North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 01 March 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  01 April 2024


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, society and tour operator details.

April 2024

Thursday 4 April Pathfinder Reading - Pwllheli via Crewe

Friday 5 April  Clwyd Railway Circle  Cancelled

Friday 5 April  Midland Pullman Plymouth to Llandudno

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.

Thursday 18 April Pathfinder Tours The Cambrian Coast Express East Midlands Parkway - Shrewsbury - Pwllheli

Thursday 18 April Midland Pullman Wolverhampton - Chester - Carlisle

Tuesday 23 April Midland Pullman Chester - Aviemore

May 2024

6 May  Statesman   Woking - Llandudno  via Bath Spa and Crewe for Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza

Thursday 16 May  Pathfinder Tours The Cambrian Coast Express Cardiff - Pwllheli

Saturday 25 May Railway Touring Company     Manchester Piccadilly  -  Llandudno and Holyhead Steam: 5596 Bahamas 

June 2024

8 June Vintage Trains     Dorridge - Blaenau Ffestiniog  Steam and 47 773  via Crewe. Diesel on Blaenau branch

21 June Northern Belle -  Crewe     Two tours - lunch and afternoon tea.  Round trip from Crewe via  pickups at Chester and Wrexham.

Saturday 22 June Midland Pullman Holyhead - Carlisle

Saturday 22 June  North West Rail and Transport Collector's Fair, Crewe Alexandra Football Club 10:00 - 3:30

Thursday 27 June Midland Pullman  Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Paignton

July 2014

Tuesday 16 July Midland Pullman  Holyhead - Paignton

27 July    Midland Pullman    Crewe -  Paignton      

August 2024

14 August    Statesman    Telford Central - Carlisle
pickups Shrewsbury, Gobowen, Chirk, Wrexham General, Chester, Frodsham, Warrington BQ

September 2024

4 September  Statesman High Wycombe -     Blaenau Ffestiniog

Thursday 5 September Pathfinder Tours The Cambrian Coast Express Bristol - Pwllheli

Friday 6 September Clwyd Railway Circle The Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen Railway in the Vale of Clwyd -  Fiona Gale

12 September   Pathfinder  Cambrian Coast Express Cardiff Central  - Pwllheli

Sunday 15 September Steam Dreams 'Welsh Dragon' steam-hauled London Paddington - Shrewsbury, then diesel through to Pwllheli.  For more on this and this and the next two entries see the Steam Dreams website.
Wednesday 18 September  Steam Dreams 'Welsh Dragon' steam hauled Bangor - Crewe, then diesel to Cardiff via the Heart of Wales line
Thursday 19 September - Steam Dreams 'Welsh Dragon'  steam hauled Cardiff to London Paddington via Gloucester and the Golden Valley line

21 September - Northern Belle    Telford - Carlisle pickups Shrewsbury,  Wrexham General, Chester.

October 2024

Friday 4 October Clwyd Railway Circle Wrexham’s Second Railway Mania -  David Parry

November 2024

Friday 1 November Clwyd Railway Circle  Chinese Steam in 2001 and 2003  - Phil Thomas

(see  our Calendar page for meeting venues)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

Seen at Rhyl on 21 March are 197 049 (1V96 12:33 Holyhead to Cardiff Central) and 43 062 John Armitt with 43 013 Mark Carne CBE (1Q30 10:54 Derby R.T.C.(Network Rail) to Derby R.T.C.(Network Rail) via Holyhead. Picture by Ivor Bufton.

News pictures

This Network Rail image shows the quantity of material needed to repair the landslip at Oakengates. Graham Breakwell writes: 'The Wolverhampton-Birmingham line re-opened on 29 February and services re-started, but stopped again soon afterwards when a train hit a shopping trolley at Telford Central!'

Thursday 28 March saw 5W78 07:43 Crewe South Yard to Swansea Landore passing Shrewsbury 87 minutes late with a 3-car 175 112 on transfer.  Hauled by a spotless 37 611 Denise and followed by a barrier vehicle, 175 112, another barrier vehicle and tailed by an equally-spotless 37 901 Mirrlees Pioneer which was ticking over (John Oates).

The movement of redundant Merseyrail trains has re-started. On 27 March 37 800 Cassiopeia and 507 020 and 507 031 with 5Q88, the 08:55  from Birkenhead North depot to Crewe South Yard.

... and 67 008 shows off its five coaches and 82 226 on the rear with 1W57, the 10:52 from Cardiff to Manchester. (Graham Breakwell).


We are sadden to hear that two of our long-time supporters have passed away recently. We offer our condolences to the friends and family of both of them.  His many contributions to the website were always very welcome.

Larry Davies, retired Police Officer and former Conwy Valley Community Rail Officer was a well-known figure among the railway fraternity in North Wales.  He often gave talks to local societies, indeed one was scheduled this month entitled ' Fond Memories - featuring some of my favourite times on the railway over the last 60 years.'

Martin Evans was for 18 years a station adopter at Ruabon station, and a director of Severn Dee Travel, operators of the Ticket Office and cafe at Gobowen station. He was also a supporter of the Llangollen Railway. His death came as a shock, as it was only a few days previously that we received his report on the Glyn Valley Tramway.

Peter Basterfield's view

With the re-opening of the Marquess of Anglesey's column , and my volunteering there, gives me the opportunity to climb the 115 steps to the top (and save £9.50!) yesterday's double Voyager comes off the bridge at 12:20 on 27 March.

66 765 seen through the old Platform 4 on 22 March having arrived after its 10 hour and 295 mile journey from Tonbridge West Yard. it would return at 02:00  Saturday  to Ashburys via a loco runround at Stalybridge. It would then return to Tonbridge later in the day!

On 21 March the Derby to Derby New Measurement train crosses the Cob at Holyhead, the day after the iconic chimney was taken down.

A double Avanti crosses the Britannia Bridge, taken from the promenade by Church Island on 7 March.

Hitachi test/ training run from the top of the castle tower on 23 March.

Hitachi test/Training run from HHD to Oxley carriage sidings from the top of the column, 23 March.

Avanti naming

The item in the last issue regarding names for Avanti trains has generated some interesting comments and information.

Roger Smith writes: Class 395, and Class 800 through 810 (not all class numbers are in use), are Hitachi AT300s. Each has been given an operator's 'eye-catching' brand name (Javelin, Azuma, Paragon, etc.) except Class 803, 805, and 807, the last two destined for Avanti. Perhaps Avanti should organise a public-naming competition to coincide with the introduction into service of its Class 805 and 807.

[GWR are one exception to the above, unless 'Intercity Express Train' is counted as a name. They prefer to name individual power cars.]

There is at least one unofficial 'in-house' name for them. When I was at Warrington Bank Quay Station preparing to photograph an approaching Class 805, one of a Pendolino crew standing beside me said to the other, and with glee, "Oh, look, it's a plastic Pendolino".  The picture, above, is 11:45 (5Q13) Lancaster to London Euston empty coaching stock test run on 6 March.

Chris Coxon has unearthed this on the Avanti website :

'Global naming agency Schwa, whose team were behind such names as Ocado, were enlisted to lead the session. Their aim was to coax out as many good ideas as possible from Avanti West Coast colleagues and participants from the wider railway industry including Hitachi, train financiers Rock Rail and consumer watchdog Transport Focus.

Sarah Copley, Executive Director Commercial at Avanti West Coast said, 'The reason behind this is because the name of our new fleet must mean more to our people, our communities, and our customers. It should stand for something bigger. A title that gives the world a glimpse of what we aim to achieve which goes beyond A to B.

'We want to inspire. A name that reflects the heritage of the routes we serve which is why we invited representatives of our network to bring a different spark and knowledge to this search. The new name is expected to be announced later this year [2022!] when the trains are expected to start the extensive programme of testing.'

Chris comments: 'Why not arrange, at de minimis cost, exempli gratia a public competition to select names for the 805 fleet, and for the 807 fleet? Perhaps Samantha Dixon, MP for the City of Chester, and a regular
customer of Avanti West Coast might like to consider holding this company to account for wantonly squandering the public purse, and for allowing it's management to be distracted from focussing on improving it's woeful punctuality and reliability.'

[They will serve ports at Liverpool and Holyhead - how about names of famous sailing ships?]

Loco miscellany - by Richard Snook

Observed outside the EMD works at Longport on 11 March was GBRf loco 69 009, converted from 56 060, in maroon livery with cast numbers and Western Consort nameplated similar to the livery applied to the Western class Diesel-Hydraulics. 56 081, alongside, also a GBRf loco, repainted in original BR Blue, as been active recently but is facing an uncertain future as it is not scheduled to Class 69 conversion.

On 14 March, 70000 Britannia and 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley set off from the LSL depot at Crewe for the East Lancashire Railway at Bury for their Gala Steam Weekend. Also in the yard was 60532 Blue Peter.

On 19 March paired 20 118 and 20 132 encountered problems on a test run from Crewe to Chester. They were declared a failure at Chester and left in the parcels bay...

... after an hour's delay, help arrived in the shape of 37 667 Flopsie - as seen at Chester - which dragged the errant 20s  ...

 ...back to the LSL depot at Crewe.

New trains query

Has anyone made use of the refreshment trolley in a Class 197 unit? I read that the trolley will stay in its cubicle with the door open and passengers can (or must?) order food and drink using an app on their smartphone? Any experience welcome.

In the meantime, the batch of 3-car 197s with a 'first class' section is to be named 'Premier' or something similar. How will this work, an add-on fare on train? can places be booked? Has anyone seen the interior layout of these trains?

A visit to Oswestry - report by George Jones

As it is two years since the Cambrian Heritage Railway opened its extension to Weston Wharf,  I thought a return visit would be appropriate to mark the start of a third year of operations. I travelled on 30 March from Wrexham on the Traws Cymru express service route T12 arriving conveniently for the 12:30 train service and bought a concession Day Rover for £7.

Unlike 2022, when steam was operating, this year a preserved Pacer unit 144 007 was awaiting departure at Oswestry where the dominate station buildings remains encased in scaffolding.

Entering the unit I found the passenger complement largely composed of family groups enjoying a ride on a train - possibly the first train ride for some toddlers. The seating in these former Yorkshire units is mostly airline style whose comfort exceeds their modern replacement.

The trip south is through the modern urban sprawl of Oswestry until beyond Gas Works bridge where a 15 mpg restriction is in force through to the terminus at Weston Wharf. here the alternative stock formation was found with RH diesel shunter 11517 named Alun Evans witha  two-coach set.

 access to the main road allowed viewing of the station area from the over bridge and the view south where the line crossed the A483 road, just a few hundred yards away but a challenge to get through to the other section of the line at Llynclys.

The second of the Pacers 144 006 was stored alongside the platform. Time to take in the buffet or visit the adjacent brewery before joining the 13:10 return trip.

Back at Oswestry time too take in the contents of the yard where a Planet shunter had been active, a Diesel-hydraulic 0-4-0  and class 73 locomotive E6036 which was stored ...

 ...  along with an anonymous 0-6-0 industrial in need of a major overhaul.   The return of steam to the line is dependent on completion of a restoration project on another of the resident steam locos.

Work is in progress on the provision of a run-round loop within station limits but reconnection back to Gobowen, as recently promised by the Government, is dependent on the dualling of the A5 which will incorporate an underpass for the railway to replace the current level crossing. Reportedly renovation of the exterior or the station building is dependent on the council finding a contractor to take on the task. Still a lot to be done to achieve the long term aims but at least the railway continues to operate within its limited travel option.

From Dave Sallery's Archive : DMU special

117 301 passing Mostyn on the Llandudno - Nottingham service, 15 August 1992.  This was one of 10 of the Pressed Steel company-built units which were 'facelifted' in 1991 and given Regional Railways livery for used from Tyseley Depot, and later transferred to Scotland.

All three cars of this unit - 51353, 59505 and 51395 -  after time in store made their way into preservation in 2004, passing through various owners and heritage railways. Trailer car 59505 is currently with the Gloucestershire and Worcestershire Railway who intend to use it to strengthen their existing 117 to 4-car. 51353 - after many adventures -  is at the Wensleydale Railway where it acts as a moveable ' Community Hub'. 51395 eventually found itself to the Dean Forest Railway where it was finally scrapped in 2012. The full story can be found on the excellent Preserved Railcars website.

A mixed DMU service passes Gronant on an up service, 22 July 1984.  The leading unit is a class 120 'Cross Country' set.  Built at Swindon from 1958-61, these units were very comfortable, although heavy. Originally they were for the Western and Scottish Regions, but in the 1960s some were transferred to the Midland Region, some to Derby depot, and others to Chester.  The Derby sets were used on the Summer Saturdays Nottingham - Llandudno service; it's possible that the train in the picture is one of these, or perhaps an excursion. The 120s did not last long in their new homes, they became increasingly reliable; all had gone by 1969.  Only one coach -  a buffet version survived into preservation. It is at the Great Central Railway, but out of use waiting possible restoration.

A 5-car 156 train led by 156 479 arrives at Prestatyn on 10 August 1991.  This rare sight seems to have arisen  in October 1990 when Neville Hill depot needed some 3-car sets  for use on the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle service, as some of the stations had platforms too short for a 4-car set, so some 3-car sets were created for use for a few months until the platforms could be lengthened. 

158 758 in Gold Star livery leaves Prestatyn on a Llandudno - Manchester Piccadilly service, 9 February 1999. Dave notes: 'I can't believe I feel nostalgic for that livery now!

Tyseley depot's 'celebrity' set T305, (117 305) in GWR chocolate and cream livery, passes the disused Connahs Quay power station on Saturday 8 September 1990, probablu again on the Nottingham service. This unit was chosen to weat the chocolate-and-cream livery as part of the GWR 150th anniversary celebrations in 1985.  The only carriage to have been preserved is 51381 which provides the passenger accommodation at the Mangapps Railway Museum in Essex.

Looking Back: Ravenglass and Eskdale Part 1 - by David Pool

My first colour slide of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway was taken on Easter Saturday 1966.  I had hoped for a steam locomotive, but the train at Eskdale Green was hauled by the “Passenger Tractor” ICL No.4, having a steam outline with a Fordson petrol engine.  The three saloon coaches on the rear have had an interesting history, being supplied in 1936 by Caffyns (coachbuilders in Eastbourne) for the opening of the Jaywick Miniature Railway in Essex. 

The Jaywick line closed in 1939, and in 1947 the coaches and a Sentinel locomotive were sold to Tommy Mann, who owned the Tower Grounds Amusement Park in New Brighton.  The New Brighton miniature railway closed in 1965, and the coaches were regauged and went to Ravenglass, where saloon coaches were a rarity.  With only eight seats per coach, they were not economic to run, and were sold in 1978 when the R&ER was by then using larger saloon coaches with twenty seats.  The three coaches went to Windmill Farm, where one is currently displayed. 

The 0-8-2 locomotive River Irt always seemed to be missing the front pony truck, but it certainly was well liked by the R&ER.  It had originally been built by Sir Arthur Heywood in 1894 as an 0-8-0T named Muriel, and worked at a munitions factory at Gretna before arriving at Ravenglass in 1917.  In 1927 it was rebuilt as an 0-8-2 tender locomotive, and was ideally suited for use on the gradients of the R&ER.  On 20 June 1971 it was photographed at Ravenglass. 

On the same day a diesel hydraulic Royal Anchor was at Ravenglass.  This had been built in 1956 by Charles Lane, who owned the Royal Anchor hotel in Liphhook.  It had worked on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, but was found to be underpowered.  It was sold to the R&ER in 1961, following the purchase of the line by the R&E Preservation Society in 1960, and was used on lighter trains until 1978, when it was sold to Carnforth Steamtown.  It was exported and is currently stored in the USA. 

One of the steam locomotives in use on 20 June 1971 was River Mite, being turned at Ravenglass and looking impressive in the Furness Railway Indian Red livery.  Supplied by Clarksons of York in 1967, it used parts from the disused steam tender of River Esk, as later mentioned.  The first River Mite had been a Kitson-Meyer articulated locomotive, with a 4-6-6-4 wheel arrangement, using parts from two other R&ER locomotives, but it had reliability problems, and was eventually withdrawn in the late 1930s. 

Unlike many R&ER locomotives, River Esk has had relatively few modifications in its lifetime.  Designed by Henry Greenly, it was built by Davey Paxman in 1923, just before the Pacifics on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.  The 2-8-2 wheel arrangement was ideal for the haulage requirements and gradients on the R&ER, while the 4-6-2 locomotives on the RH&DR were built more for speed on the flat Romney marsh.  Although the RH&DR does have two 2-8-2 locomotives, they were ordered at a time when the RH&DR was considering an extension to Sandling junction, which would have involved a 1 in 50 gradient.  In 1928 the valve gear on River Esk was changed, and it received an eight wheeled Poultney steam powered tender, which was soon removed and eventually used in the construction of the new River Mite in 1967.  On 20 June 1971 River Esk was photographed at Dalegarth. 

I was offered a cab ride back to Ravenglass on River Esk, which I gladly accepted.  The locomotive was not working hard downhill, so the steam exhaust was not much of a problem.  Unlike the locomotives on the RH&DR at that time, the boiler of River Esk did not have a superheater, and the saturated steam exhaust made it desirable to keep the lens cap on my camera when it was not in use! 

On 11 July 1978 the diesels were being used on the R&ER.  ICL No.4 had now been fitted with a Perkins diesel engine, and the steam outline chimney had been removed.  The cab certainly gave the driver more protection than did the cabs on the steam locomotives. 

The first station up the line is Muncaster Mill, where a train returning to Ravenglass was headed by R&ER No.7 Shelagh of Eskdale.  This locomotive was originally built in the 1950s, and as usual on the R&ER used some parts from an earlier locomotive, in this case Ella.  Out of use in 1969, No.7 was sent to Severn-Lamb to be rebuilt to a David Curwen design with a Ford engine and a hydrostatic transmission.  There were problems with the transmission and this was changed when a Perkins diesel was fitted in 1975. 

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