Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

29 April 2013

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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. Cancelled.

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

Just before a storm, 60 017 passes Leaton, Shropshire with steel wagons, 26 April. Picture by Stavros Lainas.

Don't miss our 24 April midweek extra

Manchester movements - report by Charlie Hulme

Since the last timetable change, Class 158 units have been seen regularly on the Manchester - Llandudno service, which for some years past monopolised by 175s except during shortages. The key reason for this is the re-appearance of a Manchester - Holyhead 'boat train' in the form of two through coaches attached to the 08:50 Manchester - Llandudno as far as Chester where they are detached and run limited-stop to Holyhead. Class 158s, with their end corridor connections make it possible for one conductor to reach all of the combined train. The 158 that goes to Llandudno returns with the 11:44 Llandudno - Manchester Piccadilly, where it spends the customary sojourn in the loop siding beyond the station, before returning as the 14:50 Manchester - Llandudno. 158 822 is seen on thus service passing Deansgate station in our picture above, which dates, like all those in this item, on 17 April. Oddly perhaps, the Holyhead service does not run at weekends when more passengers for the ferry to Ireland might be around.

Moment later, 158 822 takes the main Manchester South Junction route towards Ordsall Lane Junction where it will join the historic Liverpool and Manchester Railway line across Chat Moss and as far as Earlestown, where North Wales trains descend the connection to the West Coast Main line. Meanwhile, Metrolink tram 3017 heads for Eccles. Overhead wires for the Manchester - Liverpool electrification scheme are now in place under the two bridges; the disused one behind is a little lower than the other, but the wires have been installed without major problems. The Liverpool-Manchester project introduces an innovative new generation of electrification equipment, developed by Network Rail, called the Series II Design Range, according to a detailed article in the online journal The Rail Engineer.

St Peter's Square in the City Centre, which is going to be transformed in the next few years. Work is under way on 'improvements' to the Town Hall and Central Library behind the hoardings seen in the picture, and major changes to the square involve moving the Cenotaph to a new position behind the two trams in the picture, on the site of the former 'Peace Garden' which has already been destroyed in preparation. It is hoped that a new four-platform station here will be the junction for an additional line which will turn left in front of the Victorian building in the background, and form an additional route to Victoria. St Peter's Square will be remain double track; at present 25 trams per hour in each direction pass this point, and there will more in the future.

The 26 Italian-built Metrolink trams from 1991-2, and the later small batch of 6 from 2000, are all scheduled for early withdrawal, several having gone already. However the new Austrian-built 'bananas' do not have the retractable steps necessary if a twin-unit is to call at the partially low platform of Mosley Street station. The solution is to close that stop, but for the moment the old cars still cling on, mostly working a daytime service of double units on the Bury - Altrincham direct service. 1023 and 1003 are seen above approaching Shudehill station, passing what was once a well-known electronics shop.  1003 is the only old tram to have received the yellow livery, in a vinyl version advertising the Imperial War Museum North. There will be 94 of the new vehicles when current orders are complete, at the time of writing there are 67, although several have yet to see public service. See British Trams Online for full spotting details. The former textile warehouse in the centre reveals behind its stone frontage a modern-style steel-framed structure.

The line beyond Shaw to Rochdale Railway station is now open, served by trams from St Werburgh's Road (Chorlton) which run direct, not via Piccadilly station. Explorers from North Wales can alight at Oxford Road station, and either walk to St Peter's Square or catch a train the short distance back to Deansgate where a bridge connects to Deansgate-Castlefield station. Alternatively an interesting walk along the canal towpath makes an interesting diversion. 3045, seen above, is arriving at Rochdale station, having descended a single-track ramp alongside the Network Rail station (still served by trains on the Calder Valley route) which is seen in the background. A street-running extension to Rochdale town centre is nearing completion.

Chester Model Railway Club open days

Chester Model Railway Club have Open Days on Saturday and Sunday 11 and 12 May, open 10:00-16:00. Venue is Upton Royal British Legion, Heath Road, CH2 1HX. There will be four layouts,  one of which the public can control, plus one or two traders. There's plenty or car parking and disabled access, or from Bache station turn right and walk along Mill Lane and Heath Road for about 1km. Admission: Adults £3, Children £1, Family £7 (2+2) More details at


A Network Rail measurement train stabled at Bangor on 24 April, with 31 465 as traction ...

... and driving trailer 9714 at the other end. Note the variation in colours. 9714 appears to be painted all over in 'front warning panel yellow' whilst the test coach is in the paler shade which has been used by Network Rail in the past. Both pictures by Adam Barnard.

66 001, resplendent in a coat of DB Schenker pink, brings the evening steel coils for Shotton through Gobowen. pausing for a signal check on 25 April (Martin Evans).

57 302 and 90 044 at Crewe on 26 April, the 57 on 'Thunderbird' duties and the 90 on the Virgin Trains 'Pretendolino' rake of Mark 3 coaches. We understand  that a crew-training run from London to Crewe is made with this train on most Fridays, to retain staff familiarity in case the train is chartered. Until the 'end' of the Virgin last year it   was an advertised passenger run Fridays-only 18:43 Euston to Crewe. Picture by Martin Evans.

Chester on 26 April, 31 106 and 37 904 John Tiley arrived at into Chester from the Helsby with a measurement train (Martin Evans).

The driver changed ends and the train departed back towards Warrington. Again, notice the colour variation.

The southbound Holyhead - Cardiff premier service passes Leaton, Shropshire at 08:00 on 26 April (Stavros Lainas).

56 105 at Rossett en route to Chirk with a load of timber at 18:23 on 27 April (Stavros Lainas).

Further to our previous coverage of the run of newly-built pacific Tornado to Holyhead, and other events on 20-21 April, M.Lloyd Davies has sent a collection of pictures which we've made into a slide show for your enjoyment.

Biomass expedition - report by Andrew Vinten

I visited Ellesmere Port earlier on 26 April, hoping to catch the new train carrying imported 'biomass' fuel for Ironbridge power station being loaded. I had heard that the train had been stabled at Hooton overnight. When I arrived at the loading point 66 702 Blue Lightning was stabled and 66 746 (above) was assisting in the loading procedure. The biomass (wood pellets from North America) was blowing all over the place.

I then moved to a local crossing and managed a photo of 66 746 crawling along; once loading had ceased it propelled the train back into the siding.

66 746 then uncoupled from the train, coupled to 66 702 and then re-attached to the train. 

The train then departed from the docks and recessed in the Goods Loop at Ellesmere Port.

Later, 66 746 detached and ran to Crewe where it was photographed by Martin Evans posing with DRS loco 37 667.  66 746 is one of five which previously worked for Colas Rail numbered in the 66/8 series.

Past Times with John Hobbs - at Shotton High Level

Above: on 17 March 1965, GWR 0-6-2T 6626 passes Shotton (High Level) station with coal for Shotwick Sidings from the Wrexham area pits. This is on the former LNER line from Wrexham (Central) to Bidston (Seacombe before 1960), always an odd line; Great Western power on this line formerly operated by ex-LNER engines was quite a turnaround. In earlier years coal for Shotton Steelworks seemed to come from the Stoke area worked by 'Stoke Scots' (LMS 4F's); coal from Wrexham seemed to be used for domestic purposes and for coaling shipping out of Birkenhead.

LMS 8F 2-8-0 48325 follows, also at Shotton (High Level), with a mixed freight on the same evening. This is at the bottom of the incline which starts just north of Buckley Junction. A diesel railcar disappears up the hill in the distance.

Shropshire to London?

Virgin Trains held a 'meet the manager' session on their Twitter feed on 29 April, and among the few questions that were actually answered was the possibility of a Shrewsbury - London service:

Q: Is there any more news of the proposed Shropshire - London due to start in December?

A:  It's something we've been asked to look at but can't confirm anything yet.

The same answer was given to a question about a London - Blackpool service. Elsewhere, however, we read that Virgin plans two services each way between Shrewsbury and London daily, stopping at Telford, out at 07:06 and 15:06,  returning at 11:33 and 18:37, and that Virgin spokesman Jim Rowe told the press: 'It's our desire to start those services by this December.'

However the Office of Rail Regulation website does not at present appear to reveal any application for Track Access Rights, although things can be hard to find on these offical publications.

Gobowen facilties

Our recent note about Colwyn Bay station and its revamped counter with a lower section for wheelchair users prompted Martin Evans to send us these pictures of Gobowen Station booking office. This office has also had a recent re-vamp to current standards funded by an national fund for improving disabled facilities at stations in Wales (although Gobowen lies in England).

The office is privately-run by Severn Dee Travel, established in 1995 an independent rail agency and is operated as a not for profit company administered by a group of volunteer Directors including Martin. The facilities provided are almost wholly financed by the small commission paid from the ticket sales, as an Arriva Trains Wales agency. From the pictures attached you will see the recently revamped counter facilities  funded by an ATW grant for improving disabled facilities at stations in Wales(although Gobowen lies in England).

Various railway memorabilia are on display, including a replica nameplate from ex-Wrexham & Shropshire locomotive 67 015 which is named after the David Lloyd, a campaigner for improved railway services, and founder of the Severn Dee Travel company, who died in 2006.

Wessex Express - report by Roly High

Not all our contributors were watching or riding behind Tornado on 20 April: some were aboard the excursion from Hooton, Bache, Wrexham, Gobowen and Shrewsbury to Bath and Weymouth organised by the Chester Model Railway Club and the Ffestiniog Railway Dee & Mersey Group. Above, 67029 Royal Diamond has just brought the Riviera Trains empty stock from Crewe into Hooton, to form train 1Z64.

The Network Rail staff member who had 'clipped the points' at Hooton's long siding, to enable the locomotive to run round the train, walks back to the platform whilst 67 029 couples back up to the coaches to pull them into the station. Pictures by Roly High unless stated.

Riviera Trains Mk 2 coaching stock is very comfortable, quiet running, and there's  plenty of hot tea and bacon butties - marvellous!

Approaching Chester we were crossed over to approach the North Junction, thereby avoiding Chester station.

From the North Junction, we traversed the undergrowth quite slowly,and with a lot of noise coming from the wheels, to Chester South Junction. From here we headed for Saltney Junction to head up the single line (soon to be re-doubled)to our next stop at Wrexham General.

The train arriving at Wrexham (picture by George Jones).

After travelling the Welsh Marches line from our last pick-up point at Shrewsbury, we  traversed the Maindee North Junction curve to avoid Newport station.  the severity of the curve allowed a picture of the locomotive from inside the coach.

After emerging from the Severn Tunnel, the four and a half mile length was covered in roughly four and a half minutes,  we head towards the Bristol avoiding line. This section of line is known locally as the 'Rhubarb loop' due to the closeness of the tavern of that name, although it is also called 'Dr Day's Curve' after the name of the junction.

[Richard Putley tells us that Mondays - Fridays there is one service train from Filton Abbey Wood at 15:56 to Bath which uses this curve. It runs non-stop from Filton Abbey Wood to Keynsham, then calls at Oldfield Park and Bath Spa where it terminates.]

After leaving our first stop at Bath Spa,we were pathed through Bathampton Junction, Trowbridge, and passed the White Horse on the hill overlooking Westbury. In the stone sidings, there were quite a number of class 66s from DB Schenker and Freightliner.

We came to a stand Yeovil Pen mill; this is the view looking back along the train.

The reason for the hold up was this First Great Western service from Weymouth to Gloucester.
The driver of that service had to hand the single line token to the signaller, and walk back his train, while our driver waited for the signaller to present him with the token so we could proceed towards our next stop at Dorchester.The single-tracking of this line must surely bring the same problems encountered on the Chester to Wrexham section.

Arriving from Weymouth into Dorchester West is another Great Western service to Gloucester, formed of 150 921, formerly London Midland's 150 121, a 3-car unit formed of a 150/2 coach between the two cars of a 150/1.

Dorchester West station looking towards Bath.

George Jones continued to Weymouth: above, the locomotive on arrival, with the excellent replica of a Southern Region train headboard.

The tramway track on the Weymouth Town Quay section, now out of use, looking towards the ferry terminal - with Channel Islands ferries now transferred by Condor to Poole, it is unlikely that boat trains will return to this once classic location. (George Jones)

The way it was - flashback to c.1980 (Charlie Hulme)

Our train returning from Weymouth into Dorchester West for the journey home.

Approaching Bristol, the sky was filled with hot air balloons (picture by George Jones).

(The return train was early into Bath Spa and had to wait time for the published departure time at 18:31. Curious would-be passengers to Bristol had to be told this train would not call there and its next stop was Shrewsbury - So please get off!)

Many thanks to Ffestiniog Railway Society / Chester Model Railway Club, Network Rail, DB Schenker and Riviera Trains for a very well organised trip.

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