Hysbysfwrdd Rheilffordd Arfordir Gogledd Cymru

57 303 at Beeston, 20 February (Stavros Lainas)

This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.

09 March 2010

North Wales Coast home page : Previous Noticeboard : Link to this page

Mid-Cheshire excursion - report by John Oates
The next Mid-Cheshire Rail User's Association railtour is on Saturday 8 May from Manchester Piccadilly, down the Mid-Cheshire Line picking up at most stations, then Chester (reverse, as a path is not available from Chester to Wrexham), Crewe to Oxford (the GWR 150 event is on at Didcot), Bath (also a coach transfer to the East Somerset Railway) and Bristol.  We picked the ESR as many train enthusiasts have not been there.  We found out about the GWR 150 event afterwards.  The layout at Didcot is such that we can't stop there without reversing, something not feasible given how busy Didcot is even on Saturdays, but passengers can change at Oxford. Tracttion is top and tailed Class 67s.

Bookings are best electronically through our website -

Wrexham and Shropshire Sunday - report by George Jones

Diversions in operation on 7 March with Wrexham & Shropshire routing north via Chester & Crewe to gain Wolverhampton. Above,the retimed 10:47 Marylebone running as 10:39 from Wrexham passing Rossett with 67 013,  82303 and a three-car set heading for Chester.

The northbound train due at Wrexham 13:55 was held at Chester in platform 3 (above, DVT 82301) when seen there at around 13:20 awaiting a path. Due to a derailment at Wolverhampton, the train was diverted and ran direct via WCML from Tame Bridge Parkway. It was due to depart at 13:36 once the ATW 158 unit to Shrewsbury cleared and the southbound 13:14 from Wrexham came through.

The 13:14 from Wrexham comes under the Hoole Road bridge into Chester with 67 010 hauling four coaches and DVT in all grey and silver livery running into the through road where it was held alongside the northbound train in platform 3.

Briefly 67 010 was posed alongside 67 012 in Chester as the southbound train was held on the through round whilst the north bound train got the green to proceed to Wrexham, providing this side by side portrait of both W&S locos.

The south bound W&S for Marylebone proceeds on the Chester through road with DVT 82305 on the rear of the now all silver & grey formation hauled by 67 010 diverted via Crewe and Stafford to Wolverhampton, derailment permitting. My estimation of the timekeeping for this sequence proved spot-on; the whole operation being captured within 15 minutes of my arrival.

Pendolino Saturday 6 March

Gary Thomas writes: 'Three photos showing 57 303 attaching to the 08:50 from London Euston to Holyhead  at Crewe on Saturday 6 March. I travelled from Euston to Llandudno Junction for the first time in a couple of years - the 57 really has to work hard down the coast!

'There were very low loadings on the whole train - even worse on my 10-car Super Voyager back from Chester on the Sunday morning. Apart from one other passenger I had the carriage to myself!'

Gary's close-up shows the remarkable complexity of the 57 - Pendolino coupling arrangements.

Abergele (Darren Durrant)

Llanfair PG (Alan Roberts)

Freight happenings

66 624 passes Marion Road, Prestatyn on 1 March with a Penmaenmawr stone train (Dave Sallery)

The flask train made an appearance on 26 February: here it is ready to leave Valley with 66 427 and 66 430 in charge (Richard Fleckney)

Rather better weather on 8 March as  66 427 and 66 423 pass Llandudno Junction at 14:58 with 6K41 flask train for Crewe. (Peter Lloyd)

66 843 on the Carlisle - Chirk log train, running an hour early at Chester city wall, and so now (just) photographable using a high film speed (800 ASA in this case).  The Colas 66 has been running right through to Chirk for over a week now so it seems as if the use of a DRS 57 is over. (Geoff Morris)

The same location, with 'Royal'  67 006 towing 507 014 from Birkenhead North depot to Doncaster.

The Thames Valley Express, 24 April
Chester Model Railway Club are running an excursion on 24 April from Hooton, Bache, Chester and Crewe (early in the morning) with a choice of destinations: Kensington Olympia adjacent to the exhibition centres, and a short bus or tube ride from the main museums or the West End, or Windsor and Eton the twin towns astride the Thames, steeped in history and plenty of sights to see. Full details, a booking form and an online booking facility are available at

New book from Middleton Press

The latest volume from Middleton Press in their Western Mainline Series is now available featuring the Shrewsbury-Chester line, compiled by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith.

The new title features their well-established format with the coverage offering 120 B&W photos of stations and structures along the line. working north from Shrewsbury, via Wrexham to Chester, mostly previously unpublished views from the steam age but a couple of modern image shots to make the contrast in changes.

The photos are supplemented with sections of OS maps from the earlier years and reproductions of sample tickets and timetables to bring out details, together with extracts of traffic figures for stations in the period 1903 - 1933.

All this shows the rise and decline of the line now hopefully arrested when the frequency of passenger trains today exceeds that provided by the GWR and BR(W).

As always with this series a good read and lots of detail to ponder from the good old days. Hardback: price £15.95.

Available to buy online from Transport Diversions Emporium.

Arriva (and Aberystwyth) disappointed
As the Shropshire Star reports: 'A train company which put in a bid to run a direct service from Shropshire to London has had its application turned down by rail regulators. Arriva Trains Wales had wanted to operate a service between Aberystwyth and London Marylebone which would have also called in at Shrewsbury. But the Office of Rail Regulation has announced it has rejected the firm’s application to run the two daily direct services to the capital. The news has been welcomed by an MP who had campaigned against the track access agreement, which would have rivalled a service offered by fledgling train company Wrexham & Shropshire. But Arriva Trains Wales said it was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.'

The long letter from the Regulator to Arriva (read it in full here) says that the application is being rejected on the grounds that its business case depends largely on 'abtracting' revenue from other operators including Wrexham & Shropshire, and not on generating new business. In their words:

We have assessed the business case put forward by ATW and remain concerned about the financial viability of the proposed new service. To generate a profit we consider there would be two options open to ATW: either to generate additional revenue; or to increase revenue abstraction. As discussed above, we consider it extremely unlikely that ATW would be able to generate sufficient new revenue to cover its forecast operating costs. In order to do this ATW would need to achieve a generation to abstraction ratio far in excess of that we have seen with other open access services, or case studies from the wider transport market. We therefore consider that the only way that ATW would be able to generate sufficient revenue to cover its additional operating costs would be to pursue a more abstractive pricing and marketing strategy than its business plan assumes. Even without pursuing such a policy, we consider that ATW’s proposed service would have a generation to abstraction ratio towards the lower end of that which we have previously approved. Pursing an aggressive abstraction policy sufficient for ATW to cover its additional operating costs would therefore reduce the generation to abstraction ratio to well below that where we have previously approved applications.

A response from Shrewsbury-Aberystwyth Rail Passengers Association Chairman Gareth Marston: 'The regulator's response confirms that reform of how the nation’s railways are organised in order to get the best deal for passengers and for regional economies is overdue. The whole process showed the stupidity of so called competition on the rails as the process from start to finish was primarily about squabbles between Rail Companies, with passengers pushed to the sidelines. Clearly the solution to restoring through rail links from Mid Wales to London is co operation not competition.  In the meantime we look forward to hearing constructive proposals from Arriva Trains Wales, Department for Transport and the Welsh Assembly Government on how the resources that were to be used to run to London can provide much needed additional capacity on existing services between Shrewsbury and Birmingham and additional trains west of Shrewsbury at key times.'

To the North Wales Coast home page | 2010 ArchiveTo the previous Noticeboard