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08 October 2012
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Y Gerallt Gymro
01 October 2012
Another look at the at the Arriva Premier Express
The new 'Irish Mancunian'?
'Last of the Summer WAG', or 'The Long Way Round' - by
Class 97/3 doings - report by Mark Watson
Corwen Project Update - by George Jones
Corwen exhibition - report by George Jones
To Dundee, come Hell or High Water - report by Roly High
New book on Ruabon to Barmouth - reviewed by George Jones
24 September 2012
Archive addition: 37s on Ballast
Class 56 on the logs
Exhibition: Corwen, A Railway Town
Llangollen's Autumn Diesel Day 22 September
Quarry Power on the Welsh Highland - report by Ian
Club 55 to Cheltenham (and website woes) - by Stephen Hughes
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
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
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
This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.
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"
27 - 28 October Merseyside Model Railway Society. Wirral Model Railway Exhibition. Mosslands School. Mossland Drive, Wallasey CH45 8PJ. Close to Wallasey Village station (7 min walk) For further details www.merseysidemrs.co.uk
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Excursion train at Wrexham , 6 October. See report below. Picture by George Jones.
Gerald's big day?
Arriva Trains Wales plan (although we have no guarantee) to start push-pull working with the refurbished Mk 3 coaches and Driving Van Trailer with Wednesday evening, 10 October, northbound from Cardiff. We don't know which way the locomotives will face to start with, but apparently the intention is to reverse it every few weeks to keep drivers' traction knowledge balanced. Good news for photographers maybe, although the train will traverse our area in darkness most of the year.
We have also heard that Royal Train loco 67 005 Queens Messenger has been added to the Arriva Trains Wales 'pool' of locomotives, joining 67 001 to 67 003, covering for one of the other locos receiving attention.
If you are interested in the doings of Gerald of Wales, the ancient traveller and scholar after which the train is named (although it very rarely carries the headboard) a recent Radio 4 programme about him presented by Melvyn Bragg is available to 'listen again' on the BBC website. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01n1rbn.
Conwy Valley notes - by Larry Davies
On Saturday 6 October, in conjunction with an Arts Festival in the village, rail passengers at Betws-y-Coed were entertained by the melodious tone of Côr Meibion Llanrwst (male voice choir) who held a concert in glorious autumnal weather on the station platform. Many passengers were delighted with the rendering and a host of visitors gathered. Above: 150 281 formed the 11:00 arrival from Llandudno. This was really something different and well enjoyed by our passengers and visitors. It was a first for us to have a choir concert on a Conwy valley station. It proved an immense success and another opportunity for the railway really to become part of the community. [Larry is Community Rail Officer for the Conwy Valley line.]
Old Rube, stalwart of the Conwy Valley Railway Museum, complete with standard gauge whistle, added to the melodious tones.
Côr Meibion Llanrwst with an unmistakable railway backcloth.
The Conwy Valley line has benefited from extra passengers this last week with people visiting Llanrwst to see for themselves "Ty Hwnt I'r Bont" tearoom after its photograph featured in the tabloid press on 1 October. Said to date from 1480, the house is much older than the bridge, Pont Fawr, over the Conwy, the design of which is credited to Inigo Jones.
Above, Larry Goddard's picture of Virgin's 09:10 Euston - Holyhead crossing Llanddulas viaduct on 3 October. As announced at Midnight just as last week's update was being completed, the new Minister of Transport has cancelled the award of the West Coast Main Line (including the London - Holyhead service) 13-year operating franchise to FirstGroup, which had been definitely confirmed by the previous Minister. Statements made to the media explain that 'mistakes were made' in evaluating the bids by Virgin and First and that three Civil Servants responsible for the blunder have been suspended. The tradition of Ministers taking responsibility for the actions of their Department seems to have become a thing of the past.
Now, we are told, the whole bidding process has to be re-started and the companies compensated (£40 million pounds, possibly) for the money they have spent on bidding. Why not simply re-evaluate the existing bids and correct the mistake? Nobody seems able to explain. It was obvious that the end of Virgin Trains was going to be very controversial, surely the figures should have been checked with great care. Money has no doubt been spent by the Government on external consultants, presumably now wasted.
Now we have a situation where there are only a few weeks to go before the new operator was to take over, and nobody knows what is going to happen. The details of the original bids by First and Virgin, which were supposed to be confidential, and are now in the public domain. It seems the mistake was in checking the deposits offered in case the contracts were given up before 13 years.
The whole concept seems very strange. Here is a question for readers who own or manage businesses. Can you guess what your profits will be in fifteen years' time?
The Sunday Herald newspaper in Scotland has an detailed article on this farce for those interested. Or watch the Minister on TV.
Walk the Corwen Extension - with George Jones
There is another opportunity on Saturday 13 October for those interested in the progress of the Llangollen Railway's extension to participate in a walk from Carrog to Corwen. Departing Carrog station at 12.00 noon, the walk will proceed via the riverside footpath to the foot crossing over the railway and up on to the A5 road. From the A5 road, several opportunities are available to view the new line and the work undertaken through to Plas Bonwm.
Access to the new rail head at Bonwm will then allow for walking on the next trackbed section which is being prepared for track laying after the over bridge 28 repairs are completed. The proposed site for a loop line to permit engines to run round the train outside of Corwen will be inspected and onwards to the site of the Phase 1 Corwen East platform. The walk concludes through the site of the proposed phase 2 terminal station along the embankment to Green Lane and the end of the walk in Corwen. The distance covered is 2½ miles and from experience the walk will take approximately two hours; this will allow time for inspection and discussion of aspects of the extension.
Strong footwear is essential, as is adequate outdoor clothing. Hi-Vis vests are appropriate for use on the roadside section of the A5. Note: the walk will take place in all weather conditions other than heavy, driving rain. Participants are asked to support a cash collection made to support the Corwen Extension appeal.
Ken Robinson writes: 'I visited Shrewsbury on Thursday 4 October, and made a quick dash to the station, the weather being so fine and sunny. At 10:30 however. the sun comes directly from the South of the station and fine for trains from the North but rather too head-on The only train of interest I saw was this one hauled by 66 034. it is the 04:10 4Z80 Tees Yard - Moreton-on-Lugg empty stone train which at the moment runs Thursdays and Fridays only - the wagons are returning from Redcar Steel Works where limestone is used in the steel-making process. (Thanks to Roger Thomas for help identifying this train).
Gobowen, with train 6Z71, empty log wagons from Chirk to Carlisle, hauled by Colas 66 849 passed me at 13:12, a little earlier than booked.
Northenden Junction in South Manchester on the Altrincham - Stockport line, on a very wet 25 September. Blue 60 074 Teenage Spirit on east bound limestone empties just about to cross to the single line branch towards Hazel Grove and New Mills (Greg Mape).
57 316 pulls out of Holyhead with the return Pendolino to London on Saturday 6 October. In the background, am excavator stands amid the ruins of the old fuelling point and canopy, demolished earlier in the week. Picture by M.Lloyd Davies.
A visit to the Penrhyn Quarry Railway - report by Rowan