30 March 2020
(see also our
Calendar page for venues)
Note: we have removed all
entries up to the end of May as the events are
Saturday 27 June Steam at Chester The Cheshireman
(Railway Touring Company). 60163 London
Euston - Chester and return.
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
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
The Heart of Wales services cross at Llandrindod at
lunchtime, meaning that almost any realistic return journey
within a day is impossible.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
10 November 1989: Ellesmere Port yard. 37 430
Cwmbran keeps company with two unidentified
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
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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