'Wrong type of bird' blocks train's final journey from North Wales

Summer sunshine, leaves on the line and, famously, the wrong kind of snow, have all disrupted Britain’s rail network over the years. Now the “wrong kind of bird” can be added to the list.

Gulls nesting on the trackbed in Holyhead, Anglesey, forced rail chiefs to cancel the planned departure of a veteran train that’s being withdrawn from service. The empty train was due to be moved from Holyhead to Landore works in Swansea for decommissioning.

But when a crew arrived to remove the train from its sidings, they quickly encountered a problem – blocking their way was a gull sitting on a nest. Like all wild birds, nesting gulls are protected by law without a licence.

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As all alternative lines were blocked, the trip had to be cancelled. Passenger trains were able to leave Holyhead as normal but, for the gull-blocked train, Network Rail was left trying to find a way round the impasse.

The track operator said the empty train would be taken out of the siding on another day, using an alternative track, so that the gulls could finish nesting undisturbed.

A spokesperson said: “An empty train was unable to be moved from the sidings at Holyhead station on Monday morning owing to seagulls nesting on a relief line. The unit was scheduled to travel to Landore in Swansea but the gulls – a protected species – have set up nest on the track.

“An alternative route out of Holyhead was blocked by another train, for which no crew were available as no journeys were planned until later in the day. Plans are being finalised for the train to be moved early next week via the alternative route.” The North Wales Live Whatsapp community for top stories and breaking news is live now - here’s how to sign up

The empty train is a diesel-powered class 175, which was used by Transport for Wales until the fleet was withdrawn from service in early 2023. Two had been damaged by fire in February 2023, including a blaze on board the Holyhead to Cardiff Central service later blamed on a build-up of debris and leaf litter in under-floor engine bays.

Several 175s were stored in sidings at Holyhead before being moved to Swansea. The last of the trains was due to be moved south on Monday, June 3, only for nesting gulls to have the final say. Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter sent twice daily to your inbox

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