Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

16 August 2010

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Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the all rail staff of North Wales.

'The sound of those clanking rods and a spirited skip under Queens Road Bridge took us back to 1967 when sister locos often ran light back to Chester and completion of their work on one of the diagrams then operating from 6A shed after our old 6G closed to steam in October 1966.' - Larry Davies

To see other, larger pictures of these trains, and also relive the old days of steam in North Wales, readers are  recommended to visit Geoff Poole's '6G Llandudno Junction' website.

Forthcoming events

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.

28 - 30 August Corris Railway Model Railway and Toy Exhibition

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 presentation 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.

6233 Duchess of Sutherland crosses Malltraeth viaduct, 8 August. (Ian Pilkington.) Many more steam views below. See the coming events column to the left for details of further runs of these excursions.


This summer is seeing a plethora of steam excursions in our area. This update is devoted entirely to our contributor's impressions of recent workings. We've had to ration the pictures a little - but there hopefully there is at least one from each person who who emailed. Note: a general issue, featuring some diesels (!) will appear later in the week.

North Wales Coast Express

We begin with the Liverpool - Holyhead (and back) excursion of Sunday 8 August, featuring LMS Pacific 6233. We pick up the westbound train (above) Crossing the viaduct east of Frodsham (David Jackson)

A little further, and the train emerges from the sandstone cutting into Frodsham station (Neil Kennedy.)

The engine, built at Crewe Works in 1938, was named for Eileen Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland (1891 – 1943) daughter of the 7th Earl of Lanesborough. She had married the Marquess of Stafford in 1912, and became Duchess of Sutherland in 1913 when her husband became the 5th Duke (the family seat is Dunrobin castle on the Thurso line - the they also once owned the estate in Staffordshire which is now open to the public as Trentham Gardens) on the death of his father. From 1916 to 1921 she served as Mistress of the Robes, the senior lady of the Royal Household.

The crown above the nameplate is of much more recent origin, being applied after its ground-breaking run along the North Wales line with the Royal Train on 11 June 2002,  an honour which was repeated on 22 March 2005.

Departure from Frodsham, with at least one website contributor among the Costa Coffee customers (Neil Kennedy)

Passing Chester locks after departing from Chester (George Jones)

Ffynnongroyw (Stéphanie Durrant)

Prestatyn (Stavros Lainas)

Abergele (John Beresford)

Arriving at Llandudno (Larry Davies). After setting down passengers the train was 'dragged' back to Llandudno Junction by diesel 47 270 which was on the rear of the train.

Departing Llandudno Junction for Holyhead, as seen by signalman Alan Roberts.

Conwy (Larry Davies)

Approaching Bangor (Eifion Hughes)

Llanfair PG (Richard Fleckney)

47 270 Swift on the rear at Llanfair PG (Richard Fleckney)

At Holyhead, the diesel ran round the train stabled while 6233 ran to Valley (above, picture by Barrie Hughes) to turn on the triangle ready for the return journey. Some of the photographers - not the people above who are by the triangle siding -  were seen to be sitting on the side of the main line and setting up their tripods there, with the result that approaching service train had to be cautioned by the Valley signaller.

The departure up the gradient from Holyhead was enthralling, with a minor slip as the loco crossed from Down to Up opposite the signalbox - with no help available from the 47 on the rear.

We pick up the return journey at Rhosneigr (Ian Pilkington). Ian notes: 'Sadly I forgot about the speed restriction slack which applies to this particular loco between here and Ty Croes, so no "clag".'

Gaerwen (Stavros Lainas). At Llandudno Junction the diesel-hauled move to Llandudno was repeated.

Colwyn Bay (Stéphanie Durrant)

Colwyn Bay (Darren Durrant)

As ever, 6233 was in immaculate condition: the red headlamp carries a royal crown from the day when it was handled by Royalty.

The Welsh Mountaineer, 11 August

The 'Welsh Mountaineer' of 11 August was the second run this year of a Railway Touring Company train from Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog and return, also steam hauled all the way, this time by LMS 2-8-0 48151 Gauge O Guild. Above, the train enters our area, crossing the Weaver at Frodsham (Neil Kennedy)

Passing through Helsby station, travelling 'at a fair rate of knots.' (David Jackson)

Approaching Chester at Mickle Trafford (Stavros Lainas)

Lots of 'clag' as the train passes Mold Junction (George Jones). The locomotive has been turned on the triangle of lines at Chester in order to be in the best position to attack the gradients of the Conwy Valley chimney-first after reversal at Llandudno Junction.

Taking water by hose at Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies)

Passing North Llanrwst (Larry Davies) This is the only passing loop on the branch, and even this is not used by the normal daily service which since around 2001 when the timetable was reorganised with Class 175s taking over Holyhead workings, is operated by just one diesel unit shuttling between Llandudno and Blaenau. Before that, two diagrams existed for Class 101 units, and included some Llandudno - Holyhead all-stations trains.

Pounding round the curve approaching Roman Bridge (John Beresford)

Arriving at Blaenau Ffestiniog (John Beresford)

Preparing for the run-round at Blaenau Ffestiniog, as spare steam blows money out through the safety valves (Barrie Hughes) After running-round the train shunted to the loop to allow the regular train to arrive and depart.

Departing Llandudno Junction after running round the train (Larry Davies).

Heading for home, the train passes the junction signal for the line to Halton Junction. (Neil Kennedy)

How things used to be: one of the few pictures a young Charlie managed to get of working steam before the 1968 extinction, showing a dirty 8F (48529 I think) doing what it was built for, rolling a train of 'covhops' loaded with lime through Chinley station. Today even the platform on which I was standing has vanished, although Chinley station still trades and limestone trains still pass through.

The Cambrian

A look at The Cambrian coast steam operation which runs Mondays - Fridays between Machynlleth and Porthmadog or Pwllheli until the August Bank Holiday, this year with 'Black 5' 44871 as motive power.  A special non-passenger run was made on Sunday 1 August, with  instrumentation attached to the loco, reportedly to gather data of stopping distances, etc. in preparation for the creation of a system which will allow the train to run once the new ERTMS signalling has been implemented. At Porthmadog (above) the coal in the tender was replenished. Picture by Barrie Hughes.

All three main line locos on this page were designed under the supervision of Sir William Stanier, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Above: Harlech in thee rain on 6 August (Greg Mape)

Southbound across Barmouth bridge on 6 August (Greg Mape)

The view from the footpath across Barmouth Bridge on 12 August (David Hennessey)

Porthmadog, 12 August. The family resemblance to the 8F is clear. (David Hennessey)

These machines also lasted, mostly in freight service, until Charlie bought a camera: above, in 1968, 45203 is turned on the vacuum-operated turntable at Gowhole sidings near Chinley. The only thing recognisable today from this picture would be the profile of the hills behind, although the Hope Valley main line, out of sight behind the wagons, still flourishes, although reduced from four tracks to two.

Cambrian steam, large and small - by Richard Putley

Having decided to a book a ride on 'The Cambrian' for Monday 9 August. I  booked myself in to the Dyfi View Guesthouse, which is a mere 10 minutes walk from Machynlleth station. It's also handy for all the other facilities the town has to offer.


Driving down on Sunday 8 August, I called in at both the Welshpool and Llanfair and Corris Railways. On the former I parked at Welshpool (Raven Square) and the loco in use that day (above) was one of the original pair, 823 Countess.

On the Corris, their steam loco No. 7 (built in 2005) was running. A ride on the Corris line includes a tour of their facilities at Maespoeth.


On the Monday morning it was raining. Nonetheless I still stood on the footbridge at Machynlleth (above) to film 44871 bringing the train in to the station. I managed to get a photo of 44871 at the head of the train before boarding, then we started so smoothly that I hardly noticed we'd set off. The Black 5 made light work of its task; arrival at Porthmadog was over five minutes early. With the booked half-hour stop this gave plenty of time to visit the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway's excellent café across the road. Their loco of the day, 0-6-0T “Gertrude” had whistled a salute as we’d passed.

By this time it had stopped raining, and by the time we got to Pwllheli the sun was shining. After a stroll round the town I returned to the station just in time to see 44871 emerge from the siding where the train had propelled into after everyone had got off. Once it had run round it propelled the stock back into the platform (nowadays there is only one) ready for the return journey. The weather remained good for the rest of the afternoon.

The following day I drove to a lay-by about half a mile east of Barmouth. From here I walked along the road to a small jetty ...

 ...from where I set up my camcorder to film 44871 heading north across the bridge.

Having done this I then travelled over to the Talyllyn Railway for a ride. They had four locos running: Tal-y-llyn, Sir Handel, Edward Thomas (Corris No. 7's elder sibling!) and Tom Rolt – very appropriate as it’s the centenary of the birth of L.T.C. Rolt, railway and canal author and leading light in the foundation of the preservation society. The second coach originated on the Glyn Valley Tramway.

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