Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

19 October 2020


Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

Note:  we have removed all entries relating to meetings as the events are cancelled.


Conwy Castle, with Class 158, 15 October. Picture by Gary Thomas.

Now there will be a two-week 'fire-breaker'  in Wales from 23 October which includes a ban on tourists entering the country for two weeks, and residents required not to make un-essential trips.  Let's hope it works. Meanwhile we have heritage images to keep us going.

Ffestiniog Bygones Weekend - report by Ian Pilkington

The weekend  9-11 October  saw three George England locos in service on the Ffestiniog Railway for the first time since the 1930s. Four other nineteenth cenury locos were also in operation but my pictures concentrate on the England trio.

Friday 9 October:

Welsh Pony approaches Boston Lodge with the 11:05 Porthmadog - Tan-y-Bwlch.

Palmerston leaves Minffordd with the 12:40 Porthmadog - Rhiw Goch goods.

On the standard gauge, an unidentified 158 heads away from Criccieth with the 17:42 Pwllheli  - Machynlleth.

Saturday 10 October

Welsh Pony, now complete with nameplates unveiled at Dduallt earlier, heads the 13:20 Porthmadog-Blaenau past the original track bed near Tan-y-Grisiau.

Sunday 11 October

Prince passes Penrhyn with the 09:40 Porthmadog - Blaenau

Welsh Pony approaches Nantmor with the 10:15 Porthmadog - Beddgelert. Moel Hebog dominates the background.

Welsh Pony approaches Aberglaslyn No 3 Tunnel with the 12:10 Beddgelert - Porthmadog .

And later  ...

158 837 heads towards Criccieth with the 13:27 Shrewsbury - Pwllheli, 12 October

Welsh Highland 87, now resplendent in South African Railways livery, arrives at Dinas with the 11:00 Caernarfon - Beddgelert on Tuesday 13 October.

Cambrian Corner - report by Ken Robinson

There are two developments on the Cambrian both of which are attracting interest at the moment.

1. Barmouth Bridge: work has started on the complete restoration of the bridge in a £25m upgrade. Network Rail are replacing components on a 'like for like' basis, and the work is planned to take three years. There will be three periods of complete closure, the first of which has commenced - from 23:40 on 16 October until 05:30 on 2 November 2020; the second closure will be from 17 September 2021 until 18 December 2021; the third in the autumn/early winter of 2022 (t.b.c.). The  photo above looks back at a period when loco haulage had just returned to the Cambrian Coast. 37 416 slowly crosses the bridge on 29 October 2005 with Kingfisher Railtours' 'The Snowdonian Explorer', from High Wycombe to Pwllheli and return.

2. ERTMS: Network Rail have apparently made £12m available to make the new electronic signalling work with steam. Design work has already commenced and fitment to 'Tornado' and a 'Black 5' is under way, which is great news. That last comment might get Cambrian fans excited as this scheme could perhaps make way for the return of steam to the Cambrian, as it did with a Black 5 in 2010. The second photo shows 44871 passing Llangelynnin on 28 August 2010 on its way to Barmouth and Pwllheli.

Barmouth bridge activity

During preparation for the refurbishment, on 21 September,a digger working by and under the bridge . Pictures by Kate Jones except where noted.

A boat tows a raft of scaffolding ...

  ... to men under the bridge

Scaffolding in place suspended under the bridge, there are many areas like this along the length of the estuary side.

The 8-wheeler they use for softer areas. Over 30 vehicles each day park on the site, which is being extended.

The bridge on 16 October (Ian Wright).

Quite a few (30?) bridge piers have got scaffolding on them (Ian Wright).

This view from the pathway the day before the closure shows that some materials have been delivered.  The beams are 'sustainably-grown tropical hardwood.' Picture contributed anonymously.

Fairbourne level crossing to be closed (Ian Wright).

Work in progress, 19 October (Kate Jones).

Network Rail have an 'FAQ' PDF file explaining  various aspects of the project.

RHTT views

The Rail Head Treatment Train continues its rounds, with stalwarts 56 096 and 56 113, seen passing Sandycroft on 9 October (Tim Rogers).

Seen near Llanddulas, 14 October (Ian Wilson).

Conwy Castle, 15 October (Gary Thomas).

Dwygyfylchi, 16 October (Gary Thomas).

The Railhead Treatment train crossing Conwy Cob on Sunday 18 October ...

... with 56 096 on the rear. Pictures by Garry Stroud.

On 19 October, 56 096 worked the train alone.

Looking back: Vale of Rheidol, Part 1 - by David Pool

When I made a brief visit to Aberystwyth on 28 March 1964 the line to Carmarthen had not yet closed, and 7810 Draycott Manor was in the bay platform 5, due to depart for Carmarthen at 17:40.  The line was built for the Manchester and Milford Railway, opening to Aberystwyth in 1867, and later absorbed by the GWR.  Closure of the line commenced in December 1964, and 7810 was withdrawn in September 1964.  The Vale of Rheidol trains at that time used their own GWR station, behind platform 5.

Earlier that day I photographed Vale of Rheidol No, 8 Llywellyn at Llanbadarn on the 14:15 to Devilís Bridge.  1/300 at full aperture (f/2.8) was just possible with 10ASA Kodachrome film in my Vito B, but in the poorer light at the station I had used FP3 in my Zenit camera.

I returned to Aberystwyth on 18 July 1965 with the intention of having a trip to Devilís Bridge.  The V of R trains were still using their own station, and No.8 Llywelyn was again on the 1415 departure.

The ďSummer CarsĒ with no windows would be useful for photographing from the train, but I decided to take a coach at the rear of the train and get better shots of the train on the curved track.

 As the train climbed up the side of the valley, the views on the left hand side of the train showed the tortuous nature of the line, and the difficulty of getting anywhere near the track.  Trying to photograph the train from the lineside would be a challenge, and the halts or stations were the best option for future photographs on the scenic sections.

There was time at Devilís Bridge to photograph the train in the station, while most of the passengers were visiting the famous bridge nearby.  The plain green livery of the coaches and locomotives was a consequence of the British Railways corporate image, and the Beeching Report had reinforced the threat hanging over lines such as the V of R.

On the following morning I sought out the V of R locomotive shed at Aberystwyth, which I had seen from the train. Apparently it had been nearer to the original Cambrian Railways V of R Station (which was closed in 1926), at the junction with a branch to the Harbour, and alongside the river.  No.9 Prince of Wales was being prepared for the dayís duties.  On the left was the trackbed of the closed Harbour branch, and the main road bridge over the Afon Rheidol was in the distance.  This area is now part of the Riverside Terrace housing development.

Where should I photograph No 9 on the afternoon train?   Looking at my maps there was good road access to Aberffrwd, and the trains stopped there for water, giving opportunities for several photographs.  No.9 duly arrived on time, and with few passengers boarding or alighting I got a nice shot of the train departing.  The sack of sand is a necessity considering the gradients on this line and the overhanging trees!

Looking back:  the A55 - by 'Skimpler'

The  picture above shows the location at the west end of Colwyn Bay as it was and remained for several years after the removal of the slow lines;  by 1981 you'd barely know the outer tracks had ever been there.  For anyone not sure of this spot, there is still a footbridge there, near the back of Lidl Supermarket.  25 156 is on the Summer Saturday Llandudno to Nottingham coasting towards Colwyn Bay station on 18 July 1981.  Notice the house on the right and the little bit of some kind of out-building to the left of it directly above the right-most dot in the headcode panel of the 25.

The second picture was taken three years later, on 5 May 1984; 45 127 is also coasting towards Colwyn Bay station with 1E99, Bangor to Scarborough, in a much-changed environment.  The house, and a very nice line of trees, have all gone but the little out-building is still there.  The trees were replaced by a concrete wall.

For in interesting comparison to how it was before my before, check out this Flickr link to a picture from steam days, just about, July 1966 - showing a train of meat containers from Ireland.

From Dave Sallery's archive

37 421 at the disused freightliner terminal,  Holyhead,  29 June 1993, with its sea-shell nameplate removed, to be replaced later by The Kingsman. This loco remains in traffic, with Colas.

While on the subject of 37/4s, it's good to see that 37 418, lrased by its private owner to Colas, is now adorned with the full 'Highland' version of the large-logo livery and original name An Comunn Gaidhealach. Even more interesting, DRS 37 425 Concrete Bob has gained the Regional Railways colours as worn in the 1990s when on North Wales passenger duty. This YouTube video features both.  37 421 was actually restored to Regional Railways colours by a preservation group, only to be sold to Colas who applied their own livery.

47 798 Prince William  ...

... and 37 798 (numerical coincidence) pass Towyn at either end of a 'Northern Belle to Blaenau , 29 October 1990.  47 798 is now owned by the National Railway Museum, whilst 37 798 was scrapped in 2009.

On 29 October 2009 at Llandudno Junction, 47 206 runs round its train.  This loco was rebuilt in 2004 as 57 605 Totnes Castle for Great Western's sleeper services.

Erratum: an editorial brainstorm referred to the Derby - Llandudno Class 20 train as a Summer Saturday service. In fact it ran on weekdays.


66 704 Colchester Power Signalbox near Buckley on 9 October with 6V41 12:51 Penyffordd Cement Sidings to Avonmouth (Tim Rogers).

66 783 The Flying Dustman  hauling 'dead' 60 096 Impetus  and its biomass empties through Northwich, 11 October (Les Burton).

66 613 passes Baguley on 12 October workiing from Hope Cement sidings to Crewe with just one wagon - some kind of ballast carrier? (Greg Mape).

Discovered recently by Mark Hambly,  this London Midland Region official view of the  Duke of Lancaster dated February 1959  shows what a fine ship she was in her heyday. Thew latest news (July 2020)  about the sorry-looking grounded vessel is that ' Llanerch y Mor Dock Holdings Ltd are looking to transform the dock on the Dee Estuary, and home to the dry-docked TSS Duke of Lancaster, into a tourism site. As part of the plans, the company is looking to launch several activities, including a boot camp where people could stay for up to seven nights while they get fit.'

Greg Mape took this interesting view of Northern's Newton Heath depot on 14 October. Passing by the Class 142s and 195s are 40 145 and 40 106 working from the East lancashire Railway at Bury to Crewe.

A Class 175 forming  the 07:50 Manchester - Llandudno makes its way past Llanddulas, 14 October (Ian Wilson).

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