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09 April 2012.
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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.
Saturday 21 April Excursion Chester Model Railway Club Shrewsbury , Gobowen, Wrexham, Bache, Hooton and Frodsham to Edinburgh Waverley. 2 x Class 67s (top & tail) Tickets available in first and standard class. Includes Chester avoiding line and Hooton - Helsby through running as rare track.
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
(now fully booked but a waiting list is in operation.)
Saturday 5 May Steam to North Wales Vintage Trains 'Llandudno Victorian Fayre' Tyseley - Llandudno
Saturday 5 May Excursion to North Wales Statesman Rail 'Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza' Departing from: Swindon (06.50/21.55) Kemble (07.05/21.30) Stroud (07.25/21.15) Stonehouse (07.35/21.05) Cheltenham Spa (08.00/20.40) Worcester Shrub Hill (08.25/20.15) Droitwich Spa (08.35/20.05) Kidderminster (08.55/19.50) Stourbridge Jct (09.10/19.30) Tame Bridge Parkway (10.00/18.30) to Llandudno Junction and Llandudno.
Saturday 5 May Excursion to North Wales NENTA train tours 'North Wales Extravaganza' from Norwich, Ipswich & East Anglian stations to Chester and Llandudno Junction (coach transfer to 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.
Friday 25 May Excursion to North Wales UK Railtours 'The Snowdonian' London, Milton Keynes and Rugby to to both Llandudno Junction and Bangor. From Llandudno Junction coaches for the scenic trip up the Conwy Valley to Blaenau where the greatest narrow gauge journey of all begins, right the way through via Porthmadog to Caernarfon, where coaches will be waiting for the short hop to Bangor where our main line train is rejoined. Half the passengers will do the 'circuit' in the opposite direction.
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, Shrewbury, 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
Saturday 7 July Excursion to North Wales UK Railtours 'Chester and the Pennines' Stevenage, Potters Bar, Finsbury Park to Chester (break) and then through Wigan, Blackburn and Accrington to Copy Pit Summit, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd before descending to Wakefield and finally joining the East Coast Main Line to head homeward.
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.
57 314 calls at Colwyn Bay, 7 May (Darren Durrant). Also available as a four-minute video of the train at various points on the route.
390 027 Virgin Buccaneer, picture above at Holyhead on 7 April (M.Lloyd Davies), carries an additional name on its nose, that of cyclist Jessica Varnish, as part of Virgin and Alstom's support of the British Olympic team.
Traction was provided by 57 314, still carrying its Arriva branding. seen above at Holyhead (M. Lloyd Davies).
Rhosneigr (M.Lloyd Davies)
Unusually, on Easter Saturday 7 April a second 'Pendolino drag' operated to Holyhead (above), train 1D90 16:10 London - Holyhead, worked by the same loco, The second arrival offered the rare sight of a Pendolino in near-darkness (above, pictire by M. Lloyd Davies) at Holyhead; the usual Saturday train departs for London at 14:36. Ther reason for this was that the following day, Easter Sunday, engineering works were to be blocking the Main Line to the north of London, and extra Voyagers were required for the shuttle service which was to run via the non-electrified Chiltern route between Birmingham and London Euston. The Pendolino spent the night at Holyhead, this releasing a Voyager to be available at Euston the next morning.
The first Pendolino to enter traffic in 11-car format, renumbered in the 390/1 series, e.g. from 390 056 to 390 156, will be out and about very soon, but, as we understand it, will not be appearing North Wales, as some of the platforms served by Virgin are not long enough, and 'balises' are not being installed to control automatic 'selective door opening' as they are at some stations elsewhere on the West Coast Main Line network. Neither will any North Wales platforms be extended, as some have elsewhere, such as Warrington Bank Quay. Out of interest, the following stations will require some doors to remain closed at stops:
Rear two vehicles at Coventry Platform 4Wilmslow station is particularly problematic because it is sandwiched between the junction for the Styal line and the viaduct over the River Bollin.
Modern trains are complex pieces of equipment, for sure. Not all Pendolinos are being extended to 11 cars though, so it may be that 9-car versions continue to visit Holyhead.
Welsh Highland Arrival - pictures by John Roobottom
John writes: 'I was enjoying the lovely springtime weather at Porthmadog on 27 March at around 5 p.m, when the train from Caernarfon train appeared.' Above, the train is making its way out on to the High Street.
Leaving the street and heading for the Ffestiniog metals.
The locomotive was Garratt no.87.
At present trains need to run forward on to the Cob embankment and set beck into the single platform at Harbour station
The observation car on the crossing built to allow access for contractor's vehicles to the Cob (see story further down the page.)
The item pictured above, in a private collection, is a token for use with the "electric key token" method of single-line working (as still use today on the Conwy Valley line). It refers to the section which crosses the Menai Strait over the Britannia Bridge, but the current single line across the bridge is regulated using a system which requires no token, and before the 1970 fire, there were two tracks across the bridge, so what was the history of this token?
We thank local signalling historian Alan Roberts for the following explanation. The token dates back prior to the Britannia Bridge fire in May 1970. When the line was double between Llanfair PG and Menai Bridge signalboxes, they had engineering work from time to time, so single line working was imposed over Britannia Bridge and temporary working was in force between the signalboxes protecting the bridge utilising token working.
During the course of rebuilding the bridge temporary single line working was again imposed but using the method of "Tokenless Block Working". This was to end as from 2nd January 1973 when Bangor signalbox took over control with the closure of Menai Bridge box and Llanfair PG box reduced to "level crossing box" status.
Easter Diversions - report by Mark Barber
Some trains in unusual locations: above, 175 108 at Macclesfield on 7 April working diverted 1W09 05:40 Cardiff Central to Manchester Piccadilly.
175 108 at Congleton on 7 April returning as 1V81 10:41 Manchester Piccadilly to Carmarthen. Trains between Crewe and Manchester were diverted via Alsager, Stoke and Macclesfield due to engineering work between Sandbach and Alderley Edge.
175 104 at Kidsgrove with 1W15 06:02 Milford Haven to Manchester Piccadilly.
The line was also blocked on 7 April between Crewe and Weaver Junction, with trains between London and the North worked by Diesel Voyagers and diverted via Chester (reverse.) Above, 221 103 passes Helsby on 7 April, working 1M47 15:25 Carlisle to Birmingham New Street,
221 110 at Frodsham working 1M57 14:18 Carlisle to Birmingham New Street.
Porthmadog progress - report by Ken Robinson
I took advantage of the fine but cold and clear weather on 5 April to
take these pictures. The first (above) features double-headed locos Taliesin and Lyd on the 13:35 Ffestiniog Railway train from Porthmadog
Harbour departing past Phase One, which is now complete, of the £1.1 million project to redevelop Porthmadog Harbour Station. To quote the FR website:
Contractors Jones Bros of Ruthin have placed almost 40,000 tons of fill material and armour stone, sourced from nearby Minffordd Quarry, to widen 260 metres of the 200-year-old Cob Embankment. Later this year, when the widened section of the Cob has settled, contractors will return to level the surface, remove the existing wave wall and build a new one along the seaward side. Only then can a start be made on relaying track in the station area and the construction of a new island platform serving both railways.
The second picture shows the same train nearing the end of the Cob.
Another marine incident