Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

06 August 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

[The Saphos Trains excursion from Bangor to Stratford on 4 August was cancelled due to the ban on steam working during the dry weather.]

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

175 105 passes Llandudno Junction on 3 August with 1D38 13:37 Manchester Airport to Llandudno. Picture by Tim Rogers.

Saturday loco-hauled - report by Barrie Hughes

The loco-hauled Saturday train mentioned in the last issue is timetabled to run on other Saturdays in August (but not 18 August as there are .  Barrie Hughes photographed 67 013 in Platform 3 at Holyhead on 4 August.  On the skyline is the Captain Skinner monument.

The workings, using the 'Premier Express' stock, were:

5T01 06:59 Holyhead - Crewe 09:07 (empty stock)
1T01 09:41 Crewe - Llandudno 11:17
1T02 11:28 Llandudno - Crewe 13:04
1T03 13:45 Crewe - Holyhead 15:58
1T04 16:39 Holyhead - Crewe 18:45
1T05 20:30 Crewe - Holyhead 22:31

However, for 11 August the diagram suggests that the Crewe-based 'Manchester' set will be used:

1T01 09:41 Crewe - Llandudno 11:17
1T02 11:28 Llandudno - Crewe 13:04
1T03 13:45 Crewe - Holyhead 16:00
1T04 16:39 Holyhead - Crewe 18:45

At Crewe, ready to depart at 13:45 (Barrie Hughes). There's a 19-minute stop at Chester, so you could nip off there and take a picture there too.

Back at Crewe in the evening, now in Platform 9. On 4 August the train was briefly in the Merseyrail platform 7.

Views from a bridge - by Greg Mape

On Wednesday 1 August I revisited (on my bike - recommended) the bridge on the A34 near East Didsbury that spans the Northenden - New Mills freight line and the road also runs next to the Styal line, and saw some interesting trains in just 35 minutes  Particularly notable was the sight of a DB Cargo Class 60, 60 059, working empty stone hoppers from Warrington Arpley sidings to Tunstead.

A Llandudno - Manchester Airport  service (other Styal line trains also passed) ...

...  and 70 005 on a Southampton - Trafford Park intermodal. [Freightliner's Class 70s are not a common sight either these days, as 12 of the 20 locos are out of service, including 70 012 which was dropped while being unloaded from a ship on 2011, was sent back to the US and has never returned.]

News from Oswestry - report by Martin Evans

On 4 August the Cambrian Heritage Railways at  Oswestry were running steam so I took the opportunity to travel from Oswestry station to the extended line to Salop Road Bridge.  The loco in steam was Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tank, works no. 2216 built in 1949, seen above arriving at the station ready for the first train of the day.

A closer view of the loco.

The recently refurbished signalbox at Oswestry (see a 'before' picture), a classic Cambrian box built by their signalling contractor Dutton & Co.

Telemon 0-4-0DM, built by Vulcan in 1955, No.295 was used to shunt the stock.

A view from the present end of the line at Salop Road bridge showing the relaying being undertaken which will lead to the Stonehouse Brewery site which will increase the line by about half a mile. Completion is expected by early 2019 if matters go to plan.

Picture assortment

158 841 arriving at Pwllheli on 3 August with the 0809 from Birmingham International (Ken Millward).

40 145 runs light through Acton Bridge on 2 August, returning light engine from Kidderminster to the East Lancs Railway at Bury passing Acton Bridge, about 18:50, having travelled the other way earlier in the day delivering sister loco 40 106 to the Severn Valley Railway (Greg Mape).

60 021 passes Wrexham General on 30 July with 6J37 12:58 Carlisle Yard Colas Rail to Chirk Kronospan Colas Rail via Settle (Tim Rogers). According to a report in the railway press, Colas are selling their class 60 locos to GB Railfreight.

68 034 and 68 004 Rapid pass Llandudno Junction on 3 August with a flask for Crewe (Tim Rogers).

Manchester has placed over 100 of these decorated bees (the bee is featured on the city's coat of arms, and has been seen a lot since last year's tragic event) all round the city; they will be there until 23 September - see the Bee in the City website for everything about this.

Welsh Highland Railway Garratt 138 negotiates the Aberglaslyn pass, 25 July (Jim Ikin).

Siôn Aled Owen sends this picture of a passenger at Bangor endangering herself and setting the kids a terrible example. Fortunately the resident British Transport Police officer had been alerted and appeared moments later to give the lady some health and safety advice which she rather disdainfully accepted. Some young people seem oblivious to possible danger: we once saw someone slip while getting up from such a position, while a train was appraching, and scramble to safety at the last second.

Loocomotives at Bangor, 27 July. Video by Rhodri Williams.

Michael in action on the RMR - report by Martin Evans

The Rhyl Miniature Railway on 27 July, with Michael. This loco spent the first part of its life in Rhyl with the other three locomotives Joan, John (103), and Billy. When the Railway closed, Michael spent a number of years in store, before returning to re-open the railway in 1978.

It worked at the RMR and at the Dudley Zoo Railway until 1994 when Michael was placed on static display in the Pringle store at Llanfair PG on Anglesey. It returned to Rhyl in 2007. In 2008 it was decided to restore Michael to operation, and an order was placed for a new boiler from TRS Boilermakers. Over winter 2009-2010 a lot of work was carried out on the chassis and tender by the RMR volunteer team led by Pat Kelly. The wheels all went to Acme Precision Engineering near Wrexham where the driving wheels were re-tyred. The chassis was then built back up with new springs being put in place similar to those now on Joan.

Great care has been taken to get the finish of the locomotive as near as possible to its 1960s appearance. The new boiler was delivered to RMR on 11 September 2010 and on 16 December 2010 the locomotive was trial steamed, its first day in steam since 1992. Michael re-entered full service in Easter 2011. The restoration of Michael to working order has been supported financially by the Communities First Trust Fund.

Behind the screens at Bangor

Readers will have noticed that Network Rail contractors are busy renovating the historic station building at Bangor.  Eryl Crump, on behalf of the Daily Post, was recently invited to see what is going on, and has shared with us these pictures..

Up on the roof.

Carefully-restored chimney-pots being re-installed. The building was designed, like the line's other original stations, by Francis Thompson and completed in 1848.

Looking back with Barrie Hughes - Wales and South West

Some 'blue and grey' views (and a mustard shot) from 10 August 1983 - Back to Aberystwyth on Summer Holidays again eight years after leaving the university in 1974. The Wednesday Stanlow - Aberystwyth tanks were shunting in the yard with 25 212 and 25 231 in charge. The train might be have been more heavily loaded in the summer due to the holiday traffic. 25 212 was withdrawn two years later on 21 May 1985 and scrapped at Vic Berry’s Leicester in October 1987. 25 231 also survived a further 2 years being withdrawn on 23 August 1985 and cut up at the same scrapyard in April 1987.

No.9 Prince of Wales in its unique mustard livery ...

...  departs from the former Manchester & Milford platform for Devil’s Bridge.

No.9 arriving at Devil’s Bridge from the footpath footbridge just west of the terminus.

At Devil’s Bridge No.9 shunts back into train at Devil’s Bridge. By now GWR chocolate and cream Heritage livery had displaced the British Rail blue livery adopted in 1968 and reprised earlier this year by the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway on the restored VoR brake van to celebrate 20 years since the demise of BR.

We then drove down to Fishguard and just managed to get a photo of the Boat Train. 47 490 departs Fishguard Harbour station with the daily train to Paddington. This loco was withdrawn on 1 July 2000 but survived the cutter’s torch to be preserved and is currently stored unserviceable at West Coast Railway’s Carnforth depot. The 1974-built Stena Normandica towers over the station with its forward visor up to allow car access. The ship was on hire to Sealink, but was bough later that year and became the St. Brendan.  In 2018 as the Moby Vincent it works between France or Italy and the island of Corsica.

Cardiff depot had started putting unit numbers on DMUs, though they often ran with substituted vehicles making a mockery of the 'unit' concept. Here is Unit C330 departing Haverfordwest. The station had clearly seen busier days in the past but was deserted other than the passing DMU.

Another Cardiff unit C802 starts from the terminus at Pembroke Dock. This town has a ferry service to Rosslare in Ireland but with the station being 1 km from the harbour transfer is difficult. Nevertheless summer Saturday HSTs have run for many years to this terminus.

To travel between these two locations I must have used the Cleddau toll bridge which collapsed during construction a few years before.

A North West Holiday - with Richard Putley

On Monday 16 July I left my friend’s house at Stockport and drove to Ravenglass, stopping on the way at Oxenholme The Lake District. Some trains on the Windermere line were still replaced by buses, but 153 363 + 156 463 formed the 12:06 service from Oxenholme to Windermere. I arrived at Ravenglass in time for the 14:50 to Dalegarth. The incoming service was hauled by 0-8-2 River Irt but it departed with 2-8-2 River Esk hauling it. At Irton Road we passed the 14:50 from Dalegarth, hauled by “La’al Ratty”’s “train from Spain”, a German built 4-6-2 resplendent in Caley Blue!

I then drove to Carlisle. After checking in to my guest house, I ventured into the city for a meal. After that I saw a number of trains at Carlisle station, including 86 609/10 hauling a southbound container train, followed by 88 007 Electra hauling a Tesco container train.

Tuesday 17 July: Drove over to Alston in time for the first train on the South Tynedale Railway at 10:45. Motive power was a Battery Electric loco “Newcastle”. I rode behind to their newly opened extension to Slaggyford. The signalman invited me in the new ‘box there. It’s on the site of the original but is larger. It has a 28 lever frame of which 25 levers will ultimately be used when the line is extended further north and Slaggyford becomes a passing place.

After lunch I visited the Eden Valley Railway. They seem to have a couple of ex Southern Region 4-CEP Electric Units whilst motive power of the day was a Southern diesel-electric unit, 205 009. I then headed over to Appleby where I learnt a steam special was expected early that evening on the Up. It was hauled by 8F 48151 with diesel loco 47 237 coupled inside and doing a big share of the work due to the dry weather.

In the evening I saw a number of freights including a Northbound flask train with 68 034 / 004 and Colas 37 116 was stabled on a Network Rail train (above). Also there was 57 307 Lady Penelope.

Wednesday 18 July: At Carlisle I saw the New Measurement Train  HST head south through the  station just as I got there. I caught the 09:46 to Newcastle then took the Metro to South Shields where I had a ride on the 9˝” gauge Lake Shore Railroad. This is twinned with the Downs Light Railway in Colwall. The loco running was their American outline Pacific Mountaineer which I had seen at Colwall last November; the driver was one of their group who had come down with it.

Afterwards I returned to Newcastle where I spent an afternoon watching trains. Freight trains I saw included GB Railfreight 66 737 on a Biomass train, Colas 70 809 on a Cement Train and DRS 88 009 Diana on a ballast train. 67 028 (above) was towing a Virgin East Coast HST.

Thursday 19 July: In the morning I drove over to the Blyth and Tyne line to photograph the signalboxes on it. Saw a southbound empty biomass train hauled by 66 706. Returned to Carlisle in time to see a Green Freightliner 90 double heading with Grey 90 044 on a Northbound Container train. In due course 37 425 Concrete Bob arrived with the 17:30 from Barrow, which then forms the 17:45 return. Then 68 003 Astute and 68 017 Hornet topped and tailed the 18:10 arrival from Barrow which then ran empty to Kingmoor depot.

Friday 20 July: I bought a Cumbrian Coast Day Rover ticket. I started out on the 09:03 to Barrow which was 37 425. I took this as far as Whitehaven, so that I could then catch the other loco- hauled trainset, the 09:18 Barrow – Carlisle back to Carlisle. So I was disappointed when the service was formed by Northern liveried 156 472. I decided to take it as far as Workington where I thought I would catch the 11:03 from there to Sellafield. In the event a late arrival at Workington meant I could not get the 11:03. I contented myself with photographing the two 156s side by side; the one on the 11:03 was in the old Northern Livery. So I caught the 11:57 from Workington to Sellafield. This was worked by 156 480 which has received a special paint job to mark the Centenary of the RAF. Quite appropriate then that this service goes through to Lancaster!

Alighting at Sellafield, I saw 37 402 Mary Queen of Scots arrive light engine from Barrow. It ran into the Up Platform, reversed and stabled on one of the Up Loop Lines. When the 12:08 from Carlisle to Barrow arrived, I was pleased to see it hauled by 68 017 with 68 003 on the rear.

I took this service to Barrow, where I managed to get a shot of 37 425 and its coaches stabled.

I then re-traced my steps with 68 003 / 17 on the 14:52 from Barrow to Carlisle as far as Workington (above). Waiting there for 40 minutes – long enough to pop into town for some Fish and Chips ...

 ...  I then took the 15:31 from Barrow which was worked by 37 425 back to Carlisle. So ended an enjoyable week in Carlisle, where I had stayed at the Arkale Lodge guest house. A mere ten minutes walk from the railway station and city centre, I’d certainly stay there again.

Saturday 21 July: I returned south. But having been assured by the South Tynedale Railway on Tuesday that 0-6-2ST Barber would be running I decided to pop back. No sooner had I arrived than Barber steamed into the station so I decided to have a ride.

Afterwards I drove south to Rawtenstall on the East Lancashire Railway, arriving there in time for the 14:30 train to Heywood. Motive Power was 6990 Witherslack Hall.

At Ramsbottom we passed D9537 and then at Bury 40 106 Atlantic Conveyor arrived so I decided to catch it back to Rawtenstall. So ended a very enjoyable week in the North West.

The new Liverpool Lime Street - report by George Jones

On 30 July, all was well at the station as it re-opened for services. In the southern train shed Virgin was operating their Pendolino from the new platform 9 and East Midlands Trains was using 10. LNW's Birmingham service was in 7 but local services were using 6 (the former 7 and long the preserve of London trains.) The northern shed is now labelled 1-5 but on the day only 2-5 was accepting trains with work still in process on the extended length of platform 1. 

The TPE Scarborough service with 185 118 (above) was at platform 3.

Despite the influx of 319s by Northern, the Pacer remains with us in decreasing number (at least at Lime St). In platform 7 & 8 LNW 350 129 contrasts with 142 004.

Using the LNW 13:04 service from platform 7 I travelled out to Liverpool South Parkway noting the new trackwork in the cutting up to Edge Hill. Returning on the 14:07 local Northern service a better appreciation of the station throat as it serves 9 & 10 was apparent as the class 150 terminated in platform 8 where one can see that the two squeezed in platforms 7 & 8 share a single lead through the arch which once provided a short bay. Whilst ten platforms is seen as some expansion, there are those who remember Lime Street with eleven platforms before Red Star Parcels claimed the space and perhaps even thirteen in the dim and distant past.  Above, 390 125 stands in Platform 9.

The old platform 1 is now labelled 0 (every new station must have one?) and is devoid of track with a notice displayed as regards restricted access. [We understand that this platform is not to have any track.]

Transport Museum Re-opens - report by George Jones

The Wirral Transport Museum in Birkenhead has re-opened after an extended period of closure. My visit to Birkenhead on Saturday 4 August found the Wirral Transport Museum in Taylor Street open for visitors following its revamp to make better use of the space within the building (which was never intended for its current purpose!). It now offers disability access, new toilets and heating, as well as a new lighting system.

A formal foyer entrance for visitors is now guarded by one of the well-remembered former Woodside Ferry ticket booths and turnstile, although entrance is free. Inside,  the displays have been altered and now includes a small cafe, as well as the model railway and automotive miscellany. Steps lead up to a gallery where once there was a workshop and provide the high level view of the tramcars in their stable.

On the higher level at the rear are assorted buses from the Wirral area including Birkenhead and Wallasey types as well as Crosville to offer a diverse selection of interest to the general public as well as transport fans. It is a tight fit for all the tramcars in the fleet and ease of circulation is made possible by having two cars outside - Wallasey 78 and Liverpool 245. Birkenhead car No.20 has gone to Blackpool for renewal of the wheel sets as part of a loan deal.

Above, the high level view of Lisbon 730 alongside Liverpool 762 with Birkenhead No.70 beyond.

Hong Kong-built Birkenhead 69 obscures the early Birkenhead horse car No.7 - a remarkable survivor now back on display after years in storage.

Liverpool 'Baby Grand' car 245 was on the service to Woodside and its streamlined looks continue to belie its 80 years of age.

The tramway and its associated museum offers an unusual visitor attraction in a dockside area of former industrial activity which some might say is suited to the Tramway Age. The Museum and Tramway remain volunteer operated and a great credit to the band of enthusiasts in the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society who have defied the odds to restore and maintain the assorted tramcars of local long lost systems. The Tramway has a Heritage Day planned for 8 September and the 21st Annual Bus and Tram Show is on 7 October.

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