Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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

December 2016

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.

Saturday 4 January. N Gauge Society North Wales Group Model Railway exhibition. St Michaels Church Hall, Rosemary Lane , Conwy LL22 8HF. Opening Times 10:00am - 4:00 pm.

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 

Best wishes for the Christmas season  to all readers, contributors and railway staff.

Manchester Metrolink tram crossing the Manchester Ship Canal at Pomona on misty 19 December. Picture by Greg Mape.

No Festive Manchester Locos

Above, 67 010 passes West End (Colwyn Bay) working 1H34 Manchester - Holyhead on Wednesday 14 December. Picture by Jack Bowley.

This sight will not be possible in the near future: there are many engineering works taking place over the Christmas period, and one that has already begun is the 'blockade'  between Deansgate and Salford Crescent stations related to the construction of the new 'Ordsall Chord' line, which means that trains from to and from Manchester Piccadilly cannot serve the the Bolton line or the old Liverpool and Manchester route to Eccles and beyond. Services from North Wales will be turning back at Warrington Bank Quay, running empty the short distance to the the station to Dallam to reverse and return west, there is with a bus link to Manchester. Those workings normally covered by the DfT loco-hauled set are being worked by Class 158 units so the driver can change ends through the carriages without climbing down from the train. (At Manchester the Longsight 'excursion platform' is available.)

The bus from Warrington to Manchester Piccadilly serves Earlestown and Newton-le-Willows and is scheduled 75 minutes from Warrington to Manchester. North Wales line passengers for Manchester and Manchester Airport can, take a train to Crewe and change there, or for Manchester Piccadilly use the Mid-Cheshire line from Chester.

Santa and Ale at Llangollen

Some seasonal photographs taken by Peter Dickinson at Llangollen on Sunday 11 December. Above, 13265 is shunting the 'Real Ale Train stock out of platform 1...

...  while 7822 Foxcote Manor heated the Set 2 stock for the 11.45am and 2.30pm 'Santa' departures.

13265 is one of the 996 English Electric-designed 350 HP shunters procured by British Railways (BR) in the 1950s and early 60s, later referred to as Class 08. This one, which spend its BR life in South Wales,  was built by British Railways' own works at Derby in 1956, according to the builders' plate on the cab side. When formed in 1948, BR decided that diesel locos, new or from any of the pre-nationalisation railways, should be painted black, and be numbered in the 10000-19999 series. The 13000 series was allocated to BR-built shunters like this one. In 1957 when building of main line diesels began in earnest, it was decided that BR standard diesels should be re-numbered in a 4-digit series prefixed by a 'D' and that they should be green, so this 1956 example typifies the early condition of these locos.  The last one to receive black from new, was, according to fleet list prepared by, 13336.

It would have become D3265 after 1957. Later, when the current numbering scheme appeared, it was decided to reorganise the numbering of the class by type of diesel engine fitted, and this one ended its BR service as 08 195, and was withdrawn 1983.

Winter Warmer at Llangollen

Details of the two-day event at the Llangollen Railway on Friday 30 & Saturday 31 December  are now available. It is planned to put out three steam locos (7822, 5199 & 80072) with diesel D5310 and a DMU set to provide a 45-minute interval service between Llangollen and Carrog in the winter scenery. Just the job for those fed up with turkey and mince pie.

RHTT Curtain Call

The final act of the 2016 Rail Head Treatment Train brought a curtain call for all three of this season's players, seen above on their way to Holyhead with 56 105 and 56 078 leading (Picture by Alan Crawshaw). The audience on platform 1 are waiting for the 11:07 to Llanelli, though we'd be surprised if any of them were going all the way.

On the rear, 56 087 (Alan Crawshaw).

For the return working, 56 105 ran round at Holyhead, and was leading again, coupled to 56 087, with 56 078 on the tail (Jim Johnson). Presumably, 56 105 was being tested after repairs.

56 078 catching the low winter sunshine, as 158 822 emerges from Bangor Tunnel with train 1D12 09:10 Birmingham International - Holyhead (Jim Johnson).

It was a murky and misty afternoon as the train passed Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).

More about Mostyn

Dave Sallery writes: The work in progress at Mostyn is to create a new run-round loop to access the docks.  This will be connected to a bi-directional loop on the Up side, east of the signalbox.  When the box is removed the track will be realigned for faster running.  When this is done (and signalled - which may take some time) Holywell Junction signabox and loops will be abolished. 

Some unplanned disruption to services through Mostyn. The following report is by Stuart Samuel:

I intended to travel  on 14 December, with an advance ticket from Rhyl to Manchester Piccadilly on the 1412 service, and was looking-forward to sampling the loco-hauled stock. I arrived at the station in good time at 13:45, to find the 12:40 [1G40]  to Birmingham International still in platform 1, as the Up line had been closed due to 'problems at Mostyn'.  That eventually left 67 minutes late at 13:47. Next in was the 13:12 [1H88] to Manchester Airport,  and, as it was then 13:55, and I wasn't sure where my intended 14:12 was, I asked the conductor if I could use my Advance ticket on his train, and he readily allowed me on.

We travelled slowly towards Mostyn.  I overheard staff on the train claiming that when excavating the ground for the ballast for the new loop, they had dug too closely to the Up main, causing the line to fracture, and that there was a 5 mph emergency restriction placed at the site. We stopped just before Mostyn, and then proceeded very slowly indeed over the affected stretch, and as I was sitting over one of the bogies, did notice a slight bump.

We eventually arrived at Piccadilly at 15:49, almost 1 hour late, where we were terminated in platform 13, to form the 15:52 return service. So I arrived into Manchester at the same time as I expected, but without my ride on the loco-hauled service.

Incidentally, on later checking Real Time Trains, I discovered my intended service had arrived at 16:25, 34 minutes late, which would have been too late for me. So I was fortunate, unlike those on the 12:52 Virgin train from Holyhead to Euston, which was terminated at Milton Keynes, to form its return working at 17:41, which meant the 17:10 from Euston was cancelled. I pity those intending to use that service, as in my experience, it has usually been packed.

Picture Gallery

Colas Rail Tamper DR 73935 prepares to depart from Rhyl Engineer's Sidings for Shrewsbury on 19 December (Roly High).

Crewe 'Thunderbird' loco 57 307 Lady Penelope waits her next duty on 15 December at 12:45 (Martin Evans). '20 years of DRS' vinyls appeared last year in place the 'Cable thieves' message formerly carried. Originally owned by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd., ownership of DRS passed in April to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which itself is stare-owned: DRS is the only train operator owned by the UK government, although there are several owned by foreign governments, including Arriva Trains Wales.

Inspired by our recent feature on Arriva's 47-hauled trains, Ken Robinson offers this view of 'Retro' liveried 47 853 (D1733) Rail Express at the head of 1H52, the 13:35 Holyhead-Manchester Piccadilly on 7 February 2005, seen between Bangor and Llandegai tunnels.  The loco was owned by Riviera Trains at the time; it later passed to DRS, and still exists, but in storage.

Bangor on 2 December: 37 059 and 37 610 on the Valley - Crewe flask train (Alan Crawshaw). 37 610 is one of the four ex-Eurostar locos recently advertised for sale by DRS, along with 37 601, 37 607 and 37 612, as well as 'heavyweight' 37s 37 667 and 37 688.  Emailed bids are acceptable by 13th January 2017, 12:00, according to the Invitation to Tender.

'Black 5s' 44871 and 45407 passing through Hartford on 16 December making their way back to Fort William in readiness for The Jacobite Santa Specials. Picture by Phil Clarke.

That picture the watcher on Deansgate platform always hopes for but seldom achieves: 66 030 brings the Trafford Park - London Gateway intermodal across Castlefield Junction as an inbound Metrolink tram passes on 15 December (Charlie Hulme).

Llandudno Adopters' events - report by Larry Davies

I'm pleased to say that the work of the Llandudno Station Adoption Group saw the group secure
second place in the 'Keep Wales Tidy' National competition and I enclose a shot of three of our members receiving the award in Cardiff Bay by the Welsh Rugby legend Tom Shanklin.

On 13 December the Group welcomed their counterpart station adopters from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno station where the youngsters from Maenofferen School having visited the town and Library to see all things Christmas, performed a carol/song concert to entertain passengers and onlookers before they headed home on the afternoon train.  The event was attended by both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Llandudno. 

Conwy Model Railway exhibition 2 January 2017

The N Gauge Society North Wales Group are holding an exhibition on 2 January at St Michaels Church Hall, Rosemary Lane , Conwy LL22 8HF. Opening Times 10:00am - 4:00 pm Admission :-    Adults :- £2.50  Under 16s & OAPS £2.50, Under 5 years old accompanied with an Adult, Free.    All proceeds to be donated to a local charity.

Group Chairman Gareth Minords writes: 'The group  meets every first and third Monday at St Michaels Hall, Rosemary lane, Conwy, approx. 19:00 start. All are welcome to our small but highly dedicated band ... Oh, and a sense of humour is a must.    For further details contact the Secretary, Steve Monaghan at steven[at]

Tram and Train assortment - pictures by Greg Mape

Among the many and various disruptions faced by Manchester Metrolink are scenes like the above on 2 December at Baguley, with tram 3076 and an unsuitably-parked Nissan Micra.

3054 with a sister unit looking festive while on a Bury direct working on 7 November. The full fleet of 120 trams is now in stock, but 3001 - 3060 are the only ones allowed on the Altrincham - Bury axis as they are the only ones fitted with both old and new signalling systems, the old system still being in use at both extremes of the route. In other news, the 'Second City Crossing' line between Exchange Square and St Peters Square is now finished and live, with overnight test runs in progress ready for opening in January.

Over-window adverts like this show little respect for the passenger, even though it is just about possible to see through it.

A couple taken from Park Road Bridge Timperley on Thursday 15 December within a minute.  A train of new MMA wagons loaded with stone from Dowlow headed for Theale, with 66 035...

... and empty refuse containers from Runcorn to Brindle Heath (with a portion for Dean Lane) hauled by 66 512.

On 17 December, new-livered 66 528 Madge Elliot MBE - Borders Railway Opening 2015 on the Folly Lane - Northenden empty 'Binliner'.

On the other side of the canal from our page header view, GBRf 66 735 heads for Trafford Park with a couple of spare container carriers on 19 December.

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