Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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

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 day.

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 1937.

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 website.)

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.

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.
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.

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 Morrison.

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 Bowley).

60 059 approaches Plough Hill foot crossing, Queensferry with a lightly loaded 6V75 Dee Marsh - Margam empties on 10 November (John Mathers).

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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