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13 August 2012
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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.
09 August 2012
On the Welshpool and Llanfair - pictures by Martin Evans
The Holyhead View - with M. Lloyd Davies
Penrhyn Railway news - report by Stephen Hughes
Cambrian Coast in yellow
06 August 2012
Push-Pull training starts
Brush replaces Gresley - 5 August
Virgin on Anglesey - pictures by Steve Morris
The end of Virgin Trains?
The Welsh Mountaineer 31 July
02 August 2012
Prestatyn Progress - report by Dave Sallery
Compass Tours to Holyhead
175 002 repaired
60s Gala at Llangollen - report by Chris Jones-Bridger
On the Parliamentary - report by George Jones
Crewe 1995 - pictures by Peter Hanson
Shrewsbury spruced up - report by George Jones
Curzon Park Footbridge, Chester
26 July 2012
North Wales Coast Express: The Prologue
The North Wales Coast Express: on the day
This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.
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 train to Blaenau Ffestiniog - postponed to 21 August.
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)
Saturday 18 August DRS Open Day, Gresty Lane Depot, Crewe.
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).
Tuesday 21 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)
Sat / Sun 25 - 26 August Llangollen Railway Classic Transport weekend
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'
Monday 17 September RCTS Chester North Staffordshire from the mid 1960s to the Early 1990s By Max Birchenough.
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”
Monday 15 October RCTS Chester Steam Classes that failed to make Preservation; Powerpoint presentation By John Cowlishaw Using Edgar Richards Photographs.
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)
Monday 19 November RCTS Chester– Conway and Llandudno Junction in B.R Days by Larry Davies.
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"
Monday 17 December RCTS Chester Members Slide/Digital Images – 30 Slides or artefacts of your Choice
Friday 4 January Clwyd Railway Circle Pete Gray “Welsh Highland Railway” Our speaker for the night is the Safety & Development Manager of the WHR; previous to this, he was the Construction Manager from 2006-2010. Pete will be talking about his experiences during this time and the organization that is needed to keep the show on the road.
Thursday 10 January Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Thursday 17 January LCGB North West Keith Naylor "Isle of Wight Railways"
Monday 21 January RCTS Chester Branch A.G.M. followed By British slides between 1983 & 2010 By Alan Donaldson.
Friday 1 February Clwyd Railway Circle Gordon Davies “American Wanderings 2, the Great Plains Drifter” - Recollections of Gordon’s trip in 2008, covering the largest open cast mine in Wyoming plus the world’s largest marshalling yard.
Thursday 14 February Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Monday 18 February RCTS Chester The Northern Hub. A Talk By Duncan Law, Senior Programme Development Manager, Network Rail.
Thursday 21 February LCGB North West Mike Taylor "Preston and North"
Friday 1 March Clwyd Railway Circle The Committee & Larry Davies. AGM followed by the talk “60 years ago – Diamond days” After the formality is over, we look forward to the talk by one of our favourite speakers.
Thursday 14 March Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Monday 18 March RCTS Chester B.R in the early 1980’s By Tom Heavyside.
Thursday 21 March LCGB North West Tony Harrison "The Dragon's Last Roar"
Friday 5 April Clwyd Railway Circle Michael Murphy 'Liverpool Overhead Railway' To finish off the season, a highly recommended speaker known for his light-hearted style of presentation. The talk will be followed by film footage of the railway in its heyday.
Thursday 11 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Monday 15 April RCTS Chester Even Further Down Under: New Zealand In 2011 & 2012 By Geoff Morris.
Thursday 18 April LCGB North West John Sloane 'Steam Sheds and Diesel Depots'
Thursday 9 May Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society Speaker to be confirmed
Thursday 16 May LCGB North West AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital Photos.
DVT 82308 and loco 67 001 pass through Bangor with train 5Z53, driver training run heading for Holyhead on 9 August. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.
60009 rides again, 12 August
The Crewe - Manchester - Holyhead version of the Railway Touring Company 'North Wales Coast Express' (NWCE) on 12 August again featured A4 Pacific 60009 Union of South Africa which has worked all this summer's NWCEs so far, except when it failed and a diesel had to be used. The weather was cloudy, but your editor got on his bike to Cheadle Hulme (above) in an attempt - not entirely successful - to capture the loco in 'full cry' on a straight section of the Crewe - Manchester line which has not often featured in these pages.
Between Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road (Ian Pilkington).
Flint (Glyn Jones). It seems there is a 'pool' of three locos available for these trains: 60009, 46233 Duchess of Sutherland, and 'Black 5' 4-6-0 45305. However, from what we hear, 46233 is not passed to work the Manchester - Chester line due to tight bridge clearances, and 45305, being a smaller machine, is not considered powerful enough for the Crewe / Manchester train which is loaded to 12 coaches, including two Pullman cars, plus the diesel (47 798 Prince William again) on the back. This version, unlike the Liverpool train, does not go into Llandudno and back so its length is less restricted.
Rhyl (Roly High). This is the last for this year of the Crewe / Manchester trains, the next one, 19 August, will run from Liverpool, and the final run for Summer 2012, planned for 26 August, has now been cancelled, presumably due to lack of bookings.
Approaching the level crossing at Llanfair PG (David Roobottom).
Four days of locomotive pictures - by Stavros Lainas
My first view, from 8 August is a very late-running Cardiff - Holyhead 'WAG Express' with 67 003 catching the last rays at Bagillt at 20:13.
On Thursday evening the 9 August I managed the same train approaching Prestatyn at 19:30.
On Friday 10 August I travelled to Whitchurch to photograph the DVT driver training (Holyhead to Cardiff) with Arriva-branded DVT 82308 and 67 001 on rear. The time was 12:36 ...
... at 13:13 a West Coast Railway Company empty coaching stock move from Carnforth to Bristol passed me with fresh-looking 47 826 leading and 57 601 on the rear.
On Saturday 11 August I managed to shoot 57 311 Parker passing Penmaenmawr at 12:22.
An interesting sight off Abergele and Pensarn this week has been the cable-laying barge Enterprise, seen above on 9 August (Nick Gurney). The cable-laying is in connection with offshore wind farms.
A view by Larry Goddard on 8 August with a Manchester - Holyhead train approaching Abergele's home signals. Note the pink granite ballast which is starting to appear, sourced from a quarry in Cumbria and in contrast to the grey local stuff from Penmaenmawr that has been seen for many years.
Basingtoke to Buxton via Middlewich
An interesting train on 12 August was a UK Railtours train from Basingtoke to Buxton which among other exotica, traversed the Sandbach - Middlewich - Northwich line. The picture by Neil Cundliffe, which appears here by kind permission of the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign, shows 66 213 at the head of the train in the passing loop at the former site of Middlewich station.
The Middlewich Rail Link Campaign has been fighting for years to get a passenger service restored on this line: much more information is available on their website.
Driving Van Trailer Training
The training runs with Class 67 and DVT have been capturing our contributors' attention. although its simple and repetitive consist can be a creative challenge: here is a selection of the views received. Above, Mochdre, 8 August (Jack Bowley).
Prestatyn, 8 August (Jack Bowley). Contrary to earlier information, it was decided to continue this in the week beginning 13 August, although as one of the three Arriva-allocated locos is out for traffic for works attention, it would be cancelled should a problem occur with one of the others ... and in fact it did not appear on 13 August. We await further developments...
Hen Wrych, 8 August (Larry Goddard)
Pensarn, 9 August (Nick Gurney).
Llandudno Junction, 9 August (Peter Lloyd).
If you want to try your hand at a picture, below are the timings, which will repeat each week until every required driver has done the necessary hours.
5Z50 Cardiff Canton - Holyhead via Crewe: Cardiff Canton depot 11:30, Newport 11:52, Hereford 12:37-12:44, Shrewsbury 13:35, Crewe 14:13 - 14:14, Chester 14:38 - 14:39, Rhyl 15:06, Llandudno Junction 15:20, Bangor 15:43, Holyhead 16:23.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:
5Z51 Holyhead - Crewe: Holyhead 10:00, Bangor 10:26, Llandudno Junction 10:40, Rhyl 10:51, Chester 11:28 - 11:44, Crewe 12:13.
5Z52 Crewe - Shrewsbury via Stafford: Crewe 12:14, Stafford 12:37 - 12:47, Bushbury Junction 13:00, Oxley Junction 13:07, Shrewsbury 13:36.
5Z53 Shrewsbury - Holyhead via Crewe: Shrewsbury 13:37, Crewe 14:14 - 14:27, Chester 14:58 - 15:04, Rhyl 15:36, Llandudno Junction 15:55, Bangor 16:09, Holyhead 16:38.
5Z54 Holyhead - Cardiff Canton: Holyhead 10:00, Bangor 10:26, Llandudno Junction 10:40, Rhyl 10:51, Chester 11:28 - 11:44, Crewe 12:13 - 12:14, Shrewsbury 12:50, Hereford 13:42, Cardiff Central 14:51, Canton Depot 15:06.
Mystery structure identified
Thanks to several correspondents, all unanimous in their replies, we can tell you that structure pictured under construction near the Anglesey Aluminium plant by Steve Morris (6 August issue) is the base for a mast for the new GSM-R (Global System of Mobile communications - Railway) radio system, which is replacing the outdated NRN (National Radio Network) system. GSM-R will offer an improved method of communication between Drivers and Signal Boxes. Such masts are being erected all over the rail network,and indeed GSM-R is already is use on the Cambrian lines as an essential feature of the ERTMS signalling pilot project Pictures of a mast and technical details can be found on Wikipedia.
Out on the 'Long Drag' - report by David Parry
On Wednesday 1 August, I had the opportunity to take a short break on the Settle & Carlisle line, but with a North Wales connection, as in this sequence. Above, DB Schenker loco 66 105 crosses the Dandry Mire (or Moorcock) viaduct with the 07:05 Mossend - Clitheroe cement empties.
Freightliner 66 531 hauls a train of empty coal hoppers past the Hawes Junction (Mount Zion) chapel, well known to S&C photographers.
Ex-LNER K4 class 2-6-0 (designed by Nigel Gresley for the West Highland line) no 61994 The Great Marquess passes the same spot as above with the Wednesday Fellsman railtour from Lancaster to Carlisle. [There is a suggestion on the uksteam.info website that this loco may haul the 'Welsh Mountaineer' excursion to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 21 August. That would be something different.]
Colas Rail 66 848 hauls the 12:50 Carlisle Yard - Chirk logs past the site of Garsdale's famous stockaded turntable during a rare bright spell.
66 419, one of several locos now in the Freightliner fleet but still in DRS livery, on a southbound merry-go-round coal train – the weather now reverted to type!
A new book by Paul Shackcloth, the author of several books about railways in the North West, is about the 'Jubilee' class 4-6-0 locomotives based in Manchester area depots from the 1930s to the 1960s. The content covers engines based at Longsight, Stockport (Edgeley), Trafford Park, Patricroft, Agecroft and Newton Heath. The cover picture (above) shows Manchester Piccadilly (London Road as it as then) in the 1950s, identifiable by the station roof which has survived in modernised form.
The class did work in North Wales: this 1952 view of 'celebrity' loco 45552 Silver Jubilee is from the book. The Manchester Jubilees is published by Steam Image. A4 Softback with monochrome illustrations. 192 pages. Price: £21.99
Thereafter available direct from Ian Allan Bookshop, Manchester, or online from usual suppliers.
Day Out with Thomas
'Black 5' 4-6-0 44806, looking rather bemused,as he passes Berwyn on 12 August, the last day of the of the Llangollen Railway 'Days Out with Thomas' event. Picture by Peter Dickinson.
The next special event at Llangollen is the Classic Transport Weekend of 25-26 August which will feature an intensive timetable of Steam, Diesel and Heritage Railcars and a free classic bus service running between Glyndyfrdwy and Corwen, along with a classic vehicle display at Glyndyfrdwy, in conjunction with the North West Museum of Road Transport.
Consultation or imposition?
Readers will recall that Arriva Trains Wales is making a considerable number of changes in the new timetable due to start in mid-September, some of which have come as a surprise to regular passengers and other stakeholders, notably the cancellation of several trains to and from Llandudno, and some of the repercussions in the Wrexham area of the re-routing of the Holyhead - Cardiff express (and some 'Bank Holidays Excepted' trains in a period which includes no Bank Holidays). Janet Finch-Saunders, Welsh Assembly Member for Aberconwy, submitted the following written question on 8 August to the Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant:
Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What mechanisms are there in place to monitor whether train operating companies in receipt of Welsh Government funds comply with their consultation obligations before implementing changes to service. (WAQ61029)Which prompts the obvious response: 'So what are you going to do about it?'
Another matter (rightly) exercising Ms Finch-Saunders is the promised 'multimillion-pound scheme' to refurbish Llandudno's railway station. Construction work was due to start this summer, but with no sign of that happening there has been local speculation about its future.
Transport Minister Carl Sargeant said there had been some difficulties, but those had now been sorted out, and contracts for the work will now be awarded by October. The scheme includes new shops and toilets, refurbished platforms and ticket areas, as well as an upgrade of the customer information system, and a new car park.
Apparently there have been "some complexities with the EU grant scheme," but these have now been resolved. Network Rail says that because contracts had not been signed it is unable to release details about the costs for the various parts of the scheme.
According to a report the BBC website, which assures us that the station was built in 1958, Ms Finch-Saunders said she was thrilled to hear everything was on track. No doubt she is also glad that the project, which is just the ticket for Llandudno has not been derailed, or hit the buffers, and will be steaming ahead soon.
Looking back: A weekend in Anglesey - with Mark Youdan
On Friday 27 July, West Coast operated a Compass Railtour from Carlisle to Holyhead with 47 786 Roy Castle OBE and 47 854 Diamond Jubilee. I got a picture (above) of the return, 1Z31, 18:05 Holyhead to Carlisle at Valley with 47 786 leading and 47 854 trailing.
On Sunday 29 July, I think a few people were hoping that the Duchess of Sutherland would work the Liverpool - Holyhead 'North Wales Coast Express', as 60009 Union of South Africa had put in an appearance on 22 July. However, 60009 it was. At least the 47 was a different one, the NRM's 47 798 Prince William doing the honours this time. I got a shot (above) of 60009 arriving at Holyhead with 1Z94, 10:07 Liverpool Lime St to Holyhead arriving at Holyhead ...
... then a couple of shots of 47 798 ...
... shunting the stock.
Also, the Arriva loco-hauled rake was in a better than normal position for a photo, possibly due to having locos each end, having been used on the Saturday special to the Olympic football in Cardiff.
For the return 1Z96, 17:45 Holyhead to Liverpool Lime St, I went to the
favourite spot near Valley. Fortunately the sun was out and the wind was blowing in the right direction.
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