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22 September 2015
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Friday 25 September. Great Western Society NW Branch. P. Spilsbury. Steam Miscellaneous.
26-27 September Vale of Rheidol Railway "Forgotten Engines" Steam Festival
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
Friday 9 October Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "More British Transport Films from the Steam Era" a digital presentation by Alvin Barker.
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.
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.
Friday 6 November (note the first Friday in November) Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "Great Western Steam in South Wales and the South West in the 1950s and 60s" a colour slide presentation by Alf Storey.
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 40’s 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
Friday 11 December Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "Steam in Spain and Italy" a colour slide presentation by John Sloane. The slides were taken by John in the 1960s and 70s.
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 Dave’s fascinating journey around the quarry.
Friday 8 January Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "The History and Development of the National Tramway Museum" a colour slide presentation by Mike Crabtree.
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 1990’s
Friday 12 February Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "Prince of Wales, Britain's most powerful steam locomotive. The Project to build a new P2 Locomotive" a digital presentation by Graham Nicholas.
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
Friday 11 March Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "A Photographic Tribute to Alan Gilbert. Steam on the main line in the 1950s and 60s" a digital presentation by Paul Shackcloth.
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.
Friday 8 April Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society "Steam in the North West of England and Scotland in 1965" a digital presentation by Noel Coates.
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
Sunset at Bromfield, 7 September - see item below. Picture by Roger Carvell.
Update and correction
Since the first version of the last issue, more information has come to light about the problems encountered by the 'Lakes Express', and the item has been updated. The train was hauled from Carnforth and collected its passengers for the southbound trip at Oxenholme, although for some reason, it could not reverse there and had to travel empty past Oxenholme to Tebay loop (hauled by the diesel loco) to do so. The diesel was detached at Carnforth on the way south, and 46115 continued alone, which may have been a mistake, as it lost time and was later declared a failure at Rugby, the train continuing to Watford Junction behind a diesel which was sent from Crewe.
Also: we misled ourselves by out own typo regarding the West Coast ERTMS loco. The one which has recently been on test on the Cambrian is 37 668, originally D6957. The loco was bought by West Coast back in 2007, and stored until selected for the ERTMS project in 2014. 37 669 (D6829) is also to be fitted with the Hitachi equipment, and should appear in due course.
Weekend 67 - pictures by Greg Mape
The Premier Express train was brought out for a Saturday run on 19 September, in connection with the Ireland v Canada rugby game at the Cardiff Millennium stadium. The southbound working, photographed from Old Colwyn by Greg Mape, was 08:07 Holyhead - Cardiff, which arrived in Cardiff Central 19 minutes late at 13:58 for the kick-off at 14:30. The return, booked at 18:23 from Cardiff, actually departed at 19:15 and reached Holyhead just before midnight.
A zoomed-in view shows that the first-class/restaurant car was included; 67 001 was propelling (Greg Mape).
Statesman to Blaenau
Train 1Z10 on 19 September, 06:00 High Wycombe - Blaenau Ffestiniog, featured the Pullman-liveried 'Statesman' coaches top-and-tailed by sometime Arriva-allocated locos 57 315 and 57 316, now owned by West Coast Railways. Above, 57 315 is leading up the Conwy Valley near Dolgarrog (Greg Mape).
Roman Bridge. Picture by Ken Robinson, who notes: This was not my intended position - the shot taken off the rock above the station, which I last used about 4/5 years ago, is now spoiled by vegetation growth.'
Blaenau Ffestiniog, where the train arrived at 13:09 and departed at 16:06 (Greg Mape).
57 515 brings the return train, 1Z11, through Rhyl ...
... with 57 316 on the rear (Roly High).
Welshpool and Llanfair Gala - report by John Hobbs
A nice Saturday for the annual Welshpool & Llanfair Railway Gala; above, 823 enters Heniarth with the 14.15 from Welshpool on the 5th of September. The railway have very kindly cut down the grass and shrubs which had grown up here to provide a fine vista as the train rounds the bend off the Banwy Bridge into the station, where my good lady was requesting the train to stop.
A busy scene at Llanfair where the other original loco, 822, has just arrived with the 12.56 from Welshpool; a busy day for the original locomotives and great to see them both in operation in different liveries.
Not rail but steam anyway; Sentinel DG4 steam waggon OF 3783, with tar tank, which used to live at Llanfair D.C., Nr Ruthin. I can remember seeing her many times in workaday condition when out for a 'Drive with my Dad in his 'Riley 9' fitted with a Shooting-brake body, in places such as Prion & Saron.
On holiday from the Statfold Barn Railway, Pakis Baru No. 5, Orenstein & Koppel 1473 of 1905, an 0-4-4-0T Mallet, built for a sugar mill in Indonesia, heads the 14.27 Cyfronydd to Llanfair demonstration freight, thus acquiring a Welsh connection.
Who would have dreamed of seeing such an exotic machine working in the UK thirty years ago? We and indeed living in a golden age which we should enjoy to the full. The Statfold Barn Railway itself is a remarkable privately-owned system, where hold open days are held several times a year: the scheduled dates for 2016 are 9 April, 4 June and 10 September.
Regular W&LLR performer Joan does a little light shunting at Llanfair before departure with the 18.00 to Welshpool.
Youngsters’ work at Conwy Valley railway station - Arriva press release
Young people from Conwy and Denbighshire have joined together to deliver art and design projects at Llanrwst Town railway station in the picturesque Conwy Valley. The Lady High Sheriff of Clwyd, Mrs Janet Evans presided over the unveiling of artwork depicting the town of Llanrwst, which was designed by the 1st Llanrwst Girl Guides, Brownies and Rainbows who have also adopted the station.
Similar to the popular 'Neighbourhood Watch' scheme, Arriva’s 'Adopt a Station' scheme encourages local volunteers to help keep an eye on their station and advise of any issues that may need addressing. Since its inception in 2004, more than 100 partnerships have been formed across the network with many having beautiful station gardens.
A wonderful new station name sign, manufactured from slate and wood by the young people of the Conwy/Denbighshire Youth Justice Scheme was also unveiled at the station. Speaking at the station, Mrs Evans praised the work of the Guides and Youth Justice Scheme and stated how refreshing it was to acknowledge such commitment and community spirit in her home town.
A large number of parents and Guides attended the event along with civic dignitaries, Cllr Elizabeth Roberts, Chairman of Conwy County Borough Council, Cllr Nelson Haerr, Mayor of Llanrwst and members of the Conwy Valley Railway Partnership. During the ceremony, a certificate was presented to six-year-old Rainbows member Nel Grug Davies, who won a railway safety poster competition in which she had competed. This winning poster is now on display at the station.
Community Rail Officer Larry Davies (who took the pictures), says: 'We’re delighted to have been able to work with so many young people who have taken a real interest in the station. The line from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog is an important part of the community with many thousands of tourists visiting the area each year by train and the work completed by the young people will help create a positive first impression of the station.'
A visit to Bromfield - with Roger Carvell
I was on family business in the Marches near Ludlow on 7 September. There was just enough time to 'scout' just north of Ludlow, at Bromfield Crossing. I am pleased I did. I knew there was a WCR empty stock move to Carnforth from Bristol via Crewe and I managed to get it. Bromfield Crossing signalbox, (above) alongside Ludlow Racecourse is manned 24 hours per day and appears to be an original Saxby & Farmer signal box design of 1852 vintage, although some sources say it dates from 1873. It doesn't seem to have a name board any more, just 'BD'. The block section is mainly BR (WR) lower quadrant signals so out came the camera!
I notice that the 'health and safety' experts have visited, with disfiguring ladder cages added to protect staff from falling off. Above, the Outer Home signal. Bromfield did once have a station which closed in 1958. If Network Rail plans go ahead, 2017 will see the lower quadrants taken down here as part of the national resignalling programme with Bromfield coming under Cardiff Railway Operating Centre. A pity, we all like semaphores and the rural lineside will become largely featureless.
The 5Z79 empty-stock stock move was headed by West Coast Railways 47 786 Roy Castle OBE. This loco is now 51 years old and was new to the Western Region as D1730 on 28 April 1964, allocated to 86A Cardiff (Canton), so it will be no stranger to the 'North and West'. 47786 is now on its fifth number- 47 786 and previously 47 821, 47 607, 47 138, and when new D1730.
57 315 on the rear as 5Z79 heads north towards Bromfield and Shrewsbury.
175 105 was working 1W60, 11.03 Carmarthen to Manchester Piccadilly, and was on time on arrival at Manchester Piccadilly at 16:09.
Finally, the evening Cardiff to Holyhead Express is seen passing under the guard of Bromfield's semaphores with 67 001 doing the pushing.
The Penrhyn Quarry Railway - report by Stephen Hughes
The Penrhyn Quarry Railway held a '1965 event' over the weekend of 19/20 September, commemorating 50 years since a steam locomotive last worked in the quarry. Fittingly, three ex-PQR locomotives returned to Coed y Parc and each made a fine sight against the workshops which have changed very little in the intervening years. Two were in steam, Hunslet Sybil Mary and Avonside Marchlyn, both visiting from the Statfold Barn Railway, seen above on the 'main line' at Coed y Parc. The former steamed for the first time since 1955 in 2013 and the latter was returned from the USA in 2011 and subsequently fully restored.
Both were used to haul the locally built open coaches along the short line to the halt at St Ann's road, where the lack of a bridge prevents any further extension. A short siding has been laid here, and allowed a change over of engines on each train.
The third of the triumvirate was a really pleasant surprise. In un-restored condition, Avonside Ogwen was the last steam locomotive to work in the quarry on 15 Jan 1965, travelling to the USA later that year and brought back by Martyn Ashworth in 2012.
Considering the length of time that had passed, I was told that she moved freely after oiling, demonstrated (above) when gently pushed by Sybil Mary back into the shed after the events finished on the Saturday.
Marchlyn returning to Coed y Parc with the replica quarrymen's coaches.
St Ann's Halt. Will we have to wait another year for a train from our local station?
Additionally, the ubiquitous De Winton replica Iorwerth puffed up and down with some slate wagons. Apparently there was quite a good turnout on the Saturday in sunny weather (we only arrived quite late in the day having just returned from holiday), the Sunday was quite typical Bethesda weather - rather chilly and damp, but we did take the opportunity to ride the old Crosville bus (a Bristol SC) to Port Penrhyn with a commentary pointing out the narrow and standard gauge trackbed. Not being regular bus users it was very enjoyable and we were interested to learn that when it was based in Bangor it would have been used on the run to Mynydd Llandegai up St Ann's Hill and past our house ... now that would have been a slow journey up the steep hill.
On a more personal note, I was able to recreate a small piece of family history. The only photograph I have of my father in that period was amongst his few railway photographs (actually he only had railway photographs!), when he was captured on the footplate of Sybil Mary in the quarry sometime around 1935 aged about 20, probably by the driver, Dic Stich. The young lad is probably the fireman.
Incredibly, I was able to recreate that picture 80 years later, thanks to the driver, Martyn Ashworth who allowed me onto the footplate in the siding at St Ann's Hill and Lynn who scrambled up the bank to get a decent shot. That was quite special!
The small group of people in Coed Y Parc have done - and are doing - a great job. It was a very friendly gathering, I would never have thought a few years ago that I would be able to witness three original PQR locos in their original haunts.
Note: Sybil Mary is due to appear at the Vale of Rheidol Railway's "Forgotten Engines" Steam Festival on 26-27 September, and we arereliably informed that Marchlyn will also attend, although possibly only as a static exhibit, simply because both are travelling round Wales on the same low loader!
Drainage work continues on the Frodsham - Halton line: Mark Barber photographed 66 148 unloading stone for drainage works at Beechwood (between Frodsham Jn and Halton Jn) on 15 September.
The Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society had their big day on Saturday 12 September with the public launch of the restored Liverpool Baby Grand car No.245. Nine years in the restoration of the 1938-built car came to a conclusion when it was rolled out and taken for two private runs to Woodside and back before being made available for public use for the rest of the afternoon. A grand occasion and top marks to MTPS, National Museums Liverpool and Heritage Lottery for the funding. The Wirral Bus & Tram show is scheduled for Sunday 4 October at Pacific Road, Birkenhead (George Jones).
Manchester Metrolink is now a single system again: the network has been reconnected via a temporary single line at St Peters Square, although trams do not stop there. The station is being reconfigured to have extra capacity where the. The whole area is a very large construction site, & rather chaotic! A tram without a front number (3089) due a new panel having been fitted, is seen leaving the single line section and passing the Art Gallery on the way to Piccadilly (Greg Mape).
The simple old-fashioned token system is in use (Greg Mape). Trams negotiate the single line in 'flights' of three in each direction, one each for or from the Altrincham, Eccles and East Didsbury lines. The points are 'sprung': trains can pass through them in the trailing direction, and the blades return to the position shown after the tram has passed.
Beddgelert, Welsh Highland Railway, on 19 September (Greg Mape).
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