North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 16 June 2024


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

  17 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

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

Thursday 17 June 'Three Peaks by Train' private charity train 19:14 Crewe - Bangor.  Chester 19:39, Llandudno Junction 20:33 - 21:04.

[Moves to and from Holyhead for servicing, in darkness]

Friday 18 June 'Three Peaks by Train' private charity train, Bangor 04:37 - Ravenglass 08:24 Warrington Bank Quay 06.02

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

66 760 David Gordon Harris enters Llandudno Junction with the 4M59 03:57 Tonbridge yard slate waste empties. 14 June 2024.  Picture by Garry Stroud. These movements are for Ashville - Watch this YouTube video to see why the company favours rail delivery.

Note on the Crewe event - by Oliver Hambly

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

The New Class 507 Preservation Society are going to be attending with their stand . A perfect opportunity for anyone to chat and discuss the saving and now the plans for the new home of Unit 507 001. It will be the first time since the £10,000 to save and move the unit has been achieved , that they will have been out in public.

David Maidment OBE will also be in attendance, spreading the work about the work of the Railway Children Charity , with sales of related cards and gifts along with his recent Pen and Sword Publication  Great Western 0-6-0 Tender Goods Locomotive Classes, and of course a proportion of all admissions ( just £2) goes to the Charity .

Last year there was almost an unofficial table in the coffee/ tea area of North Wales Coast Railway contributors, all enjoying the social occasion and opportunity to meet and catch up in person, hopefully this group will be even bigger this year.

Cambrian Corner - Pictures by Tim Rogers

A look at the Cambrian on 14 June. Above, 158 831 approaches Barmouth Bridge on 2G65 15:37 Pwllheli to Machynlleth ... 

... and crosses the bridge.

158 823 2J19 14:08 Birmingham International to Pwllheli.

Porthmadog:  No.8, 0-4-4-0T James Spooner . Built 2023, Boston Lodge 'Mountain Spirit', 12:45 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog ...

... observation coach on the rear.

Servicing the loco.

The Fairbourne Railway on 6 June. 2-6-4T Russell,  12:40 Fairbourne to Barmouth Ferry.

Russell is a small replica of the same name that ran Welsh Highland Railway, although it is a 2-6-4 loco whilst the original was a 2-6-2.

Corris Railway Gala: report by Richard Putley

I arrived in time to see the Corris two Resident steam locos, 7 (a Kerr Stuart Tattoo class 0-4-2ST) and 10 double head the empty carriages from Maespoeth Depot to Corris to form the first train of the day. No 7 was leading. On arrival it uncoupled and ran round while 10 was left at Corris. 7 hauled the first departure from Corris to Maespoeth.

On arrival there we saw “Sir Haydn” in steam and also the Corris latest diesel loco 11 “Vlad”. This is an Orenstein and Koppel loco built in 1957 for use in Austria. Subsequently regauged to 2’ 3” in 2015. I gather it's the most powerful 2' 3" gauge diesel loco in Britain

No 3 coupled on to the train and took it back to Corris.

Then No 10 hauled the next train to Maespoeth. So I had now been hauled by all  three steam locos.

Later in the day I managed to photograph the two Falcons together at Corris. With all the replica coaches that they have built, it gave a real feel of the Corris Railway in Victorian Times.

Finally as an added bonus, on my way home I stopped at Craven Arms and managed to see two loco-hauled sets pass:  82229 ...

... and 67 022 ...

 ... and  67 014 with the Black Set HD04 on the 16 minutes late 15:00 Cardiff to Manchester Piccadilly.

Electfication sidelined

An article in Rail Magazine says that
The £1 billion electrification of the North Wales Main Line, one of the flagship policies of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s HS2 Phase 2b cancellation ‘bonus’, is all but dead. The Department for Transport has confirmed that work has yet to start on a business case for the project (the first step before gaining approvals).
Really, this is not unexpected. But is it so bad? The article mentions the capabilities of Avanti's bi-mode trains, but also says:
But it still leaves the question of what will replace the ageing BR Class 15x DMUs that work the majority of the route, and which are due for renewal in the next few years.
Surely the answer is obvious. TfW already have a plan to replace them, mostly with class 197 units?  The Manchester route is already 197s, the South Wales service runs on a route which is unlikely to be electric for some time, that leaves the Birmingham route with its 158s, the most modern of the BR units.

More needed is surely, better and more frequent services? This would apparently require improvements at Chester station and others, which would seem to be worthwhile. It's true that electric trains are capable of faster acceleration from stations; it would be interesting to know if this has been calculated.

Let's see what happens after the Election...


Another view of the empty slate waste train, seen approaching  Rhyl on 14 June (Ivor Bufton). The plan to send slate waste to cement works seems to have gone into hibernation.

66 782 and 66 764 Major John Poyntz pass the well-known bridge at Ashley on 16 June (Greg Mape). Empty Biomass wagons from Doncaster Decoy to Liverpool, this is routed this way on a Sunday, instead of the rest of the week routing via Manchester Victoria.

A trip on the Welshpool and Llanfair - report by Paul Hajdasz

I took a trip on the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Rilway on Saturday 8 June, taking the 10am service from Llanfair Caereinion and hauled by No.1 The Earl (822). This was built by Beyer Peacock & Co Ltd at their Gorton Foundry, Manchester in 1902.

I travelled in recently refurbished Sierra Leone carriage 1066, which looked splendid with comfortable padded seats.

On the way back from Welshpool Raven Square the train was well populated with a coach party.

Holhead's last 175

On 11 June 37 884 Cepheus leading 175 114 leaves the North Wales Coast for a final time as 5W97 08: 16 Holyhead Car. M.D. to Landore T.M.D. on 11th June, seen here passing Marine Lake,  Rhyl ...

... 37 608 Andromeda, freshly painted in a green version of the ROG livery (to match the Class 93 it has been working with) brings up the rear.  This the last 175 to leave Holyhead (Ivor Bufton).

Thanks to Phil Logie for the item below, from Branch Line News:

'Several Class 175 DMUs were stored in Holyhead sidings off lease. The last was due to be removed to Landore on 3 June, but this was postponed due to seagulls nesting in the four foot. A shunt to bypass them was prevented then as the route was blocked by another unit for which no crew was available. Gulls are a protected species, which may surprise anyone who has tried to eat fish and chips on a seafront but had them stolen! The length of siding concerned (identity unknown) was therefore 'Out of Use' until nesting had finished.'

Another look at the Llangollen gala - by Ivor Bufton

I went to Llangollen on Saturday 1 June as it was a diesel gala, attached are  some photographs from the day. Class 26 5310 is seen above at Corwen after arrival with the 13:00 departure from Llangollen.

08 202 is seen being coupled up to the stock of the 15:40 departure from Llangollen to Glyndyfrdwy.

31 271  at Corwen waiting time with the 11:00 departure to Llangollen.

47 449 arrives at Carrog withe the 10:55 Llangollen to Corwen.

DMU (51618 & 56223) arrive at Carrog whilst working the 12:00 Llangollen to Corwen service.

Weedkiller scenes - by driver Jim Scott

I was the driver of the weed-killing train features in the May 27 Issue.
Regarding comments about the weedsprayer going to Holyhead overnight, the train was only scheduled to run to Bangor and back, the train also only sprays in certain locations during the trip, that particular night it was ‘transit’ to Rhyl where it began spraying all the way to Bangor once the last passenger service had passed, as it does so at 30 mph. Above: at Rhyl waiting for the passenger train to pass.

At Bangor I changed ends in the tunnel and returned toward Rhyl, again at 30.mph

It was then a transit run to Chester before changing ends again.  It then sprayed the single line from Saltley to Rossett and Croes Newydd loop before running transit to Shrewsbury where I got off and it went forward with another driver to Bescot.

The week before,  I worked the weedsprayer to Bidston, the train ran from Coleham. 

On arrival in Bidston there was a power cut, so photos were a bit awkward but I managed a couple with my head torch.

I then worked the train back to Bescot,  stopping in Shrewsbury to let the operators off. 

A railway experience - by Charlie Hulme

Travel by train in 2024 is unpredictable, if my holiday experience is anything to go by.  Our destination was Pembrokeshire; on any other day we would travel by a TfW Train - hopefully loco-hauled -  to Cardiff where we sould spend  couple of days before preceeding. But the Railway had other ideas. There was engineering works on the Hereford line, so we had to trust ourselves to Cross Country, in the shape of the 12:33 departure for Bournemouth.  However, minutes before it was due to arrive at Stockport, we were told that it had turned back at Macclesfield as it was running late, so we waited an hour, caught the train an hour later, to catch the next available Nottingham - Cardiff train (a very crowded 170 unit). 

While in Cardiff, after a pleasant boat trip to the Bay area, we decided to return by the shuttle train to Queen Street, which line is in the progress of track double-track-ing, but as it was Sunday the trains were running in the shape of a Class 150. Seeing me photograph of the train,  the driver kindly while change ends volunteered to take a picture of us.

Two days later we did have a relatively successful trip in a two-class 197 from Cardiff to Haverford West.   For the part of the return journey from Haverfordwest to Cardiff, a 2-car, became full and standing as Cardiff neared.  The train to Cardiff late, passengers connecting to a  London train had to run across the platform.

For the Cardiff - Stockport final leg, I had, of course, booked a First Class ticket. Surely this would be a loco-hauled as booked?

Needless to say,  the nearest I got to a loco was a photo of one on another working. So, it was hours in 197 109, not even one with better seats that we could have 'bagged' .  (Hint to travellers - the only way to recognise better seatsfrom outside  is by the lamps on the window sills). Two ladies came along with a trolley and said that since we had First Class tickets we could have a free cup of tea and (when pressed) a biscuit. Later they came round again and said that we could only have another tea if we paid for it.

Conclusion: the Class 197, it's not suitable for long journeys; the seats are quite hard and like its Northern cousins the riding is terrible, hitting point and crossings with a great thump. It's a real shame that the air-bag system used on class 150s could not be continued. Also (personal comment) they have an ugly front end, and it hasn't been possible to have a black strip along the windows as in the original TfW livery was designed. This is your train journeys for the next 30 years.

From Dave Sallery's archive

25 035
on a short Sunday engineering train at Prestatyn, 3 August 1986. The footbridge has been replaced twice since.

47 821  near Dolwyddelan on a NENTA (North East Norfolk Travel Association?)  from Norwich to Blaenau Ffestiniog, 24 April 1993.

47 839 on a Manchester - Holyhead train using ex-Virgin Mark 2 coaches, Rhyl 13 October 2004.

Unlike the 507s and 508s which are being taken to South Wales for scrapping, the earlier Wirral Line 503s were disposed of at Cavendish sidings, Birkenhead.  This is the scene on 19 September 1984.

Looking Back: Preston branches - by David Pool

A branch from Preston went northwest to Longridge, with a spur from Grimsargh to Whittingham Hospital.  Regular passenger services to Longridge had ended in 1930, but freight and the occasional Railtour continued until 1967, after which the only rail traffic was to the Courtaulds Works at Red Scar.  Steam was used here until 1979, when Peckett No.1925 (1937) Caliban was withdrawn, moving to Carnforth Steamtown where it was photographed on 8 March 1970. 

The Red Scar Works closed in 1980, and all that remained of the branch was a coal depot at Preston Deepdale.  This had been the terminus of the Preston and Longridge Railway Company, later becoming a spur off the branch from Preston.  On 14 February 1991 37 131 was arriving at the Deepdale Junction, where it would set back towards the level crossing in the distance and the coal depot sidings. 

After a rather cold wait, 37 131 eventually appeared with empty wagons and headed back towards Preston.  By then the sun had appeared through the morning mist, and it made a nice shot as the train headed for the Deepdale tunnels.  The Deepdale coal depot was closed shortly after, but I understand the track today still remains, not having been lifted.

On the other side of Preston Station an S-shaped branch heads for Preston Docks, which was once a busy port with many sidings.  My photograph taken on 1 April 1986 from the A59 Flyover (which had been built in 1985) shows a pair of Class 31 locomotives leaving the Docks with a train of bitumen tanks.  The Port of Preston had closed in 1981, but access for ships was available to part of the Docks system for moorings.

The ship in the previous photograph was the Manxman, retired from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in 1982 and due to be used as a Tourist Centre.  It was next advertised as a floating Night Club, then moved to Liverpool for the same purpose.  Finally at arrived at Sunderland, where it was eventually dismantled in 2012.  My photograph was taken on 11 October 1986. 

Bitumen tanks were (and still are) conveyed from Lindsey Refinery (Immingham) to the Lanfina tar refinery in Preston Docks, although there is now another path for trains to and from Teesside.  At one time the railway entered the Lanfina refinery, but now the bitumen is transferred by pipeline from a siding near the terminus of the Ribble Steam Railway.  Empty wagons are stored alongside the RSR platform, as seen in my photograph of LMS 12322 taken on 6 September 2014. 

The exchange sidings for the bitumen tank wagons are visible in the image of the Class 31s.  A Sentinel diesel is operated by the RSR to convey the wagons in two separate trains to the exchange sidings, where a main line locomotive assists in forming a single train.  On 24 March 2014 the locomotive on the 09:56 from Preston Docks to Lindsey (6E32) was 60 014 Teenage Spirit, in the unusual DB Schenker blue livery. 

6E32 left the RSR tracks at the Strand Road crossing in Preston.  Photographs on the short branch beyond the crossing to the junction near Preston Station were not practicable, but Strand Road provided a good viewpoint. 

I had not realised that there used to be a station nearby.  Preston Fishergate Hill was until 1900 the terminus for West Lancashire Railway trains from Southport, subsequently becoming a goods yard with the connection to Preston Docks.  The yard closed in 1965, with trains from the Docks then using the branch from Strand Road.  The station was near the junction of Fishergate Hill and Strand Road, and after the closure to regular passenger trains in 1900 it was used to accommodate Special Trains for Preston Guild celebrations.  These were rather infrequent, being one train in 1902 and another in 1922.  An RCTS Railtour 1X23 ran on 22 September 1962, departing from Preston West Lancs Goods Station, as Fishergate Hill Station was then called. 

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