NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
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01 April 2013
North East Wales suffered some of the heaviest of the recent snowfalls. 175 111 arrives at Ruabon with the 12:45 departure for Cardiff Central. Our congratulations to Arriva Trains Wales staff who managed to run a service in these conditions. Picture by Martin Evans.
Bank Holiday boat trains
It's good to see Arriva Trains Wales making good use of their loco-hauled trains when not in weekday Holyhead - Cardiff service. The 'Premium' service does not run on Bank Holidays, but a lot of ferry passengers to and from Ireland can be expected on Good Friday and Easter Monday, so it was decided to run the train from Holyhead to and from Crewe, using timings that have been used before, 12:16 Holyhead - Crewe arr 14:18 and Crewe 14:25 - Holyhead 16:25. Fine weather brought out our contributors with their cameras on Friday, as these pictures testify. Above, Stavros Lainas was at Valley to see the train soon after leaving Holyhead, Driving Van Trailer leading.
Rhyl at 13:25 (Roly High). The train did not stop here, calling only at Bangor and Chester.
Soon after passing Rhyl with its distinctive church spire; the Driving Van Trailer 82308 (Ivor Bufton)....
... 67 002 propelling (Ivor Bufton).
Approaching Mostyn (Tim Rogers).
Passing Northgate Locks, Chester at 13:52 (Bob Greenhalgh).
The return train, 1D01 14:25 Crewe - Holyhead, at Shotton (Tim Rogers).
67 002 arrives at Bangor (Rowan Crawshaw).
Approaching Llanfair PG (Carwyn Jones)...
... and seen from the rear running through Llanfair PG station on the way to Holyhead (Carwyn Jones).
Rhosneigr, with a snowy Snowdonia in the background (Stavros Lainas).
Porthmadog Harbour station works - pictures by Dave Sallery
Some views from 25 March of the works in progress at Porthmadog Harbour station. The intention is to create a separate platform and run-round loop for Welsh Highland Railway trains and thereby allow both Ffestiniog and and Welsh Highland trains to be in the station at the same time, as well as avoiding the reversal of Welsh Highland trains needed to reach the present station.
New turnouts in place out on the widened part of the Cob embankment. The new track plan can be found along with more picture and videos on the WHR Society website.
This will be a relay room containing equipment for the points and signals and associated interlocking.
All will be controlled from this new signalbox.
North Wales in Australia
Readers may recall our asking for pictures of Bangor to help Anthony Ashley, who is creating a North Wales Coast model railway in Australia. Anthony has also been in touch with our friend Geoff Poole who runs the '6G Llandudno Junction' website, and has now supplied him with some information and pictures of the planned N gauge layout, and the progress of construction so far. The model when complete will represent Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Bangor as they were in 1966. Follow this link to read the article.
On 26 March a 10-car Super Voyager consist, 221 115 Polmadie Depot in its Bombardier special livery leading, 221 107 Sir Martin Frobisher rolls into Rhyl on time (11.43) with 09:10 London Euston to Holyhead.
On the same day the government announced that Virgin Trains, who, following the franchise award fiasco last year was awarded a management contract to run the franchise until November 2014, have been given a further extension until April 2017. Extensions have also been granted to 13 of the 16 existing franchises, to avoid having to re-let more than three or four contracts per year. The East Coast Main Line operation, currently being run by a Government-owned company, will be returned to the private sector in 2015, and Virgin Trains have indicated that they will bid for that franchise as well.
Ruabon in the snow - pictures by Martin Evans
Having been snowed in for three days I escaped to Ruabon station on 25 March in order to travel to Wrexham and attach a few pics which demonstrate the recent wintry conditions. Above, 158 833 and 158 827 depart for Shrewsbury at 12:15.
Part of the Arriva gang endeavours to clear the platforms.
Locos lucky and not-so-lucky - report by Ken Robinson
Well done to the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway Diesel Group and DRS for saving 37 401 Mary Queen of Scots from the scrap man. Above is a photo of 37 401 at Blaenau Ffestiniog on a Pathfinder railtour on 31 May 2008 (in the company of 37 417).
Not so lucky was 47 829 which was recently consigned to oblivion in February at Booth's scrapyard.
Introduced to traffic in September 1965, as D1964 in dual green livery, after several changes it appeared in its new 'Police' livery - part of a British Transport Police anti-trespassing campaign - at Birmingham International on 25 March 2002. The attached photo shows it passing Llanfair PG a few days later on March 28 2002 on the mid-morning Holyhead - Euston Virgin service. It made a number of appearances in North Wales at that period, while part of the Virgin Cross Country fleet.
Llangollen Railway back in business - report by Mark Riley
After the worst snowfall in 50 years and a gargantuan clear up operation, the Llangollen Railway was able to re-start public services on Good Friday, 29 March, with ex-GWR pannier tank 6430 seen here working the 11:00 Llangollen-Carrog, approaching the Goods Junction. Even a week after the last snow fell, there was still a huge volume of snow on footpaths, fields and hills, and even some minor roads, making for some stunning scenery.
Not surprisingly, there were minor delays, with frozen points at Carrog. 6430 is seen in the splendid snowy countryside with the return 12:15 Carrog - Llangollen.
Non-stop through Berwyn. There was still so much snow here that it was impossible to allow people off the train onto the platform, and just as impossible trying to get down onto the station due to the deep lying snow. This was a location too good to miss for a photo and I was lucky to be able to find a place to park nearby.
On 30 March, railcar transport was introduced in the form of Class 108 LO 262, seen here arriving from Pentrefelin to start the day's services.
Plenty of steam heat as 6430 waits to shunt the train from platform 2 to platform 1 for the 11:00 departure. Note that there are warnings with the train announcements not to lean out of the windows due to fallen trees and branches encroaching close to the line in places
Although platform 1 was largely clear of snow, on platform 2 was a different story. 6430 had arrived at the station with the 1215 at Carrog and there was a delay for passengers disembarking. 6430 was losing water on the return from Carrog, with a delay at Glyndyfrdwy whilst it was topped up. At Llangollen it immediately took on water again, but the position of the train and the snow on the platform meant it was unsafe for passengers to alight.
The solution was for the train to move far enough down to the cleared, covered area with no snow-meaning a trek from the rear of the train through to the first coach behind the loco. Then it was a single file walk through a cleared path to get off the platform! The photo shows the problem-the gap, and the platform edge being hidden from view This situation wasn't an issue on the previous day, with just one train running and using platform 1. A few grumbles from some passengers who would have soon complained if they'd fallen between train and platform getting off!
Two pictures by Martin Evans who writes: 'Arriving at Llangollen after a four mile canal walk (above) in the snow I was fortunate to catch the end of the days service.'
Pannier tank 6430 prepares to return to the shed after its stint of duty (Martin Evans).
Some passenger's-eye-views from George Jones who travelled on Good Friday. George writes: 6430 was early onto the train and by 11am passengers had joined and the promised trip into a winter wonderland didn't disappoint them. Despite the efforts to clear the platform at Berwyn the snow had drifted in again and a further platform clearance was in progress when the last train passed. The pannier manfully toiled up to the tunnel where evidence of fallen trees was obvious and through Deeside where the loop line is still buried in the snow. Beyond a pause outside Glyndyfrdwy when the signal would not come off, then off to Carrog for a pause during the run round.
The two trains at 1pm and 3pm on the Friday both attracted reasonable numbers with a party of French school children on the last one making a single journey. All the hard work to ensure the railway re-opened for Easter paid off and with a reasonable weather forecast and roads open we hope for more visitors over the rest of the weekend. Snow remains and it will take a while for it all to disappear, especially where clearance has resulted in large accumulations. In the meantime the scenes are something like a small scale Switzerland and Austria and worth a visit.
Sir Haydn's tour continues - Talyllyn Railway press release
The Talyllyn Railway’s locomotive No.3 Sir Haydn will be continuing its travels away from the railway this summer, as it is scheduled to make more appearances across the country. It will be visiting the Great Central Railway’s Swithland Gala between 26 and 28 April where it will be on display in the yard at Quorn and Woodhouse station for the three-day event.
Following its appearance at Quorn, the locomotive will travel a few miles north to the Great Central Railway - Nottingham at Ruddington. Here it will be on display during a number of events including the May Bank Holiday Gala from 4 to 6 May 2013. Sir Haydn will then remain on display at Ruddington until 21 June, when it will be on its travels again.
Sir Haydn will be a special guest at the famous Tyseley Works Open Days on 22 and 23 June, on display alongside Vintage Trains’ famous locomotive collection for what always proves to be a spectacular event. Once more the Talyllyn’s publicity and sales stand will be on hand to inform visitors not only about Sir Haydn but also the railway itself. The visit is being sponsored by Heritage Painting, founded two years ago by Ian Hewitt. They have recently been involved in painting the Gresley A4 locomotives No.4468 Mallard and No.6008 Dwight D. Eisenhower, in preparation for the National Railway Museum’s 'Mallard 75' events.
After its time at Tyseley Sir Haydn will be on the road again, and new venues where it will be appearing will be announced in due course. For further information call Tywyn Wharf on 01654 710472, or visit www.talyllyn.co.uk.