North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 20 May 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  20 May 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

Saturday 25 May Railway Touring Company     Manchester Piccadilly  -  Llandudno and Holyhead Steam: 5596 Bahamas 
Postponed to September

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'

Sunday 14 July - The North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool Lime Street to Holyhead (via Warrington Bank Quay). Railway Touring Group, WCRC Steam TBC.

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

Saturday 3 August - Rail Excursion to the City of Chester. Newcastle to Chester (via York). Bishop Trains. HST to be confirmed.

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 Swindon   - 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

Visitors enjoy the sunshine at Stokesay Castle on 15 May as 37 800 Cassiopeia passes towing 175 113 from Barton-under-Needwood to Landore, probably for storage. Picture by Paul Hajdasz.

We've really been overwhelmed this week, I've had to use just a selection of the images received, and the and we'll keep the Weed-bashing train for next time. Apologies for any errors that might be found. All the best -  Charlie

Penmaenmawr awakes

70 809 working 6D61 06:12 Longport to Penmaemawr stone empties through Chester station on 15 May.

Llandudno Junction  (Ryan Lloyd).

Dwygyfylchi (Gary Thomas). This was the first train to the quarry for some months.

Entering the quarry sidings at 09:40 - the track's there somewhere! ...

... and backing the wagons under the loader (Garry Stroud).

Blaenau Ffestiniog Statesman 15 May

The LSL operated 'Statesman' train ventured to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 15 May and is seen here at Chester (Tim Rogers). The consist:  Mk2f, FO M3330; Mk2f, FO 3344; Mk2f, FO 3384; Mk2f, FO 3348; Mk2f, RFO 1211; Mk2e, FO 3229; Mk2e, FO 3231; Mk1, RBR M1666 Mk2d, FO 3188;
Mk2f, FO 3312; Mk2a, BFK 17056.

... passing Rhyl double headed by 47 828 and 47 712 Lady Diana Spencer (Ivor Bufton)...

... Arriving at Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud).

The locos ran round the train at Llandudno Junction and made a smoky departure. (Ryan Lloyd).

Arriving at Blaenau with 47 712 ...

... and 47 828. The tour was double-headed up the branch, and top 'n' tailed back down.

47  712 running round the empty stock ...

... and shunting the train into the loop to make room for the TfW service.

Ivor Bufton writes: 47 828 came down with another luxury train, whilst in the ownership of Cotswold Rail, that one was called the 'Blue Pullman' and is seen at Llandudno Junction on 10 November 2007, on that occasion it was double heading with 47 818.

Naming Talyllyn

Balderton crossing on 14 May: Saloon Caroline passes on the way to Shrewsbury ...

.. propelled by 37 418 An Comunn Gaidhealach showing off its bright new livery, marking the fact that Loram UK have leased the loco, which is owned by Steve Beniston.  Loram UK, a supplier to Network Rail of infrastructure equipment and operations, to  have signed a continuous permanent lease until at least Spring 2026.  Pictures by Bob Greenhalgh.

Meanwhile, 97 304 was in Coleham Depot with nameplates covered (Graham Breakwell).

The following day, 15 May, 97 304 was attached and escorted the train along the Cambrian line with invited guests aboard to Barmouth, whence it ran back to Tywyn. (Graham Breakwell).

Posing after the naming ceremony with Talyllyn Railway loco no. 3 Sir Haydn (Talyllyn Railway / Luke Ryan). The name was unveiled by Lord Peter Hendy, Charman of Network Rail, who decalared a 'soft spot' for the Talyllyn. Year marks the 75th since the line was taken on by preservationists, and they have great plans for the future, as described on their website.

The name applied to the loco is a replica of the Talyllyn logo.

The return run, 14:09 from Tywyn (Graham Breakwell).

Talyllyn trains are running daily through the summer: Timetable here.

Back at work on 19 May: 97 304 leads 97 302 through Meole Brace, both now sporting North Wales preserved railway nameplates with 6C70, the overnight round trip from Bescot Up Engineers Sidings, after dropping ballast at various locations and reversing at Aberystwyth (Graham Breakwell).

Pause for thought

Two odd items in the railway press: 

The new-build steam-loco Tornado is to be the first steam engine to be fitted with the necessary equipment to run on ERTMS lines, which soon will be the south end of the East Coast line as well as the existing Cambrian network. Night-time tests are going to made soon on the Cambrian main line ; this seems to be a real breakthrough, it would be interesting to know how they managed it. However,  elsewhere I read that the loco  needs much attention, including a new boiler, which may cost a million pounds.

Then there is the story of the class 398 tram-trains being delivered will need their wheels replaced by different ones to allow them to run on-street on an extension of the Cardiff Bay area and perhaps elsewhere. Surely that is the essence of a 'tram-train'  and should have been built as such in the beginning?

More Engineering

Another weekend of infrastructure work on the North Wales Coast, this time affecting the line from Bangor to Holyhead, again this gave the opportunity to photograph some of the workings associated with these works.

66 509 Josiah's Wish is seen passing through Rhyl on 18 May whilst working 6Y43 09:34 Crewe Basford Hall to Bangor (Note - The name refers to when Freightliner helped the Make-a-wish UK charity grant the wish of young cancer patient Josiah Woods, who wanted to be a freight train driver for a day) (Ivor Bufton) ...

... Llandudno Junction  (Garry Stroud) ...

... and Abergele (Greg Mape).

66 713 Forest City & 66 799 Modern Railways Diamond Jubilee top and tailed 6G70 10:38 Crewe Basford Hall S.S.M. to Bangor and are seen passing Chester racecourse (Geoff Morris) ...

... and approaching Prestatyn on 18 May. (Note - The name Forest City refers to the Electro-Motive Diesel factory in London, Ontario, a city often known as 'The Forest City') (Ivor Bufton). This train conveyed new nallajs and sleepers.

66 799 on the rear crossing Llandulas viaduct (Greg Mape).

66 736 Wolverhampton Wanderers & 66 759 Chippy top and tailed 6G71 15:44 Crewe Basford Hall to Bangor, seen at Chester Walls (Geoff Morris)...

... passing Bagillt (Stephen Dennett) ...

... 66 759 on the rear ...

 ... and approaching Rhyl (Ivor Bufton)

66 759 Chippy & 66 736 Wolverhampton Wanderers top and tailed 6G71 19:50 Bangor to Crewe Basford Hall S.S.M and are seen passing Rhyl on 19 May (Note - The name Chippy is in memory of GBRf Assistant Train Manager Clive Chippington) (Ivor Bufton)

Sitting on the level crossing at Valley on 18 was 66 502 Crewe Basford Hall" which was on the spoil wagons for the relaying job that was taking place ...

...  notice that these road-rail machines have caterpillar tracks rather than tyred wheels (Stuart Broome).


The view from the Shortened Pier looking towards Old Colwyn (Greg Mape)

Ffestiniog Railway loco Linda getting fed and watered at Porthmadog, 15 May (Roland High).

197 108 working 1K09, the Chester - Crewe  shuttle on 17 May. passes curiously-named Golden Nook farm bridge,  (Stephen Dennett)

197 015 has arrived at Blaenau Ffestiniog with the 10:12 from Llandudno on 15 May (Roland High).

Another load of logs rolls through Chester behind 70 817, 15 May (Tim Rogers).

67 015 calls at Stockport on the 5-coach 10:52 Cardiff - Manchester, 15 May.

A Cheshire Day Ranger - report by George Jones

Gareth Thomas and I set out to make use of the Cheshire Day Ranger ticket,  meeting up at Chester at 10:23 and going forward on the 10:28 to Leeds Northern departure. 195 131 provided a pleasant enough experience and a speedy passage to Man Vic for 11:20. A swift 5-4 platform connection had us on board Trans Pennine 802 211 for Liverpool and provided a sedate transit of the Liverpool and Manchester route to reach Lime Street at  12 noon (above).

Around at platform 7 the 12:19 TPE service to Cleethorpes offered 185 129 for the CLC route to Manchester Piccafilly. Here the passing of the Glasgow working by TPE provided sight of 397 010 (a first sighting of such for me).

Platform 9 offered onward progress by TfW with 197 009 on the 13:30 departure for Carmarthen for the leg to Crewe on a particularly busy train on which a pair of near window-less airline seats were all that was available. The picture is from Crewe which was where the rain arrived and the platforms were soon awash, so onward progress was by Avanti with the 14:26 to Liverpool with 390 122 Penny the Pendolino.

However we called it a day at Runcorn and elected to take the late running TfW 15:06 service back to Chester.  Whilst at Runcorn the inbound ex- Chester 14:43 TfW 197 016 stopped by ...

 ... preceded by the West Midlands 350 125 from New Street seen when the Avanti  390 016 bound for Euston also called at 15:02. 197 051 had us back in Chester for 15:33 and a swift connection for Gareth onto the 15:36 TFW 158 825 back to Gobowen,
All trains were well patronised and some busy, but we got seats at tables on all but the TfW 197 to Crewe,  loco sightings were reduced to 69 003 and 60 047 at Edge Hill and 57 308 light engine at Crewe, Allerton deport was notably well stocked with units as the 323s replace the withdrawn 319s. as the scene changes yet again,
All this for £19.65 with Railcard.

From Dave Sallery's  Archive

31 438 + 31 442 pass through the Chester city walls on a loaded ballast, 7 July 1992.

31 439 and 31 455 pass beneath the Conwy castle walls with another loaded ballast, 27 June 1995.

31 524 and 31 306 near Connahs Quay with more ballast, 4 July 1991.  This view has changed greatly since due to the gas fired new power station, the River Dee road bridge leading to construction of a tunnel and abolition of the signal box and crossover.

37 423 leads 47 593 returning to Crewe on its first test run after conversion to a 37/4. Catching the last of the sun near Prestatyn on 18 December 1985.

Looking back: Clayton West part 1 - by David Pool

Today trains from Huddersfield to Sheffield take an S shaped route via Penistone and Barnsley.  The Woodhead and several other lines in the area are now closed, but on 26 February 1979 the branch to Clayton West was still open, probably due to the Emley Moor Colliery at Skelmanthorpe, which was rail connected.  Here a Fowler diesel (No.22075, 1958) was outside the Colliery buildings, but there was little sign of any activity.  The 1084ft high Emley Moor TV tower is visible in the distance, this being the still the tallest structure in the UK.

Adjacent to the Colliery, the single line to Clayton West continued past the station platform.   The 12:10 from Huddersfield to Clayton West was approaching with a Class 101, units E51504 and E51425.  I noticed that someone had helpfully propped the Skelmanthorpe station nameboard against the fence. 

Moving on to Clayton West, the terminus was rather better maintained, and some passengers were to be seen as the Class 101 prepared to depart at 13:00.  The West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive had declined to adopt the line, so closure was likely to be inevitable.

The Signal Box was particularly impressive.  Clayton West Station Cabin overlooked the station goods yard and the sidings for Park Mill Colliery, but these appeared to be disused.  Passenger traffic ceased four years later in January 1983, coal traffic from Emley Moor ended in 1984 and the line was lifted in 1986.  Park Mill Colliery eventually closed in 1989. 

I returned to Clayton West Station on 26 April 1993 to see the results of a scheme to reopen the line as a 15 inch gauge tourist attraction, the Kirklees Light Railway, a Light Railway Order having been obtained in 1991.  The founder of the KLR was Brian Taylor, who had operated a miniature railway in Halifax and wanted a larger system with interesting locomotives, all of which he would build.  The old station building and part of the platform were still there, but a ramp led to three new platforms and some well laid track.  The diesel hydraulic locomotive Jay had been built by Brian Taylor in 1992, using a Dorman diesel engine from a Blackpool Pleasure Beach locomotive. 

The passenger services on the day of my visit were being provided by Fox, which had been built by Brian in 1987 to a design based on a Hunslet locomotive which had gone to India.  At that time, the new line only went as far as Skelmanthorpe, a distance of about two miles, where a passing loop had been provided for the locomotive to run round its train. 

The view from the road bridge just before Skelmanthorpe station illustrates the rather unexciting journey through an avenue of trees, with not many gaps to see the surrounding scenery.  Beyond Skelmanthorpe the trackbed curved left towards the junction with the Huddersfield to Penistone line near Shepley, having passed through a 500-yard tunnel. 

I had visited Shepley on a rather cold 26 January 1985, when a Birmingham Class 110, units E52075 and E51841, was approaching the staggered platforms with the 12:55 Sheffield to Huddersfield.  The double track starts just beyond the old junction to Clayton West, and continues to the next station Stocksmoor, providing a useful passing loop for today’s hourly service between Huddersfield and Sheffield, the other crossing being at Barnsley. 

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