Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

14 January 2019


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

January 2019

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

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

Tuesday 5 March North Wales Railway Circle 'Next Train's Gone!'..Humph Davies with an illustrated historical survey of the route of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway & Successors, Part 1. Caernarfon -Rhyd Ddu.

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.

68 004 Rapid leads 68 003 Astute along the sea wall towards Mostyn on 9 January with the Valley - Crewe flasks. Picture by Tim Rogers.

A couple of points arise from last week's issue.  Firstly, that West Coast Railways coach in the sidings at Chester.  Real Time Trains for Monday 17th showed a movement from Chester sidings to Preston dock ('dock' and not what our bad typing produced!)  which we assumed to be the coach being returned to Carnforth with road transport on from Preston. However, eye-witness reports told that the coach was still at Chester the following day. The move on RTT was perhaps a track machine of some kind.

What looks like the actual removal of the coach is a West Coast Railways light-engine run from Carnforth to Chester on Friday 11 January, returning as 'empty stock'  train 5Z47 22:53 from Chester all the way to Carnforth Steamtown arriving at 02:58 - the slow timing because one of the axles was still on a 'wheel skate'  which requires a restricted speed. Does anyone have loco number?

Regarding the signal WE 7805 at Halton Junction,  Mike Stone writes to suggest that while it is indeed controlled by the Wavertree work station in Manchester Regional Operating Centre as we suggested,  the initials WE will signify Weaver Junction to Edge Hill, as the current scheme is to base the codes on the end-points of the area controlled, such as the recently-created FH for Flint - Holyhead.


11 January saw electro-diesels in action again on the Valley flask train, in the shape of 88 001 Revolution and 88 009 Diana seen above passing Llanddulas heading for Crewe (Alan Martin).  Most of the names applied to 88s are of 'classical' origin as originally applied to the 1500 Volt DC locos which worked on the now-lost Woodhead route.  The naming does not related directly to a deceased member of royalty: Diana was the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature.

The Woodhead line loco which carried this name, 27003, was exported to the Netherlands Railways, where it carried no. 1501, and on withdrawal in 1986 was saved by a group of preservationists named 'Workgroup 1501' (This link refers.) Currently it is out of service awaiting an overhaul.

The consist was three wagons,  FNA 550055, 550049 and 11 70 9229 010-7, as photographed by Tim Rogers at Lower Gronant.east of Prestatyn.

The question arises, how long will this service continue to run? The most up-to-date information we can find is a Government press release from 25 October 2018 which explains that of approximately 90,000 fuel elements to be removed in the de-fuelling process, at that date 33,800 remained. One flask holds approximately 150 elements, so in October there were less then 200 flask-loads to go and seven flasks were being transported per week, so 75% of the work was complete. (There was a hiatus for a while last year as the crane used to lift out the elements broke down).

The two trains on 9 and 11 January took three flasks each,  which seems to put the end around 30 weeks from the end of October, which seems to show that a mid-2019 target is in sight.

Looking back:   Chester 1989 - with Barrie Hughes

Here are some slide scans from 15 April 1989) on a visit to my parents at Buckley.  I visited Chester depot on the Saturday (with permission) and was surprised to find three Class 03 shunters stored there. With the demise of Birkenhead Mollington Street depot 25/11/85 remaining traffic in the area saw locos stabled at Ellesmere Port and Chester. The remaining 03s were then maintained at Birkenhead North depot, which still required a pilot, and outstabled at Duke Street on the MDHB lines. The 03s had previously worked in East Anglia before migrating to Birkenhead.

The picture above shows 03 162 carrying number D2162 and carrying the name Birkenhead South 1879-1985 in green livery with two stored companions without side rods. The other two are 03 170 and 03 073. 03 162 appeared at Rock Ferry for the MerseyRail 150 Event in 1987 and was withdrawn on 23/5/89 so may have worked at Chester for a short period. It was subsequently purchased by Wirral Borough Council and loaned to the Llangollen Railway where it arrived later in 1989. It has seen much use on PW duties and occasional brake van rides but may eventually be returned to the WBC transport museum in Birkenhead.

The trio of 03s were stored alongside the Britannia Carriage Washer at Chester depot. Rather surprisingly both of the other 03s also made it into preservation. 03 073 was withdrawn 23/5/89 eventually ended up at the Crewe Heritage Centre where it shunts stock and gives occasional brake van rides. 03 170 was withdrawn 3/89 and after 10 years with Otis Euro Transrail (Salford) it spent some time at the Battlefield Line before becoming yard shunter at the Epping and Ongar Railway. This locomotive has dual (air and vacuum) braking systems and was the last 03 converted and overhauled at Swindon works before the works closed.

 47 519 on a Mk IId aircon rake, probably a Euston-Holyhead working as seen from Hoole Road bridge. This loco would normally have taken over at Crewe from electric haulage. This loco was withdrawn 30/6/2005 and cut up at Thompson’s scrapyard Stockton 8/10/2005.

The same train, with enthusiasts noting numbers. There is a range of period cars in the Chester station car park occupying the site of the former Mold and Denbigh bays.

An overall view of Chester depot from the former CLC bridge shows that most of the DMU  fleet had acquired unit numbers on the front though in practice vehicles were often swapped whenever there was a coach failure in order to keep trains running. The stored Class 03s are centre stage while a Class 08 and 20 stand outside the shed and a line of 47s is visible far right. This motive power miscellany was not to last long at Chester depot.

Mid-Cheshire scenes - with Greg Mape

Seen through a long lens,  DB Cargo 60 039 Dove Holes, a regular sight on thiis line, brings a one-off train of limestone hoppers through Skelton Junction, Timperley on 14 January.

'Full House' at Altrincham on 14 January.   142 021 on the `11:41 Manchester to Chester, 66 528 Madge Elliott MBE with the 11:09 Runcorn to Brindle Heath domestic waste empties, a tram for Bury (direct)  in Platform 2 and a Piccadilly service in Platform 1.

The 09:56 Tunstead to Garston (Liverpool)  stone train, formed of Freightliner's MWA'  box wagons,   built in Poland re-using bogies from redundant coal hoppers, negotiates the skew bridge carrying Ashley Road over the line west of Hale. 'Mock Tudor' decoration is back in fashion, as shown by the new apartment block .

Passing the rather odd footbridge betwen Hale and Altrincham 142 091 on 2D74 12:41 Manchester Piccadilly to Chester.  passes  66 106 on the 10:55 Knowsley to Wilton 'Binliner ' recognisable by its DB Cargo loco, as the Manchester area versions uses Freightliner.  Mid-Cheshire line passengers - including those making the 80-minute journey from Stockport to Chester -  are eagerly anticipating the promised withdrawal  of the 'Pacer' trains, now not likely to be completed in 2019 as originally planned.


70000 Britannia passes Balderton crossing on a Saphos Trains trial run, 8 January (Bob Greenhalgh).

Late in the evening of Saturday 12 January, 507 032 and a sister unit stabled in terminal platform 1 at Hooton, to form the 07:46 to Chester on Sunday morning (Tim Rogers).

New livery pioneer 175 107 was already looking a little care-worn when photographed at Manchester Oxford Road working train 1H86 10:44 Llandudno to Manchester Airport (Charlie Hulme).

Once upon a time (last year) Oxford Road station had an office where staff were available to advise passengers about connections, late running, etc. until Northern saw a revenue opportunity and it was tramsformed into a a tiny branch of Costa Coffee, in competition with the long-standing 'Pumpkin' refreshment room yards away.  (Unfortunately for those who like to patronised British forms, Whitbread recently sold the Costa chain to the Coca-Cola company.)  Unsuccessful attempts were also made to market the cycle store on the approach as a possible café site.

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