28 June 2018
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30 June and 1 July Llangollen
Railway Classic Transport Weekend
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
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
158 821 crosses Barmouth Viaduct, 20 June. Picture by
Tim Rogers: more Barmouth views below.
Don't miss our extra issue dated 23 June.
Next update will be at end of day on Monday 2 July.
Armed Forces Day Services and other changes
Saturday 30 June is Armed
Forces Day - 'a military-themed even for all the
family' with an event based based at Llandudno including air
displays, and Arriva Trains Wales will be rising to the
challenge of carrying the extra visitors. 4-car 150/158
combinations and 4/5 car 175 combinations will be in
service. To release a unit, ATW intend to hire one from from
Great Western, which if it is a 158 will work:
05.33 Cardiff - Milford Haven
09.10 Milford Haven - Manchester Piccadilly
15.31 Manchester Piccadilly - Pembroke Dock
21.09 Pembroke Dock - Carmarthen
The Crewe-based loco-hauled set is planned to work the
following diagram (full details are on Real
1T20 07:48 Crewe - Llandudno
1T30 09:31 Llandudno - Chester
1T22 10:45 Chester - Llandudno
1T32 11:59 Llandudno - Crewe
5T40 14+59 Crewe - Llandudno (empty stock)
1T40 16:30 Llandudno - Chester
1T50 17:45 Chester - Llandudno Junction
5T50 19+09 Llandudno Junction - Llandudno (empty stock)
1T42 19:25 Llandudno - Crewe
The week beginning 2 July there are major engineering works
in association with the electrification of the South Wales
Main Line. All Arriva services will terminate / start
back from Cwmbran. The Holyhead-based loco-hauled set
will work 1K31 07:15 Holyhead - Crewe and 1T32 18:17 Crewe -
Holyhead rather than working down to Cardiff.
Flying Scotsman to visit the Coast
60103 Flying Scotsman at Chester in 2017 (Roly
High) The following press text is supplied by the East
What better way to explore the North Wales Coast than a trip
behind the Flying Scotsman? To assist in raising
funds for the purchase of steam locomotive, City of
Wells, the East Lancashire Railway will be running a
one-off steam hauled excursion to North Wales on 15
September. The train will be steam hauled throughout
direct from Bury Bolton Street Station.
Calling to pick-up passengers at Heywood, Manchester,
Newton-Le-Willows and Warrington, this train will make its
way across the North Wales Coast to Holyhead, where a
two-hour afternoon break is available to explore the old
harbour town. Travellers also have the option to leave the
train at Llandudno Junction to explore Llandudno; coaches
will be waiting to take travellers direct into the town for
a four hour break.
The trip is the latest fund-raising initiative that will
help the railway secure the future of City of Wells
which is being purchased as the railway continues to develop
and grow its steam locomotive fleet. Fundraising has been
extremely positive with over £200,000 being raised so far as
the railway bids to raise £340,920 towards the purchase. It
is expected that this special trip will close that gap even
Operating the tour wouldn't be possible without the help and
assistance from West Coast Railways, Riley and Son (E) Ltd
and the Class Forty Preservation Society who have all been
instrumental in assisting in this extremely special
excursion. For ticketing and booking information visit
the ELR website.
A visitor from Northern - pictures by Sean Thomas
Saturday 23 June was one of three days that week on which
Northern conductors withdrew their labour in protest against
the Government-inspired plan to work some trains in the
future with the driver operating the doors at stations, with
a second members of staff 'normally' on board the train. On
a previous occasion, one of the units which stables
overnight at Chester was loaned to sister company Arriva
Trains Wales for the Chester - Crewe shuttle, but on this
day 150 223 spent the day on the Conwy Valley
service, certainly the first time Northern's over-fussy new
livery has been seen there.
Northern are refurbishing these units with 'persons of
restricted mobility' features, but - unfortunately for the
taller or wider passenger - they are retaining the cramped
3+2 seating layout, which was replaced in Arriva Trains
Wales's units some years ago by a more spacious 2+2
Patrolling Conwy bridge
Regarding our recent item about Conwy tubular bridge after
any steam loco has passed, through we've been assured that
this procedure has been in operation for some time, although
it only recently appeared in the Notice we quoted.
Hunslet 125 - report by Jim Ikin
We visited the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways on 22
June, during the weekend of celebration of 125 years of the
Ffestiniog's ex-Penrhyn Railway locos Linda and Blanche,
built by the Hunslet company, Leeds in 1893. Hunslet-built
locos visited from other railways, and the railway's own
small Hunslets were also in action. We took advantage of a
limited-number trip up to Beddgelert Ė triple headed on the
way up, double on the return with Alice attached to
the rear. Our return journey was held up for a few minutes
at Nantmor whilst a grass fire started by the train on the
way up was extinguished. Above, Alice
(b.1902), Britomart (b.1899) and Lilla
(b.1891) ready for the off at Porthmadog.
Arrival at Beddgelert.
Lilla and Britomart.
Alice takes water, although water control was difficult
as flow is usually controlled from atop a Garratt!
Britomart and Lilla on the front ...
... and Alice on the rear.
An evening line up at Minffordd with (l to r) Winifred,
Gwynedd, Margaret and Hugh Napier.
Pictures from 23 June by Dave Sallery:
At Minffordd on the Ffestiniog route, demonstration slate
train with George B and Alice from the Bala Lake Railway,
plus Cloister from the Purbeck Mining
and Mineral Museum in Dorset. The Quarry
Hunslets website is a mine of information about these
The 'birthday girls' themselves in action.
Seen at Tal-y-Cafn - pictures by Ian Wilson
Tal-y-Cafn ('place by the ferry') is a small settlement
which grew up by a crossing of the Conwy river, perhaps a
ford in Roman times, the a Medieval ferry, and since
1897 a bridge which is the only crossing between Conwy and
Llanrwst. The station on the Conwy Valley line has been
adopted by the Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society, who maintain a
garden on the disused platform (there was once a passing
loop) and have erected a rather splendid old-style name
board which gives a former name of the station with the name
of a nearby village.
The road to the bridge crosses the line on the level
adjacent to the station, and the hand-worked gates are
operated by a Network Rail staff member - one of a
rapidly-decreasing number of places where this occurs.
Tal-y-Cafn is the nearest station the National Trust's
Bodnant Gardens, although it is a stiff uphill walk to the
Ian's reason for the visit was to photograph the 'Northern
Belle' excursion seen across the river ...
... and from a nearby hillside.
150 240 plies its trade between Llandudno and Blaenau
Seen on a cycle ride - pictures by Greg Mape
Three images from a cycle ride from Trafford to Prestatyn on
22 June. Above, 150 131, one of the Class 150/1
units recently transferred from Great Western to Northern
and yet to be repainted, negotiates the level crossing at
Hale station on a Manchester - Chester service. Hale is the
last station in Greater Manchester on this line. The
signalbox, behind the train, is no longer used but has been
retained as a Listed structure, along with the attractive
station buildings and canopies. The crossing is one of three
controlled from the busy Deansgate Junction signalbox in
Timperley. In the distance is the village's Millennium
London Northwestern Railway 'Desiro' 350 244 seen
near Acton Bridge. The new West Midland Trains franchise
holder has chosen to use two brands: London Northwestern
Railway for its long-distance services (and the St Albans
Abbey branch) and West Midlands Railway for local and
suburban lines. The company is owned by consortium of
Abellio (Netherlands Railways) and two Japanese companies.
The view across Chester depot, with Merseyrail 507 014
passing on a service to Liverpool, as a train from Liverpool
arrives. The depot was built in the 1990s as part of the
deal with Alstom to build and maintain the Class 175 units.
Its long-term future is uncertain, as the new franchise
owner plans to dispose of the 175s in favour of new stock
from other builders.
On the morning of Sunday 24 June, 175 114 passes
Gwrych Castle, working the 07:50 Holyhead - Manchester
Piccadilly. The modern building in the middle distance
is in the North Wales
Business Park, which is being developed on 37 acres of
former farmland between the A55 and the old main road.
[Notes by Charlie Hulme.]
Tim Rogers spent a few days in the highly-photogenic
Barmouth area from 18 to 21 June. Here is a selection
of his pictures. Above, Barmouth station on 18 June
with 158 837. The power in the background belongs to
the local fire station.
158 821 departs for Pwllheli on 19 June. The siding,
a fragment of the former goods yard, has been retained for
use principally by Engineer's trains, although the headshunt
which adjoins the car park has been used on occasions when
failed trains have been loaded on to low-loaders for road
transport. Old-style bull-head rail prevails here, and we
understand that there is no plan for wholesale replacement.
On 20 June, 158 821 for Pwllheli crosses Barmouth viaduct
... and tackles the tight-radius check-railed curve towards
the station. Cader Idris is bathed in cloud. The '35' sign
is the speed restriction over the bridge in km/h - as
required by the ERTMS signalling.
The line continues over this concrete bridge, which replaced
a timber version, perhaps sometime in the 1950s. This view
shows 158 823 on the 21 June.
The view of the mountains across the Mawddach was clear on
21 June as Tim made headed across the bridge to the Mawddach
The driver of 158 836 poses for the camera as his
train heads for Machynlleth.
A high-level view of the viaduct. The builders had to allow
for sailing ships to pass up the Mawddach: the right-hand of
the two spans could be swung to give clearance for masts, as
far as we know this is is no longer possible.
'Out and About' section
A Day out in Cornwall Ė Sunday 17 June 2018 - with
I rode on the Pathfinder 'Cornishman Express' Steam Tour to
Par which was hauled by Merchant Navy loco 35028 Clan
Line; I joined the tour at Yatton (above). I got there
in time to see prototype Class 150 150 002 on the 07:39 to
Penzance. The tour was delayed which enabled me to
photograph an Up HST with 43 070 on the rear. The next train
on the Down was 150 266 on the 08:43 to Penzance, then the
tour arrived, about 25 minutes late.
Despite the late start, good work by the crew ensured that
the water stop at Tiverton Loops was done in less time than
allowed. A good climb of the steep section between Newton
Abbot and Plymouth meant we were only ten minutes late
arriving there. Again good work by the crew meant they were
able to water the loco in only ten minutes which enable a
departure less then five minutes late.
I opted to get off at Liskeard (above) and take the branch
train to Looe.
150 216 was the unit, seen at Looe. (GWR are
retaining their 150/2 sets). Getting a ticket proved to be a
bit of challenge. Although the Booking Office at Liskeard
was manned, the Booking Clerk also has to despatch trains.
No problem I thought, Iíll just buy a ticket from the guard.
But he didnít have enough change and could not get a network
signal so he couldnít accept contactless. Eventually when we
got to Looe, he was able to get a signal so I made my
I returned from Looe on the 14:31 departure and spent the
rest of the afternoon watching the trains at Liskeard. I saw
several HSTs including one on the Down Line with Power Car 43
188 Y Cwmro / The Welshman on the rear.
The tour arrived a few minutes before itís booked time of
Coming back we had a more leisurely half hour for water at
Plymouth. This gave plenty of time for taking photographs. A
punctual departure would have been possible from Plymouth
but it was decided to hold the special for four minutes to
allow a preceding train to get clear of the steep Hemerdon
Bank, with a maximum gradient of 1 in 41, to the east of the
city which we had to now climb. But Clan Line made
such a good start that we caught up that train. As a result
we got a Single Yellow and had to slow down! Thus Hemerdon
Summit was topped at a mere 15mph. After that we regained
time and had a good run back. All in all a very enjoyable
On the Great Central - pictures by Greg Mape
Some views from the Great Central Railway's 'Model Railway
Event' on 17 June. 'Britannia' pacific 70013 Oliver
Cromwell, famous as one of the locos used on the '15
Guinea Special' in August 1968.
70013 in action on a realistic seven-coach train.
Another 'standard' loco, 4-6-0 73156 - a type largely based
on the LMS 'black 5' class with slightly larger wheels. 172
Standard fives were built between 1951 and 1957. Withdrawals
began in 1964 and at the end of 1968 all had been taken out
of traffic. Why so many new steam locos were needed, and
why a new design was required, are subjects endlessly
debated by rail enthusiasts. Withdrawn in 1967, rescued from
Barry scrapyard in 1985 and initially taken to the East
Lancashire line, where work was done but never completed,
73156 was re-located to the Great Central in 2011 and
finally steamed again in May 2018.
Also in service was the railway's award-winning Class
101 Metro-Cammell multiple unit ...
Greg commented when sending the pictures that a DMU at
Windermere would be better that the Rail Replacement Coach
service then in force, but since then the West Coast
Railways loco-hauled service has appeared on the Windermere
branch - some would perhaps still prefer a 101?
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