Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

29 March 2021



Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

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


37 099 leads 37 175  working 3Q08 Crewe to Crewe via Llandudno   Deganwy and Llandudno Junction , 23 March.  
Picture by Ryan Lloyd.

News Pictures

The 37s also visited the Conwy Valley line: here they are arriving back at Llandudno Junction with 37 175 leading (Ryan Lloyd).

At Bryn Tawel bridge, near Bangor,  recent tree-felling and vegetation clearance has improved the view of the railway.  On 25 March 158 823 passes with 1D13 12:24 Shrewsbury-Holyhead. Picture by Jim Johnson.

The Drax biomass trains reverted to their normal Sunday route via Altrincham on 28 March.  Greg Mape's picture shows the Doncaster Decoy to Liverpool empties with 60 076 in charge ...

...  plus 66 793, freshly painted in a 'heritage' livery of 'Railfreight triple-grey' with authentic 'construction' sub-sector markings.  Five locos, 66 793 to 797, have been imported from Germany by GBRf.

Steam lives

Stanier Black 5 4-6-0 45231 tackles Gresford Bank on the third and last day of a series of test runs from Crewe , Thursday 25 March.  Picture by Peter Neve.

Pandy, near the top of Gresford bank (Martin Evans).

D1935 on the rear (Martin Evans).

Green Lane crossing (Bob Greenhalgh).

Busy 45 minutes at Shrewsbury Golf Course - with Graham Breakwell

With some of our freedom resumed on 29 March, I travelled to Shrewsbury Golf Course which was very active, not just with players but with some extra rail action between 1110 and 11.45. Above, 56 094 returning to Westbury with the 10:18 from Crewe Basford Hall.

Then the star attraction of the day Transpennine Express 68 023 Achilles on the 10:50 from Craven Arms to Shrewsbury, having worked down on the late running 08:10 from Crewe Basford Hall.

This was the first of six Shrewsbury to Craven Arms light engine moves (driver training?), scheduled to run every day this week.

Next Colas Rail track machine DR 73935 on the 09:45 from Maindee Depot to Wrexham General with Shrewsbury Town FC ground in the background.

Finally, normal service resumed! 175 002 on the 1V39 Manchester Piccadilly to Milford Haven. 

Marches engineering

The Chester - Wrexham route saw a lot of works trains over the weekend, the work site being between Balderton Crossing and Green Lane crossing. Here is just one of the Sunday workings stood at Green Lane crossing waiting to return to Crewe Basford Hall. Green Lane being under the control of a man with flag (Bob Greenhalgh). The signs relate to the operation of the new-style automatic full-barrier level crossings now in vogue. 'Do not obstruct thus reflector' relates to the LIDAR system which detects any object on the crossing.

The operation required engineering trains to travel south to Rossett and on to the single line section, whereupon a light engine would back on to the train and take it back north to Crewe Basford Hall. These  five photographs were taken around midday on Sunday 28 March by Peter Neve.

Above: A rare sight at Rossett, with four class 66 diesels in shot. 66 957 will take the train on to the single line section, whereupon 66 599 will back on to the train and take north to Crewe Basford Hall.

Class 66 599 backs on to the train of ballast wagons standing on the single line section at Rossett. The device in the cess area is the means by which the switch blades are manually operated.

Class 56 diesel 56 049 Robin of Templecombe has just been given the green flag at Broad Oak crossing and accelerates a train of empty wagons into the designated holding area on the up line at Rossett.

Class 66 diesel 66 599 passes class 56 56049 Robin of Templecombe as it leaves Rossett and heads north on the return journey to Crewe Basford Hall.

Some interesting regalia on 56 049. The locomotive gained the nameplate  after its previous holder 47 739 left the Colas loco pool and went to GBRf. The nameplate was a tribute to Driver Robin Gould who had completed 55 years of railway employment before retirement; the small plate below was added after his death in 2013.

At Wrexham General, no trains at all - engineering work blocking both the main line and the Borderlands route (George Jones).

A giant-size TfW logo adorns Wrexham General's lift shaft (George Jones).

Measurement Train on the Coast

A visit to the Coast line on 25 March, with 43 062  John Armitt ...

... and a surprise in the shape of former LNER 43 299 (Brian Jones).

Llanfair PG (Rhodri Williams)

Gaerwen Uchaf Private Level Crossing No.2 (Rhodri Williams)

From Bryn Tawel bridge, near Bangor (Jim Johnson).

Bangor station (Jim Johnson).

Looking back: Llangollen (etc) 2005 - by David Pool

Steam, Steel and Stars 2015 was another successful event.  On 6 March GWR 4270 was a visitor and was photographed leaving Carrog.  This locomotive was another Barry rescue, but the restoration had taken many years, eventually being completed at Toddington on the Gloucestershire Worcestershire Railway in 2014.  Since then it has run on other preserved railways, in particular the Severn Valley Railway.

With a demonstration goods approaching Glyndyfrdwy, another visitor was 3205, the only surviving Collett 2251 Class 0-6-0.  Built in 1946, it was bought by the 2251 Fund and moved to the Dart Valley Railway in 1965. The line was not then able to run passenger trains, and 3205 moved to the Severn Valley Railway, where it was based from 1967 until 1987.  Although it had worked the first train from Bridgnorth in 1970, it subsequently suffered a number of problems, and eventually left for the East Somerset Railway and finally back to the South Devon Railway in 1998.  After a major overhaul in 2010, it is currently awaiting funds for a new boiler.

The GWR 14XX  locomotives were seen on many of the branchlines in the West Country in the 1960s, and it is pleasing that so many have survived in Preservation.  1450 is double heading a train with the Prairie Tank 5199, arriving at Carrog on 6 March 2015.  The equipment on the right for exchanging the single line tokens is of interest.

I had photographed 1450 leaving the main line at Stoke Canon on the 10:25 from Exeter to Dulverton on 17 September 1963, a fortnight before services on the Tiverton branch were withdrawn.  It would have been appropriate for a 14XX to have hauled the last train on the branch, but due to the number of passengers wanting to travel, additional coaches were provided, and a D63XX Class diesel substituted for steam.

Ten years later on 23 April 1973 the D63XX diesels had all gone to the scrapyards, but 1450 had survived, and was still in Devon, this time at Staverton Bridge on the Dart Valley Railway.

Two more visitors to Llangollen in 2015 were the 9F 92214 and 34092 City of Wells, here double heading after leaving Glyndyfrdwy on 6 March.  The 9F was one of the last locomotives to work on the Somerset and Dorset line, eventually being withdrawn from Severn Tunnel Junction in 1965.  In preservation, it went to the North Yorks Moors Railway in 2010, then to the Great Central Railway in 2014.  It came to Llangollen in 2015 carrying the name Central Star before returning to the Great Central, where it now operates.  The Bulleid “West Country” 34092 was built in 1949 and named Wells, then City of Wells a year later. Rescued from Barry, it went to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in 1979, and was fitted with a Giesl ejector in 1986 to improve the exhaust arrangements. Eventually it was purchased by the East Lancs Railway, where it is now a regular performer.

I shall never forget another occasion I photographed City of Wells.  On 12 December 1981 it was based at Carnforth, and was to work a Steam Special to Leeds and back, described as the “Golden Arrow”.  We were experiencing exceptionally cold weather at the time, and I decided to go first to Carnforth to check that the train was running.  Apparently the temperature there overnight had dipped to minus 15 degrees Celsius!  All was well when I got to Carnforth, and City of Wells was in steam by the coaling stage.

My plan was to photograph the train somewhere near Clapham, where it should be working hard in nice snowy scenery, and headed for Kettlesbeck Bridge, where a number of photographers were gathering.  The first train we saw was an ammonia tank freight, hauled by a 47 which had rescued a failed 40, then there were a couple of Class 108 units.

We were expecting City of Wells, but 45 004 Royal Irish Fusilier was next with another ammonia tank freight, probably from Heysham to Haverton Hill. Apparently the connecting train from the South had been delayed, so City of Wells was running late. By now the sun was getting low in the sky, and we were much relieved to hear the sound of steam in the distance.  My photograph was one of many taken that day, and is certainly one of my all time favourites.  We later learned that the water tank at Leeds was frozen, and with the late running the train got no further than Skipton.  

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