Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

03 December 2012

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Recent issues

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
 Christmas Reading
 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
 Brush Corner
 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
 Picture miscellany

 29 October 2012
The Bigger Picture
 Premier Service events
 Visit the World Cafe
 Samaritan commemorated
 Locomotive views
 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
 Movie corner

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

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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.

Saturday 8 December Railway and Canal Historical Society  "Widely as his Mersey Flows" by Hugh Beggs

Monday 10 December Wrexham Railway 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 to 16:00.

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 “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
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.

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

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.

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 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 “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 Railway History Group Richard Kells : Quiz and informal evening

May 2013

Thursday 9 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society “The Buckley Railway”  Paul Davies

Thursday 16 May LCGB North West AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.

57 311 Parker departs from Rhyl on 17 November with 390 049 Virgin Express as the 14:36 (Saturday) Holyhead - London. Railfans had heard that 57 302, now operated by DRS and in their livery, would be working this train from Crewe to Holyhead and back, but apparently it turned out to be a failure, so 57311 appeared instead. Picture by Roly High.

Late news: The closure of signalboxes on the Crewe - Shrewsbury line planned for 9 December has been postponed due to technical problems.

Christmas is coming

It's that time of year again, and Arriva have details of their Christmas and New Year services (or lack of) on their website.

Another pre-Christmas Tradition is the charity Model Railway Exhibition in Prestatyn organised by our friends from the Rhyl MRC. This year it is on 15 December, and as usual is in Parish Hall & Scout HQ, Top of Central Car Park, Prestatyn, 10:30 to 16:00. A good excuse for a train trip: the venue is a short walk up the High Street from Prestatyn station. See the Rhyl MRC website for more information.

Past Times  - with John Hobbs

As people seemed to enjoy my 'past times' shots, here are two more, again along the lines of the past view of things which have appeared on the Notice Board, and in a similar location. Above, 'Princess Coronation' Class 8P 4-6-2 46228 Duchess of Rutland pauses at Chester, with some alternative traction, in the shape of what would be later called a Class 40, on the left. This is the the afternoon 'Horse and Carriage' the 12 noon parcels from Holyhead to Willesden, on 7 March 1964. This train was often hauled by a 'Duchess' at this time.

'Patriot' Class 7P 4-6-0 45531 Sir Frederick Harrison  climbs out of Holyhead banked by 0-6-0 tank 47266 on the 4.39 pm (Saturdays Only) Holyhead to London (Broad Street) meat container train on 28 August 1965. The locomotive worked the previous night's 10.20 pm Manchester (Exchange) to Holyhead from Chester to Holyhead; at this time the Manchester and Birmingham portions of this train combined at Chester, but on this occasion, being a Bank Holiday, they ran separately. The locomotive had earlier worked a freight from Carlisle to Margam as far as Saltney Junction and was thus available at Chester to work this express service. This could possibly have been the last visit of a 'Patriot' to Holyhead. The shedmaster kindly advised, when telephoned, when it would be departing from Holyhead.

A visit to Cardiff - report by Roly High

The 'WAG express' Premier service pictured on arrival, right time, at Cardiff Central on 13 November. A 175 unit is just departing northwards.

After reversal at Chester 67 002 had pushed the train to Cardiff.

Driving Van Trailer 82307 was the lead vehicle from Chester. In the background 56 087 is pictured stabled with...

56 311
. 'DCR' is Devon and Cornwall Railways, a trading name of British American Rail Services, itself a subsidiary of Iowa Pacific Holdings of the USA. Colas Rail, on the other hand, is a subsidiary of a French road-building company.

66 081 (operated by DB Schenker, a subsidiary of the German state railway) trundles across the river Taff with a rake of coal wagons.

175 002 arrives at Cardiff's platform 2 with the 18:21 nearly all stations to Holyhead via Crewe. (No flash used.)

The 'Rheidol Road' Special - report by Denis Bates

The Rheidol Rod was a diesel-hauled special on the Vale of Rheidol Railway organised by the Preserved Locomotive Enthusiasts group on 1 September. The Baguley-Drewry diesel, No.10, can only haul three coaches up the line.

It also covered all the track at Devil's Bridge, giving cab rides during the wait there - hence the photo above, showing it in the siding with a full load.

Manchester Metrolink developments - pictures by Greg Mape

Over the night of Saturday and Sunday 3/4 November, a new bridge span, which had been prepared  nearby (as seen above), was installed between Sale and Wythenshawe to carry the new Manchester Metrolink line to the Airport over the M60 motorway, which was close at this point while the work was done.

The bridge in place on 4 November.  The 580-tonne span, which will carry a double track,  was driven into place, from approximately 70 metres away, using two 64-wheeled self-propelled modular transporters. The builders have put a video on YouTube showing how it was done.

An empty motorway...

The bridge is a single span of considerable length for a plate girder structure; the pier in the central reservation is the sign gantry. The beauty of this design is that with no central pier, the preparation works cause no disruption to road traffic.

A second, similar, bridge carrying the line over the M56 motorway was installed by the same procedure on 25/26 November; the work on that one was completed eight hours early.

A Winter outing - report by Martin Evans

With the dark evenings and sometimes gloomy weather it does not inspire outings, however, I ventured to Crewe and Manchester on 9 November last. Above, 66 149 passes through Ruabon with the  empty coils - 6V75 for Margam.

London Midland 'Desiro' 350 119 departs Crewe with a Liverpool-bound service.

After stopping at Crewe, Royal Mail unit 325 002 Royal Mail North Wales & North West departs on the final leg of its journey to Warrington mail depot.

Two views at Manchester Piccadilly. Above: Northern Rail 156 441 William Huskisson awaits its next turn of duty on the Buxton line ...

... and Cross Country 'Voyager' 221 140 waits to depart for Bristol Temple Meads.

The Pannier Rambler - report by Richard Putley

Staying in Malvern over the weekend of Saturday 3rd November, I decided to go and film the Vintage Trains 'Pannier Rambler' special, which was due to be hauled by former Great Western 0-6-0 Pannier Tanks L94 (one of a dozen sold by them to London Transport for pulling trains on their surface lines
and used on these duties up until 1971 - 3 years after the end of British rail standard gauge steam) and 9600 (one of several sold by BR to the National Coal Board and also used by them well into the 1970s). I caught the 12:45 HST Great Malvern - Paddington, which passed another at Newland, to Worcester Shrub Hill (above) ...

...then the 13:17 from there to Droitwich (above) worked by one of the new Class 172 units, 3-car 172 337. Note the Great Western-style 'limited space' signal similar to the much-photographed one at Shrewsbury station. I had plenty of time for a cup of tea from "Snax on Trax" with a freshly made ham sandwich.

9600 and L94 duly appeared on time at 14:43.

I returned to Worcester on the 15:01 from Droitwich. This train goes straight to Foregate St station so I then walked to Shrub Hill. I got there just in time to see the Panniers push their coaches into one of the up sidings ...

... and then uncouple.

172 212 arrived from Birmingham ...

... and 166 220 from Paddington on 15:41 to Great Malvern. Parked 172s also emerged and reversed into Platform 2. The Panniers had meanwhile run round their train. By this time it was getting dark so I left on 16:41 to Great Malvern which formed by 165 107.

Llandudno station before improvement - pictures by Roly High.

Above, 175 105 arrives at Llandudno with the shuttle from Llandudno Junction on 3 November, to return as a service to Manchester Piccadilly.

We seem to have heard this before, but on 31 October it was announced that design work is to start on a £5.2 million project at Llandudno station. The Welsh Government is investing £3.5m, Network Rail is providing £1.5m through the National Station Improvement Programme and the Railway Heritage Trust is funding £150,000. The legally constituted joint committee of six North Wales county authorities, Taith, has contributed £1.4m. These pictures record the current state of the station, what's left of it following the demolition of much of the remaining station buildings in 2009. Other partners in the project are Arriva Trains Wales and Conwy County Borough Council.

Improvements to the station will include a new frontage, ticket office, improved bus facilities and customer information systems.

Welsh transport minister, Carl Sargeant, says: 'The upgrade of Llandudno station is the first in a number of station improvements that the Welsh Government is supporting as we strive to make rail travel more comfortable and attractive to the public.'

The station was rebuilt in 1892 with five platforms and new buildings As the monograms show, the railings and gates across the platform ends were an improvement by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway which ran the station from 1923 to 1948. Since the 1960s it has been gradually whittled away, losing its overall roof, two platforms, and much else. No part of the station has 'listed building' status as far as we can determine, not even the gates.

This block is the only one remaining of four similar frontages, originally with gables, that formed the station frontage, along with the 'in' and 'out' gateways which can still be seen (below).

Here's Network Rail's artist's impression of the new frontage. Says Mark Langman, Network Rail’s Wales route managing director: 'This very important project to enhance Llandudno Station will regenerate and revitalise this area of the town, encouraging locals and visitors to use public transport through the provision of updated and enhanced facilities.'

Councillor Philip Evans, cabinet member, Conwy County Borough Council, says: 'It will create a positive first impression for visitors to Llandudno and I’m delighted that these long-standing plans are becoming a reality.'  Let's hope so.

Arriva Trains Wales's colour scheme and signs now brighten up the station; it has been claimed that the Welsh welcome is ungrammatical and should read 'Croeso i Orsaf Llandudno' but ATW have shown no inclination to change it.

From Councillor Mike Priestley, chair of TAITH: 'We have supported some major station improvement projects in recent years, and to bring forward a project that improves the sustainable transport infrastructure in the centre of our largest resort town is a priority for us. Replacing the current poor quality station with a new facility that provides a much improved passenger experience and contributes to regenerating part of the town centre, highlights the importance of transport infrastructure in our communities.'

The gates were painted a majestic black until ATW's painters got to them.

Ian Bullock, customer service director for Arriva Trains Wales, said: 'This work will bring a great improvement to the station environment, and we, along with our passengers welcome this additional investment.'

The full list of planned improvements: New station frontage; A new ticket office; New retail outlet; Upgraded toilets; Refurbished concourse and new seating; Refurbished doors, entrances and lighting; New car park area for up to 50 cars; Car and taxi drop off points; Upgraded customer information systems; improved walkways to the station car park.

The project will, we are told, be complete in 2014. The picture above shows how little remains of the once-grand station. The station's goods depot occupied the area to the right of the wall.

The area of former platforms 4 and 5 currently resembles a scrapyard.

Are the old roof girders in store for future re-use? We originally thought that a bus station would occupy this area, but now all we read is that 'We'll create a bus lay-by with two bus stops at the front of the station and as well as extra bicycle storage facilities.' It seems that its destiny now is car parking; let's hope it gets tidied up anyway.

Passengers at least know where they are as they walk from their trains in the rain.

Video Corner

The Rail Head Treatment Train at Bangor on 6 November, filmed by Eryl Crump who writes: 'Cast your eyes on this and turn the volume up towards the end of it! I filmed the train approaching from the Holyhead direction. It was stopped short of the signal box while the Virgin Voyager made off for Euston and then again at the signals short of the tunnel allowing me to catch up.'

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