Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

18 September 2017

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

September 2017

Saturday 23 September Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Diesel day

23-24 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Weekend

Saturday 30 September Steam at Chester Vintage Trains 'The Shropshire Express'  Tyseley Warwick Road - Chester. 5043: Tyseley - Wolverhampton - Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury - Birmingham New St - Tyseley

October 2017

Wednesday 4 October   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales  LIVERPOOL  Barry Shore – “Had Bike will Travel 1961 - 1963”

Friday 6 October Clwyd Railway Circle Les Nixon '55 Years of Railway Photography - Part 3' A selection of railway pictures which include genuine BR steam, a wide variety of mainly older modern traction along with industrials, some preservation and brief visits, worldwide, to nearly 20 countries.

6-8 October Ffestiniog Railway Victorian Weekend

Thursday 12 October  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Julian Birley MBE:  The Bala Lake Railway        

13-15 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala

Saturday 14 October Railway and Canal Historical Society Clinker Memorial Lecture in Manchester 2:00 pm, Mechanics Conference Centre, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD. William Fairbairn, the experimental engineer - a study in mid-nineteenth century engineering. Admission free to all. More information (PDF)

Monday 16  October    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Les Nixon – “55 Years of Railway Photography, Part 1”

November 2017

Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle 'Snowdon Mountain Railway' A presentation given by Mike Robertshaw Msc IEng MIED, Senior Engineering Manager of the railway.

Thursday 9 November  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  AGM /  Clive Evans  Memories of North Wales steam and beyond in the 1950s 

Saturday 18 November Steam on the Coast Steam Dreams 'Cathedrals Express' London Euston - Llandudno for the Christmas Market.  46233 Duchess of Sutherland: Crewe  - Llandudno and return

Monday  20  November    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    John Day – “UK Railways – Beyond the Blue”

Saturday 25 November Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company 'The Christmas Cheshireman' 
Bristol - Chester 70013 / 45305: Bristol - Hereford - Wrexham - Chester and return

Saturday 25 November Steam at Chester UK Railtours 'The Chester Chirstmas Cracker'
London Euston - Chester 60163: Euston - Chester and return

December 2017

Friday 1 December  Clwyd Railway Circle 'Members Night & Christmas Celebrations' Members are invited  to give a 15 minute presentation of their choice (any format). FREE tea/coffee & festive treats during the interval. Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

Wednesday 6 December   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    LIVERPOOL    Tom Heavyside – “BR in the North West”    

Thursday 14 December  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Xmas Social / Bill Rogerson: Roaming the Rails with Bill  

Monday 18  December    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Bob Barnard – “The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway“ 

January 2018

Friday 5 January  Clwyd Railway Circle Mike Blackburn 'The Welsh Highland Railway (NWNGR)' A history of the North Wales narrow gauge and Croesor Tramway and the linking to form the Welsh Highland Railway, restoration and building of the new.

Thursday 11 January  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society   Ron Watson Jones:  Rails to Roads

Monday  15 January    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    AGM, followed by John Cowlishaw – “The End of the Line, Part 1 (Non-members are invited to attend from 20.15 hours)

February 2018

Friday 2 February Clwyd Railway Circle John Sloane 'From Vulcan Foundry to the Khyber' British built steam at work in Pakistan, It includes pictures taken on the spectacular line up the Khyber Pass to the Afghan border.

Wednesday 7  February   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Doug Birmingham – “Rail Reflections in Merseyside”

8 February  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Ellis Morey: The Penrhyn Railway

Monday 19  February   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     CHESTER    Ian Pilkington – “Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells”

March 2018

Friday 2 March Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by “Film Shows - Railways Past and Present”.

Thursday 8 March     Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  John Cashen RCTS:  North West & North Wales Reminiscences in the 1960s    

Monday 19  March   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Peter Berry – “The Robert Whitfield Collection, UK Steam 1948 - 1958”

April 2018

Friday 6 April Clwyd Railway Circle John Cashen 'North West & North Wales Reminiscences In The 1960s' The presentation will cover from Liverpool to Liverpool within an area bounded by Southport, Burscough, Standish, Warrington, Crewe, Whitchurch, Chester, Holyhead, Barmouth, Aberystwyth, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, the Wirral, Chester, Northwich and Speke

12 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  Members Evening     

Wednesday 4  April   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Alan Moore – “The Railways of St. Helens”

Monday 16 April    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Brian Armand – “Railway Roundabout”       

May 2018

10 May  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  W. Gordon Davies:  A taste of Japan 

June 2018

July 2018

August 2018

Welsh Highland  NG/G16 No 138 prepares to shunt ex-South African Railways wagons out of the sidings at Porthmadog Harbour Station - taken from the Control Office window by staff member Michael Baker, Sunday 17 September.

Picture miscellany

Alan Crawshaw travelled from Bangor to Carfiff by the Premier service on 12 September, and took this picture of 67 016 on arrival.  Alan writes: 'We returned Wednesday evening 13 Seprember but were disappointed to see a 175 turn up, the DVT having reportedly 'failed' on the loco-hauled set'.

Llangollen station on 10 September, with 2-6-2T 5199 after working the first train of the day. Picture by Roger Carvell.

Roger writes:  'Despite changeable weather a healthy number of passengers got off and everyone seemed pleased. As is customary the engine crew took to the station buffet to top up their own tanks. But is there modernisation on the footplate? Is the traditional billy can about to be overtaken by the take away cup? I think not!'

Preserved passenger ship MV Balmoral arrives at Llandudno Pier, 16 September (Greg Mape).

A moment on Manchester Metrolink's Airport line with airport-bound tram 3091 and an inbound Airbus A330 of Thomas Cook inbound from Cuba (Greg Mape).

Network Rail  97 303 negotiates Northenden Junction while on a training run from Derby via Buxton on 13 September. It waited a few minutes near the signal box whilst the driver swapped ends then departed back the way it came on the single line to Hazel Grove (Greg Mape).

Welsh Highland Super-Power event

Welsh Highland Railway NG/G16 No. 87 stands at the head of the 08:15 mixed train to Caernarfon, Porthmadog Harbour Station Saturday 16 September. Picture by Michael Baker. Unfortunately 87 failed at Pont Croesor on the afternoon service train, so Lyd and diesel Vale of Ffestiniog had to be dispatched to take over, and the next day's service was somewhere reduced.

Earl of Merioneth at Porthmadog on Sunday 17 September (Jim Ikin).

Jim Ikin photographed the ex-South African Railways NG15 class no. 134 under restoration at Dinas.

This plate is fixed to 134 - intended for Chinese labourers in South Africa, perhaps. The 134 project has its own very comprehensive website.

Undergoing restoration is South African Railways NGG16 Class Garratt 130 built by Beyer Peacock in 1951, and now owned by Peter Best of Steam Powered Services Ltd who purchased it from the Exmoor Steam Centre.

This should not be confused with another of the class, 109, which was purchased in 2009, also from the Exmoor Steam Centre,  by pop music producer and rail enthusiast Pete Waterman for use on the Welsh Highland, initially it began overhaul at Waterman's LNWR heritage works in Crewe by apprentices as part of their studies, but it seems the Government cancelled the scheme's funding, and the loco has been moved to Dinas works to wait its turn.

External work being undertaken by the WHR team at Dinas includes the fabrication of side tanks for the new-build Standard Class 3 2-6-2T for the 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust, based at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley line.

Historic loco K1, the world's first Garratt system loco, built for Tasmania, was on static display at Dinas, looking somewhat rusty.

Behind the Ffestiniog Railway Boston Lodge halt is this memorial to a number of volunteers who’ve passed away, with superb views back over the Cob to Porthmadog (Jim Ikin).

Meet the New Bosses

Tom Joyner (far left-hand picture) has been appointed as Managing Director of Arriva Train Wales, which operates the Wales and Border franchise. Tom his recently served, since 2013 as Passenger Services Director for London Midland; previously he has worked in the field of future rail systems at Network Rail, and before that he held 'board and leadership roles' within First Group and National Express train operating companies  He says he is 'excited at the prospect' and starts work with Arriva on 2 October 2017, taking over from Ian Bullock who is stepping down as Managing Director a post he has held since 2013, after a period as Customer Service Director.

Elsewhere in the Arriva empire, David Brown (right-hand picture)  is in the process of taking on the Managing Director job at Arriva's Northern company, following the departure to Scotland a few months ago of Alex Hynes.

Cumbrian Connection

Andy Evans writes:  'Regarding the 17:20 train from Barrow being 'late' as reported by your contributor (last issue), I believe it is held (unofficially?) to make the connection from the loco-hauled coast working from Carlisle. I have used this service twice and both times have made the connection. There is time to do this as the working is Barrow to Windermere,so it reverses at Lancaster and makes up the lost time there.'

Steam at Oswestry - report by Martin Evans

On 9 and 10 September the Cambrian Railways at  Oswestry were running steam in connection with a National Heritage weekend  so I took the opportunity to travel from Oswestry station to the recently extended line to Salop Road Bridge on 9 September. The loco in steam was Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tank, works no. 2216 built in 1949. Above, 2216 steams back to Oswestry from the end of the line at Salop Road.

The signal box at Oswestry South undergoing further repairs.

Departing from Oswestry for Salop Road.

Approaching the present end of the line near Salop Road.

Festival No.6 - report by Jim Johnson

Festival No.6 was held again at Portmeirion over the weekend of 9 & 10 September, and Virgin Trains ran their usual extras from Euston to Bangor on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th, and in the opposite direction on on Monday 11th. These services were available to the general public as well as festival-goers, non-stop running between Chester and Bangor, and vice versa on the Monday, being an agreeable feature.  The very first 'extra', on the Thursday, was 1D85 11:10 Euston-Bangor, formed of 221 108 Sir Ernest Shackleton, arriving right-time at 14:14.

 Similar signage ...

...  and Portakabin booking office, to last year, but no bunting this year, which was a shame.

The 'Festival No.6'-liveried set, 221 106 Willem Barents was on ordinary service duties that day, seen here leading set 221 118 on 1A48, 13:58 Holyhead - Euston.

221 108 departing on the Up Main as 5D53 empty stock to Chester at 14:32, 5 minutes early.

Shortly afterwards the Network Rail HST came through at 14:47, being 1Q30 10:55 Derby RTC - Crewe, via Holyhead. 43 014 The Railway Observer leading ...

... and  43 062 John Armitt trailing.

221 112 Ferdinand Magellan formed Friday's 1D85, with delayed 158 831 as 1G50 13:24 Holyhead-Birmingham International, 18 minutes late, arriving at Platform 1. Flooding of the line near Gaerwen had caused several cancellations and delays earlier on, but the No.6 extras were largely

Virgin colleagues exchange waves on the Friday as 221 112 departs on the up main as 5D53 empty to Chester ...

 ...  and 221101 Louis Bleriot moves up to Belmont Tunnel as 5D58 empty to Chester, having formed 1D86 12:10 Euston - Bangor.


Prior to the first extra back to Euston on the Monday, 150 257 departs as 1G32 09:23 Holyhead to Birmingham International.

Does anyone collect security guard numbers?

'Festival'-liveried 221 106made an appearance as 5A33 09:20 Chester-Bangor empty stock ...

... The signaller has set the signal (which is now an LED-based unit with only one 'lamp' which can show any of the three colours) to yellow, rather keep the signal at red and use the white calling-on [or shunt-ahead?] lights below the main signal as is more usual with terminating trains.

Virgin staff were handing out black bin-bags for passengers to cover their muddy boots, after another rain-plagued festival.

221 114 stands on the down main as 5D38 10:04 Crewe - Bangor empty stock, as 158 829 enters as 1G40 11:27 Holyhead-Birmingham International ...

... and 67 018 appears with 1D34 09:50 Manchester Piccadilly-Holyhead, with 'Dave Trains' at the helm.

Three Virgins in Bangor:  221 114 is 1A38 12:25 Bangor - London Euston; 221 112 Ferdinand Magellan and 221 116 form 1D83 09:10 Euston - Holyhead.  All the trains that I observed were very well-patronised, except the very last Bangor - Euston, 1A68, 18:35 departure, which was relatively lightly-loaded. 221 143 Auguste Picard was the set.

Bus corner

Several different bus companies provided the shuttle services to and from the festival site at Portmeirion. Express Motors Neoplan N516 'Starliner' coach CY55 MRU (above) was the first on the scene on the Thursday. Note the registration letters chosen to read 'Cymru.'

On the Monday, J30 RGO of Nefyn Coaches, a Volvo B12M/Van Hool T9 Alizee formerly registered WA54 HXX.

Eifions Coaches of Holyhead's  T11 HEH, a Mercedes Turismo, loads at Bangor. Other participants observed included Caelloi, and Lloyds Coaches.

Steam Heat -  by Vince Chadwick

I noted this caption to Roly High's picture (repeated above) in the 11 September Notice Board:

'...  the locomotive had to be uncoupled, a tricky job for a crew member, with the steam-heating pipe needing some caution, especially when not wearing the recommended heavy-duty gloves.'

While agreeing that heavy duty gloves are a good idea for any uncoupling actions,  the steam heat pipe, if the steam heat is turned off from the footplate, the steam heat cock on the loco end of the leading coach is closed, and the steam heat cock on the front of the loco is opened, there is little change of burns from escaping steam to the 'man underneath'.

Closing the cock on the leading coach means no steam will escape from the coaches when the pipe to the tender is disconnected, and indeed heat will be sustained in the coaches by the trapped steam. Opening the cock on the front of the loco depressurises the steam heat pipe on the loco so little or no steam should escape when the coach - the tender pipe is disconnected, and certainly no pressurised steam.

Interestingly I was discussing this very point this week with an experienced steam driver (Great Central, Llangollen, Statfold, etc) during a holiday visiting narrow gauge steam in East Germany, and he made these very observations as we noted drain cocks open on inter-coach connections
of the steam pipe on a Harz train to drain condensate.

Portrait of the Britannia Bridge - pictures by Greg Mape

Robert Stephenson's Britannia Bridge over the Menai Strait as rebuilt after a fire, and topped with a road deck in 1980, is an impressive sight. The bridge was designed that the centre pier could be be built on the 'Britannia Rock' in the middle of the Strait at this point.

Seen from below through Greg's wide-angle lens. The steelwork was refurbished in 2011.

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