North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 06 May 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  06 May 2024


Greg Mape

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

Wednesday 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

On 25 April 2000 at Bagillt 2000, 101 680 passes on 1D58 07:10 Crewe to Llandudno Picture by Tim Rogers.

All happening (almost) - by Gary Thomas

On Thursday 2 May it was 'all happening' in North East Wales. 66054 was on the Dee Marsh to Margam, A2 Blue Peter was on a test run and the Llangollen Railway was running a pair of DMUs on its service from Llangollen and return.

I pleaded with the crew of the narrow boat to wait on the aqueduct for the A2 but they continued their journey. So this photograph is a slight adulteration on my part, two photos taken by a pole at 5 metres high and 30 seconds apart!

The Llangollen Railway DMU.


On Monday 6 May the 'Statesman' visited Llandudno having started its journey at Woking. It left there late and lost further time along the way. But as is often the case there was plenty of recovery time, resulting in an early arrival in Llandudno. As the late, possibly great Paul Daniels once said, 'That's Magic'.

I also managed to see the return trip at Deganwy.

Steam in the News

2 May saw 60532 Blue Peter make a test run, from Crewe to Coton Hill, Shrewsbury then Stafford and back to Crewe.

Bunbury (Greg Mape)

60 532 approaching Chester  (Ian Pilkington)

Rossett (Ian Pilkington).

A Wrexham General sequence by George Jones. Above, approaching ...

... a look at the nameplate ...

... due to observe a two-minute stop at 11:17 it 'got the green' and went straight through, marvellous sight and sound! ...

... and  37 521 (D6817) on the rear.

Madeley, Staffordshire (Greg Mape). Interestingly, Locomotive Services make no effort to disguise steam workings as diesells: Real Time Trains shows it as '60532 Blue Peter'.

34 046 Braunton and its service coach pass Shrewsbury Golf Course on the way down to St Philips Marsh depot  in Bristol as 5Z46, the 09:38 from Crewe (Graham Breakwell).

'New Build' loco 6880 Betton Grange at Tyseley on 27 April, when it was shown to the sponsors and supporters, prior to being taken to the Severn Valley Railway for running in trials. On 11 April 2024, 6880 was steamed up for the first time after more than 25 years of work. All pictures by Anthony Thomas.

Two views from inside the signalbox. Readers might recall that much of the  work was done at the Llangollen Railway before being transferred to Tyseley.

No members of the the GWR 'Grange' class have survived into preservation;
The 6880 Society was formed in 1998 with the sole intention of recreating a Great Western ‘Grange’ class locomotive, and this is the result.

Tyseley signal box is of interest: it originated at Holesmouth Junction on the Avonmouth and Severn Tunnel Railway and was completely taken apart and reassembled at Tyseley in February 1988.

On the narrow gauge, 'leylandise2' offers this image from the Snowdon Mountain Railway showing loco Padarn, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2022, on a test tun on 1 May. Mid-May will see the return of the trains to Snowdon summit, and the reopening of Hafod Eryri, the summit visitor centre. The steam service will recommence a few weeks later in June.

Shrewbury Scenes, 6 May - by Graham Breakwell

47 712 Lady Diana Spencer on the tail of “The Statesman” running as 1Z44 from Woking to Llandudno. 47 805 Roger Hosking 1925 to 2013 was upfront and must have made short work of the long climb up Hencott Bank as it had just passed when I arrived!

66 588 towing 66 523 and 66 560 from Crewe PAD to Stoke Gifford pulling away from Sutton Bridge Junction.

The trio pass between what remains of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway bridge.

82230 leads a smart black liveried five-coach set with 1W57, the 10:52from Cardiff to Manchester through Sutton Bridge Junction.

67 022 providing the power and completing the black style.

97 304 ticking over and coupled up to 37 405 outside Coleham depot while several engineers appear to be trying to sort out what sounded like an air brake leak on the 37. 

From Richard Snook's archive

Flint in 1983: unidentified Class 40 on Ballast from Penmaenmawr.

Flint,  1 April 1984:  45 133 on 12:57 Scarborough - Bangor.

Flint, 18 December 1983: 25 245 with 16.36 Sundays-Only Manchester Victoria - Bangor.

Flint, 27 March 84:  45 077 with the 17:10 Bangor - York passing the closed Courtaulds 'Castle Works' Rayon Mill.

Flint, 21 November 1986: 20 107 and 20 077 Penmaenmawr - St Helens Ballast

On 11 October 1986 Rhyl's impressive signal gantry sees  47 632 in the then-new 'Large Logo' livery on the 14:08 Holyhead - Cardiff

On 2 August 1987  31 271 passes Flint station with Empty Ballast Hoppers.

Sandycroft on 18 December 1987. In between railtours, Celebrity  D200 / 40 122 brings spoil to Mold Junction,


Jack Bowley writes: 'In answer to the question why the 175s don't run on their own to Barton-under-Needwood, I am told this is down to there being nothing in the area to rescue it should it fail en route. As a precaution, having it towed by the 37s gives it a better chance of being rescued should the train find itself in trouble.'

Regarding the origin of unusual coach on the Ravenglass and Eskdale line, Alan Haydock has found online the photograph above, showing the vehicle in more detail, bodies removed and in use as a shop (Copyright Rose and Trev Clough and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence). We still don't know where it came from, though. Any Ideas?

And finally, of the two football owners, Robin is 197 001. Anyone know the number of Red Dragon?

From Dave Sallery's archive

56 088 brings a loaded train of logs down Aston bank bound for Shotton Paper. 3 June 1997.

33 042 leaves Prestatyn on a Crewe - Holyhead service, 28 May 1985.

37 421 and 37 414 leave Prestatyn on a down service on the evening of 18 March 1995.

40 135, masquerading as 97 406, at Penmaenmawr, 25 February 1986.  The loco was renumbered as part of a small fleet for the Crewe remodelling works.

Looking back; RH&DR part 1 - by David Pool

The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway has been providing a service since 1927, but with no present connection to the British Rail network it may not be familiar to many railway enthusiasts.  The Southern Railway’s proposal to build a short branch from Sandling Junction to Hythe never came to fruition, so the only connection to the main line was at New Romney, the terminus of a branch line from Appledore on the main line from Ashford to Hastings.  My first visit to the RH&DR was on 24 September 1958, when the 4.35pm from Ashford had arrived at New Romney, and Class H 31319 was running round its train. 

The line from Appledore headed for Dungeness, the other terminal station on the branch, then doubled back to New Romney via a sharp curve.  The rather barren land at Dungeness was then transformed by the construction of a Nuclear Power station, so when the New Romney section of the branch was closed in 1967 there was now regular rail traffic to Dungeness.  The Southern Region made use of the availability of material for ballast in the area, and on 25 June 1969 Class 33 6565 (later 33 047) was about to leave the remains of the station at Lydd Town.  Lydd Airport would be out of sight on the left, but the Power Station buildings at Dungeness are visible in the distance on the right. 

The scene at Lydd Town had not changed much twenty two years later on 16 May 1991, when another train was photographed there.  This time it was conveying flasks of spent nuclear fuel, the FNA wagons being sandwiched between a couple of RNA wagons, one still having the HEA body.  Electro diesel 73 131 would be hauling the wagons to Willesden, where they would likely be joined to another train from Sizewell or Bradwell before heading North to Sellafield.  In 1991 the motive power was provided by British Rail, the use of Direct Rail Services locomotives starting in 1994.

My first use of Kodachrome on the RH&DR was on 22 June 1969.  No.7 Typhoon arrived at Hythe, and after having been turned, was ready to depart.  This locomotive had been built by Davey Paxman in 1927 as a three cylinder Greenly design similar to No.8 Hurricane, but the inside cylinders proved to be troublesome and were removed from both locomotives in the 1930s.  No.7 is in British Racing Green livery. 

Moving on to New Romney, the Canadian outline No.10 was about to leave for Hythe.  As explained in my notes on the Liverpool Garden Festival locomotives, No.10 had acquired the name Dr Syn from No.9.  Both had rebuilt tenders by 1969, and a very low viewpoint gave me an impressive shot. 

No.9 Winston Churchill was also out on 22 June 1969, my shot having been taken from one of the few overbridges on the line.  This is on the A259 just outside New Romney, adjacent to the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre at Romney Warren.  There is a Halt at this location, which has been used occasionally for visitors to the Centre. 

The coaching stock on the RH&DR has had many colour schemes over the years.  At one time, blue was in favour, and their Prestige train was The Blue Coaster Limited.  By 1969, this had become The Blue Train, although I don’t think it was intended to be a miniature version of the Blue Train in South Africa.  One of the original Greenly designed locomotives built in 1927, No.2 Northern Chief, was at New Romney on 22 June 1969 with The Blue Train. 

No.8 Hurricane is posing outside New Romney shed on 22 June 1969.  It had been a favoured locomotive until the cylinder problems, after which it emerged in blue as Bluebottle, being used with the blue coaches until the onset of War.  After service during the War, it was forgiven and regained the name Hurricane, even being entrusted with the Royal Train on the RH&DR in 1957.  Having recently photographed 60532 Blue Peter on a test train, I can understand why an LNER Pacific in blue should be so popular, whatever the scale.

A  view  from the Cabinet Secretary

The 'Wrexham Leader' newspaper recently asked the new Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport Ken Skates MS how he was going to make sure TfW shapes up to that budget award. An ad-free version appears below.

Ken Skates said: There are a number of really important points to make. One is COVID changed the context of funding rail services in an enormous way, the impact that COVID had on rail services was phenomenal. We saw rail operators across the UK suffering terribly. TfW has actually recovered passengers better than, certainly than industry standard, and probably better than most other operators in the UK. So the fare box is increasing.

Longer term aspirations for Transport for Wales, grow out of the problem that we face with funding constraints by increasing the number of passengers and thereby increasing the fare box. We’ll start to see that take place with some gusto from this June when there are timetable changes, more frequent services and additional services coming into being that will drive up the fare box.

We’re also seeing with the arrival of new trains, a return of passengers to services and also in those areas where there have been some pretty impressive service improvements, for example, on the Wrexham Bidston line. I recognise that service standards were just not good enough on the Wrexham Bidston line.

So my predecessor Lee Waters was insistent that it had to improve. That’s now happened. Longer term of course we still want to be able to deliver two trains per hour, if we can get the upgrades on the infrastructure between here and Liverpool, we want to see metro style turn up and go services between Wrexham and Liverpool itself rather than have to change.

So the long term aspirations are still there. What we need to do is create the bridge from now to the point where the farebox has increased to reduce the level of subsidy. That’s what TfW are working towards, that bridge period.

The Cabinet Secretary pointed to external reasons for issues that impact public confidence in TfW: Often it is outside of TfW’s hands because they’re not responsible for the tracks, or the signalling or the stations that trains operate to and operate on. So, unfortunately, the reality is rail infrastructure is being invested in very poorly in these parts of the UK compared to other parts, particularly in the South East of England. I can’t see funding commitments that we require them made in the short time that is left of this government. So we’ll go to a future government.

I’m keen to engage with not just current ministers, but future ministers, in pressing the case for infrastructure upgrades, not just to the North Wales mainline, and electrification but also to the Wrexham Bidston line, and the Marches line,  Chester station – because unless we can unlock Chester station, we’re not going to go increase services operating through Chester and into Wales or out of Wales.

We need to have upgrades to the rail line from here right through to Birmingham, and for that matter, right down through to Hereford and beyond. Then we’ll be able to deliver the sort of services that I think people of Wales, particularly people in Wrexham, not just need but deserve.

[Question: are there any June timetable improvements in North Wales?]

Home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board