02 March 2015
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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.
Saturday 11 April Excursion Compass
The Wight & Sussex Express to
Portsmouth & Chichester with optional tour of Sussex and
Hampshire. Hooton, Bache, Wrexham, Gobowen, Shrewsbury,
Wellington, Telford, Wolverhampton, Rowley Regis, Stourbridge,
Kidderminster and Worcester SH.
Monday 13 April Wrexham
Society: Back to the ‘60s :Geoff Coward
Monday 13 April Excursion Compass
Coast The North York Moors & Heartbeat Explorer.
From Chester, Frodsham, Warrington (BQ), Wigan, Leyland, Blackburn,
Accrington, Burnley, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge and Brighouse.
Wednesday 15 April Excursion from North Wales Compass Tours by West Coast The Royal
Windsor Express. With an option of a longer break in London (alighting
From Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay,
Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Crewe, Stafford and Lichfield TV to Windsor.
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
Wednesday 20 May Excursion Compass
The Cornish Explorer From Chester, Wrexham, Ruabon, Gobowen,
Shrewsbury, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford & Bristol to
Penzance. The train is routed via the scenic Welsh Marches line, South
Wales, the Severn Tunnel, Bristol, Somerset, the Dawlish Sea Wall,
Devon and rural Cornwall.
Friday 3 July Excursion Compass
Tours by West Coast The Conway Valley Explorer
Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option). From
Grantham, Peterborough, Stamford, Oakham, Melton Mowbray, Leicester,
South Wigston, Hinckley, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield TV, Rugeley TV
& Stafford to Betws-y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Saturday 4 July Excursion Compass
Coast The Conway Valley Explorer
From Lincoln, Newark NG, Grantham, Bottesford, Bingham, Radcliffe,
Netherfield, Nottingham, Tutbury & Hatton, Uttoxeter, Blythe Bridge
& Stoke to Betws-y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog. (with Ffestiniog
Wednesday 9 September Excursion Compass
Coast The Conway Valley Explorer
Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Sheffield
to Betws-Y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. From Sheffield, Rotherham
Central, Swinton, Moorthorpe, Normanton, Shipley, Keighley, Skipton,
Hellifield, Carnforth & Lancaster.
12 September 2015 Excursion Compass
The Conway Valley Explorer Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog
Railway option) Scarborough to Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau
Ffestiniog. – Saturday
From Scarborough, Seamer, Malton, York, Wakefield, Brighouse, Sowerby
Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden & Rochdale.
Saturday 10 October 2015 Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast The
Conway Valley Explorer
Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Hereford to
Departs – From Hereford, Ledbury, Gt Malvern, Worcester FS, Droitwich,
Barnt Green, Walsall & Wolverhampton.
A Class 158, working the 15:37 Pwllheli to Machynlleth service, makes
its way across Barmouth bridge, as seen from the Mawddach Trail on 26
February. Picture by Ian Wright.
'East Lancashire Railway' is back
37 418, a regular performer on North Wales trains in the
1990s while named East Lancashire Railway, is back in preserved
service following a long period of inaction die to an engine
failure. It promised as one of the attractions at the railway's
diesel gala on 7 and 8 March. See the ELR Diesel Grpup website for
Caroline at Large
Some railway managers had a nice day out on 25 February, aboard
Inspection saloon 975025 'Caroline', from Cardiff via Shrewsbury,
Wrexham and Chester to Holyhead and then back to Crewe. The saloon is
equipped with a driving position enabling it to work on a push-pull
basis with a loco, such as 37 419, used on this occasion.
Caroline was leading as Martin Evans photographed the pair at
Ruabon northbound (above).
37 419 Carl Haviland - one of the North Wales
Coast passenger fleet back in the 1990s - propels the train through
Ruabon station (Martin Evans).
After reversal at Chester, 419 headed the tour towards Holyhead, as
seen by Tim Rogers passing Abergele. The replica LNWR-style
windows, compared to the simpler replacements decently inflicted
on many other signalboxes, imply that this one is a 'listed
structure' - listed Grade II since 1997, in fact. The nameboard seems
to be trying to look like an LMS version, but not quite making it.
But when all the signals on the line are controlled from Cardiff in
just a few years' time, what will become of this box? Hopefully
not the dereliction already seen up the line at Rhyl No.2.
Heading for Holyhead (Tim Rogers). Notice that the platform line
retains old-fashioned bullhead rail, in contrast to the modern
flat-bottom style on the through route. Does the short length of rail
between the running rails have some purpose, or is it just a piece of
At Llandudno Junction on the return run (Peter Lloyd).
'Talking Trakz' Railway Talks in Llandudno Junction
There will be a series of five talks held on Wednesday evenings in
March and April about the history of Llandudno Junction as a railway
town. Each evening has its unique flavour. Some are illustrated, while
others are not. One will be an unusual interactive presentation on
railway history. With its position in the middle of the north Wales
coast and its spur to the coastal beauties of Llandudno, the town grew
thanks to the railway network. Visitors will be very welcome.
Talks start at 7.30pm, the venue is the Maelgwyn pub in Osborne
Terrace, Llandudno Junction. Entry is free, but donations are welcome
to support the 'Trakz Busking Festival', on 18 April, 'a Street
festival bringing the local community, railway and businesses together
for a fun, family friendly event' (More
info on Facebook).
Programme of talks:
Wednesday 18 March: Cllr Phillip Evans. "Railway Reflections and other
Wednesday 25 March: Cllr Terry James. "Social History of Llandudno
Wednesday 1 April: Larry Davies. "Llandudno Junction—A Railway Town"
Wednesday 8 April: Anne Jones. "A fast moving night train experience"
Wednesday 15 April: Cllr Vicky Macdonald. "The men who crossed the
More information from Bill Chapman: email@example.com
Not a 67
Anyone hoping for a ride in the 'DfT' loco-hauled train on 25, 26
or 27 February was in for a disappointment, as all that could be found
to work the duty was a pair of Class 150/2 railcars - 'scruffy,
draughty & noisy' according to Chris Taylor who took the
picture after arrival at Holyhead on 26 February.
Richard Fleckney's view at misty Llanfair PG shows 150
242 and 150 260 heading for Holyhead as the 09:50 from
Manchester on 25 February.
Our information is that there was no Driving Van Trailer available, as
of the three allocated to Arriva Trains Wales, 82306/7/8, two were out
of commission and the third was needed for the Cardiff service.
Possibly one could have been borrowed from sister company Chiltern, but
their services are currently disrupted by a blockage of the line due to
a landslip between Banbury and Cheltenham Spa, so perhaps they were in
no position to lend.
Normality returned on Monday 2 March, the train formed of loco 67 001,
coaches 12184, 12183, 12185 and 12182 with DVT 82306.
Goliath on the Flasks
It's 'first light' at Rhosneigr on 25 February as 57 301 and 57 008
head for Valley with the flask train from Crewe. Picture by Peter
Possibly making its first revenue-earning journey in DRS livery after
transfer from the short-lived Network Rail fleet, 57 301, now
named Goliath, led the train on 25 February. Peter
Basterfield captured the return run at Bridge 148 near Talybont
running 53 minutes early. The last few trips of this train,
6K41, have followed the 13:58 Voyager from Holyhead, but that
does not mean they will do that next time...
57 301, formerly Scott Tracy, was accompanied by 57 008,
and three wagons, as seen at Llandudno Junction by Peter Lloyd.
Passing Gwrych Castle near Abergele, former home of Winifred,
Countess of Dundonald (Tim Rogers).
Official opening of the station at Dwyrain Corwen East -
report by George Jones
The Llangollen Railway celebrated the official opening of the station
at Dwyrain Corwen East with a special train on St David’s Day, 1
March, for the conveyance of some 270 invited guests from Llangollen to
Corwen. The five-coach Corwen Special left Llangollen with locomotives
attached to the front and rear of the with No.3802 leading and 5199 on
Five ceremonial activities offered a public spectacle to celebrate the
Official Opening day, as well as photo opportunities to record the
occasion and media reporting of the event.
Vice Presidents Bill Shakespeare and Gordon Heddon unveiled the Dwyrain
Corwen East station name board and the Chairman, Peter Lund, cut to
ribbon to declare the station open.
Railway volunteers performed an enactment of fixing the golden
fishplate to the last panel of track to mark the rejoining of
Llangollen to Corwen by rail.
At a word of command the lead locomotive No.3802 eased forward and
burst through the Official Opening Day banner which was stretched
across the track. All this activity was conducted during a welcome
brief spell of sunshine on a day which otherwise brought mixed weather
The official activities were concluded when Llangollen Railway Trust
Vice President Bill Shakespeare delivered a short speech acknowledging
all the efforts which went into rebuilding the railway from Llangollen
to Corwen over the past 40 years, and the need still to press on to
complete the phase 2 of the project with a terminal station nearer
Corwen Town centre. He unveiled a commemorative plaque which will be
displayed in the station building. Above: Mr & Mrs
Shakespeare take a rest in the observation saloon.
Guests were then invited to view the site of the future extension and
visit the new Railway Exhibition in Capel Goch in London Road.
The Llangollen Silver Band and the Glyndŵr Male Voice Choir provided
music and song during the occasion and members of the Corwen Community
are on hand to distribute complimentary miniature daffodils to guests.
A good crowd of several hundred local residents assembled to see the
activities and add their applause to the event.
The temporary station building now houses a selection of modern works
of art commissioned by the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team,
at promoting the Dee Valley by train. These are well worth viewing.
The Special Train departed back at Llangollen at 3.30pm - in a hail
storm - at the end of a highly successful occasion when the official
opening was undertaken in some style.
Development of the Final Stage of the Corwen Extension
In providing guests with a view of the site for the further extension,
project leader, Richard Dixon-Gough, pointed to the problem presented
by the dip in the trackbed and the need to provide Welsh Water with an
alternative access to the Corwen Sewerage Works. The project team now
plans to construct a permanent island platform with a run round loop,
to enable the Llangollen Railway to run steam locomotives into the
centre of Corwen town. In providing a permanent terminal station the
project will need to install the track layout, including
points/switches, sleepers, ballast, and signalling, with a signalbox,
plus subway access from the platform to the town’s main car park.
The intention to complete the railway extension project in accordance
with the Transport & Works Order to Green Lane, Corwen is confirmed
by the installation of a buffer stop at the far end of the site and the
collection of material resources as are now visible. This further
development is essential for Llangollen Railway to have the facilities
to ensure continued operation of locomotive hauled trains into Corwen
town, and the spin-off from these will benefit businesses in Corwen and
improve the visitor experience.
All this is subject to detailed planning, permissions and the
acquisition of resources, material, manpower and financial is
essential. For a volunteer-led project the outlay will be modest
compared with such work as undertaken on mainline railway construction
sites and is estimated to come in at less than one million pounds.
However the need for financial assistance will be obvious in terms of
grant aid and donations, in much the same way as the work on the newly
opened extension has been achieved. Further details about the
formalised plans and fund raising will be announced shortly.
Return to Mouldsworth (1959-61) - pictures by Norman Jones
Captions by Anthony Robinson
Stanier 2-6-4T 42430 heads away from Mouldsworth with an all
stations Manchester Central - Chester Northgate train: note the
ex-LNWR suburban brake composite with its distinctive guard's
windows next to the engine.
Stanier 2-6-4T 42459 starts away from the eastern end of
Mouldsworth platform with a Manchester Central train, note the gable
end of the (still extant) excellent local hostelry, The Goshawk to the left of
Stanier 8F 2-8-0 48406 backs slowly off the Helsby branch
junction before proceeding tender first to Northwich. This loco would
have worked a freight to Helsby West Cheshire Junction, perhaps the
only place in the North West where locos of the ex-LMS, GWR & LNER
- not forgetting BR standards - could once be seen together on a
daily basis sharing the same tracks.
Stanier 8F 2-8-0 48340, coupled to 0-6-0 J39 64717, running light back
down the main line having just come off the Helsby branch. Both of
Northwich (8E) shed.
BR Standard Class 2MT 2-6-0 78031 approaches the Junction home
signal with an train from Chester Northgate made up of the
typical customary rake of five suburbans.
After 1959 the diesels arrived: here we see a pilotman instructing the
driver of a Chester Northgate -bound Class 108 'Derby' Diesel Multiple
Unit on temporary single line working up ahead. In these circumstances
the appointed pilotman, usually a relief signalman, must wear the
regulation red armband and either travel with the driver, or authorise
him to proceed, once another train has cleared the single-line section.
The permanent singling of the line between here and Mickle
Trafford Junction did not take place until some years later when the
Northgate station was closed in 1969. Mickle Trafford junction was then
re-arranged for these trains to reach Chester General station.
Scenes by Stavros Lainas
The return empty log train from Chirk to Baglan Bay on 27 February,
with double-headed 56 105 and 56 078 at Gobowen.
66 106 passing Bayston Hill with the Dee Marsh Margam
steel train, 2 March.
97 302 pilots a tamper near Hadnall, 2 March. The machine
is headed for Machynlleth for track maintenance on the Cambrian lines,
so can only travel west of Shrewsbury if accompanies by a Class 97/2
loco fitted with the necessary ERTMS signalling equipment.
Past Times with John Hobbs - Steam in early 1965
We have seen previously how the Euston to Holyhead and Llandudno trains
were running with steam traction in early 1965; with the introduction
of English Electric Type 4's (Class 40 in later terminology) on the
North Wales Coast, the utilisation of these locomotives was improved
above that which was achieved with steam traction. For example, the
locomotive off the 9.20 Crewe to Holyhead returned with the 14.45
Holyhead to Crewe and the loco off the down 'Welshman' (the 11.20am
Euston to Holyhead) returned on the "Mail Bach" (the 7.40pm Holyhead to
It was almost unheard of in the late fifties for a steam
locomotive to do a return Crewe-Holyhead trip in under 12 hours.
However when steam was substituted on to diesel turns it became common
for the steam locomotive to return on the diesel diagram; one supposes
that there were fewer suitable locomotives for the these Class 7 &
8 turns than formerly, as the steam fleet was run down at Crewe and
Above: Britannia Class 4-6-2 70053 Moray Firth,
once a 'rare bird' in North Wales but allocated to Holyhead at this
time, is in charge of the 12.10 Crewe to Holyhead on a rather murky 16
January 1965. This was one of the first turns in North Wales to go over
to EE type 4 haulage, initially for crew training, in 1959.
9F 2-10-0's were always a bit rare in North Wales: this one crept up on
me and I nearly missed it! When Birkenhead depot acquired them they
became more frequent although still unusual; here 92050 heads
through Prestatyn on 7 February 1965 with the 9.00am Sundays Only meat
train from Holyhead to London (Broad Street) station, which was near
Smithfield Market. The train consist is 'conflat' wagons loaded with
refrigerated containers; such trains converged on Broad Street's goods
depot from all corners of Britain, with fish for Billingsgate as well
as meat for Smithfield. The depot was on two levels, linked by wagon
The 8.45pm Sunday Crewe to Holyhead stands in Prestatyn with the Sunday
equivalent of the weekdays down 'Emerald Isle Express', but it stopped
on a Sunday. The Pilotman gives instructions to the driver during
single line working between Prestatyn and Rhyl due to an earlier
derailment in Rhyl. This train was another which remained steam,
although undiscovered my me for a while. The previous autumn this train
had regularly produced Class 7 4-6-0's and their distinctive beat could
be heard echoing over the town, at a time when they were becoming rare;
this is 4 April 1965.
Finally, another of Ian Wright's superb studied of Barmouth
Bridge and the Mawddach.
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