Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru

15 March 2010

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A 'driver experience' train on the Llangollen Railway approached Carrog on 7 March. Locomotive is 2-8-0 3802. Picture by John Beresford.

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Editorial - by Charlie Hulme

The wind of change is blowing through the North Wales Coast website this week. After some consideration I have decided to reduce the time spent on Notice Boards to free up more time for other projects, especially as the weather gets better. Normally there will be just one update per week, uploaded on Monday evening.  Hopefully most of the same content can be included; to speed up operations at this end I have added some guidelines for contributors, it would help a lot if you read them before sending in your pictures and reports. Note that not every photograph sent will appear - preference in general will be given to those with clear captions - and please don't be disappointed if you picture doesn't get included. Special thanks for all the kind comments and suggestions received after this subject was aired on the North Wales Trains News email group.

I'm also making some changes to the format of the site itself, removing the 'Frames' which experts tell me are disapproved of these days. This will also speed up the addition of links. Some 'tweaks' are still needed, but do write if the new style of the Notice Board is giving trouble with your browser.

WSMR on the ECML

Two pictures taken on 11 March by Roger Carvell of 5Z01, empty stock Wembley - Doncaster, with driving trailer 82303 leading and 67 014 propelling, seen on the East Coast Main Line passing the site of Cadwell level crossing (just north of Hitchin), now a Network Rail standard footbridge.

Roger notes: 'How nice of the King's Cross signaller to let Wrexham & Shropshire  take the down fast line, north of Digswell Viaduct at Welwyn.'

The 'Potts' Line – 50th Anniversary of Closure Exhibition
The Shrewsbury Railway Heritage Trust is mounting a 50th Anniversary Exhibition to commemorate the closure in March 1960, of the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Railway. The railway was originally called The Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway, but was fondly called 'The Potts' by locals. Some of the enthusiasts who were on board the last train to run on the line in March 1960 are now Directors of the Heritage Trust and will be helping with the forthcoming exhibition.

The Exhibition is to be held at: The English Bridge Workshop, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, from  Friday March 26th - Saturday April 10th, 2010 10.30 - 4.30pm daily.

The Chairman of the Shrewsbury Railway Heritage Trust, Cllr Mansel Williams says 'The Exhibition will be of great interest to all families who had members who worked on the railways, to rail enthusiasts and to historians of this international railway line. We are intending to display historic photographs and interesting memorabilia as well as presenting the fascinating story of this historic railway. If you or your family have any photographs, memorabilia or items of interest relating to the Potts Line and would allow us to display them at the exhibition please make contact on 01743 243283 or email'

Daytime timber

On 11 March, 66 843 approaches Gobowen with the empty KFA wagons running as 6C19 12:06 Chirk-Carlisle. With the ovenight loaded timber trains running ovenight to Chirk for one week only, it was possible to view the returning empty trains in daylight, using Gobowen to run round and then return north. The trains kept good time throughout the week. The Colas liveried Class 66 has worked these trains exclusively since replacing the DRS Class 57s. (Mark Riley)

66 843 crosses Cefn Viaduct with the return 6C19 Chirk-Carlisle empty KFA wagons, in the early afternoon sun of 11 March (Mark Riley)

12 March, and 66 832 is seen running round its train at Gobowen (Mark Barber)

The train departs Gobowen on the Down line towards Chester as 175 108 passes by (Mark Barber)

Heading for Warrington, and then Carlisle on 12 March, the train passes Mickle Trafford (Andrew Vinten)

A view at Runcorn East, taken on 10 March (Mark Barber.) The use of the same locomotive every day is not really a boon to photographers...

Flasks ahoy

66 423 and 66 427 on the Flask train near Colwyn Bay, 8 March (Darren Durrant)

On the Severn Valley - with Alan Crawshaw

On Saturday 6 March, Rowan and I paid a visit to the Severn Valley Railway, again Rowan's first visit and my first since the mid seventies. We arrived in time for the 10:50 departure from Bridgnorth, which had an appropriately Welsh look with 7802 Bradley Manor. In the picture above,  it's in the centre road as the demonstration goods train had just left.

We were surprised that the timetable only showed the times of the public services - no times for the goods train and no details of which locos/rakes were working which service. After the event we learned that you had to fork out an additional fiver for the working timetable, we weren't advised of its availability when buying our tickets. I'd have declined anyway, I can understand that they want to get cash out of people who just want to take photos but I expected a £21.50 rover ticket to include this information. This was the only niggle of the day, the staff were friendly, there was an interesting and complex timetable which worked perfectly and the railway has a superb collection of stock. Above, a GWR coach we travelled in.

Not knowing what was working which train, we bailed at the first station, Hampton Loade, when we saw 61994 The Great Marquess waiting to return to Bridgnorth, and the rest of the day followed a similar pattern. Here's 61994 later in the day as it left Highley.

The rover ticket includes rides on the cliff railway and a visit to the excellent purpose built engine house at Highley, which is like a mini National Railway Museum. Photography inside is tricky as the overhead lighting bounces off the polished paintwork of the locomotives, but here's a taste: Stanier 8F 48773.

The cliff railway was the only inland example in the country until the Centre for Alternative Technology installed one. It opened on 7 July 1892 to provide an alternative link to the steps between the high town and low town. The current cars date from 1955 and the design is reminiscent of road coaches of that period.

We didn't manage a ride behind the GWR Prairie tank 5164 but photographed it (above).

Our last ride of the day featured Ivatt 4MT 43106, a late LMS design which was a precursor to the BR Standard classes with its high running plate. The line wasn't as busy as I'd expected for a gala; there was speculation that the absence of a big locomotive affected attendance, but I felt the gala was all the more enjoyable for that, as the smaller engines were in keeping with a branch line.

57s galore - report by Paul Williams


Friday 5 March, I had a day trip to Weston-Super-Mare to catch the 57/3s that are operating in that area. I caught the Holyhead - Cardiff express 1V31, which was powered by 57 315, as far as Newport (above.)

When I reached Weston, I had a short wait for the First Great Western loco-hauled service from Taunton to Cardiff Central - Which had 57 309 Brains on the front (above) ...

... and 57 305 John Tracy tailing.

When I arrived at Cardiff I took a few photos before heading north on Cardiff - Holyhead express 1W91, which had 57 313 on front. Not bad - powered by three 57s in one day!

Then the next day (6 March) I jumped on the 'Pendolino drag' from Llandudno Junction to Crewe in order to visit some relatives in Manchester, with 57 303 Alan Tracy hauling, seen above at Crewe.

Diagram time

For those interested in repeating Paul's expedition, here are details of all passenger trains worked by locomotives in and around Wales:

First Great Western  2 x Class 57/3 (Mon-Fri)

5D07 07:05 Bishops Lydeard - Taunton 07:22 (Empty stock)
2D04 07:28 Taunton - Bristol Parkway 09:03
2Y10 09:13 Bristol Parkway - Weston Super Mare 10:01
5Y10 10:10 Weston Super Mare - Taunton 10:35 (Empty Stock)
2U14 11:02 Taunton - Cardiff 13:24 (Weston S-M 11:45)
2C79 14:00 Cardiff - Taunton 16:02
2U24 16:13 Taunton - Cardiff 18:17
2C89 19:00 Cardiff - Taunton 21:08
21:12 Taunton - Bishops Lydeard 21:37 (Empty stock)

First Great Western 2 x Class 67 (Mon-Fri)

2C67 08:00 Cardiff Central - Paignton 11:25
2U20 1247 Paignton - Cardiff Central 16:29
2C85 17:00 Cardiff Central - Taunton 19:15
2M68 19:18 Taunton - Bristol Temple Meads

Arriva Trains Wales Class 57/3 (Mon-Fri)

1V31 05:32 Holyhead - Cardiff Central 09:58 (Newport 09:41)
1W91 16:15 Cardiff Central - Holyhead 20:49 (Newport 16:31)

(A railcar-operated direct service at 10:15 from Newport arrives Weston-super-Mare 11:21.)

Virgin Trains Class 57/3 (Saturdays only)

1D83 10:50 Crewe  - Holyhead 12:56
1A55 14:36 Holyhead - Crewe  16:43

Special thanks to

And finally ...

David Harrison writes: 'A couple of pictures taken at Chester Station on Saturday 27 February. Platform 5 is of course a bay platform so I suppose a non-stop train at that platform would create quite a mess - hence the 'please stand clear' plea!' [Indeed, a freight train that failed to stop in the 1970s is the reason for the missing section of roof.- Ed.]

Can anyone explain this one, also at Chester?

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