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28 May 2012
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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
Steam locomotive crew happy in their work - see reports below. Picture by Steve Morris.
Warrington Steam - report by David Parry
If someone told me in 1962 that in 50 years time I would be able to photograph a Stanier pacific and a 'Castle' at speed within an hour and a half, I’d have thought them crazy! Saturday morning 26 May saw something of an aristocratic procession down the West Coast Main Line: above, at 09:43, 'Coronation' class pacific 46233 Duchess of Sutherland is pictured coasting through Warrington Bank Quay with the Lincoln - Carlisle excursion run by PMR railtours.
At 11:07, 'Castle' class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe follows the Duchess down the West Coast Main Line with a 3-day Vintage Trains railtour to Scotland. (Note Warrington Bank Quay’s newly reconstructed platform 3 reflected in the Earl’s smokebox door.)
The Monday - Friday evening express from Cardiff to Holyhead can be seen in the light at this time of year: here are some pictures of the three dedicated locos at work on what must be one of the most interesting regularly-scheduled trains on the national system. Above, 67 003 at Abergele on 15 May (Stavros Lainas).
Above, 67 001 brings the train into Colwyn Bay on 18 May (Darren Durrant). A question for our railway staff readers - we have an email from a gentleman who wants to book tickets to take his family from Cardiff to Chester on this train in July. The on-line systems will sell him advance tickets, but not allocate seats, saying that passengers may occupy any available standard seats. We have tried it on the ATW site and others, and get the same answer. This is very unsatisfactory, as in our experience the train often leaves Cardiff full and standing with passengers for Cwmbran, Abergavenny etc. ans a family might not be able to sit together on what is supposed to be a 'premier' service. Can anyone tell us why this should be? Our own enquiries to ATW customer services seldom seem to get worthwhile replies.
23 May, and 67 001 calls at Bangor (Alan Crawshaw). The information about the post-September service, as reported here some time ago, started to appear in the 'public prints' over the last week, confirming that in place of the present two Government-sponsored services, one loco-hauled and one railcar-worked, there will just be the one (loco-powered) diagram, running south in the early morning, and returning later, at 18:18 from Cardiff. The train will be push-pull, and call additionally at Flint and Wrexham both ways. A 'normal' train at 16L15 will cater for travellers to the first few stations. Welsh Government spokespeople say this is a great budget achievement, while opponents day it's a 'betrayal of the north'. Wrexham residents are pleased, but are unhappy about gaps left on Bank Holidays when the train does not run. Related to this are complaints that the train will not stop at the smaller places between Shrewsbury and Wrexham, although Arriva say there will be an all-stations train in connection.
67 002 near Beeston, 25 May (Stavros Lainas). Six Mk 3 coaches are being refurbished at Pullman Rail, Cardiff Canton, to replace the current Mk 2 vehicles which are old and not wheelchair-friendly. The 'new' coaches are all blue/grey-liveried first-class opens bought by DB Regio from the administrator of the failed Cargo-D company; presumably they will receive standard-class seating. A fleet of six should allow for maintenance, and perhaps also strengthening for use on rugby match days, etc. Thanks to Rail Express magazine we can tell you that the coach numbers are 11064 / 65 / 71 / 83 / 84 / 86.
A busy day on the WCML - report by Steve Morris
I spent a few hours out and about with the camera on 26 May; here are a few of my efforts. 60 065 on HTA coal hoppers was a nice surprise and looked in fine form passing through Winsford station ...
... just before 46233 Duchess of Sutherland appeared, bang on
time, at 09:30 heading for Carlisle.
Then it was over to Crewe to check out 'Castle' 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe on the first day of its journey to Scotland which departed a few minutes late...
... closely followed by 57 308 Tin Tin and 390 017 Virgin Prince on the London - Holyhead 'drag.'
Wings on the Water
The wings for the Airbus 380 airliner continue to make their complex journey by trailer, barge, ship, barge and trailer to the Airbus plant near Toulouse. On 23 May, Glyn Jones photographed a wing on its barge en route from Broughton to Mostyn Dock, as it approached Flint Point.
The low-slung appearance of the vessel is essential to pass under the railway bridge at Shotton. At Mostyn the wing will be transferred to a ship for the journey to France.
In the Sunshine, 25 May
Lovely weather we're having so Ken Robinson took advantage on Friday 25 May and went up to Blaenau Ffestiniog to see Compass Tours 'Welsh Mountaineer' charter from Carnforth arrive in lovely sunshine, headed by West Coast Railway Company loco 47 804 (above).
Ken's second view shows Ffestiniog Railway single Fairlie Taliesin with 47 760 at the back of the charter - after taking water, the FR crew positioned their engine alongside to take photographs! Around 175 people then had a quick Blaenau Ffestiniog - Tan-y-bwlch return journey; three coachloads had got off at Llandudno Junction for a visit to Bodnant Gardens.
Here's 47 760 and train after shunting, with Taliesin and train ready
to leave for Tan-y-Bwlch (Ken Robinson).
Arrival back at Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).
The train, as 1Z84 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Carnforth, departing 'right time' at 17:39 passing late running 158 831 on service train 1W88 (Peter Lloyd).
25 May's other excursion was UK Railtours 'The Snowdonian' from London, Milton Keynes and Rugby to to both Llandudno Junction and Bangor, where the train was photographed (above) by Rowan Crawshaw.
which interestingly featured two Royal-liveried Class 67 in the form of 67 006 Royal Sovereign and newly-decorated 67 026 Diamond Jubilee. The pair are seen above at Llandudno Junction with the return train (Peter Lloyd).
'Blue Peter' viewer Katherine Dewar, aged 10, from Chester, created the winning design for the Jubilee symbol (the one on the right) that will be seen by millions of people, appearing on everything from posters to commemorative tea cups. It looks better in the original colour, we feel. Picture taken at Abergele by Darren Durrant.
On the Cambrian Coast line near Fairbourne, a pair of 158s on old and new colours is seen against a background of the Mawddach estuary and the hills behind (Ian Wright).
Brush 2 visits Bangor
A test train ran down the Coast on 23 May, coded 3Q83, formed of with veteran (50 years old at least) Network Rail locomotive 31 285 ex-Gatwick Express coach 72630 which is there to add brake force to the train, ultrasonic rail-testing vehicle 999606, and push-pull driving trailer 9714.
The train stabled for a while in the very rarely-used siding retained for such purposes at Bangor, pictured above by Rowan Crawshaw.
Seen from the other end - picture by Geraint Jones.
Out of the siding and departing Bangor in the evening (Alan Crawshaw).
Pausing at Llandudno Junction at 21:21. The train then moved on to the up main line and wait at signal LJ58 for passenger trains 1K20 and 1K21 to pass before continuing.
Above: on 15 May the northbound express from Cardiff to Holyhead with 67 003 in charge passes Abergele at 19:41 (Stavros Lainas).
On 16 May a Carlisle to Birkenhead North train, 5Z07, brought a Merseyrail electric train (507 002) back from repairs at what used to be the Andrew Barclay works in Kilmarnock now trading as Wabtec Rail Scotland. Traction was Colas Rail's 47 739 Robin of Templecombe, pictured at Parkgate by Andrew Vinten.
Later, the train is seen crossing Frodsham Viaduct at 10:00 (Stavros Lainas). 507 002 has been out of traffic since a day in summer 2011 at Kirkdale when it rolled away on its own and became derailed (there are pictures of the incident on the web). It spent some time at Wabtec's Doncaster works before being moved to Kilmarnock.
The loco and translator vans returned with another unit 507 012, for overhaul, seen passing Neston station at 15:05 (Stavros Lainas).
Also on 16 May, the 'Jumbo' log train for Chirk, seen passing Dunham-on-the Hill at 18:26 with 66 846 in charge (Stavros Lainas).
Same loco, same train, on 24 May, seen passing the much-photographed junction signals at Helsby (Stavros Lainas). Another timber service to Chirk has started, this time from Baglan Bay in South Wales, once better known as the site of a BP Chemicals plant. (Picture on Flickr by 'StripeyNick')The first train, 6Z51 16:00 from Baglan Bay, ran on 22 May, scheduled to lay over at Hereford for an hour, run via Crewe and Chester, and arrive at Chirk at 00:25. Locomotive was 66 850. It remains to be seen how often this will run, but it will certainly be a challenge to photographers.
With Compass to the South Coast - by Roly High
West Coast's 47 804 brings the empty stock into Hooton for the Compass Tours trip to Hastings, Eastbourne and Brighton. It passes Hooton signal box, reputedly closing with the loss of five jobs and
its operations transferred to Chester Signalling Centre.
Crossing the Thames at Wandsworth. Coach 9502 is ensconced in the Orient Express maintenance depot compound.
After reversal at Paddock Wood,47760 now the lead loco, pulls the train out of Hastings towards Eastbourne and Brighton...
...with 47804 now at the rear.
The cliff railway at Hastings looking down!
47 760 again the lead loco after reversal at Eastbourne brings the
empty stock into Hastings. 47 804 would then pull the train to Eastbourne to pick up passengers for the return home. Another reversal saw 47 760 take the train on to Brighton to collect the remaining
passengers and then take a more direct route towards London. I wonder
if West Coast's drivers get a shoe leather allowance for the distance
they walk between locos? I believe there were eight reversals
(including Carnforth to Hooton and Hooton to Carnforth) in the day.
Held at signals alongside our train is 66 719 in Metronet colours, presumably hauling a "Bin liner" train.
Congratulations to Network Rail, West Coast Rail and Compass Tours for getting our train through the heavy London rail traffic.Even so,we were held at signals a number of times to let scheduled trains go ahead of us. One such stop was alongside the old container terminal at Willesden, which shows a small red light,and a big yellow light.
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