Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

20 December 2021

Best wishes and thanks at Christmas to all our contributors, our readers and to all the the rail staff of North Wales..

Stay safe! - Charlie

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.

December 2021

28 December:  Our regular contributor  Ian Pilkington will be presenting “Steam in North Wales and the Border” on Friday  at RCTS Lancashire & North West Branch, Fulwood Tennis Club, Highgate Avenue, Fulwood, Preston PR2 8LN.

The show will be a mixture of main line and narrow gauge steam taken since 2010.

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)

60 087 approaches Llandudno Junction with 23 wagons for Penmaenmawr Quarry. Picture by Ryan Lloyd.

Freight news

20 December became the first day of a new era in freight traffic on the North Wales coast line. GBRf train 6D60, 07:08 Tuebrook Sidings (Liverpool),  hauled by  60 087, arrived at the Penmaenmawr quarry siding  at 09:50 with a long rake of  JNA bogie box wagons.  (The Real Time Trains database was 'Penmaenmawr Quarry' not 'Penmaenmawr Quarry FHH' which is where the paths for this flow are shown.)   Jack Bowley was the first to send us pictures. Above, the train at Dwgyfylchi footbridge.

Entering the sidings (Jack Bowley).

Running round the train (Gary Thomas).

Under the loader - note that the train has been divided.  The operations at this terminal can easily be watched from the adjacent path (Jack Bowley).  It was thought that the train should at return at 14:43, but in fact there were problems (reportedly with the conveyor) and this appeared from Real Time Trains to have been cancelled, although in fact the train did return, departing around 17:15. Indeed it was capptured on video by DH Trains.

Testing the conveyor and loading (Gary Thomas).  Can anyone clarify the nature of the (apparently very dusty) product being shipped, and its destination.

Meanwhile, at Llandudno Junction, there is some sign of progress on the other promised flow from the revitalised sidings to Hope Cement Works in Derbyshire. The line behind platform four is now cleared and there are reports of work taking place at the future loading point. Picture by Keith Jones.

Blaenau scenes - by Ken Robinson

Over recent months, Blaenau Ffestiniog has been the only town/village in the whole of Gwynedd (Bangor being a city!) which has been served by a train service. Hopefully this will change soon when Barmouth Bridge and the Cambrian Coast Line re-opens. On 18 December I paid a visit to the 'slate town' and took a few photos of the mid-day service train, in full sun! The first shows 150 254 having just arrived with the 10:19 from Llandudno.

The second photo shows 150 254 departing Blaenau Ffestiniog with the 11:35 to Llandudno. There were quite a few passengers on both trains.

Thirdly,  a photograph from 25 years ago of the 'old order' - 101 683 departing Blaenau Ffestiniog on 4 April 1996.

Class 97/3 news

On 17 December Network Rail loco  97 303 after  Project Manager Dave Berry who sadly passed away earlier this year. His family were present to attend the unveiling on Friday 17 December at Shrewsbury Depot.

The loco was smartened up for the occasion, including white wheel rims.

Night time at Coleham Depot (Graham Breakwell). The other two operational 97/3s, 302 and 304, have also been 'spruiced up' recently - 97 302 has also been given the 'white wall'  treatment. As for 97 301 - where is it?

North Wales variety - images by Tim Rogers

Four from Bagillt:  above, 197 001 on 3W14 14:19 training run, Llandudno Junction to Crewe. The destination display might have confused some prospective passengers!

158 839 on what  should have been the 13:27 Holyhead to Birmingham International, but due to an 'issue with the train staff' - no guard available, no doubt -  it became the 13:27 empty stock, Holyhead to Chester. Note the NHS rainbow - maybe we'll all be be displaying them again soon.

This train, like the return GBRf service, ran although simply shown as cancelled by Real Time Trains. There appears to be some sort of data updating problem?

The 11:22 Cardiff - Holyhead  was led by driving trailer 82226, complete with Alzheimer Society Cymru vinyls ...

... and propelled by 67 015.

A move to Flint station to see  175 002 working 1H90 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Airport at 15:38 with the light already fading.  This unit would be coupled  at Chester to three-car 175 108.  The return 17:30 from the Airport would be popular with Christmas Market-goers from Manchester; 108 was detached at Chester.

From Dave Sallery's archive

The Pathfinder Tours  Chester Explorer', 13 September 2008. From Cranmore to Crewe via Bath and Hereford. Locos were 59 005 Kenneth J Painter and 59 104 Village of Great Elm. Photographed near Wrexham.

47 453 in the sunshine of the old Manchester Victoria, 28 March 1990.

A Class 503 and 508 020 (still showing Strawberry Hill on its destination blind).  The 503s were stored in the old Birkenhead steam shed before being taken to the docks for scrapping,  and the 508, is awaiting modifications before running on Merseyrail, tripcocks etc.

Looking back : Diesels 1999 part 3 - with David Pool

The shot of 20 312 and 20 304 with the 11:30 Valley flasks to Sellafield on 23 April 1999 could not be repeated safely today after the building of the North Wales Expressway at this point.  The buffer stop on the South leg of the triangle is visible on the right.  The last loaded flask from Wylfa left on 18 September 2019, although the triangle remains available and the facility could be used again if there were to be any new construction on the Wylfa site. 

The Penmaenmawr sidings were always interesting, and on a rather misty 14 May 1999 the 6E10 departure to Carnforth would be headed by a Dutch liveried 37 058 and 37 375 in plain blue.  The latter had blue numbers on the nose, which indicates it was in Mainline Blue livery, but it does not appear to have ever had Mainline branding.  The assortment of wagons in the left hand siding illustrates the smaller capacity wagons previously in use. 

The private road to the John Summers sports ground has always been a good location to photograph trains going in the Chester direction.  On 5 June 1999 the 12:22 Bangor to Crewe was headed by a Load Haul liveried Class 37/5 37 698.  It certainly was a change from the more usual Regional Railways Class 37/4, and although it may not be matching the coaching stock, I like the simplicity of this livery - a far cry from the decorative vinyls applied today. 

The same location six days later provided a “heavyweight” Mainline Blue 37 798 on the 12:53 Holyhead to Crewe.  The light loading of these trains to Crewe enabled any Class 37 sub-class to be utilised when train heating was not needed, and it certainly made photography more interesting at this time. 

Trains of limestone hoppers from Tunstead are always worth photographing, and 6H05 on 16 June 1999 was no exception.  A Class 60 in the latest EWS livery 60 016 was hauling JGA National Power bogie hoppers
through Hale. The destination was Manchester Airport , where a siding was provided for the delivery of material for the construction of the second runway.

Although the trains from Sellafield to Sandbach have appeared in previous images on this website, the working on 18 June 1999 of 6F20 at Winwick was notable in that Class 37/6 37 604 was still carrying the European Passenger Services roundels.  Direct Rail Services had not yet repainted this locomotive in their blue livery. 

When I photographed D172 (46 035) at Earlestown on 25 June 1999 it was recorded as working a Regency Charter train, but I have no details of where it was going.  Can anyone supply details? On Martin Loader’s website there is a photograph of this locomotive and train at Cwmbran on the following day, when D172 had taken over a special train from Manchester at Crewe, after a failure of 37 029.  This latter train was going to Cardiff for the inaugural match at the Millennium Stadium.

The waste transfer sidings at Northenden are looking a little untidy on 26 June 1999 as a Merseyrail liveried Pacer 142 057 passes with the 16:24 Manchester Piccadilly to Chester.  60 078 is waiting on the line from New Mills South Junction with the 15:24 Tunstead to Oakleigh limestone hoppers.

Out and about

On 18 December, 60103 Flying Scotsman working hard with a Liverpool Lime St - Hellifield - Carlisle excursion near Horton-in-Ribblesdale on the Settle - Carlisle route (Ian Pilkington).

On 17 December Greg Mape visited Marsden, near the eastern portal of the Standedge Tunnels  to see 'Black Five' 44 871 on a positioning move from York to Bury ELR. Marsden has been in the news recently as the junction with the planned new high-speed line from Manchester.  How this historic scene will be affected by the construction of a new tunnel is not clear.

68 024 Centaur emerges from the existing  4866-metre tunnel, on the 12:10 Stalybridge - Scarborough (Greg Mape).

Greg Mape also headed out on 18 December to see the return leg of a Saphos Trains excursion from Rugby to Blackburn, steam hauled from and to Crewe.  However the loco, Royal Scot, failed on the outward leg at Euxton Junction and 47 614 took over. Greg writes:  'I was waiting at Huncoat but gave up  as it was getting dark. I managed to get a this at Moston in the dark, with the ISO on the camera at 40 000.'

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