Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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.

November 2014

Saturday - Sunday 1/2 November Wirral 2014 Model Railway Exhibition at Mosslands School, Mosslands Drive, Wallasey, Wirral CH45 8PJ . 18 layouts, 13 traders, demonstrators and Society stands, refreshments, free vintage bus rides.

Former North Wales favourite 101 685 'Daisy' makes a test run on the Llangollen Railway on 8 June in preparation for the railway's DMU Gala on 21-22 June. See the Llangollen Railcars website for details. Picture by Karl Latham.

Thanks for the many fine contributions recieved while we were away for a few days. Those not included here will appear in a speial extra edition on 19 June.- Charlie

Halton Curve service

The North Cheshire Rail Users' Group informs us that once again Northern Rail have arranged for their 07:53 departure from Chester on Saturday 21 June - the first day of its Summer Saturdays only operation - to continue on to beyond its usual terminus of Runcorn to Liverpool South Parkway, with stops at Helsby, Frodsham and Runcorn Mainline. This now seems to have become an annual event which has always been well supported and which helps to keep the proposal to re-instate a proper service on this line on the agenda of the main stakeholders.

Unfortunately, the vintage Crosville Bus which, in the past, has been available to take passengers back to Chester, is having a major interior refurbishment and is not, therefore, able to offer a service this time round.

The train timings are, as follows:-
Chester  dep              07:53
Helsby  dep 08:02                                   
Frodsham dep 08:06
Runcorn  arr 08:16 depart 08:17
Liverpool Sth Parkway arr 08:25
Normal rail tickets are valid. Passengers will need to find another way back, e.g. to Liverpool Lime Street and then Merseyrail to Chester, or by walking from Warrington Central to Bank Quay, as there is no return service.

Crewe, 14 June - pictures by Darren Durrant

Taking advantage of the good weather we headed out for an early start at Crewe, the first train we saw was hauled by 86 259 Les Ross;  many had come to see this and as soon as it had stopped Mr Ross himself was on the platform to check on the loco. 86 259 was doing its regular duty on the London - Carnforth 'Cumbrian Coast Express' charter; at Carnforth, 2-8-0 steam loco 48151 took over for the run over Shap summit to Carlisle, then around the Cumbrian Coast to Carnforth where the electric took over again for the return to London Euston.

Just as that had departed north, The Statesman Rail charter to Blaenau Ffestiniog pulled into Platform 12 quite early headed by 57 513...

 ... These 57s are well known to enthusiasts on the Coast, and are still in Arriva blue. After a call to the signalbox,  the driver followed a service train away from the platform in great form. 'Tail gunner' was 57 316. [More pictures below]

Not long afterwards the unmistakable sound of the 37 was heard and 37 611 and 37 606 came into the station with one flask and a container from Sellafield. The wagons used for the transport of low-level radio-active waste in containers were originally built to carry containerised coal. To the delight of the onlookers it had idled nearly to a halt before erupting away to its final destination.

We then grabbed a takeaway and headed for the first time down to Casey Lane, south of Basford Hall Junction signalbox, to catch some freight. 92 041 Vaughan Williams came south from the avoider line with empty car containers from Garston car terminal to Dagenham Dock.

66 027 was barnstorming north at 16:32 on empty cement tanks from Willesden to Tunstead.

A special treat was double-headed West Coast Railways 47s, 47 804 and 47 854, with a train of First Great Western HST coaches being transferred from Old Oak Common to the Wabtec (formerly Andrew Barclay) works at Kilmarnock for refurbishment.

The first coach is adaptor (a.k.a. barrier) vehicle which allows HST coaches, with their semi-permanent coupling bars, to be hauled by a normal loco.This one is 6330, which was converted from Mk 2a Brake-first 14084.

We missed the empty coaching stock movement to Holyhead for the Compass Tours Father's Day Special, but we caught up with the train heading from Holyhead to Carlisle at Colwyn Bay the next morning, 15 June with 47 786 Roy Castle OBE at the head looking very smart. A good finish to a great weekend. [More 15 June pictures next time.-Ed.]

Snowdonia Statesman

Rhyl (Stavros Lainas). The 'Snowdonia Statesman' was an excursion from Cambridge (dep. 05:25) via Leicester, Nuneaton and Crewe to Blaenau Ffestiniog and return on 14 June, organised by Statesman Rail with motive power by West Coast Railways. Stavros Lainas photographed the westbound train passing Rhyl.

Rhyl (Roly High) 57 313 can still be easily recognised from a distance by it's unusually large cab-side numbers.

57 316 on the rear of the train, and Two of the Statesman pseudo-Pullman vehicles (Roly High) 'Ben Cruachan' nearest the camera is ex-British Rail Open First 3231. 'Car No.17080' next to the loco is of interest in that, when numbered 35516, it was one of the Mk 2a brake vehicles which provided (not always enforced) First Class accommodation in the now-legendary Class 37-hauled North Wales trains of the 1990s: a fossilized version of our page on these trains, containing a picture of that very carriage still survives on the web. Built as a first-class coach it was originally numbered 14080, then became 17080 in a re-numbering scheme, and then 35516 in a second-class series. It was rescued from storage and refurbished for Statesman some time around 2009, entering on a very different career to sister vehicle 14084, seen in the previous article.

Llandudno Junction, where the train reversed to head up the Conwy Valley (Elgan McCann). The two locos which carried full Arriva Trains Wales livery, 57 315 and 57 315, have already been repainted in West Coast Railways maroon, but 313 and 316, which only ever saw 'unbranded blue', retain that livery for the time being. All four are now owned by West Coast.

North Llanrwst (David Sallery). The train arrived here at 11:53, having left Llandudno Junction 20 minutes earlier than scheduled, and waited in the loop for the passing of the 11:46 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno service train at 12:25.

The Statesman arrived at Blaenau Ffestiniog at 13:10, and at 13:30 Earl of Merioneth departed with the Ffestiniog Railway service to Porthmadog (Tim Rogers). The excursionists has time to make a return journey as far as Tan-y-Bwlch where this train would cross a Blaenau-bound one.

The train was shunted into the siding at Blaenau Ffestiniog, as pictured (above) by David Sallery, to allow the arrival and departure of the next Arriva train from Llandudno ...

Passengers had time to enjoy a Ffestiniog Railway trip to Tan-y-Bwlch and back; above, FR loco Linda can be seen running round its train after arriving with returning passengers from the excursion (Ken Robinson).

Returning to the platform in good time for its 15:50 departure, as the FR loco couples back on to its train (Ken Robinson).

Ready to go (Ken Robinson).

Leaving Blaenau and passing Dinas/Glanypwll on time, but now in dull weather (Ken Robinson).

Later in the day, 57 313 brought the train back to Llandudno Junction to reverse again for the journey back to Cambridge (Peter Lloyd).

The single-line token safely returned to the machine in the platform office, the train prepared to depart with 57 316 in the lead. Note that these locos still have the lifting mechanism for the 'Dellner' couplers once used for hauling Pendolinos, but the couplers themselves have been removed.

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland scenes - pictures by Martin Evans.

Some views from the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland lines on 2 June. Above, Ffestiniog Double Fairlie David Lloyd George waits to depart from Blaenau Ffestiniog with the 11:45 service to Porthmadog. The Fairlie is still in grey undercoat after its recent major overhaul.

The pleasant scene at Tan-y-Bwlch (or Tanybwlch as the nameboard has it, or Tan y Bwlch as the FR timetable has it) station.

'DLG' again, awaiting departure alongside the new platform at Porthmadog Harbour station with the 13: 35 service to Blaenau. Behind, in the other platform, the Pullman observation car of the Welsh Highland.

On the run-round loop at Porthmadog, Welsh Highland Railway Beyer-Garratt loco no 143 waits its next turn of duty the 14 05pm to Caernarfon from Porthmadog. Built in 1958 for the South African Railways, this historic machine was the very last steam locomotive to be built at Beyer Peacock's Manchester works. The last loco of any kind to be built by Beyer Peacock was Class 25 diesel D7659 (later 25 309) which has also been saved for posterity. Even this was not the most recent full-size loco to be built in Manchester: that honour has to go to the working replica of the LIverpool and Manchester Railway loco Planet built in the workshop of the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry and completed in 1992.

The very first Garratt loco, dated 1909, Tasmanian Government Railways K1, arrives at Beddgelert with a special charter from Caernarvon. This first example differs from most Garratts in having its cylinders facing inwards, to facilitate compound working, as specified by the customer. Incidentally, according to an interesting article on the WHR Society website, this machine should not be called a Beyer-Garratt, as that brand name only applies to locos built by Beyer Peacock after the expiry of Herbert William Garratt's patent in 1928.

Other news from the 'F & WHR' is that a design proposal has been published for a permanent station building to replace the current portable building in use at Caernarfon. Details can be found on the company's website [assuming your computer is powerful enough to handle its fancy design].

Merseyside moments

The Cunard cruise liner Queen Victoria visited Liverpool on 31 May during its 13-day round Britain cruise. This was a turn around cruise, meaning passengers could board at Liverpool and enjoy visits to Cork and  Guernsey, before returning to Southampton. Its visit also marked the centenary celebrations of the RMS Aquitania's first voyage to New York. Picture by Mark Riley.

There were plenty of passengers on the Mersey ferries which offered great close-up views as usual. This picture shows the Queen docked, facing right way for departure, with the iconic Royal Liver Building to the left. The 90,000 tonne ship is 294m long, and can carry 2014 passengers and 900 crew. It's also the smallest vessel of the three 'Queens' (Mark Riley)

This view by Chris Morrison includes the Cunard building, to the right of the Liver Building.

Fine sunny and warm weather from mid-day onwards meant a pleasant afternoon to spend by the Mersey. Seen from Seacombe, the Queen Victoria heads up the river, passed by the ferry Snowdrop with was engaged in the Mersey River and Docks Cruise that day. Departure was prompt at 16:00. This is the only visit by a Cunard liner this year, but on 25 May 2015, the three Queens - Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria - will meet together at Liverpool to celebrate Cunard's 175th anniversary - should be quite a spectacle (Mark Riley).

'Wait for me, mummy!' The Royal Iris was working the regular 'River Explorer' ferry service (Tom Bowen).

On the same day, former Liverpool Corporation tram 762 was in operation on the Birkenhead Heritage tramway, seen leaving Woodside ferry terminal for the tramway museum in Taylor Street (Chris Morrison).

The former Manchester Ship Canal tug/tender Daniel Adamson has been moved from the restoration berth in Sandown Dock; taken away under tow the vessel is now in Liverpool's Albert Dock and is presented for public display for four months. The picture by George Jones taken on 31 May shows shows the vessel moored alongside the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The owning society is looking for 'match funding' for their National Lottery application: see the Daniel Adamson website for more information.

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