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16 January 2012
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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.
6Y04 Menai Bridge - Crewe Basford Hall engineers train, consisting of Freightliner loco 70 011 and a rake of JNA 'falcon' open wagons, was running very early when photographed by Jack Bowley from the site of the former 'Hotel 70 degrees' above Colwyn Bay on Sunday 15 January.
Sunday engineering freights
Following overnight track relaying on Anglesey, two engineers' trains made their way back to England in the sunshine of 15 January. Above, 66 621 has arrived by signal BR59 at Llanfair PG. (Carwyn Jones)
As 66 621 waits for the go-ahead to depart for Crewe, the trackman lifts the detonators and stop board (Carwyn Jones)
The second train, with 70 011 waiting for the detonators to be lifted and the green flag from the crossing keeper (Carwyn Jones)
66 621 rolls through Abergele with its long train of replaced track and ballast (Darren Durrant).
70 011 catches the last of the sun as hauls its train of ballast wagons along the sea wall through Ffynnongroew (Andrew Vinten).
70 011's train, 6Y04 was planned to pass Chester at 17:07 but actually passed Beeches Farm near Saltney, not far from Chester, at 14:35 - thanks to reporters on the North Wales Trains News Yahoo group, Bob Greenalgh was in position with his camera.
Logs from Devon - pictures by David Hughes
Wednesday Jan. 11th at Newton Abbot, and as usual 66 847 is in charge of the Heathfield - Chirk log train, seen above as it leaves the Heathfield branch and awaits clearance to enter platform 3.
The train stands at platform 3 waiting for 66 847 to detach and run round. Note the openings which have recently been cut in the ends of these wagons, which once were vans used on train ferry services.
Train now complete and ready to depart.
The train departs Newton Abbot - on time.
Next day, 12 January, the loco and empty wagons head south as far as Gloucester, photographed at Baschurch by Stavros Lainas.
Training of Arriva Trains Wales drivers on Class 67 locomotives: at 11:20 on 10 January, blue-liveried 67 001 approaches Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).
57 302 Virgil Tracy was in charge of the Pendolino from London on Saturday 14 January, seen above among the caravans at Towyn (Darren Durrant) ...
... and passing Llanfair PG station - in process of roof repairs. Picture by Richard Fleckney.
The sun is setting behind the hills as the return train to London passes Gwrych Castle near Abergele (Stéphanie Durrant).
One for the Class 60 fans - 60 065 at Lostock Gralam on 11 January with the Oakliegh - Tunstead stone empties (Steve Morris).
Vandalism in 1893
Dave Sallery found this interesting item in a Magistrates' Court report from 1893:
Two little girls, aged eleven, named Hannah Nash and Ada Baker, were charged with stealing wooden "keys" from the main line of the Wrexham, Mold, and Connah's Quay Railway Company.- Mr. Ll. Hugh-Jones, who appeared for the company, stated that the keys which the defendants were charged with stealing were used in tightening the rails to the chairs of the main line.
This makes interesting reading; perhaps it might be appropriate in the modern age for Magistrates to 'order the parents to be bound over to bring up their children for judgment' in some cases? One wonders about the reason for stealing the wood - perhaps their impoverished parents had sent them out in search of fuel.
Track-laying towards Corwen - report by George Jones
With the considerable number of preliminaries for the environmental requirements finalised, the Llangollen Railway is now able to push on with the extension of the railway towards the half way point at Bonwm. The picture above, taken on 12 January, shows the formation as seen from the public riverside path from Carrog showing the 12 tonne GPC crane, 'Sturgeon' rail-carrying wagon, ex-British Rail 'Shocvan' (as seen in an earlier report when it was shunted off the train at Carrog after use as Santa's supply base) and 'Toad' mess van.
The crane is already hard at work delivering engineering materials and will later be taking rails to the railhead for weekend work. The consist was shunted into place by the diesel shunter in a long-range foray down the line to assemble the vehicles.
Seen west of bridge 25 on 15 January is diesel shunter Davy as supplied by the Llangollen Diesel Group for use on the works train. On this day the train was minus the crane (seen above) which had been used to deliver rail to the site.
Six panels were laid over the weekend of 14-15 January- the sixth is seen above being assembled on Sunday afternoon - sleepers in situ and rails positioned ready for fixing with Pandrol clips and pads.
Finally the completed panel is aligned with the 'Muscleman' machine. The assembly was completed in just over half an hour by the team but the harder work is in spacing out the sleepers and dropping in the rail. 520 metres of track is now laid beyond Carrog - 1300 metres to go to get to Bonwm in time for the Steel, Steam and Stars III gala of 21-29 April, with ballasting and tampering also to be undertaken. These pictures were taken with permission from the railway, although this stretch can be viewed from the A5 road.
New and refurbished drainage has been completed and the long neglected trackbed infrastructure is drying out nicely. (Remember it has been derelict for nearly half a century!)
There is a need to build up a regular weekend team of eight people to continue the laying of track through to the end of March. In support of them a weekday team of professionals and volunteers is needed to select and sort matching pairs of rails and undertake preparatory work and positioning sleepers ready for the weekend effort. Volunteers willing to get involved in any of these options are welcome but, for insurance purposes, must be paid-up members of Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd (see the LR website) and possess a PTS - Personal Track Safety certificate – which can be provided on completion of a basic examination of trackside knowledge based on the LR’s Rule Book.
Busy time at Bangor - pictures by Richard Fleckney
Bangor station on a sunny Thursday 12 January. The 08:10 Virgin train from London Euston to Bangor, formed of 221 104 Sir John Franklin, has arrived at 11:27, then run forward into the tunnel, and is setting back into the centre roads to allow other trains to call at the station.
The 07:21 Cardiff - Holyhead, due at 11:21, calls at Platform 2. Rolling stock is 175 110.
A look at the 'Super Voyager' nameplate of 221 104. Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin (1786 - 1847) disappeared with his two ships and their whole crews, while attempting to chart and navigate a section of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. His loss is commemorated by the ballad 'Lady Franklin's Lament' (also known as 'Lord Franklin') still a favourite of folk singers.
12:00, and the 11:23 Holyhead - Birmingham International calls at Platform 1. Class 175s are never seen on the Birmingham (via Wrexham) trains, as their diagrams are intermeshed with workings on the Cambrian lines which require 158s for their ERTMS signalling.
The Voyager has shunted back in to the tunnel, and into platform 1 to work the 12:24 Bangor to London, which arrives in London Euston at 15:38.
The only other Bangor-terminating service in the current weekday timetable is the Virgin Trains 16:10 from Euston, which arrives at 19:21 and returns east as the 20:20 Bangor to Birmingham New Street via Crewe. This arrives in Birmingham at 22:50, some time before the 19:21 Holyhead - Birmingham (via Wrexham) Arriva train which departs Bangor 20 minutes earlier at 20:00 and arrives in Birmingham at 23:28.
A day out in the Heart of England - with Richard Putley
While staying at Great Malvern, my brother Adrian and I decided to treat ourselves to the West Midlands Day Ranger ticket which costs £20 and covers an area bounded by Hereford, Leamington, Northampton, Stoke, Crewe and Gobowen (but not the direct Hereford - Shrewsbury line). A map of the area covered can be seen on the London Midland website . Having started on the 09:19 Great Malvern - Birmingham New Street service, we had plenty of time to walk across to Moor Street (above) to get the 10:55 Chiltern "Main Line" London service as far as Leamington.
This was hauled by 67 012 A Shropshire Lad (seen above at Leamington) with DVT 82305 bringing up the rear.
No sooner had it departed Leamington for London Marylebone than 20 227, resplendent in BR Railfreight Red Stripe livery, followed it south. It was running light and nose first too! Adrian managed to get a shot of it.
We then took a Cross Country Voyager to Coventry, then a single car 153 unit, to Nuneaton. It was not full by any means. Next we caught a London Midland Desiro class 350 EMU to Rugeley Trent Valley, then the 14:06 from there to Walsall which was formed of 153 371 plus 170 505.
Continuing on to Bescot, class 97/3 97 303 (above) was found there, along with a number of 66's, including 66 145 which departed on a container train which took the Walsall line. We returned home from Bescot on the 15:34 to Birmingham New Street and finally the 16:19 departure from there to Great Malvern.
Shipping news - by Nick Gurney
On Sunday 15 January one of the Smit tugs based at Liverpool, Smit Waterloo, departed the Mersey towing a pontoon to be fitted to the new pier at Beaumaris in the Menai Straits.
It was a lovely clear sunny January day so I headed off to Beaumaris to catch the tug at Beaumaris.
The Pontoon was fitted to the end of the pier; this hopefully will allow ships such as the Balmoral to call there during the summer months.
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