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11 January 2016
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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.
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.
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.
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 photographs.
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.
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.
Bury Bolton Street, East Lancashire Railway, on 8 January, with Flying Scotsman making a test run on its first day after completion of overhaul by Riley Engineering. On the left is 'Crab' 2-6-0 13065. Picture by Greg Mape.
The Conwy Valley line remains closed for flood repairs, with replacement buses running. Network Rail estimate re-opening by 25 January at the earliest.
Above: Virgin 'Voyager' 221 108 Sir Ernest Shackleton has just arrived at Shrewsbury at 12:50 from London Euston on 11 January. There is pressure on the authorities to extend this service to Wrexham, a meeting was held on Friday 8 January in Oswestry to discuss the way forward by several local MPs and members of the public.
Rhyl footbridge farce
On the afternoon of 11 January, it was reported that rivets were noticed falling from Rhyl station footbridge, and it was subsequently declared unsafe for use. There is no other pedestrian access to down platform 2, so train crews were instructed not to stop at Rhyl. Passengers were advised to continue to Colwyn Bay and either return by train to Rhyl or catch a (limited) bus service back.
The last three westbound trains of the day - 1D41 21:36 Crewe - Holyhead, 1W98 19:34 Cardiff - Holyhead, and 1D19 22:55 Birmingham - Holyhead pass Rhyl after the last 'up' trains have run, so it seems to have been between Arriva Trains Wales and Network Rail controllers that these services would call at Rhyl, using 'up' platform 1 by means of the crossover east of the station. There is no crossover west of the station, so after setting down / picking up passengers, these trains had go back over the eastern crossover - a move controlled only by a ground signal - reversing again to continue towards Colwyn Bay. Thanks to quick work by the drivers and signaller, this was achieved with very little loss of time.]
Once the line is re-signalled to modern standards, it is to be hoped that events such as this will be much easier to handle, as indeed it might have been if British Rail's rationalisation in the 1970s and 80s had not been quite so severe.
How long the bridge will be out of use remains to be seen. It seems strange that when the railway land alongside platform 2 was sold out of railway use to become a supermarket, no right of way was retained - any shoppers arriving by rail have a very long walk round over the road bridge to reach the shop. There actually is a gate, at the Chester end of Platform 2 under the road overbridge, but in recent years this has been kept locked. (Presumably if the footbridge lift breaks down and a passenger in a wheelchair arrives they too have to be sent on to Colwyn Bay.)
The Crewe - Valley and return flask train operated on 6 January, giving DRS a chance to give their 'Northern Belle' locos 57 312 Solway Princess and 57 305 Northern Princess an airing. From the public footpath, Peter Basterfield photographed the pair backing the train out of the Valley sidings on to the main line ...
... and heading off for Crewe, with 57 312 leading.
Mostyn (Tim Rogers).
Included in the consist, 11 70 9229 007-3, one of the batch of ten new FNA wagons built by the W.H.Davis company in 2014. Note the large about of text on the wagon sides (Tim Rogers).
A run on 8 January, pictured by Jim Johnson at Bangor featured 37 610 and 37 059 ...
... and two of the older FNAs, distinguishable by their colour and different bogies.
Wylfa power station finally ceased generating on 30 December; the final flask traffic will probably be late 2018 / early 2019. The staff are busy reconfiguring the plant now – Post Operational Clean Out. Bulk de-fuelling is planned to start on 1 April. See the Wylfa website.
On Friday 8 January at 12:50, Peter Basterfield photographed DB Schenker loco 67 008 on the Hartford curve, which connects the Mid-Cheshire (Cheshire Lines) route to the West Coast Main Line at 12:50 on a route learning / driver training run between Wakefield Kirkgate and Wigan Wallgate; It worked back at 15:19.
This presages a new freight service which will take Merseyside's waste in containers from Knowsley Freight Terminal on the Kirkby Branch to Wilton Freight Terminal in Teesside, whence it will be transferred to a new 'energy from waste' plant, the operation being known as the Merseyside and Halton Waste Partnership (MHWP). Paths for the trains are already in the timetable, although it has yet to run: the route will be via Wigan Wallgate, Warrington Bank Quay, Northwich, Stockport, Todmorden, Wakefield Kirkgate and the East Coast Main Line. The company says that 'The new facility will thermally treat the waste to generate 49 megawatts of electricity' having first removed any plastic suitable for recycling.
For some time a plan has existed for a similar operation for North Wales waste, between Llandudno Junction Freight Yard and a plant - 'Parc Adfer' - to be built in the Deeside Industrial Park near Dee Marsh Junction. There has been much opposition in the Deeside area to the building of such a plant, but it seems that this year some planning hurdle has been crossed and it may get built. However, there is no commitment to use rail transport: their document (page 14) talks of 60 lorry movements per day into the site, with a passing mention that 'Our planning application will include the option for future rail connectivity at the site' - which possibly translates as 'getting rail sidings installed and trains sourced is a load of trouble - let's hope can get away with using lorries.'
Bangor Railway Institute to go - report by Jim Johnson
Demolition of the old Railway Institute building in Bangor (see our 26 October 2015 issue) is scheduled to start next week, despite last-minute efforts to persuade the County Council to prevent it. The owners have been refused permission to develop the site as student accommodation, but, as the building is not listed, are within their rights to demolish.
Flying Scotsman emerges
As readers be aware from the media coverage, LNER A3 pacific Flying Scotsman has made a triumphant return to service following the end of its most prolonged and controversially expensive overhaul to date.
David Hennessey was among a huge crowd visiting the East Lancashire Railway on Saturday 9 January 2016 where 4472 (a.k.a. 60103, a.k.a. 502) was working special trains between Heywood, Bury and Rawtenstall. LMS Black Five 45407 and Crab 13065, Southern 34092 City of Wells and the Dean Forest's EWS 31466 were also out and about on their respective trains to and from Heywood, Bury and Rawtenstall. Above, Flying Scotsman passes Bury South Signalbox, with one of its special trains going to Heywood. She had 31 466 in tow for braking assistance, owing to minor brake-pump issues during the day.
Rolling into Ramsbottom, on a service to Bury and Heywood. Television personality Robson Green can be seen leaning out of the cab window. We understand that this 'wartime black' livery will be replaced at an early date with British Railways lined green.
LMS 'Crab' 13065 waits at Bury Bolton Street, with a service to Rawtenstall.
The EWS-liveried 31 466, visiting from the Dean Forest Railway, passes Bury South Signalbox, accompanying Flying Scotsman to Heywood.
The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway's Southern 'Light Pacific' 34092 City of Wells, decked out in 'Golden Arrow' regalia, gets away from Ramsbottom, with a service to Rawtenstall.
LMS Black Five 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier stands at the platforms at Bury Bolton Street. She would later join Flying Scotsman on the last special of the day to Rawtenstall and Heywood.
Another running weekend for Scotsman is planned for 16 - 17 January. Details on the ELR website. All trains hauled by Flying Scotsman are for pre-booked ticket holders only, but other trains will be available.
Saltney - Wrexham update