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Isle of Anglesey County Council


Archives' document of the month


Document of the Month: May 2019

Document of the Month: Photograph: Construction Work on The Railway Track, E. Norman Kneale.

Reference Number: WSH/11/81

This month we delve into the world of railways, and in particular the Red Wharf Bay branch line. Two branch lines left the main railway line across Anglesey to Holyhead at Gaerwen, furthermore at Holland Arms there was another branch. North to Amlwch, and East to Red Wharf Bay. Between Holland Arms and Red Wharf Bay there were four stops, Ceint, Rhyd Y saint, Pentraeth and Llanbedrgoch. The line opened on the 24th of May 1908, and operated until April 3rd 1950, the tracks were then sold and removed.

This photograph was taken during the construction of the Red Wharf Bay branch line, which would date it between 1907 and 1909. Some of the workmen appear to have taken a break to pose for the camera, others in particular the chap operating the steam excavator, and the man holding the horse’s reins don’t seem to have taken much notice of the photographer and are getting on with their tasks.

It’s always fascinating to compare these old photographs of big construction projects with modern standards – no hard hats, hi viz clothing or steel toe-capped boots in the 1900s, and the young lad in the centre looks to be in a precarious position under the arm of the excavator. Also there is no cover on the pulleys and gears of the excavator arm. Eventhough the steam powered excavator looks rather primitive today – it made the work of digging out cuttings to level out the path for the railway line quicker and easier, as only a few years before all of this work would have been done by hand.

To see the document in more detail please see the attachment below.

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