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17 April 2015
A little nostalgia: 37 418 East Lancashire Railway at Bangor, 19 July 1994. Picture by Ken Robinson.
67 012 A Shropshire Lad leads a Network Rail test train past Conwy station....
... with 82145 on the rear as the train passes through the arch cut by Robert Stephenson's contractors in Conwy's ancient town walls. Pictures by Peter Basterfield.
On the Talyllyn Railway, Dolgoch heads for Abergynolwyn on 1 April (Ian Wright).
From just below the summit of Cader Idris on 2 April, Ian Wright photographed a Class 158 making its way across Barmouth bridge. There can't be many places in Britain where a train can be pictures from so far away, whist remaining on the ground.
BR Standard 2-6-4T 80104 was once a regular performer in North Wales. On the last day of services over the Ruabon to Barmouth line on 16 January 1965, 80104 hauled the two-coach connection from Bala to Barmouth. The loco also covered the Barmouth to Dolgellau service on the same day. Nowadays, 80104 is a regular stalwart on the Swanage Railway where it was pictured by Peter Dickinson taking the token from the Swanage signalman on 28 March.
On 2 April, 67 001 propels the empty stock of the 13:01 from Holyhead out of Manchester Piccadilly station, as 'new' Northern Rail electric 319 362 appears on the scene with a Manchester Airport - Liverpool service. Picture by Charlie Hulme.
Further to our previous report on the re-opening of the Berwyn Chain Bridge adjacent to the Llangollen Railway, pictured above on 11 April by Peter Dickinson, we now understand that the re-opening date is 28 May.
Northenden Refuse Transfer Station on the evening of 16 April: 66 419, one of the locos that's been in use by Freightliner for some time but retains DRS livery, sets out with another load of rubbish destined for Runcorn Folly Lane and the Energy from Waste plant (Les Burton).
The Valley to Crewe flask train passes Rowton, Cheshire on 16 April: locos are 37 604 and 37 612. Picture by Andrew Vinten.
A little more recent nostalgia from Ken Robinson. At Fishguard on 23 August 2002, 37 418 running round its train to form 1R38 the 13:35 Fishguard-Rhymney. 418 was the first 37/4 to receive the EWS livery, in its early form with an '&' in the initials, which it retained until withdrawal. Today it is back in working order on the East Lancashire Railway, and being returned to the original 37/4 livery of Large Logo Blue. Will we see a preserved loco in Regional Railways colours? Work was well under way on 37 421 on the Pontypool and Blaenavon, until Colas Rail made them an offer they could not refuse. There's a picture on Flickr which refers.
An interesting snippet of 37/4 news is that two other locos, 37 407 and 424, have been bought out of preservation, this time by DRS. They had been in store at the Churnet Valley Railway since 2008. It looks as though we may see 37/4s traction (in push-pull mode) on the forthcoming Cumbrian Coast loco-hauled passenger services.
Llangollen Railcar Gala - press release
Visiting the Llangollen Railway on 20/21 June for the annual Railcar Gala will be Class 122 'Bubble Car' 55006 from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. The popular single car will be in Wales for only a few days and will not be used on any other Llangollen Railway services during its visit. It will operate both on its own and in multiple with members of the home fleet, including the Wickham and 127 sets, enabling a five-car rake of green vehicles to be put together.
The event, which is often seen as the highlight of the DMU calendar, will feature a half-hourly service as far as Carrog and with alternate trains continuing onwards to Corwen on the line’s recently-opened 2.5 mile extension. All intermediate stations will be open and will offer opportunities for exchanging trains.
Supporting the visitor will be four of the line's resident fleet of units, the Birmingham RCW Class 104, the Derby works Class 108, the Wickham Class 109 and a hybrid of a Class 127 power car and a Class 108 trailer. There will also be a steam diagram which will be covered by the GW push-pull autotrain powered by Pannier Tank 6430, which is imminently due to re-enter service after its ten-year overhaul.
There will also be a photographic evening on the night immediately before the event featuring the Class 122 and an evening train on the Saturday where fish and chips or a barbecue will be available.
'Winifred' rides again
On 13 April Penrhyn Quarry loco Winifred celebrated her 130th birthday by working her first passenger train on the Bala Lake Railway; there was a good turn-out for it as (rather inevitably) Peter Waterman was on hand to perform the ceremony. ITV Wales covered it for their 6 o'clock news, but BBC Wales only covered it for their website, BBC Radio Cymru and S4C TV news. Being interviewed in our picture (by Richard W. Jones, more on Flickr) is Emrys Owen, who drove Winifred while he worked at Penrhyn Quarry in the late 1950s. He now lives in Beaumaris.
A fascinating page on the Bala Lake Railway website tells the story of how in 1965 an American antique dealer, while on a visit to the UK in 1965, saw a report fronted by the legendary Fyfe Robertson on the 'Tonight' TV programme about the replacement by diesels of the Penrhyn steam locos, and promptly bought six of them, including Winifred, shipping them to the USA on the Manchester Liners steamship Manchester Progress (which was itself withdrawn from service not longer afterwards). The article also chronicles her return to Britain in 2012.
This picture by Harold Bowtell shows Winifred at Penrhyn Quarry in 1953; the crews were clearly proud of their little locomotives.
Out and About with Tim Rogers, 8 April - good weather special
The little station at Hope between Wrexham and Bidston, with 66 120 hauling train 6M18, 18:05 (previous day) New Cumnock U.R.S. to Penyffordd Cement Sdgs. Loaded MEAs with coal for the cement kilns.
Cefn-y-bedd: 150 227 arrives with 2J73 08:31 Bidston to Wrexham Central...
... and returns with the 09:32 Wrexham Central to Bidston.
66 185 DP WORLD British Energy passes Cefn-y-Bedd with 6V75 09:30 Dee Marsh Rep Sdgs to Margam T.C. steel carriers.
The classic view of Abergele & Pensarn as 158 839 approaches with 1D13 11:09 Birmingham International to Holyhead, not stopping at the station.
With DVT 82306 leading, 67 001 propels 1H89 13:01 Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly passes Abergele.
Network Rail track recording train, comprising DVT 82145, Mk2f, (Ex TSO) Plain Line Pattern Recognition vehicle 'PLPR2' 5981 and Class 67, 67 012 A Shropshire Lad passes Abergele as 1Q30 10:55 Derby R.T.C. (Network Rail) to Crewe C.S. (L&NWR Site) via Holyhead. Interestingly, the formation does not contain any additional vehicles as has been the case in the past.
Rossett, south of Wrexham, with 66 849 Wylam Dilly 6J37 12:58 Carlisle Yard to Chirk Kronospan factory (via the Settle - Carlisle line), with another load of logs to be made into chipboard.
Wrexham General: The coal train has been unloaded and 66 120 is returning the empty wagons to Warrington Arpley sidings as 6E41 16:56 from Penyffordd.
150 250 parked in the bay platform at Wrexham General. The Wrexham - Bidston service reduces from hourly to two-hourly the late evening, and the unit thus released forms the 20:49 to Shrewsbury which provides an onward connection for passengers from Virgin's daily train from London Euston.
158 818 arrives at Wrexham General with 1D16 17:09 Birmingham International to Llandudno, 9 minutes late at 19:12.
At 19:41 150 227 arrives at Wrexham General's Platform 4, which many years ago was known as 'Wrexham Exchange', with 2J73, the 18:46 Bidston to Wrexham Central service.
1J70, 17:30 Holyhead to Shrewsbury, arrives at Wrexham 9 minutes late. Attached to 158 827 is 150 257; Class 150 units are restricted to 75 mph in contrast to the 158's 90 mph, thus restricting the maximum speed of the entire train.
The light is fading as DVT 82307 leads 1W96, the 17:16 Cardiff - Holyhead 'Premier Express' unto Wrexham 14 minutes late at 19:23 with current regular loco 67 023 propelling from the rear. This train reverses at Chester, so 67 023 will be leading along the North Wales Coast line.
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