The opening of the Chester & Holyhead Railway (later part of the London & North Western Railway) in 1848 brought prosperity to the aspiring seaside resort of Prestatyn.
The Dyserth branch was opened by the LNWR in 1869. The line was built to carry mineral traffic from the local mines and quarries and was both busy and profitable.
A public campaign for passenger trains resulted in the introduction of a railmotor service in 1905. The railmotor was like a normal carriage, with a small steam engine in a compartment at one end and could be driven from either end. Folding steps were fitted for passengers to climb aboard from ground level, so platforms did not have to be built along the line. However, this meant that the railmotor could not use the normal platforms at Prestatyn, so passengers had to get on and off from a patch of gravel beyond the end of the bay platform.
Railmotors were later replaced by more normal locomotives and carriages, but they faced increasing competition from buses. Because the railway was built for freight it was not particularly convenient for passengers. The passenger service was therefore withdrawn in 1930.
Dyserth was the terminus of the line. There was no runround loop so the locomotives had to push the trains up the line from Prestatyn. The goods shed and the warehouse for the Vale of Clwyd and District Agricultural Society still stand, although they are now privately used. The quarry sidings were originally shunted by horses and later by tractors belonging to the quarry company. The now empty site was also occupied by limekilns and with a narrow gauge tramway linking them to the quarry via a bridge over the main road. Dyserth quarry provided the last traffic for the railway, which was eventually closed in 1973. The quarry kept going, using road transport, until 1981.
More information currently being compiled…
In the meantime please see the Meliden History Timeline
Or this very interesting video footage I found on YouTube!! –
Old Cine film of a 6 car DMU Special travelling up the Dyserth Branch in 1968. Starting on the Prestatyn main line past the old gas works then up to Dyserth Station.
Back towards Meliden past Siambar Wen and the Dyserth Quarry (site of Dyserth Castle), past the old camp site (Dyserth Falls Resort, Graig Park), curving along the base of Graig Fawr and the Talargoch lead mines to Meliden Station train shed…
Many thanks to Dewi Davies for uploading this rare clip to You Tube.
The Prestatyn and Dyserth Railway
by Trefor Thomas