Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

08 July 2019


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

July 2019

Sunday 21 July  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways. Liverpool-Holyhead.   45690: Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Jn - Holyhead - Chester

Tuesday 23 July:  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways, Welsh Mountaineer: Liverpool-Holyhead  Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog  48151 or 45600: Preston-Manchester-Chester-Llandudno Jn-Blaenau and return  Cancelled due to Flood Damage

August 2019

Saturday 3 August Steam on the Coast: UK Railtours, 'The Irish Mail' London Euston - Holyhead
34046, 46100 or 70000 Crewe - Holyhead and return

September 2019

October 2019

Saturday 5 October Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, National Railway Museum ‘Snow White to Stephenson’. This is a story about the search for strategic minerals, climate change, religious conflict, immigration, integration and innovation. Overall a very modern story, although this one starts over 400 years ago and from it emerges the technology we call railways.

November 2019

Saturday 2 November Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Geoff Stocker
‘Rebuilding the Welsh Highland Railway’ An illustrated presentation of the stage-wise re-construction of the WHR (closed 1936) on the abandoned trackbed, from 1995 to completion in 2010 & subsequent developments - including locos and rolling stock.

December 2019

Saturday 7 December Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. At Sale United Reformed Church lounge, Montague Road, Sale M33 3BU Including seasonal refreshments!
Owen Russell ‘Memories of the Woodhead Line’ The Woodhead line linked Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and London. As there were shorter routes to London, express trains often comprised only 5 or 6 coaches. The line was a good place to see a variety of GC and, later, LNER engines, which had to work hard on the notorious gradients. Like many steam routes, Woodhead was a line of contrasts.

January 2020

Saturday 25 January Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Centre AGM (brief) followed by: Christian Wyatt ‘21st Century signalling Control Centre – The Manchester Rail Operations Centre’ Christian Wyatt, a career railwayman with 38 years’ service, started as a signal box lad at Manchester Victoria and is now Project Operations Interface Manager for the London North Western route. One of his key responsibilities is the development of the Manchester Rail Operations Centre. Christian will describe the MROC from its build in 2012 to its present operational status.

February 2020

Saturday 22 February Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Tony Wright
‘Aspects of the Origins & Development of Monorails including Behr, Lartigue and the Manchester to Liverpool Lightning Express Railway’ You may remember Tony’s excellent presentation on Mayfield Station. Don’t miss this intriguing meeting.

Tuesday, 25 February  18:30 Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Joint meeting with the Newcomen Society, Location to be confirmed. Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, National Railway Museum ‘Sticking with steam – an examination of why Britain’s railways stuck with steam into the space age’ This talk examines some of the complex history behind moving on from the steam age on Britain’s railways and attempts an answer as to why the UK’s love affair with the steam hasn’t ended.

March 2020

Saturday 21 March  Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre.  Melvyn Roberts
‘Indian Summer of the Somerset & Dorset Railway’ The S & D was (and still is) many enthusiasts’ favourite cross-country railway. We will hear about its unusual history, but the main feature will be a slide show of its operations in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

April 2020

Saturday 18 April Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre.  Tim Owen ‘The activities of the Furness Railway Trust’ The Furness Railway Trust has a collection of six steam locomotives, including Furness Railway No. 20, plus historic carriages. The illustrated talk will cover the work of the Trust over the past 30 years..

Prince crosses the Glaslyn at Pont Croesor with the 16:25 Beddgelert-Porthmadog with Russell at the rear, on Friday 21 June. Picture by Ian Pilkington - more below.

We have prepared this page in advance, due to holidays, so event coverage may be delayed. Do please keep sending your contributions. - Charlie

Around Helsby  - report by  John Cowlishaw

I spent a sunny afternoon in the Helsby area on 2 July and photographed a selection of trains, which are a reflection of the considerably busier line following the May timetable change. Above,  150 278 approaches Helsby from the east with the TfW 15:36 service from Liverpool Lime Street to Chester.

158 755 rattles over the junction non-stop with Northern's 17:16 Chester to Leeds service.

175 114, substituting for the loco-hauled train, comes to a stop with the 16.50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno.

150 271 stops in platform 3 with Northern's 15:38 Leeds-Ellesmere Port, which is meant to be a 158.  This is the only service in the afternoon 'peak' and was surprisingly on time.  One person boarded the train to make around 5 passengers.

The afternoon train returns as the 18:23 from Ellesmere Port to Manchester Victoria and this is shown during its stop at Ince & Elton station, where a single passenger boarded.

[Editor's note: Northern's franchise agreement requires morning and evening peak trains between Manchester and Ellesmere Port.  The 07:15 from Ellesmere Port arrives at Manchester Victoria at 08:18 and the afternoon one departs Manchester at 17:07, arriving at 18:09. Nice idea, but if you miss the train or it is cancelled then National Rail suggests the 17:25, change at Liverpool, arrival time at Ellesmere Port 19:00. The single fare by either route is quoted at £18.]

Wagons to Ellesmere Port

An unusual move on 4 July was a string of Cargowaggons hauled by Colas loco 66 846 from the Ford engine factory sidings (dep. 05:45) at Bridgend to Ellesmere Port Manisty Wharf, where there is a 'recycling' business.  Bob Greenhalgh photographed the train at Balderton Crossing heading for Chester, where it avoided the  station via the 'Up and Down Fork' curve and on to Hooton where a run-round and reversal would be needed. These wagons, hauled by Colas locos, ran a regular load finished engines to the Ford factory at Dagenham in Essex, but the Bridgend plant is reducing its output in preparation for closure next year and the train ceased to run at the end of June.

By Chester Locks (Paul Shannon).

Arrival in the run-round sidings at Hooton, sometimes used by passenger excursions...

... where the loco ran round, and ran back into the station (pictures by Paul Shannon). Problems then arose in the shape of a points failure. Eventually the loco was detached and ran light to Shrewsbury and Coleham depot. We are writing this on 5 July, as far as we know the wagons are still at Hooton.

Manchester area views - by Greg Mape

On 1 July, 60 040 on Arpley - Tunstead empties passes under a class 185 Transpennine service from Middlesborough to Manchester Airport between Gatley and East Didsbury.

Further along the single line, on the site of former Cheadle Heath station,  a Dowlow - Theale stone train formed of the brightly-coloured Romania-built 'MMA' box wagons. These trains are part of a contract with Hope Cement to serve a number of terminals round the country as required.

On 2 July, 68 031 Felix (named for Huddersfield station cat) waits for the road at Cheadle Hulme en route from Crewe to Scarborough, perhaps a crew-training run. Hopefully the loco-hauled trains which these locos will work are going to start soon; as usual on today's railway, there has been a considerable delay.

The 09:56 Windermere to Manchester Airport, worked by 195 114, on its 'final approach' to the airport station on 2 July, as a Ryanair 737 passes above.


Northern's new Leeds - Chester via Manchester Victoria service is mostly a 158 working, but on 2 July Geraint Williams noted a 156 + 153 combo, including 153 373 recently transferred from Great Western and still in their dark green livery, not a common sight in Chester, although perhaps no substitute for the GWR 4-6-0s which once plied their trade here.

68 010, in the livery once used by Wrexham & Shropshire and now by Chiltern Railways, now carries the name Oxford Flyer, as seen by Martin Evans at Birmingham Moor Street, with the 'blobitecture' of the Selfridge store in the background.

Tamworth on 25 June:  90 018 The Pride of Bellshill (still with obsolete DB Schenker branding) pass with the Coatbridge - Davenport intermodal (Martin Evans).

GWR dray for Llangollen - report by Peter Dickinson

The Llangollen Railway's Heritage Group has now successfully acquired a rare and historic railway item from the turn of the last century that was normally more at home with single horse-power traction. The horse-drawn dray (cart) built by the Great Western Railway at their Swindon works at the turn of the last century. Its purpose was to deliver and collect parcels, milk churns and other goods from the surrounding towns and villages near to the Railway's stations. Very few of these  are known to have survived.

The dray was among the property of a deceased gentleman who formerly worked at the Swindon railway works. He had purchased it direct from Swindon in the early 1960s and had stored it in his garage at his home in Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire. It had remained in this state until rediscovered by the deceased gentleman's family earlier this year. It has been acquired with the assistance of a specialist railwayana auction house and is now owned by the Llangollen Railway. The £3400 cost of purchasing and transporting the dray to Llangollen was raised by railway volunteers and local supporters in just one week, enabling it to be brought to its new home.

Very little is known about the working life of the dray, although we do know it has the works number 3314. The design was classified by the Great Western Railway as a “Trolley” and refers to the fact that there was no permanent seating arrangement for the drayman, as he was expected to sit on the load.​

The dray is one of only four Great Western Railway drays that we know to survive so is fairly rare. We hope the dray can be used as an educational tool on the preserved Llangollen Railway and be displayed publicly.  We are currently appealing to anyone who has skills working with equestrian drays like ours to get in touch and assist with its restoration back to fully operational condition. These primarily include wheelwrights and anyone with experience restoring historic wooden carts.  Crowdfunding is also ongoing to cover the costs of the dray's restoration.

Welsh Highland Railway Past, Present & Future event - pictures by Ian Pilkington

We have reported on this event before, but these images are too good not to use. Above,  Russell emerges from Aberglaslyn No 2 Tunnel with the 1220 Pont Croesor - Beddgelert on Friday 21 June.

Taliesin emerges from Aberglaslyn No 3 Tunnel with the 15:30 Beddgelert - Porthmadog on  21 June.

Russell arrives at Beddgelert with the 12:50 from Pont Croesor, with Prince at the rear, on Saturday 22 June.

Russell leaves Beddgelert at the rear of the 14:00 to Pont Croesor with Prince leading, on Saturday 22 June.

Russell emerges from Aberglaslyn No 2 Tunnel with the 15:25 Pont Croesor - Beddgelert on Saturday 22 June.

North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board