Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

18 August 2014

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

August 2014

Tuesday 19 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Times: Out | Return

Sunday 31 August Mersey Ferries: Summer New Brighton Lifeboat fundraising cruise

September 2014

Tuesday 2 September Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring 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 and Conwy Valley Railway Society Disappearing slides:  Larry Davies   

Monday 15 September   RCTS Merseyside & North Wales: All the Colours of the Rainbow.  David Walker

Saturday 20 September Steam on the Coast. Steam Dreams: Cathedrals Express. London - Holyhead.

October 2014
Friday 3 October Clwyd Railway Circle Dinorwic Slate Quarries - The Lower Levels - Part 1: Dave Sallery

Thursday 9 October Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society The Railways of Wirral Dave Southern

Saturday - Monday 18-20 October Land Cruise Compass Tours  Autumn 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 Wales: Railways in a Yorkshire Landscape.  Stephen Gay. Stephen joins us again with his latest slide show of his railway rambles with his faithful German Shepherd dog Wrawby, this time in his native Yorkshire

November 2014

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 and Conwy Valley Railway Society   AGM Members Evening   Keith Jones/Bob Barnsdale/Llew Groom

Monday 17 November  RCTS Merseyside & North Wales: Scottish Steam in the 1960s.  John  Cashen

December 2014

Friday 5 December Clwyd Railway Circle Members Night & Christmas Celebrations

Thursday 11 December   Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society   Xmas Social/ Arriva Trains Wales: the first 10 years & the future: Ben Davies                

Monday 15 December  RCTS Merseyside & North Wales: Steam Sheds through the years: Part 1.  John Sloane

January 2015

Thursday 8 January    Llandudno and Conwy 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 Merseyside & North Wales: Branch A.G.M followed by members slides and digital presentations

February 2015

Friday 6 February Clwyd Railway Circle A Year in the Life of an International Train Spotter: Phil Thomas

Thursday 12 February Llandudno and Conwy 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 variations started to appear and steam reappeared on a scheduled basis along the Cambrian & North Wales Coasts.

March 2015

Friday 6 March Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by an illustrated talk entitled Back to the 60s by Geoff Coward

Thursday 12 March Llandudno and Conwy 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

April 2015

Thursday 9 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Railway enthusiasm - international: Phil Thomas    

Friday 10 April Clwyd Railway 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.

May 2015

Thursday 14 May    Llandudno and Conwy 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 Durrant.

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.

Welsh Mountaineer

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 us. 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 delivery.

'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 43 013.

Colwyn Bay (Darren Durrant).

Returning through Colwyn Bay in sunshine (Darren Durrant). Loco 43 014 was recently, and appropriately, named The Railway Observer: the 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 outward journey.

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 indicator.

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 July.

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 on 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 the Class 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 High. 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 East.

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. We 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 years.
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 tricky.'

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 Mathers).

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