The Holyhead Shunt

The First North Western Sunday evening service consists of a double-length train to cater for the large number of passengers returning from a weekend in Ireland. The 11:00 from Crewe waits patiently until the 15:46 from Crewe arrives at 17:47, then the fun starts. The two trains have to be merged in time to depart at 18:22 so the action is brisk and you can watch it all from the road bridge overlooking the station. This is how it happened on 20th June 1999.

37 415 is stabled alongside platform 1

37 429 has arrived on time and is seen here running round its train (on platform 1 beyond the canopy)

37 415 throws out clag for the photographers as it bursts into life.

415 sets back onto the stock left behind by 429 to form a 10-coach train.

429 pulls forward past 415...

...and on under the bridge

429 backs onto 415 while Rowan and I make our way to platform 1 to load our bikes into the brake van. But the shunting isn't over as we're informed that the train has to move over to platform 3 since Stena have locked the main doors to platform 1. At first sight this seems silly but platform 3 is closer to the ferry terminal for passengers laden with heavy luggage.


Holyhead station is still semaphore signalled - this beauty can be found on platform 3

Flags too! The 18:22 leaves on time, just 35 minutes after the second incoming train and despite an announcement on behalf of a passenger who'd accidentally picked up someone else's luggage and another for a passenger to contact station staff.

First stop Bangor - we leave the train to cycle home while 429 and 415 await the green light.

Real locomotives and real coaches!

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