Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

30 March 2020



Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

Note:  we have removed all entries up to the end of May as the events are cancelled.

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.


'Duchess'  46241 City of Edinburgh at Bangor in 1960, a loco change apparently taking place. Picture by Denis Bates. Can anyone supply more information?

Thanks  to everyone who's responded to our suggestion to send historic pictures while the current crisis makes it unadvisable to photograph what train workings remain.  We have had so many that we'll have to create an extra issue later in the week.  Keep them coming! - Charlie

Donations requested

As mentioned last time, our heritage railways are in danget of being financially crippled by having to close down because of the current crisis. We have information about two lines in our area that would welcome your support.

The Talyllyn Railway have a Just Giving page for donations: they suggest that you make a virtual visit by donating the the amount you might have spent in travelling to, and travelling on the line, which seems like a good suggestion to us.. You can also support them by purchasing items from the Online Shop.

The Bala Lake Railway also has a donation page, as have the Welshpool and Llanfair,  and the Ffestiniog/Welsh Highland.  No doubt there are others.

The Llangollen Railway has  launched an appeal, which be found here.  They estimate that they will lose around £600,000 in revenue over the summer, and there is no sign of charities receiving any support from the Government.  It has been decided for safety reasons to suspend construction work on the Corwen extension as well as the train  service.

Railway news

The latest bulletin from Transport for Wales tells us that while the 'Sunday' service continues to apply every day, with extra reductions from 30 March as below:
Further reductions on the Cambrian line to roughly 1 service every 2 hours.
Reduction on the Heart of Wales line to one service per day in each direction.
A reduced Cardiff Bay shuttle from 5 services per hour to 2 services per hour.
Full removal of Chester to Liverpool services as the route is served by Merseyrail.
Reduced services between Crewe and Chester.
The Heart of Wales services cross at Llandrindod at lunchtime, meaning that almost any realistic return journey within a day is impossible.

Looking back: 6 August 1985  - with Barrie Hughes


A busy scene at Chester on 6 August 1985 taken from Westminster Road bridge. Up and Down Class 47 workings with the Up working from what is now the MerseyRail’s electrified platform 7, presumably headed to Manchester. An 08 shunter resides in the parcels platform with a van to shunt, and there is another Class 47 on a freight in the yard to the right.

Flint station, seen  from Castle Dyke road bridge. An unidentified Class 25 heads south with the Speedlink trip working from Llandudno Junction Yard to Warrington Arpley comprising empty HEA coal hoppers from Glan Conwy freight depot and an empty cement tank from Bangor. Coal traffic was formerly handled at Colwyn Bay Yard but as the A55 Expressway was build through the site with EU grants, this was closed in September 1981 and the Llandudno/Glan Conwy Yard expanded. After many years of disuse,  the yard is currently being cleared for a new flow of slate waste.

Class 45s made an appearance in the North Wales coast in the period 1980-87 with the extension of TransPennine services to Holyhead/Llandudno from destinations such as Newcastle and Scarborough until replaced by the next generation  - 'Sprinters' and sometimes even 'Pacers'. Here a Class 45/1, possibly 45 112, heads east passing Talacre with its out-of-use concrete platforms as viewed from Station Road bridge. The station was opened on 1 May 1903 and did not have a central island platform, being served by trains on the 'Slow' lines only. Closure came with the Beeching cuts on 14 February 1966. The track alongside the Up platform was in use as a headshunt for the Pont of Ayr colliery branch until that closed in 1996, the last colliery in North Wales.

An Class 47 heads an unusual rake, presumably a Holyhead - London service formed of Mk3 coaches with two brake/parcels vans and a sleeping car behind the loco, at Llandudno Junction as viewed from Queen’s Road bridge. There was once a Holyhead-Euston sleeper service with a single coach connecting off the long vanished Dublin-Holyhead helicopter service. The sleeper was attached to the 01:15 Irish Mail and only operated in the Up Direction. It is a mystery why the sleeper coach was working a midday service. [Can anyone tell us about the final days of this service?]

The Llandudno Junction sidings may look like this again soon after many years of being allowed to become overgrown now that a new freight flow is in prospect.

This week in 2002 - pictures by Tim Rogers (Part 1)

22 March 2002 Shotton High Level: 153 316 10:32 Wrexham to Bidston.

56 068 working the 6F59 09:15 Warrington Arpley to Dee Marsh. EWS 'Enterpise' service. It was reported in April 2002 that the owners of Shotton Paper Mill had signed a contract with EWS to move paper to and from the ir Scottish site. Perhaps the vans seen here were in connection with that?

25 March 2002 Bagillt:  158 755 works 09:46 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly. First North Western's small fleet of eight 158s were regulars on the Manchester route at the time.  In the early days of privatisation, from 1998 to 2000 they also worked an ambitious Rochdale to London Euston service, which might possibly have succeeded if Virgin had not exercised their right to prevent them calling at some major stations. When FNW was merged into Northern Rail, their 158s were all transferred to workings east of the Pennines where they largely remain.

47 749 Atlantic College on 1A46 09:19 Holyhead to Euston on the same day. Virgin hired various 47s from other companies to reinforce their fleet in the  months before the Pendolinos took over. The Atlantic College name was unveiled at London Victoria station by an exotic celebrity, Queen Noor of Jordan,  on 23 November 1995. After various other adventures it is now owned by GB Railfreight, with its original name City of Truro, and recently celebrated its 55th birthday.

The same service on the following day, 26 March 2002 passing Sandycroft,  with Virgin loco 47 854 Women's Royal Voluntary Service. (This loco too is still in existence, with West Coast Railways as Diamond Jubilee. )The routine was that at  Crewe the diesel loco would be detached from the train, and an electric loco coupled at the rear, controlled by the driver from the Driving Van Trailer seen behind the 47. Various cables has to be connected, and it was not unknown for there to be problems at Crewe.

Croes Newydd 1967 - with Peter Neve

Standard Class 4-6-0 75029 (fitted with a double chimney) shunts wagons into the Watery Road sidings at Wrexham. 75029 was shedded at Croes Newydd at this time, but was withdrawn from service a few months later in August 1967, from Stoke shed. In November the engine was bought by the wildlife artist, the late David Shepherd and named The Green Knight. It is currently undergoing overhaul at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Having completed its shunting duties 75029 returns to the shed to have its tender refilled with coal. A very similar image can be found on the Internet, dated 1966, but 1967 is definitely correct.

Stanier 8F 2-8-0 48669 stands stored on a siding to the west of the shed. Closer examination shows a snugly fitting cap on the chimney secured by wires to the hand rail. The shed code 6C is painted on the smokebox door, this being the code for Croes Newydd following transfer to the Midland Region of British Railways. When Croes Newydd was closed in June 1967, 48669 was transferred to Heaton Mersey from where it was withdrawn in November 1967.

A rear view of 8F 48669. In the background is a Class 24 diesel locomotive, which was based at the shed.

 A view from Croes Newydd looking north west towards Brymbo. The locomotive nearest the camera in Stanier 8F 2-8-0 48385, but the numbers of the other two locomotives have not been recorded. It is still possible to access this area, which is now a combination of car parks for Morrisons supermarket and the Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

A quirk of the lighting conditions produced this semi-abstract image of Ivatt mogul 2-6-0 43088 parked between the water tank and the main shed. 

Cambrian Coast 1979 - by Ken Robinson

The beginning of April sees the 40th anniversary of the closure of Barmouth Bridge to all loco-hauled trains. The story is well documented elsewhere, but initially, divers realised that the bridge was under attack by a marine woodworm in the first week of April and by 12 April it was confirmed, and there was an immediate ban on loco-hauled trains.

The two photographs show one of the last, if not the last, loco-hauled passenger train to traverse the whole length of the Cambrian Coast line to Pwllheli - this was also the last class 25 hauled passenger train on the line for a long time. The special was run by F&W Railtours (which later became Pathfinder Railtours) and ran on Saturday, 26 August 1979. It was named 'The Cambrian Coast Express' and had 25 188 and 25 147 up front - the two photos were taken at Porthmadog - the first from the signal box (not allowed today!) and the second - after a sprint along the platform and through the goods yard - from the top of a signal (definitely not allowed today!)

That Purple Deltic

Dave Sallery's picture of Porterbrook-liveried 'Deltic' D9016 on an excursion in North Wales (16 March issue) created some correspondence.   Above, another picture, reproduced with permission from Ian Bowland's website.

David Pool writes: 'I can confirm it was a charter by a railtour operator at the time called "Steamy Affairs" from Milton Keynes to Holyhead on 7 September 2002. D9016 ran light engine from Crewe to Chester to take over the train to Holyhead which I travelled on.

David's picture shows Gordon Highlander at Chester having just arrived from Crewe. Today the loco is stuffed and mounted in the Hornby Museum in Margate and will never run again having been stripped by Locomotive Services Ltd in Crewe of engines and all useable parts for use in D9000 (55 022) which they own.

From Bob Greenhalgh's archive

December 1979. A view of Ince & Elton station looking towards Stanlow refinery, with Ince power station in the background.

10 November 1989:  Ellesmere Port yard. 37 430 Cwmbran keeps company with two unidentified  47s.

On the same day,  47 085 Conidae passing Ince Power station bound for Stanlow refinery.

Manchester Ship Canal  shunter 3001 at rest on the Oil Sites road sidings. The tanks in the background carried bitumen from Stanlow refinery.

Spring 1991: 37 706 waits to back its train of empty tanks into Stanlow refinery empties yard.

On the same day, 60 001 Steadfast stands in Stanlow & Thornton station.

In October 1991,  56 131 Ellington Colliery heads a Cawoods coal train to Ellesmere Port through Helsby. The containers would be transferred to a ship for transport to Ireland.

Seen from a passing train in October 1991, the remains of Helsby West Cheshire Junction signalbox following a fire a few weeks earlier, after which the freight-only line to Mouldsworth was unworkable, and never re-opened.

24 October 1991:  46203 Princess Margaret Rose stands at Crewe station carrying the headboard for the 'Westmorlander' excursion from Carlisle to Shrewsbury via Blackburn, Manchester and Chester.  This loco was a static exhibit at Butlin's Pwllheli camp before being restored to working order.

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