Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

05 December 2016

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December 2016

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 Cashen with a slide presentation Non-members are welcome after 20.15 hours for John’s presentation which will cover his reminiscences during the 1960s.
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 

Built in 1922 for the Dinorwic quarry whose ruins occupy the mountain above the line, Dolbadarn runs along the shore of Llyn Padarn on 15 November. Picture by Alan Crawshaw.

Back to normal - some items have been held over to next week. Thanks to all who have written. If you have not seen it, you might want to view last weeks late-running special history feature about FNW Class 47 North Wales Coast haulage. - Charlie

Visiting an old friend - report by Charlie Hulme

My favourite loco of the Class 37 era was surely 37 422 Robert F. Fairlie, Locomotive Engineer, which I had first encountered in its early days as a 37/4 in the Scottish Highlands (above - running round at Fort William in 1987), and later on Peak District freights before it was sent to Crewe as a North Wales passenger engine in 1993.

It was named  that year in a ceremony at Blaenau Ffestiniog to commemorate the designer of the Ffestiniog Railway's articulated locos. Transferred away in 1999, it worked in South Wales and elsewhere until 2008 was eventually put in store by EWS and later offered for sale with others of the type. Bought by DRS in 2011, after a period in store it was given a comprehensive overhaul, returning to service in August 2015. Since then it has seen service on both DRS passenger contracts, in Cumbria for Northern and in East Anglia for Abellio Greater Anglia.

I caught up with 422 again, now un-named and in plain blue livery, on a short holiday in Norwich in late November. Greater Anglia has been short of diesel multiple units, and has contracted with DRS to provide two Class 37 locos (top-and-tail) and three coaches to supplement their fleet for the services to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. The scene above is at Norwich, after working 2P20 12:36 Norwich - Great Yarmouth and 2P21 13:17 return. I had hope that the set would work 14:55 to Lowestoft, but on the day this was this was a Class 170 unit.

The next day, Saturday 26 November, was a bird-watching day, for which we travelled to the weekends-only request stop at Buckenham. At 12:17, 37 422 passed with 2J74 12:04 Norwich - Lowestoft. (We also saw a Peregrine Falcon, many Wigeon and a Marsh Harrier).

Later we walked to nearby Strumpshaw Fen RSPB reserve, from the entrance of which I got an action shot of 37 405 leading 2J77 12:58 Lowestoft - Norwich.  This loco did work in North Wales, but only for a short period in 1995-96. It too was sold to DRS in 2011, to be revived by them in 2013, somewhat earlier than 37 422. The coaches in this set are 5919, 5987 and 9525.

Also in action was another three-coach set, top-and-tailed by two DRS Class 68 locos, 68 002 Intrepid (above, at Norwich) and 68 005 Defiant.  I believe they are deputising for a Class 170 which is being repaired after a level-crossing accident. The three Mk2 coaches in this set have been painted in a 'heritage' rail blue and grey livery.

We couldn't leave the Wherry lines without a visit to the famously isolated request stop at Berney Arms, aboard 156 412 on Sunday 27 November. The eponymous pub is closed now, but walking the short distance across a field to the Windmill and RSPB office we were slightly disappointed to see three cars and an RAC van parked there.  The 14:02 return train to Norwich did appear, so we did not have to be rescued by boat as happened to a family a few months ago. Irrelevant fact: across the water from Berney Arms is Burgh Castle Caravan Park, where my grandfather lived for several years after retirement.

Our thanks are due to the indispensable Class 37 locomotive data site for Class 37 dates.

The 'Irish Mancunian'

The stations at Eccles and Patricroft lie on the route of North Wales - Manchester trains - although Arriva Trains Wales services do not call - but we seldom receive pictures taken there, making these two fine views of Patricroft by Jack Bowley are especially welcome. The train is 1H89 13:07 Holyhead - Manchester Piccadilly on 24 November, led by Driving Van Trailer 82308.

Propelling from the rear, 67 010. The station area has a bleak look today, which belies the fact that this was once a four-platform station at a centre of heavy industrial activity as well as the site of a railway motive power depot, one of the last to host British Railways steam. In the area north of the station, to the left in this picture, was James Nasmyth's Bridgewater Foundry, where over 1600 steam locos were built, before the place became an ordnance factory in World War II. Among the workers at Nasmyth, Wilson in the early 1900s was iron driller Charles Hulme, great-uncle of the present author.

This map is from the 1930s.

Llanfair PG, 28 November (Paul Shannon).

Frodsham viaduct, 29 November (Paul Shannon). 67 010 was given blue livery in 2014 on the launch of the new Caledonian Sleeper franchise, only to be repainted again recently as 67s have been displaced on the diesel legs of the Highland sleeper by pairs of rebuilt Class 73 electro-diesels.

67 010 on the rear of the 13:07 Holyhead - Manchester at Mostyn, 29 November (Tim Rogers).

Passing Connah's Quay on 30 November with 1D34 09:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead,  67 010  with coaches 12183, 12177, 12178 and 12184 and Driving Van Trailer 82308 (Tim Rogers).  Arriva's Mk3 standard-class coach fleet, 12176 to 12185, were originally built as first-class vehicles from the 110xx series, for West Coast Main Line service, so would have travelled this way in their heyday.

If you'd like a Class 67 of your own, 67 023 and 67 027 are currently for sale by DB Cargo.

Evening at Llandudno - with Larry Davies

We had a welcome visitor at Llandudno on the evening of 25 November  in the shape of 1Q06 Crewe to Crewe LNWR via Llandudno and Holyhead Measurement train. Above, the consist led by Driving Trailer 9708 in stands in platform 1.

97 301 ticks over. A lovely sound to hear in Llandudno again.


150 217 waits for passengers on the last train of the day at 19:05 for Blaenau Ffestiniog.

A gleaming 67 010 stands at Llandudno  at the end of its journey with the 16:50 from Manchester Piccadilly.

Tampers etc.

Swietelsky Babcock Rail's [DR] 73904 Thomas Telford in Rhyl's Engineers' siding on 22 November. The unit had arrived the day before from Warrington CE sidings. Picture by Roly High.

By following day, 23 November, the machine had re-located to Bangor (Jim Johnson).

Also present at Bangor on 23 November, Network Rail Stoneblower DR 80211 (Jim Johnson). Wikipedia says: 'A Stoneblower is a railway track maintenance machine that automatically lifts and packs the sleepers with small grade ballast, which is blown under the sleepers to level the track. An alternative to the use of a ballast tamper, the totally self-contained machine levels track without the use of a large gang of workmen.'

On 24 November, tamper DR 73111 leaves the engineer's siding at Bangor ...

... before reversing and heading off towards Crewe (Jim Johnson).

Flask doings

Celebrity locos 57 312 Solway Princess and 57 305 Northern Princess were the stars of 6K41 Valley - Crewe flasks on 23 November. Rowan Crawshaw photographed the train passing Bangor at 09:17, running in its optional later path.

 The pair at Valley station after leaving the transship siding. Picture by Tim Rogers.

The Pullman-liveried locos catch the last rays of sunshine on 23 November at 14:41.

In the 'going-away' shot, note the new LED 'Up starter' signals, which replaced the old colour-lights sometime in October. If not required to show a 'double yellow' aspect, this type of signal requires only one 'lamp head' (Jim Johnson).

37 059 and 37 610 soon after leaving Valley on 28 November (Paul Shannon). The reversing triangle used by flask trains and by the locos from steam specials is in the background.

The same train at Rhosneigr on 28 November (Rowan Crawshaw).

The Northern Belle locos appeared again on 30 November. Tim Rogers photographed them with two wagons passing Shotton Low Level in the twilight.

Trawsfynydd Appeal extended

The Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog Community Railway was given an extension by DB Cargo until 9 December to raise the remainder of the £19,600 they bid for 08 757, a working class 08 shunter which they intend to use on the project to reinstate this extension from Blaenau to Trawsfynydd Lake. The target seems to have been achieved, according to their Crowdfunder website: we await developments.

RHTT news

Just a few weeks left for this year's Rail Head Treatment Train: 56 087's filthy flanks catch the sunshine at Bangor on 23 November. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.

Tim Rogers photographed the eastbound working from Queen's Road bridge on 23 November, formed of 56 087 and 56 078 with Network Rail 'FEA' flat wagons 642027, 642045 and 642016.

A chance for a modeller's look at the locos. 56 087 ...

... and 56 078 (Tim Rogers).

Coleham depot, base for the RHTT, is not an easy subject for photography, but Clifford Carter gave it a try on 27 November. As well as the Colas Class 56s stabled in the shunting neck, also present were two Freightliner locos 66 524 (seen above) and 66 957.  There have been reports that Freightliner were taking over the RHTT, but this does not seem to have happened.

... also visible, 97 302.

Water cannons still in action as the train rolls into platform 1 at Holyhead on 28 November (Rowan Crawshaw).  It is said that the pressure of the jets is so high that they must be turned off before the train stops, or the rail head will be damaged.

56 087 stars in the classic (at least since the new road bridge was built) view at Holyhead, 28 November (Rowan Crawshaw). 

Passing the well-preserved Chester and Holyhead Railway station, which still awaits the installation of a platform 'hump'  on 3 December (Rowan Crawshaw).

Les Burton writes: 'I was in Sheffield on 24 November when to my surprise at 12:30 two DRS Class 20s twenties were ticking over on the through road with the York-based Rail Head Treatment Train. Not a good shot the weather was abysmal.' The nearest loco is 20 305, the other (probably) 20 312.

Mid-Cheshire freight

At Mobberley on 25 November, in twenty minutes  two loco hauled freights. It should have been three but a light-loco working from Hope to Crewe did not materialise. First up at 14:04 was Liverpool - Drax power station biomass, with 66 708 Jane ...

... followed at 14:15 by the Folly Lane - Brindle Heath 'binliner' with Freightliner 66 956. Pictures by Les Burton.

Welsh Steam at the NEC - report by Roger Carvell

I visited the Warley Model Railway Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC on Saturday, 21 November
Above is 'star' exhibit. new-build 4-6-0  6880 Betton Grange. 6880's chimney was originally worn by scrapped 6868 Penrhos Grange so it is possible to claim that a 'Grange' has been built once more beneath it!

Presentation by the organisers, Warley Model Railway Club, of a donation to the Railway Children charity

Also on show were Vale of Rheidol locos 7 and 9, this time appearing as 1213 as 'assembled' (not built!) at Swindon in 1923. No.9 (above) was always thought to be a rebuild of an earlier VoR engine but its exact origin has always been of debate to those with nothing better to do!

No.7 is midway through an overhaul and made an interesting exhibit 'half undressed'.

442s for ATW?

A recent press report originating from Welsh Government circles suggests that some of the Class 442 electric trains, originally built for the London - Weymouth line in the late 1980s and later used on Gatwick Express services but now redundant, could be used in modified form on Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) long-distance services, freeing up some diesel units for South Wales Valleys service.

These trains are five-coach sets, for third-rail electrified lines, powered by electric motors (recycled from the 4-REP units they replaced) driving all four axles of one of the non-driving coaches.  The idea seems to be that this coach would be removed leaving a four-coach set which could be worked in push-pull mode by a Class 67 or maybe a 68.  They are based on Mk3 coaches, but unlike those built for HST and loco-hauled use at the time, and the Mk3s presently in use by ATW, they have powered doors.

Wiring modifications would be needed to work with locos, but the idea does seem feasible; we hear that some test have already been made with one of the 442 sets stored at Ely.  It has been suggested in the past for the Trans-Pennine lines, but brand new loco-hauled sets are now on order for that company. 

Will this happen? Who knows, but the leasing company that owns them is keen to find another use.

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