Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

04 February 2013

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.
February 2013

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.

Sat - Sun 9 -10 February Llangollen Railway Days Out with Thomas

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

Fri - Sun 15-17 February Llangollen Railway Days Out with Thomas

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 "German Narrow Gauge Steam" a colour slide presentation by John Owen.

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"

23 March  Llangollen Railway Diesel day

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.

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

13 April  Llangollen Railway Real Ale train evening

Monday 15 April RCTS Chester Meeting has been moved to 29 April ( see below)

Thursday 18 April LCGB North West John Sloane 'Steam Sheds and Diesel Depots'

19-21 April Llangollen Railway  Spring Steam gala with return of the steam Railmotor 93 and newly restored Auto Trailer 92

Thursday 25 April Merseyside Railway History Group Richard Kells : Quiz and informal evening

Monday 29 April RCTS Chester Even Further Down Under: New Zealand In 2011 & 2012 By Geoff Morris.

May 2013

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

June 2013

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

150 245 at Shotton high level, 2 February. Picture by Tim Rogers.

Rugby Saturday

Saturday 2 February saw Wales playing Ireland at Rugby Union in Cardiff, and the 'premier service' train was brought out for a 06:21 1V41 Holyhead - Cardiff Central and 18:21 return. Driving Van Trailer 82306 lead the train southbound, seen above in the morning light at Shotton by Tim Rogers.

67 002 propelling through Shotton (Tim Rogers). Note that with the new Mk3 set of coaches, the first class / restaurant car is not left behind on these occasions. An impressive train.

Sunshine as the train passes Whitchurch at 08:59 (Stavros Lainas). Wales lost by 22 points to 30.

Wrexham Railway Society, 11 February - by George Jones

The meeting in Wrexham on Monday 11 February features David Rapson from Connah's Quay as the speaker with a review of the route of what is today known as the Borderlands Line - Wrexham to Bidston.

Starting at the former Merseyside terminus at Seacombe, David promises us a pictorial review of the route with 169 assorted slides ranging from archive views from the 1930s through to the present day. An informative evening about a local line which still provides an hourly passenger service and freight trains through to Shotton and Penyffordd whilst maintaining some of its origins as the disconnected outpost of the LNER in North East Wales. Not for nothing is the line still referred to by the older members of the community as the 'GC line' even if rationalisation has swept away its former termini which are remembered with affection by many. The venue as always is St Mary's Social Club, Regent St, Wrexham - doors open 19:00 and business starts at 19:45. Visitors are welcome.

The picture above, by the late Jim Peden, shows 82020 a BR standard Class 3 tank engine. awaiting departure at Seacombe station; the Wallasey ferry terminal tower is a recognisable landmark in the background. It might be said that the tower is the only surrounding building in the photo to have survived,  as the station was swept away following closure and the Ferry Hotel seen rising to the left also succumbed to demolition. Today on the station site is a block of flats.  To my regret I never travelled from Seacombe station although the rickety nature of the very basic facilities was always a wonder to me on visits to Wallasey as a child.

Freight pictorial

Above, train 6J37, Carlisle - Chirk logs with 56 094 providing excessive (and unfortunate) "clag" on the West Coast Main Line south of Penrith on Saturday 2 February. Picture by Ian Pilkington. The blue wagons are a new batch of converted Cargowaggon vans now on lease to Kronospan.

66 141 approaching Gobowen on 29 January with the Llanwern to Shotton steel working, running some 6 hours late.

Better weather on 2 February, Tim Rogers photographed 66 250 passing Shotton High Level with 6V75 09:30 Dee March Junction to Margam steel empties.  The 'no cycling' sign refers to the path down to the low-level station, although cycling along the track is also not advisable.

The train includes a number of Netherlands-registered 'IHA' wagons leased from GE Rail Services; this is 37 84 4667 127-3. The type is registered for Channel Tunnel use, and they have been used on such workings in the past.

Diesel dawn - notes by Ken Robinson

This picture was given to me recently by a friend/neighbour Elwyn Ll. Williams who is shown near the front with his co-driver (nearest the engine) who I believe to be R J Owen 'Llangefni'? The photograph was taken at Llandudno Junction yard during driver training on English Electric type 4s (later Class 40) in October 1959. The other staff are Holyhead men ready to take over. Elwyn, who was then a fireman at The Junction, started working there in 1946 aged just 14 but did not last long on the railway after this date. Like many other railwaymen in the early 1960s he found work in the Power Station at Trawsfynydd (he was brought up in Llan Ffestiniog). His name can be found in 'Staff Records' on the excellent 6G website. He is 80 years old by now and in general good health, and loves talking about his time on the railway.

Ordsall Lane mishap: the sequel - report by Charlie Hulme

As we reported previously, 47 500, the locomotive involved in the derailment and fire at Ordsall Lane, Salford on 23 January was re-railed and placed on the nearby siding leading to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, and later hauled by the museum's battery loco into the museum site itself, the former Liverpool Road station. Hearing that it was still there on 23 January, I decided to visit the museum and take a look - and as can be seen, I was not the only one. The location is the oldest part of the station; on the left is the goods warehouse of 1830, and on the right the original departure platform and canopy. Looming behind, as it now does on most pictures of Manchester, is the 168-metre Beetham Tower completed in 2006 on the site of a disused railway viaduct.

The loco is to leave the museum on a road trailer, a procedure which involved moving it through the Power Hall, the red brick building in the background of the picture. To do this, some of the exhibits in there will need to be moved; the movement was to have occurred on Monday 4 February but we understand that it has been postponed

The location allowed those interested to have a very close look at the fire damage, and the mechanisms of the Class 47 bogie. The square box at the top contained the button to set off the carbon-dioxide fire extinguishers. To the right is the auxiliary fuel tank, which replaced the water tank for the steam-heat boiler when locos were no longer needed to work with steam-heated carriages.

The gauge on this tank shows 'full' and the tank itself appears to be intact.

The bare metal under the cab is (reportedly) the result of the cutting required to release the loco from the adjacent coach which had become 'buffer-locked' with it as a result of the derailment.  The Managing Director of First TransPennine Express, Mr Donovan, has thoughtfully placed a video on YouTube to apologise to passengers for the disruption, which includes some views of the scene after the derailment showing 47 500 at the rear of the train, derailed on all wheels.

Above, the link from the museum to the Network Rail line, looking towards Ordsall Lane. The new Ordsall Chord line will run at right angles, and at a slightly greater height, across where the pointwork lies in the centre of the picture.

In the first version of last week's report we referred to the train having come from the 'Alstom wheel lathe' at Ardwick. Eddie Knorn writes to remind us that the equipment in question belongs to Siemens, part of the TransPennine Express depot.  There is another wheel lathe, run by Alstom in a shed located across the line from Alstom's Longsight depot and adjacent to the 'International Depot' shed (remember 'Le Eurostar habite ici' sign which once adorned it?) which is out of use, although it was used around seven years ago to commission each Class 185 unit upon delivery from Germany. The lathe has been in regular use, though, re-profiling worn train wheels for Northern Rail and Virgin Trains, although some of its Northern Rail duties will pass to a reconditioned lathe at Allerton depot which has recently been taken over by Northern.

Eddie adds a reminiscence of 47 500 as Great Western: ' I recall the excitement when it was named in March 1979 as there was mention of the event on BBC national radio.  Referring back to a copy of Modern Railways of that time, the 125th Anniversary of the station opening was celebrated with both the naming of 47 500 and a steam hauled railtour, headed by a GWR 'King' Class loco. This
was (I think) the first steam-hauled train to depart a London terminus for some time. The magazine mentioned that the steam haulage did not go to plan, and a grubby 47 rescued the tour, At least some dignity was restored when the grubby 47 was taken off in the Old Oak area and shiny 47 500
brought the special train back to Paddington. Personally, I always preferred 500 in shiny blue to the contrived green livery applied in 1985 as part of the Western Region's GWR 150th anniversary celebrations.'

The nameplates were also changed in 1985, the British Rail 'corporate' versions replaced by new ones in the Great Western Railway's lettering style. These plates were removed in 1991,  re-appearing (probably as a replica) in 2005 on Riviera Trains loco 47 815. See the Class 47 website for some pictures.

New season at Llangollen - report by George Jones

The new season at Llangollen Railway opened on Saturday 2 February with a diesel railcar service to Glyndyfrdwy operated by the class 104 unit. Departing Llangollen on a revised timetable at 11:15 the train terminated at Glyndyfwrdwy whilst attention to the landslip west of the station is awaited. Contractors' estimates for the repair are to hand and a decision is awaited as to the response to an insurance claim. The picture above shows M50454 / M50528 terminated in the down platform at Glyndyfrdwy awaiting return at 12:10. On a blue-sky day the run down the line allowed for wide vistas of the Dee valley to be obtained from the all-round view on the diesel unit whilst the leaves are off the trees. Subsequent departures are at 13:15 and 15: 15 for the shortened ride pending a reopening to Carrog.

On Sunday 3 February the first steam service of the year operated with BR Standard 4 80072 in charge with similar timings. 80072 is seen above running round at Llangollen after a return with the first train.The loco is due to make a visit to the North Norfolk railway at Sheringham and also a guest appearance at the West Somerset Railway before settling down as a regular performer at Llangollen this summer.

Meanwhile arrangements are in hand for the first of the Day Out With Thomas event, starting on 9/10 February when the star attraction as No.1 will be a reworking of the 0-6-0 saddle tank Jessie appearing as a side tank, a role it has adopted on a previous occasion. In this new role as Thomas the engine will be in demand this season with continental visits already booked assuring appearances in Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium as part of the international appeal of the stories promoted by copyright holders Hit Entertainment.

Freight depots: Network Rail changes its mind

Back in November Network Rail published a consultation on a plan to take over a lot of freight sidings around the country which has passed to EWS at privatisation in 1997. The idea was that they could be made available for use by other companies; Llandudno Junction sidings and freight depot were among the sites listed for possible transfer. However, we now read that even though 'There was strong support from many consultees for the general principle of the acquisition and it is clear that there is a desire to improve transparency on matters such as access to sites' Network Rail have 'have decided not to proceed with the proposal as consulted on.'

All the replies to the consultation can be found on the Network Rail website, and make interesting reading. DRS, for example, comment that 'EWS originally took over the yards at privatisation. Many of which were in workable condition. EWS did not invest in maintaining a lot of the yards and
as such many/part became dilapidated to the extent that they are no longer fit for traffic e.g. Montrose and many other yards around the country, which has been proven to be a block to other Freight Operating Companies (FOCs) operating traffic.' However, 'The proposed acquisition effectively provides DB Schenker with funding to invest in hand-picked yards and facilities that other parties have had no opportunity to buy and invest in. DB Schenker receive this money and can invest, meanwhile the rest of the FOCs and End Users are expected to pay for any investment to use
facilities. This surely is unfair competition and could see it liable to referral to the Office of Fair Trading?' One gets the impression that the proposal was not fully thought out...

Manchester Oxford Road improvements planned

Passengers on North Wales - Manchester trains will know that at Manchester Oxford Road station (seen above on a sunny day in 2004) they are the only ones which now normally arrive at Platform 3, which can only be left by the rather steep steps to the footbridge. Trains to North Wales call at Platform 2 which also has the same access problems. Try getting a bike over there!

The station is a listing building of historic interest,  Network Rail have applied for Listed Building Consent to refurbish the disused lifts and subway to allow step-free access to Platforms 2 and 3. The documents and plans for this are all available online on the Manchester Council Planning website. This proposal was put in the 'Access for All' stations programme a few years ago but nothing happened.

Let's hope it does this time: such a busy station should be properly accessible.

Broken Rail problems

The picture above shows the broken rail discovered at Llysfaen on Friday 25 January and caused major delays that evening. Single-line working was introduced between Rhyl and Llandudno Junction until the break could be repaired. This could have been a lot worse, as the train following would have passed over it at 85 mph, but instead only the front bogie of the following train ran over it at low speed after being asked by the signaller at Abergele to examine the line.

It can be seen that the failure as occurred at a welded joint. It has to be said that in these days of ultrasonic testing such breaks in service are very rare. 

Crewe scenes - by Martin Evans

Some views taken at Crewe on 28 January. Above, on arriving at Crewe I noted three 37s between platforms 11 and 12 - 37 603 / 37 607 / 37 423, within a few minutes they moved off to Gresty Bridge depot.

Stabled was 57 309  Pride of Crewe which has recently been re-liveried into the DRS house colours.

Surprisingly, later Chiltern Railways 'bubble car'  121 020 appeared which was undertaking route learning / driver training duties between Crewe and Tyseley for a few days.

As a contrast to the 'bubble car' here is a 'dog box':  Class 153 unit 153 383 ready to depart on a service to Derby.

Marine mishap - pictures by Roly High

The Ciudad de Cadiz, one of the ships which carry  Airbus 380 airliner wings, manufactured at Hawarden, from Mostyn to France, ran aground at 13:45 on Wednesday 30 January in gusty conditions on the Dee Estuary whilst she was waiting to dock at Mostyn. All crew are reported to be safe, and still aboard, and the ships position has been secured.  She is seen above waiting for 2 February's  high tide for another attempt to re-float her, which failed - apparently another attempt is planned for 9 February.

On the left is Seatruck Pace, a roll-on roll-off ferry, ready to depart for Esbjerg.

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