Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

01 June 2015

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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.

June 2015

Thursday 4 June James Shuttleworth will be presenting a talk at the Lock Keeper pub, Frodsham Street, Chester entitled "Working steam in China in 2015". All the proceeds from it are going to

James will be presenting a variety of images and videos from his 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 to International Service, a charity which works with some of the most marginalised people in the world to promote their rights.

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. 
From Scarborough, Seamer, Malton, York, Wakefield, Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden & Rochdale.

Friday 25 September. Great Western Society NW Branch. P. Spilsbury. Steam Miscellaneous.

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.

Friday 30 October. Great Western Society NW Branch. Mike Kenwright. Cutting of the Manchester Ship Canal.

November 2015

Friday 27 November. Great Western Society NW Branch. John Hobbs. A Black & White presentation, North Wales Circular  1963  - 66  (Steam)

A mixed formation of 66 302 and 57 306 passes Bangor with the flask train for Crewe, 29 May. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.

Technical hitch

Our email software suffered a 'crash' on 30 May, and when restored from a backup was missing the some recent incoming messages. If you sent a contribution recently that has failed to appear - I recall in particular a report on the Fairbourne Railway and have not hear from me personally - please send it again if you can locate it in your 'sent items' folder.  Apologies for the disruption. - Charlie

Britannia at Crewe - by Ian Bowland

70000 Britannia leaving Crewe with the Bristol - Appleby 'Cumbrian Fells Express' on 30 May.

While there I noticed that the old concrete footbridge, seen above with its access from
the platform closed off, is destined for demolition and will not be replaced.  I assume that this bridge replaced the metal one that used to lead down to Crewe North shed and much frequented by train spotters in the days of steam.  Charging down the slope into the shed was commonplace as was being thrown out again - happy days!

Freight views

60 087 and 66 849 cross onto the up fast line at Balshaw Lane with 6J37 Carlisle Chirk logs on Thursday 28 May. 60 087 was detached at Warrington, 66 849 working on to Chirk. This was the first time a 60 had powered the logs south of Hellifield. Picture by Ian Pilkington.

Colas 60 076 stables in the Kronospan sidings, Chirk on 30 May, having worked in with 6M51 from Exeter Riverside, arriving at 01:35 (John Mathers).

66 185 has just passed through Penyffordd with empty MEA coal wagons from Penyffordd cement works, heading towards Wrexham, having tripped to Dee Marsh sidings to run round. Taken at Penyffordd foot crossing on 27 May. Picture by John Mathers.

Assorted freight news

Reports on Internet forums suggest that Manisty Wharf coal terminal at Ellesmere Port is to close on 30 June 2015. Can anyone confirm? Presently two trains a day operate to Fiddlers Ferry power station carrying coal unloaded from ships.  On the other hand, soon after our item about Eccles in the last issue, we saw a report of a ship destined to head along the Ship Canal to the cement terminal at Weaste. Whether this means that rail traffic from the Hope cement works will resume remains to be seen; the path remains in the timetable but the train has not run for several years.

The proposal to carry away spoil from Bersham Colliery site - mentioned in the last issue - prompted an article in the Wrexham Leader, which gave the name of the applicant as Bersham Glenside Ltd.  The plan is to remove six million tonnes of burnt shale from the spoil heap; Welsh Heritage body Cadw, and local residents, are said to prefer that the landmark tip should remain. The article mentions highway permissions, but there is nothing about the supposed rail connection. It would not be the first time that a rail connection has been included in a planning application as a sop to environmental concerns, and then either never built or rarely used.

Another 'ghost' freight in the timetable is the service between Llandudno Junction and the Shotton Paper Company siding, which we believe is intended for the transport of domestic refuse to the planned 'energy recovery facility' (or incinerator) to be built on Deeside. This facility has faced a planning battle, and in April 2015 permission to build it was refused by Flintshire Council. If it finally does get we won't be confident that any rail traffic will appear.

Coast curiosities - pictured by Roly High

With Network Rail's continual push towards automated signalling, Star Wars character c-3po has now been recruited. Here he keeps a watchful eye on Virgin Super Voyager 221 109 Marco Polo on the 10:55 Holyhead to London Euston on 31 May. He is pictured looking out of the ruins of the winding engine house at the old Bettisfield Colliery in Bagillt. The colliery here opened in 1872, and closed in 1933 with the loss of 415 jobs; this building survived in other uses, and is Grade II listed as a historic building, but is in poor condition.

Notwithstanding 3,824 signatures on a petition and support for opening it as a tourist attraction from Antoinette Sandbach AM, The Duke of Lancaster, claimed to be the last surviving steam turbine driven passenger ship, still slumbers in its concrete bed at Llanerch-y-Mor. Above right: A 4-car 158 unit in front of the ship with the 10:20 ex Holyhead to Cardiff Central.

Network Rail are doing a fine job of re-building the sea (river?) wall at Mostyn wall collapsed onto the track during those severe storms in December 2013 (see our 9 December 2013 issue) ,which forced the line to be closed for a while.

Charity Football news

On 24 May at Rhyl football ground, a team of North Wales-based Arriva Trains Wales staff played (and beat) a team of Chester-based staff, to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

472 has been raised so far: the JustGiving page for online donations is still available. Why not chip in?

Llangollen 150 - report by Glyn Jones

The Bank holiday weekend saw the Llangollen Railway celebrate the 150th anniversary of the original opening of the station. Guest engine Beyer Peacock '1827', seen with autocoach,  was visiting from the Foxfield Railway.

The builder's plate of 1827. In its first life was the Beyer Peacock works shunter.

Not much room for the footplate crew ...


...even less room for the coal.

Coal supplies at the ready!


'Large Prairie' 5199 awaits departure with the 10.40 for Corwen.


Recently outshopped 6430, minus a emblem on its tank sides, takes on water.

Llangollen members enter into the spirit of the occasion and pose for the camera in period costume.

Castle extra

Some more views of 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe on its run on the Llandudno-Nuneaton 'Seaside Flyer' on Saturday 23 May. Above, fine steam effects as the train passes Deganwy's distant signal. Picture by Ian Pilkington.

Passing the housing development at Deganwy known to some as 'Legoland' (Gary Thomas).

47 773, which hauled the train westbound from Chester, on the rear at Deganwy (Gary Thomas).

84 minutes later the train passes Hargrave, east of Chester (Ian Pilkington).

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