North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 08 January 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

08 January 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.

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 2 February Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by Chairman’s Choice. David Jones

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 Clwyd Railway Circle The Dockers Umbrella  The History of The Liverpool Overhead Railway. - Ken Pye FLHU

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.

Saturday 2 March Railway Touring Company The Cheshireman loco 45596 London Euston - Chester

21 March  Statesman Chester - Windsor and Eton Central. Pickups in North Wales borders.

April 2024

Thursday 4 April Pathfinder Reading - Pwllheli via Crewe

Friday 5 April  Clwyd Railway Circle Fond Memories - featuring some of my favourite times on the railway over the last 60 years. - Larry Davies 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 - Lockerbie

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

Thurday 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

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

A splendid picture by Tim Rogers of 37 415 passing Sandycroft on 8 January 2000. Those were the days ...

News pictures

97 304 waiting in the shunt neck at Sutton Bridge Junction before delivering a Colas Rail tamper to Talerddig on 4 January. Note the absence of the John Tiley nameplate (Graham Breakwell).

Another of the new Avanti class 805, 805 006, made an appearance in the last week Thursday and Friday.   There were three runs from Chester planned: two to Rhyl and back and one to Llandudno Junction. In the end the third run to Llandudno Junction stopped short at Rhyl. Here are two photos from the 4 January, with the first run returning to Chester at Talacre (above) ...

 ... followed by the second run returning to Chester at Gronant (Gary Thomas)..

Rhyl (Ivor Bufton). There will be 13 of these Hiatchi bi-modes to work London - Chester - Holyhead and London - Shrewsbury services. Presumably the daily London - Wrexham, worked by a unit detached at Chester from a London - Holyhead service, recently started after a period of bus substitution, will also continue.

At Hereford this lunchtime, 8 January a rather dirty 66 766 Gail Robertson heads 6V75 09:31 Dee Marsh to Margam waiting to follow the 08:06 Holyhead to Cardiff operated by 197 017 (John Oates).

7812 Erlestoke Manor oozing steam at Hampton Loade at the Severn Valley steam gala, 6 January 2024 (Dave Sallery). [This Cambrian stalwart was the first and only 'Manor' I saw in British Rail service.- Charlie]

News from the Forums: 197 104 suffered an underfloor 'thermal incident' at Manchester Piccadilly on 5 December, the fire promptly extinguished by the under-carriage fire-suppression bottle.  Apparently there is also an issue possibly with all 197s, connected with the bogies, and all sets have to be checked. On a brighter note, 197 115 -  the first to appear of the batch (113 - 126) with a first-class section has been noted in traffic.

Seen at Chester (1) - by Geoff Morris

On Monday 8 January I noticed on Real Time Trains an STP (Short Term Plan) from Birkenhead North TMD to Crewe TMD timed for a class 230.  These units have been notable by their absence from Chester since they were based at Birkenhead North and so I thought it worth a look, particularly as they were scheduled to run through to Crewe.

30 minutes early running from Wrexham meant that I had barely got to the Northgate Arena car park when 230 008 and 230 009 passed through but, fortunately for me, they were then held in Chester station to await their booked path to Crewe. 

This allowed me time to get to the station and take a variety of photos of them together with Voyagers 221 111 and 221107 on the 15:32 Chester - London.

 ...  and Northern 195 114 on the 15:28 to Leeds.

Seen at Chester (2) - by George Jones

Thursday 4 January I arrived at Chester 14:30 from Lime St via Runcorn to find 197 120 in the avoiding lines and noted the 'Made in Wales' bilingual message as a TfW promotional opportunity. (Depends what you mean by made as produced by CAF).

It was in January 2023 that a ceremonial launch (one of several?) was held at Llandudno Junction with the first 197, Although one entered traffic on the Conwy Valley earlier.

Also present DR73015 a Plasser & Theurer Unimat 09-4x4/4S Dynamic Tamper indicating a big job due somewhere soon?  [A dynamic tamper differs from a  conventional machine in that the conventional machine needs to stop and start as it “tamps” the ballast. This machine, however maintains constant movement. The tamping banks are in effect separate from the machine (Satellite system) itself making it more efficient and able to carry out tamping while the machine is still moving. Read more,]

Interesting too:  777 002 was out of service in platform 7a awaiting recovery by the 14:57 departure back to Merseyside; seemingly the problematical battery option to Headbolt Lane is not the only issue with these new units,A

A comment from elsewhere suggests TfW will have to issue a statement on the future of the 230s which remain unreliable on the Bidston line where the newly allocated 197s show them up for reliability ... and the disappearance of 150s will eventually mean North Wales is a 197-only zone to add to the boredom!

More Log Manoeuvres

Vic Smith captured these scenes at Welshpool on 30 January. 

Locos 97 304 and 97 303

The two locos moved to the siding.

Bach home at Coleham, 2 January (Graham Breakwell).

Shropshire Sightings - by Richard Putley

The weekend of Saturday 6 January  I had been toying with going to either the Severn Valley or the Swanage Railway, as both these lines had Galas on. But I have visited both recently. In the case of the Severn Valley, less than a fortnight ago: Wednesday 27 December to be precise. > That day I was lucky enough to see visiting ex US Army 2-8-0 2253 Omaha
running and get hauled by it (above).

It was only on the evening of Friday 5 January that I found out that there was a Statesman Charter train running from Hereford to
Appleby-in-Westmorland on Saturday 6 January. So I got up very early and drove to Craven Arms to photograph it. I arrived there in good time and was > able to see the 05:30 Swansea to Manchester Piccadilly, formed by 150 231 call just as a 67 + Mk4 sped south on the 06:27 Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff service.

The Statesman arrived about 08:45 and was hauled by 47 810 Crewe Diesel
Depot  ...

... with 47 593 Galloway Princess on the rear.

Afterwards I saw 150 264 arrive with the delayed 05:49 Swansea - Shrewsbury via the Heart of Wales service while 153 353 took the Heart of Wales line with the  08:56 Shrewsbury to Swansea service.

Later in the morning, GB Railfreight 66 779 Evening Star hauled the Dee Marsh - Margam Steel empties. This was an added bonus which rounded up the morning nicely.

Biomass at Christmas - report by Driver Jim Scott

I drove the diverted Biomass trains from Northwich to Sheffield on the December 30,31 and 1 January - it's me in Greg Mape's picture in the last issue.
While work was taking place at Mirfield the trains were diverted via the Hope Valley line, diverting off the Cheshire Lines at Northenden Junction and heading in the old Cheadle line to Hazel Grove before a run via Chinley and Sheffield to Doncaster and onward to Drax. Above, on 30 December at Northwich about to take over 60 076 with 25 wagons, 22 of which were loaded.

After working that to Doncaster I worked 66 725  back to Altrincham where I quickly jumped over to 66 714 which I worked back to Sheffield, 25 wagons but only 18 loaded due to the class 66 not being as powerful as a 60.

31 December,  back to Northwich where the rebuilt station is looking rather nice rebuilt (without a canopy) at the ticket office end following the collapse in May 2021 ...

...note the original CLC plaque being reused. 

66 714 again ... 

... . but through to Sheffield for me.

On 1 January, first sighting of the New Year - 150 226 on the 07:09 Manchester to Chester; my train took the goods line behind the platform so I didn’t manage to get a picture,

66 725 Into Sheffield again.

From Dave Sallery's archive

37 800 leads 33 028 on the Wednesday running in turn for refurbished 37s, 20 August 1986. Today, 37 800 has the contract for towing Merseyrail class 507 and 508 to the scrapyard.

37 501 approaches Rhyl on the long removed down slow line, 22 April 1986. This was the first of the refurbished Class 37s for Railfreight. 37 501 is now 37 601 and was once one of a number of 37s acquired by Eurostar to haul the, never-to-be overnight trains to the Continent.  The loco is now with Rail Operations Group.

47 777 and 47 634 pass Ffynnongroew with a test train returning to Crewe, 5 June 1995.  One of many 47s given the Rail Express Parcels treatment.  If anyone knows the normal duties for the 7 vehicles behind the loco i'd be interested to hear it. It was always a formation of 4 BGs and 3 GUVs.

47 228 passes Prestatyn with a down test train, 7 June 1985.

Looking Back: Railway Ships Part 2 - by David Pool

The first Train Ferry operated across the Firth of Forth in 1850 between Granton and Burntisland.  Since then, many countries have had Train Ferries, but today very few remain, the last Train Ferry dock in the UK  at Dover closing in 1988.  There were two types of Train Ferry, the dumb-barge and the self-propelled.  Dumb-barges were particularly favoured in the USA’s Hudson River services, an example being photographed on 9 October 1972 from a Staten Island ferry. 

Train Ferries in Europe were more likely to make sea crossings, so steam and later diesel powered ships were used.  A linkspan, a hinged bridge with rail tracks, connected the ship to the berth.  This was suitable for use when the tidal movement was not excessive, the alternative being a dock with lock gates.  In postwar years in the UK, Harwich had a Train Ferry berth, while Dover had a Train Ferry dock.  Train Ferries from Harwich went to Dunkerque and later to Zeebrugge, while those from Dover went only to Dunkerque. A typical Harwich based vessel was the Norfolk Ferry, photographed on 16 June 1975.  This had been built in 1951 by John Brown, was withdrawn in 1981 and scrapped in 1983. 

The Harwich Train Ferry berth is now a preserved site, but on 24 June 1972 a Class 08 3918 was shunting wagons off a Ferry.  Note the barrier wagons and the hoist for the linkspan.  I think this was the Essex Ferry, but I did not take the details at the time. 

 On my visit to Dover Marine on 24 September 1958 I was more interested in the steam locomotives used for the shunting of wagons on and off ferries.  A Southern Region Class 01 31430 and a Class C 31313 were on duty on that day.

The Admiralty Pier at Dover was an excellent place from which to photograph the Train Ferries.  On 2 June 1970 Shepperton Ferry was leaving for Dunkerque.  This had been built by Swan, Hunter (Newcastle) for the Southern Railway in 1935, and was withdrawn and scrapped in 1972. 

Some Train Ferries at Dover were not solely British owned.  The Twickenham Ferry was a sister ship to the Shepperton Ferry, having been built a year earlier, but was jointly owned by the Southern Railway and Angleterre-Lorraine-Alsace S.A.  Photographed on the same day as the Shepperton Ferry, the A-L-A logo on the funnels is distinctive.  It was withdrawn and scrapped in 1974. 

Photographing ships at Dover was straightforward, but I particularly wanted to photograph the famous “Night Ferry” train, which was the only train on British Railways which conveyed through coaches to Paris – the “Golden Arrow” always had a separate set of coaches for the UK and France.  The problem with photographing the “Night Ferry” at Dover was that it arrived from London in the late evening and departed for London in the early morning.  Another difficulty was that it had two possible routes, via either Sevenoaks or Chatham.  The morning train was usually via Chatham, leaving Dover around 7.20am.  On 4 March 1970 the weather forecast was good, so I got to Dover Marine by 7am and waited.  I was rewarded by seeing E5007 leaving on time in the early morning sun.  The Headcode 75 denoted the Chatham route.  Note the three SNCF mail and baggage vans and of course the Wagon-Lits coaches, then the Mk1 Restaurant coach plus a rake of Mk1 coaches in blue/grey livery.

The last Train Ferry built for the services from Dover was the Saint Germain, built in Denmark in 1951 for the SNCF.  The contrast between the Saint Germain and the ferries built in the 1930s was marked, especially in terms of reliability, but with the talk of a Channel Tunnel the prospect of ordering any more Train Ferries was bleak.  The Saint Germain came into the Sealink fleet in 1976, and was eventually scrapped in 1988.  On 27 June 1969 it had left Dunkerque at 1350, and was going astern into Dover Train Ferry dock.  The SR.N4 Hovercraft in the distance illustrates the changes taking place at that time. 

If anyone wishes to learn more about the history, evolution and technical details of Train Ferries, their operations and the handling of railway wagons and coaches, I can highly recommend the Ian Allan book published in 1968 “Train Ferries of Western Europe” by P. Ransome-Wallis.  

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