Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

May 2015

Wednesday 20 May Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast The Cornish Explorer Cancelled.

June 2015

Saturday 20 June. WELSH N GAUGE MODEL RAILWAY SHOW. St Mary's and St John's halls, Rosehill Street, Conwy LL32 8LD. 10.00am to 4.00pm Admission 4.00 adults, 3.00 concessions. Children under 15 accompanied by a paying adult  - free. Thirteen layouts plus traders.  Refreshments available. Pay and display car parking opposite the halls. Free show guide whilst stocks last. Show signposted from A55 Junction 18.

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.  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.

The last train of the day to Blaenau Ffestiniog - 2D20, the 19:03 from Llandudno, on the last Saturday of the 'winter' timetable, 16 May, formed of 150 256. Picture by Ken Robinson, who travelled on the train and notes: 'It was a lovely journey in beautiful Spring sunshine, although Network Rail could do with engaging in some tree felling in many parts.'

Real Ale on the WHR

Cheers! TV presenter Sian Lloyd on the footplate of Ffestiniog Railway loco David Lloyd George after opening the Welsh Highland Railway's annual Rail Ale festival on 15 May. It was an interesting choice of locomotive for the festival shuttle train since the politician whose name it bears was a supporter of the temperance movement. Picture by Alan Crawshaw.

The shuttle train at Dinas ....

... and at Waunfawr (Alan Crawshaw).

WHR 138 at Dinas on a normal service train (Alan Crawshaw).

The scene inside Dinas goods shed just before opening time - this is one of the two bars (Jim Comerford).

Cumbrian Coast locos

Those nostalgic for Class 37 haulage might be interested in a visit to the Cumbrian Coast line where Northern Rail have instituted two Monday-Saturday loco-hauled diagrams from 18 May, using DRS Class 37 locos and four Mk2 air-conditioned coaches, top-and-tail to start initially, and push-pull using one loco as soon as driving trailers are ready. The workings are as follows:

Monday - Friday

Set 1

05:15 Carlisle-Preston
10:04 Preston-Barrow
14:37 Barrow-Carlisle
17:37 Carlisle- Barrow

Set 2

05:46 Barrow-Carlisle
08:42 Carlisle-Barrow
11:39 Barrow-Carlisle
14:35 Carlisle-Barrow
17:31 Barrow-Carlisle

Set 2

05:46 Barrow-Carlisle
08:41 Carlisle-Barrow
11:38 Barrow-Carlisle
14:33 Carlisle-Barrow
17:32 Barrow-Carlisle

Set 2

05:15 Carlisle-Barrow
08:45 Barrow-Carlisle
11:56 Carlisle-Lancaster
17:31 Lancaster-Barrow

Unfortunately, reports on the internet suggest that the first day did not go entirely to plan, with a considerable amount of late running, as a look at Real Time Trains will reveal. Could it be that the passengers need educating on the use of old-style doors?

A veteran diesel visits

On 11-13 May North Wales enthusiasts were treated to the sight of a Class 31/1 loco, 31 233, working a Network Rail train formed of brake force runners 977986 (ex 3189 / 6231) and 977985 (ex 72715 / 6019), Ultrasonic Test Train coach 62384, and Mk2f driving trailer 9708 (ex 9530). On 11 May the train made its way from Derby Railway Technical Centre to Shrewsbury, with a lunchtime pause at Wrexham General where John Mathers took its picture (above).

12 May saw the train (3Q01) running from Shrewsbury via Wrexham to Bidston, then back to Wrexham Central and then Croes Newydd where it reversed and headed for Crewe via Chester. John Mathers photographed the train at Shotwick (above)...

... and on the return from Bidston, propelling 3Q01 towards Penyffordd, pictured at Stryt Isa.

The signalman's view from Croes Newydd box (Mike Cox).

Departing from Wrexham Central  (Mike Cox).

The duty on 13 May was 3Q01, 12:00 Crewe (L&NWR Site) to Crewe (L&NWR Site) via Llandudno, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Bangor.  Matthew Travis photographed the train at Bagillt (above).

Westbound through Prestatyn (Tim Rogers).

Abergele (Roly High).

Llandudno town station (Dave Sallery).

Blaenau Ffestiniog (Dave Sallery). Built in 1960 as D5660, this is one of a small group of 'Brush Type 2' locos still soldiering on in their 55th year. They were build with Mirrlees engines which proved unsuitable for rail application and were replaced by English Electric units.

Returning from the Conwy Valley and arriving at Llandudno Junction (Dave Sallery) ...

... for a 35-minute break (Peter Lloyd).

Cornish charter cancelled

More tribulations for West Coast Railways: following the apparent go-ahead from Network Rail, their 'Cornish Explorer' excursion from Chester to Penzance appeared to be 'on' as tickets and confirmations reached passengers on 15 May, and timings appeared on Real Time Trains ... then on 16 May passengers received phone calls telling them the trip is 'rescheduled due to circumstances beyond West Coast's control', and fares would be refunded in full.

Trips elsewhere in the country planned for 3, 5 and 7 May June have also fallen by the wayside. The work and cost involved in organising trains and then cancelling them must be quite considerable. It is to be hoped that the operation is able to continue.

Spring at Berwyn - pictures by Peter Dickinson

Some photographs taken at Berwyn on the Llangollen Railway on Sunday 17 May.

The line's Class 104 DMU and 2-6-2T 5199 worked the service trains, with 2-8-0 3802 working three Llangollen to Carrog round trips with a 4-coach 'driver experience' service; the rake including the line's new 'function coach' M34584,  which has been converted from a Mk1 Brake Second carriage and will be used for musical events, etc.

The Class 104 climbs Berwyn bank past milepost 7, amid the trees of the Dee Valley.

Chinese steam in Chester

James Shuttleworth writes: 'I am organising a talk in Chester titled "Working steam in China in 2015". All the proceeds from it are going to International Service, a charity which works with some of the most marginalised people in the world to promote their rights, and which I am volunteering with in Ghana this summer.

'The talk will start at 7:30pm, Thursday 4 June at the Lock Keeper pub, Frodsham Street, Chester. I will be presenting a variety of images and videos from my trip in January 2015 featuring some of the last working steam locomotives in the world, in China, featuring both Standard and Narrow gauge in 4 locations. Admission is 2, and all proceeds will go towards International Service.'

The image above shows 2 SY class locomotives shunting in Fuxin yard, North East China.

67s to Holyhead - by Ivor Bufton

I have been going back through my records to see which Class 67s have made it to Holyhead, at the same time looking at which ones have also visited Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog; the table below may be of interest. The dates used are the first recorded date. It shows that 67 008 and 67 010 have not been along the coast, and  67 009 has only been as far as Llandudno Junction.  67 028 seems to have been the first 67 along the coast but failed at Llanfair PG on the return.  

If anyone can help with additional information or correct any errors , I would be most grateful. In particular, Where did the Northern Belle with 67 019/030 go to on 28/06/2005?

The South Munster Railtour - report by Stephen Hughes

Heading off to Ireland once again for my annual fix of seeing a little bit more of the country by rail took me to Cork and Killarney this year (as well as Midleton and Cobh), all destinations that I hadn't visited before. I was hoping for better luck than last year, when '85' Merlin failed on the positioning run from Belfast, but all seemed set fair when the ex-GNR(I) 4-4-0 backed down form the recently acquired shed at Dublin Connolly onto the Cravens stock for a 09:30 departure on the Saturday.  The run was pretty good,taking on water at the usual stops, such as Portallington, seen above (very efficiently, I've never seen the hose laid out over a redundant footbridge before, as happened at Charleville) and allowing Cork expresses to pass.

As we approached Cork Kent station, it was announced that we would pass on the station avoiding line, a piece of track that is rarely used for passenger workings, so for some that was a bonus. Above: 461 on Cork Kent shed, taken from the train as we went past on the avoiding line.

There was a gentle run down the branch to Midleton, on the newly reopened line that previously reached Youghal, where ex D&SER 2-6-0 461 took over for the journey back to Cork.With the Sunday promising rain, we started with a run down the estuary to Cobh (above) behind 85 where 461 again took over for the run through Cork and onward to Killarney on the line to Tralee.  Immediately after Cork station is a tunnel and a long 1 in 70 climb, on which 461 performed well but then endured some injector problems, but any lost time was regained at the water stop and run-round at Mallow.

The rain duly appeared and spoiled the opportunity to have a look around Killarney, and whether the damp rails contributed to an unscheduled stop on the return run I don't know, but we reached Rathmore (above) late where Control decided that we should remain and pass up and down trains, this involved some shunting /reversing but did allow the footplate crew to sort out the fire problems and eventually had an uneventful trip back to Cork...120 mins late! Monday brought better weather with a long day in prospect, a return to Dublin, a four hour layover and then an evening return to Belfast - the route for which 85 was built. 85 provided a storming run up the bank out of Cork but between Mallow and Charleville came to a sudden halt having triggered a hot-box detector. After the usual checks that, of course found nothing amiss, we continued.

There followed some excellent running. It does not seem possible to ascertain the maximum speed allowed for 85 ('depends who you ask' was the typically Irish cryptic reply), so I won't mention the top speed attained, suffice to say that 85 covered the 42.7 miles from Charleville to Thurles in 43 minutes and the 35 miles from Thurles (above) to Portlaoise in just over 35 and a half minutes. Exhilarating stuff!  Over ambitious timings for water stops did provide a late arrival into Connolly, which I didn't mind as it meant less time waiting for the evening departure which occurred at the scheduled time of 19h08. With 85 steaming impeccably, the water stop at Lisburn was missed out and a 10 minute early arrival attained at Botanic where I left the train to walk to my hotel.Another great tour, probably the best of my six visits for good running. Next year, the prospect of three 4-4-0's in action is very attractive!

461 and 85 on Cork Kent shed on the Monday morning. 461 was to follow light engine back to Dublin. It must have been some years since the shed had seen two locos in steam.

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