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.
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!
Slideshow from pictures by M.Lloyd Davies. Adverts by
Better Days at Glan Conwy
Many thanks to Ken Robinson for this picture of an
Railfreight-Grey Class 47 on the North Wales Coast 'Speedlink' service
shunting Glan Conwy freight depot on 14 August 1987 in its short-lived
heyday. It was taken from the almost exact position on Queen's
Road bridge as the picture of 67 009 in the last issue [repeated below].
There is a fine assortment of wagons in view: TTA tanks, HEA domestic
coal hoppers, air-braked vans,at least 10 air-braked vans, and what
might be a couple of cement wagons. This train ceased to run, along
with the rest of the Speedlink wagon network, in 1991. Ken notes: 'How
things have changed - it's incredible to think that this photo will be
25 years old this August!'
Also noticeable is that the small yellow 'cut-out sign' for the
speed-restriction round the sharp curve to the Conwy Valley, just
visible in the 1987 view, has been replaced by a large reflective
67s to Bangor
67 025Western Star and 67 026 headed UK
Railtours' Euston - Bangor charter on 18 February. Above, the train
runs into Chester at 09:59, a minute early (Bob Greenalgh).
Abergele (Chris Morrison).
Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd). Note the de-forested track on
the right leading to the freight depot - see
Llanfair PG (Richard Fleckney).
From Bangor the passengers visited the Welsh Highland Railway while the
train went to Holyhead for servicing. Above, in fading light, it
departs Holyhead for Bangor to collect them for the return to London.
The story of 80042 - by Charlie Hulme
A particularly interesting vehicle in the 18 February charter consist
was M 80042, photographed (above) by Peter Lloyd at
Llandudno Junction. It
was built c. 1960 by British Railways as Buffet Restaurant Car no. 1646
kitchen, buffet bar and passenger seating. Note the door with its small
extra opening flap to facilitate loading of supplies, a feature of BR
Mk 1 catering cars.
It was rebuilt by FM
Rail in 2006 with additional kitchen facilities replacing the seating,
re-numbered in the BR Kitchen Car series, and used by FM Rail in
their ambitious 'Blue Pullman' project which was launched in a blaze of
The train visited North Wales on 15 July 2006, was photographed at
Llandudno Junction, with loco 47 712 at the head, by Rowan
Crawshaw (above, from our archive) showing the livery which was
said to replicate the 'Nanking Blue' used on the legendary Midland
Pullman of fond 1960s memory. 80042 is the fourth coach in the train
Unfortunately, soon afterwards FM Rail collapsed into bankruptcy and
the Blue Pullman
train was sold to Cotswold Rail, which itself became history in 2009.
Meanwhile 80042 saw some service with DRS in their 'Stobart Pullman'
train - yet another short-lived luxury train operation, not helped in
its marketing by the plastering of the train with garish 'Stobart'
before being sold to Cargo-D, which painted it in their favourite
colour scheme - 1960s British Rail corporate blue and grey - which it
at the time of writing.
Worse was to come: 80042 was Cargo-D's only serviceable catering
vehicle suitable for all-dining trains, and in Summer 2011 it had to be
taken out of service due to a mechanical problem with one of the
bogies, several promised charter trains were cancelled at short notice,
and soon yet another small rail company was in the hands of an
Administrator who was selling off its assets. 80042 is now in the fleet
of Riviera Trains,
which may well be the longest survivor of the small train-hire
firms which sprung up after privatisation, thanks partly to their
contract with EWS - and now DB Schenker - to supply coaches for charter
Riviera also own sister vehicle 80041, also a conversion from a Buffet
Restaurant (1690); none of the 40 original BR Kitchen Cars 80001 -
80040 remains in service.
NMT on the coast
The HST-based New Measurement Train of Network Rail made a foray to
Holyhead on 16 February. Above, the outbound run at Colwyn Bay (Jack
Above, it departs Holyhead on the return run (R. Roberts).
The locos were 43 013 and 43 014.
On the Dee Bridge
As reported here before, the Dee viaduct is getting a facelift. Above, 175
104 crosses the bridge on 13 February, having passed the viaduct
site compound, associated with the Network Rail works to significantly
strengthen structural steelwork, grit-blast, and paint the structure. (Chris
The first railway bridge here was opened in 1846 and partially
collapsed the following year while a train was crossing, to the
detriment of engineer Robert Stephenson's reputation. It used cast-iron
beams, an inherently weak concept, but was repaired and strengthened,
being replaced in 1871 by a two-track girder structure, later widened
to allow Wrexham line trains an independent double-track route. The
extra tracks were abandoned c. 1980 - possibly also the last time the
remaining structure was repainted.
A trip on the Rugby Express - report and pictures by Adam
On Sunday 12 February, Arriva Trains Wales ran additional trains from
Holyhead to Cardiff in light of the Rugby taking place at the
Millennium Stadium, including the 06:50 Holyhead-Cardiff and 19:55
return that was worked by 57 313 and 57 315
top-and-tailing six mark 2 coaches. Two locomotives were necessary as
the train ran via Wrexham General (reverse) and not Crewe. Above: 57
315 at Chester, having worked the train forward from Holyhead.
Above: 57 313 at Chester on the rear (soon to be the front) of the
I was on the train from Bangor to Shrewsbury. It arrived into Bangor on
time with about three people on it. Around 12 people including myself
boarded at Bangor. A few people joined the train at Llandudno Junction,
Rhyl, Prestatyn, and Chester (where the train waited for half an hour),
before a large number of people joined the train at Wrexham General, up
until which I had a coach to myself. Arrival into Shrewsbury (below)
was on time.
The calling pattern of the train was Holyhead - Bangor - Llandudno
Junction - Rhyl - Prestatyn - Chester - Wrexham General - Shrewsbury -
Leominster - Hereford - Abergavenny - Pontypool & New Inn - Cwmbran
- Newport - Cardiff Central. I asked a member of the train crew about
the odd stopping pattern of the train and why some major stops such as
Flint and Ludlow were omitted, and he didn't know, and it seemed as if
management had just selected 'some' stations to serve.
Overall, it was a very nice trip and a good opportunity to see Class
57s and Mark 2 coaches in use before they are (apparently) replaced by
Class 67s and Mark 3 coaches later this year. The picture shows the
interior of the Mark 2 BSO (Brake Standard Open) carriage that I had to
myself as far as Wrexham.
57 302Virgil Tracy worked the Saturday 'Pendolino
drag' on 18 February. Picture at Abergele by Darren Durrant
(see Also Darren's YouTube
Arrived at Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd). The Pendolino was 390
The afternoon train to London passes Conwy (Darren Durrant)
Worth Valley steam - report by Alan Crawshaw
Rowan and I called in on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway winter
steam gala on our way to York on Friday 10 February, the 07:22 from
Bangor and connections at Chester, Manchester and Leeds getting us
there by late morning. Our first sight was of the Midland Railway 4F 43924,
rescued from Barry scrapyard. The snow soon
stopped, but the icy weather caused a few cancellations and late
The last train from Abergavenny to Merthyr ran on 5 Jan 1958, hauled by
Webb coal tank 58926 and 'Super D' 49121. 49121 was later
scrapped but 58926 was saved by a group of enthusiasts led by Max Dunn,
former Bangor shedmaster; see also the 3 Oct
2011 Notice Board. The locomotive is now owned by the National
Trust. Following the recent restoration and repainting into BR livery
of the coal tank, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway staged a
re-creation of the last train with the only surviving 'Super D' 49395
running as 49121.
The train is seen here at Oxenhope. The same pair are billed to appear
at the Llangollen 'Steel,
III' gala in April, during which another
re-enactment of this last train is planned.
Finally we see Ivatt 2-6-2T 2MT 41241 at Oxenhope. Built
by BR in 1949 to an an LMS design, it was allocated at Bangor and
Llandudno Junction sheds for a period in the 1960s.
Also 'out to play' was the wonderful Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway
No. 957 (built in Manchester in 1887 by Beyer Peacock) to complete a
superb quintet of locomotives from the LMS and its constituent
Electro-Diesels on the Wirral - report by Stavros Lainas
Some nocturnal views of measurement train 2Q78 Wigan - Hooton on 14 -
15 February. Class 73 electro-diesel locos (originally built for use on
the Southern Region) are used as they can run from the electric third
rail where available to avoid polluting the tunnels, and on their
diesel engines elsewhere. Above, the train in Ellesmere Port station at
23:54 at with 73 138 leading.
Hooton, with 73 138 at 00:08 ...
... and on the other end of the train, 73 107 taken at
00:12 just before an announcement that the station was closing.
Stone on the coast
Another load of ballast was dispatched from Penmaenmawr Quarry to Guide
Bridge on 13 February: above, 66 548 brings the empty wagons
through Colwyn Bay in the morning (Jack Bowley).
The return working, 6H45, Penmaenmawr - Guide Bridge, with 22
loaded wagons passing Llandudno Junction at 15:41, 97 minutes late (Peter
Where some of the stone ends up - East Didsbury station, Manchester
Metrolink under construction, seen on 19 February (Joanna Hulme).
of the 'South Manchester' line, which is laid
on the trackbed of the former Midland Railway main line. Beyond here,
off the scene to the left, cuttings have been filled in and river
bridges removed, although a plan exists to continue to Stockport in the
future. The Trans-Pennine Trail shares the route at this point; a new
path for it is seen under construction on the right.
The Enterprise Centre building was built as a railway goods station. It
is a fine example of late-nineteenth century functional railway
architecture. The Trust understands that, despite fire damage, the
structure is sound and that there are no grounds for demolition for
reasons of safety or lack of structural integrity.
1. The structure forms part of the heritage ensemble
of buildings at Chester General Station and planning for this site
needs to be considered within this context. It is not just another
2. The Railway Station Partnership needs to be directly involved in
formulating proposals for this site.
3. The building, though not listed, has architectural quality, was
strongly built and its fundamental structure remains sound.
4. The case for demolition appears to rest on short-term financial
5. The structure is potentially adaptable to a number of potential uses.
6. No consideration appears to have been given to
alternative uses for the structure. With the failure of the West Car
Park scheme at the Station, a feasibility study is needed to consider
the potential for this structure and site to be converted into the
much-needed additional car-parking at the station. This could be in
conjunction with a new pedestrian bridge to the station area. There is
a regional precedent in the conversion of the Great Northern Warehouse
adjacent to the former Manchester Central Station (G-Mex).
The One City Plan identifies this area as a key
gateway point into the city .... under-utilised at present (BQ4 City
Centre North Gateway). An imaginative approach is needed to this
structure and site and until this is developed we oppose demolition of
the current structure.
English Heritage have become involved, but their reply to the Council
Planners, dated 13 February, states that they do not wish to
comment on the application and the future of the building should follow
local and national policy.
Back in December, a Network Rail spokesman told the Chester
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 was flatly denied.'
Personally, I want to see the structure remain and re-used for another
John Young writes of having had 'a super weekend' at the George III Hotel at
Penmaenpool after reading about it here. It's a place with a
fascinating building with an interesting history. The railway from
Morfa Mawddach to Dolgellau, opened in the 1860s, and ran along the
stone embankment at on the edge of the Mawddach estuary; it closed in
1964 and is now an excellent walking and cycling trail. The main hotel
building, however, is a much older building, said to date from 1650,
which as a hotel in 1890. John's picture above is taken from the road
toll bridge which crosses the estuary at this point, being the lowest
road crossing of the river.
The former Penmaenpool station building, pictured above by John
Young, is a typical Cambrian Railways structure just a short walk
from the main hotel, and has been taken over by the hotel and now
comprises several en-suite rooms. The nearest open station is
Morfa Mawddach, about four miles away, but buses which run near
Fairbourne station call on the nearby road.
The view from Penmaenpool as 158 837 makes is way across Barmouth bride
A view by Ian Macer-Wright from the hillside above Fairbourne,
with Barmouth Bridge in the distance, showing the lack of trees; a
number have been cleared over the last few weeks.
The same scene at sunset (Ian Macer-Wright).
How many Class 92s per Wind Turbine?
The following rather contrived press release comes from DB Schenker:
DB Schenker Rail UK has outlined plans to introduce carbon-free rail
freight services for customers using trains hauled by electric
locomotives, further improving the environmental credibility of rail
Working with Renewable Energy Systems (RES), one of the world's largest
renewable energy developers, DB Schenker Rail UK is proposing to build
three wind turbines on its land at Margam, near Port Talbot in South
Wales, to provide renewable energy to the rail network. RES is
currently in discussions with Neath & Port Talbot Council regarding
The energy generated by the turbines would be enough to power a 'green
fleet' of DB Schenker Rail UK's Class 92 electric locomotives. The
electricity would be sold to Network Rail for use in the overhead power
cables and in doing so, DB Schenker Rail UK will be able to offer
customers 'carbon-free' rail freight services in the UK by the end of
Alain Thauvette, Chief Executive of DB Schenker Rail UK, said:
"Deutsche Bahn wishes to reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by 2020.
This proposal is a significant step forward in delivering this carbon
reduction target in the UK, while enabling DB Schenker Rail to provide
its customers with Eco Solutions to reduce their carbon emissions."
Mr Thauvette continued: "We hope that the local authority and the Welsh
Assembly Government will support the development, which would see
carbon-free freight trains operating to Wales when routes are
Carbon-free freight trains would operate from London to Scotland on the
West and East Coast Main Lines and to Wales on the Great Western
Railway once that route is electrified. RES and DB Schenker Rail will
submit their proposals for planning approval during the spring.
[We have inserted the old-fashioned hyphens in 'carbon-free' in the
home of making the thing readable.]