10 September 2018
Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page
Saturday 8 September Steam at Chester Railway
Touring Company Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich
-Peterborough - Nuneaton - Chester - Peterborough
14-16 September Welsh Highland Railway Super-Power
15 September East Lancashire Railway Steam
on the Coast 60103
Flying Scotsman Bury
- Holyhead. Proceeds from this train will go towards
the purchase of Southern Railway pacific City
of Wells for the railway.
Tickets (£142 standard class adult) are still available
information website . First Class is
sold out. Cancelled due to
late notice of engineering work.
Monday 17 September RCTS
Chester "Railways of London & the South East"
22 September Steam on the Coast Pathfinder Tours
Ynys Mon Express from Bristol. 60103 Flying Scotsman Crewe
- Holyhead - Crewe
Saturday 29 September Llangollen Railway
Saturday 29 September Steam on the Coast
Railtours Leicester to Holyhead with 60163 Tornado
Wednesday 3 October RCTS
Liverpool "Liverpool Exchange Station" Paul Wright
Friday 5 October Clwyd
Railway Circle “Snowdon Mountain Railway”A
presentation given by Mike Robertshaw Msc IEng MIED,
Senior Engineering Manager of the railway. Mike Robertshaw
Tuesday 2 October North
Wales Railway Circle John Cashen with North
West and North Wales
Reminiscences of the 1960s.
12-14 October Llangollen
Railway Autumn Steam gala
Saturday 13 October Saphos
Trains excursion Crewe - Blaenau Ffestiniog -
Holyhead - Crewe with D213 Andania.
Monday 15 October RCTS
Chester "Rails to Bala" Dave Southern
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
Friday 2 November Clwyd
Railway Circle “The Development of Railways in the
UK”A look at rail development from Trevithick through to the
23,000 miles of railway in the UK by 1921. Mike
Tuesday 6 November North
Wales Railway Circle Illustrious local photographer
Barry Wynne assisted by Steve Morris.
Monday 19 November RCTS
Chester "Through Kirton Tunnel" Stephen Gay
Tuesday 4 December North
Wales Railway Circle Christmas Social & Members'
Wednesday 5 December RCTS
Liverpool "BR in the North West" Tom Heavyside
Friday 7 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.
Monday 17 December RCTS
Chester "The Fate of The Irish Mail" Tony Griffiths (A
film which relates the story of the Abergele disaster in
Friday 4 January Clwyd
Railway Circle “West Country Memories” An illustrated
talk which includes all the branch lines of Devon and
Cornwall. Dave Southern
Tuesday 8 January North
Wales Railway Circle (Speaker to be announced) The
Bala Lake Railway
Monday 21 January RCTS
Chester AGM, followed by "A Photographic Tribute to
Edgar Richards"( Non-members are invited to attend
from 20.00 hours)
Friday 1 February Clwyd
Railway Circle “The Glorious Steam Railways of India”
The images were taken when it was a fully steam worked
system, with a variety of steam across four different
gauges. John Sloane
Tuesday 5 February North
Wales Railway Circle [To be announced]
Wednesday 6 February RCTS
Liverpool "North West & North Wales Reminiscences
of the 1960s" John Cashen
Monday 18 February RCTS
Chester "A Taste of Japan" Gordon Davies
Tuesday 5 March North
Wales Railway Circle Humph Davies with mostly
narrow-gauge archive material.
Friday 1 March Clwyd
Railway Circle “Annual General Meeting” followed
by “Chairman’s Choice” A night of self indulgence from the
retiring chairman, David Jones
Monday 18 March RCTS
Chester "55 Years of Railway Photography, Part 2" Les
Tuesday 2 April North
Wales Railway Circle Gareth Haulfryn Williams,
archivist and author, on 'Rails to/from Bethesda.'
Wednesday 3 April RCTS
Liverpool "Manchester to Liverpool by CLC" Ken
Friday 5 April Clwyd
Railway Circle "Scotland in the 1960s" The talk
covers the whole of Scotland - going up the west side to
Wick and Thurso and returning down the east side from/to
Monday 15 April RCTS
Chester "Steam on the North Wales Coast" (Video
Presentation) Ron Watson Jones
Tuesday 7 May North
Wales Railway Circle AGM and Members' Photo.
67 010 passes some interesting back yards on the
approach to Llandudno with the 16:50 from Manchester, 3
September. Picture by Greg Mape.
for a short epistle this week, as we are attending a
Community Rail conference. - Charlie
'Streak' at Chester - pictures by George Jones
Above, 60009 Union of South Africa arrives
at Chester on 8 September with an excursion from Norwich.
('Streak' is the old trainspotters' name for the LNER A4
The 'springbok' plaque on the left-hand side of the loco was
donated on 12 April 1954 by a Bloemfontein newspaper
A chance to compare front ends with 175 111 as
people on Platform 3 resist the temptation to venture down
In other steam news, the planned run by Flying Scotsman
from Bury to Holyhead on 15 September has been cancelled,
after it was discovered that part of the route was closed
for engineering work. Also wiped off the board are trains
the charters advertised to be hauled by diesel 40 145 on 14
and 16 September using the same rake of stock, for reasons
explained on the Class
40 Preservation Society website.
Class 47s in action
47 832 brings the York - Blaenau Ffestiniog
excursion through Rhyl on 30 August, with 47 854 Diamond
Jubilee on the rear (Roly High).
Locomotive Services' rail blue loco 1733 (47 853)
passes Beeches Farm on 4 September, on a training run from
Crewe to Blaenau Ffestiniog (Bob Greenhalgh).
The sun came out to play as 1733 entered Blaenau Ffestiniog
station (Ken Robinson). A Ffestiniog Railway train
had just arrived, and the 'enthusiasts' amongst them were
quite thrilled to see the 47, so it was cameras out!
1733 basking in the sun whilst a number of 'orange vests'
walked around (Ken Robinson).
Departure a few minutes early, with much discussion going on
in the rear cab (Ken Robinson).
Looking back - the same loco, 47 853 Rail Express in
its Virgin-applied version of XP64 colours runs round after
arrival at Holyhead with the 10:00 from Manchester on 26
August 2004 (Ken Robinson).
On 8 September, the Northern Belle luxury train offered a
'Brief Encounter' themed trip from Liverpool and Manchester
to Carnforth and Barrow-in-Furness. Les Burton's
picture shows the return 14:40 Barrow - Liverpool Lime
Street, 1Z31, passing Northenden Junction with 47 832
leading and 57 314 on the rear. The train is now based at
Carnforth, so the working required double the passenger
Thanks to the marvellous Sulzerpower
Archive for help with details.
Life begins at 55
The 'Club 55' offer by Arriva Trains Wales is back again,
tickets being sold until 1 October. See the Arriva
website for details.
For those within reach of the Northern Rail network,
Northern have created £15 'Explorer 55' ticket, which offers
unlimited travel (only after 09:30 Mon-Fri) on their trains
over a wide area comprising Northern's West and Central
is here. This seems to have no date limitation, but
don't try to buy one online or from one of Northern's ticket
Narrow Gauge views - by Martin Evans
Ffestiniog Railway Double Fairlie Merddyn Emrys
prepares to run round at Blaenau Ffestiniog before departing
for Porthmadog with the 11:35 service on 3 September.
Welsh Highland Railway Beyer Garratt 143 takes on
water at Beddgelert before departing for Caernarfon on 3
143 has taken on water at Caernarfon before departing
for Porthmadog at 15:45.
New Measurement Train
The New Measurement Train made a foray along the Coast on 6
September. Bob Greenhalgh photographed it passing
Northgate Locks, Chester on the way to Holyhead with 43
062 John Armitt ...
... and 43 014 The Railway Observer on the
Re-branding of stations for the new franchise has reached
England, as seen at Frodsham. Shouldn't there be a version
with the English above the welsh? Picture by Mark
Enderby who comments: 'Shame I can't get Welsh
De-branded 150 seen at Wrexham General on 3 September ...
... has retained its topical commemorative adornment (George
On the subject of Transport for Wales, the organisation has
a summary on
its website of the improvements promised for North
Wales. Here is the list:
Introduce the new fleet of diesel
multiple units (DMUs) to the North Wales Coast in 2022.
So it would seem that the term 'North Wales Metro' means
basically the Wrexham - Bidston line, which we believe will
have two trains per hour, one of them running limited-stop.
It seems a shame that the opportunity has not been taken to
add some new or re-opened stations to the eastern part of
the Coast line, and run an increased frequency, perhaps
making use of the new crossover at Flint. Not mentioned are
the 'new' Class
230 trains, or the Liverpool to Llandudno service via
the Halton Curve, perhaps because it's already agreed.
Reduce walk-up and season fares to, from and
within North Wales by 10% to encourage travel.
Invest in Shotton Station and Wrexham General
from April 2024, to enable North Wales Metro capability.
Invest to co-fund new station buildings at Blaenau
Create a true intercity experience on the
North-South long-distance services, bringing 12 newly
refurbished Mark IV carriages to Wales.
Introduce two new Community Rail Partnerships on
the North Wales Line and the Crewe to Hereford line. These
will be supported by the recruitment of two new Community
and Stakeholder Managers and 13 Community and Customer
Provide ticket machines at more stations.
Introduce a pay-as-you-go facility for users of
our app from April 2021, finding the lowest available
Elsewhere on the site we read that 'We will ... introduce
Delay Repay for delays of above 15 minutes from January
2019.' We'd respectfully suggest that will create an
unnecessary administrative burden; 30 minutes, as on Arriva
Northern is surely more realistic, but if these systems are
intended to encourage train companies to be punctual,
it's not working.
Ian Bowland writes: 'Seeing the item in the 27 August
edition regarding the Grosvenor Park Railway reminded me
that I had seen the Union Pacific locomotive before.
It was on a market garden circuit at Allostock, just outside
Holmes Chapel. My picture was taken in 2006 and the
site has since been closed and is up for sale. There
were steam locomotives on site in a small shed but I never
saw them running. There was also a small coin-operated tram
that ran a couple of hundred yards and was controlled by the
child riding in it using a forward/reverse lever. Note the
Rhyl station sign.'
Added notes by Charlie Hulme: I also thought I had
seen that loco before, on the Brookside Railway in Poynton,
but a little googling suggests that it was a sister loco,
numbered 6610. There's another, numbered 6641, at the
Valley museum in Betws-y-Coed. How many others did Mr
Greatrex build? There's at least one around in Santa Fe
The Allostock railway was built from 2002 by Chris Halsall
who originated, and operated, the Brookside
Railway in the garden centre he had established in
Poynton in 1963. Unfortunately, Mr Halsall has recently been
given 'notice to quit' the Brookside site, ran his final
train on 2 September, although the Garden Centre management
intend to find a new operator. All Mr Halsall's
collection of railwayana is to be sold at two auctions, the
first being on 6 October. A number of North Wales items are
included, including some station 'totems' and the poster
adorning our left column.
As for the Allostock line, when the garden centre closed in
2016 it was said that the railway might still run
occasionally. Has this happened? It seems doubtful.
Chester bus news - by George Jones
An interesting bus route change took place from 3 September
when Stagecoach renumbered and rerouted the former C56 (of
Crosville days) to run from Chester railway station to
Wrexham railway station via the cross country route through
Holt & Farndon. Now running as an extension of the
Chester route 5 to Huntington, the bus service operates on a
90-minute frequency from the stop in City Road, Chester
outside the station via Saighton, Aldford, Farndon and Holt
into Wrexham and is extended from the Wrexham Lord Street
bus station to terminate at the Wrexham General station bus
stop. The stop there has been without a service since Arriva
pulled out of their Mold Road service and the airport bus
also relocated. The picture shows Stagecoach bus 47517, an
Optare Solo originally delivered to Stagecoach East Midlands
in 2007, at the Wrexham station stop.
Previously, in Chester, the route was terminating at the
Chester bus interchange but now it takes in City Road and
the station stop before looping round to the interchange. Here
is the Timetable. Whilst Chester to Wrexham by
train now takes a scheduled 15 minutes, the bus journey
takes 68 minutes so not really competition! (Interestingly
the train schedule for Down services is 17-18 minutes
reflecting the slower line speed north of Pulford where the
track was not upgraded.)
On a separate note, the recently established airport coach
service from Wrexham to Manchester, with connections
at Chester for John Lennon airport, seems doomed with the
demise of operators EasyCoach from 8 September. This was a
new venture by the 'Easy'
group which includes EasyJet. Launched in June 2018 with
promised of low fares, they took on on various local routes
in Wrexham and set up a depot at Rhosymedre, near Cefn Mawr.
The company which actually registered the routes on behalf
was Skiers Lodge Ltd., based in Shrewsbury, whose main
activity has been routes to Manchester Airport from various
places including Manchester. Andrew Martin, holder of the
franchise, has been claiming sabotage as part of the reason
for ceasing to operate in Shropshire.
Stockport sir? Choose your train company
Greg Mape offers this image taken at Manchester
Piccadilly on 3 September. If you don't fancy any of these
there's an East Midland Trains service at 13:42 which also
calls at Stockport ...
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