20 February 2017
Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page
This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived
issue. For full information visit our Calendar page.
Friday 24 February Great
Branch. Group AGM
Friday 3 March Clwyd
Circle Amlwch Branch Line and Annual
General Meeting Chairman of the Lein Amlwch - Central Anglesey Railway
Company, Walter Glyn Davies will give a presentation on the
of the lines revival. The talk will be followed by the Annual General
3-5 March Llangollen
Railway Spring Steam Gala
Tuesday 7 March North
Circle The Abergele Accident. Tony
Griffiths gives a talk on the accident that occurred on 20th August
1868 at Abergele involving the Irish Mail and a part of a goods train
that was being shunted.
Wednesday 8 March Welsh
Highland Railway North Wales Group Speaker to be confirmed
Thursday 9 March Llandudno
& Conwy Valley Railway Society ... And we run
trains too! Clare Britton (Ffestiniog Railway)
Friday 10 March Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society Lecture
Eric Lomax, Railwayman of War and Peace. Images of steam in the UK
before and after the Second World War with a few taken in India during
the war; featured locos are a mixture of industrial and main line,
mostly in Scotland A digital presentation of black and white images by
Dr Michael Bailey
Monday 20 March RCTS
Paul Chancellor. A Colour-Rail Presentation. Paul, from
is owner of Colour-Rail and will highlight the work of many fine
railway photographers covering the better part of 70 years. He is also
the RO Editor for the ‘Preservation and Other Railways’ section.
Friday 31 March Great
Branch. Birkenhead Joint Railway. Paul Wright.
Tuesday 4 April North Wales Railway Circle
Bangor to Hong Kong by
Rail. Adam Fetherstonhaugh gives an account of his epic journey by rail
from Bangor to Hong Kong via Beijing and then on to Vietnam and
Wednesday 5 April RCTS
David Rapson. Railways - The Digital Effect David, who lives in
Connah's Quay, has worked on the railways for many years spending a lot
of his life in Control positions and now works for West Coast Railway
Company. He is also a Branch member and for those who read Rail Express
will be aware of his contributions.
Friday 7 April Clwyd
Circle Railways of North Cheshire in
Early BR Days Being a Manchester lad, Russell Hatt was able to capture
the busy scenes around his home area.
Friday 7 April (note: first Friday of the month) Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation
Society Lecture The Last Years of British Trolleybuses. A colour
slide presentation by Brian Yates
Wednesday 12 April Welsh Highland
Railway North Wales Group Norman Kneale, Renowned railway
Thursday 13 April Llandudno
& Conwy Valley Railway Society Barry Wynne's Steam Odyssey.
Monday 24 April RCTS
George Jones : Onwards to Corwen.George lives in Wrexham and for
years has been an important publicist for the Llangollen Railway and
certain of its locomotives. He will cover the railway’s reinvigoration
of the line to Corwen and look at its future
Friday 28 April Great
Branch. The L&Y in BR days. Noel Coates.
Tuesday 2 May North
Circle AGM and Annual Photographic
Competition. The Annual General Meeting of The North Wales
Circle will be followed by the annual photographic competition.
Members are invited to submit their work in three categories, prints,
slides and video. Video to be kept reasonably short, approx. 5
In line with Circle rules all work should have been taken in the last
Wednesday 10 May Welsh
Highland Railway North Wales Group Group’s AGM + John Ellis
Williams - The Continuing Story.
Thursday 11 May Llandudno
& Conwy Valley Railway Society A tribute to the late
David Jones, by John Myers
Manchester Oxford Road, 1 August 2006. See 'looking back' below.
That last Class 60 (pictured)
In response to our ongoing discussion about the last use of a Class 60
loco along the Coast before the recent appearance of a Colas Rail
example, Dave Skipsey has kindly sent us two historic pictures
of the occasion on 25 April 2009 which we feel sure was the final run.
Above, 60 040 The TA Centenary, on 6D19,
06:40, Warrington Arpley - Holyhead RTZ empty cargowaggons passes the
crossovers west of Chester station.
The return loaded working for 6F18, 14:50, Holyhead RTZ - Warrington
Arpley loaded cargo wagons at Mostyn (Ffynnongroyw). The wagons made
their way to Braunau am Inn in Austria by means of wagonload trains.
Tim Rogers' week
Bagillt on 13 February. 175 103 passes with train 1H90, 14:40
Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly.
37 716 (looking very clean) and 37 610 T.S.
(Ted) Cassady 14.5.61-6.4.08 and wagons 550034. 550049,
550055 pass Bagillt on 13 February with the afternoon flask train
14 February at Shotton: 1D34 09:50 Manchester Piccadilly to
Holyhead with 67 010 in charge.
15 February at Mostyn: 175 115 is train 1D38 13:36
Manchester Airport to Llandudno ...
... and 175 107 is 1H90 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester
Piccadilly with engineering activity in the background. Network Rail
are making use of the road access available here. The closed and
forlorn-looking signalbox (an LNWR 'type 4' built in 1902 with a
40-lever frame). is living on borrowed time; how many other London and
North Western Railway boxes with a brick base narrower than the
operating floor are still in existence?
15 February's flask train, unusually, was a repeat of 13 February's in
traction terms with 37 716 still leading 37 610. The wagons, however,
make some variation as 550052 and 550033 were joined by
new-build wagon FNA 11 70 9229 002-4.
Although the track to the right has been removed, the replacement track
layout will include a connection to the Mostyn Dock sidings from the
new Up loop.
Bagillt on 17 February, and the third flask train of the week. The
Wylfa de-fuelling process seems to be speeding up: all three trains had
three wagons. This one, with 57 301 Goliath and 37
259 with wagons 550052, 550045 and 11 70 9229 001-6. It seems
that whatever the timetable might say, this train always runs ahead of
the 14:34 Holyhead - Cardiff rather than after it.
Llanfair PG footbridge - pictures by Richard Fleckney
News from the 'Land of the Long Name' is that the footbridge, after a
period when it has been narrowed to prevent too many people standing on
it at once, had had its span removed for refurbishing, and tents have
been erected around the steps each side to allow all-weather working by
A temporary bridge has been erected at the west end of the platform...
... apparently using a custom made 'construction set.'
Manchester area views - by Charlie Hulme
Metrolink have announced that the 'second city crossing' line between
St Peters Square Exchange Square via Cross Street will open to
passengers (id there are no last-minute problems) on 26 February. From
that day, all trams from East Didsbury to Shaw and Rochdale, such as
the Shaw-bound service seen above approaching Peters Square, will take
the new line, taking the track glimpsed to the right of the picture and
serving the outer side of the island platform behind the camera before
turning left past the Town Hall, calling at Exchange Square before
re-joining the old route at Victoria. There are no new stations on the
Note that stone cross, which marks the site of St Peter's Church,
demolished over 100 years ago, had been replaced in its original
position, although the Cenotaph has been re-located.
Incdentally, we understand that the bowstring span of the Network
Rail's new Ordsall Chord river bridge is to be lifted and put in place
by a very large crane this week.
Davenport on 16 February. The new Arriva-owned Northern company are
doing 'interim' refresh work of their class 150 units, mainly to meet
current standards for disabled travellers. Completed units can be
recognised from outside by their shiny new livery, the same as the old
company but minus branding, and by the plating over of the toilet
window as part of the installation of the new, even bigger, toilet
module. Several 150/2 units have been done, and work has now begun on
the older 150/1 type, such as 150 136 pictured above on a Blackpool -
A much more thorough upgrade is promise for the future, but whether
this will involve removal of the 3+2 seats which are suitable only for
very narrow people, and replacement by the 2+2 layout found in Arrive
Trains Wales Class 150s, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Northern have been compelled to delay most of the timetable
improvements which were supposed to start from December 2017, as it has
become clear that delays on the Great Western electrification project
will prevent the transfer of 150s to Northern on which the higher
frequency services were predicated. May 2018 is the revised date.
Another looming spectre is that the trade unions have realised that the
new franchise agreement with the Government involves conversion of some
routes to driver-only operation, so we may see a repeat of the
much-publicised Southern Rail fiasco. Apparently the franchise
agreement includes a clause stating that the government 'may at any
time decide to reimburse or ameliorate net losses of the Franchisee
arising from Industrial Action (however caused and of whatever nature).'
No wonder Northern's Managing Director Alex Hynes has decided to depart
for 'pastures' new in Scotland...
Calling all User Groups
We've received the following from Teleri Evans who is an Advisor to
Arriva Trains UK, addressed to North Wales rail user groups:
As you may be aware, the Wales and Borders Rail
Franchise is due to end next year and the Welsh Government are
currently in the process of procuring the next one. Arriva
Trains UK are preparing a potential bid, and we are therefore
conducting a consultation process to inform how that bid might
Is there a User Group for the North Wales line? We have heard for
some attempts to set one up, but is it exists it has a very low
profile. I you feel you are a User Group - or want to be - the address
to write to is email@example.com.
We are keen to work with key stakeholders to develop ideas that
meet the needs of the communities served by the franchise, and
with that in mind, we'd like to request a meeting to discuss what
you feel the priorities should be for Wales and Borders as a
whole, especially in North Wales Coast and Conwy Valley in particular.
Looking back - Thunderbirds on ATW
In our 29
November 2016 special issue on Class 47-hauled trains along the
Coast, we finished with a mention of use of Class 57/3 locos on a brief
return of loco-haulage in 2006 and ended with a clichéd 'watch this
space.' So while things are quiet, here we go. After some
familiarisation runs a few days earlier, the service actually began at
the timetable change on 9 December 2005. The reason given was 'shortage
of multiple-unit resources' with two 175s (008 and 103) out of traffic,
and the project to repaint the 175 fleet.
57 314 Firefly worked on the first day,
photographed (above) by Alan Crawshaw arriving at Bangor from
Back in Summer 2006 Robert Pritchard of Today's Railways UK
magazine was kind enough to ask us to read over the article about The
North Wales Coast line that was the cover story of the their August
issue. We did question whether the Arriva Trains Wales loco-hauled
diagram, which is heavily featured in the present tense, would still be
running when the magazine appeared. Fortunately it did stay with us for
a couple of weeks, and just survived into the 'cover month' of the
magazine, but as things turned out the workings on Tuesday 1 August
2006 were the final ones of this particular phase of history, thanks to
return of 175 103 from its very long period under repair.
The trains worked by Class 57/3 locos changed soon after introduction
due to the December timetable change. The times then settled down to
1H82 06:00 Holyhead - Manchester
One night a week, a Riviera Trains Class 47 ran to Holyhead with a set
of empty coaches, taking back the previous week's to Crewe for
servicing. The coaches were ex-Virgin Trains stock; a rake of six
coaches being used as shorter trains were subject to speed restrictions
for brake force reasons. However, two coaches were always locked out of
use, presumably because a train might be routed into the short platform
1 at Manchester Oxford Road; sadly this was not always made obvious to
1D64 10:03 Manchester - Holyhead
1H90 13:20 Holyhead - Manchester
1D81 17:41 Manchester - Holyhead
Photographs enjoyed a loco-hauled summer: Tim Rogers
photographed 57 307 Lady Penelope on 6 July 2006
The final day turned out to be 1 August 2006, recorded in depth by our
contributors. We have re-incarnated the issue
of that week from the archive. Thanks again to all the
contributors from time of smaller images and of course to all the
railway staff involved in those workings.
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