Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

29 October 2012

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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.

Recent issues

22 October 2012

Diesel memories - pictures by John Young
 Saturday Drag, A Traveller's Tale - by Glen Cusack
 Discrete electrification?
 In the Vale of Rheidol - with Vince Chadwick
 Ferry-go-round - report by Mark Riley
 The end for Chester Enterprise Centre
 Heritage Railway Miscellany

15 October 2012
Gerald's Big Day ... happens!
 Cambrian Freight 1982 - looking back with Aled Rees
 Leaf-busting season starts
 Historic Prestatyn question
 Cambrian Coast scenes - pictures by Ian Wright
 Ffestiniog Classic
 A visit to the East Lancashire Railway - with Alan Crawshaw
 Cambrian Award
 Llangollen wedding- report by Martin Evans

08 October 2012
 Gerald's big day?
 Conwy Valley notes - by Larry Davies
 Franchise fiasco
 Walk the Corwen Extension - with George Jones
 Locomotive scenes
 A visit to the Penrhyn Quarry Railway - report by Rowan Crawshaw
 Llanfairfechan footbridge lift-out
 No Steam to Chester 6 October
 The Isle of Man - another view - by David Hennessey
 Tuesday 24 July

01 October 2012

 Weekend events
 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
 Looking back
 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
 Stormy Weather
 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

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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.

Barmouth Bridge, 26 October. Picture by Ian Wright.

The Bigger Picture

After some thought, and with the new (well, 6-year-old) computer and faster connection at this end, we have decided to upgrade to a larger picture size on these pages, to 640 pixels wide instead of 480, to better suit the higher-definition screens many people have now. Comments are very welcome, especially if you find this a problem, for example on a dial-up link.

If you have been sending pictures 480 wide, if possible please send them 640 (or more) wide in future; however we'd still appreciate it if the large files (5 megabytes or more) direct from modern cameras can be reduced to 800 pixels wide before sending if at all possible - email programs often have a feature for doing this. Don't worry though if this is problematic for you  - we don't want to miss any news through a technicality.

Times change: when this site stuttered into life in the 1990s, our computer had a 500 megabyte hard disk; now we are working with a 500 gigabyte one: 1000 times more space. The Internet connection sometimes made it to 50 kilobits per second, now we have 20,000 kilobits, with Mr Branson and his friends promising more in the near future. Picture above by Roly High: adjustments to a track machine at Chester, 26 October.

Premier Service events

The 18:21 Cardiff - Holyhead on 22 October was the first to feature the full formation of three Mk3 standard class coaches as well as the First Class / Buffet coach, and Driving Van Trailer (DVT). Photographs of this train in either direction are hard to get die to darkness, but a freak chance occurred on 24 October when a problem, said to be a leak in the air-brake system, grounded the train at Holyhead and a breakfast-less Class 175 had to be found to run to Cardiff, 30 minutes late. Later, the fault was rectified and the train ran empty to Cardiff to take up the evening working. Geraint Jones was at Llandudno Junction to get a picture (above). DVT 82307 is on the front, 67 003 pushing at the back.

This delay caused problems up the line: it seems the Wrexham - Birmingham stopping train waited for the connection from Chester and missed its front portion at Shrewsbury by about 20 minutes; it was terminated at Shrewsbury and passengers transferred to a London Midland stopping train. The 175
was then pressed into service straight away to substitute for the following Manchester - Carmarthen 175 which expired at Shrewsbury and had to be 'dumped' in the siding.

DVT driver training runs have recommenced: above is 67 001 with 82308 at Llandudno Junction on 25 October awaiting the signal, as it was 39 minutes early (Peter Lloyd). For the timings of these trains, see the 13 August issue.

Visit the World Cafe

We've been asked to pass this on to readers who are Welsh residents:

The National Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee would like to invite you to The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea on Thursday 15 November at 12.30 to 15.00, to inform our inquiry into Integrated Public Transport in Wales.

You will have the opportunity to speak to each member of the Committee and Committee staff. We are particularly interested in:

your views on rail, bus and community transport services;

how well different types of public transport are integrated, by which we mean how well they link up with each other to make it easier for passengers to change buses or trains, or to change from one type of public transport to another;

how easily people in Wales can reach the places they need to travel to using public transport;
how public transport should be better integrated.

Please could you let us know if you are able to attend at by 9 November.

Samaritan commemorated

Above, recently-built 11-car 390 157 Chad Varah stands in platform 1 at Stockport on 27 October. This name, honouring the founder of the Samaritans organisation, was named on 4 October, along with 350 232 and DRS loco 57 302 (ex-Virgil Tracy), all now named Chad Varah. Picture by Charlie Hulme.

Locomotive views

57 311 Parker and 390 010 A Decade of Progress at Bangor as train 1A55 14:37 Holyhead to London Euston on 27 October (Rowan Crawshaw).

In fading light, 66 113 brings 6M86 steel coils bound for Shotton from South Wales through Wrexham at 17:20 on 24 October. Now the clocks have been put back this working will be in the dark from Shrewsbury onwards (Martin Evans).

Colas locomotive 56 094 approaches Wrexham General on Saturday 27 October with 6J37 Carlisle - Chirk train with logs for the Kronospan chipboard factory. It was running a little earlier than usual due to engineering works, and is seen here at 15:00 rather than the usual time of around 16:50.

After a brief stop at Wrexham General, 56 094 accelerates away through Rhostyllen in pleasant afternoon sunshine. It was scheduled to return empty to Baglan Bay (South Wales)  on 19 October, leaving Chirk around 08:13.

20 October's 'Northern Belle' special from Manchester to Bath, photographed by Stavros Lainas at Tilstock just south of Whitchurch at 09:25 with 47 790 Galloway Princess leading and 47 832 Solway Princess on the rear.

Time travel, as 31 106 pauses at Chester on the morning of 17 October  whilst working 0Z31 Derby - Derby via Chester, Hooton and Ellesmere Port driver familiarisation run.

Trouble on the Autumn Snowdonian

UK Railtours excursion 'The Autumn Snowdonian' from Euston to Bangor for The Snowdon Mountain and Llanberis Lake Railways on Friday 26 October ran into difficulties. The northbound working, hauled by 67 021 and 67 025,  having problems on the southern part of the journey. The driver reported wheel-flats (usually caused by sliding on autumnal leafy track, or sometimes when a vehicle is moved with the brakes on) at Rugby but couldn't find a fault after a test. However the train stopped north of Nuneaton with the the same problem. Eventually the train returned to Nuneaton where 67 025 was removed and 67 021 continued alone, departing at 11:05, and  finally arriving in Bangor 110 minutes late, before taking the empty carriages to Holyhead for servicing.

67 027 Rising Star (pictured at Llandudno Junction by Peter Lloyd) was sent from Crewe to Holyhead where it assisted with the shunting and was attached to the return train which left Holyhead 122 minutes late, and picked up its passengers at Bangor 123 minutes late. Arrival back in London would have been around midnight. As a result, our contributors all missed the chance for a photograph. Roly High writes:  'I journeyed to Chester was to photograph the train, only to find out it was running over two hours late. After taking some other pictures, including the arrival of the 11:10 London - Chester, I made my  way over to the information office to see if anyone had any news. The very helpful person contacted the signaller who said it was just passing through the station! I said "I know I can hear it." Very frustrating.'

(Thanks are due as always, for some of the above details, to the people who write for the indispensable North Wales Trains News Yahoo Group.)
The 'Spectacular Snowdonian'

Pathfinder Tours' 'Spectacular Snowdonian' excursion on 22 October ran from Swindon and picked various stations to Stourbridge Junction and ran to Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead. Passengers wishing to ride the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland line could alight at either Llandudno Junction or Bangor with road coach connections to one of two narrow-gauge through trains, one from either end, with each covering the whole journey over both lines, crossing during a break in Porthmadog. The weather was unfortunately not ideal, as can be seen from John Myers' picture above near Rhyl.

Rhyl station (Roly High). Locomotives 47 802 Pride of Cumbria and 47 501 Craftsman with a rake of Riviera Trains chocolate and cream coaches.

Heading west from Rhyl (Roly High).

Bangor (Richard Fleckney).

In the Vale of Rheidol - with Alistair Grieve

Following on from the views of the Vale of Rheidol Railway on the 22 October Notice Board I thought readers might like these views taken on Sunday 21 October of No 8 in action.

A picture perfect day for a photo charter on one of the most scenic lines in the country.

A full set of pictures are on my Smugmug website.

Class 158 tidings

As mentioned previously, the 08:50 trains from Manchester Piccadilly now divides at Chester into a semi-fast Holyhead portion and an stopping Llandudno portion. Above, the split in progress on 26 October, captured by Roly High.

The refurbishment and painting into the new Welsh Government livery of Arriva's 24 Class 158s is now complete with the recent emergence from works of 158 818. We understand that the Class 150 fleet is now to be repainted to match, possibly followed by the 175s.

Classic handbills - from Oliver Hambly

Having been sorting through some boxes over the last few days and have come across a series of Railway Handbills that all relate to the North Wales Coast. They are all originals from the 1950s +60s and detail day trips to Dublin from Chester and North Wales Stations, they detail the trip with timings and fares and detail the Vessels that will be used for the Sea Crossings.

Above is a scan of one of the handbills; they are double sided, but it is the front with the picture of the Irish Mail Vessel that stands out. I am in the process of scanning them all and listing them on my Transport Memorabilia Website As a special offer to any North Wales Coast Railway Website reader, they are £3.99 each or any three for £10, including postage at packing. Might make a nice Christmas Purchase.

[Contact Oliver through his website if you are interested.]

On the blocks - with Charlie Hulme

Resting in bay platform 8 as Crewe on 27 October, 97 304 John Tiley shows the result of working with the Rail Heat Treatment Train in top-and-tail mode - the rear loco collects all the grime thrown up by the water jets. 'Enthusiasts' have added their contribution to the livery ... who uses the number of a Class 456 electric train as a nom-de-finger?

Also present was 57 311 Parker, after having worked the Saturday Pendolino 'drag' to Holyhead and back. Usually it runs back to Manchester Longsight depot, but was possibly required as trains were being diverted via Manchester to avoid engineering work in the Warrington area, and Manchester - Preston is not yet electrified.

Flashback to 31 August 1998, and Platform 1 at Chester, where a 'spare' Class 37/4 from the North Wales passenger fleet could often be found at that period. This is 37 422 Robert F. Fairlie Locomotive Engineer, photographed at the full resolution of 640 x 480 available on my Casio QV-100 digital camera, which cost a stiff £399 if my memory serves. 37 422 still exists today, owned by DRS and awaiting overhaul.

Movie corner

A short YouTube film, with some suitable music, complied over recent weeks of the comings and goings of freight trains serving Trafford Park. I hope you enjoy it. - Charlie

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