Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

02 January 2012

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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.

The last day and the last Pendolino of 2011, and the 17th year of this website approaches. 57 309 Parker passes Mold Junction on 31 December (Bob Greenhalgh).

Carriage labels - no. 4 in a series

This week's window label (the image links to a larger version) is from the final period of Nationalised operation (1995-97) under the North West Regional Railways 'shadow franchise' which branded its longer-distance services  as 'NorthWest express.'  The green colour also featured as a stripe on some rolling stock - Classes 156 and 309 - but never on the locomotive-hauled carriages used on North Wales services which retained standard Regional Railways livery.

Transport Past Times - by Oliver Hambly

Readers might be interested in a new 'transport memorabilia' sales site I have just set up. In the Bus and Rail Sections there are many items of North Wales interest, for example Railway Handbills, many for North Wales from the 1950s and 60s. The address is

Early days at Prestatyn - by Charlie Hulme

Some of the railway employment records held by the National Archives have now been placed online (at an extra charge to the normal subscription) by, including those of the London and North Western Railway. I had some credits left from another project, so I decided to have a look at a North Wales Coast station, and chose Prestatyn as one of the smaller places on the line.

The from Chester to Bangor opened for business on 1 May 1848: Prestatyn at that time was a village of a few hundred people which had grown up around a crossroads a little to the south of the line of the railway. It was then not a holiday resort; the 1851 census shows people working on farms, in the nearby lead mines, and in the alkali works on the shore which produced sodium carbonate by reacting salt extracted from the sea with sulphuric acid. Muriatic (hydrochloric) acid gas was given off by the reaction, and this was discharged into the air; not surprisingly, according to a writer in 1849 this 'deterred strangers from visiting the town as a bathing-place' and by the time of the map above, published in 1871, the works was 'inactive.'

The Chester and Holyhead line was built as double-track, and the Prestatyn station was built east of what was then a level crossing with the road leading down to the shore.  The building, which still exists today (see the Disused stations website), was to the company architect's design for smaller stations, similar to the one at Valley, and included living accommodation for the stationmaster. The first occupier was a 27-year-old local man, Robert Jones, who started work on the first day as 'Agent', at a salary of £70 per year. In February 1862, perhaps with an increase in staff to handle goods traffic, he was promoted to stationmaster at £80.10s a year. He is shown as a resident of the station in the 1851 census, along with his brother Thomas, alkali works labourer, and a house servant, Margaret Thomas. Robert worked at Prestatyn until 1864 when he was transferred to Abergele.

Living in Prestatyn village, with his wife and six children, was Patrick Dea, age 46, 'railway policeman' - described in the company record as 'gateman' - his job included operating the level crossing gates. 'Police' in early railway records refers to roles known today as 'signallers' - the term 'bobby' was used by drivers when talking to signalmen for many years, and indeed still is by some. Patrick Dea was born in Ireland - perhaps one of the Irish 'navvies' employed on the construction of the line who decided to stay. His wage was 17 shillings per week, which works out at around £44 per year. Estimates of the equivalent of this wage today vary from £3,060 a year using the retail price index, or £25,600 based on average earnings.

The book also lists porters who worked at Prestatyn, and seems to hint of strange goings-on.  J. Coglaw (spelling?) was 'suspended' on 11 May 1857 and 'discharged' on 5 June 1857;  J. McWilliams  started work on 21 May 1857 and is noted as 'deceased' on 1 June 1857. What happened there, we wonder?

The May 1848 passenger timetable, quoted from Bradshaw by Peter Baughan in his history of the line (The Chester and Holyhead Railway, Vol.1), comprised four trains each day on weekdays, of which only two stopped at Prestatyn (7.50 am and 8.20 am to Chester, 11.03 am and 2.48 pm to Bangor), and two each way on Sundays, all of which called at Prestatyn except the 4.00 am from Chester.

The present-day Prestatyn station dates from the widening of this section of line to four tracks in 1897, to help carry the booming holiday traffic. Originally it had four platforms, the current two are what were platforms 2 and 3, and the wooden station building dates from the 1897 rebuilding.

Ffestiniog views - by Ken Robinson

Lyd, the FR-built replica Lynton and Barnstaple Railway loco, now converted to coal-firing, has been out and about recently double heading FR services with single-Fairlie Taliesin. Above,  the two engines at Tanybwlch on 28 December.

A portrait of Lyd at Tanygrisiau.

Mince Pie van - report by Mark Hambly

We made a post-Christmas family visit to Llangollen on 28 December and took the 13:00 Llangollen to Carrog and then back as far as Berwyn where we detrained for a stroll back along the canal to Llangollen.

What made the train a bit more interesting is that it ran as a "mixed". Before leaving Llangollen a vacuum braked four wheel 12ton SHOCVAN conveying internal stores [it had been used for 'Santa's Supplies' the Llangollen Railway tell us] was attached to the rear of the train and then on arrival at Carrog was detached and shunted into the sidings there by the train engine, Black Five 44806. The picture was taken at ground level in Carrog yard with permission.

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