Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

19 July 2010

Last issue


RSS feed RSS

Link to this issue

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

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

Forthcoming events

July 2010      

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.

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

Above: 67 012 A Shropshire Lad at Bangor late in the evening of 24 June, leading the Three Peaks Challenge by rail train, which this year was sponsored and crewed by Wrexham & Shropshire, hence the use of a W&S 67 rather than one of the others. It was supposed to be hauled by 67 014, however it didn't turn up, although I don't know why. Interestingly, the driver who brought this along the coast was also the driver of my W&S train to London on Saturday morning 26 June. They get around, these Wrexham boys!

The partcipants in the challenge travelled to Pen-y-Pass by coach and them walked up Snowdon and back down in the dark.

The next day the train headed from Bangor to Ravenglass, being photographed by Stavros Lainas passing Dunham-on-the-Hill (above). The walkers travelled by Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway train to Dalegarth and walked up Scafell Pike and back, rejoining the train for an overnight run to Fort William for the ascent of Ben Nevis, this completing the highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland.

Editor's note: All money raised is for the Railway Children charity which helps who are found living rough on railway stations in India and elsewhere. If you'd like to support the cause, railway manager Tim Brawn, a long-time friend of this website from the Class 37 days and one of the organisers of the three peaks event, is going for the big one in October 2010 with a sponsored climb of Kilimanjaro, again on behalf of Railway Children. If you'd like to sponsor him, he has an online donation page at the Justgiving site.

That departure board quirk - by Mark Youdan

Witgh reference to the article (4 July issue) on live departure boards and the erroneous 18:04 departure to Llandudno running 600 minutes early: I don't know exactly why that has happened, but I do have a little theory. All trains have a four-character 'headcode' which acts as a train number. It is common on the former London Midland Region for headcodes to be used more than once a day, but not at the same time.

Now the 18:04 from Shotton is the 16:50 from Manchester to Llandudno, which is 1D31. The 06:50 from Manchester to Llandudno is also 1D31. Now guess what time that calls at Shotton? 08:04 of course! In addition each train does have a unique ID number, but it seems the live departure board's computer has got its 1D31's confused...

The day we went to Crewe - by Alan Crawshaw

Rowan and I took the 08:55 Holyhead and Euston on Saturday 10 July, always a popular time from travelling and consequently spare seats were at a premium on the four-car Voyager. The electronic displays weren't working, so the old fashioned labels were pressed into service, but these simply stated "this seat is reserved for all or part of the journey". We jumped off at Chester to grab a quick shot of the Swindon to Blaenau Ffestiniog charter as it passed through (above), wistfully looking at the Virgin-liveried Mk 2 set as we squeezed into the vestibule amongst other passengers, suitcases and buggies for the short ride to Crewe.

We walked along Gresty Road to the DRS depot for the Open Day (see also the reports in the last issue), quite a small site but packed with people, locomotives and stalls (the picture shows 37 259, 37 229 and 57 004). From there, we took the complimentary vintage bus to the Crewe Heritage Centre, which was offering reduced price entry to holders of DRS tickets.

It's a few years since our first visit and it's improved a lot, good to see that the APT set has received some much needed attention. Above,  87 035 and 37 603. Plenty of Open Day visitors were taking advantage of the offer so a good move on the part of the Centre.

I'm sure the buses helped too, we had a ride on both and they eliminated the long trudge back to the station. [Daimler Fleetline JBF 169N, left, wears the livery of S. Turner and Sons Ltd of Brown Edge, Stoke on Trent, which was taken over by Potteries Motor Traction (PMT) in 1988. The Marshall-bodied Leyland Leopard to the right, TVT 127G, was no. 1127 of PMT, a very common type of vehicle in the BET-group fleets of the 1960s. Route 20 still runs between Hanley and Crewe, now under the auspices of First Staffordshire & South Cheshire.]

We were surprised how many rail enthusiasts were on the platforms at Crewe station, there's really very little to interest us there now unless a charter is expected. We returned on the 13:10 Euston to Chester (above)), the same Voyager that had brought us. This connected nicely with a pair of 158s which took us back to Bangor.

TV Train?

Here's a letter from a reader:

Many years ago I travelled on a special day trip from Manchester (sorry cant remember which station it was) to Llandudno it would be either 1961, 1962 or 1963.

The train was known as the 'Television Train' -  a live program was on for us to watch on the TVs in the coaches ... I know I went on this train, it was more than likely run for National Union of Bank Employers of which I was a member in those days, can anyone clarify this for me and also do you know of any other excursions by this train.

We have found occasional reference to such a train on the Scottish Region, but can anyone remember it in North Wales, and suggest what coaches might have been used, and what sort of programmes were shown on the TV?

Shrewsbury freights - report by David Parry

Here are some images from a visit I made on 25 June to Shrewsbury in search of freight traffic.   Above,  66 187 is passing through the station on the 09:30 Dee Marsh - Margam (Train 6V75).

Sutton Bridge Junction, with the Cambrian line branching off to the right. 70 004 is about to leave the loop with 6M55, the 06:44 Portbury Dock -
Rugeley Power Station...

... and gets its heavy coal train on the move.

More imported coal: 66 599 on a Portbury Dock - Fiddlers Ferry Power Station train.

Back at the station, with the Abbey and Severn Bridge Junction signalbox as backdrop to  66 125 on the Llanwern - Dee Marsh steel train (6M86).

New signal at Shrewsbury

The new signal, seen with an 'X' across it awaiting unveiling to the right of the train on David's last picture in the previous item, is part of a project to make more use of Platform 3, and was brought into use a few days later on 3 July. As Richard Putley's picture, from 7 July, shows, it is a semaphore signal, most unusual for a new installation in 2010; Severn Bridge signalbox is certainly the largest 'old-fashioned' signalbox still in use with its London and North Western Railway lever frame.

The new signal  means that trains can now depart from Platform 3 in the southbound direction - but only on to the Hereford line. Previously this platform could only be used by northbound trains from the Wolverhampton direction (which meant that Wrexham & Shropshire trains from London were among the few trains that could use it) but now trains from the Hereford, Cambrian and Heart of Wales lines can also terminate there and return south, or in the case of Cambrian trains from the Birmingham direction, reverse and continue towards Machynlleth. This gives a bit of extra flexibility.

A drawback for passengers, though, is the need to use the stairs, or newly-provided lift, and the subway, to reach connecting trains at the other platforms - passing through the automatic barriers in the process.

This view by Richard Putley, taken from Shrewsbury Castle on the same day, shows the 12:07 to London Marylebone formed of an unidentified W & S class 67 and matching set of Mk 3 coaches.

Model news - by George Jones

New from Hornby in 00 scale is an Arriva Trains Wales-liveried version of the Class 153. Modelled on 153 367, is it a coincidence that this is also the trial fit of the refurbished interior for the class? Catalogue no. R2932, RRP £74.99.

A steamy morning in Cheshire - report by John Beresford

The morning of 3 July provided plenty of action in Cheshire for those steam enthusiasts who got up in time. At about 07:00 Stanier class 5 4-6-0s 45407 and 44871 moved from Bury to Crewe to take up the 'Central Wales Explorer' excursion - they roared through Winsford (above) just as the morning Liverpool stopper was in the up platform and must have given those passengers sufficiently awake quite a surprise.

About 15 minutes later a class 92 headed north with a long train of 'cartic' car-carriers, followed closely by 71000  Duke of Gloucester with the 'Cumbrian Coast Explorer' - the signal was at caution but must have cleared as the Duke's regulator was opened as it approached the station.

A move to Nantwich saw the two class 5s getting into their stride along the old North to West line with the 'Central Wales Explorer' shortly before 09:00. It was quite a morning for Cheshire steam.

Variety in Ruabon - report by Martin Evans

37 409 with 'Caroline' Inspection Saloon passes Ruabon on 23 June.

66 200 passes with the Shotton steel train, 30 June.

66 841 hauls the Chirk to Carlisle empty logs on 2 July.

175 002 is a late running Holyhead - Cardiff at 17:20 on 2 July.

North Wales Coast home page  2010 Archive  Previous Noticeboard