Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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

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.

3-5 March  Llangollen Railway Spring Steam Gala

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 

Manchester Oxford Road, 1 August 2006. See 'looking back' below.

That last Class 60 (pictured)

In response to our ongoing discussion about the last use of a Class 60 loco along the Coast before the recent appearance of a Colas Rail example, Dave Skipsey has kindly sent us two historic pictures of the occasion on 25 April 2009. Above,  60 040  The TA Centenary, on 6D19, 06:40, Warrington Arpley - Holyhead RTZ empty cargowaggons passes the crossovers west of Chester station.

The return loaded working for 6F18, 14:50, Holyhead RTZ - Warrington Arpley loaded cargo wagons at Mostyn (Ffynnongroyw). The wagons made their way to Braunau am Inn in Austria by means of wagonload trains.

Tim Rogers' week

Bagillt on 13 February. 175 103  passes with train 1H90, 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly.

37 716 (looking very clean) and 37 610 T.S. (Ted) Cassady 14.5.61-6.4.08 and wagons 550034. 550049, 550055  pass Bagillt on 13 February with the afternoon flask train to Crewe.  

14 February at Shotton:  1D34 09:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead with 67 010 in charge.

15 February at Mostyn: 175 115  is train 1D38 13:36 Manchester Airport to Llandudno ...

... and 175 107 is 1H90 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly with engineering activity in the background. Network Rail are making use of the road access available here. The closed and forlorn-looking signalbox (an LNWR 'type 4' built in 1902 with a 40-lever frame). is living on borrowed time; how many other London and North Western Railway boxes with a brick base narrower than the operating floor are still in existence?

15 February's flask train, unusually, was a repeat of 13 February's in traction terms with 37 716 still leading 37 610. The wagons, however, make some variation as 550052  and 550033  were joined by new-build wagon FNA 11 70 9229 002-4.

Although the track to the right has been removed, the replacement track layout will include a connection to the Mostyn Dock sidings from the new Up loop.

Bagillt on 17 February, and the third flask train of the week. The Wylfa de-fuelling process seems to be speeding up: all three trains had three wagons. This one, with 57 301 Goliath and 37 259 with wagons 550052, 550045  and 11 70 9229 001-6. It seems that whatever the timetable might say, this train always runs ahead of the 14:34 Holyhead - Cardiff rather than after it.

Llanfair PG footbridge - pictures by Richard Fleckney

News from the 'Land of the Long Name' is that the footbridge, after a period when it has been narrowed to prevent too many people standing on it at once, had had its span removed for refurbishing, and tents have been erected around the steps each side to allow all-weather working by contractors.

A temporary bridge has been erected at the west end of the platform...

... apparently using a custom made 'construction set.'

Manchester area views - by Charlie Hulme

Metrolink have announced that the 'second city crossing' line between St Peters Square Exchange Square via Cross Street will open to passengers (id there are no last-minute problems) on 26 February. From that day, all trams from East Didsbury to Shaw and Rochdale, such as the Shaw-bound service seen above approaching Peters Square, will take the new line, taking the track glimpsed to the right of the picture and serving the outer side of the island platform behind the camera before turning left past the Town Hall, calling at Exchange Square before re-joining the old route at Victoria. There are no new stations on the new section.

Note that stone cross, which marks the site of St Peter's Church, demolished over 100 years ago, had been replaced in its original position, although the Cenotaph has been re-located.

Incdentally, we understand that the bowstring span of the Network Rail's new Ordsall Chord river bridge is to be lifted and put in place by a very large crane this week.

Davenport on 16 February. The new Arriva-owned Northern company are doing 'interim' refresh work of their class 150 units, mainly to meet current standards for disabled travellers. Completed units can be recognised from outside by their shiny new livery, the same as the old company but minus branding, and by the plating over of the toilet window as part of the installation of the new, even bigger, toilet module. Several 150/2 units have been done, and work has now begun on the older 150/1 type, such as 150 136 pictured above on a Blackpool - Buxton service.

A much more thorough upgrade is promise for the future, but whether this will involve removal of the 3+2 seats which are suitable only for very narrow people, and replacement by the 2+2 layout found in Arrive Trains Wales Class 150s,  remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Northern have been compelled to delay most of the timetable improvements which were supposed to start from December 2017, as it has become clear that delays on the Great Western electrification project will prevent the transfer of 150s to Northern on which the higher frequency services were predicated. May 2018 is the revised date. Another looming spectre is that the trade unions have realised that the new franchise agreement with the Government involves conversion of some routes to driver-only operation, so we may see a repeat of the much-publicised Southern Rail fiasco. Apparently the franchise agreement includes a clause stating that the government 'may at any time decide to reimburse or ameliorate net losses of the Franchisee arising from Industrial Action (however caused and of whatever nature).'

No wonder Northern's Managing Director Alex Hynes has decided to depart for 'pastures' new in Scotland...

Calling all User Groups

We've received the following from Teleri Evans who is an Advisor to Arriva Trains UK, addressed to North Wales rail user groups:
As you may be aware, the Wales and Borders Rail Franchise is due to end next year and the Welsh Government are currently in the  process of procuring the next one.  Arriva Trains UK are preparing a potential bid, and we are therefore conducting a  consultation process to inform how that bid might develop.
We are keen to work with key stakeholders to develop ideas that  meet the needs of the communities served by the franchise, and  with that in mind, we'd like to request a meeting to discuss what  you feel the priorities should be for Wales and Borders as a  whole, especially in North Wales Coast and Conwy Valley in particular.
Is there a User Group for the North Wales line?  We have heard for some attempts to set one up, but is it exists it has a very low profile. I you feel you are a User Group - or want to be - the address to write to is

Looking back - Thunderbirds on ATW

In our  29 November 2016 special issue on Class 47-hauled trains along the Coast, we finished with a mention of use of Class 57/3 locos on a brief return of loco-haulage in 2006 and ended with a clichéd 'watch this space.' So while things are quiet, here we go. After some familiarisation runs a few days earlier, the service actually began at the timetable change on 9 December 2005. The reason given was 'shortage of multiple-unit resources' with two 175s (008 and 103) out of traffic, and the project to repaint the 175 fleet. 57 314 Firefly worked on the first day, photographed (above) by Alan Crawshaw arriving at Bangor from Manchester.

Back in Summer 2006 Robert Pritchard of Today's Railways UK magazine was kind enough to ask us to read over the article about The North Wales Coast line that was the cover story of the their August issue. We did question whether the Arriva Trains Wales loco-hauled diagram, which is heavily featured in the present tense, would still be running when the magazine appeared. Fortunately it did stay with us for a couple of weeks, and just survived into the 'cover month' of the magazine, but as things turned out the workings on Tuesday 1 August 2006 were the final ones of this particular phase of history, thanks to return of 175 103 from its very long period under repair.

The trains worked by Class 57/3 locos changed soon after introduction due to the December timetable change. The times then settled down to (Mondays-Saturdays only):
1H82 06:00 Holyhead - Manchester
1D64 10:03 Manchester - Holyhead
1H90 13:20 Holyhead - Manchester
1D81 17:41 Manchester - Holyhead
One night a week, a Riviera Trains Class 47 ran to Holyhead with a set of empty coaches, taking back the previous week's to Crewe for servicing. The coaches were ex-Virgin Trains stock; a rake of six coaches being used as shorter trains were subject to speed restrictions for brake force reasons. However, two coaches were always locked out of use, presumably because a train might be routed into the short platform 1 at Manchester Oxford Road; sadly this was not always made obvious to intending passengers.

Photographs enjoyed a loco-hauled summer: Tim Rogers photographed 57 307 Lady Penelope on 6 July 2006 passing Sandycroft.

The final day turned out to be 1 August 2006, recorded in depth by our contributors. We have re-incarnated the issue of that week from the archive.  Thanks again to all the contributors from time of smaller images and of course to all the railway staff involved in those workings.

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