Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

06 May 2019


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

May 2019

Tuesday 14 May
North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Members' Photo. Competition.  Note change of date.

June 2019

Tuesday 6 June  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways: London Euston - Holyhead
Steam  Crewe-Holyhead and return

July 2019

Sunday 21 July  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways. Liverpool-Holyhead.   45690: Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Jn - Holyhead - Chester

Tuesday 23 July:  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways, Welsh Mountaineer: Liverpool-Holyhead  Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog  48151 or 45600: Preston-Manchester-Chester-Llandudno Jn-Blaenau and return

August 2019

Saturday 3 August Steam on the Coast: UK Railtours, 'The Irish Mail' London Euston - Holyhead
34046, 46100 or 70000 Crewe - Holyhead and return

The 'Ynys Mon Express' passes Rhyl on 4 May. Picture by Roly High

Quite a lot of pictures today, thanks to all contributors - this link goes down to the items not related to the 4 May Charters. - Charlie

All about TfW

The current issue of Modern Railways magazine includes an 18-page 'Wales and Borders Special' which details the plans for the new TfW franchise in some detail.  The rolling stock section tells of the forthcoming replacement of the Premier Express stock 'by the end of the year' with three rakes of four Mk4 coaches (to be released by LNER) plus Driving Van Trailers, which will provide three return trips on weekdays on the Holyhead - Cardiff axis, all with restaurant service, and timings to enable the service of breakfast, lunch and dinner.  There will be two diagrams, and power will continue to be Class 67. The Manchester loco-hauled diagram will be taken over by the 175s released by this.

Manchester - South Wales trains are to have First Class accommodation when the new stock arrives.

The five Class 230 rebuilt London Underground trains will be 3-car sets, based at Wrexham General, and will initially work the Wrexham - Bidston route, and then be phased in to the Crewe - Chester service and then the Conwy Valley line.  Apparently it had been suggested that there might be issues regarding emergency evacuation in the single-track Ffestiniog tunnel, as they do not have cab end doors, but TfW are satisfied that there is room to walk alongside the train if necessary.   (That's reassuring, as many types of stock without such end doors have worked there over the years.)

The authors make no comment about the replacement of the 158s and 175s with new units with 'suburban style' one-third /two-thirds door layout. Nor is there anything about the termporary appearance of shortened HSTs on TfW services, reported on the Social Media grapevine.

Other chapters in the piece cover stations, electrification in the south, etc. Worth a read.

Busy Day on the Coast
Most unusually for recent times, on Saturday 4 May the Coast line saw four excursion trains, two steam- and two diesel-hauled:
07:01 Leicester - Holyhead 'Ynys Mon Express' with 60163 Tornado (Abergele pass 11:08)
05:33 Norwich - Holyhead  ‘Welsh & Victorian Highlander’ with 68 018 and 66 033 (Abergele pass 12:06)
08:27 Dorridge - Llandudno 'Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza' with 7029 Clun Castle  and 47 773  (Abergele pass 12:21)
06:00 'The Llandudno Day Pullman Peterborough - Llandudno via Wakefield with 47 854 Diamond Jubilee and 47 832 (Abergele pass 13:08)
The following four items record the working of the four trains. Apologies for not including every image received, but we have tried to include at least one from every correspondent. There'll be a second helping next week, as we have received further selections while compiling this one.

Ynys Mon Express

We pick up the new-build Tornado passing the Hawarden aircraft facilities by Beeches Farm west of Chester. (Bob Greenhalgh).

Flint (Glyn Jones).

Ken Robinson writes: I spent a great couple of hours at Abergele (Pensarn to be precise) and it reminded me of summer days spent there in the 90's when there was a remarkable variety of motive power on show e.g. Railfreight Coal Day on 11 August 1991, and the 37's of course. Above, Tornado passes.

On the return working,  at Bangor (Rhodri Williams).

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).

Welsh & Victorian Highlander

Rhyl (Roly High).

68 033 on the rear at Rhyl (Roly High).

Abergele (Ken Robinson). NENTA originally stood (we think) for North East Norfolk Travel Association, but the name of the firm is now Nenta Traintours.

Conwy (Matthew Hall). The passengers on the platform don't seem very interested in the passing 'cats'.

On the return at Bangor with 68 033 leading  (Rhodri Williams).

Towyn (Peter Laithwaite).  68 033 is one on the two DRS locos (034 is the other) which have been equipped with the features needed for the TransPennine passenger services - not the destination display in the front window - but only for use when one of the dedicated locos is not available.  DRS livery has been retained, but they remain un-named.

68 018 on the rear amid the caravan landscape at Towyn (Peter Laithwaite).

Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza

7029 Clun Castle hurries through Flint on its mission to visit the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza (Glyn Jones).

Rhyl (Roly High).  This loco was built by British Railways at Swindon in 1950; for a while after Nationalisation, locos continued to be turned out to the designs of the old companies.

Abergele (Ken Robinson). Withdrawn in 1965, 7029 was bought from BR in 1966 for £2400 by Patrick Whitehouse,   whom older readers will remember from the 'Railway Roundabout' TV shows in the 1950s. It has returned to the main line this year for the first time since the 1980s.

47 773 (or D1755) on the rear at Abergele (David Hennessey). The fashion for painting both old and new numbers on diesels is almost as irritating to poor reporters like us as the craze for re-numbering steam locos. What is the official number? Or is that something else altogether like 89455?

The steam loco remained on the Holyhead end of the train for the return journey as far as Chester where the train was to reverse. 7029 is seen above on the rear passing Flint (Glyn Jones).

Back in charge after the reversal, 7029 passes Green Lane crossing on the Wrexham line (Bob Greenhalgh).

Wrexham General, 20 minutes late (George Jones).

The Llandudno Day Pullman

Repair work under way on the waste terminal sidings at Northenden as 47 854 passes en route for Chester and North Wales (Greg Mape).

Rhyl (Roly High).

Rhyl (Chris Morrison).  This train was formed mainly of Pullman coaches built in the 1960s for the West Coast mainline and now owned by West Coast Railways. Based on the BR Mk2 design, they can be recognised by their inward-opening doors, a Pullman company tradition not found on the many standard Mk2 vehicles repainted in Pullman livery by present-day operators.

Abergele (Ken Robinson).

47 832 brings the return train through Towyn, with the two second class coaches behind the loco (Peter Laithwaite).  The destination on the return was beyond Peterborough at Gainsborough Lea Road, calling at intermediate stations, which had been served after departure from Peterborough on the outward route.

Diesel Doings

The 08:08 Northern Belle to Scarborough departs from its starting point, Chester on 4 May behind 57 314 (Bob Greenhalgh).

Seen on  25 April at Bridge Street Footbridge, Shotton: The 10:55 Derby R.T.C.(Network Rail) to Crewe C.S. (L&NWR Site) New Measurement Train on its way to Holyhead, with 43 013 Mark Carne CBE leading. Picture by John Watt.

The return NMT with 43 062 John Armitt leading past a rather flimsy-looking buffer stop on the headshunt of the new loop line (Tim Rogers).

67 029 Royal Diamond passes Winwick Junction on 1 May with 1D31, the 16:50 Manchester - Llandudno (Peter Laithwaite).

The first train of the day from the Capital to North Wales, 175 001 awaits departure at Cardiff Central as the 05:21 to Holyhead on 4 May ...

... and arrived at Bangor a few minutes early at 09:33. Pictures by Gethin Jones.

Great Britain XII

As has become a regular event, the Railway Touring Company's week-long 'Great Britain' tour operated again in 2019.  The section from the West Somerset Railway junction at Bishops Lidyeard to Preston via the Marches line and Chester on 29 April featured haulage by 6233 Duchess of Sutherland, seen above passing Gobowen (Martin Evans).

Arriving at  Wrexham General with little fuss to halt at the north end for a 21-minute stopover to allow the 16:20 Cardiff off Chester to clear the single line section (George Jones).

A disappointment for those who expected it to stop in platform 2 for closer inspection (George Jones).

Balderton Crossing (Bob Greenhalgh).

Chester Venturer, 27 April

The 'Chester Venturer' on 27 April was a Vintage Trains excursion from Dorridge to Chester, seen above in driving rain at Wrexham (Jim Ikin).

Tyseley-based loco 47 773 / D1755 on the rear (Martin Evans).

Chester (Roly High).

With 'Storm Hannah' conspiring to make outdoor photography almost impossible, 7029 accelerates the return leg of the Chester Venturer past the site of the former Croes Newydd MPD at Wrexham. 52 years previously (4 March 1967), this locomotive passed the same location
hauling the 'Zulu' special from Banbury to Chester and return. (See our 6 March 2017 issue).

North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board