Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

30 January 2023

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.

February 2023

Friday 3 February Clwyd Railway Circle  Annual General Meeting followed by Chairman’s Choice.  David Jones

Friday 10 February . Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Steam in North Wales and the Borders since 2010 - Main Line and Narrow Gauge" by Ian Pilkington.

March 2023

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

Friday 3 March Clwyd Railway Circle  Travelling Around Britain by Train.  Bill Rogerson

Saturday 4 March Railway Touring Company Steam 'The Cheshireman' London Euston - Chester

Friday 10 March. Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Colour-Rail" by Paul Chancellor

April 2023

Sunday 16 April Railway Touring Company The Great Britain XV: Day 2. Steam: Bristol - Shrewsbury - Wrexham - Chester - Holyhead.  WCRC Class 47/57 Holyhead - Llandudno Junction

June 2023

Saturday 24 June North West Rail and Transport Collectors' Fair.  Crewe Alexandra Football Club
Alexandra Stadium, Gresty Road, Crewe CW2 6EB
(5 mins walk from Crewe Station) 10.00am - 3.00pm
Admission - £2 Adults, Children Under I6 Free

September 2023

Friday 1 September Clwyd Railway Circle  A Year in the Life of an International Train Spotter  - Part 2 Phil Thomas

October 2023

Friday 6 October Clwyd Railway Circle A History of The Internal Railway at Shotton Steelworks and its Links with the Main Line
Glyn Jones

November 2023

Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle The Railway in Conway.  Larry Davies

December 2023

Friday 1 December Clwyd Railway Circle Members Night Presentations.  Members are invited to give a 15-minute presentation of their choice.

(see  our Calendar page for meeting venues)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

67 015 propelling the 11:25 Cardiff - Holyhead near Valley, 26 January. Picture by Gary Thomas.

A 'golden hour' -  by Gary Thomas

I popped out on 26 January for the visit of the New Measurement Train yesterday, catching it at Valley. Shortly beforehand I managed to see 197 010 on a test/training run to Holyhead (above) ...

... and also the Cardiff - Holyhead afternoon loco-worked, in reverse formation. I say reverse, but I understand that this will now be the default, so that the noisy class 67 isn't "on the blocks" at Manchester Piccadilly.

43 274 and 43 290  heading for Bangor.

Manchester Variety - report by Graham Breakwell

The TfW services on the Holyhead/Manchester to South Wales continue to throw up a random selection of rolling stock.  All images taken on 26 January. Above, 1W92 from Cardiff to Holyhead “featured” 153 329 and 153 369. Seen north of Shrewsbury near Bomere Heath.

1V95 from Holyhead to Llanelli saw a higher standard of comfort with 175 010, seen here passing Sutton Bridge Signal Box south of Shrewsbury.

Image 3. 1W93, from Cardiff to Holyhead with 67 015 and Mark 4s, making up for the pair of 153s two hours earlier, seen passing 97 302 at Coleham ...

... on the rear, 82201.

Cambrian Corner - with Ken Robinson

Despite lots of recent activity in the southern part of the Cambrian Coast and on the Cambrian main line, things have been very quiet on the northern half of the coast line. However, on 25 January, 97304 'John Tiley' brought a tamper to the yard at Porthmadog, and then returned the track machine to Tywyn the following day. The photos show both trains: above 97 304 arriving at Porthmadog on a misty 25 January, with 6J40, the 12:19 Tywyn - Porthmadog. Arrival was at 11:33 - 123 minutes early!

97 304 passing Penrhyndeudraeth on 26 January, with 6J39, the 09:13 Porthmadog - Tywyn.

Merseyrail 777

Ian Pilkington took a ride on the Class 777 on 23 January. He notes:  My impression was very favourable after riding on the first journey (10:50 Liverpool Central-Kirkby) and staying on for four round trips. Picture above: 777 049 stands at Kirkdale with the 13:50 Liverpool Central-Kirkby.

It is planned for the 777s to take over all Kirkby line services (3 diagrams) during the next few weeks, followed by the Ormskirk Line (4 diagrams).

777 049 arrives at Kirkdale with the 14:35 Liverpool Central-Kirkby.  507 004 stands behind the train on Kirkdale Depot, formerly the site of 27A Bank Hall steam shed, whilst Everton FC's new stadium can be seen in the distance.

An interesting Youtube video shows how these units are being delivered.

Note:  initially only this one unit is in traffic: the other two units required for the Kirkby service remain the old 507/508 units.

Roll Britannia

Main line steam observers around Chester have been lucky already in 2023
with LSL doing more driver training from Crewe using the Coton Hill circuit.
Unlike two weeks ago the engine chosen was Standard Class Pacific 70000 Britannia which ran every day from Tuesday 24 to Friday 27 January. Geoff Morris  photographed the operation around Chester on the all except the final day:  Tuesday at Northgate cutting (above) ...

... Wednesday passing the racecourse ... 

... and Thursday at the Locks.

Two shots of Britannia taken 24 January by Dave Jepson at Bunbury Locks with the driver seeming to be testing the drain cocks ...

... and leaving Shrewsbury at Walcot.

Graham Breakwell captured the train at Preston, east of Shrewsbury on the 26th ...

... on the rear, sometime Buxton-allocated loco 37 688 Great Rocks.  The Railfreight Construction livery has been re-applied from DRS livery, and the nameplates and totems attached,  by preservationists who bought the loco from DRS in 2017. It is now on a long lease to Locomotive Services.

Ruabon, 25 January (Martin Evans). The carriages are 35461, 11076, 11091, 10411, 11077, 11098, 10416, 9513.   

Rossett, 24 January (Jeff Albiston).

Powering across Chirk Viaduct on 27 January. Picture by Jeff Albiston who notes: 'I was standing on steps from the public footpath, and in a position of safety.'

George Jones was at Wrexham General on 27 January. He writes:  'The approached under caution due to the late running 10:34 Cardiff just ahead of it and made a slow pass at 1108 before pulling away.

'Fortunately the Holyhead due 11:02 was also delayed, so no conflict for photters; 150 238 and 158 822 arrived 11:09.'

Chester station, 23 January (Ian Henderson).

197 doings 

Geoff Morris writes: On 24 and 25 January I also photographed the class 197 test run (09:22  Crewe South Yard - Llandudno Junction) which ran through Chester shortly before  the steam. On Wednesday  the test set comprised a 5-car formation (class  197/0+197/1) whereas on Thursday it was just a single 2-car set 197 016.  This  run’s timetable includes a pathing stop on the slow line at Chester Locks where  it should be overtaken by the 10:03 Crewe - Llandudno.

On the Thursday this  service train was formed of 158 821 which provided an interesting comparison  between the old andnew versions of DMUs that incorporate front-end corridor  connections when it overtook the test run at Chester Locks.

Meanwhile,  at Llandudno station on 26 January, a naming ceremony was staged on platform 1, involving 197 007 which travelled especially from Crewe . Garry Stroud was there to witness the event.

The name-vinyl.  The lower text is rather small.

Lesley Griffiths MS, helped by Tabitha, winner of the competition to choose a name, reveals the name. When asked by a reporter why she chose Happy Valley, Tabitha smiled and replied: "I can't remember!"

197 016 enters Llandudno Junction at  13:50pm with the 3Q13 12:57 test service from Chester.  23 Jan 2023 (Garry Stroud).

From Dave Sallery's archive: Lein Amlwch

37 218 and 37 261 pass Rhosgoch on the Amlwch branch  with the 'Mabinogion' special train, 16 October 1993.  The track to the left led to a Shell tank farm which was seldom, if ever, used.

47 245 on the up Octel train to Ellesmere Port passes Prestatyn on 31 August 1992.

47 335 on the same train passes the creamery at Llangefni, 18 April 1992.

40 143 with a trainload of sulphur for Amlwch passes Prestatyn, 30 August 1984.

Looking Back: Staffordshire branches part 1 - by David Pool

On 14 June 1981 there was an excursion from Chester to the Churnet Valley, sponsored by the North Staffordshire Railway Museum at Cheddleton, who were hoping to reopen the line. The freights in this area were infrequent, so it was a good opportunity for photographs.

Similar excursions had run in 1980, but these are not well documented. I went first to Leek Brook Junction, which was a good location for a photograph, and eventually a DMU arrived with a “Churnetrail” headboard. It was a mixture of Class 108, 101 and 104 cars, but I only managed to record M51950, M50320 with M50519 on the rear. I think there were six cars in total, but if anyone can clarify this I would be most grateful. Note the sand on the tracks, which had come from the freights from the Oakamoor Quarry owned by British Industrial Sand.

I photographed the excursion at Cheddleton, and decided I should return to this area another day to explore the other line from Leek Brook Junction to Caldon Low. The quarry was named Caldon Low, as had been the Halt, but the nearby village is Cauldon, and today the spelling Cauldon Lowe is usually seen.

The quarry is about a mile from Waterhouses, which was the end of the narrow gauge Leek and Manifold Valley Railway from Hulme End, which closed in 1934, and the end of the branch from Leek Brook Junction. I had found a good location for a photograph at Winkhill, once a station near the end of the branch, and on 18 August 1981 a limestone freight arrived from Caldon Low behind 25 224, the typical motive power at that time. Note the gangway doors on the cab front which were seldom used and often removed.

A few years later on 19 August 1987 I returned to Cheddleton, where 47 331 was heading for Oakamoor with empty sand hoppers. The driver is getting the token from the crossing keeper, and the spectators have probably been visiting the museum and stored stock, since the Churnet Valley Railway was not able to use the branch for its trains until 1996.

Later in “Dutch”livery, 47 331 could be seen at Warrington Arpley on 20 May 1999, when it was about to depart at 09:25 with 6J70, the Chirk logs.

During my visit in August 1987, I had photographed a light locomotive at Ipstones between Leek Brook Junction and Caldon Low, which would be returning later from Caldon Low. After seeing 47 331 at Cheddleton I cut across to Winkhill , where I saw 31 247 returning with the freight. There would be severe speed restrictions on the line descending to Leek Brook Junction, and I had plenty of time to get to an overbridge on the line to Stoke. This was the site of Wall Grange and Longsdon Station, which had been closed in 1956 when passenger services had been withdrawn, but the platform was still visible.

Narrow gauge steam briefly reappeared at Hulme End on 18 June 1988, when permission was given to lay a temporary track for a short length of miniature railway on the footpath which uses the old trackbed. I cannot recall which model engineering group was involved, but the locomotive used was a scaled down model of one of the original locomotives, No2 J B Earle. I think the gauge was 10.25 inches, which would make it one third full size, but I can’t confirm this. The train is returning from the end of the track at Apes Tor.

By 2010 there had been many changes in the fortunes of the railways in the district. Caldon Low and Oakamoor both had ceased to use rail traffic, and the Churnet Valley Railway had bought the leasehold of the line between Leek Brook Junction and Froghall, enabling trains to be run. An organisation called the Moorland and City Railway had been trying to reopen the Caldon Low site and resume rail freights to Stoke, having purchased the line from Leek Brook Junction in 2009 on a 150 year lease.

The Churnet Valley Railway then obtained their permission to run trains occasionally beyond Leek Brook Junction towards Caldon Low. The opening day for these trains was 13 November 2010, with the guest locomotive 71000 Duke of Gloucester top and tailing with 8F 8624. I tried for a shot at Bradnop, at the top of the steep section from the Junction, but misjudged the effect of the cutting, which caused the train and locomotive to be buried in steam! At Winkhill the returning train made a better picture, but 8624 and 71000 were then tender first, and I had to settle for a “record” shot.

Twenty years earlier there was no problem with too much steam when photographing 71000 on 24 July 1990 returning from Holyhead to Crewe, and the background is unmistakeable.

Bala Lake Railway news

Between 13 and 19 January 2023, staff and volunteers from the Bala Lake Railway laid 480 feet of brand-new track, plus two sets of points, at Llanuwchllyn Station. The new track, at 50lbs/yard, is heavier-grade than the 30 or 35lbs/yard rail traditionally used on the Railway, and represents a major investment in the future of the line.

The new section of track still needs ballasting, tamping and aligning before the start of our Half Term services: please see the Timetable.