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Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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10 August 2020
153 310 leads a multicoloured Holyhead - Chester working at Abergele, 10 August, Picture by Greg Mape,
Cambrian Corner - wth Ken Robinson
Saturday 8 August saw me at Porthmadog station to witness 158 824 passing through with the 09:34 Pwllheli - Birmingham International. There were a few passengers travelling but the train only got as far as Harlech 'due to a problem with signalling equipment'; failed axle-counters reportedly, A few other services were affected that day and all day Sunday.
Almost exactly 31 years ago, on 19 August 1989, passengers on the 09:40 Pwllheli-Euston, would have been treated to class 37 haulage as far as Wolverhampton in the form of 37 426. Other than the traction, surprisingly little has changed especially since the Cambrian had gone over to RETB signalling (which required no traditional signals) only a few months earlier in October 1988.
Steel and Cement - pictures by Stephen Dennett
Friday evening 8 August at Penyffordd station (now with trendy TfW trimmings). First through was the Margam-Dee Marsh steel train with 66 198 in charge.
18 minutes later came the Avonmouth to Penyffordd Cement with 66 768 at the head.
Steam operations got under way for passenger services on Thursday 6 August when George Jones went to see 3802 pass Berwyn with a well loaded, compartmentalised train, this was the 10:40 off Llangollen.
Later at Carrog 3802 runs into a socially distanced platform for a 20 minute stop over, the timetable being revised to allow a longer stopover at Llangollen for train cleaning purposes. Family groups are happy to be back for a run down the Dee Valley even if access was restricted and all normal options not available.
Berwyn, 8 August (Greg Mape).
Other Llangollen news: On Saturday evening 8 August an engineering train ran from Llangollen Goods Yard to Corwen to deliver the temporary ground frame needed to operate the crossover at the east end of the new station. The train was propelled by 31 271 Stratford 1840 – 2001 from Carrog and may be the first time a locomotive of this class has reached this destination - can anyone confirm this?
The ground frame was craned off a Lowmac wagon using a Road-Rail Vehicle and placed at the side of the siding at the east end of the station awaiting installation.
Double Headers - by Dave Sallery
28 July 1990: Rhyl's impressive signal gantry spans 47 445 and 47 303, with a 31 approaching.
37 425 Concrete Bob leads 37 405 Strathclyde Region on an Up service, 12 July 1995.
The first two Class 20 conversions for Direct Rail Services, 20 301 and 20 302, are seen passing Ffynnongroew returning to Crewe on 30 May May 1996. The following week these two locos hauled the Royal Train to Aberystwyth.
31 319 and 31 163 on nuclear flask duty, North Llanrwst, 24 June 1994.
Looking back: Birkenhead - with David Pool
The weekend of 4-5 March 1967 saw several special trains marking the end of steam services from Birkenhead Woodside to Paddington. On 5 March there were two Stephenson Locomotive Society specials. Black 5 44680, on one of them, was returning to Birmingham Snow Hill on 5 March with 1Z65, 14:15 from Woodside, and is passing Bebington and New Ferry box. The other, with Clun Castle, followed a few minutes later. For those who wanted to avail themselves of another steam run both trains ran to and from Chester, one of which had '9F' haulage.
On 7 October 1967, the only steam to be seen at Birkenhead Woodside was the daily parcels service. A blue Class 101 DMU M51195 plus a green trailer was leaving with the 11:15 to Helsby, while Black 5 45292 is on the parcels. Woodside station closed the following month.
The 'Conway Crusader' was a railtour from Coventry, 1T13 departing at 07:05 on 10 March 1984. Between Manchester and Chester it was hauled by 40 029, travelling via the Lymm line to Warrington, Helsby and Birkenhead, where I photographed it at Canning Street North box. Later it reversed at Wrexham, and eventually reached Blaenau Ffestiniog in the evening behind 50 018.
Rail traffic in Birkenhead Docks was relatively sparse, and I was lucky to see 03 170 on the Duke Street bridge on 9 October 1987. I was less fortunate with the weather at the time. The Class 03 shunters were survivors, and the next time I photographed 03 170 it was on the Epping to Ongar Railway at North Weald in 2012.
On May Day in 1988 a 'Vintage Rail and Public Transport Weekend' was organised by Lever Brothers Limited, to celebrate the centenary of their works, with support from the Wirral Transport Users Association. The branch line between Port Sunlight station and the Stork Margarine Works of Van den Bergs and Jurgens at Bromborough had recently been reopened, and amongst other attractions a steam shuttle would be running on the branch. A Prairie tank 4566 came from the Severn Valley Railway, and a 'Jinty' 7298 was loaned by Mr Derek Foster. 4566 has climbed from the reversing loop behind the Lubrizol plant, assisted by 7298 on the rear, and is running parallel to Stadium Road towards the Margarine Works.
Other attractions on 2 May 1988 were the remaining preserved Class 502 units from the Northern lines of Merseyrail. M29896M and M28361M had been repainted in LMS maroon, and were running a shuttle service between Rock Ferry and Hooton, photographed here on the main line at Bromborough station. Not having central end doors, unlike the modified Class 503 electrics used on the Wirral lines, they were not permitted to carry passengers through the single track Liverpool Loop line when travelling to and from the Wirral.
After the weekend celebrations, the branch was back in use by the overnight freight trains between Bromborough and Purfleet, in Essex. These comprised type TEA heated tanks for the edible soya bean oil coming from Essex behind a Class 47 locomotive. 47 203 is returning empty tanks to Purfleet, leaving Bromborough at 2000 as 6E36 on 5 May 1988. The locomotive has run round behind the Lubrizol plant, and the train will pass under Stadium Road and then under the A41 before reversing again at Port Sunlight station. This traffic ceased in 1992.
The footbridge at Canning Street North level crossing was an excellent location for photographs, and I had followed 47 300 from Bidston with a ballast working to Chester on 1 November 1992. Today the track and footbridge have gone, and the prospect of ever reopening the line to the Docks seems bleak. The nearby Transport Museum and Heritage Tramway are now the main attractions for transport enthusiasts, although they appear to be currently closed until further notice as a consequence of the Covid-19 situation.
Birkenhead Docks 1983 - pictures by Trefor Thompson
These images date from a day in October 1983; locomotive numbers were not recorded. Above, A Class 25 leaving the docks and approaching Canning Street North crossing heading towards Rock Ferry.
Approaching Canning Street and the complex of crossings with an inbound train. The main traffic by this time was household coal to a siding adjacent to Birkenhead North depot,
Shunting in the docks.
The train of empty hoppers passing Canning Street North signal box (just visible in the lower left of the photo) leaving docks and heading towards Rock Ferry.
In the background are withdrawn Class 503 units in Cavendish sidings awaiting scrapping.
Birkenhead Docks was among the last places that Class 03s could be seen in action.
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