Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

29 November 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

December 2010

Friday 3 December Clwyd Railway Circle 'Xmas Celebration' - Video review of steam on the main line in 2010 with an interlude of festive goodies.

Monday 6 December RCTS Port Sunlight MEMBERS SHOW. 30 slides or digital images of your choice.

Tuesday 7 December North Wales Railway Circle : Pete Hanahoe & Brian Bollington: Railways of Latvia and other countries.

Thursday 9 December Merseyside Railway History Group Adrian Bodlander: Garratt Steam Safari (to Victoria Falls and beyond!) – Social evening

Friday 10 December Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society
STEAM ACROSS THE ROCKIES a DVD presentation of a steam-hauled special train from Calgary to Vancouver and back by Tony Harrison

Saturday 11 December Rhyl Model Railway Club Charity Model Railway Exhibition in Prestatyn, Parish Hall & guide HQ, 10:30 - 16:00. (Including Charlie Hulme's Austrian narrow-gauge layout)

Tuesday 14 December. 8E Association AGM followed by Jon Penn: Chester Black & White Part 2.

Tuesday 14 December North Wales Railway Circle Christmas 'Do': Members Photos etc.

See the Calendar page for more details.

The green expanse of Anglesey stands beneath the snow-clad mountains of Snowdonia, with the slate quarries standing out clearly as 57 316 hurries past Ty Croes with the late-running working from Euston on 27 November (Corrie).

Back to the Seventies - with Alan Crawshaw

A class 31 in BR blue in front of Bangor's long closed steam shed on 24 November treats us to a view into the past, although the three bright yellow Network Rail vehicles out of sight would spoil the illusion (Alan Crawshaw)

The Deva Explorer

'The Deva Explorer', train 1Z34, on 27 November was an excursion from Tyseley to Chester hauled by ex-LMS Class 5 4-6-0 45305. The train departed from Crewe a couple of minutes early, ahead of the London - Holyhead 'Pendolino drag' (glimpsed on the far left of Tim Fenton's picture). Platform 12 was needed for a London Midland Liverpool service.

Above, it passes Crewe Heritage Centre on the outward journey.  Mark Riley took the picture from the observation platform on the preserved Crewe North Junction signalbox, now part of the Crewe Heritage Centre.

Passing a wintry-looking Beeston just as the wind took a turn for the wrong direction (Stavros Lainas)

Arriving at Chester (Bob Greenhalgh)

Standing in platform 3 Chester, after arriving 10 minutes early (Jeff Albiston)

On the through line adjacent to platform 7, after running round the triangle (Jeff Albiston)

Departing Chester on the return journey to Tyseley (Jeff Albiston)

Farewell: the train departs Chester for Crewe at 15:10. Despite some advertising it didn't run back via Wrexham, supposedly because Shrewsbury - Wolverhampton was shut (Arriva Trains were terminating at Telford). Six coach train of so-called Pullmans plus brake - can this really be profitable? (George Jones)

A correction to our report on Clan Line's outing to Chester in the last issue: the steam seen emerging from the rear of the tender of this engine is not from a coal pusher, but from the steam-powered Westinghouse air-brake pump which the current owners have fitted to allow it to haul modern coaches. Thanks to Gareth Minords for this information.

Mishap at Welshpool

On 24 November, one coach of the 18:09 Birmingham - Aberystwyth and Pwllheli train became derailed at low speed outside Welshpool station. It is not altogether clear what happened, but it appears that the train departed from Welshpool before some passengers had alighted, as one or more doors had failed to open. The train crew were made aware of this soon after departure, and decided to set the train back into the platform; the turnouts at each end of the passing loops on the Cambrian lines are effectively 'sprung' to allow trains to 'trail' through them after which they return to the correct position for the next train in the other direction. If a train were to reverse when only part of it has passed the points, undesirable things would happen ...

Saturday 57s

Saturday 27 September saw more loco-hauled trains in North Wales than a normal Saturday, as Arriva Trains Wales again used their rolling stock, usually idle on Saturdays,  to carry rugby fans to Cardiff.  Above, the train (1V83) awaits departure from Holyhead, top-n-tailed by 57 313 and 57 315 (Corrie).

Passing RAF Valley - recently in the news as the workplace of newly-engaged Prince William (Corrie)

57 315 on the rear at Saltney (Bob Greenalgh)

Awaiting the 'right-away' at Chester (George Jones). The consist was a strengthened 'WAG express' 6-coach formation; not many were on board at Chester but the fans tend to join south of Shrewsbury, or even Hereford, we believe.

57 316 arrives at Chester with the train from London, formed of 390 001.

Passing the Heritage Centre on the approach to Crewe (Stavros Lainas)

57 316 awaits departure from Holyhead on its return journey (Corrie)

Stena House, built on the site of the former station hotel, again wears its traditional festive garb, as the commemorative clock looks on. The clock, which previously stood on the seaward side of the hotel, was installed in 1880 to mark the opening of dock extensions by the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII).

Wrexham & Shropshire added to the fun at Chester with diversionary tactics to gain Wrexham via Crewe. Above, 67 018 Keith Heller is seen propelling the 'down' train from Marylebone through to Wrexham and about to head in the 'up'[ direction! This train offered onward travel for passengers through to Ruabon, Chirk, Ruabon and Shrewsbury as part of the extended service due to line closure between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton. No doubt W&S will be glad to see the end of this permanent way project around Oxley (Wolverhampton).

A frozen dusting of snow added to the Wrexham scene as 67 012 reversed the W&S train into platform 1 from the stabling point via Croes Newydd loop to form the 11:23 for Marylebone, routing from Shrewsbury to Crewe and beyond (George Jones)

Snow hits Wrexham and Shropshire - report by Mark Riley

In heavy snow on 26 November, 67 018 Keith Heller (above) crosses on to the up main line and back into Gobowen station to form the 1P33 15:35 Gobowen - Marylebone. This was the empty stock  from 1J82, which had been terminating at Gobowen instead of Wrexham during the week due to engineering between Telford and Wolverhampton (other W&S services were also retimed/re-routed) This entailed the empty train running out of the station and crossing over from the down to the up main, as seen here.

A bus service was used to take passengers onwards to Chirk, Ruabon and Wrexham, and also from Wrexham to Gobowen to connect with the afternoon departure. On this particular afternoon, the snow fell briefly but heavily, as seen here, causing a lot of disruption in the locality. It was difficult to focus in such awful weather and poor light.

67 018 quickly photographed (well it was pretty grim weather!) now in platform 1 as the snow continues to fall heavily at this point (15:25). In is unique Canadian-style livery, it looked at home in Canadian-style weather!

Driving Van Trailer 82305 was at the rear. The weather looked pretty bleak, and a challenge for the driver of 67 018.

Station adoption news - report by Larry Davies

The Dyffryn Conwy branch of Soroptimists International have adopted the North Llanrwst Railway station on the Conwy Valley line and have been working hard on the long overgrown platforms and a really significant improvement has been achieved thanks to their continuing efforts with planting and clearance.

On Wednesday 24 November a small ceremony was held at the station when Janet Evans, President of the Branch unveiled a plaque which acknowledges their formal adoption of the station.  Several members along with Officials of Arriva Trains Wales and Conwy County Borough Council were present to also view the artwork of the pupils of the local school, Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy who have painted two montages which depict their views of their town.

These montages have been framed and mounted by Arriva Trains Wales and are now on public display in the waiting shelter. Network Rail have repainted the station buildings and the overall ambiance of the station for passengers is now greatly improved. This is an excellent example of the community spirit we have in this valley  with the work of volunteers and officialdom coming together in a partnership that makes so much of a difference.

Snow at Berwyn - report by Bob Greenalgh

On Sunday 28 November I braved the minus 5 degree temperature at Berwyn station on the Llangollen Railway to photograph the first 'Santa Special' train of the day.

Locomotive was Great Western 2-8-0 3802.

Historic Loco reunited with name - report by Martin Owen

A piece of narrow gauge history has returned home to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog, a decade after it was thought to be lost. An original nameplate from the line's flagship steam engine, Russell (Hunslet 901 of 1906), has been presented to the WHHR on loan by the Industrial Railway Society. The picture taken at the recent model railway show NEC Birmingham shows Bob Darvill from the Industrial Railway Society (left) presenting the nameplate to Martyn Owen (centre) and Christopher Boulter (right) of the WHHR.

The nameplate is made of solid brass, and was one of a pair made by the steelworks in Brymbo near Wrexham when the locomotive was refurbished there in 1942.  The nameplate was carried by Russell for the next ten years until the locomotive was withdrawn in 1953.   Soon afterwards, Russell was rescued from the scrapman by enthusiasts from the then Birmingham Locomotive Club.  But one of the nameplates disappeared, and was presumed to have been lost forever.  An article even appeared in the WHHR company magazine, asking if anyone knew where it was.

It turned out that the nameplate was being carefully looked after by a Russell fan, and when he died, it was presented to the Industrial Railway Society by his family.  Now, a deal has been done for the IRS to loan the plate to the WHHR, which owns the other plate, as well as the locomotive itself.

Russell is currently being restored to working order, and the WHHR hopes it can return to service during 2011.  The locomotive is being restored to its as-built 1906 condition.  Since the nameplates it carried at that time looked different, the newly reunited pair of 1942 nameplates will go in the WHHR museum in Porthmadog for display.

Another mystery still surrounds the other two nameplates carried by Russell from 1906 to 1942.  One of those is now in the National Railway Museum in York, but the other is also lost. I wonder if it is sitting in someone's garage somewhere.  We'd love to hear from you if you know where it is!

Manor nameplates sell at Halls (from a Press release)

It was full steam ahead for a leading Shropshire fine art auction house
yesterday (Wednesday) when a rare locomotive nameplate sold for  £16,000. The Torquay Manor nameplate from 4-6-0 7800 went under the hammer at Halls'  antique furniture, ceramics and works of art auction at the Welsh Bridge saleroom in Shrewsbury, where it was secured by a telephone bidder from Southern England.

[The story behind this particular name is that the original allocated name was Ashley Manor, the names being allocated alphabetically, but some important rail enthusiast who resided in Torquay Manor 'pulled a few strings' to get his house on the first loco. Does anyone have the full facts?]

Also included in the auction was the numberplate from 7802 Bradley Manor, which sold for £3,800. Both items were consigned by a collector in the Machynlleth area, where both locomotives operated until the mid-1960s.  7802, of course, still exists and works on the Severn Valley Railway.

The majority of these Manor class nameplates and tender plates are sold
in specialist railway auctions, but it was fitting that these sold in
Shrewsbury, as they had a long association with Mid Wales and the
Marches, said Andrew Beeston, senior auctioneer and valuer at Halls.

And finally ...

We were surprised to receive an email from Colin Dale of the Monster Raving Loony Party regarding our comments about the similarity of names between himself and the man who is planning to re-open the Blaenau Ffestiniog - Trawsfynydd line. Here it is for your enlightenment:

'Hi Idiots, seems you have got the wrong man.  I need a railway company like a need a hole in the head.  Yours, with Regards the real Colin Dale Radio Sutch.  Thats Your havin a larf!'

For the Trawsfynydd Colin Dale's project, see his website (compete with irritating music). Colindale station on the London Underground has so far refrained from comment.

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