NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
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21 March 2016
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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
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
67 002 brings the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead through Llanfair PG, 15 March. Picture by Richard Fleckney.
Great Malvern to Criccieth, 18 March - with Richard Putley
Having won a ticket to an event at the former Butlin's Pen-y-chain, I thought this was a perfect excuse for a ride on the Cambrian Coast line. So on Friday 18 March I set off from Great Malvern on the 09:45 to Hereford. Despite dire warnings on the monitor screens that trains were delayed due to 'signalling problems at Worcester' it was only a couple of minutes late. A punctual arrival at Hereford gave me plenty of time to catch the 10:28 to Holyhead, which I took as far as Shrewsbury. It was formed by 3-car class 175 115.
Here we arrived into Platform 3 (above), the first time I've been on a train from Hereford that has done this. Crossing through the subway to main island platform I saw that the 11:29 to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli was due to depart from Platform 4. Meanwhile two Arriva Wales class 158s were in Platform 5 which was shown as a train to Birmingham International.
I was puzzled when a single Arriva Wales class 158 - 158 820 - arrived on Platform 4, having come in from the Aberystwyth direction. Normally these trains reverse at Shrewsbury and then go on to Birmingham International. So I was expecting our train to arrive from the Birmingham direction. It turned out that Arriva Wales had decided to swap trains round. So we had to wait while all the passengers for the Birmingham line from 158 820 alighted and walked across to Platform 5 and boarded the train waiting there. As it was full and standing this took some time! We were then told that 158 820 would go through to Pwllheli; passengers for Borth and Aberystwyth would have to change at Machynlleth.
These shenanigans at Shrewsbury meant we departed 10 minutes late. But by Newtown we were on time. As we journeyed on I saw evidence of recent track relaying with the old track panels dumped alongside. We crossed an Up Train at Talerddig, then at Machynlleth we ran in under caution. Passengers for Aberystwyth were told that another train was waiting at the far end of the same platform for them. This meant the majority of people aboard had to alight but I could stay in my window seat I had secured at Shrewsbury.
By now the skies had cleared and it was a lovely day. We departed Machynlleth on time at 12:54 so I could relax and enjoy the ride. We passed an up train at Tywyn and continued on. At Harlech we had a booked 10 minute wait which gave me a chance to take a few pictures. 158 841 arrived on an up train and loads of school children joined our train. Departure was again on time at 14:31 and arrival at Criccieth (above) was too.
As soon as I'd checked in to my hotel, I went straight out determined to enjoy the good weather. I photographed 158 820 returning on the 15:50 departure from Criccieth to Birmingham International. Then I caught the Number 3 bus into Porthmadog where I walked over to the Ffestiniog Railway Station and along the cob.
From the Cob I photographed another class 158 on the next Down Train; in the distance there appeared to be a little snow on the top of Snowdon.
I had not expected to see any trains on the Ffestiniog Railway. But after dining in Spooner's Bar at their station, I was surprised to hear the warning siren sounding. This indicated that the road barrier which stop traffic crossing the section of Porthmadog High Street which the Welsh
Highland Railway run through. A group of people sat next to me, who I think were FR employees told me a light engine was coming from Dinas to pull next morning's train to Caernarfon on the Welsh Highland. It turned out to be the Blue Beyer-Garratt, 87, rounding off a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Llandudno Adopted - report by Larry Davies
A group of members of the Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society who have been accepted by Arriva Trains Wales as the 'Station Adoption' group for Llandudno Station, had their first meeting there on 18 March, and were briefed on safety and other issues by Ben Davies and Karen Kinder from the Company.
A number of interesting projects were discussed including the restoration of a steam era seat from the town's station. Priority will be given to updating, refreshing and restocking the floral planters in readiness for a celebration in June where the station will play its part in the commemoration of the Queen's 90th birthday.
On the Cambrian Coast
A class 158 unit leaves Barmouth on 10 February heading for Machynlleth (Ian Wright). For a look at the Cambrian line in a 'golden era' visit the film 'Cambrian Coast' on the British Film Institute website. Richard W. Jones writes: 'A film made for the Great Western Railway Company to encourage people to discover - via the train - that "England isn't the only country in the British Isles". "Dear old Wales" is cast as the hospitable purveyor of wholesome holidays, with a never-ending supply of "smooth sands, sparkling seas, sunshine and good clean air" for those who are first seen crowding onto a train at Paddington Station in London. Dukedogs galore as well.'
For those who would like to enjoy the trip today, Dave Sallery has updated his Cambrian Rail Cruise website with this summer's times and fares for the circular trip via the North Wales and Cambrian Coasts using the Ffestiniog Railway as a link. Doing the circuit is a good day out, and there is a special ticket available to do it, but each year Dave has to work hard to suggest practical timings. This year the 'clockwise' route seems the best, although it involves some quite early starts and a 12-minute connection at Blaenau Ffestiniog; Dave is always very interested to hear travellers' experiences of the journey; we'd welcome them here, too.
Blaenau Ffestiniog station on the morning of 15 March, with 150 280 awaiting departure for Llandudno, and tamper DR73502 of the Trackwork company, on duty for the post-floor repairs to the track on the branch (Eurwyn McMahon). In view of the location, a security man was in attendance to deter anyone from tampering (!) with the machine.
As usual, Arriva used the 'WAG Express' stock to form an additional service to Cardiff for
the Six Nations rugby on 19 March. 67 001 is seen leading train 1V74, 05:45 from Holyhead to Cardiff at Rhosrobin, the summit of the 1 in 82 'Gresford bank' (John Cowlishaw).
This picture from 21 February by Chris Coxon shows Chester-bound 508 141 passing the remnants of the lost station of Upton-by-Chester. The former Scout Hut, which can be seen in some of the pictures on the Disused Stations website, has been demolished and relocated to a new purpose-built building on the nearby Upton Dene Development. The former Scout Hut site is now being cleared, in advance of Morris Homes building detached houses there.
Upton-by-Chester station had a very short life, as it did not open until 1939 as Upton-by-Chester Halt, and closed in 1984. Bache station, a short distance away, and visible in the distance in the picture, replaced it.
66 007 is powering as it starts the descent of Gresford Bank on 20 March with the early
0930 from Bromfield (Ludlow) to Crewe Basford Hall Sidings ballast working (John Cowlishaw).
It started 135 minutes early and after a stop at Sutton Bridge Junction passed Wrexham 40 early, leaving some would-be watchers still at home.
A Network Rail press release details the '£340m railway upgrade planned for Liverpool City Region'. Of special interest is this section:
New Liverpool to Chester service – the re-opening of the Halton Curve: The full business case for the scheme is expected to be considered by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority at its meeting in April. If approved, work is expected to begin in June 2017 and be completed by May 2018.The implication seems to be that the Halton line will remain single track, although maybe it's just badly written. Certainly it is badly in need of a few hyphens.
A Loram rail-grinding train has been at work on the Coast line; it was stabled at Rhyl engineers' sidings on 16 March when photographed from a passing train by Eurwyn McMahon.
Maintenance operations in progress (Roly High).
Behind these covers are the grinding wheels which smooth the surface of the rail, reducing noise and also inhibiting crack formation (Roly High).
Matters arising from last week's issue
Ivor Bufton writes: The 'Irish Mancunian' headboard was my creation and was fitted with a lamp bracket from an old BR tail lamp, so was securely attached to the locomotive (tightened with a spanner I carried with me!) - probably the reason the train crew were always happy to allow the headboard to be fitted to a locomotive.
Richard W. Jones wrote with some interesting points about the 'large logo' livery and its typeface, which we added to our original item. Photographs of 37 025 in British Rail days show that it did indeed have a black background (correct for the 'railfreight' livery) to its nameplate, as preserved, and also had 'incorrect' Helvetica numbers, so the preserved loco with its 'correct' numbers is 'wrong'. It also had a rather inaccurate form of the BR 'double arrow.' Confusing.
Next, the Class 150 mysteriously pictured at Stafford. Charles Allen writes: 'ATW have been carrying out some train crew training runs with a 150 running empty stock from Chester to Birmingham, covering the lines through Bescot, Soho and Aston in order to train and maintain route knowledge for Drivers and Guards for diversions from the usual route through Smethwick.'
Charles also appends some stills from a video taken from the back of 150 262 on Tuesday 8 March passing Norton Bridge, showing some of the track layout changes taking place there. The first (above) shows the new trackwork with the new Down Slow line parting on the right.
Further on, the existing Norton Bridge Junction.
And the new bridge carrying the Stoke lines over.
And the Down Slow coming back in on the right. Read about the project on the Network Rail site
Steam season at Llangollen- report by George Jones