Steam Collections





December 23rd 2015.

Roger Carvell has come up with another early gem shown below, this time from August 1944, showing unrebuilt Royal Scot 6137 approaching the Junction with a
Crewe - Holyhead express.

Unrebuilt 'Royal Scot' 6137 'The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire)' approaches Llandudno Junction with a train from Chester and Crewe in August 1944,
when the war in Europe had opened up a new front sweeping in from Normandy.

There is little evidence of that in this glorious, peaceful, summer view of a well-turned out 'Scot' heading, it has to be said, a grubby, weary-looking rake of
 assorted GW and LMS coaching stock, perhaps full of on-leave sailors, soldiers and airmen, heading west to 
Bangor and Holyhead and beyond.

6137 was to run a further ten years with its original 1927 Fowler-design boiler, before gaining a Stanier taper boiler in 1955, becoming the
 last of the Royal Scots to be rebuilt. In its earliest LMS days it bore the name 'Vesta' before 'joining the army'  in March 1936.

At withdrawal in Nov 1962 this locomotive had travelled over two million miles in 35 years of service and had used no less than
 fifteen boilers, the last two of taper design.

 At the time of photography 6137 was a Crewe North (5A) engine; as BR 46137 it only spent a few summer months based in
 North Wales, a Holyhead engine (6J) from May to August 1957.
(Roger Carvell)


December 22nd 2015.

A shot by Dave Wood of 46100 "Royal Scot" with support coach on yesterday's movement from Crewe HT to Carnforth is shown below.
It will be on a loaded test run today at Carnforth, before it's planned run on the Settle and Carlisle.

46100 will be making a visit to the North Wales Coast on February 6th 2016 with a NWCE from Carnforth to Holyhead, and return, on
it's first inaugural main line tour in preservation.


December 7th 2015.

Roger Carvell submitted this view of a class 31 at 6G in the early 90's before the Conwy salt marshes were reclaimed in order to build the present Tesco store.
The view shows the open aspect that existed before Ffordd 6G and the Tesco store were built and even Conwy castle can be seen on the background.

BR Departmental Class 31, 31154, stands in the yard at Llandudno Junction with the driver aboard and awaiting the 'peg'. The locomotive is in the BR Engineer's
so-called 'Dutch' livery of grey and yellow, a nice combination of mid-range colours, if kept clean!

31154 started life in late 1959, after completion as 'D5572' It would have emerged in green livery with white stripes and a grey roof, with a small yellow
warning panel added by 1964, It spent much of the 1960s, allocated to March shed, '31B', and would have been a familiar sight out
in Fenland as well as in the Eastern Region's London area.

Re-numbered '31154' in 1974 and sporting drab rail blue, by the end of that decade it would have moved on to fresh pastures as BR's locomotive requirements were
 'reshaped', (meaning scrappings of less-capable engines!).
31154 was withdrawn in 1999 and languished in storage for a few years before being broken up at Rotherham in 2006.

31154 does have one claim to fame. Triang Railways produced a very good model, for its time, of an 'OO' and 'TT' gauge Brush Type 2 in the early 1960s, and one version, 
in the nice green and white stripes livery, was numbered 'D5572'. I have had one since new in the 1960s and it is still in the loft, alas, repainted rail blue.

( date and photographer unknown ) - Roger Carvell.


December 4th 2015.

Two shots of the RHTT water cannon at Royston on the Cambridge branch by Roger Carvell are shown below.

Here is my pic of the leaf-buster water cannon in action, taken recently at Royston, on the Cambridge branch.

 This is GBRf's operation, with 66724 'Drax Power Station' and 66720, getting very dirty!

In a week or two the job will be done and the NR tanks will be run back
to York again, then cleaned and stored again until next autumn.
(Roger Carvell)


December 3rd 2015.

Roger Carvell has come up with another rare shot. Roger tells me that he found this little gem in a Kodak box of postcard-sized prints during
his recent visit to the NEC. The original caption stated that this view was Llandudno Junction but it has been pointed out by David Hughes and Derek Williams
that this is not the case. Any further help with the location would be appreciated.

'One of Webb's 'Cauliflower' 0-6-0s, 8347, stands at an unknown shed in 1937. These L&NWR engines, introduced in
1880 eventually totalled a class of 310 locomotives; a handful were withdrawn before the LMS took hold but some
became BR-numbered and carried on into the mid-1950s, mainly in the Lake District.
  They were generally goods engines, but were often used for passenger and express passenger pilot work. Speeds of
up to 75 mph were not unknown!
 8347 has had modifications since building, a Belpaire firebox for instance and other minor changes.
 This example has spoked driving wheels - others had the distinctive Crewe 'H' section wheels, said to be cheaper to make.

 'Midlandisation' has appeared, with a newish Derby-built Fowler 2P 4-4-0 standing behind the "Cauliflower".

The photo is copyright of the S.V Blencowe Collection but the original photographer is unknown.


November 22nd 2015.

Garry Sherwood writes that he owns the smokebox numberplate of Black Five 45225, which was often seen locally during the "Glorious years" and was
 coded at Bangor and Mold shed amongst others.

I have shown John Powell's great shot of the engine below, at Llandudno in 1962, and also below that, a photo of Gary's proud possession.

Llandudno station August 8th 1962 showing excursion trains ready for return trips.
Black Five 45225 for Uttoxetor, alongside Jubilee 45663 "Jervis" and Station pilot 41278 far right.


November 3rd 2015.

Another rare shot of 7A from Roger Carvell.

  A nice portrait of pull-push-fitted ex-LNWR Webb 2-4-2T No. 6667 at Llandudno Junction in April 1939. 6667 was built as LNWR '2148'
and rolled out in June 1893 from Crewe Works.

2148 gained its LMS number '6667' in August 1928. It was a '7A' engine in the late 1930s but upon withdrawal in March 1946 it was
 allocated to '1C', Watford Junction.

 6667 never gained a BR number but it had served its shareholders well, having a life span of 52 years 8 months.

 It was cut up at Crewe Works in 1946, birthplace - and graveyard of so many fine LNWR locomotives.


November 1st 2015.

A nice B & W shot of Stanier 8F No. 8624 at Quorn and Woodhouse on the Great Central Railway, possible 2011, by Martin Hearne.

Hello Geoff,
I can’t quite remember when I took this photo, but it was on black-and-white film, which I still use for some events at the
Great Central Railway, especially their 1940s weekend.

 I think it was in June 2011.

 The engine has appeared in different liveries from time to time, including Crimson Lake, distressed black, and black gloss.

 It always looks quite impressive.

Best regards,


November 1st 2015.

An email and photo by Roger Carvell is reproduced below.

"Royal Scot "46100 was running-in on October 10th 2015 during the big Severn Valley Railway steam gala.

Here she (or he) is crossing my train at Hampton Loade.

46100's debut on the North Wales Coast line is eagerly awaited- anything to counter this new Great Western influence at Llandudno!

All the best,  Roger Carvell.


November 1st 2015.

It had to happen! The weekday's Hoo Jct (Kent) to Whitemoor (Cambridgeshire) engineering train,
 seen here, triple-headed, on the DCF route last Friday lunchtime (29/10/15).

A chum who works for Freightliner tells me that the weekdays Hoo Junction (Kent) to Whitemoor (Cambridgeshire)
working is a Network Rail requirement, so any company can join in although Colas is the prime mover so to speak, mainly shifting spent ballast and old track panels. But
occasionally other freight companies use the train to get spare locos into East Anglia for weekend engineering trains. Presumably rostered drivers have to go to
the locos wherever they are in the country from their own homes.

 If anyone enquires, 'DCF' is 'Down Cambridge Flyover'- at Hitchin where it carries trains to Cambridge and beyond over the East Coast Main Line.
It hasn't stopped enthusiasts going to Cambridge looking for a seemingly non-existing flyover! It is not yet on Google maps, despite being completed for two years.

70 810 heads 66 731 and 66 539.

Roger Carvell.


October 23rd 2015.

A rare photo of a North Stafford 2-4-0 at Llandudno is shown below courtesy of Roger Carvell.

Spotted this pic of a North Stafford 2-4-0 in the September issue of BackTrack.

Class 19 2-4-0 No.15 is inside a very neat-looking Llandudno station (note the smoke guards
above). I have never seen this picture before.

It seems that the Class 19 (only three engines) was the last type of 2-4-0 design in England, under CME J.H. Adams,at Stoke. No.15 was rolled out in
 July 1906 but never made the grouping, being scrapped in 1920.
 It must have looked splendid in the madder lake livery but its early demise suggests it was already an obsolete design when built.

Roger Carvell.


August 4th 2015.

Black Five 45231 after passing through Tal y Cafn with the outward leg of today's Preston - Blaenau "Welsh Mountaineer".

Dave Wood caught the Black Five earlier at Winwick.

The Black Five at Winwick with the return leg.

[45231 Stalled near Betws-y-Coed. Return started from North Llanrwst]


August 2nd 2015.

Royal Scot class 46115 "Scots Guardsman" with the outward leg of the NWCE at Whiston this morning is shown below.

Another shot of the above train passing through Colwyn Bay station with the outward leg. The train was late leaving Chester but made up most of the time by the time it
reached Colwyn Bay. I don't know what speed it recorded here but it was just like the old days as it shuddered the station as it thundered through very fast.

This shot shows 46115 on the Valley triangle being turned before reversing into Holyhead for the homeward leg.

As you travel across the Britannia Bridge by train, you can't help but notice the four stone lions, a pair located on each corner of the bridge.

The beasts were created in 1848 by Victorian sculptor John Thomas (1813 – 1862). These feline sentinels, created from limestone, are about 25ft (8m) long and weigh in the region of 8 tons each.

After the devastating fire of 1970 Robert Stephenson's bridge had to be rebuilt and now the A55 traffic crosses over the Menai Straits above a hidden railway crossing which is still watched over by the lions.

The photo below shows how the bridge used to look before the fire and my photo below that shows Royal Scot class 46115 "Scots Guardsman" with the homeward leg of today's North Wales Coast Express
 crossing the railway bridge hidden from the traffic on the busy A55 Expressway above.

Three shots of the above train by relief signaller Alan Roberts passing 6G signal box with the outward leg, en route to Holyhead, are shown below.


August 1st 2015.

Two shots of "Semi" 46233 "Duchess of Sutherland" passing Eccleston Park this morning with the Crewe - Liverpool - Carlisle CME are shown below.


Ieuan Wood also caught the return leg of the above train at St Helens Junction this evening.


July 19th 2015.
Jubilee 45699 "Galatea" at Whiston today with the outward leg of the North Wales Coast Express Liverpool - Holyhead - Liverpool.

Another shot of the outward leg at Mochdre approaching Station Road bridge, at the site of the worlds first water troughs which were later lifted and re-sited at Aber as
the water supply from the river at Mochdre was unpredictable, en route to Holyhead before failing at Llandudno Junction.
The rest of the tour was taken over by the diesel backup.

45699 failed at Llandudno Junction , with a hot box, shortly after this photo was taken.

The diesel took over the tour and "Galatea" returned tender first with it's support coach to Carnforth leaving 6G at 16.50 this afternoon


July 18th 2015.

LMS 'Coronation' class 46233 "Duchess of Sutherland" at Eccleston Park with today's outward leg of the Cumbrian Mountain Express.


July 11th 2015.

(Class 37) 37057 'Viking', at Llandudno Junction in 1999, it's first full year in operation on the well-remembered Manchester and Birmingham to Holyhead services.

If I remember correctly, these 37/0 derivatives were not equipped for heating trains and I think 37057 was moved on after 2000 to pastures new as the better
heat equipped 37/4 sub-class arrived.

37057 started life at Thornaby (51L) in October 1962 as D6757 and for many years was a strictly North Eastern and later Eastern Region locomotive.

 The EE Type 3, as a class, was extremely rare along the coast in BR days and from recollection, I only saw two there in twenty years! In the run-up to
privatisation, the Type 3 finally arrived in North Wales.

Remarkably, 37057 'Viking' is still with us after 53 years- it is now undergoing re-certification for use on Network Rail, Harry Needle Railroad Co, doing the work.

I saw it at its base, Barrow Hill, two years ago and then it was in a much corroded state around the lower body panels. But in preservation, miracles
happen! I look forward to seeing it again soon.

Roger Carvell.

With reference to my above posting about EE Type 3 37057 at the 'Junction', a chum has emailed (by phone!) a pic of the loco
as it is now, back as BR D6757 complete with 51L Thornaby  shedplate. In other words 'as delivered' in 1962. D6757 is seen
on the Weardale Railway this weekend, photographer, anon. It's a bit non-North Wales as a topic but I know people often wonder
'whatever happened to loco so and so'. D6757 looks transformed, but, like steam locos in preservation, you have to keep on top
of them, mechanically and appearance-wise.
Roger Carvell.


July 10th 2015.
LMS-built Black 5 4-6-0 45001 leaves Llandudno Junction with an afternoon local train for Bangor. It was photographed by a Mr A.G. Ellis on August 29,1959.
At this time, 45001 was a Mold Junction engine (6B) but by the end of 1959 it had moved to Crewe South (5B) but returned to the '6' area in in June 1966, staying at
Holyhead (6J) until December that year, then moving to its final allocation, Carnforth, (10A) on December 10, 1966.

 Withdrawal came on March 31,1968. Drapers of Hull, situated at Neptune St goods yard, did the dreaded deed and the engine ceased  
to exist after June 1968. Built at Crewe in April 1935 as LMS 5001, BR 45001 had a very creditable 32 years and ten months to its name.

Those with an eye for detail will notice 45001 has been updated with AWS equipment but retains its early 1950s BR livery and retains its short firebox and
'domeless' boiler. No two Black Fives were ever alike, even in a class of 842 locomotives. Modellers note!
Roger Carvell.


July 10th 2015.

Return leg of 'The White Rose' special on July 7th 2015 from King's Cross to York and back. Luckily the sun behaved itself by staying!
 Approaching Hitchin, 32 miles to go.


June 30th 2015.

Two shots by Dave Wood of today's London Victoria - Chester "Farewell to Clan Line" tour.
BR(S) Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 no 35028 Clan Line with the engines last tour before overhaul.

This shot was taken at Hargrave, Cheshire.

The admiring crowds gather around at Chester.

Roger Carvell caught the engine earlier at 'Three Locks' just north of Leighton Buzzard en route to Chester


June 23rd 2015.

Saturday's (20/06/15) Tyseley - Llandudno "Welsh Dragon" showing the outward leg at Mochdre with the "Castle" at the rear.

The train was diesel hauled to Llandudno to enable boiler first running with the homeward leg from Llandudno to Tyseley by GWR Castle
Class 4-6-0 no 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.


June 7th 2015.

BR Britannia Class 7MT 4-6-2 no 70000 'Britannia' at Warrington Bank Quay with the "Cumbrian Fells Express" on

Saturday May 30th 2015.



June 7th 2015.

A shot by Ieuan Wood below shows GWR Castle Class 4-6-0 no 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe storming through Shotton with the

returning  Llandudno - Tyseley "Seaside Flyer" on Saturday May 23rd 2015.


April 24th 2015.

Another little gem from Roger Carvell is shown below.

BR-built Riddles Class 2, 2-6-2T 84001 stands, wreathed in steam-heat, inside Llandudno's spacious train shed, c.1963-64.
 The driver looks on as the fireman bends down in the four foot to 'tame' the steam heating hose on the buffer beam.

 The single headlamp suggests a local to Llandudno Junction.

84001 was built at Crewe in 1953 and after a short stay at Crewe North, headed north to Plodder Lane, Bolton, before
re-allocation into the '6' district, with spells at Birkenhead, Chester Northgate, Wrexham Rhosddu, Warrington (Dallam) and finally
 at Llandudno Junction in December 1962. 84001 became very much a local engine.
Withdrawal came in October 1964 at '6G'. 84001 was then sold to Hughes Bolckow of North Blyth, north of Newcastle, becoming
 one of only 19 ex-BR steam locomotives to broken up in their yard next to the North Sea.

 84001 was reduced to lumps of high-quality steel in January 1965.

 Messrs Hughes Bolckow were long-established north east ship breakers and scrapping steam-and diesel- locomotives was very
much a side line, probably carried out to keep gangs of men busy during lulls in ship breaking.

Roger Carvell.



'1638' a 'U' Class 2-6-0, captured heading north out of Horsted Keynes to
East Grinstead, by Roger Carvell, with a wedding special, Saturday, April 18, 2015.


April 6th 2015.

Here is a study of BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0 73096 at Llandudno Junction,
taken by photographer J.Alsop on August 2, 1964, although I doubt if that date is 
correct. It bears a poorly painted '6C' shedcode on the smokebox door but
73096 wasn't re-allocated to '6C', Croes Newydd, Wrexham until June 19, 1965, (for only
about four weeks) having transferred in from Nuneaton, '5E' .Llandudno Junction only ever had three allocated BR Standard
 Class 5s and 73096 was not one of them. 

I suspect this photo was taken in late summer 1965. There is an unidentifiable shedcode painted above '6C' and I would put my money on
 the engine now being based at Patricroft.
 That shed's BR Standard Class 5s- a large number- were everyday performers down the coast.

73096 has the happy distinction of being a locomotive now preserved and is currently
at Carnforth for another overhaul after active preservation and main line running,
based on the Mid-Hants Railway.
A further, minor distinction, is that it was allocated new to Patricroft shed, then coded '10C', in November 1955 and returned to
 the Manchester shed in July 1965 to be coded '9H'.
 Eventual withdrawal took place in November 1967, exactly twelve years since new at Patricroft- less than the
expected lifespan of a modern family car!

Roger Carvell



March 28 th 2015.

Jubilee 45690 "Leander" storms through Warrington Bank Quay with today's Preston - Crewe - Nantwich - Shrewsbury and return Salopian Express.


March 26th 2015.

Attached is another view of Llandudno station.

 It is the first I have seen showing all four 'Euston-style' roof spans.

An almost new Black Five, 5100, is ready to leave with a home-going
excursion, while on the extreme left another new engine of the Stanier era, a spotless taper boiler 2-6-2T is acting as pilot.
 Under the magnifier the stock it is shunting appears to be a rake of four-wheel coaches.
 A bit of diligent research suggests they could be ex-North Staffordshire Railway stock, perhaps not L&NWR or Midland Railway.

 Even at the date of this photograph (Jim Peden collection) c.1935, four-wheelers would be rare on the main line.

 Elsewhere on the LMS, ex-North London Rly four-wheelers lasted up to WW2, but confined to
north and east London suburban lines.

5100 became 45100 at nationalisation in 1948 and from then onwards, the engine only served two sheds, Carlisle Kingmoor and
Carlisle Canal; 45100 was withdrawn as early as October 1963.

Roger Carvell.


March 16th 2015.

Here is a view of the east end of Llandudno Junction shed, taken by H.B. Priestley on Thursday August 2, 1962.

The fireman is out oiling Crewe North's 45289, while behind, 6G's Royal Scot 46144 'Honourable Artillery Company' stands, awaiting
its next important turn.

45289 was a rather nomadic engine, being allocated to no fewer than 15 sheds since nationalisation. It came to '6G' in summer 1963 after serving
at Mold Junction from February 1963.
 Prior to that, it had been briefly stationed at Holyhead between July and September 1959. In 1964, despite dieselisation, 45289 transferred into the Midland
Division at '15A' Leicester and was withdrawn at Colwick '16B' in November 1966. Cashmore's
at Great Bridge cut her up in March 1967.

46144's career was less adventurous, having only six different shedplates since nationalisation, reflecting its specialist express passenger capabilities.
 46144 came to Llandudno Junction in September 1961 and stayed until June 1963, going to Crewe North for its last allocation;
it was scrapped in January 1964, presumably at Crewe Works.

Roger Carvell.


March 16th 2015.

B1 4-6-0 No. 61306 'Mayflower' at Clapham Junction, on February 14, 2015, going down from London Victoria to Eastleigh. Later in the day it had
returned to Victoria and then did an evening 'Brighton Line Bash'. Smoky?!!! 

It does have a North Wales Line connection, 61306 being used for ballast working from the 'Pen' on March 5, 1966.

Roger Carvell.


February 3rd 2015.

40324 was one of a batch of three Johnson 2P 4-4-0s built at Derby for the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway, as '41',  entering service
in April 1921. Absorbed into LMS stock in 1930, the engine would have then lost its smart SDJR Prussian blue livery to LMS black
with the LMS number '324'.

Here she is, many years later, in early 'spelt out' BR black livery at Llandudno Junction, On August 8, 1952, 40324 was engaged in carriage pilot duties. 
Its stay at Llandudno Junction was short, a few summer weeks, beginning on July 12 1952 before moving on to Rhyl on October 4, that year.
 Two months later 40324 was condemned after a respectable working life of 31 years.

Corridor coach M6785 is of some interest, being one of Sir William Stanier's earliest examples of carriage design.
 M6785  seen here in BR's 'blood and custard' livery.

 The shallow window ventilators soon gave way to the more familiar, deeper version which was then perpetuated in the classic BR Mark One coach.
 The application of the coach number to the left hand side was an early BR livery feature that did not last long.

 Perhaps there is a 'carriage and wagon' painting minute in the National Archive at Kew that could tell us why the change from left to right!

Roger Carvell.


January 28th 2015.

Another nice 6G shot from Roger Carvell.

I am indebted to G.W. Sharpe for this photo of Stanier 2-6-2T 40093 allocated to Llandudno Junction in June 1960.

 Mr Sharpe has nicely captured the engine over the inspection pit by the water tower in September 1960.
 40093 was a Derby-built engine, rolled out new as '93' on May 16, 1935. By 1948 it was a Heaton Mersey (Stockport)
locomotive and then led a nomadic life via smaller former LNW sheds before arriving at '6G' from the rather bigger Longsight shed in Manchester.

The saying goes, 'if it looks right, it will go right'. Sadly,the 2-6-2T, despite its neat looks, didn't perform that well
in everyday service, gaining a reputation for indifferent steaming performance.

Steaming improvements, such as larger chimneys, heating surfaces and in few cases bigger boilers didn't really solve the problem and the
Stanier 2-6-2T soon became overshadowed by the similar but bigger and better 2-6-4Ts which really did set the pace for fast suburban work.

 The LMS had to wait until H.G.Ivatt's post war 2-6-2T design to rectify matters in the lower power category.
 That said, the Stanier 2-6-2T was happy enough pottering on branch line, banking,and light freight work- an ideal design for North Wales.
40093 was condemned in January 1962 and by May 1963 had been broken up by Cashmores at Great Bridge. Tipton, Staffordshire.


January 7th 2014.

A typical Penmaenmawr ballast train, from Sid Wainwright's book 'Rails to North Wales'.

 This shows 8F 48667 wheeling a typical ballast train out of North Wales in 1960.

These are the pway trains I remember, using 'Catfish' or similar bottom/side discharge wagons.

These would be ready to go on site at weekends to unload at the behest of the Divisional Chief Civil Engineer.

  Pway men liked low wagons they could sling a shovel in and out of!

Roger Carvell.


  January 6th 2015.

Another archive photo dug out by Roger Carvell opens this new page.

To kick off 2015, attached is an L. Hanson photograph, taken on August 8, 1934, of ex-LNWR 'Coal Tank' 7802, at Llandudno Junction.
 It seems to be standing in one of the bay platforms at the west end of the station.

History, via the internet, states that 7803 was completed at Crewe in September 1888 as '1068'. The LMS renumbered it as '7803' before nationalisation saw BR 
'paper' allocate '58928'. There is no evidence that it actually carried this number as withdrawal as '7803' came about in January 1951 at Monument Lane (3E) shed. 

A year after this photograph was taken, 7803 was recorded by the camera at its new home, Monument Lane, Birmingham (3E)

1948 found 7803 allocated to Springs Branch, Wigan (10A) before making its last transfer, in a working life of over 60 years, back to Monument Lane.


January 6th 2015.

Dave Wood caught this engine movement on December 24th 2014 at Parkside Junction.

It shows double - headed Black Fives 44871 and 45407 with a Southall WCRC - Castleton Hopwood for the ELR at Bury.


January 6th 2015.

4464 Bittern, making its last public run, a King's Cross to Lincoln and return excursion, on 
December 30th 2014. A major overhaul is now required.

The engine is seen making excellent progress, right time, as it approaches Hitchin from the south, at Great Wymondley,
a village that still has Great Northern Railway-built railway cottages.