Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

14 June 2021



Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

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


67 008 approaches Llandudno Junction with the 05:34 Holyhead - Cardiff, 9 June. Picture by Gary Thomas.

Bala Re-railed - report by Jim Ikin

Blue skies and hot sun greeted the first train into Bala town in fifty-six years, albeit on a short length of temporary track at the 'Bala Re-railed' event on Saturday 12 June. In a well-organised and well attended event Winifred gave free rides and a miniature railway was also in attendance.

There as also a display of classic and vintage cars  including the Bentley which belonged to famous railway photographer Ivo Peters and appeared in many of his pictures. A  double decker Crosville bus also ran between the current terminus at Pen-y-bont and the event.

Plans were available for viewing of the new terminus and Julian Birley, chairman of the trust, gave informative descriptions of plans during walks of the proposed route from Pen-y-bont (Bala Junction) into the town.  Above, the view of the lake from what will be the new trackbed.

Normal services on the railway were maintained with Maid Marian and George B.

Later in the afternoon Councillor Dilwyn Morgan unveiled the station nameboard for Bala which will be installed when the re-building work is complete.

Picture by George Jones.

A QR code on this banner might have been a good idea! (George Jones).

The Coast and Peaks Rover

In recent years June would see the running of a special train for the 'Three Peaks Challenge' fund-raising event for the 'Railway Children' in which the participants from railway staff would run up and down Snowdon (overnight!) , Scafell and Ben Nevis over a two-day period, travelling by train from London and between the nearest starting points - Bangor, Ravenglass and Fort William.  The organisers have been asked if enthusiasts could travel, but sadly there has never been space. Gary Thomas captured the train (above) with 37 667 and 37 521 leading in thick mist, running 20 minutes early as the train approached Holyhead.

The return at Dwygyfylchi with 37 521 now leading. As usual, full sun appeared 10 seconds after the train had passed (Gary Thomas).

Crossing Conwy Cob (Garry Stroud).

Approaching Llandudno Junction (Ken Robinson).

Arrived in Platform 1.  High-quality paintwork is in evidence, but this original livery is still rather plain, and not actually authentic for these locos after they were rebuilt in the 1980s. (Stephen Dennett).

Nose ends at Llandudno Junction  (Garry Stroud)

Impressions by Stephen Dennett (2). The rear coach was a 'Pullmanised' Mk2 vehicle.

Departing Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud).

Passing Pensarn Beach, Abergele running about 5 minutes early.  Almost "all four seasons in one day". Picture by Gary Thomas.

This year the event has been postponed to September, and the idea arose to run trains for enthusiasts on roughly the same itinerary, without the climbing. The result was three days of railtours, operated (perhaps inevitably) by Locomotive Services with the Branch Line Society as booking agents. The chosen consist was two green Class 37s and a rake of LSL's Mark 3 coaches now in 'Intercity' colours.

The itinerary for the day was: Crewe P12 (PU 07.43) – Chester Dn & Up Main – Llandudno Junction P4 – Holyhead P1 (leg stretch) – Llandudno Junction P1 (RM) – Llandudno P3 (RM) – Llandudno Junction P1 – Chester – Helsby – Preston P3 – Lancaster Dn Main – Carnforth – Dalton Jn – Park South Jn – Sellafield – Maryport – Carlisle P1 (SD 18.34).

However, at some stage it was decided to leave Holyhead later than planned and omit the Llandudno branch on the grounds that the train was over the maximum length allowed in the station  - this was recorded in the Network Rail record as a 'planning error.'  The train ran more-or-less to time on to Carlisle.

Donations to the Railway Children are always welcome, more than ever in the Pandemic.


Now settling into a routine, 67 010 at Flint with the early morning express to Holyhead....

... with 82226 on the rear; it will be on the front adter reversal at Chester.  Pictures by Stephen Dennett.

Has anyone had a ride, and perhaps sampled the buffet arrangements?

Mold Mystery - by Barrie Hughes

I just purchased a batch of slides of Mold station in the 1970s and wonder if readers can help date them as the date is unclear.

Here is D5146 (24 146) at Mold shunting Jones Balers on SNCF flats (maybe export?). The sidings are full of vans (maybe stored) and the train also contains Synthite tanks with a brake van on the rear. The date on the Kodak slide is May followed by a 7 and a missing digit (common to all 9 slides). I guess it is at least 1970 and must be before 5/74 where the loco renumbered. The balers carried a mixture of Jones Balers and Allis Chalmers labels which might indicate 1971 as in that year Allis Chalmers sold the Mold factory to Burgess, an agricultural dealership, who revived the Welsh Dragon logo (and presumably also Jones Balers brand?).

Freight notes

The stone trains from Penmaenmawr are still being cancelled daily. The freight trains which ran from Crewe Basford Hall recently were delivering ballast for tracklaying operations; readers may have noticed we were misled by this in an early version of last week's Notice Board. We've been told that track repairs at the quarry are still on-going, and also that Penmaenmawr granite is different from the current stockpile at Crewe, so that has to be used before any trains can deliver.

An interesting fact about the planned trains of slate waste is that Hope Cement Works (which like the slate quarry is now owned by te Breedon group) plans to use it in their cement production, replacing 'fly ash' from power stations which will no longer be available.

DB Cargo 60 074 has received a new livery for Puma Energy, purveyor of petroleum products who have a recently-renewed contract with DB for transportation of more than one million tonnes of fuel each year from Milford Haven and Immingham to fuel terminals at Theale in Reading and Westerleigh, Bristol.  It carries the name Luke - unusual in that names of that sort are usually ladies' names. Greg Mape's picture shows a Tunstead - Lostock stone train passing Ashley.

On Sunday 6 June  66 601 The Hope Valley restarts the 04:30 Dorrington to Crewe Basford Hall waste ballast train from the goods loop at Sutton Bridge Junction, Shrewsbury at 20:52, having arrived there at 06:13!

From Dave Sallery's archive

48765 passes Rock Ferry with a freight from Birkenhead docks in the last days of steam

45 116 on a down service to Bangor , Mostyn, 4 July 1984.

47 843 passes Rhyl marine lake with an up ballast. This loco was the Basford Hall shunter for Freightliner at the time and seldom ventured onto the main line. 1 September 2004.

Feedback - David Pool's 1970s

David's 'looking back' images  in the last issue have generated some very interesting responses.

David Rapson writes:

I can confirm that the train from Harrow that David photographed hauled by Class 24s 5082 and 5091 was 1L00 the 07:25 Adex (advertised excursion) Harrow & Wealdstone to Aberystwyth, returning from the resort at 18:00.
It was one of many day excursions run in those days and had nothing to do with engineering work. Bank Holidays are only disrupted nowadays!

David's picture of Class 47 No. 1676 at Canning Street on 8L62 was almost certainly imported ore bound for the Potteries. 'L' in a headcode signified a London Midland  Region special in the 1970s. The following Sunday 29th July 1973 more than half a dozen specials ran from Birkenhead Docks and I photographed most of them.

Below are three pictures taken that day of trains bound for Chatterley Valley and Etruria. This was a common occurrence and a typed notice would appear around Thursday of each week detailing Sunday's extras.

324 at Birkenhead Blackpool Street on 8L57 10.30 Birkenhead Docks-Etruria.

245 passing Hooton with 8L66 15.00 Birkenhead Docks - Chatterley Valley.

5136 and D7650 at Canning Street with 8L61 14.15 Birkenhead Docks - Etruria.

In fact the plan was for 9 trains to Etruria and 11 to Chatterley Valley - an  amazing 20 additional freights on a Sunday over what is now the Merseyrail third rail system. Quite a job to provide men for so many additional freights, albeit at Sunday rate! Class 47 No. 1621 operated the Bidston - Shotwick trips that day while in mid-morning Birkenhead shed hosted 15 diesels.

Aled Rees writes:

The photo by David Pool of two class 24’s charging past Cemmes Road Signal Box depicts your truly standing beside Ronnie Thomas the Signalman - well, it could be either myself or a friend of mine Gwyndaf Pugh.  (Detail from David's picture above).

Around the time of the passage of this train (11:15) we would have just finished the Saturday morning polish – both of us would be set at work polishing all the brass labels and lever tops and as a reward Ronnie would buy us both a Jam Doughnut and a bottle of pop from the Arvonia Bakery bread van that used to call at the Dyfi Valley Hotel over the road from the box.

With regard to the train, the regulation 15mph for the exchange of tokens would never be observed as drivers wanted a run at  Talerddig Bank – the up grade starting from here. Drivers would coast up to the home signal, check that the starting signal was off and then would apply full power as is seen from the photo – happy days!

Looking back: 1970s part 2 - with David Pool

I paid a visit to Anglesey on 5 October 1974, and one of my objectives was to see whether there were any signs of life on the Breakwater Railway, which was the home of the elusive diesels 01 001 and 01 002. The track seemed to be still in use, but the locomotives were locked out of sight in the shed.   The crane visible at the end of the Breakwater would be around 1.5 miles away. 

I realised that some “inside information” would be needed to make my next visit worthwhile, so I later contacted a friend at Crewe and asked if he knew anyone who might be able to help.  Many months later I got a reply, telling me that work on the Breakwater was due to take place on a particular day in August 1976.  I was able to arrange to take a day off, and my successful visit is recorded in the NWCR News of 2 April 2020.

In the afternoon of my visit in October 1974, I photographed the 13:20 to Euston leaving Holyhead, headed by 47 481.  (Two more class 47s and two class 40s are visible in the shed.).

Moving on to Bangor, the 10:00 for Euston to Holyhead was leaving behind 47 490.  I boarded the dmu which would follow, so that I could see the progress on the rebuilding of the Britannia Bridge after the disastrous fire in 1970. 

While waiting at Llanfair PG. for a train back to Bangor, the 11:30 Freightliner from Trafford Park to Holyhead appeared with 40 174.  I tried to get the station name in the shot, but with no sun and a rapidly moving train I couldn’t achieve the sharpness of a modern digital camera!  

Heading back to Bangor, I was very pleased to be able to photograph one of the lions guarding the Bridge – I think this would be on the Anglesey side.  The burned out tubes have been removed, and preparations for the roadway on top of the railway are taking shape. 

In 1974, trains ran in North Wales on Boxing Day, 26 December.  Metro-Cammell Class 101 diesel unit M51191 and M56350 was working the 11:30 Llandudno to Llandudno Junction.  Even at midday, the sun was very low in the sky in December. 

On 9 August 1975 the 09:00 Llandudno to York was hauled by 40 132, here leaving Chester and passing No.2 Box.

Following the York train, the 09:45 Llandudno to Euston had 47 034, which would come off at Crewe and probably be replaced by a Class 86 electric. 

Steam again at Llangollen - report by George Jones

On 14 June, a stock movement at Llangollen station saw the 08 shunter withdraw the coaching rake from platform 2 in readiness for a locomotive movement (above).

With the station loop available GWR 3802 (now privately-owned) came in from the yard on a steam test and took water before posing outside the station building and attracting a lot of attention from visitors on the bridge. Whistles heard across town were a clear indication that is on its way back; trains may resume in July once the work to complete the track over Dee Bridge is finished and passed for trains.

Meanwhile, in the yard, the unusual sight of the bunker from Standard 4 tank 80072 as it awaits transport to Barnett Engineering in Rhosllanerchrugog. There it will provide the pattern for a replacement bunker as an initial step in the overhaul of this popular engine by members of the Llangollen Standard 4 Trust.

On the road again at Barmouth

A four-car train on the Cambrian Coast line; the one photographed from a distance by Ian Wright  was not a passenger working, but empty stock as one train collects another. One of the 158s (158 833) isolated by the  improvement  work on Black Bridge east of Machynlleth needed attention for a wheel-flat, so a replacement was sent by road to Barmouth, one coach per vehicle. (Access by road at Machynlleth is said to be problematic.) The main street of Barmouth is not a wide boulevard - a video of the move was on  YouTube but seems to have been deleted.

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