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01 February 2016
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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. Diesel-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
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.
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.
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
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
On 29 January, the Valley - Crewe flask train passes Rhyl Marine Lake, powered by a confusingly-numbered pair, 37 069 and 37 609. Picture by Tim Rogers.
A plethora of contributions ... but a shortage of time. Look for an additional issue covering the 'Mersey Weaver' and Nantwich signalbox on Friday morning 5 January. Thanks as always to all. - Charlie
The flying banana rides again
43 014 The Railway Observer heading out of Chester past the Roodee racecourse on 27 January leading 1Q30 10:55 Derby R.T.C.(Network Rail) to Crewe C.S. (L&NWR Site) via Holyhead Plain Line Pattern Recognition train. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.
Approaching Flint (Russell Withington).
43 013 on the rear at Flint (Russell Withington). The aerodynamic shape of the Class 43 loco leads to the exhaust being drown down over the rear cab with resultant staining.
Approaching Abergele & Pensarn station (Tim Rogers)...
... and meeting at the station, 1H89 13:07 Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly with Driving Van Trailer 82307 at the head (Tim Rogers).
On the rear of the Manchester train, 67 014 which has been the regular loco this year so far (Tim Rogers).
Approaching Valley under the A55 bridge, with the line to the Flask loading point in the foreground (Jim Johnson).
Passing Valley signalbox. Note the telephone number on the signal (Jim Johnson).
In platform 1 at Holyhead (Jim Johnson).
The terminus is a good place for some close-up views; the name 'New Measurement Train' is seldom referred to now when talking of this train (Jim Johnson).
The nameplate of 43 014, which was unveiled in June 2014; a most appropriate name for a track recording train. It is actually the third loco to carry the name: 37 890 was named in 1994, and the name passed to 60 001 in 2001. Unfortunately that loco suffered a drastic engine failure in 2006 and looked destined not to work again, but in fact is was included in the the DB Schenker Class 60 Refurbishment Programme and was released back to traffic in September 2013 as the 18th overhauled loco, now also in DB red.
Formed in 1928, the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society continues to thrive, and its Merseyside, Chester and North Wales branch meets regularly in Chester - the meetings are listed in our Calendar column.
The return train heads through Bangor (Jim Johnson)...
... and heads into Bangor Tunnel at 16:33 (Jim Johnson).
SARPA meeting cancelled
Gareth Marston writes: 'Unfortunately Angus Eickhoff, chariman of the Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth Rail Passengers' Association (SARPA), has been taken ill and has had a spell in hospital recently, so he has not been able to work on any emails or update the website. in addition there is engineering work on the line the weekend of the meeting and there is a bus replacement service between Newtown and Machynlleth on the day. In light of the above it has been decided to cancel the meeting planned for 13 February, SARPA will aim to meet in Caersws in March as planned.'
SARPA is still active: member Denis Bates was recently seen on the Sunday politics show.
On 27 January at Penyfford, 66 051 arrives with train 6M18, 18:55 New Cumnock colliery to Penyffordd cement works, carrying coal in 'MEA' box wagons...
... while 150 281 calls at the station with 2J73 08:31 Bidston to Wrexham Central (Tim Rogers).
On the same day, 66 080 brings 6V75 09:30 Dee Marsh to Margam steel carriers. 6 minutes early, though Wrexham General station over the link between the Borderlands Line and the Chester - Shrewsbury main line. The train will cross to the Up line to continue south (Tim Rogers).
The next day, 28 January, and train 6V75 again, this time in the wooded surroundings of Cefn-y-Bedd and the doyen of the class, 66 001, now resplendent in DB Schenker livery (Tim Rogers). It was back in April 1998 that our site reported on this loco being on display at Chester station shortly after arrival from Canada.
Track Recording Train, old style
Another Plain Line Recognition Train ran on 27 January, 1Q76 07:50 Llandrindod to Longsight Depot, Manchester via Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Bidston (reverse), Croes Newydd (reverse), Chester and Northwich, top-and-tailed by 37 606 and 37 608. Tim Rogers photographed it arriving at Wrexham General at 10:23 with 37 606 leading. The train had spend the previous day checking the Central Wales line from Llandrindod to Llanelli and back.
The train takes the Bidston route at Wrexham, with 37 608 on the rear. The consist: Mk2e 977868 (Ex TSO 5846) Radio Survey Train Test coach, Mk2f 999550 Network Rail High Speed Track Recording Train coach, Mk2f 1256 (Ex RFO) Plain Line Pattern Recognition vehicle 'PLPR3',
Mk1 6261 (Ex BG 81284, 92988) Network Rail Generator van (Tim Rogers).
Bob Greenhalgh photographed the train at Penyffordd station at 10:39 heading for Bidston with 37 606 leading.
Returning from Bidston with 37 608 leading through Hope at 12:01 (Tim Rogers).
The train travelled down the branch to Wrexham Central (above) with 37 606 leading. Picture by George Jones. Arrival at Central was 19 minutes late, but the stop-over time allowed there provided for some recovery.
Wrexham Central to Chester requires two reversals: first at Wrexham Exchange Junction to pass through platform 3 at Wrexham General station (above, by George Jones) and then at Croes Newydd.
Having reversed at Croes Newydd loop, the train runs past the Down Main platform at Wrexham General heading for Chester (Martin Evans).
Approaching Chester at 13:29 (Bob Greenhalgh).
In the cutting south of Stockport station (Charlie Hulme). The train continued to Manchester Piccadilly before returning the short distance to Longsight.
The next day, 28 January, the train ran from Longsight to its base in Derby via Wrexham and Wolverhampton. Tim Rogers captured it at Rossett.
Clwyd Railway Circle
David Jones writes: 'This month's speaker at the Clwyd Railway Circle on Friday 5 February is John Sloane, who takes us on a journey to China in the 1980’s. This was a busy time for steam locos which were still being built. The Venue: Jubilee Community Centre, 45 Seabank drive, Prestatyn, LL19 7PP. Start Time: 7.30pm.
On 27 January, 37 610 T.S.(Ted) Cassady and 37 218 propel two wagons from the loading point at Valley out on to the main line (Jim Johnson). This viewpoint from the public footpath has been facilitated by removal of a lot of vegetation during fence renewals at the triangle in December 2015.
On 29 January 37610 T.S.(Ted) Cassady is seen leading 37 069 at Llandudno Junction with 6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe Coal Sidings 49 minutes early (Tim Rogers).
Seen at Rhyl, 37 069 looks in fine condition. There are suggestions that DRS will be disposing of some of the older 37s without electric carriage heating facilities, but this one would seem to be safe for a while (Tim Rogers).
More TRAWS progress - report by Barrie Hughes
As a follow up to the recent publication of the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen Re-opening Scoping Report, a meeting to discuss its contents, and hopefully take it forward to the next stage (a full Feasibility Report), has now been arranged at the Welsh Government (WG) offices in Aberystwyth. The Aberystwyth-Carmarthen Feasibility Report review workshop will be held on 9 February. This will include representatives from WG, Ceredigion & Carmarthenshire CC's, AECOM (the company that wrote the Scoping Report), Arriva Trains Wales, GWR Trains, Network Rail, TRAWS and other interest groups. WG will no doubt have noticed that the recently reopened Borders Railway in Scotland has been much more successful than projected with 500,000 passengers in five months when 625,000 were forecast for the whole year.
There have been a rising number of demands to increase the amount of double track (cut back from original plans) and extend to the line south, eventually reopening the whole of the Waverley Route. However, the Welsh Highland Railway's General Manager offered the comment at last year's AGM that no allowance for the Bangor - Afon Wen section was being made in the design of the WHR's new Caernarfon Station building, currently planned for the existing site.
'Between a rock and a hard place' - pictures by Peter Basterfield
Three trains in 15 minutes from a scenic viewpoint just beyond Glan-y-Mor Elias crossing at Llanfairfechan, on Wednesday 27 January. Above, train 1A48, 13:58 Holyhead - London.
The HST test train en route to Holyhead.
6K41 Valley - Crewe flasks, 53 minutes early behind 37 610 and 37 218. Not often you get three trains in a short period without them all being Arriva and Virgin.
Manchester - Crewe blockade
Network Rail is closing the railway between Sandbach North Junction and Alderley Edge, as
well as the freight-only Sandbach – Northwich route, from 13-24 February to refurbish four bridges and two viaducts at a cost of £17m. Work will include repairs and waterproofing of the Grade II-listed viaducts at Holmes Chapel and Peover, as well as strengthening of bridges in Crewe, Rudheath and Davenham.
'By delivering these improvements as a package we have minimised the level of disruption and
reduced the need for future maintenance work, says NR Area Director Terry Strickland. 'We have also saved £0∙5m, which we can spend on further improvements elsewhere on the railway'.
During the closure, passenger and freight services normally operating between Crewe and
Manchester via Sandbach will mostly be diverted via Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield. Arriva Trains Wales Manchester - South Wales services will be diverted via Warrington Bank Quay to terminate at Manchester Oxford Road, while passengers at Chelford, Goostrey, Holmes Chapel and Sandbach (and those heading south from Alderley Edge, Handforth and Wilmslow) will entrusted to a replacement bus. Let us hope that the bus drivers can find the stations.
The Macclesfield line is normally passenger-only, so it seems enthusiasts will have a rare opportunity to photograph freight trains on that route.
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