NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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26 November 2018
New-liveried 175 107 at Chester working the 16:07 Llandudno - Manchester Piccadilly, 20 November. Picture by Martin Evans.
Trouble with leaves
Transport for Wales are experiening something of a 'baptism of fire' thanks to the Autum leaf fall season, with (reportedly) 36 units out of traffic with damaged wheels. There's a downloadable timetable amendment which applies 'until further notice' and includes complete bus replacement of the Conwy Valley service and only a two-hourly train on the Borderlands line, plus a number of cancellations on the main line. One interesting piece of advice is that the '20:23 Crewe – Chester will be cancelled. Customers should travel on 20:48 Chester - Crewe' (not that we are in a position to laugh at typing errors...)
As the Rail Head Treatment Train season nears its end, Bob Greenhalgh ventured out on the 'dark, damp, miserable afternoon' to bring us these views very dirty 56 094 ...
... and 56 087 in action near Beeches Farm.
The TfW Roadshow - report by George Jones
Found on the concourse on 21 November, a TfW-liveried cabin promoting the future of rail transport in Wales and the Borders. Essentially, promotion of the all the new trains and services in the previously-published Customer Report wish list as might be delivered over the next five years using bullet-point headlines and a video display. A bilingual brochure was available along with a capsule of Smarties.
The brochure Transforming Wales / Trawsnewid Trafnidiaeth / The Journey begins / Dechrau'r daith - lists the top ten improvements as a time line 2018-2024; details what the future holds in terms of new trains, more capacity, new jobs and apprenticeships, investment in stations, half price travel for 16-18 year olds, 95% travel on new trains in five years, use of renewable energy, 50% of new trains assembled in Wales with the slogan: I BobolI Gymuned I Gymru / For People For Places For Wales.
All this might leave a portion of English travellers in the Borders feeling left out. I wonder how well the message goes down in Chester, Shrewsbury and far away Manchester? Writers of this stuff in Cardiff could be accused of a blinkered approach to the entire network they now manage. A supplementary brochure extols exploring Wales and the Borders where at least Chester gets a favourable mention amongst a select few other places.
On hand was North Wales stakeholder manager Ben Davies and some young ladies who had been with the show the day before at Llandudno and onward the next at Shrewsbury.
Items of add-on interest revealed were; the five class 230 units will be coming next year to be based in Wrexham using the bay platforms as their depot - one unit despatched to Llandudno Junction each week for the Conwy Valley; Lifts are to be installed at Ruabon; as a special concession, the bus stop at Ruabon station would be provided with a Bus Timetable by Wrexham Borough Council - the rest of Wrexham's bus stops can 'go hang'.
Some 158s will be serviced at Chester and when the 175s depart the depot will be maintained by TfW. We shall see how it all pans out given time.
TfW have published this entertaining time-lapse video of the vinyl experts transforming a Class 175 in Chester depot.
Locomotive images - by Martin Evans
A trio of DRS locos were noted at Crewe in Platform 8 on 20 November at 10:10 waiting for the road, the locos being 37 259 ...
... 68 033 and 68 001 Evolution.
66 017 in DB red livery powers through Stafford with the Dollands Moor to Ditton service at 10:40 on 20 November. Readers may recognise the wagons as the same type of ferry van which were used to carry aluminium from Holyhead to Austria via the Channel Tunnel before the Aluminium plant closed. They are in aluminium traffic today, hauling aluminium ingots created by a recycling plant at Latchford to a plant in Germany where they are rolled into coils and returned in the same wagons to Ditton for distribution by road.
66 097 enters Leamington Spa on the through road with containers from Southampton to Birch Coppice on 20 November at 14 10.
Chester at 16:55 on 20 November, with 68 004 Rapid and 68 002 Intrepid on the Valley - Crewe flasks.
Looking back with Barrie Hughes - Borderlands 1980
My latest offering is from 1 August 1980 during a family visit to Buckley. I’d always wanted to get a picture of freight on the Ffrith viaduct just south of Cefn-y-bedd station, one of the major structures on the Borderlands line. So, in the days before Realtime Trains and the ready availability of Working Timetables I had to stake out the viaduct sitting on a public footpath in a field!
Above, an unidentified Class 25 (best guess 25 161) hauls a southbound rake of Presflo cement wagons from Pen-y-ffordd cement works towards Wrexham. It appears that there has been a recent spillage of lime at this location possibly by the derailment of a Minera lime works working if they used this route to Shotton steelworks. If it was 25161, it was withdrawn just a year later on 31/5/81 and, after a short period of reinstatement, was finally withdrawn 28/11/84 and cut up at Vic Berry’s Leicester scrapyard on 30/3/88.
25 152 shunts brake vans from the spare brake van siding at Croesnewydd Yard. This loco survived until withdrawal 26/1/84 and was disposed of at BREL Swindon a year later on 7/2/85. In the background is a Ministry of Supply depot built between the 1930s to a common design and normally provided with siding access where possible, though there is no evidence in this case. This area is unrecognisable now as Wrexham Maelor hospital has extended. I do recollect steam engines being stored with dustbin lids on their chimneys in the sidings in the mid 1960s when visiting the hospital to see my Uncle who was ill.
25 106 at Croesnewydd south yard with a northbound mixed freight with some wagons containing sheeted loads is seen at Croesnewydd South fork junction. 25 106 was withdrawn on 9/10/83 and cut up at BREL Swindon on 4/2/84. While the south fork bridge under Ruthin Road is still there, Morrison supermarket has occupied most of the site of Croesnewydd depot. the north curve saw stabling of diesel locos for many years into the 1980s after the closure of the steam shed on the site.