North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 05 February 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

05 February 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 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

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

67 029 Royal Diamond propels  the 10:52 Cardiff - Manchester out of Stockport, 24 January.

News Pictures

66 711 Sence rolls through Penyffordd station with 6V75, Dee Marsh to Margam returning steel empties. Taken at Penyffordd on 25 January.

66 775 HMS Argyll  passes Hope station with 6V75, Dee Marsh to Margam returning steel empties. on 30 January.

67 029 Royal Diamond propels 1V42, Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff Central loco-hauled service away from Crewe station on 26 January ...

...  at the head, DVT 82226 with support for the Ambulance Service.

Sunday biomass trains on 4 February. 60 095  on 6M51 12:03 Doncaster Decoy to Liverpool Biomass Terminal ...

... and 60 087 on 6E10 11:35 Liverpool Biomass Terminal to Drax running an hour late (Greg Mape).

In other news

Slate train: Paul Shannon writes to tell us that the train from Llandudno Junction to Wembley on Monday 15 January was definitely slate rather than limestone. Its final destination was Thorney Mill, reached by a trip from Wembley on Tuesday morning. The customer is Ashville Aggregated of West Drayton, A press release says:
[Ashville are] delighted to share after months of planning with Breedon Group plc and GB Railfreight we begin the importation to the London market of Plum, Blue and Grey slate that is produced in Llandudno Wales. Each train carries 1650 tonnes which directly removes the need for over 87 return 8x4 Tipper long-distance truck journeys traveling between Wales and London.  This is the first new rail flow for 2024, with others planned with staggered commencement dates throughout the year.
Longer trains:  TfW have begun to insert the promised extra coaches into the loco-worked sets. It is hoped that all the seven sets currently used will be extended by an extra standard coach by the end of March. Information from the current issue of Today's Railways, which has a detailed description of the work needed to achieve this. Not simple, it seems.

Cambrian  Corner - with Ken Robinson

On 2 February, 97 303 Dave Berry came up to Porthmadog with a tamper from Tywyn, and returned light engine to Coleham later that afternoon. The weather was terrible here, but I caught the 97 (as the 12:10 Tywyn - Porthmadog) passing Minffordd.

97 302 passes Penrhyndeudraeth on 5 February with a track machine that was delivered to Porthmadog by 97 303 on 2 February (above). 97 302 had arrived at midday to collect the said machine for delivery back to Tywyn as the 13:00 from Porthmadog.

Deltic ahoy

Geoff Morris writes: 'On 30 January Deltic D9000 Royal Scots Grey was shown on Real Time Trains as due to visit Chester on a return test run from the LSL site at Crewe. The outward leg ran nearly 30 minutes early and so I was unable to get to the station in time to see the arrival.  There was always the chance that the return leg would also run early and so, when I arrived at the station, I was relieved to hear the characteristic throb of the Deltic's engines, which indicated that it was still present, in the parcels platform adjacent to platform 1 (Geoff Morris).

'Fortunately, the loco was held almost to its booked departure time which allowed plenty of time to admire it.' (Geoff Morris). 

'On departure it was opened up once it had passed under the bridge at the east end of the station and a characteristic cloud of white fumes erupted from the loco ...

... which meant that it was no longer visible; the progress of the class 195  on the left gives an indication of how quickly the fumes filled the air! A second (afternoon) run was shown on RTT but subsequently cancelled' .

Bob Greenhalgh  captured the scene from the next bridge.

230 swap - observed by George Jones

On 1 February I rode 230 008 as the 12:13 from Wrexham Central arriving Bidston 13:15 and terminated in platform 1 the Up line to Liverpool. coincidentally 230 007 came off the depot into platform 2 to provide the afternoon services to Wrexham as is usual at present. For a few moments two 230s occupied the island platform (above).

230 008 went off to the depot to allow 507 010 to enter platform 1 as the 13:21 to Liverpool delayed by three minutes whilst the 230 accessed the sidings.

Cambrian Adventure - with Peter Dickinson

At Shrewsbury on 31 January, 158 841 and 158 828 on the 07:28 Aberystwyth to Birmingham International (reversing at Shrewsbury).  In platform 6, West Midlands 196 108  on the 09:40 to Birmingham.

158 836 and 158 327, the 08:08 from Birmingam International at Aberystwyth upon arrival at 11:20.  158 136 should have been detached at Machynlleth to proceed on the Coast line,  but there was disruption due to flooding at 'signalling problems'.

Window grime in 158 836 at Machylleth

Outside the Vale of Rheidol depot, no. 8, Llwyellyn in 'nostalgic British Railways black with a “lion over wheel” emblem on its side tanks.'

Inside the museum, Fire Queen, the ancient loco which spent many years at Penrhyn Castle in the care of the National Trust. This will be a temporary visit; it will eventually return to Parc Padarn to be displayed in it’s original shed.

158 828 and 158 821 at Telford Central station on 07:37 Crewe - Birmingham.

From Dave Sallery's archive

47 539 and 47 443 on a Southbound parcels at Whitchurch, 20 March 1992.

56 063, formerly named Bardon Hill, leaves Mostyn with a mixed freight for Arpley. The bogie bolsters had carried steel from Redcar for export to Northern Ireland and the tank wagons had carried acetic acid from Hull to the recently-closed Warwick Chemicals. 3 March 2001

60 034 with empty steel coil wagons from Dee Marsh to South Wales pass Hope (Flintshire), 14 July 1993.

37 509 with empty fuel oil tankers from Holyhead to Shell Stanlow, 22 July 1995.

Finding Crewe Bank - by Graham Breakwell

Crewe Bank  - or Shrewsbury Crewe Bank - signalbox is one of a number built by the LMS during World War 2 with a reinforced roof in case of bombing.  It was abandoned when Modular Signalling was introduced on the Shrewsbury to Crewe route and its seven mechanical signal boxes transferred control to the South Wales Control Centre in Cardiff.    It's not the most scenic of locations ...

 ... nor a suitable photographing Location!   67 025 passing away an hour on Crewe Bank on its way light engine from Crewe to Cardiff Canton.

Here is 67 020 leading 1W55, the 08:49 from Cardiff to Manchester on 30 January.

Looking Back  part 6: Seaspeed and Hovercraft - by David Pool

I regret not photographing the two month trial Hovercraft service from Moreton shore (Wirral) to Rhyl in 1962, operated by a Vickers Armstrong VA3 Hovercraft for British United Airways.  Although it had a schedule of six crossings per day, it is reported that it operated on only 19 days of the 54 planned.  There were problems with weather and sea conditions in addition to engine failures, and after storm damage at Rhyl the Hovercraft was withdrawn from service and subsequently scrapped.

My first encounter with a Hovercraft was at Lee on Solent on 8 October 1966.  I knew there was a Royal Naval Air Station there, but I was not expecting to see a Hovercraft heading for the beach.  I grabbed my Vito B camera and was very pleased with the result.  The Hovercraft was XT493, a Saunders-Roe SR.N5 belonging to the Interservice Hovercraft Trials Unit, as I later learned.

Seaspeed was jointly owned by British Rail and SNCF, and introduced its first Hovercraft into service in 1966, the same year that Hoverlloyd also introduced a Hovercraft service.  Seaspeed and Hoverlloyd merged in 1981 to form Hoverspeed, with the prime interest in the Cross Channel service.  Meanwhile Hovertravel was running a very efficient service between Southsea and the Isle of Wight, using smaller craft, and has outlived its rivals, being today the World’s oldest Hovercraft operator.

The numbering of the SR.N4 Hovercraft can be confusing.  SR.N4 001 was the prototype, the 001 being the Yard No.  The first SR.N4 Hovercraft in service were the two Seaspeed Hovercraft (001 and 004) and the two Hoverlloyd (002 and 003).  SR.N4 001, named The Princess Margaret,  was photographed at Dover on 21 June 1969, having arrived from Boulogne.

The Hoverlloyd service was between Pegwell Bay (Ramsgate) and Calais.  On a rather misty 23 June 1969 SR.N4 002 Swift was arriving at Pegwell Bay, where SR.N4 003 Sure was parked. 

A smaller version of the SR.N4 was the SR.N6, which had been designed for operation in more sheltered waters such as the Solent..  Seaspeed SR.N6 011 was photographed on 28 September 1970, passing the Woolston Floating Bridge in Southampton. 

Hovertravel also used SR.N6 Hovercraft.   SR.N6 130 was arriving at Ryde on 30 September 1970.  In peak periods these Hovercraft could operate with a 15 minute frequency of services, the crossing taking 10 minutes.

In competition with the SR.N6 at Ryde in 1970 was Seaspeed’s Hovermarine “Sidewall” Hovercraft.  These had twin side hulls with flexible skirts at bow and stern.  Conventional propellors and rudders were used, so there was no amphibious capability.  I vividly remember one trip across the Solent in one of these – it was a rather rough sea and the vessel behaved like a large rubber dinghy!  HM2 007 is arriving at Ryde Pier Head on 1 October 1970 in calmer conditions.

The SNCF ordered two Naviplane N500 Hovercraft from the French builders SEDAM.  These were intended to be the largest and fastest Hovercraft at that time.  The first was destroyed by fire during its construction, but the second, N500-02 Ingénieur Jean Bertin, entered service with Seaspeed in 1977.  Its Registration Number was BL341.931.  It suffered many reliability issues, and was taken out of service in 1983 and scrapped two years later.  Leaving Dover on 26 July 1979 it generated a lot more spray than the SR.N4s.


British Hovercraft Corporation’s second generation of Hovercraft was the AP1-88.  These had four diesel engines instead of the gas turbines, and were much cheaper to build and operate.  The methods of construction were more based on maritime rather than aviation practice.  Noise reduction was achieved by changes such as the propeller design and the use of separate engines to provide lift.  The prototype was Hovertravel’s GH 2087 Tenacity, photographed at Southsea arriving from Ryde on 7 July 1984.  Hovertravel’s last AP1-88 was retired in 2018.

Having seen my first Hovercraft at Lee on Solent, it is appropriate to end this selection with the star of the Hovercraft Museum now there, GH 2007 The Princess Anne.  This is on the register of National Historic Ships, and after a somewhat uncertain existence after retiring in 2000 it now looks to have a secure future.  Entering service in 1969 as SRN.4 004, it was “stretched” in 1978 by 55ft to accommodate 60 cars and over 400 passengers.  It holds the record of 22 minutes for the fastest Channel crossing of a car-carrying Hovercraft.  My photograph was taken on 26 July 1979 as it approached Dover. 

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