Railway Correspondence and Travel Society
Our meetings are held at The Old Church Rooms, Park Road, Radyr, CF15 8DF and start at 19:30. Doors open 19:00
Entrance is FREE for RCTS members and a donation of £2 is requested for non members.
Tea and coffee is provided
PROGRAMME FOR 2017
Wednesday 13th September 2017
Tim Maynard -“The Best Way to See Snowdonia” – Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
“The Best Way to see Snowdonia.”
The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways in North Wales take you through some of the best scenery in the British Isles. You are treated to spectacular views of mountains from both far and near, tumbling streams and rivers, castles, harbours and the sea.
From the north at Caernarfon close by the castle to the summit at Pitts Head at the foot of Snowdon and down through the world famous Aberglaslyn Pass the Welsh Highland Railway is Wales newest railway. The Welsh Highland continues to Porthmadog Harbour station where it meets one of Wales oldest railways, the world famous Ffestiniog Railway. From Harbour station you are taken to Blaenau Ffestiniog, once one of the world’s most important slate producing towns.
The talk will look at the unique history of the Ffestiniog Railway dating back to before Queen Victoria came to the throne, through its post Second World War closure and restoration. The magnificent restoration of the Welsh Highland Railway will be covered as will the state of both railways today.
Following an all to brief journey from Caernarfon to Blaenau Ffestiniog the talk will look at locomotives, carriages and waggons both heritage and modern, and conclude with an outline of significant developments taking place to provide for future sustainability.
The talk will be given by Tim Maynard; Chairman of the Ffestiniog Railway Society Bristol Group, Tim is also a volunteer member of the railways Operating Department.
Thursday 5th October 2017*
Minibus to Great Central Railway Autumn Gala
0730 from Taffs Well Station, cost £30 for travel to Loughborough.
Wednesday 11th October 2017
Richard Chaplin – Over the Rails of Wales – Steam in the 1950’s and 1960’s
Photographs of the late D. Chaplin introduced by his son
Saturday 21st October 2017 *
RCTS South Wales attending Cardiff Model Railway Show
Sunday 22nd October 2017 *
RCTS South Wales attending Cardiff Model Railway Show
Wednesday 8th November 2017
Jeremy Segrott – Railways in East Anglia 1980’s and 1990’s ; South Wales in 21st century
Thursday 23rd November 2017 (Outdoor Meeting)
Observations at Eastleigh
0730 from Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour, change at Romsey
(Please contact email@example.com for full details or to register interest)
Wednesday 13th December 2017
Lin Bryant – “An Illustrated Guide to Barry Docks and Railway”
Chairman : Peter Fortune
Branch Secretary: Stuart Warr
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
We have a free e-mail mailing list, which contains items of railway interest, relevant to South Wales.
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: SOUTH WALES BRANCH MEETING REPORT – May 10 2017
COMPILED BY NOEL THOMPSON
Such is the quality of Stuart Warr’s photography, examples of his work appear regularly in the Railway Observer and other publications. A notable anniversary was marked on May 10th when he presented “50 years behind the lens, Part 1 – the Welsh Connection” to 22 members and 18 visitors. We started in Chepstow and ended our hypothetical journey in Fishguard Harbour, but turned aside at each junction along the way. It was a potpourri of just about every class of locomotive and unit that turned a wheel in South Wales between the early 1970s and 2017 ranging from Class 03 shunters to Class 800 IEPs. Railtours and everyday traffic were photographed in a wide variety of locations, some less familiar than others. A quality they all shared was that the images were carefully composed rather than the camera simply being pointed at the train, and this, together with Stuart’s informed and humorous commentary made it an excellent evening. It also provided a salutary reminder of how quickly the railway network and its operations change, not always for the better. Stuart obviously took great care in deciding what to show us and he may be assured it was well worth the effort.
RCTS South Wales Branch Away Day Cardiff to Nuneaton 30th March 2017
Compiled by Steve Rickett
Seven members made the trek to Warwickshire, leaving Cardiff on 170521 at 08:45. With only five locomotives spotted on the outward journey, we hoped for busier and better things from Nuneaton and were not disappointed by 32 freights, two mail trains and three light locomotives, giving a total of 40 locomotives between 11:22 and 19:14. As a bonus, the weather was warm and dry.
Unsurprisingly, container trains made up 66% of the freight movements but we had variety in the form of five infrastructure trains; two aggregates trains, each sporting a smart rake of shiny red DB and grey Tarmac box wagons respectively; two car trains and a cement train.
The various companies were well represented; Freightliner dominating with eleven Class 66s, three 70s, two 86s and three 90s, DBC with six Class 66s and three 90s, GBRf with seven Class 66s and two 92s, DRS with only a light engine 37/68 combination from Norwich to Crewe and Colas producing the welcome sight of 70812 on 6M50 Westbury to Bescot. Another highlight was a ten minute visit to Platform 5 by 92023, which was working 0Z92 Preston to Crewe via Nuneaton, seemingly being tested to destruction after a works visit!
Nuneaton 30th March 2017 11:20 – 19:15
11:50 66194 4O21 Trafford Park Euro Terminal – Southampton Western Docks Berth 109
12:21 90044+90048 4M44 Coatbridge FLT – Daventry IRFT
12:39 70005 4S44 Daventry IRFT – Coatbridge FLT
12:52 66753 6G16 Cliffe Hill Stud Farm – Bescot Up Engineers Sidings (autoballlasters)
13:05 66776 6M26 Eastleigh East Yard – Mountsorrel GBRf (Big yellow boxes)
13:27 66531 4M81 Felixstowe North FLT – Crewe Basford Hall
13:39 90046 4L90 Crewe Basford Hall – Felixstowe South FLT
13:42 90034+90037 4M25 Mossend Euroterminal – Daventry IRFT
13:46 66560 4M20 Felixstowe South FLT – Lawley Street FLT
14:27 66177 6O42 Halewood Jaguar – Southampton Eastern Docks
14:31 70812 6M50 Westbury Down T.C. – Bescot Up Engineers Sidings
14:40 66501 4M63 Felixstowe North FLT – Ditton O’Connor
14:50 90020 0A06 Crewe TMD (E) – Wembley EOFC
15:05 37405+68016 0Z59 Norwich Crown Point TRSMD – Crewe Gresty Bridge DRS
15:08 66762 4L22 Hams Hall – Felixstowe South
15:26 66616 6H50 Willesden Euroterminal – Tunstead Sidings (Cement Empties)
15:32 66105 4L07 Burton-On-Trent West Yard – Felixstowe South
15:39 66176 6V11 Dowlow Briggs Sidings – Theale Hope Cement (New red DB boxes)
15:50 66746 4M23 Felixstowe North – Hams Hall
16:01 66102 4L56 Trafford Park Euroterminal – London Gateway DB Cargo
16:05 92023 0Z92 Preston – Crewe via Nuneaton
16:25 66534 4M61 Southampton MCT – Trafford Park FLT
16:31 66768 4M29 Felixstowe North – Hams Hall
16:39 66541 4M88 Felixstowe North FLT – Crewe Basford Hall
16:39 70003 4L92 Ditton O’Connor – Felixstowe North FLT
16:40 66542 4O17 Lawley Street FLT – Southampton MCT
16:45 66716 4L18 Trafford Park Euroterminal – Felixstowe North
16:46 66775 6M40 Westbury Up T.C. – Cliffe Hill Stud Farm
17:11 86610+86638 4M87 Felixstowe North FLT – Trafford Park FLT
18:02 325005/008/015 1S96 Willesden PRDC – Shieldmuir Mail Terminal
18:21 66572 4O29 Trafford Park FLT – Southampton MCT
18:28 325011/014/016 1A91 Warrington Royal Mail – Willesden PRDC
18:30 66199 6M31 Banbury Reservoir Sidings – Mountsorrel (New grey Tarmac boxes)
18:32 66593 4M68 Southampton MCT – Garston FLT
18:49 70015 4M93 Felixstowe North FLT – Lawley Street FLT
18:50 92038 6L48 Garston Car Terminal – Dagenham Dock Reception
19:04 66520 t/t 66551 Crewe Basford Hall – Bourne End Junction (Departmental)
37405 66102/105/176/177/194/199 66501/520/531/534/541/542/551/560/572/593 66616 66716/746/753/762/768/775/776 68016 70003/005/015 70812
86610/638 90020/034/037/044/046/048 92023/038
BRANCH MEETING REPORT – 8 MARCH 2017 – ‘EARLY DAYS’
COMPILED BY STUART WARR
The occasion of the branch’s 10th anniversary was celebrated in style during March; a meal was taken in an excellent pub/restaurant on the outskirts of Cardiff, those present included our guest speaker for the evening, David Maidment, OBE; Brian Arman, the President of the RCTS and several members from both Bristol and Cardiff branches.
RCTS Chairman, Gordon Davies was invited, but unfortunately he was unwell and unable to join us.
Following the meal at our branch meeting, Brian Arman said a few words of welcome to an audience comprising of 16-visitors and 37-members; during the interval he ceremonially cut the anniversary cake, one of several baked expertly by Del Bryant all being sliced and distributed with a hot drink to the large audience. Before the resumption of the second half of the show, branch Chairman, Peter Fortune read a very complimentary speech written by Gordon Davies. We now look forward to the next 10-years!
David Maidment’s illustrated talk was spell-binding as he recounted in great detail his early BR career in South Wales, it was both funny and sad, he clearly enjoyed his work and much of it reminded the reviewer of Gerry Fiennes’ memoirs of his railway career.
We saw some wonderfully nostalgic images around Aberbeeg (where he spent some time as Station Master) and Bridgend (as Assistant Area Manager) all during the 1960s.
We were regaled with countless anecdotes, too many to recall, but one in particular suited the mood: At Aberbeeg he was always on call, one day he was playing cricket at a ground close to the railway and whilst batting he ‘snicked a ball past the slips’ to score 4-runs when there was a shout from the nearby signal-box about a derailment. The scorebook read ‘Maidment – derailed – 4.’
Later in his career he rose through the ranks with his final position being Head of Safety Policy on BR in the early 1990s.
After leaving the service he founded The Railway Children charity to help street children throughout the world, his work there gaining him the honour of being awarded the Order of the British Empire, well deserved in my opinion.
Wednesday 8th March 2017
“A professional railwayman in South Wales in the 1960s”
David Maidment was appointed Stationmaster Aberbeeg after training as a WR ‘Traffic Apprentice’ in May 1964 during the changeover from steam to diesel traction, and moved in 1965 to be Area Manager Bridgend which included the Tondu and Llantrisant valleys as well as the main line.
In 1967 he acted for short periods as both District Terminals and then Operating Officer at Swansea and was then four years as Divisional Train Planning Officer for the Cardiff Division.
He later moved on to work at both WR and BRB HQ as Head of Productivity Services before becoming Chief Operating Manager LMR in 1982, the BRB ‘s first Reliability & Quality Manager in 1986 and Head of Safety Policy in 1990 after the Clapham Junction accident developing BR’s proactive safety management systems.
He will give an illustrated talk, concentrating in particular on the South Wales elements of his work, although putting this in context of his overall career.
David founded the Railway Children charity in 1995 and will bring some of his self-published and ‘Pen & Sword ‘ books he has authored, and will offer these at 20% discount with all the profit being donated to the charity.
Wednesday 8th February 2017
BRANCH MEETING REPORT – 8 FEBRUARY 2017 – ‘REMEMBERING THE WITHERED ARM’
COMPILED BY STUART WARR
An excellent attendance of 48 (including 23 visitors) thoroughly enjoyed Nigel Wassell’s illustrated presentation entitled ‘Remembering The Withered Arm.’ It was illustrated with a mix of personal images showing some modern views combined with commercially produced pictures going back as far as 1949. Nigel has demonstrated in all presentations to this branch the level of detail and research he does to put together something that will remain in our memories for a long time; added to this he brings some humour and many interesting anecdotes. Our journey started with a shot of the Atlantic Coast Express departing from Waterloo hauled by a Merchant Navy and terminated in Padstow, the farthest west the ACE train worked. By far the majority of images seen were devoted to Devon and Cornwall and it was of interest to all to see the ‘then and now’ pictures proving how much has changed, particularly at locations such Barnstaple Junction. I counted locomotives (etc) totalling 31 different classes (both steam and diesel) from SR, WR, LMR and BR plus some industrials. Nigel read from a couple of books about the area as he showed images to match; to summarise I would say that this was a very well researched and detailed presentation given by someone who certainly knows his subject.
BRANCH OUTDOOR MEETING REPORT
26 JANUARY 2017 — THE HEART OF WALES CIRCULAR
COMPILED BY STUART WARR
An overcast and bitterly cold 26 January 2017 saw the first outdoor event of the calendar year, thirteen branch regulars met up for a clockwise tour of the Heart of Wales/Welsh Marches lines. We used Arriva Trains Wales’ Heart of Wales Circular Day Ranger ticket at a cost of £25.75 for holders of railcards and £39.00 for others. The journey started with a short journey to Swansea (picking up participants at Newport, Cardiff Central and Bridgend) along the South-Wales mainline travelling on 175104; seen on the journey as we passed Canton were 37057 (with a ‘test train’) 70808/810. Two DBC 66s (66107/66162) were at Pontyclun top and tailing an engineers’ train from Carmarthen Bridge to Westbury and stabled at Margam Knuckle Yard was 66188 and three other unidentified DBC Class 66s, whilst 60040 worked the daily Robeston to Westerleigh oil train seen near Port Talbot. At Swansea two HSTs were sighted, one heading for Paddington at 09.28 and the other working in from the capital a few minutes after our Class 175 had arrived. Our last two participants joined here where we found that our service departing at 09.33 was formed of 153327, not the most comfortable unit for a 4-hour journey to Shrewsbury; the advertised catering trolley failed to be available and though most participants had prepared or purchased some sustenance prior to departure, a hot drink and a sweet snack would have been welcomed by many. Nigel Wassell very generously gave all participants a copy of a brief history of the Central Wales Line as the Heart of Wales line was known prior to the input of the marketing department. The document ran to 12-pages of A5 sized paper and was a re-print of some notes prepared for the Branch Line Society’s Western Phoenix Railtour run in June 1991, Nigel stated that some aspects were now out of date, but it gave a good general history — our gratitude is extended to Nigel for this excellent summary. The very nature of the service on the Heart of Wales line proper meant that only one other train was seen when ours crossed 153367 at Llandrindod Wells with a service from Crewe to Swansea. Once our train had left the Heart of Wales line a few of our number chose to detrain at Craven Arms and Church Stretton for an earlier arrival back in South Wales, but the majority chose to venture to the ultimate destination of our single railcar. Most of those elected to spend some watching and photographing at the interesting station seeing trains from Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland and Virgin comprising of one Class 150 working a stopping service from Crewe to Shrewsbury, nine Class 158s on various ATW services from/to Holyhead, Aberystwyth, Pwllheli and Birmingham International. We saw one Super Voyager (Virgin’s description, not mine) which arrived ECS from Wolverhampton to prepare for a journey to London Euston and four 175s working on the South Wales to Manchester axis (including 175116 which worked our return service, the 13.30 Manchester Piccadilly to Tenby). On the journey home we glimpsed at Craven Arms a Freightliner Class 66 working what was believed to be an Avonmouth to Fidlers Ferry coal service, near Leominster we passed 6M66 the Llanwern to Dee Marsh loaded steel worked by 66188 (we deduced by the process of elimination) and a couple of Class 66s were stabled at Alexandra Dock Junction (66093/194) near Newport. For those travelling west from Cardiff 67015 was seen with its train awaiting at Canton for the short ECS journey into Central station to work the 17.16 service to Holyhead, known colloquially as the WAG Express.’ The consensus was that despite the cold the day out could be considered as a great success proving what a friendly group we are in the South Wales branch.
Photo – the 153 we had for the Swansea to Shrewsbury leg of the journey.
Photographer, Stuart Warr