NORTH WALES COAST
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20 May 2011
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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
28-30 May Rhyl Miniature Railway Centenary Gala. The line's biggest Gala ever, with a host of family attractions. Full details on the RMR website.
Sunday 19 June Steam on the Coast: Northern Belle Father's Day Special. Note: this will not now be steam-hauled.
2 & 3 July – Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Porthmadog – Steam in the Sheds. 'Over a hundred very small steam engines will be on display and working in the Engine Sheds.
Tuesday 9 July Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company, 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Note: The Railway Touring Company tours in August can also be booked together as a week's package which also includes steam trips on the 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' and 'The Cambrian'.
Sunday 7 August Steam on the Coast: 'The North Wales Coast Express' Railway Touring Company Liverpool and Chester to Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Hauled throughout, by one of 6100 Royal Scot, 6201 Princess Elizabeth, or 60019 Bittern.
Tuesday 9 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company, 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Sunday 14 August Steam on the Coast: 'The North Wales Coast Express' Railway Touring Company Liverpool and Chester to Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Hauled throughout, by one of 6100 Royal Scot, 6201 Princess Elizabeth, or 60019 Bittern.
Saturday 20 August Steam on the Coast: Vintage Trains Tyseley - Llandudno and return with 5043.
Sunday 21 August Steam on the Coast: 'The North Wales Coast Express' Railway Touring Company Liverpool and Chester to Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Hauled throughout, by one of 6100 Royal Scot, 6201 Princess Elizabeth, or 60019 Bittern.
Tuesday 23 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company, 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.
27, 28 & 29 August –August Bank Holiday Weekend Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Porthmadog – Fun Whatever The Weather!
'Who cares if it rains over the Bank Holiday? We’ve organised a special fun weekend, including chance to win a prize if you find the Welsh Dragons hiding in the Engine Sheds.'
See the Calendar page for more details and later dates.
The 'Cathedrals Explorer' on 12 May, heading away from a water stop at Knighton on the Central Wales line; see item below. Picture by Ian Pilkington.
This is an extra issue: a new one will appear on the night of Monday 23 May as usual. Don't miss the 16 May update
Thanks are due to the remarkable number of people, even from as far away as Canada, who forwarded to us the bizarre story of the 'mystery man' who attempted to take his grey pony on the 19:02 departure from Wrexham General to Holyhead on Saturday 14 May, having used the station lift to reach Platform 2; Arriva Trains Wales decided to hand over CCTV images to the media including the BBC (see more on their news site). It transpired that he had also taken the animal in the local hospital A&E department asking them to treat it, and into the local Wetherspoon pub. (Why the long face? said the barman in the old joke repeated by several newspapers.)
It turns out that the man is not that much of a mystery: he is 'Crazy Joe' Pannell, a 'member of the Irish traveller community' well known to many in Wrexham, as is his pony, 'Ruby', who he commonly attempts to sell to passers-by. Understandably, the RSPCA are investigating the treatment of the pony as a result of this sad tale. The media coverage certainly reminds us that one can't go far without being watched on CCTV, and if you do anything that will make good entertainment, your images will be published, although to be fair, the first published images were chosen not to show Joe's face.
The Cathedrals Explorer
'The Cathedrals Explorer', train 1Z70 Carnforth - Carmarthen, of 12 May, was day seven of an eight- day nationwide railtour. Stavros Lainas captured it (above) at Helsby on the way to Chester.
Above, 'Black Fives' 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier and 44871 stand at Platform 4, Chester, having arrived 17 minutes early, Picture by Mark Riley.
The train reversed out and was shunted back into the yard until its scheduled departure time of 14:37 (Mark Riley).
On the single line to Wrexham, near Saltney (Bob Greenhalgh).
Approaching Wrexham, slowing for a caution signal. This is the second time in two months that steam on the main line has been seen in this area, a treat for railfans in this part of North East Wales (Mark Riley).
Wrexham General station with two horses of the strictly 'iron' variety (George Jones)
Train of Hope auction news
Latest item on the 'Train of Hope' auction for children's charity Clic Sargent is a set of four day travel vouchers donated by Northern Rail. These are each valid for day's travel anywhere on the Northern Rail network, valid until December 2012. The eBay auction runs until 29 May: follow this link to bid.
Railbus on bus route
The strange scene above is experimental Leyland National RB004 being delivered by road to the Llangollen Railway on 20 May. The picture, by George Jones, shows it on Abbey Road as part of the low-loader's reversal to get into the yard. The vehicle will be the highlight of the Railcar Weekend on 26 - 27 June: there is no truth in the rumour it is to replace the route 5 bus to Llangollen...
RB004 was built in 1984 by British Rail Engineering and Leyland Vehicles as an export demonstrator, and travelled to the USA where it was shown to railway managements, but gained no orders. It was brought back to Britain and used for a while as a mobile classroom at the British Rail Engineering Works at York, before passing into preservation. Currently it belongs to the Aln Valley Railway group who are hoping to revive the Alnmouth - Alnwick branch in Northumberland.
Aberaeron Centenary - report by Dennis Bates