Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

19 August 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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.

August 2013

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.  Times: Outward / Return

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

Saturday 24 August Excursion Compass Tours Perth - Holyhead. Traction: WCRC diesels. Times: Outward / Return

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. Note, does not start from Crewe due to engineering works. Cancelled.

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.

Friday 6 September  Clwyd Railway Circle Larry Davies  '1962, A year of so much change'  Major changes were about to happen on the national network; Larry shares his observations with us.

Sunday 8 September Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' steam-hauled Liverpool - Chester - Holyhead and return. Note change of route.

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

Friday 4 October   Clwyd Railway Circle   Ian Mainprize  'Narrow Gauge Railways of the Harz Mountains' The talk comprises a section by section description of the narrow-gauge system, each section being illustrated by a map followed by photographs taken by Ian during the early 1990's. The history, infrastructure, rolling stock and locomotives are covered, and the railways are placed in context with regard to the history, geography and people of the area.

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.

5/6th October Manchester Model Railway Society Exhibition Armitage Centre, Moseley Road, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6ZT.

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

Friday 1 November   Clwyd Railway Circle  Paul Davies   'The Buckley Railway and the Industries it served' The talk celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the railway.     

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

Friday 6 December   Clwyd Railway Circle   'Members Night & Christmas Celebration' 
Members are invited to give a 15/20 minute presentation of their choice (any format). This will be interrupted by festive treats (all high calories). Members must book their slot no later than 16th November by telephoning David Jones.

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.

January 2014

1 January 2014 Llangollen Railway Mince Pie Specials.

Friday 3 January   Clwyd Railway Circle  David Rapson  'Wrexham to Bidston Line' A history of the route illustrated with pictures covering the last 70 years.

February 2014

Friday 7 February    Clwyd Railway Circle   Brian Bollington & Peter Hanahoe  'Polish Steam' The presentation is a mix of slide shows and video showing steam on the national network, including shed scenes, taken in the 1990’s.  

March 2014

Friday 7 March    Clwyd Railway Circle    The Committee & David Southern AGM followed by the talk 'Railways of the Wirral'    After the formality is over, we can look forward to Dave sharing his railway experiences of 60 years living on the Wirral.

April 2014

Friday 4 April    Clwyd Railway Circle   Ron Watson-Jones   'The Irish Mail Train Crash at Penmaenmawr Aug 1950' Ron’s account of the accident on 27th August 1950.

5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe crosses Conwy cob, returning from Holyhead to Tyseley, 17 August. Picture by Chris Morrison.

Much of interest and many contributions ... events of Sunday 18 August have been held over to an extra issue (Friday morning probably) as this one was becoming too large. Thanks as always to all contributors.- Charlie

Arriva special

Amid the other goings-on of the weekend, Arriva's Summer Saturday loco-hauled relief train ran again on 17 August. It was powered by 67 002 on this occasion, pictured by Gary Thomas at the rear of 1K52 09:56 Holyhead - Crewe relief at Llandudno Junction.

Departing Colwyn Bay (Greg Mape).

The return working, 14:40 Crewe - Holyhead relief see, where the North Wales Coast line actually follows the shoreline at Dwygyfylchi near Penmaenmawr (Gary Thomas). Penmaenmawr is the name of the nearby mountain. The legend is that it was chosen by the Chester and Holyhead Railway for the name of the station serving Dwygyfylchi village so that English-speaking people could pronounce the name, and a settlement then developed around the station.  Perhaps to make it even easier, the original 1849 name was Penmaenmaur, but this was changed to the current version in the 1860s.

Llandudno Ffestiniog Rambler, 17 August

57 316, now in the hands of West Coast, but still in drab Arriva blue livery, hauled NENTA Tours' 'Llandudno Ffestiniog Rambler' from 04:20 (!) Norwich to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 17 August, seen above at Crewe (Alan Crawshaw).

Chester (Mark Riley). The coach in InterCity livery is one of those painted in these colours after privatisation, for reasons now obscure.

Colwyn Bay (Greg Mape).

After reversal at Llandudno Junction, 47 786 Roy Castle OBE headed up the Conwy Valley, seen above in the passing loop at North Llanrwst (Gary Taylor).

In torrential rain at Dolwyddelan, catching the attention of an equine enthusiast (Gary Thomas).

The return train passing Glan Conwy. The picture by Gary Thomas reveals the piebald appearance of the train.

57 316 on the rear passing Rhyl on the long journey to Norwich (Roly High).

The Welsh Dragon, 17 August

Enthusiasts and commuters watch 'Castle' class  4-6-0 5043 take the centre road at Chester running about 30 minutes late with Vintage Trains' Tyseley - Holyhead 'Welsh Dragon' excursion. (Mark Riley).

Mold Junction (Bob Greenhalgh).

Colwyn Bay (Greg Mape). That's a very clean loco!

Arriving at Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd). Behind the loco is the former British Railways GUV (General Utility Van) which has been equipped with tanks carrying additional water to reduce the need for the train to stop to refill the tender, but even so, at water stop here was still required, which is why the train is being crossed over to Platform 1.

Llandudno Junction (Gary Thomas).This locomotive has a remarkable history, having been bought from the Barry scrapyard simply to provide a spare boiler for preserved 7029 Clun Castle.  It has been restored to its late-1950s condition with British Railways double chimney and flat-sided tender. It has been said that the early-BR  symbol on the tender should be the post-1957 version, but no doubt someone has a picture from the time proving the old 'unicycling lion' is authentic.

After arrival at Holyhead, the loco ran to Valley to turn on the triangle of lines there so it could return haul the return train boiler-first. Larry Davies photographed it emerging from the triangle for the tender-first trip back to Holyhead station; the train crew are forced to lean out to view the line ahead and signals during this move.

The return train to Tyseley waits in the gloom at Holyhead (Chris Morrison). The coaches, as well as the loco, are from the Vintage Trains fleet based at Tyseley Steam Centre, a.k.a Birmingham Railway Museum.

Holyhead's platform 1 signals HD35 (Starter to Up Main) and 72 (shunt to Up Main) and the disused footbridge frame the 'Castle' and its train (Chris Morrison).

The 17:05 to TYSLSTM, Holyhead (Chris Morrison).

5043 racing through Bangor with the return Welsh Dragon, Saturday 17 August (Peter Basterfield)

Emerging from Conwy tubular bridge (Dennis Oliver).

The nameplate of 5043, photographed by Dennis Oliver at Llandudno Junction, reminds us that there is no 'e' after the 'g' and also shows how a special radius adaptor was made to fit the nameplate, originally designed for a loco of the 90xx 'Dukedog' class which has smaller wheels than the 'Castle.' Perhaps also for this reason there is no small subsidiary plate reading 'Castle Class'  which features on some 'Castles' with non-Castle names. 5043, built in 1936, was named Banbury Castle, but was renamed (the story goes) when it was thought demeaning for the 'Earl' names to be fitted to the little 90xx 4-4-0s.

5043 leaves Llandudno Junction three minutes early at 19:02 with the return trip to Tyseley. Birmingham Railway Museum trustees chairman Michael Whitehouse is seen on the footplate (Chris Morrison). Mr Whitehouse is the son of the late Patrick Whitehouse who do so much for the railway hobby in the 1950s and 60s; he was one of the producers of 'Railway Roundabout', the first TV series for the railfan.

Rhyl (Roly High).

5043 returned to regular duties on Sunday 18 August, heading the 16:15 Stratford-upon-Avon - Birmingham Snow Hill 'Shakespeare Express', seen coming off the Stratford branch at Hatton North Junction (Chris Morrison).

Freight news

Train 6J37, 12:44 Carlisle - Chirk logs has returned to the superb scenery of the Settle-Carlisle last week after a period of running via the West Coast Main line. It is booked to pass Garsdale at 14:35 on days that it runs. Above, on Wednesday 14 August 56 105 heads the train over Dent Head Viaduct. Picture by Ian Pilkington.

Same day, 14 August, and the same train as above, at Chester (Mark Barber).

Peter Basterfield was out and about early to photograph the westbound flask train on 15 August. It arrived in Bangor about 07:27 to be held on the 'middle road' until a Voyager had cleared the section, and left for Valley at 07:54.

Testing time

On 13 August, the Wrexham and Borderlands area saw the visit of a Network Rail test train working from Shrewsbury Abbey Foregate - Crewe via Bidston. The train is seen here at Rhosrobin with driving trailer 9708 leading towards Wrexham after visiting Bidston (Mark Riley)....

...and with 31 233 pushing and clagging at the rear, sounding a bit rough! (Mark Riley)

Seen at Croes Newydd about an hour later. Unfortunately it was reported that 31 233 suffered a coolant problem en route and on arrival at Croes Newydd was declared failed, and remained there overnight (Mark Riley).

On the afternoon of 14 August, 97 303 worked from Derby Railway Technical Centre to recover the stricken Class 31 and coaches. Picture at Wrexham General by Mark Barber.

shortly after arrival at Croes Newydd, now attached to the 31 (Mark Riley).

Working as 3Z01 Croes Newydd - Crewe, and after finally getting a path north to Chester in the late afternoon, 97 303 approaches Broadoak level crossing with 31233 dead-in-train on the single line between Wrexham and Chester. Seeing a 97/3 on this stretch of track is a rare site indeed (Mark Riley).

31 106 arrives at Chester with 1Q13 Derby RTC - Crewe via Cheshire lines and Bidston on 17 August (Mark Riley).

37 688 Kingmoor TMD at the other end. There was a five-minute stop at platform 5 before departure towards Northwich and Stockport (Mark Riley).

Returning from Stockport, the train passes Northenden Junction with its unusual tall signalbox (Mark Barber). The former cement depot sidings on the right have in recent years a 'runs when required' Saturdays-only  stone train from the Steetley quarry at Briggs Sidings, although this appears to have ceased running.

Bad weather conditions at Gobowen (Chris Harvey).

Keeping excellent timing, the train is seen later in the day at Croes Newydd, awaiting a path up to Bidston. Passing by is yet another railtour, this time it's 1Z15 Chester - Letchworth, routed via Wrexham on the home leg, with 67 019 leading (having replaced 67 028 earlier at Crewe). It's unusual to see two loco-hauled trains in the same place at Wrexham these days (Mark Riley).

At 17:51, 37 688 is seen leading the train towards Wrexham Central in dull drizzly weather after returning from Bidston. The branch between Wrexham General and Wrexham Central rarely sees any loco-hauled trains - and nothing else bar the usual Class 150s working between Wrexham and Bidston (apart from the occasional MPV weedkiller).

Cambrian Scenes

A Cambrian coast service 158 approaching Penrhyndeudraeth station ...

  ...  and slowly crossing the soon to be replaced Pont Briwet bridge.

Kate Jones writes: ' how vulnerable the Barmouth viaduct looks with all that sea as the
14:55 departure from Barmouth crosses the estuary. Taken from a public footpath near
the top of Arthog falls on 6 August.

Some depressing news reported in the railway press is that following the cancellation of a recent Statesman railtour to Aberystwyth at less than two days' notice, when Network Rail found they had nobody available to drive the Class 97/3 locos necessary because of the West Coast Railways have stated that they won't be involved in any excursions to the Cambrian system while Network Rail continues to refuse to train West Coast drivers in the operation of the 97/3 locos including the ERTMS system. This is a further blow to add to the continuing failure of the system's designers to offer any solution for steam-hauled excursions.

Lyd being serviced at Porthmadog Harbour station having brought in the train from Blaenau, Friday 16 August (Peter Basterfield).

Prince of Ales - report by Roger Carvell

I visited the Campaign for Real Ales 'Great British Beer Festival' at Kensington Olympia on Tuesday evening, 13 August. Thirsty work...

It came as a complete surprise to find the Ffestiniog Railway's oldest working steam locomotive Prince in the vast halls that comprise Olympia. The 1863-built engine made a handy rendezvous
point for real ale and cider enthusiasts seeking each other out. That said, it was rather tucked away from the main flow of thirsty patrons flocking in to Olympia to taste the nation's brews.
The girl (above) clutching a large inflatable bottle was celebrating her winning the item in the customary
Tuesday auction of public house relics. How she got it home on the District Line would have been interesting.

North Wales micro-brewers did rather well in the judging. In the CAMRA 'mild beer' category, the Great Orme Brewery's 'Welsh Black' was voted winner after blind tasting. In the CAMRA 'best bitters' category,a bronze medal went to Purple Moose for their 'Glaslyn Ale'. In the CAMRA speciality beers,  a bronze medal went to Conwy Brewery for their bottled 'Honey Fayre'.

A Saturday morning at Chester - with Roly High

Watching the trains at Chester on Saturday 17 August. Above: I arrived at Chester on the 07:45 ex Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly, worked by 175 105, seen in platform 3. 158 833 is ready to move out of the yard once the 175 has cleared the section, to form the 09:24 to Holyhead. The section from Birmingham International was cancelled due to a freight train failure - the Margam steel for Shotton, it was said - at Church Stretton.

150 217 leaves Chester on the Crewe shuttle...

... as Northern Rail 156 427 runs into platform 6 at Chester with the 07:17 from  Manchester Piccadilly via Northwich.

'Castle' 5043 restarts the Tyseley - Holyhead train from the bottleneck at the Crewe end of Chester.

It was pathed through the centre road - the 'Up and Down Main'. A fine loco.

221 107 Sir Martin Frobisher ready to depart with the 10:35 to London Euston.

57 316 heads into Chester from Norwich with the NENTA charter to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The train included former 'Manchester Pullman' coach 504 Ullswater, once named Robert Owen, now owned by West Coast Railways.

47 786 Roy Castle OBE on the rear.

221 112 Ferdinand Magellan leaves for London.

150 217 returning on the Crewe shuttle enters the station  neck-and-neck with 150 145 on a service from Manchester Piccadilly

175 101 and 175 008 form a 5-car train for the 09:45 ex Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly; a lot of people were arriving at Chester on this day for the Races.

DB schenker loco 67 028 arriving from Letchworth (Hertfordshire) with the UK Railtours charter to Shrewsbury. The train was stopping here, and at Gobowen for passengers to be bussed to the
Llangollen Railway. After terminating at Shrewsbury, the empty stock was to be taken via Nantwich to Crewe for servicing. It would then travel to Chester to pick up passengers who got off there, then back through Wrexham to Shrewsbury to collect the rest before heading back via Wolverhampton to  Letchworth.

A Network Rail train with 31 106 waits at signals, for 175 117 on a Manchester Piccadilly service to clear the section...

... before crossing over to platform 5 to reverse.

37 688 Kingmoor TMD on the other end of the train. With the DRS open day taking place at Carlisle Kingmoor, it might have been apt to have had 37688 on display.

Showing the old and new styles of front skirt, 221 114 and 221 116, two sets which lost their names while working for CrossCountry, arrive from London Euston.

The 09:56 Saturday summer special from Holyhead to Crewe departs with DVT 82307 leading, and
67 002 pushing.

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