14 February 2022
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
Charter trains, and meetings, may be subject to cancellation
Monday 21 February RCTS Chester
Martyn Hilbert “Network North West”
Thursday 24 February Shropshire
Railway Society My early years photographs - Ken
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
Monday 25 April RCTS
Chester David Powell “Merseyrail Fleet Replacement”
Calendar page for venues)
North Wales Coast Railway website created and
compiled by Charlie
37 418 An Comuun Gaidhealach double heading
with 97 303 in Shrewsbury station - just before the
station was was locked up - returning 10 ballast
hoppers on the 22:30 from Talerddig to Crewe Basford Hall
Sunday night 13 February. Picture by Graham Breakwell.
Class 197s in action - report by Gary Jones
I was lucky on 10 February to see two of the new Class
197 DMUs at the same time at Llandudno Junction. 197
101 was in Platform 4 and 197 001 arrived
in platform 3.
A quick turn round saw 197 001 depart towards Chester,
but 197 101 headed towards Llanrwst on the Conwy valley
line which had not seen a train for some weeks.
I think 197 101 was the first 3-car 197 to run in the
5Z68 14:05 Hereford to Crewe C.S. on 9 February
approaching Wrexham at 15: 32. The loco in question is
67 025 on crew training exercises (Martin Evans).
Handforth on the Manchester - Crewe line as a mixed consist
passes on 13 February : 153 367, 153 312
and 158 820 on a Manchester - Swansea service.
Orher companies get rid of 153s, while TfW use them on some
of their longest-distance services. Hurry up with those
A few minutes behind at Handforth was a Locomotive
Services empty stock move, York - Crewe 47 614
leading 47 593. Pictures by Greg Mape.
Handforth is notable for its curious collection of station
name signs, including the large BR one that once graced
the station frontage.
Shrewsbury on 11 February. 158 819 is stabled on
platform 3 and 158 830 and 158 836 have just divided after
arrival on 1D16 from Birmingham International, with 830
proceeding to Chester and 836 to Crewe...
... and 221 113 on arrival with 9J38 from London
Euston, terminating in Shrewsbury’s platform 4 and then
reversing to run empty to Barton under Needwood for
servicing. Unusually, the train did not divide
at Wolverhampton, with 221 104 still attached, requiring
re-platforming from the normal short bay platform 5 (Graham
'Track-bashers' delight as a London - Leeds UK Railtours
charter on 12 February took the promised 'Down Main' line at
Stockport led by DB Cargo 66 148 Maritime
International Seven and 67 020...
... on the rear, 67 020 Queen's Messenger.
Borderlands and around - pictures by Alastair Graham
There are now very class 150s left in Arriva Blue: here are
some on the them in for consideration taken on the
Wrexham to Bidston Line. 150 250 is between
Penyffordd and Hope on 12 February, forming the 11:09
150 281 at Buckley on 11 February forming the 18:07
150 260 at Buckley on 11 February forming the 1803 to
150 231, still wearing its remembrance poppy,
departing Hawarden under the nicely-refurbished footbridge
at Hawarden on 4 February on the 11:57 to Bidston.
There were supposed to be trains on the Conwy Valley for the
first time on Saturday 12 February but it did not
happen - service re-started on the 14th. However there was a
'normal' timetable of trains on the Borderlands line on
Saturday although they are still showing an emergency
timetable (1 train every 2 hours except for the additional
16:34 from Wrexham) on Monday onwards.
Monday's service has indeed reverted to two-hourly, with no
trains from Bidston between 09:12 and 12:32 with a bus
departure at 10:32. No trains from Wrexham between 08:34 and
11:34 with a bus at 09:40 which takes two hours to reach
Bidston, arriving at 11:29, twice the train's timing.
On the brighter side, Wrexham Central is served by both
train and bus.
Not just the livery, but the whole train, soon to disappear:
507 030 departing Ellesmere Port for Liverpool
Central at 11:47 on 11 February.
On 13 February Real
Time Trains shows a freight train left Penmaenmawr
(not the quarry) at 07:20 heading for Westbury Down Terminal
Complex via a reversal at Holyhead. 66 418 was
traction allocated and the trailing load is 400 tonnes. The
consist was loaded rail-carrying wagons, from overnight
engineering operations, no doubt.
All normal, but when did the train travel west along the
coast? This is one of a number of incidences we've
noticed on RTT lately of missing trains. Or has it
always been like this? Comments welcome.
[Late update, 07:00 15 February - many thanks to the people
who have already written explaining this - more next week!]
From Dave Sallery's archive
31 163 and 31 201 are on the morning flask run to
Trawsfynydd, 1 July 1994.
31 301 on a train of spoil wagons passes Prestatyn on
14 January 1988. In the bay platform is a tamping and lining
machine. The spoil wagons were 16-ton mineral wagons
with holes cut in their sides to prevent overloading.
Mail by Rail. An HST (43 189 in view) at Bath is
attended by a battery powered mail truck on 15 June 1995.
Unsurprisingly there is no DVLC record of this vehicle after
Ravenscraig steel, 1984 - recalled by Barrie Hughes
I was able to follow the Ravenscraig steel train from
Chester to Hawarden on 30 August 1984 without breaking any
speed limits! The first shot shows 56 057 in standard BR
blue livery in the Chester Down Goods loop awaiting a path
for Wrexham, the direct route via Sealand having been closed
a few years previously.
I missed the run round near Croesnewydd Depot but caught the
same train approaching Wrexham General in a northbound
direction and ready to take the Borderlands route through
I hurried to Gwersyllt to see a train signalled but it was
the local service to Bidston, a Class 108 with headlamp
fitted for Central Wales line service. I'd have to wait for
this to clear the section before the steel train arrived.
I didn't have to wait long before 56 057 reappeared with the
coils, putting down the power to climb the gradients ahead
towards Buckley summit.
With the train speed quite slow over the summit I was just
able to get to Hawarden in time to record the train on the
downhill run to Shotton in the early afternoon.
56 057 was new to traffic 27 March 1979 and was over five
years old by the time of this photo. The loco was
reallocated to Cardiff 4 October 1987 and became 56 311 in
April 2008 and operated as part of Hanson Traction/DC
More recently 56 057 was lucky to escape the fate of most of
the 135; it was purchased as one of 18 Class 56s for
conversion or parts donors to make 10 Class 69s as part of
the GB Railfreight's plans to expand its fleet. It emerged
as 69 002 and was named Bob Tiller CM&EE in July
2021 at Waterloo and carrying BR blue large logo livery as
it may have done in the past.
About Class 69
Above, 69 004 passing Wellingborough on the
MML Up slow (now electrified and with a new
platform/footbridge for the Corby EMUs) at 10:12 on 25
January. The loco was the fourth Class 56 to be
converted (from 56 069) and was travelling light engine from
Doncaster to Tonbridge where the class is based.
69 004 (running number just visible from this side) had
paused overnight in GBRf's Wellingborough Yard. The loco was
expected to continue to Eastleigh for completion of its
paintwork. The Class 69 retains the Class 56 bodyshell,
bogies and traction motors but fitted with the latest
version of the Class 66 power unit, controls and
Looking back: Steam and Diesel 2000 part 4 - by
The “Severn-Dee Venturer” on 29 May 2000 was a Pathfinder
Railtour from Cardiff, with steam haulage from Chester to
Newport behind 60532 Blue Peter. This A2
Class locomotive was not frequently seen on the main line
after the repairs following its serious wheelslip damage in
1994, which had been caused by inexperience of the footplate
crew. An image at Hargrave as it headed for Chester in
1997 was on the Notice Board for 11 May 2020. On both
occasions the exhaust was hardly visible, and as it
accelerated past Croes Newydd Box it was being driven with
On the Welsh Highland Railway on 27 July 2000 Mountaineer
was being used on lighter trains, and the usual wide angle
lens was needed to show Caernarfon Castle in the shot.
Although it was oil fired, it still managed to emit a
significant amount of black smoke. Having been in
store for a number of years now, it is likely it will
eventually reappear coal fired, subject to the availability
of coal supplies and the current focus on cleaner
A few days later I was in Flint on 30 July 2000, when two
Class 37s had been rostered for the 1G81 1822 Holyhead
to Birmingham working. 37 413 had come off a
previous Holyhead to Manchester train at Chester, and seems
to have gone back to Holyhead to assist 37 429.
Both locomotives returned to Holyhead that evening, and 37
429 resumed its duties the following day.
At Waenfawr the work on building the station was proceeding
well on 16 August 2000, as Garratt 143 seems to be
waiting for the line to be cleared before running round its
train. The lineside vegetation has certainly grown
here twenty years later.
I suppose it may please some travellers to see a named
locomotive on their train, but I am not a supporter of the
practice of the temporary renumbering (and naming) of a
locomotive to replicate another which never survived into
preservation. Black 5 45407 has been a very
familiar locomotive, and perhaps it had been thought to be
more interesting for it to be renumbered as 45157, which was
one of the few Black 5s to have a name in BR days. So
on 22 October 2000 it was disguised as 45157 The Glasgow
Highlander on 1Z38, the 0910 from Lime Street to
Chester. For once at Frodsham bridge there was no
flock of disturbed pigeons in the shot!
I went to Chester for the return working (1Z39 13:10 Chester
to Lime Street), and '45157' made a spirited departure as
could be expected. Maybe the train’s name “The Mersey
Dee-Lights” was another example of what might attract the
Returning to Chester on 3 November 2000, I was surprised to
see a three car set on the 11:55 departure to
Manchester. This turned out to be a Metro Cammell
2-car unit 101 656 plus DMBS power car 51428 from
unit 101 655. This combination has been called a “Go
Faster” unit, and was reported to be working on several
routes in the Manchester district at this time. Both
power cars were certainly working hard as the unit left
On 22 December 2000 it was the weather for de-icing trains
on Merseyrail, and the elusive 73 906 was parked at
the former Platform 3 at Hooton, sandwiched as usual between
the ex-Watford Class 501 vehicles 6910 and 6911.
The platform numbering at Hooton has changed over the years
– originally there were seven platforms to serve the Fast
and Slow through lines, the branch to Ellesmere Port and the
now closed line to West Kirby. A few days later the
snow arrived, just before the Class 37s retired from the
North Wales Coast passenger workings at the end of the
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