Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

27 April 2015

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

April 2015

Thursday 30 April    Merseyside Railway History Group  Geoff Coward  Quiz and informal evening

May 2015

Tuesday 12 May North Wales Railway Circle. AGM followed by photographic competition.

Wednesday 13 May Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group. AGM (usually a short affair) which will be followed by an illustrated talk on New Zealand railways by Mr.Alf Williams.

Thursday 14 May    Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 6G locomen: personal reminiscences by A Guest Panel

15-17 May Welsh Highland Railway Rail Ale Festival including live music.

Wednesday 20 May Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast The Cornish Explorer From Chester, Wrexham, Ruabon, Gobowen, Shrewsbury, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford & Bristol tp Penzance. The train is routed via the scenic Welsh Marches line, South Wales, the Severn Tunnel, Bristol, Somerset, the Dawlish Sea Wall, Devon and rural Cornwall.

June 2015

Sat/Sun 21 June Llangollen Railway Railcar Gala

July 2015

Friday 3 July Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast  The Conway Valley Explorer
Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option). From Grantham, Peterborough, Stamford, Oakham, Melton Mowbray, Leicester, South Wigston, Hinckley, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield TV, Rugeley TV & Stafford to Betws-y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Saturday 4 July Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast  The Conway Valley Explorer From Lincoln, Newark NG, Grantham, Bottesford, Bingham, Radcliffe, Netherfield, Nottingham, Tutbury & Hatton, Uttoxeter, Blythe Bridge & Stoke to Betws-y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog. (with Ffestiniog Railway option).

August 2015

September 2015

Wednesday 9 September Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast  The Conway Valley Explorer
Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Sheffield to Betws-Y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. From Sheffield, Rotherham Central, Swinton, Moorthorpe, Normanton, Shipley, Keighley, Skipton, Hellifield, Carnforth & Lancaster.

12 September  Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast  The Conway Valley Explorer Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Scarborough to Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog.eparts – Saturday
From Scarborough, Seamer, Malton, York, Wakefield, Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden & Rochdale.

October 2015

Saturday 10 October  Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast  The Conway Valley Explorer
Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Hereford to Betws-Y-Coed
Departs – From Hereford, Ledbury, Gt Malvern, Worcester FS, Droitwich, Barnt Green, Walsall & Wolverhampton.

67 023 with train 1W96 Cardiff Central - Holyhead at Balderton crossing on Tuesday 21 April. Picture by John Mathers.

Thanks for all the marvellous contributions over last week. There'll be another extra issue on Friday to catch up. - Charlie

On the Costa del Towyn - with Tim Rogers

67 018 Keith Heller heads west past Towyn on 22 April with a measurement train comprising Mk2f  (Ex TSO) Plain Line Pattern Recognition vehicle 'PLPR2' 5981; Mk2f, (Ex FO) Electrification Measurement Vehicle 977983 (72503); and Mk3b, DVT 82111 working 1Q30 10:55 Derby R.T.C.(Network Rail) to Crewe C.S. (L&NWR Site) via Holyhead.

A meeting of Driving Van Trailers, as the Network Rail train heads west and the 13:01 Holyhead - Manchester passenger train approaches ...

...  led by DVT 82306...

... and propelled by usual loco 67 001 continuing its (almost) unbroken run of duty on this train. Presumably minor maintenance work is carried out at Crewe at weekends when the loco-hauled set is not used.

Apology: last issue's views of the measurement train at Conwy had erroneous captions due to editorial incompetence. The train was actually travelling in the opposite direction to that described Thanks to those who pointed this out, we were unable to correct it immediately as our Tablet used while away from home does not (yet) have the necessary software.

Northern Belle

DRS loco 57 312 Solway Princess leads a 'Northern Belle' circular from Birmingham International via Chester and Crewe on 25 April through Ruabon (Martin Evans)...

... and 57 305 Northern Princess brings up the rear (Martin Evans).

Passing Broad Oak Crossing on the Wrexham - Chester section (John Mathers).

Chester (Roly High).

57 305 and the staff sleeping car Crewe on the rear (Roly High).

Promoting Tourism - report by Larry Davies, Community Rail Officer

On Monday 20 April Arriva Trains Wales, Conwy Valley Community Rail Partnership and the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways hosted a 'route familiarisation trip' from Llandudno to Tan-y-Bwlch via Blaenau Ffestiniog for some 27 members of local businesses, hoteliers, staff of Tourist Information Centres and new Arriva Trains Wales booking office staff.  The purpose being to acquaint them with what trips on these lines have to offer to tourists. The day was a great success and, like ones we have run in previous years, we expect to generate some business from the participants who will spread the message to their customers.

Out and about with Stavros Lainas

On Wednesday 22 April I managed to photograph the Crewe - Hereford and Hereford to Eastleigh DRS coach move. First shot (above) is of 37 059 and 37 605 with 'load three' powering past Hadnall towards Shrewsbury at 08:52. They were recessed there to allow some local services to run.

This gave enough time to head south of Shrewsbury to photograph the pair at Dorrington passing at 09:56.

The third shot is of the pair south of Hereford at Kilpeck running later than booked at 12:24 after picking up some extra coaches.

At 13:05 a late running 6V75 steel train from Dee Marsh passed Kilpeck with 66 151.

On 26 April, a Northern Belle empty-stock working with 57 306 and 57 310 (on the rear)  at Dorrington passing at 10:20 en route to Cheltenham.

Finally two views at Battlefield on 26 April. First to pass is an old favourite, the Tunstead to Westbury cement train with 66 601 at 17:28.

Shortly afterwards, at 17:43, was GBRf 66745 with a Liverpool Bulk Terminal to Ironbridge Power Station load of biomass.

Past Times with Dennis Kerrison - Black 5s at Prestatyn

Captions by John Hobbs

Class 5  4-6-0 44685 leaves Prestatyn, on the Down Fast line,and pounds out to the water troughs with 1D48, a relief possibly from Crewe on the Friday of Whit week, 4 June 1965. Although there was plenty of locomotive variety on the North Wales Coast main line, the most common type was the 'Black 5'; in a year you could see hundreds of them, as a result photographers did not generally take pictures of every train because you could not afford to and it would be yet another 'Black 5'; but by 1965 EE Type 4's and DMU's were more common (I have very few photos of either of these types of traction in the 60s). This locomotive is a very late one built by BR, and delivered in 1950.  this one has 'Skefko' roller bearings and the top-feed well forward on the boiler; it was based at Crewe. The train has LMS, LNER & BR stock in its formation.

44807 leaves Prestatyn on the Up Fast , and approaches the Caradoc Road footbridge, with the 8.10 am SO Holyhead  to Crewe; on other working days of the week this was a Manchester train. The sidings contain an Engineers' Mess coach, and the signal gantry now graces the curve at Bury South on the East Lancashire Railway.

45268, in very nice condition,  leaves Prestatyn on the Down Fast with train 1Z20 on Sunday 10 April 1966.  It looks like there are twelve coaches  in the train, and as this was a Stoke-on-Trent based engine this train probably originated in the 'Potteries'. There would be no more steam by April 1967, and in 2015 there would be no through trains at any time of the year from Stoke to North Wales either. Note that all signals are 'off because this being a Sunday, Prestatyn signalbox would be switched out of circuit.

With the flasks

37 604 and 37 612 pass Sandycroft on 16 April with three flasks bound for Crewe (Tim Rogers).

Passing Rowton, Cheshire (Andrew Vinten).

Early morning on 23 April, as 20 308 and 20 305 head west between Llanfairfechan and Aber (Peter Basterfield).

The two 'choppers' head the return working (6K41) just east of Wig Crossing (Peter Basterfield).

Passing Mostyn, 9 minutes early (Tim Rogers).

Cambrian corner

Some more memorable replies to our request for Cambrian Coast views. Mark Youdan was there on 12 July 2008 when 'Deltic' diesel 55 022 Royal Scots Grey reached Pwllheli with Pathfinder Tours' 'Snowdonian' railtour. Above, the outward train near Criccieth.

Running round the train at Pwllheli (Mark Youdan).

The return train near the little-used halt at Abererch (Mark Youdan). Royal Scots Grey is in the news again as we write, as it has been hired by GB Railfreight, who have stepped in to provide traction for the 'Royal Scotsman' luxury tour train while its normal operator West Coast Railways is unable to operate due to the suspension of its operating licence. It is top-and-tailing the train with GBRf loco 66 732.

A few years earlier, Ken Robinson photographed Spitfire Railtours 'The Prisoner' railtour with 37 069 and 37 218 in charge, returning from Pwllheli to Preston on 29 May 2010 just prior to the start of work on the Porthmadog by-pass, in some typical Welsh weather.

'Fast forward' almost ten years, and 16 April 2015, a glorious Spring day; 158 836 passes Minffordd Quarry with the 11:37 Pwllheli - Birmingham International service. Believe it or not, this was taken from almost exactly the same spot as the one above (Ken Robinson).

Class 158s are very comfortable trains, especially when the air conditioning works, but wouldn't it be good to see excursion trains come this way again?

Special workings

97 302 as route-learner 0Z97 Crewe - Holyhead - Shrewsbury runs through Bangor 4 minutes  early on Friday 17 April, at 10:16. It returned almost straight away from  Holyhead, 68 minutes ahead of its booked time of 12:01. It had performed a similar duty the previous day, but then had originated at Coleham.

66 509 rumbles through the Sunday morning sunshine on 19 April at Bangor, with empty ballast hoppers from Valley following some track re-laying work. Again, this working is well ahead of its booked time,  being 39 minutes early at 09:49 (Jim Johnson).

Abergele (Roly High).

Bagillt (Matthew Travis).

Llangollen Railway views - by Peter Dickinson

Some scenes from Sunday 26 April, with 2-8-0 3802 on passenger duty, seen at Berwyn (above)...  

... and at Llangollen with its BR Black shining in the sunshine.

The refurbishment of the chain bridge has progressed further, with its scaffolding structure having been removed and work under way to fit the decking. The picture shows its location relative to Berwyn station.

Rail Ale on the WHR

The Welsh Highland Railway 11th Real Ale Festival takes place from 15 - 17 May, with Real ale, steam powered trains and live music.

The principal site is Dinas station, Dinas, Caernarfon. LL54 5UP. Over 80 different beers and 30 ciders to choose from. Live music includes Traed Moch, The Rough Shunters, The Wee Bag Band, Gwibdaith Hen Fran and Y Moniars. The usual service trains and Caernarfon to Waunfawr shuttle trains connect the participating venues which include:

The Black Boy and Castell, in Caernarfon.
Goods Shed bar at Dinas.
The Snowdonia Parc, Waunfawr.
The Royal Goat Hotel, Beddgelert.
Spooners, Porthmadog.

For further details visit the festival’s website.

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