Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

27 August 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

September 2018

Tuesday 4 September North Wales Railway Circle Local member Peter Basterfield with photographs of his recent railway adventures.

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

14-16 September Welsh Highland Railway Super-Power Weekend

Monday 17 September RCTS Chester "Railways of London & the South East" James Sutcliffe

Saturday 29 September Llangollen Railway Diesel gala

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

October 2018

Wednesday 3 October RCTS Liverpool "Liverpool Exchange Station" Paul Wright

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

Tuesday 2 October North Wales Railway Circle   John Cashen with North West and North Wales
Reminisences of the 1960s.

12-14 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala

Monday 15 October RCTS Chester "Rails to Bala" Dave Southern
Friday 19 October Steam on the Coast Golden Eagle Luxury Tour (Day 5 of 12) (Provisional)  Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog 46100: Llandudno Juncion - 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

Tuesday 6 November North Wales Railway Circle Illustrious local photographer Barry Wynne assisted by Steve Morris.

Monday 19 November RCTS Chester "Through Kirton Tunnel" Stephen Gay

December 2018

Tuesday 4 December North Wales Railway Circle Christmas Social & Members' Evening.

Wednesday 5 December RCTS Liverpool "BR in the North West" Tom Heavyside

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.

Monday 17 December RCTS Chester "The Fate of The Irish Mail" Tony Griffiths (A film which relates the story of the Abergele disaster in 1868)

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

Tuesday 8 January North Wales Railway Circle (Speaker to be announced) The Bala Lake Railway

Monday 21 January RCTS Chester AGM, followed by "A Photographic Tribute to Edgar Richards"(  Non-members are invited to attend from 20.00 hours)

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

Tuesday 5 February North Wales Railway Circle [To be announced]

Wednesday 6 February RCTS Liverpool "North West & North Wales Reminiscences of the 1960s" John Cashen

Monday 18 February RCTS Chester "A Taste of Japan" Gordon Davies

March 2019

Tuesday 5 March North Wales Railway Circle Humph Davies with mostly narrow-gauge archive material.

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

Monday 18 March RCTS Chester "55 Years of Railway Photography, Part 2" Les Nixon

April 2019

Tuesday 2 April North Wales Railway Circle Gareth Haulfryn Williams, archivist and author, on 'Rails to/from Bethesda.'

Wednesday 3 April RCTS Liverpool "Manchester to Liverpool by CLC" Ken Grainger

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

Monday 15 April RCTS Chester "Steam on the North Wales Coast" (Video Presentation) Ron Watson Jones

May 2019

Tuesday 7 May North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Members' Photo. Competition.

175 103 on the 12:35 Manchester Airport - Llandudno passes 175 116 on the 10:44 Llandudno - Manchester Airport on the approach to Manchester Oxford Road station.  The tower in the background belongs to the former Congregational Chapel, which was the Stock, Aitken and Waterman recording studio for two decades from the 1980s. Picture by Charlie Hulme.

On Tuesday 4 September our contributor Peter Basterfield will be presenting photographs of his recent railway adventures at the North Wales Railway Circle monthly meeting at Victoria Hotel, Telford Road, Menai Bridge LL59 5DR, 19:30 for 19:45. Visitors are welcome.

Loco hauled

The Cardiff - Holyhead express passes Abergavenny signalbox - with its semaphore signalling and loops - on 24 August with 67 029 Royal Diamond in charge ...

.. and departs from the station with driving van trailer 82306 on the rear. Pictures by Richard Putley.

The competition - the 17:30 Eastern Airways service to Cardiff Airport - a 29-seat BAe Jetstream - takes off from Valley, scheduled arrival 18:20, on  24 August.  There are some bargain fares to be had on this 17:30 service, as little as £10.15.

67 010 stands at Flint on 23 August on the rear of 1H89 13:07 Holyhead - Manchester Piccadilly ...

... and departs. The coaches are DVT 82308, TSO 12182,TSO 12183, TSO 12184 (Tim Rogers).

The next morning, 67 010 heads the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead past RAF Valley (Greg Mape).

The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society's Liverpool and Chester programmes for 2018-9 have now been added to our Forthcoming Events Column.

Heart of Wales 150 - report by Garry Stroud

This year 2018 marks the 150th anniversary - 1868-2018 - of the 'Heart of Wales' line from Shrewsbury and Craven Arms to Swansea. From transporting freight in the early days and soldiers in WW1, the Heart of Wales line was originally built to transport coal from the deep coal mines in the Welsh Valleys up north to the burgeoning factories of the industrial revolution, it was one of the few rural railway lines to survive Beeching's axe and is also called the Central Wales line.

Perhaps not featuring as much as it should in the railway press of today, its rural nature and class 153 single units still evoke a bygone atmosphere, I took a trip on 20 August to the South Shropshire / Powys border to record a few images of this fascinating line.  Upper picture:  Craven Arms still retains its semaphore signals; having crossed over from the main Hereford line, 153 362 enters the station with the 14:05 Shrewsbury to Swansea service. Central Wales trains use the short length of the northbound line to reach the junction.

153 362 awaits its 14:45 departure from Craven Arms.

Looking south from Craven Arms, 153 362 takes the Heart of Wales line. The main Marches line is in stark contrast with the weed-infested single track towards Swansea.

After leaving Craven Arms on single track, Knighton on the Powys/Shropshire border with its passing loop is the first important station on southbound workings, here 153 353 has charge of the 09:34 Swansea to Shrewsbury service, on 21 August. Although the original goods yard has been taken over by an agricultural company, the old station goods shed can be seen in the distance.

Beyond Knighton the track reverts to single line status again. Here 153 353 departs the station with the 14:05 Shrewsbury to Swansea service on 21 August.

Llangollen Railway scenes

British Railways 2-6-4T 80072 has been busy on Llangollen railway services of late. Above, it stands at Llangollen with the 13:00 to Corwen East on 21 August.

On Saturday 25 August, 80072 departs Llangollen with the 12:15 service to Corwen East during a brief heavy thunderstorm (Martin Evans). [To those of a 'certain age' this loco will bring back memories of the Hornby-Dublo version, with its screw on the back of the bunker which was supposed to adjust something.]

Class 37 D6940 approaches Glyndyfrdwy station with the 11:00 service from Llangollen (Martin Evans). Also noted on shed was Class 47 D1566.  and Class 08 08 195 was at Pentrefelin sidings.

Bala Lake mini-gala - report by Bob Greenhalgh

On Sunday 26 August, Bala Lake Railway loco Holy War on the Penrhyn slate wagons arriving at Llanuwchllyn. Holy War was due to be withdrawn from service Monday night for overhaul.

George B waiting in Llangower loop as Alice departs with a train for Bala.

New Caernarfon station - pictures by Ron Walker

I visited Caernarfon on Saturday 18 August and took three photos that may be of interest. Above, you can see how the platform is to be extended. 

The paving around the building is almost finished ... 

... while the inside still has a good bit of fitting out to do.

Abergele disaster 1868

20 August 2018 was the 150th anniversary of the accident to have befallen the North Wales Coast line. On 20 August 1868, 33 people died when careless shunting of the goods yard at Llandulas station (later renamed Llysfaen) caused wagons which has been left on the Down main line, contrary to company instructions, including two wagons loaded with paraffin oil in casks, to run away towards Abergele. The wagons collided with the Irish Mail express, resulting in a disastrous fire.

A service of remembrance was held at St Michael's Church on 20 August 2018. After the service, which included a procession from the doors of the church to the site of the grave, where the victims were remembered with a blessing, local researcher Tony Griffiths showed the documentary film, made with his wife Barbara. Unfortunately this film has not been made available online, but it will be shown at the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society meeting in Chester on 17 December. 

More information about the accident is available on the Railways Archive website.

Trains at Conwy - video by Phil Thomas

Some views taken on Monday 27 August  in Conwy, North Wales, including the class 67-hauled service by Arriva, as well as the DRS Flask train from Valley.  A trip down memory lane for me - the first location known as 'Wen crossing' is where I started trainspotting on the way to school nearly 40 years ago.

Grosvenor Park Railway, Chester - pictures by Martin Evans

The Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway first opened in 1996, originally designed for just one season to commemorate the centenary of the Duke of Westminster's railway at nearby Eaton Hall. The brainchild of miniature railway author Roger Greatrex, it was bully by a team led by Robin Butterell, and extended in 1997, but Mr Butterell was unable to continue running the line and it was taken over by a consortium including John Murray, who was also one of this website's small band of supporters in those early days.  The result was a memorable gathering of contributors to take a ride on the line. Does anyone have a photograph?

Stephen Hardin took over in 2000, upgrading the line and its motive power. The line runs for ¼ mile in a large circle round an ornamental lake, en route travelling over a bridge and passing over two level crossings. The main motive power today is a  Greatrex-built Union Pacific loco, dating from 2004. Stephen Hardin sadly died in 2016; his family continue to run the railway.

88s on the Flasks

Two more pictures of 88 002 Prometheus and 88 009 Diana working the Valley - Crewe flasks on 20 August. The view above at Bangor, with a little digital enhancement, is by Rhodri Williams.

Tim Rogers, in his usual methodical style, recorded the wagons as FNA 550029, 550045 and 550055.  The scene is the approach to Mostyn, with its redundant signal gantry.

A week later, 27 August, and 88s appeared again, this time 88 009 Diana and 88 006 Juno. Peter Basterfield's picture is from  the footbridge at Llanfair PG.

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh). The diesel engine in the Class 88 is rated at only 900 horsepower, so this due has considerably less power than a pair of 66s or 68s, but there are few steep gradients between Valley and Crewe, and using them on this train is a good way to get experience with the diesel mode.

Buckley ... and Burry Port - by Barrie Hughes

The Buckley Branch ran from Buckley Junction to Connah’s Quay where it joined the North Wales Coast Main Line just north of the site the former station. Another section passed under the North Wales Coast line with a very low height bridge and circled around through Connah’s Quay Docks to join the Borderlands Line just north of Shotton High Level station, facing towards Wrexham. The railway was created in two phases. The original Buckley Railway ran from brickworks and collieries in the Church Road area of Buckley to Connah’s Quay down a steep gradient, opening on 7 June 1862. Older car owners may remember the impressive wooden bridge over the A55 at Northop Hall before the modern dual carriageway was built. The Wrexham, Mold & Connah’s Quay Railway opened 4 years later on 1 May1866 to a station in Buckley at Drury (not Buckley Junction!) and eventually bought out the Buckley Railway. The Buckley Railway section north of Buckley (Drury) only ever saw one passenger train, an excursion, according to various books.

The Wrexham, Mold and Connah's Quay line never reached Mold though a connection at Pen-y-ffordd into the LNWR route Chester - Mold line was occasionally used for excursions. However, the WM&CQR was extended to the north from a point south of the original Buckley station through Hawarden to Shotton High Level station where it crossed the River Dee and joined routes built by the Cheshire Lines Committee in The Wirral Peninsula to Chester (Northgate)/Bidston (the latter remaining as the Borderlands Line). Buckley Junction station was built at the junction with the Hawarden loop line and Buckley (Drury) closed. Eventually the line became owned by the GCR on  22 July 1904.

When I moved to the area from Christmas 1960 the line was steam worked (my sister reports!) with two daily shunter workings from Buckley Junction but the route north of Northop Hall coal yard was closed to traffic by May 1961 and the steep incline down to Connah’s Quay Docks became overgrown. By 1963 the service was just one train a day from Dee Marsh (reversing at Buckley Junction) and Class 03 diesels were introduced about this time. 

The picture above, by the late John Hobbs, originally published in our 3 February and 17 February 2014 issue shows D2218, which was a Class 04, apparently running from Northrop Hall, in  in May 1965.

There are published photos of the Class in Connah’s Quay docks which was worked independently after closure of the Northop Hall incline section. I can remember seeing them working the line in the early 1960s and my friends and I had a close encounter with one near Ashton’s Branch Junction while cycling beside the line! The very useful website shows the timetables for the period amongst others in North Wales. Details of Trip Workings are also available to purchase on line.

The Buckley branch was closed on 5 July 1965 and lifted the following year, with the final Trip Notice dated 14 June 1965. Being an impecunious teenager I had no camera to record the scene, though there are many pictures in the Buckley Railway Album published by the Buckley Society diesels. I have recollections of walking the closed trackbed in between Drury and Connah’s Quay and the docks branch in the mid sixties following closure. If anyone does have any (unpublished) images I’d be very interested to see them.

So - it was with great interest that I came across the very similar operation on the Burry Port & Gwendraeth Valley Railway on 11 August 1983 whilst touring Wales on a railway holiday. An coal train was about to set off up the branch from Burry Port with three Class 03s, 03 119 / 141 / 145. These had to have cut down cabs as the railway was built on the line of the former canal with low bridges in places.  Coal traffic continued until 1996, latterly with cut down Class 08 shunters. Above, 03 141 and 03 119 couple up in Burry Port yard.

03 119 and 03 141 with empty coal wagons start up from Burry Port yard.

03 119 and 03 141 seen from the  B4311 road bridge ...

03 145 'banking' on the rear of the train.

03 145 banking up the hill, seen from the B4317 road bridge on the canal section.

Surprisingly all three Class 03s have been preserved. 03 119 at the Epping & Ongar Railway, 03141 at Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway and 03 145 at D2578 Locomotive Group, Moreton Business Park.

North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board