Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

09 August 2010

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Forthcoming events

Wednesday 11 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Wednesday 18 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog. Cancelled.

14 - 15 August: Tramway and Light Railway Society, Model Railway Exhibition, Church House, Groes Lwyd, Off Sea Road, Abergele. Saturday 10.30 am - 5.00 pm Sunday 10.00 am - 4.30 pm Adult £2.50, Concessions £2.00

Sunday 22 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. The North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool - Holyhead

Wednesday 25 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Monday 30 August Excursion Compass Tours to DURHAM + optional add-on tour via Hartlepool to Newcastle (routes covered include Cumbrian Coast, Tyne Valley, ECML, Aire Valley & Hellifield to Carnforth) Picks up: Crewe, Hooton (after runnning round), Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster & Carnforth This train is booked to feature D1015 Western Champion throughout.

September 2010

Friday 3 September   Clwyd Railway Circle   Larry Davies: British Rail in 1987.  In the first half of the show, Larry will present a variety of slides taken in 1987 of his travels that year.  These include a Scottish Rover, when there was a variety of motive power that we would die for today. In the second half,  'Lost lines in North Wales' we are taken on a trip down memory lane from Prestatyn to Dyserth, Rhyl to Denbigh and Ruthin to Corwen.

10-12 September. Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala celebrating 175th anniversary of GWR and 35 years of Llangollen Railway reopening with expected return of 7822 Foxcote Manor after ten year boiler overhaul.

Monday 13 September Wrexham Railway Society  Rocket 150: the Final Great Cavalcade of British Steam? Thirty years on from Rainhill 1980 a review of the celebrations of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway including a Super 8 colour film of the famous Cavalcade.

Tuesday 14 September. 8E Association Glynn Parry: Under, Up & Over. Merseyrail, Overhead & Snowdon – A Connection?

Tuesday 21 September North Wales Railway Circle Garry Hughes: Wartime Locomotives, courtesy of B & R Videos.

October 2010

Friday 1 October   Clwyd Railway Circle    Edgar Richards: Freight in North Wales and the North West. A combined collection of slides taken by Dave Airey and our well respected speaker.

2-3 October. Llangollen Railway Diesel weekend. Intensive service by the mainline diesels supported by one of the railcars.

Sunday 3 October: The annual Tram and Bus show at Pacific Road Birkenhead

Monday 4 October:    RCTS Port Sunlight   Harry Madden: MERSEYSIDE TRANSPORT. A miscellany of trains, trams, buses and shipping from both sides of the River Mersey.

Tuesday 5 October North Wales Railway Circle David Lindsay: Statfold Barn Railway visit.

Monday 11 October. Wrexham Railway Society Preserved Steam on Video - the 2010 mainline steam action with PSOV.

Tuesday 12 October. 8E Association Charles Roberts (RCTS): 80s and 90s Irish Railways.

Saturday 16 October Llangollen Railway: Growler Group Members' Day. 6940 (37 240) will be making six return trips between Llangollen & Carrog. Tickets are available for non-members of the Group.

Monday 18 October   RCTS Chester   Tony Keeley: 50 YEARS BEHIND THE LENS. Tony’s presentaion covers his career working for Beyer Peacock in South America and Europe through to the present day.

Tuesday 19 October  North Wales Railway Circle Bill Rogerson :Sardinia Railways.

23-31 October. Llangollen Railway Day out with Thomas. the half term event featuring No.1.

29 - 31 October Merseyside Model Railway Society exhibition at the Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead. Trams will be in operation on the adjacent tramway.

See the Calendar page for more details.

6940, a.k.a. 37 240 shows off its new corporate image, Llangollen Railway, 31 July; see reports below.  Picture by Chris Jones-Bridger.

Class 175s and 158s to be refurbished

Press reports tell us that Welsh Assembly ministers have approved a £7.5m improvement package to the Class 175, 158 and 153 trains. Work on the 175 fleet, jointly funded by Arriva and the Welsh Assembly Government, has already begun with the first completed unit already in service. All 27 units are expected to be completed by May of next year with new carpets, seat covers and a refresh of the vestibule area. Our picture above, taken by someone with permission to be there, shows 175 011 on 25 July in shed 12 at Longsight depot, Manchester, where the work is being done.

Work on the Class 158 fleet, fully-funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, will begin in December with all 24 units expected to be completed by summer 2012. The improvement programme will see the trains undergo a complete upgrade, with new seating, passenger information system, improved luggage facilities, additional space for wheelchairs and a full refurbishment of toilets. The reliably of this type must be good at present, as 4-car 158 combos are often seen on the Holyhead - Cardiff trains.

Eight Class 153s, as used on the Conwy Valley line, will undergo improvement work including a full repaint and new seats.

On the subject of Class 175s, the picture above shows the interior of Blue Line ferry Split 1700 (originally built in 1966 for service in the Baltic as Kronpris Carl Gustaf) which has been in service between Italy and Croatia. Those seats in the foreground look they have been added at some stage, as they don't match the others in the area, but they have a distinctly familiar look to North Wales line travellers. What's going on there?

Sixties Saturday - report by Mark Riley

An attraction of the Swinging 60s event at the Llangollen Railway was the debut of 37240 in BR Blue with original number. On April 24 this year, 37240 looked in a sorry state in Llangollen Yard...

...but just 3 months on and the restoration is remarkable. This is a first glimpse of 6940 as it is hauled from the sheds on 31 July by industrial shunter Pilkington. 6940 starts its engines!

A first view for the public of 6940. It looks like a completely new loco, such is the quality of the restoration!

The unusual sight of steam and diesel at Llangollen on the morning of 31 July. Black 5 44806 is at Platform 1 about to leave with the 10:30 to Carrog, and 6940 and 80072 are at Platform 2, double heading the 11:00 to Carrog. A B&W conversion for period effect!

6940 and 80072 going well through the rain at Garthydwr with the 11:00 Llangollen - Carrog. Not much sun on this day, sadly.

In the afternoon, there was a brief spell of sunny weather. This coincided with the passing of 6940, approaching Fisherman's Crossing with the 14:00 Llangollen-Carrog.

The sun remained for the return working, the 15:12 from Carrog, approaching Glyndyfrdwy.

The mixed steam/traction theme also featured Standard 2-6-4 Tank 80072 and Birmingham RCW Class 26 D5310 double-heading the 15:30 Llangollen-Carrog, seen passing Berwyn, but on this occasion the sun dimmed behind a cloud just as the pair passed.

A splendid array of vintage cars and motorbikes, dominated by MGs, with the Chester and Wrexham MG owners club on site. Another great weekend, with an intensive train timetable. A big thanks to all the staff who devoted their time to making this event such a success.

Prestatyn Progress - report by Dave Sallery

Prestatyn booking office has now closed for refurbishment and has been replaced by a temporary structure in the up side car park (above).  The refurbishment works include a new roof, electrics and automatic access door. 

Access to the platforms is via a scaffolding bridge from the road on the up side, seen from outside (above) ....

... and inside.

The Chester end of the station has now been closed off with all trains stopping on the Holyhead side of the now-refurbished road bridge.

The ticket machine formerly outside the booking office is now located under the road bridge.  The new passenger access bridge is making slow progress.

One pleasing survivor which has now been repainted is the LNWR bridge-plate 72A on the down side. The 'A' prefix denotes that the road bridge was added after the line was built.

Chirk changes - report by George Jones

Travelling on the  on 12:24 London - Wrexham  on 31 July and took the opportunity of the opening door droplights of the Mk3 Coaches to taken these pictures of the Kronospan sidings at Chirk as the train pulled away from the station stop. Above is the entry to the yard as used by the logs. Work on extending the siding for the longer trains now seems to be underway as the following two shots show.

The yard to the north of the existing sidings has contractors at work. The existing line goes off to the right whereas the new development extends to the left, or north, end of the works.

The third view of the sequence shows land being levelled in readiness for the new tracks.

We understand that in the near future, possibly Friday 14 August there will be a trial load of timber to Chirk from the one-time quarry sidings at Ribblehead on the Settle-Carlisle line.

Mystery signalbox (?)

Shane Conway writes: I wonder if anyone can shed any light on the attached photo? I took it in mid-1998 somewhere in Wales, possibly on the A487 near Machynlleth, but I'm not sure exactly where. Was it an actual railway item, or just something built to look like one? Do you know where it is?

Sixties Sunday - report by George Jones

I got to Carrog on Sunday in time to sample the 'rail replacement bus service', with Crosville Bristol Lodekka FS6G seen here at the station entrance ready to give passengers off the 10:30 arrival the chance to see the line from a new angle. I rode this bus to Llangollen as the sole passenger and experienced a new view of a well known A5 road and surrounding countryside with good views of the railway in places. The bus is DFG157 built 1963 and once allocated to Crosville's Wrexham depot before withdrawal in May 1981.

En route on the top deck of the Lodekka I caught the return road workings passing east of Glyndyfrdwy with Tanat Valley's ex-Trent Motor Traction Leyland Tiger Cub coach leading followed by St Helens AEC 153 - and a sizable tailback ... A return to Carrog on the Lodekka with rather more passengers provided a 20 mph grind up the gradient beyond Berwyn and no doubt following motorists were pleased when the bus pulled over at the top to allow them to pass. On the level the near 50 year old bus motored along at a respectable 50 mph and our driver did well to get the big vehicle down the lane at Carrog and into the station yard.

Back to Llangollen by steam with 5643, and a contrast provided with the tank alongside the class 109 Wickham unit on the service back to Carrog.

As one who remembers the 60s all too well, the contrasts provided on the Llangollen Railway exceeded my actual experiences of the decade with scenes like this. If I ever saw 56xxs in the 60s they were all too well worn and tatty compared with 5643's immaculate turnout!

Later 5643 was on the express goods, seen passing non stop at Glyndyfrdwy with Black 5 44806 waiting on the 1T57 passenger - a notable headcode from August 1968!

With the line operating at full capacity all the loops were in action and some long waits at wayside stations was a feature of the proceedings on the single line. This was very realistic of the railways in transition which must baffle more modern generations used to go, go, go.

And the finale as the repainted 37 240 now running in BR blue as 6940 takes the train way from Carrog in the late afternoon of Sunday. The acceleration of the diesel with a lightweight four-coach train was impressive but showed how the line might have been worked had it remained open as a through route into the 1970s.
With a half-hourly service for most of the day, there was plenty of variety to choose from, although the significance of the different trains may have been lost on the passing family trade who just popped in for a ride on the steam train.

Freight miscellany

66 426 and 66 422 head east past Pringles' at Llanfair PG on 29 July with a pair of flask wagons (Richard Fleckney)

57 003 leads 66 420 through Colwyn Bay on 5 August with the Flask train from Valley to Crewe (Stéphanie Durrant)

The consist was two FNA wagons (Stéphanie Durrant)

Another 'odd couple' - Colas Rail 47 739 Robin of Templecombe and 66 841 seen at Euxton Balshaw Lane on the West Coast Main Line between Wigan and Preston with 6Z37 Chirk to Carlisle timber empties on Friday 6 August. (Tim Blazey)

Sixties weekend - report by Larry Davies

D5310 and 5643 at Carrog on Saturday 31 July.


Superb finish to the railcars 56171/50416 – truly delightful to ride behind the driver again.


A nice touch on the Saturday afternoon as the Standard Tank carried a headboard from the RCTS/SLS 'Joint Scottish Railtour way back in 1962. [According to the superb Six Bells Junction website this remarkable event, from 14-23 June 1962, featured no less than 22 steam locos, including three Standard 2-6-4T sisters of 80072. At one stage the passengers transferred to the two-coach branch train for the run from Killin Junction to Loch Tay and back with 80092.]


6940 finished in BR blue at Glyndyfrdwy on Sunday 1 August with the 15:00 from Llangollen.  Superbly handled away from Glyn by Steve Jones and for a few moments some of us were back in Rhymney...


5643 ambles into Glyndyfrdwy with a freight on Sunday afternoon.  If it wasn’t for the orange vest – this was real sixties stuff. A good weekend and thanks to the Llangollen Railway for taking us old ones back to memory lane.

One weekend, three flask trains - report by Mark Youdan

A weekend stay in North Wales from 23-27 July turned out to be busier than I expected, with the Valley Flasks running on the Friday, Monday and Tuesday and as an added bonus, class 37's featured twice!

For the Friday train I went close to Llanfair PG; while I was waiting 158 825 (above) came through with 1D13, 11:09 Birmingham International to Holyhead, with the Ginsters branding still on the roof, as mentioned in an earlier update.

I didn't have to wait long before 37 087 and 37 229 appeared with train 6K41, 14:58 Valley to Crewe.

Monday saw the train in the hands of 66 431 and 66 425. While I was waiting for them to leave Valley, 158 820 came through with 1D13,

Shortly afterwards the 66s propelled the two flasks into the station and headed back towards Crewe.

As the weather was fairly clear I went out for the evening loco-hauled 1W91, 16:15 Cardiff Central to Holyhead which was in the hands of 57 316. With the days now shortening there cannot be many more occasions this year to get this train in daylight.

Tuesday was to see the return of 37 229 and 37 087 on the flasks and my shot shows them passing Ty Croes. Since their appearance on Friday they had swapped round giving a nice contrast between the different headcode box layouts.

Shortly afterwards they were followed by 158 829 and 158 840 working 1G60, 15:23 Holyhead to Birmingham International. I am sure that this is usually just one unit, hence the reason for its inclusion.

Sixties farewell - pictures by Glyn Jones

A last look at the Sixties weekend, as D5310's driver hands in the single-line token at Carrog ...

... and the Class 109 unit arrives at Glyndyfrdwy.

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