Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

08 November 2021


Contributions to the Notice Board are welcome, although they may not always be used, due to time constraints, especially if they don't follow the file name convention given on the  Contributions Page.

Forthcoming events

Charter trains may be subject to cancellation or postponement.

November 2021

Wednesday  3 November RCTS Liverpool Paul Wright Goods Depots Around Liverpool, Part 1 – The Docks

Saturday 13 November The Cheshireman (Railway Touring Company) Steam: 60163 Bristol -  Hereford - Shrewsbury - Wrexham General - Chester (break) and  return

Monday 15 November Online Zoom RCTS David Postle Kidderminster Railway Museum

Saturday 20 November The Cheshireman (Railway Touring Company) Steam: 60163 London Euston -  Crewe - Chester and return

December 2021

Monday 6 December Chester Christmas Market (Spirit Of The Lakes (West Coast Railways) Diesel: Skegness  - Chester and  return

Saturday 11 December The Northern Belle: Christmas Lunch Diesel
Crewe  - Chester  - Liverpool Lime Street and  return

Saturday 11 December The Christmas Chester Cracker (Pathfinder Tours)  Eastleigh -  Gloucester - Newport - Maindee Junction - Abergavenny - Shrewsbury - Crewe - Chester and return

Monday 20 December RCTS Chester Dave Southern Chester To Pwllheli

January 2022

Wednesday 5 January    RCTS Liverpool    AGM    followed by: Paul Chancellor    ColourRail - 9th Journey   (Non M,C&NW Members and Non-RCTS Members will not be able to take an active part in the AGM) 

Monday 17 January    RCTS online Zoom    Professor Stuart Cole    Rail Policy in Wales

February 2022

Monday 21 February RCTS Chester Martyn Hilbert Network North West

March 2022

Wednesday  2 March RCTS Liverpool Paul Shackcloth L & Y Engines At Work, Part 1

Monday 21 March RCTS online Zoom Geoff Plumb The Wrexham & Shropshire Railway

April 2022

Monday 25 April RCTS Chester David Powell Merseyrail Fleet Replacement

(see  our Calendar page for venues)

D345 and D213 at Chester on the morning test run on 27 October to check their multiple-working circuits ready for the railtour to Plymouth. (See last issue.) Picture by David Wood who writes 'I was wondering when did Chester station last see a pair of Green 40s ?'

We'll start this page with some interesting items which I failed to add due to accidentally re-starting after the holiday at the wrong place in the email list.  - Charlie

Coast favourites in action - by Dave Plimmer

At the start of October there were two opportunities to see 3 preserved
locomotives in action which were frequent visitors to the North Wales Coast line in the 1970s. A dig into my slide collection, provided the opportunity for some "then and now" shots.   Above: At the Severn Valley Diesel gala on Friday 1 October, 24 081 is seen at Highley working the 08:30 from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. This was a seven coach load on the first train of the day on a damp morning.


In contrast, on Bank Holiday Monday 29 August 1977, 24 081 only has three coaches to haul on a short working from Llandudno to Llandudno Junction, where it would hand over to 25 074. This was a return Shoppers Special to Holyhead for day-trippers from Ireland.


Also at the Severn Valley gala on Friday 1 October, 40 106 worked the 13:50 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, seen here arriving at Hampton Loade.

Despite its celebrity status, 40 106 also found that it was not easy being green, as here it is on the 8 July 1980, shunting coal wagons in Bangor Yard, before continuing to Amlwch on Trip 46.


I failed to get a picture of 24 081 and 40 106 together at the Severn Valley to contrast with this shot of 4 September 1979 at Bangor. 40 106 is running round the stock of the 07:45 from Manchester before returning as the 11:30 from Bangor. 24 081 is on the Amlwch tanks in Platform 1 - not their usual location. My assumption here is that the tanks were left here earlier in the day, possibly when the loco working the morning trip from Amlwch had been commandeered to rescue another train. 24 081 had been sent out from Llandudno Junction to retrieve the tanks and work them back to the Junction.


The final North Wales Coast stalwart in action was 47 449 at the Llangollen Railway on Sunday 3 October. Running with its pre-TOPS number of 1566, 47 449 made its first outing for 2 years, on the loco-hauled diagram starting with the 10:30 Llangollen to Carrog, seen here approaching Llangollen Goods Junction with the 5-coach suburban rake.


The contrast shot is of 47 449 working the Crewe to Holyhead portion of the 13:00 from Euston on the curve onto the Britannia Bridge on 27 September  1976.

All shot from public locations (even the 70s ones!) apart from the one at Llangollen Goods Junction which was taken from the signal box where I am an authorised person (well, a trainee authorised person at the moment, but I was rostered to be there).

Ffestiniog & WHR 'Bygone Times' Weekend - by Ian Pilkington

Lyd heads the 15:35 Beddgelert-Porthmadog through the Aberglaslyn Pass on Friday 8 October.

A gravity slate train passes Penrhyn on Sunday October,

Welsh Pony passes Penrhyn with the 11:05 Porthmadog-Tan-y-Bwlch on Sunday 10  October.

Palmerston heads a Rhiw Goch-Porthmadog demonstration goods onto the Cob on Sunday 10th.

The rare sight of a loaded Garratt-hauled train on the Cob, as 87 heads the Boston Lodge-Beddgelert leg of a members' special on Sunday 10th.

David Lloyd George heads the 15:35 Beddgelert-Porthmadog near Pont Croesor with Cnicht in the background on Sunday 10th.

87 heads the members' special back to Porthmadog away from Pont Croesor.

The Great Orme Tramway - visited by Martin Evans

On 8 October I was in Llandudno.  I ventured to the Tramway and found it
operating. Although time was short I managed to ravel to the summit and back. Above:  Tram No 6 approaches the summit while Tram No 4 waits in the loop just below the summit and Halfway station.

Tram No 4 has returned to Llandudno and has finished for the day.

Chasing the Test Train, 3 November - by Stephen Dennett

I had a good day on 3 November following the Test Train in the Llandudno and Conwy area.

This was the Ultrasonic / Structure Gauging train which did a circuitous route from Crewe to Bangor, with a return the following day.

It comprised Class 37/6 37 612, which is on loan from the Harry Needle Co, Ultrasonic Test Coach 999602, Structure Gauging Coaches 977985 & 977986, Brake Force Runner 96604 (converted from a Motorail Van), and DBSO 9708.

Always great to see a Class 37 anytime!

I also managed to see another Freightliner Class 66 doing more runs from Crewe to Holyhead.  [Editor's note: these runs are definitely training for engineering trains: the stone trains from Penmaenmawr will, we understand,  be worked by GBRf locomotives.

The estuary walk from the Conwy RSPB site to the Conwy approach road is a really fine viewpoint for trains coming across Conwy Cob to and from the Castle arch.

It was my first time there, having seen excellent photos by other contributors in the past. The Voyager, the unique-liveried 221 101, was one of the other trains I saw, working the 12:53 Holyhead - Crewe. I was hoping for the RHTT but it was very late back from Holyhead that day; it appears to have been having problems after leaving Crewe westbound, but continued its itinerary and finally arrived back at its Shrewsbury depot 146 minutes late.

Talking points

Some questions we have been asked recently.

1. Why is the now-disused platform at Holyhead set into a concrete base? After consulting some experts, we believe this was done so that the toilets of sleeping cars could be emptied in to a drain provided. Is this correct? Apparently this arrangement sometimes caused problems with the signalling system, due to false activation of the track circuits.

2. Are there still emergency signals  controlled from the control tower on the line,  passing Valley airfield, as there are at Broughton?  It seems that signal technicians had to enter the no-go area of the tower to maintain the equipment.

3. Can readers recommend a useful 'app' for  railway enthusiast new to smart-phones?

Test Train assortment

More views of 37 612 and its Ultrasonic Test Train on 3 November. Above, arriving at Llandudno (Ryan Lloyd).

Baldeerton Crossing (Bob Greenhagh).

On 4November it was the turn of a PLPR train to take to the North Wales rails, powered by 43 274 ...

... and scruffy-looking 43 290 on the rear, past Dywgyfylchi (Gary Thomas).

The next day, 5 November 37 612 returned after spending previous day at Bangor. This is Pensarn (Gary Thomas).

Cambrian Corner -  by Kate Jones

Three pictures of work ongoing, night and day, all weathers except for
the recent high winds, on the Barmouth viaduct refurbishment. I take my hat off too them!

Pictures taken this morning 3 November 2021.

I can't wait for the access to Barmouth to be open again, scheduled for 13 December. The 45-minute bus rides round via Dolgellau on these twisting narrow roads are not for travel-sick people like myself!

From Dave Sallery's Archive

Class 37 rebirths:

37 667 Meldon Quarry Centenary at Chester on a ballast from Penmaenmawr, 22 October 1997.  A rare beast at the time, 37 667 is now with Locomotive Services and repainted into original green livery as D6851.

37 116 Sister Dora  approaching Rhyl on the evening of 8 June 1996 on a Crewe - Bangor working in its unique Transrail livery. 37 116 was originally withdrawn in February 2007 and sold to the Chinnor & Princess Risborough Railway. It was later re-sold to Colas and reinstated on 31 December 2014. It is now in Colas livery.

Another view of 37 116 on test from Crewe works on 17 March 1992 approaching Prestatyn. It is in large logo livery and named Comet. I have been asked, in the past, if the test train was really a secret troop train for Northern Ireland and if the first coach had SAS soldiers in it. There was plenty of misinformation about before the internet!

Looking back: Class 59 to Blaenau - with David Pool

The North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board of 20 July 2020 included some images of “The Roman Nose” Railtour to Trawsfynydd on 18 April 1998, and I thought that this notable occasion merited a few more images.  The starting point for my photography was Mold Junction, where the signal box was still in use and the disused trackbed was not yet overgrown.  The train was 1T54 from Euston, and had been delayed a few minutes at Chester, but 37 377 and 37 098 sounded healthy, encouraged by some individuals leaning out of windows.

The Class 59, then recently renamed L Keith McNair, was on the rear at this stage, and in the “going away” shot the tyre tracks indicate the route of the lifted line to Mold.  Today this view would be obliterated by the growth of shrubs and trees.

I had two hours to get to Blaenau from Mold Junction, which was a quite comfortable journey, and after the reversal at Llandudno Junction 59 205 arrived on time at the new Blaenau Ffestiniog station.  The Railtour was rather too long for the platform, and passengers in the rear coaches had to exit from the forward coaches.  The Ffestiniog Railway train, hauled by the Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog had not yet arrived.

Eventually the Vale of Ffestiniog made its appearance, and ran forward to pose near 59 205.  We all appreciated the occasion, captured in full sun, which is always welcome at Blaenau. 

After taking some shots of the train on the viaduct at Tan y Manod, I headed for Trawsfynydd, stopping near Cynfal fawr to get a nice shot in sunlight, since it had been dull at Llan Ffestiniog. 

The shot at Maentwrog Road is not ideal for trains coming from Blaenau, since most of the train will be out of sight on the curve, but the classic shot of the old station with the Power Station in the background was always worthwhile, even if the sun was not in the ideal position.  37 377 and 37 098 were being assisted by 59 205 on the rear as needed, and enjoyed by the gentleman in the deckchair on the platform!

 A little while later, the pair of 37s arrived back at Blaenau, where they were held until a service train had cleared the section ahead towards Llanrwst.   There were still patches of snow on the hillsides above Blaenau, and the light was beginning to fade. 

Eventually the line was clear, and the train headed for Llandudno Junction, passing the old Blaenau Ffestiniog North station, whose buildings were apparently To Let. The sidings were becoming overgrown and the tortuous nature of the main line is illustrated well.  This had been originally advertised as the last Railtour to Trawsfynydd, but one more was run six months later, when the weather was much less kind and there were serious delays due to pathing problems. “The Roman Nose” is the Railtour which should be remembered as a much happier occasion.

A Saturday afternoon at Llanberis, 30 October - by Greg Mape

Llanberis station, Snowdon Mountain Railway ...

... with diesel loco no.12 in off-season action.

The Llanberis Lake Railway in ealy autumn

Alongside Llyn Padarn.

Elidir (Hunslet 493 of 1889) at Glifach Ddu station. Trains are running Tuesday - Thursday throughout November. Timetable here. Note, however,  that the only ticket available is £25 for a compartment for up to 6 people in the same family for one return journey only.

More ballast at Corwen, Llangollen Railway - by George Jones

Thursday 4 Nov saw two ballast trains run into Corwen and stone was dropped in the headshunt. Above, the hoppers in the headshunt.

... the stone as dropped ...

... the 08 paused above the subway entrance ...

... the Shark deploys its plough to spread the stone ...

... the Shark and team of volunteers at the Green Lane buffer stop. All images taken close to the action but from right side of the fence. After a further ballast drop on Monday, 8 Nov the situation will be assessed prior to the need to bring in the tamper.

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