Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

12 January 2015

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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 the 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 so.  After crossing the road, the arch on the right takes the train over the River Medlock; 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 this as an excuse for a look at some of the past year’s projects that had taken
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 ...

... and the general view eastwards (with 158 839 in the yard) and with the 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 waves.

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 anti-trespass signs 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 Llandecwyn always struck me as a ramshackle place that surprisingly retained a train service, while the new realigned version is still a bit too modern and clinical. 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 'new' 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 repaired 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 visit the Pwllheli Station Café for a sausage roll and a tea, but - what a ride. I thought 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 and diesel excursions from England, and the Machynlleth - Pwllheli steam specials when they 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.

I was particularly pleased to see the way in which the station canopy had been repaired, 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 the 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 newly realigned 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 station was too great, so I stayed with the 150. The work undertaken at Llandudno 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 much longer train shed roof and of excursion trains returning to all manner of 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 to 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 normal Virgin service saw severe overcrowding on the Chester - Birmingham axis. No such worries when I boarded 158 823 again for the last leg of the journey 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 day.

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 Euston.

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 working.

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 1965.

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