Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

06 August 2012

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.

August 2012

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 train to Blaenau Ffestiniog - postponed to 21 August.

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)

Saturday 18 August DRS Open Day, Gresty Lane Depot, Crewe.

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).

Tuesday 21 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)

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) Cancelled. See 21 August

Saturday 31 August - 2 September  Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala

September 2012

Sun / Mon 1 - 2 September  Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala (continued)

Friday 7 September  Clwyd Railway Circle  Glyn Jones  “John Summers & Sons Ltd” A look at the Steelworks at Shotton from its opening in 1896 to the closure of the heavy end in 1980. The talk includes footage of the iron ore trains from Bidston.

Thursday 13 September Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Keith Jones with a double-barrelled show of 'The History of Penmaenmawr Quarry & its rail system' followed by 'Building and running miniature steam locomotives'

Monday 17 September RCTS Chester North Staffordshire from the mid 1960s to the Early 1990s By Max Birchenough.

Saturday 22 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Day

Thursday 27 September LCGB North West John Owen "Vintage US Steam in Cuba"

October 2012

Friday 5 October    Clwyd Railway Circle    Les Nixon “55 Years of Railway Photography (part 1)” The acclaimed railway photographer and entertaining speaker will treat us to an evening of nostalgia, including pre 1968 steam, foreign, modern traction and some preservation. The accent is on the unusual.

Thursday 11 October  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society John Barden Davies tells us “How railways made North Wales a Tourism destination”

Monday 15 October RCTS Chester Steam Classes that failed to make Preservation; Powerpoint presentation By John Cowlishaw Using Edgar Richards Photographs.

Thursday 25 October LCGB North West Tom Heavyside "B R in the North West"

November 2012

Friday 2 November    Clwyd Railway Circle  Dave Southern “Chester to Pwllheli” The slide show will follow a journey from Chester to Pwllheli via Oswestry. There will be slides of each of the lines we pass on the journey, based on the early 1960's.

Thursday 8 November  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society AGM followed a look at “The Llandudno Transport Festival over the Years” (Guest Speaker)

Monday 19 November RCTS Chester– Conway and Llandudno Junction in B.R Days by Larry Davies.

Thursday 22 November LCGB North West Norman Matthews "Steam in New Zealand"

December 2012

Friday 7 December    Clwyd Railway Circle   “Members Night & Christmas Celebration”  Members are invited to give a 15/20 minute presentation of their choice (any format). This will be interrupted by festive treats (all high calories).  Members must book their slot with David Jones no later than 20 November.

Thursday 13 December  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Christmas Social helped along by members Alex Cowan confirming to us that “Trainspotting was an education” and Larry Davies taking us back to “1962 – a year of change”

Thursday 13 December  LCGB North West Les Nixon "55 Years of Railway Photography – Part Two"

Monday 17 December RCTS Chester Members Slide/Digital Images – 30 Slides or artefacts of your Choice

January 2013
Friday 4 January   Clwyd Railway Circle   Pete Gray “Welsh Highland Railway”  Our speaker for the night is the Safety & Development Manager of the WHR; previous to this, he was the Construction Manager from 2006-2010. Pete will be talking about his experiences during this time and the organization that is needed to keep the show on the road.

Thursday 10 January Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed

Thursday 17 January LCGB North West Keith Naylor "Isle of Wight Railways"

Monday 21 January RCTS Chester Branch A.G.M. followed By British slides between 1983 & 2010 By Alan Donaldson.

February 2013

Friday 1 February   Clwyd Railway Circle   Gordon Davies “American Wanderings 2, the Great Plains Drifter” - Recollections of Gordon’s trip in 2008, covering the largest open cast mine in Wyoming plus the world’s largest marshalling yard.

Thursday 14 February Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed

Monday 18 February RCTS Chester The Northern Hub. A Talk By Duncan Law, Senior Programme Development Manager, Network Rail.

Thursday 21 February LCGB North West Mike Taylor "Preston and North"

March 2013

Friday 1 March    Clwyd Railway Circle   The Committee & Larry Davies.  AGM followed by the talk “60 years ago – Diamond days” After the formality is over, we look forward to the talk by one of our favourite speakers.           

Thursday 14 March Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed

Monday 18 March RCTS Chester B.R in the early 1980’s By Tom Heavyside.

Thursday 21 March LCGB North West Tony Harrison "The Dragon's Last Roar"

April 2013

Friday 5 April   Clwyd Railway Circle   Michael Murphy 'Liverpool Overhead Railway' To finish off the season, a highly recommended speaker known for his light-hearted style of presentation. The talk will be followed by film footage of the railway in its heyday.

Thursday 11 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed

Monday 15 April RCTS Chester Even Further Down Under: New Zealand In 2011 & 2012 By Geoff Morris.

Thursday 18 April LCGB North West John Sloane 'Steam Sheds and Diesel Depots'

May 2013

Thursday 9 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed

Thursday 16 May LCGB North West AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.

A YouTube slideshow of 29 July's North Wales Coast Express with 60009; YouTube will suggest some videos to watch at the end...

Don't miss the extra issue uploaded on 2 August.

Push-Pull training starts

Driver training on the North Wales Coast has begun using the ex-Virgin  Driving Van Trailers which have been converted for use with Class 67 locomotives so that the Holyhead - Cardiff express can work as a push-pull train, reversing at Chester to serve Wrexham, from September.

Monday 6 August saw locomotive 67 001 and DVT 82308 run as train 5Z50 11:30 Cardiff Canton depot - Holyhead, seen above (DVT leading) at Beeches Farm west of Chester (picture by Bob Greenalgh), and on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the following diagram is planned:

5Z51 10:00 Holyhead - Crewe
5Z52 12:14 Crewe - Shrewsbury (Via Stafford / Oxley)
5Z53 13:37 Shrewsbury - Holyhead (Via Crewe)

Running via Stafford, and the chord at Oxley (Wolverhampton) to Crewe keeps the DVT at the front all day to give maximum training time. At the end of each day it will be turned round at Holyhead using the method normally used by flask trains and steam locos:

5Z55 17:00 Holyhead - Holyhead (reverse on Valley triangle)

and on Friday will return to Cardiff as 5Z54 10:00 Holyhead - Canton depot. The same pattern will, we understand,  repeat in subsequent weeks. The Mk3 coaches which are to be used (in place of the current Mk2 vehicles) as standard class passenger accommodation in the new arrangements are being refurbished at the Pullman Rail workshops in Cardiff.

Monday's train near Penmaenmawr (Jack Bowley).

Brush replaces Gresley - 5 August

The Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' on Sunday 5 August, on its second run on the new variation of the route via Manchester, was to have seen 60009 Union of South Africa in action again, but at short notice it was found to be unfit to run during an examination at Crewe Heritage Centre. Privately-owned diesel 47 580 County of Essex was procured, and took the train to Holyhead with little delay, as photographed (above)  by Stavros Lainas passing Dunham-on-the-Hill on the Warrington - Chester section.

Passing Holywell Junction (David Parry).

To add to the passengers' disappointments, the weather had taken a turn for the worse by the time the was passing Rhyl (Ivor Bufton).

47 580 was looking 'well smart' bedecked with Union Jacks passing Hen Wrych just beyond Abergele in fine rain (Larry Goddard).

Departing Llandudno Junction (Larry Davies). There is supposed to be a 'pool' of steam locos available for these trains, but the only one on hand at Crewe was 42633 Duchess of Sutherland, which would need preparation - fire lighting, steam raising, etc - before it could be used, and apparently cannot be used between Warrington and Chester because of inadequate clearance under a bridge on that route. There was talk of sending it 'light-engine' from Crewe direct to Holyhead to haul the return train at least as far as Chester, but this did not happen. It was said that Network Rail would not provide the journey 'due to the Olympics' (?)

On the rear, as had been planned for the steam run, was 47 798 Prince William, seen as the train leaves Llandudno Junction in heavy rain (Larry Davies).

Brighter weather at Bangor (Rowan Crawshaw). The patriotic livery is inspired by that applied to Class 47s at Stratford depot for the 1977 Silver Jubilee. The site of Stratford depot is now somewhere underneath the Olympic Park.

Passing Llanfair PG (Jack Bowley).

Apparently there has been some disquiet in DB Schenker circles about the use of this loco, which was donated by their predecessors EWS to the National Railway Museum, on revenue-earning work for West Coast Railway Company, but NRM engineers say a long run keeps it in good condition.

After arrival at Holyhead, the train shunts to the carriage sidings (M.LLoyd Davies).

Whatever the story, 47 798 hauled the train back to Crewe, with 47 580 on the rear. With no need to take water, the train left Llandudno Junction 17 minutes earlier than advertised (no good if you popped out for a bag of chips!) and arrived at Crewe at 22:32,  52 minutes early. Picture by Peter Lloyd.

Rhyl (Ivor Bufton) ...

... where the setting sun lit up 47 798 on the back of the train (Ivor Bufton).

A last look at 47 580 as the train rolls through Chester heading for Crewe via Stockport and Manchester (Roly High). No doubt there will be complaints from some of the passengers, although the standard-class fare from Crewe via Manchester at £67 is perhaps reasonable in any case,  given that the normal standard return from Manchester to Holyhead by Class 175 and a need to change trains)  is a surprising £44.50. And as for the Premium passengers, what does one see of the motive power while consuming gourmet meals?

Virgin on Anglesey - pictures by Steve Morris

The 14:36 Holyhead - London passes the disused Holyhead Aluminium sidings on Saturday 4 August. The locomotive is 57 311 Parker - one of just three Class 57/3 machine still  in Virgin livery with 'Thunderbird' names. At least 57 307 Lady Penelope still has her chauffeur Parker to take care of her...

Looking the other way from the same bridge. Does anyone know what is being constructed at the lineside?

The end of Virgin Trains?

There is now just one week to go before Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening has to announce which company has won the right to operate the West Coast Main Line franchise, including London - North Wales trains, from December 2012. Press stories are claiming that the two bids by foreign railways have been discounted, and that First Group are offering to pay a bigger 'premium' to the Government that Virgin. Sceptics (and Richard Branson) say that a higher premium would require cuts in customer service quality; either way, use of the same rolling stock and basic timetable are required.

The Welsh Mountaineer 31 July

Now for some views of Railway Touring Company 'Welsh Mountaineer' excursion which took to the rails on 31 July. These trains run to Blaenau Ffestiniog from Preston - Ian Pilkington took the above picture at Coppull south of that city, showing regular loco 48 151 heading south. The train is relatively short compared to other steam specials, due to the need to climb the hills of the Conwy Valley branch. The ex-LMS 2-8-0 8F class freight loco with its eight small wheels, is well-suited to this work.

Note: the next run of this train will be on 21 August, not 14 August as originally planned. The train originally advertised for 28 August will not run.

Arrival at Chester (Roly High).

At Chester, the loco is detached and turned round using the triangle of lines outside the station. Above, it is heading back to the train after this manoeuvre (Roly High). By running tender-first from Chester to Llandudno Junction, the loco is the right way round after reversal to access the Conwy Valley line.  Tender-first running with a loco like this requires greater effort by the crew, who must lean out to view the signals.

Flint (Glyn Jones). The running of this train was in doubt at one time, but in the event it was allowed through North Llanrwst station at 5 mph, as a relaxation of the ban on loco-hauled trains which had been imposed after it was found that the platforms were too close to the track. Since then, modifications to the platform edges have been completed and things are back to normal. The other recent issue, the ban on 10-car trains with two locos visiting Llandudno station, has also, we understand, been removed. As readers may know, a  Network Rail reorganisation (yes, another) has brought the North Wales lines under the control of a new all-Wales division, which has brought new managers to the scene. Could these recent events be related?

The gradients and curves of the Conwy Valley can be a challenge, and the crew of 48151 decided to stop in Dolwyddelan station for some 10 minutes for a 'blow-up' - create more steam to restore the boiler pressure. Above, the The 8F is seen getting into its stride after leaving the station on 31 July 2012. Picture by Larry Goddard (from his 6ft ladders).

With steam to spare, 48151 is dropping down the grade from Ffestiniog Tunnel to Blaenau Ffestiniog (Larry Goddard).

48151 arrives at Blaenau Ffestiniog through the old North Western Station whose buildings. built by British Railways in 1950 to replace decrepit wooden structures, have recently been demolished. Picture by Larry Davies.


Arrival at the Interchange. Steam to spare now. (Larry Davies).

After running round, 48151 is propelling its stock into the loop in Blaenau Ffestiniog station. The Ffestiniog Railway main line is seen to the left (Larry Goddard).


The fireman shovels some coal forward. How many images of steam has the old slate promontory of "Dolgarregddu" witnessed over the years? (Larry Davies)

It does sometimes rain at Blaenau Ffestiniog ... The train is stabled in the run-round loop to allow the ordinary passenger train to call at the platform (Larry Davies).

The return train at Chester (Martin Evans).

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