03 July 2017
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[Details of events during the summer of 2017 are welcome for
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
Colourful scene at Altrincham on 3 July as 73 961
and 73 964 pass with a Network Rail train. Picture
by Greg Mape.
37 421 in action - pictures by Ken Robinson
Our comment about 37 421's earlier life as a North Wales
passenger loco inspired Ken Robinson to send these two fine
pictures. Above, 37 421 is passing Minffordd Quarry on the
Cambrian Coast line on 27 July 1991, with the 10:58
(Saturdays) Birmingham New Street -Pwllheli which it had
hauled from Shrewsbury. At this time it was still officially
a Railfreight Petroleum loco, named Strombidae - a
species of shell, as applied to the batch of 37s required to
take oil trains to places where Class 47s were too heavy to
venture. Aberystwyth was one of those places, and 421
reached there with the weekly train from Stanlow at least
once. At that period, it as the practice to use freight
locos on Summer Saturday Cambrian line trains, a very
popular choice with enthusiasts, who did not always make
themselves popular with rail staff.
This loco became derailed a month later (24 August 1991) on
the Dyfi Bridge near Dovey Junction, a mishap which famously
brought to an end Summer Saturday class 37-hauled trains on
the Cambrian Coast.
37 421, in full passenger regalia as The Kingsman
with regimental crest, passing Talybont with a
Holyhead - Manchester Victoria working on 7 May 1994.
Beattie comes home - report by Charlie Hulme
There's a 'Southern' thread running through this issue for
some reason ... June 2017 has seen a visit to the Manchester
Museum of Science and Industry by ex-London and South
Western Railway 0-4-2WT 30587, designed by William Beattie,
one of a three of these ancient locos (of the original 84)
which lasted into British Railways days to work the Wenford
Bridge freight branch in Cornwall. On Thursday 15 June
it was in steam, working the Museum's replica Liverpool and
Manchester carriages up and down what little remains of the
running line after much of it was disconnected to allow
construction of the new Ordsall Chord line.
The loco was built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester in 1874. I
took a ride on the train - the only passenger - before
taking these pictures of the next run. In the siding is the
Museum's battery-electric shunter, built in 1944 for Bolton
30587's next appointment is the Keighley
and Worth Valley Railway's 'Little Engines' Gala on
East Lancashire Views - by Martin Evans
LMS 'Crab' 2-6-0 13065 waits to Depart Bury Bolton
Street with the 1pm service to Rawtenstall on 29 June
08 164 Prudence in charge of empty coaching
stock at Bury.
Class 40 locos D345, 40 106 and 40 135
wait to depart Bury on a test run to Heywood.
Metrolink trams 3019 and 3024 are seen
arriving at Bury Metrolink from Altrincham, having just
passed under the bridge carrying the ELR Heywood line.
Of the 120 trams in the current fleet, only 3001-3060 are
dual-fitted with the original and current signalling
systems, and are able to work over the outer portions of the
Bury and Altrincham lines which still use fixed
signals,while the rest of the network operated on
Clan Line test run
On the evening of 28 June rebuilt 'Merchant Navy' Class
Pacific 4-6-2 35028 Clan Line, looking
resplendent, departed Crewe following a major overall which
has taken nearly two years by the London & North Western
Railway Company Ltd, based at the former Crewe Diesel Depot.
Above: at Crewe, as the cylinder drain cocks close and the
excess steam begins to clear, 35028 starts the loaded test
run (Robert Meredith).
Departing from Crewe (Robert Meredith). The
locomotive and empty coaching stock were routed for the
loaded test train, Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury -
Oxley - Crewe - Chester - Crewe, having undertaken a
successful light test run from Crewe to Chester on 18 May.
Attached to the rear of the train was 67 006 Royal
Sovereign (Robert Meredith).
Steaming well near Beeston (Phil Clarke).
Welsh Government On the Right Track?
The Welsh Government has published a 71-page document
amusingly entitled On the right track? The Rail
Franchise and South Wales Metro which is now available
for download from their website. It lists 19
recommendations ('The good Lord himself had only ten' - Georges
Clemenceau) relating to the forthcoming transfer of
power to the Wales and Borders train operator and specify
the train services.
North Wales is mentioned briefly in recommendation 19: 'The
Welsh Government should ... continue
to lobby for North Wales electrification' and elsewhere we
read 'The Welsh Government’s initial priorities document
states that capacity for freight traffic should be protected
across the network, including north Wales.' The rather
nebulous 'North Wales Metro' concept which has been floating
about gets no mention at all.
Most of the references to North Wales are in the
consultation comments, for example
Iwan Prys Jones of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board :
'A very small point: I think, in the context of that
question, it’s probably also important to note that by far
the biggest constraints that there are to improving rail
services in north Wales are actually all in England, so it
needs to be a two way street. The big issues for us are
Crewe, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and the West Coast
main line, and it’s just as important for us to have a voice
in how those services and infrastructure are funded as it is
for passengers in England to have a say within the Welsh
A most pertinent point was made by Ms Anna Saunders who
wrote: 'The cost of travel along the North Wales line is
extremely expensive when compared the Valley Lines and
Mersey rail services, resulting in social exclusion'.
Predictably the response from the RMT Union centred on their
refusal to accept that trains could be operated safely
without an on-board guard with safety responsibility.
(Meanwhile, Arriva's Northern English services are to be
crippled by a three-day strike on this issue from 8-10
Llangollen Classics - pictures by Peter Dickinson
Some photographs taken during the Saturday (1 July) of
Llangollen's Classic Transport Weekend. Above, Class 37 6940
'Black 5' 45337 with uncomfortable-looking
Am the road vehicles on display at Glyndyfrdwy, the
well-known pair of ex-Crosville Bristol buses. There
represent two different variations of the type: LFM 759 is
an LL6B, where as the other is an LWL6B, the 'W' for 'wide',
built after 8-foot wide buses were permitted by legislation.
Alan Roberts writes to clarify the questions in the
last issue about the current and future pointwork at Rhyl.
The points from the down main to the down loop by the
signalbox, damaged by a run-through by a tamper going into a
possession, are currently secured, preventing all movements
through the loop. The damaged components for the points will
be replaced at the same location, some time around around
A new trailing crossover (shown dashed above) will be
located between the Gladstone Bridge (No.75) east of the
signal box, and the footbridge No 74 by Rhyl up
starting signal (RL87). The only new piece of trackwork in
conjunction with the re-signalling will be that trailing
crossover. The remainder of the track layout will stay the
same for Rhyl after the signalbox closes and control is
transferred to Cardiff.
Talyllyn Victorian Experience - report by Jim Ikin
On Thursday 22 June we travelled on the Talyllyn Railway's
Victorian Train Experience which runs on a number of
Thursdays during the summer. The tour is described as
'discreetly conducted' by knowledgeable staff including a
number of run pasts, stops, a visit to Abergynolwyn signal
box and a cream tea back at Tywyn Wharf. Although blue
skies and hot weather had given way to cloud it was an
enjoyable day. Above: the Victorian set hauled
by Dolgoch at Tywyn Wharf.
A run past at Rhydyronen.
Arrival at Dolgoch where the loco takes on water via the
original method of water chute.
Setting back across the viaduct ...
... and running across the viaduct.
Picture by Sue Ikin.
After arrival at Abergynolwyn the train was set back into
the loop, before lunch.
Taken from Abergynolwyn signal box, Douglas arrives
with a service train.
In Abergynolwyn signalbox we were give a detailed
description of operations was given by a staff member.
We made two runs up to Nant Gwernol. Above, Dolgoch
Back at Tywyn Wharf, a ‘night soil’ wagon constructed in
such a way as to avoid spills on inclines!
Edward Thomas after arrival at Tywyn with the next
Barmouth Holiday Part 2 - Pictures by Tim Rogers
158 823 runs off Barmouth Bridge, 19 June.
The bridge from above.
Evening view from the beach with 158 821, 21 June.
Southern Swansong - Peter Neve remembers
9 July 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of steam
on the Southern Region. During the school summer holidays of
1966, I spent two weeks in August travelling across Southern
England. I was able to record some of the steam hauled
expresses at a number of locations. Above: still in
relatively good mechanical condition and steam-tight, Battle
of Britain class 4-6-2 No. 34066 Spitfire
waits to restart a Waterloo to Bournemouth express from
Brockenhurst station in the New Forest.
Surprisingly, with only five weeks to go before withdrawal
from Salisbury MPD, 34066 still has its nameplates on the
After experiencing a characteristic wheel slip, Spitfire
gets to grips with the rails and passes Brockenhurst goods
yard sidings heading westwards. In five months’ time
Spitfire would be a pile of scrap metal in Buttigieg’s yard,
Newport, South Wales.
Rebuilt West Country pacific 34108 Wincanton
waits to depart Brockenhurst station on 23 August 1966 with
a Waterloo-bound express.
Standard class 5 4-6-0 73110 The Red Knight
(minus nameplates) stands in Woking station waiting for
mailbags to be loaded. The pilot engine is class 33 diesel D6540
Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 No. 35008 Orient Line enters
Brockenhurst station with an Up express to London Waterloo.
Standard class 4 2-6-4 tank engine 80011 shunts wagons in
the goods yard sidings at Brockenhurst station.
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