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A survey of railways in Wales and the tourist attractions they serve

Map showing approximate location of the Cynon Valley branch

Holyhead to Chester

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This is an extract from the page on Arriva Trains Wales. To access the main site select either the North Wales, The Marches, and Chepstow-Swansea section, the Heart of Wales, Swansea and West Wales section, or the full version which combines the two.

Select this link to return to the Gazetteer of Stations or Route Sections page.

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Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from May 18 to December 13 2014.

Monday to Friday
From Cardiff Central to Holyhead
Trains run two-hourly at 21 minutes past the hour between 7.21am and 3.21pm, and at 5.16pm (except Bank Holidays) and 7.34pm.
From Holyhead to Cardiff Central
Trains leave at 4.25am, 5.33am (except Bank Holidays); 6.28am, 8.05am, 10.40am, 12.32pm, 2.34pm, 4.50pm.
On Saturday
From Cardiff Central to Holyhead
Trains run at 5.20am, 7.21am, 9.21am, 11.21am, 1.21pm, 3.21pm and 5.21pm
Holyhead to Cardiff Central
Until September 6 (inclusive)
trains run  at 4.25am (change at Chester), and direct to Cardiff Central at 6.35am, 8.20am, 1033am, 12.38pm, 2.23pm and 4.50pm.
From September 13 (inclusive) trains run from Holyhead to Cardiff Central at 4.25am, 6.35am, 8.20am, 1033am, 12.38pm, 2.23pm and 4.50pm.

Sundays The only direct services to/from Holyhead run from Cardiff at 1.22pm and 3.22pm.
From Holyhead
trains run at 10.20am and 4.25pm.

Italicised station names are request stops. Figures after station names show the approximate journey times from Holyhead, with journey times from Chester in brackets.

Holyhead (115 minutes) is reached via the 1,250-yard long Stanley Embankment which joins Anglesey to Holy Island - on which Holyhead stands.
The station adjoins the Irish Ferry to Dun Laoghaire, on the outskirts of Dublin. Holy Island boasts some spectacular cliff scenery, an ideal location for the Roman fortress of Caergybi around which the town developed, and from which it takes its Welsh name. In the town, parts of the medieval church date from the 13th century, but is built on the foundations of a monastery founded in 550 by St Cybi. Restored in the late 1870s, it features the work of pre-Raphaelites Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. There are spectacular views and an Iron Age fort at the top of Holyhead Mountain to the north of the town.
Valley 9 mins (102) Close by is the Royal Air Force station and the broad expanse of Cwmyran Bay.
11 mins (96)
A quiet holiday village, with caravan site and a sandy bay enclosed by rocky headlands. South of the village is another bay, Traeth Llydaw, backed by sand dunes and the lake of Llyn Maelog.
Ty Croes
15 mins (93)
Serves a small village set in undulating countryside dotted with remote farms and hamlets.
19 mins (89)
Bodorgan House dates from the late 18th century.
The station at Llanfair PGLlanfairpwll 39 mins (79)
Boasts the longest station name on Britain's national railway network: in full it is
which translates into English as: The church of St Mary in the hollow of the white hazel close to a swirling whirlpool and the church of St Teilo near a red cave.
Of course, it wasn't always thus, but was created in the middle of the 19th century by combining the names of two villages - Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and Llantysiliogogogoch - for the bemusement of tourists. The station is now privately owned, but the original platform nameplate is preserved in Penrhyn Castle. A half-mile east of the station is a statue of Admiral Nelson and on the headland 600 yards south of that is the Anglesey Column, commemorating the Marquis of Anglesey, who fought with the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo. When a cannon ball deprived the Marquis of one of his legs, Wellington is reputed to have said: "By God, you have lost your leg!" which brought the matter-of-fact reply: "By God, so I have."
69mins 73)Bangor University overlooks the city from Penallt Ridge
A university city facing Anglesey across the Menai Strait, its history as a religious site can be traced back to the fifth century. Over the ensuing centuries, battles and uprisings have taken their toll, and the present cathedral dates from the twelfth century, most of what can be seen results from a number of restorations and rebuildings between 1866 and 1971. It contains a number of important relics and documents, including the Mostyn Christ, a 16th-century wooden statue showing Jesus bound and wearing a crown of thorns, seated on a rock. In the grounds of the Bishop's Palace is the Bible Garden, filled with the plants, shrubs and trees which are mentioned in the holy book. In the upper part of the town, the University (right) was formed as part of the University of Wales in 1884, though the present buildings date from 1911. Theatre Gwynedd is part of the University complex, where plays in Welsh and English are staged. North of the city centre, the pier stretches far out into the Menai Strait, half way to Anglesey.
60 mins (57)
Three bridges cross the Conway estuary: Telford's Suspension Bridge, Stephenson's Tubular Railway Bridge with its castellations at either end, and the newer road bridge carrying the A55. On the far shore, the train is dwarfed by the battlements of Edward the First's Conway Castle and, rather less so, by the medieval walls which have enclosed the town since the end of the 13th century. The town claims the oldest house in Britain, and also the smallest - the latter, a former fisherman's cottage, has a six-ft frontage, is ten-ft high and measures just over 8ft from front to back. Aberconway House dates from the 15th century, while Plas Mawr, an Elizabethan palace of 1580 houses the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art.
Llandudno Junction
60 mins (56)
As its name suggests, the station serves as an interchange for visitors to the resorts of Deganwy and Llandudno proper, both stations on the route through the Conwy Valley to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Colwyn Bay
68 mins (44)
A busy seaside resort in its own right, a three-mile promenade links Colwyn Bay with the resort of Rhos-on-Sea. Its sheltered location and mild climate, makes it a year-round attraction, equally popular in the winter months.
Abergele and Pensarn (not served by Cardiff to/from Holyhead trains)
The Skytower pictured at nightThe station is in Pensarn which is mostly residential, but does provide access to the beach. Abergele, its larger near-neighbour, is a short distance to the west. An extensive caravan park separates the railway from the beach, while the town also boasts an eighteen hole golf course.
Soon after leaving the station, from the train can be glimpsed disused Gwrych Castle, a castellated mansion a mile inland, which was built in the early nineteenth century. With 18 towers, battlements and bastions set against wooded limestone outcrops of rock, its gothic virtuosity challenges many Edwardian castles for dramatic power.
78 mins (33)
 Though Prestatyn may disagree, Rhyl considers itself the premier holiday resort of the North Wales coast, with sandy beaches, the 260-ft Skytower (pictured left), Ocean Beach Amusement Park, and the Sun Centre, an indoor all-weather leisure facility in the style of a tropical lagoon, replete with palm trees and surf.
84 mins (28)
Like Rhyl, its rival just along the coast, Prestatyn vies to attract the most visitors to its resort. Latest attraction is the Ffrith Beach Pleasure Gardens. There is also the Nova Centre with a selection of water-based entertainments which is open all year round. Sport is catered for at the North Wales Bowling Centre, and the golf courses which separate Prestatyn and Rhyl.
97 mins (14)
In the town square, the 'Tudor' town hall dates from only 1840. Flint Castle was the first in Wales to be built by Edward the First and is located behind the main street on a site overlooking the estuary of the River Dee - a view that includes more than its fair share of factories and industrial estates. The most famous feature of the castle is the circular donjon, based on the Constance Tower in Brittany.
(not served by Cardiff to/from Holyhead trains)
The Victoria Clock atop the Roman WallOnly a tinplate works and light industry remains of the extensive Shotton Steel works. The Deeside Ice Rink is in nearby Queensferry. 13th century Ewloe Castle and Wepre Park are close by, where nature trails through the woodland and ranger activities are among the attractions on offer. A short walk to the High Level station gives access to the Wrexham-Bidston Line.
 Chester 115 minutes
To the Romans, the fortress of Deva, and there is a reminder of that phase of its history in the wall which encloses the city. The two mile walk along the Roman wall is a must and also takes in relics of later eras: Viking, Norman, the Middle Ages, the English Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution.
There is the largest Roman Amphitheatre ever uncovered in Britain with space for 7,000 spectators. In 'The Rows' are found half-timbered shops which date back to the Middle ages, while the ornate clock, erected in 1897 in Eastgate (pictured atop the Roman Wall) is said to be the most photographed timepiece after Big Ben in London. Parts of the Cathedral date back to 1092, while the museum of broadcasting is of somewhat more recent vintage. There are boat trips along the Dee, a Zoo, and horse racing at the historic Roodee. Throughout the year, there are various festivals to cater for all tastes, including film, boating, transport, youth, music, and the Civil war Spectacular held in August.

This is an extract from the page on Arriva Trains Wales.
To access the main site select either the
North Wales, The Marches, and Chepstow-Swansea section, the Heart of Wales, Swansea and West Wales section, or the full version which combines the two.
Select this link to return to the Gazetteer of Stations or Route Sections page.

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Copyright 1996/7/8/9/2000/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11 /12/13/14 by Deryck Lewis. All rights reserved.
Page created July 14 1996; Redesigned March 29 1999; Updated
May 18 2014
If you have any suggestions, comments, or glitches to report, please contact the author at WalesRails