A palindrome in Bangor

Saturday 11th September 1999

Having heard on rail-gen that 47 474 Sir Rowland Hill would be making a lunchtime appearance on the 08:25 Euston to Holyhead instead of the booked HST, Rowan and I called in on Bangor station.

We arrived just as 37 426 was preparing to depart with the 12:22 Bangor to Crewe.

We were surprised to discover that the Virgin service to Holyhead was not listed on the monitor but the return working was. We assumed this was a mistake but then the announcer informed us that it would terminate at Bangor. I dropped my plan to meet Christine at the gym and settled down to record the activity.

47 474 emerges from Bangor tunnel. It's only about ten minutes late so we're surprised it's terminating here.

Now detached from its train. 47 474 runs into Belmont tunnel...

...and back past the rail enthusiasts and the bemused passengers heading for the ferry.

We sprint over the bridge in time to see 47 474 backing on to the other end...

...and then pushing its train into Bangor tunnel past the passengers waiting to catch the 12:41 to connect with their ferry. This train was running on time but was held up by 47 474's prolonged occupation of platform 2.

D.J. Crawford solved the mystery: An Alphaline 158 had smashed through buffers at Holyhead. Unit 158 826, coupled to First North Western's 156 427, had overshot the head shunt at the fuelling point and the leading vehicle was leaning outward at about 30 from upright, in front of the overbridge. This prevented a run-round on one of the platforms.


To our surprise, the Virgin train pulls into the unnumbered and seldom-used platform beyond platform 2. Normally one of the centre roads is used for short-term stabling of trains, but this movement was presumably because the Holyhead to Stockport goes through the middle on Saturdays as it doesn't call at Bangor.

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