Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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

November 2016

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 travelling 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 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.

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 18:56 on on 19 November, 44871 and 45407 power through Craven Arms station with the return 'Christmas Cheshireman' from Chester to Bristol, 32 minutes late after a 30-minute water stop there turned into over an hour. Picture by Chris Morrison.

Christmas Cheshireman

The Railway Touring Company's 'Christmas Cheshireman' excursion on 19 November from Bristol to Chester was in the able  hands of Ian Riley's 'Black 5' 4-6-0s 44871 and 45407, the original plan to use 70013 Oliver Cromwell being thwarted by the loco's unavailability. The two locos and their support coach headed south from Carnforth to Bristol St Philips Marsh depot on 17 November; Phil Clarke was at Hartford station at 09:24 to record the move. The rake of carriages for the excursion travelled on 18 November behind hauled by West Coast Railways diesel from their at Southall, west London, depot to Bristol Kingsland Road sidings to be collected by the steam locos early on 19 November to arrive at Temple Meads station at 06:44 in time for the 07:00 departure. That was the theory: Unfortunately the left Kingsland Road half an hour late and did not arrive at Temple Meads until 07:05, but quick work by the staff and passengers got it away at 07:09, only to lose time in the first few miles to Filton, reportedly due to problems with the TPWS safety equipment and more time later in the journey.

Just under an hour late,44871 and 45407 accelerate from a signal check at Gobowen (Chris Morrison).

Richard Putley
travelled with his camera to Chirk, where as mentioned in our last issue, where the special was scheduled to stop for water.  Richard writes: I got there in good time so before watching the train I can a cup of tea at Caffi Wylfa (above)...

... then I walked down past the Bridge Inn and up on to the Canal, pausing to take a picture of the aqueduct before walking over it.

'After taking pictures of the special on the viaduct (above) ...

... I walked round to the station, where the new footbridge was acting as a grandstand for the locals.

The train managed to get away without delaying any other trains.

Autumn colours on view as the train approaches Chester over the Roodee Viaduct (Phil Clarke).

Chester (Phil Clarke). The passengers had two hours (instead of the promised three) to explore Chester before the train departed for Bristol, taking the route via Crewe to Shrewsbury thus avoiding any need for a reversal at Chester.

The return train, 16:13 Chester - Bristol, eases through platform 7 at Shrewsbury with 44871 and 45407 in charge. Following a half-hour watering delay at Craven Arms, a good run to Bristol and the omission of a pathing stop at Severn Tunnel Junction meant the arrival back in Bristol was seven minutes early. Picture by Chris Morrison.

Wrexham line doubling date

Thanks to the Shrewsbury and Chester Rail Users' Association (SCRUA) we have 'hard' information relating to the long-delayed completion of the Saltney to Rossett line redoubling, work which was intended to have been completed more than 12 months ago. A letter from Network Rail advises that 13km of cabling needed to be replaced. Following negotiations with stakeholders a final package of timetabled works has been agreed to complete the outstanding works in order to
commission the project. The work involves closure of the railway between Chester and Wrexham between Friday 24 March and Saturday 1 April 2017 in order to connect the new signalling
infrastructure into the existing systems.

For details of how to join SCRUA and help the Association exercise some influence on the line's future, write to - individual membership costs just £5 per year.

Once Upon a Time on the Coast - by John Hobbs

Some items from deep in the archive at this dark time in the winter. Above, 40 104 rolls into Prestatyn on the 15:20 Crewe - Llandudno relief working on 29 August 1984.

The following day, 30 August, 40 104 repeats the same duty. The Dyserth branch connection is still in place in this 80s scene and the Down Slow line is still available should it be required.

A chance encounter at Prestatyn, also on 30 August 1984, with the Mostyn Docks to Amlwch train, for Associated Octel, with hopper wagons loaded with imported sulphur; a freight working entirely within North Wales.

[For more in this interesting working, which ceased in 1988, see Dave Sallery's website]

Bala Santa 2016

The Bala Lake Railway is pleased to announce that Santa Claus has accepted our invitation to visit Llanuwchllyn on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December 2016. Trains will be hauled by two of our steam locomotives, suitably decorated. All trains will depart from Llanuwchllyn Station on a journey down the line to Santa’s grotto where the children will meet Santa and receive a gift.

Advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment: for online booking and details visit the Bala Lake Railway website.

Railway archaeology at Flint - with Roly High

Above: in May 2016 a Virgin Super-voyager heads for London Euston and passes over the old internal railway trackbed that ran under these bridges from the Castle Works across the main road,and into the Aber Works,at Flint.

A view looking east down the old track bed towards the site of the old Castle Works.

The right-hand view above is from the other side looking west towards the site of the old Aber Works.

I think this building nearby is the old locomotive shed now used for storage.

The north end of the building where an extension has been built over (I presume) the entrance.
Does any reader have information about this building?

A westbound Class 175 departs from Flint; the roof of the building is visible in the background.

This map dates from 1912.

Rheidol at Warley - from the Vale of Rheidol Newsletter

Two of the Vale of Rheidol Railway’s iconic locomotives are to make the journey to Birmingham this November to appear as one of the centrepiece exhibits at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition which will be held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on 26 and 27th November 2016. Appearing at the show will be No 1213 (seen above on a 2016 photo-charter) alongside No 7, making their first appearance out of Wales for 30 years.

Only once before has a Rheidol locomotive been on display. No 1213 appeared at the National Railway Museum, York between November 1982 and February 1983 as part of the railway’s 80th anniversary commemorations.

No 7 has the distinction of being the last steam locomotive to be operated by British Rail. Withdrawn from service in 1998, it is currently undergoing a major restoration. It will displayed in partially dismantled workshop condition giving visitors an insight into how steam locomotives are constructed. The restoration of No 7 is progressing thanks to grant funding from the Coastal Communities Fund  and it is planned to return the locomotive to service in the next few years. Joining No 7 on the stand will be some of the railway’s apprentices, representing the next generation of railway craftsmen. They will be on hand to talk about their work and the restoration of the locomotive.

This year’s display celebrates the 175th anniversary since the opening of the Swindon locomotive works by showcasing some of the Swindon’s finest locomotive designs. Traditionally the Vale of Rheidol lacked its own workshop facilities so the trio of locomotives periodically returned to their Swindon roots for heavy overhauls.

50 years ago, from our own archive: No.7 stands in the old VoR station at Aberystwyth, July 1966 (Charlie Hulme).

Skelton Junction memories

Jim Ikin writes: 'Looking at Greg Mape's image at Skelton (last issue) reminded me of my spotting days in the early sixties and I remember seeing a 9F on the turntable. A couple of years later the area on the left -the old yard - was being taken up and a slightly older spotting friend was employed cash in hand to cut sleepers up on a massive circular saw.'

'At the same time the houses on the right were being built and prospective buyers were being told that the whole railway junction area would soon be closed – it took a few years for the old LNWR line to Arpley to go and the CLC to Liverpool but of course the Deansgate Junction to Stockport still exists albeit in cut-back form.'

This 1960s view by the late Peter Michie from the Manchester Locomotive Society archive shows an 8F on the turntable.

A couple of years later, and the turntable has been removed.  9F 2-10-0 92218 passes with a train of high-capacity mineral wagons  (Peter Michie/MLS).

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