Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 October 2019

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

November 2019

Friday 1 November Clwyd Railway Circle ''Shrewsbury to Holyhead in the 1980s' Geoff Morris

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.

Tuesday 5 November North Wales Railway Circle Dave Rapson. A digital presentation of all sorts.

Friday 8 November Steam on the Coast Railway Touring Company North Wales Coast Express London - Holyhead, Flying Scotsman Crewe - Holyhead - Crewe.

Friday 8 November. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Steam in the 1950s and 60s across the UK. a digital presentation by well-known photographer Martin Welch.

Thursday 14 November Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Railway Signalling Gareth Parry
Monday 18 November RCTS Chester "Railway Safety" David Maidment. David Maidment will discuss the change in railway safety management systems and safety culture from his experience in South Wales in the 1960s, as Regional Operating Manager of the LMR in the 1980s. Also as Head of Safety Policy at the BR Headquarters in the 1990s

December 2019

Tuesday 3 December North Wales Railway Circle Christmas Bash - as usual please bring any items of interest with you.

Wednesday 4 December RCTS Liverpool "Liverpool And Its Railways " John Ryan. A look at the varied railways of Liverpool and its surrounding over many decades by former British Rail civil engineer.

Friday 6 December Clwyd Railway Circle ' Member's Selections & Christmas Celebrations' Members are invited to give a 15-minute presentation of their choice (any format). Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

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.

Thursday 12 December Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society A railway pictorial of steam Barry Wynne (Special Christmas meeting with quiz)

Friday 13 December Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Steam across South Africa in 1973 Part 1. a digital presentation by John Sloane, who visited the country when many of the older classes of steam locomotive were still in service.

Saturday 14 December Steam at Chester UK Railtours 'The Christmas Chester Chuffer' London - Chester. Steam Bescot - Chester - Crewe.

Monday 16 December RCTS Chester "1960s Southern Branch Lines" David Miller. A 1960s archive of black and white photographs mainly of Southern branches but also from further north, with some interesting diversions. Images never seen before.

Thursday 19 December Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company 'The Chester Christmas Express' Stevenage - Chester. Loco 6233.

January 2020

Tuesday 7 January North Wales Railway Circle NWRC committee member and Coast Railway website contributor Peter Basterfield. Home & Away.

Friday 10 January Clwyd Railway Circle “Railways Around Holywell Part 1' Ray Bailey

Friday 10 January Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Locomotive Sheds of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. a digital presentation by Noel Coates.

Monday 20 January RCTS Chester AGM followed by "The Ffestiniog Railway" Geoff Coward. After 20.15 hrs Geoff will take a look at the steam loco’s of the Ffestiniog Railway, past present and future. Then a trip along the line from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog, looking at each station, maintenance facility and scenery

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.

February 2020

Tuesday 4 February North Wales Railway Circle Robin Humphrey-Davies ('Humph'). The route of the Welsh Highland Railway, Part 2, Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog.
Wednesday 5 February RCTS Liverpool "The Black & White Collection Of Bill Ashcroft " John Sloane. Bill Ashcroft was a well-known name in Lancashire steam railway circles and John Sloane from Wigan will present some of his large collection of monochrome pictures from the steam era.

Friday 7 February Clwyd Railway Circle 'Rheilffordd Talyllyn Railway' David Murphy

Thursday 13 February Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Llangollen Railway Dave Southern

Friday 14 February Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society People and Places 4. Images of the pre-1968 steam railway including trains and railway staff, enthusiasts or the general public. a digital presentation by Paul Shackcloth.

Monday 17 February RCTS Chester "The Unknown Warrior – The Patriot Rebuild" John Hastings-Thomson. The LMS Patriot project are rebuilding a Patriot, ‘The Unknown Warrior’ and this presentation will describe the huge amount of work and money involved to build a new steam locomotive.

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 meeting.

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.

March 2020

Friday 6 March Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting - followed by a Film Show

Thursday 12 March Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society plan to have a visit from a representative from Transport for Wales. More details later

Friday 13 March Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Wheels on Reels. Transport Films – taken with a cine camera and shown using a cine projector. Geoff Lomas presents a selection of his Films in the traditional manner.

Tuesday 3 March North Wales Railway Circle Barry Wynne and Steve Morris. Another show from Barry's superb collection.

Monday 16 March RCTS Chester "The Lever Brothers Railways Of Port Sunlight" Mike Lister Telling the story of Levers’ railways. The soap factory was constructed in 1888 and its railways covered 54 track miles and the talk will describe the railway within the soap factory and other factories at Bromborough.

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.

April 2020

Wednesday 1 April RCTS Liverpool "L&Y Engines At Work" Paul Shackcloth. Paul Shackcloth is the photographic historian for the Manchester Locomotive Society who have a large collection. This talk will show Lanky locomotives at work over the whole of the ex-L&Y network, including Liverpool Exchange.

Friday 3 April Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Great Named Trains. (note: first Friday) featuring postcards of named trains and video of the engines which hauled them and survive in preservation. a digital presentation by Society President Nick Dodson

Tuesday 7 April North Wales Railway Circle Richard Sant, Secretary of the LMS Patriot Company. Progress on The Unknown Warrior

Thursday 9 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Trams in Llandudno (Including L & CBER and Great Orme Tramway) John Davies

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.

Monday 20 April RCTS Chester "Another Colourail Journey" Paul Chancellor. A ninth Colour-Rail Journey will again trawl this vast collection of images for both views from across the country and through time, so expect both steam and modern traction to appear with may be the odd bit of infrastructure thrown in for good measure.

May 2020

Tuesday 12 May North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Photo Competition.

Thursday 14 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Evening Train Trip to Betws-y-Coed, where we will spend an hour in the Gwydyr. (Times will be confirmed later)


On 19 October 221 117 The Wrekin Giant waits in bay platform 1 at Chester for its next run to London. Just a few weeks now before Virgin logos will need to be removed for the take-over by the FirstGroup / Trenitalia combo which has yet to announce its trading name. Picture by Peter Hanson.

A quiet time in North Wales it seems, so we've added some catch-up and 'out and about' items for your entertainment. - Charlie

Tales of Esso Sidings

We how have some background information, supplied by Mark Hambly, on the Class 20 locos which featured in the last issue.  Although owned by the Harry Needle Railway Company, they are on hire to DCR - Devon and Cornwall Railways, a small company which was set up in 2011 as part of British American Railway Services,  a venture by US 'short line' group Iowa Pacific. Today it owned by Cappagh,  a 'family owned contracting company that has been committed to serving the construction industry for over 50 years'.

DCR recently won a contract to move spoil from track relaying to a newly-created waste recovery site on the former Esso Sidings of the Pinnox branch near Longport for Land Recovery Ltd. Redundant ballast from Network Rail is collected from Crewe and carried to Longport where  the ballast is to be cleaned and sold on to the construction industry.

Due to the unavailability of their own Class 56 locomotives for this work, DCR have hired the Class 20s.  The vans collected from Ellesmere Port and taken to Garston were left there;  we understand that there is a plan to export all the redundant Ford vans stored at Ellesmere Port to France, and this was a trial trip.

Our contributor Steve Morris was also at Helsby with his camera; he writes:  'The driver the 20s was Mike Lunn of Llandudno. He has been driving for around 40 years, some of them based at Llandudno Junction. In later years he drove for Freightliner out of Crewe and following "retirement" has carried on with DC Rail . Interestingly, after all those years of driving all over the London Midland area this was the first time he had driven a class 20.   I  appear on one of Peter Laithwaite's pictures while  "catching up" with him.'


On 19 October, 67 010 calls at Llandudno Junction with the the 09:43 Manchester - Holyhead, while 153 367 pauses in the bay after working the 09:36 crew training/refresher trip from Chester (Ken Robinson).  

56 113, with 56 096 on the rear, passes Llandudno Junction  on 28 October with the Shrewsbury-bound Rail Head Treatment Train ...

... passing an abundant supply of autumn leaves (Ryan Lloyd).

Llangollen news  - by George Jones

The AGM for the shareholders of the 5199 Project was held at Llangollen station on Sunday 27 October when a new cast promotional headboard was revealed. The loco carried the '5199 Project' headboard on the 13:10 departure when 53 shareholders and guests joined the train for a buffet lunch on the trip to Carrog. It is seen running round on return to Llangollen in autumnal sunshine. 5199 has been the stalwart motive power for much of the 2019 season at Llangollen and will share the Santa season with 7822.

Viewers may have seen the loco on the recent 'Train Truckers' TV programme when it joined 7822 at the Mid-Hants railway after a road journey from Llangollen. It was announced at the AGM that the loco will be repainted into GWR green livery with a Great Western titles on the tanks, as it appeared when out-shopped at Swindon in  1934.

Ffestiniog Railway Victorian Weekend - report by Michael Baker

Friday 4 October: morning photo shoot at the Old Loco Shed with Palmerston, Taliesin and Princess (out of shot).

Friday 4 October: David Lloyd George leaving Porthmadog with the Victorian Set on the 15:50 to Blaenau.

Sunday 6 October: morning line-up at Harbour Station featuring Princess, Prince, Merddin Emrys and Taliesin.

David Lloyd George stands at Minffordd with a Victorian mixed train en route to Blaenau.

East Lancashire steam

 A visit with Jim Ikin on 19 October to the East Lancashire Railway's Autumn Steam Gala. Above,  1896 Horwich-built loco 52322 pilots one time Machynlleth resident 1954-built 80097 into Bury Bolton Street. 80097 spent the years 1966 to 1985 in  Barry scrapyard.

Southern duo 1934-built 926 Repton (visiting from the North York Moors) and 1949 built 34092 City of Wells depart Heywood station.

52322 joined by 2890,  a tender engine which has been created from a 1943-built Hunslet-built saddle tank. Its complicated history can be found on the Preserved British Steam Locomotives website.

60009 Union of South Africa approaches Bury from Heywood.

Whilst 80097 departs for the shed,  60009 awaits its last departure of the day to Rawtenstall.

Repton stayed  on after the Gala, as seen above at Ramsbottom on 23 October (Greg Mape).

Passing Burrs Country Park (Greg Mape).

TransPennine locos

The new loco-worked service between Liverpool and Scarborough is capturing the attention of enthusiasts. 68 025 Superb awaits departure from Liverpool Lime Street with the 12:56 to Scarborough on 17 October (Peter Cross).

Passing Eccles at speed (Charlie Hulme).

On 16 October at Marsden, 68 030 Black Douglas, one of the locos which has gained a Class 87 name (Greg Mape). Unfortunately, things are not always going smoothly with the new stock: this  working is an empty set of coaches. Booked to  start at Scarborough, It had started at York  due to lateness of the incoming train, and then the train was terminated at Huddersfield due to a problem with the doors.

Also filtering into traffic on Liverpool - Newcastle services are Class 802 bi-mode units, basically the same Hitachi design used by the LNER and Great Western. There seems to be a delay in applying the TPE livery; the train makes an interesting contrast with the LNWR Diggle Junction signalbox, built in 1885  (Greg Mape).

The spectacular view above the Marsden end of Standedge tunnel as a 185 unit passes (Greg Mape).

Ribblehead scenes - by Tony Thomas

Some views taken on a walk near Ribblehead, Settle-Carlisle line, on 14 October. The first photo needs no description - approaching the viaduct. 

The second,one was taken from below the viaduct while a rail-head treatment train was
passing overhead.


Blea Moor signal box, looking worse for wear ...

...  and a photo of the Rail Track plaque awarded for stone walling.


What I consider to be be a great example of Victorian railway engineering.  When originally built, the stream was diverted over the railway and is contained in a "mini aqueduct" - the railway line passes underneath where I was standing when the photo was taken. 

The other two photos are taken from the same spot and show the view of the line leading off towards the tunnel in the Carlisle direction ...

...  and the final photo shows the view back towards Ribblehead.

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