Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

26 May 2020


Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

Note:  we have removed all entries up to the end of June as the events are cancelled.  The trains below are still being advertised, albeit rather optimistically.

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.


As a postscript to our 'Britannia Bridge fire' special issue, Ken Robinson sends  this photograph taken by his late father in September 1970, of Caernarfon station, closed to passengers but in use to transship Freightliner containers between train and lorry, using the crane seen on the left.

Some current views included today: please now send both old and new, but remember the rules for your particular country. Even in England, we'd suggest that you avoid excessive use of a car, and avoid standing on footbridges, etc, where others have to pass. This issue is shorter than planned due to various (happy!) home activities.  Outstanding material should appear  in another update before the end of the week.- Charlie

Engineering work - pictures by Ryan Lloyd

Weekend engineering work on the track has been taking place on the Coast line recently.  Ryan Lloyd used his allowed daily exercise to serve events at Llandudno Junction on 9 May, where 66 501 arrived with rake of empty wagons, stopping the colect a staff member.

On the way to work on 17 May, Ryan paused to photograph work in progress.

Colas loco 56 302 on a train of materials, including 'autoballaster' hoppers.

Also in attendance, 70 806.

Tamper DR 72934 waits in the 'Tamper Siding '.

Pacer to Gobowen

An unusual train movement on 22 May, possibly never to be repeated, involved train 5Z44 (empty stock) 10:05 Keighley and Worth Valley Railway to Gobowen, Cambrian Railways, formed of 'Pacer' units 144 007 and 144 006, pictured above at Ruabon by Martin Evans on his daily walk.  The units had been  stored at the Worth Valley after withdrawal by Northern; some 144s had been earmarked to stay in traffic after the withdrawal of the Class 142 Pacers, but reduction of services due to the Virus situation has made that unnecessary. Leasing company Porterbrook have transferred (for a nominal charge?) the two sets to the Cambrian Heritage Railways, which have obtained the use of the bay platform and siding at Gobowen.

Arrived at Gobowen. Picture by Community Rail Officer Sheila Dee.

They will be conveyed by road to the railway's base at Oswestry, but the intention is to use them on a public service on the 2.5 mile branch in Shropshire between Gobowen and Oswestry, serving a hospital en route using the line which ceased to be used for freight some years ago still exists, although including a level crossing (at an acute angle) of a wide and busy road, which may be problematic if a regular service is envisaged. Oswestry is a significant market town, but over the years ambitious plans by other heritage railways to serve commuters and shoppers have tended to fade away after a short while. Currently an hourly bus service connects the two places.

Into the bay platform (Sheila Dee).

A Cambrian Railtour, and more steam - by David Pool

The 'Cambrian Coast Express' was a Wirral Railway Circle Railtour from Crewe to Pwllheli, via Shrewsbury on 8 April 1972, running as 1L26.  After a problem at Welshpool with 5056, one of the allocated Class 24s, 5062 and 5080 were used for the rest of the tour. Above, the train is approaching Dovey Junction, and is signalled to take the Pwllheli line.

A Metro-Cammell unit, M56337/51182, has arrived with the 12:55 Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury, and is waiting for our train to clear the single line from Machynlleth.

Situated on the Dovey Estuary, the isolated Gogarth Halt was not often photographed.  Facilities for would-be passengers seem to have been rather primitive, and perhaps it was no surprise that the Halt closed in 1984.

A photostop had been arranged at Barmouth, and the tour participants are at least keeping off the running lines.

The Railtour continued to Pwllheli, where the locomotives ran round. I had tried to get a photograph of the preserved steam locomotives at the Butlin’s Camp, but my first attempt was poor, and I determined to try again on the return journey,  This was much better, and I got an acceptable shot of 6203 Princess Margaret Rose and the 'Terrier' No.40.

Another photostop on the Railtour at Tywyn presented a nice view from the footbridge, looking towards Machynlleth.  The exchange siding for the Talyllyn Railway is on the left beyond the road bridge.

What happened to the locomotives at Butlin’s Camp?  Read on…

After being moved from Butlin’s No.40 was eventually sold, and is now to be found at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. It is a particularly historical locomotive, being the one which when new went to the Paris International Exhibition of 1878 as LBSCR 40 “Brighton”, obtaining a gold medal for its designer William Stroudley.  When I photographed it at Haven Street in 1992 it was in the livery of the Isle of Wight Central Railway, where once it carried the number 11.  Since then it has yet again been repainted, now W11 “Newport” in Southern Railway green.  Only eight more years before its 150th birthday!

6203 Princess Margaret Rose appeared on the North Wales Coast on several occasions in 1995.  On 18 June I photographed it from the car park of the Northgate Arena as it passed Chester South Junction with a North Wales Coast Express..

Thanks to the Internet, I have been able to get the background to the appearance of this industrial locomotive at Colwyn Bay, which I photographed on 28 December 1988, but was unable to identify at the time.  A clue to its previous owner is the “Steamtown” on the buffer beam.  It was built in 1952 by Hudswell Clarke (Works No.1864) for the NCB at Newmarket Colliery, where is received the number S.103.  After being withdrawn, it went to Steamtown Carnforth, where it received the name “Firefly”.  It then moved to Colwyn Bay, together with a single Mk 1 coach, where it was intended to be part of a tourist attraction on Platform 3. The scheme was short lived, and eventually Firefly went to the Dartmoor Railway, where it was being restored at Meldon Quarry, the boiler in particular needing to be renewed.  In February 2020 the Dartmoor Railway went into Administration, and unfortunately it is not clear what the future holds for Firefly.

Mystery Carriage

John Violet
writes: Whilst taking my daily exercise, cycling from Chester I came across this old coach body at Burton, near Rossett. Clearly the cladding and windows have been changed.

At one time coach bodies like this were seen more regularly but I have not seen one for many years now. If anybody knows more about the vehicle I would be interested to know.

Wrexham then and now - by Jim Scott

The view from Wrexham General in 1985, with a Class 47 on a train, probably from Ravenscraig, to Shotton steel works.

The same view on 19 May 2020 with a Penyffordd Cement train ...

.. hauled by 66 785.

Class 37 Farewell, Day 2 - by Ian Bowland

Sunday 21 May 2000, and the Farewell Special and the Farewell  headed North for Southport, Blackpool and Barrow.


Crewe station and 37 038 waits to lead 37 029, and the second Farewell Special, off to Southport via Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly and Wigan Wallgate.

Arrival at Southport.

4: Waiting in the station were 37 415 and 37 421 which would attach to the rear of the train, then leave for Manchester Victoria. 37 038 and 37 029 would detach and proceed to Preston as a light engine movement.

Manchester Victoria.

The two 37/4s detached and ran round the train to hook up at the rear before leaving for Preston.

Preston station.

038 and 029 attached to the rear after which the train left for Blackpool.  I was thoroughly disoriented by now.

Blackpool North station.

With 029 leading 038, the train left for Preston (again). At Preston, 029 and 038 detached and left for Crewe. Next stop was Barrow-in-Furness via Carnforth and Grange-over-Sands.

Arrival at Barrow.

The staff were extremely helpful on the day  ...

... and we were allowed down to track level to photograph but under strict control.

The two 37's took the train forward for servicing and to run round in preparation for the journey home.  Unfortunately, I somehow lost shots of the train returning to the station and then arriving at Crewe but apart from those two locations there were no further stops where pictures could be taken.  The route home was via Grange-over-Sands, Manchester Victoria (again), Denton, Stockport then Crewe.

A fantastic weekend the likes of which I'm unlikely to see again and my thanks go to the staff of the former First North Western, Railway Magazine and, of course, Charlie for promoting the event so well.

Looking back: Crewe - by Glyn Jones

A visit to Crewe Works and South Shed,  Sunday 11 September 1966. Despite only having 23 months to go before the demise of steam, the works was still repairing, outshopping and painting locomotives.  General view of the shed yard. A slight pall of smoke hangs over the yard with some engines being in light steam, awaiting their call of duty the following day.  More of 70032 ( in the centre), later.


Class 5MT 4-6-0 44800 outside the paint shop prior to  having the tender
emblem applied. One wonders if lining out ever took place. It was built in Derby in May 1944 and withdrawn from 24C Lostock Hall at the end of March 1968, less than two years after the photo was taken. It met its demise at Drapers of Hull.


BR Standard Class 2 2-6-0 78036 is unlined, has no tender emblem, nor even
cab side numbers! It was identified only by its smokebox door number plate. Built at Darlington in November 1954, it was withdrawn from 84G Shrewsbury after a short life of just over 12 years and scrapped at Cashmores, Newport


Class 4MT 2-6-0 43151 was built in 1951. It has its 5B Crewe South shed code painted on the smokebox door and has recently had its tender filled from the coaling tower. It was withdrawn some 15 months later.

Class 5MT 4-6-0 45149 with combined top feed and dome is in remarkably clean
condition for the period.  Built by Armstrong Whitworth in June 1935, like many others, it ended its days at 24C Lostock Hall, before being scrapped at Drapers, Hull.

A sign of the times, Class 7P 4-6-2 70032 Lord Tennyson carries home-made
wooden replica nameplates. Were the originals stolen or had they been removed for safe keeping prior to despatch to 'Collectors Corner'? At least some friendly shedmaster has permitted the fixing of the replacements! [The original name sems to have been just Tennyson.]

Built in December 1952 at Crewe, its original shed was 7C Holyhead, from where it could be seen on the North Wales Coast. After a shockingly short life of less than 15 years it was withdrawn from 68A Carlisle Kingmoor in September 1967 prior to being despatched to J McWilliams, near Glasgow for cutting up.

Another Class 2  2-6-0 78010; it was built in December 1953 and carries a 5B Crewe South shed code. It had already been withdrawn from service and was awaiting departure for Cashmores, Newport for cutting up. Behind, is 9F 2-10-0 92004 which was built at Crewe in January 1954. It ended its days at 11A Carnforth in March 1968, and like the Class 2, succumbed to the cutter's torch at Cashmores.


Veteran Fowler 0-6-0 Class 4F 44377 was built by Andrew Barclay & Sons, Kilmarnock in 1927. Its mainline days over, it had already been relegated to duties as Works Shunter 'W13'.  Now lying idle, it awaits departure to Drapers, Hull for its demise. Note the spare / redundant boilers in the background.


Class 3F 0-6-0s 47658 and 47615, both also having been demoted for use as works shunters, are also out of use and awaiting their fate. 47658 ended up at Cohens Kettering.  The destination of 47615 is unclear, but it probably ended up at the same destination.

A survivor! Class A4 Pacific 60010 Dominion of Canada, minus its nameplates, is awaiting restoration prior to preservation in the Canadian National Railway Museum.

South Manchester scenes - by Greg Mape Mape

I have been out around South Manchester & surrounding area since the easing of Lockdown rules, mostly by push bike.  Above, Knutsford on Saturday 16 May with 60 074 on  the Tunstead - Lostock Works limestone train.

Styal on 18 May:  66 529 running light Crewe- Manchester International Depot perhaps for tyre turning.

While we are asked not to travel to Wales by some authorities, a tram runs around on Manchester Metrolink inviting us to 'Go North Wales.'

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