Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 September 2015

Last issue


RSS feed RSS

Link to this issue

Share this issue

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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            

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.

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.

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 40s remembered              

Monday 16 November  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel 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.

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

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
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.

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.

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   

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

May 2016

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

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 Ikin).

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' a lozenge-shaped 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.

Autumn Chieftain

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.

Rhyl scenes

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.

Northern Belle

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 line.

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. An article in the 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, 22 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' variety (see 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 is doubtful.

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 native Glasgow.

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 Llandudno.

Approaching Llandudno Pier. Locals keen to enjoy an afternoon cruise with Waverley, wait patiently as the ship prepares to dock at the small jetty below.

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, leaving its 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 David's Flickr site.)

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 built in
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 the 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 since.

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, all built in Switzerland.

North Wales Coast home pageArchive | Previous Notice Board