Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

01 October 2012

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This site is dedicated to all our regular contributors and supporters, and especially the rail staff of North Wales.

Recent issues

24 September 2012

 Archive addition: 37s on Ballast
 Stormy Weather
 Class 56 on the logs
 Exhibition: Corwen, A Railway Town
 Llangollen's Autumn Diesel Day 22 September
 Quarry Power on the Welsh Highland - report by Ian
 Club 55 to Cheltenham (and website woes) - by Stephen  Hughes

20 September 2012

All Change for the Premier Service - special issue

17 September 2012

Rainbow at Helsby - report by Bob Greenhalgh
News from Arriva
Mind the (158) gap
Crewe to Tywyn by Club 55 - with Robert Darlaston
Mixed Gauge at Laxey
Carnforth to Holyhead
Training Turn
Picture Miscellany
Variety at Crewe - report by Martin Evans
Welshpool and Llanfair gala - report by David Parry

10 September 2012
News in Pictures
Llangollen Steam gala views - by Chris Jones-Bridger
Suburban detail
A Class 67 day out - report by Charlie Hulme
Three rails to Snaefell Summit - by David Parry
Liverpool Central (Wirral) reopens - report by George Jones

03 September 2012
Heritage Weekend: Chester Station
Change looms for the WAG Express
Class 47s in the Conwy Valley
Virgin strikes back
Saturday on the Coast - with Roly High
Doing the Round Robin - report by Greg Mape
Welsh Holiday - with Ben Bucki
The Bill Rear legacy
A day on the Isle of Man Railway - with David Parry

30 August 2012
Picture Assortment
 Two more years for Wylfa
 Llangollen Railway Classic Transport 25/26 August
 Moorgate to Carrog - report by George Jones
 Bank Quay Scenes - report by Martin Evans
 Prestatyn renewed - pictures by Dave Sallery
 The Mersey Moorlander - report by Stephen Hughes
 Timetable Twaddle

27 August 2012
The Great Marquess and the Welsh Mountaineer

22 August 2012
Llangollen weekend programme - report by George Jones
Farewell Virgin, Hello First
Number 9's last run (for this year)
DRS Open Day 18 August - pictures by Richard Fleckney
Freight views
Working Timetables online
Timetable troubles
North Wales Jubilees
Chasing the A4, 12 August - with John Myers
Thomas gets Gold

20 August 2012
The Welsh Dragon - 18 August

13 August 2012
60009 rides again, 12 August
Four days of locomotive pictures - by Stavros Lainas
Marine visitor
Basingtoke to Buxton via Middlewich
Driving Van Trailer Training
Mystery structure identified
Out on the 'Long Drag' - report by David Parry
 Manchester Jubilees
 Day Out with Thomas
 Consultation or imposition?
 Looking back: A weekend in Anglesey - with Mark Youdan

Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.

October 2012

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.

Saturday-Sunday 6-7 October Manchester Model Railway Society Exhibition, the Armitage Centre, Moseley Road, Fallowfield, Manchester (several bus services run from a stop near Oxford Road station.)

Thursday 11 October  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society John Barden Davies tells us “How railways made North Wales a Tourism destination”

Friday 12 October Altrincham Electric Railway Society "From Roade to York" colour slides of steam and modern traction at home and overseas from 1963 to the present day by Robin Patrick.

Monday 15 October RCTS Chester Steam Classes that failed to make Preservation; Powerpoint presentation By John Cowlishaw Using Edgar Richards Photographs.

Thursday 18 October Merseyside Railway History Group Gordon Davies:   American Wanderings (note, not the last Thursday due, to redecoration of the hall)

Wednesday 24 October Ffestiniog Railway Society    Railways and Tramways around Blaenau Ffestiniog.   D.Southern. (Note: not the last Wednesday this month.)

Thursday 25 October LCGB North West Tom Heavyside "B R in the North West"

November 2012

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)

Friday 9 November  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "30 Years of Steam Photography" a colour slide presentation by Phil Taylor.

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"

Wednesday 28 November  Ffestiniog Railway Society My life with trains. B.Bushell.

Thursday 29 November Merseyside Railway History Group Andrew Scott:  Around the world with 80 trains.

December 2012

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 Merseyside Railway History Group Angus Tilston:  Film & Social evening

Friday 14 December  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Steam Saved from the Scrapyard" a colour slide presentation by Tom Heavyside.

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

January 2013
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

Friday 11 January  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Transport around Manchester from 1750" a colour slide presentation by Chris Makepeace.

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.

Thursday 31 January Merseyside Railway History Group Geoff Coward:  Northeast China Steam 2002
February 2013

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.

Friday 8 February  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway" a digital presentation by Bob Barnard.

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"

Thursday 28 February Merseyside Railway History Group Dave Southern:  Rails to Blaenau Ffestiniog

March 2013

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.           

Friday 8 March  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "The ICI Hopper Trains" a colour slide presentation by Brian Arnold.

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"

Thursday 28 March Merseyside Railway History Group AGM:  Members Slides

April 2013

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

Friday 12 April  Altrincham Electric Railway Society "Current Developments on Metrolink" a digital presentation by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association.

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 25 April Merseyside Railway History Group Richard Kells : Quiz and informal evening

May 2013

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.

57 307 Lady Penelope passing RAF Valley on 22 September with the 14:38 Saturdays-only return Pendolino to London Euston, due to arrive in the capital at 18:38. Picture by M.Lloyd Davies. The future of Virgin Trains after 8 December still hangs in the balance awaiting a judicial review.

Welcome to the first issue following the installation of our new (well, only 6-year-old but reconditioned) computer. Apologies for any quirks which may occur. - Charlie

Weekend events

On Saturday 6 October in conjunction with the Snowdonia Arts Festival at Betws-y-Coed, the Llanrwst Male Voice Choir will be gathered at Betws-y-Coed Railway Station to deliver some genuine Welsh singing from 11:00 to meet passengers off the 10:22 train from Llandudno.  Their concert will last some 45 minutes and it will be the first time we will have had such an event at a Valley line station. The Festival runs from 5-7 October: full details of the many events taking place can be found on the on the Festival website.

The Manchester Model Railway Society Exhibition is open Saturday (10:00 - 18:00) and Sunday (10:00 - 17:00) 6-7 October at the Armitage Centre, Moseley Road, Fallowfield, Manchester (served by several bus services run from a stop near Oxford Road station.)

The Wirral Bus and Tram Show takes place at Taylor St depot and Woodside Ferry Terminus, Birkenhead, 10am - 4pm. Sunday 7 October. Admission is free: there are sales stands at Taylor St.,
Vintage cars at Woodside Ferry, and Vintage Buses at Littlewood's car park giving free rides, and of course the Birkenhead tramway (fare £1) will be operating. Programmes are available on the day, price  £1:00. See the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society website for details.

Another look at the at the Arriva Premier Express

We present another selection of Premier Service / WAG Express pictures. Above, the picture by Mark Watson shows 67 002 top-and-tailed with 67 001 on the final train 1W91 16:15 Cardiff - Holyhead  via Crewe on Friday 14 September. The train has just passed through Wrenbury station at 18:50 running somewhat late.

Daylight pictures of the re-routed and re-timed train are going to be hard to get; here are portraits by M.Lloyd Davies of the soon-to-be-replaced Mk2 vehicles stabled for the weekend at Holyhead on 23 September. 

Mk 2F Brake Standard Open 9539. Of the 30 vehicles of this class  built at Derby in 1973-4, 15 were later converted to Driving Trailer Brake Open Seconds for use in Scotland, and later East Anglia, on push-pull services and renumbered 9700 - 9714 - five of them have since passed to Network Rail and gained yellow livery. Others still exist in storage; one wonders if Arriva Trains Wales ever considered obtaining some. Incidentally, modellers can obtain transfers for this livery scheme from Precision Labels.

Mk 2F Tourist Standard Open 6137. The Mk 2F variant was the last type to be built before the longer Mark 3 vehicles became the standard. Originally they features the same internal fittings to be used in the later Mark 3 type, but have been refurbished a number of times since then. These examples still feature all seats in groups of four aroiund tables, though.

Tourist Standard Open 5976. As mentioned in Adam Barnard's report below, these vehicles appear to be in excellent condition. Perhaps they will be sold back to West Coast Railway Company whence they were obtained in the early days of Arriva Trains Wales when Graeme Bunker was Managing Director.

David Peacock travelled on on the Cardiff-bound service on Thursday morning 6 September, and took these interior views just north of Shrewsbury.

David writes: I was one of only four passengers from Crewe in the carriage. One more chap joined at Shrewsbury, but it was obvious he was "rail industry" anyway.' We are assured that evening meals will be served on the new evening service even after leaving Chester, until the chef leaves the train at Rhyl. Reports on this are welcome.

We still have no date for the introduction of the 'new' Mark 3 coaches, although 'October' is still being bandied around. In the view above, taken at Barrow Hill in September 2011, several of the actual coaches now being refurbished in Cardiff can be seen in the background, in Blue and Grey livery as re-applied by the ill-fated Cargo-D company. The Mark 3s can be distinguished by their roof corrugations.

The new 'Irish Mancunian'?

An unusual working the new timetable on the North Wales Coast line, althoughcommon on other Arriva Trains Wales routes, involved the 08:50 train from Manchester Poiccadilly on Mondays - Fridays. This is formed of a pair of two-car units coupled together, which separate at at Chester. The first unit (the only one advertised to have a refreshment trolley) then departs Chester at 09:58 to Holyhead, calling only at Llandudno Junction and Bangor, arriving at Holyhead 11:20.

The second unit departs Chester at 10:02 and heads for Llandudno. Unlike other xx.50 trains from Manchester, however, it does not call at all stations west of Chester, missing Shotton and Abergele and leaving a 92-minute gap in westbound service at those places. This enables it to match the Llandudno arrival times of 'normal' Manchester - Llandudno trains which depart Chester at xx:55.

Apparently the intended consist is a pair of Class 158 units, although Class 150s have been seen, possibly pending the completion of the Class 158 refurbishment programme.

Manchester has had no through trains to Bangor or Holyhead since the demise some years ago of the daily boat train which used to depart Manchester (originally Victoria, later Picccadilly) at 10:03, killed off by Arriva's idea for a 'clockface timetable.' Now, in addition to the 08:50, the 07:50 from Manchester runs to Holyhead and the 10:50 to Bangor, both formerly Llandudno trains. On Saturdays, however. all the above trains still simply run to Llandudno as before.

In the eastbound direction, there is no return Holyhead - Manchester 'boat train' and just one Bangor - Manchester service, the 13:31 Bangor - Manchester. which again is Monday - Friday only, and has no sensible connection from Llandudno. 

'Last of the Summer WAG', or 'The Long Way Round' - by Adam Barnard

I was travelling back to university in Bangor from Sudbury in deepest darkest Suffolk, and decided to try and get in a ride on one of the final Mark 2-operated 'WAG expresses'. The original plan was to go via Shrewsbury but Virgin have made me dislike them so much recently with their e-petition nonsense, that  I decided to go with First Great Western (FGW) to Newport, then get the express from there, going the long way round (as it were).

I arrived at Sudbury station (above) on Tuesday 11 September at about 07:30  - mum could only drop me off before she went to work - and after a tearful goodbye with mum I caught the 07:59 service to Marks Tey.

There were some delays due to an "ongoing police investigation" at Brentwood, so I stayed at Marks Tey for a while as many fast-moving commuter trains sped through the station without stopping. For those who are interested, Marks Tey is laid out like Helsby station, but with one half of the "Y" being only single track and platform.  156 422 (above) is working the Sudbury shuttle service for the day.
 I eventually caught the 0956 to London Liverpool Street, this being a very fast train that calls only at Witham and Chelmsford. I then travelled to Paddington via the Circle line, on a very grotty C-stock train.

After a long-ish wait at Paddington I boarded the train I was booked on, the 12:45 to Newport. I have always like FGW's HSTs, with the seat-back televisions and high-backed seats made by Grammer of Germany, the same seats that are reportedly being fitted to Arriva's new Welsh Government-sponsored Mark 3s.

After a very pleasant journey that included watching an episode of 'Fawlty Towers' on my seat-back television I arrived in Newport (above).

I was missing my family at this point, and was quite miserable but was cheered up by the sight of 170 101, a train I had ridden between Ely and Cambridge a few days earlier. It reminded me I was not that far from home.

After another long wait at Newport, 67 003 turned up with the Northbound express. I got a seat, despite the train being quite busy, and I noted what good condition the carriages are in. They are much better than Greater Anglia's Mark 3s, and it seems a real shame they will be stored very soon.

I have always liked the Marches line, but this run was very special as it was from a "proper" train and the first time I had travelled on the leg from Newport to Hereford. I noted a lone photographer at Craven Arms, and many at Shrewsbury taking pictures of this soon-to-be extinct train.

As we ventured northwards toward Crewe, a storm broke many miles away, causing a large rainbow. How poignant, I thought, as it marked the death of the train in it's current form.

We arrived at Crewe on time ...

 ...  but it was spookily empty for some reason, and looked like it had been abandoned. We passed Beeston castle in broad sunlight, and arrived in Chester, before a very pleasant run along the coast to Bangor. It was a lovely trip and I would recommend it to anyone, as the Marches line never disappoints. I hope the new Mark 3 coaches are refurbished to a high standard, as they have a lot to live up to, and hopefully some use is found for the current Mark 2s. Only time will tell.

Night had fallen by the time we neared Bangor.

Class 97/3 doings - report by Mark Watson

Two pictures of the Network Rail class 97s that were used on an Aberystwyth - Carlisle Statesman excursion as far as Crewe on Saturday 8 September. The first depicts 97 302 and 97 303 accelerating away from a signal check at Wrenbury while working light engine back to Shrewsbury from Crewe. The semaphore signals here are on borrowed time and will soon be replaced by bi-directional colour lights controlled from the South Wales signalling Centre in Cardiff.

97 303 and 97 302 hauling the Aberystwyth - Carnforth empty stock on Sunday 9 September at Oss Mere, near Whitchurch. The signal on the left, WH2, has been 'bagged' out of use for several months.

Corwen Project Update - by George Jones

Following a major review of the Corwen project, the Board of the Llangollen Railway Trust has reluctantly concluded that, due to the present economic climate, it will not be possible to fund the proposed 'Phase 2' terminal station at Corwen in the foreseeable future without substantial grant aid. However, the Board believes it is essential to run steam train services to Corwen as soon as possible and to achieve this aim a modified 'Phase 1' scheme will provide for the early completion of a 'Corwen East' station.

To allow steam trains to operate to Corwen on a regular basis a run-round loop will be installed some 170 metres east of the platform. on land which is available within the boundaries of the line. (The Llangollen Railway has the necessary turn-out pointwork to allow for such a loop line to be constructed.) The four-coach-length platform for Corwen East station will be constructed near to the end of the existing embankment. This revised location will be possible when underbridge 30 is removed and the trackbed filled in after Denbighshire County Council has installed a larger culvert as part of improved flood control arrangements.  This new location for the platform end ramp will provide for a graded access on to the entrance track for Welsh Water’s Corwen Sewerage works. It will dispense with the provision of a long three-staged access ramp and save the cost of an expensive item of infrastructure. Some form of portable building will be provided in this area as a temporary shelter for passengers and to offer basic facilities for railway staff.


Whilst there has been a lull in the track laying since the big effort to get the extension ready for the 'SSS3' gala in April, efforts have continued throughout the summer to prepare the next section for track. After stripping of the surface vegetation, the centre line for the track has been undertaken by contractors using GPS positioning. Continued attention has been given to the lineside vegetation clearance and fencing, as well as culvert clearance and embankment access at the Corwen end.

The provision of an Otter Licence has allowed for the installation of an otter fence alongside the environmentally sensitive River Dee section. Meanwhile the stockpiling of material has progressed using the gated access point from the A5 at the Bonwm Halt site. It should be noted that there is no intention to reinstall a halt platform at the old site which would no loner meet modern requirements or be safe in terms of its access to the A5 road. However it is the intention to position a board here to advise this was once the site of Bonwm Halt as provided by the GWR.

Work on extending the track west of the current rail head at Plas Bonwm farm is due to restart shortly, once delivery of ballast supplies is completed. This will see the stop block moved forward to the area adjacent to the A5 road. Beyond there work will proceed on the laying of the base ballast and the distribution of concrete sleepers towards Corwen before further track is laid during the autumn and winter 2012/13.

However the overbridge No.28a near Plas Derwen, a farmer’s occupation access, requires major work to repair the brick arch, the abutments and the water proofing and concreting of the cap which will be underway during the autumn. Other underpasses in the area of the Corwen East station also require significant attention.

During the summer months, on various special event days, a shuttle service of trains ran west of Carrog to show visitors the extent of the current extension and to maintain interest in the project. These occasions saw both the Class 109 Wickham DMU operate and the single coach auto train with pannier tank 6430. An unusual opportunity to provide viewing of the work was provided during the Classic Transport event at the end of August, when an open top bus, amongst others, gave the high level view of the length of the extension from the A5 road through to Corwen.


All this work will proceed subject to the availability of finance and Llangollen Railway Trust continues to work hard to raise the match funding for the grant aid of £500,000 provided by the Welsh Assembly Government which kick started the project. To date the Trust has received over £110,000 from donations from supporters and well wishers, including gift aid claimed. A current estimate of the costs indicates a requirement in excessive of  £200,000 to complete phase 1 of the project and more support in needed in terms of donations and sponsorship for elements of this work.
It is worth considering that the cost of a sleeper with rail section and associated fittings can be estimated at £25, and a further £3000 or so are needed to complete the section towards Corwen, plus ballast and other civil engineering work.

The acquisition of funds remains a challenge for the Trust and an appeal for sponsorship from local businesses has been launched, but further support from well-wishers is needed if the project is to be successfully completed to allow trains to run in 2014.

Looking back

Two pictures submitted by John Hobbs to show locations shown in their present-day form in recent issues. Above: LMS Class 5 4-6-0 44807 arrives at Wrexham (General)  with the 11.40 Birkenhead (Woodside)  to London (Paddington) after a morning snow fall on Saturday 3 December 1966; the locomotive would work this service from Chester (General) - where the train reversed -  to Shrewsbury. Sister loco 44806 is now a stalwart of the Llangollen Railway.

LMS Class 8F 2-8-0 48697 at Llangollen Goods Junction with the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside Branch, 'Wrexham Mold & Connahs Quay Railtour' on Saturday 29 April 1967; the last steam train from Llangollen under BR auspices. The full details of this tour can be found, as with many others, on the marvellous Railtour Files website. Ruabon to Morfa Mawddach had closed to passengers in 1965, but Ruabon to Llangollen Goods was retained for diesel-hauled freight until April 1968. According to the official history of the Llangollen Railway, the passengers on the railtour were not allowed to to alight at Llangollen passenger station, as this might encourage the International Eisteddfod organisers in their campaign to allow excursion trains to run.

Corwen exhibition - report by George Jones

The exhibition "Corwen - A Railway Town" opened on time on Friday 28 September in the Oriel Gallery, Corwen, when Llangollen Railway Trust chairman, Jim Ritchie, was joined by Martin Christie from Carrog station  to lift the Welsh flag from the entrance photographic display.

Initial attendance was mainly by those who had played a role in setting up the displays, but by lunchtime other visitors began arriving to take in the exhibits and favourable comments were left by all of them about the quality and content of the exhibition. Of particular appeal is the digital slide show comprising some 200 assorted views of Corwen and its railway over the past many decades which comes with steam age sound track accompaniment. It is a notable collection of images shown to advantage via the modern medium on a large screen.

The display containing details of the Llangollen Railway's track extension project was well received and many questions asked about progress and delivery of the trains back to the Corwen East station, pending provision of the ultimate terminal station.

Mr Chris Magner from Bridgnorth, Shropshire also attended to launch his new book : Ruabon to Barmouth - A tribute to a Welsh "West Highland Line" (see below.) The exhibition will be open again from October 4 – 7, between 10am and 4pm. Admission is free.

To Dundee, come Hell or High Water - report by Roly High

It's 5 am on a very wet Wednesday morning 26 September at Hooton,and West Coast Railway's 47 786 Roy Castle OBE has brought the empty stock from Carnforth via Helsby and Ellesmere Port to form 1Z52, the Compass Tours charter to Dundee. 47 760 at the rear of the train will now become the lead loco for the long haul through Chester, Stockport, Huddersfield, Wakefield Kirkgate, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh(bypass), over the Forth and Tay bridges and into Dundee.

Metrolink tram 3011 waiting to start the day's work at Altrincham.

Great credit must be given to Network Rail, West Coast Railways, and Compass Tours staff for getting us to Dundee on what was a very trying couple of days on the railway network. Herculean
work by Network Rail staff enabled us to get as far as Northallerton, North of York on the East Coast main line. The area here was very badly affected by flood water, so we had to divert off the
main line, and head off in the direction of Stockton-on-Tees to bypass Darlington. After a reversal, we rejoined the main line for a trouble free run through Durham, and onward to Scotland.The result of the reversal placed 47 760 at the rear of the train again, seen above upon arrival at Dundee.

Glad to see the bacon buttie van back on the train!

47 786 after arrival at Dundee.

The nameplate, recently restored to its place on 47 786.

The departure board at Dundee. I wonder how much it will cost to remove all the Virgin Trains stop boards off the whole Virgin network? In the distance a Scotrail unit is climbing the bank out of the station bound for Perth.

Due to the sharp curve after departing Dundee station,a photo can be taken of the Tay bridge(s),from the carriage window;  you get a good view of the piers of the original bridge which collapsed son after it was built, while a train was crossing.

Despite the great efforts of Network Rail, and good teamwork by West Coast Railways / Compass Tours, they still could not prevent the termination of the train at Chester (above).This was due to
emergency engineering works at Hooton because off the flooding, which had caused great disruption to  Merseyrail services over the previous couple of days.

An ignominious end to a good day's train travel,a replacement bus to take us back to Hooton. Great credit to Compass Tours for a well-organized trip.

New book on Ruabon to Barmouth - reviewed by George Jones

Yes, another book about the line across Wales, but one with a difference. Chris Magner's latest title, Ruabon to Barmouth - A Tribute to the Welsh "West Highland line", was launched at the Corwen exhibition on 28 September.

Ruabon to Barmouth is the result of many years of study and research into the recent history of the route. The starting point is the 1950s when the author first became acquainted with it as a schoolboy, then through the years leading up to Dr Beeching's report and the closure in January 1965, followed by the wilderness years with the eventual demolition and then the revival efforts at Bala Lake and Llangollen.
The text and layout is in the author's own inimitable style and presents a level of detail no ordinary publisher would countenance. Here is the story of the past 50 or so years that you won't read anywhere else. A work of some magnitude it comes with the reminiscences of railway enthusiasts, railwaymen and passengers of the BR years, followed by the recollections of the preservationists who took on the challenge of rebuilding the railways on two sections of the former through route.

The book is privately published by the author as A4 size, 136 pages spiral bound with limp cover. Illustrations are black & white, as well as some colour, photographs, mostly previously unpublished from private collections. Whilst some of the pictures are of marginal quality, they are included for their rarity and are all the more acceptable because of the unusual scenes they depict in less than ideal weather conditions in the pre-digital age.

As a privately published title the initial production run is limited and availability will be by postal sales from the author's home address.  Cost is £12 plus £1.40 UK postage and orders can be sent to : Mr C J Magner at 21 Dunval Road, Bridgnorth, Shropshire WV16 4NA.


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