Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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. 

Wednesday 6 March
Shrewsbury-Chester Rail 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'  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

Snowy half-term scene at Berwyn, Llangollen Railway, 13 February. Picture by Peter Dickinson.

Flasks ahoy!

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 Greenhalgh).

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 local branch.

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 sure...

... 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 Railway".

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 place.

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.

Picture assortment

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).

About tampers

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 'plain line.'

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 UK website has a page with technical details, a drawing, and an interesting video showing the action of the machine.

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