Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

23 December 2019

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events

(see our Calendar page for venues)

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 , then 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)

60163 Tornado approaches Chester with the 'Chester Christmas Express' from Stevenage, 19 December. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.

Looking back - Cambrian curiosities

Kate Jones, whose husband worked as a guard on the Cambrian lines, sends us a Christmas present of some pictures from the family album, taken in the Morfa Mawddach area.  Above, a visit in late 1981 or early 1982 by the 'Class 140' prototype for the design which became the 'Pacer'.  Later versions had the cab, which was based on the style used for other trains built at the time, was replaced on the production 141s and 142s by a design reminiscent of the Derby-built units of the 1950s.  This unique unit,  140 001, still exists, preserved on the Keith and Dufftown Railway.

One of the regular steam specials which ran on the Cambrian before the introduction of the ERTMS signalling system, which requires cab-signalling equipment on the train, made them impractical.  Loco 76079 was built at Horwich Works in 1957, in the last years of steam building. Owned at the time of the specials by Ian Riley of Bury, it now works on the North Yorkshire Moors line.

A memorable event on 11  May 1991 was the visit of an HST set to the Cambrian Coast, on one of a series of such tours run by Hertfordshire Railtours in partnership with British Rail Intercity.  This one ran from London to Pwllheli; not the first Cambrian Coast HST, one ran the previous year.

Sometime in the 1990s, driver training unit ADB 977775 / 977776 was in action  on the Cambrian coast. This had been converted from a Class 114 passenger unit, initially as a demonstrator unit for the Automatic Train Protection system then being developed, and  later installed on the Great Western and Chiltern lines. The Train Testing web page has full details

A Royal Train makes an appearance  in 1993 on the way to Porthmadog. The locomotive in view is 31 146 Brush Veteran: out of view at the head of the train was 31 147. (Here is a link to a photograph by Ken Robinson.).  Both were in the 'Dutch' livery of the Engineers' Department, although 147 also wore a 'Regional Railways'  branding. The Class 31s would have been chosen for their light axle-loading; the name of 146, applied in 1992 related to the builders  Brush of Loughborough, and the 35th anniversary of the class.  It was to be 2018 before the last Class 31 was taken out of main line service.

At privatisation the Cambrian system became part of Central Trains, and by 1999  Class 158s in the company's vivid green livery were appearing on the Coast.

Newly-built Class 170s also had a brief career on the Cambrian (mostly the Aberystwyth route) in around 1999-2000, but there were problems with the radio-based signalling in use at the time, and they did not have the gangway connections useful for trains which split at Machynlleth. Today, it's all 158s.

Tim Rogers' view

On 14 December, 150 285, still with remembrance poppy, calls at Shotton working  2J53 08:31 Bidston to Wrexham Central

There was a plan, as discussed in earlier issues, to replace the 150s with 153s on the Borderlands line at the 15 December timetable change , but in the end this has not happened.  On 19 December (above)  150 282 was working 2F58 10:32 Wrexham Central to Bidston.

Class 150s continue to appear in place of 175s or 158s on North Wales Coast services. Approaching the low level platforms at Shotton  on 19 December, 150 236 on 1H85 09:45 Llandudno to Manchester Airport.

It's going to take a while to get used to 'Avanti West Coast' instead of Virgin! On 14 December, de-branded 221 102 is seen at Flint on 1D82 08:10 London Euston to Holyhead...

... and 221 104 on 1D82 08:10 London Euston to Holyhead passes Shotton on 19 December. Virgin have retained all the nameplates, so watch out for a charity auction.

After an erratic period with 175s substituting, 67 020 is the current loco on the Manchester (or 'paupers' to some enthusiasts) diagram.  On 19 December 1D34 09:52 Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead passes Shotton. There's still no information about when this and the Cardiff - Holyhead services will be replaced by Class 67s and Mk4 coaches. To be used after 31 December the Mk3 coaches will need a 'derogation' to the rules relating to 'persons of reduced mobility.'

TfW have a page on their website describing the accessibility of their different types of train, which offers 'by May 2020'  and adds 'Please be aware that our Locomotive-Hauled Coach Engine [sic] and four coaches do not feature fully accessible facilities, including toilets. We apologise for this inconvenience and are doing all we can to improve this situation. Details of the services impacted by this issue will soon be available here.'

Avanti at Wrexham

On 19 December Avanti West Coast sent de-branded 221 101 with added logo to Wrexham Central to meet (left to right) Minister Ken Skates AM, Carolyn Thomas the Deputy Leader of Flintshire Council, Cllr David A Bithell,  Lead Member, Environment and Transport, Wrexham Council (and signaller at Croes Newydd).  A celebration of 'the new era' but it will be some time before anything changes as far as Wrexham - London services are concerned. Eventually, the 221s are to be replaced by new 'bi-mode' units.

Ian Henderson photographed 221 101 passing Chester on its way back to base at Barton-
under-Needwood.  The unit was available for the new look as it had previously been the only Voyager  'vinyled' with Virgin's 'flowing silk' livery which could be removed.  In the background, the coaches of the Stevenage - Chester steam excursion.

Meanwhile, Avanti have taken the advertising poster space on every one of the stations on their network to offer a big 'hello.'

While at Wrexham, here is the timetable for the replacement buses which are running until further notice because the new fast train doesn't stop at some stations. All very strange.

Looking back: Helsby to Hooton line  - pictures by Bob Greenhalgh

A Class 101 'Metro-Cammell' DMU heads for Helsby near Ince and Elton, circa 1980.

The Royal Train near Ince and Elton, circa 1979. We believe the loco is 47 555 The Commonwealth Spirit which was something of celebrity at the time, and worked the Royal Train on a number of occasions.

Stanlow and Thornton station, 1988. A pair of Class 20s with a train of bagged fertiliser from the UKF plant heading for Ellesmere Port.

Stanlow refinery in 1988 is the backdrop for the passage of a 'heritage' liveried Class 108, 53964 and 54247, Chester-based unit CH274. The 'speed whiskers' are hard to discern on the full-yellow end.

West Coast variety - pictures by Greg Mape

Greg writes: 'On 18 December I travelled to the Lancaster area, to a location  not far from a waypoint called 'Bay Horse'  on the West Coast Main Line with the aim of taking pictures of the Flying Scotsman running from Manchester Victoria to Carlisle, but it was hauled by West Coast Railways 47 854 Diamond Jubilee (above) instead.

The line was busy with much variety, including a 2-car Northern Class 195 on a test run.

A TransPennine  (TPE) class 350 now in LNWR colours but still in use TPE use...

... and one still in TPE colours.

A new TPE class 397.

A Daventry to Mossend intermodal with 88 006 Juno and 88 007 Electra....

... and a southbound Tesco service with 88 002 Prometheus.

Three postal units no doubt loaded with Christmas cards and presents from Warrington to Scotland.

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