CEC Tour August 2021

Page 1 - Chester To Bala

1. The journey from Chester to Bala crosses the old Mold-Brymbo-Wrexham railway line at Coed Talon. In the late 1950s, a Crosville Bristol L, probably an SLG, is passing the station on a Mold-Nercwys-Treuddyn-Leeswood B40 while a 4F 0-6-0 shunts the yard. Photograph taken 18th April 1959 and appears courtesy of the Manchester Locomotive Society Collection

2. Another 40 years and the station yard is an outstation for Devaway, a firm started by ex-Crosville managers in 1986 but which was bought “back” by Arriva Cymru in 1999. The Leyland National was, ironically, new to West Riding in 1979, which was eventually to come into the Arriva fold in the 1990s. The VR was ex-City of Oxford, and was dual-doored. (A Moyes)

3. Crosville Bristol L6A KB 23 (FFM 517) on the forecourt of Corwen railway station in the early 1950s, before it was converted to front entrance for one person operation in 1957. It shows the blind display for the less frequent service from Corwen to Bala along the main road, that later became D93. Photo by R F Mack.

4. Bus services along the Corwen-Dolgellau axis were strongly affected by the presence of the Wrexham-Barmouth railway service. This is the timetable shortly before it closed in January 1965. Note several timings that were particularly heavily used by school purposes. At Bala Junction, there was a branch to Bala Town which in 1882 was extended to Blaenau Ffestiniog, this latter section closing in January 1961. The Town station was within walking distance of what was to become known as Ysgol y Berwyn.

5. To cover the eastern end of the Bala-Blaenau railway line, in January 1961 Crosville was entrusted with a replacement bus service as far as Arenig. Leyland PS1 ETE 931 is laying over on the Bala Town station forecourt on this service (note the board in the nearside bulkhead window) in the early 1960s. Depots like Corwen would almost invariably have had at least one coach or dual purpose vehicle on allocation to cope with private hires, turning up on inter-peak market day services too. Photograph courtesy of the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester, copyright Owen collection.

6. Up to 300 school children per day travelled to and from Bala Town by train, mainly from the Corwen area, where there was no secondary school. Crosville initially provided up to six dds for this work. DLB 733 is at Bala Town station presumably in the mid-1960s ; the signal box is still in situ. The rear of a front-entranced Lodekka can also be seen. They would doubtless have worked loaded from and to Corwen depot, and the crews travelled to Corwen and back “on the cushions” on service buses in between times. (image available on the web).

7. In later years, the dds gave way to sds, typified by downgraded MW coach SMG358 and Bedford VAM/Duple CVT686, on a now-tidied up station site, 21st March 1975. (AM)