Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

29 November 2021


Contributions to the Notice Board are welcome, although they may not always be used, due to time constraints, especially if they don't follow the file name convention given on the  Contributions Page.

Forthcoming events

Charter trains may be subject to cancellation or postponement.

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)

Gary Thomas photographed  56 096 at Dwygyfylchi with the Rail Head Treatment Train on a relatively calm and sunny Thursday 25 November, before the weather turned and stopped all trains on Saturday and part of Sunday.

Stormy weather - report by Garry Stroud

Saturday 27 November was not a good day for travel on the North Wales Coast, with both the Llandudno Junction to Holyhead section closed due to engineering works, and because of the weather situation the Llandudno Junction to Chester section remained closed as well.

Due to the high winds on Friday night into Saturday morning a tree fell
onto the line in Cadnant cutting just west of Conwy Station blocking the
line for the westbound Class 66-hauled engineering workings to proceed any further, two other  engineering trains which were following were also then unable to proceed further than Llandudno Junction.

[Editor comment:  Surely the trees should not have been allowed to be there: the recent accident in Salisbury illustrates the effect such neglect can create.] 

I managed to get to Cadnant cutting; the tree had already been removed by
the time I got there, but as the photo included (above) shows just where it fell, with 66 599 in attendance.

Also included are images of the other two following Class 66  services held
at Llandudno Junction, with 66 518 ...

... and 66 593.

Locomotive Services  doings - by Geoff Morris

In the week beginning 15 November Locomotive Services ran test trains from Crewe to or through Chester on three consecutive days.  On 16 and 17 November there were loaded test runs using Black 5 45231  around the Crewe – Chester - Coton Hill – Stafford – Crewe circuit. 37 688 was at the rear of a 6-coach formation which included 4 Inter City liveried Mk 3 coaches, in case of any difficulties.

Most unusually the usual late morning path was not used and the trains ran on a special path that left Crewe at around 16:00 and so were predominantly in the dark. They passed Chester at around 16:30 when there was just about enough daylight to make use of the low-light capabilities of digital cameras to attempt a photo of the moving train. On both days I made the short walk from home to Chester Walls and the results are attached.

On the 16th I took the photo of the train passing under the Walls (top picture) and the next day took it passing over the Shropshire Union Canal. An ISO setting of 6400 SAS and a fast 50mm lens were just about sufficient to produce an acceptable image. 

On the 18th a test run from Crewe to Chester and back was used to check class 20s D8097 & D8106 prior to their use on the Derby – Blaenau Ffestiniog charter two days later (see last issue).  This used the usual early afternoon slot and the locos ran light engine with 37 688 accompanying them. I didn’t see the outward run but I assume that 37688, which was at the west end of the  formation, had hauled the class 20s from Crewe to Chester. The class 20s were in charge for the return leg which I photographed at Hoole Lane bridge on their exit from Chester.

Coast scenes

Stephen Dennett writes: 'A quiet week for me this week, with just another Freightliner Class 66 light engine (66 531) from Crewe Basford Hall - Holyhead and return. Taken from Bagillt footbridge on the return run, 24 November.

On 25 September 67 015  passes Abergele with the 11:33 Holyhead - Cardiff...

... with Tŷ Gobaith - liveried driving trailer 82226 (Greg Mape).

Passing Abergele on the morning of 26 September: The RHTT from and to Shrewsbury with 56 096 ...

... and not far behind, 67 017 from Cardiff to Holyhead passing Gwrych Castle where the TV show 'I'm a celebrity...' was in progress, only to be disrupted the following day by weather conditions (Greg Mape).

A station rarely, if ever, seen on our pages is Upton, on the English section of the Borderlands line. Phil Atack sends this image of a pair of Class 230 units, 230 009 leading a training run. All the five 230s are now available: 230 010 was used in passenger traffic at the 'Rail Live' exhibition in the Summer.

Another Class 197 unit, 197 004, is now on test runs, as seen at Abergele on 25 September (Greg Mape). Meanwhile the redundant signalbox  stands alongside the thicket that has developed since the box closed.

As the storm raged further north, the RHTT was stabled in the bay platform at Wrexham General, having arrive there at 09:06, 297 minutes late.
Martin Evans took the picture: the locos were 56 096 and 97 302.

Emergency signals at Valley - by Peter Roberts

I'm writing in response to the query in a recent issue regarding Train Controls at Valley air base.

I was an RAF Air Traffic Controller at Valley late 70s  and early 80s. In the top Tower we had a control Panel which could close the Line in both directions close to RAF Valley. The idea was that because the line was very close to the touchdown point for Runway 19 in the event of a crash the safety of a train could be - hopefully - assured. We also had a direct telephone line to Valley Signal Box. The warning lights would be tested monthly in conjunction with the Signal Box at Valley.

When a train was seen that would conflict with an aircraft a warning was transmitted e.g.'Train crossing left to right'. On one occasion on arrival at Bangor a Guard reported that an aircraft had bounced off the roof of his train as it passed Valley; I never found out the result.

[The system is still in use: there  are two (colour light) signals in each direction, normally un-lit unless activated. The signals are shown on the signalbox diagram (a copy of which can be found on the superb 2D53 website) as 'X' and 'Y', although the signaller has no control of them .]

From Dave Sallery's archive

37 414 Cathays C & W works and and 37 421 The Kingsman  enter Rhyl on an up train in March 1995. The building behind being slated was newly constructed. It is built in the same style as the original LNWR buildings. Today you would not notice.

37 131 is deputising for a 47 on 1A37 08:50 Holyhead - Euston train in July 1998, having taken over the train from London at Crewe earlier in the day. It is seen leaving Rhyl with no doubt a healthy contingent of 'bashers' aboard, as it had rarely been seen on passenger service. 

Another new book

Andrew Royle, our long-time correspondent on engineering train matters, writes to tell us that his new publication HST: The Train That Saved Britain's Railways published by Crecy Publishing. To quote a review on Amazon:  'This is a photographic tribute to the HST, focusing on the liveries carried by the fleet rather than on their technical or operational achievements. There are nearly 180 pages of high quality photos, arranged by theme rather than chronologically, but it's the author's customary attention to detail which sets this book apart and makes it so much more than just a collection of photographs. '   The book is available from the publishers at £20.

Looking back:  Diesels 1998, part 3 - by David Pool

18 October 1998 was a Sunday, and the line between Chester and Crewe was closed, so the 13:35 from Holyhead to Euston was diverted via Middlewich.  The HST is coming off the single line at Mouldsworth Junction, the line to Helsby now out of use on the right.  I didn’t get the number of the leading power car, but the rear car was 43 166.  

The Class 66 locomotives were beginning to appear in the district, and on 4 November 1998 66 001 was working the 6V78 Dee Marsh Junction to Margam, climbing from Shotton High level station. The red brick building in the right  distance is the distinctive John Summers General Office and Clock Tower, which eventually became derelict but is now being restored. 

On the following day I was at Rudheath on the line from Northwich to Sandbach, photographing 31 427 with a short train of salt hopper wagons on 6K15, the 10:03 Warrington Arpley to Middlewich. 

Another interesting freight flow was from Sutton Oak to Warrington.  On the same day I went to Winwick, and the 6F88 09:58 Sutton Oak to Warrington comprised a work stained 31 188 with a couple of bogie tank wagons, presumably from Hay’s Chemicals. 

Returning to Winwick on the following day, the 6F31 acid tanks from Sandbach to Sellafield were being hauled by Direct Rail Services 37 609, the latter in the first version of DRS blue livery.

It then clouded over, but the sun appeared again in time for a southbound Serco Test Train, headed by a Royal Mail Parcels liveried 47 640.  I was not especially interested in Test Trains at this time, but I think the first coach was 999508, the Track Inspection Coach. 

1998 was the year in which Virgin Trains are remembered for their hiring of a Deltic locomotive on regular passenger trains.  The Saturdays only Birmingham to Ramsgate was the train which was best known, but Deltic haulage was used on other services.  On Sunday 29 November 1998 D9000 Royal Scots Grey had worked the 08:45 from Birmingham to Preston, and was returning on the 13:15 from Preston to Birmingham.  I photographed the train at Winwick – on the right side of the fence, with a telephoto lens – and it was understandable why so many heads were at the carriage end windows!  The headcode 1V84 suggests it may have gone forward to Plymouth, but I have no confirmation of this. 

The sun was low in the sky on 4 December 1998, and my shot of the green Class 101 685 at Northwich with the 13:57 Chester to Manchester is one of those photographs in which the background is more interesting than the train, with the light on the row of terraced houses and the sharply curved track on the left side of the triangular junction.  The 10 mph speed restriction is certainly appropriate. 

Missing picture

A "technical error" led to the omission of the photograph below from David Pool's contribution last week.   Here it is, with caption.

I never saw a “Kalahari”NG15 in steam in South Africa, so the restoration of No.134 on the Welsh Highland Railway has been of particular interest to me.  Although it featured in the NWCR Notice Board of 28 December 2020, I thought another shot of No. 134 at Dinas on 20 September 1998 was appropriate now that the rebuilding progress is gathering pace.  The full boiler overhaul has now started, and progress on the restoration is reported on the working group's website.  

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