Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

05 October 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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.

October 2015

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 40’s 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 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 29  January Great Western Society NW Branch W.J. Denning: The West Somerset Railway, a personal view. 

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 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 26 February Great Western Society NW Branch  Group Annual Meeting, afterwards possibly Members slides.

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.

Friday 25 March  Great Western Society NW Branch  Railway Images, Thirty Miles around Warrington, Barrie Rushton.

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.

Friday 29 April    Great Western Society NW Branch    A tribute to Tom Lewis, Railway cameraman 1947-1970, Paul Shackcloth.

May 2016

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

Arriva's 14:57 to Llandudno leaves Blaenau Ffestiniog on 28 September. Picture, from the mountainside above Oakeley quarry, by Dave Sallery.

Not much news from the Coast, so here's some wider-ranging contributions. Hope you like them.- Charlie

37 422 returns

In response to our item about the revival of former North Wales loco 37 422 in East Anglian service, Roger Carvell sends some photographic proof, taken at Norwich (above)...

... and Great Yarmouth, on 22 August. Roger writes: 'She (or he) is certainly back in action in East Anglia, topping and tailing with a 37 classmate on Mk2 coach shuttles from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Here is 37422 at Great Yarmouth on August 22, 2015 with the driver already climbing in after a fairly quick turn round of about ten minutes. Services are
run by Abellio Greater Anglia with DRS supplying the traction and rolling stock.

'Great Yarmouth terminus station has much in common with Llandudno, with station canopies cut back to almost the station building- and retaining semaphore signalling. Like Llandudno, Great Yarmouth has had it tough in recent times but it is retaining a hold on East Anglian family holidaymakers, anxious for a 'toe dip' in the North Sea - this contributor did!'

We can't resist a couple of archive pictures at this point. Here's a typical scene at Crewe, Platform 9, circa 1995, with Robert F. Fairlie just arrived from the Coast (Charlie Hulme).

Back again in time to 1987, as 37 422, yet to be named but sporting a 'scottie dog' , runs round its train at Fort William (Charlie Hulme).

Picture query - answered

We asked where this picture, from the Manchester Locomotive Society collection, was taken. An hour after uploading it we had several answers, all saying 'Barmouth South.' Thanks to everyone who wrote: the key to the mystery is to realise that there was once a footbridge - the photographer's vantage point - which no longer exists.  The signalman prepares to collect the token for the single-line section from Morfa Mawddach.

The signal arm visible behind the box is the distant for Barmouth North. To the left is the line serving the 'excursion platform'. 4-6-0 75002, working a stopping service according to the position of the headlamp, carries the shed code '6F' which was Machynlleth, altered from 89C in 1963 when the Cambrian system was transferred to the London Midland region, and at the end of 1966 the loco was sent away to Croes Newydd depot.

The signalbox, of the 'Dutton Type 1' design disappeared from Barmouth a few years ago -despite being a 'listed structure' to be re-erected at Glyndyfwrdwy on the Llangollen line.

Gobowen, 28 September - pictures by Tim Rogers

On 28 September, 158 832 passes Gobowen with 1D15, 15:09 Birmingham International to Holyhead; Tim's viewpoint for these views is the footbridge to the north of the station.

175 002 on 1V97 14:34 Holyhead to Cardiff Central. The house seen behind the train has the look or a railway structure, although it now stands at the end of a cul-de-sac. It seems too large for a crossing-keeper's cottage, though. There was a level crossing there, but the road was truncated when the new A5 road which crosses the bridge in the background was built. The on the other side of the line was removed, incorporated into a field.

66 037 rolls over the level crossing with 6M86 09:23 Margam to Dee Marsh steel train. The main station building, a grade II listed structure, was designed by Oswestry-born Thomas Mainwaring Penson. It was built between 1846 and 1848 by the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway the 'Florentine' (or Italianate) style; the platform canopy was added later by the Great Western Railway. Penson was responsible for many notable buildings on the Chester - Shrewsbury axis, including the Grosvenor Hotel in Chester.  When built, Gobowen was the station for the important town of Oswestry, as the branch line to that town had yet to be opened.

37 425 Sir Robert McAlpine/Concrete Bob and 37 218 pass under the A5 bridge with 1Z38, 14:14 Carlisle to Exeter St Davids. Pathfinder 'Autumn Chieftain' Tour (see also last issue). Gobowen has an interesting mix of semaphore signals, a London Midland upper-quadrant on the left faces a Western Region lower-quadrant on the right. In British Railways days, Shrewsbury - Chester was transferred from the Western to the Midland Region in 1963.

(Additional notes by Charlie Hulme)

Oxenholme and the 'Lakes Express'

We've already had two items and several corrections to our item about the 'Lakes Express' charter of 17 September and its trials and tribulations. Sadly we made another error in the corrections (22 September issue). The rescue diesel loco came from Crewe, not Southall.

We mentioned the question of why the train, it having been decided that the empty stock would turn round and pick up the return passengers from Oxenholme instead of Penrith, it had to travel northward for 13 miles to the loops at Tebay to turn round. We are indebted to Simon Cross for the following:

'The main issue is the signalling and associated timetabling.   Firstly, it is not possible to start a southbound (Up) passenger service from the Diwn main line at Oxenholme as there is no signal to depart the train. The ground position light, signal CE49,  if you were allowed to use it, has only one route into the Down Siding which also means you can't shunt from Down to Up. There is also
no 'Limit of Shunt' marker on the Up Main beyond the station to complete this move if you could.

'It is not possible to use the branch Platform 3, either, if there is a train anywhere on the Windermere branch as the single line token is required. I also get the feeling from looking at the diagrams that the train would have to work to "Windermere" to clear the track circuits in the station and release the platform starter CE51 for a departure. Even if that were  is possible then the current working timetable would have to be amended. the branch is "occupied" from 06:20 to 11:12, then 11:18 to 1822 and finally from 18:45 to 23:06, again blocking any use of Platform 3.'

Ultrasonic notes - by Charlie Hulme

The arrival on 30 September of an Ultrasonic Test Train in the goods loop at Stockport station for a lunchtime break while working from Derby to Longsight offered a chance for a closer-than-usual view of this train. At the head, 97 301 is one of the four Network Rail Class 37 locos fitted with ERTMS cab signalling equipment for use on the Cambrian lines; they are often used on other Network Rail jobs when not thus required.

97 301 was not initially fitted with the Ansaldo equipment used on 97 302 - 304 and Arriva's 158 railcars, it was intended for another company who wished to prove the 'interoperability' of their equipment. In 2013 it received Hitachi equipment, and was successfully passed for operation. The close-up shots the framework installed in the position once occupied by a water tank for the boiler which supplied steam for heating carriages before British Rail converted to electric heating.

The sign reads: 'Caution, Isolate ETCS from the vehicle power supply before working under the train of within 1 Metre of the radar and balise antenna'.

The whole train. Behind the loco is 6264, converted from 'BG' guard/parcel van 80971 to carry a diesel generator which powers the equipment in Ultrasonic Test coach 999606, also known as UTU4. Nearest the camera is driving trailer - or remote train operating vehicle - 9703,  one of a batch originally converted to this form for use on push-pull passenger trains in Scotland, at later used in East Anglia. Until Network Rail took on some of these vehicles, such trains ran with a loco at each end.

999306 was built as the motor coach of a Southern Region 4-CIG electric multiple unit: one of the heavy-duty bogies, designed to carry the weight of two motors, and the beam which held the third-rail pick-up shoes, have been adapted to carry the ultrasonic transmitters and sensors which detect any faults in the rails. The label above the box on the right-hand axlebox reads 'Tacho B' and on the device at the right hand end a label reads 'KLD Orian VIII - UTU4'.  The KLDlabs company makes a range of track recording equipment: ORIAN stands for 'Optical Rail Inspection and ANalysis', and 'The video cameras capture full cross-sectional rail profiles from the base/web fillet area up to the top-of-rail surface to allow comprehensive and accurate rail measurements.'

A strange occurance involving the Ultrasonic testing programme arose on 3 October involving the 'Heart of Wales' line from Craven Arms to Pantyffynnon.  It seems that someone at Network Rail discovered that the line had not been visited by a UTU train for some time, and its 'Compliance Certificate' was about to expire at midnight that day. An Emergency Speed Restriction to 30 mph was implemented over the whole route, with the result that trains on Sunday 4 October all arrived at their destinations around an hour late. Arrangements were made to hire buses to supplement the service on Monday 5 October, but it proved possible to summon up a test train, which ran from Shrewsbury to Cardiff on Sunday evening, reportedly worked by a Colas Rail loco, 37 219, following which the resiction was removed, apart from two short sections.

Dickens on the Ffestiniog - press release

Step back in time on the Ffestiniog Railway as special guest Gerald Dickens performs two acts based on the works of his great-great-grandfather - Charles Dickens! As part of the Victorian Weekend event on 9-11 October we are proud to announce Mr Dickens will be with us for the first time performing 'A Child’s Journey with Dickens' and 'The Signalman' on the Friday evening (9 October) at Tan-y-Bwlch station.

Mr Dickens will be staying in Blaenau Ffestiniog so there is a real local connection to this event as we push the Victorian theme in the wider community. Last year's Victorian Weekend was a massive success and we pride ourselves on working with the local community to raise awareness of the region and to bring visitors to the area.

Charles Dickens is well known for his ghost stories but ‘The Signalman’ is the most atmospheric of them all.  He wrote it just a year after being involved in the horrific Staplehurst rail disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 10 fellow passengers and left countless wounded.  Lucky to survive, Charles Dickens tended to the injured and dying and the terrible sights and sounds of that day haunted him for the rest of his life. Perhaps his experiences on that dreadful afternoon are the reason that this short story is so compelling - the signal box, the tunnel, even the telegraph wires seem to haunt him at every turn.

Refreshments will be available from station licensed café during interval. A special vintage train will run on the day from Harbour Station to Tan-y-Bwlch at 19:15. The return journey arrives back in Porthmadog at 22:55.

Adults £22. Children £14. For information and tickets contact the Booking Office on 01766 516024. For more Victorian Weekend information visit

Borderlands shelters - notes by Marc Jones

Having not caught a train from my local station at Penyffordd for a while I was surprised to see that the waiting shelters on the both platforms had been repainted in black and cream which looks suspiciously like the colours of the LNWR. I was under the impression that the line came under the auspices of the LNER and was intrigued by the choice of colours or is it just coincidence? I enclose a rather foggy picture of the shelter on the Bidston side taken with my phone and was wondering if any readers could enlighten us.

On an entirely different matter I see that the original station buildings at Buckley are for sale for £115,000. Searching for the buildings on brings up an interesting if somewhat depressing image of the front of the building which has been rather un-tastefully modernised in the intervening years.

Out and about - pictures by Greg Mape

The two versions of the latest Merseyrail livery, illustrated at Chester on 3 October. Above, 507 021 ...

... and 508 143. What's the actual difference between a 507 and a 508? Not a lot, except that the 508s were originally built as 4-car trains for the south London area, whey they appear to been unpopular with the operators and later transferred, minus one coach, to Merseyside. One of the only identification features of the 508 was the blanked-off passeenger door-open buttons in the vestibules, but these have, we understand, now been removed. 508s and 507s can be seen working together as 6-car trains.

The coaches left behind were incorporated into a batch Class 455 units which still operate for South West Trains and can be spotted by the different profile of the ex-508 vehicle.

Manchester on 5 October: Class 319s pass on the viaduct between Oxford Road and Deansgate, with new buildings in the background.

5 October, and the Conservatives are having their conference in the old Manchester Central Station and associated buildings, so the area is barred off to pedestrians...

... which, combined with the engineering work for the new St Peter's Square station, leaves the Metrolink trams 'suqeezing through' on a single line barriered on both sides.

By contrast, Blackpool tram 736, The Frigate HMS Blackpool , seen in illuminated mode on 3 October.

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