Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

22 January 2018

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

January 2018

Thursday 25 January Light Rail Transit Association (Manchester) Tony Young: The Tramways of Bury

Friday 26 January Shropshire Railway Society Alistair Grieve, Industrial Preservation

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.

Tuesday 6 February  North Wales Railway Circle Barry Wynn, assisted by Steve Morris, presents more of his work.  A superb collection of photographs depicting British Railway practice going back to steam days.           

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

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

Friday 9 February  Shropshire Railway Society Preserved Steam on Video (PSOV), Karl Jauncey & Dave Richards

Friday 9 February Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Over the Water - Isle of Man and Ireland in the 60s: a colour slide presentation by Bill Chapman.

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

Friday 23 February Shropshire Railway Society Andrew Charman: Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway

March 2018

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

Tuesday 6 March  North Wales Railway Circle North to South. North Wales Railway Circle member Ken Owen returns with a pictorial journey north to south over the British Rail network.

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

Friday 9 March  Shropshire Railway Society George Jones: Onward to illustrated review of the Llangollen Railway's extension to Corwen

Monday 19  March   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Peter Berry – “The Robert Whitfield Collection, UK Steam 1948 - 1958”  Because of renovations the Society will not be able to hold the meeting at The Town Crier, Station Road, Chester and the meeting will now take place nearby at The Queen Hotel, Station Road, Chester (opposite  the station).

Friday 9 March Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Trains of Thought. Includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the US and the UK. a digital presentation by Bob Avery

Friday 23 March  Shropshire Railway Society Chris Banks, Too be announced

April 2018

Tuesday 3 April  North Wales Railway Circle Tony Griffith returns with two presentations.  The Dyserth Branch and an historic shipping disaster off the North Wales Coast.  
Wednesday 4 April   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Alan Moore – “The Railways of St. Helens”

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

Thursday 12 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  Members Evening  

Friday 13 April  Shropshire Railway Society Mervyn Pritchard, Swiss Alps and Railways

Friday 13 April Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Navigation Road and All That.The show includes scenes at Navigation Road, Ashley, Cinderland Crossing, Dunham Massey and other locations in the Altrincham area. Ted Buckley shows pictures (mainly of steam) taken by his late father Bill in the 1960s.

13-15 April Llangollen Railway End of Steam gala 3802 expected back in traffic otherwise further attractions yet to be announced.

Saturday 14 April Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains. Crewe - Holyhead and return. 46100, 34046 or 70000. Special introductory fares from £45.

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

Thursday 26 April Brian Yates: Light Rail Transit Association (Manchester) The Tramways of Berlin, Potsdam, Lyon and Grenoble.

Friday 27 April  Shropshire Railway Society AGM, followed by Member's talk

Saturday 28 April Steam on the Coast UK Railtours  Ynys Mon Express. Leicester - Holyhead  60163 Tornado  Derby - Holyhead - Derby.

May 2018

Tuesday 8 May  North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic Competition  

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

June 2018

Saturday 2 June Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains. Crewe - Holyhead and return. 46100, 34046 or 70000.

2-3 June  Llangollen Railway Heritage railcar gala

30 June Llangollen Railway Classic transport

July 2018

Sunday 22 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express
Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Holyhead and return. 45690

Tuesday 24 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog. 45699 or 48151: Preston - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Blaenau and return

August 2018

Saturday 4 August. Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains.  Bangor (07.00/22.15) Llandudno Jct (07.25/21.55) Colwyn Bay (07.35/21.45) Rhyl (07.50/21.30) Prestatyn (08.00/21.20) Flint (08.10/21.10) Chester (08.30/20.50) Crewe (09.30/20.00) Stafford to Stratford-on Avon. 46100, 34046 or 70000.

September 2018

Saturday 8 September Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich -Peterborough - Nuneaton - Chester - Peterborough

29 September Llangollen Railway Diesel gala

October 2018

12-14 October Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala

Friday 19 October Steam on the Coast Golden Eagle Luxury Tour (Day 5 of 12) (Provisional)  Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog 46100: Llandudno Junction - Blaenau Ffestiniog, Holyhead - Crewe

A memory from 19 May 2012: 57 311 Parker stands at Llandudno Junction with a Saturday London - Holyhead 'Pendolino' which it has hauled from Crewe. Picture by Greg Mape, who tells us he didn't get off the train and run up to this point - as we did with the 4-coach 37-hauled trains!

Note:The 'Forthcomng events' section has been update with programmes from more groups. Other contributions always welcome.

Why are North Wales fares so high?

Prestatyn - Chester 15.80
Llandudno Jct - Chester
Holyhead - Chester
Chester - Shrewsbury
Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog
Wrexham - Bidston
Chester - Southport
Cardiff - Swansea
Aberystwyth - Shrewsbury

Dave Sallery has created this table comparing North Wales return train fares with those in some other areas. Fares are all based on the Anytime rate, returning the same day.  Pence per mile is obtained by doubling the single mileage and dividing that figure into the anytime fare.  The Chester - Southport off peak fare is an all zones saveaway, valid from 09.30. As a comparison if Prestatyn - Chester were charged at the same rate per mile as Cardiff - Swansea the cost would be just £6.86, not £15.80.

Various reasons for this have been offered in the past, a common one being to pay for new trains that arrived back in the 1990s, but the Prestatyn fare in particular stands out. There is an off-peak return, but at £18.80 it's for people staying overnight. Of course there are ways to save money, such as obtaining a railcard, but a family thinking of trying a shopping trip to Chester are not likely to be impressed.

(It's not just North Wales that has anomalies: for a 26-mile journey in England, we might consider Buxton - Manchester on Arriva's Northern franchise for which an off-peak return is £17.20, 33p per mile.  Chester - Manchester via Altrincham is 45 miles each way, anytime day return £15.40, off-peak return £13.00 - 7p per mile.)

Llangollen update - by Peter Dickinson

Saturday 20 January saw a light dusting of snow in the Dee Valley. Around Berwyn, strong gusts during the week had brought down the wooden gate at the end of the platform, which will now need to be repaired. However the snow only seemed to add to the beauty of the gorge, particularly in the wake of a large amount of vegetation clearance to the east of the station.

The once-dominating trees alongside the A5 above the line have been removed by a volunteer lineside clearance gang during November and early January, restoring the lineside back to its GWR/BR condition. This will no doubt prove to be a major boon to photographers as the line here is climbing at 1 in 80 towards the station from Llangollen.

The Class 26 diesel D5310 was in operation at the head of the lineside clearance train and was photographed during its brief lunchtime return to Llangollen from the works site near Deeside Halt.

BR blue liveried Class 47 1566 made an interesting contrast to ex-GWR Pannier 6430 outside in the yard at Llangollen.

A recent arrival at the railway is the body of an ex-LMS gunpowder van No. 701002, which is destined for use as a lineside storage hut at Berwyn. The van body had been located in Stranraer by members of the Berwyn Station Team and was transported to Llangollen by road in late November. It is temporarily mounted on a flat wagon pending some bodyside repairs and craning into place.

Public train services re-start on 10 February, with steam at weekends and a railcar service on weekdays.

Rail Camera Club celebrates - report by Steve Morris

Formed in 1976 with members comprising the UK's most talented Railway photographers, the Rail Camera Club has just circulated its 100th Folio. To commemorate this, the National Railway Museum 'Locomotion' site in Shildon is hosting an exhibition of the club's work during the next few months.  Two North Wales photographers are members of the club, Barry Wynne (above) and Norman Kneale; their work will be well known to many readers.

Above, part of Norman Kneale's display. The exhibition was launched on Saturday 20 January along with a book, Rail Cameramen, covering the contributors' work. Having helped prepare his material for the exhibition and book I attended with Barry Wynne and include  images taken on the day.

Apart from recommending the exhibition I would extend this to the book. Hardback, published by Silver Link it contains 128 pages of first class images covering both steam and diesel subjects taken by members past and present. It is well worth obtaining a copy.

Group picture of the Club members.


The heading picture of the tram crossing the Mersey in the last issue is actually between Barlow Moor Road and Sale Water Park stops, and not as we wrote in the first upload of the page.

Also, Charlie visited Northwich and stood by a brazier in January 1967, not 2018!

Express Motors, the aftermath - report by Rowan Crawshaw

The picture shows former Express Motors buses stored at Deiniolen near Llanberis on 19 January.

Express Motors was established in 1908 by Owen Owen. It remained a family-owned business and last owned by Eric Jones. As briefly mentioned in the 9 January issue, the company's licence was revoked with effect from 31 December 2017 after it was found that maintenance records had been falsified. Some of its buses are for sale on eBay and others have sold. There is talk about a new company being started by Rhian Davies (Eric Jones's daughter) to operate some of their former routes.

Its routes are now operated by Arriva Buses Wales, Gwynfor Coaches, Huws Coaches & Lloyds Coaches but their timetables are vastly reduced. Deiniolen is served by Arriva Bus No 85 from Bangor to Llanberis and is currently every two hours, having been reduced from hourly.

New station for Welshpool?

The website reports:

Following a whopping 127% increase in the number of people using trains in town, plans are being developed for a potential new railway station for the town. The staggering growth in local people using trains has come following the introduction of the near-hourly service on the Shrewsbury-Aberystwyth line. Negotiations have apparently been held between town officials, Network Rail and the Welsh Government who have agreed to take the first tentative steps towards a new development.

Cambrian Coast winter 1982 - recalled by Tony Evans

A reminiscence of the time I was on a snow clearing train in 1982. It was not publicised but the train which became stuck in the snow near Llanaber did indeed have passengers on board. My day went like this:

I was studying on an art foundation course in Bangor, Gwynedd. The snow was becoming increasingly heavy so I decided to drive home to Llanaber giving a lift home to two passengers, Mike Watts and Pete Telfer who were also art students. We were all aged 18 then. I dropped Mike off in Penrhyndeudraeth and carried on home. The road conditions were atrocious and I ended up crashing the car badly (it was a write-off) just north of Talsarnau. Telfer was shouting 'we’re gonna die'  as we span around on the snow after crashing into a car (owned by a magistrate) driven by a lad called Owain Dwyryd Jones (known as Frankie).

I was extremely calm, I remember the car was in second gear and telling Telfer 'ah shut up' as the world span by in slow motion. Anyhow, Frankie and his mum, who was the magistrate and passenger in the car driven by Frankie, were not best pleased - shall we say. I remember making my way with Telf to the pub from the wreckage where one of my old French teachers was playing pool. He bought me a whisky as the nerves had started to kick in and the magistrate was giving me loads of grief.

Telf and I got a train from Talsarnau as far as Harlech where it stopped. We had some food at his 'artificial auntie's' who lived by the station. Some time later we managed to blag our way onto a works train headed for Barmouth to be used to clear the line. We both got on the train at Harlech together with a small Chinese bloke who owned the take-away in Barmouth, I think we called him Pete too. The trains’ occupants consisted of the driver, the guard, another railway worker, Pete, Pete the Chinaman and myself.

Telfer got off at Dyffryn Ardudwy leaving myself, the Chinese fella and the British Rail blokes who were real Welsh characters. At Talybont I helped to saw a massive pine tree in half which had fallen onto the line. The Chinaman just smoked fags and watched. Once clear we set off towards Barmouth. We ploughed through quite a few drifts until we encountered the biggest drift of all. The snow was easily five or six feet high on the track and formed a long 'snow dune' along the hidden rails. The train consisted of two carriages. The driver was in his cabin with the sliding door open, the guard and the other workman were in the first class compartment with myself.  Pete the Chinese bloke was in the main carriage.

There was a bit of banter going on between the rail workers and someone said loudly 'come on boys' and the driver turned his wheel, we excitedly increased speed and ploughed headlong into the drift. The front carriage lifted up into the air and was thrown onto it’s side. I can vividly remember the scene, no one was injured, there was a great buzz of excitement at what had just happened. I was asked not to mention the fact that I was on that train as they could get into trouble.

I lived in Llanaber which was not too far away, perhaps one or two miles away so I climbed out of the train door window, which now formed a part of the roof, and jumped down off the train’s side into the deep white snow and made my way through the snow covered fields and up to the main road, the A496. It had been ploughed but was still deep with snow. Dr Meredith’s son I believe gave me a lift to Llanaber. The snow was so deep I walked onto the garage roof of my house which was level with the drifts on the side of the road. it was easily eight feet high.

I can remember being told when I got on the train at Harlech that passengers were not allowed on the train as it was a works train. Well that was on 8 January 1982 and I have kept quiet until 8 January 2018 some 36 years later. And should he be reading this I can’t remember what became of the Chinese bloke, Pete, but I do remember the news report saying that no passengers were on board that train. In one day I managed to be involved in smashing my mum's mini and smashing a train. There was very little coverage in the media of this incident as the helicopter rescue elsewhere on the line got all the attention.

Rail Grinder

Enthusiasts were able to have a good look at a rail-grinding train when one of the Speno RPS 32-2 units was stabled at Bangor on 17 January.  Picture above by Eurwyn McMahon.

The other end of the train is the crew accommodation (Jim Johnson). This train, built by Speno of Switzerland, has a Network Rail series number on each of its vehicles, DR79221, 79222, 79223, 79224, 79225 & (this end) 79226. Curiously, the movements of this train appear to be exempt from recording on the Real Time Trains system.

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