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09 August 2012
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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).
Saturday 31 August - 2 September Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala
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"
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"
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"
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
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.
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"
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"
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'
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.
Only one Class 158, 158 819, now remains in silver Wales and Borders livery, and it is due to enter the LNWR works at Crewe for refurbishment and repainting in Arriva livery on 10 September. This picture was taken near Fairbourne in mid-July by Ian Wright.
Another catch-up issue: see also the 06 August update. So much happening ... still more to come ...
On the Welshpool and Llanfair - pictures by Martin Evans
The Welshpool and Llanfair Railway is your Compiler's favourite 'heritage railway' in the UK, thanks to its resemblance to an Austrian line as well as the friendly atmosphere, pastoral scenery, steep gradient, and of course the open-balcony coaches, so it's good to see these images taken by Martin Evans on 6 August. Particularly good is the picnic area at Llanfair Caereinion from which one can watch trains arriving, the loco running round, taking water, etc. just like viewing a well-run model railway.
Above, one of the line's two original locos, no. 823 Countess, built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester in 1902, is arriving at Llanfair Caereinion with the 11.15 am service from Welshpool.
823 about to be coaled at Llanfair. It currently sports the livery and number given to it after the Cambrian Railways company was taken over by the Great Western Railway in the 1920s.
The train leaving Raven Square station, Welshpool with the 2.15pm service to Llanfair, about to attack the 1 in 29 of 'Golfa bank.' The two bogie coaches came from a Hungarian line; their acquisition a few years ago to replace the incongruous Sierra Leone Railway vehicles has really completed the picture.
A ride on the WLLR, which prides itself on being run entirely by volunteers, is highly recommended. Trains run every day during August: the timetable is here. Travel by train to Welshpool and walk to the other end of the town's main street.
The Holyhead View - with M. Lloyd Davies
A picture review of some recent events seen through the lens of our Holyhead correspondent. We start on 20 July, as 67 003 passes through Ty Croes heading for Holyhead on what for Anglesey this Summer was a rare sunny evening. The changes due in mid-September will render pictures like this one, and indeed any pictures of the 'All-Wales Express' in North Wales, very difficult to achieve, as it will head south in the early morning (as now) and return very late in the evening.
Having run round its train, 67 003 shunts into the carriage sidings while a Virgin Trains Class 221 unit awaits to access the train washing plant. As usual, the train is formed of three Mark 2 coaches and a Mk3 First Class/restaurant vehicle. The new push-pull version will replace the Mk2 vehicles with refurbished Mk3 ones and a Driving Van Trailer, although there are whispers that they will not be ready in time, which will that initially a loco will be needed each end of the train as the Mk2s are not equipped with the necessary wiring.
On Saturday 21 July 57 308 Tin Tin failed to work back to Crewe with the 1A55 14:36 Holyhead - London and was still at Holyhead mid-evening as seen here with a Virgin 221 unit which has just had a wash.
On the evening of Friday 27 July the northbound express from Cardiff arrived behind 67 001, unusually with 67 003 attached on the rear. This was part of scheme to utilise the train as extra capacity for fans attending the Olympic football game taking place in Cardiff the following day.
Saturday morning 28 July, and the train is setting off from Holyhead as the 08:07 extra to Cardiff. After the match, it returned at 21:20 from Cardiff.
The same train is seen here on the next day, Sunday, stabled in the Carriage sidings. Aficionados of locomotive nicknames will spot three 'blue skips' in the picture!
There was also a plan to provide some late evening loco-hauled trains at 22:30 from Cardiff to Holyhead, formed of 6 coaches on the weekdays when matches took place, with a railcar set substituting for the normal 16:15 departure. Did any of these runs happen? As far as we can tell the 16:15 ran as normal; although this was not well communicated to passengers, or indeed the staff.
A week later, Friday 3 August, and the move was repeated. The train is seen arriving at Holyhead, with 67 002 leading and 67 003 on the rear.
Unlike the weekend 'rugby specials' we have seen in the past, which have left the restaurant car at Holyhead and replaced it with an extra standard class one brought from Cardiff on the Friday evening, the train consist was not altered from the normal Monday - Friday version for these 'Olympex' trains.
The southbound service, 1V41, is seen above accelerating through Valley on Saturday 4 August. It returned at 22:20 from Cardiff, booked to arrive Holyhead at the witching hour of 03:18.
As previously reported, 47 580 County of Essex stood in for a steam locomotive on the 'North Wales Coast Express' excursion on 5 August. It is seen above as the train shunts to the carriage sidings.
A closer view of the patriotic Class 47.
On the other end of the train, The National Railway Museum's 'royal' loco 47 798 Prince William basks in the sun in the carriage sidings.
47 798 leading back to Crewe passing through Llanfairyneubwll.
Whilst the excursion train was on its layover there was also a busy scene on the former Anglesey Aluminium Jetty. The MV Bulkness (right) brought in a consignment of stone which was being transferred into the MV Flintstone for laying in the Irish Sea to provide protection for an underwater cable.
The latest thing on the Coast line is the Driving Van Trailer driver training train, comprising a Class 67 and a driving van trailer, which made its first appearance on Monday 6 August with a run from Cardiff to Holyhead by 67 001 pushing DVT 82308. It is seen above on arrival at Holyhead ...
... which was followed by a quick trip to Valley to turn...
... on the triangle of lines there ...
... so the DVT would be facing east ...
... ready for a training run to Crewe, Wolverhampton (Oxley chord), Shrewsbury and back on each of the next the next three days before returning to Cardiff for the weekend (see also the last issue).
Notice that the DVT, like the recently-refurbished Class 158s in the same livery, has a gap in the blue lines where the Welsh Government logo was originally supposed to be.
This is to continue each week until all necessary drivers have been trained.
Penrhyn Railway news - report by Stephen Hughes
On 24 July 1962 the 'main line' between Penrhyn Quarry and Port Penrhyn in Bangor officially closed. Exactly fifty years later, and 24 July 2012 a small section of the line was reopened, thanks to some sterling work by a group of local lads , particularly over the last few months. The section of the line that has been restored runs from the Felin Fawr workshops (above) ...
... to the St Ann's road (above) where unfortunately the line has had to come to a halt as the original bridge over the road was demolished many years ago.
The opening was a rather low-key event, for local people and a few narrow gauge enthusiasts 'in the know'. There were, of course, some of the old railway staff present and it must have been good for them to see one of the original Penrhyn engines - Hunslet George Sholto return to old haunts for a whistle stop tour of 24 hours from her new home at Bressingham Gardens in Norfolk.
Looking resplendent in green livery, the loco was coupled up to a quarryman's' open coach for trips to the new terminus, and later gave footplate rides within the Felin Fawr complex. Remarkably, the scene has altered little in the intervening years since closure, with the sympathetic restoration of the track and buildings to the original state.
Actually, I had no idea that there was going to be a visiting steam loco, so I had a considerable surprise to hear whistling whilst I was having breakfast, a sound not heard for such a long time in this area. It was a most enjoyable event, and a fitting tribute to the small group who had
worked so hard to successfully complete the infrastructure to mark the anniversary. I concluded the day by, rather amusingly, being dropped off at the St Ann's platform (my local station!) where it was only a short stumble home through the trees.
At the end of the day George Sholto was winched up onto a low-loader for the return to Norfolk, and provided a fitting end to the day by whistling its way along the High Street in Bethesda.
That evening there was an excellent piece on the Welsh Language magazine programme 'Heno' on S4C - still available to view, and more pictures are available on the PQR website.
Cambrian Coast in yellow
Tuesday 31 July saw a visit of Network Rail locomotive 97 302 and a Track Inspection Coach on to the Cambrian Coast line. Coded 2Q88, its full itinerary was as follows: Monday 30 July : Derby - Aberystwyth - Machynlleth (overnight); Tuesday 31 July: Machynlleth - Pwllheli - Machynlleth - Derby. In Nick Gurney's picture above it is standing at Porthmadog waiting to cross a passenger train before proceeding to Pwllheli.
This photo shows the train after arrival at Pwllheli, showing TIC No.
DB999508 in detail (Ken Robinson).
97 302 about to run round the coach in the loop at Pwllheli (Ken Robinson).
2Q88 ready to return to Machynlleth - in some sunshine believe it or not! (Ken Robinson).
Storming up the bank at Minffordd, and the rain just starting! (Ken Robinson)
An aerial view from the hills above Fairbourne (Ken Robinson).
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