29 December 2014
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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
At the end of the rainbow, 2-6-2T 5199 approaching Glyndyfrdwy
with a Llangollen Railway 'Santa Special' on Christmas Eve. Picture by Lee
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
45337 approaches Glyndyfrdwy with a dusting of snow in the field - note
the layering of the lineside vegetation which is being practised here (George
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Ffestiniog - Scenes from the past Part 25 in an expanded
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
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
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