Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

18 February 2019


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Forthcoming events

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.

45596 Bahamas crosses Lunds Viaduct on the Settle- Carlisle line,  9 February; see items below. Picture by Peter Basterfield.

Tim Rogers' coast line, 11 February

A series of views taken at Sandycroft. Above, 158 820 works 1G50 13:24 Holyhead to Birmingham International.

221 103 Christopher Columbus and 221 104 Sir John Franklin are 1A48 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston. 

158 833, coupled a rather less-suitable unit for long-distance travel, 150 283 formed 1D14 13:08 Birmingham International to Holyhead.

175 113 is 1H90 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly. It might have been expected that Transport for Wales would apply some temporary branding to their trains but it seems that this is not considered advisable these days.

Electro-diesels 88 003 Genesis and 88 005 Minerva haul he eastbound flasks with FNA wagons 550060, 550032 and 550044 running 48 minutes early as usual.

 Llangollen season begins - report by George Jones

Train services for half-term began at Llangollen on Monday 18 February with the class 104 railcar running to Carrog  (Corwen awaits an opening later in the season). The 10:40 departure attracted a goodly load of families taking advantage of the half-term special offer fares for first and second children with a fare paying adult. In warm, late winter sunshine they enjoyed the trip down the Valley for a 40-minute stop-over at Carrog. The tearoom here is now volunteer manned in preparation to the eventual change in operating when trains will run through to Corwen. Time to take a walk down the lane to the bridge over the river Dee or a  longer stretch of the Dee Valley way perhaps.

Winter time management of lineside vegetation has seen improvements to the views at Penfrefelin where the approach to Dee bridge is more obvious and a long stretch on the approach to Deeside loop opens up views of this remote area of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Steam will operate Wednesdays to Sundays during half term with BR 4MT 80072 rostered.
In a change to the published timetable, the railway will now offer a heritage railcar service, Tuesdays - Fridays, during March to cater for the older generation intent on getting out into the countryside in early spring.

Llangollen Museum events - organised by Peter Dickinson

Llangollen Museum has kindly invited me to host a special Railway Exhibition which will focus on railwayana and displays relating to the former Ruabon to Barmouth line. This will be located upstairs in the Museum from Monday 18 February until Saturday 30 March, with entry being free each day.  I am hoping to be able to display the original BR Closure Notices for the Ruabon to Barmouth and Bala to Blaenau routes together for the first time. Other items will cover the line's history right the way back to its inception in the 1850s, with many having not been seen in public before.

Following on from the successful reception of my first talk back in September, I have been invited to give a follow-up talk at the Museum in a few weeks' time. This will be entitled "Rails to the British Tyrol" and focusses on the history of the Llangollen & Corwen Railway, featuring WWI graffiti, Royal visits and some of the tragic accidents along the line. The talk will be taking place in the Museum on Wednesday 27 February, with doors opening at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.  There will also be opportunities to view the display. Admission is £3 per person, which includes tea/coffee and biscuits. Tickets can be bought on the door. All monies raised are in support the Museum.

'Bahamas' then and now - by Jim Ikin

During the mid-sixties. every Sunday I took part in cycle 'shedding' expeditions around the Manchester area starting at Patricroft and finishing at Stockport and Heaton Mersey. 45596 Bahamas was more often than not present at Stockport Edgeley. Having been a follower of Bahamas for many years, especially during the loco's recent overhaul at Tyseley, we decided to dip into our holiday fund and book premier dining seats for the inaugural run to Carlisle from Oxenhope on Saturday 9 February. The picture above was taken on the Friday, with 45596  receiving last-minute cleaning at Haworth.

Saturday started with torrential rain and wind at Oxenhope with Keighley's own 37 075 (above) on the rear; it was changed to West Coast Railways 37 669 at Keighley. A tree on the line near Skipton delayed our departure for half an hour but the train arrived in Carlisle just two minutes late.

The skies brightened and after taking water in Hellifield loop we arrived in Appleby for a twenty minute stop ...

 ...  taking on more water before carrying on up the 'long drag'.

45596 is the only survivor of four 'Jubilee' class locos  fitted with a 'double chimney' in 1961 as an experiment, which was said to be successful in reducing coal consumption and increasing power, but by then steam was on its way out. We understand that the chimney is a newly-cast replica of the original.

The classic view from Appleby footbridge. The line diverging to the right connects to the Eden Valley Railway heritage line, a fragment of the former line from Barnard Castle to Penrith.

A superb performance by the loco took us to Carlisle.

A cold two and a half hour break was had in Carlisle whilst the train was turned. Above, 37669 passes 66 713 while  taking the train to be turned.

57 308 Jamie Ferguson on 'Thunderbird' duty at Carlisle.  It was re-named in 2017 after the DRS Signal Engineer who died in a sea-fishing accident in 2016 at Newquay.

The return route was back over the Settle-Carlisle with a water stop at Appleby (above) and  on to Keighley where we changed to another train, hauled by 45212, which returned us to Oxenhope.   I hope it won’t be too long before we see 45596 on the North Wales Coast.

About Bahamas - by Charlie Hulme

'Jubilee' class 4-6-0 45596 Bahamas has for many years been a favourite locomotive of enthusiasts in the Manchester area, especially around Stockport where it was much photographed both on trains and 'on shed'.  Some  images from the Manchester Locomotive Society archive recall the period.  Above, in its last days in BR service at Stockport Edgeley shed in 1966, showing the effect of semi-official cleaning by local enthusiasts. The yellow stripe was applied to locos which were banned from operating on the main line south of Crewe which had less clearance than earlier electrification schemes. Picture by J.W. Sutherland.

Edgeley shed  closed to steam in spring 1968.  On 29 May that year, 5596 and 4472 Flying Scotsman were present between railtour duties and the public were invited to view them. (J.W. Sutherland).

Built for the LMS Railway by the North British Locomotive Company in 1934, after withdrawal by British Railways in 1966 it was bought from BR by a specially-formed Bahamas Locomotive Society and, after overhaul at Hunslet, kept at the much-missed Dinting Railway Centre near Glossop. It was given LMS 'crimson lake' livery and its original number 5596, and made a striking sight.

In 1972 it was one of the first preserved steam locos to return to the main line, but the following year it had to be withdrawn due to a need for repairs. The picture by H.D. Bowtell shows the scene at Dinting Railway Centre soon after opening in 1968.  It was a static exhibit at Dinting until 1980 when an overhaul began, taking eight years to complete. It was back on main line excursion work from 1989, restored to authentic British Railways green livery; it saw service on the regular North Wales Coast Expresses which were run by British Rail in that period. From 1994 to 1997 it worked on heritage lines until its boiler certificate expired and it became a static exhibit again.

When Dinting Railway Centre closed in 1991 (evicted for a building development which never took place), the group re-located its base to Ingrow West on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.  Peter Hutchinson photographed it in action at Keighley c.1995.

In 2013 a lottery-funded overhaul began,  leading to the events of 9 February.

Cambrian corner: Class 31s - by Ken Robinson

Further to the  interesting item (last issue)  on the Class 31 locos working on the Cambrian in 1992. These came down to Pwllheli on summer Saturdays, following a ban on class 37s after the unfortunate derailment of 37 421 on the wooden bridge near Dovey Junction on 24 August 1991. The 31s were used usually in pairs but sometimes - not very often - as a single 31.  The picture from 1992 shows 31 147 on a such a service, near Afonwen.

[Are we right in saying that the Regional Railways-liveried coaches had been previously used with Class 47s on the TransPennine route?]

Cheshire freight - pictures by Greg Mape

Three view from Stoney bridge, Timperley on the Stockport - Altrincham line, taken on 15 February.  Above, at 12:15, Fiddlers Ferry - York Yard coal empties with 66 567.

The Runcorn - Brindle Heath and Dean Lane empty refuse containers pass at 12:35  with 66 510.

At 12:50, a GB Railfreight  loaded Liverpool - Drax biomass train pulled by 60 096, still in Colas colours but with the Colas name removed leaving just 'Rail freight'.  It seems that 'unofficial' loco naming, as once practised by Tinsley depot, is back - this one has the vinyl name Impetus applied.

On 10 February at the site of the former Baguley station, 60 026 Jupiter. Other names  recorded  on various forums include 60 002 Tempest, 60 021 Bustler, and 60 087 Bountiful. These names are those of various naval tugboats - an allusion to the enthusiast 'tug' nickname for class 60s.

Transport curiosities

As promised, the Airbus Beluga XL (F-WBXL) visited the Hawarden factory on 14 February  - the same day that Airbus announced that they will be winding down production of the large A380, whose wings are too large even for this beast. The Beluga XL is designed to carry two wings for the A350 airliner instead of the one carried by the existing Belugas. It can carry a load of up to 50.5 tonnes. Picture by George Jones.

By way of contrast, a much older form of transport, the canal,  is receiving attention at Northgate Locks, Chester using this specialised crane. A sign there advises an open day on 2 March. There is scaffolding down into the lock suggesting will be able to go down into the bottom of the lock.

How did they get the crane into position?  Pictures by Bob Greenhalgh.

Flask art

68 002 Intrepid and 68 004 Rapid pass Northgate Locks with the flask train on 13 February (Bob Greenhalgh).

On 8 February the flask train is seen from above Bangor Tunnel, with the first and last in the class,  68 001  Evolution up front and  68 034 Victorious behind (Peter Basterfield).  The Bethesda branch junction was here; the branch curved away to the right of the ivy-covered tree.

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