North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 22 January 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

22 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.

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 snowy Timperley scene on 16 January:  Hams Hall GBRF to Hindlow
GBRf with 66 798 Justine in charge. Picture by Greg Mape.

We've received from contributors some very interesting 'heritage' images: we'll make an extra issue of them which will hopefully appear on Saturday. Thanks as always to all our supporters - Charlie.

More from last week - pictures by Gary Thomas

67 022 passing Craven Arms with the 05:30 Holyhead - Cardiff  on 15 January...

... Shortly afterwards 37 800 passed hauling 508 114 and 508 108 to the Newport scrapyard. The very last class 508 in service,  508 104, was withdrawn from service on 16 January, and will soon be making the same journey.

On the same day, 66 734 Platinum Jubilee passed Tattenhall (with Beeston Castle in the background) with a rake of wagons for loading with (we think) limestone for Wembley,

Back at Bunbury, 37 405  hauls 56 098 and 59 049  from Chester to Colham ...

... having been 'dumped' after failing with a log train the day before.

16 January saw one of DRS's periodical trips to Valley; although the Wylfa power station is closed down, they are keeping the 'path' for possible future need. The locos are 68 003 and bi-mode 88 002, seen near Valley on the return to Crewe.

Freight selection - pictures  by Stephen Dennett

Loco change at the cement works: 66 714 Cromer Lifeboat arrives light engine at Penyffordd station with 0G66, Tuebrook Sidings to Penyffordd Cement loco change on 8 January.

66 766 Gail Richardson rolls through Buckley station with 6V75, Dee Marsh to Margam returning steel empties. Gail is a Production Assistant at GBRf. Taken at Buckley station on 10 January,  There's much more locomotive variety on the steel run these days.

The Chester - Crewe line has several bridge-based viewpoints: this is 66 734 at  Waverton on 15 January heading for the Coast.  If the line is ever electrified, all the bridges will have their walls raised, use them while you can!

Another view of the DRS trip on 16 January, with 68 003 Astute  ...

... and 88 002 Promethius  Seen from the foot crossing between Flint and Bagillt.

Scenes at Stockport 7 January -  by Stuart Broome

390 134 on 1A41 12:55 Manchester Piccadilly to Euston unusually in
platform 1 due to a Norwich service delayed in platform 2.

390 153 on 1H06, 07:53 Euston to Manchester at platform 4, 115 minutes
late  and 390 043 on 1H63 08:33 from London in platform 3,  79  minutes late at Stockport due to signalling problems near Euston.

In the siding, 69 009 on 0Zz08 Doncaster Decoy to Crewe Basford Hall.

Bubble Car at Chester

According to reports, steam loco 70000 Britannia was scheduled to make a test run around the Coton Hill circuit on22 January and so I went out to video it.  However 70000 had not been ready to run so LSL made use of the path to give an outing to their recently converted (and heavily upgraded internally) class 121 "bubble car" 55022.  

Here are a couple of video stills of the car (named Flora) passing Chester Walls. The Highland heroine Flora Macdonald and the Caledonian Railway livery suggest that it will be used on the West Highland line, where it has recently has trials.

Shrewsbury events

67 015 on test on a circuit from Crewe with a black Mk4 set and 82 230 at Shrewsbury, on 16 January reversing in platform 4 (Graham Breakwell),

Standing on the Down Main Line in Shrewsbury station on 17 January after arriving 80 minutes early:  66 714 Cromer Lifeboat, with 6M42 the 09:20 from Avonmouth Hanson Siding to Penyffordd Cement.

From Dave Sallery's archive

A rare appearance of a 3-car 158 on the coast, leaving Prestatyn on 13 July 1992.

Class 40s in Llandudno Junction yard in April 1984 with two bromine tanks, well protected from the crew with barrier wagons including a van orginally built to traffic to the continent by train ferry, Crosville VR double decker on the flyover.


37 045 and 37 225  run round their train in Llandudno on  Railfreight Coal Day, 11 August 1991,  When loco-hauled trains of all sorts ran on the Coast line. See Dave's website for more details. The object was to raise funds for a young girl suffering from cerebral palsy, and £10,000.  Imagine such a thing today!

40 150 waits  for a clear signal at Prestatyn, 7 October 1984.

Looking Back: Ships part 4 - by David Pool

The paddle steamer Caledonia was built by William Denny in 1934 for the Caledonian Steam Packet Company, and owned by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.  After wartime service it returned to Clyde cruising, eventually retiring in 1969, when it was sold for scrap.  It had a reprieve when it was purchased to be a floating restaurant on the Thames, being renamed Old Caledonia, where it was berthed at the Victoria Embankment on 3 August 1974.  It sadly suffered a major fire in 1980, after which it was scrapped, although the engines have been preserved at the Hollycombe Steam Museum. 

Did you know that the London, Midland and Scottish Railway owned the Queen Mary?  More accurately, it had been named the Queen Mary II by the time Williamson-Buchanan Steamers were acquired by the LMS as part of the Caledonian Steam Packet company.  The Queen Mary had been built by Willian Denny in 1933 for passenger services on the Clyde, but Cunard wanted their new vessel to be the Queen Mary, so the Clyde vessel became the Queen Mary II.  It remained in service until 1978, by then in the Caledonian Macbrayne fleet, having regained the name Queen Mary in 1976. 

Since 1978 there have been many owners.  Between 1987 and 2009 it was moored in London, having replaced the Old Caledonia as a floating restaurant. In 2016, following a successful fund raising campaign, it returned to the Clyde for a major refit prior to becoming a static heritage exhibit.   In 2022 the Princess Royal (the royal patron of the vessel) announced that it was to be returned to active service – this will require new engines and much other work.  The Queen Mary II was photographed at Largs on 27 May 1973.  The other vessel is the Keppel, the ferry on the Largs to Millport service.  Keppel also had a railway heritage, having been built in 1961 as Rose for the Gravesend to Tilbury ferry, then operated by the Eastern Region of BR.

Having succeeded in getting the Queen Mary renamed in 1935, Cunard did not try to get the name changed again for their new ocean liner, which became Queen Mary 2 when launched in 2004.  After a refit in 2023, the Queen Mary 2 is presently on a 124 day world cruise which started in New York on 3 January 2024.  It was photographed on a visit to the Mersey on 24 May 2015.  The ferry is the Royal Iris

Now one of the National Historic Fleet, the Paddle Steamer Waverley should need no introduction.  It was built by A & J Inglis in 1946 for the London and North Eastern Railway’s Firth of Clyde services.  It was operated by the Caledonian Steam Packet Company, later becoming Caledonian MacBrayne, and after being withdrawn in 1973 was sold to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society for a nominal sum of £1.  After much restoration work it joined the cruise ship operation “Waverley Excursions”. 

Between 2000 and 2003 it had a further extensive refit, and in 2020 it had new boilers.  In 2024 it is continuing to offer various cruises around the British coast.  My photograph was taken at Dunoon on 1 June 1973, just before it was sold by CalMac.  In the background is the oil fired Power Station being built at Inverkip, whose chimney was eventually 236m tall.  With a surge in the price of oil it was uneconomical to operate, staying largely unused except for peak demand, and was demolished by 2013. 

The Fishguard and Rosslare Railway and Harbour Co. took delivery of the St. David from Cammell Laird in 1947, and in 1948 it came under British Railways ownership.  It was converted in 1964 to a side loading car ferry, and on 30 August 1969 it was berthed at Fishguard, presumably as a reserve vessel.  I was travelling to Ireland on that day, and sailed on the Caledonian Princess, the other vessel in service being the Duke of Rothesay.  The St. David was sold to a Greek shipping line in 1971, and eventually scrapped in 1979. 

Built in France for the SNCF in 1965, the Valencay was regularly used on the Newhaven to Dieppe service.  Towards the end of the first stage of its life, on 18 May 1974 it was photographed at Newhaven, being laid up later that year.  In 1977 it was rebuilt to give more headroom for freight vehicles, enabling it to carry 20 lorries rather than the 10 previously.  In 1984 it was sold, and operated mostly in Greece until it was finally sold for scrapping in 2004.

The Meeching, also photographed in May 1974, had been built in 1960 by M K Harris at Appledore in Devon, having a novel hull design used for tugs at Hartlepool and Dover.  Newhaven had become a busy port, and the old tugs there were in need of replacement, so the British Transport Commission had ordered the Meeching.   Its regular task was to haul mud barges out to sea for a dumping operation, but it could be used to assist ferries and help any vessels in trouble in the Channel.  Apparently it was also authorised to carry out burials at sea!  It was withdrawn in 2000, but then operated for several owners until it was restored in 2012, becoming the Nore-Quest.  It has since been put on the register of National Historic Ships, but I have been unable to find any current information.

The Manx Viking had been built in Spain, delivered in 1976 as the Monte Castillo.  In 1978 it was sold to the Manx Line for the service between Heysham and Douglas, on which it performed very well.  0n 9 October 1984 at Heysham it carried Sealink branding, but with the Manx emblems on the funnels.  In 1986 it was leased to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, then in 1987 sold to a Norwegian operator, but suffered engine problems.  It was sold again as the Nindawayma for work in Canada, where after four years of reportedly unsatisfactory operation it was sent for salvage in 2007. 

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