05 February 2018
Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page
Tuesday 6 February North
Wales Railway Circle Barry Wynn, assisted by Steve
Morris, presents more of his work. A superb collection
of photographs depicting British Railway practice going back
to steam days.
Wednesday 7 February RCTS
Merseyside Chester & North Wales
LIVERPOOL Doug Birmingham –
“Rail Reflections in Merseyside”
Thursday 8 February Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society
Ellis Morey: The Penrhyn Railway
Friday 9 February Shropshire
Railway Society Preserved Steam on Video (PSOV), Karl
Jauncey & Dave Richards
Friday 9 February Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society Over the Water -
Isle of Man and Ireland in the 60s: a colour slide
presentation by Bill Chapman.
Monday 19 February RCTS
Merseyside Chester & North Wales
CHESTER Ian Pilkington –
“Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells”
Friday 23 February Shropshire
Railway Society Andrew Charman: Welshpool and Llanfair
Friday 2 March Clwyd
Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by
“Film Shows - Railways Past and Present”.
Tuesday 6 March North
Wales Railway Circle North to South. North Wales
Railway Circle member Ken Owen returns with a pictorial
journey north to south over the British Rail network.
Thursday 8 March Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society John
Cashen RCTS: North West & North Wales
Reminiscences in the 1960s
Friday 9 March Shropshire
Railway Society George Jones: Onward to Corwen.....an
illustrated review of the Llangollen Railway's extension to
Monday 19 March RCTS
Merseyside Chester & North Wales
CHESTER Peter Berry – “The Robert
Whitfield Collection, UK Steam 1948 - 1958” Because of
renovations the Society will not be able to hold the meeting
at The Town Crier, Station Road, Chester and the meeting
will now take place nearby at The Queen Hotel, Station
Road, Chester (opposite the station).
Friday 9 March Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society Trains of
Thought. Includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the US and
the UK. a digital presentation by Bob Avery
Friday 23 March Shropshire
Railway Society Chris Banks, Too be announced
Tuesday 3 April North
Wales Railway Circle Tony Griffith returns with two
presentations. The Dyserth Branch and an historic
shipping disaster off the North Wales Coast.
Wednesday 4 April RCTS
Merseyside Chester & North Wales
LIVERPOOL Alan Moore – “The
Railways of St. Helens”
Friday 6 April Clwyd
Railway Circle John Cashen 'North West & North
Wales Reminiscences In The 1960s' The presentation will
cover from Liverpool to Liverpool within an area bounded by
Southport, Burscough, Standish, Warrington, Crewe,
Whitchurch, Chester, Holyhead, Barmouth, Aberystwyth,
Shrewsbury, Wrexham, the Wirral, Chester, Northwich and
Thursday 12 April Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society Members
Friday 13 April Shropshire
Railway Society Mervyn Pritchard, Swiss Alps and
Friday 13 April Altrincham
Electric Railway Preservation Society Navigation Road
and All That.The show includes scenes at Navigation Road,
Ashley, Cinderland Crossing, Dunham Massey and other
locations in the Altrincham area. Ted Buckley shows pictures
(mainly of steam) taken by his late father Bill in the
13-15 April Llangollen
Railway End of Steam gala 3802 expected back in
traffic otherwise further attractions yet to be announced.
Saturday 14 April Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains.
Crewe - Holyhead and return. 46100, 34046 or 70000. Special
introductory fares from £45.
Monday 16 April RCTS
Merseyside Chester & North Wales
CHESTER Brian Armand – “Railway
Thursday 26 April Brian Yates: Light
Rail Transit Association (Manchester) The
Tramways of Berlin, Potsdam, Lyon and Grenoble.
Friday 27 April Shropshire
Railway Society AGM, followed by Member's talk
Saturday 28 April Steam on the Coast UK
Railtours Ynys Mon Express. Leicester -
Holyhead 60163 Tornado Derby -
Holyhead - Derby.
Tuesday 8 May North
Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic
Thursday 10 May Llandudno
and Conwy Valley Railway Society W. Gordon
Davies: A taste of Japan
Saturday 2 June Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains.
Crewe - Holyhead and return. 46100, 34046 or 70000.
2-3 June Llangollen
Railway Heritage railcar gala
30 June Llangollen
Railway Classic transport
Sunday 22 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring
Company North Wales Coast Express
Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Holyhead and
Tuesday 24 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring
Company Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau
Ffestiniog. 45699 or 48151: Preston - Chester - Llandudno
Junction - Blaenau and return
Saturday 4 August. Steam on the Coast. Saphos Trains.
Bangor (07.00/22.15) Llandudno Jct (07.25/21.55) Colwyn Bay
(07.35/21.45) Rhyl (07.50/21.30) Prestatyn (08.00/21.20)
Flint (08.10/21.10) Chester (08.30/20.50) Crewe
(09.30/20.00) Stafford to Stratford-on Avon. 46100, 34046 or
Saturday 8 September Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company
Norwich - Chester. 60009: Norwich -Peterborough - Nuneaton
- Chester - Peterborough
29 September Llangollen
Railway Diesel gala
12-14 October Llangollen
Railway Autumn Steam gala
Friday 19 October Steam on the Coast Golden
Eagle Luxury Tour (Day 5 of 12) (Provisional)
Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog 46100: Llandudno Junction -
Blaenau Ffestiniog, Holyhead - Crewe
37 057 on Network Rail duty at Bangor, 31 January.
Picture by Peter Basterfield.
60 026 in engineering duty at Rhyl, 31 January.
Picture by Jim Scott, driver of the loco.
On Saturday morning 3 February 67 016 heads
through Flint with a weeekend extra for the Six Nations
rugby match (Tim Rogers).
Locomotive Services class 47 D1944 Craftsman
(ex DRS 47 501) between Saltney Junction and Green Lane
Crossing with a 10:28 Crewe to Bescot training run on
5 February. This is due to run again on 6 February (Bob
Class 68 locos have apparently gained the nickname 'Cats'
after the Caterpillar diesel engines. Here's another famous
feline at Bangor with 68 002 Intrepid and 68
016 Fearless in charge of the afternoon flask
train on 24 January (Peter Basterfield).
A class 97/3 piloting a Colas Rail tamper awaits authority
to enter Barmouth station with a working from the Coleham
depot at Shrewsbury (Kate Jones).
This Network Rail MPV was noted at Chester on 2 February.
De-icing the Merseyrail third rail perhaps?
Bus info for Llangollen - compiled by George Jones
Services on the Llangollen Railway re-start on 10 February.
In the absence of another bus operator taking on route 5
Wrexham to Llangollen to serve Ruabon station, intending
visitors to Llangollen Railway and other places in the Dee
Valley are reminded that the onward bus service remains in
the hands of Arriva Cymru from the stop on Bridge Street at
the bottom of the station approach, with a 40-minute service
With the hourly Up and Down trains arriving at Ruabon in the
40-55 mins past the hour time frame, for those planning a
day out, it is worth knowing that the weekday route 5 is due
at the Bridge St stop in the following sequence: 08:53,
09:33, 10:13, 10:53, 11:33, 12:13, 12:53 ...et seq.
It will be seen that some buses provide a convenient
connection with some trains, assuming one 'legs it' down the
road - others are less so. On Sundays the service is
two-hourly from 10:18.
Returning home after a day in Llangollen it would seem
desirable to be on the 17:15 departure arriving Ruabon at
17:32 for the trains due at 17:54 / 17:55. Later buses
departing Llangollen at 17:55 and 18:35 do not make
convenient train connections and would involve a lot of
hanging around at what is a featureless station.
The so-called rail replacement bus, now the Traws Cymru T3
service as operated by Lloyds of Machynlleth, to Barmouth
does at Ruabon station at 09:19, 11:18, 12:33 and 13:18 et
seq and mostly will involve a half our wait. A
return T3 departure departs Llangollen at 16:35 - arriving
Ruabon 16:50. The next available train is the 16:56 for
Holyhead, or an hour's wait for the next southbound train.
Or a later 17:50 departure calls at Bridge Street only at
18:05. Traws Cymru buses (see heading picture) have been
free to use at weekends recently, as an experiment to
increase usage; one can travel from Wrexham to Barmouth free
On 3 February I travelled on the T3 route from Corwen
(pictured above with Optare Metrocity YJ65 EUN of Llloyds
Coaches of Macynlleth) deparing 14:30 to Ruabon, arriving at
15:05, ten minutes after trains have departed. Travellers
would be well advised to consult Arriva Cymru and Traws
Cymru timetables in advance of their visit for any changes
which may occur. The timetables displayed at the station bus
stop and elsewhere are currently (as of 27 January) out of
Supposedly Wrexham County Borough Council continue to look
for operators to take over some services formerly provided
by D Jones & Son but, with a reducing number of bus
operators in North East Wales, the prospects are not
encouraging. In the meantime, Arriva Cymru considers a
double-decker Enviro 400 every 40 minutes is adequate for
the patronage on what is a commercial route to Llangollen.
Regulars might disagree. The service has gone back almost 20
years to the time when Bryn Melyn offered an hourly service.
Subsequent competition which at one stage saw five buses an
hour proved excessive and an illusion which could not last.
South Manchester single lines - pictures by Greg Mape
From Northenden Junction on the Mid-Cheshire route, two
single-line routes radiate. The passenger line heads towards
Stockport; 150 146 (above) is on a Chester -
Manchester working on 5 February.
Both lines are crossed by the Slade Lane Junction - Styal -
Wilmslow line; here is 66 613 and a train of empty
stone hoppers. The train is the return empties from Lostock
A wider view from the same viewpoint as above. The Arriva
175 is working a Llandudno - Manchester Airport
service. Greg travelled by bike to this location, on
foot or by car it is not recommended.
66 124 approaches the former Cheadle station on with
the 10:00 Dowlow - Theale stone train.
More Wrexham and Shropshire memories - with Chris Poole
I went to Wrexham to see the final arrivals on the night of
28 January 2011.
Emotional farewells were made.
67 012 A Shropshire Lad.
All of the staff, men and women
We were the company's chosen few
Picked from the many, that did apply
Our skills in the past, the reason why
To deliver a service that would be second to none
From Wrexham to London, we were the one
We gave a first class service, to all of our train
You could relax while we took the strain
For nearly three years, each way we did go
Whatever the weather, be rain wind and snow
You sat back relaxed and enjoyed the ride
Looked after by a crew so full of pride
A first class service we delivered to you
With fresh cooked meals, and beverages too
With a friendly service, and a positive smile
We attempted to go that extra mile
Our passenger focus made us the best
Attaining ninety nine percent, beating the rest
But try as we might we could do no more
Forcing the company to close its own door
Wrexham and Shropshire you were the best.This is
dedicated to all the fine staff who worked for the
best ever rail company.
Sign in the station window, and our transcription.
Reserving Seats in Advance Tickets - epilogue
Our piece on the problems we encountered when trying to
reserve seats on a Manchester - Cardiff train when booking
an Arriva Trains Wales cheap 'Advance' ticket generated some
very interesting replies and comments from people who
understood the system, apparently rather better than
Arriva's Twitter operators, telephone help staff and at
least one conductor.
To re-cap, we booked on-line for a journey from Stockport to
Cardiff, and discovered that if we chose the 'Advance'
option we were denied the facility to reserve actual seats
(and not just an undefined place on the train, known as a
'counted place' - possibly having to stand) which apparently
was available to buyers of the more expensive
'Anytime' version travelling on the same train.
Some correspondents pointed out that there is a limit to how
many seats can be reserved on a given train, which is
understandable, but this doesn't really explain what
happened. We were told by Arriva's Tweeters that we should
be able to take our Advance tickets to 'any staffed
station', and they'd be able to reserve seats for us.
It turns out that the above is true, but what it really
means in practice is an Arriva Trains Wales staffed station
where the staff member has experience of the need to look
down the on-screen list of possible tickets to an entry 'ATW
RESERVATION' mysteriously priced at £1000. Selecting this
allows the station staff to reserve seats for an existing
ticket at no charge. The £1000 fare is, it seems, to warn
staff that they are not toactually sell such a ticket, just
make the reservation. It's surely understandable that even
the most helpful staff, at stations run by other companies,
who might have such enquiries about tickets to Wales maybe a
couple of times a year, are going to have trouble applying
this one-company eccentricity.
Confusing the issue further, booking Advance First Class
tickets on the Manchester - Cardiff 'Gerald' service through
the website does allow a reservation. Nobody has really
explained to us why this cannot apply to all reservable
trains; someone making a four-hour journey in what is, at
best, a three-coach train, surely needs some assurance of a
named seat and the ability to sit with their companion. Why
not allow seat reservations online, as Virgin Trains do?
Manchester to Cardiff is just as much an 'Inter-City'
journey as Manchester to London.
Thanks again to those who have taken the time to explain
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