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



Thursday 30th March 2017
Observation day at Nuneaton.

RCTS South Wales “Outdoor” event.

Thursday 30th March 2017
Observation day at Nuneaton.

This is a day out on Nuneaton Railway Station.

There will be a group travelling from South wales to Nuneaton and return – participants are very welcome to travel either with the group, or to travel independently and to join and leave the group as convenient.

The RCTS South Wales group will travel (Provisionally) on the 07:45 from Cardiff Central to New Street, but actual times will be confirmed a little nearer to travel date.


BIRMINGHAM NEW STREET – 09.52 or 10.22
NUNEATON – 10.23 or 10.51

NUNEATON – 16.10


(The return timings are just a suggestion, later trains are available at no additional cost, but the return journey from Birmingham must be routed via Gloucester.)

The tickets required are (with a Senior Railcard):

Cardiff Central to Gloucester, Anytime Day Return at a cost of £12.70.
Gloucester to Birmingham New Street, Anytime Return at a cost of £26.25
Birmingham New Street to Nuneaton, Anytime Day Return at a cost of £7.15
Buy your own tickets / make your own way there.

“Booking” a place with RCTS isn’t essential, but it would be appreciated if people could let Stuart Warr know who is likely to participate, so that he has an approximate idea of numbers, and contact information.

For further information, or to register an interest, please contact either:-
Peter Fortune – Chairman < peter.fortuneuk@gmail.com >
Stuart Warr – Secretary <stu88e@btinternet.com>

Nuneaton Railway Station. Class 390 arrives platfrom 4. This train is running from Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston.
Vermatt at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday 12th April 2017

Berwyn Prys-Jones “An Evening on the Welsh Narrow Gauge in the 1980s – A DVD Presentation”

Wednesday 10th May 2017

Stuart Warr – 50 Years behind the lens.
“Part 1 – The Welsh Connection.”

D1025 at Landore in 1974 with a Kensington Olympia to Fishguard Harbour Motorail service


60019 masquerading as 4492 ‘Dominion of New Zealand’ near Llandevenny – 2011


60054 at Tondu January 2012 with diverted 6M41, Margam to Round Oak


Wednesday 14th June 2017

Gerry Nichols (SLS) – “Another SLS/Alan Jarvis Evening of Photographs”.

Saturday 10th June 2017* (Provisional event)

27th Welsh National Locomotive Rally

Cardiff Model Engineering Society
King George V Drive East, Cardiff, CF14 4AW

(Please contact peter.fortuneuk@gmail.com for full details or to register interest)

Thursday 6th July 2017*

Behind the Scenes at Isle of Wight Steam Railway

0730 Cardiff to Portsmouth Harbour – book through to Shanklin

(Please contact peter.fortuneuk@gmail.com for full details or to register interest)

Wednesday 13th September 2017

Tim Maynard -‘The Best Way to See Snowdonia’, Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways

Thursday 5th October 2017*

Coach to Loughborough for the Great Central Railway Autumn Gala

Leave Cardiff 0730 cost not to exceed £30 for coach

All interested to pay in full by 30 June to enable coach to be booked

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 in 1980’s and 1990’s

Thursday 23rd November 2017*

Observations at Eastleigh

0730 from Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour, change at Romsey

(Please contact peter.fortuneuk@gmail.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: southwales@rcts.org.uk or peter.fortuneuk@gmail.com
tel:07963 439903


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.



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

David Maidment
“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.

4273 leaving Aberbeeg on a freight for Ebbw Vale, June 1964

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.

4243 with a coal train from the Garw Valley for Margam, at Tondu Junction, 1964

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.

A general view of Aberbeeg Junction station taken in June 1964

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


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.




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