06 January 2014
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Tuesday 7 January North
Wales Railway Circle Bob Barnsdale of the Llandudno & Conwy
Valley Rly Society; gives an evening on LNWR Motive Power Depots.
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 31 January Great
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.
Tuesday 4 February North
Wales Railway Circle Bill Rogerson returns with 'Rails around
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.
Thursday 13 February Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'A
my time with it' Clive
Friday 14 February Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society (Change of programme)
Well-known railway photographer Peter Fitton from the Fylde will be
giving a slide show entitled "The Railways of the Fylde from 1961".
Monday 17 February RCTS
Wales 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'
Tuesday 4 March North
Wales Railway Circle Ken Robinson shows 'Chester to Holyhead
including Llandudno branch' slides.
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.
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.
Tuesday 4 April North
Circle Dave Rapson of Connah`s Quay presents a
pictorial record of The Bidston - Wrexham Line.
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"
Tuesday 6 May North
Wales Railway Circle A.G.M. followed by Members Videos,
Prints, Slides, and Digital work in the Photo Competition.
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
Reduced to three carriages and driving van trailer, after two carriages
were damaged in an incident involving some corrugated sheet blown on to
the track, on 27 December (see last issue),
the 12:17 Holyhead - Crewe 'holiday extra' on 31 December calls at
sunny Llandudno Junction. Picture by Peter Lloyd.
everyone who has sent Christmas and New Year wishes and kind comments.
Much appreciated.- Charlie
More storm and flood problems
Friday 3 January saw severe weather problems affecting all the lines in
our area. Floods combined with very high tides caused damage to the
Conwy Valley and Cambrian Coast Lines, leading to complete closure
between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog and between
Machynlleth and Pwllheli. Llanelli to Carmarthen in South Wales was
The Cambrian Coast line, which is already out of use north of Harlech
due to the non-weather-related damage to the Briwet Bridge, has been
rendered unusable in a number of places. The picture above, by Mark
Kendall, shows the state of the shore-line section between
Tonfanau and Tywyn with the 07:17 Harlech to Machynlleth train stopped
short as waves break over the line on to the adjacent road.
A close-up of the wash-out between the rails. Picture By Mark
The 06:47 Machynlleth - Harlech has passed through the area, but was
terminated at Barmouth due to problems on the sea wall at Llanaber,
seen above in Network Rail's picture. The coast protection here is
provided by large boulders, augmented by miscellaneous large masonry
blocks brought from redundant structures elsewhere.
At Barmouth, the unit from Harlech, was coupled to the one which had
returned from Tonfanau. Our picture by Kate Jones shows 158
837 and 158 831 at Barmouth. about to be moved to the
As the screen at Barmouth states, no bus replacements could operate
either. Kate Jones relates: 'Even with my Land Rover Discovery
I had to wait two hours before travelling north to get back to
Dolgellau via Trawsfynydd due to road flooding at Llanbedr.'
On the section already out of use, Ken Robinson photographed
the scene at Penrhyndeudraeth station, seen from the nearby level
crossing at high tide at 09:45 on 3 January. The information display
is still displaying its 'no trains message' as the water almost reaches
platform level. A combination of strong South West winds and high
tides makes this location very vulnerable. As of 6 January a bus
replacement service of has been organised: PDF
here. All-stops buses are connecting at Barmouth with a
Machynlleth - Pwllheli express bus which calls only at Tywyn, Barmouth,
Harlech and Porthmadog.
As we write this on Monday 6 January, Machynlleth to Aberystwyth has
also been closed. See also the Daily Post which has a
On the North Wales Coast line, all train movements west of Chester
trains were suspended as a precaution during the high tide period in
the middle of the day on 3 January, but resumed in the afternoon,
although part of the town of Rhyl was flooded.
On the Conwy Valley, Nick Gurney photographed a message at
North Llanrwst complete with operator information.
Here's a view of some track near Llanrwst. The line will be closed
until 12 January at the earliest, according to Network Rail.
News of new locomotives
Delivery has begun of nine 'class 70' locomotives ordered by Colas Rail
from General Electric in the USA. These are the same type as the
Freightliner Class 70s, and will join the Turkish-built example
70 801 in the Colas fleet. Andrew Easom, a reader living in the
US, sends these two fine views of 70 804 sitting on a special
heavy-load flatcar (note the four bogies) in Norfolk Southern's
Rockport Yard near Cleveland, Ohio on 1 January, on its way from the GE
plant in Erie, Pennsylvania waiting to be taken to Norfolk,
Virginia for export.
The weather in northern Ohio has been rather cold recently: on 5
January the temperature in Cleveland is minus 16 degrees C, and weather
websites are suggesting wind chill factors down to 'extremely
dangerous' minus 40 later in the week.
Meanwhile back in windy England, Two other locos, 70 803 and
70 805, were landed from the Atllantic Concert during the
night of 5/6 January at Seaforth Docks, Liverpool. A picture published
on Twitter (scroll down our Twitter feed in the left column) shows them
on roll-on roll-off trailers, which should avoid the risk of one
dropping from a crane, as happened to Freightliner machine 70 012.
The first example for of a completely new class of diesel ordered by
DRS, 68 002, to arrive in the UK in the near future, having
been completed by the Vossloh works in Spain. It too may come by sea,
loco, 68 001, now undergoing tests at the Velim test
track in the Czech Republic, travelled from Spain to the port of
Lübeck aboard the MV Lyrika, reaching the Baltic Sea via
the Kiel Canal
and thence by rail to Velim. Spanish railways are a different track
gauge to the UK, which may be the reason for this.
Llangollen Railway events (1): Winter Warmer
The Llangollen Railway's 'Winter Warmer' event of 4-5 January featured
a good selection of the railway's motive power. Notable were the last
runs on this line by 'Black 5' 44806 which has been sold by its owner
and will in future be running on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
Above, 44806 blasts under the road bridge at Berwyn with the 10:00
- Carrog (Bob Greenhalgh).
44806 arrives at Carrog with the 10:00 from
Llangollen on 4 January 2014 (Rowan Crawshaw). This loco has a
long history in preservation, having been bought by the late Kenneth
Aldcroft and moved to 'Steamtown' at Carnforth at the end of British
Rail main line steam in August 1968. It has not always been in working
order, however. After working for a few years, a fault was discovered,
and it spent time as a static exhibit, first at Steamport, Southport
and when that closed, at the Museum of Science and Industry. In 1993 it
was finally moved to Llangollen for repairs, and entered service there
in 1995 and has been based there ever since, including another
overhaul, completed in 2007.
44806 makes a spirited approach to Berwyn on the 1240
Llangollen – Carrog on Saturday 4 January (David Parry). For a
more detailed history of the loco, see the Llangollen
The view from the footplate, as seen by Tom Peacock at
Glyndyfrdwy on 4 January. The boxes with pipes emerging from them are
mechanical lubricators, which ensure a supply of oil to the moving
parts of the loco. One supplies the valved and cylinders, the other the
wheel bearings. This type was standard on LMS and BR standard
Above, BR Standard 2-6-4T 80072 awaits departure with the 10:25
Llangollen at Carrog on 4 January (Rowan Crawshaw).
80072 on the same train approaching milepost 7¼ near Berwyn (Bob
80072 glides through Glyndyfrdwy with the 13 17pm freight from Carrog
to Llangollen Goods Junction (Martin Evans).
The 09:06 Bonwm - Llangollen at Berwyn, formed of the hybrid diesel
multiple unit comprising Class 127 motor car 51618 and Class
108 trailer 56223 (Bob Greenhalgh).
Class 26 diesel D5310 prepares to leave Glyndyfrdwy with the 12:39
service from Bonwm, formed of the line's two 'suburban' non-corridor
coaches (Martin Evans).
D5310 at Carrog on its way to Bonwm with
the 15:00 from
Llangollen on 4 January 2014 (Rowan Crawshaw).
D5310 near Berwyn on 4 January with a demonstration freight, including
preserved 'Presflo' wagon in Tunnel Cement livery: these once ran to
Bangor goods yard (Bob Greenhalgh).
GWR 2800 Class No 3802 arrives at Berwyn with the 11:00
from Llangollen on 4 January (Rowan Crawshaw).
Peter Basterfield visited Llangollen in the evening of 4
January to take these dramatic pictures for us. Above, 80072 ...
... and 44806. A special 'New Year Cheer' train ran in the evening.
Special beer was bottled for the occasion including '44806 special'
(see picture in left column.)
Sunday 5 January, and 44806 waits at Carrog to haul its last mile (or
so) of public services
on the Llangollen Railway, it would continue from Carrog to Bonwm and
then be left on the rear for the return to Llangollen (D5310 hauling
the train). At Llangollen, the plan was to, it would take the coaches
to River Siding and then
on to the shed for disposal (Ivor Bufton).
On the Welsh Highland
Garratts K1 and 138 stand at Waunfawr on the Welsh
Highland Railway with the 10:00 Caernarfon-Porthmadog in heavy rain on
Monday 30 December. Unfortunately the train had to be terminated here
due to flooding, and shortly afterwards K1 ran round the train, which
was then topped and tailed back to Caernarfon. The pioneer Garratt was
being run in after overhaul. Picture by Ian Pilkington.
The Mostyn Story - by Alan Roberts
Following on from the item about Mostyn signalbox on the last issue,
readers may be interested in the history of the signalling in the area.
Mostyn originally had two signalboxes until 1943. Mostyn No.1 opened in
July 1902, replacing an older box dating back to 1872, and is the
current box renamed Mostyn in 1943 when Mostyn No.2 closed. The station
fell under the Beeching axe and was closed on 14 February 1966; when it
first opened on 1 May 1848 it claimed to be the first station lit by
gas. The supply was changed later to electricity from the nearby Mostyn
Iron Works Co.
The present signalbox was built to a LNWR Type 4 design measuring 32’
3½” x 12’ with a 15-foot elevation to the working floor and
fitted with a LNW Tumbler frame of 40 levers. Due to the unusual design
with a overhang on the up side the box received a listed status as from
10 March 1994.
Mostyn No.2 opened in August 1900 replacing a 7-lever ground frame
controlling main line connections to the sidings at the Talacre side of
the station. In 1943 No.2 signalbox closed and its control was taken
over from Mostyn (ex-No1). The siding connections were thereafter
controlled by two ground frames released from the signalbox. The siding
connections to the main line lasted until April 1965 when they were
abolished and replaced by plain line. The 1960s saw further reductions
to track and signalling when the slow lines were taken out of use and
lifted. The first section of slow lines to go were the ones between
Mostyn and Holywell Junction; the down slow on 27 October 1966 and the
up slow on 29 March 1967.
A section of the up slow past the signalbox was retained to give access
to Eyton Siding (a mile towards Holywell Junction), the siding was
shortened in the 1970s to form a shunting neck for the up sidings. From
19 March 1967 the down slow was abolished between Mostyn and Prestatyn
followed by the up slow on 26 March 1967, again a section of the line
was retained and renamed Siding 1, with the up sidings in the yard
renumbered 2 to 5. Following the closure of Mostyn Ironworks in the
late 1960s, the main function for Mostyn signalbox was to control
access to the up sidings leading to the dock.
Rail traffic to and from Mostyn Dock has varied through the years
including raw sulphur conveyed in hopper wagons for Amlwch, steel and
at one point container traffic was trialled. Later traffic included
tanks for the nearby Warwick International plant conveying Acetic Acid
(white vinegar). When this traffic ceased in the late 1990s new
incoming traffic conveying steel girders was started and was shipped
over to Ireland. The steel traffic was only short-lived and finished
altogether as from 10 November 2008. Nowadays the signalbox at Mostyn
is only open as required for signal maintenance work or at certain
times when engineering work takes place.
[Alan Roberts works as a signaller along the North Wales line.]
Club 55 is back (again)
The Arriva 'CLUB 55' (Off Peak travel offer for everyone aged 55 and
over) is being made available again from 5 January to 29 March 2014.
This version is attractive for travel within and out of North Wales to
the whole Arriva network and with add-ons to other destinations.
For full details and conditions see : www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/55
(A rather muddled website in our opinion).
The conditions state 'Travel using a Club 55 ticket is not
permitted before 09:00 Monday to Friday except between the
following locations: Shrewsbury – to or from Aberystwyth/Pwllheli;
Shrewsbury – to or from Llanelli/Swansea via Llandrindod; Chester -
Holyhead/Llandudno/Blaenau Ffestiniog; Neath - Milford Haven/Pembroke
Dock/Fishguard Harbour; Wrexham Central - Bidston.' As we understand
it, unlike in Autumn 2014 this means that North Wales Coast residents
can make an early start to their trip. From the Manchester line and the
Chester - Shrewsbury line one must wait until 09:30, although from
Wrexham travel via Shotton before 09:30 is allowed.
The fare remains at £23 return (valid for eight days, nor
a month as has been the case sometimes in the past) from and to
any station served by Arriva Trains Wales station, or £28 if you
want to travel on a Friday. A £1 discount applies to Senior and
Disabled Railcard holders, and their are add-ons for extensions to
other lines, including to London Marylebone via Chiltern Railways with
their loco-hauled services for an extra £20.50.
Two people responded to our Christmas challenge to re-livery in Arriva
cardboard model kit of a hypothetical single-unit Class 175 first
issued years ago by First North Western. The links below are to the
PDFs for download, both about 650 MB.
Incidentally, we referred in a previous outpouring to the 175 as an
'Adelante' which actually a name for the similar Class 180. The 175 is
officially a 'Coradia'. Apologies.
created the new Welsh Government livery.
Jack Bowley made
the new livery and also the current 'original Arriva' version.
Well done and thanks to both of them - now, who's going to make the
model (in any scale) and send a picture? With a little modification a 2
or 3-car version could be made, and how about glazing the windows...?
Llangollen News (2): New Year's Day - report by George Jones
The weather on 1 January certainly matched the dismal
forecast with heavy rain all morning and the option for the proposed
walk was abandoned.
In the circumstances, only the optimistic
(!) turned up at Carrog but, thanks to Eddie Knorn, a road run was made
to Corwen where the flood relief scheme site was viewed and we called
in at Bonwm gates on the way back. Even in the soggy conditions the
track extension looks impressive still.
The picture above shows the flood relief scheme channel as
seen looking from the rear of the Pavilion towards the station site
which runs across the middle of the view - the old bridge 30, now the
outfall pipe location, is to the right of the clump of trees - the need
for reinstatement of the trackbed level is perhaps obvious. Even
without the flood relief scheme being connected up to this channel
there was plenty of water about on this day!
Looking towards the contractor's site, a new water
feature for Corwen has been created - this was the location of the
temporary road for the works access now taken up again but not
Around 13:00 the sun tried to come out and back at Carrog 3802
arrived on the second train of the New Year in improved lighting.
However, it was not to last; as seen passing Berwyn on the
return the conditions were grim with plenty of water in evidence.
Later 3802 ran round to prepare to take away the 15:00 Mince
Pie Special as the last train of the festive season. The wonder
is so many people turned out to travel on a day which did not encourage
visitors, but acknowledges the fact the Llangollen Railway is one of
the few attractions still operating at this time of the year.
As always thanks are due to all the staff who helped keep
the railway operating throughout the festive season. One can but hope
the income provided adequate net takings to keep the show on the rails
into the new year. For those disappointed not to have had the
chance to walk to Corwen, I will see if another opportunity will
present itself on the first day of the weekend running in February -
watch for a further announcement. Choosing a Saturday will at least
provide a bus service for the return leg.
Past Times with John Hobbs - Connahs Quay again
Fairburn Class 4 2-6-4T 42209
leaves Connahs Quay (above) one
sunny morning with the 7.55am SX Rhyl to Chester on 4 May 1964. I used
to travel to College, at Connahs Quay, on this train; it had different
power nearly every day. I had foolishly elected to travel to College by
road in September 1963; thus giving me more time in bed and was driven
by a demented teenager in a mini van instead. The van eventually died
and I had to go by train. If only I had stuck with the train for the
whole College year...
Prior to my use of the 7.55am SX, it had been a duty for a
Rhyl (6K) Ivatt 2-6-2T ( or BR Std. Class 2 2-6-2T) and a
'Push & Pull' set. However when Rhyl shed closed and
with increasing numbers of students travelling it became a normal
train of corridor stock probably about six cars (although I cannot
remember the exact load). The introduction by Crosville of the 'Cymru
Coastliner' bus reduced numbers, as the bus stopped outside the college
where as rail users had to walk from Connahs Quay Station.
An example of the variety of locomotives used in the
week commencing 19th April 1964, follows; they were 42202 / 45184 /
45184 / 45429 / 45427, Crabs and BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0s also
appeared over the twelve-week period I used the service.
LMS Class 4F 0-6-0 44450 trundles through Connahs
Quay on 19 May 1964, with the evening trip from Holywell Junction
conveying acid tanks, the acid being used in the production of
Rayon. Other traffic at Holywell Junction was fireclay used
in the blast furnaces at Shotton which various contractors made into
special fire bricks; this was conveyed in small containers on 'Conflat
L' wagons. Ordinary vans make up the rest of the train.
Before Rhyl shed closed, 'Jinty' 47350 used to shunt all day
at Holywell Junction, returning light-engine between the Liverpool
and Manchester 'Club' trains and running fast line going like the
'Clappers', the big ends of the crank axle could be seen rotating at
high speed as the locomotive descended on Prestatyn.
I do not know what time it went out to Holywell Junction in
the morning but I never saw this move, even when I was delivering
papers at 7am. The locomotive was used, while at Holywell
Junction, to run along a line at the side of the river
between Llanerchymor, where the Duke of Lancaster
away today, and the present head shunt at the Rhyl end of the station;
this can be seen as a low embankment running across the fields towards
the river; ash from Rhyl shed was dumped along there as well as rock
when required by sea (river) defence work. The tide in the Dee estuary
is severe and many local children were drowned along this stretch of
[Editor's note: Connah's Quay station closed in 1966, but I have an odd
but vivid memory of passing through it, possibly in 1956, and noticing
the LMS 'bulls-eye' style platform nameboard which for some reason had
not been replaced by the BR standard enamelled one. The picture
labelled '1950s' on the excellent Disused
shows the BR version in place.]
Excursion 1954 style
An excursion handbill from the early days of British Railways, courtesy
of Dave Sallery. This special train ran along the Wrexham to
Bidston line as far as Penyffordd. From there it ran via the long
closed route via Mold, Denbigh and St. Asaph to Rhyl. A reversal would
have been required at Denbigh. Nowadays an hourly service operates via
Chester in under an hour, the return fare has increased from 5
shillings (25p) to £17.90 however!
The style of the bill, printed by a local firm, is interesting, in that
its typography has something in common with the Johnston type used by
London Transport (such as the diamond-shaped dot over the 'i') than the
similar Gill Sans which was supposedly the BR standard.
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