Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

24 June 2019


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Forthcoming events

July 2019

Sunday 21 July  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways. Liverpool-Holyhead.   45690: Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Jn - Holyhead - Chester

Tuesday 23 July:  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways, Welsh Mountaineer: Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog  48151 or 45600: Preston-Manchester-Chester-Llandudno Jn-Blaenau and return Cancelled?

August 2019

Saturday 3 August Steam on the Coast: UK Railtours, 'The Irish Mail' London Euston - Holyhead
34046, 46100 or 70000 Crewe - Holyhead and return

The Manchester - Chester services were among the last to be run by 'heritage' diesel railcars. At Mouldsworth with its station garden on 29 May 1991,  Longsight-based unit LO 633 heads for Manchester, while LO 233 approaches in the background. 633 is a 'hybrid' unit with a Class 101 car nearest the camera, mated with what looks like a Class 108 vehicle. Picture by Dave Sallery.

Bangor afternoon - with Ken Robinson

I spent a pleasant half an hour or so on Bangor station on the longest day of the year, 21 June. which turned out to be very sunny. Here are some pictures. Above,  221 117 The Wrekin Giant, slows down for the Bangor stop with 1A43, the 12:53 Holyhead-Euston.

158 830, in un-branded TFW livery, stops with 1W92, the 09:21 Cardiff Central-Holyhead service.

1H89, the 13:07 Holyhead-Manchester Piccadilly, with DVT 82308 up front, approaches the station. Like the other two, this train seemed to be well filled.

67 014 at the rear of 1H89.

Conwy Valley line - Network Rail announcement, 21 June

The line  was closed in March due to significant flooding, caused by weather events that followed Storm Gareth. Since the temporary closure, teams have been working hard to repair the extensive damage. This has included significant repair work to six miles of track, embankments, ten culverts, eight level crossings and Dolgarrog station.

The line will reopen in July, ahead of the Eisteddfod. To date our engineers have removed 8000 tonnes of wash out material which will be recycled and have installed approximately 7500 tonnes of ‘rock armour’ to improve the resilience of the railway line. Network Rail has also been working in close partnership with Natural Resources Wales to obtain necessary licences and investigate solutions for the future resilience of the Conwy Valley.

Network Rail Wales and Borders is hosting community drop-in events on Wednesday 26 June at Ffestiniog Town Council, 5 High Street, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3ES ,from 3pm until 6.30pm and on Thursday 27 June at Glasdir Conference and Meeting Hall, Llanrwst, LL26 0DF, from 3pm until 6.30pm. The Network Rail team will be on hand to provide an update on the programme and there will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

Wrexham movements

150 262 did a Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Birkenhead North Depot and return run on 23 July, making a most unsual foray on to the Merseyrail line beyond Bidston. The reason is not clear, but is possibly related to planned servicing of the new Class 230s at Birkenhead North.  Here it is on the outward journey at Balderton crossing. The train which was running under a class 3 headcode nortmally used by infrastructure trains, was to have run from the dept to Bidston and back before returning, but this was cancelled and the unit returned to Chester in the afternoon.  Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.

On 21 June 67 023 Stella and 67 027 Charlotte arrived in Wrexham from the south with the 14:56 Tyseley  - Derby Network Rail measurement train.  This ran out via Sutton Park and was returned via Rugeley, Rowley Regis, Tyseley, Rowley Regis and Sutton Park. The train ran four weeks before with Class 37 haulage; perhaps the change is due to the dedication by Colas of 37 418 and 37 421 to the Cardiff - Rhymney services.

Padeswood Open Day - report by Mike Campbell

Hanson Cement are having their annual open day at the Padeswood Cement works on Saturday 29 June. It's free entry and doors open at 10:30 am. They are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year.  On  their website they say:
Padeswood works is 70 this year and we are celebrating with a community open day on Saturday June 29. Like previous events, there will be a host of activities for all the family to enjoy. These include dodgems, archery, face painting, a classic car and bike show, a visit from North Wales Owl Sanctuary and music from Northop Silver Band.  Mold Fire and Rescue will also be attending and there will be tours of the site, which is part-way through a £24 million investment programme, on our land train and Trevor the Tram.

We would like as many people as possible to come along and help raise money for The Wales Air Ambulance as well as Action for Children, North Wales, which is our chosen charity for 2019,” said works manager Murat Burakcin. “Last year’s open day was a huge success – despite the best efforts of the British weather – and we raised an incredible £3,000 for charity. We are hoping we can do even better this year.
Whether the rail head will be accessible I'm not sure. As readers are aware, there is ongoing development to allow for planned cement train workings to resume this year.

Magazine watch

The July 2019 issue of Backtrack magazine includes an article by Tony Robinson about the Kinmel Camp railway, a lost railway which was briefly described in our own 28 June 2016 Notice Board. Tony tells us that for some unexplained reason, probably space, the excellent map drawn by Phil Hingley has been omitted from his article, and has sent us a copy of the map which can be downloaded here.

New book: Yellow Trains
Andrew Royle, who had often been our consultant on measurement train matters, has written a book about his experiences, entitled Yellow Trains; Ten Years of Testing, which is published by Crécy, the inheritors of the Ian Allan catalogue. In the words of the publisher's website:  'He spent many years engaged as a computer technician on a variety of the different test trains and in the course of his travels covered much of the network. His story is both technical and personal, from the purpose of the equipment and how it operates to the trials and tribulations of using it.'  160-page hardback, 200 pictures, price £25.

A visit to the Vale of Rheidol - with Martin Evans

On 10 June I visited the Vale Of Rheidol railway in Aberystwyth and found GWR built 2-6-2t loco No 7 Owain Glyndwr in traffic for the day. (For details of the VoR locos visit the railway's website.)

These views were taken at the Devil's Bridge terminus.

From the Vale of Rheidol Press office

A trio of steam locomotives out of public sight for decades will be unveiled as a centrepiece attraction for the Vale of Rheidol Railway’s 14-15 September Steam Festival Weekend.
Quarry Hunslet 0-4-0ST Nesta (704 of 1899, above) will be seen in public for the first time since being rescued from a swamp in Puerto Rico by Robert Gambrill and repatriation to Britain in 2016.  Nesta, the last remaining unrestored ex-Penrhyn slate quarry Hunslet, will be appearing in Wales for the first time since export to USA in July 1965.

Also being unveiled in public for the first time in Britain will be ex-German army trench railways Maffei-built ‘Brigardelok’ 0-8-0T 4766 of 1916 (DFB No. 968) imported by Vale of Rheidol Railway in 2002 ...

... and Borsig 0-4-0WT 20HP Type 2 5913 of 1906 purchased by Vale of Rheidol Railway in 1994.

The Steam Festival Weekend will feature guided workshop tours to view the three ‘forgotten’ engines, along with work in progress on other restoration projects.  These are likely to include Vale of Rheidol Railway’s Hanomag 2-6-2+2-6-2 Garratt NG/G13 (10551/1927) No. 60, Welsh Highland Heritage Railway’s Baldwin 10-12-D 4-6-0T WDLR No. 794 (BLW44699/1917) undergoing restoration as Welsh Highland Railway No. 590 and Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s Beyer Peacock 0-6-0T No. 822 The Earl.

All three of Vale of Rheidol Railway’s classic 2-6-2T locomotives, Nos. 7 and 8 of 1923 and 1213 of 1924, will be in action working an intensive timetable each day service on both days.  Between service trains unique ‘Driver for a Fiver’ opportunities at Aberystwyth offer the chance for visitors to take the regulator of a Rheidol Tank loco.  Hunslet 0-4-0ST Margaret will offer further ‘Driver for a Fiver’ opportunities at Devil's Bridge.

The Railway’s new station, officially opened in June representing the first phase of Vale of Rheidol Railway’s £2.2million ‘Wales to the World’ transformation of its Aberystwyth terminus will be showcased, along with progress on phases 2 and 3 which in due time will include permanent displays of locomotives in the Railway’s collection.

Above, the opening ceremony on a wet 6 June, with Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism wielding the scissors. The new station is alongside the former Aberystwyth loco shed, some distance from the National Rail station but more convenient for car and coach parking. Information about the project is available on the railway's website.

Past, Present and Future weekend at the Welsh Highland - report by Jim Ikin

Although day rover tickets were priced at £50, all trains appeared to be packed to capacity on Friday 21 June. 1906 built Russell is seen above at Beddgelert

Russell gets a polish.

Prince and Russell top-and-tailed ran between Pont Croesor and Beddgelert.

Also top-and-tailing were 1916-built Hunslet 303 and ...

... 7011 – a Baldwin of 1918 built originally for the French Army

DeWinton of 1877, Chaloner at Porthmadog.

Two London Routemasters which ran around Porthmadog.

Reversing Beeching
There's a lot of talk these days about re-opening closed railways. An example is a lecture given by sometime Transport Minister Lord Adonis to the Institure for Public Policy Research on 7 June, the text of which can be read on the Adonis website.

Worth a read, we feel, although perhaps over-optimistic, and his examples are all in England. Some stations proposed for re-opening are on current heritage lines, which could be controversal.

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