North Wales Coast Line

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North Wales Coast Line
Conwy bowling green and railway bridge.jpg
Overview
Type Heavy Rail
System National Rail
Locale Anglesey
Gwynedd
Conwy
Denbighshire
Flintshire
Cheshire
Termini Crewe
Holyhead
Stations 18
Operation
Opening 1850
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Arriva Trains Wales
Virgin Trains
Character Coastal
Rolling stock Class 67
Class 150 "Sprinter"
Class 153 "Super Sprinter"
Class 158 "Express Sprinter"
Class 175 "Coradia"
Class 221 "SuperVoyagers"
Technical
Line length 84.38 miles (135.80 km)
No. of tracks Double track mostly except on Britannia Bridge between Bangor and Llanfair PG where it is single track
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed 90 mph (140 km/h) maximum
North Wales Coast Line
To Dublin and Dún Laoghaire
Holyhead
Stanley Embankment
Valley
Rhosneigr
Ty Croes
Bodorgan
Anglesey Central Railway
Gaerwen
Llanfair PG
Britannia Bridge - Menai Strait
Britannia Bridge
Bangor and Carnarvon Railway
Menai Bridge
Bangor
Bethesda Branch
to Port Penrhyn
Aber
Llanfairfechan
Penmaenmawr
Conway Marsh
Conwy
Conwy railway bridge - River Conwy
Llandudno
Deganwy
Llandudno Junction
Conwy Valley Line
Mochdre & Pabo
Colwyn Bay
Old Colwyn
Llysfaen
Llandulas
Abergele & Pensarn
Foryd
Vale of Clwyd Railway
Rhyl
Dyserth branch line
Prestatyn
Talacre
Mostyn
Holywell Junction
Holywell Branch Line
Bagillt
Flint
Connahs Quay
Shotton (Borderlands Line)
Queensferry
Sandycroft
Mold Railway
Saltney Ferry
Wales
England
Shrewsbury to Chester Line
Roodee Viaduct, River Dee
Wirral Line
Chester Merseyrail
Chester-Manchester Line
Mid-Cheshire Line
Waverton (2nd site)(1898-1959)
Waverton (1st site)(1840-1898)
Whitchurch and Tattenhall Railway
Tattenhall Road
Beeston Castle and Tarporley
Calveley
Worleston
West Coast Main Line
Crewe-Manchester Line
Crewe
Crewe-Derby Line
Welsh Marches Line
West Coast Main Line

The North Wales Coast Line, also known as the North Wales Main Line,[1] is the railway line from Crewe to Holyhead. Virgin Trains consider their services along it to be a spur of the West Coast Main Line. The first section from Crewe to Chester was built by the Chester and Crewe Railway and absorbed by the Grand Junction Railway shortly before opening in 1840. The remainder was built between 1844 and 1850 by the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company as the route of the Irish Mail services to Dublin. The line was later incorporated in the London and North Western Railway. Between Chester and Saltney Junction, the line was, from the start, used by trains of the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway later to be incorporated in the Great Western Railway.

In April 2006, Network Rail organised its maintenance and train control operations into "26 Routes". The main line through Crewe forms part of Route 18 (The West Coast Main Line). The North Wales Coast Line from Crewe (North Junction) to Chester and North Wales has been designated Route 22 (North Wales and Borders) and this includes the line to Chester from Acton Grange Junction, south of Warrington. The line from Shrewsbury to Chester via Wrexham is Route 14 (South and Central Wales and Borders) (until Saltney Junction).

The line is not electrified, so Virgin trains have to use their Super Voyagers, which they have done since December 2007.

The main towns served by the route are listed below:

The line contains several notable engineering structures, namely Conwy railway bridge across the River Conwy, and Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait.

So important was the line in the 19th and early 20th centuries to passenger, mail and freight traffic between Britain and Ireland that the world's first experimental and operational water troughs were installed at Mochdre between Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Junction. Their purpose being to enable steam engines (especially on the Irish Mail) to collect water without stopping. Later, considerable stretches of line between Chester and Colwyn Bay were quadrupled to increase line capacity but these sections have now been reduced to two tracks.

Principal through passenger services are London Euston to Holyhead and Wrexham General operated by Virgin Trains and Crewe to Holyhead, Cardiff to Holyhead and Manchester to Llandudno currently operated by Arriva Trains Wales (who replaced First North Western). A very much revised North Wales Passenger Timetable has operated since 11 December 2005 incorporating a new service to and from Cardiff Central every two hours. The line still provides the UK railway part of the through passenger service to Dublin using fast car ferries from Holyhead to Dublin Port or Dún Laoghaire. From Dún Laoghaire railway station the DART trains connect with Dublin Connolly.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Route Utilisation Strategy - Wales". Network Rail. 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 

Coordinates: 53°17′32″N 3°38′59″W / 53.29222°N 3.64972°W / 53.29222; -3.64972