Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

26 April 2021



Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

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


Colwyn Bay from Old Colwyn, 12 April (Greg Mape). Rail Operations Group 37 800 passes on a route-learning run; ROG  crews will be driving the new Class 197 trains on their forthcoming test runs.

Class 37 doings

There is a confusing amount of 'route learning' going on at present, and Class 37 locos are the vehicle of choice.

On 20 April. 97 304 John Tiley worked out and back from Shrewsbury Coleham depot  via the Conwy valley and Llandudno; Bob Greenhalgh captured it passing Beeches Farm on the way out of Chester.

 Llandudno (Ryan Lloyd)

Also on 20 April. 37 521  (D6817), now a Locomotive Services Ltd  machine,  was train OZ40 Crewe HS to Holyhead then  Blaenau Ffestiniog via Llandudno. Above, passing Bangor (Jim Johnson).

Llandudno (Ryan Lloyd).

Returning past Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).

On 21 April it was the turn of 37 688 Great Rocks, resplendent in Railfreight Construction livery as worn when in Peak District limestone traffic and out-stationed at Buxton. The run included the Conwy Valley and Llandudno branches as well as Holyhead. Picture by Ryan Lloyd.

This loco joined in the DRS fleet after sale by EWS, and wore their blue livery until purchased for preservation in 2017 by a group called D05 Preservation Limited, who restored it to Railfreight colours and regalia. It saw service on the Mid-Norfolk Railway and the Severn Valley, until placed on long-term lease in January 2020 to become yet another member of the Locomotive Services Ltd fleet, and has clearly been certified for main line running. Picture at Bangor by Jim Johnson.

On Sunday 25 April, Network Rail's  Ultrasonic Testing Unit (UTU) visited North Wales to check for any defects in the rails.  The working, which saw very pleasant weather,  was 09:42 Crewe - Derby via Chester, Llandudno Junction, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llandudno Junction - Chester - Crewe and Stoke-on Trent. Above, crossing Llanddulas viaduct (Greg Mape). 37 219 Jonty Jarvis provided the power,  driving trailer 9708 on the other end. 

Arriving at ... 

... and immediately departing from,  Blaenau Ffestiniog (Ken Robinson).

Tal-y-Cafn on the return journey, passing the replica nameboard erected by the Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society.

Interestingly, since it was features here last Tal-y-Cafn has gained a raised section of platform for easy boarding - not a so-called 'Harrington Hump' which is fibreglass affair, but  in solid stone to match the rest of the platform. Accurate position of stopping trains is required to match the door positions of different types of train, hence the blue signs. Pictures by Greg Mape)

Coming off the Conwy Valley branch at Llandudno Junction ...

... and heading home to Derby after reversal (Ryan Lloyd).

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).

NMT on the Coast - pictures by Gary Thomas

22 April saw the New Measurement Train head down the Coast with its stand-in ex-LNER loco 43 299 in the lead, seen passing Dwygyfylchi.

43 062 John Armitt on the rear.

News from Bala Lake - by Mat Peacock

The Bala Lake Railway has just held its first ever volunteer working party on the site of the new Bala Town station, behind the old cinema in Bala. The Railway is building an extension into the town and construction work on the new route is due to begin this summer.

On 12 and 13 June there will also be an Open Day on the Town station site, featuring 2-foot and 7.25 inch gauge steam-hauled trains, and other attractions. The pictures (from 17 April) show us starting to lay temporary tracks for this event. The 2-foot gauge track has been kindly loaned to us by the Ffestiniog-Welsh Highland Railway.

From Dave Sallery's archive

Two curiosities from the 1990s.  Sometime before anyone thought of handing over our freight company to the German Railways, on 10 October 1992, 90 129 Frachtverbindungen stands at Warrington Bank Quay displaying Deutsche Bundesbahn livery, in celebration of a 'Freightconnection'  event held at NEC Birmingham in 1992 intended to build interest in the rail haulage option between the UK and mainland Europe in preparation for the opening of the Channel Tunnel. There were also French and Belgian versions. Built as 90 029, the '1' was inserted to indicate a freight sector loco with restricted maximum speed; later the original numbers were re-instated.

90 029 lived to receive the UK version of the DB Cargo livery, but more recently was one of the locos leased to Grand Central as part of a plan to run a London - Blackpool service. The trains were prepared, given black/orange livery,  and training began, but the Covid-19 situation  has led the company to abandon the project.

309 623 at Crewe, 27 August 1997.  Originally built for services out of London Liverpool Street, when they became redundant a small batch was transferred to Regional Railways North West which used them on peak-time commuter services, including a once-daily pair of trains between Birmingham and Manchester.  They lasted until 2000 before withdrawal and subsequent scrapping.

Cambrian Corner - with Graham Breakwell

97 304 John Tiley passing Frongoch between Dovey Junction and Aberdyfi  on the very pleasant afternoon of 22 April, on an outing from Coleham to Tywyn to pick up a tamper and pilot it back to Coleham.

158 822 passing Frongoch on the 1338 Pwllheli to Machynlleth, also yesterday. 

158 830 approaches Dovey Junction with the Pwllheli portion of the 12:10 from Birmingham International.

Just visible to the left of the top of the unit is the osprey nest and the Dyfi Osprey Project CCTV cameras, live streaming Telyn and Idris hatching their three eggs- network connection kindly provided by by Network Rail.

Talyllyn Railway re-opening

The Talyllyn Railway is delighted to announce that it is now able to make plans for the phased re-opening of the Railway in its 70th anniversary year, following the Welsh Government’s announcement of the careful relaxation of regulations with respect to the Corona Virus Pandemic. The daily public train service will re-commence on Saturday 1 May. All bookings must be made in advance through the Talyllyn website, where full details may be found of the special Covid safeguarding arrangements that have been made. To ensure social distancing, intending travellers will be booking a compartment that is exclusive to their group.

King’s Café at Wharf station is open from 9am until the return of the last train and the Tea Rooms at Abergynolwyn Station will be open from 10am until 3pm.  The Talyllyn Shop at Wharf Station is open with its usual opening hours from 9am until 3 pm. Hot drinks and cake are available to take-away from the shop. The Online shop is also open with free UK deliveries for orders over £25.


A couple of errors crept in to the last issue. Firstly, the Class 150 at Wrexham Central was arriving, not departing, as shown by the red tail lights. 100% editorial error.

Perhaps more interestingly, the  shunter loco in the Llangollen auction sale is not a 'Class 13' as we claimed, It is in fact a Class 08 350hp shunter,  previously numbered 08 195. Preservationists have re-instated the number 13265 which is the number it would have carried back in the early 1950s. At nationalisation, the few diesels that existed on BR were allocated the series 10000 to 19999; later this was replaced by shorter numbers prefixed by D. This loco became D3265, but when the 'TOPS' system was introduced there was a re-organisation of the numbering of the various batches and it became 08 195.

We carelessly took the 'Type 13' in the auction website to mean 'Class 13' which in fact were 08s coupled in pairs for use at Tinsley Marshalling Yard.

(Regarding the railway's current predicament, this has been drawn to the attention of First Minister Drakeford who made positive noises about helping, assuming that Labour win the election.)

The loco in question is seen in this 1999 view at Llangollen by Barrie Hughes. The headboard is the one originally made for ...

... the Central Wales Scenic Railtour which ran on a very wet 31 October 1970, from Crewe to Crewe via Barry, stopping for the scrapyard, the Vale of Glamorgan line, and the Central Wales line. Does anyone have a record of the route Bridgend to Llanelli?

Class 197 seats

As we thought, the class 197 seats which we illustrated last time are the original design: the seats that are actually to be fitted are a version of the 'Sophia' seats made by the Fainsa company and illustrated on their website.

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