Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

09 October 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

October 2018

Friday 12 October  Altrincham Electric Railway Society Steam archive around Chester General from 1950 onwards. A digital presentation by Jon Penn.

12-14 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala

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 Junction - Blaenau Ffestiniog, Holyhead - Crewe Cancelled.

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 Blackburn

Tuesday 6 November North Wales Railway Circle Illustrious local photographer Barry Wynne assisted by Steve Morris.

Friday 9 November  Altrincham Electric Railway Society. Steam through Skelton Junction and Timperley Junction 1955-1968. A digital presentation by Tony Martin.

Monday 19 November RCTS Chester "Through Kirton Tunnel" Stephen Gay

December 2018

Tuesday 4 December North Wales Railway Circle Christmas Social & Members' Evening.

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.

Friday 14 December  Altrincham Electric Railway Society. People & Places 3. images of railway staff, enthusiasts, the general public and the steam railway. A digital presentation by Paul Shackcloth.

Monday 17 December RCTS Chester "The Fate of The Irish Mail" Tony Griffiths (A film which relates the story of the Abergele disaster in 1868)

January 2019

Friday 4 January Clwyd Railway Circle “West Country Memories” An illustrated talk which includes all the branch lines of Devon and Cornwall. Dave Southern

Tuesday 8 January North Wales Railway Circle (Speaker to be announced) The Bala Lake Railway

Friday 11 January Altrincham Electric Railway Society. Journeys through Wales during the 1960s including narrow gauge railways A colour slide presentation by Bill Chapman.

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 2019

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

Tuesday 5 February North Wales Railway Circle [To be announced]

Friday 8 February  Altrincham Electric Railway Society Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells 2010-2016. A digital presentation by Ian Pilkington.

Wednesday 6 February RCTS Liverpool "North West & North Wales Reminiscences of the 1960s" John Cashen

Monday 18 February RCTS Chester "A Taste of Japan" Gordon Davies

March 2019

Tuesday 5 March North Wales Railway Circle Humph Davies with mostly narrow-gauge archive material.

Friday 1 March Clwyd Railway Circle  “Annual General Meeting” followed by “Chairman’s Choice” A night of self indulgence from the retiring chairman, David Jones

Friday 8 March Altrincham Electric Railway Society. The Glorious Steam Railways of India. Steam across India from 1976 to the early 1980s. A digital presentation by John Sloane.

Monday 18 March RCTS Chester "55 Years of Railway Photography, Part 2" Les Nixon

April 2019

Tuesday 2 April North Wales Railway Circle Gareth Haulfryn Williams, archivist and author, on 'Rails to/from Bethesda.'

Wednesday 3 April RCTS Liverpool "Manchester to Liverpool by CLC" Ken Grainger

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 Carlisle.
John Cashen

Friday 12 April  Altrincham Electric Railway Society Great Western and Southern Steam in the West Country. A colour slide presentation by Alf Storey.

Monday 15 April RCTS Chester "Steam on the North Wales Coast" (Video Presentation) Ron Watson Jones

May 2019

Tuesday 7 May North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Members' Photo. Competition.

The new livery makes an appearance at Shrewsbury on 8 October in the shape of 175 107 working the 15:10 Milford Haven - Manchester. Picture by Charlie Hulme. (We noticed that the station staff also had their cameras at hand.)

Back from holiday - thanks as always for the contributions; some items have been held to next week due to lack of time.- Charlie

Transport for Wales livery

The re-liveried 175 made its debut on the Coast on 9 October, as seen above at Llandudno (Gary Jones).

Close-up of the logo (Gary Jones). The 'T' is vaguely reminiscent of the Transrail freight company of the 1990s.

Attracting attention at Llandudno Junction (Chris Coxon).

Passing Marion Road, Prestatyn, 9 October (Dave Sallery). The yellow end panels have been retained, as it appears that only new stock can run without them.

Near Hawarden, working the 14:40 Llandudno - Manchester on 9 October (John Cowlishaw). 175 107 is the unit that caught fire at Deganwy earlier this year.

Chester (Geraint Williams).

Missing from the new livery are these  'helpful' seat position indicators. How many fellow-sufferers have failed to realise the significance of the little triangle and thought that seats 1-20 were at this end of the carriage?


The Rail Head Treatment Train season is upon us again. An already dirty 56 087 heads the RHTT towards Holyhead past Beeches Farm on 2 October with 56 078 on the tail. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.

The Merseyrail system also has its RHTT. Picture by Chris Coxon, who notes: 'Autumn brings out Network Rail’s Rail Head Treatment Trains and the Wirral Lines of Merseyrail are served by the 04:20 from Wigan L.I.P. making a convoluted journey with reversals at Chester, Birkenhead Central, West Kirby, New Brighton, Hooton, Helsby and Liverpool James Street (thrice). The train is seen in action passing Eastham Rake station for the fourth and final time consisting of MPV Multi Purpose Vehicles) DR 98901 and DR 98951 on 3 October.

'Merseyrail had announced two days previously that many of its trains will be running on different timetables, leaving earlier and arriving later, until the end of the year as a consequence of the Autumn leaf fall, which the Train Company said was "difficult for the railway" and means that trains on the Liverpool Loop, Chester and Ellesmere Port Lines will be subject to changes seven days a week.'

North Wales Report - by Barrie Hughes

With the midday sun angle rapidly decreasing during the solstice this may be the last shot of the year at Llanfairfechan before Transport for Wales take over on 14 October. Here is the Manchester - Holyhead approaching Llanfairfechan as seen from the A55 footbridge. 67 013 seems to have been the regular performer over the last few weeks and the DB red makes a nice contrast with the ATW blue livery of the coaches. Photo taken 11:59 on 27 September showing 1D34 the 09:53 Manchester-Holyhead.

The DVT end seen from the same footbridge as the train heads through Llanfairfechan station on a brisk breezy but sunny afternoon. Problems with loco-DVT connections occasionally have caused cancellation of this train and substitution with DMU stock, much to the chagrin of passengers on 1D31 the 16:50 Manchester-Llandudno, which is basically a commuter working and full and standing to Warrington, something a DMU cannot hope to cope with.

67 013 again on 1D34 passing Valley at 12:34 on 28 September with the signalbox box in a dilapidated green and white livery, something that may not be recognised by LNWR, LMS or LMR staff!  DRS staff say they expect the nuclear waste traffic to continue for a further six months contrary to the Wylfa management who said last year that de-fuelling would be complete in late 2018.

Rather than run round in Valley station (with just a trailing crossover) the method of working sees the empty flasks propel into the Valley Nuclear Electric siding. Once the flasks are loaded the locos draw them forward onto the north to east curve then run round them via the triangle and finally propel them out onto the main line. Above,  68 017 Hornet and 68 003 Astute waiting for their path to propel the two flasks out of the siding on 28 August at 13:35.

68 003 completing the propel move with the ground signal visible giving permission to proceed on the Up Valley platform line through the level crossing. The train then departed a few minutes  later as the 15:06 Valley to Crewe Coal sidings DRS working.

These may be the final freights on the North Wales Coast until Wylfa B (aka Wylfa Newydd if it ever gets built!) needs fuel rods removed in 10 years time? To think once there were four daily Freightliners to Holyhead, not to mention the Penmaenmawr stone, the Anglesey Aluminium, the Amlwch chemical traffic and Speedlink wagonload workings.

[The new owners of the Aluminium smelter site are saying they will use the sidings there for container traffic, but time will tell. - C.H.]

Class 40 through Tiviot Dale

On 4 August 1979 Ken Millward photographed 40 170 passing the remnants of Stockport Tiviot Dave station (closed 1967) with what many North Wales Coast will recognise as the distinctive custom-made hopper wagons of the Immingham - Anglesey Aluminium flow of petroleum coke, which ran, usually weekly, from 1971 to 2001.  The presence of the train here suggests that it had travelled via the Woodhead tunnel route.

The railway here was retained as a freight line until 1980 when the tunnel which the train is approaching was accidentally damaged by construction work for the adjacent M63 (now the M60) motorway. The line was 'temporarily' closed to traffic, but never re-opened and much of the route has been destroyed by building work, removal of bridges, and filling of cuttings.

The Holyhead train was diverted to run via Manchester Victoria station; 40 170 was withdrawn in 1983, having donated its engine to celebrity preserved loco D200. almost none of the structures visible in the photograph, except the old river bridge and Pear Mill in distant Bredbury, have since disappeared without trace.

Bala Lake visit - with Martin Evans

On 25 September, Hunslet loco no 780 Alice being prepared on shed at the Bala Lake Railway before departing for Bala with the 11:30 service. Built in 1902, Alice is the sister engine to Holy War (No. 779). She worked at Dinorwic until about 1960. She was then used for spare parts at the quarry and purchased as a source of spare parts by the then owner of Holy War.

Alice being checked at Bala before running round before departing for Llanuwchllyn with the 12:05 return  service.

In 1977 her remaining parts were gathered together at the Bala Lake Railway and in 1987 these remains were purchased by BLR volunteer worker Chris Scott & work started on restoration. The remains were later moved to the owner's garage, the Ffestiniog Railway and onto the Leighton Buzzard Railway who agreed to finance the new boiler. Alice returned to steam in 1994, having been rebuilt in the style of quarry locomotives - cab-less and with dumb buffers made from large lumps of timber. The locomotive moved back to the Bala Lake Railway in 2003 and was purchased by Julian Birley in 2010.

Winifred, Hunslet works no. 364, undergoing maintenance at  Llanuwchllyn shed on September 25th

Winifred was built in 1885 by the Hunslet Engine Company for the Penrhyn Slate Quarry. She spent most of her working life at Port Penrhyn where she sorted wagons of slate ready for loading onto ships for transport all over the world. She then spent the last ten years of her life working in the quarry itself. When the quarry decided to change to diesel locomotives she was sold and transported to America where she spent the next 50 years in a museum store out of sight.

She was purchased by Julian Birley in 2012 and brought home to Wales. Following completion of an extensive overhaul in our own workshops Winifred returned to steam in the spring of 2015.

Sugar Loaf shambles - report by Jim Ikin

We were booked on the Pathfinder Tours 'Sugar Loaf Mountaineer,' sponsored by Arriva Trains Wales to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Central Wales line, on Sunday 23 September.
We’d been told beforehand the original destination of Carmarthen was off and although one could get off at Llandovery -to be met by Huw Edwards! – or Llandeilo, we decided to go to the final destination of Bynea. 

We joined at Wolverhampton (an hour late due to late arrival of the stock from Bescot) to be told by a fellow passenger that the Class 5 steam loco 45231 which was due to take over at Shrewsbury hadn't been available for some time and instead  37 605, seen above at Shrewsbury, would take the train all the way. The idea had been to use the triangle of lines at Carmarthen to turn the steam loco, but this was precluded by engineering work.

The coaching stock was hired from the Scottish Railway Preservation Society and had to be brought from Scotland before the tour.

A visit to Welshpool

On Sunday 7 October we travelled from Shrewsbury to Welshpool on the first train of the day - 10:55. On the main line, Shrewsbury to Hereford was 'bustituted' for engineering work, and 150 213 had arrived on the first train of the day from Manchester ...

Downstairs we found this scrum of passengers - someone had decided they all had to put their tickets through the barriers to reach the replacement coaches.

158 434 arrives at Welshpool with the 10:30 Aberystwyth - Shrewsbury. Although trains in both directions are timetabled to meet here, double track extends for some distance towards Newtown, so westbound trains don't have to wait in the station for eastbound ones to arrive.

The 13:00 from Llanfair Caereinion arrives at Raven Square station with Countess in charge.

We travelled on the 14:05 from Welshpool, It's always a pleasure to ride this line, especially as it recalls some of our favourite Austrian lines, and you can ride on the balcony.

The old lady was having ash removed from her smokebox before the 15:30 return departure, while Joan, in light steam, stood by. while we replenished ourselves with some delicious home-make cake from the café. The train left a little late, and became even later when an extra stop was made further down the line to attend to the smokebox again - inferior coal, perhaps? Happily, despite arrival at Welshpool at 16:40 instead of 16:15, we walked across town just in time to catch the 16:55 back to Shrewsbury, despite the long walk over the ramped footbridge.

Corwen from above - pictures by Dewi Davies, text by George Jones

Llangollen Railway volunteer Dewi Davies launched his drone to obtained the aerial views of the Corwen Central station works site, showing  recent progress and the remaining challenges to provide the basic terminal for opening in 2019. Above, the The west end of the site looking towards Green Lane and the loop line stop block with the end of platform 2 in view and the emergency exit ramp below the railings in the foreground.

The view of the island platform area from overhead the subway access showing the infill in place between the platform walls where the tractor is located. Funds from the 'Tenner for a Tonne' Appeal are helping with the costs of this work which is bringing in several hundred tonnes of spoil to be compacted to create the base for the platform area which will need to be paved prior to use.

The view from the East end looking at the water tank. The area in the foreground will be the location of the points for the loop and siding. Installation of this trackwork is pending the importation of the signalbox cab which will be located on the base off to the right of the pic. The alignment of this track will determine the final position of the remaining construction for the platform 1 wall in the area behind the right of the water tank - all jobs for the autumn.

The overhead view of what will be the final challenge - the Gap, as originally created in the embankment to service the Welsh Water Treatment Plant. Currently it serves as the access for delivery of materials to the works site, but will be infilled early in 2019 to allow the track to be laid to connect the rail head at Corwen East with the loop line - a matter of 150 yards - when everything is ready. The current terminal Dwyrain Corwen East is behind the trees top centre.

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