14 November 2011
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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.
Tuesday 15 November North
Circle David Jones and Brian Bollington have put
together an interesting show on the Penrhyn Quarry Railway. This will
be of great interest to local people, many of whom will remember these
Monday 21 November RCTS
David Rapson - slides by Edgar Richards: North Eastern Part 1. Change
venue for this occasion only, to the Queen Hotel (adjacent to
the usual venue, opposite Chester station.)
Thursday 24 November Merseyside Railway
History Group Iain Henshaw West
Highland Rail Part 2
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
Tuesday 6 December North
Mr Ted Jones of the Conwy Valley Railway Society and the Prestatyn
Railway Society is to give a show in 2 parts: 1. Cambrian Coast
Express 2. Swiss Railways
Thursday 8 December Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Members Night/Xmas Social
Thursday 8 December Merseyside Railway
History Group Ted Lloyd The Last Big Adventure –
Friday 9 December Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society "Current Developments on
Metrolink" by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail
Saturday 10 December Rhyl and
District Model Railway Exhibition,
annual charity exhibition, to raise funds for Ty Gobaith Childrens
Hospice. Held at Parish Hall, top of Central Car Park, Prestatyn,
short walk from the station.
Monday 12 December. Wrexham
Society AGM and Rail Review with members' material on show
Tuesday 13 December North
Circle Christmas Buffet, Members Film and Photo
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.
Thursday 26 January Merseyside Railway
: Lost Stations of St. Helens
Friday 3 February Clwyd Railway
Geoff Morris: Australian Railways Today. A digital presentation of
Geoff's visits to Australia in 2009 and 2010 featuring main line and
preserved steam in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and
Queensland and also a look at the some of the modern scene.
Thursday 9 February Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Ron Watson Jones"Irish Mail Crash
Penmaenmawr - Aug 50"/"A Ron Miscellany"
Friday 10 February Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society "Great Western Railway Lines
in South and Mid-Wales" by Tony Icke
Monday 13 February. Wrexham
Sixties Steam on Steam - Barry Shore will give a digital presentation
based on his b&w negatives from the 60s with shed visits around the
UK and the final days of steam at Lostock Hall.
Tuesday 14 February 8E Railway
Association Colin White from B&R Video presents Archive
Cine Film from 50's & 60's
Saturday 18 February Stephenson
Bob Barnard The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway – Then
From 1898 this well-equipped 2 foot gauge line climbed into the
foothills of Exmoor, initially independent but later under the
Southern Railway, until its sudden closure in 1935. Since 2004,
have run on a section again. Bob Barnard, a local L&B
and North West group organiser, will tell the line's story in pictures
old and new.
Monday 20 February RCTS
Chester Stephen Gay: Walking the line, discovering lost
railways. Stephen travels from Sheffield with a slide
show on walking old railways with his faithful German Shepherd
Wrawby. The show includes the S&D, Scarborough to Whitby, rambling
in Scotland to glorious Devon plus a very varied local selection
Thursday 23 February Merseyside Railway
History Group Graham Briggs: Steaming
Yes, those Rail Head Treatment Train locos do get dirty if you have one
each end! 97 304 at
Valley, 13 November (Stavros Lainas)
14 November sees the
implementation of (yet) another reorganisation at Network Rail, the
'not-for-profit' company which owns the railway network, makes
strategic plans,organises its
maintenance and employs signalling staff. (See
The operation has been devolved to ten 'strategic routes', each with a
Route Managing Director in charge. The whole of Wales now becomes a
'route' with Mark Langman, (pictured) in charge, and a headquarters in
Cardiff. Mr Langman was previously route director for the Western Route
(which included Wales) so he knows his patch. Interestingly, he visited
and Ffestiniog lines on 31 October.
The new structure neatly matches the Arriva Trains Wales dominion
(except the remote branch lines to the outlying villages of Manchester
and Birmingham) and should make it easier to make decisions relating to
Welsh Government policy and subsidies. Already we hear of promises to
improve the Cardiff Valley services, and consider electrification, but
how North Wales railways will fit in with 'rule' from Cardiff may be a
cause of some scepticism.
The sunny autumn day of Saturday 12 November, and 57 314
through Abergele and Pensarn station hauling the 08:50 (SO) Pendolino
working from London (Larry Goddard).
As the train heads west from Abergele, the eastbound Rail Head
Treatment Train appeared on the 'up' line making its way back from
The coastal scene at Llanfairfechan (Stavros Lainas)
At Holyhead, 57 314 stayed behind to take over the following week's
Arriva expresses to Cardiff, and 57 316 took the Pendolino (390
019) back to Crewe
as the 14:36 Holyhead - London, captured by Stavros Lainas
passing Valley soon after departure.
The sun was setting over the hills as the train passed Rhyl Marine Lake
Fire drama at Manchester Piccadilly
On 10 November, just after 175 110 had run from Mayfield loop
into Platform 14 at Manchester Piccadilly to become the 17:50 to
Llandudno, and as passengers were beginning to board, a fire was
discovered under one of the coaches. The fire brigade were called, the
overhead power lines isolated, and platforms 13/14 evacuated. The train
driver, according to the Fire Brigade report, had inhaled
smoke and was given oxygen, but 'declined to go to hospital' - no other
injuries are reported.
The fire was
extinguished, and train eventually moved out of the way - it was still
there at 21:00 - but not before the rush-hour blockage of this
extremely busy line had delayed many other trains, and some passengers
from those trains had made things worse by forcing their way out on to
the track. Arriva are likely to face large compensation payments to
Network Rail on behalf of other companies using the station.
Although early reports suggested that the cause was a leak of hydraulic
fluid, similar to the fire in 175 008 at Preston in 2004 that put it
out of traffic for months, this is not so; following that incident
hydraulic pipework around the gearbox was modified on all units so that
if it became pierced there would be no oil spray.
Investigation of the fire in 175 110 found that a component failure had
caused a small fire confined to the area between the belly pan and the
engine block. Early suggestions are that the train will be back in use
in a few
Coincidentally, 008 and 110 were the only two trains to carry the
so-called 'ghost' livery tried in the early days of Arriva Trains Wales.
Cambrian Coast Scenes
Yes, there's a train in this picture (above): an unidentified Class 158
on the Sundays-only 13:48 from Pwllheli of 13 November crossing the
Traeth Mawr - lovely, sunny (but windy) conditions, and warm too for
the time of year. The mountains behind are Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn
Bach (Ken Robinson).
Earl of Merioneth leaving Porthmadog Harbour Station to
form the 14:15 to Beddgelert on 13 November. 'Single Fairlie' Taliesin
was on the back (well, front really) although the visiting Mallet was
rostered for the job. On the left one can see evidence of the
preparatory work for the Cob widening scheme, which started on 20
October (Ken Robinson).
Kate Jones sends this picture of some of the timbers
removed from Barmouth Bridge during the recent repair work. Not a
moment too soon,
by the looks of some of them.
A freak variation on the Rail Head Treatment Train occurred on 8
November when the train appeared on the North Wales Coast with just one
loco, 97 304 John Tiley instead of the usual two. Darren
Durrant took these pictures at Colwyn Bay.
News from the auction block
The nameplates from the six Class 57/3 locomotives recently transferred
from Virgin Trains to Network Rail and to be auctioned (for charity) at
Auctions event in Derby on 10 December. All six
nameplates and 'Thunderbird' badges from Kyrano (57 310), The
Hood (57 312), John Tracy (57 305), Scott Tracy (57
301), Jeff Tracy (57306) and Alan Tracy (57303) will be
Also in this auction will be what must surely be one of the most-wanted
steam loco plates, from LNER 'footballer' class B17 4-6-0 2862 (later
61662) Manchester United complete with its accompanying brass
ball. Interestingly, there are some people working on a project to
build a full-scale working replica of the locomotive itself. (The 61662 project
website.) We imagine that whoever is selling the nameplate might be
in a position to make a financial donation!
Back with North Wales, thanks to Ian Bowland who reports that a
(slightly damaged) nameplate from one-time North Wales regular 37
414 Cathays C & W Works was sold by DB Schenker at a Railwayananet
Auction in June 2011, fetching a respectable £2400, given
that this is not the most romantic of the Class 37/4 names.
Extra Tender Greetings
Tom Bowen writes 'I couldn't resist this Christmas card,
so it looks as if I will be sending "extra tender" greetings this
Christmas featuring an LNER D49 with "extra" GWR tender.'
"Santa Express" is obtainable by on-line ordering (£3.50 for 10)
from St. Luke's (Cheshire) Hospice. www.stlukes-hospice.co.uk.
Llangollen Railway - Corwen Extension Public meeting
Residents of Corwen and the Dee Valley are being invited to a public
meeting to hear about the progress with the extension of the Llangollen
Railway towards Corwen. An evening meeting on Thursday, 17 November
will be addressed by Mr Jim Ritchie, chairman, Llangollen Railway
Trust, who will give details of the work undertaken so far and the
plans to conclude Phase 1 of the project. The implications for Phase 2
will also be discussed.
The public meeting will be held in the Corwen Sports Pavilion
at 7.30 pm. As a follow-up an open day at the Sports Pavilion on
Saturday, 19 November will allow for the display of information about
the project to be viewed between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. Plans,
photographs and illustrations relating to the extension project will be
on display during the course of the two public events scheduled for 17
& 19 November.
The picture, taken - with permission - by George Jones, shows
the current 'head of rail' west of Carrog. Track panels have been
laid but a lot of work still to be done on the alignment and ballasting
to complete the job. Permission is now agreed to continue laying
track towards Bonwm in time for 'Steel, Steam & Stars 3' gala next
More on the Chester station bus fiasco
As reported here last time, the free bus service between Chester
station and the city centre will be replaced from 21 November by a
commercial service operated by Aintree Coach Line of Bootle, at a fare
£1 (65p for accompanied children.) This form already operated
'Park and Ride' services into Chester.
This situation become more ridiculous when we read of the financial
effect on this change on Chester West and Chester Council. According to
their press release:
The City Rail Link free bus service has been operated
for 15 years by a partnership involving Cheshire West and Chester
Council, Arriva Trains Wales, Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Virgin
Trains. From 21 November the City Rail Link bus contract comes to an
end and will be replaced by a commercial service operated by Aintree
Coachline charging £1 each way for adults.
It's understandable that the railway companies will want to pay a share
of this funding. The existing service carries an estimated 450,000
passenger journeys a year; from which it would appear that 100,000 of
them must be disabled people and/or English over-60s.
Cheshire West and Chester Council will now pay considerably more than
the original partnership contribution – up from £38,000 to an
estimated £100,000 a year – because it will fund [free travel by]
older people and people with disabilities who live in the Borough and
are entitled to concessionary fares.
The free service apparently cannot continue in competition with the
commercial one, as this is forbidden by the terms of section 63 of the
Transport Act 1985 which gives a council 'power to enter into an
agreement providing for service subsidies; but their power to so do
[...] shall be exercisable only where the service in question would not
be provided without subsidy'.
Over 60s living in England will be able to travel free under the
national scheme, but pensioners who live in Wales will have to pay, as
they would on any English bus (and vice versa) although we understand
that there may be some exceptions to this in the border areas. We also
hear a rumour that the new
operator does not intend to accept 'PlusBus' add-ons
to rail tickets to Chester, which, if true, is very annoying and will
surely cause some confrontations with passengers.
Engineering honour for Talyllyn - report by Ian Drummond
The Talyllyn Railway, the
world’s first volunteer-run heritage railway was presented on 30
October with a prestigious Engineering Heritage Award by the
Institution of Mechanical Engineers.The historic railway joined the
world’s first railway locomotive, the Vulcan Bomber and Bletchley
Park’s 'Bombe' code-breaking machine on the list of Heritage Award
winners, which celebrates Britain’s greatest engineering feats.
Professor Isobel Pollock, President Elect of the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers, unveiled a plaque to mark the award, which
recognises artefacts, locations, collections and landmarks of
significant mechanical engineering importance.
The line will host 'Santa
Specials' on 17, 18, 23 and 24 December.
More on the Llangollen Poppy Specials
At Carrog on Sunday 6 November, Army Cadets with The Royal British
Legion Standard and members of the Llangollen Royal British Legion pose
with locomotive 44806 working the 'Poppy Special' in connection with
Remembrance Day five days later. (George Jones).
The cadets did a grand job and were all a credit to their unit. As a
reward some were allowed to get acquainted with the footplate - an
experience new to them (George Jones).
Here's a sequence of pictures from 6 November by Glyn Jones.
leaves Llangollen. The picture was taken from the shed yard with the
Approaching Glyndyfrdwy. We hear that one passenger complained that the
headboard stopped him seeing the number...
44806 Runs around at Carrog.
depart Carrog for Llangollen.
Arrival at Berwyn.
Back at Llangollen.
Glyn writes: 'Permission was granted to tour the shed and yard, and I
was also allowed to take a picture (above) of the scrupulously clean
Llangollen Box interior.'
Inside the shed at Llangollen.
Llangollen Yard with the repainted Cowans Sheldon breakdown crane. The
event seemed to be well supported and was a great credit to the
Club 55 to Maesteg, 6 October - with George Jones
Our trio headed for another end of the line destination with a
£16 senior railcard ticket from ATW’s Club 55 offer.
Meeting up at Shrewsbury we gained the advantage of superior travel on
the WAG 1 Express powered by 57 315. Two 66s were on a Rail Head
Treatment Train at Hereford ,but the real item of interest was west of
Newport where we saw Freightliner’s 70 007 at the container facility.
We were in Cardiff (above) for 09:55 and gained the Milford Haven train
with 175 002. We could have joined this earlier at Shrewsbury,
but the 'Club 55 ticket' is not valid to arrive in Cardiff before 0930
which this train would have done.
Onward to Bridgend/Pen y Bont and we had time to see the Cheltenham
train come off the Maesteg branch with 158 820 (above) whereas
our train was 150 217 at 10:46.
The junction for the branch is immediately west of Bridgend and the
line is single track up the Llynfi Valley which is noticeably broader
than the Valley lines north of Cardiff. However, as usual, the
encroaching lineside vegetation restricted the wider view. At
Tondu, once a major junction, there is a signalbox for a token exchange
and a loop guarded by GWR bracket signals.
The former junction for the out-of-use tracks to Blaengarw was observed
– once suggested as the Bridgend preserved railway
Maesteg is at milepost 8 and the expected single platform with minimal
facilities was found. Maesteg once had two stations but the original
site of Maesteg Castle is now occupied by Asda and the line is cut back.
'Nothing to see here; said the conductor, but the rail link bus
provided some interest (above).
Ahead of the stop block the vegetation closed in but disused sidings
may remain in place on the former route to Cymmer.
A 3 minute stopover and it was time to return, noting that some youths
took advantage of the earlier stop at Maesteg Ewenny Road to do an out
and back trip rather than hang around for the return leg. Two cleared
factory sites pointed to closures of major employment opportunities for
the area in recent times. Back at Tondu it was noted that on the
disused trackbed towards Margam a GWR bracket signal stands tall
amongst the forest of trees now blocking the route.
Into Bridgend for 10:38 we had time to hasten over the footbridge and
join the train in platform 1A formed by two Class 143 Pacer units, 143
609 and 143 601 named Sir Tom Jones (Above).
Departing at 10:46 this took us via the seaside route through
Llantwit Major, noting the runway end and hangars at RAF St Athan, and
later the station at Rhoose for Cardiff International airport, although
the air terminal is some way distant and was not seen. Passing the
power station at Aberthaw 66 171 was seen on a coal train having been
observed earlier near Newport.
At Barry we changed onto 150 213 for the short run to Barry Island
noting the Vale of Glamorgan Railway’s facility in the re-roofed loco
works. Two of the former scrapyard inhabitants were outside – 2861 and
5227 – destined to come to Llangollen for component recovery.
Woodhams infamous scrapyard site is now a desolate empty space seen
from the causeway on the final approach to the end of the line where
once over 200 steam locomotives awaited their fate.
Barry Island was visited in 2009 when the preservationists were active
around the former goods shed beyond the station site, but no rolling
stock was evident now (above).
The conductor confirmed the venue remains popular in the summer with
trippers, but there were few takers on a blustery day. The Barry Island
seafront was admired and lunch taken at TV’s Gavin & Stacey’s
favourite chip shop. Pressing onward at 13:40, 150 245 took us
past Cadoxton where 66076 was on a train of containers coming out of
At Grangetown a quick connection on to a train of 142/143 units was
made heading to Penarth (above), another extremity of the system on the
former Taff Vale Railway now rationalised into a single line terminus.
Penarth is more up-market and afternoon tea was taken before a descent
was made to Penarth Pier for a view of the Bristol Channel.
Catching the 15:17 with 150 281 we were delivered to Cardiff Central
with ample time to prepare for the return leg and to watch the homeward
bound commuters on their assorted train sets. At 16:15, aboard the 'WAG
Express' with 57 315 in charge again we headed for Newport finding 66
076 had made it this far with its container train.
A fast run up the border was spoilt by signals at Marshbrook and we
were into Shrewsbury 10 minutes late but still ample time to cross to
platform 3 for the 158 north to Gobowen. Another good day out when
everything went according to plan and we enjoyed better weather in the
south than back home.
'Club 55' Bargain
tickets are available to all over-55s until 4 December.
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