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23 January 2012
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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.
Driver training runs continue in preparation for the replacement of Class 57/3 locos with Class 67s on the Holyhead - Cardiff 'WAG Express'. 67 003 passes Llandudno Junction on 18 January (Peter Lloyd).
On 19 January the conductor of the 05:10 Cardiff - Holyhead was attacked and pushed on to the platform by a passenger while the train was stopped at Prestatyn, suffering facial injuries. He was taken to hospital for treatment, and the train stood at the station for an hour before continuing. The offender left the scene; police are examining CCTV records, and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident especially if they can identify the man. Contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. In all calls, please quote reference 102 of 19/01/2012.
Club 55 is back (again)
Arriva Trains Wales have brought back their 'Club 55' cheap ticket offer for people over 55 years of age, now available until 28 March. A return ticket between any two stations on the Arriva Trains Wales network can be had for just £19 - £17 for Senior Railcard and Disabled Persons Railcard holders. There are some weekday time restrictions, and also various 'add-ons' for other company's trains including to London by Chiltern's trains (including their loco-hauled ones) and this year to Worcester by London Midland. All is explained on the Arriva Trains Wales Club 55 web pages. You can also travel first class on the Cardiff express on payment of a supplement, and get the complimentary food. If you go anywhere interesting, especially anywhere not yet covered by Club 55 reports here, do let us know!
Appearances of the four blue Class 57/3s on the 1D83 Saturday 'Pendolino drag' to Holyhead are more likely since six of the twelve Virgin-liveried ones were transferred to Network Rail. Saturday 21 January saw 57 313 in charge, seen above battling against a headwind approaching Abergele.
Near Llanddulas (Darren Durrant).
Llanfair PG (Richard Fleckney).
The return train emerges from Conwy Tunnel in the rain (Darren Durrant).
West Coast Invitation to Tender
The Department for Transport has issued the Invitation to Tender document to companies wishing to take on the West Coast Main Line services, currently run by Virgin Trains and including the London - North Wales services, from 9 December 2012 until 2027 at the latest. The whole 93-page document is available in PDF format on the DfT website.
Basically the service requirement is similar to the present timetable, although the Wrexham train is not a requirement, nor apparently is an exact number of trains which should continue beyond Chester towards Holyhead - these are left as options which the operator, along with possible use of the lines to be electrified between Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool. The existing Pendolinos have to be used until at least 2022, and the Voyagers at least until 2016.
An interesting statement is 'Should bidders propose further electrification schemes such as Crewe to Chester, it is expected that they would provide evidence within their bids of how they propose to finance, plan and deliver such schemes within the franchise term.'
The local press is reporting that Shropshire County Council have been talking with bidders about including a once-a-day each way service from Chester via Wrexham and Shrewsbury in their bids; as always, time will tell.
The four short-listed bidders are Abellio InterCity West Coast Limited (NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen); First West Coast Limited (FirstGroup plc); Keolis / SNCF West Coast Limited (Keolis SA and SNCF French National Railways), and Virgin Trains. Bids are required by 1 May.
Another Sunday, more engineers' trains
Relaying work on Anglesey resumed on Sunday 22 January; Richard Fleckney was at Llanfair PG station to view movements. Above, 66 533 Hanjin/Senator Express with a trainload of replaced track ...
... and the crane, which had done the lifting, attached to rear (Richard Fleckney).
The view from the level crossing (Carwyn Jones). Note the 'Stop' marker on the down line protecting the 'possession' for the relaying.
The track, long-welded rail on concrete sleepers with an old style of fixing, has been cut on-site into 60-foot lengths to fit on the wagons (Carwyn Jones).
66 620 was in charge of a rake of JNA and IEA ballast wagons to take away the old ballast (Richard Fleckney).
The builder's plate on one of the Network Rail JNA wagons. 555 of these (NLU 29001 - 29555) were built in Arad, Romania in 2003-4 by Astra Vagone, part of the Trinity Rail group. (Information from the excellent LTSV website) Apparently they are known as 'Falcons' which is odd since engineers' wagons are normally given code names from marine animals. Their low sides reflect the high density of spent ballast ('spoil') which is usually contaminated with clay and mud.
66 620 heads east near Abergele - also available on video (Darren Durrant)
66 533 approaches Colwyn Bay past the 'hanging gardens' with its train of track panels (Jack Bowley).
Dull weather at Beeches Farm as 66 533 passes (Bob Greenalgh).
Better weather at Hargrave (Andrew Vinten)
The train was coded 7Y06 - a 'class 7' train indicating a restriction to 45 mph, the maximum speed allowed for to the crane on the rear (Andrew Vinten).
Widening the Cob at Porthmadog
Work has begun on widening part of the 'Cob' embankment to provide space for a platform at which Welsh Highland Railway trains can terminate or call without setting back into the one platform at Harbour station as at present.
The Ffestiniog Railway website offers daily updates in video form on the work, which is being carried out by Ruthin-based contractor Jones Brothers.
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