Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

09 April 2018

Llandudno Junction station re-opened to passengers on Friday 6 April.  Trains were unable to call there since the morning of 31 March when a fire in the electrical supply took out all the station lights and also damaged the lift. The Conwy Valley line, which had seen replacement buses, also resumed operation.

The picture, courtesy of Peter Lloyd,  gives an idea of the damage.

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

April 2018

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

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” .
This meeting will now take place at The Queen Hotel, Station Road, Chester.
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

46100 Royal Scot at Llandudno, 4 April (Greg Mape).

News items

The redundant pointwork at Abergele was removed and replaced by 'plain line' on Sunday 8 April, one of a series of Sunday 'blockades' in the coming weeks. Three trains, each top-and -tailed by Freightliner class 66 locos, were in attendance. Picture by Paul Jones.

On replacement duty, Lloyds Coaches' BU16 UYM, A Volvo B11R/Jonckheere SHV (Greg Mape).

In other news, we hear that Simon Hughes, Arriva Trains Wales Engineering Director, responsible for train maintenence, has resigned his post. 

Saphos Trains trial run

In preparation for their programme of 'Saphos Trains' public excursions, Locomotive Services Ltd made a trial run with a complete train on 4 April from Crewe to Llandudno and return, plus a turn of the locomotive on the Valley triangle and a shunt to the Cae Mawr sidings at Llandudno. ex-LMS 'Royal Scot' class 4-6-0 46100 Royal Scot was the prime mover, with diesel D1944 on the other end of the train as insurance, and to assist with the shunting moves at Valley and Llandudno.
Phil Clarke used the Crewe Heritage Centre as a vantage point to capture the train departing feom Crewe.

The ground frame controls the line into Heritage Centre; the levers are released for use when required by the signaller at Crewe (Phil Clarke).

D1944 - 47 501 Craftsman - on the rear (Phil Clarke).

Wardle (Robert Meredith). The headboard is a replica of the style used from the 1950s on the 'Royal Scot' service, an express from London to Glasgow which would normally have been hauled by a larger loco. An original headboard sold in 2010 for over £10,000. Hornby-Dublo fans may remember the model version, stocks of which are still available for purchase.

Hawarden Airfield (Bob Greenhalgh). Renumbered 46100 by British Railways, Royal Scot is with us today thanks to Billy Butlin, who bought it as a static attraction at his Skegness holiday camp. in 1971 it was moved to the Bressingham Steam Museum, and in 2009 was sold to Jeremy Hosking's  Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust which has developed into Locomotive Services.

Running through Bangor 25 minutes early at 12:52, with 5Z47 Llandudno Jct.-Llandudno Jct. via Valley Triangle, for turning. Support coach and D1944 in tow. (Jim Johnson).

The smoke and steam gave the 'going away' shot a surreal aspect (Jim Johnson).

The return working (still 5Z47) through Bangor, 6 minutes down, at 14:50. The young lady on the platform is visibly unimpressed by the magnificent sight (Jim Johnson).

The driver keeps a sharp eye on the road ahead (Jim Johnson).

Returning from Valley at Waen Crossing, Conwy (Larry Davies).

Heading for Llandudno at Junction Crossings with the diesel leading (Larry Davies).

Llandudno's signal gantry still stands proudly, one of the last of its kind. The smaller signal arms govern shunt movements within the station area. (Greg Mape)

The Scot is serviced on Platform 3 at Llandudno (Larry Davies). The original LMS loco 6100 was the first of its class, but when a loco was needed to represent Britain at an exposition in Chicago in 1933, its name and number were swapped with sister machine 6152, and never changed back,  so it is the former 6152 that is preserved today, as rebuilt with a tapered boiler in 1950.

In torrential rain, the train returned to Crewe through Deganwy (Larry Davies).

1Z48 16:50 Llandudno-Crewe, approaching Rhyl right-time at 17:17...

... past the redundant semaphore bracket (Jim Johnson).

Beeston (Phil Clarke). The company's first public train, full-booked (like most of the trips in their 2018 programme), runs from Crewe to Holyhead and back on 14 April. Times are now available: outward and return.  Contributors are invited to explore different locations from the ones above.

It will be interesting to see whether the Saphos policy of starting its trains from Crewe remains popular in the long term, when fares are raised above the 'introductory' level.

Shipping news - by Jim Johnson

Port Penrhyn, Bangor was a busy spot on Good Friday, 30 March.

Regular visitor City of Cardiff, unloading building sand dredged from Morecambe Bay, was accompanied by German-registered Lily-B, loading slate from Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda.

City of Cardiff, having unloaded its cargo of sand, heads back to Morecambe Bay past the 'Beaumaris Eye'.

Llangollen events - report by George Jones

The Easter weekend saw the Railway's suburban-set turned out for passengers to sample as an alternative to the all too frequent Mk 1 'TSO' sets. Now strengthened to four coaches, the addition was the latest restoration to be turned out by the volunteer team who have worked on E48004 over the past two years.

Originally built by BR c.1954, as an 'SLO', the the code for an open second with lavatory. As such the toilets are centrally placed between two open saloons each featuring four sets of bench seats intended for ten adults in each bay, hence 80 might have squeezed into the coach without standing on commuter journeys into London - assuming they were all a lot thinner than the modern generation.  [The modern generation using Northern trains is expected to fit in awful 5-across seating in class 150 units - being retained in recent refurbishments.- C.H.]

Eight doors each side ensured rapid unloading but no doubt created a maintenance nightmare.

For the modern passenger, the layout is unusual and those sampling the coach, without the benefit of a cosy crush, found much to remark upon from the upholstery to the individual drop down door windows. The finished product is a remarkable example of restoration involving new material and recycled parts and comes at a cost of about £12,000, including the acquisition of two hulks, one of which has donated parts to complete E48004. Few Suburban coaches survived into preservation and only LR and North Norfolk railway offer complete sets for service trains.

Running through to Corwen East behind Pannier Tank 6430, the formation required the class 26 diesel D5310 to be on the rear to provide for the return running to Carrog as propelling the sub-set was not an option. On Sunday the class 26 was retained on the set all day.

Also operating, on the other service, was GWR heavy freight 3802 (above) now finished in gloss black after finalisation of its ten-year overhaul.

Gala time

Both locos will be available for the three-day gala 13-14 April, joined by GWR tank 5199 now back from Tyseley and the return of 2-6-4T 80072 from the Severn Valley.

Passenger trains will run through to Corwen East, top and tailed from Carrog, whilst demonstration freight trains will terminate at Carrog. The suburban set will be out to offer a different passenger experience. The Timetable calls for a 45-minute frequency service offering plenty of movements along the line. First train off Llangollen is at 09:15 and from Corwen 10:20. 

Gala event organiser Matt Davies writes:

Whilst many railways are aiming to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of steam in 1968, at Llangollen Railway we are aiming to remember the era in a different way - after all it was the year the scrap-man moved in and dismantled the Ruabon to Barmouth route which had closed in 1965.
We are using our four Western Region based locomotives (3802, 5199, 6430 and 80072) to create an event which will show the changeover period in 1965 as diesels arrived to replace steam, a sad era many may recall and others never experienced.

Our plans are to have all four steam locomotives in 'heavily weathered' condition along with two blue diesels, Type 3 and Type 4, in pristine 'out-shopped' condition rostered for the three-day gala weekend. Trains will contrast the different motive power and carriages to provide a frequent service between Llangollen and Corwen.

It will attract the railfan and appeal to the general public in the region of North Wales and beyond, showing how British Railways operated a mixed fleet for a few short years. Our Type 4 diesel, along with our Fourth Suburban coach, are two projects which have been recently freshly out-shopped by our volunteers and into traffic. These are an attraction in their own right. But with the support of the spring gala, the stage is set for, perhaps, two or three visiting locos at the autumn gala which will be our main event in future.

The event offers plenty of action and will show the Llangollen Railway operating at maximum capacity and offering a frequency of trains unthinkable in the BR era when five trains a day was about the norm.

Mishap on the Welshpool and Llanfair

Ian Knight writes: 'I was in the leading coach of the 11:15 Welshpool to Llanfair on 5 April. On leaving Cyfronydd station the train was struck on the ungated crossing by a car. I was looking out of the window at this time and saw the whole event. The train was moving at walking pace and had sounded the whistle long and hard. I saw a car approaching the crossing and assumed it was going to stop, but for whatever reason it didn't.

'This was driven by an elderly lady and when I spoke to her she said she'd used this road hundreds of times and although she was aware of the crossing had never seen a train there. There were no injuries anywhere just the lady rather shaken. Her car (which she'd had serviced the day before) was a write-off I'd say. The only damage to the train I could see was a bent step on the leading carriage.

'The police arrived and took statements and breath tested the drivers (they passed) and the railway staff organised a coach to take the passengers (70 or so) to Llanfair for a free drink then back to Welshpool. As is usual in level crossing accidents the railway was blameless.'

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