Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

01 March 2021



Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)

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


37 402 departs from an otherwise deserted Bangor on a six-coach Up service,  7 May 1994. Picture by Dave Sallery.

The Sunshine Diaries - by Gary Thomas

I thought I'd share four photos from a frustrating 15 minutes at my favourite spot on the 'Iron Bridge' at Dwygyfylchi just to the east of Penmaenmawr.  Given the lovely weather I decided to take a short break to photograph the NMT on route to Holyhead from Derby. I arrived a few minutes early and so I took a test photo of 158 836 heading towards Holyhead in glorious sunshine.

Move on a few minutes later and the sun had gone, with 221 101 ...

...and another unidentified Voyager (possibly 105) early in its journey to London Euston.

By the time the NMT came along the sky was dark but a bit of trickery-pokery allowed me to save a half-decent picture of 43 062 John Armitt and ...

... 43 013 Mark Carne OBE heading towards Holyhead. And of course, it was sunny again about 30 seconds after the HST passed by. Typical!

Good news ... and bad news

It's reported today that the directors of Llangollen Railway PLC have invited their bank to appoint a Receiver.  The company’s accounts show pre-tax losses of £330,601 in 2018, £329,175 in 2019 and £258,804 in 2020 (pre-audit).  A number of significant engineering contract disputes, all of which arose in the years prior to the current board taking over in October 2020, have crystallised in the last few days.  The claims against the company are compelling and are in excess of £250,000 in total. 

The full announcement is on the Llangollen Railway website.

Some good news is that the Bala Lake Railway's appeal for £50,000 before the end of February to assist  funding to extend the line towards Bala town centre has seen £71,000.  Well done, any readers who contributed.

Cambrian activity - by Graham Breakwell

 97 303, 304 and 302 assembled at Coleham depotr before setting off in multiple on Friday evening 26 February to Crewe Basford Hall; 302 and 303 worked the 21:41 to Machynlleth and 304 the 23:40.

97 303 and 97 302 returning the empty autoballaster wagons through Meole Brace on the 15:00 from Machynlleth Sunday 28 February. Shouldn’t complain about bright sunshine in February but the location wasn’t the best!

[What's become of 97 301? It never seems to be in traffic]

Seen at Crewe - by Jim Scott

Jim has been driving new Class 196 diesel units on test runs before serving West Midlands Trains. This is 196 104 at Crewe on 26 February.

Also if interest was the TFW mk4 set coming in from LNWR passing DRS  57 307 Lady Penelope hauling a class 08 without its coupling rods.

Trawsfynydd flasks 1994 - by Ken Robinson

I found some negatives recently of the flask workings on the Trawsfynydd branch from 1994, and here are two which I thought might be of interest:

31 229 and 31 134 propelling the empty flask train towards Trawsfynydd Power Station which can be seen in the distance. The train was photographed on 2 August 1994, and is seen passing the old Maentwrog Road station which was, during this period, a small garden centre.

31 224 and 31 134 (again) returning with the flasks near the site of the old Teigl Halt, between Llan Ffestiniog and Manod, on 22 July 1994, two weeks prior to the first photograph.

Royal Scot at Llangollen - by Alan Haydock

Some more  photos of 6100's visit to Llangollen, as mentioned on last week's Notice Board.

Royal Scot ran without deflectors on the first weekend of the gala ...

 ...  and had them re-fitted for the second weekend.

In last week's view of 6100 at Berwyn the LH deflector is directly in line with the camera giving the impression that just one is fitted!

Chester Vistas - by Peter Neve

By way of a change, I thought I would try something slightly different this week. I have attached some general views taken in the Chester area, which may prove of some interest. The downside is that there are no trains involved! Nevertheless, some of your younger readers may find them interesting.

A general view of the east end of Chester General station taken on 10 April 1966. This was Easter Sunday of that year and explains the absence of rail traffic. Of particular note are the carriage storage sidings terminating behind the Queen Hotel (left hand side), the locomotive water tank (centre right) and the goods warehouse (right hand side) which was subsequently burnt down in a fire.


A view of Chester No.1 signal box and the gantry still supporting lower quadrant signals of LNWR vintage, taken from Hoole Lane bridge on 9  April 1968. The rusty rails on the crossovers suggest there has been little freight traffic to, or from, the Manchester direction.


Taken from the same vantage point on the same date, everything still seems to be intact at the former Chester (6A) MPD, despite having been closed 10 months previously. The severed rail connection to the main line to Crewe suggests that all materials will be taken away by road, once demolition commences.


Almost frozen in time, the facilities at Chester MPD stand as a monument to a bygone age. Photographed on  9 April 1968.

Remembering the Prestatyn to Dyserth branch - pictures by Trefor Thompson

A few more archive photos of the Dyserth branch in its last years. Above,  Dyserth yard, July 1972.

013 - Woodland Park, propelling towards Dyserth, 1969.

Train of empties arriving at Dyserth, 1971.

The Wirral Railway Circle 'Welshman railtour', Dyserth, 22 March 1969. This railtour also visited Trawsfynydd and Amlwch the same day. It was the penultimate passenger train to traverse the Dyserth branch.

Below Graig Fawr returning from Dyserth and approaching Meliden.

From Dave Sallery's archive

A memory of Network North West Day, 20 October 1990. Visitor 26 025 pilots 31 434 at Manchester Victoria, before that station was radically reduced in size.

37 429 Eisteddfod Genedlaetholwest of Abergele on a Crewe - Bangor working, 14th May 1997.

Profusion of coal sector locos, Knottingley depot, 5 September 1993.

Looking back: Llangollen (etc) 2007 - with David Pool

The “Steel, Steam and Stars” Event on 20 April 2007 provided many visiting locomotives. The pairing of 1450 and 9466 in matching GWR livery was welcome, and 9466 seems to be doing most of the work as it leaves Berwyn.


Returning to Llangollen after the train has crossed the Dee Bridge, it is interesting to compare the Collett design of 1932 with the Hawksworth design of 1947.  9466 was actually built in BR days in 1952.

Not many 14XX class locomotives will have carried the “Cheltenham Flyer” headboard, so 1450 is honoured!  The celebrations were for the first steam locomotive to arrive at the Cheltenham Racecourse station platform on 28 June 1998, after the latter had been rebuilt by the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.  Passenger services to the station were reinstated several years later, when appropriate station buildings had been erected, the formal opening by Princess Anne being in 2003.

The Bulleid “Battle of Britain” Class 34081 92 Squadron is making a typically quiet departure from Berwyn, being fitted with a Lemaitre blastpipe and large diameter chimney.  It had been named after one of the most successful Squadrons in the Battle of Britain, which operated Spitfires from Tangmere and later from Biggin Hill.  The RAF has a habit of disbanding and then reforming Squadrons, and although there is a 92 Squadron today it is linked in name only to the wartime 92 Squadron.

On 9 June 2010 I was visiting the Nene Valley Railway, and found 34081 outside its home shed at Wansford.  It had originally been restored at Wansford, entering traffic there in 1998.  It later ran on other heritage railways, and was on the Bluebell Railway when the boiler needed to be replaced.  34081 returned to Wansford for a major overhaul, and the boiler went to Chatham Steam in Kent, but it was 2017 before 34081 returned to traffic on the Nene Valley Railway. 

One of Llangollen’s own fleet since 2002, the GWR heavy freight locomotive 3802 has arrived at Carrog with a demonstration goods, and is about to come off the train.  In recent years 3802 has been one of the most used and reliable locomotives at Llangollen.

Another visitor in 2007 was the Collett 2-8-0T 5224, a powerful locomotive suited to freight haulage in the South Wales valleys, where almost all the class were based during their working lives.  5224 has taken over the demonstration goods train at Carrog, and is heading back to Llangollen.

The Standard 78000 Class locomotives were almost identical to those of the LMS Ivatt 6400 class, many of which were built in BR days. The rapid introduction of diesels on BR resulted in the 78000 Class locomotives having a life of no more than 16 years.   78019 had been rescued from Barry and spent many years stored at the Severn Valley Railway until it was eventually moved to the Great Central Railway, where it was restored to steam in 2004.  It is leaving Llangollen in the evening of 20 April 2007.  78019 had been allocated to Northwich shed in 1963, and is based at the Great Central Railway today. 

Looking back with Tim Rogers

28 February 2004:   47 749 Atlantic College passes Holywell Junction with
1D65 10:21 Crewe to Holyhead,  which only reached Bangor before the  loco was 'failed.'  The loco had had a varied career since it was built at Crewe works in 1965: today it is owned by GB Railfreight.

175 008, still wearing First North Western colours with branding removed after the Arriva takeover,  passes with the 10:05 Bangor to Crewe, while the grounded Duke of Lancaster slumbers in the background.  The signalbox shows signs of a recent 'sprucing-up'.  Network Rail's idea of historic lettering features on the nameboard, unfortumately bearing little resemblance to the LMS original. The signalbox closed, and the semaphore signals disappeared, in 2018.

Fast forward to 29 February 2008: 175 107 forming the 10:03 Manchester to Holyhead 'boat train' is still in the old livery, but with Arriva additions.

 In its Virgin Trains finery, 57 307 Lady Penelope hauling 390 004 Virgin Star as the
1D22 09:00 Euston to Holyhead.  As seen higher on the page, the loco his still around, with DRS; and still carrying the name, which was removed when originally transferred to DRS as it was claimed that a royalty had to be paid for use of the 'Thunderbird' name. These 'Pendolino Drags' lasted until 2012, latterly on Saturdays only, before Class 221 Voyagers took over all Virgin's North Wales trains.

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