Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

28 July 2014

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived page. For the current list visit our Calendar.

July 2014

Tuesday 29 July Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

August 2014

Sunday 3 August  Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. North Wales Coast Express Note change of route Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Warrington Bank Quay and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Diesel-hauled Crewe - Manchester.

Sunday 10 August  Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. North Wales Coast Express Note change of route Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Warrington Bank Quay and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Diesel-hauled Crewe - Manchester.

Sunday 17 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool, Broad Green, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead.

Tuesday 19 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

September 2014

Tuesday 2 September Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. Welsh Mountaineer. Preston, Warrington BQ, Frodsham and Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Sunday 7 September  Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. North Wales Coast Express. Note change of route Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Warrington Bank Quay and Chester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead. Diesel-hauled Crewe - Manchester.

Saturday 20 September Steam on the Coast. Steam Dreams: Cathedrals Express. London - Holyhead.

October 2014

Saturday - Monday 18-20 October Land Cruise Compass Tours  Autumn Highlander. Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Delamere, Northwich, Knutsford, Altrincham, Stockport, Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Preston, & Carlisle to Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh. A 3-day weekend break by rail to the Scottish Highlands, inclusive of two nights stay in quality hotel accommodation at Inverness. From 329.00 each.

November 2014

Saturday - Sunday 1/2 November Wirral 2014 Model Railway Exhibition at Mosslands School, Mosslands Drive, Wallasey, Wirral CH45 8PJ . 18 layouts, 13 traders, demonstrators and Society stands, refreshments, free vintage bus rides.

60009 Union of South Africa hauls the return Holyhead to Liverpool 'North Wales Coast Express'  across the Britannia Bridge on 27 July. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.

Arriva loco-hauled variety

An interesting development on the evening Thursday 24 July was the appearance of ex-Wrexham & Shropshire, now Chiltern Railways, loco 67 012 A Shropshire Lad on the northbound Cardiff - Holyhead Premier Express. Gareth Peate photographed the visitor at Shrewsbury, a station at which it was once a common sight.

The nameplate still needs a clean-up (Gareth Peate).

The train departed 7 minutes late at 19:16, while in platform 3, waiting to follow, was the 19:24 all-stations train to Holyhead via Chester (Gareth Peate).

Another unusual sight in the train (seen at Chester) was restaurant/first M 10246, standing in for the two Arriva-liveried vehicles. This is one of the coaches bought by DB Regio (owners of Arriva) on the collapse of the Cargo-D company which had adopted the former British Rail blue and grey as their livery.  Interestingly, M10246 was one of the vehicles hired by Wrexham & Shropshire from Cargo-D in 2008 during the long delay in competing the refurbishment of the ones intended for the W&S fleet (the ones now in use by Chiltern).

The next day, Friday 25 July, George Jones went to Wrexham General station in the hope of a nostalgic picture of 67 012, which has stayed on the diagram, but things did not go quite to plan. The Premier Express was delayed, and  158 825 on the Shrewsbury - Holyhead arrived first at 20:07 and departed at 20:08. This train is supposed to provide connections at Shrewsbury for passengers from Cardiff to Gobowen, Chirk and Ruabon which the Premier Express does not serve, but any such passengers will have missed the connection and been forced to wait for the 20:22 departure from Shrewsbury.

Due at 19:41, 67 021 eventually rolled in at 20:22, as an Arriva bus passed above, and had to wait until 20:39 for the Virgin Trains train from London Euston to clear the single line from Chester (George Jones).

The school holidays are upon us, and Arriva Trains Wales are again making use of their loco-hauled train for a Saturday 'relief' train from Holyhead to Crewe and back. An added bonus on the first day, 26 July, was that 67 012 was still on duty, seen calling eastbound at Llandudno Junction. Picture by Peter Lloyd.

Calling at Prestatyn (David Sallery). The timings (Saturdays Only) are:

1K51 Holyhead dep. 09:46, Bangor 10:18, Llandudno Junction 10:37, Colwyn Bay 10:44, Abergele 10:53, Rhyl 11:00, Prestatyn 11:06, Chester arr 11:32 dep 11:41, Crewe platform 12 arr 12:04 (advertised as 12:07).

1D74 Crewe platform 12 dep 14:40 Chester arr 15:03 dep 15:10, Prestatyn 15:34, Rhyl 15:41, Abergele 15:48, Colwyn Bay 15:58, Llandudno Junction 16:05, Bangor 16:22, Holyhead arr 16:55.

Note that unlike some previous incarnations of this service, it does serve the principal seaside resorts on the main line rather than rushing on to Llandudno Junction.

Prestayn free bus - report by David Sallery

London Transport Routemaster RM765 is operating a free circular route around Prestatyn.  The service runs every 20 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday until August 29th.  Curiously the bus calls at the railway station (up side) but not the bus station.

Early morning flasks

Thursday 24 July: train 6D41, 05:41 Crewe coal sidings to Valley flask train at Llanfairfechan running about 18 minutes early at 06:50  behind 37 611 and 37 603. Picture by Peter Basterfield.

Paul Braddock writes: 'I've wanted this shot for years, well worth getting up at 6 AM for.' 24 July's train passing over Malltraeth Viaduct at 07:15.

North Wales Coast Express 27 July

Flint (Glyn Jones).

Rhyl ... and 47 245 on the rear (Roly High).

Colwyn Bay (Darren Durrant).

Deganwy (Jim Ikin).

Crossing Conwy Cob, with the road suspension bridge in the foreground (Garry Stroud)....

... and soon afterwards emerges from the Conwy tubular bridge (Garry Stroud).

Llanfairfechan (Peter Basterfield).

The view from the beach at Llanfairfechan (Jim Ikin).

Passing Llanfairfechan village (Jim Ikin).

After arrival at Holyhead, 60009 heads tender-first to Valley to turn on the triangle of lines there (Peter Basterfield).

The return train poses with Colas Rail tamper DR 77901 at Llandudno Junction (Darren Durrant),

Chester (Anthony Thomas). Note that the 10 August run of this train has been cancelled, which is a shame as this year's 'Rail Day' event at Stockport station was planned to coincide with it. There will still be the stalls and exhibits, though (10:00 - 16:00) and - hopefully - visiting diesel locos from DB Sschenker and DRS.

Manchester Oxford Road oddities

For the duration of the Commonweath Games, TransPennine Express have borrowed two brand-new class 350/3 units, 350 373 and 350 374, from London Midland, in order to strengthen Manchester Airport - Glasgow services which are worked by TPE's own 350/4 sets. These trains take the newly-electrified route via Wigan North Western. Above, on 23 July, 370 373 is on the rear of the 11:09 Glasgow - Manchester Airport departing Manchester Oxford Road.

The diagrams are:

05:00 Manchester Picc - Glasgow Central. 09:07 Glasgow Central-Manchester Airport. 13:00 Manchester Airport-Glasgow Central. 17:06 Glasgow Central-Manchester Airport.

07:00 Manchester Airport-Glasgow Central.11:09 Glasgow Central-Manchester Airport. 15:00 Manchester Airport-Glasgow Central. 19:40 Glasgow Central-Manchester Airport.

Recently, two of the frosted glass panels on Oxford Road's footbridge have been replaced by clear glass ones, although still with embedded wire mesh, creating a new photo opportunity of your camera can see between the wires. The Northern Rail class 150 is working a Southport to Manchester Airport train.

The concrete lift tower behind the train reminds us that the lifts down to the subway at this station, originally installed for parcels traffic and later left disused for years, have been reconditioned and brought back in to service, a boon for passengers from North Wales, as Arriva Trains Wales services usuually arrive in platform 3.

Teddy Bears at the ELR

The East Lancashire Railway celebrated the 50-year life of the Class 14 Locomotives (D95XX in 'old money')  in style over the weekend of 25-27 July,  having lined up ten of the locomotives to celebrate the occasion.

Above: 50 years ago, John Hobbs photographed D9513 just ex-works and straight out of the box, awaiting its first turn of duty outside Swindon Works on 4th October 1964; a subsequent life was to be working at Ashington in the North East of England. Now it is NCB 38 (its National Coal Board livery) on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway but it was working at Bury over the weekend.

John writes: 'These locomotives, of which 56 were built in 1964-65 were built to replace steam pannier tanks and as they were allocated to the Western Region, when new, they did just that,  although the local freight traffic they were built for ebbed away quickly. None were allocated the London Midland Region as they could see easily have wiped out the last ex-GWR steam at Croes Newydd for example.  However they did go to Hull where they replaced 'Austerity' 2-8-0s on trip work there. Although as they cannot work in multiple they were double manned,  so they did not save much money in that application.  They were sold off to industry as surplus to requirements; it's amazing so many survived into preservation as the last example of GWR design philosophy.'

An unfortunate incident occurred on Friday 25 July. The 11:50 Bury to Rawtenstall service had Maroon-liveried D9523 leading and D9524 (in large logo livery as 14 901) behind it double heading. As the train approached Summerseat station, where Greg Mape was waiting with his camera, the front loco was noisy and belching out smoke and flames from the exhaust in spectacular fashion. The train stopped short of the station, the front loco was shut down, and the rear loco struggled to restart the train. D9523 took no part in the remainder of the weekend's events.

D9520 and D9555 approach Chest Wheel Farm Crossing with the 10.30 Bury to Rawtenstall on Saturday 26 July (John Hobbs). The type, known to some as 'Teddy Bears', were not designed for passenger train use, but a proving attractive to heritage railways.

14 901 at Chest Wheel Farm Crossing with the 10.25 Rawtenstall to Heywood on the same day (John Hobbs). The livery and number are artistic licence by the owner, based on the class number, but D9524 was the only number carried in British Railways service. It has also had its original Paxman engine replaced by a Rolls-Royce unit, which is why a sub-class 14/9 has been imagined.

D9539 with the 11.05 Ramsbottom to Bury demonstration freight at Chest Wheel Farm Crossing, again on the same day (John Hobbs). These locomotives are diesel-hydraulics, powered by a Paxman 6-cylinder Ventura 6YJXL engine producing 650 bhp (485 kW), connected to a Voith L217U hydraulic transmission and Hunslet gearbox. The axles are connected by coupling rods (making them an 0-6-0 in steam parlance) and driven by a jack-shaft located under the cab, between the second and third axles.

D9526 and D9537 leave Ramsbottom with the 10.55 Heywood to Rawtenstall (John Hobbs).

D9531 and D9537 pass Ramsbottom Sidings Level Crossing with the 12.16 Rawtenstall to Heywood (John Hobbs). Both locos are residents of the East Lancashire line: D9537 has only just been returned to working order transformed from a 'wreck in just one year, and has been painted in 'desert sand' livery - an experimental colour for the Swindon-built 'Western' diesels.

A closer look at D9537, departing Ramsbottom with a demonstarion parcels train on 26 July (Rowan Crawshaw).

14 901 at Rawtenstall (Rowan Crawshaw).

D9521 & 14 901 with the 11.50 Heywood to Rawtenstall at Ramsbottom Sidings Level Crossing (John Hobbs). Pete Briddon, father of Andrew Briddon, the owner of 14 901, and driver of said machine at the ELR event, has provided an interesting visiting driver's perspective in his weekly blog at - well worth a read, as are many of his other posts for those interested in the practicalities of preservation.

NCB 38 (Alias D9513) and 14 901 stand at Bury on 26 July, before setting back with the stock which will be re-formed into 1Z01 the 19.00 'Bear-Ex' to Rawtenstall (John Hobbs)

The historic sight at Bury as the nine locomotives await departure with 1Z01, the 19.00 departure for Rawtenstall on 26 July (John Hobbs). Has any previous passenger train ever been nontuple-headed by nine locos of the same class?

The 'Bear-ex' (excursion with teddy bears, presumably) near Summerseat (Darren Durrant).

The bizarre scene from the footbridge at Ramsbottom (Rowan Crawshaw). The nickname for the class is said to originate from a comment made by a long-serving engineer at Swindon works: 'We built The Great Bear, now we are building teddy bears.'

Sixties Weekend on the Llangollen Railway

A selection of pictures taken on Saturday 26 July during the Llangollen Railways '60s weekend,' Above, green diesels in evidence as Class 26 D5310 passes the Class 108 railcar at Glyndyfrdwy (George Jones)

High level view of 2-8-0 3802 entering Glyndyfrdwy - taken from the preserved open-top Lancaster bus (George Jones)

Preserved Crosville KW229  (LFM 810), a Bristol LWL6B with ECW B35R body, at Llangollen - a firm favourite. This vehicle was new to Crosville in 1951, and worked for that company until 1970, latterly numbered SLB 229 (Single-deck, Bristol L, Bristol engine) in the company's system.  The current owner is based in the Colwyn Bay area.

A high level view of Berwyn from the open top bus, with the Wickham-built railcar in the station (George Jones).

A busy scene at Llangollen as passengers board the 12:40 departure for Carrog hauled by 2-6-4T 80072.

80072 was artistically 'weathered' for the event to give visitors an impression what steam locos looked like after all engine-cleaning was abandoned in the dark days of the late 1960s. It is seen above at Glyndyfrdwy as D5310 arrives in the background with 13:10 Carrog to Llangollen (Chris Jones-Bridger).

At Glyndyfrdwy with the 12:40 Llangollen to Carrog (Chris Jones-Bridger).

The two-coach non-corridor suburban set hauled by 80072 heads away for Llangollen -  a popular set to ride in even if it is a Travelling Ticket Inspector's nightmare (George Jones).

Just a few of the greatly cared-for 'jalopies' displayed at Glyndyfyrdwy; the two in the foreground seem more redolent of the 50s than the 60s (George Jones)
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