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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.
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.
37 087 and 37 603 pass through Bangor with the Valley to Crewe flasks on 16 July (Rowan Crawshaw)
South Wales loco report - by Geoff Morris
I had a day trip to South Wales on 14 July to get some photos of the top and tail class 67s on FGW services between Cardiff and the West Country. The diagram between Cardiff and Taunton that originally used class 57/3s has recently been changed and now uses class 67s due to unreliability of the 57s. This diagram was being worked by DB-liveried 67 018 Keith Heller and 67 016. They are photographed (above) leaving Severn Tunnel Junction on the 14:00 Cardiff - Taunton.
The other diagram runs between Cardiff & Paignton. This was being worked by silver-liveried 67 029 Royal Diamond and 67 017. The picture above shows them arriving at Newport on the 12:47 Paignton - Cardiff. It was interesting to note that the two coaching rakes are in different liveries and good to see that all coaches in each rake were in the same livery, presenting a nice uniform appearance.
I then took a class 175 as far as Abergavenny and got off there to wait for the Cardiff - Crewe 'WAG Express' to travel back to Chester. I was able to grab a picture (above) of it approaching Abergavenny, hauled by 57 314, before I got on.
On the way down I had noticed that the four class 66/3s, previously operated by the now-defunct Fastline company, stored at Gresty Bridge were still parked alongside the main line, having been moved there prior to the recent Open Day. Of course the Mk 2 coaches used on the Cardiff express have droplight windows in the doors and so I was able to lower the window to get a shot of the Fastline locos (above) as we approached Crewe, in glorious evening light. The locos (in order from the camera) are 66 305 / 02 / 01 / 03.
I then switched quickly to the other side of the train to get a shot of some of the Fertis-liveried class 56s that are stored at Crewe diesel depot. 56 051 / 103 / 049 are the three nearest the Shrewsbury line. (Fertis is a French company, which has hired various British locos in recent years for work connected with the building of new high-speed lines.)
Ivor arrives, and other Llangollen news - report by George Jones
This is the picture you have all been waiting for: the cheeky little Welsh engine has arrived at Llangollen for a weekend of fun on 24-25 July with musical accompaniment.
Going out from Llangollen, 2-8-0 3802, minus its high-sided tender, has gone off on hire to Severn Valley Railway for the summer period. Purists will be delighted that it will run from Bridgnorth with a low-sided tender during its stay there.
2-8-0 2807, which has been overhauled at Llangollen for the Cotswold Steam Preservation Company for use on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's and has been running-in on LR trains, as seen above at Carrog on 8 July, has now departed by road to its new home at Toddington. The tender left on 15 July, followed the next day by the loco itself.
For Children's day at the International Eisteddfod the LR laid on a special train to bring 367 children and staff from eight schools in North Wales from Carrog up into Llangollen for 10:15. The first 8 coach train of the day ran with 2-8-0 3802, and the parties used the Llangollen excursion platform extension at the west end for direct entry into the Eisteddfod field. This was akin to specials as worked into Llangollen in BR Days and the early years of the annual event.
For the afternoon trains 3802 was joined by newly-restored sister 2807 as part of its running-in trials. To take the school parties back home the 3pm departure for Carrog was delayed by 30 minutes; the train is seen here with the two 2-8-0s coming on at Llangollen as the school parties return from the field. In the event the departure saw a complement of 505 passengers were carried to Carrog when an extra school group joined the train, plus other passengers, to provide one of the LR's largest-ever uplifts on a service train.
Meanwhile 37 240 is being repainted in 1966-style Rail Blue in time for the 'Swinging Sixties weekend' on 31 July/1 August, as detailed in the imaginatively-designed poster above. A music festival cleverly called 'Llanstock' will accompany the trains, and the 'real ale' will be flowing. (What, no Double Diamond or Watney's Red Barrel? - Ed.)
Lined up for the 10-12 September Great Western three-day steam gala at Llangollen we can now expect GWR visitors 3440 City of Truro and 4953 Pitchford Hall to join locals 5643, 6430 plus Black 5 44806 and Standard tank 80072 on the Saturday & Sunday roster.
Full details of all these events on the Llangollen Railway website.
44806 on Llangollen Railway duty, 10 July (Greg Mape)
Three Peaks by Rail - report by Richard Billingsley