Railway Correspondence and Travel Society

Our meetings are held at The Old Church Rooms, Park Road, Radyr, CF15 8DF
Doors open 19:00, meetings start 19:30.

Walking directions from Radyr Railway Station.
Driving directions from M4 Junction 32

Entrance is FREE for RCTS members and a donation of £2 is requested for non members.

Tea and coffee is provided

A Wheelchair Friendly venue.

For any additional information, please contact the Branch Secretary, southwales@rcts.org.uk / 01656 856422

A Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charities Commission No. 1169995 – VAT Registered No. 197 3433 35


Wednesday 12th September 2018

“Mostly Alan Jarvis” – Noel Thompson

"A last breath of steam - Severn Tunnel Junction Shed 1965" - Alan Jarvis

“A last breath of steam – Severn Tunnel Junction Shed 1965” – Alan Jarvis

Most of the show will comprise a selection of Alan’s work in the 1960s.

Much of it will reflect the variety of traffic and motive power to be seen then in and around South Wales, but we will also venture elsewhere, including a glimpse at how different travelling to Paris by train was in pre Channel Tunnel days.

Just like the last Alan Jarvis evening, locomotives from each of the four post grouping companies will feature.

"Winter in the capital" Alan Jarvis

“Winter in the capital” – Alan Jarvis

All this will be preceded by a dozen or so interesting photographs taken over the years in and around Radyr kindly copied to me by a member of Radyr Camera Club.

The quality of Alan’s photography speaks for itself and I’m sure there will be much for everyone to enjoy.

Noel Thompson

*Saturday 15th September 2018

Behind the Scenes at the Bluebell Railway


Wednesday 10th October 2018

Dr David Turner – “The Life and Legacy of George Bradshaw”

In this talk Dr David Turner (University of York) discusses the life and legacy of George Bradshaw, the creator of the famous railway guides and handbooks.

George Bradshaw

George Bradshaw

He explores Bradshaw’s early career as an engraver, how he had a lifelong passion for map making and how he established his company as the preeminent provider of railway timetables in Britain as rail travel increased in the 1840s.

Railways in England and Wales

Railways in England and Wales

Much of the success of the company nonetheless came after Bradshaw’s death in 1853, when both the Guide (the monthly timetable) and the Handbooks to different areas of Britain and the Continent sold in huge numbers as tourism and travel grew amongst the masses.

Bradshaw Guide

Bradshaw’s General Railway and Steam Navigation Guide.

Also considered is the cultural resonance and legacy of Bradshaw company’s timetables; how they came to be lauded for their comprehensive nature, were derided for their incomprehensible format, and how a certain BBC programme incorrectly uses their reputation.

Bradshaw_s Continental Railway, Steam Transit and general guide for travellers though Europe.

Bradshaw’s Continental Railway, Steam Transit and general guide for travellers though Europe.

Finally, the talk will explore how the Bradshaw’s Monthly Guides declined in importance in the decades after the First World War, as rail usage fell and British Railways paired back the railway network, the final edition being published in 1962.

*Thursday 18th October 2018

Banbury Observations

Wednesday 14th November 2018

Restoring 7903 Foremarke Hall
John Cruxon, Locomotive Manager 7903 fund

All monies raised to be donated to the locomotive maintenance fund

My Background

I am a retired fleet engineer from a company called Gist, part of the old BOC Group, now owned by Linde.
I was with them for 37.5 years and progressed from HGV mechanic through to being the Group Fleet Engineer, finally retiring in May 2009.
We moved from Bristol where I started, to Hemel Hempstead, with a final move to Hungerford in Berkshire.
My Father was a Bristol Bath Road Railwayman and he was one of the last men to pass out to drive steam as the introduction of diesels was on the horizon.
Sadly he died early in May 1990 at the age of 63 so never saw 7903 finished or even very complete..

Foremarke Hall

In the late 1970’s I became a member of a group trying to rescue a Barry engine, which subsequently became 7903 Foremarke Hall. My intention always was to be an armchair supporter.

7903 Foremarke Hall at Barry 24th October 1965.

7903 Foremarke Hall at Barry 24th Oct 1965.

Having purchased the engine in June 1981 and moved it to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, we were still living in Hemel Hempstead at the time my involvement was very minor.
That changed when we moved to Hungerford in 1985 and in 1987 I became locomotive manager.
Between 1987and Sept 2003 I led the team that took a set of frames through to a fully working engine.

7903 Foremarke Hall stripped to frames.

7903 Foremarke Hall stripped to frames.

In 2004 it was moved to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway where it has successfully been in operation ever since. From the end of 2013 though to May 2016 we carried out a ten yearly overhaul and has subsequently returned to traffic there.

Cab view of 7903 Foremarke Hall in preservation service

Cab view of 7903 Foremarke Hall in preservation service. (John Cruxon leaning on the  cabside)


7903 Foremarke Hall after preservation.

7903 Foremarke Hall after preservation.

John Cruxon
Locomotive Manager
7903 Ltd

Wednesday 12th December 2018

“Steam in a different light” – railways in North East England in the 1960’s
Richard Gaunt , author and photographer


Chairman : Peter Fortune < peter.fortuneuk@gmail.com > / 07963 439903
Branch Secretary: Stuart Warr < rctssw+secretary@gmail.com  / 01656 856422


We have a free e-mail mailing list, which contains items of railway interest, relevant to South Wales.


Find Us

The Old Church Rooms, Park Road, Radyr, CF15 8DF, are an 11 minute walk away from Radyr Railway Station, from where there are frequent  trains.

The nearest bus stop is immediately outside the Old Church Rooms.

If travelling by car, the Old Church Rooms has its own car park.

RCTS Privacy Policy – April 2018

RCTS South Wales Branch Visit to Didcot Parkway on Thursday 5th July 2018

Six members set forth from Cardiff Central on the (retimed) 09:17 to London Paddington (4 late) formed of two surprisingly empty Class 800/0s and enjoyed a scenic diversion to Didcot Parkway via Gloucester and the Golden Valley because of the closure of the Severn Tunnel for rectification works to the new electrification infrastructure.

An arrival at Didcot exactly two hours later saw us emerging from the pleasant air conditioned surroundings of the train onto platform 4, which was roasting gently in the relentless 27 degree heat.

Luckily the extensive platform awnings and usefully situated seats provided respite and the joys of Real Time Trains allowed us to venture out into the sun only when required.

The railway scene at Didcot is quite different from the recent past, with the traditional HSTs giving way to speedy but silent green Class 800s and slick class 387s largely displacing the long established Class 165 and 166 DMUs.
The Turbo DMUs were still in evidence though, because of the bizarre decision to suspend the electrification between Didcot and Oxford and provide a DMU shuttle service instead, with direct trains from London to Oxford avoiding Didcot Parkway station comprised of a mix of HSTs, 800s and 165s.

One surprise was the number of different Class 387s seen. We expected plenty of repeats but ended up seeing 25 of the 45 strong GWR fleet, with only two sets (one train) being seen twice in eight hours.

Not surprising was the dominance of the Class 800/0s with 27 out the 36 in service (75%) being noted with plenty of repeats!

A bonus for the day was the sight of four brand new Class 800/3s making regular appearances through the station on commissioning and mileage accumulation runs between Didcot and Reading and beyond.

On the freight side, activity in the yard at Didcot has been massively scaled back with the decision by DB Cargo to abandon its wagonload network.

All the wagons present were stored and with the exception of three light engine movements related to Morris Cowley and Hinksey Yard, the only train that called at Didcot T.C. was 6O30 Castle Bromwich to Southampton Eastern Docks loaded with expensive looking Range Rovers for export and 66183 bearing the responsibility for safe delivery to the docks.

However, the freight traffic passing Didcot non-stop was buoyant, with seventeen other freight trains seen during the eight hour observation period as detailed below.

The last hour was particularly busy with six freights threaded between the evening commuter trains, A major disappointment was the encroachment of buddleia and other aggressive shrubs which have colonised the trackside between the eastern end of platform 5 and the avoiding line between Didcot East and North Junctions, which has rendered photography of passing trains on the avoiding line impossible.

The six of us dispersed at various times throughout the day with just two diehards left to catch the 18:56 to Swansea (at 19:08), which eventually arrived in Cardiff 20 minutes late after another scenic diversion to avoid the tunnel.

So, a good day out was had by all, despite the best endeavours of the weather to make us suffer, with a good variety of express passenger, local passenger and freight workings and some brand new kit to keep the interest levels up.

The following trains were noted at Didcot between 11:21 and 19:11

Class 387s 387133/135/136/137/138/140/142/143/146/147/148/150/153/154/156/158/160/164/165/166/167/168/169/170/171

Class 165s

Class 800s
800003/006/007/008/009/010/011/012/013/014/015/016/017/018/019/020/022/023/024/025/026/028/029/031/032/035/036 800303/304/305/306

Freight Trains (all via avoiding line except *)
11:38 66011 6B35 Hayes and Harlington to Moreton-On-Lugg aggregate empties*
12:01 70011 4O54 Leeds to Southampton MCT Freightliner
12:37 66047 6C58 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley Quarry aggregate empties
13:01 66502 4O49 Crewe Basford Hall to Southampton MCT Freightliner
13:08 66116 6M48 Southampton Eastern Docks to Halewood Jaguar empty car carriers
13:23 66044 Acton T.C. to Didcot T.C. light engine*
13:55 66732 6V30 Grain to Margam T.C. steel empties*
14:33 66060 4O21 Trafford Park to Southampton Western Docks Berth 109 intermodal
14:42 66128 Didcot T.C. to Morris Cowley MAT light engine*
14:45 66513 4M61 Southampton MCT to Trafford park Freightliner
15:12 66564 6V26 Eastleigh East Yard to Hinksey Yard departmental
16:34 66551 4O57 Wentloog to Southampton MCT Freightliner
16:41 66162 6O42 Halewood Jaguar to Southampton Eastern Docks Freightliner
16:45 66588 4M62 Southampton MCT to Hams Hall Parsec Freightliner
17:42 to 18:30 66183 6O30 Castle Bromwich to Southampton Eastern Docks loaded cars*
18:04 66105 6X01 Scunthorpe T.C. to Eastleigh East Yard loaded rails
18:11 66128 4L40 Morris Cowley MAT to Purfleet Deep Water Wharf loaded cars
18:12 66044 + 66148 Hinksey Yard to Didcot T.C. light engine*
18:13 66112 4E69 Southampton Western Docks to Wakefield Europort intermodal
18:24 66562 4L32 Bristol Freightliner Terminal to London Gateway Freightliner
18:43 66508 4M99 Southampton MCT to Trafford Park Freightliner (routed through station)*

Various Class 43s, 220s and 221s were also noted but are not recorded for this report.

Also noted en route were 66719 on 6B42 Pengam RS to Neath Abbey Wharf and 66531 on Wentloog to Barry Docks, both in Cardiff Central; 66120/126/139 in Alexandra Dock Junction Yard; 66187 and 66559 in East Usk Yard; 70815 passing Magor light engine; 59202 on 6C48 Appleford Sidings to Whatley Quarry, 158880 and 166202 at Swindon and 150002 and 158888 at Gloucester.

Steve Rickett, Treasurer, South Wales Branch of the RCTS

All Photographs courtesy Nick Wilcock


Flickr Album – https://flic.kr/s/aHsmorroSw