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17 December 2012
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10 December 2012
Gobowen station Christmas Cafe
Pendolino no more
Princess Elizabeth visits Chester
RCTS meeting 17 December
Llandudno lifting - report by Peter Lloyd
Loco-hauled for Christmas
Tunnel cannabis farmers charged
03 December 2012
Christmas is coming
Past Times - with John Hobbs
A visit to Cardiff - report by Roly High
The 'Rheidol Road' Special - report by Denis Bates
Manchester Metrolink developments - pictures by Greg Mape
A Winter outing - report by Martin Evans
The Pannier Rambler - report by Richard Putley
Llandudno station before improvement - pictures by Roly High.
26 November 2012
End of the Pendolino Drag?
Looking back at the Dyserth branch - with John Hobbs
To Birmingham for the Model Railway show - with Roly High.
For Sale: Penmaenmawr station house
Coal to Penyffordd
Marches line resignalling
Bangor Repair Shed - last days
North Wales electrification?
MOSI and the Ordsall Chord - report by Charlie Hulme
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
This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.
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".
Monday 14 January Wrexham Railway Society 'Railway Quiz' Phil Davies
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.
Saturday 9 February Railway and Canal Historical Society "The Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal, its history and restoration" by Dr. Paul Hindle.
Monday 11 February Wrexham Railway Society 'The Wrexham - Bidston Line' David Rapson.
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 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
Monday 11 March Wrexham Railway Society 'A Circular Tour Of North Wales' John Hobbs
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
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.
Monday 8 April Wrexham Railway Society 'The Railways Of Scotland' Les Nixon
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
Sat - Sun 9 -10 February Llangollen Railway Days Out with Thomas
Fri - Sun 15-17 February Llangollen Railway Days Out with Thomas
23 March Llangollen Railway Diesel day
13 April Llangollen Railway Real Ale train evening
19-21 April Llangollen Railway Spring Steam gala with return of the steam Railmotor 93 and newly restored Auto Trailer 92
Thursday 9 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society “The Buckley Railway” Paul Davies
Saturday 11 May Llangollen Railway Murder Mystery
Thursday 16 May LCGB North West AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.
Sunday 19 May Llangollen Railway Teddy Bears Picnic
1-2 June Llangollen Railway Day Out with Thomas weekend
8 June Llangollen Railway Real Ale train evening
22-23 June Llangollen Railway Heritage Railcar Gala
Lapland (a.k.a Carrog) with Santa's sleigh situated in a suitable snowy backdrop for the popular photo sessions as 7822 Foxcote Manor arrives with a Santa Special from Llangollen on 1 December. More Santa reports below. Picture by George Jones.
Andrew Vinten writes: 'I was able to photograph 37 607 and 37 603 on 1Q14 on 17 December at Bidston, in conditions far from ideal. The train was running Crewe to Crewe via Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Bidston, and Warrington; its purpose was to test the signal strength of the NRN (National Radio Network) telephone system. The train was planned to run along the North Wales Coast on 18 December, visiting Holyhead, Llandudno and the Conway Branch.'
Driver training runs with the Driving Van Trailer continue. Peter Lloyd managed a shot before the light was gone, of 5Z53 Shrewsbury to Holyhead passing Llandudno Junction at 15:56 on 13 December, three minutes early with 82308 and 67 002.
221 117 passes Holywell Junction on 9 December as the 10:55 Holyhead - London (Tim Rogers). Details are becoming available of Network Rail's resignalling plans for the North Wales line which will replace the signalboxes with remote control from the signalling centre in Cardiff. There will also be track layout changes: the loops and siding at Holywell Junction (remnants of the former four-track main line) are to be removed leaving simple double track at this location. A new bidirectional loop is to laid at Mostyn, between the up and down lines, retaining the connection to the docks. The existing facing and trailing crossovers at Rockcliffe Hall are to be moved to Flint; it seems there are ideas of extra passenger trains which will terminate at Flint. The 'up fast' line through Rhyl will be reinstated and a trailing crossover installed at the west end. At Abergele the down platform line will be taken out and the platform built out to meet what is now the 'fast.'
The footbridge span at Llanfairfechan station, which has been away for refurbishment, was replaced in position over the night of 8-9 December. These pictures by Peter Basterfield show the work in progress (above) ...
... and the scene on 9 December with the returning empty stock from the previous day's Statesman Rail (not Compass as we originally stupidly wrote in the last issue) excursion to Edinburgh.
Christian van der Veen, a reader in The Netherlands, sends the picture above after reading the item in the last episode about the recent listing of track in Platforms 4 and 5 at Llandudno. Taken in Summer 1990, a train hauled by 20 169 and a sister loco is standing at Platform 4. Christian does not have any more information, but we suggest that this is one of the Derby - Llandudno workings that ran at Summer holiday period at that time. Can anyone deduce further details? Class 20s which hauled coal trains on weekdays would take trains to seaside destinations at weekends.
The train must have shunted into Platform 4 via a reversal in the carriage sidings, as the direct access from the main line to these platforms had been removed in the 1978 alterations. It would have shunted back into one of Platforms 1-3 to take up passengers for the return journey. The first carriage is of interest, as it is in 'Provincial' livery, a version of which became common on loco-hauled trains in North Wales a few years later when Regional Railways started its Class 37-hauled workings. However, the vehicle shown was in the TransPennine version of the livery, one of a fleetdisplaced from that service by introduction of 'Sprinter' railcars in the late 1980s.
Santa at Llangollen - report by George Jones
'Santa' Trains at the Llangollen Railway are halfway through the season now, with daily running due from 20 - 24 December. Trains have mostly been hauled by 7822 Foxcote Manor and 44806 with 3802 standing in on two occasions for 44806. The start of each day has seen two trains lined up in Llangollen station 'ready for the off.' On 1 December (above) 7822 awaits with the 11 am departure whilst 44806 is in charge of the 11.55 ready to shunt over into platform 1 when the first train has left, which eases loading of the passengers and the Santa team.
All part of the seasonal effort which brings a lot of cheer to the many passengers who come from within the Railway's 50-mile-radius catchment area, and beyond, to sample Santa by steam train. The results these events keep the show on the rails for another winter season and thanks are due to the many volunteers who participate in the many jobs needed to make it all happen.
Above, 44806 passes Berwyn with the 11am departure from Llangollen on 9 December.
The overall view from the bridge at Llangollen with 3802.
Evening view of Llangollen with 7822 at rest.
Details of the Santa specials are available on the Llangollen Railway website. On-line booking is available, and booking is essential. If you miss the Santa trains there are opportunities for a wintertime ride after Christmas Day when the Mince Pie Specials run between 26 December and 1 January. Just the thing to blow away the post-turkey blues and head for a short walk in the hills after a ride behind steam in the Dee Valley.
We have recently updated our Calendar of Events to include all planned special events at Llangollen throughout 2013.
On the Welsh Highland - with John Roobottom
On a cold, but glorious sunny day, Saturday 8 December, I took a trip with double-headed Ffestiniog locos Lyd, and Earl of Merioneth and a rake of Ffestiniog coaches from Porthmadog to Beddgelert on the Welsh Highland route.
Beddgelert station in sunlight is an excellent location with its dramatic backdrop.
I could not resist taking a picture of the Fairlie's firebox with its two separate fires. The short handled shovel - not much larger than a domestic fireplace shovel - seemed vital for the constricted area of the fireman's position.
It was pointed out to me that the station has the same gradient as the long haul up though the forest to the summit.
Advent on the Rhyl Miniature Railway - report by John Myers
During some quite reasonable weather on 16 December, I decided to have a look at this year's Santa Express Rhyl Miniature Railway trains running around Marine Lake. Besides the hourly booked workings that were very well loaded, the ever-helpful volunteers were responding also to ad hoc requirements and so running additional trains for those who had turned up informally.
As now happens on these occasions, the museum in the Albert Barnes Room was decorated in order to serve as a grotto and refreshments area and the cosmetically restored locomotive, No. 106 Billy, was not missed during the decorating process!
Classmate 105, Michael, was working all trains, formed of both open and closed coaching stock; as will be seen, a pair of headlights were positioned either side of the smokebox to assist with visibility on the later workings.
No. 102 Joan, the other working Barnes Atlantic, is at present undergoing an out-of-season overhaul and will be repainted before re-entering service in 2013. Once that work is complete, a further paint job is to be undertaken as part of an extensive cosmetic restoration of the other resident steam locomotive, No. 102, Railway Queen; at present, its tender is being overhauled in the workshop.
It was good also to see further progress on the chassis of a replica Bassett Lowke Little Giant 4-4-2 that is being constructed as a long-term project by one of the railway's principal volunteers; appropriately, RMR trains were powered by locomotives of this type between the line's opening in 1911 and the arrival of the replacement and locally-built Barnes locomotives in the 1920s.
There will be further Santa Express trains running on Sunday December 23rd and, next year, more children's entertainment in the form of a Teddy Bear's Picnic theme for the annual Spring Bank Holiday Gala event.
Past Times - with John Hobbs
Seeing the pictures at Bangor with the transition to Voyagers brought the following pictures to mind.
Above, 'Princess Coronation' Pacific 46254 City of Stoke-on-Trent arrives at Bangor with the 11.20 Euston to Holyhead on a rather damp 6 May 1964. The section with a Miniature Buffet car which formed the Euston to Workington section had been removed at Crewe.
The Pacific would have worked from Crewe where the horse box (behind the locomotive) would also have been attached with the loco. The train was combined with the 1.35pm from Manchester Exchange at Chester; the Llandudno portions of both trains were detached at Llandudno Junction and worked to Llandudno independently. As the service, on departure from London Euston, was a combined Workington / Llandudno / Holyhead service it did not carry the "Welshman" name at this time but the Restaurant Car ran through to Holyhead.
This turn was booked for an EE Type 4 (Class 40) diesel, but occasionally turned up with a Stanier Pacific, as in this case 46254 also worked this train on 2 May 1964 (above), in either case the locomotive returned to Crewe with the 19.35 Holyhead to Birmingham which conveyed a Travelling Post Office (TPO) to Crewe. In former days, before the advent of Class 40s, it was unheard of for a Pacific to do a return trip to Holyhead within 12 hours, the locomotive would return after a 10/12 hour layover at Holyhead. The ornate Egyptian-style tunnel mouth can be clearly seen in the picture together with Bangor No 1 Box and LNWR signals at the east end of the platform.
The return working of this train was the 11.00 am Holyhead to Bangor which called at all stations across Anglesey; this conveyed the Restaurant Car unadvertised. At Bangor it became the 12.50pm Bangor to London Euston with a portion from Llandudno. This service was often re-engined at Chester with an EE type 4. The train was even more complicated in the summer, conveying sections from Portmadoc, Pwllheli, the restaurant car from Holyhead, and the Llandudno portion.
The recent article on North Wales in the railway press mentioned the above working but was confused because the Restaurant Car came out of Holyhead to Bangor attached to a Manchester train where it was detached to await the coaches from Portmadoc and Pwllheli. The Down train on the other hand split at Chester in the Summer with the Holyhead portion including the RC and the Pwllheli and Portmadoc sections running fast to Penmaenmawr. The article also mentioned that postal sorting ceased on the coast after the year 1939 but of course the 19.35 Holyhead to Crewe and 2.19am(MX) - (Times varied) Crewe to Holyhead conveyed a TPO for many years into the 1970s.
LMS Class 5 4-6-0 44844 passes Bangor on 6 May 1964 on the fast line with a trainload of imported Irish cattle at about 5pm, with the 4.10pm Holyhead to York, a fast train which was, for obvious reasons, not to held up .
Talyllyn progress - based on a press release
2012 has to go down has a memorable year for the Talyllyn Railway, coping with flooding, poor weather and the Olympics, as well as locomotive shortages. But once more the railway, its staff, volunteers and society members have risen to the challenges presented, and the railway goes into 2013 with much to look forward to. Therefore it is good to report on several major items where significant progress has been made.
Unexpected repairs to the firebox on locomotive No.4 Edward Thomas meant that the railway faced the peak season three train service with only three operational steam locomotives. However, in tribute to high standards that exist on the Talyllyn, every train ran with steam power. That is not to say that at times it was a close-run thing, on 'Race the Train' day, which will be featured in an up-coming ITV documentary, locomotive No. 7 Tom Rolt broke a spring. However, in a time that a Formula One pit crew would have been proud of, the spring was replaced and the locomotive was ready for duty.
In September locomotive No.4’s boiler and firebox returned from Israel Newton & Sons’ boiler works, and the locomotive has been made ready for the Christmas services. Meanwhile work on No.6 Douglas is gathering pace, so that the railway should have five steam locomotives available for the coming year, with only No.3 Sir Haydn out of service as its boiler certificate has expired.
Having taken the decision to ‘out-source’ the rebuilding of saloon carriage No.21 (above) to Boston Lodge works, the work being funded as part of the railway’s Diamond Jubilee appeal, it was good to see the rebuilt carriage body delivered to Tywyn last September in a fetching pink undercoat. Work has since been proceeding on fitting out the carriage, and also in finishing the paintwork in the customary Talyllyn Cherry Red livery. Meanwhile, work on carriage No.22, where an extensive rebuild has been undertaken by volunteers, is also moving steadily forwards.
The winter of 2011/2 saw a major relaying of the section of track between Tywyn Wharf and Pendre stations, which was completed on schedule. At the same time a new storage facility has been built at Quarry Siding to store engineering and other rolling stock when not required. This was made possible by a generous legacy from the estate of long-time locomotive driver, Phil Guest.
This winter work has taken place on relaying between Dolgoch and Quarry Siding, with the next major permanent way project being the replaying of the ‘extension’ opened in 1976 from Abergynolwyn to Nant Gwernol. Work on these projects is being funded by a ‘Sleeper Appeal’ (see separate release).
There will be significant alterations in the timetables in 2013 following a review of services, which has been prompted by changing passenger numbers and factors such as new patterns of school holidays. This has led to an increase in the numbers of trains that will be run on occasions such as Easter and the May-Day Holiday week-ends when a full peak service will be operated. By contrast there will be reductions in services at times of low demand, including an experimental closure on Fridays between the Easter school holidays and the May Day Weekend, and variations in mid-week services on days of low or high demand.
Adult fares will be slightly increased for 2013, but the railway’s very successful maximum £2 fare for accompanied children will continue.
More on Liverpool Road and the Ordsall Chord
Further to our earlier item (26 November issue) about the planned new 'Ordsall Chord' line between Manchester and Salford, as shown in the Network Rail map above, and its effect on the historical Liverpool Road station site, the following statement from MOSI (Manchester Museum of Science and Industry), which occupies the site, has appears on the Manchester Confidential website:
MOSI supports the Northern Hub project and recognises the benefits that would derive from improving the connection between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations. However, MOSI will be objecting to Network Rail’s proposed alignment for the connection, the Ordsall Chord, as it will have a damaging effect on MOSI visitors, volunteers and income.
Our preference would be that the Ordsall Chord be delivered whilst preserving MOSI's heritage and cultural standing, maintaining its ability to run its popular steam train ride on its current Y-shaped configuration, and maintaining MOSI's access to the mainline. The proposed alignment does not deliver on any of these objectives. It will have a severe impact on MOSI’s visitors, its historic site, its day-to-day railway operations, its volunteers, its routine revenue generating activity, and its fund-raising ability related to its ambition to restore and interpret the MOSI story of where science met industry and the modern world began.
Unfortunately their intervention comes very late in the process, and seems unlikely to make any difference to what happens. Incidentally, since our previous item we have been told that the main line connection to the museum was actually disconnected some months ago, so there are unlikely to be any 'farewell specials.'
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