Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

23 May 2022


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, and meetings, may be subject to cancellation or postponement. See our Calendar Page for Club and Society details.

May 2022

Friday 27th May  Vintage Trains Cambrian Coast Explorer 1
(diesel) Dorridge  - Pwllheli
  and return Cancelled

June 2022

10-11 June
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways ‘Cwrw ar y Cledrau’ returns in 2022 with a vibrant mix of Real Ales, Steam Trains, and Live Music. Regular steam-hauled trains will also be running throughout the weekend.  Updates will be posted on

July 2022

Saturday 2 July  Vintage Trains Cambrian Coast Explorer 2 (Vintage Trains) (diesel) Stratford-upon -Avon - Aberystwyth and return. Cancelled

2 -3 July Llangollen Railway Classic  Transport Weekend

Sunday 17 July 2022 
Railway Touring Company. Steam  The North Wales Coast Express  Liverpool -Holyhead and return.

Tuesday 19 July
  Railway Touring CompanyThe Welsh Mountaineer Steam  Preston  Blaenau Ffestiniog  and return.

30-31 July :  Welsh Highland Railway Centenary and Celebrations:
A weekend of heritage trains operating between Dinas and Rhyd Ddu (as South Snowdon is now known) to celebrate the reopening of this section of line.

August 2022

Friday 12 August   Pathfinder Tours  Cambrian Coast Express Cardiff - Pwllheli

September 2022

Friday 2 September Clwyd Railway Circle: “The Greatest Railway Builder in the World” A 60 Minute Talk on the Life and Times of Thomas Brassey by Peter Bolt

3-4 September Llangollen Railway   Diesel Weekend

Saturday 3 September The Cheshireman  steam  (6233) Norwich  - Chester and return (diesel Peterborough - Norwich)

Friday 9 September  Pathfinder Tours Cambrian Coast Express.  Oxford - Pwllheli

24 September  Trailffest Half Marathon : An Event Train will be provided to take the competitors from the event centre at Porthmadog to the start of the race in Tanygrisiau, the cost of which is included in the entry fee.

Friday 7 October
“Fond Memories” A look back over 70 years of Railway interest by Larry Davies

7-9 October: Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways: Vintage weekend.

8-9 October
Llangollen Railway  DMU railcar weekend

November 2022

Friday 4 November Clwyd Railway Circle: “A trip by Norwegian Railways to Hell (and back).” Geoff Morris

Saturday 5 November
Llangollen Railway Ride the Rocket Firework Train

December 2022

Friday 2 December Clwyd Railway Circle: “Members Selections & Christmas Celebrations” Members are invited to give a 15-minute presentation of their choice (Any format). Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

(see  our Calendar page for meeting venues)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

On 18 May, 97 302 Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways and 97 303  Dave Berry tackle the 1 in 163 climb to Commins Coch with the second trial run of logs from Aberystwyth to the Kronospan factory in Chirk. Picture by David Rapson.

We are truly overwhelmed with contributions this week, while my computer has decided to to download some huge Windows update  ... Many thanks as always to everyone. Things are a little hectic here, but I'll try to upload an extra issue on Friday evening to catch up with Sir Nigel and all the other happenings. -  Charlie

Cambrian railtour

The two Cambrian excursions to advertised for 27 May and 22 July have - as  we expected - been cancelled,  but Pathfinder are still  advertising  trips (to be confirmed)  starting from Cardiff on 12 August and 9 September.

The repeat Pathfinder 'Cambrian Coast Express'  on 20 May ran as promised. Here are some pictures from our contributors. Above, at Redhill, west of Shrewsbury, the train approaches the remains of the bridge which carried the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway....

... and a closer view from the foot crossing. The locos this time were 97 304 John Tiley and 97 302. Pictures by Joe Breakwell.

Near Pensarn (Keith Wild)

Crossing the Welsh Highland Railway line on the approach to Porthmadog (Ken Robinson).

Crossing with 158 831 at Porthmadog (Greg Mape).

The return working near Pensarn (Keith Wild).

North and West lines troubles

The Chester to Cardiff line has had a difficult few days: on Saturday 21 May the signaller at Hereford was take ill and the line had to close for a whole shift as nobody was available to take over.  Then late on Sunday evening a train struck a 'mini-digger' near Craven Arms, damaging its fuel tank and starting a fire, blocking the route again.  Fortunately, only one of the 60 people aboard was slightly injured.

Great Rocks on Tour

19-21 May saw Locomotive Services run a three-day private charter from Crewe to Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog  using two from their growing fleet of diesels, 37 688 Great Rocks and  37 521 (a.k.a. D6817).  On 19 May the train ran from Crewe to Shrewsbury where it reversed, then to Chester (another reversal) and Llandudno where it spent the night. Bob Greenhalgh was on hand to photograph the train at Balderton Crossing south of Chester.

Departing from Chester (Dave Jepson)

On the Llandudno branch, passing Deganwy (Greg Mape). behind the loco is a Mk3 sleeping car.

Llandudno (Gerant Williams)

On 20 May, 37 688 and three coaches - a generator coach, a buffet car and a Mk2 brake coach, formed an  11:22 Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog , and 16:07 return to Llandudno. Above the train arrives at Blaenau  (Ken Robinson)

Stabled in the Loop to make room for a servive train (Gary Thomas).

Ready for departure to Llandudno (Ken Robinson). We've been told that the Mk3 coaches which formed the rest of the train are not permitted on the Conwy Valley line, although they have appeared there on rare occasions.  An excursion from London formed of an HST visited Blaenau, and in 2013 an Arriva 67-worked push pull set made the journey (See Dave Sallery's website for the proof.)

The famous Blaenau rain makes an appearance (Greg Mape)

Passing Deganwy on the way back  to Llandudno (Gary Thomas).

Return from Llandudno on 21 May passing the 'Legoland' estate  near Deganwy (Gary Thomas)

Colwyn Bay (Greg Mape).

Flint (Stephen Dennett).

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).

Passing Chester on the return to Crewe (direct) (Geoff Morris).

Sign of the times

George Jones
writes:  When I photographed the iconic mileage sign at Chester on 30 April (above) I wondered how long it would last in its derelict state. Passing through on 17 May I saw a blank space on the wall opposite the entrance gates and hope that a replacement is on its way -  watch this space, as they say.'

This sign has been there for a long time; the maroon background suggests the 1960s or even the 1950s, does anyone know?  Made by local railway staff, perhaps from the loco shed or the wagon works, it has been refurbished at least once.  The current damage appears to result from rainwater running down the wall, suggesting a drainage problem.

Aberystwyth logs

On 18 May, 97 302 and 97 303 pass the golf course at Borth with the 15:55 to Chirk. the second trial of log transport from Aberystwyth.

The same train is seen passing Derwenlas, just west of Machynlleth. Picture by Ken Robinson who notes ' this was a bonus, as I just managed to capture the train here!

While in the area, Ken captured The Vale of Rheidol Railway No. 7 departing Aberystwyth with the 14:00 service to Devil's Bridge.

The Chester scene - by Geoff Morris

Following its overhaul, and running-in on the Severn Valley Railway, A4 class 4498 (Sir Nigel Gresley) was scheduled to do main line test runs on Monday  & Tuesday of last week.  Monday 16th May saw 2 round trips between Crewe & Chester with just its support coach in tow.  A dental appointment meant that I was unable to see the morning run and, while having lunch, a quick examination of RTT showed that the afternoon run had set off early and was already in Chester station. 

As I hadn’t seen the loco in its (temporary) wartime black livery I headed off to the nearby Northgate cutting in the hope of seeing it. When I got there I could see the loco was parked on the triangle halfway through its turning manoeuvre. This was about 45 minutes before it was scheduled to complete the reversal and so I waited (and waited...).

Fortunately there were a couple of loco-hauled services passing through which helped to alleviate the wait.  Colas-liveried 60 076 first appeared, running about an hour late, on a Penmaenmawr – Tuebrook Sidings stone train.

This was was soon followed by 67 015  on a Holyhead – Cardiff service formed of MK 4 stock. 

After a wait of c.45 minutes, 4498 reversed from the triangle into the cutting and fortunately stopped where it could be easily photographed. It waited there for over 10 minutes before heading off to Crewe at its booked time.

Tuesday 17 May saw a loaded test run from Crewe to Crewe via Chester and Shrewsbury. I went to Chester locks for this and opted for the shot looking down the locks as the stock was likely to be the usual mix of Mk 2 & 3 stock which don’t look right behind a steam loco. When I got there two canal boats were about to start their passage down the Locks.

When they reached the bottom lock, one of the Canal & River Trust volunteers who help boats through the locks mentioned to their skippers that, if they weren’t in a desperate hurry, there would be a steam loco passing by and would they like to wait to see it !  Fortunately (for me) both skippers were very happy to do so and I was able to get my photo of 4498 passing with the bonus of two  boats occupying the Locks. I went home very happy.  If either of the skippers views this,  thank you very much for your cooperation.

Variety at Flint - pictures by Stephen Dennett

It was good to see some variety on the coast line this week. Above,  Colas 43290 at the head of a Network Rail measurement train on the Derby to Crewe circuit on 19 May...

... and 43 299 on the rear. Both locos look really shabby - in contrast to Network Rail's own 97/3s which have been 'bulled-up' recently.

West Coast Railways 47 813 brought the Northern Belle "Spirit of Travel Lunch" from Stoke-on-Trent on 19 May ...

... with blue 47 812 at the rear.  47 812, 47 813, 47 815 and 47 848 were bought by West Coast from Rail Operations Group in 2021: this one has yet to be repainted.

A coupled pair of Class 197s, 197 004 ...

... and 197 011, missing its cab-end number. [These units look very plain without the  black window-band of the TfW livery, but if applied it would  look odd due to the positioning of the windows. ]

There are no passenger duties for the Class 67s on Saturdays, but there are regular Saturday empty-stock runs between Holyhead and Crewe depot for maintenance. 67 008 was propelling past a foot crossing near engaged in such a working neading for Holyhead when photographed on 21 May.

From Dave Sallery's archive

47 603 is stabled on the Trawsfynydd line after working in on the 'Manchester Executive' on 22 May 1993.  There were two excursion to Blaenau that day so this was the only place to stable the train.

37218 and 37 261 seen in Bangor on 16 October 1993. They were working the return leg of 'The Mabinogion' from Euston to Amlwch.

78017 on station pilot duties at Shrewsbury in February 1967 with some nice LNWR signals in the background.

33 019 at Crewe on a service to Cardiff, 14 July 1984.

56 101 Mutual Improvement on a coil train to Dee Marsh at Hope, 3 March 1995.

Looking back: Diesels 2004 part 1 - by David Pool

The First North Western name on 175 105 had been blanked out following the acquisition by Arriva Trains. The unit is working the 09:47 Llandudno to Manchester on 17 January 2004 at Mold Junction.  There is today no sign of the car scrapyard, and the unchecked growth of lineside trees and bushes in this area has ended the photographic opportunities. 

The morning sun was low on 24 January 2004 at Mold Junction as 47 635 The Lass o’Ballochmyle was on the 10:21 Crewe to Bangor.  Owned then by EWS, it had been given the name and the Large Logo livery, together with the Highland Stag on the cab doors.  Eventually it was preserved on the Swanage Railway, then moved to the Epping Ongar Railway.

While visiting the Epping Ongar Railway on 29 June 2014, I found 47 635 in a siding at North Weald, together with D7523 (25 173).  It was carrying the name Jimmy Milne, retained from its days at Swanage.  After some time out of service at North Weald, it is now repaired and operational there. 

It was a wet day at Llandudno Junction on 3 February 2004.and the Railtrack test train was parked at the back of Platform 4 waiting to leave on 4Z08, 2240 Llandudno Junction to Holyhead.  The train was top and tailed by 31 601 and 31 128, with coaches 72630, 72631, 62482, and 99666.  This side of the platform was not in public use, and may once have been designated Platform 5.  Today Platform 5 is the bus interchange area on the opposite side of the station.  31 601 Bletchley Park Station X was in Railtrack livery, matching the coaches. 

Today 31 601, now named Devon Diesel Society, may be found at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.  On 1 September 2018 it was photographed at Wirksworth in the livery of Devon and Cornwall Railways.  Apparently it was allowed to carry the name of the Society, when they had carried out the painting at the request of D & C Railways.   I omitted to get details of the steam locomotive! 

31 128 Charybdis on the rear of the Railtrack train was unusually a Fragonset locomotive.  The name is that of a female sea monster in Greek mythology who swallowed water and generated whirlpools.

Visiting Winwick on 18 February 2004 I photographed 66 511 on an Engineering working.  On this occasion I had no details of its origins or destination, and my attempts to identify the purpose of this train have been unsuccessful.  If anyone can recognise the equipment and wagons I should be most interested.

Llangollen celebrations - from a press release

The Llangollen Railway is planning a busy Platinum Jubilee weekend between 3 June and 5 June. Memories will be cast back some 69 years to 1- July  1953, when Llangollen station proudly welcomed the Royal Train conveying the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to visit the International Eisteddfod Music Festival, just days after the Coronation.

Great Western steam tank locomotive No 5619, visiting from the Telford Steam Railway, will run on all three days. This will be highest consecutive number of days that a steam service has run in the Dee Valley since the Llangollen Railway Trust managed to reopen the highly scenic line in July 2021. 

The Jubilee weekend will see the new Corwen station open to visitors between 10 and 4pm to inspect progress. A train of ballast wagons, which are being used to finish the trackwork off, will be on display all weekend.

Also back by popular demand after a successful Easter trial will be 1956-built Class 08 diesel-electric Shunter No 13625, which will be allowing visitors to fulfil their childhood dreams by trying their hand at being a train driver - for just £5 a go! The shunter will also be working a shuttle service between Llangollen and Berwyn Stations, which will run in-between the 3 daily steam trains that run between Llangollen and Carrog.

With a return journey time of 50 minutes, the Berwyn Shuttle allows those looking for a shorter trip the chance to travel to the beautiful Berwyn station.  Departures from Llangollen are 10:20, 12:15, 14:30 & 16:30, with returns from Berwyn at 10:50, 12:16, 12:45, 14:26, 15:00, 16:31 & 17:00. Tickets cost £8.50 for adults, £5 for a child and £7.50 for seniors, purchasable from Llangollen station on the day.

The Driver-for-a-Fiver experience will run in Llangollen station and allow those over 12 (under 16s musty be accompanied by an adult) the chance to drive the locomotive for a short distance along the platform and back. Driver-for-a-Fiver is available between 11:20-12:05, 13:15-14:15 and 15:35-16:15. Tickets can be purchased on the day.

More details can be found on the Llangollen Railway’s website, Facebook page or by telephoning 01978 860 979.

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