Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

25 March 2013

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

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.

March 2013

Saturday 23 March  Llangollen Railway Diesel day

Thursday 28 March Merseyside Railway History Group AGM:  Members Slides

Saturday 30 March Wirral 0 Gauge Group Open Day,  Unit 7, The Odyssey Centre, Corporation Road,
Birkenhead  CH41 1HB British model trains running 13:00 to 17:00. Contact 0151 653 0637 for more information.  Admission £2 - ample free parking. Nearest Station Birkenhead Park.

April 2013

Friday 5 April   Clwyd Railway Circle   Michael Murphy 'Liverpool Overhead Railway' To finish off the season, a highly recommended speaker known for his light-hearted style of presentation. The talk will be followed by film footage of the railway in its heyday.

Monday 8 April  Wrexham Railway Society 'The Railways Of Scotland' Les Nixon

Thursday 11 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society “Chester to Holyhead English Electric traction 1984 – Present day”  Steve Morris

Friday 12 April  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Current Developments on Metrolink" a digital presentation by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association.

Saturday 13 April  Railway and Canal Historical Society   "The General Strike & the Railways" by Dr. Robin Smith

Saturday 13 April  Llangollen Railway Real Ale train evening

Monday 15 April RCTS Chester Meeting has been moved to 29 April ( see below)

Thursday 18 April LCGB North West John Sloane 'Steam Sheds and Diesel Depots'

19-21 April Llangollen Railway  Spring Steam gala with return of the steam Railmotor 93 and newly restored Auto Trailer 92

Saturday 20 April Steam on the Coast Steam Dreams Cathedrals Express 60163 Tornado London - Holyhead - Crewe.

Thursday 25 April Merseyside Railway History Group Richard Kells : Quiz and informal evening

Saturday 27 April Excursion UK Railtours Letchworth and London to the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway (Fuly booked.)

Monday 29 April RCTS Chester Even Further Down Under: New Zealand In 2011 & 2012 By Geoff Morris.

May 2013

Friday 3  - Monday 6 May Ffestiniog Railway Steam 150: A Narrow Gauge Odyssey

Saturday 4 May Steam on the Coast Vintage Trains The Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza -
GWR 4-6-0s 4965 + 5043: Tyseley - Llandudno and return.

Saturday 4 May Excursion Statesman Rail 'Llandudno Victorian Statesman' Cambridge and stations to Nuneaton to Llandudno Junction and Llandudno.

Thursday 9 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society “The Buckley Railway”  Paul Davies

Saturday 11 May Llangollen Railway Murder Mystery

Saturday 11 May As part of the Steam Dreams 8-day 'Cathedrals Explorer' a diesel (97/3) loco-hauled run from Shrewsbury to Porthmadog connecting with a special on the Ffestiniog. The journey continues on 13 May from Bangor to Newcastle-on-Tyne. Traction (steam?) to be arranged.

Thursday 16 May LCGB North West AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.

Saturday 18 May Excursion Compass Tours 'The Heart of Wales Scenic Rambler' Holyhead, Llanfair PG, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Crewe, Whitchurch, Wem & Shrewsbury to Llandrindod & Cardiff.

Sunday 19 May  Llangollen Railway Teddy Bears Picnic

Saturday 25 May Excursion Statesman Rail 'Welsh Mountain Statesman' Saturday 25 May 2013 Hull,  Brough , Selby, Garforth, Leeds, Dewsbury,  Mirfield, Huddersfield,  Stalybridge, Stockport Wilmslow, Crewe (c. 09:00) to Aberystwyth for the Vale of Rheidol Railway. (Fully booked.)

Tuesday 28 May Talyllyn Railway Children's 'Duncan' Day.

Wednesday 29 May Compass Tours 'Ynys Mon Express' Southport - Holyhead. (Was to be steam, but has been changed to diesel due to 'loco availablilty issue.')

June 2013

1-2 June Llangollen Railway Day Out with Thomas weekend

Thursday 6 June Steam to Chester Railway Touring Company London Euston - Chester . 70013: Euston-Northampton-Chester and return

Saturday 8 June  Llangollen Railway Real Ale train evening

Saturday 8 June Wirral 0 Gauge Group Open Day,  Unit 7, The Odyssey Centre, Corporation Road,
Birkenhead  CH41 1HB British model trains running 13:00 to 17:00. Admission £2 - ample free parking. Nearest Station Birkenhead Park. Contact 0151 653 0637 or j.elliott37[at] for more information. 

22-23 June Llangollen Railway Heritage Railcar Gala

July 2013

Saturday 6 July. The Welsh N-Gauge Model Railway Show, organised by the N-Gauge Society North Wales Area Group.An exclusively N-Gauge Exhibition with layouts from the Group and visiting layouts in British and American outline. St Mary's Church hall, Rosehill Steet, Conwy LL32 8LD,10.00am to 4.00pm, adults £3.00  Children £1.50 Refeshments available. Hall fully disabled accessible - car parking, bus stops and rail station adjacent.Further information: 01492 572633.

Saturday 6 July Excursion Statesman Rail 'Welsh Mountain Statesman' Saturday 25 May 2013 Sheffield, and stations to Wolverhampton to Aberystwyth for the Vale of Rheidol Railway. (Fully booked.)

Saturday / Sunday 6-7 July Llangollen Railway Classic Transport Weekend

Saturday / Sunday 6 July Talyllyn Railway Garden Railway weekend.

Saturday 13 July Llangollen Railway Murder Mystery evening

Saturday 20 July Excursion UK Railtours Cardigan Bay Panorama London to Aberystwyth. Note: entirely First Class Dining, fare £169.

27-28 July Llangollen Railway July 1960s weekend

Sunday 28 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool - Holyhead - Liverpool. Loco 45305, 46233, 60009 or 70013.

Tuesday 30 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' 
Preston-Frodsham-Llandudno Jc -Blaenau Ffestiniog and return. Loco 45305 or 61994.

August 2013

3-4 August Llangollen Railway  Day Out With Thomas

Sunday 4 August Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe - Holyhead, steam-hauled Manchester Piccadilly - Altrincham - Chester - Holyhead and return by 45305/70013

8-11 August  Llangollen Railway Day Out With Thomas

Friday/Saturday 9 - 10 August Talyllyn Railway beer festival

Saturday 17 August Vintage Trains 'The Welsh Dragon' Tyseley - Llandudno Junction and return. Loco 5043

Sunday 18 August Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool - Holyhead - Liverpool. Loco 45305, 46233, 60009 or 70013.

Tuesday 20 August Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' 
Preston-Frodsham-Llandudno Jc -Blaenau Ffestiniog and return. Loco 45305 or 61994.

Thursday 22 August Talyllyn Railway Children's 'Duncan' Day

Saturday 24 August Wirral 0 Gauge Group Open Day,  Unit 7, The Odyssey Centre, Corporation Road,
Birkenhead  CH41 1HB Amwerican model trains running 13:00 to 17:00.  Admission £2 - ample free parking. Nearest Station Birkenhead Park. Contact 0151 653 0637or j.elliott37[at] for more information. 

30-31 August and 1 September  Llangollen Railway Steam gala

September 2013

Sunday 1 September Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe - Holyhead, steam-hauled Manchester Piccadilly - Altrincham - Chester - Holyhead and return by 45305/70013.

Tuesday 3 September Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' 
Preston-Frodsham-Llandudno Jc -Blaenau Ffestiniog and return. Loco 45305 or 61994.

Sunday 8 September Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe - Holyhead, steam-hauled Manchester Piccadilly - Altrincham - Chester - Holyhead and return by 45305/70013.

14 September Llangollen Railway Murder Mystery evening

21 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Day

175 010 brings the 13:21 Cardiff to Holyhead into Ludlow, 19 March. Picture by Alan Crawshaw.

Our Calendar Page is updated with this summer's planned steam trips and excursions. Additions welcome.

Wrexham to Wembley

Arriva Trains Wales ran an innovative special train on Sunday 24 March from Wrexham to Wembley Stadium for fans travelling to support Wrexham against Grimsby in the final of the FA Trophy, a knock-out competition for football teams in the lower leagues. The train, comprising six coaches of the Holyhead - Cardiff express stock and a Driving Van Trailer,  ran as empty-stock from Holyhead to Wrexham General in the early morning it time for the 09:15 Departure from Wrexham. Ivor Bufton photographed the train approaching Prestatyn, with 67 002 leading and 67 001 on the rear. Note the light dusting of snow by comparison with the situation further east.

Above, the departure from Wrexham (John Cowlishaw).

From Wrexham, the train ran via Birmingham and the Chiltern Railways route, with a Chiltern Trains driver (born in Wrexham apparently) taking over for the Chiltern section. Guy Gorton braved the cold to visit his local Chiltern station, Gerrards Cross, with his camera. 168 113 called at 12:27 with the 10:40 Birmingham - Snow Hill - Marylebone, strengthened to two units and advertised as making an extra stop at Wembley Stadium.

A few minutes later the Arriva train passed Gerrards Cross on time at 12:31, with 67 001 leading after the reversal at Chester.

67 002 on the rear showed evidence of the snowy weather earlier in the journey. The train is entering the tunnel built to allow construction of a Tesco store above. Infamously, while the tunnel was under construction, on 30 June 2005 it collapsed on to the line. Guy Gorton chronicled the results and subsequent events on his Tesco Tunnel website which is still online and well worth a look.

Wrexham won the match on penalties, becoming the first Welsh team to win the trophy; the railway was ready for the possibly late finish, and the alternative departure time of 18:41 (instead of 17:41) from Wembley Stadium was applied. The train was diverted via Crewe due to a failed train somewhere near Chirk, whose crew were due to operate the Chester - Crewe shuttle which was therefore cancelled. The football special stopped in platform 12 at Crewe to collect as many passengers as possible that were waiting for the Chester service, and then made an additional stop at Chester, arriving into Wrexham over an hour late at about 23:30.

Next morning, 67 001 returned light-engine to Crewe.

Colwyn Bay sea defences - report by Nick Gurney and Dennis Oliver

The next phase of the £6m Colwyn Bay coastal defence scheme has begun which will bring in 500,000 tonnes of sand to create a new beach. The Cyprus-flagged trailing suction hopper dredger Barent Zanen has been brought in to suck up sand from the sea bed out in the Irish Sea and return it close to shore where a pipeline has been constructed.

The pipeline goes to the shore (above) close to the derelict pier.

A utility vessel the MCS Anneke helps connect the seaward end of the pipe to the dredger's connection on her bow, as seen above in a view from Rhos-on-Sea ...

... and the sand is pumped ashore. Work goes on 24 hours a day for at least the next two weeks.

Cambrian Cruise updated

Dave Sallery writes to say he has updated his very useful guide to the Cambrian Circular trip with 2013 times and prices. Visit:

The prices have gone up by a couple of pounds but the worst feature now for passengers starting the tour from North Wales is the 57-minute wait at Shrewsbury from 17:27 to 18:24. (This negative connection, which occurs throughout the day, has been raised with Arriva management but they claim few travel from the Cambrian lines towards Chester.)  North Wales passengers used to be able to travel earlier on the Cardiff - Holyhead express but this has now been timed to run much later, leaving Shrewsbury at 20:05. One idea might be to adjourn to one of Shrewsbury's restaurants for an evening meal, returning for a loco-hauled ride on the 20:05.

Dave's picture shows a Ffestiniog Railway train hauled by Earl of Merioneth passing Boston Lodge works.

Snowy Llangollen - pictures by Mark Leman Lawrie

The Llangollen diesel running day on Saturday 23 March, and the normal service on Sunday 24 March, were cancelled, due to the sheer amount of snow that had fallen, and blown into drifts, in the area. These pictures by Mark Leman Lawrie illustrate the situation. Above, Llangollen station.

The cutting near Llangollen Goods Junction.

The locomotive depot.

Clearing under way.

Berwyn station.

The A5 main road between Berwyn and Glyn, with fallen trees.

Loading at Llanddulas - report by Dave Sallery

Cargo ship Fri Skien at Llanddulas on 18 March, loading limestone for Stockvik, Sweden.  The limestone is to be used in the steelworks there.

Menai Bridge station archaeology - pictures by Peter Basterfield

The station at Menai Bridge, near the mainland end of the Menai Strait road bridge, opened in 1858, some years after the opening of the line, and closed in 1966. The platforms were removed soon after closure; the main station building lasted longer but was demolished in the 1980s. The station area is now an industrial estate, but the substantially-built subway which connected the platforms still exists, as these pictures show.

There were four tracks here, with a central island platform; the entrance to the island as now been blocked up (above left).

The trackbed of the former branch to Treborth and Caernarfon, closed in 1970, is used by Network Rail for access.

The occupier of one the the industrial units told Peter that someone else had taken similar photos  with a book in mind. Could it have been someone from the Disused Stations website?

Day Return to Milford Haven - report by George Jones

Making the best of the end of the 'Club 55 ticket' season (Sunday 24 March was the last day for now) Gareth Thomas and I made a bid for Milford Haven to achieve a 'round the Haven routing' which in a frustrated earlier bid last autumn ended at Carmarthen with a broken-down train blocking the way west. Making a difference this time, for me it was the 07:32 departure from Wrexham General on a bleak morning with a touch of snow about, but the Welsh Government Premium Train was on time with Driving Van Trailer  82306 leading and 67 002 on the rear. Some thirty people joined but there was plenty of room to choose from in standard class.  As the train runs non-stop to Shrewsbury, Gareth had to use the earlier service from Gobowen to join me at 08:05, but he had the benefit of seeing the empty stock of the of 'Northern Belle' top and tailed by 47s head through for Birmingham.

Calling only at Hereford the express was on time at Newport and into Cardiff Central (above) for 09:55 allowing an easy connection onto the 10:07 Milford Haven with 175 007. The excitement west of Central was the sight of Colas 56 094 parked up but little else until Port Talbot where Class 66 locos were seen in the Tata yard and another at Landore depot.

Reversing at Swansea, the route west for Llanelli and Carmarthen takes the single line via Gowerton and here work on the Network Rail project to redouble the track was very evident, including the new bridgeworks over the Loughor viaduct. West of Pembrey & Burry Port the weather began to improve and we eventually had some sunshine in Pembrokeshire after a reversal at Carmarthen. An on-time arrival at Milford Haven (above) provided for a lunch break.

The basic facilities at the terminal have not changed since I was here before (above) and the state of the run-round loop would suggest it has not been used for a long time and is not needed with today's train formation.

A stroll around the harbour to see two moored-up Belgian trawlers and a view across the Haven identified our ultimate destination in Pembroke Dock. The 13:52 bus service by Silcocks took us out of Milford, past Neyland and onto the high level toll bridge to cross the eastern arm of the Haven, then via Tesco to be dropped off at Pembroke Dock station (above) where 153 362 Dylan Thomas 1914-1953 awaited on its stopover.

Before joining the train we had a quick look at where the line used to go as traces of the former dock line can still be seen between the houses. Beyond the buffer stops (above) the gap in the houses is the former dock rail route.

From the road the former track is heavily blocked by concrete obstructions - the 153 can be seen in the background.

Departing at 15:09 the lightly-loaded 153 took us past the army ranges at Manorbier and then to the main centre at Tenby for a return to Carmarthen. Here we elected to join the return working of a Manchester Piccadilly service due to leave at 17:04. 175 005 ran direct to Shrewsbury where a change onto a following Holyhead service got me home to Wrexham at 22:15 after a 502-mile epic day out when everything went according to plan and all trains ran on time - unlike the disastrous scenes depicted on BBC2's recent six-part showing on their 'The Railway programme.

We hope for another Club 55 season to allow for further exploration opportunities by rail.

Past Times with John Hobbs - Freight at Flint

LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 44800 passes Flint (now Fflint) Station, on 23 March 1964, with an 'Up' Class K freight. The station is in a tidy condition with all lamp posts looking respectable.

Another 'Black 5', 44821, this time on the 'Down' line with a Class H  Freight. All the usual railway accoutrements can be seen: telegraph poles, loading gauge, coal bunker etc.; the Distant Signal for Muspratts Sidings is still 'On',  perhaps the train will be turned on to the slow line there. On the 'Up' line the distant for Pentre Sidings is 'Off' so perhaps the box is switched out. Again, on 23 March 1964.

Later that year on the 30 April 1964, 45493 passes Flint with the morning Down Parcels Train; the staff are busy with a loaded trolley, the weighing machine is in working order and the Station Master oversees operations. This train followed the 9.20 Crewe to Holyhead at this time and made a leisurely progress along the North Wales coast.

Stanier 8F 2-8-0 48094 potters about in Flint goods yard on 30 April 1964. The yard closed to freight from 4 May 1964, so perhaps this was one of the final revenue-earning visits to the yard. It remained in use for engineers' trains at least until 1967; now it is the site of a car park and bus terminus.

Flask 37s

The 6K41 Valley - Crewe ran again on 20 March, this time featuring 37 194 and 37 604. Above it passes the golfers of Rhosneigr (Peter Basterfield).

Traversing the concrete canyon at Colwyn Bay (Jack Bowley).

Cardiff locos - report by Richard Putley

On a visit to Cardiff Central on 20 March I saw no less than three class 56s: 56094 in Colas
livery (above) ...

56 311 in Devon and Cornwall grey (nearest to the camera above), with 56091 in plain grey.

66 850 in Colas livery was also there.

One of the three Arriva Blue 67s was visible on Canton Depot with the Arriva Trains Wales Express stock laying over before the evening return to Holyhead.

Meanwhile 66 008 headed through on an eastbound steel train.

Cambrian panorama

Snow on Diffwys as the 11:30 Pwllheli - Machynlleth heads south off Barmouth bridge, 18 March (Ian Wright).

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