Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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.

'The Seaside Flyer' passes Deganwy on 24 May: see report below. Picture by Darren Durrant.

The Seaside Flyer, 24 May

The 'Seaside Flyer' run by Vintage Trains, 07:18 from Tyseley (Birmingham) to Llandudno on Saturday 24 May unfortunately ran on a day of unremitting cloud and rain, not  ideal for the Llandudno Air Show which had been billed as an attraction, nor for our contributing photographers, but several of them braved the weather as these pictures prove. We pick up the train (above) departing from Crewe towards Chester at 09:36. Picture by Chris Morrison.

Arriving at Chester  (Peter Hanson). The locomotive, 'Castle' class 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, is based at Tyseley and regularly performs on Vintage Trains excursions.

The train pulled into Platform 4 at Chester. (Anthony Thomas). Here, a deviation from the usualplan for such trains (in which the loco runs from Llandudno to Valley to turn on the triangle there) has been put into action, as Vintage Trains explained on a post to the National Railway Preservation forum:

We had planned on 5043 going alone. We were going to propel the train into the re-instated carriage sidings at Llandudno, but there's has been a delay with the sidings. So, we had to take the Class 47 on the back for the drag out of Llandudno.

But, we had the water carrier vehicle with us, so not only would we have to run the 47 and 5043 round, but we also have to run the water carrier around also. The only (viable) solution was to turn the entire train at Chester, complete with passengers. This did mean that the run from Chester to Llandudno was be diesel-led with 5043 running tender first on the rear.

Which is what happened. Perhaps some of the passengers enjoyed the rare trip round all three legs of the triangle west of Chester station.

Departing for the Chester triangle (George Jones).

Thus the train was headed to Llandudno by 47 773, as seen passing Flint (Glyn Jones). Glyn notes: 'Judging by the exhaust beat and emissions from its chimney, The Earl wasn't exactly under tow!'

Abergele (Roly High).  Not running 'wrong line', but actually going backwards - not a wonderful experience for the locomotive crew in the rain as it is necessary to lean out for a forward view.

The water carrier vehicle, 96100, has been converted from a British Railways General Utility Van (GUV) with the addition of water tanks to supplement the water in the tender (to which it is connected by pipes) and reduce the need for trains to stop to replenish the the loco water supply, without disfiguring the overall look of the train.

'Spoon and wet tea pot' pass Colwyn Bay (Jack Bowley).

Another backwards view at Colwyn Bay (Jack Bowley). The railway cut off the town from the sea in the 1840s, and the A55 road built 1980s followed the same route.

Arrived at Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies).

Arriving at Llandudno (Greg Mape). Note the white ends to the check rails; is this to remind staff that the track layout has changed?

5043 stands at Llandudno. This is the first charter to visit the 'revamped' Llandudno station: the space formerly occupied by Platforms 4 and 5 can be seen in the background. It is a shame that the train could not have been led in by the steam loco (Larry Davies).

What's happening here? (Nick Gurney). They were apparently promoting the Llandudno Llawn arts festival.

47 773 and the refurbished platform gates with their London Midland and Scottish Railway monograms. Just out of view to the left, unfortunately, is an ill-matching Arriva Trains Wales 'Platform 3' sign in their ill-matching garish colours. We suggest a visit to Birmingham Moor Street to see how these things should be done.

Llandudno (Darren Durrant).

The train travelled after lunch to Llandudno Junction for the steam loco to be fed and watered. It is seen above arriving at 'The Junction' (Larry Davies). This move offered a chance for passengers to walk or catch a bus from Llandudno to a location on the branch and photograph the train in motion away from a station, so often not possible on modern-day excursions. However most of them probably preferred to shelter from the rain.

Watering in progress (Peter Lloyd). The tail lamp has already been placed on 5043 for the return to Llandudno.

The headboard included a visual reference to the air show (Peter Lloyd)

47 773 heads the return empty stock from Llandudno Junction to Llandudno past Deganwy (Chris Morrison).

The return working to Tyseley passing a very wet Deganwy (Chris Morrison).

Chugging through the rain at Colwyn Bay (Darren Durrant).

Rhyl (Roly High).

Abergele (Greg Mape).

returns to Chester, brings back fond memories of the GWR at Chester (Peter Hanson).

Arriva Loco-hauled

Slightly overshadowed by the steam train excitement on 24 May, the Arriva Trains Wales 'Premier Express' set was brought out for a 'rugby special' trip, 08:07 from Holyhead to Cardiff. Roly High photographed the morning train passing Rhyl with Driving Van Trailer 82308 leading ...

... and 67 002 propelling.

The train passed the steam special at Chester. The driver told contributor Peter Hanson that up to this point there had been just four passengers aboard (Peter Hanson). The rugby match in the Millennium Stadium was the final of the Heiniken Cup. Toulon, fielding British star Jonny Wilkinson playing his last game on British soil, beat Saracens 23 - 6.

On the subject of the loco-hauled set, there have been rumours for some time that a locomotive and stock is to be used on a new diagram, including runs to Manchester. This week sees actual details appear from a reliable source.  From December 2014 the plan is to use a Class 67 and DVT on the following diagram:
 1D51.07:16 Crewe - Chester
1H84 07:40 Chester - Manchester pic
1D34 09:50 Manchester pic - Holyhead
1H89 12:59 Holyhead - Manchester Pic
1D31 16:50 Manchester Pic - Llandudno.
2D79 19:13 Llandudno - Llandudno Jct
2D80 19:28 Llan Jct - Llandudno
1K96 19:38 Llandudno - Crewe
It seems that test train will run two trips on Sunday 8 June from Chester to Longsight for 'gauging' purposes. The trains will stop at all ATW-served stations to test the method and safety of operation as Mk3 coaches have not been used on Manchester - North Wales stopping services before, although the route Warrington - Earlestown - Wigan is a diversionary route and thus should be cleared for Mk3 stock as used with the sleeper services, and and Manchester - Chat Moss - Edge Hill is a recognised route for various West Coast Service diversions. Perhaps the special Arriva Trains Wales measuring device will be brought out of storage.

Sunday 8 June only (not for public use):
5Z67 11:10 Holyhead - Chester 12:39
1Z67 13:07 Chester - Longsight Down Goods Loop 14:10
1Z68 14:25 Longsight Down Goods Loop - Chester 15:50
1Z69 16:07 Chester - Longsight Down Goods Loop 17:11
1Z70 17:36 Longsight Down Goods Loop - Chester 18:36
5Z70 15:59 Chester - Holyhead 21:11
It has also been suggested to us that the Welsh Government may not be willing to fund the current Holyhead - Cardiff express after this year, but how true this is we cannot say.

Looking back: it was just over a decade ago, on 31 March 2004, that the last North Wales Coast loco-hauled service made its way to Manchester, in the shape of the early morning Bangor - Manchester train, seen above running into Manchester Oxford Road with 47 750 in charge. Picture by Charlie Hulme, first published in our 2 April 2004 issue.

Loco-hauled events

The Valley - Crewe flask train made an appearance on 21 May, hauled by a mixed pairing of 37 610 and 20 302, pictured above by Rowan Crawshaw passing Bangor....

... and by Peter Lloyd at Llandudno Junction.

60 040 The Territorial Army Centenary pausing at Shrewsbury on Wednesday 21 May with the 09:30 Dee Marsh Junction to Margam steel empties....

...  A beautiful morning – a shame there wasn’t more freight about. Pictures by David Parry.

The 'Northern Belle' ventured on to the Frodsham Junction - Halton Junction line on 23 May running as 1Z21 from Chester to Bristol Temple Meads via Liverpool Lime Street. 47 832 was leading, amid evidence of relaying and new ballast  ...

and 47 790 Galloway Princess trailing, although already carrying the headboard in preparation for the reversal in Liverpool. This headboard is a close replica of the one used on the original 'Northern Belle' a cruise train run by the London and North Eastern Railway in the 1930s. A picture can be found on the marvellous website devoted to the classic Railway Wonders of the World part-work.

Regarding the name changes of the current train to 'Belmond Northern Belle', mentioned in the last issue, thanks to Andrew Macfarlane who writes to explain that French Railways have claimed ownership (on historic grounds) of the name 'Orient Express' for a luxury Paris to Istanbul train they are planning to introduce. So Orient-Express Hotels, who also run the current Venice Simplon Orient Express and Northern Belle operations, have been obliged to re-brand themselves, and, after looking at 650 possible names, chose the made-up name Belmond. 'Belmond is derived from the Latin for beautiful and world, and the stylized glow suggests the influence of our global reach and our world',  Ralph Aruzza, Orient-Express Hotels’ chief sale and marketing officer, explained in a presentation about the re-branding.

Irish Journey, Pt. 2 - with Richard Putley

Continuing (see last issue) on the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland's "Saint Canice" 3-day railtour, to Day 3.  With loco 461 hauling the tour from Dublin (above) on 19 May in place of Merlin, it started to lose time despite valiant efforts on the part of the crew.

Our first stop at Drogheda was curtailed. I did manage to take photos from the window, both on arrival (above), where a CAF (Spain) built class 29000 DMU could be seen ...

...and also on departure. You can see on the right the hump of the impressive girder viaduct (built in 1855) that takes the line at a height of 98 feet over the River Boyne.

Our first water stop was at Dundalk where the signal box has been kept as a display item.

Also on display there were some of Irish Rail's now redundant BR built Mk3s. I do hope one of the train companies in Britain buys them as it would be a great shame to see them get scrapped.

After crossing the border we had another water stop at Lisburn.

Also seen here were some of the former Gatwick Express BR Mk2 coaches which the Northern Ireland Railways acquired some years ago.

By now we were running 40 minutes late. We had to wait for a couple of scheduled trains to overtake us before 461 could draw forward to the water tower at the end of the platform.

I had originally planned to take the tour al the way to Whitehead, where the RPSI's base is, partly because I've not yet travelled other that line. But the late running meant that I would have to return to Dublin on the 20:05 from Belfast, the last train of the day. I therefore decided to leave the tour at Belfast and caught the 18:05 "Enterprise" service back from Belfast Central. I photographed 461 there alongside one of the NIRs CAF built DMUs.

Despite this final disappointment I enjoyed the three days immensely and I would thoroughly recommend the RPSI's railtours.

Past Times with Dennis Kerrison - The Dyserth branch

Captions by John Hobbs

Above, Prestatyn on 22 June 1963. The start of the Dyserth Branch required passenger trains to start from the Bay Platform road, at Prestatyn station, draw forward and set back on to the branch proper which trailed in on the Down side of the Signalbox.
Freight trains, however ,arrived from Rhyl on the up slow and set back through the crossovers over all four roads on to the down slow. The engine then running forward on to the branch with the train behind it, then the loco ran around ready to propel to Dyserth.  In this case 44389 has been to Dyserth, with empties, and has returned without any outbound traffic. The 4F 0-6-0 was fitted with a tender cab for snow plough duties at Llandudno Junction and was a long-time North Wales machine before leaving for Skipton in 1964. It is interesting to see a GW "Toad" brake van in use on this job; a calling-on signal is used to start branch trains on their journeys to Rhyl, as there would be hand-worked points in the yard which would required the crew to set them correctly.
Beyond the box an unidentified Black Five leaves Prestatyn station on the Down Slow. This picture appeared [in black and white] in the book From Chester to Holyhead - The Branch lines by Bill Rear although it was not credited to Dennis but to the 'Bill Rear collection'.

LMS Class 5 4-6-0 45042 propels the Dyserth goods across Meliden Golf course on 8 August 1966.  The fine view across the Irish Sea which would now have many windmills included. Above the first two wagons a dark band appears to be a train in motion on the main line heading for Rhyl. The Dyserth branch train would soon go over to Class 24/25 diesel propulsion.

BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0 75033 comes off The Dyserth branch, on another day when there was no outbound traffic. The shunting signal, visisble in the distance, is cleared for the locomotive to move on to the Down Slow, this time a BR Standard brake van is in tow; this is 1 July 1962.

Metrolink Farewell - report by Charlie Hulme

On 26 May Manchester Metrolink ran a 'Farewell Special' with a pair of its originial 'T68' vehicles, the last of which had ceased normal operation a few weeks earlier; the sale of souvenir tickets (which sold out within days) raised over £3,400 for Transport for Greater Manchester’s chosen charities - The Christie and Francis House Hospice. The tour visited Eccles, Bury, and Altrincham. Above, it runs along Mosley Street in Manchester (note the tram speed restriction on the pavement) past the Art Gallery, with 1007 East Lancashire Railway leading. The tram was driven by drivers who drove the first trams back in 1992, wearing their original uniforms.

A stop had been made at Heaton Park station, to ceremonially present a key for this vehicle to the Heaton Park Tramway Trust, which supports the Manchester Transport Museum Society, operators of the Heaton Park Tramway. The TfGM press picture above shows the occasion: Chairman of the Heaton Park Tramway Trust Keith Whitmore (left) is being handed the key to the donated tram by Cllr Andrew Fender of TfGM.

Coupled to 1007 was 1016, re-named Farewell T68 for the occasion. Looking towards St Peter's Square station, with the dreadful Beetham Tower dominating the skyline as usual; protected by scaffolding is St Peter's Cross which marks the site of the former Church, closed in 1907.  The Cenotaph, which stood behind it, has been dismantled for re-erection in a new garden being created behind the hoardings on the right. Other iconic buildings in the view are the Midland Railway's grand hotel, the Central Library (now open again with much-altered interior), and the 1930s Town Hall extension.

The line was not yet open to passengers when J.W.Sutherland took this view of 1003 on a training run on 21 April 1992. The T68s were constructed by the Italian manufacturer AnsaldoBreda at their factory in Naples, a factory whose recent creations include a fleet of high-speed trains for the Dutch and Belgian Railways which proved so unreliable that after a few months of use they were withdrawn and returned to the manufacturers.

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