07 October 2013
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Thursday 10 October Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'The Wrexham – Bidston Line' Dave
Friday 11 October Altrincham Electric
Preservation Society TRAINS IN THE SNOW By Dr Les Nixon. Over 60%
UK including much pre-1968 steam, 20% foreign including South Africa,
Turkey and Peru.
Saturday 12 October Llangollen
Railway Real Ale Train evening
Monday 14 October Wrexham Railway Society.
Monday 21 October RCTS
Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ’Banished to the
Tropics’ by Les Nixon.Well known photographer travels
from Sheffield to present an account of his life as a railway
enthusiast working in Sri Lanka in the early 70s. Lots of good old
colonial British railwayana with plenty of steam e.g.
railcars and Garratts. All backed by two salaries – no income tax –
free accommodation – free car etc but no film available
locally. He to take out enough to keep him going for well over two
Saturday 19 October Steam at Chester
West Coast Railway Company
'The Cheshireman' Cleethorpes - Chester. Steam-hauled by 70013:
Cleethorpes - Doncaster - Sheffield - Altrincham - Chester - Doncaster.
19-20 October Llangollen
Railway Days Out with Thomas
Thursday 24 October Locomotive
Club of Great Britain Noel Coates "The L&YR in B R Days"
Friday 25 October Great Western
Society North West Branch The Corris Railway by David Coleman.
26-27 October Llangollen
Railway Days Out with Thomas
Wednesday, 30 October Ffestiniog Railway
Society Dee & Mersey Group Birkenhead Tramways & The Wirral
Tramway by Rob Jones
Thursday 31 October Llangollen
Railway Ghost Train evening
Thursday 31 October Richard Sant Merseyside Railway
History Group 'Building the new Patriot engine'
Friday 1 November Clwyd Railway
Circle Paul Davies 'The Buckley Railway and the
Industries it served' The talk celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the
Saturday 2 November Llangollen
Railway Murder Mystery evening
Saturday 2 November Wirral
Unit 7, The Odyssey Centre, Corporation Road, Birkenhead CH41 1HB
British model trains running 13:00 to 17:00. Admission £2 - ample
free parking. Nearest Station Birkenhead Park. Contact 0151 653 0637 or
j.elliott37[at]sky.com for more information.
Sunday 3 November Llangollen
Railway Ride the Rocket evening
Friday 8 November Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society FREIGHT AROUND THE WORLD by John
Ryan. Presentation is 90% steam
9-10 November Llangollen
Railway Remembrance Weekend
Monday 11 November Wrexham Railway Society.
Northwest these and the
forthcoming initial phase of the work across Chat Moss in particular.
Thursday 14 November Llandudno
Valley Railway Society AGM 'American Wanderings Part 1'
Monday 18 November RCTS
‘Circular tour of North Wales from 1966 to 1980’ by John
Thursday 21 November Locomotive Club of
Great Britain Steve Fort "Carlisle to Crewe " - mainly steam
Wednesday, 27 November Ffestiniog Railway
Society Dee & Mersey Group George England Locomotives, by Chris
Thursday 28 November Geoff Morris Merseyside Railway
History Group 'The Many Varied Railways of Australia'
Friday 29 November Great
Western Society North West Branch Railways of the Iberian
Peninsula, by Barry Rushton.
Saturday 30 November Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
1 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
Friday 6 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 no later than 16th November by
telephoning David Jones.
7-8 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
7 December Llangollen
Railway Real Ale Train evening
Monday 9 December Wrexham Railway Society.
lines and former features alongside current routes all over Britain
by walking along them in the company of his dog. He is a
and his presentation will be based on his home county, including the
beautiful Settle to Carlisle line.
Thursday 12 December Merseyside Railway
History Group Geoff Coward 'Europe & The Old Buffers'
Thursday 12 December Llandudno
Valley Railway Society Xmas Social/ 'All Change at the
Junction' Local Speakers
Friday 13 December Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society STEAM SHEDS ACROSS THE YEARS By John
14-15 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
Monday 16 December RCTS
Wales ‘Early Days’ by
David Maidment, Formerly Operations
Manager BR London Midland Region David presents his early days at
Swindon and commuting on the Southern and around the UK in the early
Thursday 19 December Locomotive Club of
Great Britain John Ryan "Various Gauges in France and Spain
1966 to 1973"
20-24 December Llangollen
Railway Santa Specials
26-31 December Llangollen
Railway Mince Pie Specials.
1 January 2014 Llangollen
Railway Mince Pie Specials.
Friday 3 January Clwyd Railway
Circle David Rapson 'Wrexham to Bidston Line' A history
of the route illustrated with pictures covering the last 70 years.
Thursday 9 January Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'From a Driver’s point of view'
Friday 10 January Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society HISTORY OF BOLTON TRAMWAYS by Derek
Shepherd (Vice-Chairman, Heaton Park Tramway)
Monday 13 January Wrexham Railway Society.
Monday 20 January RCTS
BRANCH A.G.M Followed by Alan Donaldson ‘Around
Britain 1983 to 2010’
Thursday 30 January Merseyside Railway
History Group David Rapson 'Seacombe to Wrexham'
Friday 7 February Clwyd Railway
Brian Bollington & Peter Hanahoe 'Polish Steam'
is a mix of slide shows and video showing steam on the national
network, including shed scenes, taken in the 1990’s.
Monday 10 February Wrexham Railway Society.
previously not seen, black and white
images of long gone shed scenes, Princes Street station etc.
Thursday 13 February Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'A short history of Crosville &
my time with it' Clive
Friday 14 February Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society A JOURNEY FROM MANCHESTER TO
EASTLEIGH WORKS IN 1910 By Mike Hayward (Secretary, Manchester
Monday 17 February RCTS
Wales Barry Shore ‘BR freight in the post steam
era 1967 to
Thursday 20 February Locomotive Club of
Great Britain John Sloane "BR Scenes from the 60s”
Thursday 27 February Merseyside Railway
History Group Allan Lewis 'Union Pacific Steam'
Friday 7 March Clwyd Railway
The Committee & David Southern AGM followed by
'Railways of the Wirral' After the formality is over,
we can look
forward to Dave sharing his railway experiences of 60 years living on
Monday 10 March Wrexham Railway Society.
2011 & 2012 including
both preservation activities and the rapidly-changing current railway
scene on the other side of the world.
Thursday 13 March Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'The Dinorwic Quarry Railway &
its locomotives' Eric Lander
Monday 17 March RCTS
‘The Ugly Duckling’: Bob Casselden looks at the transformation of
B.R.’s ‘Other Provincial Services’ via ‘Regional Railways’ into today’s
Friday 14 March Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society A Selection of Doug Darby's UK
PHOTOGRAPHS by Paul Shackcloth (Photographic Officer, Manchester
Thursday 23 January Locomotive Club of
Great Britain Neville Bond “From Sea to Shining Sea” 30 years
of North American scenes
Thursday 20 March Locomotive Club of
Great Britain Dr Michael Bailey "The Manchester Ship Canal
Thursday 27 March Merseyside Railway
History Group AGM & Members Slides
Friday 4 April Clwyd Railway
Circle Ron Watson-Jones 'The Irish Mail
Train Crash at Penmaenmawr Aug 1950' Ron’s account of the accident on
27th August 1950.
Thursday 10 April Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'Welsh Wanderings in the 1980’s
& 90’s' Geoff Morris
Thursday 10 April Merseyside Railway
History Group Ted Lloyd 'Quiz and informal evening'
Friday 11 April Altrincham
Electric Preservation Society Slides from the Manchester locomotive
society collection by David Young. Mainly steam locomotives taken
1950s and 1960s
Monday 14 April Wrexham
Jon Penn. Railway Pictures From the 1960’s –scanned
black and white
negatives and vintage colour slides, favouring the Cheshire and
Monday 28 April RCTS
Merseyside, Chester & North Wales ‘South of the
Border steam in the 50s and 60s’ by David Kelso, David
travels from Kent to present a follow up to his earlier North of
border presentation, including a period when he was resident in the
West Riding of Yorkshire.
Thursday 17 April Locomotive Club of
Great Britain Norman Matthews "Steam in Central America"
Thursday 8 May Llandudno
Valley Railway Society 'The Deganwy Dock Story' Eric Smith
Thursday 15 May Locomotive Club of
Great Britain AGM and Members/Visitors Slides & Digital
A Llangollen Railway 'Wedding Belle' at Berwyn on 5
October, with 2-8-0 3802 officiating. it was the 3pm service
train with an extra coach attached for a wedding party who made a
single journey to Carrog where the reception was held in the village
hall. The wedding ceremony had taken place earlier in the Henry
Robertson suite at Llangollen station. Picture by Tom Peacock.
The Scenic Snowdonian
ventured into North Wales on 7 October with 'The Scenic Snowdonian'
charter which started from Salisbury not long after 'four in the
morning' and called at various stations to pick up passengers on the
way to Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead. An optional extra
was a coach connection to a full through run over the narrow gauge
network between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon. Unfortunately
problems with the DRS locomotives (47 828 and 47 818)
meant that the train lost a lot of time, arriving in North Wales over
an hour late at 12:27, although they did manage the famous 1 in 37
gradient of the Lickey Incline in only five minutes instead of the
timetabled three. Above, the westbound train passes Rhyl, pictured by Roly
The plan for the day for Snowdonia passengers, as described by
Alight from our special train at either Llandudno
Junction or Bangor for road coach transfer to Blaenau Ffestiniog or
Caernarvon, then enjoy the longest and most exciting steam hauled
journey now possible on a British narrow gauge railway. There will be
two trains, one from each end, covering the full journey over both
lines, crossing each other during a break in Porthmadog. There is
superb mountain scenery to be enjoyed, including traversal of the
famous Aberglaslyn Pass and use of the unique flat crossing over the
Cambrian Coast Line. On arrival at the opposite end, road coaches will
transfer you back to the main line stations for the journey homeward.
How this worked out with the late running of the main train, we cannot
say at present. Can you help?
Arrival at Holyhead (Ken Robinson). By this time, DRS has
already dispatched two replacement locos from Crewe Gresty Bridge depot
Run-round operations at Holyhead, complicated as always, because the
'neck' beyond the platforms which allows locos to reach the loop line
is only long enough for one at a time.
The pair couple for the return to Crewe depot, with 47 818 to be the
lead loco. Departure was at 13:07, arriving at Crewe safely at 15:47 (Ken
Above, the rescue mission in the form of 47 501 Craftsman
and 47 810 Peter Bath MBE passes Abergele (Roly High).
A 'banner repeater' is provided at Abergele on the through line, as the
view of the starter signal is blocked by the signalbox and bridge (Roly
High). The locos arrived at Holyhead at 14:41 in good time for the
17:09 departure of the return train. Problems with DRS
locomotives are rare, and DRS did a good job finding the resources to
send replacement so promptly, especially compared to the events
involving another company on 26 October 2012.
The return train arrives at Bangor. Picture
by Rowan Crawshaw.
Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).
Rhyl (Roly High). The return run went smoothly, and
managed to arrive at Salisbury at 00:19¾
- 15 seconds early! A long day for the passengers, especially with the
wait in the morning for the train to arrive at the intermediate pick-up
stops, including the unmanned halts at Cam & Dursley and Barnt
Wirral Bus and Tram Show 2013 - report by George Jones
The annual event took place in lovely autumnal weather on Sunday 6 Oct
and attracted a good turnout to sample the vintage road transport on
offer. There are not many such events which can offer a ride around the
docks or a road run to the seaside - at New Brighton - and as an
add-on. a trip on the ferry boat. Among the visiting buses with a Welsh
connection I rather liked the Crosville Leyland National SNG588 with
the Stwlan Dam destination - a trip I once undertook in 1976 when
the Ffestiniog Railway terminated at Dduallt.
Aside from the operational trams - featuring Lisbon 730,
Liverpool 762, Wallasey 78 and the modern Hong Kong-style car No.69 -
the works contain two under restoration with Liverpool 'Baby Grand' No.
245 (above) ...
... and Warrington No.2. When finished, both will be notable additions
to the tramcar operational fleet. One has to hope that this delightful
tramway in an unusual urban environment will survive any financial
problems Wirral Borough Council has in maintaining the line.
Wrexham re-double to proceed
A lot of messages have come our way in recent months regarding the
proposed return to double track of the Wrexham - Chester section, or at
least most of it, and the apparent reluctance of the Welsh Government
to proceed, even after everyone, apparently including Network Rail,
though it was a 'done deal' that the '£36m project' was going
ahead. What follows is our brief summary of the chain of events; if
it's inaccurate, do let us know.
In Summer 2013, on the last day the Welsh Assembly was sitting before
the recess, Edwina
Hart, member for Gower and Minister for Economy, Science and Transport,
announced in a semi-official kind of way that she was delaying the
start of the project, hinting that Network Rail had come back with a
higher cost than originally given, but not offering any sort of detail.
There then followed a email, twitter, and every other media-storm from
politicians and rail supporters in North East Wales, with calls for
official statements, attempts and Freedom of Information Requests, and
so on, pointing out that a lot of money has been spent on similar rail
improvements in South Wales at Gowerton (childhood home of Ms Hart) and
on buses to serve Cardiff Airport which were not needed as a commercial
operator registered the service...
Eventually, on 2 October, BBC reported 'A revised plan to upgrade
the train line between Wrexham and Chester is to go ahead. Transport
Minister Edwina Hart told the Senedd the project would be going ahead
following negotiations with Network Rail. The current scheme will cost
£44m, and will see parts of the track redoubled and speed
improvements, cutting north-south journey times by 16 minutes. The work
is scheduled to be completed by 2015.... and also includes improvements
to the Shrewsbury - Gobowen line and work on Anglesey.
Mrs Hart told the press "I am pleased that we have been able to agree a
scheme that will reduce journey times between north and south Wales and
delivery increased capacity between Wrexham and Chester. This new
scheme will meet our objectives and provide value for money."
A victory for the campaigners. So far, no details of the revised
scheme, or the 'work on
Anglesey' seem to have appeared. We wait with interest, although
we understand that the work will go on as originally planned.
Meanwhile, as Roly High's pictures taken at Rossett show, what
was once an important main line carrying the Great Western railway's
expresses from London to Chester and Merseyside currently has the air
of some forgotten branch line even though it still carries vital
services including the Holyhead - Cardiff premier service.
There also seems to be some proposal in the political air to obtain the
'InterCity 125' HSTs which will be displaced by new Japanese trains in
a few years, and used them on an hourly Holyhead - Cardiff service.
Good luck with that, we say.
Past times with John Hobbs - Ivatt Heaven
Above, LMS Class 2 2-6-2T 41285 arrives at Prestatyn with the
17:20 Chester to Rhyl, on Thursday 16 July 1964. I never did to see
another Ivatt 2-6-2T work one of these 'stoppers', the exception being
the morning Push & Pull train on the 07:55 SX Rhyl to Chester and
10:20 SX Chester to Rhyl.
Class leader 41200 basks at Bangor, a long-time Bangor engine
(with an odd excursion to East Anglia) and eventually the last
steam loco to leave the Depot; this however is 6 May 1964. Mr Dunn the
shedmaster would have made me sign in the Visitors' book, in his
office, and leave my name and address, then I could go round the
shed no problem!
41220 takes a break from shunting at Rhyl, parked in the
Denbigh Bay, on a wet day, 24 March 1964, attached to BR standard
16-ton mineral wagon B158665. Only a few years earlier a Stanier 2-6-2T
would have been on this duty and before that an L&Y 0-6-0; no
camera then though. Other trains to use these bays were the
various North Wales Circular tours in the 50's and early 60's.
[Editor's note: 41220 was one of four which ended their lives on
station pilot duty at Stockport often watched by young Charlie shunting
the goods yard and carriage shed. If you took pictures of 41202 / 04 /
20 / 33 in North Wales or elsewhere, we'd be pleased to see them.]
The Chirk to Carlisle empty log train, 6C37, on 6 October at Preston
Boats, running over an hour late at 11:53 with Colas 56 087.
Most of the willowherbs have set seed since our last visit to this
location (Stavros Lainas).
A Class 158 crosses Henry Robertson's Cefn Viaduct with the 13:28
Holyhead to Birmingham International service. This picture was taken
from the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct by Martin Evans.
A narrow boat negotiating the lift bridge on the canal at Froncysyllte
a few minutes earlier (Martin Evans).
Galatea returns to Chester
'Jubilee' 45699 Galatea enters Chester on 5 October
on a Crewe to Shrewsbury circular run via Chester. This train had
originated from Cleethorpes, with diesel haulage to Crewe and return (Martin
45699 steams through the middle road at Chester on October 5th
Crewe to Salop circular via Chester. This train had originated from
Cleethorpes with diesel haulage to Crewe and return (Martin Evans).
On the single line at Rossett, taken from the legal side of the level
crossing barrier by Roly High.
Heading for Wrexham and a gaggle of photographers on the road bridge (Roly
George Jones writes: 'Having debated the options, I chose
Gobowen to see the steam special go through today as I reasoned it
would be likely performing best there. However the sky was overcast at
'... In the event I was right. Before the level crossing gates came
down the engine could be heard away back around Chirk, and as it
appeared around the bend the three-cylinder beat announced a Jubilee on
approach in fine style and running some ten minutes early.'
Mystery pictures from the 1950s
Stuart Broadbent writes: 'I was wondering if any of your
readers can identify the locations of these photographs taken by my
father on, I think, a cycling tour of North Wales in 1956. The quality
of the original slides is unfortunately poor but they are historically
interesting.' No. 1, above, looks relatively easy.
No.2 is one of the LMS Stanier 3MT 2-6-2 tanks blowing off at the
safety valves, but at which station?
No.3 is probably a branch line train with an Ivatt 2-6-2T at a station
with a nice floral display. Can you tell us anything at all about any
of these these views?
Round Robin and the Welsh Highland - by Vince Chadwick
This is an outing we have have been meaning to do ever since the
amazing project to re-instate the Welsh Highland Railway between
Caernarfon and Porthmadog was completed a few years ago.
We got ourselves a 'Ffestiniog Round Robin' ticket each which gave us
travel on the national railways in North Wales, and a one-way trip on
the narrow gauge steam Ffestiniog Railway (with 'Manchester Extension'
to extend its validity east of Crewe). Interestingly, the ticket was in
two parts, designated 'From WILMSLOW to FFESTROUNDROBIN' on the 'OUT'
ticket, and the reverse designation on the 'RETURN' ticket. One
wonders, on a circular journey like this, where 'OUT becomes 'RETURN'.
cost £23.75 with a Senior Railcard.
Here's our timetable for the day from our home station of Wilmslow:
Wilmslow d 07:46 Crewe a 08:05
Crewe d 08:23 Chester a 08:46
Chester d 08:55 Llandudno Junction a 09:43
Llandudno Jc d 10:28 Blaenau Ffestiniog a 11:30
Blaenau Ffestiniog d 11:50 Porthmadog a 13:00
Welsh Highland Railway:
Porthmadog d 14:15 Caernarfon a 16:40
Bus to Bangor - 30 minute journey 4 times an hour
Bangor d 18:09 Chester a 19:25
Chester d 19:35 Crewe a 19:54
Crewe d 20:11 Wilmslow a 20:27
The itinerary allows a break of just over 40 minutes at Llandudno
Junction, which is ideal for a loo break, cup of tea, and
perhaps a bacon butty from the station buffet before boarding 150
259 (above) for the scenic trip up the Conway Valley to Blaenau
At Blaenau Ffestiniog, Even the imaginative column by the station
the 'nothing here but slate' impression one, perhaps unfairly, gets of
town. Boston Lodge-built Double Fairlie Merddin
Emrys had brought the Ffestiniog Railway train up from Porthmadog,
be our motive power for the next stage of our outing.
'Merddin Emrys' comes off the bottom of the
spiral< and rejoins the original Ffestiniog trackbed at Dduallt.
At Porthmadog, Welsh Highland Railway Garratt 143 waits for its
train to be shunted out of
the station and onto the Cob by diesel locomotive Vale of Ffestiniog
before positioning on the front of it to take us to Caernarfon.
Above, 143 takes water at Porthmadog. We bought tickets here for the
Railway journey to Caernarfon - the highlight of our trip.
out and go first class in this Pullman-style coach. The single fare to
Caernarfon for 'oldies' is £20.40, and the supplement for first
class is an extra £10.00.
It's certainly worth paying for the comfort of the
generous armchair seats and the ambiance of this coach. If you're lucky
weren't) the first class coach will have an 'observation end' and will
be at the back of the train to allow unobstructed views. We saw this on
a Porthmadog-bound train and presume the railway only has one such
vehicle hence not having one on our train.
At Beddgelert our loco crew 'put the bag in' to
replenish the Garratt thirst after the strenuous climb from the
coast. And of course, there is plenty of climbing yet to come.
Awaiting departure from Beddgelert.
The fireman has put a round on (the fire) and has left
the firehole doors partly open with the blower on to allow 'top air'
the fire to maximise combustion of gasses coming off the fire, thus
extracting more energy from the fuel and helping to prevent dense smoke
from the chimney. Good firing practice that you don't always see!
To put more coal on, the fireman fully opens the firehole doors.
Despite the blower being on, this picture clearly shows the combustion
of gases above the fire, and that combustion being drawn out
of the firebox towards the relatively oxygen-rich air in the cab
can be seen burning outside the firebox here). If the blower were
off, there would be a nasty flash-back of fire into the cab as these
gases found oxygen in the cab and burned there rather than in the
That's why one should never open the firehole doors on a steam
without first turning on the blower to draw the fire forward through
the boiler tubes towards the smoke box.
On arrival at Caernarfon we walked into the town centre to catch the
bus to Bangor. Our FRR rail tickets were accepted by the bus driver as
valid, which is good as our English bus passes do not work in Wales. We
wait of 45 minutes or so at Bangor station for the crowded
Wales 2-coach Class 158 from Holyhead to Birmingham. At Llandudno
Junction it coupled onto the rear of another such unit which was nearly
empty, so we moved forward into that for the rest of the journey to
At Chester a near-empty Virgin Voyager for London Euston was waiting.
It soon filled up! We were glad we only had to travel one stop (to
on this overcrowded, noisy, smelly, and uncomfortable train. A much
more comfortable and quieter Virgin Pendolino whisked us home the last
from Crewe to Wilmslow. So ended a really good day out. Garratt steam
locos, wild mountain
scenery, a luxurious Pullman coach... and absolutely superb weather.
143 can claim to be the final steam locomotive of the many built in
For more pictures and text, see
Cambrian Rail Survey - press release
A major survey of households, passengers and business across mid Wales
on the need for an hourly service for the Cambrian Lines, runs from 5
to 20 October. This ambitious survey project could play a key part in
bringing this major improvement to Wales' primary east to west
transport corridor. The survey by the Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail
Liaison Committee has been commissioned by the Minister for Economy,
Science and Transport, Edwina Hart.
The survey has been described as a 'once in a generation' opportunity
by Councillor Mansel Williams, chairman of the Shrewsbury to
Liaison Committee. He said : 'We have been discussing the possibility
of an hourly service for the Cambrian Lines for many years. It is a
commitment of the Welsh Government to implement an enhanced service and
this survey is an opportunity to demonstrate the need for that service
now, which would be a major enhancement for this important line.
'There are potentially thousands of people – students, commuters,
business-people, shoppers, tourists, visitors - that could take
advantage of an enhanced service and we urge them to take part in this
survey and have their say. A more regular service could improve access
to many other parts of the country for local people, including
important connections to Cardiff, London, and the North, and enable
more mid Wales commuter and tourist journeys.
The surveys will be made available right across the region covered by
the Cambrian Lines – from Pwllheli to Aberdyfi on the coast line, and
from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury on the main line. There will also be
special open days organised at some of these locations and a special
website is also available where people can fill out the surveys online.
Over the next few weeks the residents of locations served by the
railway can participate by completing a simple survey form. Businesses
and large organisations are also being asked to take part as well.
Councillor Williams urges every one of you to take a few minutes to
the survey. Look at the website
for more details and an on-line version of the survey
Great Western on Tour - report by Richard Putley
On Saturday 28 September, First Great Western were truly
spreading their wings. Not only had 158 763 overnighted at
Llandudno, but another place which saw a First Great Western train
was Corfe Castle (above) in Dorset.
Each year the Cotswold Line Promotion Group runs an excursion train
from the Worcester
- Oxford line, which it saved from closure in the 1980s. This year's
excursion ran from Worcester Shrub Hill to Corfe Castle. The stock was
a First Great Western HST set led by 43 028 with 43 078
bringing up the rear. This was the first time I had travelled over the
link between the Swanage Railway and the national network. It was also
my first trip over the Worcester - Oxford Cotswold Line since it was
re-doubled in 2011.
We set off from Worcester on time and ran without incident to Oxford.
We had to wait outside the station due the fact there's only one
platform in each. With more trains now serving Oxford it is becoming a
bottleneck. We also held at a signal after leaving Oxford to allow a
Voyager train to overtake us. At Reading we turned on to the West
Curve, pausing briefly for a crew change at Reading West station. We
continued on to Basingstoke where we held outside the station and again
in a platform to allow a London Waterloo - Weymouth express formed of 2
5 car class 444 EMUs to overtake us.
At Eastleigh I saw a number of locos including 60 065 which I managed
to photograph from the train.
At Southampton Container terminal several locos were stabled including
70 008/17, DRS 66 416, DCR 31 452 and 31 190.
At Bournemouth we paused to allow those who wished to get off there to
... and passed 220 018 forming the 11:45 to Manchester -
a latter-day Pines Express!
It had been decided that due to clearance issues the HST could not
enter Swanage station. So at Corfe Castle we crossed to the up platform
for a specially laid on steam train.
This was hauled by 34028 Eddystone, while the HST was
stabled in the down platform. [Note the
anagram' of 34028 and 43028.]
On arrival at Swanage 08 436 coupled on and drew the stock into the
other platform, 34028 going on shed where it had BR 4 2-6-4T 80104 for
company. 33 111 and LSWR M7 30053 were also stabled nearby.
I returned to Corfe Castle on the 15:20 departure from Swanage,
which was hauled by GWR
0-6-2T 6695. Thus I was able to photograph it at Corfe on its return
from Norden and also Eddystone arriving on the returning special. The
Devon Belle observation car was also parked in a siding there. Once
aboard the HST again it whisked us back to Worcester Shrub Hill
arriving a few minutes early.
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