05 August 2013
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8-11 August Llangollen
Railway Day Out With Thomas
Friday/Saturday 9 - 10 August Talyllyn Railway
Saturday 17 August Steam on the
Coast Vintage Trains 'The Welsh
Dragon' Tyseley - Llandudno Junction and return. Loco 5043. Times: Outward
Saturday 17 August Excursion NENTA Train tours:
Llandudno & Ffestiniog Explorer Norwich - Blaenau Ffestiniog (fully
booked). Traction: WCRC 47 /57.
Sunday 18 August Steam on the Coast
Railway Touring Company 'North Wales
Coast Express' Crewe - Holyhead, steam-hauled Manchester Piccadilly -
Altrincham - Chester - Holyhead and return. Note change of route. Times: Outward
Tuesday 20 August Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh
Preston-Frodsham-Llandudno Jc -Blaenau Ffestiniog and return. Loco
45305 or 61994. Times: Outward
Thursday 22 August Talyllyn Railway
Children's 'Duncan' Day
Saturday 24 August Excursion Compass Tours
Perth - Holyhead. Traction: WCRC diesels.
Saturday 24 August Wirral 0
Gauge Group Open Day, Unit 7, The Odyssey Centre,
Birkenhead CH41 1HB Amwerican model trains running 13:00 to
17:00. Admission £2 - ample free parking. Nearest Station
Contact 0151 653 0637or j.elliott37[at]sky.com for more
30-31 August and 1 September Llangollen Railway
Sunday 1 September Steam on the Coast
Railway Touring Company
'North Wales Coast Express' steam-hauled Manchester
Piccadilly - Altrincham - Chester - Holyhead and return. Note, does not
start from Crewe due to engineering works.
Tuesday 3 September Steam on the
Coast Railway Touring Company 'The
Preston - Frodsham - Llandudno Jc - Blaenau Ffestiniog and
45305 or 61994.
Friday 6 September Clwyd Railway
Circle Larry Davies '1962, A year of so much change'
Major changes were about to happen on the national network; Larry
shares his observations with us.
Sunday 8 September Steam on the Coast
Railway Touring Company
'North Wales Coast Express' steam-hauled Liverpool - Chester - Holyhead
and return. Note change of route.
Wednesday 11 September Excursion Mid-Cheshire Rail Users Association
Settle & Carlisle Express
Scenic Railtour. Outward journey
via the Settle & Carlisle Railway, a stopover in Carlisle and
returning via the Cumbrian Coast line. This year the train starts at
Hooton, then picks
up at Chester, most stations on the Mid Cheshire Line, Stockport and
Reddish South. As
usual, there are reserved seats, a buffet car, trolley service and a
MCRUA detailed route description.
Saturday 14 September Llangollen
Railway Murder Mystery evening
Saturday 21 September Llangollen
Railway Diesel Day
28 September Community Rail
Festival at Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog in conjunction with
the Community rail awards.
Friday 4 October Clwyd Railway
Ian Mainprize 'Narrow Gauge Railways of the Harz
Mountains' The talk
comprises a section by section description of the narrow-gauge system,
each section being illustrated by a map followed by photographs taken
by Ian during the early 1990's. The history, infrastructure, rolling
stock and locomotives are covered, and the railways are placed in
context with regard to the history, geography and people of the area.
Saturday 5 October Steam at Chester
West Coast Railway Company
Borders Steam Special.' Cleethorpes - Shrewsbury and return.
Steam-hauled Crewe - Chester - Shrewsbury - Whitchurch - Crewe by
44932, 45699, 46115, or 48151.
12 October Llangollen
Railway Real Ale Train evening
Saturday 19 October Steam at Chester
West Coast Railway Company
'The Cheshireman' Cleethorpes - Chester. Steam-hauled by 70013:
Cleethorpes - Doncaster - Sheffield - Altrincham - Chester - Doncaster.
19-20 October Llangollen
Railway Days Out with Thomas
26-27 October Llangollen
Railway Days Out with Thomas
31 Oct Llangollen
Railway Ghost Train evening
Friday 1 November Clwyd Railway
Circle Paul Davies 'The Buckley Railway and the
Industries it served' The talk celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the
Saturday 2 November Llangollen
Railway Murder Mystery evening
Saturday 2 November Wirral
Unit 7, The Odyssey Centre, Corporation Road, Birkenhead CH41 1HB
British model trains running 13:00 to 17:00. Admission £2 - ample
free parking. Nearest Station Birkenhead Park. Contact 0151 653 0637 or
j.elliott37[at]sky.com for more information.
Sunday 3 November Llangollen
Railway Ride the Rocket evening
9-10 November Llangollen
Railway Remembrance Weekend
30 November Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
1 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
Friday 6 December Clwyd Railway
Circle 'Members Night & Christmas Celebration'
Members are invited to give a 15/20 minute presentation of their choice
(any format). This will be interrupted by festive treats (all high
calories). Members must book their slot no later than 16th November by
telephoning David Jones.
7-8 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
14-15 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
20-24 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
7 December Llangollen
Railway Real Ale Train evening
26-31 December Llangollen
Railway Mince Pie Specials.
1 January 2014 Llangollen
Railway Mince Pie Specials.
Friday 3 January Clwyd Railway
Circle David Rapson 'Wrexham to Bidston Line' A history
of the route illustrated with pictures covering the last 70 years.
Friday 7 February Clwyd Railway
Brian Bollington & Peter Hanahoe 'Polish Steam'
is a mix of slide shows and video showing steam on the national
network, including shed scenes, taken in the 1990’s.
Friday 7 March Clwyd Railway
The Committee & David Southern AGM followed by
'Railways of the Wirral' After the formality is over,
we can look
forward to Dave sharing his railway experiences of 60 years living on
Friday 4 April Clwyd Railway
Circle Ron Watson-Jones 'The Irish Mail
Train Crash at Penmaenmawr Aug 1950' Ron’s account of the accident on
27th August 1950.
Train 1Z27, 16:00 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Preston return railtour,
between Llanddulas and Abergele & Pensarn station, 30 July. Picture
by Ian Wilson.
December timetable news
Above, 67 001 with the
summer-Saturday 14:40 Crewe - Holyhead relief
train on 3 August (Peter Lloyd).
We hear from several sources that the new timetable from December 2013
will see changes to the Monday - Friday northbound run of this train on
the 'Premier Service' - although it should be said that timetable
information available at this stage should be taken as provisional, and
subject to consultation. Adam Barnard
I was having a look at the Open Train Times
I have discovered that Gerald has been re-timed to depart Cardiff at
17:16 as of December, replacing the current 17:21 Cardiff - Holyhead.
This has presumably been done in an attempt to attract more custom. The
18:21 departure from Cardiff now forms part of a Llanelli to Chester
service, run as the return working of the newly extended 10:40 Holyhead
to Llanelli. The old 17:21 stopping service from Cardiff is replaced at
the northern end of the line by a 19:24 Shrewsbury to Holyhead. The
lack of 1st class and restaurant service being shown are a clerical
error, as funding from the assembly for them both is still in place.
Other changes include the 17:30 Holyhead to Shrewsbury running fast
between Llandudno Junction and Chester, being replaced at stations
along the coast by a Llandudno Junction - Chester stopper, and the
17:08 from Birmingham International and 17:50 ex-Manchester swapping
When the Cardiff departure of the loco-hauled express was changed from
16:16 to 18:21 a couple of years ago, many people, including your
compiler, thought 'someone has blundered', and so it has proved, with
the restaurant car reportedly serving just one or two people on many
journeys. Just about suitable for passengers from Cardiff, people
boarding at points further north (Shrewsbury 20:05 for example) will
surely have already eaten an evening meal.
Re-instating an evening peak train from Manchester to Holyhead, in a
further departure from Arriva's prized 'clock-face' timetable, will be
welcome, although one imagines that most commuters would the 17:19
timing which for several years operated as a loco-hauled train.
We are still hearing of possible diversion to the Llandudno -
Manchester service to Manchester Victoria and on to Stalybridge; it
seems there is such a plan for the future as part of the 'Northern Hub'
scheme, but it won't be happening in December 2013 as there are major
engineering works at Manchester Victoria station.
North Wales Coast Express, 4 August
The 'North Wales Coast Express' from Crewe to Holyhead and back,
organised by the Railway Touring Company on 4 August, followed a
somewhat complicated route on its English section. Starting from Crewe,
the train ran to Manchester Piccadilly hauled by diesel 47 580 County of Essex, with 45 231 The Sherwood Forester
tender-forward on the rear of the train. In this configuration it
stopped to pick up passengers at Wilmslow where Vince Chadwick was on hand with his
The nameplate (Vince Chadwick).
45231, built in 1936 by Armstrong Whitworth, survived in British
Railways traffic until the last year of steam, 1968, when it was
allocated to Carnforth depot and was bought from there for
preservation. Since then it has had a number of owners; while at the
Great Central Railway in 1976 it received the name 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion The
Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, replaced in 1997
by The Sherwood Forester. It
was first re-certified for main-line running in 2007. 'Royal Scot'
class loco 46112 carried this name, but without the 'The.' Curiously,
the nameplates for 45231 have been cast in the curved shape designed to
fit over the 'splashers' found on large locos, even though the 'Black
5' type does not have this feature.
The crew of 45231 relax at Wilmslow (Vince
The train continued in reverse formation, passing non-stop through
Stockport station, to Manchester Piccadilly where passengers were
picked up and the steam loco then headed the train back to a pick-up
stop at Stockport, which coincided with a 'rail day' event which was
taking place (see item below).
Arrived at Stockport's platform 2, where spectators look penned-in
behind the anti-suicide fence. Behind, the early work on the new
multi-storey car park makes its presence felt. It will be interesting
to see what possibilities this offers for train photography.
Departure, with safety-valve blowing off madly, as enthusiasts on
platform 3, whose view had been blocked by an arriving Pendolino from
London, ignore the station staff's exhortations to 'stay behind the
From Stockport, the train headed for Altrincham, where it picked up
more passengers before continuing to Chester and North Wales. Vince Chadwick took this picture
from from a stile where a public footpath crosses the line near
Hard on the heels of the special was 175
107; Arriva service towards North Wales are diverted this way on
Sundays at present due to electrification work on the normal route via
Eccles (Vince Chadwick).
A bird gets out of the way of the train approaching Greenbank (Eric Scott)
A 17-minute stop for water was booked at Greenbank: note the hose
across the platform (Eric Scott).
The excursion seen crossing the Shropshire Union Canal outside
Chester (Jeff Albiston).
An 'old-fashioned' view approaching Abergele (Greg Mape).
45231 with a rather dirty fire passes through the ever-encroaching
trackside greenery as it approaches Flint (Glyn Jones).
Llanddulas viaduct, with the North Wales Coast cycleway in the
foreground (Peter Basterfield).
The train called at Llandudno Junction for more water, but did not
venture down the Llandudno branch like some excursions, calling only at
Bangor on the way to Holyhead where the train was serviced and the loco
turned on the Valley triangle.
In the rain at Bangor on the return journey (Peter Basterfield).
Bangor (Tom Peacock).
leaving Conwy and heading for the Penmaenbach Tunnel. (Peter Basterfield).
Passing Gwrych Castle. 4 August was the 45th anniversary of the last
day of steam working on British Rail normal service trains, the famous
'15-guinea special' on 11 August 1968 was an excursion. Picture by Larry Goddard. In 1968 Gwrych Castle
was a tourist attraction: today it is vandalised wreck awaiting the
outcome of yet another proposal to develop it as a hotel, this time
from a firm called Castell
Developments. Picture by Larry
Rhyl (Roly High). The presence
of two cars hints that, following a shift change, the outgoing
signaller stayed to watch.
Pulling away from Rhyl: 47 580 on the rear (Roly High). The rolling stock, as
usual with Railway Touring Co.
day trips, was supplied by West Coast
Railways. From what we saw, the standard-class accommodation was
well-filled from Manchester, although the Pullman class seemed sparsely
A brief editorial comment: the standard class fare on these trains,
£69, compares quite well with the £46.90 'anytime' return
from Manchester to Holyhead (although cheaper 'Advance' tickets are
available) but how does the experience match up? A mundane loco hauling
some slightly shabby coaches, some might say.
Stockport 170 - report by Charlie Hulme
Stockport station was en fȇte on Sunday 4 August, raising money for
charity and continuing the celebration of the 170th anniversary of its
opening by the Manchester and Birmingham Railway in 1843, on completion
of the nearby viaduct. There were stalls from various groups and
traders, and some model railways, and, most interesting in my view, DB
Schenker sent a Class 60 locomotive, the regular power on limestone
trains from the Peak District, to sit in bay platform 3A,
accompanied by its friendly driver. The picture above shows two classic
British products: the Class 60 freight loco (built in Loughborough with
a diesel engine built by Mirrlees in Stockport) and the author's Dawes
bicycle. The loco entered traffic in 1991, and was recently overhauled;
the bike dates from 1995 and has had most of its parts replaced over
The train in the background is Italian-built Virgin Pendolino 390 156, which had just been named Stockport 170 in a ceremony
carried out by ubiquitous railway celebrity Pete Waterman. Tweets from
Virgin Trains had claimed this would take place at 11:30 ...
... but in fact it happened at 10:30 and I missed it. Never mind, I
have seen Mr Waterman before.
60 020 was looking very
good in its German livery, and cab visits were being encouraged...
... an experience not to be missed, I thought.
The cab layout looks very tidy.
Some of the dials. The brake pipe pressure in Bars, the 'dartboard'
indicator of the Automatic Warning System which reminds the driver he
has acknowledged a warning of an approaching stop signal, and two
speedometers. The one on the right, reading 0 -3 mph, applies when
'slow speed control' used when the train is passing through loading or
For whatever reason. DB Schenker does not use the standard Deutsche
Bahn DIN 1451 typeface for its numbers, which would look like the
right-hand version above.
Oh yes, and the 'North Wales Coast Express' called at 11:00 (see item
The West Shore Railway - pictures by Dennis Oliver
The West Shore Miniature Railway in Llandudno is operated by the North
Wales Model Engineering Society, and is offering ride to the public on
its new site. The present track layout requires 'top-n-tail' operation,
but when complete there will be a continuous loop.
Trains will be running every Saturday and Bank Holiday Weekends in July
and August from 11:00 to 16:00 (12:00 to 16:00 the rest of the year).
(Is that a Class 37?) The mixed-gauge track allows use by locos of two
Rides are for all ages, although to ride on the trains, footwear must
be worn. See the Society website
for more information.
Birkenhead Corporation tram no. 20
approaching Woodside from the Wirral Transport Museum in Taylor Street
on 3 August 2013. The imposing ventilation tower for the Queensway Road
Tunnel under the Mersey (built in 1934) can be seen in the background.
Picture by Chris Morrison.
Following its role in the Llangollen Railway 1960s gala, 45337 (stripped of its 45156
identity, but still complete with 'weathering' and inscriptions,
has now moved back to the North
Norfolk Railway for a further loan after proving itself following
repair. Peter Basterfield came
across the 'Black 5 on the A5' , on an Alleleys road vehicle on 31
July, and managed to get ahead of it to stop and take a picture for us.
Cheadle Hulme station on 1 August, as 60009
Union of South Africa
heads to Crewe with its support coach (Greg
A pair of 'yellow perils' going south over Barmouth viaduct,
returning from Porthmadog at just after 18:00 on 18 July (Kate Jones).
A chance to
mention that Richard W. Jones has now published the second part of
colour book about locos on the Cambrian, this one, entitled Canaries on the Cambrian,
being devoted to the yellow 97/3s. See the Blurb website for
details. A third book will be available which will be a combined
volume, though with a few images taken out (to avoid too much
150 260 picks up
passengers at Dolwydellan while working the 11:46 Blaenau Ffestiniog to
Llandudno on 30 July, day of the 'Welsh Mountaineer' excursion's visit
to the line. The trains would later be delayed in the passing loop at
North Llanrwst due to the late running of the excursion (see item
below). Picture by Larry Goddard.
Ffestiniog Railway replica Lynton & Barnstaple 2-6-2T Lyd heads the 14:25 Porthmadog -
Blaenau Ffestiniog past Llyn Ystradau on 31 July. The original
trackbed and Moelwyn Tunnel entrance can be seen in the background (Ian Pilkington).
The freighter Peru (gross tonnage 2993
Tonnes), loading stone at Raynes jetty on 25 July, before sailing for
Ghent (Dave Sallery).
The flask train re-appeared in North Wales on 1 August after several
weeks' absence, starring 37 603
and 37 607. Photograph at
Bangor by Peter Basterfield.
Llandudno Junction at 15:51 on 1 August. Picture by Peter Lloyd who writes: 'What a
treat that was: when the driver opened up it shook the station and
scared all the seagulls on the roofs.'
An unidentified Colas class 56 leads the Carlisle - Chirk Kronospan
logs over the Cefn Mawr viaduct on 1 August (David Parry).
An interesting development in the Manchester area is that electric
freight trains are now allowed on the Great Eastern line, with the
result that Trafford Park - Felixstowe container trains can be hauled
by electric locos rather than than Class 66 diesels. Above, seen from
the Metrolink station on 31 July, the 14:16 Trafford Park - Felixstowe
passes Deansgate station hauled by 92
032 ImechE Railway Division,
the colours of GB Railfreight. The loco
actually belongs to Europorte, a fellow subsidiary of Eurotunnel. The
others are in a version of their original grey; we believe the working
fleet comprises 92 010 / 028 / 032 / 038 / 043 /044.
Later that afternoon, the Freightliner train to Felixstowe, 16:16 from
Trafford Park was noted with a pair of Class 86/6 electrics.
Voyager Numbers etc.
Many thanks to Jack Bowley for
the answer to our question about the re-location of the numbers on
Virgin Trains Class 221 Voyagers, and the picture showing both
varieties. It transpires that new skirting around the nose of the
leading cars is being fitted. The skirts are the same ones as used on
the Class 222 'Meridians' as the Voyager ones are not in production any
more. The more streamlined shape has meant the numbers have had to be
moved up to the red part of the body-shell. It's all part of the
'Voyager Upgrade Scheme which includes: Improved TMS (train
management computer system), new skirts, and refurbished toilets
which talk to customers. Let's hope they are also less smelly.
The Welsh Mountaineer, 30 July
'The Welsh Mountaineer' was Railway Touring Company excursion from
Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 30 July, hauled by former London and
North Eastern Railway locomotive 61994
Marquess, assisted by 37 516
Loch Laidon. We
pick up the train at Rhyl in two views by Roly High.
The loco is running tender-first from Chester in order to be running
forwards up the gradients of the Conwy Valley: the train crew need to
hang out of the cab windows for a clear view ahead.
The train was running late after being held by the railway Controllers
at Warrington Bank Quay station for 50 minutes in the early morning.
The reason for this delay, as we
understand it, can be traced to the working of the Colas Rail log train
from Baglan Bay to Chirk. This arrived at Chester on 29 July, planned
to stable there overnight. The length of the train was shown on the
computer as over 1300 feet, too long for any of the loop lines, so it
was placed on the 'up and down main' line between platforms 3 and 4 on
the assumption that it would depart for Chirk at 05:23 as booked.
Unfortunately, due to a 'staff problem' - apparently no driver was
available - it did not depart until much later. With the up and down
main road blocked, the crossover in the middle of platform 3 was also
unusable. It was necessary to run the steam loco round the triangle
west of the station so it could haul the train tender-first to
Llandudno Junction, and the coaches would have had to be left in a
platform during this. It was felt that with only one through
platform available for both directions during this operation there
would be serious congestion, so the excursion had to wait until
something was sorted out.
photographed the train near Dolwyddelan on the Conwy Valley line. 61994
had been run round the train for the necessary reversal at Llandudno
Junction, leaving the diesel on the rear.
37 516 on the rear, under orders to assist the train to reduce fire
risk from the steam loco, was putting out as much smoke (and a
lot more noise!) as 61994 as the train climbed in earnest through
Dolwydellan (Larry Goddard).
Entering Blaenau Ffestiniog past the slate mountains (Larry Goddard).
Entering Blaenau Ffestiniog (Ken
loco was bought for preservation in the early 1960s, and restored
in LNER apple green livery. In recent times, however, it has become the
fashion to paint locos in the British Railways liveries of the 1950s
which some preservationists remember with nostalgia, even if it seems
rather boring to the general public.
Soon after arrival and a sprint up the platform by Ken Robinson.
Running round, passing 37 516 which remained at the Llandudno Junction
end of the train.
Portrait of the K4 beside Blaenau Ffestiniog graveyard (Larry Goddard). The small driving
wheels of the Class K4 type, designed by Nigel Gresley for the
gradients of the West Highland line, and actually well-suited to the
Conwy Valley, are a clear identification feature.
The train shunted to the loop at Blaenau Ffestiniog to free the
platform for the service train. Picture by Aaron Proctor, who writes: 'Pictures
taken from the Ffestiniog platform, not the track. I was surprised that
despite plenty of staff being present people were allowed to wander off
the platform at will. A poor example was set by the men in hi-vis
jackets sitting on the rails after emerging from the cab of 61994. '
The train awaits its return run (Aaron
Proctor). The Loch Laidon
name was transferred to 37 516 earlier this year from 37 214 which is
now out of service. The large, but little-known loch in question can be
found by walking down the track which crosses the line at Rannoch
station, on the line for which 61994 was built. Irrelevant fact: If you
go to the beach at the near end of the loch, there's a chance you will
get a signal on your mobile phone.
Ffestiniog Railway Merddyn Emrys
entering a colourful Blaenau Ffestiniog with a train from Porthmadog (Larry Goddard).
Train 1Z27 arrives off the Blaenau branch tender-first (Peter Lloyd) ...
... then the loco runs around passing Junction box ...
Leaving 37 516 on the rear for the 18:06 departure back to Preston (Peter Lloyd). 37 516 has the large
round buffers originally fitted to many of the class, but now rarely
seen. The 37/5 sub-class comprised locos which went through the same
refurbishment programme that created the 37/4s in the mid-1980s, but
for freight use without train heating facilities. Confusingly it
includes some locos with numbers in the 37 6xx series, as the 37/6
class comprises the batch 37 601 to 37 612 converted for working with
Eurostars and Channel Tunnel sleepers, now all owned by DRS.
Leaving Llandudno Junction (Brian
Abergele (Larry Goddard).
Rhyl (Roly High). The Great
Marquess was, we believe, Archibald, eighth Earl and first (and only)
Marquess of Argyll (1607-1661), the chief of Clan Campbell.
With a slight smoke haze from the chimney and safety valves feathering,
61194 breasts the climb, on time, approaching Flint station (Glyn Jones).
The return train was ahead of schedule approaching Chester and is seen
having crossed over the viaduct and passed under the Roman wall bridges
to reach Roodee junction where the additional 'slow lines' begin (Jeff Albiston).
The Great Marquess
prepares to leave Chester for Preston on the last leg of its tour (Martin Evans).
37 516 on the rear catches the sunlight as the train departs (Martin Evans).
Chester - Wrexham doubling postponed?
Tempers are rising again in North East Wales following a statement by
Welsh Government Transport Minister Edwina Hart on 17 July that she
will be 'reviewing the processes and decision
making' regarding the planned restoration of double track over part of
the Saltney Junction - Wrexham line, preparatory work for which has
already been scheduled for this autumn by Network Rail. No detailed
explanation of this decision was immediately on offer, except a comment
that it was 'beset with problems concerning Network Rail', which
apparently came as a surpise to Network Rail.
So inevitably, party politics took hold of the issue. Llyr Gruffydd,
Plaid Cymru's North Wales AM, told the press:
'The re-doubling of the track between Saltney and Wrexham was a major
priority under the One Wales Government, when Ieuan Wyn Jones was
transport minister. It was due for completion this year. It's apparent
that the current Cardiff Labour Government has no interest in improving
the rail infrastructure in the north as the minister says this project,
which is vital to enable more direct trains through Wrexham, has been
put off indefinitely. I challenge the minister to explain where the
money for the dualling has gone as it was ringfenced for the
Saltney-Wrexham dualling. Can the minister confirm that the money has
not been used to bail out other transport projects in the South?'
We await futher developments...
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