Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

16 November 2015

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page.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

November 2015

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.

The Rail Head Treatment Train seen approaching Llandygai Tunnel on 16 November, viewed from above the recently-installed palisade fence. Picture by Peter Basterfield.

A quiet week

After several weeks with lots of things to report, the week in review has seen little of interest to inspire our contributors, but has seen a lot of rain which briefly blocked the Cambrian and Conwy Valley lines, and a two-day strike by Arriva Trains Wales drivers which was, not for the first time, cancelled at the last minute, thus causing disruption to prospective passengers without losing anyone their wages.

The wrong kind of leaves have being doing their best to bring things to a halt, too. The loco-hauled Manchester - North Wales trains have been replaced by diesel railcars, a pair of Class 150s on at least one occasion, reportedly because the Mk3 coaches have been sliding when the brakes are applied, this creating 'flats' on the wheels which need attention at the works. Monday 16 November saw the return of the loco-hauled 'DfT' with 67 001 in charge, pictured at Llandudno Junction (above) by Peter Lloyd.

The Borderlands line has also been having problems, despite the efforts of the MPV-based Rail Head Treatment Train/ The following bulletin was issued by Arriva on 13 November:
Due to forecasted slippery rails between Wrexham Central and Bidston trains have to run at reduced speed on all lines. Train services running to and from these stations may be cancelled, delayed by up to 60 mins or suspended between Wrexham Central and Bidston. Disruption is expected until the end of the day.

Update: Due to the current, extreme, rail adhesion issues on the gradients through Buckley, one train has broken down and the other train will be used to provide assistance. Buses will replace trains along the entire route, in both directions, until at least 10:30 at Wrexham and 11:30 at Bidston. Please note that buses may take up to 45 minutes longer than trains to complete their replacement journeys. Pat's Coaches will operate all these buses. Please be guided by information posters at stations, regarding the correct location for bus pick-up/set-down points.
The 07:49 Bidston to Wrexham was already 40 minutes late at Hawarden before giving up the ghost. Two return workings in the morning peak were cancelled. The following day, 14 November all trains did run more or less between Wrexham and Bidston, although some were up to 20 minutes late.

The loco-hauled RHTT continues to ply the Cambrian and North Wales routes, as the locos gradually gain a coat of brown gunge. Peter Basterfield photographed 97 302, with cleaned-off number, through the fence at Llandygai tunnel on 9 November.

Llandudno Junction, 13 November (Peter Lloyd).

97 303 keeps smiling at Llandudno Junction, 12 November (Peter Lloyd).


On 13 November at Llandudno Junction, a member of staff mans the ground frame as brightly-coloured SB Rail tamper Thomas Telford departs for Lancaster to prepare for its next work (Peter Lloyd).

Ironbridge B power station, opened in 1932, closes on 18 November. Peter Basterfield visited on 12 November. Above, 66 706 heads 6G62 over the 1863-built Albert Edward bridge over the river Severn into the Power Station, with a load of 'biomass' - originally a coal-fired station, it was converted in 2014 to burn wood fuel.

66 716 heading the 4F61 biomass empties back to Liverpool up the 1 in 70 at Cherry Tree Hill.

Wirral help request

Tony Robinson writes:  'I am currently casting about for pre- and post- war pictures of the Great Western operations on the Wirral to feature in a Backtrack magazine article of the above title. As Birkenhead formed the apex of operations for "Gods Wonderful Railway",  the lines radiating from there as far as Chester/Helsby/West Kirby including the dock lines are full of interesting facets. So far the best publication has been the R.C.T.S. one called The Birkenhead Railway but this falls short on photographic quality.

If you can help, we'll pass on your email address to Tony.

Tony also sends this picture of the Joint Railways War Memorial at Shrewsbury station, designed by Sidney Hunt and cast by F. Osborne & Co.

Liverpool Road station again

Thanks to everyone who wrote about our Liverpool Road station item. Peter Hanson's picture from 4 February 2010 shows 60163 Tornado on the rear of the Royal Train as it is hauled out of the station by a diesel loco. The train was hauled back (minus Royal guests) to Preston, returning later with 60162 leading to Manchester Victoria to collect the passengers and head to Crewe via Denton and Stockport.

Another big steam loco to visit the museum, although not hauling a train, was 70013 Oliver Cromwell which has visited at least twice.  It spent the night there in 2008 prior to hauling the Manchester Victoria to Carlisle leg of the 40th anniversary re-run of BR's last mainline steam train, 1T57, and  spent a week there, between railtours, in March 2012, as recorded in museum volunteer Vince Chadwick's blog.  It is sad that this sort of activity can never happen again.

We asked if readers knew of any other passenger movements in or out of the museum, and we were pleased to receive an email from John Dawson, former press officer for British Rail in the area, who reminds us that the launch train for 'Network NorthWest' formed of diesel unit 150 201, the first to receive the Network NorthWest livery modification (red and grey stripe) departed from Liverpool Road Station on Tuesday 4 April 1989. The empty stock arrived at Liverpool Road at approximately 07:15. where a temporary platform had been built in the station to allow guests to join the train. It conveyed invited guests to Chorley for a a lunch and speeches;the headcode was 1T05 and it departed at 12:00 passing Ordsall Lane Junction at 12:08.

So - does anyone have a picture of that train in Liverpool Road? As for Network NorthWest, its train service frequency through the new Windsor Link proved to be rather too ambitious, and the name and concept seems to fade away some years before Privatisation came along. A few trains and stations, especially the new ones at Woodsmoor and on the Clitheroe line, received the branding, but there are few, if any, reminders today.

Above, a distant memory from 1990: the 'screw' logo as seen on 142 028.

Wandering 'Crab' - report by Richard Putley

As the East Lancs Railway's "Crab" 2-6-0 seems popular with readers, here are a few pictures I took at Medstead & Four Marks station on Sunday 25 October at the Mid Hants Railway when it visited for their gala.

[This view clearly shows the curious mis-match between engine and tender of these locos, the result of marrying a loco designed just after the 1923 grouping of railways under the supervision of George Hughes, who had worked for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, with a tender of Midland Railway design.]

 It was quite a colourful gala with Souther Railway 850  Lord Nelson and ...

... LNER A4 pacific Bittern, both of which go 'out of ticket' shortly. Also visiting was LSWR T9 4-4-0 30120.

ATW tries again for Manchester Airport

Last year Arriva Trains Wales applied for the paths to run North Wales services beyond Manchester Piccadilly to Manchester Airport, and were refused, even though paths had been agreed.  Autumn 2015 sees another application in progress.

Here are some extracts from the document, which can be found (PDF) at this link.
[Network Rail's case paraphrased]

Network Rail does not support Arriva Trains Wales’ application for track access rights to extend any more of its North Wales/Chester-Manchester Piccadilly services to Manchester Airport.

Network Rail initially validated and offered the Train Slots to Arriva Trains Wales. In December 2014 Network Rail’s Sale of Access Rights (SOAR) Panel decided that Network Rail would not support Arriva Trains Wales’ request for track access rights to underpin those validated Train Slots. The Train Slots were withdrawn from the May 2015 Timetable in February 2015. Network Rail subsequently rejected Arriva Trains Wales’ Access Proposal for identical Train Slots for the December 2015 Timetable. The Train Slots were bid for a third time for the May 2016 Timetable.

At a Timetabling Panel Hearing of the Access Disputes Committee on 6th October 2015, the Panel found that Arriva Trains Wales was entitled to have its Access Proposal for the December 2015 Timetable accepted by Network Rail, subject to the normal processes of the Network Code. Taking into consideration the short time before the start of the December 2015 Timetable, the Panel did not direct Network Rail to accommodate the Train Slots in the December 2015 Timetable but did direct Network Rail to accommodate the Train Slots in the May 2016 Timetable, again subject to the normal processes of the Network Code. This application is for track access rights to commence from May 2016.

[The Panel] cited performance and reputational grounds for declining to support Arriva Trains Wales’ request for track access rights. These were reiterated at the recent Timetable Panel Hearing and are summarised as follows.

Performance between Manchester Piccadilly and Slade Lane Jn. Network Rail LNW Route believes that performance between these locations is particularly sensitive and that an extension of Arriva Trains Wales’ services would likely affect train performance in the area and also likely further afield. It cited TransPennine Express’ ‘fifth path’, an additional hourly service between Leeds and Manchester, that has had a severe impact on the operator’s PPM with knock-on effects to other lines and operators. It points out that, with a number of services already running to the Airport, the introduction of additional services will result in tighter headways and a reduction in turnaround times for existing services. It cited the Blackpool North to Manchester Airport service which would have 8 minutes’ turnaround time compared to the current 14 minutes.

The industry’s reputation if services are withdrawn when the rights expire. LNW Route states that there is broad agreement with DfT over the outputs of the work at Manchester Airport (specifically the new 4th platform) in relation to the wider Northern Hub programme, which would enable a new service to run to the Airport from the Calder Valley route via the new Ordsall Chord and the Castlefield Corridor. LNW Route considers that Arriva Trains Wales’ requested rights would have to be removed at that point and so the service extensions would be withdrawn, creating a reputational risk to Network Rail and the wider rail industry in the area.

Arriva Trains Wales comments:

Performance. Network Rail has made several assertions about performance but has not shared any performance analysis which has made it difficult for Arriva Trains Wales to assess Network Rail’s claims. We have been able to consider the performance of our North Wales/Chester-Manchester Service Group as a whole: the Moving Annual Average 0-5 PPM figure for arrivals at Manchester Piccadilly from North Wales/Chester is currently 93.7% which includes longer-distance trains from Llandudno and Holyhead. Network Rail has not elaborated on the relevance of the TPE ‘fifth path’ which we understand was fully supported by Network Rail when it was introduced. The validated Train Slots that Network Rail originally offered Arriva Trains Wales were fully compliant with Train Planning Rules and we expect the same to be the case for May 2016.

Reputation. Network Rail appears to have concluded that capacity exists between Manchester Victoria and Manchester Airport for a new service to operate from the Calder Valley upon completion of the Ordsall Chord. Arriva Trains Wales does not believe that Network Rail’s apparent wish to reserve capacity can be a valid reason for Network Rail to make any decisions on whether to support operators’ requests for access rights. We do not know on what grounds the SOAR panel chose to consider this issue when it is not one of the terms of reference of the Panel. Unused capacity is currently available and so passengers would immediately benefit from the additional journey opportunities that the service extensions will provide. Passengers in the wider Manchester area are likely to experience many changes to services over the next few years and we should not be holding back from delivering a worthwhile improvement to journey opportunities out of a suggested nervousness of possibly confusing people should timetables change in the future. Many of our stakeholders in North Wales and Cheshire have strong aspirations for better connectivity with Manchester Airport to support both business and tourism in the region, and we are keen to make the most of this opportunity to help facilitate this.
What will happen? Who knows. These procedures are 'Byzantine' in the extreme.  Arriva's attitude is understandable, since the timetable for the Manchester service was designed some years ago on the assumption that trains would run to the Airport, but this is only permitted in the early morning and late evening. The rest of the day, valuable rolling stock and crew sit in the siding outside Piccadilly for 45-50 minutes every hour.

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