12 December 2011
Link to this issue
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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters,
and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
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
7822 Foxcote Manor near Carrog with a 'Santa
Special', 27 November (John Beresford).
This week has
been very quiet, events-wise, so we've included some older pictures nor
previously seen. - Charlie
On the Gerallt Gymro - with Ken Robinson
I had to travel out and back from North Wales to Cardiff on Monday 5
December, and seen above shortly after arrival with 57 314 on
Then a mad dash across to platform 6 to get the second shot which shows
57 316 'dead' at the back as the train departs for Canton
depot. The train was longer than usual, being (with the restaurant car
added) the rake used for the Holyhead - Cardiff 'Rugby special' on
Saturday 3 December, in order to return the coaches to Canton.
New timetable controversy
The new national timetable began on 11 December, and
shows little change from the previous version; the two 'WAG express'
trains continue as before with the same traction, with their Government
subsidy, to the the disappointment of some. The following is from Wales
We'll stay out of this argument, but we have question for regular
users: are hot meals of some kind on the loco-hauled service actually
made available to standard-class passengers if the staff have the time?
A publicly-subsidised first-class restaurant car has survived the
latest transport cuts in Wales – while promised upgrades for ordinary
passengers have been dropped. The plush restaurant car – complete with
travelling chef – is part of a £1.7million subsidy from the Welsh
Government for a daily return express from Cardiff to Holyhead on
Yet while the exclusive express has survived the transport cuts
unveiled last week, Welsh ministers have shelved a pledge to bring in
hourly trains for Aberystwyth, Newtown and Welshpool – even though the
current two hour time gap between services makes it almost impossible
to commute by train.
Public bodies and many businesses have banned first-class travel on
expenses as the financial situation has worsened. But the 'Gerallt
Gymro' train, which runs every morning from Holyhead to Cardiff,
returning in the evening, includes a first-class coach for passengers
who pay supplements on the standard fares of £30 to £50 in
each direction. Those who can afford the supplements get a freshly
cooked breakfast on the morning run to Cardiff and an evening meal on
the way back.
A typical dinner menu offers a choice of soup or salad as a first
course, followed by smoked haddock, omelette or pork in cider and apple
sauce. Desserts may include tiramisu, lemon cheesecake or fresh fruit
salad. It was launched by Michelin-starred Welsh chef James Sommerin
who lent chef Mark Wilson a hand in the first-class kitchen on the
The Welsh Government has already invested £8million in
for extra trains between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, and last year
published a transport plan promising hourly trains 'by 2011' but the
more recent revised plan omits the date.
A spokeswoman said: 'Daytime hourly services between Aberystwyth and
Shrewsbury will be prioritised for delivery between 2012 and 2015,
subject to ongoing infrastructure and timetable discussions and
implementation by Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales, as well as the
business case and availability of funding.'
The Shrewsbury-Aberystwyth Rail Passengers’ Association said additional
trains at key times would enable people to commute to Aberystwyth or
Shrewsbury for work or education. 'Since this scheme was announced in
1999, we’ve never described it as an hourly service,' said chairman
Gareth Marston, adding that no train arrived in Shrewsbury from the
Aberystwyth line between 7.25am and 9.25am. Most people are forced into
driving. We need at least one connection a day for people from south
Gwynedd to get to Aberystwyth and back in the working day.”
He said the Gerallt Gymro was of little use to most Mid Wales
passengers because it did not connect with Aberystwyth trains at
Shrewsbury. He caught the Gerallt Gymro back from Cardiff on Monday and
counted 42 passengers in standard class and just three in the entire
'It does grate that there’s dining provided for three people with what
could be spent for possibly a couple of hundred elsewhere,' he added.
North Wales AM Mark Isherwood said the restaurant car was a luxury for
the few. 'Serious questions have to be asked over why this is being
retained, unless it pays for itself,' he said.
Santa visits Rhyl - report by Darren Durrant
The Rhyl Miniature
Railway ran 'Santa Specials' on Sunday 11 December.
Councillor Win Mullen-James, Town Mayor of Rhyl, visited the event: she
is seen above with some elves.
Lots of people came along, and lots of children enjoyed seeing Santa.
The event will be repeated on Sunday 18 December: Details
Booking Form are on the railway's website.
An interesting train is 6M83, which Tuesdays and Fridays only when
required from Aberthaw (South Wales) to Earles Sidings
(Derbyshire). Andrew Vinten photographed the train of
cement tanks at Plumley on 9 December hauled by 66 953.
Bala book for Christmas - review by George Jones
Rails Through Bala is a
photographic survey of the routes from Ruabon to Barmouth and Bala to
Blaenau Ffestiniog with historical notes as to the life and times of
the 100 years of service prior to closure. The 265 black and white
illustrations depict more than just the trains but also the stations
and rail infrastructure set in the magnificent scenery of North Wales.
Three colour views of trains in the scenery appear on the back jacket.
It adds to the already extensive literature on these two routes with a
range of previously unpublished photographs.
This volume is published in hardback by Bridge Books of Wrexham. It is
a worthy successor to the sought after earlier volume Rails to Bala
by the quartet of authors: Bodlander, Hambly, Leadbetter and Southern.
The price is £18.99 and the ISBN 978-84494-076-9.
RCTS Railway Meeting in Chester on Monday 19 December
The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society meets again at the Town
Crier opposite Chester railway station on Monday 19th December at 7.30
The evening is one where some of the members show either some of their
slides or digital pictures covering a wide range of railway subjects at
home and abroad either in the past or much more recently.
Visitors are more than welcome to attend this meeting but hopefully
they would each contribute a £2 voluntary donation. Such
donations enable the Society to continue its regularity of such
Steam picture review - pictures by John Beresford
A portrait of 7822 Foxcote Manor near Carrog on 27
November with a Llangollen Railway 'Santa Special' as excess steam
blows off through its safety valve. The side view emphasises how the
'Manor' class locos have smaller boilers that the more famous types of
Great Western 4-6-0s.
3 December saw a London - Chester 'Cathedrals Express' excursion hauled
by 70000 Britannia, see above near Bunbury on the way from Crewe.
Britannia at Chester. It does not actually carry its
nameplates, this temporary black livery is intended to represent the
loco as it
first appeared, before being painted green. The senior engineers of
British Rail at the time had a background with the London and North
Western Railway, whose locos were black, and the LNWR livery was
eventually used on most of the other British Railways standard steam
locos built in the early 1950s, with green being used for the 4-6-2
Colwyn Bay miniature railway - looking back with Ken Robinson
I came across this picture whilst looking for something else (as you
It's the miniature railway that used to run near Colwyn Bay pier. It ran
parallel to the promenade for about a quarter of a mile - this view was
taken in August 1968, as steam on BR main line was ending.
I know nothing else much about it - can anyone tell us its history?
(Yes, that's me on the train.)
Holyhead Views - by M.Lloyd Davies
30 November, and 57 311 Parker arrived at Holyhead with
the express from Cardiff - an unusual event as this train normally sees
a blue 57/3 loco. It was replaced by 57 316 for the next morning's
Saturday 3 December brought Parker to Holyhead again, this time hauling
the Saturday Pendolino from London. As mentioned in the last issue,
this was formed of new Pendolino unit 390 054.
Here's the train making its way across from Platform 1 to the 'up' main
line as its starts its journey to Crewe where the loco will be removed
and the train will proceed to London on electric power.
Saturday 3 December saw another 57-hauled train, a special to Cardiff
for a rugby football match, run by Arriva Trains Wales. Above,
the train awaits departure, with 57 314 in charge and 57 316 trailing
on the rear. As usual on these occasions, the formation is the five
standard-class vehicles; the brake vehicle with guard's
accommodation is marshalled in the middle. The first class / restaurant
vehicle remained at Holyhead.
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