North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 10 June 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  10 June 2024


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 advice and 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, society and tour operator details.

June 2024

Wednesday 19 June Statesman  Cardiff - Blaenau Ffestiniog

Friday 21 June Northern Belle -  Crewe    Two tours - lunch and afternoon tea.  Round trip from Crewe via  pickups at Chester and Wrexham.

Saturday 22 June Midland Pullman Holyhead - Carlisle

Saturday 22 June  North West Rail and Transport Collector's Fair, Crewe Alexandra Football Club 10:00 - 3:30

Thurday 27 June Midland Pullman  Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Paignton

July 2014

Saturday 6 July Railway Touring Company North Wales Express London Euston  - Llandudno (Steam Crewe - Llandudno)

6-7 July Llangollen Railway Classic Transport Weekend

6-7 July Talyllyn Railway 'Anything Goes Gala'

Sunday 14 July - The North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool Lime Street to Holyhead (via Warrington Bank Quay). Railway Touring Group, WCRC Steam TBC.

Tuesday 16 July Midland Pullman  Holyhead - Paignton

Wednesday 17 July Statesman Chester-le-Street - Blaenau Ffestiniog

Saturday 20 July Northern Belle Hull to Llandudno Junction with off train options to Llandudno, Bodnant Gardens and the Penderryn Distillery.

20-21 July Talyllyn Railway Awdry Extravaganza

Saturday 27 July    Midland Pullman    Crewe -  Paignton      

August 2024

3-4 August Llangollen Railway 1960s Weekend

Saturday 3 August - Rail Excursion to the City of Chester. Newcastle to Chester (via York). Bishop Trains. HST to be confirmed.

Wednesday 14 August    Statesman    Telford Central - Carlisle
pickups Shrewsbury, Gobowen, Chirk, Wrexham General, Chester, Frodsham, Warrington BQ

24-26 August Bala Lake Railway August Steam Gala

24-25 August   Model Railway Exhibition  in Machynlleth in support of the Corris Railway

30 August - 1 September - Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway -  Steam Gala with model railway exhibition

September 2024

Wednesday 4 September  Statesman High Wycombe -     Blaenau Ffestiniog

Thursday 5 September Pathfinder Tours The Cambrian Coast Express Bristol - Pwllheli

Friday 6 September Clwyd Railway Circle The Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen Railway in the Vale of Clwyd -  Fiona Gale

12 September   Pathfinder  Cambrian Coast Express Swindon   - Pwllheli

14-15 September Welsh Highland Railway Super Power Weekend celebrating the successful restoration of the NG15 locomotive.

Sunday 15 September Steam Dreams 'Welsh Dragon' steam-hauled London Paddington - Shrewsbury, then diesel through to Pwllheli.  For more on this and this and the next two entries see the Steam Dreams website.
Wednesday 18 September  Steam Dreams 'Welsh Dragon' steam hauled Bangor - Crewe, then diesel to Cardiff via the Heart of Wales line
Thursday 19 September - Steam Dreams 'Welsh Dragon'  steam hauled Cardiff to London Paddington via Gloucester and the Golden Valley line

Saturday 21 September - Northern Belle    Telford - Carlisle pickups Shrewsbury,  Wrexham General, Chester.

21-22 September Bala Model Railway Show Ysgol Godre’r Berwyn Secondary School, Ffrydan Road, Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7RU. 10:00 - 16:00 (Bus link to Bala Lake Railway station)

Opening times: 10.00-16.00 on both Saturday and Sunday.10.00-16.00 on both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday 28 September UK Railtours London - Chester 'Our tour takes an interesting route from London to Chester and Llandudno Junction where we plan to access the Glan Conwy freight sidings.'

October 2024

Friday 4 October Clwyd Railway Circle Wrexham’s Second Railway Mania -  David Parry

4-6 October  Ffestiniog Railway Bygoneds weekend

5-6 October Llangollen Railway Heritage Railcar Weekend

November 2024

Friday 1 November Clwyd Railway Circle  Chinese Steam in 2001 and 2003  - Phil Thomas

December 2024

Tuesday 10 December  Midland Pullman from Holyhead to Edinburgh Waverley - Edinburgh Christmas Pullman

14-15 December Manchester Model Railway Society -  The Christmas Model Railway Show. The Sugden Centre, Sidney Street, Manchester

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

Soon to be a rare sight: Voyager approaching Llandudno Junction on 27 May (Greg Mape).

Some items have been held to the next issue.- Charlie

Passenger runs by Avanti 805s - report by Geoff Morris

The new timetable  starting on 2 June sees a number of Avanti services to Chester and North Wales being scheduled for operation by the class 805 bi-mode units.   The first passenger-carrying run was scheduled to be the 10:14 from Chester to Euston that day but this was stymied by the discovery of a track fault between Chester and Crewe that led to Up services being cancelled for an hour or two. 

This meant that the empty stock from Oxley to Chester was terminated at Crewe where it could take up the southbound path of the 10:14 to Euston.  The Up line was not affected by the track fault and so the honour of being the first 805 passenger run through Chester transferred to the 10:36 from Crewe to Holyhead that was formed of a pair of units (805 001 & 805 004) which I photographed (above) passing the racecourse at Chester.  This will, of course become an increasingly common sight but it was worthwhile making the effort to see the first passenger-carrying run.  Both units have now received Avanti livery vinyls and looked very smart.

[The name 'Evero' has bestowed on these and also the all-electric 807 sets. For an inside look see Geoff Marshall's review on YouTube.]

Llangollen weekend - report by Alan Crawshaw

The Saturday timetable for the Llangollen Railway's diesel weekend coordinated well with the T10 bus from Bangor to Corwen, the first train of the day departing twelve minutes after our arrival with 1566/47 449 in charge of the 10:00 departure bearing both pre and post TOPS numbers and seen here running round its Mk 1 rake. The bus was well filled as far as Betws-y-Coed with hikers using it to access the walks from the Ogwen valley though a tiny minority of visitors, roadside parking and car parks being already full as we passed at 08:40.

It was good to hear the once familiar sound again, after a quick turn round  at Llangollen we alighted at Glydyfrdwy in favour of 31 271 for the run back.

At Llangollen Kitson locomotive "Austin 1" was providing short trips to Goods Junction and back.

Class 26 5310 came out to play for the 13:00 to Corwen where we left for the 14:12 T10 service though we could have returned behind the 26 and taken the DMU back for the 16:12. An enjoyable day, trains being well patronised but not uncomfortably busy unlike some of the heritage railways closer to big cities on gala days.

The TrawsCymru timetable is well planned, with departures coordinated for efficient transfer between services. I alighted at Betws y Coed to change onto the S1 Sherpa over the Llanberis pass for a quicker journey home. Their big windows allow appreciation of the scenery, like the French TER regional trains and in contrast to modern British units.

The Ffestiniog Express

GWR-style steam appeared on the Coast on 8 June in the shape of  1Z51 06:55 Dorridge to Blaenau Ffestiniog charter run by Vintage Trains.  Traction was provided by Castle-class 4-6-0 7029 Clun Castle and diesel 47 773 / D1755.  The itinerary involved steam haulage with the diesel on the rear to Chester, where the train was turned on the triangle,  putting 7029  on the rear of the train as far as Llandudno Junction where  7029 was detached, and left there. The diesel ran round the train and hauled it alone to Blaenau Ffestiniog. 

On the rear at Abergele (Roly High). Behind the loco is the water tank vehicle, disguised as a parcels van, which reduced the need for watering stops.

Entering Llandudno Junction ...

... 7029 at the rear ...

... waiting to reverse support coaches into the engineers siding, as D1755 runs round the stock. (Garry Stroud)

Blaenau Ffestiniog (Ken Robinson)

Returning past Roman Bridge (Ken Robinson).

Returning at Glan Conwy (Greg Mape)

Return passing Rhyl (Ivor Bufton) The return train was  1Z54 18:06 Llandudno Junction to  Dorridge.

Mostyn (Tim Rogers).

Steam selection

The 'Mersey Express' on 1 June from Tyseley arriving at Liverpool Lime Street Platform 6 with 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (George Jones).

The return Mersey Express passes Weaver Junction (Dave Jepson)

The 'Mountain Spirit' from Porthmadog at Blaenau Ffestiniog, 30 May (Greg Mape)

Tony Robinson writes: "Gail and I had a very nice Christmas present from our son Liam comprising a trip on the 'Belmond Pullman'  a couple of weekends ago on the above train courtesy of a Virgin Experience voucher. It ran out and back from London Victoria to Dover and Folkestone and return. One of the first runs of the newly re-restored Merchant Navy 35028  Clan Line since its extensive renovation works."

34046 Braunton was running on 3 June, photographed by Greg Mape at Diggle, pictures at Diggle, away from electrification catenary. It came from Crewe via a reversal at Chester, going to York. 47 805 was on the back.

60007 Sir Nigel Gresley  at Chester on 5 June, with Saphos Trains  'Settle &
Carlisle Fellsman' 1Z47 15:44 Carlisle to Crewe via Chester (Tim Rogers).

Light Engines

69 009 Western Consort on 0Z09 09:11 Crewe to Crewe, at Stockport station before reversing at Heaton Norris on 29 May.

Much work has been to give the loco an authentic a Western Region Western class loco. Pictures by Stuart Broome.

Geoff Morris writes: On Thursday 30 May 67 014 operated a round trip from and to Crewe Carriage Shed via Chester and Shrewsbury (reverse) which I photographed in the Northgate cutting at Chester.  I presume that this was a test run following attention to the 67 at Crewe...

... The following day there was a much more interesting run.  Rail Adventure operated a "light engine" move from Kilwinning to Kings Norton having hauled some track machines from Worksop to Kilwinning the previous day.  This "light engine" turned out to be a pair of HST power cars (43 480 / 43 468) which I photographed passing Chester Power Box' .


On the Rhyl Miniature Railway, 8 June. Loco no. 101, Joan, the first of  six similar locomotives, entered service at the Rhyl Miniature Railway on August Bank Holiday 1920 and she worked 1,500 miles in 1920 alone. in action. More history on the RMR website.  (Greg Mape).

Passing trains on the Clwyd river bridge on 8 June: 197 112 on the 16:25 Manchester Airport to Llandudno and 197 103 the 18:14 Llandudno - Manchester Airport (Greg Mape).

Not a 66: Resplendent in its Freightliner colours, 59 204 is seen here on 31 May moving out of the Mendip Rail yard to take on the loaded 7A60 (3800 tonnes) from Merehead Quarry. Due to depart at 10:50h the train was propelled out 88 minutes late to reverse at Whites Crossing then continue to Colnbrook Foster Yeoman (Graham Breakwell).

Ex-West Midlands 323 220 stands in platform 3 with the 09:55
Stoke to Manchester Piccadilly. Northern are getting an influx of these 323's as they are replaced in the West Midlands by new class 730 units (Stuart Broome).

66 782, ex-66 046, is one of ten 66s purchased by GBRf from DB Cargo. It carries an advery for the company's charity railtours.  It was photographed by Stuart Broome at Stockport on 5 June. The train passing platform 3 is the 07:26 Liverpool Bulk Teminal to Drax Power Station carrying 'biomass' - wood pellets imported from the USA. Often these trains pass platform 4 behind the signalbox, which block the view. Stockport No.1 signalbox was built in 1884, and is likely to operate for some years yet.

197 110 and 197 111 nestle together at Chester on 5 June (Tim Rogers). These two are not from the batch 113-126 which have 'premium seating' in one coach.

Looking back: Threlkeld - with David Pool

You may not have heard of Threlkeld Quarry, but it is one of the most interesting sites in the Lake District.  The Quarry is about three miles from Keswick, and the home of a Mining Museum and the Vintage Excavator Trust.  A narrow gauge railway runs through the site, and Steam Gala days are especially good, with many visiting locomotives.  I visited Threlkeld on 31 July 2016, and my images illustrate the scale of the enterprise.

Threlkeld station was on the line between Penrith and Workington, and closed in 1972.  The Quarry is a short distance from the main A66 road, with free parking on the site.  The Mining Museum is near the car park, and must be one of the best museums in the country for anyone with an interest in geology, or for anyone wishing to understand more about the mining history of the Lake District.   The main station for the 2ft gauge railway is adjacent, together with sheds for the locomotives.  Hudswell Clarke No.1172 Alpha, dating from 1915, was outside the shed being prepared for the day’s activities.  I didn’t notice the hand cranked equipment on the left – possibly a stone crusher? 

I decided to get a bird’s eye view of the Quarry, and took one of the rough paths which climbed up the North side.  I don’t know how to describe the view of one corner of the Quarry, but the collection of vintage machinery was astonishing.  Most appeared to be in working order, and it was far from being a scrapyard. 

On the other side of the loco shed was Kerr Stuart 3014 (1916), one of the Joffre class built for use in the First World War, and presently based on the Apedale Railway. 

There is a steep drop beyond the end of the siding near the shed, but GP39 Hudswell Clarke 1643 (1930) is securely parked.  This locomotive was once at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, as will be explained later. 

I find that I had photographed GP39 on 31 May 1970, when it was Bronllwyd and being driven by Alan Bloom, the founder of Bressingham Gardens, the Railway Museum and the narrow gauge railways there. 

GP39 was originally delivered to Surrey Council, from where it went to Bethesda as Bronllwyd.  In preservation it was acquired for Bressingham, where it was rebuilt.  It operated on the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway between 2005 and 2007, eventually being bought by Statfold Barn in 2010.  Visiting Threlkeld, it was paired with their resident locomotive Sir Tom, a regauged Bagnall No.2135(1925).  The train is approaching the end of the line in the Quarry. 

Alpha was tackling the gradient up to the Quarry with a six coach train.  The Lake District scenery is comparable to that in  North Wales! 

The train passengers have a good view of the star of the show – the Steam Navvy.  This is Ruston No.306 (1909), which spent its working life at a quarry in Bedfordshire.  After closure in 1930, the quarry eventually flooded, the Steam Navvy remaining there.  In 1977 the submerged Navvy was recovered and restored, being steamed again in 2015.  The broad gauge track rather limits its mobility, so it was not really doing much useful work in moving spoil from one heap to another! 

The websites for Threlkeld Quarry and the Vintage Excavator Trust contain much more information for visitors, and the next Steam Gala is scheduled for 27 and 28 July 2024.

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