18 August 2014
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Tuesday 19 August Steam on the Coast. Railway
Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ,
Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Times: Out
Sunday 31 August Mersey Ferries: Summer
Tuesday 2 September Steam on the Coast. Railway
Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ,
Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Friday 5 September Clwyd Railway
Circle Working Steam in the 21st Century: James Shuttleworth
Sunday 7 September Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company.
North Wales Coast Express Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester
Piccadilly, Warrington Bank Quay (Note change of route) and
Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead.
Diesel-hauled Crewe - Manchester.
Thursday 11 September Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Disappearing slides: Larry
Monday 15 September RCTS
Merseyside & North Wales: All the Colours of the Rainbow.
Saturday 20 September Steam on the Coast. Steam Dreams: Cathedrals Express.
Friday 3 October Clwyd Railway
Circle Dinorwic Slate Quarries - The
Lower Levels - Part 1: Dave Sallery
Thursday 9 October Llandudno
Valley Railway Society The Railways of Wirral Dave Southern
Saturday - Monday 18-20 October Land
Cruise Compass Tours
Highlander. Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn
Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Delamere, Northwich, Knutsford, Altrincham,
Stockport, Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Preston, & Carlisle to
Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh. A 3-day weekend break by rail to the
Scottish Highlands, inclusive of two nights stay in quality hotel
accommodation at Inverness. From £329.00 each.
Monday 20 October RCTS Merseyside & North
Railways in a Yorkshire Landscape. Stephen Gay. Stephen joins us
with his latest slide show of his railway rambles with his faithful
German Shepherd dog Wrawby, this time in his native Yorkshire
Saturday - Sunday 1/2 November Wirral 2014 Model
Railway Exhibition at Mosslands School, Mosslands Drive, Wallasey,
Wirral CH45 8PJ . 18 layouts, 13 traders, demonstrators and Society
stands, refreshments, free vintage bus rides.
Friday 7 November Clwyd Railway
Circle German Mainline Steam: Ian Mainprize
Thursday 13 November Llandudno
Valley Railway Society AGM Members
Evening Keith Jones/Bob Barnsdale/Llew Groom
Monday 17 November RCTS
Wales: Scottish Steam in the 1960s.
Friday 5 December Clwyd Railway
Circle Members Night & Christmas
Thursday 11 December Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Xmas Social/ Arriva Trains
Wales: the first 10 years & the future: Ben Davies
Monday 15 December RCTS
Wales: Steam Sheds through the years: Part
1. John Sloane
Thursday 8 January Llandudno
Valley Railway Society The Corwen Extension -
Llangollen Railway: Steve Jones
Friday 9 January Clwyd Railway
Circle Severn Valley Railway - Past,
Present and Future: Nick Ralls
Monday 19 January RCTS
Wales: Branch A.G.M followed by members
slides and digital presentations
Friday 6 February Clwyd Railway
Circle A Year in the Life of an International Train Spotter: Phil
Thursday 12 February Llandudno
Valley Railway Society A black & white circle of North
Wales: John Hobbs
Monday 16 February RCTS
Merseyside & North Wales: Welsh Wanderings in the1980s".
Geoff Morris. A trip through Wales in a decade during which livery
to appear and steam reappeared on a scheduled basis along the Cambrian
& North Wales Coasts.
Friday 6 March Clwyd
Circle Annual General Meeting followed by an illustrated
talk entitled Back to the ‘60s by Geoff Coward
Thursday 12 March Llandudno
Valley Railway Society A view from a signal box
window: Adrian Bodlander
Monday 16 March RCTS
Merseyside & North Wales: A History of Railway Preservation in
Britain. Robert Gwynne .Bob is the Associate Curator Rail Vehicles at
the NRM in York
Thursday 9 April Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Railway enthusiasm - international:
Friday 10 April Clwyd
Circle The View From a
Signalbox Window: Adrian Bodlander
Monday 20 April RCTS
Merseyside & North Wales: 21st Century Steam in China.
Geoff Coward. Geoff presents video and stills from his visit in 2002.
Thursday 14 May Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 6G locomen = personal reminiscences
A Guest Panel
37 518 at Llandudno ready to haul the 'North Wales Coast
Express back to Llandudno Junction, 17 August. Picture by Darren
Cambrian news flash
A Network Rail locomotive, 97 303, was noted at Porthmadog on 19
August, which suggests that the new Briwet bridge is now passable and
once the signalling has been tested and drivers re-familiarised,
passenger services to Pwllheli might soon restart.
Perhaps due to the problems experienced with loco 61994 on the previous
run, 19 August's 'Welsh Mountaineer' from Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog
featured 8F 2-8-0 48151, pictured by Bob Greenhalgh
approaching Chester. More about this train in the next issue.
On the subject of the 'poor coal' said to have cause 61994's troubles, Roger
Carvell sends this superb image and writes: 'By chance, I turned up
a scanned image, taken from an original slide by the late D.R. Newland
(my father-in-law) showing real loco coal at Carnforth in early 1968,
with 45231 alongside. 45231 was a former Chester 'Black Five'
from 1963 until the shed's closure in 1967 and is happily still with
But look at that coal - probably good solid Lancashire, loaded into
modern vacuum-braked mineral wagons (rather than the traditional
loose-coupled variety). No question of indifferent quality in this
'In steam days, by very unofficial 'arrangement', a large cob might be
kicked off the footplate into a railwayman's garden. I know of
one instance when the fireman's aim was slightly off and a large
lump demolished a garden shed!'
Variation on the NMT
Network Rail's HST-based measurement train made a foray into North
Wales on 14 August. Greg Mape's picture above shows it heading
for Holyhead past Abergele's up distant signal AE 64. Leading loco is 43
Colwyn Bay (Darren Durrant).
Returning through Colwyn Bay in sunshine (Darren Durrant). Loco 43
014 was recently, and appropriately, named The Railway Observer:
small plaque below the nameplate reads 'The magazine of the RCTS -
Britain's leading railway society'. The name has appeared on locos
before: on 37 890, and more recently on 60 001 from 2001 until its
recent overhaul. The subsidiary plate on 60 001 gave the full name of
the Railway Correspondence and
Travel Society, but an abbreviation has been chosen on this
occasion. The way the nameplate was covered up before its naming
ceremony can still be detected.
From this picture of the returning train taken by Tim Rogers at
Bagillt it can be seen that although topped-and-tailed by Class 43
power cars, this is not actually the usual New Measurement Train. The
Mk3 coaches normally used are away for overhaul, and this This
temporary set-up of Plain Line Pattern Recognition coach PLPR2 (5981),
Mk1-based recording coach 'Mentor' (975091) with two mk2s and two mk3s
as barrier vehicles is limited to 90 mph. Thanks to Andrew
Royle for help with this item.
60009 again, and an unusual visitor
The Liverpool - Holyhead 'North Wales Coast Express' on Sunday 17
August featured, again, ex-LNER A4 pacific 60009 Union of South
Africa which has hauled all these trains so far this year. It seems a
shame that more variety cannot be organised, perhaps involving
locomotive types that would have been seen on this line. Darren
Durrant photographed the train (above) at Llandudno Junction on its
A glance inside the cab of 60009 (Darren Durrant). Note the
'dartboard' of the Automatic Warning System (AWS). This
electro-mechanical indicator, first devised in the 1940s, changes to
all-black when the train passes a magnet in the track associated with a
signal showing green, or a semaphore signal in the 'clear' position. On
passing a signal showing yellow, or a semaphore 'distant signal' with
its yellow arm horizontal, a horn sounds in the cab, and the driver
must press a button to cancel the horn to avoid an automatic brake
application. The indicator continues to display the 'dartboard' as a
reminder. Modern trains have an electronic version of the same
Interest was added to the working by the appearance on the other end of
the train of 37 518 Fort William / An Gearasdan.
Normally a West Coast Railways Class 47 acts as 'tail-end Charlie' but
on this occasion this 37, which more often acts as standby loco in Fort
William for the 'Jacobite' steam service, was provided.
A view by signaller Alan Roberts from Penmaenmawr signabox.The
train had left Llandudno Junction on time but was following the
late-running 1D15 12:27 Crewe to Holyhead service train between
Llandudno Junction and Bangor.
Looking the other way, we see 37 518 passing through Penmaenmawr
station (Alan Roberts).
The classic view at Malltraeth viaduct on Anglesey (Rowan Crawshaw)
37 518 on the rear (Rowan Crawshaw)
60009 turns on the triangle at Valley (Jack Bowley)
Returning across Anglesey near Rhosneigr (Jack Bowley)
The return train passes Colwyn Bay (Darren Durrant). The lack of
smoke from the chimney confirms that 37 518 was was providing much of
the power on the return journey, to reduce the chances of lineside
fires caused by the steam loco. Two fires had been started in
this way on Anglesey near Ty Croes on the outward journey.
Incidentally, YouTube viewers might enjoy a film by Malcolm Tott
tracking the progress of 60009 alongside the A55 between
Llandudno Junction and Colwyn Bay on the evening of Sunday 27
37 518 passes the sign at Colwyn Bay reminding drivers to check their
AWS indicator when starting from a station stop. A number of these have
been provided in recent times at Arriva Trains Wales station where the
next signal is not at the platform end.
37 518 has never been a common sight in North Wales, although it did
come this way on 5 June 1987 when it had just been rebuilt at Crewe
Works from its earlier form as 37 076; it was the custom in those
days to send newly 'outshopped' locos to Llandudno Junction and back
with a specially-allocated rake of old coaches. It appeared in
passenger service for a few days in September 1996 when it was one of
the freight locos borrowed to stand in after a problem was discovered
with the passenger Class 37/4s normally seen - a good picture of one
such train can be found
the Flickr site, showing that it was in Railfreight Petroleum
livery at the time. The 37/5 sub-class have the same internal
improvements as the 37/4, but no provision for train heating.
(Thanks for historical information are due, as on many occasions, to
37 locomotive group website).
It was taken out of service in 2000 and stored; sold to a
preservationist in 2007 it worked on the Nene Valley Railway, in
''Railfreight Grey Red Stripe' colours, before being sold to Ian Riley
who moved it to the East Lancashire line, and in 2012 it emerged from
overhaul at Mr Riley's Bury works in 'InterCity Swallow' colours and
re-certified for main line running.
Heading home through Rhyl (Roly High).
Not immediately obvious to the casual observer is that on one side of
the loco, the INTERCITY logo has been cleverly replaced in the
same font and style by IAN RILEY. A nice touch. Picture by Roly
An Gearasdan, the name carried on this side, is the
Gaelic name for the town of Fort William as carried on the
other side; the pair of names was originally carried by un-rebuilt
sister loco 37 073.
The engine noise from the 37 could be heard from some distance away as
it propelled the heavy train (Roly High).
Out of sequence, a good look at the livery as 37 518 crosses the bridge
at Rhosneigr (Jack Bowley).
Steam at Oswestry - report by Martin Evans
Over the weekend of 16 and 17 October Cambrian Heritage Railways
provided steam at Oswestry in the from of Beyer Peacock 0-4-0 ST no
1827 which was built in 1879 and has recently been overhauled. It is
usually to be seen at the Foxfield Railway in Staffordshire.
The loco provided brake van rides in the station environs and as far as
Middleton Road Bridge.
LMS-built brake van M732435 is the only passenger-carrying vehicle
currently available at this site.
News from Runcorn East - report by John Hobbs
Above, 60009 Union of South Africa passes Runcorn East on 3 August with
the 'North Wales Coast Express'. The locomotive is a War Memorial
Locomotive commemorating those fallen in the Second World War
from that country and fits in with current commemorations at Runcorn
A garden has been created at the entrance to the Railway Station at
Runcorn East, on ground which was formerly not receiving any
maintenance, as seen above before ....
... and after.
This work was facilitated by Arriva Trans Wales (ATW). The North
Cheshire Rail Users Group (NCRUG) & Halton Borough Council (HBC),
with the actual work undertaken by the National Citizen Service(NCS),
and funded by grants from Ineos Chlor & granted through The
Mersey Forest with financial support from Gleaves Garden Centre, Frodsham.
hope that passage through the station is enhanced by the work
undertaken, which is part of a project to improve the environment
for passengers at Runcorn East and also to reflect Commemorative
activities based on the First World War Centenary over the next five
The Garden has been submitted for the North West in Bloom Royal
Horticultural Society its your Neighbourhood Awards 2014 and the North
Cheshire Rail Users Group is pleased to announce that the Garden has
been shortlisted for an award in its category. The focus this year will
be on 19 September when the Theatre in the Quarter (tiQ), from Chester,
will produce a choral event called 'Over by Christmas' at Runcorn East
station at 13:15; all are welcome to attend (See next item).
Over by Christmas
The 'Over by Christmas' choral performance event will also take place
at East Lancashire Railway's Bury Station on Sunday 7 September from
15.00, then at stations across Cheshire, as well as Stockport and
Manchester Piccadilly, during September; please see the Theatre in the
Quarter web site for more details and this video trailer (partly filmed
at Bury) for a taste of the work.
More Rossett route scenes
The Wrexham - Saltney Junction line opened again on 11 August after a
week's closure for works connected with the re-doubling. George Jones
visited Rossett crossing that evening to take a look at the new turnout
which has been installed at the end of the double-track section,
although it will be some time before the second track is brought into
use. Above, 175 111 passes, running late at 19:46 ...
... followed by 56 105 with a log train for Chirk.
George writes: 'The crossing has a nice little alcove alongside the
pedestrian gate which provided a good photo position, but the contrast
between a shadowy left hand side and well-lit background is a trifle
On 4 August, 66 957 sits with an engineers train on the newly
laid down line, whilst the old single line is being dug out (John
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