Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

03 February 2020


Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

(see our Calendar page for venues)

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)

Just like the old days at Llandudno Junction,  1 February. Picture by Ryan Lloyd.

No sooner had I said in the last issue that nothing much was happening,  a lot of things happened! Thanks as ever to all contributors and railway staff. - Charlie

Mk4 Carriages on test

The first of the Mk4 coaches displaced from the East Coast main line by new 'Azuma' trains started test running along the Coast line on 28 January,  worked in 'push-pull' mode by 67 025. The train rain from Crewe carriage sidings to Holyhead (3Z67) stopping only at Llandudno Junction, then returned to The Junction for a run down the Llandudno Branch (3Z68)  and then back to Crewe (3Z69)  stopping (according to Realtime Trains) at all stations except Shotton where the planned stop was cancelled due to late running. Tim Rogers' picture above shows the westbound working passing Rhyl.

The coach numbers are hard to spot in yellow on red: this is 12219, a standard class (TSOE: standard class end coach with buffers - the rest of the train is semi-permanently coupled )   ...

 ... Standard class TSO 12447 ...

... 10238 which on LNER was a standard class/kitchen coach (RSB) ...

... and an unidentifiable vehicle (reported to be 11324) which on LNER was a first-class coach (FO) with 2+1 seating,  as identified by the purple  stripes. It's not clear whether TfW plan to change the class of seating. (The Scot-Rail website has full numbering details for all Mk4s).

Llandudno Junction (Ryan Lloyd).

The schedule included an eight-minute stop at Bangor, but the train ran straight through on the Down Main (Jim Johnson).

'Hard on the heels' of the 67 was a less-spectacular newcomer under test, 153 314, a hand-me from Greater Anglia.  314 was the last of GA's five 153s to be upgraded back in 2015.

The return working did not stop at Bangor either.  Behind are  158 841 + 158 832, the 1D12 09:14 Birmingham International - Holyhead (Jim Johnson).

67 025 brings up the rear, into Bangor Tunnel at 12:43. A letter 'A' after a bridge number suggests it is a bridge added after the numbers were allocated., but surely the road underbridge and tunnel have always been there?

Deganwy (Ryan Lloyd). These trains run as Class 3 for identification, like the various Network Rail trains, rather than 5 for empty stock. The 'Z' indicates a one-off special.

Llandudno (Ryan Lloyd). The extra socket for the push-pull control circuit is just below and to the side of the DB logo.

Driving Van trailer 82229 leading on the run back along the branch, passing the board which acts as a 'fixed distant' for Llandudno  ...

... with 67 025 propelling, seen moments later passing Deganwy's home signal, DY6 (Ryan Lloyd). The colour scheme of the coaches is that deigned for Virgin East Coast before they gave up the franchise, but it does match the newly-painted  Class 67 quite well.

Gary Thomas caught up with the return working at Abergele. The train is seen departing after pausing to check platform clearances ...

... he red colour of the locomotive certainly brightens up a gloomy day:  Is it perhaps the red used on DB's other locos and stock?

Departure from Chester, seen from the car park  (Geoff Morris).

The exercise was repeated  on 29 January, but without the Llandudno branch. The train is seen above at Llandudno Junction  (Eryl Crump).

Westbound at Dwygyfylchi  ....

... Pictured by Gary Thomas.

The other available Mk4 set, with 67 008, ran on 31 January from Crewe to Holyhead for stabling ...

,,, with DVT 82225. This picture shows well how the Mk4 vehicles were built with inward-sloping sides in case they were late fitted with tilting equipment, which of course never happened. Pictures by Jim Johnson.

On 31 January the train with 67 025 travelled to Chester and then tried out the route of the current loco-hauled Manchester diagram, from there to Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington Bank Quay, terminating at Longsight excursion platform before returning.  We understand that will be three of these Mk4 sets, but whether they will appear there on regular service remains to be seen.

In other news, the existing Mk3 rakes have been  banned from use on further weekend rugby specials, as it has been decreed that, like the Class 37-hauled trains on the Rhymney line, they would have to have safety stewards at every door, presumably to prevent anyone climbing out of the window, and TfW will not pay for this, so 175s will be used.

Freight progress

Our thanks to John Sweeney who responded to our comment about lack of progress on the new freight flows he writes: 'Network Rail and Hanson have both been at Penmaenmawr sidings/yard on a few occasions. The site cabins have been refreshed,as have the sidings themselves. The points to the main line have been unclipped by NR to indicating an imminent return of the stone trains. Also the stone conveyor from the quarry face to the sidings has been fettled by engineers and tested.

'At Llandudno Junction, it is slate waste , not domestic refuse (my error - C.H.). Breedon  Aggregates has the lease on Glan Conwy goods yard and the sidings next to The Junction  station. Work should begin in the spring to clear the forest from the lines, remove the containers from the yard, and uncover the rails inset in concrete. From what I have been told, GBRf should be doing these train flows, and crew training, etc. will start as and when the area is ready for the trains.'

Steam on the Coast

45231  passes Hargrave with a Saphos Trains Leicester - Holyhead excursion, one of the few steam trains that seem to be venturing on to the Coast line this year. Picture by Ian Pilkington.

Rhyl (Roly High).

Llandudno Junction (Ryan Lloyd).

Sun and Steam at Llandudno Junction (Lynne Roberts).

Passing Dwygyfylchi with 'The Irish Mail' headboard, attached at Llandudno Junction (Ian Pilkington).

Penmaenmawr (Jim Ikin).

Llanfair PG (Ken Robinson).

After the train reached Holyhead, the loco returned as afar as Valley in order to turn on the triangle to be chimney-first for the return journey.  Unfortunately it was then discovered that the points at the access to the triangle, which had not been used since the nuclear flask traffic ceased, could not be moved. Peter Basterfield was there to record the moment.

The crew had no option but to cross to the Down line and return to Holyhead, still facing west.

A busy scene at Holyhead captured by Peter Basterfield: The locomotive's support coach has been detached and tail-end loco D1924 prepares to depart for Leicester with the train. In the sidings are 67 020 stabled for the weekend with the Cardiff express stock as usual and 67 008 with its Mk 4 rake. The train departed at 16:20, 30 minutes late, to be followed by 45231 and its support coach at 17:38 ...

... to Valley where a picture was possible while the loco waited for access to the triangle. It returned to Crewe tender-first (or did it?).

Meanwhile, at Chester. Gary Thomas was waiting in the hope of  seeing steam,  only to  get  the diesel loco instead. The train was back on time, as there was no need to stop for water at Llandudno Junction.

On 3 February, 45231 was in action again, photographed by Peter Neve on the approaches Rossett Junction on a test run between Crewe and Coton Hill, Shrewsbury.

In other news ...

43 013 Mark Carne CBE leading ...

 ...  with 43 014 The Railway Observer at the rear of the Derby to Crewe via Holyhead 'New Measurement Train'  at Dwygyfylchi, Thursday 30 January 2020 (Gary Thomas).

Bangor ceremony (and a shed visit)  - report by Jim Johnson

A re-dedication ceremony for the Bangor Railway Institute Boys' Corps World War I memorial plaque at Bangor Station took place on Friday, 24 January. (I reported previously on the transfer of the plaque from St. David's Church, Bangor to the Railway Station, last November.)  About 70 people were in attendance on the day, with speeches by Network Rail and TfW representatives, Sian Gwenllian (AM for Arfon), the Dean of Bangor and the 16 names on the plaque were read out by Bridget Geogeghan, who was instrumental in persuading Network Rail to re-locate the plaque. A member of a local silver band played 'The Last Post' at the conclusion.

After the ceremony, a few of us, by prior arrangement with the owners, had a look inside the old steam shed (6H), which is now deserted and for sale, following the move to other premises by B&M Steel.

It appears that demolition could be on the horizon if the prospective new owners have their way. Hopefully not, but the building is not currently listed.

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