North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 18 December 2023


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

18 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

With the new timetable on Wrexham - Bidston, I went to Penyffordd on Thursday 14 December, where the combination of a punctual 197 010 on the 11:27 ex-Wrexham Central and a slightly late 230 008 on the 11:06 ex-Bidston produced this juxtaposition of the line's new order (David Parry).

There will be an update on 24 December, which will include outstanding items  from this one. - Charlie

Cambrian News

The Cambrian Coast  line is back in action following the completion of the work  on the Barmouth viaduct.

News Pictures

805 002 working 5Q49, the Holyhead to Oxley test run on 13 December passes Llanfairfechan (Gary Thomas).

Picture by Stephen Dennett, who writes: 'Looking pretty sleek. Can’t wait for them to replace the Voyagers'.  805 002 passes Bagillt footbridge.

37 800 dragging two ex-Merseyrail EMUs 508 120 and 508 131 from Birkenhead to Simms in Newport through Craven Arms, 18 December (Gary Thomas).

57 313 Scarborough Castle on the rear of 1Z78, Liverpool Lime Street to Holyhead 'Northern Belle Christmas Lunch' as it passes through Flint station on 14 December, another miserable day.  Stephen Dennett was almost 'bombed' by 197 043 approaching with 1H88 Llandudno Junction to Manchester Airport!

Stephen jumped on the TfW train to Chester, and saw the first numbered of the 777s leaving the station.

On 18 December the Midland Pullman empty stock working to Holyhead in preparation for its trip to Edinburgh the next day (Gary Thomas).

D200 returning on 17 December empty Locomotive Services stock to Crewe from East Usk Junction having worked an unadvertised excursion from Gloucester to Canterbury the day before. Seen here approaching Sutton Bridge Junction with the line to Machynlleth and the Cambrian coast veering away to the right. The houses on the left were built on a extensive goods sidings yard and now offer ideal views for train enthusiasts!  (Graham Breakwell).

A Busy Week - by Ell Jones

On 15 December, I witnessed the lovely sight of a pair of class 97s on
the Aberystwyth Logs at Shrewsbury, top-and-tail 97 303 & 97 302.  97 302 had failed the previous day, and was attached to the train to retrieve it from Welshpool. From what I gathered from a member of staff on the platform is a flow due to cease in the near future due to the environmental issues, which will be a shame. [It is alleged that they will disturb rare geese in the Ynys-Hir reserve, but this is not confirmed as far as we know.] 

A few days earlier I captured this photo of the Pathfinder Railtours 'Chester Cromptons' railtour preparing for departure at Chester, with the masses of enthusiasts in attendance!

Finally, on the 13 December  I went on a day out to Rhosneigr, purely to explore what's there. (not much!) While I was there I did capture photos of the older - and the soon to be replaced - traction.  While watching the Sprinters fly past I often wonder how many miles these 150s and 158s have done, with British Rail, First North Western, Arriva Trains Wales and TfW as although they are getting on for 40 years old, they are still performing admirably, and the British railway network has certainly gained its money's worth out of them.

Avanti's 'Voyagers' are also soon to be replaced, although much newer, being built in 2000; they are likely to find work elsewhere.

Peter Basterfield's view

More views of this years last run, on 7 December,  of the Rail Head Treatment Train with it's unique 4 locos! A close up of the leaders crossing the Cob towards Holy Island, and Holyhead.

The full train in view,

The change ends , and run round to get 37 405 back on the front.

The departure from Holyhead.

14 December's  'Northern Belle' Pullman diner (£395 per passenger) from Liverpool to Holyhead and back via Crewe, leaves Bangor with 57 313 Scarborough Castle on the rear....

... and 57 601 Windsor Castle on the rear. Everybody does head on shots - So for a change! This loco was the prototype for a series of locos transformed from Class 57s by the Porterbrook leasing company, the Sulzer engine being replaced by an EMD US-designed version.

Heart of Wales Circuit - report by Paul Hajdasz

On 13 December I bought a Heart of Wales circular day ranger, costing £28.35 with a Senior Railcard, starting at Church Stretton. I had planned to catch the Manchester Piccadilly - Cardiff 1V33 service due at Church Stretton at 08:01, but this was delayed by about 60 minutes by the time it had reached Crewe (apparently due to trespassers on the line). However, I was fortunate that the Holyhead - Cardiff 1V91 service made an unscheduled, although delayed, stop at my station, hauled by 67 008.

Instead of going to its end destination, I decided to alight at Newport - by which time we were approximately 30 minutes late (above).

I then waited for the original Manchester Piccadilly service to take me to Cardiff Central, which eventually arrived on 67 022 about 70 minutes down.

I had about a hour to kill until the next leg of my circular route, so I took the opportunity to take a few photos of other trains travelling through Cardiff. The relatively old guard was represented by 150 256 on the 2A24 service from Bridgend - Aberdare...

...  whilst the new boys in town were class 231s. 231 008 was on the 2H11 Penarth-Ystrad Mynach service.

 I also saw a few freights, one of which was 66 565 on the 4B49 Barry Docks - Wentloog freight terminal service.

My next part of the journey was catching the 1B37 service to Carmarthen with 197 051 which arrived on time! I got off this at Swansea terminus.

The final stretch was the four-hour long ride back to Church Stretton on the 2M10 service. It arrived on platform 4 at Swansea.

We reversed at Llanelli, and called at many small stations along the line including several request stops. I enjoyed the beautiful Welsh countryside along the way. 

I reached my final destination, Church Stretton,  only about 10 minutes late, by which time it was a dark early evening.

For details on this offer, see the TfW website.  A two-day version is also available.

A Borderlands trip - by George Jones.

After a disappointment with the 230 operation on Monday 11 DacemberI decided to sample the earlier 197 service on 12 December and here's what happened. I joined the 13:43 from Wrexham Central with 197 009 arriving and departing on time.

with a selection of seats available, I chose the table with 4 seats option, although not all the sets line up with the window. The train made steady progress without all the fuss and noise of a 150; we passed the 230 009 near Hope and the other 197 near Dee Marsh.

Bidston was right time 14:44 for a 6 minute stopover when I swapped sides.

Outward the audio visual information display was stuck in; -  the next station is Wrexham General - and passengers had to endure the repetition of the bilingual listing of all stations at each stop; an interesting exercise in pronunciation of Welsh placenames. At Bidston I spoke to the driver and we had the correct individual station announcements on the way back.

Back in Wrexham Central for 15:50 and ready for a 15:58 departure this train was busier and no doubt a relief for those homeward bound, The 197 seems eminently suited to the Borderlands, cost for a Shotton to Bidston return with senior railcard £2.90. other bit on my bus pass.

A further check on 14 December found the 14:25 arrival by the 230 was announced as 5 mins late but in fact 230 009 made it only 3 late for a quick turn round as the 14:28 departure back to Bidston. Note the perilous state of Bradley Road bridge in the background and its age old supplementary support.

Borderlands New Timetable - By Alastair Graham

[Correction and report following our earlier timetable notes]

The Mondays to Saturdays service has 19 return trips, previously there were 14. Sundays remain the same with 10. 230 007 worked the first service from Wrexham on the first day (Sunday) which previously has been worked by the 150 as that is 8 returns. 197 049 working the 09:46 and following, making 3 trips. 230 008 replaced 007 at 15:00 at Bidston.

197 050 working 2J60 1021 Bidston to Wrexham central stopping at Hawarden Bridge.

Monday was 197 009, 197 050 and 230 009 on the 3rd diagram. The 197s seemed to be more or less on time but 230 009 was about 8 late on its 2nd trip. It was swopped for 008 which reached Wrexham central 23 minutes late at 14: 46. It ran non stop from Wrexham General to Bidston by which time it was only 3 late!

230 009 at Hawarden Bridge working 2F60 09:59 Wrexham central to Bidston.

So I guess we have seen some improvement so far and not so long to wait if you experience a cancellation. As the times are no longer a simple  'clock face' all stations have a large timetable poster with all the departures from that station.

The Hawarden Bridge poster (see left column)  includes the information that all services now stop here in request

Wagons from Clitheroe - by Driver Jim Scott

Shunting the wagons round the yard to get them in position for maintenance.

Waiting to depart.

I jumped off at Shotton and another driver then took the loco off to Dee Marsh to change ends before working it to Bescot ....

... where it was used over the weekend on a ballast job to the HS2 site in Aylesbury.

Same loco the next day in Aylesbury after I’d worked it from Bescot to Oxford for the wagons, it’s amazing the mileage and routes these locos (and myself) manage to do in a weeks work!

From Dave Sallery's  Archive

47 186 on engineering duties at Rhyl, 1 September 1986.

47 200 and 47 358 await their next duty at Llandudno Junction, 8 March 1993.

47 206 carries out a spot of shunting at Llandudno Junction, 29 October 1990.

47 343 in battleship grey with a trainload of ballast from Penmaenmawr, 10 September 1990. The later appearance of the broad yellow stripe, the so called Dutch livery, added immeasurably to the attractiveness of the Civil Engineers locos.

Looking back: Rocket Celebrations 1980 - by David Pool

Built by the Southern Railway at Eastleigh in 1934, Schools Class 925 Cheltenham is owned by the National Railway Museum.  It was withdrawn in 1962, then spent many years in store at Fratton and Preston Park, eventually moving to Tyseley in 1970 and then to Dinting.  It was steamed for the first time in preservation at the Rocket 150 event.  After the parade on 24 May 1980 I was able to get a clear shot as it returned to Bold sidings. 

One of the participants of the original trials at Rainhill was Novelty, entered by John Ericsson and John Braithwaite, the builders of horse drawn fire engines.  The vertical boiler was similar to that used on the fire engines, and the drive from the two vertical cylinders was through cranks to the axle under the boiler.  Water was carried in a tank below the footplate, and no separate tender was used.  Parts of the original Novelty still exist in a Manchester museum, but the Novelty at Rocket 150 was a replica built at the Bowes railway for the celebrations.  For reasons which are not clear, the wheels on the replica were very thin, and it would have had a high risk of derailing on the main line at Rainhill, so it was decided to put Novelty in a well wagon, with the driven axle jacked up and the wheels able to rotate.  Although it was shown to be capable of a high speed, the reliability of the original Novelty was its weakness.  It worked for a few years in the 1830s on the St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway.  Several locomotives have since carried the name Novelty, the most recent being the AL6 Electric 86 235.

Another locomotive in steam after many years in retirement was the Midland Railway’s “Spinner” 673.  This had been designed by Johnson and built in 1897.  It was withdrawn in 1928 and listed for the National Collection.  It is currently stored at York.  Returning to Bold sidings, it was coupled to the Lancashire and Yorkshire No. 752.  This had been built by Beyer Peacock in 1881 as a tender locomotive, but rebuilt at Horwich as a saddle tank in 1896.  It eventually became LMS No.11456, and in 1937 it was sold and used on various industrial lines in Lancashire..  It is currently based at the East Lancashire Railway, carrying the number 51456, which would have been the number had it been a BR locomotive.

Built in Gorton in 1951, the Class EM1 Electric 26020 was chosen to appear at the Festival of Britain in that year, before starting work on the Woodhead line.  It headed the first train at the opening of the newest Woodhead tunnel in 1953, and is the only surviving EM1.  Now one of the exhibits at the National Railway Museum in York, on 30 May 1980 it was on display in Bold sidings. 

Yet another replica at Rocket 150 was Sans Pareil.  The original had been built by Timothy Hackworth, and was considerably heavier than Novelty, having a horizontal boiler, two vertical cylinders and a separate tender for coal and water.  At the Rainhill Trials of 1829 if suffered a cracked cylinder and was withdrawn, but it had been inferior to the Rocket in respect of coal consumption and its basic design.  After a few years in use as a locomotive, and later as a stationary boiler, in 1864 it became a Museum exhibit, and resides today at Shildon.  The replica was built for Rocket 150, and ran successfully in the parade, being also photographed in Bold sidings. 

A number of Steam Specials between Liverpool and Manchester were run after the Rocket 150 event.  On 3 August 1980 LMS Jubilee Class 5690 Leander was accelerating away from Rainhill station with a train for Manchester Victoria. 

The highlight and last of the Steam Specials was on 14 September 1980, when 46229 Duchess of Hamilton was rostered for the “Anniversary Special”.    It was photographed at Eccles, where it had set down some invited guests for an historical journey. 

The fortunate guests, many wearing attire of the 1830s, were treated to a ride behind Lion to the Liverpool Road Museum.  It may not have been luxurious in the open wagons, but they were treated to a brass band, complete with a Tuba.  The car in the shot contains the British Transport Police, ensuring the absence of trespassers!

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