Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

23 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.


Llangollen, 17 August. Picture by Martin Evans

Cambrian Railtour!

The Pathfinder Tours 'Cambrian Coast Express' excursion on 20 August from Bristol Parkway to Pwllheli was the first such train on the Cambrian Coast for a considerable time.

The train was worked to Shrewsbury by 67 001, a loco which has not been around much recently, still carrying the blue livery from its days on the Holyhead - Cardiff express.  Graham Breakwell photographed the loco heading to Crewe from Coton Hill for servicing; the passengers had been required to alight before the train was moved to the sidings.

97 304 John Tiley and 97 303 arriving at Coton Hill Sidings, Shrewsbury to  take over the train (Graham Breakwell).

97 304 and 97 303 now at the head of the Cambrian Coast Express preparing to leave Coton Hill sidings to the station to collect the passengers (Graham Breakwell). A period from 08:56 to 10:19 was allowed for this procedure.

On full power passing Sweetlake on the single line to Welshpool.

On Friog Rocks (Kate Jones).

Crossing Barmouth Bridge, with Cader Idris behind (Chris Morrison).

Barmouth Harbour (Chris Morrison).

An elevated view of the renewal work being done on Barmouth Bridge at low tide as 158 831 forming the 10:09 Birmingham International - Pwllheli crosses. The bridge is due for closure to rail traffic from 12 September to 12 December to allow the work to continue (Chris Morrison).

'Maximum Zoom' from Harlech Castle (Greg Mape).

Approaching Harlech station (Greg Mape).

97 304 and 97 303 pass the site of the old Cooke's Explosives Works at Penrhyndeudraeth (Ken Robinson).

On the return journey from Pwllheli, 97 303 and 97 304 approach Porthmadog station (Ken Robinson).

Porthmadog station (Ken Robinson).

Harlech (Greg Mape).

Barmouth Bridge (Kate Jones)

Signs of preparation for the forthcoming closure for refurbishment (Kate Jones).

Chester area scenes - by Chad Glingris

Saturday 21 August - Chester


I took a walk down to Chester station on Saturday 21 August as Real Time Trains suggested a Class 67 hauled Transport for Wales service was expected, the 1K67 from Holyhead to Crewe.  I was particularly interested as loco hauled passenger services are very rare at weekends.  I assume this is to rotate stock back to Crewe depot, but I would be interested if anyone knows if this is expected to be regular service.   While walking past the station I found 47 614 in one of the bay platforms looking very clean.  The Mark 4 coaches of the Holyhead to Crewe service can just be seen in the background on platform 4 headed by 67 013. 

Interestingly the Class 67 Holyhead to Crewe service was booked with a 26 minute stop at Chester station (11:42 to 12:08) , which seems rather excessive, presumably for pathing reasons.  This gave plenty of time to walk further away from the station to get a view of 67 013 at Hoole Lane bridge as it pulled away from Chester.

Sunday 22 August - Bunbury and Waverton


While cycling on 22 August, I took a break while crossing the railway bridge at Bunbury as there were a couple of regular services due to pass by a few minutes later.  175 111 was working the 1D44 Crewe to Chester ... 

... and a few minutes later at 13:10, 175 103 was heading the other direction with the 1K53 Chester to Crewe.


A bit later in the afternoon I found 70 817  ...

 ... and 70 803 top and tailing a ballast train from Wrexham to Crewe passing Waverton Business Park.

From Dave Sallery's archive

37 418 on an empty stock train through Rhyl, just after repainting into EW&S colours 9 February 1997.

Long-since withdrawn  25 265 comes off the bridge and into Hawarden Bridge station on 12 September 1985.  The Hydraulic apparatus to swing the bridge was formerly housed in a large brick tower immediately behind the loco until it was demolished in 1980.  The tall semaphore has also succumbed to progress and is now a two aspect colour light signal.  The train is mainly formed of scrap-carrying wagons because at this time the old steelworks was in the process of being demolished.

Looking back:  Diesels and Electrics 1993  -   David Pool

The blue/grey Merseyside Electrics were appearing in a new colour scheme in 1993, retaining the Regional Railways name but with Merseyrail logos. In my opinion this was the best of the many liveries carried by these units. On 15 May 1993, unit 508 104 is heading for West Kirby, passing the refurbishment of part of the Bidston triangle to be used as a reversing siding.  

Meanwhile, changes were apparent near Manchester Airport, as the electrified branch into the Airport was brought into use.  On 31 May 1993 another Regional Railways electric 305 503, now in Greater Manchester livery, was near Heald Green with a shuttle service between the Airport and the city. 

Yet another unfamiliar livery was that carried by 101 688, approaching Hooton on the same day with the 15:49 from Chester, and a long way from Strathclyde! 

Visiting Llandudno Junction  on 19 June 1993, it was evident that good progress had been made with the Conwy Tunnel on the A55.  The 12:06 Llandudno to Birmingham was being hauled by the usual Class 37.  37 425 Concrete Bob/Sir Robert McAlpine was in the Railfreight Construction livery, possibly the shortest lived of the many liveries this popular locomotive has carried over the years.

Many of the Merseyrail Class 508s were still in British Rail blue/grey on 15 August 1993, when 508 121 was passing Birkenhead North Depot with a train from West Kirby.  Alongside the Depot was 73 002, one of the Electro-Diesels used for shunting and Departmental work. 

On 11 September 1993 the 'Anglesey Odyssey' Pathfinder Railtour ran from Cardiff to Amlwch.  The outward leg was hauled by 37 225 and 37 025, with 20 118 and 20 169 on the rear, and has just arrived at Llandudno Junction.  It is reported as not visiting Llandudno as planned, but twelve Mk1 coaches plus four locomotives might have been the problem, as recent experience has illustrated.  Note the Class 47 and Class 37 in the sidings.

Rather than chase the train to Amlwch, I decided to wait for another 'Special' arriving at the Junction.  My notes show it was chartered by Murco, and it was carrying the headboard 'Manchester Executive Pullman'.  Since it was due to go up the Conwy Valley, Tal y Cafn would be a suitable location for a photograph.  This shot is scenically attractive, but in order to show the coaching stock you have to settle for a head-on view of the locomotive, 47 653, which was in the Rail Express Parcels red livery.

The returning Pathfinder tour was headed by the Class 20s on the return to Crewe and Silverdale, with the Class 37s taking over back to Cardiff.  It was nearing 5pm by the time the train headed by 20 118 and 20 169 was passing Pensarn with Gwrych Castle in the background.  20 118, now named Saltburn by the Sea, is currently owned by Harry Needle, and still in the Railfreight large logo livery.  20 169 was until recently at the Wensleydale Railway, but may have since moved.  In 1993 it was in the British Rail Technical Services red and grey livery.  

Llangollen to Carrog

On Saturday 21 August the 10:30 train from Llangollen  was headed by 2-8-0 3802 for the first steam departure through to Carrog under the new regime.  Above:  the arrival at Carrog repeating a previously well known posture. The loco was available thanks to a lot of hard work by the MPD volunteers to renew the engine's certification after near 12 months'layover from operations.

It was also an occasion when footplate crews were required to be reassessed for their competence to drive and fire a steam loco during the course of the day's three runs. (Above:  fireman Steph Ellwood on the shovel again.)

A great of great emotions for volunteers gathered to see the first train depart and passengers eager for the extended rode behind steam despite the weather weather.

The second train of the day seen about to depart at 13:00 with driver Ben Jackson looking for the tip from the guard,

The two train timetable was shared with the Wickham railcar to contrast the operation. Steam will run for the Bank Holiday weekend, otherwise weekdays will be with DMU. For timetables, visit the Llangollen Railway Facebook page.

LRT Chairman Peter Edwards says: "The resumption of a steam-hauled service at Llangollen this weekend is the culmination of a huge effort by our volunteers and small team of paid staff. It is a significant milestone in our return to full operations. We can't afford to be complacent though, we are dependent on on-going support from the Welsh Government and there are still challenges in front of us if we are to return the railway to stability and profitability."

Two views by Ken Robinson:  GWR 2-8-0 3802 enters Carrog station on 21 August with the 13:00 from Llangollen.

The Class 109 'Wickham' unit at Carrog, having arrived with the 12:00 from Llangollen.

Rush Hour

A sign of the times: 08:00 at Crewe on 19 August. Spotting can be a lonely business (Chris Scott).

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