Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

05 July 2021


Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

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


This week's highlight is the appearance on 1 July of 'The Bristol Forty' excursion from Bangor to Bristol, hauled by 40 013 / D213. The train ran empty from Crewe in the morning, photographed near Conwy by Ryan Lloyd.

Llangollen Railway re-opening on 9 July: see below

The Bristol Forty

Approaching Llandudno Junction on the way to Bristol (Ryan Lloyd). Sadly, on this day weather conditions were not ideal for photography. Back in the 70s and early 80s the Class 40s (English Electric Type 4 in pre-computer days) worked many of the Coast trains and gained an enthusiast following. These early high-power diesels were  very heavy, and to spread the load on the track the 40, like its Derby-built Class 45/46 class, has eight axles, six of which are powered.

Pensarn Beach, Abergele (Gary Thomas). D213 at English Electric Vulcan Foundry Works, Newton-le-Willows  in 1959, and withdrawn from normal British Railways service in January 1985, but was retained as the London Midland Region's 'Exhibition Loco' to visit open days and publicity events, including the one at Shrewsbury which featured in a recent Notice Board.

The London Midland Region named a batch of the locos after ocean liners; at the period, 'boat trains'  ran to a private station at Liverpool Riverside.  RMS Andania was a Cunard liner dating from 1921 and sunk in 1940 by a German U-boat while acting as an armed merchant cruiser.


Bagillt (Stephen Dennett). In 1988 the loco was purchased by a pricare owner, and returned to traffic with the help of a group of enthusiasts.

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh). Currently the loco is on a three-year hire to Locomotive Services Limited, who ran this excursion under the Saphos brand. The train was, subject to social distancing, fully booked.

Seen at Chester - report by Geoff Morris

197 002 now appears to be seeing fairly regular test runs along the North Wales Coast. On 2 July I went to photograph it on the 08:49 Crewe C.S. to Llandudno Junction crossing the Shropshire Union Canal at Chester Locks.  The tree that has been growing between the Up and Down lines at the end of the bridge shows clear effects of being “manicured” by passing services ...

... as exemplified by the photo that I took of 158 830  a couple of minutes earlier on the 07:06 Birmingham International - Chester.

I returned to the area for the return of the class 197 and had noted that a Very Short Term path had appeared on RTT for something to run from Chester sidings to Birkenhead North depot. I assumed this would be a class 230 and the timings on RTT suggested that it might pass the class 197 around here.  Well I was correct about the class 230  trip which turned out to be a pair (230 008/006) and they did pass the class 197.

Unfortunately this happened just out of my sight behind the trees on the right hand side of the line before the viaduct ! The class 197 had run a little early and was already waiting at the signal there, presumably because the 230s had crossed over to the main line in Northgate cutting, so blocking its path.  My camera shows that less than 40 seconds elapsed between the photo of the 230s and the appearance of the 197 but the class 230s were already out of sight in Curzon Park cutting by then.  So near but yet so far.

[In other news: A 'small fire' involving a Class 230 was attend by the Fire Service at Wrexham on 1 July.]

67s at Holyhead - pictures by Mike Sheridan

A visit to Holyhead on 5 July saw two of the three TfW class 67 sets stabled in the sidings: 67 017 (above) and 67 008.

Class 37/4 corner

The Branch Line Society has been running a series of charity railtours featuring Class 37/4 locos in conjunction with DRS .  On Sunday  4 July, 37 423 and former Coast Line favourite 37 422 Victorious were in charge visited some unusual locations, including the short branch from Romiley to Rose Hill. Picture above by Greg Mape.

Arriving at Rose Hill station in heavy rain (Peter Cross).  This line originally continued to Macclesfield; the route is now popular with walkers and cyclists as The Middlewood Way.

Glossop (photographed by Greg Mape  from the adjacent street) has always been a terminus; the branch from the Woodhead main line was paid for by the landowner, the Duke of Norfolk.

Later, two Class 70s 70 011 and 70 019 were added on the front of the train,  seen at Handforth on the Stockport - Crewe route. 37 422's previous number before rebuilding with electric train heating provision in 1986 , 37 266, has been applied to the cab side  for some reason.

From Dave Sallery's Archive

Warrington on 7 April 1989:  20 021 and 20 121  are on a Point of Ayr to Fiddlers Ferry Merry-go-Round coal train; they have just reversed in Latchford sidings. Arpley stabling point is on the right.

25 035 at Prestatyn on Sunday morning 3 August 1986, engaged in Permanent-way duties. We have had two new footbridges since that one!


197 002 near Flint, 1 July (Stephen Dennett).

'Celebrity' loco 66 779 Evening Star - the last-built Class 66 = passes Penyffordd with a cement train on2 July (Stephen Dennett).

Still on the cement duty, 66 779 passing Rhosymedre on 5 July's Avonmouth to Penyffordd empties (Martin Evans).

D1501 makes a smoky arrival at Heywood, East Lancashire Railway,  2 July (Greg Mape).

A busy moment at Peak Forest, 2 July (Greg Mape).

Work is well under way at the Barmouth viaduct ready for closure on 12t#
September until 12 December (Kate Jones).

Looking back: Steam and Diesels in the 80s part 2   - by David Pool

The Kemira (previously UKF) Fertiliser Plant at Ince despatched trains to a variety of locations in the South and South West of England.  These freights used the line from Helsby Junction to Mouldsworth, and on Monday 3 May 1982 the afternoon train with 47 306 was passing the site of the long closed Helsby and Alvanley ststion.  I would be interested if anyone could tell me the likely destination on this day.

The speed restriction on the line gave me time to get to Mouldsworth, where 47 306 was coming off the single line.  This line closed in 1991, but 47 306 has survived in preservation.

Now carrying the name The Sapper, 47 306 is presently based at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway, but has appeared frequently on other railways.  On 10 September 1999 it was on the East Lancashire Railway, and is leaving Summerseat for Rawtenstall.

Tuesday 25 May 1982 was the day the Ffestiniog Railway ran its first train to the new station in Blaenau Ffestiniog.  I was not enthusiastic about the headboard or the choice of locomotive (Earl of Merioneth) for the occasion, but after photographing it at Penrhyndeudraeth I waited for it at the site of the old station at Blaenau Ffestiniog North. 

On the other side of the station and rather overlooked by everybody who had come to see the Ffestiniog train, 25 323 was in the sidings marshalling a freight, including several CXV gunpowder wagons.

Another view of 25 323 shows an ICI vehicle, presumably from Cookes Explosives at Penrhyndeudraeth, loading one of the wagons.  The loading point for explosives was later changed to the siding at Maentwrog Road until the traffic ceased in the early 1990s.

The crowds had gathered at the new Blaenau station for the Ffestiniog Railway’s celebrations.  A Derby Lightweight Class 108 Unit had helpfully moved out of the BR platform, allowing more spectators to view the proceedings, but clearly there were some who were not prepared to stay on the platforms. 

At the other end of the station there were more trespassers.  The Class 108 Unit M51962 and M52044 was about to move off, but some local sheep had decided the show was over, so they should continue their walk.  The height of the platform was no barrier to Welsh sheep!

Llangollen Railway News - by George Jones

Llangollen Railway are delighted to be able to return to operation with a limited service to Berwyn on Friday 9 July. This is the result of a massive effort by volunteers at the railway and is also indicative of the significant support we've had from agencies and elected representatives. There is much more to do before we are running along the full length of the line, but we hope this marks the beginning of a new chapter in the story of our railway and its place in the Dee Valley.

The work on the Dee Bridge was completed Friday, July 2nd. The volunteer p/way team fitted the check rails to the timbers, aligned the track and welded-up the rail joints to complete the work started in March, when new baulk timbers were installed prior the PLC receiver suspending work. The work is to be inspected by an independent engineer before the bridge is signed off.

Subject to approval, it is intended to re-start a limited service between Llangollen & Berwyn on Friday July 9th which is a special civic occasion in Llangollen for the start of International Musical Eisteddfod week. Two special evening trains will operate to coincide with the illumination of the Castle St bridge over the river Dee.

A trial run with the Class 108. Photo by John Joyce.

All services will be using DMU's provided by Llangollen Railcars who are expecting to roster the class 108 DMU with the class 109 Wickham set in reserve, if demand warrants additional seats, subject to social distancing. After an eight-month layover the unit was subject to checks and test runs on 27 June to Llangollen station for crew refresher sessions.

From 9 July, trains will depart Llangollen hourly, Fridays to Sundays, from 11am through to 4pm and allow a 15-minute stopover at Berwyn to enjoy the view of the Dee Gorge or sample the Chain Bridge. Other options for passengers are to visit the Horseshoe Falls or take the traditional walk back to Llangollen along the canal.

Running a heritage DMU service to Berwyn will be recreating the pioneering days of 1986/87 when services at Llangollen first extended across the Dee bridge. We hope our supporters will turn out and buy a ticket to ride the shuttle if revenues are to cover operational costs and make a contribution to the railway’s overheads when costs like insurance and utility bills remain substantial expenses for the Llangollen Railway Trust.

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