Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

November 2015

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.

Saturday 21 November Steam to Chester. Steam Dreams 'The Cathedrals Express' London - Chester.

Friday 27 November. Great Western Society NW Branch. John Hobbs. A Black & White presentation, North Wales Circular  1963  - 66  (Steam)

Saturday 28 November Steam to Chester Railway Touring Company 'The Christmas Cheshireman' Bristol - Chester via Shrewsbury

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.

5-6 December Llangollen Railway 'Santa Specials'

Tuesday 8 December North Wales Railway Circle (note: second Tuesday) 'Christmas Bash' The informal evening includes a free buffet and members are invited to bring their own slides and videos to entertain.

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.

5-6 December Llangollen Railway 'Santa Specials'

5-6 December Cambrian Heritage Railways 'Santa Specials' (Sarurdays at Oswestry, Sundays at Lynclys)

6 December Llanberis Lake Railway 'Santa Specials'

12 December Llangollen Railway 'Real Ale Train' 6.30pm departure from Llangollen Station 'Step onboard and soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying the Real Ales on offer at our well stocked bar.  Double return journey – arrive back approximately 9.30pm.  Ticket price includes a free glass and pint for all pre-booked tickets.'

12-13 December Llangollen Railway 'Santa Specials'

12-13 December Bala Lake Railway 'Santa Specials'

12-13 December Llanberis Lake Railway' Santa Specials'

12-13 December Cambrian Heritage Railways 'Santa Specials' (Sarurdays at Oswestry, Sundays at Lynclys)

Monday 14 December  Wrexham Railway Society, Annual General Meeting and Rail Review Entertainment, a mixture of members' slides, DVD's and other
interesting items.

19-20 December Talyllyn Railway 'Santa Specials'

19-20 December Llanberis Lake Railway 'Santa Specials'

19-20 December Cambrian Heritage Railways 'Santa Specials' (Sarurdays at Oswestry, Sundays at Lynclys)

19-22 December Rhyl Miniature Railway 'Santa Specials'

20 December Llangollen Railway 'Santa Specials'

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.

22-24 December Llangollen Railway 'Santa Specials'

24 December Talyllyn Railway 'Santa Specials'

26-29 December Llangollen Railway 'Mince Pie Specials'

January 2016

2-3 January Llangollen Railway 'Winter Warrmers'

Tuesday 5 January North Wales Railway Circle Member Clive Evans starts 2016 with a show of his own work starting back in the sixties.

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

Tuesday 2 February  North Wales Railway Circle 'The First Penrhyn Railway' Dafydd Gwyn, industrial archaeologist, author of The Slate and other publications and fireman on The Bala Lake Railway will be talking about the first tramway that served Penrhyn Quarry.

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.

Tuesday 8 March North Wales Railway Circle 'Railways of Ontario' Chairman Brian Bollington shows a mix of slides and video he has taken of the railway scene in Ontario and Quebec, Canada.  Including main lines, short lines, preserved lines with steam and museums. Due to Saint David's Day bookings this meeting has been arranged for the second Tuesday of the month.

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.

Tuesday 5 April North Wales Railway Circle 'All Steamed Up' Mr Barry Wynne presents a selection of his work from his vast catalogue of phtographs.

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

Tuesday 3 May North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Photographic Competition.

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

Contrast at Altrincham on 5 November: Metrolink tram 3022 passes Network Rail MPV DR 98912 engaged in Rail Head Treatment. Picture by Greg Mape.

Blockades ... Redoubling ... delayed

The weekend of 7-8 November saw the lines from Chester to Rhyl and Wrexham closed for engineering works, with bus replacements in force. Above, 175 112 arrives at Rhyl with a shuttle service from Holyhead. Picture by Roly High.

After decanting its passengers, the driver took the train forward towatfs the starter signal, on seeing the ground disc signal cleared (left) and after changing ends took the train back into Platform 2 ready for departure (Roly High).

At this time of year, good quality vehicles are available for road replacements. LC14 WYN, of Lloyds of Machynlleth, the company which now also runs bus services in the Machynlleth area, is a VDL Bova Futura.  Other coach operators were from a wide area of North Wales, Cheshire, and Shropshire (Roly High).

The Saltney Junction 'Blockade' is to continue through the week to 15 November, with some through North Wales - South Wales trains (including the Holyhead - Cardiff loco-hauled) running via Crewe and others starting from Wrexham. Local stations between Crewe and Shrewsbury are being mostly served with extra calls by diverted Birmingham - Holyhead service, although at Crewe on 9 November there was little attempt to infororm passengers of this. Ostensibly this closure was to carry out the final work to bring the double track between Saltney and Rossett into use, but it is becoming clear that all is not well with this project. A date of 23 November had been previously given, but now we are hearing of 'Early 2016.' We understand that south of Saltney the old 'down' line track, still has to be ballasted and tamped.  Thanks to Mike Stone and George Jones for help with the above.

North Wales 'Crab' - pictures by John Hobbs

In our last issue we reported on the East Lancashire Railway, and pondered whether the 'Crab' 2-6-0 13065 (nicknamed 'the dressed crab' for its crimson lake livery) had ever been seen in North Wales while in British Railways service (in black) as 42765. Well, of course it was, and John Hobbs has the pictures to prove it.  Above is 42765 at Prestatyn on the 20 July 1964, it had arrived at Birkenhead depot in May and would have been a reasonably frequent visitor to Wales if only to Mold Junction Yard. On this occasion it must have travelled to Holyhead and is seen with train 4A18 the 11.45 am  Holyhead to London (Broad Street) meat train which would have been worked to Crewe Basford Hall at least.

42765 powering the 11.25 am (Saturdays only) Newcastle to Llandudno on Saturday 1 August 1964, at Chester, again visiting North Wales.

A picture by Norman Kneale of 42765 at Llandudno Junction can be found over at Geoff Poole's 6G Llandudno Junction website.

The other machine featured in Ken Robinson's ELR report, 2-6-4T 80080 rests by the coaling plant at Croes Newydd (Wrexham) shed on 30 June 1964; this loco is today on long term hire to the East Lancashire Railway. Its nominal home for maintenance is the Midland Railway Centre; although it has not been there in some time as the owners visit Bury to undertake repairs as required.

RCTS Meeting in Chester on Monday 16 November

The Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch of the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society holds its next meeting at the 'Town Crier' opposite Chester railway station on Monday evening 16 November at 7.30 p.m. Railway author Steve Batty from Selby presents a variety of railway scenes across Northern England which will highlight the many changes in trains and their liveries in the seven year period 2002 – 2009.

Copies of the Society’s latest publication on the Stanier Black 5s part 2 at £29.95 (£27 for members) willl be on sale as well as the revised copy of the 'Jubilees' title.

Please note the continuing car parking difficulties at the 'Town Crier' where all spaces can be taken up 45 minutes before the start of the meeting. Visitors will be most welcome to attend on donating £2 to help defray meeting expenses and further details can be obtained by telephoning 0151-608 4296.

Metrolink single line working

Last issue's item about Manchester Metrolink was a little vague about the methods of working through the St Peter's Square temporary single-line section. Our thanks to Jack Bowley for the following elucidation.
The token, which is a piece of plastic engraved with information on it, is shown to the first of however many trams (normally three) are passing through in one direction. The last tram to pass through before the flow changes direction takes the token.

It's a very basic form of the old-style 'Staff and ticket' systems once used on some railway lines, where the first tram is shown the token and, under authority from Control, proceeds down the line. The nature of TMS (Traffic Management System) that the network uses allows trams to run close together. By seeing the token, the driver can be assured the section ahead is free for him/her to traverse. When they get to the end of the section, they give a sign to the 'signaller' by using two fingers pointing to their eyes as an indication that they've visually seen the token. This repeats until the last tram to pass through in that group who takes the token down to the other end and it all starts again.
This same method was used on Balloon Street when the Victoria - Shudehill Interchange line was a temporary single line section. There are several permanent single-line sections on Metrolink, for which more permanent systems are used. They include some one-platform termini, the short branch to MediaCityUK, a length at Newton Heath station alongside the Network Rail line to Dean Lane refuse depot....

Seen in Altrincham

... the most interesting is the section through Navigation Road station, where Metrolink took over one of the two tracks of the Stockport - Chester main line. Both trains and trams on this section, which includes two full-barrier level crossings, are controlled by Network Rail signals worked ffrom Deansgate Junction signalbox. Above, the rainy scene at Navigation Road on 5 November as a Manchester-bound tram is overtaken by the 08:20 (SX) biomass train from Liverpool Bulk Terminal to Drax power station, formed of custom-built high-capacity biomass hoppers hauled by 66 709 Sorrento, with its artistic livery featuring a ship of the Medite Shipping Company.

Also now passing this way Mondays-Fridays, in the opposite direction, is a new flow of coal from Immingham Import Terminal to Fiddler's Ferry power station. Greg Mape photographed 66 518, also on 5 November, approaching Altrincham having just left the single-line section. The crossover in the foreground connects the Network Rail and Metrolink systems: it has occasionally used to transfer ballast wagons.  Note the raised check-rail to the left of the crossing, used by trams, which is Metrolink's standard to fit the tram wheels, which are made to a special cross-section allowing them to work on railway track as well as grooved-rail street track.

Llangollen remembers

Llangollen Railway pannier tank 6430, back home from its visit to the East Lancashire line,  was on active service on the weekend of 7-8 November, carrying the railway's 'Remembrance' headboard. Above, the train arries at Berwyn. Picture by Peter Dickinson.

The waiting room at Berwyn on 7 November (Peter Dickinson). As a mark of respect, a commemorative poppy wreath is on display at Berwyn during the first half of November. The station tea room and facilities at Berwyn, complete with a traditional coal fire in the waiting room, were open for the weekend: the significance of the wreath is revealed in a press release from the railway:
In the underpass to the Chain Bridge at the eastern end of Berwyn station, there are poignant reminders of local sacrifice during the First World War. The white-glazed bricks that line the underpass seem to have taken pencil marks readily, with some of the still-legible messages dating from around 1914.

One message is signed by R.Roberts in July 1913. Next to it and dated 25 December 1914, is written Lance Corporal R.Roberts – suggesting he had enlisted, been promoted and returned for Christmas leave.  One message says “Berlin last stop”, another is signed “Balls from Belgium”. One is signed A. J. Candy – an Alfred James Candy is honoured on Llangollen’s War Memorial (unveiled by Capt. Best of Vivod on July 8th 1923) as having fallen in action. Four out of eleven soldiers’ names that have been researched appear on the war memorial.

On Remembrance Sunday 8 November,  6430 seen passing Berwyn in dismal weather conditions with the 1pm departure from Llangollen. (George Jones). This was the penultimate public train service of the 2015 season with the next trains being the Santa Specials from 5 December and Mince Pie Specials from 26 December.

The new 'viewing area' which has been created at Berwyn Tunnel East (Peter Dickinson).

Liverpool Road station v. The Ordsall Chord

Our picture, courtesy of a driver's phone, shows (to the left) the site of the connecting line into Liverpool Road station, Manchester, which has now been removed. It had been removed once before a few years ago, but then re-instated. We last reported on this project back in November 2012; time for an update.

The building of the Ordsall Chord - based on a 1970s idea called the Castlefield Curve, will allow trains from Manchester Victoria to reach Piccadilly via a somewhat roundabout route, and arrive on the correct side of the station to continue to the Airport. This is thought to be an essential part of the 'Northern Hub' and the 'Northern Powerhouse', although since North Wales is not considered part of this, the plan to run trains from the Calder Valley line to Manchester Airport has served recently to 'scupper' Arriva's hopes for a North Wales - Airport service, although this subject has not been dropped (watch this space).  It has been suggested that North Wales trains are to be diverted to serve Manchester Victoria, but it's clear whether this is still planned.

The chosen route for the line cuts brutally across the site of Grade 1-listed Liverpool Road station, between the station and the 1830-built stone bridge over the Irwell River. This will not only block the visitor's view out towards the bridge, and abolish any chance of a main line connection, but also cut off the points and headshunt which currently allow the museum's steam train to visit both sides of the site. The museum management have been persuaded to drop their initial objection, and have been kindly granted £3 million for improvements to the museum, which hopefully will make more of its railway origins than at present.

A consulting engineer called Mark Whitby has spent much time, money and effort, with moral - if not financial - support from English Heritage - attempting to force the adoption of an alternative route which would run further from the historic area, but require the existing Liverpool line to be moved to a new viaduct. The illustration above shows the approved route (top) and Mr Whitby's proposal (bottom). However, his legal challenge has failed:  judgement was handed down in October by Mrs Justice Lang in the Planning Court in London. She dismissed all three claims made by Whitby; two statutory challenges of the Transport & Works Act order, one of the Listed Building Consent and a judicial review of the planning permission. Mrs Justice Lang also refused permission for Whitby to appeal.

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened in 1830, was the World's first inter-city railway, and is still very much in use today, recently electrified. Manchester - North Wales trains use the section between Ordsall Lane Junction and Earlestown. The two original terminal stations were, however, reduced to goods stations in the early years as connections with other routes were established.

Manchester (Liverpool Road) continued in use for goods,  latterly including commodities as varied as alcoholic drinks and sand, from 1844 until 1975 when British Rail deemed it surplus to requirements.  One passenger train which visited during that period was the 'Old Manchester Railtour' run by the Manchester Locomtive Society and the Stephenson Locomotive Society on 12 May 1956.  The picture above showing the train in Liverpool Road is by Harold Bowtell, from the Manchester Locomotive Society collection.

Fortunately, thanks to hard work by many local politicians, historians and enthusiasts, the site - which still includes the original passenger buildings - was retained and turned into what is is now known as the Museum of Science and Industry. (It seems that new boss Sally McDonald has thankfully dropped the trendy 'mosi' moniker.) Over time, the various surviving buildings were conserved and used as galleries for the museum; sensibly, a rail connection was retained, although a resignalling scheme left only a single connection with the 'Up Bolton' line, meaning that trains could only enter the museum from the north or west; any train from the Manchester direction in recent times would have had to run some distance to Salford Crescent station to reverse.  The final track layout in the area did not permit a train to depart from Liverpool Road and take the historic route to Liverpool, unfortunately. It seems that the designers only considered the movement of exhibits into or out of the museum, rather than any passenger service. How many such exhibit movements ever took place is not known; not many, we suspect.

The first passenger train into the site since it closed to freight was the Branch Line Society's 'Mancunian', one of the shortest railtours ever at just 3½ miles total. This ran on 13 December 1980, after the site had been sold to the Greater Manchester Council, but nearly three years before the re-opening as a museum. It ran from and to Manchester Victoria station,  reportedly via a reversal at Ordsall Lane freight depot Down Reception Siding. There must have been a different track layout at that time; Salford Crescent and the link line from there to Ordsall Lane were not yet built.  The Six Bells Junction website refers to the rolling stock as a 'BRCW 3-car DMU' although a picture on the Disused Stations site clearly shows a Derby-built Class 108 unit.

The next train carrying passengers to arrive - please tell us if this is wrong - was 30 years later in 2010, when Prince Charles managed this very rare track aboard the Royal Train.  The link made the news in January 2013 when West Coast Railways loco 47 500 derailed and caught fire on the main line at nearby Ordsall Lane Junction.  After the fire was put out and the loco re-railed, it was moved to the museum connecting line, and hauled into the Museum by the resident battery loco, where it became an added attraction for visitors until taken away by road some time later. See our 28 January 2013 issue for a report.

The Branch Line Society managed to run a train in from Carnforth in 2013; the picture above by Vince Chadwick showing 37 706 and the place where the new line will cut across, is from our 4 November 2013 issue. And so we say goodbye to a piece of history. How much the new line will actually damage the heritage environment, as claimed by its opponents, will be revealed when it is built. Perhaps we can at least hope that passing trains on the new line will be visible and photograph-able from the museum, whilst we are assured that the internal steam trips will continue, even if their run is much shortened.

Some people have suggested a Porthmadog-style flat crossing for occasional use, but the new line will be on a curve and therefore 'canted' with one rail higher than the other, which realistically rules out that option.

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