The Ghost on the Coast

Disused Stations and a Disused Ship

A short ride along the A548, which runs more or less parallel to the railway for most of this stretch, took us right up to the shell of Mostyn station, one of the line's original stations and closed in 1966. The yard is in private industrial use, closed for the Bank Holiday, but the building has been left to decay. 
We couldn't see any way of crossing the tracks for a photograph of the platform side of the station but we were too pushed for time to investigate thoroughly - the only possibility I could think of was to cross over to the sea side further down and try walking along. Alternatively I could hope that one day I'll be on a train which passes sufficiently slowly to take a photograph from the window.

A few yards to the east of the station building is Mostyn signal box, dating from 1902 and in need of a lick of paint. Mostyn Docks still sees some freight traffic.

Now it was time to take a closer look at one of the line's landmarks, the ship beached to the east of Mostyn. Thanks to Keith Messent and others on the uk.railway newsgroup for providing the technical details and history of this vessel:

Duke of Lancaster(III) was a British Railways Ferry which was launched in 1955 from Harland and Wolff, Belfast, with accomodation for 600 First and 1200 Second-class passengers. There were two cargo holds for'd, tween-deck storage fore and aft for general-cargo and cars (hoisted aboard). Baggage, mails etc. were carried in special compartments aft. She was a Twin Turbine Steamer, geared by double-reduction train to the screws, and steamed by oil-burning Babcock and Wilcox water-tube boilers with forced draught.  She had special fittings to enable cruises to be undertaken to the West Highlands, Norway, etc.  She is approx 364 ft x 55 ft x 17 ft depth and was 4797 gross. tons.

She was in BR/Sealink service between Heysham and Ireland from 1956 on, but was sold in 1979 to Empire Trading of Liverpool, replaced on the Irish sea services by roll-on roll-off vessels.

In 1980 she was towed across Liverpool Bay to Llanerch-Y-Mor, Deeside, beached at high tide and was concreted in ASAP afterwards.

As well as being a night club the Duke of Lancaster also served for a while as a supermarket.

A few miles on and the unmistakeable sight of Holywell Junction is visible across the fields, looking benign in the warm early afternoon sunshine.

But appearances can be deceptive....

Proceed with caution