Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

12 February 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

February 2018

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

Friday 23 February Shropshire Railway Society Andrew Charman: Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway

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   

Friday 9 March  Shropshire Railway Society George Jones: Onward to illustrated review of the Llangollen Railway's extension to Corwen

Monday 19  March   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Peter Berry – “The Robert Whitfield Collection, UK Steam 1948 - 1958”  Because of renovations the Society will not be able to hold the meeting at The Town Crier, Station Road, Chester and the meeting will now take place nearby at The Queen Hotel, Station Road, Chester (opposite  the station).

Friday 9 March Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Trains of Thought. Includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the US and the UK. a digital presentation by Bob Avery

Friday 23 March  Shropshire Railway Society Chris Banks, Too be announced

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  

Friday 13 April  Shropshire Railway Society Mervyn Pritchard, Swiss Alps and Railways

Friday 13 April Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Navigation Road and All That.The show includes scenes at Navigation Road, Ashley, Cinderland Crossing, Dunham Massey and other locations in the Altrincham area. Ted Buckley shows pictures (mainly of steam) taken by his late father Bill in the 1960s.

13-15 April Llangollen Railway End of Steam gala 3802 expected back in traffic otherwise further attractions yet to be announced.

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.

Friday 27 April  Shropshire Railway Society AGM, followed by Member's talk

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.

2-3 June  Llangollen Railway Heritage railcar gala

30 June Llangollen Railway Classic transport

July 2018

Sunday 22 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express
Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Holyhead and return. 45690

Tuesday 24 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog. 45699 or 48151: Preston - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Blaenau and return

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.

September 2018

Saturday 8 September Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich -Peterborough - Nuneaton - Chester - Peterborough

29 September Llangollen Railway Diesel gala

October 2018

12-14 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala

Friday 19 October Steam on the Coast Golden Eagle Luxury Tour (Day 5 of 12) (Provisional)  Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog 46100: Llandudno Junction - Blaenau Ffestiniog, Holyhead - Crewe

67 016 calls at Colwyn Bay with the Holyhead - Cardiff Premier Express, 12 February. Picture by Alan Crawshaw.

Flask scenes

68 033 (to be named Courageous) and 68 034 (to be named Victorious) passes Bangor with the 6K41 Valley to Crewe flasks on 5 February (Rowan Crawshaw).

68 018 Vigilant and 68 017 Hornet passing Conwy Castle with the flasks for Valley on the morning of 12 February. Both are in DRS livery - the sun is reflecting off 017 (Alan Crawshaw).

Locomotive Services in action

On 6 February, D1944 passes Chester station with a Locomotive Services route-learning run from Crewe to Bescot ...

... with sister loco D1935 on the rear (Robert Meredith).

With snow flurries in the air and freezing temperatures, Class 47 D1944 Craftsman restarts  after a signal check at Rossett Junction on Tuesday 6 February. The train was following closely behind a southbound service train, which was still in the single line section between Rossett and Wrexham when it reached the junction. Picture by Peter Neve.

Southbound at Rossett, 6 February (Bob Greenhalgh). Sister loco D1935 is at the rear of the train. The sign reads 'Caution cess path' - presumably because there is no surfaced path for staff alongside the line at this point. The function of the other post is a mystery.

Northbound at Green Lane on the following day, 7 February, now running solo (Bob Greenhalgh)

Broad Oak crossing, 7 February (Peter Neve).

Frodsham developments

The signals and points at Frodsham Junction signalbox were taken out of service over the weekend of 10-11 February, the block section is, for the time being, Helsby Junction to Norton.  All the signals will be replaced by new colour-light ones, which are now in position but 'bagged over' in preparation for future two-way working of the line to Halton Junction. The signalbox will re-open on 19 February to control the new signals. By next year it is hoped that a regular train service will use this line, connecting Chester with Liverpool.

Nostalgia Corner

47 532 on the midday boat train to Holyhead overtakes 47 284 on an engineers train at Rhyl on 30 April 1984 (Dave Sallery).

A battered postcard souvenir of a memorable stay at Penmaenmawr Youth Hostel in the 1980s. Originally built as a convalescent home for a company or organisation (can anyone remember which?) there is no trace of it today; it has been replaced by a sewage works. Nor is there any trace of the Class 45-hauled Freightliners which passed by during our stay.

Ken Millward sends us this photograph taken by his uncle Gwilym Robinson from Caernarfon Castle, possibly in the early 1960s. Entering the square at the top left is one of the ten North Western Road Car Company Leyland Tiger Cubs with Willowbrook bodies (776 - 775) which were delivered in 1959 with coach seating and cream livery for long-distance services. Perhaps it is working route X74 Manchester - Pwllheli. Otherwise, Crosville vehicles predominate, along with a white Bedford OB of Whiteways of Waunfawr, a company for which the late Bill Rear, railway author and contributor to this site, once worked as a part-time driver.  Can anyone add more bus identification? A larger version might help.

Freightliner - clarification

Thanks to everyone who has written about the above picture by Greg Mape in the last issue, in particular the wonky caption for which the editor was solely responsible. Firstly, the train seen passing below the Styal line on 5 February is the Cheshire Lines Committee line from Glazebrook to Godley Junction, not a Midland Railway one as we claimed. The train would soon join the former Midland Main Line at Cheadle Heath, although there is no actual junction there now as the lines from Manchester Central and Stockport Tiviot Dale to Cheadle Heath no longer exist, although part of the Midland line from Manchester has been revived as Metrolink.

Secondly, the train cannot be from Garston, as that is served by trains of Freightliner's box wagons. Most likely 66 613 is working train 6H02, empty hoppers from Lostock Works to Tunstead, a flow which has been in the hands of EWS / DB since privatisation, but appears to have been recently taken over by Freightliner, using their own wagons.  We can recommend the 8A Rail website for information about trains on this line, and others in the area.

Llangollen re-starts - report by Jim Ikin

The Llangollen Railway's new season began on Saturday 10 February with a 'one engine in steam' timetable; that engine being pannier tank 6430, seen above drifting into Carrog with the second train of the day ...

... and arriving at Carrog. The signalbox is presumably 'switched out'

On the return trip approaching Berwyn  ...

... whilst canoeists appear to be expecting high water on the side of the Horseshoe Falls!

Down at Llangollen for the departure of the last train of the day.

Note: There was an error in our item on bus travel in the last issue. It should have read: A route T3 departure departs Llangollen at 16:35 - arriving Ruabon 16:50. The next available train is the 16:56 for Holyhead, or an hour's wait for the next southbound train.

Corwen Central progress - report by George Jones

The winter's weather continues to frustrate major works on the Llangollen Railway's  Corwen Central station site but a lot of smaller jobs continue to be tackled by the volunteers to progress the platform construction.The west end of platform 2 has been formalised and a start made on the installation of heritage style spear fencing - this is new build material rather than recovered fencing.  This will secure access to the mobility impaired ramp which is under construction from what will be the stub end of platform 1. Them muddy state of the works site is evident.

As seen from Green Lane in Corwen, the stop block at the end of the headshunt is now fully aligned and fenced in on the retaining wall, with a range of plants bedded in to eventually provide cover and added security to the railway installation. The next major piece of construction will be the foundations and base for the water tank to be located at the eastern end of the platform area.

Meanwhile, work to extend the facilities at the Corwen Health Centre has required the provision of temporary accommodation in the car park adjacent to what will be the access to the subway entrance to the station; it is just as well we are not running trains to Corwen Central this year!

Colwyn Bay Pier dismantling - pictures by Jim Ikin

Following a decision by the Welsh Government in Autumn 2018, the long and sorry saga of Colwyn Bay Pier is entering its final chapter. Freeley Demolition have moved in to remove what remains of using JCBs with hydraulic 'snippers’.

By all accounts they will work from the top down - hence the scaffolding - and attempt to remove some historical plasterwork in the process, although some more upright sections appear to have already been removed.

Demolition men will also have to attend to numerous pigeons and a plastic monkey.

A full story of the Victoria Pier and its many trials and tribulations can be found on Wikipedia. There seems to be some hope that a new, small, pier could be created, but money needs to be found.

133 on the Welsh Highland - report by Eryl Crump

The pictures show locomotive stored at Dinas on the Welsh Highland line. It can be seen from the footpath that runs alongside the railway from Dinas to Caernarfon. The footpath starts at Bryncir and follows the trackbed of the old Caernarfon-Afonwen line. During the mid-1970s the trackbed was tarmac'd and used by lorries to take sand and gravel from the quarry at Cefn Graianog, Pant Glas to the Dinorwig power station construction site.

133 is an NG15 Locomotive awaiting rebuild for use on the Welsh Highland Railway. Built by Société Anglo-Franco-Belge for South African Railways (SAR) to their NG15 class 2-8-2 design 133 is from the third batch of NG15s built in 1952. It carries builder's number 2683. The NG15 class of locomotives were developed for use on the 60cm gauge lines of SAR and were a development of previous classes of locomotive.

133 arrived in the UK at the same time as 134 and was initially brought over from South Africa for a proposed railway at Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire but this fell through and the locos were purchased as the WHR's future motive power back in 1998.  (Subsequently two class NGG16 Garratts (87 and 130) imported for the same project made their way to the WHR.)

After its arrival in Wales 133 was cosmetically restored and was displayed in the bay platform at Dinas for nearly ten years. It was displayed in Caernarfon square in 2009 as part of the effort to raise money for sister loco 134. (Picture above by Charlie Hulme). Eventually, the weather had taken its toll and the boiler cladding was stripped to prevent further deterioration. The tender body was scrapped and the frames used to hold 134's new tender while its own frames are restored.

F&WHR (now) have a policy of not scrapping any locomotive so there is still a chance it will steam again one day and operate on the line, but for the time being the locomotive remains in the open at Dinas. It will have to be moved elsewhere when the carriage shed is extended and access to the shed from the Caernarfon direction is created.

To Worcester for Oliver - with Richard Putley

On 10 February I went to Worcester to see BR Britannia class Pacific 70013 Oliver Cromwell hauling the Railway Touring Company’s “Cotswold Venturer”excursion from London Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill.

I photographed, from the footbridge. the train arriving and watched it then run into the carriage sidings.

Quite a few enthusiasts hung around to take photographs of HSTs at Worcester while this is still possible.  One HST set I saw, which arrived after the special had been put away and continued to Hereford at 12:44 had green power cars 43 093 (above) and 43 005 but blue coaches – apart from one green one.

Funnily enough I did not see a single one of the new 'IETs' all day. Most of the North Cotswold Line Trains I saw were worked by HSTs though the 10:45 from Gt Malvern to Paddington which I caught to Shrub Hill was a Class 166 Turbo.

The nearest thing to a 'bi-mode' I saw was a Rail Operations Group 37 601 hauling  Electric Multiple Unit 350 241 to Long Marston for refurbishment.

About 14:45 I arrived at Foregate Street station to see Oliver Cromwell run through the station in with its support coach, to be turned on the triangle of lines there.

As it returned to Shrub Hill, 172 339 in the new West Midlands Railways livery arrived from Birmingham Snow Hill on the Shrub Hill avoiding line.

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