Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

26 July 2019


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

August 2019

Satrurday 3 August TfW/Network Rail 'The Conwy Quest' steam special Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog. Information from TfW.

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..

Having suffered a failure with a brake problem,  which led to the cancellation of the 13:55 Holyhead to London, 221 143 and 221  142  make their way home from Holyhead to Barton-under-Needwood depot in the evening of 21 July. Picture by John Myers.

This is an extra issue with some varied items. Next update on the evening of Tuesday 30th.
The 22 July issue is still available, as indeed are all issues since 2010 on the 'archive' link.

Ferry Cruise
Friends of the Mersey Ferries are running their annual River and Docks cruise on Saturday 3 August . They promise a 'fascinating cruise through the Mersey’s dock and river system with live commentary on board. The cruise will include visiting Seaforth Dock and Eastham Channel. ' Visiting cruise ship Viking Jupiter is a scheduled add-on attraction. Ticket Price:  £26 Adult and £13 Child.  Duration: Approx 5 hours

Departs from Seacombe, Wirral at 12noon. Departs from Pier Head, Liverpool at 12:10pm Departs from Woodside, Wirral at 12:25pm. Tickets from; Gordon Ditchfield, Hon. Membership Secretary,7 Foxcovers Road, Bebington, Wirral, CH63 3EQ. Cheques payable to Friends of the Ferries.

On the Narrow Gauge - with Martin Evans

Above, Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway Kerr Stuart-built  No 12 Joan  at Llanfair Caereinion after arriving with the 11 15 am service from Welshpool on 23 July.

Preparing to run round the train. The Kerr Stuart company of Stoke on Trent built this built in 1927 for a sugar cane company in Antigua, West Indies, and after overhaul and a rebuilt cab began work in Wales in 1977. Following this, Joan gave sterling service on the W&L until 1991 when she was withdrawn in need of extensive repairs.  She has since been overhauled twice, and received various modifications. For more about the loco see the WLLR website.

Joan departs from Welshpool with the 14:05 service for Llanfair Caereinion.

In other news, the Railway has signed a contract with the Zillertalbahn in Austria to hire newly overhauled U-class 0-6-2T locomotive, No. 2 Zillertal, for approximately two years. The agreement will further cement a relationship between the two 2ft 6in gauge railways that dates back to the earliest years of the line's  preservation, when the Zillertalbahn donated four carriages. Built in 1902 No.2 will be the oldest loco to see WLLR service; original locos The Earl and Countess were built in 1902 for the opening of the line in 1903.

The WLLR is one of only three 2ft 6in gauge lines operating in the UK, and it is believed that a U-class locomotive has never run in this country before. Zillertal will also be the oldest locomotive on the line during its stay – built in 1900 for opening of the Zillertalbahn, it is two years senior to the WLLR’s original locomotives ‘The Earl’ and ‘The Countess’, both of which were built in 1902 for the 1903 opening of the line and still operate on it.

Zillertal was one of two locomotives built for the opening of the Zillertalbahn and has always been based on the community-owned railway, which runs nearly 32km from the mainline at Jenbach to its terminus at Mayrhofen. Two other steam locomotives operate a mid-day heritage service on the line, alongside regular diesel railcar services.

On the Talyllyn Railway on 9 July, no 3 Sir Haydn prepares to leave Tywyn Wharf with the 11:40 service to Nant Gwernol. Built in 1878 by Hughes’ Locomotive & Tramway Engineering Works Ltd of Loughborough this 0-4-2ST (originally 0-4-0ST) worked on the nearby Corris Railway until closure of that line in 1948; In 1951 it was purchased by the Talyllyn Railway (along with the other surviving Corris loco which became Edward Thomas) and was named after the line’s late owner, Sir Henry Haydn Jones.

The other ex-Corris Railway  loco Edward Thomas is being serviced at Tywyn Wharf  ready for its next turn of duty. In recent years the part of Corris Railway has been re-opened as a heritage line, and in 2005 took delivery of a replica of this loco, which runs as Corris No.7.

35018 on WCML

We wrote in the 15 July update: 'Rebuilt 'Merchant Navy' class locomotive 35018 British India Line is seen above on the West Coast Main Line south of Crewe en route from Carnforth to Southall on 4 July  for the very first time since its restoration and return to mainline service.

Our thanks to Scott McGahey, who send the above image recording that on  Monday 18 March  35018 returned from hauling the Nigel Dobbing memorial train, over the WCML northwards presumably from Lichfield or Nuneaton.

Looking back with Barrie Hughes - The Conway Crusader

10 March 1984 was the day of the 'Conway Crusader', a British Rail  Excursion from Coventry to Manchester, the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board lines around Birkenhead Docks, the Borderlands Line to Wrexham, Chester, Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog.  It was a celebration of Class 40 power with three being used at various times and the class being phased out rapidly. My first port of call was Chester depot where green liveried  40 122 was being prepared for service, surrounded by enthusiasts who had been given permission to visit the depot. No.40122 was to haul the Chester-Llandudno leg. I managed to get a few depot shots.

Chester Depot with a bunch of enthusiasts getting their record shots.

Chester Depot  with 40122 close up (with permission).

Whilst waiting for the Manchester-Chester leg of the tour on The Borderlands at the Afon Cegidog Viaduct,  Cefn-y-bedd this DMU passed, fitted with a headlight (presumably for use on the Central Wales Line with its many level crossings). Many of the units appeared in InterCity carriage livery in later years rather than the plain Rail Blue of the 1970s. It appears there may have been a spill of cement at this location, maybe from a Pen-y-ffordd Castle Cement working?

Having staked out the Afon Cegidog viaduct for a while 40 029 eventually appeared (no Realtime Trains in those days!) having passed anticlockwise around the Cheshire circle via the MDHB lines. This loco had a painted name Saxonia, the real plate having been removed for safe keeping and sale! 40029 didn’t last much longer being withdrawn a few weeks later on 25/4/84 and scrapped at BREL Doncaster in December 1984.

As the loco ran round in Wrexham, there was time to get to the footbridge halfway up Gresford Bank where a film crew was at work as well as several photographers.

40 122 (ex-D200 the class pioneer) was withdrawn on 23/8/81 at Carlisle but surprisingly not wanted by the National Railway Museum. After a campaign by RAIL magazine it was reinstated  primarily for railtour use (including the Conway Crusader). Final withdrawal came in April 1988 when, after a policy change, the loco was claimed by the Museum. where it is currently awaiting repair.

During the Conway Crusader tour 40 122 hauled the tour from Chester to Llandudno where enthusiasts must have been surprised to see  50 018 Resolution backing on for the trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog. This loco also hauled the tour back to Coventry direct via Crewe. One final twist in the story was that at Blaenau Ffestiniog 40 047 double headed the railtour back to Llandudno junction. Maybe it avoided a light engine manoeuvre after taking flasks to Trawsfynydd?

The railtour was so popular it was repeated a few weeks later on 21/4/84 with 40 086 / 118 / 122 again / 192 and 50 007. This time it missed out Llandudno, but went to Holyhead after Blaenau Ffestiniog and, after returning to Chester, went round the Borderlands and MDHB lines clockwise. It is a pity the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board lines are now out of use, as they could be used for similar railtours today.

Peter Basterfield's view

Crewe - Valley flasks at Pen-y-Clip, 15 July.

Holyhead sidings on 21 July: 67 016 stabled for the weekend with the Cardiff express, while a failed Voyager occupies Platform 1.

The Foxfield Railway  - report by Bob Greenhalgh

My visit on Saturday 20 July to the Foxfield Railway Summer Gala was great. The sight, sound and smell of the locos hauling wagons up the 1 in 19 Foxfield bank was superb. The Dübs crane tank (above)  made several gutsy trips up the hill.

The beautifully restored Knotty (North Staffordshire Railway) coaches were a truly fabulous sight. Hauling them was a guest, Andrew Barclay 0-6-0T Carron.

[Normal opening at the Foxfield is on Sundays and Bank Holidays: it can be accessed from Blyth Bridge station on the Crewe - Derby line.]

On the North York Moors - with Peter Neve

On a fortnight’s holiday in the North Yorkshire Moors area I spent three days visiting the heritage railway. The 7-coach trains I travelled on from Pickering were full to capacity, with the First Class compartments declassified to Standard Class to accommodate the demand. An employee stated that passenger numbers were up by about 12% as a result of the recent television series. The staff and volunteers were extremely helpful and engaging, making the visits most enjoyable experiences. Above, Schools Class 4-4-0 No. 926 Repton leaves Network Rail’s Whitby to Middlesbrough mainline and enters the north end of Grosmont station hauling the Swinging Sixties Express.

Thompson B1 4-6-0 No.1264 runs light engine across the level crossing at Grosmont station for servicing at Grosmont shed.

A former resident at the Llangollen Railway, Standard Class 4 2-6-0 No. 76079 hauls the 1100 hours departure from Pickering station.

Former USATC Baldwin S160 2-8-0 No. 2253 (recently named Omaha) receives some attention from the fitters while being steam-tested at Grosmont shed.

Standard Class 4 2-6-4 No. 80136 stands waiting to be coaled under the coal hopper at Grosmont shed.

Grosmont station is shared by the heritage railway and Network Rail. Class 158 DMU No. 158 851 arrives at platform 1 with the 16:00 from Whitby to Middlesbrough.

A trip to Anglesey - report by John Myers

On  Saturday 20 July I had the pleasure of joining an outing with members of the Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society, aboard a meticulously restored omnibus, owned by society officer Clive Myers (no relation).  This trip was from Llandudno Junction to Anglesey and, after being welcomed aboard, Clive described our bus as ex Crosville Bristol RESL ERG3 (OFM 3E), one of six similar vehicles supplied in 1967 with a 42 seat Eastern Coach Works Dual Purpose body.  After spending its first year stationed at Caernarfon and mainly as a spare vehicle for the X1 Cymru Coastliner route to and from Chester, all six of these short REs were reallocated to provide the newly-intensified route that replaced rail services between Wrexham and Barmouth.  More details about the vehicle (and onward links to other surviving Bristol buses) can be found on the Bristol Commercial Vehicle Enthusiasts website.

During our outward journey to Moelfre and onwards to Amlwch, Clive pointed out various items of interest including, south of Benllech, the site of the former Red Wharf Bay railway terminus and outlined how ERG3 would be providing a number of free circular rides that afternoon, our visit being mainly in connection with being an exhibit at the annual Amlwch town carnival before what was known would be an interesting trip back for society members.  This provided us with a journey following the route of the Gaerwen to Amlwch branch as closely as the rural island roads could allow and which were negotiated in a most expert manner by Nigel, our driver for the day and who was excellent at pausing to let faster moving vehicles pass whenever possible.  Meanwhile, Clive made use of a 1953 OS map to assist with his interesting commentary, mentioning that he had travelled on the branch before its passenger services had ceased towards the end of 1964.

Whilst the majority of track remains in place, our party could see quite marked contrasts between some stretches of line being clear and well maintained, whilst other stretches were under what now has become quite lush and well-established vegetation.  In all, we passed the sites of each branch station and halt and made stops to take closer views at several, including Llangefni, where it was possible to photograph the RE with the largely still extant station buildings in the background.  Whilst there has been talk of reinstating public passenger services at least this far along the branch, sadly, we were shown that an overbridge in the town has been removed after its having been struck from below.

Birkenhead bus event - report by George Jones

There was an occasion in Birkenhead on Saturday 21 July; a cavalcade of preserved buses in Birkenhead blue and cream toured areas of the former borough to mark the centenary of the first bus route. Starting at Shore Road (above) five buses lined up alongside the tramway to contrast tramcar Birkenhead No.20 with latter day 69 & 70 Hong Kong built trams.My picture shows Bus No.10 and car 20.

From Woodside Ferry the cavalcade wended its way via Park Station, Central Park and the Claughton district, down past Rock Ferry station to return via Port Sunlight village, where bus 105 is seen.

The day ended at the former Birkenhead bus depot in Laird Street which saw a six- bus line up - something I missed.  Picture by Ian Henderson.

North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board