Pwllheli railway station

Pwllheli railway station

Pwllheli joined the rail network in October 1867, when Cambrian Railways trains began running along to Porthmadog and Machynlleth, and on to Whitchurch, Shropshire. Simultaneously a new line connected into the Cambrian’s line at Afonwen, enabling trains to reach Pwllheli from Caernarfon and the main line at Bangor.

Pwllheli’s first station was east of the town. Pianist Catherine Ann Parry, 18, was accidentally killed there on an August evening in 1889. She had accompanied the Bethesda Male Voice Choir at the Gwynedd Chair Eisteddfod in Pwllheli. The station was packed after the event and she was jostled by the crowd behind her as a train arrived, causing her to fall under the wheels.

pwllheli_station_1909The present station, in a more central location, opened in 1909 following construction of a railway embankment across the north of the natural harbour. The embankment banished the sea from the land to the north. Previously the shoreline had extended as far as Penlan Fawr (Penlan means “head of the shore”). The photo, courtesy of Rhiw.com, shows the station in 1909.

The Cambrian Railways provided the wooden station building, at right angles to the tracks, which you see today. There was also a small engine shed with a turntable – a rotating section of track where locomotives would be turned to face forward for their next journeys. The turntable survives at the West Somerset Railway station in Minehead, where it was moved in 1977.

From 1921 to 1967 Pwllheli was the terminus of a prestigious summertime train, complete with restaurant car, from London Paddington. In 1927 the train was given the title The Cambrian Coast Express by the Great Western Railway (which took over the Cambrian in 1923).

In 1900 the county council approved plans for a light railway alongside the road from Pwllheli to Nefyn, but the Cambrian Railways launched a motor bus service in 1906. One of the buses caught fire at Pwllheli shed in 1907, causing hundreds of pounds of damage and leaving chauffeur Thomas P Roberts with burns to his face and hands.

The Afonwen-Caernarfon railway closed in 1964. The scenic Cambrian Coast line is now operated by Arriva Trains Wales.

Postcode: LL53 5HG    View Location Map

Website of Rhiw.com - more historic photos of Pwllheli and district