Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

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           

The Conwy Valley Explorer seen from the river bridge at Tal-y-Cafn. Picture by Greg Mape.

Conwy Valley Explorer

The West Coast 'Conwy Valley Explorer' excursion on Saturday 10 October ran from Hereford (dep. 06:00) to Blaenau Ffestiniog, picking up additionally at Ledbury, Great Malvern, Worcester Foregate, Droitwich, Barnt Green, Walsall & Wolverhampton. Above, 47 851 leads the outbound train, 1Z10, through Rhyl. Picture by Roly High.

47 802 on the rear at Rhyl (Roly High).

Preparing to depart for Blaenau Ffestiniog, with 47 802 now leading (Peter Lloyd).

Tal-y-Cafn level crossing (Greg Mape).


66 174 powering through Ruabon on 8 October with the evening steel coils for Shotton. Picture by Martin Evans.

The 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead passes Llanfair PG with 67 014, on 8 October (Richard Fleckney).

Train 1H89, 13:01 Holyhead - Manchester, departing Llandudno Junction on 8 October with 67 014 on the rear. Picture by Peter Lloyd, who writes: 'I will send another shot in a few weeks to see the full autumn colour change  ... and possibly also a change in loco colour.'

Two 125mph machines on shed at Holyhead, in the early hours of 8 October, photographed for us by someone permitted in the area: 67 014 on the Manchester coaches is visiting for fuel.

The Premier Express set, with loco 67 001, was brought out on the morning of Sunday 11 October to work an 09:25 Holyhead - Cardiff special for the World Cup rugby match, arriving at the capital 30 minutes late. Greg Mape was on hand with his camera at Abergele. Gwrych Castle still slumbers in the background, but there are signs of life: volunteers have been working on the restoration of the Gardener's Tower, and there a plans for visitor centre, with funds available from the offshore wind farm projects.

Heading past Abergele station (Greg Mape).

The 15:37 Pwllheli - Birmingham International makes its way across Barmouth Bridge on 9 October, seen from the footpath near Morfa Mawddach by Ian Wright.

RHTT returns

The Rail Head Treatment Train re-appeared on the scene with the autumn timetable change, again worked by Network Rail Class 97/3 locos as its route includes a trip to from Shrewsbury to Machynlleth and back requiring ERTMS signalling capacity. Above, the first RHTT of the year heads west past the former Mold Junction loco shed on 7 October with 97 302 leading and 97 303 on the rear.  Top-and-tail working is used because of the number or reversals required in the itinerary:

Crewe depot (d. 19:40) - Shrewsbury - Machynlleth (23:24 - 23:34, reverse) - Shrewsbury (01:10 - 01:28, reverse) - Craven Arms (02:25 - 02:31, reverse) - Shrewsbury - Wrexham - Bidston (05:15 - 05:20, reverse) - Wrexham - Shrewsbury (06:50 - 07:27, reverse) - Crewe  (07:45 - 08:07) - Chester (09:26) - Llandudno Junction (10:25 - 10:45), Bangor (11:11), Holyhead (11:13 - 12:11, reverse), Chester (14:09), Crewe depot (arr.15:01)

Unfortunately, 97 303 failed at Valley on the morning of 7 October, and the train, with 97 302 on the other end, was 'dumped' in the sidings at Holyhead, and spent the night there, as seen above.

Richard Fleckney photographed the train at noon on the next day, 8 October, approaching Llanfair PG, having been restarted from Holyhead with 97 303 shunted 'inside' for the journey to Crewe  ...

... and slowing for the single line across the Britannia bridge.

The next day's train, overnight 8/9 October, did not run, for a reason given as 'due to a problem with rail adhesion' - surely that's what the train is meant to solve? Not that there are many falling leaves around just now. One way to check the RHTT's running on a given day is to use the address

Replacing 'yyyy' with the year, 'mm' with the month and 'dd' with the day of departure from Crewe, i.e the day before it is due on the North Wales coast line.

RHTT underground - by John Hobbs

I 'fell over' this Rail Head Treatment Train (RHTT)  at Liverpool James Street on 8 October at around 10:20, it stayed all the time I was there before returning under the river, and assume this will apply every day it operates. I have been using James Street for over 60 years; originally as a route home from Liverpool Exchange Station, having been waiting  for a 'Clan' to arrive from Glasgow; but it usually turned up with a rotten old unnamed 'Patriot' with a parallel boiler!
In all that time I have only ever seen electric trains at James Street, even though, they were of course of several generations, going back to the Westinghouse trains of the old Mersey Railway.  However in all that time I have never seen anything other than electric traction in the tunnels  under Liverpool.

The formation of the train is 'Multi Purpose Vehicles' DR98902 & DR98952 working the 04:20 Wigan - Chester - Birkenhead Central - Chester - James Street - New Brighton - James Street - West Kirby - James Street - Helsby - Hooton - Chester - Wigan.

See 'Real Time Trains for timings. On the principle described in the previous item:

Just to add a bit of nostalgia: a couple of Mersey Railway tickets. The Mersey Railway existed until nationalisation on 1 January 1948, when it became part of British Railways; a few tickets like these survived into the 60s for issuing at various Booking Offices but definitely not for use to travel (well not by me anyway!). These two were issued in 1967.

Possession on the Chester to Birkenhead - pictures by Roly High

During an engineering possession on 20 September, one of Network Rail's mobile flash-butt welding  units was deployed on the Birkenhead side of Capenhurst station. Network Rail now has several of three machines, which greatly speed up the welding together of railways, previously done by the slow manually-controlled process of Thermite welding.

In flash-butt welding, the rail ends are forced together and an electric current passed across the joint; electrical resistance at the joint creates heat which melts the metal and fuses the two rails together, all in two minutes. The process is explained in a very interesting video made by Rail Engineer magazine.

Although a 'road-rail' machine, the unit was brought from York on this road vehicle.

Further along the line, on the Birkenhead side of the old Upton-by-Chester station, tree cutting and chipping were under way.

Victorian Ffestiniog - Pictures by Alan Crawshaw

Some views taken on 10 October, on the occasion of the Ffestiniog Railway's Victorian Weekend. Above, a curiosity: wind power.

Linda and Blanche double-heading at Tan-y-Bwlch.

Prince at Dduallt with crew in Victorian garb.

The legend of 37 422

In response to our notes about 37 422 Robert F. FairlieRichard Fleckney sends these two views of him running round his train in Bangor in the days of the loco-hauled services from 1993.  37 422 was one of the few to receive a truly North Wales-related name, being named in a ceremony in May 1993 at Blaenau Ffestiniog after the designer of the Ffestiniog Railway's articulated locos. Recognition at a distance was easy due to the small sub-title 'Locomotive Engineer 1831 - 1885' and the Ffetsiniog crest abve the nameplate.

An interesting feature of the timetables of that time was that some trains which normally terminated at Bangor could, if required by the Irish ferry traffic situation, continue to Holyhead if arranged by 'Control'.

Turning a train at Bangor is a process requiring several stages, as there is no crossover at the east end of the station.  After running round the the train in Platform 2, the loco would propel the train into Belmont tunnel and then haul it forward over the crossover into Platform 1 ready for departure back towards Chester.  Our ancient (and rather fuzzy) YouTube video 'An hour at Bangor in the golden age' shows the movements.

Such a move is, we are told, now prohibited for a loco-hauled train, even today's Class 67 push-pull ones, as the driver cannot walk through the train to drive into the station; if it is required, a second driver must be provided. Presumably that rule also applies to two 'Voyager' units coupled together.

Arriva for Sale?

According to a report in 11 October's German ARD network television programme 'Westpol' there was a meeting in Frankfurt on 8 October in which Rüdiger Grube, the chairman of Deutsche Bahn AG, presented a new strategy for the railway's future. Reportedly this included the possibility of selling some or all of the DB's foreign interests, which of course include Arriva Trains Wales, CrossCountry, DB Schenker UK and Chiltern Railways.

This is because the home network is badly in need of investment - it is claimed that the money which has been spent abroad in setting up these companies and joint ventures could and should have been used at home.

The current service leaves a lot to be desired - on 5 October a signal box fire in Mühlheim an der Ruhr, caused by a technical defect, delayed all traffic between Köln and the surrounding area and Berlin for hours - and the effects are still being felt. This was held up as an example of the many problems currently facing the DB AG.

In the Severn Valley - report by Peter Dickinson

On Sunday 11 October, the Severn Valley Railway welcomed the return of ex-Great Western Railway Collett Open Brake Third No.650. Built in 1940, it is one of two built to run with the final GWR excursion sets although by the time they were built, they went straight into general use. This carriage ended its days as a dormitory for the Gloucester Boys Club at Kerne Bridge station on the former Ross and Monmouth Railway.
Following an extensive restoration back to its original condition by the Great Western (SVR) Association, complete with Art Deco style interior, No.650 was launched by a special charter train between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. Appropriately ex-GWR Small Prairie tank No.4566 headed the charter, departing Kidderminster at 11.15am in glorious sunshine and prominently displaying a 650 reporting number on its smokebox.

The charter was held slightly at Arley (above) on the Down working, whilst waiting for another GWR loco 7812 Erlestoke Manor to pass. I decided to follow the train up to Highley and record the trains passing the station.

60163 Tornado was the first to come into view, heading a Mark 1 rake towards Kidderminster...

...  followed by  pannier tank 1501 on the Dining train.

When 4566 with the 650 Charter service arrived, it was shunted into the station sidings to allow service trains to pass enabling plenty of photographic opportunities.

In Mid-afternoon I headed to Northwood Lane in Bewdley which resulted in some pleasant autumnal scenes. 1501 returned bunker-first with the Dining Train ...

... followed by Erlestoke Manor on the LMS rake with two Mark 1s immediately behind the loco.

Running around half an hour late, 4566 appeared in the late afternoon sun heading the 650 charter's Highley to Kidderminster leg.

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