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02 February 2015
Not North Wales, but a favourite loco of many, and a fine photograph by Ian Pilkington: 46233 Duchess of Sutherland heads 'The Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express' towards Shap Summit at Salterwath on Saturday, 31 January.
Crewe, 27 January (above): The DRS Daventry - Coatbridge intermodal service pulls away at 14:05 behind 66 434. This loco once wore a special livery for the W.H.Malcolm company which sponsors this train, but has reverted to the normal Direct Rail Services 'compass' version. Picture by Martin Evans.
One of the first few Class 319 electric units to be transferred from the South-East to Northern Rail, 319 362, shows off its new Northern livery (as yet devoid of branding) on a crew training run through Crewe on 27 January (Martin Evans). The colour scheme uses a different main body colour than the Northern Class 323, one of which can be glimpsed in the background.
It had been hoped to begin electric working between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool Lime Street (via Newton-le-Willows) in December 2014, but the current target is now May 2015. A total of 14 units is promised; as can be seen, the bodies are very similar to the Class 150 diesel units, except for the cab area which includes the emergency end door which was a requirement for operation in single-track tunnels. The cab itself is about the same size as a 150, but there is no vestibule behind the cab, which gives more passenger space and hence the cab doors are further forward. The 319s were introduced for the re-opening in 1987 of the Thameslink connection across London, and were built, like the Class 150s on which they are based, at York Works.
DRS continue to provide a 'Thunderbird' loco at Polmadie, Crewe, Stafford, Preston and Euston ready for use in any rescue missions. 57 304 Pride of Cheshire is seen stabled at Crewe on 27 January (Martin Evans). An interesting snippet of information that comes to hand regarding 57 307 Lady Penelope, the only one of these locos to retain its Virgin Trains-applied TV-inspired name. The other plates were sold at auction to raise money for charity, and in order to keep the plates DRS made a donation of £5000 to the Railway Children organisation.
Darren Durrant photographed the London - Carlisle 'Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express' on Saturday 31 January passing Casey Lane outside Crewe. Electric loco 86 259 Les Ross, which normally hauls the train on its non-steam portion, had failed and been replaced by West Coast Railways locos 47 237 and 47 746.
57 316 pulls into Crewe platform 12 with train of First Great Western HST coaches from Old Oak Common depot to the Wabtec works at Kilmarnock ...
...on the rear was 47 760 which came off and attached to the front for the remainder of the journey to supply extra power over the northern gradients (Darren Durrant).
319 363 stabled in Platform 10 (Darren Durrant). This was being moved from Wolverton to Allerton, following a refresh, on 3 January, but as it was unable to gain access to Allerton
Depot due to an isolation of the overhead wires while work continues at the depot, it was stabled at Crewe until the 1st February when it moved to Allerton. Attached is a pic of it just prior to leaving Crewe. The arrival of 319 363 means there are now currently four units at Allerton,
Wrexham Railway Society news - by George Jones
The WRS meeting on Monday 9 February will feature a review of the project to redouble the line between Rossett and Saltney which has been under way for the past twelve months.
Network Rail representative James Jackson is lined up to provide an in-depth presentation about the work involved and the prospects for completion. Given the recent announcement about a delay due to problems at the Broad Oak Crossing, members will be concerned to know when the project will be completed and an improved train service might be provided with increased line speeds and train capacity north of Wrexham.
A recent statement in the Wrexham Leader from Network Rail said: 'As part of this work, our plans for upgrading Broad Oak level crossing will now include the installation of an obstacle detection system.' The reasons why and the implications for this work will be of great interest.
Meeting is at St Mary's Social Club, Regent St, Wrexham. Doors open 19:00 for speaker to start at 19:45. Visitors welcome on payment of £2 fee.
67 001 on parade
67 001 propels the 13:01 Holyhead - Manchester out of Chester on 27 January.
30 January, and 67 001 passes Llanfair PG with the 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead on 30 January (Richard Fleckney).
19:25 on Friday 30 January: 67 001 has brought in the 17:50 from Manchester a few minutes late at 19:08, and the new concourse is is deserted apart from Peter Lloyd and his Kodak....
... The train forms the 19:34 to Crewe (although the platform indicator seems to be announcing the 20:08 to Llandudno Junction). The train reaches Crewe at 21:08, offering useful connections to Birmingham (dep.21:17), Cardiff (dep. 21:21) or London (dep.21:24).
DRS Class 37s on duty
On 28 Jan 2015 a Network Rail track inspection train passes Slack Lane, Hawarden on the Wrexham - Bidston line, working 1Q05 08:25 Llandrindod to Longsight Car.M.D. Via Wrexham, Bidston, Chester & Northwich, running 45 minutes late, top-n-tailed by 37 608 ...
... and 37 605. The consist: Network Rail brake force runner 9523, Network Rail Track Inspection Coach 2 'TIC2' 977974 (Ex 5854), Mk1 BG Network Rail Generator van 6263 (Ex 81231 / 92961). Pictures by Tim Rogers.
Passing Baguley between Altrincham and Stockport (Greg Mape).
Returning through Baguley the next day, 29 January, in rather different weather (Greg Mape).
37 608 and 37 605 power through Ruabon heading for Derby Etches Park leg of the trip, in a snow storm (Martin Evans).
While on the subject, a couple of issues ago we used the term 'RTOV' (Remote Train Operating Vehicle) for one of the 97xx Mk2 Driving Trailer coaches now used by Network Rail, This prompted comments from Network Rail staff who assure us that although the term appears on various websites, they actually call them DBS (Driving Brake Staff). We wonder how this discrepancy has arisen.
Clwyd Railway Circle meeting
Clwyd Railway Circle's February meeting takes place on Friday 6 February at the Jubilee Community Centre, 45 Seabank Drive, Prestatyn, LL19 7PP starting at 7.30pm.
The talk this month is "A Year in the Life of an International Train Spotter" given by Phil Thomas.
Phil will give a video presentation charting his travels in 2013 around the UK, Mainland Europe and beyond.
Guests are, as always, welcome with an admission fee of £2, especially so on this occasion as Mr Thomas is travelling from Kent to give the talk and a good turnout is to be encouraged.
An SLS Tour in 1966
Peter Dickinson writes: 'I have in my collection a photograph of 42727 on a railtour, which I believe is of the Stephenson Locomotive Society's 'Farewell to G.W.R Locos and L&YR 2-6-0s' on 27 March 1966. Indeed I have attached (above) an accompanying view of 6697 working the Birmingham Snow Hill to Chester leg of this railtour at Balderton on the Down working.
'According to the Six Bells Junction website, 42727 took over the SLS railtour for the Chester - Rhyl - Llandudno leg, returning the train back to Chester. The image of 42727 appears to be during the return working, but can anyone identify the location? There seem to be water troughs in the background and the two-track section should help to narrow things down.'
The picture looks very similar to Peter Basterfield's view of Llanfairfechan in the item below, although there were never water troughs there. On the other hand, it may be the view towards Flint water troughs, possibly taken from Pentre Siding signal box located on the down side between Flint and Rockcliffe Hall tunnel. Does anyone have a picture taken there?
Activity at Llangollen on 29 January: shunter Davy undertaking permanent way duties. Although resembling the well-known English Electric-built British Railways 'Class 08' locos, this one was built by E.E. in 1951 for use at the ICI Winnington works. It came to the Llangollen Railway in 2001.
60 054 takes train 6V75 Dee Marsh - Margam past Stryt Isa near Hope on 2 February. Note the new signal awaiting commissioning. Picture by John Mathers.
Further on its journey, 60 054 passes Gobowen (Martin Evans).
37 612 and 37 609 pass Llanfairfechan with Wednesday 28 January's flasks from Valley about 8 minutes. down against booked time, reportedly due to a problem with one of the locos. Picture by Peter Basterfield.
66 849 heads 6V38 Carlisle-Chirk logs south of Long Marton on the Carlisle - Settle route, Saturday, 31 January; Cross Fell dominates the background (Ian Pilkington). Oddly, the 'logs' carries a different reporting number on Saturdays (6V38 instead of 6J37) despite traversing exactly the same route.
Saturday morning, 31 January at Stockport, and the signallers have kindly diverted the late-running Felixstowe to Trafford Park container train through platform 3 rather than 4 to create a better picture. Stockport No.1 signalbox, along with the four other old boxes in the Stockport area, continues in use until someone can work out how to re-signal the place. Behind the camera, the Voyager which would carry your editor to Stafford for the Model Railway Show was drawing to a stand, and a short sprint was required!
Past Times with John Hobbs - The first "End of steam" in North Wales
At the end of January 1965, all the Holyhead/Llandudno to Crewe and Manchester trains, except for the 4.25pm Holyhead to Manchester and its return the 10.20pm from Manchester, went over to Diesel Multiple Unit operation; I was lucky to find out just ahead of the event. The blow was eased a little because the availability of the English Electric Type 4 diesels was so bad; they were suffering from cracks to the bogie compensating beams, so many of the London to Holyhead / Llandudno turns were turned over to steam, for a while.
Above, BR-built LMS Class 5 4-6-0 44774 is seen running through Prestatyn with the 6.15 am Holyhead to Crewe Class 3 vans, while 44985 is looking after the Dyserth goods, on a rather cold morning of Saturday 30 January.
Unbeknown to me of course the First Class Season ticket holders on the 'Manchester Club' were also not impressed with facilities offered by the BRCW three car sets (later lass 104) provided on that service; this turn therefore returned to steam in March for about five hundred days!.
I took the opportunity to take a last steam trip to Holyhead, or so I thought, on 30th January 1965; the 9.20 Crewe Holyhead and the 2.45 pm Holyhead Crewe was however a EE Type 4 that day; this train would be a 2-car DMU next week.
Standing in Bangor station (above_ with the last steam hauled 7.50 am Liverpool (Lime Street) to Bangor is 44942, on the same day.
44942 shunts rolling stock at Bangor; off the Liverpool service, while the stock for the 12.10 pm Bangor to Manchester (Exchange) waits in the 'up' platform; a Metropolitan-Cammell DMU shadowing the steam trains waits in the 'down' passenger loop, having followed the service from Liverpool into the station.
44907 waits for the 'off' with the last steam 12.10 pm Bangor to Manchester (Exchange).
Holyhead shed, with a fine compliment of locomotives including 44711 and stored 46148, shortly to move away. All will be different next week, until a partial return to steam in the summer.
The Holyhead 'Jinties' will have less work from next week, however 47321 is busy on this, the last day of an almost completely loco-hauled service to Holyhead, while a EE Type 4 lurks, taking fuel.
For the first 'Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express' of the season on 24 January, passengers had been promised double-headed 'Jubilees' with 45699 Galatea double heading 45690 Leander, but Leander was failed with a leaking washout plug before it left Carnforth, and 'Black 5' 45407 replaced 45699 - with some assistance from the trailing diesel. Peter Basterfield photographed the train southbound on the Settle-Carlisle line approaching the occupation bridge at Angerholme, north of Ais Gill summit.
Passengers who had booked on the promise of two 'Jubilees' seem to have received little sympathy from the Railway Touring Company. Just a minor problem one has to accept when booking on trips of this kind, it seems.
The second run of the train did have the promised traction: ever-reliable 46233 returns south over the Settle-Carlisle line, seen shortly after emerging from Helm Tunnel, Saturday 31 January (Ian Pilkington).
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