Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

26 February 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

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

67 015 makes a colourful sight on the rear of the 13:05 Holyhead - Manchester on 22 February. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.

Note: Next week's update will be a day later than usual due to holiday.- Charlie

Signalboxes to continue?

A report in the latest issue of Branch Line News claims that while the Phase 1 resignalling scheme will transfer control of the Coast line from Shotton as far as Colwyn Bay to the Cardiff control centre from 26 March as planned,  Phase 2 of the project, which would have done the same for the rest of the line to Holyhead, has been cancelled.

We haven't been able to find any corroboration of this statement - can anyone help?

Flask variety

An interesting development on 21 February was the first outing on the Valley flasks by DRS electro-diesel 88 008 Ariadne, tucked behind 68 005 Defiant.  Above, the return run to Crewe passes Bangor ...

... with the 88, behind, as per the normal procedure is to turn both locos on the triangle at Valley. The difference between the 68 and 88 is not obvious when running without the pantograph raised; the side grilles are different, but the front end is identical. Pictures by Rowan Crawshaw.

Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies). The diesel engine in the 88 is a Caterpillar C27 950 hp (710 kW) model intended principally for 'last mile' operation where freight terminals might be on branch lines from electrified main routes.

Llandudno Junction (Paul Jones).

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh). Ten 88s have been built so far; the naming theme seems to be inspired by the DC electric locos used on the much-missed Woodhead route. 27001 Ariadne can be seen today at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, in the livery it wore after being sold to the Netherlands State Railways.

On 23 February, normality returned: 68 005 and 68 033 near Abergele on 23 February (Ian Wilson)

Abellio pulls out

More fallout from the collapse of the Carillion company is that Abellio (Dutch Railways) have stated that they will not proceed with their bid for the Wales franchise, as Carillion were a partner in their bid.

This leaves just two bidders, MTR and KeolisAmey, competing to run the service from October 2018 (really!) and build and design the next phase of the south Wales Metro project with electrification of the Valley Lines.

Measurement trains

On hire to Colas, Europhoenix liveried 37 611 appeared on Network Rail duty on 21 and 22 February, travelling from Crewe to Bangor on 21 February, and returning via a trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 22 February. Rowan Crawshaw captured the train crossing over to the Up line at Bangor to begin the return Journey.

Llandudno Junction  (Larry Davies). The two redundant car-carriers are for brake force; driving trailer  9703 is on the other end.

43 014 leads 43 062 past Hawarden Airport on 23 February (Bob Greenhalgh).

On 23 February, Robert Meredith was at Nantwich to record the 05:15 Talerddig (Cambrian line) to Crewe Basford Hall Sidings ballast wagons on the 23 February, with 97 304 John Tiley leading ...

and 97303 on the rear.

Dave Sallery's archive spot

47329 on an up ballast from Penmaenmawr at Mostyn on 19 January 1984. One of the Mostyn docks shunters is on the right in the sidings.  The string of former iron ore hopper wagons carried was imported sulphur for  Associated Octel at Amlwch.  As the traffic required sheeting the van seen in the photo was used for returning sheets to Mostyn after the hoppers had been unloaded.

The vans in the background used to arrive on a trip working from Llandudno Junction. Can anyone recall the customer and traffic?

Bala awakes

The Bala Lake Railway operated over the February half-term period. On  24 February, Holy War was the engine and the driver was Peter Heywood, fireman Bob Greenhalgh. The photo shows Holy War being serviced at the water tower between trips.

The next running day will be Saturday 3 March, St David's Day. Celebrate St David's Day - a couple of days after - with a free ride on the Bala Lake Railway to all residents of North Wales – just bring proof of address. And if you don't live in North Wales you can still travel at less than half price (Adults £5, Children £2). Trains from Llanuwchllyn at: 11:30am, 1:20pm and 3:00pm Trains from Bala at: 12:05pm and 2:00pm.  (If you want to know where the southern boundary of 'North Wales' runs, you'll need to ask at where you can also find details of events and timetables for the rest of the year.)

Cambrian Corner - with Ken Robinson

Two 158 units together are not seen that often at Pwllheli during daytime hours - a Sunday is one such opportunity. On the right at the platform is 158 823 which will form 2G28, the 13:48 to Birmingham International.

Seen from a sunnier angle. The two units are cleaned internally and given fresh water during Sunday morning. 158 821 will form 2G25, the 07:24 Pwllheli - Machynlleth on Monday morning. (The first train of the day on Monday, 2G20, the 06:29 Pwllheli Machynlleth, will be the unit off 2J23, the 16:07 Birmingham International. - Pwllheli, which will arrive and stay at the platform over Sunday night).

The aforementioned 158 823, the 13:48 Pwllheli- Birmingham International passes Penrhyndeudraeth in fine sunny weather and more-or-less on time.

Steam movements

Last week we reported on the movement of West Coast Railways locos 37 668 and 37 669 to the Midland Railway Centre. The return working from the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley to Carnforth occurred on the 22 February, seen passing Chorlton on the approach to Crewe Basford Hall Junction and running 30 minutes early, with  37 669 towing London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) Princess Royal Class 4-6-2 Pacific locomotive, 6201 Princess Elizabeth (minus the connecting rods), plus vehicle 96175 with 37 668 on the rear (Robert Meredith). 

Hartford (Phil Clarke). The loco was at the owners' Butterley base for for essential repairs after its tour programme has to be curtailed in 2016, but those workshops are busy with other work, including repairs to 6233 Duchess of Sutherland, so the decision was taken to transfer the 6201 to Carnforth for the work to be carried out. Funds are still needed.

On 15 February, 66 158 towed 46100 Royal Scot (in light steam) plus support coach back to Locomotive Services Limited at Crewe from Southall. Robert Meredith photographed the cavalcade near Basford Hall Junction.

Curious ERTMS problem investigation

A news story issued by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) refers to something which happened on the Cambrian lines some time ago:
During the morning of Friday 20 October 2017, a train driver travelling on the Cambrian coast line in North Wales reported that long standing temporary speed restrictions were not indicated on their in-cab display. As signalling staff at the control centre in Machynlleth investigated this report, they became aware that this failure applied to several trains under their control. The temporary speed restrictions were required on the approach to level crossings so that people crossing the line had sufficient warning of an approaching train.
The RAIB has decided to undertake an independent investigation because to date, the signalling system supplier has not identified the cause of the failure. It is possible that finding the cause would have been assisted by downloading of suitable data from the signalling system before it was restarted during correction of the failure.
Readers will recall that the Cambrian lines operate on the ERTMS signalling where there are no trackside signals except marker boards, the system 'knows' where a train is and can send instructions to a screen in the cab, and can override and take control if the driver does not obey. One might ask why speed restrictions which are in fact permanent are treated as temporary. Perhaps the need for this type of restriction was not built into the software design?

Llangollen Railway news

6430 arrives at Berwyn with the 15:10 from Llandollen on Saturday 24 February (Peter Dickinson). The Class 109 Wickham DMU has been working on Monday to Friday.

The GWR heavy freight 2-8-0 3802 was out on Sunday 25 February topping-and-tailing the 13:00 and  15:10 departures from Llangollen. George Jones photographed it at Berwyn on a beautiful spring like day, albeit with a chill breeze. The excursion went well, apparently, but it will perhaps need some cosmetic workshop attention to complete the overhaul before it is back in traffic in time for Easter.

Trains are running daily, with a DMU service Monday - Friday and steam at weekends. 24 and 25 March is 'Peppa Pig Weekend.' More details of services and events at

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