Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

02 June 2020


Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)
Note:  we have removed all entries up to the end of June as the events are cancelled.  The trains below are still being advertised, albeit rather optimistically.

July 2020

Sunday 19 July Steam on the Coast North Wales Coast Express (Railway Touring Company)  Liverpool - Manchester - Holyhead (15:05 - 17:40).

Tuesday 21 July Steam on the Coast The Welsh Mountaineer (Railway Touring Company) Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog and return

August 2020

September 2020

Saturday 5 September Steam at Chester 'The Cheshireman' (Railway Touring Company). Norwich to Chester. Loco 6233 for part of the journey.


Adding some colour: recently added to the Transport for Wales fleet is 153 321 still in East Midlands livery, seen  together with 153 329 passing Deganwy Station forming the 10:28 Holyhead to Crewe service via Llandudno ( 11:49 off Llandudno ) on  29 May. Picture by Garry Stroud.

Current notes

Pairs of 153s seem to be first choice for the 'lockdown' coast service. Here's another mixed marriage: unbranded, and still in Anglia white livery 153 335 together with
TfW 153 333 passing Conwy station with the 10:28 Holyhead to Crewe via Llandudno service on 1 June (Garry Stroud).

150s also appear: this is 150 282 at Conwy on the 08:24 Crewe to Holyhead, 1 June (Garry Stroud). 

After commending TfW for clarity of information last issue, it's been pointed out that the list of reduced services contains the statement 'With Avanti West Coast services also in operation between Chester and Crewe, there are two services per hour along this route'.  In fact there is a TfW train every two hours plus just one Avanti train per day each way.

End of the 'Paupers' Wag'?

It is reported that on 29 May 47 813 Jack Frost was in charge of train 5V94, Crewe Carriage Sidings - Long Marston storage facility, formed of four Transport for Wales Mk3 coaches. Photographs show that these are coaches used on the DfT-sponsored Manchester diagram, which is not running during the lockdown; we have to assume that it won't return in loco-hauled form.

Little or nothing has been heard recently of the Mk4 set including restaurant car which are to be used on the Holyhead - Cardiff service,  also currently suspended. It's very hard to predict when and if this service can re-start in its previous format with restaurant service.

37 173's exploit

It appears that our report about 37 173 at Bangor in the last issue was in error in suggesting that it returned  east 'dead-in-train.' We are informed that it was actually used to haul 47 481 and its Manchester  train back east after the  47 was declared a failure.

On the route of the Chester Millennium Walkway - with David Pool

Chester Liverpool Road station seems to have rarely been photographed.  On 16 October 1963 a Class 108 unit M50932/M51569 formed the 11:30 Chester Northgate to Shotton, passing the disused platforms of Liverpool Road, with wagons stored opposite on the line which would bypass Northgate station.  Presumably there was little demand for trains from Northgate continuing to either Wrexham or Bidston, so a connecting service to the Wrexham – Bidston line at Shottton High Level was sufficient.

Returning to Northgate station, I was able to photograph the 11:55 to Manchester Central, which was another Derby built Class 108, M51902 leading.

In 1989 Northgate station had long since been closed, and the only regular traffic on the line between Mickle Trafford and Dee Marsh Junction was the steel from Mossend to Shotton.  An early breakfast enabled me to see the Southbound train, so on 28 January 1989 I saw the train first at Helsby, then overtook it to get another shot at Newton. It is photographed from the 'Hollows' bridge, a footbridge that linked Hoole (Fairfield Rd) to Kingsway.  37 886 was in the appropriate Trainload Metals livery, and the speed restriction on what was now worked as a single line gave me the time I needed.

With a cloudless January sky it was well worth waiting for the return empties Northbound, so I went to Saughall for the 12.30 departure back to Mossend.  The disused line was now on the opposite side to that which existed at Newton, and 37 886 appeared in full sun.

The opportunity for another shot was too tempting, so I hurried to Liverpool Road to try my luck.  This time the usual black cloud appeared, although Blacon and the rear of the train were in sun.  The train had now crossed over to the “right” line, and had just gone over the Parkgate Road bridge.  Win a few - lose a few, as we railway photographers know only too well.

Before the line finally closed, I decided to try for a shot at whatever remained of Blacon station.  On 12 May 1990 another Trainload Metals loco, this time 37 719, was in charge of the train from Mossend.  The growth of the trees required me to take a head-on shot, but I managed to include the disused platform edge to give a little more interest.  The Blacon station area has now been transformed as part of the Chester Millennium Greenway.

My final attempt at a photo of the Mossend coils was on 15 September 1990.  This time it was a class 47, 47 278 in Trainload Petroleum livery. This was taken from the Newton Lane bridge.  I must take my dog on the Greenway again to try to see if anything is recognisable.

Any rail traffic to United Paper Mills Shotton must now come via Wrexham, but the exchange sidings at Shotwick were still in use on 24 March 1999.  The Unimog pictured in an earlier NWCR Notice Board had been replaced by 08 802, in Rail Express Systems red livery, which may have come from Warrington Arpley.  The Brake Van was needed when trains were propelled into the plant.  Many years later a Brake Van could be seen in Shotwick sidings, seemingly forgotten and abandoned.

From Dave Sallery's Archive

25 April 1996 37 515, passing  Bagillt on the acetic acid tanks from Mostyn to Hull ...

...  and on 10 June 2017 near Prestatyn in current West Coast Railways livery. The 'depot plaque' based on those devised as part of the 'Railfreight' livery scheme; the image represents the 'iconic' (Grade II* listed) coaling tower at West Coast's Carnforth depot.

In the period when Transpennine services were extended info North Wales, 47 102 (a loco without train heatong provision) has been pressed into service, seen at  Prestatyn  on 15 November 1984.

47 428 on the Birmingham - Llandudno summer-dated train,  28  April 1984. A Kwik Save lorry can be seen in background, both the loco and the store chain (which was based in Prestayn) are long gone.

The Ynyslas coach

In the last issue we asked about the whereabouts of the grounded coach body which stood at the former Ynyslas station on the Machynlleth - Aberystwyth line.  The answer is that it has been donated to the Cambrian Heritage Railways and moved to their Oswestry base; the image from Facebook shows it arriving on 5 March. It is on the restored Up platform at Oswestry station, on the extended section built by the GWR in 1924 to accommodate a bay platform for the 'Gobowen Flyers' which means it's very conspicuous from the  Gobowen road.

Although painted in the previous owner's interpretation of the old Cambrian Railways 'bronze green' livery, it is the body of a Great Western Railway four wheel three-compartment Brake Third.  (A similar vehicle is fully-restored at the Didcot Railway Centre). The intention at Oswestry is for the coach to be used as additional display space on the platform. It will be restored  and maintained in its grounded  configuration.

Thanks to Chris Parker for this information.

News of 24 081

As an appendix to our recent mention of 24 081, the last 24 to work on the main line,  Richard Neale sends this picture taken in August 2019 in the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Toddington workshop, looking in fine condition. Like all preserved lines, the GWR is not currently operating.

East Lancashire Railway nameplate auction

The East Lancashire Railway is holding a 'silent auction' of various items to raise funds while the line is closed. We note that one of the items on offer is one of the East Lancashire Railway nameplates unveiled on Coast Line regular 37 418 in 1994, and later carried in preservation by 40 145.

The current bid (as of 2 June) is £860); you have until 20 June to bid.

A Tim Rogers selection

31 May 2001 Chester

175 003 14:49 Holyhead to Crewe.

508 117 Heading to Liverpool at 16:53.

158 752 15:56 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly.

158 832 Radyr-bound service at 17:00.

156 424 17:12 Chester to Crewe.

21 May 2002 Flint

158 758 09:17 Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno.

47 817 The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1A46 09:19 Holyhead to Euston

175 111 10:21 Crewe to Bangor.

25 May 2002, Mold Junction

47 818 Strathclyde, 1A38 09:19 Holyhead to Euston

47 773 Reservist 1D87 07:20 Euston to Holyhead

23 May 2005 Mostyn:

57 314 Firefly. 1R18 05:38 Holyhead to Euston

27 May 2005 Wrexham

67 012, Mk1 translator vehicle ADB 975974,  507 025.  Mk1 translator vehicle ADB 975978,  5X47 08:42 Eastleigh Works to Birkenhead.
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