Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

30 January 2017

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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

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 

97 302 at Bangor with 3Q94 Bangor - Crewe LNWR measurement train on 26 January 2017 (Rowan Crawshaw).

Abergele update

67 008 passes Abergele with the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead on 25 January: the blocks to form the basis of the platform extension are in place.

30 January: the new platform  has a front, and has reached the signalbox, but further work will have to wait for the old track beyond to be removed (Roly High).

Tactile pacing in place, but still a gap to fill (Roly High). Re-opening of the platform is scheduled for 13 February, whilst Sunday closures of the Chester - Llandudno Junction line will continue through February. Also: Saturday 4 and Sunday 5, 12 and 19 February. There are also weekend closures between Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester - check before travelling.

Caroline's North Wales Adventure

Some more pictures of Network Rail management's visit to the sights of North Wales in inspection saloon 'Caroline' on 17 January. Above, westbound at Bangor ...

...and propelling into Bangor Tunnel on the return from Holyhead (Rowan Crawshaw).

Roman Bridge on the Conwy Valley branch ...

... by Bruce Brayne.

Rhyl (Roly High).

Pausing at Wrexham General...

... by George Jones.


I the last issue, when discussing the Class 60 at Rhyl, we suggested that the last visit of a 60 to the Coast line was 'around 2007'. John Eyres sends the above picture of 60 076 at Broughton working 6L52 11.15 Bangor - Crewe Basford Hall on 6 January 2008. Any advance?

Regarding the item last issue about the crash at Chester, David Wood writes to tell us that there are some colour pictures of the aftermath on a Flickr site by David Ford. Looking at them reveals that our comment that the refreshment room wall was damaged was something of an understatement: a huge section of the corner of the building was knocked off by the wayward DMU coach. A heavy freight train, even at 20 mph, as a lot of momentum.

Brook Lane bridge, Chester

Among the great number of engineering works being carried out in our area at present is the replacement of the bridge in Chester carrying Brook Lane over the Merseyrail line just beyond the Alstom depot.  Over the weekend of 14-15 January the span was removed, an operation watched with interest by spectators on the adjacent bridge which carries the 'Greenway' (the trackbed of the former Mickle Trafford to Dee Marsh line.

There's an amusing report on the Chester Chronicle website. It was intended to install the new bridge over the following weekend 21-22 January, and this did indeed occur: again reported by the Chester Chronicle.

Engineer's Trains

66 589 and a long train of track materials passes Chester Racecourse and crosses the River Dee by the Roodee Viaduct heading for North Wales on 21 January; no loco on the rear on this occasion (Bob Greenhalgh).

On 29 January, 56 105 stands on the bend at Mostyn on 29 January with spoil wagons ...

... and 56 078 at the head of a ballast train is awaiting the order to move into the possession. Pictures by Andrew Vinten.

A number of these signs have appeared in Mostyn together with Portacabins.  Is this to be the new signalling works headquarters? Picture by Dave Sallery.


150 213 basks in the sun at Blaenau Ffestiniog, 20 January (Gareth Owen).

Not often photographed is Styal station - seen in this picture by Les Burton on 19 January. The loco is 47 830 on a route learning trip returning to Crewe Basford Hall  from Trafford Park; we understand that the roure being learned was the line from Stockport to Guide Bridge.

66 079 passes Shotton (High Level) with the empty coal wagons from Penyffordd, 25 January (Tim Rogers).

Modelling news

New products from Bachmann in 00 scale include examples of their Mk1 and Mk2a coaches done up as Regional Railways vehicles which were used on Class 37-hauled 1990s North Wales Coast services. (here's a page from our archive). There's a Mk2a open second (above), a Mk2a Brake/First and a Mk1 open second. Buy two of the open second (if you don't mind two with the same number) and you have a typical Coast train of the 1996-1999 period. All have been 'weathered' and given a scattering of passengers inside - none of them misbehaving by flaining out of windows -  for which Bachmann feel justifiled in charging £64.95 for a Mk2 and £54.95 for a Mk1.

The train above is an oddity with two brake-seconds. See also our archive feature on the coaches.

The models look the part, although it's a shame British coaches cannot feature the close-coupling system found on Continental models.  The livery does raise some issues, though. The weathering of the lower body seems unnecessary and makes the lower grey colour look more like the older Provincial version rather than Regional Railways grey, and the white above the window band seems to be more prominent than our recollection of the prototypes. Was it actually white to matchthe midriff stripe, or the same grey as the lower body?


37 259 and 37 069 pass Sandycroft with 6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe, 46 minutes early on 23 January. The consist is FNA wagons 550037 and 11 70 9229 010-7 (Tim Rogers).

Portrait of 37 259, one of the later deliveries of Class 37, it entered service in January 1965, only 52 years ago.

37 069 and 37 259 storm through Bangor with the 6K41 Valley to Crewe flasks on 25 January   with three wagons (Rowan Crawshaw). It's slightly unusual for this train to be worked by the same locos twice in succession.

Terminations at Wrexham - report by George Jones

29 January saw another Sunday of trains terminating at Wrexham General, using platform 3 as the turn-back facility.Onward connection was by bus to Chester and Llandudno. Above: at 12:35 175 101 worked in empty from Shrewsbury and formed the 12:42 departure to Cardiff Central. Premier Inn's Wrexham facility looms large in the background as a notable improvement to the local scene once dominated by Jacques scrapyard.

The 15:48 to Birmingham International departed platform 3 with 158 837.

175 110 from Port Talbot Parkway, due 16:02, arrived at 16:11 with passengers for Llandudno to go forward by coach. This departed as empty  back to Shrewsbury at 16:17.

Skelton Junction 1985 - pictures by Greg Mape

The reconstruction of Crewe station layout in summer 1985 led to some interesting diversions, including at least one which can ever be repeated.  Greg Mape was among the enthusiasts aboard this Class 47-hauled Birmingham - Manchester service which ran via the freight-only line from Latchford (Warrington) to Skelton Junction (closed to passengers in 1962). Above, the view from the train negotiating the 5 mph speed limit over the bridges near the former Broadheath station.

Passing Skelton Junction's tall signalbox. The line closed completely on 7 July 1985, once Crewe station had re-opened.

Another diverted service approaching Skelton Junction, with the Metal Box Company factory on the skyline.

Gobowen al Fresco - report by George Jones

On a visit to Gobowen on 20 January I found the canopy on the Up platform minus its covering.
Station adopter Gareth Thomas says he became aware of the missing cladding on 28 December and initially  thought that the canopy had been blown off but assume work done during Christmas line closure.  I have established that a structural survey found that the metal columns had deteriorated below ground and as a precaution the covering was removed to reduce the stress. Work on a design to repair the columns is in hand but no information at this stage as to how long it will all take. In the meantime it is a bleak prospect for passengers awaiting trains with only limited cover outside the booking office.

Sources date the canopy on the Up side as dating from around 1914 and comparison with the original one on the Down side it can be seen to be of a revised design.

Cambrian Radio Cruise: the headboard

Back in September 2016 we published a request from Alex Eyres for photos to help with details of the headboard used on the 'Cambrian Radio Cruise' train, in order to create a replica. We were pleased to be able to put him in touch with the owner of an original headboard. Alex's picture above shows the resulting replica. He writes: 'The coat of arms was completed for me as a homework project by Glenn Williams, who is the Ffestiniog Railway's signwriter. Keep your eyes peeled for the headboard appearing from time to time, either on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways where I'm a driver, or on occasional loans to places like the Llangollen Railway.' 

For more about the cruise trains, visit our 21 June 2010 issue.

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