While they waited, the visitors
were being entertained, as
is traditional on these occasions, by The
Llandudno Town Band (seated below the train arrival and departure
boards) who played such ditties as 'The Cornish Floral
Dance' 'Men of Harlech' 'God bless the Prince of Wales' and for the
benefit of Richard
Branson, the Virgin
supremo, they played 'Those
Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines'.
In the background,
catering staff organized an excellent finger buffet for all present:
tracks in the local school yard more children cheered and
waved Welsh National flags.
was that at exactly 14:37 the train arrived in view
through a display
of pyrotechnics it slowly came to rest along side platform 2.
Re-creating with fireworks for Virgin Super Voyager, on this one
occasion, the days of steam!
Below, the first through
weekday passengers from London in half a lifetime alight at
And then came the
speeches, several speeches of most excellent quality
introduced by the Town Crier:
Oh yeah! Oh yeah!
Oh yeah! Three cheers for Virgin Trains! Hip! Hip! Hurrah.
next a presentation. In 1937, at Llandudno Station, Lady Mostyn
had unveiled the
on LMS Patriot
Class Express Passenger Locomotive No. 5520. A mounted replica of that
nameplate was presented by Virgin Trains Executive Director Chris Gibb
and accepted on behalf of the
town by Cllr Mrs I.L. Groom (Chairman of Conwy
County Borough Council) and Cllr Mrs A.E. Parry (Deputy Mayor of
Llandudno). Mr Andrew Davies AM minister for economic development and
transport spoke of the very considerable investments now being made in
railway services in Wales. Mrs Betty Williams MP for Conwy and
Mr Denis Idris Jones AM for Conwy both spoke in praise of the new
super voyager class diesel electric tilting train bears the name 'Sir
Henry Morton Stanley'
after the journalist commissioned by the New York Herald to find Dr
Livingstone in Africa. Stanley was born in 1841 at Denbigh in
the illegitimate son of John Rowlands and Elisabeth Parry. He lived in
the Saint Asaph Workhouse from the age of six until he was 15. He ran
away to sea aged 17 and was befriended in New Orleans
Stanley, a merchant whose name he took. Stanley was probably the
greatest explorer in modern times to have been born in Wales. He died
just 100 years ago in 1904.
Visit - Llandudno Queen of the North
Signalled for departure at 15:23 from
The new service also calls at Fflint - the first regular
through service from there to London for many years.
is interesting to recall that in the summer of 1939, in the great days
of steam, 'The Welshman' express left London Euston at 11-15 am and ran
non-stop 205 miles to Prestatyn reached at 3-04 pm and finally arrived
at Llandudno at 4-02 pm. Its return journey was not until 11-35 am next
morning and after an extra stop at Chester arrived in London at 4-20
pm. In 1939 4¾ hours each way by LMS steam with 5 intermediate
compared with today's remarkable 3¼ hours by Virgin Super
7 intermediate stops.
Major Changes - December 2008
Following the completion of improvements tp the main line between
London and Crewe, the 2008/9 winter timetable contains a much improved
service from London to Chester (from late January 2009, this will be
hourly with a through journey time of 2 hours and 2 minutes from London
to Chester) and with five trains daily continuing to Llandudno Junction
and Holyhead. Regrettably the through service from London to Llandudno
has lasted only four years and ran for the last time on Friday, December 12th 2008.
Trains Wales hourly
Llandudno and Manchester Piccadilly (A very important service - 11 air-conditioned trains each way every weekday and each taking about 2
hours 10 minutes with 10 intermediate stops) arrived and departed without undue
ceremony from platform 3, its regular platform:
Also in 1939, the fastest weekday train
from Manchester to Llandudno (the famous 'Club Train') left
Exchange station at 4-30 pm returning from Llandudno next morning at
7-48 am. It took 2 hours 9 minutes in each direction with 6 stops - but
the other three through trains each day were much slower.
The Llandudno train service, despite public opinion, is now twice as
good as it ever was. For information about the Historic Club Train as
well as the excellent Llandudno to Manchester services today, please
click my Llandudno -
Manchester trains page.
Compilation and photographs
© September 27th 2004 by Noel Walley
Updated December 2008