THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
Pictured above is the Vickers Armstrong VA-3-001 the world’s first hovercoach which arrived in Rhyl in July 1962, just a few days after the Beatles first played in the town. The hovercoach was based here for trials between July and September and had great novelty appeal; the hovering was due to downward-pointing fans which held the craft aloft over land and sea.
The hovercoach - usually referred to as the hovercraft - proved capable of ferrying passengers and mail from Rhyl to Wallasey in 32 minutes, but fate decreed that 40 of the scheduled operating days would be too windy, and on one occasion it blew off its moorings and had to be rescued by Rhyl Lifeboat.
A few years later, the luckless VA-3-001 was reported to be lying at the bottom of the sea near Southampton having been badly damaged by optimists trying to find out whether it could withstand the impact of exploding mines.
TUE 14th FEB 2017 UPDATE: This card from 1962 shows that Rhyl took full advantage of publicity surrounding the hovercraft during the short time it was here.
Recently on sale on Internet was the hovercraft schedule/timetable.
Click on it to see a bigger version.
Note the use of the term The Plastirion Slipway.