North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 30 January 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

30 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.

Saturday 24 February Chester Society for Landscape History Annual General Meeting followed by:  “The Chester to Holyhead Railway” Dr Philip Lloyd. 2 pm at  St. Columba’s Church Hall Plas Newton Lane / Newhall Road Chester CH2 1SA Admission: Members Free, Visitors £4, Student Visitors £2

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 - 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

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

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

'Deltic' D9000 Royal Scots Grey on a test run between Crewe and Chester, 30 January. Picture by Gary Thomas.

Don't miss our extra 'Heritage' issue from 26 January.

News Pictures

The Carlisle-Chirk log train is currently being worked by doubled headed 56's.  Above,  56 105 & 56 049 approach Settle Junction with 6J37 Carlisle-Chirk logs on 26 January...

... and crosses Whalley Viaduct shortly before sunset.  (Ian Pilkington).

The New Measurement Train was down the Coast on 25 January, seen above on the its to Holyhead 43 321  (ex-Cross Country) and  43 013. Picture by Gary Thomas, who notes: ' I think the last time 43 321 came down the Coast was 20 years or so ago (as 43 121 and with a proper Valenta engine!)'.

A look at 43 013 the other end as the train passes Shrewsbury Golf Course on 26 January. (Graham Breakwell). This was one of the first of the original NWT fleet, and is named for Mark Carne CBE, former head of Network Rail.  Eight HSTs locos were fitted with buffers in the 1980s to act as 'surrogate DVT' on trains worked by the then-new Class 91s before the delivery of the Driving Trailers, some of which have found their way to TfW to work with Class 67s.

Book Review - by Barrie Hughes

Corners of the Cambrian compiled by Jeffrey Grayer, an 112-page monochrome softback £14.95. It is Available online from the publishers,  Transport Treasury Publishing. (The company also run an image archiving service which may be of interest to some readers.)

This new book features over 150 images of steam on the Cambrian featuring the Cambrian Coast Express, the Mid-Wales Railway from Moat Lane Junction to Brecon and all the branch lines, including Dinas Mawddy, Kerry, Llangynog, Llanfyllin and even the narrow gauge lines. The author ventures briefly out of Wales to Whitchurch and then back to Wrexham (Central). There is an extensive chapter about 'Dukedogs' which were a feature of the system right up to closure.

Each image is accompanied by an extensive caption, many identifying both
loco and working. There is a small introduction with a hand drawn map that shows all the relevant rail routes. While most of the information provided is accurate, the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen line was not closed to flood damage ‘near Strata Florida’ as claimed but the actual location was near Llanilar.

Enthusiasts of diesel traction will be disappointed that the compiler has
chosen to include only two images of diesel traction in his work but one of
these is the rarely photoed Llanidloes cement train for the Clywedog Dam
construction of the mid 1960s.

Photos are mostly A5 format and are mostly of high quaility. Some were
produced by famous names who have bequeathed their collections to the
Transport Treasury. Most images feature locos but there are a few which show just infrastructure. It is a pity that the compiler did not include any of the Cambrian Radio Cruise which ran in the 1950s to 1961 via a circular route.

A day with a Cheshire Day Ranger - by Paul Hajdasz

I went on a Cheshire Day Ranger on 25 January). The ticket cost £18.75 with a Senior Railcard. I started my journey at Whitchurch, where I caught 1W13 TfW 05:32 Swansea to Manchester Piccadilly with 197 107. I managed to take a photo whilst it was waiting on platform 6 at Crewe (above).

Once at Manchester Piccadilly I waited for the 2G11 11:03 Northern service to Hadfield which arrived as 323 226.

Instead of just going straight back to Manchester Piccadilly I waited for half an hour to catch a following service which came in as 323 227.

Back at Manchester Piccadilly I decided to travel to Stockport on the 2G53 13:03 Cross Country service to Bristol, arriving on time with 220 026.

Whilst there I watched 6R26 10:50 from Knowsley Freight Terminal to Wilton Energy from Waste Terminal pass through with 66 129.

I then caught Northern unit 331 014 from platform 4 on the 2H27 service from Alderley Edge back to Manchester Piccadilly.

1V46 TfW Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff service was the next leg of my Day Ranger journey, which arrived at platform 9 approximately 10 minutes late, but left on time with 67 025 hauling.

I alighted at Crewe, where I made a quick dash for a return trip on the local TFW Chester service with one of the relatively new 197 units 197 010.

My final leg of the trip was to take the 17:19 2J66 TfW Crewe to Shrewsbury train where one of the old 150 units 150 256 was still in use.

From Tim Rogers Archive

Three images from 1 February 1999 taken at Holywell Junction. Loco 37 408 had a story to tell.  It had retained the 'Large loco blue' livery when transferred from Scotland, and its name 'Loch Rannoch' which had been chosen by a competion in Rail magazine.  (The winner was an enthusiast from Stockport, if we recall correctly.) Eventually, when new owners EWS took it in for a repaint, when it emerged the nameplates were missing, as seen in this picture.  A protest campaign ensued and the name was replaced.  Sadly, it was withdrawn earlier than some of its sisters, following a mishap at Rhymney in 2005.

The 14:39 Holyhead to Crewe with 156 421. The Class 156 units disappeared from the area in 2003 when the services between North Wales and Manchester and byond were transferred from Manchester and beyond were transferred from 'First North Western' to 'Wales and Borders'.

1H44 15:43 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly Class 950, 950 001
Mobile track assessment unit Eastbound at 16:40. Built in the 1980s, this unique unit still operates in 2024.

Looking back: Railway Ships part 5 - by David Pool

It may be helpful to attempt a brief summary of the Sealink history.  The ferry services of British Rail had been called Sealink, and by 1970 had developed into a consortium of European ferry operators.   The UK partner in the consortium was named Sealink UK in 1979, then was sold in 1984 to Sea Containers, becoming Sealink British Ferries.  At this stage, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company was an independent operator, but in 1985 it merged with Sealink, becoming a subsidiary of Sea Containers.  In 1991 Sealink British Ferries was sold on to Stena Line, the ships being branded Sealink Stena Line and later Stena Sealink Line.  The end of Sealink in the UK came in 1996, when the services had been rebranded as Stena Line.

The St. David was built by Harland and Wolff (Belfast) in 1980 for Sealink, and was photographed at Holyhead on 3 June 1984.  It was originally intended to use the St. David on the Fishguard to Rosslare service, but instead it was sent to Holyhead for the Dun Laoghaire sailings.  Note the bridge on the stern, which was to facilitate berthing at Holyhead. 

On 19 April 1988 the St David was photographed at West Float, Birkenhead, having the Sealink British Ferries branding.  It was subsequently based at Dover for a short period, and was sold in 1991 to Stena Lines, becoming the Stena Caledonia and used on the Stranraer to Larne service.  It had a major refit at Cammell Laird in 2009, but was sold in 2011 when Stena wanted faster ferries for their services.  Renamed Port Link, it is now in service in Indonesia. 

When photographing the Tynwald at Heysham on 27 May 1987 I had not realised that this had been the Antrim Princess, built by Hawthorn, Leslie in 1967 for the Caledonian Steam Packet Company’s services between Stranraer and Larne, and the first vessel owned by British Railways with an opening bow door.  It became a Sealink vessel in 1973, normally based at Stranraer but used on the Heysham to Douglas services in 1984.  It was chartered to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in 1985, who then bought it, renaming it Tynwald in 1986.  Sold in 1990 for services in Italy, it was finally scrapped in 2007. 

The Peveril was another vessel associated with the IOMSPCo.  Built in Norway in 1971 as Holmia for an operator in Finland, by 1973 it was a P&O ship Penda sailing between Heysham and Belfast, then Jaguar when owned by Normandy Ferries.  In 1981 it was on the Heysham to Douglas service, in competition with Manx Viking, and in 1982 it was renamed Peveril, being under a long term charter to the IOMSPCo. The photograph was taken on 14 February 1988 at West Float, Birkenhead.  Sold in 2000, it operated in the Black Sea and later in Indonesia, being scrapped in 2009.


Built in Sweden in 1980 as the Visby, in 1990 it became Felicity, one of the Sealink UK fleet in service between Fishguard and Rosslare.  Stena Line then took over Sealink UK in 1991, and on 8 April 1991, now the Stena Felicity, it was photographed  leaving Fishguard.  In 1995 it received full Stena Line colours, then in 1997 it was rebuilt in Germany, regaining the name Visby.  After a succession of owners and name changes, working mostly in the Mediterranean, it is currently the Scandinavia, sailing between Bari and Durres. 

The Stena Cambria had been built by Harland and Wolff in 1980 as the St Anselm for the Sealink Dover to Calais service.  It moved to the Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire route in 1991, and on 24 June 1995 it was arriving at Holyhead.  The Sealink branding became Stena Line at the end of 1995, and the Stena Cambria continued to operate on the Irish Sea or Cross Channel routes until 1998, when it briefly carried P&O Stena branding.  Sold in 1999, it operated in the Mediterranean under various owners, most recently as the Bari, but may now have been scrapped. 

Dover Harbour was very busy on 1 July 1995, when the Stena Challenger was arriving, with the Stena Fantasia departing.  The Stena Challenger was built in Norway in 1991 for Stena Lines, entering service on the Dover to Calais route.  In 1996 it moved to Holyhead, and was sold in 2001 to Marine Atlantic, becoming the Leif Ericson and is now in service in Canada.  The Stena Fantasia had been built in Sweden in 1980 as the Scandinavia, but then had many different owners and name changes, and after a rebuild in Germany it acquired the name of a sister ship, the Fantasia, soon changed to Stena Fantasia, until 1998, when as one of the P&O fleet it became Canterbury. New owners and names followed, and today as the Wawel it is in service between Sweden and Poland. 

Another departure at Dover on 1 July 1995 was the Cote d’Azur.  Built in 1981 at Le Havre for SNCF, it was used on services from Dover in collaboration with Sealink until 1996, when the arrangement was ended and the French owner became SeaFrance.  The vessel was renamed SeaFrance Renoir and continued on the same service until after SeaFrance’s severe financial losses it was withdrawn in 2009 and eventually scrapped in 2011. 

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