22 June 2015
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Friday 3 July Excursion Compass
Tours by West Coast The Conway Valley Explorer Via the Scenic
Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option). From
Grantham, Peterborough, Stamford, Oakham, Melton Mowbray, Leicester,
South Wigston, Hinckley, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield TV, Rugeley TV
& Stafford to Betws-y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Saturday 4 July Excursion Compass
Coast The Conway Valley Explorer From Lincoln,
Newark NG, Grantham, Bottesford, Bingham, Radcliffe, Netherfield,
Nottingham, Tutbury & Hatton, Uttoxeter, Blythe Bridge & Stoke
to Betws-y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog. (with Ffestiniog Railway
28-30 August. Bala Lake Railway: 'Winifred'
Wednesday 9 September Excursion Compass
Coast The Conway Valley Explorer
Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Sheffield
to Betws-Y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. From Sheffield, Rotherham
Central, Swinton, Moorthorpe, Normanton, Shipley, Keighley, Skipton,
Hellifield, Carnforth & Lancaster.
12 September Excursion Compass
Coast The Conway Valley Explorer Via the Scenic
Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Scarborough to
Betws-Y-Coed & Blaenau Ffestiniog. From Scarborough, Seamer,
Malton, York, Wakefield, Brighouse, Sowerby
Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden & Rochdale.
Friday 25 September. Great Western
Branch. P. Spilsbury. Steam
Saturday 10 October Excursion Compass Tours by West Coast The
Conway Valley Explorer
Via the Scenic Conway line (with Ffestiniog Railway option) Hereford to
Departs – From Hereford, Ledbury, Gt Malvern, Worcester FS, Droitwich,
Barnt Green, Walsall & Wolverhampton.
Friday 30 October. Great Western
Society NW Branch. Mike
Kenwright. Cutting of the Manchester Ship
November. Great Western Society NW
Branch. John Hobbs. A Black & White presentation, North Wales
Circular 1963 - 66 (Steam)
67 022 passes Abergele hauling train 1D34, 09:50
- Holyhead on 5 June. Picture by Ken Robinson.
This is a
pre-prepared 'holiday' issue: we'll have a big catch-up on
already-received items items next week.- Charlie
Northern Belle in Northern Wales
On 12 June the Belmond 'Northern Belle' luxury dining train
top-and-tailed by 57 305 Northern Princess and 57
310 Pride of Cumbria made its way to North Wales as 1Z31
08:04 Cardiff Central to Bangor (Gwynedd). Roly High
photographed the westbound train at Rhyl (above).
Four pictures of the westbound train by Tim Rogers, first from
the Queens Road bridge on the approach to Llandudno Junction with 57
305 leading ...
... then 57 310 on the rear as the train rolls in for a 16-minute pause
... during which Tim made his way to the hill overlooking Conwy to
capture the train departing across Conwy Cob ...
... and through Robert Stephenson's Conwy Tubular bridge, now the only
one of this design in the world. The picture shows the two parallel
tubes for the up and down lines, and the cast-iron supporting columns
which were added in 1899 to reduce the load on the tubes and allow
Peter Lloyd photographed the return service at Llandudno
Junction with 57 310 leading. The 'Northern Belle' headboard which
adorned the Class 47s on this duty is not carried by the 57/3s which
have replaced them, perhaps because the large retractable coupler makes
fitting it difficult.
Views from a bridge - by Greg Mape
Two pictures taken during a lunchtime 'butty stop' around mid-day on 12
June near where the Cheshire Line route crosses the West Coast Main
Line near Acton Bridge, while on a bike ride from Baguley to Shotton
the old Mickle Trafford to Dee Marsh line). Above, the Mossend -
Daventry Malcolm Logistics intermodal, hauled by DB Schenker
locos 90 028 and 90 035.
A northbound (London - Glasgow?) Virgin Trains Pendolino heads away
from the camera. It's quite common now to see the coupler doors open on
Log train views
60 087 Clic Sargent's appearances on the Carlisle
to Chirk log train are attracting attention: Ian Pilkington's
from 10 June shows it passing Mallerstang on the Settle-Carlisle line.
Later that day, the train passes Dunham-on-the-Hill heading for Chester
The following evening, 11 June, near Helsby (Stavros Lainas).
On 12 June it had run via the West Coast Main Line when captured by Tim
Rogers at Guilden Sutton east of Chester.
Llangollen Diesels - pictures by Ken Robinson
Sunday 14 June at the Llangollen Railway where Class 37 diesel 6940
(37 240) was back in action after repairs.Above, a 'BR blue'
shot of 6940 working the 13:50 ex-Corwen East passing the Class 104 DMU
6940 after arrival at Llangollen. The 37 sounded great with its load of
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland notes - by John Roobottom
The operatives of the weed-killing train seem to be enjoying the ride
back to Boston Lodge Works in lovely sunshine on 8 June, having just
crossed Britannia bridge in Porthmadog.
Princess (built in 1863) is just a museum piece now but
looks impressive after the cosmetic makeover for the Ffestiniog's
60-years of preservation celebrations.
A couple of images of Welsh Highland Railway Garratt NG/G16 87
were taken at Pont Croesor station on the same day.
The Osprey viewing site adjacent to this station is now open again
following its handover by the RSPB to a community group, Glaslyn
Manchester Metrolink developments
The Metrolink station at St Peter's Square, seen above on 13 June, at
the heart of Manchester's tram system, closes on 28 June for at least
two months while the station is enlarged and relocated. During this
time there will be no tram access from Piccadilly or Victoria stations
to or from the Altrincham, Eccles or East Didsbury lines, with a
replacement bus running between Deansgate-Castlefield station and
This artist's impression shows what the final layout will be like,
looking towards Piccadilly. The station will be nearer to Piccadilly
than the present one; the building with the fancy end wall is just
beginning construction. The stone cross, which was originally placed
there in 1907 when St Peter's Church was pulled down, will be retained.
The rebuilding of Deansgate-Castlefield station, seen here, is now more
or less complete, with a third track to allow trams to terminate. The
framework on the left will eventually house a lift shaft.
Some good news is that the footbridge between Deansgate rail station
and the tram station is now open again, although not quite complete on
13 June. The old and unpleasant plastic tube that was within the
geodesic steel frame has been removed and replaced by an open walkway.
Out and about
The class 180 units, faster cousins of the 175, are currently in use
with several companies. Greg Mape photographed 180 114 at
June, and made the three-and-a half-hour
journey to London Kings Cross....
... long enough for a game of Monopoly? (Greg Mape)
At King's Cross, Virgin's newly-won East Coast Main Line franchise was
to be seen on HST loco 43 307. Electric 91 014 still
carries the colours of the previous incumbent. Picture by Greg Mape.
Huyton station, on the 1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway route, now
electrified, has been rebuilt as a four-platform station, seen on 4
June with two Class 319 'Northern Electrics' (Charlie Hulme).
142 039 departs from Huyton on a Liverpool - Blackpool
service. The track on the left ends abruptly because there is a piece
of land ahead which Network Rail is still in the process of purchasing (Charlie
Following 'Mayflower' - with Richard Putley
On Sunday 7 June, I drove to Moreton-in-Marsh in order to see LNER B1
4-6-0 61306 Mayflower hauling a Cathedrals Express
excursion from London Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill. The special
arrived at 13:15 and had a photo stop for 15 minutes.
While it was there, on the Up Line a civil engineers train hauled by 66
130 [an anagram!] ran through on the Up Line. According to Real
Time Trains it was bound for Hinksey Yard at Oxford, conveying old
and ballast from Abbotswood Junction near Worcester.
After the steam special departed I followed it to Worcester. By the
time I got to Worcester Shrub Hill the passengers had alighted and the
special was stabled on the depot. But I got there just in time to see 70
805 arrive with another engineers train.
After 61306 had been coaled and watered, they ran her round the
triangle in order to turn her. I took a photograph of her crossing the
Birmingham and Worcester Canal.
The special ran into Shrub Hill station at 17:30.
As departure was not until 17:48 this gave me time to drive from where
I had parked to the bridge over the line by the former Metal Box
factory from where I photographed Mayflower again.
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