05 October 2015
Link to this issue
Share this issue
Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page
This list may be out of date if you
are reading an archived page. For
the current list visit our Calendar.
Thursday 8 October Llandudno
Valley Railway Society W Gordon Davies: American Wanderings:-
Friday 9 October Altrincham Electric
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 29 January Great
Western Society NW Branch W.J. Denning: The West Somerset Railway,
a personal view.
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
Great Western's line to Birmingham Snow Hill, also the West Coast,
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 26 February Great Western
Society NW Branch Group Annual Meeting, afterwards possibly
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
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.
Friday 25 March Great Western
Society NW Branch Railway Images, Thirty Miles around
Warrington, Barrie Rushton.
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
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
Friday 29 April Great
Branch A tribute to Tom Lewis,
Railway cameraman 1947-1970, Paul Shackcloth.
Thursday 12 May Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Ray Bailey: Steam into
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
'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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 rightmove.co.uk
brings up an interesting if somewhat depressing image of the front of
the building which has been rather un-tastefully modernised in the
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.
home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board