30 January 2012
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and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
Friday 3 February Clwyd Railway
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
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
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
Bob Barnard The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway – Then
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,
have run on a section again. Bob Barnard, a local L&B
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
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
Wednesday 29 February Ffestiniog
Railway Society Dee & Mersey Group. Operating a 40 mile
railway. Phil Brown.
Friday 2 March Clwyd Railway
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
Valley Railway Society Geoff Morris "30 years west of
Friday 9 March Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society "The Railways of the Peak
District" by Dr Les Nixon
Monday 12 March. Wrexham
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
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
Monday 19 March RCTS
Gordon Davies: American Wanderings in 2010/11/ A digital
of Gordon’s two visits to the USA. Featuring commuter
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
Hive of activity at Old Colwyn - see item below. Picture by Stéphanie
Work on the line
Rhyl was the terminus for trains from England on 28 - 29 January while
work was carried out on the bridge at Old Colwyn, an awkward location
in the embankment.
Road-rail vehicles owned by Stobart Rail were in action (Stéphanie
On replacement duty, an Arriva bus in heritage Crosville livery, but
not the same one as pictured in the last issue. (Stéphanie
Durrant). That was 2793, this is 2915 (CX58 EXG) a Wright
Pulsar-bodied VDL SB200. Crosville, which operated in this area for
many years, was found in 1906 by George Crosland-Taylor and
Georges de Ville. Originally they planned to build cars, but by 1911
they had become a bus operator. To celebrate the centenary in 2011,
each depot of Arriva in Wales received a bus painted in Crosville green
familiar to many in the 1950s and 60s. The company was sold to the
London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1929, but retained the
Crosville name through various changes of ownership including in
nationalisation in 1948 and reprivatisation in the 1980s. The Welsh
part of the operation became Crosville Cymru for a while, with a livery
based on the Welsh flag, until finally subsumed by the Arriva corporate
Welsh Railways on BBC iPlayer
Fo those who missed the four half-hour programmes broadcast recently on
BBC2 Wales TV, they are available on the BBC iPlayer web site for the
next few days. The following links apply
Beeching Part 1
Beeching Part 2
Steam Ahead Part 1
Steam Ahead Part 2
Also on iPlayer is the 29
January episode of 'Countryfile', which includes some views of the
Llangollen Railway in an item about sheep drovers.
A visit to Frodsham - report by Bob Greenalgh
Having heard the Fiddler's Ferry to Newbiggin Gypsum was running, for
the first time in a while, on 24 January, I decided to visit Frodsham
station to see it, despite the weather ... the chance to visit Lawless
bakers was too good to ignore! Frodsham station's grade 2 listed
building (above) built in 1850 is to undergo major refurbishment. This
is to include cleaning the masonry, stripping the roof, new insulation
and replacing the original Welsh slates. New windows and doors will be
replicas of the originals and there will be new floors inside. The
chimney stacks will be re-pointed using a traditional lime mortar.
According to Network Rail's press release: 'Work on the £400,000
project is expected to be finished by the end of May ... While the work
is being carried out, Network Rail will market the building with the
aim of finding a tenant. Possible future uses could include office
accommodation, a restaurant and/or bar – subject to planning consent
and licensing – art studios/workshops or some form of community use.
Anyone interested should call the Network Rail property helpline on
0800 830 840.'
The Ellesmere Port - Fiddler's Ferry coal, with 70 004 (above)
ran a couple of minutes early and I had time for a Lawless pie and a
... the rain stopped now, before the gypsum train came through, hauled
by GBRf loco 66 714 Cromer Lifeboat. [These trains make
the trip to Ellesmere Port purely to run the locomotive round the train
so it can head north, avoiding the facilities at Warrington Yard which
are operated by competitor DB Schenker.]
The contracts widening the Cob at Porthmadog, Jones Brothers, based
in Ruthin, and not Rhyl as we erroneously stated in the first version
of last week's effort. Our apologies to them.
Regarding the Ballast trains at Newtown (last issue), Gareth
Marston writes: 'Network Rail are conducing an extensive overnight
possession relaying exercise using steel sleepers. Done recently is the
section from the River Camlad nearr Montogmery through Forden to the
points to Fron and on to the double track section. Steel sleepers were
noted alongside track all the way from Welshpool station to Buttington
level crossing on 24 January. Road/rail vehicles are present in
squadron strength at Forden and Cilceywedd, the ballast machine being
stored in Newtown during the day.'
Wirral and North Wales Model Railway Club are taking their
'Bambury Shed' to the Stafford Model Railway Exhibition on 4th &
5th February This
is the link to their page on the Exhibition website.
application has been lodged by Cheshire West and Chester Council to
its own planning department to 'Demolish fire damage [sic] building and
adjacent 2 storey office block, single storey workshop and former plant
housing' - that is to say, Chester Enterprise Centre, the
former Goods Shed at Chester station which was severely damaged by fire
in According to the Chester
Chronicle, 'Network Rail told the Chronicle that within
days of the accidental fire officers from the council and Chester
Renaissance were informally suggesting the site as an alternative
location for its proposed multi-storey car park but this is flatly
The small grill on the four corners of Class 66 locmotives that
we puzzled over a couple of weeks back is simply an air vent.
It's now possible, in this new world of open access, for any programmer
to obtain access to Network Rail's passenger timetable data. One result
is a new website called Open
Train Times - www.opentraintimes.com, made by Peter
Hicks. At the moment, it gives up-to-date timetable data but not
real-time running, although they creator says this will follow.
Llangollen Railway news - report by George Jones
As seen from the riverside fisherman's path crossing west of Carrog on
29 January: a train movement (above). The works train had taken the
crane back to Carrog and then returned with the wagon and vans towards
the rail head. This provided the undoubted thrill of seeing a train in
motion on the Corwen extension as shunter Davy propelled the train
west. Some approaching walkers expressed surprise and delight at seeing
a train moving along the tracks which comes as a salutary warning: you
never know when a train might appear if you are using a foot crossing.
Participants in the extension viewing walk arranged for Saturday 4
February might get a similar viewing further along of work in progress.
This is now confirmed subject to weather on the day. Depart Carrog
station 11:45 to view progress with the extension project via the
public footpath, A5 road and trackbed forward from Bonwm to Corwen. The
distance is 3 miles and duration approx. 1.5 hours. Return by service
bus route 5 or analternative walking route. Appropriate outdoor
clothing and stout footwear necessary. An opportunity to view work in
progress and plans in prospect for 2012.
Track laying is now beyond culvert 25 and is heading towards
The view above shows the view of the ballasted trackbed looking east -
the A5 road is to to the top right, with bridge 26 in the foreground
and the rail head currently out of view round the bend towards the left.
How things were: Peter Hanson photographed 7827 Lydham
Manor and 7822 Foxcote Manor skirt the River Dee
somewhere near Bonwm Halt with the 'Tallyllyn Special' on 28 September
1963. The train, for the Talyllyn Railway's AGM, had been brought
by 'Battle of Britain' pacific 34067 Fighter Command from
London Paddington to Ruabon where the 'Manors' took over for the
journey to the Cambrian Coast, and later back via Machynlleth to
Shrewsbury, according to The
Railtour Files; Apparently the train included sleeping cars for the
overnight return to London. Both 7822 and 7827 still exist, and 7822 is
of course resident on the Llangollen line.
Delivered to Llangollen workson 26 January (above, on the arrival line)
was GWR Pannier tank 7715, wearing London Transport colours as L99
,from the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre for a boiler repair
Also arrived is GWR 2-8-0T 5227 one of the 'Barry Ten' -
remaining locos that were removed from Woodham Brothers' Barry
Scrapyard in 1990 when owner Dai Woodham retired: see Wikipedia. It is
present at Llangollen for component recovery and release of the boiler
has already started, as seen picture above taken with permission. The
previous arrival from Barry, 'large Prairie' 2-6-2T 4115, has now
departed in assorted dismantled parts destined for new build projects.
The basic frame left for Tyseley.
Due for action on passenger trains over the half-term weekend, 11-19
February is GWR 2-8-0 3802 after a period under maintenance.
See the Llangollen
Railway website for details.
Bangor buffer bungle
Readers of our recent item about the Virgin trains that terminate at
Bangor may have wondered why the Voyagers do not stable in the siding
provided on the far side of Platform 2 rather than in the main lines -
the 'centre roads' which are surely intended for use by non-stop trains
through the station. Any staff wishing to leave or join the train while
stabled must cross the track.
The answer is one which seems typical of modern life. When the car park
was created in the old goods yard last year, the siding was shortened
by Network Rail. It was subsequently found that a 5-car Voyager could
fit in there, clear of the running lines, but would have to stop with
its nose very close to the buffer stops at the end. A Risk Assessment
was done, and it was decided that the risk of a train accidentally
hitting the buffers was too high, and so the 'centre road' must be used.
During the post-Christmas holiday, the points leading to the main line
failed, and were not repaired for a couple of days, so the
powers-that-be ruled that the siding could then be used as a 'temporary
measure.' But as soon as the points were repaired, it was decreed that
use of the siding must cease, and so it has.
Freight locos in view
Engineering work in the Birkenhead area on 29 January saw engineers'
trains return to Crewe Basford Hall via Chester. On a cold, grey day 66
076 passes Chester signalling centre with a train of what looks
like new ballast - apparently the work was given up early (Bob
On 24 January, DRS locos 37 602 and 37 603 double-head
a flask train from Valley to Crewe past the historic old station at
Holywell Junction (Tim Rogers)
37 602 made a light-engine run from Crewe to Holyhead and
back on 26 January, a driver road-learning run to judge by the number
of people in the cab. It is seen above at Chester (Bob Greenhalgh).
The Tunstead to Oakleigh limestone workings remain a stronghold of the
Class 60s. Andrew Vinten captured 60 065 Spirit of
Jaguar with the return empties passing Plumley on 27 January.
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