Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

29 October 2018

Arriva Produced this 40-page booklet to say goodbye to everyone: 40 pages full colour.
It records aspects of the train operations, staff, people and places, and business initiatives during the years 2003-2018 with an individual page for each year showing the highlights.

It doesn't seem to have been issued in PDF: would any owner care to rectify the omission?

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

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.

Friday 9 November  Altrincham Electric Railway Society. Steam through Skelton Junction and Timperley Junction 1955-1968. A digital presentation by Tony Martin.

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.

Friday 14 December  Altrincham Electric Railway Society. People & Places 3. images of railway staff, enthusiasts, the general public and the steam railway. A digital presentation by Paul Shackcloth.

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

Friday 11 January Altrincham Electric Railway Society. Journeys through Wales during the 1960s including narrow gauge railways A colour slide presentation by Bill Chapman.

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]

Friday 8 February  Altrincham Electric Railway Society Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells 2010-2016. A digital presentation by Ian Pilkington.

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

Friday 8 March Altrincham Electric Railway Society. The Glorious Steam Railways of India. Steam across India from 1976 to the early 1980s. A digital presentation by John Sloane.

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

Friday 12 April  Altrincham Electric Railway Society Great Western and Southern Steam in the West Country. A colour slide presentation by Alf Storey.

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.

LMS pacific 6233 Duchess of Sutherland and support coach at Chorlton en route from the East Lancashire Railway to Southall after taking part in the ELR's recent Autumn Steam Gala. Hopefully in 2019 the locomotive will be seen hauling excursions along the North Wales Coast line.The 'Railway Touring Company' headboard and wreath worn by 6233 are in memory of Mr Nigel Dobbing, Managing Director of the Company, who sadly passed away on 14 October. Picture by Robert Meredith.

Contributors: the change to GMT is a good time to check your camera's time and date settings. Sometimes it helps to check the 'Exif' data when we aren't sure of the train workings in your pictures. - Charlie

Britannia returns

A herd of Friesians near Beeston ignores the passing of 70000 Britannia on its first loaded test runs after overhaul under the auspices of Locomotive Services Ltd on 23 October. Picture by Phil Clarke - also available on video. The trains ran from the company's Crewe depot to Coton Hill sidings, Shrewsbury, and back, returning via Bushbury Junction and Stafford to avoid a reversal.

Nearing the completion of the successful run at Chorlton on the approach to Crewe (Robert Meredith). The headboard bears the logo of Saphos Trains, the excursion-operating arm of Mr Hosking's 'empire'.

Leaving Crewe on the second trip, 24 October, also on video (Phil Clarke).

Passing Balderton Crossing on the Chester - Shrewsbury line  (Bob Greenhalgh). 70000 entered service with British Railways in January 1951, the year of the Festival of Britain (where sister loco 70004 was on display at the South Bank exhibition in London) and was withdrawn in 1966 after just 15 years of service.

Purchased for preservation by a specially-created company, she worked on heritage lines (and main line specials from 1991-97) until her boiler safety certificate expired. Sold to Peter Waterman, and then to Jeremy Hosking whose Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust returned it to working order by 2012. Unfortunately 'An unfortunate series of setbacks' (the owners' words) in 2013 (problems with boiler stays)  and 2015 (vibration issues) led to it being returned to works for another overhaul which is now complete.

Seen at Valley - by Greg Mape

On 24 October 67 020 passes Valley RAF station & Airport with the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead. Rumours that this coaching stock would not be used by the new franchise appear to be unfounded.

Ten minutes later at 12:42, a pair of Virgin Class 221 Voyagers on 1D83, the 09:10 London Euston to Holyhead approach their destination ...

... passing the RAF station's 'gate guardian', a BAE Hawk T1 trainer painted in the current black paint scheme, with 4 Flying Training School markings. 175 of this version were delivered to the RAF from 1976. Last year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF, the Hawk replaced the previous guardian, a Hawker Hunter (WV396), which had stood guard for 20 years and has been moved to Tacla Taid, the Anglesey Transport Museum.

Rail Head Treatment Trains (etc)

The Rail Head Treatment Train with 56 087 leading arrives at Llandudno Junction shortly before 10:30 on Friday 26 October. The 'Colas Rail Freight' markings were barely visible on the side of the loco, such is the nature of their work (Gethin Jones).

While 56 078 waited on the rear of the train before proceeding towards Bangor, Transport for Wales 158 140 arrived into Llandudno Junction on the 10:44 Llandudno - Manchester Airport (Gethin Jones).

Llandulas viaduct, 26 October. For new readers, this train uses high-pressure water jets to clean the head of the rail and prevent train wheels slipping on the grease which results from leaves being crushed. Each weekday evening it sets off on a complex itinerary which begins from Coleham depot near Shrewsbury and covers the Cambrian line to Machynlleth and back overnight, worked by the Class 97/3 locos that are fitted with the necessary ERTMS signalling system, than changes to the two 56s for a run to Craven Arms and back to Shrewsbury, then via Wrexham to Bidston and back, then Crewe and Chester, departing along  the North Wales line at 09:28 for a return run to Holyhead and back, then Crewe and Shrewsbury, arriving back at Coleham at 16:32.

A week earlier on 19 October, the return run passes Sandycroft (Tim Rogers).

Gerald's morning

On the morning of 26 October,  67 014 waits opposite The Buttermarket  at Shrewsbury for departure at 08:10 with the 'Premier Express', 05:34 Holyhead to Cardiff Central.

Last and First at Aberystwyth

Denis Bates was on hand at Aberystwyth station late on 13 October to bring us pictures of the station's last Arriva Trains (23:31 arrival and 23:35 departure) ...

... and the first Transport for Wales train on Sunday 14 October (09:20 arrival and 09: 30 departure). Unit 158827 worked  both trains. The Saturday train only ran from Machynlleth, and the Sunday one only went to Machynlleth, as there were bus substitutions further east.

On the Narrow Gauge

On Saturday 20 October the Penrhyn Quarry Railway Society held its AGM at Llanuwchllyn station at the Bala Lake Railway. After the meeting a special train of three Penrhyn coaches and ex-Penrhyn loco Winifred ran from Llanuwchllyn to Bala and back for PQRS members. Here the train waits to depart Llanuwchllyn (Bob Greenhalgh).

Autumnal scene on the Llanberis Lake Railway, 22 October (Greg Mape).

Snowdon Mountain Railway loco no.6 tackles the climb out of Llanberis, 22 October. Picture by Greg Mape, who had to deploy his asthma inhaler after getting too close to the loco.

Corwen Central signalbox arrives - report by George Jones

The movement of the former Weston Rhyn signal box cabin to Corwen from store at Carrog took place on Thursday 25 October. Lifted onto a low loader, it was taken the two miles down the A5 to Corwen and brought up to the railway embankment for a lift onto the previously prepared base.

The 90 tonne road crane came from Buckley's Crane Services of Glan Conwy with the transport overseen by Rail Support Services. All was secured by Saturday morning and a cause for celebration.  The interior now needs renovation and completion of furnishings, plus a new set of steps. All in good time, followed by the eventual installation of a signalling frame and locking room equipment.

With the signal box installed as a major movement onto the site, the laying of the point work to complete the loop and the finishing of platform 1 wall are the next priorities. Standing adjacent to the Water Tank it looks the part as a major item of station infrastructure.  Success of the operation was down to a lot of time and effort by volunteers in preparing the structure for movement and finishing off the installation on site.

The Blue and Grey Years: Llandudno Junction 1988 - by Barrie Hughes

The view above dated 1 April 1988 shows the view looking down from Penmaenbach over the temporary sidings built on the site of Conwy Morfa caravan site, where I spent many happy years in the late 50s and once in the early sixties.

One siding provides access to some large concrete storage tanks and a another siding is complete with run rounds and cripple siding. The construction works were to enable the completion of the A55 immersed tube tunnel under the Conwy estuary opened on 25 October 1991. The campsite was restored with reduced area after the opening of the new road.

Four views from 4 June 1988.  The first shows 47 531 in large logo livery stabled on the recently re-laid siding hauling Bromine tanks for Amlwch as seen from platform 4 Llandudno Junction. This loco had a long career finally being withdrawn on 1 July 2001 and cut up at Crewe depot 1 April 2006 after a long period in store.

The same loco and train but this view clearly reveals it is standing on a recently constructed loop, possibly for run round purposes. At one stage these tracks would have led into the through Down loop line used by passenger trains on Platform 4.

08 472 was stabled at Llandudno Junction. The reappearance of a shunter at this location was due to additional traffic and shunting required by all the construction work for the A55 bypass, works for which are visible in the background. 08 472 has survived the great cull of shunting locos and is now in black livery and based at Craigentinny depot in Edinburgh shunting LNER rakes (the successor to the failed Virgin East Coast franchise). The loco may have seen used at the Conwy Morfa sidings shunting Castle Cement deliveries from the Padeswood factory.

142 025 calls in Platform 2 at Llandudno junction. This unit wore an GWR brown and cream livery allocated to so-called 'Skippers which were 'Pacers'  briefly operating in Devon and Cornwall before they were allocated away due to excessive flange wear on the sharply curved branch lines in that area.  [At that time it had been decided to run some services through from the TransPennine Route, and - incredibly - it was not uncommon for Class 142s to appear on such services as the 17:20 Holyhead - Hull. C.H.]

Class 142s have not been seen on the Coast line for a long time, although 142 025  in service Northern, working from Heaton depot in the North-east, but all such units are to be withdrawn by the end of 2019 as they do not comply with accessibility criteria.

New-livery 175 doings

A side view of 175 107, the first TfW-liveried train, at Bagillt (with a little water in view for a change) forming the 11.37 Manchester Airport - Llandudno on 9 October -the unit's second day in traffic in the new livery which is also now carried by two-car set 175 003.

175 107 departs from Shotton Low Level at 15:33 on 9 October forming the 14:40 Llandudno - Manchester Piccadilly (David Rapson).

On 18 October at Manchester Piccadilly, 107 departs on the long trek to Milford Haven as 1V31, 14:31 from Piccadilly, schedules to reach  the Pembrokeshire port at 20:21 (Greg Mape).

Yellow ends

In a previous piece on this livery we mentioned the need, or otherwise, for yellow end panels  on trains. Steve Bratt has kindly sent us some notes correcting our earlier generalisation.

Theoretically new stock has no need for yellow ends under current rules because new-build stock is required have the new specification headlights. Older stock could be fitted with new headlights and therefore not need the yellow -  but that would cost money. The 175s won't be in service for more than a few more years so it's not worth it. Any stock that gets a major refurbishment ought to come out with new specification headlights. In reality there could be a sort of transition whereby the yellow areas will get smaller to allow track staff to get used to not having them, there is a worry that a new train without them running on a route where most trains still have them may not register as well.

If you look at photos of the livery of the Class 230 units for the London Midland Railway Marston Vale, the end is much less than the basic test rig set, and the published drawings for the TfW livery on new stock don't have it. Track staff automatically react to the yellow, like train drivers sound their horns at orange (even if it is a traffic cone or gas canister...).   Northern have retained yellow front ends on on their new class 195s, even though they must surely have the new lights, but TransPennine Express seem to be going without them, although they could be added very easily, the standard for colour match isn't strict and vinyl panels can be used - they could get them overnight off eBay!

Class 40 on the Coast: another look - by Roger Carvell

Despite bad weather I was savvy enough to have already booked advance cheap Virgin
Trains tickets from London Euston to Llandudno Junction on 13 October to see D213 Andania back on her own home ground after so many years had passed since the coast had witnessed and heard a 'Whistler' passing along. Back in the 1960s, such diesels would have attracted little comment and D213 appeared many times through Flint in my spotting book. How time has moved on, eh?! So good to see D213 in action again. I photographed D213 at Llandudno Junction, about to depart for Holyhead (above)  ...

... with D1733 on the rear ...

...  and later on return at Crewe - thank goodness for cab lighting! E3137 Peter Pan/Les Ross was a bonus too, pausing at Crewe with a return Carlisle to Euston 'Cumbrian Coast charter. It really did feel like Crewe in the 1960s.

Saturday was the last day of Arriva Trains Wales and all trains seen were de-branded. In the last few hours of ATW, anonymous 150 227 is seen returning to Chester on a mid-evening departure; such is the short turnaround of this shuttle service (almost), the 'Crewe' blind hasn't yet been
changed. Just how the new incumbent company will be announced, simply, over station PA systems is awaited with interest. [Simply 'Transport for Wales service' it seems. - C.H.].

Earlier in the day, an  unbranded Northern Pacer unit at Chester; 142 036 was stranded by the current RMT conductors' dispute; no trains run on the Northwich line in strike days, replaced by a  few buses which are allowed two hours and 45 minutes to reach Stockport. It sulked all day, poor thing.

To sum up, ATW timekeeping was perfect all afternoon and I enjoyed my day down the coast. The Class 175s are smooth riders and much more comfortable to travel in than the now notoriously uncomfortable new Thameslink Class 700s that have been inflicted upon us here on the Great Northern. Only the 175's interior walls and floors let the class down; they are desperately tired and need a refresh.

13 October (in the Rain)

A last look at the unusual visitors to the coast line on 13 July: this pictures taken in difficult conditions by Ian Wilson are too good not to publish.  Above, two Class 150 units on load from Northern on one of their many strike days, with 150 222 leading...

... and rather more interesting, following ten minutes behind, D213 with the Saphos Trains excursion to Holyhead. Ian writes: ' I was the only soul to brave the elements at this location. My camera protected by a large clear sandwich bag with a hole in the end. It seems to have worked!

There was an unfortunate error in our earlier coverage of this train: it was always booked to go to Holyhead; it was of course the Llandudno Junction to Llandudno trip which was added to compensate for the unavailability of the Conwy Valley line.

Talgo for Mostyn?

Spanish company Talgo, famous in the past for its unconventional articulated train designs with just one axle per section, is bidding for the contract to build - not just assemble - trains for HS2, and is considering locations for a possible UK factory to build them. As well as locations at Newton-le-Willows, Leeds, Chesterfield Hunterston and Longannet , they have been in discussions with the Welsh Government and the Port of Mostyn for a possible site at Mostyn Docks. The hope would be to build trains for export as well as for the UK; a more hopeful view than the warnings about leaving the EU coming from Airbus just up the line.

The trains would be known as Avril UK, said to mean 'Alta Velocidad Rueda Independiente Ligero' , roughly translated as Light High-Speed Independent Wheel' - new lightweight design with end power cars, and trailer cars just 14m long.

The artist's impression (upper picture) shows a rather aesthetic front end, especially compared to the impressions of the continental version illustrated on the Talgo website.

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