24 October 2011
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and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
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.
Tuesday 8 November 8E Railway
Association Bill Andrews presents Life As An Engine Driver
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
Tuesday 13 December 8E Railway
Association AGM followed by Steam Around Chester by Jon Penn
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.
Friday 6 January Clwyd Railway
Brian Roberts: Reflections of the 1990s, Brian’s presentation
visit many different locations across the national network, with some
emphasis on the Merseyside area, in an attempt to portray a decade of
considerable change. Passenger operating companies will be
largely via their ever changing liveries, and there will be glimpses of
some of our preserved lines. The freight scene will be recalled, too,
not least by showing images taken on freight only lines, at industrial
plants and at several collieries prior to closure.
Monday 9 January. Wrexham
Society The Many Varied Railways of Australia . Geoff
Morris will show the great variety of rail action Down
Tuesday 10 January 8E Railway
Association Karl Jauncey & Dave Richards from PSOV
present Mainline Steam 2011
Thursday 12 January Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Society Tribute - the late Bill
Friday 13 January Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society "Steam Across Java in 1980"
by John Sloane
Monday 16 January RCTS Chester Barry
Shore: Terminus Part 3
Barry continues his Terminus series, this time off the Network, The
Preservation Scene and offshore including the Isle of Man and Ireland.
Saturday 21 January Stephenson
Area A G M followed by: Professor Colin
Divall - Down the
American Road? Industrial Research on the LMS, 1923-1947 The Big Four
are often criticised for an over-reliance on traditional forms of
engineering. However by the late 1930s the LMS had developed a sizeable
Research Department dealing with a wide range of technical problems.
This talk examines the Department's origins and activities, and asks
how successful it was.
57 308 Tin Tin (nothing at all to do with the new
feature film currently in the news) passes Bagillt with the Saturday
Pendolino working from London, 22 October. (see also a YouTube video version
of the scene) Picture by Darren Durrant.
Live music at Oswestry station
You are invited by Cambrian
Heritage Railways to hear railway songs from Mark Dowding
and Chris Harvey at Oswestry station on Saturday 29 October. Admission
is £5, on the door or in advance from the Gates Gift Shop, Church
Street, Oswestry. Doors open at 19:00, performance starts at 19:30. Hot
food is available, and a bar is open until 22:00.
Borderlands Rail Head Treatment Train - report by Mark Riley
Due to continuing intensive engineering work on the Wirral, the North
Wales RHTT was retimed on certain days recently, with 3S71 visiting
Wrexham and the Borderlands in dayight hours! On the first day of its
temporary new diagram, the train is seen just north of Wrexham General,
topped and tailed by 97 303 leading and 97 304 at the
rear heading for Bidston. It was following the 10:32 Wrexham
Central-Bidston passenger service.
97 304 leads the train through Croesnewydd with the return
Bidston-Crewe via Shrewsbury. To the right in the loop is one of the
engineers trains (6L03 Bidston - Basford Hall) which had arrived
from the possession site. Freighliner 66 546 is at the head of
a rake of
'Salmon' wagons with empty track panels and JNA wagons with spent
Fortunately the photo was taken between squally showers.
Seen backlit by the sun, the train heads south for Shrewsbury. To the
left is the tail end of the engineers train from the previous photo,
with DB Schenker 66 080 at the rear. Seconds after this picture
was taken, it
lashed it down with rain!
On 19 October, train 3S71 reverted back to its original timings, but on
October it confusingly changed back to its temporary revised diagram
as per 18 October - and ran early! I was lucky enough to have time to
photograph it passing Gwersyllt at 11:44 on the bright morning of 20
October 20 working again from Bidston-Crewe via Shrewsbury. This time
it was a much cleaner 97 302 taking the lead and 97 303
again at the rear.
Some back-lighting as the train sprays away up the bank towards
Despite the RHTT working up and down the Borderlands line, there have
still been reports of poor railhead adhesion. Maybe this is because of
the sheer number of engineers trains that have worked along the line in
the past two weeks!! Many thanks to all the gen posters on the North
Trains Yahoo Newsgroup and the Wrexham Gen
Yahoo Newsgroup which
made taking photos of these trains possible.
Larry Goddard writes: 'High winds made the usual morning
walk a bit challenging last Tuesday, anyway I couldn't resist this
wrong-side-of-the-sun shot of an Arriva Trains Class 175 crossing the
River Dulas with a midday Llandudno-Manchester train on 18th October
The Sunday afternoon stone train from Tunstead to Oakleigh in an
autumnal scene at Northenden Junction on 23 October, starring 60 019
(Les Burton). The train is coming off the single freight-only
line from Hazel Grove High-level Junction, joining the passenger line
from Stockport to Altrincham. The sidings on the right serve the
Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, whence trains of processed
rubbish depart for Roxby landfill site in Humberside.
On 15th October, with red berries in abundance (sign of a hard
winter?) 57 309 Brains and 390 028 City
of Preston pass Conwy Castle with the 08:50 London Euston to
Holyhead service (Garry Stroud). Talking of 57s: 57 312, one of
the locos transferred to Network Rail, has already been repainted in
yellow at Eastleigh works. Here's a link
to a picture.
20 901 and 20 905 leaving Warrington Bank Quay,
with two TTA fuel tanks, working as train 6Z33 to Doncaster on 2
October (Andrew Vinten). The headboard is a replica of Healey
Mills depot's 'Woollen Mill' cab-side plaque from BR Railfreight days,
giving us a clue to the home depot of the train crew. Take a look at
the Depot Plaques website.
Unique liveried 66 522 worked the 6H45 ballast train to Guide
Bridge from Penmaenmawr quarry on 17 October. Seen during loading
before the rains came down, the 66 makes for an interesting subject in
its unique livery during loading at Pen Quarry (Garry Stroud).
Wrexham, 19 October. Plasser & Theurer USP5000RT Ballast Regulator DR77908
is stabled in one of the bay platforms (which used to be known as the
Wrexham & Shropshire 'depot') ...
... while 66 155 is in charge of steel train 6M86 to Shotton (Martin
October 1914 timetable
An interesting recent email reads:
I'm currently in the process of doing research on a
novel which is set during the First World War. The main character hails
from Llandanwg in Gwynedd. In October 1914 he travels with his family
to Wrexham, what I need to establish is what route would they have
taken if travelling by rail, if that was possible during the period
outlined. Hope you can assist or point me in the right direction.
We have told him that Llandanwg halt wasn't open then, and that the
probably route would be Harlech - Dolgellau - Wrexham, but would there
have been a through train or through coach? If not, wheer would he have
An update from Llangollen - by George Jones
Saturday 1 October at Carrog and things were a bit different. Black 5 44806
was dressed up for a 'Wedding Belle', and was stabled in the sidings
ex-ICI 0-6-0 shunter Davy was acting as station pilot to allow
The road bridge was under scaffolding for repairs, hence the loop was
out of action.
The 'Corwen extensionists' were busy making a kissing gate for the foot
crossing beyond Carrog. Throughout the summer work has concentrated on
fencing the trackbed between Corwen and Bonwm. Now that autumn is here
resumption of vegetation clearance becomes permissible and work can be
concentrated on the infrastructure of the route with ten culverts, four
underpasses, one occupational over bridge and four farm crossings to
receive attention. Track already laid west of Carrog has been lifted to
recover bull head rail and replace with flat bottom.
for donations to help with the matched funding for the project
remains open and further assistance will be welcome from those who wish
to see the train arrive in the phase 1 temporary platform at Corwen in
On Sunday 16 October the service train was hauled by the visiting Black
5 45337 with directors of the owning company on hand to sample
their loco. To mark the loco's long association with Lancashire, and
the former L&YR system, when it was variously shedded at Liverpool
Bank Hall, Newton Heath and Agecroft, I arranged for the headboard 'The
Red Rose' to be carried on the 13:00 and 15:00 departures.
Above, 45337 running round at Llangollen. It was nice to see the Red
Rose county suitably honoured in Wales, a gesture which was appreciated
by the owners and intrigued the passengers. In reality a Black 5 was
rarely seen on the actual Red Rose (a Euston - Liverpool Lime Street
express) and the 5.25pm return from Lime St, the more usual motive
power, as I remember it, was a 'Duchess' (what we then called a semi)
or a 'Princess Royal'. For me in the 1950s it was the most important
train of the day, although others might regard the Merseyside Express
Birkenhead Tramway news
A section of pictures taken of the Birkenhead Tramway by Tom Bowen
during the Wirral Bus and Tram Weekend on 2 August. Above, Wallasey
Corporation no. 20, built in 1920.
No. 730 once ran in Lisbon, Portugal. All the trams shown here are from
the fleet of the Merseyside Tramway
20 was built in Birkenhead by Milnes in 1900 and worked for Birkenhead
Corporation for 37 years. Since 1937 it had rested on the banks of the
Dee, south of Chester, as a potting shed. Identified and restored by
MTPS members, it re-entered service in 1999.
The trams will be operating during the Merseyide Model
Railway Society's exhibition on 29 and 30 October (always well
worth a visit) which is held at the Pacific Arts Centre, served by the
tramway from near the Mersey Ferries' Woodside landing stage. We
hear that this might be the last weekend of operation until next March,
except a day of Santa Specials in December, due to staffing cutbacks by
Wirral Council who own the tramway.
Ffestiniog Vintage Weekend 15-16 October
The Ffestiniog Railway held its 'Vintage Weekend' on 15 - 16 October.
Above, a vintage train arrived at Porthmadog on 15 October (Darren
16 October, and a Welsh Highland Railway train heads out of Porthmadog
across the Britannia Bridge (Darren Durrant).
Linda runs round at Porthmadog (picture - with permission - by Darren
Stephen Hughes writes: 'It was towards the end of Sunday
afternoon and Blanche and Earl of Merioneth were
returning on the 15:10 from Blaenau Ffestiniog. The train was held most
unusually for five minutes outside Tan y Bwlch station, and as we
entered the station two other Fairlies (Merddin Emrys and David
Lloyd George which I think had hauled the 'gravity' train to Tan y
Grisiau) were on the same road, there was some surprise when they
coupled up to the front of the train - and we set off.....Superpower
indeed! Above, the from the train window at Cei Mawr.
The two Fairlies were uncoupled at Pen Cob (above), and the train
then continued to the Harbour Station.
Club 55 to Pembroke Dock - report by Stuart Samuel
Our jaunt started with the 08:56 ('WAG2') from Rhyl to Cardiff.
The 2-Car 175 was well-filled, and we sped along the coast, reversing
at Chester to gain the Shrewsbury line. By Wrexham it had started to
rain; this, plus the overhanging trees meant we occasionally slipped on
greasy rails, and the driver approached the station stops at Ruabon and
Chirk with noticeable caution. Probably the Rail Head Treatment
Train was due a visit! However, conditions improved after Gobowen
and we sped along, only a few minutes late, into the land of
lower-quadrant semaphore signals. The weather conditions - bright
sunshine alternating with heavy rain showers, gave a delightful light
as we journeyed through the autumnal Marches, running non-stop from
Shrewsbury to Newport, to arrive in Cardiff spot on time at 12:08.
After a quick sandwich, we were on the 12:39 to Carmarthen - a 3
Car 175 - again well filled as far as Swansea - and revelled again in
Alstom comfort as we knew that west of Carmarthen it would be something
more spartan. Sure enough, after changing platforms via the barrow
crossing (a rare thing these days), we found our ongoing steed was a
'rammed' Class153 - 'skateboard' or 'dogbox' as they are
less-complimentarily called, and realised why, as many passengers and
much luggage competed for little space and the engines were severely
challenged over the gradients to Tenby. Here, about 75% of passengers
disembarked, and I could remove my legs from my pockets and stretch out
again, as we trundled on the final stretch into Pembroke Dock. And what
a miserable welcome from the boarded-up and decaying station. The
town's people, who were quite friendly - one woman even offering us a
lift in the driving rain to our hotel - deserve something better than
The following morning we enjoyed the journey through the West Wales
countryside on a comparatively more comfortable Class 150 forming the
11:08 to Whitland, and then spent half an hour admiring another
boarded-up station and hideously ugly signalbox until we were rescued
by the 12:44 to Fishguard.
We were breaking our return journey to visit this town as we are
unlikely to be back in the area soon, and realised again what a
bargain our £16 Club 55 tickets were when the conductor asked for
£8:20p each for the short trip. We fair bowled along,
stopping to collect the single-line token at Clarbeston Rd, and rolled
down into Fishguard Harbour, arriving 10 minutes early at 13:15 (some
timetable-padding here?). Here we were the only ones not bound for
Ireland, and boarded the Richards bus to the Town Square instead.
Fishguard is an interesting place - really three communities in one
- the docks, the town and the old town, but I suspect most miss
its delights, crossing just from train to ferry. But we enjoyed our
night there, especially the folk evening and excellent meal at the
Royal Oak. But is it the only place to have a "Docks" station but not a
"Town" one? Despite the W.A.G.'s attempt to encourage greater use
of the railway by recently introducing more services, the walk to the
docks or the infrequent bus service must deter some potential
It was on one of these new services - the 09:56 - that we reluctantly
left the following morning. My heart sank when I saw it was another
153, but need not have despaired as were were two of only 7 passengers,
and as we were visitors it can hardly be said the local populace is
embracing the new service with open arms. However, we left spot on
time, and I was interested to hear our multi-tasking conductor dispatch
the train not with 2 buzzes but 6, as we drew forward to the plunger at
the end of the platform, where he then got off again to work the
level-crossing barrier! At least there are barriers here - I
noticed the previous day near Pembroke two gate-less crossings,
obliging the driver to come to a complete standstill, sound the horn
and then proceed gingerly across. I wouldn't have been surprised to see
a man with a red flag appear!
We were soon back into Carmarthen, then over the barrow-crossing again
to the 11:04 to Cardiff and the return of Class 175 comfort. I think
these are the best of any units currently in operation - the seats are
comfortable, the leg-room is excellent, and you even get a good window
view, something which would have been taken for granted with 1st
generation DMUs, but which is now a bonus compared with some stock. It
did seem strange, though, hearing the p.a. announcing such far-away
"foreign" stations as Wilmslow and Stockport in deepest West Wales!
We were then treated to a little farce in Cardiff Central. We arrived
in platform 2, and our connecting service was booked to depart from
there at 13:21, and when it came up on the screens we waited at the
Newport end of that platform. Then they changed and the 13:12 to
Cheltenham appeared instead, and a voice shouted "platform 1 for
So, round to said platform to find a unit parked right up at the
Swansea end. Was that it? All the screens were showing "Holyhead"
and as this platform doesn't seem to be split into "1a" and "1b" we
joined the trek with about 20 others to the far end, but noticed the
leading pioneers were not being allowed on, so we hedged our bets and
stopped in mid-platform. Then a First Great Western 3-Car Class
158 attempted to enter the same platform, and I jokingly commented
"it's going to nudge it down for us!" At which moment, a driver
appeared and brought our train down, but this time right to the Newport
end of the platform, leaving us all to trek back again! Good exercise,
but I doubt the infirm or those with heavy luggage felt so positively
about it. Still, we were away on time but after three hours or so
on a rather full un-refurbished silver 158, I was realising how much
better the refurbished ones are. But a 175 would have been even better.
Still, it was an interesting three days. Excellent value at £16
each (Senior Railcard fare) to Pembroke, the trains were on time
throughout, the on-board staff were very friendly, and, most
importantly of all, Judith was delighted they stock Earl Grey tea on
the trolleys, so she was happy too!
Rail Head Treatment Assortment
It's not only the rails that get wet, with a gale force westerly
blowing off the Irish Sea, the photographer gets sprayed as well! 97
303 on the rear and 97 304 on front pass Penmaenmawr with
the jets full on heading back to Crewe with the RHTT on Monday 17
October (Garry Stroud).
Buckley, 20 October (Stavros Lainas)
22 October, and the RHTT passing Hadnall at 08:57 en route to Bidston (Stavros
Leaton, just north of Shrewsbury on 22 October at 09:47 (Stavros
At Ruabon on 22 October running later than booked en route back to
Crewe. Picture by Stavros Lainas who notes: 'I'm not sure what
happened but it was diverted via Cosford, and then onto Stafford ... It
didn’t run back via Whitchurch, much to my disappointment.'
On the Compass Tours excursion - with Ken Robinson
On 5 October myself and Rhian, my wife, went on Compass Railtours
'Western Cathedrals Express' from Llandudno Junction - a long
day, as the timings were much earlier (out) and later (back) than
originally advertised, but it gave us more time at Bath, however, a
great tour. Photos were difficult because of the light; the one above
was taken at Chester in fairly decent light when I 'escaped' from the
train during its stop.
We were given an unexpected leg stretch/photo stop of around 10 mins at
Shrewsbury - hence the second photo. 47 500 (ex-Cotswold Rail)
in West Coast Railway Company livery was at the back outward, and front
on the return.
News from the Cambrian Coast - by Ian Macer-Wright
I had a walk round by Dysynni Bridge near Tywyn on 15 October, and it
looks like someone is going to be busy ... Sleepers, ballast and new
rail all there waiting to be used, probably in half term week when
Barmouth Bridge will be closed. There has been a compound near Morfa
Mawddach for a while and recently diggers and people have been going
out to the bridge at low tide.
I wonder if they will put a fence up between railway and beach at
Far-flung 87s - pictures by Mark Barber
Mark travelled to Bulgaria recently to see and ride behind some of the
ex-British Rail Class 87 electric locos now in use there. Above, 87
026 at Razdelna on 6 October. The 87s normally work such freight
trains for an open-access company, BZhK.
The reason for the journey: 87 006 (Former City of Glasgow)
at Septemvri (Bulgaria) whilst working PTG railtour from Varna to Sofia
on 7 October. Quite a change from pushing London - Holyhead trains into
87 014 at Sofia Poduyane Works on 8th October. The locos
have all retained their original numbers, with the addition of a
computer check digit. More pictures on Mark's
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