Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

11 October 2010

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Forthcoming events

October 2010

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.

16 -17 October Class 37 weekend at the National Railway Museum, York.

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.

9 October at 14:09 and the Rail Head Treatment Train passes Tattenhall, with Beeston Castle on the Skyline (Stavros Lainas). The disadvantage of top-and-tail working of this train is that both locos soon become filthy with the mud and gunk thrown up by the high-pressure water jets.  The working times for this train initially published here before were incomplete: the full diagram is now on our Railfan page.

Picture news round-up

Having arrived from the south in unusual double-header formation, 67 014 Thomas Telford and 67 015 David J. Lloyd  'double-tail' the 11:27 to Marylebone out of Wrexham General on 11 October.  Driving Van Trailer 82301 was on the front. (George Jones)

57 304 Gordon Tracy passes the floral display at Colwyn Bay with the Saturday London - Holyhead train on 9 October (Darren Durrant).

57 304 again, with the afternoon London-bound working of 9 October, heads through the 'land of the long name' at Llanfair PG ...

... and passes the amusements of Abergele ... well, Pensarn actually (Stéphanie Durrant).

6K41 Valley - Crewe flask train is running quite frequently at the moment: on 6 October it is seen storming through platform 3 at Llandudno Junction at 14.59 on 6 October with old-style 'split-headcode' loco  37 087 and 37 229 in charge (Peter Lloyd)

Another day, another platform: the train  passes through platform 1 at Llandudno Junction at 15:51 on the next day. 7 October: locos are 37 667 and 37 259 (Peter Lloyd).

Class 60s still rule on the Tunstead - Northwich stone trains. Andrew Vinten was at Plumley on 8 October to catch this view of 6H03 Oakleigh-Tunstead empties, with 60 054, which still carries the old Railfreight Petroleum subsector markings.  60011 had been working the diagram until until the previous evening when it was swapped for 60 054. (Andrew Vinten)

The Ribble-Lune Railtour - report by Mark Bayley

The Branch Line Society 'Ribble-Lune' Railtour on 10 October 2010 covered several interesting lines, in the Society's usual style. It started from Crewe topped and tailed by Deltic 55 022 Royal Scots Grey and DB Schenker freight loco 66 066, and traversed the Middlewich branch from Sandbach to Northwich on its outward journey. Above, 55 022 was held at the signal at Sandbach station awaiting access to Middlewich branch.

55 022 turning onto the Middlewich branch at Sandbach after restarting.

55 022 leaving the passing loop at Middlewich heading for Northwich...

... and 66 066 bringing up the rear at Middlewich.

Above, the train is leaving the Middlewich branch via the north curve of the triangle at Northwich.

Heading along the goods line at the back of Northwich station heading for Lostock Works. The trees and houses in the background are on the site of Northwich locomotive depot, closed in 1984.

The full itinerary of the train was: Crewe, via Northwich, Wade Works Branch and Hartford to Wigan N W (pick up), thence to Preston Dock branch and Ribble Steam Railway with time to visit (museum entry included). Onward to Lancaster, Morecambe, Heysham Power Station branch, Carnforth, Hellifield, Clitheroe, Daisyfield Jn, Blackburn, Darwen, Bolton (set down), Manchester Piccadilly (set down), Longsight, Altrincham, Northwich and Crewe.

Cathedrals Express

Pacific 6233 Duchess of Sutherland arriving at Crewe around ten minutes early on Saturday 9 October with the London - Chester 'Cathedrals Express' charter. The stop was for pathing only; the loco did not take water.  (Tim Fenton).

Passing Beeston on the way to Chester; several of the coaches were early Mark 2s in green livery (Stavros Lainas)

6233 arriving at Chester  (George Jones). 6233 had been suffering from an overheated axlebox, and at one time it was thought that A4 Pacific 60019  Bittern might substitute, but it was all right on the day.

6233 looked as magnificent as only a 'semi' can, and a big crowd turned out at Chester to see it arrive. Our thanks to all the 'punters' who paid their fares to provide us with the sight of this fine machine (George Jones)

6233 backing its train into Platform 3 at Chester after turning on the triangle of lines west of the station. From lower down - Tim Fenton was standing at the corner of the east car park for this view - you get a better impression of the great size of this loco.

As the sun starts to set, 6233 makes an on time departure for Euston, watched by the remainder of the 'gallery' and a single British Transport Police officer. The loco is scheduled to do a Derby to London charter next weekend, and then that really will be the end for 6233 - well, this side of the planned overhaul.  (Tim Fenton)

A last look at the train as it passes Rowton (Stavros Lainas)

The Cathedrals Express will visit Chester again on 11 December;  new steam loco 60163 Tornado is the planned motive power. This train is operated by Steam Dreams, a company run by Graeme Bunker, sometime managing director of Arriva Trains Wales, who has also been known to take a turn with the coal shovel. Another upcoming steam train to our area is Vintage Trains 'Deva Explorer' from Tyseley to Chester on  27 November with 'Black 5' 4-6-0 45305. As far as we know, there are no more steam runs planned for the North Wales Coast line to Holyhead in 2010.

Chester station developments - report by George Jones

Another kind of express is 'Café Express' which is now open for business on the island platform at Chester. Refreshments are served in a facility similar to the one on the concourse but with tasteful seating, glass panel doors and windows. However the secondary staircase within the new structure awaits connection to the footbridge when its refurbishment is tackled.

Despite the copper cladding panels in Arriva turquoise colour the new facility has a refreshing modernity about it in in the midst all the heritage. Picture above by Richard Neale.

Class 158 views (or not)

Open letter from Gareth Marston of the Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth Rail Passengers Association to the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG)Transport Minister:

Whilst rail users welcomed the announcement in August that WAG will be funding a programme of long-overdue refurbishment on the rolling stock currently used for the Wales and Borders franchise our members have been appalled by the details of proposed refurbishment which have come to light.
For one type of rolling stock, the new internal arrangement will mean that views out of the windows will be blocked as seats and tables have been aligned with window pillars. The type of unit in question is the Class 158 used mainly on Holyhead to Birmingham International, Aberystwyth to Birmingham International and Cambrian coast services. As built these units were designed to allow clear views through the windows from all seats. The diagrams being circulated about the refurbishment clearly show that in some instances the window pillars will be directly aligned with pairs of airline seats and the middle of tables completely spoiling the views out of the windows.
Arriva Trains Wales Stakeholder Manager for Mid and North Wales has confirmed this to us. 'The seating layout is constrained by a number of requirements, including the position of under seat boxes such as the heaters and coolant header tank, the space required by the disabled and priority seat positions, and the specified number of sets of tables.  Aligning all of the tables with the windows is not practical and would result in a large reduction of the seating capacity.  A lot of time, thought and effort went into the layout, which is perhaps the optimum compromise to achieve the specified number of seats and tables while providing an extra wheelchair space and a compliant number of priority seats'.
Would the Minister agree that at the same time another type of unit in the Arriva Trains Wales fleet (the Class 153) is having WAG money spent on it to improve visibility out of its windows its perverse and contradictory to diminish the view from another type in the fleet?
Wales has just showcased itself to the world with the successful Ryder Cup  golf tournament. I travelled on one of the Class 158 units recently and  in my carriage there were some American golf fans traveling between Cardiff and Abergavenny enjoying the view out the window. If they decide to visit Wales again this delight will be denied them by this ill-thought-out scheme.
We understand that the work is not due to start until December this year, surely there is time to review this nonsense and revise the specifications so as not to completely ruin the traveling environment for all passengers not just tourists?

Far-flung Class 86 - report by Mark Barber

The former 86 248 Sir Clwyd / County of Clwyd is now working working in Hungary for private operator Floyd; its new number is 0450 001. The picture shows it working in tandem with 0450 002 (ex 86 250) on train 47182 from Dunaujvaros to France. The picture was taken in Budapest Kelenfold yard under supervision of the Floyd safety manager who invited me into the yard. These locos work the train to the to Hungarian / Austrian board at Hegyeshalom. More pictures on my Fotopic site.

The Traws Train

First mentioned here last year, Mr Colin Dale and his dreams for the Trawsfynydd line have resurfaced. The following is from the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald of 7 October.

Talks to establish a new community railway linking Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog are at an advanced stage, with work hoped to start in the new year. Businessman Colin Dale, 62, announced his plan to reopen the disused branch line from Trawsfynydd to Blaenau Ffestiniog last year, with tourist facilities including boat cruises on Lake Trawsfynydd, and up to 20 new jobs potentially created by the not-for-profit venture. Now after months of negotiations with Network Rail over the disused trackbed, Mr Dale says he hopes to have it cleared and surveyed by spring, with trains running on the seven mile route hoped for later in 2011.

He adds: 'My team and I have been working hard behind the scenes on the project since I first announced my plans last summer. We now have an understanding with Network Rail that, subject to some advanced paperwork, we should get the lease very soon, and can start clearing the line and surveying it by the start of next year. We have also formed a railway operating company and are in the process of launching a group of friends and volunteers for the railway. We are also renovating a boat for the lake cruises and building a new community centre and cafe on the site of the old Trawsfynydd Power Station clubhouse.'

The project, provisionally called The Traws Train, will carry a mixture of heritage diesel and steam rolling stock, linking Trawsfynydd to Blaenau Ffestiniog, and then onto the Ffestiniog Railway and Cambrian Coast line in one direction, and the Conwy Valley line in the other direction. Mr Dale said the potential for the service was exciting: 'We’ve had some great support from local people not to mention Arriva, the Ffestiniog Railway and local councillors. We’ve had to go through a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy but hopefully we can now kick on. We hope to have all the facilities at the lake ready before Easter, and I'm also in discussions with the Nuclear Decommission Authority about building a new station in Trawsfynydd. I think the fact that it will link up with three lines in Blaenau will enhance their services, and offer locals and tourists the chance to experience even more of the breathtaking Welsh scenery.

To find out more about the project or to volunteer, visit, email Colin Dale at, or call 01766 540400.

The website is one of those fancy efforts with much style and not much substance - there is also a Twitter feed which might be worth watching, as there seem to be a lot of unanswered questions about this plan. Can it really be so easy to set up a railway, even using a line which is officially 'mothballed' rather than actually closed? As far as we know, there is no connection between this Colin Dale ('director of Essex-based The Forward Focus Group') and the Colin Dale who is a leading member of the Monster Raving Loony Party and stood against Speaker John Bercow in the recent General Election, although both seem to have North Wales connections.

Ffestiniog Now and Then - by David Parry

Above, picture of Ffestiniog Railway no. 4 Palmerston at Tan-y-Bwlch on Friday 8 October, hauling a train of slate wagons (with brakemen) up to
Dduallt in preparation for the gravity run back down to Porthmadog.

For comparison, this monochrome image shows Mountaineer at the same spot in September 1969, when the vegetation was considerably less abundant!

Llangollen Diesel Gala - report by Alan Crawshaw

Rowan and I attended the Llangollen diesel gala on Sunday 3 October. Expecting the heavy rain to slow down our journey, we arrived at Carrog in plenty of time as the A5 was almost empty. This theme persisted, the gala being very sparsely attended and the trains arrived early at each station, probably a combination of few passengers boarding or alighting and the better acceleration of the diesels on the steam timetable. Our early arrival gave us time for the excellent lemon cake served in the Carrog tea room before sheltering under the canopy to record the arrival of the class 14 D9521, none of which I saw in their brief BR service.

This was the first train of the day from Llangollen, and we rode it back as far as Berwyn to catch it to Glyndyfwrdwy to photograph it crossing the other DMU in service, the class 108 railcar, seen above with a Class 104 to its left.


We jumped aboard the latter, and on arrival at Llangollen took advantage of the short brake van ride powered by the class 08 shunter, which was  running as 13265, in the early BR number series for diesels which preceded the D classification.

We spent the remainder of a relaxing and enjoyable day riding and photographing, recording the class 37, running in BR blue as 6940 ...

... and having our first ride behind the class 26 D5310 which evoked memories of childhood holidays in Scotland.

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