Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

27 May 2019


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Forthcoming events

June 2019

Tuesday 6 June  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways: London Euston - Holyhead. Steam  Crewe-Holyhead and return

July 2019

Sunday 21 July  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways. Liverpool-Holyhead.   45690: Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Jn - Holyhead - Chester

Tuesday 23 July:  Steam on the Coast: West Coast Railways, Welsh Mountaineer: Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog  48151 or 45600: Preston-Manchester-Chester-Llandudno Jn-Blaenau and return Cancelled?

August 2019

Saturday 3 August Steam on the Coast: UK Railtours, 'The Irish Mail' London Euston - Holyhead
34046, 46100 or 70000 Crewe - Holyhead and return

Wrexham is the northern extremity of the 1406 from Tyseley to Derby  measurement train which runs on an approximately monthly frequency.  On 24 May it is seen heading south past the former spoil tip of Hafod Colliery near Johnstown headed by 37 521 and tailed by 37 610 in plain blue livery.  In the background is the tip of the former Bersham Colliery, as yet not formally landscaped. (John Cowlishaw).

Chester East Junction 25 May - report by John Cowlishaw

A selection of photographs taken at Chester East Junction on Saturday 25 May in a half hour period.  I visited  because of the diversion of a Sellafield to Crewe flask train due to engineering works on the West Coast Main Line around Hartford.  The train arrived at 12:35 with 68 004 Rapid leading  and 68 034 on the rear. 

Shortly afterwards 67 014  livery propelled the  12: 35 from Chester to Crewe.  This extra shuttle compensate for the absence of any Virgin Chester services during the busy weekend of Chester Races.  

The normal Crewe shuttle ran with four cars rather than its normal two.  At 12:56 150 284 is seen leading 150 255 with the 12:55 Chester - Crewe.

The flask train reversed at Chester; 68 034 headed the train towards Crewe at 13:01.

67s on the Measurement Train

On 23 May the two Colas 67s, 67 027  Charlotte  and 67 023 Stella, stood in for the HST New Measurement Train on a Derby - Holyhead - Crewe run. Above, 67 027 leads westbound, photographed by Bob Greenhalgh from Beeches Farm bridge west of Chester.

Bangor (Rowan Crawshaw).

67 023 on the rear passing Bangor (Rowan Crawshaw).  Although obviously safe enough on this occasion, we can't recommend kneeling down beyond the yellow line, as practised by the fellow in the picture, as a suitable filming position.

The return train with 67 023 leading seen from the Queen's Road bridge at Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud).

Passing the junction of with the Conwy Valley line; notice the 'stop' board prohibiting branch movements while repairs to flood damage continue (Garry Stroud).

Saphos training run, 23 May

23 May also saw a training run along the Coast from Crewe to Llandudno and Holyhead using  Locomotive Services  Class 47 D1924 Crewe Diesel Depot (aka 47 810). Bob Greenhalgh captured the moment against the background of the aerospace installations at Hawarden.

Rhyl (Roly High).

Lunch break at Llandudno (Garry Stroud).

Returning from Holyhead through Bangor (Rowan Crawshaw).

Returning from Holyhead through Conwy (Garry Stroud).

Peter Basterfield's week

On 10 May, a Class 175/1 passing Conwy Castle and approaching the tubular bridge, working train 1V94, 08:05 Holyhead - Cardiff.

13 May at Llanfairfechan, with 1A23, 08:55 Holyhead - London Euston.

13 May at Pen-y-Clip  east of Llanfairfechan, with 1V94.

14 May at the east portal of Llandygai tunnel with  67 015 on the Holyhead - Cardiff express.

Despite the 'march of the palisade fences'. a significant tree clearance has revealed the eastern portal of Llandygai tunnel after about 20 years. The train is 1A23 on 15 May.

On 15 May, 88 005 Minerva approaches the tunnel leading the Crewe - Valley flasks, with 88 003 Genesis on the rear.

Shape of things to come : Class230 - report by Gary Thomas

I was passing the Bedford to Bletchley 'Marston Vale' line on 15 May and decided to stop and take a look at the former London Underground 'D78 stock' transformed by Vivarail as a lower cost option for lightly-used lines. These are of course planned for use in North Wales, on both the Borderlands and Conwy Valley lines as well as Crewe-Chester.

So here is 230 005 on the 2S11 1101 Bletchley - Bedford service, on time at Husborne Crawley, between Aspley Guise and Ridgmont on a glorious Wednesday 15 May 2019. It looked smart and it was eerily quiet as it passed.

[The Transport for Wales  units are 3-car, with engines under the centre car and batteries under the other two, which will be kept charged by the engines. ]

Mid-Cheshire Movements - pictures by Greg Mape

Northenden Junction at 15:01 on 23 May. 66 547 runs round its train of empties from Runcorn Folly Lane. The train is a close fit into the loop.

Newly-refurbished  156 446 (a welcome change for passengers on this line) on Manchester - Chester duty passes the train now ready ready for loading with a consignment for the energy-for-waste plant at Runcorn.

175 008 working the 08:40 Chester - Manchester service passes a very rainy Skelton Junction on 26 May. diverted due to engineering work.

The well-preserved station at Hale sees the passing of 175 005 with the 10:36 Chester - Manchester on the same morning.

Tornado doings

Pacific 60163 Tornado was in out area again on 11 May, working an excursion curiously-named 'The Mad Hatter' from Darlington to Chester, and back via Sheffield. Above, the outbound train passes over Lydgate Viaduct on the climb to Copy Pit Summit between Hebden Bridge and Burnley (Ian Pilkington).

The train heads over the Weaver Navigation at Frodsham with the preserved  Daniel Adamson moored in the foreground (Ian Pilkington).

Arriving at Chester (Bob Greenhalgh).

The empty stock is moved from Chester to Chester East Junction prior to working the return to Darlington North Road (Ian Pilkington).

The return journey took the Mid-Cheshire route via Mobberley (John Oates).

To reach Sheffield the train used the freight-only line from Northenden to Hazel Grove where it joined the Hope Valley route and on to New Mills South Junction, where Ian Pilkington was waiting with his camera at the end of a day's train-chasing.

WHR Caernarfon and de Winton - report by Jim Ikin

De Winton vertical-boiler loco Watkin is on display at the new Welsh Highland Railway station at Caernarfon in the reception area. The loco was built in 1893 for the Penmaenmawr and Welsh Granite Company but by 1944 was out of use.

A Mr Evan Hughes from Llanrwst bought it in 1966 and by 1972 it was loaned by a Mrs Williams to the National Trust for exhibition  at Penrhyn Castle in the railway museum, where it was photographed at an earlier date.

Another De Winton – Llanfair - is on display at Dinas station.

In 1854 Owen Thomas, with marine engineer Jeffreys Parry De Winton ran the Union Iron Works on St Helens Road Caernarfon, just behind the present WHR platform. The erecting shop today which is now a plumbing business – it's previously been a bonded warehouse and a wine merchant.

The former De Winton offices.

Above, Garratt 143 enters the station with a train from Porthmadog with the old erecting shop visible behind. Thomas died in 1866 and De Winton took over making many other products including the 1870 built waterwheel which can be seen in the slate museum at Llanberis.

Extensive renovation is taking place in the harbour area for holiday accommodation and 'artisan' workshops.

Your Railway for a Day at Corris - with Mark Enderby

Readers might be interested in a brief report from a trip to the Corris Railway as part of a “Your Railway for a Day” experience.

Basically this offers a day on the railway where you can basically do what you want!

We chose the steam option but didn’t partake of the 07:30 lighting up session. Hence we arrived at 0930 to find No.5 simmering in the shed and our hosts ready for the first (of many) tea breaks of the day.

After the obligatory safety induction, we discussed what we wanted to do. Options include loco driving/firing, signalling etc but is totally up to you in the end.

With 5 of us, we split up so one half did steam driving up the line while the others pottered around Maespoeth yard with the diesels. The first job involved using the OK diesel No.11 to extract a carriage from the shed. This is quite exciting as it involves a up grade out the shed and then a steep dive towards the headshunt buffers! Fortunately help is always at hand to avoid turning stock into matchsticks. Some more shunting finally got No.5 onto the carriage so the steam driving could start.

The line is short but steep so you get a good feel for driving both up and down hill and the fine weather helped.  Back at the station the Simplex was started up and driven up and down the yard – this was probably the most interesting of the experiences with a confined cab and more complex controls.

The next phase involved using the Clayton battery loco to extract the Queen Mary wagon from the shed which was going to be used for a gravity run down the line. More shunting ensued and finally we got in the position where No.5 could push the wagon up the line.  By this time we were familiar with the signalbox operation and the arrangements for safeguarding trains out on the line so we each had turns managing the shunt movements from the box.

Once the wagon was at Corris, No.5 returned back and the line cleared. The return to Maespoeth was by gravity and completed in a fraction over 3 min ... great entertainment. We then swapped groups and got some more driver experience in the yard as well as talking to staff and learning more about the history and operation of the line (as well as making more tea).

By now it was early afternoon and the sun was “right side” , so we decided to run No.5 and coach up the line for some photo run-pasts. No.5 was then disposed of and several us got a chance to run the Simplex up the line before we rounded off the day by a line trip behind No.11. This was enlivened by No.11 failing at Corris so we got an unscheduled gravity run back to base (it transpired that the OK had dirt in the fuel line).

The staff were extremely welcoming and helpful and really made it a day to remember. Luckily, the weather was excellent (so no sander experience then!). Thoroughly recommended.

Continued Corwen progress - report by George Jones

News from the Llangollen Railway is that as of Tuesday, 21 May the challenge of infilling of the 'Gap' on the Corwen embankment was completed with a final session of dumping, layering and rolling the infill on the southern side of the embankment.

This closed the site access via the gate on the former route to the sewage works.

Subsequent work has seen the reinstated area given a layer of base ballasting. As of now it looks as though a gap never existed!

The depth of the infill is best seen in the current view of the sewage farm gates now 10 ft or more below the level of the reinstated area where once the mess room sat. Meanwhile, infilling of the platform area has continued with rolling of the infill underway.

The next task is to complete the east end of the Upside platform wall using the last of the easi-blocks and build the overhang with platform edging. The platform area needs surface drainage and electrical cabling before any paving can take place.

All this was possible thanks to the support give to the two appeals - Tenner for a Tonne for the platform area and Infill the Gap - which, together, raised approx. £23k and helped pay for the employment of the contractor and his equipment. With on-going expenses to be met, further support for  funding continues to be welcomed.

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