Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

09 August 2021


Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

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


The view from Conwy mountain on 4 August, with a Voyager crossing the Cob. Picture by Greg Mape.

Late news:  Llangollen Railway will be running diesel trains only this coming weekend, the introduction of steam has been delayed.

Llandudno Junction sidings

Finally, after years of false starts, work has finally started at Llandudno Junction in preparation for the slate waste traffic.

A 'Siding Possession' was taken on Monday 9 August by Alma Rail to clear the vegetation from the sidings opposite the station. Work should take two weeks (they say!). Work will start from Glan Conwy end of the sidings and work towards the Bangor end.  The hope is that relaying of the track will start in September with a test train in October or November.

Dogarrog update

When we researched the item about the closure of the path from Dolgarrog station (last issue) the latest news I was able to find was in February and March, stating that Janet Finch-Saunders, Welsh Parliament member for Aberconwy, was  working on the issue.  In addition to sending us images from his visit,  Greg Mape sent a written complaint, and received a reply from Ms Finch-Saunders explaining that there have been a number of meetings between Conwy Council with a view to find funding for re-opening works.

Then, three days after our item was published, the following appeared on the Daily Post website:
Welsh Government funding of £735k will fund the Council's contribution to refurbishing the bridge and allow for a significant upgrade.

Instead of the previous narrow walking route between the pipes, users will benefit from a shared walking and cycling route on an overdeck above the pipes. This will allow easier access to Dolgarrog railway station and attractions in the area, hopefully increasing the use of the Conwy Valley rail service.

Lee Waters, deputy minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, said: It is essential that we all make more local journeys on foot or by bike, to benefit our health and the environment."
So that's good - all we need now is an extension of the Dolgarrog Railway nearer to the bridge...

Remarkably, the village of Dolgarrog now has a Hilton Hotel!

West Lancashire Light Railway Summer Gala - report by Jim Ikin

A very, very, wet day at the West Lancashire Light Railway's 'summer' gala had two engines in steam:  Hunslet Irish Mail of 1903, rescued by members from Dinorwic Quarry in 1972...

 ... and Kerr Stewart Joffre  on its last outing before its ten year overhaul

Also of interest - I thought- Irish Mail's driver's tea and biscuits ...

 ...  and a superb rail mounted-note the coupling- burger café known as the Fireman's Shovel, note the fried egg on the shovel! There were also model railways and a delicious tented café.

Steam trains (COVID-safe) operate every Sunday and Bank Holiday from Easter to the end of October, plus Wednesdays in August. The next special event is the 'Teddy Bears Day' on 29 August.

LT Panniers  - by Peter Hudson

Richard Putley's photographs and story of his visit to the Gwili Railway on Sunday 25 July (last issue) are of a great interest to members of the Worcester Locomotive Society, and particularly to myself,  as I have a great interest in the ex- LT Pannier Tanks, as I was very involved in the May 1971 purchase of a sister loco, L.95 (ex-GWR 5764) from London Transport by the Severn Valley Pannier Tank Fund, who have on 19 June celebrated '50 years a SVR loco'.   L.95 is ' out of ticket ',  but was repainted back into LT maroon livery & put on display at the SVR's ' Engine House & Visitor Centre ' at Highley from March 2019.

Ragarding L.92, above is one of my photos of L.92 in LT service taking water at Watford (Metropolitan Line) Station on 25 July 1968.

Just for the record and to correct a few historical facts that Richard stated slightly incorrectly in his write up of his visit to the Gwili Railway. GWR Pannier Tank 5786 was bought from LT as their L.92 in October 1969 (not 1971) and was repainted into its as current LT livery at Buckfastleigh, South Devon Railway in  2011.

For comparison, Richard Putley's  photo of it at Bronwydd Arms water tower, 53 years later.

Locos at Chester and Bache - by Geoff Morris

On 3 and 4 August, DB Cargo operated a light engine run from Arpley Loco Holding Sidings  to Birkenhead Central and Ellesmere Port. On both days it was routed via Chester and I assume that it was for route learning / refreshing purposes (possibly they will be operating some pw trains over  Merseyrail�s Wirral Lines in the near future).

I photographed the outward moves at Bache station on both days. 66 130 (above) appeared on 3 August and passed a late-running 507 029 on the 10:10 Chester to Chester via Liverpool Central.

On 4 August the EMU ran to time and permitted me to use the angle that I'd had to abandon the day before. 66 011 was the loco used this time, providing a satisfying contrast to the DB-liveried class 66 used the previous day.

Another run from Arpley to Birkenhead (via Chester) took place on Friday 6 August. As on the 4th (according to RTT) it did not run to Ellesmere Port as booked.  I captured this at Chester North Junction on its outward run.  As on the 3rd, the 10:10 Chester to Chester via Liverpool Central put in an  appearance at almost the wrong time !

Spot the difference: These two were taken almost exactly four months apart and show the Carlisle - Chirk log train passing Chester Locks with 70 817 in charge on 3 April ...

 ...  and 70 801 doing the honours on 6th August.  I've only been out to photograph this train on these two days as it normally passes when we're having dinner, but in April it had been re-timed to run two hours earlier than normal and the other day my wife was away and so I was able to re-time dinner to make the most of the evening light.

Apart from the loco numbers and the length of the shadows, which are less in April because of the retiming, the biggest difference is the massive growth of foliage that has occurred In the intervening period, not least in the bush that has developed in between the Up & Down main lines.

From Dave Sallery's archive

101 685 near Roman Bridge, 18 July 1994; in time for that summer the unit had been repainted in original green livery as part of a promotion campaign for  the line. has details of its career.

Also near Roman Bridge 37 886 with the 'Northern Belle' charter train,  Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog and return, on 12 October 2002.


70 816 heads 6J37 Carlisle-Chirk logs over the Settle-Carlisle line at Smardale on Wednesday 4 August  (Ian Pilkington).

Criccieth Castle presides over 158 819 on the 13.54 (Sunday only)  Pwllheli to Machynlleth service (Ken Millward). 'Bullhead' jointed track will survive in some sections of this line for many years to come. 

Deganwy from Conwy Mountain, 4 August; A class 175 makes its way along the Llandudno Branch (Greg Mape).

MV Sandettie at Raynes Jetty, Llanddulas on 1 August. Awaiting loading ...

... and fully loaded with limestone destined for Cowes, Isle of Wight (Greg Mape).  Of passing interest, its previous loaded trip had been white silica sand from Lochaline Sand Company any on the west coast of Scotland opposite the Isle of Mull, to Runcorn.

Looking back: Diesels 1992 - with David Pool

The Pathfinder Railtour 1Z17 'The Mersey Weaver' on 14 March 1992 had come from Reading, but was to take in a variety of branches and locations in Cheshire and Staffordshire.  From Lime Street 20 094 and 20 057 were working as far as the reversing sidings at Latchford, dragging 47 828 on the rear.  The sun had gone in at Bank Quay Low Level as the train arrived from Fiddlers Ferry, but came out seconds after the train had passed. 

By the time I was ready to take the 47 on the rear, the sun had disappeared again as usual. 

The oil tank trains from Stanlow to Jarrow were often double headed by a Class 37 and a Class 47.  11 April 1992 was a misty Saturday morning, and the 0750 from Ellesmere Port was passing Daresbury, headed by Railfreight Distribution 37 178 plus a rather weathered Railfreight Petroleum 47 224

The Provincial livery had been modified by the short lived Network North West, being applied to diesel units in the Manchester area.  Sprinter 150 213 on 6 June 1992 at Altrincham illustrates the new red bands at the coach ends.  The train was the 10:54 from Wigan to Chester.

A Chester to Wigan unit passed shortly after, followed by 60 095 on an Appley Bridge to Northenden working.  60 095 is carrying the Railfreight Construction branding.  (25951).

The Cawoods trains of containerised coal to Ellesmere Port, for export to Ireland, in 1992 were usually hauled by the 'Heavyweight' Class 37/7 locomotives.  In the morning of 13 June, Railfreight Coal 37 894 is passing through Frodsham with the return empties.  The destination would be either South Wales or the North East.

Moving on to Greenbank, I photographed 47 210 Blue Circle Cement on the Larbert to Oakleigh Soda Ash freight.  A Tinsley locomotive, although previously based in Scotland, this Railfreight Construction Class 47 was still fitted with snowploughs in June! I assume the Class 47 had come on at Warrington, a Class 85 Electric being the usual motive power for this train under the wires.

31 413 Severn Valley Railway was a distinctive locomotive with its two-tone blue livery and red bands.  On 23 August 1992 it was working the Sundays Only 08:19 Crewe to Blackpool through Mouldsworth, which called at Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly and Bolton.

Llangollen update

A portrait by Paul Reynolds of 2-8-0 3802 at Berwyn Station after the public service had finished on Saturday afternoon 7 August. It was hoped  that the loco will haul its first train under new management next weekend, but this has been delayed due to documetation issues. Services will terminate at Glyndyfrdwy and be extended to Carrog the weekend after. All subject of course to track inspection etc.

At Corwen, over the last fortnight, the new, steel longitudinal beams spanning the ex-Blackfriars station columns have been installed and bolted into position together with the zigzag steel bracing.

These beams will eventually support the canopy, which is currently the subject of a funding appeal and grant application. Pictures by Peter Neve.

Permanent Way volunteer Peter Jump writes: 'Over the last 4 weeks, a small group led by our P-way supervisor Dave Shaw have remedied all the issues in the tunnel so that trains services can be restored to Glyndyfrdwy. We have had to remove hundreds of rusted Pandrol clips where the track gauge was wrong and replace with all new fittings. We have changed two badly worn rails, and dug out and replaced eight broken concrete sleepers. This is heavy backbreaking work done in less than ideal conditions, but worth the effort to achieve another milestone towards running trains again to Carrog.'

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