NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
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07 October 2014
The Llangollen Railway's DMU event on 4 October saw trains running west of Bonwm to Colomendy Curve short of Corwen East station which is not quite complete. Picture by George Jones.
Note: additional items added to this issue at 13:00 Tuesday 7 September.
Railcars to Colomendy Curve - report by George Jones
With a half-hourly Llangollen Railway service on offer for the Railcars 60th anniversary event, there was likely to be plenty of opportunity to capture trains west of Bonwm as they ran to Colomendy Curve short of Corwen East. The overnight rain having cleared North East Wales, the sun came out and produced another blue sky day with excellent visibility and rhe autumnal tones just being to show.
By taking the route 5 hourly bus to Powys Country House at Bonwm, I used the opportunity to walk along the A5 to Corwen and photo the trains in action on the straight stretch - a long felt need and the opportunities spread over 90 minutes exceeded expectations. At Bonwm Gates (above) where the autum shadows now grow long, the Wickham unit came through.
A 'forced march' to a location past bridge 28 secured shots of the return trip.
The rail replacement bus X94 from Wrexham to Barmouth/Abermaw, now operated by GHA, passes ... without the train in sight - it would have made a nice contrast.
I walked on to region of bridge 28A, where the class 104 then appeared and provided 'in the landscape' shots ...
... before the return working was captured from the overbridge.
Finally, after walking into Corwen for a chip buttie, a further walk got me back to Colomendy in time to see the mixed formation 127/108 reverse from the stop point.
Then a walk back into Corwen for the route 5 bus took me back to Berwyn (above) in time to see the 127/108 set on its return to Llangollen, the bus having beaten it by a 'short head'.
My use of public transport for this sortie worked out as planned and allowed for the car to be left at home. Relying on the bus gave me some flexibility, and exercise, without having to worry about where to park the car to access the footpath along the road. The road was certainly busy at times as the traffic comes by in 'flights' due to the traffic lights outside Corwen and at Llangollen which store up the flow. The comments on the Corwen archive pages of the LR website regarding need for care of this section of the road are very appropriate:
'The view of the railway between Carrog and Corwen will allow for some excellent photography. A word of warning, however. The A5 is narrow and fast with very few spaces for parking. It will be best to leave the car in the ample parking area at Corwen and walk the mile or so to the viewpoint near bridge 28A.'
Organiser Evan Green-Hughes says: 'We are well pleased with the support given to the event when passenger numbers exceeded expectations and feel the anniversary occasion was celebrated in good style. The fish-and-chip special train on Saturday evening was particularly successful keeping the Signalbox Cafe at Llangollen station busy with assorted orders for everthing with chips prior to the trains departure.'
At Llangollen on the same day there were 47 delegates at the Annual Railcar Convention from heritage railways across Britain who also operate diesel units alongside steam. Delegates shared their experiences of railcar operations and developments on the lines on which they operate. The photographic exhibition celebrating 60 years of operations in the railway's convention coach proved popular with visitors, many of whom did not realise the diesel powered vehicles had been around for so long. Also popular was a a railcar cinema show with the screening of British Transport Films from the 1950s about the introduction of railcars and training for drivers to adapt to the new trains.
This was the first of two national events to be held at Llangollen Railway during October with the annual Carriages Convention to be held on 18/19 October when delegates will attend to consider how heritage railway coaching stock can be best restored and maintained. These occasions keep Llangollen Railway in the top pecking order among the many heritage railway in Britain which all contribute to the tourism in their regional economies.
'The Madcap Looper' 22 November 2014 - by John Mathers
We are pleased to announce a private tour of the Bala Lake Railway network on Saturday 22 November, including lines not normally used for passenger workings, provisional details are as follows:
The use of diesel loco Lady Madcap has been requested, very rare traction on a passenger working and those in the know suggest it to be many years since its last passenger outing if ever. The route requested includes Bala and Llanuwchllyn loops which are not in normal passenger use;
Llangower loop which is rarely used; Use of one of the carriage shed roads up to the shed doors.
A run up to the stop block near to the caravan park at Bala and past the water tower at Llanuwchllyn.
The private train will consist of the Penrhyn Quarryman's coach and the yellow Dinorwic truck - please note that this is open stock so wrap up warm. Tickets for this trip are limited and are priced at £20.00 per person with no reductions and are only available on a first come first served basis, so we suggest you make your booking as soon as possible. Anyone wanting to express interest please email
stating your name / address / contact number / email address / number of tickets required and the names of all passengers in the party. Note that tickets can only be allocated once a cheque for £20 per person is received as soon as possible.
All tickets will be issued as an e-ticket via email. Tickets are available only from the above address and not through the Bala Lake Railway. A provisional start time at the railway of 11am has been requested and will be confirmed closer to the date. You will be required to make your own transport arrangements to / from the railway. If the required numbers in order to run this trip are not reached, the tour will be cancelled and all cheques will be returned to the original sender. No refunds for any on the day no-shows. The organisers cannot be held liable for any delays, cancellations, alterations to traction / route, mishaps or other events that may arise on the day which are beyond their control.
On 6 October Network Rail loco 97 304 John Tiley was running from the Class 97/3 depot at Coleham (Shrewsbury) - Bidston - Wrexham - Bidston- Coleham, to enable the staff to refresh their route knowledge for the autumnal Rail Head Treatment Trains. Andrew Vinten's picture above shows it at Heswall on the Wirral returning to Coleham in the late afternoon sun.
On 30 September, eastbound flask train 6K41 leans into the curve at Talybont, 56 minutes early - photographed by Peter Basterfield (from the right side of the fence.) 37 601 and 37 194 were the locos in charge, with three FNA wagons in tow.
On 3 October the 'Northern Belle' train ran from Lincoln via Nottingham, Derby, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury to Chester, returning after a five-hour stay in Chester via Warrington, Manchester Victoria, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent , Derby and Nottingham. Quite a tour. Martin Evans photographed the train at Gobowen, slowing for a signal check as it was following an Arriva Trains Wales late-running Holyhead service. 47 790 Galloway Princess leading ...
... and 47 828 on the rear (Martin Evans).
47 790 makes its way across the Roodee Viaduct into Chester (Bob Greenhalgh).
Green Lane crossing, south of Saltney Junction on the Wrexham line, still awaits its enhancement to double track on 1 October as 66 148 passes with the New Cumnock to Padeswood cement works (Penyffordd) coal train (Bob Greenhalgh).
66 118, in new DB Schenker livery, passes from the Derby line at Crewe over to the through road with a consist of empty steel wagons on 2 October (Martin Evans).
A curious sight at Crewe on 2 October as Network Rail Driving Van Trailer 82111 arrives at Crewe at 16:10 with a Northampton to Derby Rail Technical Centre working. Arriva Trains Wales class 67 67 003 is tucked inside ...
... with DVT 82145 on the rear. Pictures by Martin Evans. This was a driver training run in preparation for use of these Driving Van Trailers onthe new 'Plain Line Pattern Recognition' (PLPR) trains which can take a high-definition video at high-speed, which is then processed to automatically flag up and defects in the track. The PLPR coach itself was not in the formation. Note the backs of lights of the nose to illuminate the track ahead for better video. The usual power will be a Class 67 for its high maximum speed, with a camera-fitted DVT each end. 82111 / 82124 / 82129 / 82145 are now owned by Network Rail for use in thes trains.
Ride the 'Pretendolino' - with Railway Magazine
At the end of October Virgin Trains is standing down its ‘Pretendolino’ set of Mk3 coaches, returning it to the leasing company. To mark its farewell in style, and as previewed in the October edition of The Railway Magazine, the set will work one final enthusiast charter train on 25 October, and you can be part of what will be a charity special, as proceeds from the event will go to the Royal British Legion – an appropriate cause in this the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
The Railway Magazine has joined forces with both Virgin Trains and DRS to promote this farewell train which will be called ‘The Welsh Warrior’, and will traverse some unusual track. Starting from Crewe (approx 08.20/08.30), the charity charter will run to Holyhead and back in top-and-tail mode throughout, with a pair of DRS Class 37s at the standard class end, and a Class 57 at the first class end. One of the 37s is expected to be No. 37 409, and the 57 is likely to be No. 57 301.
The route (subject to final confirmation by Network Rail) will be: Crewe, Gresty Green, then with the 37s leading via Crewe independent lines, Sandbach, Northwich, Chester (pick up), Bangor (set down outward, pick up return) to Holyhead, where there will be a 40 minute break. The train will return along the North Wales coast line with the Class 57 leading to Llandudno Junction, where a short trip will be made down the Conwy Valley branch to North Llanrwst (subject to gauging), before returning to the ‘junction’ and heading to the popular resort of Llandudno for a break of at least two hours.
From Llandudno, the excursion will run east to Chester, then reverse direction, and with the pair of Class 37s leading will attack the four miles of 1-in-82 gradient up Gresford bank on its way to Shrewsbury, returning to Crewe via Telford, Bushbury curve and Stafford. Expected time back at Crewe is 20.30/21.00.
Bookings for this special are now open and can be made by calling the Railway Magazine’s customer services team on 01507 529529. Lines will be open 8.30am to 7pm, Monday to Friday and 8.30am to 12.30pm Saturday. We regret that due to the time-scale there is no facility for postal bookings.
Ticket prices are £65 standard class and £100 first class – which will include a cooked breakfast plus a light bites snack box in the afternoon. All seats will be allocated at the time of booking, and the maximum number of seats per booking will be eight. The closure date for bookings is 17.00 on Friday, October 17 (or earlier if all tickets are sold). This is to allow for delivery of tickets and final itinerary. There will be some disabled seating, but this is very limited due to the internal seating formation.
The train’s buffet will be open for most of the journey offering tea, coffee, soft drinks and hot and cold snacks. There will also be a trolley service of refreshments.
During the journey, there will be a raffle for some unique prizes including a cab ride in a DRS locomotive, a session in a Virgin Pendolino driver simulator, a headboard from the special, model railway items and magazine subscriptions. All monies from the raffle will be added to the ticket money being donated to the Royal British Legion.
Wirral Bus and Tram show, 5 October - report by George Jones
The annual show at Birkenhead Woodside on 5 October produced a fine assembly of vintage transport with reps from all over the North West and beyond. For me the star attraction was the line up of Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport vehicles in their green and cream liveries at Pacific Road. Early on (picture above), this featured AEC Regent III A36, 'Baby Grand' tram 245 and AEC Regent IV A267 as examples from my schooldays...
... later joined by Atlantean L501 and the Guy overhead line maintenance vehicle, all well remember from 50-60 years ago. Sadly, the 'Baby Grand' tramcar was not operational with several snags still to be sorted and 60 hours of running-in before it is commissioned - however it was great to see the car outside with its bus associates, even if they did see the trams off the road in the late 50s.
Elsewhere. the tramway was operating with Liverpool 762 and Wallasey 78, plus Lisbon 730 (see left column) and the two Hong Kong-built trams, although Birkenhead No.20 was sidelined with a fault. A good crowd was in attendance.
Plenty of favourite buses, including some Crosville examples from North Wales. Above, ERG52 (UFM 52F) dual-purpose ECW-bodied Bristol RELL6G built in 1968, as well as the two Bristol L-series buses KW 172 and KW 229 which have featured many times on these pages.
Bury Corporation 201 (GEN 201), showing a famous Bury destination, is Leyland PD3/6 with Weymann H41/32RD body built in 1958.
Salford City Transport PD2/40 179 (WRJ 179) came with its own bus stop - your website editor remembers these buses well adding a touch of green to the 1960s Manchester city centre, and a forward entrance which seemed very odd to those used to rear open platforms.
50 Years of Duchesses - by John Hobbs
46254 City of Stoke on Trent passes Crewe Coal Yard, on 30 August 1964 with the Sunday 'Mid Day Scot' 12.15 Euston to Glasgow which was booked to be steam hauled. Was it steam the following Sunday, the last day of the summer timetable, does anybody know?
46256 Sir William A. Stanier FRS passes Crewe North Depot and heads down the Independent Lines to Salop Junction with train 3A34, the 12:10 Holyhead to Euston to Willesden empty vans on Saturday 5 September 1964; was this the last "Princess Coronation" pacific to leave Holyhead, does anybody know?
46240 City of Coventry enters Crewe station with the 8.20 am Carlisle and 8.50 Barrow-in-Furness to Birmingham (New Street) on Saturday 5 September 1964. These locomotives were now banned from working south of Crewe so it was removed here and ran to the shed light-engine.
The classic platform view as 46256 waits at Crewe to depart with 'The Scottish Lowlander' on 26 September 1964, a tour organised to mark the final days of the Duchess pacifics. Who would have thought that 50 years later such a trip could be repeated; do we realise how lucky we are with our modern railway that such things can take place.
The train ran to Carlisle behind 46256, where 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley took over for a record-breaking climb over the Waverley Route. It is seen amongst the crowds at Hawick, in the days when such mass trespass was permitted by the authorities; nowadays such activities are prohibited.
The 1965 Scottish Lowlander again, this time with 60009 Union of South Africa, which had taken over the train at Niddrie West Junction on the outskirts of Edinburgh before heading for Carlisle via Glasgow and the Glasgow and South Western route. This is Kilmarnock in the days when photo opportunities were more frequent.
Here is 46233 Duchess Of Sutherland, cosmetically restored for display at Heads Of Ayr Holiday Camp, outside the Crewe Works Paint Shop on 30 August 1964. The purchase of the locomotive by Butlins accidentally made possible its restoration to working order some years later.
50 years later and the 'Scottish Lowlander' took to the rails again in commemoration. Above, 46233 Duchess of Sutherland leaves Carlisle Citadel, after a photo opportunity which required several platform alterations to accommodate the normal train service, all of which was much appreciated by the tour participants on 27 September 2014.
46233 & 60009, which took the train on a circular tour via the West Coast Main Line (The Waverly line having closed in the late 1960s) and the Glasgow and South Western, pose together on the return at Carlisle; on this day however no alighting was permitted between departure and return to Carlisle. The 'Duchess' was 'nursed' on her section of the tour due to a suspect right-hand side driving wheel bearing; the A4 however was rather sprightly on several occasions with speed in the high seventies.
45699 Galatea replaced the ailing Duchess at Carnforth for a sparkling run to Crewe which finished off a grand day with three steam locomotives which was a stunning effort by West Coast Railways and the Railway Touring Company.
Inspires by our feature in the last issue, Denis Bates sends this picture taken at Bangor in May 1960 featuring 46241 City of Edinburgh looking very smart, but possibly not in great technical condition, as Denis recalls a locomotive change was in progress. Close inspection of the picture confirms this: the shunter (or fireman?) can be seen on the ground between the loco and Mk 1 brake-second coach M34097, and one can just make out the 'calling-on' signal arm cleared for 46241 to draw forward as far as the next signal. The replacing loco looks like a rebuilt 'Royal Scot' with a regimental nameplate. Can anyone cast any light the event?
Rogues Gallery - a comment by Charlie Hulme