Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

06 May 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. See our Calendar Page for Club and Society details.

May 2022

Friday 13 May  Pathfinder Tours Cambrian Coast Express.  Oxford - Pwllheli

Friday 20  May 
  Pathfinder Tours Cambrian Coast Express Bristol- Pwllheli

Friday 27th May  Vintage Trains Cambrian Coast Explorer 1
(diesel) Dorridge  - Pwllheli
  and return

June 2022

10-11 June
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways ‘Cwrw ar y Cledrau’ returns in 2022 with a vibrant mix of Real Ales, Steam Trains, and Live Music. Regular steam-hauled trains will also be running throughout the weekend.  Updates will be posted on

July 2022

Saturday 2 July  Vintage Trains Cambrian Coast Explorer 2 (Vintage Trains) (diesel) Stratford-upon -Avon - Aberystwyth and return.

2 -3 July Llangollen Railway Classic  Transport Weekend

Sunday 17 July 2022 
Railway Touring Company. Steam  The North Wales Coast Express  Liverpool -Holyhead and return.

Tuesday 19 July
  Railway Touring CompanyThe Welsh Mountaineer Steam  Preston  Blaenau Ffestiniog  and return.

30-31 July :  Welsh Highland Railway Centenary and Celebrations:
A weekend of heritage trains operating between Dinas and Rhyd Ddu (as South Snowdon is now known) to celebrate the reopening of this section of line.

August 2022

Friday 12 August   Pathfinder Tours  Cambrian Coast Express Cardiff - Pwllheli

September 2022

Friday 2 September Clwyd Railway Circle: “The Greatest Railway Builder in the World” A 60 Minute Talk on the Life and Times of Thomas Brassey by Peter Bolt

3-4 September Llangollen Railway   Diesel Weekend

Saturday 3 September The Cheshireman  steam  (6233) Norwich  - Chester and return (diesel Peterborough - Norwich)
Friday 9 September  Pathfinder Tours Cambrian Coast Express.  Oxford - Pwllheli

24 September  Trailffest Half Marathon : An Event Train will be provided to take the competitors from the event centre at Porthmadog to the start of the race in Tanygrisiau, the cost of which is included in the entry fee.

Friday 7 October
“Fond Memories” A look back over 70 years of Railway interest by Larry Davies

7-9 October: Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways: Vintage weekend.

8-9 October
Llangollen Railway  DMU railcar weekend

November 2022

Friday 4 November Clwyd Railway Circle: “A trip by Norwegian Railways to Hell (and back).” Geoff Morris

Saturday 5 November
Llangollen Railway Ride the Rocket Firework Train

December 2022

Friday 2 December Clwyd Railway Circle: “Members Selections & Christmas Celebrations” Members are invited to give a 15-minute presentation of their choice (Any format). Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

(see  our Calendar page for meeting venues)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

The Scene at Kidderminster shed, 27 April (Greg Mape).

This is an extra catch-up edition: the next normal issue will be on the evening of Tuesday 10 May. - Charlie

Apology: last issue's heading caption should have read '47 815 Great Western passes Rhyl on 30 April with the 'Northern Belle'.
An Interesting Website

YouTube has several video channels covering North Wales events; one which recently came to our attention is Prestatyn-based 'RWH Trains' which, as well as tiocal run-bys at foot crossings, delves into historical subjects, other tyoes of transport, and also visits to heritage lines.  Worth a look.

Ffestiniog event - report by Jim Ikin

The weekend of 29 April/1 May was a members' event on the Ffestiniog Railway where two visiting engines from the private Richmond Railway in Kent,  and the FR’s Britomart ran shuttles in between the FR and WHR services to Pont Croesor and Minffordd. Above, Richmond Railway's Bagnall-built Sybil of 1906 at Porthmadog, once a Dinorwic quarry loco.

Dr Edwina Bell,who has been appointed Heritage Project Manager at Boston Lodge, gave an detailed in-depth talk on plans for the works during a tour.
Keep up to date with developments at

Elin of 1899, once a Penrhyn quarry loco, now also at the Richmond Railway, which had done only fifty miles after a total rebuild, at Porthmadog.

FR resident Britomart at Porthmadog.

Elin at Pont Croesor - Britomart is on the rear.

Sybil at Minfford – once again Britomart was on the rear

The dog kennel on the Victorian brake van.

Sybil and Elin leaving Porthmadog.

The forge at Boston Lodge,which was originally horse stables,has had a lot of work carried out.

Boston Lodge works.

Chronicling the Cambrian - book review by Charlie Hulme

Chris Magner has produced a new edition of his book Cambrian Coast Line: the Railway Line that refused to die, first published in 1986, with additions up to 2017. In Chris's usual format, A4 in a comb binding, he chronicles the life and times of the line year by year from 1963 to 2017, along with the activities of the Cambrian Coast Line Action Group which did much to save the line from closure. It costs £16.50 including postage from Chris Magner at 21 Dunval Road, Bridgnorth WV16 4NA.

In addition to Chris's text, he compiles extracts from other sources,  and collaborators to tell the full story.  The line has seen many interesting events over the years, and they are all here in the book's 117 pages.  The fight to save the line in the 1970s and the public enquiries that ensued; the special trains to Tonfanau for Ugandan refugees; the great storm of 1976 and other floods; trains stranded overnight in snow; Barmouth Bridge problems; the many railtours; and much more, including a selection of pictures. A final section has some memories by users and supporters of the line. It's a reference book that you can also dip into and find interest in every page if you are a lover of this unique line, like myself.

Don't expect a glossy presentation, just simply presented stories and information about a line which saw my first unaccompanied week's holiday in 1966, my honeymoon in 1985,  and many subsequent holidays, mostly at Llanaber with its tiny halt.  As Chris says, it is an inspiring story.

A missed connection - by Stuart Broome

I had occasion to travel from New Mills Central to Valley on Thursday 28 April. I caught the 10:02 to Manchester Piccadilly formed of 195 005. The train was clean with good information screens and we were on time at Piccadilly.  Next was Avanti 390 005 which departed 22 minutes late to Crewe due to a door fault in coach E. We arrived at Crewe still late and I saw my intended train depart; another 30 seconds and I would have got it!  However it was not to be so.  Above, the missing roof at the south end of Crewe station.

With some 50 minutes to wait I put my time to good use. 57 308 Jamie
Ferguson  was parked near platform 12 so I ambled over to get a  photo.

At the south end of the station was 197 003, my first sight of the class, on driver training.  Back at the North end my train to Chester arrived -  153 303 and 153 909.  The 153/9s have a disabled toilet, hence the change of number. 

Arrival at Chester on time gave me the opportunity to photograph 158 830 on a southbound working.

153 921 ...

 ... and  197 002 in the westbound bay. The 197 looks a bit odd close up due to the extended corridor connection when photographed!

However 175 004 came in with my train to Llandudno Junction (above).  As my phone was low on power I connected to the seat sockets only to them not working. A very kind lady who was travelling to Abergele lent me her mini powerbank, so it got me up to 26% which was a great help.  Arrival at the Junction was on time.

Wooden sleepers on the re-opened sidings at Llandudno Junction.

Behind 175 004 was 197 002 from Chester on driver training.  It stopped at the platform end in order to return to Chester, so a quick sprint (well quick for me at 74 years old) enabled me to photograph it again.  I also saw  DR 73935, a Colas Rail tamper parked under the footbridge.

158 828,  and 153 921  seen in the bay at Chester,  came in on my train to Valley arriving at 15:35. The missed connection at Crewe turned out to be a most interesting day.

Looking back : Log train trial 2005 - with Eryl Crump

Mention of a trial run carrying logs from Aberystwyth to Kronospan Chirk reminded me of a similar experiment in November 2005 when an NR Multi-purpose vehicle (DR98916 & DR98919) was split and seven log carrying wagons inserted.

They were loaded with timber in the Aberystwyth station yard and then ran east. It chugged through Machynlleth (note the old semaphore signalling in pre-ERTMS days) and was able to stay ahead of a service train as far as Talerddig.

It waited at Talerddig for a train from Shrewsbury (158 830 in W&B silver and 158 847 in Central green) to cross then continued on its way to Chirk.

I don't think the service ran again with some suggesting the loading of the timber at source and the unloading/loading of the material at Aberystwyth made it too time-consuming and/or expensive.

Ultrasonic 37 - feedback

In the last issue we wondered why the Ultrasonic test train did not cover the Bangor - Holyhead section.  Andrew Royle, expert on such matters and  author of the book Yellow Trains: ten years of testing suggests an explaination.

The Ultrasonic Test Train needs to operate at 30 mph when doing its monitoring of the rails, and the sparse signalling provision on Anglesey means that it is hard to find a path for it during the day. On the other hand, if the train runs overnight,  to cover the Llandudno branch Deganwy and Llandudno stations have to be staffed...

The last regular Aberystwyth freight

The last regular freight service (other than the the railway's own traffic) to operate on the Cambrian system was the Wednesdays-only train of fuel tanks from Stanlow to a terminal (since demolished) adjacent to Aberystwyth station. The final working of this train was hauled by 37 418 Pectidinae on 28 April 1993, amid protests by local residents about resulting increase in road traffic, including an 'Early Day Motion' in Parliament:
That this House notes the increase of between 50 and 100 per cent  in freight rates charged by British Rail Trainload Petroleum; regrets the decision by Shell UK to transfer the transportation of oil from Stanlow Refinery in Cheshire to Aberystwyth in Dyfed from rail to road, and the increase in heavy tanker traffic on the country roads of Wales which will occur as a result; further regrets the terrible effect this increase will have on the Welsh environment; deplores the danger that the increase in heavy tanker traffic will cause to pedestrians and motorists alike; and urges the Government to intervene to ensure that rail freight prices do not force customers to use other means of transport and to ensure that Shell UK continue to use rail rather than road.
Like most such motions, this had no effect at all. At least, enough infrastructure  was retained to allow a possible log train.  The end of this service has been documented, but it's not clear when it started.   At its peak, the consist was ten TTA four-wheeled tank wagons, (see this Youtube video) although a photograph from March 1993 shows just two. 

Until 1983 the tanks arrived in the general wagonload service, latterly the 04:23 from Shrewsbury Coton Hill sidings which,  ran three times per week. This ceased to run in 1983, replaced by the weekly train dedicated to Shell traffic.   A Class 24 or 25 diesel was the normal choice of traction for the Wednesday-only services: indeed it was 25 035 on this train in March 1987. that was the the last visit of a 25 to the Cambrian lines before the class became extinct on BR. 

Later, pairs of Class 20s appeared, as seen in Paul Shannon's pictures from 6 April 1988. Above, the locos, 20 040 leading,  run round the train at Aberystwyth before shunting it into the siding.

The empties returning near Ynyslas, with 13 wagons.   When Railfreight was 'sectorised' the working was allocated to the Petroleum Sector, which mainly used Class 47s, but for workings such as this one they obtained a small fleet of Class 37/4 locos which were thought to be no longer needed for passenger service.  The situation changed in 1993, of course, when 37/4s took over North Wales trains and eventually inspired the creation of this website.

In recent times, 37 418 has been seen on the Cambrian Lines again, working for Colas on infrastructure services (always with a Class 97/3 for company).

Severn Valley Enterprise (1) - images by Roly High

A Saphos Trains excursion,  The Severn Valley Enterprise ran from Llandudno Junction via Kidderminster to Bridgnorth on the above-mentioned railway on 27 April. Above, the train makes makes an early morning call at Rhyl with 47 593 Galloway Princess leading and 47 501 Craftsman at the rear (Roly High).

At Crewe 47 593 was detached ...

... and 70000 Britannia with its support coach backed on (Roly High).

Upon arrival at Kidderminster the loco was uncoupled from its support coach. This image illustrates an interesting feature of many BR-era coaches. To couple to a loco or other vehicle with screw couplers, the buffers are held in the extended position by a removable 'cuff' which fits over the buffer shank. When coupling to a coach with 'buckeye' couplers the cuff is lifted out of the way and the couplers and the gangway connections meet.

The ground signal 'comes off' for 70000 to be turned on the turntable (originally installed at Fort William) to haul the train tender-first to Bridgnorth, where there is no turntable.

47 501, wearing its original number D1944 and livery as applied by Locomotive Services, 'on the blocks' at the rear of the train.

34027 Taw Valley, apparently soon to be renamed Queen Elizabeth II,  has been given a purple makeover in honour of the impending Royal celebrations.

Comparison of front ends: very similar as the ex-Southern Railway 34027 is one of those which was re-built by British Railways in the 1950s by the  designers as the Britannia class.  The most obvious difference is that 34027 retains the 'Bulleid Firth Brown' disc wheels.

Severn Valley Enterprise (2)  - Images by Greg Mape

70000 passes Stourbridge Junction.

70000 was turned at Kidderminster.

Arriving at Bridgnorth. This type of British Railways tender was designed to offer some view while travelling tender-first, but much leaning out is still required.

While at Stourbridge Junction, Greg took a ride on the 'People Mover' to Stourbridge Town.

Bala at 50

On Saturday 30 April at the Bala 50 celebrations Bob Greenhalgh was rostered as Maid Marian's driver for the day. Before the first train left a track laying train ran topped and tailed by diesels Lady Madcap and Chilmark

After a speech by Dafyd Gwyn, Bala company chairman, Maid Marian left for Bala. There were two traction engines, a steam lorry and model railway also present.

Driver's view at Llangower passing loop.

There were plenty of passengers enjoying a busy timetable with Quarry Hunslets Maid Marian, George B (above) and replica Wren class loco Jenny working the trains. We were blessed with great weather. The book Bala 50 is highly recommended and is available via the Railway's shop.

Sunday - by Jim Ikin

Maid Marian which at Easter 1975 was the first Hunslet on the line.

Maid Marian leaves Llanuwchllyn image taken through the Heritage Centre opened in 2019.

Visiting Jennie, from the Amerton Railway, built in 2008 by Statfold Engineering, is an almost exact copy of the Kerr Stewart design - the last of which was built in 1941.

Jennie and resident George B leave Llanuwchllyn.

More coaches for TfW - pictures by Graham Breakwell

On 4 May  (at 20:14 according to platform indicator) Rail Operations Group 37 884 Cepheus in Europhoenix livery passed through Shrewsbury with a set of five unbranded ex-Grand Central Mark 4 coaches and Driving Van Trailer 82220. Running from Eastleigh the train stopped briefly for crew purposes before departing for Crewe Carriage sidings via Chester. 

These coaches, originally built for the East Coast Main Line, are part of a 'job lot' obtained after Grand Central belatedly decided not to run a London - Blackpool service after all. At Eastleigh they are, we believe,  undergoing wiring changes to allow them to work with TfW's Class 67 locos; the intention is to introduce loco-hauled trains on the Manchester - Swansea route, but there will be testing and training to be done, as well as re-liverying.

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