Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

03 September 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

15 September East Lancashire Railway  Steam on the Coast 60103 Flying Scotsman Bury - Holyhead. Proceeds from this train  will go towards the purchase of Southern Railway pacific City of Wells for the railway.  Tickets (£142 standard class adult) are still available -  booking information website. First Class is sold out.

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

22 September Steam on the Coast Pathfinder Tours 60103 Flying Scotsman

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

Saturday 13 October Saphos Trains excursion Crewe - Blaenau Ffestiog - Holyhead - Crewe with D213 Andania.

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.

67 010 propelling the 13:01 Holyhead - Manchester Piccadilly between Conwy and Llandudno Junction on 29 August. Picture by Alan Martin.

Arriva Trains Wales final month

Transport for Wales makes its presence felt at Prestatyn. Picture by Jim Coates, 3 September. 

Freight gallery

The timber train from Carlisle to Chirk has been running with a pair of Class 56 Locomotives (56 113 and 56 090) in place of the Class 70 seen recently. Bob Greenhalgh captured the loaded train crossing the River Dee at Chester  on 28 August.

Andy Vinten's photograph was taken at Frodsham on 30 August, with the train heading to Chirk.

Ian Pilkington's camera location on 31 August was at Balshaw Lane Junction, south of Leyland on the West Coast Main Line.

Class 88 electro-diesels seem to have become the regular power for the Valley flask train.  Here are 88 009 Diana and 88 006 Juno passing Sandycroft heading for Crewe on 27 August (Tim Rogers).

Penmaenmawr on 29 August, with 88 005 Minerva and 88 002 Prometheus westbound (Peter Basterfield).

Eastbound at Beeches Farm on 29 August (Bob Greenhalgh).

Conwy Valley Explorer

The West Coast Railways 'The Conwy Valley Explorer II' on 30 August ran from York to Blaenau Ffestiniog, and back, top-and-tailed by 47 832 and 47 854 Diamond Jubilee.The Picture above showing the train arriving at Llandudno Junction Platform 4 is by Ken Robinson, who writes: 'there weren't that many photographers about - I only saw two at Llandudno Junction station, and only a few at Blaenau.' Are enthusiasts getting blasé about dull maroon 47s. or was it just because it was a Thursday?

Departure for the Conwy Valley after reversal, passing Milepost 223¼ from Euston (Ken Robinson). The line on the left, which leads to the disused goods depot, is (as far as we know) still officially part of the network, although not mentioned in a Route Study published by Network Rail in 2016 (see p.25)

At Blaenau Ffestiniog, after transferring from the platform to the loop line.

The return train with 47 854 leading negotiates Roodee Junction on the approach to Chester ... 

... with 47 832 on the rear (Tim Rogers). The formation was: Mk2f FO 3313, 3362; Mk1 kitchen car 99712 (Ex CK 18893); Mk2f FO 3395, 3326, 3352, 3431;  Mk1 RMB buffet car 99318 (Ex TSO 4912), Mk2f TSO 6115, 6103; Mk2a, BFK 99680 (ex 14102 / 17102).  It's noticeable that First Class accommodation (premier dining or otherwise) tends to predominate on trains of this kind.

A 'Round Robin' (sort of) day - report by Chris Taylor

On 30 August I made the 'circular tour' including the Ffestiniog Railway.  Staring from Huddersfield Huddersfield, was going to use the 'Ffestiniog Round Robin'  but I was told couldn't book it at Huddersfield,  only at one of the stations on the route, so I used a series of Advance tickets.

An early start found me 09:30 from Shrewsbury. The Pwllheli portion was busy; We had to redirect a number of Aberystwyth passengers to get off at Aberdyfi retrace their steps to Dovey Junction. Around a couple of dozen passengers got on at Tywyn and surprisingly around 30 boarded at LLwyngwril (a request stop) with standing room only. We stopped at all request stops as far as Barmouth where many passengers alighted.

Upper picture:  Porthmadog with Blanche and David Lloyd George; the former built in 1893 whilst the double Fairlie was built in 1992.

47 832 departing Blaenau Ffestiniog on the 16:10 West Coast special back to York; the old Market Hall, said to be the place where David Lloyd George made his first political speech, is on the left.

Class 40 events

Class 40 D213 Andania  returned to mainline passenger service after many years, with the Saphos Trains 'Cumbrian Mountain Whistler' excursion from Crewe to Carlisle on 27 August. Phil Clarke photographed the train at Hartford  ...

... with Locomotive Services'  recently purchased class 47 D1733, alias 47 853, on the rear.  This loco has had an interesting career: back in the 60s it was chosen to haul the 'XP64' prototype new coaches, and given a blue livery, a version of which was re-instated (in a fashion) by Virgin many years later when named Rail Express. Since then it has worked for Riviera Trains, DRS and (how many?) others.

On 29 August D213 made a training run from Crewe to Chester, seen above on the approach to Chester (Bob Greenhalgh).

The recent history of this loco is a complex one. Withdrawn from British Rail service as 40 013 in 1985, it was used for a while by the London Midland Region as an exhibition loco, then sold in 1988 to enthusiast Trevor Dean. It was worked on at various sites, latterly at Barrow Hill. Mr Dean died in 2011 (hence the headboard on the excursion) having left the loco in his will to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. The museum felt unable to accept it as an exhibition, and it was purchased by a three-man consortium who were determined to return it to the main line as Mr Dean had wished. Earlier this year, it became part of Jeremy Hosking's Locomotive Services fleet at Crewe, where it has been fitted with the necessary equipment for main line running.

(Other news about Mr Hosking's operation is that two electric locos, reportedly 90 001 and 90 002, and an HST set, to be released by Great Western have been acquired.)

On 13 October D213 is scheduled to make an appearance in North Wales with a Crewe - Blaenau Ffestiniog - Holyhead charter - see the Saphos Trains website for details. Readers will recall the days when Class 40 diesels were a mainstay of North Wales passenger trains.

The Class 40 Preservation Society's 40 145 (seen above at Bury in 2004)  is also in action (top-and-tailed by a 37) in September, with two one-way charters either side of Flying Scotsman's much-awaited trip to North Wales on 15 September. On 14 September the train was advertised to run from Carnforth to Bury via Buxton, Hindlow and Fiddlers Ferry.  However there has been been a 'hitch' related to engineering work, and the itinerary has been altered to include the 'Wapping' branch at Edge Hill, the Halton Curve, and the Middlewich line. The northbound train on 16 September will visit another rare branch line, the truncated Grassington branch from Skipton.

Elsewhere, 40 106 Atlantic Conveyor will be in action on the Severn Valley Railway on 5-7 September and 18 September.

Diesel Shunters at Buckley and Birkenhead - by Barrie Hughes

The John Hobbs photo in the last edition (re-repeated here) raises some interesting questions. It shows a south-westerly view of D2218 approaching Shotton High Level (as viewed from the northbound platform there) descending the bank from Buckley Junction via Hawarden. The shadows show the sun was in the north west so late afternoon/early evening May 1965 (within a few weeks of closure of the branch on 5 July 1965 according to Disused Stations website) so it must have been the 8F48 trip working from Buckley Junction to Dee Marsh Junction. The two trains are crossing the B5129 Chester Road bridge.

This trip had originated as 9T69. After working the 12:55 LE Dee Marsh Junction to Pen-y-ffordd yard, the loco worked forwards at 13:45 SX to Buckley Junction yard arriving 13:55 and departing (presumably after a shunting the yard and picking up the manifest for the various surviving sidings) at 14:25.

The Buckley branch trip now followed as the 13:45 shunt and trip as required Buckley Jn. to Northop Hall'.  In 1965 very few brickworks sidings were left (south to north), possibly Drury yard (storage sidings), Drury brickworks, Standard Brick and Terracotta, Old Ewloe (Ashton’s Branch Junction had been closed for some time), Ewloe Barn brickworks, possibly Elm Colliery yard (storage sidings), Castle Firebrick and Northop Hall coal yard (terminus as the steep line beyond to Connah’s Quay had been closed around 1960).

The train arrived back at Buckley Junction at 1835, allowing 5 hours for the trip, and, after running round, headed for Dee Marsh as 8F48, the 1845 Buckley Jn to Dee Marsh Junction.

The Buckley trip was allocated a ‘204 HP diesel shunting loco’ and both Class 03 and Class 04 were 204 HP and for that matter the D2500 class. The advantage of the Class 03 was its marginally higher speed at 28.5 mph (compared to 25/27 mph for the Class 04) for these longer trip workings. There are images of Class 03s on the truncated Connah’s Quay docks section of the Buckley branch in the 1960s.

I am intrigued as to whether Class 03/04s ever operated the branch as well as steam (last seen in 1961). Was their allocation Croesnewydd as some claim or Birkenhead Mollington Street as the BR Database allocation record shows? Known diesel locos photographed on line or in associated trips in the final 5 years of operation during the early 60s were

D2388 Connah’s Quay docks 24/5/61 allocated to Birkenhead Mollington Street 6/4/61-2/5/70
D2218 Shotton High level ?/5/65 allocated to Birkenhead Mollington Street 26/12/64-13/1/66

There were 5 Class 03s and 3 Class 04s allocated to Mollington Street at various times in the period 1961-65 covering the final 5 years of the Buckley branch as well as all ten of the quaint looking steam profile D2500-9 Hudswell Clarke 204HP 0-6-0 shunters presumably used in the Birkenhead Docks.

D2385 24/3/61-2/9/61 transfer
D2388 6/4/61-2/5/70 transfer
D2374 16/9/61-11/5/68 withdrawal date at depot
D2375 16/9/61-11/5/68 withdrawal date at depot
D2376 30/9/61-10/10/64 transfer
D2213 26/12/64-17/8/68 transfer
D2218 26/12/64-15/1/66 transfer
D2220 26/12/64-15/1/66 transfer

All these shunters were withdrawn in the period 1968-72 and scrapped shortly after, so never entered the TOPS renumbering scheme. However, like many other Class 04s, D2213 saw 10 years of further use by the NCB at Manvers Main colliery Mexborough before being scrapped there.

While the Buckley branch was worked from Dee Marsh Junction stabling point, locos would have needed to return to Mollington Street to refuel and for maintenance using a circuitous route via Bidston and the MD&HB branch, now out of use.

Mollington Street depot was closed on 25 November 1985, and demolished in July 1987, though in its final years it retained a few Class 03s to work the sharply curved MD&HB lines and act as depot pilot Birkenhead North EMU depot. Pictured is 03 170 on 12 February 1983. This duty used to out-stable at weekends on the MD&HB lines outside the Royal Duke pub on Duke Street, Birkenhead.

I would be very interested in seeing any images of the Buckley branch / Connah’s Quay Docks or associated trip workings.

Days at Connah's Quay - remembered by Glyn Jones

I was interested to read the item by Barrie Hughes concerning Connah's Quay Docks. In 1950, I was a 14 year-old schoolboy living in Shotton.  After school, my friend and I would make our way to the docks to see 'The Buckley Shunter'.

At the end of the day's operations, the driver and fireman would sometimes adjourn to the Old Quay House pub for a drop of liquid refreshment prior to returning the loco to its home shed, 6E - Wrexham. We would board it and 'mind it' in their absence. At a specified time, we would sound a few crows on the whistle, telling them it was time to depart. We would then ride in the cab back to the junction with the Wrexham to Bidston line at Shotton and alight by a signal out of sight of the signalman!

The loco for many years was ex-Great Central Class J62 0-6-0ST, No. 68200, the sole surviving member of the class. It blew a cylinder in 1951 and was scrapped on 30 November 1951. Above  is a picture I took with my mother's 'Box Brownie'. 

Corwen Update - by George Jones

The Chairman of the Llangollen Railway Trust, Liz McGuinness, has announced the temporary platform at Dwyrain Corwen East will close on 3 November and the scaffolding structure will be dismantled with recovery of the wooden palings and plankings to be arranged by volunteers. Above,  'Large Prairie' loco 5199 stands at the platform end with the 12:15 service from Llangollen on 1 September, back in use after a spell having its valves checked out.

The emphasis is on completing the Corwen Central terminus for an opening in 2019 on a date to be announced, although Easter might be appropriate to aim for dependent as always on weather and resources. As of now, the new temporary building to be the booking office/waiting room (above) has received planning permission, a new water-tight roof has been installed and new doors and windows. External painting has given it an appropriate chocolate & cream scheme whilst internal renovation can proceed.

Building of the platform 1 wall is proceeding with the base of Easi-blocks on the footings followed by oversail blocks to create the overhang. The lorry and hi-ab continues to serve its purpose for bringing in the blocks and locating them lego-style. Infilling of the space between both platform walls is progressing with spoil brought in from the old Ruthin branch embankment. A temporary level crossing has been inserted to allow access by dumper trucks.

The amount of infill needed for the island platform area becomes obvious and the 'Tenner for a Tonne' appeal to help pay for the contractor remains open to achieve the £10k target.

For the autumn, the need is to set out the points for the loop and siding relative to the water tank and platform end. Before this can happen, the signalbox cabin top has to be brought in by road to be installed on top of the completed locking room brickwork (above).

External painting of the cabin is nearing completion at Carrog pending the heavy lift and transport as an outside load down the A5 to Corwen later this month, if arrangements can be completed.

Grosvenor Park, 1999

Following the item in the last issue, with help from Alan Crawshaw, we have recovered from the depths of the archive our report on the website contributors' meet on 5 September 1999. A headcode 'The Welsh Mancunian' was provided for the line's little loco.

Railway operator John Murray driving, with some possibly recognisable characters in the front coach. We'll draw a veil over the other group pictures to avoid embarrassment.

Later in the day, we travelled to Holyhead and took a ride on the regular Sundays-only 'double-header', which ran 30 minutes late after the locos - 37 408 Loch Rannoch and 37 429 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol had to be swapped around at Holyhead.

We even had our own (re-created)  heritage Regional Railways antimacassars.

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