Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

November 2014

Tuesday 11 November Shrewsbury to Chester Rail Users Association  public meeting  featuring guest speaker Professor Paul Salveson MBE. 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 directions.

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 publicly run 'not for dividend' rail franchise for Wales & the Borders.

Thursday 13 November   Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society   AGM Members Evening   Keith Jones/Bob Barnsdale/Llew Groom

Friday 14 November   Altrincham Electric Railway Society Paul Shackcloth 'A Photographic Tribute to Tom Lewis'. Main line steam across Great Britain from 1948 with many scenes in the North West.  

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

Thursday 27 November  Merseyside Railway History Group   Geoff Holmes 'Railway Shipping'

Friday 28 November   Great Western Society North West Branch Five Men who made St Helens, by Joe Cowley.

December 2014

Friday 5 December Clwyd Railway Circle Members Night & Christmas Celebrations

Saturday/Sunday 6-7 December Bala Lake Railway Santa Specials.

Monday 8 December   Wrexham Railway Society: Annual General Meeting

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

Friday 12 December  Altrincham Electric Railway Society Peter Fitton 'The Railways of the Fylde from 1961'. Colour slide presentation.

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

Thursday 18 December  Merseyside Railway History Group   Keith Maxwell  'Film Evening & The Old Buffers'

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

Friday 9 January  Altrincham Electric Railway Society   John Hobbs 'A Circular Tour of North Wales 1966-1980'. Colour slide presentation.       

Monday 12 January  Wrexham Railway Society: Phil’s Quiz: Phil Davies
Monday 19 January  RCTS Merseyside & North Wales: Branch A.G.M followed by members slides and digital presentations

Thursday 29 January 2015 Merseyside Railway History Group  Brian Roberts 'Merseyside Connections 1973 - 85'

Friday 30 January  Great Western Society North West Branch 50 Years of Railway Photography, by Colin Ellis.

February 2015

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

Monday 9 February  Wrexham Railway Society: Rossett – Saltney Junction Re-doubling: Speaker from Network Rail

Thursday 12 February Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society A black & white circle of North Wales:  John Hobbs

Friday 13 February  Altrincham Electric Railway Society David Young 'A Further Selection of Slides from the Manchester Locomotive Society Collection'. Colour Slide presentation.     

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.

Thursday 26 February  Merseyside Railway History Group  Trevor Gauntlett  'The Halton Curve'

Friday 27 February  Great Western Society North West Branch Group Annual Meeting

March 2015

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

Monday 9 March  Wrexham Railway Society: A view from a signal box window:  Adrian Bodlander       

Thursday 12 March Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society A view from a signal box window:  Adrian Bodlander 

Friday 13 March  Altrincham Electric Railway Society   John Sloane 'Chinese Steam in the 80s'. Colour Slide Presentation.      

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 26 March  Merseyside Railway History Group  AGM Members Slides

Friday 27 March  Great Western Society North West Branch Liverpool's Disused Tunnels, by Paul Wright.

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

Friday 10 April  Altrincham Electric Railway Society   Alvin Barker 'A Selection of British Transport Films from the Steam Era'. Digital presentation.    

Monday 13 April  Wrexham Railway 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.

Friday 24 April  Great Western Society North West Branch Standard Gauge Railways of France and Germany, by Barry Rushton

Thursday 30 April    Merseyside Railway History Group  Geoff Coward  Quiz and informal evening

May 2015

Thursday 14 May    Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society 6G locomen: personal reminiscences by A Guest Panel

57 305 and 57 312 at Valley on 4 November - see report below. Picture by Jim Johnson.


The 10:50 from Llangollen on Sunday 9 November,  the last day of normal services before three-week break, calls at Carrog with 45337 on duty (Ken Robinson). 'Santa Specials' start on 6 December: see the Llangollen Railway website.

An appropriate headboard, 'The Remembrance' was carried, as seen at the new Corwen East station, where the boardwalk exit gives passengers a close-up view of the locomotive.

Railway members  Mike Watts and  Huw Parker flank the nameplate of Ayrshire Yeomanry, originally carried by 45156, one of the four Scottish Black 5s which gained names (George Jones).

Contrasting train, same theme: 390 103 Virgin Hero at Manchester Piccadilly on 4 November (George Jones).

Northern Belle locos on the Flasks

A nuclear flask run from Crewe to Valley and back on 4 November featured a most unusual choice of locomotives, 'Northern Belle' liveried Class 57/3s 57 305 Northern Princess and newly-repainted 57 312 which has been given the Solway Princess nameplates previously affixed to 47 832 which has been sold to West Coast Railways. Jim Johnson photographed the train at the loading point, as seen from the public footpath.

The locos worked in double-headed format rather than the usual top-and-tail for this train, suggesting that perhaps this was a test run for 57 312 before being used on the prestigious 'Belle' service.  It would seem that the 57/3s will in future be the standard power for the train, at the expense of the other N.B.-liveries machine, 47 790. Picture by Jim Johnson.

Heading back across Anglesey towards Crewe, with 57 305 leading the relatively heavy train of three wagons: each flask for 'Magnox'  fuel weighs 47 tonnes, plus the weight of the load and the wagon (Garnedd Jones).

Passing through the recently de-forested cutting at Talybont east of Bangor (Peter Basterfield).

In failing light at Chester (George Jones).

A look at the Pullman crest, new DRS logo, and cast numberplate (not the space after the '57') carried by these locos (George Jones).

Water Cannons deployed

Saturday 1 November at Bunbury, Cheshire. A grubby looking 97 303 was leading the Rail Head Treatment Train at 11:54, with agricultural activity in progress on the horizon (Stavros Lainas).

Second shot taken on the 5th November at Hargrave, also on the Chester - Crewe line at 13:05, with a relatively clean 97 304 John Tiley leading. (Stavros Lainas).

Rugby specials

Extra trains are running to Cardiff on Saturdays in November, as promised by a rare piece of marketing on the Arriva Trains Wales website:
In response to public demand, Arriva Trains Wales is pleased to announced that additional North to South Wales services will be in operation during the Autumn Rugby Internationals on Saturday 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th November 2014. On the North to South Wales morning service, there will be two additional services running - 07.40 Chester to Cardiff Central and 08.07 Holyhead to Cardiff Central. On the South to North Wales evening, there will be one additional service running, leaving Cardiff Central at 18.21 on Saturday 8th, 15th and 29th November and at 21.20 on Saturday 22nd November.

The Holyhead train, which runs via Crewe southbound and Wrexham northbound, is allocated to the loco-worked Premier Express set, as our pictures taken at Rhyl. by Roly High on 8 November illustrate. The timings of the trains are given on the Arriva website complete with a note on the 21:20 train on 28 November:
After the event [Wales v New Zealand, k.o. 17:30], passengers are advised to return to Cardiff Central Station as soon as the event has finished. There will be a queuing system in place and passengers may have to queue for up to 2 hours. We cannot hold services for late passengers wishing to travel on the return service to North Wales.

Despite the publicity, the train was noted heading along the coast on 8 November with railfan passengers outnumbering rugby enthusiasts.

All has not been well with the Premier Express in the week under review. On Monday 3 November the northbound evening service (with 67 002) was terminated in Platform 2 at Rhyl.  The loco and coaches spent the night in the engineer's siding at Rhyl, departing empty to Cardiff Canton depot on the afternoon of 4 November, while a Class 175 with a trolley stood in for the Premier service.

Northenden movements - pictures by Les Burton

An interesting freight train which is rarely photographed is the 10:55 Briggs Sidings to Northenden stone train, which runs Saturdays Only (when required.) It was required on Saturday 8 November, and Les Burton was at Northenden to see it. The Northenden terminal, still known to the Railway as 'Northenden Blue Circle' from its former use for cement traffic, is seen above. The train is standing behind the camera position in the picture, having left Briggs Sidings (south of Buxton on the old Ashbourne line) 150 minutes early, and waited at Peak Forest for its booked departure from there at 12:31, as it must fit between the passenger trains on the Stockport - Altrincham line. It came off the single line from Hazel Grove just beyond the tall Northenden Junction signabox, and crossed over using the crossover which can be seen. The excavator which will unload the wagons can be seen to the top right.

The train sets back into the left-hand siding: note that the train includes two different grades of stone.

Four wagons are detached and left in the left-hand siding. Note the trap points which will derail any runaway wagons when the 'road' is set for the main line.

Train engine 66 148 makes an appearance, propelling the rest of the train into the other siding. Just 20 minutes are allow for this shunting operation before the 13:17 Manchester - Chester passenger train is due to pass.

The loco remains with the train until all the wagons have been unloaded. The re-assembled train will then run to Northwich for the locomotive to run round the empty wagons for the return journey. Supposed to depart at 15:13, and return through Northenden at 16:45, on this occasion it did not leave for Northwich until 16:41.

Talyllyn Railway Beer Festival 2014 - report by Eddie Knorn

Friday 8 August was planned as a day to combine a number of my interests in one trip to Tywyn, namely seeing the Talyllyn Railway in operation, visiting the Llechfan Garden Railway and enjoying a selection of real ales, as this was the first day of the TR Beer Festival. My original plan had been to travel across from Ruabon by train via Shrewsbury and Machynlleth, however my wife’s involvement in arranging the provision of cider for the beer festival at our local licensed premises led to her arranging to collect some supplies of the precious apple juice en route, so we travelled in her car. The cider collection trail took us firstly to Newtown, from where we followed the Cambrian line to Caersws where we drove across the level crossing towards Llanidloes  before turning off the main road to reach another cider supplier at their mountainside location. By the time we had parked the car at Tywyn it was mid-afternoon, so we strolled over the railway bridge and entered Wharf Station. The beer festival marquee had been set-up in the station yard, not far from the bungalow that serves as the railway’s volunteer hostel.

Dolgoch (top picture) was in the platform when we arrived, and was soon on its way towards Nant Gwernol. My wife and I had the opportunity for a brief look in the narrow gauge railway museum, before crossing the track to gain access to the all important real ale marquee. There was a selection of ales from both local breweries and further afield, so I tucked in.

The next TR train into Wharf Station was hauled by Edward Thomas which soon departed towards the depot at Tywyn Pendre, then eventually the third train in use that day appeared...

...  headed by the brightly-coloured Duncan. During all of the flurries of activity, I was able to find out more about the control of propelling movements from Wharf Station back to the carriage shed; a simple air valve on a length of pipe is coupled to the train brake pipe on the leading carriage of the train and this is then passed through the carriage window so that the guard has the ability to open the valve and apply the brake if necessary.

Apart from all of the narrow gauge steam activity, we ventured into the 'dip' behind the volunteer accommodation bungalow to observe train movements on the Llechfan Garden Railway – a most relaxing way to spend the afternoon and early evening, watching the trains go round and round while sipping real ale.

The 'main line' provided a diversion when I was able to witness 158 829 passing Wharf Station on an 'up' working towards Machynlleth.

When Dolgoch returned, there was a healthy load of business for the station refreshment room, and once that had died down a little my wife and I were able to enjoy some fish and chips before the car journey home via Abergynolwyn and Bala. I would have loved to have stayed even later but had to be out on the Saturday driving a rail replacement bus between Wrexham and Chester, while keeping clear of the traffic mayhem on the A483 that day.

Past Times with John Hobbs - Indoors at Holyhead

'Britannia'  pacific  70042 Lord Roberts has just arrived at Holyhead, on 2 July 1965, with the down 'Irish Mail', the 08.15 Saturdays-only London Euston to Holyhead, which for some reason was booked to be steam hauled that summer; the loco about to run to the loco shed for servicing. This train shed, which formed the arrival side of the Holyhead complex, no longer exists and was demolished although its construction is similar to the train sheds at Euston. There were Customs Halls on this side of the station where passengers could wait under cover and out of the rain although the facilities were basic, to say the least.

LMS 3F 0-6-0T 47321 potters about in the departure train shed at Holyhead on Saturday 30 January 1965, with a First Class Mk 1 Sleeping Car. Again the train shed roof is similar to the ones which formerly existed at Euston but in this case it still exists.

This was the last day of a full steam service on the North Wales Coast; the following day all Holyhead/Llandudno to Crewe/Manchester trains became Diesel Multiple Units (DMU), except for the 16.45 Holyhead to Manchester which formed a boat train, diesel hauled, on its return journey. However there was shortage of diesel power (the EE Type 4s - later Class 40s - had some bogie problems) at the time, and many Holyhead to Euston trains remained steam between Crewe and Holyhead for a few weeks which softened the blow. Soon the Llandudno to Manchester 'Club' train also returned to steam for 21 months until the final end in December 1966. 

Freight remained steam, of course, and the Summer timetable changes also saw steam return but not at previous levels. With the reduction in shunting work, upon the introduction of the DMUs, 47321 was sent to Croes Newydd, on trial, but of course the GWR men were not keen on 'Jintys'!  47321 then returned to Holyhead for the summer.

Also on the 30 January 1965; DM45017, the Medical Officer's Saloon at  Holyhead, basically a mobile surgery, also rests under the roof on the departure side but in the platform which today is no longer connected because the track is set in concrete (difficult to maintain) and the centre forms a drain, which could be sluiced to remove the residue after sleeping cars had been standing on it!

The vehicle has an interesting history. Built at Newton Heath as an ordinary coach to a Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway design, it was later converted for use in an ambulance train, and by the time of the picture it would have been used to give the required medical examination to railway staff at locations where no fixed facility existed. Daved for presrvation in 1972, it spent some time at the Dinting Railway Centre and since 1992 is in the collection of the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry: this link goes to the Museum's record and photograph.

Worcester afternoon - with Richard Putley

On 8 November I popped over to Worcester Shrub Hill on the 12:44 from Great Malvern which was led by power car 43 163 which is currently acting as a mobile billboard exhorting us to "Visit Plymouth" which I photographed at Shrub Hill.

After a morning of heavy rain it remained dry as 'The Pannier Rambler' railtour arrived behind 9600 and 7752, the later in its London Transport guise as L94.

After watching the train shunt in to the up sidings ...

...  I walked down in to the city centre and returned on the 16:18 from Worcester Foregate Street to Great Malvern, which had originated from Bristol and was formed by South West Trains's 158 880.

Manchester area freight watching - by Charlie Hulme

Some more 'Real Time Trains'-inspired freight scenes in and around Manchester. The train above, with 66 595 in charge at Stockport on 29 October is bringing empty domestic resfuse containers from the 'new energy from waste plant' (or 'incinerator' to annoyed Runcorn residents) served by sidings at Runcorn Folly Lane to the Greater Manchester depot at Brindle Heath outside Manchester Victoria. This train is booked to leave some of its wagons at Brindle Heath and then take the remainder to across Manchester to the depot at Dean Lane. The last part of the line into Dean Lane now forms a single line alongside a singled section of the Metrolink Oldham line.

A train which can usually by guaranteed to show is the 14:18 Trafford Park to Felixstowe train operated by GB Railfreight. This has often been diesel-hauled, but recently a Class 92 electric (originally built for Channel Tunnel trains) has been the usual power. 92 044 Couperin - still carrying its 'tunnel segments' decoration - negotiates the curves across Castlefield Junction and through Deansgate station on 30 October.

This DB Schenker train, the 10:12 empty stone hoppers from Acton in west London to Peak Forest, has been making its way along the West Coast Main Line on most Wednesdays recently. It was times to wait for 90 minutes in the loop at Chelford, passing Stockport at 16:31, but in practice it continues without the wait, and passes at 15:08 as seen here on 5 November. 66 002 retains its EWS livery with the name removed at DB stickers attached. The train takes the right-hand rouute at Heaton Norris Junction, reaching Peak Forest via Guide Bridge.

In the last of the afternoon sunshine on 5 November, Freightliner 66 570 tackles the gradient from Manchester Oxford Road to Piccadilly with the 15:18 Trafford Park to Southampton.

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