North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 25 March 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  25 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.

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

Saturday 23 March saw engineering works between Holyhead and Rhyl. Resting at Holyhead were 67 025 (The loco-hauled to Cardiff doesn't run at weekends anyway) and 197 043. A Voyager in the background.  Picture by Stuart Broome.

Avanti 805s on test

(Someone should invent a name for them?)

805 010 near Penmaenmawr, 10 March (Greg Mape)

805 008 eastbound at Dwygyfylchi, 19 March (Gary Thomas)

805 010 eastbound passing Conwy Castle, 22 March (Gary Thomas)

805 010 passing a precariously- placed signal at the end of Colwyn Bay promenade (Greg Mape).

805 010 from Mostyn footbridge (Greg Mape)


Our item about the Class 68s was somewhat in error.  The Transpennine 68s have been modified to work with the Mark 5 coaches, and if the trains pass to Chiltern as is predicted, it will be the existing Chiltern class 68 fleet which be looking for work.

The Cancellation of the Shrewsbury to London service, which is claimed losing one and a half million pounds per year, seems to be part of a plan involving the new London Euston to be run by a new open-access company created by train-builders Alstom which will run several times per day.

Class 67: Deutche Bundesbahn are offering for sale some of their Class 67 locos, not including those on hire to TfW. It will be interesting to see if any are sold - Preservation groups are unlikely to be interested  ... or are they?

News pictures

The 'Real' New Measurement Train visits again on 21 March, seen near Abergele with 43 062 leading 43 013 (Greg Mape).

A rare daylight appearance by a 67-hauled train, seen running eastbound Old Colwyn at 10:52 (Greg Mape).  This was 5Z67 10:06 empty stock from Holyhead depot to Crewe; a set of coaches had been stabled at Holyhead for some days (see last issue).

Holyhead sidings on 23 March: 175 113, 114 and another 3-car (110?) awaiting their fate (Stuart Broome).

On 24 March 37 800 Cassiopeia passes Montague Bridge, Shrewsbury with 175 010 in tow from Swansea Landore  to Central Rivers depot ...

... on the rear, 37 901, one of four 37s fitted with a Mirrlees engine in 1986, part of a project to build a modern medium-power loco to replace the 37s - which never happened  (Graham Breakwell).

A North Wales Day Ranger, 13 March - by Paul Hajdasz

I took a trip using the North Wales Day Ranger ticket on Wednesday 13th March which cost £27.70 with my senior railcard.  I had quite an eventful day as you will see in the narrative! 

I turned up at Shrewsbury railway station hoping to travel on the Cambrian line to Aberystwyth or Pwllheli, but I was told that it would be a bus service beyond Machynlleth due to flooding. So I decided to take an alternative journey to Holyhead and down to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Whilst waiting for my first train I saw 6Q97 Freightliner 66 548 from Donnington rail freight terminal to Crewe carriage sidings hauling 197 125. This was approximately 95 minutes earlier than scheduled (top picture).

My first passenger train, however, arrived about 40 minutes late at platform 3 - 1W91 07.17 service with 197  007 from Cardiff - this was due to apparently the only onboard toilet not working and having to let people off at certain stations along the route so they could use those facilities. They continued to use this train to Chester where it terminated about 35 minutes down.

Waiting at platform 7 was a Merseyrail service to Liverpool with one of the new 777s in use: 777 020.

I caught 158829 / 158836 from platform 2 on the TfW 1D12 Shrewsbury to Holyhead service ( photo 4).

I alighted at Llandudno Junction, where I transferred to the 2D15 service to Blaenau Ffestiniog with 197 011. I love the beautiful scenery along this route.

However, we only got as far Dolgarrog when the train stopped just outside the station and it was announced that it would be turning back as, again, the line ahead was flooded. We pulled into Dolgarrog station to wait about 30 minutes for a rail-replacement bus service. As I just wanted to get back to Llandudno Junction I waited a further hour before it departed at its scheduled return time.

As I was a glutton for punishment, from Llandudno Junction I took TfW 1D14 14:31 from Shrewsbury to Holyhead, this time arriving on time with 158 819.

I travelled back from Holyhead to Shrewsbury on the return service for my final leg of my trip, alighting at platform 7. It was a long, but enjoyable day.

The Glyn Valley Tramway - report by Martin Evans

On 16 March I managed to call in at the Glyn Valley Tramway in Glyn Ceiriog and took a few pictures. Above, perhaps the oldest Glyn Valley Tramway item, a 2-ton jib loading crane.

In the museum, which is in the original (and grade 2 listed) old tramway engine shed,  a Restored Ballast Wagon...

... Replica Slate Wagon

A Ruston Diesel ...

... which was originally sold by Ruston & Hornsby for work in the Netherlands.

Quoting from the Trust website: 'We are The New Glyn Valley Tramway & Industrial Heritage Trust, a charity dedicated to preserving the heritage and telling the stories of the Glyn Valley Tramway and the industries it once served in the Ceiriog Valley.' The Trust has a well-made website which give details of the history of the line and visitor information.

The site is at the original terminus of the line in the village of Glyn Ceiriog, which is around six miles from Chirk Station. There is a two-hourly bus service (Route 64) from Llangollen, calling at Chirk Station and Glan Ceiriog village.

Another, apparently uncollected, named The Glyn Valley Tramway Trust has, for some time, been working on restoration of the line at the Chirk station end.

A disappointing journey - by Joyce Whitchurch

On 16 March I travelled on the 08:30 from Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff, which is advertised as a loco-worked service with restaurant service.  Here's what happened.

What turned up at Piccadilly was a single Class 158 unit. Two carriages, no 1st Class, no restaurant, no explanation, no apology. There was at least a catering trolley with as much  tea, bara brith and Welsh cakes as anyone could manage. Surprisingly it wasn't that busy, except for the section between Cwmbran and Newport, when a few people ended up standing.

We sought advice in the Travel Centre at Cardiff Central, but the lady couldn't tell us what might be working later on, they just don't get that kind of real time information there. She was expecting "hot food" though on both the 16:49 Cardiff - Manchester and the 17:14 Cardiff - Holyhead.

We had a couple of pints in the city centre, and a ride down (up?) to Cardiff Bay and back (Class 153 on a working even more boring for the driver than a funicular), and headed back to Cardiff Central for the 16:49, which was still being advertised on Real Time Trains as "hot food":

This time we got a Class 197. Two carriages (where's all the spare stock that would normally be running between Shrewsbury and Birmingham which line was closed due to a landslip?). No 1st class, no restaurant, no explanation, no apology. And no trolley. No bara brith. No tea. No water. Only one lavatory. Three and a half hours is a long time to spend on a train without food and drink. I had brought a sandwich and a flask but used those both on the morning train.

Oh, and the Holyhead got the same Class 158 that we'd ridden on from Manchester.  Don't know if that got a trolley or not but at least it had two lavatories. Finally got home at 20:56. Managed to get a pie in the chip shop
before it shut for the night.

The New Barmouth Bridge - report by Graham Breakwell

I walked over Barmouth Bridge on 16 March having alighted at Morfa Mawddach and was so impressed with the results of all the restoration work, superb quality. Here are some images which speak for themselves.

Looking towards Barmouth.

The spans have been faithfully replicated; the rivets are fakes!

Payment of £1 to the 'Troll' is voluntary.

I returned from Barmouth to Newtown where platform 1 is out of use while the surface is replaced and all services. This is 158 832 and 158 822 on 1I:24 the 15:30 Aberystwyth and Pwllheli departing from platform 2 for Shrewsbury – all services on to Birmingham were suspended following the landslip at Oakengates with bus replacements in place.

Mold Junction 2000 - images by Tim Rogers

Four views taken on 21 March 2000 at Mold Junction. Above., 43 155  and 43 069 with 1D87 08:40 Virgin Trains Euston to Holyhead. (20 mins late) 43  155 was to be found on one of Great Western's 'Castle Class' units and named Rougemont Castle. It was withdrawn in December 2023. 43 069 was scrapped in 2022 after being a spares donor for the GWR Castles.

Perhaps surprisingly, The HST power cars, built between and 1975 and 1983, were the oldest of the four traction units here. Of the other three, the two DMUs are still working hard , but not to be seen on North Wales. 37 401 still exists in working in order, and is on sale by its owner DRS.

158 753 working 1H38 10:38 First North Western Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly. The houses on the riight were built for the staff of the ensgine shed which stood here.

150 141 First North Western 1D38 10:16 Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno.

37 401 Mary Queen of Scots on 1D67 10:07 Birmingham New Street to Holyhead.

From Dave Sallery's archive

37 131 deputising for a 47 leaving Rhyl on the 08:50 Holyhead- London service, which it hauled as far as Crewe. 17 July 1998.  In 1999, after a few more days on the Coast, 37 131 was taken out of service and stored. In 2005 it was purchased for preservation and taken to Peak Rail at Rowsley, where it was neglected and in 2007 it was moved to Barrow Hill and then to Booth's scrapyard where it was cut up.

37 407 passing Holywell Jct on an Up service, 2 March 1995.  The loco had just been named Blackpool Tower, its previous name Loch Long having been removed when it went into works for an intermediate overhaul. It worked many passenger duties, the last being a stretch in the late 1990s in East Anglia while in the DRS fleet. At the time of writing, it is for sale along with all other 37s owned by DRS.

The driver of 37 408 Loch Rannoch looks out for the ''right away from the guard at Chester, 16 August 1995.   This was the last of the 37/4 sub-class to retain the 'large loco' livery, while others were subject to a variety of schemes over the years.  By 1985 it had lost the 'scottie dog' logo applied to 37/4s when allocated to Scottish duties.

37 420 at Chester on 7 September 1995.  It carried the name The Scottish Hosteller and the triangular unveiled on 28 June 1984 by Tom Weir of the Scottish Youth Hostel Association to celebrate the 'twinning' of the YHA with British Rail.  This 'Mainline' passenger livery (not to be confused with the short-lived Freight company) was applied to most of the 37/4s,  only to be replaced on some that were transferred to the Freight Sector.

Looking back: Lakeside and Haverthwaite - by David Pool

The Furness Railway built a branch line from Plumpton Junction (near Ulverston) to serve the industries near Haverthwaite which were based on iron ore and coal deposits.  In recognition of the growth of visitors to Lake Windermere, the branch was extended to Lakeside, opening in 1869.  Eventually the profitable freight traffic declined, and the line was only open for passengers in the Summer season.  Regular passenger trains were withdrawn in 1965, and the closure of Backbarrow Iron Works saw the line close in 1967. 

At that time a newly formed Lakeside Railway Estates Company was hoping to run trains between the newly purchased Motive Power Depot at Carnforth and the Lakeside branch, using two 2-6-4T locomotives (42073 and 42085) being stored at Carnforth.  Initially BR refused to sell the branch, and the A590 road at Haverthwaite was to be rerouted across the line.  The Lake District Planning Board also objected to the proposal.  After many meetings and negotiations, objections were withdrawn and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway Company was formed in 1970, buying the line from BR.

The two locomotives from Carnforth together with some rolling stock were then moved to Haverthwaite by rail, shortly before the line was severed in 1971 by the A590, at the West end of the tunnel to Haverthwaite Station.  Passenger services resumed on 2 May 1973 to Lakeside Station, with a Halt at Newby Bridge.  On 5 May 1973 I visited Haverthwaite, where 42085 was then numbered 2085 in a Caledonian blue livery, keeping company with a Fowler Saunders diesel Fluff, built in 1937.  (above).

The train leaving Haverthwaite for Lakeside on that day was being worked by 42073, also in a non-typical livery and numbered 2073.  Preserved railways did not run BR steam locomotives in BR livery and BR numbers after the end of steam in 1968, but it is unclear whether this was a voluntary decision. 

Rachel was built by Motor Rail in 1924, and is powered by a 40hp Dorman petrol engine.  It worked at Burneside Paper Mills near Kendal, until the arrival of a Ruston diesel in 1951, when it acted as a standby locomotive.  It came to Haverthwaite in 1973, and its current status is “operational”.   It was photographed on 13 November 1979.

The Furness Railway Trust acquired its first locomotive in 1973.  Built by Hunslet in 1953 (Works No.3794) for the Longmoor Military Railway, it was then stored there.  It eventually moved to Bicester and then to Shoeburyness, but had done little work before it arrived at Haverthwaite, where it became Cumbria.  For many years it was the locomotive of choice for the trains, and has run well over 100,000 miles on the line.  My photograph at Lakeside was taken on 21 June 1981. 

The L & H Railway could always find use for a diesel electric shunter.  LMS 7120 was a locomotive of the type which became a Class 11 in BR days, the forerunner of the familiar Class 08, but was scrapped in 1969.  So what was the locomotive at Haverthwaite I photographed on 9 April 1998?  Apparently two orders for English Electric diesels to an LMS design were placed with Derby Works in 1945, being 6 for the LMS and 14 for the War Department.  The LMS diesels were 7120 to 7125 and the others were WD 70260 to 70273.  The first 10 of the latter went to the Netherlands, and 2 went elsewhere in Europe, leaving 2 in the UK at Longmoor (70271 and 70272). 

The history now gets confusing, as names and numbers kept changing.  70272 became Chittagong and then Basra, while 70721 was Bari.  It is reported that 70271 (WD 877) was involved in an accident, and scrapped in 1957, but a WD 876 (then named Bari) lasted until 1969.  Basra became WD 878, then was renumbered AD 601 before being moved to Bicester in 1968, eventually arriving at Haverthwaite in 1980 and repainted as LMS 7120.  I understand it is now AD 601 again.

Furness Railway No.20 was pictured in our issue of 13 February 2024, and is owned by the Furness Railway Trust.  It is currently at the Ribble Steam Railway, but on 24 August 1999 it was at Haverthwaite.  The reconstruction of the A590 resulted in the railway losing much of the station yard, and the photograph illustrates the congestion on the site.  Alongside No.20, ESJ 609 The Lion is a Diamond T Recovery Vehicle of the type used by the US Army, carrying the name of Hudson Engineers (Sandside). 

On my way to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway on 6 May 2018, I called in at Haverthwaite, where two locomotives were ideally placed for photographs.  Bagnall 2996 (1951) Victor was very familiar to me, having been used on the West Somerset Railway when it reopened from Minehead in 1975.  It was at first owned by the Steel Company of Wales, then moved to the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge.  After several years on other preserved railways, it came to Haverthwaite in 2009.  

The other locomotive was Repulse, Hunslet 3698 (1950).  This had been lucky to survive, since its working life had been at National Coal Board sites in the North West, finally at Whitehaven, where it was about to be scrapped in 1975 when it was purchased for preservation, arriving at Haverthwaite in 1976.  It had been fitted with a Giesl ejector, but had no vacuum brake, and there was much restoration to be done before it entered service. 

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