Site of chemical works, Amlwch

Site of chemical works, Amlwch

North of the Wales Coast Path in this vicinity is the site of a chemical factory, opened in 1953. The path crosses the disused railway line which connected the factory to the Anglesey Central Railway.

The Associated Octel factory was built to extract bromine from seawater and turn it into an additive for petrol engines. At the time, petrol used in road vehicles contained lead. Engine “knocking” was a common problem, when the mixture of air and fuel didn’t burn efficiently with each detonation. This could damage engine cylinders over time. The additive produced here reduced knocking and improved engine efficiency.

As the health effects of lead in vehicle exhaust gases became better understood, unleaded petrol was developed. It was introduced to UK filling stations in the 1980s, and leaded petrol was later phased out. As demand for anti-knock additive reduced, the Octel factory diversified into other bromine products and was taken over by Great Lakes Chemical Corporation. In 2003, the corporation decided to close the works with the loss of more than 100 jobs.

The Anglesey Central Railway was built in the 1860s to connect Amlwch and Llangefni to the main railway network at Gaerwen. The track was extended beyond the original Amlwch terminus in the early 1950s for freight trains to reach the factory site. Passenger trains were withdrawn in 1964 but the track was retained for chemicals traffic. The last freight train left the Octel site in 1993. The track remains in place, as do the station building and railway goods shed in Llangefni.

Postcode: LL68 9DW    View Location Map