Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

16 September 2019

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

 October 2019

Wednesday 2 October RCTS Liverpool "To Hell And Back " Bevan Price. Bevan, a Branch member for 60 years, presents his photographs during his 50 years of rail travel throughout Britain and Europe.

Saturday 5 October Stephenson Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, National Railway Museum ‘Snow White to Stephenson’. This is a story about the search for strategic minerals, climate change, religious conflict, immigration, integration and innovation. Overall a very modern story, although this one starts over 400 years ago and from it emerges the technology we call railways.

Thursday 10 October  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society End of the Lines: A tour of railway terminals. John Cowlishaw.

Saturday 12 October Steam at Chester. Vintage Trains 'Cheshire Venturer' Dorridge - Chester.

Saturday 12 October UK Railtours The Snowdon Panorama (diesel) London - Llandudno Junction

Monday 21 October RCTS Chester "South Wales Railways since the 1970s " Stuart Warr. Stuart from Cardiff will look back at the changing face of railways across South Wales since 1973, featuring steam and diesels working all manner of services with a few rare views.

 November 2019

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.

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

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

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.

 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)

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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)

153 369 in the spotlight, on the staff training run at Bangor, 11 September. Picture by Eryl Crump.

Valley flask twilight

We've been informed that the Valley flask train of Wednesday 18 September will be the final one in the Wylfa power station's de-fuelling operation. In the meantime, here are some recent scenes. 88 004 Pandora and 68 004 Rapid power through Llandudno Junction, 9 September (Martin Evans)

Flint (Tim Rogers).

11 September at Bagillt: 68 034 leads 68 033 and three new-style FNA wagons  (Tim Rogers).

13 September near RAF Valley, with 68 017 Hornet and 68 034 (Tim Rogers).

Class 153 activity - pictures by Jim Johnson

Scenes of the staff-training / refresher workings by ex-Great Western 'dogbox'  153 369 in preparation for taking over the Conwy Valley and Borderlands branches for an interim period before the arrival of the Class 230 units from Vivarail.  All images from 10 September; above,  arriving at Bangor as 5T50, 09:36 Chester-Llandudno Junction via Bangor.

Moving onto the Up Main line, where it was held awaiting 1V95 10:45 Holyhead - Llanelli to clear the section.

Departing for Llandudno Junction (above). These units have had an unusual career. They were built in 1987-88 at the Leyland Bus factory in Workington, like the Class 142 'Pacers' with which they share come components.  They started life as 2-car express units (Class 155) designed to to perform similar duties to the Metro-Cammell Class 156 sets. One route to which they were allocated was Manchester - Crewe - Cardiff, but problems arose, with reports of the sliding doors open while the train was in motion. All were recalled for modification, and other stock, including 37-hauled trains, filled in for a while.

From 1992, Regional Railways nor having enough new units to replace the old 'heritage DMUs,  35 units were converted by Hunslet-Barclay to single-unit 153s intended for branch line and other minor services. This involved build a new (slightly smaller) cab at the 'inner' end and creating a toilet for the coaches without facilities. In this form they worked the North Wales branches in the 1990s, and have continued to appear on the Crewe - Shrewsbury locals and elsewhere.

Leaving Llandudno Junction Junction bay platform 2 as 5T51 12:30 to Chester, via Bangor. A member of the class it intends to usurp stands in Platform 3, 150 229 on the 11:35 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno.

Making a brief stop in Platform 3 at The Junction, on the return to Chester.

Feedback - Electric trains of Wales

Our comment last issue that the tramway at Betws-y-Coed railway museum is 'the only electric railway in Wales' has generated some interesting replies. Arguably, the Great Orme Tramway and the Aberystwyth funicular could be counted as 'electric railways' as they are powered by electric motors, but perhaps not.

James Dowling writes: 'There is one other electric tramway currently operating in Wales and that is located at the Cardiff Model Engineering Society’s site at Heath Park. It’s 50v DC and 18” gauge and runs regularly at their open days.  The line has recently been completely relaid so should have a secure future.

It will soon be academic, as Network Rail have announced that the overhead as far as Newport is to be energised very soon.

A visit to Nantmawr - with Iain Chippendale

Iain Chippendale writes:  'Not an electric railway, but an electric train arrived in Wales last year in the form of a 3-car class 309 EMU at Nantmawr, this unit is from the now closed Coventry Electric Railway Museum, apparently delivered by road to Blodwell Junction, then by rail to Nantmawr.  960 101 was a cab signalling test unit, converted from 309 616, one of the 309s which ran in the Manchester area for a while. [Apparently it is to be a buffet and museum.]

The track at Nantmawr once again heavily overgrown.  Unless someone can comment otherwise.  the DMUs on site don't appear to have moved for quite some time, and whilst some work is taking place on the 309, it can only be a static exhibit.  the DMUs are 51993, 52005, 52012, and 52031. Unless there can be some link up with the rest of the  Cambrian Railways , the future may be bleak. Hopefully someone can supply some up-to-date information.

Ruston-Hornsby 4wd Diesel Mechanical 88DS b. 1953 Wks. No. 338416 Crabtree

Passenger assortment

On 5 September at Manchester Oxford Road, new Northern unit 195 122 stands in Platform 3 on a Liverpool - Manchester Airport service which had been terminated at Oxford Road due to late running (Charlie Hulme).

On what was a typically congested morning, 11 September.  on the line through Deansgate, 67 010 makes its way across the river Irwell with the morning train from Piccadilly to Holyhead, which had started from Manchester Oxford Road running 22 minutes late, and was terminated at Chester. Behind the bridge can be glimpsed Stephenson 1829 river bridge, and beyond the new bridge carrying the Ordsall Chord (Greg Mape).

On the bridge carrying the Cheshire Lines route to Liverpool over the Bridgewater Canal, a Class 158 of what is now East Midlands Railway, owned by Abellio, a branch of the Netherlands Railways. The buildings behind are the first in an extensive new development on what was once the 'Pomona Pleasure Gardens.' (Greg Mape).

On 12 September 67 010  brings the empty stock into Manchester Piccadilly to form the 16:50 to Llandudno. There not much clearance between the skirt of the loco and the platform edge at this point (Charlie Hulme).

The sylvan scene on the Halton Curve line on 12 September as 150 235 passes with the 11:52 Chester - Liverpool Lime Street ...

... and 150 242 on the 11:36 Liverpool - Chester (Greg Mape).

13 September, and it's that 153 again - being passed  by eponymous Voyager 221 116 Dinas Bangor/City of Bangor on 1A43, 12:53 Holyhead - Euston ...

... and  67 010 propelling 1H89 13:07 Holyhead-Manchester Piccadilly (Jim Johnson).

RAF Valley on 13 September: 221 112 Ferdinand Magellan and 221 115 Polmadie Depot on
1A48 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston (Tim Rogers).

Cardiff Central (George Jones).

Ffestiniog Railway,  9 September - pictures by Martin Evans

Double Fairlie David Lloyd George (above) enters Tan-y-Bwlch station with the 11:25 service from Porthmadog.

Sister loco Merddin Emrys runs around at Blaenau Ffestiniog before departing with the 11:35 service to Porthmadog.

Beyer Garratt loco no 143 waits to depart Porthmadog with the 14:15 service to Caernarfon.

TransPennine loco-hauled

The Class 68-worked 'Nova 3' trains are now in passengers service for TransPennine, intermittently with just one diagram. Not everything has gone smoothly: Graham Breakwell, who sends this image,  writes: 'On 6 September I was trying to get from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool on the 12:56 departure. 68 026 and its Nova 3 set failed near Ashton and limped into Victoria at 13:28 having blocked the line and delayed following services. Passengers were told to board the train but shortly afterwards told to get off before it left empty for Longsight at 13:55, leaving us all to catch the late running 13:56 service. The fault was reported to be with “on-board safety systems”.

The plan for the week beginning 16 September is apparently:
5E23 04:33 Longsight TMD - Liverpool (empty stock)
1E23 05:56 Liverpool Lime Street - Scarborough
1F60 09:41 Scarborough- Liverpool - Lime Street
1E37 12:56 Liverpool Lime Street - Scarborough
1F74 16:44 Scarborough- Liverpool - Lime Street
1E51 19:56 Liverpool Lime Street - Scarborough
1P98 22:46 Scarborough - Manchester Piccadilly
5H86 01:24 Manchester Piccadilly - Longsight TMD (empty stock)
The route is via Stalybridge, Manchester Victoria and Eccles.

A visit to Stafford - with Martin Evans

On 3 September I spent a couple of hours at Stafford. Above,  88 010 Aurora brings the Daventry to Mossend intermodal through the station at 12:10.

66 705 Golden Jubilee powers through Stafford with an Avonmouth to Clitheroe cement service at 14:15.

West Coast Railways locos  47 245 and 37 516 with a returning empty coaching stock to Carnforth from Southall at 14:05.

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