CRG163 was based at Crosville’s Amlwch depot from April 1979, being downgraded and reclassified by the company to dual purpose ERG163 status and painted green and white in August of the same year.  Whilst at Amlwch depot ERG163 would operate on local services in and around Anglesey as operated by the depot, but predominantly on the N62 to Bangor as well as the X10 limited stop service from Cemaes Bay to Liverpool.

On local services, ERG163 would be driven by Richard Lewis, Bob ‘Moelfre’ Roberts, Dewi Roberts, Bobi Bec, John Pensarn and many others from the depot.  Richard, Bob and Dewi would also drive the X10 service frequently to Liverpool with ERG163.

Richard Lewis behind the wheel of ERG163 heading towards Bangor on bus service N62.

I have seen this photograph over many years and have often wondered who was behind the camera, and especially who was driving.

In later years I’ve become very fortunate by becoming friends with Don McKeown the photographer of this photo as well as Richard Lewis himself, the driver in this photograph in my constant search for everyone who had a connection with CRG163 back in the day.

In the photograph Richard is behind the wheel of ERG163 heading from Amlwch towards Bangor on the N62 In the 1980’s, at least 40 years ago.

Both Don and Richard worked for Crosville back in the day, with Don based at the company’s Caernarfon depot and Richard at Amlwch.

In 2015, Don commented on the ‘Crosville Buses’ Facebook group back in 2015 as follows about his photograph:

Although many Crosville coaches were adapted for stage carriage operation in later life, many were allocated to larger depots where they were restricted to peak hour use.  To ride on a downgraded coach on a lengthy "main line" service, although not extremely rare, was not too common either.  ERG 163 (previously CRG 163) spent it's later life in Bangor and Anglesey.  It is seen here heading away from Amwch at the start of a journey to Bangor on service N62.”

On 13 April 1984 Crosville withdrew the vehicle from active service, selling the vehicle initially to Gordon Bate for preservation purposes.

Richard was photographed on other occasions in his role with Crosville, with these images seen below.

Richard is seen here behind the wheel of ERL310 in the parking area next to Crosville’s Amlwch depot.  He is about to set off the the N2 service in which the road in some parts of the route was the same width as the vehicle.

Richard can be seen here at the Skelhorne Stree coach station, Liverpool having operated the X10 limited stop, express service from Cemaes Bay/Amlwch.

Richard can be seen here behind the wheel of DOG117 in front of Crosville’s Amlwch depot in 1987.

A special reunion in 2004

Since my subsequent ownership of CRG163 from 9 June 2002, I have actively searched for those who had a connection with the vehicle during its time with Crosville.

On 12 June, 2004 our first special reunion took place which involved Bob ‘Moelfre’ Roberts and Jack Cowap.  Bob was the leading driver at Crosville’s Amlwch depot back in the day and would frequently drive ERG163 on the X10 service to Liverpool.  It is understood that ERG163 was often referenced as Bob’s coach. By this day he was long retired at the young age of 78.   Jack Cowap now 91 years young used to drive CRG163 when new between Liverpool and London.  It was an extremely special day.  To read more about this day please click HERE.

Two special photographs from the day are below.  The first is of Jack sitting behind the seat of CRG163 on the apron of what used to be Crosville’s Bangor depot.  The second image is of Bob Moelfre on the same day, driving CRG163 years later, now in preservation.


Mr Jack Cowap behind the wheel of CRG163 in preservation.

Bob Moelfre driving CRG163 once again.  Such a wonderful individual who was truly respected by all who knew him.  

A photograph of Bob Moelfre arriving Chester Delamere bus and coach bus station on the way to Liverpool on service X10 with ERL296. 

With CRG163 being based at Crosville’s Amlwch depot between 1979 and 1984 a special web page was created on CRG163 website out of respect for all staff that once worked from the depot.  This page can be accessed HERE.

Fast forward a further 20 years  ………. 40 odd years since the iconic photograph of ERG163 leaving Amlwch for Bangor on route N62

Having traced Richard as the driver in the iconic photograph of ERG163 inn the 1980’s above and having spoken and exchanged many messages, this was a special day all round. 

Today, would be a very special day and occasion in the history of CRG163.  It was in fact history in the making as another special reunion took place.

Today I would meet Richard for the first time face to face, but further more, Richard would be reunited with the very vehicle he drove more than over 40 years previous.

This was a truly special day.   A day which we had all looked forward to for a long time.

CRG163 was already parked on the forecourt with her engine turning, her destination proudly displaying ‘X10 AMLWCH’ out of the greatest respects to our honoured guest Richard as we eagerly awaited his arrival.

My youngest son Gethin meticulously preparing CRG163‘s destination to display ‘X10 AMLWCH’ in preparation for the arrival of our honoured guests.

My youngest son Gethin had prepared the destination blind.  What an absolute star, a truly caring individual for his age having only turned 13 at the beginning of the month.  His interest and passion with CRG163 is absolutely amazing as well as his complete understanding and support of this very special day was truly remarkable for such a young person.  Diolch yn fawr iawn i ti / Thank you so very much.

As Richard and Margaret arrived it was an absolute pleasure to finally meet them both, and especially Richard.  What a brilliant individual from the off, a perfect gentleman in fact without doubt.  We also got to meet Richard’s wife Margaret(Mags).  What lovely and truly genuine people.     

We could only imagine Richard’s thoughts and feelings as he looked on and approached CRG163 parked on the forecourt, seeing his old friend sitting there 40 years later, eager to see him again.

Gethin and I felt really privileged to be able to facilitate and then witness this reunion.

Our initial conversation as we walked across to CRG163 and then stepping inside was all about Crosville, ERG163, Crosville’s Amlwch depot, the story of the skylight (click HERE for more details), Bob Moelfre, and others from the old Amlwch depot.  We both spoke very highly of Bob who was such a wonderful man.  A tall, smartly dressed gentleman as I recall him.  Richard mentioned how Bob was such a fantastic boss as the leading driver of Amlwch depot back in the day.  I mentioned the wonderful day I’d had with Bob years previously with preserved CRG163.  We remembered him fondly, with absolute and total respect.

We then set off in CRG163 for a ride out, with Richard sitting behind me.  I now had Richard Lewis no less sitting right behind me as I was now driving his coach.  ‘‘Let’s do a proper job of it“ I said to myself as we set off, out of respect for Richard, Margaret and my son Gethin.  After a short drive I stopped and offered Richard a go behind the wheel, 40 years at least since his last drive with ERG163 as known back then.

Richard sat in the driver’s seat, a seat he had occupied so many times years earlier having driven many, many miles behind its wheel.  I could only imagine the rush of memories and feelings Richard was having as he sat down once again in ‘his’ seat, looking around the cab slowly at every inch and corner.  This was a truly magic moment and we felt extremely privileged to witness this.

Richard set off as if it had only been 40 minutes since his last drive with ERG163, not 40 odd years!! What a driver.  As Graham Warren laterally commented on CRG163’s private Facebook group for friends and family, “you never forget how to drive a bus”.  This was definitely the case today.  We could have easily travelled as passengers to Liverpool on the X10 route with Richard again behind the wheel.  Richard’s driving, skill and care and gear changing was such a pleasure to watch and witness, a true professional.  A true privilege to see, and was pure class.

I then took the wheel again as we went for a longer drive, before Richard once again had a further drive finishing off a truly special day.  

There is something to be said without doubt about experience.  It is true to say that today was a very special day.

Below are photographs of the day as Richard took his seat again, 40 plus years on ……..

Thank you Rich for coming to see us and for such a wonderful day.  It was an absolute privilege and pleasure to welcome you and Margaret and to see you behind the wheel of 163 again, all these years later.  We look forward very much to seeing you very soon.  You have been a strong part in CRG/ERG 163’s history and most definitely a strong part in her future.

Richard Lewis returns to his seat behind the wheel of CRG163, 40 years on.

Richard takes the wheel.  An absolute joy and privilege to witness and experience.

Richard behind the wheel of CRG163, 40 years on.  Felt more like 40 minutes from the superb drive we had.

Another view of Richard behind the wheel.

Another photograph of Richard behind the wheel.

A moment of reflexion as Richard clearly remembers back to his time with ERG163 and Crosville.  Such a privilege to share this moment.  This is a truly fantastic image catching the moment and afternoon completely.

Richard standing in front of CRG163 with ‘X10 AMLWCH’ proudly on display out of respect for Richard and all of the staff from Crosville’s Amlwch depot.

Richard standing in front of CRG163 with the same NBC grill badge in place as was 40 years earlier when based at Crosville’s Amlwch depot.

Richard and his wife Margaret (Mags) standing in front of CRG163.

Another photograph of Richard sitting behind the wheel of CRG163.

Richard is seen behind the wheel of CRG163 for the first time in over 40 years with X10 Amlwch again proudly displayed on the vehicle’s destination blinds.

A closer image of Richard behind the wheel of CRG163, 40 years on with ‘X10 AMLWCH’ on the vehicle’s destination out of respect.

More reunions will be undertaken over the coming twelve months as we continue to reunite those whom have had a very strong connection with CRG/ERG163 over the years