Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

16 September 2016

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue. For full information visit our Calendar page.
September 2016
Monday 19 September RCTS Chester   Barry Shore Diesel Diary - The Sixties. Barry lives on the Wirral and his thoughtful presentations are always looked forward to. He is a long standing Branch member.

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

October 2016

Tuesday 4 October North Wales Railway Circle Slate Railways of North Wales.  David Gwyn, industrial archaeologist, author of The Slate and other publications and fireman on The Bala Lake Railway returns to The Vic by popular demand with a further offering "New research on the slate railways of North Wales 1796-1848"

Wednesday 5 October   RCTS Liverpool Stephen Gay - Railways in a Cornish Landscape. Stephen is from Sheffield and a celebrated photographer. He returns to the Branch to give one of his presentations based on his walking tours covering the past and present railway scene.
Friday 7 October Clwyd Railway Circle Ron’s Wanderings for Main Line Steam. A collection of film clips covering main line steam and preserved lines by Ron Watson-Jones

Thursday 13 October Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society 6 G - Fifty years by the Committee

Monday 17 October RCTS Chester John Sloane:  Sheds Part 2. John, from Parbold, is a member of the Lancs & North West Branch and is also the LCGB North West Branch Chairman. His nostalgic shed shots are accompanied by an insight into how each shed operated.

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

November 2016

Tuesday 1 November  North Wales Railway Circle North Wales Steam Days and Early Diesels.      
Prolific local railway photographer Barry Wynne presents a selection of photographs from his vast archive that he took in steam days in North Wales and also covers first generation diesels

Friday 4 November Clwyd Railway Circle Development of German Electric Locomotives. An illustrated description of the principal designs from the Siemens Demonstrator of 1879 to the latest members of the Eurosprinter & TRAXX families, covering their inception, technical features and service history by Ian Mainprize

Thursday 10 November Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society AGM and Members Miscellany       

Monday 21 November RCTS Chester Revd. Canon Brian Arman: Railway Roundabout. Brian, the Society’s President, is from Bristol and another man of the cloth who is a railway enthusiast. His presentation starts and finishes in Gloucester via Bristol, Bournemouth, London and Birmingham.

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

December 2016

Friday 2 December Clwyd Railway Circle Members' Night & Christmas Celebration

Tuesday 6 December  North Wales Railway Circle Christmas Bash. A free buffet is provided this evening and members are invited to bring their own slides/digital pictures and videos to entertain

Thursday 8 December Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society Christmas Social / An evening with Norman Kneale        

Wednesday 7 December RCTS Liverpool Paul Wright: The 8D Association. Paul is Editor of the Association’s Journal.

Monday 19 December RCTS Chester John Hobbs:  North Wales in Black & White.John lives in Warrington and is well known for his presentations covering the final years of steam in North Wales and around the north west. He is a member of the Branch and is actively involved in railway preservation.

January 2017

Tuesday 3 January  North Wales Railway Circle Secretary’s Evening. North Wales Railway Circle Secretary, Peter Hanahoe, presents a selection of his vast catalogue of photographs he has taken on the international railway scene.

Friday 6 January Clwyd Railway Circle The Ffestiniog Railway. A short history featuring FR steam locomotives and a trip up the line using photographs from the 60's onwards. By Geoff Coward

Thursday 12 January Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society My favourite memories of preserved steam on the Coast by Ron Watson Jones

Monday 16 January RCTS Chester AGM - Followed by John Feild with a slide presentation Non-members are welcome after 20.15 hours for John’s presentation which will
cover our Branch’s 2016 outdoor visits and other topical items. He is a long standing RCTS member and now President of the Branch.
Friday 27 January Great Western Society North West Branch. North of Preston Barrie Rushton

February 2017

Wednesday 1 February  RCTS Liverpool  Mark Youdan. North West Railway Photography, 1995-2015. Mark, a Branch member, is a Driver/Trainer for Arriva Rail North and held the same position with Northern Trains.

Friday 3 February Clwyd Railway Circle BR Steam - The Splendid Years (1959-65 in B&W) Steam around the regions in the early 60’s by John Sloane.

Tuesday 7 February     North Wales Railway Circle Birkenhead to The Coast. North Wales Railway Circle life member Ken Owen entertains us with a selection of pictures starting in Birkenhead, visiting his home town of Wrexham and traveling via his present home Redhill to Eastbourne and Margate on the South Coast.

Thursday 9 February Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society Snowdon Mountain Railway, by Mike Robertshaw

Monday 20 February RCTS Chester Fred Kirk: Leicester Area Steam Days. Fred, from Leicester, spent a lot of his time bicycling around with his camera at the ready to various locations on all the main lines within reasonable reach of his home.

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

March 2017

Friday 3 March  Clwyd Railway Circle Amlwch Branch Line and Annual General Meeting Chairman of the Lein Amlwch - Central Anglesey Railway Company, Walter Glyn Davies  will give a presentation on the progress of the lines revival. The talk will be followed by the Annual General Meeting.

Tuesday 7 March   North Wales Railway Circle The Abergele Accident. Tony Griffiths gives a talk on the accident that occurred on 20th August 1868 at Abergele involving the Irish Mail and a part of a goods train that was being shunted.

Thursday 9 March  Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society    ... And we run trains too! Clare Britton (Ffestiniog Railway)

Monday 20 March  RCTS Chester    Paul Chancellor. A Colour-Rail Presentation. Paul, from Bromsgrove, is owner of Colour-Rail and will highlight the work of many fine railway photographers covering the better part of 70 years. He is also the RO Editor for the ‘Preservation and Other Railways’ section.

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

April 2017

Tuesday 4 April    North Wales Railway Circle Bangor to Hong Kong by Rail. Adam Fetherstonhaugh gives an account of his epic journey by rail from Bangor to Hong Kong via Beijing and then on to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Wednesday 5 April RCTS Liverpool David Rapson. Railways - The Digital Effect David, who lives in Connah's Quay, has worked on the railways for many years spending a lot of his life in Control positions and now works for West Coast Railway Company. He is also a Branch member and for those who read Rail Express will be aware of his contributions.

Friday 7 April Clwyd Railway Circle Railways of North Cheshire in Early BR Days Being a Manchester lad, Russell Hatt was able to capture the busy scenes around his home area.

Thursday 13 April Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society An evening with Barry & Steve  - BarryWynne and Steve Morris

Monday 24 April   RCTS Chester   George Jones : Onwards to Corwen.George lives in Wrexham and for many years has been an important publicist for the Llangollen Railway and certain of its locomotives. He will cover the railway’s reinvigoration of the line to Corwen and look at its future prospects.       

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

May 2017

Tuesday 2 May   North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic Competition.  The Annual General Meeting of The North Wales Railway Circle will be followed by the annual photographic competition.  Members are invited to submit their work in three categories, prints, slides and video.  Video to be kept reasonably short, approx. 5 mins.  In line with Circle rules all work should have been taken in the last 12 months.

Thursday 11 May   Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society   A tribute to the late David Jones, by John Myers 

68 005 at Llandudno Junction, 8 September: see item below. Picture by Peter Lloyd.

We hope you enjoy this extra catch-up issue. The next update - including the FR/WHR superpower event - will be on the evening of Tuesday 20 September. Thanks as always to all readers and contributors. - Charlie

68s on the Coast

On 8 August, a pair of Class 46 locos stood in for the HST measurement train on a run to Holyhead and back. 68 005 led through Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd)

Bagillt on the return, with 68 005. Picture by Russell Withington, who writes: 'It was booked as an HST but even before I saw it I could tell from the noise  that was was going to come round the trees wasn’t going to be Class 43 hauled. What did appear had a considerably better power to weight ratio! ... While I would have preferred the HST, having seen it spread around
Derby RTC the previous weekend, this was a pretty good substitute.'

68 017 Hornet led on the return journey, photographed by Bob Greenhalgh.

Open Day at Padeswood - report by Barrie Hughes

Having lived in Buckley for many years in the 60-70s I had never visited Padeswood Cement Works despite occasional Open Days in the past. I heard about this year’s 3 September Open Day via the internet and combined a visit with several other activities in the area, now a long drive from Northamptonshire. It was already raining heavily (earlier than promised by the Met Office!) at 10:30 when the site opened. A land train (above) was provided for a tour of the site. However the road train did not visit the sidings area still used by a - sometimes - weekly coal train from the Killoch Coal Disposal Point on the A70, a branch line west from Ayr.  Hansons no longer have any outgoing cement traffic unlike the previous owners Castle Cement. The plant shuts down for winter maintenance in January and sometimes at Easter according to demand for cement and so fewer trains might operate at this time.

The siting of the factory, one of several built by the post-World War 2 Labour Government in the late 1940s for reconstruction of the country, remains obscure. It had no water, drawing water from a special artesian well dug nearby at Kinnerton. Limestone has to be imported from several miles away by lorry from quarries in Halkyn Limestone ridge which extends south along the Welsh border ... the current quarry is currently southwest of Mold near Maeshafn. The main criterion seems to have been that the site was next to the a railway for bringing in raw materials and exporting products. While there has been nearby opencast coal and limestone quarries, there does not appear to have been any use made of rail for this purpose this century.  The cement works burns a number of fuels including bone meal and industrial waste in a modern high tower complex built in the early 2000s. Sensors continuously monitor the waste gases and automatically shut down the burners if agreed pollutant levels are exceeded. The control room (above) looks very space age!
Currently a four-track rail yard lies alongside the Wrexham - Bidston line and trains that have reversed at Wrexham shunt back into this yard from nearer Buckley Junction. It does not appear there are any run-round facilities in the yard. The wagons were then dragged forward by the hired in Class 08 shunter to be unloaded by grab in an east-west siding near the circular storage building. There is plenty of evidence of former east-west rail sidings in the works and Google Earth provides some idea of the site with four pictures of the sidings and trains from 2010.

There was a two-road loco shed at the South West corner of the site and the two east-west sidings are still visible in the concrete roadways at various locations. It is possible the train engine drags to the unloading point these days and then runs to Shotwick sidings at Shotton Steelworks to run round before returning to Wrexham and heading north again. This picture shows disused double track in the access road near the main control centre. The two road shed for the Castle Cement shunters was to the left.

Disused tracks near the loading bays at the north of the side: these are in line with the current coal unloading point.

An old road roller previously in Castle Cement ownership.

An old 'Castle Cement' Presflo wagon is mounted on a plinth at the Padeswood Works entrance.
Notes and Queries from our 'Postbag'

Lee Evans writes: 'I am a long time follower of the site, and in particular always keep an eye out for any historical photos which may have included my grandfather Owen "Muggins" Evans who retired as a guard based at Holyhead in around 1992. I wonder whether anyone has any photographs (or tales) they would like to share as I believe he was quite a character.'

We've been asked if we can trace any photographs of the siding which served Llandudno Junction brickworks, seen above in a map extract from 1913.  The works, operated by Edward Boase & Sons, closed in 1957, although some of the buildings, including a  '15" diameter x 36"
stroke single-cylinder horizontal steam engine' reportedly (Keith Jaggers, 1978) were still there in  the 1970s. The siding was truncated at the brickworks boundary (and possibly used for storage of redundant rolling stock), while the brick pit became a lake, later filled in with refuse and in use by a scrapyard and other industrial units. If current plans come to fruition, these will soon be replaced by a new superstore, a petrol station and four restaurants.

It seems unlikely that any pictures exist, but if you can help, please get in touch.

On the subject of Llandudno Junction, Roly High writes: 'Looking at the photo Jim Ikin took of the Station Hotel at Llandudno Junction (5 September issue) reminds me of the tale that it is known locally as "The Killer" because in steam days,the railway staff from Llandudno Junction shed used to "kill" time in there before going on duty!'  Perhaps someone can tell us more.

Tom Nicholls of Carshalton & Sutton Model Railway Club is interested in the (somewhat off-topic but interesting) subject of shunting of locos at Barry Scrapyard. He writes:
I am looking for photos or film of shunting and removal of steam locomotives at Barry Scrapyard. From simply observing the locomotives and their positions over some time, from photos, it becomes clear that there were from time to time considerable movement (up until the middle 1980s). As a railway modeller by hobby I am interested in recreating the feel of the scrapyard and replicate the types of movements that took place in the 1970s as locos were removed for preservation ad am currently researching a project to make a small layout.

I would be grateful for any links, material, or suggestions as to where else to look, that you might be able to assist with. I confirm that I am a private individual with no connection to any commercial organisation and any material would be respected in terms of copyright, would be for my own use, and not reproduced.
If you can help, we'll pass on your message.

Picture News

A Virgin Super Voyager (221 111 Roald Amundsen?) passes through Rhyl on the Down Fast Line
with the 11.10 from London Euston to Bangor on 1 September. This was the first special in conjunction with the start of the 'Festival No 6' at Pormeirion. The 11:10 London Euston - Chester was specially extended to carry the festival-goers, who had benefited from discounted fare offers, running non-stop running between Chester and Bangor. In the siding, resident Tampers DR 73117 and DR 77907.

Those who came by car probably wished they had used the train, as the land used for car parking became flooded and chaos ensued at the end of the the event.

The Railway Magazine in conjunction with DRS and Virgin ran a charity excursion on 3 September from Chester to Scarborough, dubbed 'The Independent Yorkshireman' to reflect the fact that used the normally freight-only Independent Line which by-pass Crewe station, as well as various other interesting sections of track including the new Norton Bridge flyover and the Hazel Grove - Northenden line. Steve Morris photographed the train at Winsford, having reversed at Stafford. 37 604 and 37 603 were in charge from Stafford to Scarborough.

57 309 Pride of Crewe, which had led from Chester to Stafford via Alsager, was on the rear. DRS provided their trademark buffer adornments.

57 003 and 37 259 bring three flask wagons, including recently-built FNA 11 70 9229 004-0, through Saltney Ferry on 31 August. Picture by Tim Rogers.

A pair of 66/7s cross Oxford Road in Manchester on 12 September with 66 751 & 66 747 on
4Z70 Doncaster - Trafford Park inter-modal service. Picture by Greg Mape.

St Peters Square station on Manchester Metrolink is back in service after a period of closure for re-building, but so far only the two platforms serving the Mosley Street line. The new 'second city crossing' from here to Exchange Square is on schedule for opening early in 2017 (Greg Mape).

West Coast Railways 37 669, newly fitted with Hitachi ERTMS signalling equipment, following sister loco 37 668's fitting some time ago, made test runs between Machynlleth (above) and Dovey Junction on the night of 7/8 September. Note the new footbridge. Picture by Richard W. Jones - many more on Richard's Flickr site.

67s and 68s, 3 September - report by Barrie Hughes

After leaving Padeswood Works (see above) it was off to Hattons to buy 67 003 in ATW livery then back to Chester to sample the real thing as the 'Gerald'  stock was being used on relief services for a second weekend. Above, the train arrives at Chester with 1K50  from Llandudno which took me to Crewe.

67002 at Crewe ... still raining and not many takers for the 16:05 Crewe - Llandudno (1D50).

Whilst waiting an hour for the return service a triple-header light engine Class 68 working from Wembley and pulled into the south bay before reversing to Gresty Lane depot. This view shows 68 019 Brutus, one of the newest, that led the rake back to Gresty Bridge depot. It was a nice touch that the driver acceded to a request from some parents to allow a small boy to cab the loco while it was stationary in the bay.

The rear loco that led from Wembley, 68 013. The intermediate loco was 68 010.

67 002 at Chester with red lights on at 19:15, presumably for some manoeuvre. It was set to haul the 19:52 Chester – Holyhead 1D60 later so was probably being shunted to a siding to clear platform 4.

Busy half hour at Bagillt (etc) - with Russell Withington

I had a spare couple of hours between applying coats of paint to the dining room walls and window sill on 31 August so nipped down to Bagillt bridge. First up was a stoneblower, travelling from Llandudno Junction to Coleham  (above), followed by an Arriva DMU (not photographed) ...

 ... and straight after that DR 73108, a tamper/liner, heading the same way from Rhyl Carriage Sidings.

No sooner had this passed westbound than 67 015 appeared on its way to Holyhead,  with Mk 3s 12177, 12178, 12184, and DVT 82308 bringing up the rear. Not bad for just under 30 minutes.

Went for lunch, did some more painting, then decided to go back to Flint to  catch 'the DfT' as it entered the station under the footbridge, obviously now with the Driving Van Trailer 82308 leading - a shame that the sun had decided to hide behind the clouds for a few minutes.

Narrow Gauge Miscellany

On the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway on 31 August, Former GWR loco 822 The Earl takes on water at Welshpool Raven Square  prior to departing with the 11.15am service to Llanfair Caereinion ...

... and on arrival at Llanfair Caereinion prepares to run round its train (Martin Evans).

The Bank Holiday gala at the Bala Lake Railway was judged an excellent weekend, well patronised with great weather and a busy timetable of passenger, mixed and freight trains. Volunteer BLR staff member Bob Greenhalgh sends these views from 29 August. Above, at Llangower loop, Velinheli and Diana wait for a Bala-bound train to pass.

Also at Llangower, Velinheli and Diana wait as Alice and Maid Marian head for Bala. Dry weather is especially welcome to drivers of these open-cab locos!

Llanuwchllyn. Diana, Velinheli, Winifred, Maid Marian, Holy War and Alice coupled together and ready to depart.

The Llanberis Lake Railway on 11 September: quarry Hunslet Elidir at work on the afternoon service trains, showing off its sparkling paint finish (Larry Davies).

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