Hovercraft may return to Rhyl

Published date: 04 December 2013 |
Published by: Matt Jones 
Read more articles by Matt Jones  Email reporter


RHYL could welcome up to 200,000 extra tourists a year if an historic hovercraft link with Merseyside is re-established.

Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane has been contacted by three companies expressing an interest in reviving the passenger service after he made a speech in the House of Commons.

He has now arranged to meet representatives from Hoverlink (NW) Ltd in January with the firm saying it would like to introduce a service by 2015.

Simon Clitheroe, director of Hoverlink, said the firm was looking to use a 130-seater craft which could make up to 15 trips a day.

He said: “We believe the market conditions are right to provide a valuable fast service to Wales

“Once operational we will be able to transport customers from Wirral to Rhyl and Llandudno within 30 minutes.

“Over the past 18 months we have undertaken major talks with key players and partners within the region and are hopeful to announce the start of the service by early 2015.”

Mr Clitheroe said the service could also be used to access Liverpool John Lennon Airport and if there was demand it could become a year-round service.

Mr Ruane said: “Within three days of my speech, I had been approached by three separate hovercraft companies that want to establish a hovercraft link between Rhyl and Liverpool. Rhyl had the first hovercraft passenger service in the world.

“To see it reinstated 50 years after it ceased would be fantastic. It would provide a gateway for tourists from the Liverpool city region directly to Rhyl town centre.”

The original service ended in 1962 when a storm hit the passenger hovercraft which was moored just off the coast after its lifting engines had been damaged.

Mr Ruane said: “Over the course of the summer season 200,000 extra people could be dropped off at the top of the High Street. This could be yet another thing to help revive Rhyl.

“We need to grasp this with both hands to make sure this becomes a reality.”

Rhyl councillor Ian Armstrong, who was involved in the rescue of the original hovercraft in 1962, said: “It would be brilliant if we can get it back. It was very popular in the 1960s and it would be popular again. It would be a real boost for the town.”

A spokesman for Denbighshire Council said: "We are more than happy to get involved in discussions to determine the viability of such a facility in Rhyl.”

Mr Ruane has been in contact with two other companies over the plans.

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