Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

07 October 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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.
October 2016

Wednesday 12 October  Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Ron Watson Jones - More Steam on the North Wales Coast

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

Friday 14 October Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture The West Somerset Railway – A Personal View by Walt Denning. One hundred slides and a video

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

Wednesday 9 November  Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Mike Walker - TRAWS LINK CYMRU - Restoring the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen Rail Link

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

Friday 11 November  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture Trams in Alicante and tramway developments in Mallorca and Bratislava (Slovakia) (all in 2016) A digital presentation by Martin Arthur

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.

Friday 9 December  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture Steam in colour on the Somerset & Dorset Railway and the Great Central main line. A colour slide presentation by Alf Storey

Wednesday 14 December Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Julian Birley - Double Bill - The Bala Lake Railway Extension + The Repatriation of Penrhyn Quarry Loco ‘Winifred’

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

Wednesday 11 January Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Dr. Dafydd Gwyn - The First 80 Steam Locomotives.

Friday 13 January Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture Steam in the North West of England and Scotland in 1965 (Part 2). A digital presentation in black and white by Noel Coates

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.

Wednesday 8 February Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Gareth Haulfryn Williams - The Vale of Rheidol Railway.

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

Friday 10 February  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture The Splendid Years of BR Steam 1959-1963. A digital presentation by John Sloane

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.

Wednesday 8 March  Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Speaker to be confirmed

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

Friday 10 March  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture Eric Lomax, Railwayman of War and Peace. Images of steam in the UK before and after the Second World War with a few taken in India during the war; featured locos are a mixture of industrial and main line, mostly in Scotland A digital presentation of black and white images by Dr Michael Bailey

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.  Birkenhead Joint Railway.  Paul Wright.

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.

Friday 7 April  (note: first Friday  of the month) Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture The Last Years of British Trolleybuses A colour slide presentation by Brian Yates  

Wednesday 12 April Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Norman Kneale, Renowned railway photographer.

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. The L&Y in BR days.  Noel Coates.

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.

Wednesday 10 May  Welsh Highland Railway North Wales Group Group’s AGM + John Ellis Williams - The Continuing Story.

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

37 025 Inverness TMD at Prestatyn, 28 September. Picture by Dave Sallery.

Another special bonus issue - the next update will be on the evening of Tuesday 11 October, a day later than usual.- Charlie

Retro 37 in action

Hired back from the world of Preservation to work for Network Rail is 37 025 Inverness TMD, which spend three days in our area and the end of September. George Jones found laying over at rainy Wrexham General on 26 September with a four-coach consist.

The loco is kept in really fine condition. Let's hope it stays away from Rail Head Treatment Train duty! (George Jones).

 on 27 September found its way along the Borderland Line to Bidston and back, photographed at Buckley by Bob Greenhalgh with the 37 propelling ...

... and Driving Trailer DBSO on the front. The control connections on these vehicles, once used on passenger trains in Scotland and East Anglia,  allow for control of any loco with 'blue star' wiring as was standard on most diesel locos from the British Rail era (Roly High).

The next day, 28 September, and a run from Crewe to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Holyhead and back. Bob Greenhalgh pictured the train at Beeches Farm west of Chester.

A sunny day and a large-logo Class 37 - a fine combination.  Russell Withington captured the old-timer at Bagillt.

Prestatyn (Jim Coates).

Rhyl (Roly High).

It's so much easier for us to identify the function of a test train when Network Rail paint it on the side ... 999602 is an Ultrasonic Test vehicle, equipped to detect flaws or cracks in the rails which would otherwise lead to rail breaks and derailments. The heavy-duty bogies are a clue to its previous life as the motor coach of a Southern Region 4-REP high-power electric multiple unit. One of the other coaches was labelled 'Structure Gauging Train Coach'.

West of Abergele (Greg Mape).

At Llandudno Junction, preparing to reverse for the run to Blaenau Ffestiniog (Peter Lloyd).

Arrival back from the Conwy Valley and the on the next leg to Bangor (Peter Lloyd). This loco entered service as D6725 in August 1961, so is now eligible for an Arriva Trains Wales Club 55 ticket.

Measurement train variety

Staying with the Network Rail theme, here's something exotic: Early in the morning GBRf rebuilt Class 73 electro-diesel 73 963 (with 73 962 at the other end) is able to show off its 3rd-rail electrification capability on the Merseyrail system. The class also work the diesel portion of the Fort William Sleeper. Picture by John Murray.

The HST New Measurement train, with 43 062 John Armitt leading, passes Llanfair PG under a stormy sky on 6 October (Alan Crawshaw).

Barmouth in the News

On hearing that a Class 158 unit was to be carried out of Barmouth by road on 28 September we asked our local correspondents to take a look. Ian Wright walked across the bridge, pausing to look at some of the results of the work which has been going on overnight to replace the timber baulks that support the rails.

Ian found 158 818 in the siding ready to travel: suffering from damage to the final drive gearing on one of the cars, and needing a trip to Cardiff for repair, it had reportedly travelled here from Machynlleth depot ready for the move ...

... because this is considered the best location for such a move, thanks to headshunt there, a relic of the former goods yard, where end-on loading is possible. In place is the road-rail crane which has been assisting with the overnight work.

One of Allely's lorries was parked on the road down to the beach in readiness; the crew told Ian that the move was planned for the next day, 29 September, provided the loading went well.

This skip on the route down the street would be less than helpful (Ian Wright).

Kate Jones was on hand on 29 September to watch some of the action. The way pas the Co-Op and round assorted street furniture is not the easiest for the crew...

... past the station entrance ...

... this stop sign to be avoided ...

... but notice the steerable rear wheels in action.

52818 parked on the promenade awaiting the final departure which later in the day.

Ian Wright watched from across the water as the cavalcade made its way up the hill past the pedestrian entrance to the bridge ...

... and along the shoreline towards Dolgellau.

A view from Allely's Facebook page.

As if all that was not enough excitement, more drama was to come on 4 October as the driver of train 2J00 05:08 Machynlleth - Barmouth noticed flames coming from the bridge and brought the train to a stand - apparently after passing the small fire. The train stayed on the bridge for a couple of hours before continuing into Barmouth station - Kate Jones photographed it from across the estuary.

The first was a relatively small one, presumably smouldering un-noticed by the contractors working overnight. Ian Wright walked on to the bridge at 08:15 to find 'lots of hi-viz people arrived from Barmouth side, where there were two fire appliances, and another appliance arrived from Tywyn direction to deliver equipment. The fire damage was not obvious from above.

The Barmouth lifeboat crew were on hand (Ian Wright).  The bridge had been blocked for trains, with a Barmouth - Pwllheli service established using two of the units available on that side, and trains from the south were terminated at Tywyn. Questions were asked by local politicians as to why they could not run to Fairbourne or Morfa Mawddach; whether this is a limitation of the signalling system and/or a problem with train ans staff resources we cannot say.

Later in the day, Ian took a walk on the sands to have at the damage to No. 80 bridge pier, the left of the two in the picture. The ends of one horizontal beam and one diagonal brace have been sawn off ...

... but some charring remains on the edge of the decking above.  Press reports say it took six (or possibly seven) hours to extinguish the fire.

At the time of writing (7 October) we are told the line will remain closed until 'at least 10 October'. Arrangements have been made to re-fuel the stranded units at Porthmadog: on 6 October Ken Robinson at Porthmadog photographed 158 837 in the siding opposite the road tanker while 158 828 passes.  There was a plan to move 158 828 by road to Chester from here on 7 October, leaving two units to run the service, but we understand for 'logistical reasons' it was decided to transfer at Barmouth instead. The bridge walkway is open.

Local MP Liz Saville Roberts has been expounding her views on the matter to the press:
This incident will undoubtedly have repercussions on transport links in the immediate area and along the Cambrian Coast, and I understand measures are already in place to try and mitigate any adverse effects as a result of the fire. Discussions are still ongoing regarding a redesigned bridge at Barmouth viaduct. Following this recent fire, I’d ask all parties to come together as a matter of urgency, and co-operate to move this project forward. Plans were drawn up for urgent work to begin next spring with the main rebuild commencing in 2018.

Evidently, urgent work will need to be undertaken now, and it would be a great assurance to the community of Barmouth and all Cambrian Coast rail users if plans for the new design were finalised as soon as possible.
Unfortunately it would seem that it was the improvement works on the bridge which caused the fire. A spokesman for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: 'Investigations are ongoing but initial indications are that there are no suspicious circumstances.' Readers might consider there is some suspicion of carelessness.

Does anyone have more information about this 'redesigned bridge'?

(Thanks to everyone who has supplied pictures and information, directly or on forums, for this item.)

Merseyside's rubbish

Les Burton writes: 'I was out and about on 14 September hoping to catch the daily train of refuse empties Wilton to Knowsley Freight terminal. The schedule shows two journeys but in reality it has been sporadic and on that day  there was the one consist into the terminal. The picture above was taken whilst 66 079 and consist of empty containers stood at the signal just prior to Rainford whilst awaiting the 14:44  Kirkby - Rochdale passenger coming off the single line.'

On 19 September at Rainford, 66 099 brings the loaded train into the passing loop; the signaller has just collected the token from  the driver (Eric Shenton).

The terminal at Knowsley was constructed with 'Section 8' Government funding from Central Govermment and its original primary use was the transhipment of Perrier water. The terminal fell into disuse some years ago and has only recently been been put back into use.

Paths for these trains are available by various alternative routes. As with the Liverpool - Drax biomass trains, there is a reticence to allow heavy loaded Class 66-hauled freight trains to tackle the 'Miles Platting Bank' west of Manchester Victoria, with its section of 1 in 48 gradient. In older times, until the 1980s at least, a loco would be stationed at Manchester Victoria to come on to the rear and  'bank' freights up the hill, but this is out of the question in modern conditions. Loaded trains therefore run via The Mid-Cheshire Line, Stockport, Denton Junction and Rochdale.

The overnight empties can use the Diggle line, then Guide Bridge, Manchester Piccadilly, Eccles, Golborne Junction and Wigan, whilst daytime empties take a direct route through Manchester Victoria and the Walkden line which has not often seen freight trains in the recent past.

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