Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 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.


TfW at Harlech, 18 June: a 158 on the Pwllheli portion of the 10:06 from Birmingham International.  Picture by Howard Williams.

New train on the block: Class 197

New-build class 197 DMU no. 197 002 made a couple of trial runs down the coast as far as Llandudno Junction and then on to Blaenau Ffestiniog on Thursday 24 June (one trip, was supposed to be two but the second was cancelled) and again on 25  June (two trips as planned). The new train is seen above approaching Rhyl on 24 June - a rare chance to photograph a passenger train on the Fast line. Picture by Roly High.

Approaching ...

... and passing Dogarrog station  on the return trip from Blaenau, 24 June (Gary Thomas).  The lack of yellow front and specifically the red door with red signifying "danger" has had quite a lot of debate on social media.  These units will replace the Class 158 and (relatively modern) 175 units on longer journeys, and also the older 150 and 153 units currently in use on the Conwy Valley line and the Cambrian network.

Entering Llandudno Junction station at 11:26 ...

... and laying over before departure back to Crewe at 12:20 (Garry Stroud) . These trains are basically the same as the Class 196 units being built for the West Midlands, and the Class 195s on Northern, although the latter don't have gangway connections.

Video news

If you like your North Wales images to be of the moving picture variety, you may be interested in a new Youtube site  'DH Trains' based in the Prestatyn area, produced by a Prestatyn-based enthusiast.

Greg Mape's North Wales

At 20:45 on 25 June the northbound express from Cardiff passes 221 107 on the 20;20 Bangor - Crewe at Old Colwyn. (Pleasingly, Avanti now allow unit numbers to be included on the Realtime Trains website.)

A morning gathering of Class 175s at Llandudno Junction, 26 June: 113, 008 and 010(?)

150 245 arrives at Betws-y-Coed on 26 June.

Robert Stephenson's remarkable arch welcomes the 10:29 Crewe - Holyhead formed of 221 105 and 221 108 on 26 June.

197 at Crewe - report by Geoff Morris

On the morning of 23 June I noticed a set of 'VST' paths in Real Time Trains between Crewe and Chester that suggested that something was shuttling between the two stations – they had also appeared on 22 June but I wasn’t able to investigate then.

I knew that the first of TfW’s class 197 sets had gone to Crewe for test running a few weeks ago and so put 2 & 2 together and went to Chester station for the 11:34 arrival.  This duly arrived in the form of 197  002.  It returned east after c.10 minutes in platform 1.  All of the seats were still shrouded in polythene but there were a couple of people inside with open laptops in front of them – presumably monitoring performance of various components.

When I arrived 230 009 was stabled on the freight lines alongside platform 7 and was manned before heading for Bidston at 11:45 (just before the 197 headed east) and so I grabbed the chance to get a shot of the “future” ! (above)

On 22 June, 3Q73 10:17 Chester - Crewe, passing Rowton (Paul Shannon).

37 418  on the Cambrian - by Graham Breakwell

On Tuesday 22 June the 06:13h from Crewe Basford Hall to Newtown ballast train and the 16:00 return working from Newtown was double-headed with 97 304 John Tiley and 37 418 An Comunn Gaidhealach. A welcome sight of a 37/4 on the Cambrian line again'.

Unfortunately I was not around to photograph the service but did catch the rare visitor back at Coleham sidings the next day, in the company of 56 096, 97 302, 97 303 and 97 304.

On 23 June 97 304 and 97 303 double-headed the 16:36 Crewe Basford Hall to Newtown ballast seen here passing through Sweetlake.

This is 97 303 returning the empty rail carriers on the 16:00 from Newtown at Sweetlake, Shrewsbury on 16 June.

That Mold Brakevan Tour

Above, another look at one of the photographs acquired by Barrie Hughes featuring a Class 24 on a brake-van tour at  Mold station.

Chris Magner writes:  'On 24 May 1969 the Wirral Railway Circle ran the Welsh Borderer brake van tour hauled by a 24 which went to Mold, Nantmawr and down the Ellesmere branch from Wrexham.  This had a headboard and on one of the photos  the 24 has a headboard. 

'The last known Rail Tour to Coed Talon [as we suggested might be the one in our picture] was a dmu in October 1961 from Chester run by the SLS (Midlands area).  I am not saying it did not run, but I personally never heard of a brake van tour to Coed Talon in 1963 and hauled by a 24. '

Others have made the same suggestion, and indeed there is on the RCTS website a collection of photographs of the 'Welsh Borderer' although frustratingly not the Mold section.   Perhaps the photographer was out of film. Sadly the loco number is not quite visible, although it is suggested that it was D5075.

Stop Press: We have located a source for the itinerary of this tour - watch this space!

Looking back: Steam and Diesel Part 1 - by David Pool

A Llandudno to Manchester train on 17 May 1980 was being worked by 25 198, here passing Chester No. 2 Box.  The steam locomotive 6201 Princess Elizabeth in the distance had been advertised to haul the “The Lancastrian” excursion, but I cannot recall the route or destination.  I was disappointed to find that the dry weather and fire risk resulted in the train leaving Chester with 47 192 dragging 6201 in light steam.  Can anyone confirm where “The Lancastrian” was going?

On 21 June 1980 35028 Clan Line was soon to be taken out of service for a general overhaul and work on its boiler, and a “Clan Farewell” railtour had been arranged.  Information about this railtour is rather elusive.  It basically ran between Liverpool and Hereford –  via Manchester!  A “Merchant Navy” out of Lime Street would have been remarkable, but I understand it came on at Edge Hill.  My photograph was taken as 35028 entered Olive Mount cutting.

Clan Line was apparently photographed climbing Miles Platting bank out of Manchester Victoria, and eventually reached Chester.  There was an event at the Roodee Racecourse, as Clan Line approached the Dee Bridge, heading for Wrexham and Shrewsbury. 

A couple of months later I was at Altrincham, on 23 August 1980.  The afternoon limestone train from Tunstead to Oakleigh was headed by 25 119, and a four car Class 304 electric unit (set 044) was waiting to depart, possibly to Crewe. 

It had been intended to withdraw the Class 76 DC Electrics from the Woodhead route at the end of 1980, so a farewell railtour “The Christmas Tommy” was to leave Manchester Piccadilly on 30 December.  The “Tommy “was derived from the name of the prototype Class 76, which had been loaned to the Netherlands in 1947 prior to entering service in Britain, and returned to the UK in 1952 named Tommy.  76 006 is about to leave Piccadilly for the tour of the Woodhead line and branches.  The withdrawal date was subsequently deferred until July 1981. 

On 18 April 1981 LMS Class 5 5305 was passing through Northwich with a train from Hull to Chester, but this is another train which seems to have escaped the attention of those who document railtours.

The next railtour I photographed was the “Yorkshire Pullman” on 20 June 1981, run by the Steam Locomotive Operators Association (SLOA).  The Class 40 seen coming off the Middlewich line from Crewe to Northwich was 40 046.

The Class 40 came off at Northwich, and the train went forward to Leeds behind 30850 Lord Nelson.  Another Class 40 was used between Leeds and Carlisle over the Settle and Carlisle line.  The agitated dog on the platform at Lostock Gralam was not mine! 

From Dave Sallery's archive

33 018 negotiates the junctions at Shrewsbury with a Cardiff - Crewe  service, 13 August 1984.

47 446 passing Rhyl on empty wagons to enmaemawr quarry, 19 July 1988.

Llangollen Update - by George Jones

Jennifer, the 0-6-0T aka S Fox &  Co.Ltd No.20, was ready for despatch on 23 June,The loco lacks a works plate as it is actually Hudswell Clarke No,1731 of 1942, as used in the Sheffield steelworks of Samuel Fox & Co. Ltd. Its restoration back in 2005 was an early success for LR Engineering since when it has been hired by Colne Valley, Peak Rail and Epping & Ongar prior to last autumn's sortie at LR. It is headed for  the Aln Valley Railway where it will join Richboro', another former Llangollen resident and ex Gresford loco

It is headed for  the Aln Valley Railway where it will join Richboro', another former Llangollen resident and ex-Gresford collery loco.

Also lined up to leave is 0-6-0T No.17, a long term restoration project now reassembled and going to the Gwili Railway for completion.  The loco is Andrew Barclay No1338 of 1913 formerly with the NCB Scotland. More  information.  Completion of its restoration would provide a useful engine for a heritage line.

The blue Restaurant Buffet coach 1697 has also left, headed for the South Devon Railway where they may have a use for an air-braked vehicle or tackle a conversion job.

Also positioned in the yard for departure is the hulk of GWR Hall 5259 Cogan Hall, as seen minus its front bogie that is now under 6880 Betton Grange which it is due to join at Tyseley.

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