Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

December 2013

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

7-8 December Bala Lake 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 / talk by
Anthony J Robinson "Dad had an engine shed" - an illustrated talk on the life and times of the son of a shedmaster at Mold junction shed. The speaker has a book published by Oakwood Press of the same title.

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'

Friday 31 January  Great Western Society North West Branch The Cowley Hill Colliery to the Runcorn Gap Railway.

Friday 28 February  Great Western Society North West Branch    Group Annual Meeting followed by Members Slides.

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.

97 304 leads the Rail Head Treatment Train past some of the reasons why the Rail Head needs Treatment, near Bagillt on 23 November. Picture by Matthew Travis.

This issue was prepared in advance as we have been away for a few days. More recent events will appear next time. - Charlie

26 Years ago at Holyhead

Christian van der Veen took this picture in Summer 1988 on the last day of his Britrail pass. 47 534, seen awaiting departure from Platform 2, wears the classic large-logo blue livery. Allocated to Crewe diesel depot at the time, it was scrapped in 1995. Of note is the short-arm signal, which until earlier that year carried a rare survival in the form of a short lower-quadrant LNWR arm, due to the restricted space between the tracks. It was replaced by the short upper-quadrant version after the LNWR one fell apart, but the wooden post was retained. In the background are the two former 'Palbrick' brick-carrying wagons which had been modified to allow the movement of individual Freightliner wagons which normally ran in permanently-coupled rakes. Some years ago they were removed to the Cambrian Heritage Railways at Nantmawr for preservation.

Conwy Valley failure

Friday 22 November saw the Conwy Valley line's class 150 unit declared a failure on arrival at Llanrwst at 08:10, while working the 07:39 train from Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog, followed by a spate of cancellations. A replacement bus was procured for the 11:46 from Blaenau Ffestiniog which kept right time to through to Llandudno.  Eventually, at about 11:50, the aling train was moved to Llandudno Junction and later ran to Chester.

At 12:49, the standby 150/2 - 150 259 - was dispatched from Chester and arrivied at Llandudno Junction 13:29. Normal service re-commenced with the 13:30 from Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog which should have started at 13:08 from Llandudno but a bus was provided for that section.

Ken Robinson's picture shows 150 259, in rapidly failing light, ready to depart with the 16:20 from Llandudno.

Patriot at the NEC

As promised, the partly-built new 'Patriot' 4-6-0 45551 The Unknown Warrior travelled to the Model Railway Exhibition at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre on 21-22 November, which has a tradition of including full-size locos among the exhibits as seen above. Picture by George Jones.

The cab sides have been painted, not long before the exhibition: the signwriter's guide marks can still be seen around the number which reproduces the stylish letter style used by the LMS railway in the 1930s period. 'Shading' to the numbers still has to be added.

The front 'face' of the loco represents the British Railways period (Roly High). The headboard is in the style of the nameplates fitted in 1937 to No. 45500 Patriot which had been built in 1930 as 5901 Croxteth.  The type thereafter became known as the 'Patriot' class.

An interesting new book by Keith Langston, British Steam - Patriots covers the class in fascinating detail, from their inception right up to the currend new-build project, with a useful section about steam locomotive building in general. In addition to normal paper format, it is also available as a very reasonably priced Kindle eBook.

The other side of the cab wears British Railways green (Roly High). The wheels have been made new, but majot challenges remain, including the boiler and firebox. For more information see the Project website.

Past Times with John Hobbs - GWR Locos on Parcels trains

In 1965 it was becoming harder to ride behind ex-Great Western Railway locomotives, in and out of Chester; there was however a Parcels train into Chester, from Southall,  in the morning which often produced an GWR locomotive.   The locomotive usually returned on the 17.20 Parcels from Chester the train could be photographed but it left from the Mold Bay Platform 1, which was difficult, and  by this time the idea was to ride behind locomotives and if possible make a tape recording of the locomotive in action. My friend Chris Magner was at this time in charge of a tea trolley, earning money as a student,  he was supposed to sell tea to passengers on the 16.25 Birkenhead to Paddington.  This train however took a little time to reverse in Chester and change motive power; if he went through the train quickly he could take his tea trolley off and go round to the Mold Bay and put his trolley on the Parcels Train, the Guard got a cup of tea and my friend got a ride with a GWR locomotive. I was fortunate to join him on such an escape on 4 August 1965 when 6831 (formerly Bearley Grange) worked out of Chester. The view above was taken form the passenger brake van as it rounded the curve towards Wrexham.

The same train departing from Wrexham General.

Working the same service at Wrexham General on 5 August 1965, 6833 (formerly Calcot Grange) shunts across to the Down side of the station, while the face of change, in the form of  D1670 on a Down freight passes under clear signals.

6833 draws some empty passenger coaches forward from the Down loop platform on to the Up line.

Finally 6833 departs with the now complete and reformed train. The locomotives look in dire condition, stripped of name and number plates; quite a depressing sight but the distinctive GWR exhaust beat, brake ejectors and vacuum pump could all still stir the heart.

[Editor's note: At the time, these locos were based at Oxley, the GWR / Western Region's Wolverhampton depot which had been transferred to the London Midland region in 1963 complete with its ex-GW locos.  Both 6831 and 6833 were taken out of traffic a few weeks later and scrapped in early 1966.]

Onwards to Corwen - report by George Jones

Progress with the extension of the Llangollen railway during 2013  has become apparent to the users of the A5 road approaching Corwen. Since the end of October tracklaying has been observed as the project to extend the railway has taken off again. and as of late November a very respectable length of track now exists on the straight which parallels the road to the west of Bonwm (above).

After many months of frustration through the winter of 2012/13 and into this year’s summer, track laying actually resumed in September when the full time staff undertook to extend the rail head from Plas Bonwm Farm towards the gated access near the former Bonwm halt site. This was possible after deliveries of ballast had resumed, lorried in from Crewe where recovered ballast is recycled and providing a cost effective source of material. This supply provided the base for the trackbed and over 1000 tonnes has been required for the current work to proceed.

The renewed availability of the Road Railer machine has also provided for the work to go ahead after the need for repairs and competence training of operatives, but, the meantime, a hired-in JCB Load-all machine allowed for the stockpile of concrete sleepers and rail to be distributed down the length of the trackbed to the Corwen phase one station site.

One item of infrastructure requiring specialist attention is the over bridge 28A, a farm occupation access, which needed attention to the brick and stone work once an ivy coating was removed. In the spring contractors water-proofed the top and provided a hard core surface in lieu of the previous earth and this has allowed the structure to dry out. Another contractor is now at work repairing the brick under arch and the stone abutments and scaffolding is in situ for this task.

With the passage west blocked here, the decision was taken in October to press on with relaying track from the eastern side of the bridge heading back towards Bonwm. Teams of volunteers working in conjunction with a contractor laying the ballast base have made good progress over the past 4 – 5 weeks.

Using the Road Railer to set out 24 sleepers and to pull in rail to form a 60 ft panel, the task has been eased with four or five panels a day being possible during two sessions a week. As of late November over 24 panels had been laid and the section is half way back to the rail head at Bonwm with the prospects of linking up by Christmas. The resultant length of straight track is most impressive as seen from the road and offers a taste for the view with the future running of trains.

It is likely that, subject to bridge 28A work being finished, track laying towards Corwen can resume in the New Year. However the station site there presently has the Corwen flood relief scheme contractors occupying the access and they have laid outfall pipes into the River Dee through what was bridge 30 on the railway embankment.

The same site as above, seen from the side on a muddy day. The station site is on the rightr, behind the pipes. The building of the platform on the station site (now announced as being known by the bi-lingual name of 'Dwyrain Corwen East') must await their pleasure, but the future need is to bring ballast in at this end of the line and to begin laying foundations for the 5-coach platform in the New Year.

Around at the Corwen car park at least one positive development has occurred with landscape contractors setting out the footpath which will provide direct access to the railway station for those coming by car or bus and make an attractive route for those arriving by train to visit the town. The site of the station is behind the clump of trees in the centre of the photograph.

A target date for the first train in Corwen has been set for 1 March 2014, St David's Day, a symbolic occasion perhaps, but the whole new length of track back to Plas Bonwm Farm will need to be ballasted and tamped and many items of infrastructure must be  completed before public trains can run. Whilst the operation of trains to Corwen is included in the 2014 timetable, the date from which they will operate has yet to be announced.

The need to acquire further finance to secure the completion of the project remains a priority and those wanting to take the train to or from Corwen can assist the Llangollen Railway Trust in its aim by making a donation – the going rate for a sleeper and fittings is £20 which gives some indication of the costs involved in match funding the initial Welsh Government grant which kick-started the project.

Updated details of the project can be viewed on the Llangollen Railway’s website within the Enthusiasts’ section at:

There is also a Corwen Extension Project route map on display in the Llangollen station building for those visiting the railway during the winter.

Bangor, 23 November (Darren Durrant).

Bagillt, 21 November (Tim Rogers).

Babcock's busy day at the Bache - with Roly High

On 24 November, relaying was in progress on the Merseyrail line outside Chester station.

The gang are in the swing of things.

New sleepers being lifted from wagons and put in place ...

... as the old wooden ones are removed

A wagon with new sleepers.

The wagons are underneath the bridge that carried the line from Chester Northgate to Manchester Central; the trackbed is now a walkway and cycle track.

Attendant loco 66 553 draws the ballast wagons forward.

One of the road/rail machines trundles past. On this sharply-curved section of track, with its pointwork and third rail, 'autoballasters' and other night-tech equipment are eschewed in favour of traditional methods with some mechanical assistance.

A 6-car 175 rake pulls out of the Alstom depot into the former goods yard.

Another shot of 66 553 with the stop boards protecting against any movements across the junction with the North Wales coast line.

Even the pigeons had a day off!

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