05 October 2020
(see also our
Calendar page for venues)
Note: we have removed all entries relating to meetings
as the events are cancelled.
The penultimate Llangollen
Railway service of the day was seen passing
Glyndyfrwdy on 1 October behind 7822 Foxcote
Manor, pictured by George Jones. From
the end of that day, the railway suspended operations,
initially for 14 days, as visitors and staff from outside
Denbighshire are prohibited from accessing the line.
and stay with us - pre-2010 contributions always welcome.
We'll do an extra issue on 9 October as we have a good
selection on hand already and not enough time to edit them
all. - Charlie
The Welsh Government has added Denbighshire, Wrexham,
Flintshire and Conwy to the list of counties which people
are not allowed to enter or leave without a good reason; at
the time of writing, Gwynedd and Anglesey - and all of
England - remain free of such restriction, and
travellers are permitted to pass through the restricted area
using the A55 road to reach them. However,
there are signs that Gwynedd will soon also be locked-down.
We have contacted Transport for Wales regarding the rail
situation, and established that passengers to and from
England are allowed to travel direct on trains to reach the
Gwynedd stations at Bangor and points west.
They told us via Twitter: ' Trains will continue to
run as scheduled with local restrictions in place ... We do
ask customers to consider if their journey is necessary.
However, trains will be running through restricted areas and
customers will not be able to enter/leave a station without
a reasonable excuse.' (Probably not including
train photography.) This leaves various matters unclear,
such as travel within counties, e.g. Llandudno to Colwyn
Bay. Readers are invited to investigate.
The Cambrian Coast line is not affected at present as its
northern section is in Gwynedd; whether a passenger from
unrestricted territory to Blaenau Ffestiniog is allowed to
change at Llandudno Junction we haven't asked, but the
service on the newly-reopened Conwy Valley line is very
restricted in any case.
Chris Parker writes: I managed to get a little more
information from a TfW representative at a Chester
Shrewsbury Community Rail Partnership virtual meeting which
I took part in on 29 September. Assuming that further
Covid restrictions don't get in the way, staff training on
the loco-hauled Mk4 Coaches is planned to start in October
with the sets due to enter service in 'late December'.
[The only Mk4 operated services will be on the Holyhead -
Cardiff route, with the third rake being a 'hot spare'
and used for cycling trains for maintenance.]
From Dave Sallery's Archive
A pair of '9F' 2-10-0s at Hooton, 1960.
Against a background of withdrawn locos at Tinsley, a
line-up of 08 509 Wath ETD, 08
141 and 08 876. 21 March 1992.
37 685 on 5 September 1993 at Doncaster works, newly
repainted for use on London - Scottish Highlands
sleeper trains on the non-electrified section north of
Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness, an arrangement
which lasted from 1992-95 . The 37s worked in pairs, coupled
to a generator vehicle as they were not fitted with train
hearing circuits. In 1996 37 685 was re-allocated back to
the freight fleet and in 1999 it was put into store. For
almost a year in 1999-2000 it worked in France on
infrastructure work. In 2007 it was sold to West Coast
Railways who named it Loch Arkaig, and it remains in
their active fleet today.
37 698 in Load Haul livery at Hawarden Bridge on
4 November 2001 working a freight trip to
Warrington Arpley. The vans carried newsprint from the
Shotton Paper Company to Irvine in Scotland.
Looking back: Welshpool and Llanfair, Part 1 - with
Built by Beyer Peacock in 1902 for the opening of the line,
on 2 March 1964 No.2 The Countess was at
Llanfair Caereinion preparing to take a train to Castle
Caereinion, the terminus at that time. The name and
number do not strictly match the condition of the
locomotive, which shows the minor modifications carried out
by the Great Western Railway, after which it was renumbered
823 with the name Countess.
No.1 The Earl is leaving Llanfair with the
16:00 departure to Castle Caereinion on 28 March 1967.
Its green livery is more appropriate for the GWR period, but
then it would have been No.822. The coach is the
Combination Brake Van, built by Wickham in 1957 for the
Navy’s Chattenden and Upnor Railway at Lodge Hill in Kent,
which had recently closed. Today this coach is on the Welsh
Highland Railway, having been regauged and now designated
Works Carriage 1001.
Another purchase from the Chattenden and Upnor Railway was a
Planet diesel, built by F.C.Hibberd in 1954. This was
Yard No.44, which became No.4 at Welshpool and carried the
name Upnor Castle when photographed on 28 March 1967.
In 1968 it was sold to the Ffestiniog Railway, where it was
re-gauged, and has since had an eventful life, being
particularly appreciated during the building of the Welsh
Highland Railway. The Welsh
Highland Railway Heritage Supplement December 2010
relates the story of this survivor, which has somehow been
kept going for many years, in spite of failures and
replacement of most of its mechanical components!
12 May 1973 was the day the reopened W & L reached
Welshpool, although only as far as Raven Square and not
through the town. The Earl had left Llanfair at 1100
with a Special train, and was descending the Golfa Bank
rather cautiously. The steep gradient and overgrown
track were negotiated successfully, and this marked the
beginning a new and successful era for the railway.
Monarch is a Meyer-type articulated steam locomotive
with two power bogies, built by Bagnall in 1953 for
Bowater’s Railway in Sittingbourne. In 1966 it came to
Llanfair, and was found to require a major overhaul. I
was fortunate to be able to photograph it in steam on 13 May
1978 at Llanfair, since it had been found to be less
suitable than the other W & L locomotives, and was not
used regularly. It was sold to the Ffestiniog Railway
in 1992, where it would have required major modifications
and regauging, and with other locomotives becoming available
for the FR and Welsh Highland Railway it was eventually
agreed to return Monarch to the W & L, where it is
now displayed at Welshpool, Any return to steam is now
No.12 Joan was built by Kerr Stuart in 1927 for a sugar cane
railway in Antigua, West Indies. It was returned to
the UK and entered service on the W & L in 1977, where
it has been a regular and reliable performer. It was
photographed on 17 April 1982 leaving Welshpool and about to
tackle Golfa Bank.
Sir Drefaldwyn (County of Montgomery), photographed
near Welshpool on 9 April 1983, was one of the most
successful locomotives obtained by the restored W &
L. It was built by Societe Franco-Belge in 1944 for
the German Military Railways, and in 1946 went to an
Austrian railway near Salzburg. In 1955 it moved again
to another railway in Austria, where it was rebuilt from an
engine with a tender to a purely tank engine, working there
until 1965. A few years later the W & L acquired
some Austrian coaches, which proved very satisfactory, and
contacts led to the purchase of locomotive 699.01 in
1969. It entered service in 1970, and as Sir
Drefaldwyn operated until its boiler 'ticket' expired in
2000. A major overhaul started in 2014, and it is
hoped it can be returned to service before too long.
No.5 is another locomotive which was not really suited to
the W & L. It was built by Tubize in Nivelles
(Belgium) in 1948 for the Jokioinen Railway in
Finland. It operated there until 1964, when it was
stored out of use. In 1972 it was exported to England,
and eventually reached the W & L in 1983. My
photograph was taken at Llanfair on 5 May 1984. After
a major overhaul it went into service in 2000 as No.5 Orion,
but was found to be too big and too heavy for the line, and
was not often used. The Jokioinen Railway, now a
working Museum, was keen to take back No.5, and it returned
to Finland in 2008.
34046 Braunton approaches Chester on test, 30
September (Bob Greenhalgh).
34046 again, this time going away at Balderton crossing on 1
October on a Locomotive Services Limited circular run Crewe
- Chester - Shrewsbury - Bushbury Junction - Stafford -
Crewe luckily in super sun and blue skies. Braunton
looked and sounded superb (Bob Greenhalgh).
Behind 34046 were a support coach and four Rail Charter
Services (ex-Greater Anglia) Mk 3 coaching stock, which had
recently been used on the Settle & Carlisle ‘Staycation
Express’ Skipton to Appleby services, seen passing Beeston
Castle (Robert Meredith).
A closer view, by Robert Meredith.
56 096 at Dwygyfylchi running about 45 minutes late
... with a return light engine movement from Holyhead
to Chester on 29 September (Gary Thomas).
Brian Jones writes: 'I went to Queens Road bridge at
Llandudno Junction on 2 October to photograph the return
Rail Head Treatment Train. Lo and behold, when I got
there a Voyager had stopped straddling the bridge.' It was
held there due to a 'signalling failure'; this unit
was working the 10:52 Crewe - Holyhead, terminated at
Llandudno Junction at 12:02 and held there until 14:43 when
it took up its booked schedule to Crewe.
The RHTT (56 113 leading) came through platform 1 and
had to do a bit of 'right hand down a bit' to take the
crossover and go round it ...
... just as 158 820 arrived with the 12:58 Chester -
Llandudno which had started from Rhyl and was itself
Bagillt, 2 October (Tim Rogers).
A detail of FEA wagon 642027 (Tim Rogers).
Out and About - with Jim Ikin
On Tuesday 29 September we went on what turned out to be a
pre-local-lockdown runabout to the Bala Lake Railway where Maid
Marian was on duty.
Carrying on to Barmouth in real shirt-sleeve weather. Abive,
158 834 approaches ...
... and carries on over the bridge where work being carried
out on the £25 million upgrade of the Grade two listed
bridge was underway: diggers and scaffolders working
Further to the Conwy Valley line reopening on the Monday, a
coincidental crossing of transportation in the form of a
C130 aircraft and 150 254 on the approach to the
newly-rebuilt Dolgarrog station.
Blanche at Porthmadog before we were required to come
home to Conwy County – although you can still get to the
Ffestiniog in Gwynedd down the A55 corridor via Caernarfon.
Walking the Cambrian, 2:
Penrhyndeudraeth to Llandanwg -with Eryl Crump
It was an early start from Penrhyndeudraeth to avoid the
high tide on the section from Llandecwyn (above) to Ynys
after crossing Pont Briwet across the Dwyryd.
Crossing the Cambrian Coast line at a foot crossing I waited
from the 06:29 Pwllheli to Machynlleth to pass, worked by 158
It was still a bit squelchy but much easier on the track
rather than the slate wall itself.
Its a 3.5mile section to St Michael's church at
Llanfihangel-y-Traethau near Talsarnau. Ty Gwyn station is
closest. The name Llanfihangel-y-Traethau translates as 'St
Michael's on the Beaches', for at the time it was founded,
the church would have stood on a rocky islet, surrounded by
marshes. It was not until the late Middle Ages that the tide
receded, leaving Ynys church well inland.
The church is a Grade II listed building and dates to the
thirteenth to fifteenth century. he building is
thought to have been restored in 1845, when new windows were
inserted and the roof replaced. It was restored again in
1866, when the west gallery was removed and further work
carried out in 1884, when underfloor ventilation was
introduced. The existing windows were inserted at this time.
During restoration the fragments of two inscribed stones
An easy walks for the next three and a half miles follows
the coast and then through some woodland and across fields
to Harlech. At the station the 09:34 Pwllheli to
Machynlleth (158 835) was on time but the 08:54 from
Machynlleth was about 45 minutes late. I didn't wait and
pressed on. I later saw (and photographed) the service at
The castle looms over Harlech.
The three-mile section from Harlech to Llandanwg is initally
seriously uphill up Ffordd Pen Llech, 'the world's steepest
road' to the town centre and is followed by a steep-ish
climb on the Old Llanfair Road to Llandanwg. What goes up
must come down and its a nice downhill section to the beach
which shelters St Tanwg's Church although sand is regularly
cleared away from its surrounds.
Llandanwg station, with 158 840. [Along with other
short-platform halts, this station is currently closed to
passengers due to social-distancing issues.]
The current Church building is medieval, with the western
end possibly dating back to the 13th century. However, the
presence of 6th century inscribed stones, and the dedication
to St Tanwg, suggest much earlier use of the site as a
church, possibly dating to around 453 AD as part of Saint
Patrick's work to establish links between Ireland and
The walk to Pensarn is along the estuary of the Artro river.
The train was possible but I caught the bus as it saved me
15 minutes, plus I could use my concessionary pass. At
Minffordd 153 829 was on time as I waited for the two
Ffestiniog Railway lunchtime trains to cross (Linda
heading to Tan-y-bwlch and Blanche heading back to
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