Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

30 April 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.


On 30 April 2002, a pair of Class 20s bring three flasks past Holywell Junction signalbox.  There have been many changes since then, but the Duke of Lancaster still sits on the shore.  Picture by Tim Rogers.

This is (another) extra issue. Next update will be on the evening of Tuesday 5 May. Thanks to all for the contribtions. - Charlie

A steam special selection (part 2) - pictures by David Pool

A classic location and a matching locomotive and coaches – they don’t come better than 7819 Hinton Manor on the 'Cardigan Bay Express' approaching Barmouth on 26 May 1987. The train had left Machynlleth at 13:40 on its second run of the day.

71000 Duke of Gloucester had been restored in 1986, and was working a North Wales Coast Express between Holyhead and Crewe on 24 July 1990. The class 31 diesel at Llandudno Junction was to 'drag' the train to Llandudno, from where 71000 would return to Crewe.

Leaving Llandudno, 71000 is passing the carriage sidings. Note the swallow motif on the front of the locomotive. When I photographed the rusting hulk of 71000 at Barry in 1972 I could never have imagined what the future would hold for 'The Duke'.

Another North Wales Coast Express, this time hauled by Black 5 No.5407 on 11 September 1990. I wanted to find somewhere different to photograph, and found this location off the B4422 at Malltraeth on Anglesey.

71000 was back again on 19 January 1991, hauling the 'Ynys Mon Express' past Llanfairfechan. Being mid Winter, the electric train heating was being provided by an Electric Train Heating Ex Loco ( “Ethel”) – this appears to be Ethel 1 (ex 25 310).

Different motive power for the 'Ynys Mon Express' on 20 April 1991. Class A4 60009 Union of South Africa (then carrying the name Osprey) makes an impressive sight passing through the Conwy Town Walls.

Another locomotive to be seen in North Wales in 1991 was Standard 4 75069. This was based at Machynlleth, and worked the Cambrian Limited to and from Pwllheli, seen here at Tywyn on 16 June 1991.

3 April 1994 was another memorable day on the North Wales Coast. Flying Scotsman Services, in association with InterCity and Regional Railways, ran a train from Euston to Holyhead with an astonishing selection of motive power. An SR class S15 No. 828 piloted by a GWR Castle 5029 with a headboard 'Inter City Sunset' was not what you would expect to see passing through Colwyn Bay.

 Even more astonishing was the gathering of locomotives at Llandudno Junction, where 5029 and 828 appeared with LMS 6203 and LNER 4498, all with their respective support coaches. Four from the Big Four in steam together!  [Note how spectators have been allowed to gather by the sidings, under the watchful eye of stewards and British Transport Police officers.

This was a particularly rewarding photo for me. 5029 Nunney Castle was working 1Z39, a Pathfinder Railtour form Birmingham International to Holyhead on 28 October 2000. I had tried to get a photo at Pensarn, but the weather was exceedingly grey and miserable. It looked a little brighter to the West, so I decided to try my luck at Bangor, assuming the water stop at Llandudno Junction would give me sufficient time. Much to my delight, the sun was breaking through when I got to Bangor, and 5029 drifted through on the centre road making it a very pleasing shot of one of my favourite locomotives.

Afon Wen mystery - by Jim Johnson

Would any reader be able to assist with information on an old photograph I acquired recently? It depicts two LMS Class 4F 0-6-0s at Afon Wen, facing west.  The photo
came from an old family album, and has been dated 1936 by the previous

LMS locos were common enough at Afon Wen, on inter-company workings from Caernarfon and beyond, but two 4Fs together at this location seems highly unusual to me, and several knowledgeable colleagues of mine agree. The loco numbers are hard to read, even after high-resolution scanning, but I believe the right-hand loco is 4537 and the other could be 4562. The shedcode plates are illegible.

Both carry 'stopping passenger' lamp headcodes, so that rules out specials such as troop trains etc. They can't be 'Butlin's' specials, as that didn't open till after the war. The National Eisteddfod was held in Caernarfon in 1935, so they could be Eisteddfod specials, assuming the photo date is slightly inaccurate.

Any suggestions/explanations gratefully received at the website address.

Looking back: Steel to Shotton - with Trefor Thompson

56 049 heads  steel coils from Ravenscraig to Shotton steel works in 1982. Location is Green Lane  between Saughall and Sealand on the Mickle Trafford - Dee Marsh line which is still double track at this time.

Empties returning from Shotton to Ravenscraig. Green Lane bridge, Sealand. March 1984.

Two Class 20s (20 124 leading 20 058) head a steel coil train bound for Shotton. Green Lane. February 1987. The line is now single with the former Up line disused and weed-infested.

The same locos returning a little later with empties for Ravenscraig.

Steel coil by another route. 47 094 heads a Llanwern to Shotton Steel Works train at Stryt Issa, south of Penyffordd on 11 February 1986.

Industrial corner

Roly High writes: ' Seeing the photo (21 April) of a Tata loco at Shotton Steelworks prompted me to dig out this photo from the mid-sixties of 500 HP Hunslet No 7 (HE 4003/1954) which at the time was the most powerful loco in the fleet at Shotton. Its primary use was to haul the iron ore trains that had come from Bidston Docks from Shotwick Exchange sidings on to the iron ore unloading stage behind the Blast Furnaces. When brand new, this loco (so I'm led to believe) was too fast for the system, so they stripped a couple of gears out of it. I think this loco was scrapped in the goods yard of Buckley Junction, as when steelmaking finished the fleet of approx forty locos were either sold off or scrapped, and I think BR Class 08s took over.'

The 1970s saw more 500 HP locos arrive at Shotton, including No. 12 illustrated in our earlier piece. No. 7, built in 1954 and intally trialled by the National Coal Board at Walkden,  was scrapped in 1976. (Source: V.J. Bradley: Industrial Locomotives of North Wales.)

On 21 April 2009, hired ex-BR Class 08 shunters (supplied by RMS Locotec) were indeed employed at what was then Corus Steel Deeside. Tim Rogers was visiting in course of his employment when he was able to capture the image of 08 836, one of three 08s used on the site at the time.

As a postscript to the saga of Sapper (a.k.a. Alison) in the last issue, Ian Bowland has provided a picture of the loco in its War Department guise at Bury, East Lancashire Railway on 28 July 2013, with the cowling in place.

This week over the years - pictures by Tim Rogers

On 22 April 2002, 47 812 Pride of Eastleigh approaches Flint with 1A46 09:19 Holyhead to London Euston.

One of Virgin's 'heritage livery' locos, 47 851 Traction Magazine  with 1A38 09:19 Holyhead to Euston at Sandycroft.

On the same day, same location, EWS 47 785 Fiona Castle on 1D87 07:20 Euston to Holyhead.  On 21 July 1994, with his wife Fiona by his side, Roy Castle set off from Liverpool’s Lime Street station on his ‘Tour of Hope’ aboard a specially-charted train, visiting cities up and down the country raising funds for cancer research, and this loco and 47 786 Roy Castle OBE were named after the tour . Roy died later that year.

24 April 2004: 43 094 and 43 153 The English  Riviera worked 09:25 Holyhead to Euston.

24 April 2004: 67 007 near Rossett on the  Chester Model Railway Club & Ffestiniog Society's 'English Riviera Express'. 1Z70 07:18 Hooton to Paignton.

60 079 Foinhaven near Mostyn with  a load of stone, 6Z52 10:47 Penmaenmawr to Acton.

26 May 2005, and the new era on Virgin. 57 303 Alan Tracy  hauls 390 013 Virgin Spirit 1R18 05:38 Holyhead to Euston at Flint.

25 April 2007 at Shotton: well into the Arriva franchise, 175 107 is still in re-branded First North Western livery and name Coronation Street Rovers Return working 1D30 06:00  Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno.

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