Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

11 December 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 test run on 10 December with the ex-LNER Mk4 coaches was diverted away from the Coast line, working from Cardiff to Crewe via Chester. It seems there were 'reliability' problems, which is perhaps why the train was top-and-tailed by 67 008 and 67 025. Bob Greenhalgh was at Green Lane crossing with his camera.

This an extra issue: next update will be on Tuesday evening 15 December.

Llangollen Dee Bridge Update - by Peter Neve

I am delighted to report that the appeal regarding the replacement of timbers on the Llangollen Railway’s bridge spanning the river Dee has almost reached its £15,000 target and the new, bespoke timbers have arrived at the railway. Over a three day period last week a team of volunteers removed the track and life-expired timbers (see picture above). The new timbers have to be treated with preservative and the metal decking treated in areas where any corrosion has been identified, before the track can be relayed. It is hoped that all the work will be finished by mid-January, providing there are no unforeseen problems nor additional Covid-19 restrictions imposed. A very big “thank you” to all those who contributed to the appeal. Once this project has been completed, work will then concentrate on renewing several panels of track in the Berwyn tunnel, before services can commence next year.

Classic 37 scenes - by Barrie Hughes

Here are a set of shots of an unusual haulage from Birmingham to Holyhead on 12 June 1999. The same loco was also seen on the coast on 9 June and 13 June. Travelling from Rugby it was a nice surprise to see 37 675 in Transrail livery at Birmingham New Street working the 1D75 14:23 Birmingham - Holyhead train which I caught all the way. These freight locos occasionally featured on the North Wales Coast in the Summer Timetable when train heating was not needed.

Passing Llandudno Junction at 16:39 37 415 was noted on an eastbound working.

Running round the train at Holyhead.

What happened to the Red Valerian which decorated the lineside in those days?

Backing on to the carriages: short work was made of running round at Holyhead and the same loco set off with 1G79 the 18:33 Holyhead - Stafford. 37 250 was passed at Chester at 19:45. 37 675 was originally D6864 and 37164 aunder TOPS. It was released to traffic on 22 August 1963 at Landore, withdrawn on 8 August 2010 and cut up two months later at Kingsbury.

Looking back: the Dyserth branch

An unidentified cl 24  propelling empty mineral wagons away from Prestatyn to Dyserth. As the train is being propelled the guard has to keep a sharp look out especially near the several foot crossings. Picture from 1970.

The same train approaching the only road crossing on the line at Bryn Rhosyn. This was protected by a single home signal operated from a single lever ground frame at the crossing and operated by a member of station staff who travelled there on a bicycle. Because of the steep gradient the crossing was closed and the signal cleared before the train set off from Prestatyn. The gas works was once served by rail but had been disconnected by this time.

A class 24 which appears to be in very faded green livery propelling a train past Woodland Park about half a mile out from Prestatyn. Probably 1969.

A very short train returning from Dyserth passing the Meliden golf course. The single sheeted wagon would contain lime for Brymbo steel works. 1970. There was one return train daily at this time which reduced to an 'as required' service soon after, usually running two to three times a week. Previously the loco was booked to work the Denbigh line later in the day.

Shunting empties in September 1971 into the siding adjacent to the loading bank at Dyserth.  These were then filled with crushed limestone for onward transport to Shotton or Brymbo steelworks. The old goods shed (complete with crane within) was long out of use. Beyond is the diminutive wooden ticket office and lamp room which survived largely unscathed from the time of the passenger service (1905 to 1930). The line to the right curved sharply round to the lime works. All traffic ceased in September 1973.

From Dave Sallery's archive

There are only two places in North Wales where one line crosses above another other: Shotton is one and the other is Minffordd. At Minffordd, Criccieth Castle on the Ffestiniog is about to cross over 158 832 on a Birmingham - Pwllheli working.

37 515 on the Mostyn - Hull Saltend acetic acid tanks passes Bagillt 25 April 1996.

Much has changed at Manchester Victoria since 27 April 1989 when 37 682 and 37  684  passed through Manchester Victoria on what was probably a a Peak Forest - Salford Hope Street working.  However, this service still runs today, now with GBRf Class 60s.

[At times, stone from Penmaenmawr was also delivered by rail to the Hope Street terminal which is only accessible from the Victoria direction; which route did they follow?]

All at once - Llandudno Junction

25 214 'off the road' at Llandudno Junction, 28 August 1982. In view are two class 25s.  two 40s and a 47 in the background.  Is this a record? Picture by John Wilkinson.

By the A55: Two Peaks, Three Bridges - by 'Skimpler'

These are two 'Peaks' at Mochdre, again during construction works for the A55 trunk road modernisation.  The first one shows 45 142 passing through Mochdre with 1E99 from Bangor to Scarborough.  It is passing under a temporary bridge, installed for construction traffic.  Several of these were used during the works, or the same onee several times.  Apart from this one, I remember one on Conwy Morfa and one between Llanfairfechan and Aber too, that I know I used as vantage points.  As I'm sure most readers are aware, this section of the A55 was built on a bed of fly-ash brought by rail from Fiddler's Ferry Power Station near Warrington.  It is supported by concrete piles, the reason for the pile driver here. Thousands of years ago, this was the bed of what is the Conwy River.

The second picture is 45 112 The Royal Army Ordnance Corps with train 1M63 from Scarborough to Bangor.  This is passing under the road bridge due to be removed as part of the work and between the new concrete abutments ready to receive the new bridge which would span the Railway and road.  I don't know the age of the old bridge, butit  must have been installed when the line was up-graded to four tracks.  This was the location of Mochdre and Pabo station which in my ignorance, thought was a Beeching era casualty but apparently closed in 1931.  Mochdre was also the site of the first water troughs in the World (in the World!).  Mochdre's Wikipedia entry is well worth a read.

Eclipse, Statfold and Penrhyn - by Jim Ikin

Seeing the item about Bagnall loco Eclipse by David Pool reminded me of a visit to Statfold in 2019 where its stood on a flatbed truck.

I was also at Penrhyn in 2015 and took a special interest in Ogwen; as David mentions there were a number of visiting locos, among them Sybil Mary which we saw again at Statfold in 2019.

It may be of interest to note that this year is the 120th anniversary of the Penrhyn Quarry 'Great Strike' which was - and still is - the longest industrial strike in UK history lasting from 22 November 1900 till 1903. Many locals will still not set foot in Penrhyn Castle and some families in Bethesda still do not speak to each other.

Llangollen and 41241 - by Chris Magner

Fifty six years ago,  2-6-2T 41241 steamed out of Llangollen Station working the 9.28pm Wrexham to Bala service on Saturday evening 12th December 1964.  Driver Tom Phillips, Fireman Emlyn Evans along with the Guard and the passengers had no idea this was the last ever train as following its passage the line breached.  Driver Phillips met some of his passengers in Bala on the Sunday morning.  He said to Mrs Jennie Evans, "We were very lucky last night Mrs Evans.  The embankment was washed away between Llandrillo and Llanderfel just after we passed over."  Now if someone watched No.41241 steam out of Llangollen on that Saturday night in 1964 and said in forty years time after all the track and signals have been taken away No.41241 will come back and work to Carrog no one would have believed them, but it did.  The Llangollen Railway -  what a human triumph. 

Does anyone have a picture of 41241 (still alive, preserved by the Worth Valley Railway) working on the Llangollen line before 1965?

Looking back -  with Tim Rogers

Seen on 11 December 2001 passing Bagillt,  47 805 on 1A46 09:19 Holyhead to Euston

On the same day, Shotton High Level station building, built in the style used by the LMS Railway. It was 'redeveloped' in 2009/10 to make up way for the current steel & glass structure.

66 004 passes Shotton with 6F59 09:15 Arpley to Dee Marsh. Enterprise service.

Fast forward to 11 December 2008:  57 315 passes Holywell Junction westbound at 15:01  on driver training prior to the Holyhead to Cardiff premiere service  the 'Y Gerallt Gymro' which started on 15 December 2008.

57 310 Kyrano 'drags' 390 029 City of Stoke on Trent as the 14:14 Holyhead to London Euston.  These workings lasted in some form, latterly Saturdays only until December 2012. Enthusiasts hoping for a 'final run' were frustrated: on 1 December the train from London was unable to leave Crewe as the loco and Pendolino wouldn't talk to each other and the planned final run on 8 December was replaced by a Class 221 Voyager. (See the 10 December 2012 issue).

The Coronation Land Cruise - by Jim Johnson

Following the Festival Land Cruise I have delved further into my archives on the topic, and further bills will appear in this and later issues.  The 1953 'Coronation Land Cruise' ran Monday-Friday from June to September.

Regarding the annotated 1951 version shown last time, Tony Robinson writes to tell us that the hand-written details attached were the work of J.M. Dunn, shedmaster at Bangor and author of many books and articles about the North Wales lines.

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