North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 31 July 2023


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

31 July 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.

September 2023

Friday 1 September
Clwyd Railway Circle A History of The Internal Railway at Shotton Steelworks and its Links with the Main Line. Glyn Jones

Wednesday 13 September    Statesman Rail The Snowdonia Statesman    High Wycombe IST Birmingham NS - Betws-y-coed/Blaenau Ffestiniog          LSL Pullman

16-17 September : Bala Model Show Ysgol Godre'r Berwyn School, Ffrydan Road, Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7RU
10.00-16.00 both days
Approximately 20 layouts, half standard gauge, half narrow (including live steam).

October 2023

Friday 6 October  Clwyd Railway Circle A Year in the Life of an International Train Spotter  - Part 2. Phil Thomas

11 October   Statesman Rail The Snowdonia Statesman    Stevenage - Nuneaton - Betws-y-coed /Blaenau Ffestiniog       LSL Pullman

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

67 025 at Flint on 11 July with 1W96 17:14 Cardiff Central to Holyhead. Picture by Tim Rogers.


With the view from the end of platform 4 at Llandudno Junction station now clear towards Queens Road bridge in the distance, after recent undergrowth clearance, 66 734 Platinum Jubilee approaches with the 4D59 slate empties from Wellingborough, Monday 24 July...

...  66 734 shows off its special livery, as it reverses the empties in Junction  yard (Garry Stroud).

4D59, 09:11 Wellingborough to Llandudno Junction passes Prestatyn,  31 July, loco 66 749 (Ivor Bufton). This is one of three locos imported from Belgium, which ran in a grey livery for a while.  It's now Christopher Hopcroft MBE.

Crossing the road in Porthmadog, 25 July, Welsh Highland Railway 143 (Greg Mape).

197 017 at  Blaenau Ffestiniog on 25 July (Greg Mape).

Part of the disused viaduct in Castlefield, Manchester has been taken over by the National Trust as a garden.  An interesting view can be obtained of trains approaching Deansgate station: the Ordsall Chord viaduct is in the background. The three-car 197 is working the Chester - Manchester Airport service on 18 July (Joanna Hulme).

Seen passing Cadnant cutting, Conwy, 150 285 was in charge of the 1W90
05:12 Cardiff to Holyhead service on 26 July (Garry Stroud).

70 810 approaching Abergele with empties for Penmaenmawr Quarry on 26 July, Note the 'Blimp' on the horizon ...

... it will rise 400ft above Rhyl, with passengers in a basket below the balloon. Originally advertised to begin operations in March 2022, it was  postponed due to a 'manufacturing issue' (Greg Mape).

Out on the Line - report by Stephen Dennett

On Thursday 27 July I travelled between Chester, Crewe and Shrewsbury, and return. Before I left Chester I photographed newbie 197 047 (above) stabled at Chester awaiting trial runs to Shrewsbury ...

... three-car 197 104 ...

... and 197 110, which took me to Crewe. This was the first time I had been on a 197. It was lightly loaded, and arrived at Crewe on time.

As it came in on Platform 12, it gave my the chance to see the Blue Pullman on manoeuvres over in the LS depot. I photographed some Class 325 mail trains, 67 025 on the Manchester Piccadilly loco hauled, a Colas Tamper arriving from Preston ...

...  and 197 002 on a test run from Shrewsbury. I had earmarked 1V40, the Manchester Piccadilly to Carmarthen service, as the most convenient train to get me to Shrewsbury.

2-car 150 241 turned up, 11 minutes late already with standing room only. I managed to squeeze in near the toilet in the front car, and was glad my journey was only 35 minutes. There were lots of tourists with luggage on board. Not TfW at its best!  We arrived at Shrewsbury 15 mins down. I learned later it had reached Carmarthen 32 mins behind time. People and luggage trying to squeeze on and off I guess.

At Shrewsbury I saw 67 017  on the Cardiff-Manchester, 22 minutes down at the time, although it did recover 11 minutes before Manchester. 

Then came 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley on another “Welsh Marches Express”...

... with 47 712 Lady Diana Spencer on the other end ...

 ...  but my personal highlight was beautifully turned out 37 405.

The 196s are now a familiar sight on the Birmingham New Street run.

I took the local 'stopper' back to Crewe, with lightly loaded 197 004 in charge. I enjoyed the journey back from Shropshire into Cheshire with train announcements in Welsh to the fore. Who knew Nantwich was Yr Heledd Wen?

I was reunited with 197 110 from Crewe back to Chester, again lightly loaded, just in time to see 70 810 waiting for the road with the Pen Stone. 197 047 was still waiting for a test run, and 197 112 turned up with the Manchester Airport to Llandudno. I’ll reserve judgement on the 197s, but dare I say it, the 175s seem a smoother ride.

I sent in a complaint form to TfW about their continuing use of 2-car 150s on long distance routes. I await a reply. What the bemused tourists thought of it I couldn’t begin  to say.

Our latest  Hitachis

Wednesday 26 July saw the first test run of the new Avanti West Coast Class 805 units on the North Wales Coast main line in the form of 5Q35 09:29 Crewe to Llandudno Junction (signal 109) formed of 805 001 and 805 003.  Seen passing Rhyl  (Gary Thomas)

Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies). Thirteen of these 5-car units have been ordered to replace Avanti's fleet of 20 5-car 221s, two of which have already been taken out of service.

Old (221 108 and 221 109)  and new (805 001 and 805 003) at Llandudno Junction,  26 July.  Picture by Garry Stroud. These are 'Bi-mode' units, fitted with diesel engines as well as overhead-wire  electric traction, very useful on trains from London to Chester / North Wales, as there is no overhead wiring beyond Crewe; also from London to Shrewsbury, and to Wrexham. Diversions, such as Glasgow to London via the Settle-Carlisle line, might be feasible.

Returning past Pensarn (Gary Thomas). The coaches are longer that those of the 221s, 26 metres as against 24 metres. They don't have the 'tilting' feature of the class 221.

Returning past Rhyl (Roly High). Basically they are the same trains as used by Great Western, TransPennine, and LNER, which have been criticised , especially regarding seating, and the 'butchers' hook' cycle storage.

Near Prestatyn (Ivor Bufton). The Newton Aycliffe factory in Durham is building these trains, using ready-made  bodyshells sent from Hitachi in Japan.

Barmouth bridge progress - pictures by Kate Jones

Three more pictures of the progress in the Barmouth viaduct rebuild.

I understand the second set of metal work to match the first will be some
weeks away yet.

Also not related to railways at all but it did land near to the old Arthog railway station! The Chinook helicopter which had to do an emergency land in the field in Arthog which made the news recently. It was still there awaiting repairs as of Sunday morning.

Porthmadog moves - by Ken Robinson

On Saturday (unusually) 29 July 2023, a light engine move saw 97303 arrive at Porthmadog from Coleham late morning, to pick up a tamper from the siding there.

Here are three sequenced shots showing the ensemble leaving the head-shunt, and then at the station, (down platform - again unusual)...

... before departing on time at 13:08 back to Coleham.

From Dave Sallery's archive :  The life and times of 37 191

D6891, Swansea High Street, May 1966. D6891 is double heading with another of the class on an afternoon Swansea - Paddington service.  Although it's not clear in this view the coaching stock is the XP64 set of Mark 2's, then newly introduced to regular traffic.  D6891 was one of a small group of 37s, D6875 to D6892, which were passed for 100 mph running from Paddington to Bristol and Swansea.  This trial only had a short life as after 1966 these services were worked by a single 47 at 90mph. 

D6891 became 37191 and was scrapped in January 2001. I only have two photos of it on the coast. Above, passing Abergele on 30-05-1998 on a Crewe to Bangor service...

and passing a less than sunny Rhyl the following day, again on a Crewe - Bangor train.

The line to Gateacre - by Tony Flusk

After reading David Pool’s excellent article on Class 40s (more please David), I can hopefully add some information to the image of 291 at Hunts Cross on a Garston FLT to Trafford Park FLT working.

The lines on the right did indeed go to/from Gateacre, but remained open as a single line from Hunts Cross East Jct after services ceased to Gateacre, to serve the NCL (National Carriers Limited) depot at Huskisson, now the site of the Wellington employment park, and the signalling control centre at Sandhills for the Merseyrail network. The line remained open to the depot until 17th June 1975, with the branch being lifted by early 1979.

There is an excellent image of one of these working at Knotty Ash (Hopefully with no subsidence to the track formation caused by the Jam Butty mines)!

Looking Back:  Class 40s and the DVLR - by David Pool

One of the now preserved Class 40s, 40 106 (originally D306) was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns in Darlington in 1960, and was photographed at Shipley on 4 May 1974.  It has the disc codes for a Class 8 freight (not fully fitted), and has come from the Leeds direction, heading towards Skipton.  The station platforms are on the lines to Bradford Forster Square, on the right.

Whenever I visited Yorks in the 1970s I would usually have a look at the Foss Islands branch, to see if there was any activity.  I was lucky on 26 September 1974 to find 40 014 in the sidings, although there were no signs that it was about to move.  The branch on the left led to the Layerthorpe station on the Derwent Valley Railway, which originally went to Cliffe Common, near Selby.  This area of York has had an interesting history, in that it was in the floodplain of the River Foss, which once contained a number of small islands.  The freight yard was the main feature in the 70s, but since then there has been massive development, and no signs of the railway remain today. 

The following year on 23 May 1975 there was some movement at Layerthorpe, where Derwent Valley Railway No.1 was in the station.  This was previously D2298, a Class 04, which has been preserved today at Quainton Road, carrying the name Lord Wenlock.

Another Class 04 diesel owned by the DVR was No.2, previously D2245.  This was at Layerthorpe on 17 May 1976, where there were a number of freight wagons but no sign of any impending movements.

The owners of the Derwent Valley Railway (which had always been an independent line) decided to enter the tourist market in 1977, in order to bring in some more revenue.  The only section of the line then in use was to Dunnington, where the Grain Driers still used rail transport. The preserved LNER Class J72 69023 Joem was acquired, together with some Mk1 coaches.  On a rather dull 24 September 1977 Joem was preparing to leave Layerthorpe. 

The sun had come out by the time the train arrived at Dunnington, but it had to be a rather close up shot of Joem in order to show the buffer stop and the station building in the background. 

Some grain wagons were in the siding at Dunnington, together with a Fowler diesel Churchill, Works No. 4100005 (1947).  This traffic ceased in 1981, resulting in the Derwent Valley Railway owners closing the line and disposing of much of the rolling stock.  The steam worked passenger trains were not resumed after the 1979 season. 

The connection to the Foss Islands branch from the main York to Scarborough line had been at Burton Lane Junction.  The branch also served the Rowntree factory, which had a passenger service from Rowntree Halt until 1988.  A footnote in the BR Passenger Timetable for 1987 showed a single departure from the Halt to Sheffield on weekdays at 16:37, and on 13 August I photographed the Class 101 unit going onto the branch. 

The line to the Halt was subsequently lifted and is now a cycle track.  There is no possibility of trains returning to Layerthorpe, but the DVLR still exists in Preservation as a short line in Murton Park, together with a collection of mostly diesels, many of which used to work on the line.  A visit is on my Bucket List!   Visitors to Murton Park should be aware that there is a £14 entry fee for adults, but this includes entry to the Living Museum and other attractions, with no additional charges for rides on the railway.

North Wales Coast home page | Archive  | Previous Notice Board