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Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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21 May 2018
Return flask train at Conwy, 16 May. Picture by Richard Putley.
Class 68 scene
The Crewe - Valley flask train on 16 May had locos 68 033 and 68 030, seen westbound at Bangor (Richard Putley).
Passing Conwy station (Garry Stroud). Both locos have had the modifications for working TransPennine passenger trains; 67 030 carries the temporary livery which will be replaced by the TPE scheme, whilst 033 has full DRS livery as with 034 it will act as a standby.
On 18 May, Chiltern-liveried 68 015 appeared on the Valley flask working, seen above (from the public footpath) setting back from the loading siding on to the main line at Valley ...
... and departing for Crewe with 68 001 Evolution leading (Garry Stroud).
Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).
Rowan Crawshaw was at Birmingham Moor Street station on 24 April to photograph 68 008 Avenger after working the 13:10 Chiltern train from London Marylebone. We thought this loco has not yet been used on a North Wales flask train, but it was recorded by Ivor Bufton on 21 February 2018. Ivor has compiled the following table of First Coast Appearances, and welcomes any corrections or additions. The date next to the number is the first appearance at Valley loading point; appearances at other locations are as noted.
68001 15/05/2017 Flasks with 68022 (15/05/2017)
68002 18/09/2017 Flasks with 68033 (18/09/2017)
68003 26/11/2015 Flasks with 57305 (26/11/2015)
68004 21/10/2015 Driver Training to Holyhead (21/10/2015)
Flasks with 68028 (21/06/2017)
68005 17/05/2017 Test Train to ?? With 68017 (08/09/2016)
Flasks with 68020 (17/05/2017)
68008 21/02/2018 Flasks with 68005 (21/02/2018)
68011 06/05/2016 Driver Training at Llandudno Junction (27/08/2014)
Flasks with 37604 (06/05/2016)
68015 18/05/2018 Flasks with 68001 (18/05/2018)
68016 27/04/2016 Flasks with 37610 (27/04/2016)
68017 08/05/2017 Test Train to ?? With 68005 (08/09/2016)
Flasks with 68016 (08/05/2017)
68018 31/07/2017 Flasks with 68030 (31/07/2017)
68020 17/05/2017 Flasks with 68005 (17/05/2017)
68022 15/05/2017 Flasks with 68001 (15/05/2017)
68023 12/06/2017 Flasks with 68001 (12/06/2017)
68024 18/08/2017 Flasks with 68017 (18/08/2017)
68025 19/05/2017 Flasks with 68001 (19/05/2017)
68026 02/06/2017 Flasks with 68001 (02/06/2017)
68027 14/07/2017 Flasks with 68016 (14/07/2017)
68028 21/06/2017 Flasks with 68004 (21/06/2017)
68029 28/06/2017 Flasks with 68022 (28/06/2017)
68030 26/06/2017 Flasks with 68001 (26/06/2017)
68031 08/12/2017 Flasks with 68029 (08/12/2017)
68032 27/09/2017 Flasks with 68017 (27/09/2017)
68033 18/09/2017 Flasks with 68002 (18/09/2017)
68034 01/09/2017 Flasks with 68029 (01/09/2017)
Class 67 news
On 17 May a Network Rail measurement train visited the Coast line, with 67 027 Charlotte and 67 023 Stella. The working was 1Q30 10:51 Derby RTC - Crewe via Holyhead. Above, the train passes Bangor westbound (Jim Johnson). Note the weather-proofed scaffolding over the original 1848 building.
The return workinmg passes Bangor and 158 829 on 1D14 13:08 Birmingham International-Holyhead ...
... and disappears into the Egyptian mouth of Bangor tunnel (Jim Johnson).
Also present at Bangor was 97 301, which had been stabled overnight (Jim Johnson). 301, built in 1962 as D6800, is easily distinguished from its three sister locos, even at a distance, by its lack of a former headcode panel.
Returning past Beeches Farm ...
... 67 027 on the rear (Bob Greenhalgh).
Three Class 67s 67 001, 002 and 003 were painted blue when the class took over Arriva Trains Wales loco-hauled services, but none of them has been seen on ATW trains for some time (when was the last time?) but Eurwyn McMahon spotted (from a train) 67 002 at Warrington Arpley maintenance depot on 21 May.
Great Malvern to Bangor (continued) - with Richard Putley
On Saturday 12 May I bought a Rover Ticket for Bangor and Conwy Zones. I went over to Colwyn Bay then to Betws-y-Coed (above), but did not see anything unusual. 150 256 worked the 16:20 from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
On Sunday 13 May I took the 08:05 bus from Bangor to Caernarfon for a ride on the Welsh Highland Railway. I caught the 10:00 departure for Porthmadog which was hauled by the Red Garratt 138, seen at Ryd-Ddu.
We passed green sister loco 143 at Beddgelert (above) ...
... and at Porthmadog Double Fairlie 10 Myrddin Emyrs arrived and departed.
I took a photo of 138 ready to go.
At Dinas I noticed a vertical-boilered De Winton 0-4-0 which is 3’ gauge and used to work in Penmaenmawr granite quarries.
14 May was my last day in North Wales. At Bangor, the morning 'WAG Express' to Cardiff was propelled by 67 020. I plan to return soon and buy another Day Rover ticket so I can ride the loco-hauled trains.
An Irish Tale - by Ken Owen
We had booked an advance ticket with Irish Ferries from Wrexham to Holyhead with reservations on 14 May, due to arrive Holyhead at 11:19 on the 'boat train', 08:52 Manchester Piccadilly which starts as two 158s; one detaches at Chester runs fast along the coast between Chester and The Junction whilst the other unit follows a few minutes later, calling at intermediate stations to Llandudno. Above, 158 839 for Holyhead arrives at Llandudno Junction.
Irish Ferries had chosen to bring forward the departure time of the morning fast boat without informing the passengers on the train, or e-mailing the information in advance. The result: the boat left without us and bemused passengers needed to rebook on to the next Stena sailing at 14.00 with an arrival in Dublin over 3 hours later than planned.
We travelled from Dublin to the North to explore Northern Ireland Railways, which run an integrated bus and train interval service on all lines in the province with extra limited stop services in the rush hours. The 'Enterprise' service links Dublin with Belfast roughly every two hours: Flexible advance ticket is 19.99 euros single.
The pictures offer some of the results of the three-day trip, the third night being spent on the Belfast-Liverpool ferry, which, this being an Irish story, docks nowadays in Birkenhead. Above, at Bangor (NI) one of the newest diesel 3-car CAF units, the 4000 class, awaiting departure for Portadown. An NIR day rover ticket costs £16 with an i-link card which cost £1 and can be topped up each day. It includes all buses.
We should have seen a steam special on the Bangor line, but they ran out of sand when trying to negotiate the gradients on the semi-closed line from Antrim to Lisburn (the old route from Derry to Belfast before they built a new bridge in Belfast) and had to go off to buy some more, thus delaying the train and forcing abandonment of the Bangor section of track. We caught up with the loco - 4-4-0 no 131 of the Northern Counties Committee railway, built in 1901 - at Belfast Central, preparing to return to the Whitehead depot.
The Portrush to Coleraine shuttle passing the signalbox. Three signal centres now control the whole network (the others are Portadown and Belfast Central).
Portrush, with the shuttle leaving for Coleraine. The 'somersault' signals, the only ones surviving in the British Isles apart from heritage lines.
4008 passes the somersault home signal. Since 2016 Portrush box has been classed as a ground frame, only used when a loco needs to run round. The new trains being built for English franchise Northern, but the Northern units are of a more 'modern' design with inside-framed bogies.
Belfast & County Down Railway 1901-built Beyer Peacock 4-4-2T No 30 in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra.
At Belfast Central on 15 May, the 'Enterprise' driving trailer, with 40-year-old General Motors loco 112 Northern Counties about to back on to ballast train. Its two sisters, 8111 and 8113 were to be seen at York Road diesel maintenance depot in North Belfast.
GM 201-class 233 River Clare propelling its train for Dublin out of Belfast Central.
Colwyn Bay Prom Day, 12 May - pictures by Greg Mape
A class 158 framed by the Welcome to Wales Rally.
A sad relic of the pier.
Two vessels visited Port Penrhyn, Bangor, recently, both taking slate waste for decorative use from Bethesda to Rye in Sussex. First was the Latvian-registered Bonita (a previous visitor), photographed by Jim Johnson on 13 May.
It was followed on 16 May by Cayman Islands-registered Sea Ruby; possibly this vessel's first visit to Port Penrhyn.
In complete contrast, the 42,289-tonne Italian cruise ship Aidavita seen at the Liverpool terminal on 20 May (George Jones). Among the shore attractions offered was a coach trip into North East Wales with a party booking for a ride on the steam train from Carrog into Llangollen, then for onward transport back to Liverpool as part of a circular tour.
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