25 February 2013
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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.
Wednesday 6 March
Users Association Public Meeting starting at 19:30 St Mary’s
Church Social Club, Regent St, Wrexham when the subject will be: Track
re-doubling, opportunities after 2015. The speaker will be Mr Michael
Bagshaw, Commercial Director, Arriva Trains Wales. Followed by a
Question and Answer session. Visitors are most welcome to attend.
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'
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
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.
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
Snowy half-term scene at Berwyn, Llangollen Railway, 13 February.
Picture by Peter Dickinson.
No sooner had we stated that the flask train become an unusual event,
than it immediately became fairly common again. Above, on Thursday 21
February 37 611 and 37 612 pass Bangor with three wagons
at 15:32 (Picture by Geraint Jones)
... and Beeches Farm bridge at 16:26 (Bob
25 February saw another working, this time with 37 612 and 37 667, seen above passing Llandudno
Junction, with a friendly wave for us from the cab. Picture by Peter Lloyd.
RCTS appoints Honorary President - report by Richard Neale
At the recent meeting of the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society
held at the Town Crier in Chester on 18th February Mr Edgar Richards of
Bebington (on the left in our picture by Geoff Morris) was presented with a
certificate to confirm his appointment as Honorary President of the
Mr Richards has been a society member since 1942 and is a popular and
valued speaker at railway meetings across Merseyside, West Cheshire and
adjacent areas of North Wales. As well as having once served on
the local branch committee, then assisting with meetings in Birkenhead,
he was also the author of an RCTS publication (now out of print)
on diesel shunting locomotives.
Mr Gordon Davies, presently the RCTS National Chairman and a former
local branch officer, who lives in Broughton, presented Mr Richards
with his certificate. Visit the
branch website for full information about membership and
activities. (The RCTS is one of the oldest railway societies
still in existence, having been founded in 1928.)
Locos at Crewe - report by Martin Evans
I called at Crewe station on 20 February and, incredibly, within two
minutes of arriving there was a flurry of activity on the loco/freight
front. Above, Freightliner loco 70 008
has arrived at Platform 8 and waits to leave the station light-engine.
Network Rail's HST locos 43 013
and 43 014 leave Crewe for the
North West with the track measurement train.
GBRf 66 703 Doncaster PSB 1981-2002 brings the
Tyne Dock to Ironbridge Power station biomass train, 6M09, through the
station. We understand this train runs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays via
Hebden Bridge, Blackburn and Wigan North Western and is 'booked' to
pass through Crewe station at 13:13: can anyone confirm?
DRS 'Thunderbird' 57 307
Lady Penelope waits for trouble in its siding, as seen from Platform
11. [As we have mentioned, this is now the only Class 57/3 to retain a
'Thunderbirds' name now that all have been passed on by Virgin to other
companies, including the four previously used by Arriva which have been
sold (minus their Dellner couplers) to West Coast Railway Company.]
Colas calamities - report by Mark Riley
On 6 February Colas loco 66 849
developed problems near Hellifield whilst working log train 6J37
Carlisle to Chirk Kronospan, and was rescued with its train by DB
Schenker 66 076 send from Warrington. Having made it to Kronospan, 66
849 was declared a failure and was rescued by DRS 47 818, sent from Crewe on 7
February. The pair are seen departing Chirk at 16:10 with 0Z47 Chirk -
Rugby. The empty wagons were left behind. What happened next we are not
... but more problems developed on 18 February, as these two pictures
illustrate. Above, in the late afternoon, 47 501 Craftsman approaches Gobowen with
failed Colas 56 094
dead-in-train, working as 6Z52 Chirk (Kronospan) - Gloucester. It was
reported that 56 094 had suffered flat batteries, and 47 501 was
summoned from Crewe earlier in the afternoon to rescue the failed 56
and the load of empty timber carriers.
All clear through Gobowen, but as I submit this report on 24 February,
news is that 56 094 failed again at Chirk a few days later with flat
batteries - again! - and was still at Chirk awaiting yet another rescue.
To the Vale of Rheidol - report by Chris Magner
(Picture above by Denis Bates:
the 2 p.m. from Aberystwyth at Capel Bangor on 16 February)
I took the family from Shrewsbury to Devil's Bridge on Tuesday 19
February. The timekeeping in both directions (09:27 from
Shrewsbury and 17:30 from Aberystwyth) on the Cambrian main line
was very good, waiting time at several stops. The 158s used were
clean, the staff smart including
the trolley staff and there was a train cleaning person aboard west of
Machynlleth. All the stations along the line including Dyfi
Junction are in good shape too. The station café is still
open at Machynlleth.
Aberystwyth Station is still an attractive one but needs a coat of
paint on the decorative ironwork. On the Vale of Rheidol, loco
No.8 pulled a 4-coach set plus a van which had the heating equipment.
This day was the best supported of the half-term weeks and a coach
party travelled up to Devils Bridge where the coach met them for their
onward journey. This year was the first time since the 1930s that
services have in February; staff members told me there had been a
reasonable number of passengers for the two-week half-term service
considering the time of the year although numbers varied according to
the weather. It was good to see the valley in the February
sunshine; unfortunately there was very little advertising for the
service in the town.
A lot of effort is being put in by the volunteers at some of the
intermediate stations. Capel Bangor is coming on well. Just
after Rheidol Falls Halt the plaque is still there on the rock
face in memory of Oliver Veltom, British Railways Oswestry Area
Manager in the 1950s and 1960s who so loved and developed the Vale of
Rheidol that Cambrian railwaymen called the line "Veltom's own
Guard and Talyllyn volunteer Will Smith is the new promotions officer
for the line. Regular services re-start on 26 Match: see the Railway's
website for full details.
(Picture above by Denis Bates:
the 2 p.m. from Aberystwyth on the flat between Glanyrafon and
Capel Bangor, 16 February)
Past Times with John Hobbs: Bangor and Holyhead
On 1 July 1964, I went to Afon Wen. On the way back I 'fell over' 46152 Kings Dragoon Guardsman at Bangor
(above) on the 5.02 pm Llandudno Junction to Holyhead. Trying to
find a 'Royal Scot' was hard enough, but to come across a passenger
train with one on the front was compelling, so I went off to Holyhead
'all stations'. No tea for me at home that night! 46152 was supposedly
the original Royal Scot as it number was exchanged with the no.
6100, for a promotional visit to the USA; of course 46152 (or 6100 if
you like) as we see here had since been rebuilt.
As we sauntered off all stations to Holyhead, with a light load of
three coaches, I took the opportunity to photograph the entrance
to the Britannia Bridge and the much-praised lions, a scene that has
changed considerably since with the new bridge and road deck now in
46152 runs to the shed after arrival in Holyhead; a 'Jinty' 0-6-0T
shunter lurks under the road bridge.
46148 The Manchester Regiment basks in
the evening sunlight at Holyhead shed, on the same evening, 1 July 1964.
'Patriot' 45530 Sir Frank Ree arrives at
Holyhead with freight for Ireland, 1 July 1964; note the short-armed
LNWR signal which survived for many years at Holyhead.
What luck: all of Holyhead's Class 7 power in the same place at the
same time, in steam and in the sunshine! I had to come home with an
English Electric Type 4 diesel on the 'Mail Bach', 1G47 7.35 pm
Holyhead to Birmingham (New Street) arriving in Prestatyn at 10.11 pm.
As I said before, no tea that night, but what good luck.
Snow returns to North Wales: 158 827
calls at Ruabon, 13 February. Picture by Peter Dickinson.
Bob Greenhalgh writes:
Saturday 16 February saw me having a trip on the 'Winter Cumbrian
Mountain Express' run by the Railway
Touring Company. I joined the train at Crewe with 86 259 Les Ross in charge as far as
Carnforth. Here 60009 Union of South Africa took over
for the run to Carlisle via Shap. Greyrigg summit was breasted at 50mph
and Shap summit at 43mph. It was an excellent performance.
'87 002 Royal Sovereign was coupled to the
stock whilst it was stabled at Carlisle to provide power for the
heating. The return was over the Settle & Carlisle and was a more
sedate journey. 86259 took over again at Lostock Junction for the
return to Crewe and beyond. A fantastic day out and excellent value for
money. On board the stewards and staff were first rate.'
[We hear that 87 002 will possibly be off to join some of its sisters
in Bulgaria, as its UK owners cannot find enough work to justify the
cost of the new GSM-R radio communications.]
As this picture by George Jones,
shows, the former LNWR warehouse opposite Chester station, damaged by
fire in December 2010, is now a pile of bricks; only the fire escape
remains for the moment.
Bristol Temple Meads on 15 February: 97 304 on the rear of a Network
Rail measurement train, with 97 302 at the other end (Richard Putley).
Greg Mape has been
venturing a long way from North Wales. Above, on 17 February: above,
321 446 stands at the end of the 16-mile single track Southminster
branch in Essex.
Same class, different company: 321 414
stands at St Albans Abbey, the end of the branch from Watford Junction.
There are proposals to replace the trains on this line by trams (Greg Mape).
On 3 February Jack Bowley photographed Colas Rail tamper DR73935 parked up at Llandudno
Junction station which was doing night shifts on the junction pointwork
during the course of the weekend. Colas has 12 of these Passer Unimat
08-4x4/4S RT Switch and Crossing Tampers in its fleet; they are
equipped for packing the ballast under the sleepers of pointwork at
junctions, etc., a more intricate task than the same work on ordinary
A sister machine, DR73942
passing through Chester station at 09:15 on 23 February from the
Holyhead / Wrexham lines. Colas certainly keep their equipment in smart
external condition. For more about them, the Plasser
website has a page with technical details, a drawing, and an
interesting video showing the action of the machine.
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