***************************************************************************************************** COMPILED AND EDITED BY GEOFF
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.
CALLS FOR THE VETERANS RAILCARD TO BE EXTENDED
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
job 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.
“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
“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
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.”
Transport for Wales has announced that no
coastal trains will run west of Llandudno Junction when Storm
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.
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
NEW TRAIN CARRIAGES FOR NORTH WALES' MAIN
RAILWAY LINE HAVE BEEN DELAYED - THIS IS WHY.
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
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
The train made a similar run on Wednesday and visited Manchester
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.
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
Pendolinos, until they get their Avanti refurb, have
nothing! ROGER CARVELL
FIRST TEST TRAIN ALONG THE COAST OF Ex- LNER Mk4
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.
THANKS TO ROGER CARVELL FOR ABOVE DETAIL,
REGARDING THE MK4'S, AND HIS WARNING OF THIS TESTING IN THE
REPORT BELOW (17/01/2020).
The train arrived on time at Colwyn Bay pulled by 82229. The
driver can be seen climbing back in the cab ready to leave.
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.
Think the formation will be loco, three standard,
restaurant, first class and driving trailer. ROGER CARVELL
NORTH WALES RAIL PASSENGERS 'SACRIFICED TO SAVE
CARDIFF COMMUTERS 16 MINUTES'
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
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
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
"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
be considered, such as engineering work, availability of
trains, route clearance, additional services and many other
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.”
THANKS TO ERYL CRUMP AND THE DAILY POST FOR ABOVE
NEW AVANTI WEST COAST LIVERY - FROM OFFICIAL
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
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
What did the officials say?
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.”
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”.
GOODBYE TO VIRGIN TRAINS ON THE NORTH WALES
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
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
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
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
Two weekday return workings to London would therefore be
Pendolinos, hauled by Class 57s locomotives between Holyhead and
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
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.
HITACHI SIGNS £350m WITH AVANTI WEST COAST FOR
BRAND NEW TRAINS
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
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
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
Rock Rail West Coast will own the trains and lease them to
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
“We are pleased to announce this new fleet which highlights our
commitment to innovation and desire to constantly improve our
We are delighted to provide more efficient and modern trains
which are sustainable and environmentally friendly, reducing CO2
emissions by 61%, including
new 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
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.”
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
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
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.
Huge improvement in Cambrian train services as
Transport for Wales announces Sunday Service Revolution
timetables across Wales will be transformed this December by
Transport for Wales with a 40% increase in services across the
An additional 186 Sunday services will provide a boost throughout
the country, providing essential links between cities, towns and
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
North Wales Coast as well as increased frequencies on valley
Expected to help boost the tourism industry in Wales, TfW will
create new Sunday services between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau
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’
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
“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.”
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
“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
planned maintenance times and I’d like to thank all involved
for their hard work.”
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
“It’s great news that Transport for Wales have demonstrated their
commitment to the Conwy Valley by introducing winter Sunday rail
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.”
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) (ALL LLANDUDNO JUNCTION
This shot below shows
Ken Jones (driver) shaking hands with the Mayor of Caernarfon.
FIRST TRENITALIA ANNOUNCED AS NEW OPERATORS FOR
THE WEST COAST MAIN LINE.
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
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
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
new ticket machines at stations, removal of the administration fee
and enabling on-the-day changes to both advance tickets and seat
new initiatives to increase diversity, inclusion and skills
retention in the rail industry
First Trenitalia will also act at the Shadow Operator responsible
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
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
passengers today and capable of incorporating the reforms
needed for the future.
AZUMA 800113 PULLS DOWN THE WIRES TODAY AT
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
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.
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
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
If you want to play
your part, please contact the Parish Clerk on
firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone - 07565 524414, or visit the
Council news page at www.rainhillparish.org.uk
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.
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
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.
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.
photographer and 'photographers' shown are unknown.
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.
Jones (nickname - Bob Bychan) was a 6G driver until his
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
phoned the police again. Unfortunately to no avail.
(Malcolm Prewitt - ex
(SEE MORE DETAILS AND PHOTO OF 'BOB BYCHAN'
BELOW ON NEWSPAGE ENTRY - JULY 17th 2017)
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
It is so nice to look at these railway lads again. Hope I can keep
in touch with you all now.
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
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
You might (?) be interested to know that after leaving
Crewe on the outbound journey, we were stopped by several
because the rear 4TC was not sporting a tail lamp.
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
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.
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
If anyone can help please use the email link
on the HOMEPAGE.
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
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.
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 asPenychain
Halt Which was known as "Butlins Penychain
Railway Station" and almost
universally referred to as "Penny - Chain" by non - Welsh
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
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
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
If you want to play
your part, please contact the Parish Clerk on
email@example.com or Phone - 07565 524414, or visit the
Council news page at www.rainhillparish.org.uk
CALL FOR UPDATE ON PLANS FOR DIRECT LIVERPOOL -
NORTH WALES RAIL SERVICE.
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”.
“While it is disappointing that there has been a delay, I am
pleased to hear that the improvements will hopefully be in place
Liverpool is an important commercial centre and improving
transport links will provide a huge boost to the North Wales
terms of access to jobs and promoting tourism.”
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
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
Is there a similar proposal for a similar promotion from
Transport for Wales? It would be good to hear from the Government
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
“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
make sure that Transport for Wales introduce a similar
CONGRATULATIONS TO TRANSPORT FOR WALES (TfW) FOR
SUPERB CUSTOMER RELATIONS.
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
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.
thanks for this Megan Fellows and I feel that professional and
sympathetic treatment like this deserves a mention here.
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
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
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.
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
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.”
NEW HEADQUARTERS IN WALES FOR KEOLIS AND AMEY
WILL CREATE 130 JOBS.
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
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
“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
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.
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
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
“As part of our long-term commitment to Wales, and building on our
existing presence with over 300 employees delivering services for
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
Roger Carvell noticed
this article in the Rail Magazine which gives hope for employment
TALGO SHORTLISTS ENGLISH AND
WELSH LOCATIONS FOR NEW FACTORY.
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
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.”
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.
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
As well as the wide and spacious carriages the trains will have a
universal access toilet, WiFi, air conditioning, USB ports and
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.
R) - Darren Millar AM, Dave Graham, Lynda Ogden, Ben Davies (ATW spokesperson)
(THANKS TO RUSS
JONES - LJ DRIVER - FOR ABOVE CORRECTION re BEN
Clwyd West AM
Darren Millar has applauded improvements works at a busy train
station after seeing them first hand last week.
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.
Wales have invested around £500,000 in the station following calls
for improvement which Darren made following a visit two years ago.
“It was great to
return to Colwyn Bay Train Station two years on and see the
improvements which have been made.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Secretary for Economy and Transport’s ‘Transport Vision for North
Wales’ Statement states “Our 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
faster south to north Wales services in the morning and
“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
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
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,
“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
“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
"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.”
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.
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,
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
To and fro this summer as I'm helping my
friend making his long neglected yacht
seaworthy, as well as recovering 50% of a
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.
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
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
better known at 6G throughout his Railway career , Bob
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.
CALL FOR URGENT ACTION TO
STRENGTHEN OLD COLWYN SEA DEFENCES BY DARREN MILLAR.
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
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”.
"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
A Welsh Water storm drain also runs under the promenade.
Darren, who last raised the matter in the Senedd in November,
“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.
"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.”
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
I am grateful to his friend, Paul Wild, for the following photo
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
in keeping our network running smoothly but more importantly -
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
Hopefully you could include
this as a fitting tribute to a fine man and good friend on your
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
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
I worked in the works from 1967 to
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.
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
brown asbestos on the floor.
were handling it on almost a daily basis, it was impossible to
avoid but we weren't provided with masks until much, much later.
No-one insisted we wore them and we were never told of the
dangers at the time."
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
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.
MORE TRAINS ANNOUNCED BETWEEN NORTH WALES
AND MANCHESTER AIRPORT
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.
“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.
routes between North Wales and these two extremely busy
international transport hubs are critical in connecting businesses
individuals to markets and job opportunities.”
Plans for increased North
Wales rail service to Manchester airport blocked.
West Assembly Member Darren Millar, has hit out at Network Rail
for blocking plans to improve rail services between North Wales
and Manchester Airport.
permission to implement the proposals citing 'unmanageable
pressure' on train performance and impacts on other rail
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
"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.
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
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
CLWYD WEST AM. DARREN MILLAR CALLS ON THE WELSH
GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE COLWYN BAY RAILWAY
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.
“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.”
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.
DIRECT RAIL LINKS TO LIVERPOOL AND MANCHESTER
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
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.
routes between North Wales and airports in Liverpool and
Manchester are critical in connecting businesses and
individuals to markets and job opportunities.
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.
Government have invested millions in improving transport links in
south Wales – it’s about time North Wales got some extra focus.”
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.
original Conwy station which was pulled down in the 60s was
brick. Do you know what colour?.
presume it was red but not seen any colour photos of it?
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.
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.
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
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
I am hence assuming it stood for these three minutes on Down
Fast Platform 3, and would also guess that it was booked for
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
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
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
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");
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.
THE GRESLEY SOCIETY TRUST TO
ERECT STATUE OF SIR NIGEL GRESLEY AT
LONDON’S KING’S CROSS STATION.
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
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
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
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
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
RAIL INVESTMENT WILL BE A HUGE BOOST TO
Thursday, 25 September,
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.”
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
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
Manchester Piccadilly (arriving 0818 hrs), which will depart
Abergele and Pensarn at 0620 hrs.
"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."
"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
"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
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
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.”
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.
“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
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
We must ensure that North Wales travellers have the rail
service they need.”
DIRECT RAIL LINK BETWEEN NORTH WALES AND
LIVERPOOL TO BE RE-ESTABLISHED.
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
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
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.
is a very exciting development and I look forward to seeing the
huge benefits it will bring to North Wales.”
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.
been trying to determine if there were any blood and custard
coaches still around in 1960 and perhaps a ratio to Maroon.
have checked all photos on the 6G web site and there seem to be
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.
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 :-
Crier, City Road, Chester, CH1 3AE at 19.30 on advertised dates.
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.
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
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
Barry W Taylor.
An email from
David Thomas (nephew of Vic Thomas) is reproduced below.
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
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
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.
No mention of North Wales-Liverpool direct rail
link in Minister’s Statement
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
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,
"One thing that you did not mention, or
provide an update on, was the potential for a direct rail link
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
re-establishment of that direct link along the Halton
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.
"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
"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."
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
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.
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
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,
Perhaps you could pass on my thanks to Mr Cook
for making such copious notes at the time and solving my long
Regards Trevor A Tremethick
Ian Cook's reply is
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
I was delighted to
receive your detailed response to my query - very many
thanks indeed and also to Geoff for passing it on to
are of great interest to me. 41233 appears to have been
withdrawn still with a (very faded) early BR lion emblem on its
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
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
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
I seem to remember they were some way off.
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
* 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
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
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!
my appreciation to you, and to Geoff.
* 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.
K4 3442 (BR number 61994) "The Great Marquess" on shed at
9B Stockport Edgeley on April 16th 1967.
general view of 9B Stockport Edgeley on April 16th 1967.
An email from Brian
Roberts asking for details of Chris Evans' records from 1961 is
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
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
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!
If anyone can help
please send details through the email link on the HOMEPAGE.
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
One of these was a midi numbered 44073 that was a
long time resident of Mold Junction and as such I think could have
visitor to Llandudno Junction.
My collection is primarily pictures in my
collection of books and magazines plus 'pictures of picture's from
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
photos that Alan needs to complete his collection are as
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.
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.
seen a photo of 90391, I think in Scenes from the past 29
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
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
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.
North Wales -
Gainsborough Model Railway Society
Railtour from Lincoln Central to Llandudno
Passenger service paired with D7556,
almost certainly from the Midlands
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.
We have been looking at your 6G website which we found
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
If anybody can help with the ID please email the site.
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
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
I guess that the dragon image was red but have no idea about the
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
Regarding Ken Brett's email on the
NEWSPAGE on June 22nd 2013.
difficult on my memory this one, as I don't seem to have a
colour photo of the Welsh dragon.
to tell me that the board was black, the dragon was red ( Of
Course ) and the letters were in white.
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.
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
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.
An email from
Michael Williams and a response from Chris Evans are reproduced
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
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.
A reply from Chris Evans is shown
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.
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.
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
Below is Mike's
reply to Chris Evans.
thanks for your kind offer of assistance.
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
begun in 1957 - the year I believe the shed itself was
redeveloped (or at least repaired).
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.
you can give me regarding train details (engine numbers etc.)
would be gratefully received Chris - indeed any
information at all would be absolutely fantastic.
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
thanks again Chris, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
The book Mike refers to above, and
Chris below, is the engine men's arrangement book relating to
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,
and return it safely to his possession.
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
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.
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.
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
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 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
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.
NOTE ABOVE BY GEOFF POOLE REGARDING THE LLANDUDNO ENGINE
BOOK - HELD BY JOHN KIRWOOD)
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
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!
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
An email from
Gareth Flemington is reproduced below.
If anyone can help please email the site through the link on the
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.
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 -  - ( 45532 ) -  - ( 46111) at
Prestatyn, and  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.
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.
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
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.
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
£30000 approx for machining and finishing.
THANKS TO JOHN BARROWDALE
AND ANDREW LAWS FOR THE ABOVE DETAILS AND FOLLOWING
The work continues
with the smokebox for 45551 now assembled with front tube plate,
door and door surround all fitted.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
I currently live in what was Port
Dinorwic Station and I'm trying to find as many pictures as I
I have looked at your excellent
site and I note that you have a picture of BR 80094 outside my
(North Wales stations page) I'd love to purchase a copy of
of it and I think the copyright might belong to John
Would it possible to have contact
details for him or do you know who owns the copyright if not
Also if you know of anyone else
who might have pictures I'd be extremely grateful.
An email query
from Chris Evans is reproduced below.
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
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
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.
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
1948/49/50 at Llandudno of 44742 with a 7A shedplate, Page 206,
right at the back of the book.
It shows a pair of very strange looking headlamps with very small
bullseye lenses, the same sort of size lens that were fitted on
I remember some of the late Black 5s were fitted with Stones turbo
generators but this one doesn't appear to have electric lamps or
for them, so they must be paraffin....
Any replies about my Denbigh head scratcher??? (March 7th 2013 below)
(April 20th 2013)
from Nigel regarding the above is reproduced below.
Hi, Geoff, hope you are well, found another
picture of the oddball headlamps.
On the 6G Caprotti 5s section of your website, by John Powell,
there is a photo of 44742 leaving Llandudno August 1948 by Eric
It's the first photo and clearly shows those headlamps with
unusual east west carrying handles unlike the
normal ones with north south handles.
Maybe this dates and could be the same day as Eric's photo in
Roaming the Northern Rails. Keep up the good work, regards, Nigel.
March 7th 2013.
An appeal for information from anyone who is familiar with the
track layout and train movements at Denbigh
in the 60's, is requested below by Nigel Wills - Browne.
Hi, Geoff, I see you have my previous e-mail up
and running for all to see already (March 6th 2013), isn't
Maybe one of your 6K (Rhyl) guys might be able to solve a mystery:
I used to catch the last train from Chester to Ruthin in the early
sixties, on arrival at Denbigh it used to overtake an up train
in the through platform - then stop and set back into the through
platform, behind the up train.
Then the loco, usually a standard 4 or standard 2, would uncouple
and proceed to Denbigh turntable, then return tender first, hitch
and depart for Ruthin at great speed.
Was this so that the return ECS to Rhyl was "right way round" or
something to do with it's next turn the following day???
Further evidence of this move is a photo of Denbigh yard at that
time with polished rails leading to the turntable when
all the surrounding rails were rusty.
I realise this is a bit out of your area but Rhyl crews worked
these and somebody might remember the details.
Also belated thanks to the driver of 75033 who gave me an exciting
80 mph run from Ruthin to Denbigh on the footplate...There was a
see that shovel, son,...see that pressure gauge...well keep
stoking until that needle reaches that red mark...then we'll be
(Roscoe Engineering, Liverpool.)
A further email
from Nigel is reproduced below.
Hi, Geoff, sorry it's me again, the picture of
shiny track towards Denbigh turntable is on P39 of
Bill Rear's book"The Denbigh to Mold Line", it was dated 28/8/61.
Just read a bit more on your 6G site , the bit by J.M.Dunn about
his Mr.P at what was then 7A shed, fascinating...
An email from
John Powell is reproduced below with a humorous shed bash story
from the "Glorious Years".
Geoff, Many thanks for the DVDs that you sent
to me recently.
I have managed to watch the first
two so far.
Very interesting, especially the Newton Heath shed one.
It brought a little chuckle to me when my memory went
back to around 1959 / 1960, when
four of us went to bash the Manchester sheds one
We went by train to the city then used public transport
armed with a shed directory.
When we arrived at Manchester Exchange, one
of the lads, Brian, was feeling a bit rough with
a sickly stomach ache.
We suggested that he stayed on the station near a
toilet, but he said he would
come with us regardless.
We didn't have permits for any of the sheds, but we managed to
gain permission from the shed foremen at
Agecroft, Newton Heath, Gorton, the works, until
we arrived at Patricroft.
As we got to the door the foreman was standing outside looking
immaculate in possibly his best suit, and highly
" Can I help you lads?" he said. We asked him if we
could have a look around the shed, but he said
that he was expecting the district supervisor any moment, but
came back in an hour or so, he would gladly show
It was at that moment that Brian`s stomach
decided to turn into a volcano, and he let fly all down
the foreman`s right leg, and again down his left
leg and all over his shoes.
We tried to apologise but he told us to go "forth and
multiply", muttering " blxxdy trainspotters", and don't bother
to come back.
Needless to say, we did not get to see what was inside
March 6th 2013.
An email from Nigel Wills - Browne is reproduced below.
Many thanks Nigel for your kind words and glad you enjoyed the
Your 6G website is brilliant, what wonderful nostalgic
In the early sixties I used to spend a summer week with a Holiday
Runabout Ticket (No. 7 I think) and
used to travel many miles round all of North Wales from home in
The highlight was catching the Holyhead- Birmingham, was it 1G35,
which ran non stop from Holyhead to Chester
with my head out of the window all the way, noting all the signal
boxes and highlights of flying through Bangor and LJ, happy days.
I've been running a car repair garage for the last 35 years in the
Dingle underground terminus of the Overhead Railway
in Liverpool, which collapsed last year and we are still waiting
patiently to have it made safe
again, (see Dingle Tunnel collapse on Google), so I've spent time
at home exploring the internet and came across your wonderful
nostalgia fix which is better than reading a Bill Rear book.
Was sorry to read about 44686/7 being unreliable, have spent many
hours hauled at great speed by them on Llandudno-Manchester club
trains and also fond memories of 45600 Bermuda which was, I think,
a Patricroft 26F club train loco.
An interesting email and photo from Stuart Ottaway are
Geoff , The photo
below was taken on Sunday May 17th 1964. Recorded in my log book
(which I still have) of sheds
I visited between July 1962- September 1966.
Whilst I visited 6A, 6B and 6D I never visited 6G - mores the
pity. The photo shows 0-6-0 4F No. 44389 (a long term resident
of 6G) in very clean condition, taken a long way
from home territory, at 1A Willesden!
Keep up the good work.
Stuart has sent
in this further detail along with s scan of pages from his
Two pages from my spotting logbook are
On the left page it shows 44525 (photo
shown below) - which I saw on June 5th 1966 at Crewe where it was
The reason I mention it is that it was a
long term resident of 6G.
On the page North
Coast Steam, Alan Bartlett has a photo of it in store at 6G
looking as if it was ready for
scrapping, with chimney sacked over.
However it was sent to Crewe and not
withdrawn until October 1966 becoming the last survivor of the
Interesting to see that 5B (Crewe South)
had 94 steam on shed also 6D (Shrewsbury) - [previously Chester
43 steam on shed including 7802 on its way to Woodhams at Barry
Alan Roberts has sent in this
photo below, taken in 1974 of George Jones (aka Uncle George) on
He was a block inspector (aka Signalmen's Inspector) for
Llandudno Junction. Photo shows his work colleagues
Left to Right back row : Eddie Thomas
Llandudno Junction Relief , Charles Roberts Crossing Keeper
Mike Martin Signalman Ty Croes?, Eric Hardy Signalman Llandudno,
Glyn Thomas Llandudno Junction Relief, Bill Green Colwyn Bay
Evan Jones, Signalman Llandudno Junction. Jack Petts Rhyl
Relief. Jim Sharp Signalman Colwyn Bay.
Left to Right front row : Cyril Tyrer
Llandudno Junction Relief, Mrs Jones, Tom Leach Signalman
George Jones, Ken Williams Llandudno Junction Relief.
More sad news
from Derek Williams arrived today to inform me of the loss of
another 6G stalwart. Ex - 6G driver "Boyo" Jennings
passed away peacefully at Plas Isaf Care Home, Rhos on Sea on
December 19th 2012 and his funeral
was today at All Saints Church, Deganwy.
"Boyo" was born
in Dolgarrog on September 6th 1926 and started on the railway on
January 1st 1942 aged 15 years.
The front and
back of the order of service along with some photographs of
"Boyo" Jennings are shown below.
An email and
request for details from David Hughes is reproduced below.
I have been researching railway breakdown cranes, for a model I
have, and have come up with the following list of cranes based at
RS1023/15 ? - c1938 ex Midland Railway
RS1029/15 1938 - 1943 ex Caledonian Railway
RS1027/15 3/1943 - 1/1961 ex North Staffs Railway
RS1023/15 4/1961 - 9/1963 ex Midland Railway
RS1008/36 9/1963 - 1964 ex LNWR
There is one other crane, RS1076/30 (ex LMS), which was at 6G
between 1943 & 1944 and I don't know if it replaced RS1027 or
was there at the same time.
Before c1937 Crewe breakdown cranes appear to have handled any
mishaps in North Wales.
I have included a photo of my part completed model, to be
RS1027/15, hoping that my fellow readers can furnish some
information so that I can finish it.
This crane was different to the others in having outriggers, the
orange part on the model, to steady it when lifting. There is a
photo of RS1027 in
the book, The Men of 7A/6G, and this shows it was painted black,
had electric lighting and had a roof over the operating space.
Info I need is regarding the match wagon, was the crane vacuum
fitted and was there an emblem on the side of the water/coal tank.
Thank you for your help.
Best wishes to you and my fellow readers for 2013.
issue of "Steam Days" magazine features a very special local
interest article that will interest many local enthusiasts.
"Steam Days at Llandudno Junction" by Stanley Jenkins examines
the effect that the coming of the London & North Western
on the development of Llandudno and it's hinterland in the wake
of the drive to improve communications with Ireland in the 19th
century, as well as
subsequent railway developments through the nationalisation and
The twenty page
article is very well researched and written with great
understanding of the area as well as being illustrated by many
previously unpublished images of local steam through the
At £4.10 this
edition of "Steam Days" is real value for money to anyone with
an interest in local railway history.
An appeal for
help from Anthony Ashley, regarding any photographic record or
detail of the repair shed that stood at Bangor station
alongside the engine and goods sheds is published below.
Any detail on
this would be appreciated and can be forwarded through the email
link on the HOMEPAGE.
in Australia and I am creating a large N scale layout based on
the North Welsh coast in the period 1960-65. I have built a
large shed to house
the layout in, which will be 35'X16'. I have been researching
for approx 9 months and have pictures of most of the rail
facilities for the
3 stations including Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Bangor.
were three large sheds in Bangor station. In N scale each shed
will be approx 2' X 1'. The three sheds were the engine, goods
and wagon or engine repair shed. The
engine and goods sheds still exist and I have photos of them
which provide the basis for an accurate model.
Unfortunately the repair shed, which I believe had
office accommodation above, has been demolished and I have been
unable to find any pictures of the structure.
In addition the material available for Conwy
station in the first half of the 1960's is also limited.
I have tried the HMRS, York Rail Museum, the LMS and LNWR
societies for information but without much success.
Do you have any ideas or access to material showing the Bangor
repair shed and/or Conwy station
which you would be willing to provide me with.
The 3 sheds going from east to west in the station were the
engine, goods and then the repair shed.
Google satellite images show where the track work used to run
leading into the repair shed.
I believe the repair shed was demolished after
If you are able to assist or come up with more ideas for gaining
access to plans or photos of the demolished repair shed in Bangor
would be very appreciative.
satellite image showing where track work used to run into the
repair shed and area of the shed.
A further email
from Anthony is reproduced below.
Thank you very much for your assistance.
It is really appreciated.
I have spent the day insulating my shed for the rail layout. Time
spent on research is never wasted.
As indicated below I have been
researching the Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Bangor stations for many
I have purchased the following books in
conducting this research:
Rhyl to Bangor by Vic Mitchell and Keith
London Midlands by WG Rear
Railways of North Wales Bangor, Scenes
for the past :14 by W.G.Rear
North Wales Steam Vols 1 and 2 by E.N.
None of these books show buildings to the
west of the Goods shed. I have looked through your very extensive
web site, but again
none of the photos show the large repair shed On the plan I have,
the repair (or engineers shed) was as large as the Engine shed.
As I indicated in the email sent
previously I have photos of the Engine Shed and Goods Shed, but
the repair shed was the third shed in the area.
The repair shed on the plan I have by the LMS shows the repair
shed further round to the west of both the engine and goods shed.
There used to be three sheds. I have looked on Google Satellite
and you can see where the tracks used to run
into the repair shed to the west of the goods shed.
Unfortunately the repair shed was torn
down after 1968 but I am unsure when exactly this occurred.
For the purpose of my rail layout the
repair shed would still have been in existence and operational.
The plan I have indicates that there were offices over the repair
Once again thank you very much for your
assistance, and if you are able to throw any light on the third
shed it would really be appreciated.
from Anthony is below in which he explains his choice of North
Wales for his mammoth modelling task.
In reply to your query
as to why I am modelling Wales.
It seems that in
reading 1000s of railway magazines many people’s interest in
railways sprung from their childhood
contacts, I am no different, although in my case it was not by
seeing the prototype locos and stations.
As a child of about 8
years I had a fairly eccentric great uncle. He owned nearly many
Hornby items from the mid 60s and earlier in O gauge.
He had a room in which these treasures were stored on shelves at
least 2.5 metres wide and extending to the ceiling.
At the age when I was talking and visiting him he was in his 70s
and no longer able to climb on a ladder to access his marvellous
collection of models.
I was given a privilege of climbing around the room, pull-out a
model, show my uncle only to be told that he had not seen that
model for at least 30 years.
This provided many afternoons of entertainment for both myself
and my uncle.
We were both equally delighted with the models. One of his
models was the Flying Scotsman, which I thought was a great
I am now 53 years of
age and have been in the Australian Army for nearly 30 years. I
have moved around Australia for most of these
30 years, but as said in my last email, we have finally moved
into the last house my family will occupy, as I shall retire in
the next 2-5 years.
Hence I was able to build the shed which allows me to build the
36’X16’ layout. I have been interested in railways since my
childhood as explained above.
I decided to model
Peterborough, including both the LNER and LMS part of the
station and lines.
When I attempted to do the track plan for it there were real
problems in modelling the approaches to the station, the track
was absolutely huge and the surrounding county was relatively
flat and boring.
I spent an afternoon
with a friend of mine in Brisbane looking for a Mainline that
included a couple of smaller stations, ran an expansive
number of passenger and freight operations and included a large
station capable of being modelled, while providing
a challenging freight environment for shunting operations and
We looked through a
number of books on stations pre Nationalisation. I found Conwy,
Penmaenmawr and Bangor
in the book Chester to Holyhead Railway by V.R. Anderson and
The stations are attractive as Conwy has the fantastic castle
and medieval town wall to model, is on a river, has 3
fantastic bridges, a small freight shunting area and a few
Penmaenmawr is on the
sea, is a picturesque holiday town, has a fantastic mountain
right next to it which includes
a marvellous rail and road viaduct between the ocean and
I am also going to slightly distort reality and operate the
light rail facility which moved the granite for the mountain to
the main line rail service.
I understand that this closed some years earlier but will take
some licence, as it will give me the opportunity to model a
Welsh quarry light railway.
Bangor is a great
station to model given its position in a valley with tunnels at
It is quite large And from my reading was a hub for rail freight
traffic in the area in the early 60s, allowing a great variety
in the types of goods subject to movement to and through the
Given it was a primary station on the route to Ireland, this
would also provide varied freight requirements.
I have been modelling
Napoleonic miniatures for the last 35 years. I have a collection
of 3,500 hand painted 15 mm figures which I have put a lot of
The challenge of
producing a model railway layout of a specific location for a
specific period is
challenging, given the amount of research required to accurately
model the stations.
I have been told by
numerous modellers that I have no hope of completing this task,
but I have always been determined and
am expecting to spend 15 to 20 years in completing the whole
I shall divide the
venture into 3 to make the task more manageable and resist burn
constructing base boards of sufficient quality for a layout the
whole layout would see me conducting this task
for many months with no variety and little satisfaction that I
had really moved forward.
Accordingly I shall begin with Conwy to the stage of building
the base bards, laying track, ballasting
and completing at least a fair proportion of the scenery. Once
completed I shall move onto Penmaenmawr.
My Army career has
taught the value of properly planning.
I have been planning now for 9 months and will need to continue
No plan remains totally static and should be subject to
Realistically my completion date for the whole layout is 15 to
20 years, but Conwy and then Penmaenmawr are a much closer
I am recruiting local
railway enthusiast to assist in my layout.
In direct answer to
your question, I am not Welsh but decided on a layout in the UK
due to the great Flying Scotsman model I saw about 45 years ago.
The great thing is that as a result of seeing your (6G) and
Wales Coast Railway) rail sites I understand that both the
Flying Scotsman and the
Blue Peter visited the North
Welsh Coast line in 1966.
My great Uncle would
be very impressed if he were alive today.
This means that I can legitimately have both of these LNER locos
running a holiday excursion train on my layout while retaining a
sense of reality.
I also plan on having some conserved LMS maroon engines as well!
I hope I have not
bored you too much with my ramblings and enthusiasm for the
task! If you are interested in seeing the Conwy
part of my plan I am happy to send it to you.
I have gone down to allotment level and using
Google Street view to record the design of many of the
houses and shops within the Town walls.
Your assistance is
An email from Bob
Barnsdale in answer to Anthony's above appeal is reproduced
From Bangor station, I have been told/remember, 2nd loco
shed with later roof (still standing), then 1st loco shed/later
shed (still standing) - only known photo of this building as a
loco shed Bill Rear Collection Llandudno Archives; then engineers
office workshops damaged by fire
1960's now demolished.
Yours Bob Barnsdale
An email I sent
to Anthony yesterday and his reply with two shots of where the
layout will be housed are shown below.
I have had a couple of replies to
your query which I have copied below.
Bob Barnsdale (below) mentioned
Norman Kneale who is a very well known railway photographer
who has had several books published, and who helped
me with rare shots when I started the website many years
By coincidence I was working in
Menai Bridge Anglesey today and decided to call on Norman,
lives there, to ask if he had any recollections of the
He does remember the building but
remembers it mainly as an engineers office not a repair shop
He tells me that he has recently sold his vast collection of
slides from that era so can’t provide any
photo evidence which is what I was hoping for
but he did suggest a book titled “Chester and Holyhead
Railway” by Greg Fox and Anderson in which he is certain
there are photos of the structure in question.
I hope this is of help.
John Hobbs sent
in this detail.
There is a view of the
District Engineers Workshop at Bangor in Scenes from the Past
: Part 14; The railways of North Wales-
Bangor by W.G.Rear, look at Page 8; the lower photograph;
a view across the west end of the station; at the right hand
side, the end elevation of the District Engineers
Office/Workshop can be seen;it is dated circa 1920.
(ex – 6G) sent in this detail.
Hi Geoff, after general discussion with
several ex railway men etc. engineers office/workshop partly
stood on stilts, brick built, and possibly
three floors. perhaps Norman Kneale would have further details,
A reply from
Anthony is shown below along with two photos of the large shed
which will house the layout.
Thank you for your
reply. I have looked through the book Chester to Holyhead and
there is no picture of the Engineers Office/Workshop in it.
That is definitely the building under consideration.
On a positive side
page 8 of the book by WG Rear Railways of North Wales Bangor is
right on the mark and shows one side of the building in
I have the book but missed that picture and caption. I have also
realised that the colour picture on the back of that book also
contains a different
angle view of the same building (a porch with rails and posts
outlined in white are prominent)
The picture provided by Charlie Hume also has this building on
the left background and provides further detail.
I feel I have enough
material to have a fair idea of the building all thanks to your
assistance with the web site.
I have enclosed a
couple of photos. One shows my efforts in partially insulating
The other show an excellent location for a little piece of Welsh
history and gives an idea of the size available for the layout.
Thank you very much.
My reply to
Anthony is shown below.
Anthony, Glad you now have enough detail for your structure.
is going to be something special, I’m sure, so please send me a
photo when it is up and running.
have published the shots of the shed on the NEWSPAGE as I know
it has created much interest with enthusiasts.
again for all your detail and the best of luck with the layout.
am in the process of designing a new page by Chris Evans which
shows his layout of Llandudno Junction in the 60’s and the main
line passing Conwy castle
keep watching the site for publication as it will probably be of
interest to you.
PROGRESS REPORT :
JANUARY 15th 2013.
Anthony tells me that he has finished
weather proofing, insulating and priming the shed.
He has begun construction of the base boards for Conwy and he
has sent in photos shown below to show the progress.
Luckily Anthony's family are behind his project as he tells me
that his wife and mother - in - law are commencing to paint the
shed walls with a sea and sky back scene. It will fill the wall
and be 8 feet high.
Anthony tells me that although he has track plans for Bangor,
Penmaenmawr and Conwy stations he would appreciate any plans of
Penmaenmawr station and quarry or Conwy station and goods
sidings along with other buildings etc as
at the moment he only has photographs to base his detail on.
An email from
David Stapleton is reproduced below.
If anybody can help please email me through the link on the
I have just been looking at the 6G Llandudno Junction
website and found it fascinating.
I spent 8 years running on holiday at Llandudno in the 1960s
so know the area well.
Anyway, I was really interested in the hundreds of photos on
the site from the 1950s and 1960s, the reason being
I am trying to locate photographs of a particular engine –
Class 3F 47266 (Jinty).
Research has shown that it spent time at the following
Crewe South 5B
Sowerby Bridge 25E
Holyhead 6J (1963/65)
Chester 6A (1966)
Given the Chester and Holyhead connections I was wondering
if you might have any idea as to the sort of duties
it might have been employed on during this time? Also if you
might suggest where I might find
photographs of this particular engine? Any advice or
information would be most welcome.
P.S. Pleas excuse my lack of knowledge as I am fairly new to
started this week on the revamp of Llandudno station.
A 3.5m Welsh
Government investment which includes European Regional
Development Fund structural funding, 1.5m from
the Department for Transports National Stations Improvement
Programme plus £150,000 from the Railway Heritage Trust has
Buckingham Group Contractors Ltd to be given the go ahead to
start work this week.
will provide a new frontage and ticket office, improved bus
facilities and customer information systems.
A request by
Nigel Bown on LOCAL RAILWAY NEWS
PAGE (1) for identification of a location in a photo has
had a response from John Powell.
I have copied the original request and photo below along with
John Powell's response.
An email and an appeal for help with the location,
in the photo below from Nigel Bown, is reproduced below.
The engine is an LMS 4P Fowler 4-4-0 (3-Cylinder) compound
numbered 925 (BR No. 40925) built 1927.
If anyone can help please use the email link on the
Is this pic of interest ?
It`s another " mystery " from North Wales or so it seems because
the loco was apparently shedded at Llandudno Junction [ 6G ] pre
Would John Powell or anyone be able to determine the location?
Many thanks in anticipation and Best Regards, Nigel.
REPLY FROM JOHN POWELL.
Now this latest query
postcard of Compound No 925 for Nigel. Enclosed below is a photo
that I have managed to dig up. I feel pretty sure it is taken at
end of Penmaenrhos tunnel
where there was a siding, and coaches and wagons were stored
during the winter months here and further along the down slow
Abergele station. Llysfaen
is built on a mountain, so the houses in the background give a
clue as well. I would date the photo around the middle 1930s up
to ww2, and
it could be a Chester to
Llandudno stopper. 925 was built in 1927 at Vulcan foundry and
came to 7A from possibly new and remained up to June 1957, and
to 5A, and was withdrawn
October 12th 2012.
An email from Alan Roberts is reproduced below with a different
opinion on the above puzzle.
Been looking at the mystery photo submitted by Nigel Bown
with comments from John Powell.
Looking at the photo - to me it doesn't look like a photo
taken east of Penmaenrhos tunnel.
The photo appears to have been taken further south,
probably in the Midlands?. The 6G loco may be on a working
well away from North Wales.
The only clues I have in the photo are LNW telegraph poles
but the wooden fencing appears to be Midland Railway style as
most fencing in our area
LNWR were in favour of iron spike railings.
Also the location of the houses on the right are not the
ones at Llysfaen or Llanddulas - on this side of the line
there would have been a quarry.
The siding on the left is on a much higher level.
Penmaenrhos siding east of the tunnel was on the same level as
the main line.
The siding for Kneeshaw Lupton Quarry was on the opposite
side and did rise away from the main line as it fell towards
The stabling of coaching stock took place on the slow
lines between Llanddulas and Abergele during the winter
I will have a look where the mystery location was
taken maybe through books etc - again I think it may be more
Midland than North Wales to me.