Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

27 March 2017

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue. For full information visit our Calendar page.

March 2017

Friday 31 March  Great Western Society North West Branch.  Birkenhead Joint Railway.  Paul Wright.

April 2017

Tuesday 4 April    North Wales Railway Circle Change of Speaker due to illness: Dave Walters will give a slide show of miscellaneous Circle outings and activities.

Wednesday 5 April RCTS Liverpool David Rapson. Railways - The Digital Effect David, who lives in Connah's Quay, has worked on the railways for many years spending a lot of his life in Control positions and now works for West Coast Railway Company. He is also a Branch member and for those who read Rail Express will be aware of his contributions.

Friday 7 April Clwyd Railway Circle Railways of North Cheshire in Early BR Days Being a Manchester lad, Russell Hatt was able to capture the busy scenes around his home area.

Friday 7 April  (note: first Friday  of the month) Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture The Last Years of British Trolleybuses. A colour slide presentation by Brian Yates  

Wednesday 12 April Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Norman Kneale, Renowned railway photographer.

Thursday 13 April Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society Barry Wynne's Steam Odyssey.

Monday 24 April   RCTS Chester   George Jones : Onwards to Corwen.George lives in Wrexham and for many years has been an important publicist for the Llangollen Railway and certain of its locomotives. He will cover the railway’s reinvigoration of the line to Corwen and look at its future prospects.       

Friday 28 April Great Western Society North West Branch. The L&Y in BR days.  Noel Coates.

May 2017

Tuesday 2 May   North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic Competition.  The Annual General Meeting of The North Wales Railway Circle will be followed by the annual photographic competition.  Members are invited to submit their work in three categories, prints, slides and video.  Video to be kept reasonably short, approx. 5 mins.  In line with Circle rules all work should have been taken in the last 12 months.

Wednesday 10 May  Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Group’s AGM + John Ellis Williams - The Continuing Story.

Thursday 11 May   Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society   A tribute to the late David Jones, by John Myers 

The latest new locomotive type, class 88 for DRS, is an electric locomotive equipped with a 700 kW diesel engine for use over short distances on un-electrified branches and depots.  Ten locos have been built initially, based on the body design of the Class 68 diesel. Andrew Vinten captured 88 002 Prometheus at Roby station on 27 March at Roby station during a test run on the Liverpool and Manchester route.

Network Rail movements

On 21 March at Bangor Jim Johnson photographed Track inspection unit 950 001, running as 2Q08 Longsight - Crewe, at Bangor. The train had run to Blaenau Ffestiniog, to check the line ready to open again after the depredations of 'Storm Doris' which based a rock face to be unstable. It was running early, as it did not stay for a lunch break at Blaenau as scheduled. Arrival at Bangor was at 12:50, and a quick turn-round saw it leaving via the up loop at 12:55.

The Conwy Valley line remains closed to passengers for the time being, however. (A BBC report describes the line as 'in Gwynedd' although it's all in Conwy except the Blaenau Ffestiniog town area.)

23 March saw another Network Rail visitor in the shape of the HST 'New Measurement Train' powered by 43 062 John Armitt and 43 014 The Railway Observer. Above: the outward working at Rhyl (Roly High). 43 062 is leading.

43 014 on the front at Mostyn (Tim Rogers). The much-photographed gantry no longer has a signal on it, as Mostyn signalbox is closed.

The Salopian

The 'Salopian' excursion, 1Z54 07:14 Dumfries to Shrewsbury on 22 March passing Pulford crossing with 46115 Scots Guardsman in charge (Tim Rogers).

Wrexham General (Martin Evans).

Wrexham General (George Jones). It is thought this is the first time a 'Royal Scot' has come this way, certainly within living memory and especially in the preservation era, and a long-felt need to see 46115 come along the borders between Chester and Shrewsbury. [Update: We're told that there was an earlier one, but not with passengers].

Gobowen (Chris Morrison).

Returning through Acton Bridge. Picture - from behind the railings at the bottom of the footbridge - by Phil Clarke.

Steaming under the footbridge (Phil Clarke).

Class 67 events

67 005 Queen's Messenger approaches Crewe from the carriage sidings with the empty stock of the Royal Train on 21 March...

... with 67 006 Royal Sovereign on the rear (Martin Evans).

67 014 continues its turn on the Manchester - North Wales diagram, seen propelling the 13:06 Holyhead - Manchester out of Chester on 21 March (Martin Evans).

Arriving at Manchester Piccadilly from Longsight with the empty stock for the 16:50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno (Charlie Hulme).

Some interesting news about 67s is that two have been sold by DB Cargo to Colas, who will use them on Network Rail trains requiring 100mph running. 67 023 and 67 027 (which was in DB red) have been repainted into Colas orange and black livery.

Now and then - Class 175

The current issue of Today's Railways UK magazine has a feature on the Class 175 units, with much detail about their early trials and tribulations, and their life since; highly recommended. To complement this, we've made up an micro-feature of our own. Above, 175 010 calls at Gobowen with the 10:40 Holyhead-Llanelli on 22 March 2017 (Chris Morrison). Work on the barrel-roofed shelter continues.

175 010 at Chester, 25 August 2007 (Charlie Hulme). When Arriva took over the fleet, Arriva branding appeared on the First North Western livery.

175 107 departs from Shotton on 22 March 2017 as 1H90 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly (Tim Rogers).

175 107 in First North Western days Llandudno Junction, 23 March 2003 (Charlie Hulme). Another 175 is leading; Pairs of 175s are not common today. We did our best on this website to chronicle the early days of the 175s, but FNW and Alstom were very touchy about the publication of detail, resulting on one occasion in something of a 'witch-hunt'.

175 008 passes Mostyn on 23 March as 1W94 13:21 Cardiff Central to Holyhead (Tim Rogers).

175 008 calls at Conwy, 29 May 2002 (Charlie Hulme). This unit had more problems that most - it caught fire and was out of traffic for months, re-appearing in the experimental Arriva 'ghost' livery which was briefly used on this and 175 110. Earlier, it has also been the first to be named. See our Class 175 page for a picture.

175 002 eases into platform 2 with the 12:36 Manchester Airport to Llandudno on 23 March (Roly High).

Flashback to February 2005: 175 002 was yet to receive any Arriva branding. Picture at Llandudno Junction by Ian Bowland.

First North Western also used them on workings to Cumbria. Above: 175 114 waits at the Windermere platform at Oxenholme, 8 March 2003 (Charlie Hulme).

What does the future hold for the 175s as they approach their 20th birthday? It seems that they will retain their present livery and interiors until the end of the Arriva franchise in October 2018, even though all other ATW stock now carries the dark blue base colour inspired by the Welsh Government.  Most likely they will carry on their present duties, possibly supplemented by hand-me-down stock from elsewhere; shortened HSTs, or maybe loco-hauled Class 442 stock - time will tell.

Busy time at Bangor, 1982 - looking back with Jim Johnson

All the these pictures were taken between about 12:30 and 14:00 on Tuesday, 27 July, 1982.
Above, 25 327 held on the up main with ballast hoppers; 47 440 with 1K29 12:07 Holyhead - Crewe passenger.

40 169 with the up Valley Goods held at the 'box for instructions.

40 169 propelling its train from the up main to the down line, prior to being parked in the siding next to the old shed.

The freight parked by the shed building. It was normal at that time for nuclear flask carriers -  between barrier wagons -  to be included with other traffic in trip workings.

47 483 running-round the stock of 1D44 09:00 Euston-Bangor. This will form 1A61 14:36 back to Euston.

47 483 with the stock of 1D44, 09:00 Euston-Bangor at old Platform 3. 47 454 with 1A56 12:59 Holyhead-Euston, running through on the up main. 47 443 with 1J22 13:58 Bangor - Manchester Victoria, in the old Platform 2. Also present, but out of shot in the tunnel behind me was 25 195, waiting for platform space, with 1D29 10:45 Manchester Victoria - Holyhead, and the freight was still in the shed siding.

25 195 finally has access to platform 3 after a lengthy wait in Bangor Tunnel.

47 483 running into old Platform 4 with the 1A61 stock. 'Big Raymond' is the driver of 40 169.

47 240 runs through on the up main with a Holyhead-Glasgow special. Five SLOA (Steam Locomotive Operators' Association) Pullmans, including the 'Hadrian Bar' are in the formation. 47 443 stands in Platform 2 with 1J22 13:58 Bangor - Manchester Victoria.

47 483 in old Platform 4. Just visible is the departmental Mk1 ex-sleeper, used as a Permanent Way mess room for a while at Bangor.

40 169 finally escapes on the up main, passing 47 443 (now declared a failure).

40 169 meets 40 002 charging out of Bangor Tunnel to rescue the failed 47 443.

40 002 causes discarded newspapers to fly as it hurries towards Belmont Tunnel.

40 002 moving from Bangor Tunnel to attach to the front of 47 443.

40 002 + 47 443 ready for departure, commendably nearly right-time.

Plenty of clag from 40 002 on departure.

40 195 with 1D42 09:50 Euston-Holyhead runs through the down main, 24 minutes down.
Happy days!

Progress at Corwen Central site - report by George Jones

Good weather this past weekend allowed for a visit to the Llangollen Railway works site in Corwen where the volunteer workforce was demonstrating their block laying skills in progressing the building of the corbels on top of the base layer of Easi-blocs as illustrated previously. The corbels are the projecting layers of support for the over sail slabs and edging stones which will follow as the edging for the platform. It is time consuming work are the blocks have to follow the shallow curve of the downside track to remain in gauge relative to the eventual arrival of the train.The laying of the 259 base blocks was completed in five weeks and represented a movement of some 193 tonnes of concrete over a distance of some 520 feet.

The work represented a magnificent achievement by the project team saving a lot of cost which would otherwise have been involved. The corbels will cover the same distance and involve using some 3100 blocks laid both longitudinally and latitudinally and may take a while longer even if good weather continues and further hands can be brought to the task.

Meanwhile, on the Up side, a further panel of track has been laid in and the eventual shape of the loop becomes obvious as it approaches the exit structure for the subway which is in place.

The exercise to drill for water in the area alongside the railway embankment has achieved success and the capped borehole is now connected to an electric pump which is delivering volumes of water on a test pumping sequence. The water yield is constant and the clarity improving whilst awaiting chemical analysis. The evidence is that there is a good ground water resource under the Corwen plain.

The limiting factor in making rapid progress is, as always, finance and to help boost funding Llangollen Railway is promoting the 'Big Push' with the availability of a prospectus aimed at purchasers for the 370,000 £1 shares still available in the PLC. Further details of the Big Push from


22 March: 37 038 and 37 716 with FNA wagon 550038 head for Crewe at Shotton (Tim Rogers).

Flask train 6D43 for Valley passes Menai Bridge with 37 218 & 37 259 in charge on 24 March (Rowan Crawshaw).

Wrexham line blockade - report by George Jones

Essential work to upgrade the railway means that the route between Wrexham and Saltney Junction is closed for the period 24 March to 1 April. This means that the re-doubled section of track between Saltney and Rossett is finally getting attention to the four level crossings with a view to commissioning the route by 17 April 2017. (Latest Network Rail release) To emphasise the point, stop markers (above) are in place on the track between platforms 1 & 2 with trains from the south terminating and departing from platform 3.

Onward travel to and from Chester and beyond was by bus on Sunday 26 March with 'semi-preserved' ex-Arriva London bus, DLA 273 of Regional Transport waiting in the car park offering an unlikely destination from Wrexham for route 159.

Also present was the easyBus, a service which offers a Manchester Airport connection for travellers from Telford, Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Wrexham at a competitive fare and journey duration compared with the current rail offering.

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