12 January 2015
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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
Llangollen station on 2 January, with 2-6-2T 5199 arrived on
the 15:35 from Corwen. Picture taken by David Parry, with a
hand-held camera: 1/15th of second at ISO 3200.
Passing the Palace
The Edwardian mass of the Palace Hotel (formerly Refuge Assurance),
designed by Alfred and Paul Waterhouse
looms behind as, running 12 minutes late on 8 January, 67 001 propels
13:01 Holyhead - Manchester Piccadilly across Oxford Street in
Manchester on the bridge rebuilt c.1960. It has just run non-stop
through Oxford Road station - the
only passenger train outside the 'small hours' scheduled to do
crossing the road, the arch on the right takes the train over the River
the tiny shop adjacent to the bridge may be recalled by older readers
as the 'Oxford Surgical Store', purveyors of the useful products of the
Oxford Rubber Company.
Photography here is a challenge, as the pavement is very busy and
trains leaving Oxford Road station appear without warning from behind
buildings; however if the Driving Van Trailer is leading there is some
advance notice of the locomotive.
Note: The morning train into Manchester failed at
Llandudno Junction on Monday 12 January, due to 'dragging brakes'
and was operated by a railcar set on Tuesday 13 January. Surely this
sort of thing should not be necessary, particlularly with the
Manchester stock which stables each night at the maintenance depot.
Winter Circular - report by Eddie Knorn
On Saturday 27 December, the railway came back to life after the
Christmas shut down. I was still on a long weekend off work, but my
wife was working that day, so rather than sitting around at home I used
as an excuse for a look at some of the past year’s projects that had
place on the railways of North Wales. For my plan to work, I had to be
away from Ruabon just after 06:40, and
my conveyance on this part of the journey was 158 823. Upon arrival at
Shrewsbury, I made an effortless connection with 158 820 that
had just arrived from Birmingham and was on its way to
Aberystwyth. The incoming Guard even tipped me off as to which was the
better vehicle for saloon heating. By the time the train arrived at
Machynlleth, there was sufficient daylight to take pictures of 158 820
(above) before it departed ...
the general view eastwards (with 158 839 in the yard) and with
signal box gone.
Shortly afterwards, 158 839 entered the down platform, and the
few travellers for the Pwllheli line got aboard.
One pleasing sight at Tywyn was the use of boarded-up station doorways
as publicity for the Talyllyn Railway and other local attractions -
preferable to a plain piece of painted plywood.
Beyond Tywyn, the train passed the spot where the almost iconic picture
of the storms of a year ago saw a forlorn 158 being battered by
The sea defence repairs at Tonfanau certainly looked impressive from
within the train, while the new bridge over the Dysynni was seen to
close an obvious gap in the old 'coast road' though only for cyclists
and pedestrians. A little further along and I think I caught a glimpse
of the former
halt at Llanlgelynin - a platform-looking earthwork with British Rail
at each end was certainly a strong candidate!
The descent into Fairbourne showed some slight disarray on the concrete
anti-tank obstacles after storm damage, while the ride across Barmouth
Bridge was the usual spectacle. Adjacent to the old “excursion”
platform at Barmouth I saw a “T3” bus that had travelled from Ruabon
via a more
direct route, but was probably not up to Class 158 comfort levels.
Beyond Barmouth there was more evidence of Network Rail’s repairs to
the sea defences, and then of course beyond Talsarnau the construction
works for the Briwet Bridge came into view. The “old” halt at
always struck me as a ramshackle place that surprisingly retained a
service, while the new realigned version is still a bit too modern and
At least it remains open and I am sure a few years of local weather
conditions will take some of the newness away…
In addition to the realignment at Llandecwyn, I was technically on
track for me alongside the recent Porthmadog by-pass road as well. Upon
arrival at Porthmadog itself, I was able to have a quick look at the
station canopy, but my plan saw me stay on 158 839 to Pwllheli. In
essence, I had taken a four and a half hour train ride so that I could
Pwllheli Station Café for a sausage roll and a tea, but - what a ride.
about my various rides on the Cambrian Main Line and Coast and
concluded that this must have been the first trip on a 'normal' service
train west of Machynlleth for around 15 years. Yes, I had done steam
excursions from England, and the Machynlleth - Pwllheli steam specials
used to run, but not the timetabled passenger service.
After a few photos of 158 839 at Pwllheli ...
... I boarded it again for a ride back to Porthmadog, where
I alighted to get a few more pictures. Above, the train departs across
the level crossing.
particularly pleased to see the way in which the station canopy had
and celebrated this with a picture. It was almost midday and the pub in
the Arriva Trains Wales station was open, so it was only polite to
enjoy a quick half pint. The North Wales local paper told of stranded
motorists on Boxing Day evening in
the mountains above Llangollen and Wrexham, but none of the reported
snow seemed to have troubled the coastal area. Reports of the blockage
of the Crimea Pass in Blaenau Ffestiniog were noted, in preparation for
next phase of my journey.
Following a walk through Porthmadog, I found a seat in Spooner’s Bar on
the Ffestiniog Railway station and settled down for lunch and a pint of
ale. Having departed Pwllheli in glorious sunshine, I stepped onto the
FR/WHR platform in a hail storm. There was a Welsh Highland set of
coaches in the
platform, including the Pullman Observation Car Glaslyn and
these were being prepared for an afternoon departure. I was planning a
ride on the second Ffestiniog “out and back” working of the day, due
away at 13.35.
Motive power was provided by Prince and Taliesin
... but before departure I
was able to inspect another infrastructure project, namely the terrace
outside Spooner’s - I will have to plan a visit in better weather to
sample that properly.
The steam hauled journey to Blaenau Ffestiniog was made even more
enjoyable with the comfort of the First Class observation car, washed
down with a
Hot Toddy and some Christmas Cake.
Arriva’s 150 229 was waiting at Blaenau Ffestiniog Central ...
... though I had sufficient time to photograph the steam
locos running round their train.
When the unit arrived at Llandudno Junction (above), I could have opted
to alight and wait for a train to Chester,
but the temptation of a visit to the “new” incarnation of Llandudno
was too great, so I stayed with the 150. The work undertaken at
is to be commended as it is certainly a lot tidier there now than in
recent memory. Obviously the days of all five platforms in use, of the
longer train shed roof and of excursion trains returning to all manner
places will never return, so the more compact station has to suffice. A
quick walk to look at the sea, then a return to the station allowed me
catch 175 004 through from Llandudno to Chester. Contacts amongst the
station staff told of mayhem earlier in the day when the lack of the
Virgin service saw severe overcrowding on the Chester - Birmingham
such worries when I boarded 158 823 again for the last leg of the
back to Ruabon.
The Shropshire Union - report by Chris Morrison
Silver 67 026 Diamond Jubilee seen passing
Coalbrookdale on the Ironbridge Power Station branch the 07:27
London Euston - Donnington, 'Shropshire Union' railtour on 10 January. 60
079 was on the rear.
2. GB Railfreight 66 749, in the grey livery of its former
operator in Holland, heads the 13:00 Ironbridge Power Station -
Liverpool Bulk Terminal biomass empties past Coalbrookdale on the same
DB Schenker 60 079 arrives at the Donnington railfreight
terminal on 10 Jan with the 'Shropshire Union' railtour from Euston.
A view of Donnington Railfreight Terminal with 67 026 on the rear of
the train. Opened in 2009 in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence,
this facility has a daily 'as required' freight train path from
Warrington Arpley, but sadly this seldom is required.
67 026 seen on the Donnington branch with the 16:15 return charter to
Saltney doubling update - by Anthony Robinson
Some views showing the current state of play of the re-doubling work as
of 10 January. They are in sequence from the Chester end. Above, the
view through the 53-yard Balderton Tunnel showing in a telephoto view
the dramatic slewing from 'up' Wrexham- to 'down' Chester-bound sides.
Balderton level, crossing looking towards Saltney Green Lane.
The 15:30 ex Chester (11:23 Holyhead - Birmingham International)
approaching Broad Oak Crossing formed of 158 827.
The same train leaving Broad Oak towards Rossett.
Track slewing again at Rossett, southern limit of the new double track.
Broad Oak crossing is visible in the distance. I shudder to think what
the old boys of Chester West shed (84K) would have made of this lot
approaching at 95 mph with a 'Castle' 4-6-0!
A Week in North Wales - pictures by Tim Rogers
6 January at Gobowen: 60 062 Stainless Pioneer approaches. 6V75
09:30 Dee Marsh Reception. Sdgs to Margam T.C. 3 minutes late. [Editor's
Note: We have been taken to task by a reader for describing these
southbound workings as 'empties' - apparently some wagons can be loaded
with finished products from Shotton works, destined for the Midlands.]
7 January at Flint station. 67 012 A Shropshire Lad
heads train 1Q30, the 10:55 Derby - Holyhead - Crewe Network Rail
The train, which ihas replaced the HST-based train so far as North
Wales is concerned, was formed of just two coaches: 5981 which is
Plain Line Pattern Recognition vehicle 'PLPR2'...
... and Radio Survey Train Test coach 977997.
On the other end, DB-liveried 67 027.
9 January at Flint. 1H89 13:01 Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly led by
Driving Van Trailer, 82308 ...
.. propelled from the rear by 67 001 which seems to have become
a fixture on this train except on 24 December when the loco-hauled set
was not used.
Past Times with John Hobbs - Prestatyn from a different angle
A view over the 'rooftops' as Class 5 4-6-0 44710 heads
excursion 1Z27 through Prestatyn on 18 May 1964; a different view point
which I never repeated, from the road overbridge, but it does
show the top of the canopies on the "Down" side of the station.
Caprotti valve gear fitted Class 5 4-6-0 44749 runs through
Prestatyn station on the 'Up' slow line with 6D00 the 3.20 pm Menai
Bridge to Mold Junction freight, including as the second vehicle a BR
standard CCT (Covered Carriage Truck). The slow line station buildings
have a raft of advertising upon them and still look in good condition,
in this view on 23 July 1964. Today there is no track, and just a
remnant of the platform.
'Jubilee' 4-6-0 45563 Australia passes through
Prestatyn station on the 'Up' fast line with 1G35, the 16.30 Holyhead
to Birmingham (New Street) which ran 'as required' from 23rd June to
the 3rd September 1965. This was a 'Limited Load' train which was
not permitted to convey four-wheeled vehicles. There were boat trains
from Holyhead, in 1965, scheduled at 16:00, 16:10, 16:20, 16:30
and the all-year Manchester at 16.37. These all connected out of the
ship from Dun Laoghaire which arrived at 15.00: this must have required
some proficient station work. The weighing machine looks like it is
'out of order' but Wymans bookstall is doing good business by the look
of it; this is where you purchased your Ian Allan ABC, and
where currently the entrance to the booking office and waiting room is
located and gives a good general view of the station then, 3 August
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