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20 October 2014
Train 1H87, 11:44 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly, passes Bagillt on 16 October, formed of 158 828. Picture by Tim Rogers.
14 October movements - pictures by Tim Rogers
Above, on 14 October, the second day of this autumn's Rail Head Treatment Train programme, 97 302 and 97 304 John Tiley pass Rhyl Marine Lake on the eastbound leg to Crewe, high-pressure water jets in operation clearing leaf slime from the rails. The yellow of the locos suffers from the inevitable effects of working these trains in 'top-and-tail' mode.
This year the train (3S71) departs from its base at the old Crewe loco depot at 18:43 Sundays - Thursdays and visits Machynlleth, Craven Arms and Bidston during the night, then back to Crewe (07:46 to 08:18) before setting off via Chester (09:00), Holyhead (10:46 - 12:01) and back to Crewe. Thus it visits the North Wales Coast on Mondays - Fridays. It appears that the train crew have the option to forego their lunch break at Holyhead and head home straight away: the train shown passed Rhyl at 12:22 instead of the 'booked' 13:21.
On the same day, viewed from the new cycle bridge at Llandudno Junction, the last-built 3-car 'Coradia' unit, 175 116 on 1H89, 13:31 Bangor to Manchester Piccadilly.
With the unmistakable backdrop of the castle and bridges at Conwy, 37 609 and 37 608 bring train 6K41, 14:58 Valley to Crewe flasks, towards Llandudno Junction at 14:23, 113 minutes early. On the rear of the train, on its first outing, is one of the ten new flask wagons built by the W.H. Davis company. These can be distinguished from the existing fleet by their blue livery and the somewhat different shape of the sides. They have been given numbers in the international series: 11 70 9229 001 to 010.
Past Times with Dennis Kerrison - Rhyl Departures
Captions by John Hobbs
Hughes/Fowler 'Crab' 2-6-0 42878 (above) leaves the down main platform at Rhyl, sometime in the late 1950s. It is carrying the old-style reporting number and the train is a nice rake of LMS stock; the turnout for Rhyl shed fills the foreground.
'Patriot' Class 4-6-0 45527 Southport leaves Rhyl on Wednesday 31 January 1962. It is a fine day and the sun quite high, for the winter, so it must be mid-day. This could well be the 12.10 Crewe to Bangor; effectively the winter 'Irish Mail' , which had connections from Euston at 08.20 via a Liverpool train. This was on one of the first trains to go over to EE Type 4 haulage (later Class 40) ; Dennis may have been keen to see a new diesel on this turn but would have been disappointed when 45527 appeared!
'Princess Royal ' Pacific 46207 Princess Arthur of Connaught leaves Rhyl on Saturday 18 February 1961; this could be the 9.20 Crewe to Holyhead; the locomotive would not see the year out as it was withdrawn that Autumn.
BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0 73043, a Patricroft engine around this time, leaves Rhyl during the summer with train 'W191A' circa 1957; the loco has the large 'Cycling Lion' totem on the tender,with nice LMS stock in 'Blood & Custard' livery. Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway 0-6-0's can be glimpsed in the background on Rhyl shed.
BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0 73130 leaves Rhyl on 26 July 1966; nearly 10 years later than the previous view. The new 'British Rail' order is represented by a blue-and-grey liveried vehicle which leads the maroon rake of stock, Rhyl shed is shut, and the loco has a home made number plate; in less than a year steam will have finished on the North Wales Coast. The loco would last until January 1967.
End of Mold Junction shed?
On hearing a rumour that the former Mold Junction locomotive shed, now part of the site of Dobbins, scrap merchants, may be vacated soon, Roly High went along to the adjacent Saltney Ferry Road bridge to take some pictures for us. Opened in 1890 by the London and North Western Railway, primarily to house freight locomotives for the Chester area, along with the adjacent marshalling yard, it closed in 1966.
However, possibly the last loco to leave the site was a Peckett 0-4-0 saddle tank which had worked at the now-vanished Courtaulds textile factory. It was replaced by a diesel and donated to the Llangollen Railway in 1974. However, a few years later it found itself owned by Dobbins and languishing in the disused sidings outside the shed. It was rescued in 1986 and returned to steam, and now can be found at the Stainmore Railway heritage site.
This map is from 1911. The houses in Ewart Street, named to commemorate Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone who lived in nearby Hawarden, were built, along with the school and reading room, for the railway workers, and are still there, although obscured from view by trees. The turntable from Mold Junction found a new home some years after the shed closed, at Rowsley South on the Peak Rail heritage line. A curious feature on the map is the short siding, served by a wagon turntable, to the back of the houses - a sewage disposal system?
The roof of the shed, originally of the sawtooth 'north light' style, was replaced in the 1930s, but as the pictures show it is now it poor condition.
Some very interesting stories have been written about Mold Junction and its shed. Its history and some workers' memories feature in two recent books: The Chester to Denbigh Railway by Roger Carvell (Irwell Press, 2009) and Dad Had an Engine Shed by Anthony J. Robinson (Oakwood Press, 2010) whose father John Robinson held various railway posts in North Wales before becoming shedmaster at Mold Junction. Both authors are good friends of our website and their books can be obtained by following the links from the titles above.
Alongside the shed was a small station, accesses from the road bridge, latterly known as 'Saltney Ferry (Mold Junction)' which was opened around the same time as the shed and must have been popular with the workers. Served mostly by trains on the line to Mold and Denbigh which branched off the Coast route west of the station, it closed in 1962, along with the whole passenger service on the Denbigh line.
Recycling at Tywyn - pictures by Ian Wright
Ian visited the Tywyn area of the Cambrian Coast line on 29 September. Above The bridge over the Dysynni river north of Tywyn, and the new cycle/pedestrian bridge alongside.
Where the line was breached by the January 2014 storms, old concrete sleepers have been used as part of the reinforcements of the repaired trackbed.
Compare the views from September (above) and from our 13 January issue (below).
Picture by Mark Kendall.
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