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23 August 2010
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Wednesday 25 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Thursday 26 August: talk by Larry Davies at Glasdir, Llanrwst - see item in main text.
28 - 30 August Corris Railway Model Railway and Toy Exhibition
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.
Friday 3 September Clwyd Railway Circle Larry Davies: British Rail in 1987. In the first half of the show, Larry will present a variety of slides taken in 1987 of his travels that year. These include a Scottish Rover, when there was a variety of motive power that we would die for today. In the second half, 'Lost lines in North Wales' we are taken on a trip down memory lane from Prestatyn to Dyserth, Rhyl to Denbigh and Ruthin to Corwen.
10-12 September. Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam gala celebrating 175th anniversary of GWR and 35 years of Llangollen Railway reopening with expected return of 7822 Foxcote Manor after ten year boiler overhaul.
Monday 13 September Wrexham Railway Society Rocket 150: the Final Great Cavalcade of British Steam? Thirty years on from Rainhill 1980 a review of the celebrations of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway including a Super 8 colour film of the famous Cavalcade.
Tuesday 14 September. 8E Association Glynn Parry: Under, Up & Over. Merseyrail, Overhead & Snowdon – A Connection?
Tuesday 21 September North Wales Railway Circle Garry Hughes: Wartime Locomotives, courtesy of B & R Videos.
Friday 1 October Clwyd Railway Circle Edgar Richards: Freight in North Wales and the North West. A combined collection of slides taken by Dave Airey and our well respected speaker.
2-3 October. Llangollen Railway Diesel weekend. Intensive service by the mainline diesels supported by one of the railcars.
Sunday 3 October: The annual Tram and Bus show at Pacific Road Birkenhead
Monday 4 October: RCTS Port Sunlight Harry Madden: MERSEYSIDE TRANSPORT. A miscellany of trains, trams, buses and shipping from both sides of the River Mersey.
Tuesday 5 October North Wales Railway Circle David Lindsay: Statfold Barn Railway visit.
Monday 11 October. Wrexham Railway Society Preserved Steam on Video - the 2010 mainline steam action with PSOV.
Tuesday 12 October. 8E Association Charles Roberts (RCTS): 80s and 90s Irish Railways.
Saturday 16 October Llangollen Railway: Growler Group Members' Day. 6940 (37 240) will be making six return trips between Llangollen & Carrog. Tickets are available for non-members of the Group.
Monday 18 October RCTS Chester Tony Keeley: 50 YEARS BEHIND THE LENS. Tony’s presentation covers his career working for Beyer Peacock in South America and Europe through to the present day.
Tuesday 19 October North Wales Railway Circle Bill Rogerson :Sardinia Railways.
23-31 October. Llangollen Railway Day out with Thomas. the half term event featuring No.1.
29 - 31 October Merseyside Model Railway Society exhibition at the Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead. Trams will be in operation on the adjacent tramway.
See the Calendar page for more details.
5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe departs Crewe for Llandudno Junction, 21 August (Tim Fenton)
Don't miss the 20 August issue, including the continuing story of the 'mystery signalbox'...
Conwy Valley steam offer
There is, we understand, a promotion between the Railway Touring Company and the Chester Chronicle newspaper for Wednesday 25 August's 'Welsh Mountaineer' steam tour to Blaenau Ffestiniog. If you ring the Railway Touring Company on 01553 661500 and quote promotion code BLN you can get the £79 fare reduced to £49, a saving £30 per ticket.
Class 37 trips at Llangollen - by Tez Pickthall
Class 37 D6940 will work a special six-trip charter at the Llangollen Railway on Saturday 16 October, an event jointly hosted by the Growler Group and Llangollen Diesel Group. Thanks go to Ivor Bufton and the management of the Llangollen Railway for helping to make the charter happen.
All are welcome, travel is not restricted to members of the Growler Group. Preferential rates are available to working members of the Llangollen Railway and GG members. Almost 100 miles of haulage are on offer. A real ale bar is likely to be available on the train from lunchtime and there should also be sales stands onboard.
Details of times and ticket prices, along with how to book can be found The Llangollen Diesel Group website. Please note that bookings are being handled by the Growler Group, not the Llangollen Diesel Group or Llangollen Railway.
Steam weekend - part 1
21-22 August was another busy weekend for steam fans on the North Wales coast. Castle class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe ran the Vintage Trains 'North Wales Explorer' from Birmingham to Llandudno Junction and return on the Saturday and seemed in fine form with steam to spare both on outward and return trips. Above, the train arrived at Crewe (Tim Fenton)
Between Crewe and Chester, passing Bunbury (John Beresford)
The Great Western style personified, as seen at at Rhyl (Stavros Lainas)
On arrival, the locomotive ran round the train and shunted the carriages into the 'tamper siding' opposite Platform 1, before departing 'light engine' (above) for Valley and its reversing triangle (Peter Lloyd)
Passing Llanfair PG station (Richard Fleckney)
Back at Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd)
The loco backs on to its train in the siding to await departure time (Gareth Minords)
The return train approaching Flint (Glyn Jones)
Passing Waverton east of Chester (John Beresford). The three coaches behind the leading support vehicle are ex-East Coast Main Line Pullman cars.
Time to catch up with some non-steam events. The Saturday 'Pendolino Drag' continues to be the centre of attention: above, on 7 August, 57 311 Parker was in charge of 390 020 Virgin Cavalier, seen arriving at Bangor with the 14:36 Holyhead to London Euston (Rowan Crawshaw)
The 'Craven and Bronte Moorlander' on Sunday 8 August was one of the imaginative excursions of Compass Tours, who make a point of offering trips for North Wales residents. This one ran from Holyhead and stations onward to Warrington, and offered Skipton and Keighley as destinations, with a return via the Settle and Carlisle line. As usual with Compass, the little station at Llanfair PG was included in the list of pickup points: above, 67 024 is seen calling (Richard Fleckney)
Passing Mickle Trafford east of Chester (Stavros Lainas)
Departing Frodsham (Neil Kennedy). The rolling stock was provided by Riviera Trains: the blue coach is corridor brake first 17015, which is fitted a generator for train supply and is now branded as 'service couchette' on the basis that train staff can spend the night in the compartments when necessary. Incidentally, wouldn't it be handy for us scribes if railtour companies kept the details of past tours somewhere on their websites?
The next Compass tour from our area is Monday 30th August: The Western & Eastern Coastal Express from Crewe, Hooton, Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western , Preston, Lancaster & Carnforth to Durham or Optional Extra Tour around the Tyne Coast. Outward via the Cumbrian Coast Railway line. Diesel Hauled by 'Deltic' 55 022 Royal Scots Grey.
The flask trains continue to appear, and frequently produce assorted pairs of Class 37s. Above, 37 604 and 37 603 take the centre road at Bangor on 7 August. (Rowan Crawshaw)
Andrew Vinten took this view of 37 087 and 37 229 passing Hargrave on 9 August
Stone trains, usually for road construction rather than rail ballast, still run from time to time out of Penmaenmawr quarry, which has clearly not been 'mothballed' as reported some time ago. This is 66 611 with a load of granite passing Hargrave on 9 August, less than half an hour after the flask train. Two freights in such a short time is a far from common event on this line. (Andrew Vinten)
11 August at Helsby, and 70 003 takes the right turn at Helsby with coal empties for Manisty Wharf (Neil Kennedy)
37 604 and 37 601 head through Rowton near Chester with 6K41 flask train on 20 August (Andrew Vinten)
Saturday 21 August saw the westbound London - Holyhead Pendolino running 52 minutes leaving Crewe, reportedly because no locomotive was available at Crewe when the train arrived from London. Passengers for intermediate stations having been transferred to an Arriva Trains Wales service, the train ran non-stop from Chester to Holyhead. Above, passing Kinmel Bay (Stavros Lainas)
Here is the train making an unusual appearance on Platform 4 as it hurries through Llandudno Junction at 12:51. 57 308 Tin Tin is hauling 390 023 Virgin Glory. (Peter Lloyd)
57 314 passes the North Wales Coast Express on 22 August (see below) as it heads west through Llandudno Junction en route from Manchester Longsight depot to Holyhead where it will take over for the next week of the Cardiff express (Peter Lloyd)
57 316, relieved for maintenance, heads through Valley on the way to Manchester (Richard Fleckney).
Ruabon to Barmouth - on foot
Andrew Jackson and Iain Ross, volunteer firemen on the Llangollen Railway, are undertaking a sponsored walk from Ruabon to Barmouth in aid of the Llangollen Railway's Corwen Project. They will walk the 60 miles over four days at the end of September.
If you'd a like to sponsor them, you can download a sponsorship form here in PDF format.
Canadian on Wrexham & Shropshire - report by Mark Riley
On 13 August 13, 67 018 Keith Heller arrived at Wrexham as a replacement for 67 015, which was being removed for engine repairs, on the Wrexham and Shropshire services. Above, 67 018 is seen in the early evening stabled on the headshunt, just above the branch line between Wrexham Central and Wrexham General. Note the blackened roof.
I looked in briefly at 2 a.m. to see if 67 018 was attached to the stock. Viewed from the retail park in semi-darkness, it was sitting with engine running and set back to the right was 67 013. I understand it then worked the first morning Saturday service.
Use it or Lose it - from the Daily Post
Passengers are being warned to 'use or lose' a direct train link from
North Wales to London. Rail boss Andy Hamilton fired the shot across the bows as he announced the first ever ticket price rise on the service. Fares between Wrexham and London Marylebone will now cost £60 - a 12%
increase on current prices. Financial pressures are being blamed by the company, which employs 45 people.
Only recently the company announced they were abolishing peak time fares on the service, making it possible to travel to London from Wrexham any time for £40 return. But now that's been reversed, and Managing Director Mr Hamilton fears the service could [cliché alert!] hit the buffers if it can't attract enough customers.
He said: 'Like all businesses, Wrexham & Shropshire is not immune to economic pressures, such as the recession and rising fuel costs. Despite loyal customers and consistent week-on-week growth in terms of passenger numbers, we are still not making the profit we need to safeguard the future of our rail service. That is why we have taken the difficult decision to make changes to some of our fares from mid September. This has still been a tough decision. We would much rather have never had to increase any of our prices – but that would not be realistic for any business.'
Wrexham & Shropshire boasts an enviable record landing the highest ever
customer satisfaction rating by Passenger Focus, the independent rail
watchdog at 99%. But Virgin's daily service direct to London has put the service under pressure. Passenger Focus Wales manager Simon Pickering said that the competition, direct links and lower fares that Wrexham and Shropshire provides were well regarded. He said: 'Clearly passengers regard this service as among the best in the country and will be very disappointed if they were to see it unable to continue.'
Wrexham councillor David Bithell, Wrexham council's lead member for
transport said: “Given the financial difficulties companies face as a
commercial operation the facts are straight forward that if the service
was not used this would be lost to Wrexham and would be a terrible blow
to the local economy. 'Since the introduction of the direct London service from Wrexham to London we have seen the creation of 45 jobs employed locally, catering and cleaning contracts with local firms, a station cafe and no doubt this has also helped other local companies as well.'
Free Sandwich and some fast running
Wrexham & Shropshire trains are diverted at weekends at the moment - details on their website - and tell us that 'As a little thank you for your support, on trains on Sundays we are giving away a free hot or cold sandwich to every passenger!' Railfans may well be tempted in any case to sample the West Coast Main Line with its faster running, in which case the sandwich is pure bonus ...
Steam Weekend - Part 2
Sunday 22 August saw the last run for this year of the Liverpool - Holyhead steam excursion, The North Wales Coast Express, this time allocated to The 6201 Princess Elizabeth Locomotive Society's pacific 6201 Princess Elizabeth. We first see the train crossing Frodsham viaduct, in John Beresford's picture above. In the River Weaver below are both of the grain-carrying vessels associated with this wharf, the James Jackson Grundy (left) and the more regular occupant, the barge Panary.
Arriving at Frodsham (Neil Kennedy)
The train headboard: the upper headlamp bracket would originally have been mounted higher, until the advent of overhead electric wires. (Neil Kennedy)
Built at Crewe in 1933, 6201 was the second of Sir William Stanier's pacifics, and was named after the 7-year-old girl who today is our own dear Queen. Although the official name of the class was 'Princess Royal' after no. 6200, they became known to staff and enthusiasts as 'Lizzies' after no. 6201. Sister loco 6203 Princess Margaret Rose is also preserved, by the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust, who also own well-known North Wales performer 6233. Picture by Neil Kennedy.
While the loco was taking water at Frodsham station, John Beresford ascended Frodsham Hill to obtain this overhead shot of the departure. The white spot just ahead of the loco on this side is actually two photographers. Let us hope they have permission to be in the field.
Approaching Flint (Glyn Jones)
Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd)
andudno Junction after setting down Llandudno passengers, then the train proceeded by steam to Holyhead.
West of Bangor (Rowan Crawshaw)
Valley (Richard Fleckney). A glimpse of the much-vaunted platform 'hump' on the platform to the left.
Some time later, the loco has left the train at Holyhead and is running round the triangle at Valley to turn itself for the return run (Richard Fleckney)
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