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Description

Bill Price worked as a locomotive driver during the final days of steam. Based at Mold (Yr Wyddgrug) junction, he had a wide experience of working across the, pre-Beeching network. But Bill also worked the local branch lines. Especially the working routes and sidings that linked the regional systems to the riverside at Connahs Quay.

One line, of which Bill had first-hand knowledge, was known to generations of Deesiders as "The Buckley Line" This was a single track that conveyed commodities such as kiln products and coal from the industrious communities of the North Wales hinterland down to the river Dee quayside from whence they would be shipped to destinations far and wide.

The interview was a classic case of mid-summer, water-front happen-stance! The Kathleen & May Heritage Centre is open most Friday afternoons for anyone to drop-in and share stories and photos of Connahs Quay & Deeside, over a cup of tea, with like-minded folk. Bill Price had been brought along by his granddaughter, Ally. He was soon chatting happily. Once he revealed that he had driven the loco that used to ply the line between Buckley and Connahs Quay, I knew there was a story for the archives in the making!

I just had to ask Bill to speak on camera and help explain something about a long-contested feature of one of the last tunnels through which the busy little engine had to negotiate all those years ago.

With me armed with a "compact" digial camera and granddaughter Ally, hasily recruited as "sound-guy" we trundled out the 100yards or so to the little tunnel and stopped to chat.

The outer brickwork rim of the tunnel looked scarred and worse for wear. How had this happened? In modern times, the condition, and how it got that way, has been the subject of some conjecture by locals. But now we had the man who was there, standing by to tell us!

Listen to Bill as he sets the record straight!

Bill also refers to:

Suitability of of local coal for firing steam locomotives.

Connahs Quay power-station -in the days when it was coal-fired.

Pleasures & tribulations of being confined to the engine cab.

Cargoes of newly-built harvesting equipment shipping from from Mold Station.

Shipments of dangerous, war-time mustard gas, manufactured at Rhydymwyn and destined destruction at a special facility on Merseyside.

Production notes:
This film was without any pre-planning or scripting. When the opportunity presented itself, the people, the location (and the North Wales weather) were amenable. It just seemed right to step outside and do it!

It was made using a hand-held pocket digital camera (Panasonic TZ70). Sound was recorded by Bill's grand-daugher, Ally Morrison who quickly agreed to be pressed into service using my pocket digital note-taker.
Mike Dougherty, a Kathleen & May heritage stalwart helped-out as impromptu, production bag-man/gofor.

Making this recording serves as a good example of using whatever equipment might be to-hand at the time!

P.S. Hope folks enjoy Bill's recounting of some of his impressive life experiences. Especially the story of the multi-use cab shovel!

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