Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

05 May 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.


57 601 at Bangor with 47 854 at the rear of a so-called 'Green Express' which has departed at 06:34 from Skegness on 24 April 2004. This was the first tour on the Coast with WCRCs (West Coast Railway Company's) own fleet locomotives and also the first 57 on the coast. Both locomotives were purchased from the Porterbrook leasing company. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.

Early 90s assortment - pictures by Richard Spruce

The 'Rat Requiem' excursion on 30 March 1991 used D7672 Tamworth Castle, the last Class 25 locomotive in service with British Rail.  Richard photographed the train, organised by Hertfordshire Railtours, at Helsby. The train has started at Kings Cross behind a Class 91 loco, then the 'Rat' took over for a tour to Holyhead and back by a different route, before 91 006 took over again for Leeds to London.

D7672, having survived almost accidentally after all the rest of the class, had become something of a celebrity, repainted in original livery with various adornments.

John Farrow, founder of Hertfordshire Railtours and more recently UK Railtours,  died in  April, a victim of the Covid-19 while in hospital.  His tours gave much, pleasure to many enthusiasts.

An unusual sight at Helsby, c. 1990, was 90 001 BBC Midlands Today on the rear of a diverted West Coast Main Line service.  On 2020 this loco, and sister 90 002, are now in the growing collection of Locomotive Services Ltd.

37 407 Loch Long at Runcorn station, probably in 1989 when Class 37/4 locos worked the Cardiff - Liverpool service due to the temporary withdrawal of the Class 155 units with door faults. The leading coach has a red line over the end door and window, indicating that it had a 'micro-buffet' fitted.

20 906 Georgina (formerly 20 219, D8319) was one of the small fleet of 6 locos obtained from BR c.1989 by Hunslet-Barclay for use on weed-killing trains around the network. Apparently 20 906 was considered a 'spare' and did not see much use, before being sold, with the others to DRS, and later to the Harry Needle Company where it worked at the Lafarge Hope cement plant.

Nick Roberts writes: 'On 24 August 1989  I took 20 906 from Warrington to Holywell Junction and then back to Chester. The original plan was to take it to Llandudno Junction for one of the failed 20s on the weedkiller train. But only got as far as Holywell where we were turned back and left it at Chester where it was swapped out with the failed 20 later in the evening. 20 906 had arrived at Warrington DIT on a freight from Scotland.'

Helsby again, and 37 712 The Cardiff Rod Mill in the 'Railfreight Metals' livery with what looks like a trainload for scrap metal for recycling. Several locos carried this name over time: this one had the honour from 1988 to 1992.

31 407, looking shiny in an attempt at 'heritage' rail blue livery,  propels some engineers' wagons into the sidings at Helsby. Pictures of the loco in this colour scheme seem to be rare; does anyone know how it came about?

Holyhead memories - pictures by Ken Robinson

The heyday of regular North Wales Coast Express summer excursions: 34027 Taw Valley  taken at Holyhead on a sunny 15 August 1989.

47 519, again at Holyhead, taken on 21 August 1989. This was a relief boat train if memory serves me right, and left Holyhead at 12:50 for Euston, running non-stop to Chester. On the right is the crane of what was then the Freightliner terminal. Geoff Poole's 6G website has an interesting article about the Freightliner workings.

More views of A55 construction - by Dave Sallery

This image from October 1983 was taken just west of Colwyn Bay; The Class 101 is on the old line which will be replaced by the road.

This 1992 view shows  the same site in its final condition; compare the retaining wall.  37 057 is hauling the Crewe 'test train' coaches, perhaps after an overhaul.

The station buildings at Llanfairfechan as they were before being eradicated by the new road.

Alison/Sapper again

Another look at the story of the loco which once worked at Gresford Colliery as Alison.  First of all,there was an editorial error in the earlier item. The 'cowling' is the odd-looking affair as seen in the picture below.

Paul Udey has kindly sent this image of the loco at Avon Riverside on the Avon Valley Railway in 2017, showing the cowling in place. Incidentally, this  line is interesting as proof that it is possible for a walking/cycling route can share a former double-track formation with a single-track railway.

Geoff Monks sends us a very rare view of a rebuilt 'Austerity' just ex-NCB shops before the cowling was refitted. The chimney is clearly not the same as a normal Austerity chimney. This loco was HE 2879/1943 at Wheldale Colliery, NCB North Yorkshire Area on 1st September 1970. The cowling was refitted at the colliery few days later. This loco received the full set of 1960s modifications (note the gas-producer holes in the lower firebox sides) but it was not given a Hunslet rebuild number because in many cases, these modifications were carried out at NCB workshops with Hunslet personnel supervising.

5000 in 1982 - by Martin Evans

With reference to David Pool's caption in the 27 April issue:
The LMS Class 5 No.5000 was occasionally used on Railtours, and on 23 October 1982 it was passing Wrexham Croes Newydd with a Welsh Marches Pullman to Chester.  It is not clear whether 5000 worked from Hereford or from Shrewsbury.
I can shed some light on this. I was fortunate to travel on the tour and can confirm the Black 5 came on at Hereford. At Chester however, the Stanier Pacific 46229 Duchess of Hamilton replaced the Black 5 for the run from Chester to Shrewsbury. In addition it had brought three coaches from the National Railway Museum in York and these were attached as well. I can confirm that with 16 bogies behind the Duchess topped Gresford bank at 40 mph and blowing off.

On arrival at Ruabon,  it stopped for several photographic run-pasts: I took the pictures with my 'Instamatic'.

To the end of the line - by Peter Neve

There is an old saying that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Well, the same can be said for trying to get decent quality scans from old transparencies! With that in mind I have attempted to reproduce some of my oldest transparencies which, if nothing else, may have some historical interest. The attached photographs were taken when the Synthite (Mold) to Rhydymwyn section was being lifted in the early nineteen eighties. 

Above: Rhydymwyn station looking north on 20th March 1979. The bulldozer has removed the two sidings in the goods yard area and is about to start on the loop in the station area. Still in situ in the background are the white crossing gates protecting the A541.

By the 28th February 1981 the track had been lifted as far as Rhyd-y-goleu bridge on the A541 just north of the Synthite Formaldehyde works. On the railway wagons can be seen concrete sleepers with bullhead rail chairs.

Looking south from the same vantage point at Rhyd-y-goleu bridge the chimney of the Synthite factory dominates the skyline. A short section of track will be lifted, leaving the section from Penyffordd to Synthite intact to allow delivery of rail tankers bringing in raw materials to facilitate the production of Formaldehyde.

Once delivered to the factory an ex-Simplex 0-4-0 petrol engined locomotive would shunt the wagons around the works. The history of this locomotive has been well documented in a previous edition of North Wales Coast Railway (1 July 2019). This photograph was taken on 29 August 1984,  several months after the locomotive had been taken out of service.

'Growlers' to the fore - pictures by Dave Sallery

By 23 June 1993, soon after 37/4s began work in North Wales,  the full Regional Railways image had not been applied to all the equipment.  Mostyn Docks looked busy as 37 418, still in full 'Railfreight Petroleum' colours with Shell-inspired Pectinidae nameplate, passes with the 13:30 Holyhead - Manchester Victoria, the return working of the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead 'Irish Mancunian'. The first coach retains the Network South East livery of its previous operator, with the red line repainted in blue.

By 14 July 1994, things were settling down, although 37 408 Loch Rannoch, which had somehow escaped re-painting and still carried the 'large logo livery' applied when converted to a 37/4 in 1985 and kept in until 1998 when overhauled by new owner EWS who painted it in their 'Wisconsin Central' livery and removed the nameplates, although these were replaced after pressure from enthusiasts.

13 May 1994, and 37 421 The Kingsman passes Bodorgan's ultra-low LNWR-style platform; loco and coaches are all in matching colours. Remarkably, both 418 and 421 have recently seen passenger service from Transport for Wales on the Cardiff - Rhymney line, having been brought back from preservationists. Sadly, that 'Indian Sumner' is probably now over, as TfW have sourced additional DMUs, and the locos are unlikely to return after 'lockdown' although Colas may retain them for other duties.

23 May 1997: a shortage of operable 37/4s at Crewe brought  37 423 Sir Murray Morrison down from Scotland to help out.  On the background is Shotton low-level station.

May 2007 - pictures by Tim Rogers

1 May 2007: 57 310 Kyrano hauling 390 020 Virgin Cavalier, 1R18 05:28 Holyhead to Euston past Mostyn.

2 May 2007: Golftyn Park, Connah's Quay.  57 303 Alan Tracy and 390 026 Virgin Enterprise on 1D22 09:00  Euston to Holyhead.

3 May 2007, Cefn-y-Bedd. 60 073 Cairn Gorm, 6M86 13:13 Llanwern to Dee Marsh.

3 May 2007: 57 304 Gordon Tracy on 6Z57 FX 13:29 Carlisle Yard to Chirk.

5 May 2007, Shotton:  60 002 High Peak with 6D19 06:40 Warrington Arpley to Holyhead RTZ to collect aluminium ingots for Austria.


Before the shopping centre: 153 354 at Wrexham Central, September 1993 (Trefor Thompson).

View from a 'Sunday Shuttle' returning from Trawsfynydd across Bethania viaduct into Blaenau Ffestiniog,  September 1989 (Trefor Thompson).

Llandudno Junction, Summer 1988: 142 027 in the brown and cream 'skipper' livery as intended for West Country branches, finds itself in North Wales, as seen at Llandudno Junction after the type was deemed unsuitable for lines with sharp curves. Picture by Christian van der Veen.

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