Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

26 September 2011

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Forthcoming events

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 STEAM DAYS

Friday 14 October  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "Railway Cine 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.

57 308 Tin Tin at Prestatyn with the 14:36 Holyhead - London, Saturday 24 September (Darren Durrant)

The Llangollen Railway Diesel Gala - pictures by Stuart Harvey

Some of the locos in service at Llangollen on 24 September. Above:Class 31 5580.

Class 37 6940 departs Llangollen.

'Tired Old' D1566 Orion. The headboard reads 'Up The Duff' - a reference to an old railfan nickname for the type.

British Rail Mk 1 Corridor Composite coach E16071, recently refurbished repainted in late 1960s-style corporate livery, is ideal for blue preserved diesels and a pleasant change from the 1950s look which is so fashionable with heritage railways at present. These coaches have four first-class compartments (indicated by the yellow stripe) and three second class ones, intended for use on trains which did not justify a full first-class coach.

Valley crane refurbished - report by Nick Gurney

The repainted crane at Valley unloading point has now been unveiled. The picture from from Thursday 22 September shows its new coat of paint.

Interestingly, the plaque on the crane still states that it was refurbished in 1999.

Valley triangle quirks - report by M.Lloyd Davies

The triangle of lines at Valley, which is used to turn the locomotives of steam specials so they can return from Holyhead boiler-first, as well as assisting with the operation of the flask trains, also sees some more unusual movements at times. On 4 September, 50 044 Exeter travelled there from Holyhead to be turned, for some technical reason, before working the return Snowdon Ranger railtour (See our full page report and also the bottom of this page).

Other oddities from this year: The locos used on UK Rail Tours 'Welsh Highlander' 67 006 Royal Sovereign and 67 017 Arrow on 26 March were turned, following their working to Holyhead, to get 67 017 to lead out of Holyhead due to what I believe was a fault with 67017's Electrical Train Heat connections. Apparently it could not couple up directly to the coaching stock.

The rare sight of two locos -  4965 Rood Aston Hall and 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe - independently turning at the same time occurred on 30 April after a working to Llandudno from Tyseley in conjunction with the Victorian Festival at Llandudno.

The Province of Leinster Railtour - report by Stephen Hughes

Alan Crawshaw has already reported (12 September issue) on the Friday 9 September RPSI (Railway Preservation Society of Ireland) Silvermines railtour. Action continued the next day, Saturday 10 September, as the 'Province of Leinster'. 0-6-0 186 took the the tour to Kilkenny (above), covering the same route as the Silvermines tour did the previous day as far as Cherryville Junction near Kildare, and then following the line to Waterford as far as Kilkenny, with a stop for water at Athy. This locomotive was built in Manchester by Sharp, Stewart in 1889 for the Great Southern and Western Railway of Ireland.

Unfortunately, the release crossover at Kilkenny has been removed following the introduction of the diesel units, and so diesel 073 had a light-engine move from Waterford to release 186, which was then turned on the Lavistown triangle. A good run back to Dublin followed with enough recovery time to allow an arrival roughly on time.

Sunday 11 September's tour promised a first visit of a loco hauled train to the new stations at M3 Parkway and Dublin Docklands. Spirited work by 186 in damp weather brought us into the bland new station at M3 Parkway, followed at a safe distance by diesel 083 which would take the train directly to the new Docklands station (above), with 186 following  tender-first. This was the first visit of a loco-hauled train to this station. It has been reported that passenger usage of the station so far has been less than expected .

Then followed a run up the Sligo line as far as Mullingar (above). Mullingar station is rather like a journey back in time, a junction station with two platforms unused but looking very forlorn, rather like some stations on the mainland in the 1960s. Here 186 went to the turntable on the old Mullingar shed, out of sight to us. There was a long delay before 186 returned - subsequently we learned that it proved very difficult to balance the loco on the turntable. This delay meant that our path on the single line was lost, but waiting for the service train at Mullingar meant that return to Dublin was non-stop and an on time arrival. The picture  shows 186 returning to the train at Mullingar through the platform formerly used by trains to Athlone. Note the water tank behind 186 - it is still possible to see water columns and turntables in Ireland, but on this year's tour 186's tender was filled from hydrants.

A view of Mullingar station from an overbridge at the Sligo end. The
nay platform on the left was renewed to accommodate an early morning train that was due to start from Mullingar, but in the end it was decided to start the train from Longford, further north! The Athlone line platform runs at a right angle at the top of the picture behind the station buildings. An imposing signal box can just be made out 'above' the platform canopy.

The Athlone line platforms. This line is only occasionally used by
Iarnród Éireann (Irish State Railway), but does provide access to Mullingar shed, now an RPSI base.

186 performed really well throughout with a storming run back to Dublin. On returning home my thoughts were that it would be nigh-on impossible for a small 0-6-0 to run nearly 300 miles on the main line on the mainland given that the preference these days seems to be a quest for speed, but I have seen photographs of 0-6-0's hauling passenger trains - especially relief holiday specials - in the 50s and 60s, particularly in East Anglia - I wonder whether any readers can recall if LMS 4F's or other 0-6-0s worked Summer Saturday trains on The North Wales Coast?

Queen Mary 2 in Liverpool - report by Dave Sallery

The Cunard cruise liner Queen Mary 2 made its second visit to the Mersey on 15 September, seen here at the Pier Head.  The first visit was on 20 October 2009.]

Personally I didn't find it an attractive vessel at all - just very, very big! At the time of introduction to service in 2003 this was said to be the largest passenger ship ever built at 151,400 gross register tons, although larger ones have appeared since.

I was in Liverpool for the most interesting Mersey tunnel tour: recommended.


Train 6M86, the steel coils to Shotton from Llanwern at Wrexham on Friday 16 September at 17:30. The loco in charge is 66 167. Picture by Martin Evans.

The visiting 'Black Five' was used on services at Llangollen over the weekend of 16-17 September. Above, 45337 is seen running round at Llangollen on the Sunday. The owners, the Bury-based '26B Group', now have to find a Railway willing to hire the locomotive for future operations, so it will be moving on. It's been nice to have seen two Black 5s in action in the Dee Valley (George Jones).

Train 6H45 Penmaenmawr to Guide Bridge, with another load of ballast for the Manchester Metrolink extension, rolls through Llandudno Junction with 66 554 and 17 loaded wagons, 89 minutes late at 15:32 on 7 September (Peter Lloyd).

Little Sutton station

Sally Buttifant, Transport Officer, Cheshire West and Chester Council, writes:

'We have established a station friends group at Ellesmere Port, including residents, schools, street pastors etc., and are hoping to do something similar at Little Sutton.
'We are starting at Little Sutton by holding a Station Memories morning on Saturday 15th October – 10:00 - 12:00 in Little Sutton Community Centre (the library building). We are inviting local people along with their photos, memories and stories of Little Sutton station, will be providing free refreshments.
'There seems to be quite a bit of local interest in the station and its history. It would be great if any readers have have information about the station and would like to share them with us – either at the station morning or to me at'

Walking the Severn Valley - with Richard Putley

This year, on the occasion of the Severn Valley Railway steam gala,  I walked along the Severn between Bewdley and Arley and back, which gave me a chance to try filming at a variety of places. At Arley on 23 September I photographed  60163 Tornado (above) ... ...

... and 1899-built Caledonian Railway 0-6-0 828, a visitor from the Strathspey Railway, which was running tender-first.

Talyllyn: The Big Dig - report by Ian Drummond

With its Diamond Jubilee celebrations nearly over the Talyllyn Railway is not taking a rest, instead this winter will see two major projects being undertaken. First of which is the complete relaying of the line between Tywyn Wharf and Tywyn Pendre.

The digging of the cutting between Wharf and Pendre was one of the major earthworks in the building of the line in the 1860s, and looking at some of the statistics for the re-laying it is easy to see why. In total a length of some 457m or 1501ft of track, with twice that length of rail, has to be laid.

It will also involve:
•    Laying 561 sleepers, with four holes needing to be drilled in each making 2244 holes
•    Installing 168 fishplates
•    Laying and tamping 157 tonnes of ballast

However, before any of this can be done the trackbed needs to be re-graded, and new drainage installed. All of which has to take place in a cutting up to 4 metres deep with access only from each end.

Therefore, this will be no easy task. Work will start during the Railway’s Outdoor Week, which runs from 5 to 13 November 2011, it will then continue each weekend between Friday morning and Monday evening until 9 to 12 December. After this the work will be paused to allow the running of the Christmas train service.

Therefore, anyone who feels they would like to get involved with this would be most welcome. No particular skills are needed but a willingness to work as part of a team and do fairly heavy labour will be essential.
If you feel you will be able to give some time then please contact Keith Theobald ( letting him know when you will be able to come and give a hand.

Looking back at a busy September

It's been a 'slow news week' in North Wales, so let's have a look back at some recent events that we have recorded before, but not with these particular photographs which have come in since our earlier mentions and are too good to miss. Saturday 3 September, the day of the 'Snowdon Ranger' railtour, was memorable for the amount of rain which fell. Above, 57 307 Lady Penelope waits with the London train at soggy Holyhead station (M.Lloyd Davies)

The railtour, hauled by 50 044 stood for some time at Ty Mawr on the outskirts of Holyhead awaiting the departure of the London service from platform 1 (M.Lloyd Davies).

Slightly better weather arrived once the train had been shunted to the carriage sidings to await its return to London the next day (M.Lloyd Davies).

Next morning, and the train is ready to depart, after a visit by 50 044 to the Valley triangle to turn (M.Lloyd Davies).

A fine portrait of 50 044 in action, at Glan Conwy (M.Lloyd Davies)

60163 Tornado hauled a 'Cathedrals Express' from London to Chester on 10 September. John Beresford captured the train at Bunbury on the outward journey ...

... and at Waverton on the return.

The September steam gala at Llangollen was host to two visiting locos. One was 78019, seen double-heading with resident BR standard cousin 80072 (John Beresford).

The other was 'Black Five' 45337 (John Beresford).

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