Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

03 July 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]

July 2017

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

Colourful scene at Altrincham on 3 July as 73 961 and 73 964 pass with a Network Rail train. Picture by Greg Mape.

37 421 in action - pictures by Ken Robinson

Our comment about 37 421's earlier life as a North Wales passenger loco inspired Ken Robinson to send these two fine pictures. Above, 37 421 is passing Minffordd Quarry on the Cambrian Coast line on 27 July 1991, with the 10:58 (Saturdays) Birmingham New Street -Pwllheli which it had hauled from Shrewsbury. At this time it was still officially a Railfreight Petroleum loco, named Strombidae - a species of shell, as applied to the batch of 37s required to take oil trains to places where Class 47s were too heavy to venture. Aberystwyth was one of those places, and 421 reached there with the weekly train from Stanlow at least once. At that period, it as the practice to use freight locos on Summer Saturday Cambrian line trains, a very popular choice with enthusiasts, who did not always make themselves popular with rail staff.

This loco became derailed a month later (24 August 1991) on the Dyfi Bridge near Dovey Junction, a mishap which famously brought to an end Summer Saturday class 37-hauled trains on the Cambrian Coast.

37 421, in full passenger regalia as The Kingsman with regimental crest, passing Talybont  with a Holyhead - Manchester Victoria working on 7 May 1994.

Beattie comes home - report by Charlie Hulme

There's a 'Southern' thread running through this issue for some reason ... June 2017 has seen a visit to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry by ex-London and South Western Railway 0-4-2WT 30587, designed by William Beattie, one of a three of these ancient locos (of the original 84) which lasted into British Railways days to work the Wenford Bridge freight branch in Cornwall.  On Thursday 15 June it was in steam, working the Museum's replica Liverpool and Manchester carriages up and down what little remains of the running line after much of it was disconnected to allow construction of the new Ordsall Chord line.

The loco was built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester in 1874. I took a ride on the train - the only passenger - before taking these pictures of the next run. In the siding is the Museum's battery-electric shunter, built in 1944 for Bolton power station.

30587's next appointment is the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway's 'Little Engines' Gala on 7-9 July.

East Lancashire Views - by Martin Evans

LMS 'Crab' 2-6-0 13065 waits to Depart Bury Bolton Street with the 1pm service to Rawtenstall on 29 June

08 164 Prudence in charge of empty coaching stock at Bury.

Class 40 locos D345, 40 106 and 40 135 wait to depart Bury on a test run to Heywood.

Metrolink trams 3019 and 3024 are seen arriving at Bury Metrolink from Altrincham, having just passed under the bridge carrying the ELR Heywood line.

Of the 120 trams in the current fleet, only 3001-3060 are dual-fitted with the original and current signalling systems, and are able to work over the outer portions of the Bury and Altrincham lines which still use fixed signals,while the rest of the network operated on 'line-of-sight'.

Clan Line test run

On the evening of 28 June rebuilt 'Merchant Navy' Class Pacific 4-6-2 35028 Clan Line,  looking resplendent, departed Crewe following a major overall which has taken nearly two years by the London & North Western Railway Company Ltd, based at the former Crewe Diesel Depot. Above: at Crewe, as the cylinder drain cocks close and the excess steam begins to clear, 35028 starts the loaded test run (Robert Meredith).

Departing from Crewe (Robert Meredith). The locomotive and empty coaching stock were routed for the loaded test train, Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury - Oxley - Crewe - Chester - Crewe, having undertaken a successful light test run from Crewe to Chester on 18 May.

Attached to the rear of the train was 67 006 Royal Sovereign (Robert Meredith).

Steaming well near Beeston (Phil Clarke).

Welsh Government On the Right Track?

The Welsh Government has published a 71-page document amusingly entitled On the right track? The Rail Franchise and South Wales Metro which is now available for download from their website. It lists 19 recommendations ('The good Lord himself had only ten' - Georges Clemenceau) relating to the forthcoming transfer of power to the Wales and Borders train operator and specify the train services.

North Wales is mentioned briefly in recommendation 19: 'The Welsh Government should ... continue
to lobby for North Wales electrification' and elsewhere we read 'The Welsh Government’s initial priorities document states that capacity for freight traffic should be protected across the network, including north Wales.' The rather nebulous 'North Wales Metro' concept which has been floating about gets no mention at all.

Most of the references to North Wales are in the consultation comments, for example

Iwan Prys Jones of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board : 'A very small point: I think, in the context of that question, it’s probably also important to note that by far the biggest constraints that there are to improving rail services in north Wales are actually all in England, so it needs to be a two way street. The big issues for us are Crewe, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and the West Coast main line, and it’s just as important for us to have a voice in how those services and infrastructure are funded as it is for passengers in England to have a say within the Welsh franchise.'

A most pertinent point was made by Ms Anna Saunders who wrote: 'The cost of travel along the North Wales line is extremely expensive when compared the Valley Lines and Mersey rail services, resulting in social exclusion'.

Predictably the response from the RMT Union centred on their refusal to accept that trains could be operated safely without an on-board guard with safety responsibility.  (Meanwhile, Arriva's Northern English services are to be crippled by a three-day strike on this issue from 8-10 July.)

Llangollen Classics - pictures by Peter Dickinson

Some photographs taken during the Saturday (1 July) of Llangollen's Classic Transport Weekend. Above, Class 37 6940 at Berwyn.

'Black 5' 45337 with uncomfortable-looking passenger.

Am the road vehicles on display at Glyndyfrdwy, the well-known pair of ex-Crosville Bristol buses. There represent two different variations of the type: LFM 759 is an LL6B, where as the other is an LWL6B, the 'W' for 'wide', built after 8-foot wide buses were permitted by legislation.

Rhyl Points

Alan Roberts writes to clarify the questions in the last issue about the current and future pointwork at Rhyl.

The points from the down main to the down loop by the signalbox, damaged by a run-through by a tamper going into a possession, are currently secured, preventing all movements through the loop. The damaged components for the points will be replaced at the same location, some time around around September.

A new trailing crossover (shown dashed above) will be located between the Gladstone Bridge (No.75) east of the signal box, and the footbridge No 74  by Rhyl up starting signal (RL87). The only new piece of trackwork in conjunction with the re-signalling will be that trailing crossover. The remainder of the track layout will stay the same for Rhyl after the signalbox closes and control is transferred to Cardiff.

Talyllyn Victorian Experience - report by Jim Ikin

On Thursday 22 June we travelled on the Talyllyn Railway's Victorian Train Experience which runs on a number of Thursdays during the summer. The tour is described as 'discreetly conducted' by knowledgeable staff including a number of run pasts, stops, a visit to Abergynolwyn signal box and a cream tea back at Tywyn Wharf.  Although blue skies and hot weather had given way to cloud it was an enjoyable day.   Above: the Victorian set hauled by Dolgoch at Tywyn Wharf.

A run past at Rhydyronen.

Arrival at Dolgoch where the loco takes on water via the original method of water chute.

Setting back across the viaduct ...

... and running across the viaduct.

Picture by Sue Ikin.

After arrival at Abergynolwyn the train was set back into the loop, before lunch.

Taken from Abergynolwyn signal box, Douglas arrives with a service train.

In Abergynolwyn signalbox  we were give a detailed description of operations was given by a staff member.

We made two runs up to Nant Gwernol. Above, Dolgoch runs round.

Back at Tywyn Wharf, a ‘night soil’ wagon constructed in such a way as to avoid spills on inclines!

Edward Thomas after arrival at Tywyn with the next service train.

Barmouth Holiday Part 2 - Pictures by Tim Rogers

158 823 runs off Barmouth Bridge, 19 June.

The bridge from above.

Evening view from the beach with 158 821, 21 June.

Southern Swansong - Peter Neve remembers

9 July 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of steam on the Southern Region. During the school summer holidays of 1966, I spent two weeks in August travelling across Southern England. I was able to record some of the steam hauled expresses at a number of locations. Above: still in relatively good mechanical condition and steam-tight, Battle of Britain class 4-6-2 No. 34066 Spitfire waits to restart a Waterloo to Bournemouth express from Brockenhurst station in the New Forest.

Surprisingly, with only five weeks to go before withdrawal from Salisbury MPD, 34066 still has its nameplates on the air-smoothed casing.

After experiencing a characteristic wheel slip, Spitfire gets to grips with the rails and passes Brockenhurst goods yard sidings heading westwards.  In five months’ time Spitfire would be a pile of scrap metal in Buttigieg’s yard, Newport, South Wales.

Rebuilt West Country pacific  34108 Wincanton waits to depart Brockenhurst station on 23 August 1966 with a Waterloo-bound express.

Standard class 5 4-6-0 73110 The Red Knight (minus nameplates) stands in Woking station waiting for mailbags to be loaded. The pilot engine is class 33 diesel D6540 (later 33022).

Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 No. 35008 Orient Line enters Brockenhurst station with an Up express to London Waterloo.

Standard class 4 2-6-4 tank engine 80011 shunts wagons in the goods yard sidings at Brockenhurst station.

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