Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

24 September 2012

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Recent issues

20 September 2012

All Change for the Premier Service - special issue

17 September 2012

Rainbow at Helsby - report by Bob Greenhalgh
News from Arriva
Mind the (158) gap
Crewe to Tywyn by Club 55 - with Robert Darlaston
Mixed Gauge at Laxey
Carnforth to Holyhead
Training Turn
Picture Miscellany
Variety at Crewe - report by Martin Evans
Welshpool and Llanfair gala - report by David Parry

10 September 2012
News in Pictures
Llangollen Steam gala views - by Chris Jones-Bridger
Suburban detail
A Class 67 day out - report by Charlie Hulme
Three rails to Snaefell Summit - by David Parry
Liverpool Central (Wirral) reopens - report by George Jones

03 September 2012
Heritage Weekend: Chester Station
Change looms for the WAG Express
Class 47s in the Conwy Valley
Virgin strikes back
Saturday on the Coast - with Roly High
Doing the Round Robin - report by Greg Mape
Welsh Holiday - with Ben Bucki
The Bill Rear legacy
A day on the Isle of Man Railway - with David Parry

30 August 2012
Picture Assortment
 Two more years for Wylfa
 Llangollen Railway Classic Transport 25/26 August
 Moorgate to Carrog - report by George Jones
 Bank Quay Scenes - report by Martin Evans
 Prestatyn renewed - pictures by Dave Sallery
 The Mersey Moorlander - report by Stephen Hughes
 Timetable Twaddle

27 August 2012
The Great Marquess and the Welsh Mountaineer

22 August 2012
Llangollen weekend programme - report by George Jones
Farewell Virgin, Hello First
Number 9's last run (for this year)
DRS Open Day 18 August - pictures by Richard Fleckney
Freight views
Working Timetables online
Timetable troubles
North Wales Jubilees
Chasing the A4, 12 August - with John Myers
Thomas gets Gold

20 August 2012
The Welsh Dragon - 18 August

13 August 2012
60009 rides again, 12 August
Four days of locomotive pictures - by Stavros Lainas
Marine visitor
Basingtoke to Buxton via Middlewich
Driving Van Trailer Training
Mystery structure identified
Out on the 'Long Drag' - report by David Parry
 Manchester Jubilees
 Day Out with Thomas
 Consultation or imposition?
 Looking back: A weekend in Anglesey - with Mark Youdan

09 August 2012
On the Welshpool and Llanfair - pictures by Martin Evans
The Holyhead View - with M. Lloyd Davies
Penrhyn Railway news - report by Stephen Hughes
 Cambrian Coast in yellow

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

September 2012

Wednesday Sept 26 September. Ffestiniog Railway Society Cambrian Heritage Railways. H.Gallagher & R.Williams.

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

Thursday 27 September Merseyside Railway History Group Tom Heavyside: Narrow Gauge Tracks

Saturday 29 September, Railway Ramblers club. Guided Walk from Tryfan Junction to Talysarn via Rhostryfan, Bryngwyn, Y Fron and Nantlle on or adjacent to the Welsh Highland and Nantlle railway trackbeds. For further details by post a reply to Chris Parker's message of 23/06/12 on the messages board of

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.

Saturday-Sunday 6-7 October Manchester Model Railway Society Exhibition, the Armitage Centre, Moseley Road, Fallowfield, Manchester (several bus services run from a stop near Oxford Road station.)

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

Friday 12 October Altrincham Electric Railway Society "From Roade to York" colour slides of steam and modern traction at home and overseas from 1963 to the present day by Robin Patrick.

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

Thursday 18 October Merseyside Railway History Group Gordon Davies:   American Wanderings (note, not the last Thursday due, to redecoration of the hall)

Wednesday 24 October Ffestiniog Railway Society    Railways and Tramways around Blaenau Ffestiniog.   D.Southern. (Note: not the last Wednesday this month.)

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)

Friday 9 November  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "30 Years of Steam Photography" a colour slide presentation by Phil Taylor.

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"

Wednesday 28 November  Ffestiniog Railway Society My life with trains. B.Bushell.

Thursday 29 November Merseyside Railway History Group Andrew Scott:  Around the world with 80 trains.

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 Merseyside Railway History Group Angus Tilston:  Film & Social evening

Friday 14 December  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Steam Saved from the Scrapyard" a colour slide presentation by Tom Heavyside.

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

Friday 11 January  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Transport around Manchester from 1750" a colour slide presentation by Chris Makepeace.

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.

Thursday 31 January Merseyside Railway History Group Geoff Coward:  Northeast China Steam 2002
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.

Friday 8 February  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway" a digital presentation by Bob Barnard.

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"

Thursday 28 February Merseyside Railway History Group Dave Southern:  Rails to Blaenau Ffestiniog

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.           

Friday 8 March  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "The ICI Hopper Trains" a colour slide presentation by Brian Arnold.

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"

Thursday 28 March Merseyside Railway History Group AGM:  Members Slides

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

Friday 12 April  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Current Developments on Metrolink" a digital presentation by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association.

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 25 April Merseyside Railway History Group Richard Kells : Quiz and informal evening

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.

'Great Western style' in evidence as 5580 leaves Carrog with the 14:40 for Llangollen during the Diesel Gala on 22 September. See report below (Jack Bowley).

Don't miss the 20 September extra issue 'All Change for the Premier Service'
Archive addition: 37s on Ballast

Dave Sallery writes: 'Four pages of photos of Class 37s working ballast trains to/from Penmaenmawr have been added to my Archive website:' Above, 37 188 with a loaded train passes Abergele in May 1995.

Stormy Weather

Extreme weather conditions overcame the railways of the eastern part of our area on Monday 24 September: The following was copied from the Arriva Trains Wales Journey Check website at 21:16:
Owing to flooding between Bidston and Shotton train services through these stations may be subject to disruption on all routes at short notice.

Owing to flooding between Wellington Shropshire and Oakengates train services through these stations may be subject to disruption

Owing to flooding between Wem and Yorton train services through these stations may be subject to disruption on all routes at short notice.

Owing to flooding between Hereford and Shrewsbury all lines are blocked. Train services through these stations may be subject to disruption on all routes at short notice. An estimate for the resumption of normal services will be provided as soon as the problem has been fully assessed.

Owing to flooding between Crewe and Chester the line is closed.

Owing to flooding between Wrexham General and Shrewsbury all lines are blocked.

Owing to flooding between Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Piccadilly all lines are blocked. Train services running through these stations may be terminated at and started back from Warrington Bank Quay at short notice. All stations between Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Piccadilly will not be served.

Owing to flooding at Shrewsbury all lines are closed.

Customer Advice: PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED NOT TO TRAVEL. The following lines are closed:
Shrewsbury and Crewe Southbound.
Chester and Crewe in both directions.
Wrexham Ctl to Bidston in both directions.
Chester - Shrewsbury suspended in both directions.
Extremely limited road transport is operating.
Road transport is being sourced where possible to operate Tuesday 25.09.12
The Premier service had a bad start to its second week '18:21 Cardiff -  Holyhead. This train will be terminated at Shrewsbury at 20:04. First class not available. Catering is not available.'

George Jones
reports from Wrexham General:  'At 18:45 it was apparent the Cardiff-bound 175 hadn't appeared and a group of would-be passengers dispersed. Next train on the board was shown as the Virgin Trains 20:38 terminating - the earlier 19:38 Arriva train was not showing; second train showing as the 21:38 'expected on time' as the usual default.

'People were waiting on platform 2 for the 19:02 to Holyhead shown as 'on time' but it did not appear and the train vanished off the board - always a bad sign with no further information. It was left to me to suggest to them that it wouldn't be running when 19:06 came round and still no sign. The security men who were on duty said there was flooding at both ends of the line and no trains had been through all day - not that the platform electronic information seemed to reflect this and no tannoy announcements.

'It was left to a young guy with an iPad to discover all trains were cancelled between Shrewsbury and Chester - presumably all passengers are now expected to carry one of these around. What was the information like for passengers at a lonely Ruabon or Chirk I wonder?'

Class 56 on the logs

On Thursday 20 September Colas-operated log train 6Z53 Teigngrace (Devon) - Chirk via Crewe, due at Chirk at 23:44, was unusually hauled by a Class 56 loco, 56 094. The next day, 21 September, the empties were taken by the same loco to Carlisle for loading with logs there,  again via Crewe. Mark Riley, who travelled to Crewe to takes these pictures, writes:  'I didn't anticipate that the return train to Carlisle would be routed via Platform 6 - maybe a lesson learned here.'

Accelerating through Crewe in a hurry, and in dismal weather again! (Mark Riley)

On Saturday 22 September, 56 094 worked back to our area with loaded train 6J37 Carlisle - Chirk, seen above passing Dunham-on-the-Hill (Stavros Lainas).

Rob York writes: Waiting on Chester station we were suddenly aware of a gathering of station staff ready for what was signalled on the through main. It turned out to be 56 094 on the logs to Chirk.'

Speeding though Wrexham General (Mark Riley).

Rhosymdre (South of Ruabon) at 17:00 (Martin Evans).

Arriving at Chirk (Stavros Lainas).

A night view of 56 094 shut down in the sidings at Chirk with the now empty KFA wagons (Mark Riley). Mark writes 'Sadly, it is almost impossible to get any sort of view from the woods across from the Kronospan plant now, it is so overgrown with weeds.' The 56 would remain here until heading south to Baglan Bay (South Wales) on the morning of Monday 24 September. It was later reported that the Class 56 had failed at Hereford amid the floods.

Exhibition: Corwen, A Railway Town

An exhibition is to be held at the Oriel Gallery, London Road, Corwen, to promote interest in the town’s railway past and the Llangollen Railway’s plans for the railway extension project and work in progress. The exhibition will feature railway photographs and documents, together with items of former railway artefacts from the local lines. A slide of some 200 historical local images will be presented.  There will also be a display about the new build Patriot class locomotive The Unknown Warrior, as currently being erected at the Llangollen Railway’s engineering base.
It is being organised by local author Paul Lawton and Martin Christie from Carrog station.

Opening dates are 28 – 30 September and 4 – 7 October, between 10am – 4pm.  Admission is free.

Llangollen's Autumn Diesel Day 22 September

The Llangollen Railway's Autumn Diesel Day on Saturday 22 September started badly for two reasons: 1. Fog!  2. The failure of Class 37 6940  (37 240) at Llangollen in the morning due to a problem with a brake valve, which was later resolved. The mist was still around as Class 31 5580 arrived with four 4 Mk1 coaches at Carrog (Stavros Lainas).

Carrog with the 31 arriving and running around the train which was delayed in departure to 10.40 instead of 10.20. The thick fog lifted shortly after leaving Carrog.

Passenger's view of the low cloud still among the hills from the delayed 10:20 from Carrog (Jack Bowley).

Arrived at Llangollen, where the sun had appeared (Stavros Lainas). Stavros travelled back travelled back with 5580 to Carrog.

Above, D5310 is at Glyndyfrdwy with the 11:00 from Llangollen, which should have been hauled by 5580. Picture by  Ken Robinson.

The roster was more or less back to normal by lunchtime with the resurrected 37 back in action, and the fog  disappeared. Above, Class 31 5580 leaving Berwyn on the 11:25 from Llangollen. This was the last day of running for the class 31 before leaving the railway for a stint at the GCR (Nottingham) at Ruddington. (Ken Robinson).

The 31 runs round at Carrog after a planned excursion down the extension to Bonwm was cancelled. It would need to be top-and-tailed as there is no run-round loop at Bonwm, and the problem with the 37 meant that a spare loco wasn't available (George Jones).

The fans were out for the photos at Carrog station (George Jones).

D5310 awaiting the token to proceed from Llangollen Goods Junction to Deeside with the delayed 11:00 service to Carrog as 5588's train arrives (Jack Bowley)

Class 26 D5310 shortly after leaving Carrog with the 12:00 service to Llangollen, seen at Fisherman's Crossing (Stavros Lainas).

D5310 passes along the home straight at Carrog with the 13:00 from Llangollen to Carrog (Jack Bowley).

6940 recovered in time for the 14:00 train from Llangollen, and is seen above waiting to bring its empty stock out of River Siding at Llangollen. (George Jones).

With the timetable almost back to 'sync' here's 6940 near Glyndyfrdwy on the 14:00 ex-Llangollen (Ken Robinson).

6940 propels itself on to the coaching stock to form the 15:00 return to Llangollen (Ken Robinson).

The railway's Class 104 Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) worked on to the extension. It is seen above at Carrog (George Jones).

The 104 unit enters Carrog, passing 6940, with the 14:25 ex-Llangollen service (Jack Bowley).

The Class 104 on the Bonwm extension in direct sunlight on the 14:25 from Llangollen. The destination display of 'Buxton' reflects the train's former home (Ken Robinson).

Seen from the 104 heading west is the otter fence alongside the track: a necessary environmentally-friendly requirement  - the vegetation has sprouted somewhat during this wet summer. (George Jones).

Passing the site of the former Penarth slate siding (on the left) which has disappeared under later spoil dumpings. Trains stopped short of Plas Bonwm Farm where an occupational crossing from the farmer's stock yard has still to be formalised - it is hoped that the buffer stop will head west shortly, to be visible from the A5 at Bonwm (George Jones).

The 104 comes off the extension into Carrog station after its last sortie down the line. Further extension shuttles next year are possible as the track laying progresses west, and sections are cleared for running, prior to arriving in the new station at Corwen East - money permitting (George Jones).

As the last train of the day, the 31 was able to run onto the extension tailed by the D5310, and is seen from the footpath crossing, making what is likely to have been the first diesel-hauled passenger train west of Carrog,  at 17:35 (George Jones).

Thanks to the Llangollen Diesel Group and all at the Llangollen Railway for running this Gala. Its good to see that diesel enthusiasts make a point of travel on the trains to support the event.

Quarry Power on the Welsh Highland - report by Ian Pilkington

The Welsh Highland Railway held a "Quarry Power Weekend" on September 14-16 commemorating the Penrhyn Quarry scrap line of 1962 from which all locomotives were eventually preserved. On Saturday 15th seven locomotives ran in convey from Dinas to Porthmadog, pausing at Beddgelert for a cavalcade over the S bends above the station.

The heading picture from 15 September shows the convoy at Dinas ready for departure with FR/WHR General Manager Paul Lewin (centre) on Hugh Napier.

In convoy order the locomotives were: Hunslet 0-4-0ST Hugh Napier (National Trust, Penrhyn Castle, restoration recently completed and currently FR based); Hunslet 0-4-0ST Winifred on wagon (recently repatriated from USA and currently at Bala Lake); Hudswell Clark 0-6-0WT Bronllwyd (in original Surrey CC livery, from Statfold Barn); Hunslet 0-4-0ST Lilla (FR based); Kerr Stuart 0-4-2ST Stanhope (from Moseley Railway Trust); Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0WT Eigiau (from
Bredgar & Wormshill); replica De Winton 0-4-0T Leary(FR). All were on the legendary scrap line except for Winifred, not withdrawn until 1964, and obviously Leary. The convoy is seen above on the reverse curve near Rhyd Ddu ...

... and from the same position approaching Rhyd Ddu.

Near Pitt's Head Summit.

Former Penrhyn 'main line' engines Linda and Blanche head the 14:40 Caernarfon - Porthmadog over the Glaslyn Bridge at Pont Croesor on 15 September.

On Sunday 16 September, the 16:00 Pont Croesor - Porthmadog was quadruple headed, seen reversing into Porthmadog Harbour in heavy rain, with the recently-completed  widening works on the Cob in foreground. Bronllwyd, Hunslet 0-4-0ST Britomart, Linda and Blanche provide super power to a rake of historic Ffestiniog Railway Stock.

Club 55 to Cheltenham (and website woes) - by Stephen Hughes

I decided to take advantage once again of ATW's splendid Club55 offer, and for the first time decided to book online; as well as being £2 cheaper it should also have been easier ... I intended to travel to one of the further reaches of ATW's empire - Cheltenham, with the idea of visiting the Gloucestershire-Warwickshire Railway (GWR) and making a there-and-back trip to Newport on the 'WAG express', possibly my last time on the mark 2 rolling stock.

The booking on the website wasn't straightforward. Although the promotional code 'ATWCLUB' is automatically entered, I realised that where a journey contains travel options using other companies' trains, the website doesn't filter them out, so therefore, upon entering Bangor - Cheltenham I was offered a Club55 ticket via Crewe and Birmingham on Virgin and CrossCountry, clearly not valid routes with Club55 [except with an £11 add-on ticket? -Ed.] . Aha, I thought, I should have entered 'via Newport', so I did - but instead of directing me from Newport to Cheltenham using ATW/CrossCountry services via Chepstow I was given trains via Bristol Parkway and Cheltenham (FGW/CrossCountry) - again not valid routes.

Whilst I was aware that the Club55 ticket would not specify the route, I thought that any potential passenger who was not aware of the ticket's validity and trusted the journey options provided by the website would come unstuck if their ticket was checked between Crewe and Cheltenham or Newport and Cheltenham via Bristol Parkway. Oh dear!

Anyway, on 6 September I set out on the 06:01 Premier Service ('WAG Express') from Bangor behind one of the three regular locos,  67 003. It's always a very pleasant journey using this train and the Welsh Marches is a particularly wonderful journey on an early autumnal morning, helped by a freshly cooked piping hot veggie breakfast served at my (standard) class seat for, I think, £5.60 - great value. Arrival in Newport was on time, and I had enough time to walk to the far end of the platform to find some coffee before my CrossCountry 170 to Cheltenham was due. Never having travelled on this line before, I was again impressed as the line hugged the Severn estuary.

The GWR website had clear details (so I thought) regarding getting to their Cheltenham Racecourse station - a bus every 10 mins from outside the mainline station then a signposted walk through the racecourse - however I only spotted one small sign in the car park and nothing inside the racecourse itself, having retraced my steps I found a couple of maintenance staff who gave me directions. It's a fair walk and I admit to having to run (or gently trot!) the last few hundred yards to catch the waiting train - hauled by GWR 'Prairie' 5542 (above). A pleasant journey ensued to Winchcombe and back (the line is still truncated due to the Chicken Curve landslip in January 2011) and this time I was able to find my way through the racecourse and back to the bus stop. I had a wander around the town centre and a pint of local ale; interestingly both stations are some distance from the Cheltenham centre.

The return journey again on a CrossCountry 170 and the well-filled northbound 'WAG' from Newport. Interestingly, a family group opposite me were served a full three-course meal at their table - it's good to see ATW offering standard class passengers meals and utilising the on board chef.

A good day out, and well worth it for any Welsh-based, Club55-entitled rail enthusiast. Perhaps the GWR should be promoting Club55 visits to their railway!

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