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26 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"
60009 Union of South Africa brings the 'North Wales Coast Express' into Llandudno Junction, 22 July. Many more pictures of this train below. Picture by Larry Davies.
This issue is devoted to the steam special of 22 July, which ran mostly in very photogenic weather. Our next effort will appear late on Thursday 2 August, and hopefully back to normal publication in time for 7 August. Blame the Olympics! Before the main show, a couple of 'stop press' items.
North Llanrwst: Network Rail has started work on the platforms by removing some of the tarmac at the back of the edging slabs and pushing them back, and are confident the work will be completed in time for Tuesday's steam special to run. Let's hope so. The train that made contact with the platform and led to a locomotive ban being applied was an infrastructure unit of some sort, possibly a tamper, or maybe a weed-killer...
North Wales Coast Express: The PrologueReport by Mark Riley
On July 16, 60009 Union of South Africa, which recently completed an overhaul, was scheduled to make several test runs between Crewe and Chester in advance of working the first 'North Wales Coast Express' excursion of the season. However all didn't go according to plan. Above: in pouring rain, and arriving about 30 minutes late, 60009 approaches Chester.
At the rear was West Coast Railway Company 37 685 Loch Arkaig. The usual support coach was present with a fair contingent of crew on board.
The formation standing at Chester in the rain. Apparently, 60009 was declared a failure at Chester with a 'hot box' (overheated axle bearing) on the tender, so spent most of the day being examined in Chester Yard.
It certainly was poor weather for the crew working on it: this telephoto picture by Roly High shows axle-box covers removed.
60009 was eventually dragged back to Crewe in the late afternoon, thankfully it was all 'sorted' in time for 22 July's performance.
The North Wales Coast Express: on the day
The train started from Crewe, and - an innovation for this year - ran via Stockport and Manchester to Holyhead. Above, the train ready for departure from Crewe, a few minutes late as the empty coaching stock was late arriving. Note the use of Platform 6, unlike last summer when all steam specials originating at Crewe left from 5. (Tim Fenton).
60009 departing from Crewe and crossing to the Manchester line. Standing on Platform 5 was right for the photographic light, but not for drifting smoke! (Tim Fenton).
Stockport station, 10:10 (Charlie Hulme). The route brought the train within easy cycling distance of Website HQ, and coincided with a 'Rail Show' at Stockport station organised (for the second year) to raise funds for Clic Sargent, Virgin Trains' chosen charity, with various interesting stalls and displays. Some, but not all, of these people will be travelling on the train...
... which arrived a few minutes later. The British Railways green paintwork was shining in the sunshine.
Heading out across Stockport Viaduct, with just a few moments of wheel-slip.
On the rear as insurance and to help with shunting at Holyhead, 47 270 Swift.
After calling at Manchester Piccadilly, the train ran though Deansgate station (picture by Graham Bond) before heading for the old Liverpool and Manchester Railway route through Newton-le-Willows to Warrington. The tower on the horizon is a newly-built student residence known as the Student Castle.
The support coach behind the loco as it heads through Deansgate (Graham Bond).
Frodsham Viaduct over the River Weaver (Mark Enderby).
Shortly after leaving Frodsham (Stavros Lainas).
Helsby station (Mark Enderby).
Showing fine form accelerating past Mold Junction west of Chester, precisely on time (Mark Riley).
Approaching Flint station (Glyn Jones). 60009 is owned by John Cameron, a Scottish farmer (he once owned 37,000 acres) whose interest in railways led him to purchase two steam locos, as well as serving as Chairman of the British Railways Board in Scotland and other rail-related roles. He is currently a Director of South West Trains. At one time even even had his own railway, the Lochty Private Railway, on his own land in Fife.
Rhyl (Roly High). These locos (known as 'streaks' by the trainspotting fraternity) were built for use on fast trains on the East Coast Main Line out of London Kings Cross, and never ran in normal service in North Wales, but they certainly make a fine sight on trains such as this one.
Arriving at Llandudno Junction where the train was to stop for water, giving photographers the chance to get ahead for a second shot (Garry Stroud). The Springbok plaque, donated by a South African businessman in the 1950s, is on one side only.
Passing Conwy Castle (Garry Stroud). 60009 is an 'A4' class 4-6-2 designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built in as no. 4488 in 1937 - the age of streamlining - by and for the London and North Eastern Railway. Underneath the streamlining its much the same as any other steam loco. It was renumbered as no. 9 in 1946, and this became 60009 when British Railways took over and added 60000 to LNER numbers
Near Puffin roundabout, Penmaenmawr (Alan Crawshaw). When built, it was intended to name the locos after birds - Sir Nigel Gresley's hobby apparently - and this one was to be Osprey. However a late decision was made to name some after British Empire Dominions, and this one emerged as Union of South Africa. For a while in the 1980s and 90s, the owner renamed it Osprey due to the political situation, but once Apartheid ans its associated protests had ceased it reverted to the previous name.
Llanfair PG (Richard Fleckney).
Malltraeth viaduct. Picture by Larry Goddard (the car is L50 ARY).
Over the Stanley Embankment between Anglesey 'mainland' and Holy Island, heading for Holyhead (M.Lloyd Davies).
Having arrived at Holyhead, 47 270 awaits the uncoupling of 60009 and its support coach to enable the stock to be taken over to the carriage sidings for servicing (M.Lloyd Davies). Arriva Trains Wales rolling stock, including the loco and coaches for Monday - Friday Cardiff express can be seen.
47 270 pulls the empty coaches out of the station, to shunt them to the carriage sidings for servicing while 60009 heads for Valley to turn on the triangle in preparation for the return journey (M.Lloyd Davies).
Reunited and ready for departure (M.Lloyd Davies). The shunting moves are more complicated that you might think, as the support coach has to be moved to the other end of the train so it can still be behind the loco. 60009, like some other ex-LNER express power, has a corridor in the tender, enabling staff (provided they are not too obese) to pass between the loco and coach.
Departure for the return trip: 60009 eases its load up the bank out of Holyhead (M.Lloyd Davies). That colour-light signal is at red - digital pictures often give a misleading appearance of yellow.
Close-up of the A4 at work (M.Lloyd Davies). Note the electric headlight as well as the two traditional-style lamps positioned to show an 'express passenger train'
Leaving the Conwy Tubular Bridge (Greg Mape)
Crossing the Conwy Cob (Garry Stroud). Telford's road suspension bridge can be seen to the right.
Approaching Llandudno Junction (Greg Mape).
Departing Llandudno Junction after the stop for water (Garry Stroud).
Abergele (Larry Goddard).
Chester (Roly High). All six surviving A4s will be reunited next year at the National Railway Museum, including two borrowed from museums across the Atlantic.
Departing Chester (Roly High). Passengers had quite a long day, with arrival at Stockport planned for 22:45 and Crewe 23:34, but at least they didn't have an early start.
Picture above by Garry Stroud. Thanks to everyone involved in running this train, and to everyone who has sent pictures. We can't always guarantee to include them all, due to lack of editing time (and occasionally forgetfulness) but feel free to send them. There are further runs of this train planned over the summer holidays, both by this route and from Liverpool. See the Railway Touring Company website for booking information.
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