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31 August 2015
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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.
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 Ė 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.
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 40ís 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)
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
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.
Friday 8 January Clwyd Railway Circle Dave Sallery Dinorwic Slate Quarries - Part 2 This is the final part of Daveís 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.
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 1990ís
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.
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.
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.
Thursday 12 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Ray Bailey: Steam into Holywell
67 014 calls at Bangor with 'The DfT' 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead on 27 August. Picture by Richard Fleckney.
Thanks to everyone who has followed our link to the petition to keep the path over Barmouth Bridge open. So far over 50 readers have signed via our link; the total of all petitioners is approaching 25,000. Here's the link again if you missed it.
The Bournemouth Flyer, 22 August
The 'Bournemouth Flyer' excursion from Chester on Saturday 22 August features hard-worked DRS locos 37 401 Mary Queen of Scots and 37 405; John Mathers photographed the train (above) at Chester shortly after arrival empty from Crewe in the morning.
Some time later, the two locos on the rear of the empty stock for the return journey pass through Bournemouth station. 57 307, on the other end, led the train to Poole loop (John Mathers).
37 401 and 37 405 pass the River Itchen at St. Denys, Southampton on the 16:52 return Bournemouth - Chester (Chris Morrison).
57 307 - still carrying Lady Penelope nameplates despite suggestion that they are to be removed - on the rear of the train at St.Denys (Chris Morrison).
Virgin Trains have announced that from 6 September, Railcard holders will no longer be able to use Off-Peak, Railcard discounted tickets on Peak-time trains on the Virgin Trains network. This concession, which has never been available on other train companies, has probably escaped the notice of many railcard holders; perhaps its removal avoids confusion now that the East Coast route is also Virgin branded.
Railcard Holders will still be able to get their discount on peak time trains, it's just that Off-peak tickets will not be valid. Virgin say: 'Don't worry, you can still get great value Advance tickets with your Railcard for Peak time travel. We have just completed refurbishments on our Pendolino fleet to create an extra 5,500 Standard class seats a day, so there are plenty of seats available on board our services.'
The main shock will be for Railcard holders buying 'anytime' tickets to travel at peak times who face a huge increase, e.g. £62.60 to £210.55 for a return from Holyhead to London. It is to be hoped that this change is properly advertised.
Elsewhere, TransPennine Express say that 'Club 55' cheap tickets to people over 55 will be available again between 14 September and 15 November. For example, a First Class return ticket from Manchester to Glasgow or Edinburgh will be £59, with a 20% discount for Railcard Holders.
At the Manchester Locomotive Society we have embarked on the talk of cataloguing the photographs taken by member Peter Michie, who sadly died in 2008 aged just 60. We have albums of 35mm negatives, but we have no captions for any of the pictures. He was not a frequent visitor to the North Wales lines, but did spend a day at Chester in what we think was spring 2000. Can anyone give us the exact date and the details of the trains, based on this sequence of pictures which does contain several clues? Above, First North Western 158 754 departs, probably for Manchester.
Network South East-liveried Class 101 L840 was transferred from the London area in the 1990s. It is probably on a service to or from Manchester via Northwich.
A train from London arrives, with 43 014 leading.
The HST is still in the station as a Class 47 arrives with a train for London. The number is not clear: the red nameplate is perhaps a clue to its identity.
37 429 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol arrives with a First North Western service, perhaps from Birmingham.
60 053 with a train of Railtrack ballast wagons which would have loaded at Penmaenmawr.
37 426 with an Up First North Western service.
A named Class 56, still in 'Load Haul' colours on timber wagons, presumably from Chirk, but why the open box wagon behind the loco?
60 020 - also with Railtrack wagons.
The appearance of 175 004, on a day with three 37-hauled locos in traffic, seems to prove that the year is 2000 as this unit was on crew training duty at that time. Notice the lack of a front fairing on the 175.
37 415 rolls in with a train from North Wales...
... and later, 37 429 returns....
... as does the HST, with 43 180 providing the power at this end.
Northern Belle Bristol to Chester, 29 August
57 301 Goliath brings the 'Northern Belle' luxury train into Chester, working an excursion from Bristol on 29 August. Picture by Roly High.
The biblical name 'Goliath' arrived on locomotives via a series of Royal Navy warships starting with 74-gun ship of the line, launched on 19 October 1781 at Deptford Dockyard, and present at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, Battle of the Nile, and Battle of Copenhagen. She was broken up in 1815. Locomotives have included a GWR broad gauge tank engine, LMS 'Royal Scot' 6136, BR diesel-hydraulic D819, electric loco 86 220, and in the preservation world ex-GWR 2-8-0T 5239. An odd choice in some ways, as the biblical giant was eventually defeated by a small boy.
The train departs towards Crewe for servicing, with 57 305 Northern Princess on the rear. Note the angle of Kitchen Car No 1953 as the train negotiates a slight dip in the track.
George Jones photographed the return train at Rossett with 57 301 leading. The foot crossing in Station Road, Rossett allows for close inspection of passing trains as they gear up for the ascent of Gresford Bank. The train has just passed over the points which will form the junction for the redoubled section of track. At present re-railing of the older section of the Up line is being undertaken in the area around Pulford. When complete we can expect the Up line to be brought into use whilst the older rail north of Balderton is replaced. This work and the completion of the enhanced crossings should allow for the upgraded sections to be brought into use by the announced date of 19 November. Signals are now in place on the new section.
The going-away view shows the red/green lights, with anti-vandal protection, installed at this crossing (George Jones).
Statfold Supplement - by Mark Hambly
Following on from John Hobbs' report of his visit to Statfold for The Railway Magazine event on 8th August (last issue), readers might like to know that, in addition to appearing on their home railway, locos from Statfold regularly attend events at a number of other railways each year. New build Quarry Hunslet Jack Lane has been at Bala for the WINIFRED gala over the August Bank Holiday weekend while next weekend (5th & 6th September) Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-4-0T Mallet Pakis Baru No.5 will be visiting the Welshpool & Llanfair's annual steam gala. Former Penrhyn Quarry locos Sybil Mary and Marchlyn will visit the Penrhyn Quarry Railway's '1965' event on 19 & 20 September and Sybil Mary will then move on to Aberystwyth for the Vale of Rheidol's 'Forgotten Engines' event on 26 & 27 September.
In addition to the various steam connections mentioned in John Hobbs' article Statfold is also home to several diesel locomotives with North Wales connections, most notably three 2'6" gauge Hudswell 0-6-0s which worked on the self-contained hot coil stock yard railway at Shotton steelworks. There is also a much smaller Hunslet 4-wheel diesel which spent some time on the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway at Porthmadog. Narrow gauge modellers will be pleased to know that RT Models of Shrewsbury (www.rtmodels.co.uk) offer a 4mm scale (OO9) body kit for the Shotton Hudswells which fits an N gauge Class 03 chassis.
This autumn, two 175th anniversaries are being celebrated of the start of railways in Chester. The Chester to Birkenhead line was opened on 23 September 1840, followed closely by the opening of the Chester to Crewe line on 1 October 1840. There will be exhibitions, talks, walks and events to celebrate the railways.
On Saturday 19 September, Thomas Brassey expert John Whittingham leads a procession on from Chester Station at 2.30pm to St Johnís Church. Assemble at Chester station at 2pm, then proceed via procession/parade with flags/banners and brass band (to be confirmed) with local people including the Lord Mayor or Sheriff. A Thanksgiving service at 3pm by the Rector, Rev David Chesters OBE. Mr Whittingham will give a brief history of rail transport to and from Chester, there will be three hymns, prayers and a Blessing with tea and coffee in the church tea room afterwards. All are welcome.
Chester Station is hosting a 175 Years celebration day on Wednesday 23 September, exactly 175 years after the Chester to Birkenhead line was opened. There will be stalls and a history walk from the station during the day, from 10:00 to 15:00
On 19 October The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society meeting in Chester will feature John Ryan speaking about aspects of the Chester and Birkenhead line.
New book: The Merseyside Railway History Group has prepared a photographic history of the railways of Chester and Saltney which has been published by Bridge Books of Wrexham. The 160-page hardback book contains 250 black and white photographs along with maps and an introductory historical description. Copies are available from various heritage railways, including Kidderminster Railway Museum, Llangollen and the Conwy Valley Railway Museum, as well as through various independent bookshops and directly from Bridge Books priced £18.99.
60 085 heads 6J37 Carlisle - Chirk logs near Cotehill, Settle-Carlisle Line, on Wednesday 26 August (Ian Pilkington).
60 085 heads 6J37 Carlisle-Chirk logs past Balshaw Lane Junction, West Coast Main Line, on Friday 28 August (Ian Pilkington).
An impressively long train of car-carriers hauled by 66 031 forms the 11:33 Halewood (Jaguar Cars) to Southampton Eastern Docks, photographed by Tony Robinson passing Acton Bridge on 15 August...
... The cars are individually wrapped, or is it just the rear one? (Tony Robinson).
The Valley - Crewe flask train ran on 26 August, with 37 405 and 37 609 in charge, see above approaching Mostyn (Tim Rogers). The towers of Point of Ayr gas terminal can be seem on the horizon.
Penyffordd station on 26 August, with 6E41 16:56 Penyffordd Cement Sidings to Arpley Sidings. Empty MEA wagons, hauled by 66 015 (Tim Rogers).
66 053 at Shotton on 27 August with train 6M86, 09:23 Margam T.C. to Dee Marsh, loaded with steel for coating at Shotton works (Tim Rogers).
On the Wedding Belle to Corwen - with Tony Robinson
I took my first trip on the Corwen extension of the Llangollen Railway on 22 August, by way of a 'Wedding Belle' special hauled by the trusty 2-8-0 3802 (now back with the 4000 gallon tender).
I was intrigued by the reverse working so asked the "brakeman" if I could travel with him to take some shots from within the carriage.
He is in contact with the driver via a hand held mobile device.
Reverse progress was slow (about 15mph) and he had control of a brake lever if needed and a horn for crossings.
At Carrog the loco ran round the train and hauled it tender-first to Llangollen.
On 28 August, 221 117 The Wrekin Giant and 221 107 Sir Martin Frobisher depart from Chester and take the Crewe line with 1A48, 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston (Tim Rogers).
Mark Youdan writes: 'I alighted from the Premier Express at Chester on 28 August after enjoying a very nice three-course meal while being hauled by 67 001, to find 57 601 and 57 316 stabled either end of a Statesman Rail set of coaches'. Having worked empty stock from Carnforth, the following day this formed an excursion to Kingswear (for Dartmouth).
158 834 and 158 822 arrive at Bangor with 1G40, 11:27 Holyhead to Birmingham International as 67 014 waits to depart with the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead (Richard Fleckney).
319 383, the latest of its class to enter service with Northern Rail, at Edge Hill on 29 August, its second day in traffic (Mark Youdan).
31 August saw the first use in passenger service of 319s between Lime St and Warrington Bank Quay. There were units spare as the Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Airport service wasn't running as a result of engineering work at Deansgate. 319 365 and 319 380 were in use; Mark Youdan's picture shows 319 380 at Warrington just before working the 16:51 back to Liverpool.
Gala at Bala
The Bala Lake Railway's weekend on 28-30 August celebrated the return to service of Hunslet-built loco Winifred, repatriated from the United States. Ian Wright photographed her from the public footpath on a demonstration freight on 30 August.
Diesel loco Merionnydd clearly owes its body style to the British Railways 'Western' class. It was built for the railway by Severn Lamb, of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1973 (Ian Wright).
Alice and Winifred double-heading on 29 August (Bob Greenhalgh).
The railway's Wickham Trolley. These were designed to carry track workers to their work sites, but this one has a more exotic origin. It was built by D. Wickham of Ware for Southend-on-Sea Council, for use on the 3' 6" gauge pier railway, reportedly for use by the RNLI lifeboat crews. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.
Out and about - pictures by Greg Mape
A selection of summer holiday curiosities. Above, a sunny scene on the heritage tramway at Birkenhead on 15 August. Car 69 (above) is one of two built for the line in 1992 by the bulders of Hong Kong trams.
Car 20, in contrast, was built by Milnes of Birkenhead in 1900; the body was found in use as a potting shed by Merseyside Tramway Museum Society in 1983.
Looking the other way, Mersey Ferry Snowdrop in its 'dazzle' livery created by pop artist Peter Blake, supposedly in homage to the dazzle camouflage applied to Navy ships in World War I.
The Great Orme Tramway in Llandudno, with cars passing on the uper section, as see from the cable car.
The Corris Railway near Machynlleth, not often seen in these pages. Greg visited on 30 August.
Corris Railway loco no. 7 is a new-build replica of one of the line's original locos which was sold to the Talyllyn Railway after the Corris closed and now runs as their No.4. It entered service in 2005.
And finally: Avro Vulcan bomber, XH558 seen in the North Wales Air Show at Rhyl on 29 August. This one of its final series of flying appearance before it is grounded as a heritage exhibit at Doncaster Robin Hood Airport.
It will also soon be possible to see a (static) Vulcan at the place they were built, Woodford, near Stockport, when the new Avro Heritage Museum opens on the site of the factory where over 20,000 places were built. The site was sold for housing development in 2011, but space has been reserved for a museum, which is scheduled to open to the public in October 2015.
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