NORTH WALES COAST
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04 July 2011
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Thursday 7 July Excursion Rail Blue Charters - Lincoln-Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr. 13:05) 'Conwy Valley Explorer'. Probable traction - DRS 47s + cargo D stock.
Tuesday 26 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.
Sunday 14 August Excursion Compass Tours - Holyhead (dep. 07:30) to Bath or Salisbury, 'Western Cathedrals Express'
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.
57 309 Brains arrives at Llandudno Junction with the Saturday 'Pendolino' on 2 July (Darren Durrant)
Rail Blue at Wrexham - report by George Jones
67 002 (above) running into platform 1 southbound at Wrexham General with an excursion on Friday 1 July about ten minutes early and about to be held by a red signal.
Over four hours later it came back, running about five minutes late, now hauked by 67 019, to be held at the north end of Wrexham General waiting for the single line to clear towards Saltney as the southbound train to Birmingham International was running three minutes late, due at 17:41. Time for the passengers to ponder Wrexham FC's ground and its surrounding developments at Glyndwr University. A nice long train, including Cargo-D's sleeping car in BR blue - seen behind the loco.
Another RTZ train
No sooner had we said that the train of aluminium ingots for re-melting from Lynemouth to Holyhead was a 'one-off trial' than it ran again on 28 June ... above, the return working, 6E35 Holyhead to Rotherham with 66 105 and 17 empty BDA wagons passing Llandudno Junction at 16:34. Picture by Peter Lloyd.
And approaching Colwyn Bay (Darren Durrant).
On the Trawsfyndd line - with Ken Robinson
A photograph taken near Teigl Halt on the old GWR Bala - Blaenau Ffestiniog branch on 28 June, when a group of us were invited to walk the Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llan Ffestiniog section. The walk was organised (with Network Rail's blessing) by 'Antur 'Stiniog' a local organisation which aims to re-vitalise Blaenau Ffestiniog.
There is a plan to convert this part of the line for the use of 'velorail' (a type of rail mounted cycle). There is also a scheme to re-open the line as a preservation railway from Llan Ffestiniog through to Trawsfynydd Lake Halt, the present terminus of the mothballed branch, with the main 'nucleus' of the venture at Maentwrog Road goods yard. Much work needs to be done to clear the track of vegetation before any of the above can proceed, however.
The walk was most interesting, and among us was John Roberts who had worked on the branch (and the Barmouth-Ruabon line) between 1949 and 1960 as a relief signalman, and who had travelled from Bala that morning to share many memories and fascinating stories.
WHHR on the WHR - press release
Saturday June 25, 2011: The first Welsh Highland Heritage Railway train has run on the challenging gradients of the Welsh Highland Railway. The five-carriage test train, double-headed by WHHR locos Gelert and Gertrude, was run in conjunction with Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland engineers to test braking systems. The WHHR operates air-braked stock, while F&WHR trains are exclusively vacuum-braked.
The train left WHHR metals at around 18:00 and headed for the foot of Nantmor Bank - the start of the almost continuous 1 in 40 six mile climb to the summit of the line at Rhyd Ddu which makes the WHR the toughest railway in the UK.
After the satisfactory completion of brake tests from speeds of up to 20mph to measure stopping distances on the level, Gelert proceeded light engine through the Aberglaslyn Pass and tunnels to Beddgelert to take water, before returning to Hafod y Llyn to test braking performance down
Nantmor Bank before rejoining Gertrude and the train for the run back to Porthmadog, arriving back at around 22:30.
This is the first time a WHHR train has travelled beyond the site of Traeth Mawr Loop - the end of the section of the railway laid by WHHR volunteers as their contribution to the rebuilding of the whole 25 miles of the Welsh Highland. The location is now marked by one of the 'Tin
Tunnel' accommodation bridges built for farm access. "This is an historic moment for both railways," says WHHR Chairman Martyn Owen. "At times it seemed that it would never happen, but the wait has definitely been worthwhile."
Further tests are planned over the coming months and the next movement from Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland to WHHR metals is likely to be the visit of historic de Winton vertical boiler locomotive Chaloner on its way from Caernarfon to Porthmadog in July. "We're very pleased to be working with our colleagues at the WHHR," adds F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin. "The new spirit of cooperation can only bring benefits to both our organisations and to tourism in the area."
The MV Norman Trader stood in for the MV Stena Adventurer on 11 June's afternoon sailing to Dublin. She is seen here off Holyhead Breakwater with Carmel Head in the background (M.Lloyd Davies)
The HSS Stena Explorer was also putting an extra sailing seen here quickly catching up with the Norman Trader. The Skerries can be seen in between (M. Lloyd Davies).
George Jones writes: 'On 29 June I took a ferry cruise from Woodside via Seacombe back to Woodside. The cruise omitted Liverpool as the cruise ship Astor was alongside the landing stage which the ferry is currently using as an interim point of call whilst the replacement ferry stage is brought into use - by the autumn, hopefully.
Astor is a smaller ship than the more usual visitors, carrying just 590 passengers on a British Isles cruise starting from Bremerhaven. It dates from 1987 and has had a spell in Russian ownership. The funnel (exhaust) is a notable size.
The Liver Building (in the background above) celebrates its centennial on 19 July. Will the buildings in the other view last that long?
For those who missed Glyn Jones's picture which we added after publication of the last issue, here it is again: the Duke of Lancaster at Llanerch-y-Mor., one of the Coast line's landmarks. The BBC 'Coast' TV programme which includes an item on this vessel and other North Wales material will be broadcast on 10 July at 21:00 on BBC2.
Intermodal Interlude at Warrington - report by David Parry
A brief sequence of container trains at Warrington Bank Quay taken within about 45 minutes in the early afternoon of 1 July. Above: DRS 66 431 takes the up loop with 4M33 Mossend to Daventry.
DRS 66 434, still in the colours of former operator Fastline, speeds past reconstruction work on platform 3 with 4S33 Daventry to Coatbridge.
DB Schenker 'Channel Tunnel' loco 92 026 Britten takes the platform 2 line with 4M63 Mossend to Hams Hall.
Chiltern 67s - report by Chris Morrison
Not exactly North Wales [no problem - Ed.], but here are some views at Birmingham Moor Street. Above, de-branded 67 012 A Shropshire Lad and stock form the 15:55 to Marylebone on 27 June.
67 012 waits to follow the Class 150 Sprinter out onto the main line.
On 3 July, LMS Pacific 6201 Princess Elizabeth heads the 16:15 Stratford-upon-Avon - Birmingham Snow Hill 'Shakespeare Express' over Bordesley viaduct on the approach to Birmingham Moor Street. Stabled for the weekend as usual are two Chiltern Class 67 five-coach plus Driving Van Trailer sets used on the Monday - Friday Moor St - Marylebone services.
Table tennis is now provided for waiting customers at Birmingham Moor Street. (This is the Travelling Ping Pong Parlour, which is staging events in both Birmingham and Hull until 22 August, after 50,000 Londoners got involved in 'Ping!' last year. It is the second year of a three-year, free-of-charge national event made possible by National Lottery funding.)
Conwy N gauge - report by Richard Fleckney
Well done to the North Wales N gauge Model Railway Club with the first show since the group was formed. Very interesting layouts including one from the N Gauge Society's Chester area, 'Cragmill', featuring modern image and classic Duchess with Northern Belle. I'm Looking forward to their next show.
Class 60 views - by Andrew Vinten
60 071 Ribblehead Viaduct has replaced 60 096 on the Tunstead -Oakleigh workings: Andrew Vinten captured it at Plumley on the morning of 29 June returning to Tunstead with train 6H03, empty wagons.
On Sunday 3 July the Mid-Cheshire route was closed for engineering work so the Tunstead - Oakleigh stone trains had to be diverted via the West Coast Main Line. Andrew Vinten captured train 6F05 hauled by 60 071 passing Acton Cliff.
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