North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 21 August 2023


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

21 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

68067 leaves Corwen on the 14:20 to Llangollen on 20 August. Picture by Larry Davies.

News pictures

'Voyager' 221 115 on 1A50 12:49 Holyhead to London Euston passes Prestatyn, 21 August (Ivor Bufton)

66 798 hauling 4D59 09:11 Wellingborough to Llandudno Junction passing Prestatyn on 21 August (Ivor Bufton)

On 16 August,  70 807 backs down to collect one  wagon from the rarely used siding, presumably having had some defect repaired, at Penmaenmawr sidings, while forming the 6M33 stone train to Longport ...

... and passes floral Conwy (Garry Stroud).  The jokey ' If Carlsberg did recycling' on the wagons seems inappropriate for this flow; although 'Land Recovery', set up as a recycling company,  digging limestone from the ground is in no sense recycling. They do keep their wagons clean, though.

Peter Basterfield writes: 'A week in Aberystwyth enabled me to catch the 6C55  Aberystwyth to Chirk (via a reverse at Chester) log train on 18 August, first at Ynys Las crossing the Afon Leri,  between Borth and Dovey Junction (above), and then chased them to Machynlleth, despite holiday traffic ! The last wagon was stopped  on the road bridge before the station ... 

... so there was time to go about seven miles towards Cemmaes for the follow-on having found a suitable viewpoint at Poesnant Farm bridge, thanks to the Satnav.'

Thanks to the 'Wrexham Gen' news group,  Bob Greenhalgh was able to be at Penyffordd on 17 August to photograph 507 009 and 508 138 being towed from Birkenhead North depot to Sims Metals scrap yard at Newport by 37 884 Cepheus. This loco, currently leased by Europhoenix to the Railway Operations Group,  has custom-made couplers which can connect to the 507/8 units without any 'adapter vehicles' between.  It's going to be busy for the next few months.

Graham Breakwell writes to clarify our report on the previous week's Aberystwyth that ran on 12 August. 56 096 hauled it  due to the failure of 97 302 at Shrewsbury, 56 096 double heading the train with 37 405 to Chester where it ran round to continue through to Chirk with 37 405 on the rear.

Within a couple of minutes of each other in opposite directions passing through the remains of Skelton Junction (near Altrincham)  with abandoned track that formed a run round loop. 66 614  (above) working from from Hardendale Quarry Shap to Guide Bridge Yard...

... and 66 096  from Peak Forest Cemex Sidings to Dallam Freight Depot (Greg Mape).

Corris saved - recalled by Chris Magner

Sunday 20 August reminds us that, 75 years ago on that day in 1948,  the last train ran on the Corris Railway hauled by locomotive No.3.  Machynlleth Stationmaster Edward Campbell Thomas would not let the two Corris locos Nos 3 and 4 go for scrap as he was fond of the Corris Railway so he became a Welsh Railway Preservation pioneer.   

With the help of Machynlleth MPD Foreman John Vaughan Owen and his staff he hid the two locos under tarpaulins for two and a half years. Campbell Thomas fortunately lived long enough to see his locos go to the Talyllyn Railway which was what he always wanted them to do.  Good to know Machynlleth was the place where the movement all started.

(It's said that while manager of the Corris Campbell Thomas was able to change the days it ran to suit his fishing arrangements. )

Two mysteries

Coincidentally we received this emails asking for help on identification of photographs.

Trefor Thompson writes:  I came across this photo the other day. My father was branch manager of the Daily Post and Echo in Rhyl and the reporters had an office also. From time to time he would come home with photos of interest and this was one of them. Clearly a spectacular derailment but where and when. Almost certainly the North Wales Coast line and probably not too far from Rhyl; presumed to be mid 1960s but could be earlier. I would be really grateful if anyone can help with any detail of where it is, when and what actually happened.

David Stewart writes:  About 18 months ago, while visiting the East Lancs Railway at Bury, I bought a few used books. One of these was Diesels in North and Mid Wales by John Hillmer and Paul Shannon (OPC 1990).

Opening this book recently, I found inside a loose print. This is clearly  a Class 26 in the 1960s, but is it on the NW mainline?  From the four tracks, signals and adjacent bungalows, I wonder if it is at Prestatyn -  possibly with the signal box in the distance? If it is in N Wales then this would be a first for me - a class I never saw at Chester or on the coast, and I have never seen photos of such. I think some were allocated to the East Midlands in the early 60s. I would guess it is hauling a Summer Saturday extra, an excursion or maybe a test train.

Any comments on the above are very welcome.

Changes at Chester - report by George Jones

Having heard the improvements has started I went by bus on 15 August to Chester to check out work on the station concourse. The barrier line is blocked off as the gates are due to be replaced and the inward manned gate is via the staircase underpass - the exit is by way of round the back of the Costa.

Immediately obvious improvement is the new set of 6  Ticket machines two of which have replaced the two ATMs.

The ticket office remains in use............but is to be replaced by open plan (or retail space as was described to me on Sunday)

At least the café for an expensive cup of tea is remaining in situ; looks like the Arriva Verdigris copper cladding will remain too. We will have to monitor progress; those aspects of old Chester which really need attention hardly get a mention, tinkering as usual.

A day at Llangollen - report by Larry Davies

A jaunt on the old LR is always a pleasurable experience. On 20 August J94 68067 carrying a 40E shed code worked all three return trips and performed and sounded well.

Above, entering Carrog on the 11:01 to Corwen.

Taking water at Corwen.

Running round at Llangollen.

A day at Oswestry - by Chris Taylor

A few photos from my trip to Oswestry all taken on Saturday 12 August. The Cambrian Railway Works until 1923 (when the GWR took over) repaired locomotives, coaches & wagons, after 1923 GWR transferred loco repair elsewhere. The works closed in 1966. The footbridge and others connected crossed both the Cambrian Railway tracks and the GWR tracks. The listed buildings of the works seem to be in other uses now.

Oswestry station was the HQ building of the Cambrian Railway now
owned by the heritage railway.

Class 73 E6036 was in use on their two-mile railway to Weston Wharf.

Ex-Northern Pacer 144 006 resting at Weston Wharf station. This and
144 007 are used on evening services. Weston Wharf has an ex-LNER buffet car serving light refreshments as well as a not-connected brewery and pub.

From Dave Sallery's  archive

Who can forget this delightful livery on 158 827 at Crewe in 2005?

31 160 passes Connahs Quay with an up ballast on 4 July 1991.  The crossovers, signalbox and signal have now gone and the line is encased in a tunnel over which is the A548.

59 205 passes the remains of Ffestiniog station while working the 'Roman Nose' railtour, 18th April 1998.  At the rear of the train were 37 377 and 37 098.

86 324 enters Crewe with an up express, 14 February 1984.  The former E3111, later 86 424 was exported to Hungary in 2013 as Floyd 450009.

Barmouth bridge progress - report by Kate Jones

Thursday 17 August saw the arrival of part of the second arch for the Barmouth viaduct. The first picture shows the old bridge looking very sorry for itself. The supports have been raised to allow the new bridge to pass under when they move it into place, and the main pillars in the sea have been repaired and preserved.

The second picture shows in the foreground the second lorry has arrived, carrying the middle section of the second arch.

The third picture shows the first of the metal arch pieces being installed safely on its pedestals before the crane straps are removed. I believe tomorrow will see
the arrival of the back part of this arch -..rather them than me with the forecast of heavy rain and strong easterly winds!

Next day: second span ready for its internal and top supports. Not long now until bridge closure, from the first weekend in September.

Looking back: Not the Usual Steam Loco - by David Pool

Steam locomotives which can be seen today come in a variety of types, sizes and gauges, but there are some which look distinctly different.  One example is the Aveling Porter locomotive.  Thomas Aveling was a talented engineer who recognised the need for steam power to replace horses in the farming industry, which were being used to haul the newly introduced “portable” steam engines.  He has been described as the father of the Traction Engine, and with Richard Porter he developed the concept of the Steamroller, such that Aveling Porter built more Steamrollers than all the other UK manufacturers combined. Today there are almost 600 Aveling Porter products preserved, such as Traction engines, Steamrollers and steam wagons. 

Aveling Porter steam locomotives differed from the traditional steam railway locomotive in that the cylinder or cylinders were mounted horizontally on top of the boiler, driving a horizontal shaft which connected to the driving wheel axles by either a chain or gearing. This resulted in a locomotive which was reliable, easy to drive and inexpensive to buy.  Probably the most visited example in preservation is the locomotive (Works No.546 of 1872) which once worked the Brill branch of the Metropolitan Railway, and has been housed in various London Transport Museums.  On 20 May 1968 it was at Clapham Museum, displayed between Metropolitan Railway No.23 and LNWR 790 Hardwicke.  The large drive chain (without any protective cover) is visible. 

When Clapham closed, many of the exhibits moved to a the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden, where No 546 was photographed on 22 September 1981. 

Built some years later, Sydenham (Works No.3567 of 1895) was a compound (one high pressure and one low pressure cylinder) with the drive chain replaced by gearing, but was otherwise similar to the Brill locomotive.  The rod on the driving wheels is not the more familiar coupling rod!  It had been delivered to work on Erith Wharf, and later in Erith Oil Works.  In preservation it went to Quainton Road, where I photographed it on 7 June 1970.  I understand it is now at Chatham Dockyard. 

Another Aveling Porter locomotive is Sirapite, built in 1906 for the Mountfield gypsum mines, which is now based at the Long Shop Museum, Leiston.  On 16 June 2019 it was temporarily at Brockham, on the Mid Suffolk Railway.  I was intrigued to discover the reason for the name Sirapite.  Apparently it was intended to be appropriate for a gypsum mine.  Gypsum plaster is also known as Plaster of Paris, and patent plasters (fully hydrated gypsum plus an accelerator) were introduced in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  One of these was Parisite, the name being derived from Paris. It was decided that naming a locomotive Parisite was too much like Parasite, which is not a pleasant concept, so the letters were reversed and Sirapite was born - rhyming with right! 

Locomotives always have to fit the loading gauge for the lines on which they work, and where there were very limited clearances some interesting locomotives survived.  The Burry Port diesels are well known, as are the two saddle tanks Judy and Alfred which worked at the Port of Par in Cornwall.  On 25 April 1973 the Bagnall 3058 (1953) Alfred was shunting on the quayside.  The low bridge under the Cornish main line was no longer in use, so the freight wagons were of standard size.

The height difference between Alfred and the van is striking.  I assume only open wagons, with or without  flat clay hoods, were previously used on the line with the low bridge. 

After withdrawal, Judy was on display at the Wheal Martyn Museum, photographed on 11 May 1981.  Both locomotives are now at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway.

The Beckton Gas Works in East London was at one time claimed to be the largest in the world, and had an extensive railway system.  One part of the system served the Retort House, under which there was only an eight foot clearance, necessitating the use of a small fleet of cut down locomotives.  One of these was photographed at Bressingham on 31 May 1970, being Neilson 6087 (1896).

Two other Neilson locomotives from Beckton have been preserved, but I have not been able to verify where they are today.  Neilson 4444 (1892) was once at Bressingham.  The other, also identified as Beckton No1, is Neilson 1561 (1870), and was once at Penrhyn Castle Museum.

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