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12 March 2012
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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!
Wednesday 21 March Excursion Compass Tours 'Cumbrian Mountains & Fells Explorer' Codsall, Telford Central, Wellington, Shrewsbury, Gobowen, Wrexham General, Chester & Frodsham to Carlisle via the Settle & Carlisle Line outwards and returning via the Cumbrian Coast Rail route.
Wednesday 28 March Excursion Compass Tours 'Welsh Mountaineer': Huddersfield, Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Rochdale, Denton, Stockport, Wilmslow & Crewe to Cardiff Via the Heart of Wales route.
Thursday 29 March Merseyside Railway History Group AGM Members Slides
Saturday 31 March Llangollen Railway Diesel Day
Friday 6 April Clwyd Railway Circle change of date and speaker for this month only: see 13 April, below.
Tuesday 10 April 8E Railway Association Stephen Gay presents Walking The Line - Discovering Lost Railways
Thursday 12 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Clive Myers "The Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Electric Railway"
Friday 13 April Clwyd Railway Circle new date. Geoff Coward will
be showing Black and White slides mainly of steam from 1905 to 1950.
Friday 13 April Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society North West Film Archive Evening featuring historic footage of buses, aircraft, trains and trams across the North West
Saturday 14 April Excursion Cheshire Cat Tours Aberystwyth, Borth, Machynlleth, Newtown, Welshpool, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch and Crewe to Carlisle. Outwards via Shap, Return via Settle to Carlisle Line.
Saturday 14 April Steam to Chester Steam Dreams 'The Cathedrals Express' London - Chester
Monday 16 April RCTS Chester Branch AGM (Members only)
Wednesday 18 April Excursion Compass Tours 'The Roses Express'
Hooton, Chester, Delamere, Northwich, Knutsford, Altrincham, Stockport & Denton to York. Scheduled for haulage by a Steam Locomotive from Preston.
21 - 29 April Llangollen Railway / Betton Grange Society Steel, Steam & Stars III Gala 'featuring up to 12 main line steam locos including 6 guests.'
Thursday 26 April Merseyside Railway History Group Geoff Coward: Quiz and informal evening
Sat - Mon 5-7 May Llandudno Transport Festival. (No specific rail content this year but worth a visit, especially if interested in buses)
Saturday 5 May Excursion Mid-Cheshire Rail Users' Association. The Lincolnshire Poacher Railtour to Lincoln, Wainfleet and Skegness from most Mid-Cheshire Line stations. Further Details at: www.mcrua.org.uk
Saturday 5 May Steam to North Wales Vintage Trains 'Llandudno Victorian Fayre' Tyseley - Llandudno
Sat - Mon 5 -7 May Ffestiniog Railway 'Blaenau 30' - celebrating the 30th anniversary of the re-opening to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Sat / Sun 5 - 6 May Welsh Highland Heritage Railway 'Elements Gala'
Tuesday 8 May 8E Railway Association Les Nixon presents The A to Z of Railways Around the World
Thursday 10 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society "End of Indoor Season Special"
Saturday 19 May Steam in North Wales PMR Tours 'The Welsh Dragon' Bristol to Holyhead
Friday 25 May Excursion to North Wales Compass Tours 'Snowdon Mountaineer' Carnforth, Morecambe, Lancaster, Preston, Wigan North Western, Garswood, St Helens Central, Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool South Parkway & Runcorn to Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Saturday 26 May Excursion Cheshire Cat Tours Holyhead, Bangor, Llandudno Junction,Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Prestatyn, Flint, Chester and Warrington to Carlisle. Outwards via the Settle to Carlisle line, Return via the Cumbrian Coast Line
Sat / Sun 2 - 3 June Welsh Highland Heritage Railway 'Family Fun Weekend'
Friday 8 June Excursion Compass Tours 'Dorset Coast Express' Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester & Crewe to Brockenhurst, Bournemouth or Weymouth.
Sat / Sun 9 - 10 June Welsh Highland Heritage Railway 'Teddy Bear weekend. 'Children go FREE if they bring a teddy bear. Find the bears hiding in the Engine Sheds and win a prize.'
Saturday 16 June Excursion to North Wales Scottish Railway Preservation Society From Glenrothes with Thornton, Kirkcaldy, Dalgety Bay, Edinburgh Waverley, Kirknewton over Beattock and Shap summits to Chester and Llandudno. (diesel-hauled)
Saturday 16 June Excursion Cheshire Cat Tours Whitchurch, Wem, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Telford Central, Codsall, Wolverhampton, Tame Bridge Parkway, Birmingham International to Canterbury.
Sat / Sun 23 - 24 June Llangollen Railway Heritage Railcar Gala
Sat / Sun 23 - 24 June Welsh Highland Heritage Railway Slate industrial exhibition
Saturday 30 June Excursion to North Wales Compass Tours 'Snowdon Mountain Ranger' Skipton, Keighley, Shipley, Wakefield Kirkgate, Huddersfield, Denton, Stockport, Altrincham & Knutsford to Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog
Sat / Sun 9 - 10 June Welsh Highland Heritage Railway Steam in the Sheds 'Over a hundred tiny steam engines on display, some running, in the Engine Sheds.'
Sunday 22 July Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 15:10 dep 17:45).
Sat / Sun 28 - 29 July Llangollen Railway 1960s weekend
Sunday 29 July Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool Lime Street, Broad Green, Warrington Bank Quay, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 14:30 dep 16:30).
Tuesday 31 July Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston, Warrington Frodsham, Chester to Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr. 13:15 dep 16:10)
[Note: again this summer there will be no steam trains on the Cambrian Coast line due to the rail industry's continuing inability to adapt the new ERTMS signalling for use with a steam locomotive.]
Sat / Sun 4 - 5 August Talyllyn Railway Tom Rolt Steam & Vehicle Rally
Sunday 5 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 15:10 dep 17:45).
Sunday 12 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 15:10 dep 17:45).
Tuesday 14 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston, Warrington Frodsham, Chester to Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr. 13:15 dep 16:10)
Saturday 18 August Steam in North Wales Vintage Trains 'The Welsh Dragon' Tyseley - Blaenau Ffestiniog (Steam loco 5043 as far as Llandudno Junction; Class 47 diesel to Blaenau)
Sunday 19 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool Lime Street, Broad Green, Warrington Bank Quay, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 14:30 dep 16:30).
Sat / Sun 25 - 26 August Llangollen Railway Classic Transport weekend
Sunday 26 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool Lime Street, Broad Green, Warrington Bank Quay, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 14:30 dep 16:30).
Tuesday 28 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston, Warrington Frodsham, Chester to Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr. 13:15 dep 16:10)
Saturday 31 August - 2 September Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala
Sun / Mon 1 - 2 September Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala (continued)
Saturday 15 September Excursion Cheshire Cat Tours Holyhead, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Prestatyn, Flint, Shotton, Chester and Frodsham to Edinburgh.
Saturday 22 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Day
Saturday 20 October Excursion Cheshire Cat Tours Aberystwyth , Borth, Machynlleth, Newtown, Welshpool, and Shrewsbury to Bath and Salisbury.
1V41 Holyhead - Cardiff special for a rugby match in Cardiff departs Chester behind 57 313, Saturday 10 March. Picture by Mark Riley.
On the Calendar
To celebrate the start of Spring, we have updated our Calendar page, which is repeated in the left column of this page, to cover all the summer events and special trains we can find that are relevant to our area. If there are any other items you think should be included, or you spot a blunder, please let us know.
Some points of interest are that this summer the Railway Touring Company will be running steam trains to Holyhead from Crewe via Manchester as well as from Liverpool as in the past, and that Cheshire Cat Railtours will be running 'outbound' excursions from both the Cambrian and North Wales Coast lines - Compass Tours will also be running a train for North Wales residents, including their popular pickup call at Llanfair PG.
Winston Smith, the hero of George Orwell's famous novel '1984', spends his working days as a clerk in the Records Department of the 'Ministry of Truth', where his job is to rewrite historical documents. His job would have been easier if the documents had been websites ... we have done a 'Winston Smith' on the last two issues, as a result of emails gratefully received from readers regarding 'facts' we enthusiastically added to people's contributions about preserved diesels.
Firstly: In the article about the Dean Forest Railway (27 February) we said that 31 466. based there, is the only EWS liveried class 31. Gary Thomas writes: 'There is a second one, 31 255, which is preserved and based at the Colne Valley Railway in Essex. I had thought the repaint only happened in preservation, but the "book of knowledge" (i.e. Wikipedia) suggests otherwise: "No. 31 255 also received EWS colours but never ran on the main line and spent its life at Toton until preservation."' Gary's fine picture above shows the loco in service - the Colne Valley railway is holding a diesel gala on 25 March, with a shuttle bus service from Braintree station.
Secondly: Last issue (5 March) and the picture of 37 418. We said that the East Lancashire Railway nameplates are now carried by 40 145, well, there were, but no longer. Richard Clayton of the Class Forty Preservation Society (CFPS) writes: 'The nameplates, which are are not owned by the CFPS, were removed off 40 145 in November 2010 at Barrow Hill. Work is progressing on the repairs to 40145’s main generator, and subject to sufficient funds being raised, the CFPS hope to have 40 145 back in action later this year repainted in green livery and returned to its D345 guise.
The CFPS still needs to raise over £30,000 to complete repairs to the loco: donations would be very welcome (PayPal is accepted): visit the CFPS website for more information. Class 40 locos were at one time very common on the North Wales line and it would be great to see one running to Holyhead again. The picture by Alan Crawshaw from our archive shows 40 145 at Bangor with the 'Whistling Slater' railtour on 4 June 2005.
Down the Coast - with Garry Stroud
Driver training runs with a blue class 67 make for a morning out. Seen above, 67 001 approaches Conwy Station with the 0Z70 11:47 Chester to Holyhead trip on Wednesday 7 March.
Unique 'Bardon Aggregates' blue-liveried 66 623 Bill Bolsover worked the 6D44 and return 6H45 ballast (for Manchester Metrolink) from Guide Bridge to Penmaenmawr on 9 March, seen here passes Llandudno Junction as the return 6H45 loaded to Guide Bridge.
High tide with Susan: Passing the 1980-built fishing vessel Susan L, an unidentified Class 175 crosses the River Conwy with the 10.33 Holyhead to Cardiff service on Saturday 10 March.
Now un-named and with Virgin branding removed, the former Gordon Tracy, 57 304 enters Conwy station with the return 14:38 Holyhead to Euston service, Saturday 10 March. 390 035 City of Lancaster was the Pendolino behind.
Wrexham area notes - by Mark Riley
A view (above) not seen very often on the noticeboard shows 158 818 passing Bersham Colliery Heritage Site with the 09:23 Holyhead-Birmingham International on 9 March. The report on the Bersham Tip (27 February Noticeboard) prompted me to have a look around the area as it exists now. It appears likely that the only logical way to dispose of the massive volume of shale/spoil from the tip would be by rail, meaning construction of new sidings somewhere along here. It's not yet known if/when this will happen, but considering it could take 20 years and tens of thousands of lorries to dispose of the pile by road, then rail must be the only answer, To the left is the Heritage Site, buildings and winding gear, which will be preserved.
From the railway bridge on Corkscrew Lane, the view of the line is a bit limited. Here, 66 092 passes by with a compact 6V75 Dee Marsh-Margam empty steel coil carriers, running two hours late. Apart from this and the daily Carlisle-Chirk timber trains, there's little else to see, but in a few years this could soon change dramatically with rather a lot of engineers trains. This also raises the problem of how the infrastructure could cope with the additional traffic, especially with the restrictive single line between Wrexham and Saltney Junction. Doubling of the track, or a 'dynamic loop installation' should now be a priority.
This is a view of the tip on 1 March from Corkscrew Lane...
...and an afternoon view of the West face on 10 March in the late afternoon, with the A483 running left to right, North-South, with a bus passing under it and joining the B5605 Wrexham Road. It's a distinctive landmark wherever it is viewed from!
If this picture was to have a title it would be "Patience" ... 158 819 is stationary at the signal which marks the end of the single line section and start of the double track, north of Wrexham General on 9 March. It was working the 11:23 Holyhead - Birmingham International and was on time until it stopped at this signal where it was held for 55 minutes.
Update: this delay was caused by a road vehicle hitting a bridge at Rhosddu between Wrexham General and the first signal north. When this happens. trains have to wait while Network Rail staff inspect the bridge. The train shown, 1G23, arrived at Wrexham General 61 minutes late.
On 6 March, Red DB Schenker loco 66 097 passes Remploy with 6V75 Dee Marsh-Margam empty steel carriers. The factory is now earmarked for closure, one of 36 sites, with the loss of 40 jobs at Wrexham. A familiar sight, being so close to the railway just north of Wrexham General, it seems that the furniture factory is simply no longer economically viable, but to close it at a stroke, without consideration to the workforce is extremely harsh as the skilled employees are disabled, have worked there for many years, and would struggle to find alternative employment.
Another view of the factory on March 6 as 175 001 approaches Wrexham General, working the 07:51 Holyhead-Cardiff.
Clwyd Railway Circle news - by David Jones
We have had to change the date of our April indoor meeting from Friday 6th April to Friday 13th April, Les Nixon who was booked for the 6th cannot make the new date and Geoff Coward has agreed to fill his place. Geoff will be showing Black and White slides mainly of steam from 1905 to 1950.
Clwyd Railway Circle meetings start at 7.30pm at the Jubilee Community Centre, 45 Seabank Drive, Prestatyn, LL19 7PP. Visitors are Welcome: Admission is £2.
View from the Top - with Ian Pilkington
Completing a short break on Anglesey, my wife and I climbed the 115 steps to the top of the Marquess of Anglesey's Column at Llanfairpwll on 29 February.Above, Britannia Bridge with the magnificent backdrop of the Carneddau.
A 3-car 175 unit on the 11:21 Cardiff Central - Holyhead emerges from Britannia Bridge (sadly without the sun shining).
As mentioned above, 57 304, seen above passing Abergele on 10 March (Pictured and video-ed by Darren Durrant) has had its Gordon Tracy nameplates and all Virgin brandings removed. Our understanding is that it, and others, will be used by DRS in the future, can anyone tell us more?
Llandudno 1993 - pictures by Dave Sallery
Following on from the notes in recent issues about the 1D61 07:15 Birmingham International - Llandudno via Stoke working hauled by Class 37/4 locomotives in Summer 1993, here are some views of the train on various dates that summer. Above, the shunter and the driver of petroleum sector-liveried 37 421 discuss the run-round move at Llandudno station, 9 June 1993. Note the ex-Network South East carriage still wearing full NSE colours with red stripe.
37 421 again, in the sidings at Llandudno Junction on 20 July, showing coaches now with modified livery. The loco name Strombidae (after a type of shell, fur use on trains for Shell Petroleum) have been removed on transfer to the passenger sector; the name The Kingsman was later applied by Regional Railways. Comparing this with the unidentified 37/4 pictured last time at the same location, the loco in that picture is facing the opposite way, which suggests that it probably wasn't 37 421 which would have been another possibility (unless it has been turned by some diversion round the network of lines in the Birmingham area).
7 August, and 37 425 Concrete Bob / Sir Robert McAlpine passes Deganwy station as it heads back to Llandudno Junction with the empty coaches which will later form 1D40 13:36 Llandudno Junction - Holyhead. This one was transferred from the Construction sector, and retained the nameplates from its 1980s passenger career in Scotland, still with their red background which belonged to the BR Rail Blue livery. When Regional Railways colours were applied to the loco, the red was changed to black.
37 425 at Llandudno.
On 17 September and 37 421 approaches Deganwy. Lots more Class 37s pictures and much else on the Penmorfa website.
9 March: 6D44 with 66 623 arrives at Llandudno Junction at 10:06 (Peter Lloyd) ...
... and waits in platform 4 until 10:29 to allow passenger train 1D11 to pass, giving an opportunity to examine its one-off livery (Peter Lloyd)
The train ran again on 12 March with 66 618. Stéphanie Durrant photographed the loaded train alongside the A55 road west of Colwyn Bay.
60 049 heading from Northwich to the Peak District with empty stone hoppers on 8 March, passing through Baguley in Manchester, just about to go under Butcher Lane Bridge (Greg Mape).
The Ellesmere Port (Manisty Wharf) to Fiddlers Ferry coal train on 6 March, with 70 002, taken on the approach to the A56 road bridge in Frodsham by Bob Greenalgh.
Rugby Special 10 March
Arriva Trains Wales used their locomotive-hauled stock for another Rugby special train from Holyhead to Cardiff on 10 March, formed of 57 313 + 57 315 topping and tailing six coaches: 6183, 5976, 9539, 5965, 6137 and 9521. Above, the morning train rolls into Bangor (Geraint Jones)
57 315 on the rear as the train wait to depart Llandudno Junction at 09:07 (Peter Lloyd). The batter tail-light is needed because the rear locomotive is hauled with its engine shut down on trains of this kind.
Beeches Farm bridge (Bob Greenalgh)
The Monday-Friday 57-hauled service has not been covering itself in glory in the past week; after a loco failure the northbound train on 7 March was entrusted to a 2-car class 150 set - as far as we known there is no truth in the rumour that someone nipped out at Shrewsbury to buy fish and chips for the first class passengers...
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