Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

13 March  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.

March 2023

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

The bleak scene at Blaenau Ffestiniog on 11 March, all Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog trains cancelled due to the forecast weather while the Ffestiniog railway is not yet open for the season. Picture by Greg Mape.

News pictures

With snow covering the track, 70 811 blasts from under the Castle arch at Conwy Station on 4C33 Longport to Penmaenmawr, 10 March (Larry Davies).

Passing Conwy Castle heading for Longport (Gary Thomas).

With patches of snow on the hills, 197 018 on a Manchester Airport - Llandudno working nears Abergele, 11 March (Greg Mape).

197 110 on a Crewe - Holyhead test run, It stopped at Abergele & Pensarn
station, so  probably crew training. No 3-car 197/1 units have so far carried passengers (Greg Mape).

221 116 and 221 101 approach Abergele on the 07:53 Holyhead-Euston (Greg Mape). This pair returned as the 12:02 Euston to Chester, then the 14:02 Chester - Euston, the 17:02 Euston-Chester, and finally the 19:26 empty stock to the Voyager depot at Barton-Under-Needwood in Staffordshire.

Making a contrast between the old and the new, 197 018 departs Deganwy with the 1D32 07:25 Manchester Airport to Llandudno service, Monday 13 March (Garry Stroud).

67 014 stands in Platform 5 at Manchester Piccadilly on 8 March, ready to form the 14:30 to Cardiff. Stacked behind it in Platform 5 are the 14:38 to Alderley Edge and the 14:45 to Stoke-on-Trent. A long walk for the passengers, and what happens if our train doesn't start? This seems to be more common since the timetable change.

Class 175 status

175 116 calls at Stockport at 15:01 on 8 March, approaching the end of the 288-mile journey of the 09:01 Milford Haven to Manchester Piccadilly.
The following status report on the 175s has reached us on 13 March by a roundabout source. Our thanks to whoever compiled it:
Off lease: Landore 002, Holyhead 005
Waiting repairs: Chester 001, 007, 008, 103, 108, 116;  Holyhead 004, 010, 102, 105, 106, 109, 110, 113, 114, 115;  Crewe 101, 107 ; Longsight 009, 104, 111.
Serviceable : 003, 006, 011, 112

Notes:  112 due to go to Longsight for engine repairs/exam soon. 009, 104 should come back into service sometime after H exam/engine repairs. All units at Holyhead waiting repairs are stored. 007, 008, 101, 111 are unlikely to work again under TfW.
Our observation on Monday 15 March was confused by the fact that several services in the middle of the day were turned back before reaching Stockport; the only 175 noted was 175 006, the rest were 150s, Class 67s, a 158 or a pair of 153s.

Borderlands relaying - report by Alastair Graham

There was a nine-day closure of the Borderlands line from Saturday 4 March until Sunday 12 March, completing the replacement of odd remains of jointed and bullhead rail.

The Up line from Hawarden bridge replaced jointed flat bottom rail through Shotton Station, that gave way to a couple of hundred yards of jointed bullhead as the line starts up Shotton Bank.  The final few hundred yards was replacing welded bullhead as far as the curve to the south as the line levels out and crosses Shotton Lane. Concrete sleepers have been used on Shotton bank with complete replacement of the ballast bed and laying a membrane before replacement of the ballast, sleepers and long welded rail.

66 413 just off Hawarden Bridge on the down line with a consist of ballast wagons and flats for sleepers, 6 March.

Welding operations on Shotton Bank (The hot moulds were subsequently used to heat up the welders lunch!) By Saturday the rails, ballast and sleepers were removed from Shotton station up the bank. By Sunday afternoon the membrane and base ballast was down and the sleepers in position and by evening the rail was in position and clipped.

By Monday, in the rain, ballasting was complete, the final welds were completed and the tamper was ready to do its work. By Tuesday the work site was cleared (including two portable toilets!)

On the approach viaduct to Hawarden Bridge, 6 March.

At the same time work had begun where the last re-lay in August 2022 had finished near to Shotton Paper sidings, again on the Up line. This was almost a mile to beyond the now-disused Tubework Sidings close to Birkenhead Sidings. The line near to Shotton Paper has involved removal of the track panels of flat bottomed jointed track, replaced  with steel sleepers and long welded rails. They have thrown everything at this making really impressive progress.

On the other stretch, track panels wre out by Sunday and ballast being levelled on Sunday evening. On Monday the steel sleepers were being positioned by a gang of about twelve. Tuesday the rails were down and ballasting done by Wednesday. After that there seems to have been small groups doing, I suppose finishing off works which were taking place through until Sunday. It was amazing the speed at which the main works were completed during the first part of the possession, working 24 hours a day with lots of rail mounted plant and a large group of contractors.

However, despite the line finally being handed back after nine days of rail replacement buses - which incidentally seem to have all run almost to time and calling at all stations with no cancellations.  Unfortunately the TfW/NRE websites were showing incomplete bus times until Thursday!

But ... Monday morning and ... yes, rail replacement buses again and on the Conway Valley due to a shortage of trains.

Old Cambrian

This photograph of Criccieth, from the Manchester Locomotive Society, comes to use without any caption details. The date appears to be sometime around 1960, and the train, with 'express' headlights  suggesting the Pwllheli portion from the 'Cambrian Coast Express' , although it does not carry the headboard; maybe it was one of the summer-only expresses.  The locomotive is 7820 Dinmore Manor, one of several Manors to have survived to the present day in preservation. Built in 1950 after Nationalisation, it was withdrawn with other Cambrian Manors in 1965.

Manors were not common on this working, more often tank engines would take the carriages to Dovey Junction to be attached to the Aberystwyth portion.  But the picture raises other questions. There was a siding, or bay platform, on the Down side of the line, seen behind the train. What was this used for? It was removed sometime around 1965. In the Up platform there is another train, which appears from its end windows to be an 'Autocoach' used with a small loco on 'push-pull' services.  Were these used on this end of the Cambrian as well as between Barmouth and Dolgellau?  Maybe on shuttle services to and from Afon Wen?  Or is it an inspection saloon?

This view, from Ken Millward's collection, shows Black Rock Halt, between Criccieth and Porthmadog, opened in 1923 for users of the sandy beach alongside. It was closed in 1977 as the platform was unsafe.  Criccieth Castle can be seen in the distance, as a train hauled by a tank loco approached. Would it stop?

In memoriam, Gary Jones

Sadly we have to record the death on 16 February aged 68 of Gary Morgan Jones of Llandudno Junction  retired Network Rail Signal and Telegraph  Supervisor, and a contributor to our site; above is one of his images.  He was interested in European trains, as well as North Wales activities, as his Twitter feed reveals. Gary will be very sadly missed by all his family and friends.

Out and About : East Lancs 11 March - pictures by Larry Davies

Two 'celebrity' locos  on the East Lancashire Railway. Above, 60103 Flying Scotsman in its British Railways style with 'German' smoke deflectors. The loco was built at Doncaster in 2022 as no. 1472: the Centenary is of the 'Flying Scotsman' name which it received in 1923, after its builders, the Great Northern Railway had been merged into the London an and North Eastern in the great 'Grouping' of that year. The number 4472 which many associate with it was allocated by the LNER, and after the war became 103 in a rationalisation of the numbering system. British Railways added the 60 to match their all-Britain system.

To Larry's  surprise, the the new 'Saint' class loco 2999 Lady of Legend  visiting and working another service train.  This is a re-creation by the Great Western Society of a Great Western Railway 'Saint' class using parts from  'Hall' class locos, a type which was a later improvement on the 'Saint' design as well as many new components including larger wheels. You can read the story on the GWS website.

From Dave Sallery's Archive

37 407 passes Holywell Junction shortly after being named Blackpool Tower, 2 March 1995.

Three photos of the first class 37s on passenger trains on the coast. This was brought about by door interlock problems on the Class 155 Sprinters.  Most  of the 155's were later converted to class 153 single units.  All the photos show a Cardiff - Rhyl working. Above, 37 422 arriving in Prestatyn, 6 May 1989.

37 426 Y Lein Fach - Vale of Rheidol 0n the outskirts of Rhyl, 1 May 1989.

37 427 Bont Y Bermo leaving Prestatyn for Rhyl, 4 May 1989.

Looking back: South Wales in 1991 - with David Pool

On Sunday 7 April 1991 I was heading to South Wales for a holiday, and made a short detour from Welshpool when I saw 699.01 about to leave.   Slowing for Cwm crossing, 699.01 made a smoky approach.

Back on the A483 I went through Llanwrtyd Wells, and had just crossed the county boundary into Carmarthenshire when I caught sight of a Departmental working on the Mid Wales line, slogging up the gradient towards Sugar Loaf summit.. A convenient lay-by enabled me to get a shot of 37 264 with Dogfish ballast wagons heading North. 

I decided to go back to Llanwrtyd Wells station to see the train.  To my surprise the locomotive came off and ran round, so after some shots in the station I resumed my journey on the A483 with the intention of getting some more photographs down the line.

The obvious location for my next shot would be Sugar Loaf Halt, which was alongside the A483.  The Transport for Wales webpage shows that today there are no facilities at the station, apart from cycle storage and CCTV.  Since no trains currently stop here this is understandable.  The Halt had been reopened in 1984, after closure when the passing loop was removed, but lives up to its reputation as one of the most remote stations in Wales.

The next station would be Cynghordy, but getting there would mean a detour on narrow lanes, and it isn’t the best location for photographs, so I pressed on to Llandovery station, which was more of interest.

Later in the afternoon the sun appeared, and was on the wrong side of the train for my shot at Llandeilo, but it was a satisfactory end to the day. 

One of the objectives for my visit to South Wales was to get some shots of a train on the Trecwn branch.  At that time Trecwn was a Royal Navy Armaments Depot, storing mines and munitions, and the security arrangements made any attempt at photography near the site unwise.  Information on freight trains in South Wales indicated that there was a regular morning working from the Depot.  The line from Trecwn village was generally obscured by trees, but there was open country nearer to the junction with the main line at Letterston, and near the bridge where the line crossed the A40 was the best location I could find on the Monday, 8 April.  My patience was rewarded when 37 032 appeared with a long train of Railfreight vans. 

The train would have to reverse after it joined the main line, possibly at Fishguard Harbour, so I had plenty of time to find somewhere else for another shot.  The line past Wolf’s Castle in the tree lined valley of the Western Cleddau was difficult for photographs, so I settled for a shot from the platform at Clarbeston Road, where the single line from Fishguard ends.  Eventually 37 032 accelerated through the station, and I got a nice shot.   I would think the destination was possibly Neyland or Pembroke Dock.  The following year Trecwn Depot was decommissioned, and recent plans for development as an industrial site seem to have stalled.

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