Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

22 February 2016

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February 2016

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 Peninsula.  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 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.

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    

37 175 at Bangor on Network Rail duty, 17 February. Picture by Peter Basterfield.

West Coast Railways banned (again)

On 17 February the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) announced that they have issued a Prohibition Notice to West Coast Railway Company Ltd (WCRC) preventing it running its heritage rail services on the mainline railway.  The press release tells us that
ORR considers WCRC continues to present a safety risk ... Under the terms of the Notice, the company will not be able to operate trains on the mainline network until we are satisfied its governance and operations meet industry practice and are fit for the scale of its operation. Steps the company must take include: the introduction of clearer governance structures with proper accountability for safety; more robust risk assessments; and enhanced processes for managing staff with a focus on safety culture.
How long this will last, and what effect it will have on the excursions and steam specials run by the company, both on their own account and on behalf of others such as the Railway Touring Company, is impossible to say. West Coast are free to pay other companies, such as DRS and DB Schenker, to operate trains on their behalf, and so far their Website makes no mention of any problems. A steam special on 17 February did run, but steam trains over the next few weeks are now cancelled - in any case, the Settle - Carlisle line, favourite of steam special organisers, is now closed north of Appleby due to a severe landslip. The most famous steam operation, between Fort William and Mallaig, is scheduled to run from May onwards, hopefully something will be sorted out by then.

The immediate cause of the events that led to this situation was misbehaviour by WCRC's train crews, including two cases of isolation of safety equipment, a lineside fire, and a buffer-stop collision, but it appears that the attitude of the company management, and the Chairman in particular, has been the 'last straw' for the ORR.  There are no bad soldiers, only bad officers, as the old adage goes.

Network Rail events

Colas Rail have apparently won the contract to run Network Rail's measurement trains some time ago, although DRS locos continued to be the mainstay. However, on 17 February, 37 175 made an appearance at Bangor, working push-pull with a driving trailer. The first Colas-livered loco to reach this far along the Coast?  Picture by E. McMahon.

Ian Henderson was at Liverpool South Parkway station on Thursday 18 February to see a track recording train including test coach Mentor (as was) pass on the way to Crewe from Liverpool Lime Street, unusually top-and-tailed by 68 004 Rapid (above) and 68 002 Intrepid (below). The test coach had its pantograph raised, as the performance of the overhead line is also recorded.

Ian comments:  'I checked all the platforms at Lime Street. A 'bit of a flap was in progress with platform changes due to a signalling fault in the Manchester area. There was no sign of the special. I travelled to Parkway on the 10 39 non stop, which arrived at Lime Street two minutes before scheduled departure, yet departed on time only to be stuck in the tunnel for a few minutes. The 68s with their yellow coaches passed us at 10:48 (29 minutes down) on the London road side of the tunnel heading into Lime Street.' 'I saw 66 718 at Edge Hill on the Biomass train, with 66 763 also there on our return. Track machine DR73922 was at Edge Hill. 

'On arrival at Parkway I met a chap from Birkenhead waiting for the 68s at the end of the platform; they shot through fast at 11:19 -  a magnificent sight - 3 minutes after a Birmingham departure. I could hear them miles away.'

21 February saw more nocturnal deliveries of continuous-welded rails to the Coast lineside in preparation for the forthcoming re-laying programme. Above, 70 004 had arrived in Platform 1 at Llandudno Junction at 21:23 from Crewe Basford Hall with 6Y97, formed of the special rail-carrying train. Notice the effect of the luminous paint used for the company name.

The locomotive ran round the train at Llandudno Junction in preparation for heading back to its work site at Rhyl after the last 'Up' passenger train (Peter Lloyd).  After unloading, the train formed the 03:45 from Rockliffe Hall to Crewe, which actually ran 92 minutes early. Illustrating that what actually happens 'down the coast' is not always what officially happens -  the outbound train seems to have actually been planned to run to Holyhead for the loco to run round, and the Network Rail database as viewed through Real Time Trains records that this actually did happen, returning to Llandudno Junction minus-32 minutes later!

Ffestiniog's Princess Roadshow - report by Roger Carvell

On 16 February, Ffestiniog Railway loco Princess and her train of two coaches, Nos 1 and 12, are seen at London King's Cross station where they were spending the week.

The train attracted a lot of attention and goodwill - it is always heartening to see the Ffestiniog Railway out and about with its travelling roadshow.  Princess looked quite at home in the new, strikingly-designed, concourse at King's Cross, only a few miles from its 1863 birthplace at George England's works in New Cross, south east London.

A screen on the tender showed video scenes of the railway.

Questions, answers and corrections

First a question. Chris Magner writes:  'In 1957 an ex L&Y 'Pug' No.51221 was allocated to Bangor MPD.  While it was there it went on hire to Bromborough Power Station in the Wirral. Does anyone have information about its time in North Wales?' Answers welcome via our website.

Now a couple of corrections: The Vale of Rheidol pictures in the last issue were taken in 1973, in 1978 as given. Regarding the 'half-a-175', we still have no information about the whereabouts of the other half, but it has been drawn to our attention that 175s do not have a 'corridor connection' as they do not have a corridor! The correct term is 'gangway connection.'

We mentioned the missing lengths of track at Shrewsbury. Gareth Marston writes: 'Shrewsbury station Down Goods loop has been out of action for 18 months plus. When they sand-blasted the bridge over the Severn they found a partially-collapsed brick arch under the tracks. The bridge was extended from the original in the 1870s and by all accounts it's a bit 'bodged' underneath. Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawynski is saying there's 50k allocated by Network Rail to sort it out in the next financial year.'

Peter Basterfield's view

A rather good photo opportunity presented itself on Wednesday 10 February due to 'unforseen' circumstances.  The 6D41 westbound flask train was 18 minutes early at Chester but had become 20 late at Bangor, Which meant that it would be held on the centre road until the 07:50 Birmingham-Holyhead Voyager had left.

37 218 and 37 610 Ted Cassady in charge of 3 FNAs.

In the 'Costa' series this gave opportunity for 'The Double Shot'. [Note: this website has no connection with any coffee company except as a happy customer.]

The afternoon 6K41 return pulled in some 53 minutes early under the watchful eye of 'Dave Trains'.

Having stood in Bangor it left with a cloud of smoke in the sunshine about an hour late due to the failure of the loco-hauled Holyhead-Manchester at Mochdre/Colwyn Bay.

17 February: 67 001 calls at Bangor with the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead.

The return flask passes Bangoron 17 Feburary with 57 305 Northern Princess and 57 312 Solway Princess as 37 175 looks on. The closure of Wylfa power station has (for now) increase the number of flask trains,. presumably removing the remaining fuel elements.

Friday 19 February, and 57 305 Northern Princess and 37 602 in charge of the afternoon flasks at Bangor.

The morning of 22 February at Rhosneigr, and role reversal for the locos from Friday. 37 602 + 57 305 and three wagons, again including one of the new ones.

The return train on 22 February at Morfa Madryn,  LLanfairfechan.

Bala Lake Railway, 16 February - report by Martin Evans

On 16 February I visited the Bala Lake Railway and found Quarry Hunslet No. 3 Holy War in  service; the railway had just restarted services for 2016. No. 3 was in traffic after its recent overhaul at Llanwchllyn and the Severn Valley Railway at Bridgnorth. Above, Holy War runs around its train at Bala on 16 February having arrived with the 11.30am service from Llanuwchllyn.

Holy War at Llanuwchllyn as it prepares to form the  1.20pm service from Llanuwchllyn to Bala.

The following locomotives were noted 'on shed':- Ruston & Hornsby Lady Madcap, Kerr Stuart no. 1158 Diana; Hunslet works no. 780 Alice;  Hunslet works no. 882 Maid Marian; Baguley Drewery no. 780 Bob Davies.

This picture from 14 February shows Holy War departing from Bala station on its return trio to Llanuwchllyn, taken by Ben Nelson, a volunteer who was a member of the work party on lineside clearance.  Our regular contributor Bob Greenhalgh was on the footplate.

Out and About with Tim Rogers

Bagillt on 12 February: 221 118 Roald Amundsen & 221 111 pass with 1A48 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston.

175 105 on 1D38 13:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno.

175 104, 1H90 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly

37 609 and 37 069 with FNA fkasl wagon 550041, 6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS) 47 mins early.

A study in pylons at Connah's Quay on 15 February as 175 111 passes with 1H91 15:08 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly.

37059 and 37607 plus FNA 550057 & 550038 are  6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS) on 15 February.

17 February at Flint:  158 820 and  158 823 are 1D14 13:09 Birmingham International to Holyhead.

Northern Belle stars 57 305 Northern Princess and 57 312 Solway Princess keep active hauling  FNA 550031 6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS) 46 mins early

19 February at Shotton:  67 001 heads 1D34, 09:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead. Birch trees have well and truly colonised the lineside along this section where there were once four tracks.

Away from the birch trees at Sandycroft:  221 117 The Wrekin Giant and 221 112 Ferdinand Magellan form 1A48 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston.

Mix  'n Match: 57 305 Northern Princess and 37 602 with wagons 550030, 550043 and 11 70 9229 002-4 are running 49 minutes early past Sandycroft  on 19 February.

A modeller's view of 11 70 9229 002-4, one of the new batch of flask carriers.

To the Mid-Hants Gala - report by Alan Crawshaw

I've been wanting to visit the Mid Hants Railway for a long time but the distance has deterred me. This year, their winter steam gala featured a great line-up including the Southern trio of T9 30120, Q class 30541 and unrebuilt West Country 34007 Wadebridge. The prospect of class 68 haulage from Birmingham Moor Street to Marylebone and being able to catch three exhibitions en route made my mind up so I set off on Friday morning, an Arriva Club 55 ticket taking me to Birmingham then over to Moor Street station for the Chiltern service to London Marylebone, tube to South Kensington to view the two Julia Margaret Cameron exhibitions showing at the V&A and the Science Museum. Both free of charge, comprehensive and featuring original prints. Then down into deepest Hampshire.

Saturday was cold and wet while back home it was sunny but at least the weather deterred the crowds so there was plenty of room on the trains.

I made two complete return trips, stopped off at both intermediate stations, and rode behind and photographed every locomotive though conditions were not conducive to good pictures. Despite the wintry weather, it was an enjoyable day on a friendly line with attractive scenery.

I returned home on Sunday, a bright sunny day, stopping off in Birmingham for the E.R. Hughes "Enchanted Dreams" exhibition at the Art Gallery. I liked the blue dreamlike fantasy paintings but not as much as his wonderful portraits in watercolour and chalks. Then on to Bangor for the Express Motors 85 bus, at 17:40 the last of the day.

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