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04 June 2012
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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
Green and verdant land with the 10:33 Holyhead-Cardiff passing Hen Wrych west of Abergele on 30 May 2012 (Larry Goddard). Red Valerian can always be found in profusion along the the North Wales route at this time of year.
Buckley Railway 150
7 June 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the original Buckley Railway opening from Knowle Lane Brickworks down to Connah’s Quay Docks. To mark this event the Buckley Society have mounted a small exhibition of photographs on the upstairs floor of Buckley Library. There is a lift available if needed.
Paul Morlle from Mynydd Isa has provided a scale model he has built of Buckley Old Town and Exchange sidings and Chris Dawson the Barber has provided some scale model traders trucks. A DVD containing more than 200 photos of the railway supported by a narrative is also available for £9.99.
The exhibition will be in place for the month of June 2012 and open to view during Library Hours (see the Library website.) Buckley town centre is about 2 km from Buckley station on the Wrexham - Bidston line.
Anglesey views - by M. Lloyd Davies
67 001 passes Rhosneigr on the last leg of its journey from Cardiff on 1 June, past Rhosneigr Golf Club. I'm not sure what the chap is doing at the bottom of the embankment - I hadn't noticed his presence until after I had taken the picture. Had he lost a ball? It doesn't look as though he has the slightest interest in the passing Express.
Saturday 2 June, and 57 314, still with its Arriva Trains Wales branding, brings train 1A55, the Pendolino (390 020) to London, through Llanfairyneubwll. This train was delayed on its way north from London due being overcrowded with passengers; it was reported that about 200 people had been left behind.
On 29 May the Olympic flame made its way across North Wales from Beaumaris on Anglesey to Chester including journeys by rail (in its protective Davy safety lamp) on the the Great Orme Tramway, and the Snowdon Mountain Railway (for which a second, subsidiary, flame was lit). In Rhyl, the route of the torch-bearer passed alongside the Rhyl Miniature Railway, which provided a train as escort, as seen above in Stéphanie Durrant's picture above. The torch-carrier can be seen in all-white towards the right-hand edge of the scene.
There's a Queen's Jubilee event around the Rhyl Marine Lake and the Railway over the extended holiday weekend, including Tuesday 4 March: a good chance to visit the Rhyl Miniature Raiway with its vintage locomotives. Above: the Rhyl Jubilee Queen and her retinue pos at the RMR depot.
The flame's itinerary from Stoke to Bolton on 31 May passed through Knutsford, where 20-year-old local councilllor Amy Mercer-Bailey from Northwich was one of the torch-bearers, who are allowed to keep their torch once the flame has passed on. The early evening saw Amy and her torch travelling on the on the 17:37 train from Northwich towards Manchester, formed of 150 203. Northern Rail conductor Becky Styles, a runner herself, took the chance to hold the iconic object. Picture by John Oates, Mid-Cheshire Rail Users' Association.
Valley signalbox question
Above is a picture of Valley signalbox, as it was in 1982. Since then, like many others of its kind, it has had replacement windows fitted, which do not have sliding sections and have larger panes, as in the picture below. The box is now a Grade 2 listed building, listed on 19th Jan 1998.
We've had an email from someone who wishes to complain to the Planners about the windows on the front of the box, as they are 'not correct to the original L&NWR design.' However, the only consideration allowed by the authorities can be from the listing date in January 1998. Does anyone have a dateable picture showing the box (even in the distance) with old windows in 1998 or new ones before, to establish whether the changes were made before or after that date? It certainly was one of the earlier ones to be done, as we do have a picture taken in 2000. It is notable that in more recent times Network Rail have made an effort to simulate the LNWR windows when making these improvements, for example at Abergele.
The 'Northern Belle' luxury train has been earning its keep over the holiday weekend. On 1 June Stavros Lainas photographed it passing Hargrave as empty stock working 5Z85 from Crewe to Chester, whence it formed an excursion to Carlisle. Locos, as usual, were 47 832 Solway Princess (leading) and 47 790 Galloway Princess.
The next day, 2 June, the train offered an excursion advertised as from Blackpool to Llandudno. However, it had to stable in platform 1 at Llandudno Junction for the day from 10:40 until 18:09 due to the train being too long for platform 3 at Llandudno. Two locos and 10 coaches would show 'line occupied' on the track circuits protecting the station throat, resulting in the points for platform 1 and 2 being locked. Abobe, 47 790 at the western end of the train (Peter Lloyd).
Jubilee adornments on 47 832 (Peter Lloyd). Yes, the flags are the right way up...
The Saturday afternoon train 1A55 to London with 57 314 and Pendolino 390 020 to London calls at Platform 2. (Peter Lloyd)
Another interesting train for which DRS provide traction is the 'Cruise Saver Express' which runs several times a year in connection with Cruise Ships at Southampton. Above, 1Z79, 10:40 Glasgow Central - Southampton Central on Saturday 2 June just avoids a signal stop at Manchester Piccadlly at 15:35, running in the path used on Mondays - Fridays by a Freightliner from Trafford Park. 47 805 leads, with 47 802 on the rear.
The train is not booked to stop in Manchester, presumably because loading a long train like this with 'slam doors' could cause a delay to other trains using busy platform 13. Manchester passengers have to board at Stockport. The consist is mostly Riviera Trains 'Great Briton' vehicles, with a blue/grey kitchen car in the middle and an advertising Mk2 brake on the rear (Charlie Hulme).
On the Ffestiniog - with Larry Goddard
Earl of Merioneth draws into Tanygrisiau on 27 May with the 15:10 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. The second coach entered service in May 2012 as one of the new 'Super Barns'.
This £100,000 carriage (above) numbered 121, was fabricated in-house at Boston Lodge incorporating key components from the previous no.121 which was recently retired. It can be identified by its cream-coloured doors.
The recently-installed replica of the original nineteenth-century wooden footbridge carrying a public footpath across the railway at Tan-y-Bwlch station adds to the heritage look of the station.
Diesel Vale of Festiniog towers above the vintage FR coaches as it passes below the new replica footbridge while working an untimetabled extra from Porthmadog on Jubilee Bank Holiday Monday, 4 June. Coach 121 on the right of the picture.
To the Conwy Valley line: 150 257 passes through Dolwydellan with the 13.22 Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog on 4 June.
Ruabon to Llangollen?The Llangollen Railway is busy extending to Corwen, but have no plans to re-lay the line between Llangollen and the main line at Ruabon station, which has been partially built over. It would be good if one could reach the Llangollen Railway by train, although there are may difficulties. Aman named Peter Dickinson has set up an on-petition to the Government supporting the idea. He writes:
Reinstatement of these 6.25 miles would have many positive benefits for Llangollen. Llangollen is a tourist destination with associated traffic problems. The valley location offers little scope for a by-pass road and, in the summer season, traffic clogs the surrounding roads and car parks. The reinstated railway would help to alleviate many of these problems, providing an effective, efficient and eco-friendly method of accessing Llangollen and the World Heritage Sites around the Dee Valley.If you believe the Department for Transport should do something about this, here is the link to sign the petition which has 51 signatures at the time of writing. It needs 100,000 signatures to be considered for debate in the House of Commons, but fewer signatures would at least bring the idea into the public eye.
Crewe curiosities - pictures by Steve Jones
Travelling through Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly on 29 May Steve came across these locos. The Fertis 56s, 56 074 / 069 / 106 / 031 have recently been moved from the old diesel depot to the South Yard as seen here, suggesting that they may be going leave Crewe, perhaps having been sold.
Preserved E3137 Les Ross (formerly 86 259) was heading south, probably returning to Willesden depot, London, where it has been based since returning to traffic after an overhaul in 2011. Recetly it has been hauling charters between London and Preston, to be handed over to steam locos for runs over Shap or the Settle-Carlisle line.
This fly-spattered Pendolino, City of Liverpool, seen leaving Crewe for Manchester on Sunday evening 27 May with a slightly wonky front panel, is one of the original fleet which has now received its extra two standard-class coaches from the batch being built in Italy ...
... and thus re-numbered from 390 031 to 390 131. The four new Pendolinos have now also been made up to 11-car formation, becoming 390 154 to 157. 390 154 has an Alstom symbol on its nose and no Virgin shield, but the other three 'newbies' have the usual Virgin shield and also an Alstom symbol (Charlie Hulme). 31 of the 52 surviving original units are to be lengthened to 11 cars; if the North Wales Saturday Pendolino is to continue it will need to be one of the 9-car ones, as some North Wales station platforms are too short, and are not being fitted with the 'balises' which will tell the train not to open certain doors.
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