Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

11 February 2013

Last issue


RSS feed RSS

Link to this issue

Share this issue

News of updates

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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

57 307 Lady Penelope has emerged from Eastleigh works in the livery of its new operator.  So far, it is the only ex-Virgin Class 57/3 to retain its original nameplate. Well done to DRS, although it does look 'at odds' with the serious message carried on the body side. Maybe Lady P. now works for the BTP? Photomontage at Crewe by Mark Riley.

Unusual departure from Llangollen - report by George Jones

When Class 8F 2-8-0  48518 which had been received from Barry scrapyard, was dismantled at Llangollen a while back, the cab remained in store as the remaining relic of this loco, unusual as being one of the LNER built examples (Doncaster 1944).

On Friday 8 February the cab was retrieved from store and loaded up to be taken back to Barry where it is to be incorporated in an 8F rebuild project. The cab is seen above being loaded up prior to departure. The cabside lettering shows evidence of previous ambitions for rescue and restoration which were not achieved and the engine became part of the remaining 'Barry Ten', a collection of locomotives that were removed from Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry in 1990 when owner Dai Woodham retired; basically, they were the only ones which were left unsold after many others had been saved by preservationists.

Note by Charlie Hulme: the lettering on the cab side reminds us of the steam centre established by Peak Rail on the old Midland Railway station site at Buxton in the 1970s, and sadly closed again in the late 1980s when the society decided to concentrate on the Matlock - Rowsley line. (Possibly it was only the cab side that the Buxton people hoped to use.)  An 8F from Barry, 48624, was taken to Buxton in the 1981 to be restored. It was moved to the new site when Buxton closed, and after many years of work was returned to steam in 2009; currently it works on the Great Central Railway, wearing an incongruous maroon livery.

Speaking of Peak Rail Buxton, someone has put on YouTube a half-hour BBC 'open access' programme made by the volunteers there in 1985, which is very well worth watching. Little did they know that all their hard work was to come to nothing, even after a new bridge span had been installed with a grant from the Greater Manchester Council. A bottling plant for Buxton Mineral Water was built over much of the site, although leaving the platform and space for a possible small station. Recently the bottling has been re-located to a new site outside the town; Tesco had their corporate eyes on the site, but their plan seems to have been blocked.

Test train ...  in testing weather

An Ultrasonic Test Train powered by 37 423 Spirit of the Lakes covered our area from 4 - 6 February, and our hardy contributors went out to photograph it despite the wintry weather. Above, on 4 February, Martin Evans captured 37 423 on an Ironbridge Power Station via Shrewsbury to Chester then back to Shrewsbury track recording train at Rhosymedre (near Ruabon) taken just as hail was falling.

Next morning, 5 February Martin Evans found the train tucked into the siding at Shrewsbury before departing as train 3Q04. The schedule for the day was Shrewsbury 11:54, Abbey Foregate 12:00 - 12:05 (reverse), Wrexham General 12:43 - 12:51, Bidston siding 13:52 - 14:58 (reverse) Croes Newydd loop 15:37 - 16:37 (reverse), Chester 17:05 - 17:18, Helsby 18:51 - 19:06, Runcorn East 19:15 - 19:21 (reverse), Hooton 19:48 - 19:59 (reverse), Chester 20:22, Crewe 20:29.

Wrexham General (Karl Latham).

Buckley in a snowstorm (Mark Riley).

Driving Trailer 9714 in the rear at Buckley (Mark Riley).

Hope (Tim Rogers).

Coach 72630 (Tim Rogers). This vehicle, which is usually seen in such trains to provide additional brake force for the short train, is numbered in the electric multiple unit series; originally Mk2F loco-hauled coach 6094 it was one of the coaches converted in 1983-4 to run with Class 73 locos in the Gatwick Express 'Class 488' sets. These were replaced in the 2000s by newly-built EMU sets.

999606 is an Ultrasonic test coach which uses high-frequency sound waves to detect flaws in the rails. Note the unusual bogies: before conversion it was 62356, the Motor Brake Standard vehicle from Southern Region 4-CIG unit 1850. The nearest bogie in the picture carries extra fittings for the ultrasonic equipment.

Heswall (Andrew Vinten)

The train stabled in Bidston siding, which was re-laid some years ago. The siding stands on part of the formation which once went to Seacombe Junction from Bidston (Andrew Vinten).

Pouring rain at Buckley station as 3Q04 heads for Wrexham at 15:42. 37 423 is pushing. (Bob Greenhalgh).

Next day, 6 February, a simpler itinerary covered Crewe - Llandudno Junction - Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llandudno Junction - Crewe. Above, 9714 leads through Hargrave, with Beeston Castle on its hill in the distance (Stavros Lainas).

37 423 on the rear (Stavros Lainas)

Two pictures by Jack Bowley taken at Llandudno Junction on the evening of 6 February of 3Q04 Crewe - Crewe via Blaenau Ffestiniog test train reversing on the way back to Crewe. 9714 is the driving trailer that brought it in...

... and 37423 leading for Crewe.

Past Times at Rockcliffe Hall - with John Hobbs

The area around Rockcliffe Hall Signal Box, near Connahs Quay, has changed considerably since these pictures were taken in 1964; having disappeared under the approach roads to the Flintshire Bridge, the current box is some sort of portable cabin in a new location and is soon to be abolished, the coal-fired power station is also a thing of the past as are is the rolling stock and locomotives among other things. Above: LMS Class 5 4-6-0 45493 is going well as it passes Rockcliffe Hall with the 12 noon Manchester (Exchange) to Holyhead also conveying a Buffet Car on 28 April 1964. The Power Station forms a nice backdrop and seemed such a permanent structure at the time.

The view in the opposite direction is somewhat featureless as LMS class 5 4-6-0 44770 heads past the Box on the up line with the 12.10pm Bangor to Manchester(Exchange). Pylons and a substation are in the background where now embankments and a new power station feature; all this on 29 April 1964.

Better traction for the 12 noon Manchester (Exchange)to Holyhead with 46148 The Manchester Regiment on 30 April 1964, going well and on time, but watch out for tomorrow ...

LMS "Crab" 6P5F 2-6-0 42856, at full stretch running late and rolling all over the place as she passed, probably a substitute for a failure, but efforts to regain time were obviously in mind as she passes with the same train on 1 May 1964. The milepost, up home signal and ballast store all add to the scene while the Central Electricity Generating Board's shunting loco lurks by the signalbox.

1 May again, and today 44712 is in charge of the 12.10 pm from Bangor; a rake of empty wagons which have arrived from the Power Station for despatch to Mold Junction form the backdrop.

Cuidad de Cadiz - continued

As reported last week, 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. Dave Sallery's picture above gives a good idea of the plight of the vessel.

8 February ... still stranded. Fishing boat Mark Anthony in the foreground (Dave Sallery).

8 February saw sister ship Ville de Bordeaux arrive  at Mostyn to collect the winds which should have been taken by the Cuidad de Cadiz (Dave Sallery).

The Ville de Bordeaux in position for loading (Dave Sallery).

The next day, the Cuidad de Cadiz was finally freed and sailed for Holyhead, arriving at 07:50 on Sunday 10 February (picture above by M.Lloyd Davies.)  It will now undergo extensive underwater structural surveys to ensure it sustained no damage during the 11-day incident.

The Irish Ferries passenger vessel Dublin Swift heads past en route for Dublin (M.Lloyd Davies).

RCTS News - by Richard Neale

The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society meets again at the Town Crier opposite Chester railway station on Monday 18th February at 7.30 p.m. Duncan Law, Senior Programme Development Manager, Network Rail will talk on the Northern Hub - in effect outlining the plans for the railway network in North West England. Visitors are more than welcome to attend this meeting but hopefully they would each contribute a £2 voluntary donation.  Such donations enable the Society to continue its regularity of such meetings. Further inquiries about this meeting can be made by telephoning 0151 - 608 4296.

As our January meeting was postponed, it should have been the Branch AGM, it will now be necessary for a brief business meeting to be conducted following  the end of Duncan Law's talk.

More from MOSI

While basking in the glory of having our video mentioned in RAIL magazine, let's take another look at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry where 47 500, damaged in the derailment at Ordsall Lane,  has spent another week waiting to be taken away to face an uncertain future. A visit by Vince Chadwick (who as a volunteer on the Museum railway is authorise to be in non-public areas)  8 February revealed that the loco had been shunted from its former easily-viewed position to a point adjacent to the Network Rail gate, to make room for some shunting operations.

A view of the other side of the loco from that previously shown here shows that the fire damage is greater. Note how the burning off of the paint has revealed the position of the former nameplate.

The location of the piping under the body seems to make it vulnerable to contact with the bogie in a derailment. Departure of 47 500 from the museum is expected imminently.

Other news is that the saddle-tank Agecroft No. 1 which formerly shunted at Agecroft Power Station was taken away by road on 8 February for a visit to the Ribble Steam Railway. Note the replica Liverpool and Manchester coaches (built on BR wagon underframes) being used as 'reach wagons' for the loading movement. Note: Steam train rides using these vehicles will be running at weekends from 16 February to 31 March, 12:00 to 16:00. Fare is £2 for adults, £1 for concessions. The museum also runs steam driving courses using this loco: details on the website. The Museum is full of interest, and easily reached by the No.2 free Metroshuttle bus from Oxford Road station.

The Ribble Steam Railway at Preston is well worth a visit; it has a very interesting museum, and the running line is very well suited to photography, especially the street-running section over the docks swing bridge. There is a Steam Gala on 16-17 February featuring four locos in steam, and a demonstration freight train. Wednesday 20 February is a 'Diesel Railbus Day.'

Wrexham Police appeal

British Transport Police (BTP) officers investigating the theft of railway equipment near Wrexham are appealing for witnesses to come forward. Investigators are particularly keen to trace a dog owner who was in the area around the time the offence took place on Tuesday, 29 January.

Investigating officer PC Kirk Smith said: “Between 8pm and 10pm, a lineside storage unit near Gwersyllt rail station was broken into and the thieves made off with railway equipment worth around £18,000. 'The suspects were disturbed when railway staff arrived at the unit around 10pm, and subsequently made off across a field which backs on to a housing estate between Bryn Alyn School and Top Road ... The irony is that the stolen items are of no real value to anyone outside the railway industry, yet the cost to replace them is extremely high. In fact, the thieves will struggle to get any money at all, as dealers are highly unlikely to accept them.'

PC Smith said officers were anxious to trace a man who was walking an Alsatian dog around 10pm near the storage unit, which is situated around half a mile north of Gwersyllt station, adjacent to Mold Road. If you were in the area between 8pm and 10pm on Tuesday, 29 January, or have any information that could assist police with their enquiries, contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 quoting background log B2/WQA of 05/02/2013. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Duke of Lancaster (non-)Developments

An article in the Daily Post describes how Flintshire Council has rejected claims it has prevented the Duke of Lancaster, the old British Railways ferry that travellers see from the Coast line trains, from being brought back into use because of a weight restriction on a nearby railway bridge. The Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society (DOLAS), which has more than 1,000 members keen to transform the abandoned cruise liner in Mostyn into a tourist attraction, has accused Flintshire council of using the bridge’s alleged 10 tonne restriction as a barrier to any potential development because emergency services would not be able to access it.

In a report – entitled Llanerch y mor Final Report – provided by the local authority to the group, as well as parties interested in the development of the ship, it states: 'The only options for providing a vehicular access to the area north of the railway line is a new railway bridge or new road from the west. The former could cost several millions (£5-7m).'

But DOLAS says the bridge, owned by Network Rail, can take vehicles weighing up to 24 tonnes. In email correspondence with the group’s public relations officer Ashley Gardner, a community relations manager at Network Rail states: 'I can confirm that the bridge is able to carry vehicles with a weight of up to 24 tonnes, however, this prescription is based on usage guidelines that must be adhered to for safe passage. With the interest of safety in mind, I should stress that it may not be practical to rely on the usage of this bridge for emergency vehicles, although there is no formal objection to them doing so. To explain, we can not guarantee that the bridge will be maintained to a degree that is safe for passage of emergency vehicles. In addition, the usage guidelines for bridge 67a state that vehicles weighing between 10 and 24 tonnes must travel at a slow speed and remain central to the bridge. As such, these guidelines may cause problems in an actual emergency situation.'

Ashley says the ability of the bridge to cater for 24 tonne vehicles 'exposes the false claims of the council'. She added: 'The local authority have claimed for over thirty years that the Glan y Don railway bridge is not strong enough to carry fire engines which has had a massive impact on the development of the funship site.'

A council spokesman responded: 'Flintshire County Council does not own the bridge in question. It is the property of Network Rail, who state that it has a weight restriction of 10 tons. Flintshire County Council has never made any claims regarding the ability of the bridge to carry fire engines or other large vehicles. Anyone wishing to develop the site will need to establish appropriate means of access. This will require them, among other things, to discuss with Network Rail what level of use can safely be made of the bridge.'

North Wales Coast home page Archive Previous Notice Board