28 September 2015
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Friday 2 October Clwyd
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
Valley Railway Society W Gordon Davies: American Wanderings:-
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
Barnt Green, Walsall & Wolverhampton.
Monday 12 October Wrexham
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:
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
Friday 6 November Clwyd
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
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
Valley Railway Society Ron Watson Jones AGM Class
Monday 16 November RCTS:
Society, Merseyside, Chester and
North Wales Branch. Northern
Delights by Steve Batty. Steve our RO Branch News Editor and railway
author from Selby reviews
modern traction in Northern England 2002 2009.
November. Great Western Society NW
Branch. John Hobbs. A Black & White presentation, North Wales
Circular 1963 - 66 (Steam)
Friday 4 December Clwyd
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
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
Society, Annual General Meeting and Rail Review
Entertainment, a mixture of members' slides, DVD's and other
Monday 21 December RCTS:
Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. Arriva Trains
Wales. Last 10 years going forward with
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
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
Monday 11 January Wrexham
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
Valley Railway Society Dave Southern: Chester -
Pwllheli - days long gone
Monday 18 January RCTS:
Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch. BRANCH
A.G.M followed by Back to The 60s with
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
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
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
Western's line to Birmingham Snow Hill, also the West Coast, Midland
and Great Central lines.
Thursday 11 February Llandudno
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
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
Friday 4 March Clwyd
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
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
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:
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
Circle Denbigh Film Club. Railway Enthusiasts Film Night. A night
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
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
Thursday 12 May Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Ray Bailey: Steam into
Train 1Z31, the 05:09 Exeter St Davids - Carlisle for Pathfinder Tours,
approaches Ruabon at 11:30 on 25 September, with DRS locos 37 218
and 37 425 Concrete Bob/Sir Robert McAlpine looking
good in the sunshine. Picture by John Mathers.
The Valley - Crewe flask ran on 23 September, with celebrity power in
the shape of 57 305 Northern Princess and 57 312 Solway
Princess. Picture by Peter Lloyd.
On 18 September, the train crew of the 'DfT' Arriva loco-hauled diagram
had something interesting to look at during the train's layover at
Longsight 'excursion platform' - Class 40 345 with its train of coaches
from the East Lancashire Railway undergoing tyre turning at Alstom's
wheel lathe (Nigel Taylor-Williams).
The Llangollen Railway's Birmingham RCW railcar set at Glyndyfrdwy, 26
September (Ken Robinson).
Sybil Mary at the Penrhyn Quarry Railway, 15 September (Jim
Line-up in the sidings at Chester on 28 September. 175 005, 150
283 plus a couple of track machines (Roly High).
A visit to Dolgarrog - report by Greg Mape
On 26 September I visited the Dolgarrog
Railway Society at their work site; present was Taurus, a
Drewry 0-4-0 diesel, which readers will remember from the site at
Tal-y-Cafn in the 1990s.
The site is the trackbed of the old Dolgarrog Railway, which used to
link the Aluminium Works at Dolgarrog with the Conwy Valley line. The
plan is to relay track over much of the old trackbed, and create a
depot at the Dolgarrog Works end of the line. The wagon is BR 'Dogfish'
ballast hopper DB 992954.
The railway's new neighbour, formed from the reservoir of the old
works, is 'Surf Snowdonia'
fresh-water lagoon, roughly the size of six football
pitches. A powerful two-metre wave that rises at the centre of the
lagoon, peels perfectly for more than 150 metres, and dissipates softly
as it hits the shore : a 'world-first inland surf lagoon'. The
attraction has been having teething troubles: the lagoon has been
closed for a few days in late September due to a tear in the lagoon
liner which is allowing water to leak.
The Exeter - Carlisle train on 23 September was the first day of a
Pathfinder Tours four-day trip to Scotland visiting Mallaig and Oban.
37 218 and 37 425 are seen above at Gobowen (Martin Evans).
Green Lane Crossing (Bob Greenhalgh)
Frodsham (Les Burton).
The train returned to Exeter on 28 September: above, 37 425 leads in to
Chester station (Roly High).
Approaching Wrexham in the evening sunshine (George Jones).
Interesting Class 37/4 news, not mentioned here previously, is that 37
422, once Robert F. Fairlie and a stalwart of the North
Wales Coast passenger service, has been re-activated by DRS and will be
appearing on their passenger diagrams, probably in East Anglia.
67 014 makes the regulation slow approach into Rhyl
station on 25 September with the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead (Greg
Mape). Of the five locos, 67 010/012-5, which received the
Wrexham & Shropshire livery, as later adopted by Chiltern Railways,
67 010 is now allocated to the Caledonian Sleeper services and wears
that company's 'midnight teal' colours, and 67 013 has been received
the standard DB Schenker red livery. Class 68s now handle all
Chiltern's loco-worked services.
Soon afterwards, the The 09:10 London - Holyhead made its way into
Rhyl, with 221 103 Christopher Columbus - which appears to have
had a minor buffer-related mishap as some point - as lead unit
... coupled to 221 106 Willem Barents, still wearing
the adornments applied for the special trains to Bangor for the
'Festival No.6' at Portmeirion at the beginning of the month. Pictures
by Greg Mape.
Speaking of Class 68s, here is 68 005 Defiant on the
rear of the Northern Belle luxury train preparing to depart on its
return journey to Norwich on 26 September (E. Jones).
Earlier in the day, 57 305 Northern Princess brings the
train into Chester from Norwich, past Milepost 179 from London...
... and on the rear, 57 312 Solway Princess, back on
her assigned duties (Roly High).
Chester 175- report by Roly High
To commemorate 175 years of the opening of the Chester to Birkenhead
Railway, on 23 September 1840, and also, a few weeks later the opening
of the Chester to Crewe Railway, there were a number of exhibits on
Chester Station on 23 September 2015.
The North Cheshire Rail Users Group had a stand (right).
Railway paintings by Jim Horsford (1949-2010).
'itravel Smart' - a
government-funded attempt by Chester West and Chester council to
encourage people to leave their cars at home.
The Railway Correspondence and
Travel Society displayed some of its publications.
Interesting photograph displays.
Chester General Railway Staff c.1910. These photographs (taken with
permission of Museum
staff) are from a collection by a long serving railwayman, Peter York.
Two of the more permanent memorials on Chester station.
Editor's Note: 2015 marks '150 years of railways across
Cheshire' but not 150 years of railways in Cheshire. One
contender, not counting older 'plateways', might be the short length of
the former Cromford and High Peak line, opened in 1830, which was on
the Cheshire side of the River Goyt in Whaley Bridge, although boundary
changes in 1936 added that section to Derbyshire with the rest of the
Point of Ayr commemorated
The memorial at Ffynnongroyw, placed at the entrance to Ffynnongroyw
village by the local Mining and Village Heritage group to Point of Ayr
colliery, was unveiled on 24 September by the local M.P. Mr David
Hanson. Roly High's pictures were take for us the day before.
Daily Post tells the story of the unveiling.
The monument is made from the no.2 shaft from the colliery which was
standing neglected and rusty at Greenfield Valley Heritage Park; local
businesses volunteered to refurbish it Around the edge,can be seen
bollards from Point of Ayr docks.
Point of Ayr colliery, whose seams extended out under the Dee Estuary,
closed in 1996 after 120 years of mining, even though reserves of coal
remained. It sent out its coal by rail, latterly in trains of the
well-known, but now mostly extinct HAA 'merry-go round' four-wheeled
hopper wagons. A page on Dave Sallery's Penmorfa
website illustrates a number of them in action. Nothing is
now visible of the colliery, but its sidings and rail connection at
Talacre signalbox survive, perhaps in the hope of some future use.
Loaded trains would be backed out of the colliery sidings over the
grass-grown part of the turnout at the bottom of Roly High's
picture, and on to the surviving part of the Up Slow line beyond the
bridge, before heading over the crossover on to the main line and
heading for Chester and ultimately Fiddlers Ferry power station.
Also beyond the bridge was Talacre station, 22¾ miles from Chester,
which opened in 1903 with platforms on the Slow lines only. It seems
the London and North Western Railway hoped to capture holiday traffic
to the camping grounds and sandy beaches in the area; the platforms,
which as Roly High's picture indicates, still survive, but the
buildings, now long gone, were of the LNWR's most basic 'garden shed'
the Disused Stations website). It closed, along with several other
smaller stations on the Chester - Prestatyn section, in 1966.
Talacre signabox will close, with all the others on the line, when
Network Rail's plan to control everything from Cardiff is implemented
in the coming years. Whether the siding connections will survive this
Bala Lake movements - report by Martin Evans
A selection of scenes at the Bala Lake Railway on 22 September. Above,
'Quarry Hunslet' Maid Marian of 1903 waits to run round at
Llanuwchllyn having brought the 11.35am service in from Bala Junction.
'Quarry Hunslet' Winifred being loaded on to the low loader at
Llanuwchllyn in preparation for its appearance at the Vale of Rheidol
Gala September 26/27 .
Sybil Mary (Hunslet 921 of 1906) from the Statfold Barn
Railway was also travelling to the Rheidol on the same vehicle, having
been collected earlier from the Penrhyn Quarry Railway (see last issue).
Nearly ready to travel.
A day out with Waverley - report by David Hennessey
On Tuesday 1 September 2015, the world's last ocean going paddle
steamer P.S Waverley made the first of her two annual yearly
sailings from Liverpool to Llandudno and the Anglesey Islands. I was
fortunate enough to sail on her on the day.
In the event, the schedule didn't quite go according to plan. Waverley
was late getting into Liverpool in the early morning, having had a
minor mechanical issue in Glasgow before it's overnight sailing. This
was thankfully rectified. We were supposed to sail at 09:00, but we
ended up departing at 10:00; this was due to being held up to allow a
container ship further up the Mersey to depart, and it would've been
chaotic if Waverley had got in the way. Above, she sails past
Seacombe on the Mersey, as she completes her overnight sailing from its
Having turned herself around South of the Mersey, Waverley comes into
dock at Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
Awaiting her passengers at Liverpool Cruise Terminal, as regular Mersey
Ferry Royal Iris sets off on a Pier Head to Seacombe sailing,
and Stena Line's Stena Mersey awaits departure from Birkenhead
on her daily crossing to Belfast.
One of the ships encountered from Waverley at the mouth of the
Mersey, was Liberia-registered container vessel Northern Delegation.
She is seen heading towards Liverpool.
A 'Starboard' side of the Waverley's engine room, an attraction on
board the Scottish vessel. The huge pistons pound away as they power
the ship's two massive paddles.
Despite a brief shower and a fairly choppy Irish Sea, the outward
crossing was quite pleasant. Viewed from the top observation deck at
the stern' Waverley navigates her way through the
wind farms off the North Wales Coast, as she sails 'full ahead' to
Approaching Llandudno Pier. Locals keen to enjoy an afternoon cruise
with Waverley, wait patiently as the ship prepares to dock at the small
At Llandudno Pier, Waverley managed to dock at the small jetty below.
She then set off with more passengers keen to enjoy a cruise around the
Anglesey Islands; I would have done the same, but that part of the
excursion had already sold out weeks before, so I had to settle for a
few hours in Llandudno.
Having been around the Anglesey Islands and back, Waverley prepares to
make another docking at the Llandudno Pier jetty. As you can see, there
was quite a crowd on board, and it took some time for them to
disembark. It was the same thing for those waiting to get back aboard
for the return journey.
Later, Waverley returned at 16:25, and set off for Liverpool
after 18:00 to arrive back at 21:00.
One of Waverley's lifeboats.
Above, en route back to Liverpool, a view from the stern of Waverley,
wake on the Irish Sea just off the North Wales Coast.
The various pressure gauges in the engine room, and the telegraph
communicator signalled at 'Full Ahead'.
Waverley back at Liverpool Cruise Terminal, at the end of day one of
its Liverpool to Llandudno sailings. A great day out indeed, and all
credit due to the crew, staff and volunteers involved.
(There are more pictures on
Snowdon Mountain Railway - report by Vince Chadwick
[Vince spent two weeks exploring North Wales, all chronicled in his
blog, Vince's World. Here
is a small selection from the section on the Snowdon Mountain Railway.]
Almost all trains up Snowdon are diesel powered these days with modern
coaches carrying 74 passengers, but a few trains a day are still steam
powered. 'Snowdon Lily' is the luxury coach on the railway having only
34 seats and therefore a more spacious interior. 'Snowdon Lily' was
2013 to the design of the original coaches on the railway, and uses the
underframe and bogies of coach no. 2.
Our locomotive on 15 September was Enid, No.2, the oldest on
Railway. No.1, L.A.D.A.S, was lost in an accident on the opening day, 6
April 1896 when it derailed and fell over a precipice near the summit.
After this the rack was modified with a 'gripper rail' to hold the loco
and coach to the track and the railway has been accident free ever
A descending diesel train passes us in one of the three passing loops
on the railway.
Spectacular views from the train.
At the summit station.
Ready for the descent.
Llanberis pass, see on the way down.
Steam locomotive Wyddfa with the only other 'heritage' coach,
'Snowdon Mountain Goat'. There are three operational steam locomotives
at present on the railway, Enid, Wyddfa, and Padarn,
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