Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

12 December 2011

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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.

Forthcoming events

December 2011

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

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 the front.

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 on Sunday:

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 weekdays.

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 inaugural trip.

The Welsh Government has already invested £8million in infrastructure 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 first-class coach.

'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.
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?

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 and a Booking Form are on the railway's website.

Freight news

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 p.m.

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 meetings.
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 classes only.

Colwyn Bay miniature railway - looking back with Ken Robinson

I came across this picture whilst looking for something else (as you do!).
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 train.

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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