Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

05 September 2011

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

Forthcoming events

September 2011

9 - 11 September Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala

Friday 9 September  Clwyd Railway Circle  Edgar Richards: Railways of the North East, 1965 onwards (part 1). After recovering from an injury sustained in 2010, our top link speaker is back. This time Edgar takes us on a journey from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Durham.
Saturday 10 September Steam to Chester The Cathedrals Express  London Euston - Chester. Steam Dreams 60163 Tornado: Euston-Chester and return

Saturday 10 September – Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Porthmadog – Lace on the Train. 'It’s National Lace Making Day, and a team of master lacemakers will be travelling on the train demonstrating the art of making lace with pins and pillows.'

Saturday 17 September – Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Porthmadog – Cob 200. 'The Great Embankment which allowed Porthmadog to be built was completed 200 years ago this weekend.  Two centuries on, The Cob is still there and still doing its job.  We’re planning a day of celebrations as part of the festivities going on in town, including a visit from the man who built The Cob – William Madocks himself.'

Monday 19 September RCTS Chester  Bob Casselden: Teenage Memories Of The Early 1960s. A digital presentation of some of Bob’s black and white pictures from the 1960s. Bob’s home town of Yeovil will feature as well as faraway places such as Carlisle and Sunderland. His presentation will cover steam, diesel and electric traction with some of his early photographs which were taken with his ‘Box Brownie’ camera and have now been scanned for this presentation.

Saturday 24 September - Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Porthmadog – Railways on the Air. Railway enthusiasts get together with amateur radio enthusiasts to broadcast around the globe from our station at Pen-y-Mount, and celebrate the 200th birthday of the Cob. Listen out for call sign GOWHR.

October 2011

Wednesday 5 October  Excursion Compass Tours - from Holyhead (dep. 07:30) and stations to Crewe, to Bath or Salisbury, 'Western Cathedrals Express'

Friday 7 October  Clwyd Railway Circle  Larry Davies:  Railway Wanderings in North Wales. A collection of slides around North Wales presented by a great favourite with our members.

Monday 17 October RCTS Chester   Brian Stephenson: Great Railway Photographers. Brian visits us from Ashford to give a digital presentation from about 10 individual photographers of the last 90 years. The show will include the work of W.J.V. Anderson, O.J Morris, T.G. Hepburn, F.R. Hebron, P. F. Cooke, Kenneth Field and C.R.L.Coles.  Also included will be a selection of Brian’s own photographs from 50 years of railway photography.

This 'picture special' update is devoted to the Class 50 working in North Wales on 3/4 September.  Above, Bangor (Geraint Jones).

The Snowdon Ranger - Class 50 to Holyhead

The 'Snowdon Ranger' was a two-day excursion organised by PTG Tours, offering passengers from London (and points north) a trip to North Wales with optional fine dining, a night in a hotel, and optional visits to Bodnant Garden and the local heritage lines. It was unusual in several ways, not lease the promise of traction by two of the Fifty Fund's Class 50 locomotives. In the event only one, 50 044 Exeter, was available for use, and 57 304 Gordon Tracy acted as understudy for the other. We pick up the train (above) on Saturday 3 September outward bound at Crewe with 50 044 at the head (David Hennessey).

Above, the westbound train passes Rhyl (John Myers). A second novelty was the use of Virgin Trains' so-called 'Pretendolino' set of refurbished Mk 3 coaches, Mk3 loco-hauled vehicles and a Mk 3 driving van trailer (DVT); this set of coaches normally sees use only on a few peak-time service trains out of London and certainly has not visited North Wales in this livery before. Painted in Virgin's silver and red livery with striped doors, it makes quite an impressive sight.

The first leg of the tour was to Holyhead where the train would spend the night. Above, it passes Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies).

Emerging into the murk at Bangor where some passengers were to alight (Rowan Crawshaw).

Portrait of 50 044 at Bangor (Richard Fleckney). These locos were built in the late 1960s by English Electric, in some respects a modern version of their Class 40, but without the English Electric trademark 'nose' cab front (also seen on the 37s and 'Deltics'), which was disapproved of by British Rail's chief engineer of the day.

The weather at Holyhead was decidedly wet as passengers, and railfans - including members of staff - admired the unusual loco (Larry Davies). Note that Exeter features working headcode panels, of the type once standard, carrying the number of the particular service - now no longer carried on the train front but still generally referred to as the 'headcode'. '1' signified an express passenger train, 'Z' is a special working, and the two-digit number identifies the actual train. The return to London was headcode 1Z51.

Exeter meets weekend resident 57 315 at Holyhead Carriage Sidings  (Larry Davies). 50 044 and 57 304 were swapped to opposite ends of the train so that the Class 50 could haul the train westbound next day.

Above, Sunday 4 September and the weather takes a turn for the better as the train negotiates the crossover to the 'up' main line on departing Holyhead (Garnedd Jones). Early publicity had the train running to Blaenau Ffestiniog to collect the rest of the passengers, but in fact it was re-scheduled to turn back at the Conwy Valley's intermediate passing station, North Llanrwst.

Crossing Anglesey in the sunshine at Llandaniel (Stavros Lainas). The DVT, 82126, now behind the loading locomotive.

Llanfair PG (Richard Fleckney).

Penmaenmawr (Stéphanie Durrant)

Dwygyfylchi (M.Lloyd Davies)

Having received the single-line token from Peter Lloyd - who also took the picture - 50 044 sets off for North Llanrwst where it was to pick up passengers who had been riding the narrow gauge lines, before returning as the 13:14 departure from North Llanrwst to Llandudno Junction and London.

Tal-y-Cafn on the Conwy Valley line, where several of our contributors gathered (Larry Davies).

Contrast in front ends and liveries (Darren Durrant). There should be a space between the '50' and the '044' in this livery, surely?

Departing Llandudno Junction on the return to London, Exeter is in charge (Jack Bowley).

Seen from above at Old Colwyn (Stavros Lainas).

Rhyl, with its bungalows and characteristic church spire (John Myers).

Rhyl again - Gordon Tracy on the rear  (John Myers).

Passing Gwrych Castle near Abergele (Darren Durrant).

New-looking track at Shotton (Tim Rogers).

Along the sea wall Ffynnongroyw (Andrew Vinten).

Crossing Roodee viaduct over the River Dee on the approach to Chester (Andrew Vinten).

Chester Walls (Geoff Morris) ...

... 57 304 on the rear (Geoff Morris). At Chester, the whole train was reversed using the triangle of lines west of the station so that when it reversed again in Chester station to return to Saltney Junction and take the Wrexham line, the 50 would still be leading, and the DVT would be at the south end where it was on departure from London.

On the single-line section at Rossett (Stavros Lainas). Politicians talk of restoring double-track here ... sometime.

Rhostyllen, near Wrexham (Martin Cleverley)

Ruabon, passing the site of the former junction for the Llangollen line (Martin Evans). From here the train continued to Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and London.

Thanks as always to everyone involved in the working of this train, and to the people who braved the weather to take our pictures. PTG Tours offer an interesting selection of railway holidays in Europe.

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