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17 November 2014
97 302 passes Bangor with train 3S71, Rail Head Treatment Train towards Holyhead on 15 November 2014. Picture by Rowan Crawshaw.
The Screaming Valenta - report by Steve Morris
I had a day out on 15 November as a guest of the Project Miller group who have returned prototype power car 41001 to running order. Yesterday was its first use in public service for 38 years! The day began in Derby (above) at 10.25 with 'The Screaming Valenta' tour made up of a short-formed six-coach East Midlands Trains HST set with power cars 43 045 and 43 054. Several hundred people, guests and fare paying passengers, were on board. The trip began with a run down to Loughborough to join the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) ...
... and onward to Ruddington Fields (above). At this point 43045 was removed and replaced with 41001 for a trip to Loughborough and back ...
... stopping at Rushcliffe Halt on the outbound journey for a photo stop. Sir Kenneth Grange, who was responsible for the external design of both the prototype and series HST power cars was present during the proceedings, can be seen leading against 41011 for a photo opportunity.
43045 was reunited with the set and we travelled back to Derby via reversal at Leicester. A great day out and full marks to the Project Miller team who made all this possible.
The full behind the scenes story of ‘The Screaming Valenta’ will be available only in the 125 Group members’ magazine ‘One Two Five’. To make sure you get your own copy, join the at their website www.125group.org.uk.
[The HST power cars were all originally fitted with Paxman Valenta engines, hence the name of the special.]
Northern Rail loco-hauled
Reports in the on-line press, confirmed by the Realtime Trains website (although shown there as timed for a DMU), suggest that Northern Rail will be running locomotive-hauled extra services on Saturdays from 22 November until the Saturday before Christmas.
08:24 5Z04* Preston - Buckshaw Parkway 08:33
08:35 2Z04 Buckshaw Parkway - Manchester Victoria 09:27
09:32 2Z05 Manchester Victoria - Preston 10:27
10:32 5Z08* Preston - Chorley 10:44
10:45 2Z08 Chorley - Manchester Victoria 11:28
11:37 2Z09 Manchester Victoria - Preston 12:32
12:36 5Z12* Preston - Buckshaw Parkway 12:45
12:47 2Z12 Buckshaw Parkway - Manchester Victoria 13:37
13:52 2Z13 Manchester Victoria - Chorley 14:34
14:36 5Z13* Chorley - Preston 14:48
15:12 2Z16 Preston - Manchester Victoria 16:12
16:17 2Z17 Manchester Victoria - Chorley 16:57
16:59 5Z17* Chorley - Preston 17:12
17:29 2Z29 Preston - Manchester Victoria 18:18
18:29 2Z21 Manchester Victoria - Buckshaw Parkway 19:18
19:21 5Z21* Buckshaw Parkway - Preston 19:31
19:37 2Z24 Preston - Manchester Victoria 20:18
20:28 2Z25 Manchester Victoria - Preston 21:28
21:33 2Z28 Preston - Manchester Victoria 22:15
22.20 2Z29 Manchester Victoria - Preston 23:12
* indicates an empty-stock working. It has been suggested that these are a 'cunning plan' to dislodge any enthusiasts (or 'cranks' in railway staff slang) from spending all day on the train, but there may well be some other reason, such as the need to clean and service the coaches.
Traction, as we understand it, will be top-and-tailed DRS Class 57/3s.
Foxcote Manor needs your help
Llangollen Railway stalwart 7822 Foxcote Manor, pictured above by Martin Evans in action back in 2012, has been out of action for twelve months now requiring a new throat-plate which has now been made and awaits fitting by Llangollen Engineering.
Above, the replacement plate awaiting installation (George Jones).
The repair has necessitated re-tubing the boiler and Foxcote Manor Society volunteers have started taking out the old tubes ready for the new throat plate to be fitted. They then have to fit a new set of tubes and will then start afresh on obtaining a new boiler 'ticket' [insurance certificate]. As the loco was only two and a half years into its existing boiler ticket, this repair has exhausted the Society funds leaving them short for the purchase of the new tubes.
An appeal has been set up to sponsor these new tubes costing £50 each (158 in total) and thanks mainly to the efforts of Graham Hoyland, Society Secretary, several Llangollen members have sponsored these replacement tubes so that 54 have been sponsored already. Sponsors are sought for the remaining 104 tubes at £50 each. Additionally 12 flue tubes costing £650 each are needed, if anyone wants to sponsor one of those. Graham Hoyland can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit the Foxcote Manor website.
The smokebox end with the evidence of all the small and large tubes that now need replacement, 12 large and 127 small (George Jones).
Leaf-busters - and leaves
In the rain and blending in nicely with the autumnal colours of the foliage, 97 304 John Tiley has only had a token front end 'wipe over with a damp cloth' as it approaches the 506-yard Llandygai tunnel heading for Bangor and Holyhead with the Rail Head Treatment Train on 14 November (Peter Basterfield).
97 302 passes along Llandygai Viaduct, east of Llandegai Tunnel, 12 November (Alan Crawshaw).
After a long bike ride on 10 November, Alan Crawshaw captured the return train on the voaduct at Malltraeth.
Pacer memories - by Dave Sallery
While emptying a box in my attic I came across this plastic carrier bag 'celebrating' the introduction of Class 142s to the Wrexham - Bidston line. Today of course, under Welsh law, you couldn't even give the bags away - you'd have to charge 5p for them!
One of the heralded contraptions, 142 067 at Caergwrle on 11 May 1993, looking smart in the first version of 'Provincial Sector' colours. Today, Class 150s work the Borderlands Line and this unit works for Northern Rail, based at Newton Heath depot.
Past Times with Dennis Kerrison - Crabs at Prestatyn
captions by John Hobbs
Above: former LMS 6P5F 'Crab' 2-6-0 42810 leaves Prestatyn on Saturday 29 July 1961, on the weekend before the August Bank Holiday, a day when motive power resources would be stretched to the limit. A nice rake containing LMS stock, at least 12 coaches forming the train, 42810 is allocated to Willesden (1A) although it would soon move on to Birkenhead. In the background the gasholders of Prestatyn Gas Works can be seen with the Dyserth branch running in front of them; the section signal for the Dyserth Branch can be seen which was controlled from a frame at the level crossing at Bryn Rhosyn.
In what seems like another age, 42942 leaves Prestatyn with 1T69, an excursion from Birkenhead (Woodside) to Rhyl, on Spring Holiday Monday 30th May 1966. The loco would work to North Wales again that year and was withdrawn in early January 1967. It was requested to work the train by enthusiasts from the Wirral and required a good deal of spade work as a Driver and Fireman had to be persuaded to take it (it was not in the best of health), the Shed Foreman to diagram it and the loco originally booked for the job, an LMS Class 5 "failed", which also required the connivance of the fitting staff! Once all this was achieved an attempt had been made to clean it, quite a conspiracy really.
Dennis has captured a spirited departure on Saturday 17 June 1961. Jubilee 4-6-0 45591 Udaipur neck and neck with a Stanier 2-6-0 on the down lines, leaving Prestatyn, quite a sound show I would imagine with rasp of the 2-6-0 and the three cylinder beat of the 'Jubilee'; I wonder which one won? The crew on the Jubilee look like they are enjoying the race. This Jubilee is interesting as it is carrying an original combined dome and top feed boiler at this late date.
Llangollen Remembrance - further report, by George Jones
The arrangements put in place on 11 November for commemorating this annual national occasion went well and were appreciated by visitors and staff alike. With 45337 (above) having a headboard and a nameplate in place for the weekend, with the two minute silence due at 11am, it meant the 10:50 departure was delayed, which no one really minded. A gathering of members and visitors on the platform heard Huw Parker (Lt. Colonel Royal Engineers) say the immortal words before the silence was observed.
A ride down the line in bright morning sunshine saw the valley at its autumnal best. Progress on the Chain bridge repair was noted and the work of a hardy bunch of volunteers at Berwyn tackling the lineside vegetation to improve the view across to Llantysilio.
The gathering of members as the two minutes silence approached; it is not often we get so many members together for an occasion such as this for a photo.
The Black 5 on arrival at Corwen East ...
... and a shot from the access ramp which shows that, for the moment, the location is not a great photographic vantage point from this angle.
Footplate crew member Mr Hoyland looking happy
The view from the train of progress at Berwyn where the Chain bridge scaffolding continues to grow in preparation for the structure's refurbishment ...
... the scaffolding is now evident on the north side.
A visiting couple from Irby, Wirral who arrived in costume to take the ride to Corwen on the 13:00. They came back on the last train and reported an interesting afternoon looking around the town with a visit to a pub and the Corwen Workhouse, a.k.a. Corwen Manor, whilst noting the shops were shut - well, it was Sunday, but must do better next season when trains will make the extended journey the norm.
Later in the day, I went to Bonwm to see the last train of the 2014 season making a final approach towards Corwen, and return in what has been a successful, if short, period of extended running. Above, the 'Black 5' approaching the Bonwm Gates heading for Corwen.
By comparison - the scene at the Gates over twelve months ago when the track bed hereabouts awaited track laying which just shows how far we have travelled, thanks to all the hard work of the volunteers and others who have been involved in the phase 1 project. Note the pole, and tree, with the overhead cable with reference to the picture above.
The return working, with the train under the control of the driver in the PCV coach making a contrast with the road traffic - this picure was taken from the site of the former roadside Bonwm Halt where fortunately the lineside hedge has been trimmed back. We did get there - in the end.
The next public services trains to Corwen operate on Boxing Day 26 December for the Mince Pie Season. Santa Specials start on 6 December, but run between Llangollen and Lapland (alias Carrog) only.
Baguley freights - pictures by Greg Mape
Freights on 10 November at Baguley between Stockport and Altrincham. Above, taken from Butcher Lane Bridge, the 09:14 Bredbury to Runcorn 'Binliner' with 66 559. Freightliner operate all the Greater Manchester refuse trains, which recently have been running rather unpredictably between the refuse terminals and various destinations, compared to earlier years when all the refuse travelled to the Scunthorpe area.
About 20 minutes later the 04:40 Westbury to Tunstead empty cement tanks with 66 623 in charge in Bardon Aggregates livery, taken from Brooks Drive Bridge, near the site of Baguley Station. This is the return working of the weekly train which runs on Sundays at 13:54 from Tunstead, arriving in Westbury at 22:30.
Great Western freight scene - with Richard Putley
Mendip Rail 59 001 stabled at Westbury, Sunday 2 November.
On 3 November, Colas 70 806 and 70 809 headed an engineers train on the Up Line through Chippenham at about 09:15. I then caught the 09:25 to London Paddington which overtook the 70s on the four-track section between Challow and Wantage Road. It was on this stretch of the Great Western Main Line that the railway author Adrian Vaughan manned a number of signalboxes in the 1960s before they were all swept away by Reading Panel Box. That in turn has now been replaced by the new Thames Valley Signalling Centre at Didcot. This is one of the 14 Regional Control Centres that Network Rail will ultimately control the whole of the British Railway Network. We shall see.
Some views at Swindon station on 23 October. Above, Freightliner 66 570 hauling a Cardiff –
Southampton container train on the up line at about 14:00. I gather this train was running two hours late.
All the other freights were on time. First DB Schenker 66 192 with a train from Tilbury to Trostre Tinplate works in South Wales.
About 20 minutes later two freights emerged from the Down Goods Loop, where they had been parked to allow passenger trains to overtake them. First 59 001 on down stone empties from Oxford to Westbury...
... followed by 60 059 Swinden Dalesman on Theale - Robeston (Pembrokshire) oil empties.
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