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Branches

Merseyside, Chester & North Wales

Meeting Reports

Tuesday 27th June 2017
Strathclyde Day Ranger

In the previous two years the Branch had enjoyed good weather for our annual visit to Strathclyde. We wondered could we make it three in a row. The answer was a resounding “no” as it rained continually whilst we were there. When you consider that Glasgow has an annual rainfall of 43.1 inches and Dunoon has 94 inches [higher than Fort William] it is hardly surprising.

The party of 9 travelled north separately travelling on 350406 & 390011 “City of Lichfield” meeting at Glasgow Central. 314204 took the party to Gourock on the 10.55 departure where we joined Argyll Ferries “The Ali Cat” for the sailing to Dunoon. We returned to Gourock aboard Argyll Ferries MV “Argyll Flyer” before travelling to Kilcreggan aboard Clydelink MV“Island Princess” which had been out of service earlier in the Month.

At Kilcreggan we travelled on Optare YJ13HKX of Garelochhead Coaches. The timetable allows 33 minutes for the 15.6 miles which results in a rather hair-raising journey due to the narrowness of the roads particularly on the west side of Gare Loch. From Helensburgh we travelled aboard 334010 to Partick and then rode the Subway to St Enoch before spending 80 minutes at Queen St High Level.

Appropriately 390131 “City Of Liverpool” returned us South on 1M19 18.40 Glasgow Central - Euston.

Please contact Alan Turton for a list of what was seen.

Tuesday 13th June 2017
East Suffolk Line

As the days get longer our monthly outdoor fixtures also head to more distant areas. Thus for the first of two June fixtures we travelled to East Anglia. Seven Members attended travelling to London on different trains before meeting at Liverpool Street to travel on the 11.00 to Norwich with 90006. At Ipswich we were met by Ipswich Branch stalwart John Day, changing into 156416 on the 12.17 to Lowestoft. Upon arrival at Lowestoft we continued to Norwich aboard the same unit forming the 13.48 service. At Cantley we passed 68024/68003 on the 14.05 Norwich – Lowestoft. We then enjoyed 90 minutes at Norwich before departing on the 16.00 to Liverpool Street with 90005. John left the party at Ipswich and we travelled to Stratford enjoying a hectic 60 minutes number bashing before travelling into the Capital. Many thanks are due to John for giving up his day to travel with the party and share his considerable knowledge of the area. If anyone would like a list of what was seen please e mail;mrrory11@btinternet.com

Tuesday 9th May 2017
Observation at Newport

11 Members attended the fixture of which 3 were from other RCTS Branches. Most of the party travelled both ways aboard “The Wag” with 67020 for haulage. The weather upon arrival at Newport was cloudy with a cold easterly wind. At Cardiff the weather was sunny and much warmer and the freight traffic was reasonable by 2017 standards. At the Newport fixture it is the norm to visit Cardiff for part of the day taking in an HST ride in both directions. The highlight was the working of 70811/13/14/17 from Westbury to Canton. 70809/10 were also seen by the RCTS Party. TOPS indicated 5 others were at Canton so 11 of the 17 Colas Class 70’s were actually in the Cardiff area when the party was there! A total of 21 different locomotives were seen in addition to 17 HST sets.

Monday 24th April 2017
Onwards to Corwen
George Jones

31 attendees were at George Jones’ presentation in Chester on 24th April, which was appropriately entitled “On to Corwen”; it being 50 years to the week after the WM&CQ RailTour, organised by the Merseyside Branch as it was then, ran - the last passenger train to reach Llangollen. George’s most interesting and informative talk began by him looking at the rather dilapidated scene around Llangollen station in the early 1970s, when local dignitary and residents saw it as an eyesore and embarrassment. He then traced the line to Carrog, through its various stages of re-opening up to there between 1975 and 1996. It was pleasing to hear from the inside, so to speak, as George was responsible for the Corwen extension publicity, and he stressed the importance of winning support from local councils, MPs, Welsh Assembly Members (AMs), businesses, residents and conservation groups for the parliamentary submission stage, the two which cost £230,000 in total, highlighting and, persuading them what advantages the railway would bring to the town. In 2014 services began temporarily to Dwyrain Corwen East, called by some ‘a blot on the landscape’ and by others ‘an engineering achievement’, with the aim of reaching Corwen Central for the 2018 season, finances permitting.

Tuesday 11th April 2017
West Midlands Day Ranger/Severn Valley Rly

Eight Members journeyed to the magnificent Severn Valley Railway on a sunny spring day.

There were 4 operational Steam locomotives, GWR 2857, 7714 & 7812 Earlestoke Manor on normal service duties with 34027 Taw Valley working a Charter train.

After a return trip on the S.V.R the opportunity was taken to sample the delights of the Parry People mover on the service from Stourbridge Junction to the Town. We then travelled to Bromsgrove spending an hour at the new Station which opened on 12 July 2016 before ascending “the Lickey” observing the progress being made on the Electrification between Barnt Green & Bromsgrove. It is expected the overhead equipment will be energised in September 2017 prior to the introduction of Electric services to Bromsgrove in May 2018. WOLVERHAMPTON [09.35-09.50] 170631 1G13 08.47 SHREWSBURY – NEW ST 221132 1O10 08.27 MAN PIC – BOURNEMOUTH 323222 2A15 09.50 TO WALSALL [RIDE] 221113 ADDED TO FRONT OF 9M48 390124 9S47 07.43 EUSTON – GLASGOW

WOLVES STEEL TERMINAL 66188 TO WORK 6E08 13.03 TO IMMINGHAM

SMETHWICK GALTON BRIDGE [10.07-10.14] 172344 2K10 09.40 WHITLOCKS END – KIDDERMINSTER [RIDE]

ROWLEY REGIS [10.19/10.20] 172218 + 172??? 2C20 09.55 KIDDERMINSTER – DORRIDGE

CRADLEY HEATH [10.24/10.25] 172339 2S26 09.52 WORCESTER SHRUB HILL – WHITLOCKS END

STOURBRIDGE JNC [10.29/10.30] 172340 2D22 10.28 STOURBRIDGE JNC – STRATFORD ON AVON 139001

HAGLEY [10.33/10.34] 172337 2S28 10.25 KIDDERMINSTER – WHITLOCKS END

S.V.R KIDDERMINSTER 7812 EARLESTOKE MANOR 11.00 TO BRIDGNORTH [HAULAGE] [STOCK - 12992/1086/1146/5883/W1856/1116]

OTHER STOCK 9084/9654/M31420M

KIDDERMINSTER SHED D2960 D3022/D4100 20177/D8188/20189/20205 50007/50031/50035/50044/50049

STOCK 10734/17167/3247/3275/3182/1566/3273/3174/92904/1953/10606

BEWDLEY [11.15/11.17] 43106 M50933/M56208 M51941/E59250/E52064

ARLEY [11.29/11.34] 2857 10.50 BRIDGNORTH – KIDDERMINSTER [STOCK - W25771/43612/643/24506/52255/43600/2701]

IN SIDING; 9085

HIGHLEY 73202/624 [TRACK MACHINES]

HAMPTON LOADE [11.59] 34027 TAW VALLEY SOUTH - CHARTER TRAIN [STOCK - W80972W/9055/3930/9103/9653]

BRIDGNORTH [ARR 12.14]

7714 12.20 BRIDGNORTH – KIDDERMINSTER [HAULAGE] [STOCK – 80969/24617/149/26880/2300/27270/27218]

SHED 1450 4566 4930 HAGLEY HALL [MINUS BOILER] 7802 BRADLEY MANOR 34053 SIR KEITH PARK 92214 D3586

STOCK S24845/S25686 ADM1091/30

HIGHLEY 2857 12.30 KIDDERMINSTER – BRIDGNORTH [ARRIVE 13.12] 7812 13.05 BRIDGNORTH – KIDDERMINSTER [HAULAGE]

THE ENGINE HOUSE 7325 45110 46443 47383 48773 80079 WD600 GORDON THE LADY ARMAGHDALE

STOCK 798 W80300

ARLEY 34027 NORTH ON CHARTER TRAIN D 13.50

BEWDLEY [14.03/14.12] 7714 14.00 KIDDERMINSTER – BRIDGNORTH

KIDDERMINSTER [ARRIVE 14.23]

KIDDERMINSTER 172222/172215 [RIDE] 2C48 14.00 GREAT MALVERN – DORRIDGE

STOURBRIDGE JNC [ARR 14.47] 172336 2J49 13.26 STRATFORD ON AVON – STOURBRIDGE JNC 2S54 14.57 STOURBRIDGE JNC – STRATFORD ON AVON 139002 [RIDE] 2P11 14.55 – STOURBRIDGE TOWN 2P12 15.00 STOURBRIDGE TOWN – STOURBRIDGE JNC 172343 2C50 14.55 KIDDERMINSTER – DORRIDGE 153375 [RIDE]/170630 2V34 14.19 WHITLOCKS END – WORCESTER F ST

KIDDERMINSTER [15.21/15.22] 172337 STABLED, TO WORK 2S58 15.25 TO WHITLOCKS END

DROITWICH SPA [15.31/15.37] 170633 [RIDE] 1M89 14.39 HEREFORD – NEW ST

BROMSGROVE [15.46-16.42] 170106 1V11 14.10 NOTTINGHAM – CARDIFF 220027 1V59 14.07 MAN PIC – PAIGNTON 220018 1M53 15.00 BRISTOL – MAN PIC 170504/153366 1V30 15.49 NEW ST – HEREFORD 170102 1M98 14.45 CARDIFF –NOTTINGHAM 221136 1V60 09.34 DUNDEE – PENZANCE [TRAIN CANCELLED ABERDEEN – DUNDEE] 221128 1S53 13.25 PLYMOUTH – EDINBURGH 170633 1V20 16.19 NEW ST – GREAT MALVERN 170513/170634 [RIDE] 1M72 15.39 HEREFORD – NEW ST

Wednesday 5th April 2017
Railways - The Digital Effect
David Rapson

The Liverpool meeting on 5th April was an intriguing presentation by David Rapson entitled “Railways – the Digital Effect”. He showed a varied selection of excellent photographs, many his own, but including some obtained through a variety of sources, ranging from extremely good examples that had needed little correction to those which initially were at the other end of the scale requiring much-detailed attention.

David proved that, with the right software, it is possible now ‘to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’, including one which initially was a dubious quality colour shot that he had transformed into an excellent b&w example.

There was a vast variety of motive power covering 1910 to present day, which encompassed all ‘big four’ examples, standards and modern, with scenes taken during all seasons both in Britain and across the globe, even thick snow in Mongolia, whilst steam locomotives existing into BR days seen, included those with the longest and shortest service – 58865 (93y 0m) and 9499 (4y 2m) plus 61057 (3y 9m) – Witham accident, March 1950.

This extremely thoughtfully and professionally executed presentation was witnessed by 33 attendees, who eagerly await a return, and he is sincerely thanked for his great efforts.

Tuesday 28th March 2017
Observation at Nottingham/Toton

Seven intrepid explorers left Crewe to visit Nottingham and onward to the famous hill overlooking Toton Yard & Depot. On arriving at Nottingham, another member joined us, making eight in all. At the station, the party split with a couple riding the Nottingham tram system, another couple travelling on various other lines in the area. The other half of the group took the tram to Toton, and, led by our excellent guide, walked to the hill overlooking the works. After being suitably fed and watered, we decided to have a go at walking round to the other side of the works to see what we couldn’t see from the hill. Into the unknown we went, led by our own “David Livingstone”. After walking through a nature reserve, we walked round the other side and picked up a few more numbers, which we could not see from the hill. It was then a route march back to the tram and on to the station. We all finally met back together at Derby, where the days experiences were exchanged. If the resting eyes, on the way back to Crewe were anything to go by, a good day was had by all.

Monday 20th March 2017
A Colour-Rail Presentation
Paul Chancellor

The attendees, 27 in number, at the Chester meeting on 20th March witnessed a most interesting and enjoyable presentation from Paul Chancellor, who concentrated on Cardiff, Peterborough, Carlisle, Bournemouth, Birmingham New St., Edinburgh and Leeds/Bradford. At each of the locations Paul started with a shot taken around the 1930s, but also included one of an S&DJR 4-4-0 taken in 1909, and he then worked through the decades to almost the present day. Some of the interesting shots taken in earlier times were 1340 Trojan at Cardiff East Dock, plus some Taff Vale and Cardiff Railway locomotives around Cardiff, LMS 10456, WD601 and the unusual combination of D8113+70028 on passenger stock at Carlisle, LNER 2001, 2002 and the Waverley pilots, 68481 in apple green and 68474 around Edinburgh with ex LNWR 25677 seen at New St., whilst more modern images at Bournemouth were of 10000, 10203 and other regions locomotives borrowed in 1953, then Cl.141s in white with green band in Yorkshire. Paul finished with a section from around the country of ‘Where you here?’ showing various shots at stations depicting enthusiasts enjoying their hobby, which was interspersed with some of his ‘dry humour’. Those present would certainly welcome an early return.

Tuesday 14th March 2017
Observation at Doncaster

There is not much to say about trips to Doncaster which has not already been said! This was the Branch’s first visit since Platform “0” was officially opened to traffic on 12/12/16. As a consequence, as we invariably “observe” at the South end of the Station we now miss the Northern services which arrive & depart from the new platform. Generally time keeping was good, the exception being 1E11 ex Aberdeen which passed 35 minutes late & 1N93 to Sunderland which was 40 minutes late. Nine Members attended. For a list of all recordings please e mail alan.christine@daisytally.fsnet.co.uk

Tuesday 28th February 2017
South Pennines Day Ranger

The weather in the UK can be changeable [as we all know] No sooner had we recovered from “Storm Doris” on Thursday 23/2, we then had to contend with a blizzard lasting for one hour around our departure time of 09.20 from Manchester Piccadilly. The Peak District hills were covered with snow but only on the west side as there was no snow to be seen towards Sheffield. From Sheffield we travelled to Leeds via Barnsley & the enjoyed 70 minutes of number bashing at Leeds. Travel was then to Huddersfield via Bradford Interchange. From Huddersfield we caught the 14.13 to Sheffield via Penistone. All went well until Shepley where we crossed the northbound unit. We remained in the Station and it was announced that the Conductor had been assaulted by a Passenger & B T Police had been summoned. Some Members of the party had seen 2 females running off the Platform so we assume they were the culprits. We saw no evidence the Police arrived and we departed 17 minutes late. To avoid the “melee” at Sheffield we joined our Manchester bound service at Meadowhall arriving in Manchester on time. The fun was not over for the writer as problems near Liverpool Lime St caused by a partial wall collapse resulted in the LM service to be terminated at Crewe thus requiring travel home via Chester. Seven Members attended.

Monday 20th February 2017
Leicester Area Steam Days
Fred Kirk

There were 23 attendees at the Chester meeting on 20th February to see Fred Kirk’s extremely informative presentation “Leicester Area Steam Days”, which was centred on the many locations to which he could cycle within reasonable distance of that city and, be able to return the same day. The area was interesting as it was possible on occasions to see locomotives from all of the ex ‘big four’ railway companies, not just those of LMS or LNER origin. Fred gave a history of the various lines and showed many photographs of workings seen on all the main lines and some cross country routes in the area taken around the 1950s. Amongst those shown were 60525 en route to Marylebone for its naming ceremony, Claughtons and the Turbomotive at Nuneaton, D16s and J6s in Leicester, some of which were at Belgrave Road and 6990 during the locomotive trials. In addition we saw the more common performers such as pacifics and V2s on both the LNER and GC, Jubilees on the Midland, named classes of the LMS on the LNWR main lines and many of the numerous other classes of locomotive, which were part of the railway scene during that period.

Tuesday 14th February 2017
Observation at Nuneaton

10.07 68001 6U76 08.59 BASFORD HALL - MOUNTSORREL 10.11 57309 + 68013 0Z09 08.30 GRESTY BRIDGE – BRENT SDGS 10.43 66516 4L93 10.08 LAWLEY ST - FELIXSTOWE 11.39 70015 4M34 04.28 COATBRIDGE – DAVENTRY 11.46 66040 4O21 09.15 TRAFFORD PARK – SOUTHAMPTON 12.12 70010 4O27 10.42 BASFORD HALL – SOUTHAMPTON 12.21 387142/387145 5K56 10.33 WEMBLEY – CREWE 12.42 DR79264/DR79274 6U02 10.34 WILLESDEN – TYSELEY T.M.D 12.51 66777 6G16 11.23 STUD FARM – BESCOT V.Q 13.13 66774 6M26 08.50 EASTLEIGH - MOUNTSORREL 13.29 66532 4M81 08.01 FELIXSTOWE - CREWE 13.39 90043 4L90 12.30 BASFORD HALL - FELIXSTOWE 13.49 66420 4M86 03.00 FELIXSTOWE – LAWLEY ST [257 MINS LATE] 13.51 90029/90024 4M25 06.07 MOSSEND - DAVENTRY 14.15 57311 0Z11 13.11 WILLESDEN – GRESTY BRIDGE 14.23 70806 6M50 07.55 WESTBURY V.Q – BESCOT V.Q 14.41 47815 5H70 09.14 CARLISLE – WOLVERTON CENTRE SIDING [+975875/977087] 14.41 70004 4S44 12.13 DAVENTRY – COATBRIDGE [120 MINS LATE] 14.46 66548 4M63 09.12 FELIXSTOWE - DITTON 14.47 387145/387142 5A55 14.04 CREWE - WEMBLEY 15.14 66565 4M94 07.39 FELIXSTOWE – LAWLEY ST [58 MINS LATE] 15.32 66016 4L07 11.38 BURTON ON TRENT - FELIXSTOWE 15.41 66067 6O11 10.00 DOWLOW - SOUTHAMPTON 15.48 66766 4M23 10.46 FELIXSTOWE – HAMS HALL 16.02 66182 4L56 13.17 TRAFFORD PARK – LONDON GATEWAY ALSO SEEN 153371 170101/12/15/16 170520/22 170636-38 221104/06/08/12-14/43 350118/22/23/27 350247/55 350369 390001/02/05/06/16/39/40/43/44/49/50 390103/04/07/15/18/21-23/25/26/28/29/32/35/38/41/52/54/56/57 DR 73923 [Stabled]

Wednesday 1st February 2017
North-West Railway Photography 1995-2015
Mark Youdan

32 attendees at the Liverpool meeting on 1st February saw Mark Youdan give a presentation entitled “North West Railway Photography, 1995-2015”, which was half slide and half digital. Whilst all photographs were to Mark’s high standard, it highlighted the ease photographers have in producing better results these days compared with pre-digital as our tour covered the area from its extremes at Peak Forest, Holyhead, Merseyside and Manchester to Carlisle via both the WCML and S&C. Mark brought back memories of the vast number of different, but once familiar liveries of both units and locomotives that have been seen in the area, such as a variety of Northern, Merseyrail and Central Trains diesel units, Transrail and Load Haul locomotives and even Virgin coaching stock, together with some less familiar ones such as the Caledonian liveried Cl.101 ex-Strathclyde Passenger Transport, the Cl.309s in revised NSE livery and the old WYPTE red and cream livery. We were also reminded of the array of regular diesel and electric units and locomotives which were once an everyday occurrence during that period, but have now disappeared altogether, or only used on specials and other odd occasions such as Cl.86/87s, Cl.101, 304, 309 to name but a few.

Tuesday 24th January 2017
Lancashire Day Ranger

LANCASHIRE DAY RANGER 24/1/2017

Only four Members attended but a good time was had by all.

The day started at Liverpool Lime St with 185105 on 1E66 [09.12 to Newcastle] At Manchester Victoria we boarded 156461 2N58 [10.03 to Clitheroe]

We alighted at Blackburn and enjoyed [if it can be so described] 36 minutes of freezing temperatures. If there was ever a contest for Britain’s coldest Station then Blackburn would surely be a contender! We were delighted to see 142013 arrive on time for our trip to Colne 2N18 [10.20 ex Blackpool South] We travelled back on the same unit to Preston & then boarded 1N62 12.29 Man Airport – Blackpool North with 156423/156483.

Time was limited at Blackpool however we walked to North Pier travelling on Tram 008 to/from Fleetwood Ferry.

158796 then took us back to Preston on 1B29 16.11 to York. From Preston 319364 took us back to Liverpool thus concluding a good day.

Monday 16th January 2017
Branch AGM followed by slide presentation
John Cashen

Following the Branch AGM, John Cashen produced an excellent show entitled “1960s Reminiscences” for the 21 present, which covered most main routes within the Branch area between Southport and Barmouth and, despite the title, actually included some photographs from 1959 and a couple in 1973. D1006 Western Stalwart entered service on 6th July 1962 and John, who is most certainly an M,C&NW Branch stalwart, was new to traffic in 1945 beginning his spotting in 1953 and taking his first photographs with a box brownie four years later. Surprisingly for then LMS jackshaft shunter, 12009, holds the distinction of being his first cop, as it passed Garston Church Road box on his trip to Speke Jct. and Allerton. Many local sheds featured and, in addition, there were shots of the famous “gridiron” at Edge Hill together with many of Grand National specials, including the Swansea ‘blue’ Pullman. There were several photographs on the CLC, with one at Gateacre of the SO steam passenger working known locally as the “12.30 tank”, although on this occasion the locomotive was Ivatt 2-6-0 43012! The total number of photographs shown was 196 which, in view of the variety and quality, ensured we went home happy.

Tuesday 10th January 2017
Observation at Stafford

A combination of various problems for Members but particularly illness resulted in a reduced attendance of 7 at the first outdoor fixture of the New Year.

Little of interest to report however 3 double headed combinations was unusual as compared to previous visits.

It turned out to be the last week of diesel operation on the Coatbridge – Daventry workings before going over to Class 90 operation.

A total of 19 locomotives & 78 units was a good start to 2017;

09.16 66571 4M45 02.50 FELIXSTOWE - DITTON 09.47 66701 4M21 03.10 FELIXSTOWE - DITTON 10.04 66570 4O49 09.22 BASFORD HALL - SOUTHAMPTON 10.38 66099 6M13 01.06 DOLLANDS MOOR - DITTON 10.49 70004 4M34 04.28 COATBRIDGE - DAVENTRY 11.03 66020 4O21 09.15 TRAFFORD PARK - SOUTHAMPTON 13.05 68003 6G94 12.21 CREWE VQ - BESCOT 13.09 90029+90024 4M25 06.07 MOSSEND - DAVENTRY 13.45 90043 4L90 12.30 BASFORD HALL - FELIXSTOWE 14.05 70018 4M81 08.01 FELIXSTOWE – BASFORD HALL 14.17 70006 4S44 12.13 DAVENTRY - COATBRIDGE 14.57 66172 6O11 10.00 DOWLOW - SOUTHAMPTON 15.16 66006 4L56 13.17 TRAFFORD PARK – LONDON GATEWAY 15.16 66542+66598 4M28 09.30 SOUTHAMPTON - GARSTON 15.24 86605+86614 4M63 09.12 FELIXSTOWE - DITTON 15.39 66511 0Z65 12.00 LONG MARSTON – BASFORD HALL

19 locomotives ALSO SEEN

220004/10/12/13/15/21/22/24/27 [9] 221101/02/04/06/09/10/12/13/15/18/21/26/28/29/34/38/42/43 [18] 350102/05-07/13/16/24/26 [8] 350234/37/42/45/52/57/62/63 [8] 350375 [1] 3900001/02/05/06/09/11/16/20/39/40/42-44/46/47 [15] 390112/14/15/17/19/24-28/34/36/37/51/53-55/57 [18]

Monday 19th December 2016
North Wales in Black & White
John Hobbs

Local member John Hobbs gave an extremely interesting and nostalgic b&w presentation in Chester on 19th December to an attendance of 28 depicting the North Wales scene (1963-66). Starting at Chester he got to the extremes of Holyhead and Barmouth and points in between via the Dyserth, Amlwch and Brymbo steel works branches. It was notable how much freight traffic, especially meat and cattle, came from Holyhead and, how on one down morning parcels the locomotive, previously returning the following day, now returned that afternoon when deputising for a Cl.40. Anecdotes mentioned were when photographing 44276 at Chester, the fireman also took a photograph of him and of a trip on the 17.16 Chester to WR parcels with a friend, who should have had a tea trolley on the previous passenger, managing sales to PW staff on the two days covered; they complained it was missing the following day! He desperately wanted a colour shot of a “Duchess” in 1964 so bought a colour film (7s6d - 37.5p equivalent) for 46245 in red on a parcels, and paid 2s9d (14p) Prestatyn-Chester when he only earned £2.2s101/2d (£2.14) per week, although he got a bonus with green 46237 – oh for digital!

Wednesday 7th December 2016
The 8D Association
Paul Wright

The Liverpool meeting on 7th December saw an attendance of 25 entertained by Paul Wright of the 8D Association, who related how from a handful of people in 2010 with an interest in the history of railways around 10/15 miles of Widnes shed, a thriving local society exists today with a membership approaching 80.

Paul then expanded on its development before tracing the southern half of the St. Helens & Runcorn Gap Railway, opened 1833, to provide a rail link for freight to a purpose-built dock at Widnes, with a connection to the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. Passenger trains, ultimately known as ‘The Ditton Dodger’ ran between Widnes and St. Helens, 1833-1951, and unadvertised miners’ trains operated by LNWR/LMS from Shaw St., 1919-1930, which split near Clock Face where colliery locos took them forward to Sutton Manor and Clock Face collieries. Passenger diversions still used the line until 1981.

This was the start of Widnes becoming an extremely busy railway area and Paul, as usual, supplied innumerable obscure facts, e.g. Widnes Goods depot still had horses up to 1962 when the last one was transferred to Deansgate – that wasn’t reported in the RO transfers!

He then traced the extension in 1852 from Widnes down to Garston Dock, a station which in 1858 boasted a passenger service of through coaches to King’s Cross, operated by the GNR. Latterly it was the southern terminus of a service to Lime St. competing with that of the CLC into Liverpool Central

Tuesday 6th December 2016
Observation at Stafford

On a cold and dull 6th December eight members visited Stafford, brought forward from 13th, although unfortunately two Committee members were absentees because of illness. The mince pies, as usual for this pre-Christmas visit, were in full flow and our thanks go to those who supplied such offerings. Apart from the usual freights and succession of Pendolinos, Voyagers and Cl.350s, also seen were the ‘yellow peril’, which included our named 43014, an RHTT working – regular for this time of year – 387139/138, the day’s highlight, on a Wembley-Crewe and return test run and ECS 323240. The only event of note occurred at 08.40 when 350103 was failed whilst working the 07.34 Lime St.- New St. after it hit a pheasant en route, causing wheel slip sensor problems. This blocked platform 4 until 10.30 when it left for Crewe with other trains having to use platforms 1 or 3, or travel via the ‘up through line’. Our thanks also go to Alan Turton for arrangements even though one of the absentees, but now back in service – must have been overdue an exam!

Some photos taken on the day by Peter Hughes & Roger Thomas, together with a list of sightings complied by Alan Turton, can be found here.

Monday 21st November 2016
Sixties Steam on Shed
Barry Shore

25 members and visitors braved the atrocious stormy weather on 21st November to attend the Branch’s meeting at Chester. As a result of Brian Arman’s unfortunate necessary cancellation, and the branch hopes he has a speedy recovery, Barry Shore kindly deputised at relatively short notice to give us a presentation entitled “Steam on Shed”. With his usual attention to detail and information relating to the locomotive classes Barry produced a very informative evening looking back at motive power, both steam and some of their now not so modern replacements, which he saw and photographed whilst he covered many miles by bicycle travelling all over the country to both lineside locations and locomotive sheds and workshops.

His presentation reminded those present of just how many different classes and installations existed, especially during the early 1960s, something which is a lot scarcer on our rather stereo type railway today. It also reminded us that visiting railway depots then held an excitement as to what we may find hidden away in some corner, either awaiting its fate or even possibly still in use after many years of service and his return in the future is awaited.

Tuesday 8th November 2016
Observation at Doncaster

A drop in temperature to a cold 6C meant this was a day for several layers of clothing. A number of the usual attendees were unavailable due to illness & work commitments however the attendance was still an encouraging 8 Members including 2 from the Humberside Branch.

Since freight movements through the Station are now much reduced we were determined not to miss freight & light engine movements using the Bridge Jnc - Hexthorpe Jnc curve south of the Station. Several were missed when we last visited in July so on this occasion we were more attentive than ever before and as a result did not miss any.

Freight levels were broadly similar to our earlier 2016 visits in March & July. Timekeeping was generally good.

Some photos taken on the day by Chris Dilley, Peter Hughes & Alan Turton, together with a list of sightings provided by Alan Turton, can be found here.

Monday 17th October 2016
Sheds : Part 2
John Sloane

Following on from John's first visit in December 2014, he returned with another superb show. We began at Heaton Mersey & Stockport Edgeley before moving to Cromford, Sheep Pasture & Middleton Top. There then followed an in depth study of Derby Shed & Works accompanied by detailed maps & drawings. John recalled an RCTS Branch visit in 1956 when the party witnessed an 8F falling into the turntable pit at the south end of Derby Shed. Reference to the July 1956 RO confirms this to have been on 10/6/56 the culprit being 48153 of 17A. Pictures were shown of various locations in & around Derby including St Andrews Goods Yard with stored Claytons awaiting repair prior to entering service. Frustratingly most did not carry numbers. Another at the G.N.R Friargate shed showed the stored ACV/BUT lightweight Railcars [nicknamed 'Flying Bricks'] ex the St Albans Abbey - Watford Junction service. There then followed a detailed study of Toton then Nottingham with a rare picture of Arkwright St Shed. John concluded with a visit to Stratford again supported by many detailed maps & drawings. It was a fascinating evening with John who is a great authority on all matters associated with Locomotive sheds & depots. We look forward to his next visit.

Tuesday 11th October 2016
Observation at Nuneaton

Although on this occasion double figures were not attained, the 9 Members who attended were delighted with an above average number of loco movements & freights. A total of 33 different locomotives was indeed a good return. The weather was generally cloudy however it was not cold & the sun did appear in the afternoon.

Inevitably much banter ensued with discussions about football [inevitably], the American elections, Brexit & the respective merits of 1970s bands Slade & The Sweet! Indeed one Member acquired the name of one of The Sweet's hits from 1972.

Some photos taken on the day by Chris Dilley, Peter Hughes, Richard Neale & Alan Turton, together with a list of sightings provided by Alan Turton, can be found here.

Wednesday 5th October 2016
Railways in a Cornish Landscape
Stephen Gay

35 attendees at Liverpool saw Stephen Gay's presentation 'Railways in a Cornish Landscape' on his return to the branch on 5th October. He gave us part one of his rambling tour around the county with his faithful dog Wrawby. He showed us views of viaducts and stations starting on the Gunnislake branch, seeing a 1958 Bristol Lodekka bus and an 1890 GW carriage, now a home, then down the main line to Truro, via all the branches. We saw an HST heading west towards the setting golden sunlight working, appropriately, 'The Golden Hind' and St. Blazey roundhouse. There was a mix of power with the occasional freight including one at, what is probably the most popular railway view in Cornwall, Golant, plus a weed-killing train and a derailment. Stephen related his weekend stay in an ex-GW Broad Gauge TPO, now a camping coach alongside St. Germans up platform and, of the practice at Liskeard where passengers on a through Looe-Plymouth service, had to detrain at Liskeard branch platform and re-join the train at the main platform, whilst the unit ran around the curve linking the two. He ended at Carnon Bridge crossing on the long closed Redruth & Chacewater Railway, where in 1899 an accident involving the death of a namesake occurred, whilst the crossing keeper on duty was the casualty's mother-in-law. His return with part two is eagerly awaited.

Monday 19th September 2016
Diesel Diaries - The Sixties
Barry Shore

Long standing member and supporter of the Branch, Barry Shore, gave an attendance of 25 at the Branch meeting in Chester on 19th September a talk entitled 'Diesel Diary: The Sixties'. With his usual attention to detail and information on locomotive and unit classes, he showed us black and white photographs of the diesel scene during the 1960s which were taken whilst on his journeys by bicycle or train. We were treated to shots of all the classes of main line locomotive which were a common sight at that time but virtually all now disappeared and, also to most of the diesel multiple unit classes and shunters, which we would then see on our journeys around Britain, as we saw not only the local scene but activities as far apart as Perth, Newcastle, London the south west and Wales.

He even showed us electric units working on the Manchester-Hadfield and Altrincham services and one of the Southern Region DEMUs. Also to appear were a few relatively uncommon sights, such as a Class 33 at York, having worked in on the Cliffe to Uddingston cement train, and a Class 9F inside a CL.25 on a tank train. It certainly was an evening of nostalgia for all, especially the diesel enthusiast.

Tuesday 13th September 2016
Observation at Leamington Spa

A double figure attendance was once again attained with Members from 3 Branches represented. One of the party stayed overnight in the Town and was on site from 07.30.

It was good to see our ex Branch Chairman Richard Neale for the first time since his transfer to Cheltenham. A toast was raised to Branch Committee Member Geoff Morris and his Wife Sue who were married in Llanelli during the day.

Nothing out of the ordinary to report on what was a very hot day with a recorded temperature of 29C which was something of a contrast to our previous visit. The good weather encouraged a fair number of the party to supply photos and so thanks go to John Cashen, Chris Dilley, Peter Hughes, Richard Neale, Roger Thomas & Alan Turton for their contributions.

A list of sightings provided by Alan Turton, can be found here.

Tuesday 9th August 2016
Nottingham & Toton

The party consisting of 9 Members met at Crewe Station in time to join 153313 working 1K07 09.07 to Derby. We arrived on time at Derby & then joined 170112 forming 1M92 07.45 Cardiff - Nottingham. At Nottingham the party split up with 4 Members choosing to ride Trams. The main party of 5 Members travelled on Tram 216 Dame Laura Knight. Upon arrival at Toton Lane [opened 25 August 2015] we walked to the hill overlooking Toton Yard & Depot via part of The Erewash Valley Trail. The hill affords a superb view & many locomotives were recorded including a considerable number of stored Class 60s. This was particularly useful to those Members whose interest in Railways had only been rekindled in recent years and consequently had never seen the majority of the Class 60s. Return from Toton Lane was aboard Tram 225 Doug Scott. There was then a short interlude at Nottingham before travelling on 170103 forming 1G46 15.41 to New St. Upon arrival at Derby we met the other Members & then travelled back to Crewe on 153313 [again] forming 1K21 the 16.42 departure. All were agreed that it had been a different day & one we intend to repeat in 2017.

Some photos taken on the day by Chris Dilley & Peter Hughes, together with a list of sightings provided by Alan Turton, can be found here.

last updated: 11/07/17