09 September 2013
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Monday 9 September Wrexham
Society. Graham Briggs, videos from 2013 main line steam
scene and review of a number of heritage railways around the UK.
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.
Thursday 12 September Llandudno
Valley Railway Society "6G and friends" - a look at the
last years of the steam depots in
North Wales of Llandudno Junction 6G, Rhyl 6K, Bangor 6B and Holyhead
6J. By Larry Davies.
Saturday 14 September Llangollen
Railway Murder Mystery evening
Monday 16 September RCTS
’The Talyllyn Railway’ by David Mitchell. Digital presentation by David
who has been involved with the Talyllyn for most of the preservation
era and was its chairman for some years including archive footage from
Saturday 21 September Llangollen
Railway Diesel Day
Thursday 26 September Locomotive Club
Britain Ken Grainger "Rhapsody in Blue": the Great
Northern Railway of Ireland
Thursday 26 September Merseyside Railway
History Group Simon Starr 'History of the Tralee and Dingle Railway'
Saturday 28 September Community
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.
5/6 October Manchester
Exhibition Armitage Centre, Moseley Road,
Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6ZT.
Thursday 10 October Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'The Wrexham – Bidston Line' Dave
Friday 11 October Altrincham Electric
Preservation Society TRAINS IN THE SNOW By Dr Les Nixon. Over 60%
UK including much pre-1968 steam, 20% foreign including South Africa,
Turkey and Peru.
Saturday 12 October Llangollen
Railway Real Ale Train evening
Monday 14 October Wrexham Railway Society.
area, a presentation
showing the history of railways there.
Monday 21 October RCTS
’Banished to the Tropics’ by Les Nixon.Well known photographer travels
from Sheffield to present an account of his life as a railway
enthusiast working in Sri Lanka in the early 70s. Lots of good old
colonial British railwayana with plenty of steam e.g.
railcars and Garratts. All backed by two salaries – no income tax –
free accommodation – free car etc but no film available
locally. He to take out enough to keep him going for well over two
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
Thursday 24 October Locomotive
Club of Great Britain Noel Coates "The L&YR in B R Days"
26-27 October Llangollen
Railway Days Out with Thomas
Thursday 31 October Llangollen
Railway Ghost Train evening
Thursday 31 October Richard Sant Merseyside Railway
History Group 'Building the new Patriot engine'
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
Friday 8 November Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society FREIGHT AROUND THE WORLD by John
Ryan. Presentation is 90% steam
9-10 November Llangollen
Railway Remembrance Weekend
Monday 11 November Wrexham Railway Society.
a large number of secondary lines in the northwest these and the
forthcoming initial phase of the work across Chat Moss in particular.
Thursday 14 November Llandudno
Valley Railway Society AGM 'American Wanderings Part 1'
Monday 18 November RCTS
West ‘Circular tour of North Wales from 1966 to 1980’ by John
Thursday 21 November Locomotive Club of
Great Britain Steve Fort "Carlisle to Crewe " - mainly steam
Thursday 28 November Geoff Morris Merseyside Railway
History Group 'The Many Varied Railways of Australia'
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
Monday 9 December Wrexham Railway Society.
specialises in researching and photographing railways, particularly the
old lines and former features alongside current routes all over Britain
by walking along them in the company of his dog. He is a
and his presentation will be based on his home county, including the
beautiful Settle to Carlisle line.
Thursday 12 December Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Xmas Social/ 'All Change at the
Junction' Local Speakers
Friday 13 December Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society STEAM SHEDS ACROSS THE YEARS By John
14-15 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
Thursday 19 December Locomotive Club of
Great Britain John Ryan "Various Gauges in France and Spain
1966 to 1973"
20-24 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
7 December Llangollen
Railway Real Ale Train evening
Thursday 12 December Merseyside Railway
History Group Geoff Coward 'Europe & The Old Buffers'
Monday 16 December RCTS
West ‘Early Days’ by David Maidment, Formerly Operations
Manager BR London Midland Region David presents his early days at
Swindon and commuting on the Southern and around the UK in the early
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.
Thursday 9 January Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'From a Driver’s point of view'
Friday 10 January Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society HISTORY OF BOLTON TRAMWAYS by Derek
Shepherd (Vice-Chairman, Heaton Park Tramway)
Monday 13 January Wrexham Railway Society.
will be followed by various members’ own presentations.
Monday 20 January RCTS
West BRANCH A.G.M Followed by Alan Donaldson ‘Around
Britain 1983 to 2010’
Thursday 30 January Merseyside Railway
History Group David Rapson 'Seacombe to Wrexham'
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.
Monday 10 February Wrexham Railway Society.
results of a week
trip to Scotland, shed bashing previously not seen, black and white
images of long gone shed scenes, Princes Street station etc.
Thursday 13 February Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'A short history of Crosville &
my time with it' Clive
Friday 14 February Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society A JOURNEY FROM MANCHESTER TO
EASTLEIGH WORKS IN 1910 By Mike Hayward (Secretary, Manchester
Monday 17 February RCTS
West Barry Shore ‘BR freight in the post steam era 1967 to
Thursday 20 February Locomotive Club of
Great Britain John Sloane "BR Scenes from the 60s”
Thursday 27 February Merseyside Railway
History Group Allan Lewis 'Union Pacific Steam'
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
Monday 10 March Wrexham Railway Society.
two steam-hauled trips around New Zealand in 2011 & 2012 including
both preservation activities and the rapidly-changing current railway
scene on the other side of the world.
Thursday 13 March Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'The Dinorwic Quarry Railway &
its locomotives' Eric Lander
Monday 17 March RCTS
‘The Ugly Duckling’: Bob Casselden looks at the transformation of
B.R.’s ‘Other Provincial Services’ via ‘Regional Railways’ into today’s
Friday 14 March Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society A Selection of Doug Darby's UK
PHOTOGRAPHS by Paul Shackcloth (Photographic Officer, Manchester
Thursday 23 January Locomotive Club of
Great Britain Neville Bond “From Sea to Shining Sea” 30 years
of North American scenes
Thursday 20 March Locomotive Club of
Great Britain Dr Michael Bailey "The Manchester Ship Canal
Thursday 27 March Merseyside Railway
History Group AGM & Members Slides
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.
Thursday 10 April Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'Welsh Wanderings in the 1980’s
& 90’s' Geoff Morris
Thursday 10 April Merseyside Railway
History Group Ted Lloyd 'Quiz and informal evening'
Friday 11 April Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society Slides from the Manchester locomotive
society collection by David Young. Mainly steam locomotives taken
1950s and 1960s
Monday 14 April Wrexham
Jon Penn. Railway Pictures From the 1960’s –scanned
black and white
negatives and vintage colour slides, favouring the Cheshire and
Monday 28 April RCTS North
‘South of the Border steam in the 50s and 60s’ by David Kelso, David
travels from Kent to present a follow up to his earlier North of
border presentation, including a period when he was resident in the
West Riding of Yorkshire.
Thursday 17 April Locomotive Club of
Great Britain Norman Matthews "Steam in Central America"
Thursday 8 May Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'The Deganwy Dock Story' Eric Smith
Thursday 15 May Locomotive Club of
Great Britain AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital
The morning summer Saturday extra, making what is probably its last
appearance for this summer, passes the former Talacre station on 31
August. 67 002 propelling from the rear, driving van trailer
Llangollen steam gala
Some views from the Llangollen Railway's Steam Gala event on 30-31
August and 1 September which saw a the visit by 7812 Erlestoke
from the Severn Valley Railway. Glyn Jones visited
on the Friday, and reports that the event was very well patronised,
despite only four locos being in steam - the 'Black 5', 44806, was not
due to make an appearance until the Saturday and Sunday.
Above, 7812, seen reflecting the early morning sunshine, piloted
Llangollen's own 7822 Foxcote Manor on the 10 am
departure from Llangollen.
Awaiting the signal for departure (Glyn Jones).
Foxcote Manor rests in the siding at Carrog, whilst 7812
departs for Llangollen on its own (Glyn Jones).
7812 departs Berwyn for Llangollen (Glyn Jones).
Glyn Jones writes: 'Having changed trains at Berwyn, I was
struck how the station appears to be stuck in a time warp. Apart
from a plastic litter bin and modern road sign, which I removed in
'Photoshop', the picture could have been taken in the 1950/60's.
For this reason, I have converted it to black & white.' Even the
bikes have a period look.
BR Standard Tank 80072 with an immaculate two coach suburban set
approaches Llangollen. Unusually it was running smokebox first
from Carrog, presumably having been returned 'wrong way round' from a
visit to another railway. Note the profusion of willow herb
growing on the railway
Having arrived at Llangollen, 80072 has uncoupled, and bides its time
prior to running around and eventual return to Carrog bunker first. 80072 has its own website, which
chronicles its history and restoration (Glyn Jones).
On to Sunday 1 September, and pictures by George Jones.
7812 and 7822 are seen (above) about to depart Llangollen on 1
September with the 12:55 'Cambrian Coast Express'.
The return of Standard Class 4 Tank 80072, hauling the
two suburban non-corridor provided a highlight amongst a
five-loco turnout, operating with a near 45-minute interval timetable.
Above, 80072 departing Berwyn with the two coach local, running bunker
first, a view unusual at this location. As reported in the last issue, and
contrary to a report in a national magazine, the chain bridge, seen in
the background, still awaits the repairs funded by a lottery grant; the
contractor is not yet on site (George Jones).
2-8-0 3802 runs around at Llangollen from the down line to the
up line necessitating a slow passage through the points as the
clearance between the cylinders and with the platform here is limited (George
Tamper DR73935 spent the night of 1-2 September in the
Llandudno Junction tamper siding before heading off to Wrexham General.
It is seen trundling through Rhyl at 11:27 on 2 September. Picture by Roly
Former Arriva Trains Wales loco 57 315 passes Cosford at 07:50
on a 'Statesman' charter to Kingswear from Crewe on 31 August (Stavros
Network Rail measurement train at Bangor on the evening of 28 August,
with 97 302 and 97 304 John Tiley (Peter
Heading east towards Llandudno Junction. Note the lights under the
measurement coach (Peter Basterfield).
175 004 arrives at with the 10:44 ex Llandudno to
Manchester Piccadilly as disused Rhyl No. 2 signalbox slowly disappears
under greenery (Roly High).
Having been declared a failure the evening before at Prestatyn with
brake problems whilst working the 18:27 Crewe to, Holyhead, 158 839
was stabled overnight at Rhyl sidings. On 2 September it crossed to
Platform 1 (above) and headed off empty to Chester depot (Roly High).
Railtours no More - by Alan Crawshaw
I spent a significant part of my childhood on York station admiring the
LNER pacifics. In 1961 my parents took us on a family trip to London
but couldn't afford the rail fare so we travelled by coach. On the way
back I copped my last A4, 60024 Kingfisher, and I never
saw it again so it was some consolation for missing out on an East
Coast Main Line ride. A couple of years ago, concious that mainline
registered A4s could be taken for granted, I booked a Railway Touring
Company excursion from Newcastle to Kings Cross, only for it to be
cancelled a week before departure because Network Rail could only offer
a 05:00 departure rather than the provisional 07:00. With hotel already
booked, Rowan and I travelled to Newcastle anyway and looked round the
With my thwarted childhood yearning for an east coast A4 trip still
unsatisfied, I booked on Friday 30 August's 'Tyne-Tees Streak',
authorised for 90 mph running between York and Newcastle as part of the
'Mallard 75' commemoration. I travelled east on the Thursday to be sure
of being in York for the 11:00 departure time and for what will
probably be a last look in the National Railway Museum
at the two A4s temporarily repatriated from North America (picture
I timed my arrival at York station to see the 'Scarborough Spa
Express', this time hauled by 'Royal Scot' 46115 Scots
Guardsman and continued on to ...
... Barnetby, where I'd booked accommodation so I could
photograph the impressive semaphore signals before they're swept away
in the resignalling project.
Above, 66 066 passes with a coal train.
At 19:00 I received a phone call announcing that the charter had been
cancelled because Network Rail had slapped a last minute steam ban on
the area, so I came straight home on Friday.
Back in 2011 I booked a York to Saltburn steam charter, operated by
West Coast. Passengers were informed on the platform that Network Rail
had refused steam at the last minute because of fire risk so
disappointed passengers had a top'n'tail trundle with 57 601 / 47 826
through the drizzle.
I'm throwing in the towel on steam tours. I'll photograph those
that come to North Wales. and visit preserved lines, and if the
Cambrian Coast steam ever returns I'll go on that again, since I can
pay on the day and don't need a hotel.
Last train recalled at Llanfair
The weekend of 31 August / 1 September saw the latest
re-enactment of a
significant event in railway history. As part of its 50th
Anniversary Gala, the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway
included a brief re-creation of the last train arrival at Llanfair
Caereinion under British Railways auspices, which took place at 16:00
(or 4 pm as it was in the pre-Beeching era) on Saturday 3 November
1956. This was nominally a freight train, though the
Stephenson Locomotive Society (SLS) had arranged with British Railways
to turn it into a special event.
The 2013 re-enactment was a well-focused interlude in the Saturday gala
schedule, the Aberystwyth Silver band entertaining visitors during the
afternoon with a varied programme of popular numbers, occasionally
supported by steam whistles from traction engines, impressively on the
beat. The re-enactment itself started with the arrival of a motorised
engineers’ trolley bringing the event commentator, who set the scene
for the audience (Picture above by David Parry).
Earlier in the afternoon, the 1.50 pm from Welshpool, hauled by The
Earl, one of the railway's original two locos, built in Manchester
by Beyer Peacock, was photographed at at Coppice Lane crossing, Castle
Caereinion by Chris Morrison.
Sister loco Countess leaves Castle Caereinion for Llanfair
Caereinion with the signaller stopping any road traffic (Chris
Morrison). Note, the names of the locos are The Earl but
just Countess with no 'The', possibly to make the plates the
Countess and Great Western-liveried coaches leaving Castle
Caereinion on the 13:50 from Llanfair Caereinion to Welshpool.
on the carriages give the line a unique atmosphere. These replicas of
the line's original passenger stock have been built by the Ffestiniog
Railway workshops (Chris Morrison).
Passengers in period costume were carried in open wagons in a
re-creation of the last train of November 1956, seen between Cyffronyd
and Llanfair Caereinion.
To musical accompaniment from the band playing 'Myfanwy', appropriately
black-liveried 822, The Earl, arrived at Llanfair
Caereinion wearing an 89A shed plate, an SLS headboard and a placard
announcing the last train. Also, it had acquired a
GWR-style whistle shield during the course of the afternoon! (David
Although comprising goods wagons, this last train ...
... carried a respectable load of passengers (for a light
railway) - wearing authentic 1956-style dress - in open wagons,
evoking railway opening events of the 1820s and 1830s (David Parry).
The ghosts of 1956 being safely accommodated in the yard, attention was
re-focused on the present and the massive achievement of the 50 years
preservation effort, embodied in 823 Countess and its
train of three reproductions of the original W&L Pickering coaches,
entering the station to the strains of Handel’s 'See, the Conquering
Hero Comes.' Again, the livery was significant – this time, green
for regeneration and growth.
This was a simple but impressive and symbolic commemoration of the fall
and rise of a unique local railway which has been transformed from an
erstwhile rural lifeline to a window (or, perhaps, balcony?) on the
narrow gauge world, with its eclectic fleet of locomotives and coaching
stock. Old and new appeared side-by-side for photographs as
normal service was smoothly resumed. (David Parry).
We have taken the liberty of borrowing from the Railway's publicity
this genuine 1956 view taken by the great Ivo Peters at Castle
Caereinion; the headboard replicas are commendably accurate. By the
way, the Stephenson
Society, founded in 1909, still flourishes today with
meetings and events based on several centres including Manchester.
Three pictures from Sunday 1 September. Above, carrying BR livery, 822 The
Earl heads a mixed train at Heniarth, including the three replica W
& LLR coaches (Ian Pilkington)
Sister engine 823 Countess in Great Western livery
eases its train of ex-Hungarian Railways coaches over the River Banwy
Bridge near Heniarth (Ian Pilkington).
The two 1902-built Beyer Peacock 0-6-0 tanks roar up the 1 in 29 Golfa
Bank with the final train of the day from Welshpool (Ian Pilkington).
The WLLR is your editor's particular favourite of the Welsh
lines, thanks partly to its Austrian gauge and coaches. It is still
operated entirely by volunteers, and a visit is strongly
recommended. Trains are running Tuesdays - Thursdays, Saturdays
and Sundays until the end of September and then weekends until 3
November plus October 29-31. See the
Railway's website for full details.
Marches line signalling - pictures by Chris Morrison
We mentioned a few issues ago that Network Rail plan to abolish various
signalboxes between Crewe and Shrewsbury and implement the delayed new
signalling system over the weekend of 13/14 October, and suggested that
people should photograph the present signalling. Chris Morrison
has taken up the challenge. Above: those twin curses for the railway
photographer, undergrowth and palisade fencing make a view of this
bracket signal (CB 26) at Crewe Bank difficult. Note the new structure
for colour lights behind; the new signal heads are very small
compared to traditional colour-light types.
The home signal is 'off' as Crewe Bank box is permanently 'switched
out' and will soon be definitely closed, and the distant signal below
(warning of the signals at Crewe Junction ahead) is fixed at caution,
presumably because there is a speed restriction over the junction
ahead: note it has no green spectacle glass.
Looking rather tidier, he same location as above in September 1986 as 33
035 ambles up the bank with the 07:50 Swansea
Manchester-Piccadilly. The lattice post can be seen, and also the
short-armed signal which applied to trains on goods line below the
signal. Semaphore signals did not have number plates in those days.
The redundant box at Shrewsbury Crewe Bank, a 1943-built example of the
now-rare 'blastproof' design, with 175 114 passing on a Cardiff
- Manchester train on 31 August. The 'up goods loop' still exists, but
the sidings, and the points which the small arm protected, have been
removed. For more about this box and its signals, including an
interesting explanation of mechanical signal 'slotting', see Adrian
the Rock's website.
66 198 on a diverted Margam - Shotton steel train,
approaches the 1885-built signalbox at Prees on 26 August.
Notes by the editor: This box, despite having been refurbished with new
windows a few years ago, will be closed in October, with
everything supervised from Cardiff. Between the tracks are the LIDAR
(Laser Interferometry Detection and Ranging) devices which will detect
whether anything is on the road over the crossing before the computer
lowers the barriers and clears signals for the train to pass. This
complements a radar system, and the signaller in
Cardiff will also be able to view the scene on CCTV. This system
has previously been installed on the Ely - Norwich line, where problems
some related to dirt, snow, etc. on the detectors; we understand they
now being fitted with shutters which will open just before the
crossing sequence starts and close again afterwards. Behind the fence
on the left is a curious triangular object which 'marks the boundaries
of the area of interest' for the radar in places where a normal fixed
object cannot be used. The upper of the small signs on the post, aimed
at rail staff, reads 'Do not obstruct the reflector.' The lower one
says 'Do not stand on crossing when in operation.' Note also the large
cages protecting the barrier machinery. There is a detailed
document about these methods online
form available on the Net.
175 008 approaches Prees with a Manchester - Milford
service on 26 August. The signal features health-and-safety hoops added
in recent years. Like many small London and North Western Railway-built
stations, the platform is very low, as anyone who has loaded a bike
into a Class 153 here will testify.
Wrenbury, Wem, Nantwich, and Harlescott are also closing, would anyone
care to visit them?
Tales of Roman Bridge - by Charlie Hulme
The recently publicity about Roman Bridge station on the Conwy Valley
line, and its station house for sale for almost half a million pounds (see 26 August issue),
made me wonder about the name of the place who might have been the
first to live there. The picture above (by Noel Walley,
reproduced from Wikipedia under Creative Commons licence) shows the
bridge which gave the station its name, crossing the Afon Lledr. The
owner of the house claims that this bridge replaced an original Roman
bridge at the same location; there certainly was a Roman road not far
away, but there is little evidence that it crossed the river here.
The above map is from the first Ordnance Survey of the 1840s, whose
makers diligently recorded any ancient relics using the old-style
typeface. The future location of Roman Bridge station can be
identified near the word 'Dinas' (a supposed prehistoric settlement)
by the meander in the river which became today's 'ox-bow lake.' The
bridge over the Lledr is labelled 'Pont y Sarn ddu' which translates as
'bridge on the black causeway (or road).' The Roman Road, on the other
hand, known as 'Sarn
south up Cwm Penmaen from Dolwyddelan, seen crossing the bottom edge of
our extract towards the right-hand side. It does seem likely that the
name Roman Bridge was chosen by the railway to attract tourists. There
is a 'Roman bridge' near Stockport which is known to be an
eighteenth-century packhorse bridge.
A closer view on a 1880s map shows the station in its heyday, with its
siding and, interestingly, signal posts at each end. Perhaps it was a
block-post in those days.
The station opened in 1879 with the extension of the line from
Betws-y-Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Thanks to the railway records in
the National Archives, now online at Ancestry.co.uk, and the 1881
Census we know that the first station master was Robert Weston, born in
Leicester in 1824, who came to the Bangor area in the 1840s, probably
to work on the construction of the main line to Holyhead. There he met
Ann Roberts and they married in 1849. That year he gained employment
with the railway company, and in 1851 described himself as a 'painter.'
By 1861, still living in Bangor, he had risen to be become a 'railway
policeman' - the equivalent of today's signalman. In 1876 he became a
guard, based in Caernarvon at a wage of 25 shillings per week, and on
17 July 1879 he took up the post of Station Master at the newly-built
Roman Bridge station. This was a salaried post, paying £60 per
annum, much the same his previous wage. The 1881 census shows him, aged
56, living there with his wife Ann (49) son Alfred (17) and
Granddaughter Agnes (4) who we suppose was the daughter of one of two
sons who appear only in the 1861 census. What happened to them I cannot
The London and North Western Railway staff records show that Robert
Weston was taken ill just after Christmas 1884, and died on 2 January
1885. Intriguingly, Probate records reveal that he left an estate
valued at over £750 to be administered by his wife - equivalent
to over £60,000 today. The house belonged to the Railway, of
but how could he have accumulated such a sum? The answer may lie in
the custom which allowed Station Masters to act as
merchants on their own account. Certainly the duties at Roman Bridge,
even allowing for the supervision of the track maintenance gang, would
have allowed him plenty of time for other activity, especially with his
son Alfred to help.
The house was required for the next stationmaster, so Ann moved the
family to a (now long-lost) hostelry called the Llanfawr Arms in
Holyhead where Alfred obtained work as a locomotive fireman, and she
presumably ran the pub. However, she died in June 1886, and in the
Probate award her son Alfred James Weston gave an address in
Postscript: Who remembers Roman Bridge station being used in a TV play
about a runaway teenager back in the early days of this site?
Unfortunately the details, and our report from that time, are proving
hard to locate.
The Welsh Mountaineer, 3 August
The train stopped in Rhyl station (Roly High)...
... to allow 158 828 on the 'Irish Mancunian' express portion
for Holyhead of the 08:50 from Manchester Piccadilly. The 158's passing
was announced with a few blasts of the horns to warn the people with
their heads out of the windows on the steam train (Roly High).
61994's nameplate, in classic Gill
Sans lettering of which the London & North Eastern Railway was
an enthusiastic user. The plate fits rather awkwardly on the smokebox.
The 'shed code' 65A is for Eastfield (Glasgow) from which the loco once
plied the West Highland line.
Crossing Troderavon Viaduct shortly after departing Llanrwst (Larry
Above Roman Bridge, just before the tunnel (Peter Basterfield).
Approaching Blaenau Ffestiniog (Larry Goddard). Blaenau's
own Orthodox Priest, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Deiniol, a staunch
supporter of the Conwy Valley line, watches over the proceedings.
Remember his plan
a North-South Wales railway? And whatever happened to the
proposal for slate waste trains of which he was a staunch proponent?
Hard to believe it's Blaenau - not a slate in sight as the train rounds
the sharp curve towards the site of the North Station (Larry Goddard).
reports that while out with his camera he met Norman Kneale,
whose books and photographs of the steam era are legendary. See for
example the collections on our friend Geoff Poole's 6G
The signalman's view as 61994 runs round its train at Llandudno
Junction after returning from the Conwy Valley (Alan Roberts).
Crossing Llanddulas viaduct on the return leg from Llandudno Junction (Larry
On the Ffestiniog - with Jack Bowley
Some views taken while working as volunteer on the Ffestiniog Railway.
Above, Linda on 22 August with the 20L00 from Blaenau
Ffestiniog, seen at Minffordd.
Britomart making a rare appearance taking a rake of slate
wagons to Boston Lodge ready for the next day...
... which was hauled on a cold, crisp morning, by engines Palmerston
and Prince (built 1863/4 by George England & Co) seen from
Minffordd - what a sight! The train was hauled to Blaenau Ffestiniog
and then released so gravity could take it back down to Porthmadog,
although it required some help nearer Blaenau over the section which is
not the original route.
Middleton Press news - report by George Jones
The Middleton Press series of books looking at lines in North Wales is
now complete with the publication of the title Wrexham to New
Brighton. Also published recently was the title Branch Lines
Around Denbigh. Both follow the established format of collected
archive photos and more recent views of stations and places along the
route interspersed with extracts from OS maps to illustrate the develop
of the railways. The Wrexham title features 117 black and white photos;
the other 120. Some of the archive pictures may be fairly well known,
later views generally not previously published. The Denbigh title tries
hard to cover the complex of lines not included in previous titles in
the series which, also sees the North Wales coast covered by three
volumes between Chester and Holyhead.
Interestingly, the earlier volume featuring Ruabon to Barmouth has been
reprinted and the more obvious compilation errors have been corrected.
With coverage of North Wales complete the lines from Chester to
Birkenhead and Chester to Warrington are the subjects of more recent
Each book costs £16.95 for a hardback of 96 pages.
An interesting item from the Oliver Hambly collection: a 20-page
Timetable Supplement from the period following the Britannia Bridge
fire, complete with a view of what the bridge would look like when
repaired, but before the present road deck was added. At the time,
Llanfair PG station which had been closed in Beeching's day had been
re-opened as an interchange for the temporary bus service. For many
more like this, see Transport Past
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