NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
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15 April 2013
Holy War, a former Dinorwic quarry loco at Bala station, Bala Lake Railway, 11 April. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh. The name was from one of the quarry owner's racehorses.
Llangollen Spring Gala
On site now in readiness for the Llangollen Railway's three-day Spring Steam Gala, 19-21 April, is Great Western steam rail motor No.93 (pictured here by George Jones), which is to to be joined by restored auto-trailer No.92 as the major attraction for the event; the duo will operate on the Carrog to Plas Bonwm farm part of the Corwen extension.
Gates open at 8.30am, the first train of the day will be at 9am with regular departures from Llangollen. Rover tickets are available for on-line booking, giving one, two or three days: see the Llangollen Railway website for details. Return tickets can be purchased on the day from the booking office.
The full Spring Steam Gala timetable will be available to purchase on the day as part of an information booklet for a cost of £1.
There will be a £5 supplement to ride the Railmotor at a specified time. This ticket will be only available to purchase on the day from the booking office, and must be used in conjunction with a Rover ticket. The historic railmotor train comes with its own special rules: no eating or drinking on board, no prams or pushchairs, no dogs.
British Railways Standard tank 80072 is expected back from its visit to the Severn Valley Railway and will be joined by 7822 Foxcote Manor, Black 5 44806, the GWR 2-8-0 No.3802 and pannier tank 6430 to provide a busy timetable of steam-powered activity as the Dee Valley line operates at near capacity for most of each day. Visitors to the works will see that the 'Grange' loco under construction has had its main driving wheels fitted in the frames to enhance its appearance and mark a major step forward for the project.
Still tickets left for the Hooton Charter
Readers may be interested to know that there are still some tickets left for the charter from Hooton to Weymouth on Saturday, 20 April. Hooton (06.44/22.33), Bache (06.56/22.14), Wrexham (07.23/21.47), Gobowen (07.40/21.28), Shrewsbury (08.07/21.03), Bath (10.47/18.31), Dorchester (12.40/16.27) & Weymouth (12.53/16.08).
Unusual track comprises the Chester avoiding line, Maindee Curve (Newport) and the Bristol avoiding line (Rhubarb Curve). The trip is organised by Ffestiniog Railway, Dee & Mersey Group and Chester Model Railway Club, all volunteer-run, and any surplus goes back in to the hobby. Details at www.chestermodelrailwayclub.com/railtours.htm and last minute enquiries are welcome at 01244 678070 or 01244 329944.
150 278 at Blaenau Ffestiniog, 10 April. Picture by Greg Mape.
175 116 runs non-stop through Abergele with the 09:21 Cardiff to Holyhead, 10 April (Tim Rogers).
158 820 leads 158 819 through Saltney Ferry, 11 April (Tim Rogers). The train is the 13:08 Birmingham International to Holyhead.
The Valley - Crewe flask train 6K41 continues to make frequent appearances. On 10 April 37 612 and 37 423 Spirit of the Lakes pass Hargrave running about three hours early (Nigel Emery).
The same pair pass Llanfairfechan eastbound on 11 April (Peter Basterfield).
Saltney Ferry (Tim Rogers).
Yet another run occurred on Monday 15 April, with a change of traction to 57 003 and 57 007, seen at Bangor by Peter Basterfield.
Deviation at Crewe - looking back with John Hobbs
The original railway from Crewe to Holyhead ran alongside Crewe Locomotive works. However, as the works developed buildings rose on both sides of the line; the consequent increase in traffic to these buildings led to a deviation line being built around 1868: this is the line that we now use out of Crewe to Crewe Steelworks Signal Box.
The original line lies the the north of the current line and left the current formation in the "V" of the West Coast Main Line and the line we now use; this was roughly through what is now Crewe Heritage Centre. After a walk of 1/4 mile or so the line passed through a wooden glade and many enthusiasts began their visit to the works through this area and passed historic Drawing Offices and many other ancillary buildings en route to the boiler storage yard and cutting up shed, beyond lay the Paint Shop Erecting Shops etc. Dunwoody Way lies along some of this formation today. The picture above hows an unidentified 'Jinty' tank engine on Works Duty 'W5', on the original formation on Sunday 27 September 1964, while enthusiasts make the long trek back from the works. Many locomotives had their official portraits taken in this area.
LMS 3F 0-6-0T 47658, of a class known to enthusiasts as a "Jinty", performs on Works Duty 'W2' on the same day; beneath Chester Bridge, an area now much changed, to the right of this view used to stand an ancient Steam Shed which once housed the Special Civil Engineers Locomotive and Saloon. The Bridge is decorated with interesting timber decorations which matched those on the shed roof and ridge line, The Drawing Office behind once provided employment for my Great Grand Father A. M. Ralli who was a draughtsman with the London and North Western Railway before they sent him to Ireland to gain more experience, a well-trod road for LNWR Engineers. He eventually retired to live in Llandudno Junction.
Outside the Paint Shop, LMS 4F 0-6-0 44405, at work on Duty 'W1' is in nice condition with the yellow stripe which indicated that the loco must not work under electrified lines south of Crewe. It has just shunted a Class 47 into the building for painting into the nice two-tone green which suited the Brush Type 4 well, again on 27 September 1964.
A view down the Erecting Shop at Crewe, on the same day; on view are Britannias, Black 5s, 8Fs and Ivatt 2-6-0s.
The opposite view shows the Works handing mainly Black 5s.
A Blue Manor
At the Foxcote Manor Society AGM held on Saturday 13 April in Llangollen it was confirmed that the Society had accepted the offer of a member to finance the repainting of the locomotive into one of the experimental BR express passenger liveries as applied to some locomotives in the late 1940s.
In the autumn of 2013 No.7822 Foxcote Manor will be turned out in Royal Blue with LNWR white and red lining as an example of how the locomotive might have looked had the livery been adopted at the time of its building in 1950, although in reality no 'Manors' ever received a blue scheme, although it was applied to members of the larger 'King' class.
The decision to proceed with this paint job met with approval of those members present. The locomotive is in need of a repaint and adopting this new livery is thought likely to attract renewed interest in 7822 and the society. At the end of the period as a blue locomotive the offer provides for a repainting into a green scheme at a date yet to be announced.
Crewe, 12 April 2013 - pictures by Tom Donnelly
Some loco variety at Crewe, 12 April. Above, 37 667 on a Network Rail measurement train from Crewe Carriage Sidings - Wembley with 31 285 tacked on the rear.
44871 on a Grosmont - Shrewsbury light-engine and support coach move in connection with a railtour on the following day.Saturday 13 April.
... with sister 'Black 5' loco 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier on the rear. Both these locos are part of the Riley Engineering fleet based at Bury. Although it has a higher number than 44781, 45407 is actually the older of the two. The LMS Railway allocated 500 numbers, 45000 to 45499, for the type, but so many were built that they had to start a new series in the 44xxx range. British Railways encountered a similar problem with the Class 37 and 47 diesels. 45407 is one of 226 locos built in the 1930s by Armstrong Whitworth, said to be the largest order ever placed with a private builder by a British railway company.
A sighting of two of the four Arriva blue 57s, which have been sold to West Coast Railway Company for use on charter trains. This is 57 316 top-and-tailing 57 313 on a Statesman Rail empty carriage move from Carnforth to Stafford for another tour on the Saturday morning. Perhaps they will appear in North Wales on Statesman Rail's (fully-booked) 05:45 Holyhead - Carlisle excursion on Saturday 20 April? Timings are available for any photographers who are early risers; the return train will be an interesting sight on the Settle-Carlisle line.
The railway environment slowly changes: Greg Mape was in Blaenau Ffestiniog on 8 April and noticed that the station building at the closed Blaenau Ffestiniog North station has disappeared, leaving only the brick retaining wall of its approach path.
This 2011 picture by Ken Robinson from our archive shows the building in place. This station was the terminus of the London and North Western Railway line from Llandudno Junction; the original station building, a rather ornate timber structure, was condemned, and replaced by the rather plain hipped-roof structure in the 1950s. The line originally ran to buffer stops somewhere behind the camera position; the curve towards the bottom corner of the view was created in the 1960s when the Trawsfyndd line was connected to the Conwy Valley branch. The station was abandoned when the joint station with the Ffestiniog Railway opened in 1982. The 2D53.co.uk website has some interesting views from the 1970s.
This picture by Jack Bowley shows the ticket office at Colwyn Bay, which now has a lowered desk suitable for small passengers and those in wheelchairs. Similar modifications have been noted at Llandudno Junction.
There is a plan, announced in 2011, for much more changes at Colwyn Bay after which in the words of a local councillor 'You will be able to see the sea standing on Station Road and when you are on the train, instead of having walls either side. When you park at the station you will be able to see the whole bay. It is going to be fantastic and a great step forward for the Bay.' There is also talk of a café. Let's hope it fares better than the pub, model shop and other attractions which existed on the station in the 1990s.
Over on the Cambrian Coast line, contractor Hochtief (UK) have begin preparation work for the replacement of the wooden rail/road bridge known as Pont Briwet, as this view by Ken Robinson from the road indicates. The red gable in the left background marks Penrhyndeudraeth station.
The Gwynedd Council website informs us that 'The road across Pont Briwet will be closed starting on 15 April 2013 for a period of approximately three to four weeks in order to allow Scottish Power to carry out some diversionary work and for some rock cutting to take place (on the approach road before the toll booth). This will be quite a noisy operation.'
The overall strategy is that the new rail bridge will be built first starting in May or June. The railway will then be switched over to this and the old bridge demolished; a temporary road bridge will be provided. The new road bridge will then be built adjacent to the rail bridge. It is expected that all will be completed by 2015. The documents attached to the website are interesting: one mentions that Llandecwyn Station is to be 'relocated further westwards by approximately 5 metres, which would result in temporary disruption to the use of this facility.'
Princess's last stand ... at Paddington - report by Roger Carvell
On Saturday 6 April I visited Paddington to have a final look at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland
Railway's 'travelling road show' before it was scheduled to be moved back the following day (Sunday) to Wales. I understand Dublin (Heuston) is the next stop for the 1863-built engine.
Oddly, Princess carries a new-ish Boston Lodge builders plate dating the 0-4-0ST to 1895.
Princess was immaculate as ever with fresh daffodils and still attracting those passengers who could spare the time, and casual visitors. The tender carried promotional leaflets to be handed
out. There was no restriction of photography by Network Rail officials.
The pictures show Princess in company with the rather 'swish' Class 332 Heathrow Express units. I wish Princess and her followers good luck for the rest of the tour.
Twenty Years Ago - with Ken Robinson
Just looking through my archives and thought what was happening 20 years ago this month?
As well as LMS steam at Llandudno Junction there was this special up to Blaenau Ffestiniog which I photographed passing Dolwyddelan. This train was run by NENTA Railtours (they also have a Llandudno and Ffestiniog Rambler tour coming on Saturday 17 August this year), and was hauled by 47 821. This loco was built as D1730 in August 1964, and re-numbered 47 821 and named Royal Worcester before being changed again to 47 786 and named Roy Castle OBE in August 1994. It is now in store at Carnforth and owned by West Coast Railway Company.
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