07 September 2011
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and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
Thursday 8 September Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Steve Morris "CARDIFF
CANTON DIESEL DEPOT"
9 - 11 September Llangollen Railway Autumn
Friday 9 September Clwyd Railway
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
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
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
Porthmadog – Cob 200. 'The Great Embankment which allowed Porthmadog to
be built was completed 200 years ago this weekend. Two centuries
The Cob is still there and still doing its job. We’re planning a
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
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
Saturday 24 September - Welsh Highland
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.
Saturday 24 September. Llangollen Railway Autumn Diesel day with class
26 D5310, Class 31 5580, Class 37 6940 and (maybe) Class 47 D1566 with
class 108 DMU to give an intensive train service.
Saturday 1 October Stephenson
Society Stephen Cornish - The Railway Career of a Career
Railwayman. Stephen will describe the belt-and-braces railway work of
his early career (Guide Bridge, Woodhead line, Buxton) and BR Board
work, and also the last 10 years (with Railtrack/Network Rail) as
manager for all special traffic on the network - charter trains, steam
trains, Orient Express, the Royal Train etc.
Sunday 2 October Wirral
Tram Show at Pacific Rd, Woodside, Birkenhead.
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
Davies: Railway Wanderings in North Wales. A collection of slides
around North Wales presented by a great favourite with our members.
Monday 10 October. Wrexham
Society Mainline Steam with PSOV - The Preserved Steam on
Video team will be visiting with their latest presentation of action on
Thursday 13 October Llandudno
Valley Railway Society E. Norman
Kneale NORTH WALES STEAM RAILWAYMEN/6G STEAAM DAYS
Friday 14 October Altrincham
Railway Preservation Society "Railway Ciné Films from the
1970s" by Richard Greenwood MBE
Monday 17 October RCTS
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
Brian’s own photographs from 50 years of railway photography.
29/30 October Merseyside
Exhibition at Pacific Rd Arts
Centre, Woodside, Birkenhead with full size tramway operating outside.
Friday 4 November Clwyd Railway
Geoff Coward: The Worlds Last Real Working Steam – China 2002. The
Ji-Tong line featured frequent 2300 tonne trains, 1 in 80 gradients,
snow, mountains and huge steam locos. Other locations include coal
trains, passenger services and a steelworks, all steam operated in
November 2002, now all gone.
Friday 11 November Altrincham Electric
Railway Preservation Society
"Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Locomotives Part 1" by Paul
Shackcloth, Photographic Officer, Manchester Locomotive Society
Saturday 5 November Stephenson Locomotive Society
Mike Crabtree, I.Eng., M.I.E.T.
The Great Orme Tramway,
Llandudno – a History of the Line . An illustrated talk describing the
history of the line and a description of how the line has been
rejuvenated to meet the challenges of operating in the 21st
Thursday 10 November Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Larry
Davies "Summer Holidays by Train"
Monday 14 November. Wrexham Railway Society
A Colour Rail Journey - The new proprietor of Colour-Rail Paul
Chancellor will talk about the difficulties of dealing with old colour
slides and will present a UK wide journey with illustrations taken over
the past 60 years.
Monday 21 November RCTS
Edgar Richards: North Eastern Part 1. Our very own Edgar Richards
returns with views of the northern part of the former North Eastern
Friday 2 December Clwyd Railway
Circle Xmas Celebration –
A film show to whet your appetite before our interlude of festive
Saturday 3 December Stephenson Locomotive Society -
THE CHAIRMAN’S CHRISTMAS QUIZ
Thursday 8 December Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Members Night/Xmas Social
Friday 9 December Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society "Current Developments on
Metrolink" by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail
Monday 12 December. Wrexham
Society AGM and Rail Review with members' material on show
Monday 19 December RCTS
Members Evening:30 slides or digital images of your choice.
advise Alan Donaldson if you intend to make a presentation and to what
format you will be using.
Shadows lengthen as 57 316
passes Shotton with the Cardiff - Holyhead express, 25 August (Tim Rogers).
Hoover down the Coast and up the Valley
A most unusual excursion on 3 and 4 September saw Class 50 diesel 50 044 Exeter (formerly D444) hauling
Virgin Trains' set of Mk 3 coaches along the Coast to Holyhead and up
the Conwy Valley as far as North Llanrwst with 57 304 Gordon Tracy on the other end.
Above, on 3 September the train passes Prestatyn (Ivor Bufton). Several candidates for
'first...', first 50, and first 57/3 up the Conwy Valley? 50s have been
seen in North Wales before - including test trains when first built
- but never on a regular basis and probably not since 2004 when
two of them worked an excursion - see report of that day on Ian
Our picture above, by David Hennessey,
train at Tal-y-Cafn. For many more views, we have
devoted our last update to a special page to the 'Snowdon Ranger' tour.
Please visit if you have not already.
Wrexham Railway Society news - by George Jones
The new season of monthly meetings for the Wrexham Railway Society
begins on Monday 12 September. This will be the society's 101st meeting
since its formation in 1997 and the first speaker on that occasion is
invited back to give another presentation. Dave Southern will present his
collection of Slides entitled "Rails to Bala".
Meetings are held at St Mary's church social club opposite the
Grosvenor Rd/Regent St traffic lights in Wrexham. Doors open
and speaker commences 1945 - prior to the speaker there is a digital
news round up of rail activities and announcements. The Venue is a
private room with bar and there is on-site parking for those who get
Membership for the season is £5 which covers all the season's
meetings otherwise visitors are asked to pay £2 at the door. A
full programme of speakers and activities for each of the second
Mondays in each month through to March will be available at the
meeting. A raffle is held at each meeting to help with speaker's
expenses with appropriate railway items as prizes.
Class 158 news
Tim Fenton captured 158 833 (above) shining in the
sunshine at Crewe station on 5 September, freshly out of the LNWR works
where it has been through the refurbishment programme.
A chance to show some views taken by Charlie inside one of these
refurbished trains, 158 821,
on 15 July. The big improvement - for tall people at least - is the
leg-room, and provision of priority seats, achieved by removing some of
the table bays. The alignment of the seats with the windows is perhaps
not as bad as some had predicted. On the other hand, the high-backed
seats seriously block the sight-line, especially from the seats
to the aisle; the picture above is taken from eye level. It appears
that these 'tombstone' seats are not so much the choice of Arriva
Trains Wales as a requirement by the 'safety authorities' to protect
passengers in the extremely unlikely event of an accident.
A definite improvement is the opening-up of the appalling 'bike
cupboard' originally provided in these units, to provide something like
a decent cycle space. The perch-seat against the wall looks like a good
idea for busy times when no bikes are aboard. Experience will show
whether passengers will defeat cyclists by piling their giant suitcases
in this area, as happens on other trains with similar facilities.
158 821 heads south from
Llanaber on 15 July in typical 2011 summer weather (Charlie Hulme).
DRS loco 66 305 heads through
Llandudno Junction at 13:30 on 5 September with another load of ballast
from Penmaenmawr quarry for Manchester Metrolink (Peter Lloyd). Another example of a
confusing locomotive history, 66 305 came from the fleet of the
now-defunct Jarvis Fastline company, was taken over and repainted by
DRS, and is currently on hire to Freightliner.
66 850 passes Rossett
with the 12:50 Carlisle - Chirk log train, 26 August (Tim Rogers). We hear that a new flow
of logs will soon commence, this time from Devon. Network Rail are
clearing vegetation from the Newton Abbot end of the Heathfield branch
to permit trains to access a loading point for logs from a new supply.
Driver training is under way and a first train to Chirk may be expected
66 161 (above) passes
Penyffordd with train 6M86 Llanwern - Dee Marsh loaded with steel for
coating at Shotton works, 26 August.
Nick Gurney writes:
'Readers may have noticed there have been no flask trains to Valley for
a few weeks. The gantry crane at the loading point seems to be having a
major overhaul. The lifting spreader was removed, then a road crane was
brought in and the trolley that traverses the top of the gantry was
removed. It seems all working/moving parts were removed leaving just
the gantry which then had scaffolding erected around it. The
scaffolding then had all the protection fitted around it as I
photographed it on Tuesday 30 August. It sounded like the gantry was
being shot-blasted, hence the protection. I imagine it will receive a
new coat of paint and everything will be installed back into place.
Watch this space for photographic updates.'
The scene on 3 September (from the public footpath). Picture by M.Lloyd Davies.
Stations to be de-staffed? Probably not
Recently the UK Government commissioned a 'business big shot' Sir Roy
McNulty to chair an 'independent study' to tell them what to do about
the railways. Sir Roy McNulty seemingly has no interest in putting his
feet up. Who is he? Well, according to The Times back in 2007: 'The
70-year-old father of three has been the £90,000-a-year,
three-day-a-week chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority since 2001.
He divides his week between regulating Britain’s crowded airspace and
helping to deliver the 2012 London Olympic Games in his other role as
deputy chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority.'
The full report, and other documents, published in May, can be downloaded
Website by anyone with time to spare. Several of his
ideas, such as changes to the ticket system, seem vague and
impractical, and others appear to have already been 'kicked into the
long grass' by the politicians. Meanwhile, the local Transport Salaried
Staffs Association trade union people have been reading through the
documents and discovered in the 'small print' a list of 675 stations
across England and Wales which Sir Roy thinks can lose staff to save
money and make the railway more efficient.
23 Welsh stations are reported to be on the hit-list, including Flint,
Holyhead, Llandudno, Machynlleth, Newtown, Pwllheli and Shotton in our
area. Flint and Shotton have both had new ticket offices in the last
couple of years, while plans to turn Llandudno station into a 'bright,
accessible and secure transport interchange' were announced only a few
days ago. Train companies have to get permission from the
Department for Transport to close a ticket office, but the union says
the report was recommending that this requirement should be scrapped.
Arriva Trains Wales were quick to respond to the press coverage by
insisting that there are no plans to remove station staff.
Some of the other ideas for cost savings on rural railways, as
floated by the report, include the reduction in weight of trains by
using lower-powered engines and 'removing air conditioning and
powered doors'. Rather than buy new stock, perhaps second-hand trams or
trains from other countries could be used on lines with no 'loading
gauge constraints.' A picture is painted of Britain as a third-world
Llangollen Steam Gala 9-11 September - report by George Jones
George Jones's picture above shows 'Black 5' 4-6-0 45337, which has
arrived at Llangollen as visiting power for the Steam Gala taking place
on the Llangollen Railway from 9 - 12 September.
Also now delivered to Llangollen is BR Standard class 2 2-6-0 78019, seen on shed at Llangollen.
Due to be returned to the railway is BR 4MT Standard tank 80072 which
has just finished its season at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Also
in steam will be
residents - 6430, 7822, 44806 and 3802. The timetable is now available
on the recently re-designed Llangollen
Other Llangollen news: The promised running-in board for Corwen has
been manufactured at Carrog and plans are in hand to have it erected
for display near to the station site. Above are Martin Christie and
Dave Mulholland, the creators of this piece of joinery, with the fresh
coat of paint applied. For those who don't know - a surprising
number - a running-in board with station name writ large was placed at
the end of platforms so that train passengers could easily see which
station they had arrived at as the train ran in. This was necessary in
the days before on board announcements!
Llangollen on Tour - report by Richard Putley
News from the Avon Valley
Railway, a preserved section of the Midland Railway's line between
Bristol and Bath, is that while the line's Polish 0-6-0T Karel (which is the Polish form of
"Charles") is out of traffic, the Llangollen Railway has come to the
rescue with 0-6-0ST Jessie,
seen here at Oldland Common on 14 September.
Bangor Yard now and then - report by Jim Johnson
The same scene, two different eras. Above, the now fully-commissioned
car park on the old loco shed/goods yard site at Bangor, taken on 27
By contrast, this view, taken by me on Tuesday, 8 July 1980, shows
green-liveried Class 40 40 106
with what I believe is the last ever delivery of domestic coal to local
merchant Glyn Owen. (I stand to be corrected.) The cement silos are
still doing good business, but other than this, the only significant
subsequent traffic was bricks from the Seiont Brickworks in Caernarfon.
The tunnel maintenance train is clearly visible, including an LMS
coach, and a redundant Mk1 sleeping car provides mess accommodation.
National Carriers occupy the LNWR goods shed (now used by Network
Rail), and Stockwell steel then, as now, occupy the old 6H loco shed.
Even the Plaza cinema, in the centre background, is now history, having
given way to student accommodation.
Saturday 3 September, and another 'Black 5' in the shape of 44932 is seen passing Acton Bridge
(above, by Eric Scott) ...
... and Crewe (above, by David
Hennessey) with a fund-raising excursion for the Lune Rivers Trust, a
charity dedicated to the conservation, protection, rehabilitation and
improvement of the River Lune throughout its whole length and its
associated tributaries in Cumbria, Yorkshire and North Lancashire. The
train, operated by West Coast Railways, ran from Carnforth to
Thanks to Garnedd Jones, who
works at Holyhead depot, for this interesting picture of 70013 Oliver
Cromwell having its coal supply replenished at Holyhead on 21 August
while on 'North Wales Coast Express' duty.
The Old Metropolitan Coach - notes by Andrew Kirkham
I was interested to see the photo of the old Metropolitan coach on its
way to Boston Lodge (29 August issue). If
this coach is the one I think it is, it has an interesting history
which seems not to be mentioned on either the Ffestiniog or LT Museum
websites. It survived because is was purchased by the Weston, Clevedon
and Portishead Light Railway on the occasion of its extension to
Portishead in 1907, and survived on that line until it closed in 1940.
On closure, the Great Western took all the stock to Swindon for
scrapping but (quoting Colin Maggs from his history of the WC&P)
"...a tailoring firm purchased all the ex-WCPLR four-wheeled coaches
from the GWR at Swindon and set them up as military tailoring shops in
various camps between Shrivenham and Watchfield a few miles east of
Swindon. No. 7 ended as an antique shop at Shrivenham still with '7' on
its side and with original ceiling, a luggage rack and one seat. It is
now in the London Transport collection, but at the time of writing has
yet to be restored."
Cable-layer at Prestatyn - report by Dave Sallery
The cable layer Nostag 10
seen at Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, 31 August (Dave Sallery) ship Nostag is
anchored at the point where the underground cable of the East-West
Interconnector project is linked to the 180km or 112 mile
length that will travel to a coastal site near Dublin.
The facility being developed by EirGrid – the independent electricity
transmission system operator in the Republic of Ireland to enable the
export of electricity between the two countries.
As it makes its way across the sea around Anglesey, the cable will be
carefully lowered into the water and laid in a narrow trench, which
will be opened and closed by a remote controlled vehicle operating on
the sea bed, making it a regular feature off the North Wales coast. The
cable laying work is expected to take around eight months to complete.
The cable also travels underground through Bagillt and Flint to a power
converter station which is under construction near Connah’s Quay which
will convert electricity from direct to alternating currents, making it
suitable for transmission by underground and undersea cables,
eventually providing power for an estimated 300,000 homes.
Llanddulas jetty RIP
Report by Nick Gurney, Dennis
Oliver and Joe Williams
Demolition of a familiar landmark visible from the North Wales coast
railway line and the A55 expressway began at the start of the very low
tides on the 30 August.
The jetty, which was originally built around 1865 and was used to ship
stone out from the Kneeshaw Lupton quarry in Llanddulas. The
jetty closed to ships on 22 March 1997, and the last daylight loading
was on the ship Worthing with
the Hope being the final
ship to load there on the night tide. As of
5 September only the very end of the jetty remained and we understand
the remaining section of the jetty will be demolished between 23 and 29
September when the next low tides are due.
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