Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

08 April 2013

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

Sunset over Barmouth Bridge, as seen from the Cregennan Lakes, 6 April (Ian Wright)

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

April 2013

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 (Fully 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 availability 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 Refreshments 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 American 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

Spring arrives at Chester. Picture by Mark Riley.

English Electric to Holyhead

Steve Morris will be making a presentation to the Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society covering his latest book  English Electric Traction Chester to Holyhead volume 2 1984-2012 on Thursday 11 April at the Llandudno Junction Sports and Social Club on Victoria Drive. The meeting starts at 19:30 and will include a large number of the images used in the publication, all taken by North Wales-based photographers. All welcome to attend, the bar opens at 19:00.

Sunday night 67

The four days from  2 - 5 April, following the bank holiday Monday, was a disastrous time for the Arriva Premier service with loco failures and unavailability leading to replacement of by railcars on all for days and consequent lack of meal service. To get things back in step, the train rain empty to Holyhead on Sunday evening 7 April with 67 001 was leading and 82307 on the rear, in order to form next morning's express to Cardiff. Peter Lloyd managed to get a picture at Llandudno Junction at 20:45 with the help of the station lighting.

Easter Monday at Bangor - pictures by Richard Fleckney

Bangor on 1 April: the 12:31 Birmingham International - Holyhead train unusually features a class 150, 150 208 (above)...

... coupled to the usual 158, 158 841. The presence of the 150 with its 75 mph maximum speed restricts the speed of the whole train, although the 158 is allowed to run at 90. This never seems to greatly affect timekeeping on Arriva services, however. It must be a memory test for the driver when the 158 is leading, though.

Both ends of another train, the special from Holyhead to Crewe and back, which ran on Good Friday and Easter Monday using the 'Premier' loco-worked set. Driving van Trailer 82308 headed the train from Holyhead to Crewe ...

... with 67 002 on the rear providing the power.

EE Weekend at Crewe Heritage Centre - report by Mark Riley

The Crewe Heritage Centre held an English Electric themed weekend on 6 and 7 April. Seen above arriving in convoy, 20 305 leads 37 405, 47712 and 37 611 into the centre shortly after opening time, ready to be shunted into positions for display.

47 712, seen here, has been purchased from DRS by four Heritage Centre volunteers and is now the latest addition to the attractions on site.

37 611 is seen having been shunted into position... is an immaculately turned out 37 405, positively gleaming in the late morning sun.  20 303 wasn't so well placed for a decent photo, at least not at the time I was there.

Newly purchased 47 712 was positioned a little further away alongside the Class 03 shunter, redundant on the day, with the Class 73 electro-diesel 73 006 giving brake van rides.

Long-time resident D1842 along side 71000 Duke of Gloucester.

On April 20, 60156 Tornado will return to Crewe Heritage Centre after working the Cathedrals Express railtour to Holyhead, where it will be giving brake van rides the following day, 21 April, and if you miss it then, it will still be on site the following weekend of 27-28 April.

News of Pont Briwet - report by Ken Robinson

With the work on replacing Briwet Bridge at Penrhyndeudraeth almost under way (the preliminary work on the approach roads has already started) I attach a photo of 158 836 (I think!) crossing the bridge on 3 April as the 09:34 from Pwllheli to Machynlleth.

Bethesda event - report by Stephen Hughes

The Penrhyn Quarry Railway has taken delivery of a replica de Winton locomotive, Iorwerth, built by Adam Barber in 2009, on loan for at least a few months. Once again on 6 April the sound of whistling was heard in the Coed y Parc locality as Iorwerth spent the afternoon shuttling up and down the length of line to the St Ann's Road and back.

Welsh Borders Steam Special

On 1 April, ex-LMS 2-8-0 no 48151 visited our area with 'The Welsh Borders Steam Special' which originated from Bridlington hauled by West Coast Railways diesel 47 760 as far as Crewe, followed by a circular steam run, Crewe to Crewe via Chester and Wrexham, with a few hours spent at Shrewsbury. Above, 47 760 is seen on arrival at Crewe in the morning, Picture by Tom Donnelly.

48151 was waiting at Crewe with its support coach (Tom Donnelly).

Approaching Chester (Bob Greenhalgh).

Chester (Roly High).

Chester, 12:32 (Glyn Williams).

Chester (Glyn Williams). The train did not stop at Chester.

Chester (Bob Greenhalgh).

Approaching Wrexham, leaving the single line from Saltley Junction (Mark Riley).  It is rare these days to see mainline steam on this route.

Wrexham (Martin Evans).

Wrexham. Picture by George Jones who writes: 'I thought it may have been the first 8F through Wrexham since 1967, but then realised I was on the 8F Society's mainline special with 8233 (48773) on 1 February 1992 which took the Lancastrian excursion from Shrewsbury through to Bolton and may have routed via Chester to Stockport. Six Bells Junction doesn't list the full route, can someone else confirm?'

'Going away' shot at Wrexham (George Jones). No diesel loco on the rear!

Ruabon (Colin Edwards)

Chirk. Picture by Peter Basterfield who notes: 'The 8F arrived a bit late but did not disappoint for performance and clag.'

Shrewsbury - 5-minute video by 'Roscalen.'

From Coton Hill Bridge, approaching Shrewsbury (Richard Putley).

After calling at Shrewsbury station the train then reversed into Coton Hill Sidings (Richard Putley).

Then the loco ran with just the support coach to Abbey Foregate Junction, whence it pushed the support coach round the curve to English Bridge Junction and, now facing north, returned to Coton Hill Sidings (Richard Putley)

The consist included some of the 1960s Eastern Region Pullman cars, such as Emerald bringing up the rear (Richard Putley)

When it was time for the tour to depart 48151 pushed the stock into Platform 4 (Richard Putley). The special departed at 17:10, taking the direct route to Crewe where the 47 took over for the return to the east coast.

Llangollen locomotives update - by George Jones

Sunday 7 April saw 7822 Foxcote Manor back in action at Llangollen with its re-wheeled tender after an expensive exercise to re-tyre the wheels. The loco was used on a series of driver experience courses.  In the pictures it is seen blasting away from Llangollen...

... and on its return when the tender can be seen to advantage. Note the snow still lingers in Llangollen station and there is more still evident down the valley.

7822 will be a main player in the forthcoming Spring Steam Gala on 19-21 April along with the other members of the home-based fleet - Black 5 44806, Pannier 6430, GWR heavy freight 2-8-0 3802 and BR standard tank 80072 - the last-mentioned  is returning from a short stint at the Severn Valley Railway. The heavy freight loco is ringing the changes by turning black; right now the loco's green paint has been rubbed down ready for the 'black stuff.'

The GWR Steam railmotor No 93 is due to arrive at Llangollen later this week and will join the newly restored auto trailer 92 to provide a duo working during the gala when it will work on and off the Corwen extension from Carrog as far as  Plas Bonwm farm.

The 'Grange' project is aiming to have the frames of their re-wheeled in time for the gala and the overhaul of LR's pannier tank 7754 will also have been progressed with frames re-wheeled.

Emerging last week after an overhaul was Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 72 now seen in National Coal Board black livery.  This loco is privately owned and will be the subject of running-in trials shortly. The original identity of this loco is obscure.

With the long restoration job on 'Prairie' tank 5532 now progressed to a complete rolling chassis with fitment of the rods (above) the attention of the group has turned to the boiler overhaul.

Stripped down, the interior of the boiler is seen above; more drastic action saw the firebox back head cut off to reveal the inner firebox. The work on the boiler repair will be expensive and, as ever, the owning Group LR(GWR)LG welcomes donations and sales at its shop in the coach at Carrog if this popular locomotive type is finally to be returned to working condition.

Wind Farm developments - report by Nick Gurney

The cable laying barge Cable Enterprise  arrived on Pensarn beach early morning on Saturday 6 April to lay the second of the four cables to the Gwynt Y Mor windfarm. There will be a total of four export cables, all running from the beach at Pensarn.

Two of the cables will run to the Offshore Sub Station East Platform (OSP East) and two to OSP West. The first cable was laid last August but is in two halves on the seabed and is due to be jointed by the vessel  Stemat 89 which is currently on its way to the site and work is expected to take 1 month. Cable Enterprise has a 6-point mooring system, and is supported by the vessels Norne, MCS Ailsa and Forth Jouster.

The photos show the cable coming ashore over the plough (the white device) and then it is buried along the beach and joined to cables at Pensarn which go to a substation in St Asaph which connect with the national grid. When Cable Enterprise makes her journey out to the substation on the windfarm the cable is buried in a trench made by the plough which is towed behind.

The cable is buried to protect it from ships anchors and trawl nets.

Flintshire scenes -  by Bob Greenhalgh

On Wednesday 3 April the news groups were reporting that the Valley - Crewe flask train was  running nearly 3 hours early, so I dashed off to Beeches Farm bridge. My camera already had the telephoto lens on and as I waited for the flasks I heard a loud roar, turned round to see the Beluga, the purpose-built carrier for airliner wings made at the Airbus factory, taking off from Hawarden airport.

Ten minutes later, along came 57 007 and 57 003 at the head of one flask wagon.

Later the same day, 60 020 was running early on the steel to Dee Marsh and a trip to Buckley produced another photo amid traces of the recent snowfalls.

Holyhead Shipping news - report by M.Lloyd Davies

At Holyhead on 1 March, the fall pipe vessel MV Rockpiper receives a cargo of stone off the MV
Sandes making use of the jetty originally created to unload ore for the now-closed Anglesey Aluminium works. The cargo of stone was destined for depositing off Duddon Bank in Morecambe Bay.

A side view of the Rockpiper.

Further use of Anglesey Aluminium Jetty was made on 13 March when the jack-up Platform Seafox 7 visited with three tugs, Thorax, Bugsier and Foxtrot.

The Stena Nordica recently undertook the sailings normally covered by the Stena Adventurer whilst the latter was undergoing its annual refit in Belfast. It is seen here just after rounding the breakwater on its way to Dublin. The Stena Scotia undertook the sailings normally made by the Nordica.

On the afternoon of 23 March the diving support vessel MV Vos Shine was on the refit berth in the inner harbour, and was still there on 8 April.

In connection with surveys associated with the proposal to install Marine Current Turbines between the Skerries and Carmel Head the survey ship Deep Cygnus is seen here on 6 April. Further information about the project this can be found at


A charter from London Victoria for the Grand National horse race in Liverpool brought the 'British Pullman' train on an unusual trip to the north. Like the Northern Belle, this set of refurished Pullman cars is owned by the Venice Simplon Orient Express company and used on the English leg of the their namesake train. Tom Donnelly photographed the special at Crewe on its return to London, with Royal Train loco 67 005 Queen's Messenger on the front. 67 006 was on the rear.

Peter Basterfield writes: 'While waiting for the 1 April  8F-hauled special at the public foot crossing at the end of the viaduct near Chirk I was rather surprised by the arrival of 66 200 on the 6M76 Margam-- Dee Marsh steel coil which I understood was not running due to the Bank Holiday.'

Passing through Shrewsbury on 1 April, a southbound Colas empty log train, with  66 850 hauling failed 56 105 'dead-in-train.'

The very early running Valley - Crewe flask train passing Waverton at 14:05 on 3 April with DRS 57s 57 007 and 57 003. (Stavros Lainas).

Easter specials on Anglesey - pictures by M.Lloyd Davies

The Holyhead - Crewe and return workings of the Arriva loco-hauled train on Good Friday and Easter Monday creates some photo opportunities. Above, the first working on 29 March runs through through a sunny but cold Llanfairyneubwll.

The return from Crewe passes Cleifiog Uchaf Crossing with the snow-capped Carneddau Mountains visible in the background.

On Monday 1 April 67 002 makes for Holyhead from Crewe, crossing Cyttir Tywyn Trewan.

A rare chance for  a daylight picture of the Premier set on Platform 1 at Holyhead.

Prior to stabling in the carriage sidings the train visited the maintenance facility for some attention.

67 002 inside the maintenance shed.

175 110 passes by.

Once the line is clear, the train returns to movce to the carriage sidings on the other side of the main line.  The signalling here has a main running arm for any trains departing from Holyhead  (HD95), a small arm for shunt movements to the up main line (HD96) and a ground disc signal below (HD103) for movements to the 'engine neck', it is in an unusual position in that anything stopping directly at it would be fouling no. 93 points which connect the line used by a loco running round its train after arriving at platform 3. (The signalling, track circuiting and interlocking will, or course, disallow any actual conflicting moves.) Comments on the history of this odd arrangement are welcome.

The ground signal (HD94) facing the camera, on the near side of the line is for shunt movements in the other direction and has ailluminated indicators which, when the cleared, show a driver which route is set.

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