Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

21 October 2019

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

 November 2019

Friday 1 November Clwyd Railway Circle  ''Shrewsbury to Holyhead in the 1980s' Geoff Morris

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.

Tuesday 5 November North Wales Railway Circle Dave Rapson. A digital presentation of all sorts.

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

Thursday 14 November  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Railway Signalling    Gareth Parry

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

Tuesday 3 December  North Wales Railway Circle   Christmas Bash - as usual please bring any items of interest with you.

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.

Friday 6 December  Clwyd Railway Circle  ' Member's Selections & Christmas Celebrations'
Members are invited to give a 15-minute presentation of their choice (any format).
Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

 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.

Thursday 12 December  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society A railway pictorial of steam Barry Wynne (Special Christmas meeting with quiz)

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

Tuesday 7 January  North Wales Railway Circle NWRC committee member and Coast Railway website contributor Peter Basterfield.   Home & Away.

Friday 10 January  Clwyd Railway Circle  “Railways Around Holywell Part 1' Ray Bailey

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

Tuesday 4 February North Wales Railway Circle Robin Humphrey-Davies ('Humph'). The route of the Welsh Highland Railway, Part 2, Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog.

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.

Friday 7 February Clwyd Railway Circle  'Rheilffordd Talyllyn Railway' David Murphy

Thursday 13 February  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Llangollen Railway    Dave Southern   

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

Friday 6 March Clwyd Railway Circle   Annual General Meeting - followed by a Film Show

Thursday 12 March    Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  plan to have a visit from a representative   from Transport for Wales. More details later

Tuesday 3 March North Wales Railway Circle Barry Wynne and Steve Morris.  Another show from Barry's superb collection.

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.

Tuesday 7 April North Wales Railway Circle   Richard Sant, Secretary of the LMS Patriot Company.  Progress on The Unknown Warrior

Thursday 9 April  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Trams in Llandudno (Including L & CBER and Great Orme Tramway) John Davies

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 20  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.

May 2020

Tuesday 12 May North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Photo Competition.

Thursday 14 May  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Evening Train Trip to Betws-y-Coed, where we will spend an hour in the Gwydyr. (Times will be confirmed later)



150 208 calls at Rhyl with the 14:36 Manchester Airport - Llandudno on 17 October.  Picture by Terry Mart. Class 150s seems to be appearing on long-distance workings rather too often recently.

Class 20s in Cheshire

An unusual event on 18 October was the light-engine movement of two Class 20 locos (20 132 and 20 118)  from the location north of Stoke-on-Trent known to the railway as 'Pinnox Branch Esso Sidings' via Stoke Sidewall Loop (reverse), Crewe, Latchford Sidings (reverse) and Helsby to Ellesmere Port Manisty Wharf, where the wagons previously used for traffic from the Ford plant at Bridgend are in store. Bob Greenhalgh photographed the locos on the outward run at Ince and Elton station.

They returned from Ellesmere Port as 6Z71  after a short time, hauling  one of the permanently-coupled pairs of Cargowaggon ferry vans, heading for another reversal at Latchford on the way to Garston, near Liverpool.  Above, pausing at Helsby station ...

... and departs.  The locos are from the Harry Needle Railroad Company fleet. Perhaps the wagons are being tried out for some new freight flow (Peter Laithwaite).

Having run around at Latchford Sidings 20 132 now leads 20 118 and passes  Fiddlers Ferry Yacht Haven (Peter Laithwaite).

Any Colour you like ...  as long as it's blue

Richard Hobbs, son of our much-missed contributor John Hobbs, writes: 'One of my friends, Richard Harper (who dad also knew and got on well with), has written a new book which might interest  readers:  Any Colour You Like' ….(As long as it's blue) about BR in the 1970s (see

'Richard and I spent a happy day reviewing and scanning a number of Dad's slides from the 70's to assist in illustrating the text. As a result, there's a number of North Wales coast & Cambrian photos in the book - in the 1970s Dad was a lift and crane engineer in North Wales and spent many happy lunchtimes eating his butties at the lineside. We were keen to look for the ordinary (rather than the out of the ordinary!) to illustrate some of the points Richard was looking to make. Clearly there's plenty of other photographers material in the book as well. By way of an appetiser, here is an absolute corker at Dyserth in 1970.'

[Can anyone identify the loco?]

A visit to Cardiff -  with Martin Evans

DB Cargo 66 199 waits for the road at Cardiff Central with a Margam steel service from Llanwern  at 12:20.

A sight soon (?)  to disappear:  'Pacer' 143 624 departs Cardiff Central with a service for Merthyr Tydfil at 12:25.

DB Cargo  66 125 brings the 6M86 Margam to Dee Marsh steel coil service through Cardiff Central.

DB  Cargo  66 161 brings up  the rear of the Margam To Margam Rail Head Treatment Train service, covered gunge as these water-jet trains  always are)  on its return to Margam, passing through Cardiff Central.

RHTT ... but not as we know it

Bob Greenhalgh visited Ince and Elton station on the Helsby to Hooton line to photograph the MPV DR98902 / 98952 used on RHTT duties. A bit different to 56s and 97s.

Mix-and-Match - from Dave Sallery's archive

A 158 coach coupled to a 156 coach at Prestatyn - what's going on?  Unlike the earlier 150s and 156 which had traditional brakes acting on the wheel rims, the Class 158s have disc brakes which act on the face of the wheel. When 158s first appeared, there were problems in the leaf-fall season, as crushed leaves adhered to the wheel tread, leading to cases of them being unable to carry the current between the rails which is essential for the train to be 'seen' by the track-circuits which prevent signals being cleared if a train is in section.

As a temporary solution, in October 1992 three 2-car 158s from the batch used for trans-Pennine services, some of which extended to North Wales at the period were split, and merged with three Class 156 sets to for six 'hybrid' units.  Normality was restored in December 1992 and 'scrubber blocks'  later designed to keep the wheel treads clean. (are these blocks still used today?)

Thanks are due to the '156 Super Sprinter Web Site'  which appeared around the time our site was being created in the 1990s, and although not updated since 2008, still survives on line.  Who remembers the 'Madasafish' Web hosting company?

Heart of Wales Line 150 - book review

Christopher Magner's home-published books are something of  a phenomenon, and his latest offering is no exception.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Heart of Wales / Central Wales line in 2018 he has compiled a  brief history of the line and a diary of significant events on the line from 1958 to 2019, from the amusing - Class 03 on a passenger train - to the tragic - the Glanrhyd bridge  disaster. The stories of how the attempts at closure of the line were fended off make interesting reading. The many special (some royal) trains which have run are described with appropriate anecdotes, and there are colour pictures, all in 120 A4 pages.

Readers who would like a copy should email Chris at

Llangollen by Night - pictures by Gary Thomas

Classes 31, 25 and 47 were on show during an East Midlands Railway Photography Society (EMRPS) night photography charter on Saturday 12 October.

31 271 on freight ...

... Visitor D7535 ...

... 1566 ...

... and  Foxcote Manor on the 8pm service train.

A Tim Rogers selection

9 October, Sandycroft. 175 113 is 1H88 12:54 Llandudno Junction to Manchester Airport

56 090, FEA 642027,  642045, FEA 642016, 56096 on 3S71 21:20 Rail Head Treatment Train Shrewsbury Coleham to Shrewsbury Coleham  via Welshpool, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Bidston, Wrexham, Shrewsbury, Crewe, Holyhead & Crewe.

10 October, Maude St. foot crossing, Connah's Quay. 175 114 1H88 12:54 Llandudno Junction to Manchester Airport.

150 259 1D13 11:10 Birmingham International to Holyhead.

RHTT in action.

18 October,  Mostyn67 010 propelling 1H89 13:07 Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly.

150 241 1D37 12:36 Manchester Airport to Llandudno

153 312 is 5T51 12:30 Llandudno Junction to Chester, driver training.

56 113 in place of 56 096 on the RHTT. Wagons 642027, 642045, 642016.

19 October, Shotton.  150 208 2J53 08:31 Bidston to Wrexham Central

56 090 and Chester signal CR 212.

19 October, Flint.  221 101 101 Squadron . 1D88 14:10 London Euston to Holyhead

175 009 & 175 107. 1H91 15:44 Llandudno to Manchester Airport.

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