Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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

At the end of the rainbow, 2-6-2T 5199 approaching Glyndyfrdwy with a Llangollen Railway 'Santa Special' on Christmas Eve. Picture by Lee Davies.

Loco-hauled news

Monday 29 December saw the 'Premier Express' train 'appropriated' for a day running between Holyhead - Crewe to handle the post-Christmas ferry crowds. Traction was provided by 67 029 Royal Diamond, seen passing Presthaven Holiday Park with the 12:22 Holyhead - Crewe. Picture by Dave Sallery.

Llangollen Mince Pie Specials - report by George Jones

The post-Christmas weather provided some challenging conditions for the running of the 'Mince Pie Special' trains through to Corwen East. On Boxing Day the Black Five 45337 was rostered and also on Saturday 27th. Above, 45337 at Corwen East - the first train at Corwen at Christmas for 50 years, the service having been suspended in December 1964. Picture by George Jones.

The photographer-friendly headboard (George Jones).

Berwyn (Peter Dickinson).

After the snow fall on Boxing Day evening the Dee valley provided a wintry landscape for travellers with show on the higher levels. Above, 45337 approaches Deeside loop with snow on the ground on 27 December (George Jones).

45337 approaches Glyndyfrdwy with a dusting of snow in the field - note the layering of the lineside vegetation which is being practised here (George Jones).

West of Glyndyfrdwy the river Dee runs high and fast (George Jones).

Carrog (Peter Dickinson).

On Sunday 28 December the 2-6-2T No.5199 was in charge on a day when freezing fog was the order for most of the day to the west of Llangollen, despite blue sky and sunshine in the east which brought the visitors out. Picture by George Jones.

Mince Pie Specials continue through to 1 January, then there are two days of the Winter Warmer event with an hourly service through to Corwen (the best ever frequency for trains at the town!) followed by a final day of the Christmas season on 4 January when there's a regular diesel railcar service, (11:00, 13:00 and 15:00 from Llangollen) something never provided by British Rail, except for excursion trains.

Rood Ashton Hall at Chester - pictures by Anthony Thomas

Great Western Railway 4-6-0 4965 Rood Ashton Hall preparing to leave Chester on the evening of 19th December - or,  4983 Albert Hall, as was originally thought when moved to Barry scrapyard in June 1964; it was rescued from Barry in October 1970.  This link is to an article about this complicated story.


A glance into the cab.

The date on the tender plate, refers to Swindon Works, June 1916 (3500 gallons), but the loco was not built until November 1929. It would appear that the tender came from an older loco, perhaps one of the 4-4-0s that this class replaced. Does anyone have more information?  A later tender of Hawksworth-era design. previously used by Albert Hall is currently used with 7903 Foremarke Hall.

A photo of Rood Ashton Hall taken on a previous visit to Chester on 29 November 2009.

Christmas Eve at Chester - pictures by Richard Fleckney

A short walk after lunch to the rebuilt footbridge over the river Dee attached to the railway bridge.  Above, the from Curzon Park North to the footbridge.   The column, one of which support the bridge, along with a similar one on the other side, supports a transverse girder which in turn supports the railway bridge itself.

The view from from racecourse side. Note the 'wheeling channel' for cyclists. 

Seen from the end of the footbridge, as 175 110 passes with the 13:31 from Bangor.  

The whole bridge looks very smart in its new paintwork. The additional rails within the running rails are intended to restrain any derailed vehicle and prevent damage to the bridge girders.

The bridge and the city of Chester beyond, seen from  from Curzon Park North road bridge. At one time there were four tracks here; note how the girders in the middle of the disused section were left out of the refurbishment programme. Out of sight, out of mind, perhaps. 

Festive Interlude in the Severn Valley - report by Richard Putley

On Sunday 21 December headed to Kidderminster to see the green 9F, 92214 which has been on
loan from the Great Central Railway. As the website said it would be pulling the 10:45 from Kidderminster I waited for it by where the line crosses the A449 Worcester - Kidderminster Road. Alas I forgot that the line is on a down gradient here so it was coasting. By the time I
was able to shoot it, the train had run through on to the adjacent embankment.

As a consolation I did manage to photograph an incoming train that was top and tailed by Great Western Railway  2-8-0 2857 (above) and 'Manor' 7812 Erlestoke Manor.

I then went round to the footbridge that crosses both the Severn Valley Railway and the Network Rail line, the one time Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway. Here I saw 2-6-2T 4566 in steam ...

... and 7812 on the head of the next departure. It could almost have been a scene from the Cambrian Line in the 1950s.

Compass Tours

The firm Compass Tours, who have run many excellent rail excursions in recent years, and earlier this year opened a travel centre and café in Helsby station building, and an office in Frodsham station building, has been sold to a group including West Coast Railways, the company which has provided the locomotives and coaches for most of their excursions, and runs excursions of its own.

The last 'independent' Compass Tours trip was the 19 December 2014 Hereford - Edinburgh 'Festive Scotsman'. Kevin Melia, one of the founders of Compass Tours in 2003, will still be involved with the operation, which is now operating from the Carnforth offices of West Coast Railways. We understand that future uses of the Helsby and Frodsham premises are under consideration.

Mind your Manors

Some interesting responses have arrived regarding the 'Past Times' item in the last issue. Dave Sallery writes: 'I've been pondering that photo by John Hobbs of the 'Cambrian Coast Express' (repeated above).  John mentioned that 7827 Lydham Manor was "running hard" through Forden station, and "I bet the token exchange was quite something". I think the reason it was able to travel at speed is that Forden was the start of the double track section to Buttington.  So it would only be dropping off the single-line token into the hoop and not picking one up as well.'

Gareth Marston has kindly written some notes for us about the locos:

Its no fluke that the two 'Manor' Class locomotives John recorded, 7819 Hinton Manor and 7828 Lydham Manor both still survive. When the London Midland Region withdrew the 8 remaining ex-GWR/Western Region Manors from its 6-Division sheds at Machynlleth and Shrewsbury in October/November 1965 they found their way en masse to Woodham Brothers yard in Barry and the rest is history.

Whilst the Manor class is often associated the Cambrian, what's less well known is that no fewer than 11 of the 14 BR Standard Class 4 tanks preserved all came from a batch withdrawn from London Midland ex-GWR sheds in 6-Division (6F Machynlleth, 6D Shrewsbury, 6C Croes Newydd) on the same day, 24July 1965.  which fortuitously found their way to Woodhams also. Poor old 80102 was unlucky being transferred away from Shrewsbury to Eastleigh in May 65. They were well liked by Cambrian crews and by all accounts preferred to the Standard 4 tender locomotives.

46517, also pictured,  is a bit of mystery as officially its was a Wigan Springs Branch loco in December 1964; the number is not discernible on the picture unfortunately.  22 of the 25 Swindon-built members of the Class were delivered brand new to 89A Oswestry in January 1953, though many were sub-shedded at Moat Lane Junction and Llanidloes and worked the Mid Wales line to Brecon. Eight were still on Oswestry's books in January '65 and withdrawn from there, 46512 and 46521 surviving into preservation from the Swindon batch.

If anyone has any detail on the 1965 withdrawals I'd be interested to hear from them. I've currently identified no fewer than 31 preserved locomotives that worked on the Oswestry Division of the Western Region: a remarkable number and a significant percentage of the preserved fleet. What chance of getting them all back at Oswestry one day?

Past Times with Dennis Kerrison - Bala

Text by John Hobbs

The scene at Bala, as former GWR 0-6-0PTs 4645 & 8791 arrive from Ruabon on Sunday 22 January 1961 with what would be the last passenger train from Bala to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Dennis went especially to see this train at Bala, which would at the time have been considered an exceptional journey into Wales on a Sunday in the winter. The Six Bells Junction website gives further details of this iconic tour. 4645 was at Croes Newydd shed from 1950 until she was withdrawn in 1965; 8791 moved away in March 1961, to Hereford  and then  finished her days in South Wales. Book Law/Foxline  have recently re-published the book Bala Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog - Scenes from the past Part 25  in an expanded form with many new pictures and better reproduction.

Bala to Blaenau

Recently we have been involved, on behalf of the Manchester Locomotive Society, in cataloguing pictures taken by the late Harold Bowtell over a long career from the 1940s, and the Society Photographic Officer has agreed that we can include some of them here from time to time. Mr Bowtell travelled on the January 1961 Stephenson Locomotive Society special, and photographed the train (above) during a pause at the remote station of Arenig, situated over 1100 feet above sea level.

The siding to the left served a granite quarry: a British Railways ballast hopper wagon can be seen in the distance. For some modern pictures of the area see Dave Sallery's Conwy Valley website.

The two locos have been detached from the train (temporarily disabling the steam-heating of the coaches) and drawn forward to the water column, as passengers (and the occupants of the car) mill around in their pre-anorak 'gricer' garb. Part of the installation for loading the stone can be seen to the left.

View from the train crossing the viaduct near Cwm Prysor. The summit of the line, near here, was at 1278 feet above the sea. This section, including the Grade II-listed viaduct, is today a permissive footpath (See page 10 of Dave Sallery's feature).

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