Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

10 June 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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.

June 2013

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 6 July Hooton to Helsby 150: special train and other events.

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

A most unusual visitor to Chester on 6 June, pictured here by Stavros Lainas, was 33 029 Glen Loy, accompanying the 'Cheshireman' railtour hauled by A4 pacific 60009 (see pictures below). 33 029, owned by West Coast Railways for some time, one one of four of the type in their fleet, has seen only occasional use.

Good weather => lots of pictures. We hope you enjoy them.- Charlie

Conwy Valley 150
Community Rail Officer Larry Davies writes to tell us that on Monday 17 June there will be  a small ceremony at North Llanrwst station immediately prior to the arrival of the Blaenau Train at 10:47 (10:08 from Llandudno) where the Mayor of Llanrwst will unveil a plaque on the station to commemorate the opening of the Conwy - Llanrwst railway in June 1863. 

Station adopters, the ladies of the Dyffryn Conwy Soroptomists, have worked hard on the station gardens and will decorate the station buildings which are the former headquarters of the Conway and Llanrwst Railway of 1860 and now Listed. Disused at present, it is hoped that will be returned to Community use as a Welsh Cultural centre in the future if a project now being worked on comes to fruition.

Tal-y-Cafn station is also being decorated on the 150 theme by some members of the Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society who are the adopters.  The Society have also prepared an exhibition of photographs and info on the history of this section of line.  This will be on display at St Grwst's Parish Church, Llanrwst from Thursday 13 June.

60009 on The Cheshireman

'The Cheshireman' was an excursion on 6 June from London to Chester and back, organised by the Railway Touring Company. Various steam locos had been advertised beforehand as haulage; in the end the trip was capably handled by A4 pacific 60009 Union of South Africa. We pick the train (above) at Beeston between Crewe and Chester at 12:45. Picture by Stavros Lainas.

On the rear, the rarely-seen West Coast Railways loco 33 029 Glen Loy (Stavros Lainas).

Approaching Chester (Bob Greenhalgh).

Arrival at Chester (Jeff Albiston).

Contrast in styles with 508 139 on the Liverpool service (Glyn Jones).

The Springbok plate appears on one side of the locomotive only (Glyn Jones).

The London and North Eastern Railway was an early user of the 'Gill Sans' typeface designed by Eric Gill, who received a footplate ride as part of his fee. Picture by Glyn Jones.

33 029 at Chester (Stavros Lainas).

In the process of turning using the chord between the Birkenhead and North Wales lines west of the station, the train heads towards Birkenhead (as a pair of Voyagers pass by) to a point beyond Chester North Junction whence it will reverse round to Chester Junction...

... 60009 heads back to the station from the North Wales direction through Chester West Junction with its support coach (Peter Basterfield).

Impressions by Peter Basterfield.

60009 and support coach reverse onto the train after turning on the triangle (Mark Riley).

West Coast Railways 33 029 Glen Loy brings the train back into Chester platform 4 ready for the journey back to London (Mark Riley).

60009 departs on time at 17:08. The picture is from the car park, giving a better view (in our opinion) than on the platform (Mark Riley). Note that still some people insist on going down the platform ramps, which may have been all very well for those school-capped lads in the 1950s seen in old pictures, but is strongly discouraged in modern conditions.

Promised Land Lane, near Waverton (Jeff Albiston). Several curiously-name roads can be found around the Cheshire villages.

WNXX developments - report by Charlie Hulme

One website we have turned to many times over the years to check and confirm news and facts about diesel end electric traction is, compiled by Ian Furness, which started life as a resource about stored and withdrawn locomotives, but as is often the way of things, has developed into much more than that. It has been run as a collaborative hobby in much the same way as this website you are reading now. However, recently Mr Furness has lost his regular income due to redundancy, and he has now taken the steps, first of introducing advertising, and now, from 3 June, of introducing a subscription charge for the new and other content, of £10 per year, with other options available. Some of the income is intended to pay contributors for photographs.

A small sum indeed, and I'll certainly be paying up and encourage others to do so, but it will be interesting to see how loyal the happy band of wnxx readers prove to be. Any open-day stallholder will tell you that 'gricers' are not always known for their willingness to spend money. Fortunately, 'more by luck than judgement' (as my mother used to say) we have no financial worries here at and our site will remain a pure hobby; charging brings with it worries (tax forms, paying contributors, complaints about value for money ....) we have no wish to encounter, and means that fewer people will read our effusions.

But we encourage you to  visit and take a look at what is on offer.

Class 56 on the logs

On 26 May whilst working train 6J37 Carlisle-Chirk, Colas loco 56 302 must have encountered some sort of problem en route as by the time it was seen at Wrexham (above) it was being hauled 'dead-in-train' by 56 087. The train was also 'looped' at Croesnewydd for 35 minutes, and is seen here leaving  Wrexham at 20:10 , just about to pass under Bersham Road, now running some 80 minutes late. The appearance of the double-header proved quite a draw with local photographers. Reports also suggested that 56 087 itself was stranded at Chirk later in the week with bogie(?) problems. Picture and notes by Mark Riley.

Quite a contrast in the size of trains as 56 087 is seen on the same working on the evening of 30 May, getting under way after a signal check at Felin Puleston,  this time with a very light load of just four KFA wagons. Maybe a result of the wagons still at Chirk at the time (Mark Riley).

On the evening of 4 June, 56 087 is seen again, this time with a full load of 21 KFAs, crossing Cefn Viaduct in beautiful evening sunlight. Apparently no further operational issues with 56 087 for the time being (Mark Riley).

56 302 takes the Carlisle - Chirk past at Coppull Hall on the West Coast Main Line between Wigan and Leyland, Monday 3 June (Ian Pilkington).

56 087 with another load of logs for Chirk takes approaches the junction at Helsby at 17:55 on 6 June (Stavros Lainas). The two signals, placed on the 'wrong side' of the curve, refer to the two routes at Helsby Junction, left (cleared for the train) towards Chester or right towards Ellesmere Port. The signal for the higher-speed route is places slightly higher. In years gone by, such 'junction signals' would share a single post, separating into two part-way up, but more recently signal engineers have preferred the simplicity of two separate posts, saving the complexity of ladders, and pulleys to route the cables. A similar pair at Abergele as a horizontal bar between the posts, presumably to clarify that they for one signal, but the Helsby version does not have this feature All drivers have to 'know the road' so it's not really necessary.

Stavros Lainas managed to overtake the train and position himself for this view at 18:38 west of Chester (where this train is timetabled to wait for 25 Minutes). 56 087 is about to cross the River Dee at a point where there once four tracks. Notice how in the recent refurbishment, two of the sets of girders, not visible from the road below, have been left to rust.

56 087 approaching Standish Junction with the same working on Friday 8th June. All week the logs were routed via Shap rather than the Settle-Carlisle (Ian Pilkington).

Monday 10 June, and both 56 appeared again, this time both on full power, seen at Hapsford, with Helsby Hill forming the backscene (Stavros Lainas).

Picture assortment

47 501 racing towards Crewe with an Northern Belle empty stock working, passing Tattenhall at 12:47 on 8 June (Stavros Lainas).

Former North Wales regular 158 756, now a 3-car set, at Horton-in-Ribblesdale on Sunday 9 June with the 12:59 Carlisle - Leeds (John Young).

Welsh Highland Railway Garratt No.87 makes a 'storming' start out of Caernarfon with the 14:30 to Porthmadog, 8 June (Garry Stroud).

As the longest day of the year approaches, pictures of the northbound Premier Express, 18:21 Cardiff - Holyhead, along the North Wales coast start to become possible. Above, 67 001 is in charge of the train at Abergele on 10 June (Roly High).

Having spent some time stabled in Rhyl sidings, on 1 June Network Rail stoneblower DR80211 was n Chester goods yard (Roly High).

221 102 John Cabot and 221 107 Sir Martin Frobisher at platform 3 with the 09:10  London Euston to Holyhead on 1 June (Roly High).

More on Hooton to Helsby 150

As mentioned in the last issue (full press release on our Calendar page) on 6 July a special train runs at 09:42 from Liverpool Lime Street, on Saturday 6 July to Hooton (11:09); with a return train pair to Helsby dep Hooton (11:37), returning from Hooton (13:07) via Helsby and Halton Curve to Liverpool Lime Street (14:07), as well as vintage bus service between Helsby and Ellesmere Port in the afternoon; from Helsby at 13:35; 14:05; 15:00; 16:30; and from Ellesmere Port at 13:00; 13:25; 14:15; 14:45.

An interesting feature of this event is the opportunity to travel over some short 'passenger services over unusual lines' as well as the Halton Curve from Frodsham Junction which normally sees just one train a week.  John Hobbs, of the organising team, provides the following information.

Some 'rare track' at Helsby is the line in the Hooton direction, from Warrington, as normaly only the first train to Ellesmere Port in the morning allows travel over the junction; this Monday-Friday train uses Platform 3. You need to get up very early to catch it, as it leaves Warrington Bank Quay at 05:49 and Helsby at 06:03. The other direction across the junction is easier as the last train in the afternoon, 16:04 Ellesmere Port to Warrington, runs that way. All other Helsby to Ellesmere Port trains depart from Platform 4 at Helsby, and use the facing crossover at the Hooton end of the station.
At Ellesmere Port, no booked passenger trains travel through the station as electric trains from Liverpool and the meagre service from Helsby both terminate there. Unlike the similar arrangements at Kirkby and Ormskirk, however, a connection still exists and the special will use it. The line to Helsby is entirely mechanically signalled throughout, and uses facing crossovers at the commencement of every journey accept one.

We encourage readers to participate in this interesting event. We understand that £10 tickets will be sold on the train. The above information is provisional, we will publish news of any changes.

Valley Flasks

The flask trains are attracting much attention at present. Pairs of Class 20s now seem to the the regular traction. 20 312 and 20 303, looking very smart, worked on 4 June, seen above passing Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).

Valley on 7 June,  20 304 , 20 302 and three flasks, seen on the triangle by the loading point (Peter Basterfield) ...

... taken from the public footpath (Peter Basterfield)...

Out on the main line and waiting for the signal (Richard Fleckney) ...

...  and away towards Crewe on full power with clean exhausts. (Richard Fleckney).

Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd). This pairs of 20s doesn't look quite so smart!

Mochdre (Jack Bowley).

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