Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

24 June 2010

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Forthcoming events

June 2010

26-27 June.  Llangollen Railway Heritage Railcar Gala. An intensive service with the resident railcars and a special visitor plus the steam autotrain.

July 2010      

Friday 16 July Excursion Compass Tours to EDINBURGH (via WCML) Picks up: Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Craven Arms, Shrewsbury, Gobowen, Wrexham General, Chester, Frodsham & Warrington Bank Quay Expected to be hauled by class 67s.

24-25 July. Llangollen Railway Ivor the Engine weekend with a return visit from the Welsh engine for a fun weekend. Includes Ivor the Engine in Concert on Saturday evening.

26-30 July: Cambrian Steam: 44871 Machynlleth - Porthmadog or Pwllheli and return.

Wednesday 28 July Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

31 July-1 August. Llangollen Railway 1960s weekend. Intensive service with a mix of steam, diesel and railcars with opportunity to appear in period dress.

August 2010

2-30 August, Mondays - Fridays only: Cambrian Steam: 44871 Machynlleth - Porthmadog or Pwllheli and return.

7-15 August. Llangollen Railway Day out with Thomas (again) the summer time visit by No.1 and friends.

Sunday 8 August Excursion Compass Tours to SKIPTON & KEIGHLEY (out via Bentham, return S&C + Shap) Picks up: Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Frodsham & Warrington Bank Quay. Expected to to be hauled by a class 67.

Sunday 8 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. The North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool - Holyhead

Wednesday 11 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Wednesday 18 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Sunday 22 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. The North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool - Holyhead

Wednesday 25 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Monday 30 August Excursion Compass Tours to DURHAM + optional add-on tour via Hartlepool to Newcastle (routes covered include Cumbrian Coast, Tyne Valley, ECML, Aire Valley & Hellifield to Carnforth) Picks up: Crewe, Hooton (after runnning round), Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster & Carnforth This train is booked to feature D1015 Western Champion throughout.

See the Calendar page for more details.

40 145 East Lancashire Railway approaching Buckley at 10:43 on Saturday 12 Jun en route to Dee Marsh with the Branch Line Society railtour. Picture (with 200mm lens) by Bob Greenalgh. (See report below.)

This extra issue of the Notice Board catches up with some of the events while I was on holiday - more, including the steam special at Chester, on 28 June.- Charlie

Milestone for the Merger
The press release tells its own story:

(Berlin/Durham, 17 June 2010) Today the shareholders of Arriva plc voted in favour of Deutsche Bahn’s offer for the company. Subject to approval by the competent antitrust authorities, completion of the transaction is scheduled for end of August 2010. The intention is for Arriva to be delisted from the London Stock Exchange at that time and continue as an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of DB UK Holding Limited.

"This means we have reached a major milestone on the road to the merger," said Dr. Rüdiger Grube, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Deutsche Bahn. "With the successful bus and rail services operated by Arriva in twelve European countries, Deutsche Bahn will enter a new dimension of passenger transport.”

After the takeover, the Arriva brand is to be retained outside Germany. DB is looking forward to close cooperation with the existing management of Arriva.

Apparently, the 'antitrust authorities' are likely to insist that DB disposes of Arriva's rail operations in Germany, which include a rather interesting diesel loco-hauled service on the Oberstdorf branch in Bavaria. It will be interesting to see how this merger affects the relationship between Arriva Trains Wales, DB-owned Chiltern Railways, and the Wrexham & Shropshire operation in which DB have the major share. Will W&S be in a position to continue objecting to Arriva's Aberystwyth - London proposals?

Another 37/4 back in traffic

37 409 has been overhauled at Barrow Hill and is back in traffic with DRS. It is seen here at Crewe station on arrival on 9 June. (Tim Fenton)

Chester to Liverpool South Parkway

Northern Rail, working in partnership with Merseytravel, has made special arrangements for the "parliamentary" train service to be extended to Liverpool South Parkway for a one-off journey on Saturday 26 June. This will be the first scheduled passenger service to run between Chester and Liverpool South Parkway and is a contribution to the North Cheshire Rail Users' Group's (NCRUG) 20th anniversary celebrations.

The train, which runs on summer Saturdays only in the one direction (the crossings which would allow trains to return were removed some time ago), is known as a "parliamentary" train because like some other services, including the more famous Stalybridge to Stockport run,  it exists for no other reason than to avoid the expense of going through the closure procedure for the short chord between Frodsham Junction and Halton Junction. It normally runs as passenger service between Chester and Runcorn only, although we believe the empty train does continue towards Liverpool. On 26 June it will also make additional stops at Helsby and Frodsham before running over the Halton Curve to Runcorn and Liverpool South Parkway.

The train will leave Chester at 07:53 and make additional stops at Helsby (08:02), Frodsham (08:07) and Runcorn (08:17), arriving at Liverpool South Parkway at 08:26. Refreshments will be available at Liverpool South Parkway before a special vintage bus leaves at 10:30 to take passengers back to where they boarded the train. Normal tickets are valid (presumably including the Cheshire Day Ranger?) for anyone who wishes to get up early enough.

The NCRUG believes, with very strong justification, that the line, which was saved from complete closure in 2004 after pressure from the Group at local authorities, should be restored as a proper part of the network, allowing fast access to Liverpool Airport with a North Wales or Chester - Liverpool service. Unfortunately, the current arrangements, fleet size and service pattern of the railway are all against such a plan, but who knows what may happen in the future.

Class 40 on the BLS

No, not the Bern - Lötschberg - Simplon, but the special train promoted by the Branch Line Society which visited some obscure sections of line, in the Society's usual style on 12 June. Here is a selection of the many pictures received. As an added attraction, preserved 40 145 East Lancashire Railway was provided as motive power.Above, ready to start from Crewe (Tim Fenton). The loco is carrying a Class 40 Preservation Society headboard and a smaller BLS one. On the tail was 'Red Skip' 67 018 Keith Heller.

Having headed south from Crewe and ran round the Oxley Chord north of Wolverhampton to head through Shrewsbury to Wrexham. Above, passing Gobowen (Martin Evans).

On the single-track section at Rossett (Richard Billingsley)

The route (our area shown in red) was: Crewe – South Jct. connection to Salop Goods Loop Jct. (Sorting Sidings North) – Up Through Sidings to Basford Hall Jct. – Stafford  – Bushbury Jct. – Oxley Chord – Telford Central  – Shrewsbury Down Main Line – Chirk – Wrexham Exchange Jct. – Penyffordd – Dee Marsh Birkenhead Reception Sidings – Dee Marsh National Rail Sidings Limit – Reception Sidings – Dee Marsh North Junction – Hope – Wrexham General (Platform 3) – reversing Croes Newydd to Platform 2 – Saltney Jct. – Roodee Slow Line – Chester Down & Up Goods Line – Helsby – Acton Grange Jct. Down Main – Warrington Down Slow – Winwick Jct. – Parkside – Eccles Up Goods Loop – Weaste Branch Network Rail Limit – Eccles Up Goods Loop – Manchester Victoria – Thorpes Bridge Down Passenger Loop – Castleton Down Goods Loop to
East Jct. – Hopwood Ground Frame transfer to East Lancashire Rly. – Bury Bolton Street (Short Break) – Buckley Wells ELR Limit – Summerseat – Rawtenstall – Ramsbottom – Heywood – Hopwood GF transfer
back to NR – Castleton South Jct. – Brewery Jct. – Phillips Park West Jct. – Ashton Moss North Jct. – Denton Jct. – Stockport – Crewe.

Arriving at Wrexham about 7 minutes down, having reportedly left Crewe 15 minutes late; a head at every droplight!

On the Borderlands line at Cefn-y-Bedd station (Mark Riley)

The train at Buckley Junction, seen  from the road overbridge on the Penyfordd side of the road. Picture by John Rutter. The train had to be hand-signalled through Penyffordd as signalling replacement work was under way.

40 145 runs down through Hawarden station towards Dee Marsh (Larry Davies)

67 018 provided a nice contrast of colour to the rustic backcloth of Hawarden Station. (Larry Davies)

Crossing the Dee at Hawarden Bridge (John Eyres)

Returning from Dee Marsh, seen at Caergwrle (Richard Billingsley)

67 018 brings the special into platform 3 at Wrexham. (George Jones)

A short stop over in platform 3 at Wrexham, normally the home for Wrexham & Shropshire workings, presented a different scenario.
The train awaited the passing of the 12:00 Arriva service to Holyhead. (George Jones)

Many BLS members are interested in travelling over as much as possible of the actual track of the railway, not just every route, so would have been pleased to visit Croes Newydd loop, normally used only by freight trains and the occasional empty passenger stock. Picture by Mark Riley.

40 145 rolls slowly through the wilderness that once was Wrexham Wrexham Exchange station as the special is allowed back onto the former GW main line. (Larry Davies)

An hour later at Chester, 40 145 appears under the Hoole Road bridge to cross to the goods line. (George Jones)

On the 'down and up goods line' at Chester - very rarely traversed by passengers (Stephen T)

This view was taken by Andrew Vinten at Guilden Sutton from a vantage point on a line the tour could not cover - the closed Mickle Trafford - Dee Marsh direct line, which has been converted to a cycleway.

Frodsham viaduct with the rare sight of the barge James Jackson Grundy on the quay in place of the usual Panary. (John Eyres)

James Jackson Grundy - notes by John Eyres

A few notes on the James Jackson Grundy may be of interest. She is an ex ICI-Barge built for the Weaver traffic in 1948 and has been semi- preserved since in late 70s. The usual grain barge Panary has been out of service for repairs since February so the decision was to continue the  traffic from Liverpool Seaforth grain terminal for the time being with the 'JJG' which hasn't carried a substantial cargo since the late 70s.

Freight views

6K41, eastbound flask train passes Llandudno Junction at 15.53 on 9 June, with 37 607 leading 37 601 (Peter Lloyd).

A stone train, 6K56, from Penmaenmawr to Crewe Basford Hall ran on 10 June; 22 loaded bogie wagons hauled by 70 002, seen loading at Penmaenmawr (above, picture by Richard Billingsley)

... and passing Llandudno Junction at 16:37 (Peter Lloyd)

11 June, and another Flask train passes The Junction at 15:49, this time with 57 011 + 57 012 (Peter Lloyd)

The same train passes Milepost 218¾ at Old Colwyn, 15:55 (Stéphanie Durrant)

Cambrian Holiday - with Ben Bucki

In glorious sunshine, Welsh Highland Railway Garratt 138 weaves through the tunnels of the Glaslyn pass on her way to Beddgelert, 4 June.

Welsh Highland Railway Garratt no.87 hauls her northbound train out of the Glaslyn Pass and towards the river bridge, 4 June.

87 brings an afternoon service train into Pont Croesor station, over the new level crossing on the Welsh Highland Railway's recently-opened extension.

Down on the Cambrian Coast, 158 824 on a northbound service passes Criccieth beach, 5 6 2010 taken through the fence between the beach and the railway.

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