North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 07 August 2023


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

07 August 2023

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.

September 2023

Friday 1 September
Clwyd Railway Circle
A Year in the Life of an International Train Spotter  - Part 2. Phil Thomas

Wednesday 13 September    Statesman Rail The Snowdonia Statesman    High Wycombe IST Birmingham NS - Betws-y-coed/Blaenau Ffestiniog          LSL Pullman

16-17 September : Bala Model Show Ysgol Godre'r Berwyn School, Ffrydan Road, Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7RU
10.00-16.00 both days
Approximately 20 layouts, half standard gauge, half narrow (including live steam).

October 2023

Friday 6 October  Clwyd Railway Circle A History of The Internal Railway at Shotton Steelworks and its Links with the Main Line. Glyn Jones

11 October   Statesman Rail The Snowdonia Statesman    Stevenage - Nuneaton - Betws-y-coed /Blaenau Ffestiniog       LSL Pullman

November 2023

Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle The Railway in Conway.  Larry Davies

December 2023

Friday 1 December Clwyd Railway Circle Members Night Presentations.  Members are invited to give a 15-minute presentation of their choice.

(see  our Calendar page for meeting venues)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

'Black 5' 44932 passes  Chester Walls with the 'Welsh Mountaineer' on 1 August. Picture by Scott McGahey.

News Pictures

66 754 Northampton Saints passes Buckley station with 6V75, Dee Marsh to Margam steel train on 2 August (Stephen Dennett).

70 817 speeds through Flint station with 6M33, Penmaenmawr Quarry to Longport  loaded stone on 2 August (Stephen Dennett).

66 790, one of the few (so far?) un-named GbRf locos, enters Llandudno Junction, with the 4D59 Wellingborough to Llandudno Junction slate waste empties on 7 August ...

... and propels the wagons into the loading point (Garry Stroud).

197 047 is a recent addition to the fleet, seen calling at Conwy with the 1D15 12:27 Crewe to Holyhead service. on 6 August (Garry Stroud).

A rainy day at Abergele & Pensarn station as 66 749 Christopher Hopcroft MBE - 60 Years Railway Service passes with 4D59 09:11 Wellingborough  to Llandudno Junction empty JNA wagons (Tim Rogers).

Fun at Chirk

This year, 3 Counties Connected Community Rail Partnership is celebrating the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Chester to Shrewsbury rail line. They will be hosting a railway themed free family event on Wednesday, August 9 at Chirk Parish Hall from 11 am until 3.30 pm. 'The event is a Victorian Open Day and promises lots of fun for all the family this summer holiday'.

To the scrapyard - report by  Graham Breakwell

An unusual working was scheduled to run on 3 August with 37 884 Cepheus travelling from Wembley HS to Birkenhead North EMU Depot via Shrewsbury (0M38) to collect a pair of withdrawn 507’s and then take them on to Newport Docks Sims Group scrapyard via an overnight stop at Crewe South Yard (5Q42).

The attached image shows 507 005, an unidentified 507 and 37 884 stabled in Shrewsbury station’s up main line on 4 August after the previous day’s Shrewsbury to Crewe South Yard leg of 5Q42 was cancelled the day before. The service was then rescheduled to continue as 5Q78 from Shrewsbury at 13:24 to Newport. However, 37 884 left the stock and headed light engine as OM37, the 14:14 from English Bridge Junction to Derby RTC.  

The image from the Dana footbridge over the station shows the disused goods platform on the left, Severn Bridge Junction Signal Box and Abbey Foregate Church in the background, the iron parapet of the bridge carrying the station over the River Severn and a West Midlands Train class 196 in bay platform 6 on 2G15, the 12:40 to Birmingham New Street.

About the new Class 805 - by Jack Bowley

Two comments about the item in the last issue: people often pick up on the lack of tilting equipment which they find baffling. That said, and is rarely mentioned, that the 80X series trains have a far superior acceleration to the Voyagers and Pendolinos. It's the reason why they're being used on the North Wales / Liverpool / Blackpool 'stopper' services, and the 390s are being retained for the Glasgow / Edinburgh to Eustons.

Thankfully, the seats to be fitted to the 805s are not the ones we are more familiar with on the LNER, TPE and GWR sets. They're very similar (or even identical) to those being fitted to refurbished Pendolinos. A different seat profile, presumably not much improvement on the cushioning, but certainly better than other examples already found.

Eisteddfod Genedlaethol (not 37 429!)

Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru (the National Eisteddfod of Wales) is taking place at Boduan on the outskirts of Pwllheli this week, (Aug 5-12). It's the largest competitive cultural festival in Europe and is likely to attract 150,000 visitors.

Highlights of the festival is the Crowning and Chairing of Bards but it's much more than that with a full programme of literary events; a range of musical performances by top bands and singers and an extensive collection of stands and shops.

One of the displays on the Maes is by the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway. They have brought Lilla, the medium-sized quarry Hunslet, originally built for the Cilgwyn Quarry in 1891. Later used at Penrhyn, the was privately preserved before moving to the Ffestiniog Railway in the 1990s. They have also brought along carriages 1 and 12, both replica bugboxes (workmen's carriages).

Transport for Wales are playing their part  by strengthening to four coaches the 10:55  Machynlleth - Pwllheli and 15:37 Pwllheli to Machynlleth services.

Welsh Mountaineer

On 1  August the Railway Touring  Company  ran - as in previous years - an excursion from Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog featuring "Black Five" 44932. It was necessary to run the loco tender-first from Chester, reversing at Llandudno Junction, the loco then is loco-first for the climb to Blaenau, as seen passing Bagillt (Stephen Dennett).

Arriving at Llandudno Junction. These trains are restricted to five coaches, including the support coach, due to the steep gradients which caused problems with railtours in the past (Garry Stroud).

Passing Pont-y-Pant station (John Myers).  John writes: 'Late running service trains appear to have delayed progress by the Black 5 and its limited load: evidence suggests the 11:37 from Blaenau Ffestiniog (2D15) left there about 5 minutes late and that the deficit had increased on arrival for the token-change at North Llanrwst.  In turn, this meant the steam charter (1Z51) was around 12 minutes late when resuming its journey but more than made this up on the climb and also seemed unaffected by the tricky check-rail-equipped section immediately before my watching it pass through Pont-y-Pant station.   It appears even to have been two minutes early into the terminus as well.'

Photographers above Ffestiniog Tunnel entrance wait for the ideal moment (Sue Ikin) ...

... and the result (Greg Mape).  The loco has recently emerged from overhaul: we read that it is to be trial-fitted with European Train Control System (as used on the Cambrian line) equipment to see if the fitment can be rolled out across other main line steam locomotives. On the face of it, this is going to be a challenge, but unless it is faced, as the years go by there will be many miles of railway, not just the Cambrian lines,  where steam will be banned, even if coal-burning continues to be allowed.

Approaching Blaenau Ffestiniog ...

... and arrived (Ken Robinson).

Preparing for the tender-first return to Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies).

Prestatyn (Ivor Bufton). 44932 (as LMS 4932) was the first of the class to be built at Horwich Works in September 1945.  120 examples were built at Horwich at a cost of £9,500 each.

The return working passes Rhyl (John Myers). John Notes:  'At Rhyl Junction, 197010 was seen first, working 1H94, the 18:11 Llandudno to Manchester Airport service.  Whilst only a minute or so late, it appeared that 44932's train to Preston - 1Z52 - was having no difficulty in catching up the service train such that it appears to have been checked at or outside Rhyl station.  It then was heard accelerating up the slight climb towards me with a crisp staccato beat and soon was heading off towards Prestatyn and beyond.'

Abergele (Jim Ikin).

Sandycroft (Tim Rogers).

 Beeches farm (Stephen Dennett).

Hapsford, west of Helsby (Gary Thomas).

Helsby at 19:37 (Scott McGahey).

Traffic watch - notes by Stephen Dennett

Double 197/0s seem to be appearing now on the Holyhead - Manchester Airport runs. Good news. I’ve seen 197 014/009 and 197 019/14 in the past week.

150 watch: On my photo of 70 817 (above) , 150 267 (alone) can be seen having just left Flint with the standing-room-only 1W93 Cardiff-Holyhead, a former loco-hauled diagram. TfW have still not got back to me about the previous week!

[On 2 August, 1V37 08:30 Manchester - Cardiff was formed of of 150 270, one of the Northern units from Northern to stand in for the two TfW 150s damaged in a valdalism incident a a while ago. Their 3+2 cramped seating offers more seats than a TfW one,  but especially since the pandemic, many people treat them as 2+2.]

Wrexham relaying

The scene at 10am on Sunday 30 July: the job almost complete with the new switches in place on the Up and Down lines crossover ...

... Two Colas Matisa machines DR75406 & 07 waiting to align the new track (George Jones).

While the line is shut for the work at Wrexham General opportunity has been taken to replace about 100yards of line in Buckley Station (Alastair Graham). 

Buckley is one of the remaining stations where passengers need to cross the line on the level to reach one platform. Alaistair writes: 'The foot crossing to the north of the station platforms is being replaced. There has been a 10mph temporary speed restruction on the Up line for many months now. I'm unsure if that was due to the rail condition or because of the poor visibility of the foot crossing. The public footpath about 20 yards further north has been closed for some time'.

Blue Days - by Larry Davies

I was at Crewe on 3 August  and encountered this throwback to the days of the blue railway of the 70-90s. GBRf Class 47 47 749 City of Truro beautifully restored complete with the cats eye marker lights and an 81A shed plate running light engine from Widnes Technology. Park to Leicester LIP. Amongst all the new trains it's nice to have this reminder of how it once was every day.

Looking back: Preserved 40s - by David Pool

The last Notice Board showed 40 106 at Shipley in BR blue.  In 1978 following an overhaul at Crewe it had been repainted in the original BR green livery, but with the TOPS number 40 106.  It became a celebrity locomotive, appearing in the Rainhill parade in 1980, and was in demand for railtours and events.  On 17 April 1982 it had worked the 'Welsh Marches Express' from Crewe to Shrewsbury, where 92220 Evening Star took over.  40 106 then ran ahead of the steam train, and my shot was taken at Bayston Hill.  The following year it was withdrawn, but thankfully was purchased for preservation.

By 1986 most of the Class 40s had been withdrawn.  A few had been identified for preservation, and four others were reinstated as Departmental locomotives for use on the Crewe Station remodelling project.  One of these was 97 407 (previously 40 012), and I was lucky to see this locomotive running light engine past Galgate, near Lancaster, on 1 April 1986. 

The first of the Class (D200) was restored in BR green, having previously been 40 122 in BR blue.  It was in demand for special occasions, and on 6 April 1986 the celebrations marking 100 years of the Mersey Railway included a display of locomotives and units at Birkenhead North depot.  D200 was alongside 50 007 Sir Edward Elgar.  The latter had first appeared as 407 Hercules on the West Coast Main Line, and had been renamed as a celebrity locomotive in 1984. 

Probably the most interesting locomotive on display at Birkenhead North, but overlooked by most of those attending the event, was this Class 25/9, 25 907.  This was one of twelve Class 25/3 locomotives which in 1985 had been selected for particular freight duties in the Northwest, having been chosen on the basis of condition, in particular low engine hours, as a stop gap until newer locomotives were available. 

Although several were recorded on a variety of trains in 1985 and 1986, the plan was not a success, and all were soon withdrawn.  Four have now been preserved, the most well known being D7672 Tamworth Castle.  I have seen a report that 25 907 was at Stranraer on 4 April 1986 with a working to Mossend. This seems most unlikely, and if anyone can supply information on 25 907’s movements in the week before 6 April I would appreciate this. 

On the evening of 6 April the visiting locomotives and stock left Birkenhead North Depot.  D200 was used to drag 31 275, 33 026 and 58 040, being photographed at Canning Street North Junction.  A second convoy later comprised 50 007, 20 008, 20 135, 45 041 and 56 081. 

The youngest Class 40 to be preserved was 40 145 (D345).  An image of it at Chester in 2002 appeared in our 11 April 2022 issue, and it was still in green on 12 July 2003 when working the Pathfinder’s  “Pennine Fellsman” between Lime Street and Carlisle, returning later to Crewe via the Settle and Carlisle.  Thatto Heath Station made a change from the usual photo locations. 

In 2009 40 145 was in the striking large logo blue livery, which of course it never carried in BR service.  An image of it at Frodsham was in the issue dated 7 November 2022.

Another survivor was D335 (40 135).  On 10 November 2012 it was on the East Lancs Railway, coming off the “Ski Jump” at Bury and heading for Heywood. 

An open day at Barrow Hill on 18 April 2015 saw two more 40s, D212 and D213.  Photography is never easy when so many locomotives are on display, together with hordes of visitors, but the superb condition of the locomotives was clearly shown. 

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