Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

04 October 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

October 2010

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.

Meet-up at Llanddulas, 25 September (Stéphanie Durrant)

The RHTT is back

The leaf-fall season is with us again, and with it the working of the Rail Head Treatment Train with its high pressure water jets to clear leaf detritus from the rails. The first train of the autumn ran on 4 October, and is seen above at Bangor (Alan Crawshaw)

This year's working differs from last in that the train, again operated by DB Schenker, needs a locomotive at each end as the North Wales Coast line is part of a diagram involving other routes and with various reversals, in contrast to last year which was simply Crewe - Holyhead and back with the loco running round the train at Holyhead. Above, at Llandudno Junction on 4 October (Stéphanie Durrant). Interestingly, 66 108, the loco which ran most of 2009's trains, appeared again, along with 66 105. Is there a reason why the same loco is used?

Above, heading out of Llandudno Junction (Stéphanie Durrant). The train leaves Crewe at 18:43 and runs to Shrewsbury (19:41 - 19:51) via Nantwich, then to Machynlleth (21:35 - 21:57) and back to Shrewsbury (23:48-00:53). It then takes the Hereford line as far as Moreton-on-Lugg (01:54 - 02:04) where it crosses over and returns to Shrewsbury (03:07 - 03:45). It then runs via the Borderlands Line to Bidston (05:15 - 05:20) and back again to Shrewsbury (06:54 - 07:21) and on via Nantwich to Crewe (08:04 - 08:06) Chester (pass 08:30), Rhyl (pass 09:10), Bangor (09:48) to Holyhead, arriving at 10:31. The final leg of the journey begins with departure from Holyhead at 12:01, passing Bangor 12:36, Llandudno Junction 13:03, Colwyn Bay 13:08, Rhyl 13:21, Chester 13:59, and arriving Crewe at 14:50 before returning to its base at the International Electric Depot. These times may of course vary in practice!

66s on the flasks

A flask train from Valley also ran on 4 October, double-headed by 66 431 leading  66 432. Here it is at Bangor (Alan Crawshaw) ...

... and Llandudno Junction. (Stéphanie Durrant)

Feedback miscellany
Thanks as always for all the emails received about recent Notice Boards. First of all, we have to admit that contrary to our earlier statement, locomotive 47 500 never carried Network South East livery, being repainted direct from Great Western Green to rail express systems red.

Next, Bersham: reliable sources tell us that the recent work carried out on the track there was a 're-lay' of about ¼ mile of track carried out in-house by Network Rail maintenance  permanent way staff. The track was removed, old ballast dug out and new ballast installed installed prior to replacing the track. Road/rail vehicles were utilised for the work, and no doubt the loads of ballast being brought in, noticed by our original correspondent, were connected with this. Although the need for a rail connection is mentioned in some official documents, there is no actual plan to install this at present.

Finally for now, back to moving signalboxes: thanks to 'Captain Arriva' and Google streetview we can bring you a picture of Talerddig signalbox in its current location in a garden some way from the line. The location is just to the west of 'Bells Bridge' over the Caersws - Machynlleth road. It's very easy to see from the road, high up on the embankment. As you can see, it has a Great Western-style signal to keep it company.

An the same theme, here is a view (from the toll bridge over the Mawddach) of the ex-Great Western Penmaenpool signal box, still in position by the former Cambrian Railways Dolgellau branch, which ran behind in this view and is now a walking and cycle trail and used as a bird information centre. The windows on the river side appear to have been enlarged (if there were any at all before) for its new role. It is said that this box had served as part of the GWR's exhibit at the British Empire Exhibitions in the 1920s before being stored and renovated ten years later for a new career at Penmaenpool.

Regarding the non-signalbox at Llanelltyd, we have had an interesting email from the son of the man who built it: it turns out that although Kenneth Trubshaw, nephew of a famous railway architect, lived in the house 'Curfew' from about 1951, the garage / summerhouse was created by a previous resident, John Roberts. For more, see the corrected version of the 20 August Notice Board.

New name for 221 115

Virgin Voyager 221 115, seen above (picture by Stéphanie Durrant) working the mid-morning service to London past Colwyn Bay on 4 October, starred in a ceremony on 2 September at the official opening by Bombardier Transportation of a new £2 million servicing facility for the class at Polmadie depot, south of Glasgow. The depot complex itself dates back to the opening of a steam shed there in the 1870s by the Caledonian Railway.

221 115 (photographed at Chester on 4 October by Aaron Taylor) has been given additions to its livery advertising Bombardier, who built and maintain these trains. Sister unit 221 144 was named Bombardier Voyager some time ago.

221 115 was named Polmadie Depot on the occasion of the opening, the cord being pulled by driver Joe Porter, who began his railway career at Polmadie as a loco cleaner more than 43 years ago. The nameplate, seen above, is in the style previously used for the Class 220 non-tilting Voyagers, all of which are now used by Arriva and have been de-named. 221 115 was originally Sir Francis Chichester, but the name was removed in 2007 when it was one of  five units temporarily transferred to Arriva. The name plates of these five were, most oddly, included in those sold by Virgin at a charity auction, even though they knew the trains would be returned to them.

The new livery also includes some slogans - we can't disagree with this one...

In the streets of Porthmadog, 2011

The final three-mile section of the Welsh Highland Railway from Pont Croesor into Porthmadog will be officially opened next April, linking the 26-mile line from Caernarfon to the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog's Harbour station. But some trains will use the new cross-town link from January. A Ffestiniog Railway spokesman has told the local press that because of essential engineering work on the Porthmadog by-pass road at Minffordd, the Ffestiniog Railway will not be operating for much of February. Instead a joint F&WHR service will run from Porthmadog Harbour Station to Caernarfon for one week only, from February 20-27.

And, due to the bypass works, the FR’s popular sherry and mince pie services will also operate on the new section of the Welsh Highland between January and March, running from Porthmadog Harbour to Hafod y Llyn and back from January 8. Demand for seats on these services is certain to be high, so if anyone wants a chance to experience a ride across Britannia Bridge and through the streets of Porthmadog for the first time in more than 70 years, check out the timetable on the Ffestiniog Railway website.

This picture from 24 September shows the view from Porthmadog Harbour station towards the town centre at the point where street running starts; the road signals which will hold up traffic for a train to enter the road section over the Britannia Bridge are now in place. In the foreground is the provision for cyclists to cross the line at right-angles before joining a short section of shared footpath.

Above, a close-up of the interface at Porthmadog between the Austrian-made grooved tramway rail used for the street section (left) and normal FR track (right) which is equipped with check rails within the running rails to guard against derailments.  What doesn't exist at the moment, however, is a platform for passengers to board WHR trains. Initially they will start at the existing FR platform be hauled back out on to the FR line on the Con embankment before heading out towards Caernarfon. The longer-term intention is to widen the Cob in order to create a platform for WHR trains.

The Snowdonian Explorer

On Saturday 2 October Compass Tours excursion 'The Snowdonian Explorer' ran from Shrewsbury, Wellington, Telford Central, Codsall, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley Town and Stafford to Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. It is seen (above) taking the through road at Abergele. Picture by Stavros Lainas.

Locomotive 66 080 was used throughout, seen running round at Llandudno Junction (Picture by Darren Durrant); in the recent past most excursion trains up the Valley have been 'top and tailed' but on this occasion, the additional dead weight of a loco on the rear was dispensed with.

Above, the train heads through Glan Conwy after reversal at Llandudno Junction (Darren Durrant)

Arrival at Blaenau Ffestiniog (Darren Durrant)

Stabled in the loop at Blaenau Ffestiniog as Ffestiniog Railway Earl of Merioneth goes for the 'clag' record. (Stéphanie Durrant)

The FR train departs Blaenau, with passengers from the excursion aboard (Stéphanie Durrant)

Arrival back at Llandudno Junction (Stéphanie Durrant). Power for the carriage air conditioning is provided by the diesel generator in the blue coach behind the loco, as Class 66 were intended for freight traffic and do not have 'electric train supply' facilities.

66 080 has run round and is backing on for the return journey, as seen from the train by Peter Lloyd.

Ready to go (Peter Lloyd)

Freight-watching at Helsby - with Bob Greenalgh

Early morning at Helsby on Wednesday 22 September: The gypsum train from Warrington runs to Ellesmere Port to run round before heading back North. Above, it is seen at 08:05 crossing onto the Ellesmere Port line hauled by 66 732. The girly pink squiggle of FirstGroup will be disappearing from these locos soon, as GB Railfreight has been sold to Eurotunnel.

08:40, and the train returns through Helsby on its journey North to the gypsum plant at Kirkby Thore on the Settle-Carlisle line.

A short wait, and 70 003 heads for Ellesmere Port docks with the empty coal train from Fiddlers Ferry power station.

Trainload Charity Day 1991 - remembered by Cliff Gallimore

I present a selection of images taken during 'Trainload Charity Day' on Sunday 11 August 1991. To start with, above are 20 214 and 20 143 on what I believed to be a Police surveillance team run before the day's undertaking began, seen passing Mold Junction at 09:50.

Image two, 56 009  and 56 028  pass the familiar landmark of the Duke of Lancaster working the down 1T56 special at 11:11 ...

... shortly followed by the scheduled Holyhead to Euston train hauled by 47 564 in large-logo livery.

Later in the day, 16:37 at Prestatyn, and another special, 1T58, with two more Toton coal haulers, 58 007 and 58 003.

The event was organised by Les Kent of the London Midland Region control team, and a small group of colleagues, to raise funds for a young girl - a granddaughter of one of the colleagues - who was suffering from cerebral palsy. Mr Kent recalls that around £10,000 was raised. which enabled her to spend some time in Hungary for specialist treatment. The controllers organised the individual locomotives and the timings/rolling stock for the event, with help from Trainload Coal and Regional Railways. 

[For more about this remarkable day, one of several staged for railfans in those days, see Dave Sallery's website.]

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