THE NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY NOTICE
Hysbysfwrdd Rheilffordd Arfordir Gogledd Cymru
The now-rare sight of a freight train on the North Wales Coast line:
Train 6D22, empty wagons to be loaded at Penmaenmawr Quarry passing
Shotton on 1 February with 66 605.
This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and
supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
08 February 2010
News from Port Penrhyn - by Nick Gurney
Port Penrhyn is busy at the moment shipping huge rocks of Granite,which
are coming to Penrhyn from
the Hanson owned Quarry at Penmaenmawr, using flat-bed articulated
lorries carrying 4 to 6 rocks at a time.
They are shipped in Dutch-registered general cargo ship the Rakel to Tywyn where they are
transferred to smaller work boats and used on the new sea defences.
On 8 February Rakel departed
Tywyn, destination St Malo, whence larger rocks will be brought. The Cambrian
28 January has more details about this project. The harbour
master at Port Penrhyn says Rakel
will be returning to the port when the tides start to make again, at
present we have been given no future times of arrival.
Lorry-loads of rock are still arriving at the port, and there is a
large stockpile there now. Each rock has its weight spray-painted on
it, ranging from 2 to 4+ tons.
[We can't help wondering whether delivery by rail from Penmaenmawr,
perhaps unloading from the main line during the night, was
Wrexham and Shropshire variety show - pictures by Stavros Lainas
The complete Wrexham & Shropshire image: 67 014 Thomas Telford (above) south of
Gobowen with the 11:27 to London on 5 February (Stavros Lainas)
The 'licorice allsorts' version, as 67
010 passes with the 11:20 from London formed of three
Virgin-liveried vehicles, blue and grey restaurant car 10257, and
Chiltern Railways-liveried Driving Van Trailer 82302.
The same train returning as the 15:25 from Wrexham (turn-round times of
just nine minutes are the norm at Wrexham) seen north of Gobowen
with 82302 leading. Presumably this livery will get finished-off
when Chiltern start their loco-hauled London - Birmingham trains.
6 February, the odd set is seen approaching Baschurch at
14:52 in a brief gap in the fog.
This set ran for a while with a silver restaurant car, as this picture
by George Jones from 31
January shows, but apparently this will be in a new all-silver set
being prepared at Wembley which will appear shortly, so make the most
of Joseph's coat of many colours!
Further to our recent item regarding carriage of bikes by W&S, the
company tell us that the promised door modification is actually still
awaited but it has indeed been decided to use the Driving Van Trailers
for bikes (which are carried free of charge) and other large luggage.
The doors must only be operated by train staff, and 'the only
proviso is that Ruabon, Chirk, Cosford and Tame Bridge Parkway
have short(er) platforms for our new 4-car operation so it is probable
that the DVT will be off the usable platform edge, in these instances
we would require the cycle and cyclist to wait in a suitable location
on the train (normally under the guidance of the Train Manager) until
we stop at a station where we can move the cycle through to the DVT.'
Wrexham terminations - report by George Jones
Sunday 7 February, and due to engineering work between Wrexham and
Saltney Junction, the 11:05 northbound Arriva Trains Wales
service terminated in platform 3 with 158 823, the Wrexham &
Shropshire train to London having departed from platform 1.
Arriva provided the replacement bus to Chester, seen using Wrexham
station's new bus interchange and turning circle.
Second best - report by Andrew Vinten
On 5 February I visited a small
hamlet called Kilpeck which is just off the A465 just north of
Pontrilas, on the Cardiff - Shrewsbury 'Marches' line. I had hoped to
get a shot of the Cardiff - Holyhead express, but unbeknown to me it
wasn't coming - it was started at Chester worked by a Class 175. Whilst
I was there, 66 580 passed
hauling 6M55 06:44 Avonmouth port - Rugeley power coal train.
Saturday 6 February saw 57 306 Jeff
Tracy hauling 57 315 as well as the Pendolino on train 1D83 from
Crewe to Holyhead, pictured by Stavros
Lainas bursting through thick fog at Rowton at 11:08.
The same train in brighter conditions passing Old Colwyn (Darren Durrant)
Leaving Llandudno Junction and climbing on to Conwy Cob (Larry Davies)
Llanfair PG (Richard Fleckney)
The return train was worked by 57 306 alone, 57 315 having been left
behind at Holyhead to work Monday's Express to Cardiff after the
problems the previous day which led to the cancellation of that train.
Picture by Darren Durrant
Steel wagons (again)
At Hereford station on 5 February Andrew
Vinten was able to study 6V75, 09:30 Dee Marsh - Margam, running
84 minutes early, while it paused in the station loops for a change of
driver. A muddy 66 199 (above)
was heading the train.
This gives us a chance to take a better look at some of the various
wagon types which appear on this train, all of them solutions to the
problem of loading steel coil by crane and then protecting them from
the weather during the journey. Wagon VTG4055, above, is one of the
batch of 'telescopic' rebuilt in 1996 from 'tippler' open box wagons
originally built for carry iron ore to the steelworks at Ravenscraig.
VTG3077, also a rebuild by Marcroft Engineering from an open tippler
wagon , is one of the later, 1977, batch which have aluminium
alloy hoods, saving weight over the steel ones used in the earlier
rebuilds. They have green framing, and curved tops.
966251 is a BYA (or 'Nissen Hut') one of 260 (966201 - 260) built by
Thrall Europa for EWS in 1998-99 and now owned by DB Schenker Thrall
and EWS being American companies, the bogies are a typical American
design. Another 50 wagons, coded BRA, 964xxx series, were built, with
the same external appearance but with racks inside to carry steel bars.
Some of these have been modified to BYA standard.
A particularly interesting example is this almost-new Romanian-built
wagon, which uses the folding-sheet cover approach to the same
problem. These vehicles are owned by General Electric's
wagon-leasing arm, and are numbered and registered for international
Above, a closer look at the various data inscriptions typical of an
international wagon. The anchor symbol tells us it is fitted for travel
on train ferries (the fittings include brackets for chaining the wagon
to the deck of the ship) and 'CT' is authority to pass through the
Channel Tunnel. The full number is 31 80 4667 176-0, where the 31 is an
'interoperability' code and 80 tells us it is registered in Germany,
enlarged upon by the adjacent letters. The last digit is a computer
check digit. Until recently only a railway organisation (DB) would have
been shown, but the proliferation of companies in recent times led
(from 1996) to this being prefixed by a country - based on the
international car registration plate system. The type code in the UIC
international system - equivalent of the TOPS code used in the UK, is
Sfhimmns: the capital S is the general type 'Flat wagon with special
bogies' and the 'f' tells us it is a 'ferry wagon' suitable for
Britain's smaller loading gauge. The final 's' means that the maximum
speed is 100 km/h. For the rest, have a look at Wikipedia.
732, after the code, refers to the exact batch of
wagons and is not normally needed by people making-up trains. The red
circle sign insists that the wagon must not be moved with the hood open.
Rail partnership criticises 'ridiculous' funding cut - report
by George Jones
A group promoting rail travel on rural
routes has criticised the withdrawal of £10,000 funding by Arriva
Trains Wales (ATW) as "ridiculous". The Chester-Shrewsbury
(CSRP) has helped promote and develop rail
services to and from north east Wales. ATW said funds were being
diverted elsewhere because of the "success of the line". CSRP said it
was wrong to cut funding because the scheme had done well. Chairman
Mansel Williams said the group, which works with local authorities,
rail users and others, had been highly successful. He said the
cut would not leave the group "high and dry", and most of its funding
came from the Wrexham, Cheshire and Shropshire councils.
Mr Williams, a Shropshire councillor, added: "We have this incredible
statement from them [ATW] that it's 'job done'. "But it's absolutely
not job done. We're developing all the time. The
Chester-Shrewsbury Rail Partnership has been a success story we can all
be very proud of. It's better for Wales, better for the Welsh
Marches, better for the north west of England - why are they doing it?
ATW said the funding was set up to provide additional marketing and
promotional support for rural lines with limited services. It said it
was grateful to the rail partnership for supporting and promoting the
development of services, and added: "Because of the success of the line
and the fact that it has a prosperous future, Arriva Trains Wales will
be diverting the funding to other routes where further improvements and
support will aid their future development." The company said it
would continue working with the partnership and is "looking at options
to further develop facilities and services on this line".
In my opinion the job of promoting rail lines is never "done" because
they always need continual effort for drawing the public's attention to
train services on offer. The service on the Shrewsbury-Chester line
became so poor - train very two hours - that the public turned away
from it. Now it is back to hourly - thanks to the Welsh Assembly
Government initiative - the promotion must continue to highlight what
is available and encourage use of the trains which are not necessarily
full at most times. It is hard work bringing people back to a transport
facility and turning round perceptions of an infrequent train service.
One doesn't see much evidence of ATW promoting the line apart from
publishing the Timetable. Even their promotional opportunity facility
on the website omits Gobowen, Ruabon and Chirk, potentially useful
stations for accessing north Shropshire, east Wales and the Dee Valley,
and the omission has been drawn to their attention.
[Editor's note: We hear that ATW have also cut their contribution to
the Borderlands Line CRP by half (for the second year running) and
rumour has it that that they have cut funds to all their CRPs this
year, so it's not clear what they mean by the statement that they "will
be diverting the funding to other routes where further improvements and
support will aid their future development."]
Train Travel Training
By Gerwyn Jones, Cambrian Railways Partnership
Coleg Ceredigion students recently embarked on a 'train travel
training' exercise to better familiarise themselves with train travel.
The event came about as part of Mencap Cymru’s Partners in Politics
(PIP) project that aims to empower young people with additional
learning needs to change things in their lives. The PIP team visit
schools and colleges across Wales to support young people to get their
voices heard and to get their concerns on the political agenda.
The event took place on 1 February and involved 10 students being shown
around the Railway Station at Aberystwyth and how to buy tickets and
better understand timetables. The students were also given an
introduction to the benefits of travel by public transport and
initiatives that have been developed to make the train travel
experience more enjoyable. However the highlight of the day, in
the view of the students, was a return train journey between
Aberystwyth and Machynlleth that included lunch at Machynlleth Railway
Jonathan Daniel, a second year 'access to education' student at Coleg
Ceredigion, said 'I’ve really enjoyed the event and it has given me the
confidence to think about using the train on my own'.
One of the main concerns for young people with additional learning
needs has been access to public transport in Wales. The students at
Coleg Ceredigion decided to submit a petition to the National Assembly
for Wales to highlight the need for increased train services in
Aberystwyth but also to explain about the unique difficulties they have
accessing public transport. The students produced a DVD for Assembly
Members which explained their desire to use public transport but also
the problems they encountered with timetables and knowing when and
where to get off a train or bus.
Sian Davies, Mencap Cymru’s PIP Manager commented 'Many people with
additional learning needs feel anxious about accessing public transport
on their own, but the students at Coleg Ceredigion have proactively
been looking to overcome some of the concerns they have. The petition
they submitted to the National Assembly has made it possible for
students to learn more about the transport system in Ceredigion and
work in partnership with key transport organisations.'
The Chairman of the National Assembly Petition Committee approached
Trafnidiaeth Canolbarth Cymru (TraCC), the local authority Regional
Transport Consortium for Mid Wales. Officers met with the
students and it was agreed to look at ways to encourage the take-up of
public transport amongst the students. Chris Wilson, TraCC
Co-ordinator said: 'Working together through the Cambrian Railways
Partnership, we felt that a familiarisation visit would help to build
confidence in using train services amongst students'.
A number of partners have worked together to arrange the event
including Coleg Ceredigion, Mencap Cymru, TraCC, the Cambrian Railways
Partnership and Arriva Trains Wales.
page : 2010
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