NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
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21 May 2012
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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
46233 Duchess of Sutherland passes Penmaenmawr quarry sidings with the return 'Welsh Dragon' excursion to Bristol; see our feature below. Picture by Greg Mape.
Carrog to Corwen Walk
George Jones writes: 'There is another opportunity to participate in an escorted walk from Carrog to Corwen to see progress on the extension on Saturday 26 May, starting from Carrog at 11:45 Details are posted on the Llangollen Railway website.'
A novel fund-raising scheme for the extension is the issue in limited editions of the traditional type of Edmondson card tickets, specially printed, denoting a journey from Llangollen to Plas Bonwm, whereby a donation helps fund aspects of the extension work.
For £5 a buff ticket will be issued in respect of drainage work, £10 a red ticket for platform work, £15 a blue ticket for a sleeper and for £20 a vellum ticket for ballast. These are already proving popular with visitors and a full set is available for £50 from the Llangollen Railway Trust at sales outlets at the Railway, or by post enclosing a stamped and addressed envelope with remittance to Llangollen Station, LL20 8SN.
Northern Belle in the Conwy Valley
On Friday 18 May, passengers on the 'Northern Belle' were treated to the scenic delights of the Conwy Valley when the train ran from Sheffield to Blaenau Ffestiniog and back. Andrew Vinten's picture above shows the outbound train at Dunham-on-the Hill between Warrington and Chester, with regular DRS locos 47 790 Galloway Princess (leading) and 47 832 Solway Princess (on the rear) (Andrew Vinten).
On the North Wales Coast line at Abergele (Darren Durrant).
Arriving at Llandudno Junction, watched by a couple of enthusiasts on Queen's Road bridge (Jack Bowley).
The train reversed in Platform 4 at Llandudno Junction, and 47 832 took over for the climb to Blaenau Ffestiniog (Jack Bowley). The freight sidings, to the left, continue reverting to woodland.
In the evening, 47 790 brings the train off the branch at Llandudno Junction, about 15 minutes late; after reversal it departed on time (Peter Lloyd).
Passing Llanddulas on the return run, 47 832 leading (Stéphanie Durrant).
Wrexham Refreshments expand - report by George Jones
The refreshment facility at Wrexham General moved into expanded premises on platform 1 on 14 May after a long period of negotiation for a larger room in the main station building. Originally opened by the late lamented Wrexham & Shropshire company as an offshoot of their catering department, the outlet was taken over by former catering supervisor Mrs Dot Grimes when WSMR closed in January 2011 and trades as Dot2Dot.
The availability of refreshments at an otherwise barren General station has proved popular and the enterprise was rewarded with an expanded area for passengers and others to be served when local Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths declared the new door 'open 'at 1pm.
The refreshment facilities are available Monday - Saturday and provide a wide range of eats and drinks as well as shelter on an otherwise draughty platform. One nice touch is the provision of a community noticeboard which rail fans and others might find useful to promote local events.
Green Duchess in North Wales
Saturday 19 May, a day of dull and damp weather, saw the first run to Holyhead by the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust's ex-LMS pacific Duchess of Sutherland since emerging from overhaul repainted in 1950s British Railways green livery. We pick up the Bristol - Holyhead 'Welsh Dragon' (above) between Crewe and Chester at Wardle. Picture by John Beresford.
Above, the excursion heads west at Rhyl (Ivor Bufton).
Steaming through Abergele station (David Parry).
Approaching Llandudno Junction (Jack Bowley)
Portrait of 46233 (as renumbered from 6233 when the LMS Railway was absorbed by British Railways) from the car park outside Llandudno Junction station (Greg Mape)
A look at the nameplate, and the crown which was added when the loco hauled the Royal Train in North Wales in 2002, the first steam haulage of the Royal Train for many years (Greg Mape).
Departing Llandudno Junction for Holyhead, steam blowing off at the safety valves (Peter Lloyd). To match the livery, the smokebox door now features a BR numberplate and depot allocation plate, as well as an 'SC' plate which marked a loco with a so-called 'self-cleaning smokebox.' This was an arrangement to cause ashes to be thrown out of the chimney into the eyes of window-hanging railfans rather than collecting in the bottom of the smokebox.
Larry Goddard chose to capture the westbound train at Penmaenmawr station, a scene little changed since steam days, with the original Chester and Holyhead Railway building.
Bad light and drizzle, but at least it accentuates the steam effects (Larry Goddard). The green livery used by BR for express locos was actually based on the Great Western Railway scheme; its revival seems to be part of a wave of nostalgia for the 50s among preservationists, many of whom grew up in that period.
No, that's not 'clag' from scruffy-looking 47 826 on the rear (Larry Goddard).
Bangor (Roger Carvell).
Entering Holyhead (Larry Davies).
Strange surroundings at Holyhead these days! (Larry Davies).
Turning on the triangle at Valley (Larry Davies). Note the 'unicycling lion' early version of the British Railway symbol on the tender.
Near Llangaffo, Anglesey (Ian Pilkington).
Bangor (Roger Carvell).
After a short stop at Bangor, the train passes Llanfairfechan (Ian Pilkington).
Thundering through Penmaenmawr (Larry Davies).
Passing Conwy Castle (Dennis Oliver).
Departing Llandudno Junction (Dennis Oliver).
47 826 on the rear departing Llandudno Junction (Dennis Oliver). The advertising vinyl appears on one side only. Back in 2004 this loco was one of the Virgin Trains fleet used on London - Holyhead trains: an interesting web page by Rowan Crawshaw reminds us of that period.
The return through Llysfaen was around five minutes early and the light continued to be dull overcast. 46233 was going at a slow steady plod as it dipped down the 1 in 100 incline (Larry Goddard).
Following the water stop at Llandudno Junction the train storms past Pensarn (Ian Pilkington).
Rhyl (Ivor Bufton).
Holywell Junction (David Parry).
Ffynnongroew (Darren Durrant).
Flint (Glyn Jones). 10-car Virgin trains only just fit the platform!
Under the Hoole Road bridge and into Chester. Picture by Roger Carvell, who writes: 'This was my annual pilgrimage back to the North Wales Coast Line, a very enjoyable day out from Hertfordshire with my Senior Railcard. I am pleased to say that all the timetabled trains ran to time and the Arriva train staff were, as always, friendly and courteous. I was surprised to find I had almost most of the platform at Chester to myself. Was it the poor light?
'It must have proved to be a long day out for the Bristol excursionists. When I left Crewe on the 19:29 to Euston, 46233 had already been turned and came back through the station, with a fine hooter salute, but the train, complete with diesel traction was still standing there.'
See also a video made by the Durrant family.
Test train time
A special of a different sort ran on 17 May, when 37 605 and 37 603 appears on the Coast working the 1Q88 Derby - Crewe via Holyhead measurement train. Pictures by Darren Durrant (above) and Peter Lloyd (below).
Riding the 'Welsh Dragon' - with Richard Putley
On Saturday 19 May my girlfriend Ann and I travelled Premier class on the 'Welsh Dragon' tour. I am very fortunate that she likes trains; indeed
the 'Coronation' class are her favourite locos. We joined the train at
Worcester Shrub Hill where it came in as soon as 06:47 to Weymouth had left. A class 47, 47 804 was on the front and another on the back, 47 826.
The consist included former Manchester Pullman car Windermere. Breakfast was served straight away. We'd had all three courses by Birmingham, which we reached via the Camp Hill Line. We left punctually at the same time as a class 323 electric unit in an adjacent platform set off for Redditch.
Arriving at Crewe into Platform 12 we saw 56 074 leading a line of 4 class 56's (the rightmost one in the picture). The half-hour stop was ample time to uncouple 47 804 and attach 46233 Duchess of Sutherland.
Also present was 57 311 Parker stabled on the centre road waiting to work the London to Holyhead Virgin service - one of the few remaining Virgin 57/3's. We left Crewe on time, with 47 826 still bringing up the rear, but the train slowed on outskirts of Crewe - were we waiting for a preceding train to clear section to Beeston Castle?
We ran through Chester on the 'centre road', and had a half hour stop for water at Llandudno Junction (above) to take on water.
Above, the train on arrival in platform 1 at Holyhead.
The new footbridge provides both easy access to the town centre and a good vantage point for pictures. 67 001 was at Holyhead (above) stabled on the 'WAG Express' stock.
The three-hour stay in Holyhead gave us time to visit the Maritime
Museum and take tea at "The Internet Cafe".
On the return run we arrived at Llandudno Junction (above) 10 minutes early. Our starter was served between Holyhead and Llandudno Junction, the main course after leaving Llandudno Junction. At Crewe we said goodbye to 46233 and 47 804 rejoined our train.
On leaving Crewe we saw 90 046, 86 632 (above) ...
... and Europhoenix 86 247. The return journey was via Bescot, where several EWS class 66s were stabled and the Soho loop line.
Throughout the day the tour ran to time and was enjoyed by all who travelled.
Editor's note: Our thanks as always to everyone involved in working these special trains which add such variety to the railways on North Wales.
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