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02 July 2012
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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
67 002 passes Conwy at 19:57 on 28 May with the 16:15 Cardiff to Holyhead service, From September, this loco-hauled train runs two hours later, and shots like this will not be possible even in the height of summer.
News of the Arriva express
Above, 67 002 at Abergavenny with the northbound express from Cardiff to Holyhead, 26 June. Picture by Richard Putley. The three blue 67s, 67 001 - 003 continue to ply their Monday-Friday trade, as we await the changes proposed for September.
Test runs have been taking place with Driving Van Trailer 82308, now fitted for use with Class 67s, and 67 001. Martin Evans photographed the pair on 28 June passing the futuristic footbridge at Newport (above)...
... and at Cardiff. A thought arises regarding the plan to run this train two hours later from Cardiff at 18:18, while still starting from Holyhead very early at 05:32. The staff of the restaurant car, currently work out and back from Holyhead, with a rest during the day, we understand in a room reserved for them at Newport. In the new arrangement it would seem they are going to have a very long day indeed, getting back to Holyhead very late in the evening.
Rear view at Abergavenny (Richard Putley)
Chester Festival 1967 - by Robert Meredith
It is 45 years ago, in the 'Summer of Love' when as part of the Chester Festival of the Arts, a Locomotive Exhibition was held at Chester Station from 2 - 16 July 1967. LNER locomotives 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley and 4472 Flying Scotsman, along with an electric loco were on display in the old platform 2.
On Sunday 9 July 1967, 4472 Flying Scotsman worked a return excursion to Blackpool, the cost being 25 shillings (£1.25 for adults) and 20 shillings (£1 for children under 15).
The pictures show of the locomotive exhibition admission ticket (the cost being 6 old pence), an article from the Chester Chronicle of 30 June 1967 about the details of the railtour to Blackpool, and from Dave Giddins' collection, a newspaper cutting from the Cheshire Observer of 7 July. We wonder if this young Stewart Pace is still interested in railways? Or perhaps Beverley?
If anyone reading this visited the event, we'd be pleased to hear from them, especially if they took pictures.
Valley signalbox - the facts
Readers may recall the question we posted in the 4 June issue asking whether the signalbox windows at Valley (Anglesey) had been replaced in a different style before or after it was made a Grade 2 Listed Structure in January 1998. With much help from North Wales signalling expert Alan Roberts we can answer the question: the windows were replaced in 2003, on what is described as a 'like for like' basis as the wooden frames were rotten. The picture above by Darren Durrant from 2009 shows the current state of the building. However, in the original windows each of the four large windows was in two sliding sections, each with four panes, not the current four.
It appears, however, that Network Rail did not know that it was listed: it's status is not listed in their 'Hazard Directory' covering the Chester & Holyhead line which does record that the boxes at Ty Croes, Abergele, Rhyl No.2 (Closed 1990 but still standing), Rhyl No.1, Mostyn and Holywell Junction. Any modifications to have to be minimal, and renewals near enough to the original London and North Western Railway (LNWR) construction such as windows, door and stairway. Any modification using PVC is not allowed. At Abergele, for example, when the original wooden door was due for renewal, they replaced it by a PVC door but were told later to replace it again with a replacement wooden door.
The box at Valley has always looked different to what might be considered the typical LNWR box: opened in 1904 to replace an earlier one, it was the first example of what signalling historians call an 'LNWR Type 5' box with windows 6 feet high compared with the earlier design using 4-foot-6 inch-high windows.
The box at Deganwy - pictured above by Garry Stroud in 2009 - is also a Type 5, and has also had its windows replaced with a simpler version, but does not appear to have been Listed.
The main station building at Valley, is also a Grade 2 listed building,
deservedly so is it is one of the original station buildings designed for the Chester and Holyhead Railway and built in 1849; it was symmetrical until a toilet block was added in the 1880s. The station, like some other smaller stations on the line, was closed to passengers by British Rail in 1966, with permission from the then Minister of Transport, Barbara Castle. Years later, thanks to pressure from the community and the authorities of Valley RAF station, it was re-opened in 1981. Since 1962 the signaller has had responsibility for trains entering the siding serving Valley Power Station, and since the 1980s for the turning of steam locomotives on the triangle of lines.
Rhyl engineer's siding, with Rhyl No.1 signalbox and 'Stone blower'. (Darren Durrant). The stone blower is for 'packing' the track to keep it supported at the correct level. This is done by measuring the void under each sleeper and then inserting a suitable amount of small stones into the void. The measuring run is done first and then the machine uses hollow tynes which are inserted down the side of the sleeper
and the stone is then blown into the void. Hence the name.
Cambrian Coast idyll as one of the remaining silver 158s crosses the Dysynni river bridge near Tywyn, 28 June (Ian Wright).
A moment of the past: when on a BR trip to Crewe Works in the early 1960s, Richard Fleckney captured this scene of 6233 Duchess of Sutherland. The Duchess was withdrawn in 1964 and sold to Butlin's Holiday Camp at Heads of Ayr, Scotland, which fortuitously saved her for restoration to running order some years later, eventually leading to regular appearances in North Wales. It is known that she was prepared for the sale at Crewe works: could this be what is happening in the picture?
Compass to Weymouth, 8 June
Compass Tours ran an excursion from North Wales stations to Weymouth on 8 June. The locomotives and rolling stock were provided by West Coast Railway Company, and made their way from that company's base at Carnforth the day before, as Train 5Z71, seen above passing Colwyn Bay in very wet weather with 47 826 leading (Jack Bowley).
On the rear, 47 804 as the train passes Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).
06:00 next morning, and the train pulls out of a very dull Holyhead with 47 804 pulling.
The train rolls into Rhyl - picture by Roly High, one of several of our contributors who travelled on the excursion. Expert planning by
Network Rail, West Coast Railways and Compass Tours enabled a path
up the West Coast main line to Nuneaton and Coventry,then down the Great Western main line through Leamington Spa, Oxford, Didcot, and then on to the South-west mainline towards Bournemouth and Weymouth at Reading, plus the return journey, to be completed with little delay. The return train, 1Z52, 15:53 from Weymouth, arrived back at Holyhead within five minutes of the planned time of 00:21. Well done to the team at Compass and everyone else involved with running this train. For details of their future tours, visit the Compass Tours website.
An operational stop at Leamington Spa could have offered a chance to have a seat on God's Wonderful Railway! (Roly High).
A huge amount of new track formations were being laid west of Reading station.This photo shows the track before welding (Roly High).
Coming off the Great Western main line and heading onto the South-west main line towards Basingstoke and Bournemouth at Reading West the train passed First Great Western's depot (Roly High).
The train arrives at Brockenhurst - the bay used by Lymington branch trains is to the right (Ken Robinson).
47 804 stands in Weymouth station after its long journey.
South West Trains 'Desiro' electric train 444 012 Destination Weymouth awaits departure from Weymouth to Waterloo (Roly High).
First Great Western 153 380 is part of a train for the Bristol direction (Peter Lloyd)
The station throat at Weymouth, rationalised to such an extent that operational control, as shown by the DR code next to the signal light, is carried out by Dorchester Area Signalling Centre, some distance up the line. Note the short single-line section, similar to that at Llandudno, allowing trains to arrive and depart from any platform with the minimum number of points and crossings. The Olympic sailing events are to be based on Weymouth, which might challenge the capacity of the line.
Weymouth is famous in railway circles for its street-running, the Weymouth tramway, along which, until 1987, boat trains would run carrying passengers for the Channel Island ferries. It has been disused since 1999, although in theory still part of the network.
Flashback thirty years, and your editor photographed one of these trains with a Class 33 in charge and a pilot team in a car ensuring the way is clear. Just visible is a car being 'bounced' out of the way in those happy days before car alarms.
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