Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

14 May 2018


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

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

7-8 July North Wales N Gauge Model Railway Show, Conwy.  With 12+ layouts on show with trade support and second-hand sales. Refreshments available and full disabled access. Saturday 10:00 - 17:00, Sunday 10:00 - 16:00. Adults 4, Children 2. Ysgol Porth y Felin, Llanrwst Road, Conwy LL32 8FZ

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

67 008, still in pure EWS livery with no sign of DB branding, propels the 13:07 Holyhead - Manchester past Penmaenmawr, 12 May. Picture by Peter Laithwaite.

Llandudno Belle

The 'Northen Belle' luxury train, now managed and operated by West Coast Railways, ran from London Euston (dep. 06:48) to Llandudno and back on 10 May. Roly High captured the train passing Rhyl with 57 313 leading.

Previous traction provider DRS generally top-and-tailed the train with two locos, but on this occasion West Coast loco 57 worked alone. At the rear of the train, the two Mk3 sleeping cars which form the staff accommodation.

Approaching Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud).  The Conwy Valley line branches off in the background.

The locomotive had to run round its train before the 18:01 return departure, and the Cae Mawr sidings, re-instated in 2014 but only used occasionally since, were brought into action. Peter Lloyd recorded the moves in a series of images. Above, the locomotive has backed the empty train into the sidings. When the layout here was simplified in the 1970s, a short length of single line was created, removing the need for much pointwork while still allowing trains to be routed into any platform at the terminus. The siding on the right is still connected and signalled, but when was it last used?

57 313 is uncoupled and draws forward past the points into the 'neck'. The signal is Llandudno Inner Home with its calling-on arm to allow a train into a partly-occupied platform, and the 'theatre' indicator which tells drivers which platform their train will enter.

Running round the train...

... and setting back after the points have been changed by an operative using a hand-lever ...

... coupled-up and ready to set back into the station. Was this the first full-length train to use the sidings since they were re-opened? No, apparently an 'Icons of Steam' excursion was the first. Did anyone photograph it?

Loco photos

Freightliner 66 533 Hanjin Express/Senator Express powers through Gobowen Station on Saturday 12 May at 10:20, with the Dee Marsh to Margam steel wagons (Martin Evans).

Looking back to 8 April 1998: 56 134 Blyth Power - a loco which gave its name to a band - near Hope on a short train of steel coils for Dee Marsh. Picture by Dave Sallery.

47 826 rounds the curve into Llandudno Junction with the return excursion to Stevenage, 7 May (Garry Stroud).

Bank Holiday fun in the Sun - with Gary Thomas

I went "home" to Conwy over the bank holiday. I decided to stop off at the Cambrian Railway, Llynclys for my first ever visit on Saturday morning 5 May. Above, Class 101 DMU, nos 51187 and 51512 wait to leave for Penygarreg Lane Halt at Llynclys South

The 101 seen at Penygarreg Lane Halt with a service from Llynclys South.

I was lucky to have a cab-ride in the DMU between Llynclys South to Penyrgarreg Lane Halt and return. Very friendly volunteers!

The yard at Llynclys South.

The blue loco is Kimberley, English Electric 0-6-0DH no.D1230 of 1969. ]]This was one of the remarkable collection of locos owned by Andrew Briddon, but according to his website he has since sold it.]

I then took the train to Llandudno to avoid traffic on the Saturday afternoon, to enjoy the Victorian Extravaganza. Above, 175 102 waits to leave Llandudno Junction with a shuttle for Llandudno. The 3-car train was a good choice given the large number of people going to Llandudno for the event.

175 102 waits to leave Llandudno with a Manchester Piccadilly service.

The restored body of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Tramway tram no. 7 is seen on its trailer at the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza. It was surrounded by a variety of traction engines.

On my way back to England on Sunday 6 May I went via Tywyn for my first visit as an adult to the Tal-y-Lyn Railway. What a lovely little line. On route we tried to visit Barmouth but it was absolutely packed (good) despite the chilling sea mist. Sadly the "winter" timetable on the Cambrian Line couldn't accommodate the vast numbers of people visiting.

Above, 0-4-0WT no. 6 Douglas is seen taking on water at Tywyn Wharf. The sky was dull due to sea mist, while further inland it was sunny and warm.

4wDH no.12 St Cadfan is seen at Tywyn Wharf.

The sky was dull due to sea mist, while further inland it was sunny and warm. No.6  is painted RAF blue to celebrate 100 years of the RAF, for which it served early in its career.

Waiting to leave Tywyn Wharf with the 14.25 to Nant Gwernol.

The classic view at Dolgoch as the water supply is replenished.

Douglas is seen on arrival at Nant Gwernol.

Great Malvern to Bangor - with Richard Putley

I had hoped to get a ticket for this years Railway Preservation Society of Ireland three-day steam tour. To that end I purchased a 'Rail and Sail ticket' on-line from Gt. Malvern to Dublin. So you can imagine my disappointment when my cheque was returned as the tour had sold out very quickly. My first thought was to find somewhere to stay in Dublin and photograph the tour. But when I struggled to find anywhere suitable in Dublin, I decided that rather than waste the Rail and Sail ticket Id see if I could find anywhere in Bangor, Gwynedd. I found a 45 per night for 4 nights offer at the Waverley Hotel near the station so I duly booked it.

On the day I noticed that what I thought was the Network Rail New Measurement Train was due to pass through Malvern at 09:15. But it turned out to be a 9 coach IET, 800 302, on a test run from Lydney Junction to Abergavenny. I photographed it at Malvern Wells, while it waited for the 08:45 Hereford to Birmingham New Street, formed of 170 512 and a 153 'Bubblecar' to come off the single-line section from Ledbury.

To be on the safe side I took the 10:45 from Great Malvern to Hereford as had I waited for the 11:45 Id only have a ten-minute connection into the 12:27 to Holyhead. Theres also Great Western service at 11:09 from Great Malvern but given their appalling punctuality in recent weeks I decided this would be a foolhardy option. In the event it was on time, an HST with  43 172 Harry Patch leading.  [Harry Patch (1989-2009) was the last surviving combat soldier from World War I.]

The 12:27 departed from Platform 4 at Hereford and ran punctually to Bangor. On the way we passed the Up Flasks just west of Llandudno Junction.

After checking in at my hotel I returned to Llandudno Junction in time to see 67008 on the 16:50 Manchester Piccadilly Llandudno service.

I toyed with waiting there for the Cardiff - Holyhead Express but in the end decided not to. But I did manage to get a picture at Bangor with 67 020 providing the traction. So ended a very enjoyable journey.

To be continued...

Stockport Transport Festival

The community event at Stockport station on 5 May, commemorated 175 years of the station and 50 years since the last steam loco left Stockport Edgeley shed. As well as many stalls and model exhibits, DRS sent two of their locomotives which were parked in bay platform 3A, a chance to get a close-up look. One was the UK's newest locomotive, 68 034 (above).

Although in full DRS livery, 68 033 and 034 have been given the necessary modifications to work with the new Mk5a passenger coaches being built for TransPennine; the most obvious is the destination display in the windscreen. These two will be used when not enough of the dedicated locos are available. Note the tiny DRS 'compass' symbol.

Swiss firm Stadler now operate the former Vossloh works in Spain where the 68s were built.

We hear that there is a prospect of 68-hauled trains appearing on Transpennine during the summer, using Mk3 coaches (top-and tailed by 68s) in advance of the introduction of the new push-pull fitted sets later in the year.

Also attending was 57 307, which has become something of a celebrity, the only 57/3 to retain its 'Thunderbirds' identity as applied by Virgin Trains. Apparently it was actually on duty as the Crewe-based rescue loco, and could have been recalled to Crewe should a problem occur. The public were encourage to visit the cab.

And the nameplates have retained their pink background, as featured on Lady Penelope's car FAB 1.

A great attraction outside the station, was Stockport Corporation tram no.5, the only Stockport tram to survive in preservation - and only just, as the lowed deck body was found on the moors above Hayfield  c.1970 having served as a hen house. Built in 1901 as one of Stockport's first electric trams, and later fitted with a cover to the upper deck it worked until 1948, and restoration was completed in 1996. The four-wheel powered 'truck' was obtained from Oporto in Portugal. Today No.5 is usually to be found at the Heaton Park Tramway in north Manchester.  In the background is the ugly new car park.

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