Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

26 December 2011

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Sunny Christmas Eve at Bagillt - with Tim Rogers

Forthcoming events

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.

Wednesday 25 January Ffestiniog Railway Society  Dee & Mersey Group. Narrow Gauge Rlys in Central & Eastern Europe.  Geoff Morris

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

Wednesday 29 February Ffestiniog Railway Society Dee & Mersey Group. Operating a 40 mile railway. Phil Brown.

March 2012

Friday 2 March  Clwyd Railway Circle  AGM followed by Photo Competition and Members Night. Members are invited to give a 15 minute presentation of their choice, any format welcomed. Please book your slot no later than 17th February by contacting David Jones.

Thursday 8 March Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Geoff Morris "30 years west of Swansea" 

Friday 9 March  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "The Railways of the Peak District" by Dr Les Nixon

Monday 12 March. Wrexham Railway Society Vintage Steam Film Show - Colin White presents a selection of 8mm cine films with his unique commentary about the abilities of the loco crews in the 1860s. 

Tuesday 13 March 8E Railway Association  Geoff Coward presents Back To The 60's

Saturday 17 March Stephenson Locomotive Society   Ken Grainger      Rhapsody in Blue – The Great Northern Railway of Ireland. A whistle-stop tour, in colour, of the Great Northern network, mainly by steam but also including not unattractive diesel railcars and delightful half-cab railbuses, as well as the Hill of Howth open-top electric trams and not forgetting the immortal horse-drawn Fintona tram.                              
Monday 19  March RCTS Chester    Gordon Davies: American Wanderings in 2010/11/ A digital presentation of Gordon’s two visits    to the USA. Featuring commuter trains, extremely long freight and coal trains, preserved steam, a monorail, trams plus his visit to the dentist!

Thursday 29 March   Merseyside Railway History Group   AGM     Members Slides.

37 229 Jonty Jarvis and 20 309 pass Bangor with the Valley to Crewe flasks on 22 December 2011. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.

Walk the line from Corwen - Llangollen Railway notice

There will be a final opportunity to walk the old trackbed between
Corwen and Bonwm before this stretch is closed as a construction site.
The picture above, taken on 14 December by George Jones, shows the route of the walk looking west of Bonwm past the site of the halt, with the A5 road close by on the left.

Starting from the Corwen Pavilion car park at 11am on Sunday, 1 January, participants will be guided by Steve Layt to the Phase 1 station site and thence along the trackbed, taking in overbridge No.28 through to the site of the former Bonwm Halt where there is access to the A5 road. The length of the walk is just over 2 miles, around 3km; expected duration is one hour.

Explanations will be given of the work to be undertaken along the way.
The section between Bonwm and Carrog is closed due to work in progress. The options are to return to Corwen back via the trackbed or along the pavement of the A5 which presents a different aspect of the trackbed and structures within the landscape.

Strong footwear and appropriate outdoor clothing must be worn by participants. Due to clearance work on parts of the trackbed the route is no longer a grass-covered swathe and may be quite rough in parts. Arrangements are being made in conjunction with The Corwen Business
Association, The Corwen Partnership and  Tourism and Leisure, Corwen.

The occasion is, of course, subject to the weather on the day. Note that there is no public transport on the A5 on this date. The Llangollen Railway will however, be running services to Carrog.

A donation from those participating in the walk will be appreciated.

Above is the view looking east at Bonwm looking east into what is now a construction site (George Jones).

Push me Pull You - the Arriva DVT

In our previous items on the subject of the 'WAG express' and Class 67s we mentioned that although Class 67 driver training has begun, nothing seemed to have happened with regard to push-pull working of this train using a Driving Van Trailer.  No sooner had this appeared, than pictures began to appear on the web showing ex-Virgin Trains DVT 82306 in smart new Arriva Trains Wales livery ... we hear that drivers will be given a two-day course on driving from the other end.

82306, if Wikipedia is to be believed, is Virgin Trains 82144, renumbered in the 823xx series used for vehicles fitted with modified controls for working with Class 67s, and a second one, 82307 (ex-82131) is to be done.  These vehicles are, of course, no strangers to the North Wales Coast line, having seen a lot of use on London - Holyhead trains before the Pendolino era, although the diesel loco which was attached at Crewe would pull the train to and from Holyhead.

Incidentally, DB Regio, owners of Arriva, recently bought most of the Mk3 coaches from the fleet of Cargo-D, which recently went into administration, so now have quite significant fleet.

With the Devon log train

The new timber service from the revived Heathfield branch in Devon ran on 20-22 December, and thanks to David Hughes we can bring you some views of the train near the southern end of its journey. Above, 66 847  approaches Platform 3 at Newton Abbot on 20 December with a load of 14 empty log carriers.

Departing Newton Abbot for Heathfield after the loco had run round (David Hughes).

The train enters the Heathfield Branch, which curves away to the left (David Hughes). We understand that the train runs to the end of the line at Heathfield for the loco to run round, but the actual loading of the logs takes place on the running line, part way up the branch.

The loaded train took some time to reach its final destination. George Jones writes: I was curious about the log train, so I went to Wrexham General station for 18:50 on 21 December. The empty Class 150 moved over into the bay, which isn't always a good indicator for action, but the Up signal went to green at 18:58 and in due course 66 850 powered through at 19:02 ... with the log train from Carlisle - the Devonian came south at 23:09 - and wasn't seen by me but others did see it.

The train ran to Chester from where it would reverse again and head south to reach the siding at Chirk. It was still at Chester 22 December, and train provided the station with a delightful seasonal pine fragrance (Chris Coxon). The on-time 10:35 Virgin Trains departure to Euston can be seen in the background.

'Train of Hope' raised 40 thousand

The 'Train of Hope' railtour, and its associated activities, organised by a group of Virgin Trains drivers based in Manchester, enabled the presentation of a cheque for a very impressive £40,080 to representatives of the Clic Sargent charity on 19 December at Manchester Piccadilly, as seen above. 'Well done indeed' from us to everyone concerned. If you want to help support children with cancer, there are still ways to contribute - see the Train of Hope website.

From a carriage window

Coach window labels were a pleasant feature of the trains of the 1980s and 1990s, and made a handy souvenir of a journey if a traveller 'helped' the train staff to remove them at the end of a run. However, their size, and their sticky end makes them awkward to display, so it occurred to us to scan in some examples and restore them a little so they could be downloaded and used by all in any way you imagination can provide.  Here are three from our area dating from the 1990s: each is a link to a larger version, at a standard scale. The one above is a typical Regional Railways example from the classic 'Class 37/4 age' circa 1993-4.

A rare example from the short-lived reign of 'North Western Trains', from 1997 to 1998, with their curious 'plum pudding' symbol. These might even be legible in a model coach, at least in 0 scale or larger...

A pure British Railways design - the same length as the one above, to fit a Mk1 coach door droplight - but not as high - from c. 1990 when loco-hauled trains served the Cambrian Coast on Fridays and Saturdays. This one must have started from Shrewsbury, does anyone have details of the working?

More to follow. (If any copyright owners still exist, please complain and we will stop.)

Thunderbirds are going ... going ...gone

Readers may remember that nameplates from the six Class 57/3 locos recently transferred to Network Rail were to be sold by Virgin Trains to raise money for charity at an auction on 10 December. The result of this auction are now available, revealing that each one of the six plates sold for a significant sum, from £1900 for 'The Hood' up to £3300 for 'Scott Tracy' which was the first of them go go under the hammer.

Small change, however, compared with the plate from steam 4-6-0 LNER B17/4 loco 61662 Manchester United, which, perhaps not surprisingly, fetched £35,000, despite some challenges to its authenticity which have led Sheffield Railwayana Auctions to publish a detailed proof of its provenance.

Those BR 'sausage' totems continue to fetch high prices, such as £500 for 'Chinley' and £1800 from 'Bempton.' One does have to wonder whether these - as well as some other railwayana - will hold their value, when those who can remember them actually on stations pass on to the great marshalling yard in the sky.

Farewell Santa - next: mince pies - report by George Jones

Here are some views of the final trains of the Santa season at Llangollen. Above, 7822 Foxcote Manor on the 2pm departure from Llangollen on 24 December.

The penultimate train returns to Llangollen with 44806.

Some of the Santa team with the footplate crew at the end of a busy season. Santa's going to have to hurry back to collect his sleigh!

44806 light-engine ready to take the coaches out. Trains resume on 26 December with the Mince Pie Special series - it hardly stops! Well done to all the crews would made the pre Christmas scene happen. Of the 47 'Santa Special' trains which operated from 25 November, virtually all of them were fully-booked with the trains planned for Christmas Eve sold out weeks ago.

'Mince Pie' Special trains will operate on the Dee Valley Line from 26 December to 2 January with three trains a day, departing Llangollen at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. The steam trains take visitors into what can be a winter wonderland on the journey through to Carrog when mince pies and mulled wine are served to passengers as festive cheer. No booking needed: all seats are 'first come first served.' See the Llangollen Railway website for full information.

Post-Christmas puzzle

Readers might like to have a go at the following ten clues which might lead you to the names of some locomotives which have been seen in North Wales during the life of this website. No prizes, so don't send in your answers - the solutions can be found at the bottom of our 'Railfan' page.

1. Sure by Tummel, and ... (4,7)

2. Stupidly I folded a gent's hotel deed at the song festival (10,12)

3. Last of the 'Louie Louie' band soldiers on? (3,7)

4. Honoured record-breaker (3,6,1,1,1)

5. Rail version of the A580?  (4,10,7)

6. Formerly Lady Eileen Gwladys Butler (7,2,10)

7. The crazy Tell shot ostriches in Corrour (3,8,9)

8. Nosey butler in drag? (6)

9. 'From Clee to heaven the beacon burns...' (1,10,3)

10. Engineer who boiled it on both sides (6,1,7)

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