Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

07 September 2011

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Forthcoming events

September 2011

Thursday 8 September Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Steve Morris   "CARDIFF CANTON DIESEL DEPOT"

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.

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.

October 2011

Saturday 1 October  Stephenson Locomotive 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 Bus & 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 Circle  Larry 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 Railway Society Mainline Steam with PSOV - The Preserved Steam on Video team will be visiting with their latest presentation of action on the mainline.
Thursday 13 October Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  E. Norman Kneale    NORTH WALES STEAM RAILWAYMEN/6G STEAAM DAYS

Friday 14 October  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "Railway Ciné Films from the 1970s" by Richard Greenwood MBE
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.

29/30 October Merseyside Model Railway Exhibition at Pacific Rd Arts Centre, Woodside, Birkenhead with full size tramway operating outside.

November 2011

Friday 4 November  Clwyd Railway Circle  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 century.                
Thursday 10 November  Llandudno and Conwy 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 Chester  Edgar Richards: North Eastern Part 1. Our very own Edgar Richards returns with views of the northern part of the former North Eastern Region.

December 2011

Friday 2 December  Clwyd Railway Circle  Xmas Celebration –
A film show to whet your appetite before our interlude of festive goodies.

Saturday 3 December     Stephenson Locomotive Society -  Malcolm Dickin            THE CHAIRMAN’S CHRISTMAS QUIZ   

Thursday 8 December Llandudno and Conwy 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 Transit Association

Monday 12 December. Wrexham Railway Society AGM and Rail Review with members' material on show
Monday 19  December RCTS Chester    Members Evening:30 slides or digital images of your choice. Please 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 Bowland's Rail37 website.

Our picture above, by David Hennessey, shows 4 September's 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 1900   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 there early...

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 adjacent 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).

Freight notes

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 within weeks.

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 from the DfT 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 country.

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 Railway website.

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 August.

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.

Steam scenes

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 Shrewsbury.

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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