Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

10 September 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

September 2018

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. Cancelled due to late notice of engineering work.

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

22 September Steam on the Coast Pathfinder Tours Ynys Mon Express from Bristol. 60103 Flying Scotsman Crewe - Holyhead - Crewe

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
Reminiscences of the 1960s.

12-14 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala

Saturday 13 October Saphos Trains excursion Crewe - Blaenau Ffestiniog - 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 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

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 passes some interesting back yards on the approach to Llandudno with the 16:50 from Manchester, 3 September. Picture by Greg Mape.

Apologies for a short epistle this week, as we are attending a Community Rail conference. - Charlie

'Streak' at Chester - pictures by George Jones

Above, 60009 Union of South Africa arrives at Chester on 8 September with an excursion from Norwich. ('Streak' is the old trainspotters' name for the LNER A4 class).

The 'springbok' plaque on the left-hand side of the loco was donated on 12 April 1954 by a Bloemfontein newspaper proprietor.

A chance to compare front ends with 175 111 as people on Platform 3 resist the temptation to venture down the ramp.

In other steam news, the planned run by Flying Scotsman from Bury to Holyhead on 15 September has been cancelled, after it was discovered that part of the route was closed for engineering work. Also wiped off the board are trains the charters advertised to be hauled by diesel 40 145 on 14 and 16 September using the same rake of stock, for reasons explained on the Class 40 Preservation Society website.

Class 47s in action

47 832 brings the York  - Blaenau Ffestiniog excursion through Rhyl on 30 August, with 47 854 Diamond Jubilee on the rear (Roly High).

Locomotive Services' rail blue loco 1733 (47 853) passes Beeches Farm on 4 September, on a training run from Crewe to Blaenau Ffestiniog (Bob Greenhalgh).

The sun came out to play as 1733 entered Blaenau Ffestiniog station (Ken Robinson). A Ffestiniog Railway train had just arrived, and the 'enthusiasts' amongst them were quite thrilled to see the 47, so it was cameras out!

1733 basking in the sun whilst a number of 'orange vests' walked around (Ken Robinson).

Departure a few minutes early, with much discussion going on in the rear cab (Ken Robinson).

Looking back - the same loco, 47 853 Rail Express in its Virgin-applied version of XP64 colours runs round after arrival at Holyhead with the 10:00 from Manchester on 26 August 2004 (Ken Robinson).

On 8 September, the Northern Belle luxury train offered a 'Brief Encounter' themed trip from Liverpool and Manchester to Carnforth and Barrow-in-Furness. Les Burton's picture shows the return 14:40 Barrow - Liverpool Lime Street, 1Z31, passing Northenden Junction with 47 832 leading and 57 314 on the rear. The train is now based at Carnforth, so the working required double the passenger mileage.

Thanks to the marvellous Sulzerpower Archive for help with details.

Life begins at 55

The 'Club 55' offer by Arriva Trains Wales is back again, tickets being sold until 1 October. See the Arriva website for details.

For those within reach of the Northern Rail network, Northern have created £15 'Explorer 55' ticket, which offers unlimited travel (only after 09:30 Mon-Fri) on their trains over a wide area comprising Northern's West and Central divisions. Information is here. This seems to have no date limitation, but don't try to buy one online or from one of Northern's ticket machines.

Narrow Gauge views - by Martin Evans

Ffestiniog Railway Double Fairlie Merddyn Emrys prepares to run round at Blaenau Ffestiniog before departing for Porthmadog with the 11:35 service on 3 September.

Welsh Highland Railway Beyer Garratt 143 takes on water at Beddgelert before departing for Caernarfon on 3 September.

143 has  taken on water at Caernarfon before departing for Porthmadog at 15:45.

New Measurement Train

The New Measurement Train made a foray along the Coast on 6 September. Bob Greenhalgh photographed it passing Northgate Locks, Chester on the way to Holyhead with 43 062 John Armitt ...

... and 43 014 The Railway Observer on the rear.


Re-branding of stations for the new franchise has reached England, as seen at Frodsham. Shouldn't there be a version with the English above the welsh? Picture by Mark Enderby who comments: 'Shame I can't get Welsh transport benefits'.

De-branded 150 seen at Wrexham General on 3 September ...

... has retained its topical commemorative adornment (George Jones).

TfW's promises

On the subject of Transport for Wales, the organisation has a summary on its website of the improvements promised for North Wales. Here is the list:
Introduce the new fleet of diesel multiple units (DMUs) to the North Wales Coast in 2022.
Reduce walk-up and season fares to, from and within North Wales by 10% to encourage travel.
Invest in Shotton Station and Wrexham General from April 2024, to enable North Wales Metro capability.
Invest to co-fund new station buildings at Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Create a true intercity experience on the North-South long-distance services, bringing 12 newly refurbished Mark IV carriages to Wales.
Introduce two new Community Rail Partnerships on the North Wales Line and the Crewe to Hereford line. These will be supported by the recruitment of two new Community and Stakeholder Managers and 13 Community and Customer Ambassadors.
Provide ticket machines at more stations.
Introduce a pay-as-you-go facility for users of our app from April 2021, finding the lowest available fares.
So it would seem that the term 'North Wales Metro' means basically the Wrexham - Bidston line, which we believe will have two trains per hour, one of them running limited-stop. It seems a shame that the opportunity has not been taken to add some new or re-opened stations to the eastern part of the Coast line, and run an increased frequency, perhaps making use of the new crossover at Flint. Not mentioned are the 'new' Class 230 trains, or the Liverpool to Llandudno service via the Halton Curve, perhaps because it's already agreed.

Elsewhere on the site we read that 'We will ... introduce Delay Repay for delays of above 15 minutes from January 2019.' We'd respectfully suggest that will create an unnecessary administrative burden; 30 minutes, as on Arriva Northern is surely more realistic, but if these systems are intended to encourage train companies to be punctual,  it's not working.

Union Pacific

Ian Bowland writes: 'Seeing the item in the 27 August edition regarding the Grosvenor Park Railway reminded me that I had seen the Union Pacific locomotive before.  It was on a market garden circuit at Allostock, just outside Holmes Chapel.  My picture was taken in 2006 and the site has since been closed and is up for sale.  There were steam locomotives on site in a small shed but I never saw them running. There was also a small coin-operated tram that ran a couple of hundred yards and was controlled by the child riding in it using a forward/reverse lever. Note the Rhyl station sign.'

Added notes by Charlie Hulme: I also thought I had seen that loco before, on the Brookside Railway in Poynton, but a little googling suggests that it was a sister loco, numbered 6610.  There's another, numbered 6641, at the Conwy Valley museum in Betws-y-Coed. How many others did Mr Greatrex build? There's at least one around in Santa Fe livery.

The Allostock railway was built from 2002 by Chris Halsall who originated, and operated, the Brookside Railway in the garden centre he had established in Poynton in 1963. Unfortunately, Mr Halsall has recently been given 'notice to quit' the Brookside site, ran his final train on 2 September, although the Garden Centre management intend to find a new operator.  All Mr Halsall's collection of railwayana is to be sold at two auctions, the first being on 6 October. A number of North Wales items are included, including some station 'totems' and the poster adorning our left column.

As for the Allostock line, when the garden centre closed in 2016 it was said that the railway might still run occasionally. Has this happened? It seems doubtful.

Chester bus news - by George Jones

An interesting bus route change took place from 3 September when Stagecoach renumbered and rerouted the former C56 (of Crosville days) to run from Chester railway station to Wrexham railway station via the cross country route through Holt & Farndon. Now running as an extension of the Chester route 5 to Huntington, the bus service operates on a 90-minute frequency from the stop in City Road, Chester outside the station via Saighton, Aldford, Farndon and Holt into Wrexham and is extended from the Wrexham Lord Street bus station to terminate at the Wrexham General station bus stop. The stop there has been without a service since Arriva pulled out of their Mold Road service and the airport bus also relocated. The picture shows Stagecoach bus 47517, an Optare Solo originally delivered to Stagecoach East Midlands in 2007, at the Wrexham station stop.

Previously, in Chester, the route was terminating at the Chester bus interchange but now it takes in City Road and the station stop before looping round to the interchange. Here is the Timetable.  Whilst Chester to Wrexham by train now takes a scheduled 15 minutes, the bus journey takes 68 minutes so not really competition! (Interestingly the train schedule for Down services is 17-18 minutes reflecting the slower line speed north of Pulford where the track was not upgraded.)

On a separate note, the recently established airport coach service from Wrexham to Manchester,  with connections at Chester for John Lennon airport, seems doomed with the demise of operators EasyCoach from 8 September. This was a new venture by the 'Easy' group which includes EasyJet. Launched in June 2018 with promised of low fares, they took on on various local routes in Wrexham and set up a depot at Rhosymedre, near Cefn Mawr. The company which actually registered the routes on behalf was Skiers Lodge Ltd., based in Shrewsbury, whose main activity has been routes to Manchester Airport from various places including Manchester. Andrew Martin, holder of the franchise, has been claiming sabotage as part of the reason for ceasing to operate in Shropshire.

Stockport sir? Choose your train company

Greg Mape offers this image taken at Manchester Piccadilly on 3 September. If you don't fancy any of these there's an East Midland Trains service at 13:42 which also calls at Stockport ...

North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board