Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

05 February 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

February 2018

Tuesday 6 February  North Wales Railway Circle Barry Wynn, assisted by Steve Morris, presents more of his work.  A superb collection of photographs depicting British Railway practice going back to steam days.           

Wednesday 7  February   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Doug Birmingham – “Rail Reflections in Merseyside”

Thursday 8 February  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Ellis Morey: The Penrhyn Railway

Friday 9 February  Shropshire Railway Society Preserved Steam on Video (PSOV), Karl Jauncey & Dave Richards

Friday 9 February Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Over the Water - Isle of Man and Ireland in the 60s: a colour slide presentation by Bill Chapman.

Monday 19  February   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     CHESTER    Ian Pilkington – “Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells”

Friday 23 February Shropshire Railway Society Andrew Charman: Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway

March 2018

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

Tuesday 6 March  North Wales Railway Circle North to South. North Wales Railway Circle member Ken Owen returns with a pictorial journey north to south over the British Rail network.

Thursday 8 March     Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  John Cashen RCTS:  North West & North Wales Reminiscences in the 1960s   

Friday 9 March  Shropshire Railway Society George Jones: Onward to illustrated review of the Llangollen Railway's extension to Corwen

Monday 19  March   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Peter Berry – “The Robert Whitfield Collection, UK Steam 1948 - 1958”  Because of renovations the Society will not be able to hold the meeting at The Town Crier, Station Road, Chester and the meeting will now take place nearby at The Queen Hotel, Station Road, Chester (opposite  the station).

Friday 9 March Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Trains of Thought. Includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the US and the UK. a digital presentation by Bob Avery

Friday 23 March  Shropshire Railway Society Chris Banks, Too be announced

April 2018

Tuesday 3 April  North Wales Railway Circle Tony Griffith returns with two presentations.  The Dyserth Branch and an historic shipping disaster off the North Wales Coast.  
Wednesday 4 April   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Alan Moore – “The Railways of St. Helens”

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

Thursday 12 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  Members Evening  

Friday 13 April  Shropshire Railway Society Mervyn Pritchard, Swiss Alps and Railways

Friday 13 April Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Navigation Road and All That.The show includes scenes at Navigation Road, Ashley, Cinderland Crossing, Dunham Massey and other locations in the Altrincham area. Ted Buckley shows pictures (mainly of steam) taken by his late father Bill in the 1960s.

13-15 April Llangollen Railway End of Steam gala 3802 expected back in traffic otherwise further attractions yet to be announced.

Saturday 14 April Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains. Crewe - Holyhead and return. 46100, 34046 or 70000. Special introductory fares from £45.

Monday 16 April   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Brian Armand – “Railway Roundabout”      

Thursday 26 April Brian Yates: Light Rail Transit Association (Manchester) The Tramways of Berlin, Potsdam, Lyon and Grenoble.

Friday 27 April  Shropshire Railway Society AGM, followed by Member's talk

Saturday 28 April Steam on the Coast UK Railtours  Ynys Mon Express. Leicester - Holyhead  60163 Tornado  Derby - Holyhead - Derby.

May 2018

Tuesday 8 May  North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic Competition  

Thursday 10 May  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  W. Gordon Davies:  A taste of Japan

June 2018

Saturday 2 June Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains. Crewe - Holyhead and return. 46100, 34046 or 70000.

2-3 June  Llangollen Railway Heritage railcar gala

30 June Llangollen Railway Classic transport

July 2018

Sunday 22 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express
Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Holyhead and return. 45690

Tuesday 24 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog. 45699 or 48151: Preston - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Blaenau and return

August 2018

Saturday 4 August. Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains.  Bangor (07.00/22.15) Llandudno Jct (07.25/21.55) Colwyn Bay (07.35/21.45) Rhyl (07.50/21.30) Prestatyn (08.00/21.20) Flint (08.10/21.10) Chester (08.30/20.50) Crewe (09.30/20.00) Stafford to Stratford-on Avon. 46100, 34046 or 70000.

September 2018

Saturday 8 September Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich -Peterborough - Nuneaton - Chester - Peterborough

29 September Llangollen Railway Diesel gala

October 2018

12-14 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala

Friday 19 October Steam on the Coast Golden Eagle Luxury Tour (Day 5 of 12) (Provisional)  Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog 46100: Llandudno Junction - Blaenau Ffestiniog, Holyhead - Crewe

37 057 on Network Rail duty at Bangor, 31 January. Picture by Peter Basterfield.

Locomotive variety

60 026 in engineering duty at Rhyl, 31 January. Picture by Jim Scott, driver of the loco.

On Saturday morning 3 February 67 016  heads through Flint with a weeekend extra for the Six Nations rugby match (Tim Rogers).

Locomotive Services class 47 D1944 Craftsman (ex DRS 47 501) between Saltney Junction and Green Lane Crossing with a  10:28 Crewe to Bescot training run on 5 February. This is due to run again on 6 February (Bob Greenhalgh).

Class 68 locos have apparently gained the nickname 'Cats' after the Caterpillar diesel engines. Here's another famous feline at Bangor with 68 002 Intrepid and 68 016 Fearless in charge of the afternoon flask train on 24 January (Peter Basterfield).

A class 97/3 piloting a Colas Rail tamper awaits authority to enter Barmouth station with a working from the Coleham depot at Shrewsbury (Kate Jones).

This Network Rail MPV was noted at Chester on 2 February. De-icing the Merseyrail third rail perhaps?

Bus info for Llangollen - compiled by George Jones

Services on the Llangollen Railway re-start on 10 February. In the absence of another bus operator taking on route 5 Wrexham to Llangollen to serve Ruabon station, intending visitors to Llangollen Railway and other places in the Dee Valley are reminded that the onward bus service remains in the hands of Arriva Cymru from the stop on Bridge Street at the bottom of the station approach, with a 40-minute service interval.

With the hourly Up and Down trains arriving at Ruabon in the 40-55 mins past the hour time frame, for those planning a day out, it is worth knowing that the weekday route 5 is due at the Bridge St stop in the following sequence: 08:53, 09:33, 10:13, 10:53, 11:33, 12:13, 12:53 seq. It will be seen that some buses provide a convenient connection with some trains, assuming one 'legs it' down the road - others are less so. On Sundays the service is two-hourly from 10:18.

Returning home after a day in Llangollen it would seem desirable to be on the 17:15 departure arriving Ruabon at 17:32 for the trains due at 17:54 / 17:55. Later buses departing Llangollen at 17:55 and 18:35 do not make convenient train connections and would involve a lot of hanging around at what is a featureless station.

The so-called rail replacement bus, now the Traws Cymru T3 service as operated by Lloyds of Machynlleth, to Barmouth does at Ruabon station at 09:19, 11:18, 12:33 and 13:18 et seq and mostly will involve a half our wait. A  return T3 departure departs Llangollen at 16:35 - arriving Ruabon 16:50. The next available train is the 16:56 for Holyhead, or an hour's wait for the next southbound train. Or a later 17:50 departure calls at Bridge Street only at 18:05. Traws Cymru buses (see heading picture) have been free to use at weekends recently, as an experiment to increase usage; one can travel from Wrexham to Barmouth free of charge.

On 3 February I travelled on the T3 route from Corwen (pictured above with Optare Metrocity YJ65 EUN of Llloyds Coaches of Macynlleth) deparing 14:30 to Ruabon, arriving at 15:05, ten minutes after trains have departed. Travellers would be well advised to consult Arriva Cymru and Traws Cymru timetables in advance of their visit for any changes which may occur. The timetables displayed at the station bus stop and elsewhere are currently (as of 27 January) out of date.

Supposedly Wrexham County Borough Council continue to look for operators to take over some services formerly provided by D Jones & Son but, with a reducing number of bus operators in North East Wales, the prospects are not encouraging. In the meantime, Arriva Cymru considers a double-decker Enviro 400 every 40 minutes is adequate for the patronage on what is a commercial route to Llangollen. Regulars might disagree. The service has gone back almost 20 years to the time when Bryn Melyn offered an hourly service. Subsequent competition which at one stage saw five buses an hour proved excessive and an illusion which could not last.

South Manchester single lines - pictures by Greg Mape

From Northenden Junction on the Mid-Cheshire route, two single-line routes radiate. The passenger line heads towards Stockport; 150 146 (above) is on a Chester - Manchester working on 5 February.

Both lines are crossed by the Slade Lane Junction - Styal - Wilmslow line; here is 66 613 and a train of empty stone hoppers. The train is the return empties from Lostock Works.

A wider view from the same viewpoint as above. The Arriva 175 is working a Llandudno - Manchester Airport service.  Greg travelled by bike to this location, on foot or by car it is not recommended.

66 124 approaches the former Cheadle station on with the 10:00 Dowlow - Theale stone train.

More Wrexham and Shropshire memories - with Chris Poole

I went to Wrexham to see the final arrivals on the night of 28 January 2011.

Emotional farewells were made.

67 012 A Shropshire Lad.


All of the staff, men and women too
We were the company's chosen few
Picked from the many, that did apply
Our skills in the past, the reason why

To deliver a service that would be second to none
From Wrexham to London, we were the one
We gave a first class service, to all of our train
You could relax while we took the strain

For nearly three years, each way we did go
Whatever the weather, be rain wind and snow
You sat back relaxed and enjoyed the ride
Looked after by a crew so full of pride

A first class service we delivered to you
With fresh cooked meals, and beverages too
With a friendly service, and a positive smile
We attempted to go that extra mile

Our passenger focus made us the best
Attaining ninety nine percent, beating the rest
But try as we might we could do no more
Forcing the company to close its own door


Wrexham and Shropshire you were the best.This is dedicated to all the fine staff who worked for the best ever rail company.

Sign in the station window, and our transcription.

Reserving Seats in Advance Tickets - epilogue

Our piece on the problems we encountered when trying to reserve seats on a Manchester - Cardiff train when booking an Arriva Trains Wales cheap 'Advance' ticket generated some very interesting replies and comments from people who understood the system, apparently rather better than Arriva's Twitter operators, telephone help staff and at least one conductor.

To re-cap, we booked on-line for a journey from Stockport to Cardiff, and discovered that if we chose the 'Advance' option we were denied the facility to reserve actual seats (and not just an undefined place on the train, known as a 'counted place' - possibly having to stand) which apparently was available to buyers of the more expensive 'Anytime' version travelling on the same train.

Some correspondents pointed out that there is a limit to how many seats can be reserved on a given train, which is understandable, but this doesn't really explain what happened. We were told by Arriva's Tweeters that we should be able to take our Advance tickets to 'any staffed station', and they'd be able to reserve seats for us.

It turns out that the above is true, but what it really means in practice is an Arriva Trains Wales staffed station where the staff member has experience of the need to look down the on-screen list of possible tickets to an entry 'ATW RESERVATION' mysteriously priced at £1000. Selecting this allows the station staff to reserve seats for an existing ticket at no charge. The £1000 fare is, it seems, to warn staff that they are not toactually sell such a ticket, just make the reservation. It's surely understandable that even the most helpful staff, at stations run by other companies, who might have such enquiries about tickets to Wales maybe a couple of times a year, are going to have trouble applying this one-company eccentricity.

Confusing the issue further, booking Advance First Class tickets on the Manchester - Cardiff 'Gerald' service through the website does allow a reservation. Nobody has really explained to us why this cannot apply to all reservable trains; someone making a four-hour journey in what is, at best, a three-coach train, surely needs some assurance of a named seat and the ability to sit with their companion. Why not allow seat reservations online, as Virgin Trains do? Manchester to Cardiff is just as much an 'Inter-City' journey as Manchester to London.

Thanks again to those who have taken the time to explain this.
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