25 Years Ago Archive - April 1979

1977 to 1980 were the peak years of my photographic activity, and this page gives me an opportunity to show a single image, taken 25 years ago this month. Images will change every month, and will not appear elsewhere on the site - although the train or working may do so.

01002 at Holyhead 05/04/79

There are several other pictures on this theme on the Holyhead page, but I can't resist another picture of Holyhead's unique little railway and its Class 01 loco, 01 002.

I have made many visits to Holyhead, but the 15th April 1979 was one day that still remains in the memory 25 years later, when I drove along Beach Road and saw across the harbour the little loco and its four wagons out on the breakwater.

The train returned to the shore for the lunch break, and was parked in the loading siding. Lighting was a bit tricky, with a bright sky but some cloud cover, and its taken digital scanning to bring out the best of the photographs taken that day.

This railway had an astonishing history, starting in 1847 when construction of the Great Breakwater began. Opened as a 7 foot gauge line, it not only ran from the quarry on Holyhead mountain along the breakwater, but also along the sea front to Salt Island, where an eastern breakwater was planned, and also to the inner harbour near the current station. In 1911 the stretch along the breakwater was converted to standard gauge, but from Soldiers Point to the quarry a new line was built, with both broad and standard gauge lines in use. The quarry itself had some 2 foot gauge lines! The broad gauge became disused, and the whole line was relaid again in 1934 when an elctric rail-mounted crane was installed on the breakwater. Steam locos were used until 1966, when Fowler ED6 arrived. In 1967 D2954 and D2955 arrived to replace ED6, and these became 01001 and 01002, although reputedly 01001 did not work after 1971

The line was closed within a year of this picture, and almost all tracks removed in 1980. Both 01001 and 01002 were scrapped outside the shed at Soldiers Point in February 1982

Acknowledgment: Historical information from "Industrial Locomotives of North Wales" by V.J. Bradley, published by the Industrial Railway Society