Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

30 July 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

August 2018

Wednesday 1 August: Steam at Chester. UK Railtours / A1 Locomotive Trust. Darlington - Chester with 60163 Tornado.
Postponed to Spring 2019

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

Friday 7 September Clwyd Railway Circle “North Wales, the Future”. With Arriva's withdrawal from the next Wales and Borders franchise, what will this mean for passengers and staff? Our speaker will be able to bring us up to date with the latest news; Ben Davies - Arriva Trains Wales, Stakeholder Liaison Manager

Saturday 8 September Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich -Peterborough - Nuneaton - Chester - Peterborough

29 September Llangollen Railway Diesel gala

29 September  Steam on the Coast  UK Railtours Leicester to Holyhead with 60163 Tornado

October 2018

Friday 5 October Clwyd Railway Circle “Snowdon Mountain Railway”A presentation given by Mike Robertshaw  Msc IEng MIED, Senior Engineering Manager of the railway. Mike Robertshaw

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

November 2018

Friday 2 November Clwyd Railway Circle “The Development of Railways in the UK”A look at rail development from Trevithick through to the 23,000 miles of railway in the UK by 1921.  Mike Blackburn

December 2018

Friday 7 December Clwyd Railway Circle “Members Night & Christmas Celebrations”Members are invited to give a 15 minute presentation of their choice (any format). FREE tea/coffee & festive treats during the interval. Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

January 2019

Friday 4 January Clwyd Railway Circle “West Country Memories” An illustrated talk which includes all the branch lines of Devon and Cornwall. Dave Southern

February 2019

Friday 1 February Clwyd Railway Circle “The Glorious Steam Railways of India” The images were taken when it was a fully steam worked system, with a variety of steam across four different gauges. John Sloane

March 2019

Friday 1 March Clwyd Railway Circle  “Annual General Meeting” followed by “Chairman’s Choice” A night of self indulgence from the retiring chairman, David Jones

April 2019

Friday 5 April Clwyd Railway Circle  "Scotland in the 1960s" The talk covers the whole of Scotland - going up the west side to Wick and Thurso and returning down the east side from/to Carlisle.
John Cashen

57 303 passes Rowton, near Chester, with Transpennine coaches, 27 July: see article below. Picture by Andrew Vinten.

Transpennine Mk 5a Troublesome  Traverse

We reported earlier updates that on 12 July Rail Operations Group loco 47 813 made a trial run to the Anglesey Aluminium sidings at Holyhead, in dance of the movement by road of a rake of new Mk5a coaches from the port of Immingham. The plan was to use the sidings to assemble a 5-car train for movement by rail to TransPennine's depot at Manchester Longsight; these coaches have semi-permanent couplings and cables between the coaches in the 5-car set. The coaches arrived as planned, and a path was booked for 26 July to take the train to Longsight.

All went well at first, and 47 812 was dispatched from Leicester depot and collected four of the modified Mk 1 / 2 coaches which serve as 'barrier' or 'delivery' vehicles for moves of this kind (Do they also carry spare parts?). Unfortunately, on reaching Chester, the locomotive was having problems. It was recorded passing Chester East Junction more or less on time at 11:39, but did not reach the nearby station until 12:56 where it was declared a failure.

Meanwhile, staff of the company Orthios which is re-developing the site as a combined biomass power station and hydroponic food production plant, could get a good look at the shiny new coaches ...

... including the Driving Trailer which is designed to match the appearance of the Class 68 locos and the other new trains which TPE are introducing. Thanks to Peter Basterfield for passing on these views. Inside-framed bogies are the 'flavour of the month' with Spanish manufacturers CAF, who are also fitting them to the new trains being built for Northern. They save weight, apparently.

Help to rescue the failed train at Chester was requested from DRS, who dispatched 57 303 Pride of Carlisle which arrived at 13:29 and towed the train (including 47 812) to Holyhead, gaining some time on the schedule and arriving at the aluminium sidings 109 minutes late at 16:10, before running light-engine to Llandudno to stable for the night, photographed by Peter Basterfield at Valley.

The following day, 27 July, 57 303 towed the new coaches, the barrier vehicles, and the ailing loco an the rear, to Longsight, departing at 09:39 and offering a photo opportunity for our contributors. Above, passing Bangor (Peter Basterfield).

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh). It appears that the former Eurostar depot  at Longsight will be the base for these sets - remember 'Le Eurostar Habite Ici'? Why they had to transported by road across the country to some disused sidings (which, it seems, have some faulty pointwork) is hard to fathom.

Approaching Chester at Roodee Junction (John Cowlishaw).

Hargrave (Paul Shannon).

Passing the canal at Bunbury ...

... with a look at 47 812 and the barrier vehicles (Robert Meredith).

Chester 170

On Wednesday 1 August from 10am to 3pm the North Cheshire Community Rail Partnership are celebrating the 170th anniversary of Chester railway station, opened on 1 August 1848, with a Community Rail Day.  There will be representatives at the station from Community Rail Partnerships, Network Rail, Train Operators, Rail User Groups, Hoole History and Heritage Society, Llangollen Railway, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, Chester and District Samaritans ... and a guided walk by John Whittingham at 2pm.

The Welsh Mountaineer

The Railway Touring Company's 'Welsh Mountaineer' Excursion on 24 July ran from Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog and back during a period of hot and dry weather with attendant risk of fire cause by sparks from steam locos. Rather than simply diesel-haul the train, it was agreed to add a diesel behind the steam loco to share the load and reduce the chance of spark emission.  Phil Clarke captured the outward run (above) at Frodsham.  Steam power was provided by ex-LMS 8f 2-8-0 48151, a one time favourite in the days of Northwich depot, making a welcome return to this annual event after being replaced by other locos, reportedly due to 'gauging issues.

The chosen diesel was 37 669, built in 1963 as D6829, and one of two West Coast Railways locos fitted with the ERTMS signalling required for the Cambrian lines. Maybe one day we will see them work a train there. (Phil Clarke).

As on previous occasions, the steam loco was turned on the triangle at Chester, to run tender-first to Llandudno Junction (the train crew leaning out to view signals) so as to be boiler-first on the Conwy Valley gradients. Alan Roberts was on hand to photograph the train arriving at Llandudno Junction....

... as the two locomotives were run round the train separately so as to be in the right order after reversal...

... the diesel, seen with the driver changing ends ...

 ... and finally departure from Llandudno Junction for Blaenau Ffestiniog. Alan, a North Wales relief signalman and authority on signalling matters, tells us that he has recently taken early retirement from Network Rail after 42 years on the Railway. Facebook users can follow him on the North Wales Railway Signalling group.

Heading for Blaenau near Betws-y-Coed (Greg Mape).

Departing from Blaenau Ffestiniog (Greg Mape).

This arrangement requires some laborious shunting. The same dividing and running round procedure had to repeated at Blaenau Ffestiniog, and again at Llandudno Junction (above, by Jim Ikin)

The return working between Llanddulas and Pensarn (Martin Barlow).

Approaching Chester at Hoole Road (Bob Greenhalgh).

Frodsham (Dave Jackson). A very vigorous start by the 37 , and a shorter stop than expected wait at Warrington gave a 43-minute early arrival at Preston.

DRS Open Day

Thanks to those who responded to our request for views DRS's Open Day on 21 July. As David Wood's picture above suggests, the company's 'Large Logo' Class 37s and their new 68s and 88s were the main attraction. Left to right:  88 002, 68 021, 37 407, 37 424.

67 021 Tireless was the first of the class to receive TransPennine livery and modifications (David Wood). It has recently returned to the UK after a stint at the Velim test track in the Czech Republic where it and 68 019 made test runs with the new Mk 5a coaches (see above). Here is a link to some interesting pictures.

John Cowlishaw was minding the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society's stall, so was able to view the exhibits before the general public were admitted, and has kindly supplied the remainder of these images.  Above, fellow-traveller 68 019 Brutus.  Note that these locos do not have yellow ends, which are no longer required if the headlights meet the current specification.

68 029, seen in the Gresty Road depot building, is also intended for DRS but still carries the temporary simplified DRS livery.

37 403 Isle of Mull complete with West Highland terrier, looking like it is  between Fort William - Mallaig runs in 1987 ...

... and recently-overhauled 37 407, the one-time Loch Long.

88 002 Prometheus is the 'bi-mode' version of the 68, basically and electric loco but with a small (500 HP) diesel engine mainly for use on non-electrified sections in freight terminals, etc. The name was formerly carried by Woodhead line DC-electric loco 26 055.

20 303 Max Joule belongs to an even older class than the 37s, the  'English Electric Type 1' being the first 'standard' diesel loco to be introduced by British Railways, in 1957.

More steam moves - report by Phil Clarke

Seen at Warrington Bank Quay, ten minutes before the Welsh Mountaineer (see above) tour pulled in, 37 706 passed through hauling 'Black 5' 44871 back to Carnforth from Bristol.

The morning after, 25 July, Locomotive Services D1935 was taking 46100 Royal Scot back to base at Crewe from the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, seen at Hartford.

Cambrian steam coming to Llangollen - by Peter Dickinson

Myself and my colleague Matt Davies are in the process of organising the Llangollen Railway's forthcoming Autumn Steam Gala, which will be taking place on the 12th - 14th October 2018.

2018 is Visit Wales' Year of the Sea with their theme for October - December being 'Connected Coasts'. On this theme, we are marking the occasion by celebrating the historic role the Ruabon to Barmouth railway line (of which our preserved 10-mile heritage railway was once a part) played in connecting the busy industrial environs of Cheshire, Manchester and Liverpool with the holiday resorts along the Cambrian Coast.

Our first confirmed guest is BR Ivatt 2MT No. 46521, courtesy of the Great Central Railway. This former Royal Train engine spent almost its entire working life in Wales and was allocated to Oswestry, Brecon and Machynlleth steam sheds during its career. 46521 was also regular sight around Barmouth during the 1950s and 1960s, working trains along the Cambrian Coast route and the regular shuttle service up the Mawddach estuary to Dolgellau. It is seen above on a previous visit to our line.

The gala is entitled 'Along Cambrian Lines 2', continuing from our highly popular event in April 2016. Our press release is attached below for reference, but if you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me. Event details can be found at the Llangollen railway website.


A pair of Class 221 Voyagers working a Holyhead - London service pass the closed signalbox at Holywell Junction on 25 July (Greg Mape) . The parked car suggest that there is some activity at the site.

The 67-hauled Cardiff set was in weekend action on Saturday 28 July to help handle the holiday crowds, working:

1T01 09:41 Crewe - Llandudno
1T02 11:28 Llandudno - Crewe
1T03 13:45 Crewe - Holyhead
1T04 16:39 Holyhead - Crewe
5T04 18:58 Crewe - Holyhead (empty stock)

158-worked extras were also run. The picture (by Eurwyn McMahon) shows 158 821 and DVT 82306 in Holyhead station in the late evening.

Welsh Highland Railway Garratt 87 makes its way throough Porthmadog on 24 July (Greg Mape).

At 21:20 on 20 July, a Network Rail measurement traiin worked by two Class 97/3 locos makes its way along the Cambrian Coast line near Morfa Mawddach (Kate Jones). Included are one of the former Great Western car-carriers and a blue vehicles which appears to be a modiified Mk1 Coach.

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