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30 August 2010
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Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page
This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the all rail staff of North Wales.
Friday 3 September Clwyd Railway Circle Larry Davies: British Rail in 1987. In the first half of the show, Larry will present a variety of slides taken in 1987 of his travels that year. These include a Scottish Rover, when there was a variety of motive power that we would die for today. In the second half, 'Lost lines in North Wales' we are taken on a trip down memory lane from Prestatyn to Dyserth, Rhyl to Denbigh and Ruthin to Corwen.
10-12 September. Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala celebrating 175th anniversary of GWR and 35 years of Llangollen Railway reopening with expected return of 7822 Foxcote Manor after ten year boiler overhaul.
Monday 13 September Wrexham Railway Society Rocket 150: the Final Great Cavalcade of British Steam? Thirty years on from Rainhill 1980 a review of the celebrations of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway including a Super 8 colour film of the famous Cavalcade.
Tuesday 14 September. 8E Association Glynn Parry: Under, Up & Over. Merseyrail, Overhead & Snowdon – A Connection?
Tuesday 21 September North Wales Railway Circle Garry Hughes: Wartime Locomotives, courtesy of B & R Videos.
Friday 1 October Clwyd Railway Circle Edgar Richards: Freight in North Wales and the North West. A combined collection of slides taken by Dave Airey and our well respected speaker.
2-3 October. Llangollen Railway Diesel weekend. Intensive service by the mainline diesels supported by one of the railcars.
Sunday 3 October: The annual Tram and Bus show at Pacific Road Birkenhead
Monday 4 October: RCTS Port Sunlight Harry Madden: MERSEYSIDE TRANSPORT. A miscellany of trains, trams, buses and shipping from both sides of the River Mersey.
Tuesday 5 October North Wales Railway Circle David Lindsay: Statfold Barn Railway visit.
Monday 11 October. Wrexham Railway Society Preserved Steam on Video - the 2010 mainline steam action with PSOV.
Tuesday 12 October. 8E Association Charles Roberts (RCTS): 80s and 90s Irish Railways.
Saturday 16 October Llangollen Railway: Growler Group Members' Day. 6940 (37 240) will be making six return trips between Llangollen & Carrog. Tickets are available for non-members of the Group.
Monday 18 October RCTS Chester Tony Keeley: 50 YEARS BEHIND THE LENS. Tony’s presentation covers his career working for Beyer Peacock in South America and Europe through to the present day.
Tuesday 19 October North Wales Railway Circle Bill Rogerson :Sardinia Railways.
23-31 October. Llangollen Railway Day out with Thomas. the half term event featuring No.1.
29 - 31 October Merseyside Model Railway Society exhibition at the Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead. Trams will be in operation on the adjacent tramway.
See the Calendar page for more details.
Cambrian Coast halt: an ex-GWR 2-6-0 calls at Llandanwg, c. 1960. From a painting by Kevin Parrish - the original painting in oils (12inx9in) is for sale by the artist at £550 including gold frame and postage and packing See item below.
North Wales helps Metrolink - report by Dave Sallery
Above, 66 619 passes Llandudno Junction on a stone working of 19 bogie wagons: the stone is destined via Basford Hall to Ashton-in-Makerfield, and from there by lorry for use in the conversion of the 'Oldham loop' line between Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale to a Metrolink tramway.
'Today, 27 August, is a milestone for the passenger transport division of Deutsche Bahn as from today we offer mobility with a European dimension', said DB's CEO Dr. Rüdiger Grube. 'Arriva will contribute ca. 10 per cent of the turnover of the DB Group. Therefore DB becomes not only a leading provider of passenger transport in Europe but it also creates
substantial growth prospects from which all stakeholders will benefit:
customers, tenderers, employees and the owner of DB.'
'We welcome our committed and successful new colleagues, said Ulrich
Homburg, DB board member responsible for passenger transport. 'Not
only is the logistics business organised globally, but the passenger
transport businesses also extend beyond the borders of Germany. The
comprehensive experience of Arriva in European passenger transport is
an advantage for us.'
DB will conduct its regional passenger transport activities outside Germany under the Arriva brand.
Book Review - by George Jones
The Middleton Press coverage continues to expand with the two volumes shown here. The latest volume Oswestry to Whitchurch covers the former Cambrian route and includes the Ellesmere to Wrexham Central route and supplements the earlier Branch Lines around Oswestry.
Both adopt the familiar style of content with black and white photos from the archives showing installations along the route, supplemented with sections of Ordnance Survey maps and traffic figures for the various stations. Few modern comparison shots appear in these two volumes because the lines have been mostly swept away, but strangely the once-extensive rail installations at Oswestry and Wrexham Central both now feature single lines as a token rail presence.
Worthwhile buys for those with an historical interest, even at £15.95 each for around 120 photos in a hardback. The series is gradually making its way northwards and further local coverage can be expected.
The above picture and the heading view are reproduced here by kind permission of the artits, Kevin Parrish, who writes: Cambrian Halt is in fact a depiction of Llandanwg Halt around 1960 (12in x 9in original size in oils).
Standard Splendour (above) is a limited edition print showing an 82xxx Standard Class 3 tank Machynlleth station around 1964. (16in x 12in original size in oils) Kevin writes: 'From any sales, trade or retail, from the print, I the artist, am donating sale proceeds to the 82045 Locomotive Trust who are building a new locomotive to this design. Prices for the A3 prints are £25 each.
I am a railway artist and have always been inspired by the Welsh rail network in the days of steam. I used to holiday at Porthmadog and Harlech (Llandanwg) when I was younger. A beautiful part of the world.'
Kevin can be contacted through his website.
Llangollen Railway extension- report by George Jones
The Llangollen Railway is pleased to announce the successful outcome of its application for a Transport & Works Order to extend the line two miles from Carrog to Corwen where a new station will be built. The detailed application was submitted in September 2009 after four years of work to assemble the required documentation. The Order has been granted after two periods of public consultation, the resolution of issues raised by statutory authorities and a further review of the line by an independent inspector to satisfy the requirements of the Welsh Assembly Government.
The Llangollen Railway Trust received a letter from the Welsh Assembly Government on 19 August confirming that the Order had been granted, details as follows:-
The Llangollen and Corwen Railway Order was made on 25th August 2010 to come into force on the 27th August 2010. The Order was advertised in the London Gazette on 24th August 2010.
The Minister has, on making the Order, also directed that planning permission be deemed to be granted for the development specified in the request made pursuant to Rule 10(6)(a) of the Transport and Works (Applications and Objections Procedure) (England and Wales) Rules 2006, but subject to the amendments detailed in paragraph 10 above and the conditions in Annex A to this letter.
The amendment and conditions referred to in the previous paragraph concern minor land measurements and environmental and planning conditions we have to comply with before construction work on the Corwen extension can start. Llangollen Railway Trust will be in consultation with the Denbighshire County Council and the Countryside Council for Wales on these matters.
Bill Shakespeare, Vice-President of the Llangollen Railway Trust, comments:
Whilst we are delighted to receive the Order after such a protracted period of negotiation and consultation, funding for the project remains an issue before any work can proceed. The original promised grant of £1.2 million from the Welsh Assembly is no longer available because the Order had not been granted in time to qualify for this grant. We have now been offered by Welsh Assembly Government a grant of £500,000 available from 1st April 2011 until 31st March 2012 provided we can offer an equivalent amount of matched funding to complete the extension.
In view of the fact that the Railway has already spent close on £200,000 in legal, consultancy and material costs to enable us to reach Corwen, we are discussing with Welsh Assembly Government officials whether they will be prepared to accept this expenditure and the voluntary labour we will provide, as matched funding so that we can access the £500,000 without further conditions. If this can be agreed, we would have sufficient funds available to lay track to the outskirts Corwen, whilst seeking further financial assistance to complete the complex station development.
You can see from the above that the Railway will need all the financial and practical assistance we can obtain from our well-wishers and supporters. Those who wish to see the train arrive in Corwen are asked to donate to the Llangollen Railway Trust’s Corwen Appeal Fund or to purchase shares in Llangollen Railway plc.
Gordon Heddon, Vice-President of Llangollen Railway Trust adds:
The application for the Transport and Works Order by LRT has been a time consuming and costly exercise in terms of money spent on legal and consultancy fees.
Applications for extensions to heritage railways are not for the faint hearted. Those with ideas for expansion would do well to ponder on our experience and learn from its lessons. This exercise has involved the voluntary input of some 2,000 man hours by a team of three in addition to the fees charged.
Chairman of Llangollen Railway Trust, Jim Ritchie comments:
Extending train services a further two miles to Corwen will place an added burden to the Railway's operating costs. However, we envisage the Corwen terminus will open up a new market for additional passengers who will benefit from the large car park and bus interchange provided by Denbighshire County Council, and contribute towards the regeneration of Corwen town which is an essential aspect of the whole project.
North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood, interviewed by the Daily Post, welcomed the granting of an order. He said 'I urge the transport minister Ieuan Wyn Jones to listen and act. Llangollen Railway is not only a wonderful heritage tourism attraction and stimulus to the local economy, but also the biggest employer in Llangollen and the provider of an excellent apprenticeship scheme.'
The picture shows the the view from the old road between Carrog to Corwen looking south across the valley. The route of the railway between the A5 road and the River Dee is marked by the old permanent way hut just east of where the line entered a shallow cutting and under an occupational bridge off to the right in the trees. The location does emphasise the closeness of the railway to the river which has been the cause of so much environmental concern in connection with this order. Imagine the views when Foxcote Manor hauls the first train west - there will be great shots from the nearby A5 road , although car parking on this stretch of road will be a problem and necessitate a walk from the car park at Corwen.
An exhibition celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Llangollen Railway project 1975 - 2010, and illustrating the Corwen extension route, will open at Llangollen station on 28 August to help promote support for the Corwen Appeal Fund.
The Welsh Mountaineer 25 August
The run of the Railway Touring Company's 'Welsh Mountaineer' to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 25 August saw several of our contributors in attendance, both aboard the train and on the lineside. There follows a combined report, beginning with the usual loco 48151 Gauge 0 Guild approaching the passenger and watering stop at Frodsham (Neil Kennedy)
Frodsham (David Hennessey)
Waiting patiently at Frodsham for the 'right away'. (Neil Kennedy) Note the star on the cabside which indicates an 8F loco whose wheels and motion have been specially balanced to allow smoother running at higher speeds. Neil Kennedy notes: 'The engine was amazing going up the gradient to Blaenau Ffestiniog. There was no jerking whatsoever, from 48151 it felt as finely tuned as a Formula 1 racing car, and The Railway Touring Company have definitely got the right engine for this trip.'
Helsby (John Beresford)
Heading for the triangle at Chester in order to go tender first to Llandudno Junction. (Neil Kennedy)
Arriving at Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies)
The Arriva open top touring bus at the junction where the passengers had a grandstand view of what was happening. (Neil Kennedy) [Editor's note: don't try using a PlusBus ticket on this bus, unless you want to give the driver a chance to practice his German]
West Coast Railway Company driver Bill Andrew on the phone at Llandudno Junction checking what was happening. (Neil Kennedy)
Running around the train at Llandudno Junction (Geoff Morris)
Start their interest at an early age! (Neil Kennedy) Neil notes: 'Despite the fact that rain had been forecast for 4.00pm at Blaenau it didn't happen and it was a perfect day, with good weather and very good stewarding on the train. There was a little light-hearted discord during conversations when some passengers discovered that many of their fellow travellers had got a £30 promotional discount which they themselves hadn't heard about, but happily no fighting was involved!'
On arrival at Blaenau Ffestiniog, seen from the foot crossing. (Geoff Morris)
48151 running round the train at Blaenau Ffestiniog. (Neil Kennedy)
Preparing to shunt the stock to the loop to clear the platform for the service train (David Hennessey).
The tender being filled at Blaenau ... "Turn it off, it's full." (Neil Kennedy)
Earl of Merioneth leaving for Porthmadog. (Neil Kennedy)
Geoff Morris writes: 'At Blaenau, the Ffestiniog Railway's timetable only allows a short return trip to Tan-y-Grisiau. Many people on the train were asking about the FR and it was unfortunate that their timetable could not be altered to allow passengers off the steam charter a better experience. Other than hanging around in Blaenau (and fortunately the weather was dry) the only viable option seemed to be a visit to Llechwedd Slate Caverns. Luckily I bumped into a friend who was holidaying in the area and he gave me a lift to Tan-y-Grisiau where I photographed the 2 FR services crossing.' Earl of Merioneth arriving at Tan-y-Grisiau (note that only the leading power bogie appears to be steaming).
Above: Merddin Emrys arriving at Tan-y-Grisiau with the other train waiting in the loop (Geoff Morris)
Earl of Merioneth departing Tan-y-Grisiau (note that now both power bogies are steaming). Picture by Geoff Morris, who notes: ' It was noticeable that probably 20 people got off the train from Blaenau to return there immediately. Normally the place sees little passenger traffic so I'm sure that every one of them was off the steam charter. So some income for the FR but really a lost opportunity (although their trains looked to be well-loaded).'
A trainee engine driver at Blaenau Ffestiniog. (Neil Kennedy)
Merddin Emrys leaving for Porthmadog. (Neil Kennedy)
The Conwy Valley looking at its best as the train returns to Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies)
Running round at Llandudno Junction, before working the return Welsh Mountaineer to Preston. (David Hennessey)
Leaving Frodsham for Preston (Neil Kennedy)
48151 erupts out of Chester (with steam to spare) in the evening (Geoff Morris). This was the last of the four runs scheduled this summer. However in reality it was the only the third, because the previous week's run was cancelled due to low bookings. This may have been one reason for the newspaper promotion; as a result and the train was reasonably well loaded. Despite this, we understand that the trains will not be repeated in 2011.
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