NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE
|Home | Notice Board | Travel
Info | Calendar | History
| Route Guide | The
Trains | For Railfans | Links | Contact
24 November 2014
Steam trains passing at Chester, 22 November 2014 (Picture by Anthony Thomas). See report below.
A Day in the Life: All the items below are from one day, 22 November. Many Thanks to everyone who has contributed. Tune in on Friday 28th for an extra with the usual mixture. - Charlie
Bittern on the Cathedrals Express
Train 1Z85 was the London Euston-Chester 'Cathedrals Express' charter, hauled by A4 pacific 4464 Bittern in its striking Garter Blue livery as used by the London and North Eastern Railway for this class from 1937, seen near Beeston Castle between Crewe and Chester (Ian Pilkington).
Another view near Beeston (Eric Scott).Designer of the A4s, Sir Nigel Gresley, was a hobby ornithologist, and chose the names for birds for several of the A4s, including Bittern and Mallard. Sadly, some of the other names were later removed, mostly in favour of names of LNER company directors, such as 'Walter K. Wigham' in place of 'Sea Eagle.'
Roly High's telephoto view illustrates the changes in gradient as 4464 approaches Chester station, passing 158 832 on the Chester - Crewe shuttle service.
Arrived at Chester (Anthony Thomas). Bittern (60019 in British Railways numbering) holds the record for the highest speed for a preserved steam locomotive, having had special permission to run at 90 mph on some special trains in 2013. Plaques on the side of the boiler, in the same style as those on sister loco Mallard which holds the all-time world record for steam, commemorate this event.
The whole train headed out of Chester to turn on the triangle west of Chester station. (Peter Basterfield).
Returning to the station (Anthony Thomas). Any future installation of overhead electric wires at this point will find the Hoole Road bridge a serious obstacle.
The angle of the sun at Chester was such that cast shadows of enthusiasts appeared (as one onlooker described) as 'terracotta anoraks' (Larry Davies).
Departure from Crewe with the return 17:10 Chester- Euston 'Cathedrals Express' (Chris Morrison).
A quick move to Stafford by train by Chris Morrison secured a second shot of Bittern on the fast line through the station. The ability of modern digital cameras to take pictures of this kind would amaze the photographers of the 1930s.
The Christmas Cheshireman
Train 1Z92 on 22 November was the 'Christmas Cheshireman' excursion from Bristol Temple Meads to Crewe via Chester. The advertised traction was 'Battle of Britain' pacific 34067 Tangmere but this was unavailable so Ian Riley's stalwart 'Black Fives' 44871 and 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier stepped into the breach. We pick up the journey at Hereford (above) where Richard Putley was observing events.
The train arrived at Hereford at 09:43 and had to stand on the Down Goods line while the locos uncoupled; this meant the tour passengers could not get out. The locos ran light engine to the north end of the Up Goods Line, then wrong line along the Up Passenger line and into Platform 4, the north-facing bay platform from where fire engines were deployed to fill up their tanks.
While this was going on Richard walked out of the station and along to a bridge near the site of the old Brecon Curve junction, where the former Midland Railway line to Brecon used to diverge. A
short stub remains in situ as far as the Bulmers Cider Works but it is now disconnected. The tour then departed at 10:43; notice that the tenders and not exactly piled high with coal.
Approaching Ruabon (Martin Evans). On this occasion a diesel locomotive on the rear of the train was considered unnecessary.
Wrexham General (George Jones). The train passed 20 minutes late after delays in taking water at Chirk where the two locos had to be served from one fire service tender.
Passing Chester the racecourse (Peter Basterfield).
Chester (Larry Davies).1Z92 0731 Bristol Temple Meads to Crewe with Black Fives 44871 and 45407
The Lancashire Fusilier (Anthony Thomas). 45407, built by Armstrong Whitworth in 1937, is, with 44871, owned by the Ian Riley company, based at Bury, home of the Lancashire Fusiliers museum, and the name was bestowed on the loco to mark the connection.
Departure for Crewe (Roly High).
Near Beeston Castle between Chester and Crewe (Ian Pilkington).
The return train, photographed at Wrexham by George Jones, also ran late...
... but at least the enforced stop at Wrexham waiting for a passenger train, the 17:45 departure from Wrexham, to reach Gobowen allowed for a good picture. It was later reported running 81 minutes late at Craven Arms, but this was reduced to 52 minutes late on the final approach to Bristol Temple Meads.
More night moves - pictures by Chris Morrison
46233 Duchess of Sutherland rolls into Birmingham International with a return charter from London Euston to Sheffield on 22 November.
The Duchess powers away from Birmingham International.
The Rail Heed Treatment Train curves into Chester station on the return journey from Crewe, 22 November (Peter Basterfield). 97 303 leads, with a newly-cleaned 97 304 on the rear.
Arriving on the through line at Chester station (Anthony Thomas).
'After the Lord Mayor's show comes the muck cart' as the old saying goes. As Bittern brings its train back into Chester station (see above) steam-minded photographers are probably hoping not to include 97 304 as it pauses on the through line (Roly High).
It's a a busy moment at Chester: 97 303 waits as 175 104, working the 12:50 Manchester - Llandudno, uses the mid-platform crossover to get past an eastbound 175 standing at the far end of Platform 3 (Larry Davies).
The view from the bridge as 175 104 has collected its passengers and gets the 'right away.'
The same train near Beeston Castle on 22 November. (Ian Pilkington).
Also to be seen at Chester is the Wirral lines RHTT, formed of Network Rail paired MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) DR 98902/98952 (Larry Davies), seen pausing in the sidings at 11:55 on 22 November before heading home to its base at Wigan. Northern Rail 'Pacer' 142 055 in bay Platform 6 is the 11:57 to Manchester via Northwich.
DR 98952 looks much cleaner than its sister (Roly High).
Diesel passenger news
The excitements at Chester on 22 November seem to have overshadowed some events elsewhere, such as a Holyhead - Cardiff 'Rugby Special' using the Premier Express stock with Driving Van Trailer 82307 ....
... and Chiltern Railways locomotive 67 013, now nameless following the theft of one of its nameplates. Pictures by Jack Bowley on the approach to Colwyn Bay.
Hereford (Richard Putley).
The freight train was the Saturdays only Alexandra Dock - Bescot china clay working, booked to layover here at lunchtimes. Locomotive is 66 024 (Richard Putley).
Manchester area enthusiasts (and normal passengers) were treated to the first Saturday of pre-Christmas Saturday loco-hauled specials on the Manchester Victoria - Preston line as forecast in the last issue, where timings are listed. Above, 48 818 on the rear of the 13:52 Manchester Victoria - Chorley departing from Victoria. On the front was Northern Belle-liveried 47 790 Solway Princess. Note the overhead line gantries now in place on this section (Charlie Hulme).
North Wales Coast home page | Archive | Previous Notice Board