Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 March 2016

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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    

43 062 John Armitt - the one with a nameplate but no buffers - at Rhyl, 24 March. Picture by Roly High.

West Coast Railways are Back

West Coast Railways have this week received permission to re-start their operations, having satisfied the authorities that required management changes have been made.  Apparanenty, this means that the London - Chester 'Cathedrals Express' steam special will now operate as planned on 2 April.

Banana through Bangor - pictures by Jim Johnson

The HST 'New Measurement Train' added a touch of colour to the North Wales Coast line on 24 March, powered by 43 062 at the Holyhead end, and 43 013 at the Chester end. It passed Bangor (above) in the down direction at 14:46 ...

... on the through line ...

...  and back through from Holyhead at 16:47....

... passing 158 820 on 1D14 13:09 Birmingham International - Holyhead.

Barry Wynne show at Llandudno Junction

Steve Morris writes: 'During the last couple of years I have been scanning a number of Barry
Wynne's negatives, some fantastic images, many of which have never even been
seen by Barry himself having been stored away in boxes for 50 plus years!

'Barry is going to present a selection of these from the 60/70's at The Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society. Date: Thursday 14th April. Starts 19.30 at the Llandudno Junction Sports & Social club on Victoria Drive. All are welcome.'

Manchester area events

The saga of Mr Mark Whitby vs. the Ordsall Chord project appears to have gone as far as it can: The decision was made on 23 March by Judges Simon, Lindblom and Hamblen in the Court of Appeal in London to dismiss all three appeals made by Whitby 'against the decision in the Planning Court: two statutory challenges of the Transport and Works Act order and of the Listed Building Consent, and a judicial review of the planning permission.'

Mr Whitby certainly has made a brave effort to alter the plans; in case anyone thinks he is some eccentric trouble-maker, it might be borne in mind that he is a former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.  Meanwhile, on the ground, work towards the construction of the new line has already begun, involving closure of Manchester Victoria station for 10 days, until 4 April, and on successive Sundays.

On 1 April, Arriva will be taking over the running of the Northern franchise. For some weeks, the current Northern Rail have been busy removing their name from trains and stations, as illustrated above by 323 232 at Stockport on 12 April. Even the small stickers inside each coach inviting passengers to tweet any problems with the carriage have been 'redacted'.

Is this the only traction unit with a number formed of the same two digits repeated three times?

Coal to Connah's Quay

The North Wales Coast line has seen many changes, especially at its eastern section, and nowhere better illustrates this than the environs of Rockcliffe Hall signalbox. These two pictures from February 1979 were taken as slides by Trefor Thompson. Above, 25 104 and a train of non-vacuum braked 21-ton mineral wagons, apparently empty, is in the reception sidings of Connah's Quay Power station. These would have brought a load of coal from Bersham Colliery on the Wrexham line, or possibly from nearby Point of Ayr.

Looking towards Chester (before, or after the above picture?) we see the Class 25 detached from its train. The coal-fired power station here was built in the early 1950s, the sidings controlled by a signalbox characteristic of the London Midland Region's designs of the time; Penmaenmawr is another example from the period. The 180 MW power station closed in 1984, and was demolished in 1992 to be replaced by the gas-fired station that operated there today. The architect-designed signalbox was  in the way of the new road bridge, and was replaced in the mid-90s by the present stack of portable units which is now the 'fringe box' to the Chester power signabox area and like all other other signalbox along the line is living in borrowed time, the aim of Network Rail being to control all Welsh lines from Cardiff.

Does anyone know if there was a signalbox there before the 1950s one?

RCTS Afternoon Meeting

'Lancaster to Carlisle in the last ten years of steam'  is the topic of The Railway Correspondence & Travel Society (RCTS) afternoon meeting on Wednesday 6 April at 2 p.m. at the Royal British Legion Club at Haig House in Woolton Road, Liverpool, virtually next door to Liverpool South Parkway station The speaker is Noel Machell from Thornton Cleveleys in Blackpool.

Visitors will be most welcome to attend on donating £2 to help defray meeting expenses and further details can be obtained by telephoning 0151-724 2786.

The Bala Lake Railway prepares - report by Bob Greenhalgh

Wednesday 23 March at the Bala Lake Railway was a day spent getting ready for the opening on Good Friday. Alice, Winifred and Maid Marian (above) were steamed for the boiler inspector.

Geoff and Iain were re-cladding the café end wall, while ...

  ... Barbara was polishing the signal box levers. Woe betide anyone not using a cloth when they pull the levers!

Chilmark brought the stock into Llanuwchllyn platform...

... and  here's Bob himself, busy with a paint brush, making a start on the platform edge white line.

Clwyd Railway Circle news -- by David Jones

Friday 1 April, is the last indoor meeting of the CRC for the current season and we end with a night of nostalgia and fun. Denbigh Film Club are presenting an evening of railway films old and new. We meet in the Jubilee Community Centre, Prestatyn, LL19 7PP starting at 7.30 pm.
Visitors are always welcome, the admission is £2, more details can be found
on our website at

The new season starts on Friday 2 September when Alun Williams will be giving a talk about the resurrection of Llangollen Railway.

Accidental oddities

The picture above, taken by Martin Evans on the evening 21 March, shows 2-6-4T 80072 on a road vehicle returning from the West Somerset Railway to the Llangollen Railway.

Earlier in the day, 80072 was involved in a mishap on the M5 motorway near Drotwich; the vehicle struck a barrier protecting road works; the picture from the local fire brigade's Twitter feed shows the aftermath. At first glance it looks as though the loco has moved in the impact and fallen to this odd angle,  but in fact that is the position in which it was secured for travel.

80072 will be among the attractions of the Llangollen's spring gala from 8-10 April. Indeed it was in service over the Easter weekend. George Jones photographed it at Berwyn on 26 March.

Another oddpeculiar mishap occurred on the East Lancashire Railway at 10:30 the following day, 22 March involving a Network Rail MPV (Multi-purpose vehicle), present on the ELR for staff familiarisation by contractors JSD Rail in advance of the 'vegetation control' season. The 2-vehicle unit 'ran away' along the connecting line between the ELR and Manchester Metrolink at Bury South,  and derailed on the trap points intended to protect the Metrolink route. Unfortunately the protection was not 100% successful and the MPV came to rest at an uneasy angle blocking the northbound Metrolink line. Tram services between Whitefield and Bury were unable to operate until the afternoon or 23 March, as re-railing in the awkward location proved difficult.


158 825 + 158 830 forming 1D13 11:10 Birmingham International-Holyhead at Bangor on 24 March. Usually just a 2-car set, the train was strengthened to two units, possibly for the Easter rush (Jim Johnson).

Another pair of 158s makes its way through Criccieth on the Cambrian Coast on 27 March (Greg Mape)

An Easter visitor to the Ffestiniog Railway: Adrian Shooter's Darjeeling Himalaya Railway locomotive seen at Porthmadog on Sunday 27 March (Greg Mape). This is not a replica: it is a genuine DHR loco, having been bought in the 1960s by a wealthy American and exported to the the USA, it was brought to the UK by Mr Shooter some years ago.

On 24 March, 66 763 crosses over to take the Denton line at Heaton Norris Junction with the afternoon biomass train from Liverpool to Drax (Charlie Hulme)

These trains are scheduled to pass each other on the junction, perhaps to minimise disruption to movements on the busy Stockport - Manchester section. Seen from the other side of the Bowerfold Lane bridge, 66 703 Doncaster PSB appears with a train of empties (Charlie Hulme).

Maintenance work in progress on the  bridge which carries the main line line over the River Clwyd between Rhyl and Kimmel Bay (Roly High).

Porthmadog - Great Malvern, Sunday 20 March - report by Richard Putley

The only train on the Cambrian Coast line on Winter Sundays is the 13:48 from Pwllheli to Birmingham International. But as the Number 3 Pwllheli – Porthmadog bus runs on Sundays (in contrast to rural buses in Wiltshire where I live which no longer run on Sundays or after 18:00 hours the rest of the week!). I caught it from Criccieth to Porthmadog where I was able to observe  Earl of Merioneth (seen above) after arrival ...

... and then departing with the 10:10 to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

...  and Beyer-Garratt 87 leaving with the 10:45 to Caernarfon.  The weather was perfect and the friendly Ffestiniog staff put my luggage in a private room so that I did not have to keep it with me while I walked around taking photos.

I also photographed sister loco 138 arrive with the 12:10 arrival from Caernarfon;.

Observation car Glaslyn brought up the rear.

The 13:48 from Pwllheli arrived on time at Porthmadog, formed of two 158 DMUs with 158 832 leading. On seeing my ticket the guard told me I'd have to move into the rear unit at Barmouth, which he unlocked just before our arrival there, as the front unit would be detached at Machynlleth. I did at least managed to get a seat at a table.

The journey down the coast to Machynlleth was uneventful. The Aberystwyth portion arrived at Dyfi Junction just as we left. On arrival at Machynlleth I was surprised when we ran into the Down Platform. The front unit was detached, our unit then moved forward along the Down Platform to make room for the Aberystwyth portion.

After leaving Machynlleth we sped up Talerddig Bank reaching the summit in what seemed like no time at all. A Down train was waiting in the loop, we whizzed through on what used to be the Down Line. At Forden, the end of the recently restored double track section from Welshpool, another Down Train was waiting. Arrival and departure from Shrewsbury were on time, I saw Arriva Trains Wales 153 323 at Wellington. Arrival at Birmingham New Street was on time, likewise the 19:00 to Worcester Foregate Street.

Row your boat

Amusing art work alongside the Rhyl Miniature Railway (Roly High).

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