Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

15 April 2016

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April 2016

Monday 18 April  RCTS: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Merseyside, Chester and North Wales Branch.  One Mans Rubbish is Another's Treasure by Russell Hatt. Russell presents a selection of historic railway photographs that whilst too poor for publication are of interest to the railway historian.

Friday 29 April    Great Western Society NW Branch    A tribute to Tom Lewis, Railway cameraman 1947-1970, Paul Shackcloth.

May 2016

Tuesday 3 May North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Photographic Competition.

Thursday 12 May   Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Ray Bailey: Steam into Holywell    

Looking very clean, 60 096 on the log train to Chirk passing Guilden Sutton, 5 April (Tim Rogers).

This is an extra issue: the next update will be on the evening of Tuesday 19 April. - Charlie

Busy time for flask trains

The de-commissioning procedure for Wylfa Power station appears to be in full swing, as the flask train to and from Valley has been running more often than had been usual. Usually noted for its loco variety, by contrast late March featured several runs with the two 'Northern Belle' machines 57312 Solway Princess and 57305 Northern Princess, no doubt to keep them in good condition while their luxury train is not scheduled. They performed on 29 and 31 March, and again on 4 April, when Peter Basterfield in a sepia mood photographed them (above) at Talybont near Bangor with the afternoon return (Train 6K31) to Crewe.

4 April at Mostyn. The consist was two of the newly-built FNA wagons, which carry numbers in the standard continental UIC series: 11 70 9229 008-1 and 11 70 9229 002-4. The 11 signifies a bogie wagon, the 70 indicates a wagon registered in the UK. 9229 is a 'class' number for the batch of wagons, the first 9 indicating a 'special' wagon. 008 is the individual wagon number, and at the end is a check digit.

37s returned on 6 April, in the shape of 37 667 and 37 610 T.S.(Ted) Cassady, seen on Talybont Viaduct (Peter Basterfield)...

... and at Sandycroft (Tim Rogers). The wagons are FNA 550042 and FNA 550038.

Bodorgan station on 8 April, with 37 409 Lord Hinton and 37 606 heading for Valley with the flask train from Crewe (Peter Basterfield) ...

... Passing Abergele 48 minutes early (Tim Rogers) with a mixture of old and new wagons - 550049, 11 70 9229 009-9 and 550060...

... and approaching Flint (Russell Withington). Russell writes: 'I had hoped for the Northern Belle Class 57s, but this was what turned up the usual 40-50 minutes early.'

They took the weekend off and then got back into the swing of things, this time  with 37 610 leading 37 069, seen on the approach to Flint on 11 April (Russell Withington).

Track Recording Unit in focus

On 12 April Network Rail's Track Recording Unit 150 001, looking smart after an overhaul, worked Manchester Longsight - Northwich - Chester - Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llandudno Junction - Chester - Crewe. Above: passing Rhyl on the way to Llandudno. Picture by Roly High.

Greg Mape was up and about at 08:50 to photograph the yellow unit westbound at Llanddulas viaduct.   The history of this structure reminds us that -  even before storms had names - the weather could damage railway lines. On 17 August 1879 the small stream which flows under the stone viaduct became a 'raging torrent' causing it to collapse.  A temporary single-line wooden bridge was created, reached by gradients of 1 in 23 each side, and trains (very light ones we assume) began running through on 25 August. Meanwhile, Crewe works was making the steel and building seven 32-foot replacement spans which were installed and in use by 14 September. Some goods traffic was worked around the blockage via the Cambrian Coast line and Afon Wen; in gratitude for their assistance, the LNWR donated a locomotive (0-6-0 no. 1881) to the impoverished Cambrian Railways company.  The present concrete spans replaced the steel ones at a later date - does anyone know when?

Back in the present, Jim Johnson recorded events at Bangor station where the train arrived 17 minutes late (above).

The late arrival resulted in it having to wait for 3 up trains before it could proceed to Crewe. Firstly, 1H89 13:07 Holyhead-Manchester Piccadilly with Driving Van Trailer 82307 leading, itself 10 minutes down.

67002 was propelling. Among the markings on 950 001 is Network Rail's latest catch-phrase 'Digital Railway' and its associated collection of squares.

Then 158 832 as 1G50, 13:24 Holyhead-Birmingham International. The front of the yellow unit is festooned with lights and a video camera. Note that Network Rail yellow is a slightly different shade from 'Front Warning Panel yellow'.

The rather childish body-side decorations.

The two white lights 'calling-on' signal illuminated before the 1A48 13:58 Holyhead - Euston double-Voyager appeared, allowing the unit to proceed into Belmont Tunnel prior to setting back on to the Up line.

Crossing over to the Up loop, after the Voyager had departed...

... and away at 14:33, 47 minutes late.

Returning through Abergele station (Roly High).

Prestatyn (Jim Coates). The now-usual message from the Samaritans in place, although there are no wooden slats on the platform to deter people from passing the sign.

Bagillt: the view from the refurbished footbridge (Russell Withington). This unit was custom-built after the production run of the Class 150 passenger 'sprinters' - it is not a conversion as some might think.

Arriva loco-hauled

67 002 continues to handle the Manchester - North Wales loco-hauled service: above, some of its details captured by Tim Rogers at Abergele on 8 April.

Llanfair PG, 8 April (Richard Fleckney)

67 002 near Valley, 12 April (Greg Mape). In the background is Anglesey Airport, which uses the runway of RAF Valley for for two daily flights each way to Cardiff Airport, sponsored by the Welsh Government.  The flights are currently provided by Czech operator Van Air. Previous operator LinksAir had to withdraw from the service in October 2015 following the suspension of its safety certificate by the Civil Aviation Authority. The service was then provided for a while by Danish operator North Flying as a subcontractor for LinksAir, before the Franchise was re-awarded to Van Air. The 'Intra Wales' service carries around 9000 passengers per year and is said to cost the Welsh Government 1.2 million annually.

A rainy evening at Deganwy on 11 April as 67 002 arrives with the 16:50 Manchester - Llandudno (Greg Mape).

On Saturday 9 April 67 001, the locomotive recently in use on the Monday - Friday Holyhead - Cardiff service, was sent from Holyhead to Crewe Electric Depot to be swapped for another 67. Peter Lloyd photographed the light-engine move at Llandudno Junction.

Thanks to the allocated driver being a supporter of our of our site, we can bring you this interesting line-up inside the depot showing replacement loco 67 022 posing with 92 011 and former Caledonian Sleeper loco 90 024.

Eurwyn McMahon brings 67 022 back though Llandudno Junction en route to Holyhead at 13:55 (Peter Lloyd).

On another part of the German Railways' loco-hauled empire, DRS-liveried 68 008 Avenger passes Banbury South signal box with Chiltern Railways 17:21 London Marylebone - Banbury on 8 April.  The former blue-and-grey Banbury commuter set now has most coaches refurbished and painted in the Mainline livery seen on Chiltern's DMUs, although unlike those used on Chiltern's express services, these vehicles have not been fitted with powered doors (Chris Morrison).

The Great Western Railway signalboxes at  Banbury North and South are due to close on July 29  in a major remodelling of the track layout.

At the rear of the train next to the Driving Van Trailer, de-branded Arriva Wales Mk3 12182 (Chris Morrison).

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