11 May 2010
Link to this issue
comments are encouraged: see the Contributions
This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters,
and especially the all rail staff of North Wales.
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
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
Saturday 5 June Excursion
Compass Tours 'The Heart Of Wales
Rambler' Holyhead, LlanfairPG, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay,
Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Crewe, Nantwich, Whitchurch, Wem & Shrewsbury
to Cardiff via the Heart of Wales scenic railway. Class 66 Diesel
to feature throughout.
Saturday 12 June. Steam to Chester.
Railway Touring Company. Cleethorpes
Chester with 44871.
26-27 June. Llangollen Railway
Heritage Railcar Gala. An intensive service with the resident railcars
and a special visitor plus the steam autotrain.
See the Calendar page for more details.
Conwy, 4 May (Stéphanie Durrant)
miss the 7 May extra update!
The Great Western Express, 8 May
On 8 May, the MCRUA excursion to Bristol passes through Baguley on the
Stockport - Altrincham line on its outward leg with Wrexham &
Shropshire liveried 67 010
leading (Greg Mape). 67
010 replaced 67 025, which had refused to start at Crewe that morning.
It had been 'sick' the day before on The Northern Belle, apparently
only managing 50mph on the climb up Shap.
67 021 on the rear (Greg Mape)
A view from the same bridge back in January, memories of winter with 142 004 forming a Chester -
Manchester train (Greg Mape)
Above, the train departing Bristol Temple Meads. Picture by David Miller reproduced, with
permission, from the Mid-Cheshire Rail Users' Association Chairman's
66 617 at Chester with
ballast hoppers on Sunday 9 May. The train arrived from Manchester
direction at approx. 19:30, waited for three hours with engine running,
before reversing back in Manchester direction. Many of the tracks in
Chester station were blocked with temporary flashing red lights / stop
signs. (Stephen T)
Plasser & Theurer 08-16/4x4C-RT Switch & Crossing Tamper DR73916 First Engineering appropriately
stabled in the 'Tamper Siding' at Llandudno Junction on a bright and
sunny 27 April. (Peter Roberts)
Adopters win awards - report by Larry Davies
At the Arriva Trains Wales Station Adopters' Conference held at the
Queens Hotel, Chester on Saturday 8th May, 2010, two of the projects on
the Conwy Valley line were successful in winning awards.
BEST GROUP CONTRIBUTION : Tal-y-Cafn volunteer group of retired
gentlemen from the local Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society for
their excellent transformation of the disused former loop platform to a
beautiful and pleasant garden (above).
BEST KEPT STATION : Dolwyddelan "Cylch yr Ifanc" local youth and
villagers' group have tirelessly worked to improve the station area and
the former goods yard. Today it's a tribute to their work and an
idyllic setting for passengers and visitors to the village.
Councillor Liz Roberts was proud to accept the Award on behalf of the
village from Peter Northcot, Head of Stations.
Bank Holiday extravaganza at Llandudno
Extravaganza fever hit Llandudno over the May Day weekend. On 1 May, to
cater for the huge number of passengers, the Blaenau branch was being
worked by a 4-car DMU set, the first time since 101 680 and 101 685 worked together on 5 May
2001, 9 years ago (!). Above, 150 229
and 150 252 get ready to head
out on the 10:20 service.
Saturday 1 May saw an excursion from Cleethorpes - Llandudno, operated
by West Coast Railway. This train reached North Wales by way of
Sheffield and the Cheshire Lines route to Chester. Andrew Vinten's picture shows the
train at Ashley, west of Altrincham.
Above, 47 804 loads the train
through Deganwy on the Llandudno branch (Gary Thomas) ...
... with 47 786 Roy Castle OBE on the rear (Gary Thomas)
On the buffers at
Llandudno (Greg Mape) ...
The length of the train left rear loco 47 786 off the platform. When
this happens, the train may not clear of the track circuits controlling
the signals, and no other trains can arrive at the station (Route19)
47 786 was therefore detached and stabled in Platform 3. (Gary Thomas)
Above are the gates into Llandudno Platform 1: scene of some 'shoddy
operation' that occurred on 1 May. Picture by Route19,
who notes: With the huge number of passengers coming off the train from
Llandudno Junction both gates were opened. However, one gate was closed
about six minutes before departure and was not reopened, causing some
passengers to miss the departure as the remaining open gate was being
used for security staff to deal with tickets coming off the train. What
should of been done, of course, keep both gates open, allow one for
coming off the train and another for coming on, then once the train
leaves keep both open and get through the queue of people quicker! A
simple solution to a problem that shouldn't really arise with a bit of
The train departed for Cleethorpes at 16:00, with 47 786 leading, seen
above rounding the curve into Llandudno Junction (Gary Thomas)
Passing Llandulas (Darren Durrant)
Heading east at Connah's Quay (Tim J.
Monday's train, from London Euston, was book-ended by 66 108 (the regular loco on 2009's
North Wales Rail Head Treatment Train) and 66 168, seen on the rear of the
train as it heads west past Connah's Quay gas-fired power station. (Tim J. Rogers)
Approaching Llandudno Junction (Gary
Rolling into Llandudno station. (Route19)
a 66 has been in the station (first known working
was in 2001), but could it be the first time an EWS example has visited?
66 168 at Llandudno under the signal gantry (Richard Billingsley)
Again, the train was split: the train moved over to platform 3,
leaving 66 108 parked 'on the blocks' of platform 2. (Richard Billingsley)
This time, The two 66s double-headed the train for its 16:45 departure
to Euston. We though this may have been be the first double-headed
train out of
Llandudno since the North Western 37 farewell in May 2000, but in fact
there was a charter on 25 October 2006 hauled by 31 459 and 31 452. (Route19)
The two 66s heading the return train through Colwyn Bay (Richard Billingsley) ...
.... and silhouetted against the water at Tan-y-Lan. (Richard Billingsley)
On Thursday 22 April 66 434 is
seen reversing to work wrong line at Gobowen having
arrived with the timber empties from Chirk. This loco is in the livery
of Jarvis Fastline, which ceased trading in March following the failure
of its parent company; 434 transferred to the DRS fleet. An article in
the May 2010 issue of Rail Express
magazine tells the complete history of Fastline, its locos and workings.
A small fleet which is still operating is that of Colas: here is 47 749 passing a soggy damp
Whitchurch at 18.25 on a working from Westbury to Donnington. Can
anyone tell us about these strange wagons? (Stavros Lainas)
Class 60s still rule on the Tunstead - Oakleigh limestone trains: on 1
May 60 009 passes Ashley with
6H03 Oakleigh-Tunstead. (Andrew Vinten)
Mark Riley writes: 'On 30
April, I was surprised to see 6C19 from Chirk arriving at Gobowen, over
an hour later than usual, with the KFA wagons still fully loaded! The
train pauses at platform 1 to await the passing of an afternoon Arriva
service to Holyhead, thus delaying things further.
After the Arriva train had passed, Fastline 66434, which has worked
these trains almost exclusively for 2 weeks, reversed onto the down
line and then ran south through the station to access the sidings to
run round and return north. Despite the delays, the run round operation
was less than 40 minutes from arrival at Gobowen to departure.
'Pausing on the crossing a few minutes before actual departure. Reports
say there was some sort of equipment failure at Kronospan which meant
the wagons were left unloaded (exact problem unknown). However, the
train had still been at Kronospan for over seven hours. I think this
may be the first time a train with loaded timber carriers has worked
north from Chirk, or at least it is a rare occurrence.'
These pictures from 28 April by George
Jones show improvement work under way on Platform 7 at Chester.
Platform 7b, usually the Merseyrail section, was being resurfaced. No
attempt is being made to increase the platform height to level with the
Merseyrail were running onto the 7a sector. With the contractor's
compound set up alongside it's a bit of a squeeze. Behind the wall the
'glass house' dating from the some time around 1960, that we think was
once used by the announcer, is being demolished. 507 003 was about to form the 11:00
to Liverpool. When the doors opened it was quite a crush ... but a bit
of 'rare track' for EMU riders!
A plan of the new arrangements was displayed so I took a photo.
An additional staircase and lift are to be encased in a pavilion.
More of the Arriva copper-clad style it seems.
A hump for Valley
Something is finally being done about the disgracefully low height of
the 'up' platform at Valley station, by fitting a fibreglass ramp, as
previously installed at Aberdyfi, and before that at Harrington in
Cumbria, hence the name 'Harrington Hump' which has been attached to
these devices. Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, this device is
referred to as a 'cost-effective solution' at only £70,000 per
Lord Adonis at Wrexham - report by George Jones
A VIP session took place at Wrexham General station on Saturday evening
1 May. Lord Adonis the pro rail Secretary for Transport stopped off for
a meeting with local election candidates and courtesy of W&S
enjoyed refreshments at the station cafe. Thanks to an invite from Ian
Lucas MP the Shrewsbury-Chester Rail Users Association was represented
by myself and Martin Evans; Sheila Dee was also present for the
community rail partnership. After a photo call a discussion session
about local rail matters took place.
I took advantage of the opportunity to exhibit the Llangollen Railway's
Corwen trackbed extension photo display which generated interest in the
project. The picture shows Ian Lucas and Lord Adonis alongside the
display. Lord Adonis was making another of his nationwide rail journeys
with the benefit of a 7-day rover ticket. He had this day travelled
from Euston via Milton Keynes and Stafford to Liverpool and visit
to Edge Hill (The oldest working station), then on via Bidston to
Wrexham. He left Wrexham headed for Cardiff on the 18:46 and with the
last two editions of Severn Dee News
and Steam at Llangollen as
his bedtime reading!
The Volcano effect at Holyhead - report by 'Corrie'
As we have already reported the effects of the 'Ash' on from the
Icelandic Volcano prohibited air travel to and from the UK . This
resulted in a sudden demand for Rail and Ferry travel to and from
Here at lunchtime on 16 April a strengthened Voyager service stands on
Meanwhile on platform 2 a large number of passengers await the arrival
of their train which was the 09.09 from Birmingham International.
Passengers board the 4-car 158 which formed the 13.23 to Birmingham
International (158 828 nearest
The Stena Lynx 3 prepares for
its next trip to Ireland on the same afternoon. The HSS Stena Explorer, however, was not
brought into service to cope with the sudden increase in the number of
175 002 worked the 13:23
departure on 20 April, with crowds still evident.
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