A55 Expressway at Colwyn Bay
The A55 expressway has had a major effect on the whole of the North Wales coast, both visual and economic. The first place the road construction started was Colwyn Bay, and here the most significant changes to the North Wales Coast railway line were made. The goods yard was closed, and a stretch of the main line was moved sideways so that the original 4-track width could be used for the road. At the same time, the whole area was resignalled. These pictures show the track re-alignment in progress.
45048 leaves Colwyn Bay on a Scarborough-Bangor service on the 8th August 1983, running on what will become the Chester-bound carriageway of the A55. To the left will be a sliproad down from the Llandudno road, with the new rail alignment further to the left. The banking to the right will later be removed to make room for the other half of the dual carriageway. Peaks, once unknown along the Coast, became commonplace when these workings from across the Pennines started in May 1983.
47448 works the 15:05 Bangor-Scarborough on the 8th August 1983, arriving at Colwyn Bay on the original track alignment, as work goes on all around. It is passing under the new footbridge, long enough to span both the road, and the new rail allignment, seen to the right of the train. It is interesting to note that the old line was resignalled, rather than just the new alignment.
By January 1984, the new tracks are almost ready to be brought into use. A track machine stands at the Colwyn Bay end of the deviation. The signal posts are in place on the new track, alongside those recently installed on the old track. In the distance the old tracks curve under the, literally, half-completed road bridge, following what will become the eastbound carriageway of the A55. Work continues to the left to excavate the site of the westbound carriageway and exit slip road.
At the other end of the new track at Mochdre, on the day that the new line was commissioned in January 1984. The up line has been connected, and track panels are in position to fill the gap in the down line. Note that the old up and down lines parted slightly to pass under the road bridge here.
On the same day, looking in the opposite direction, two Class 40s are seen assisting the works to connect up the new tracks. The one nearest the camera is positioning a small crane, which is being used to lift track panels from the train hauled by the other one. Both up and down lines have been laid on this side of Mochdre bridge, and a connection is being provided in the down line to the old down line, to allow removal of redundant track materials by rail.