NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
|Home | Notice Board | Travel
Information | Calendar | History | Route Guide
| For Railfans | Links
16 July 2012
Link to this issue
Share this issue:
Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page
This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
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 are 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)
Friday 7 September Clwyd Railway Circle Glyn Jones “John Summers & Sons Ltd” A look at the Steelworks at Shotton from its opening in 1896 to the closure of the heavy end in 1980. The talk includes footage of the iron ore trains from Bidston.
Saturday 22 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Day
Friday 5 October Clwyd Railway Circle Les Nixon “55 Years of Railway Photography (part 1)” The acclaimed railway photographer and entertaining speaker will treat us to an evening of nostalgia, including pre 1968 steam, foreign, modern traction and some preservation. The accent is on the unusual.
Friday 2 November Clwyd Railway Circle Dave Southern “Chester to Pwllheli” The slide show will follow a journey from Chester to Pwllheli via Oswestry. There will be slides of each of the lines we pass on the journey, based on the early 1960s.
This dreary summer has produced very little sunny days this year, but one that was against the trend was 12 July when this shot was obtained of 221 108 Sir Ernest Shackleton emerging from the tube at Conwy and crossing the cob with the 8.55 Holyhead to Euston service. Picture by Garry Stroud.
Royal Scotsman in North Wales
In yet more wet conditions the Chester – North Llanrwst leg, 1Z25, of Day 3 of the Royal Scotsman 'Grand Tour of Britain' approaches Llandudno Junction, with 47 804 leading and 47 854 Diamond Jubilee on the rear (M.Lloyd Davies).
The train has reversed to access the Conwy Valley branch, where 47 854 is leading alongside Glan Conwy (M.Lloyd Davies).
Next morning, 9 July, 47 804 brings the train into Llandudno Junction at 08:57 (Garry Stroud).
47 854 on the rear as the train enters Llandudno Junction station (Garry Stroud).
47 854 on the rear at Cadnant, heading for Holyhead after the passengers have alighted for a soggy day in Llandudno (Garry Stroud).
After stabling most of the day at Holyhead, the return empty working to Llandudno Junction departs Holyhead (M.Lloyd Davies).
Passing Conwy with 47 854 leading (Garry Stroud).
The Royal Scotsman normally operates on the Highland routes in Scotland as seen in this view on 12 June at Achanalt Viaduct on the line to Kyle of Lochalsh with 37 685 Loch Arkaig deputising for a failed WCRC 47 (M.Lloyd Davies)
Caersws, ERTMS and the the 6-car problem
Last time we commented on the failure to strengthen to six coaches units the busiest train on the Aberystwyth line, the 10:07 to Birmingham International, passing on the suggestion that this may be due to platform restrictions at Caersws caused by the extra fencing which has been installed around the level crossing there.
However, writers on the RailUK Forum have pointed out that the platform at Caersws is not long enough for six coaches in any case, and it would have been the procedure to just open one door at such a small station. The real problem appears to lie at Aberystwyth station where it would have been necessary to couple a 2-car and a 4-car train.
The new ERTMS signalling system on the Cambrian line works with 'blocks' - sections of line which are demarcated in the system's computer. It seems that the way the system has been implemented at Aberystwyth has not been design to allow the proposed move.
The arrangements at Aberystwyth have recently been called into question as a contributory cause of the incident at Llanbadarn last year in which a train failed to stop at the level crossing even though the barriers were had 'timed out' and opened to road traffic. The Report on this has now been published by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and reveals how much added complexity has been introduced into the life of the train driver. If you thought the 'Libor scandal' and the 'Hardron Collider' were difficult concepts, have a look at that 53-page report.
Rail users urged to back direct London link fight
Interesting item from the Shropshire Star, 15 July:
Shrewsbury's MP today urged rail travellers to get behind the campaign to restore Shropshire’s direct train link to London. Daniel Kawczynski wants people to write to Transport Secretary Justine Greening, urging her to make the route a priority when deciding who should take over county rail services next month. He said that it was 'outrageous' such a service did not exist already.Abellio and Keolis are certainly 'transport giants' as they are the nationalised railways of The Netherlands and France respectively. 'Main Line' on the other hand, does not exist. There are just four preferred bidders.
The DfT's consultation process already closed in May 2011, and it is hoped to announce the winning bidder on 13 August, in time for the new operator to take over the service at the timetable change on 9 December. The hope must be that one or more of the bidders have offered a Shrewsbury train as an extra in their bid; whoever wins will be required to use the existing fleet of Voyagers and Pendolinos - finding a Voyager for a London - Shrewsbury service, since Wolverhampton - Shrewsbury is not electrified, would need some thought.
All in all, one might think that a better hope would be to persuade Chiltern Railways to extend a couple of their London - Birmingham trains to serve Shrewsbury. Their loco-hauled trains know the place well as they mostly ex-Wrexham and Shropshire ones! And does the West Coast Main Line really pass through Shropshire? The county is certainly one of the few (are there any others?) English counties with no direct London service.
Ride the 'Ghost Train'
The North Cheshire Rail Users' Group informs us that the first run in 2012 of the weekly summer-only Chester - Runcorn 'Parliamentary' train on Saturday 21 July will again be transformed into a special occasion, with the train continuing in passenger service to Liverpool South Parkway rather than terminating at Runcorn as normal. Times are as follows:
CHESTER d. 07.53
HELSBY d. 08.02
FRODSHAM d. 08.07
RUNCORN (MAIN LINE) d. 08.17
LIVERPOOL SOUTH PARKWAY a. 08.26
Passengers should purchase tickets to Liverpool. Refreshments will be available at Liverpool South Parkway. A special vintage bus will leave at 09.30 to bring passengers back to Chester with additional drop off points at Runcorn, Frodsham and Helsby. There is no fare for the privately-owned bus but there will be an opportunity to make a donation (Suggested amount £4 per head).
The day will follow the same format as the previous two years except that there is the opportunity for those who wish, to visit the newly renovated Frodsham station house as well. Those who do not take the Parliamentary Train to Liverpool South Parkway can still visit Frodsham station between 10.30 and 12.30 on 21 July.
Buy your ticket at Chester station or on the train on the day of travel. However, if you require a reservation on the vintage bus please email your name to either Janet Briggs (firstname.lastname@example.org) or John Hobbs (email@example.com) indicating if you are visiting Frodsham station and would like later onward travel, by vintage bus, to Helsby or Chester.
This information will enable the team arrange whether, or not, to bring the vintage bus back from Chester to Frodsham to pick up passengers approximately 2 hours later. If there is not sufficient demand for the later visit to Frodsham then the vintage bus will return directly to its home base after dropping its passengers at Chester station.
The Group extends a warm welcome to all, including family and friends.
Yorkshire Coast Express
Statesman Rail's Llandudno Junction to Scarborough 'Yorkshire Coast Express' departs from Prestatyn (above) at 07:24 on 14 July behind 47 760. The new footbridge has greatly altered the aspect of this station. Picture by Ivor Bufton.
Passing Mickle Trafford at 08:07; 47 798 was on the rear. Picture by Stavros Lainas. The train was hauled by a steam loco between York and Scarborough.
As mentioned in the last issue, Network Rail declined to allow the 11-coach train to serve Llandudno town station as advertised on the grounds that its length would causing problems with the signalling. It seems that they later decided to allow this one train, but will ban future ones (see local press report). Despite this, however, the train started from and returned to, Llandudno Junction.
Above, at the end of the day, empty stock train 5Z28 is seen just about to depart Llandudno Junction, with the empty stock to Chester at 22:00 (Peter Lloyd). Nearest the camera, 47 798 Prince William was a Royal Train locomotive, with brother 47 799 Prince Henry, until they were displaced by Class 67s. It is now part of the collection of the National Railway Museum, on loan to West Coast Railway Company.
Corwen: a Railway Town - review by George Jones
Local author Paul Lawton has continued his efforts to document railway stations in the Dee valley and his latest title looks at Corwen. In 56 pages he reviews the history of the junction of two lines which once served the town for around 100 years.
The text is not just about the station, the goods yard and the trains, but covers the early GWR bus services, the people, events and the social conditions in a very readable style. A good collection of photographs and graphics have been brought together to illustrate the title, many from local sources which have not previously been published.
A good read, and available at a modest £4.50 from Llangollen Railway outlets and other local retailers.
A narrow-gauge visit - with Stephen Hughes
I couldn't resist calling in on the Bala Lake Railway when I was in that area on 19 June to see the recently repatriated Hunslet Winifred as reported here on 14 May. Winifred has now been moved into the shed (above) still very much in her old Penrhyn livery, the first time I have seen a loco in that condition since 1965 when I was on a visit to Bethesda with my father. A kindly gentleman opened the old carriage shed for us to view a line of six Hunslets awaiting their fate. (Happily, all were saved!)
I would like to thank the staff at Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid who enabled me to make a quick foray into the shed to take a few photographs and also held the departure of the last train of the day hauled by Maid Marian (above) to enable my daughter and a couple of visiting American Couchsurfers to have a ride to Bala, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
Another recent 'returnee' was 'Alice' - a quarry Hunslet based on the Bala Lake Railway, but returning to her original haunts at Dinorwic as a guest of the Llanberis Lake Railway on 30 June / 1 July for the first time since leaving over 40 years ago, originally as a source of spares for other
However she was rebuilt, and returned to steam for the first time in 1994. Her current owner, Julian Birley is, coincidentally, also the owner of Winfred.
As befits this summer, it was a day of very heavy showers at Llanberis, but the driver of 'Alice' seemed happy enough, despite the lack of a cab, as he must have been drenched on a number of occasions.
Finally ... there are a number of places where one can have a decent pint and watch the trains, but not too many, I suspect, where the beer is actually brewed on the premises. The 'Snowdonia Park' at Waunfawr is just such a place, and the main part of the pub was once the Stationmaster's house.
Whilst enjoying a pint of 'Welsh Highland Bitter' on Sunday 1 July I just managed to capture Welsh Highland Railway Beyer-Garratt 87, leaving Waunfawr at 12:45 for Caernarfon.
[Any other pub-with-a-view recommendations? - Ed.]
Class 40 visits airport (sort of) - pictures by Greg Mape
An Aviation and Transport Fair was held at Manchester Airport's 'Runway Visitor Park' on 14-15 July, with stalls and attractions from all methods of transport in addition to the usual attractions.
Among the exhibits was the Class 40 Preservation Society's travelling Class 40 Cab, pictured here leaving the site at the end of the event. Originally purchased by Martin Walker from a scrap merchant, this passed to the ownership of the Society in 2008 and travels around to fairs and events around the country to publicise the Society's activities. including the ever-necessary fund-raising.
Earlier this year, it was used at the East Lancashire Railway to film cab interior scenes for a TV film about the wife of train robber Ronnie Biggs, with working loco D335 used for the movement scenes.
The aircraft seen in this picture above has something in common with the 40 088: there is only part of it there! The forward section of a Monarch Airlines DC-10 aircraft has been converted into a 'multi-purpose resource with a genuine "on-board" feel.' Admission to the Park is free for visitors who get here by foot, bike or on public transport: Route 200 bus runs hourly in the daytime from Manchester Airport station.
North Wales Coast home page Archive Previous Notice Board