Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

10 March 2014

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

March 2014

Tuesday 11 March 8E Railway Association Paul Shackcloth – Locomotives of the L&YR-Part 1.

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"

Wednesday 26 March. Ffestiniog Railway Society. Group AGM followed by Adrian Gray. "Ffestiniog Heritage".

Thursday 27 March  Merseyside Railway History Group AGM & Members Slides

Friday 28 March Great Western Society: John Hobbs 'Circular tour of North Wales 1966 to 1980'

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.

Tuesday 1 April  North Wales Railway Circle Dave Rapson of Connah`s Quay  presents a pictorial record of The Bidston - Wrexham Line.

Tuesday 8 April  8E Railway Association Chris Banks – Engine Sheds Pt. 3 Consett to Eastbourne.

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.
Thursday 17 April Locomotive Club of Great Britain  Norman Matthews "Steam in Central America"

Friday 25 April Great Western Society Tony Icke 'Around the regions in the sixties'

Saturday 26 April Excursion Chester Model Railway Club / FR Dee and Mersey: 'Somerset Coast Express' Hooton, Bache, Wrexham, Gobowen and Shrewsbury to Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Taunton and Minehead.

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.

May 2014
Friday 2 May (change of date) Mid-Cheshire Rail Users' Association Excursion from Hooton, Chester and stations on the mid-Cheshire line to Dumfries, Kilmarnock and Ayr.

Tuesday 6 May  North Wales Railway Circle A.G.M.  followed by Members Videos, Prints, Slides, and Digital work in the Photo Competition.

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

Saturday 10 May  Wirral O Gauge group open afternoon: 'We would like to invite model railway people to come along and bring a loco or just watch. We are also looking for new members to join us.' Unit 7, The Odyssey Centre, Corporation Road, Birkenhead, CH41 1HB on 10th May 2014 from 13.00 to 17.00. Admission £2. 2 rail F/s DC & DCC continuous tracks. More d etails can be obtained from Jenny Elliott on 0151 6530637 or j.elliott37[at]

Tuesday 13 May  8E Railway Association Les Nixon - Railways of Scotland.

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

Saturday 24 May Steam on the Coast Vintage Trains Seaside Flyer hauled by steam loco 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe from Tyseley, Wolverhampton, Stafford and Crewe to Llandudno for the Llandudno Air Tattoo which is taking place that day.

June 2014

July 2014

Sunday 27 July Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool, Broad Green, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead.

Tuesday 29 July Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

August 2014

Sunday 3 August  Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. North Wales Coast Express Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Altrincham and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Diesel-hauled Crewe - Manchester.

Sunday 10 August  Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. North Wales Coast Express Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Altrincham and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Diesel-hauled Crewe - Manchester.

Sunday 17 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool, Broad Green, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead.

Tuesday 19 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

September 2014

Tuesday 2 September Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Sunday 7 September  Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. North Wales Coast Express Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Altrincham and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Diesel-hauled Crewe - Manchester.

Saturday 20 September Steam on the Coast. Steam Dreams: Cathedrals Express. London - Holyhead.

On sunny Thursday 6 March at 16:28, the empty stock for the following day's ambitious three-day excursion from Holyhead to Fort William emerges from Conwy tubular bridge. Picture by Peter Basterfield.

Middlewich Movements

There are some diversions over Northwich - Middlewich line planned for Sunday 16 March, due to engineering works on the usual route between Chester and Crewe. Several Virgin services will run that way, as well as the couple of freight trains including the Tunstead - Westbury cement train which use that route in normal circumstances. See Realtime Trains for details. As usual on these occasions, Arriva Trains Wales services will be replaced by buses between Chester and Crewe, a one-hour journey - roughly the same as the diverted trains take via Middlewich. Arriva train crews do not have 'route knowledge' of the Middlewich route, whereas Virgin do route some empty-stock workings that way to maintain this.

The Winter West Highland Statesman

Locos 57 315 and 57 314, two of the four ex-Virgin Trains 57/3s once painted blue for Arriva Trains Wales 'Premier Express' services and now owned by West Coast Railways, were allocated to the Winter West Highland Statesman three-day excursion from Holyhead to Fort William and Mallaig. The rolling stock was the Statesman  Pullman-liveried rake of Mk2 vehicles, seen above as the empty stock for Holyhead passes Rhyl on 6  March with 57 314 on the rear (Roly High).

Some afternoon sunshine, as seen above with 57 315 passing Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).

This was one of a series of weekend trips to Fort William, starting from different English destinations. The train runs to Fort William on the Friday, where passengers spend two nights in a hotel. On the Saturday the train runs to Mallaig and back, then takes the passengers home on Sunday. Above, the classic view of Conwy Castle with 57 314 on the rear (Peter Basterfield).

Conwy station (Darren Durrant).

The train with its lucky passengers left Holyhead at 06:05 the next day, and was photographed by Darren Durrant at Colwyn Bay. for a 20:35 timetabled arrival in Fort William where it arrived 7 minutes early.

Class 56 in focus

56 113, revived for service with Colas in autumn 213 had been at Canton depot. when it and moved to the Central station and then departed back to the depot on 4 March (above). Picture by Martin Evans.

Colas Rail Class 56 302 travelled light engine from the Newport direction before moving on to the depot at Cardiff Canton and is seen here at Central station on 4 March 2014. This loco eventually worked the Baglan Bay to Chirk Kronospan logs later in the day (Martin Evans).

56 302 again, on train 6V54 Chirk - Baglan bay empties passing Ludlow at 15:37 on 7 March (Stavros Lainas).

Silver Skip on the WAG

An unusual event in on the Arriva Trains Wales scene was the appearance of Chiltern Railways (erstwhile Wrexham & Shropshire) 67 012 A Shropshire Lad on the Premier Express for a couple of days owing to a the unavailability of Arriva's 'own' three locos. Above, the Cardiff - Holyhead express calls at Colwyn Bay on the evening of 5 March. Picture by Darren Durrant.

Colwyn Bay from the other side pictured by Jack Bowley. Click the picture for a Youtube video.

Thursday morning 6 March at 06:35 at Rhyl: Ivor Bufton was on hand to photograph 67 012 on the Holyhead - Cardiff express.

The nameplate could do with a lick of paint (Ivor Bufton).

Mark Youdan  braved the wind and the rain to get a shot on Friday morning 7 March of the southbound working at Roodee Viaduct. Mark writes: 'I woke up, heard the rain and thought that I might stay in, but the forecast for the rest of the day was good so I ventured out. It was a good job I did ...

 ... as when the train got to Cardiff 67 012 was swapped for 67 001, which I snapped in the evening with the Holyhead-bound train at Chester.'

Past Times with John Hobbs - Collett 0-6-0 Heaven

GWR Collett 0-6-0 3208 (above) at Llandudno Junction having been laid aside; following  snowplough duties over the winter; when it reached Trawsfynydd and Amlwch, and apparently also managed some ballast duties at Glan Conway (now Glan Conwy) after the snow plough duties were completed on 4 April 1965. Who would have though a GWR locomotive would again reach Trawsfynydd after the line from Bala Closed in January 1961. Independent snowploughs which could be pushed by any type of locomotive became available in 1965.

3208 was seeing better days, when leaving Morfa Mawddach with the 10:25 Pwllheli to Dovey Junction on 21 November 1964.

2236 rests in Machynlleth Depot, looking like the 'shed pet' on 6 June 1965.

2236 again, at Morfa Mawddach waiting to work light engine to Barmouth to collect a failed BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0, which it then took to Machynlleth, on 21 November 1964.

2268 at Croes Newydd, on 22 March 1965, also for snowplough duties, with some snow on the ground but not enough to get worried about, 2236, 2268 and 3208 were the last three Collett 0-6-0's in traffic on the London Midland Region; all were withdrawn in May 1965.

2242 on station pilot duty at Hereford on 31 October 1964, the last day of the Gloucester to Hereford service via Ross-on-Wye; this is the stock for the 1.40 pm Hereford to Gloucester; this was a Western Region engine which succumbed at about the same time as the LMR ones.

Mystery station

Alan Hart writes: 'Here is an image that has been left unidentified for more than 18 months. I have shown it to the cream of well-known photographers from all over the country to no avail. I have contacted the owner of the original transparency (not the original photographer, who is unknown) and he says the processing date stamp is Oct 1964. 42104 was shedded at Bangor and Stafford in 1964. The station bargeboards are very distinctive and the stock is clearly of LNER origin.'

We have a (possibly-mistaken) theory, but what do readers think?

Club 55 ... times 2 - report by Stephen Hughes

For some time I had been considering a trip to Scotland utilising the 'Club 55' tickets kindly offered by Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) and Scotrail, but I also wanted to have more of a purpose for doing so. ... the opportunity came when I had a free night in a Premier Inn which had to be used by the end of February and I saw that The Stranglers were playing in Inverness, so Inverness it was.

Rather last-minute preparations made me think that it might not be possible to purchase reasonably cheap tickets that 'bridged the gap' between the respective Train Companies. To add a bit of variety I eschewed joining the West Coast Main Line at Crewe or Warrington, instead buying a Merseyrail 'add-on' for £1 to Ormskirk (picture above) where I could change to a Northern service to Preston. As it happened, there was a £12 advance fare available from Ormskirk to Carlisle where my Scotrail 'Club 55' ticket would commence.

So, on Thursday I caught the 07:22 Virgin departure from Bangor, which deposited me at Chester a couple of minutes early and so I was able to catch the 08:31 to Liverpool Central which was running a couple of minutes late. Changing at Moorfields I arrived at Ormskirk with about 45 minutes to spare. As I hadn't been there before, I had a brief look around, noticing that there is no physical rail connection between the services, although they share the same platform.

Eventually a Class 142 jerked its way to a stop at the buffers and before long we were bouncing along the flatlands of central Lancashire, where I suspect potatoes are grown, joining the West Coast Main Line just south of Preston. (A small number of passengers joined the train at each of the stations on this very rural line, which does not have a very frequent service but does have a Community Rail Partnership.

From Preston I had two unremarkable Pendolino services, one to Carlisle and then another to Edinburgh, where a tight connection for Perth did not give me any time to have a wander. A 158 was waiting, and my first thoughts were that the seating was not as comfortable as those comparatively recently refurbished by Arriva ... and it wasn't. From Perth, a fine station that deserves more than 2/3 car DMUs, it was Scotrail's standard long-distance Class 170 to Inverness, the cramped seating relieved by the provision of free Wi-Fi: ATW take note.

Arrived at Inverness.

The following morning I confess that I had decided when booking to abandon the 'Club 55' as the East Coast HST to London, departing at 07:55 was offering a first class advance to Perth for £15, too good to miss. (Scotrail's club 55 is not available on East Coast services anyway). On a beautiful sunny morning it was a fine way to travel over the Highland line and the breakfast was good too, although the staff were a bit severe. Good to see the HSTs still going strong, they were coming to the end of their tenure on Virgin's North Wales services when I renewed my interest in travelling by rail. The picture above shows the HST departing from Perth towards London.

Perth, with the 158 for Edinburgh. The St Andrews Cross-inspired livery belongs to the Scottish Government and is intended to remain even in the Franchise Holder changes.

I retraced my journey back home, without incident, noticing that Carlisle is still a Mecca for enthusiasts of loco-hauled services, In the 20 minutes or so that I was there, I noted the two 57s with a Statesman Rail excursion from Holyhead to Fort William, a Class 56 on the Chirk logs and triple-headed 37s on a permanent way train ... then along came a Pendolino!

A very enjoyable couple of days for the most part, for anyone of the right age it is an excellent way of visiting Scotland by rail without breaking the bank, especially as Scotrail have held their prices, unlike Arriva.

RCTS event in Chester 17 March

The Railway Correspondence & Travel Society (RCTS) meets at the Town Crier opposite Chester railway station on Monday 17 March at 7.30 p.m.

The meeting has as its speaker Bob Casselden, presently based in Crewe, who has had many years professional experience in the railway industry looking at the transformation of BR’s 'Other Provincial Services' via ‘Regional Railways’ into today’s privatised railways.

Visitors are most welcome to attend on donating £2 to help defray meeting expenses.

Tamper movements

Colas's colourful track machines have been catching the eye of our contributors: On 3 March DR73912 Lynx moved from Shresbury to Llandudno Jn. via Chester, photograhed at Saltney by Bob Greenhalgh....

... and at Rhyl by Roly High. This machine is a Plasser & Theurer 08-16/4x4 C-RT Switch & Crossing Tamper: its function is to pack the ballast under the sleepers to ensure the track is level and well supported.

On the same day at Saltney sister machine DR73909 Saturn passes en route from Penrith to Wrexham (Bob Greenhalgh).


Tony Robinson writes: 'I read with interest Barrie Hughes' notes on the Buckley Railway (17 February) and I feel  it opportune to highlight the fact that some of my own boyhood experiences of the line (1963) are detailed in my Oakwood Press book "Dad Had An Engine Shed" which has been previously reviewed on the NWCR website.' Our review is in the 27 November 2010 update: the book is published by Oakwood Press.

This from David Healey: 'Re your caption under the photograph of 46239 in the latest edition of North Wales Coast Railway. They were never referred to as "Duchesses" during my spotting days! At that time, many years ago, 46239 would have been known as a "Semi" not a "Duchess".'

The name seems to have originated when the streamlines casing was removed from the locos which had that feature, leading to the term 'semi-steamlined.'


On the the afternoon Alan Hart took this picture of the Drax - Liverpool Bulk Terminal empty biomass hoppers on Stockport viaduct with loco 66 736 Wolverhampton Wanderers. Your editor was standing beside him behind the 'anti-suicide fence' at the time, and the resulting video clip can be found among others on our latest Youtube effort imaginatively titled Trains at Stockport and Cheadle Hulme.

The Drax - Liverpool train has since been re-timed to run in the morning, passing Stockport at 09:49: Greg Mape photographed it (running an hour late) on 6 March from the footbridge at Skelton Junction near Altrincham on with appropriately-named 66 724 Drax Power Station. Note that the biomass hoppers have lids to keep the wood pellets dry. Trains travel slowly around the curve here, offereing a good photo opportunity to railfans armed with the wonderful Realtime Trains website or phone app to establish the running times of trains.

Another Skelton Junction view by Greg Mape from the morning of 6 March showing 66 560 on a domestic refuse ('binliner') train from Bredbury to Runcorn Folly Lane, also running late at 10:45. After a priod of test runs, it appears that Greater Manchester's rubbish, previously taken to landfill near Scunthorpe which was running out of room, will in future be carried to Runcorn to be burned at the Runcorn Thermal Power Station which provides power for the adjacent chemical plant.

The view in the other direction, with 142 011 on a Manchester-Chester service descends towards Deansgate Junction and Navigation Road station. The bridge in the background carries the line which once continues to cross the Manchester Ship Canal and join the Manchester - Liverpool line at Glazebrook, and was later truncated to the industries in the Partington and Carrington area. It is currently disused apart from a short length used as a siding, although there have been schemes to revive it. Here is a location on a map.

The Wickham-built Class 109 unit preserved on the Llangollen Railway is a unique survivor of a small class, and is kept in fine condition by its owners. Here it is working the Saturday timetable at Berwyn on 8 March. Picture by Peter Dickinson. The Llangollen Railcars website has the full story of this interesting train.

Peter Basterfield visited the Settle - Carlisle line on 1 March to photograph 46115 Scots Guardsman working the 'Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express.Peter writes: 'The location is Wharton Dykes / Bull Gill south of Kirkby Stephen and about 5 miles to go to the summit at Ais Gill. If you look carefully you can just make out Brough Castle to the right of the smoke.'

A letter from Wrexham - by Bob Hargreaves to the 'Wrexham Leader'

I was very interested in the Wrexham Leader's editorial on Monday 3 March 'There are sound reasons for updating rail links. Currently the 07:00 Virgin Train to London Euston arrives in London Euston at 09:41, having waited in Chester for 20 minutes to join up with another VT service from Holyhead. I agree with Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham:  a better quicker service is required to London more often than once a day from Wrexham.
However after years of waiting for the railway between Wrexham and Saltney to be redoubled, the Welsh Government in Cardiff have meddled with the much-needed extra capacity between Wrexham and Chester. It was originally decided to dual-track 7.5 miles to allow up to six trains an hour to run in each direction between Chester and Wrexham, but alas the two miles of dual track between Wrexham General and Gresford are to remain single, thus only allowing three trains an hour in each direction. This decision was made by the  Welsh Government Minister Edwina Hart  without any consultation, and this reduction from 7.5 to 5.5 miles of dual track effectively rules   out any future much needed to services to Manchester / Merseyside and London via Chester.
Welsh Government's current thinking is to run an extra train every hour to Cardiff via Wrexham, run for Political reasons when the majority of rail travellers from Wrexham wish extra services to North West England and London. There are already nine trains a day from Wrexham to Cardiff. sufficient for the few who use them in my opinion, there is no business case for more Cardiff services to run  at the cost of services passengers really want, to neighbouring North West England.
This morning I was at Wrexham General station, the 07:32 Welsh Government-funded Dining Express to Cardiff departed with less than a handful boarding, whereas the 08:02 train to Chester and Llandudno from Wrexham had almost 100 boarding. Welsh Government may be paying for the reduced rail redoubling, but are too remote in Cardiff to understand travel patterns and requirements in North East Wales.
Political meddling reduced the dual track between Wrexham and Chester, to save £450K on the Gresford Bridge for the Expressway,this decision was made by the Welsh Office in Cardiff and rubber-stamped at Shire Hall Mold by Clwyd County Councillors, much to the objection of Wrexham MP and Council, but yet again, this time the Welsh Government Minister is meddling by reducing foreseen much needed rail capacity in Wrexham.

But what a different picture is painted in The Welsh Government Rail Minister's constituency of the Gower: only last July this same Minister Ms Edwina Hart, who is cutting back the rail infrastructure at Wrexham, opened newly-built Gowerton village station with its new dual tracks and an extra 90 trains calling in a week. Gowerton  has a population of 9000, but Wrexham has almost 50,000. Dual standards indeed.

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