The Anonymous Widower

Penmaenmawr Quarry Rail Terminal Opens

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Hanson has reopened its Penmaenmawr railhead in north Wales, as part of its strategy to reduce vehicle movements and associated CO2 emissions.

The quarrying company has spent £300 000 refurbishing the facility, including upgrades to the railhead conveyor which was last used in 2012. The first trial service was operated by GB Railfreight and transported stone to the Tuebrook depot near Liverpool to test the equipment and uncover any operational issues within the quarry and at the railhead.

The aim is to one one train per week between North Wales and North West England.

This Google Map shows the Penmaenmawr railhead.


  1. Penmaenmawr station is in the top right corner of the map.
  2. The railhead is in the bottom-left corner of the map.
  3. The North Wales Expressway is between the railway and the beach.

There is a conveyor leading to the South and this second Google Map shows the vast quarry complex.

Penmaenmawr station is in the top right corner of the map.

It does appear to me, that this is a good move by Hanson.

  • If the quarry can be worked economically, it is surely worthwhile exploiting.
  • Opening new quarries, is generally not an easy process.
  • Even using diesel locomotives on the aggregate trains, probably saves carbon compared to trucks.
  • Closing the quarry would probably not be good for the area.
  • They only want to run one train per week.
  • I wonder, if the train goes through the Halton Curve that opened a couple of years ago.
  • Penmaenmawr and Tuebrook Sidings are a route of about eighty miles.

But I think in the future it could be a very good move, as at least one of three things will happen.

  • The North Wales Coast Line will be electrified.
  • Someone will develop a hydrogen-electric freight locomotive.
  • Wabtec will develop their battery-electric locomotive for the UK with a UK-sized FLXdrive battery.

All possibilities will help Hanson lower the carbon footprint of the route.

Given too, that Hanson will probably decarbonise their quarrying operations by using hydrogen-powered equipment, it should be possible to arrange a hydrogen supply at Penmaenmawr.


January 18, 2022 - Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] with the rail terminal at Penmaenmawr, which I wrote about in Penmaenmawr Quarry Rail Terminal Opens, this terminal will benefit with locomotive developments that should happen in […]

    Pingback by Sunrise On Ravenstruther Rail Freight Terminal In Scotland « The Anonymous Widower | January 18, 2022 | Reply

  2. I find this interesting. Over 60 years ago I came on holiday to Penmaenmawr a few times with my parents and was fascinated watching the trucks coming down from the mountain to the jetty on the coast where the granite was transferred to ships.
    I went again last year and found that the line has been filled in and the gravel now seems to come down through a small tunnel along the same track. Every so often in the past a whistle blew and an explosion was heard from the quarry.
    Next time I come, hopefully this coming spring, I will try to find my way up to where the quarry is.
    Shame that the new road seems to have killed off the town. That’s “progress” of course.

    Comment by Bob Ainsworth | December 31, 2022 | Reply

  3. It does seem that quarrying and mining companies are making a big effort to decarbonise. I think this is for three reasons.

    1. Investors are investing in companies with low carbon footprints.
    2. These companies are easier to decarbonise compared to say steel or cement makers.
    3. Hydrogen locomotives are coming, which will enable zero-carbon delivery.

    Note that GB Railfreight are doing Hanson’s deliveries and they have just ordered thirty new electro-diesel locomotives, which can use electrification, where it is available. These locomotives will have Cummins engines, which can be converted to zero-carbon hydrogen power.

    If you were purchasing a load of granite for a project, would you prefer to buy zero-carbon granite?

    Comment by AnonW | December 31, 2022 | Reply

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