Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

29 April 2016

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This list may be out of date if you are reading an archived issue.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

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

37 604 and 57 312 Solway Princess on 6K41 Valley - Crewe flasks, through Bangor at 14:40, passing 158 826 on 1D13 11:43 Wolverhampton - Holyhead (cancelled between Birmingham International and Wolverhampton because of a signal failure). Picture by Jim Johnson, 29 April.

This is an extra page to catch up with a backlog of contributions. Next issue as usual by Tuesday 3 May. - Charlie

Fearless on the flasks

An interesting event on 27 April was the appearance of a new Class 68 locomotive, 68 016 Fearless,  on the Crewe - Valley flask train. Nick Gurney photographed it in the Valley sidings, along with 37 610 Ted Cassady which was in the driving position to and from Crewe. Perhaps the run was to prove that a 68 and a 50+ year-old 37 could work in multiple without problems.

Larry Davies photographed the train passing Llandudno Junction. Larry writes: '37 610 leads 68 016 storming through Llandudno Junction, and passing Network Rail's 'nature reserve' that was once 'new yard'!  It is good to see a new loco on the coast.  The previous night had seen class 70 No 70 003 run to Bangor under cover of darkness to rescue a failed tamper.'

Rhyl (Roly High). It's been pointed out to us that these trains are not involved (as we claimed in the last update) in the 'de-commissioning' process, which does not begin until after the 'de-fuelling' process, which is taking place at Wylfa at present.

Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh). An interesting piece of news is that Today's Railways reports an order from CAF of a fleet of 15 5-car rakes of loco-hauled coaches for TransPennine Express, to be hauled by Class 68s provided by DRS.  Apparently, however, the contract has not yet been signed.

Looking back: Llandderfel, 1962 - with Trefor Thompson

The recent special feature on the Llangollen Railway sent me looking for these two photos taken by my late father at Llandderfel whilst we were on holiday in June 1962. 9752 (above) is heading what I recall was the evening Chester to Bala service which was always pannier-tank hauled.

Llandderfel station was on the Ruabon - Barmouth line, on the un-restored section between the Llangollen Railway at Corwen and the Bala Lake Railway at Bala. 2-6-0 5399 is running light eastwards towards Ruabon. Any information on these workings from other readers would be very welcome.

West Wales Wanderings - with Steve Morris

Readers of Modern Railways magazine might have come across the work of Ian Walmsley who has a regular feature in it. For my sins I am a member of his "Superannuated Anoraks" group, neither of which I happen to be of course! We travel around the network with him gathering column inches for his articles. The most recent of these took place over two days 12-13 April and involved a trip to West Wales and will turn up in a future edition of MR sometime. Anyway, I thought Charlie's regulars might like a summary of events.

I took the 08.32 Holmes Chapel (323 226, above) to the newly-named 'Crewe Cheshire Campus' to meet up with the other four in the party who had travelled over from Derby to meet me on the 09.14 for Swansea, which we would take to Llanelli. By the way, 'Crewe Cheshire Campus'? - I will let you make your own mind up about that one but I would have thought 'Crewe Railway Town would have been more appropriate if Network Rail were so hard up that they needed the money to sponsor the station signs.

153 320, seen above awaiting departure in Platform 7,  took us to Llanelli. A nice journey, the 153 was clean and not too noisy although the lack of passengers did mean that we could spread out over two tables for the duration. Ian and I reminisced about the time we were involved with the 155s at Canton and the problems we had with the fleet during that time, ultimately leading to the withdrawal of the fleet from service. Ian was behind the plan to chop them in two (I would have chopped them into more pieces than that!) and designed the new cab, something that caused problems itself in the early days due to its size - and we all reminded him of that! By the way, if you want to travel the Central Wales line, do it before soon because by May you will not see a lot due to the heavily laden trees.

A leg stretch at Llandrindod Wells whilst we wait for 153 323 to cross.

On time from Crewe, a few minutes late into Llanelli and we dropped onto a very smart 150 242 to head for Pembroke Dock, another one under our responsibility almost 30 years ago. Not long off C6 overhaul it was in good nick all round and delivered us to our destination nine minutes early at 16.10. The number of request stops on this line makes early arrival a possibility, although the average speed between Llanelli and The Dock was just over 37 mph.

Above: Pembroke Dock, with 150 242 waiting to head back east. We would leave it here and head across the bridge to Milford Haven by taxi.

Last time I was here was back in 1982, just before the Class 33s took over the diagrams, and nothing much seems to have changed since then. Colin Webb photographed a youthful Steve Morris with 37 265 waiting to depart Pembroke Dock for Swansea on 12 May 1982, my one and only previous visit to the town.

I have a feeling this might be part of the network under real pressure in the future, but having said that we have the Welsh Assembly to fall back on, of course.

There then followed a quick taxi ride across to Milford Haven (above) courtesy of the locally-named 'Jock's Taxi' before heading to Carmarthen on the 17.08 departure with 175 001.

Bang on time both ends we reached Carmarthen at 18.02 and headed for The Boars Head on the main street, our bed for the night.  Some of the Superannuated Anoraks grabbed a photo of 175 001 leaving Carmarthen as it continues its journey to Cardiff Central and the end of its diagram for the day.  Average speed for this section was 10mph faster than Pembroke Dock at 47 mph, several of the group had a nosebleed!    

The next day, 13 April , and 150 267 enters Carmarthen to form the 08.43 for Pembroke Dock. We would take this as far as Whitland arriving on time at 08.59.

We had a connection at Whitland  (above) for the 09.10 for Fishguard Harbour (avoids Carmarthen on the way out) with old favourite 150 242 again and a two-minute early arrival.

150242 ready to depart Fishguard Harbour at 09:54. No ship in at this time so the place was deserted Quick turnaround here (need to wait half a day for the next eastbound service!) before heading back to Carmarthen with 242 again and another two-minute early arrival. 

Back in Carmarthen and we change over to 175 106 on the 11.03 Carmarthen to Manchester Piccadilly to start the journey home. This would take me to Crewe although a few of the others stayed on to Manchester Piccadilly.

A few minutes in Swansea: 175 106 posing alongside a Paddington bound HST. Lots of change since last time I was there. New Hitachi maintenance facilities ready for the arrival of IEP, complete with OHL masts but no wires. Lets hope the electrification makes that far west in the end!

I bailed off at Crewe Cheshire Campus' before heading home with 323 238 after a quick dash over the footbridge at Crewe, some of the gang doing the whole hog to Piccadilly before heading back to Derby via Sheffield. Back home (above): 323 238 drops me off at Holmes Chapel. The biggest delay of the day: 7 minutes due to being put 'inside' at Sandbach and held to let a late running Pendolino pass.

So, as far as my bit goes the statistics are, 545 miles at an overall average speed of 39.06 mph - Thanks to SAA David Rayner for the info. All trains just about on time or early. Clean and tidy stock but low patronage in West Wales. Oh, and by the way, my ticket cost 15.41p/mile travelled - if you are interested.

Pictures by Steve Morris except where indicated.

Mixed Train on the Rheidol - by Denis Bates

I was interested to see mention in Robert Darlaston's article (19 April issue) on Mixed Trains on the Vale of Rheidol line, as in 1986 I was able to travel on one such, from Devil's Bridge (above) ...

... to a work site with a load of ballast. The entire train was unbraked, apart from the 4-wheel brake van, as the passenger coach was at the rear.

The train was, I think, propelled back to Devil's Bridge.

Peter Basterfield's view

The Britannia Bridge on approach on Monday 12 April. Train 1A48, 13:58 Holyhead- Euston Double Voyager vs. the dreaded pallisade fence!

Following behind, the flask train returns to Crewe behind 37 610 trailing 37 069 and 2 flasks, (including one of the new build). The previous Saturday 37 069 had led 37 610 down from Sellafield to Crewe with the 6K73.

The 1A48, 13:58 from Holyhead passes Gaerwen on 15 April. Gaerwen signal box is the only one on the network with a built in, and active post box.

The flask train passes the rather rusty home signal. The Amlwch branch went off just to the right of the locos.

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