01 December 2014
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Friday 5 December Clwyd Railway
Circle Members Night & Christmas
Saturday/Sunday 6-7 December Bala
Lake Railway Santa Specials.
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
Friday 12 December Altrincham
Electric Railway Society Peter Fitton 'The Railways of the Fylde
from 1961'. Colour slide presentation.
Monday 15 December RCTS
Wales: Steam Sheds through the years: Part
1. John Sloane
Thursday 18 December Merseyside Railway
History Group Keith Maxwell 'Film Evening &
The Old Buffers'
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
Friday 9 January Altrincham
Electric Railway Society John Hobbs 'A Circular Tour of
North Wales 1966-1980'. Colour slide
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
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.
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
Friday 13 February Altrincham
Electric Railway Society David Young 'A Further Selection of Slides
from the Manchester Locomotive Society Collection'. Colour Slide
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.
Thursday 26 February Merseyside Railway
History Group Trevor Gauntlett 'The Halton Curve'
Friday 27 February Great
Western Society North West Branch Group Annual Meeting
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
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
Thursday 9 April Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Railway enthusiasm - international:
Friday 10 April Clwyd
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
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.
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
Thursday 14 May Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 6G locomen: personal reminiscences
by A Guest Panel
Substituting for an unavailable steam loco Nunney Castle, 67
016 arrives at Shrewsbury with the 06:18 Pathfinder Railtours
excursion from Eastleigh on 29 November. The loco and train continued
to Crewe for servicing, as Coton Hill yard was out of action due to a
track fault. Picture by Chris Morrison.
Problems on the Cathedrals Express.
'Black Fives' 44871 and 45407 The Lancashire
Fusilier pass Craven Arms with the 07:09 Paddington - Shrewsbury
'Cathedrals Express' on 29 November (Chris Morrison). The train
had been diesel-hauled from Paddington to Gloucester.
Anthony Thomas sends a sequence of four pictures of the
train at Shrewsbury.
The arrangement of the speed measuring device - something the old steam
drivers never had - on 45407 can be seen. The unit is fixed at the end
of an arm attached to the crank-pin so that it remains on the same axis
as the axle.
The 'SC' plate on the smokebox denotes fitting the
euphemistically-named 'Self-Cleaning Smokebox' equipment which causes
any ash which passes through from the fire to be blasted out through
the chimney on to the surrounding countryside rather than accumulating
in the smokebox from which some has to shovel it out at the end of the
842 of these locomotives were, built starting in 1934, the last ones
appearing in 1951 by which time the London Midland and Scottish Railway
(LMS) had become part of British Railways. LMS had allocated the number
range from 5000 to 5499 for them, with express passenger 4-6-0s
starting at 5500; when more than 500 were built, they had to be given
lower numbers, first 4800 to 4999 and finally 4658 to 4799 (For British
Railways numbers prefix with 4). 44871, dating from 1945, is thus
a slightly younger loco than 45407, built by Armstrong Whitworth in
Chris Morrison was at Ludlow to photograph 44871 and 45407
roll into Ludlow 75 minutes late with the return 'Cathedrals
Express' having left Shrewsbury an hour late due, the passengers were
told, to 'sticking brakes'. The passengers on the platform, who had
alighted from the outbound train at Ludlow for the Christmas Market,
let out a cheer, not surprisingly as Ludlow is an unstaffed station
with very few places to sit down and some way from the town centre.
We think it is fair to say that this was 'not the finest hour' for the
Steam Dreams company. At Bristol Parkway, a diesel loco was attached to
the front, and at Swindon at 23:34, passengers for London were
transferred to a First Great Western express which (fortunately for
them) was running 30 minutes late, and arrived in London Paddington at
01:09. The excursion train was terminated at Slough at 01:02, by which
time it was 114 minutes late. (See also the TripAdvisor
Premier Express catering future
Rumours have been circulating that first class was to be withdrawn from
Holyhead - Cardiff and return Premier Service, and catering reduced to
microwaved meals, with Friday 12 December as the last day of the full
service with travelling chef.
Gareth Peate, organiser of the recent petition against this, writes to
tell us that he in contact with ATW directly, who have taken
concerns on-board but not made any formal comment, and with some of the
on-board staff. It seems that two or three weeks ago the on-board chefs
were told that they would no longer be needed after 12 December, which
looked very much as if the fate of the meal service had been decided.
However, it now seems Arriva have had a change of heart, and the chefs
have been told they'll be needed for the foreseeable future. In
addition, the service is still advertised as having first class dining
in the new December timetables. It would seem that the First Class is
to be kept, but re-branded as 'Business Class' for the benefit of those
(MPs for instance) who are not allowed by their employers to charge
First Class to their expense account.
On 1 December, Welsh Government Minister for Transport Edwina Hart sent
a letter to all Welsh Assembly members:
We have been working with Arriva Trains Wales to
improve the catering provided on this service. From 15 December, 2014,
first class will be re-branded to business class with a catering
service in keeping with the needs of business travellers. A range of
hot meals will be served by a travelling chef and will be available for
all passengers using the service. There will be a new, more extensive
and flexible menu range and three course meals will be available in the
evening and either a continental breakfast or hot breakfast rolls
provided in the mornings.
Clearly there have been some last-minute negotiations taking place. It
is interesting to see it written down that standard class passengers
can 'purchase any of the food options.' We look forward to sampling the
new, improved, service which does look promising.
Business class passengers will have their meals served at their table,
as part of the ticket price. Standard class passengers will be able to
purchase any of the food options, as at present. Standard class
passengers will also be able to pay a supplement to upgrade to the
business class carriage. Arriva Trains Wales have provided assurance
that there will be no staff redundancies as a result of these changes,
and it will improve the marketing and promotion of the service to
generate additional patronage.
Diesel loco miscellany
67 013 (above) powers the 18:21 Cardiff-Holyhead away from
Shrewsbury on time on 29 November with a 'Rugby Special' Saturday
outing for the Arriva Trains Wales 'Premier Express'. Picture by Chris
37 609 leading 37 218 (both of which in the latest
DRS livery) working the return 6K41 Valley - Crewe flasks on Thursday
27 November at Llandudno Junction, complete with rare full sunshine (Jack
60 059 approaches Plough Hill foot crossing, Queensferry
with a lightly loaded 6V75 Dee Marsh - Margam empties on 10 November (John
Unusually working 'solo', 97 303 at Mold Junction with 3S71
Rail Head Treatment Train to Holyhead on 19 November (John Mathers).
At Baguley (Stockport - Altrincham line) on 24 November, 70 005
running light from Hope cement works to Crewe (Greg Mape).
Work progress on the new bus interchange at Altrincham on 24 November,
as 67 005 Queen's Messenger passes through the rail
station heading for Warrington Arpley (Greg Mape).
Worcester steam - report by Richard Putley
At Worcester Shrub Hill on 29 November, 60009 Union
of South Africa arrives with a Railway Touring Company 'Worcester
Christmas Market' special from London Paddington.
On the rear was West Coast Railways 47 237.
After hauling the train into the carriage sidings, 60009 turned, along
with her support coach, on the triangle of lines outside the station,
ready for the return trip.
Past Times with Dennis Kerrison - Ruabon '58
Captions by John Hobbs
'County' Class 4-6-0 1013 County of Dorset arrives at
Ruabon on 26 April 1958; somebody on the platform is excited about its
appearance! 'Counties' were common on the route until the arrival of
the 'Western' Class diesels ( later Class 52). The station is in
immaculate condition typical of the period.
Historic loco 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro runs through
the 'Up' platform at Ruabon Station, ready for turning after
working the Festiniog Railway Society Annual Special from Paddington to
Ruabon on 26 April 1958. An interesting vehicle is formed into the
special train; it appears to be E3082. an Open First Prototype built by
Cravens which often operated Euston to Liverpool services according to
the book British Railways- Mk 1 Coaches by Keith Parkin.
Former GWR 0-6-0PT 4617, a Croes Newydd engine throughout the
fifties, arrives at Ruabon with a local train which I think could be a
Wrexham to Llangollen working; its composition is interesting,
combining a horse box and a BR Standard brake suburban coach; of which
it seems only ten were built. This is probably on the same day as
the previous views as there are enthusiasts gathering on the platform,
perhaps in anticipation of City of Truro's arrival.
More on the Madcap Looper - report by John Mathers
Further to Bob Greenhalgh's report on the 'Madcap Looper' tour on the
Bala Lake Railway (last
issue), I can add the following. The tour covered all passenger
lines plus the following rare sections of the railways network.
Llanuwchllyn: Carriage shed roads, end of line headshunt, the very rare
Platform 2 coal siding, the lead into the down refuge siding, engine
shed headshunt. Bala: Station loop, Station headshunt. Dock
siding (seen above), a first for a passenger train. Llangower: loop.
Lady Madcap running around the train at Bala.
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