30 March 2015
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Wednesday 1 April: Talking
Trakz Larry Davies. "Llandudno Junction—A Railway Town"Maelgwyn pub
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
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.
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
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.
Welsh Highland Railway Garratt 87 is in charge of the 10:45
from Porthmadog, south of Rhyd Ddu, on 25 March. Picture by Alan
The Road to Wembley - report by Eddie Knorn
Wrexham FC supporters had the option of a special train from Wrexham
General to Wembley on 29 March for their ultimately abortive attempt to
win the FA Trophy Final for a second time. The train was formed of the
'Gerald' set but with an additional standard class vehicle. The full
formation list for 'CF01' set was: 67 002 - 12176 - 12181 -
12178 - 12177 - 10249 - 82307. Booked to depart from Wrexham at 08.15,
the train had built up a fair speed to pass Ruabon at 08.22.
Following ultimate defeat in the 'sudden death' penalty competition,
Wrexham's supporters (at least some of them) had the prospect of a
comfortable ride back home. The next day, Wrexham FC's manager faced an
Chester coincidence - report by Bob Greenhalgh
Chester on 25 March, and 67 001 arrives with at 11:08 with the
09:50 Manchester - Holyhead.
A few minutes later, 68 001 Evolution appears on the
scene, engaged on a Crewe - Chester crew training run.
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland scenes
Martin Evans travelled on the Welsh Highland Railway from
Porthmadog to Caernarfon and return on 25 March, which turned out to be
an excellent day weather-wise. Above: Ffestiniog Railway Double Fairlie
Merddyn Emrys departs Porthmadog for Blaenau Ffestiniog
with the 10:10 service from Porthmadog.
At the same time, Belgian-built Garratt loco 87 was running
around its train to form the 10:45 service to Caernarfon (Martin
87 is seen preparing to run around at its destination of Caernarfon and
will depart at 14:15 returning to Porthmadog (Martin Evans).
Garratt 138 brings the 10:00 from Caernarfon away from Rhyd Ddu on 25
March (Alan Crawshaw).
Beyer-Garratt loco 138 (built in Manchester in 1958) was passed
at Rhyd Ddu, waiting to depart for Caernarfon (Martin Evans).
On 28 March, the 14:15 from Caernarfon behind Garratt 87 was
photographed by Peter Basterfield at Aberglaslyn.
Dave Sallery encountered the Ffestiniog Railway's works
train at Minffordd on 29 March, with diesel loco Harlech Castle,
0-6-0 diesel-hydraulic built in 1983 to an order from
the Mozambique Sugar Institute which was cancelled before the loco
could be delivered.
The train was returning from a work site near Tan-y-Grisiau (Dave
Dave Sallery's Cambrian
Cruise website has now been updated for the 2015 season,
and tells you all you need to know to make the circular journey round
North and Mid Wales using the economically-priced Ffestiniog Round
Robin ticket. This day ticket is ticket available for travel from
stations between Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Crewe, Chester,
Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog in an anti-clockwise
direction or Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Crewe, Chester,
Shrewsbury, Machynlleth and Porthmadog in a clockwise direction, plus a
single journey on the Ffestiniog Railway, and onward
travel back to the station of origin.
Welsh Highland Railway Society Group news - by John Wood
The North Wales Group of the Welsh Highland Railway Society meets at
19:30 on the second Wednesday of each month at the Mountain Rangers
club, Cae Gors, Rhosgadfan, Caernarfon LL54 7ET.
On 8 April, Graham Nicholas of the P2 Locomotive Company will be giving
an illustrated talk on the work done so far in re-creating one of Sir
Nigel Gresley's 2-8-2 locos. All are welcome: there is plenty of
parking space at the club,, and there are beers, real ale and lagers
available at reasonable prices.
There is a raffle, and sandwiches are available. Do come along find out
what we do, how to join and be a volunteer - and who knows, you might
end up driving a Garratt through the Aberglaslyn Pass or, even
more important than that, making tea for the 'Black Hand Gang'. We look
forward to seeing new faces at the P2 show.
The Flask Chronicles
There's a tendency for the operators of loco-hauled passenger and
freight trains find a loco that works well and use it on the same
service every time until it needs maintenance. The good folks at DRS
however, have other ideas: the Crewe - Valley (and return) 'as
required' flask train can be expected to produce not just different
locos, but often of a different class than the previous run. Class 66
locos are perhaps the least common type seen on this service, but on 25
March 66 432 and 66 301 presented themselves to Peter
near Penmaenmawr on the early morning run from Crewe.
The return run, 6K41, passing Pringles' store on the approach to
Llanfair PG, or to give it it's 'full name',
transcribed for us by Tim Rogers who took the picture.
Penmaenmawr (Peter Basterfield). 66 301 is one of the five Class
66s acquired new in 2008 by Fastline, a company created by a
successful management buyout of Eastern Track Renewals from British
Rail in 1996., and later sold to Jarvis PLC who used the name for a new
freight operation. By 2011, Jarvis and Fastline Freight had ceased
trading, and DRS took over the five 66s.
Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).
Friday 27 March, and a pair of ex-Freightliner Class 57/0 locos
appeared, 57 002 and 57 004, photographed by Peter
Basterfield passing the site of
Brundetts siding. Llanfairfechan at 07:10.
Above: at Valley transfer sidings on 27, The DRS Trainman checks the
tail-lamp and brakes on the solitary 'FNA' flask wagon, prior to the
train being propelled to the point where the train waits, just
short of where the public footpath (from where this picture was taken
by Jim Johnson) crosses the triangle entry/exit line.
57 002 and 57 004 awaiting permission to exit the triangle, which would
be after the 13:58 double-Voyager to Euston (1A48) and the 09:21
Cardiff-Holyhead Class 175 (1W92) had passed and were at their
respective safe distances. Picture by John Wood.
There were signalling/crossing barrier problems at Valley on this day.
Above, Network Rail (S&T) Signal & Telegraph investigate the
The signalman was having to leave his box every time the crossing
barriers needed to be raised or lowered, to use the emergency control
located by the down-side barrier. The down home colour light signal
remained at danger, with trains stopping there, and then being given
permission to proceed past the red aspect. The up home semaphore
starter was unaffected, but the semaphore ground signal protecting the
exit from the triangle remained at danger when flask train 6K41 was
ready to propel onto the main line, and, again, the driver was granted
permission to pass at danger.
The Valley signalman instructs his S&T colleague to lower the
crossing barriers, using the emergency switch, for 6K41 to exit the
triangle (Jim Johnson).
This signalbox was created a Grade II 'listed building' in January
1998, and the grounds that it 'forms a group with the station
buildings', although the windows are clearly not in their original.
London and North Western Railway style. In our 4 June 2012 issue we
discussed whether the windows should therefore be replaced by LNWR
look-alikes. This has not happened, on the ground that the original
windows had already been replaced in a refurbishment before 1998,
although it seems that our appeal for a 1997 picture had any result.
Today, the place looks rather shabby: presumably it will be redundant,
along with all the other 'boxes on this line, in a few years' time.
What happens to the listed buildings then?
The driver and trainman keep a sharp lookout as the locos propel the
train past the ground signal at danger, onto the main line. Picture by John
Propelling across the level-crossing, into the station. Picture taken
from the platform by Jim Johnson. Despite the problems, delays
to services were minimal, and train 6K41 departed at 14:19, 43 minutes
ahead of its 'booked' time.
The return train descending the 1 in 105 gradient from the tubular
bridge into Llandudno Junction, with Conwy Castle as a classic backdrop
57 002 leads through Mostyn (Tim Rogers).
News from Ty Mawr Publications - by Steve Morris
Class 40 Country: Wales is the
first book produced by Ty Mawr Publications on behalf of The Class
Forty Preservation Society (CFPS). The aim of this project is to raise
funds for the continued upkeep of CFPS owned 40 135 and 40 145 with
100% of the sales income being used for this purpose. This is the
fourth book to be produced by the CFPS and follows on from the three
previous ones released a few years ago to celebrate 50 years of class
The first of this series covers an area that in many parts was a
stronghold for the class throughout their period of regular use from
the early 1960’s through to the mid 1980’s, Wales! Other areas I hope
to cover in future years are Scotland, the London Midland and Eastern
Regions. This will provide an opportunity for the modern traction
enthusiast to put together a comprehensive record of the routine and
more unusual workings covered by this popular class of locomotive
throughout the country.
240 x 170mm in size, the book comprises 96 pages and contains 147
colour and 32 black and white images covering the period from 1959
through to the present day. The vast majority of the material used has
never been published before, some of the images were taken by
railwaymen during the course of their work in locations not accessible
to the general public. All areas of
Wales are included with large sections covering areas not frequently
photographed such as Deeside. There is also a comprehensive record of
class 40 operation in South Wales, an area not usually associated with
Priced at £14.95 plus £2.55 p&p, this publication is available from
the CFPS by going to their website, www.cfps.co.uk
and going to the "sales" section or visiting the CFPS sales stand at
major events. The print run is limited so please get your orders in
Past Times with John Hobbs - Renaissance of the Club Train
22 March 1965 brought steam back to the 'Club Trains' the 7.40am
Llandudno to Manchester and the 4.30pm SX and 5.35pm SO Manchester
(Exchange) to Llandudno together with short workings of the stock
on shuttles between Llandudno and Llandudno Junction before and after.
It seems those who paid for First Class season tickets from various
North Wales stations to Manchester were not at all impressed with the
First Class facilities provided by the BRCW DMUs (later Class 104) and
must have prevailed on the management to reintroduce steam-hauled
trains with their more comfortable coaches. The luggage racks of the
DMUs were prone to rattle, and if anything the seats in the centre
trailer car, in the three car set, provided the best and quietest
ride. Above: On the first day of the 'Return to steam', 22 March
1965, LMS Class 5
4-6-0 45285 leaves Prestatyn with the morning 'Club' to
Editor's note: By this time the service was not a
true 'club train' of the kind seen in earlier years where special
carriages were provided for members of an actual 'club', but the term
survived for many years in staff and enthusiast parlance to refer to
loco-hauled peak hour trains, such as the diesel-hauled trains of the
1990s to and from Blackpool and Southport as well as North Wales. The
current 16:50 from Manchester - Llandudno is perhaps deserving of the
although the powers-that-be have seen fit to start the morning
equivalent at Chester instead of Llandudno, to the annoyance of North
Pulling away from Prestatyn. The loco had been cleaned up for the
occasion, and I found
out recently that a young Larry Davies - now Community Rail
Officer for the Conwy Valley line - was responsible for this initiative.
29 March 1965 , and 45285 (again) leaves Prestatyn on the 4.30pm
Manchester (Exchange) to Llandudno on 29 March 1965 and runs into
the sunset, in the going away shot, the first vehicle is an LMS
Brake-second complete with roof boards proclaiming 'Manchester to
Departure. Now there were three steam trains on the Coast and the short
on the Llandudno branch, plus the 'Londons' but time was running out
steam. The steam 'club train' was to last until the end of December
1966. By this time the number of First Class season ticket holders to
Manchester was much reduced and times were changing as financial
markets moved into modern working practices. Managers were expected to
be at their desks before 10.30am and after 4pm ... Lunch from noon
until 2pm as well!
Saltney Junction layout
Our comments about single-lead junctions in the last
issue prompted a reply from Dave Plimmer, owner of the
superb North Wales-themed 2d53.co.uk
website to kindly forward a copy of the signalling plan from the
time of the 1984 re-signalling scheme, when the junction was controlled
from the new Chester Power Signal Box; we reproduce a small extract
above. A fuller
version is on the 2D53.co.uk site.
Dave writes: 'Although BR did seem to have a preference for single lead
junctions in the 70s and 80s (and according to the full diagram, the
design of the Chester remodelling was done in 1977), Saltney Junction
got pretty much the layout it's going to get again now. Points 717a and
717b are the crossover and 718 is the link from the down Holyhead to
the down Wrexham (those 'downs' are in opposite directions of course!).
As I understand it, when the Wrexham line was singled
the only change at Saltney was the removal of points 716. Points 718
were then used for both directions.'
Report from the Duke of Lancaster
It was February 2013
that we last reported on the efforts of the Duke Of Lancaster Appreciation
Society (DOLAS) to save, and bring back to use for public events
the former British Railways ferry Duke of Lancaster which is rusting
away, in view from the North Wales line at Llannerch-y-Mor near
Mostyn. It was used as a public venue 'The Funship' for some years
An article in the Daily Post
at that time described how Flintshire Council had rejected claims it
the Duke of Lancaster, the
old British Railways ferry that travellers see from the Coast line
trains, from being brought back into use because of a weight
restriction on the railway bridge at Glan-y-Don, pictured below, which
would be needed as access for emergency vehicles.
The bridge was not an original structure of the North Wales line, and
although now giving access to a water treatment plant, for many years
it led only to the reclaimed land to the seaward side of the line.
Perhaps vehicles carrying colliery waste passed this way at some time.
Ashley Gardner of DOLAS now writes tells us that the
Office of Rail Regulation has confirmed the bridge can carry vehicles
of up to 40 tons; however, the Fire Service now say they will not cross
the bridge because '10 tons' signs are displayed. So far, Network
Rail are not willing to co-operate in amending the signage. Clearly
DOLAS have more work to do.
67 001 at Abergele on 25 March with the 09:50 Manchester -
Holyhead (Stavros Lainas).
With a splendid mountain backdrop, the same train passes RAF Valley (Tim
Tim Rogers re-located to Llanfair PG for this fine cloud
study as 67 001 propels from the rear of the 13:01 Holyhead -
221 109 Marco Polo & 221 107 Sir
Martin Frobisher near Mostyn on 27 March, working train 1A48, 13:58
Holyhead to London Euston (Tim Rogers).
Tamping machine DR79395 stabled the engineers' siding at Rhyl on 28
March, having travelled from Rugby the day before, in advance of
weekend re-laying work in the Llandudno Junction area.
Green Lane Crossing, south of Saltney Junction on the line to Wrexham,
on 27 March (Bob Greenhalgh). The re-opening of this crossing,
after work related to the doubling of the track, has been put back
again to 2 April. One of the workers told Bob that a large sink hole
had been discovered next to the trackbed. which had taken 40 tones of
ballast to fill. Hence part of the reason for the much delayed opening.
'Jubilee' class 4-6-0 45690 Leander on 28 March passing
Acton Bridge on a Bishop Auckland to Shrewsbury special. Picture by Bob
Greenhalgh, who writes: 'Sounded great as she passed us running about
10 minutes early, I'm guessing at about 70 / 75 mph'.
66 849 has worked 6J37, Carlisle-Chirk logs, for several
months, seen here on Wednesday 25 March leaving Rise Hill Tunnel on the
approach to Dent, Settle-Carlisle Line (Ian Pilkington).
The view from the beach near Fairbourne on the evening of 27 March, as
a Class 158 climbs towards Friog Rocks with the 15:37 Pwllheli -
Machynlleth (Ian Wright). We'd be happy to receive more Cambrian
Coast line pictures.
The view from the road of Warrington Arpley's DB Schenker facility on
25 March, with 'sheds' 66 078 and 66 170 present (Les
Class 68s can now be sampled in passenger service on the Chiltern
line.On 25 March, Richard Putley photographed 68 012 at
London Marylebone with the 17:50 Marylebone - Banbury, which has been
class 68-hauled since January. The Wrexham & Shropshire colour
scheme lives on to another generation...
History at Hamilton Square
This picture by Richard Neale shows part of a mural at
Hamilton Square station, which re-opened on 26 March after a
four-million pound refurbishment scheme which lasted six months. While
work on the platform and underground areas of Hamilton Square station
has been completed, there is still work to finish in the concourse
areas and entrance to the station. This will take place overnight,
without disruption to passengers, and be completed by the summer.
text explains that the posters were found underneath platform walls
dating from the station's last upgrade, and date from the 1940s to the
1960s. They were to fragile to remove, so images of them taken by local
historians have been incorporated in the décor of the new station. The
'Flypaper' poster advertised a historical series in the Liverpool Echo
newspaper; the murderess in question was Florence Maybrick
who in 1889 was imprisoned for poisoning her husband.
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