14 August 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
Charter trains, and meetings, may be subject to cancellation
or postponement. See our Calendar Page
for Club and Society details.
Friday 1 September
Clwyd Railway Circle
A Year in the Life of an International Train Spotter -
Part 2. Phil Thomas
Wednesday 13 September Statesman Rail
The Snowdonia Statesman High Wycombe IST
Birmingham NS - Betws-y-coed/Blaenau Ffestiniog
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).
Friday 6 October Clwyd Railway Circle A
History of The Internal Railway at Shotton Steelworks and
its Links with the Main Line. Glyn Jones
11 October Statesman Rail
The Snowdonia Statesman Stevenage -
Nuneaton - Betws-y-coed /Blaenau
Ffestiniog LSL Pullman
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 14:53 Cardiff - Manchester service on 12 August speeds
through Handforth with 67 022 leading. Picture by Greg
Another Round Robin - report by Gary Thomas
I did my second Ffestiniog Round Robin trip of the year on 8
August, this time anti-clockwise for the first time,
starting and ending in Llandudno Junction. Above:
Former Penrhyn Quarry Railway locomotive Blanche and
197 016 in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The latter had brought
us up the branch, though only gave us two rather than the
hoped-for six minutes to cross the tracks.
Blanche and Double Fairlie, David Lloyd George
crossing at Tanygrisiau. We passed three services on our way
to Porthmadog, all very well loaded. However, all were
running late, resulting in our arrival in Porthmadog 25
Double Fairlie Merddin Emrys takes on water at
Tan-Y-Bwlch having just arrived from Porthmadog.
158 818 waits patiently at Machynlleth for another
158 from Aberystwyth to join it for the run to Shrewsbury.
97 302 rests at an otherwise quite Coleham
Ex-Merseyrail EMU 508 127 (with 507
005 at the rear) at Shrewsbury. The EMUs had been on
their way from Birkenhead to Sims at Newport for
... but had been detached from the locomotive hauling them,
resulting in their unplanned stay at Shrewsbury for a few
days. 507 005 at the other end.
67 020 arrives on-time (!) at Shrewsbury with the
evening Cardiff Central to Holyhead "WAG" service. We could
have got two earlier services, but wanted an early dinner
and some loco haulage!
With the exception of a few minutes lost on the first train
up to Blaenau and on the Ffestiniog itself time keeping was
excellent, with all trains well presented.
As ever purchasing the ticket provided a challenge, with the
ticket office clerk in Llandudno Junction denying the
existence of the ticket despite me having exactly the same
conversation with the same person two months prior! Showing
them the relevant details from the excellent Railrover.org
and BRfares.com websites solved their amnesia.
The ticket has gone up a little from last year but still
represents outstanding value at £27.90 with railcard (and
£43.30 without railcard). It costs almost the same for a
one-way ticket on the Ffestiniog! But remember that on the
Round Robin you have to book a place for the Ffestiniog
section by phoning their booking office, 01766 516000.
For full(-ish) details go to the TfW
website, which illustrates the page with a view of
South Stack lighthouse at Holyhead, whose station is not
included in the itinerary.
In other news, 3-car 197 110 arrived empty from Chester on
the morning of Sunday, 13 August and worked the Blaenau
branch all day. This must be the first 3-car DMU on the line
since 'Daisy' ran on the line 20 years ago. I don't know
whether this was planned or not; TfW's scheduling is a
mystery to me, as veteran 150/2 Sprinters still regularly
make the trip from Holyhead to Cardiff!
Bob Greenhalgh writes: 'The Aberystwyth to Chirk logs
was a bit of a saga this week. Friday saw it run as far as
Shrewsbury. Saturday afternoon it ran from Shrewsbury to
Chester to run round and then back to Chirk. I photographed
it at Green Lane crossing, Saltney (above) and was amazed to
see 56 091 with 37 405 which usually comes
off at Shrewsbury, tucked in behind. Hoping the 37 would
lead on its run to Chirk I was sad to see the 56 leading and
the 37 on the back. Such is life!'
From Rob Phillips: ' On my way back from the
Eisteddfod on 10 August I called into the Fairbourne Railway
for a ride and was fortunate to seethe late running
2J07 (10:55 Machynlleth - Pwlheli) formed of 158 818 +
158834 leaving Morfa Mawddach and crossing Barmouth bridge -
the attached pictures are taken from the Barmouth Ferry
station. It was the first time I've seen a 4 car 158 on the
Cambrian and I'm sure the extra seats were much appreciated
by the passengers.
The pair of 158s travelled all the way from Birmingham
International; Passengers for Aberystwyth transferred to a
train that started at Machynlleth in the shape of 158
From Graham Breakwell: 37 884 Cepheus
arrived at Shrewsbury on Thursday 10 August as 0D64, the
17:50 light-engine from Newport Docks (Simsgroup), stayed
overnight and then took 507 005 and 507 127 as 5Q42, the
15:09 onwards to Crewe South Yard. Above, a view from the
Dana bridge of the train standing at the Crewe end of the
Down main line alongside the disused goods platform waiting
the all clear while a crew member takes a break on a chair
provided. Crewe Junction signal box is in the background and
the grand facade of The Buttermarket on the right.
Under impressive cloud formations, 37 884 ascending Crewe
bank on the departure from Shrewsbury, leaving its own trail
From Chris Taylor: A couple of new CAF DMU's
197 044 and 197 010 departing Shrewsbury on the 06:38
Holyhead to Cardiff Central with Severn Bridge Junction
signal box in the background. This box is the largest
mechanical signal box in the world today. Taken on 12
The 15:08 Birmingham International to Holyhead train
eases passed Severn Bridge signal box on the same day formed
of 158 820 and 158 840. 158 820 was
detached at Shrewsbury.
From Greg Mape: In the twilight days of the
507s on 11 August, 507 021 in Platform 7 at Chester.
Elsewhere in the station, Class 197s rule.
70 817 passing Abergele on 9 August hauling a
Longport to Penmaenmawr Quarry empties.
Riding the 230s - report by Dave Sallery
I had a most interesting interesting day on 7 August. I went
out with a friend to 'do' a 230 on the Wrexham - Bidston
line. We started at Hawarden and bought a return from
Shotton to Bidston, as the line is free in Wales on your bus
pass. The Train was 20-odd late, not uncommon,
with unit 230 007 (seen above at Hawarden). At
Bidston the plan was then to go to Wrexham. The Guard said
'we're going to run non stop to Wrexham to make up time'.
Exciting times as although I've been using the line since
the 60's I've never missed a booked stop, never mind all of
them! The non-stop trip with 230 007 from Bidston to
Wrexham General took just over 44 minutes.
We got to Wrexham without making up any time and the Guard
said if you want to go back to Hawarden then over the
bridge. So we were then on 230 009, which we then did
back to Bidston. At Bidston we did a Merseyrail 'bash'
over to Lime Street. We had a mooch about there, then
then back to Bidston where 230 009 took us back to
Hawarden, still about 20 minutes late.
A strange way to run a railway! Despite all that I
still think the 230 is a nice train for passengers.
Strike up the Band ... at the Talyllyn - by Mark Hambly
For those who like brass band music with their steam trains
then Abergynolwyn station on the Talyllyn Railway is the
place to be at noon on Tuesday 22 August when the National
Methodist Youth Brass Band will be giving a free
concert as part of their Cymru 23 summer tour. Abergynolwyn
is their only railway station venue although they can also
be heard at Aberystwyth Bandstand, Portmeirion, Caernarfon
Castle, Bangor Pier and Penmaenmawr Promenade during week
commencing Monday 21 August, with the full programme
available on the Band's Facebook page The National Methodist
Youth Brass Band | Facebook
I must declare an interest, in that both my daughters play
in the band (although only one will be on this summer's
tour). I also happen to know that this year's tour organiser
is a transport professional and dedicated railway
From Dave Sallery's archive
One-time Glasgow 'Blue train' 303 049 is seen
being shunted by 47 372 in Llandudno Junction yard
on November 5th 1991. The unit had been in store there
for a couple of years since being declared surplus from the
Manchester area. It was on its way to Clacton where it
was converted into a test train for Network South
East. 303 049 was renumbered to 303 999 and used by
Network South East until 1996 after which it was scrapped.
Coast regular 47 555 The Commonwealth Spirit
at Llandudno Junction, 24 October 1983. The former
D1717 and 47 126 was cut up at Wigan in April 2000.
90 130 Fretconnection at Crewe Basford Hall
yard on 21 August 1994. This loco is in SNCF livery,
there were also German and Belgian variations. Repainted in
anticipation of the opening of the Channel Tunnel and the
huge improvement that was going to make to freight on
rail. I wonder what happened to those brave
A typical line up at Newport Godfrey Road stabling point on
29 April 1989. The area is now a car park and no trace
Pathfinder Pembroke Coast Express - report by Richard
On Sunday 6 August a friend and I had decided to ride the
above train and take the Premier Dining option. Due to its
early departure time, 08:55 from Bradford on Avon, I opted
to drive to there. We arrived in plenty of time to see
several other trains:
GBRf 66 776 and 66 723 top and tailing a train of welded
rails (above) and 166 202 – still in First Great Western
Blue on the 08:52 to Bristol Temple Meads.
Our tour arrived punctually with 33 025 and 33
029 at the head, both in West Coast Railways maroon. A
punctual run ensued to Newport, where we had a 15 minute
break which enabled me to photograph the tour. The driver
also decided to set the headcode to 89. I gather this was
the old Southern Regoin headcode for Portsmouth – Cardiff
We continued via the South Wales Mainline to Whitland where
we had to wait for a service train from Pembroke Dock to
come off the single track branch, This caused a delay of ten
minutes and so arrival at Pembroke Dock was 10 minutes late.
We were only booked to stay there for 20 minutes and our
departure was also 10 minutes behind.
As there is no run round there , 47 813 had been
coupled on the rear of the train and it burst into life.
We were booked for a 90 minute break at Tenby where I
photographed 47 813 but a late arrival there cut it down to
just over an hour. Still this was enough to find a suitable
hostelry for a drink.
Departure from Tenby was on time but we then stuck behind a
late running train on the mainline. The tour went into
Swansea station and then the 33s lead for the rest of the
way. Deparute was 15 minutes late and we arrived back at
Bradford on Avon about a quarter of an hour late.
Nevertheless a very enjoyable day out, helped by good
Looking back: Crane tanks - with David Pool
Industrial steam locomotives never had the same attraction
as their British Railways counterparts, so there will have
been relatively little attention paid to the family of steam
crane locomotives, or crane tanks as they are often
called. In general they would have a lifting capacity
or around five tons, and have a jib which would slew to
reach as far as the adjacent track. Even with these
limitations, they were usefully employed in ironworks and
dockyards in the first half of the 20th century.
Fortunately several have been preserved, some able to be
steamed to demonstrate their capabilities.
One of the oldest crane tanks in preservation is Neilson
4004 (1890), which I photographed on 16 April 1972 at the
Lytham Steam Museum. The separate steam driven
mechanisms for rotating the jib and winding the hoist are
clearly shown. It had been used at the Hodbarrow mines
near Millom, in Cumbria. I found a rather deserted
site, but with the exhibits well displayed and
restored. Apparently this privately owned Museum was
not regularly open, and did not attract much
publicity. Eventually it closed – I have not found any
confirmed date - and many of the items were sold to new
owners. It has been reported that this crane tank may
still be at Lytham, but not on public display.
Andrew Barclay was another supplier of crane tanks, and AB
880 (1902) Glenfield had gone to Glenfield and
Kennedy’s Foundry nearby at Kilmarnock, where it was still
working in 1966. After it had been withdrawn, it moved to
Didcot, where the Oxford Polytechnic Transport Society
arranged for some restoration to enable it to be steamed,
although its movements were very restricted. It later
moved to Rutland, and then to Carnforth, where I saw it on 1
Glenfield then had a number of owners, going to Statfold
Barn and then to Chasewater and the Ribble Steam Railway for
storage, but by 2023 it was back at Statfold Barn and on
display outside the main entrance.
Possibly the most famous site for crane tanks was at
Pallion, near Sunderland, where Doxford Shipbuilders had
nine locomotives, four of which are now in
preservation. They had been built by Robert Stephenson
and Hawthorn, the last being delivered in 1942. All
were withdrawn by 1971. RSH 7069 (1942) Southwick
at Dinting and sister locomotive 7070 (1942) Millfield
at Bressingham were illustrated in the Notice Board of 23
February 2023. RSH 7007 (1940) Hendon was
first photographed at the Tanfield Railway on 28 July 1983,
sandwiched between rows of NCB steam locomotives.
On a return visit to Tanfield on 28 June 1990 Hendon
was now more clearly visible. A peculiarity of these
crane tanks was that the hoisting movement was achieved by
raising the jib, the hook being fixed at the end of the jib,
so there was no need for a hoist rope and a winding drum.
Another builder of crane tanks was Dübs of Polmadie,
Glasgow. In 1903 it merged with other companies to
form the North British Locomotive Company, but shortly
before the merger it built a crane tank, 4101 (1901) for the
Shelton Iron and Steel works, Stoke on Trent. Towards the
end of its working life there 4101 was converted to oil
burning, and operated until 1968. It was then
purchased for preservation, eventually arriving at the East
Somerset Railway at Cranmore in 1973, where it worked as a
shed pilot and on track construction. It was converted
back to coal firing in 1977, and continued in use until
1986, at which time the boiler needed major repairs. I
visited Cranmore on 3 October 1993, when “Dubsy” was looking
for a benefactor.
In 1999 4101 was bought by the Foxfield Railway, and
eventually was restored to steam in 2010. The Steam
Gala on 15 October 2011 gave me the opportunity to see 4101
at work, although primarily as an assisting locomotive for
the fearsome 1 in 19 gradient out of Dilhorne. The
other locomotive on the first train was Bagnall 2842
There had been a suggestion that 4101 would be demonstrating
the use of its crane during the day, but it was just
shunting a few wagons in the sidings at Dilhorne when I
The afternoon train with 4101 had it paired with Florence
No.2, another Bagnall, 3059 (1954). The pair put
on a good display for the spectators further up the bank,
where the gradient was easing to a mere 1 in 26!
Coast home page | Archive
| Previous Notice Board