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09 January 2012
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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.
Monday 16 January. North Wales N Gauge Group Meets at St Michael's Church Hall, Rosemary Lane, Conwy at 7.00pm. The meeting will include the Group AGM but will concentrate mainly on layout building. All N Gauge modellers welcome.
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
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.
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.
57 302 Alan Tracy and failed 57 315 stand at Holyhead after arriving very late with the express from Cardiff on 5 January - see report below. Picture by M. Lloyd Davies.
Trials and Tribulations
57 307 Lady Penelope was assigned to the Saturday 'drag' of the London - Holyhead train on 7 January, seen above passing Abergele westbound (Stéphanie Durrant) ...
... and on the return through Llanfair PG station, which is undergoing roof repairs (Stéphanie Durrant). This train, and an Arriva Trains Wales service in the other direction worked by a 158, suffered a delay on Anglesey between Ty Croes and Rhosneigr due to a sheep having decided to trespass on to the line. After some horn blowing and headlight flashing by both drivers, and the efforts of a farmer and a Network Rail worker, 'Miss Bo Peep' eventually decided 'I've had enough of this nonsense I'm off back into the field with my mates'. The Virgin train arrived 14 minutes late at Bangor but had made up most of the lost time by Crewe.
Speaking of delays, passengers on 'WAG Express' 1W91 Cardiff - Holyhead, hauled by 57 315, had an unsatisfactory journey after the train came to stand at Nantwich with a locomotive fault. 57 302 was sent, perhaps from Wolverhampton, to the rescue, and train 1W33 15:10 Milford Haven to Manchester was diverted via Chester.
Eventually the train reached Crewe, whence it departed for Holyhead at 21:30, two hours 47 minutes late. The picture above by Jamie Owen shows 57 302 awaiting departure from Bangor, and our heading picture records the arrival at Holyhead. 57 315 worked the southbound train the next day, with 57 302 (which had developed a fault of its own) 'dead' behind it, and on arrival at Cardiff both were removed and replaced by 57 316 for the northbound run.
Acknowledgements to the North Wales Trains News group for details in this item.
RCTS Meeting - Chester, Monday 16 January
The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society meets at the Town Crier opposite Chester railway station on Monday 16 January at 7.30 p.m. Barry Shore from Birkenhead is showing a third selection of his slides under the heading of Terminus covering the preservation scene and offshore topics including the Isle of Man and Ireland.
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.
New Year locomotive events
10:08 on 9 January, and a train of 22 empty wagons for loading at Penmaenmawr quarry, hauled by 66 607 (above), waits at Llandudno Junction Platform 4 for a passenger train to pass. Picture by Peter Lloyd. The plate (see inset) fixed to the corner of the cab, which puzzled your editor in the first version of this page, is an air vent, which appears on all 66s but is less conspicuous in EWS-liveried locos.
On 8 January, DB-liveried 60 011 ran from Shrewsbury to Chester with what what we believe was a scrap materials recovery train, pictured at Chester (above) by Bob Greenhalgh.
On 5 January a measurement train ran from Derby to work on the Cambrian lines. Stavros Lainas photographed the train on its way at Walcot, Shropshire, just after a downpour, with 97 304 John Tiley leading 97 302. On other rural lines this work would be done by the Class 950 'Sprinter' measurement train, but that can no longer be used as it is not fitted with the ERTMS signalling system in use on the Cambrian, so the the reserve vehicle and a pair of the Shrewsbury-based 97/3s have to be used.
On the Cambrian Coast line on 7 January, 97 302 leads the train northbound through Penrhyndeudraeth station, cautiously towards the user-worked level crossing where in September 2009 an elderly lady tragically died after opening the gates and driving her car into the path of an approaching Class 97/3 loco. Picture by Ken Robinson.
The train climbing the gradient at Minffordd on the return working (Ken Robinson).
70 015, one of a further batch of Class 70 locos recently arrived from the USA, hauled coal train 6F02 Ellesmere Port Mainsty Wharf - Fiddlers Ferry Power Station on 5 January, photographed by Andrew Vinten passing Ince & Elton station.
67 003, which had spent the Christmas holiday at Holyhead after being used for training Arriva drivers, until being towed away at lunchtime on 4 January by 66 092; the pair are seen above leaving Holyhead (R. Roberts).
The Corwen Trackbed Walk - report by George Jones
Despite the inclement weather around Corwen at 11 am on New Year's Day, sufficient support turned out to make the occasion of the last public access to the old trackbed from Corwen a success. When I arrived in the car park at 10:10 there was heavy rain and I was wondering if anyone else would turn out. Fortunately one other car arrived with a lady who had braved the rain to come from Cynwyd to join the walk and we discussed the weather options which seemed unlikely to clear until the late afternoon.
However others also arrived and round behind the Pavilion at 11am some 40 people had assembled, including the reporter from BBC Radio Wales and the LRT chairman, Jim Ritchie, who warned that conditions underfoot would be very muddy in places. Not deterred the assembly set off via the track accessing the phase 1 temporary platform site via the gate which is now in-situ to mark the trackbed as a construction site.
Fortunately the rain stopped and a brief clearance of the clouds came through from the west which brightened up the occasion. Although the turfed area was decidedly muddy in places the trackbed gave way to original ballast base in places were the grass had been cleared which made for easier walking. En route the various structures, fog man's hut, culverts and underpasses were all referred to and the volume of water noted flowing through into the river Dee which was already running high. The progress with tree and vegetation clearance was also noted and the new fencing and gates which have been installed along this section.
The condition of over bridge No.28 was discussed and the remains of the old platelayers' hut built of sleepers noted as worthy of renovation for future use before continuing to the burnt out remains of the second hut as we neared Bonwm, marked by a pile of concrete sleepers next to the remains of the GWR platform which marked the site of the old Halt.
At Bonwm there is gated access to the A5 road but It was decided to venture a little further into the section towards Carrog such that evidence of work in progress could be seen before encountering a very muddy patch adjacent to the farm. At this point the rain came in again from the west as we returned to Bonwm where some people left the party, others took to the A5 pavement but the majority continued down the trackbed back to Corwen which was reached just after 13:00. Here a trackbed walk certificate was handed out to participants as per the scanned example above, which was much appreciated. Thanks to Geoff Williams at Digital Magic in Corwen for producing these at short notice.
Despite the weather I felt the occasion had been a considerable success with the numbers finally totalling 46 - about as many as I expected on a fine day. In addition to support from the local community, others had come considerable distances with participants noted from Wirral, Chester, Tarporley, Shrewsbury, Welshpool, Harlech, Porthmadog and Wrexham, such is the interest in the project.
I am now encouraged to offer one final walk in the opposite direction this being from Carrog through to Corwen using the Fisherman's path from Carrog to allow sight of the new track before continuing by road to Bonwm and onward subject to work in progress. This occasion would be on the first day of train services - Saturday, 4 February with participants gathering at Carrog from the 11am train ex Llangollen to get underway at 11:45. The aim would be to get through to Corwen by 13:30 for refreshments and a service bus back at 14:15 to Llidiart y Parc for Carrog to allow connection onto the 1600 return train - or provide for the bus back direct to Llangollen. Expressions of interest in this option (georgeinrecsam[at]btinternet.com) would be useful in assessing demand and for the making of arrangements.
A report on the extension progress can be found on the BBC Wales website. We hear that the BBC team of sound reporters and TV cameraman will want to maintain an interest and are likely to come to view and report further progress at the end of February 2012.
Christmas Eve at Holyhead - report by M.Lloyd Davies
On 24 December, Arriva-liveried 67 003, between driver training duties, gets as near as it has so far to some Arriva Trains Wales coaches in Holyhead Carriage Sidings.
Also present were 158 824 and 57 316. As yet we have no exact date for when Class 67 haulage of the Cardiff express will actually begin.
Delayed train 1D83 from London arrives behind 57 307 Lady Penelope, a heavily-loaded train with passengers for the Irish Sea Ferries travelling home for Christmas.
57 307 eases up the bank out of Holyhead with the return train to London. The Pendolino is 390 002 Virgin Angel.
Compass Tours news
Our friends at Compass Tours have sent us their Spring and Summer 2012 programme of excursions by rail; below are some of particular interest to readers in our area. Times shown are outward departure/return arrival.) For full details, booking, and many other trains including some very interesting ones within Scotland, see the Compass Tours website.
Wednesday 21 March – 'The Cumbrian Mountains & Fells Explorer
To Carlisle (outwards via the famous Settle & Carlisle Railway and returning via the scenic Cumbrian Coast Railway). from Codsall (0715/2140), Telford Central (0730/2125), Wellington (0740/2115), Shrewsbury (0800/2045), Gobowen (0820/2020), Wrexham General (0840/2000), Chester (0900/1940) & Frodsham (0915/1925) TRAIN FARES: Standard Class (Adults) = £59, Standard Class (child U16) = £44, First Class (all ages) = £99 (table for 2 supplements apply)
Wednesday 28 March – 'The Welsh Mountaineer” to Llandrindod Wells and Cardiff via the scenic Heart of Wales Railway. The evening train run will take a route via Newport then up north along the scenic Welsh Marches line via Abergavenny, Hereford, Ludlow and Craven Arms. From Huddersfield (0600/2335), Brighouse (0610/2320), Sowerby Bridge (0620/2310), Hebden Bridge (0630/2300), Todmorden (0640/2250), Rochdale (0700/2230), Denton (0735/2150), Stockport (0750/2135), Wilmslow (0800/2125) & Crewe (0830/2100) Standard Class (Adults) = £59, Standard Class (child U16) = £44, First Class (all ages) = £99 (table for 2 supplements apply)
Wednesday 18 April 'The Roses Express' to York. Hooton (0755/2220), Chester (0815/2200), Delamere (0835/2140), Northwich (0850/2125), Knutsford (0905/2110), Altrincham (0920/2055), Stockport (0945/2040) & Denton (1015/2010) Standard Class (Adult) = £69, Standard Class (child U16) = £54, First Class (all ages) = £109 (table for 2 supplements apply)
Wednesday 23 May – 'The Sussex Coast Express' to Hastings, Eastbourne and Brighton via the West Coast Mainline to London, cross the Thames and an interesting circular of the counties of Kent and Sussex including a number of rare lines for charter trains such as Ashford to Hastings and the full route on to Eastbourne and Brighton. From: Hooton (0600/0005), Chester (0620/2345), Crewe (0645/2320), Kidsgrove (0700/2305), Stoke (0715/2250), Rugeley T.V (0740/2225), Lichfield T.V (0750/2215), Tamworth (0800/2205), Nuneaton (0815/2150) & Rugby (0835/2130) TRAIN FARES: Standard Class (Adult) = £59, Standard Class (child U16) = £44, First Class (all ages) = £99 (table for 2 supplements apply)
Friday 25 May – 'The Snowdon Mountaineer' to Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog with optional trip along the Ffestiniog Railway to Tan-y-Bwlch. From: Carnforth (0630/2205), Morecambe (0655/2140), Lancaster (0710/2125), Preston (0730/2100), Wigan (0800/2045), Garswood (0815/2030), St Helens Central (0830/2020), Liverpool Lime St (0900/1940), South Parkway (0915/1925) & Runcorn (0930/1910). Standard Class (Adults) = £49, Standard Class (child U16) = £34, First Class (all ages) = £89 (table for 2 supplements apply)
Friday 8 June – 'The Dorset Coast Express to Brockenhurst, Bournemouth and Weymouth. From: Holyhead (0605/2355), Llanfairpwll (0630/2330), Bangor (0640/2320), Llandudno Junction (0700/2300), Colwyn Bay (0710/2250), Rhyl (0725/2225), Flint (0740/2220), Chester (0800/2200) & Crewe (0830/2130) TRAIN FARES: Standard Class (Adult) = £69, Standard Class (child U16) = £54, First Class (all ages) = £109 (table for 2 supplements apply)
Wednesday 13 June – 'The Cornish Riviera Express' to St Austell, Truro and Penzance From: Liverpool Lime St (0500/0050), Runcorn (0520/0030), Crewe (0540/0005), Shrewsbury* (0620/2325), Craven Arms* (0645/2300), Ludlow* (0700/2245), Leominster* (0715/2230) & Hereford* (0730/2215)
TRAIN FARES: Standard Class (Adult) = £75, Standard Class (child U16) = £60, First Class (all ages) = £115 (table for 2 supplements apply)
*£10 reduction on above fares joining at Shrewsbury, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Leominster & Hereford stations
Saturday 30 June – 'The Snowdon Mountain Ranger' to Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog with optional trip along the Ffestiniog Railway to Tan-y-Bwlch. From: Skipton (0550/2225), Keighley (0605/2210), Shipley (0620/2155), Wakefield Kirkgate (0700/2115), Huddersfield (0745/2035), Denton* (0845/1950), Stockport* (0900/1935), Altrincham* (0920/1915) & Knutsford* (0935/1905). Standard Class (Adults) = £59, Standard Class (child U16) = £44, First Class (all ages) = £99 (table for 2 supplements apply) *£10 reduction on above fares to Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog joining at Denton, Stockport, Altrincham & Knutsford stations.
Every Monday from 23 July until 20 August – 'The Mersey Moorlander' to Carlisle (steam hauled from Preston via the famous Settle & Carlisle railway and back as far as Preston via Shap) From: Crewe (0615/2130), Runcorn (0640/2105), South Parkway (0655/2055), Liverpool Lime St (0720/2030), Prescot (0740/2010), St Helens Central (0750/2000), Wigan (0805/1945), Euxton (0815/1935) & Preston (0900/1900). Standard Class (Adult) = £75, Standard Class (child U16) = £60, First Class (all ages) = £125 (table for 2 supplements apply) Premier Dining = £185 (table for 2 supplements apply)
Carriage label no. 5
This Virgin example comes from the time (January 2003, we think) when the company's Saturday 05:45 and 13:35 trains from Holyhead were terminating at Stafford, die to the West Coast Main Line upgrade work going on at the time. Sensibly, the label information is repeated on both sides of the label so that passengers inside can be sure they are on the right train.
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