12 November 2012
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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and
and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
05 November 2012
DB Schenker under fire
Changeable weather on Saturday 3 November
Double Grids on timber train - report by Mark Riley
New carriages for Snowdon
Remembrance at Llangollen
Birkenhead Tramway troubles
The Bigger Picture
Premier Service events
Visit the World Cafe
Trouble on the Autumn Snowdonian
The 'Spectacular Snowdonian'
In the Vale of Rheidol - with Alistair Grieve
Class 158 tidings
Classic handbills - from Oliver Hambly
On the blocks - with Charlie Hulme
22 October 2012
Diesel memories - pictures by John Young
Saturday Drag, A Traveller's Tale - by Glen Cusack
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
A visit to the East Lancashire Railway - with Alan
Llangollen wedding- report by Martin Evans
08 October 2012
Gerald's big day?
Conwy Valley notes - by Larry Davies
Walk the Corwen Extension - with George Jones
A visit to the Penrhyn Quarry Railway - report by
Llanfairfechan footbridge lift-out
No Steam to Chester 6 October
The Isle of Man - another view - by David Hennessey
Tuesday 24 July
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
New book on Ruabon to Barmouth - reviewed by George
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
All Change for the Premier Service - special issue
This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived
the current list visit our Calendar.
Monday 19 November RCTS
Chester – Conway and Llandudno Junction in B.R Days by
Thursday 22 November LCGB
Norman Matthews "Steam in New Zealand"
Wednesday 28 November Ffestiniog
Society My life with trains. B.Bushell.
Thursday 29 November Merseyside
History Group Andrew Scott: Around the world
with 80 trains.
Friday 7 December Clwyd
Circle Members Night & Christmas
Members are invited to give a 15/20 minute presentation of
(any format). This will be interrupted by festive treats
calories). Members must book their slot with David
Jones no later
than 20 November.
Thursday 13 December Llandudno
Conwy Valley Railway Society Christmas Social helped
members Alex Cowan confirming to us that “Trainspotting was
education” and Larry Davies taking us back to “1962 – a year
Thursday 13 December Merseyside
History Group Angus Tilston: Film & Social
Friday 14 December Altrincham
Railway Society "Steam Saved from the Scrapyard" a
slide presentation by Tom Heavyside.
Thursday 13 December LCGB
West Les Nixon "55 Years of Railway Photography – Part
Monday 17 December RCTS
Chester Members Slide/Digital Images – 30 Slides or
Friday 4 January Clwyd
Circle Pete Gray “Welsh Highland Railway”
for the night is the Safety & Development Manager of the
previous to this, he was the Construction Manager from
will be talking about his experiences during this time and
organization that is needed to keep the show on the road.
Thursday 10 January Llandudno
Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Friday 11 January Altrincham
Railway Society "Transport around Manchester from
colour slide presentation by Chris Makepeace.
Thursday 17 January LCGB
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
History Group Geoff Coward: Northeast China
Friday 1 February Clwyd
Circle Gordon Davies “American Wanderings
2, the Great
Plains Drifter” - Recollections of Gordon’s trip in 2008,
largest open cast mine in Wyoming plus the world’s largest
Friday 8 February Altrincham
Railway Society "The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway"
digital presentation by Bob Barnard.
Thursday 14 February Llandudno
Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Monday 18 February RCTS
Chester The Northern Hub. A Talk By Duncan Law, Senior
Development Manager, Network Rail.
Thursday 21 February LCGB
Mike Taylor "Preston and North"
Thursday 28 February Merseyside
History Group Dave Southern: Rails to Blaenau
Friday 1 March Clwyd
Circle The Committee & Larry Davies.
by the talk “60 years ago – Diamond days” After the
formality is over,
we look forward to the talk by one of our favourite
Friday 8 March Altrincham
Railway Society "The ICI Hopper Trains" a colour slide
presentation by Brian Arnold.
Thursday 14 March Llandudno
Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Monday 18 March RCTS
B.R in the early 1980’s By Tom Heavyside.
Thursday 21 March LCGB North
Tony Harrison "The Dragon's Last Roar"
Thursday 28 March Merseyside
Group AGM: Members Slides
Friday 5 April Clwyd
Circle Michael Murphy 'Liverpool Overhead
finish off the season, a highly recommended speaker known
light-hearted style of presentation. The talk will be
followed by film
footage of the railway in its heyday.
Thursday 11 April Llandudno
Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Friday 12 April Altrincham
Railway Society "Current Developments on Metrolink" a
digital presentation by Tony Williams, Manchester Area
Rail Transit Association.
Monday 15 April RCTS
Even Further Down Under: New Zealand In 2011 & 2012 By
Thursday 18 April LCGB North
John Sloane 'Steam Sheds and Diesel Depots'
Thursday 25 April Merseyside
Group Richard Kells : Quiz and informal evening
Thursday 9 May Llandudno
Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Thursday 16 May LCGB North
and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.
97 302, with 97 304 on the rear,
Cob at 09:58 with the 3S71 Crewe to Holyhead leg of the Rail
Treatment Train, 10 November. Picture by Garry Stroud.
Saturday 10 November: Rugby Special etc.
A rugby match in Cardiff on Saturday 10 November inspired
the use of
the new Mk3 'Premier Express' train, not normally seen at
from Holyhead to Cardiff and back, running southwards in
08:07 1V41 Holyhead to Cardiff (arr 13.28) and 18:19 1W91
Holyhead (arr 23.28). Above: Ready for departure from
Holyhead (M.Lloyd Davies).
Departure from Holyhead (M.Lloyd
A photographic opportunity for our contributors: Eryl Crump captured the
train arriving at Bangor with 67 002
Passing Conwy Castle on the approach to Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud). The
Buffet/restaurant car 10249, standard opens 12180, 12178,
Driving van Trailer 82307. These standard-class vehicles
with British Rail as first-class, but Mk3 first and standard
coaches have the same body shell, so converting them to
simply a matter of replacing the seats.
Colwyn Bay (Jack Bowley).
Abergele at 09:15 (Stavros
actually serving? The train was advertised on the ATW
website at very short notice, with a fare to Cardiff of
As usual on such occasions, it ran along the Coast line
empty, although it may have been 'wedged' further south.
It's a shame
that a special cheap fare, say to Chester and back, from
stations, cannot be made available to fill some seats.
Above, Abergele's home signal is 'off' for the main line,
platform, as the Holyhead-bound service, 08:50 from London
approaches (Stavros Lainas).
Above, the train crosses Conwy cob, as seen from the town
walls (Garry Stroud).
The 14:46 return working to London climbs out of Holyhead (M.Lloyd Davies).
Timetable change looms
The Arriva Trains Wales timetable booklets valid from 9
December is now on
at the Arriva website.
On the subject of Arriva Trains Wales, the December 2012
issue of the
magazine Today's Railways
now on sale at good newsagents, includes a detailed feature
operations of ATW and its train diagramming.
Railway Society Meeting in
Monday 19 November
The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS) meets
at the 'Town
Crier' opposite Chester railway station on Monday 19
November at 7.30
p.m. The evening’s topic is about Conway and Llandudno
in B R Days with Larry
Community Rail Officer for the Conwy Valley Line and who
appeared on television when Michael Portillo travelled up
He's also a valued contributor to this website.
Visitors are more than welcome to attend this meeting but
£2 voluntary donation. Such donations enable the
continue its regularity of such meetings. Further inquiries
meeting can be made by telephoning 0151–608 4296.
Grinding in North Wales - pictures by Roly High
Loram C2101 rail grinding train stabled in Rhyl engineers'
November. An impressive 'piece of kit.'
The job of this equipment is to run rotating grindstones
heads of the rails, with results in quieter running, and
also helps to
prevent any cracks spreading. An impressive sight when in
these trains have a special dispensation to reverse at any
permission from the signaller, when necessary to use their
water jets to extinguish any lineside fires caused by the
Ffestiniog scenes - by Ian Pilkington
Double Fairlie Earl of
and Single Fairlie Taliesin
(above) ready to leave Blaenau Ffestiniog with the 11:50 for
Porthmadog, Thursday 8 November. Taliesin
was provided for much needed sanding in the up direction
Tan-y-Bwlch, Earl of
not having sanders.
Taliesin pilots Earl of
away from Porthmadog with the 13:35 for Blaenau. Work on the
stage of Porthmadog redevelopment station can be seen on the
Picture taken with permission.
Overhaul of 1863-built Prince
Lodge Works in readiness for the 150th anniversary next
year of steam on this most historic of narrow gauge
Princess leaves Ffestiniog pub - report by Eryl Crump
Historic locomotive Princess
was returned to the tracks on 10 November, 66 years after it
last train before the railway closed down. Princess
first steam hauled train on the Ffestiniog
between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog after being built
in London in
1863. It also hauled the last train operated by the
1946. Revived in the mid-1950s Princess was put on display,
in Blaenau Ffestiniog, and latterly inside the Spooner's Bar
Porthmadog Harbour Station.
On Saturday 10 November carefully laid plans were put into
the loco removed for a revamp. Next year Princess will
return to its
London birthplace for the first time in 150 years to go on
Paddington station during St David's Day celebrations.
Engineers jacked up the loco off its short length of track
pub and slid it on greased metal plates to line up with a
Princess was then hauled out of the building by a tractor.
The vehicle then lifted it gently onto the track.
Kerr Stuart loco Stanhope
then towed the loco across the Cob to Boston Lodge where it
cosmetically refurbished and reunited with its tender prior
journey down south.
The loco is said to be virtually complete and missing only a
and gauges but would need a lot of work to restore it to
In view of the FR already having Prince
and Welsh Pony as
well - the
restoration to steam is not a top priority.
currently under maintenance (see report above), will also
London and be based at
the London Transport
where it will run on a short section of
track. Ffestiniog Railway spokesman Andrew Thomas said Princess will
also be used at a number of other events throughout the year
its 150th anniversary.
During the day, Linda
Beddgelert shuttle ...
... with diesel Criccieth
on shunter duties. Harlech
was used to haul the Permanent Way train while Taliesin undertook a
This fire engine replaces the loco as an attraction. Note
are two trains per day each way between Porthmadog and
Saturdays and Sundays until 9 December, and two trains each
Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog on Wednesdays and
Thursdays until 13
December, after which the 'Santa' season starts. See the FR
Hobbs writes to inform us
Edwards, alias 'Grandad', a resident of Frodsham
from the West Country, died on 8 November. He had been
around a year and has latterly been in a care home in
Frodsham after a
period in hospital. The Funeral will be held at St Larwences
Church, (opposite the Ring o'Bells), Frodsham at
Tuesday 20th November with Crematorium
Phil was a stalwart Class 37 'Basher' and spent many happy
chasing Class 37s around the country after his retirement,
especially on the North Wales Coast back in the 1990s. He
respected by his fellow enthusiasts, was a fount of
railway matters and accumulated an amazing mileage behind
37 locomotives - often into the thousands of miles behind
individual locomotives but especially 37/4s.
Our picture is a still from the remarkable Channel 4 TV film
which is now available in three parts on
complete with an accidental guest appearance by Dj Andy
Those were very strange times: where are all the bashers
Mouldsworth to Helsby memories - by Dave Sallery
Three views of trains on the single track line from
Mouldsworth to West
Cheshire Junction, Helsby. This line was once very
busy with oil
trains to and from Stanlow refinery. It closed in 1991
signalbox at West Cheshire Junction burnt down. Little could
be done to
stop the fire as the box had no mains water supply; drinking
the signalmen was dropped off by one of the Hooton - Helsby
DMUs each morning. Above, 47
on a container train from Ellesmere port to Crewe near
Helsby, 17 May
1991. The area on the left is now occupied by a Tesco store.
47 278 heads to
to pick up an oil train on 17 May 1991. It is passing
building of Helsby
37 799 comes off the
single line at Mouldsworth on a train of empty Cawoods coal
from Ellesmere Port to South Wales, 7 June 1991. Most of the
traffic at Holyhead was diverted to Ellesmere Port on its
1991. In 1993 the Cawoods terminal itself closed and
was diverted to Seaforth, Liverpool. More pictures of
the area on my Flickr
and some photos of Cawoods terminal on my Mersey
Cambrian needs nine million pounds
From the Shropshire Star:
Bosses of a heritage railway
Shropshire today unveiled £9 million plans to
transform the once
thriving line into a major tourist attraction. Trustees of
(CHR) have drawn up ambitious proposals to create a
service which will connect Oswestry to the main train line
and to Llanymynech in the opposite direction.
The group is now calling on town businesses, the town
Shropshire Council to back the project, called Gobowen to
Railway Project. It hopes the project will boost the
economy and create
a major tourist attraction for the area. It is planned to
building work in April 2015 over a number of phases
starting on a link
between Oswestry and Gobowen. Trustees believe the project
commuters, shoppers and those attending social events, as
attract tourists to the area.
It is hoped the £9m cost will come via bodies
Heritage Lottery Fund, Shropshire Council’s Market Town
Programme and Local Joint Committees. Roger Date, vice
Oswestry Station Building Trust and trustee of CHR, and
also a trustee of CHR, said the project had the backing of
Mr Tullo said: “Oswestry is Shropshire’s largest market
town and one of
the largest towns not connected to a mainline station. We
want the town
council and Shropshire Council and businesses to get
behind us with
Two small stretches of the line have already been restored
the dedication of volunteers. A Llynclys train runs along
a stretch of
track to Pen-y-garreg and Oswestry passengers can be
carried a few
Worth a try, perhaps. At least the two Cambrian groups,
Oswestry, are now working together. Although it might be
point to suggest that the original pre-1922 Cambrian
Railways were ever
Come to sunny Rhyl
A £2.5m facelift for the rundown Rhyl railway station,
announced this week. the works will deliver an improved
refurbished retail unit, new toilets, waiting shelters and
information point. Other changes include better disabled
access to the
station and platforms and enhanced lighting and CCTV system.
The aim is to create a more appealing and welcoming gateway
and visitors and help to boost the economy of the town, once
(!) seaside holiday resort.
Derbyshire in a day - with Alan Crawshaw
On Wednesday 31 October, Rowan and I embarked on a day trip
the Crich Tramway Museum and Peak Rail, taking in the Arriva
loco-hauled "premium" service both ways. Above, 67 002 at Chester.
Our timetable to Crich was
06:01 Bangor Chester 07:10
I can't remember if we've had a shot of the Arriva Mk 3
interior, but it was our first experience and we were very
with a clean, bright yet restful ambience, the comfortable
arranged around tables with window views.
07:35 Chester Crewe 07:54
08:07 Crewe Derby 09:26
09:50 Derby Whatstandwell 10:12
It's a pity that you have to get up very early or arrive
late to enjoy
such style that builds on the successful designs of the past
than tearing them up and substituting inferior patterns.
which, at Chester we transferred onto a Virgin Voyager for
hop to Crewe.
A class 153 unit delivered us to Derby where a Network Rail
(above) bookended by 37
and 37 409 Lord Hinton and a
liveried 56 303
fodder while we waited for another East Midlands Trains
service to take us on to Whatstandwell, this time comprising
a 156 with
a cheery contingent of Derbyshire hikers on board. Ticket
very efficient, taking place within a few minutes of each of
As is often the case, rail passengers were not helped by
signs to the Tramway Museum so we wasted a few minutes
directions before tackling the mile long uphill walk. It was
first visit, and my first since the 1970s, and we enjoyed a
there despite the cold gloomy weather, having a ride on the
in operation: Glasgow 812 (above) ...
... and two Leeds trams.
I've a very vague memory of Leeds trams from when I was very
only encounter with such transport outside preservation.
The oddly named 'Your Bus' service 141 took us from Crich to
suppose it's no sillier than First Bus as a name. This was
visit to Peak Rail, and an arriving EMT service worked by 153 357 contrasted with
preserved line's ex-War Department saddle tank, several
which were built between 1943 and 1945. 75 of these were
the LNER after the war and this example masquerades as 68013, which was
scrapped in 1964 [A
Cromford and High Peak line regular. -
It was good to see a faded Regional Railways livery again,
on 31 270 which
headed our train to the
Rowsley South terminus, but it was painfully slow, barely 10
the scenery was uninspiring. The saddle tank led the way
back, but the
front two coaches were locked out of use so we heard nothing
effort. We came to a stand at Darley Dale and were getting
we'd be stuck there, no announcement was made until we were
again ten minutes later, with the usual 'technical fault'
We shall not be returning.
This left us rather short of time to eat, but Wetherspoons
came to the
rescue, delivering our vegeburgers within ten minutes of
return schedule was
17:35 Matlock Derby 18:10
18:42 Derby Crewe 20:01
20:23 Crewe Chester 20:46
21:03 Chester Bangor 22:07
It was lucky that these connections weren't tight as all the
were late, in contrast to the morning's punctuality. The EMT
put the Peak Rail staff to shame by explaining that the
delay was due
to awaiting a path onto the main line at Ambergate Junction,
brightly refurbished 158 reached Derby a quarter of an hour
next leg gradually lost time while still getting us to Crewe
for the shuttle, which also arrived and departed a few
minutes late. At
Chester we were reunited with the slightly delayed
Above, 60 010
heading east at
Plumley station on train 6H03, empty limestone hoppers to
taken on 2 November (Andrew
60 074 Teenage Spirit slowing
signal at Plumley, again hauling 6H03 Oakleigh - Tunstead
hoppers, this time on 5 November (Andrew Vinten).
The Class 60's noisy electric cousins the Class 92, also
built by Brush
Traction at their Loughborough works, can be elusive: above
is 92 015, at
Manchester Oxford Road on
31 October, presumably returning to Crewe after working an
train to Trafford Park. It has gained DB Schenker
lost its name D.H.Lawrence.
Picture by Charlie Hulme.
The new coaches in close-up - pictures by M.Lloyd Davies
A sunny Sunday 21 October at Holyhead, and a chance for a
good look at
the new Arriva Trains Wales rolling stock. Above, Driving
First Class / buffet restaurant 10249.
Standard open 12178.
The electrical box and circuitry on the bogie is the
anti-sliding brake control: more about this in the next
to everyone who has replied so quickly to our query on the
version of this item.
Hawarden from the Air - report by George Jones
An interesting aerial picture on the Imperial
Museum website is a view of Hawarden airfield c.1941
explanations of the on-site activity which shows what is now
runway in course of construction - left to right centre. We
here under the conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence. The
page allows magnification.
Part of the Vickers Armstrongs shadow factory can be seen at
with, to its left, completed Wellington bombers parked in
front of the
Vickers Flight Shed. The hangars on the eastern and southern
the airfield were occupied by No. 48 Maintenance Unit and
Operational Training Unit. In the foreground Wellingtons and
aircraft can be seen staked out in adjoining fields in order
overcrowding on the airfield while the concrete runways and
are being constructed.
Of railway interest is the main line on the left which has a
heading towards Chester just before the overbridge. On the
side there is a trace of smoke just behind the factory
will be a train on the Mold line passing Broughton &
station. Mold Junction is on the top left.
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