26 July 2019
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Satrurday 3 August TfW/Network Rail 'The Conwy Quest' steam
special Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog. Information
Saturday 5 October Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Bob Gwynne,
Associate Curator, National Railway Museum ‘Snow White to
Stephenson’. This is a story about the search for strategic
minerals, climate change, religious conflict, immigration,
integration and innovation. Overall a very modern story,
although this one starts over 400 years ago and from it
emerges the technology we call railways.
Saturday 2 November Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Geoff Stocker
‘Rebuilding the Welsh Highland Railway’ An illustrated
presentation of the stage-wise re-construction of the WHR
(closed 1936) on the abandoned trackbed, from 1995 to
completion in 2010 & subsequent developments - including
locos and rolling stock.
Saturday 7 December Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. At Sale United
Reformed Church lounge, Montague Road, Sale M33 3BU
Including seasonal refreshments!
Owen Russell ‘Memories of the Woodhead Line’ The Woodhead
line linked Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and London.
As there were shorter routes to London, express trains often
comprised only 5 or 6 coaches. The line was a good place to
see a variety of GC and, later, LNER engines, which had to
work hard on the notorious gradients. Like many steam
routes, Woodhead was a line of contrasts.
Saturday 25 January Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Centre AGM
(brief) followed by: Christian Wyatt ‘21st Century
signalling Control Centre – The Manchester Rail Operations
Centre’ Christian Wyatt, a career railwayman with 38 years’
service, started as a signal box lad at Manchester Victoria
and is now Project Operations Interface Manager for the
London North Western route. One of his key responsibilities
is the development of the Manchester Rail Operations Centre.
Christian will describe the MROC from its build in 2012 to
its present operational status.
Saturday 22 February Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Tony Wright
‘Aspects of the Origins & Development of Monorails
including Behr, Lartigue and the Manchester to Liverpool
Lightning Express Railway’ You may remember Tony’s excellent
presentation on Mayfield Station. Don’t miss this intriguing
Tuesday, 25 February 18:30 Stephenson Locomotive Society.
Manchester Centre. Joint meeting with the Newcomen
Society, Location to be confirmed. Bob Gwynne,
Associate Curator, National Railway Museum ‘Sticking with
steam – an examination of why Britain’s railways stuck with
steam into the space age’ This talk examines some of the
complex history behind moving on from the steam age on
Britain’s railways and attempts an answer as to why the UK’s
love affair with the steam hasn’t ended.
Saturday 21 March Stephenson Locomotive Society.
Manchester Centre. Melvyn Roberts
‘Indian Summer of the Somerset & Dorset Railway’ The S
& D was (and still is) many enthusiasts’ favourite
cross-country railway. We will hear about its unusual
history, but the main feature will be a slide show of its
operations in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Saturday 18 April Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Tim Owen
‘The activities of the Furness Railway Trust’ The Furness
Railway Trust has a collection of six steam locomotives,
including Furness Railway No. 20, plus historic carriages.
The illustrated talk will cover the work of the Trust over
the past 30 years..
Having suffered a failure with a brake problem, which
led to the cancellation of the 13:55 Holyhead to London, 221
143 and 221 142 make their way
home from Holyhead to Barton-under-Needwood depot in the
evening of 21 July. Picture by John Myers.
This is an
extra issue with some varied items. Next update on the
evening of Tuesday 30th.
The 22 July issue is still
available, as indeed are all issues since 2010 on the
Friends of the Mersey Ferries are running their annual River
and Docks cruise on Saturday 3 August . They promise a
'fascinating cruise through the Mersey’s dock and river
system with live commentary on board. The cruise will
include visiting Seaforth Dock and Eastham Channel. '
Visiting cruise ship Viking Jupiter is a scheduled
add-on attraction. Ticket Price: £26 Adult and £13
Child. Duration: Approx 5 hours
Departs from Seacombe, Wirral at 12noon. Departs from Pier
Head, Liverpool at 12:10pm Departs from Woodside, Wirral at
12:25pm. Tickets from; Gordon Ditchfield, Hon. Membership
Secretary,7 Foxcovers Road, Bebington, Wirral, CH63 3EQ.
Cheques payable to Friends of the Ferries.
On the Narrow Gauge - with Martin Evans
Above, Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway Kerr
Stuart-built No 12 Joan at
Llanfair Caereinion after arriving with the 11 15 am service
from Welshpool on 23 July.
Preparing to run round the train. The Kerr Stuart company of
Stoke on Trent built this built in 1927 for a sugar cane
company in Antigua, West Indies, and after overhaul and a
rebuilt cab began work in Wales in 1977. Following this,
Joan gave sterling service on the W&L until 1991 when
she was withdrawn in need of extensive repairs. She
has since been overhauled twice, and received various
modifications. For more about the loco see the WLLR website.
Joan departs from Welshpool with the 14:05 service
for Llanfair Caereinion.
In other news, the Railway has signed a contract with the
Zillertalbahn in Austria to hire newly overhauled U-class
0-6-2T locomotive, No. 2 Zillertal, for
approximately two years. The agreement will further cement a
relationship between the two 2ft 6in gauge railways that
dates back to the earliest years of the line's
preservation, when the Zillertalbahn donated four carriages.
Built in 1902 No.2 will be the oldest loco to see WLLR
service; original locos The Earl and Countess
were built in 1902 for the opening of the line in 1903.
The WLLR is one of only three 2ft 6in gauge lines operating
in the UK, and it is believed that a U-class locomotive has
never run in this country before. Zillertal will also be the
oldest locomotive on the line during its stay – built in
1900 for opening of the Zillertalbahn, it is two years
senior to the WLLR’s original locomotives ‘The Earl’ and
‘The Countess’, both of which were built in 1902 for the
1903 opening of the line and still operate on it.
Zillertal was one of two locomotives built for the opening
of the Zillertalbahn and has always been based on the
community-owned railway, which runs nearly 32km from the
mainline at Jenbach to its terminus at Mayrhofen. Two other
steam locomotives operate a mid-day heritage service on the
line, alongside regular diesel railcar services.
On the Talyllyn Railway on 9 July, no 3 Sir
Haydn prepares to leave Tywyn Wharf with the 11:40
service to Nant Gwernol. Built in 1878 by Hughes’ Locomotive
& Tramway Engineering Works Ltd of Loughborough this
0-4-2ST (originally 0-4-0ST) worked on the nearby Corris
Railway until closure of that line in 1948; In 1951 it was
purchased by the Talyllyn Railway (along with the other
surviving Corris loco which became Edward Thomas)
and was named after the line’s late owner, Sir Henry Haydn
The other ex-Corris Railway loco Edward Thomas is
being serviced at Tywyn Wharf ready for its next turn
of duty. In recent years the part of Corris Railway has been
re-opened as a heritage line, and in 2005 took delivery of a
replica of this loco, which runs as Corris No.7.
35018 on WCML
We wrote in the 15 July update: 'Rebuilt 'Merchant Navy'
class locomotive 35018 British India Line is seen above on
the West Coast Main Line south of Crewe en route from
Carnforth to Southall on 4 July for the very first
time since its restoration and return to mainline service.
Our thanks to Scott McGahey, who send the above image
recording that on Monday 18 March 35018 returned
from hauling the Nigel Dobbing memorial train, over the WCML
northwards presumably from Lichfield or Nuneaton.
Looking back with Barrie Hughes - The Conway Crusader
10 March 1984 was the day of the 'Conway Crusader', a
British Rail Excursion from Coventry to Manchester,
the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board lines around Birkenhead
Docks, the Borderlands Line to Wrexham, Chester, Llandudno
and Blaenau Ffestiniog. It was a celebration of Class
40 power with three being used at various times and the
class being phased out rapidly. My first port of call was
Chester depot where green liveried 40 122 was being
prepared for service, surrounded by enthusiasts who had been
given permission to visit the depot. No.40122 was to haul
the Chester-Llandudno leg. I managed to get a few depot
Chester Depot with a bunch of enthusiasts getting their
Chester Depot with 40122 close up (with permission).
Whilst waiting for the Manchester-Chester leg of the tour on
The Borderlands at the Afon Cegidog Viaduct,
Cefn-y-bedd this DMU passed, fitted with a headlight
(presumably for use on the Central Wales Line with its many
level crossings). Many of the units appeared in InterCity
carriage livery in later years rather than the plain Rail
Blue of the 1970s. It appears there may have been a spill of
cement at this location, maybe from a Pen-y-ffordd Castle
Having staked out the Afon Cegidog viaduct for a while 40
029 eventually appeared (no Realtime Trains in those days!)
having passed anticlockwise around the Cheshire circle via
the MDHB lines. This loco had a painted name Saxonia,
the real plate having been removed for safe keeping and
sale! 40029 didn’t last much longer being withdrawn a few
weeks later on 25/4/84 and scrapped at BREL Doncaster in
As the loco ran round in Wrexham, there was time to get to
the footbridge halfway up Gresford Bank where a film crew
was at work as well as several photographers.
40 122 (ex-D200 the class pioneer) was withdrawn on 23/8/81
at Carlisle but surprisingly not wanted by the National
Railway Museum. After a campaign by RAIL magazine it
was reinstated primarily for railtour use (including
the Conway Crusader). Final withdrawal came in April 1988
when, after a policy change, the loco was claimed by the
Museum. where it is currently awaiting repair.
During the Conway Crusader tour 40 122 hauled the tour from
Chester to Llandudno where enthusiasts must have been
surprised to see 50 018 Resolution backing on
for the trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog. This loco also hauled
the tour back to Coventry direct via Crewe. One final twist
in the story was that at Blaenau Ffestiniog 40 047 double
headed the railtour back to Llandudno junction. Maybe it
avoided a light engine manoeuvre after taking flasks to
The railtour was so popular it was repeated a few weeks
later on 21/4/84 with 40 086 / 118 / 122 again / 192 and 50
007. This time it missed out Llandudno, but went to Holyhead
after Blaenau Ffestiniog and, after returning to Chester,
went round the Borderlands and MDHB lines clockwise. It is a
pity the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board lines are now out of
use, as they could be used for similar railtours today.
Peter Basterfield's view
Crewe - Valley flasks at Pen-y-Clip, 15 July.
Holyhead sidings on 21 July: 67 016 stabled for the weekend
with the Cardiff express, while a failed Voyager occupies
The Foxfield Railway - report by Bob Greenhalgh
My visit on Saturday 20 July to the Foxfield
Railway Summer Gala was great. The sight, sound and
smell of the locos hauling wagons up the 1 in 19 Foxfield
bank was superb. The Dübs crane tank (above) made
several gutsy trips up the hill.
The beautifully restored Knotty (North Staffordshire
Railway) coaches were a truly fabulous sight. Hauling them
was a guest, Andrew Barclay 0-6-0T Carron.
[Normal opening at the Foxfield is on Sundays and Bank
Holidays: it can be accessed from Blyth Bridge station on
the Crewe - Derby line.]
On the North York Moors - with
On a fortnight’s holiday in the North Yorkshire Moors area I
spent three days visiting the heritage railway. The 7-coach
trains I travelled on from Pickering were full to capacity,
with the First Class compartments declassified to Standard
Class to accommodate the demand. An employee stated that
passenger numbers were up by about 12% as a result of the
recent television series. The staff and volunteers were
extremely helpful and engaging, making the visits most
enjoyable experiences. Above, Schools Class 4-4-0 No. 926
Repton leaves Network Rail’s Whitby to Middlesbrough
mainline and enters the north end of Grosmont station
hauling the Swinging Sixties Express.
Thompson B1 4-6-0 No.1264 runs light engine across the level
crossing at Grosmont station for servicing at Grosmont shed.
A former resident at the Llangollen Railway, Standard Class
4 2-6-0 No. 76079 hauls the 1100 hours departure from
Former USATC Baldwin S160 2-8-0 No. 2253 (recently named Omaha)
receives some attention from the fitters while being
steam-tested at Grosmont shed.
Standard Class 4 2-6-4 No. 80136 stands waiting to be coaled
under the coal hopper at Grosmont shed.
Grosmont station is shared by the heritage railway and
Network Rail. Class 158 DMU No. 158 851 arrives at platform
1 with the 16:00 from Whitby to Middlesbrough.
A trip to Anglesey - report by John Myers
On Saturday 20 July I had the pleasure of joining an
outing with members of the Llandudno and Conwy Valley
Railway Society, aboard a meticulously restored omnibus,
owned by society officer Clive Myers (no relation).
This trip was from Llandudno Junction to Anglesey and, after
being welcomed aboard, Clive described our bus as ex
Crosville Bristol RESL ERG3 (OFM 3E), one of six similar
vehicles supplied in 1967 with a 42 seat Eastern Coach Works
Dual Purpose body. After spending its first year
stationed at Caernarfon and mainly as a spare vehicle for
the X1 Cymru Coastliner route to and from Chester, all six
of these short REs were reallocated to provide the
newly-intensified route that replaced rail services between
Wrexham and Barmouth. More details about the vehicle
(and onward links to other surviving Bristol buses) can be
found on the Bristol
Commercial Vehicle Enthusiasts website.
During our outward journey to Moelfre and onwards to Amlwch,
Clive pointed out various items of interest including, south
of Benllech, the site of the former Red Wharf Bay railway
terminus and outlined how ERG3 would be providing a number
of free circular rides that afternoon, our visit being
mainly in connection with being an exhibit at the annual
Amlwch town carnival before what was known would be an
interesting trip back for society members. This
provided us with a journey following the route of the
Gaerwen to Amlwch branch as closely as the rural island
roads could allow and which were negotiated in a most expert
manner by Nigel, our driver for the day and who was
excellent at pausing to let faster moving vehicles pass
whenever possible. Meanwhile, Clive made use of a 1953
OS map to assist with his interesting commentary, mentioning
that he had travelled on the branch before its passenger
services had ceased towards the end of 1964.
Whilst the majority of track remains in place, our party
could see quite marked contrasts between some stretches of
line being clear and well maintained, whilst other stretches
were under what now has become quite lush and
well-established vegetation. In all, we passed the
sites of each branch station and halt and made stops to take
closer views at several, including Llangefni, where it was
possible to photograph the RE with the largely still extant
station buildings in the background. Whilst there has
been talk of reinstating public passenger services at least
this far along the branch, sadly, we were shown that an
overbridge in the town has been removed after its having
been struck from below.
Birkenhead bus event - report by George Jones
There was an occasion in Birkenhead on Saturday 21 July; a
cavalcade of preserved buses in Birkenhead blue and cream
toured areas of the former borough to mark the centenary of
the first bus route. Starting at Shore Road (above) five
buses lined up alongside the tramway to contrast tramcar
Birkenhead No.20 with latter day 69 & 70 Hong Kong built
trams.My picture shows Bus No.10 and car 20.
From Woodside Ferry the cavalcade wended its way via Park
Station, Central Park and the Claughton district, down past
Rock Ferry station to return via Port Sunlight village,
where bus 105 is seen.
The day ended at the former Birkenhead bus depot in Laird
Street which saw a six- bus line up - something I
missed. Picture by Ian Henderson.
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