North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 11 March 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  11 March 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.

March 2024

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

In glorious sunshine, 67 013 passes Sutton Bridge Junction Signal Box leading 1V46, the 14:30 Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff Central on 6 March. Picture by Graham Breakwell.

Britannia news

On a rather miserable misty morning 70000 Britannia arrives at Chester on a test run from Crewe (Bob Greenhalgh) ...

... and begins the turn on the triangle before returning (Geoff Morris).


The loco was  running without the covers on the right-hand cylinder as seen on this picture of the loco reversing on the triangle (Geoff Morris).  Operator LS explained on Facebook: Britannia has completed her test runs, and is now officially back in service! The first trip was done at 45mph and others at 60mph. There were no issues with the Locomotive. She ran with the covers off on one side so she could be checked, these are now being refitted.'

Penmaenmawr images 5 March - by Greg Mape

197 106 passes with the 09:25 Manchester Airport - Holyhead.  This train has begun its journey with 197 010 attached at the rear - detached at Chester.

221 101 - recognisable by its livery - passes at 12:10 on the 09:02 from London to Holyhead.

Recently arrived and on test, 197 113, the first of the batch with a first class section passes a deserted beach while running from Holyhead to Crewe.

Cheshire Day Ranger - report by Paul Hajdasz

I started my Cheshire Day Ranger on 6 March by catching the TFW 1W13 05:32 Swansea to Manchester Piccadilly service at Whitchurch, 150 240 arriving about 5 minutes late. However, by the time it had reached its destination it was on time arriving at platform 10.

I then hopped over to platform 11 where I took another 150 unit, this time Northern 150 108 on the 2B18 10:51 Northern service to Buxton. It was a nice hour-long journey through the countryside. Note the Buxton semaphore signal.

It was chock-a-block in all platforms when I arrived ! The same unit then coupled with 156 420 to form 2B29 12:46 service back to Manchester Piccadilly. [Resulting from a decision to reduce off-peak services from four to two coaches - C.H.]

Once back, I decided to wait for 1V46 TfFW service to Cardiff, which duly arrived with 67 013 hauling.

I alighted at platform 5 at Crewe , where I changed to platform 10 to take 1D59 TfW 15:21 to Chester.

An unusual sight sitting in one of the outlying tracks at Crewe was unit 321 341.

I travelled back from Chester on the same unit 197 014 from platform 1.

Whilst waiting for the final leg of my trip I saw Colas 56 094 backing onto stone wagons in readiness to move to Basford Hall on 6K39 from Longport.

I caught 2J66 17:19 back to Whitchurch departing from platform 8 with single - car unit 153 361.

Avanti to abandon Shrewsbury - report by Mark Hambly

I was surprised to read in the March issue of The Railway Magazine that Avanti trains from London will cease serving Shrewsbury (and thus also Telford) from the summer timetable change.

So it seems another of the 'minimum service requirements' enshrined in the franchising requirements at the time of privatisation is disappearing and, given how things are done these days, one must imagine that it was a decision made with the full blessing of DfT.

[The current service is 07:04 Shrewsbury - Euston and 18:16 Euston - Shrewsbury. Looking back over the last few weeks, the service is frequently cancelled beyond Wolverhampton, where the Shrewsbury portion is meant to attach / detach. Hopefully the proposed open-access operator will be allowed to fill the gap. ]

Chasing 67s - by Charlie Hulme

While on my usual Thursday trip to Manchester on 7 March I was wondering where to go for some train pictures, when the train from Hazel Grove was overtaken on the fast line by Levenshulme by the loco-hauled 08:49 Cardiff - Manchester, which has a 15-minute layover at Piccadilly.  I thought I'd have a good chance to ride the TfW train on its return at 12:30. 

I fancied a trip to Wilmslow, but I'd need a ticket, as Wilmslow is outside the Great Manchester area for which I have a concession pass. I went to the nearest  Avanti ticket machine, hoping to get a Stockport - Wilmslow return. But after several minutes of confusion I failed to find one and hopped into the train in the last minute. 

On the train, the friendly conductor happily sold me a 'TfW only'  return for £6 and all was well.  I was interested in what speed we might reach on the journey; according to my GPS device Manchester - Stockport peaked at 77mph, while after Stockport there was a momentary 90 before slowing down for the Wilmslow stop. Even so, we didn't recover the 2 two minutes late start from Manchester. Above, 67 025 propels the train away from Wilmslow platform 4. The train was formed of a five-coach set (HD03) and there did seem to be less crowding than usual.

Shortly afterwards the 12:38 Manchester - Alderley Edge appeared, formed of 331 104, one of the 4-car sets recently transferred from the Leeds area. I should have seen some freight trains here, but very few intermodals serving Manchester are running at present. I walked into the town centre for a Costa lunch, then got lost on the way back, arriving at the station at 13:50, the same time as my train back to Manchester with 67 014 on 10:52 from Cardiff...

... seen on arrival at Piccadilly on time after leaving Crewe departed 5 minutes late. Again there was a short burst of 90 mph. How do the 153s and 150s keep to the timetable when substituted, since they have a speed limit of 75 mph?

I alighted at Stockport, photographed the train passing Avanti Pendolino 390 129 City of Stoke on Trent with its cab-front addition in memory of Brett Hobson, an Duty Control Manager at Stoke who died in 2022.

To wait for another loco I walked the short distance to Stockport Library, a  'Carnegie' building which has been under threat of closure, and browse a few books before returning to the station ...

... to board the 12:49 from Cardiff which arrived on time at 16:01 with 67 013 in charge.

We arrived on time at Piccadilly despite some congestion and I crossed the bridge to 150 146 + 156 418, my standing-room 16:20  to Buxton and home. Of course there are five locos in use each day , has anyune managed to travel on all five in a day? See our Railfans page for the diagrams.


David Hughes writes: 'I can add some additional information to the 13th and 26th February editions.  Regarding the photo by Dave Sallery of 20 165 on the 17.14 to Derby in issue 13th February (reprised above), the mate to 20 165 is 20 118, I've made a note it was named Saltburn by the Sea, and they visited Llandudno on 23, 24 and 26 July 1991.

'In the 26 February picture by Dave Sallery regarding 45 146, it had failed at Llandudno on 2 September 1985. I noted 25 323 took out 45 146 only at 17.00, as far as Llandudno Junction? I don't know when the carriages left.

'As an aside, The whole class of 45/1s, which visited Llandudno on the Scarborough / York trains between 1983 and 1987. 45 147, which I never saw in Llandudno,  was written off when it was involved in the major accident at Eccles when it collided with an oil train on 4 December 1984.'

[47 147 did visit the Coast, if not Llandudno. After an overhaul at Crewe it ran on test, leading 47 423 on the 12.30 Crewe - Holyhead on January 1983.  See the derbysulzers website for a picture.]

Ian Knight writes: Regarding David Pool's article. 'David Shepherd locos worked from Birkenhead to Liss under their own power after they'd been sold by BR.'

David replies:

That's an interesting comment from Ian.  It sounds very plausible, but I've never heard it before.  I'm sure a drag would have been easy to arrange - it's the "own power" that is interesting.  I photographed 92203 on 05 March 1967 working the steam specials into Woodside - the other 9F that day was 92234, but that one wasn't preserved.  Below, an image of 92203 at Bebington.

I've found another snippet of information - 92203 apparently ran under its own steam from Crewe to Liss, having been purchased by David Shepherd.  I don't know how Evening Star was moved after withdrawal, but the other seven 9Fs preserved came from Barry.  Who was supposed to have bought the second locomotive from Birkenhead?

Incidentally,  did Ian Knight see the Specials in 1967? - As well as the two 9Fs on the Specials, 42268 dragged two more to Birkenhead on that day, which  I photographed.  The 9F on the rear was 92108, but I didn't get the number of the other one.

Ian also writes: 'As far as I'm aware 30096 spent all weekend shunting around in the docks. They didn't work any pasenger trains'.   That's most likely true for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day event pictured, but in 1963 there were two railtours in 1963 when 30094 with a three-coach train reached Eastleigh and Winchester as well as Southampton docks.

Looking Back: Class 175 - by David Pool

The Class 175 diesel multiple units were ordered for the shbort-lived North Western Trains franchise in 1997.  They were built by Alstom in Washwood Heath to their Coradia 1000 design.  In 1998 First Group bought out the other shareholders, the franchise becoming First North Western.  The Class 175 units were then delivered in the First livery of blue, white and magenta, usually described as the “Barbie” livery.  On 27 January 2000 unit 175 003 was at Chester North Junction, about to enter Chester depot.  It was not yet in passenger service.  The front number in white was not very legible, and was subsequently changed to black. 

First North Western operated services to Barrow and Windermere, in addition to those on the North Wales coast, and on 19 April 2002 a three car unit 175 106 was photographed at Bolton Trinity Street, working the 13:35 to Manchester Airport. 

In September 2003 the services in North Wales and from the Manchester area became the Wales and Borders franchise, and in December 2003 the franchise was again taken over, becoming Arriva Trains Wales.  The “Barbie” livery would eventually disappear, but meanwhile the First North Western branding was blanked out.  Unit 175 002 was at Llandudno Junction on 5 October 2004, while “Thunderbird” 57 306 Jeff Tracy was on duty in the siding. 

 The first livery introduced on the 175 units by Arriva was certainly eye catching, as vinyls became popular.  175 110 is approaching Pensarn on 8 December 2005, and it is understandable why it should be called the “Arriva Ghost” livery.  Perhaps not the easiest to keep clean, but suitably distinctive.

A few months later on 15 April 2006 I photographed 175 008 at Whitchurch with the “Ghost” livery but no Arriva branding – perhaps it was a prototype.  The train was the 09:34 Manchester to Swansea.  This and 175 110 were the only units to wear this design in traffic.

The “Barbie” livery could still be found in 2007, but now with Arriva branding.  Unit 175 116 was approaching Pensarn with the 11:44 Llandudno to Manchester on 4 April 2007. 

During the next ten to fifteen years the Arriva units were in the familiar turquoise and cream livery.  On 27 April 2007 trains between Chester and Manchester via Warrington were being diverted via Northwich.  Unit  175 102 was working the 15:05 Manchester Piccadilly to Chester and passing through Hale. 

In October 2018 Keolis Amey took over the Wales and Borders franchise, which became Transport for Wales Services.  The Arriva branding was blanked out on the turquoise and cream livery, but the Covid situation delayed any plans for introducing a new livery, and yet another change occurred in 2021 when the rail network in Wales was nationalised, becoming Transport for Wales Rail, a subsidiary of the Government owned Transport for Wales. 

Keolis Amey had commissioned a new livery for their Transport for Wales, and this has been retained after nationalisation.  Unit 175 101 is leaving Penmaenmawr on 18 March 2022 with the 11:48 from Holyhead to Birmingham New Street, in the new white and red livery with the bilingual branding: 

TRAFNID|AETH CYMRU    | Cymru a'r Goroau
TRANSPORT FOR WALES |  Wales and Borders

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