Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 August 2017

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

[Details of events during the autumn of 2017 are welcome for this space]

September 2017

Friday 1 September Clwyd Railway Circle Dave Walters 'Railway Memories' The first half of the programme will feature images from John Dickinson, sadly no longer with us taken from 1970’s to 1989 in North Wales and other areas. The second half features images from Pat Webb taken from 1949/50 to the 80’s and 90’s mostly in black and white.

1-3 September Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Gala Weekend

Saturday 09 September Steam at Chester West Coast Railways THE CHESHIREMAN
Norwich - Chester 70013 or 60009: Norwich - Chester - Norwich

Thursday 14 September Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  Dave Southern:  Wrexham Railways  

15-17 September Welsh Highland Railway Super Power Weekend

16-17 September Penrhyn Quarry Railway Special event Cancelled as the Railway is closed

Saturday 23 September Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Diesel day

23-24 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Weekend

Saturday 30 September Steam at Chester Vintage Trains 'The Shropshire Express'  Tyseley Warwick Road - Chester. 5043: Tyseley - Wolverhampton - Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury - Birmingham New St - Tyseley

October 2017

Friday 6 October Clwyd Railway Circle Les Nixon '55 Years of Railway Photography - Part 3' A selection of railway pictures which include genuine BR steam, a wide variety of mainly older modern traction along with industrials, some preservation and brief visits, worldwide, to nearly 20 countries.

6-8 October Ffestiniog Railway Victorian Weekend

Thursday 12 October  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Julian Birley MBE:  The Bala Lake Railway       

13-15 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala

Saturday 14 October Railway and Canal Historical Society Clinker Memorial Lecture in Manchester 2:00 pm, Mechanics Conference Centre, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD. William Fairbairn, the experimental engineer - a study in mid-nineteenth century engineering. Admission free to all. More information (PDF)

November 2017

Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle 'Snowdon Mountain Railway' A presentation given by Mike Robertshaw Msc IEng MIED, Senior Engineering Manager of the railway.

Thursday 9 November  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  AGM /  Clive Evans  Memories of North Wales steam and beyond in the 1950s

Saturday 18 November Steam on the Coast Steam Dreams 'Cathedrals Express' London Euston - Llandudno for the Christmas Market.  46233 Duchess of Sutherland: Crewe  - Llandudno and return

Saturday 25 November Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company 'The Christmas Cheshireman'
Bristol - Chester 70013 / 45305: Bristol - Hereford - Wrexham - Chester and return

Saturday 25 November Steam at Chester UK Railtours 'The Chester Chirstmas Cracker'
London Euston - Chester 60163: Euston - Chester and return

December 2017

Friday 1 December  Clwyd Railway Circle 'Members Night & Christmas Celebrations' Members are invited  to give a 15 minute presentation of their choice (any format). FREE tea/coffee & festive treats during the interval. Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

Thursday 14 December  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Xmas Social / Bill Rogerson: Roaming the Rails with Bill 

January 2018

Friday 5 January  Clwyd Railway Circle Mike Blackburn 'The Welsh Highland Railway (NWNGR)' A history of the North Wales narrow gauge and Croesor Tramway and the linking to form the Welsh Highland Railway, restoration and building of the new.

Thursday 11 January  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society   Ron Watson Jones:  Rails to Roads

February 2018

Friday 2 February Clwyd Railway Circle John Sloane 'From Vulcan Foundry to the Khyber' British built steam at work in Pakistan, It includes pictures taken on the spectacular line up the Khyber Pass to the Afghan border.

8 February  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Ellis Morey: The Penrhyn Railway

March 2018

Friday 2 March Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by “Film Shows - Railways Past and Present”.

Thursday 8 March     Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  John Cashen RCTS:  North West & North Wales Reminiscences in the 1960s   

April 2018

Friday 6 April Clwyd Railway Circle John Cashen 'North West & North Wales Reminiscences In The 1960s' The presentation will cover from Liverpool to Liverpool within an area bounded by Southport, Burscough, Standish, Warrington, Crewe, Whitchurch, Chester, Holyhead, Barmouth, Aberystwyth, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, the Wirral, Chester, Northwich and Speke

12 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  Members Evening           

May 2018

10 May  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  W. Gordon Davies:  A taste of Japan

Barmouth, 16 August. Picture by Greg Mape.

Coast scenes

On 25 August, the Voyager-worked 1A23 08:55 Holyhead to London Euston passes Llanfair PG. Pictire by Alan Crawshaw.

The Flasks at Llanfair PG on 25 August, hauled by 68 017 and 68 024. The giant ticket advert (see last issue) has been removed, together with the wooden poles used to fix it to the fence ... and is now at Bangor station, covering the original slate station sign (Alan Crawshaw).

An unusual sight on 20 August at Chester: 67 015 with Mk3 TSO 12178 in tow heading empty-stock from Crewe to Cardiff at 15:30 (Eurwyn McMahon).

Bala Gala 25 August - report by Martin Evans

The Bala Lake Railway staged  their annual Steam Gala from 25 to 28 August, with five 'Quarry Hunslets' in steam, including latest addition to the fleet, George B. Above,  0-4-0STs Alice and Maid Marian wait to depart Llanuwchllyn with the 11:50 service to Bala.

Visiting ex-Dinorwic Quarry Hunslet Hugh Napier, which is owned by the National Trust, arrives at Llanuwchllyn with a rake of Dinorwic slate wagons. Hugh Napier is an 0-4-0ST Hunslet quarry tank (855 of 1904) which worked at Penrhyn Quarries, where he was part of the 'Large Quarry' class. He weighs around 7½ tons and is owned by the National Trust, whose aim is to have him publicly available, so he mostly resides as a guest at the Ffestiniog Railway.

Resident Bala Lake railway Hunslet Winifred waits to depart Llanuwchllyn with a rake of Penrhyn slate wagons at 13:10.

Resident Bala Lake Railway Hunslet Holy War runs around at Llanuwchllyn preparing to depart with the 13:30 service to Bala.

Then and now - with Jim Ikin

The original entrance road to Abergele & Pensarn station, in a postcard posted in 1905, Of note is the Railway Hotel displaying the sign for Alsops Ales on the gable end with cattle pens to the front; the partially-built (now much changed) semi-detached houses to the right

A present-day view. Note the alteration to the houses to allow light into attic rooms. The pub is still in business as 'The Yacht'.

Old Colwyn just short of the original Colwyn Bay station. In 1929 a pleasure boat is about to depart. Penmaen Head is still in one piece with its quarry jetty. The path can be seen leading directly from the beach to the platform and to the underpass which is still in use today.

Later additions have included an increase in the height of the sea wall and the introduction of the cycleway.

A beautiful scene from the 1940's coach tours and teas are available. One of Colwyn Bay Borough Council's Guy Wolf buses, mainstay of the fleet from 1934 to 1960, collects passengers. Penmaen Head is much reduced and the waiting room of Old Colwyn station (closed to passengers in 1952) can be seen.

Today: the nearest legal view with the Rainbow bridge in the distance.

As an aside, the new flats being built atop Penmaen Head, at the very edge of the former Hotel 70° site,will severely restrict photography of the main line from the lay-by.

Cambrian Corner

Ian Wright writes: 'I recently took a walk out onto the sands to see how the timbers of Barmouth Bridge which were replaced after the fire are weathering.'

By way of contrast, Ian offers this view taken during a walk up Diffws on 15 August, with a class 158 crossing the bridge.

The view from the bridge footpath, which remains open despite the recent threat of closure (Greg Mape).

Talybont, between Barmouth and Harlech, on 16 August with 158 826 heading for Pwllheli (Greg Mape).

A rare picture of 37 428's naming David Lloyd George at Pwllheli on 16 May 1987. The ceremony was attended by many important people including Dafydd Wigley, the then local MP, and also several local councillors.

The ceremony itself (see picture) was carried out by Lloyd George's daughter, Lady Olwen Carey-Evans who was well into her 90's, and a young relative of hers, and also David McIintosh, Provincial Manchester (North and Mid Wales) and lastly Len Humphreys (who lived at station house, Harlech) - Area Supervisor, Cambrian Coast Line. Following the naming ceremony, 37 428 departed with the 08:00 Pwllheli - London Euston.

The picture, which is strictly copyright, was taken by Nigel Hughes of Porthmadog, proprietor of  Nigel Hughes Photography, 120 High Street, Porthmadog. Our thanks to regular contributor Ken Robinson for bringing this to our attention.

37 428 was one of the small batch of 37/4 conversions allocated to Cardiff depot for Cambrian and Manchester - Cardiff services, on which it worked for several years from 1986 before being transferred to Scotland in 1991, losing its name and  later receiving a special maroon livery to match the 'Royal Scotsman' train. In 2000, still in the maroon livery, it came south to the North Wales Coast for the last months of our 37/4-hauled services, then from 2001 worked on the Cardiff - Rhymney line for a while before returning to Scottish duties later that year, including the Edinburgh - Fort William portion of the Caledonian Sleeper. in 2003 it was put in storage, languishing at Tonal and later Margam for several years before being sold for scrap. (Thanks as always to the Class 37 data site).

Chris Magner writes: 'David McIntosh was the manager who brought Cambrian steam back in 1987.  He had been a Fireman at Wrexham Rhosddu and Croes Newydd and eventually a driver on the Ffestiniog Railway.  Other achievements were steam to Skegness with 80xxx 2-6-4T's   One of his finest driving turns was in September 1986 when he drove FR loco Mountaineer on the 'Night Rheidol' working during the Vale of Rheidol Railway Enthusiasts Weekend at Aberystwyth.'

Bargain of the Week - report by Richard Putley

On Saturday 26 August 2017, I decided I would photograph 60009 Union of South Africa hauling the Railway Touring Company's Cotswold Venturer Charter from London Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill. From looking at its schedule I saw that it was booked to stop at Moreton-in-Marsh between 11:30 and 11:44. So I looked up times and fares from Malvern on National Rail Enquiries and found that the fare quoted, £15.40 for an Off-Peak Day Return; I thought this was just about acceptable, But when I arrived at the ticket machine at Malvern Link station and it offered me a Super Off-Peak Day Return for the princely sum of £3.70 I couldn't believe it!

This is cheaper than an Off Peak Day Return to Worcester which costs £5.80. So I duly purchased a Super Off-Peak Day Return to Moreton-in-Marsh  and boarded the 07:48 to London Paddington. I took this train as far as Worcester Shrub Hill as I'd seen on Real Time Trains that a West Coast Railways Wolverhampton to Kingswear charter was due to call there at 08:44.

A punctual arrival at Shrub Hill enabled me to have a cooked breakfast at the excellent Cafe Loco on Platform 1. Very good value at £4.60. The West Coast Charter was top and tailed by 57 601 (above) and 57 313 and was formed of 'The Statesman Pullman set.

I noticed a new signal was under wraps at the south end of Platform 1. I assumed this would be a colour light replacement for the existing semaphore starting signal. But when I set off for Moreton-in-Marsh on the 09:02 from Shrub Hill to Paddington I saw the post also held a semaphore disc signal so may be it will be a new semaphore.

Moreton-in-Marsh station is now the only place apart from Worcester where semaphore signals can still be found on the North Cotswold line. On Saturdays it now enjoys an hourly frequency with most trains worked either by HSTs or Class 166 “Turbo” DMUs. I was thus surprised to see that the 11:02 to Great Malvern was worked by an “Adelante” DMU, 180 106 as I thought GWR didn't use them at weekends. This unit must have made two round trips between the Capital and Malvern as later on it worked the 17:45 from Worcester Foregate Street  to Malvern.

 It wasn't long after 180 106 had gone that the signalman at Moreton lowered the signals for the steam special which arrived a few minutes early behind 60009. Departure was right time; likewise the 12:02 to Hereford which I took to Worcester Foregate Street.

After meeting a friend for lunch, I saw 60009 running over the Worcester Viaduct in order to turn round. I then walked out to near the Metal Box factory (which until recently received its raw materials by rail; the last factory in Worcester to do so) to photograph 60009 on its return.

The sidings are still in place and are beneath the undergrowth in the picture of 60009 in Shrub Hill station.

Finally I bade my friend farewell and returned to Malvern on the 17:45 from Worcester. I still do not know if I had the record ticket. It definitely said 'Adult' on it but as no-one of the guards on any of the trains I travelled on checked it I can't be 100% certain. But I shall remember to buy another one if I can the next time I pop into Worcester!

[Editor's note: It seems from the website that this £3.70 fare, curiously known as 'SUPER OFF-PEAK DAY XMAS08 GWR' is a temporary fare 'From Sun 21 May 2017 until Sat 15 Jul 2017' and is only valid in the evening. Why it was offered by the ticket machine in the morning is a question only GWR can answer.]

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