Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 June 2016

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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

July 2016

Sunday 24 July Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Liverpool-Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46100: Liverpool - Chester - Holyhead and return

Tuesday 26 July  Railway Touring Company THE WELSH MOUNTAINEER Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog . Steam loco 45305 or 48151: Preston - Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog and return

August 2016

Sunday 21 August  Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Crewe - Manchester - Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46115: Manchester - Chester - Holyhead and return

September 2016

Sunday 4 September Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Crewe - Manchester - Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46115: Manchester - Chester - Holyhead and return

Friday 30 September Great Western Society North West Branch. Steam in Black and White. Peter Spilsbury.

October 2016

Friday 28 October Great Western Society North West Branch. Railway Personnel. Paul Shackcloth.

November 2016

Friday 25 November Great Western Society North West Branch. GW Steam in S. Wales and S West. Alf Storey

December 2016

January 2017

Friday 27 January Great Western Society North West Branch. North of Preston Barrie Rushton

February 2017

Friday 24 February Great Western Society North West Branch. Group AGM

March 2017

Friday 31 March Great Western Society North West Branch. (To be announced)

April 2017

Friday 28 April Great Western Society North West Branch. (To be announced)

Greg Mape took advantage of low tide on 23 June to photograph the Three Peaks by Rail train (see below) approaching Colwyn Bay.

Three Peaks with two 57s

It's that time of year again when people from the rail industry raise money for the Railway Children charity by running up Snowdon, Scafell and Ben Nevis, travelling by special train between points close to those Three Peaks. The train ran as 15:50 London Euston - Bangor on 23 June; we meet soon after leaving Chester at Beeches Farm with  57 301 Goliath leading and 57 310 Pride of Cumbria trailing. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.

Abergele (Roly High).

The consist included several coaches in blue and grey British Rail livery, recently applied for Riviera Trains, we believe (Roly High).

Colwyn Bay (Greg Mape).

57 301 catches the last rays of sunlight as it exits Bangor Tunnel at 20:50, 3 minutes down (Jim Johnson).

57 310 on the rear (Jim Johnson).

Carriage window sticker, proclaiming Trans-Pennine Express as sponsors (Jim Johnson).

Departing empty for servicing at Holyhead at 20:59, 4 minutes late (Jim Johnson).

Crossing 175 003 forming train 1K20, the 20:32 Holyhead-Crewe, the last Up departure of the day (Jim Johnson).

Plenty of road transport on the forecourt ...

... to take the participants to Snowdon, prior to the train's arrival (Jim Johnson).

Holyhead arrival (Tim Rogers).

The Three Peaks train was serviced at Holyhead before returning as the 03:27 Holyhead - Bangor, collecting the participants who had run up and down Snowdon in the dark, then 04:37 Bangor - Ravenglass (arr.08:52) whence the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway would transport them to the starting point for the climb of Scafell Pike. The train travelled back to Barrow-in-Furness, returning as 18:44 Barrow - Fort William, collecting the runners at raven Glass on the way and arriving at Fort William at 04:18 for a morning run up and down Ben Nevis, Britain's highest point, in time for the return train to London departing at 12:30.

How is this all possible? A feat of train organisation as well as athletic ability (and night vision). The charity reports that 165,000 was raised.

Visitor from the North East

On Saturday 25 June an excursion from Berwick-on-Tweed and other stations in the North-East reached North Wales, organised by North East Railtours and operated by West Coast Railways using Class 47 locos,  47 832 and 47 854 Diamond Jubilee, with the Scottish Railway Preservation Society's rake of Mk1 coaches. Running as 1Z31 05:48 Berwick - Holyhead via Newcastle and Carlisle, it departed Berwick 37 minutes late but made up most of the delay before arriving in North Wales.  Tim Rogers photographed in at Bagillt (above) with 47 832 leading...

... and 47 854 trailing, under a rather threatening sky. West Coast are now (?) the only operator using Class 47s in revenue-earning service.

The return train, 14:52 Holyhead - Berwick-on-Tweed (arr 22:28) at Llandudno Junction 47 854 leading (Peter Lloyd).

47 854 on the rear arriving at Chester (Roly High).

That Trespasser - correction.

Readers may recall the picture by Glyn Jones in our Flying Scotsman special showing someone standing between the tracks at Bagillt as the train passed. At the time, the only way we could make believable of this was that the man was standing on a foot-crossing, which is bad enough, but Alan Roberts writes to point out that the locations is not Flint Marsh Footpath Crossing as this is located much nearer to Flint on the straight run.

The trespasser is (incredibly) on part of Underbridge 54, which carries the line over a small path. What you see across the lines in the zoomed  photo are are bridge plates for the bridge. Although the whole bridge runs beneath the main lines, it was quite a common practice when built under a four-track section, quite wide at this point, to have the bridge in two sections, hence the photographer appears to appear from the ground between the main lines (formerly the fast lines). Alan writes: 'I have never seen or known any photographers taking pictures from this sort of location before. Let's hope he did indeed get wet waiting for the Flying Scotsman.'  Let's also hope we never see such irresponsible behaviour again.

The bridge itself is of some interest in that it leads to an area of reclaimed land, behind an embankment known as 'Panton Cop' which, old maps show, once carried a 'tramway' and now carries the North Wales Coast cycleway. Can anyone tell us more about the tramway?  Presumably it was used in maintaining the embankment.

The Kinmel Camp Railway - pictures by Roly High

This rather unconventional sign on St.Asaph Avenue in Kinmel Bay ...

...  directs walkers through this gate, and along this track which runs alongside the River Gele  towards the trackbed of the Kinmel Camp Railway, which ran from a junction with the
North Wales coast line west of Rhyl station to the Army camp at Bodelwyddan, and later to the limestone quarry at St.George.

As our sketch plan (based on a 1950 Ordnance Survey map - roads not shown in full) shows, the rail connection to the main line was further north, and included a very sharp curve, the position of which can still be seen on Google Maps aerial views.  The line south from the path access now forms the Quarry Line Path itself.

The railway came into being during World War I, in 1916, solely to serve a large army camp at Bodelwyddan. Originally it joined the main line at Foryd station by a west-facing curve (shown dotted on the plan), but soon afterwards this was replaced by a connection to the Foryd Harbour branch, requiring trains to and from Rhyl to make two reversals. By 1918 a direct connection with the Vale of Clwyd line has been established, and trains had a through run. By the early 1920s the Camp had closed, but in 1923 the line was taken over by a quarry company to bring limestone down from their quarries at St George to the main line, and operation which continued until 1965 when the line was closed, and the track lifted.  The military, and later the quarry company, used their own locomotives to work the line.

Little has been written about the line in mainstream railway publications, but there is a n exhaustive history of the railway and its locomotives, entitled 'The Kinmel Camp Railway' in Industrial Railway Record, the journal of the Industrial Railway Society, No.102 of September 1985, pages 309 - 322. Author Philip G. Hindley collected many photographs, and took some of his own in the last days of the quarry line.

After closure, the trackbed became overgrown, but in 1995 a voluntary group called Clwyd Community Roots, based on the now famous 'Sustrans' principles, set about creating a cycleway along the route.  Money was raised, consents given, and the track cleared, as the picture above shows. However, although the path has public footpath status, it appears that objections by landowners have blocked its official recognition as a route for cyclists, according to an interesting article on the Cycling North Wales website.

This is an issue often faced by cycling groups around the country, not helped by the archaic state of relevant laws. The only current mechanism by which a footpath can be opened up to cyclists without losing its public right-of-way status on the 'definitive map' as a  is to designate it as a Bridleway which also allows horse riding. A 'cycle track' can be created, but that is not legally a right of way. Doing this creates objections from walking groups fearful of losing the route in future.

Flying Scotsman at Ruabon 53 years ago - recalled by Peter Dickinson

The special Flying Scotsman edition of the Notice Board has prompted me to dig out some photographs of Flying Scotsman on railtour duties 53 years ago. The photographers of all these images are unknown, but I now own the original negatives.

On 20 April 1963, 4472 hauled its first railtour in preservation, working a Ffestiniog Railway Society special (train 1X28, displayed in Western Region style) from Paddington to Ruabon. The A3 Pacific is first seen passing Llangollen Line Junction on her approach to Ruabon. Even before the railtour had arrived at Ruabon, quite a crowd had gathered on and around the station despite the wet April weather. A young boy (above) kicks up a spray of water as he runs along Ruabon's island platform while No.4472 brings the railtour into the station.

The loco stopped just to the north of the station, beyond the overbridge carrying the B5097 road up to Wynne Hall.

Manor class 4-6-0s 7827 Lydham Manor and 7819 Hinton Manor took over the train for the leg on to Minffordd via Llangollen, Bala and Barmouth. The pair are seen passing Ruabon Middle Signal Box; the line on the extreme left of the photograph leading off to the turntable.  [Trespassing was tolerated in those far-off times.]

Out and about with Tim Rogers

Some recent events, as portrayed by the roving camera of Tim Rogers. Above, on 16 June, 43 013 leads the High Speed Track Recording Train through Bagillt. The formation now is all Mk3 coaches, 975984, Formerly Laboratory 15 'Argus', 977994, 977993, and 977984.

On the rear, 43 014 The Railway Observer. The working was 1Q30 10:53 Derby R.T.C.(Network Rail) to Crewe C.S. (L&NWR Site) via Holyhead & Liverpool Lime Street.

Bangor at 21:09 on 17 June, with 67 002 and DVT 82306 on 1W96 17:16 Cardiff Central to Holyhead 'WAG Express'.

18 June: 57 312 Solway Princess brings the 'Northern Belle' 1Z58 06:24 Coventry to Blaenau Ffestiniog into Llandudno Junction. The train reversed at Llandudno Junction to continue on to the Conwy Valley line, seen to the right.

After reversal 57 305 Northern Princess heads the 'Northern Belle' alongside the river at Glan Conwy past the Distant signal for the signal protecting the main line.

Malltraeth on 20 June, and a pair of 150s appear yet again on what should have been the loco-hauled  1D34 09:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead - 150 236 and 150 213 on this occasion.

Bodorgan, later that day, and 67 002 passes, propelling the 1W96 17:16 Cardiff Central to Holyhead. This station still relies on the traditional wooden steps (now in Arriva livery) to assist passengers at the low platform, not having been given a 'hump' like some other stations.

On 21 June Tim visited Porthmadog on the Cambrian Coast line. 158 829 calls, working busy 2G55 13:38 Pwllheli to Birmingham International. Sadly a plain text 'Station Inn' sign has replaced the painting of Fort William station.

A return visit to Malltraeth on 21 June again failed to produce a Class 67 on the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead, but the passengers had something better than Class 150 travel, in the
23rd June 2016 Malltraeth.

Finally, on 23 June, Tim found a loco - 67 008 - on 09:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead. It seems that staffing difficulties are at the root of this erratic situation.

Re-locating to Holyhead, Tim captured 67 008 departing with 1H89 13:07 return Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly.  The Real Time Trains website does not record ad hoc substitutions of traction, so if planning to photograph or travel on this train in its proper loco-hauled form, one needs to rely on reports by other enthusiasts or that pre-internet staple 'inside knowledge'.

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