Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

05 June 2017

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

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

June 2017

Saturday 10 June Class Forty Preservation Society "The East Lancs Enterprise" Railtour.   Bury (ELR) to Llandudno, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Holyhead. Haulage by Class 40 D345 top-and tail with a West Coast Railways Class 37. D345 will work the uphill leg to Blaenau.

July 2017

1-2 July Llangollen Railway Classic Transport weekend

1-2 July Talyllyn Railway Llechfan Garden Railway weekend and Beer Festival

22-23 July Llangollen Railway 1960s weekend

22-24 July Penrhyn Quarry Railway Celebration of five years of running

Sunday 23 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express Liverpool - Holyhead

Tuesday 25 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company The Welsh Mountaineer
Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog

August 2017

25-28 August Bala Lake Railway Steam Gala

September 2017

1-3 September Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Gala Weekend

15-17 September Welsh Highland Railway Super Power Weekend

16-17 September Penrhyn Quarry Railway Special event

Saturday 23 September Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Diesel day

23-24 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Weekend

October 2017

6-8 October Ffestiniog Railway Victorian Weekend

13-15 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala

November 2017

Saturday 18 November Steam on the Coast Steam Dreams Cathedrals Express London Euston - Llandudno for the Christmas Market.  46233 Duchess of Sutherland: Crewe  - Llandudno and return

67 029 Royal Diamond passes Presthaven on 26 May with the 17:16 Cardiff Central to Holyhead 'Premier Express'. Picture by Tim Rogers.

Whistler to Blaenau

Class 40 diesels are very much associated with the North Wales Coast line in the minds of a generation of rail enthusiasts, and there is a chance to see one again on Saturday 10 June, working the  Class Forty Preservation Society (CFPS) "The East Lancs Enterprise" Railtour from Bury (ELR) to Llandudno, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Holyhead. Haulage will be by preserved Class 40 D345 (seen above at Bury in 2004) and a West Coast Railways Class 37. D345 will work uphill leg to Blaenau.

The times are now on the Real Time Trains database:  Bury (05:15!) to Blaenau, Blaenau (13:16) to Holyhead and Holyhead (16:00) to Preston.

An added attraction of the event is that Steve Morris, a good friend of our website, has just published the second book produced by Ty Mawr Publications on behalf of  the CFPS. The aim of this project is to raise funds for the continued upkeep of CFPS owned 40 106, 40135 and 40145 with 100% of the sales income being used for this purpose. This volume follows on from the one produced in 2015 which covered class 40 workings throughout Wales. However, this time the focus is on operation across the whole of the London Midland Region, the part of the railway network that saw the most significant use of the class whether allocated to LM, Eastern or Scottish region depots during 26 years of regular use.

 240x170mm in size, the book comprises 96 pages and contains 163 colour and 31 black and white images. The vast majority of the material used has never been published before, some of the images were taken by North Wales based photographers and Railwaymen during the course of their work in locations not accessible to the general public.

Priced at 14.95 plus 2.55 p&p, this publication is available from the CFPS by going to their website, and going to the "sales" section or visiting the CFPS sales stand at major events.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase from the CFPS sales stand on the train during the forthcoming 40145 hauled tour to North Wales on Saturday 10 June. For those who are not travelling but would like a copy, please feel free to visit the sales stand during any station layovers the train will be having during the day.

Llangollen Railcars - report by Ken Robinson

I went to the Llangollen Railway Diesel Railcar Event on 3 June and had a wonderful time - riding first class, where I could, for only a 1 extra! Above: the class 108/127 hybrid unit 56223 and 51618 at Carrog ready to work the 10:42 'shuttle' to Corwen East.

The class 108 at Llangollen having just arrived as the 11:36 from Carrog. 51907, nearest the camera, is one of the final batch of Class 108 units, built in 1960 and distinguished by a roof-mounted headcode box.

Single-unit 79900 Iris at Carrog on the 13:30 from Llangollen. The crew were very accommodating when I asked them to change to a different destination! (turn right at Bala Junction?). Apparently, visiting 'Iris' was the only unit  on the day's roster  that had North Wales destinations on its blind.

This vehicle has an interesting history. It was of two single-cars created in 1956 during the production run of two-car 'Derby Lightweight' sets, in response to a London Midland Region scheme to experiment with low-cost operation of rural branches, the Banbury (Merton Street) - Buckingham line being chosen as the 'guinea-pig.' The trains were a success with passengers, at least on market days and at peak periods, but failed to save the line which closed in 1961. Car 79900 was saved by the BR Research Department and became Test Car Iris, used for radio survey y work and other tasks. Today its home is the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway - the Duffield to Wirksworth Branch - in Derbyshire.

The class 104 DMU about to depart on the 15:04 to Llangollen.

79900 back at Carrog having arrived with the 14:57 from Corwen - a different crew again responded positively to my request for a different destination! Two of us were accompanied by a Llangollen Railway member of staff when taking this picture.

George Jones took this picture of the interior of 79900 awaiting departure from Corwen East, illustrating the fine view of the line ahead available from the front of the early Derby-built units, although only from one end of the single-units as the guard's compartment is at the other end.

Editor's note: Notice the fittings above the side windows, which were for train name / destination boards, as used on the contemporaneous Mark 1 loco-hauled coaches. (Picture by George Jones). It is said that these found a rare use when 2-car Derby Lightweights took over from steam on the 'Welsh Dragon' summer shuttle service between Rhyl and Llandudno. Does anyone have photographic evidence?

Chester Shed Memories - with Mike Sheridan

I was interested to read of the 50 year anniversary of the closure of Chester Shed (6A) in the last Notice Board. Here are two photos taken by my uncle, John Anthony Sheridan, on 4 March 1967 on the day two Castles visited Chester on railtours (see earlier issues). Like just about everyone else who travelled to witness that event, my uncle and I decided to set off in search of Chester Shed when the two tours had left for Birkenhead. There was just one slight problem: I had left my Locoshed Directory at home, with its handy directions to every UK shed.

We needn't have worried though. Upon leaving Chester station we just followed the crowd and made our way to said shed.The picture above shows 2-6-4 tank engine 42663 stabled near the main line. These were being used as traction on the Birkenhead locals, but this one appears to be on hand to shunt wagons of locomotive coal.

A busy scene in front  of the shed with many 'Black 5'  locos present, including (left to right) 45310, 45064 and 44917, with the Shed building in the background.

Football Crazy

On Saturday 3 June The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff hosted the Champions' League Final between football teams Real Madrid and Juventus, starting at 19:45, with an associated Festival taking place all weekend. This sort of thing, especially evening finishes, puts a strain on any transport system, and Arriva Trains Wales decided to handle the Saturday night crowds by cancelling trains elsewhere on the network, many of them apparently with bus replacements.

Buses replaced trains after about 16:00 on the Wrexham - Bidston and Conwy Valley lines, their Class 150 units heading off to Cardiff. Particularly unfortunate was the cancellation of the 19:34 Cardiff - Llandudno Junction, which is the last train of the day towards North Wales, departing at 22:36 from Chester, resulting in the the 21:26 being the last train. This was not widely advertised in advance, and ignored the unwritten rule that the last train of the day should run if at all possible.  Surely some people from far afield were stranded?

This event also highlights the fact that the normal Saturday evening service on the Coast line is very sparse. The last through Virgin train from London is the 17:10 Euston to Holyhead, while the 18:10 from London is the last train to Chester, arriving at 20:09, with an ATW connection to Holyhead. The last train from Chester to London departs at 16:35, while the last through train from Holyhead to London departs Holyhead at 13:58 (Chester 15:35).

Mike Stone comments: 'Even worse was the fact that the last two trains in each direction between Manchester and Cardiff were cancelled, with no advertised replacement. I  saw a coach arrive in Crewe vice the 18.55 from Chester. The gate was shut as it always is now and most of the passengers went round by the road but the coach driver appeared to know the code and eventually let a girl with a pushchair through. He then parked up despite there being no further advertised bus replacements, so perhaps there were some unadvertised ones.'

Freight, etc.

60 002 was running 64 minutes late passing Roodee Junction, Chester on 31 May with train 6J37, 11:59 Carlisle Yard to Chirk Kronospan via Settle. Picture by Tim Rogers.

At the moment the Merseyrail engineering work is producing some daytime trains returning from
Birkenhead to Crewe. This pic shows the second such train of the day passing Chester on Sunday 4 June, with 66 551 leading and 66 518 bringing up the rear. It was due through at 2005 but actually ran just over four hours early (Paul Shannon).

Two DRS livery variations on 68 001 Evolution and 68 026, seen passing Colwyn Bay with the flask train on 2 June (Greg Mape)

A closer look at 68 026 (Tim Rogers). It is one of the small group (68 026 - 68 032) destined to be re-branded for TransPennine Express for use with their new 'Mark 5a' five-coach push-pull sets currently under construction in Spain.

A memory of Stony Bridge - by Jim Ikin

Greg Mape's images from Stony Bridge, Timperley in the 16 May edition made me dig out a few of the many photos taken from exactly the same position many years ago - included is this one of ex-War Department 2-8-0 90643 on an unfitted mineral train taken in the early 60s.The engine was cut up in June 1964 just short of its twentieth birthday. In the distance can be seen the gantry covering both tracks and the loop and just out of view are the two very tall signals at Skelton Junction which helped sighting for the West Timperley and Broadheath lines.

I spent many hours at this location, along with many other people, and on the wide embankment on the other side of the bridge - now covered in trees and  surrounded by high fences - adjacent to the tennis club. In fact I bought my first camera from the chemist in Timperley Village and used it at this location - 30/- for a Brownie 127.

Steam Extra

Some more fine pictures have been received since the last issue of the 27 May 'Welsh Dragon' steam train featuring 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. Above,  5043 at Pensarn on the outbound tour to Blaenau (Gary Thomas).

47 773 leaving Llandudno Junction for Blaenau, with 5043 on the rear (Gary Thomas).

After its return from the turning triangle at Valley, 5043 with its water carrier and support coach backs on to the train for the return journey to Tyseley (Tim Rogers).

A spirited departure from Llandudno Junction (Tim Rogers).

Passing Gwrych Castle just west of Abergele & Pensarn station (Gary Thomas).

The number of steam trains along the Coast for the rest of this summer is significantly smaller than in previous years, with the Railway Touring Company offering just one each of its North Wales Coast Express (23 July) and Welsh Mountaineer (25 July) excursions. 

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