Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

25 January 2016

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue. For full information visit our Calendar page.

January 2016

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.

Saturday 6 February Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express'. The first main line run in preservation of Royal Scot class locomotive No. 46100, Royal Scot. Biesel-hauled from Carnforth, calling Lancaster, Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay and Crewe, where 46100 will be attached for the run to Llandudno Junction and Holyhead. Return by the same route.

Monday 8 February Wrexham Railway Society Steam in the East Midlands in the 1950s 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.

Saturday 13 February Railway and Canal Historical Society North West Branch - From Pit to Market: Moving Cheshire Minerals by Rail & Water by Paul Teather.  This illustrated talk will describe how industrial railways were used to move minerals (coal, salt, stone, clay, etc) extracted in Cheshire to either a processing plant, canal or a main line railway.  The review starts with the 18thC tramway & canal era and then through the period when narrow & standard gauge systems served the national rail network to their demise (at Winsford) some 200 years later.  This journey in time will be illustrated with analysis, maps, contemporary photographs and some views of what can be
seen today.

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.

Saturday 12 March Railway and Canal Historical Society North West Branch - The London & Dublin Railway: Surveys & Parliamentary Influences by Derek Cobby & Brian Dotson. Realisation of the inadequacy of the port of Holyhead and the increasing pressure for improvements coincided with the development of railways.  Plans prepared for the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway included a route from Worcester to Porth Dinllaen on the Llyn Peninsular.  Vignoles and Brunel favoured developing Porth Dinllaen route rather than Holyhead which would avoid crossing the Menai Straits.  Vignoles direct route on standard gauge to connect with the Grand Junction Railway did not attract sufficient finance leaving Brunel's second broad gauge direct scheme as an alternative to
developing the route to Holyhead.

Monday 14 March  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.

Saturday 9 April Railway and Canal Historical Society The Presidential Address: The LMS
School of Transport, Derby by Graham Wild. The speaker will  tell the fascinating story of the school. The talk starts with the reason for the building and its location, moving on through a description of the building to the successful fight to save it and subsequent developments with what is now a
listed building.

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    

67 022 awaits departure from Cardiff Central on 19 June with the Premier Express to Holyhead (Alan Crawshaw).

An Anglesey Afternoon - with Jim Johnson

Some views from an afternoon's foray on Anglesey on 20 January. For once, the sun stayed out all day, with not a cloud in sight Above: At Ty Croes station,  the signalman opens the crossing gates for the passage of 1H89, 13:07 Holyhead-Manchester Piccadilly ...

... and returning to his box. Note the staggered platforms. The station building is now a private residence.

Semaphore 'pulled off' for 1H89. Note the two converted windmills in the background.

Driving Van Trailer ... 

... 82307 ... 

... leads silver-liveried 67 014.

Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) from the down platform. Ty Croes is now only a Crossing-Keeper's 'box, not a block post, in the Valley-Gaerwen section.

37 218 and 37 610 with 6K41, approaching Rhosneigr. Note the emergency colour-light stop signal in the right middle-ground, protecting the landing path for planes approaching RAF Valley.

Passing Rhosneigr Golf Course.

On the concrete bridge just before Rhosneigr Station.

The WG consultation -  a viewpoint by Barrie Hughes

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation to inform the specification for the next Wales and The Border Franchise, 'Walesrail'. The consultation runs from 22 January to 18 March. It will consider services, capacity, performance, fares and rolling stock. This is an opportunity to demand more loco-hauled services such as 'The Irish Mancunian' and 'The Gerald' rather than single Class 158s wedged solid! The opportunity is there to bid for redundant HST sets (as has ScotRail) as 119 Class 43 locos and 54 sets of coaches will become available when the Great Western Main Line Electrification is completed.

It is also an opportunity to ask for the TRAWS route to be re-opened from Bangor down the west coast of Wales to Carmarthen to improve accessibility to the WHR via public transport from North Wales and the North West. Other projects worthy of note (due to low rail investment in North Wales) are e.g. Amlwch line reopening, the electrification of the Borders Route (Wrexham-Bidston), and redoubling of Wrexham to Rossett (scheme was cut back to Saltney Junction to Rossett to avoid cost of two new bridges on the A483 dual carriageway), through services to London such as the ill-fated Wrexham & Shropshire service.  Finally, the WG might encourage Network Rail to develop a portable ERTMS unit to allow, Cambrian Coast to London and tourist trains again on the Cambrian Coast line.

An email from Transport Focus follows:
A public consultation was launched on Friday 22 January, to inform the specification for the next Wales and Borders rail franchise, which will include Metro rail services in south east Wales. The consultation seeks opinions on the priorities for improvements to the franchise in a number of areas, including  Services and capacity,  Performance, Fares, ticketing and rolling stock.

The consultation runs until 18 March. Documents and details of how to respond are on the Welsh Government website.

Picture news

Friday 23 January saw the Valley flasks run again; the return was earlier and in sunshine. Here are 37 602 and 37 716 at Beeches farm on the return to Crewe (Bob Greenhalgh)

DRS loco no 57 311 living up to its name Thunderbird at Crewe on 19 January - i.e. being the Crewe 'Thunderbird' loco (Martin Evans).

57 311 again, on 25 January passing the closed Nantwich Station Signal Box with the Virgin Trains (West Coast) 0Z60 Shrewsbury - Crewe. It was engaged in route learning, and made several trips in the day.Virgin are diverting two-hourly Birmingham - Edinburgh services via Shrewsbury over Easter, during engineering works.  Picture by Robert Meredith.

We understand that on Saturday 30 January the signalbox is to be removed and transported to the headquarters of a rail engineering company in Crewe. l

Penyffordd at 09:11 on 20 January: 66 083 passes with the coal train from New Cumnock to Penyffordd Cement works (Bob Greenhalgh). Some new track components have recently been delivered here, prompting suggestions of plans for outgoing cement traffic from the Padeswood works, which was reported as under consideration back in 2014 (See BBC report).

23 minutes later, the Dee Marsh - Margam steel-carriers pass Penyffordd behind 60 074 (Bob Greenhalgh). The galvanising plant at Shotton is part of Tata Steel Colors which produces metallic and paint coated products for the construction industry and domestic appliances; it currently employs around 800 people at Shotton.  It is currently working at reduced capacity but is so far less affected that other Tata plants by the current industry problems related to the importation of cheap Chinese steel. These troubles, along with the closure of coal-fired power stations, are of course also losing traffic for the rail freight industry.

A Pwllheli - Machynlleth 158 heads south towards Fairbourne on 20 January (Ian Wright)

Men at Work, 11 January - pictures by Jim Johnson

Cleaning the 'dollies' at Bangor, 11 January.

ratcheting the CCTV pylon back to vertical after cleaning the top bit.

57 312 Solway Princess + 37 716 on 6K41 Valley-Crewe flasks, through at 15:34.

Last day at Liverpool Road

As we have reported previously, the new 'Ordsall Chord' line between Manchester and Salford cuts across the surviving trackbed of the line into Manchester Liverpool Road station, now the Museum of Science and Industry. Not only does this disconnect the museum lines from the national network,  but it also has a drastic effect on the museum's internal steam service. Trains have been running over a Y-shaped route, starting near the centre of the museum site with a reversal - at a junction which is to be lost under the works for the new line - to access the 'pineapple line' which runs along the northern side of the museum site.

The main line connection was removed some time ago, days after a court had overruled objections raised on heritage grounds by engineer Mark Whitby, and finally on Tuesday 5 January trains could serve the full museum route for the last time. The day was made into a special event for the volunteers who have worked the trains, as these pictures illustrate. Two locos were in steam: Agecroft No.1 and Planet.

Travellers on North Wales trains can no longer experience the exchange of whistles which has become traditional between Museum trains and National Rail ones, as this headshunt no longer exists; trains are no longer allowed on to the bridge over Water Street. All pictures above are by Vince Chadwick, who tells the full story of the day on his Vince's World Blog.

The group picture by Dave Bowdell matches the silhouettes of two Manchester icons: the tall chimney of replica Liverpool and Manchester Railway locomotive Planet, built in the museum workshops, and the spartan monolith which is the 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2004. Among those present on the day was Steve Davies, former Director of the Museum, and former director of the National Railway Museum in York.

The short length of line past the original Liverpool and Manchester Railway station buildings, and the link into the 'Power Hall' remain available, but will volunteers be keen to spend the time and effort preparing a steam locomotive and disposing of it at the end of the day to run such a short shuttle? We hear that the Museum authorities have already begun removing the track on the 'pineapple line' with the intention of turning it into a walkway.

It appears that Mr Whitby has now been given permission to appeal against the court decision, but work has already begun on preparing for the Chord, and building construction has begun which will block the route of his alternative proposal. See also our 9 November 2015 issue.

Steam corner

Flying Scotsman did not work its planned main line début on 23 January, as it was not permitted by Network Rail; there is some hope that it may now appear in place of 46233 Duchess of Sutherland north of Carnforth on the 6 February Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express from London subject (according to the organisers) to 'a test run early next week'.  Meanwhile, very much worth seeing are these East Lancashire Railway photographs from 16/17 January by Ian Pilkington.

Above, 60103, accompanied by 31466, heads up Broadfield Bank near Moss Hall Road Bridge with the 1325 Rawtenstall-Heywood on Saturday 16 January.

Passing the former Heap Bridge Junction with the 09:50 Rawtenstall - Heywood on Sunday 17 January with its dusting of snow.  Notice the two Mark 2 coaches in the formation; we've heard that the ELR intends to cease using these coaches, which seems a shame because (in our opinion) they do offer a pleasant journey. They also offer the chance to re-create a 1990s North Wales train, using 37 418 which is based on the ELR, assuming that it does not get snapped up for main line work by DRS or Colas. It is currently the only working Class 37/4 still remaining on a heritage line.

Bursting under Spout Bank Farm Bridge on Broadfield Bank with the 13:25 Rawtenstall - Heywood.

A correction to our last issue: The 'Tin Bath' excursion on 14 January will not now run via Penistone because haulage is by two 'Jubilees' 45690 and 45699, which have not been cleared for the Penistone route. So it is now going Preston - Piccadilly(?) - Hope Valley - Sheffield-Mirfield - Copy Pit - Piccadilly - Stockport - Altrincham - Northwich - Hartford curve - Preston.  See the That says Man Vic on the outward journey but Victoria is closed on Sundays until April.  Thanks to Andrew Macfarlane for help with this item.

The run to Holyhead by 46100 on 6 February is still 'on' - although it should perhaps be borne in mind that the Office of Rail and Road is currently pursuing criminal proceedings against train operator West Coast Railway Company, there is no indication at present that this will affect train running.

Mid-Cheshire Moves - pictures by Greg Mape

The Mid-Cheshire route is busy with freight traffic at present. Above, on 21 January 66 765 passes Altrincham at 14:09 with the 07:50 Liverpool Bulk Terminal - Drax Power station biomass train ...

.... followed shortly afterwards by Freightliner 66 514 on the 13:25 Runcorn Folly Lane - Northenden refuse containers.

A sequence of three at Ashley  on the morning of 25 January. It's 10:22 (above) and 66 161 passes on the Mondays-only train from Warrington Arpley yard - Peak Forest trip which normally brings a few repaired wagons but on this occasion comprised a long rake of hoppers.

10:29, and the weekly Westbury - Tunstead cement empties, hauled by 66 602.

10:34, and 66 560 passes with the 09:07 Bredbury refuse terminal - Runcorn Folly Lane. The village station was once able to handle much longer passenger trains than the 4-car maximum seen today.

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