Friday 7 September Clwyd
Railway Circle “North Wales, the Future”. With
Arriva's withdrawal from the next Wales and Borders
franchise, what will this mean for passengers and staff? Our
speaker will be able to bring us up to date with the latest
news; Ben Davies - Arriva Trains Wales, Stakeholder Liaison
Saturday 8 September Steam at ChesterRailway
Touring Company Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich
-Peterborough - Nuneaton - Chester - Peterborough
Monday 15 October RCTS
Chester "Rails to Bala" Dave Southern
Friday 19 October Steam on the Coast Golden
Eagle Luxury Tour (Day 5 of 12) (Provisional)
Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog 46100: Llandudno Juncion -
Blaenau Ffestiniog, Holyhead - Crewe November 2018
Friday 2 November Clwyd
Railway Circle “The Development of Railways in the
UK”A look at rail development from Trevithick through to the
23,000 miles of railway in the UK by 1921. Mike
Wednesday 5 December RCTS
Liverpool "BR in the North West" Tom Heavyside
Friday 7 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.
Monday 17 December RCTS
Chester "The Fate of The Irish Mail" Tony Griffiths (A
film which relates the story of the Abergele disaster in
Friday 4 January Clwyd
Railway Circle “West Country Memories” An illustrated
talk which includes all the branch lines of Devon and
Cornwall. Dave Southern
Monday 21 January RCTS
Chester AGM, followed by "A Photographic Tribute to
Edgar Richards"( Non-members are invited to attend
from 20.00 hours) February
Friday 1 February Clwyd
Railway Circle “The Glorious Steam Railways of India”
The images were taken when it was a fully steam worked
system, with a variety of steam across four different
gauges. John Sloane
Wednesday 3 April RCTS
Liverpool "Manchester to Liverpool by CLC" Ken
Friday 5 April Clwyd
Railway Circle "Scotland in the 1960s" The talk
covers the whole of Scotland - going up the west side to
Wick and Thurso and returning down the east side from/to
John Cashen Monday 15 April RCTS
Chester "Steam on the North Wales Coast" (Video
Presentation) Ron Watson Jones
175 103 on the 12:35 Manchester Airport - Llandudno
passes 175 116 on the 10:44 Llandudno - Manchester
Airport on the approach to Manchester Oxford Road
station. The tower in the background belongs to the
former Congregational Chapel, which was the Stock, Aitken
and Waterman recording studio for two decades from the
1980s. Picture by Charlie Hulme.
On Tuesday 4 September our
contributor Peter Basterfield will be presenting
photographs of his recent railway adventures at the North
Wales Railway Circle monthly meeting at Victoria
Hotel, Telford Road, Menai Bridge LL59 5DR, 19:30 for 19:45.
Visitors are welcome.
The Cardiff - Holyhead express passes Abergavenny signalbox
- with its semaphore signalling and loops - on 24 August
with 67 029Royal Diamond in charge ...
.. and departs from the station with driving van trailer
82306 on the rear. Pictures by Richard Putley.
The competition - the 17:30 Eastern Airways
service to Cardiff Airport - a 29-seat BAe Jetstream - takes
off from Valley, scheduled arrival 18:20, on 24
August. There are some bargain fares to be had on this
17:30 service, as little as £10.15.
67 010 stands at Flint on 23 August on the rear of
1H89 13:07 Holyhead - Manchester Piccadilly ...
... and departs. The coaches are DVT 82308, TSO 12182,TSO
12183, TSO 12184 (Tim Rogers).
The next morning, 67 010 heads the 09:50 Manchester -
Holyhead past RAF Valley (Greg Mape).
The Railway Correspondence and
Travel Society's Liverpool and Chester programmes for
2018-9 have now been added to our Forthcoming Events Column.
Heart of Wales 150 - report by Garry Stroud
This year 2018 marks the 150th anniversary - 1868-2018 - of
the 'Heart of Wales' line from Shrewsbury and Craven Arms to
Swansea. From transporting freight in the early days and
soldiers in WW1, the Heart of Wales line was originally
built to transport coal from the deep coal mines in the
Welsh Valleys up north to the burgeoning factories of the
industrial revolution, it was one of the few rural railway
lines to survive Beeching's axe and is also called the
Central Wales line.
Perhaps not featuring as much as it should in the railway
press of today, its rural nature and class 153 single units
still evoke a bygone atmosphere, I took a trip on 20 August
to the South Shropshire / Powys border to record a few
images of this fascinating line. Upper picture:
Craven Arms still retains its semaphore signals; having
crossed over from the main Hereford line, 153 362
enters the station with the 14:05 Shrewsbury to Swansea
service. Central Wales trains use the short length of the
northbound line to reach the junction.
153 362 awaits its 14:45 departure from Craven Arms.
Looking south from Craven Arms, 153 362 takes the Heart of
Wales line. The main Marches line is in stark contrast with
the weed-infested single track towards Swansea.
After leaving Craven Arms on single track, Knighton on the
Powys/Shropshire border with its passing loop is the first
important station on southbound workings, here 153 353
has charge of the 09:34 Swansea to Shrewsbury service, on 21
August. Although the original goods yard has been taken over
by an agricultural company, the old station goods shed can
be seen in the distance.
Beyond Knighton the track reverts to single line status
again. Here 153 353 departs the station with the 14:05
Shrewsbury to Swansea service on 21 August.
Llangollen Railway scenes
British Railways 2-6-4T 80072 has been busy on Llangollen
railway services of late. Above, it stands at Llangollen
with the 13:00 to Corwen East on 21 August.
On Saturday 25 August, 80072 departs Llangollen with the
12:15 service to Corwen East during a brief heavy
thunderstorm (Martin Evans). [To those of a 'certain
age' this loco will bring back memories of the Hornby-Dublo
version, with its screw on the back of the bunker which was
supposed to adjust something.]
Class 37 D6940 approaches Glyndyfrdwy station with
the 11:00 service from Llangollen (Martin Evans).
Also noted on shed was Class 47 D1566. and Class 08 08
195 was at Pentrefelin sidings.
Bala Lake mini-gala - report by Bob Greenhalgh
On Sunday 26 August, Bala Lake Railway
loco Holy War on the Penrhyn slate wagons arriving
at Llanuwchllyn. Holy War was due to be withdrawn
from service Monday night for overhaul.
George B waiting in Llangower loop as Alice
departs with a train for Bala.
New Caernarfon station - pictures by Ron Walker
I visited Caernarfon on Saturday 18 August and took three
photos that may be of interest. Above, you can see how the
platform is to be extended.
The paving around the building is almost finished ...
... while the inside still has a good bit of fitting out to
Abergele disaster 1868
20 August 2018 was the 150th anniversary of the accident to
have befallen the North Wales Coast line. On 20 August 1868,
33 people died when careless shunting of the goods yard at
Llandulas station (later renamed Llysfaen) caused wagons
which has been left on the Down main line, contrary to
company instructions, including two wagons loaded with
paraffin oil in casks, to run away towards Abergele. The
wagons collided with the Irish Mail express, resulting in a
A service of remembrance was held at St Michael's Church on
20 August 2018. After the service, which included a
procession from the doors of the church to the site of the
grave, where the victims were remembered with a blessing,
local researcher Tony Griffiths showed the documentary film,
made with his wife Barbara. Unfortunately this film has not
been made available online, but it will be shown at the
Railway Correspondence and Travel Society meeting in Chester
on 17 December.
Some views taken on Monday 27 August in Conwy, North
Wales, including the class 67-hauled service by Arriva, as
well as the DRS Flask train from Valley. A trip down
memory lane for me - the first location known as 'Wen
crossing' is where I started trainspotting on the way to
school nearly 40 years ago.
Grosvenor Park Railway, Chester - pictures by Martin
The Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway first opened in 1996,
originally designed for just one season to commemorate the
centenary of the Duke of Westminster's railway at nearby
Eaton Hall. The brainchild of miniature railway author Roger
Greatrex, it was bully by a team led by Robin Butterell, and
extended in 1997, but Mr Butterell was unable to continue
running the line and it was taken over by a consortium
including John Murray, who was also one of this website's
small band of supporters in those early days. The
result was a memorable gathering of contributors to take a
ride on the line. Does anyone have a photograph?
Stephen Hardin took over in 2000, upgrading the line and its
motive power. The line runs for ¼ mile in a large circle
round an ornamental lake, en route travelling over a bridge
and passing over two level crossings. The main motive power
today is a Greatrex-built Union Pacific loco, dating
from 2004. Stephen Hardin sadly died in 2016; his family
continue to run the railway.
88s on the Flasks
Two more pictures of 88 002Prometheus and 88
009Diana working the Valley - Crewe flasks on
20 August. The view above at Bangor, with a little digital
enhancement, is by Rhodri Williams.
Tim Rogers, in his usual methodical style, recorded
the wagons as FNA 550029, 550045 and 550055. The scene
is the approach to Mostyn, with its redundant signal gantry.
A week later, 27 August, and 88s appeared again, this time 88
009Diana and 88 006 Juno. Peter
Basterfield's picture is from the footbridge at
Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh). The diesel engine in
the Class 88 is rated at only 900 horsepower, so this due
has considerably less power than a pair of 66s or 68s, but
there are few steep gradients between Valley and Crewe, and
using them on this train is a good way to get experience
with the diesel mode.
Buckley ... and Burry Port - by Barrie Hughes
The Buckley Branch ran from Buckley Junction to Connah’s
Quay where it joined the North Wales Coast Main Line just
north of the site the former station. Another section passed
under the North Wales Coast line with a very low height
bridge and circled around through Connah’s Quay Docks to
join the Borderlands Line just north of Shotton High Level
station, facing towards Wrexham. The railway was created in
two phases. The original Buckley Railway ran from brickworks
and collieries in the Church Road area of Buckley to
Connah’s Quay down a steep gradient, opening on 7 June 1862.
Older car owners may remember the impressive wooden bridge
over the A55 at Northop Hall before the modern dual
carriageway was built. The Wrexham, Mold & Connah’s Quay
Railway opened 4 years later on 1 May1866 to a station in
Buckley at Drury (not Buckley Junction!) and eventually
bought out the Buckley Railway. The Buckley Railway section
north of Buckley (Drury) only ever saw one passenger train,
an excursion, according to various books.
The Wrexham, Mold and Connah's Quay line never reached Mold
though a connection at Pen-y-ffordd into the LNWR route
Chester - Mold line was occasionally used for excursions.
However, the WM&CQR was extended to the north from a
point south of the original Buckley station through Hawarden
to Shotton High Level station where it crossed the River Dee
and joined routes built by the Cheshire Lines Committee in
The Wirral Peninsula to Chester (Northgate)/Bidston (the
latter remaining as the Borderlands Line). Buckley Junction
station was built at the junction with the Hawarden loop
line and Buckley (Drury) closed. Eventually the line became
owned by the GCR on 22 July 1904.
When I moved to the area from Christmas 1960 the line was
steam worked (my sister reports!) with two daily shunter
workings from Buckley Junction but the route north of
Northop Hall coal yard was closed to traffic by May 1961 and
the steep incline down to Connah’s Quay Docks became
overgrown. By 1963 the service was just one train a day from
Dee Marsh (reversing at Buckley Junction) and Class 03
diesels were introduced about this time.
The picture above, by the late John Hobbs, originally
published in our 3 February
February 2014 issue shows D2218, which was a Class 04,
apparently running from Northrop Hall, in in May 1965.
There are published photos of the Class in Connah’s Quay
docks which was worked independently after closure of the
Northop Hall incline section. I can remember seeing them
working the line in the early 1960s and my friends and I had
a close encounter with one near Ashton’s Branch Junction
while cycling beside the line! The very useful website www.2D53.co.uk shows the
timetables for the period amongst others in North Wales.
Details of Trip Workings are also available to purchase on
The Buckley branch was closed on 5 July 1965 and lifted the
following year, with the final Trip Notice dated 14 June
1965. Being an impecunious teenager I had no camera to
record the scene, though there are many pictures in the
Buckley Railway Album published by the Buckley Society
diesels. I have recollections of walking the closed trackbed
in between Drury and Connah’s Quay and the docks branch in
the mid sixties following closure. If anyone does have any
(unpublished) images I’d be very interested to see them.
So - it was with great interest that I came across the very
similar operation on the Burry Port & GwendraethValley Railway on 11 August 1983 whilst touring Wales
on a railway holiday. An coal train was about to set off up
the branch from Burry Port with three Class 03s, 03 119
/ 141 / 145. These had to have cut down cabs
as the railway was built on the line of the former
canal with low bridges in places. Coal traffic
continued until 1996, latterly with cut down Class 08
shunters. Above, 03 141 and 03 119 couple up in Burry Port
03 119 and 03 141 with empty coal wagons start up from Burry
03 119 and 03 141 seen from the B4311 road bridge ...
03 145 'banking' on the rear of the train.
03 145 banking up the hill, seen from the B4317 road bridge
on the canal section.
Surprisingly all three Class 03s have been preserved. 03 119
at the Epping & Ongar Railway, 03141 at Pontypool and
Blaenavon Railway and 03 145 at D2578 Locomotive Group,
Moreton Business Park.