16 May 2017
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Saturday 27 May: Friends of the Mersey Ferries: annual Dock
. The ferry Royal Iris of the Mersey
depart Seacombe 12:00 noon for a 5-hour cruise to Eastham Locks and
entry to Royal Seaforth docks.
27-29 May: Bala Lake Festival of Transport.
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[Details of events during the summer of 2017 are welcome for this
68 016 Fearless and 68 017 Hornet
depart from Valley with the flasks for Crewe, 10 May (Garry Stroud).
Don't miss the 12
May extra issue.
Bike Ride to Valley - with Alan Crawshaw
As Wednesday 10 May was such a fine day, I jumped on the bike and raced
into Bangor to photograph the Flasks. I knew I was cutting it fine so
rode to an overbridge west of Belmont tunnel and waited. All I got for
my trouble was a London-bound Voyager (above) so I continued into
Bangor for coffee and wifi where I learned that it had passed six
minutes earlier than the estimated time.
No matter, I'd catch it at Valley. Once over the Menai bridge, the
quiet leafy lanes which comprise the Anglesey section of Lon Las Cymru
took me to a handy location in time for the Manchester to Holyhead
loco-hauled, due in ten minutes or so. Half an hour later, a double
Voyager which formed the 09:10 from Euston passed, the service which
should have followed the Manchester.
I pressed on to Valley where the shiny new 68s were waiting to back out
from the loading point, and chatted to two photographers on the
platform until 68 016 and 68 017 pushed their load into the platform
and posed for us in the sunshine before being granted the road. Then
the long ride home, arriving tired and well exercised.
Voyager footnote: Virgin have announced that from the new timetable
which starts on 21 May, the 10:42 from Crewe to Holyhead and 13:55 from
Holyhead to London Euston will be worked by a double Voyager set.
Ian Pilkington writes: 'The Carlisle - Chirk logs returned
at last to the Settle-Carlisle on Wednesday 10 May, and although
subsequent workings on 12 and 15 May have run over Shap, I understand
the train will be returning permanently to the S&C.' These four
images are from 10 May: Above, 6J37 Carlisle-Chirk logs with 60 087
Clic Sargent in charge approaching Helwith Bridge.
Leaving Hellifield on the line to Blackburn.
Climbing the 1 in 91 Wilpshire Bank at Billington Crossing near Whalley.
Greg Mape writes: 'Stoney Bridge, Timperley yielded these
two pictures within 30 Minutes on 13 May. The bridge has been
refurbished which allows better views of the track as there is metal
fencing either side of the bridge wall that you can poke your camera
Above, 66 506 Crewe Regeneration with the empty hoppers
from Fiddlers' Ferry power station to York, the return working of the
regular working of store coal from the close Eggborough power station.
GBRf 66 738 Huddersfield Town with another load of
imported American wood pellets from Liverpool to Drax power
With the Down Main Line at Rhyl still 'persona non grata' to all
traffic, on 13 May 57 315 eases 1Z28, the 'Spirit of the Lakes'
charter from Peterborough to Blaenau Ffestiniog into the Down Passenger
Loop (Roly High).
47 237 was at the rear. The return working was to
terminate at Grantham,where the empty stock was stabled overnight,
leaving around 13:00 for Carnforth (Roly High).
The refurbished and repainted footbridge at Llanfair PG on 7 May, with 175
105 passing (Richard Fleckney)
On 11 May, driver 'Dave Trains' brings 67 012 and the 09:50
Manchester - Holyhead to a stand in Bangor station ...
... with the usual driving van trailer 82308 on the rear (Richard
Chris Taylor writes: 90 mph running southbound on the Chester - Wrexham
line is arriving soon. The existing, planned 60 mph Temporary Speed
Restriction on the Up line between Saltney and Rossett Junctions is
scheduled to be lifted from 05:15 on Friday 26 May.
Llangollen diesels - Pictures by Marc Thomas
7 May's diesel outing proceeded as planned. Above, Class 37 6940
at Llangollen station.
Class 47 D1566 also made an appearance on the 15.10 to Corwen
along with Class 37 6940. The headboard reads 'Pete's 50th Birthday
Special', a celebration also alluded to by the headcode.
Great Britain X
Day 7 of this year's grand 'Great Britain X' tour on 5 May was between
Grange Over Sands and Bristol, originally scheduled to travel via
Chester and Shrewsbury, but re-routed to the Crewe to Shrewsbury
line, and then onwards to Bristol. The run was entrusted to 45699
Galatea, photographed (above) by Phil Clarke at Hartford
Passing through Nantwich and heading towards Wrenbury (Robert
Shrewsbury (Richard Putley). The 'X' in the name means its the
tenth run of this grand tour, nothing to do with algebra, spying or
In passing, some readers my know about the 'All the Stations' project
by Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe to travel to, or be in a train that
stops at, every station on Network Rail - 2563 of them - and record
their summer adventures on YouTube, Facebook, etc. While at Penzance,
they happened upon the 'Great Britain X' and made an extra video of their
The Class 319 story - by Eddie Knorn
Further to previous items about the age of the Class 319 and 150 units,
I can add some first-hand information.
The original build 150/1s must have been built at York during 1985 as
they started to appear at New Street on Derby services from around
January 1986. I started my career on the big railway on 15th September
1986 and a fortnight later began my placement at York Carriage Works.
At that time, the works had just finished the last of the 318s for the
Ayr electrification, along with a batch of 4x Class 317s for Great
Northern suburban. The main new build job was Class 150/2s but at that
time they could not fit the interiors fast enough, so there were
unpainted 150/2 bodies on their bogies and with engines etc sitting
around the works yard waiting for the interiors to be built. As I
recall, the first unit to be completed in the correct sequence was 150
In amongst all of this flurry of 150 construction, a Class 319 driving
trailer stood in part of the works, presumably as a trial vehicle for
the build of 60 four car units. During my time in the Frame Shop, I
assisted with the initial construction of the underframe for the power
car of 319 001.
Recalling the way that the works built things, I suspect that the 150/2
build continued until the 85th unit was finished with a steady stream
of 319s starting around that time. This would have been around Spring
1987. The first 319 on site at Selhurst, their maintenance location,
rolled into the shed at the beginning of October 1987.
Richard Putley in Ireland - Day 1
My first day with the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI)
Shannon and Suir Tour, Saturday 6 May. Disappointingly ex-Great
Northern Railway of Ireland (GNRI) Merlin failed to appear.
Apparently an axlebox cover on one of the axles of her tender came off
on the trip down from the RPSI’s base at Whitehead, Co. Antrim on
Thursday. As a result oil leaked from the bearings and they over
heated. This was only discovered the following day. So instead North
Counties 2-6-4T Number 4 worked all of Saturday’s Dublin –
Limerick leg. She had trouble getting steam up and only couple on to
the train after the 09:30 to Belfast had left. We should have departed
at 09:25 but eventually left 20 minutes late, but by Hazelhatch the
deficit had been cut to 10 minutes thanks to some spirited running.
We had a water stop at Portalington which gave a chance to take some
photos. We stopped in the Up Platform, which meant that an Up Train,
formed of DMU No. 22215 had to cross over to the Down Platform.
I also took a picture of the DMU arriving, where you can see the
line to Athlone curving away to the right. We then took this line,
departing only 5 minutes late.
Like most lines in Ireland, the line from Portarlington to Athlone and
on to Galway is single track. Between Portarlington and Tullamore we
passed an Up Container train hauled by an Irish Rail class 201 diesel
loco (these are very similar to the the class 66s used in Britain since
privatisation). Then at Tullamore we had to wait for a train from
Galway to come off the next single section. Like most Irish Rail “Inter
City” trains these days it was formed of two DMUs. Local hauled
passenger are only used on the Dublin – Belfast and Dublin – Cork
routes and the 201 class monopolise these works. The carriages used on
the Cork trains were made by CAF in Spain about 10 years ago. I imagine
the carriages they’re now building for Trans Pennine Express in England
will be similar, The Cork carriages are certainly pleasant to travel
in, so this should be something to look forward to.
Our next water stop was at Athlone (above) which boasts three
platforms. We were overtaken by DMU 22337 on a Dublin Heuston – Galway
At Woodlawn we were looped as an Up train sped through. This station
only has a platform on the Main Line so it we were unable to get out
here. Our next stop was Athenry (above) which was also a water stop.
Here the signalbox still stands but is now an empty shell – a sad
contrast from when I visited it in the 1990s on a number of Irish
Traction Group railtours. Back then it was still in use with a full
complement of semaphore signals and at the east end of the station the
branch line to Claremorris was in use. Now that line is disconnected
though at least the track remains in situ. There are some nice gardens
at Athenry which I took a picture of from the signalbox steps.
We then took the branch line to Ennis and Limerick. Back in 1992 (is
that really 25 years ago?!) when I made my very first visit to Ireland
and rode on the ITG’s Sligo Avoider tour, this line was not in regular
use between Ennis and Athenry. But due to a derailment on the main
Dublin – Limerick
Junction line that day, Irish Rail had deployed an inspector to check
the state of the line. Having passed it fit for traffic our tour had
then traversed that line – an unexpected bonus! Since then it has been
re-opened to passenger trains.
At Gort we had another water stop. This time there was no convenient
fire hydrant to use so the RPSI had arranged for the an Irish Civil
Defence Water tanker to replenish No. 4’s tanks.After that we journeyed
on to Limerick for an lively run which ended an enjoyable day.
Meanwhile I gathered No 4 would do all the work on the next day from
Limerick to Waterford and then on to Dublin.
[Continued next issue]
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