NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
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23 July 2012
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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.
Thursday 13 September Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Keith Jones with a double barrelled show of “The History of Penmaenmawr Quarry & its rail system” followed by “Building and running miniature steam locomotives”
Saturday 22 September Llangollen Railway Diesel Day
Thursday 27 September LCGB North West John Owen "Vintage US Steam in Cuba"
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.
Thursday 11 October Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society John Barden Davies tells us “How railways made North Wales a Tourism destination”
Thursday 25 October LCGB North West Tom Heavyside "B R in the North West"
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 1960's.
Thursday 8 November Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society AGM followed a look at “The Llandudno Transport Festival over the Years” (Guest Speaker)
Thursday 22 November LCGB North West Norman Matthews "Steam in New Zealand"
Friday 7 December Clwyd Railway Circle “Members Night & Christmas Celebration” Members are invited to give a 15/20 minute presentation of their choice (any format). This will be interrupted by festive treats (all high calories). Members must book their slot with David Jones no later than 20 November.
Thursday 13 December Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Christmas Social helped along by members Alex Cowan confirming to us that “Trainspotting was an education” and Larry Davies taking us back to “1962 – a year of change”
Thursday 13 December LCGB North West Les Nixon "55 Years of Railway Photography – Part Two"
The Crewe - Manchester - Holyhead 'North Wales Coast Express' of 22 July has produce a wonderful crop of pictures, which are going to need a page of their own, which should be ready by Friday morning. All other contributions welcome. For now, here's one by M.Lloyd Davies of 60009 Union of South Africa in full cry heading out of Holyhead.
Conwy Valley locomotive ban
Hard on the heels of the '11-coach Trains to London at Llandudno' fiasco, a notice has been issued to staff stating that due to a 'gauging issue' with both platforms at North Llanwrst, all locomotives including steam, mark1 and mark 2 coaching stock, freight trains and track maintenance machines are prohibited from passing through North Llanwrst 'until further notice.'
We believe it has been discovered that a train has come into contact with the platform edge; the most recent loco-hauled working was the 'Royal Scotsman' but we don't know if that was the victim. Perhaps paint samples are being analysed as we write. Let's hope they can find a big hammer and sort this out before 31 July when the 'Welsh Mountaineer' steam excursion is due to pass that way.
Thanks to their application form posted on the Network Rail website, users have become aware of significant changes to Monday - Friday North Wales services which Arriva Trains Wales are planning, to take effect from 17 September.
Already reported is the conversion of the north-south Premier to push-pull with a Class 67, four Mk3 coaches and a Driving Van Trailer, allowing the train to reverse at Chester and so be routed via Wrexham. The 05:32 Holyhead - Cardiff will run via Wrexham and the 05:11 Holyhead - Birmingham will run via Crewe. The path of the 07:40 Crewe - Shrewsbury is taken by the 05:32 Holyhead - Cardiff and is replaced by an 06:38 departure from Crewe.
An additional 07:00 Shrewsbury - Wrexham General and an additional 07:47 Wrexham General - Shrewsbury will run, allowing passengers from stations between Wrexham and Shrewsbury to connect at Shrewsbury into the 05:32 Holyhead - Cardiff. In the evening, the 16:15 Cardiff-Holyhead via Crewe is replaced by a [railcar operated] 16:21 Cardiff-Chester, also via Crewe. The 18:21 Cardiff-Holyhead will be worked by the loco-hauled set in place of the present class 175 but the routeing, via Wrexham, is unchanged.
On the North Wales coast, 'several diagramming alterations' have caused changes which have a severe affect on the service to Llandudno, whilst re-introducing some through between Manchester, Bangor and Holyhead which were sacrificed some years ago on the altar of a 'clockface' timetable. The list is as follows:
06:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno will terminate at Llandudno Jn
05:10 Cardiff Central - Holyhead diverted to Llandudno
07:50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno will now be diverted to Bangor
07:09 Birmingham International - Holyhead diverted to Llandudno
08:50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno diverted to Holyhead
10:02 Additional train Chester - Llandudno
10:50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno diverted to Bangor
07:51 Holyhead - Cardiff Central to start from Llandudno at 08:30
08:45 Llandudno - Manchester to start from Llandudno Jn at 08:54
09:08 Llandudno - Llandudno Jn is cancelled
09:28 Llandudno Jn - Llandudno is cancelled
10:08 Llandudno - Llandudno Jn is cancelled
10:28 Llandudno Jn- Llandudno is cancelled
13:08 Llandudno - Llandudno Jn is cancelled
13:28 Llandudno Jn - Llandudno is cancelled
10:33 Holyhead - Cardiff Central to start from Bangor at 11:02
13:44 Llandudno - Manchester to start from Bangor at 13:31
Arriva say that 'These changes more suitably reflect customers' requirements and also make better use of Arriva Trains Wales' rolling stock.' Looking at the list, it appears that the second of those requirements has taken priority; notice how all nearly all the changes are in the mornings, so Mancunians can get a direct train to Bangor and Holyhead in the morning, but they can't get one back after the 13:31 from Bangor. The extra Llandudno town - Junction shuttles were something of an experiment, so perhaps they won't be missed. As far as we know there has been no consultation with 'stakeholders' about the changes - unless anyone knows better.
The big sports event
There are football matches taking place in Cardiff from 25 July onwards as part of the Olympics, and Arriva Trains Wales have put up a special page with details and arrangements for passengers, although not being official sponsors, the absurd rules prevent them from mentioning the Olympic Games by name. We have heard that the loco-hauled train is to be used for some workings connected to the Olympics, but the website does not appear to mention this.
Chester Arts Festival 1967 - part 2
Robert Meredith's notes about the Chester Festival of the Arts locomotive exhibition and excursion in 1967 (2 July issue) struck a chord with two of our readers. Mark Enderby sends these pictures, which reveal (above) that the electric locomotive on display alongside 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley and 4472 Flying Scotsman was E3036. This was the first of a small batch of ten ordered from GEC and built the North British company (class AL4) for use on the West Coast Main Line electrification and delivered in 1960; note the diamond-shaped works-plate below the number which was that firm's trademark. Unfortunately, like the diesel locos built by North British, they were not a success. By 1967 all ten had been stored out of service, which would be why one could be spared for the exhibition.
They eventually were overahauled and returned to traffic in 1971-72, becoming Class 84, but by 1980 all had been withdrawn again. All were scrapped, except, as it happens, as none other than Chester exhibit E3036, by then renumbered 84 001, which was claimed by the National Railway Museum and is now on long-term loan to the AC Locomotive Group which keeps it at Barrow Hill depot. It is fact the only survivor of all the diesel and electric main line locos (i.e. not shunters) built for British Railways by North British. Most likely it was towed to Chester by the steam traction. Perhaps one day an AC electric loco will reach Chester under its own power?
Mark writes that he met Alan Pegler, the owner of Flying Scotsman, and obtained his autograph. Merfyn Jones writes: 'My main memory of the event in Chester station in 1967 was of the two Gresley pacifics. You were not only allowed in the cabs but also the corridor tenders. It was possibly a unique event that enabled you to walk from one loco cab to the other without stepping outside. Via three corridor tenders!'
Mark's third picture shows Flying Scotsman heading the excursion from Chester to Blackpool on 9 July 1967, passing Walton New Junction box near Warrington. The second tender, purchased by Alan Pegler to allow longer runs without stops for water once water troughs were removed from main lines, can be clearly seen.
It is notable that all three locos on display back in 1967 still exist today. Sir Nigel Gresley, currently in BR guise as 60007, is very much alive at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and is registered for use on main line excursions, although two planned for September 2012 have been cancelled by their operators. Flying Scotsman, on the other hand, has been undergoing a seemingly-endless and costly overhaul by the National Railway Museum; hopefully it will steam again, as many people have donated money towards this since it has been in care the museum following a series of adventures under private owners.