Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

20 July 2015

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Two of the more common trains to be seen in 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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.

July 2015

Tuesday 21 July Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog. Cancelled

August 2015

Sunday 2 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool - Holyhead and return

Tuesday 4 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Sunday 16 August Stockport Railshow, Stockport station.

Sunday 16 August Excursion West Coast Railways Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Frodsham, Warrington, Preston, Lancaster & Oxenholme to Edinburgh.

Tuesday 25 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

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

September 2015

Wednesday 9 September Excursion West Coast Railways   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 West Coast Railways 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.

Monday 21 September RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. LNER an appreciation by John Feild. Local member and keen follower of anything LNER John takes a look back at locomotives of that company and of its predecessors including some of them at Chester Northgate station

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

October 2015

Saturday 10 October  Excursion West Coast Railways  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.

Monday 19 October  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. Aspects of the Chester & Birkenhead Line by John Ryan To mark the 175th Anniversary of Railways across Cheshire former BR Civil Engineer and local rail historian John looks at the more recent rail aspects of this line

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

November 2015

Monday 16 November  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. Northern Delights by Steve Batty. Steve our RO Branch News Editor and railway author from Selby reviews modern traction in Northern England 2002  2009.

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

December 2015

Monday 21 December  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. Arriva Trains Wales. Last 10 years going forward with Ben Davies. This is an opportunity to hear about more about one of our local Train Operating Companies from one of its locally based officers.

January 2016

Monday 18 January  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.  BRANCH A.G.M  followed by Back to The 60s with Geoff Coward. Geoff highlights photographs in various locations of the last few years of steam (1964-1968), including early diesels, mostly in the North West of England.

February 2016

Monday 15 February   RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch."American Wanderings - Heading East" by Gordon Davies. Gordon, our RCTS National Chairman gives a digital presentation showing the American railroad scene in the eastern states depicting diesel locomotives working passenger and freight trains as well as electric locomotives, light rail and preserved steam in operation on preservation lines.

March 2016

Monday 21 March   RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. "20 Years Of The Privatised Railway - What Does The Future Hold?" by Bob Casselden. Bob, a retired former B.R. manager looks at the changes to Britain's privatised railway over the last twenty years and reflects on what the future might bring.

April 2016

Monday 18 April  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. One Mans Rubbish is Another's Treasure by Russell Hatt. Russell presents a selection of historic railway photographs that whilst too poor for publication are of interest to the railway historian.

May 2016

June 2016

The Liverpool - Holyhead North Wales Coast Express excursion on 19 June featured recently-re-activated 'Jubilee' 45699 Galatea, photographed heading west through Rhyl by Roly High.

Jubilee in (and out of) action

45699 Galatea arrived at Crewe on 18 July, 90 minutes late, from Carnforth with support coach.  It eventually ran onto Crewe Heritage Centre in preparation for hauling the Liverpool - Holyhead  'North Wales Coast Express' the next day, originally booked for 45690 Leander. Picture by Ian Bowland.

The North Wales Coast Express as seen through the fence id Morrison's Supermarket, Saltney, west of Chester, on 19 July (Bob Greenhalgh).

Westbound through Flint, 19 July (Glyn Jones)  This might be mistaken for a view from 60 years ago, except that 'Jubilees' never carried this livery in British Railways days.

Arrival at Llandudno Junction, crossing to Platform 1 to take water (Rowan Crawshaw).  The run to Llandudno and back before heading to Holyhead, which has featured in previous years, had been deleted from the itinerary, reportedly due to 'Network Rail timings'.

Unfortunately, during the water stop, an overheated axlebox ('hot box') was noticed on the front bogie and it was ruled that the loco could not continue, and it was detached from the train, later returning to Carnforth with its support coach. Picture by Larry Davies.

Diesel loco 47 760 was moved from the back to the front of the train and took the passengers (34 minutes late) to Holyhead, and back to Liverpool (Rowan Crawshaw).  The run planned for 2 August is the only other 'North Wales Coast Express' to Holyhead this year. Again, Llandudno will not be served:  the sidings recently installed there, specifically to stable excursions, appear to  be heading for 'white elephant' status.

[More 45699 pictures in the next update.]


A sylvan scene at Slack Lane, Hawarden on 14 July as 60 100 passes with 6M86 09:23 Margam to Dee Marsh loaded steel (Tim Rogers).

60 087 Clic Sargent passes Dunham-on-the-Hill with another load of logs: 6J37 12:58 Carlisle Yard to Chirk Kronospan via the Settle & Carlisle line (Tim Rogers).

Middlewich diversions

Engineering works on 1 and 2 August on the Crewe - Chester route will see a number of Virgin Trains services diverted via the Middlewich line, offering some interesting (albeit very slow) travel opportunities. The times can be found on Realtime Trains using the following Middlewich links for  Saturday and Sunday.

Some trains will alternativly reverese at Warrington Bank Quay, and Arriva Trains Wales services will be bus replacements. Thanks are due to Mike Stone for this item.

67 022 in focus

Seen from Helsby's award-winning station garden, 67 022 awaits the 'right-away' with the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead on 15 July. Picture by Andrew Vinten.

On the sunny evening of 15 July, 67 022 brings the 16:50 Manchester - Llandudno into Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).

1D31 16:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno arrives at Helsby on 17 July (Tim Rogers).

Your editor enjoyed a very pleasant ride on the 13:01 Holyhead - Manchester on 16 July, from Chester (above)...

... to Manchester Piccadilly whence the train is seen heading off to stable at Longsight after terminating, as the 15:33 Hazel Grove - Preston arrives led by 150 119.

This particular service is far from crowded and has a refreshment trolley. The seats are very comfortable and have adjacent sockets to recharge your phone; what more can one ask?

11 Years ago...

Flashback to another loco-hauled era - on 24 March 2004 47 732 Restormel brings the 17:20 Manchester Piccadilly - Holyhead into Manchester Oxford Road ...

... and heads off into the sunset. This loco has since reverted to an earlier number, and is still seen on the main line as privately owned as 47 580 County of Essex.

Class 47s on normal passenger trains now appear to be a thing of the past, since the DRS examples in East Anglia were replaced by Class 37/4s in June 2015. West Coast Railways still use them on their excursions, but the DRS Class 47 locos are now rarely seen in use.

Talyllyn Railway - report by Martin Evans

On 16 July I visited the Talyllyn Railway and found the following locos in traffic: No 1 Talyllyn and No 6 Douglas were working the normal service while no 2 Dolgoch was working the special Victorian train service. Above, Douglas waits to depart Tywyn Wharf with the 12.15pm service to Nant Gwernol.

Dolgoch simmers at Abergynolwyn with the Victorian train.

The Talyllyn's unique Guards van / Booking Office in the Victorian train.

At Tywyn Pendre No 7, Tom Rolt was noted on shed with diesel no 5 (Ruston and Hornsby)  Midlander shunting wagons.

Nameplates for auction

We have reported previously that the former Wrexham & Shropshire locomotive nameplates have been removed by Chiltern Railways from locos 67 012 - 015. It transpires that one each of these are to be auctioned to raise funds for Chiltern's charities of the year for 2015, St Basil’s and The Brain Tumour Charity, which were voted for by employees.

They will be included G.W. Railwayana Auctions, will take place on Saturday 25 July at 10am at Pershore High School in Worcestershire. However, there will be an opportunity to view the items from 8am that morning and bid online. Thomas Telford, David J Lloyd, A Shropshire Lad and Dyfrbont Pontcysyllte are all included in the sale as lots 450 to 453. On-line bidding is available.

The locos themselves belong to DB Schenker, of course, but the nameplates must be among the assets of Wrexham & Shropshire with passed to DB Regio, owners of Chiltern Railways.

Conwy Valley Scotsman

A second helping of pictures of the 'Royal Scotsman' luxury train in North Wales on 12-13 July, featuring 47 854 Diamond Jubilee and 57 315. Above, 47 854 heads 17:10 Chester to North Llanrwst at Greenfield on 12 July.

With 47 854 trailing, the train heads up the valley at Tal-y-Cafn and passing the handiwork of the station adopters from the Llandudno & Conwy valley Railway Society (Larry Davies).

57 315 gingerly moves up the platform at North Llanrwst past the old headquarters of the Conwy & Llanrwst Railway which now the subject of a community project to restore into use as a Welsh Cultural Centre (Larry Davies).

Overnight stabling at North Llanrwst (Larry Davies).

Ian Allan

Ian Allan OBE, founder of Ian Allan Publishing, died on 28 June, the day before his 93rd birthday. Exempt from war service as he had lost a leg in an accident, he was working as a clerk in the Southern Railway's publicity department in 1942 when (the story goes) noticing many requests by enthusiasts for loco details, he compiled in his spare time a booklet listing SR locomotive numbers and names, and the rest, as they say, is history. Many readers of this page will have owned one of his company's many books and magazines, even though publication of the 'ABC' listing books was eventually given up in the face of competition from the late Peter Fox and his Platform 5 company. Ian Allan Publishing went on to publish many of the essential railway histories, and hundreds of photographic 'albums' and several famous magazines.

Although he didn't invent the hobby of railway enthusiasm or even 'trainspotting' (he seems to have preferred the term 'locosoptting'), his books with their layout enabling underlining of numbers certainly fuelled to the craze for collecting numbers in the 1950s and 60s which led to a certain amount of irritation to railway staff as schoolbots 'bunked sheds' and congregated in dangerous positions. His response was to create the 'Locospotters Club' whose members received a badge (who still has one?) and pledged to behave sensibly.

It's certain that his name will be remembered as long as people are interested in railways.

Holiday from North Wales - report by Alan Crawshaw

Christine, Rowan and I set off on 1 July for our annual cycling holiday, later in the year than usual. Arriva normally allow only two bikes to be booked but the loco-hauled sets have plenty of space in the DVT, the timings suited us and we prefer locomotive haulage (or pushage in this case) . The 13:28 from Bangor arrived 8 minutes late, apparently this is a regular occurrence since it runs so closely behind the London train which was a concern since we had only a 10 minute connection at Warrington. 67 022 clawed back the loss and we reached Bank Quay with plenty of time to board the Edinburgh bound Voyager which delivered us to Carlisle. In the evening we strolled back to the station to watch the last Cumbrian Coast loco-hauled service arrive from Barrow, top and tailed by 37 402 (above) and 37 218.

The next railway interest came at Tweedbank, our route taking us past the terminus of the reinstated section of the former Waverley route due to open in the autumn. The station is securely fenced off but our cameras were able to peer over for a shot of 158 867, presumably on driver training for the new route.

We spent the night of 5 July at Berwick on Tweed and next morning photographed a Virgin East Coast service crossing the Royal Border Bridge.

Following National Cycle Route 1 southwards we crossed the main line several times and were halted for the Network Rail measurement train at Chathill level crossing, power car 43062 John Armitt trailing.

8 July saw us cycling from Whitley Bay to Durham, taking a detour for a rather rushed tour of Beamish museum. It was worth it to experience former Grimsby and Immingham tram 26, sounding remarkably similar to the "thumper" diesel-electric mulriple unit sets. Information about its former line can be found here and here.

We were now following the Sustrans Walney to Wear route but in reverse, which took us close to the West Coast main line on Saturday 11 July. We encountered cars and cameras on a minor road by the railway so enquired what was expected, the answer being the Cumbrian Mountain Express but it was running very late due to problems encountered on the class 90 leg of the trip from London to Carnforth. We happened to spot it from a distance (above) later in the day. The foreground structure is Low Gill viaduct, near where the Clapham to Ingleton line joined the West Coast Main Line, closed to passengers in 1954 and to all traffic in 1967. Distant views of Virgin trains accompanied us for the next few miles.

We stayed at Arnside for the last three days, cycling from there to the end of the route at Walney Island and then taking our bikes back on the train from Barrow. We then had a free day which Rowan and I used for a ride to Carlisle. We photographed the 05:15 Carlisle to Preston crossing Arnside viaduct (above) and then caught the 09:08 unit to Barrow to avoid risking missing the tight connection between loco-hauled services at Barrow.

This at least afforded the opportunity to photograph both sets in the rain (above, 37 218) ...

...  before scrambling aboard the 11:38 Barrow to Carlisle with 37 423 (above) and 37 603 in charge, travelling in first class compartment style. The turn-round at Carlisle is so short that we stayed on board, popping out for a quick pint of Lancaster Red ale after we'd returned to Barrow before catching the 18:15 back to Arnside, comprising a pair of 153s.

Tuesday morning saw us return with our bikes to Arnside station (above with 153 380) for 37 423 and 37 603 ...

...  to take us down to Preston (above, and below) for a short Pendolino hop to Warrington.

Virgin had staff on hand to open the bike loading door and the first four seats next to the bike area displayed "Reserved for cyclist", I was very impressed.

The 7-minute connection into the Manchester to Holyhead loco-hauled was sufficient but nobody seemed to notice we needed the DVT to be unlocked, eventually the Arriva train manager ambled down and barked that he already had two bikes on board. 'Don't matter' was the response when we pointed out that we had reservations, before he opened up and complained we were delaying the train, a complete contrast to Virgin's courteous and efficient customer service. Back in Bangor, we rode home to Graianfryn after a great holiday.

Progress at Quinn Glass - report by Tony Robinson

We last hear in 2014 about the plan to create rail sidings at the 'Duo tone green' glass factory on Ince Marshes near Helsby. These views from 28 June show the progress that is now taking place, at what is now known as 'Encirc', renamed last year; Sean Quinn lost control of the firm following financial problems in 2011.

The tracks at the unloading point, see through the fence, appear to almost ready.

Having been asked to 'remove myself' from the area at the rear of the sidings I made my way halfway up Helsby Hill to capture the progress at the 'main line' end of the ensemble, as can be seen there is a fair bit of work still to be done before the connection is made with the old UKF branch and I was informed by my 'ejector' that there will be some months yet before completion.

I couldn't resist a visit to Helsby station where I spotted a Llandudno working arriving some twenty minutes late; I think it should have been the 13.41 arrival.

Malvern to Chester - with Richard Putley

My day out on 7 July did not start well with the 09:19 Great Malvern to Birmingham New Street. being cancelled. I had planned to use this train as I had purchased a West Midlands Day Ranger ticket to cover the Great Malvern to Crewe leg of the journey; the cost of this rover ticket plus a day return from Crewe to Chester is a lot less than that of a day return from Great Malvern to Chester. A glance at the timetable told me that the next train to Worcester, the 09:54 to London Paddington was booked to arrive at Worcester Foregate Street at 10:07. Providing it did so, I'd be able to catch the 10:16 from Worcester Foregate Street to Birmingham Snow Hill and change at Smethwick Galton Bridge. It was the 10th anniversary of the London 7/7 Bombings. An announcement told us that London Midland staff would be observing a mminutes silence at 11:00.

The 09:33 arrival from Paddington at Great Malvern came in on time, formed by an “Adelante” DMU 180 104 (above) which duly formed the 09:54. At Worcester Foregate Street a punctual arrival enabled me to get the 10:16. It got me to Smethwick Galton Bridge at 11:04 and this enabled me to get the 11:07 to Liverpool.

On the way I saw a DB Red class 60 at Wolverhampton Steel Terminal.

The train arrived at Crewe punctually and I then caught the 12:23 to Chester which was worked by 150 253. While waiting at Crewe I saw 67 008 propelling Network Rail Driving Van Trailer 82145. Meanwhile a friend who'd travelled from London Euston on the 10:02 Super Voyager was already there, it having arrived at 12:12.

After an enjoyable afternoon in Chester, during which I saw 67 022 propelling the 13:01 Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly train, I returned to Crewe on the 17:55 from Chester. I then caught the 18:19 to Birmingham New St. This got me there in good time to catch the 19:59 to Worcester Shrub Hill.

On arrival at Shrub Hill (above) it was choc-a-bloc. Another class 170, 170 630, was stabled in the centre road while in Platform 1 a First Great Western class 150 had arrived from Bristol. It then shunted across to Platform 3. Also parked in the Long Siding was a FGW HST which had worked the 17:52 from London Paddington. Once the FGW DMU had shunted into Platform 3, the signalman pulled off the Down Home to enable the 18:22 Paddington – Hereford HST to enter Platform 1. I caught this train back to Great Malvern. So ended an enjoyable day where I had sampled a variety of traction – and pubs in Chester!

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