North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 11 December 2023


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

11 December 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 advice and 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.

January 2024

Friday 12 January. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Simon Temple on "South Asian Steam in 1982" - features India, Pakistan and Nepal.

February 2024

Friday 9 February.  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society  John Hooley. "Euston and Destinations: the Potteries
and the North West". Steam in action on passengers and freight.

March 2024

Friday 1 March (note the first Friday of the month). Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Dennis Flood. "Edge Hill Motive Power Depot". Dennis will entertain us with tales from his career on the footplate in the 1960s.

April 2014

Friday 12 April. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society David Beilby. "Transport around the World by GEC and its predecessors". A joint meeting with the Irish Railway Record Society Manchester branch.

(see  our Calendar page for meeting venues)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

Merseyrail 507 001 at New Brighton in its Heritage livery on 7 December.  Picture by Ian Henderson.

Chester Christmas Cromptons

On 9 December Pathfinder Tours,  celebrating their 50th year, ran the 'Chester Christmas Cromptons'  from Eastleigh to Chester. It suffered some delay in the northbound journey, after being reported 18 minutes late through Maindee Junction, but made up time along the Borders by omitting a stop at Hereford, to arrive Chester just three minutes late at 12:58. Graham Breakwell captured the north bound train at Belle Vue, Shrewsbury (above) with 33 207 Jim Martin leading 33 029 and the West Coast maroon set with Pullman options ...

...  and 47 826 on the back.

Cefn Mawr viaduct (Gary Thomas).

Arriving at Chester Platform 3 (George Jones). The Pathfinder headboard nicely aspected to which organisation we must all be grateful for bringing some interest to the Chester train scene, 33 207 is one of the twelve class 33s built with a narrower body for use on the Hastings line with its tight tunnels; the difference can be seen in this picture.

Shunted into the sidings the low sunlight brought out the detail on the West Coast class 33s.

The nickname 'Crompton' derives from the name of the Crompton Parkinson company that supplied the electrical equipment; the engine a Sulzer 8-cylinder diesel.  Pictures by George Jones, who notes: for some tour participants it was engaging to see the new regime of 197s and 777s with examples of the old stock represented by 175 102 and 507 018,

News pictures

The last RHTT of the season: on 7 December a cavalcade of 37 405, 97 303  and 56 051 ( 56 113 on the rear) pass Dwygyfylchi on the way to Shrewsbury. Picture by Gary Thomas.

More sulzer power: 5310 with the 'Sulzer Santa' on 9 December at Berwyn ...

... and Lapland (a.k.a Carrog). Pictures by Gary Thomas.

Meanwhile on another part of what was once the Ruabon - Barmouth line, Santa was also present at the Bala Lake Railway.  Picture by Bob Greenhalgh who writes: 'Holy War arriving at Llanuwchllyn station with Santa train. Despite heavy rain and high winds everyone, passengers, volunteers and staff had a great  time. The joy on the kiddies' faces was heartwarming. All trains were sold out!'

Borderlands news - pictures by Stephen Dennett

Despite rumours to the contrary,  the promised appearance of Class 197 units on the Wrexham - Bidston line came to pass, two 197s sharing the work with one Class 230 working each day. Above, on the first day of the new timetable, Sunday 10 December,  197 049 arrives at Buckley with 2J74,  Bidston to Wrexham Central service.  197 009 was the other unit.

The chosen class 230 for the day was 230 007, which returned the depot part way through the day, replaced by  230 008, seen at Buckley. The 197 was only 2 mins down, but the 230 had left Wrexham 15 mins late, and arrived 20 mins down at Bidston.

The weekday timetable has 19 departures from Bidston. On Monday 11 December, 197 050 and 197 009 are in action; again there is a booked  afternoon swap of 230s at lunchtime, 008 replacing 009. The 21:46 230 arrival at Wrexham Central returns empty to Birkenhead North depot, and the 197s spend the night in the bay platforms at Wrexham General, presumably returning to Chester when in need of attention.

[Stop press: Troubles in the afternoon - more details in next issue]

Loco-hauled troubles - by Graham Breakwell

Picking up on Chris Taylor’s comments in last  week’s Noticeboard on the use of old rolling stock on services to Cardiff and beyond from Manchester and North Wales here are just two more examples from this on 9 December:

150 213 working 1V39 the 10:30 from Manchester to Cardiff  (see left column)

153 327 and 153 906 on 1W92 the 09:22 from Cardiff to Llandudno Junction.

My own experience of a trip from Shrewsbury to Cardiff on 2 December was also disappointing, though not because of 150 series stock. We travelled out on the 07:49, which was first cancelled from Manchester to Crewe and the scheduled loco-hauled train was replaced with a 197. Having purchased two return First Class tickets expecting to take advantage of  a full breakfast and dinner, there wasn’t even a trolley service.

The conductor was very apologetic for the lack of first class and catering and checked the status of our planned 18:50 return loco-hauled train only to find that a 2 car class 150 was on it! He suggested we take the 16:50 instead which was lined up for the full works and printed off details on a slip for me to show the conductor as we were on advance tickets.

Sure enough,  67 015 rolled into a very crowded platform 1 leading to the conductor declassifying the First Class to standard, which itself soon became very overcrowded and uncomfortable. To compound the misery the restaurant service was not available. A single catering crew member joined at Newport for drinks only as far as Shrewsbury. The outbound reached Cardiff arrived 18 minutes late and the return was 35 minutes late at Shrewsbury. I’ve submitted Delay Repay claims and also emailed customer services seeking compensation for the lack of first class – so far I’ve been refunded £5.88!

Editor's note:  the meals in First Class are no longer complimentary,  although the prices are reasonable. At present the menu includes some Christmas items, such as 'a succulent roast turkey or our festive nut-free vegan roast.'  Read the menu here.

From Dave Sallery's archive

37 188 with a very respectable load of ballast through Abergele, 2 May 1995.

37 207 with an engineers train awaits the signal at Llandudno Jct, 11 July 1995.

37 405 Strathclyde Region (built in 1965) conveys the empty fuel oil tanks from Holyhead depot to Stanlow, 27 August 1994.   This loco has had a varied career: at the time of the picture it was based at Crewe Diesel  for the Trainload Freight West sub-sector, but by 1995 it was allocated to North Wales passenger service for a year before moving on again. Its final home, after a close shave with the scrap man was the loco-worked passenger trains in the Norwich area from 2015 until 2019,

Escaping destruction again, it was bought by Herry Needle and can now be seen double-heading (with a Class 97/3 always leading) engineering trains and log trains for Colas on the Cambrian lines.

Looking back:  Rainhill 1980 and Maude - by David Pool

Many photographs will have been taken at the “Rocket 150” celebrations at Rainhill in 1980, but most of the locomotives present were well known, having appeared on Railtours and on Preserved Railways.  One locomotive in particular caught my attention.  North British Railway 673 Maude had travelled from its base on the Bo’ness Railway in Scotland, running in steam and hauling two coaches from Kilmarnock to Manchester via the Settle and Carlisle line.  No. 673 had been built by Nielson (Glasgow) in 1891 and rebuilt with a larger boiler in 1915.  Being a sturdy locomotive and easy to maintain, it was then moved to work in France in 1917 by the Railways Operating Division.  It returned home in 1919 and acquired the name Maude, in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Sir Frederick Stanley Maude.  It became LNER Class J36 9673, then 5243 and finally in BR days 65243.  Withdrawn in 1966, it was purchased by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society and restored at Bo’ness.  Its visit to Rainhill was its first journey from Scotland in preservation, and on 24 May 1980 I was very pleased with my shot. 

The next time I saw Maude was on 20 September 1986.  I was on holiday in Scotland, and Maude was due to haul a Railtour over the Forth Bridge, so I headed for North Queensferry.  Eventually steam was visible, but Maude had apparently sat down in the middle of the bridge due to shortage of steam.  A while later there were sounds of assistance and Maude appeared with four coaches, being propelled by 47 562, which was hauling the 11:15 Edinburgh to Dundee.  Not the picture I had intended! 

Maude and the four coaches were than left at Inverkeithing, with 26 036 being summoned to the rescue and hauling the Railtour to Ladybank.  By then Maude had recovered, and 26 036 was taken off. 

It was not too difficult to chase the train, as Maude was not a sprinter, and I was able to get a nice shot between Collessie and Lindores on the main line to Perth, where Maude was working hard. 

I got more shots at Abernethy and Bridge of Earn, so it had been worthwhile after all.  Maude continued to perform well in Scotland, especially with Santa Specials on the Edinburgh suburban line.  In 1988 it underwent a heavy overhaul at Bo’ness, emerging as BR 65243.  On 30 May 1999 it was in service at Bo’ness.  The diesels visible were 27 001 and 47 643.  Maude is now on display at Bo’ness awaiting funds for a major overhaul. 

Although it was in the cavalcade at Rainhill. it seems that few photographs were taken of the Plasser 07-32 Tamper 73413, so for fans of Track Machines I am including a shot.

Another item which has generally been overlooked is the Breakdown Crane which was present at Rainhill but not listed in the cavalcade.  I photographed it behind 25 144 as it followed the other items to Bold Colliery sidings.  I am not sure of the identity of the Breakdown Crane, which had come from Springs Branch.  My understanding is that there were two Cowans Sheldon 50 ton Breakdown Cranes there at that time, RS1001/50 and RS1005/50.  RS1001/50 went to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley at the end of May 1980, while RS1005/50 went to the KWVR in 1982.  My guess would be that RS1005/50 was at Rainhill, but if anyone can confirm that it would be helpful.  The colour of the Crane might be a clue, since I think RS1001 was red, whereas this one seems to be more a maroon. 

Many of those attending the Rocket 150 celebrations might have expected to see Rocket – the replica was intended to lead the cavalcade on the day I attended (the first day of the event).  Unfortunately it derailed in Bold sidings, and the first locomotive to appear was Lion.   Even though it had been billed as the Rocket 150 event, I thought it was appropriate that a locomotive from the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was first in the line of locomotives at the event. 

I wonder how many of the hundreds of spectators had ever seen the original Rocket, which had been a Museum exhibit for many years, and too fragile to be allowed out of doors!  At the time of Rocket 150 it could be seen in Liverpool Museum, where I photographed it on 30 May 1980.  At first glance it did not look like the Rocket so familiar in illustrations, since the cylinders were nearer to horizontal than the steeply inclined cylinders of the replica, but this was the arrangement after years of service, and it would have been inappropriate to restore it to its original condition. 

Home page | Archive  | Previous Notice Board