Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

01 January 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events
January 2018

Friday 5 January  Clwyd Railway Circle Mike Blackburn 'The Welsh Highland Railway (NWNGR)' A history of the North Wales narrow gauge and Croesor Tramway and the linking to form the Welsh Highland Railway, restoration and building of the new.

Tuesday 9 January  North Wales Railway Circle Mr Ieuan Owen will give an ilustrated show on Main-line and Narrow Gauge Steam. He comes on the recommendation of Norman Kneale, one of North Wales's foremost railway photographers.
Thursday 11 January  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society   Ron Watson Jones:  Rails to Roads

Monday  15 January    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    AGM, followed by John Cowlishaw – “The End of the Line, Part 1 (Non-members are invited to attend from 20.15 hours)

Thursday 25 January Light Rail Transit Association (Manchester) Tony Young: The Tramways of Bury

February 2018

Friday 2 February Clwyd Railway Circle John Sloane 'From Vulcan Foundry to the Khyber' British built steam at work in Pakistan, It includes pictures taken on the spectacular line up the Khyber Pass to the Afghan border.

Tuesday 6 February  North Wales Railway Circle Barry Wynn, assisted by Steve Morris, presents more of his work.  A superb collection of photographs depicting British Railway practice going back to steam days.           

Wednesday 7  February   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Doug Birmingham – “Rail Reflections in Merseyside”

8 February  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Ellis Morey: The Penrhyn Railway

Monday 19  February   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     CHESTER    Ian Pilkington – “Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells”

March 2018

Friday 2 March Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by “Film Shows - Railways Past and Present”.

Tuesday 6 March  North Wales Railway Circle North to South. North Wales Railway Circle member Ken Owen returns with a pictorial journey north to south over the British Rail network.

Thursday 8 March     Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  John Cashen RCTS:  North West & North Wales Reminiscences in the 1960s   

Monday 19  March   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Peter Berry – “The Robert Whitfield Collection, UK Steam 1948 - 1958”

April 2018

Tuesday 3 April  North Wales Railway Circle Tony Griffith returns with two presentations.  The Dyserth Branch and an historic shipping disaster off the North Wales Coast.  
Wednesday 4  April   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Alan Moore – “The Railways of St. Helens”

Friday 6 April Clwyd Railway Circle John Cashen 'North West & North Wales Reminiscences In The 1960s' The presentation will cover from Liverpool to Liverpool within an area bounded by Southport, Burscough, Standish, Warrington, Crewe, Whitchurch, Chester, Holyhead, Barmouth, Aberystwyth, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, the Wirral, Chester, Northwich and Speke

Thursday 12 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  Members Evening  

Saturday 14 April Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains. Crewe - Holyhead and return. 46100, 34046 or 70000. Special introductory fares from £45.

Monday 16 April   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Brian Armand – “Railway Roundabout”      

Thursday 26 April Brian Yates: Light Rail Transit Association (Manchester) The Tramways of Berlin, Potsdam, Lyon and Grenoble.

Saturday 28 April Steam on the Coast UK Railtours  Ynys Mon Express. Leicester - Holyhead  60163 Tornado  Derby - Holyhead - Derby.

May 2018

Tuesday 8 May  North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic Competition  

Thursday 10 May  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  W. Gordon Davies:  A taste of Japan

June 2018

Saturday 2 June Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains. Crewe - Holyhead and return. 46100, 34046 or 70000.

July 2018

August 2018

Saturday 4 August. Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains.  Bangor (07.00/22.15) Llandudno Jct (07.25/21.55) Colwyn Bay (07.35/21.45) Rhyl (07.50/21.30) Prestatyn (08.00/21.20) Flint (08.10/21.10) Chester (08.30/20.50) Crewe (09.30/20.00) Stafford to Stratford-on Avon. 46100, 34046 or 70000.

A 'Deltic' at Liverpool Lime Street in 2007 - See report below. Picture by Phil Clarke.

A weekend away for Gerald

Arriva Trains Wales are to use the 'Gerald of Wales' premier express locomotive and stock - complete with at-seat catering for First Class passengers it seems - over the weekend of 6 -7 January to give passengers along its Holyhead - Cardiff route a chance to visit the January sales in the Capital. The train will run from Holyhead to Cardiff on Saturday 6 January, and spend the night there, returning on Sunday 7 January.  Normal fares and booking procedures apply. The timings for the special are:
Saturday 6 January: Holyhead 05.45, Bangor 06.13, Llandudno Junction 06.33, Chester 07.34, Wrexham General 07.57, Shrewsbury 08.38, Hereford 09.34, Newport 10.22 and Cardiff Central 10.41.

Sunday 7 January: Cardiff Central 16.15, Newport 16.31, Hereford 17.18, Shrewsbury 18.08, Wrexham General 18.40, Chester 19.09, Llandudno Junction 19.58, Bangor 20.22 and Holyhead 20.53.
The outward times seem rather early for North Wales leisure passengers, and the return times a little early for passengers further south to want a meal, but it is an admirable experiment. Pas

It's to be hope it receives sufficient marketing, and passengers are able to negotiate the fares jungle. See Arriva's website announcement.


Our thanks to the staff who have responded to our 'whinge' about reservations on advance tickets in the last issue. We'll return to this, suitably enlightened, next time.

More on North Wales signalling

Phase 1 of the North Wales Coast resignalling programme will go live between Shotton Low Level (exclusive) to Lysfaen (exclusive) from 03:00 on Monday 26 March, if current plans come to fruition.

Rockcliffe Hall, Holywell Junction, Talacre, Prestatyn, Rhyl, Abergele & Pensarn Signal Boxes will be abolished, with control of signalling  transferred to a new 'Rhyl workstation' - someone sitting at a terminal in in the WROC (Wales Railway Operating Centre) at Cardiff. Track layout changes to be made live are:
New facing and trailing crossovers at Flint.
New facing and trailing crossovers along a new Up Goods Loop at Mostyn along with a trailing connection onto the loop from Mostyn Sidings.
A new trailing crossover at Rhyl.
Tyn-y-Morfa user-worked level crossing (although it actually has a member of staff on duty) will be converted to a controlled crossing supervised over CCTV by the Rhyl workstation signaller.  The crossing leads to private land, but it has been reported that cars with caravans heading for Presthaven have mis-read their satnav and found themselves down there. Network Rail apparently intended to make in an automatic crossing with obstacle detectors, but have changed the plan.

Some sections will have higher permitted speeds, and bi-directional signalling will be introduced between Flint Junction and Rhyl East on both lines to allow trains to run on the 'wrong line' when needed, without special formalities such as pilotman working, although the spacing of the 'wrong direction' signals is greater than the normal ones. On other similar schemes, the question of 'road-learning' for such movements has been raised: will there need to be some moves timetabled that way to maintain driver knowledge?

Train detection in the resignalled area will be by axle-counters which count the number of wheels passing at the start and end of a section to register that the line is clear; it will be interesting to see how the new equipment fares in a coastal environment.

Transpennine Deltic (and class 68)

Featured here is a small selection of pictures from a railtour in the Liverpool area on Saturday 30  December 2017. Pathfinder's 'Trans Pennine Deltic Reprise' saw action from the Deltic Preservation Society's 55 009 (D9009) Alycidon, and DRS 68 031. Above: 55 009 passing the old signalbox at St Helens Central, on her way towards Liverpool Lime Street. Picture by David Hennessey.

Above: 68 031 trailing through St Helens Central, en route to Liverpool Lime Street. (David Hennessey). The tour started from Willington to York with 68 031, then 55 009 took over at York for the run to Liverpool via Skipton, Blackburn and Wigan. To turn 55 009 and the stock around after arrival at Liverpool Lime Street, 68 031 worked a 'mini tour' to Ince Moss Junction; out via St Helens Central, and returning via Newton-le-Willows (the Vulcan works there being the birthplace of 55 009, of course). 55 009 then went back to York via Manchester Victoria.

Arrival at Liverpool Lime Street (Phil Clarke).

Alycidon on the 'blocks' at the new platform 9 (formerly platform 8), at Liverpool Lime Street ( David Hennessey).

Having turned round via Ince Moss,  55 009 stands at Lime Street (above, by David Hennessey) ready to head for York via Manchester Victoria. To the 'Deltic Preservation Society' headboard was added the 'Trans Pennine Deltic Lament' headboard first seen on a railtour of that name on 20 December 1981. Deltics appeared on some Transpennine trains for a while after HST sets took over their East Coast Main Line express duties.

68 031, seen on the rear at Liverpool Lime Street, work the return run from York to Willington. ( David Hennessey.)

Class 68 news

A North Wales oddity on 22 December was the appearance of a Chiltern Railways liveried loco, 68 011, on the Valley flasks, mated with 68 032. Bob Greenhalgh photographed the train in poor light at Mold Junction.

Another interesting Class 68 appearance on 30 December was brought about by the needs of a contract signed by today's TransPennine Express company which required them to run at least one 68-hauled passenger service by the end of 2017, in advance of the daily loco-hauled service starting later this year using 68s and new 'Mk5a' coaches being built in Spain.

So 68 003 Astute and 68 030 were marshalled at each end of four coaches from the former Virgin 'Pretendolino' Mk3 coaches and ran as empty stock from Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly, to form a 20:38 additional passenger service to Manchester Airport at 21:15 return, before returning empty to Crewe. Needless to say, the details were spread by the Internet grapevine, and plenty of passengers were on hand. Jack Bowley took the picture at Manchester Airport.

In the last issue we mentioned the different colour of the upper part of the cab door on some 68s, and wondered whether it was related to modifications for TransPennine use. Apparently not, but we do now have a list of the modifications made to 68 021 at the Spanish factory:

 - front-facing CCTV
 - train crew communications equipment (cab to cab phone, intercom)
 - push-pull system for the use of mk5 coaches
 - traction interlock
 - destination screen (fitted at bottom of cab window)

A detail difference not related to the above is that loco from 68 026 onwards don't have the little 'greater than' symbol of the Vossloh company on their lower front panel, as by the time they were built the Valencia loco works had been sold to Stadler.

Llangollen winter

The post-Christmas trains on the Llangollen Railway have proved popular with our contributors: here is a selection of their work. Boxing Day saw Large Prairie 5199 hauling the Mince Pie Specials to Carrog in mostly blue sky conditions, and so it continued after chilly starts. Picture above by George Jones, who writes: 'Here is the 15:10 about to make a departure from Llangollen with 5199 - pity the fire man getting steam up at 0500! The only standard gauge railway operating in North Wales on 28  December, as usual.'

A train crew moment for the Daily Post photographer (George Jones).

Despite the wet and blustery conditions on Saturday 30 January, the mid-winter gala event attracted support in a period when little else was on offer by way of entertainment in North-east Wales, and a variety of train formations provided something for everyone.The Timetable offered ten departures from Llangollen for the run to Carrog with a 45-minute train frequency. Above, Class 26 diesel D5310 with GW pannier tank 6430 'tucked inside' approach Glyndyfrdwy station with the 11:45 service from Llangollen (Martin Evans).

5199 and 2-8-0 2807 prepare to depart Llangollen with the 13:15 service to Carrog (Martin Evans).

Variety was offered with a three coach DMU formation, assistance from  D5310 (George Jones).

Pannier Tank 6430 at Berwyn with  the Suburban coaches (George Jones).

The basic pattern was repeated on Sunday 31 December. Above, the diesel-steam combo climbs Berwyn bank (George Jones).

Carrog temporarily re-named (Martin Cleverley).

A festive atmosphere (Martin Cleverley).

Footplate pause (Martin Cleverley).

Taking on water (Martin Cleverley).

The 13:30 from Carrog seen here passing the old Barmouth South signal box at Glyndyfrdwy, formed of D5310, and the power car from green class 108 DMU, plus the blue liveried class 104 set (Ken Robinson).

Message from the future?

If only ... Posted by Arriva Trains Wales on 30 December. What actually happened was that a non-railway power cable was lying across the track near Gwrych Castle, and was run over by a train, but surprisingly  not damaged. A delay ensured while safety checks were made and the obstacle removed.

Our thanks to Jack Bowley for help with this week's issue.

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