13 March 2023
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are welcome, although they may not always be used, due to
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Charter trains, and meetings, may be subject to cancellation
or postponement. See our Calendar Page
for Club and Society details.
Friday 10 March. Altrincham
Railway Society "Colour-Rail" by Paul Chancellor
Sunday 16 April Railway Touring Company The Great
Britain XV: Day 2. Steam: Bristol - Shrewsbury - Wrexham -
Chester - Holyhead. WCRC Class 47/57 Holyhead -
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
Friday 1 September Clwyd Railway Circle A Year
in the Life of an International Train Spotter - Part 2
Friday 6 October Clwyd Railway Circle A History of
The Internal Railway at Shotton Steelworks and its Links
with the Main Line
Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle The Railway in
Conway. Larry Davies
Friday 1 December Clwyd Railway Circle Members Night
Presentations. Members are invited to give a 15-minute
presentation of their choice.
Calendar page for meeting venues)
North Wales Coast Railway website created and
compiled by Charlie
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.
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
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:
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.
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,
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.
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
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
But ... Monday morning and ... yes, rail replacement buses
again and on the Conway Valley due to a shortage of trains.
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
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
Out and About : East Lancs 11 March - pictures by Larry
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
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
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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