Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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 Page.

Forthcoming events

Charter trains, and meetings, may be subject to cancellation or postponement.

February 2022

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

Thursday 24 February Shropshire Railway Society My early years photographs  - Ken Hayward

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)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

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 Conwy Valley.


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 367153 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 loco-hauled sets!

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 Breakwell).  

'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 to Wrexham.

150 281 at Buckley on 11 February forming the 18:07 to Bidston.

150 260 at Buckley on 11 February forming the 1803 to Wrexham

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.

Vanishing trains

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 November 1996.

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 Buckley.

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 Rail/BARS fleet.

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 electronics.

Looking back: Steam and Diesel 2000 part 4  - by David Pool

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 some care! 

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 energy. 

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 public?

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 Chester.

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 month. 

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