NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
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24 April 2013
Now back in traffic with DRS is 37 402, ex-Bont Y Bermo, ex-Oor Wullie. The one-time North Wales passenger machine was photographed at Acton Bridge by Andrew Vinten on 20 April working 6K73 Sellafield - Crewe with 57 011.
This is an extra bonus issue: don't miss the 22 April Tornado and Statesman special.
The Arriva Trains Wales timetable booklets for the summer, starting on 19 May, are now available for download at the Arriva Trains Wales website. If while perusing them you notice any interesting differences from the current issue, please let us know.
The Llangollen Railway Steam Gala - report by Vince Chadwick
It was lovely spring weather on 19 April for the Llangollen Railway Spring Steam Gala. We visited by train from Wilmslow via Crewe, Chester, and Ruabon. Unfortunately the national Rail network no longer reaches Llangollen, so the last leg was by bus; for which we had to pay! English bus passes don't cut it in Wales! Our first train on the railway was hauled by this ex-BR Standard Class 4MT 2-6-4 tank locomotive No. 80072 (above).
This is a railway I had not travelled on before, and the day's trip not only put that right, it also allowed us to see and travel on the unique Railmotor and its Autocoach, both of which were restored at Llangollen. The Steam Railmotor (No.93) was built at Swindon in 1908 and worked until 1934. It was restored in 2011 and is normally resident at Didcot Railway Centre. The Autocoach (No.92) was built in 1912 and worked until 1957. It was restored in February of this year. This was the first occasion on which the Railmotor and the Autocoach have worked together.
At Glyndyfrdwy we crossed with the railmotor, and left our train to join it on its journey back down the valley to Llangollen. Here is the view from the cab windows of the autocoach.
This first day of the Gala is popular with rail enthusiasts. Here, the autocoach is populated mostly by 'gentlemen of a certain age'!
The Railmotor's power bogie; effectively a 2-cylinder 0-4-0 steam locomotive with a vertical boiler.
Above, left: the cab at the engine end of the Railmotor. The red reversing lever is prominent in its quadrant, and the (also red) regulator lever has two 'legs'; one is the conventional handle for when the Railmotor is being driven from this cab, the other can be connected to a rod operated by either the regulator in the opposite end cab of the Railmotor, or the regulator in the cab of the Autocoach when that vehicle is in use. The Autocoach cab (above right) has simple controls for regulator and brake.
Alongside the coupling between the railmotor and autocoach can be seen the mechanical connection to enable the regulator in the cab of the autocoach to operate the regulator lever in the powered-end cab of the railmotor. A system of rods runs underneath each vehicle.
Also in steam was 7822 Foxcote Manor.
This is as far as the line goes at present. The last station westbound is Carrog, and trains can proceed from there a mile or so to the point shown above, then reverse back. A couple of miles beyond here is the town of Corwen, and the railway hopes to be operating to there by 2014.
More at Vincent's Blog.
A lot more Llangollen Gala pictures at the end of this page.
The Great Britain VI
The third day of the 'Great Britain VI', a multi-stage mega-excursion promoted by the Railway Touring Company, passed through our area on 22 April as part of a Cardiff - Llandrindod Wells - Shrewsbury - Preston leg. Originally planned to start its day from Swansea, it was revised to originate from Cardiff instead and run somewhat earlier. Picture (above) from an image by Mark Barber.
Passing Saltney (Bob Greenhalgh). Rather than use a 'glamour' loco for this leg, the organisers chose a pair of 'workhorse' Class 5 4-6-0s from the Ian Riley fleet, 44871 and 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier, both looking their best for the occasion in early-1950s livery with the 'unicycling lion' British Railways emblem. The black paint has a pleasant 'slightly-weathered' look, somewhat different from the 'totally-filthy' look that anyone under 65 will remember of them in normal service.
Above, the train runs into Chester (Roly High).
Originally there was to be a half-hour stop here, but instead the train (picture by Roly High) passed through without stopping ...
... to Frodsham where a stop for water and on-platform chatting was made. Note the hose on the platform. On the front of the loco below the 26D (Bury) shed allocation pate, the code 'SC' indicates a 'self-cleaning smokebox'. This device, which appeared in Britain towards the end of steam loco construction, comprises strategically-placed plates which cause ash from the burnt coal to be blown out of the chimney to land on lineside gardens and washing lines, so there is less to be cleaned out by hard-to-find staff at the the end of the day. Wire mesh also has to be provided to prevent large pieces from being ejected.
Stavros Lainas went to Dorrington (Shropshire) on 20 April to capture the southbound steel wagons from Shotton steelworks, hauled by 'blue tug' 60 074 Teenage Spirit ...
... and a Cardiff - Liverpool 'Northern Belle' hauled by 47 790 Galloway Princess.
Also on 20 April, 56 105, heading for Chirk with another load of logs, passes Frodsham (Mark Barber).
Trains of imported 'biomass' (bits of wood?) have begin running from Ellesmere Port to Ironbridge Power Station, operated by GB Railfreight. Above, 66 711 passes Acton Bridge on 22 April; unlike coal hoppers, the wagons have top doors to keep the load dry. Picture by Andrew Vinten.
By way of contrast, this is Freightliner 70 005 on the way from Ellesmere Port to Fidler's Ferry power station with imported coal, again on 22 April, this time at Frodsham (Andrew Vinten).
Network Rail measurement train 950 001 passes Frodsham, 22 April (Andrew Vinten).
On 23 April 950 001 covered the Conwy Valley line: here it is crossing one of its Class 150 cousins at North Llanrwst. Picture by Nick Gurney.
On 9 April, Network Rail Multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) 98962/98912 was in weed-killing action in North Wales on 9 April. It is seen above near Glan Conwy returning from Blaenau Ffestiniog ...
... and leaving Llandudno Junction heading back to its base in Wigan. Pictures by Larry Davies.
The report quoted in the first version of our last update, that locomotive 67 002 was driven by a DB Schenker driver while 'dragging' Tornado and its train from Rhyl to Crewe was incorrect. The rescue haulage was done by a Holyhead-based Arriva Trains Wales driver.
The Statesman Rail excursion to Carlisle on 20 April was, as we reported, advertised to pick up passengers at Ty Croes station. However, presumably nobody from that village bought a ticket, as the train did not in fact stop there.
Llangollen Gala extra
On 19 April, Railmotor 93 and autocoach 92 arrive at Glyndyfrdwy from Carrog (Martin Evans).
Berwyn (Tom Bowen).
Pannier Tank 6430 departs Llangollen with the 16:00 service to Carrog (Martin Evans).
The railmotor and autocoach arrive at Llangollen with a service from Carrog (Martin Evans).
7822 Foxcote Manor departs Llangollen after finishing its duties with empty coaching stock for stabling overnight (Martin Evans).
BR Standard Tank 80072 returns to Llangollen with a service from Carrog (Martin Evans).
80072 heads east towards Glyndyfrdwy, with a goods train going back to Llangollen, 20 April (David Hennessey).
Steam GWR Rail motor 93/92 at Glyndyfrdwy, 21 April (Larry Davies). The Autocoach, no. 92, carries a large hand-operated bell for warning purposes, as unlike its powered companion it does not have the steam supply for a whistle.
The business end (Larry Davies). A special private run on 18 April, the day before the Gala, was the first passenger run of the two vehicles coupled together. For more about the pair, they have their own website.
Carrog (Garry Stroud). This interesting train was visiting the Llangollen Railway for the Gala only; it will spend the summer at its home base, the Didcot Railway Centre.
The GWR 2-8-0 3802 looked superb in BR Black (Larry Davies).
Amid the fine Dee Valley scenery, 21 April (Greg Mape).
Pannier tank 6430 took a turn on the demonstration freight train, seen at Llangollen (George Jones). Bachmann are promising a 00 scale model of this neat-looking locomotive type for production this year. No doubt a version representing 6430 will be in their planning.
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