Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

May 2014
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.

Tuesday 13 May (Change of DateNorth Wales Railway Circle A.G.M.  followed by Members Videos, Prints, Slides, and Digital work in the Photo Competition.

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.

Tuesday 27 May Denbigh Film Club invites all railway enthusiasts to an evening of 'Railway Nostalgia - on Film' in aid of the Llangollen Railway Corwen Extension. Theatr Twm O'r Nant, Station Road, Denbigh.  Doors open 7pm, show starts at 7.30. Licensed bar and refreshments available. Admission £5.

June 2014

Sunday 15 June Excursion Compass Tours 'The Cumbrian Moorlander'. Holyhead, Llanfairpwill, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Shotton, Chester, Helsby, Frodsham & Warrington Bank Quay to Carlisle via the Settle & Carlisle railway route.

July 2014

Saturday 5 July North Wales Area Group of the N Gauge Society. Welsh N Gauge Model Railway Show. St Mary's and St John's Halls, Rosehill Street, Conwy. What?  -  The largest gathering of N Gauge model railway layouts in Wales Opening times  - 10.00am to 4.00pm Admission £4.00 adults  -  £3.00 concessions - Children under 15 Free when accompanied by a paying adult.

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.

October 2014

Saturday - Monday 18-20 October Land Cruise Compass Tours  Autumn Highlander. Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Delamere, Northwich, Knutsford, Altrincham, Stockport, Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Preston, & Carlisle to Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh. A 3-day weekend break by rail to the Scottish Highlands, inclusive of two nights stay in quality hotel  accommodation at Inverness. From £329.00 each.

While out on a bike ride along the North Wales Coast Cycleway on 2 May, Peter Lloyd captured this view near Penmaenbach tunnel of train 1D83, 09:10 London Euston to Holyhead with 221 112 Ferdinand Magellan and 221 103 Christopher Columbus, running on time at 12:08.

Premier Express events

The 05:33 Holyhead - Cardiff express failed at Valley on 29 April with locvo problems. It returned to Holyhead where fitted attended loco 67 002; Alan Crawshaw photographed it in Platform 3 later in the day as maintenance staff investigate the fault which, we understand, involved the brakes.

Eventually, the train ran as empty stock, 16:15 from Holyhead to Crewe, where after waiting in the Down Refuge Siding for over two hours, it ran into the Carriage sidings (Ivor Bufton), and continued from Crewe to Cardiff the next day. The evening train from Cardiff and the next morning's southbound ran as scheduled using a spare loco and coaches.

On 2 May, it was decided to send 67 015 David J. Lloyd from Cardiff to Crewe for by the somewhat roundabout route of attaching it to the evening train from Cardiff to Holyhead along with 67 001, as pictured at Rhyl (time 20:35) by Ivor Bufton...

And then light-engine to Crewe the next day - as in this picture at Llanfair PG by Richard Fleckney.

Pausing at Llandudno Junction, 16 minutes early, Dave Trains enjoys the moment, while Elwyn admires the loco (Peter Lloyd).

Ffestiniog celebration

Saturday 3 May - by Alan Crawshaw

From 2 -5 May, the Ffestiniog Railway celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the Ffestiniog Railway restoration era. As their website explained, 'over the past sixty years, many thousands of people - tourists, enthusiasts, staff and volunteers - have enjoyed amazing adventures on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways. Join us for a very special weekend, where we will not only be running an intensive service of traditional and modern Ffestiniog Railway trains, but also offering the opportunity to experience your very own railway adventure on the F&WHR.'

The pictures are a selection from Saturday 3 May. David Lloyd George (above), still in grey undercoat after its recent overhaul. and diesel Vale of Ffestiniog greeted us.

We caught the first train of the day, the 10:10. double headed by double Fairlies, to Blaenau Ffestiniog where we watched 150 279 arrive from Llandudno.

As we arrived back at Porthmadog, Taliesin and Fiji were waiting.

Fiji is visiting from the Statfold Barn Railway: we took a ride behind it to Pont Croesor (above) and back.

Back at Porthmadog, diesel Upnor Castle with the vintage set of quarrymen's carriages.

Sunday 4 May - by Dave Sallery

Mountaineer at Boston Lodge. Built by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in 1916 (works number 57156) for the British War Department Light Railways of World War I, this loco came to the Ffestiniog in 1967. It was withdrawn, awaiting overhaul, in 2006 and is normally kept at Glan-y-Pwll shed in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Linda, David Lloyd George (in grey undercoat) and Taliesin leave Harbour station on empty stock for Boston Lodge.

Recently restored Fiji, visiting from Statfold Barn, at Boston Lodge.

Palmerston and Moelwyn on the quarrymen's train at Minffordd.  Palmerston had failed on this train at Rhiw Goch causing the train to be terminated there and returned to Porthmadog.

Eryl Crump has uploaded two videos to YouTube showing some events on Friday 2 May.

'Caroline' in view

Unique inspection saloon 975025 Caroline (above) has been out and about recently. Spotted at Stockport on 23 May during a lunch break for the railway managers on board, DRS celebrity 47 790 Galloway Princess was providing the power.

A closer look at Caroline, which was converted to the Southern Region General Manager's saloon  in 1969 from a buffet car originally built for a London - Hastings line diesel-electric train. That line has several narrow tunnels which required special flat-sided rolling stock; when it was electrified in the 1980s, the section of line through the problem tunnels was reduced from double to single track which 'solved' the problem.

Caroline is fitted with control cabs which so that it can work in push-pull mode with a locomotive, as seen later the same day heading through Manchester Oxford Road station towards Bolton and Preston. In her time, she has had some illustrious passengers, including Prince Charles and Diana Spencer on their honeymoon, and Pope John Paul II on his visit to Britain in 1982.

The plan for 28 April was a run from Newport to Shrewsbury, then to Aberystwyth and back, requiring the addition of Network Rail ERTMS-fitted locomotive 97 303 as pilot to locomotive 37 423 Spirit of the LakesPhil Donbavand photographed the train waiting for 97 303 to arrive from Crewe.

No push-pull working with Caroline on the Cambrian Lines, as the leading cab of any train must have the in-cab display which replaces old-style signalling. Above, the train waiting to cross a Birmingham International-bound passenger train at Newtown (Phil Donbavand).

The next day, 29 April, the train continued its tour of Network Rail's Mid- and North Wales principal routes by heading, now with 37 423 alone, departing from Shrewsbury at 08:43 (40 Minutes late) via Wrexham and Chester to Holyhead, and then back over the same route to Newport. Picture above at Chester by Mark Barber.

Crossing Conwy Cob westbound, 37 423 propelling (Garry Stroud).

Bangor  (Rowan Crawshaw). The loco has lost its DRS branding on one side: following a graffiti attack perhaps?

At Llandudno Junction on the way back (Peter Lloyd).

Passing Rhyl Marine Lake on the return run (Ivor Bufton).

Saturday 3 May saw 423 and Caroline at Crewe to work an 11:16 to Derby Rail Technical Centre, this time without passengers (Darren Durrant).

Caroline ... no! - by Alan Crawshaw

I cycled from home to Holyhead on 29 April with the intention of catching 37 423 on the way. I waited at Valley; 175 007 came along (above) and knowing that the 37 was supposed to be ahead of it, I carried on to Holyhead. Here, 67 002 was receiving attention from three Arriva fitters (see previous article). I spoke to a Merseysider who was photographing the same scene, he'd seen nothing of the 37 so I bought my ticket for the 12:32 back to Bangor and checked the other side of the station just in case. When I got home I discovered that it had run late but left Holyhead a couple of minutes early, and I'd have seen it had I not been distracted by the failed 67.

Great bike ride though, and an opportunity to use a Beach Boys song title as the subject.

An Hour at Llanberis - with Alan Crawshaw

I set off for a bike ride on 2 May but was distracted by the sight (above) of three steam locomotives lined up at the Snowdon Mountain Railway's Llanberis yard, an unusual sight now that the railway have cut back the use of steam.

The occasion was a visit by a party of German steam railway operators so I lingered to observe events. Diesel 9 Ninian set off for the summit at 10:00 with one of the new carriages which were delivered from late 2012.

Next, number 3 Wyddfa was positioned for the visitors to climb inside the cab and take photographs, a rare opportunity for a clear view of the front end which is normally up against the coach.

The railway management have introduced 'Ivor the Engine' as a feature in their cinema, and No. 3 has been dressed up as Ivor. More than 20 Ivor the Engine animated films are being shown continuously at the Snowdon Mountain Railway's cinema in Llanberis. For a video, and the full story, see the Daily Post website.

The veteran of 1895 returned to the shed to allow diesel 11 Peris to run into the station with a works train; a drinks machine was in the wagon at the back and was unloaded, presumably defective.

Number 6 Padarn, built in 1922 left at 10:30 to take the party to the summit in the "Snowdon Lily" coach. From the railway's website: 'The Snowdon Lily is built on the original chassis and bogie from the original carriage of 1896. The unique original nature of our railway means that the visitor of today will experience exactly what our ancestors did back in 1896 and see for themselves how beautiful the mountain is as they journey through the clouds to Yr Wyddfa, Snowdon.

'Pushed by one of our three working steam locomotives from 1896, the Snowdon Lily is an accurate re-construction of one of our original Snowdon Mountain Tramroad & Hotels Co Ltd 1896 observation carriages. Seating only 34 passengers with a central aisle, in twos and fours, we urge passengers who prefer a little more room [yes please! -Ed.] to book their trip on the Snowdon Lily.' A return trip by steam on the Snowdon Lily costs £35 compared with the normal £27.

Locomotives at Crewe

A guest locomotive at the 'West Coast 40' event (40 years from completion of the West Coast Main Line electrification) over the May-Day weekend at Crewe Heritage Centre was 90 034, which has recently the first Class 90 locomotive to receive DRS livery. Hired from DB Schenker, it will be used by Virgin Trains to power their 'Pretendolino' set of Mk3 coaches, used for charter trains and the Thursdays- and Fridays-only 1G40 19:03 London Euston - Birmingham and 1B94 20:50 Birmingham – Euston. Picture by Darren Durrant.

Also present at the Heritage Centre, an old favourite, 57 307 Lady Penelope, the only one of the ex-Virgin Trains Class 57/3s to retain its 'Thunderbirds' TV show name (Darren Durrant).

An even older favourite: 47 847, still surviving in its 'large logo' re-creation applied by Virgin Trains in the latter days of their Class 47 fleet, shunting coaches at Crewe on 1 May. (Martin Evans). In its heyday as Railway World Magazine / Brian Morrison from 2002 to 2006, this worked Cross-Country and North Wales trains, to the delight of many enthusiasts. Today it rarely ventures out on to the main line.

On 1 May  DRS loco 66 302 brings the Daventry to Coatbridge intermodal into Platform 11 at Crewe for a crew change (Martin Evans).

West Coast Railways continue to eschew the bright colours and bold logos of other companies:  47 247 worked through Crewe light-engine from Tyseley to Carnforth on 1 May (Martin Evans).


D3871 (08 704)  at the former Crewe diesel depot on 1 May, wearing a replica of 1960s livery (Martin Evans). This loco belongs to the Harry Needle Railroad Company.

Two gauges at Welshpool - report by Glyn Jones

At Welshpool (Raven Square) station on the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway, loco 823 Countess, having arrived with the 13.48 from Llanfair Caereinion, is serviced.  The driver keeps a wary eye on the malfunctioning water column as he oils around!

Problem solved, and ‘823’ has soot and char removed from her smokebox.

823 departs with the 14.10 for Llanfair Caereinion, about to tackle the steep Golfa Bank.

Re-filling the bunker at Llanfair Caereinion, as seen from the station picnic area.

Romanian ‘Resita’ 764.423  is seen in the yard at Llanfair Caereinion.  Her tanks, bunker and cab have been removed for scrap. The boiler has been sold for stationary use for water treatment developments and awaits removal.  The chassis is being kept for spare parts for ‘Resita’ 764.425 which was overhauled in Romania and entered service on the W&L but has proved very unreliable.

At the Cambrian main line station on the other side of town, a very clean Colas Rail Tamper, DR 73805, un-attended, stands in the siding .

An Arriva Trains Wales 4-car train, with 158 835 nearest the camera, awaits departure with the 15:02 for Birmingham New Street.

Past times with Dennis Kerrison - Britannia Parade

Captions by John Hobbs

Britannia Class 4-6-2 70016 Ariel leaves the main "Down" platform at Rhyl on 6 June 1963 with the 12 noon Crewe to Llandudno;  the top lamp bracket has been relocated lower down the smokebox door and it has oblong holes in the smoke deflectors; as fitted by the Western Region following the serious derailment at Milton in 1955 which was said to be partly due to the handrails obscuring the driver's view of signals. It would shortly move away to Aston Shed in Birmingham.  The engine went new to Leeds Holbeck then to Stratford and Laira, then Cardiff and then on to the London Midland Region.

70017 Arrow leaves Prestatyn on 22 May 1961, allocated to Willesden at the time and with revised hand-holds in the smoke deflectors as fitted by Regions other than the Western: see how they contrast with those on 70016. The old cycling-lion crest is still displayed on the tender; the train is unknown but is conveying some interesting ex-LNER vehicles at the front. This engine went new to the Western Region moving to Trafford Park for the Midland Main Line in 1958.

70031 Byron leaves Prestatyn on 21 April 1963, still retaining a smokebox top lamp bracket, and with the original style of handrail fitted to the smoke deflectors; it  has just been transferred to Aston but still visits North Wales with the 10.40 Sundays-only Manchester (Exchange) to Llandudno. Notice that the signals on all lines are 'off'  - it is a Sunday and Prestatyn Box is switched out -  and that a trainload of Mancunians can have a nice afternoon in Llandudno. This engine went new to Holyhead and then moved on to Longsight.

70042 Lord Roberts on 24 July 1965, allocated to Holyhead at the time, heads train 1D12. the 09.05 Saturdays Only, Crewe to Bangor. This locomotive originally operated on the Great Eastern main line, then moved on to the Midland main line this engine too has the original smoke deflector hand rails.

Bizarre livery corner

GB Railfreight management are not averse to some wild extravagance in loco colour schemes. 66 721 Harry Beck, seen above at Crewe on 29 April, commemorates its use on trains of materials for the London Underground, being named for the inventor of the Underground map. Picture by Richard Fleckney.

66 720, seen above on 30 April with the Trafford Park to Felixstowe intermodal at Deansgate, carries a livery 'inspired by Emily Goodman, aged six, comprising of a technicolor mix including pink, purple, primrose yellow, orange, sky blue, royal blue, green and red.' The other side of the loco has a different design.

Picture news

Peter Lloyd writes: 'here’s our new addition to Llandudno Junction’s platform 4, to celebrate our colleague, station operator Rodney Fitzgibbon, now in his 50th year working on the railway. Well done Rodney.'

And from all at the website - thanks to Rodney and all the others who work to keep the railway running.

Colas tamper DR 73935 stabled between night shifts in the tamper siding at Llandudno Junction, 30 April (Peter Lloyd).

A busy early-morning (06:48) scene at Altrincham on 2 May. A West Coast 47 departs with the Hooton to Ayr excursion run by Compass tours / MCRUA, while a Northern Class 142 pacer heads for Chester with the 06:18 from Manchester and pair of Metrolink trams led by 3017 arrives (Greg Mape). News from Metrolink is that the last two of the 'old' trams to remain in traffic, 2001 and 2003 from the 'T68a' batch built in 2000 for the Salford Quays line, were withdrawn at the end of 30 April. The last of the 1000 series cars from the early 1990s 'went' some weeks ago.

Real Time Hint

The Real Time Trains website's 'Advanced Search' feature is a marvellous tool for enthusiasts, particularly those keen to see and photograph freight trains. Howver, its entries are only as good as the information on the railway industry's own database from which it gets is data. The database format includes a field called 'Activated' with associated time which, on first sight, seems to be a a good guide to whether a train will actually run. However, Train Companies can arrange for their services to be automatically 'activated' by the software a fixed time before scehduled departure, to avoid having to input the information. This applies to many passenger trains, and also to some freights, particularly those operated by Freightliner.

The extract above, for example, refers to a train of unloaded Greater Manchester waste containers from the incinerator plant at Runcorn. Note that the 'Activated' time 08:56 is exactly two hours before the scheduled departure time of 10:56, and it was most likely an automatic activation, and there is a chance that the train's entry will later be changed to 'Cancelled' as indeed happened in this case. The only true evidence of the train running is 'bold' typeface in the 'Realtime' column.

Our thanks to Paul Shannon for elucidating this.

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