CEC Tour August 2021

Page 7 - Blaenau Ffestiniog - Chester

1. At the foot of the hill out of Blaenau Ffestiniog are the Llechwedd slate mines (right) and to the left on the steep climb are the Oakeley slate quarries and mines. This is a 1935 summer tt extract. Note early starts and fairly early finishes but that from November to February, start times were later because the working day depended on the hours of daylight. This route scooped up quarrymen living some distance from Blaenau but there were intensive local services too. Oddly, men were expected at that time to walk from the bottom of the hill (Adwy Goch) to the quarries but were picked up at the Oakeley entrance (Talywaenydd) for the homeward journey.

2. Buses at the Oakeley in the early 1950s. In the 1947 route numbering exercise, all local services in Blaenau were given the number 529 including the quarrymen’s buses. Despite this, the SLB on the left is displaying the blind for the 530 Llanrwst service which passed the quarry. At the right is a KA type.

3. As the quarries and mines ran down in the 1970s, some were developed as visitor attractions. Crosville ran services to Llechwedd and Oakeley (Gloddfa Ganol) until deregulation, after which they were run by Maldwyn Jones and Johns Travel. Two Lodekkas, the leading one being DFB 114, at Gloddfa Ganol, date unknown. (Travel Lens Photographic)

4. A summer 1953 tt for Blaenau Ffestiniog-Llanrwst, far more frequent than the winter service, which often suffered from bad weather on the Crimea Pass as well as low traffic..

5. The Blaenau Ffestiniog-Llanrwst service ceased full-time in 1982 but was later revived as part of summer tourist services. One such was a short-lived Pwllheli-Porthmadog--Blaenau Ffestiniog-Llanrwst-Rhyl. In the 1994 season, Greenway SNG 569 is at Betws-y-Coed. (AM)

6. During summers in the 1950s, Colwyn Bay-Llanrwst route 459B was extended to Betws-y-Coed, where dual-purpose KW 168 and plain B35R KB35 were photographed by the railway station.

7. Bus services along the A5 between Betws-y-Coed and Corwen were pioneered by the Great Western Railway as early as 1907. This fine record taken in 1909 at Cerrig-y-Druidion shows Milnes-Daimler LC 6706, new to an ambitious London operator, Associated Omnibus Co, who soon went bankrupt, releasing 30 such machines at bargain prices. The “Maggie Roberts” on this image ran the GWR parcels agency at Cerrig (right).

8. Crosville took on the Llanrwst-Corwen route in 1933 from Western Transport. Its timetable reflected the thin traffic to be had. This 1957 sample is full of footnotes ; the perverse “operates via Rhydlydan village except on Llanrwst Fair Days” is a classic. Route 402 served Rhydlydan on those days.

9. After deregulation, various initiatives were tried on this axis. In 1997 Conwy Borough Council supported a service 39 : Llanrwst-Betws-y-Coed-Cerrig-y-Druidion-Ruthin-Denbigh-Llanrwst. Yellow-liveried MMM 188 was bought new for this. Seen at Rhydlydan in August 1997. (AM). A new TrawsCymru route T10 has just started along the A5 : every 2 hours each way, NSu : unprecedented.

10. Crosville’s inland Liverpool-Caernarfon service (“B”) began in the winter of 1930. As late as 1952, the vehicle of choice was clearly the Harrington-bodied Leyland Tiger TS8. In later years, DFB coaches were not unknown.

11. A typical winter version of the X7 Liverpool-Caernarfon service, for 1964/5. Note that for 6d the driver will sell you the Traveller’s Guide written by “Jim” Crosland-Taylor’s friend Edmund Vale : in-vehicle entertainment before Walkman, Google and the smartphone.

12. Among the opportunities offered by the Uwchaled Community Bus between 1976 and 1986 was a Friday journey from Cerrig to Ruthin at 0945h returning at 1430h. This followed the B5105 by which the Route Tour will head back to Chester.

13. At the Ruthin end of the B5105 were local Crosville journeys that had various branches, all of which disappeared by 1966. Note also on this 1948 timetable one journey into Ruthin and back from Llanrwst on Ruthin Market and Fair Days, route 402.