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07 November 2016
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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
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.
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
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
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.
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 Barry Wynne's Steam Odyssey.
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.
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 an unseasonally warm 31 October the Crewe-based snowploughs (ZZA 965580/81) were taken out for their annual test run from Crewe to Chester and back with Pullman-liveried 57 312 Solway Princess and 57 305 Northern Princess. The running gear of these vehicles comprises recycled bogies from withdrawn Class 40 locomotives. Tim Rogers took the picture at Hargrave.
Arriva substitutions and diversions
On Saturday 5 November, Arriva Trains Wales hired-in two Class 150s from Northern - now a fellow Arriva company - to work Chester - Llandudno diagrams, including the Llandudno - Llandudno Junction shuttle. The picture above, by Larry Davies, shows 150 206 arriving in Llandudno to form the 10:08 shuttle to Llandudno Junction. Ostensibly, this was to release units to strengthen services in the Cardiff area for the rugby weekend. The logos of the old Northern Rail have been removed from all trains and station signs, but new Northern have chosen to retain the old livery - some units have had a repaint in it - until each train has been refurbished.
Platform 1 at Llandudno is out of use until late November whilst contractors working for Network Rail make safe and reduce the height of the wall which once supported the overall roof.
150 269 in Yorkshire livery stands in platform 2 with the 11:08 to The Junction shuttle (Larry Davies). A beer bottle is a remainder of a Friday night out for someone!
150 206 forming the 14:28 to Llandudno Junction (Jim Johnson).
150 269 'on the blocks' at Llandudno (Jim Johnson). Notice the clever idea - from the previous Northern management - to mark the door to be used by cyclists. The strip also carries across the top of the door, very visible when the doors are closed. A similar marking, in a different colour, applies to wheelchair space.
150 269 approaching the Junction as the 15:44 Llandudno - Chester (Jim Johnson). Manchester passengers could travel by the Northern route via Northwich, or use replacement buses which served intermediate stations via Warrington with a running to from Chester to Manchester of two hours fifteen minutes, making the Northern train with its 92-minute timing seem like HS3. When this type situation has occurred in the past, Arriva Trains Wales trains have continued from Chester to Manchester non-stop via Altrincham. Surely Could it be that the demands of a rugby match in South Wales has led to this inconvenience to North Wales - Manchester travellers?
The Northern 150s may have been an interesting splash of colour, but with the 3+2 seating layout they are not renowned for comfort, but things have been worse as this archive picture shows: on 8 May 2002 at Manchester Oxford Road, Greater Manchester-liveried 142 034 calls with a train for Llandudno.
On Sunday 6 December Arriva Trains Wales did run a few non-stop trains over the Mid-Cheshire line, using their own rolling stock. Greg Mape photographed 175 109 in leafy surroundings from the bridge at Gatley on the single-line Stockport - Northenden section. The Real Time Trains database shows that the 11:27 Crewe to Holyhead departed Chester at 12:03 two minutes before the arrival of the 10:56 Manchester Piccadilly to Chester at 12:05. Did this really happen?
No trains ran on the Llandudno branch that day. Something really does need to be done about the way Sunday passengers are treated on the North Wales line. People want to travel at weekends.
Five locos at Ffynnongroyw, 31 October - pictures by Peter Chapman
Along the sea wall on 31 October: 37 610 T.S. (Ted) Cassady and 37 612 6K41 with the Valley to Crewe flasks.
Passing the gantry which carries signal MN40, Mostyn Down distant, 56 087 ...
... and 57 113 working the Shrewsbury to Shrewsbury 'water cannon' Railhead Treatment Train.
Driving Van Trailer 82308 leads the 13:06 Holyhead - Manchester, with 67 003 propelling from the rear.
The Railway Touring Company's 'Cheshireman' excursion on 5 November was advertised as steam-hauled all the way from its starting point Norwich to the destination of Chester via 'an interesting route'. Originally it was advertised for 70013 Oliver Cromwell, but on the day steam power was provided by pacific 6201 Princess Elizabeth - believed by the company to be its first ever visit to Norwich. The interesting route was via Peterborough, Grantham, Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe. To avoid a reversal at Derby, this would have involved use of the normally freight-only line from Sheet Stores Junction to Stenson Junction and on towards Stoke.
By the time uksteam.info uploaded the times on 31 October, this had been amended: the train was to reverse at Stenson Junction, with the rear-end diesel dragging the train (and 6201) north to Derby where the steam loco would be removed, and attached there on the return journey. The train would then be diesel-hauled back through Stenson Junction and on to Stoke. Seven minutes were allowed at Stenson Junction, but the train arrived late and the reversal seems to have been accomplished in two minutes.
As is often the case, some enthusiasts turned up at Chester to photograph the pacific, only to find that 47 802 was coping alone. The Real Time Trains system shows trains as 'diesel' even if steam-hauled, so that wouldn't have helped. Roly High (upper picture) and George Jones were at Chester.
In the consist, kitchen car no. 1961 (Roly High); the number is a clue to the fact that this is a conversion from British Railways Mk 1 Unclassed Restaurant Car, one of a large batch built around 1960 to Diagram 23, in which a kitchen occupied half the coach and seats with tables in the other half. The seating was 'unclassed' so holders of second-class tickets could mingle with first-class diners - you can see the blanked-off windows. Some were later converted to include a buffet counter. BR did build some kitchen cars, several of which are still in service with railtour operators; these were numbered in the 80xxx series as non-passenger coaching stock. In the heady days of the early 1950s it was thought that catering on long-distance trains would involve a kitchen car with vehicles having restaurant tables on either side, but after a few years it was realised this was uneconomic.
On the way home Roly photographed Network Rail Stoneblower DR 80211 (left) and Colas Rail's DR 75406 Eric Machell stabled in Rhyl's Engineers siding after arrival the previous day from Shrewsbury. 75406 was named in 2012 after a senior manager at the Colas company.
Christleton Aqueduct - report by David Parry
Travelling on the Chester-Crewe line, or on the Shropshire Union Canal, it would be easy to overlook the Christleton Aqueduct, a short two-tube rail tunnel crossing under the canal at a 20º angle. Part of George Stephenson’s link between the ancient city and the emerging railway hub, it was constructed in 1838-40 by Thomas Brassey under the supervision of the resident engineer, Murray Gladstone. Described as 'the heaviest piece of brickwork on the line' by Gladstone, its bricks were made locally by the contractor. I have made a couple of visits to photograph the structure recently, not under ideal conditions, but fortunately timed to capture passing trains. On Friday 28 October (above) , Colas Rail 56 113 emerges from the north portal with a Rail Head Treatment train. Some of Brassey’s brickwork has been replaced over the years.
Disappointed with the weather, I made a further visit on Wednesday 2 November, when the sun was too strong for a decent picture of the north portal, though the south one fared rather better. Here a Virgin Trains Voyager heads south with the 08:55 Holyhead to London Euston. Each portal has a plaque on its parapet though 175 years-worth of weathering have made them difficult to make out from the public highway.
With the vegetation, it is not easy to see the aqueduct from the canal, serving to maintain its anonymity. The north parapet is just visible over the canal fence on the left, while the south one is further back on the right, obscured by foliage.
Same ... but different
Rail Head Treatment Train - but now as we know it on the Coast. On Thursday 27 October at Ince & Elton station. DR 98903 and DR98953 are on RHTT duties heading from Ellesmere Port to Helsby (Bob Greenhalgh).
We receive many pictures of the Margam to Dee Marsh steel train in the Wrexham or Shotton area, but here it is much earlier in its journey on 1 November passing Cardiff Central, with 66 060 in charge (Martin Evans).
Liverpool Trams Commemorated - report by George Jones
The closure of tramway routes 19/44 in November 1956 was marked in Birkenhead when the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society arranged a Last Day of the Trams occasion on Saturday 5 November.
Using the Liverpool 'Baby Grand' tramcar No.245 with appropriate destination details to operate between Woodside ferry terminal and the Taylor Street Transport Museum, two Liverpool buses of the same era made the contrast with the changing scene from 60 years ago. The picture above shows 245, with route 19 indicated, on Shore Road.
245 with route 44 shown, entering Shore Road.
Two preserved Liverpool buses, an AEC Regent III, fleet No.A36 (above)...
... and AEC Regent V A267 offered trips around the Birkenhead docks and posed at the Ferry with the tramcar before making a parallel departure. This from an era when there was petrol rationing as a consequence of the Suez Crisis but Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport thought Bus was Best and converted the long journey out to Kirkby to bus operation.
With two trams out in service the opportunity allowed for some internal views of the depot.
Progress is evident with the long term restoration of Warrington car No.28 now acquiring its top deck as the sole survivor of this system.
Lisbon 730 offers the continental touch to the scene on the running lines ahead of Wirral car (Hong Kong Built) No.70 and Birkenhead 20.
Wallasey car 78 is on the lifting jacks for attention to its electric motors - all at some expense, of course.
The Liverpool overhead wire maintenance vehicle or tower wagon - an unusual tramway survivor.
With space for cars at a premium within the Museum more room has been found in the Pacific Road exhibition hall to store Liverpool 762, also out of service with electrical problems, and the Liverpool Horse tram No.43, to be joined by the Birkenhead Horse tram No.7.
Merseyside disruption - report by George Jones
Above, 507014 underground at Hamilton Square, Birkenhead working the 13:21 departure about to enter the Mersey Railway tunnel and emerge again at 13:34 as the return trip to Chester showing that it takes 13 minutes to go around the Liverpool Loop line.
Major disruption of the services on the Wirral lines has been announced for the first six months of 2017. For Phase 1, from 3 January to 12 February, all Wirral lines will operate only to Birkenhead North for West Kirby/New Brighton trains, with implications for those using the Wrexham - Bidston line, and only to Birkenhead Central for Chester trains with Ellesmere Port being mostly served by a shuttle service to Hooton. Bus substitution is in prospect for cross river journeys.
Phase 2, from 13 February to 29 May, will see trains will run through to Liverpool James Street with bus substitution for continuance of journeys within the city centre.
Phase 3, 30 May to 18 June and trains will again terminate at Birkenhead North or Birkenhead Central.
All this is to allow track renewal through the Mersey Railway tunnel and rebuilding of the 40 year old track around the Liverpool Loop. Should be interesting with the prospect of engineering trains operating in and out of the system. Merseytravel have issued a 40-page booklet detailing the changes and travel arrangements. Commuters services on the Mersey ferries will operate at morning and afternoon peaks with a 20-minute service between Pier Head and Seacombe.
More details on the Merseytravel website.
ATW on WCML - report by Roger Carvell
On 31 October the East Coast Main Line witnessed an Arriva Trains Wales 'Pacer', 142 037, running empty as 5Z42 03:25 Cardiff Canton to Doncaster Wabtec for repairs. The pictures show it passing Hitchin on the Down Slow line, running slightly earlier than booked pass time of 09:42. Its long journey would have taken it through the Severn Tunnel, up the Great Western Main Line, onto the North London and joining the East Coast Main Line at Belle Isle Junction, just north of
King's Cross, through Finsbury Park and then branching off via the rural Hertford Loop or 'New Line' as it is still called, regaining the ECML at Langley Junction, Stevenage.
I understand that ATW, according to media reports, has a shortage of rolling stock, with some stopped or booked for repairs. 142 037 had a loud wheel-flat but was not short of speed! Its progress along mile after mile of welded track must have been an experience for the driver. The front blind read 'Penarth' and the rear 'Aberdare' - unlikely destinations in north London.
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