Tag Archives: Rhyl

Welsh Dragon 2!

Further to my earlier post regarding the Welsh Dragon service between Rhyl and Llandudno… here are four very lucky young ladies standing on the engine at presumably the start of the summer service in the fifties or early sixties.

I wonder if these girls came from local schools in Rhyl? That certainly looks like Rhyl station with its four tracks. Does anyone recognise themselves?


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The aftermath of the Hovercraft rescue….

Linked to the earlier post about the Hovercraft in Rhyl in 1962, this short film footage shows the repair efforts the day after the Hovercraft slipped her moorings in high seas and was rescued by the Rhyl lifeboat. Thanks to Graeme Rich for posting this…

Click here

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The end of the Rhyl hovercraft… RNLI rescue

The world’s first hovercraft service came to an ignominious end on the 17th September 1962. The hovercraft had completed its summer schedule and was tied up near the harbour, awaiting a tow back to its base in Liverpool for repairs and servicing.

She became adrift in high seas and the Rhyl Lifeboat was launched to rescue her. My cousin Gerald was involved in the rescue that night, helping to secure the hovercraft.

See more from the RNLI archive here


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The world’s first hovercraft service Rhyl to Wallesey!

Thanks to Rhyl historian Stuart Jones for bringing this little gem to my attention…

Among Rhyl’s many claims to fame is the fact that it is the site of the world’s first commercial hovercraft operation – Rhyl to Wallasey which was started in 1962.

The operation caused quite a stir, not least for the noise and sand kicked up by its operation! The service fell foul of the fact that not that many people wanted to travel between Rhyl and Wallasey so it became a novelty service rather than a valued transport connection.

The service was also plagued by technical problems with regular unservicability.

Although the service would probably have folded before too long, high seas and an adverse wind meant that the hovercraft drifted out to sea in a storm and had to be rescued by the Rhyl Lifeboat. Among the crew was my cousin, Gerald Hughes, read more about him in an earlier post.  The hovercraft was damaged beyond economic repair and thus ended the world’s first commercial hovercraft service.

See the video here

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The Welsh Dragon! Who rode it?

For locals and tourists of a certain age, this will bring back memories of trips between Rhyl, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. This was probably the shortest named train in Great Britain and the named train with the shortest distance to travel, barely 40 miles, there and back!

In the early sixties the steam train which ran as a push and pull unit, was replaced by a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) but the steam train was brought back by popular demand.

The train usually left from behind the signal box in the bay platform to the west end of the station. In this picture is, unusually departing for Llandudno from Platform 1 – the platform from which the Chester, London and Manchester trains departed. This was unusual because in the summer months, there was hardly time between scheduled and excursion trains to have any time to put this service in platform 1. Sometimes it departed from Platforms 2 or 3.


These next pictures show the train in the bay platform. As it was an auto train, it could be driven from either end and both ends of the train are shown here.



Here is the train on it’s journey…


Here is an explanation of the service…


Please comment if you rode the Welsh Dragon and tell me all about it….

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