Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

March 2015

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.      

13-15 March: Llangollen Railway 'Steel Steam and Stars' gala.

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

Wednesday 18 March Talking Trakz Cllr Phillip Evans. "Railway Reflections and other musings".  Maelgwyn pub in Osborne Terrace, Llandudno Junction, 19:30. Free admission.

Wednesday 25 March: Talking Trakz Cllr Terry James. "Social History of Llandudno Junction" Maelgwyn pub in Osborne Terrace, Llandudno Junction, 19:30. Free admission.

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

Wednesday 1 April: Talking Trakz Larry Davies. "Llandudno Junction—A Railway Town"Maelgwyn pub in Osborne Terrace, Llandudno Junction, 19:30. Free admission.

Wednesday 8 April: Talking Trakz Anne Jones. "A fast moving night train experience" Maelgwyn pub in Osborne Terrace, Llandudno Junction, 19:30. Free admission.

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.    

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 Tours by West Coast. 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 Railway Society: Back to the ‘60s :Geoff Coward

Monday 13 April Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast The North York Moors & Heartbeat Explorer. To Whitby, 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 Kensington station)
From Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Crewe, Stafford and Lichfield TV to Windsor.

Wednesday 15 April: Talking Trakz Cllr Vicky Macdonald. "The men who crossed the Conwy" Maelgwyn pub in Osborne Terrace, Llandudno Junction, 19:30. Free admission.

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

Wednesday 20 May Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast 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.

June 2015

July 2015

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 Tours by West 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 Railway option).

August 2015

September 2015

Wednesday 9 September Excursion Compass Tours by West 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 Tours by West Coast  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.

October 2015

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 Betws-Y-Coed
Departs – From Hereford, Ledbury, Gt Malvern, Worcester FS, Droitwich, Barnt Green, Walsall & Wolverhampton.

150 262 departs Wrexham General on 4 March for the short journey to Wrexham Central where it will form the 13:30 departure to Bidston. Picture by Martin Evans.

For the Steel, Steam and Stars gala at Llangollen,  see our full report.

Note: From the second weekend of this event, 13-15 March, we plan to just one picture from each contributor. Sort out your best!

Northern Electrics

On Thursday 5 March, electric services were inaugurated on the historic Liverpool and Manchester line, running hourly between Manchester Airport and Liverpool Lime Street via Newton-le-Willows. Two of the three diagrams were worked by the newly-refurbished ex-Thameslink Class 319 units on the first day, the third being worked by a Class 156 diesel. Above, 319 363 calls at Manchester Oxford Road in the evening (Charlie Hulme). The livery scheme has been designed by the Best Impressions company, known for their work on buses.

Dave Sallery took a trip on 319 362 in the evening. Above: Manchester Airport.

Liverpool Lime Street. 20 of these units are destined to move north.

A Day in North Wales - pictures by Tim Rogers

Rush hour at Penyffordd on 4 March.  At 09:11 (above) 150 262 calls, working train 2J73 08:31 Bidston to Wrexham Central. All passenger trains on the 'Borderlands Line' are entrusted to Class 150 units.

A few minutes later, 66 126 appears with 6M18, the 18:08 (previous day) from New Cumnock bringing Scottish coal for the furnaces of Penyffordd cement works.

Another view of the coal train, which reaches Penyffordd via Chester and a reversal at Croes Newydd south of Wrexham, where the locomotive will have run round the train.  Later in the day, the loco will take the empty wagons north to Dee Marsh Junction where it will run round, and return through Penyfford to Croes Newydd where it reverses again before heading via Chester to Belmont Yard in Doncaster. The train runs when required: the nominal departure time for the 'empties' is 16:56, but on this day it actually departed at 15:32, only to wait at Dee Marsh for its scheduled time from there of 18:20.

At 09:30, 66 050 passed in the southbound direction with 6V75, 09:30 Dee Marsh Reception Sidings to Margam train of steel carriers, running 20 minutes early. This train reaches South Wales via Shrewsbury and Hereford.

A change of scene to the Queens Road bridge at Llandudno Junction to see 1H89, 13:01 Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly, depart 'on time' at 13:48. As usual for this train, the Driving Van Trailer - 82306 on this occasion - is at the front...

... and 67 001 propelling from the rear. The junction for the Conwy Valley line can be seen on the right of the picture.

Across the 'cob' to Conwy, and the well-known hillside viewpoint, as 158 841 emerges from Robert Stephenson's tubular bridge at 14:15, working 1D13 11:09 Birmingham International to Holyhead. All Birmingham trains are Class 158s, as this service is inter-worked with that of the Cambrian lines which require the 158s' ERTMS signalling equipment. This will be one of the two units of the combined train from Aberystwyth and Barmouth which arrived at Birmingham International at 10:49.

The view from Conwy station at 14:40 as Virgin train 1A38, 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston emerges from the tunnel, formed of  221 107 Sir Martin Frobisher & 221 118. The signal, LJ68, makes the end of [bi-directional working on the 'down' line. It shows a permanent red light to any train which has departed from Llandudno Junction station on that line.

6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS) passes Conwy 55 minutes early at 14:55 hauled by 20 305 and 20 308.

A final re-location to Abergele & Pensarn station at 15:30 to see North Wales coast 'workhorse' 175 007 calling with 1H91, 15:08 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly. The overgrown area to the right seems to suggest that there was an island platform in the days when there were four tracks along this section, but this facility was never provided. Only trains on the 'slow' lines stopped here. Behind the building on the left was a siding which was occupied for many summers by a rake of 'camping coaches.'


66 602 passing Wrenbury at 16:36 on 8 March with the Sundays-only Tunstead to Westbury cement train. Picture by Stavros Lainas.

Manchester Victoria Metrolink station is open again, although still with the air of a construction site. The view from the bridge leading to the Arena on 26 February shows a tram heading towards the City Centre across a rather curious track layout which incorporates the junction to the new 'second city crossing' line which turns right here to run along Corporation Street.

A modern 'scene from the past' - Peter Chapman sends this view of the Anglesey Aluminium plant on 19 July 2008, with 60 031 ready to leave with the weekly train of aluminium ingots destined for Austria.

Old-timer 31 233 stabled at Bangor with a Network Rail train, 4 March (Peter Basterfield).

The westbound flask train passes Bangor on 4 March, now in daylight as the year wears on. Locos 20 305 and 20 308 (Peter Basterfield).

67 012 A Shropshire Lad heads westbound into the setting sun at 17:05 on 4 March with the Holyhead-bound Network Rail train from Derby. 67 027 was on the rear.  Picture by Roly High. In total seven locomotives, of three different classes, appeared on the Coast line that day.

'Russell' to join Talyllyn Party

After the announcement that the Ffestiniog Railway locomotive, Prince, will be a special guest at the Talyllyn Railway’s 150th Party celebrations in July, the railway has now announced that a second guest locomotive will be present. This will be the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway’s locomotive Russell, pictured above after its recent overhaul (D.J.Mitchell, courtesy Talyllyn Railway)

According to the railway's press release, the visit is especially significant as it has a place in Talyllyn history. It was built by Hunslet for the Portmadoc, Beddgelert & South Snowdon Railway Company in 1906, which became part of the Welsh Highland Railway in 1922. In 1942 it was requisitioned and worked at an opencast ironstone site in Oxfordshire. After the war it was sold to the Norden Clay Mines at Corfe, Dorset, but was laid up out of service in 1953.

The Birmingham Locomotive Society then purchased it for £70 and transferred it to the Talyllyn railway at Tywyn. It remained a static exhibit at Wharf station until April 1965 when it was moved to Kinnerley. After a number of further moves it finally came back to Porthmadog and the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in 1970. ‘Russell’ will be returning to Tywyn Wharf fifty years after it left.

During the 150th Party gala, which will be held between Friday 3 and Sunday 5 July 2015, two temporary lengths of track will be laid at Tywyn Wharf to allow both locomotives to be in steam together. [The normal Talyllyn track is 2'3" gauge, slightly wider than that of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland lines.] This will also enable them to be photographed with the Talyllyn’s own No.1 Talyllyn and No.2 Dolgoch, as well other Talyllyn locomotives, thus forming a unique line-up of narrow-gauge locomotive history. Throughout the gala there will be various photo-opportunities at Wharf along with other attractions, including the annual Garden Railway Weekend.

This picture from the Harold Bowtell archive shows Russell on display at Towyn Wharf in September 1972; the cab and boiler fittings had been cut down to fit the Ffestiniog Railway's structure gauge, and have since been returned to their original shape.

Here are some Talyllyn special dates for the summer. See for details.

2-4 May     The Quarryman Experience
3-5 July         The 150th Party
7-9 August        The 1865 – 2015 Gala
29 to 31 August      The Heart of Gold Weekend
25 to 27 September        The Heritage Weekend 

Class 37/4s on tour - report by Charlie Hulme

The Class 37/4 diesels inspired the creation of this site, and although it is now 15 years since they were regulars on North Wales passenger services, the activities of the surviving members of the class still arouse our interest. Saturday 7 March offered the chance to see two consecutively-numbered locos in action in the same area, but rather different circumstances.

The 'Lancs Links' railtour run by Pathfinder tours had a complex itinerary around North West England aimed at the connoisseur of rare track, and the train was formed of Riviera Trains coaches top-and-tailed by 37 419 Carl Haviland and 37 604. Among the delights on offer was a visit to the Dean Lane Refuse Transfer Station, now reached by a single-track Network Rail line parallel to what is now the Manchester - Oldham section of Manchester Metrolink - the two tracks previously formed  part of the double-track 'Oldham Loop' line.  Newton Heath and Moston station on Metrolink (which has replaced the former Dean Lane station) promised to be a good photo location, the main problem being the chance of a passing tram blocking the view ... which very nearly happened, as the picture above reveals as 37 419 leads the train up to the signal protecting entry to the terminal, as tram 3082 runs into the station.

Coach W4991 shows signs of a recent overhaul. Readers may remember that in the 1990s one of these Riviera vehicles could sometimes be found in summer 37/4-hauled services in North Wales.

Ten minutes were allowed for the train to visit the facility, but the signal remained red yellow gates across the line on the other side of the bridge remained closed; it transpired that nobody had arrived to open them. After waiting somewhat longer that ten minutes ...

...  the train reversed and 37 604, which I never actually got so see, hauled the train away to further adventures. We understand there were some further disappointments later in the day. The Class 142 unit in the distance is in Newton Heath depot, Northern Rail's main depot for the North West.

Next, I took a tram ride to Bury, where a 'Diesel Gala' was under way on the East Lancashire Railway, and we were promised an appearance by 37 418, once a North Wales regular when carrying the name East Lancashire Railway,  which was preserved and allocated to the ELR, only to suffer a major engine failure in 2010: it was necessary ton obtain and install a replacement engine.

Arriving a little early for 418's train, I took a ride as far as Ramsbottom behind Class 40 345 (30 145), which also carried the name East Lancashire Railway for a while.

From Ramsbottom to Rawtenstall, and back to Bury I travelled behind 37 418, seen awaiting departure at Rawtenstall. I was pleased to see that neither double-heading nor topping-and-tailing were resorted to on this trip, so I was able to enjoy watching the loco run-round at the terminus, a favourite sight of mine thanks to years of branch-line modelling. The loco has been repainted in the original livery of the 37/4 type as applied on rebuilding in 1985-6 ...

... but there has not been time to apply any numbers or logos; let's hope they use the correct typeface. Hopefully in the future we might see Regional Railways livery. At Bury, 418 posed alongside its older cousin, 37 109.

Amusingly, it seems from posts on the WNXX forum that there is a First Manchester double-deck bus numbered 37418, operating from Bury depot.

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