Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 November 2011

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Forthcoming events

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   

Tuesday 6 December   North Wales Railway Circle  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 and Conwy Valley Railway Society Members Night/Xmas Social

Thursday 8 December   Merseyside Railway History Group    Ted Lloyd  The Last Big Adventure – Social evening

Friday 9 December  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Change of programme due to illness: John Hilton will be showing his black and white pictures (in digital format) of steam at work in the Manchester and Stockport areas in the 1950s.

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, a short walk from the station.

Monday 12 December. Wrexham Railway Society AGM and Rail Review with members' material on show

Tuesday 13 December   North Wales Railway Circle  Christmas Buffet, Members Film and Photo Night

Tuesday 13 December 8E Railway Association  AGM followed by Steam Around Chester by Jon Penn
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.

January 2012
Friday 6 January  Clwyd Railway Circle  Brian Roberts: Reflections of the 1990s,  Brian’s presentation will 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 reviewed, 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 Railway Society The Many Varied Railways of Australia . Geoff Morris will show the great variety of rail action Down Under.
Tuesday 10 January 8E Railway Association  Karl Jauncey & Dave Richards from PSOV present Mainline Steam 2011

Thursday 12 January Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Society Tribute - the late Bill Rear       

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 Locomotive Society    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 History Group            Allan Moore :  Lost Stations of St. Helens

February 2012

Friday 3 February  Clwyd Railway Circle  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 and Conwy 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 Railway Society 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 Locomotive Society   Bob Barnard  The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway – Then & Now. 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, trains have run on a section again.  Bob Barnard, a local L&B enthusiast 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 dog 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 Through Britain

On 19 November, 57 315 heads across Anglesey at Llanfairyneubwll with train 1A55, the Saturday afternoon Pendolino to London. Picture by M. Lloyd Davies.

Club 55 to London - report by Stephen Hughes

When my daughter volunteered me to take some stuff down to her in London I thought that it would be not only be a good opportunity to have a quick look at the Private Eye exhibition at the V & A but also to try out the Club 55 'add on' fare to London using Chiltern. The fare of £38.50 contrasted well with the £78 walk on fare offered by Virgin, and of course it would give me the opportunity to sample the Chiltern ' Mainline Silver' service. I decided to catch the 10:55 service from Birmingham Moor St and the 16:50 return from Marylebone.

So last Monday I arrived at Bangor Station to catch the 07:09 to Birmingham with time to spare in order to do battle with the ticket machine in the new car park, a couple of weeks ago it did not like either of my cards with the end result that I did not have time to display my ticket eventually purchased from the booking office. The resulting fine and correspondence proved that NCP are not the easiest company to deal with. Sure enough the display window in the machine was frosted over, on this occasion I wasted no time and went straight to the booking office.

It was a very frosty and clear morning which I think shows the North Wales Coast line at it's best, the sea was very calm and there were hundreds of waders on the shore line along Mostyn sands, a wonderful journey along a stretch of line that at times can be extremely familiar.

After arrival at Birmingham New Street it was a quick five-minute walk to Moor Street where the 10:55 was waiting in platform 3, having just arrived from London. I would advise that anyone who has not been to Moor St since its renovation should do so, it has been very sympathetically restored into 1930's style, a mixture of ancient and modern, I particularly liked the water tank, water column, signs and the colour scheme and of course GWR 2-8-0  2885, that has been cosmetically restored at Tyseley, in the bay platform, giving the overall station the appearance of that of a preserved line but used by modern traction.

There are also some interesting photographs of the Moor St of old on display. By now the bright day had given way to unremitting gloom. Having taken a few quick photographs, it was now time to board the train, with 67 013 Dyfrbont Pontcysyllte at the business end. I was interested to see how busy the train would be, as Chiltern were advertising a 90-minute journey and of course competing with Virgin. The answer, not very - only 6 other people in the coach as we pulled out of Moor Street on time. I had travelled this way on a couple of occasions with Chiltern and south of Leamington Spa with W & S but it still felt rather unfamiliar compared to WCML. Stops were at Solihull, Warwick Parkway, Leamington Spa and Banbury, by now the coach was about two thirds full. Arrival in London was on time at 12:32 - 97 minutes from Birmingham, I think Virgin trains are about 85 minutes.

Having successfully concluded my short visit I arrived at Marylebone to find the 16:50 departure with 67 015 David J Lloyd at the buffers almost ready to leave. The train was filling up with most passengers leaving it to the last minute, this was peak time of course and most seemed to be commuters. The coach I was in was almost full on departure, but it became progressively empty and after Solihull less than a dozen remained through to Moor Street, where arrival was seven minutes late.

I had previously decided to 'cheat' on my return journey and take a London Midland train from Birmingham to Crewe with North Wales Coast connections as this would get me home an hour earlier and I thought that this was worth the single fare to Crewe. As things transpired it was an eventful journey. The train came to a stand near Coseley and we were informed of a trespasser on the line and that a search was being made, eventually we reached Wolverhampton 30 minutes down.

I knew that I would miss my connection to Chester, but the London Midland guard went through the train informing passengers with connections at Stafford and Crewe of their journey options. She informed me that I would miss my connection but the WCML was pretty chaotic because of an 'incident' near Rugby (later I heard that a train had hit an 'object' in Kilsby Tunnel) and that the 19:54 from Crewe to Holyhead/Wrexham was running an hour late and that I would be able to catch that easily ... and so it transpired, with an arrival in Bangor at 22:20, only about 15 minutes later than anticipated.

The Wrexham portion of this train was terminated at Chester, with a very apologetic announcement from the Train Manager.

It was a long day on the Club 55 offer (but not much longer than journeys to London and Cardiff that I used to make when I was working) and certainly good value as a walk on fare. If I did it again, assuming that the offer is still available next year I would probably tie it in with an overnight in London.

Finally, three reasons why loco hauled journeys are better:
1) It is more comfortable and spacious.
2) It is a smoother ride
3) Er......that's it
geddit? (That's enough of that - Ed).....with apologies to Private Eye ... and the small exhibition in the V & A was well worth it!

Picture news

The Saturday Pendolino heads for Holyhead at Abergele behind 57 311 Parker, 19 November (David Hughes)

The return was worked by 57 315 which had worked the previous day's Arriva Trains Wales loco-hauled service from Cardiff. Above, 57 315 is being coupled up to the Pendolino at Holyhead whilst 57311 sets back into the carriage sidings to be coupled up to the ATW coaching stock (M.Lloyd Davies).

57 311 coupled to the Arriva consist (M.Lloyd Davies).

Poor old Parker's nameplate (inset) is in need of some attention (M.Lloyd Davies) .

To Blackpool for the tram - report by Alan Crawshaw

On Friday 4 November I travelled to West Yorkshire by train and bus to see my favourite band, Throwing Muses. Travelling to Manchester from Bangor necessitates a change of trains, I chose Colwyn Bay and luckily the Rail Head Treatment Train was running to schedule (above). I also had a ticket to see the band in Manchester on the Sunday, which conveniently left Saturday night free for me to catch the last weekend of the Blackpool tram season. When the tramway reopens in spring, most of the current fleet will be gone. A few "heritage" trams will be retained for occasional use but modern Flexity 2 trams will form the core fleet.

Several enthusiasts charters were running, I hadn't booked as I wanted to keep my options open. I reached the Tower stop just as 1937-built Brush car 632 was approaching so I climbed aboard and bought a day ticket. At the current southern terminus of Pleasure Beach (above), I photographed Balloon car 715 on a charter. Neither of these are on the retained list and have already been sold.

Above, the superb interior of 632 with the traditional green moquette seat covering and the reversible seats.

At night, the illuminated cars came out to play; the picture shows the 'Western Train' tram, which incorporated a trailer, with 'Balloon' 717. Both of these trams will be retained.

On Sunday, 'Progress Twin Car' number 672/682 is seen heading out to Little Bispham on a charter (above), this being still the temporary northerly terminus.

Finally, a look at a new tram stop, with its low platform and shelter. Behind it is a hire bike station, a similar scheme to London's "Boris bikes". The passing Centenary car can't stop here, the platforms are too high for the current fleet and the retained trams need to be modified before they can be used.

(See for more information about Blackpool trams.)

Cambrian hopes - by Rhydian Mason
(Cambrian Railways Partnership Development Officer)

The Cambrian main line between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury could be set for a major step forward towards an hourly service. Over the past few weeks I have been lobbying Assembly Members in Cardiff and seeking support from Members of Parliament at Westminster over the issue, an announcement is imminent in early December which will finally reveal what developments are in store for the important line which connects mid-Wales to the rest of the UK. The picture shows me with Glyn Davies, MP for Montgomeryshire, taken recently at Westminster.

I spoke personally to Carl Sargeant, the Minister for Local Government and Communities at the Senedd very recently, and he indicated that progress was being made that would be revealed in an announcement he would be making during the next few weeks. Having spoken to one or two other AMs that have been involved in the discussions, there is a strong indication that there will be some good news for us which suggests that we will get some additional much-needed services for the Cambrian main line.

Such a service would have great potential for business, leisure and commuting for all areas on the Cambrian main line, as well as providing better connections for the Cambrian Coast line. We fully believe that a more frequent service would change the way that people view and use the train, and as a result, we’re confident that we’ll see more patronage throughout the year.

Contrary to some rumours circulating, however, an hourly service will not be introduced on the Cambrian line in 2012. Such a service is entirely dependant on the Welsh Government’s decision in December. Once they have made their position clear, the rail operator – in this case Arriva Trains Wales – then needs to make the necessary arrangements to put the service in place. This could mean the need to source additional staff, and additional carriages, as well as incorporating the additional services into a suitable timetable. The Welsh Government will need to approve all these changes, therefore a definite time-scale is at this point difficult to pinpoint.

Club 55 to Holyhead - report by Vince Chadwick

Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) 'Club 55' offer continues until December, allowing return travel between any two stations on their network for £18 for those at least 55 years of age (£16 if you have a Senior Railcard, as I do). On 1 November to Holyhead and back from my local station, Wilmslow.

The 08:46 Manchester to Milford Haven class 175 train took me as far as Crewe, to connect with the 09:23 class 158 service to Chester. I had a bit of a wait there (until 10:24) for the Cardiff to Holyhead train, another of the comfortable and smooth-riding class 175 units which sped along the North Wales coast and onto Anglesey, arriving at Holyhead at 12:14. All these trains were moderately loaded (the Crewe - Chester one being very much so).

Chester Racecourse, seen as we leave Chester for Holyhead

Crossing the Conway estuary.

Running under the walls of Conwy castle

First view of Anglesey on the left, Puffin Island towards the right.

An RAF Hawk trainer 'turning final' in the RAF Valley circuit.

The sea near Malltraeth, with 'The Rivals' mountains beyond.

Holyhead signal box.

Holyhead station, Platform 2.

On reaching Holyhead, and knowing there was nothing in the town I wished to see, I returned on the same train I'd arrived on. It left at 12:39 forming the Holyhead to Maesteg service. This was quite full on leaving Holyhead, and on picking up along the coast was almost completely full by the time it reached Chester, many passengers boarding at Bangor.

Crossing the Menai Strait from Anglesey to the mainland. Telford's superbly graceful suspension bridge, which was at one time the only road connection to the island, is seen from the much-modified Stephenson Bridge which carries a roadway above the singled railway line.

I remember this bridge from family holidays decades ago, when it was in its original form as a double-track railway tubular bridge (a longer and higher version of the tubular bridge at Conway). Vandals set fire to it  1970, following which it was re-built in its present form. At least the stone lions, two each side at each end of the bridge, still exist and give an impression of the structure's original double-track width.

Heading east along the coast of North Wales; Beaumaris is seen across the strait on the Anglesey shore.

Looking back to Colwyn Bay; coastal defence works in progress.

The ferry Duke of Lancaster awaits is fate on the Dee estuary shore.

Approaching Chester, we pass the threshold of runway 22 at Hawarden where the Airbus wings are built and then shipped to Toulouse

The train, 175 116, that took me from Chester to Holyhead and back. It will continue from here via Shrewsbury and Cardiff to Maesteg in South Wales.

It was a nice sunny day, ideal for appreciating the gardens on Chester station

Two styles of Northern Rail Class 150 at Chester. They are used on the Mid-Cheshire line through Delamere and Knutsford to Manchester, and on a few trains each day via Frodsham to Warrington Bank Quay.#

My next train, a refurbished Class 158, which will take me from Chester to Crewe, arrives at Chester from Crewe. It will leave for Crewe at 14:55 and arrive at its destination at 15:18.

Speeding past Beeston Castle atop its distinctive mound

Approaching Crewe we pass the Crewe Heritage Centre. LMS 6100 'Royal Scot is seen, minus its boiler and under tarpaulins.

It was noticeable how much quieter and smoother-riding are the 175s compared to the 158. And the 158, with its new high-backed seats (above) had a claustrophobic feel.

The 15:29 Carmarthen to Manchester class 175 whisked me back non stop from Crewe to Wilmslow, getting me back to my home station by 15:47.

Republished, with permission, from the Vince's World blog.

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