Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

12 May 2017

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

13-14 May: Llangollen Victorian Weekend

Saturday 27 May: Friends of the Mersey Ferries: annual Dock and River Cruise. The ferry Royal Iris of the Mersey will depart Seacombe 12:00 noon for a 5-hour cruise to Eastham Locks and entry to Royal Seaforth docks.

27-29 May: Bala Lake Festival of Transport.

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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

[Details of events during the summer of 2017 are welcome for this space]

67 012, still retaining its silver and grey Wrexham and Shropshire colours, is back on the Manchester diagram: Rowan Crawshaw photographed the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead at Bangor on 4 May.

This is a 'slightly delayed' extra update. Don't miss the 8 May issue: the next will be on the evening of Tuesday 16 May. - Charlie

Picture Gallery

67 012 hurries past Ffynnongroew with the 13:07 Holyhead - Manchester  on 8 May (Peter Chapman)

68 016 Fearless and 68 017 Hornet double-head the flasks for Crewe pas Holywell Junction on 8 May (Peter Chapman).

60 087 CLIC Sargent  hauling 6J37 Carlisle- Chirk 'Logs', seen at Hapsford on 5 May. The service has been running sporadically over the last few months due to 'work' at the Kronospan Plant. Picture by Andrew Vinten.

A new freight flow for the Mid-Cheshire line is limestone from Tunstead Quarry to Garston, Liverpool using Freightliner's new-build box wagons. Greg Mape captured what appears to have been the first run of this train on the Hazel Grove - Northenden single line on 8 May; the MWA wagons behind 66 519 are clearly 'pristine' - a fashionable word with model manufacturers who also sell 'weathered' versions of models.

158 835 crosses Barmouth Bridge, 3 May (Dave Sallery).

Jim Ikin writes: 'Whilst visiting Surf Snowdonia not surfing! I thought Id check on any progress at the Dolgarrog Railway site and saw the 1951-built diesel Taurus now sporting a green livery.'

In complete contrast, Martin Evans captured new electro-diesel 88 002 Prometheus stables at Crewe station on 4 May before heading for Carlisle.

On the same day, 37 609 and 66 431 have run into Platform 8 at Crewe before returning to Gresty Bridge depot ...

... While 57 304 Pride of Cheshire stood ready on 'Thunderbird' duty. (Martin Evans). The fine external condition of both old and new DRS locos is evident in these pictures: two rail staff in orange Garb standing on Platform 12 can be seen reflected on the paintwork of the 57.

The Royal Windsor Express (a.k.a. The Concrete Jungle Stopper) - report by Ken Robinson

I had the misfortune of being on the above West Coast Railways tour on Wednesday 3 May from Holyhead and North Wales stations, destination Windsor and Eton Riverside for the river Thames, Castle, Royals, etc.

My day started well (sunny weather and on time) as I boarded the train at Chester(above).By Lichfield things were not going well for the leading loco 47 854 Diamond Jubilee, and we stopped for around 30 minutes. We got going with 47 826 'pushing' from the back, and by Rugby it seemed that we were picking up speed, and an announcement gave us the good news - 'the on-board fitter has isolated the problem on 47 854'. However, as we approached Northampton 47 854 became a total failure and was smoking badly.

The fire brigade was summoned as we were put into the goods loop at Northampton. West Coast staff were trying their best to sort out the problem, and were in the process of bringing 47 826 from the back of the train to the front when there was an 'incident' in the Northampton area (at approx. 11:30) - which we believe led to an electrical failure. Therefore trains could not move, and we were stuck!

Luckily, 47 854 had just been moved to nearby sidings (above) .Eventually at around 14:00 a further announcement was made telling us that the electrical problem had been fixed (and many trains passed us during this period) and 47 826 could now move to the front of the train, but that we were only going to Milton Keynes as 'this was the only available option within the time constraints'.

We eventually got going at 14:49 and arrived at Milton Keynes Central (above) at 15:16.This gave us three and a half hours there, and we were to return at the allotted time of 18:49 as planned.

The return train was headed by 57 315 (I think it was based at Southall?) with 47 826 on the rear. The train kept mostly to time and we arrived back in Chester 1 minute late at 21:39! What a day - WCRC are contacting all passengers 'during the next few days to confirm compensation details'.

Colwyn Bay Pier - pictures by Jim Ikin

Work continues on demolition/dismantling of one of the North Wales Coast Railway's landmarks, Colwyn Bay Victoria Pier, the sorry tale of which we have reported many times during the life of our website. It has suffered yet more deterioration this year, including a collapse of part of the remaining structure in February and further damage by 'Storm Doris'.   The pier has now been cut back to the theatre building and the remaining structure to seaward removed.

After cutting off at sand level, diggers working in tandem dig down around ten to twelve feet before using their buckets to dislodge the remaining sections

By all accounts the area adjacent to the promenade will be rebuilt by Conway Council and the rest toward the present cut off point by The Friends of Colwyn Bay Pier; a walkway will then be re-erected out along the original length as and when funds permit. Plans can be viewed at the end of the pier.

Some of the pier's turbulent recent history can be tracked on the web at and

Mayday with Tim Rogers

A selection of views from Bank Holiday, 1 May. Above, 67 020 works 09:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead through Bagillt.

Rhyl: 158 821 is 1D12 09:10 Birmingham International to Holyhead.

57 316 and 57 313 on the return Victorian Day Pullman (Spirit Of The Lakes) from Llandudno to Skegness.

Bala Lake Railway news

Bob Greenhalgh writes: On Saturday 6 May The supporters of the Maid Marian fund were celebrating 50 years to the day of the preservation of Maid Marian. I was fortunate to be the rostered driver that day and as a subscriber to the Fund it was a great honour. The picture above shows us in Llanuwchllyn station with Fund secretary Hugh Jones saying a few words before a celebration cake was cut. Very tasty it was too!

The second photo shows a very rare line up of 3 cabless quarry Hunslets in their red livery. They being (left to right) Alice, George B and in steam Maid Marian, who will remain cabless until the end of the season.

Sunday 7 May - by Jim Ikin

We put off a visit to Bala because of the weather on Saturday unfortunately it was the exact 50th anniversary of the rescue of Maid Marion from Dinorwic Quarry.
However blue skies and 21 degrees on Sunday 7 May made for a pleasant visit.  Above: Winifred, Maid Marian, Alice and in the background George B outside the shed at Llanuwchllyn.

Alice and George B.

Triassic inside the shed being worked on.

Maid Marian, built in 1903 at Hunslet works, Leeds, works no. number 822 for the Dinorwic Quarry was named after a famous racehorse of the time, itself named for the character in the tales of Robin Hood.

Holy War being fed and watered.

Holy War approaches Pentrepiod.

Holy War running round after a trip to Bala.  As a Dinorwic loco, it too is named for a racehorse Built by Hunslet in 1902, it is believed to have been the last steam locomotive to have operated in a Welsh slate quarry, working until November 1967. It was purchased from the quarry the following year by a member of the Quainton Railway Society and taken to the Quainton Road sire in Buckinghamshire. In 1975 it was transported to the Bala Lake Railway 'on the back of a local coal lorry.'

A forthcoming special event at the  Bala Lake Railway is the Bala Lake Festival of Transport, on 27-28 May, which coincides with the Bala Model Railway Show at Ysgol y Berwyn Secondary School, Bala; The railway will be connecting the two events, with a free vintage bus from Bala station to complete the link.  The railway runs daily except Mondays and Fridays in May and June, and every day in July and August (Timetable). Public Transport users can reach Bala and Llanuwchllyn by bus using Lloyds Coaches route T3 (Timetable) which runs between Wrexham and Barmouth on the old '94' route, calling also at Llangollen and Corwen for the Llangollen Railway.

Steam in the Landscape - Pictures by Tony Robinson

Taking inspiration form my views taken from of Overton Hill the other week, I trotted off up the Dee Valley on 1 May and caught 45337 & 80072 strutting their stuff.

Locations are a bit different and are between Berwyn and the tunnel (45337) ...

... approaching Corwen (80072) ...

... and leaving Glyndyfrdwy.

Steam at Canning Dock, 6 May - report by George Jones

Ffestiniog and West Highland Railway brought their promotional train set back for the second 'Steam at the Dock' event, this time with Palmerston as the motive power for two 'bug boxes' operating along specially-laid track.

Operating along Hartley Quay the backdrop was provided by steam tugs Kerne and Daniel Adamson with latter-day Brocklebank although an overcast sky rather defeated the photographic opportunities.

The high level views are from the second floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

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