15 July 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:
Liverpool-Holyhead Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog
48151 or 45600: Preston-Manchester-Chester-Llandudno
Jn-Blaenau and return Cancelled due to
Saturday 3 August Steam on the Coast: UK Railtours, 'The
Irish Mail' London Euston - Holyhead
34046, 46100 or 70000 Crewe - Holyhead and return
Saturday 5 October Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Bob Gwynne,
Associate Curator, National Railway Museum ‘Snow White to
Stephenson’. This is a story about the search for strategic
minerals, climate change, religious conflict, immigration,
integration and innovation. Overall a very modern story,
although this one starts over 400 years ago and from it
emerges the technology we call railways.
Saturday 2 November Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Geoff Stocker
‘Rebuilding the Welsh Highland Railway’ An illustrated
presentation of the stage-wise re-construction of the WHR
(closed 1936) on the abandoned trackbed, from 1995 to
completion in 2010 & subsequent developments - including
locos and rolling stock.
Saturday 7 December Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. At Sale United
Reformed Church lounge, Montague Road, Sale M33 3BU
Including seasonal refreshments!
Owen Russell ‘Memories of the Woodhead Line’ The Woodhead
line linked Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and London.
As there were shorter routes to London, express trains often
comprised only 5 or 6 coaches. The line was a good place to
see a variety of GC and, later, LNER engines, which had to
work hard on the notorious gradients. Like many steam
routes, Woodhead was a line of contrasts.
Saturday 25 January Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Centre AGM
(brief) followed by: Christian Wyatt ‘21st Century
signalling Control Centre – The Manchester Rail Operations
Centre’ Christian Wyatt, a career railwayman with 38 years’
service, started as a signal box lad at Manchester Victoria
and is now Project Operations Interface Manager for the
London North Western route. One of his key responsibilities
is the development of the Manchester Rail Operations Centre.
Christian will describe the MROC from its build in 2012 to
its present operational status.
Saturday 22 February Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Tony Wright
‘Aspects of the Origins & Development of Monorails
including Behr, Lartigue and the Manchester to Liverpool
Lightning Express Railway’ You may remember Tony’s excellent
presentation on Mayfield Station. Don’t miss this intriguing
Tuesday, 25 February 18:30 Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Joint meeting
with the Newcomen Society, Location to be confirmed.
Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, National Railway Museum
‘Sticking with steam – an examination of why Britain’s
railways stuck with steam into the space age’ This talk
examines some of the complex history behind moving on from
the steam age on Britain’s railways and attempts an answer
as to why the UK’s love affair with the steam hasn’t ended.
Saturday 21 March Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Melvyn
‘Indian Summer of the Somerset & Dorset Railway’ The S
& D was (and still is) many enthusiasts’ favourite
cross-country railway. We will hear about its unusual
history, but the main feature will be a slide show of its
operations in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Saturday 18 April Stephenson
Locomotive Society. Manchester Centre. Tim Owen
‘The activities of the Furness Railway Trust’ The Furness
Railway Trust has a collection of six steam locomotives,
including Furness Railway No. 20, plus historic carriages.
The illustrated talk will cover the work of the Trust over
the past 30 years..
Ffestiniog Railway 190 Lyd at Tanygrisiau
inward and outbound from Blaenau Ffestiniog on Sunday
afternoon 14 July, taken from the road to Llyn Stwlan by Jim
It can't be long now before the de-fuelling trains
from Valley cease operating; there was some suggestion
that the train on 10 July might be the last, with 88
007 Electra leading 88 004 Pandora
at Old Colwyn (Alan Martin). This three-wagon train
will be carrying around 450 of the original 90,000
total; in October 2018 about 34,000 remained, but
there have been some delays.
Passing Fynnongroyw (Barrie Hughes). The train did
run again on Monday 15 July.
Two words missing from our caption of 68 010 in the last
episode led to the false claim that Class 68s worked for the
Wrexham & Shropshire company which closed before they
were born ... apologies and thanks to the readers who
pointed this out. The intention was to say that the livery
came from W &S.
With regard to the diagramming of the 156 / 153 combo on the
morning commuter train from Ellesmere to Manchester and
Leeds, the reason is that this service is worked by a
Liverpool-based crew who don't 'sign' Class 158s.
These Chester - Leeds trains are destined to be taken over
by new Class 195 units, but it may not now be before
On 6 July, 56 087 and 56 078 cross the Dee
bridge at Chester at 18:50 with the 12:58 Carlisle New Yard
- Chirk log train (Bob Greenhalgh).
On 8 July, Class 70 power on the logs in the shape of 70
814, seen passing Chester station (Bob Greenhalgh).
Ford wagons - the sequel
In the last issue we told of the train of redundant wagons
from Bridgend to Ellesmere Port Manisty Wharf on 4 July
which had to be left at Hooton due to a points
failure. Eventually, on 8 July, the movement was
completed. 66 846 ran from Coleham depot in
the morning, photographed at Wrexham by Martin Evans.
Having collected the wagons, the loco returned with ran as
the 13:36 Hooton to Ellesmere Port and is seen passing
Little Sutton with a little smoke to delight the gallery of
around five on the platform. Picture by John
Cowlishaw who writes: ' It was an impressive sight but
touched with reality that the wagons were going to store.'
For new readers, this move is part of the closure
process of the the Ford engine - making plant at Bridgend,
which sent trainloads of engines to Ford's Dagenham works. Chris
Coxon's picture shows the 4 July working passing
Bache. Freight trains on this Merseyrail line are a
very rare event.
It is to be hoped that these modern wagons do find a new
use; apparently there are others in the sidings at Bridgend
which are also to be moved.
Chester to Windsor - Pictures by Wyn Jones
A 'Statesman' railtour ran on Saturday 13 July from
Chester to Windsor & Eton. These views are taken at
Wrexham on the outward run. D1944/47501 Craftsman
was leading with 47 853 (see left column heading) on
the rear; the Statesman brand is now part of the Locomotive
Royal Scotsman in Wales
On 7- 8 July the 'Royal Scotsman' luxury train made a
foray along the North Wales coast. Above, the train, having
spent the night at Llandudno Junction, as the usual stabling
at Llanrwst is not available, arrives 'right
time' at 09:41 as 1Z78, the 07:40 Llandudno Junction to
Bangor, via Holyhead, 66 746 leading (Jim Johnson).
Departing empty for Holyhead as 5Z78 at 09:53, direct
from Platform 1, passing the seldom-used up loop 'dummy'.
Returning through Chester in the evening, with 66 743
leading 66 746. These dedicated locos are now part of the GB
Railfreight fleet, having been originally delivered to DRS
and later passed to Colas.
New book on the Llangollen line
flow of new railway books from Amberley publishers continues
with Doug Birmingham's The Llangollen Railway in
the Late Twentieth Century. The publishers tell
us that 'This book shows the progress of the preserved line
during the latter parts of the late twentieth century,
including up to 2003. The photos included provide a brief
view of the line as it wanders through the beautiful Dee
Valley, showing the various ex-British Railways steam and
diesel locomotives hauling an array of trains that have
operated on the line as the railway expanded from Llangollen
to Berwyn, Deeside Halt, Glyndyfrdwy and ultimately 8 miles
on to Carrog.'
The 96-page paperback including 180 pictures is on sale from
15 July at a special online price of £13.49 from the Amberley
The Crewe - Chester shuttle service on 7 and 8 July was
worked by a 5-car train comprising 175 107 (still 2-car
since its centre car suffered fire damage) and 175 109,
currently a 'hybrid unit'
formed of 50704 (from 175 004). 56759 (from 175 109)
and 79705 (from 175 005). The train crew told Mike
Stone that for some reason the two units would only
work if coupled together. A number of the shuttle
services from Chester are booked to arrive in Crewe
Platform 10, which is too short for a 5-car train; on 8 July
the driver of the 08:55 from Chester noticed at North
Junction that the train was routed into 10 and stopped to
contact the signallers.
There are several mixed units at present: the two driving
cars for 175 109 are running as 175 104.
Merchant Navy moves - report by Robert Meredith
Rebuilt 'Merchant Navy' class locomotive 35018 British
India Line is seen above on the West Coast Main Line
south of Crewe en route from Carnforth to Southall on 4
July for the very first time since its restoration and
return to mainline service. It had previously passed through
Crewe with the West Coast Railways' "Salopian Express 1"
from Barrow to Shrewsbury with 35018 working the train from
Carnforth to Shrewsbury on 21 March 2018.
The locomotive was being used by the Railway Touring Company
for excursions on 6 and 9 July from London Victoria to
Weymouth and return. It is now the third member of the class
to operate on the main line in preservation, the other two
engines being 35005 Canadian Pacific and 35028 Clan
The loco returned north on 15 July, seen near Basford Hall.
Glyndyfrdwy Classic transport, 6 July - report by
The Saturday of the two-day event was marred by a grey
overcast and occasional drizzle after a week of blue skies.
The Llangollen Railway was operating a steam service with
2-6-2T 5199 on the suburban set ...
... contrasting diesel with visiting 31271 on
the Mark 1s ...
... and a 4-car DMU of three 108s, plus the 127. The
timetable rang the changes with some services terminating at
Glyndyfrdwy - one way to deliver patrons to the event in the
field which attracted road vehicles and the British
An outstanding vehicle in the line-up was the British Army
AEC Matador lorry as restored by a Llangollen Railway
Timperley Freight scenes - pictures by Greg Mape
The Mid-Cheshire continues to be a mecca for freight
watchers. These three trains from three different companies
were captured (with the aid of a bicycle) from
viewpoints in the Timperley area within 1½ hours on
Wednesday 10 July. Above, 66 777 Annette
of GBRf with a Liverpool Docks to Drax power station biomass
train. Loaded biomass trains travel this way to access the
Calder Valley line via Denton and Thorpes Bridge Junction to
avoid the steep Miles Platting bank east of Manchester
Victoria; the empty trains travel by the more direct route
via Victoria and the old Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Not far behind, the 13:30 empty waste train from
Runcorn to Northenden. pulled by 66 549 with about
three miles to go. The 'Viridor' name on the
containers has been painted out, as the Greater
Manchester Waste Authority has brought in-house (at a cost
said to be £500 million) the operation of the four
processing plants at Northenden, Bredbury, Dean Lane
and Brindle Heath . The sorry tale of this 'PFI' contract
can be read in a Manchester
Evening News story from 2018.
Finally the other way, an all-red train. 60
062 Stainless Pioneer working the 14:18 (WFO)
Peak Forest Cemex to Warrington Dallam freight depot
Great Malvern to Belfast - with Richard Putley
Having been invited to visit a friend in Ulster, I
managed to book a combined train, bus and ferry return from
Great Malvern to Belfast. The outward route which I took on
1 July involved travelling from Great Malvern to
Birmingham New Street. From there I caught the 11:15
Pendolino to Glasgow Central which was formed by 390 124.
Departure was on time and we
ran on time as far as Crewe.
There I saw a brand new Trans Pennine Express Mk 5a
loco-hauled set tucked away. These will be used on services
from Liverpool - Scarborough and Manchester Airport -
Middlesbrough. Some slow running North of Crewe meant we
left Carlisle 8 minutes late. I managed to catch a picture
of 57 304 Pride of Cheshire there. I was
a bit anxious as I had a 9-minute connection at Glasgow into
the 15:34 to Ayr.
But I need not have been. Arrival at Glasgow was only 3
minutes down and I opted to catch the 15:30 to Ayr as
it departed from a nearer platform than the 15:34. The 15:30
was formed by 380 006. A punctual run to Ayr (above)
followed, getting me there in plenty of time for the 17:05
bus to Cairnryan. The bus ran to time too, likewise the
19:30 ferry to Belfast. [Notice the work hotel
building in the background, which has been derelict for
years and recently became so unsafe that part of the station
had to be closed.]
The bus ran to time too, likewise the 19:30 ferry to
Belfast. My return leg on Thursday would be via
Dublin, Holyhead and Hereford. So I travelled through all
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