railway

 

 

 

 

In 1833 a small railway track had been  built from the smelting works down to the shipping berths at Amlwch port. It was operational by 11/6/1834

Treweek reported. " We have put our engine to work at the port and I am proud to say that there is every probability of its answering equal of our expectations, when we have our turnout roads down we shall be prepared to unload three vessels at once or 200 tons in a day" 


A public meeting was held in Llangefni on 5/7/1858 with the aim of trying to bring  a railway the 14.75  miles from Gaerwen to Amlwch at an estimated cost of £150,000. A Bill was passed in parliament on 13th July 1863 and work on the line at a cost of £6000 per mile started. The project engineer was a Mr Colin MacKenzie but most of the labour force were local.

The Anglesey Central  Railway main line was extended from Gaerwen initially to Llanerchymedd by October 1864. The first train left bangor for Llangefni on 16th December 1864 with 100 guests being entertained in the Bull inn in Llangefni.

By 1st February 1866 the line had reached Llanerchymedd station while the first passenger train to Amlwch ran on 1st June 1867 (1s 5 1/2 D or 7.5p for the fare from Gaerwen) while freight had been allowed on the line from March of that year.

In 1876 the Anglesey Central Line sold the railway to LNWR for £80,000 and some additional investment in the line took place. As part of this a loco shed and sidings were built at Amlwch and improvements to the main station took place in 1884. By 1910 they were providing six trains daily each way over the full branch with several others operating only as far as Llangefni.

The loco shed at Amlwch was closed on 14th September 1930.

In 1952  a private extension to the line was opened at Amlwch to connect the line to the Associated Ethyl Company ( OCTEL)

In the 1970s another private siding was constructed off the mine line between Rhos Goch and Amlwch to the Shell tank Farm which was used to store crude oil from the Shell Off shore mourning buoy before it's transfer to the oil refinery at Elesmere port.

 The railway made it easier for the mine owners to get there produce to markets in the South of England.
In May 1865 Thomas fanning Evans wrote " The Birmingham and London rates now make the land route even cheaper than our present mode of sending via Liverpool The freight cost of ore from Llangefni to London 27/6 per ton to Birmingham 22/6 and to Liverpool 16/8. ( MMS 1996)


Even when the cartage to Llangefni at 10/- per ton was taken into account the total price to London was £1/17/- per ton compared to £2/1/6 via ships.
The Mona Mine manuscripts (MMS 3749)  records that for the  2 week period ending on 9 June 1865, 21 tons of ore was sent on the sea and 16 tons on the railway. The following two week periods show 27 and 32 tones of ore being transported on the railway and none by sea.
 

Amlwch railway station


It is unfortunate that the production of copper ore at the mountain reduced from around 1865 onwards.  In 1871 it was declared that  " As regards the line to Port of Amlwch, nothing ought to be done till there is certainty by guarantee or otherwise of sufficient traffic to pay a proper interest on the Capital to be expended in making it" (MMS 3363)
In 1873 Fanning was sending precipitate to Baxter in London by rail and would have sent more for want of trucks at the station.  Scrap iron was also brought from Liverpool by rail. (MMS 3528). In February 1873 a deal was signed with a scrap merchant in London to send iron for  the precipitation pits by rail.
By 1874 a new company called Parys Mountain Mines Limited was working the Parys and Morfa ddu mines. A new shaft had been sunk at the latter mine and 8470 tons of copper ore,634 tons of sulphur and 255 of bluestone had been produced. (MMS 3002)


The rail company directors were now  "assured that the future traffic will be greatly extended from the great impetus that has of late, and is now being given in the working of the copper mines at Amlwch, and from the fact that the smelting works are again about to resume their former activity"
However the work at Morfu ddu was sold as was most of the rest of the mountain to Thomas Fanning Evans in 1884. He had already shown preference to using rail rather that ships, This continued but the extension of the rail down to Amlwch port did not occur.
Some of the reduction in freight from the copper mines was taken up by the transport of artificial manure from the Hills fertilizer factory which continued for many years after the mine.
The railway continued to be used until "Beeching's axe" closed the passenger line on 5/12/1964.
 

The line was still used for the transport of freight to the Associated Octel works until 1993.A Class 31 locomotive, number 31296, was named 'Amlwch Freighter'/'Trên Nwyddau Amlwch'[48] in September 1986 at the Associated Octel plant. At this point, 33 years after the opening of the Octel plant at Amlwch, 2 million tonnes of traffic had been conveyed from their freight terminal

In 1991 A charity called Isle of Anglesey Railways LTD was set up to try and reopen the line as a tourist attraction. In 1995 Anglesey County Council agreed in principle to buy the line for £250,000 and lease it to the Isle of Anglesey Railways Ltd.

There were a number of delays but by April 2006 Network Rail agreed in principle to sell the whole line to Anglesey Central Railways. The Group hoped to have the lease by end of the year and, in due course, to open a five mile section in the middle of the branch at Llanerchymedd, setting up their headquarters there.

In 2010 talks were held between Network Rail, The Welsh Assembly and Ynys Mon Council over reopening which could lead to an hourly passenger service to Llangefni.

 

More general information
Isle of Anglesey Railways LTD

http://www.2d53.co.uk/amlwch/menu.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglesey_Central_Railway

High speed video tour of line ( 1992)