LINK to Wrights>>.

The only operator that managed to sustain competition on the Rhyl to Prestatyn corridor was Voel Coaches. Their service from Rhyl to Prestatyn only ceased in 2017. <<LINK to Voel Coaches>>

(Crosville Wales using minibuses working from the Railway Station Approach at Rhyl in 1991 -

Photo courtesy of Dennis Kerrison)

In an attempt to deal with competitors Arriva Cymru began using a large fleet of minibuses. The idea behind these minibuses being that they were more economical to run and so more frequent services could be provided.

From April 1998 the Crosville name was lost and buses became branded Arriva. This company still uses the original depot that White Rose utilised over a 100 years ago although it has been re-vamped a number of times. The latest changes were completed in 2017 at a cost of £3m.

(Arriva's depot in Rhyl shortly after the latest revamp in 2017)