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This page is a follow on to the original NEWSPAGE  and also a follow on to the LOCAL RAILWAY NEWS PAGE (1). Both of these archive pages can still be accessed from the index on the HOMEPAGE. Submissions of anything newsworthy would be appreciated and can be sent through the email link on the HOMEPAGE.

January 6th 2021.

The 6G website is in the process of changing web hosting and until this process is  completed there will be no update to the site. Further information will follow soon.

December 6th 2020.

Construction of new trains for Transport for Wales continues – despite pandemic. by MICHAEL HOLDEN. Credit to Rail  Advent - railadvent.co.uk
Thanks to Jack Poole for this report.

Work has progressed on the construction of the new trains for Transport for Wales for use on the Wales and Borders route and South Wales Metro, despite the
 challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

£800m is being invested in new trains and tram-trains to transform the passenger experience.

Work has progressed with CAF and Stadler to design and build the new trains, with significant progress being made on the Class 398 tram-trains and work has begun on  the Class 231 trains – both being built by Stadler for the South Wales Metro.Alongside these, Class 197 Civity trains are being built for use on other Wales and Borders route and are currently being assembled by CAF at their factory in Llanwern.

James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said:“It’s great to see progress on our brand-new trains.  I’m delighted our partners at CAF and Stadler have been able to  progress with assembly despite the challenging situation we find ourselves in. “COVID-19 will continue to present challenges but we’ve been able to move forward and this month and we’ve now seen huge progress on our  trains, at our Taff’s Well Depot as well as successful delivery of track transformation work on the Aberdare line. “TfW is continuing to deliver on our transformational plans and these faster, more efficient trains are fundamental to improving journey  times, service frequency and our sustainability goals.”

Transport for Wales is currently completing testing of the Class 769 trains on the Cardiff to Rhymney line Frank Renault, TfW Transformation Programme Director, “The manufacturing of our new fleets and testing of the Class 769 trains are big  steps forward on our transformation journey, in difficult times. “I’d like to thank our dedicated project managers and engineering colleagues for their tireless efforts in delivering this project and our delivery partners, for their professionalism and  resolve in continuing this progress and most importantly our passengers for their understanding and support.”
Sandro Muster, Stadler project manager, commented: “With the production of car bodies for the 35 FLIRTs now well underway, next week will mark the beginning of another highly  significant stage in the manufacturing process, known as final assembly. This is when the main components that make up the train are fitted, including the bogies, equipment cases, piping, wiring, flooring, windows, seats and other internal fixtures.  This point, when trains really start to look like trains, brings them one step closer to passenger introduction in a few years’ time.”

November 14th 2020.

Riley Repairs for steam locomotive 5551 The Unknown Warrior


Michael Holden  -  Rail Advent

The LMS Patriot Project has sent RailAdvent an update on the construction work taking place to build LMS Patriot No. 5551 ‘The Unknown Warrior’.

A package of work has been agreed with Riley and Son E Ltd for repairs on the welding defects on the driving wheels for the locomotive.

The three wheelsets were moved to Riley and Son in Bury on the 12th October, with the centre driving wheels having already been pressed off the axle. When the welds were removed from the locomotive’s wheels, “significant” defects were evident, and repairs have now been made to the required standard. The team at Riley and Son’s continue to reassemble the centre driving wheel with fully approved procedures in place such as UAT, NDT and welding approval in conjunction with Ricardo Rail.

Back at West Shed, work has continued on the lubrication system as well as progressing on various brasswork and fittings such as the valve chest drains and tail rod bushes. More components, such as the reverser shaft and the cylinder covers, have now returned to West Shed. Over at Heritage Boiler Steam Services, the boiler stays continue to be fitted in preparation for the move to West Shed.

The slide bars and studs will need to be installed prior to the move to West Shed which will be completed by HBSS before the boiler is moved.

If you would like to donate to the LMS Patriot Project to see 5551 The Unknown Warrior make her first moves on the mainline, then please please visit the  LMS Patriot Project website   https://lms-patriot.org.uk/  – you can also become a member of the 5551 Club whilst you are there. THANKS TO JACK POOLE FOR ABOVE DETAILS

November 6th 2020.

First phase of £25m Barmouth Bridge upgrade is complete.

Michael Holden  -  RAIL ADVENT.

The first stage of a £25m upgrade of Barmouth Bridge has been finished to protect it for future visitors and passengers.

The first phase of work was extended by 48 hours to allow more work to be carried out whilst passenger numbers are low due to the Welsh “firebreak” lockdown.

The restoration, once fully complete, will have seen 1,000 timber and metal elements replaced, which are currently decaying, as well as  the entire length of track on the viaduct. Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s route director for Wales and Borders, said: “The restoration of Barmouth Viaduct will help us protect our industrial heritage and make sure this  vital transport link can continue to serve local people and visitors in the future.

“We have been planning this work for years, and I am delighted that the first stage of the upgrade has now been completed.  A project of this scale is never without challenges, but more so this year and I am proud of our team for getting the work done safely, following  Government guidelines, during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Thank you to our partners and the local community who have been really supportive of this project from the very beginning.  There is more work to do of course, and we will be back next year to continue the £25m upgrade.” James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said: “I’m delighted that Network Rail is making great progress in its work to safeguard the future of this iconic structure and the Cambrian Coast Line.

 This investment sits alongside our own investment in transforming services throughout the Wales and Borders network, including brand new trains for  the Cambrian Coast Line in the years to come.

“We’re working collaboratively to ensure minimal disruption for our passengers while work is ongoing. As our services will be affected, it’s important for anyone travelling on  the Cambrian Line to check before you travel, in case of any changes to our timetables.  You can do this on the TfW Rail website www.tfwrail.wales or the TfW app.”

Liz Saville Roberts MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said: “This substantial investment will safeguard Barmouth Viaduct for future generations, strengthening ties among  communities along the Cambrian coast and serving as a vital tourism link.

“None of this would have been possible without effective cooperation between partner agencies and local stakeholders.  I look forward to seeing how the work progresses.”

Dafydd-Elis Thomas MS for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said: ‘This key link bridge is a classic of railway architecture, with its original features designed for opening for  sailing access, set in the magnificent marine and mountain scenery of the Mawddach Estuary.

“The major reconstruction is a brilliant contribution by builders Network Rail to celebrate the heritage of the Cambrian Coast Railway as well as to  ensure its future access to its terminus of Pwllheli via the historic Afonwen Junction.

“As one who travelled the line on family holidays as a young boy, and campaigned for its retention, I am delighted to imagine a future when this bridge will  form an essential link in a reconnected West Coast route in Wales.’”


October 28th 2020.

Network Rail to accelerate Barmouth viaduct restoration by extending works during lockdown.


Region & Route: Wales & Western: Wales & Borders.

The £25m upgrade restoration of Barmouth Viaduct, which is a vital transport link for North West Wales, is set to be extended by 48 hours to allow more  work to be carried out while passenger numbers are lower because of the firebreak lockdown

The work, which will protect the well-loved bridge for generations and maintain its magnificent appearance, has been carefully planned for it to take place over three years, with three shorter full closures of the viaduct, rather than one longer full closure.

However, with the firebreak lockdown resulting in fewer people travelling at present, and the construction site set up with the necessary people and  equipment, Network Rail has agreed with Transport for Wales that the works will continue for a further 48hours to allow restoration work to progress on the timber spans. As a result, the railway and the footbridge will remain closed until the early hours of Wednesday morning (05.30 on 04 November)  Kevin Collins, Network Rail’s route delivery director for Wales and Borders, said:

“Our £25m refurbishment of Barmouth Viaduct is the biggest in this iconic bridge’s history. We have carefully planned our work and it is all on track however the firebreak lockdown creates an opportunity to deliver more work, more efficiently and, most importantly, at a time when it will impact less people.
 The decision to continue work for another 48 hours means that replacement transport will continue to be provided by Transport for Wales until Wednesday morning (04 November).  We know some pupils returning to school will be affected by this extension, so we are supporting Transport for Wales who are working closely with the relevant schools and the local authority. We are grateful to passengers and local people for their understanding and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

At over 150 years old, the viaduct is in poor condition. Many of the timber elements of the viaduct have decayed significantly over time and a large proportion of the metallic elements have corroded.

Network Rail is completely restoring the viaduct in a way that doesn’t threaten its industrial heritage and its Grade II listed status. his means that components are being replaced on a ‘like-for like’ basis so that the viaduct retains its magnificent appearance.

Transport for Wales is providing rail replacement services during the closure between Pwllheli and Machynlleth stations, and all stations in between.
 There will also be an additional bus service for local school pupils to take them to and from school during the closure.  Passengers, pedestrians and cyclists are advised to plan ahead and allow additional time for travelling.

Contact information
Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

October 22nd 2020.
All change for train services in Wales – Transport for Wales running handed to Welsh Government.

Passenger numbers dropped to as low as 5% during lockdown.


 Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, has announced that a major shakeup of the Welsh rail system will see
 day to day running of Transport for Wales train services handed over to the Welsh Government.

Passenger numbers during the pandemic have dropped to as low as 5% of pre-Covid numbers, but services continued to provide a service for key workers.

The introduction of the Metro, new rolling stock and other improvements still remain a priority for Transport for Wales and its partners. However, Ken Skates has approved a
 new relationship between Transport for Wales, Keolis and Amey.

From February 2021, day to day rail services will be run by a publically owned subsidiary of Transport for Wales, allowing the government to have a
 bigger role in the delivery of train services on the Wales and Borders route.

With great uncertainty over passenger numbers, this provides the most stable base to manage rail services in Wales.

Infrastructure management of the Core Valley lines transformation will continue under the current contract. James Price, Chief Executive at Transport for Wales said: “I’m pleased with this agreement, which will allow Transport for Wales to continue to deliver the transformation of the Wales and Borders rail network over what’s an incredibly difficult period for the industry, with a huge reduction in passenger journeys and revenue.  KeolisAmey have made a significant contribution to transport in Wales over the past two years and I’ve welcomed their collaborative approach to securing this agreement, which has  allowed us to achieve a positive way forward for the Wales and Borders contract.

“We will continue to benefit from the international industry expertise of both Keolis and Amey whilst giving TfW and Welsh Government more control to  deliver our key transport objectives, as we look to sustain the good progress of the rail network and ensure it plays a vital role in helping Wales to be well-placed in a post pandemic environment.”

“There is no doubt that there will be difficult decisions in the future as we adapt to the realities of a post-covid era, but this agreement will give us a stable base from which to build back better.”

Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive of KeolisAmey Wales, Operator and Development Partner of Transport for Wales said: “Our partnership with TfW will always have the passengers and the communities we serve at its heart – finding the right solutions to improve services across Wales and the border areas.

“In light of Covid-19, we recognise the need for Welsh Government to have a sustainable way forward for delivering its ambitious objectives for rail and we are pleased to
 have agreed and put in place robust principles as we work on the details of a new agreement.

A huge amount has been achieved in the two years since KeolisAmey became operators of the Wales and Borders franchise. Prior to the impact of Covid-19 the network had
 more trains running more frequently than ever before, with progressive improvements in performance and passenger experience.We have successfully managed the introduction of more modern and reliable trains across the network and delivered the groundwork for the introduction of new trains from 2021/22 – exclusively for Wales and supporting further service frequency improvements across vital commuter routes.
 An important result of these major achievements has been the creation of sustainable jobs, skills and apprenticeships, in support of the people and economy of Wales. ”

“Keolis and Amey are determined to see improvements delivered, and to play a significant role in the transformation vision, adding value through our
 international experience and expertise. We also recognise this as an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the additional skills we can  bring to wider public transport projects across Wales in the coming years.

 We’re committed to our partnership with TfW and the next phase of this exciting transformation journey that will improve transport, connect communities and support prosperity.”

Thanks to Jack Poole for above details.

  October 11th 2020.

Major decisions made on steam locomotive 5551 The Unknown Warrior

LMS Patriot Project have made decisions on the bogie and driving wheels.

The LMS Patriot Project has released an update on progress to build Patriot class No. 5551 The Unknown Warrior.

Two major decisions have been made at the engineering team meeting, which takes place monthly at West Shed. Engineers from the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust met with The LMS Patriot Project engineering team to decide that the “unsatisfactory” driving wheel weld repairs identified, needed to be addressed.

These repairs were completed nine years ago when the driving wheels were first supplied. They were assessed by a welding inspector on the 4th September 2020, and work will require the wheels to be pressed off the axles for repair.Secondly, it has been decided to modify the locomotive bogie to conform to the Patriot bogie design.  The current bogie is a hybrid design which accommodates LMS 8F components obtained from Barry 8F No. 48518, and as  such, it doesn’t have the “grandfather rights” and certification process would be time-consuming and costly for a modified bogie design. Therefore, the trust has decided to use a standard design.

In both cases, the group are in the process of confirming the cost involved, and how the work will be contracted. Whilst the costs will be major, the common factor is the need to deliver design solutions with all the necessary documentation.

The LMS Patriot Project told RailAdvent: “These decisions were made in full consultation with PRCLT.  Establishing the way forward with these key components will be a big help with future work sequencing and to ensure that the locomotive meets all the necessary safety and quality standards for mainline running. We are now moving forward with planning the work in more detail.”

Additionally, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Board has concluded that it is not possible to hold a conventional AGM.  However, an open forum using Zoom has been scheduled for the 31st October. - Michael Holden

Donations to the project can be made via the website at www.lms-patriot.org

Thanks to Jack Poole for supplying above article. All above details credit to Rail Advent.

September 23rd 2020.

£2.2m investment as Conwy Valley Line set to reopen.

New protection from flooding installed.

Trains are set to run again from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog on the Conwy Valley Line.

Rock armour on the Conwy Valley line prevented the line from flooding during Storm Francis.

From the 28th September, the line will be open after a £2.2m investment for repairs and protection from future flooding.In the past two years, the line has been washed away due to flooding and has led to long closures of the line.

Sixteen thousand tonnes of rock armour have been placed along a 2km section of the line by Network Rail between Tal y Cafn and Llanrwst.The rock armour is designed to slow down floodwater, which washes away the railway embankment. Once washed away the line is left suspended in the air and leads to long closures as repairs are made.

The works have already been tested during Storm Francis in August as the area was flooded again, but the railway was not damaged.Driver refresher training is taking place ahead of the reopening, and final maintenance tasks are being completed along the line.

A rail replacement bus has been in operation while the line was closed.

Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s route director for Wales and Borders, said: “I am delighted that the Conwy Valley Line is now better protected as extreme weather has forced it to be closed too often in recent years.

“We have worked around the clock in recent months to not just repair the line, but to make it more resilient so we can help to prevent these long closures in the future.

“I would like to thank passengers and the communities we serve along the line for their patience as this significant investment was delivered.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The Conwy Valley line is a vital link for many local communities in north Wales, and this investment will improve the
 resilience of that crucial route during extreme weather.

“Upgrading the railway defences will help prevent lengthy closures for passengers, avoid frustrating rail replacement services, and deliver a
 more reliable timetable people can depend on.”

Martyn Brennan, operations director at Transport for Wales, said: “It is great to see our colleagues in Network Rail progressing with work on the Conwy Valley line and
 we will reinstate rail services on 28th September, following driver route refresher training.

“I’d like to thank customers for their patience and ask that they continue to check services online. We will continue to provide transport links using replacement buses.”


September 12th 2020.

Progress update on steam locomotive 5551 ‘The Unknown Warrior’

Thanks to Rail Advent for all following update details.
Construction has progressed at Leaky Finders and Ian Riley's Workshop.
 By Michael Holden.

The LMS Patriot Project has sent RailAdvent a progress update on their project to build steam locomotive 5551 The Unknown Warrior.

Riveting has been completed on the tender frames, which are currently at Leaky Finders’ workshop in Devon.  The trailing dragbox has now been fitted into place, which is now a permanent fixing.

Unfortunately, riveting wasn’t possible previously due to social distancing rules; however, the tender frames are now complete. These will be taken to West Shed to be re-wheeled with the three wheelsets, which are originals that were reclaimed from an  original Fowler tender that had been part of the Barry 10 collection.

A new Fowler water tank for the tender will be constructed using a revised design with increased capacity, which is necessary for mainline running. At West Shed, a return to work was delayed due to staffing issues. However, The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust resumed work on  5551 The Unknown Warrior on the 3rd August 2020.

The centre driving wheelset has had new crankpins fitted at Ian Riley’s workshop in Heywood and is now being taken to Tyseley Locomotive Works to have the axle journals polished.The lathe at Tyseley is a good size for the 6′ 9″ driving wheels to be machined. The bogie wheelsets will be returned to West Shed at the same time to allow the bogie to re-assembled.

If you would like to help The Patriot Project to complete 5551 ‘The Unknown Warrior’ donations can be made via the LMS-Patriot Project website.


  July 18th 2020.

Inside the factory where shells for Avanti West Coast new trains are made.


Avanti West Coast has sent RailAdvent the above image of the shells for their new trains in the factory at Kasado, in Japan.

The first shells for the new trains have arrived in the UK and have marked the start of the improvements for passengers.These new trains are built by Hitachi Rail and will serve the West Midlands, North Wales and Liverpool from 2022.The Class 803 and 805 shells are built at Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan, before being shipped to the UK where final manufacturing takes place at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe factory.

When complete, the fleet of trains will include 13 Class 805 bi-mode trains and 10 Class 807 electric trains which will replace the outgoing Super Voyager trains.

“Our new trains are really going to make a difference and it’s very exciting,” explained Liam Hockings, Senior Project Manager, New Trains for Avanti West Coast.  “Together with our partners Hitachi Rail and Rock Rail West Coast, we will be looking to raise the bar for our customers on the West Coast Main Line route.” The first nine train shells that have arrived in the UK for Avanti West Coast include a full set from 805001 and four shells from 805002.


July 7th 2020.

Avanti West Coast sign £8.3m contract with Bombardier to overhaul Voyager trains.

Avanti West Coast has confirmed to RailAdvent that its Voyager fleet of trains is to benefit from an upgrade, with the first train set to be completed later in July.20 Voyagers, which operate over non-electrified sections of the West Coast Main Line, such as Crewe – Holyhead, are being overhauled in an £8.3m deal with Bombardier.

New Standard Class seat covers, saloon and carpets will be included, as well as a revamped toilet area and new lighting.It was announced in 2019 that the WCML would have 23 new Class 805 and 807 trains in 2022 which will replace the Voyager trains.

Avanti West Coast Executive Director, Projects, Andy Barnes, explained: “We know that ultimately our Voyagers will be retired from the West Coast Main Line.

“But with two years on the rails, we wanted to improve them and not leave them as they are. All these improvements should enhance the customer experience and, as you will
 see from the images, will leave them looking very smart.

“It’s a significant investment that shows we will take every opportunity to invest and improve our product and service wherever we can.”

Bombardier Transportation’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Bentley, said; “We are delighted to be partnering with Avanti West Coast on this fleet upgrade.  The Voyager remains a great train, and by refreshing the customer environment, we can keep them that way.”

All 20 Voyagers are to be overhauled by December 2020 and will be upgraded at Bombardier’s site in Ilford, East London.
Thanks to Jack Poole for this report.

July 4th 2020.


The first shells for Avanti West Coast‘s new trains have arrived in the UK, marking the start of Avanti West Coast’s improvements for passengers.

The more spacious trains, made by Hitachi Rail, are due to enter service in 2022 and will replace the Super Voyagers serving the West Midlands, North Wales and Liverpool.

The shells landed at Southampton Docks from Hitachi Rail’s Kasado factory in Japan ahead of building work at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe plant this year.

When complete, the fleet of trains will include 13 Class 805 bi-mode trains and 10 Class 807 electric trains. The bi-mode trains will have five carriages, and the electric trains will have seven.Whilst initial body shells of the bi-mode fleet will be sent from Japan, the Avanti West Coast order marks a significant change in Hitachi’s train building process.

The 56 body shells will be welded together in the North East, where an £8.5m investment will allow the full build of trains to take place in the UK.

The final assembly, where all components and electrics are fitted, of the entire fleet will take place at Newton Aycliffe.

“Our new trains are really going to make a difference and it’s very exciting,” explained Liam Hockings, Senior Project Manager, New Trains for Avanti West Coast.
  “Together with our partners Hitachi Rail and Rock Rail West Coast, we will be looking to raise the bar for our customers on the West Coast Main Line route.”

Rock Rail West Coast, a joint venture between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investment, is financing the new trains and will be leasing them to Avanti West Coast.

The first nine vehicles include a full set from 805001 and four shells from 805002.

(Credit to Jack Poole for submitting this detail.)
(Credit to Rail Advent for details.)
(Credit Avanti West Coast for photo.)

February 15th 2020.

Calls for the veteransrailcard to be extended to Wales.

After recently welcoming the UK Government’s announcement of a veteran rail card in England, Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has called on the
 Welsh Government to extend the scheme to Wales.

Available from Armistice Day this year, the railcard will provide military veterans in England with cut-price train travel to help boostjob prospects and bring them closer to family and friends.

In yesterday’s Business Statement in the Welsh Parliament, Darren, who is Chair of the Assembly Cross Party Group on the Armed Forces and Cadets, urged  the Transport Minister in Wales to provide veterans in Wales with the same privilege.

He said:  “The Minister will be aware that the UK Government announced the introduction of a veterans’ rail card in England, and I know that veterans here in Wales are wondering whether there'll be a similar card available to them here.

“I know that the Welsh Government has done a great deal of work on trying to support the veteran community, and I applaud you for that, but we
 need to ensure that veterans here are able to access this new railcard so I urge the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to deliver it.”

The Trefnydd told Darren that the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales is “in current discussion with the Department for Transport in England to
 better understand the proposed scheme and how it might work, and then obviously to give consideration to the matter here”.

Speaking outside the Chamber, Darren said:

“Many veterans face difficulty in trying to access employment once they have left their time in the military and a veterans railcard would open up opportunities to them,

“It is vital that we do all we can to provide our veterans with the very best services and support and this railcard would help them greatly.
 It is encouraging that the Transport Minister is looking into this and I hope his discussions result in a positive outcome for our veterans in Wales.”

February 8th 2020.

Transport for Wales has announced that no coastal trains will run west of Llandudno Junction when Storm Ciara hits.

The rail operator has said that all services between Holyhead and Llandudno Junction will be cancelled on Sunday as the storm threatens to batter North Wales with gales of more than 80mph.

The services are among a raft of train cancellations in Wales planned for Sunday due to the storm.And TfW have said no replacement bus services will be laid on to transport stranded passengers. The decision could have a major impact on Welsh rugby fans arriving back into North Wales on Sunday following the Six Nations clash with Ireland - if ferry services are running.

In a joint statement, TfW's operations director Martyn Brennan and Network Rail's head of operations in Wales and Borders, said: "With Storm Ciara set to bring gale force
 winds of up to 85 mph on Sunday, Transport for Wales and Network Rail continue to urge all customers to check their journeys prior to travel.

“We’re expecting very stormy conditions, high tides and winds that have the potential to uproot trees and damage infrastructure. “The safety of our customers and colleagues is our absolute priority so there will be speed restrictions across our network, while some lines will not have any services at all.

“We are working closely together to minimise any disruption and will do all we can to keep our customers moving and informed.”

Lines impacted by the storm. The services cancelled include:

Services west of Llandudno Junction to Holyhead.
Llandudno Junction to Llandudno.
Cambrian Line
Shrewsbury-Birmingham International (West Midlands Trains hourly service still running)
Blaenau Branch line
Heart of Wales line
Lines west of Swansea
Barry to Bridgend via Vale of Glamorgan
Ebbw Vale Branch
Maesteg Branch

February 3rd 2020.


Eryl Crump.
Transport for Wales (TfW) should have started running the new high quality carriages between Holyhead and Cardiff from December 2019. Test runs and the training of staff to operate new trains has begun on North Wales' main railway line.

Three sets of carriages, previously used on the East Coast mainline, were meant to have been introduced on services between Holyhead and Cardiff during the December 2019 timetable change. But delays in handing over the Mark 4 carriages from LNER, their previous operator, to Transport for Wales (TfW) and the need to adapt them to work with Class 67 locomotives has led to a delay.

In turn this has led to overcrowding and cancellations across the network and the new trains may not be introduced until late spring. The first training run by the new trains was made on Tuesday with the five carriage train running from Crewe to Holyhead. It then returned to Llandudno Junction and made the short journey to Llandudno before returning to Crewe.

The train made a similar run on Wednesday and visited Manchester on Thursday. The train, formed of one first class carriage, two standard class and one mixed standard/restaurant carriage, remain in basic-LNER livery with TfW labels attached.

The Class 67 loco, built originally in the 1990s to haul mail trains, is hired from cargo operator DB Schenker and had been repainted into TfW red and white. The train operate in push-pull mode with the loco hauling the train westwards and propelling the train back towards Chester with the driver operating the controls from a Driving Van Trailer.

Once in service it is expected the trains will make three trips each day between North Wales and Cardiff. One set will remain overnight in Holyhead. Rail sources have told North Wales Live one set may also be used on a Holyhead and Llandudno service to Manchester replacing the current train formed of older Mark 3 carriages.

The Mark 4 carriages were part of TfW's promise to passengers to introduce new trains onto the network when it took over the Wales & Borders franchise in October 2018.In service on the East Coast mainline with LNER, and previously with Virgin Trains East Coast, between London and Edinburgh the carriages regularly reached speeds of 110mph. But in service with TfW they will be restricted to a top speed of 90mph on relatively short sections of track.

Three carriage Class 230 trains, formed of former London Underground carraiges, have yet to appear in North Wales. These are due to operate on the Conwy Valley and Borderlands lines but have not yet been delivered to TfW.

January 31st 2020.

Roger Carvell provided this photo below of the interior of the Mk4 coaches, ( see report below - on January 28th 2020 ), to illustrate what we will be getting when the stock goes live on our lines.A standard class Mk4 interior is shown below.

 This was on a day out to KWVR from home via Virgin East Coast in 2016 to Leeds.
 Nice seats and they have plug rechargers on the walls below the windows.
 Pendolinos, until they get their Avanti refurb, have nothing!



January 28th 2020.


First test train down the coast today of ex-LNER Mk4's, pulled by 67025 and 82229, still in red and white Virgin-inspired livery. The coaches have done 30 years service between London, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh!

Booked stop at Colwyn Bay, shown below, at 14.07-14.09 - probably checking stepboard clearances. The driver did leave his cab so possibly checking clearances as the Mk4 is a long coach, longer than the Mk 1 or 2.


The train arrived on time at Colwyn Bay pulled by 82229. The driver can be seen climbing back in the cab ready to leave.

Leaving Colwyn Bay with 67025 on the rear.

January 17th 2020.

I have picked up a snippet of info via Facebook:
The first Mk4 set for the North to South Wales services has arrived at Crewe. Testing will happen soon, checking clearances on the coast.Those Mk4s have already done a couple of million miles to Edinburgh and back! The Mk4 is a very good coach though.  Something pending! Think the formation will be loco, three standard, restaurant, first class and driving trailer.

December 22nd 2019.


New services came in last week and they've not gone down too well.
Eryl Crump.

New express train services introduced last weekend by Transport for Wales are causing problems for commuters on the North Wales line.The faster services between Holyhead and Cardiff mean some stations between Llandudno Junction and Chester are 'skipped' by the trains to shave journey times.

Some trains are not stopping at Anglesey stations, which has created lengthy gaps between services.Commuters have contacted North Wales Live to complain the new timetable is causing them difficulties - and costing them money.
Peter Jones travels from Prestatyn to Bangor and normally returns on the 5.16pm train.

"TfW in their arrogance have decided to cut out the stops at Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Prestatyn and Flint so the "service" goes from Llandudno Junction to Chester.

"This train is a peak home-going service from Bangor for many people," he said.

Mr Jones said the old service arrived at Cardiff at 9.36pm, a journey for four hours and 20 minutes.  But a study of the timetable shows the new "service" leaves Bangor at 5.18pm and arrives Cardiff at 9:24pm, giving a four hour and six minute trip time.

New Cardiff to Holyhead express promises faster journey times - but some will lose out
"A total saving of just 14 minutes! Tracking their departure times from the en-route stations that it does stop at shows the 'express' train is only a minute or so ahead so where is this "express" function for which Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Prestatyn and Flint passengers have been sacrificed?

"Then once it leaves Cwmbran it apparently gains afterburners as it shaves 12 minutes off the current time over 19 miles of track.  So virtually all the time saving takes place at the very end of the journey," he said.

Big changes to train services in North Wales that will have huge impact on some passengers  Mr Jones now catches an earlier train to return home, having found the National Rail planner site suggests if he'd taken the "new" 5:18pm to Prestatyn he
 would need to change at Chester at an additional cost.

"At the moment my return fare Prestatyn-Bangor-Prestatyn is £9.65 on a senior rail card.

"The single fare Bangor-Chester-Prestatyn is shown as an anytime fare at £25.30.  So they want to charge me an extra £15.80 for imposing a longer journey on me.

"They call this a "service"?  It certainly doesn't look like joined up transport thinking," he added.

On Anglesey the new timetable has led to a gap of more than three hours, between 2.30pm and 5.40pm, between Bangor and Valley.

Cllr Bill Rogerson, of Valley Community Council and a former British Transport Police officer, said the 11.21am train from Cardiff to  Holyhead left Bangor at 3.31pm and stopped at all island stations, some on request.

But since the start of the new timetable it runs non-stop from Bangor and arrives at Holyhead slightly later than before. "This is one of, if not the most heavily used, train across the island, conveying school children, college students and shoppers.

"I think that Transport for Wales have made a big mistake in withdrawing the island stops. It is a retrograde step in my opinion."We are supposed to be ‘going green’ saving the environment and using public transport, but this is just forcing people to seek alternatives," he said.

A Transport for Wales spokesman said: “Developing the timetable is incredibly challenging and there are a number of factors which need to be considered, such as engineering work, availability of trains, route clearance, additional services and many other factors. It is incredibly complex and when services are retimed or new services are introduced, it is extremely difficult to find a solution that benefits all passengers.

 “However, TfW are continuously monitoring and reviewing changes, and will always consider all options for the future.”


December 9th 2019.


Credit: Rail Advent

Avanti West Coast has today unveiled its brand new livery for its Class 390 Pendolino.

The new Pendolino, now named Pride and Prosperity, is travelling from London Euston to Glasgow Central via Coventry, Birmingham International, Stafford, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle and Motherwell.

We joined the press launch at Crewe and were joined by a number of staff from Network Rail, Avanti West Coast along with railway enthusiast, Pete Waterman.

When boarding the train, you will notice this new livery is just the outside. The inside remains the same as when this train operated with Virgin Trains – however, it has been confirmed by Avanti that the inside and outside of the Pendolinos are all undergoing a refurbishment program.

Next stop was Preston, we found a puddle and managed a reflection shot, it looks superb this livery, it really does. In our opinion – we prefer this over the
 newer style Virgin livery – what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

We are currently tilting and flying over shap as we head for Carlisle and Glasgow – the sun is setting on what has been an excellent day so far, more to come though!

FirstGroup and Trenitalia have taken over the franchise from Virgin Trains who ran the service for 22 years.

The new partnership brings a host of further improvements for passengers, including a refurbishment program of its Pendolino trains as well as 25,000 new
 seats, more reliable Wi-Fi, and power sockets for all passengers.

By 2022, there will be 263 extra train services every week to more places and a fleet of new trains that will replace the current Voyager trains.

What did the officials say? Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail, said:

“We’re delighted to start serving the customers who take 40 million journeys every year on the west coast. We’ll bring families, friends, businesses and communities closer together with new trains and new destinations. We’re excited to get our plans underway and take services to the next level.”

Orazio Iacono, Managing Director of Trenitalia, said:

“We’re honoured to begin operating intercity services on the West Coast Main Line, one of the busiest railways in Europe, that will bring a host of improvements for the millions of people who use it every year.  Trenitalia will also be using its skills to help design and manage high speed rail services from North to South in the UK over the next few years.
 The name Avanti was chosen to represent our values and recognises our ten-year experience in the high speed in Italy with 350 million passengers.
 Quality, dynamism, innovation and future: this is what we want to guarantee for the West Coast main line service”.


December 7th 2019.


Credit to Eryl Crump / Daily Post.

Just before 9pm on Saturday evening, Holyhead railway station's platform two is due to see the arrival of the 5.10pm Virgin Trains service from London Euston.

It will be one of the last trains operated by Virgin Trains on routes from London to Scotland, the north west of England and the North Wales coast line from Chester to Holyhead.

The five-carriage train will shunt into the sidings at the Anglesey terminus and when it reappears on Sunday morning will operate back to London as the first Avanti West Coast service.

Led by Sir Richard Branson Virgin Trains has over the last 22 years been a high profile operator of the privatised railway winning and losing three franchises, investing
 hundreds of millions of pounds in new trains and pioneering improvements to customer service.

It has operated the InterCity West Coast franchise since March 1997 taking over a network in poor shape with creaking infrastructure and ageing rolling stock.

Faced with growing demand and heightened expectation given Virgin's high profile the company quickly refurbished existing stock and tried to improve timekeeping while
 awaiting delivery of a new fleet of diesel and electric trains.

One of its first moves was to re-introduce named trains. This included the world's oldest named train, the Irish Mail, which had run from London to Holyhead connecting
 with Ireland-bound ships since 1848

However there was a downside to Virgin's introduction to the line as it led to a reduction in the number of through services from Holyhead to London and one of the trains terminated at Bangor.

Loco-hauled services were operated on the route after the last High Speed Trains were withdrawn and the unreliable nature of the trains was highlighted one evening at Euston.

As the departure time came and went I joined other passengers, including newly elected Anglesey MP Albert Owen, to investigate.

An orange overalled shunter was in attendance at the front of the train and was asked, politely, the whereabouts of the loco.

"It's broken," he said bluntly, "drivers gone to fetch 'nother one."

The train was about an hour late at Bangor that evening.

At about the same time Virgin Trains brought one of their brand-new Voyager diesel units to Llandudno. Running from Holyhead it was a sign of things to come with
 the coastal resort briefly added to the network

Wrexham, the largest town in North Wales, was added to the network in 2008. A train runs from Chester in the morning to pick up passengers and returns from London in the evening.

The Voyagers were to have taken over the entire North Wales schedule from 2003.

But a change of plan occurred during the summer of that year. According to Charlie Hulme, compiler of the North Wales Coast Railway website, the change was brought about by the desire of
 North Wales MPs for a full breakfast service when travelling to London, something that the small Voyager galley could not offer.

Two weekday return workings to London would therefore be Pendolinos, hauled by Class 57s locomotives between Holyhead and Crewe.The Class 57s were converted from older locomotives and fitted with a more powerful engine.

During a cab ride on one of these trains from Crewe to Holyhead in the company of then Virgin Trains chief executive Charles Belcher I saw for myself how powerful the loco was.

It was capable of hauling the heavy, nine carriage train at up to 95mph while still able to provide 'hotel power' for the lighting, air conditioning and galley systems.

But at weekends the trains were hauled by diesel locomotives and this led to an unfortunate incident in June 2005 when staff at Crewe forgot to detach the electric locomotive from the train.

The 5.02am Virgin train from Birmingham to Holyhead left Crewe hauled by a diesel locomotive. But the electric engine, a Class 90 owned by freight company EWS, was still attached to the train.

It was discovered at Llandudno Junction and removed. An insider told the Daily Post at the time the engine could have damaged platform edges and bridges during its 60-mile journey from Crewe. It was later towed back by another locomotive.

The last Pendolino ran along the line in 2012.

Training drivers on the new 125-mph trains can take several months and Virgin Trains were quick to adopt simulators, a process employed by the airline industry.

ocated in an industrial unit near Crewe station the trainee can experience different scenarios at the flick of a switch. I had the opportunity one afternoon to "drive" a Voyager from Birmingham to Stafford experiencing bright sunshine, a stormy night, heavy snow and fog within a few minutes.

I was even surprised by a horse jumping onto the line and learned a modern train even has hazard warning lights.

From the outset Virgin Trains were determined to introduce imore services at higher speeds across the network. The tilting trains it ordered would have been able to run at up to 140mph.

But the necessary infrastructure upgrades to the West Coast mainline were the responsibility of Railtrack which ultimately failed to deliver.This caused Virgin Trains to lose significant amounts of revenue and for a time operated their services under a management contract.

During its tenure there were a number of incidents involving their trains but only one fatal accident. This involved a Pendolino which derailed at high speed at Grayrigg near Penrith. One passenger was unfortunately killed but the design and strength of the new train, not universally liked by passengers, saved the lives of many others.

A Voyager train failed to stop in time and hit the buffers at Chester's platform 1 and there were issues with the toilets on both fleets of trains from time to time.

During its years of operations Virgin Trains staff have helped raise funds for many charities. In 2006 a Pendolino made a non-stop run from Glasgow to London in under four hours. A record which still stands today.

Virgin Trains will hand over the franchise to Avanti West Coast, a joint venture between First Group and Trenitalia. The same trains and staff will continue to operate albeit the latter will be wearing different uniforms and all the trains have been shorn of their Virgin branding.

The new group promise a new fleet of trains will be introduced in the next few years and new services will be added including adding Llandudno to the network again.
Many will miss Virgin's willingness to challenge the established order and transform the operation of Britain's busiest main lines.

December 6th 2019.


First Trenitalia has announced that they have awarded a new contract worth £350m to Hitachi Rail to maintain 23 new trains, which are to be built at its County Durham factory.

The trains will bring more capacity along the West Coast Main Line and in North Wales.
 They will enter service in 2022 and will be a mix of ten seven-carriage electric trains and 13 five-carriage bi-mode trains to operate on   the un-electrified North Wales Coast line to Holyhead.

These 125mph trains draw designs from the Japanese bullet train, and join the ever-growing numbers of Class 800/802s in Britain, with LNER, Hull Trains, TransPennine Express and Great Western Railway all operating them in passenger service.

There are 453 seats on a 7-car service and 301 seats on a 5-car service increasing compacity compared to the Class 221 Voyager trains they replace, which have 258 seats.

The seven-carriage version of the electric trains will have similar numbers of seats to a nine-carriage Pendolino, thanks to longer carriages.The new trains are cleaner and more efficient than the trains they are replacing. The introduction of these new trains will help to support the UK’s drive for a cleaner, greener environment.

The new trains will be built at Hitachi’s factory at Newton Aycliffe and will support thousands of jobs across the country. Hitachi prioritises UK suppliers where possible, including servicing and maintenance. This has resulted in Hitachi Rail spending £1.6 billion in the UK since  2013. Since then, wheelsets have come from Manchester; windows from Newcastle, door handles from Leeds, and overhead panels from County Durham.

The investment in these trains is being financed through Rock Rail West Coast, this is a joint venture between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments.   Rock Rail West Coast will own the trains and lease them to First Trenitalia.

First Trenitalia has also signed a Maintenance Agreement with Alstom to enable the trains to be maintained by a joint team from Hitachi and Alstom at the Oxley Depot in Wolverhampton.

What did the officials say?

Commenting on the new trains contract, Steve Montgomery, Managing Director, First Rail, said:

“We look forward to beginning our Avanti West Coast services on Sunday 8 December, and these new trains will help us really improve travel for passengers with
more services, more seats, a better journey experience, enhanced catering and added comfort.”

Ernesto Sicilia, Trenitalia UK Managing Director, said:

“We are pleased to announce this new fleet which highlights our commitment to innovation and desire to constantly improve our services. We are delighted to provide more efficient and modern trains which are sustainable and environmentally friendly, reducing CO2 emissions by 61%, includingnew comfortable seats for an improved customer experience.”

Mark Swindell, Chief Executive Officer, Rock Rail and Director, Rock Rail West Coast, said:

“Rock Rail is delighted to be working with First Trenitalia and Hitachi and our institutional investor partners to bring these trains to the region and deliver step changes in the travelling experience for so many rail passengers across the country.

“This new state-of-the-art Hitachi fleet represents Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments’ fourth new rolling stock deal in the UK, and across all deals combined sees investment by the institutional investor sector of just under £2.5 billion in the UK railway. This long term, highly competitive funding enables significantly enhanced value for money to rail passengers and tax payers over the life of the trains, along with significant improvements in passenger, environmental and operational features.”

Andrew Barr, Group CEO, Hitachi Rail, said:

“Based on Japanese bullet train technology, our new trains have proven to be the modern intercity train of choice, increasing passenger satisfaction wherever they run.
 We’re delighted to continue our excellent relationship with FirstGroup and Trenitalia, for whom we’ve delivered hundreds of trains across Italy and the UK.
 This new order, which will be built at our factory in the North East, is another vote of confidence in the success of our trains, which are both green and reliable.”


December 1st 2019.



 News from Anglia Gen: (a Facebook private group)

 The last five single car Class 153s (known as ‘tin rockets’ or ‘scuds’) have been stood down at Norwich and  will travel west to Transport for Wales this coming week.

 Units are 153306/9/14/22 and ‘55. 153322 worked its last service to Ipswich on Saturday night and then ran empty coaching stock to Norwich.

 They will be missed, out in the flatlands of East Anglia: one guard said he once got 17 bikes aboard his train on the Sudbury branch!

December 1st 2019.


Demand for seats on a heritage railway's first-ever Norfolk Lights Express has soared with 10 further trains being added.On selected evenings, North Norfolk Railway's special services wind their way after dark through the forests and fields from Sheringham to Holt and back.

The initial 55 trains on the published programme are nearly full and the additional trains will provide further opportunities for those not able to get a seat.The services will continue to operate through to January 5, 2020 offering a further 2000 seats for sale. That is in addition to the Santa Special trains the NNR runs each year.

The express offers a light show which illuminates the landscape as the train meanders along the route, and is set to music.Driven by steam locomotive 76084, the train is bedecked in a rainbow of coloured lights, which are connected by 2.5 miles of electrical cable, and each train has seating for over 200 visitors.

The service was launched on November 20 and well over 10,000 people have taken the opportunity to book and experience it.During the day the award-winning heritage railway transports customers back in time on steam and diesel trains through some of North Norfolk's most
 picturesque countryside, however as the light fades, the railway is transformed as The Norfolk Lights Express steams into town.

Hugh Harkett, managing director, witnessed the secret trial operation in June, and said: "It was unbelievable. While the external view is incredible, the lighting and scenes along the track will, I am sure, make this a real trip to remember for our visitors of all ages.
 The train's external lights provide amazing technicolour effects for passengers as the train passes through the cuttings along the route."

The experience starts with a rendition of Queen's Can't Stop Me Now, performed from the top of the footbridge over the tracks.And as the train passes under the bridge at Weybourne station a flurry of artificial snow is set off by the GPS system.

The Norfolk Lights Express departs from Sheringham station, and each journey lasts one hour and 20 minutes.

Check  NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY WEBSITE  for information.

November 20th 2019.

Huge improvement in Cambrian train services as Transport for Wales announces Sunday Service Revolution

Sunday railway timetables across Wales will be transformed this December by Transport for Wales with a 40% increase in services across the network.
An additional 186 Sunday services will provide a boost throughout the country, providing essential links between cities, towns and villages.

Rail passengers will see the introduction of a Sunday service to Maesteg for the very first time.
 Train services will be doubled between Cardiff Central and Swansea, additional seasonal services will now run all year along the
 North Wales Coast as well as increased frequencies on valley lines.

Expected to help boost the tourism industry in Wales, TfW will create new Sunday services between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog creating
 an all-year-round Sunday service. There will be four services in each direction providing vital links to tourist destinations in the area.

The Cambrian coast will also see a huge benefit, going from one Sunday service a day in each direction between Machynlleth and Pwllheli to five in each direction.

The confirmation of the extra Sunday services follows TfW’s announcement about increased capacity for weekday services this December, which include:

Valley lines will see more four-carriage trains on peak services
Passengers between Cheltenham and Maesteg, and between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale will have the benefit of modern Class 170 trains
Long-distance passengers on some services between North Wales and Manchester will be travelling on more modern ‘Mark 4 intercity’ carriages.

What did the officials say?

Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport said:

“Transport is fundamental to the success of our economy in Wales and this dramatic increase in the number of Sunday services will
 increase connectivity between our cities, towns and villages.

“These services will improve access for social, recreational and educational opportunities, as well as employment opportunities.
 Later services will also increase options for people attending late night events across the country.”

Customer Experience Director for Transport for Wales, Colin Lea, said:

“We’ve committed to giving customers the service they deserve on a Sunday and are delighted to be able to make these improvements.
 Some lines which never had a Sunday service before, will now be connected, giving greater leisure and economic benefits to so many areas.

“A huge amount of hard work has gone into developing this timetable for our customers.
 We’ve seen some fantastic collaboration with our partners in Network Rail in securing access for earlier and later services, by moving
 planned maintenance times and I’d like to thank all involved for their hard work.”

James Price, Chief Executive for Transport for Wales said:

“This significant increase in Sunday services is an important commitment that we made when we launched our new rail service over a year ago, and
 follows the successful launch of our May 2019 timetable, where we introduced direct services between Liverpool and Wrexham for the first time in decades.

“We hope that our customers and potential customers will welcome these services as an important step in building a transport network that the people of Wales can be truly proud of.”

Philip Evans, chair of Conwy Valley Rail Partnership added:

“It’s great news that Transport for Wales have demonstrated their commitment to the Conwy Valley by introducing winter Sunday rail services while
 simultaneously giving a regular link from Llandudno to the network every day of the week.
 This move addresses local calls and recognises the all year round impact of the tourism offer in the area.”



November 11th 2019.

Two archive photos sent in by Alan Roberts show the farewell train to Caernarfon on February 5th 1972.

The first shot shows the driver Ken Jones, between the gentleman on the left and the Mayor, Second man Don Simpson (next to the DMU) and
 Guard Ronnie Lea (behind the mayor)

This shot below shows Ken Jones (driver) shaking hands with the Mayor of Caernarfon.

Three more shots of this occasion sent in by Elwyn Jones who tells me Driver Ken Jones is still going strong at aged 90. (10/07/2020)

October 11th 2019.


An email from Robert (Sam) Simpson , son of ex-6G worker Don Simpson, is reproduced below with some sad news about his dad.

Good morning,
I'm writing to you about my dad, Don Simpson, who worked at Llandudno Junction for over 40 years.
He started as a cleaner and when he retired he was a station manager. He also gave a lot of his time to union matters while he was there.
I'm sorry to have to inform you that my dad passed away on Tuesday October 8th at the age of 89. I doubt if any of his former colleagues are still working on the railway but some probably follow events on this page.

Kind regards,
Robert (Sam) Simpson.

  More details are now published on the In Memoriam page.
Don's funeral took place on Friday 18th October 2019 at Colwyn Bay Crematorium.

August 15th 2019.


First Trenitalia has been announced as the new operator of the West Coast Main Line, bringing new trains, more seats, simpler fares and more services on the West Coast.

Both the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Keith Williams, chair of the Rail Review, have heralded the Partnership as vital to deliver the swift introduction of
 significant benefits for passengers.

It also reflects a significant move away from the previous flawed franchising system to tackle issues already highlighted by the Williams Review.

The Transport Secretary has also confirmed that the government intends to produce a white paper in due course setting out the recommendations of Williams, to
 bring forward his vision for a truly passenger-focused industry centred on clear, accountable leadership.

Today’s award confirms that, from December 2022, passengers will benefit from 263 extra train services every week, with Motherwell set to become a major calling point for
 most West Coast Partnership services.

Destinations including Llandudno and Gobowen will now be served by direct trains to and from London, and Walsall will receive its first direct intercity services.

Subject to approval from the Office of Rail and Road, 2 trains per hour will run between Liverpool and London.

First Trenitalia will also oversee the introduction of new environmentally-friendly trains, entirely replacing the diesel-only fleet.
 It will also invest £117 million in a major refurbishment of the current Pendolino fleet, providing more comfortable seats and additional luggage space.

First Trenitalia will also oversee the introduction of:

more flexible and convenient smart ticketing options
free wifi and high quality mobile connectivity on board services
improved delay repay compensation for all passengers
£32 million of investment into developing and delivering infrastructure capacity and capability improvements
10 new secure cycle storage facilities; improved bus facilities; 900 new car parking spaces, and 100 new Electric Vehicle charging points
new ticket machines at stations, removal of the administration fee and enabling on-the-day changes to both advance tickets and seat reservations
new initiatives to increase diversity, inclusion and skills retention in the rail industry
First Trenitalia will also act at the Shadow Operator responsible for HS2.
 The government will shortly launch a review into HS2 and the Partnership has been designed in order to ensure that it can implement the review’s outcomes.

What did the officials say?
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

This award is positive news for passengers, with more services, more direct connections and ambitious plans for a cleaner, greener railway, and
also represents a decisive shift towards a new model for rail.

It is a Partnership supported by Keith Williams, built with the flexibility to respond to his recommendations and deliver fundamental reform to a flawed system.
Meeting Keith last week confirmed our shared determination to deliver a future that puts passengers at the heart of the railways, and get our trains to run on time.

That is why I have asked Keith to produce his recommendations for a white paper, with fearless proposals that will deliver a railway system fit for the 21st century.

Keith Williams, Chair of the Rail Review, said:

The railway needs reform that prioritises the customers and communities it serves, with an absolute focus on delivering benefits for passengers.
 I have also been clear that my review must not stop or delay investment and innovation.

This West Coast Partnership delivers for passengers. It is a step forward that is firmly in line with the review, introducing benefits for
 passengers today and capable of incorporating the reforms needed for the future.


July 10th 2019.
Report by Roger Carvell.
My insider at LNER tells me that the 08.45 from Leeds to London pulled down the wires just nth of Peterborough, on the famous two-track
section over Stoke Bank where Mallard triumphed all those years ago.  It was an Azuma 800113 that did the dewiring too!

 It was still stranded at Tallington as at 13.30. Diesel diverts via Lincoln, from Peterborough to Doncaster which has recently been upgraded for
 freight and diversionary express services although the line is not electrified.

May 25th 2019.
Rainhill  Trials 1829 - 2019

Rainhill Rocket is Coming Home. The Rocket 190 Group are excited to announce that the replica Rocket will be on display in Rainhill 25th - 27th May 2019. Saturday 25th will host a
model railway exhibition, a sports tournament and themed theatrical and musical performances.
 The Rocket will take pride of place in a parade along Warrington Road on Sunday 26th, joined by floats, dancing groups and bands, culminating in
 a village tea party.
The festival will continue on Monday 27th with the acclaimed Rainhill Gala. Throughout the weekend the village will be alive with activities including a
 flower festival, exhibition of Railway memorabilia, vintage vehicles, street performers and much more.
 Join us for the celebrations and mark Rainhill’s unique place in world transport history. If you want to play your part, please contact the Parish Clerk on rainhillpc@hotmail.co.uk or Phone - 07565 524414, or visit the
 Council news page at www.rainhillparish.org.uk

Below is a shot of Rocket arriving at Rainhill today (May 25th 2019) and a photo of photographer Jack Poole posing
 in front of the famous engine.   The engine will be running under it's own steam tomorrow.

May 6th 2019.
I hope somebody points out to this lady and gentleman that trespassing on today's railways is a very dangerous thing to do, not only for
 their own safety but it is also a dangerous distraction to the train drivers concentration.
Modern trains are very fast and extremely quiet until they are very close and positioning yourself this close to the track could cause
 a suction which would be impossible to resist. Also this sort of behaviour is not a very good lesson for watching youngsters, as they may think that this is an acceptable procedure to copy. This blatant trespassing will only serve to give Network Rail a valid excuse to ban steam from the main line in the interests of safety.

 This was a recent scene near Burton on Trent waiting for the Flying Scotsman's visit. The photographer and 'photographers' shown are unknown.

April 23rd 2019.
Ex- B.R. guard Malcolm Prewitt sent in this email reminiscing about his time working with driver R.V. Jones (nickname - Bob Bychan)
who passed away in May 1987.

R.V. Jones  (nickname - Bob Bychan) was a 6G driver until his retirement.

I had the pleasure of working with 'Bob Bychan' as the guard on his train many times on the Conwy Valley line branch.  One very funny memory I have of him was when he had his mini stolen from outside his house while he was getting ready for an
 early start with me on the mail train on the branch.
 As we were going towards the tunnel he thought he spotted his mini towards Roman bridge station so when we got to Blaenau Ffestiniog he
 phoned the police again. Unfortunately to no avail.
(Malcolm Prewitt - ex B.R. guard)


April 21st 2019.
Another email from ex-guard Malcolm Prewitt has just been received showing that people are still discovering 6G website after all of these years.
Hi Geoff my name is Malcolm Prewitt. Nickname 'Shirley Temple' and 'Laughing boy'. I was a guard at the junction in the early 70's.
 I have only just seen this website through a mate of mine. I can't believe the drivers and guards and also staff that I have worked with, all on
 this site, most of which have sadly gone now. I myself was only 18 years old then and I am 63 now but still remember so many that I worked with.
It is so nice to look at these railway lads again. Hope I can keep in touch with you all now.
Thanks Malcolm.

April 18th 2019.
The email below is from Ian Cradick, a past staff member on many Bournemouth Rail Travel excursions.
The one he mentions below was a 1989 Wareham - Bangor special which some readers may remember was mentioned on this site

Dear Geoff

I recently happened upon your website and was very pleased to see a mention of a charter that ran from Wareham to Bangor in 1989.
  I was a staff member on board this (and many other) Bournemouth Rail Travel excursion and have a few anecdotes to recall.
  You might (?) be interested to know that after leaving Crewe on the outbound journey, we were stopped by several signalmen
 because the rear 4TC was not sporting a tail lamp.
  Clearly the staff in this region were not accustomed to units with headcode blinds that were set as red if at the
 rear - the usual practice in the Southern Region.
  We were also flagged down a couple of times because the signalmen wanted to photograph the Crompton + 8TC formation!

I thought this might be of some interest to you and will happily furnish you with more information if you wish.
  In fact I am still in regular contact with Anthony Stone who was the General Organiser of the former Bournemouth Rail Travel.

Kind regards, Ian Cradick (Bournemouth)

Many thanks Ian for this interesting detail.

February 18th 2019.

The following appeal from Josie Jones was originally published on the archive Newspage on October 4th 2012.
There was a reply from Alan Roberts which is also published below, but another reply from George Graf, of Palmyra Virginia USA 
 has just been received which finally seems to clear up the question of the Dome query from Josie.  Apparently the structure was a Snow Dome. These structures featured in several Butlins holiday camps in the 1960's.
They were built to perform Christmas shows for the holidaymakers.
A picture of the Penychain Snow dome is shown below.
There is a YouTube video showing a Snow dome at the Butlins Minehead camp HERE. Thanks to George Graf for these details.

An email and appeal from Josie Jones for help with identification of a location are published below. If anyone can help please use the email link on the HOMEPAGE.
Hi there. I am hoping one of your site visitors could help me with this picture below.

It was taken when I was about 10 so about 1959/60. I believe it was in N Wales, I lived in Wallasey Cheshire
at the time and we had a holiday at Butlin's Pwllheli.

I have been trying to find out where the photo of this strange dome with a mountain sculpture inside was taken, and why it
was there and what it was for. As it is alongside a railway track which curves round to a platform, I was hoping someone would recognise the stop
to give me an idea of where to start my investigation of the dome!

I have tried sites on google - like Where is this- but no-one seems to know.

Any help would be greatly appreciated Thanks. Josie Jones.

The following is the reply from Alan Roberts.
(October 5th 2012)
An email from Alan Roberts, reproduced below, solves the location query above but still no answer to the dome query. Alan has identified the location as Penychain Halt  Which was known as "Butlins Penychain Railway Station" and almost
universally referred to as "Penny - Chain" by non - Welsh speaking holidaymakers.
Geoff, The mystery location on your website which was sent in by Josie Jones with the station on a curve appears to be Penychain (which was the station for Butlins Pwllheli) - can't help with the dome though>
Regards, Alan Roberts

January 31st 2019.

Rainhill  Trials 1829 - 2019

Rainhill Rocket is Coming Home.

The Rocket 190 Group are excited to announce that the replica Rocket will be on display in Rainhill 25th - 27th May 2019. Saturday 25th will host a
model railway exhibition, a sports tournament and themed theatrical and musical performances.
 The Rocket will take pride of place in a parade along Warrington Road on Sunday 26th, joined by floats, dancing groups and bands, culminating in
 a village tea party.
The festival will continue on Monday 27th with the acclaimed Rainhill Gala. Throughout the weekend the village will be alive with activities including a
 flower festival, exhibition of Railway memorabilia, vintage vehicles, street performers and much more.
 Join us for the celebrations and mark Rainhill’s unique place in world transport history. If you want to play your part, please contact the Parish Clerk on rainhillpc@hotmail.co.uk or Phone - 07565 524414, or visit the
 Council news page at www.rainhillparish.org.uk

January 25th 2019.


Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has called for an update from the Welsh Government on plans to provide a direct rail service between Liverpool and North Wales.

Darren, who campaigned for years to get a direct service between North Wales and Liverpool reinstated, was delighted when Arriva Trains Wales announced
 plans to do this. He was therefore concerned that there has been no news regarding the new service since Transport for Wales, which is being delivered by
 KeolisAmey and the Welsh Government, took over the operation of Wales and Borders from Arriva Trains Wales last October

Raising the matter in the Senedd this week during the Business Statement he said:

“Arriva Trains Wales were planning to introduce direct services to Liverpool from North Wales in December of last year along the
 Halton curve, which, of course, has been improved to accommodate these, yet there's no news at all from Transport for Wales as to
 when those services will be re-established.
 The last time they ran was back in the 1960s and, of course, these are extremely important for the North Wales economy.”

Finance Minister and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans AM,  told Darren that “the improvements should be in place by May” and
that “there was a delay as a result of some scheduling changes”.

Darren added:

“While it is disappointing that there has been a delay, I am pleased to hear that the improvements will hopefully be in place by Spring.
Liverpool is an important commercial centre and improving transport links will provide a huge boost to the North Wales economy in
 terms of access to jobs and promoting tourism.”


January 25th 2019.

Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has called for new train operator Transport for Wales to provide promotions for North Wales rail users.

Transport for Wales took over the operation of Wales and Borders from Arriva Trains Wales last October and is being delivered by KeolisAmey and the Welsh Government.

Speaking in the Senedd yesterday, Darren asked whether Transport for Wales will be offering similar discounts to those provided by Arriva Trains Wales.

He made particular reference to Arriva’s ‘Club 55’ scheme, which provided low cost, off-peak travel offers for customers aged 55 or over, enabling passengers to travel anywhere
 on the Arriva Trains Wales network for just £27.   

Speaking in the Business Statement, Darren said:

“This time of the year it's usually the Club 55 promotion, which many of my constituents and others in Wales like to take advantage of - cheap return
 tickets to anywhere in Wales for £27. That is what has traditionally been run at this time of year by Arriva Trains Wales.
 Is there a similar proposal for a similar promotion from Transport for Wales? It would be good to hear from the Government on that.”

Minister for Finance, Rebecca Evans, replied: “I know that there will be some cross-border services that will offer reduced fares.
 I will ask the Minister to write to you with greater detail on that.”

Darren added:

“It is essential we ensure that rail travel is accessible and affordable to all. Arriva’s ‘Club 55’ scheme was very popular with my constituents, enabling
 older passengers to travel at a very discounted price and I really do hope that the Welsh Government listen to what passengers want and
 make sure that Transport for Wales introduce a similar scheme.”


December 31st 2018.
I took my wife and grandson to Chester by train in October this year but unfortunately we were delayed for over four hours on our return journey from
Chester to Colwyn Bay due to a signalling fault.
I tried to make a claim for this delay but as our tickets were originally mislaid when I did try to make a claim the TfW website only allows claims
within 28 days of the delay.
After explaining the reason for the delay in claiming TfW customer relations accepted this and allowed the late claim.
I have shown the email from Customer Relations Advisor Megan Fellows below.
Many thanks for this Megan Fellows and I feel that professional and sympathetic treatment like this deserves a mention here.

Case Reference:
Dear Geoff Poole,

Thank you for contacting us about your journey on 24th October 2018 between Chester and Colwyn Bay.

I am sorry to learn that your journey was disrupted, and that you were caused a delay as a result. I confirm that your train was
cancelled due to a fault with the signalling system.

Taking into account the length of time your journey was delayed I have arranged compensation in your preferred payment method of a bank transfer
 totalling £48.40. This will be paid in to your account within the next 14 days.

Our compensation scheme for delayed journeys is outlined in our Passenger’s Charter. If you would like to read more about this it can be viewed on
 our website or a copy can be picked up from any of our staffed stations.

In conclusion, thank you once again for contacting us and I am sorry that your journey was disrupted on this occasion.
 If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Megan Fellows
Customer Relations Advisor/ Ymgynghorydd Cysylltiadau Cwsmeriaid

E: customer.relations@tfwrail.wales T: 033 33 211 202

Customer Relations

[Customer.Relations@tfwrail.wales]Customer.Relations@tfwrail.wales |

Transport for Wales

December 18th 2018.

Transport priorities for North Wales were discussed this week when Clwyd West AM Darren Millar met with the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.

Darren travelled to London on Monday with Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies AM, for the important meeting with Chris Grayling MP.

They also discussed concerns over the performance of the Welsh Government’s rail franchise and the adverse impact on train services
 since Transport for Wales took over from Arriva, and the importance of improved transport links to Liverpool and
 Manchester airports for the North Wales economy.

Speaking after the meeting, Darren, who over the years has repeatedly called on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to restore
direct rail services between Liverpool and North Wales, said:

“It was great to have this opportunity to highlight all the transport issues facing my constituents in North Wales with the Secretary of State for Transport.

“For a long time North Wales has felt like the poor relation in many areas, but particularly so where transport is concerned.
 People here are sick of hearing about investment in South Wales, while North Wales continues to miss out. It is an absolute disgrace that North Wales
 is treated so unfairly and it’s high time that the people of the region were given the improvements they need.

“Chris Grayling MP took all the concerns we raised on board and I am confident that he will do everything within his power to push this agenda forward.”   

November 18th 2018.



KeolisAmey has announced that they will be opening two new head offices in Wales with the creation of around 130 jobs.

This news follows on from the news that KeolisAmey won their bid for Wales and Borders Franchise, taking over from current operator, Arriva Trains Wales.

Keolis UK has announced it will move its headquarters from London to Wales in 2019 and will move its global rail division from Paris to Wales in 2020.

Amey will also be opening a new design hub in Wales where it will offer consultancy services, and further jobs will be created when they open a customer contact centre.

These jobs are in addition to the 600 jobs and 30 apprenticeships announced earlier this week.

Head of Keolis UK, Alistair Gordon, has confirmed that Keolis’ new HQ will also become a centre of excellence.

What did the officials say?

Ahead of a meeting with Alistair Gordon and Nicola Hindle from Keolis and Amey, Economy Secretary Ken Skates said:

“In line with our Economic Contract, public investment with a social purpose is right at the heart of our new approach to rail, and I am delighted the new
rail contract will be delivering tangible and significant economic benefits for Wales.

“The decision by internationally recognised companies Keolis and Amey to between them locate two headquarters and two new
offices to Wales is a real coup, and a move that we predict will provide a significant economic boost, beginning with the creation of a further 130 high quality jobs.
 These are in addition to the 600 jobs announced earlier in the week.

“KeolisAmey has also committed to becoming a Living Wage employer by 2021 and they will ensure that the Real Living Wage is
 cascaded throughout the significant supply chain

“On top of news earlier this week that the majority of the new trains will be assembled in Newport by Spanish company, CAF, who will be
 bringing their new manufacturing base to Wales, there is no doubt that the new rail contract will deliver not only improved train services but
also very real economic benefits for Wales.
Alistair Gordon, CEO of Keolis UK, said:

“Being selected as Transport for Wales’ partner for the next 15 years means that we’ll be a part of the fabric of Wales for almost a generation.
 Moving our headquarters here underlines our commitment and embeds us within the communities we’ll be serving.

“Wales is a great place for any company to base itself. As part of the procurement process, KeolisAmey was exposed to both business and life in
Wales and we were impressed with the commitment, skills and quality of life Wales offers.
This, coupled with the extensive and innovative nature of Transport for Wales’ ambitions, means that Wales is an obvious location for us.”

Nicola Hindle, Managing Director of Consulting & Rail at Amey, said:

“As part of our long-term commitment to Wales, and building on our existing presence with over 300 employees delivering services for the
Welsh people, we will be investing in a new Amey Consulting design hub in Wales.

“This new office will be a fantastic addition to our strategic network of consultancy hubs across the UK in
Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Motherwell, Edinburgh, Belfast and Crawley.

November 9th 2018.
Roger Carvell noticed this article in the Rail Magazine which gives hope for employment in Wales.

Spanish train manufacturer Talgo has announced its shortlisted locations for its UK factory, which could employ as many as 1,000 people.

It announced today (October 9) that sites near Chesterfield, St Helens and Leeds have been shortlisted for England as well as Mostyn in North Wales.
 It plans to announce locations for Scotland imminently. A final decision is expected next month.

Talgo has been shortlisted to build the 54 classic compatible trains for High Speed 2 (HS2) in a £2.75bn deal, while it is also interested in the East Midlands and
West Coast Partnership deals. The firm was also looking to bid for new trains for the Cross Country franchise until that competition was stopped
 following the announcement of rail review in September.

The company says it aims to enter the UK train market through what it calls ‘true manufacturing’.
It said in a statement: “instead of assembling kits of parts from overseas, it wants to source components from within the United Kingdom.”
Talgo said this approach will grow the UK’s manufacturing capability, strengthen supply chains, create more jobs, and boost local economies.

Talgo President Carlos de Palacio said: “The establishment of a manufacturing facility in the UK is a significant part of Talgo’s future strategy.
“Talgo’s aim is to establish true manufacturing – rather than assembling from parts made elsewhere.
 This means that we will draw from materials and expertise across the UK.

“This keeps more money in the UK economy, and creates more skilled long-term jobs.

“Although there can only be one factory site, we have developed excellent relationships with all the countries, regions and areas that we have visited.
 We anticipate continuing these relationships to ensure that Talgo provides great opportunities across the UK.”

June 14th 2018.

KeolisAmey to take over the Wales and Borders rail service from Arriva Trains Wales.
On October 14th 2018 a new operator will replace Arriva trains Wales on the Wales and Borders rail network.
The 15 year contract promises to bring a number of major benefits to the area.
KeolisAmey have promised to replace all present trains by 2023 along with an upgrade of stations and 600 new jobs.
Vivarail will supply a fleet of five class-230 D-Trains to KeolisAmey for the Wales and Borders franchise.
As well as the wide and spacious carriages the trains will have a universal access toilet, WiFi, air conditioning, USB ports and sockets.
There will be a range of seating layouts with plenty of space for bikes and luggage.
The trains will be built as battery/diesel hybrids to cut down on emissions. They will come into service in the
summer of 2019.
This is what the new trains are set to look like.

Passengers should start to see improvements from December this year. There will be increased capacity on the Valleys lines and new services between Chester and Liverpool.
By the end of 2023 passengers will benefit from an extra 285 services each weekday along with 294 extra services on Sundays.
Over the next five years the railway will receive massive improvements due to the vision of the Welsh Government.

March 30th 2018

Network Rail announced the opening of the newly commissioned state of the art signalling between Shotton and Colwyn Bay on Monday March 26th 2018.The final testing of the new signalling system involving 106 miles of cabling and 54 new LED digital signals, replacing 96 existing signals, was carried out over
 the weekend of March 24th / 25th 2018. The work forms part of Network Rail's upgrade plan to increase reliability.

March 19th 2018.

(L to R)  -  Darren Millar AM, Dave Graham, Lynda Ogden, Ben Davies (ATW spokesperson)

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar has applauded improvements works at a busy train station after seeing them first hand last week. Darren  visited Colwyn Bay Train Station to see the newly refurbished facilities on Friday and was hugely impressed by the works that have been carried out. Arriva Trains Wales have invested around £500,000 in the station following calls for improvement which Darren made following a visit two years ago. Darren said: “It was great to return to Colwyn Bay Train Station two years on and see the improvements which have been made. “For people arriving in Colwyn Bay by train, the station is the first thing they see. First impressions count and if we want to ensure that visitors return to the
 area, it is essential that we have a welcoming gateway into the town. Passengers and staff are now able to enjoy a newly refurbished ticket office, improved disabled access, electronic mobile ticketing services, new bathrooms and a much
 improved waiting room. Also a new cafe will be coming to the station in coming months.  “I would like to thank Arriva Trains Wales for listening to my calls for improvements and investing so heavily to improve the passenger experience.”   

January 5th 2018.

Janet Finch-Saunders, the Conservative Assembly Member for Aberconwy in the National Assembly for Wales, seeks
 assurance over the future of the Conwy Valley Branch line.

Janet Finch-Saunders AM asked economy and transport secretary Ken Skates what measures are being taken to ensure the lines long term
viability and how they aim to promote the line. The issue has been brought into focus following recent flooding and the temporary closure of the line.
According to the Pioneer Newspaper Janet Finch-Saunders stated that the line is an important link between the mountains and sea of North Wales.
As it runs from Llandudno to Dolwyddelan and onwards to Blaenau Ffestiniog, it really is at the heart of our tourism industry but as the railway is situated on an
embankment right beside the River Conwy, it is almost inevitable that it will flood at one point most years.
Closure causes problems and demands extra expense in maintenance. She stated that she has written to the cabinet secretary for details of what plans the Welsh Government has to promote this unique link.

December 15th 2017.

Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has welcomed transport plans announced by the
 Welsh Government today which will see Abergele become a Transport Hub and the rail link
 between North Wales and Liverpool restored. The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport’s ‘Transport Vision for North Wales’ Statement statesOur main focus continues to be on
 creating integrated transport hubs at key employment sites across north Wales and the wider Mersey Dee area.
 It is about better connectivity within, to and from and between the hubs.
 In north Wales these hubs are centred in the Bangor, Abergele, Rhyl, St Asaph, Wrexham, and Deeside areas.” It later states “The way we are procuring future Wales and Borders rail services will improve the way that we can grow services across
 North Wales, and my first priorities are for improved services between North Wales and Liverpool via the Halton Curve as well as
 faster south to north Wales services in the morning and evening.”

Darren said:

“I am absolutely delighted that the Welsh Government want Abergele to be a transport hub. It is great news for local residents, businesses and visitors to the area.”

With regards the plans to restore rail links between North Wales and Liverpool via the Halton Curve, Darren added:

“I have been campaigning for years to get a direct service between North Wales and Liverpool reinstated, so I am extremely
 pleased that this has been identified as a priority for the new rail franchise.

“Liverpool is an important commercial centre and improving transport links will provide a huge boost to the North Wales economy in terms of
 access to jobs and promoting tourism. Shifting passengers from road to rail is also good for the environment.”

North Wales has not enjoyed a direct rail link with Liverpool since the 1970s, when it was incredibly popular for shoppers, commuters and tourists.

September 23rd 2017.
A recent email from Ian Slater, who now lives in Tasmania, is reproduced below.
Showing that people are still finding the 6G site for the first time.
Many thanks Ian for your interest and kind words.

Hi Geoff
I just wanted to say that I found your page today for the first time and what a treasure trove it is !

I stumbled on it following a link to Ian Cook's trainspotting log-like him I lived near Stockport and we are of similar ages, now I live in
Tasmania, a long way from my schoolboy stamping ground.

Keep up the good work!

Ian Slater

July 21st 2017.

An Assembly Member, who has long been calling for improved direct rail links between Liverpool and North Wales, has welcomed this week’s announcement
 that work to reinstate the ‘Halton Curve’ is underway.   New services that will unlock leisure and business opportunities between the Liverpool City Region, its airport, Cheshire and North Wales will be made
 possible through the re-signalling and upgrading of 1.5 miles of existing single direction track on the ‘Halton Curve'. Work has now started on site and is due to be completed by May 2018, with services due to operate between Liverpool and Chester from
 December 2018 and plans for services to be extended into Wales in the future. Clwyd West AM Darren Millar, who over the years has repeatedly called on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to restore
 direct rail services between Liverpool and North Wales, said: “I have been campaigning for years to get a direct service between North Wales and Liverpool reinstated so I am
 absolutely delighted that these works are underway. "Liverpool is an important commercial centre and improving transport links will provide a huge boost to the North Wales economy in terms of access to jobs and promoting tourism.
 Shifting passengers from road to rail is also good for the environment. “The new services will generate 250,000 new rail trips annually and will take more than 170,000 car journeys per year off the roads, helping reduce
 traffic and congestion on key routes such as the M56 and A55. "North Wales has not enjoyed a direct rail link with Liverpool since the 1970s, when it was incredibly popular for shoppers, commuters and tourists. “This is a very exciting development and I look forward to seeing the huge benefits it will bring to North Wales.” 

July 18th 2017.
An email from Michael Butterworth is reproduced below.
Michael asks if anyone could identify the two Class 68's he caught site of at Bangor with the flasks on July 14th 2017.
I wonder if they are the same pair that Mark Youdan snapped on July 10th 2017 (68 016 & 68 028) which is on
 Charlie Hulme's website NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY notice board of July 17th 2017.

Morning Geoff,

Just returned to GM base after some time helping friends in north Anglesey.

A friend gave me a lift out but I returned from Bangor with my faithful
Deefa (... dog) by train.

Dropped at Bangor by the same friend and, whilst struggling with  multiple bags, ticket machine and Deefa I caught a glimpse of a dual
Class 68 hauled Valley flasks passing on the rarely used through lines, Crewe bound.

That was around !4:30, last Friday ( 14th July 2017 }

I was wondering if anybody you know out there can identify the two 68s in question.

Haven't seen either a dual 68 flask train until Friday or any use of the Bangor through lines, for their original purpose, for many many years.

Last recollection of the latter was a long time back.  The midday Irish Mail bursting through at full tilt behind a Coronation Scot ... echoed
splendidly with the enclosing valley sides, between tunnels.

Somehow we never realise these things are ephemeral.  Possibly some steam excursions to Holyhead may provide some similar latter day
spectacle, as Bangor is rarely a stop for them.

To and fro this summer as I'm helping my friend making his long neglected yacht seaworthy, as well as recovering 50% of a large
overgrown vegetable plot for an older friend overlooking Amlwch Port. 
Garden with a view!

Hope all is well with you.

 Best wishes, Michael (mike)

PS caught a fortuitous shot on return with my faithful hound, between trains, at Chester ... note the station sign between the joined Voyagers
(221109 Marco Polo /104 Sir John Franklin) ... well suited to a "Deefa between trains" caption, as we changed from Arriva's Birmingham train to
the Piccadilly service. Nice shot Michael!

July 17th 2017.
An email and photo from Tony Crowther are published below showing Tony as a young boy with his grandfather R.V.Jones "Bob Bychan" on
Blaenau Ffestiniog station.
Hello Geoff,
Nice to see 6G website still running for all these years, congratulations on an outstanding website.
I wish to forward the photo of such memorable childhood memories of train rides up to Blaenau Ffestiniog with my 6G train driver Grandfather R V Jones or as
 better known at 6G throughout his Railway career , Bob Bychan.
 This photo was taken by his wife Barbara on Blaenau station in the summer of 1977.
 The little fella is me who stands in front of Bob.
As you can see he was one of the many drivers who wore his own cap for work.
 I think Alan Roberts has said in the past he had photos of all the  drivers with their own caps but not one of Bychan.
 Hope this brings a few memories of Bob Bychan to many who still remember him.

Many thanks
Tony Crowther.

Steam Dreams


Wednesday 1 March 2017

LMS Jubilee Class 6P 4-6-0 no 45699 Galatea


January 20th 2017.

Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar fears lives could be lost unless urgent action is taken to strengthen the flood defences protecting the railway line and the A55 in Old Colwyn. Darren has long been calling for improvements to sea defences along the Old Colwyn promenade which suffered further damage in storms last week. During a contribution in the Senedd today, Darren said the promenade is now in a “critical condition”.   He said: "There was further damage last week to the railings and some of the walls protecting the railway embankment. "It's just a matter of time before we see a serious incident like a loss of life or even some of the railway embankment and A55 coming down which would cause absolute havoc. "It's essential that some work is done here - not just patch repairs, but a thorough job to bring it up to modern standards so that people can be protected from the sea." The stretch of coastline consists of a narrow promenade, which is maintained by Conwy County Borough Council, with the railway embankment immediately behind, and the main A55 road beyond it. A Welsh Water storm drain also runs under the promenade. Darren, who last raised the matter in the Senedd in November, added: “In spite of the Council's best efforts, Conwy County Borough Council, Network Rail and Welsh Water haven't managed to get together yet to agree a way forward. "We need some leadership from the Welsh Government. We need the Cabinet Secretary to take responsibility to bring these partners together so we can realise the investment that these sea defences need." Old Colwyn Councillor Cheryl Carlisle, who represents the area, is also very concerned. She said:  "I'm very worried for the safety of people and the infrastructure. The wall supporting the railway line and the A55 has been damaged. It will only take a little bit more in future and they'll both go. “Residents in the area are very concerned that the next storm could lead to serious damage and people coming to harm.”

August 29th 2016.
It is with great pleasure I include a photo of a main contributor to this site, Alan Roberts, who has recently celebrated 40 years service as a relief signaller.
I am grateful to his friend, Paul Wild, for the following photo and detail. I don't think many people are aware of the dedication and skill that these signallers are blessed with, nor do people realize that their work is so important
in keeping our network running smoothly but more importantly - safely. I recently spent a short time with Alan at Deganwy box when he showed my grandson Jack around the box.
It was fascinating watching Alan at work and I was so impressed with his dedication to the job.

Please find attached a photograph of David Alan Roberts a relief signaller in North Wales who has recently "celebrated" 40 years service, the picture
 shows Alan proudly displaying his 40 year RMT membership badge and 40 year RMT membership medal.

Hopefully you could include this as a fitting tribute to a fine man and good friend on your 6g website.Paul Wild.

August 29th 2016.
An interesting email and photo from Mike Furmston are shown below.

Hello, this is a photo of Fred Port at his first station, Pont - y- Pant on the Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog branch.   I think it was his first as master. He was my mother in laws father and lived in Llandudno.
I have some photos of the pier staff c1900 if they are any use.
Cheers Mike Furmston (Carlisle)

June 17th 2016.

The above photo showing Crewe Works in 1953 which appeared on the JOHN POWELL DATA PAGE prompted a query from Steve Berry who worked in the works from 1967 - 1978.
Steve heard stories, while working there, about the unknown dangers of asbestos dust and how the workers were exposed to this danger on a daily basis and wondered if the white substance
clearly shown in the photo was actually asbestos
I have printed Steve's email below.

 When I worked in the works I was told how the men used to make snowballs from the asbestos and throw it about, and they said that
you couldn't see up the Erecting shop for the dust.
They weren't aware of the dangers of asbestos then. The photo looks to me to have been taken at the bottom end of the Erecting shop just
after where the little traversa and of the classified bay as I know it from my days of working in the works on the diesels.

I was working in this area of the Erecting shop in 1972 on Harold Skelton's job (stripping pits) the other charge hand was Martin Heath.
 I worked in the works from 1967 to 1978.
Regards Steve Berry.

This shocking story really brings home the dangers that railway workers faced in the 1950's by their exposure to the then unknown killer dust.
Steve has also sent in a report published by the Cheshire Asbestos Victims Support Group which makes frightening reading and which I have published below.

CREWE and Nantwich are reaching a peak in the cases of asbestos-related cancer.

The borough has the highest mortality rate in Cheshire from mesothelioma - a rare type of cancer affecting the lungs
largely due to exposure to asbestos, readily used in railway engineering sites such as Crewe Works since the 1940's until
it was banned in the UK during the 1980's.

The disease has a latency period and can take up to sixty years to develop which explains the steady rise in mesothelioma
deaths in Crewe and Nantwich over the last 20 years.

The most recent statistics from the Health and Safety Executive reveal there have been 103 deaths in the borough from the
industrial disease from 1985 to 2004, the 16th highest in districts across the UK.

Inquests recently into the deaths earlier this year of Crewe men, 82-year-old Leslie King of Heron Crescent and 90-year-old Leslie Bedson
of Eastern Road, both former employees at Crewe Works, revealed they had died from mesothelioma.

Giving evidence, Joseph Chadwick, cousin to Mr Bedson's late wife, said Mr Bedson, a fitter at the railway works all his
working life, told how he and his colleagues working nightshifts would sleep on pipes lagged with asbestos, ignorant at the time of the danger.

Mr King, a coppersmith for 49 years, also described in a letter written before his death of being unaware of the dangers involved with the killer dust and the lack of protection offered.

The Coroner for Cheshire Nicholas Rheinberg said he was entirely satisfied that exposure to asbestos led to the
development of mesothelioma in the two men.

A spokesperson for Mesothelioma UK said: "It has been a national epidemic for the last ten years and is about to
peak but this should tail off as it is commensurate with asbestos use."

A spokesperson for Bombardier Transport, owners of the former Crewe Works, said: "Since the dangers of asbestos have been known we have
introduced high levels of containment at Crewe and it is no longer a problem for our employees."

For further information about mesothelioma and making a compensation claim contact Cheshire Victims Asbestos Support Group on 01928 576641.

Many thanks to Steve Berry for bringing this detail to our attention.

June 9th 2016.


Monday, 16 May, 2016

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar, who has long been calling for more trains services between North Wales and Manchester Airport, has welcomed news that the number will triple from next week.   

Arriva Trains Wales have said that from Monday the number of trains running from North Wales to Manchester Airport will triple, rising from 17 a week to 57.

An application to extend the existing agreement was approved by the Office of Rail and Road.

Darren said:

“I have been advocating improved rail links to Manchester Airport for a number of years so I am absolutely delighted by this week’s news and I know rail users throughout North Wales will join me in
welcoming this improved service to Manchester Airport.

“I would like to thank Arriva Trains for listening and responding to my calls.”

He added:
“I now hope that train operators and Network Rail also look at developing direct rail links between North Wales and Liverpool Airport.  

“Improvements to routes between North Wales and these two extremely busy international transport hubs are critical in connecting businesses and
 individuals to markets and job opportunities.”

April 3rd 2016.

Plans for increased North Wales rail service to Manchester airport blocked.

Thursday, 31 March, 2016

Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar, has hit out at Network Rail for blocking plans to improve rail services between North Wales and Manchester Airport. 

Arriva Trains Wales announced plans to increase the number of direct trains from North Wales to and from the airport from 17 to 57 weekly, but Network Rail has refused to grant
permission to implement the proposals citing 'unmanageable pressure' on train performance and impacts on other rail operators. 

Darren said:

“I have been advocating improved rail links to Manchester Airport for a number of years and was delighted before Christmas when Arriva Trains Wales announced
that it wants to increase the number of direct trains between north Wales and  Manchester Airport from 17 to 57 weekly.

“I am therefore extremely disappointed by the position of Network Rail on this issue which is frustrating progress. 

"Having spoken to rail user groups and others in the transport industry I am confident that these additional services could easily be accommodated. 

"Arriva Trains Wales has applied for the necessary paths but there is speculation that Network Rail are blocking the plans because they want to reserve lines for
new trains from West Yorkshire and Lancashire running over the yet-to-be-built Ordsall Curve - this is unacceptable. 

“I have therefore written  to Network Rail again demanding a full explanation as to why rail links via a yet to be constructed rail link are being
prioritised over those which could be of benefit immediately to my constituents.”

February 20th 2016.
Report by Roger Carvell.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) have issued a prohibition notice to West Coast Railway Company (WCRC), who run most of the steam
heritage specials, preventing it running any heritage specials on the main line due to it's management of safety record, following a number of incidents over the past year.
This looks like reducing the number of steam specials over the coming year unless WCRC can convince the ORR that it will improve it's safety management record.
Read the report HERE.

Monday September 28th 2015.

Thursday, 24 September, 2015

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar has called on the Welsh Government to work with Arriva Trains Wales and Conwy County Council to improve Colwyn Bay train station.

Darren raised the matter with the Transport Minister, Edwina Hart AM, in the Senedd this week.

He said:

“For people arriving in Colwyn Bay by train, the station is the first thing they see. First impressions count and if we want to ensure that visitors return
to the area, it is essential that we have an impressive gateway into the town.

“The Welsh Government, Arriva Trains Wales  and Conwy County Council must work together to  deliver the improvements needed so that Colwyn Bay Station not only
looks good, but  also  provides the facilities and services that rail passengers need and deserve.”

June 15th 2015.
Dave Wood sent in these shots of the stricken A4 60009 "Union of South Africa" after failing at Warrington on June 12th 2015, on her way to Carnforth
from Crewe, for a tour on Saturday 13th June 2015. She was stored in Dallham until Wednesday June 17th 2015 when she will be moved by road to Crewe.

May 8th 2015.


Clwyd West AM Darren Millar has called for more action from the Welsh Government to secure direct rail links to
 Liverpool and Manchester airports to stimulate the North Wales economy. Speaking in the Senedd this week, Darren, who has long been calling for improved services for North Wales travellers, made fresh calls
for Ministers to give the people of North Wales better public transport access to the international transport hubs. He said:   “Improvements to routes between North Wales and airports in Liverpool and Manchester are critical in connecting businesses and
individuals to markets and job opportunities. “These are improvements that I have long been calling for and rail travellers have long been waiting for.
 The Transport Minister has outlined her commitment to improving the rail network here in North Wales, but we are
seeing little focus on links to international airports. “The Welsh Government have invested millions in improving transport links in south Wales – it’s about time North Wales got some extra focus.”

April 8th 2015.
An email from Anthony Ashley, who is building the N gauge model of Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Bangor, asking for details on the
original Conwy station is reproduced below.
Any detail can be sent by the email link on the HOMEPAGE.

Dear Geoff, I have a question which you or the other website readers may know.  The original Conwy station which was pulled down in the 60s was brick. Do you know what colour?.  I presume it was red but not seen any colour photos of it?
Regards Anthony .

A reply from Roger Carvell along with a colour shot of the remains of Conwy station in 1985 are shown below.

Just found this pic in Larry Goddard's excellent colour album.
 Below the two Class 20s, there is the remains of the station wall with entrance/exit door with nice arch.
 Dirty, purple redbrick! Grey stone arch.
I suspect the brick colour is the same as Mold as that station was under the CHR as well.

Cheers, Roger

December 7th 2014.
An email asking for information for a new book about Llandudno Junction station by Geoffrey Barnes is published below.
If anyone can help please email me through the address on the HOMEPAGE.

Dear Geoff,
I am contemplating a book dealing with the 24 hours at Llandudno Junction on Saturday 27 July 1957, when the railways were, arguably, at their post-War height. Whilst I have
 that summer's L.M. Passenger Timetable as my basis - from which much may be deduced - there would nonetheless still be much missing from the overall picture, and I am
 therefore wondering how much detail could be filled in by yourself and/or others  associated with the 6G website. Any such help would of course be acknowledged in any publication.
For example: I can see from the timetable that first Down working to call at LLJ (as I must abbreviate the station: it is not un-amusing to discover that
 this is also the National Rail ticket code) was the 10.20pm ex-Manchester Exchange, booked to arrive 12.51am, and depart 12.54am.
 I am hence assuming it stood for these three minutes on Down Fast Platform 3, and would also guess that it was booked for a
 Black Five, running under express passenger head code. (?) 
However, Saturday mornings only, it was held for no less than 14 minutes, departing only at 1.05am, and the reason for this appears to
 be (as I infer from the timetable) to allow the passage of the through-running 9.55pm ex-Birmingham New Street, which left Chester only some
 14 minutes behind the Manchester, and would be hard on its heels even by Colwyn Bay, since the Manchester, unlike the Birmingham, had called at
 Prestatyn, Rhyl, and Colwyn Bay before LLJ.  
I therefore take it that the Manchester was brought into Down Slow Platform 4 by No.1 Signal Box, in order to leave Down Fast Platform 3 clear for the Birmingham.

 Any confirmation available? I'm also going to guess the Birmingham was likewise hauled by a Black Five. (?) 
However, depending on the running of that night, it may well be that the Manchester was put onto the Down Slow at Colwyn Bay, allowing the Birmingham to
 overtake it on the four miles of quadruple track between Colwyn Bay and LLJ; just wondering if this ever happened?
I'm writing this from Cambridge Central Library somewhat on the spur of the moment, having been browsing your 6G website.
 As a result, I'm working from memory with regard to the exact timings, so they may be slightly 'out'. However, as a taster for any help
 that might be able to be given, I suppose this first working of the day might stand as good an example as any.

 Incidentally, the usual 3-minute stay of the Manchester at LLJ doesn't suggest any unloading/loading of mail, or unloading of newspapers (?); in fact, a
 10.20 departure from Manchester Exchange would have probably been too early for even the first editions.  
I hope I do not underestimate the work as would be involved in any such book; indeed, I ruefully read Chris Evans' remarks on his 6G pages concerning
 the planning and building of his LLJ model: I see the parallel, and wonder if my proposal might transpire to become too great a task. We'll see........
Regards, Geoffrey Barnes.

December 18th 2014.
A detailed answer by John Hobbs, to the above query, is shown below.
I can confirm from the 1964 Working timetable that the 10.20 pm from Manchester Exchange to Holyhead was put on the Down Slow at
 Colwyn Bay  No1; it is marked "SL" & " X" which is booked slow line for other trains to pass - on a Friday Night/Saturday morning; if it
 was so this late in the day then the practice would likely have occurred in earlier years.
Also; The District Controllers View" by J.P.Williams by "Express Publishing would also form a useful source for North Wales coast traffic
 problems/questions; it was the practice for Holyhead traffic to be put on the Down Slow, at Colwyn Bay , on Saturdays  for example to
 avoid conflicting moves at Llandudno Junction.
The 10.20 from Manchester  would be a "Royal Scot/Patriot" as the traction of choice or a "Britannia", then a Black 5 depending on
 the era/time of year and hence the loading; the last time a "Patriot" appeared was on the 27th August 1965 ( unless you can prove otherwise); it would
 normally have been an EE Type 4 by then.
There was a separate "News" train from Manchester at 1.18 am (1.40 am Su.O.)which ran to Bangor; all the night time trains, which
 stopped at Rhyl were Slow Line from Muspratts Sidings ( Flint)  because Rhyl No1 Box was shut at night.
 After Muspratts Sidings closed the trains were put on the Slow at Bagillt and eventually as the Slow line was
 torn up; they were put on the Slow at Prestatyn ( there were however exceptions).
The "News" train was interesting because following the introduction of DMU's on most coast services at the start of
 February 65, it started producing Jubilees, B1's and Black 5's & even a K1, these were from North Eastern sheds e.g. Low Moor & Wakefield etc.
 These often ended up on 16.45 Holyhead to Manchester the following evening or on the meat container trains from  Holyhead to London/York.
Examples being 61017 on the 4th March, 61019 on the 10th April, 45694 on the 23rd March 1966; some of these locomotives also appeared
 on the Chester to Shrewsbury line having been taken off the "News"  at Chester for some reason.
 I could only travel on the 16.45 ex Holyhead  train on a Friday so no doubt it occurred on other days as well.
 There is photographic evidence to support all this, the B1 s were also used by 6G on occasions on Engineers trains at this time.
The "Irish Mail" 1D85 8.55 pm conveyed "Mails"  and connected with the 00.10 from Warrington to Chester (which connected with the "West Coast Postal");  which
 also conveyed "Mails" ( this was also one of the last steam hauled trains in the area) well into 1968 - it probably lasted until Patricroft closed to steam.

 Prior to March 1967 a "Q" train also operated from Shrewsbury to Chester to connect with the "Irish Mail"; in the  event of trains from
 the South West running late. 

November 4th 2014.Report by Roger Carvell.


Permissions granted by Network Rail, 
Camden Borough Council, and English Heritage.
London’s King’s Cross station is to be graced by a statue of Sir Nigel Gresley, the renowned mechanical engineer who designed locomotives, carriages and
 wagons for the London & North Eastern Railway from 1923 until his death in April 1941.

  His achievements include the design of Mallard, the fastest steam locomotive in the world, Flying Scotsman, and famous streamline
 high speed trains such as Silver Jubilee in 1935 and Coronation in 1937.

  He also invented vehicle articulation, still used by railway and tramway engineers around the world to this day.
   Sir Nigel was knighted for his services to the LNER in 1936.
The bronze statue will be a standing figure about seven feet six inches tall, on the same scale as the figure of Sir John Betjeman next door
 at St. Pancras station.

  It will be sculpted by Hazel Reeves SWA, FRSA, who also sculpted maquettes of the figure to assist the Gresley Society Trust in obtaining
 permissions to erect the statue.  
Hazel Reeves’ final maquette will now be used by the Gresley Society Trust in raising money for the statue.

  The expected cost is £95,000, which the Society is now seeking to raise by public subscription.

   Donations may be made to the Gresley Society Trust through its website, http://gresley.org/ 

It is hoped that all who admire the work of Sir Nigel will wish to be associated with the statue by contributing to its cost.

The statue will be placed in the Western Concourse, beside the entrance to the Ticket Office, by the wall to West Offices
 where Sir Nigel and his principal assistants worked until the outbreak of war.

  Sir Nigel’s likeness will be standing in a familiar pose, holding a copy of The Locomotive magazine.
He will be accompanied by a Mallard, symbolic of his most famous locomotive.

  Sir Nigel was known for rearing mallards at his pre-war home, Salisbury Hall, near St Albans.
  The accompanying wall plaque will carry a QR code, which visitors to the statue may scan by smart phone, to direct them to the Society’s website.  

It is planned to unveil the statue on 5 April 2016, the 75th anniversary of the death of Sir Nigel.
David McIntosh, Chairman of the Gresley Society Trust, said:  “This is an inspiring project for the Society.
  In the past we have erected memorials of various kinds in Edinburgh, York and beside the line where Mallard achieved her
 record speed, and now we are to honour Sir Nigel in London, where he had his office for the last and
 most productive eighteen years of his life.”
Hazel Reeves, sculptor, said: “I am greatly excited to be deeply involved in this project.
  Ever since I was asked to make proposals for the statue, and to create maquettes for its evolution, I have been aware
 of Sir Nigel Gresley and his considerable contribution to the field of engineering.

  Now that we have permission to erect a full-size statue at King’s Cross, I can express my admiration for the man in a very real way.”

September 30th 2014.


Thursday, 25 September, 2014.

Commenting on a statement published by the Labour government today on rail improvements in North Wales, which reiterates the UK Government’s
10.4 million pounds investment in the ‘Halton Curve’ and confirms Network Rail’s detailed proposals will be published in the New Year, Welsh Conservative Shadow
Minister for Transport Byron Davies AM, said:

“The Conservative-led government’s investment in this project is hugely welcome and we now look forward to Network Rail’s plans for development.

“This project will make a huge difference to North Wales, both for commuters, tourism, and the economy as a whole.

“It is another example of Conservatives delivering for Wales and I am delighted that plans are moving forward.”

Clwyd West Assembly Member, Darren Millar, who has also been campaigning for the project for many years, said:

“This is a hugely exciting development that will provide a huge boost for North Wales".

“I have been campaigning for years to get a direct service between North Wales and Liverpool reinstated – and I am delighted that the UK
Government has provided this investment".

“I look forward to seeing further plans from Network Wales and urge the Welsh Labour Government to ensure development begins as soon as possible.”

September 25th 2014.
(Article taken from the Liverpool Echo)


A train driver given an electric shock by a fallen power cable was today in a “stable” condition in hospital.

The Virgin Trains employee was injured on Tuesday night (23/09/14) after getting out of his cabin to inspect an overhead power line that had come down.

A spokesman for the company told the ECHO the driver was in a “stable condition while receiving treatment in hospital”.

He stopped the train near Runcorn after noticing the fallen cable.

He got an electric shock while searching for a marker on the track so he could report his location to rail controllers.

More than 160 passengers were stranded for up to two hours on the train – heading from London Euston station to Liverpool Lime Street – while paramedics tended to the injured driver.

Other trains including two London Midland services full of passengers were also stuck on the line behind the Virgin train.

September 21st 2014.

Friday, 5 September, 2014

Arriva Trains Wales have agreed to continue to provide an early morning service from Abergele to Manchester after Clwyd West AM Darren Millar wrote to the
company highlighting local concerns about the proposed axing of the service. (see August 22nd 2014 posting below)

Commuters were concerned that Arriva’s proposed new timetables, which come into affect in December, include scrapping the current 0644 service from Llandudno to
Manchester via Warrington, which stops at all stations including Abergele.

In his letter to Arriva, Darren voiced his strong objection to the changes and called for a better service to Manchester which stops in Abergele.  

Responding this week, a spokesman for Arriva Trains Wales told Darren that the issue has been resolved by inserting an additional stop into the 0514 hrs service from Holyhead to
Manchester Piccadilly (arriving 0818 hrs), which will depart Abergele and Pensarn at 0620 hrs.

They said:

"The overall aim of the changes is to increase seating capacity between North Wales and Manchester and Birmingham, an issue which is regularly highlighted to
us by customers and stakeholders alike.

To make this increase in capacity we have procured another locomotive-hauled train comprising four cars which, in turn, allows us to strengthen other hard-pressed
services shown on the attachment." 

Darren said:

"This is fantastic news and I would like to thank Arriva Trains Wales for listening to the concerns of local commuters and adapting their proposed timetable accordingly.

"The early morning service provides a good opportunity for commuters and business travellers to the city from the Abergele area and its loss would have been felt deeply.
Employment opportunities are not always available locally so it is vital that we give travellers from North Wales the rail service they need."

August 24th 2014.
An article taken from The Daily Post in July 2014 is reproduced below.

New North Wales to Manchester train services launched in £1.2m deal.

New rail services between North Wales and Manchester Piccadilly are due to be launched in December following a £1.2m deal between the
Department for Transport and Arriva Trains Wales.

The new services will mean “at least 2,450 extra seats across the morning and evening peaks every week”.

Under the plans announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today, the train operator will run an
additional locomotive and four carriages.

The new services, backed by the Welsh Government, are intended to help passengers and local businesses on the popular routes between
Llandudno and Holyhead to Manchester and Birmingham.

The routes include Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead; Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly; and Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno.
There will also be a Chester to Manchester Piccadilly service.

Transport Secretary Mr McLoughlin said: “This is good news for passengers travelling between England and Wales. I know how popular
these services are, so it’s important to get extra carriages and seats on the network.

“It will mean better connections for thousands of passengers, and is further proof our long term economic plan is on track, making a
real difference to hard-working people.”

Network Rail plans to spend £38bn over the next five years.

According to the Department for Transport: “The deal has been made possible through money paid to the department by
Deutsche Bahn, following the company’s acquisition of Arriva Plc. Under the current rail industry
framework train companies are required to pay a Change of Control Fee when changes to the operator are made.”

Ian Bullock, Managing Director of Arriva Trains Wales, said: “We would like to thank both the Department for Transport
and the Welsh Government for supporting the provision of extra capacity on some of our busiest routes.

Improved service performance levels and the increased popularity of sustainable transport has led to more than 75% growth in
passenger numbers using our Manchester and Birmingham services since our Wales and Borders franchise began in late 2003.

“This extra capacity will help us better meet the demand along these key routes and hopefully encourage even more passengers to use the rail network.”

August 22nd 2014.


Clwyd West AM Darren Millar has written to Arriva Trains Wales after learning that its proposed new timetable does not include an
 early morning service from Abergele to Manchester.  

The proposals show that from December, the current 0644 service from Llandudno to Manchester via Warrington, which stops at
 all stations including Abergele, is to be axed,

North Wales commuters needing to be in Manchester or Warrington by 9am for work will have to leave Colwyn Bay half an hour earlier at 0613, but this
 service will not be stopping at Abergele.  

Commuters have also raised concerns that the current 0552 direct Manchester service out of Colwyn Bay is also under threat.

Darren said:

 “I am very concerned to hear of these proposed changes as many commuters depend on the early morning service from Abergele to get them to work before 9am and it is
 shameful that their needs have not been taken into consideration in drawing up the new timetable.  

 “I have therefore written to Arriva Trains Wales highlighting the concerns raised with me and calling for a better service to Manchester which stops in Abergele.#
  We must ensure that North Wales travellers have the rail service they need.”

July 4th 2014.


Thursday, 3 July, 2014

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar, who has been campaigning for years for a direct rail link between North Wales and Liverpool, has expressed his delight at a UK Government
announcement of £10M plus to pave the way for a service to be re-established. 

The Chancellor has announced that as part of a package of measures to support Liverpool’s science and transport infrastructure, £10.4 million will be provided to upgrade the
Halton Curve rail line to improve connectivity between Liverpool, Cheshire, Warrington and North Wales.

Darren, who over the years has repeatedly called on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to restore direct rail services
between Liverpool and North Wales, said:

"I have been campaigning for years to get a direct service between North Wales and Liverpool reinstated, so I am
absolutely delighted by today’s announcement.

"Liverpool is an important commercial centre and improving transport links will provide a huge boost to the North Wales economy in terms of access
to jobs and promoting tourism. Shifting passengers from road to rail is also good for the environment.

"North Wales has not enjoyed a direct rail link with Liverpool since the 1970s, when it was incredibly popular for shoppers, commuters and tourists.

“This is a very exciting development and I look forward to seeing the huge benefits it will bring to North Wales.”   

June 15th 2014.
An email from Anthony Ashley, who is building the "N" gauge model layout of Bangor Penmaenmawr and Conwy, is reproduced below with an appeal
for any information regarding blood and custard coaches in 1960. Any information can be sent to the website by the email link on the HOMEPAGE.

Dear Geoff,

I have been trying to determine if there were any blood and custard coaches still around in 1960 and perhaps a ratio to Maroon.

I have checked all photos on the 6G web site and there seem to be very few.

 Do you or other readers have any ideas ?.


Regards,  Anthony Ashley.


April 30th 2014
The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society
The RCTS undertook the following survey on Saturday 4th August 1962 and a team of Observers, led by Mr C.W.F.Smith,
spread out along the North Wales coast to undertake observations which are reflected in the survey.

The survey includes a commentary on what was seen and why things happened during the day.

Credit for the Copyright is to the RCTS.

The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society - Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch holds meetings at :-
The Town Crier, City Road, Chester, CH1 3AE at 19.30 on advertised dates.

Also see their web site at www.rcts.org.uk


May 11th 2014.

An email from John Hobbs detailing some interesting observations on the above subject is reproduced below.

Hi Geoff,

One of the things which mazes me about social history, is the time which people had to get up to catch
these holiday trains, as they served the whole of Birmingham!

Surely you would have to get up at 3 or 4 o' clock in time to catch a local train or bus to New Street etc. at 06.40.
There were similar early departures from Manchester and other industrial cities.
One wonders how this was organized.

Also interesting in the RCTS survey is that all trains to Pen-y-chain changed locomotives at Caernarvon, thus all the eight or ten
2-6-4 T locomotives, which worked these trains to and from Afonwen, were away from Bangor before the Surveyors got there and
all the associated ECS workings from Holyhead and Llandudno at the beginning and end of the day were also not observed.

Some of this stock arrived on boat trains from Euston and worked boat trains on Sunday night from Holyhead back to Birmingham Leeds and Euston.

Also the locomotives which re-engined outbound trains must have been turned at Caernarvon. 

Regards John.

February 23rd 2014. Photo below by Allan Judd shows the final gathering of the surviving 6 A4's at Shildon, on February 19th 2014, before they are all 'repatriated'.

February 19th 2014. Alan Roberts tells me that he noticed a sad announcement in the Daily Post today.

I saw and read today in the Daily Post it was quite sad to see that Vic Thomas ex-Llandudno Junction driver has passed away aged 78.

 Think he started back at Rhyl shed and for many years was based in Chester before transferring to Llandudno Junction.

Alan Roberts.

February 23rd 2014.

Some kind words and memories of Vic by Ex-6G driver Barry W Taylor are shown below.

Just read of the sad news of ex Junction driver Vic Thomas.

 I knew Vic well from when I started as a trainman at Llandudno Junction, he was also my Minder Driver
when I was doing my driver training.

He had lots of sayings some I cannot print but one was when you approached a signal at danger Vic would say
"this side of the signal is yours the other side belongs to the signalman" has always stuck in my mind.

Another he told me was when we where on our way to Amlwch with the tanks early one morning (03:45) he said "this is the worst job in
the world" and when we returned to the Junction at about !0:30 he said "this is the best job in the world".

He was a proper railwayman and will be missed I'm sure by lots of people

Barry W Taylor.

An email from David Thomas (nephew of Vic Thomas) is reproduced below.

Hello Geoff,

I have just read the kind words expressed by former colleagues concerning the sad passing of my late Uncle, Vic Thomas, ex Llandudno Junction driver.

Vic was certainly a character and I have fond memories of him as a young lad when on occasions I would meet him at Dyserth Station
 (former Prestatyn-Meliden-Dyserth branch line) when he used to collect the lime wagons from the quarry-empty wagons were shunted
 across a bridge as it was too weak to handle the steam engine itself and gravity did the rest! I had many a ride on the engine-what a thrill.

Years later after he retired Vic was often asked to drive heritage engines along the North Wales Coast and I recall once he rang me and asked me
 to bring my own young son to Llandudno Junction as he was bringing in a "special" engine;
 I don't recall which one but on arrival he proceeded to lift my son onto the foot-plate with him.

 With this, some very official type/ transport inspector who was also on the foot-plate told Vic that children were not allowed on the engine and it was
 against regulations; Vic took exception to this and responded by climbing off the engine with my son in his arms and duly told the poor man
 that given his "attitude" he'd best drive the ruddy engine to Holyhead himself!!

 I can still see that man's look of utter horror as Vic strode off down the platform; needless to say he did eventually go back to the
 engine, as did my son! Happy Days.

Vic was indeed based at Chester for many years and at Llan. Junction and he retired to live in Rhuddlan.
 He is survived by his wife Betty and his daughter Sian and sons Gwyn and Gareth.

His funeral took place at Colwyn Bay Crematorium last Monday 24th Feb 2014 and it was lovely to see many former Llan. Junction and Chester railwaymen
 paying their respects to him.

If anyone has any photos of Vic at work I will be grateful for a copy as Vic wasn't the best with a camera!

Thank you for mentioning him in your news; it means a lot to the family.

Kindest Regards, David P Thomas

January 31st 2014.

No mention of North Wales-Liverpool direct rail link in Minister’s Statement

Wednesday, 29 January, 2014.

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar, who has been campaigning for years to get a direct rail service between
 North Wales and Liverpool reinstated, is disappointed that the Transport Minister made no reference to this when she provided an update on
 Transport Policy in the Assembly Chamber this week.

North Wales has not enjoyed a direct rail link with Liverpool since the 1970s, when it was incredibly popular for
 shoppers, commuters and tourists.

Darren has long been calling for the service to be re-established and was hoping the Transport Minister would provide an update on
 developments in this area in her Statement.   

Addressing the Minister in the Senedd, Darren said:

"One thing that you did not mention, or provide an update on, was the potential for a direct rail link to Liverpool.
 As you know, Liverpool is an extremely important commercial centre for the people of north Wales, and
 the north Wales tourism industry relies significantly on people visiting from Liverpool and the wider Merseyside area.
 So, I wonder what discussions you and your officials may have been having with the Department for Transport in the UK regarding the
 re-establishment of that direct link along the Halton curve."

The Minister responded by indicating that she would ask the Ministerial Task force on North Wales Transport, which was established to
 make the case for electrification of the North Wales rail line, to add the issue to their agenda.

Darren added:

"As a large commercial centre with strong links to North Wales, there is no doubt that improving the transport infrastructure between
 Liverpool and North Wales would provide a much needed boost to the economy.

 Whilst I welcome the fact that the Minister will now ensure that this issue is given serious consideration, this should not have
 been an afterthought, especially given that the North East Wales Integrated Transport Task Force Report recognised this and
 recommended last summer that the line should be reinstated.

"I have been campaigning for years for the reinstatement of this service and I will continue pressing the
 Welsh Government to take this issue forward."

January 14th 2014. An email from Ian Cook with an appeal for help is reproduced below.


I was wondering if you could help me, as mentioned in my data page I never kept a copy of my spotting notes from my first visit to Crewe.
I have been doing a little research re my first visit and can clearly remember Duchess 46251 'City of Nottingham' departing on a railtour
soon after I arrived on my train from Stockport. I know the visit was in the autumn of 1963 and after checking the railtour records on the
Six Bells Junction web site and now know the date of the visit was Saturday 5th October 1963. As this was the date of an RCTS railtour
from Crewe to Edinburgh Princess Street Station.

Do you know any good forums where I could ask if anyone still has a record of Crewe for the day? i.e. Crewe station, Crewe North MPD
and Crewe Diesel MPD.

I remember viewing my first GWR steam loco arrive mid afternoon at Crewe with a parcels service from the south. I presume this parcels
service had arrived via either Shrewsbury or via the SVR route i.e. Kidderminster, Bridgnorth and Market Drayton. The loco was a Grange
and I thought it was 6825 but this might be wrong. I can also remember large numbers of LMS loco's stored on Crewe North MPD between
the main running shed and the semi roundhouse. The loco's included significant numbers of Duchess, Royal Scot, Patriot and Jubilee classes.

In addition I remember a couple of Patriots working into Crewe on that day, think these were 45526 Morecambe and Heysham and 45527 Southport.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks Ian.

January 3rd 2014. An email from Peter Wolfe is reproduced below.
Peter asks for details about the stored engines at 6G in the late 50's / early 60's.
A list from 1963 appears on the  6G ALLOCATED ENGINES page which may be of help.

Many thanks for the wonderful website.

 It really brings back memories of happy holidays in the area where more time was spent at Rhyl station or on top of the chalets at Penmaenmawr.
 Watching trains rather than on the beach.

I wonder if you could help me.
 I would like to find the numbers of the engines that were on the scrap line at 6G in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

 I realise that the engines changed,  but at the time I am thinking of the line contained a couple of LMS 2P 4-4-0s and a LMS Compound as well as other engines.


Kind Regards. P. Wolfe

Another email from Peter is reproduced below.

Hi Geoff, Many thanks for your E-mail.

It was the great photos that reminded me of seeing those engines on the 6G stored line. If memory serves I saw them from an early Derby DMU
 from Blaenau Ffestiniog on a rail cruise which part of the tour was on a Crosville coach, as I guess some of the lines had closed by then.

 I was also fortunate to have travelled on one of The North Wales Land cruise specials that was all steam, travelling from Rhyl through
 Afonwen, Barmouth, Corwen and Denbigh.



December 11th 2013.
An email from Trevor A Tremethick is reproduced below.

Dear Mr Poole
I have just visited your website for the first time and found it very valuable.
I have been particularly interested in Ian Cook’s record of locomotives in the scrap lines at Stockport Edgeley Shed (9B) for March to May 1967.
 I went to Edgeley with a friend on 16 April 1967 and, as we passed the scrap lines (which I think were south of the shed), we noticed
 a line of engines including Ivatt 2-6-2 tanks for which we did not record numbers.

 Perhaps they were just too far away. For many years I have wondered – with only a hazy memory of the line of
 locos – how many Ivatts were in the line-up and which ones they were. I think Mr Cook’s record has answered that
 question in that the two locos left were 41220 and 41233.

 I would be very interested should he have any more information on the scrap Ivatts (e.g. where the ones removed for transit to Wards at Killamarsh were held).
As a matter of interest, we were able to visit the shed at Edgeley and I still have my notes of that day.
 We went on to visit Crewe South (5B) and Crewe Works.
 I think we totalled some 100 steam spotted that day, although most were simmering on shed and some, of course, withdrawn.
Perhaps you could pass on my thanks to Mr Cook for making such copious notes at the time and solving my long standing mystery.
Happy days.
Regards Trevor A Tremethick

Ian Cook's reply is reproduced below.

Geoff and Trevor,

Thanks Geoff for forwarding Trevor's email, its much appreciated.

I can definitely confirm that the last two Ivatt 2-6-2 tanks at Stockport Edgeley MPD at the time Trevor passed were 41220 and 41233.

9B MPD had at least four examples of the class prior to them all being withdrawn during 1967, these were 41202, 41204, 41220 and 41233.

In addition, to the Ivatt tanks a group of 5 Standard design 2MT tanks arrived during 1965, it was rumoured that these were going to
 be sent to the Isle of Wight to replace the ageing tank engines on the island but nothing happened on that front and
 the Standard tanks were eventually withdrawn on mass and placed in store at the rear of the depot i.e. the same location that Trevor viewed the Ivatt's.

The numbers of the Standard 2MT tanks were 84013, 84017, 84019, 84025, 84026

I've attached a couple of pictures of the two engines in question whilst they were stored at the rear of Edgeley MPD.

 The pictures aren't very good as at the time I only had a Kodak Instamatic camera bought from the proceeds of a paper round.

Hope this helps.

Cheers Ian.

Trevor's reply is reproduced below.

Dear Ian

I was delighted to receive your detailed response to my query - very many thanks indeed and also to Geoff for passing it on to you.

 The pictures are of great interest to me. 41233 appears to have been withdrawn still with a (very faded) early BR lion emblem on its tanks.
 The internet often gets a bad press, but for this sort of thing it is wonderful!
My friend (also called Ian) and I had travelled, up from Truro, on the evening of 15 April '67 on the 17.40 Penzance to Manchester Piccadilly (1M78).
 We were due into Stockport at 05.19 and Piccadilly at 05.37. I would guess it would be still pretty dark then so we must have seen the Ivatts on our
 way back to Crewe in the afternoon, after our visit to Edgeley shed.

 I recall that the line of engines (which I now know included 41220/33) was clearly visible from our train on the Crewe-Stockport line although
 I seem to remember they were some way off.

 Pity 41202/4 weren't still there, your notes mention they had been removed, presumably to another site, prior to being towed away for scrap.
By way of return, I have attached two (very poor I'm afraid ) Kodak Brownie pictures of our visit to 9B.
 I made the mistake of putting my rolls of film into our local chemist for processing and these were the only two steam shots that survived.
 The chemists never admitted that they had messed up the processing and, sadly, I never had the opportunity to return to Edgeley.

Interestingly, one of the Stanier class fives I recorded at 9B on the 16th was 44722 which, through later
 research, I found to be a Perth engine, listed as being withdrawn the same month.

 I have never found any other reference to that loco being on Edgeley and I have to admit the possibility that I wrote down an incorrect number.
 Unless, of course, she came south for the football, as England had been playing Scotland at Wembley the day before!

I wrote a number of articles for 'Steam Days' magazine back in 2003-5 and my trip to Stockport and Crewe would have been article number four.
 Sadly they decided against it and returned my manuscript unpublished. However, It remains a record of my journey and I read it
 from time to time.

 Nearly 50 years afterwards - thanks to you - I can now update it!
Once again, my appreciation to you, and to Geoff.
Kind regards, Trevor.

Note from Ian Cook :
I suspect it was 44782, which had been in store from mid Dec 1966 and was definitely there when Trevor visited the depot in April 1967.


Gresley K4 3442 (BR number 61994) "The Great Marquess" on shed at 9B Stockport Edgeley on April 16th 1967.

A general view of 9B Stockport Edgeley on April 16th 1967.

November 25th 2013.
6G shed plate SOLD on EBAY for £104.00.
Auction ended Sunday December 8th 2013.

September 25th 2013.
Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2LZ.

The smokebox numberplate 45370 from LMS Class 5 - built by Armstrong Whitworth Works in 1937
and allocated new to 6G on June 14th 1937 is up for auction on October 12th 2013.

It was withdrawn from Speke Junction in August 1966 and sold for scrap to Cashmores at
Great Bridge, entering their yard on January 12th 1967.
Unfortunately it has been repainted but still an interesting lot especially with the link to 6G.
(SOLD FOR £300)

September 23rd 2013.
An email from Brian Roberts asking for details of Chris Evans' records from 1961 is reproduced below.

Hi Geoff,
You may remember I contacted you quite a few years ago now seeking information about workings along
the North Wales Coast during the early 1960's.

I have not visited your fascinating site much of late but I did so yesterday and discovered a similar request from Mike Williams made in
June this year together with a response from Chris Evans which revealed, to my astonishment, he holds information
dating from July and August 1961, precisely the period I am most interested in!
Would it be possible to ask Mr Evans on my behalf whether he would be prepared to let me have copies of locomotive numbers and
where available the associated trains they worked for any dates at all in July and August 1961 please?

  In other words much the same information he kindly offered to Mr Williams.

  I am more than prepared to reimburse reasonable expenses incurred.
I look forward to hearing from you again. 

Best Wishes.  Brian Roberts.  

I contacted Brian to let him know that the details he refers to above are already published on the Chris Evans page.

Brian replied and was astonished that he has found these details after so many years.


No, I hadn't seen all the information you refer to. From my point of view it's a brilliant 'find'! I've alerted my friend, Alan Turton, to
the information's availability and asked for his comments.

He was with me at Chester on 29/07/61 and because it was his first ever visit to the station he remembers more about what we saw than I do.

He also has a list of locomotive numbers he saw in the middle of 1961 to refer to.

 This, I hope, will result in consistencies.

It is incredible to note all this information is coming to light some 52 years after the event!

Best Wishes. Brian Roberts

August 28th 2013.
An email from Alan Eastham is reproduced below. If anyone can help please send details through the email link on the HOMEPAGE.

Hi Geoff

I hope you don't mind me asking about this which might be slightly off topic but I have really enjoyed the wealth
of information on Llandudno Junction website.

Basically I am trying to find an image of every loco that was in the Ian Allan 1959 Combined and am down to needing 13.

One of these was a midi numbered 44073 that was a long time resident of Mold Junction and as such I think could have been a
visitor to Llandudno Junction.

My collection is primarily pictures in my collection of books and magazines plus 'pictures of picture's from the
National Railway Museum and numerous other sources.

 Consequently I am not overly bothered about the quality of the images-its more a train-spotting thing!

Any help you may be able to give me would be most gratefully received

kind regards

Alan Eastham.

The other photos that Alan needs to complete his collection are as follows:

LMS 44120 of Aston,     LMS 47370 of Stoke,      LMS 47411 of Edge Hill,    LMS 47489 also of Edge Hill,   47568 of Farnley Junction
LMS 47573 of Wakefield,   LMS 47585 of Agecroft,   LMS 47605 of Barrow,    LNER 64793 of Ipswich,  WD 90118 of Colwick
WD 90286 of Mexborough,     WD 90391 of Canklow


September 23rd 2013.
An email from Rod Armitage with details regarding the above is reproduced below.

Subject: Letter from Alan Eastham.

Could you please pass this on to Alan Eastham, because I too am trying to do a similar project to him using a 1961 Combined.

I am down to wanting 67 loco's out of the 13,426 listed.

I have seen a photo of  90391, I think in Scenes from the past 29 Woodhead.

 Maybe he can help me with some of mine.

Cheers Rod Armitage.

August 10th 2013.
An email from Ian Cook of Manchester is reproduced below.  Ian has pointed out that an entry on the North Wales Coast Steam page showing A3 no. 60103 (4472) "Flying Scotsman"
at Llandudno station with a special on the 4th June 1966 was captioned incorrectly as June 6th 1966. Many thanks Ian for the correction.
Ian has agreed to allow us to publish the extensive log he has drawn up from his spotting days of 1964 - 68, which includes
many local entries, on the 6G website.
A mammoth five page series is now published showing this data which will, I'm sure, create much interest as well as
stirring up many memories for readers who probably like me didn't keep hold of their notes from those exciting days.
Thank heaven some enthusiasts, like Ian Cook, had the foresight to realize that this data would have great value in the years to come.
The Ian Cook data pages are now published  HERE  along with a number of photos Ian mentions in his email below.

I found your site recently, whilst doing some research whilst converting my old spotting notes into an electronic form.

My parents had a caravan at Llanddulas in North Wales, so had many great family holidays there during the 1960's.

Many of my notes from these holidays match up with some of your sites information
i.e. the picture of 70009 at the Junction on 30th July 1966.

However, I also found a picture of The Flying Scotsman passing Rhyl during June 1966 on the
North Wales Coast Steam page (November 12th 2008).

 My records show this rail tour actually happened on Saturday 4th June 1966 not the 6th June 1966 as per your caption. 

The 4th June 1966 was a Saturday, whereas the 6th June 1966 would have been a Monday i.e. a strange day to run
a rail tour. Hope this helps.

I have two pictures of it at Llandudno station. The rail tour was operated by The Gainsborough Model Railway Society.

I have detailed my log of that day below.

4th June 1966 North Wales - Llanddulas

44833 Passenger service

45375 Passenger service

73144 Passenger service

45048 Passenger service

45097 Light engine

D1888 Light engine

60103 Gainsborough Model Railway Society Railtour from Lincoln Central to Llandudno
D211 Passenger service

D333 Passenger service

D7589 Passenger service paired with D7556, almost certainly from the Midlands
D7556 See above

73006 Passenger service

45025 Passenger service

Llandudno Jct MPD - 6G

45004 45282 47673 45042 45277 45298 73144 75009 D2606
D2607 73094 45025 70012

Ian Cook

July 21st 2013.
An email from Patricia Atherton. with a request for information on a Derek Evans who she hasn't seen since 1967 and who she thinks
is possibly the Derek Evans who has appeared in photos on the 6G website and who worked signal boxes in our area.

Hello Geoff, We have been looking at your 6G website which we found very interesting. We found it whilst trying to find an old Army Pal of my husband's called Derek Evans. We knew him in the 1960's in Germany and later in
Singapore in 16 LAD Regt RA. I have seen a Derek Evans, 'an experienced signalman' in one of the photos and he does seem to resemble Derek somewhat.
 We have not seen him though since 1967. He came , I think, originally, from a place near Aberfan and we were with him the day the news
of the disaster broke. I should be very grateful if it does turn out to be the Derek we knew if you could please tell him that Phil Atherton is looking for him and if so if
you could kindly send him my email. Many thanks for your help. Sincerely Patricia Atherton.

Hi Patricia,

I don’t have any contact details for the signalman Derek Evans but I will publish your request on the NEWSPAGE and send details to a few contacts who may be able to help.

Could you pinpoint exactly where the photo of Derek Evans is on the website and also would it be OK for me to publish the photo of Derek that you sent to me?

As soon as you let me know I will get the details published and if there is a response I will be in touch.

Regards Geoff.

Thank you so much for getting back to me Geoff.

You are quite welcome to put the photo on the website or indeed any other details I have provided that you think may be of help.

I found an address and Phone number in Bangor for a Derek Evans on 192.com and have tried the number but had no reply.

 He worked in the Bangor Box so I thought this may be the same Derek.

I will scan the item and photo which is on the archive NEWSPAGE dated July 25th 2010.
Derek Evans is No. 6 in the photo.

 its posted by a man called Andy Parry who worked in the next Box to him daily and knew him well.

We are so hoping that it will be the same Derek. There is quite a good likeness, we think.

Will try to scan the item for you.

Thank you again for your time and trouble.

Sincerely Patricia.

Below is a link to the photo Patricia mentions above which is on the archive NEWSPAGE posted July 25th 2010.

Below is a photo of the Derek Evans known to Patricia taken in 1967 at Kuching airport in July 1965.
If anybody can help with the ID please email the site.

July 22nd 2013.
Alan Roberts tells me that Derek Evans left the railway in the early 1990's due to illness. He thinks he had a stroke.
 Derek passed away about 12 years ago.

June 26th 2013.

More sad news of the loss of another 6G man is shown below.

  1935 - 2013

Bill entered railway service in 1951 at 6G as a cleaner. He went on loan to Birmingham as a passed cleaner.
He left the railway to join the armed services.
Bill left the army but didn't return to the railway.
The order of service sheet from Bill's funeral service on May 14th 2013 is reproduced below.

A short humorous article entitled "Gone for ever" written by Bill about his time on the railway working a goods train to Bangor.

Two photos of Bill in happier times are shown below.

June 22nd 2013.
An email from Ken Brett and a reply from John Powell , Chris Evans and David Hughes are reproduced below. Any more detail on the colours would be appreciated. As I told Ken there are photos of the Welsh dragon displaying the headboard but most of the ones I have seen are in black and white
so if anybody has any colour shots of the train and headboard it could solve the puzzle otherwise we can only rely on our memories.

Hi Geoff

I have been fascinated by your very interesting website.

It takes me back to when I holidayed at the North Wales Holiday Camp in Abergele as a small boy in the mid 50s.

I remember crossing the main line to get to the beach!! In those days there was no footbridge and if memory serves me right
there were four lines to cross, dodging The Welsh Dragon Ivatts and Holyhead trains.

I also remember the excursions to Llanberis and the Derby Lightweight from Llandudno to Betws-y-Coed.

Now retired, I have the time to regain my interest in OO gauge modelling with a nostalgic look at trains.
 I am currently putting together a set to represent the Welsh Dragon and have used your photos to this end.

Do you know what colours were used in the Welsh Dragon’s headboard?

I guess that the dragon image was red but have no idea about the rest.

Something tells me that whole headboard was red as I recall the train as the Red Dragon Express in my mind.

I would be most grateful if you could shed some light on this for me.

With best regards
Ken Brett

John Powell writes:
Hi Geoff,

Regarding Ken Brett's email on the NEWSPAGE on June 22nd 2013.

A bit difficult on my memory this one, as I don't seem to have a colour photo of the Welsh dragon.

Something seems to tell me that the board was black, the dragon was red ( Of Course ) and the letters were in white.

 Regards. John.

Chris Evans writes:
Reading Ken Brett's email of 22nd June on your Newspage reminded me that I have a
miniature 'Welsh Dragon' headboard which, although not currently in use, I once fitted to a
DMU for a photograph (see below).
 I have enclosed it as it should help Ken with the colours, which I believe are accurate.

David Hughes writes:

Hello Geoff.

I hope the enclosed photos will help Ken Brett, 22nd June 2013 , in his quest for the colours of The Welsh Dragon headboard.

I was at the NRM on the 9th July for the Great Gathering and found this headboard (see below) hanging on the wall, notice the yellow/gold lettering.

Second photo was taken on the Llangollen Railway on 21st April and shows lettering in white.

In the August 1995 copy of Steam World there is a colour photo of 41224 on Rhyl shed complete with headboard. Photo was taken on 21-8-1954 and shows the lettering in white.

Regards David Hughes,
Old Colwyn.

June 21st 2013.
An email from Michael Williams and a response from Chris Evans are reproduced below.

Dear Geoff

I wonder if you would be kind enough to pass on a query I have regarding what trains would be running along the The North Wales coast during August 1961 please.

I have fond memories of family holidays in Colwyn Bay during the 1960s and am a great admirer of Chris' Llandudno Junction layout
 and would like to construct one of my own.

 As Chris seems to run his model trains to an authentic schedule for the summer of 1961, I was wondering if he had a list
 of trains that actually ran (or that he runs on his layout) that covered the August period when my family normally went to Colwyn Bay.
 Any engine numbers, reporting numbers, etc that he could provide would be gratefully received.
 If Chris actually had details of all the trains he runs for the summer of 1961, that would be even better.

I am a great fan of the 6g website and always look for the latest information and updates.

Many Thanks.

Mike Williams.

A reply from Chris Evans is shown below.



In response to Mike's request, yes I have the complete working timetables for passenger and freight trains
for summer 1961 and have used these to create my Llandudno Junction station working.

Although the timetables themselves are too bulky to copy I can certainly supply Mike with
a copy of my station working, which gives details of all trains, on all days of the week, including
identification numbers and the power class of locomotive I have either determined or guessed worked them.

Further to this, I have been able to discover the actual locomotives working most of the Saturday trains to and from
Llandudno in later July/early August 1961 (much of this info. came from the Llandudno Engine Arrangers book
via John Kirwood) and, as I was on holiday in North Wales at this time I have some records of personal observations.

Mike is most welcome to contact me directly if you will be kind enough to pass on my email address, and I can then
send him all the relevant information - and wish him luck with his project!

Kind regards,

Below is Mike's reply to Chris Evans.

Dear Chris

Many thanks for your kind offer of assistance.

I have been a great admirer of your layout for a while now and was keen to construct one of my own.
 This too would be based on workings during the summer of 1961 (the first year I went on holiday to Colwyn Bay) and
 would consist of two main sections.
 The first being a representation of the North Wales Coast line at Colwyn Bay and the second a representation
 of Llandudno Junction shed as it might have looked if plans to construct the first stages of a new Coast Road had actually
begun in 1957 - the year I believe the shed itself was redeveloped (or at least repaired).

As I said in my initial email to Geoff, I have have very fond memories of family holidays in Colwyn Bay during
 the 1960s, and felt that constructing a layout like this would help me to recapture those wonderful days.

Any help you can give me regarding train details (engine numbers etc.) would be gratefully received Chris - indeed any
 information at all would be absolutely fantastic.

I was really interested to hear that you had used the Llandudno Engine Arrangers book and your own observations
 as your main sources for the Saturday trains for late July/ early August 1961.  Do either you or John Kirwood have any plans to publish these at some point? I am sure a lot of people would be interested.

Anyway, thanks again Chris, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind Regards



The book Mike refers to above, and Chris below, is the engine men's arrangement book relating to Llandudno.

The book was drawn up by two drivers from 6G, Tommy A. Hughes and Meirig Roberts.

It details engine numbers, times, turns, and destinations of all engines in and out of Llandudno
during the 1960's.

The book's custodian is now ex- 6G stalwart John Kirwood.

I have tried on numerous occasions to make John Kirwood aware that the 6G website would be a
perfect platform to display the unique data this book holds which would be so interesting and helpful to
all ex - 6G workers, 6G website visitors, railway enthusiasts and railway modellers worldwide.

I have to report that to date I have not had a response from John Kirwood to this request.

My open request to John Kirwood still stands and if he wishes to contact me I will pick up the book, scan it
 and return it safely to his possession.

Below is Chris Evans' reply to Mike.

Hello Michael,

First of all I must thank you for your kind remarks about my layout.
 You are absolutely right when you mention capturing memories of those wonderful days back in the
 60s when, like yourself, I used to go to North Wales for summer holidays.

 In my case I stayed at Betws-Y-Coed but saw quite a lot of the main line along the coast.
 Often whilst the rest of the family were on the beach I would stand all day by the line side, fascinated by
 the procession of steam passing by.

 Once I had the opportunity to try to re-create something of that era I decided there would be no half measures and
embarked on my project to build Llandudno Junction and Llandudno as it was in 1961.

Many years later I still get an immense amount of enjoyment from operating sessions, and operating is really
 what the layout is all about.

 I am not a 'rivet counter' and am not too concerned about the accuracy of every detail, as long as
 the result looks and feels about right.

 What I did want to do was to run trains as nearly as possible to the summer 1961 timetable, with the correct
motive power but hauling roughly half-length trains in order to fit the space available.

 In a limited space trains always appear longer than they really are, anyway, so it doesn't bother me that
most of mine are formed of no more than seven coaches; freight trains are similarly only about half-length.

 With any model in a limited space but covering a large area there has to be compromise and obviously the
 stations, sheds and other buildings are necessarily also much shorter than the prototypes, but the
overall effect I think is quite satisfactory.

After much research I have uncovered quite a lot of information about what actually ran at the time, using
 the original working timetables, carriage workings and recorded allocations and observations of
 locomotives and DMU's.

 Whilst I have had to make some assumptions (and am continually updating the running plan as more
detail comes to light) I am happy that I am probably operating to about 90% accuracy.

 As you will know, Saturdays were by far the busiest days and, although coaching stock is not accurately
 diagrammed (otherwise I would need many hundreds more coaches than the hundreds I already have!) locomotives and
 DMU's are and, accordingly, I have amassed over 160 of the former and 15 of the latter.
 I didn't acquire these all in one go, however, and so have gradually changed the diagrams to allow more
 accurate working as and when more motive power has become available.

From this you will realise that I have a great deal of detailed information and my running plans include
 everything necessary to operate on all days of the week.

 To give you an idea of what that includes I have attached a table of the contents of the books involved.

 What I really need to know, in order to be able to help you further, is how closely you intend to run to the
original timetable, or whether perhaps you just want to run a representative selection of trains.

I can then advise you on how much motive power and stock you will need, as well as providing you with as much appropriate detail as I have.

Regrettably, I don't have access to the Llandudno Engine Arrangers book and don't know its keeper, John Kirwood.
 A limited amount of information from it has appeared in 'The Men of 7A and 6G Loco shed' by
 Derek Williams, and Geoff Poole has very kindly been trying to help by persuading John Kirwood to share its valuable
 information, via his excellent website, but has so far not been successful.


 I have attached the information I do have, which also includes some from other sources as well as my own
 observations of the time, and at least gives an insight of the variety of motive power that worked along the coast in those days.

 You will notice, incidentally, that there was a great deal of discrepancy regarding
 allocation, and even loco type, with many of the trains from one weekend to the next - a reflection of just how
 difficult it was to provide motive power at such busy times but also an opportunity for quite a lot of modeller's licence!

I look forward to hearing from you again and will follow progress with your plans with great interest.
I'm sure you will have great fun with it and that it will give you much pleasure!

Kind regards,
Chris Evans

The data Chris refers to above is now published on the  Chris Evans page.

June 14th 2013.
An email from Gareth Flemington is reproduced below.
If anyone can help please email the site through the link on the HOMEPAGE.

Hi Geoff

I am look for a decent photo or print of the Flying Welshman which I would like to frame.

In the 50's & 60's I use to travel on this train from Euston to Bangor as my mother was from Bethesda and we used to visit family there.

I always remember the dining car attendant coming along and inviting passengers for
lunch or dinner, I was always upset that we never went
as mother would always pack sandwiches.

Kind regards

Gareth Flemington

John Powell writes :
Hi Geoff,  Regarding the "Flying Welshman" photos for Gareth (see above).

 If he goes to the  " Main Line "  page on the 6G website, and scrolls down to photo numbers - [12] - ( 45532 ) - [13] - ( 46111) at
Prestatyn, and [19] at Conwy Castle, (6128). I'm sure they will be of interest to him.

 Coincidently, this train ran non - stop from
Chester to Bangor, with a connection there for Pwllheli.

Regards. John.

June 14th 2013.

A report by Jim Fenton.


Went on the above trip on Saturday May 18th 2013.
 An excellent day out. Spot on timings all the way, combined with beautiful weather and the spectacular Heart of Wales scenery.

 You're missing a treat if you've not been on the line.
 Some of the gradients must really challenge steam locos. The 57's performed well with a 12 coach train which was way too long for many stations.

 It was good to see it almost filled to capacity. Once in Cardiff, a visit to the Bay was achieved via Queens Street
 and the shuttle down to the Bay.

The line from Queens Street to the Bay still retains a lot of GWR features, if you can see through all the Buddleia!!
 At least they have retained land to allow expansion.

On another point - it was amusing to observe the engineer, after oiling round 'Tornado' at the Junction recently, whipping out a cloth
 and rubbing any drips of oil off the paintwork.

 A man with extreme pride in his loco!!

June 12th 2013.

More sad news of the loss of two more 6G men is shown below.

  BORN 16/01/1931 -  PASSED AWAY 11/05/2013

Wilf Scragg started on the railway, as a cleaner, in November 1953 aged 22 years. He eventually became a Fireman at 6G

The funeral order of service sheet is reproduced below along with several photographs of Wilf with retired colleagues and
during his working days on the railway.

(Left to right) Derek Williams - Gwilym Davis - Wilf Scragg

Wilf with Derek Williams.

Tony Griffiths and Wilf.

John Kelley and Wilf at the 2004 Railway Reunion.

Wilf in happier times with his 6G workmates aboard Black Five 45133.
(left to right)
Eddie - Ian - Wilf - John - Alan - (N/K) -  John.


  BORN 19/07/1934 -  PASSED AWAY 18/05/2013
Derek entered service on the railway on June 18th 1951 aged 17 years and became a Fireman at 6G. He left the railway in 1960 and after two weeks of unemployment he started work at Llandudno General hospital
in charge of the sterilizing unit.   Derek left this employment to take up a position as a porter at Conwy hospital.
The following two photographs show a happy Derek at home with his pet dog
and then with some of his workmates at 6G.

(left to right)
Kevin Aitcheson - Will Hughes - O.L. Griffiths - Derek Davis, with the carriage shed in the background.

May 20th 2013. An email from Andy Davies is reproduced below with interesting news that Direct Rail Services (DRS) are in the process of opening
a new train crew depot at Llandudno.

Only just stumbled on your website and it's an interesting one with lots to see!

You may or may not be aware that Direct Rail Services are in the process of setting up a new train crew depot
at Llandudno, which will include a signing on point, fuel and stable/ light maintenance.

It's in the early stages and running alongside the renovation of Motherwell depot which is in the process of being
fully re-opened with all the 21 drivers moving from Grangemouth.

  DRS will be moving some drivers to sign at Llandudno and also employing some as well.

You would probably be more likely to know where the location would be but thought you would be
interested and find it useful to know.

Once again great site.

Regards Andy Davies.

The new build Patriot Class 45551 " The Unknown Warrior" took major steps forward this month by using a recently available
process for making cylinder patterns out of polystyrene instead of the more expensive traditional wood. The use of this method has saved the project in the region of £29000.
 However because they melt after being used, they can only be used once unlike the more expensive wooden patterns but as Patriot cylinders
aren't standard to any other locomotive, there's no point in using wood.
The poly pattern is made from 9 separate layers.

 They are using techniques, to make patterns, that have not commonly been used in the steam railway world before.  This has attracted attention from railway projects in Melbourne, Australia!

The four photos below show the patterns.
Polystyrene pattern for outside cylinders £2000 each & middle one £2280
Casting for outside ones £4750 each and middle one £5170

The work continues with the smokebox for 45551 now assembled with front tube plate, door and door surround all fitted.

April 20th 2013. Derek Williams is providing Chris Evans with valuable records of his memories of 6G engine visitors during 1961
which will help Chris use authentic engines on his model railway layout
Chris has sent the email below where he mentions Derek's notes along with his own recollections of a visit to 6G during
the "Glorious Years" which will bring back memories to many readers.

Hi Geoff,

I very much look forward to seeing Derek's loco jottings from 1961 when he brings them - it's very
kind of you both to go to the trouble.  Every little piece of info of this sort helps to put the jig-saw together
so that I can recreate the most accurate representation I can.

The model railway company Bachmann are going to produce a Stanier 5MT 2-6-0 soon which will help.
Remarkably, considering the variety of locos that ran along the coast in 1961, that only really leaves one
class regularly seen that is not mass-produced: the Stanier 3MT 2-6-2 tanks, which is a shame as 6G had quite
a number of them, as I'm sure you know.

About half a dozen were still in service, mainly confined to empty stock workings, pilot duties and locals between
Llandudno and the Junction, whilst a further four were stored on the shed back road.
As I'm sure you will know, this was the original Blaenau branch when Llandudno Junction station was sited
further west, near the road crossing.

I do have a couple of kit-built examples so at least they are represented.
Apart from that, all that's missing as a ready-to-run product are the Caprotti versions of the Stanier Black 5s, although
again I have conversions, and similarly the Caprotti Standard 5s - 73126-73135 being allocated to Patricroft and being
regular visitors on Manchester trains.

Speaking of those locos stored on the back road, I remember 'cabbing' every one of them whilst on holiday
in 1961, no doubt getting filthy dirty in the process!

There was also a 'Jinty' in store, 47394, an old 2P 4-4-0, 40635, and three Fowler 3MT tanks, 40008, 40048 and 40058, all
of which had been allocated to 6G but were surplus to requirements.

I have them specially underlined with a 'C' for 'cabbed' in my ABC spotter's book and have since found a number of
photos of them in various books and magazines.

Most of them remained there for quite a few years, being 'out of the way' whilst many hundreds of other locos
were being sent to the scrap yards at the time.

Thanks again, Geoff, and looking forward to hearing from you again!

Best wishes,


 The jottings mentioned above, showing the engines Derek Williams remembers on shed in January 1961, are shown below.

I wonder if any more memories of engines noted on 6G are still in existence. If anybody has any details similar to the above they would be valuable records of the shed that we could publish on
the website as I'm certain they would be of great interest and help to readers and railway modellers alike.

April 18th 2013

1937 - 2013.
The sad news has reached me of the passing away of another 6G man.
Cliff Alun Roberts passed away on April 2nd 2013 aged 76 years.
Cliff was born in Llandudno and lived all of his life at 5 Kings Place Llandudno.
He attended Ysgol Dyffrhyn Road and then went on to Central School on Trinity Avenue
both in Llandudno. Cliff entered service on the railway as a cleaner on June 6th 1952, aged 16 years, and eventually became a driver at 6G.
The funeral order of service sheet is reproduced below along with several photographs of Cliff with retired colleagues and then
during his working days on the railway.

Cliff (centre) is shown at work here with two colleagues alongside D200 at Bleanau Ffestiniog.

Cliff ( second from right ) with more colleagues at Bleanau Ffestiniog alongside a class 24 rail tour.

April 4th 2013. An email from Luke Pettitt is reproduced below asking for any photographs of Port Dinorwic station.

Any details can be sent through the email address on the HOMEPAGE.


I currently live in what was Port Dinorwic Station and I'm trying to find as many pictures as I can.

I have looked at your excellent site and I note that you have a picture of BR 80094 outside my front
window! (North Wales stations page) I'd love to purchase a copy of of it and I think the copyright might belong to John Powell. 

Would it possible to have contact details for him or do you know who owns the copyright if not him? 

Also if you know of anyone else who might have pictures I'd be extremely grateful.

Yours sincerely, 

Luke Pettitt 

April 1st 2013. An email from Nigel Wills - Browne is reproduced below with an interesting account of a trip to Bury.

Hi Geoff, I went to Bury today (31/03/2013) for a dose of steam sounds and smells, and picked up a copy of Steam World, issue 189 March 2003.

In it there's a magic article by Bill Rear of a run he did with Bangor driver  R. J. Williams ("Bob Joy") from Chester to Bangor.

Bob Joy's passed cleaner fireman was dreading the run back to Bangor but luckily Bill Rear was off duty on the platform and planned
to travel back from Chester to Bangor on the cushions.

This was not to be and Bill ended up firing 44686. First stop Llandudno Junction in 48 minutes!!!! then next stop Bangor in
16 minutes!!!  Brilliant, and told in the inimitable Bill Rear style.

Also this article brought to my attention that the legendary J.M.Dunn was J.Max Dunn. I've read his books and admired his achievements for 45
odd years and never knew what his first name was.

Bill tactfully doesn't name the passed cleaner who had worked up to Chester and rode back to Bangor with the guard.

1954 Emerald Isle Express with 8 on and 266 tons.

Regards, Nigel.

March 21st 2013. An email query from Chris Evans is reproduced below.

Hi Geoff,

I hope you are well.

I have come across a working that has me rather flummoxed and wonder whether any of your contacts
  may be able to help.

The services in question were summer Sunday afternoon excursion trains that ran from Rhyl (steam hauled) and Llandudno (dmu) to
Menai Bridge and LlanfairP.G., certainly in 1961 and possibly other years.

Lengthy stops were made in one direction at both these places to allow time to explore and the steam train was advertised
as having refreshment facilities from and to Llandudno Junction (which is curious in itself - why not from/to Rhyl?)

The (summer 1961) advert for this service appears in Michael Jones' 'Steam on the North Wales Coast' book, which I
expect you probably have a copy of.

The really odd thing is that I have never seen a photo of this train and it does not appear in the 1961 working
timetable, despite being advertised as running every Sunday throughout the summer!

I wonder whether you would be kind enough to put this on your website where it may arouse some memories.
In particular I would be very grateful if anyone has a photo of either the steam or diesel train; I am wondering
whether the steam working, as it began at Rhyl, used the BR Standard 4, 4-6-0 and 'Welsh Chieftain' set of
coaches that were otherwise only used on Mondays-Fridays. Incidentally, it would also be useful to know whether the Cafeteria Car in this train was formed in the Rhyl or Llandudno portion.

Thanks in anticipation of your help.

Take care,
Chris Evans

March 21st 2013. An email query from Nigel Wills - Browne is reproduced below.

Hi Geoff, I've just picked up a wonderful Eric Treacy book, Roaming The Northern Rails, and there's a curious and very clear (typical Eric T.) photo taken in