16 April 2018
Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page
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.
Tuesday 8 May North
Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic
Thursday 10 May Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society W. Gordon
Davies: A taste of Japan
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
Sunday 22 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring
Company North Wales Coast Express
Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Holyhead and
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
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
Saturday 8 September Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company
Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich -Peterborough - Nuneaton
- Chester - Peterborough
29 September Llangollen
Railway Diesel gala
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
Earl of Merioneth making lots of noise on its last
weekend leaving Tanygrisiau with the 13:40 from Blaenau
Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. See report below. Picture by Jack
everyone for the plethora of great contributions - We'll
do an extra issue later in the week to use more of them. -
Looking back: Rhyl 1997
Charlie's favourite loco, 37 422 Robert F.
Fairlie, passes under the 'H' bridge at Rhyl while
working a Bangor - Crewe service, on 18 August 1997, with
summer strengthening vehicle in GW livery, hired from
Riviera Trains, behind the loco, illustrating one way in
which locomotive haulage can be more flexible than the
'units' which reign today. From Dave
It's pleasant to report that 37 422 has survived to the
present day, working passenger trains for DRS in East
North Wales Coast Express
Saturday 14 April saw the first public passenger working by
new Train Operating Company Locomotive Services TOC Ltd, an
excursion under the 'Saphos
Trains' banner. 46100 Royal Scot was
the power for an excursion from Crewe to Holyhead and back,
hauling a mixed rake of smartly-liveried Mk2 air-conditioned
First Class coaches, and older Mk1 vehicles as the 10:00
Crewe - Holyhead and 15:55 return. Phil Clarke
photographed the train ready to start at Crewe.
Passing Oakenholt, east of Flint (Bob Greenhalgh).
Approaching Abergele & Pensarn (Ian Pilkington).
Storming through Colwyn Bay (Jim Ikin).
Arriving at Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud).
Heading across Conwy Cob ...
... with Class 47 Craftsman on the tail, to help
with shunting and take over in emergency. (Garry
Recovering from a short wheel-slip leaving the Conwy tubular
bridge (Jim Ikin).
Outward passing Dwygyfylchi (Ian Pilkington).
Iron horse and black horses at Bangor (Alan Crawshaw).
Outward approaching Rhosneigr (Ian Pilkington).
At Holyhead, water was taken at platform 1 after the loco
returned from turning at Valley, 16 minutes late at 15:06. John
Dent's picture shows the hose reel bring deployed. The
watering operation took somewhat longer than planned,
resulting in a 27-minute late departure.
The return train passing Rhosneigr (Ian Pilkington).
The 'support coach' has been shunted to the other end of the
train but not turned, so its brake van section is now at the
end away from the loco; always a useful hint when trying to
establish the direction such a train.
Return leaving Llandudno Junction, now 49 late after another
extended stop (Ian Pilkington).
Abergele station, with large crowd of onlookers, one
of them disturbingly beyond the yellow line. (Picture by Jim
Ikin). The times of the train had been published in
the Daily Post, enabling many non-enthusiasts to
Heading east from Abergele. Note the temporary speed
restriction over the recently re-laid Down line through the
site of the former pointwork (Jim Ikin).
Return passing Rowton east of Chester (Ian Pilkington).
Running into Platform 12 at Crewe at 19:30 instead of 18:38
D1944 (47 501) on the rear of the special and 57 309
Pride of Crewe (originally D1931) on Crewe
'Thunderbird' duties (Phil Clarke).
John Dent notes: 'The locos and stock are in superb
condition and provided an excellent run. The only problem we
were aware of was the difficulty filling the tender at
Holyhead This caused considerable delay and made my the
journey back home to Lancaster by train only just possible
with a change at Preston into the last train of the day to
Barrow. Whilst this did not spoil our enjoyment of a
splendid day out it will be something to consider before
booking another trip starting at Crewe.' [Oddly, Direct
services on Saturdays from Crewe to Lancaster, despite both
being on the West Coast Main Line, are almost non-existent].
Saturday 28 November is the date of another steam special
along the coast, the (sold out) 'Ynys Mon Express'
from Leicester to Holyhead and return, planned to feature
new-build pacific 60163 Tornado.
However, this may now be in doubt. As the owners write on
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is disappointed to
announce that No. 60163 Tornado failed whilst hauling ‘The
Ebor Flyer’ on Saturday 14 April 2018 south of
Peterborough. The failure was due to damaged inside
motion. At this time the cause of the damage is not known
but is not thought to be speed-related. Tornado was taken
off the train at Peterborough and will be moved to the
Nene Valley Railway for inspection and repairs. The Trust
is conducting a thorough investigation. Further
announcements will be made when the Trust has more
'Inside motion' refers to the fact that, for extra
power, this loco has a third cylinder between the
frames in addition to the ones on either side, and this has
its own connections to the driving axle axle as well as the
necessary valve gear as can be seen on either side of the
Tornado and support coach were shunted off the train
at Peterborough by GBRf 66 744 Crossrail and the
train continued, three hours twenty minutes late, behind 66
106; there is a video
on Youtube showing the events at Peterborough. The
passengers still had two hours to explore York. Let's
hope the damage is not too serious.
More specials at Crewe, 14 April - pictures by
The 'Cumbrian Hoovers' was a fund-raising special for the
Railway Children charity, from Birmingham to Carlisle to
mark the 50th anniversary of the Class 50 diesel locos.
Haulage was by privately-owned 50 007 Hercules
(D407) and 50 049 Defiance (D449), two of
the six examples cared for by The Fifty Fund,
three of which are available for main line running. When
new, the class were common sight at Crewe, as, working in
pairs, they hauled expresses to Scotland until the
continuation of electrification from Weaver Junction (north
of Crewe) and Glasgow was completed. Picture by Phil
A 'Northern Belle' excursion from London to Liverpool and
Chester in connection with the Grand National horse race was
worked by 57 313 (above) and 57 316 on the other
end. A company 50% owned by West Coast Railways has taken
the operation of this luxury train from the Belmond
organisation, and it will have West Coast traction in
future, instead of the DRS locos that have served for some
years. Just months after Belmond signed a ten-year contract
for the stock to be stabled and serviced by the Severn
Valley Railway, the train has re-located to West Coast's
base at Carnforth.
The 'British Pullman' luxury train, which normally works in
the south of England, including the British end of the
'Venice Simplon Orient Express', also made the trip north
for the big event at Aintree, worked by DB Cargo locos 67
... and 67 021, which have been given a Pullman
makeover, adding yet another livery to this kaleidoscopic
class. This train, still part of the Belmond
empire, includes a number of 'real' Pullman coaches
originally built for the Pullman company. This train ran
from London Victoria to Runcorn where passengers transferred
to road coaches and the stock travelled to Crewe Carriage
Sidings for servicing. Our pictures shows the empty train in
the evening heading for Liverpool Lime Street where the
Looking back: Llandudno Junction 1979 - pictures by Ken
Four views from 11 August 1979. Above, 40 148 rounds
the curve from the Llandudno branch into Llandudno Junction
with train 1E82, 13:42 Llandudno to York. The first coach is
one of the small batch of Mk1 Brake Composites, originally
designed to offer first, second and guard/luggage
accommodation in a single coach in the days when through
coaches to branch lines would be detached from / added to
40 110 has arrived with train 1D35, 11:05 Manchester
Victoria to Holyhead. The DMU in the bay platform has one
coach in the short-lived colour scheme devised for
refurbished units at the time. Today, light grey has become
the standard livery required by the Department for
40 110 departs, with members of the 'basher' fraternity
visible in the front coach. The train would return from
Holyhead as the 18:05 Holyhead - London, the 40 working as
far as Crewe. (Thanks to the Class
40 motherlist for these details.)
Class 25 locos were also to be seen on passenger work in the
1970s. 25 194 approaches The Junction with 1D38,
10:10 Stalybridge to Llandudno (Thanks to class25.info).
Welcome to Llandudno Junction
Jim Ikin writes: 'A number of ‘Welcome’ signs have
sprung up around Llandudno Junction featuring 'Britannia'
pacific 70023 Venus. In real life 70023 worked along
the coast in the early 1960s while based at Crewe, and was
shedded at 6G (Llandudno Junction) for five weeks in 1966
before going to Crewe South and Carlisle Kingmoor whence it
was withdrawn and cut up at Ward's scrapyard near
We wonder what original image was used as a basis for this
sign; any ideas? The 'arts and crafts' facade of the Old
Station Hotel locates the scene, but the inclusion of the
obelisk on Ffrith Hill is an anachronism, as it was only
erected in the early 1990s by the owner of the Bodysgallen
estate, generating much controversy and demands that it be
Rhiw Goch loop - pictures by Michael Baker
Photographed by Michael Baker while on duty as signaller at
Rhiw Goch passing loop, between Minffordd and Tan-y-Bwlch on
the Ffestiniog Railway, Blanche pauses with the 10:40
Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The signalbox itself is a nice example of railway
architecture, dating in its current form from 2007, although
the passing loop, which existed for a short time in the
1830s, was re-instated in 1975, reduced to a siding in 1989
and opened again as a loop in 1999. The location has no
The Earl's last day - report by Jack Bowley
Earl of Merioneth, the green square Double Fairlie
engine on the Ffestiniog, retired on 8 April after 39 years
of service. There are various reasons, some controversial,
as to why it's retired. But the engine is well and truly
exhausted, and I went out on 7-8 April to record its last
on Saturday at Porthmadog with the empties to form the 11:25
Accelerating out of Garnedd Tunnel.
Passing Minffordd Hostel on the last train of the day.
Sunday 8 April, and Dduallt spiral with lots of 'thrash'.
Dduallt spiral complete with 'Trawsfynydd castle' - the
closed-down nuclear power station.
Dduallt station, stopping to pick us up. I was lucky enough
to be the guard on the final train that the Earl pulled, the
18:00 staff special on the Sunday.
The voyage of the Lily B - by Nick Gurney.
Pictures by Dennis Oliver
A sequel to the shipping news in the last
issue: the vessel Lily B, loaded with
ornamental slate chippings, sailed for Rotterdam around
midnight. We believe she suffered engine failure as she
passed Beaumaris and ran onto a sandbank. Holyhead Towing
despatched one of their tugs, the Afon Alaw, that
attempted to re-float her.
She was re-floated on the next tide and towed clear of the
Menai Straits and anchored off Puffin Island. I expected the
Lily B to be towed to Holyhead for repairs but I was
surprised to see the Afon Alaw changed her AIS destination to
Rotterdam and off they went on 1 April showing an estimated
time of arrival as 21.00 on 3 April. The tow took a little
longer due to them having to shelter off the south coast due
to the weather. A nice job for Holyhead Towing.
Narrow Gauge Miscellany
At Betws-y-Coed on 5 April, a new loco in steam. 2-4-4T
single Fairlie Geirionydd at the Conwy Valley
museum’s 7¼" gauge line. It was built at the railway’s
workshops and entered service In the late summer
of 2017 (Martin Evans).
Holy War in steam on the Bala Lake Railway, 9 April (Jim
Ikin). This curious name was conferred in 1908,
after a famous racehorse of the time. Built in 1902, in 1967
it became the very last loco to work at the Dinorwic
The new station building under construction for the Welsh
Highland Railway at Caernarfon, seen from the castle on 1
April (Greg Mape).
Salford from above
Greg Mape visited a multi-storey car park near
Salford Central station to get this view of a train on the
new Ordsall Chord line between Deansgate and Manchester
A Northern class 150 calls at Salford Central.
This Class 319 is working a Liverpool to Manchester Victoria
service via Eccles.
The car park.
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