NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
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08 September 2014
Mostyn on 26 August: 175 101, working train 1H90 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly, passes 175 011 on 1D38 13:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno. Picture by Tim Rogers.
Compiler's note: The promised 'extra picture issue' never appeared, after it was discovered that the 25 August issue had vanished from the archive due to a technical 'mishap'. This has now been re-created, or at least part of it. As it has been a quiet week, thanks partly to another disappearance, the non-running of the 'Welsh Mountaineer' steam charter, we have included some catch-up and retrospective pictures here, arranged by photographer for a change. More to come! - Charlie
The proposed Arriva Trains Wales timetable is leading to some disgruntlement among passengers, to the point where they are taking to online petition websites to register their disapproval.
On the North Wales coast, the new loco-hauled morning train to Manchester, which starts from Chester at 07:40, is to run in the path of the current 06:34 from Llandudno which calls all Coast line stations and is used, perhaps to the surprise of Arriva's planners, by people who commute daily to Manchester and must arrive before 09:00. A petition raised by users from Flint has, at the time of writing, gained 38 signatures. Flint, along with some other stations, does have a stop by the Virgin Trains 05:51 Holyhead - London from which passengers can change at Crewe and arrive Manchester Piccadilly 08:46, but Virgin do not serve Abergele or Shotton, nor does the 05:33 Holyhead - Cardiff express which will connect at Chester with the new loco-hauled Manchester train.
However, following complaints and intervention by local politicians, an Arriva spokesman has now said the issue has been resolved by inserting an additional stop into the 05:14 service from Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly (arriving 08:18), which will depart Abergele and Pensarn at 06:20. Whether commuters will be impressed by need to get up half an hour earlier seems unlikely. The new loco-hauled train will be stabled overnight at Crewe, and make its first run of the day to Chester to start from there to Manchester; it seems unfortunate that it cannot leave Crewe earlier and run to Llandudno, or Llandudno Junction, to start from there in the current path.
Also aggrieved are passengers from the Shrewsbury - Chester line. The Shrewsbury to Chester Rail Users Association (SCRUA) understands that Arriva Trains Wales, is investigating plans to axe the 07:47 Wrexham to Birmingham rail service from the timetable from May 2015. Also facing the chop is understood to be the 07:00 from Shrewsbury which arrives in Wrexham at 07:39.
The 07:47 from Wrexham calls at Ruabon, Chirk, and Gobowen and provides an important direct service for commuters and students from NE Wales to the West Midlands and Birmingham Airport. It is very busy train. Records show that there has always been a train to Birmingham at around the same time, even in Great Western days when it ran to Paddington!
What has been suggested is that the Holyhead to Cardiff ‘Premier’ express service, which currently runs non-stop between Wrexham and Shrewsbury, should stop additionally at Ruabon, Chirk and Gobowen. But it runs 15 minutes earlier (currently 07.32 from Wrexham) and passengers for the Birmingham line would face inconvenience and delay to their journeys through having to change at Shrewsbury.
Users affected by this proposal are invited to sign the SCRUA online petition.
Pictures by Stavros Lainas
On Thursday the 28 August at 18:30 Colas 66 846 hauls 'dead' 56 105 and a loaded logs train through Dunham-on-the-Hill.
The Sundays-only Tunstead - Westbury cement train with Freightliner 66 602 just south of Wrenbury at 17:09 on 31 August.
56 105 passes Dunham-on-the-Hill on 1 September with another load of logs for Chirk.
Llandudno sidings relaying starts
Work has begun on the re-instatement of the Cae Mawr sidings on the approach to Llandudno station, a project which has been agreed some time ago but start delayed by various factors including negotiations with neighbouring residents, and the sheer number of engineering work going on around the network which cause the engineers problems in booking trains to transport the materials. The new track will include facilities for locomotives - from excursions, and such - to run round their trains, a facility which was lost with the recent removal of the release crossover between platform lines 1 and 2. Peter Lloyd's view shows the situation on 4 September after four night shifts.
The train is the 11:28 from Llandudno Junction, worked by 158 820. This 158 diagram continues with the 11:44 Llandudno to Manchester and the 14:50 Manchester to Llandudno which returns after another very short turn-round of just four minutes - with little chance to attach the reservations for the return journey - as the 17:05 to Manchester.
In the past week, a team has begun to remove the old, unserviceable track - last used (we think) in the 1990s - and dig out the old ballast. Above is the scene on the morning of Sunday 7 September (Larry Davies). The sidings are on the 'down' side of the line, the station is off the picture to the right.
Over the weekend of 6-8 August there were two overnight 'possessions' of the station area and 66 156 has on both nights worked engineers trains from Crewe Basford Hall yard. Above, the train at Colwyn Bay on the evening of 7 September (Darren Durrant).
Larry Davies photographed the train at Llandudno Junction at 18:03, 7 September. Note that this loco has had its 'EWS' branding removed, and standard German-style 'DB' stickers added.
Pictures by Darren Durrant
Some pictures taken during our visit to Warrington Bank Quay and Earlestown on 29 August. Above, SB Rail tamper 73904 arriving at Warrington Bank Quay for a driver change before heading north.
60 062 on the coal run.
The 'X-Men' Pendolino 390 155, with its nose open, a common occurrence these days. [What happened to the name Rugeley Town?]
37 518 on an West Coast Railways empty stock movement from Carnforth to Crewe passes the soap powder factory at Warrington Bank Quay.
Earlestown: 66 716 takes empty coal wagons from Fiddlers Ferry power station to Liverpool bulk terminal round the single-track chord from Earlestown South Junction to Earlestown West Junction.
60 099 passes through Earlestown. The unusual wagons are steel cassette carriers, as used on Fridays only service from Outokumpu Sheffield to Seaforth dock (Thanks to Jon Ryder for this information.)
60 062 returns through Earlestown.
Pictures by Martin Evans
37 405 waits for the road in Platform 8 at Crewe on 1 September having just come off Gresty Lane depot.
60 020 powers through Gobowen with the 6V75 steel empties for Margam on 5 September.
RCTS Meeting in Chester on Monday 15 September
The Railway Correspondence & Travel Society (RCTS) holds its first meeting of the season at the Town Crier opposite Chester railway station on Monday 15 September at 7.30 p.m.
The meeting has David Walker of Coventry showing his presentation of the railway scene entitled 'All the Colours of the Rainbow.' He is also known as a regular exhibitor at the Northgate Arena Toy and Train Fairs. The society has been holding meetings in the city since 1980.
Visitors will be most welcome to attend on donating £2 to help defray meeting expenses.
A short ride on the WAG Express - with Richard Putley
I noticed that the northbound 'WAG Express' (Cardiff - Holyhead premier service) now calls at Hereford. So on 26 August I decided to pop over to Abergavenny so that I could return to Hereford on the Express. The train was preceded by a Baglan Bay - Chirk Colas log train hauled by 56 113 (above).
The Express, seen at Abergavenny with DVT 82307 leading and 67 002 propelling, was signal-checked at Tram Inn, before the log train was held in the loop line at Hereford to allow the WAG Express to overtake it. Despite it being the evening rush hour there were plenty of vacant seats on the train. A steady stream of people made their way to the buffet car at the front.
Seen at Hereford, the train included the blue and grey first class/buffet car which has seen use recently.
Whilst I was at Hereford, Freightliner 66 515 headed south on coal empties from Fiddlers Ferry to Newport (Gwent) ...
... and 60 017 headed north on a Margam - Shotton steel train, passing an First Great Western HST from the London service stabled in the former refuelling siding with Power Car 43 146 leading.
At Hereford station the footbridge is being refurbished. While this work is in progress a temporary footbridge has been erected at the north end of the station. It provided a good vantage point for taking pictures; above, 60 017 continues its journey through the station.
Western at Chester
On 6 September GB Railfreight ran one of their excursions for their staff, family and friends, and hired privately-owned 'Western' class diesel-hydraulic D1015 Western Champion and a rake of Riviera Trains coaches for the purpose. Planned to run from Chester, the train actually started from Crewe in the morning, and ran to Bishops Lydeard for the West Somerset Railway. The return train did run to Chester, arriving at 23:33, where it was captured on camera by John Mathers. 66 716 was on the other end.
Pictures by Tim Rogers
On 19 August, 175 115 passes an unreconstructed footbridge near Prestatyn as 1D31 16:50 Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno.
With Prestatyn's new shopping centre dominating the horizon, 48151 passes with Blaenau Ffestiniog - Preston return run of what turned out to be the last Railway Touring Company excursion to North Wales for the year, although we are promised one on 20 September operated by 'Steam Dreams' which will feature the the return of 46233 Duchess of Sutherland.
21 August at Mostyn: 221 142 Bombardier Voyager and 221 118, 1A48 13:58 Holyhead to London Euston.
37 194 and 374 02 Stephen Middlemore with 6K41 14:58 Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS) pass Mostyn 45 minutes early on 26 August.
Holywell Junction on 27 August, with 68 011 passing on its crew training run.
Past Times with John Hobbs - Jubilees to the Seaside
The 'Jubilee' Class 4-6-0s based in Leeds made frequent visits to North Wales throughout BR days. In 1965 45562 Alberta was based at Farnley Junction shed and was often in charge of train 1M48, the 09:03 Leeds (City) to Llandudno, which ran via Stockport (Edgeley) and Warrington Arpley but the Jubillee's also worked other Trans Pennine services between Scarborough / Blackpool / Manchester and Leeds / Castelford / Bradford. Above, 45562 at Leeds (City) on 26 June 1965 backing on to the 09:30 Saturdays-only Scarborough to Manchester (Victoria) service.
On the LNWR "New Line" into Leeds City which is currently disused, except for use as a head shunt, BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0 73160 with the 09.30 Manchester (Exchange) to Newcastle passes 'Jubilee' 45581 Bihar and Orissa, again on the 09:30 from Scarborough on 10 July 1965.
Looking the other way (left), 45581 with a 3-cylinder roar heads off towards Huddersfield on the same day, you can nearly hear it shouting. Right, 45694 Bellerophon, near Mirfield with the 13.42 Blackpool (Central) to Castleford; passing 75049 on the 14.33 York to Manchester (Victoria) also on 10 July 1965.
45562 stands at Colwyn Bay with 1M48 to Llandudno on 17 July 1965. One of the 'Birkenhead twins' - now a well known Railtour organizer - cannot decide to get off or go to Llandudno Junction; well, the door is only just off the platform. An English Electric Type 4 creeps along the slow line in the distance.
The same train prepares to leave Llandudno Junction; the 'calling on' arm (low on the signal post) is 'off' so the gates must be shut at the level crossing. The signalman will be looking for a break in the traffic to swing the gates. [Pictures taken today from this position will not be published!]
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