19 February 2018
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Friday 23 February Shropshire
Railway Society Andrew Charman: Welshpool and Llanfair
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 Corwen.....an
illustrated review of the Llangollen Railway's extension to
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
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
Thursday 12 April Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society Members
Friday 13 April Shropshire
Railway Society Mervyn Pritchard, Swiss Alps and
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
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
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.
Tuesday 8 May North
Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic
Thursday 10 May Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society W. Gordon
Davies: A taste of Japan
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
Sunday 22 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring
Company North Wales Coast Express
Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Holyhead and
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
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
Saturday 8 September Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company
Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich -Peterborough - Nuneaton
- Chester - Peterborough
29 September Llangollen
Railway Diesel gala
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
6430 runs round its train at Carrog, 17 February.
Picture by Martin Evans.
Club 55 tickets
A reminder that Arriva
Club 55 tickets, offering cheap travel to anyone aged
over 55, are on sale until 3 March.
Peter Basterfield's view
On Monday' 12 February flask train 6D43 negotiates
Pen-y-Clip with 68 018 Vigilant leading 68
The second is the 08:55 Holyhead - London featuring 221
106 the 'No6 Prisoner' set used for the Portmeirion
Festival. I had to include a 'Pandrol
Clip' at Pen-y-clip (!) This ingenious device for
quickly fixing rail to sleepers was invented in 1957 by a
Norwegian Railway engineer Per Pande-Rolfsen, also known as
Wednesdays Valley - Crewe flasks, 6K41 runs through Bangor
station (currently undergoing a facelift) with 68 017
leading 68 018.
Thursday 15 February's 'Piccadilly Pusher' (13:07 Holyhead -
Manchester) with 67 015 at Talybont.
Crewe and Shrewsbury, 19 February - with Martin Evans
Pausing at Crewe on 19 February was an unusual train
comprising West Coast Railways locos 37 669 and 37
668 towing just one vehicle, 96175, which is a former
'General Utility Van' fitted with two tanks inside which can
carry 3000 gallons of water to enable steam locos to travel
further without stopping to take water. There are two of
these vehicles; 96100 works with Vintage Trains' GWR locos,
but this West Coast Railways one, converted in 2010, has not
appeared so often on our pages.
The train was running from Carnforth to the Midland Railway
Centre at Butterley. 37 669 ...
... and 37 668 are of interest as they are the two
locomotives fitted with the Hitachi version of the ERTMS
signalling equipment required for the Cambrian lines to
Pwllheli and Aberystwyth. Some of the equipment is in the
box seen under under the body next to the fuel tank (read
more on the Vossloh
website). However, although test runs were made in
2015, neither loco has seen much use on the Cambrian,
although they have worked some railtours elsewhere.
Virgin Pendolino 390 009 in the new livery
departs Crewe for London Euston at 13:32 with a service from
Manchester Piccadilly. According to Virgin, the livery is
'named "flowing silk" and builds on the iconic Virgin brand,
adding curves, shapes and dynamism, with the flow across the
train taking its main inspiration from the natural world
At Shrewsbury, Virgin Voyager 221 113 was pictured
at 12:52pm arriving with train 9J14, 10:23 from London
Euston. For some reason the schedule requires this unit to
run empty back to Wolverhampton where it spends 10 minutes
before returning to Shrewsbury to form the 15:24 to London.
Welsh Slate shipments clock up the miles (press
The UK slate manufacturer’s shipments continue to evolve.
Shipments of decorative aggregate within Europe are
continuing to grow and evolve for leading UK manufacturer
Welsh Slate, part of the Lagan Group.
A total of seven shipments totalling almost 14,000 tonnes
were made in 2017 from Port Penrhyn at Bangor, near to the
manufacturer’s main Penrhyn quarry at Bethesda in North
Wales, to feed the continuing demand for decorative
aggregates. There had been four shipments in 2016 – three to
Redsun Garden Products, one of the largest producers of
precast products in Germany, and one to UK distributor Long
Rake Spar via Rye in East Sussex.
Historically, Welsh Slate has been shipped out of Port
Penrhyn since the 14th Century and by the 19th Century Welsh
slate was being shipped to all the major UK ports as well as
western European destinations. The worldwide use of slate
from the 18th Century onwards followed the trade routes of
the major British shipping lines, complementing the import
of cotton from America and wool from Australia, when roofing
slates were used as ballast in the ships.
And the journey for Welsh Slate aggregates does not just
stop at the overseas ports. For Redsun, the material is
typically reloaded onto two barges at Rotterdam and
transferred to Zand and Grindelwald at Waalwijk in the
Netherlands. Half is then taken by road to Redsun at
Kevelaer in Germany for distribution throughout mainland
Redsun took two shipments of approximately 1,650 tonnes each
in 2017 while five shipments of approximately 1,360 tonnes
each went to a little nearer home for [aggregate
suppliers] Long Rake Spar. And Long Rake Spar has
already booked five deliveries for 2018, to supply a Tarmac
project for DIY giant B&Q, thus continuing to reinforce
the growing importance of this element of Welsh Slate’s
These deliveries bring 2017’s total of shipments to a
record-breaking seven and shows how Welsh Slate’s shipping
heritage has evolved to contemporary use to meet the
ever-growing requirement for decorative aggregates.
North Wales comes to Kings Cross - report by Roger
To coincide with half term week, the Ffestiniog and Welsh
Highland Railways arranged for their
annual 'roadshow' to appear at London King's Cross station
once again, and what a success
it has been, attracting family groups going up to London for
sightseeing and museum visiting. Even hard-bitten Great
Northern commuters probably stole at least a glance as they
hurried by at peak hours.
FR and WHR volunteers arrived at King's Cross late on Sunday
11 February to lay temporary
track over the King's Cross concourse, with the locomotives,
Velinheli and Hugh Napier, Hunslet standard
quarry locomotives arriving separately by low loader,
together with the rebuilt
Ashburys coach No.10.
Hugh Napier belongs to the National Trust at Penrhyn
Castle, while Velinheli now hails from the
Launceston Steam Railway in Cornwall. Both will head back to
Porthmadog from Sunday 18 February. Hugh Napier is
in full working order while Velinheli requires
re-boilering at Boston Lodge.
A visitor asked if a 'Garratt' could be displayed next year.
Alas, its much heavier weight would see
it descending to Northern or Piccadilly Line levels! The
Hunslet engines are lighter and easier to push in, said a FR
volunteer. A very enjoyable spectacle and a pleasure to see
a little bit
of North Wales in the capital.
Linda on engineers duty - pictures by John Fry
These pictures taken by Ffestiniog Railway permanent way
volunteer John Fry were taken on 5 February and show
Ffestiniog Railway locomotive Linda, (Hunslet Engine
Co 1893) shunting a spoil train at Moelwyn Tunnel (south
The train contains spent ballast and spoil which was being
removed from the tunnel as part of the winter track renewal
work. The reason for a steam locomotive being used, we
understand, was because of lack of availability of
suitable diesel motive power.
Ruabon to Llangollen relics - explored by Martin Evans
While walking from Trevor to Llangollen on 12 February I
took a couple of pictures of the former Ruabon to Llangollen
section line which I hope may be of interest. This section
of the Ruabon to Barmouth route closed to passengers in
January 1965 and to goods in 1968. The view above is to Sun
Bank Halt which was the scene of a terrible
accident in 1945 resulting in one fatality - driver D.
Jones - and two persons injured, after the canal bank gave
way in the early hours of the morning and the floodwater
breached the line below. Unfortunately the block and
telegraph cables remained intact, and the 3.35 am Chester to
Barmouth main and parcels, with 2-6-0 loco 6315 proceeded
into the section and the locomotive fell down the
The second picture shows the bridge over the canal at Bryn
Howel. Unfortunately there is little prospect of this
section re-opening under Llangollen railway auspices to
connect to the main line at Ruabon in the near future.
Logs for Chirk - pictures by Eryl Crump
Colas Rail 60 096 heading Carlisle - Chirk logs on 5
February through Armathwaite.
What the picture can't convey is the wonderful smell of cut
timber as the train whizzed through the station. It seems a
pity to chop em up and turn them into chipboard products.
The shape of the ends of these wagons are a clue that they
started life as Cargowaggon ferry vans.
The scene in video.
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