Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

17 February 2020


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

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

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

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

Friday 13 March Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Wheels on Reels. Transport Films – taken with a cine camera and shown using a cine projector. Geoff Lomas presents a selection of his Films in the traditional manner.

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 Steam at Chester The Cheshireman  (Railway Touring Company)     6233 Duchess of Sutherland  London Euston - Crewe - Chester & return

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.

Friday 3 April Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Great Named Trains. (note: first Friday) featuring postcards of named trains and video of the engines which hauled them and survive in preservation. a digital presentation by Society President Nick Dodson

Saturday 4 April Excursion Settle & Carlisle Luncheon Circular (Statesman Rail) Pick-up at  Bangor (08:50),  Llandudno Junction,  Colwyn Bay,   Rhyl,  Flint , Chester  and Frodsham  to  the Settle-Carlisle line   - Carlisle Upperby curve  - Shap - Preston and return to pick-up stations.  (Note:  fully booked.)

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  Martyn Hilbert - "Network Northwest - Past and Present"

Wednesday 22 April Steam at Chester  Great Britain 2020: Day 6 (Railway Touring Company)
 46115  Grange-over-Sands - Carnforth - Preston - Warrington Bank Quay - Chester - Wrexham General - Shrewsbury - Hereford - Abergavenny - Cardiff Central .

May 2020

Saturday 9 May Steam on the Coast Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza (Vintage Trains)  7029 Dorridge - Llandudno

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

Wednesday 13 May Steam on the Coast The Moors & Mountains Explorer: Day 7 (Steam Dreams). Holyhead  - Chester - Preston - Shap - Upperby Curve - Settle and Carlisle - (to be confirmed)

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)

June 2020

Saturday 27 June Steam at Chester The Cheshireman (Railway Touring Company).    60163 London Euston - Chester and return.

July 2020

Sunday 19 July Steam on the Coast North Wales Coast Express (Railway Touring Company)  LIverpool - Manchester - Holyhead (15:05 - 17:40).

Tuesday 21 July Steam on the Coast The Welsh Mountaineer (Railway Touring Company) Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog and return

August 2020

September 2020

Saturday 5 September Steam at Chester 'The Cheshireman' (Railway Touring Company). Norwich to Chester. Loco 6233 for part of the journey.

The appearance on railtour duty of 46100 on 15 February (see article below) created a remarkable amount of public interest, as seen at Stockport in Jim Ikin's picture. Do some think 'Royal Scot' is somehow related to 'Flying Scotsman'?

Tim Rogers' view

3 February on  Cefn Mawr viaduct:  66 744 Crossrail crosses with  6M42 11:11 Gloucester N.Y. to Penyffordd Cement Sidings empties.

Flint on 8 February, with  175 106 on  1V98 14:27 Holyhead to Shrewsbury, the line beyond Shrewbury being affected by flooding.

Near Mostyn on 12 February, 175 106 again, with 1H88 12:54 Llandudno Junction to Manchester Airport.

Trial running with the second Mk4 train on 12 February,  with 82226 leading ...

... an un-numbered Mk 4 first class coach ...

... RFM 10325. standard class/kitchen coach RSB ...

...  Standard class  vehicle  12454 -

... End coach, TSOE 12225 ...

... and on the  rear 67 008. The train is 3J88 11:33 Holyhead Carrriage  Maintenance Depot to Crewe. The '3' is the number used for Network Rail test trains:  According to it 'was [previously[ used for freight trains capable of more than 75 mph,  but now used for some test trains and some empty passenger trains which have time or route critical paths'.

Avanti at Flint, 15 February.  221 109 is 1D88 14:10 London Euston to Holyhead.

175 010 1H91 15:44 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly.

Non-stop trouble

In the last issue we mentioned the controversy regarding the removal of stops from stations between Wrexham and Shrewsbury to 'speed up the service.'   Full information, with thanks to Mike Stone, is that 07:02 from Cardiff has regained the calls, although initally not in the timetable database, but  this has been corrected from 17 February, although the train actually started from Shrewsbury on 17 February due to storm damage . Oddly, the buses have remained in the timetable as shown bt Realtime Trains. From May 2020, the service leaves Shrewsbury at 06:45 and for some reason takes seven minutes longer from Ludlow to Shrewsbury.

Meanwhile, similar problems along the Coast have reached the pages of the local press.  The 16:51 (Monday - Friday) Holyhead - Cardiff, one of the additional services intended to use the Mk4 loco-hauled set, calls only at Bangor (depart 17:18) and Llandudno Junction before Chester, with the result that commuters returning home from the city of Bangor to intermediate stations will have no train from 16:18 to 18:18, with not even a worthwhile connection at Llandudno Junction. The timetable planners seem to have lost sight of who actually travels on these trains; what were they thinking? To further annoy the Welsh locals, the train does call at Church Stretton, Craven Arms and Ludlow in England. No suggestion of a replacement bus, as in the Gobowen area case, either.

The Coast line seems to suffer from the lack of a User Group, as exists for other routes, which could have brought these matters to TfW's attention. Over the years. every attempt to start a group has failed.

From Dave Sallery's archive

59 005 and 59 104 were working  were working Pathfinder Tours 'Chester Explorer' railtour  when photographed near Wrexham on 13 September 2008.

Erstwhile  Eurostar loco 37 611 on 18 April 2014 with a Network Rail train at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

56 033  Shotton Paper Mill  passing Penyfordd on 19 July 1996 with empty OTA timber wagons.

Many more like this on Dave's Flickr site.

Llangollen half-term service - by George Jones

An off-peak timetable operates at Llangollen Railway for half-term week from 17 February with the Class 104 BCRW unit providing the weekday service.  A steam service at the weekend 21/22 February.

Although the River Dee was running high and fast down the Valley, the 10:40 off Llangollen proceeded to Carrog (above) without problems, offering some grand views of the volume of water coming out of North Wales.

Winter lineside vegetation management has opened up more the lineside west of Deeside Halt to improve the view of the Llantysilio Range.

Above, the river running high west of Glyndyfrdwy station.

Alongside Llangollen station the river was wild and high as it crashed through the road bridge.

On  7 March there is a 'Back to the 90s' non-stop special train with 7822 Foxcote Manor: see the Llangollen Railway website for details.

Scenes of the 60s  -  by Peter Neve

The desolate view above is from the site of  Chester Northgate station and looking towards the Mickle Trafford to Dee Marsh line. The signal box and three-armed bracket junction signal are both visible in the distance. The photograph was taken on 17 April 1968; the station finally closed completely in October 1969.


Two black and white photographs taken from a viewpoint near Chester General station.  Stanier 8F 2-8-0  48384 leaving Chester General hauling a train of track panels past Chester No.2 signalbox on 31 May 1967.

The day before, Standard Class 5. 73011 (minus its original smokebox numberplate) at the head of a train of what appear to be iron ore hoppers. Is this a ballast train, or maybe granite roadstone from Penmaenmawr?

Braving Storm Dennis: The Peaks and Valleys Explorer
Text and pictures by Richard Putley except where noted.

46100 at Stockport (Peter Cross).

A few weeks ago a friend who lives near Huyton, Merseyside, told me he had a spare Premier Class ticket for the Saphos Trains 'Pennine, Peaks and Valleys Explorer'  steam tour on 15 February. The loco was due to be one of   LMS  46100 Royal Scot,  70000 Britannia  or SR Rebuilt 'West Country' 34046. Since I was more than happy to be hauled by any of those three locomotives, I had no hesitation in accepting his invitation to join him on the tour and spend a long weekend in Merseyside.

The tour started from Crewe and traversed the Stockport – Reddish line before arriving at Manchester Victoria (above), where we joined it. The motive on the day was no. 46100 Royal Scot  which performed faultlessly during the day.

Although we had been expecting to share our table in Premier Class with two others, when we got to our seats we found they’d only laid two places. Our stewardess Amy confirmed that no-one else would be sitting there so we had the whole table to ourselves.

Departure from Victoria was a couple of minutes down and we held at Ordsall West Junction to allow a train from Manchester Piccadilly, formed of two of the new Northern Class 195 DMUs to go before us.

Once under way, we stopped for further picks up at Bolton and Chorley. We then ran through Preston Station without stopping. I hoped we might have a good fast run on the 20 mile straight between Preston and Lancaster. But it was not to be. We were sidelined in a Loop Line near Garstang I think to allow a Pendolino to overtake us. We were also held on the centre road at Lancaster for another to do likewise.

By this time were clearly running late and I wondered if we would still have a 45 minute break at Carnforth. The train crew had been notable by their silence on this, so I asked Amy what the situation was. She contacted the Train Manager who advised that we would just have a 15 minute break at Carnforth. This was sufficient to photograph Royal Scot  and also the class 47 diesel loco on the back of the train, D1924 which was there “just in case”.

We had been served Starters before Carnforth. On departure from there we were served the rest of our meal. It was very good – I’d say even better than the meal I had on the WAG Express last August. The Cheeseboard was a notable selection of Lancashire Cheeses. I asked Amy for a list so I could show it to some friends back home in Wiltshire who have a monthly Cheese Club. She provided me a list on a sheet of A4 paper with tasting notes. Meanwhile we had set off along the line from Carnforth to Settle Junction. At Hellifield we took the Clitheroe Line. According to Real Time Trains our train terminated at Blackburn and then the rest of the return leg was shown as a separate train from there back to Crewe. I think we had been booked for a 10 minute stop at Blackburn for pathing requirements. But I don’t think we actually stopped there due to our late running.

At Preston we took the curve that enables trains from the Blackburn Line to turn southwards on to the West Coast Main Line. We then re-traced our route back to Manchester Victoria
My host was very disappointed that there didn't seem to be any direct trains from Manchester Victoria to Huyton; he tells me there are on Mondays to Friday. All the journeys National Rail Enquiries suggested involved changing at Newton-le-Willows. But I gather that’s a somewhat bleak station. So instead we took the 17:39 TransPennine service to Manchester Airport to Oxford Road. Despite Storm Dennis, this service (which had started from Redcar) arrived on time formed of 2 class 185 DMUs. The rear one was detached, leaving the other one very crowded. I was pleased though that this enabled to make my first trip over the Ordsall Chord.

At Oxford Road we had a half hour wait for the 18:26 to Liverpool. But fortunately it too was on time. Although formed of a single class 323 EMU, we managed to get a whole seating back to ourselves. It continued to run punctually, arriving at Huyton at its booked time of 19:03. So ended a very enjoyable day. I am very pleased that “Dennis” was not a menace to us!

North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board