Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

21 January 2019

37 429 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Departs Manchester Piccadilly, c. 1998.

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

February 2019

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]

Friday 8 February  Altrincham Electric Railway Society Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells 2010-2016. A digital presentation by Ian Pilkington.

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

March 2019

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

Tuesday 5 March North Wales Railway Circle 'Next Train's Gone!'..Humph Davies with an illustrated historical survey of the route of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway & Successors, Part 1. Caernarfon -Rhyd Ddu.

Friday 8 March Altrincham Electric Railway Society. The Glorious Steam Railways of India. Steam across India from 1976 to the early 1980s. A digital presentation by John Sloane.

Monday 18 March RCTS Chester "55 Years of Railway Photography, Part 2" Les Nixon

April 2019

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 Grainger

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 Carlisle.
John Cashen

Friday 12 April  Altrincham Electric Railway Society Great Western and Southern Steam in the West Country. A colour slide presentation by Alf Storey.

Monday 15 April RCTS Chester "Steam on the North Wales Coast" (Video Presentation) Ron Watson Jones

May 2019

Tuesday 7 May North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Members' Photo. Competition.

Seen from a low viewpoint adjacent to Maude Street foot crossing,  Connah's Quay, 221 109 Marco Polo and another 221 are the 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston, 18 January. Picture by Tim Rogers.

Flask events

De-fuelling of the Wylfa reactors appears to be  keeping to the target of seven flasks per week mentioned by the management as quotes in our last issue. The train to Crewe ran three times in the last week, on Monday 14 , Wednesday 16 and Friday 18 January.  Above, Wednesday's train heads east  through Bagillt with 68 018 Vigilant and 68 034 in charge ...

... of two FNA wagons, 550035 and 550029 (Tim Rogers).

Friday 18 January saw the train loaded to three wagons (550041,  550034, and  11 70 9229 003-2, as seen from Maude Street foot crossing in Connah's Quay. The same two 68s were used, but in reverse order.

Since the last issue it has been announced that a construction of new nuclear power station known as 'Wylfa Newydd'  which was to have been built in land adjacent to the original, may now be going  ahead, as Japanese company Hitachi announced that they were 'suspending' work, apparently because they have not reached a suitable deal with the Government.  The sister station to be build at Oldbury in Gloucestershire is also now on hold. 

The Government minister responsible for energy told The Guardian that their offer 'included providing a debt facility for the project, taking a one third stake and a guaranteed price of power up to £75 per megawatt hour for 35 years. The [current] wholesale price is about £50 per MWh.' It now seems unlikely that either station will be built, resulting, among other bad consequences,  in the loss of 400 jobs at Hitachi subsidiary Horizon Energy in Gloucester,  responsible for the design work.   On the other had, not everyone wants more nuclear power - the supporters of the 'people against Wylfa B' campaign will be pleased to hear the news.

Elsewhere, flask trains continue to run from Bridgwater to Crewe with flasks from Hinkley Point in Somerset. Richard Putley photographed 68 016 Fearless and 68 017 Hornet  passing through Bristol Temple Meads station on 18 January. (On Monday 21 January this pair worked the Valley train.) There are two stations at: Hinkley Point A,  which was of the same vintage as Wylfa, and closed down in 2000, and B which is a more modern station still in operation. A new station -  C, which is under construction amid considerable controversy about the cost and environmental consequences.  Another project, in which Toshiba was to build a new station at Moorside in Cumbria, has recently been cancelled.

Port Penrhyn - report by Jim Johnson

More ornamental slate was loaded from Port Penrhyn, Bangor into the Dutch-registered ship Eems Servant ...

...  which docked on the morning tide of Saturday  19 January.

The Penrhyn Railway loco and carriage sheds,  abandoned when the railway closed in the 1960s,  still survive on the quay, now in industrial use. The view above  shows the loco shed on the right, and the somewhat forlorn-looking carriage shed on the left.

The carriage shed.

A close-up shows the  the original fretwork on the carriage shed, a lot of which has disappeared.

Llandudno Junction question

Here's one for the historical scholars. An email from a reader asks: ''I have searched the standard texts to find an opening date for the curve from the Conway and Llanrwst line near Ynysfawr  to the Chester and  Holyhead line near Glan-morfa at Llandudno Junction. This curve is not shown on the 6" Caernarvonshire 5 sheet surveyed in 1875-78 but is shown on the revised edition of 1898-99.  I have failed to find any mention of this curve which I find surprising; of course I may simply have missed it in the standard works. I should appreciate any help or information your readers could offer.'

Out and About - pictures by Martin Evans

On 15 January Transport for Wales 175 007 approaches Gobowen with a Holyhead to Llanelli service at 12:50 on 15 January.

West Midlands Railway  170 633 departs Shrewsbury with a service for Birmingham New Street at 11:50 on 15 January.

A convoy of five locos worked from Crewe Electric Traction Maintenance Depot to Warrington Arpley on 21 January hauled by 67 004...

... hauling 67 01266 097 66 177 and 66 199, shown departing Crewe at 14:10.

57 309 Pride of Crewe was on  'Thunderbird' duties.

New Year at Corwen - report by George Jones

Into a new year and work continues at Corwen Central on the Llangollen Railway  with the current effort concentrated on the base for the island platform waiting room. To allow for the eventual paving of the area to take place, it has been necessary for project volunteers to build the footings for the waiting room and toilet block on the previously installed foundations and pipework. As of 5 January the base area, comprising beams and blocks, was on the way to completion as seen above.

Completion of the building will follow once the station is open on a date to be announced in 2019.
Further work on the platform subway is a priority with the need for the foundations for the canopy columns to be prepared around it. This has seen scaffolding installed in the staircase to allow for specialists to drill the wall to fix saddles to support the columns. The installation of a chair lift will follow and the area will be fenced with heritage railings now being prepared for fitting, the temporary wooden fencing having been mostly dispensed with.

With all this work underway, the completion of the island platform wall and loop line ( as mentioned in NWCR previously) focuses attention on the infamous gap in the embankment. With the prospects of restating the embankment drawing near, the estimated importation of spoil comes with a cost in the order of £10k.  To illustrate the size of the problem area, volunteers joined hands before Christmas to show the cross section of the gap, about 22 yards, of varying depth, against a length of 150 yards.

Donations towards meeting the cost of this work are being sought by the Corwen Central Railway Development (CCRD) c/o Paul Bailey, Dolwen, Bryn Eglwys, Corwen LL21 9LY.

Time Travel

On 2 October 1955, the  RCTS 'North Wales Railtour'. Corwen  hauled by ex-LMS 2-6-4T 42461. Picture by H.D.Bowtell, from the Manchester Locomotive Society collection. All the structures form a classic Great Western station, at which LMS trains from the North were guests.

On 3 June 2007, 67 004 calls at Rannoch with the evening sleeper service to London Euston, which it hauled as far as Edinburgh (Charlie Hulme). The loco was a regular performer on this train, being equipped for use on the West Highland.  A decade later it gained the livery of the new Caledonian Sleeper franchise, but not long afterwards the haulage contract passed to GBRf, and Rannoch now sees Class 73 electro-diesels, originally built for use at the opposite end of Britain.

Soon to pass into history is the use of Class 43 HSTs on Great Western's London expresses, replaced by new IET units. Awaiting departure at Briston Temple Meads was an HST with  43 188 The Welshman leading, forming the the 12:30 departure to Paddington (Richard Putley).

In the same threatened category are Northern's Class 142 'Pacer' trains, although plans for their phasing-out to begin in 2019 seem to have been a little premature. Greg Mape captured this pair on 31 December crossing Marple Viaduct, built in 1863, as seen from the Peak Forest Canal aqueduct, completed in 1799.

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