NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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06 March 2018
Steam at Llangollen, 3 March. Picture by Martin Evans.
Arriva's Troubled Week
On snowy Wednesday 28 February, passengers and staff woke up to the following message from Arriva Trains Wales:
Due to urgent safety checks with our entire 175 (long distance) train fleet, we have had to suspend the majority of our long distance services today (28.02.18). there will be no ATW services between Cardiff - Manchester / Holyhead (via Shrewsbury) until further notice. We have agreed ticket acceptance with all train operators and passengers who were travelling today will be able to use their tickets tomorrow instead. Cardiff Valleys services are unaffected.The Conwy Valley service was replaced by a bus, to release a class 150 for service elsewhere, and the Bidston - Wrexham service was halved.
It transpired that several 175s, and also some 158s, had been found to have had a piece missing from some of their wheel flanges, presumably due to some defect in the track somewhere on the network. There were early rumours that the recently-installed pointwork at Mostyn might be the location, but eventually the problem was traced to a misaligned check-rail on points at Maindee West Junction, east of Newport where the line from Shrewsbury joins the London - Cardiff route.
Meanwhile, Cardiff Valley services, and most others, became affected by snow, to the point where all Cardiff local services were stopped, whilst a limited service re-appeared on the Coast, although by 4 March the Chester - Manchester line was still labelled as 'Do Not Travel.' The strikes by conductors on Northern and Merseyrail on Saturday 3 March didn't help beleaguered passengers any. The Cambrian lines were affected by the weather as well as the shortage on 158s; no trains ran at all on 2 March.
Fortunately, it has been found possible to return most of the affected trains to service after a visit to a wheel lathe to re-profile the wheels, and all services (except the Conwy Valley) on Monday 5 March ran more or less normally, helped by the melting of snow in most of the area.
Our thanks are due to all the rail staff who have worked in difficult conditions to get trains running again.
Manod Quarry talk
The above event might make an interesting evening for readers within reach of Irlam (west of Manchester on the Cheshire Lines Liverpool route).
Llangollen faces the snow - report by George Jones
Although North East Wales seems to have missed the worse of the Beast from the East in terms of snowfall, the chill wind presented a challenge for those operating the mid-week railcar service between Llangollen and Corwen. However the train services all operated for the benefit of those hardly passengers who did turn up and perhaps went walking in the Dee Valley or enjoyed the winter wonderland ride.
Acknowledging the efforts of the volunteers and staff who kept the railway operating, Business Manager Liz McGuinness praised their efforts on Facebook and said: 'What a bunch of fantastic, wonderful volunteers who have come out to make sure our service runs today (Saturday). They have done this all week. We have not missed a service. Great signalmen, guards, Travelling Ticket Inspectors, and diesel railcar drivers. I can’t thank them enough - they are unreal.'
The sting was in the tail end of 'Storm Emma' when it swept through on late Friday and gave the Railway a further challenge for the weekend steam service on Saturday when a wedding booking had to be honoured. To meet the operating conditions the Loco Dept turned out two engines with 6430 and 3802 prepared to top and tail the train in readiness for the special occasion scheduled for the 1510 departure from Llangollen. Not too easy in icy conditions with frozen pipes and points.
In the event the first train of the day got away a little late and was seen (above) returning at 13:20 with 3802 running tender first, running with the large 4000-gallon tender which provided some shelter; the trip in reverse was something of a challenge for the footplate crew.
Pannier tank 6430 was on the other end of the train.
Those in the pannier tank perhaps had a more comfortable time of it and maybe something to laugh at. The train successfully got through to Corwen East despite some lineside drifting snow and all stations were manned by staff. The topping and tailing of the train allowed the run round at Carrog to be dispensed with, given that the points may have been frozen.
Llangollen station with the train back from Corwen - not too much snow evident, but enough to be an inconvenience when it drifted in places - and then there was the chill factor. Just some of what it takes to operate a standard gauge railway and earn its keep in this day and age.
The 13:00 departure was cancelled to allow all efforts to be concentrated on the preparation and departure of the 15:10 with its Wedding Belle headboard when the party was catered for in a dedicated coach. Everything went well with the run down the line and the reception there afterwards was deemed a great success. Certainly a day to remember.
Shrewsbury Steam Special
On 28 February West Coast Railways 'Spirit of the Lakes' charter 'The Shrewsbury Steam Special' ran from Scarborough to Shrewsbury and return. Originally booked for steam haulage Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury, with the return leg Shrewsbury - Nantwich - Crewe, however a late change to the operational schedule occurred, and steam was attached at Farington Junction and then routed Crewe - Nantwich - Shrewsbury and return, with the steam loco detached at Preston. Phil Clarke photographed the train near Crewe.
LMS Stanier Class 8F 2-8-0 48151 put in another sterling performance with West Coast Railways driver Mick Kelly at the controls, seen passing through Nantwich starting the climb towards Wrenbury, with diesel locomotive 47 746 Chris Fudge 29-7-70 - 22-6-10 attached to the rear of the train for operational and train heating purposes.
The return train at Hartford (Phil Clarke). Another photographer demonstrates the wrong place to stand at a station with fast trains probably approaching from behind you.
Yard Lamps at Rhyl?
The following plea comes from Andy Freeman:
I am currently working (as part of a team of two) on creating a 1980s version of the North Wales Coast Line for the Dovetail Games Train Simulator 2018 PC based train simulator programme. It is actually a regression of the modern day version that is currently available for purchase, our version will be a freeware 'BR Blue' regression using the modern version as a base which will be provided free of charge to the train simulator community.
Llandudno to Rhyl is currently complete - we have sourced many period photographs from the internet, and our memories of travelling the line in the 1980s, to help with recreating the line as accurately as possible for the period within the limitations of the Simulator ... but there is one area that has so far proven to be difficult to nail down and that is the situation regarding Goods Yard lamps at Rhyl Goods Yard, the photos that we have are either close up or far distant with no indication that yard lamps were in place - I find it surprising that such a large and active Goods Yard did not have lamps.
Would anyone by any chance have any photographs which show clearly either way? I would not necessarily need to see the photographs (although would be very happy to receive), just confirmation either way would be fine ... or if you have personal recollection either way that would be useful information. I realise that this is a long shot but any information that you could provide would be very useful.
Replies to our website address will be passed on to Andy.
Spring in East Lancashire
Another event battling the weather on 2-3 March was the East Lancashire Railway's Spring (!) gala. Above, 'Crab' 2-6-0 13065 departs Ramsbottom for Rawtenstall on 2 March (Phil Clarke).
Lancashire and Yorkshire 0-6-0 52322 (built 1896) at Ramsbottom on 2 March, with the traditional brazier to keep the water supply flowing (Phil Clarke).
60009 at Bury on 3 March (Greg Mape).
One for the wagon enthusiasts (Greg Mape).
Narrow Gauge Winter - pictures by Michael Baker
The 11:15 Porthmadog to Caernarfon approaching Bryn y Felin, with Blanche and Earl of Merioneth in charge, on 24 February.
Blanche shunting around Boston Lodge Works in the snow, 27 February.
46100 Royal Scot drifts past the site of the old Chester Midland shed on a training run for Jeremy Hosking's Locomotive Services from Crewe, 6 March (Bob Greenhalgh). Four return runs were made in the course of the day.
47 222 Appleby Frodingham at Prestatyn on ballast empties to Penmaenmawr, 24 February 1988. From Dave Sallery's archive.
Colas Rail ballast regulator 77327 passes Morrison's, Saltney on a Bangor to Chester move, 4 March.
67 016 propels the empty stock of the 13:07 from Holyhead out of Manchester Piccadilly station, 5 March (Charlie Hulme).
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