Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

26 August 2019

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

September 2019

Tuesday 3 December North Wales Railway Circle  Well-known local historian and author Dr David Gwyn will present ‘1834: The first scenic model railway.’

Friday 6 September Clwyd Railway Circle meeting at the Jubilee Community Centre, Prestatyn commencing at 10.30 am.

Saturday 7 September Steam at Chester 'The Cheshireman' Railway Touring Company, Norwich - Chester

Monday 16 September RCTS Chester "Northern Rails – West Of The Pennines" Steve Armitage.

Steve from Leeds will show a wide range of railway images from the LNWR/MR pre-grouping era to BR in North West of England and North Wales. 

 October 2019

Wednesday 2 October RCTS Liverpool "To Hell And Back " Bevan Price. Bevan, a Branch member for 60 years, presents his photographs during his 50 years of rail travel throughout Britain and Europe.

 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.

Saturday 12 October Steam at Chester. Vintage Trains 'Cheshire Venturer' Dorridge - Chester.

Saturday 12 October UK Railtours The Snowdon Panorama (diesel) London - Llandudno Junction

Monday 21 October RCTS Chester "South Wales Railways since the 1970s " Stuart Warr. Stuart from Cardiff will look back at the changing face of railways across South Wales since 1973, featuring steam and diesels working all manner of services with a few rare views.

 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.

Friday 8 November Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express  London - Holyhead, Flying Scotsman Crewe - Holyhead - Crewe.

Monday 18 November RCTS Chester "Railway Safety" David Maidment. David Maidment will discuss the change in railway safety management systems and safety culture from his experience in South Wales in the 1960s, as Regional Operating Manager of the LMR in the 1980s.  Also as Head of Safety Policy at the BR Headquarters in the 1990s

 December 2019

Wednesday 4 December RCTS Liverpool "Liverpool And Its Railways " John Ryan. A look at the varied railways of Liverpool and its surrounding over many decades by former British Rail civil engineer.

 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.

Saturday 14 December Steam at Chester UK Railtours 'The Christmas Chester Chuffer' London - Chester. Steam  Bescot - Chester - Crewe.

Monday 16 December RCTS Chester "1960s Southern  Branch Lines" David Miller. A 1960s archive of black and white photographs mainly of Southern branches but also from further north, with some interesting diversions.  Images never seen before.

Thursday 19 December Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company 'The Chester Christmas Express' Stevenage - Chester. Loco 6233.

 January 2020

Monday 20 January RCTS Chester  AGM followed by "The Ffestiniog Railway" Geoff Coward. After 20.15 hrs Geoff will take a look at the steam loco’s of the Ffestiniog Railway, past present and future. Then a trip along the line from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog, looking at each station, maintenance facility and scenery

 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

Wednesday 5 February RCTS Liverpool "The Black & White Collection Of Bill Ashcroft " John Sloane

Bill Ashcroft was a well-known name in Lancashire steam railway circles and John Sloane from Wigan will present some of his large collection of monochrome pictures from the steam era.

 Monday 17 February RCTS Chester "The Unknown Warrior – The Patriot Rebuild" John Hastings-Thomson. The LMS Patriot project are rebuilding a Patriot, ‘The Unknown Warrior’ and this presentation will describe the huge amount of work and money involved to build a new steam locomotive.

 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

Monday 16 March RCTS Chester "The Lever Brothers Railways Of Port Sunlight" Mike Lister Telling the story of Levers’ railways.  The soap factory was constructed in 1888 and its railways covered 54 track miles and the talk will describe the railway within the soap factory and other factories at Bromborough.

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

Wednesday 1 April RCTS Liverpool "L&Y Engines At Work" Paul Shackcloth

Paul Shackcloth is the photographic historian for the Manchester Locomotive Society who have a large collection.  This talk will show Lanky locomotives at work over the whole of the ex-L&Y network, including Liverpool Exchange.

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..

 Monday 20th April RCTS Chester "Another Colourail Journey" Paul Chancellor

A Ninth Colour-Rail Journey will again trawl this vast collection of images for both views from across the country and through time, so expect both steam and modern traction to appear with may be the odd bit of infrastructure thrown in for good measure.

On 26 August, 67 010 propels the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead past Colwyn Bay beach. Picture by Greg Mape.

Note: The Forthcoming Events list has been updated. More entries welcome. - Charlie

Class 397 on the Coast

We knew 'something was afoot' when we heard on 16 August of what looked like Transpennine Express carriages spotted travelling by low-loader in the direction of North Wales. It turned out to be the carriages of  397 002. a Hitachi-built electric multiple unit which had been undergoing tests  on the Velim test track in the Czech Republic, and had been landed from a ferry at Immingham. It was on its way to the former Anglesey Aluminium sidings at Holyhead where the train would be assembled.  The Leicester-based Rail Operations Group for the the job of collecting the assembled train, and a train of translator and brake-force vehicles was despatched to North Wales on 21 August. We pick  up  592O 09:16 Leicester L.I.P. to Holyhead Anglesey Aluminium at Beeches Farm west of Chester, with 47 815 Lost Boys 68-88  leading and 48 823 Jack Frost on the rear. Picture  by Bob Greenhalgh.

At Bridge Street Footbridge, Shotton, running 21 minutes late at 12:59. Picture by John Watt.

  Greg Mape was at Flint station ...

 .... 47 813  heading west.

The next morning, 22 August, and  the pair return with their futuristic load ...

... all wrapped up in plastic. An anti-vandalism measure, perhaps. Twelve of these five-car sets are on order, to replace Class 350s on services to Scotland.

47 815 now on the rear as the train heads for the Britannia bridge. Pictures by Eryl Crump.

Passing temporarily-failed 67 010 on 1H89 13:07 Holyhead  - Manchester  Piccadilly. This train eventually departed Bangor at 13:59, 24 minutes down, after the driver had performed various tasks on the loco, including shutting down the engine. The rear two coaches were locked out of use, possibly linked to the loco problem?  Bangor pictures by Jim Johnson.

47 813  led the formation onto the up main, at 09:06, where it was booked to stand until 09:42.
221 117 The Wrekin Giant arrived as 1A23 08:55 Holyhead-Euston...

... and departed on time.

47 813 makes a claggy departure, 1 minute early at 09:41, destination Crewe.

The long pause gave an opportunity to  look at some details of the train.

This translator vehicle, which allows the loco to connect to the unit's 'Dellner' couplers, has clear signs of its Southern Region origin.

The European Vehicle Number of the 397 on display.  These numbers are also appearing  on new Northern units, but UK users seem to  have failed to understand how the numbers should be shown on trains - this should be 94 70 0471 002-8 and have an owner code added at the end.

Pensarn (Alan Martin).

Pensarn (Alan Martin). Notice  stacks of conduiting blocks along trackside, presumably for housing the cabling which is currently exposed on the surface?

Bagillt (Tim Rogers). The extra vehicles are Mk1 Translator vehicles 68504 and 68501,  which started life as Class 414 driving motor cars, rebuilt in the 1980s to act as driving vehicles for Gatwick Express trains which has a Class 73 electro-diesel loco at the other end, and including luggage space.The two 'QSA' brake force runners QSA ADB977087 and  QSA ADB975875 were formerly Mk1 Brake Seconds.

TransPennine loco-hauled

Some information for those interested in loco-hauled passenger trains: the TransPennine  Class 68 diesel / Mk5a coach push-pull fleet entered passenger service on 24 August with just one diagram, as below, although it seems there have been some teething troubles, so don't bank on it.  Indeed, on 26 August the 1F25 service was cancelled at Victoria due to 'a problem with the train' and the rest of the day was cancelled. The service is routed via Victoria and Eccles:

1F84 05:55 Manchester Victoria - Liverpool Lime Street
1E25 06:56 Liverpool Lime Street -  Scarborough
1F25 10:41 Scarborough - Liverpool Lime Street (Victoria dep 12:56)
1E39 13:56 Liverpool Lime Street - Scarborough (Victoria dep 14:33)
1F76 17:44 Scarborough - Liverpool Lime Street (Victoria dep 19:55)
1J53 20:56 Liverpool Lime Street - Stalybridge

The loco is at the Liverpool end.


68 034 and 68 033 cross Llandulas viaduct on the morning of 19 August heading for Valley.  Who thought in necessary to tell motorists that they could travel at 60 mph on the seafront? Picture by Greg Mape.

 Returning through Bagillt, 19 August (Tim Rogers).  We have it from a reliable source that these trains will cease running 'before the end of September.'

Connah's Quay, Maude Street crossing on 21 August, with 68 034 and 68 033 (Tim Rogers).

Bangor on 23 August, with 68 034 and 68 033 heading for Crewe with two flasks from Valley to Crewe (Ken Robinson).

Mostyn, 23 August with 68 034 and 68 033  (Tim Rogers).

Bank Holiday Monday 26 August, and a change of locos to 68 018 and 68 003. Picture by Greg Mape.

Class 68s will continue to operate on the flask trains to Bridgwater for Hinckley Point B. On 21 August, 68 001 Evolution and 68 004 on a Southbound flask train pass through Bristol Temple Meads. Picture by Richard Putley.

On the subject of things coming to an end, Barrie Hughes writes to tell us that  the Airbus barge carrying A380 wings to Mostyn will make its last journey in February 2020. Airbus has extended the runway and built crash barriers each end to protect the railway and the old A55 road, so wings will be taken out by an enhanced 'Beluga.' 

Visit to the Ribble Steam Railway - with Bob Greenhalgh

On 6 August I called in at the Ribble steam railway in Preston. Luck smiled on me and the railway was open; it was a volunteer recruitment day. I spent a few hours enjoying a ride on the railbus, a superb tour of the works and sheds led by a very informative guide  and saw shunter Progress push the loaded bitumen wagons into the Total works for unloading. A very pleasant day and a great credit to the volunteers who run the railway.


Martin Evans writes: 'I was passing through LLanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
on 21 August  hoping I might see the flasks, however, they were not running so I had to be content with 158 821 arriving at 16:15 with the service to Birmingham International.'

66 777 Annette passes Altrincham at 20:32 on 23 August with the 17:17 Liverpool - Drax biomass hoppers  (Greg Mape).

The view from 'Buffers' café on Pwllheli station on Tuesday 20 August; the train in the station is a new-livery 158 forming the 13:38 for Birmingham International. Note the blanket on the chair back which the café thoughtfully provides for its customers sitting in the station forecourt 'wind tunnel'.

On the subject of War Memorial trains, GWR HST Power car 43 172 Harry Patch continues in use  on the Class 255 short HST sets. On 1 August  it was on the front of 2D02, the 06:00 Exeter St Davids to Bristol Parkway service (Richard Putley).

An open day today at the Llandudno Lifeboat station on 18 August included a display featuring a coastguard helicopter and the two lifeboats, one large (Shannon Class) and an inshore lifeboat (Greg Mape).

Chris Jones-Bridger writes: 'Nice to see the mention of class 87 still earning an honest living in Bulgaria after being made redundant in the UK.   I took this picture of 87 033 formerly Thane of Fife at lunchtime on 21 August  on Monday in Vidin, Bulgaria.  From a personal perspective having been involved with the control of the WCML electric fleet for several years it is sad that the post- privatisation years could not have seen these valuable machines cascaded to continued useful deployment at home.'

[Sadly, this intriguing name won't re-appear on a TransPennine loco as 68 033 is retaining DRS livery.]

Road Classics

Stuart Samuel writes: 'The last thing I expected to see parked by the Marine Lake in Rhyl on 25 August was this Daimler Fleetline with distinctive Mancunian Bodywork, new to SELNEC in 1971. running a trip by Telford Travel to Rhyl for the air show.'

And finally ... 67 010  and Greg Mape's Citroën 2CV  in matching livery.

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