Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

29 July 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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.

July 2013

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. Timings: Outward | Return

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 Timings: Outward | Return

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 Timings: Outward | Return

Sunday 18 August Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe - Holyhead, steam-hauled Manchester Piccadilly - Altrincham - Chester - Holyhead and return. Note change of routeTimings: Outward | Return

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. Timings: Outward | Return

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' steam-hauled Manchester Piccadilly - Altrincham - Chester - Holyhead and return. Does not serve Crewe or Wilmslow.

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' steam-hauled Liverpool - Chester - Holyhead and return.

Wednesday 11 September Excursion Mid-Cheshire Rail Users Association Settle & Carlisle Express Scenic Railtour. Outward journey via the Settle & Carlisle Railway, a stopover in Carlisle and returning via the Cumbrian Coast line. This year the train starts at Hooton, then picks up at Chester, most stations on the Mid Cheshire Line, Stockport and Reddish South. As usual, there are reserved seats, a buffet car, trolley service and a MCRUA detailed route description.

Saturday 14 September Llangollen Railway Murder Mystery evening

Saturday 21 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Day

28 September Community Rail Festival at Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog in conjunction with the Community rail awards.

October 2013

Saturday 5 October Steam at Chester West Coast Railway Company 'Welsh Borders Steam Special.' Cleethorpes - Shrewsbury and return. Steam-hauled Crewe - Chester - Shrewsbury - Whitchurch - Crewe by 44932, 45699, 46115, or 48151.

12 October Llangollen Railway Real Ale Train evening

Saturday 19 October Steam at Chester West Coast Railway Company 'The Cheshireman' Cleethorpes - Chester. Steam-hauled by 70013: Cleethorpes - Doncaster - Sheffield - Altrincham - Chester - Doncaster.

19-20 October Llangollen Railway Days Out with Thomas

26-27 October  Llangollen Railway Days Out with Thomas

31 Oct  Llangollen Railway Ghost Train evening

November 2013

Saturday 2 November  Llangollen Railway Murder Mystery evening

Saturday 2 November  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. 

Sunday 3 November Llangollen Railway Ride the Rocket evening

9-10 November Llangollen Railway Remembrance Weekend

30 November Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

December 2013

1 December Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

7-8 December Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

14-15 December Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

20-24 December Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

7 December Llangollen Railway Real Ale Train evening

26-31 December  Llangollen Railway Mince Pie Specials.

45231 on the 'North Wales Coast Express' near Mold Junction on 28 July. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.

Thanks to everyone for the big collection of pictures this week: apologies to anyone whose contributions didn't get included.

Freight events

60 063 with train 6V75 Dee Marsh -  Margam empty steel carriers crossing Chirk viaduct at 10:06 on 27 July (Stavros Lainas).

56 105 passing Dunham-on-the-Hill on 25 July hauling train 6J37 Carlisle - Chirk logs (Andrew Vinten).

For a week in mid-July, as mentioned last time, due to Engineering work the log train from Carlisle was diverted via an interesting route passing through Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport and Northwich to Chester. The picture above, taken on 15 July by Ken Millward, showing 56 105 and 56 087, may look like Delamere Forest but in fact is taken from a footbridge linking two housing estates a short distance from Stockport station.

GB Railfreight 'works outing' 27 July

Each year the management of GB Railfreight (now a subsidiary of Eurotunnel) organise one or more excursions for the seaside for the company's staff and their families. 27 July was the date of the treat for Cardiff-based staff, and Llandudno the resort of choice. In addition, the train would run to Holyhead and back, open to the public for £25 per head with the money going to charity AgeUK which supports the elderly.  We were told a week earlier about this offer, but not the charity angle; if anyone cares to donate retrospectively to AgeUK, online donations are possible at the AgeUK website.

From Cardiff Central (depart 07:50) to Crewe the train was hauled by GBRf loco 66 739 Bluebell Railway, seen in the picture above, by Steve Bratt, approaching Nantwich.  This loco was named after taking the first through passenger train over the new connection to the Bluebell Railway in Sussex on 28 March. Steam trains  run daily until September between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park. The line's rolling stock includes one of the observation cars built for Conwy Valley line.

Colour me 20: 20 314 and 20 311 in Harry Needle orange, 20 142 in BR blue and 20 189 in London Transport red wait to take over the train at Crewe (Chris Morrison). It's now always easy to find who owns a loco these days, but we think 20 142 is owned by Class 20 Locomotives Ltd, and 20 189 by British American Railway Services.

Line-up at Crewe at 09:18 on 27 July. 150 260 with the 09:23 to Chester, four class 20s, DRS 47 805 with a Hereford - Blackpool charter, and DRS 'Thunderbird' 57 307 Lady Penelope. Picture by Chris Morrison.

Chris Poole was at Hargrave, between Crewe and Chester to record this most unusual train, headed by 20 314 and 20 311 ...

... and tailed by 20 142 and 20 189. For some odd reason, areas of bright red do not render well in pictures subjected to the 'jpeg' compression we need to use to make these pages load in a reasonable time.

Buffet car W1813 (pictured by Roly High passing Rhyl) is one of a batch of Miniature Buffet cars (RMB) constructed in 1960 at Wolverton works as a way to provide a simple refreshment service on secondary express trains. Basically the RMB is a standard class open coach with two full seating bays replaced with a buffet counter and customers' standing space, and one bay replaced with a store cupboard. The other side of the coach looks more like a normal coach from the outside. Of 82 built between 1957 and 1962, over 50 still exist with charter operators and on heritage lines.

Rhyl (Stavros Lainas).

The orange class 20s pass Abergele (Chris Morrison).

Rounding the curve on to the Llandudno branch (Larry Davies). These orange locos belong to HNRail, set up by Harry Needle, who ran a scrap-metal business until he decided top keep some locos in running order. The Harry Needle Rail road Company is based at Barrow Hill Roundhouse in Derbyshire, and specialises in the hire of locomotives.

At Llandudno, awaiting departure (Jack Bowley).

The 'mini-tour' from Llandudno to Holyhead leaves Llandudno (Greg Mape).

Deganwy station (Garry Stroud)

20314 and 311 on the rear at Deganwy station (Stavros Lainas).

The charity 'mini-tour' from Llandudno to Holyhead runs along the estuary near Deganwy (Chris Morrison).

At Llandudno Junction, preparing to reverse (Peter Lloyd).

Crossing Conwy Cob after leaving Llandudno Junction (Jack Bowley)

Past Conwy Castle (Jack Bowley).

A travellers' Tale - by Alan Crawshaw

Rowan and I caught the summer Saturday additional loco-hauled service to take us from Bangor to Llandudno Junction (above), connecting with a late-running train from Manchester to take us to Llandudno. We had plenty of time before the colourful class 20s rolled in, the orange Harry Needle liveried pair at the front, tailed by the former Llangollen Railway 20142 in BR blue and the London Transport liveried 20189/L189.

The staff alighted for the seaside and we boarded the charity special to Holyhead and back. The complement of 88 passengers raised £2200 for Age UK from the very reasonable £25 fare, but everyone I spoke to had travelled over from north-west England. I was surprised at the lack of local enthusiasm for travelling, though there were plenty of linesiders.

The scene at Holyhead was reminiscent of class 37 days with English Electric aficionados photographing from the bridge before heading for the chip shop and the return journey. The coaching stock consisted of chocolate and cream Riviera Trains first class vehicles apart from the bar car which was standard class and servicing a selection of draught ales and a draught cider. Coach numbers were W1813, W3110, W3122, W3121, W1671, W3100, W3112 and W21272.

We settled down for the return journey and the 20s sprang into life, giving us a few minutes to enjoy the English Electric echo before easing out of the station. We passed 67 001 on the return 'additional' in Belmont tunnel but were held for around ten minutes outside Llandudno Junction. Ten minutes later, we were on a 175 bound for Bangor which connected perfectly with the bus home. If anyone from GBRf is reading, then thanks for a great afternoon out and appreciation for your charity fund-raising.

Awaiting the return journey at Holyhead (Stavros Lainas).

Llanfair PG (Richard Fleckney).

The return mini-tour heads through Deganwy after another reversal at Llandudno Junction (Chris Morrison).

Heading into Llandudno.  A lone golfer seems more concerned about his ball (Larry Davies).

20 189 and 142 head the 16:59 Llandudno-Cardiff return staff charter passing Deganwy. 20 189 still carries the headcode '150' and London Underground running number '746' from its role in 'Steam on the Met', 150th anniversary of the Metropolitan Line at the end of May (Chris Morrison).

Rhyl (Roly High)

Approaching Chester at Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).


A Network Rail MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) was doing the weed-spraying run in North Wales on 28 July, running as train 6Z07. It was pictured by Peter Lloyd  running through platform 1 at Llandudno Junction on route to Warrington, having had been on the Blaenau Branch and into Llandudno. DR 98967 leads, with (probably) its usual partner DR 98917 in the rear.

The Compass Tours 'Cotton Mill Express'  with DRS loco 47 805, which now carries the name John Scott 12.5.45-22.5.12 climbing out of Shrewsbury at Battlefield en-route to Blackpool at 08:42. This charter included an optional circular tour from Blackpool North via Burnley and Huddersfield (Stavros Lainas).

Duchess of Sutherland has emerged from overhaul wearing its British Railways 1950s livery of green and BR number 46233. It worked the Scarborough Spa Express on 26 July, photographed at Goostrey by Steve Morris.

Larry Davies writes: 'Over the weekend of 27-28 the Colwyn Model Railway Club held their annual show at the Community Centre, Craig y Don, Llandudno and what a good show it was.   At the close of play of the Sunday we had some modellers poetic licence and on Mervyn Jones's fantastic layout of Blaenau Ffestiniog stations (post 1982) there appeared some ghosts from the past in the shape of ex-6G (Llandudno Junction shed) steam locos -  and even a Western Region branch train from Bala (seen above). Oh well, old men can dream!

Virgin Voyager 221 109 Marco Polo, pictured at Chester by Roly High on 27 July, shows its number in a higher than usual position, further back on the cab side. Is this a new policy or a one-off?

Gerald's Saturday job

The Arriva Trains Wales Crewe - Holyhead Summer Saturday extra train near Beeston Castle on 27 July (Steve Bratt).

Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd). Loco was 67 001.

The timings for this train on 3 August: Eastbound | Westbound.

North Wales Coast Express 28 July

Sunday 28 July marked the opening of this year's summer holiday steam season of Railway Touring Company trains. Train 1Z94 started from Liverpool Lime Street twelve minutes late at 10:19, hauled by 45231 The Sherwood Forester. We pick it up as it through the historic skew bridge designed by George Stephenson at Rainhill station. Picture by Ian Pilkington.

Crossing the River Weaver at Frodsham, with a modern catamaran standing in the for historic grain barge often seen in pictures at this location (Ian Pilkington).

The train was back on schedule on departure from Chester. Above, it passes Saltney Ferry west of Chester. Picture by Jeff Albiston.

Catching a brief glimpse of sunshine at Bagillt (Ian Pilkington).

Prestatyn (Gareth Jones). 45231, a 'Black 5' 4-6-0 built for the London Midland and Scottish Railway in 1936 and now named The Sherwood Forester, is owned by Ian Riley and normally based at the East Lancashire Railway.

Rhyl (Roly High).

Abergele (Larry Goddard)

47 580 County of Essex on the rear at Abergele (Larry Goddard)...

... and Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud)

Arriving at Llandudno (Dennis Oliver).

Crossing Conwy Cob (Garry Stroud)

Deganwy (Garry Stroud). The train runs to Llandudno town station and back in each direction, with just five minutes allowed at Llandudno for the reversal there.

Bangor (Rowan Crawshaw). Larger locos than this have been seen on these trains in the past, but there does seem to be a shortage of 'top-link' power at the moment.

At Llandudno Junction on the return working, 47 580 prepares to drag the train down the Llandudno branch to collect the passengers who have spent the day there (Peter Lloyd). The train has left Holyhead on time, but lost time on the way to Llandudno Junction; however it eventually arrived back at Liverpool two minutes early.

At Llandudno Junction when the train returned, storm clouds were looming (Tom Peacock)...

... and Peter Lloyd got a good soaking taking a picture of 45231 before its 19-minute late departure; the 47 was assisting from the rear when the train departed.

Green-liveried Restaurant Car buffet car 1961 and maroon Pullman 99247 were in the consist. Picture at Chester by Roly High.The green coach is painted to match a set based in the London area: British Railways Southern Region had green coaches inspired by the livery of pre-1948 Southern Railway stock.

The light is fading as 45231 departs from Chester, heading to the next water stop at Frodsham
as a 175 unit leaves on the Crewe shuttle. (Roly High).

Class 57 metamorphosis - report by Mark Riley

Whilst I was visiting Crewe to see the arrival of 70013 Oliver Cromwell and 34067 Tangmere being moved together from Southall to Crewe (and then on to Bury and Carnforth respectively), 57 314 and 57 315 arrived at Crewe, now firmly in the hands of their new operators, West Coast Railways, and gleaming in their very recently applied new livery. At the rear was 57 601 which was to be used to move Tangmere on to Carnforth after arrival at Crewe.

At Crewe, 57 601 detached and waited for the arrival of the steam loco move coming in on platform 12.

A look at 57 601, also in West Coast maroon, standing  at the signal. The paintwork isn't quite so glossy. Note the cast Carnforth 'depot plaque' based on those devised as part of the new Railfreight branding in 1987. The 'mascot' is a silhouette of Carnforth's landmark coaling plant; it is not one of the original designs, as by 1987 Carnforth was no longer a British Rail depot, having been sold to become 'Steamtown.'

A really drab and tired looking 47 245 arrives at platform 12 with 5Z42 Southall - Crewe, formed of 70013 Oliver Cromwell and support coach, and 34067 Tangmere with two coaches, at the rear. A good formation to photograph on the main line, but sadly not at Crewe.

47 245 attached to 70013 in the shade of platform 12...

... with Tangmere behind. Both locos took on water here as usual.

47 245 then moved 70013 onwards to Bury I believe, whilst 57601 worked back to Carnforth with Tangmere. Then a final look at the two 'new' West Coast 57/3s before their departure south. The Dellner couplers have been removed. Not so long ago,  57 314 and 57 315 were Virgin 'Thunderbirds' Firefly and The Mole respectively, before acquiring Arriva liveries and finding regular work on the Holyhead - Cardiff express, and even the Chirk - Carlisle timber trains on a few occasions. They look great with new paint, but after a few months work will look less 'glamorous' and lacklustre. The West Coast livery isn't the most popular.

Chester bridge update

As reported here previously, the footbridge attached to the bridge carrying the North Wales line over the river Dee in Chester is still not open for use, following a landslip. The latest report, courtesy of the Curzon Park Residents' Association is that Network Rail have booked Saturday night / Sunday morning of the 3/4 and 10/11 August to install the steel sheet piling and a couple of foundation piles for a new foundation for the end section of footbridge.  Once the piling is complete then they need to build a new concrete foundation to sit on the foundation piles, rebuild the end section of timber footbridge, install some drainage and then repair and resurface the path.  If all the work is complete during the night time possessions then they aim to have the footway repairs complete by the end of September.

Llangollen 1960s weekend - pictures by Chris Jones-Bridger

Some pictures from the Llangollen Railway's 1960s weekend, as seen on 28 July. Above, 45337 running as 45156 Ayrshire Yeomanry at Llangollen with the 10:50 to Carrog.

'45156' after arrival at Carrog with the 10:50 from Llangollen. Note the applied 'weathering.'

Class 37 6930 approaching Glyndyfrdwy with the 11:30 Llangollen to Carrog. The Wickham DMU has terminated with the 11:25 service from the current head of steel at Bonwm.

7822 Foxcote Manor and 3802 arriving at Carrog with the 12:45 service from Llangollen.

D5310 after arrival at Carrog with the 14:35 from Llangollen. The Wickham DMU is working the 15:12 Bonwm to Glyndyfrdwy.

D5310 at Carrog with non-corridor suburban coaches ready to work 15:50 to Llangollen. A recreation of Great Northern line suburban workings from Kings Cross in the early 1960s. Ominous clouds are building in the background prior to a rather heavy shower.

The 15:50 from Carrog at Glyndebourne passing the Wickham DMU waiting to depart on 16:05 to Bonwm.

Glyndyfrdwy Interval, 28 July - by George Jones

For the 60s weekend I spent Sunday in and around Glyndyfrdwy for a chance to take in some of the classic cars on display and the passing trains. The opportunity to ride the two visiting vintage buses (above) Lancaster open top Leyland No.201 and Chester Guy No.1 for road runs to Carrog and Llangollen also provided ...

... high level views of the Dee Valley, although none coincided with conveniently passing trains for me, except that 3802 (above) was captured at Carrog from the A5.

The Railway offered a version of the mixed motive power as seen on BR in the late 60s with the Class 37 and 26 contrasted with Manor 7822, GWR Heavy Freight 3802 and a Black Five, to schedule a frequent service and, with the Wickham railcar on a shuttle service, another chance to ride the Corwen extension.  With Deeside Loop not operating, all trains passed at Glyndyfrdwy and the level crossing was the scene of much activity, aided by the need to reverse the railcar here.

To mark the end of steam in North West England forty-five years ago, the occasion saw with 'Black 5' 45337 running as 45156, the well-remembered Ayrshire Yeomanry, last of the Scottish namers which had survived to the end. Smokebox chalk comments recalled the Farewell to Patricroft in 1968.

The nameplate of '45156'.

The Manor and the Heavy Freight 2-8-0 provided super power on one train ...

... whilst the class 26 on two suburban coaches provided an excess of power on another.  This event saw the re-entry into service of the refurbished Brake Second 43182 in the Cherry Red livery as applied last year to the composite/lavatory 43018 which now make up an appropriate pair. Maybe this sort of consist might have provided passenger services on the Ruabon – Barmouth line if Dr Beeching hadn't listed it for closure. Sunday was a day of showers with sunny periods but the weather forecast undoubtedly put some people off venturing out. Those who did enjoyed a feast of trains in the Dee Valley.

Next special events: 3-4 and 8-11 August: Days out with Thomas.This fun-filled event offers children and their families the opportunity to take a ride with Thomas, meet The Fat Controller and enjoy trips on Thomas’ friends.  The event, which has been held at Llangollen Railway for many years, is an excellent day out for all Thomas fans and there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy.  Advance booking available. See the Llangollen Railway website for details

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