Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

20 September 2021


Forthcoming events

Contributions welcome.  Charter trains may be subject to cancellation or postponement.

Sunday 26 September:  Northern Belle: North Wales Great Sunday Lunch.  Diesel Birmingham - North Wales - Birmingham

Wednesday 29 September:  North Wales Pullman (West Coast Railways) Diesel: Skegness - Llandudno (break) and return.

Sunday 30 September  The Wirral Squirrel (Branch Line Society). Crewe and Liverpool to unusual track in the Wirral and Merseyside area. Locos D213 and D345.

October 2021

Monday 18 October  RCTS Chester Mike Lister “The Railways Of Port Sunlight”

November 2021

Wednesday  3 November RCTS Liverpool Paul Wright “Goods Depots Around Liverpool, Part 1 – The Docks”

Saturday 13 November The Cheshireman (Railway Touring Company) Steam: 60163 Bristol -  Hereford - Shrewsbury - Wrexham General - Chester (break) and  return

Monday 15 November Online Zoom RCTS David Postle “Kidderminster Railway Museum”

Saturday 20 November The Cheshireman (Railway Touring Company) Steam: 60163 London Euston -  Crewe - Chester and return

December 2021

Monday 6 December Chester Christmas Market (Spirit Of The Lakes (West Coast Railways) Diesel: Skegness  - Chester and  return

Saturday 11 December The Northern Belle: Christmas Lunch Diesel
Crewe  - Chester  - Liverpool Lime Street and  return

Saturday 11 December The Christmas Chester Cracker (Pathfinder Tours)  Eastleigh -  Gloucester - Newport - Maindee Junction - Abergavenny - Shrewsbury - Crewe - Chester and return

Monday 20 December RCTS Chester Dave Southern “Chester To Pwllheli”

January 2022

Wednesday 5 January    RCTS Liverpool    AGM    followed by: Paul Chancellor    “ColourRail - 9th Journey”   (Non M,C&NW Members and Non-RCTS Members will not be able to take an active part in the AGM) 

Monday 17 January    RCTS online Zoom    Professor Stuart Cole    “Rail Policy in Wales”

February 2022

Monday 21 February RCTS Chester Martyn Hilbert “Network North West”

March 2022

Wednesday  2 March RCTS Liverpool Paul Shackcloth “L & Y Engines At Work, Part 1”

Monday 21 March RCTS online Zoom Geoff Plumb “The Wrexham & Shropshire Railway”

April 2022

Monday 25 April RCTS Chester David Powell “Merseyrail Fleet Replacement”

(see  our Calendar page for venues)


The old meets the older but made newer at Chester. Picture by Shaun Stanley.

Thanks for all the contributions; some have been held over until next time dus to time pressures - Charlie.

Loco hauled and cement - report by Stephen Dennett

This week's photos are a “compare and contrast” at Flint station with 150 280 tasked with a Cardiff to Holyhead service. Not a journey I would care to undertake by 150!

Contrast this with the first week of increased loco hauled services on this route and the 67 with its Mark 4 coaches.

The  RNLI vinyl on the DVT was worth a “detail” shot.

I made it to Penyffordd to catch a new loco, 66 719,  on the cement train running about an hour early as usual.

The booked 50-minute stop at Cosford Down Goods loop usually doesn’t happen. On this particular day the train was piloted from Avonmouth to Gloucester by 89 416 ( D1015 Western Champion ) as a test run for the loco after overhaul. It then continued to its base at the Severn Valley Railway.

Daytime loco hauled - by Barrie Hughes

67 010 was obviously unwell on 15 September,  causing late running on the mid-day Cardiff-Holyhead. The DB liveried loco was sadly on the rear on the North Wales coast. The loco lost 26 minutes between Ludlow and Shrewsbury on 1W93 the 11:22 Cardiff-Holyhead.

Good station turnaround and sharp running on the coast cut the deficit to 19 minutes approaching Llandudno where there is a planned dwell time of almost 8 minutes allowing the train to depart 11 minutes down. The train crawled past Dwygyfylchi, lost more time and arrived at Holyhead 15 minutes down.

With a timetabled 16-minute turn round at Holyhead 1W93 arrived within 2 minutes of its departure time, so it was incredible that platform staff got the train away just 3 minutes late on 1V98 the 1636 Holyhead-Cardiff Central.

Class 67s are 'knocking on a bit' now and at their age the 'Deltics' were being withdrawn. Perhaps it is time to consider replacing them with something with more power like the Class 68s which are enjoying success on TransPennine.

Looking Back: Diesels 1995 part 2 - with David Pool

A Pathfinder Railtour “The Compton Crusader” ran on 30 July 1995 from Bristol to Carlisle via Birmingham and Chester.  33 026 Seafire in Dutch livery is double headed with 33 008 Eastleigh (carrying its original number D6508), and the train is passing through Frodsham.  “Seafire” was the name given to Supermarine Spitfires operated by the Fleet Air Arm from Aircraft Carriers.

In 1995 I regularly photographed the Saturday oil tank train from Stanlow to Holyhead.  On 5 August 6D28 was headed by 37 066, and is passing Dwygyfylchi alongside the A55. 

I then returned to Llandudno Junction, where 37 414 Cathays C & W Works 1846-1993 made a pleasing picture coming across the Cob, probably with the 09:13 Bangor to Crewe.  The clear sidings and the bridges over the Conwy Tunnel approach on the A55 are of interest.

Continuing to Abergele and Pensarn station, an Intercity Mainline liveried 37 420 The Scottish Hosteller had come from Birmingham New Street with the 08:10 to Bangor.  Unfortunately the sun had not moved round sufficiently to overcome the shade on the nose of the locomotive.  The disc signal level with the fourth coach has since disappeared with the new track layout at this point. 

Shortly afterwards the 1046 Llandudno to Manchester passed through the station, formed by units 150 134 and 150 138 in Greater Manchester livery.

The following week I was in Chester, and on 12 August a view from the footpath on the trackbed of the closed line from Northgate to Mickle Trafford showed a rather deserted Diesel Depot, but on the right is the green liveried Metro-Cammell 101 685 and on the left the Hunslet Barclay Weedkiller Train is just visible, with locomotives 20 905 and 20 903

My intention was to photograph the returning 6F39 oil tank train from Holyhead to Stanlow, and it duly appeared behind 37 509, using the track between Chester South Junction and Chester North Junction on the West side of the triangle to access the Merseyrail electrified line and to use Hooton Long Siding, where it would reverse to get to Stanlow.  Presumably this was considered preferable to continuing through Chester to Warrington and reversing at Arpley or Latchford.

The time allowed for running round at Hooton allowed me to cut across towards Great Sutton, and the sun had come out by the time 37 509 reached Overpool station.  A surprising number of passengers were travelling the short distance to Ellesmere Port. 

From Dave Sallery's archive

37 675 at Prestatyn, 9 July 1999.

37 886 rescuing an InterCity at Prestatyn, January 1996.  A no-heat loco on a cold day.

37 414 Cathays C & W Works passes Prestatyn in February 1996.

37 422 Robert F. Fairlie near Gaerwen  3 May 1999.

Llangollen news  (1) - by Barrie Hughes

Sunday 19 September saw the final weekend of steam loco 3802 for a while as it’s off to GCR Gala.  3802 on the 10:30 from Llangollen is pictured above departing from Berwyn. There were just 3 steam services this weekend,  no DMUs.

3802 arriving at Carrog with its rake of five red suburban coaches to form the 11:32 return service. Money was being raised for the Trust by raffling paintings of the line and the station buffet was doing good business. The support groups were open in coaches selling odds and ends in the bay platform.

3802 ready to depart Llangollen on the 13:06 ( 1.6 on the archive form of BR Timetable). A day rover is £24 equal to a couple of return journeys. Interestingly, Deeside Halt is advertised as a request stop and two hikers did indeed get off there.

In addition to its green Class 26, the Diesel team is featuring 31 271 in its line-up in the next few weeks and on  19 September the Class 47 was noted being tested coupled to the 26 on the depot access track. The loco looked to be ticking-over well which means plaudits to the Diesel Group who have prepared these big mainline locos fit to run as well as taking a large part in running the Trust and rehabilitating the track work.

Llangollen news (2) - by George Jones

The newly-restored Brake Second, E43359,  was part of the five-coach suburban set , hauled by 3802 on Saturday and Sunday 18-19 September. Above, view of the new brake at Carrog, with new end windows for the less-mobile passengers, who can travel in a specially-created wheelchair compartment to enjoy the rear view.

This was the 2-8-0's last appearance for a few weeks; after an its appearance at Loughborough for the Great Central Railway gala, it has a booked appointment at Carnforth for wheel re-profiling, due back mid- October;  weekend haulage will be class 26 or 31 diesel in the meantime.

The suburban set has advantages for social distancing ... and also challenges when all the doors when left open!

Cambrian Corner (1) - By Barrie Hughes

158 827 northbound at 16:19 passes Llandanwg Halt (non stop). This train was the Cambrian Coast portion of the 12:06 Birmingham International-Aberystwyth/Pwllheli.

From Sunday 12 September all services north of Machynlleth were bustituted as a result of the first of two three -month closures of Barmouth Bridge. Network Rail will close the bridge again from September to December again in 2022. How many passengers will be permanently lost to rail in the meantime? It is a real pity that NR/TfW cannot learn the lessons of British Rail  who during a previous closure established a temporary fuelling point at Pwllheli (depot code PI) and ran a Barmouth-Pwllheli shuttle service.

Cambrian Corner (2) - by Ken Robinson

As Barmouth Bridge is now closed for three months I though that the attached photo might bring back memories and entertain readers for now: 33 108 and 33 202 crossing the famous structure on 29 April 2006 with Pathfinder's 'Cambrian Borderer' returning to Taunton from Barmouth.

Cambrian Corner (3) - by Alastair Taylor

With the ongoing repairs to Barmouth Bridge and the resulting closure of the Cambrian Coast Line north of Dovey Junction, Network Rail appear to be using this as an opportunity to carry out repairs to the line. 97 302 and 97 303 arrived in the area with a lengthy train of flat wagons on Wednesday 15 September and spent two days dropping off replacement materials north of Aberdovey before running around the train at Tywyn on the evening of
Thursday 16 September and returning to Crewe Basford Hall departing Dovey Junction at 23:16 arriving Crewe at 03:00.

The train is pictured arriving at Tywyn on the evening of 16 September among the dramatic mountains and sheep of Cardigan Bay.

Cambrian Corner (4) - by Ian Wright

I went to Barmouth on Saturday 11 September for a final bike ride over before the closure. I went to see the compound which is at the North of the town and accessed from the promenade.

The two images above show some old wood that thas been removed.

The next two  show some of the kit of parts awaiting fitting.

These two show bits of the bridge awaiting replacement.

Borderlands review (from the local press)

Transport for Wales (TfW) has been working closely with Network Rail to deliver the necessary infrastructure improvements and enhancements to the Wrexham to Bidston line, to enable the delivery of two trains per hour along this route. Whilst the infrastructure work is taking place, TfW is also working hard to ensure all train drivers and conductors are fully trained on the Class 230 trains.

Due to delays caused by Covid-19 to staff training, the date for delivery of two trains per hour,  using the 230s, has been moved from December 2021 to May 2022 at the latest.

Work to install an additional eleven metres of platform at Wrexham Central station to fit the new trains starts on September 16 , following improvement to platform 1 at nearby Wrexham General station which is due to finish on 12 September.

[We seem to recall that TfW have previously said in their track application that the two-train service was not dependent on the use of the new stock.]

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