Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

06 September 2020


Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

Note:  we have removed all entries relating to meetings as the events are cancelled.

The Clwyd Railway Circle has informed us that all their dates for the 2020=21 season, previously listed here, have now been suspended.

September 2020

Saturday 5 September Steam at Chester 'The Cheshireman' (Railway Touring Company). Norwich to Chester. Loco 6233 for part of the journey.


A Class 221 heads past Abergele towards Crewe on 1 September.  Gwrych Castle, seen in the background, is the host for this year's 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here' TV series; the fees will certainly boost the coffers of the castle's Preservation Trust. Picture by Greg Mape.

News Round-Up

Postponed from 27 August due to weather damage to the track between Bangor and Holyhead,  67 017 took one of the ex-LNER Mk4 coach sets (HD01) from Cardiff to Holyhead on 1 September, routed via a reversal at Warrington Bank Quay. The train is seem above passing Bangor (Jim Johnson).

67 017 on the rear (Jim Johnson). The small orange socket near the bottom corner of the DB logo is the connector for the connection through the train to the driving trailer. Of the other fitted locos, 67 025 also has the TfW colour scheme, while 67 008 was last seen still in EWS colours.

Tim Rogers recorded the train in Holyhead sidings on 3 September. The formation is
12225,  12454, RFM 10325, First Class 11323, DVT 82226. Hopefully this is a sign that crew training is to be resumed. The second set comprises 12219, 12447, 10328, 11324 and 82229; of the expected third set we have no news.

Signs of the approaching leaf fall season as Railhead Treatment Train equipment has arrived at Network Rail’s Coleham depot in Shrewsbury.   158 841 is seen crossing to the single line at Sutton Bridge Junction  on 4 September working train 1J11, the 10:09 Birmingham International to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli, though with only two cars passengers for the coast line will have to change at Machynlleth.

Recently resumed (on a run when required basis) is the Carlisle to Chirk log traffic; Bob Greenhalgh was at Green lane Crossing on 2 September to capture the train head by 70 810.  The train passes Chester at 18:43, and returns empty overnight, so photography in our area will be tricky in the coming weeks.

70 816 arrives at Llandudno Junction at 07:20 with spoil wagons for the Conwy Valley line on 2 September. (Garry Stroud). 70 805 on the rear hauled the train up the Valley.

Wrexham's busy evening  - report by George Jones

Avanti West Coast restored the London link on Monday 7 September with the 17:10 off Euston providing the connexion through to Wrexham due 19:37. I went along to watch for the first time in months.  Around 19:30 Wrexham General is quite busy in Coronavirus terms with 158 824 (above) on a Holyhead - Shrewsbury service at 19:36 and a Holyhead service  due 19:39 with 158839.

The empty stock for the 20:49 stopping train to Shrewsbury sits in platform 3.  This  arrives empty from Wrexham Central after working what is currently the last train of the day from Bidston.  150 208 sits awaiting any custom, perhaps from the train from London.

The London service followed rapidly on the heels of the Shrewsbury service.  221 103 arrived at 19:40 and deposited all of 4 passengers. It departed empty for the loop and a swift return to Chester, there being no conflicting traffic.

Interestingly, Network Rail now have a locked maintenance compound around the base of the platform 1 staircase and an office marked 'Wrexham depot' in the main building.

Conwy Valley memories - by Ken Robinson

The re-opening of the Conwy Valley line has been put back again - until the end of this month. This is a great shame, not only for the local and regular passengers on the line, but also because of the cancellation/postponement of two specials to Blaenau Ffestiniog during September.

Here are photos of two rather unusual specials on the line.  Above: An HST, led by appropriately numbered 43043 (the first for the line) at Llanrwst North back in March 1993. This was Hertfordshire Railtours' 'Tubular Belle - 125 Special' from St Pancras, which then visited Holyhead and the Llandudno branch before returning to London.

D1015 Western Champion departing Blaenau Ffestiniog on 19 September 2009 with Pathfinder's 'The Western Slater' which had originated at Didcot Parkway. I hope these bring back memories!

Out and About - from Dave Sallery's archive

37 042 leads a line up at Didcot with the now-demolished power station in the background, 25 May1994.

08 509, 08 141  and 08876 at Tinsley with the scrap line beyond. 21 March 1992.

37 114 after naming City of Worcester at the Worcester open day, 02 May 1993. 

37 210 at Cardiff Central with old-style vacuum braked coal hoppers, 19 May 1984.

Looking Back:  Liverpool - by David Pool

By 19 April 1960 the Liverpool Overhead Railway had been demolished, but the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board line that  had previously been underneath the LOR still connected the South and North Docks. The L&Y 'Pugs' were used on the daily freights, and 51237 is passing behind the Liver Building under the protection of the young man with the red flag.  Wooden buffers and covered crossheads were a feature of these locomotives, two of which have been preserved.

“Princess Royal” Class 46203 Princess Margaret Rose is about to move out from the engine bay platform at Liverpool Lime Street and back onto the 10 am “Merseyside Express” to Euston on 9 June 1960.  This locomotive has been preserved, and is now at the Midland Railway, Butterley. 

The Cheshire Lines Committee North Liverpool line from Halewood to Aintree and Southport (Lord Street) had already suffered closures beyond Aintree, but was still a convenient route for special trains on the Grand National Saturday.  Aintree Central was still open, although other routes to Aintree Sefton Arms carried most of the racegoers.  Aintree Racecourse Station was about to be closed, but had not seen a train since the previous year.  Black 5 44688 had left Aintree Central at 17:40 on 31 March 1962, and is passing through Childwall on the way to the CLC main line at Halewood.  The locomotive shedplate seems to be 14B (Kentish Town), so I would think this train was heading for the London Area.  Its reporting number is 1T06, if anyone has details of the workings on that day.

The Liverpool University Public Transport Society organised a number of Railtours on local lines in the 60s, and one such tour ran on 13 June 1964.  Starting at Edge Hill, it used Jinty 47487 throughout, visiting Riverside Station, the North Docks, Walton on the Hill and Garston Dock, amongst other destinations.  Alexandra Dock had no other train movements, and passengers were free to roam.  I don’t remember my vantage point for this photo!

Early on 26 April 1965 at Hunts Cross, 42455 was on the 07:42 Liverpool Central to Manchester Central, and Derby Lightweight Class 108 M51910 was heading the 08:06 Hunts Cross to Gateacre.  The passenger service from Gateacre to Liverpool Central (High Level) somehow survived until 17 April 1972, when both stations were closed.  Hunts Cross is now a terminus for the Merseyrail electrics, and diesel units provide the service to Liverpool Lime Street via Liverpool South Parkway.

Steam was still to be found on freight trains in 1966, and on the evening of 16 August Black 5 45417 had just left Brunswick sidings with a train of Army wagons, and is passing the site of the closed locomotive  shed (8E).  It is about to enter Dingle Tunnel under Grafton Street.  On the right can just be seen the portal of the Overhead Railway Tunnel to Dingle Station, and two stone pillars which had previously supported the track structure. 

The end of steam was rapidly approaching in early 1968, but one surviving steam roster was on the Sunday morning train from Liverpool Exchange to Preston, leaving at 09:50.  On 18 February Black 5 44800, a Lostock Hall locomotive, was leaving a deserted Exchange station, the gloom being appropriate for the occasion.  At least one passenger was enjoying the departure!

Three weeks before the official end of steam, the Roch Valley Railway Society ran a special train between Manchester and Southport on four different routes.  The final leg was via Burscough Junction and the CLC line from Aintree Central to Halewood.  The Railtour Files website lists Fazakerley in the timings, but this should be Fazakerley South Junction, which is the CLC junction near Walton-on-the-Hill and not on the L&Y line through Fazakerley Station.  Black 5 45110 is leaving Aintree Central on the evening of 21 July.  This locomotive gained fame when it was a late substitute for a similar locomotive on the “Fifteen Guinea Special”, and worked the last leg from Manchester to Liverpool on 11 August 1968.  It is now in well-earned retirement at the Severn Valley Railway.


We did the Talyllyn Railway an injustice in the last issue: services had started this summer much earlier than we said: the first of August, not the first of September.  Trains are running until the end of October: why not pay a visit?

Recently Geoff Marshall of 'All the stations' fame visited  to Hawarden Bridge station with his camera, and the resulting 10 minute Video is on YouTube.

A Postscript to the Clock Face story (previous issues):  there is an excellent article about the line and its complex history on the 8D Association website.


Llandudno Junction, 158 840 with 1L18 11:47 Holyhead to Birmingham International, 4 September (Tim Rogers).

A 158 near Rhosneigr, 4 September (Greg Mape).

Holyhead, 3 September. 175 011 arrives with 1D34 09:53 from Manchester Piccadilly. (Tim Rogers).

On the Welsh Highland Railway, 1936-built Garratt 87 approaches Hendy Crossing with the  only train of the day to Beddgelert from Caernarfon on 29 August.  Note the headboard thanking the Heritage Fund for the recent £250,000 grant.

On 1 September, 66 152 passes Chirk station with the Margam to Dee Marsh steel train (Greg Mape).

Jennifer in action at Llangollen - by George Jones

Thursday 27 August saw  0-6-0T Jennifer rostered for the steam service pending a return by 7822 Foxcote Manor for the weekend. Normally away on hire to other smaller heritage railways, this was a rare opportunity to see it in action at Langollen. It was seen passing Berwyn with the first train of the day, slogging up the grade with five coaches on.

This locomotive was built by Hudswell Clarke in 1942 and it spent its working life as Samuel Fox & Co Ltd’s No. 20 at their Sheffield steelworks. It has 3 feet 9 inch  diameter driving wheels and 17 inch outside cylinders. With a 190 pounds per square inch boiler pressure the locomotive produced a tractive effort of 23,000lbf. The boiler pressure has been lowered in preservation to 175 PSI therefore the TE is rather lower. A 64xx Pannier tank has a TE of 16,400 lbf.

Driver Paul Reynolds reports that after a day on the engine and much initial uncertainty 'Jennifer' delivered the job very well. Equally powerful in terms of hauling five Mk1s as our Pannier Tank 6430 it gives an interesting ride.

Paul writes: 'It won't be hurried, certainly up the 1 in 80 Berwyn Bank, it just needs "setting" before the climb and just  left to get on with it, not forgetting to add coal and water on the climb.  This worked fine on the first trip, but on the second it sat down at Deeside after going through the Berwyn Tunnel. I tried to hurry it up and it didn't work both water and steam got too low to proceed without a "blow-up".  Trip three was fine, having returned to the strategy of trip one. There were lots of good responses from the customers - they had a good day despite the rain. At least the last return from Carrog was dry and a bit brighter.'

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