Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

22 July 2019


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

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..

67 014 at Prestatyn with the 16:50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno, 18 July. Picture by Dave Sallery.

Time has beaten us again - we'll have an extra issue on Friday evening to catch up: some interesting historical pieces will be included.  - Charlie

The Conwy Quest  steam special

We now have booking details of the steam special running on Saturday 3 August to celebrate the re-opening of the line to Blaenau Ffestiniog.  The 'Conwy Quest'  from Chester will be double-headed  by 48151 and 46115. The fare for Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog is £75 return.
To book tickets call 0844 856 0688 (opening times Mon -Fri 0830-1630). Timings are on the TfW website.

Conwy Valley (partial) re-opening  - report by Ken Robinson

Passing Llanrwst on Thursday afternoon 18 July, I called at Gogledd Llanrwst North station expecting to see a Class 150 unit there 'waiting time' for the return service to Llandudno, as the line was open again as far as Llanrwst following repairs to extensive flood damage.. There was no train so I guessed the unit was at Llanrwst station, and there it was: 150 284 almost ready to depart Llanrwst with the 15:32 to Llandudno.

The temporary stop block at the southern end of the station.

A 'Road Transport Co-ordinator' on hand to give intending passengers some advice.

Trains return to Llanrwst - video by Eryl Crump

Dolgarrog station problem - report by Geraint Rowlands

The Conwy Valley line's  reopened to Llanrwst,  but Dolgarrog station remains closed for the time being. I've attached a photo that  shows the current state of the station: the platform hasn't been rebuilt yet.  The fencing that blocks the platform from the footpath happens to have an  info board from the refurbishment of Helsby's footbridge!

The Irish Mail

The Railway Touring Company 'Irish Mail' excursion from Liverpool to Holyhead featured haulage by 45690 Leander, unusually without a diesel on the rear.  We pick up the train crossing  the Weaver Navigation at Frodsham, with the preserved tug Daniel Adamson moored in the foreground (Ian Pilkington).

Passing Hawarden Airport (Bob Greenhalgh).

Passing the site of Mold Junction loco shed (Ian Pilkington).

Flint (Glyn Jones).

Rhyl (John Myers). John notes: 'As was the case when Princess Elizabeth passed through Rhyl a few weeks ago, the train was slowed and routed through the Down platform road and, from observation, the adjacent through line looks to have seen little recent use.'

Llanfairfechan (Rowan Crawshaw).

Rhosneigr (Peter Basterfield).

Taking water at Holyhead (Peter Basterfield).
37 610 at Large

On 16 July a Network Rail  train hauled by 37 610 worked the 06:47 Derby RTC to Shrewsbury John Cowlishaw's picture above shows it approaching  the top of Gresford Bank at Rhosrobin.

On the following day, 17th, it worked back to Wrexham (as the 11:48 Shrewsbury Coleham  to Bangor C.S.) again to reverse and run southwards.  It is seen heading north passing Hafod near
Johnstown ...

 ... and then south 34 minutes later with the driving trailer leading passing Bersham.  This time the train appeared to be restricted in speed at around 40 mph and deliberately trying to maintain that speed with intermittent throttle openings.  Whether this is related to the failed attempt to survey this section of track on 11 April (see earlier notice board) is not known (John Cowlishaw).

Heading for Bangor, passing Abergele station (Alan Martin).

The train spent the night at Bangor, departing for Coleham on 18 July (Rowan Crawshaw).

Propelling through Baguley, 19 July, working  Crewe to Derby via Chester & Crewe (Greg Mape).

Loco variety

66 785 at Vauxhall foot crossing near Ruabon with  spoil wagons forming train 6G63 07:00 Frodsham Junction - Bescot engineers' train,  Sunday 21 July (John Mathers)

66 712 Peterborough Power Signalbox, also on engineers' duty, Balderton Crossing, 21 July.

88 003 Genesis and 88 005 Minerva pass Llanfairfechan with the Valley - Crewe flask train, 18 July (Rowan Crawshaw).

The same locos pass Pensarn with same train, 20 July (Alan Martin).

31 271 Stratford 1840-2001 at Berwyn, Llangollen Railway, on 21 July . Picture by Gary Thomas who notes 'A nice enough day but a practically-empty train.'

Chester Saturday

The two-week line closure for the rebuilding of Acton Grange near Warrington  and bus substitution from Chester to Newton-le-Willows creates a queue of units in  Chester sidings as trains turn back early. Above, at 10:30 on 20 July three 175s lined up - 175 115 and 104 in view - plus a 158 -  ...

... and nearby 158 818 in TfW branding. No doubt this caused the cancellation of the advertised 'Chester Venturer' excursion with 45596 Bahamas which went to Hereford instead.

An interesting allocation to the trains on the new service via the Halton Curve this week has been three-car 175 109 - on at least two evenings at Wrexham on the one direct service from Liverpool arriving which arrives 18:50 - pictured  on 17 July - and observed on Saturday working the 14:27 departure from Chester at Runcorn running 6 minutes late. Hard to believe the loadings justify a three-car unit when a 150 or 158 usually do. At least the opening of the Curve provided some trains for residents of Helsby and Frodsham when the line east of Frodsham Junction is closed.

On 16 July 175 109 awaited the 19:09 departure at Wrexham as the ' Logs roared through with 70 814 on 16 July. The Lime Street train adds to Wrexham's evening rush hour being required to squeeze in between the 18:41 to Cardiff and the passing of the Logs at 19:00. It then should to wait for the 19:01 Llandudno to clear to gain its departure slot but frequently runs ahead as the  Llandudno is more often or not running late - as happened on the first evening, 20 May.

[The was a plan for the Carlisle - Chirk log train to run via Edge Hill (reverse) and the Halton curve during the Acton Grange diversions, , but so far the trains have been cancelled.  However in the morning of 22 July the sand train to the glass works at Ince & Elton did traverse the curve, after reversing at Garston.]

Freight views - by Barrie Hughes

I was in North Wales on 19 July hoping to catch a photo of the flasks, coils and logs. I had to make do with two out of three as the heavy rain 'took out' the flask opportunity - Manchester was hit by a tornado!. Nevertheless I turned up Pen-y-ffordd, still with hyphens (but not so in the timetable). Surprisingly there were a couple there video-ing the coil train on their camera phones. The signaller here does not release the signal until the train is within sight of it leading to a very slow roll through and full power being applied on the steep climb to Buckley Summit. The 10:29 Margam-Dee Marsh passed at 18:21 hauled by DB liveried 66 167 with a mixture of sliding hood and tautliner wagons.

Part two saw me move over to Ruabon to photo the Chirk log train. Colas liveried 70 814 hauled the Carlisle - Chirk Kronospan log train passing at 19: 17 ....passing at speed! The train was the 12:58 from Carlisle the previous day. The platform display is showing mixed messages!  The former Barmouth bay platform is now completely overgrown and fenced off with palisade fencing; the footbridge over the bay and former sidings area is also fenced off.

On 11 July at Buckley,  66 057 hauled the steel train and was working hard climbing the bank from Pen-y-ffordd to Buckley. it appeared to be running in the path of the new GBRf TWThO working Small Heath Lafarge to Pen-y-ffordd Cement. which became active on 21 May when presumably the sidings were commissioned, but there have been no reports of trains as yet.

Buckley station retains its GCR/LNER connections and appears to have been improved by station adopters. Part of the original yellow brick station building have been incorporated in Taff’s Taxis depot. A wheelbarrow/flowerbed is labelled LNER and a station sign resembling a signal is labelled ‘Buckley Junction’, which was the stations name for most of the 20th century. Of course, the station was never a passenger junction but the Buckley branch freight line took off to the west here.

The original Wrexham, Mold and Connah's Quay ran to Buckley (Old) station in Drury opening in 1866 and joined with the original Buckley Railway to Connah’s Quay which served various brickworks and collieries. After the Hawarden Loop line was opened on 29/3/1890 the Buckley (Old) station was closed but after local complaints about Buckley Junction being too far from the town centre, it was reopened from 1893-1895. For a full history of the Hawarden Loop see the Disused Stations website.

Llangollen line nostalgia

Reading about the new book about the Llangollen Railway reminded me of a photo I took in 1963 when the line was part of British Railways.  Ex-GWR 2-6-0 No.7310, a long-time resident of Croes Newydd Shed leaves Llandrillo Station with a Saturday  London Paddington to Barmouth train.

North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board