Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

17 August 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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.

August 2015

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

Friday 4 September Clwyd Railway Circle Geoff Morris: New Zealand Railways in 2011/12. A digital presentation of visits to New Zealand in 2011 & 2012 showcasing mainline steam charters in the North & South Islands, visits to preservation sites and a look at the rapidly-changing everyday scene.

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.

Thursday 10 September Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Larry Davies/Philip Evans: Llandudno Junction: a railway town

Saturday 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 14 September Wrexham Railway Society, No Meeting

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

Friday 2 October Clwyd Railway Circle Tony & Barbara Griffiths The Fate of the Irish Mail.  This is a presentation in pictures, music and film, telling the story of the Abergele rail disaster of 1868.

Thursday 8 October Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society W Gordon Davies:  American Wanderings:- heading East            

Saturday 10 October  Excursion West Coast Railways  The Conwy Valley Explorer Via the Scenic Conwy line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Hereford to Betws-Y-Coed Departs From Hereford, Ledbury, Gt Malvern, Worcester FS, Droitwich, Barnt Green, Walsall & Wolverhampton.

Monday 12 October Wrexham Railway Society, Diesels In The 1960's by Barry Shore, looking at those rarely photographed trains and engines in the
1960s, those other than steam including the numerous and mostly very unsuccessful types of the new motive power.

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

Friday 6 November Clwyd Railway Circle John Hobbs: A Black & White Circle of North Wales during 1963 - 66. A journey commencing in Chester and continuing to Holyhead before retracing our steps to Caernarvon, Afonwen, Morfa Mawddach, then a brief visit to Bala Junction before continuing through Dovey Junction to Shrewsbury & Wrexham.

Monday 9 November  Wrexham Railway Society, Building a Grange with Quentin McGuinness, Chairman of the 6880 Betton Grange Society describing the enormous work being undertaken to produce a new locomotive of the Great Western Grange class at Llangollen, looking at the build so far and their Steel, Steam & Stars fundraising events.

Thursday 12 November Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Ron Watson Jones    AGM Class 40s remembered              

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

Friday 4 December Clwyd Railway Circle  Members Night & Christmas Celebrations. Members are invited to give a 15 minute presentation of their choice (any format). FREE tea/coffee & festive treats during the interval.
Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

Thursday 10 December Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Xmas Social / Christmas Treats and Bob Barnsdale: a Local Tribute

Monday 14 December  Wrexham Railway Society, Annual General Meeting and Rail Review Entertainment, a mixture of members' slides, DVD's and other
interesting items.

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

Friday 8 January Clwyd Railway Circle Dave Sallery Dinorwic Slate Quarries - Part 2 This is the final part of Daves fascinating journey around the quarry.

Monday 11 January Wrexham Railway Society, Woodhead - The Lost Railway by Stephen Gay describing the former Great Central main line from Manchester to Sheffield across the Pennines via the Woodhead tunnel closed in 1981 with  photographs along the route of the former railway.

Thursday 14 January Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Dave Southern: Chester - Pwllheli - days long gone                    

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

Friday 5 February Clwyd Railway Circle John Sloane: Chinese Steam in the 1980's This is drawn from the first part of a tour in the winter of 1986/87 and centres on railways in what at one time had been the Japanese occupied area known as Manchuria in the north east of China. This was still a busy steam operated railway with plenty of variety and steam locos were still being built at that time.

Monday 8 February Wrexham Railway Society, Steam in the East Midlands in the 1950's by Fred Kirk. Local Member and keen cyclist looks back at
previously unseen pictures of those main lines accessible from his home city of Leicester ranging from the East Coast Main Line at Stoke to the Great
Western's line to Birmingham Snow Hill, also the West Coast, Midland and Great Central lines.

Thursday 11 February Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Geoff Morris: Welsh Wanderings in the 1990s   

Monday 15 February   RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.  "American Wanderings - Heading East" by Gordon Davies. Gordon,  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

Friday 4 March Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by: Dave Southern, A journey from Chester to Pwllheli in colour looking at the closed lines both standard and narrow gauge including closed steam sheds and some goods yards.

Thursday 10 March Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Alan Roberts: Railway signalling in the Conwy/Llandudno area

Monday 14 March 2016 Wrexham Railway Society, Railways Of Wales in the 1980's - Geoff Morris describes a trip through Wales in a decade during which livery variations started to appear and steam re-appeared on a scheduled basis along the Cambrian & North Wales Coasts

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

Friday 1 April Clwyd Railway Circle Denbigh Film Club. Railway Enthusiasts Film Night A night of nostalgia and fun with a selection of films old and new to end our season in great style.

Monday 11 April 2016 Wrexham Railway Society 'Days Gone' A Nostalgic Look Back at the 1960-90's by Larry Davies, looking at the enormous changes which have taken place on the railways in North Wales during the last four decades of the last century illustrated, mostly by Larry's own work.

Thursday 14 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    1960/70s North Wales Railway Recollection Barry Wynne/Steve Morris

Monday 18 April  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.  One Mans Rubbish is Another's 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

Thursday 12 May   Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Ray Bailey: Steam into Holywell           

Drax-liveried 60 066 passes Caergwrle with 6M30 10:24 Margam to Dee Marsh steel service on 16 August. Picture by Tim Rogers.

Holyhead to Edinburgh

West Coast Railways ran an excursion from Holyhead and North Wales stations to Edinburgh on 16 August. The empty train ran from Carnforth to Holyhead the day before, 15 August; Tim Rogers photographed 5Z46 13:55 Carnforth Steamtown to Holyhead at Guilden Sutton (above) with, 47 786 Roy Castle OBE  leading and 47 851 on the rear.

The empty stock at Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).

Greg Mape was out early on his bike to see the excursion itself with 47 851 leading ...

... and 47 786 trailing through Abergele, with the Rhyl skyline looming from the mist.

Passing Sandycroft (Tim Rogers).

Level crossing closures

Balderton and Broad Oak level crossings on the Wrexham - Chester line are temporarily closed to road or while the crossings will be upgraded from half- to full barriers to improve safety. Scheduled re-opening of Balderton is scheduled for 29 August, and Broad Oak for 5 September. The roads on which the level crossings are located will also be closed and diversions will be in place.

Presumably these crossings will be of the type recently installed between Crewe and Shrewsbury, with obstacle detector systems which will prevent the lowering of the barriers if any people or objects are on the crossing. Network Rail say this change will allow higher permitted train speeds.

Rugby stars visit Colwyn Bay - report by Jim Johnson

A special train, 1W77 09:40 Cardiff Central - Colwyn Bay, brought the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) team to the town (see last issue for details). The WRU had 'commandeered' the Premier Express, formed with driving van trailer 82306 and loco 67 002, for the trip. It continued empty to Holyhead at 13:25 as train 5W77. The northbound train is seen above approaching Colwyn Bay.

Entering Colwyn Bay. Pictures by Jim Johnson except where noted.

'Station Ger' the driver gives us the thumbs-up.

Members of the team after disembarking.

A handshake for the driver from an Arriva official.

Departing as 5W77. We hear that after some work attention, 67 002 is a changed locomotive now, after numerous complaints about her lack of power.

It seemed that the whole town had turned out by the station to greet their heroes.

The train's diagram was also altered on Wednesday 12 August to collect the team and return them to Cardiff. Above, Following immediately behind the Holyhead - Manchester (Piccadilly) Class 67-pushed set, 67 002 leads the through Flint on its way back to Cardiff. Picture by Russell Withington.

More Arriva loco-hauled doings

Above: Running about 30 minutes late on 12 August, train 1D34 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead arrived at Llandudno Junction behind 67 014. Picture by Ken Robinson.

We have noted in previous issues that on 21 July train 1W96, the Cardiff - Holyhead 'Premier Express' made (long) special stops at Chirk and Ruabon while checks were made, and wondered about the reason for this. Our thanks are due to Dave Trains for the following clarification:
The train stopped at those stations to gauge the train length. The idea was put forward for the 'WAG'  set to be used from Saturday 1 August for several Saturdays  (unless there was a match at Cardiff) during the peak summer demand on the following diagram:
1V93 0635 Holyhead to Cardiff
1W94 1321 Cardiff to Holyhead
1K72 1823 Holyhead to Crewe
1D66 2100 Crewe to Holyhead.
This was rejected, I believe, by Network Rail etc. as there is no method of working for loco-hauled stock for the request stops on Anglesey, as well as Llanfairfechan. Penmaenmawr and Conway, although this was done in 2000 with class 37 locos and no central door locking.
This is disappointing, especially since the loco-hauled trains now running on the Cumbrian Coast line serve a number of (nominally) request stops although in practice they stop at all of them. (Incidentally, those trains are no longer 'top-and-tailed' but now run in push-pull format with a class 37 at the north end and a DBSO driving trailer at the other.)

Interesting news is that the 'DfT' loco and coaches, normally used on the Manchester trains were also in Saturday service on 8 and 15 August on a Crewe -  Holyhead - Bangor diagram:

1L40 11:33 Chester - Bangor 12:45
1K50 12:54 Bangor - Crewe 14:38
1D58 15:58 Crewe - Llandudno 17:48
1K69 17:58 Llandudno - Crewe 19:45

The 15:58 Crewe to Bangor was re-timed to go at Llandudno and work back as the 17:58 Llandudno to Crewe due to a ruling that two drivers are required if to cross over via the tunnel at Bangor; again the 37-hauled trains in the 1990s (or indeed any trains before that) were not subject to such a requirement. The dinnertime Bangor arrival can do this, as the Holyhead driver who works the first part of the diagram is relieved by the second driver who then carries on.

In other news: On Monday 10 August, the Manchester loco-hauled service was disrupted when a tanker carrying propane gas caught fire on the M56 motorway near Chester, resulting in the precautionary closure of the railway. The 16:50 Manchester - Llandudno was started from Chester, formed of a railcar set; that the loco-hauled set departed Platform 14 at Piccadilly at 17:50 and went as far as Warrington Bank Quay, where it was taken out of service and sent straight
to Crewe.

The Colas Rail train from Carlisle to Chirk was diverted, and also reportedly suffered locomotive problems, arriving at Chester 157 minutes late.

Photographed for us by an authorised member of staff, Driving Van Trailer 82306 undergoes a 'fuelpoint exam' at Holyhead on 9 August.

'Royal Scots' remembered - by John Hobbs

It was good to see a 'Royal Scot' back in Wales on 2 August; here are some fond memories. Above: leaving Prestatyn, 46148 The Manchester Regiment puts some effort into accelerating the 1.40 pm Manchester (Exchange) to Bangor on to the water troughs, on 23 June 1964;  a nice rake of LMS-design stock forms the train.

On 18 May 1964, 46166 London Rifle Brigade leaves Prestatyn with train 1D35, this was a rather dull Whit Monday. It would be withdrawn by the end of the summer but managed three visits to North Wales on this particular weekend.


Thanks for the very interesting responses to earlier issues.  We wondered whether the semaphore signal gantry at Llandudno is last survivor of its breed on Network Rail; Not so - Roger Carvell writes: 'As regards the Llandudno signal gantry which we all admire, there is a "running mate", so to speak, at Harrogate, pictured on 9 May this year. It looks like a solid LNER design, with lattice structure, but note that it has been 'got at' by the Health & Safety people - signal ladder cages.There did not seem to be any visible evidence to suggest replacement the gantry just yet.'

David Alison writes to tell us that there is another gantry at Hellfield, with two signals on it, the taller one for trains departing towards Leeds, the shorter one for the branch down to Blackburn.

Another alleged  'last survivor' - a Listed Structure - at Falsgrave, outside Scarborough, still thrives as it was relocated to Grosmont on the North York Moors line in 2010. Also of note in the Heritage sphere is the example at Bury Bolton Street on the East Lancashire Railway, which was originally at Lostock Junction. Hopefully when the time comes a home will be found for the ones at Llandudno and Harrogate.

More railway engineering. Glyn Jones writes: 'With reference to this week's item on the Hawarden Bridge at Shotton, I attach a picture from 1889,  shortly after its completion. I believe the large span was specially swung open for the photographer - the controller can just be seen on a platform on the tower, top left. It was last opened on 29 April 1953, the occasion of the Duke of Edinburgh's visit to the adjacent John Summers Steelworks.

'Due to deterioration, the tower was demolished in 1976, the mechanism contained in the bridge removed, and the void filled in with concrete. I witnessed the demolition of the tower from the Head Office of the steelworks situated on the other side of the bridge and recall hundreds of
roosting pigeons lost their home and  seen fluttering away into the sky!'

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