25 August 2014
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Friday 5 September Clwyd
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. Cancelled.
Monday 8 September Wrexham Railway Society:
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
Monday 13 October Wrexham
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
Monday 10 November Wrexham Railway Society:
Steam In The 60's : Malcolm Garner
Tuesday 11 November Shrewsbury to
Chester Rail Users Association
public meeting featuring guest speaker Professor Paul Salveson
The meeting will be held at the Church Hall of All Saints' Church,
Chirk Road, Gobowen, Shropshire SY11 3LL. Access is from the rear off
Old Chirk Road. It's 5-10 minutes' walk from Gobowen Station, depending
on the fitness of the walker. The start time is 19:30 which allows time
to connect with trains arriving at Gobowen from Chester and Shrewsbury
Paul's presentation to our meeting is titled 'A Peoples Railway for
Wales & the Borders' . This will look at his 2013 publication 'Rail
Cymru - A Peoples Railway for Wales' which examines the case for a
publically run 'not for dividend' rail franchise for Wales & the
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
Monday 8 December Wrexham Railway Society:
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 12 January Wrexham
Society: Phil’s Quiz: Phil Davies
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
Monday 9 February Wrexham
Society: Rossett – Saltney Junction Re-doubling: Speaker
from Network Rail
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
Monday 9 March Wrexham
Society: A view from a signal box window: Adrian
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 13 April Wrexham
Society: Back to the ‘60s :Geoff Coward
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
by A Guest Panel
48151 approaching Blaenau Tunnel on the climb from Roman
Bridge on the outward journey of the 'Welsh Mountaineer' excursion from
Preston, 19 August. Picture by Ian Pilkington.
Trains return to Pwllheli- report by Ken Robinson
The first test train over the new rail bridge at Bont Briwet ran on 19
August, in the shape of locomotive 97 303. - The picture above shows
the return working from Pwllheli making its way across the bridge.
The same train passes the new re-located Llandecwyn Halt.
97303 at Porthmadog having made another journey, this time from Harlech
to Porthmadog and back (in sun!)
Driver refresher trains ran between Harlech and Pwllheli with a class
158 unit on 22 and 23 August. Here is the 5Z26 14:50 from Pwllheli on
23 August arriving at Porthmadog.
The same train ready to leave Porthmadog, as seen from the level
crossing. Many passengers waiting for the bus replacement service
nearby were bemused to see a train entering the station and thought
'why can't we get on it?'
Llangollen Black 5 - report by George Jones
A 'Black 5' 4-6-0 is now available for service again on the Llangollen
Railway. 45337 was pictured at Llangollen on 20 August by George
In the yard at Llangollen, also on 20 August, Ivatt 2-6-0 46521
visiting for the forthcoming steam gala.
Newport Transporter Bridge - report by Alan Crawshaw
I've been wanting to visit the Newport Transporter Bridge for years,
but access to the upper walkway was restricted to infrequent open days.
This year, it's open from Wed to Sun until late September so Rowan and
I rose early on Wednesday to catch the 06:00 Arriva premier service,
hauled by 67002 to Chester and pushed the rest of the way. Since our
last visit, Newport station has been refurbished, the old footbridge
decommissioned and a new one installed (above). While we were figuring
out how to get to platform 1 for the sun to be behind us, 56 113 passed
and then a class 60 which was obscured by a unit.
A local told us how to get to platform 1 and that 70 803 was on its way
so we dashed across just in time for a shot.
We'd chosen a Wednesday to fit in a ride on the Dean Forest Railway so
caught the Cheltenham service and alighted at Lydney for the short walk
to the railway's Lydney Junction terminus where we learned that the
incoming train was very late. It's a sparse service on the main line
too, so we deliberated whether or not it was worth risking a ride which
could result in insufficient time to visit the bridge. When an
industrial 0-6-0 saddle tank turned up instead of the hoped for GWR
pannier, we returned to the main line station for the next train back
to Newport but not before a shot of Charlie the diesel shunter [Great
A brisk walk down Commercial Road and Alexandra Road brought us to the
bridge where we paid our £2.75 to ascend the 270 steps and ...
... walk to the other side ...
... pausing to watch the gondola far below traversing the river Usk
with its cargo of vehicles. After descending, we rode back. The bridge
is illuminated at night but we had to return to the station for our
loco-hauled ride home. A 60/66 combination passed through as we
approached the station but the only freight we saw while waiting for
our train was the return of 56 113.
67002 had been swapped for 67001 which deposited us punctually at
A brief history of the Newport Transporter Bridge can be found on the Newport
Museums website. It's a long way to go but well worth it.
The Welsh Mountaineer
On the return journey crossing the Afon Conwy near Llanrwst (Ian
Storming past the Belgrano Foot Crossing, Pensarn (Ian Pilkington).
Flint (Glyn Jones).
Approaching Helsby Station (Ian Pilkington).
Chirk developments - repory by George Jones
I looked in at Chirk on 17 August and found work under way on the
provision of the ramped footbridge for disability access. Unlike
previous suggestions for a mighty assembly at the south end, the
structure is going in at the north end opposite the Cadbury factory.
The structure is expected to be completed by end of 2014. The picture
shows the preliminary work now under way on the down side (Chester
The bilingual notice promoting access to the world heritage site at
Pontcysyllte via the canal which runs behind the station on the route
through to Llangollen and the Horseshoe falls. Similar boards are
provided at Ruabon.
The floral displays at Chirk are a credit to the local volunteers
Friends of Chirk Station who maintain the gardens and look after the
station which receive favourable comment from many visitors and awards.
Past Times with John Hobbs - Last Castle to Chester
On 8 May 1965 I was leaving Chester on the 8.55 Birkenhead to
Paddington and passed Castle 5042 (formerly Winchester Castle)
on the morning parcels from Southall. This was quite something,
especially as it was a Gloucester engine. There were still four
'Castles' in Capital Stock. One of these was in store, one was a
bit of a pet (7029), destined for preservation and kept for special
duties, such as the Last steam train' from Paddington on
16 June. They were all subsequently withdrawn from service at the end
of June, so this visit to Chester was a bit of a swan song. In 1964
Castles were still working to Chester on a few occasions but by 1965,
the words Hens teeth' come to mind.
Not a very good picture (above) but I had little time to get the camera
out and take a grab shot as it passed, I had seen it coming of course
across the curve as we left behind 45429 heading for Shrewsbury.
I knew 5042 would work back on the 11.10 Saltney (Green Lane) to
Banbury freight, this diagram would alter at the timetable change which
was imminent (but unknown to me at the time); so I decided to wait at
Wrexham for it to work back past me. 5042 is seen passing Croes Newydd
& Watery Lane Yard and is in very poor condition shorn of its
former GWR regalia, no number plates, name plate or even safety valve
Final view of former GWR glory passing into history. A pannier tank
flies the GWR flag in Watery Lane Yard, also in Wrexham that day was a
'Grange', 38XX, 56XX and more Pannier Tanks, so five GWR types in steam
on a May day in 1965 was quite a good tally.It's only with hindsight
and the study of the Railway Observer that I realised just how
close to the end of GWR Express steam it was.
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