Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

11 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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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 

At Chester station on 1 October, West Coast Railway Company Driver Mick Kelly and his fireman look back from 45690 Leander and await instructions from the guard following the passengers leaving the train, to enable them to set off and turn the train around the Chester triangle. The train was the Lune Rivers Trust charter: see report below. Picture by Robert Meredith.

Don't miss our 7 October extra issue.

Closure to Steam: Llandudno Junction 2 October, 1966 - by Larry Davies

Shortly before midday on Saturday 1 October 1966,  Class 5 4-6-0 45050 slipped out of the shed yard at Llandudno Junction 6G motive power depot and so a way of life came to an end for a once proud steam depot and its men.  Harry Rogers Jones took a photograph of 45050 on that morning.

With effect from the following day 2 October, 1966 the shed was officially closed and all its steam allocation transferred away.  Its remaining diesel shunters D2604/5/6/7 would be serviced and maintained in the adjoining carriage shed along with the new forms of diesel traction which by then operated on a regional basis rather than local allocation.

Above, 'Black 5' 45042 and 'Jinty' 0-6-0T 47598 rest outside the shed foreman's bay window (Larry Davies).

Today a CineWorld and fast food complex occupies the site and there is little to remind today’s generation of what was once there of an industry that gave the town so much prosperity and saw its growth.  It is said locally that Llandudno Junction grew with the coming of the railway and with the loss of the steam sheds part of it died.

45282, 6G's 'pet loco' for the Llandudno-Manchester 'Club train' rests on a Sunday afternoon in company of a Patricroft-based BR Standard 4-6-0. Withdrawn 8F 2-8-0 48147, formerly of Croes Newydd depot, is stored at the side of the shed.

Two of the old 6G locomen, Robert Barnsdale and Derek Williams have been working hard and have been in contact with all known survivors of the shed in its closing years and hopefully many will be able to attend a reunion of 'Junction locomen' this week at a hotel in Llandudno. Those present will be given a limited edition commemorative postcard depicting views of the shed, its men and locos.  It anticipated that over forty men will be at the get together. 

On Thursday 13 October 2016, some 50 years on, the Llandudno & Conwy Valley Railway Society will commemorate the passing of 6G, at a special Club meeting in the Community Social Club, Victoria Drive, Llandudno Junction when the men and engines of 6G and their work will be fondly remembered in talks, presentations and displays of photographs and equipment. Members will be given a limited edition Postcard recalling the closing years of the depot.  Visitors will be welcomed to join members on the night.

For extensive coverage of Llandudno Junction shed, its men and machines, we recommend Geoff Poole's 6G website.

Barmouth bridge re-opened

Barmouth bridge re-opened (see last issue) on 10 October, following 'temporary repairs'  but restricted to the normal Class 158 units only, with locomotives allowed. Ian Wright took this picture from the footpath in the afternoon after the service had re-started; it's clear that pier 80, where the fire took hold below, is at the interface between replaced and existing timbers. The additional rails - mounted on their specially-cast chairs - are a feature of this bridge.

Steam at Chester

The Lune Rivers Trust ran their 2016 steam charter on Saturday 1 October from Carnforth  to Chester, arriving in very wet conditions for all the passengers on board. The Lune Rivers Trust is a charity dedicated to the conservation, protection, rehabilitation and improvement of the River Lune throughout is whole length and associated tributaries in Cumbria, Yorkshire, and North Lancashire. The Trusts aim is to protect and improve the riverline habitat to encourage the biodiversity of the River Lune and its tributaries.

Above: 45690 sets off from the station to turn the engine and train on the triangle (Robert Meredith).

45690 re-entering the station sidings for servicing after turning the train on the triangle (Robert Meredith).

Departure (Phil Clarke).

The weather may not have been kind, but at least the passengers enjoyed steam haulage, unlike those who booked for the Railway Touring Company's 'Buxton Spa Express' on 17 September which ran diesel-hauled throughout. Originally advertised to run with 2-8-0 48151, this was altered to 45690 Leander, which undertook, and passed, its annual exam to obtain a certificate to operate on Wednesday 14 September. The necessary paperwork was sent to the Network Rail Rolling Stock Library the following day. Although received on the Friday morning, staff shortages meant that the records were not updated or the loco owners notified. On the Saturday the loco was ready to run but unable to access Network Rail as its registration was out of date.

Save Gobowen station - report by George Jones

A scheme is afoot, promoted by the 'Gobowen Area Improvement Project' to save the Italianate station building at Gobowen station which has an uncertain future. It is certainly sad to see the poor state of external disrepair and empty offices for what is a classic Listed Building on the Shrewsbury - Chester line.

There will be an 'drop in'  day at Gobowen on 19 October when a prospectus about the scheme will be launched. A good crowd in attendance is needed to comment and support the scheme.

Bridlington to Blaenau

On 8 October, train 1Z61 was an excursion from Bridlington to Blaenau Ffestiniog, with West Coast Railways locos 57 313 and 47 826. Ken Robinson writes: 'I ventured to Dolwyddelan which was disappointing as my favourite spot just north of the station was overgrown since my last visit, and I had to think of plan B. At least there was some sun.'

Ken's second picture shows 47 826 at the rear which was 'opened up' at this spot. The headboard 'Spirit of the Lakes' appears to refer to the 'Pullman' stock in the train rather than anything route-related.

Ken followed the train to Blaenau Ffestiniog station.

57 313 at Llandudno Junction, where the train reversed to return to the east coast (Peter Lloyd).

Greg Mape's view

Exploring (by bike) on 21 September the Stockport - Guide Bridge line, famous for its once-weekly train but also an important freight route.  The first station after Stockport is Reddish South (above) with DB Cargo 66 091 on the regular weekday train carrying limestone for construction work from Peak Forest via Hazel Grove, Stockport and Manchester Victoria to Hope Street stone terminal west of Salford Station. Crossing the Reddish Road bridge is Stagecoach Manchester bus 10464, an Alexander Dennis E400 built in 2016, is on route 303 from Stockport to Manchester via Reddish and Gorton.

Again at Reddish South, 66 519 brings empty refuse containers from Runcorn Folly Lane to the Greater Manchester depot at Brindle Heath, on the south side of the Salford Crescent - Bolton line, a mile west of Salford Crescent.  Reddish South was once a four-platform station, with a wagon repair works somewhere being the trees to the left. It was finally reduced to single track to reduce the cost of a bridge over the M60 motorway.

The minimalist timetable display at Reddish South, showing the whole service. Fridays-only 09:22 Stockport - Stalybridge. Despite the limited service, the station has a very active Friends Group.

In recent months several trains have run to remove the coal stockpile at closed Ferrybridge station to be burned at Fiddler's Ferry power station, itself now much reduced in output and likely to close by 2020. 66 621 hauls a train of empties over the motorway and back on to double track on the approach to Denton station.

A view from near the start of Manchester Airport runway 23R, with Metrolink tram 3092 en route from the Airport to Cornbrook.

Tram no. 3120, the final tram of the current order, was delivered to Queen's Road depot on 1 October after a journey from the makers in Vienna including a trip by North Sea Ferry from Rotterdam to Hull.

The plane in the distance: an Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767 C-FMLV.

Ashley on the Mid-Cheshire line, with 66 511 hauling the 09:16 refuse containers from Bredbury depot to Runcorn Folly Lane. Greater Manchester's containers 'Viridor' labels on them, whilst Merseyside's are plain blue. have The date was 7 October.

The Mid-Cheshire line's autumnal Railhead Treatment service is provided by Network Rail's Multi-Purpose Vehicles such as this one at Ashley on 7 October, with DR98904 nearest the camera. Based at Wigan, this turn also covers the Warrington Bank Quay to Chester line.

Sunday 9 October saw Arriva's  The Chester - Manchester and return services diverted via the Mid-Cheshire Line. 175 005 on a Piccadilly to Chester service passes Baguley early in early afternoon.

Steam and heritage diesel at Hartford - pictures by Phil Clarke

On 26 September, 46115 Scots Guardsman and train pass Hartford, returning to Carnforth with a 47 245 in front ...

... and 47 237 on the rear.

this was followed 20 minutes later by DRS loco 57 007 taking ...

... class 40 D213 Andania to Crewe Gresty Lane from Bury.

Later that night 46100 Royal Scot came through returning to Crewe.

Two days later, on 28 September 60103 Flying Scotsman passed through Hartford while transferring from the Severn Valley Railway to the East Lancashire Railway.

End of Summer at Corwen East - with George Jones

Following its return from the Somerset and Dorset gala at Midford, where it appeared as 80043, the BR Class 4 tank 80072 was the mainstay of services on the Llangollen Railway during September. On Friday 30 September 80072 is seen departing Corwen East as the 15:50 with the train being propelled back to Carrog.

This was the last weekday steam train of the summer season with only weekend services in October through to 13 November providing trains in the Dee Valley, except for 22/23 October when Thomas the Tank dominates proceedings and trains terminate at Carrog.  There is also a week of diesel railcar services for half term between 24 & 28 October. The trackside vegetation has made a comeback in the two years since the line was extended and the temporary platform built at this location.

Pannier Tank 6430 departing Berwyn with the 11am Llangollen to Corwen service on 24 September. Picture by Peter Dickinson.

On the trail of the last Park Royal DMU - by Roger Carvell

I think most North Wales Main Line watchers of 'a certain age' will remember that the two-car Park Royal DMUs which when new in 1957 were allocated to Llandudno Junction and in their twilight years of the 1970s based at Chester. I Remember them well.

A unit still survives on the fledgling Helston Railway in Cornwall, and while on holiday a couple of weeks ago Mrs C and I, plus Heidi the dog, went to see it. I was quite heartened by what I found after a very warm welcome from Helston Railway volunteers at their only open station so far, Predinick Halt, about two miles north of Helston town. The railway aims to restore the line to Helston itself and at present the single track is in public use for just under a mile, using a Ruston diesel and BR brake van for passengers.  Park Royal W50413 (MBS) and W56169 (TCL) are at present serving in a static role as buffet car and volunteer accommodation/stores at Predinick Halt, standing on what was once part of the long closed GWR Helston to Gwinear Road branch line off the main Paddington to Penzance main line.

The volunteers told me that the 'sole-surviving status' of a Park Royal-built railway vehicle (s) has not gone un-noticed and there are plans to apply for Lottery funding to fully restore the DMU to, hopefully, working order. The unit arrived at the Helston Railway in 2007 after many years in use and later storage on the West Somerset Railway. While on the WSR the train was stripped of all asbestos, which unfortunately led to the disposal of all interior panelling and original seats. The seating installed now was recovered from 'Pacer' units and a Class 101 dmu (first class area). One underfloor engine was successfully started some time ago and once braking issues are rectified, the unit, or one coach at least may be used as hauled stock.

On the outside, the Park Royal unit shows all the classic signs of potential rot at the bodywork bottom corners but the guttering is good and diverts all run-off away from the sides. There is nothing about W50413 / W56169 that should put off the dmu restorers. We have all seen the splendid Wickham dmu at Llangollen as an example of what can be done.

This unit was one of four transferred from the London Midland Region to the Western Region in about 1972 and this set even saw BR service on the once-doomed Paignton to Kingswear branch before it re-opened as a private railway. It is remarkable that such a small class survived on BR as long as they did but that can be put down to the universal blue square coupling code and BR-specified 150hp bus engines, supplied by British United Traction way back in 1957.

There is one thing that still puzzles me; it is stated that Park Royal built these trains at Crossley's Heaton Chapel Works at Stockport, shortly before the factory was closed down. That would make the DMU as the only type built in the North West. Other published sources say that the twenty sets of Park Royal DMUs were built, or at least completed, in west London, home of Park Royal itself. Can somebody enlighten us all?

Added notes by Charlie Hulme: Another vehicle of the class, 56160, which had been used with partner 50397 as a Viaduct Inspection Unit was last reported on at our website at the former Bodfari station in North Wales, where it was part of a preservation scheme which ultimately came to nothing as the Council would not give planning permission, and the owner spent time in prison for tax fraud.  It was at risk of scrapping, but it now has a new owner and is being restored at an an undisclosed location:  a website at has details and also seems to confirm the Crossley connection. 50397 was also preserved, but eventually scrapped in 2009.

Locomotive miscellany

On 5 October, Colas Rail 56 087 made a light-engine journey from Network Rail's Shrewsbury depot to Holyhead and back, presumably a driver route-learning run. Bob Greenhalgh captured it at Beeches Farm ...

... and Jim Coates at Prestatyn.

Russell Withington writes: I was down with the other shareholders in pacific 34053 Sir Keith Park on 28 September when I saw newly-repainted 50 031 Hood outside the newly opened diesel depot at Kidderminster. I wasn't aware that a Hoover had ever carried ‘Swallow’ livery in service, and it appears from the various forums (fora just doesn’t look right, even if it is the correct plural of the Latin noun!) that it didn’t and that people either love or hate  this scheme. My vote is in favour...'

On a showery 1 October, 68 008 Titan departs from Banbury with the 13:10 London Marylebone - Birmingham Moor Street (Charlie Hulme)

Les Burton writes: 'I was in Sheffield on 21 September and whilst I was waiting for a train back to Manchester along came 59 003 Yeoman Highlander, the loco which GBRf have repatriated from Germany, working Tinsley to Bardon Quarry. I went to Liverpool several times to see it working of the docks to no avail, and was disappointed to miss it at my local vantage point at Northenden Jn on the recent GBRf tour from Liverpool.'

LNER Corner

Merfyn Davies visited Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway, where two of the most famous preserved locomotives met. 60103 Flying Scotsman (above)...

... and its much-newer cousin 60163 Tornado.

East Lancs diesel gala - pictured by by Glyn Jones

I had the opportunity to visit Ramsbottom on the East Lancashire Railway on Saturday 24 September, the first day of their Autumn Diesel Gala. No less than ten locos took part in the event which seemed to be well supported. Above, 31 466, visiting from the Dean Forest Railway.

'Peak' 45 108. The station was very well maintained and clean, being a credit to the
Railway and its volunteers. Due to late running of the 09:20 departure from Bury, the timetable was thrown into some disarray for much of the day, therefore all photos are in order of appearance of the diesels.

40 135. One of three Class 40s opened by the Class Forty Preservation Society; members od the class were at one time popular traction on North Wales expresses.

Visiting  loco D213 Andania, one of a number of the class named after ocean liners.  This loco was oened by the late Trevor Dean. He bequeathed it in his will to the Manchester Museum of Science and Technology, whose management declined to accept it.  It has been rescued by three of Mr Dean's friends, who have restored it to the fine condition seen here. The new owners said in 2012 that it would be used on the main line and 'not be available for diesel galas at heritage railways.'

37 109.

'Hymel' D7076, built in Manchester by Beyer Peacock.

50015, minus its 'Valiant' name.

40 106 Atlantic Conveyor. This was a celebrity loco in the 1980s after being repainted by British Rail in original green livery for use on railtours. The name was added in preservation commemorating a cargo ship sunk during the Falklands war. The loco was bought by the late Gerald Boden in 1984, and has been owned by the Class Forty Preservation Society since 2015.

Class 40 345 (40 145).  Built in 1961, this loco, owned by the Class 40 Preservation Society  was the first Class 40 to enter preservation, in 1984.

'Warship' D832 Onslaught waits for the crossing gates and signal to depart for Rawtenstall.

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