Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

25 April 2016

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Forthcoming events

This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue. For full information visit our Calendar page.

April 2016

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    

June 2016

Sunday 5 June Steam Dreams THE CAMBRIAN COAST EXPRESS (Day 1 of 4)  London Paddington - Pwllheli (WCRC) Steam loco 60103  Flying Scotsman: Paddington - Leamington - Shrewsbury

Monday 6 June Steam Dreams THE CAMBRIAN COAST EXPRESS (Day 2 of 4)

Tuesday 7 June Steam Dreams THE CAMBRIAN COAST EXPRESS (Day 3 of 4)

Wednesday 8 June Steam Dreams THE CAMBRIAN COAST EXPRESS (Day 4 of 4) Bangor - Paddington. Steam loco 60103  Flying Scotsman:   Chester - Wrexham - Hereford - Bristol Parkway - Paddington

Wednesday 15 June Steam Dreams THE EMERALD ISLE EXPLORER (Day 1 of 9)  London Euston-Holyhead Steam loco 60103 Flying Scotsman: Euston-Holyhead.

Thursday 23 June Steam Dreams THE EMERALD ISLE EXPLORER (Day 9 of 9)  London Euston-Holyhead Steam loco 60103 Flying Scotsman: Holyhead - Euston

July 2016

Sunday 24 July Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Liverpool-Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46100: Liverpool - Chester - Holyhead and return

Tuesday 26 July  Railway Touring Company THE WELSH MOUNTAINEER Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog . Steam loco 45305 or 48151: Preston - Chester - Blaenau Ffestiniog and return

August 2016

Sunday 21 August  Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Crewe - Manchester - Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46115: Manchester - Chester - Holyhead and return

September 2016

Sunday 4 September Railway Touring Company THE NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS  Crewe - Manchester - Holyhead (WCRC) Steam loco 45690 or 46115: Manchester - Chester - Holyhead and return

67 022 arrives at Chester on 21 April with the Premier Express from Holyhead. Picture by Mark Riley.

Some 'out and about' features this time. Looks like we'll need another Friday update.- Charlie

Colas 37s on recording train

A track recording train from Crewe to Crewe via Holyhead and Liverpool on 21 April was worked by 37 175 top-and-tail with former North Wales Coast loco 37 421. Alan Crawshaw photographed the outbound train at Talybont near Bangor in spring sunshine.

37 421 on the rear (Alan Crawshaw). Rails laid alongside the track await the arrival of the 'High Output Track Relaying Train' which is spending the nights on our line at present.

The return run passing Rhyl with 37 421 leading (Roly High). This loco was preserved on the the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway, where volunteers had repainted in it Regional Railways livery, only for it to be sold on to Colas who have had it repainted again.

Connah's Quay (Tim Rogers). The consist of the train: 37 421,  Mk1 BG 6264 (Generator vehicle), Mk2f 72639 Plain Line Pattern Recognition vehicle "PLPR4", Mk2e 977974 Network Rail Track Inspection Coach 2 "TIC2" Mk2d BSO 9481 Network Rail Support coach, 37 175.

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).

Calendar news

The forthconing events section (See the left column of the calendar page)  has been updated with some railtour details for the summer. Please let us know if you have information about any other relevant events.

Bangor station question

Alan Crawshaw writes: 'There was once a subway connecting the current platforms 1 and 2 of Bangor station. Can any readers provide further details? It's been suggested that if it wasn't filled in, it could be used as a cycle route to avoid the pinch point of Caernarfon Road under the railway bridge. But did it connect only the two platforms or was there an entrance elsewhere, perhaps connected with goods or parcels traffic?'

Chester Variety - report by Mark Riley

Scenes from a visit to Chester on 20 April; a good place to go if you are a fan of Class 175s! I waited until another unit moved to get this shot of half of 175 003 attached to 175 004 in the yard in the afternoon. Not sure when the unit will be reunited with it's other half. Does anyone know why these vehicles have been 'dumped' here?

I forgot the Valley - Crewe flasks were running, but just had time to photograph 37 606 and 37 610 at just after 16:00  before they departed shortly after the Chester-Crewe shuttle.

221 110 James Cook stands at Platform 2 waiting for the 'off' for London Euston. I would really like to see 221 106 in 'Prisoner' advertising though - I might try tweeting Virgin Trains to find its future itinerary before the advertising livery disappears.

Light Pacific 4-6-2 34046 (running for some reason as 34052 Lord Dowding - but no nameplate either) made two test runs between Crewe and Chester on April 20 and is seen arriving at Chester with support coach at 18:54, running about 12 minutes late. I had expected it to stop in the yard for 15-20 minutes but it ran straight through and disappeared for 25 minutes as it turned, then ran back through the Up/Down centre road of the station and not the goods yard as expected. Thus a very tiring evening of long walks to get decent pictures...

... I just about got to the car park outside the station in time for a pleasant back-lit evening shot of the fine loco before departure, so worth the effort in the end ...

... and finally, departure for Crewe. I believe there was a later test run, though was too tired to stay for that.

Looking back: 31s on the Coast - pictures by Dave Sallery

For a few years, following the demise of the Class 25s,  Class 31 diesels appeared on some passenger trains around North-west England and North Wales. Above, 31 124 stands at Llandudno on 10 September 1989,  with the overall roof still intact, although it had been shortened to this length (in the 70's?).

31 132, in Railfreight colours, calls at Prestatyn on 25 August 1990. Note the two Mk1 coaches in Network South East colours.

By 1995, Class 37s were the mainstay of Regional Railways loco-hauled workings, but 31s occasionally appeared it times of shortage, such as 31 134 seen at Rhyl on 24 June 1995.

31 134 (again) and 31 512, at Bangor on 26 July 1995, running round the empty stock of a Crewe - Bangor working. Both are borrowed from the engineer's fleet, indicated by their 'Dutch' livery. Some Class 31s were equipped in the 1980s with equipment for electric train heating and classified 31/4. 31 512 was one of these, but by 1995 had been renumbered in the 37/5 series for engineers' use, as many 31/4 duties had been taken over by new diesel railcars.

A regular Class 31 duty in British Rail 'sectorisation' days was the nuclear flask trains, which they worked in pairs More recently 31s have been seen on the Coast working Network Rail's recording trains, but that era now appears to have ended.

Penrhyn Quarry on tour - report by Bob Lissaman

I enjoyed all the photos of the Llangollen Gala but couldn't be there because I was up in the North East for the Weekend. Friday 8 April was the start of the Steam Event at Beamish Open Air Museum, County Durham, mostly evoking the time of the First World War. Amongst the multitude of vehicles I was surprised to find three representatives from Penrhyn Quarry. A wagon (above) was near a sawmill driven by a traction engine.

Lilla was a visit arranged through friends of the Museum and the Ffestiniog Railway.  She was built by Hunslet for the Cilgwyn Slate Co Quarry at Nantlle and was bought by the Penrhyn Quarry in 1928.

Edward Sholto is currently based at Beamish as a static exhibit awaiting boiler repairs, but still being lovingly polished.  This Hunslet loco was repatriated from Canada via the USA in 2006 by book dealer Andrew Neale. Built in 1909, it was the last loco bought new for Penrhyn. The name is that of Edward Sholto Douglas-Pennant, 3rd Baron Penrhyn (1864 - 1927).

This saddle tank is the Museums resident engine giving rides in a restored directors' coach. Built in Bristol by Avonside 1916 for the Inland Waterways and Docks Board of the War Office, No. 34 later worked for the Port of Bristol Authority. More information on the Beamish Transport website.

The Steam Elephant, a replica built in 2001 based on a painting found at the Museum.  A visit to Beamish is highly recommended: buses run from Newcastle and Durham rail stations. The Beamish website has full details.

Tamper Manoeuvres at Bangor - observed  by Jim Johnson

Tamper DR 77903 arrived at Bangor on Monday 18 April (above), arriving at 16:57.

Moving from Belmont Tunnel to the sidings.

Parked alongside DR 73115, which had arrived on Thursday, 14 April .The crew then transferred to DR 73115, and fired it up.

5) DR 73115 was then moved to the yard headshunt, resulting in the use of another seldom-used ground signal. Milepost 239 still stands in the left foreground.

One of the crew takes a picture, an enthusiast, maybe? These movements were associated with trackwork on Anglesey on the evening of 18 April involving the high-output ballasters, top and tailed by 66 605 and 66 622 according to the signalman.

Jim Coates captured the train heading through Prestatyn the following morning with 66 605 leading.

Freight views

On 20 April, 60 039 Dove Holes crosses the Dee on Hawarden swing bridge with 6V75 09:30 Dee Marsh to Margam (Tim Rogers).

The following day, 21 April, and another 60 on the steel empties: 60 091 Barry Needham passing Shotton (Tim Rogers).

37 610 and 37 606 bring three flask wagons through Bangor on 20 April (Rowan Crawshaw).

On 20 April, 66 004 passes Cefn-y-Bedd station with the empty coal wagons from Penyffordd cement works (Tim Rogers).

On 22 April, The westbound Flask train passes the gantry signal at Mostyn formed of 57 003, 57 306 and FNA wagon 550028 (Tim Rogers).

57 306, formerly Jeff Tracy,  has been named Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate 175 (Tim Rogers).

Earlier in its journey, John Cowlishaw was (on the right side of the fence) at the site of the former Aber signalbox to photograph the same train passing Aber emergency crossover.

John writes: 'Shortly afterwards there was much activity as an emergency speed restriction was imposed on the down line just to the west, due probably to a dip in the track.  My second picture shows 175 008 passing with 1V97 14:34 Holyhead to Cardiff Central; the down line being under a short-term possession at the time.

Renaissance and retro: a trip to Leamington Spa - by David Parry

My quest for loco-hauled (or propelled) trains has recently taken me to Leamington Spa, where class 68s on Chiltern’s revitalised Mainline services between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street share the ex-GWR route with a steady procession of intermodal, automotive and infrastructure trains on the north-south route to Southampton.  Arriving in time for to see the 1055 ex-Moor Street and 1010 ex-Marylebone calling, I photographed 68 013 propelling the up train out of the station and over the rather unusual curved girder bridge.

The possibility these Chiltern expresses might just cross having evaporated, my attempt to take the down train approaching past the same point was also thwarted by the approach of the 09:22 Crewe Basford Hall – Southampton MCT behind 70 016 on the Up main line, nevertheless a worthwhile photo-opportunity without the overhead clutter of the West Coast Main Line.

So on this occasion, I had to be content with a reverse shot of the down train at the platform, with DVT 82309 on the back and 68 009 barely visible at the front, the view showing the 1930s-style GWR platform canopies.

Fortunately, I was still around for the return working, the 12:55 from Moor Street, with 68009 in push-mode, this view with a hint of 1930s GWR styling beneath the canopies.   However, I think the clocks, reminiscent of the classic Swiss station clock, are much more recent.

There was a steady flow of freight traffic, mostly in the charge of class 66s of various operators, but a Colas class 70 70 802 on the 07:55 Westbury to Bescot infrastructure train provided some colourful variation, here accelerating on the Down main ...

... having been cleared to take the Coventry line. [Those wagons don't seem to have any numbers...?]

Shortly afterwards was an opportunity to take a class 68 at the head of a Chiltern express with 68 013 calling with the 13:10 Marylebone-Moor Street.

Returning via Birmingham Moor Street, there was a final opportunity to take a 68 with 68 013 propelling the 15:55 away from the Edwardian-styled Birmingham Moor Street station, a symbol of the renaissance and retro blend that characterises the regeneration of this Mainline route.

Afternoon in the Chilterns - with Jack Bowley

On Thursday 21 April I decided to take a trip down to London Marylebone and try and find the heritage Class 121 that still operates on Princes Risborough - Aylesbury shuttles. The day started with the departure from Birmingham Moor Street (above) with the 12:55 departure to London which had DRS 68 009 providing the traction.

After nearly two hours we arrived in a sunny Marylebone (above) where I was able to source food before my connection to Aylesbury Vale Parkway. Note the power doors now fitted to these Mk3 coaches.

On arriving at Aylesbury Vale Parkway, I took the same train back to Aylesbury (just as a filler move to kill time) where I had 40 minutes to wait for the bubble. I got chatting to the gateline staff who informed me the 121 was running which was good as I've heard stories of it being 'subbed' for something else.

The opportunity to photograph the depot was taken and I snapped this from the footbridge at the northern end of the station.

Arriving bang on time, BR green 121 034 pulls into platform 1 at Aylesbury for the 17:26 departure...

... it was a surprise to see 'Aberystwyth' on the destination blind at the non-exhaust end - seen at Princes Risborough.

DRS 68 008 pulls into platform 3 at Prices Risborough with 1U50, the 'Banbury Commuter' set - a mixed rake of slam door Mk3s which includes a de-branded ATW one at the back behind the DVT...

... and seen at Banbury as 68 008 prepares to head off into the sidings before returning to London as empty coaching stock.

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