NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
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11 August 2014
70 808 passes Hafod Woods footbridge, Johnstown, near Wrexham on Wednesday 6 August with train 6C43 Wrexham General - Bescot, formed on wagons which have brought materials for the - redoubling of the Rossett - Saltney Junction line. Picture by John Mathers.
On Conwy Mountain
Peter Lloyd climbed Conwy Mountain to bring use these two views taken on 6 August. A pair of Holyhead-bound 158s are seen above at Conwy Morfa ...
... and a Chester bound 175 is leaving Penmaenbach tunnel.
Scenes of the Rossett re-doubling - report by Mark Riley
Work continues on the project to re-double the line between Rossett and Saltney Junction, or as the sign on the compound says the North South Wales Journey Time Reduction Scheme (though it's benefiting England too as most of the double line will actually be in England).
At the end of July, the existing single line was slewed as shown above to allow for the installation of new points. This section of track was also renewed at the same time.
Seen on the rather dull morning of 30 July, a Virgin Voyager heads north past the works compound at Rossett with the 07:00 Wrexham General - London Euston service.
A busy scene at Rossett on August 4, during the possession and line closure from August 2 - 10, looking south from the footbridge. The new points can just be seen in the distance. New track also extends over Station Road foot-crossing now.
A view looking north from the road bridge giving a better idea of the future alignment of up and down lines at this location.
A view south from Station Road, Rossett showing a section of the single line which has been renewed, From this point on, the track remains single towards Wrexham.
looking North on the afternoon of 9 August, showing the newly installed points and a hive of activity at Rossett.
Pulford level crossing had been closed for some time, but was open again by 9 August. The photos show the widening and the new section of track spanning the road. This looking south...
...and north. So far, the workers had been very lucky with the weather - until the arrival of the wet weather remnants of Hurricane Bertha which hit the region the next day!
Saturday 9 August was a bad day for commuters forced onto the roads due to the line closure between Wrexham and Chester. Road works at the Post House roundabout caused traffic chaos. Spare a thought for those in the photo who were stuck here for up to 3 hours! Traffic was backing up to Rossett, and the Police had closed the northbound slip road when I passed by. I had no idea about any road works - and there were definitely no warning signs at all - so I was very lucky to be able to exit at the slip road for Burton/Rossett at the time I was travelling. Everyone accepts that roadworks are a necessary nuisance, but this was just poor planning and no communication; drivers had no advanced warning of it until they reached Rossett. And why were these road works allowed to go ahead when they knew the single line was closed with an obvious increase in traffic?
Also remember the drivers of the shuttle buses operating between Wrexham General and Chester and how difficult it must have been for them. My friend says her bus went via Holt and Farndon to Chester! Above, the queue of traffic stretching north. Sadly, advice to avoid the area filtered through too late for many here. It does illustrate how vital a railway line is for travel today and the possible repercussions if it is closed for whatever reason.
The work to double the line between Rossett and Saltney Junction has seen a lot of freight activity in the Wrexham area. On 6 August, just after 07:00, 66 957 heads south towards Johnstown working back to Basford Hall, with empty ballast wagons from the work site the previous night.
At 08:55 the same morning, Colas Class 70 70 804 gets under way from Wrexham General with a rake of side-tipping ballast wagons, another Crewe B.H-Saltney Jct working from the previous night.
And at 18:30 that evening, another Colas Class 70 70 808 arrives at Wrexham General with a long rake of empty flats, working as 6C43 Wrexham General-Crewe Basford Hall. Trains with a 6C code were Colas operated and 6Y codes usually Freightliner Class 66s.
Seen opposite the 'Railway' pub car park at Rhosddu was 66 548 the same evening, at the rear of a train of JNA wagons loaded with ballast for the work site. 66 515 was at the front, but out of sight at the time.
On 8 August, 66 951 accelerates through Wrexham at 10:55 with a long rake of empty Auto-ballasters, again bound for Basford Hall. More Rssett views will appear in the next issue.
News in brief
Nick Gurney writes: 'While working around Porthmadog I noticed that the work on repairing the storm damage on the station building was coming to an end, with all the scaffolding being removed. I took this photo on Friday afternoon 8 August when all was finished. There were also three Network Rail guys in the car park taking photos with a iPad.
'Compare my photo taken on 13 February the day after the storm.'
67 002 arriving at Crewe on the morning of 4 August wiith the Holyhead - Cardiff express, diverted for the week while the Wrexham route was closed for engineering works.
The attractiveness of this year's Stockport station 'Rail Show' on August 10th was reduced by wet weather and the Railway Touring Company's unfortunate decision to cancel the steam train which was to have called during the event. However, DB Schenker and DRS did provide guest locomotives in the form of 60 001 (its Mirrlees engine built in Stockport) and 57 309 Pride of Cheshire which had to be positionsed at the outer end of Platform 3a in case it was required to go off and rescue something.
Events like this one do offer a chance for a close look at locomotives: above, the view into and through 60 001 through one of its side grilles.
Rapid progress at the Dwyrain Corwen East Station
Report and pictures (with permission) by George Jones
There was a momentous occasion for the Llangollen Railway on Friday 8 August, with the arrival of a gauging train at the site of the Corwen temporary station. A test train of three diesel railcars ventured west of Carrog to check out the clearances at structures along the 2½ mile railway extension. The train was driven by the chairman of Llangollen Railway Trust, Elizabeth Harland, who took the opportunity to congratulate the volunteer members of the extension project team on the completion of the track laying exercise. The picture above shows some of the project team meeting the Chairman in front of the railcar at the Corwen railhead.
The running of the gauging train was possible thanks to all the work undertaken to have the new track ballasted and then packed and aligned with the aid of a hired-in tamper machine. In addition, work is well under way by contractors, Grosvenor Scaffolding of Bagillt, to erect the 100-metre long temporary platform which will provide the passenger facility at the Dwyrain Corwen East station. The completion of all infrastructure works will shortly allow for the track extension to be inspected with a view to being declared fit for the operation of passenger trains.
Earlier the railcar was captured en route passing the site of the former Bonwm Halt as seen in the photograph above.
However, before trains can run into the station at Dwyrain Corwen East, a further stage of construction requires the erection of a 38 metre long ramp off the platform end to connect with a footpath coming up from ground level. This is a complex task designed to meet modern standards which will allow for disability access on an appropriately graded structure. The completion of tasks is rapidly coming to a conclusion and, when all arrangements come together, we will then be able to announce a date for the opening of train services to Corwen. This will be the completion of a 40-year dream.
The six coach gauging train alongside the scaffolding which forms the basis of the temporary platform at Dwyrain Corwen East station.
Loco variety at Crewe - picture by Martin Evans
A few pictures of some loco variety at Crewe on 5 August. Above: Colas Rail 70 810 departs from Crewe for Saltney Junction, Chester with an engineers train, connected with the redoubling of the Rossett to Saltney Junction section of the Wrexham to Chester line which was closed from 2 August to 10 August inclusive to allow these works to proceed.
The rear view as the train heads for the Chester line. This is the tenth and last of these Colas locos, which incorporate some improvements based on experience gained with Freightliner's Class 70 locos.
GB Railfreight 66 742 ABP Port Of Immingham 1912-2012. famously named by Michael Portillo for one of his TV shows, waits for the road at Crewe with a route learning/crew training special.
Freightliner locos 86 627 and 90 049 wait to move on to their depot, having run in to Platform 10 at Crewe. 86 627, built in 1965 as E 3110, is one of the oldest electric locos still in UK service. It appears to have lost its name The Industrial Society.
Kids' Training Week - with Jack Bowley
I went out on the evening of 4 August to chase the Ffestiniog / Welsh Highland Railway annual Kids' Training Week special to Beddgelert, which this year featured Penrhyn Quarry Hunslet Linda and guest loco from the Statfold Barn Fiji along with a rake of seven Ffestiniog Railway carriages. Above, the train passes over Britannia Bridge, Porthmadog shortly after departing Harbour station en route to Beddgelert.
After a quick change of footplate passengers, perfect reflection as Linda leads Fiji over Afon Croesor for Beddgelert.
The Return of Russell, WHHR - report by George Jones
The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway celebrated the return of the veteran 2-6-2T Russell from its prolonged restoration. with a weekend of running on 2 - 3 August. It is ten years since the loco was withdrawn from traffic and a chance to ride behind the former Welsh Highland Railway loco was not to be missed. On Sunday the Railway was offering a half hourly shuttle service to Pen-y-Mount Junction and my party joined the 12 noon departure which stopped at the Museum for passengers on the way to the terminus. The train was made up with a rake of heritage coaches providing rather more seats than the patronage on offer, but plenty of seating variety to choose from. Above, the loco runs past at Pen-y-Mount.
Choosing to stop over at Pen-y-Mount to get the action shots of departure and arrival, the wait proved rather longer than the promised time interval at what is a lonely spot devoid of facilities. It became apparent on the return that, whilst the loco was running well generally, there was an issue with some aspect of the pump for the air brake and a top up was necessary during the stop at Gelert's Farm.
However the visit provided the photo opportunities of the Hunslet machine back in action. Russell is is notable for me as being my first preserved narrow-gauge loco, as seen at Tywyn Wharf in 1957, although I didn't appreciate its significance at the time. It was built in 1906 for the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways, which later metamorphosed into the Welsh Highland.
The cab of Russell was at one time cut down to allow it to work through the tunnels of the Ffestiniog line, as can be discerned in this old (1930s?) view from our website archive of it arriving at Beddgelert with a train from Dinas. In the foreground is a train for Portmadoc hauled by Little Giant. Note the stationmistress in Welsh costume.
Our canine companion Prince likes a bit of train spotting having been on most of the Welsh narrow-gauge lines.
Later, at the Harbour Station the visiting loco Fiji was found offering footplate rides.
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