Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

27 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.

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

July 2023

Weekend 1-2 July Llangollen Railway Classic Transport Weekend at  Glyndyfrdwy Station. An intensive train service of steam, diesel and railcar,  will operate alongside a vintage bus service running between Llangollen, Glyndyfrdwy and Corwen.

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

37 at the Seaside, Llandudno 22 March (Gary Thomas).

Thanks to all contributors, especially those who follow the guidelines for file naming, it really helps, although I do understand that some don't have the facility to edit filenames.   Subject lines on emails are a help, too. Some items,  including a 'loco-hauled feature', have been saved for next time.  - Charlie

Shortage of trains?

197 007 (left, nameplate Happy Valley hardly visible), 197 008 (behind) and 197 009 (right) sleep in Chester sidings on 21 March, while Conwy Valley and Borderlands passengers travel by bus due to shortage of trains.

The Manchester Airport service is now almost monopolised by 197s: 006, 011, 012, 015, 018 and 021 worked the route on 21 March. 197 018 is seen above on the 12:25 Manchester Airport to Llandudno, which left Chester ten minutes late for reasons not obvious. (A pair of 158s operated in the early morning and 175 009 on the last train of the day. ) A 197 has 116 seats and one toilet, compared to the 175's 136 and two toilets;  longer trains will surely be needed in the Summer?

Meanwhile, a  trip to the grandly-titled Telford International Railfreight Park near the MOD depot in Donnington on 18 March revealed over a dozen class 197  two- and three-car sets stabled awaiting handover. All currently number-less and unbranded.

Looking in the opposite direction a couple of WMR Class 196s can be spotted between more 197s.   The wagons stored on the right are for carrying new cars from the factory.

Back at Chester, on the farthest end of the farthest siding, lies 'thermal incident' victim 175 007, probably having carried its last passenger.

The Marsh Magician

Pathfinder Tours' 'Marsh Magician' railtour on 25 March started from Bristol and covered a number of interesting lines. It ran in four sections:

1Z30 05:12 Bristol Temple Meads to Crewe
1Z31 10:05 Crewe to Knowsley Freight Terminal
1Z32 13:50 Knowsley Freight Terminal to Tuebrook Sdgs Gbrf
1Z33 18:10 Tuebrook Sidings Gbrf to Bristol Temple Meads

From Crewe the route was Chester - Hooton (reverse) - Ellesmere Port - Ince and Elton (photo stop) -  Frodsham - Warrington Bank Quay -Wigan Wallgate - Rainford - Knowsley Freight Terminal.

The train was hauled from Bristol by DB Cargo 60 062 Sonia, with its 'Steel on Steel' decoration, seen at Chester by George Jones. The idea of the livery is to 'celebrate the important role we play in supporting the UK's metal transportation market'.

At Chester, GBRf 60 076 Dunbar was waiting to attach to the rear, to head the train after reversal at Hooton (George Jones).

60 062 heads the train through Bache station heading for Hooton (Bob Greenhalgh). Passengers from Bristol boarded the train at 05:10 and alighted at Bristol at dead on time at 23:21.

Arriving at Hooton, past the trap points and into the 'long siding' (Roly High). The title of the tour is a tribute to Graham Marsh, whose ‘magic’ has enabled Pathfinder Railtours and others to visit many industrial and commercial rail locations in the North-west, and who is soon to retire.

Posed for a picture at Ince & Elton, a station regularly seen in the 'Least Uses Stations' list. Not surprising, as it sees only two trains each way per day, and those are currently suffering from cancellations. However, like all Northern trains outside Greater Manchester, it has received a shiny new nameboards in the 'New Rail Alphabet' with its thinner lettering.

Arriving at Helsby (Stephen Dennett). The train went on to visit Knowsley Freight Depot,  sidings in Edge Hill, Liverpool Docks, the GBRf Tuebrook Sidings and more.

37 in action

A Network Rail test train on 22 March from Crewe to Bangor via a circuitous route - Chester,  Shrewsbury,  Cosford (reverse), Shrewsbury and Chester (reverse). It then then stabled overnight at Bangor  before traversing the Blaenau branch the next day. Above,  Balderton Crossing, propelling towards Wrexham (Bob Greenhalgh).

Geoff Morris captured it passing Roodee Junction ...

... and under the City Walls;  The image passing under the City Walls shows the section of wall that was closed in February to enable remedial work to be undertaken on the  section over the Up lines to preserve the wall’s structural integrity. Some of  the stones were removed and then replaced (the walls are listed) -  they can be identified by the new lighter-coloured mortar between them ...

... then crossing the Shropshire Union Canal on the final  leg to Bangor. The rake comprised   Colas-liveried 37 175 plus DVT 9708 sandwiching 5 vehicles that included former 'motorail' van 96604 as a brake force runner, the  Ultrasonic test unit 999602 and the Structure Gauging Vehicle 977985.

Passing Llandudno Junction  ...

... pausing at Llandudno  (Garry Stroud).

Passing the estate in Deganwy known to locals as 'Legoland' (Gary Thomas). The train reversed at Llandudno Junction, continuing to Bangor for overnight stabling.

The next day, 23 March, after taking in the Conwy Valley branch, it headed back to Chester, photographed at Flint by Stephen Dennett.

The train was still around the area on 25 March, seen here at Chester, returning to Derby by Chris Taylor.

From Garry Stroud's archive:  32 years ago inside Glasgow Eastfield depot, in large logo livery on 9 June 1991.  This is one of the preserved locos bought back to main line use  by Colas in 2014. When bought, it sported large logo blue applied by the preservationists.


Going and nearly gone:  a 507 units waits to return to Liverpool with Voyager 222 111 after arrival at Chester from Euston on 25 March. Both train types are due for replacement (Chris Taylor).

Tony Robinson writes:' De-forestation at Whitchurch has revealed platform 4 'all stations to Oswestry'  once more! .  Until closure in 1965 this was part of a mainline, continuing beyond Oswestry, avoiding Shrewsbury to meet the Aberystwyth line at Welshpool. A short section is now the home of the Cambrian Heritage Railways.

Some 175s are still running: 175 009 at Gobowen on 27 March ready to depart at 13:45 for Holyhead,  deputising for the loco hauled service (Martin Evans). This unit appears to have had reforbished bogies.

37 612 arrives at Helsby from the Ellesmere Port branch with a light engine move from Derby RTC to Warrington Bank Quay,  21 March (Stephen Dennett). It did  two runs through to Hooton down the Ellesmere Port branch from Helsby. It was due to do an extra one, but headed straight on to Warrington Bank Quay after the second run.

The latest 197 to begin test runs, 197 020 passes Llandudno Junction station with the 3Q72 14:05 Crewe to Holyhead test run on 22 March (Garry Stroud).

66 728 arrives at Llandudno Junction on 20 March with empty wagons to be loaded with slate waste (Garry Stroud).

66 759 prepares to back its train into the loading sidings, 27 March (Gary Thomas).

25 March at Shrewsbury station:  97 303 Dave Berry double heading with 37 405 on 6C55, the 15:50h Aberystwyth Run Round Loop to  Chirk Kronospan of 10 loaded log carriers. The empty train had travelled  down from Chirk, leaving at 02:01 that morning as 6C54. The 97 is essential for signalling purposes  and 37405 is there for the extra power needed on the line's steep
gradients. The log service is now booked to run 'as required' every Friday at the same times, bringing welcome freight traffic back to this route (Graham Breakwell).

Russell Withington writes:  'It’s been a while since I went down to photograph the NMT at Bagillt but as it was going to be light enough I went down  on 23 March, and even had the sun come out.

'I’m not sure that this was good as it shows just how shabby the two ex-East Coast power cars are looking, 43 251 with Colas branding leading and 43 290 with a Network Rail logo bringing up the rear as it returned from Holyhead to Derby Railway Technical Centre.' 

One if the Colas locos, 43 277, has recently been given a repair and repaint at the South Devon Railway: hopefull others will follow.

From Dave Sallery's archive

40 118 on an up working near Gronant, 22 July 1984.

40 001 approaches Prestatyn on 22 June 1984 with a Birmingham New Street - Llandudno day excursion.

40 104 on the Birmingham to Llandudno leaving Prestatyn, 30 August 1984.

40 155 heads a return excursion out of Prestatyn on 5 August 1984. This special ran from Stafford to Blaenau Ffestiniog via Stoke-on-Trent and was a charter for the British Railways Staff Association, it was assisted on the Conwy Valley line by 40 015.

Looking back: South Wales in 1991  part 3 - by David Pool

1991 was the year of the celebrations marking 150 years of the Great Western Railway and also of the Taff Vale Railway.  On 12 April 1991 the latter was celebrated by a special train for local dignitaries, comprising an Inspection Saloon hauled by a Class 37 diesel. The Saloon GXA 999509 was being propelled by 37 702 at Abercynon, heading for Merthyr Tydfil.

I photographed it again at Trefforest Estate, as it returned to Cardiff.  The Inspection Saloon 999509 has had an interesting life.   Built in 1960 at Swindon, it has had a Regional Railways livery, then BR blue/grey and eventually the unusual blue and yellow in 1991.  It then became an MOD Escort vehicle for nuclear traffic, and was in EWS livery when photographed at Crewe in 2003, as shown in the Notice Board of 4 April 2022.  I understand it is now in the rail Museum at Margate, in a maroon livery. 

The Tower Colliery was still active in 1991, and remained open until 2008.  Rail traffic went through Aberdare, but the route changed over the years.  At one time it went via the Vale of Neath line, going through Aberdare (High Level) station.  Another line, the Taff Vale line, ran in parallel through the valley to Aberdare (Low Level) station.  Both stations were closed in 1964 following the Beeching Report, but the rail freight continued, using the Taff Vale line until the land at the site of the Low Level station was needed for development, and connections were then made to allow freight trains to use the Vale of Neath line through the disused High level station, with connections to the remaining Taff Vale line,  

The next change was the reinstatement of passenger trains to Aberdare in 1988, using the line through the High Level station, although a new platform would be built just South of the old station.  On 12 April 1991 a train from Tower Colliery hauled by 37 796 was approaching the site of the High Level station, the photograph being taken from the new platform. There are currently plans to extend the South Wales Metro beyond Aberdare to Hirwaun along this line.

I continued my exploration of the freight lines in South Wales the following month, returning again to the Trelewis district on 9 May 1991.  The Rhymney Railway line through Nelson and Llancaiach was still busy with coal freight from Taff Merthyr and Cwmbargoed, and 37 698 was  passing the site of the closed station with MGR wagons, possibly to Taff Merthyr or Deep Navigation collieries.

My next target was the line to Cwmbargoed up the Taff Bargoed valley.  There was a nice location for photographs at Bedlinog, and soon 37 796 arrived from Aberthaw with empty MGR wagons.  I was rather concerned for the safety of the sheep on the line, but they were obviously used to the sight and sound of a Class 37.

I photographed 37 796 again when it returned loaded from Cwmbargoed, then noticed another train in the distance about to leave Taff Merthyr colliery   The line towards Trelewis had the Deep Navigation and Ocean colliery winding houses in the background, and the picture of 37 690 is one which illustrates a scene which is now just a memory. 

On the following day 10 May 1991 I went to Barry and Aberthaw.  The sidings at Aberthaw were visible, but I was unable to get the Power Station in the picture, since it was behind me on the left.  37 898 is the locomotive waiting to leave, and the through lines on the right lead eventually to Bridgend via the coast. 

Barry was the stabling point for the Class 37s, and 37 703 was heading for Aberthaw, having just passed the junction to Barry Island.  Transport for Wales has now purchased the site, which will be the main depot for its South Wales Metro fleet.  The Scheme includes the purchase of the Barry Island site and buildings used by the Barry Tourist Railway, which is to be allowed to continue its activities.

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