North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 22 April 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  22 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.

May 2024

4-6 May Bala Lake Railway Steam on Road and Rail

6 May  Statesman   Woking - Llandudno  via Bath Spa and Crewe for Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza

Wednessay 15 May  Snowdonia 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

1-2 June Llangollen Railway Diesel / Industrial Heritage Gala

Saturday 8 June Vintage Trains     Dorridge - Blaenau Ffestiniog  Steam and 47 773  via Crewe. Diesel on Blaenau branch

Wednesday 19 June Statesman  Cardiff - Blaenau Ffestiniog

Friday 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

Saturday 6 July Railway Touring Company North Wales Express London Euston  - Llandudno (Steam Crewe - Llandudno)

6-7 July Llangollen Railway Classic Transport Weekend

6-7 July Talyllyn Railway 'Anything Goes Gala'

Tuesday 16 July Midland Pullman  Holyhead - Paignton

Wednesday 17 July Statesman Chester-le-Street - Blaenau Ffestiniog

Saturday 20 July Northern Belle Hull to Llandudno Junction with off train options to Llandudno, Bodnant Gardens and the Penderryn Distillery.

20-21 July Talyllyn Railway Awdry Extravaganza

Saturday 27 July    Midland Pullman    Crewe -  Paignton      

August 2024

3-4 August Llangollen Railway 1960s Weekend

Wednesday 14 August    Statesman    Telford Central - Carlisle
pickups Shrewsbury, Gobowen, Chirk, Wrexham General, Chester, Frodsham, Warrington BQ

24-26 August Bala Lake Railway August Steam Gala

24-25 August   Model Railway Exhibition  in Machynlleth in support of the Corris Railway

30 August - 1 September - Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway -  Steam Gala with model railway exhibition

September 2024

Wednesday 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

14-15 September Welsh Highland Railway Super Power Weekend celebrating the successful restoration of the NG15 locomotive.

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

Saturday 21 September - Northern Belle    Telford - Carlisle pickups Shrewsbury,  Wrexham General, Chester.

21-22 September Bala Model Railway Show Ysgol Godre’r Berwyn Secondary School, Ffrydan Road, Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7RU. 10:00 - 16:00 (Bus link to Bala Lake Railway station)

Opening times: 10.00-16.00 on both Saturday and Sunday.10.00-16.00 on both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday 28 September UK Railtours London - Chester 'Our tour takes an interesting route from London to Chester and Llandudno Junction where we plan to access the Glan Conwy freight sidings.'

October 2024

Friday 4 October Clwyd Railway Circle Wrexham’s Second Railway Mania -  David Parry

4-6 October  Ffestiniog Railway Bygoneds weekend

5-6 October Llangollen Railway Heritage Railcar Weekend

November 2024

Friday 1 November Clwyd Railway Circle  Chinese Steam in 2001 and 2003  - Phil Thomas

December 2024

Tuesday 10 December  Midland Pullman from Holyhead to Edinburgh Waverley - Edinburgh Christmas Pullman

14-15 December Manchester Model Railway Society -  The Christmas Model Railway Show. The Sugden Centre, Sidney Street, Manchester

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

37 884 and 37 901  head to Holyhead and are about to pass Beeches Farm Bridge with 175 113 off to Barton Under Needwood for attention, 17 April. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.

Valley Possession - report by Driver Jim Scott

Some images from Sunday 21 April during engineering work.  Above, 66 701 waiting at Ty Croes to leave the worksite and head towards Bangor within the possession on train 6G71.

The view from Ty Croes box.

As I was a bit early I took the opportunity to stop on the Britannia bridge for a picture of the lion, it’s not every day you get a chance like that (obviously taken safely with no movements taking place!)

Waiting at Chester for the Crewe shuttle to depart.

News Pictures

Soon to be displaced by the new 805 units, 221 105 looks good in the spring sunshine as it heads west with the 10:02 Euston to Bangor service passing Cadnant cutting, Conwy on 20 April ...

... and at the same location, 6G70 Crewe Basford Hall yard to Bangor engineering train, passing Cadnant cutting, Conwy with loco 66 798 and a string of sleeper-carrying wagons (Garry Stroud).

66 748 West Burton 50 passes Towyn on 19 January with empty slate wagons for loading at Llandudno Junction (Gary Thomas). These trains from Tonbridge Yard are not a revival of the slate waste for cement making previously seen, this is a new flow for Ashville Aggregates of West Drayton, London.   The original plan for Breedon to carry slate waste to Hope, Derbyshire, is still awaited; we understand that they now have been given permission by the National Park authority to build a structure to collect the material.

805 008 on 19 April passes Llandudno Junction with the 5Q49 13:50 Crewe to Holyhead empty stock run, while 66 748 shunts the yard after arrriving with the Tonbridge slate waste train (Garry Stroud).

Training on the 805's continues, with the "rumour mill" suggesting the first will go into service in June. 805 008 passes Rhyl heading to Holyhead on 19 April (Gary Thomas).

On 17 April, 37 901 (37 884 on rear) pass Rhosneigr with another Class 175 movement, 13:48 Holyhead MD to Barton-under-Nedwood with 175 113 (Gary Thomas).

43 257 together with 43 013 on the rear worked the 1Q30 Derby to Holyhead track testing run on 18 April, seen here entering Llandudno Jcn on their outward run to Holyhead (Garry Stroud).

Passing Altrincham on 19 April, 66 651 (ex-66 221)  gleaming in the sunshine, one of the ten re-geared class 66s to replace the class 60s on the Tunstead - Lostock limestone run and other heavy loads.

Cambrian Coast Express (2)

This season's second 'Cambrian Coast Express' Pathfinder' railtour to Pwllheli on 18 April, this time originating at East Midlands Parkway. Locos 97 302 and 97 304 were in charge.

Passing Morfa Mawddach station (Kate Jones).

Crossing the Mawddach (Kate Jones). The tunnel leading into Barmouth just in view.

Porthmadog, 158 825 is on the 13:38 Pwllheli - Machynlleth (Ken Robinson)

Black Rock, Criccieth outbound (Gary Thomas),

Black Rock again on the return working. The weather did not favour the passengers or photographers on this day.

Return at Sherwsbury at 20:49 (Graham Breakwell). Arrival time at East Midlands Parkway was on time at 00:15.

LSL's generator coach 6311 is one of three originally converted from brake coaches for sleeper trains in Scotland. It can power the lighting and heating of the train when locos without such ability, such as the 97/3s, or freight locos are on the front.

Graham writes: " I had gone to Redhill, west of Shrewsbury to capture some scenes of the outbound but to no avail – no sign of it coming, though information on Real Time Trains showed it had arrived at Sutton Bridge Junction on time. After waiting for around 40 minutes I gave up but while walking back the unmistakeable sound of a pair of class 97’s could be heard, having got away from Sutton Bridge 37 minutes late due to rumours of a points failure.  (The time was re-gained before arrival at Pwllheli.)

'Too late for me to reach the line but earlier I captured, 158 830 on 1S20 the 08:29 from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury. This train normally forms the 10:32h back to Aberystwyth but was replaced with a bus to make way for the Railtour.  [Question: how are these cancellations conveyed to ordinary passengers?]

I did get a shot of the remains of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway bridge over the Cambrian line.'

TfW looks ahead

Transport for Wales have issued a future plan for changine rail demands. You can read a summary here. On one reading , it seems to lack positivity, espcially for North and Mid Wales.

Great Britain XVI

The Liverpool -Swansea leg of the Railway Touring Company 'Great Britain XVI' multi-day tour passed through our area on 20 April, hauled by two 'Black 5' locos,  44871 and 45407 Lancashire Fusilier. Above, Crossing the Weaver at Frodsham, with 45307 alone ...

... 44871 ran light to Chester to attach the train for the gradients ahead (Bob Greenhalgh).

Balderton crossing (Bob Greengalgh).

Entering the single-line section at Rossett Junction (Roland High). Taken from a safe place on the footpath.

At the foot of the notorious Gresford Bank (Dave Jepson).

Wrexham (George Jones). The blue background to the number plate was a decoration (unofficially?) applied to Scottish-allocated locos; the shed plate 65J refers to Stirling, although this loco was never allocated there.  The 'SC' indicates a so-called Self-cleaning smokebox; a good explanation of this can be found on the 76084 website,

On the rear, West Coast Railways loco 47 802 (George Jones).

Bangor to Euston return April 16 & 19  - by Eryl Crump

It had been a while since I made the journey along the North Wales Coast line to London but an opportunity presented itself this week. Arriving at Bangor TfW/TC's 197 045 was awaiting time for the 08:41 1V94 service to Cardiff Central.

There was enough time for a panad from the Snowdon Buffet before Avanti West Coast's Voyager 221 113 turned up to operate the 1A26 on time.

Settling into the booked seats in coach B I was disappointed to find the window misted up. It seemed to be the only one in the coach so a move was made to the adjoining carriage where the view at up to 125mph could be enjoyed.

The train made good time long the coast arriving at a busy Chester. I saw one of Merseyrail's new 777's in platform 7 and a specially vinyl-ed 197 proclaiming it to have been "Made in Wales'. On approach to Crewe a short line up of laid up locos can be seen with the usual eclectic mix of rolling stock and locos to the west of the West Coast line.

The service in recent days has been rather hit and miss with several cancellations and significant delays. This had led to some concern and perhaps the reason why no rail journeys to England's capital had been made for some time.

From Stafford the train was due to run non-stop to London Euston and for the most part it seemed an ontime arrival was likely. But it was not to be!
At Berkhamsted the driver brought 221 113 to a slow but gradual halt. An announcement was made a signalling fault, apparently near Wembley, meant trains were being halted and allowed to move slowly section to section. Passengers on 1A26 were eventually told the train would terminate at Watford Junction some 25 minutes late and where some confusion arose as to what steps could be taken.

The London Overground was one option but their trains were also cancelled so no opportunity to sample their Class 710 Aventra on the newly named 'Lioness line' to Euston. Passengers were told to make their way to platform 7 and get on the next service to stop.

This turned out to be 390 124 operating the 9M50 service from Edinburgh via Birmingham. It was not overly crowded and seats were found. The train manager's announcement that stops may be made proved unfounded and a relatively swift journey into the London terminus resulted. With a delay of more than 45 minutes Delay Repay was activated.

The return journey was made a few days later on 221 103 which was coupled with 221 105. Departure of the 1D91 service was on time but lost time in the Rugby area and was seven minutes down for the first stop at Tamworth. Time was slowly clawed back and it was just two minutes late leaving Chester having divided in two at this station.

Trespassers were reported on the line between Rhyl and Abergele resulting in the train travelling at a very slow speed losing copious amounts of time. Perhaps the two teenage boys seen on the trackside near the river Clwyd can be identified and spoken to by British Transport Police officers. Some time was regained and Bangor was reached on a clear but chilly April evening.

Avanti West Coast offer a decent service in difficult circumstances with the delays reported here due to other circumstances. Another visit to London is likely in the next few months and perhaps that will be on the new Class 805s.

From Dave Sallery's archive

47 733 Eastern Star runs round its train at Holyhead, 15 September 2002.

47 401, the first of the 47s to have provision for train electric heat and lighting passes Prestatyn on a down express, 1D42 09:25 Euston-Holyhead from Crewe on 29 June 1988.

47 975 (ex 47450) backs a mobile track assessment train out of Llandudno Junction yard, 9 November 1992. In the background the Tesco superstore begins to take shape.

This HST was the last set to be repainted in Inter City livery and is seen shortly after release into traffic in March 1997.  The train is passing the marine lake at Rhyl.

That Liverpool headboard

Five readers were quick to answer David Pool's query last issue (repeated above) regarding the rather out-of-scale headboard displayed on the loco Samson at the Liverpool Garden Festival. It was from a Railtour to Devon behind two class 40s in 1984. Details are on the Six Bells Junction website.  The image on that page on a class 31 is a different one, this Flickr site has the one in question.   "T&N" was T&N Railtours (Terry Waterhouse and Neil McCannon). and "LLS" was the Lancashire Locomotive Society. Thanks to all!

Looking back: Ravenglass and Eskdale part 4 - by David Pool

Having just left Ravenglass, River Irt and train are running along the estuary of the River Mite on 1 April 1986.  The shot was taken from the A595 main road, looking towards Saltcoats.

ICL No.4 has been rebuilt and re-engined many times, and on 9 April 1986 it was looking like a new locomotive, with a Perkins Diesel emblem on the radiator.  It looks quite different from the steam outline of the Passenger Tractor, built from the Muir Hill tractor of 1929, and illustrated in part 1 of my R&ER images.  The Fordson engine was replaced by a Perkins diesel in 1975, when the steam outline was changed, and a new Perkins diesel engine was installed in 1990.

On the following day Northern Rock was in service, and arriving at Irton Road station. This was probably the busiest of the stations between Dalegarth and Ravenglass in respect of the numbers of passengers alighting or boarding the trains, and is one of the passing loops on the line. 

Bonnie Dundee is another locomotive which has changed greatly since it was built by Kerr Stuart in 1900.  It was then an 0-4-0  2ft gauge well tank locomotive supplied to Dundee Gasworks.  It was acquired by Ian Fraser after withdrawal, and eventually rebuilt in 1982 as an 0-4-2T, regauged to 15 inches.  On 7 August 1989 it was visiting the R&ER, and photographed arriving at Muncaster, having just gone under the A595 bridge.

A museum exhibit at Ravenglass on 24 July 1995 was ICL No.1 Bunny.  This was originally a World War I rail mounted vehicle with a Ford Model T engine and chassis, then rebuilt with a wooden body for use on the R&ER in 1926.  After a collision it was further rebuilt in 1928 with a metal body of the steeple cab design.  The engine was removed in 1961, and it was used as a tool van.  It is apparently now to be restored with a Ford Model T engine.  

The R&ER has always been prepared to try something new, and a battery powered electric locomotive was obtained in 1982.  This had been built by Greenwood & Batley (Leeds) in 1957 for a Fireclay Mine in South Yorkshire, which had a 16 inch gauge system.  The R&ER replaced the wheels, and used it for shunting at Ravenglass, since any journey far up the line was not feasible.  On 24 July 1995 Greenbat was photographed at Ravenglass. 

Photographed at Ravenglass on 29 April 1998, 5751 Prince William has had a history which has been particularly difficult to follow.   It was built in 1949 by Trevor Guest for his miniature railway at Dudley Zoo, and loosely based on an LMS Class 5 locomotive. It is not clear why it was numbered 5751, this being more suited to a new build LMS Jubilee, and it received the name Prince Charles.  After the closure of the railway at Dudley Zoo, it went to the Fairbourne Railway in 1960, where it was found to have steaming problems and returned to Guest Engineering in 1961, receiving a new boiler and a pair of trailing wheels.  After a few years in store, it was bought by W H McAlpine for a new 15 inch gauge miniature railway at Blenheim Palace, where it arrived in 1975 as 5751 Sir Winston Churchill.

Its next move appears to be to Steamtown Carnforth in 1982, where it operated on the miniature railway round the site, and became Prince William in 1984.  It reportedly was displayed at the East Lancs Railway in 1995, and moved to the Windmill Farm Railway in May 1998.  It later went to the Evesham Vale Light Railway in 2003, and today is on a private site.  The PTKR on the tender is a mystery which I have been unable to solve.  Any ideas? 

On 17 August 1998 Bonnie Dundee had acquired a tender, and was being used regularly on the R&ER.  The air brake equipment on the smokebox is clearly needed, but accessibility has been more important than appearance!  The turntable at Ravenglass is very useful when photographing locomotives.  Bonnie Dundee was further restored recently with changes to the valve gear, and is currently on long term loan to the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway. 

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