Llanfairpwll, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Llanfair PG, or even the full monstrosity, no other place on the North Wales coast is known by so many names. In the timetables of the period it's listed as Llanfaipwll, although the signal box carried the interestingly punctuated LLANFAIR,P,G - commas not apostrophes. The first station in Anglesey, it closed in 1966, reopened temporarily between 1970 and 1972 and then permanently in 1974. Now something of a tourist stopoff, in the seventies it looked rather run down.
The small signal box at Llanfair is seen on 24th December 1976. Actually, by this time it was officially only a gate box, as Bangor now controlled the area after the resignalling of a couple of years previously. Whatever the official status, this was one of the oldest signalling structures on the North Wales Coast line, having been built around 1870 when block working was introduced. It was modified in 1893 to allow a gate wheel and larger 18-lever frame to be installed, but by the mid 70s, the gates were handworked and only 4 levers were in use.
47539 passes LlanfairPwll station on the 13:20 Holyhead to London Euston on 11th January 1977 after a light snowfall. Apart from the long nameplates, the station has nothing to attract the tourist - BR corporate drab grey abounds. In the background an old carriage stands on an isolated piece of track outside the old goods shed, forming part of a small railway museum.
The classic view of Llanfairpwll. The Marquis of Anglesey's column to the left, the pylons carrying electricity from Wylfa to the national grid on the right and the foothills of Snowdonia in the distance. 47466 heads the 10:05 Euston to Holyhead on the last stage of its journey. 31st August 1977.
Another year, another class 47. This time, not one of Crewe's ETH locos, but a 47/0 works a boat train service to Holyhead. Although I didn't get the number, it may have been 47202 of Cricklewood shed, which worked the 18:05 service from Holyhead that evening. There are 8 carriages behind the loco - most of the regular class 47 workings had 11 or 12 carriages, and up to 16 on the summer boat trains.
14th May 1983, and a very significant train passes Llanfairpwll station. This is the first of a series of special trains that ran over the Gaerwen-Amlwch branch that year. It was the first passenger train over the branch for 14 years, and probably the first loco-hauled train since the end of steam. At Llanfairpwll, of course, it was just another class 40 hauled train - not as common as they once had been, but not yet remarkable. In 2002, another significant train hauled by a class 40 passed here, as a preserved 40 returned to the main line for the first time.
For some more pictures of Llanfair, originally shown on April 1st 2004 and not entirely serious, have a look at the Caravan story