Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

06 July 2015

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.

July 2015

Sunday 19 July Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool - Holyhead and return

Tuesday 21 July Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

August 2015

Sunday 2 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool - Holyhead and return

Tuesday 4 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Sunday 16 August Stockport Railshow, Stockport station.

Sunday 16 August Excursion West Coast Railways Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Frodsham, Warrington, Preston, Lancaster & Oxenholme to Edinburgh.

Tuesday 25 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

28-30 August. Bala Lake Railway: 'Winifred' gala.

September 2015

Wednesday 9 September Excursion West Coast Railways   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  Excursion West Coast Railways The Conway Valley Explorer Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Scarborough to Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog. From Scarborough, Seamer, Malton, York, Wakefield, Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden & Rochdale.

Monday 21 September RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. LNER an appreciation by John Feild. Local member and keen follower of anything LNER John takes a look back at locomotives of that company and of its predecessors including some of them at Chester Northgate station

Friday 25 September. Great Western Society NW Branch. P. Spilsbury. Steam Miscellaneous.

October 2015

Saturday 10 October  Excursion West Coast Railways  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.

Monday 19 October  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.  Aspects of the Chester & Birkenhead Line by John Ryan To mark the 175th Anniversary of Railways across Cheshire former BR Civil Engineer and local rail historian John looks at the more recent rail aspects of this line

Friday 30 October. Great Western Society NW Branch. Mike Kenwright. Cutting of the Manchester Ship Canal.

November 2015

Monday 16 November  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. LNER, an appreciation by John Feild. Northern Delights by Steve Batty
Steve our RO Branch News Editor and railway author from Selby reviews modern traction in Northern England 2002  2009.

Friday 27 November. Great Western Society NW Branch. John Hobbs. A Black & White presentation, North Wales Circular  1963  - 66  (Steam)

December 2015

Monday 21 December  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.   Arriva Trains Wales. Last 10 years going forward with Ben Davies. This is an opportunity to hear about more about one of our local Train Operating Companies from one of its locally based officers.

January 2016

Monday 18 January  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.    BRANCH A.G.M  followed by Back to The 60s with Geoff Coward. Geoff highlights photographs in various locations of the last few years of steam (1964-1968), including early diesels, mostly in the North West of England.

February 2016

Monday 15 February   RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.  "American Wanderings - Heading East" by Gordon Davies. Gordonm our RCTS National Chairman gives a digital presentation showing the American railroad scene in the eastern states depicting diesel locomotives working passenger and freight trains as well as electric locomotives, light rail and preserved steam in operation on preservation lines.

March 2016

Monday 21 March   RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.  "20 Years Of The Privatised Railway - What Does The Future Hold?" by Bob Casselden. Bob, a retired former B.R. manager looks at the changes to Britain's privatised railway over the last twenty years and reflects on what the future might bring.

April 2016

Monday 18 April  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.  One Mans Rubbish is Anothers Treasure by Russell Hatt. Russell presents a selection of historic railway photographs that whilst too poor for publication are of interest to the railway historian.

May 2016

June 2016

35028 Clan Line at Three Locks, north of Leighton Buzzard, with the 'Clan Line Farewell' charter on 30 June. Picture by Roger Carvell.

Lincoln to Blaenau

Friday 3 June saw a West Coast Railways excursion, 1Z35 05:42 from Lincoln Central, made its way up the Conwy Valley, top-and-tailed by 47 832 and 47 237. Above, 47 832 recovers from a signal check at Rhyl in the morning (Roly High).

West of Rhyl (Tim Rogers).

47 237 passes Tal-y-Cafn with its platform 'hump'. Picture by Dave Sallery.

The loop at North Llanrwst at 12:23, with the excursion meeting 150 242 on the 11:46 Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llandudno service (Dave Sallery). Most excursions visiting this line run at this time because of the need to use the only passing loop between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau.

47 832 in view as the train waits in the siding at Blaenau; after arrival at 13:10, the train must shunt to the siding to free the platform for the service train which stands there from 14:32 to 14:57, returning to the platform for its 16:10 return to Lincoln, arr. 23:10 (Dave Sallery).

47 832 has brought the train back to Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).

47 237 hauls the return train past the station site at Bagillt (Tim Rogers). A second trip, originally advertised for Saturday 4 July, did not run.

West Shore Railway news - by Keith Jones

Saturday 27 June was a red letter day for the West Shore Miniature Railway in Llandudno as we
had the opening of stage two of the new line.  Above, the vice-chairman drives the new loco paid
for by Llandudno Council. The passengers are  'Alice' and lots of brass: the Mayors of
Llandudno and Aberconwy.

The running-in board coming in handy.

The steam for the day was 'Manor' 7800 just about to go into the top cutting. This is one of my
 locos, driven by myself. 

The railway offers free train rides until end of October on Saturdays and Bank Holiday Weekend
from Midday to 4pm (Weather Permitting). More information at

Clan Line to Chester

35028 Clan Line passing Slindon, south of Crewe, with the London Victoria to Chester charter
on 30 June (Stavros Lainas).

Hargrave, between Crewe and Chester (Tim Rogers). The sparkling condition of the loco belies the fact that this is the 'Clan Line Farewell' - the last duty before the it was taken out of traffic for an overhaul.

Arrival at Chester (Derek French). This a rare excursion for 35028, which has usually been used on Venice Simplon Orient Express 'British Pullman' excursions in the south of England.

The 30 'Merchant Navy' class locos  were all named for shipping lines, and carried special nameplates including the appropriate flag. Designed by Oliver Bulleid for the Southern Railway, they originally had various innovative features and an 'air-smoothed' casing.  Remarkably, in the late 1950s, when diesel locomotives were already available, it was decided to rebuild them into a more conventional form, inspired by the British Railways standard classes. Picture by Derek French.

Heading out of Chester station; the whole train was turned on the triangle west of the station (Roly High). The steam emerging at the rear of the tender is from the coal-pusher which helps the fireman bring coal to the front of the coal space.

The evening return train, passes Hargrave (Ian Pilkington). The steam loco was detached at Crewe, where its overhaul will be carried out, and an electric loco took the train on to London Euston.

Arriva on mid-Cheshire line

An out-of-the-ordinary event on Tuesday 30 June was an non-stop empty-stock run from Chester to Manchester Piccadilly and back via Northwich by 175 003. Arriva Trains Wales units are not normally seen on this line at present; are some diversions planned? Picture near Baguley between Altrincham and Manchester by Greg Mape.

Ultrasonic testing

Jim Johnson photographed 37 604 on Ultrasonic Test Train 3Q83 at Bangor on Wednesday, 1 July. It had arrived in the early hours of Wednesday morning (04:35) from Derby Rail Technical Centre after working to Holyhead, and stayed parked up all day in the old Platform 4. Departure was at 21:33 Wednesday night. The consist is generator van 6261, Ultrasonic Test coach 62287, driving trailer 9702. The purpose of these tests is to detect any flaws in the rails. which could lead to breakages.

East Lancashire Diesels - report by David Hennessey

Over the weekend of Friday 3, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July 2015, the East Lancashire Railway held its annual Summer Diesel Gala, with visiting locomotives supporting the usual regular motive power in an intensive timetable. This year's guest list included four locos from the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, Bo'ness, and two from the Dean Forest Railway, as well as one from the US-owned operation Devon and Cornwall Railways. Above, D9531 Ernest is seen at at Bury Bolton Street, having arrived back from Rawtenstall.

On the day of my visit, Friday 3 July 2015, a selection of the line's resident diesels  was also to be found working a variety of services between Heywood, Bury Bolton Street and Rawtenstall. Resident 40 145 (in pre-TOPS condition as 345) heads south of Irwell Vale, with a service to Heywood.

I include some hand picked pictures taken during the day of my visit, in chronological order. Above, Immaculate-looking Scotrail-branded 37 025 Inverness TMD from the SRPS fleet at Irwell Vale, on a service to Rawtenstall.

Manchester-built 'Hymek' D7076 (looking smart in BR blue) rolls into Bury Bolton Street, with a service from Heywood.

Devon and Cornwall Railways 31 601 stands at Ramsbottom, having worked a non-stop shuttle run from Bury Bolton Street.

EWS-liveried 31 466 from the Dean Forest line heads south of Irwell Vale, with a service to Heywood. Another Dean Forest loco, electro-diesel 73 001, also took part in the Gala.

Resident 33 109 Captain Bill Smith and SRPS loco 26 038 Tom Clift pause at Irwell Vale, with a service to Rawtenstall.

Adorned with an 'S.R.P.S Diesel Group On Tour' headboard, Intercity/Scotrail-branded 47 643 stands at Bury Bolton Street, ready to work a service to Heywood.

20 020 (built in 1959) stands at Bury Bolton Street with a service to Rawtenstall.

Class 57 catch-up

Two Class 57-hauled trains in June never made it to this page due to the flood of contributions; let's remedy that now. On 18 June, the annual 'Three Peaks by Rail' charity even for rail staff started, as usual, with a train from London to Bangor. Roly High photographed the train passing Rhyl with 57 312 leading and 57 305 on the rear.  The participants walked up Snowdon and back down during the night before continuing to Cumbria for the ascent of Scafell Pike.

On 20 June, a 'Northern Belle' luxury excursion ran from Nottingham to Bangor, seen passing Abergele with 57 306 leading (Roly High).

 Chris Morrison captured the train at Llandudno Junction with 57 306 leading  ...

... and returning over Conwy Cob behind 57 310.

The return train near Abergele (Roly High).

The Todmorden Curve and Barrow - report by Stephen Hughes

With the reinstatement of the 'Todmorden Curve' allowing trains to run from Manchester Victoria (above) to Burnley via Todmorden and the Copy Pit route, and Northern Rail eventually finding sufficient stock to actually run trains on it from May 2015, I decided that I should take the opportunity to travel along the line; not because I was especially interested in 500 metres of new track, but because I spent four years living beside the line in Cornholme in the late 1970s, and, of course, was never able to make such a journey.

In those days, the only passenger trains I noticed were the occasional summer extra, the Copy Pit line having had regular passenger workings withdrawn in 1965 and only partially reinstated from the Leeds/Bradford direction at some point in the 1980s, after I had left the area.  I well remember my first night in my little terraced house in Cornholme during the hot summer of !976, lying in bed hearing a deep growl in the distance, becoming louder and louder, eventually so noisy that the class 40 coming up the bank seemed to be routed through my bedroom, the scenario repeated a few minutes later by the banker. I thought that I could never sleep through this, but it never disturbed me again!

Anyway, my plan on 24 June was to catch a direct Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly train at Llandudno Junction, walk to Manchester Victoria, pick up a Leeds-bound train from there, alight in Todmorden, spend a few hours mooching around and then return to the station to catch a Blackburn-bound train up the Copy Pit line.  Victoria is very much in the process of changing, as the heading picture of Platform one, with the Leeds train waiting shows. It had always seemed the poor relation to Piccadilly, but now this is being rectified.

Alighting in Todmorden, I found that the station presents itself very well these days. Although the original booking office has closed, a new one has been installed in the waiting room on Platform one, where there is also a small photographic exhibition outlining the local railway history. The service has also dramatically improved since the hourly service to Leeds/Manchester that I remember so well from the seventies. Nowadays, up to four trains an hour in each direction, with the 'true' Calder Valley line via Brighouse an alternative option to Leeds. This route was freight only in the 1970's.

Having had an enjoyable wander in Todmorden .... a bus to Cornholme, remarkably the same frequency and  minutes past the hour as I remember so well, a two mile walk back calling in to my old local ( for a pint of Timothy Taylors (it used to have Thwaites beers) and a quick look at a Lancashire CCC second-eleven game at Centre Vale cricket ground and then back to the station where, as I suspected, soon enough a 142 hove into view.

As it was by now mid-afternoon, It was, I suppose reasonably well-filled and almost immediately after leaving the station we squealed around the curve (opened in 1849 and closed in 1965). and joined the line to Copy Pit. Everything looked so different from the vantage point of the train, I was hoping to snatch a quick photo of my old house, but concerned that I wouldn't recognise it from the line. In the event I just managed it. It was an enjoyable ride, in the sense that I had not travelled this route before, but the 'Pacers' really are the worst form of passenger trains imaginable, in my opinion. After the summit, it bounced, screeched and fumed its way through the towns of east Lancashire - with so little remaining in this area of its rich railway history.

Soon we arrived at Blackburn, where 142 038, the poor thing, only had five minutes rest, allowing the conductor/guard just time enough to buy some crisps from the high-calorie snack machine conveniently sited on the platform, before it started its return journey.  My itinerary then led me to catch a Blackpool bound 158 to Preston, a Pendolino back down the WCML to Warrington Bank Quay and the 67-hauled 'club' train back to the Junction - alas the latter was substituted with a 175.  All trains on this day were on time.

I  had purchased a Freedom of the North West 4 in 8 rover ticket (valid from Shotton) as I intended to visit the Cumbrian Coast and then travel on the Abelio-Scotrail 'Border Reivers' rail tour with 'Tornado' later in the week. Excellent value at 47.50 with a railcard.

Two  photographs - taken on 26 June - show erstwhile North Wales Coast loco 37 402 Stephen Middlemore having brought in the 14:35 service from Carlisle (about 40 minutes late) into Barrow-in-Furness ...

... and 37 218 ready to lead the return.

The following day, 27 June, 60163 Tornado brings the SRPS stock for 'The Border Reivers' into Carlisle, prior to running round. Rather unusually, I thought, as this role seems to be normally reserved for a class 37 or 47.
Bury Nostalgia - by Charlie Hulme

On 4 July I took the tram to the Bury Diesel Gala with just one purpose in mind: the take a ride behind former North Wales Coast loco 37 418, seen above at Bury. Since my last visit no progress has been made in finishing off the paint job by adding numbers and logos.

418 was diagrammed for short workiings between Bury and Ramsbottom (above). Of course, it never carried this livery either in North Wales service or when named East Lancashire Railway. Perhaps one day the owners can be persuaded to re-create its Regional Railways appearance.

At Ramsbottom, the run-round move was carried out in the sidings north of the station; while waiting for the retun run,  73 001 and 80 028 passed with a Rawtenstall - Hewwood train. A fascinating view of three very different English Electric designs together.

418's four-coach train mas made up of Mk 2 carriages 5337, 5316, 14073 (Brake first) and 5279. All are of the Mk2a type as used in North Wales in the 90s, but none of these individuals were ever in the Coast fleet.

They do have the pleasant, uncluttered interiors of the Mk2a design, although with tables removed for their current use. Some lamented the lack of middle armrests in the seats, but such things do make it harder to get in and out of the window seat when a table is fitted. The look still is a modern one, after nearly 50 years.

They do, however, exhibit one of the less-welcome characteristics of the type: condensation inside the double-glazed window unit. I recall sitting next to one window which was nearly half-full of water.

Scottish visitor 37 025 certainly looked impressive, especially for a 55-year-old machine.

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