North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 08 March 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  08 April 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

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

15 May Statesman  Chesterfield to Blaenau Ffestiniog and return.

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

Two eras meet at Chester, 5 April: 47 810 (D1924) built 1966 and 67 012 built 2000. Picture by Ell Jones.

Some contributions have been saved until next time. Thanks as always to everyone who's supporting the site .- Charlie

News pictures

66 544 with 6Y97 09:50 train of rail-carriers ftom Holyhead to Crewe passes Llanfairfechan, Sunday 7 April

Passing Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud).

Old Colwyn (Greg Mape).

37 800 and 37 884 (along with a single Mark 2 barrier) made a trip from Derby to Holyhead to pick up a 175 on 8 April, seen at Holyhead (Greg Mape)

In the end they weren't able to move the 175, so they headed back home empty handed about 4 hours late! Seen at Dwygyfylchi (Gary Thomas),

60021 Penyghent with 6E09 07:20 Liverpool - Drax biomass passing Metrolink 3016 Manchester-bound on 6 April on the twin single lines through Navigation Road station (Greg Mape).

56 078 waiting in tne loop at Sutton Bridge Junction on 4 April with the Baglan Bay - Chirk log train on 4 April (Graham Breakwell).

Cambrian Coast Express

This week'  big attraction is the Pathfinder Tours excursion to from Reading (06:20) to Pwllheli (14:31)  returning at 16:23 for arrival at Reading at 00:53. Traction on the Cambrian section was provided by 97 304 and 97 302 Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways / Rheilffyrdd Ffestiniog ac Eryri; the Reading - Shrewsbury section was headed by 67 005 Queen's Messenger.  A selection of pictures follows.

At Coleham Depot, the two locos set out for Shrewsbury station (Graham Breakwell)

Shortly afterwards, having collected the coaches, climbing away from Sutton Bridge Junction though Belle Vue (Graham Breakwell).

Passengers heading for the TfW 10:29 from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth would be disappointed to find their train replaced by a bus, adding over an hour to the journey.  A conductor informed Graham that Pathfinder paid for the bus service in order to create a path for the CCE. Later, to clear the path for the returning CCE, the 20:32 Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth also ran as a bus.

Welshpool (John Wilkinson).

Picnic Island, Penhelig (Gary Thomas).

Passing Morfa Mawddach ...

... and heading for Barmouth bridge (Kate Jones).

Llandanwg (Ken Robinson)

Pacing a cyclist across Pont Afon Dwyryd (John Wilkinson).

The  bridge from above (Peter Basterfield).

Porthmadog (John Wilkinson).

Returning past Criccieth. The front coach contains a generator to power the train's services (John Wilkinson).

Criccieth (Greg Mape).

Penrhyndeudraeth station (Peter Basterfield)

Barmouth (Gary Thomas).

The Midland Pullman on the Coast

Very soon after the Cambrian Coast Express clearing Sutton Bridge Junction, Locomotive Services Midland Pullman is seen here at Kemps Eye Bridge, Belle Vue,  running empty as 5Z77 from Crewe HS to Mount Gould Platform in Plymouth in readiness for the next day's excursion to Llandudno (Graham Breakwell).

On 5 April  the Midland Pullman with 43 049 (leading) and 43 055  working Plymouth (06:02) to Llandudno (13:22) arriving at Llandudno Junction (Gary Thomas)

On the return passing Abergele and Pensarn station (Greg Mape).

End of the line for 97 301 - by Jack Bowley

Network Rail yellow 97 301 (a loco that's been down the North Wales Coast and Cambrian a fair few times) is to be taken to Colwick depot for stripping and eventual scrapping.

Unlike 302 to 304 which had Ansaldo ERTMS, 301 had Hitachi equipment. Throw in the fact that the Cambrian also uses Ansaldo technology, 301's equipment never got signed off with any upgrades, and as a result, wasn't as useful as the rest. I suppose the fact these locos are over 60 years old now too means that spares are becoming harder to find? Anyway, the loco is coming to an end, so I thought I'd share two pictures of mine on the Coast.  Above, at dusk in Llandudno Junction on 7 February 2014
working 1Q14 to Crewe LNWR.

And a shot  at Blaenau Ffestiniog on 11 June 2014 working 3Q01 Crewe CS circular via Llandudno and Bangor.

'Standard Plus' etc.

We have some responses to the questions in the last issue regarding the 'first class' versions of the class 197/1 units 113 - 126.

From Ell Jones:

1st Point - The intention is for brand new trollies to be stored within those cupboards as a static buffet and an at-seat ordering system will be in use (via an app) for people wanting food/drink "Delivered", with the option of walking down the train to order it in person if needed. There will also be a fridge for chilled refreshments like sandwiches and cold drinks (something not currently available on the ex-ATW Trollies).

2nd Point - The "First Class" Is to be known as "Standard Plus" and will be
"25% Extra on the price of your standard ticket" according to TFWs website, As far as I'm aware it will be '1st come 1st served' with no advance bookings (not the best if your getting on in Shrewsbury heading south if the train has travelled from Holyhead!). At the moment it is not in use as "standard plus" due to lack of signage, but I hope to ride on it when it's all

From David Harrison:

I travelled from Crewe to Chester in 197 116 on Saturday 23 March. I sat in
what was undesignated as Premier/First class section. The main significant features were (1) roomier saloon with 2 + 1 seating, (2) reclining seats with push button to operate, (3) coat hangers above the seats, (4) small panel indicating charging image. The conductor checked my standard class ticket but did not seek any supplement.

Apart from the slightly roomier ambiance there is little to warrant first class or premier class designation and there is simply no comparison with the comfort of even standard class seating of the loco-hauled Mark IV coaches.

The TfW website tells us (notice the present tense) :

'You can upgrade on the following routes, subject to availability.
Shrewsbury - Birmingham
Cambrian Line: Aberystwyth/Pwllheli - Shrewsbury
North Wales Coast Line: Crewe - Holyhead
Marches Line: Newport - Crewe/Manchester
South Wales Mainline: Swansea - Severn Tunnel Junction
West Wales Lines: Swansea - Fishguard, Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock.'

'Standard Plus isn’t available on our Premier Services between Cardiff and Holyhead and Cardiff and Manchester. First Class tickets are available for this service.'

See also a relevant article in Modern Railways magazine.

[The Cambrian lines will of course be operated only with a fleet of two-car 197/0 units which won't have any standard plus seating.]

Easter in Tywyn - recorded by Richard Putley (part 1)

Good Friday 29 March 2024: Having recently retired, one of my brothers has started volunteering on the Tal-y-llyn Railway. He has now moved to Tywyn. So when he invited me to spend Easter with him, I had no hesitation in accepting! Starting from Chippenham on the 07:34 to Weston-super-Mare there was plenty of room aboard a 9 car Hitachi Intercity Express Train (IET). A punctual arrival in Bristol Temple Meads at 08:03 gave me plenty of time to get over to Platform 6 for the 08:23 to Cardiff. This was formed by 5 car IET 802 202. I noticed it changed over to electric
power at Patchway.

Arrival at Newport was on time at 09:05. I was disappointed that the 09:01 to Manchester was just departing as I arrived. 67 014 was hauling a black TfW set of Mk4 coaches... 

...with DVT 82230 bringing up the rear.

In due course the 09:36 to Holyhead arrived. It was formed by a single 2-
car class 197. I was lucky enough to get a window seat; many others had to stand. A punctual run ensued until Dorrington where we suffered a signal check. I feared I would miss the 11:27 from Shrewsbury to
Aberystwtyth / Pwllheli. Matters were not helped by the fact that we arrived on Platform 3 at Shrewsbury. The platform staff though seemed to think we'd make it. So I hurried down the stairs and along the subway.

The lady on the ticket barrier asked if we wanted the 11:27. Myself and several others told her we did. So she radioed the staff on Platform 5 to ensure it waited for us. Which happily it did. I managed to get a seat in the rear unit. The guard confirmed it would be the Pwllheli portion.

After departure I saw 37 405 on Coleham Depot. The journey seemed to fly by and arrival at Tywyn was on time at 13:22.

I saw 158 819 stabled at Machynlleth.

Talyllyn Railway - Saturday 30 March 2024 'Behind the Scenes' event

We took the 11:15 Diesel service hauled by No 12 St. Cadfan to Abergynolwyyn where we saw loco no.9 Alf  which was offering train rides within station limits. We saw No 2 Dolgoch arrive from Tywyn.  Then walked down into the village and enjoyed an excellent lunch at the newly re-opened "Railway" pub. (It had only re-opened the previous Monday but I gather it has been busy all week.)

We returned on the 14:40 departure for Tywyn hauled by No 3 Sir Haydn. On the way back from the pub I had photographed No 3 heading up the line to Nant Gwernol.

Tywyn to Barmouth - Sunday 31 March 2024

My first trip over Barmouth Bridge since it was rebuilt in November 2023. I caught the 10:30 from Tywyn (10:04 Machynlleth to Pwllheli) which was formed by 158 830. I walked down to the headland where Barmouth Tunnel is and photographed 158 825 on the 11:28 Pwllheli to Birmingham International Service. We then returned to Tywyn on the 16:56 from Barmouth (15:33  Pwllheli to Machynlleth).

From Dave Sallery's archive

A pair of Class 25s on Machynlleth depot, 6 May 1984.

31 421 is on the head shunt for Maes Du carriage sidings, Llandudno. 5 June 1993.

37 417 on a Bangor - Crewe service passes over Pen y Clip viaduct, 19 June 1996.

47 347 leaving the rocky entrance to Pont y Pant tunnel, 25 June 1993. It was heading a Pathfinders tour from Kings Cross to Blaenau Ffestiniog. 47 347 was subsequently rebuilt as 57 004.

Looking Back - Ravenglass and Eskdale part 2

On 5 May 1980 River Mite has just arrived at Dalegarth, and will shortly be moving forward onto the turntable.  The first coach is Semi Open No.117, built in 1974.  The R&ER had a policy of providing access to coaches from one side only, so the normal platforms were on the South side of the line. 

Returning from Dalegarth, the next station is Beckfoot, a relatively little used halt.  Passengers can only alight from trains heading for Dalegarth, and join trains heading for Ravenglass.  Northern Rock has the appearance of an older locomotive, but was built at Ravenglass in 1976.

There is a passing loop at Fisherground, then it is downhill to Eskdale Green.  The view from the main road is pleasing, but the train will be slowing for The Green station.  On 25 September 1981 River Irt was heading for Ravenglass.  Its 1972 rebuild has similarities to the new build Northern Rock, but the cab windows are distinctly different, and of course the wheel arrangement is not the same. 

25 September 1981 was a Gala Day, with visiting locomotives.  The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway No.8 Hurricane was running with River Mite, and leaving The Green station. 

Another visitor in steam on that day was Sian, about to leave Dalegarth.  This locomotive had been built for the Fairbourne Railway in 1963, moving to the Bure Valley Railway when the Fairbourne was regauged in 1984, followed by the Kirklees Light Railway (now the Whistlestop Railway).  It was later at Windmill Farm, but I am unable to confirm its present location. 

Lady Wakefield (ICL No. 8) is a Diesel locomotive built at Ravenglass in 1980, where it was photographed at Platform 2 on 25 September 1981.  This platform was not generally used for passenger trains, since most coach doors would have been on the track side.


The R&ER introduced a three car diesel multiple unit in 1977 at the inauguration of the Railway’s Radio Control System.  Painted in a silver livery to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, it was parked at Platform 2 on 25 September 1981. 

A year later the RH&DR visitor to Ravenglass was No.11 Black Prince.  On 28 July 1982 it was being admired at Platform 2, as River Irt was about to leave from Platform 1.  The history of No.11 is potentially confusing.  Built by Krupp in 1937 for a Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, it was store for many years before going to the RH&DR in 1976, where it became No.11 Black Prince.  The name had previously been on RH&DR No.10, one of two Canadian Pacific style locomotives built in 1931, which was renamed Doctor Syn (a Romney Marsh cleric) in 1948 when the other Canadian Pacific (No.9, originally Doctor Syn) was renamed Winston Churchill.   In 1982 No.11 was in the style of the pre-War Deutsche Reichsbahn Class 01 Pacifics, with Wagner type smoke deflectors.  It has since been rebuilt with higher running boards and Witte smoke deflectors, as seen on later Deutsche Bundesbahn steam locomotives.

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