Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

16 May 2016

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June 2016

Sunday 5 June Steam Dreams THE CAMBRIAN COAST EXPRESS (Day 1 of 4)  London Paddington - Pwllheli (WCRC) Steam loco 60103  Flying Scotsman: Paddington - Leamington - Shrewsbury

Monday 6 June Steam Dreams THE CAMBRIAN COAST EXPRESS (Day 2 of 4)

Tuesday 7 June Steam Dreams THE CAMBRIAN COAST EXPRESS (Day 3 of 4)

Wednesday 8 June Steam Dreams THE CAMBRIAN COAST EXPRESS (Day 4 of 4) Bangor - Paddington. Steam loco 60103  Flying Scotsman:   Chester - Wrexham - Hereford - Bristol Parkway - Paddington

Wednesday 15 June Steam Dreams THE EMERALD ISLE EXPLORER (Day 1 of 9)  London Euston-Holyhead Steam loco 60103 Flying Scotsman: Euston-Holyhead.

July 2016

Sunday 24 July Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Liverpool-Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46100: Liverpool - Chester - Holyhead and return

Tuesday 26 July  Railway Touring Company THE WELSH MOUNTAINEER Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog . Steam loco 45305 or 48151: Preston - Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog and return

August 2016

Sunday 21 August  Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Crewe - Manchester - Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46115: Manchester - Chester - Holyhead and return

September 2016

Sunday 4 September Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Crewe - Manchester - Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46115: Manchester - Chester - Holyhead and return

Jim Scott was on driving duty during engineering work on Anglesey over the weekend of 7-8 May, and took this view for us while 'waiting for the road' at the Conwy tubular bridge. See also reports in the last issue.

Fly by Arriva Trains Wales

The start of the new timetable saw an interesting development in trains from the Llandudno line began to make the additional run to Manchester Airport station and back, in addition to the handful of early morning and late evening ones which have been allowed paths up to now.  The 07:45, 09:45, 10:45. 11:45 and 18:45 trains from Llandudno, plus the 08:54 and 12:53 from Llandudno Junction, will run to the airport on Mondays-Fridays, with more on Saturdays but no Sunday service. Interestingly, several also call between Manchester Piccadilly and the Airport at East Didsbury, a station which is unlikely to have seen a regular through service to Llandudno for a long time, if ever.

How all this has been achieved, against assorted objections from the Office or Rail and Road, Network Rail, other train companies, and even Transport for Greater Manchester, we can't say, but it surely is a good thing.

150s stand-in for Class 67

The loco-hauled stock on the Manchester - North Wales trains has been replaced on some recent occasions by a pair of Class 150 units, such as the mixed-livery pair photographed by Andrew Vinten passing a potato field near Frodsham on 12 May.

Mike Sheridan writes: 'I went down to Manchester Oxford Road on 12 May to photograph the Class 67 on the morning Holyhead and to my total disgust a pair of Class 150s turned up instead.  Particularly gutted as I need a photo of 67 002 ... I certainly wont be getting out of bed to record "garden sheds" as I believe they were once called, nor would I dream of travelling all the way to Holyhead inside one.'

67 002 was back on duty on 16 May. We understand that there is a shortage of drivers at Holyhead, so in order for Llandudno Junction or Chester drivers, who are not trained on locomotive working to work this diagram, units have to be used - and because of the current problems with the 175s (see last issue) Class 150s are all that is available.


60 096 hauling train 6J37 Carlisle - Chirk logs through Frodsham station on 12 May (Andrew Vinten).

Les Burton writes: 'I went to Northenden Junction on 16 May to look at the Mondays-only 1438 Peal Forest - Warrington Arpley trip working. When I looked on Real Train times it was 50 minutes late; when I arrived at 15:30 it was stood (hauled by 66 069) at the signal on the single line from Hazel Grove awaiting 66 509 on the 13:30 Runcorn Folly Lane - Northenden refuse containers to complete the loco's run-round move. Subsequently the 15:17 Manchester - Chester passenger train arrived on the scene.'

On 11 May, 57 003 & 57 310 Goliath bring FNA wagons 550056, 550027 & 550054 past Rhyl as
6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe - running 47 minutes early. Picture by Tim


Sunday diversion on 15 May: 175 115 negotiates the Deansgate Junction - Skelton Junction curve at 18:09 with the 15:40 Holyhead - Manchester. Picture by Greg Mape.

221 110 James Cook and 221113 Sir Walter Raleigh pass Connahs Quay on 9 May with 1A48 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston (Tim Rogers).


West Coast Railways ran an excursion - The 'North Wales Coast Express' from Stevenage  (dep. 05:55), St Neots, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Retford and Doncaster to Llandudno on Saturday 14 May, formed of their 'Spirit of the Lakes' luxury set and powered by two former Arriva-liveried locos 57 313 and 57 316. Marc Thomas photographed 57 3i3 bringing the train into Llandudno Junction for a 20-minute scheduled stop before proceeding to ...

Llandudno, where the train stabled until 15:56. Apparently a trip from Hertfordshire to Whitby had originally been planned for this day, but there were 'routing problems' .

The return train passes Old Colwyn, with 57 316 now leading (Greg Mape).

Also on 14 May, GBRf 66 737 Lesia heads towards Nantwich hauling Pathfinders Tours'  'The Yorkshire Dales Explorer' from Salisbury to Leeds. Picture by Robert Meredith. The large figures '37' on this loco apparently relate to the age at the time of the naming of Lesia, the GBRf managing director John Smith. 66 737 started life as a DRS loco, numbered 66 405.

On the Llanberis Lake Railway - pictures by Hefin Owen

The Llanberis Lake Railway's  Hunslet loco Elidir of 1889, a former Dinorwic Quarry loco, has been repainted over the winter months.  The pictures show it in service alongside Llyn Padarn on 6 May.

This 1'11˝ inch gauge line uses part of the former 4-foot gauge line which carried slate down from to Port Dinorwic for loading into ships. For dates and times of operation see the railway's website. Trains run from a station in Llanberis village, adjacent to the National Slate Museum, and a short walk from the lower terminus of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Llanberis is reached by bus route 85 from Bangor station, hourly on Mondays-Saturdays, less frequently on Sundays (See PDF timetable.)

Bangor station subway then and now

Thanks to everyone who wrote about Alan Crawshaw's query regarding the former subway at Bangor station. Jim Johnson writes: 'As a youngster in the 1950s and 60s, I well-remember the subway at Bangor. At the time, I think its use was restricted to Railway staff; I'm not sure if the public were prohibited from using it, but certainly they were not encouraged, and any signs that may have been up, proclaiming its existence, had disappeared by the 1960s. I don't remember ever venturing down its somewhat forbidding stairways. As with any such abandoned railway structure, rumours abound as to what may have been sealed up in there.'

The picture above, by Wyn Hobson, shows Standard Class 4 2-6-0 76040 with a down parcels train on 16 April 1966, and a Metro-Cammell railcar in the Bethesda bay. The subway entrance on platforms 3 & 4 is seen to good effect.

A shot of the same entrance on 26 July 1969 (Photo copyright M.A. King). Note the dismantled signal post on the platform, maybe from the redundant Bethesda bay.

The sealed-up entrance/exit on the old platforms 3 & 4 is still discernible, next to the still-extant railings of the old Bethesda bay (pictured above on 3 May 2016 Jim Johnson) but all traces on the old platforms 1 & 2 have been obliterated.

It appears certain that by the time of its closure, there was no low-level entrance to the subway outside the station on either side, so use by cyclists as being discussed in cycling circles, would be ruled out. Furthermore,  Dave Walters writes: 'I had a word with a colleague of mine from Bangor who worked at the station in the 60s when the subway was taken out of service. It appears that in the main it was filled in by the Permanent Way department where it goes under the tracks. The entrances were blocked off and sealed. He seemed to think the stairs may well still be there, but totally unusable even if they could be got at. It could be said that a good job was made of sealing it up.'

Some other relics to be found at the station include an  LNWR stop-valve cover nearby, hard up against the edge of old Platform 1, now part of the car park, seen on 3 May  (Jim Johnson).

Also still in place are the bases of the water columns at the 'Up' end of platforms 1 & 2 which were used to supply water to steam locos of trains standing at the platform.  A column with control wheel would stand  over the hinged plates. This one on Platform 1 (whose track has been removed) has a drain to take away any wayward water ...

... whereas water from this one on Platform 2 would run away in to the drainage of the track. Water would have come from the large elevated tank seen on the left of the 1969 view above. Pictures by Jim Johnson, February 2016.

Ffestiniog Railway Extra

As promised, more pictures from the Ffestiniog Railway's members event, 29 April - 2 May.

From David Parry:

From the Himalayas to Snowdonia – Adrian Shooter’s Darjeeling Himalaya Railway loco 19B returns to the Ffestiniog.   Having recessed its vintage train in the siding at Tan-y-Bwlch on Friday 29th April, 19B waits while David Lloyd George passes with the 1505 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog .

With much activity focused at Blaenau Ffestiniog at this gala, the necessary positioning movements provided some added interest.  In particular, Hugh Napier and Prince worked up from Boston Lodge to Glanypwll depot with a couple of Hudson wagons for static display, the pair making an impressive sonic impact on the way into Tan-y-Bwlch, as well as the unusual sight of a cab-less quarry loco approaching the station.

The superb lining of Hugh Napier can be seen in this view by the Tan-y-Bwlch watering point.

On Saturday 30 April, Darjeeling 19B makes steady progress up the line between Cei Mawr and Tan-y-Bwlch, the vehicle behind the loco being Adrian Shooter’s replica Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad parlour car Carabasset.    The railroad was a 2ft gauge line in Maine, USA.

As well as Prince and Hugh Napier providing  footplate rides at Blaenau, Britomart topped and tailed a 1920s-style shuttle with Palmerston between Blaenau and Tan-y-Grisiau, here shown taking on water.

It was good to be re-acquainted with Mountaineer, not in steam, but tastefully presented with a short train of freight stock, including newly renovated skip wagons, at Blaenau.

Towards the end of the day on Saturday, the shuttle was reconfigured to provide a vintage train back from Blaenau to Porthmadog, shown here arriving.

On the way over to Porthmadog, we called in at the Plas Glyn-y-Weddw art gallery for an exhibition by John Cyrlas Williams, a largely forgotten Welsh artist of the early twentieth century, a cache of whose works was recently discovered in a garage in Penarth.   The unexpected discovery for me was the preserved horse tram car from the Pwllheli and Llanbedrog Tramway, which terminated here.   This is one of the many rail vehicles that survived by finding an agricultural after-use and has been restored for static display.

From Sean Thomas:

Minffordd on 29 April, with David Lloyd George and Earl of Merioneth double-heading.

David Lloyd George again at Minffordd, with vintage carriages.

By contrast. newly-built buffet coach 125 at Porthmadog on 30 April.

Darjeeling Himalaya Railway 19B at Minffordd, 1 May.

Blaenau Ffestiniog on 1 May, in legendary Blaenau weather. David Lloyd George on train (left) plus Mountaineer and Hugh Napier on static display.

Palmerston and Lyd at Porthmadog on 2 May.

Porthmadog on 2 May: Linda and Garratt 87 double-head a Welsh Highland train.

Steam under the Main Line - report by Robert Meredith

We regularly publish photographs of steam on the main line, but what about 'steam under the main line'? On the Shropshire Union Canal passes under the Crewe - Shrewsbury line at Nantwich, where President a historic restored coal fired steam powered narrow boat, and its unpowered 'butty' boat Kildare (below) are travelling along on 14 May.

The steam-powered narrow boat was on its way back to its home at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. Friends of President support the museum by operating the boat and the group undertakes numerous trips around the canal systems throughout the year to promote the Museum, President, and the National Canal system. President was built in Birmingham in 1909;she  was bought by the Black Country Living Museum in 1983 and Kildare in 1991.

A Day Out: Swanage Railway Diesel Gala - report by Richard Putley

On 8 May I travelled to the Swanage Railway's Diesel Gala. Stunning weather accompanied a stellar line of visiting Type 4 diesel locos. For many the star attraction was newly restored class 40 D213 Andania running for the first time in preservation, seen above at Corfe Castle.

For me however, remembering when the 'Warships' were used on the Cotswolds and Malvern line, East Lancs based D832 Onslaught was just as big a draw.

Class 46 'Peak D182 looked fine, in an early version of BR Corporate livery with small yellow patches.

I managed to get hauled by all of these and also 50 035 Ark Royal, 20 142+20 202 (above) and D5580.

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