Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

19 July 2021


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


The shape of things to come: 197 002 approaching Abergele & Pensarn returning to Crewe with its second test trip of the day from Llandudno Junction on 15 July.  Picture by Gary Thomas.

Some items have been held over due to incipient heat exhaustion. - Charlie

Leander on the Coast

LMS 4-6-0 45690 Leander  worked  the "North Wales Coast Express" from Liverpool Lime Street to Holyhead on  Sunday 18 July.

Abone, passing Flint, westbound (Stephen Dennett). The crossovers inserted as part of the Chester to Colwyn Bay re-signalling project, to be used by a future Chester - Flint 'North Wales Metro'  service, calling at some re-opened stations as well as Shotton.

Sun, sea, sand and steam at Old Colwyn (Greg Mape).

Queens Road on the outskirts of Llandudno Junction  (Gary Thomas).

Leander on the Cob between Llandudno Junction and Conwy on route to Holyhead ...


... and passing Conwy Castle  (Gary Thomas).

The evening scene at Beeches Farm bridge (Bob Greenhalgh).

Beeches Farm, Eastbound (Stephen Dennett).

Heading home (Bob Greenhalgh).

A small request to contributors:  when writing a news-style email, it helps if you avoid the words 'Today', 'Yesterday' etc. and give the date, e.g. '18 June' as I'm usually compiling the page on Mondays and I like to give the date in the caption so I can get confused  (nothing new there!).  Thanks as always - Charlie

Northern Belle

57 601 approaching Abergele & Pensarn with a 'Northern Belle' luxury trip from York to Llandudno Junction, 18 July (Gary Thomas).

47 813 at the rear of the Northern Belle, again on the approaches to Abergele & Pensarn (Gary Thomas).

Freight moves

70 801 heads 6J37 Carlisle-Chirk logs near Crosby Garrett on Wednesday 7 July ...

.. and 70 816 heads 6J37 Carlisle-Chirk logs near Long Marton on Wednesday 14 July 2021. Pictures by Ian Pilkington.

70 802 failed at Blea Moor on Saturday 17 July with the Carlisle - Chirk log train. Sunday 18 July saw it and the train rescued by 70 803 and they proceeded to Chirk seen passing Balderton Crossing (Bob Greenhalgh).

The Dee Marsh to Margam freight passing Rhosymedre at 10:15 on 13 July, the loco being 66 076 still in EWS livery powering south towards  Shrewsbury. Picture by Martin Evans, who writes: 'it is sad to see how unkempt the lineside is with trees threatening to encroach on to  the line.'

Tornado at Chester

New-built pacific 60163 Tornado worked a Railway Touring Company London  Euston  - Chester excursion on 15 July. Jim Ikin photographed it passing Beeston between Crewe and Chester.

Approaching Chester (Bob Greenhalgh).

Geoff Morris photographed the return departure. He writes:  'The photo above was taken from the Westminster Road bridge which is at the east end of the station.  The footpath on the station side of the bridge has been closed for some years  but it is possible to get a very restricted view of the station from the footpath on the other side. I was crossing the bridge when Tornado started to shunt the empty stock prior to departure and grabbed the attached photo  (which has been heavily cropped) as it began the shunt over to platform 4.

'I then continued my walk out to the Vicars Cross Road (A51) overbridge and to see Tornado making a very spirited start to its return leg to Euston.'


On 13 July near Shrewsbury Golf Course,  of 57 316 hauling failed 57 314 with 0Z58, the 09: 00 Barry Tourist Railway to Carnforth Steamtown.  Picture by Graham Breakwell, who writes 'To many there’s only one thing worse than a loco in WCR uninspiring livery and that’s two together! '

150 231 and 67 013 parked together on Platform 3 in the early hours of 18 July. PIcture by Rhodri Williams on the way home from the Stena Line 'Booze Cruise.'

67 017 propels a training run through Colwyn Bay, 13 July (Jack Bowley)

67 008 approaches Abergele with a Saturday extra, 17 July (Gary Thomas).

Driving Trailer 82226 now carries vinyls for the Azheimer's Society (Stephen Dennett).  A lifeboat version has also been spotted, a Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice version is promised. Pictures welcome

HST scenes

The Network Rail 07:50 Crewe C.S. (L&NWR Site) to Derby RTC via Newport New Measurement Train brought former LNER HST power cars to the Welsh Marches line on 16 July. Here is 43 290 leading the return working with 43 299 on the rear approaching Sutton Bridge Junction, Shrewsbury (Graham Breakwell).

The same train visited the Coast line, seen near Abergele on 15 July ...

... 43 299 on the rear (Gary Thomas).

Saturday 17 July, the Saphos Trains Preston to Cardiff excursion brought the 'Midland Pullman' on a circular tour, out via the Welsh Marches line and back over the Heart of Wales line. However, damage to power car 43 055 at Crewe depot, reportedly caused by 47 853 shunting an coach into it in the depot on 16 July led to Rail Charter Services 'Staycation Express' loco 43 058 taking over to lead the train, with blue 43 046 on the rear. The picture shows the train at Bayston Hill, south of Shrewsbury on the outward trip. (Graham Breakwell)

Graham reports: 'On the return journey 43 058 failed not long after joining the Heart of Wales line and the train was propelled by 43 046 but on the climb to Sugar Loaf the train became a total failure at Cynghordy. Locomotive Services staff managed to eventually get the train on the move again but by then it was 167 minutes late. Maybe the extreme heat of the day took its toll on the VP185 engines, a historical problem on HSTs.'

Looking back: More Marches Specials - by David Pool

The Welsh Marches Pullman had reverted to the Welsh Marches Express on 10 November 1984, and was steam hauled between Shrewsbury and Newport.  I went again to Bayston Hill, where 35028 Clan Line was starting the climb to Church Stretton.

I was always sorry that I never saw 3440 City of Truro in steam during the late 1950s, when it ran regularly on the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton line, so when it was announced that it was returning to steam in 1985 I was determined to see it.  It was scheduled to work an S.L.O.A. Santa Steam Special on 30 December from Kidderminster to Hereford and return, and a study of the gradient profiles for the route indicated a suitable location for a photograph would be near Malvern Wells, where the gradient was 1 in 80.  It was quite busy when I arrived, with a Parcels Car plus trailer, then an HST followed by a 3 car DMU.  Finally the sound of locomotives working hard announced the arrival of City of Truro and 4930 Hagley Hall.  The dull December day and Kodachrome 64 film dictated 1/125 at full aperture, but it was worth it!

Although the steaming of City of Truro was a little late for the GWR 150 celebrations in 1985, another unforgettable occasion took place on 24 May 1986, when the Welsh Marches Express was due to be double headed from Shrewsbury.  The rumour was that City of Truro would run with 6000 King George V.  If this was true, it surely could not be missed, and this time I tried another location near Church Stretton.  The Railtour Files website does not show the motive power between Shrewsbury and Hereford, but the photographic evidence shows that it was more than a rumour!

There was no headboard on 3440, but I note that the first coach had a destination board showing “The Double Header”, which was the unofficial name for the train on this occasion.  It looks as though the crew on 6000 were taking it easy, and 3440 seems to be doing all the work.


W A (Cam) Camwell was a famous Railway Photographer, and for his 80th birthday a special surprise had been arranged on 18 October 1986.  From Wolverhampton his train had been hauled by a Class 47, 47 484 Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but at Shrewsbury it was replaced by the LNWR Coal Tank No. 1054 (previously BR No. 58926) for the steam leg to Stockport via Chester.  The gradient out of Shrewsbury would be a good place for a photograph, and the timings were likely to be very generous, allowing me to overtake the train for more shots later.  The Coal Tanks were used to hard work, and 1054 had no difficulty with the 1 in 100 gradient at Coton Hill with a four coach train. The NWCR News for 13 July 2020 shows 1054 again at Weston Rhyn, after a photo stop at Gobowen.

I managed to overtake 1054 at Chester, and got a shot at Mouldsworth in rain and grey skies.  My last attempt was at Lostock Gralam, where it was a little brighter. 

On 21 August 1988 Princess Elizabeth was passing Bersham Colliery, southbound from Chester.  The colliery sidings had by then been lifted, but the Winding Gear was still there.  The “Crewe Heritage Centre” headboard   referred to 6201’s operating base at the time.  I assume it would have been going to Hereford, but I am not able to confirm this, as the Railtour files website does not show all these trains in the late 1980s. 

The appearance of LNER 3442 The Great Marquess at Ruabon on 6 August 1989 was a sad occasion, marked by the wreath on the locomotive.  Viscount Garnock, who became the Earl of Lindsay, had died five days earlier, shortly after he had travelled on the locomotive while it was visiting the West Highland line.  He is remembered for having purchased 3442 (then 61994) from British Railways in 1963, running it on railtours until 1967.  After a period in storage on the Severn Valley Railway, with which Viscount Garnock was then associated, 3442 was steamed intermittently.  An overhaul at the SVR was completed in 1989, after which 3442 has travelled throughout Britain.  In more recent years it has run as 61994, but its future is now uncertain, and it may become a museum exhibit in Scotland.   The photograph shows 3442 with “The Lochaber Envoy” railtour, steam hauled from Stockport to Hereford. 

Llangollen news - by George Jones

The first two weeks of shuttle services to Berwyn have been well received and adequate numbers have sampled the ride on the DMU with support coming from far and wide outside of the normal 50-mile catchment area. Revenue take has made a useful contribution to  overheads.

From 23 July the intention is to run the dmu to Glyndyfrdwy with 5 trains a day departing Llangollen 11:00, 12:15, 13:30, 14:45 and 16:00.  This applies whilst the west end points are renewed.

From 9 August we expect trains will operate with steam to Carrog at weekends with 2-8-0 3802 (above) and a mid-week mix of DMU and class 26 loco haulage.

In a further piece of good news, it is announced that Llangollen Railway has been awarded a grant of £143,290 from the Wales Cultural Recovery Fund Phase 2.  The purpose ofthe funding is to assist with salary and overhead costs both ahead of and during the initial weeks of reopening.

A new website for the Llangollen Railway Trust is being constructed and is expected to be live shortly. Regrettably the administrator retained control of the old one and has refused to take it down which has led to confusion.

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