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25 November 2013
DB Schenker loco 66 063 powers through Gobowen on 21 November with train 6V75 empty steel wagons for Margam in South Wales. Picture by Martin Evans.
Mishap at Chester
On 20 November, Virgin Voyager 221 105 William Baffin, working the 10.10 Euston to Chester, one of several London trains currently scheduled to terminate in bay platform no. 1 at Chester, came into contact at low speed with the somewhat basic buffers on their wooden beam at the platform end, projecting the remains of the buffers through the glass partition beyond, to the detriment of someone's bike parked at the stand beyond. A few passengers, who would have been standing waiting to leave the train, received minor injuries, only one of them being taken to hospital. Martin Evans took this picture of the resulting scene. The cause of the incident is not known, although it seems possible that the wheels had collected crushed leaf-matter during the run from Crewe, causing wheel-slide.
Northern Rail 'Pacer' 142 041 waits its next turn of duty in Platform 5 at Chester on 20 November. Later that afternoon, this platform was pressed into service for terminating Virgin services as Platform 1 was blocked by the damaged Voyager, seen in the background.
Tuesday 19 November at Birmingham Moor Street saw our erstwhile friend from Wrexham & Shropshire days, 67 014 Thomas Telford working the 15:05 to Wembley Stadium, on behalf of Club Wembley. 67 025 Western Star, on the left, has brought in the 13:15 from London Marylebone. The event at Wembley was a 'friendly' match between England and Germany (which Germany won 1-0). Picture by Martin Evans.
60 040 passes Penyffordd on 22 November with train 6V75, 09:30 Dee Marsh - Margam steel empties (Tim Rogers).
175 010 passes Bagillt on 22 November as the 10:44 Llandudno - Manchester (Tim Rogers).
Baguley station on the Airport line of Manchester Metrolink looked very complete when photographed by Greg Mape on 17 November. Even the station signs are in place, although the line is not scheduled to open until 2016. The Metrolink website has details of the route. Half a mile away is the former Cheshire Lines railway station, closed in 1964, on the National Rail Stockport - Altrincham Line. There are proposals for a new Baguley station with tram interchange; the railway crosses the road seen in the picture on a bridge not far away from the Metrolink stop, so presumably that would be the location.
After arriving from Holywell Junction in the early hours of 12 November, Colas Rail Plasser & Theurer 08-16(32)U-RT Plain Line Tamper DR73805 is laid up in Rhyl's Civil Engineer's sidings. It was to begin work that night at Llandudno Junction, before an early morning reposition to Wrexham General (Roly High). Note the neat and tidy appearance of the track and surroundings; like the sidings at Bangor they have undergone a health and safety makeover.
37 604 and 37 601 power through Bangor station, about 90 minutes up on booked time. under the watchful eye (and video camera) of a well-known 'Bangor Lad' on 19 November. Picture by Peter Basterfield.
Class 68 in action
Readers will be aware that DRS have ordered some new diesel-electric locomotives from Spanish maker Vossloh, to be Class 68. They are being made in the same plant as the Class 67, are share some of that type's characteristics in a more modern form. A recent film posted on YouTube by 'dcampetren', and embedded above, shows the first one being tested on the firm's test track. Viewers seem to be impressed by the noise it makes, but one suspects that better silencers will be fitted to the production locos.
West Coast 47 sallies forth
On 20 November West Coast Railways 47 237' having run from the company's southern base at Southall the previous day, spent the daylight hours 'light engine' 11:06 Crewe - Llandudno, 12:50 Llandudno to Chester, 14:40 Chester to Llandudno Junction, and 15:54 Chester to Southall. It is pictures above by Darren Durrant at Colwyn Bay.
Above, 47 237 waits at Chester before making its second trip west. We understand this was a 'photographic surveillance exercise' and 'filming the route for Network Rail' - does anyone know more? (Martin Evans).
At Llandudno Junction preparing to return to Chester and Southall (Peter Lloyd).
Bagillt (Matthew Travis).
Rowan Crawshaw's 37 views
37 608 and 37 612 seen at Bangor with the early 6K41 Valley - Crewe flasks on 12 November.
37 605 and 37 612 storm through Bangor with the Valley to Crewe flasks on 15 November.
97 303 leads the RHTT set and 97 304 on the Britannia Bridge working the early 3S71 to Crewe on 16 November.
97 303 passes Belmont Road Bridge near Bangor with 3S71 RHTT for Crewe on 15 November. All pictures by Rowan Crawshaw.
Arriva Trains Wales Stakeholder Report
Please find below a brief summary of news relating to Arriva Trains Wales activities over the last period. You have been sent this email as a valued stakeholder. Please get in touch if you would like to be removed from this email and receive no further updates from us. If you have any queries relating to anything below, please contact me at any time. Please feel free to share with your colleagues or invite them to get in contact with us directly. - Lewis Brencher, Communications Strategy Manager
Arriva Trains Wales climbed two positions to fifth of the 19 UK Train Operating Companies during this period. We are in second position in our ‘Class’ behind Merseyrail (96.3%) and ahead of Scotrail (92.1%) and Northern (91.9%).
Overall PPM (Public Performance Measure) during the four week period was an excellent 96%. This is above the Group target of 95.3%. This was a big improvement on the previous period where Overall PPM (Public Performance Measure) during the four week period was 93.3%. This was below our own target of 94.9%.
The most disruptive incident of a generally good period was on 5 October, when police requested services be stopped between Cardiff Queen Street and Heath Junction due to a firearms incident in the area. This incident resulted in 944 delay minutes and 31 cancellations. The full performance report can be found here.
News in brief
Association of Community Rail Partnership Awards – The business hosted the 2013 ACORP awards and Community Rail Festival in Llandudno. Frodsham station won the ‘Best use for station buildings’ category following its recent £400,000 renovation. Phil Caldwell, our Cambrian Line Schools’ Liaison Officer was highly commended for his school safety project involving more than 400 children along the Cambrian Coast. A special train formed of ‘Premier Class’ rolling stock took more than 200 guests from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog the following day and onwards to Porthmadog courtesy of the Ffestiniog Railway. More details can be found here.
Winter Timetable Improvements – a number of improvements are planned from the beginning of the new timetable in December to help with capacity issues and new journey opportunities on certain routes. The North – South' Premier Service delivered in partnership with the Welsh Government is being re-timed to an earlier departure of 17:16 from Cardiff and will include additional stops en-route to Holyhead. Additional carriages will also be provided on some commuter services between Maesteg, Ebbw Vale and Cardiff, in addition to selected longer distance services between Manchester and South Wales. With Energlyn Station due to open next month, we’re also ensuring that our services are planned to provide regular stops at the new facilities. We are advising passengers to check to see if there have been any changes to their journeys by going here.
Transport Minister announces measures to make rail travel in Wales easier and more affordable – We are pleased to have worked alongside the Welsh Government on reviewing our fares for 2014. We are determined to continue offering affordable and value for money fares on all our routes. This year all Arriva Trains Wales’ priced season tickets will increase at less than inflation, so will represent even better value for those using the train to commute to work. Further details of the Minister’s announcement can be found by going here.
Love your station! Keep Wales Tidy Awards 2013 – Arriva Trains Wales is working in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy to encourage everyone to responsibly dispose of litter and help us present a welcoming environment to passengers at stations. You can now cast your vote to choose Wales’ tidiest railway station. More than 100 of Wales’ small unstaffed stations have been adopted by volunteers and organisations as part of Arriva Trains Wales’ adopt a station initiative. Many are lovingly cared for with colourful floral displays and artwork produced by local children and young people. First impressions really do count so to have your say, go on-line and vote for Wales’ Best Kept Staffed and Unstaffed Stations. You can find more information and vote by going here.
National Assembly Enterprise and Business Committee Inquiry into the future of the Wales and Borders Franchise – Arriva Trains Wales was pleased to provide evidence to the inquiry into the future of the Wales and Borders franchise and looks forward to helping with the on-going development of future opportunities for rail services in Wales and the Borders. The written submission to the enquiry can be viewed by visiting the committee’s page here.
Time to Change Campaign - Arriva Trains Wales has publicly signed up to the ‘Time to Change’ pledge, committing itself to ensure that our workplace is supportive of employees with mental health problems. Over the next few months, Arriva Trains Wales will be working with Time to Change to develop a comprehensive action plan that will integrate our existing mental well-being employee services with any new initiatives that we aim to develop.
Stoptober – We promoted the ‘Stoptober’ initiative to help raise awareness among employees who may need help and support to give up smoking. Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Ruth Hussey visited Cardiff Central to see how the campaign would be encouraging workers at Arriva Trains Wales to take up the Stoptober challenge to give up smoking for 28 days during October. Further details can be found here.
Marketing campaigns launched – 'Club 55 has been running successfully, offering those over 55 years of age ‘off-peak’ tickets from £23. The offer runs until 30 November 2013. Meanwhile, Advance fares to a number of destinations across our network are being promoted as part of the Big Cities, Tiny Train Ticket campaign. Full details can be found by going here.
Chartered Institute of Public Relations PRide Cymru Awards – Arriva Trains Wales was awarded Silver in the Issues and Crisis Communications Management category at the CIPR PRide awards for its handling of the Cardiff Landslip incident during London 2012. The customer communication, media relations activity during the incident, as well as the partnership working with Network Rail and others were recognised. Information can be found here.
Footplate Follies - with John Hobbs
Here is a selection from the distant past and more recently; when I was fortunate to obtain Footplate rides, in the former case in train-spotting mode and in the latter as a member of the support crew of 45690. Above, the view from the footplate as BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0 75004 sets back out of Pwllheli station with the stock of the 7.35 am Dovey Junction to Pwllheli on 1 July 1964. Seconds later, there was a loud bang, the cab filled with steam as the gauge glass burst; quick action by the Fireman soon brought things back under control. It was my first experience of how things can go awry on the footplate!
While working the 'Irish Mail' 45690 Leander approaching Llandudno Junction on 3 September 2005, the driver had caught sight of a Distant signal 'ON' at Abergele and closed the regulator, we were travelling at around 75 mph, the train then coasted all the way into Llandudno Junction without further application of power.
Leander passes a Holyhead to Euston service, in the charge of a Class 57, near Sandycroft on the same day.
If you like at sort of thing, the slides from the Passenger Focus Conference and reception
Cardiff in 13 November 2013 are available to view as a PDF file on the Passenger Focus website.
Chester footbridge (again)
The Chester Chronicle reports that the footbridge attached to the rail bridge over the across the River Dee at Curzon Park, Chester. which closed in February 2012, supposedly for six months during the of the bridge, has still not reopened. The original closure was to avoid hazards during the sandblasting of the bridge girders, but during this procedure a landslip occurred, damaging the access to the footbridge. Cheshire West and Chester Council now says it hopes it will open at the end of this month.
On the Bluebell Explorer - with Richard Putley
On Saturday 2 November 'Bluebell Explorer' I joined the tour at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway. 70013 Oliver Cromwell steamed in just after 07:00 - plenty of time for our 07:10 departure. At Kidderminster we were held for a few minutes before being allowed onto the mainline. After picking up more customers there we soon reached Stourbridge Junction, our next pick up. Here a couple of 67s, 67 015 Arrow in EWS Maroon and 67 010 were stabled with Chiltern Main Line Mk3 sets; we also saw the Parry People Mover which is used on the Stourbridge Town branch. What a contrast! Leaving Stourbridge the line climbs up steeply to Rowley Regis. But Oliver Cromwell flew up the bank, though someone said the Class 47 Diesel loco on the rear (47 580 County of Essex wearing its 1977 Silver Jubilee paint job that Stratford depot gave it that year) was also contributing. Arriving at Birmingham New Street (above) we had 20 minutes to stretch our legs and take photos.
Departure was on time, likewise from Birmingham International (above) where we also took on water. But at Rugby we were held a few minutes to allow a late running train to Northampton to overtake it. We then followed it as soon as it had cleared the section.
After a further water stop at Bushey (above), various locos were seen, including 92 041 Vaughan Williams and 90 036. At Willesden 86 101 Sir William Stanier was present.
From Willesden we took the West London through Kensington, Clapham and on to Croydon. South of the river I managed to get some shots out of the window between Herne Hill and Tulse Hill.
On the Bluebell Railway we passed South Eastern & Chatham 0-4-4T 263 at Kingscote. I chose to get off the special at Horsted Keynes as it was booked for a half hour turn round at Sheffield Park, the Bluebell's southern terminus. At Horsted Keynes I was able to photograph 263 on its return, also visiting Black 5 45231 Sherwood Forester and 9F 92212.
Stored there were the Bluebell's own 9F 92240 and BR 4 4-6-0 75027. Both are 'out of ticket' awaiting overhaul at the moment.
All too soon it was time to get on the tour again, this time with 47 580 which hauled the tour back to Bridgnorth. As we sped northwards we witnessed quite a few firework displays! A fitting end to a thoroughly enjoyable day out.
George the Fifth to be reincarnated?
None of London and North Western Railway's later express passenger locomotives survived long enough to be preserved, which is either because the management of successor company the London Midland and Scottish was biased towards Midland Railway designs, or because the LNWR locos were not built with a long life in mind, or maybe both or neither. However, in the new craze (railway mania?) for building steam locos from scratch, there is a group determined to recreate an example of the LNWR's most modern 4-4-0 passenger design, the 'George the Fifth' type. The class was named after its first member, no.2663, which entered service in July 1910, the year of the coronation of that monarch.
90 of these machines were built, and in their short heyday they were common sights on the North Wales line; all wore names, including some after towns in North Wales. The last four to remain in service, then carrying LMS numbers 25321 Lord Loch, 25350, 25373 Ptarmigan, and 25376 Snipe, were allocated to Chester depot where it seems they were latterly used as station pilots. The picture above, believed to be by F.R. Hebron, shows 25376 at Chester on 24 April 1947. (See also a picture of 25350 on the web). The '2' had been added to their numbers in the 1930s to make room for new locos of the 'Black 5' type. 25350 had been named India, but the name had been transferred to a new 'Jubilee' class loco (5574) in the first series named after countries and provinces of the Empire. (A geography lesson for young 'spotters.') Of these four, two survived the 1948 nationalisation and were allocated British Railways numbers 58011 (25350) and 58012 (25373) but were withdrawn that year, before the numbers were applied.
Before the war, 25348, 25371, 25373, 25392 had been based at Llandudno Junction, where 25392 Penmaenmawr is seen in the 1937 picture above. Our pictures are from the John Powell collection, with thanks to John and to Geoff Poole, editor of the website 6G Llandudno Junction which contains much of interest about earlier days on the North Wales line.
To read more about the hopes and plans of the George the Fifth Locomotive Trust, visit their website at lnwrgeorgevtrust.org.uk. It seems there is anonymous benefactor who has promised to match donations made by others; so far, a smokebox door is under construction, but there are designs and proposals for further parts. Will we one day see the final loco pulling out of Chester for a run 'down the coast'? It's a major challenge, to say the least. The group has a loco name in mind, a secret while it is seeking permission, which it hopes will attract the same attention as The Unknown Warrior currently under construction. In the light of the original class name, and recent events in high places, maybe one could hazard a guess at what such a good name might be?
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