North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 28 August 2023


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 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).

13 September UK Railtours  'The Snowdonian' London Euston - Llandudno Junction and return

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

Midland Pullman passing Old Colwyn, 26 August. Picture by Greg Mape.

Some items have been held for the next update, due to lack of time.- Charlie

News pictures

The 'Midland Pullman' visited Llandudno again on 26 August , this time from Plymouth.  Above,the train at Llandudno (Greg Mape).

What, no buffers? (Greg Mape).

Thankfully the rain cleared giving the visitors quite a pleasant day. Here's a photo of it at the start of its return journey, 43 046 leading (Gary Thomas).

Old Colwyn  (Greg Mape). Work on coastal defences proceeds below.

56 096 passes Rossett on 21 August with 6Z34 14:17 Hellifield Goods Loops - a newly-established loading point - to Chirk Kronospan (Tim Rogers).

Abergele station on 21 August, with 1D13 11:08 Birmingham International to Holyhead formed of  158 822, 153 353 and 153 921 (Tim Rogers)  The 'X' sign indicates that the coupler at this end should not be used, nothing to do with Elon Musk!

D213 (40 913)  Andania on a Crewe to York private LSL charter on 25 Aug 2023 takes the Denton line at Heaton Norris Junction.  This view from a road bridge is possible again, as Network Rail have creared some of the vegetation (Dave Jepson).

4D59 09:11 Wellingborough to Llandudno Junction 153 968 leading 153 323 and  158 834 with 1L22 13: 27 Holyhead to Birmingham International passes 66781 as it enters the slate compound to be loaded, 28 August. Picture by Ivor Bufton,  who notes: ' I missed the slate waste train at Prestatyn as it ran around 90 mins early and I had been riding on an old Crosville single decker around Prestatyn ... anyhow I needed the engine for sight (and obviously for a photograph) so decided to head for Llandudno Junction - as luck would have it I arrived just in time to see the train being split and the first half going in to be loaded.'

The naming of 66 781 Darius Cheskin is the result of a charity auction organised by GBRf.  The auction winner was Mike Cheskin, a life long rail enthusiast from Charfield, Gloucestershire. Mike sadly lost one of his sons Darius in 2004 to a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma. Mikes other son has since named his 7 year old grandson after him and Darius Junior is also an avid rail fan. (See this link for more).

A day in Shrewsbury - report by Richard Putley

I travelled to Shrewsbury on 26 August in order to photograph the Midland Pullman HST on the return leg of its Plymouth to Llandudno excursion. I drove to Leominster and caught the 10:52 Cardiff Central to Manchester Piccadilly service which was a loco hauled set with 67 017. It was on time and there were plenty of seats available. As we approached Shrewsbury, I saw the  Aberystwyth to Chirk Logs in a siding at Sutton Bridge Junction. It had come up from Aberystwyth that morning with 97 302 + 37 405 on it. Also on the depot there were 97 302 and 56 096.

I waited on Shrewsbury Station to see the Chirk Logs go through. It eventually came just after 14:00, hauled by 56 096.

Afterwards I went up the Castle to take some pictures. I saw 67 020 arrive on another loco-hauled set,

...  also later-on 67 017 returning to Cardiff.

A third loco hauled set, an ex Grand Central one, was also in use with 67 025.
I also photographed a 3 car class 197 DMU. This was the first 3 car one I have seen. I saw several two-cars ones in use. Such as 197 015 + 197 021 on the 11:50 from Leominster to Cardiff. This service I gather, had originated from Holyhead.

In due course the Midland Pullman arrived from the Crewe line about 10 minutes early at 18:20. It had to wait until a pair of 153s in Platform 7 departed for Crewe. It then drew into Platform 7 but had to wait until the 18:27 to Aberystwyth had cleared the section between Shrewsbury Station and Sutton Bridge Junction before it could proceed.

I caught the 18:54 to Cardiff back to Leominster. It was formed by 3 car 175 101 – one of only two 175s I saw all day. But there were plenty of  seats available, so a pleasant end to a very enjoyable day.

Barmouth bridge update - by Kate Jones

Just one more week before railway and footpath closes.

Boarding is being put in place to help with manouvering the new bridge onto the track. Still making the second part secure for transporting. Love they are writing on the track to make sure metal work stays until the end.

I love the way they are writing on the track to make sure metal work stays until the end.

A look round Holyhead  - by Stuart Broome

A quick visit to Holyhead Station on 26 August produced in the sidings
67 014 with Dvt 82220...

 ... along with Voyagers 221 112 and 221 105

Also present was 221 116, still with its Virgin City of Bangor.

Opposite the end of the station platform sat 175 003 on a somewhat rusty rail suggesting it had not moved in a while. 

Two 175's sat in the repair sidings headed by 175 104 and an unidentified 175.

The two queries in the last issue

The last issue included two queries received from readers: one about a Class 26 in North Wales, and one about a derailment, possibly near Rhyl.

The first query has generated replied from several people; I thank them all for their interest.  The loco is actually a class 27 (note the headcode box) and the same photo is reproduced on page 96 of Steve Morris's book  North Wales Coast Diesels book' credited to the late John Hobbs. It was taken at Prestatyn on 17 May 1964 on a Leicester to Llandudno excursion according to the caption.  The loco was D5406 (27 042), the train was an adverstised excursion.  D5387 (27 104) repeated the excursion on on 20 June 1965, believed to be the only other occasion that a class 27 appeared on the Coast. Thanks to our friends at for this info.

We associate these locos with Scotland, but in fact only D5347 – D5369 were initially sent to Scotland to join their Class 26 cousins. Others went to various depots in England; eventually they were gathered at Leicester and Cricklewood depots. In 1969 all the 27s were moved to Scotland where they stayed until withdrawal which was completed by the end of 1987.

Iain Chippendale writes: 'The coaches appear to be all LMS, so probably a summer Saturday extra, possibly on Leicester holiday fortnight. If the train is an extra, then the depot would allocate the loco, the reason for saying that is that not many drivers were passed out on class 27s. Therefore if the Leicester driver was booked relief at say Crewe, he would be quite willing agree to carry on if the relief driver acted as  pilotman, a useful ploy.

'Having seen some of the route knowledge records at Leicester in the 60s, some drivers may even have 'signed' the coast to Llandudno, some had very extensive route knowledge, they would keep their knowledge even if there were no regular trains, by regular visits, possible when in those days there were spare or  relief drivers on the depot. Allocating a class 27 instead of a 45 or 47 (probably failed)  was also known to have happened on the Leicester to Carlisle fitted freight, the driver instead of being relieved at Leeds, would be piloted to Carlisle, a little earner.'

The other query, about a derailment, has proved harder to pin down.  Mark Hamble suggests that it may have been the stock of an excursion, with the incident occurring either on being put into or brought out from Rhyl carriage sidings. Ih does look like a such minor mishap, which would have been quickly re-railed by the breakdown gang.

Chris Scott writes: ' When I was a teenager I recall my father who was a postal executive at Prestatyn was called out in the early hours to attend at a train derailment at Bagillt involving the early morning down mail train and secure the removal of the mail that was being carried.

'The derailment was by the lagoons, I believe near to an old colliery and there was a fear that the coaches which were at a precarious angle would topple in to the lagoon. I did not visit the site myself but I recall the photos in the Daily Post showing the train. I did wonder if this was the train in question as the coaches shown were Mk1s, but my friend states that although it was a mail train they did have such coaches attached.'

Does anyone remember this one?

Finding my last 230 - by Chris Scott

On 23 August I took a Merseyrail Daysaver, good value at £5.95,  and went looking for my last 230. I found 230 010 at Birkenhead north depot together with 230 006, then carried on to Bidston and witnessed the new order with 230 008 coming off the Wrexham line and 777 018 coming from the Wirral. Got on to the 777, only one stop back to Birkenhead North where everybody was told to leave the train, with  no explanation!

Back at Chester later in the day, to witness the Holyhead to Cardiff arriving made up of two heavily-loaded two car 197s, the passengers off which were told to detrain. This train was then re diagrammed asthe Holyhead service. The replacement train then arrived formed of two 153s!As you can see from the accompanying photos chaos ensued.

I decided to travel on the next Birmingham service to get home. You could not write the script but in came the Birmingham off the coast, two 158s. Again everybody told to leave, the 158s returning up the coast and the replacement train for us was, yes, two 153s. I despair.

A visit to Newtown - by Graham Breakwell

Some images of 6Z55 the 09:50 Aberystwyth to Chirk Kronospan Colas Rail at Newtown on 26 August. Above, 97 302 and 37 405 standing in platform 1 awaiting the arrival of the Aberystwyth-bound service.

37 405 looking immaculate.

158 836 pulls into platform 2 with 1J06 the 10:08 Birmingham International to Aberystwyth with 158 824 on the rear with the Pwllheli portion.  

97 302 pulls away from platform 1 passing the tail end of with 158 824 in platform 2.

With the duo on full power the 10 wagonloads of timber approach the turnout, probably reaching the recently increased speed limit of 40mph where the train rejoins the single track.

Colas Rail completed a comprehensive renewal of the infrastructure through the station, this is the view at the west end of the station. An article on the work can be found here.

From Dave Sallery's Archive

31 420 near Prestatyn on a Llandudno - Manchester working, 10 July 1992.

56 116 and 47 625 on a test train returning to Crewe in dreadful weather, 20 April 1995.

37 235 trundles along next to Beaufort Road, Birkenhead with household coal for Birkenhead North coal depot. 17 May 1991. Everything in this photo has vanished with 37 235 being cut up at Carnforth in April 2008.

D1961 passes Acton Bridge at speed on a Carlisle - Euston express. This loco was only 4 months old at the time, it later became 47 515 and was broken up in May 2006.

Looking back:  Not the usual steam locos part 2 - David Pool

Charlie Hulme has brought to my attention the piece in the NWCR News of 26 January 2015 relating to a low bridge in the Courtaulds site at Greenfield, near Holywell Junction, which at one time was the home of Peckett No.1900 (1936), possibly the smallest Standard Gauge locomotive in the UK.  Unfortunately I never saw this locomotive, which was moved to Courtaulds Grimsby in 1954, and eventually arrived at Quainton Road for restoration in 1971, where is was known as Jill and later as The Flying Bufferbeam.  On 28 June 1964 I photographed 45311 with the 09:00 Manchester to Llandudno passing the Courtaulds site and approaching Holywell Junction.

Another low bridge under the main line was at Connah’s Quay, where the freight line from Buckley Junction ended.  In the 1950s LNER tank locomotives of Class J62 and J63 were used in view of the tight curve and restricted clearance onto the wharf and dock.  The line at Connah’s Quay closed in 1954, and again I never managed to see these locomotives.  

The main line through Buckley Junction to Wrexham was worked by ex LNER locomotives up to the mid 1950s, the Class N5 locomotives being based at 6E (Wrexham).  My image of 69366 appears in the NWCR News of 3 August 2020.  Wrexham Shed was also the home of a couple of LNER Sentinel locomotives.  I saw the last survivor there in 1955, Class Y3 68164, but never managed to photograph it.  I assume they were used as depot shunters, but if anyone can confirm their use I should be very interested. 

Many Sentinel locomotives have been preserved, but the only one previously in BR ownership was on the Middleton Railway on 17 July 1988, carrying the Departmental No.54.  This was once 68153, a Class Y1 with a single speed gearbox, being very similar to the Class Y3 which had a two speed gearbox. 

Sentinel locomotive 9599 went to Courtaulds in Grimsby in 1956, and was named William, apparently in honour of Sir William Stanier.  On 18 June 1988 it was at Peak Rail (Buxton), still carrying the name William and its Courtaulds branding.  

Illustrating the challenges facing railway photographers in identifying locomotives, the same William was at the Elsecar Railway on 11 March 2018 with a fictitious LMS livery. The Railway was closed in 2020, but there are plans to reopen it in the not too distant future.

The LMS Railway had seven Sentinels in the number range 7180 to 7191, 7190 and 7191 being used on the Somerset and Dorset Railway.  At Midsomer Norton, Sentinel 7109 has been restored as LMS 7109, being very similar in appearance to 7190 (47190 in BR days).  7109 was built in 1927 for Croydon Gasworks, and was at Bressingham on 31 May 1970 behind Neilson No.25 shown in my last image in last week’s NWCR News.  Another Sentinel with a fictitious LMS number was Sentinel 7232 (1927) photographed at Bolton Abbey on 17 April 2019 as LMS 7164.

Sentinel 7232 was subsequently restored on the East Lancs Railway, returning to its original green livery of British Tar Products of Cadishead and the bearing the name “Ann”.  On 10 June 2023 is was leaving Summerseat, assisting the visiting Cockerill Tram Locomotive Lucie. 

One of the more unusual Sentinel locomotives is No.8024 (1929), which was built for the Cambridge Gas Company where it became Gas Bag No.7.  It eventually arrived at Carnforth for preservation, where it was photographed on 31 October 1971 next to an unidentified Barclay locomotive.  It later moved to Southport, and is currently at the Ribble Steam Railway, awaiting an overhaul. 

The NCB bought two Sentinels for use at Collieries.  No. 9535 (1952) went to Silverdale Colliery, where it worked until 1968.  In 1972 it moved to the Foxfield Railway for preservation, but moved again to the Telford Railway where it was named F.T.Clamp (a Volunteer on the Railway).  On 16 May 1999 it was stored with the Ruston Hornsby diesel 382824 (1959) which had the fictitious BR number D2959. 

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