21 September 2013
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the current list visit our Calendar.
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.
Monday 21 October RCTS
Merseyside, Chester & North Wales
’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.
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
‘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.
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
‘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.
Monday 20 January RCTS
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.
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.
& 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
Merseyside, Chester & North Wales
‘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
Light and Shade in the Gold Zone at Crewe at 11:16 on 18 September as
66 090 passes with the very long 04:30 Southampton Eastern
Halewood (Jaguar) train of empty car carriers. Picture by Charlie
another extra bonus issue - next update 24 September
Diesel Parcels Unit in North Wales - continued
Our item about single-car parcels units (2 September issue) has
produced some rather fine - and nostalgic - pictures from readers.
Above, Bangor station on 9 October 1978: Gloucester-built Class 128
Diesel Parcels Unit (DPU) M55994 is coupled to Park
Royal/Metro-Cammell 'hybrid' M56150 + M51200 and Metro-Cammell set
M56345+M51191 on the 13:30 departure from Manchester Victoria. Picture
by Jim Johnson.
March 13 1979 and the 13:30 from Manchester Victoria again: loco 25
106 + Parcels unit M55995 + Metro-Cammell units M56349 +
M51202 and M56353 + M51199. This trailing unit had failed somewhere en
route, hence the Class 25 assistance. The whole formation was
shunted onto the 'down main' centre road while its fate was determined (Jim
25 March 1980: M55995 + Metro-Cammells M56333 + M51203 and M51185 +
M56352 forming the 18:25 to Crewe. Picture by Jim Johnson, who
writes: 'I think the units from the 13:30 from Manchester, seen in the
first two pictures, worked back to Crewe but I'm not 100% sure.'
Unidentified units forming the 18:25 to Crewe on 14 April 1980 passing
Gipsy Corner, just east of Bangor (Jim Johnson).The white livery
with blue stripe indicated a unit which had been refurbished, but was
later abandoned in favour of standard blue with grey around the windows.
Here is DPU M55993 leading an impressive 8-car DMU forming 2D99
13.30 Manchester Victoria - Bangor on Friday 4 May 1979. The train has
left Shotton Low Level and is approaching Connah's Quay signalbox.
Immediately behind the DPU is Park Royal Class 103 set M50403 + M56155
followed by a two-car Class 108 (M56504 leading and now preserved) and
then a pair of two-car Class 101 Metro-Cammell units. Picture by David
Rapson, who notes: 'I had caught this train from Chester to Shotton
the previous day when it was also headed by M55993 although 3 May 1979
is best remembered as the day when Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime
Forward a few years, and a new look: 55993 leading 54902 + 55932, 55994
and 54900+55930 at Chester on Friday 12 October 1990. The train is 1T29
15:25 Chester - St Pancras and was the last DPU service run by British
Rail. It was routed (for reasons now forgotten) via Crewe, Nuneaton,
Hinckley and the Midland main line to St Pancras (David Rapson).
Note that the corridor connection has been removed.
Ten of these vehicles were built in 1959, four for the London Midland
Region, M55987 - M55990, with three end windows and no end gangways,
and six, W55991 - W55996 for the Western Region with gangways. However
on the evidence of these pictures the Chester-based ones were all from
the gangway-ed batch, transferred to the London Midland.
On the Shrewsbury line, a grubby M55993 leading M55994 on 4D29 12:15
Shrewsbury - Chester parcels with the regular tail traffic. The picture
above (by David Rapson) shows the pair heading north and towing
a BG (bogie passenger brake) on 2 October 1976. A father and two
children observe its passage at Green Lane Crossing, Lache. This area
is completely buried beneath new housing today and unrecognisable from
the time of the picture. The signalbox is just out of picture to the
The close-up of M55994 at Chester was taken by David Rapson on
1 February 1977, and this time the 'tail traffic' is a single GUV
(General Utility Van) W86631 ...
...seen to better effect in the 'going away' view which includes
one of the former London and North Western Railway lower quadrant
semaphore signals still in use at that date (David Rapson).
Roger Carvell adds to the story: 'One of the three
Cravens-built DPUs also featured in the area in 1970s From memory
it may have been M55998 but I stand to be corrected. Cravens units en
masse were never North Wales allocated although they did feature on
excursions from time to time. Given the large allocation of Cravens
passenger units in the Manchester area I am surprised we didn't see
more. Their characteristic exhaust rasp and blue smoke (inside as
well as out!) was legendary. The ex-M & GN Cravens units,
transferred to King's Cross suburban services similarly upheld the
blue smoke and vibrating windows Cravens tradition.'
Modellers' note: The Class 128 unit is now available in 00 scale from
Heljan, including a rather nice version
blue as used in North Wales. It seems that no class is too
small to be be made as a mass-produced model these days, although no
maker has yet tackled the essential present-day North Wales train, the
Class 175. Perhaps when they start to appear in 'WAG' livery, enough
versions will be possible?
Llannerchymedd and its Brake Van - pictures by Nick Gurney
Back in July we published the above picture by Nick Gurney of a
brake van being transported west along the A55 road, and asked if
anyone knew its destination. From this we discovered that it was at the
old station site at Llannerchymedd (or Llanerchymedd, or
Llanerch-y-Medd - the spelling seems to vary) on the disused Gaerwen -
Nick now adds: 'Thanks to the correspondent for pointing out the brake
van I photographed on the A55 on 15 July was en route to
My work takes me there quite often so on Tuesday 10th August I stopped
off at the old railway station for some photos.
The area used by the railway restoration group Lein Amlwch is fenced
off so these photographs are taken through the fence. The old station,
50 years since it closed, is now a heritage centre, museum and
community café. Everything was closed when I visited and I
believe it only opens at weekends.'
The earliest full-size railway exhibit, still there (above) in a rather
sad condition, is a non-working diesel shunter transferred from the
Llangollen Railway: a John Fowler 40 HP 0-4-0 (JF 22753/1939) bought
new for the Broughton aircraft factory, opened in 1939, which had a
siding connected to the Mold Junction - Mold line. The locomotive was
rescued after the sidings fell into disuse and initial restoration took
place in a pub back yard, before movement to the embryo Llangollen
Railway in 1975 where it was the first locomotive on the railway. It
was used on Permanent Way trains during the initial building of the
line, but was eventually sidelined as more powerful shunters arrived.
While at Llangollen it was named Eliseg after the old king of
Powys who gave his name to Eliseg's Pillar, an old stone cross near
Llangollen. A historic machine, but unfortunately unlikely to run
again, at least with its original engine which long ago suffered frost
damage to the cylinder block.
We last reported on this place in June 2009, when our report read:
The two locomotives and two wagons from the closed
Associated Octel plant at Amlwch, which had been kept, and worked on by
local enthusiasts, until recently in the Anglesey Aluminium Metal
sidings, have now also been moved, thanks to sponsorship by the
aluminium company and Stena Line, to the Llanerchymedd site, where the
community centre is due to open in the next few weeks, accompanied by a
song specially written by local schoolchildren. Community
councillor Tony Lewis told the Holyhead and Anglesey Mail: 'This has
been a project carried through by the community council using European
Funding found by Menter Môn. These locos are back where they
belong on their home line. They went up and down from Amlwch to
Ellesmere Port carrying chemicals like chlorine for nearly 40 years.'
Well, at least, that's what the reporter thought he said! Of course the
locos were only used at Amlwch between the factory and the exchange
The official opening of the centre was reported
BBC in 2010, including that the fact that a room is
dedicated to a display by the Lein Amlwch (Anglesey Central Railway)
preservation group; the Old Station Café appears on their website
although the information may not be current.
The two Associated Octel locos were moved from the aluminium factory
sidings, where they had been stored since they were moved there in 2004
following the closure of the Octel plant. They are No.1, a Ruston and
Hornsby 88 hp loco (RH321717/1953), and the un-numbered Hunslet machine
see above (HE 7470/1977). The tank wagon is one a fleet once used by
Associated Octel to carry bromine extracted from sea water at the
Amwlch plant. (Apparently
22,000 tons of sea water have to be processed to recover one ton of
bromine.) Built in Switzerland and fitted for train ferry use,
its last running number was 23 85 7492 201-5. A similar wagon, minus
tank, is also among the collection.
The wagon detail comes from the excellent Vintage
Carriages Trust (VCT) database, although unfortunately the
compilers have not yet recorded the location or provenance of the brake
van, which carries no numbers or other identification. It does not
appear to be from the Cambrian Railways site at Llynclys, and a look at
pictures of the several LMS-style vans on the VCT database does not
immediately reveal one with the same features as this one. Any
Welsh Highland views
Above, on Sunday 8 September, part of the 'Great and Small'
weekend, the 14:40 Porthmadog - Caernarfon with the
1909-built K1 Garratt and a newer South African machine climbing out of
Beddgelert Forest (Peter Basterfield) The left column picture
shows the same train at Waunfawr.
The small: Hugh Napier and Lilla heading home to
Porthmadog (Peter Basterfield).
Dinas: Palmerston and Prince leaving with the Vintage
train from Caernarfon to Porthmadog (Alan Crawshaw).
A visit to Birkenhead docks - with Chris Morrison
You have to be lucky to catch anything moving under the two working
bascule bridges of Birkenhead Docks; ships can only join or leave the
Mersey reasonably near high tide. Above, tugs Svitzer Sussex and
Svitzer Nari move the cargo ship Rickmers Dubai
across East Float, Birkenhead, moving backwards away from the camera on
The tugs manoeuvre the 166-metre long ship under the bascule bridge in
Tower Rd, Birkenhead.
25 minutes later the bridge is still in the 'up' position as the ship
and two tugs can only just fit in the Alfred Dock leading to the Mersey.
With traffic on Tower Rd moving again, preserved Wigan Corporation
Leyland Leopard AEK 514 passes the ship in Alfred Dock.
The Alfred Lock gates open and the tugs manoeuvre the ship through the
narrow channel to the Mersey. Swiss registered tanker San Padre Pio is
moored, discharging oil.
Coal Tank in South Wales
London and North Western Railway 'Coal Tank' 0-6-2T 1054,
paused at Fairfield car park in Abergavenny from 10:00 to 12:00
on Tuesday 10 September en route to the Pontypool and Bleanavon
Railway Steam Gala from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Dennis
Oliver was on hand with his camera, as the local mayor took the
opportunity of a photo-call.
& District Steam Society has a link with this loco, which was
at one time stationed at the local shed and (with another ex-LNWR loco)
worked the ceremonial last train from Abergavenny to Merthyr in 1958;
the Society's magazine is named 'The Coal Tank' in its honour. Under
its British Railways number 58926, it was the last survivor of a large
class, some of which operated in North Wales, and as we have related here before,
Bangor shedmaster J.W. Dunn organised its purchase for preservation.
For a while it was a static exhibit at Penrhyn Castle. See also www.coaltank.co.uk.
A day out in South Wales - with Richard Putley
On 15 September I got to Furnace Sidings station on
the Pontypool &
Blaenavon Railway in time for the first train of their steam gala
This consisted of the LNWR 'Coal Tank' 0-6-2T 1054 and two old
carriages: a Great
Eastern Railway observation car and a one-time Manchester & Milford
carriage which passed to the Great Western when it acquired that
concern, and was rebuilt as the Gloucester District Engineer's Saloon.
rode in it - it has loose chairs inside - shades of
the Titfield Thunderbolt! The train ran down to Bleanavon High Level
(above) where the
Coal Tank ran round then back to Furnace Sidings.
Here the Coal Tank ran round again then it ran down
branch to Big Pit. But I got off so I could see LNWR 'Super D' 0-8-0 49395.
pulled the 10:45 to Bleanavon High Level which I
took. It then
continued on the 11:10 from there to Whistle Inn. From Furnace Sidings
(above) it was
banked by the two J94 0-6-0STs, one of which was the NCB 72, newly
restored at the Llangollen Railway . Later on the two J94s headed a
train with the 'Super D'
Having photographed all these I then decided to drive
Ferryside to see the returning 'Pembroke Coast Express' steam
excursion. I chose this location (above) as one of the very few places
left on the
South Wales main line where semaphore signals can still be seen.
I got there in
time to photograph 158 830 (above) on the 17:41 to Manchester
... then 150 279 arrived on
the 17:21 to Pembroke Dock and departed just before ...
... the steam train came
through with 5029 Nunney
Castle. I was lucky with the weather too. It had rained for most of
but it had stopped an hour earlier and by the time the steam train came
the sun was shining.
Steam Nostalgia - by Stephen Hughes
I'm currently trying to add some detail to a few of my late father's
photographs; above is an example which might be of interest. After
having had them digitised I have had to change my understanding of the
location of this picture, showing Stanier 2-6-4T 42627
appearing to be running round its train. I had always assumed that the
photo was taken at Afon Wen, knowing that this class of locomotive
worked trains into Afon Wen from Bangor, and that it was a location
where my father might have alighted from the train.
However - as some readers might already have realised - the water tank
is circular in shape (from a reference book I now realise that those at
Afon Wen were rectangular) and the oil storage tanks in the background
now shown clearly on the enlarged photo are a bit of a give away - the
location is Caernarfon station, taken from the 'up & down'
platform ... Sadly, this location is currently the fruit and veg
counter at a Morrisons store!
A little bit of research in my father's notebooks show that the date
was 10 Sept 1958 - 55 years ago. 42627 had been reallocated to Bangor
shed in June of that year, I'm presuming that this was to work the
heavily laden summer trains on the Bangor - Afon Wen line. Perhaps on
this occasion 42627 was working one of the three daily Bangor -
Caernarfon locals, unless anyone can supply another reason for it to be
'light engine' at Caernarfon? We had arrived at Caernarfon behind
BR Standard 2-6-4T 80095, another Bangor engine, presumably this train
then continued to Bangor.
42627 was later transferred away from Bangor and withdrawn from
Willesden in October 1961. Although my childhood memories are full of
railways, I have absolutely no memories of this journey as I was only
three at the time!
Talyllyn scenes - by Martin Evans
On 3 September I travelled to the Talyllyn Railway and found the
following locos in steam: Dolgoch no. 2 and Douglas
no. 6 in traffic on the passenger service, also in steam was
no. 4 Edward Thomas on Driver Experience duties.
Meanwhile no 7 Tom Rolt was noted at Pendre shed. Above, Dolgoch
Nant Gwernol terminus...
... preparing to be coaled and watered at Tywyn wharf ...
... and awaiting departure with the 3.45pm service to Nant Gwernol.
Before they were famous - by John Hobbs
Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2T 41241: the locomotive which seems to have
worked everywhere since it was built at Crewe in 1949. Currently 'out
of ticket' (awaiting overhaul) on the Keighley
and Worth Valley Railway, it must have worked all the usual North
Wales jobs while briefly allocated to 6H (Bangor depot), spells on the
Somerset & Dorset would had it working regularly from Evercreech
Junction to Highbridge, I have a note of it working from Wellington in
1962 when it worked into Crewe, so would have covered many Shropshire
lines. I believe it also worked other lines around Bristol; its final
home at Skipton would see it on lines in the North West to Carnforth
Other reports feature it working the last train from Wrexham to Bala,
before the line was washed out and following that the last ever
Whitchurch to Aberystwyth Mail to Welshpool. Quite a machine with an
amazing history of rambling about the country. This picture was taken
on 1 July 1964, while resting at Bangor Shed between duties.
Great Western Railway 0-6-2T 6697 on the turntable within the
typical GWR shed at Croes Newydd on 14 May 1966, shortly before
withdrawal. This locomotive seemed to spend its BR life at Leamington
Spa & Croes Newydd, although it is now preserved at Didcot Railway Centre,
as the last example of its class representing a useful freight tank,
although they did work suburban trains out of Birmingham Snow Hill and
in South Wales and no doubt worked usefully on old Hill Bank when
working in from Hartlebury.
Another view of 6697 at Crows Newydd. The type survived so long there
because for a long time they were the only locomotives permitted to
descend the Fishponds Branch in Brymbo; this line had a gradient of 1
in 34 and trains were only permitted to descend. The following extract
from the Sectional Appendix to the Working Timetable of the period
(with our rough sketch map) gives an idea the complications of working
in the area, where today there are no railways at all except the main
line through Wrexham and the Borderlands line to Bidston.
Working of outwards traffic from the
Brymbo Steel Works via Fishponds
Ex L.N.E. Brymbo and Broughton Crossing
Trains from Croes Newydd to the Brymbo Steel Works which are required
to clear outwards traffic via Fishponds, when an assistant engine is
provided, must be formed - engine, brake van, wagons, brake van, and
bank engine. On arrival at Brymbo Middle the train will proceed to Vron
Jn. Sidings. After disposal of the wagons where the engine which has
assisted in rear from Brymbo Middle will return there with the rear
Trains from Croes Newydd to
Brymbo Steel Works which are required to clear outwards traffic via
Fishponds when an assistant engine is not provided must be formed with
one brake-van in rear leaving Croes Newydd. The engine with brake-van
attached returning via Fishponds will then proceed via the Birmingham
Road to the Steel Works Siding at Fishponds where outwards traffic will
have been placed by the Steel Company. Between Vron Jn. and Fishponds
British Railways engines and Steel Works engines work over the same
line; Trainmen must, therefore, exercise the greatest caution. Maximum
speed Vron Jn. to Brymbo ex L.N.E. station via Fishponds is 6 m.p.h.
The movement from Vron Jn. to Fishponds must be preceded by the Shunter
or assistant guard who must telephone from Fishponds to the Ground
Frame at Vron Jn. Siding that it is in order for the engine and van to
leave from Vron Jn. for Fishponds.
After picking up the outwards traffic in the Steel Company's sidings at
Fishponds the trip will be propelled to Brymbo ex L.N.E. station. The
brake-van in which the Guard or Shunter must ride must be leading and
adequate wagon brakes must be pinned down at the front end.
The maximum number of wagons which can be conveyed from Fishponds to
Broughton Crossing is equal to 22 in length, being limited by the two
sidings at Brymbo ex L.N.E. which are 220 ft. and 310 ft. in length.
When more than equal to 14 wagons in length are propelled from
Fishponds the number in excess and brake-van must be detached in No. 1
Siding at Brymbo ex L.N.E. and the engine with the remaining wagons
will proceed to No. 2 Siding and after the hand points have been
reversed for Broughton Crossing the two parts will be rejoined.
Adequate brakes must be applied at the front of the movement which is
drawn from Brymbo ex L.N.E. to Broughton Crossing.
All trains via this route must be brought to a stand
before entering the sidings at Broughton Crossing and the Guard must
satisfy himself that there is no conflicting movement. The gradient
between Fishponds and the ex L.N .E. Station at Brymbo is 1 in 34
falling and the gradient from Brymbo ex L.N.E. to Broughton Crossing 1
in 34 falling. Guards must ensure that adequate brakes are applied to
control the train down the two inclines.
Broughton Crossing Ground Frame
A one-lever ground frame is provided at Broughton Crossing to work the
trailing connection in the Up Main Line serving the sidings. The ground
frame lever is released by Annetts Key which is kept in .a Key Release
Instrument in a cupboard at the ground frame. A telephone is provided
for communication with the Broughton Crossing Signalman. The Key
Release Instrument is operated by the Guard in accordance with the
instructions in the Regional Appendix headed "Instructions for working
ground frames operated by Key Control Instrument at Signal Box and Key
Release Instrument at Ground Frame". See instructions exhibited at the
Freight Train from Fishponds leaving the
The Guard must telephone the Signalman for permission for the freight
train to leave the siding at the time previously agreed. If permission
can be granted the Annetts Key must be withdrawn and the Signalman
advised that the Key has been released. The Guard must not permit
the train to draw out to the Main Line until he has been advised by the
Signalman that the Block Instrument is in the "Train-on.Line" position.
The freight train must be brought to a stand on the Main Line after
which the points must be restored to normal and the Annette Key
replaced in the Key Release Instrument. The Guard must telephone the
Signalman advising him that the key has been restored and the train is
about to leave.
Up Trains Attaching
or Detaching Vehicles.
The Guard must telephone the Signalman for permission to use the ground
frame. If the Signalman is in a position to grant permission the
Annetts Key must then be withdrawn by the Guard and the points set for
the movement. Under these circumstances the key must
not be replaced in the instrument until the train is about to leave.
The Guard must not rejoin his train or allow it to proceed until he has
been informed on the telephone by the Signalman that the Key Control
Instrument has been restored to normal and he has assured the Signalman
that no vehicle has been left foul of the running line. Down trains
requiring to work in the sidings must do so through the Box worked
trailing connection in the Down Main Line.
These instructions will apply from a date to be advised.
[Interestingly the free DVD which is included with the October 2013
issue of Railway Magazine includes, among much else of
interest, some scenes of steam trains working on the gradients in this
The daily round at Abergele - 11 September pictures by Roly
Virgin Super Voyagers 222 111 Roald Amundsen (leading)
and 221 142 Bombardier Voyager at the rear form a
10 car service, the 09:10 from London Euston to Holyhead as it rushes
through Abergele. The area at the bottom of the signabox steps was once
occupied by a brick-built coal bunker.
158 841 follows the Virgin train on the down fast line
with the 09:08 Birmingham International to Holyhead, seen heading away
towards Colwyn Bay; once there were four tracks beyond here as far as
175 112 comes onto the down platform with the 10:50
Manchester Piccadilly to Bangor. Network Rail long-term plans involve
the removal of this platform line and widening the platform to reach
the main line. A loop will be provided for the other direction, and the
signalbox will vanish, all being controlled from Cardiff.
Another look at this view from last issue showing 97 302 on crew
training run passing Abergele. We asked whether anyone remembered what
the pillars in the foreground supported ...
... and by way of answer, Larry Goddard send this vintage
picture showing that the station once had a covered footbridge with
ramps down to the platform, similar to the one still in use at Rhyl.
This bridge was constructed in 1902 when the station was rebuilt to
allow four tracks, although no platform was ever provided on the 'fast'
lines. The footbridge was supported by steel girders fixed into the
bases which survive: the supports of the road bridge can be seen
behind. Note also the flowerbeds. There was a siding behind the
'up' platform, off to the right of this which for many years was home
to several 'camping coaches.' Larry tells us that the footbridge was
removed in 1966, leaving the road bridge as access to the up platform.
Berwyn Heritage revisited
The picture in the 9
September issue of Berwyn station by Glyn Jones, accompanied by a
note by Glyn saying he had converted it to black and white and
digitally removed a modern road sign and 'plastic litter bin' so
that it 'could have been taken in the 1950/60s' inspired a
response from Llangollen Railway supporter Peter Dickinson,
after which we asked Glyn for the unedited picture, as seen above.
'I apologise if this sounds like
Pedantics Anonymous(!) but the litter bin is not plastic but is in fact
a metal one. A good number of passengers visiting the station have
indeed confused this bin as an exhibit rather than its working purpose
as an actual bin! The picture could indeed have been taken at the
beginning of the 1950s, but certainly by the late 1950s the wooden
platform extension that cantilevers over the side of the viaduct
immediately after the station building had been dismantled. Certainly
during the late 1950s and 1960s, the station building itself had been
closed and replaced by a wooden waiting shelter on the platform. A
fuller history of the station can be found on the Carrog
Station website or in Paul Lawton's book Berwyn Memories.'
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