Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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Forthcoming events This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

28-30 August. Bala Lake Railway: 'Winifred' gala.

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)

Class 37 on the Coast ... the Cumbrian Coast that is. 37 419 Carl Haviland leads late-running train 2C40 08:33 Carlisle - Barrow-in Furness at Lowca, north of Parton on 30 May. More reports below. Picture by Stavros Lainas.

Back to normality - thanks to everyone who took the time to re-send their emails.-Charlie

Class 67 news

67 001 has relinquished its role on the Manchester - North Wales locomotive diagram after a long reign: EWS-liveried 67 022 took over on 4 June, see above at Llandudno Junction with the 16:50 Manchester- Llandudno. Picture by Peter Lloyd.

A day later, 67 022 is seen working the 16:50 Manchester - Llandudno (1D31) at Dunham-on-the-Hill on 5 June (Stavros Lainas).

Later the same sunny evening, 67 022 propels the 19:34 Llandudno - Crewe past Abergele's 'up distant' signal, which is badly in need of new coat of paint (Greg Mape).

67 012
, running light engine from Crewe to Cardiff on 7 June, passes Steel Heath, Shropshire (Stavros Lainas).  Will it be taking over the Arriva premier express? Notice the lack of the 'A Shropshire Lad' nameplate; it appears that all four of the former Wrexham & Shropshire locos that carried names - 67 012 / 3 / 4 / 5 - have now lost them.

Regarding 67 015, Gareth Peate writes: 'To me this is particularly sad, as the late David J. Lloyd not only helped to found Severn-Dee Travel and reopen the ticket office at Gobowen station, but was a passionate campaigner for better rail services in the local area and particularly a direct rail link with London - something which was achieved two years after his death, and led to Wrexham & Shropshire commemorating his passion by naming one of their locomotives after him.' Presumably the plates (the ones that have not been stolen anyway) property of some branch of DB which leases the locos and owns Arriva Trains Wales and Chiltern Railways. How about it, Arriva?

67 029 Royal Diamond, nominally part of DB Schenker's 'Executive Train', finds regular employment  on Network Rail track recording trains, such as this one photographed at Llandudno Junction on 2 June by Peter Lloyd.

67 023 powers 1W96 Cardiff Central - Holyhead passing Artillery Road, Park Hall near Gobowen (John Mathers).

On the rear,  Driving Van Trailer 82111. It's noticeable that these trains no longer include any extra coaches for 'force' purposes, and a 'generator van' is no longer needed as 82111 has a diesel-powered generator on board; note the ventilation louvre in the side door (Peter Lloyd).
Cumbrian Coast 37s - report by David Lloyd

On Monday June I caught at Preston (above) the 10:04 Preston - Barrow-in-Furness, formed of the top-and-tail DRS set from Preston with 37 419 Carl Haviland and 37 611, hoping to connect with the other loco-worked set on the 11:39 Barrow - Carlisle, to continue the journey up the coast.

The non-sliding doors were creating problems for passengers and timekeeping. To help alleviate this, six Northern Rail staff from Middlesbrough have be drafted in for two weeks to assist passengers getting off, who are require to open the window and reach through the bars to the outside handle. The bars have been fitted to stop passengers leaning out when the train is moving, as on the Maryport to Carlisle section there are places with very limited clearance. [This is not just an anti-railfan thing: old-style diesel units used on this line also had window bars, and charter trains passing this way  have to have stewards in every vestibule to ban any window-hanging.]

Unfortunately the 10:04 was delayed by a broken down train north of Preston, making us arrive 40 minutes late at Barrow (above) and the connection was missed. On the previous Friday a similar delay was encountered, due to the presence of the Royal Train In Lancaster. 

Are these the only trains to carry a Department for Transport logo? The small sign says 'If you're last on board, please close the door behind you.'  [The orange light indicates that the 'central door locking' has been released. British Rail posters used to show someone yanking at a door, and the caption 'It's fruitless if it's not orange.']

The service was well used and the coaching stock seemed very well refurbished, in DRS shades of blue (the Virgin-liveried brake coach is a temporary measure until the Driving Trailer vehicles are ready).
Cumbrian Coast scenes, 30 May - by Stavros Lainas

We make no apology for including some Class 37-hauled trains, even if they are not in Wales, as it is trains like these that inspire the creation of the website in the first place, nearly two decades ago. 37 423 Spirit of the Lakes departing Parton for Barrow, with an Anglia-liveried brake vehicle behind the loco.

Two sets of carriages are in use: the other, hauled by 37 419, is seen departing from Drigg.

An added attraction to photographers that day was a charter train, the 'Cumbrian Coast Express'  from London to Sellafield, steam hauled from Carnforth via Shap and the Cumbrian Coast back to Carnforth, with  maroon 45699 Leander in charge, seen passing Nethertown.
Freight movements

60 087 passes Dodleston foot crossing south of Saltney Junction with train 6J37 logs from Carlisle to Kronospan on 2 June (John Mathers).

60 087 heads train, 6J37 Carlisle-Chirk logs near Cotehill, Settle-Carlisle line, on the following day, Wednesday, 3 June (Ian Pilkington).

Some time later, at 18:22, the log train climbing Hapsford bank (Stavros Lainas).

The Sundays-only Tunstead to Westbury cement train, hauled by 66 605, passes Steel Heath, near Whitchurch on 7 June (Stavros Lainas).

A little later at the same location, 66 758 on a Liverpool Bulk Terminal - Ironbridge biomass service (Stavros Lainas).

Fairbourne Railway 'Little to Large' Gala - report by Eddie Knorn

This annual event took place over Sunday 24 and Bank Holiday Monday 25 May. My wife and I have been a few times before and enjoyed it, so on the Monday morning we were at Ruabon Station (above) for the 08:41 service to Shrewsbury, formed of the repaired West Wales hay-trailer victim, 175 002. This had sufficient capacity for the Bank Holiday travellers and before long we were in Shrewsbury.

The customary pair of 158s approached Shrewsbury (above) from the Birmingham direction and waited departure from Platform 4. We settled in to 158 835, the rear unit upon departure. There were a few holidaymakers aboard this part of the train and I was reminded of holidays in Barmouth in the 1970s when Summer Saturday trains along the Cambrian lines were strengthened with Tyseley-based DMU sets on through workings from Birmingham New Street. When we arrived at Machynlleth, the leading 158 went on its way to Aberystwyth, then after a few minutes 158 835 departed for the Pwllheli route.

As we crawled through the avalanche shelter at Friog, we knew it was time to gather up our stuff as we were nearly in Fairbourne.

Once the 158 had departed, I was able to have a closer look at the Station House, which was advertised for sale in the last year or so. The new owner has repaired the fabric of the building around the windows, an area that had previously looked slightly poorly, and hard landscaping was progressing in the parking are and garden. The latter area is  significantly more spacious as the old wagon body that had been there has now gone.

We crossed the road and entered the Fairbourne Railway Station which exhibited the customary bustle of activity of the Gala weekend. Every working Fairbourne loco was in traffic and their trains departed every half hour. In addition, the siding closes to the road has been laid with an additional rail to enable visiting 15" gauge stock to run, the FR itself having a gauge just over 12" now, but having been 15" in the past. From memory, the 15" track extends slightly further than on our last visit, and I observed a collection tin for the railway's 15" gauge project to extend this track even further.

The station platform hosted sales stalls for railway books, models and memorabilia in addition to other bric-a-brac. Between these stalls and the station buildings/workshop there was just about enough space for a miniature live steam railway as well. We queued for our tickets in the station café but let the midday train go as it was reassuringly full!

Our first move was behind the replica Southern 759 (Yeo) to get to the Barmouth Ferry end of the line. At the rear of the station, a marquee hosted a 16mm scale train layout featuring live steam, another model layout with classic Hornby Dublo equipment and a few traders. There was even a horse drawn 'tram'. further round beyond the station. 

A Class 158 crosses Barmouth bridge, as seen from the ferry terminus at Penrhyn Point.

Our return ride was hauled by a replica of Welsh Highland Russell.

Back at Fairbourne, we could not resist the chance of a ride with the visiting 15" gauge train. At one end, Mountaineer (above: not to be confused with a similarly named Ffestiniog loco) was a narrow gauge loco that the driver could ride in ...

...  while at the other, Cagney was a much scaled down American outline loco whose driver had to perch on top of the tender. With the normal FR train in the station at the time, the 15" gauge train was only allowed to shuttle up and down in the siding and not the full length of the 15" track, but the amount of whistling seemed to compensate for the lack of distance travelled.

To finish the day, we had another trip to Barmouth Ferry and back, this time hauled both ways by the small diesel Gwril (above).

The fourth FR loco in traffic was double ended diesel Tony.

Our evening meal was partaken at the Fairbourne Chippy and then onto the 17:04 departure formed of 158 831.

At Machynlleth, that unit was taken out of service, but after a short wait we boarded 158 824 upon its arrival from Aberystwyth. The climb from 'Mach' to the summit at Talerddig seemed to take a while and I could appreciate the difficulty that the Class 25s used to have with much heavier trains. Eventually, we reached Shrewsbury and this was one of the occasions when a service from the Cambrian actually connected with the Ruabon train...

...  in this case 150 284.

We both enjoyed the day, and the Gala had the customary mix of a little of everything. Our travel time could have been cut roughly in half had we taken the car, but where is the fun in that...?

By Bala Lake - pictures by Ian Wright

With a classic North Wales backdrop, a Bala Lake Railway train passes by the public footpath at OS grid reference 883 302, hauled by 0-4-0T Winifred.

Winifred was built by the Hunslet company in 1985, and shunted the slate sidings at Port Penrhyn for many years, and then at the Penrhyn Quarries until 1964; soon afterwards she was exported to the USA, whence she was brought back to Wales in 2012. See a very interesting article on the railway's website for the full story.

The Bala Lake Railway runs on most days during the summer months: see their Timetable Page. On 28-31 August there is a 'Winifred Gala' which will offer a last chance to ride behind 'Winifred' in her authentic ex-quarry paintwork. There will be four locos in steam, and many other attractions.
The Three Queens

The meeting of the Cunard Line's three cruise ships on the Mersey on 25 May was a remarkable transport event, visited by a number of our contributors, so let's have a few of their pictures: after all, the ships did sail along the North Wales Coast! Above, the Queen Elizabeth leads Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 up river, viewed from the Cheshire side by Ian Pilkington.

Queen Elizabeth, having swung about to face North of the Mersey, prepares to draw alongside Queen Victoria. Elizabeth would then dock at Pier Head, while Queen Victoria would remain anchored mid-river.

The three ships opposite Albert Dock, with water effects from the tug Svitzer Bidston with Mersey ferry Royal Iris of the Mersey (formerly Mountwood) on sightseeing duty (Ian Pilkington).

Close up of the water display by Roly High.

Queen Mary 2 moves away down river to continue her cruise (Ian Pilkington).

The Liver Birds watch from their lofty perch (Roly High).

The bow ends of Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria as they briefly paused together (David Hennessey).

Queen Victoria, which entered service in 2007, at 90,000 Gross Tonnes is the smallest of the Cunard trio, and can can carry over 2000 passengers, with a crew of 800 (Roly High)

Queen Elizabeth  berths at the cruise terminal (Ian Pilkington).

This hovercraft-like boat in attendance is RNLI's modern form of lifeboat at the New Brighton station. Numbered H-007 it is named Samburgh. Lifeboats from Hoylake and Lytham, also attended (Roly High). 

In the skies above the Mersey, the Red Arrows performed their own salute to the three ships, by
leaving their trademark smoke trail behind (David Hennessey).

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