Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

15 July 2019


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

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  Cancelled due to Flood Damage

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

September 2019

October 2019

Saturday 5 October Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, National Railway Museum ‘Snow White to Stephenson’. This is a story about the search for strategic minerals, climate change, religious conflict, immigration, integration and innovation. Overall a very modern story, although this one starts over 400 years ago and from it emerges the technology we call railways.

November 2019

Saturday 2 November Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Geoff Stocker
‘Rebuilding the Welsh Highland Railway’ An illustrated presentation of the stage-wise re-construction of the WHR (closed 1936) on the abandoned trackbed, from 1995 to completion in 2010 & subsequent developments - including locos and rolling stock.

December 2019

Saturday 7 December Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. At Sale United Reformed Church lounge, Montague Road, Sale M33 3BU Including seasonal refreshments!
Owen Russell ‘Memories of the Woodhead Line’ The Woodhead line linked Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and London. As there were shorter routes to London, express trains often comprised only 5 or 6 coaches. The line was a good place to see a variety of GC and, later, LNER engines, which had to work hard on the notorious gradients. Like many steam routes, Woodhead was a line of contrasts.

January 2020

Saturday 25 January Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Centre AGM (brief) followed by: Christian Wyatt ‘21st Century signalling Control Centre – The Manchester Rail Operations Centre’ Christian Wyatt, a career railwayman with 38 years’ service, started as a signal box lad at Manchester Victoria and is now Project Operations Interface Manager for the London North Western route. One of his key responsibilities is the development of the Manchester Rail Operations Centre. Christian will describe the MROC from its build in 2012 to its present operational status.

February 2020

Saturday 22 February Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Tony Wright
‘Aspects of the Origins & Development of Monorails including Behr, Lartigue and the Manchester to Liverpool Lightning Express Railway’ You may remember Tony’s excellent presentation on Mayfield Station. Don’t miss this intriguing meeting.

Tuesday, 25 February  18:30 Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Joint meeting with the Newcomen Society, Location to be confirmed. Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, National Railway Museum ‘Sticking with steam – an examination of why Britain’s railways stuck with steam into the space age’ This talk examines some of the complex history behind moving on from the steam age on Britain’s railways and attempts an answer as to why the UK’s love affair with the steam hasn’t ended.

March 2020

Saturday 21 March  Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre.  Melvyn Roberts
‘Indian Summer of the Somerset & Dorset Railway’ The S & D was (and still is) many enthusiasts’ favourite cross-country railway. We will hear about its unusual history, but the main feature will be a slide show of its operations in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

April 2020

Saturday 18 April Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre.  Tim Owen ‘The activities of the Furness Railway Trust’ The Furness Railway Trust has a collection of six steam locomotives, including Furness Railway No. 20, plus historic carriages. The illustrated talk will cover the work of the Trust over the past 30 years..

Ffestiniog Railway 190 Lyd at Tanygrisiau inward and outbound from Blaenau Ffestiniog on  Sunday afternoon 14 July, taken from the road to Llyn Stwlan by Jim Ikin.

Flask twilight?

It can't be long now  before the de-fuelling trains from Valley cease operating;  there was some suggestion that the train on  10 July might be the last, with 88 007 Electra leading 88 004 Pandora at Old Colwyn (Alan Martin). This three-wagon train will be carrying around 450 of the original 90,000 total;  in October 2018 about 34,000 remained, but there have been some delays.

Passing Fynnongroyw (Barrie Hughes). The train did run again on Monday 15 July.


Two words missing from our caption of 68 010 in the last episode led to the false claim that Class 68s worked for the Wrexham & Shropshire company which closed before they were born ... apologies and  thanks to the readers who pointed this out. The intention was to say that the livery came from W &S.

With regard to the diagramming of the 156 / 153 combo on the morning commuter train from Ellesmere to Manchester and Leeds, the reason is that this service is worked by a Liverpool-based crew who don't 'sign' Class 158s.  These Chester - Leeds trains are destined to be taken over by new Class 195 units, but it may not now be before October.


On 6 July,  56 087 and 56 078 cross the Dee bridge at Chester at 18:50 with the 12:58 Carlisle New Yard - Chirk log train (Bob Greenhalgh).

On 8 July, Class 70 power on the logs in the shape of 70 814, seen passing Chester station (Bob Greenhalgh).

Ford wagons - the sequel

In the last issue we told of the train of redundant wagons from Bridgend to Ellesmere Port Manisty Wharf on 4 July which had to be left at Hooton due to a points failure.  Eventually, on 8 July, the movement was completed. 66 846 ran from Coleham depot in  the morning, photographed at Wrexham by Martin Evans.

Having collected the wagons, the loco returned with ran as the 13:36 Hooton to Ellesmere Port  and is seen passing Little Sutton with a little smoke to delight the gallery of around five on the platform.  Picture by John Cowlishaw who writes: ' It was an impressive sight but touched with reality that the wagons were going to store.'

 For new readers, this move is part of the closure process of the the Ford engine - making plant at Bridgend, which sent trainloads of engines to Ford's Dagenham works. Chris Coxon's picture shows the 4 July working passing Bache.  Freight trains on this Merseyrail line are a very rare event.

It is to be hoped that these modern wagons do find a new use; apparently there are others in the sidings at Bridgend which are also to be moved.

Chester to Windsor - Pictures by Wyn Jones

A 'Statesman'  railtour ran on Saturday 13 July from Chester to Windsor & Eton. These views are taken at Wrexham on the outward run. D1944/47501 Craftsman was leading with 47 853 (see left column heading) on the rear; the Statesman brand is now part of the Locomotive Services empire.

Royal Scotsman in Wales

On 7- 8 July the 'Royal Scotsman'  luxury train made a foray along the North Wales coast. Above, the train, having spent the night at Llandudno Junction, as the usual stabling at Llanrwst  is not available,  arrives 'right time' at 09:41 as 1Z78, the 07:40 Llandudno Junction to Bangor, via Holyhead, 66 746 leading (Jim Johnson).

Departing empty for Holyhead as 5Z78  at 09:53, direct from Platform 1, passing the seldom-used up loop 'dummy'.

Returning through Chester in the evening, with 66 743 leading 66 746. These dedicated locos are now part of the GB Railfreight fleet, having been originally delivered to DRS and later passed to Colas.

New book on the Llangollen line

The flow of new railway books from Amberley publishers continues with Doug Birmingham's The Llangollen Railway in the Late Twentieth Century.  The publishers tell us that 'This book shows the progress of the preserved line during the latter parts of the late twentieth century, including up to 2003. The photos included provide a brief view of the line as it wanders through the beautiful Dee Valley, showing the various ex-British Railways steam and diesel locomotives hauling an array of trains that have operated on the line as the railway expanded from Llangollen to Berwyn, Deeside Halt, Glyndyfrdwy and ultimately 8 miles on to Carrog.'

The 96-page paperback including 180 pictures is on sale from 15 July at a special online price of £13.49 from the Amberley website.

175 lash-ups

The Crewe - Chester shuttle service on 7 and 8 July was worked by a 5-car train comprising 175 107 (still 2-car since its centre car suffered fire damage) and 175 109, currently a 'hybrid unit'
formed of 50704 (from 175 004). 56759 (from 175 109) and  79705 (from 175 005).  The train crew told Mike Stone that for some reason the two units would only work if coupled together.  A number of the shuttle services  from Chester are booked to arrive in Crewe Platform 10, which is too short for a 5-car train; on 8 July the driver of the 08:55 from Chester noticed at North Junction that the train was routed into 10 and stopped to contact the signallers.

There are several mixed units at present: the two driving cars for 175 109 are running as 175 104.

Merchant Navy moves - report by Robert Meredith

Rebuilt 'Merchant Navy' class locomotive 35018 British India Line is seen above on the West Coast Main Line south of Crewe en route from Carnforth to Southall on 4 July  for the very first time since its restoration and return to mainline service. It had previously passed through Crewe with the West Coast Railways' "Salopian Express 1" from Barrow to Shrewsbury with 35018 working the train from Carnforth to Shrewsbury on  21 March 2018.

The locomotive was being used by the Railway Touring Company for excursions on 6 and 9 July from London Victoria to Weymouth and return. It is now the third member of the class to operate on the main line in preservation, the other two engines being 35005 Canadian Pacific and 35028 Clan Line.

The loco returned north on 15 July, seen near Basford Hall.

Glyndyfrdwy Classic transport,  6 July - report by George Jones

The Saturday of the two-day event was marred by a grey overcast and occasional drizzle after a week of blue skies. The Llangollen Railway was operating a steam service with 2-6-2T 5199 on the suburban set ...

 ...  contrasting diesel with visiting 31271 on the Mark 1s  ...

... and a 4-car DMU of three 108s, plus the 127. The timetable rang the changes with some services terminating at Glyndyfrdwy - one way to deliver patrons to the event in the field which attracted road vehicles and the British Motorbike show.

An outstanding vehicle in the line-up was the British Army AEC Matador lorry as restored by a Llangollen Railway member.

Timperley Freight scenes - pictures by Greg Mape

The Mid-Cheshire continues to be a mecca for freight watchers. These three trains from three different companies were captured (with the aid of a bicycle)  from viewpoints in the Timperley area within 1½ hours on Wednesday 10 July.  Above, 66 777 Annette of GBRf with a Liverpool Docks to Drax power station biomass train. Loaded biomass trains travel this way to access the Calder Valley line via Denton and Thorpes Bridge Junction to avoid the steep Miles Platting bank east of Manchester Victoria; the empty trains travel by the more direct route via Victoria and the old Liverpool and Manchester Railway line.

Not far behind, the 13:30  empty waste train from Runcorn to Northenden. pulled by 66 549 with about three  miles to go.  The 'Viridor' name on the containers has been painted out,  as the Greater Manchester Waste Authority has brought in-house (at a cost said to be £500 million) the operation of the four processing plants at Northenden, Bredbury, Dean Lane  and Brindle Heath . The sorry tale of this 'PFI' contract can be read in a Manchester Evening News story from 2018.

Finally the other way,  an all-red train.  60 062 Stainless Pioneer working the 14:18 (WFO) Peak Forest Cemex to Warrington Dallam freight depot stone  train.

Great Malvern to Belfast - with Richard Putley

Having been invited to visit a friend in Ulster,  I managed to book a combined train, bus and ferry return from Great Malvern to Belfast. The outward route which I took on 1 July  involved travelling from Great Malvern to Birmingham New Street. From there I caught the 11:15 Pendolino to Glasgow Central which was formed by 390 124. Departure was on time and we
ran on time as far as Crewe.

There I saw a brand new Trans Pennine Express Mk 5a loco-hauled set tucked away. These will be used on services from Liverpool - Scarborough and Manchester Airport - Middlesbrough. Some slow running North of Crewe meant we left Carlisle 8 minutes late. I managed to catch a picture of 57 304  Pride of Cheshire  there. I was a bit anxious as I had a 9-minute connection at Glasgow into the 15:34 to Ayr.

But I need not have been. Arrival at Glasgow was only 3 minutes down and I opted to catch the 15:30 to Ayr  as it departed from a nearer platform than the 15:34. The 15:30 was formed by 380 006. A punctual run to Ayr (above) followed, getting me there in plenty of time for the 17:05 bus to Cairnryan. The bus ran to time too, likewise the 19:30 ferry to Belfast.  [Notice the work hotel building in the background, which has been derelict for years and recently became so unsafe that part of the station had to be closed.]

The bus ran to time too, likewise the 19:30 ferry to Belfast.  My return leg on Thursday would be via Dublin, Holyhead and Hereford. So I travelled through all home Home Nations!

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