Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

04 March 2019


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Forthcoming events

March 2019

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 Queen's Road bridge on 25 February. Above, 67 014 brings in the 09:53 Manchester - Holyhead. Picture by Sean Thomas.

Llandudno Junction, 25 February - pictures by Sean Thomas

The 11:35 from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno arrives, formed of messily-de-branded  150 237 with some apparatus (GPS?) attached to the rear ...

... and returns with the 13:08 from Llandudno to Blaenau. What's going on with the aerials?

The 13:07 from Holyhead to Manchester with driving van trailer 82307 leading ...

.. 67 014 now propelling.

The Valley - Crewe flasks with two electro-diesels, 88 005 Minerva and 88 003 Genesis. The antiques centre (right background) was originally built as a rail-served Fyffe's banana warehouse.

The same train passes Pensarn (Alan Martin).  Working on diesel power, these locos produce 950 HP, roughly the equivalent to the Class 20s that appeared on these trains in the past.

Cambrian corner

Ian Wright braved the weather to walk across Barmouth Bridge on Sunday 3 March to photograph the passage of 97 303 and 97 304 John Tiley  with a load of ballast in  'autoballaster' wagons. The working was the 08:15 from Crewe Basford Hall, where a stockpile of ballast is maintained - a  so-called 'virtual quarry'.  Quite a heavy load for the wooden bridge, even at dead slow speed.

The train had arrived at Machynlleth 38 minutes late and departed 80 minutes early, by missing out the booked two-hour stop there.

Waiting to enter Barmouth station. The train remained at Barmouth, while some service trains ran between Barmouth and Machynlleth in the afternoon.  It departed Barmouth 65 minutes late on Monday 4 March; there must have been a problem of some kind, as it lost a lot of time between Barmouth and Tywyn and finally rolled in to Crewe Basford Hall sidings 284 minutes later than scheduled.

Later that day the two 97/3s returned to the Cambrian, travelling to Aberystwyth to collect a ballast train which had been hauled there on Sunday 3 March, reportedly by two non-ERTMS locos while the line was closed to all other traffic, only to return to Crewe 'empty-handed'.  Very strange.

At Fairbourne.  20,000 tons of rock (as stated in Cambrian News)  has been used to strengthen the sea defences.  It has been put in front of the concrete sea wall at the chalet end.

 Some of the 'dragon's teeth'  (Second World War invasion protection)  have been re-positioned on the inland side of the sea wall.  The work is now almost complete, only a couple of machines and one cabin are still on site.

Steam out and about

Freshly overhauled 7029 Clun Castle headed the first of two evening dining trains from Birmingham Moor Street to Worcester on Thursday 28 February; the second one is scheduled to take place on Thursday 7 March. Picture by Peter Dickinson who writes: 'The prospect of seeing the Castle within the GWR station of Moor Street proved too much to resist and the photo is the result. ' 7029 will be heading to Chester on Saturday 27 April, with Vintage Trains' 'Chester Venturer' railtour.

LNER Thompson Class B1  61306 Mayflower is now back on the main line following an extensive overall at Carnforth, and after completing its test runs, plus a surprise double heading with SR Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 no 35018 British India Line on a Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express on 2 February. Above, 61306 plus support coach, and diesel  33 207 Jim Martin at the rear, is seen en route from Carnforth to Southall passing Chorlton near Crewe on the 4 March, as it moves to its new depot ahead of a series of mainline tours.

Start of season at Llangollen - report by George Jones

The start of the season with steam on 20 February, when Standard Tank 80072 was rostered, got off to a disappointment when the loco experienced difficulties steaming on the outward journey down the Valley.  A late return to Llangollen had the loco failed and returned to shed whilst the  Class 104 railcar was rustled up into service for the rest of the day. For the rest of the week and beyond the Heavy Freight loco 3802 was brought into service ( as seen by Martin Evans on 23 February - last issue) during the two half-term weeks when family groups attracted by the special offer for children swelled the numbers travelling to Carrog where trains presently terminate.

The repair to 80072 allowed it to return to use in week ending 2 March when it was seen at Carrog (top) awaiting a 14:10 departure and later pulling out of the Deeside Loop (above) on the section of line which has benefited from vegetation clearance, as seen from the A5 at the Tollgate layby.

The running season continues with the railcar offering an off-peak three trains a day service Tuesdays to Fridays.  in March with steam at the weekends.

Activity at the Corwen site has seen a recently delivered Road-Rail Vehicle brought into use within the existing  rail loop as the means to deliver materials along the platform area. Dedicated drivers are now familiarised with the operation of the new machine for on-track manoeuvres within the station.

It is a Rexquote Superailer – road-rail crane/excavator based around the CASE 988 wheeled excavator - numbered 4206 in an unknown (?)  numbering sequence.  The view shows it at the west end of the loop preparing to lift pallets of pavers which will be laid to provide the final surface of the island platform.

The view of the RRV is from the entrance to the Welsh Water Road off Green Lane and gives some idea of the future photo opportunities when a loco in the loop will run around the train.
The project featured in a BBC Radio Wales programme, with a news clip on Welsh TV News, as the need to infill the Gap highlighted the funding appeal.  Thanks to supporters to date the donations for CCRD to hand have reached £6,000 of the initial £10,000 target which is very encouraging. Work to prepare the Gap and relocate materials is on-going before any dumping of spoil can take place. See also the BBC webpage item.

Voyager news

Not previously mentioned here as far as we recall is that Voyager 221 101 was repainted late last year in a version of the 'Flowing silk' livery seen on Pendolinos, and given the name 101 squadron previously carried by 390 045.  The naming is appropriate as RAF 101 Squadron, based at Brize Norton, operates a version of the Airbus 330 airliner known as the Airbus Voyager. (Virgin trains picture.)

More recently,  Mike Stone reports that without any apparent ceremony, the pair of names Dinas Bangor / City of Bangor have been transferred from Pendolino 390 042 to Voyager 221 116,  bather belatedly as it is several years since at Pendolino was seen at Bangor.

Non-rail Miscellany

Bob Greenhalgh writes: ' On Saturday 2 March I visited the open day at Chester Northgate locks  What a fabulous experience. Great credit to the Canal and Rivers trust and their volunteers for making it such a great day. Northgate Locks. The view is from the top of the stairs leading into the lock bottom, looking down the flight.'

Advance work under way for the construction of a replacement of the bridge carrying the A494 road over the river Dee near Queensferry, seen on 4 March (Greg Mape).

A brief nostalgic diversion into another transport medium: British Airways have embarked on a 'celebrity heritage livery' policy starting with the British European Airways look from the 1960s applied to Airbus G-EUPJ, seen landing at Manchester from London Heathrow on 4 March. (Picture by Greg Mape.) Apparently 'some enthusiasts' are upset because the original had red wings, but grey wings are now a requirement for heat reflection reasons.

From our south-east correspondents

Under the banner of ‘Celebrating our Heritage’, The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland once more brought a display to the concourse of King’s Cross Station between 16 and 24 February.  On view were Chaloner, the 0-4-0VBT, re-boilered at Boston Lodge (see last issue), and  Velinheli the Dinorwic Quarry Hunslet locomotive, along with their coach (Ken Owen).

Picture by Mike Trigg, courtesy of Roger Carvell who notes: Velinheli made its second appearance at the 'Cross. It is on loan to the Ffestiniog from the Launceston Steam Railway in Cornwall but I am not sure if it has actually had its rebuild yet. I suspect it has but I couldn't see any tell-tale oil drip marks on the temporary track...'

On Platforms 1 to 5 on 19 February were some vintage, if not heritage, passenger trains in the shape of three almost  40-year old HSTs - showing off the new LNER livery - and the  DVT of a class 91 set (Ken Owen).

Out on the main line, 45-year old 313s  are still in charge of most locals to Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North: 313 055 is seen approaching Alexandra Palace.

On Sunday 24 February,  the 1938 tube stock on which Ken Owen  used to commute along the
Northern Line had its last outing on the Metropolitan, Piccadilly, Circle lines, starting at Ealing Broadway en route round the Circle to Moorgate (pictured), and passing under King’s Cross.

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