27 March 2017
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issue. For full information visit our Calendar page.
Friday 31 March Great
Branch. Birkenhead Joint Railway. Paul Wright.
Tuesday 4 April North Wales Railway Circle
Change of Speaker due to illness:
Dave Walters will give a slide show of miscellaneous Circle outings
Wednesday 5 April RCTS
David Rapson. Railways - The Digital Effect David, who lives in
Connah's Quay, has worked on the railways for many years spending a lot
of his life in Control positions and now works for West Coast Railway
Company. He is also a Branch member and for those who read Rail Express
will be aware of his contributions.
Friday 7 April Clwyd
Circle Railways of North Cheshire in
Early BR Days Being a Manchester lad, Russell Hatt was able to capture
the busy scenes around his home area.
Friday 7 April (note: first Friday of the month) Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation
Society Lecture The Last Years of British Trolleybuses. A colour
slide presentation by Brian Yates
Wednesday 12 April Welsh Highland
Railway North Wales Group Norman Kneale, Renowned railway
Thursday 13 April Llandudno
& Conwy Valley Railway Society Barry Wynne's Steam Odyssey.
Monday 24 April RCTS
George Jones : Onwards to Corwen.George lives in Wrexham and for
years has been an important publicist for the Llangollen Railway and
certain of its locomotives. He will cover the railway’s reinvigoration
of the line to Corwen and look at its future
Friday 28 April Great
Branch. The L&Y in BR days. Noel Coates.
Tuesday 2 May North
Circle AGM and Annual Photographic
Competition. The Annual General Meeting of The North Wales
Circle will be followed by the annual photographic competition.
Members are invited to submit their work in three categories, prints,
slides and video. Video to be kept reasonably short, approx. 5
In line with Circle rules all work should have been taken in the last
Wednesday 10 May Welsh
Highland Railway North Wales Group Group’s AGM + John Ellis
Williams - The Continuing Story.
Thursday 11 May Llandudno
& Conwy Valley Railway Society A tribute to the late
David Jones, by John Myers
The latest new locomotive type, class 88 for DRS, is an electric
locomotive equipped with a 700 kW diesel engine for use over short
distances on un-electrified branches and depots. Ten locos have
been built initially, based on the body design of the Class 68 diesel.
Andrew Vinten captured 88 002 Prometheus at Roby
station on 27 March at Roby station during a test run on the Liverpool
and Manchester route.
Network Rail movements
On 21 March at Bangor Jim Johnson photographed Track inspection
unit 950 001, running as 2Q08 Longsight - Crewe, at Bangor. The
train had run to Blaenau Ffestiniog, to check the line ready to open
again after the depredations of 'Storm Doris' which based a rock face
to be unstable. It was running early, as it did not stay for a lunch
break at Blaenau as scheduled. Arrival at Bangor was at 12:50, and a
quick turn-round saw it leaving via the up loop at 12:55.
The Conwy Valley line remains closed to passengers for the time being,
BBC report describes the line as 'in Gwynedd' although it's all in
Conwy except the Blaenau Ffestiniog town area.)
23 March saw another Network Rail visitor in the shape of the HST 'New
Measurement Train' powered by 43 062 John Armitt and 43
014 The Railway Observer. Above: the outward working at Rhyl (Roly
High). 43 062 is leading.
43 014 on the front at Mostyn (Tim Rogers). The
much-photographed gantry no longer has a signal on it, as Mostyn
signalbox is closed.
The 'Salopian' excursion, 1Z54 07:14 Dumfries to Shrewsbury on 22 March
passing Pulford crossing with 46115 Scots Guardsman in
charge (Tim Rogers).
Wrexham General (Martin Evans).
Wrexham General (George Jones). It is thought this is the first
time a 'Royal Scot' has come this way, certainly within living memory
and especially in the preservation era, and a long-felt need to see
46115 come along the borders between Chester and Shrewsbury. [Update:
We're told that there was an earlier one, but not with passengers].
Gobowen (Chris Morrison).
Returning through Acton Bridge. Picture - from behind the railings at
the bottom of the footbridge - by Phil Clarke.
Steaming under the footbridge (Phil Clarke).
Class 67 events
67 005 Queen's Messenger approaches Crewe from the
carriage sidings with the empty stock of the Royal Train on 21 March...
... with 67 006 Royal Sovereign on the rear (Martin Evans).
67 014 continues its turn on the Manchester - North Wales
diagram, seen propelling the 13:06 Holyhead - Manchester out of Chester
on 21 March (Martin Evans).
Arriving at Manchester Piccadilly from Longsight with the empty stock
for the 16:50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno (Charlie Hulme).
Some interesting news about 67s is that two have been sold by DB Cargo
to Colas, who will use them on Network Rail trains requiring 100mph
running. 67 023 and 67 027 (which was in DB red) have been repainted
into Colas orange and black livery.
Now and then - Class 175
The current issue of Today's Railways UK magazine has a feature
on the Class 175 units, with much detail about their early trials and
tribulations, and their life since; highly recommended. To complement
this, we've made up an micro-feature of our own. Above, 175 010
calls at Gobowen with the 10:40 Holyhead-Llanelli on 22 March 2017 (Chris
Morrison). Work on the barrel-roofed shelter continues.
175 010 at Chester, 25 August 2007 (Charlie Hulme). When Arriva
took over the fleet, Arriva branding appeared on the First North
175 107 departs from Shotton on 22 March 2017 as 1H90
14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly (Tim Rogers).
175 107 in First North Western days Llandudno Junction, 23 March 2003 (Charlie
Hulme). Another 175 is leading; Pairs of 175s are not common today.
We did our best on this website to chronicle the early days of the
but FNW and Alstom were very touchy about the publication of detail,
resulting on one occasion in something of a 'witch-hunt'.
175 008 passes Mostyn on 23 March as 1W94 13:21 Cardiff
Central to Holyhead (Tim Rogers).
008 calls at Conwy,
29 May 2002 (Charlie Hulme). This unit had more problems that
most - it caught fire and was out of traffic for months, re-appearing
in the experimental Arriva 'ghost' livery which was briefly used on
this and 175 110. Earlier, it has also been the first to be named. See
our Class 175 page for a picture.
175 002 eases into platform 2 with the 12:36 Manchester
Airport to Llandudno on 23 March (Roly High).
Flashback to February 2005: 175 002 was yet to receive any Arriva
branding. Picture at Llandudno Junction by Ian Bowland.
First North Western also used them on workings to Cumbria. Above: 175
114 waits at the Windermere platform at Oxenholme, 8 March 2003 (Charlie
What does the future hold for the 175s as they approach their 20th
birthday? It seems that they will retain their present livery and
interiors until the end of the Arriva franchise in October 2018, even
though all other ATW stock now carries the dark blue base colour
inspired by the Welsh Government. Most likely they will carry on
their present duties, possibly supplemented by hand-me-down stock from
elsewhere; shortened HSTs, or maybe loco-hauled Class 442 stock - time
Busy time at Bangor, 1982 - looking back with Jim Johnson
All the these pictures were taken between about 12:30 and 14:00 on
Tuesday, 27 July, 1982.
Above, 25 327 held on the up main with ballast hoppers; 47
440 with 1K29 12:07 Holyhead - Crewe passenger.
40 169 with the up Valley Goods held at the 'box for instructions.
40 169 propelling its train from the up main to the down line, prior to
being parked in the siding next to the old shed.
The freight parked by the shed building. It was normal at that time for
nuclear flask carriers - between barrier wagons - to be
included with other traffic in trip workings.
47 483 running-round the stock of 1D44 09:00
Euston-Bangor. This will form 1A61 14:36 back to Euston.
47 483 with the stock of 1D44, 09:00 Euston-Bangor at old
Platform 3. 47 454 with 1A56 12:59 Holyhead-Euston, running
through on the up main. 47 443 with 1J22 13:58 Bangor -
Manchester Victoria, in the old Platform 2. Also present, but out of
shot in the tunnel behind me was 25 195, waiting for platform space,
with 1D29 10:45 Manchester Victoria - Holyhead, and the freight was
still in the shed siding.
25 195 finally has access to platform 3 after a lengthy
wait in Bangor Tunnel.
47 483 running into old Platform 4 with the 1A61 stock. 'Big Raymond'
is the driver of 40 169.
47 240 runs through on the up main with a Holyhead-Glasgow
special. Five SLOA (Steam Locomotive Operators' Association) Pullmans,
including the 'Hadrian Bar' are in the formation. 47 443 stands
in Platform 2 with 1J22 13:58 Bangor - Manchester Victoria.
47 483 in old Platform 4. Just visible is the departmental Mk1
ex-sleeper, used as a Permanent Way mess room for a while at Bangor.
40 169 finally escapes on the up main, passing 47 443 (now declared a
40 169 meets 40 002 charging out of Bangor Tunnel to rescue the failed
40 002 causes discarded newspapers to fly as it hurries towards Belmont
40 002 moving from Bangor Tunnel to attach to the front of 47 443.
40 002 + 47 443 ready for departure, commendably nearly right-time.
Plenty of clag from 40 002 on departure.
40 195 with 1D42 09:50 Euston-Holyhead runs through the
down main, 24 minutes down.
Progress at Corwen Central site - report by George Jones
Good weather this past weekend allowed for a visit to the Llangollen Railway
works site in Corwen where the volunteer workforce was demonstrating
their block laying skills in progressing the building of the corbels on
top of the base layer of Easi-blocs as illustrated previously. The
corbels are the projecting layers of support for the over sail slabs
and edging stones which will follow as the edging for the platform. It
is time consuming work are the blocks have to follow the shallow curve
of the downside track to remain in gauge relative to the eventual
arrival of the train.The laying of the 259 base blocks was completed in
five weeks and represented a movement of some 193 tonnes of concrete
over a distance of some 520 feet.
The work represented a magnificent achievement by the project team
saving a lot of cost which would otherwise have been involved. The
corbels will cover the same distance and involve using some 3100 blocks
laid both longitudinally and latitudinally and may take a while longer
even if good weather continues and further hands can be brought to the
Meanwhile, on the Up side, a further panel of track has been laid in
and the eventual shape of the loop becomes obvious as it approaches the
exit structure for the subway which is in place.
The exercise to drill for water in the area alongside the railway
embankment has achieved success and the capped borehole is now
connected to an electric pump which is delivering volumes of water on a
test pumping sequence. The water yield is constant and the clarity
improving whilst awaiting chemical analysis. The evidence is that there
is a good ground water resource under the Corwen plain.
The limiting factor in making rapid progress is, as always, finance and
to help boost funding Llangollen Railway is promoting the 'Big Push'
with the availability of a prospectus aimed at purchasers for the
370,000 £1 shares still available in the PLC. Further details of the
Big Push from email@example.com
22 March: 37 038 and 37 716 with FNA wagon 550038 head
for Crewe at Shotton (Tim Rogers).
Flask train 6D43 for Valley passes Menai Bridge with 37 218
& 37 259 in charge on 24 March (Rowan Crawshaw).
Wrexham line blockade - report by George Jones
Essential work to upgrade the railway means that the route between
Wrexham and Saltney Junction is closed for the period 24 March to 1
April. This means that the re-doubled section of track between Saltney
and Rossett is finally getting attention to the four level crossings
with a view to commissioning the route by 17 April 2017. (Latest
release) To emphasise the point, stop markers (above)
are in place on the track between platforms 1 & 2 with trains from
the south terminating and departing from platform 3.
Onward travel to and from Chester and beyond was by bus on Sunday 26
March with 'semi-preserved' ex-Arriva London bus, DLA 273 of Regional
Transport waiting in the car park offering an unlikely destination from
Wrexham for route 159.
Also present was the easyBus,
offers a Manchester Airport connection for travellers
from Telford, Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Wrexham at a competitive fare
and journey duration compared with the current rail offering.
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