26 January 2015
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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
Saturday 11 April. Excursion. The Great Western Express from
Hooton to Worcester and Oxford The railtour is jointly promoted by the
Chester Model Railway Club and Ffestiniog Railway Society Dee &
Mersey Group. Full details can be found at the Chester
Model Railway Club website.
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
The Felixstowe - Trafford Park container train, diverted through
Stockport as part of the arrangements for the engineering work its
usual route through Styal, passes Adswood on the approach to Stockport
on 24 January. 92 032 IMechE Railway Division is a
regular performer on this train; on this occasion 66 742 Port
Immingham is along for the ride. For more Manchester freight,
see the Manchester
Loco variety at Crewe - with Darren Durrant
A surprising variety of locomotives seen at Crewe on Saturday 24
January. At the station 86 622 is heading
to the LNWR depot.
67 015 David J. Lloyd waits at the signal on
platform 12 on its way to Cardiff Canton.
87 002 Royal Sovereign storms down the fast line
way to Mossend.
At Casey Lane, 66 749, still in its Dutch livery, heads the
biomass empties back to Liverpool.
60 063 heads south with a rake of ballast wagons.
66 152 followed soon after loaded with track panels.
Resting at Crewe platform 8, GBRf 92 032 having returned from Trafford
Park (see heading picture).
More Timetable Tribulations
A number of comments have been received regarding our item last issue
about the current Arriva Trains Wales timetable.
Regarding the claim by politicians to have 'reversed' Arriva's removal
of an important morning peak connection from Llandudno to Manchester,
it's been pointed out to us that the 05:54 train from Llandudno to
Llandudno Junction, connecting with a Manchester train, was proposed by
Arriva before any political intervention, and that there was in fact
little option but to provide a train at 05:54 to meet the 'Service
Level Commitment' required by the Department for Transport regarding
the number of trains required to serve Llandudno; along with the 20:08
and 21:11 shuttles to Llandudno Junction, this replaces the former
departures at 12:08, 12:44 and 19:13.
Another aspect of the changes, which has not been mentioned here
before, is the effect on the service between Crewe and Chester. For
most of the day there is a 30-minute interval service – the Arriva
Trains Wales shuttle alternating with the Virgin London service.
However, the new timetable has disrupted this arrangement by re-timing
the 07:23 departure from Crewe, leaving train departures from Crewe to
Chester at 06:54, 07:11 and 08:23. Thus, in the midst of the morning
rush hour there is a 72-minute gap between departures. The old 07:23
offered a connection from at Crewe from the 06:43 Manchester to London
Euston service which arrives in Crewe at 07:15; this was particularly
useful for passengers from Stockport and Wilmslow.
The new 07:11 from Crewe to Chester is the first outing of the day for
the new loco-hauled set; it needs to run at this time in order to form
the 07:38 Chester to Manchester Piccadilly. Manchester trains normally
depart Chester at xx.50 or xx.52, to arrive at Manchester Piccadilly in
Arriva's allocated 'slot' on the busy Deansgate - Piccadilly section.
It seems that the loco-hauled service is expected to make slower
progress than a Class 175 railcar set, so has to start earlier from
Chester. You might think that a 3300 HP loco pushing just five coaches
would be quite 'nippy', but maybe time has to be allowed for opening
and closing the 'slam' doors?
Thanks to Mike Stone and Tim Grady for help with this
Manchester Cityscapes - pictures by Charlie Hulme
Two Arriva views at Manchester Oxford Road on 22 January. Above, the
setting sun reflects in the windows of the former Refuge Assurance
building at 15:50 as 67 001 pushes on towards Piccadilly with
the 13:01 from Holyhead, having run non-stop through Oxford Road as
scheduled. It is clear that the planned widening of the line to four
tracks through Piccadilly cannot reach as far as Oxford Road, so a
two-track bottleneck will remain.
Minutes later, the 15:50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno departs from
Oxford Road formed of 175 107. The new building behind is part
of the First Street
North development, contrasting with the old Percy Brothers Hotspur
Press printing works, which closed in 2011 but is still in partial use
by an 'artist collective and design studio' The railway scene
here is planned to change dramatically, with the platforms extended
along the viaduct to allow 8-car trains to call. To achieve this, the
line to bay platform 5, seen bottom right, will be abolished. Read all
about the plans on Network
Compass tours continue
As reported previously, the 'Compass Tours' operation is now a brand of
West Coast Railways, to be known as 'Compass by West Coast'. The
company has now issued an ambitious programme of 50 trains for 2015 on
a dedicated website at www.compassrail.co.uk
which includes some very interesting ideas. Included in the next few
months are Hooton
Portsmouth on 11 April, Chester
Whitby on 13 April, Holyhead
Windsor on 15 April, and Chester
Penzance on 20 May. Later in the year there are several incoming
excursions to the Conwy Valley line. We wish them every success.
On-line booking is provided on the website.
Another Push-Pull measurement train
On 21 January (above) Network Rail track recording train 1Q30, 10:55
Derby Rail Technical Centre to Crewe via Holyhead, passes Flint
westbound, formed of Mk3 Driving Van Trailer 82145, Plain Line
Pattern Recognition vehicle "PLPR4" 72639, Network Rail Track
Inspection Coach 2 "TIC2" 977974, Plain Line Pattern Recognition
vehicle "PLPR2" 5981 ...
... and DB Schenker loco 67 027. Pictures by Tim
Awaiting the return journey in Platform 1 at Holyhead. The train paused
here from 15:17 to 16:12.
82145, formerly a Virgin Trains vehicle, looks in sparkling condition.
Use of Class 67s and a 125 mph- capable DVT allows running at higher
speeds than the Class 37 and Mk2 driving vehicle formation as featured
in the last issue. Note the camera housing in the nose, complete with
Cheshire in the 1950s - pictures by Norman Jones
Our contributor Tony Robinson is custodian of a collection of
pictures donated by late Norman Jones (1918-2003) - author of a
number of fine railway books for Foxline and other publishers - with
instructions to 'use as you wish', so we'll present a selection of
previously-unpublished ones here. All were taken in the 1958-61 period;
Anthony has provided caption to which we have added some additional
details. Above, British Railways standard Class 2 2-6-0 78033
stands alongside Mouldsworth Junction signalbox, perhaps awaiting
instructions from the signalman, with Mouldsworth station behind. Is
that a rail-bending device leaning against the concrete bin?
This Cheshire Lines signalbox survived in use until the mid-2000s, but
lost its main purpose when the line towards Helsby was taken out of use
has since been demolished.
Mouldsworth: Johnson 3F 0-6-0 43538 shunts a Northwich bound
pick-up freight. The 21-ton mineral wagon seems to be loaded with scrap
metal. The shunter can be made out on the left, making a hand signal to
the guard, while the driver seems to be keeping an eye on the
photographer. The train is on the main line, with the station in
the background; the tracks in the left led to the goods yard, closed a
few years later, and in recent times transformed into a housing
This veteran locomotive entered service with the Midland Railway in
1897; at the time of the photograph it was based at Northwich shed,
until transferred in January 1959 to Buxton, only to be withdrawn from
service at the end of that year. 63 years is a long lifetime, although
some of the diesel locos running today are well into their 50s.
By contrast, BR Standard Class 4 75034 was nearly new in this circa
1959 picture, having been built at Swindon in 1953. The train
from Chester Northgate approaches Mouldsworth Junction with a typical
pre-diesel days consist of non-corridor suburban stock of assorted
parentage, heading for Manchester Central. To the right is the line to
Helsby, which was the only route here from 1869 until the line to
Chester opened in 1875.
Fowler 4F 0-6-0 43856 passes Mouldsworth goods yard and
approaches the station with what is probably a Sunday excursion: can
anyone supply details? The locomotive was allocated to Nottingham shed
from 1958 to 1961.
In the distance is the small signalbox-like building, which we believe
to be 'Mouldsworth Yard Frame' which contained operating levers for the
connections at the end of the goods yard, remote from the junction
signalbox. Redundant when the goods yard closed in the 1960s, it
somehow found its way to a garden near Maidenhead in the Thames valley
where there was a 5-inch gauge garden railway. In 2007, following the
death of the owner, it was transferred to the preserved Chinnor and
Prices Risborough Railway, where it has been fully restored: the story
the C & PR website.
Fairburn 2-6-4T 42675 of Trafford Park shed, with another
typical passenger train for the line, passes Mouldsworth Junction's
down outer starting signal, a typical Cheshire Lines Committee
lower-quadrant signal. Note the neatly-tended track, and lack of
undergrowth on the cutting sides from the days before machines took
over track maintenance.
Finally, a view at Norton, between Warrington and Chester on the
'Birkenhead Joint' line. The loco is the only 'Royal Scot' fitted with
British Railways-style smoke deflectors (in 1954, apparently as an
experiment): 46106 Gordon Highlander. Note the ancient
signalbox, in the early style of contractors Saxby & Farmer. It was
replaced in 1972 by a London Midland Region standard 'Type 15' box
which still retains the name 'Norton' even though the station, closed
in 1952, re-opened in 1983 in a slightly different position as Runcorn
Recent emails have included some requesting help from our readers in
researching North Wales topics.
Geoffrey Barnes has embarked on a interesting project to
relate in book form all the train movements at Llandudno Junction on
typical 1950s Saturday, 27 July 1957. We have obtained, with thanks
to some kind people, Working and Public Timetables, as well as the
Traffic Notice for that weekend, but it would be interesting to hear
from anyone who has, or knows of, pictures, notes or memories from that
day. Please contact us if you can help.
Christian Roberts is making a model based on Tal-y-Cafn
station set in the 1970s/80s period, and wonders of anyone could help
with pictures of the station and its immediate surroundings in those
decades. We've already has some help with this from members of
the Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society, but does anyone have
pictures showing the Auction House and/or the newsagent's shop adjacent
to the station?
A modeller we have recently been able to help with details of ballast
hoppers is Anthony Ashley who is building the North Wales
Coast line through Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Bangor in N scale at his home
in Australia. Anthony has sent us a picture (above) illustrating his
progress so far. The building of 'Welsh Dragon Rail' is chronicled with
frequent updates in a blog hosted on the RMWeb
The Flying Bufferbeam
Harold Bowtell took this picture at Courtauld's factory
in Grimsby in October 1962. The locomotive was built by Peckett's of
1936, their works number 1900, for work at the Courtauld's plant in
North Wales near Holywell Junction. When built it did not have the
improvised cab sides and roof seen here, which were added at Grimsby,
it was built to haul wagons of waste from the Rayon-making process
through a very low bridge under the North Wales Coast main line.
However in 1954 it was ruled that the operation was too dangerous and
the loco was transferred away.
This plan dated 1963 shows what appears to be the bridge in question.
The Courtauld's installations in Greenfield were a major employer in
the area, and a customer of the railway, until closed down in phases in
the 1970s and 80s.
Happily the little loco is now preserved at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre,
Quainton Road, and has been overhauled and returned to its original
condition with no cab: here is
a link to a photograph taken there. Are there any photographs of
it in use in North Wales, or is it 'one that got away'?
Thanks to Ivor Bufton for bringing this to our attention.
Southern Sojourn - with Peter Dickinson
Something completely different: a small selection of
photographs taken at Bognor Regis and nearby Barnham on the south
coast, which may be of interest. Traditional semaphore signalling
controls the station throat at Bognor Regis (above) and it is
refreshing to see this still in action.
Vintage Class 313 units operate along the South Coast.
A branch line serving Bognor opened in 1864 and left the main Brighton
to Portsmouth line at Barnham Junction. Opened 1st June 1864, Bognor
station was originally a small wooden single storey building which was
severely damaged by strong winds in March 1987. A subsequent fire two
years later destroyed what remained of the station. Between 1900 and
1902 the current station, complete with red brick buildings and
extensive sidings were built at a cost of £68,000. The town gained its
'Regis' title by royal decree in 1928 after King George V recovered
from an illness whilst staying there.
The surviving signal box controlling the station site is a Southern
Railway Type 13 design built in 1938 and contains 66 levers.
A pair of Class 377 'Electrostar' units at Barnham.
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