Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 July 2010

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Forthcoming events

July 2010      

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.

44871 departs Shrewsbury, 23 July. Picture by Geoff Morris.

Don't miss the 26 July issue, including timetables for the Llangollen Sixties weekend.

23 July Bonanza - report by Stavros Lainas

I travelled out to Ashley in Cheshire on 23 July to shoot a special that was running from Newcastle to Chester, as I heard it was running with a Royal 67. I finally made it as there were many road blocks in the area as the Tatton Park Flower show was on ... the first shot I took was not the special but the early-running Oakleigh to Tunstead empty limestone hoppers (I was intending to shoot this at another location at its booked path around 11) with 60 039 at the helm (above) which passed me shortly after 10:00.

The special was due shortly after 10:40 but didn't show I knew a local service was due around five to the hour and this did run on time with a 142 stopper to Chester. I thought well the special will be at least ten mins behind ... wrong, only five minutes later at 11:00 it appeared. Loco is 67 006 Royal Sovereign.

From Ashley I followed the diversions to get back onto the M56 near Wilmslow. Oh my - the queues were long as a lot of people were heading to Tatton flower show; eventually it cleared and I travelled to Dutton to shoot 'Black 5' 44871 (11:57) on its way from Bury to Crewe, and then Machynlleth with its support coach to take up its duty on 'The Cambrian' summer service ...

... and at 13:12 the West Coast Railway Company 'Slim Jim' 33 207 Jim Martin on the way from Carnforth with the coaching stock for The Cambrian. Shortly after the 33 passed the weather started to clear up (well, the sun did shine briefly just before the 33 came but went in just as it came round the corner....Grrr)

I had a short and quick snack before heading on the A49 to Whitchurch, where the weather was hot and sunny, to shoot the Black 5 which had coupled at Crewe to the 33 and its train for the onward run to Machynlleth. Plenty of 'clag'.

Next up was to drive back up into Cheshire to Rowton to shoot the flasks with enthusiast favourite 'splitty'  37 087 Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and 37 229. This pair passed a little later than normal and put on an impressive performance as they passed at 17:03.

This late running put me in a dilemma, as I was hoping to shoot the return Northern Belle empty stock from Crewe to Chester at Hargrave, so I stayed at Rowton,  where I took the above picture at 17:21. A good day was had with plenty of variety.

Northern Belle

A closer look at some of the specials of 23 July, starting with the Northern Belle.  This was a luxury excursion from Newcastle, Leeds and York to Chester, as usual for this company including 'Brunch with Bellini' on the outward journey, a coach tour of Chester, and sumptuous dinner with champagne and wine on the return journey. ('Smart day wear is appropriate.') DB Schenker 67 026 is at the head of the Northern Belle empty stock at Crewe where the train ran for servicing while the passengers enjoyed their tour of the city. Picture by David Hennessey.

67 006 Royal Sovereign was at the other end of the train for added glamour (David Hennessey).

The Cambrian prologue

23 July saw the locomotives and stock for the Summer steam service on the Cambrian Coast making their way to the line. This year's steam engine is 44871, which we pick up pausing in the goods loop at Warrington Bank Quay, en route to Crewe. (David Hennessey)

44871 arriving at Crewe from Bury with support coach in tow (Mark Watson) After taking water in platform 12 it shunted out alongside the diesel depot to await the arrival of the coaching stock ....

... which arrived from Carnforth behind 33 207 at the same time that 66 432 stopped for a crew change on the loop line between platforms 11 & 12 on a Daventry - Mossend Intermodal (Geoff Morris).

Backing down on to the train (Tim Fenton). This year's train is eight Mk2 vehicles.

44871 and 6233, two Stanier-designed locomotives, alongside each other at Crewe. More pictures on David's Fotopic site.

Wrenbury (Mark Watson)

44871 really livened up a dull day with its spirited climb towards Whitchurch: John Beresford photographed it (above) just beyond Wrenbury and notes: 'Its roaring exhaust could be heard approaching in the distance -an observer on the bridge just after the station said that they had steam on even descending to Wrenbury and the train passed me climbing well with steam to spare.

One constant on this year's 'Cambrian is the use of 33 207. Here it is after bringing the empty stock from Carnforth and detaching. This picture and was taken by Tim Fenton with his '56 Quid Compact', a FujiFilm A235 - basic point and shoot, but gives 12.2Mp.

For information and booking for The Cambrian, see the WCRC website.

Black Fives on the Cambrian - by Andrew Bannister

Above, 44871 passing Yockleton, near Shrewsbury on its first visit to the Cambrian line, hauling the empty stock from Crewe to Machynlleth in preparation for this summer’s service which commences on Monday 26 July and runs to Porthmadog Mondays - Fridays, extended to Pwllheli on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, until Monday 30 August.

I was interested to know whether Class 5s had worked over any part of the Cambrian route before in BR days and thought the following might be of interest. With 76079 being unavailable, West Coast and Ian Riley have come up with an elegant solution of restricting the loading of the tender to enable the loco to remain within the permitted axle loads for the line. From the purist's point of view, a Black 5 on what was a GWR route won't please everyone, but arguably a steam service hauled by a historically incorrect loco for the route is better than no steam at all ...

However as it turns out, my investigations show that Black 5s have been down parts of the Cambrian Main and Coast lines before, so there is indeed some historical basis for using one. Here is what I have managed to turn up from sources in my collection:

I had a recollection of seeing a photo of one at Afon Wen in the 1950s on a Butlin’s Saturday extra which had arrived via the Caernarfon – Afon Wen line. A perusal of the late Bill Rear’s book LMS Branch Lines in North Wales (published by Wild Swan, 1985) confirmed this – it included an undated 1950s shot by the late Joe House of 45417 arriving at Afon Wen with 40087 on a Huddersfield to Penychain working. Another undated shot in the same book (also taken by the late Mr House) shows 45144 and Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2 tank 41200 at Chwilog on an empty stock working to Penychain.

Being an ex-Bangor fireman in the 1950s, Mr Rear provides extensive recollections of loco and train working on the Caernarfon – Afon Wen line in his book. He later expanded this theme in a follow up book on the same line published by Foxline. The opening of the Butlin's holiday camp at Penychain in the late 1940s generated considerable rail traffic in the 1950s and early 1960s, with much of it coming down the ex-LNWR line from Caernarfon to Afon Wen, where the trains reversed for the final short section along to Penychain station. Whilst much of this traffic was in the hands of  Fairburn and Stanier 2-6-4 tanks working off Bangor shed, due to lack of turning facilities at Afon Wen, it seems from photographic evidence Black 5s were nevertheless regular visitors to the northern section of the Cambrian Coast via this route.

A copy of the Western Region working timetables I have for the Oswestry Division (Summer 1958 and summer 1963) both show that ex LMS Class 5MT 4-6-0s, as well as parallel and taper boiler Class 5MT 2-6-0s (the Stanier Moguls and Crabs) were permitted to work between Afon Wen and Pwllheli, subject to observance of all service restrictions and providing the speed does not exceed 40 mph.

In a recent conversation with Trevor Owen, he recalled that during the visit of Her Majesty the Queen and his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to North Wales in August 1963, one of the Royal Train workings in connection with this visit ran between Dinas Junction and Criccieth. It was rostered for two ex LMS Class 5MTs, numbers 45247 and 45282 from Bangor Shed. A copy of the Royal Train notice for these workings was included in the recent book on the Cambrian Coast Return to Pwllheli Please (Compiled by Derek Lowe, published by Foxline, 2008).  This shows that the actual working took place on Friday 8th August 1963, when the Black 5s worked train 1X00 (empty stock of the Royal Train) from Caernarfon to Dinas, where the Royal Party boarded the train, and then worked IX01 3.55pm Dinas to Criccieth, arriving in the up main platform at 4.10pm. The stock then worked empty to Pwllheli behind two 'Manor' Class locos. Presumably the Black 5s then ran back light engine to Bangor.

On the Cambrian main line, there are some recorded workings of Black 5s in 1966. My father’s diary for the period records 'as from the commencement of the summer season, the District Engineer will permit the use of ex LMS Class 5s, BR Standard Class 5s and ex LMS 8Fs direct running through to Newtown, subject to certain speed restrictions.'  My Father added that he wasn’t sure if it happened in practice, but it seems that use of larger locomotives was connected with the cement traffic from Aberthaw to Llanidloes, for the construction of the Clywedog dam in the upper Severn Valley.  The 8Fs and Class 5s worked the daily Shrewsbury – Newtown goods and in his wonderfully evocative book Talerddig in Great Western Days (published by Gomer Press 1999), Gwyn Briwant Jones notes that Class 5s no 44931, 45031 and 45145 were recorded by Mr E.H. Stevens at Newtown along with ex LMS 8F 48131. An Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0 from Machynlleth shed was then used to trip the cement wagons for the final section from Newtown to Llanidloes until Machynlleth shed closed to steam in December 1966.

Finally in more recent times, sister engine 45407 worked from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth 20 March 2004 and the following day ran from Shrewsbury to Tywyn as substitute for the allocated locomotive, 76079, which became unavailable at short notice.

Duchess of Sutherland, 23 July

6233 Duchess of Sutherland travelled on 23 July with two support coaches from its base at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley to Crewe.  Above, it is seen approaching Crewe at Weston on the former North Staffordshire Railway route from Kidsgrove (Mark Watson)

Arriving at Crewe station at 13:35. (Tim Fenton) The support coach immediately behind the loco, which I believe is for 6201, is a Mk 1 compartment brake composite, the two compartments at the brake end being First Class.

Instead of going straight to the Heritage Centre it was turned, by running to Basford Hall yard, so that it was pointing the correct way for its run from Liverpool to Carlisle the next day. (Geoff Morris)

Here's the shot many were hoping to get - 44871 and 6233 together. The Pacific had turned and was running tender first to the Heritage Centre, to be at the back of the stock for its special when it left for Liverpool on 24 July. Picture by Tim Fenton, who notes: 'Yes, there were the inevitable folks who got a bit selfish and got in most others' shot, but that's one of those things.'

Scarborough Flyer

The first run of this year's 'Scarborough Flyer' took place on Friday 23
July. This runs every Friday from Crewe (07:12) picking up at Wilmslow, Stockport (07:50) to Scarborough (13:00) returning 16.55 arriving Crewe 21.49. Steam hauled throughout, it runs until Friday 10th September. It is possible to do it from stations across the North Wales coast if you are prepared for a very long day. Unfortunately this was delayed by over 30 minutes due to the late departure of the loco from the Heritage Centre, something to do with operational issues.  Above, 6201 Princess Elizabeth is seen passing Sandbach in the gloom  (Mark Watson)


Approaching Goostrey (Steve Morris)

Shrewsbury afternoon - with Geoff Morris

Having spoken with the support crew at Crewe on 23 July I knew that 44871 was going to haul the stock to Machynlleth (33 207 would be attached at the rear) and so I took a train to Shrewsbury where it was scheduled to wait for 20 minutes for a path over the single line to Welshpool.  The platform staff were very helpful and advised that she would wait in platform 4.  I took a photo of it arriving from the station platform (above) and then made my way up to the Castle to get photos of it departing - see the page heading.

33 207 trails around the curve towards Sutton Bridge Junction.

I knew that Friday afternoon should see a couple of northbound freights and 66 039 soon appeared on the Llanwern - Dee Marsh steel coils.  It had to wait in the centre road for about 20 minutes to allow a Birmingham - Holyhead service precede it to Wrexham. 

About an hour later, 66 602 headed north on empty cement tankers from Westbury to Earle's Sidings (Hope) ...

... and about 20 minutes after that later 57 316 appeared with the Cardiff - Holyhead express.

[The new signal on Platform 3 can be seen to the right. In an earlier issue we said that this platform could now be used by trains from the Cambrian line towards Birmingham - this should have been from Birmingham to the Cambrian. The move the other way is not possible. Apologies for the editorial error.- Charlie]

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