19 June 2017
Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page
[Details of events during the summer of 2017 are welcome for
1-2 July Llangollen
Railway Classic Transport weekend
1-2 July Talyllyn
Railway Llechfan Garden Railway weekend and Beer
22-23 July Llangollen
Railway 1960s weekend
22-24 July Penrhyn
Quarry Railway Celebration of five years of running
Sunday 23 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring
Company North Wales Coast Express Liverpool - Holyhead
Tuesday 25 July Steam on the Coast Railway Touring
Company The Welsh Mountaineer
Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog
25-28 August Bala Lake
Railway Steam Gala
1-3 September Welshpool
and Llanfair Railway Gala Weekend
15-17 September Welsh
Highland Railway Super Power Weekend
16-17 September Penrhyn Quarry
Railway Special event
Saturday 23 September Welshpool and
Llanfair Railway Diesel day
23-24 September Llangollen
Railway Diesel Weekend
6-8 October Ffestiniog
Railway Victorian Weekend
13-15 October Llangollen
Railway Autumn Steam Gala
Saturday 18 November Steam on the Coast Steam
Dreams Cathedrals Express London Euston - Llandudno
for the Christmas Market. 46233 Duchess of
Sutherland: Crewe - Llandudno and return
6990 Witherslack Hall at Ramsbottom on a
visit to the East Lancashire Railway, 17 June (Greg Mape).
This loco will be rostered over the next few weeks: see
the ELR website.
Three Peaks Challenge by Rail - report by Jim Johnson
I visited Bangor station to 'Three Peaks Challenge by Rail'
working on the evening of Thursday, 15 June. Prior to
the 'Three Peaks' arrival, the 'WAG', 1W96 17:16 Cardiff
Central - Holyhead, propelled by 67 029 Royal
Diamond, arriving a bit late at 21:14. (82306 leading.)
The Three Peaks train was hauled by DRS 37 609 + 37
605, and composed of 11 coaches, mostly late Mk2 FOs,
with a Mk1 Buffet and converted Mk1 BSK. Above: the train,
1Z51 19:12 Crewe-Bangor, arrives at 21:36, 1 minute early.
The coaches look good in BR blue/grey colours.
A pleasingly volcanic departure, as 5Z51 ECS to Holyhead,
right-time at 21:41.
Nice to see the tail of a 'proper' train, late Mk2 FO with
tail-lamp, disappearing into Belmont Tunnel.
Llew Jones coaches were awaiting the train's arrival to take
the participants to the starting point of the climb of
Snowdon, which is done up and down in the dark before
returning to the train for transport to Cumbria for Scafell
Pike and then Fort William for Ben Nevis before returning to
The train raises money for The Railway
Children charity. If any reader took part in the
event, let us know the address of your donation page!
Readers not resident in England will find that from 21 May
the 'Senior Citizen' version of Greater Manchester
Wayfarer day ranger tickets, ideal for exploring by rail,
bus or tram a wide area including the Peak District as well
as Greater Manchester and part of Cheshire, have increased
in price to £8 and are to be sold only to holders of an English
National Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme 'bus
pass'. Previously the reduced price ticket was available to
anyone over 60 on proof of age. It is apparently claimed
that it was being misused for non-leisure journeys, but it
is not valid in the morning peak, so this seems unlikely,
Everyone else, including foreign tourists and Greater
Manchester locals aged 60 - 63, must buy the £13 adult
ticket or the equivalent group and child versions where
the TfGM website. Details of this penny-pinching rule
do not seem to have reached every ticket office at the time
Mersey River Festival
Mersey River Festival returns for another 'action
packed' weekend on 24 & 25 June. This year Armed Forces
Day will be along for the ride adding naval vessels and Red
Arrows fly-pasts to the waterfront. The waterfront will play
host to a variety of activities throughout the weekend
including marching bands, boat races, polo tournaments, Jet
Ski stunt displays and historical ships, bringing the river
in the heart of Liverpool to life, and bringing crowds of
people by train.
Fortunately, the Wirral Loop line has re-opened on 19 June
after weeks of closure for engineering works. Even so, if
you don't want so see the festival, we'd advise you to keep
well away from Merseyrail routes.
Scarborough Flyer, 17 June - report by Jim Ikin
45690 Leander travelled to Scarborough from
Manchester Victoria on 17 June and I was lucky enough to be
onboard although walking up the hill in 30 degree heat to
Scarborough Castle was hard going!
Leander started at 2.30am from Carnforth and arrived to pick
up the first passengers at 6.40 am - Pictures above.
After 'dropping us off' at Victoria, Greg Mape took
this picture from a point just off Rochdale Road in North
It was announced on board that Leander was running low
on water and a tanker was brought south to just north
of Sheffield for a ‘top up’.
On the blocks at Scarborough; as can be seen work is being
carried out on the platforms.
After turning on the turntable just outside the station
Leander was ready to depart at 15:58.
At Milford Loop Leander left the train ...
... to be replaced by a West Coast Class 47, and
arrived back at Manchester (above) nine minutes early at
Flying Scotsman in Cheshire
Steam superstar 60103 Flying Scotsman
arrived at Chester on 13 June with a 'Cathedrals Express'
from London. Phil Clarke captured the train near
Arriving at Chester (Roly High).
Preparing to turn on the triangle at Chester and run round
before taking on water from a tanker whilst stabled in one
of the sidings near Chester Power Box. Picture by Martin
47 237, attached to the rear of the Cathedrals
Express in Chester; this loco was to return the tour to
Reading alone. 'Steam one way, diesel back' seems to be
'trending' with steam charter operators this summer (Martin
After leaving the train at Chester, returning back to
Carnforth with its support coach, passing
through Keckwick; Norton water tower is in the
background (Phil Clarke).
The Dalesman - report by Robert Meredith
On 13 June, West Coast Railways 'The Dalesman' tour from
Chester to Carlisle travelling both ways over the Settle to
Carlisle route departed Chester with 47 760 and 47
245, picking up passengers at Frodsham, Warrington
Bank Quay, Wigan and Leyland, then travelling to Carnforth
(where LMS Stanier Class 2-8-0 locomotive 48151 was
attached to the rear of the train) then onto Hellifield
where the diesel locomotives, were removed allowing steam
haulage to Carlisle and return to Hellifield. The return to
Chester was diesel hauled and routed via Clitheroe and
Blackburn. Above: West Coast Railways Class 47 locomotives 47
245 and 47 760 arriving at platform 3 at
Chester with the empty coaching stock from Carnforth.
48151 at Carlisle station having put up a splendid
performance on the northbound run by driver Mick Rawlings.
A change of crew was now required and the fireman
equipped with with his own shovel awaits his driver.
48151 sets off with Driver Mick Kelly to shunt the coaching
stock, turn and service the locomotive in preparation for
the southbound journey back to Hellifield, both passengers
on the train and those viewing and photographing lineside
were to witness an impressive performance from both
footplate crew and locomotive especially as it climbed to
the summit of Ais Gill, the highest point in the line at 356
m (1,169 ft) above sea level.
tours from Chester are scheduled for Tuesday's
on 27 June, 18 July, and 15 August.
Great Western on Wirral Part 2
The second part of Tony Robinson's detailed feature
on the Great Western's Wirral lines is in the new issue of
Backtrack magazine, now on sale.
Bangor evening, 14 June - pictures by Jim Johnson
A Network Rail track recording train was stabled in the
engineer's sidings (former Platform 4) at Bangor on the
evening Wednesday, 14 June. At the east end of the train was
Driving Trailer 9714 (all pictures taken from legal
positions). The train had left the LNWR depot at Crewe at
22:28 the previous evening, and worked to Holyhead and back
to Bangor, arriving at 05:34.
Traction power was provided by Colas Rail loco 37 254,
which in April 2017 gained the name Cardiff Canton,
previously carried by 37 422. The Pullman Rail
servicing company, part of the Colas Rail Group, operates
from part of the Canton depot complex. Above, 67 020 passes
at 21:20, propelling 1W96 17:16 Cardiff Central -
Holyhead at 21:20.
221 114 on 1D91 17:10 Euston-Holyhead passing 37 254, after
it had moved up to the ground signal protecting the exit
from the sidings.
The ground signal pulled off, after 1D91 was safely out of
the way. The lower disc showing 'proceed' indicates that the
right-hand of two possible routes is set. alongside the
points, shows The signal is positioned alongside the
pointwork, as it applied to movements from either of the two
Moving into Belmont Tunnel. Note the former Motorail vehicle
behind the loco: several of these have been converted for
Network Rail use.
... with the video lights on 9714 lit.
7) Crossing over onto the Up main at 21:37, 7 minutes ahead
of its booked departure time at 21:44 to Cardiff Pullman
Rail via Chester, Crewe and Shrewsbury.
Departure on the Up Main with 37 254 propelling. This loco
was in preservation, on the Spa Valley Railway, before being
purchased by Colas in 2015. It was allocated to Canton depot
when first built in 1965.
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