01 September 2014
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and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
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the current list visit our Calendar.
Tuesday 2 September Steam on the Coast. Railway
Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ,
Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Cancelled.
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
37 402 leads the Flask train past Bagillt, 28 August:
picture by Matthew Travis. More freight and locomotive pictures
will appear an extra issue later in the week.
Class 68 down the Coast
A surprise event on 27 August was a test run from Crewe to Llandudno
Junction and back by brand-new locomotive 68 011, one of the
newest batch of locomotives in the UK, although since then 68 012 - 68
014 have arrived on our shores, along with class leader 68 001 which
has remained on the continent for tests and will be leaving again soon
for the InnoTrans trade fair in Berlin. Matthew Travis
photographed the loco (above) on its outward run passing Bagillt.
Admiring the newcomer at Llandudno Junction is station operator Rodney
Fitzgibbon; with 50 years service he must be one of the
longest-serving staff members on the network. When he started work,
Classes 37 and 47 were the latest thing (Larry Davies).
No. 1 end: Note the Vossloh builder's plate. Picture by Peter
A good view of the roof detail as 68 011 passes Beeches Farm
bridge on the return journey (Bob Greenhalgh). These locos are
owned by leasing company Beacon Rail, and all will be leased to DRS.
Some of them, including this one, will be used in place of Class 67s on
Chiltern Railways' London - Birmingham trains, and have been delivered
in Chiltern's 'Mainline' colours which many will recognise as
originating with the short-lived Wrexham & Shropshire operation.
It's useful for picture-caption writers to tell which way a loco is
Also available: a YouTube video
by Caz Jones of the departure from Llandudno Junction.
Briwet Bridge open to traffic
Briwet rail bridge is now open to public rail traffic following a long
period of rebuilding, and a few days of 'ghost' working to
re-familiarise the train crews with the route. Above, a picture by Eryl
the 07:24 Pwllheli - Birmingham making its way across, with the
now-disused old bridge in the foreground. This was not the first public
train; the 05:07 Machynlleth to Pwllheli was the outward working by
this unit, and the 06:29 Pwllheli to Machynlleth was worked by a unit
which had spent the night at Pwllheli. Indeed, if Real Time Trains is
to be believed, on the evening before, the 16:07 Birmingham - Harlech, train
2J23, continued to Pwllheli as a public train, at 20:17 from
Harlech to Pwllheli.
Update from Martin Stone of Criccieth:
'Indeed, train 2J23 did run in service to Pwllheli
late on Sunday evening. I was on an un-lit Criccieth Station platform
when it drew in. One passenger was aboard, who frankly looked lost. But
definitely available for public use. I understand from the occupier of
the station building, Criccieth TV, that two trains on Saturday 30
August were also in public service – complete with platform
announcements. Real Time Trains shows them as 2Z03 and 2Z45.
'There was a lot of confusion over the Saturday/Sunday service. It
seems the bus times were not loaded and the normal Working Timetable
left – causing the National Rail and Arriva Trains sites to show a
normal service, but with a note against each journey that trains
started on 1 September. I drew this to Arriva Trains' attention on
Friday morning and at first they were emphatic there were no scheduled
services on Sat/Sun and then I could hear the jaws dropping as they
checked. Attempts to correct the data overnight left a complete mess so
they promoted some trains to public service to cover the gaps with a
rapidly re-scheduled bus service.'
So the actual 'first train' available to passengers over the new length
of track was the 10:30 Harlech to Pwllheli on Saturday 30 August. Were
any readers on board?
A wider view, showing the replacement Llandecwyn station beyond the
bridge. The old bridge will need to be removed (despite its Grade II
heritage listing) before the road section of the new one can be
completed (Eryl Crump).
Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas (in red tie), Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd and President of Bangor
University, presided over a ceremony at Llandecwyn station on 1
September. Arriva have reduced some of the line's fares to celebrate
the full opening: see their
website for details (Eryl Crump).
Llandecwyn sees about 2000 passengers in a normal year, according to
official figures; it is doubtful whether the old platform ever saw so
many people at once. Picture by Eryl Crump who was in
attendance to cover the event for the Daily Post: watch
Daily Post website.
However the road section of the new bridge is not yet ready, so
pedestrians and cyclists will find the train useful to reach the
facilities at nearby Penrhyndeudraeth. There is some concern in Network
Rail that people will be tempted to walk over the bridge, but this is,
of course, unsafe and absolutely forbidden.
Richard W. Jones, who was also present at the event and
has a good
collection of pictures on his website, including the Pwllheli one
above, writes: 'I have been told that the Maentwrog road diversions are
to last until April 2015, suggesting that as the date when the road
bridge will be
opened. The GWR boundary post at Llandecwyn halt has fortunately been
saved and is in safe hands. Some information has come to light about
the original construction of the bridge in the 1860s: the contractor
boldly claimed that the timber bridge had a 17-year lifespan, after
which it was going to be replaced by an iron bridge ... I guess that
didn't take place. Network Rail have asked to salvage as many good
the bridge as possible, to be used to maintain the other timber trestle
The view across the sands (Richard W. Jones). In autumn 2013
National Grid identified a problem with the electrical pylon adjacent
to the bridge. The road and rail bridge had to be closed for safety
reasons which meant that piling for the new rail bridge was delayed
whilst a new pylon was erected; this was in additional to the other
troubles experienced. Although it was a replacement for the pylon
which had started to list, we understand that this one is now having to
be removed and replaced by a third structure.
Also now online: BBC Wales Today
report on the opening day.
Wrexham Railway Society news - by George Jones
The Wrexham Railway Society has announced its programme of meetings for
the 2014/15 season (see the calendar in the left column). Monthly
meetings are held on the second Monday of each month from September
through to April and have a range of speakers or activities for local
rail fans starting on Monday 8th September.
The first speaker is Mr John Ryan from Wirral who will present a
selection of archive colour slides from his collection featuring the
Scottish Branch Lines in the early 1960s, when steam power was still
operating on many remote lines in the scenic Highlands.The venue for
the meetings is St Mary's Catholic Club, Regent St, Wrexham with doors
opening at 7.00pm and speaker from 7.45pm.
An introductory digital presentation will provide a news round up of
rail activity from near and far based on members submissions and is one
way to keep abreast of local rail developments. An annual membership
fee of £6 is available, otherwise visitors are asked to pay a fee on
the door to cover expenses.
Once again we have a diverse set of rail subjects as topics for the
monthly meetings which will appeal to young and old rail fans in the
Wrexham area. Membership is one way of remaining informed about rail
affairs in a period when the local rail network is seeing some long
overdue investment in track renewals north of Wrexham.
Black locos at Llangollen
Some views from the Llangollen Railway's steam gala of 29-31 August.
Above, GWR 2-8-0 loco 3802 departs from Berwyn station with the
3.5pm service to Carrog and Bonwm on 29 August (Martin Evans).
LMS 'Black 5' loco 45337 powers through Berwyn station with the
3.19 pm non-stop demonstration freight for Carrog on 29 August (Martin
Visiting BR Standard Class loco 46521 has just arrived at Carrog with
the 1.10 pm service from Llangollen on 29 August (Martin Evans).
3802 departs from Llangollen station with the 11.35am non-stop
demonstration freight for Carrog on 29 August (Martin Evans).
46521 departs from Llangollen with the 3.55pm service to Carrog on 29
August (Martin Evans). This loco has seen moments of media fame
and notoriety. In the 1990s it starred as Blossom in the
BBC sit-com 'Oh Dr
Beeching!', and in April 2013 at the Great Central Railway,
following a misunderstanding between driver and signalman, it was
derailed on trap points in full view of an enthusiast with a video
camera who gained himself over 200,000 YouTube 'hits'.
At Berwyn, Alasdair Rodgers and station master Ben Jackson unload a
batch of milk churns for restoration (left), and volunteers Matthew
Jackson and Peter Dickinson stand ready with a batch of Cuthbert Seeds
for the local train (George Jones).
The passing scene at Llangollen Goods Junction from the two-coach
suburban set, hauled by the green Class 26 diesel, with adjacent lines
occupied by 3802 on the Goods train and black Class 08 shunter 13265.
46521 at Carrog while working 1158 Bonwm to Llangollen, 30 August (Chris
46521 at Llangollen after arrival at Llangollen from Bonwm, 30 August (Chris
Jones-Bridger). Since completing an overhaul in 2011 this loco has
been painted black with the early-1950s version of the British Railways
45337 being detached at Llangollen from rear of the 13:26 Bonwm to
Llangollen after late arrival following earlier points failure at
Deeside, 30 August (Chris Jones-Bridger).
80072 'light-engine' at Llangollen after taking water prior to working
delayed 14:55 to Bonwm with 3802 attached at rear to work the
15:51 return departure from Bonwm, 30 August (Chris Jones-Bridger).
On 31 August, 46521 (above) about to take water at Llangollen, but ...
... always make sure the bag is inserted correctly before opening the
water valve (Glyn Jones).
Club 55 is back
Text from the Arriva Trains Wales website follows:
Arriva Club 55 is a low cost off-peak return train ticket
special offer for everyone aged 55 and over. From only £23
return*, you can go anywhere on the Arriva Trains Wales
network. Destinations include Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Chester,
Shrewsbury and loads of other great places.
This autumn we've frozen the price for travel on the Arriva
Trains Wales network with a Club 55 ticket, so the fares are the same
now as they were during the previous offer period (autumn 2013).
You can purchase as many Arriva Club 55 tickets as you want,
so why not go somewhere exciting today? Buy them at any train station
ticket office or at: www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/Club55
We have also teamed up with a number of other train
companies to help you travel even further afield when you also buy an
additional low cost add-on fare. Find out about all the places you can
visit on our network map: www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/Club55/Map
Don't forget, the Arriva Club 55 ticket is a time limited
offer only available until 23 October 2014, so start planning those
amazing journeys now to make sure you get the most from this fantastic
deal. Please note, you may be asked to show specified proof of age 55
or over when travelling with an Arriva Club 55 ticket.
When you buy with us, there are NO
card fees and NO ticket delivery
fees (except next day delivery). You only pay for the price of
Have a great journey,
The Arriva Club 55 Team
*Terms & conditions apply. Visit the Arriva Trains Wales website for further
What is this 'specified proof of age' of which they speak? Well...
We only accept valid, original documents from the
following list: passport, driving licence, proof of age related
pension, Senior Railcard or birth certificate. Please note bus passes
are not accepted. Customers who are unable or refuse to provide proof
of age on request will be required to purchase a new ticket as if no
Arriva Club 55 ticket is held. No credit will be given for the Arriva
Club 55 ticket originally issued.
So if you are under 60, don't drive and have never been abroad, start
looking for your birth certificate!
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
* Chester - Holyhead/Llandudno/Blaenau Ffestiniog
* Neath - Milford Haven/Pembroke Dock/Fishguard
* Wrexham Central - Bidston
As last year, Chester - Shrewsbury is missing from this list, which
seems a shame as it apparently renders the ticket invalid from Chester,
Wrexham or Gobowen on the southbound loco-hauled express which calls at
Chester 07:15 and Shrewsbury 08:10. But the question arises: can one
travel 'Club 55' on this train from North Wales stations (as Holyhead -
is excepted from the restriction) through to South Wales? Or is the
North Wales Coast exemption only for 'down' trains? Or does it mean you
cannot be actually on a train at all before 09:00, even though such
things usually refer to one's departure time? Authoritative answers
Past Times with John Hobbs - 8Fs at Abergele
LMS 8F 2-8-0 48655 approaches Abergele with hoppers conveying
Sulphur from Mostyn Dock to Amlwch on the 12 June 1965. This was a
regular traffic depending on a ship discharging cargo at Mostyn, a
traffic that was rare being entirely in Wales. Look at all that lovely
point work, not to be seen any more.
48246 passes Abergele with an up Ballast train on 26 March
1964. The Camping Coaches are still in situ behind the platform,
despite this being the end of the winter, with no residents as yet; in
previous years they had been away for overhaul or parked inside Rhyl
Waverley visits North Wales (almost)
Report by Chris Jones-Bridger
The preserved Clyde paddle-steamer Waverley was planned to make
two trips from Liverpool to North Wales on 26-27 August, but due to
adverse weather conditions the trip on Tuesday 26th was cancelled, the
ship not leaving the Clyde till Tuesday afternoon, navigating to
Liverpool overnight. Above: Waverley tied up at the cruise
terminal at Liverpool.
My wife Delyth and I had booked to travel on the Wednesday trip which
was to call at Llandudno and then spend the afternoon cruising Anglesey
before calling again at Llandudno at teatime. The full cruise itinerary
was already fully subscribed when we booked so we were booked only as
far as Llandudno. Waverley's call at Llandudno was to mark the official
reopening of the pier after refurbishment and a full civic reception
was laid on.
The container ship MSC Alyssia inbound to Liverpool at the
bar taking on tugs fore and aft for the final navigation into the
As we approached Llandudno expecting to disembark a PA announcement was
made that docking had been aborted. The captain had considered sea
& wind conditions to be adverse and deteriorating during the
afternoon. So after a sail past we proceeded to Anglesey following the
east coast as far as Wylfa before turning and heading back directly to
Liverpool.The sea conditions off Anglesey were decidedly choppy.
Above, Llandudno Pier from the Waverley with the gathered crowd
for the aborted civic reception (picture by Delyth Sheppard).
Waverley was booked to head to the Bristol Channel
disembarking from Liverpool, but got no further than a safe haven off
Rhos-on-Sea where she remained at anchor for two days until the weather
was favourable to make the navigation.
Report by David Parry
This was expected to be the highlight of our summer, and we were not
disappointed! On Wednesday 27 August, we crossed the splendidly
remodelled Pier Head and joined the throng of about 800 passengers,
eager to share an experience that is rarely possible in the 21st
Century – to cruise along the North Wales coast under
steam. The occasion was what turned out to be the PS Waverley’s
its schedule having been
disrupted by adverse weather conditions.
A brief history: she was a post-war replacement for her namesake
predecessor of 1899, lost by enemy action off Dunkirk in 1940.
The last sea-going paddle steamer in the world, she was saved from the
scrapyard by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1974 and
restored to perform an extensive cruising schedule around Great
She is powered by an oil-fired triple expansion steam engine
manufactured by Rankin and Blackmore Ltd at Eagle Foundry, Greenock in
1947. Some impressions of the engine room are given by the
One of the aims of the cruise was to make a call at the newly restored
pier at Llandudno, recreating an event that used to be a regular summer
season occurrence. However, while the crew were standing by
the gangplanks on our approach from the Great Orme side, the sea became
noticeably choppier as towards pier and as we drew close, the purser
announced over the PA that the Captain had decided that conditions
would preclude a safe docking. So we made a graceful
sail past the crowd-thronged pier and exchanged waves with the
shore-based observers, and continued round the Orme, and on to the
north-east side of Anglesey, passing Point Lynas (above) turning back
around ‘Middle Mouse’ / Ynys Badrig.
From Middle Mouse, we took the direct route back to the Mersey, giving
the Waverley a chance to demonstrate her speed. The trip also
gave an opportunity to view the considerable off-shore energy
activities – the Liverpool Bay gas production platform, and the wind
farms at Burbo Bank, North Hoyle, Rhyl Flats and Gwynt y Môr, with
numerous small specialised service boats and a floating
hotel. Returning past the wind farms in
the early evening gave some interesting lighting effects.
Although the Waverley seemed to be sailing rapidly on the
winds meant that the earlier arrival expected after missing the
Llandudno stops did not materialise and we arrived back at the
Liverpool landing stage by about 19:45, a little earlier than the
Overall, for those of us who were not inconvenienced by the Llandudno
problem, this was a perfect trip – both evocative of past coastal
cruising and informative of modern marine industry. With
the new cruise terminal at Liverpool and the rebuilt landing stage at
Llandudno, I hope we can look forward to further coastal cruises.
The view from the shore
The classic lines of the ship as she passes Llandudno (Larry Davies).
And farewell to North Wales (David Sallery).
Liverpool Lime Street new memorial - report by George Jones
At Liverpool Lime Street station on 31 August, the Earl of Wessex
the new memorial frieze commemorating the 'Liverpool Pals' regiments of
World War I. The memorial is the work of local sculptor Tom Murphy,
statues of Bessie Braddock and Ken Dodd on the
station concourse. It takes the form of two bronze-coloured resin
panels displayed on the concourse high above the escalator
entrance to the Wirral line. The left-hand panel (above) is
entitled 'Recruitment and Farewell' and includes train embarkation.
The second pane, entitled 'Time To Go Home' features The Homecoming
with an LNWR 'George the Fifth' class locomotive as a wife awaits the
return of her wounded husband. The choice of this representative
locomotive was suggested by Ben Jackson, stationmaster at Berwyn
station on the Llangollen Railway. (See the detail view in the left
A re-enactment squad poses beneath the memorial at its location above
the Merseyrail Wirral line access. The current Lord Derby, whose
great-grandfather the 17th Earl had the idea to recruit for the King's
Liverpool Regiment what he called 'a battalion of Pals' - men from the
Liverpool area who eventually formed four service and two reserve
batallions - was also among the invited guests. The
report has more about the day's events, and the Liverpool
Pals Memorial Fund has organised the memorial. The Pals took part
in some of the bloodiest battles of World War I including the Somme,
Arras and Passchendaele. More than 2,800 did not return home.
By contrast with the train from 100 years ago, today's example
was three-coach 185 136 already 'full and standing' as the
12:05 TransPennine service
to Huddersfield - a line closure east of Huddersfield for engineering
work will have
disrupted some journeys.
The location of the memorial as seen below the roof; the eye is
somewhat distracted by the gambling advert. There is a lot of detail in
each frieze but, for some, the height at
which they are set will require binoculars and or telephoto lens to
bring out the detail.
For more about the making of the panels, there is an article
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