Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

07 October 2013

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.

October 2013

Thursday 10 October Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'The Wrexham – Bidston Line' Dave Rapson

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. Allan More, The Railways of the St Helens  area, a presentation showing the history of railways there.

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. narrow-gauge  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 years! 

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"

Friday 25 October Great Western Society North West Branch The Corris Railway by David Coleman.

26-27 October  Llangollen Railway Days Out with Thomas

Wednesday, 30 October   Ffestiniog Railway Society Dee & Mersey Group Birkenhead Tramways & The Wirral Tramway by Rob Jones

Thursday 31 October  Llangollen Railway Ghost Train evening

Thursday 31 October  Richard Sant  Merseyside Railway History Group 'Building the new Patriot engine'

November 2013

Friday 1 November   Clwyd Railway Circle  Paul Davies   'The Buckley Railway and the Industries it served' The talk celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the railway.     

Saturday 2 November  Llangollen Railway Murder Mystery evening

Saturday 2 November  Wirral '0 Gauge' Group Open Day,  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] 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. John Fry, North West Electrification, speaking on the electrification of 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 and Conwy Valley Railway Society AGM 'American Wanderings Part 1' Gordon Davies

Monday 18 November  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ‘Circular tour of North Wales from 1966 to 1980’ by John Hobbs. 

Thursday 21 November Locomotive Club of Great Britain  Steve Fort "Carlisle to Crewe " - mainly steam scenes

Wednesday, 27 November   Ffestiniog Railway Society Dee & Mersey Group George England Locomotives, by Chris Jones

Thursday 28 November  Geoff Morris   Merseyside Railway History Group 'The Many Varied Railways of Australia'

Friday 29 November  Great Western Society North West Branch Railways of the Iberian Peninsula, by Barry Rushton.

Saturday 30 November Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

December 2013

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

7 December Llangollen Railway Real Ale Train evening

Monday 9  December    Wrexham Railway Society. Stephen Gay, Railways in a Yorkshire Landscape,  from Sheffield, he 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 Yorkshireman and his presentation will be based on his home county, including the beautiful Settle to Carlisle line.

Thursday 12 December  Merseyside Railway History Group Geoff Coward 'Europe & The Old Buffers'

Thursday 12 December Llandudno and Conwy 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 Sloane

14-15 December Llangollen Railway Santa Specials

Monday 16 December  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ‘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 60s

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

26-31 December  Llangollen Railway Mince Pie Specials.

January 2014

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 and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'From a Driver’s point of view' Dave Trains

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. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND RAIL REVIEW ENTERTAINMENT Annual General Meeting will be followed by various  members’ own presentations.

Monday 20 January  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales 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'

February 2014

Friday 7 February    Clwyd Railway Circle   Brian Bollington & Peter Hanahoe  'Polish Steam' The presentation 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. Fred Kirk,  A Scottish Trip 60 Years On. The results of  a week long 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 and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'A short history of Crosville & my time with it' Clive Myers                        
Friday 14 February  Altrincham Electric Preservation Society A JOURNEY FROM MANCHESTER TO EASTLEIGH WORKS IN 1910 By Mike Hayward (Secretary, Manchester Locomotive Society)

Monday 17 February  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales Barry Shore ‘BR freight in the post steam era 1967 to 1979’

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'

March 2014

Friday 7 March    Clwyd Railway Circle    The Committee & David Southern AGM followed by the talk 'Railways of the Wirral'    After the formality is over, we can look forward to Dave sharing his railway experiences of 60 years living on the Wirral.

Monday 10 March   Wrexham Railway Society. Geoff Morris- Railways of New Zealand a digital presentation based on 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 and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'The Dinorwic Quarry Railway & its locomotives' Eric Lander

Monday 17 March  RCTS Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ‘The Ugly Duckling’: Bob Casselden looks at the transformation of B.R.’s ‘Other Provincial Services’ via ‘Regional Railways’ into today’s privatised railways
Friday 14 March  Altrincham Electric Preservation Society A Selection of Doug Darby's UK PHOTOGRAPHS by Paul Shackcloth (Photographic Officer, Manchester Locomotive Society)

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 Railway"

Thursday 27 March  Merseyside Railway History Group AGM & Members Slides

April 2014

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 and Conwy 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 Railway Society. Jon Penn.   Railway Pictures From the  1960’s –scanned black and white negatives and vintage colour slides, favouring the Cheshire and surrounding areas.

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 the 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"

May 2014
Thursday 8 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 'The Deganwy Dock Story' Eric Smith

Thursday 15 May Locomotive Club of Great Britain  AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.

A Llangollen Railway 'Wedding Belle'  at Berwyn on 5 October, with 2-8-0 3802 officiating. it was the 3pm service train with an extra coach attached for a wedding party who made a single journey to Carrog where the reception was held in the village hall. The wedding ceremony had taken place earlier in the Henry Robertson suite at Llangollen station. Picture by Tom Peacock.

The Scenic Snowdonian

Pathfinder Tours ventured into North Wales on 7 October with 'The Scenic Snowdonian' charter which started from Salisbury not long after 'four in the morning' and called at various stations to pick up passengers on the way to Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead.  An optional extra was a coach connection to a full through run over the narrow gauge network between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon. Unfortunately problems with the DRS locomotives (47 828 and 47 818) meant that the train lost a lot of time, arriving in North Wales over an hour late at 12:27, although they did manage the famous 1 in 37 gradient of the Lickey Incline in only five minutes instead of the timetabled three. Above, the westbound train passes Rhyl, pictured by Roly High.

The plan for the day for Snowdonia passengers, as described by Pathfinder:
Alight from our special train at either Llandudno Junction or Bangor for road coach transfer to Blaenau Ffestiniog or Caernarvon, then enjoy the longest and most exciting steam hauled journey now possible on a British narrow gauge railway. There will be two trains, one from each end, covering the full journey over both lines, crossing each other during a break in Porthmadog. There is superb mountain scenery to be enjoyed, including traversal of the famous Aberglaslyn Pass and use of the unique flat crossing over the Cambrian Coast Line. On arrival at the opposite end, road coaches will transfer you back to the main line stations for the journey homeward.
How this worked out with the late running of the main train, we cannot say at present. Can you help?

Arrival at Holyhead (Ken Robinson). By this time, DRS has already dispatched two replacement locos from Crewe Gresty Bridge depot at 12:06.

Run-round operations at Holyhead, complicated as always, because the 'neck' beyond the platforms which allows locos to reach the loop line is only long enough for one at a time.

The pair couple for the return to Crewe depot, with 47 818 to be the lead loco. Departure was at 13:07, arriving at Crewe safely at 15:47 (Ken Robinson).

Above, the rescue mission in the form of 47 501 Craftsman and 47 810 Peter Bath MBE passes Abergele (Roly High).

A 'banner repeater' is provided at Abergele on the through line, as the view of the starter signal is blocked by the signalbox and bridge (Roly High). The locos arrived at Holyhead at 14:41 in good time for the 17:09 departure of the return train.  Problems with DRS locomotives are rare, and DRS did a good job finding the resources to send replacement so promptly, especially compared to the events involving another company on 26 October 2012.

The return train arrives at Bangor. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.

Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).

Rhyl (Roly High).  The return run went smoothly, and managed to arrive at Salisbury at 00:19¾ - 15 seconds early! A long day for the passengers, especially with the wait in the morning for the train to arrive at the intermediate pick-up stops, including the unmanned halts at Cam & Dursley and Barnt Green.

Wirral Bus and Tram Show 2013 - report by George Jones

The annual event took place in lovely autumnal weather on Sunday 6 Oct and attracted a good turnout to sample the vintage road transport on offer. There are not many such events which can offer a ride around the docks or a road run to the seaside - at New Brighton - and as an add-on. a trip on the ferry boat. Among the visiting buses with a Welsh connection I rather liked the Crosville Leyland National SNG588 with the Stwlan Dam destination - a trip I once undertook in 1976 when the Ffestiniog Railway terminated at Dduallt.

Aside from the operational trams  - featuring Lisbon 730, Liverpool 762, Wallasey 78 and the modern Hong Kong-style car No.69 - the works contain two under restoration with Liverpool 'Baby Grand' No. 245 (above) ...

... and Warrington No.2. When finished, both will be notable additions to the tramcar operational fleet. One has to hope that this delightful tramway in an unusual urban environment will survive any financial problems Wirral Borough Council has in maintaining the line.

Wrexham re-double to proceed

A lot of messages have come our way in recent months regarding the proposed return to double track of the Wrexham - Chester section, or at least most of it, and the apparent reluctance of the Welsh Government to proceed, even after everyone, apparently including Network Rail, though it was a 'done deal' that the '£36m project' was going ahead. What follows is our brief summary of the chain of events; if it's inaccurate, do let us know.

In Summer 2013, on the last day the Welsh Assembly was sitting before the recess, Edwina Hart, member for Gower and Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, announced in a semi-official kind of way that she was delaying the start of the project, hinting that Network Rail had come back with a higher cost than originally given, but not offering any sort of detail. There then followed a email, twitter, and every other media-storm from politicians and rail supporters in North East Wales, with calls for official statements, attempts and Freedom of Information Requests, and so on, pointing out that a lot of money has been spent on similar rail improvements in South Wales at Gowerton (childhood home of Ms Hart) and on buses to serve Cardiff Airport which were not needed as a commercial operator registered the service...

Eventually, on 2 October,  BBC reported 'A revised plan to upgrade the train line between Wrexham and Chester is to go ahead. Transport Minister Edwina Hart told the Senedd the project would be going ahead following negotiations with Network Rail. The current scheme will cost £44m, and will see parts of the track redoubled and speed improvements, cutting north-south journey times by 16 minutes. The work is scheduled to be completed by 2015.... and also includes improvements to the Shrewsbury - Gobowen line and work on Anglesey.

Mrs Hart told the press "I am pleased that we have been able to agree a scheme that will reduce journey times between north and south Wales and delivery increased capacity between Wrexham and Chester. This new scheme will meet our objectives and provide value for money."

A victory for the campaigners. So far, no details of the revised scheme, or the 'work on Anglesey'  seem to have appeared. We wait with interest, although we understand that the work will go on as originally planned.  Meanwhile, as Roly High's pictures taken at Rossett show, what was once an important main line carrying the Great Western railway's expresses from London to Chester and Merseyside currently has the air of some forgotten branch line even though it still carries vital services including the Holyhead - Cardiff premier service.

There also seems to be some proposal in the political air to obtain the 'InterCity 125' HSTs which will be displaced by new Japanese trains in a few years, and used them on an hourly Holyhead - Cardiff service. Good luck with that, we say.

Past times with John Hobbs - Ivatt Heaven

Above, LMS Class 2 2-6-2T 41285 arrives at Prestatyn with the 17:20 Chester to Rhyl, on Thursday 16 July 1964. I never did to see another Ivatt 2-6-2T work one of these 'stoppers', the exception being the morning Push & Pull train on the 07:55 SX Rhyl to Chester and 10:20 SX Chester to Rhyl.

Class leader 41200 basks at Bangor, a long-time Bangor engine (with an odd excursion to East Anglia)  and eventually the last steam loco to leave the Depot; this however is 6 May 1964. Mr Dunn the shedmaster would have made me sign in the Visitors' book, in his office,  and leave my name and address, then I could go round the shed no problem!

41220 takes a break from shunting at Rhyl, parked in the Denbigh Bay,  on a wet day, 24 March 1964, attached to BR standard 16-ton mineral wagon B158665. Only a few years earlier a Stanier 2-6-2T would have been on this duty and before that an L&Y 0-6-0; no camera then though.  Other trains to use these bays were the various North Wales Circular tours in the 50's and early 60's. 

[Editor's note: 41220 was one of four which ended their lives on station pilot duty at Stockport often watched by young Charlie shunting the goods yard and carriage shed. If you took pictures of 41202 / 04 / 20 / 33 in North Wales or elsewhere, we'd be pleased to see them.]

Picture miscellany

The Chirk to Carlisle empty log train, 6C37, on 6 October at Preston Boats, running over an hour late at 11:53 with Colas 56 087. Most of the willowherbs have set seed since our last visit to this location (Stavros Lainas).

A Class 158 crosses Henry Robertson's Cefn Viaduct with the 13:28 Holyhead to Birmingham International service. This picture was taken from the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct by Martin Evans.

A narrow boat negotiating the lift bridge on the canal at Froncysyllte a few minutes earlier (Martin Evans).

Galatea returns to Chester

'Jubilee'  45699 Galatea enters Chester on 5 October on a Crewe to Shrewsbury circular run via Chester. This train had originated from Cleethorpes, with diesel haulage to Crewe and return (Martin Evans).

45699 steams through the middle road at  Chester on October 5th with a Crewe to Salop circular via Chester. This train had originated from Cleethorpes with diesel haulage to Crewe and return (Martin Evans).

On the single line at Rossett, taken from the legal side of the level crossing barrier by Roly High.

Heading for Wrexham and a gaggle of photographers on the road bridge (Roly High).

George Jones writes: 'Having debated the options, I chose Gobowen to see the steam special go through today as I reasoned it would be likely performing best there. However the sky was overcast at 12:20....

'... In the event I was right. Before the level crossing gates came down the engine could be heard away back around Chirk, and as it appeared around the bend the three-cylinder beat announced a Jubilee on approach in fine style and running some ten minutes early.'

Mystery pictures from the 1950s

Stuart Broadbent writes: 'I was wondering if any of your readers can identify the locations of these photographs taken by my father on, I think, a cycling tour of North Wales in 1956. The quality of the original slides is unfortunately poor but they are historically interesting.' No. 1, above, looks relatively easy.

No.2 is one of the LMS Stanier 3MT 2-6-2 tanks blowing off at the safety valves, but at which station?

No.3 is probably a branch line train with an Ivatt 2-6-2T at a station with a nice floral display. Can you tell us anything at all about any of these these views?

Round Robin and the Welsh Highland - by Vince Chadwick

This is an outing we have have been meaning to do ever since the amazing project to re-instate the Welsh Highland Railway between Caernarfon and Porthmadog was completed a few years ago.

We got ourselves a 'Ffestiniog Round Robin' ticket each which gave us travel on the national railways in North Wales, and a one-way trip on the narrow gauge steam Ffestiniog Railway (with 'Manchester Extension' to extend its validity east of Crewe). Interestingly, the ticket was in two parts, designated 'From WILMSLOW to FFESTROUNDROBIN' on the 'OUT' ticket, and the reverse designation on the 'RETURN' ticket. One wonders, on a circular journey like this, where 'OUT becomes 'RETURN'. The ticket cost £23.75 with a Senior Railcard.

Here's our timetable for the day from our home station of Wilmslow:

Wilmslow d 07:46 Crewe a 08:05
Crewe d 08:23 Chester a 08:46
Chester d 08:55 Llandudno Junction a 09:43
Llandudno Jc d 10:28 Blaenau Ffestiniog a 11:30

Ffestiniog Railway:
Blaenau Ffestiniog d 11:50 Porthmadog a 13:00

Welsh Highland Railway:
Porthmadog d 14:15 Caernarfon a 16:40

Bus to Bangor - 30 minute journey 4 times an hour

Bangor d 18:09 Chester a 19:25
Chester d 19:35 Crewe a 19:54
Crewe d 20:11 Wilmslow a 20:27

The itinerary allows a break of just over 40 minutes at Llandudno Junction, which is ideal for a loo break, cup of tea, and perhaps a bacon butty from the station buffet before boarding 150 259 (above) for the scenic trip up the Conway Valley to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

At Blaenau Ffestiniog, Even the imaginative column by the station unfortunately perpetuates
the 'nothing here but slate' impression one, perhaps unfairly, gets of the town. Boston Lodge-built Double Fairlie Merddin Emrys had brought the Ffestiniog Railway train up from Porthmadog, and would be our motive power for the next stage of our outing.

'Merddin Emrys' comes off the bottom of the spiral< and rejoins the original Ffestiniog trackbed at Dduallt.

At Porthmadog, Welsh Highland Railway Garratt 143 waits for its train to be shunted out of
the station and onto the Cob by diesel locomotive Vale of Ffestiniog before positioning on the front of it to take us to Caernarfon.

Above, 143 takes water at Porthmadog. We bought tickets here for the Welsh Highland Railway journey to Caernarfon - the highlight of our trip.

We decided to splash out and go first class in this Pullman-style coach. The single fare to Caernarfon for 'oldies' is £20.40, and the supplement for first class is an extra £10.00.

It's certainly worth paying for the comfort of the generous armchair seats and the ambiance of this coach. If you're lucky (we weren't) the first class coach will have an 'observation end' and will be at the back of the train to allow unobstructed views. We saw this on a Porthmadog-bound train and presume the railway only has one such vehicle hence not having one on our train.

At Beddgelert our loco crew 'put the bag in' to replenish the Garratt thirst after the strenuous climb from the coast. And of course, there is plenty of climbing yet to come.

Awaiting departure from Beddgelert.

The fireman has put a round on (the fire) and has left the firehole doors partly open with the blower on to allow 'top air' onto the fire to maximise combustion of gasses coming off the fire, thus extracting more energy from the fuel and helping to prevent dense smoke issuing from the chimney. Good firing practice that you don't always see!

To put more coal on, the fireman fully opens the firehole doors. Despite the blower being on, this picture clearly shows the combustion of gases above the fire, and that combustion being drawn out of the firebox towards the relatively oxygen-rich air in the cab (flames can be seen burning outside the firebox here). If the blower were turned off, there would be a nasty flash-back of fire into the cab as these gases found oxygen in the cab and burned there rather than in the firebox. That's why one should never open the firehole doors on a steam locomotive without first turning on the blower to draw the fire forward through the boiler tubes towards the smoke box.


On arrival at Caernarfon we walked into the town centre to catch the bus to Bangor. Our FRR rail tickets were accepted by the bus driver as valid, which is good as our English bus passes do not work in Wales. We had a wait of 45 minutes or so at Bangor station for the crowded Arriva Wales 2-coach Class 158 from Holyhead to Birmingham. At Llandudno Junction it coupled onto the rear of another such unit which was nearly empty, so we moved forward into that for the rest of the journey to Chester.

At Chester a near-empty Virgin Voyager for London Euston was waiting. It soon filled up! We were glad we only had to travel one stop (to Crewe) on this overcrowded, noisy, smelly, and uncomfortable train. A much more comfortable and quieter Virgin Pendolino whisked us home the last lap from Crewe to Wilmslow. So ended a really good day out. Garratt steam locos, wild mountain scenery, a luxurious Pullman coach... and absolutely superb weather.

143 can claim to be the final steam locomotive of the many built in Manchester.

For more pictures and text, see Vince's blog.

Cambrian Rail Survey - press release

A major survey of households, passengers and business across mid Wales on the need for an hourly service for the Cambrian Lines, runs from 5 to 20 October. This ambitious survey project could play a key part in bringing this major improvement to Wales' primary east to west transport corridor. The survey by the Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Liaison Committee has been commissioned by the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart.

The survey has been described as a 'once in a generation' opportunity by Councillor Mansel Williams, chairman of the Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Liaison Committee. He said : 'We have been discussing the possibility of an hourly service for the Cambrian Lines for many years. It is a commitment of the Welsh Government to implement an enhanced service and this survey is an opportunity to demonstrate the need for that service now, which would be a major enhancement for this important line.

'There are potentially thousands of people – students, commuters, business-people, shoppers, tourists, visitors - that could take advantage of an enhanced service and we urge them to take part in this survey and have their say. A more regular service could improve access to many other parts of the country for local people, including important connections to Cardiff, London, and the North, and enable more mid Wales commuter and tourist journeys.

The surveys will be made available right across the region covered by the Cambrian Lines – from Pwllheli to Aberdyfi on the coast line, and from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury on the main line. There will also be special open days organised at some of these locations and a special website is also available where people can fill out the surveys online. Over the next few weeks the residents of locations served by the railway can participate by completing a simple survey form. Businesses and large organisations are also being asked to take part as well.

Councillor Williams urges every one of you to take a few minutes to fill in the survey. Look at the website

for more details and an on-line version of the survey

Great Western on Tour - report by Richard Putley

On Saturday 28  September, First Great Western were truly spreading their wings. Not only had 158 763 overnighted at Llandudno, but another place which saw a First Great Western train
was Corfe Castle (above) in Dorset.

Each year the Cotswold Line Promotion Group runs an excursion train from the Worcester
- Oxford line, which it saved from closure in the 1980s. This year's excursion ran from Worcester Shrub Hill to Corfe Castle. The stock was a First Great Western HST set led by 43 028 with 43 078 bringing up the rear. This was the first time I had travelled over the link between the Swanage Railway and the national network. It was also my first trip over the Worcester - Oxford Cotswold Line since it was re-doubled in 2011.

We set off from Worcester on time and ran without incident to Oxford. We had to wait outside the station due the fact there's only one platform in each. With more trains now serving Oxford it is becoming a bottleneck. We also held at a signal after leaving Oxford to allow a Voyager train to overtake us. At Reading we turned on to the West Curve, pausing briefly for a crew change at Reading West station. We continued on to Basingstoke where we held outside the station and again in a platform to allow a London Waterloo - Weymouth express formed of 2 5 car class 444 EMUs to overtake us.


At Eastleigh I saw a number of locos including 60 065 which I managed to photograph from the train.

At Southampton Container terminal several locos were stabled including 70 008/17, DRS 66 416, DCR 31 452 and 31 190.


At Bournemouth we paused to allow those who wished to get off there to do so...

...  and passed 220 018 forming the 11:45 to Manchester - a latter-day Pines Express!


It had been decided that due to clearance issues the HST could not enter Swanage station. So at Corfe Castle we crossed to the up platform for a specially laid on steam train.

This was hauled by 34028 Eddystone, while the HST was stabled in the down platform.  [Note the
anagram' of 34028 and 43028.]

On arrival at Swanage 08 436 coupled on and drew the stock into the other platform, 34028 going on shed where it had BR 4 2-6-4T 80104 for company. 33 111 and LSWR M7 30053 were also stabled nearby.

I returned to Corfe  Castle on the 15:20 departure from Swanage, which was hauled by GWR
0-6-2T 6695. Thus I was able to photograph it at Corfe on its return from Norden and also Eddystone arriving on the returning special. The Devon Belle observation car was also parked in a siding there. Once aboard the HST again it whisked us back to Worcester Shrub Hill arriving a few minutes early.

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