NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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07 Decenber 2020
37 099 at Llandudno, 3 December. Picture by Ryan Lloyd.
Some items have been held over due to time spent attending a (Zoom) Community Rail event. Expect an extra issue at the weekend. - Charlie
Mk4 coach test run
[Stop press: now running only to Crewe via Chester.]
One of the Mk4 carriage sets intended for Premier Express workings will be venturing out with a Class 67 loco on a full-distance test run on Thursday 10 December as 1Z48 07:09 Canton - Holyhead and returning as 1Z49 12:39 Holyhead - Canton. On the outward journey, the train is booked to sit at Wrexham for 20 minutes, but this may be altered to Ruabon. The set to be used is 'HD03' which is still in its modified formation DVT - TO - POD - SV - TOE - Loco.
The trains will be running as 'class 1' (express passenger) due to on-board Passenger Information system testing that can only be done if the train is running as a class 1 service - it definitely won’t be open for customers!
37 on the Coast
On the evening of 2 December, 37 099 with its Ultrasonic Test Train pauses at Llandudno Junction on the way to Bangor where it spent the night
On 3 December 37 099 and driving trailer 9708 book-ended train 3Q94 Bangor to Crewe via the Conwy Valley approaching Llandudno Junction ...
... and arriving on to platform 4 from the Conwy Valley line (Ryan Lloyd).
1 December, 56 096 near Sandycroft ...
... on the rear, 56 302 Peco (Tim Rogers).
On 2 December 56 302 found itself working alone (Tim Rogers).
Looking back: Early Festiniog Days - with David Pool
Although I first visited the Festiniog Railway in 1959, I was using black and white film, so the following year I returned with my Vito B and Kodachrome. On 25 August Taliesin was in steam, and the scene is so typical of the early days of preservation. Enthusiasts today who are familiar with the Single Fairlie of that name may not be aware of the Festiniog Railway’s habit of changing names when a locomotive is refurbished or rebuilt. This Taliesin was the Livingston Thompson, built in 1885 at Boston Lodge and renamed between 1932 and 1961. It then became Earl of Merioneth, and ran until 1971, when it was withdrawn. In 1979 a newly built locomotive assumed the latter name, and Taliesin reverted to Livingston Thompson in 1988, when it was sent to the National Railway Museum at York.
Prince was the regular locomotive used by the Festiniog Railway in the 1950s, often driven by the legendary Bill Hoole of LNER fame. On 25 August 1960 it was working a second train from Portmadoc, and the shortage of rolling stock has resulted in a newly restored coach being used before it has been fully painted. This looks like coach No. 15, originally built in 1872 and one of the first bogies coaches in Britain.
Merddin Emrys was the first Double Fairlie to be built at Boston Lodge in 1879, and was back in service on 9 May 1962, photographed leaving Minffordd. I cannot remember why a cab had not been fitted at this stage – perhaps a hot Summer was expected!
Merddin Emrys was looking more like a Festiniog engine at Tan y Bwlch on 13 April 1963, having received a proper cab with a roof, and a repaint into the usual green livery. Note the Riley and the Mini in the car park, and the Observation coach, which I think was No.11.
In 1963 the Penrhyn Ladies, Linda and Blanche had been bought by the FR after a year on hire. Linda was a Hunslet built in 1893 for the main line from Penrhyn Quarry to the quayside at Port Penrhyn, and when photographed passing Boston Lodge on 27 March 1964 had received a tender from what remained of Welsh Pony. In 1962 she had made her mark in Festiniog Folklore by derailing, due to a small difference in track gauge between Penrhyn and the Festiniog, and performing “Linda’s Leap”. Later in 1970 she received a Pony Truck, becoming the 2-4-0 which we know today.
Prince, Palmerston and now Welsh Pony are well known, but we should not forget the first England locomotive Princess, dating from 1863. No.1 has not worked since hauling the last train before closure in 1946, and has since then been cosmetically restored and occasionally displayed as an ambassador for the Railway. On 3 July 1965 it was photographed at Portmadoc Harbour Station.
By 1974 Portmadoc had become Porthmadog, and a new Mountaineer had arrived. One of the original England locomotives of 1863 had been No. 3 Mountaineer, but had not survived, so when an Alco locomotive built for the War Department in 1916 was offered to the Festiniog Railway in 1967 it was gratefully received and refurbished. It was fitted with replica nameplates and carried the bell from the original Mountaineer when photographed on 14 April 1974. It had been converted to oil burning in 1972, and ran on both the Festiniog and Welsh Highland Railways until it was eventually withdrawn in 2006. It would be possible to convert it back to coal firing in view of the environmental problems and cost of oil, but no decision has yet been announced.
The Deviation was under construction in 1974, and the terminus was now Dduallt. This was the first of my many treks to Dduallt, which provides so many photo opportunities to compensate for the exertions in getting there! On 27 April 1974 I was expecting to see Mountaineer on the early afternoon train from Porthmadog, and took up a position on a bridge of the Spiral. The approaching noise was definitely not Mountaineer, and Upnor Castle duly appeared hauling a long train with Mountaineer on the back. It was understandable why it had become known as “Uproar”! The British Rail signal was a feature at Dduallt for several years, the height being needed to assist visibility on the curves, but was rather incongruous and no doubt has now found a good home on another railway. Does anybody know where?
Jersey - Holyhead Potato Traffic - by Charlie Hulme