26 November 2012
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19 November 2012
Bangor Shed mystery
Network Rail assortment
Christmas at Bala
Hop on our 'Merry-Maker' - with Stephen Hughes
About Mark 3 coach bogies
Ayrshire Yeomanry at Llangollen - report by George Jones
Club 55 to Barry - report by Richard Fleckney
Sandy Lane crossing - pictures by Roly High
Bridges at Berwyn - report by George Jones
12 November 2012
Saturday 10 November: Rugby Special etc.
Timetable change looms
Grinding in North Wales - pictures by Roly High
Ffestiniog scenes - by Ian Pilkington
Princess leaves Ffestiniog pub - report by Eryl Crump
Mouldsworth to Helsby memories - by Dave Sallery
Cambrian needs nine million pounds
Come to sunny Rhyl
Derbyshire in a day - with Alan Crawshaw
The new coaches in close-up - pictures by M.Lloyd Davies
Hawarden from the Air - report by George Jones
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 Crawshaw
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 Rowan Crawshaw
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 High
New book on Ruabon to Barmouth - reviewed by George Jones
This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For
the current list visit our Calendar.
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
Members Night & Christmas Celebration. Members are
give a 15/20 minute presentation of their choice (any format). This
will be interrupted by festive treats (all high calories).
must book their slot with David Jones no later than 20 November.
Saturday 8 December Railway and
Canal Historical Society "Widely as his Mersey Flows" by Hugh
Monday 10 December Wrexham
Society Society's Annual General meeting followed by
members' Rail Review.
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
Thursday 13 December LCGB North
West Les Nixon "55 Years of Railway Photography – Part Two"
Friday 14 December Altrincham
Electric Railway Society "Steam Saved from the Scrapyard" a colour
slide presentation by Tom Heavyside.
Saturday 15 December Rhyl
& District Model Railway Club Charity Model Railway Exhibition,
Parish Hall & Scout HQ, Top of Central Car Park, Prestatyn, 10:30
Monday 17 December RCTS
Chester Members Slide/Digital Images – 30 Slides or artefacts of
Friday 4 January Clwyd Railway
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 “Early Railways of Gwynedd 1790-
1830’s” Dr Dafydd Gwynn
Friday 11 January Altrincham
Electric Railway Society "Transport around Manchester from 1750" a
colour slide presentation by Chris Makepeace.
Saturday 12 January Railway and
Canal Historical Society Group Annual General Meeting
commencing at 13:45 followed at 14:30 by "Members Choice".
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
Gordon Davies “American Wanderings 2, the Great Plains
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.
Saturday 9 February Railway and
Canal Historical Society "The Manchester Bolton and Bury
Canal, its history and restoration" by Dr. Paul Hindle.
Thursday 14 February Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society “My Life in Crewe
Works” Arthur Jones
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
The Committee & Larry Davies. AGM followed by the talk
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.
Saturday 9 March Railway and
Canal Historical Society "Lost Canals of the East Midlands"
by the Society's President, Dr. Wendy Freer
Thursday 14 March Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society “Polish Steam” Brian
Bollington & Pete Hanahoe
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
Group AGM: Members Slides
Friday 5 April Clwyd Railway
Michael Murphy 'Liverpool Overhead Railway' To finish off
the season, a highly recommended speaker known for his light-hearted
presentation. The talk will be followed by film footage of the railway
in its heyday.
Thursday 11 April Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society “Chester to Holyhead English
Electric traction 1984 – Present day” Steve Morris
Friday 12 April Altrincham
Electric Railway Society
"Current Developments on Metrolink" a digital presentation by Tony
Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association.
Saturday 13 April Railway and
Canal Historical Society "The General Strike & the
Railways" by Dr. Robin Smith
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
Group Richard Kells : Quiz and informal evening
Thursday 9 May Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society “The Buckley Railway” Paul
Thursday 16 May LCGB North West AGM
and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.
97 302 brings the Rail
Head Treatment Train through Colwyn Bay, high-pressure water jets in
full play, 24 November. Picture by Jack
End of the Pendolino Drag?
It appears from timetable database information available on the Web
that the Saturday London - Holyhead train currently worked by a
Pendolino will become a Class 221 Voyager following the 9 December
timetable change. At the time of writing we haven't been able to
confirm this, though. The actual timings still allow for the loco
change at Crewe. Developments are awaited...
The week leading up to the publication of this issue has seen storms
flooding in several parts of Britain, including North Wales, with the
line intermittently blocked in several places. Problems between Bangor
and Holyhead caused difficulties for the loco-hauled Premier service,
and the Holyhead - Cardiff and return rugby special using its rolling
stock which operated on Saturday 24 November. This train ran southbound
as planned, propelled by 67 003,
Jack Bowley's pictures
from Colwyn Bay show, but the return
trip had to terminate at Crewe, although the empty train did make it
back to Holyhead on Sunday, only to be trapped at Holyhead the next
morning so the Premier train had to be run by a Class 175 starting at
Looking back at the Dyserth branch - with John Hobbs
Regarding comments about 45337 pretending to be 45156 Ayrshire Yeomanry in the 19 November issue, here are some pictures of
the real thing on the Prestatyn - Dyserth Branch on 14 September 1963.
Close examination reveals that the nameplate also carried a shield and
indeed a smaller plate underneath. Above, 45156 is approaching Bryn
Rhosyn level crossing at Prestatyn, on the daily trip working from Rhyl
with the old gas holders in the background.
A porter went from the station to open the gates, and then released the
starting signal for the Dyserth Branch, which then gave authority for
the train to proceed with its propelling move to Dyserth, the Porter
would then shut the gate behind the train thus obviating the need to
stop and close the gates behind the train on this steeply graded
branch. The guard keeping a sharp look-out from the leading brake van.
On the return journey the crossing was protected by an LNWR fixed
distant at Meliden Road, the train stopped clear of the crossing and
the guard opened the gates, before stopping the train; re-boarding and
running on to the yard at Prestatyn Station.
Here's the locomotive on the curve leading into Dyserth Quarry at
Dyserth station. The return trip included a ride in the brake van for
me. I heard tell that a 'Jubilee' once reached Dyserth but even so,
this must have been one of the few 'Namers' to reach Dyserth.
[Opened in 1905, the 2½-mile branch opened in 1869. A passenger
service operated from 1905 to 1930, but its prime purpose was to serve
mines and quarries. The last stone trains ran in the 1970s, and it is
now a foot/cycle path. The excellent Disused
website has many pictures and details.]
To Birmingham for the Model Railway show - with Roly High.
After boarding the 06:40 to Birmingham International from Rhyl, to
visit the Warley model railway exhibition,we arrived at Chester
(above). After standing in the bay platform for some time,
we were told the driver could not take the train (158 832) forward due to a faulty
door in his compartment, caused by vandalism at Holyhead.
We were then informed that the train was going to be turned on the
triangle at the west end of the station, and, with the signallers'
permission we should be able to stay on the train. After another length
of time, we were then told this was not possible to leave us on the
train whilst they performed this movement, due to Chester North/South
Junctions being a goods only link.This I found bemusing, as only fairly
recently I traversed this section on a charter train from Hooton
towards Wrexham, by-passing Chester station.
After re-boarding 158 832,we were then informed the train was being
failed, and to go to the adjacent platform, where another unit, in the
form of 150 227 would be made
available [A spare 150 is kept at Chester, we understand.]This unit was
to provide a service to Cardiff Central (poor souls) and anyone
travelling towards Birmingham would have to change at Shrewsbury into
the service from
The 150 unit was held at Chester so as the late running 175 from
Holyhead could let its passengers connect for Cardiff. After leaving
Rhyl 2 hours before, we finally departed. From Wrexham to
Shrewsbury,this unit was very very,cramped.After de-training at
Shrewsbury (picture above), it was a mad rush to get onto the
Birmingham train-a 4 car unit,comprised of, 158 830 and 158 820. The train was so full that
at Telford Central a call was made for passengers to squeeze in even
more tightly in order to let the guard
back on the train! Still no respite,as a number of Wolverhampton
Wanderers supporters added to the chaos, whose team just happened to be
playing at home.
At the show was replica Lynton and Barnstaple loco Lyd.
A good model of a Motive Power depot.
A lot of skill went into making this model of Liverpool Lime Street by
John Holden. The roof girders were all hand made.
I returned on the 17:09 from Birmingham International to Holyhead,
which had arrived from
Pwllheli at 16:50; anyone sitting in the front two cars of the train
(158 831) were told when we neared Shrewsbury that we would have to
transfer to the two rear cars which were going on to Holyhead. Upon
arriving at Chester,we were told to move back to the other two cars,
because they had to fail the unit we were now sitting in! Once again I
was wedged in a very cramped train.
I have nothing but praise for the Arriva Trains Wales front line staff,
who try their best to make use of the equipment that is available to
them. Their morale, on a day like this, with a huge game of Rugby at
Cardiff, three very busy exhibitions at the NEC, the football matches
at Wolverhampton and Aston Villa, plus train failures, together with a
lot of disgruntlement from passengers, must be quite low.This not the
first time I have endured cramped conditions on a 2 car 158 unit, which
are travelling long distances. Either Arriva senior managers don't
travel on their trains on a Saturday, or are quite happy with the
For Sale: Penmaenmawr station house
The following comes to us, with the pictures, from Jacksons estate agents.
Penmaenmawr Station House has
been put on the market. Built in 1850 shortly after the Chester -
Holyhead Railway Company opened the route, now the link from Holyhead
to London Euston, the building is highly visible from the railway and
also from the A55 Expressway which runs parallel to the railway at this
point, opposite the Station House. Famously, Prime Minister William
Ewart Gladstone was to put Penmaenmawr firmly on the tourist map and in
all likelihood actually set foot inside the Station House, possibly on
his first visit in 1855. He continued to visit by Penmaenmawr by rail
over a period of 40 years, bathing in the sea and walking the Welsh
Mountains. To commemorate his visits a Memorial with his bust was
constructed in the village in his honour in 1899.
Over the years the Station House
has seen many changes. Decommissioned by British Rail in about 1986,
since then it has been used as an Antiques & Reclamation outlet,
showroom for a Pine Business, through to it’s current use of workshops
and residential. Today, the Grade 2 listed Station House offers a
blank canvas. A solid Victorian building, substantially constructed
with heavy granite stone elevations, hewn from the local Quarry (which
gave Penmaenmawr its early wealth) under a hipped slated roof, the
fabric is as strong as ever although the interior is now in need of a
fresh start. The property extends to some 2,220 sq ft of floor space.
There are two basement rooms and then the ground floor (the former
Station ticket office and waiting rooms) split into a variety of areas
and with its own door onto the platform. Independently accessed on the
first floor is a massive 3-bedroomed flat with a stunning vista over
the North Wales Coastline with sea views to Anglesey, Puffin Island and
on a clear day as far as the Isle of Man.
But more importantly the most
easterly bedroom has a window specifically designed to give a birds eye
view down the line towards Conwy & Llandudno, with the Great Orme
clearly visible. Surely this must be every rail enthusiast’s dream
bedroom! What the future holds for the Station House is now in the
hands on the buyer, whoever he or she may be. With its history of mixed
residential and commercial use, the possibilities would seem endless,
subject of course to the usual planning obligations. Could it end up as
a Guest House, Bunk House or B&B, or with it’s magnificent sea
views could it form a substantial family home with a twist? Might it
become a Showroom again or even a Restaurant with rooms these are just
a few of the ideas being mooted. One thing is certain. To build The
Station House today we used a well known house building cost calculator
which gave a figure in excess of £250,000, (excluding the plot),
yet you can buy this property today for just £127,500!
For more information contact Jacksons on 01492 877441 or email
Coal to Penyffordd
Not often seen on these pages is the train of coal to Penyffordd cement
works on the Wrexham - Shrewsbury line, which runs weekly (or less
often), from one or other of the UK's coalfields. On 21 November 60 059 Swinden Dalesman hauled the train,
6F41, which had originated from New Cumnock. Andrew Vinten headed it off at
Rossett on the single-line section between Saltney Junction and Wrexham
(above) When unloaded, the train was to head for Doncaster Decoy yard.
Passing the semaphore signals at Penyffordd station. The small arm on
the signal is for movements into the siding where a locos can be run
round a train; however this train will proceed pas the site of the
closed Hope Exchange station to a point beyond Cement Sidings Ground
Frame before reversing the train into the works sidings. The
wagons are open box wagons, code MEA, unloaded by a grab. The official
timetable shows 09:10 as passing time at Penyffordd; the picture was
taken at 15:10 by Bob Greenalgh.
Marches line resignalling
The new signalling system between Crewe Gresty Lane signalbox and
Shrewsbury Crewe Junction signalbox will take over on Monday 10
December The last day of semaphore signalling from the mechanically
worked signal boxes at Nantwich, Wrenbury, Prees, Wem, Harlescott
Crossing and Shrewsbury (Crewe Bank) is Sunday 9 December. All trains
using this section of line will be controlled from the Shrewsbury North
panel located in the South Wales Signalling Centre in Cardiff.
This is one of two pilot schemes for Network Rail's 'modular
We are told that the old signalboxes will remain in situ for one month, before being
demolished. Photographers please note.
The closure of Wem signalbox, and the conversion of level crossing to a
full-barrier one supervised by CCTV from Cardiff has been
controversial, as the crossing, at the convergence of Aston Street,
Station Road, and Soulton Road, is said to be the sixth most abused in
the country. On the other hand, Councillor Pauline Dee, of Wem Town
Council, would like to see the signalbox saved and converted into a new
museum or tearoom.
Bangor Repair Shed - last days
We asked in the last issue if anyone had
pictures of the elusive 'Repair Shed' at Bangor station, for a modeller
in Australia who aims to reproduce it. So far we don't have any
pictures of the building in use, but we do have the following written
for us from Dave Plimmer whose
superb www.2d53.co.uk website
specialises on chronicling the 1975-83 period. If this views jog your
memory and you have any pictures of the building - or complex of
buildings as it appears to be - please get in touch. Over to Dave for
his pictures and text:
I believe that this 'elusive' structure was the old Civil Engineers
workshops - of which there is a paragraph's description in Bill Rear's
book. In my time it was derelict, but I have a couple of pictures. The
first (above) was taken from Bangor Mountain on 22 April 1976, with
nine coal wagons in the adjacent yard sidings, and a couple of tanks in
the oil siding.
A zoomed-in view showing the repair shed. Conspicuous behind is the
A view of 24 082 at Bangor on
31st August 1977, whilst doing the "shunt as required" on its second
trip of the day from Llandudno Junction to Amlwch on Trip 46. The
derelict workshops are behind, whilst the signalman's car is in
front. The loco is also hiding the oil terminal storage tanks.
I've no definite date for demolition, but it had gone by 8 July 1980,
when 40 106 was on the Amlwch
Trip. This picture is taking from nearer the signal box, so the angles
aren't the same, but there is now a clear view through towards Glanadda.
By 6 August 1983 the new Post Office Sorting Office has been built on
the site. It's just visible to the right of 08 023 stabled in the goods yard.
Also noticeable is that St David's church has lost its 'mini-spire'
from the top of the bell tower.
North Wales electrification?
The sooner the case for a massive upgrade and electrification of the
North Wales main line
can be made the better, said Welsh Secretary David Jones, speaking
before government, business and council
representatives met in Llandudno to start preparing a business case.
The UK Government has confirmed plans to electrify the Great Western
line to Swansea, and to electrify commuter lines in the South Wales
valleys. The original commitment was to electrify the line between
and Cardiff. Mr Jones said the decision to extend the upgrade further
west was 'the
consequence of a lot of work by various people including the Wales
Office, but also crucially Swansea council who put in a very good
He went on on to say that a North Wales business case had to be ready
in advance of the
UK government's next round of long-term plans for the rail network,
called a High Level Output Specification (HLOS), in about five years:
'Obviously it's going to be a lengthy process, but we are talking about
105 miles of track from Crewe to Holyhead. The sooner we can start
working up a business case for the next HLOS
round the better. The upgrade would mean faster and more comfortable
trains than the
existing diesel trains, and could help attract investors to North
Wales. It would be significant and it's important to remember that when
inward investors are looking at a location to establish businesses they
tend to look at a two-hour journey time to London. At the moment
Chester is the limit of that two hours. None of North
It's an interesting thought, but how many North Wales Coast towns can
be brought within two hours of London by rail? Rhyl, for example, is 50
miles beyond Chester. But electrification would certainly be
beneficial, if only to replace the fuel-hungry and noisy trains in use
at present. We hope that the Welsh planners look over the border and
don't ignore the Warrington - Chester section in their suggestions, to
link from the with old Liverpool and Manchester line which is currently
being electrified, and allow Manchester - North Wales trains to be
electric. Likewise, Wolverhampton - Shrewsbury - Chester for the
MOSI and the Ordsall Chord - report by Charlie Hulme
Network Rail has published the route of the 'Ordsall Chord', a new
section of line to be built as part of the 'Manchester Hub' project.
The idea is to allow through trains to run from Manchester Victoria to
Manchester Piccadilly by linking Salford Central Station to the
Manchester South Junction line between Castlefield Junction and Ordsall
Lane. Their digital impression, shown above, shows the planned
route, which cuts across the formation of the original 1830 Liverpool
and Manchester (L & M) Railway, which is now the link to the L
& M's original Liverpool Road terminus, now the Museum of Science
and Industry (MOSI). It has been designed to avoid George
Stephenson's L & M stone bridge, a Grade 1 listed structure,
over the Irwell river, which can be seen in the 'V' of the new
All well and good; the museum rarely use their rail connection
(although it did see a Royal Train not long ago) but internally to the
Museum site a train service is operated for visitors, and trains use
part of the doomed section as a headshunt to reverse and serve the
lines on either side of the site.
Above is a view taken from approximately when the chord line will cut
across. The museum train runs from behind the camera and reverses just
before the gate which protects the main line link. The two arms of the
internal route are on viaduct, so it's not possible to relocate the
Down in Water Street, I took this picture from a point which, in
future, be adjacent to the new viaduct: the 'pig slope' on the left can
be seen in Network Rail's picture. The building on the right is part of
the museum, being the L & M's stationmaster's house. The adjacent
bridge carrying the line over Water Street replaced a much more ornate
original version c.1909.
Incurring the wrath of a car park attendant, I managed to reach
Stephenson's bridge, which like many L & M structures, is a
masterpiece of the stone-mason's art with its complex-shaped stone
blocks. On the left edge of the picture is the Manchester South
Junction line, with one of the gantries which have recently been
erected for the Manchester - Liverpool Electrification scheme.
This old painting, found (mis-labelled) in the BBC
Paintings collection, appears to date from the very early days
of the L & M line in the 1830s, and shows the view from the bridge
from the river banks on the opposite side of the line from our picture
Manchester - North Wales trains pass along the Manchester South
Junction line past the planned junction. This Llandudno-bound train
has just passed under the steel viaduct which now carries Metrolink
trams, and is passing the 1970s-built replica of part of the Roman fort
which stood on this site. The view is from the top of the stairway
which connects the Metrolink level with the street below. Note the
gantries awaiting their overhead wires.
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