Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

14 October 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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.

October 2013

Monday 21 October RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ’Banished to the Tropics’ by Les Nixon.Well known photographer travels from Sheffield to present an account  of his life as a railway enthusiast working in Sri Lanka in the early 70s. Lots of good old colonial British railwayana with plenty of steam e.g. narrow-gauge  railcars and Garratts. All backed by two salaries – no income tax – free accommodation – free car etc but no film available locally. He to take out enough to keep him going for well over two years! 

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

Thursday 24 October  Locomotive Club of Great Britain  Noel Coates "The L&YR in B R Days"

Friday 25 October Great Western Society North West Branch The Corris Railway by David Coleman.

26-27 October  Llangollen Railway Days Out with Thomas

Wednesday, 30 October   Ffestiniog Railway Society Dee & Mersey Group Birkenhead Tramways & The Wirral Tramway by Rob Jones

Thursday 31 October  Llangollen Railway Ghost Train evening

Thursday 31 October  Richard Sant  Merseyside Railway History Group 'Building the new Patriot engine'

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

Friday 8 November  Altrincham Electric Preservation Society FREIGHT AROUND THE WORLD by John Ryan. Presentation is 90% steam

9-10 November Llangollen Railway Remembrance Weekend

Monday 11 November   Wrexham Railway Society. John Fry, North West Electrification, speaking on the electrification of a large number of secondary lines in the Northwest these and the forthcoming initial phase of the work across Chat Moss in particular.

Thursday 14 November Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society AGM 'American Wanderings Part 1' Gordon Davies

Monday 18 November  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ‘Circular tour of North Wales from 1966 to 1980’ by John Hobbs. 

Thursday 21 November Locomotive Club of Great Britain  Steve Fort "Carlisle to Crewe " - mainly steam scenes

Wednesday, 27 November   Ffestiniog Railway Society Dee & Mersey Group George England Locomotives, by Chris Jones

Thursday 28 November  Geoff Morris   Merseyside Railway History Group 'The Many Varied Railways of Australia'

Friday 29 November  Great Western Society North West Branch Railways of the Iberian Peninsula, by Barry Rushton.

Saturday 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

7 December Llangollen Railway Real Ale Train evening

Monday 9  December    Wrexham Railway Society. Stephen Gay, Railways in a Yorkshire Landscape,  from Sheffield, he specialises in researching and photographing railways, particularly the old lines and former features alongside current routes all over Britain by walking along them in the company of his dog.  He is a Yorkshireman and his presentation will be based on his home county, including the beautiful Settle to Carlisle line.

Thursday 12 December  Merseyside Railway History Group Geoff Coward 'Europe & The Old Buffers'

Thursday 12 December Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Xmas Social/ 'All Change at the Junction'  Local Speakers                   

Friday 13 December  Altrincham Electric Preservation Society STEAM SHEDS ACROSS THE YEARS By John Sloane

14-15 December Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

Monday 16 December  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ‘Early Days’ by David Maidment, Formerly Operations Manager BR London Midland Region David  presents his early days at Swindon and commuting on the Southern and around the UK in the early 60s

Thursday 19 December Locomotive Club of Great Britain  John Ryan "Various Gauges in France and Spain 1966 to 1973"

20-24 December Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

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.

Thursday 9 January  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'From a Driver’s point of view' Dave Trains

Friday 10 January  Altrincham Electric Preservation Society HISTORY OF BOLTON TRAMWAYS by Derek Shepherd (Vice-Chairman, Heaton Park Tramway)

Monday 13 January   Wrexham Railway Society. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND RAIL REVIEW ENTERTAINMENT Annual General Meeting will be followed by various  members’ own presentations.

Monday 20 January  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales BRANCH A.G.M  Followed by Alan Donaldson ‘Around Britain 1983 to 2010’

Thursday 30 January  Merseyside Railway History Group   David Rapson 'Seacombe to Wrexham'

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.  

Monday 10 February   Wrexham Railway Society. Fred Kirk,  A Scottish Trip 60 Years On. The results of  a week long trip to Scotland, shed bashing previously not seen, black and white images of long gone shed scenes, Princes Street station etc.

Thursday 13 February  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'A short history of Crosville & my time with it' Clive Myers                        
Friday 14 February  Altrincham Electric Preservation Society A JOURNEY FROM MANCHESTER TO EASTLEIGH WORKS IN 1910 By Mike Hayward (Secretary, Manchester Locomotive Society)

Monday 17 February  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales Barry Shore ‘BR freight in the post steam era 1967 to 1979’

Thursday 20 February Locomotive Club of Great Britain  John Sloane "BR Scenes from the 60s”
Thursday 27 February  Merseyside Railway History Group Allan Lewis 'Union Pacific Steam'

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.

Monday 10 March   Wrexham Railway Society. Geoff Morris- Railways of New Zealand a digital presentation based on two steam-hauled trips around New Zealand in 2011 & 2012 including both preservation activities and the rapidly-changing current railway scene on the other side of the world.

Thursday 13 March Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'The Dinorwic Quarry Railway & its locomotives' Eric Lander

Monday 17 March  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ‘The Ugly Duckling’: Bob Casselden looks at the transformation of B.R.’s ‘Other Provincial Services’ via ‘Regional Railways’ into today’s privatised railways
Friday 14 March  Altrincham Electric Preservation Society A Selection of Doug Darby's UK PHOTOGRAPHS by Paul Shackcloth (Photographic Officer, Manchester Locomotive Society)

Thursday 23 January Locomotive Club of Great Britain  Neville Bond “From Sea to Shining Sea” 30 years of North American scenes

Thursday 20 March Locomotive Club of Great Britain  Dr Michael Bailey "The Manchester Ship Canal Railway"

Thursday 27 March  Merseyside Railway History Group AGM & Members Slides

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.

Thursday 10 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'Welsh Wanderings in the 1980’s & 90’s' Geoff Morris   

Thursday 10 April  Merseyside Railway History Group Ted Lloyd 'Quiz and informal evening'

Friday 11 April  Altrincham Electric Preservation Society Slides from the Manchester locomotive society collection by David Young.  Mainly steam locomotives taken 1950s and 1960s

Monday 14 April   Wrexham Railway Society. Jon Penn.   Railway Pictures From the  1960’s –scanned black and white negatives and vintage colour slides, favouring the Cheshire and surrounding areas.

Monday 28 April RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ‘South of the Border steam in the 50s and 60s’ by David Kelso, David travels from Kent to present a follow up to his  earlier North of the border presentation, including a period when he was resident in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Thursday 17 April Locomotive Club of Great Britain  Norman Matthews "Steam in Central America"

May 2014
Thursday 8 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'The Deganwy Dock Story' Eric Smith

Thursday 15 May Locomotive Club of Great Britain  AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.

37 606 leads the Radio Survey train eastbound through Llandudno Junction on 11 October. Picture by Jack Bowley with his new Nikon camera.

Ffestiniog Steam 150

The Ffestiniog Railway spent the weekend of 11-13 October celebrating 150 years of the introduction railway's first steam locomotive. Friday 11 October saw a 'Nightglow' event at Boston Lodge shed. Eryl Crump's picture above shows 1863-built loco no. 2 Prince on the right (recently returned to working order) and Merddin Emrys of 1879 on the left. The Manager's bowler hat is modelled by FR/WHR Marketing Officer Roger Dimmick.

Various special events and trains were staged including a 'gravity train' and a 'quarryman's train' seen above at Porthmadog on a wet Sunday 13 October with one of the original locos. Picture by Greg Mape.

Unique 'Single Fairlie' loco Taliesin stands at Porthmadog with a demonstration freight (Greg Mape).

Cars wait their turn as Welsh Highland Railway Beyer-Garratt 138 negotiates the street track in Porthmadog on the approach to the station (Greg Mape).

Radio Surveys

Network Rail's Radio Survey Trains have become a common sight recently. Above, at Llandudno, as 175 113 departs with the 09:45 to Manchester and work on the rebuild progresses slowly in the background,  37 612 waits to head for the mountains with the 07:28 radio survey run from Crewe to Derby via Sandbach, Northwich, Chester, Llandudno, North Llanrwst (10:19 - 12:22), Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llandudno Junction, Chester, Crewe, Lichfield and Burton-on Trent, arriving at Derby Railway Technical Centre three minutes early at 17:59. Picture by Larry Davies.


On the other end, 37 038 tails out of town under the now-iconic gantry at Llandudno (formerly Llandudno No.2) signalbox (Larry Davies). Built in 1962 as D6738, at first thought the oldest Class 37s still in use with a main line train company (but read on). One of its final runs before its first withdrawal in early 1999 was a North Wales Coast passenger turn, substituting for a 37/4, on 27 November 1998.

It was sold by EWS to Ian Riley Engineering at Bury, running on the East Lancashire Railway and elsewhere, including some main line jobs, until sold again to DRS in 2003.

The Radio Survey train ran again of Friday 12 October, to the same timetable, but with different traction in the shape of 37 608 and 37 606. Peter Lloyd's picture shows it westbound at Llandudno Junction.

Anyone looking for the actual oldest Class 37 still in ordinary service needs to look at these machines which in the 1990s were converted for use by Eurostar.  37 608 was formerly D6722, built in 1961, and sister loco 37 601 was formerly D6705, one of the first 37s built in 1960. The two oldest ones that still exist are in preservation: D6700 is part of the national collection and 37 003 (D6703) belongs to the Class 37 Locomotive Group, whose website is an essential research resource on 37s.

Seen again at Llandudno Junction on the return journey (Jack Bowley).

Runcorn East is 30

Runcorn East station (above, picture by John Hobbs) is 30 Years old on Friday 18 October 2013. The Mayor of Runcorn, The British Legion and the Railway Chaplain will be in attendance at a ceremony which commences at 11.00 and continues, after sowing of Poppy seeds in the station grounds, at the nearby Murdishaw Community Centre until 13:00, where tea and Birthday Cake will be available.

The ceremony will dedicate the Poppy & Wild Flower Gardens which have been prepared at Runcorn East with assistance from the Probation Service, Halton Borough Council, Arriva Trains Wales  and the North Cheshire Rail Users Group. The Garden will form a suitable memorial to support commemorations of the centenary of the First World War.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds will mount a display and it is hoped to have a miniature railway and, perhaps, a vintage vehicle in attendance. The plans include a planting programme, for the extensive grassed areas at the station, this will be focused on the idea of providing wildflower and poppy meadows to enable reduced maintenance of the current grassed areas and to increase the bio-diversity of the station area, in conjunction with the current bird nesting box installation.

The Scenic Snowdonian - postscript

We asked if anyone knew how the proposed itinerary for the passengers of the recent Scenic Snowdonian excursion, involving two though trains on the Welsh Highland / Ffestiniog system one from each end, was affected by the late running of the outward main line train de to loco problems. It has been planned that half the passengers would travel from Caernarfon to Blaenau Ffestiniog and the other half from Blaenau to Caernarfon.

Our thanks to Paul Udey, who writes: 'The itinerary for the narrow gauge railway was changed on the day with everyone alighting at Bangor for the road coach connection to Caernarfon and returning from Blaenau to Llandudno Junction.'

Wirral Model Railway Exhibition

The Merseyside Model Railway Society's annual Model Railway Exhibition on 26 and 27 October 2013 take place at  Mosslands School, Mosslands Drive, Wallasey, Merseyside CH45 8PJ. Opening times are 10am - 5pm. and admission for adults is £5.00, concessions £4.00 and Children to 15 £3.00 (Under 5 free).

The show moved last year to Mosslands School in Wallasey Village which proved a great venue: You can enjoy refreshments and free vintage bus rides as well as the normal entertainments. Off-road parking is free and there is full disabled access. We are just off the M53 at junction 1, 7 minutes by foot from Wallasey Village Station, Merseyrail (New Brighton branch) & near the 423 bus route.

With 15 layouts, our usual traders, demonstrators and Society stands, the Exhibition will have plenty happening for the family and enthusiast alike. Full details are on the Merseyside MRS website.

Leaf Fall time again

The Rail Head Treatment Train (RHTT) with its high-pressure water jets has started its usual autumn season which is likely to continue until the December timetable change. Darren Durrant's pictures taken at Colwyn Bay on 12 October show the train westbound (above) and eastbound (below). The locomotives are Network Rail 97 303 and 97 302 from the small fleet fitted with the ERTMS signalling now in use on the Cambrian lines west of Shrewsbury; the schedule for the train includes part of this network from Shrewsbury to Machynlleth and back.

The route of the train can vary from day to day, but the overall plan as we see it is to start from Crewe at 18:46 and head for Machynlleth where the train reverses at about 21:30, returns to Shrewsbury and travels to Craven Arms and return. It spends the night running via Wrexham and Dee Marsh Junction to Bidston, and back to Shrewsbury arriving at 07:04. It then travels via Chester to Holyhead, arriving mid-morning, and then back to Crewe arriving soon after lunchtime. Real Time Trains is the place to look for the running on a given day: change the operator code from 'all' to ZZ for non-passenger trains.

Expect the yellow livery to change to muddy brown as time goes on...

Running round at Llangollen - pictures by Martin Evans

On 12 October the British Railways Standard 4MT 2-6-4T 80072 in traffic. Above,  it prepares to leave Llangollen with the 11am service to Carrog running tank first in true branch-line style. The narrow upper part of the coal bunker gives the driver a reasonably good view. Hornby-Dublo aficionados will note there is no 'power adjusting screw' on the back of the water tank.

Preparing to run round at Llangollen having returned from Carrog.

Ediitor's notes: 155 locos of this type were built in the early 1950s, based on the successful designs of 2-6-4 tank of the London Midland and Scottish (LMS)  Railway, with some modification of dimensions to allow them to work an all British Railways regions. The design, under the supervision of R.A. Riddles, formerly of the LMS, was completed at the Southern Railway's Brighton Works, and features gently curved side sheets to the tank, cab and bunker, as the pictures show. This feature, unique to British tank locos, seems to owe something to the ideas of Southern Railway engineer Oliver Bulleid, seen in his design of coaches, on which the BR Mark 1s (seen in the picture) were based, and the curious wartime 'Q1' steam loco. A similar concept later appeared, probably coincidentally,  in the 'Western' class diesels.

80072 now detached from its train to run round at Llangollen for the 1pm service to Carrog.

Preparing to take on water at Llangollen after running round.

Past Times by John Hobbs - Standard 2-6-4Ts

There were a lot more 2-6-4Ts around 49 years ago in 1964. Here is a selection; many of them found good homes. Above, BR Standard 2-6-4T 80080 rests amongst the dross at Croes Newydd (Wrexham) with a Pannier Tank for company on 30 June 1964; the loco is currently working on the East Lancashire Railway and owned by Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust (PRCLT).

80097 at Criccieth with the Cambrian Coast freight; 4-6-0 75004 is on the left on the 1.30 pm (SX) Pwllheli to Portmadoc on 1 July 1964. The "Ringo" displayed on the smoke box was the fireman on the loco and he has recently received a copy of this picture! The loco is currently under restoration on the East Lancashire Railway.

80098 at Afon Wen, junction of the line from Caernarfon with the Cambrian Coast line. Lots of steam age infrastructure, all gone now of course; very little is left of Afon Wen. The loco is heading the 10.25 am Pwllheli to Aberystwyth on 1 July 1964; this is now another PRCLT machine and  currently awaiting repairs.

80135 arrives at Hereford with the 9.48 am Gloucester to Hereford. This was a turn for a Shrewsbury-based loco which worked an early morning van train to Hereford then continued on to Gloucester via Ross-on-Wye with a passenger service. So if you were looking to 'cop' your Shrewsbury 2-6-4Ts they could be anywhere between Pwllheli and Gloucester! This is 31 October 1964, the last day of the Gloucester to Hereford service. This loco is awaiting repairs on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

80105 rests at Barmouth before working the 2.20pm Barmouth to Dovey Junction on 21 November  1964. Now in Scotland, the loco belongs to members of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society and has visited railways in England recently.

Llandudno 27/28 September: another view - by Edwin Chappell>

This is my photo of the First Great Western special train on 27 September (see 30 September issue) just entering the Llandudno Branch, taken from a moving Leyland Tiger Club 41-seater coach operated by Alpine Coaches of Llandudno on the road to Conwy. I knew what time the special was due at Llandudno (via this site) and by pure luck saw the train at this point. I think I might be able to claim the award for "photo taken from the most unusual place".

Leary: we should mention that the operators were actually giving out free cups of tea to anyone who wanted one. Here is the proof.

The Omnibus Society Presidential Weekend for 2013 covered 4 days (coinciding with the ACoRP event) based at Llandudno. It was hosted by Michael Morton, Managing Director, Arriva Buses Wales and Arriva provided buses for all of the weekend bar one trip. The first trip (above) used Arriva Wales open top bus 3996 (C212 GTU)  to trace the route of the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Tramway. Upon returning, we had a sightseeing trip on the Leyland Tiger Club coach operated by Alpine Coaches, including Conwy and the Great Orme scenic drive.

Unknown to most of us, the organisers of the weekend had arranged with the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Tramway Society for their replica tram No. 7 to be at Rhos-on-Sea promenade for us to inspect as part of the tour. It is hauled by a rather splendid AEC Matador unit.

This is a side view of the replica tram and shows the various destinations on the tramway for those who are less familiar with the tramway.

In addition, the Tramway Society had arranged for two classic former Crosville  buses to be present specially for members of the Omnibus Society. Above, DLG876 (833 AFM) is a Bristol Lodekka LD6G built in 1957 which for a number of years until June 2013 was used by Dreadnought Coaches on a sightseeing service in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Crosville ERG3 (OFM 3E) is a Bristol RESL6G built in 1967 for express services.

For the rest of the weekend Arriva Buses provided us with two modern buses, complete with special destination messages. 
2511 (CX05 AAJ), on the left, is a VDL SB200/Wright Commander whilst 4480 (CX61 CCZ) is one of the VDL/Wright Gemini double-deckers (4479 - 4488) dedicated to Cymru Coastliner route 11, Chester -  Holywell - Caernarfon and fitted with fashionable leather seats and wi-fi.

On the Saturday, our tour of local bus operators took us to many places from Llanrwst right up to Anglesey where we visited O.R. Jones & Sons at Llanfaethlu. Mr Jones is very proud of his collection of old buses (AEC Regal LPT 328 and Bedford OB ECT 912) and lorry, and had lined them up specially for us. The lorry was only finished its restoration in June of this year and was a complete restoration job from scratch.

On the Monday, we visited depots and operators along the North Wales Coast and our first visit was to the Arriva Buses depot at Rhyl (alongside the railway line) where the Depot Supervisor had arranged a special welcome for us. Talking to him, he said he thought he ought to something special; I know it was much appreciated.

It was noticeable that many small operators keep spare buses or coaches tucked away at the back of their yard. Some though, may need a bit more attention before they are ready for use! Name of operator tactfully withheld.

Challenge at Llangollen - report by George Jones

Barclay 0-6-0T No.17 (works no 1338 of 1913) has been delivered to the Llangollen Railway works for restoration after many years laid up at the Tanfield Railway. It is in poor external condition and lacks the coupling rods after scrap-metal thieves made off with them in the early years of its preservation. The loco has been quickly dismantled and the boiler extracted for assessment. No doubt, with money, it can be returned to working order.

Coming to the end of a major overhaul is former War Department 71516 Welsh Guardsman (RSH 7170 of 1944) about to be steam-tested and returned to the Gwili Railway, seen on shed after the overhauled boiler was placed back in the frames and the piping-up was in progress.  All part of the Engineering challenges the locomotive works team will take on, to apply skills and facilities which help to earn their keep.

A visit to Oswestry - with Edwin Chappell

On Saturday 2 October, I was attending the Dapol members day, held this year at the Cambrian Heritage Railways station at Oswestry. The train running consisted of  small Diesel Shunter Telemon and one Guards Van. Above is a view of the loco from the guard's van.
A view of the rather impressive station building at Oswestry, headquarters of the pre-1922 Cambrian Railways company. It really gives a good idea of how impressive a station this should become one day when the other platform is restored and bought into use.

This is the limit of the brake van rides and on the left are the remains of the old cattle and sheep pens and their loading bay. The track on the right extends for a further four miles but is not currently operated.

A return to Devil's Bridge, September 2013 - by Richard Putley

I can't remember when the last time I rode on the Vale of Rheidol narrow gauge railway. I think it was after British Rail sold it in 1986. I recall that privatisation had not made much impact. A couple of un-recognised steam locos were stored on a head shunt, but there was no mention of them in the very meagre guidebook. The recent news that the Railway had acquired part of the old roof from London Bridge station may well have been what prompted me to stay in Aberystwyth for a couple of days and pay another visit to the  Vale of Rheidol. So on Monday 23 September I set off from Great Malvern on the 10:45 to Hereford. This was on time.

At Hereford (above) I saw 66 083 standing on the down goods line with a southbound steel train. Whilst waiting on the station a coal train headed north behind a Freightliner 66. The 12:27 to Holyhead also arrived on time. But we got signal checked at Craven Arms and again at Marsh Brook due to having caught up the coal train. As a result I missed the 13:27 from Shrewsbury to   Aberystwyth. A number of fellow passengers had tickets for that train, so the station manager at Shrewsbury offered to arrange a taxi. I however declined his kind offer, pointing that had I wished to travel by road I would have used my own car. Instead I opted to wait for the next train at 15:27.

I decided to kill time by walking up to the Castle in Shrewsbury. From there I observed a 6 car (3 x 2 car 158s) arrive on a Birmingham International - Holyhead service. The rear unit was detached and then attached a few minutes later to a Holyhead -  Birmingham International service. The 15:27 was on time and I had an uneventful journey to Aberystwyth where I soon found the Glengower Hotel which I'd booked and enjoyed the pleasant evening. The hotel was very good and I enjoyed the selection of real ales on offer.

On Tuesday 24 September the weather was again warm and sunny. I arrived at the station in good time for the 10:30 Vale of Rheidol train to Devil's Bridge. I was very pleased to see that the loco of the day was none other than Number 9 Prince of Wales, the only one I had not been hauled by before. The passing loops at Capel Bangor and Aberffrwd have been re-instated. At the former we crossed a PW Way vehicle.

I travelled in coach 4149, one of the open coaches with unglazed windows. Like old tramcars, the seats in this carriage are reversible so you can face the direction of travel on both outward and return legs of the journey.

I returned to on the 12:30 from Devil's Bridge and watched the 14:00 depart from a table outside the Vale of Rheidol's shop.

On Wednesday 25 September I returned on the 11:30 from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury. The incoming train arrived 10 minutes late. No sooner had we set off than we were told that we would have to get off at Machynlleth as the unit was going to be taken out of service. When I asked the guard if that meant we'd all have to cram in to the Pwllheli portion, she replied: No they'd have a replacement unit waiting.

Sure enough when we arrived at Machynlleth a 4-car train was in front of us and there was no difficulty in finding seats. Departure was only 5 minutes late - not bad in the circumstances. A gang of fitters were seen waiting on the platform at Machynlleth waiting to deal with the recalcitrant 158. Arrival at Shrewsbury was on time and I had no difficulty in getting the 13:40 to Hereford. This too was punctual as was my connection to Great Malvern at 14:40 from Hereford. So ended an enjoyable short break.

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