Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

24 July 2017

Yet another trespasser spotted on a steam train day (Picture by Roly High).

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

[Details of events during the autumn of 2017 are welcome for this space]

August 2017

25-28 August Bala Lake Railway Steam Gala

September 2017

Friday 1 September Clwyd Railway Circle Dave Walters 'Railway Memories' The first half of the programme will feature images from John Dickinson, sadly no longer with us taken from 1970’s to 1989 in North Wales and other areas. The second half features images from Pat Webb taken from 1949/50 to the 80’s and 90’s mostly in black and white.

1-3 September Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Gala Weekend

15-17 September Welsh Highland Railway Super Power Weekend

16-17 September Penrhyn Quarry Railway Special event

Saturday 23 September Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Diesel day

23-24 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Weekend

October 2017

Friday 6 October Clwyd Railway Circle Les Nixon '55 Years of Railway Photography - Part 3' A selection of railway pictures which include genuine BR steam, a wide variety of mainly older modern traction along with industrials, some preservation and brief visits, worldwide, to nearly 20 countries.

6-8 October Ffestiniog Railway Victorian Weekend

13-15 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala

November 2017

Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle 'Snowdon Mountain Railway' A presentation given by Mike Robertshaw Msc IEng MIED, Senior Engineering Manager of the railway.

Saturday 18 November Steam on the Coast Steam Dreams Cathedrals Express London Euston - Llandudno for the Christmas Market.  46233 Duchess of Sutherland: Crewe  - Llandudno and return

December 2017

Friday 1 December  Clwyd Railway Circle 'Members Night & Christmas Celebrations' Members are invited  to give a 15 minute presentation of their choice (any format). FREE tea/coffee & festive treats during the interval. Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

January 2018

Friday 5 January  Clwyd Railway Circle Mike Blackburn 'The Welsh Highland Railway (NWNGR)' A history of the North Wales narrow gauge and Croesor Tramway and the linking to form the Welsh Highland Railway, restoration and building of the new.

February 2018

Friday 2 February Clwyd Railway Circle John Sloane 'From Vulcan Foundry to the Khyber' British built steam at work in Pakistan, It includes pictures taken on the spectacular line up the Khyber Pass to the Afghan border.

March 2018

Friday 2 March Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by “Film Shows - Railways Past and Present”.

April 2018

Friday 6 April Clwyd Railway Circle John Cashen 'North West & North Wales Reminiscences In The 1960s' The presentation will cover from Liverpool to Liverpool within an area bounded by Southport, Burscough, Standish, Warrington, Crewe, Whitchurch, Chester, Holyhead, Barmouth, Aberystwyth, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, the Wirral, Chester, Northwich and Speke

45690 Leander storming past Ffrith Crossing, Prestatyn on 23 July. Picture by Ian Pilkington.

North Wales Coast Express

The only Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express'  running this summer, from Liverpool to Holyhead and back, operated on Sunday 23 July. Locomotive allocated was 'Jubilee' 45690 Leander. The day before, Saturday 22 July, Kyle Holland photographed the loco and support coach at Crewe reversing to the Crewe heritage centre, where it was making an appearance as part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary since the opening of the Centre, before working the 'NWCE' on the Sunday.

Sunday morning and the excursion approaching Huyton on the recently-quarupled section of the Liverpool and Manchester main line (Ian Pilkington).

Frodsham Viaduct (Phil Clarke).

Hapsford, south of Helsby (Phil Clarke).

Approaching Colwyn Bay (Greg Mape).

Approaching Llandudno Junction station through the thinner jungle by Queen Road bridge (Brian Jones).

Entering platform 1 of Llandudno Junction station (Brian Jones).

Approaching the footbridge at The Waen, Conwy Morfa  (Brian Jones).

Passing Conwy Castle  (Ian Pilkington). The third carriage is the Premier Class Pullman; always handy to confirm in which direction the train was travelling when photographed.

Rowan Crawshaw travelled to Anglesey to capture the train on Malltraeth viaduct.

Coming off the Cob to enter Llandudno Junction station on the return run from Holyhead (Brian Jones).

Pensarn (Greg Mape).

Passing Abergele on the return run to Liverpool. (Brian Jones).

The return train had an interrupted passage through Rhyl. Above, comes to a second stand, in the station, after already being checked at the 'H' bridge because the signals were not clear (Roly High).

On the move, only to be checked again at the starter signal  (Roly High). The 18:25 Holyhead - Birmingham International Class 175 ahead departed Rhyl 9 minutes late at 19:52, with the next signals at Prestatyn 6 minutes normal running time away, but the special was not allowed to depart until 20:07.  Prestatyn box closes at 18:00 on Sundays and Talacre at 19:00,  creating a very long section: the train had to wait until the 175 passed Holywell Junction before it could proceed.

Halton Curve special - by George Jones

There will be a Special 'Parliamentary' Train from Chester to Liverpool South Parkway on Saturday 29 July. Helsby and Frodsham lost their direct link to Liverpool in 1975, and a direct service is expected to be restored in December 2018. Normal fares apply on this special train so why not join Northern and the North Cheshire Rail Users Group for a journey over forgotten tracks. Return via the Wirral Line or Warrington. Spend the day in Liverpool, visit the shops, the docks and museums, take a ferry across the Mersey.

The train will depart Chester on Saturday 29 July at 07:53, calling at Helsby 08:02, Frodsham 08:06 and Runcorn (Mainline) 08:17 , arriving Liverpool South Parkway 08:25.

As the work of re-instating the Halton Curve has already commenced and all is going to plan, this is probably the last 'Parliamentary' train to run on this line. (This service was originally planned for 22 July but has been put back a week because of the Open Golf Championship at Royal Birkdale on that weekend.)

Green steam miscellany

Ivatt 2-6-0 46521 runs around at Leicester North station on 18 July before departing with the 13:05 Great Central Railway service to Loughborough.This loco was 'shedded' at Oswestry, and later Machynlleth, during its British Railways days before withdrawal in 1966. I carries an 89C (Machynlleth) shed code. Picture by Martin Evans.

Pacific 46233 Duchess of Sutherland at Liverpool Lime Street on 22 Julty after working the Cumbrian Mountain Express. Picture by Phil Clarke.

Brymbo Railway revival

On Saturday 29 July there will be an open day at the Brymbo Mineral Railway, a 2ft-pgauge line which is being established on the old steel works site, accessed from the B5101 west of Wrexham.
It will feature the vertical boiler loco Iorwerth  built by Adam Barber. George Jone's picture shows their display at Glyndyfrdwy station on the Llangollen line.

Details are on the Brymbo Hertage Project's Facebook page.

A Short trip on the Heart of Wales line – Monday 3 July by Richard Putley

Thanks to an article in the Summer 2017 issue of “Hereford Hopvine”, the Herefordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale's newsletter, I became aware that the Hear of Wales Line Travellers' Association is planning a series of trails that you can walk between various stations on the line.
The ultimate aim is to create a series of walks covering the whole length of the line between Craven Arms and Llanelli. One of the first to be set up covers the six miles between Craven Arms and the first station at Broome and it is this walk that the article described.

So I decided to have a go at this walk. As I wasn't sure how long I'd take I decided to drive to Craven Arms and park at the railway station. I arrived there in time to see 175 001 heading north on the 12:24 to Manchester Picadilly which starts back from Fishguard!

In due course 153 320 (above) arrived from the Heart of Wales line with the 13:01 to Shrewsbury. It returned on the 14:33 to Swansea ...

...  which I took to Broome (above). I was amazed to see that a Buffet Trolley Service was provided!

From Broome station I walked past the very forlorn looking Engine and Tender pub which has been closed for a number of years. Alas it's now bereft of its sign, which I recall depicted an early London and North Western Railway steam loco, but alas I cannot remember what class.

The Kangaroo Inn in the neighbouring village of Aston-on-Clun is still open but not until 6pm on Mondays so I was unable to patronise it. The ship depicted on the sign, the SS Kangaroo was an iron hull steam ship launched in 1859. Sadly she floundered off Anglesey 3 years later with the loss of 13 live. What her connection with Aston-on-Clun is no-one seems to know. I did however purchase some refreshment at the village shop which is run by the community and is adjacent to the village hall and green.

The walk takes you up to Hopesay Common from which you can look down on Craven Arms. I took a picture (above) of a 3-car class 175 DMU on a northbound service. Descending past Sibdon Castle, a 17th century manor house...

I arrived back in Craven Arms in time to see another Class 153 arrive with the 17:58 from Swansea to Crewe that runs via the Heart of Wales line.

After some fish and chips from the chip shop by the junction of Station Road and the main A49 road, I photographed the northbound Cardiff - Holyhead 'WAG Express'. Despite having clear signals it passed through the station very slowly. I thought it was going to stop even though it's not booked to. A Driving Trailer was on the front with 67 029 Royal Diamond providing the motive power.

Finally I photographed 150 285 on the 18:54 departure to Swansea via the Heart of Wales line. This train continues from Swansea to Cardiff Central. After that I decided to call it a day and return home. A very enjoyable day out, helped by excellent weather.

Garratt for the Vale of Rheidol

Aberystwyth’s Vale of Rheidol is pleased to announce the arrival of  NG G13 Beyer Garratt locomotive No. 60 “Drakensberg”

YouTube video of the loco in action in Switzerland

Arrival of the locomotive this week signalled the completion of 3 years of careful negotiations and an 800 mile journey from Switzerland to Mid Wales. The move started on 12 July including a police escort through the centre of Basel, continuing through Germany over night arriving at Antwerp on Friday ready to board a ferry. The locomotive arrived in Hull at 7.00am on Saturday before continuing to Birmingham then onto the Vale of Rheidol arriving on Monday 17th.

The locomotive is privately owned but is to be on loan to the railway for a prolonged period of time. After some restoration work, No.60 will be available to bolster the operational fleet if required, offering extended service periods for the current locomotives. Vale of Rheidol is rightly proud of the reliability of its steam engines and No 60 will only enhance this offering new opportunities.

No 60 will not be replacing the iconic Rheidol tanks but just spreading the load on the existing fleet. Many readers will be aware the Vale of Rheidol has an extensive museum collection consisting of a variety of steam locomotives from all over the world. It is most likely No 60 will operate some heavy summer trains and special charter trains.

Vale of Rheidol web page will include updates and news on the restoration progress. The first chance to see the locomotive on display will be at the railway’s Roaring 1920’s and 30’s weekend on 14-15 September.

Robert Gambrill, CEO Vale of Rheidol Railway writes : 'A very big thank you is in order to firstly the guys at Schinzacher Baumschulbahn who have helped in every way, especially Urias von Meyburg who really has gone the extra mile to make sure everything went to plan. Our Haulage contractors Allelys have proved brilliant at organising and faultlessly executing the move of the engine to the UK. I am only too aware just how tricky this was especially with the Swiss road authorities! Finally the team at the railway who have safely landed the engine on the railway. All have worked really hard to see No 60 welcomed to the UK. We are now all looking forward to seeing her climb the 1 in 40 to Devils Bridge enabling everyone to enjoy the spectacular views from our railway. Offering yet another excuse to come and see us if one was needed!'

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