Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

15 November 2022

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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.

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.

Thursday 8 December  Shropshire Railway Society. All Change, The last years of BR steam to the 90s, Steve Haynes

Midland Pullman:  Bath Christmas Pullman Holyhead, Bangor, Llandudno Junction , Colwyn Bay,  Rhyl.  Prestatyn, Flint , Chester (pu) - Crewe, Kidsgrove , and Stoke on Trent to  Bath Spa  and  return. Traction LSL HST.

January 2023

February 2023

March 2023

1 March:  Saphos Trains St David's Day Welsh Marches Express Holyhead - Cardiff,  steam from Crewe to Cardiff.

(see  our Calendar page for meeting venues)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

14 November saw the first passenger-carrying movement by one of TfW's new Class 197 diesel units. The very first service was the 05:30 Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog carrying three passengers: Transport Youtuber 'Jen on the Move'  and two friends.  Jack Bowley's picture shows 197 004 arriving at Blaenau for making Blaenau's second arrival with the 07:28 from Llandudno Junction. 197s are now planned to work services on the Conwy Valley line.

Don't miss our 11 November Extra Issue.  Note that some items from this week have been held over to the next issue.- Charlie

James Johnson

We are saddened to hear of the death of Jim Johnson of Bangor,  a well-known railway enthusiast who could often be seen with his video camera on Bangor station. He was a long-time supporter of our website and contributed many images. His YouTube channel has many of his works, we hope that this will remain.  Jim was also involved in attempts to save Bangor's Railway Institute building from destruction, or at least incorporation in a new building. Unfortunately the campaign did not succeed and it was demolihed in 2016. His video record of the event desribes it as 'a depressing chronicle of architectural vandalism, perpetrated by greedy philistines.'  His final contribution to our website told of the demolition of Bangor's loco shed.  Our condolences are offered to his family and friends.

A first trip on a Class 197 - report by Alan Crawshaw

Gwynfor Coaches have incorporated all their routes serving Llanberis into the Sherpa network. Until early November, the S1 connected Caernarfon and Betws y Coed, now we're into the winter period, alternate buses terminate in Llanberis as the previous 88 service did. A brisk walk took me to Brynrefail for the punctual 09:55 arrival which delivered me on time at Betws y Coed station for a comfortable eight- minute connection onto the 11:01 departure for Blaenau Ffestiniog. A few hikers were also on board the bus, some wet and others about to become so.

The station display had already flipped over to declare the next train to be the return to Llandudno when 197 004 rolled in a few minutes late.

The unit felt quite spacious with ample legroom in normal seats and a bit more in priority.

Seats are firm but comfortable, at least on the short journey I undertook. Wifi worked well, but the initial screen gave instructions to copy and paste a link, which told me the next stop was Llanrwst, which was of course the station before I boarded.

The displays were dead on the way down but showed on the return, the arrow pointing out which side to alight will be useful for non-regulars.

The arrival times display wasn't accurate, estimated time at Betws y Coed showing as 12:04 even though the current time was 12:09. The announcement "we are now approaching..." didn't state the station name. So the technology isn't quite there yet but is well conceived. There are charging points in front of the seats and the engine noise was not intrusive. [Shouldn't that be 'Gorsaf?]

Reservation displays are fitted for use on long-distance services.

The wheelchair areas meet current standards.

At two bikes, cycle space is no better than current trains, while the EU have stipulated that all new and refurbished trains after 7 June 2025 must have a minimum of four spaces. I can see potential conflict in this area, though possibly not on the Conwy Valley line. The bike space is next to a luggage area and passengers taking copious amounts of luggage on holiday will inevitably use it, probably not even noticing the small bike symbol. More prominent signage is needed, pointing out that bikes have priority. As for general capacity, I was disappointed that we're again getting two and three car units while other operators such as Merseyrail and Transpennine ordered longer trains when renewing their fleets. I hope we see sets in multiple on busy services.

Meanwhile, deliveries of 197s continue. At Crewe on 11 November, Martin Evans noted 66 533 Hanjin Express with some redundant coal hoppers ...

... sandwiching 197 017. The wagons are required as the brakes on the unit would not be operable.

Paint it Black

Transport for Wales appear to have adopted for their loco-worked services the black base livery applied by the Grand Central company to the ex-LNER coaches they refurbished for a planned London - Blackpool service which then never happened. The Grand Central orange stripe has been removed from the coaches, perhaps to be replaced by a TfW stripe, and loco 67 020 has been given black sides in an attempt to match. Above,  Martin Evans captured the 06:45 Cardiff - Holyhead on 11 November...

... and on arrival at Chester. Driving Van Trailer 82200 has been given 'Remembrance' vinyls.

Gary Thomas's picture above taken from Cadnant Park, Conwy, shows the train heading for Holyhead on 11 November with 67 020 propelling. Gary writes: 'The black set made its passenger debut on the evening of Wednesday 9 November making the evening trip from Cardiff to Holyhead. It made it back to Cardiff the next morning but then disgraced itself on the afternoon trip to Holyhead, somewhere near Church Stretton. It went 'empty stock' back to Cardiff and  was back out the following morning 10 November, completing its full diagram without issues though it was 'clagging' quite a bit,  unusual for a 67.  It's quite a "Marmite" [love it or hate it] livery,  but it's good to see the first-class section in a better position,  next to the DVT.'

Here's an official TfW image of 82200. Ryan Williams, Transport for Wales’ Engineering Director, explains: 'The Remembrance period every November is a profound reminder of the importance of peace, unity and respect. Our Remembrance train honours all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in wars and conflicts, past and present, throughout the world.' Read more.

Passing Llanfairfechan on the return trip to Cardiff, 11 November.

Working the Saturday 5K67 09:51 Holyhead to Crewe carriage sidings empty stock move on on 12 November, 67 020 is seen leaving Llandudno Junction at Pabo Lane, with the sun out,  as against the previous overcast day. Picture by Garry Stroud, who notes: 67 020 makes for a fine study in black against the changing colour of the trees. Again on the rear was DVT 82200 with its special 'Lest we Forget' vinyls.

Peter Basterfield's week

The RHTT heads into the 'grey 'area on Anglesey on 8 November ...

 ... and then back across the Cob at Valley.

No Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow, Just an Avanti Voyager!

67 020 heads for Crewe with the Saturday loco and stock change, passing Bangor on 12 November.

My arty shot of the RHTT with 56 094 in sunlight and shadow.

Rail Head Treatment Train scenes

The Network Rail 97/3's appeared for a few days in early November, in lieu of Colas Rail 56s, the latter returning on Friday 11 November. Gary Thomas  was able to get photos of the 97s at Talacre on Tuesday 8th (above)...

... and Pensarn on Thursday 10th, both on their return trips from Holyhead to Shrewsbury.

When the RHTT ran that week, seen at Llanfairfechan on 11 November it was very early, though the Tuesday evening/Wednesday daytime run was cancelled, somewhat ironically due to "adhesion problems"! (Gary Thomas).

97 303 (with 97 304 tailing) pass through Colwyn Bay nine minutes early with 3S71 21:13 Coleham LMD - Coleham LMD on 8 November (John Young). The train is passing on the seaward side the site of Colwyn Bay signalbox, built by British Railways 1n 1968 to replace the two boxes which controlled the station  area.  It closed in 1991, control passing to Llandudno Junction; there were plans to make it part a museum, but it was demolished in 2000.

Passing Abergele on 12 November with 56 049 leading (Greg Mape). Lady Emily's  Tower, a small hunting lodge and observation tower built in the 1830s by the wife of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh, can be seen on the hillside above  Gwrych Castle.


The 6Z58 empty slate waste working from Doncaster arrives at Llandudno Junction hauled by  66 711 Sence on 14 November ...

... and moved to the sidings (Garry Stroud)

West Midlands Railway 196 108 waits to depart Shrewsbury at 14:25 on 11 November (Martin Evans).

175 008 passing Northgate locks (Chester) with the 10:18 Maesteg-Holyhead, date on 12 November (Gary Roberts).

On 5 November, The East Lancashire Railway's Class 105 Cravens DMU arrives at Ramsbottom (Greg Mape).

From Dave Sallery's archive

47 832 passes Abergele on a Manchester - Holyhead working, 6 September 2004, a period when Arriva were borrowing locos unwanted by other companies: the loco from Great Western and the coaches from Virgin. The train is not calling at Abergele station, as shown by the position of the signal arm; the two posts connected by the horizontal bar constitue one signal.

Coast regular 47 555 The Commonwealth Spirit at Llandudno Junction, 24 October 1983.  The name was to mark the return to Britain of the Ninth Commonwealth Expedition from a twelve-week rail trip across India.

Another 'celebrity', 37 408 Loch Rannoch on an Up passenger service is passed by 31 439 North Yorkshire Moors Railway and 31 455 on ballast empties to Penmaenmawr, Rhyl 27 June 1995. In the final years of British Railways, the passenger 'sectors' had to look after their own infrastructure, resulting in Regional Railways 'owning' a small fleet of locomotives.

47 343, in Railfreight grey livery before the scheme was brightened up with yellow, on an up ballast at Old Colwyn, 10 September 1990.

This loco was involved in an accident at Hazel Grove in 1992. It was standing on the former Midland line  which is connected by a steeply-graded curve to the former LNWR line at Hazel Grove. The loco driver left the cab to reach a signal telephone, but insufficient breaking allowed the the loco to roll down the curve and meet head-on a Class 158 passenger train. The subsequent damage led to the loco's withdrawal.

Looking back:  Steam and Diesels   2009  part 4 - by David Pool

On 2 August 2009 Garratt K1 and Vale of Ffestiniog were on the Welsh Highland Railway, returning to Caernarfon from Hafod y Llyn.  As the train approaches Castell Cidwm, Snowdon Summit stands out in the background. 

“The Welsh Mountaineer” ran on 5 August, 1Z43 0820 Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog.  Motive power was Black 5 45231  The Sherwood Forester, and as it approached Frodsham for once there was no flock of birds disturbed on the viaduct.  The locomotive had never been named in BR service, but in preservation it became 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (part of the Territorial Army) in 1976.   Eventually it was withdrawn for a major overhaul, and with a new owner the name was shortened in 1996. The regiment existed from 1971 to 1999, when it too was renamed after reorganisation. 

The train returned as 1Z45 16:11 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Preston.  Mold Junction in 2009 had colour light signalling, and the siding was overgrown, but the trackside vegetation was under control, resulting in a nice shot.  If only it was like this today! 

The Chirk Logs were being hauled by DRS locomotives in 2009, and on 3 September it was 57 007 on 6J37 from Carlisle. The high level footbridge at Frodsham is of no use when photographing trains heading for Chester, so a shot from the platform end is a better option.

On the following day 9 September 2009 there was to be steam between Lime Street and York.  I didn’t fancy a shot under the wires near Edge Hill, and a look at the gradient profile for the line showed a short climb up to Whiston at around 1 in 100, so that Whiston station seemed a good location to try.  I find overbridges less suitable when photographing steam, particularly if the line is in a cutting.  Running in front of the Steam Special was Northern 156 487, 09:01 Lime Street to Manchester Airport. 

46115 Scots Guardsman followed as 1Z58 0918 Lime Street to York.  In BR days the Transpennine trains would more usually have been hauled by a Black 5, a Jubilee or a Patriot, but the Scot had no problems with the gradient and made a pleasing shot in spite of the rather dull weather.  I doubt if the headboard “St Helens Girl Guiding Express” has been used very often! 

The Wrexham and Shropshire Railway had just ceased operating in top and tail mode with the arrival of DVTs in the new livery, although not all the coaches had been repainted.  On 9 September 2009 DVT 82305 was leading Inter City blue/grey Mk3 coaches at Croes Newydd with the 11:29 to Marylebone, propelled by a Class 67 as usual.

Later that day I went to Rossett, where the afternoon Wrexham and Shropshire train from Chester was one of the totally repainted sets, being 82301, three W&S liveried Mk3 coaches and 67 010.   I don’t normally favour shots which do not clearly identify the location, but of course the track in the distance is today part of the redoubled section from Saltney Junction.

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