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14 May 2012
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Saturday 19 May Steam in North Wales PMR Tours 'The Welsh Dragon' Bristol to Holyhead
Friday 25 May Excursion to North Wales Compass Tours 'Snowdon Mountaineer' Carnforth, Morecambe, Lancaster, Preston, Wigan North Western, Garswood, St Helens Central, Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool South Parkway & Runcorn to Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Friday 25 May Excursion to North Wales UK Railtours 'The Snowdonian' London, Milton Keynes and Rugby to to both Llandudno Junction and Bangor. From Llandudno Junction coaches for the scenic trip up the Conwy Valley to Blaenau where the greatest narrow gauge journey of all begins, right the way through via Porthmadog to Caernarfon, where coaches will be waiting for the short hop to Bangor where our main line train is rejoined. Half the passengers will do the 'circuit' in the opposite direction.
Sat / Sun 2 - 3 June Welsh Highland Heritage Railway 'Family Fun Weekend'
Friday 8 June Excursion Compass Tours 'Dorset Coast Express' Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester & Crewe to Brockenhurst, Bournemouth or Weymouth.
Sat / Sun 9 - 10 June Welsh Highland Heritage Railway 'Teddy Bear weekend. 'Children go FREE if they bring a teddy bear. Find the bears hiding in the Engine Sheds and win a prize.'
Saturday 16 June Excursion to North Wales Scottish Railway Preservation Society From Glenrothes with Thornton, Kirkcaldy, Dalgety Bay, Edinburgh Waverley, Kirknewton over Beattock and Shap summits to Chester and Llandudno. (diesel-hauled)
Saturday 16 June Excursion Cheshire Cat Tours Whitchurch, Wem, Shrewbury, Wellington, Telford Central, Codsall, Wolverhampton, Tame Bridge Parkway, Birmingham International to Canterbury.
Sat / Sun 23 - 24 June Llangollen Railway Heritage Railcar Gala
Sat / Sun 23 - 24 June Welsh Highland Heritage Railway Slate industrial exhibition
Saturday 30 June Excursion to North Wales Compass Tours 'Snowdon Mountain Ranger' Skipton, Keighley, Shipley, Wakefield Kirkgate, Huddersfield, Denton, Stockport, Altrincham & Knutsford to Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog
Saturday 7 July Excursion to North Wales UK Railtours 'Chester and the Pennines' Stevenage, Potters Bar, Finsbury Park to Chester (break) and then through Wigan, Blackburn and Accrington to Copy Pit Summit, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd before descending to Wakefield and finally joining the East Coast Main Line to head homeward.
Sunday 22 July Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 15:10 dep 17:45).
Sat / Sun 28 - 29 July Llangollen Railway 1960s weekend
Sunday 29 July Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool Lime Street, Broad Green, Warrington Bank Quay, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 14:30 dep 16:30).
Tuesday 31 July Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston, Warrington Frodsham, Chester to Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr. 13:15 dep 16:10)
[Note: again this summer there will be no steam trains on the Cambrian Coast line due to the rail industry's continuing inability to adapt the new ERTMS signalling for use with a steam locomotive.]
Sat / Sun 4 - 5 August Talyllyn Railway Tom Rolt Steam & Vehicle Rally
Sunday 5 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 15:10 dep 17:45).
Sunday 12 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 15:10 dep 17:45).
Tuesday 14 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston, Warrington Frodsham, Chester to Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr. 13:15 dep 16:10)
Saturday 18 August Steam in North Wales Vintage Trains 'The Welsh Dragon' Tyseley - Blaenau Ffestiniog (Steam loco 5043 as far as Llandudno Junction; Class 47 diesel to Blaenau)
Sunday 19 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool Lime Street, Broad Green, Warrington Bank Quay, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 14:30 dep 16:30).
Sat / Sun 25 - 26 August Llangollen Railway Classic Transport weekend
Sunday 26 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool Lime Street, Broad Green, Warrington Bank Quay, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead (arr 14:30 dep 16:30).
Tuesday 28 August Steam in North Wales Railway Touring Company 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston, Warrington Frodsham, Chester to Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr. 13:15 dep 16:10)
Saturday 31 August - 2 September Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala
Sun / Mon 1 - 2 September Llangollen Railway Autumn Steam Gala (continued)
Saturday 15 September Excursion Cheshire Cat Tours Aberystwyth - and stations to Crewe - to Carlisle.
Saturday 22 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Day
Miraculously the cloud cover broke up and allowed the sun through a couple of minutes before 47 832 Solway Princess headed the 'Northern Belle' through Abergele on 11 May Picture by Larry Goddard.
Thanks for the additional pictures of Llangollen, etc. A 'Revisted' special will appear soon.- Charlie
On the All-Wales Express
Longer days mean more chances for our contributors to photograph the morning and evening loco-hauled expresses between Holyhead and Cardiff. Above: long shadows as the early morning Holyhead – Cardiff service passes Hargrave at 07:14 with 67 001 at the helm (Stavros Lainas).
Hargrave again, looking the other way, on 11 May, as 67 003 passes with the northbound train at 18:58. Beeston Castle stands on the hill in the background. The bridge approaches used by Stavros Lainas for these pictures carry an unclassified right-of-way over the Crewe - Chester line. This Link to Streetmap shows the location; cyclists can reach Hargrave from Chester along the towpath of the Shropshire Union Canal.
Later in its journey on 11 May, 67 003 is seen amongst the verdant foliage near Colwyn Bay (Greg Mape.) Plans for this train from September 2012 have made their way into the public domain, although we are asked to point out that these are not 'set in stone'. So, possibly the train will comprise of a Class 67, Mark 3 coaches, including a dining car, and a Driving Van Trailer, running push-pull to simplify the reversal at Chester, as it run via Wrexham, taking the path of the current Holyhead Birmingham train which calls at Wrexham at 07:43 and which will run via Crewe.
The train will possibly return in the evening via Wrexham, departing Cardiff at 18:19, in the path of the current Class 175-worked 'second WAG express.' This Holyhead - Cardiff and return operation will be the only 'premium service' - presumably a normal train will be offered to carry the earlier commuters. The loss of the restaurant car on the 16:16 from Cardiff will be a setback for people boarding at stations north of Shrewsbury, as by Chester it will be rather late for an evening meal.
Class 37 memories - by Dennis Bates
I was interested to see the photo by Ken Robinson (30 April issue) of class 37s at Kingmoor, and the comment on 37 427 Bont y Bermo. 37 426, also in the picture, was also named in 1986, on 5 May, as Y Lein Fach Vale of Rheidol, and I attach a photo of her on the occasion of her naming, at Aberystwyth, after working a special train from Birmingham. She was named by my daughter, Stephanie, who had become the first, and I think only, Cambrian Railways Queen. It's good to see that the loco still survives.
From the Editor's archive (above). 37 426, by then nameless, was one of the last to be allocated for regular passenger service in North Wales before the 175s took over. Ian Bowland's picture ecember 2000 reminds us of a a once-familar scene at Crewe. Note the 'RIP' adornment.
An attractive visitor to the North Wales Coast line on 11 May was a 'Northern Belle' luxury excursion to Llandudno Junction, train 1Z71, which had started from Newcastle-on-Tyne at 06:46. Stéphanie Durrant's picture above shows the outbound train passing Llanddulas with 47 832 Solway Princess leading. The first two coaches are Mk3 Sleeping cars 10729 and 10734, in which the train staff would have spent the night. Although they have the look of Pullmans, most of the the other coaches are in fact ex-British Rail Mk2 First Class vehicles.
After setting down its passengers, the train continued to Holyhead for servicing. Above, it is seen emerging from the tunnel into Bangor station (Rowan Crawshaw).
A closer look at 47 832 as it passes Bangor, showing the high standard of presentation of the these locos which DRS have dedicated to Northern Belle work. Note the cast numberplates which have the figures in what appears to be the standard 'Rail Alphabet' (Geraint Jones).
The return empty stock from Holyhead to Llandudno Junction approaches Llanfair PG, now hauled by 47 790 Galloway Princess which travelled west on the rear of the train (Richard Fleckney)
Bangor (Rowan Crawshaw)
Arriving at Llandudno Junction to collect the passengers for the long run home (Darren Durrant).
Flashback to the outbound train, and an query for the experts. Unlike other locomotives of this type we normally see being 'dragged' along on the back of a train, in this picture by Larry Goddard we can see that 47 790 does not carry a better tail-lamp on the bracked provided, and indeed two permanent LED tail-lamps seem to be lit. 47 832 did carry a lamp on the return journey. Why the difference? Is it because 790 was equipped wjhen it was used in mail train service?
Farewell to the Carrier
The complete dismantling and carrying away by road of the freighter MV Carrier which ran aground on the night of 3 April alongside the stone-loading pier at Llanddulas (and its load of over 1000 tonnes of Limestone) proceeded with great dispatch and is now complete.
These pictures by Dennis Oliver show the last remains being torn apart on 30 April. However, we understand that 'speed restrictions on the A55 road remain and the nearby cycle path is still closed until a full safety assessment is carried out.'
Although there was a small release of diesel fuel at the time of the incident, tests conducted on marine life, mussels and starfish from various locations by the Environment Agency Wales have been analysed throughout the operation and have found no traces of contamination.
On a line with limited but regular traffic, Freightliner loco 70 003 approaches Ince & Elton station, with Helsby Hill in the background. The train is the the 07:09 Garston – Ellesmere Port Manisty Wharf empty coal hoppers on Friday 11 May. The train would return, loaded with imported coal, as the 12:07 Ellesmere Port - Fiddlers Ferry Power Station merry-go-round train (David Parry).
Above: running very early, the flask train from Valley to Crewe with DRS 37 194 and 37 667 passes Stavros Lainas at Waverton at 14:06 on 2 May. One of the two reactors at Wylfa power station has now been closed down, but the other continues to operate for the time being.
Blaenau 30 - report by Ian Pilkington
Some pictures from the weekend event at the Ffestiniog Railway commemorating the 30th anniversary of the reopening of the railway from Tanygrisiau to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Above, on Sunday 6 May Double Fairlie 0-4-4-0T Earl of Merioneth arrives at Tanygrisiau with the 10:15 Porthmadog-Blaenau Ffestiniog, displaying the same "Order Order" headboard it carried on the 1982 Blaenau reopening train, a reference to the then House of Commons Speaker George Thomas, who conducted the ceremony. Alongside is 0-4-0ST Palmerston on Blaenau - Tanygrisiau shuttle duties.
'Topping & tailing' with Palmerston was the former Harrogate Gas Works Peckett 0-6-0ST (1944) acquired by the FR in 1957. Declared unsuitable for use on the FR it left for restoration elsewhere in 1987. It has returned for a brief visit courtesy of its current owners, the Statfold Barn Railway. It is seen above on 6 May at Tanygrisiau, the temporary terminus of the railway from 1978 to 1983.
2-4-0STT Linda heads towards Power Station Summit between Dduallt and Tanygrisiau with the 14:25 Porthmadog-Blaenau, Sunday 6 May.
Lynton & Barnstaple replica 2-6-2T Lyd on the 16:05 Porthmadog-Blaenau of Sunday 6 May; with Llyn Ystradau Reservoir at a low level, the former trackbed is revealed on the left of the picture, with Garnedd Tunnel in the distance.
On Monday 7 May Lyd arrives at a typically wet Blaenau Ffestiniog with the 11:40 from Porthmadog.
Winifred returns to Wales - pictures by Richard W. Jones
Three Hunslet-built locomotives from the Penrhyn Quarries narrow-gauge system in North Wales, from a batch of six sold to an American dealer and exported to the USA after the quarry railway closed in 1965, have been bought by Julian Birley, and returned to Britain.
Two, Glyder and Ogwyn, which were originally built in the 1930s for a water works in Durham and later bought by Penrhyn, have gone to Beamish Open Air Museum in Co. Durham. The third, Winifred, an original Penrhyn loco from 1885, has arrived at the Bala Lake Railway for eventual restoration. It arrived at Llanuwchllyn on 28 April (above) in a shipping container by road.
Above, Winifred back on the rails. The man who bought her from the dealer had ideas for a museum, but they were never realised and the loco has been stored in a large shed near Indianapolis ever since. Mr Birley, a chartered surveyor who is a director of the North Norfolk Railway also owns another Hunslet loco, Alice, which works on the Bala Lake Railway. He told the press that he originally intended to repatriate just the one loco, but ended up with three.
Above, Mr Birley poses on the footplate of Alice alongside his new acquisition.
Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid - the Bala Lake Railway - rarely gets a mention in these pages, but is well worth a visit for families and narrow-gauge enthusiasts. It runs from Llanuwchllyn to a station on the edge of the town of Bala, along a section of trackbed of the former Great Western Ruabon - Barmouth line. (The Llangollen Railway has revived another section of the same route.) Trains are running on most days between now and the end of September: here is the timetable. Bala is notorious for now being very remote from a National Rail station, at 28 miles from Ruabon one way and 28 Miles from Barmouth the other, but a bus, the X94, serves all the places on the former rail route, and calls adjacent to Barmouth and Ruabon stations. Unlike most buses in the area, it even runs on Sundays!
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