Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

11 November 2019

Share on Twitter

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

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  "Around Britain in 80 Minutes" John Cashen will do a whistle stop tour throughout Britain of photographs he took in the 1960s and 1970s (Change of speaker)

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)

67 023 Sheila passes Mold Junction on 7 November, with 67 027 Charlotte on the rear, substituting for the HST New Measurement Train. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.

Saving a memorial plaque - report by Jim Johnson

Two or three years ago, I got wind of a railway-related WW1 memorial plaque, located in the by-then closed St. David's Church, in Glanadda, Bangor. After various enquiries, mainly with the Church in Wales property officials in Cardiff, I gained access to the church to view the plaque. It
turned out to be a commemoration of members of the Bangor Railway Institute Boys Corps, who died in World War I.  I decided this was definitely worth preserving, and, with the future of the church building uncertain, I began negotiations with the Church in Wales, who proved very helpful and supportive. They generously agreed to gift the plaque to the North Wales
Railway Circle, of which I am a member, but we had to arrange removal of the plaque, and find a new home for it. This involved gaining Listed Building Consent to remove it, and this was proving to be difficult, what with the paperwork involved with Gwynedd Council, and finding suitably qualified craftsmen who could remove the plaque sympathetically, and  without damaging it. I was struggling.

Enter two ladies, Bridget Geoghegan and Sheila Owen, who had been also trying to preserve the plaque, unbeknown to me. They approached Network Rail, who were at the time, refurbishing Bangor station building, and they were very interested in preserving the plaque, with a view to relocating it on the station.

With their vastly superior resources at their disposal, this was an ideal solution, and, thanks to James Walsh of Network Rail, the plaque now resides below an original Chester & Holyhead Railway monogram, on Platform 1 at Bangor, next to the enquiry office. It was erected, without ceremony, on the afternoon of Friday, 8 November, 2019, just in time for Remembrance Day.  The pictures of it on Bangor Station were taken on Saturday, 9 November.

Unfortunately, the protective glass isn't non-reflective, so it's impossible to get a decent picture of the text. For this reason, I attach pictures of it in its original location in St. David's Church. Also, an original hand-made BRI banner, which the Church also gifted to the North Wales Railway Circle, and remains in our possession. (Tastefully modelled in the church by my better half.)

A wreath was placed beneath the plaque on the evening of Sunday, 10 November, and a set of 16 hand-made poppies, one for each of the men named on the tablet, attached to the platform railings. Each poppy carries a brief history of each man named. These were made and placed there by Bridget Geogeghan and Sheila Owen, the two ladies who first approached Network Rail about moving the plaque to Bangor Station from St. David's Church.

Captain Caesar Alfred Cooil of the Royal Garrison Artillery died, aged 27, in Bangor Military Hospital  - from pneumonia aggravated by the effects of gas poisoning -  on Armistice Day,  11 November 1918.  He was buried in Llanadda cemetery. Son of Mrs and Mrs Cooil of 2 Orme View, Euston Road, Bangor, he worked as Assistant Master at King Edward's School, Nottingham.  His father Caesar Corlett Cooil was a bridge inspector for the LNW railway.  The family lost two sons in the war; John Dentith Cooil of the South Wales Borderers had died in Flanders in November  1917.

Scotsman ahoy

The public's favourite engine, 60103 Flying Scotsman made an appearance on the Coast on Friday 8 November with a West Coast Railways excursion from London,.which it took over at Crewe.  Our first picture - by Tim Rogers - shows the train passing the site of the old Mold Junction loco shed.

Bagillt (Ian Pilkington).

Abergele (John Briggs).

Approaching Llandudno Junction (Sean Thomas). There's little sign so far of the clearance of the line into the freight depot for a promised introduction of slate traffic

Arriving at Llandudno Junction for the customary water stop (Jim Ikin).

At  Llandudno Junction the crowd of passengers was supplemented by locals and others following the usual press publicity for the activities of this loco.  West Coast staff, security staff and Police were on hand.  Not much of a photo opportunity (Jim Ikin).

Passing Conwy Castle  (Sue Ikin).

Near Conwy tunnel (Garry Stroud).

Valley (Anthony Thomas).

Approaching Holyhead (Greg Mape).

Arriving at Holyhead (Sean Thomas).

Unusually, there was no diesel locomotive on the rear of the train, perhaps to allow more passenger coaches, so 60103 had to do all the shunting work ...

... involving running round the train transferring the support coach to the other end of the train, before departing for Valley to turn on the triangle (Sean Thomas).

Problems of some sort must have been encountered, as the loco did not leave Holyhead for Valley until 16:02, 107 minutes later than scheduled. By the time Anthony Thomas took these pictures from the public path showing the turned loco leaving Valley sidings for Holyhead the light was failing, but Anthony's camera handled the situation well.

The ground-signal having been cleared, the loco heads out on to the main line to return to Holyhead and its train.  The passenger information screen at Valley station shines out into the gloom (Anthony Thomas). Departure from Holyhead for Crew and London was 67 minutes late  at 17:12.

Trouble over timetable changes

The following is reproduced from Branch Line News with permission of the editor:

Controversial timetable changes, already reported by the BLN,  have at last been publically confirmed by TfW less than 12 weeks before they come into effect. They are significant but no consultation has been carried out nor prior warning given; local MPs and media have been informed by User Groups.

TfW is attributing the changes to the introduction of additional loco powered push pull services and has tried to use short platforms as one excuse for omitting intermediate stations even though some of the services will call at the platforms concerned! Pathing problems are the main and less implausible explanation, rolling stock and staffing issues also having been offered but then quietly dropped.

In summary, the present 07:21 Cardiff to Holyhead DMU service is replaced by an 07:02 loco-powered which runs non-stop Shrewsbury to Wrexham; the service lost by the stations 'skipped' is a popular and busy one as it is the first 'off peak' train of the day. Southbound, the 12:32 Holyhead to Maesteg DMU is replaced by an 11:34 loco-powered to Cardiff Central. This does call at all stations Chester to Shrewsbury but so does a service to Birmingham International only 22 minutes later; then there is nothing for two hours!

Meanwhile a new 16:51 Holyhead to Cardiff, again loco and coaches, makes the Chester to Shrewsbury calls but earlier in its journey runs non-stop from Llandudno Junction to Chester. The result is there are no eastbound passenger departures from 'The Junction' for intermediate stations during the peak period of 17:17 to 18:39.

At a Railfuture public meeting in Shrewsbury on 12 October, TfW's North Wales Development Director said that these issues were being progressed but couldn't say whether any remedies were possible at this late stage. Their Head of Community Rail issued a statement during the following week acknowledging the concerns and undertaking to set up a workshop to discuss them with stakeholders and to work with the Train Planning team to try to find a workable solution.

The Shrewsbury to Chester Rail Users Association has carried out passenger surveys at affected stations on their line. A petition  set up by a Wrexham councillor will help maintain the pressure. Please sign and encourage as many others to do so as possible - it is simple and quick and gaining momentum with around 16:00 petitioners already.

TfW has had to confirm to the Department of Transport that the changes result in non-compliance with the minimum Train Service Requirement (TSR). The (Westminster) Transport Secretary has informed North Shropshire's MP that officials will urgently discuss with TfW if they are avoidable, how passenger inconvenience could be mitigated and the implications for the devolution agreement between DfT and TfW of which the TSR is an important part. (It may have helped that Gobowen is in England.)

From Dave Sallery's archive

A selection of non-passenger trains. Above, 37 073 follows  the coast at Ffynnongroew with empty ballast hoppers for loadinmg at Penmaenmawr quarry on 30 May 1996. This was one of the locos sent to France in 1999 for use in materials delivery during the building of new high-speed lines.  It returned to the UK the following year, but never worked again before being cut up by Riley Engineering at Bury, after having its engine removed for re-use in the Class 37 Group's preserved loco 37 003.

'Test Trains' were common on the Coast line in the 1990s, being trial runs for locomotives overhauled at Crewe works. With a load of redundant Parcels Sector vans,  56 116, in freshly-applied 'Load Haul' livery, has 47 625 behind as 'insurance' in case of any problems.

On 6 March 1996 37 415 heads past Prestatyn with a string of 'Mermaid' side-tipping ballast wagons from Penmaenmawr.  It  carries the 'unofficial' name Mt Etna, applied while working stone trains in the Buxton area. In 1997 it was transferred to North Wales passenger  duties which continued until sent to work in Scotland in 2000. returning to North Wales for the last week of 37-hauled passenger trains in January 2001.  It then worked passenger trains on the Rhymney line (where 37/4s have recently returned to traffic) until 2003, being finally scrapped in 2013.

Thanks to the Class 37 Group website for historic details. For many more images by Dave Sallery, visit Dave's Flickr site.

RHTT gallery

56 087 at Holyhead on 7 November ...

... partnered with 56 113 (Sean Thomas).

56 113 looking really scruffy passing Mold Junction (Bob Greenhalgh)

97 304 on the  rear at Abergele, 8 November (Ian Pilkington).

56 087 heads west through Platform 4 at Llandudno Junction on 8 November  (Sean Thomas). Note the anti-seagull netting.

97 304 leads 56 087 out of  Holyhead, 8 November (Sean Thomas).

Paused at Valley (Greg Mape).

End of Season at Llangollen - report by George Jones

The last trains of the season on the Llangollen Railway ran on Remembrance Sunday with 6430 in action. The penultimate departure from Carrog was seen leaving at 14:05 with passengers enjoying a blue sky day after the rain and snow of the previous day when the Dee Valley had a white-out west of Ruabon through to Corwen.

Later, the final train of the 2019 season, the 15:10 from Llangollen, was captured approaching Deeside amidst the autumnal colours with a dusting of snow still around on high ground of the Berwyns and the Llantysilio range, as the sun dropped down in the west. A trail of steam marks the exit from Berwyn tunnel round the curve into the loop at Deeside Halt as seen from the Tollgate on the A5 road.

Note the scar on the landscape where a stand of conifers was harvested earlier in the season. The next passenger trains for the Santa Season are due on 7 December but, in the meantime, there is much to do with planned p/w maintenance and lineside vegetation clearance to keep staff and volunteers occupied.

North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board