24 June 2019
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Sunday 21 July Steam on the
Coast: West Coast Railways. Liverpool-Holyhead.
45690: Liverpool - Chester - Llandudno Jn - Holyhead -
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
Saturday 3 August Steam on the Coast: UK Railtours, 'The
Irish Mail' London Euston - Holyhead
34046, 46100 or 70000 Crewe - Holyhead and return
The Manchester - Chester services were among the last to be
run by 'heritage' diesel railcars. At Mouldsworth with its
station garden on 29 May 1991, Longsight-based unit LO
633 heads for Manchester, while LO 233 approaches in the
background. 633 is a 'hybrid' unit with a Class 101 car
nearest the camera, mated with what looks like a Class 108
vehicle. Picture by Dave Sallery.
Bangor afternoon - with Ken Robinson
I spent a pleasant half an hour or so on Bangor station on
the longest day of the year, 21 June. which turned out to be
very sunny. Here are some pictures. Above, 221 117
The Wrekin Giant, slows down for the Bangor stop with
1A43, the 12:53 Holyhead-Euston.
158 830, in un-branded TFW livery, stops with 1W92,
the 09:21 Cardiff Central-Holyhead service.
1H89, the 13:07 Holyhead-Manchester Piccadilly, with DVT
82308 up front, approaches the station. Like the other two,
this train seemed to be well filled.
67 014 at the rear of 1H89.
Conwy Valley line - Network Rail announcement, 21 June
The line was closed in March due to significant
flooding, caused by weather events that followed Storm
Gareth. Since the temporary closure, teams have been working
hard to repair the extensive damage. This has included
significant repair work to six miles of track, embankments,
ten culverts, eight level crossings and Dolgarrog station.
The line will reopen in July, ahead of the Eisteddfod. To
date our engineers have removed 8000 tonnes of wash out
material which will be recycled and have installed
approximately 7500 tonnes of ‘rock armour’ to improve the
resilience of the railway line. Network Rail has also been
working in close partnership with Natural Resources Wales to
obtain necessary licences and investigate solutions for the
future resilience of the Conwy Valley.
Network Rail Wales and Borders is hosting community drop-in
events on Wednesday 26 June at Ffestiniog Town
Council, 5 High Street, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3ES ,from
3pm until 6.30pm and on Thursday 27 June at Glasdir
Conference and Meeting Hall, Llanrwst, LL26 0DF, from 3pm
until 6.30pm. The Network Rail team will be on hand to
provide an update on the programme and there will be an
opportunity for the public to ask questions.
150 262 did a Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Birkenhead
North Depot and return run on 23 July, making a most unsual
foray on to the Merseyrail line beyond Bidston. The reason
is not clear, but is possibly related to planned servicing
of the new Class 230s at Birkenhead North. Here it is
on the outward journey at Balderton crossing. The train
which was running under a class 3 headcode nortmally used by
infrastructure trains, was to have run from the dept to
Bidston and back before returning, but this was cancelled
and the unit returned to Chester in the afternoon.
Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.
On 21 June 67 023 Stella and 67 027
Charlotte arrived in Wrexham from the south with the
14:56 Tyseley - Derby Network Rail measurement
train. This ran out via Sutton Park and was returned
via Rugeley, Rowley Regis, Tyseley, Rowley Regis and Sutton
Park. The train ran four weeks before with Class 37 haulage;
perhaps the change is due to the dedication by Colas of 37
418 and 37 421 to the Cardiff - Rhymney services.
Padeswood Open Day - report by Mike Campbell
Hanson Cement are having their annual open day at the
Padeswood Cement works on Saturday 29 June. It's free entry
and doors open at 10:30 am. They are celebrating their 70th
anniversary this year. On
their website they say:
Padeswood works is 70 this year and we are
celebrating with a community open day on Saturday June 29.
Like previous events, there will be a host of activities
for all the family to enjoy. These include dodgems,
archery, face painting, a classic car and bike show, a
visit from North Wales Owl Sanctuary and music from
Northop Silver Band. Mold Fire and Rescue will also
be attending and there will be tours of the site, which is
part-way through a £24 million investment programme, on
our land train and Trevor the Tram.
Whether the rail head will be accessible I'm not sure. As
readers are aware, there is ongoing development to allow for
planned cement train workings to resume this year.
We would like as many people as possible to come along and
help raise money for The Wales Air Ambulance as well as
Action for Children, North Wales, which is our chosen
charity for 2019,” said works manager Murat Burakcin.
“Last year’s open day was a huge success – despite the
best efforts of the British weather – and we raised an
incredible £3,000 for charity. We are hoping we can do
even better this year.
The July 2019 issue of Backtrack
magazine includes an article by Tony Robinson about the
Kinmel Camp railway, a lost railway which was briefly
described in our own 28 June 2016
Notice Board. Tony tells us that for some unexplained
reason, probably space, the excellent map drawn by Phil
Hingley has been omitted from his article, and has sent us a
copy of the map which can be downloaded
New book: Yellow Trains
Andrew Royle, who
had often been our consultant on measurement train matters,
has written a book about his experiences, entitled Yellow
Trains; Ten Years of Testing, which is published by
Crécy, the inheritors of the Ian Allan catalogue. In
the words of the publisher's website: 'He spent many
years engaged as a computer technician on a variety of the
different test trains and in the course of his travels
covered much of the network. His story is both technical and
personal, from the purpose of the equipment and how it
operates to the trials and tribulations of using it.'
160-page hardback, 200 pictures, price £25.
A visit to the Vale of Rheidol - with Martin Evans
On 10 June I visited the Vale Of Rheidol railway in
Aberystwyth and found GWR built 2-6-2t loco No 7 Owain
Glyndwr in traffic for the day. (For details of the
VoR locos visit
the railway's website.)
These views were taken at the Devil's Bridge terminus.
From the Vale of Rheidol Press office
A trio of steam locomotives out of public sight for decades
will be unveiled as a centrepiece attraction for the Vale of
Rheidol Railway’s 14-15 September Steam Festival Weekend.
Quarry Hunslet 0-4-0ST Nesta (704 of 1899, above) will be
seen in public for the first time since being rescued from a
swamp in Puerto Rico by Robert Gambrill and repatriation to
Britain in 2016. Nesta, the last remaining unrestored
ex-Penrhyn slate quarry Hunslet, will be appearing in Wales
for the first time since export to USA in July 1965.
Also being unveiled in public for the first time in Britain
will be ex-German army trench railways Maffei-built
‘Brigardelok’ 0-8-0T 4766 of 1916 (DFB No. 968) imported by
Vale of Rheidol Railway in 2002 ...
... and Borsig 0-4-0WT 20HP Type 2 5913 of 1906 purchased by
Vale of Rheidol Railway in 1994.
The Steam Festival Weekend will feature guided workshop
tours to view the three ‘forgotten’ engines, along with work
in progress on other restoration projects. These are
likely to include Vale of Rheidol Railway’s Hanomag
2-6-2+2-6-2 Garratt NG/G13 (10551/1927) No. 60, Welsh
Highland Heritage Railway’s Baldwin 10-12-D 4-6-0T WDLR No.
794 (BLW44699/1917) undergoing restoration as Welsh Highland
Railway No. 590 and Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s
Beyer Peacock 0-6-0T No. 822 The Earl.
All three of Vale of Rheidol Railway’s classic 2-6-2T
locomotives, Nos. 7 and 8 of 1923 and 1213 of 1924, will be
in action working an intensive timetable each day service on
both days. Between service trains unique ‘Driver for a
Fiver’ opportunities at Aberystwyth offer the chance for
visitors to take the regulator of a Rheidol Tank loco.
Hunslet 0-4-0ST Margaret will offer further ‘Driver for a
Fiver’ opportunities at Devil's Bridge.
The Railway’s new station, officially opened in June
representing the first phase of Vale of Rheidol Railway’s
£2.2million ‘Wales to the World’ transformation of its
Aberystwyth terminus will be showcased, along with progress
on phases 2 and 3 which in due time will include permanent
displays of locomotives in the Railway’s collection.
Above, the opening ceremony on a wet 6 June, with Lord
Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism
wielding the scissors. The new station is alongside the
former Aberystwyth loco shed, some distance from the
National Rail station but more convenient for car and coach
parking. Information about the project is available on
the railway's website.
Past, Present and Future weekend at the Welsh Highland -
report by Jim Ikin
Although day rover tickets were priced at £50, all trains
appeared to be packed to capacity on Friday 21 June. 1906
built Russell is seen above at Beddgelert
Russell gets a polish.
Prince and Russell top-and-tailed ran between
Pont Croesor and Beddgelert.
Also top-and-tailing were 1916-built Hunslet 303 and ...
... 7011 – a Baldwin of 1918 built originally for the French
DeWinton of 1877, Chaloner at Porthmadog.
Two London Routemasters which ran around Porthmadog.
There's a lot of talk these days about re-opening closed
railways. An example is a lecture given by sometime
Transport Minister Lord Adonis to the Institure for Public
Policy Research on 7 June, the text of which can be read on
Worth a read, we feel, although perhaps over-optimistic, and
his examples are all in England. Some stations proposed for
re-opening are on current heritage lines, which could be
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