NORTH WALES COAST
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03 May 2010
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Tuesday 4 May North Wales Railway Circle David Lindsay: Around Lake Maggiore & Milano.
Saturday 8 May Mid-Cheshire Rail Users Association Excursion. Most Mid Cheshire Line Stations, Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport and Crewe to Oxford, Bath (for the East Somerset Railway) and Bristol Mk II air conditioned coaches hauled by a Class 67 diesel locomotive. Further Details at www.greatwesternexpress.org.uk
Tuesday 11 May. The 8E Railway Association (Northwich); Dave Bathurst presents 'The Chasewater Railway - 50 years On'
15/16 May. Llangollen Railway Charity event in aid of Hope House Children's Hospice.
29 May. Llangollen Railway Celebrating Thomas the Tank's 65th birthday.
Saturday 29 May Excursion Compass Tours 'The Cumbrian Fellsman' Hooton, Chester, Delamere, Northwich, Knutsford, Altrincham, Stockport, Denton, Manchester Victoria & Bolton to Carlisle via Settle Carlisle Railway outward and returning via the Cumbrian Coast Railway line. Class 67 Diesel to feature throughout.
See the Calendar page for more details.
20 305 and 37 059 pass Llanddulas at 16:00 with the Valley - Crewe Flasks, 20 April. (Darren Durrant)
April Assortment - by Richard Billingsley
Wednesday 21 April saw the first visit of one of Chiltern Railways class 168 Clubman units to Wrexham. Earlier in the day, 67 010 had failed in the Walsall area whilst working 1P01, the 05:10 Wrexham - London Marylebone. Sister company Chiltern Railways helped by lending Wrexham & Shropshire 168 214 to work the 11:20 Marylebone-Wrexham and 15:27 return, the pictures show the unit on the approach to Wrexham General ...
... and crossing over to the up main whilst leaving. W&S used 168 216/217 on a football special from Shrewsbury to Wembley and return last year, but until now they haven't made it to the Welsh section of the journey. I'm sure it was a memorable journey for the catering staff tucked in the compartment behind the leading drivers cab, also the lack of 1st class on any Chiltern Railways unit may mean there are one or two refund claims to settle. Let's hope class 168 workings don't become a regular occurrence.
Earlier in the afternoon 67 003 arrived with the Merseyrail electric unit transfer to Doncaster works, and is seen with the Wrexham General station and Regent Road bridge looming large behind...
... and sitting in Croes Newydd loop awaiting a path up the single line towards Chester.
On Monday 19 April, both Virgin and Arriva Trains Wales were continuing to strengthen formations to cope with the mass influx of passengers using ferries to cross the Irish Sea whilst Easyjet and Ryanair were out of action. Many Arriva services were using two units on services to and from Holyhead, many mixed class 158 and 150 combinations were used, including this one passing Talacre working the 12:38 Holyhead-Maesteg.
Virgin used a 9-car formation on the 09:10 Euston-Holyhead and 13:56 return, seen passing the old sidings for Point Of Ayr colliery with 221 106 William Barents leading 221 143 Auguste Picard.
DRS used a pair of class 57's for 19 April's flask train: 57 003 leads 57 011 and a single flask along the sea wall towards Mostyn Docks.
On the Narrow Gauge - by Ben Bucki
Some pictures from mid-April, taken around the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland lines during several days of lovely sunny weather and clear skies.
Double Fairlie David Lloyd George leaving Porthmadog on the morning of 16 April...
... and Prince setting back into Harbour Station to take on water.
Both locomotives were carrying special headboards, 'Alan Pegler- 90 and Still Counting'
On Saturday 17 April, still in glorious weather, service trains seemed to be in the hands of David Lloyd George and Blanche, both locomotives sparkling in the sunshine. Blanche seen on a southbound service train at Tan-y-Grisiau ...
... then shortly afterwards at Tan-y-Bwlch where the train crossed with a northbound service hauled by the Fairlie.
On Sunday 18 April, the effect of several days of dry weather on the Welsh Highland Railway resulted in a temporary steam ban and the services being run by the diesel fleet. Funkey-built Vale of Ffestiniog heads north between Nantmor and Beddgelert, just before entering the tunnel at the south end of the Glaslyn pass.
Yorkshire Dalesman – Saturday 17 April
Pathfinder's Yorkshire Dalesman tour from Swindon to Leeds via Preston. This excursion was promised as the debut of the new Freightliner class 70 locos, built by General Electric in the USA, on railtour duties, and this did indeed happen. 66 154 hauled the train to Crewe where 70 003 was added as pilot. Tim Fenton's picture above shows the train departing from Crewe....
... and David Hennessey captured the train at Warrington Bank Quay.
Richard Putley travelled on the train: his report and pictures follow:
It was an early start for me, joining this Pathfinder tour at Kemble at 05:10! Luckily I allowed myself plenty of time to get there and the train arrived punctually behind 66 154. An uneventful run then followed to Crewe, with the tour picking up at Stroud, Cheltenham, Barnt Green, Birmingham New St. and Stafford along the way. There was much speculation as to whether the promised class 70 would appear as apparently all but two of them are currently grounded due to a number of faults.
We were held outside Crewe but then a calling-on signal cleared, telling us that Platform 12 was already occupied by something! It turned out to be 70 003, so they had after all found a working 70! We had time to photograph it coupling on to our train from an adjoining platform. A class 92 electric also ran through but I didn’t get its number; I also failed to record the number of a Virgin 57 parked on the centre road.
So having coupled, 70 003 hauled the tour, including 66 154, down the West Coast Main Line to Carnforth. We then headed over the little-used line to Settle Junction. This line is still replete with jointed track and speed restrictions over some of the bridges on it – we had to slow down to 10mph at one such bridge.
Despite this we were running early and had to wait at Hellifield. In a siding was 6201 Princess Elizabeth waiting to haul a special north to Carlisle over the Settle & Carlisle. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get out and photograph 'Lizzie' as we soon got the road to Skipton – the first set down point.
Arrival at Skipton (above) was 10 minutes early; we were able to get out and photograph the tour, as we had to wait for a scheduled train, a class 333 electric unit, to depart at 11:06 for Bradford Forster Square.
I opted to alight at Keighley, the second set-down. An optional extra was a Yorkshire mini tour; originally this was to have been a circuit of the Harrogate loop line, but apparently Class 70s are out of gauge for this line so instead those who'd opted for this extra mileage were treated to a trip to Hatfield and Stainforth via a number of freight lines. To enable a speedy reverse there, 70 003 ran round the train at Leeds with 66 154 bringing up the rear.
Meanwhile at Keighley, a number of group visits had resulted in the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway operating their 'Purple' Timetable instead of the 'Green' one. This meant that two trains were in operation, both steam-hauled. (In addition to our charter another had run to Keighley that day from Stratford-on-Avon hauled by two West Coast Railways 47s; we passed the stock of it running empty from Keighley to Skipton). The two locos running were War Department 2-8-0 90733 (above, running round at Oxenhope) and BR Standard 2-6-4T 80002 (below, in Damems loop). I had ample time to 'get' both locos for haulage and to enjoy the sunny weather.
The return run was delayed slightly due to a Carlisle-bound class 158 DMU which had experienced 'mechanical problems'. It was running 40 minutes late and other services between Leeds and Skipton were delayed as a result. Fortunately our tour was only about 10 minutes late, with 70 003 leading.
The run back to Crewe was uneventful. The time allowed to detach 70 003 meant we were able to depart almost on time but a further delay occurred at Birmingham. This was due to the fact that the driver booked to relieve the tour at Cheltenham had been stranded at Newport (Gwent) after Arriva Cross Country had cancelled the train he'd planned to catch from there. Once Network Rail had been assured a taxi had been provided for him we were allowed to follow a Cross Country train to Cheltenham. The crew change was done without any further delay so we returned south tired but fairly happy after an enjoyable day out.
Across the Mawddach - with Greg Mape
Early April was not noted for its fine weather, but I ventured from Barmouth across the Water to the Fairbourne Railway. Above, Barmouth station with 158 826 southbound for Machynlleth.
From Fairbourne station, two stops south, the Fairbourne Railway runs to Penrhyn Point whence a small ferry will take you back to Barmouth. This line spent much of its life as a 15-inch-gauge line to Sir Arthur Heywood's principles, until it was sold in 1984 to the Ellerton family who had previously run Réseau Guerlédan, a 12¼ inch-gauge line in Brittany. In 1986 the Fairbourne line was re-gauged to allow the use of the stock from the French line, including 2-6-2T Yeo, seen above leaving the tunnel near Penrhyn Point. It is half-size replica Lynton & Barnstaple Railway locomotive, designed and built by David Curwen in 1978. The line was sold again in 1995, and in February 2009 the ownership of the railway was transferred to a charitable body in the hope of preserving its long-term future.
From Penrhyn Point there is a classic view of Barmouth Bridge - Bony Y Bermo - and on a clear day the Mawddach estuary behind.
Top Ten Trailways - by Gerwyn Jones
Following the launch of two new additions there is now a Top Ten of walks in the popular Cambrian Trailway series of linear routes between stations on the Cambrian rail network. Trailway No.9 between Tonfanau and Tywyn affords great views of the Dysynni Estuary, Cadair Idris and Bird’s Rock while Trailway No.10 between Llanbedr and Harlech gives spectacular vistas of Cardigan Bay, Pen Llŷn and Snowdonia.
The new walks were launched at a meeting of the Cambrian Coast Railway Liaison Conference that took place at Y Ganolfan, Porthmadog on 16 April. Chairman of the Conference, Cllr. Trevor Roberts comments 'What I like about the Cambrian Trailways is that the maps are easy to follow and will give novice as well as more experienced walkers confidence to try out the routes. The Trailways encourage local people as well as visitors to get out and enjoy the area's wonderful and varied landscapes that will in turn be of benefit to the wider economy'.
The Cambrian Trailways, produced by the Cambrian Railways Partnership (CRP) with support from Tourism Partnership Mid Wales, are available for free download from www.thecambrianline.co.uk and from local Tourist Information Centres and Staffed Railway Stations.
Launching Cambrian Trailways No.9 and No.10 are (left to right) Ben Davies (ATW), Cllr. Trevor Roberts (Gwynedd Council), Gerwyn Jones (CRP), Cllr. Anne Lloyd-Jones (Chair of Mid Wales Tourism and Gwynedd Council) Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM and Mike Bagshaw (ATW). Picture by Glynda O'Brien.
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