Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

20 September 2010

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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the all rail staff of North Wales.

Forthcoming events

September 2010

Tuesday 21 September North Wales Railway Circle Garry Hughes: Wartime Locomotives, courtesy of B & R Videos.

Wednesday 22 September Compass Tours excursion: Burnley Manchester Road, Rose Grove, Accrington, Blackburn, Cherry Tree, Bamber Bridge to Blaenau Ffestiniog.  Class 47 Diesel throughout.  [This Tour is now fully booked.]

Thursday 30 September Merseyside Railway History Group Alisdair McDonald: Ramblings on Rail

October 2010

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.

Friday 1 October Compass Tours excursion from Llandudno Jct, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint and Chester to Pitlochry and Aviemore.

Saturday 2 October Compass Tours 'The Snowdonian Explorer'   
Shrewsbury, Wellington, Telford Central, Codsall, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley Town & Stafford to Betws-Y-Coed or Blaenau Ffestiniog with optional extra Steam Excursion.  Class 66 Diesel to feature throughout.

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.

Friday 8 October Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society A TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICAN RAILWAYS IN THE EARLY 1970S (INDUSTRIAL AND MAIN LINE STEAM) a colour slide presentation by Alan Gilbert

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.

Thursday 28 October Merseyside Railway History Group Keith Crabtree: Tornado, a steam locomotive for the 21st Century

29 - 31 October Merseyside Model Railway Society exhibition at the Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead. Trams will be in operation on the adjacent tramway.

November 2010

Monday 1 November  RCTS Port Sunlight   Steve Ollive:  PLANDAMPF 94 Featuring standard and narrow gauge in East Germany and organised trips around  Dresden and the  Thuringer Forest

Tuesday 2 November  North Wales Railway Circle Paul Hardy: Wait and See (a secret location?)

Friday 5 November  Clwyd Railway Circle  Gordon Davies -  American Wanderings. - A selection of slides showing diesel, electric and steam trains in the USA working passenger and extremely long freight trains from the East to the West coast, photographed in the last 16 years.
Friday 12 November Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society
16MM CINÉ FILMS FROM THE 1970s a miscellany by Richard Greenwood

6-7 November. Llangollen Railway Poppy Train Service as part of the Remembrance festival - special guest engine possible.

Tuesday 9 November. 8E Association Chris Simon: ‘The Examination Quiz’.  

Monday 15 November RCTS Chester Keith Crabtree: 60163 Tornado.Keith is from the A1 Steam Trust and will be giving a Power-point presentation on the history, building and operation of Tornado.

Tuesday 16 November  North Wales Railway Circle Steve Morris: Brake Trials

Thursday 25 November Merseyside Railway History Group Geoff Morris: Steaming through the gauges in the 21st Century

See the Calendar page for more details.

67 012 A Shropshire Lad (with 82305 at the rear) passing Chester Walls on the 10:18 (Sundays) Wrexham - Marylebone, 29 August, diverted via Crewe due to engineering work (Geoff Morris)

NENTA by Rail

More views of the two Class 47s on 11 September's NENTA Traintours excursion from Norwich to Holyhead which features two West Coast Railway Company Class 47s. Above, 47 500 on the rear outbound at Colwyn Bay (Jack Bowley)

47 804 on the front, heading round the curve at Llandudno Junction towards Conwy (Dave Sallery) ...

... and the train approaches the Conwy tubular bridge (Dave Sallery)

The return train ready to depart from Llandudno Junction at 17:14 (Peter Lloyd)

Recently acquired by West Coast and still awaiting branding, although already becoming a little work-stained,47 500 has an interesting history. Built in 1966 as D1943, it became 47 500 in 1974 when fitted with electric train heat supply. Named Great Western it became the Western Region's Royal loco.  In 1985 it was painted Great Western green and given new steam-style brass nameplates and other adornments as part of the GWR anniversary celebrations (the name is now carried by 47 815). In 1994, by then part of the 'Res' parcels and mail sector fleet it was renumbered 47 770 and named Reserved.  Withdrawn by EWS in 2004 and sold to Andrew Goodman in 2007, it awaited restoration at Tyseley, finally being bought by West Coast in 2009. (Special thanks to the Class 47 website.)

The return train makes its way between the trees at Colwyn Bay (Jack Bowley)

Picture News Miscellany

There's a touch of frost on the ground on 31 August as the early morning Holyhead to Cardiff express passes Bunbury at 07:18 behind 57 315. (Stavros Lainas)

Summer Saturday 77 - pictures by Peter Lloyd

These pictures were taken by our contributor Peter Lloyd in Summer 1977, when he was just a boy, and remind us how even as late as the 1970s the traditional summer holiday extra trains were still a common feature. Above, 25 186 shares Platform 4 of Llandudno station with a Class 104 railcar. In Platform 5, behind, a rake of Mk 1 coaches is stabled. By the following summer, track layout rationalisation had made it impossible for trains to arrive or depart from Platforms 4 and 5, they were retained as carriage sidings, becoming increasingly derelict until finally being officially closed quite recently.

Class 40 diesels were commonly used on these summer trains at the time: this one is manoeuvering in the carriage sidings outside the station, a much-reduced facility even at that time. It is said that in 1895 there were two miles of carriage sidings here.

The view from the buffers of Platform 2, with another Class 40.

Platforms 1 and 2, with two Class 40-hauled trains awaiting departure.

Deganwy, with a class 40-hauled train passing the signalbox on the way to Llandudno.

An 'up' 40-hauled train passes Deganwy station, the horrible bus-shelter on the left has since been replaced by a more sturdy and attractive structure. For many more memories of North Wales lines in this nostalgic period, visit Dave Plimmer's comprehensive website at

Chester Changes

A view of the west end of the island platform train shed on 19 August, with new parts of the infrastructure in situ. (George Jones)

The illustration now displayed to explain works underway, involving the footbridge now partly surrounded as a works site. (George Jones)

The platform view of the work site incorporating the new waiting room - Arriva Trains Wales- style copper cladding being applied. (George Jones)

Some reminders of earlier modernisations still remain. This type of station lamp was once very common, seemingly dating from about 1960; the station was called Chester General then but this is not shown on the lamp.

This rather older sign has been preserved on the adjacent hotel.

Release Authorised: A Day at Crewe Heritage Centre
Report by Richard Putley

On 29 August my brother Adrian and I visited The Railway Age, Crewe. Our reason for going was that the Exeter West signalbox gang were there and we had a go at working the lever frame in Exeter West Box. I gather in the old days a crew of two signalmen and one booking lad could work it all but it took half dozen of us to work it to a summer Saturday timetable from 1960!

The box provided an excellent vantage point to observe trains on the real railway.

Plus also the centre's 03 073 (top picture) was used to swap Pacifics 6201 Princess Elizabeth and 6233 Duchess of Sutherland around so that the latter could be placed over a pit to be serviced and prepared for her next outing. (The person examining the levers on the signal post in the shot of "Lizzie" above is none other than our Adrian!)

Also present at the centre were 70013 Oliver Cromwell minus cab, 6100 Royal Scot minus valve gear and 35028 Clan Line which ran down under its own steam on Saturday 21 August (see also  last issue). I saw 35028 go through Kensington Olympia station that day whilst travelling on the UK Railtours 'Ness Monster' tour which visited the Dungeness branch. I just managed to get a shot of it (above) heading north with a support coach and an unidentified EWS 66 in tow; our tour on the platform line was headed by 66 710 with 73 204 on the back.

A number of charters passed through while we were there. One was top and tailed by a pair of DRS 47s whilst another charter top and tailed by 67s in EWS Maroon, the rear one being 67 002.

We travelled to Crewe by train from Leominster. On the way back we stopped off at Shrewsbury where I photographed DVT 82305 (above) leading the 19:10 Wrexham and Shropshire service to Wrexham.

Due to engineering work their trains were diverted via Crewe and Chester while Arriva were bussing people to Wrexham. British Rail lives...

Welsh stumps - pictures by Greg Mape

A pictorial exploration of some of the branch-line termini of Wales in August 2010: above is Penarth, with 142 082.

Cardiff Bay, once called Bute Street, is at the end of a very short branch from Cardiff Queen Street, usually operated by 50-year-old 'bubble-car' 121 032.

Barry Island, with 150 285. The station looks very run-down now, but once this was a popular holiday resort, with a Butlin's holiday camp which dated from 1965 - the last Butlin's to be built -  only to be sold off in 1986 and closed by the new owners after the summer of 1996. The line to the right was until 2008 a heritage operation the Barry Island Railway, which was operated by a group which until 1997 had been based at Cardiff Bay. Although its website seems at first sight to indicate a flourishing railway, in fact it closed at the end of 2008 after the local council withdrew subsidy and the operating group moved their stock away. It was said at the time that a company called 'Cambrian Transport' would be taking over, but public services here have not resumed.

Back in North Wales, another station without any pointwork - Wrexham Central. Terminus of 'Borderlands' trains from Bidston, this is reached by a short spur from Wrexham General which passes under the main Chester - Shrewsbury line. This is a new-ish station as the line was shortened  in 1998, the old site incorporated in a new shopping centre. The original Central station, which from 1923 to 1947 was owned by the London and North Eastern Railway, was quite a large affair (see the Disused stations website), and not truly a terminus as the line continued beyond as a Cambrian Railways route to Ellesmere, closed to passengers in 1962 although freight traffic was still worked through Wrexham over part of the old line until 1981. At one time, long ago, through trains from Liverpool and Manchester to the Cambrian Coast travelled this way. There are proposals to electrify this line to allow through running from Liverpool, although estimates of huge expense may prevent this.

New book: Ruabon to Barmouth -report by George Jones

A new volume in the Middleton Press series featuring the Ruabon-Barmouth route is announced for publication on 25 September. The hardback volume  presents a photographic review of the line.
Using the publisher's well-established format of 120 black and white photos mainly from the steam age, and a few modern comparisons, plus supporting sections of old Ordnance Survey maps, it reviews the infrastructure of the entire line with additional historical comment and setting for the Llangollen line. It will be available from the Llangollen station shop from publication day and advanced orders for it are now being taken in the shop.
This popular series has been working its way steadily up from the south coast and is now in our area with recent local titles including Shrewsbury-Chester, Branch Lines around Oswestry and Oswestry to Whitchurch receiving acclaim for their content and coverage.

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