04 February 2013
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the current list visit our Calendar.
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
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
Society 'A Circular Tour Of North Wales'
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
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
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
Group Richard Kells : Quiz and informal evening
Monday 29 April RCTS Chester
Even Further Down Under: New Zealand In 2011 & 2012 By Geoff Morris.
Thursday 9 May Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society “The Buckley Railway” Paul
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
150 245 at Shotton high
level, 2 February. Picture by Tim
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
On the left is Seatruck Pace,
a roll-on roll-off ferry, ready to depart for Esbjerg.
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