Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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

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
Change of speaker: Sixties Steam on Shed, with Barry Shore. A digital presentation based on Barry's monochrome negatives of the 1960s, obtained during his travels around various sheds and depots all over the Britain, concluding with the final days of steam on British Railways at Lostock Hall and the other last sheds.

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 

On 22 October, a Class 158 unit working train 2J03 8:53 Machynlleth to Pwllheli was slowing for its stop at Porthmadog when photographed by James Dowling taken from the Ffestiniog Railway's Porthmadog station.

Passenger train gallery

Holywell Junction on 28 October:  158 838 and a class-mate on 1D14 13:08 Birmingham International to Holyhead (Tim Rogers).

On the same day, 67 003 takes the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead across Llanddulas viaduct, with the North Wales Cycleway in the foreground (Greg Mape).

Northern Railway have released this picture of the first train, 158 752,  to appear in their new livery, as well as receiving internal refurbishment. It remains to be seen whether that light grey can be kept clean in daily service.

Then and Now - by Jim Ikin

Just a few more images from then and now. The first ones are of Penmaen Head, the now quarried-away head where the A55 now runs.  Note the quarry jetty on the left.

Although all the buildings have now gone under the A55 the wall on the left can still be seen.

The entrance to the tunnel (which I believe is brick lined at this end and just cut out of rock at the other).

The second set of images taken from Cliff Road are interesting in that I would like to know a bit about the engine and stock – the postcard is from 1933.

The view from Cliff Road in 2016: the viaduct is just visible behind the A55 road.

Looking towards Mochdre from there there is now a footbridge. The loco could be an LNWR 'Precursor' and what look like six wheel coaches.The postcard is from 1903 - 1905.

A modern view (as near as possible) looking toward Mochdre.

Conwy Road, on the left hand side of the postcard, is now obscured by trees.

Trawsfynydd revival (again)

This picture taken by James Dowling on 22 October shows people, equipped with a power shredder, clearing the trackbed of the Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfynydd line. Readers may have read in the local press that:
The Trawsfynydd & Blaenau Ffestiniog Community Railway Company has been founded to carry out the work and run the trains. Among those backing the project is entrepreneur Colin Dale, from Essex, who said he wants to bring the line back to life. He says that 'Progress is happening quite fast and the day moves ever closer when trains will once again traverse the viaducts and cuttings on their way to Trawsfynydd and maybe one day beyond. We have been given a licence by Network Rail to clear and survey the line. This mothballed branch will become live once again when the licence is officially handed over from Network Rail.'
Network Rail management appear to be taking this project seriously, as their spokesperson told the Daily Post:
Network Rail is pleased to be working with the Trawsfynydd Railway Group with the collective aim of regenerating the disused railway land in Blaenau Ffestiniog. This first step is to clear approximately 275 metres of the line and complete a survey along this stretch of the railway. We will be working closely with the Trawsfynydd Railway Group and the local community with regards to the possible next steps once the initial clearance work and survey have been completed.
It was back in 2009 when the name Colin Dale first appeared in our pages with his project to reopen the line - some contributor suggested that he was Colin Dale of the Monster Raving Loony Party, which prompted a reply from that Mr Dale to the general effect that even he was not that loony. Entrepreneur Mr Dale seemed to be rather naĩve about the procedures for taking over a line and running trains on it. Some work was supposedly done on the line (which had been disused since 1998, and he did succeed in refurbishing the Llyn Trawsfynydd café and running it for a while, but in 2012 he returned to Essex, citing health and financial problems. At the time he assured everyone that he had not given up his dream, telling the press:
I always thought to myself that I’d get a resolution to leasing the old railway line quite quickly, but the process has now taken over two years and it’s still not complete. It took months of negotiation to allow our volunteers onto the line to clear it.
Meanwhile, a plan by community group Antur Stiniog to rent 'Velo-Rail' person-powered trolleys for people to run up and down the line, as is done in some other countries with closed lines, has come and gone for lack of funding. The café at the lake has re-opened under the aegis of the Prysor Angling Association, and the lake has its own website.

It's easy to be sceptical about this new attempt; it would help if someone involved in the scheme would give us more detail of what is envisaged. (The group hoping to re-open the Amwlch branch, in very similar circumstances, have been working away for considerably more than seven years and still no trains have run.) What rolling stock would be used? Would trains be allowed into Blaenau station?  Would the standard-gauge Traws line be an added attraction to the Ffestiniog, or would it detract from FR revenue? Who knows? The line itself might be useful in the future when the nuclear power station structure is dismantled, but that can't be done safely for many years: sometime around the year 2068!

37 408 .... on a badge

The Class 37 Locomotive Group, owners of 37 003 and creators of an excellent website, and a new item in their fund-raising online shop: a metal lapel badge (50mm wide) featuring an image of favourite 1990s North Wales loco 37 408 Loch Rannoch in large-logo blue.

Purists might notice problems with the number typeface, but it's not really visible from a normal distance. A nice little memento at only £4.75. We've bought one!  Buy it online from the Group's website.

Flask train views

37 259 and old-timer 37 038 pass Shotton on 26 October with FNA wagons 550030 and 550046
as 6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS),  47 mins early. Picture by Tim Rogers.

37 604 and 37 606 were allocated on 28 October. Try to imagine the sound as the driver 'opens up' while passing Peter Lloyd's camera.

Holywell Junction's home signal is 'off' for 37 604 and 37 606 with wagons 550045 and 550057 heading for Crewe on 28 October (Tim Rogers).

Barmouth Bridge update

Ian Wright took another walk on the sands on 21 October to bring us this view of the arrangements to support the deck above the fire-damaged pier.

What happened at pier 80 on the night of 3-4 October was that sparks from the cutting of metal components during overnight work led to a small fire. Fire extinguishers were provided for this eventuality, and the operatives thought the fire was out, but it most have still been smouldering in the darkness when they left the site ready for the morning trains. What followed was that the driver of the first train saw that the fire had taken hold.

Regarding the comments by the local MP regarding a possible Arnside-style rebuild of the bridge, we are assured that this will not happen, as it is a listed structure. After the replacement of the wooden rail bearers, it is planned to do some work on the metal part of the bridge at the Barmouth end including the former 'swing' section.

Steam Portrait - by John Hobbs

A view by John Hobbs of 22 October's steam excursion to Chester that arrived just too late for inclusion in the last issue's comprehensive coverage: 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe stirs the emotions as it climbs Gresford bank at 37 mph.  just past the south end of what used to be,  United Colliery Sidings, at Pandy just before the former Wheatsheaf Junction of the former North Wales Mineral Railway.


Mike Stone writes: 'The three coaches seen at Crewe behind 31 452 (last issue) were a working from Crewe Carriage Sidings - Burton Wetmore sidings, returning the old Anglia Railways short set. Not sure if it came to Crewe for tyre turning as they were in the Brook Sidings when I saw them.'

Tram notes - by George Jones

Passing the Llangollen Railway's Pentrefelin C&W sidings on Saturday allowed a view of the newly restored Dudley tram No.5 outside in the sunshine. The tram has been undergoing restoration at Llangollen for the past several years; it is awaiting its overhauled narrow gauge (3ft 6in) truck, the installation of which will mean it won't be road tested at Llangollen before delivery back to the Black Country Museum. More details of the Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Company can be found on Wikipedia.

An anniversary to be marked at the Wirral Tramway by the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society when they recall the sad event 60 years ago when the long route out to Kirkby closed on 3 November 1956. See the poster reproduced in the forthcoming events column. Some of us remember the closure from our school days...

Western Explorer Railtour - report by Alan Crawshaw

The spring railtour organised by the IRRS (Irish Railway Record Society) to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the 071 class was to traverse the section of the Western Rail Corridor which re-opened in 2010.

The Western Rail Corridor encompasses sections built by various companies throughout the late 19th century, forming a south-north line from Limerick to Sligo. Towns along the WRC include Ennis, Gort, Athenry, Tuam and Claremorris. The route crosses the Dublin–Galway line at Athenry, the Dublin–Westport/Ballina line at Claremorris and joins the Dublin–Sligo line at Collooney. The route largely parallels the corridor served by the N17 and N18 roads. Passenger services between Claremorris and Collooney ended in 1963, with the section being closed completely in 1975. Passenger services between Limerick and Claremorris ceased in 1976. The connection between Limerick, the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and Ennis, county town of Clare, was re-established in 1988 and in 2010 to Athenry. Flooding forced this tour to be re-routed but the RPSI (Railway Preservation Society of Ireland) organised an alternative for October to avoid the risk of winter floods.

Rowan and I boarded the 07:50 at Bangor (above) and transferred to the 08:55 Stena ferry to Dublin port.

Dublin is an expensive place to stay at the weekend so we opted for Malahide where we watched the 'Enterprise' flash past behind 227 on its way to Belfast. Next morning the train took us back to Connolly station for the tour.

Motive power from Dublin was class pioneer 071, repainted for the class anniversary in original livery with the CIÉ logo. Railways are now operated by the Iarnród Éireann subsidiary of the Government owned Córas Iompair Éireann which also includes Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.

We were lucky with the weather, the autumn sunshine showing the lovely rolling countryside at its best as we made our way down the WRC to Ennis where a break of 90 minutes afforded the opportunity to visit this very attractive old town.

Limerick is not a through station and run-round facilities were removed when railcars took over the loco-hauled services so with 071 trapped at the buffers, 084 in the latest livery to adorn the class was coupled onto the other end to return us to Dublin. After forty years, all of the 071 class are still in service but are no longer used for scheduled passenger services, the two surviving loco-hauled routes being operated by the newer 201 class.

Colour co-ordinated passenger.

The Regional Railways Society - by Dan Webster

We are a newly formed Society looking at preserving and promoting the work of Regional Railways. The Regional Railways Society is aiming to be a source of information, photographs and stories from the era along with aiming to preserve artefacts and items of railwayana from the era. Obviously in the longer term we will be looking at preserving vehicles which operated under
Regional Railways, aiming to restore the Regional Railways livery on rail vehicles. The Society would like to build up contact with organisations within the industry to see whether the two organisations may be able to work together at some point, looking to use our combined knowledge to create articles and information, ensuring Regional Railways are never forgotten into the history books.

Hopefully you are up for this and maybe you can think of some ways the Society can work with yourself to benefit each others individual aims and moving forward you may be able to assist us in our preservation aims.

More information on the Society can be found on our website at

Corwen Central portrayed - press release

A painting has been unveiled to Llangollen Railway volunteers working on the Corwen Central Project. Julie McNamara, a retired resident of Corwen with a lifelong passion for painting, took on the task of executing an artistic impression of how the terminal station at Corwen will look when all the work on the project is completed in 2018.

Her painting was presented to the volunteers on site at the entrance to the recently installed subway access point which is adjacent to the town’s car park. It shows how the ground level access will connect with an elevated platform to be built on top of the embankment relative to the arrival of a train in the station.

Commenting on her work Julie said, 'I have enjoyed the challenge of painting a railway subject with which I was not totally familiar.  From the current incomplete development stage, I have taken the advice of project members in representing the details of the finished structures.
'It gives today’s visitors an appreciation of the task in hand and the ultimate railway facility which is being created. My usual subjects are still life and landscapes, painted in acrylics rather than watercolour as I have a preference for bold images. Completion of the painting took about 50 hours working from an initial sketch of how the volunteers envisaged the ultimate scene.

'I am really gratified with the response of people who have appreciated the finished work and I hope the Llangollen Railway will be able to use the product for marketing the Corwen Project and to raise funds towards it completion.'

Corwen Project Leader, Richard Dixon-Gough, said: 'Julie has done a terrific job of converting my hastily drawn sketch of our ideas for the station into a vivid representation of how the new station facility will look when it is open.  Based on the present stark concrete cast subway, the painting shows the heritage architectural refinements which have still to be added and the finished state of the site. She has injected life into the scene to produce a vibrant impression of how visitors will access the island platform to join the train at Corwen.'

'We are very grateful for all her time and enthusiasm for tackling the subject which was unusual for her but she sought our guidance in some of the technical railway aspects. The painting is thought to exhibit a cheerful simplicity, whilst retaining an element of realism for the completed project and is a very welcome contribution to our display material.'

Llangollen Railway’s General Manger, Kevin Gooding, said:'I am always impressed with our volunteers’ ideas for fund raising and I am particularly pleased with the time and effort Julie McNamara has freely given to create an exquisite impression of a locomotive in situ at Corwen. The painting has been reproduced as a greetings card and postcard with coasters and place mats to go on sale to raise much needed funds for the Corwen project.'

Funding and donations of any amount enables the hard-working Project Team to move forward in re-establishing a long awaited terminal station in the town.  The volunteers are 'chomping at the bit' to achieve their aim and the Railway's goal. The significant progress made to date to convert an overgrown embankment into a two-track railway with an island platform is testament to their commitment, dedication and desire.

 - Warning: no trains below this point -

Shipping news

We have received various interesting pictures of ships recently, so if you are interested, here is a selection. Above, Pollux at Raynes Jetty, Llanddulas to load stone on 29 October (Greg Mape). Castor and Pollux were twins in ancient myth, and are stars in the sky, and the German company also has a vessel Kastor, as well as Jason, Nestor, etc.

The Little Leigh (near Northwich) Steam Party on 1 - 2 October was visited by two preserved tugs:  Kerne (above) ...

... and Daniel Adamson. Pictures by John Hobbs.

By contrast: the MSC Alexa (42307 Gross Tonnes) testing out the new Liverpool2 terminal on 22 October. The cranes are said to be the biggest ship-to-shore cranes of their type in the world (Dave Sallery).

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