26 April 2021
(see also our
Calendar page for venues)
Note: we have removed all entries relating to meetings
as the events are cancelled.
Colwyn Bay from Old Colwyn, 12 April (Greg Mape).
Rail Operations Group 37 800 passes on a
route-learning run; ROG crews will be driving the new
Class 197 trains on their forthcoming test runs.
Class 37 doings
There is a confusing amount of 'route learning' going on at
present, and Class 37 locos are the vehicle of choice.
On 20 April. 97 304 John Tiley worked out
and back from Shrewsbury Coleham depot via the Conwy
valley and Llandudno; Bob Greenhalgh captured it
passing Beeches Farm on the way out of Chester.
Llandudno (Ryan Lloyd)
Also on 20 April. 37 521 (D6817), now a
Locomotive Services Ltd machine, was train OZ40
Crewe HS to Holyhead then Blaenau Ffestiniog via
Llandudno. Above, passing Bangor (Jim Johnson).
Llandudno (Ryan Lloyd).
Returning past Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).
On 21 April it was the turn of 37 688 Great Rocks,
resplendent in Railfreight Construction livery as worn when
in Peak District limestone traffic and out-stationed at
Buxton. The run included the Conwy Valley and Llandudno
branches as well as Holyhead. Picture by Ryan Lloyd.
This loco joined in the DRS fleet after sale by EWS, and
wore their blue livery until purchased for preservation in
2017 by a group called D05 Preservation Limited, who
restored it to Railfreight colours and regalia. It saw
service on the Mid-Norfolk Railway and the Severn Valley,
until placed on long-term lease in January 2020 to become
yet another member of the Locomotive Services Ltd fleet, and
has clearly been certified for main line running. Picture at
Bangor by Jim Johnson.
On Sunday 25 April, Network Rail's Ultrasonic Testing
Unit (UTU) visited North Wales to check for any defects in
the rails. The working, which saw very pleasant
weather, was 09:42 Crewe - Derby via Chester,
Llandudno Junction, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llandudno Junction -
Chester - Crewe and Stoke-on Trent. Above, crossing
Llanddulas viaduct (Greg Mape). 37 219 Jonty
Jarvis provided the power, driving trailer 9708
on the other end.
Arriving at ...
... and immediately departing from, Blaenau Ffestiniog
Tal-y-Cafn on the return journey, passing the replica
nameboard erected by the Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway
Interestingly, since it was features here last Tal-y-Cafn
has gained a raised section of platform for easy boarding -
not a so-called 'Harrington Hump' which is fibreglass
affair, but in solid stone to match the rest of the
platform. Accurate position of stopping trains is required
to match the door positions of different types of train,
hence the blue signs. Pictures by Greg Mape)
Coming off the Conwy Valley branch at Llandudno Junction ...
... and heading home to Derby after reversal (Ryan Lloyd).
Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).
NMT on the Coast - pictures by Gary Thomas
22 April saw the New Measurement Train head down the Coast
with its stand-in ex-LNER loco 43 299 in the lead,
seen passing Dwygyfylchi.
43 062 John Armitt on the rear.
News from Bala Lake - by Mat Peacock
The Bala Lake Railway has just held its first ever volunteer
working party on the site of the new Bala Town station,
behind the old cinema in Bala. The Railway is building an
extension into the town and construction work on the new
route is due to begin this summer.
On 12 and 13 June there will also be an Open Day on the Town
station site, featuring 2-foot and 7.25 inch gauge
steam-hauled trains, and other attractions. The pictures
(from 17 April) show us starting to lay temporary tracks for
this event. The 2-foot gauge track has been kindly loaned to
us by the Ffestiniog-Welsh Highland Railway.
From Dave Sallery's archive
Two curiosities from the 1990s. Sometime before anyone
thought of handing over our freight company to the German
Railways, on 10 October 1992, 90 129 Frachtverbindungen
stands at Warrington Bank Quay displaying Deutsche
Bundesbahn livery, in celebration of a
'Freightconnection' event held at NEC Birmingham in
1992 intended to build interest in the rail haulage option
between the UK and mainland Europe in preparation for the
opening of the Channel Tunnel. There were also French and
Belgian versions. Built as 90 029, the '1' was inserted to
indicate a freight sector loco with restricted maximum
speed; later the original numbers were re-instated.
90 029 lived to receive the UK version of the DB Cargo
livery, but more recently was one of the locos leased to
Grand Central as part of a plan to run a London - Blackpool
service. The trains were prepared, given black/orange
livery, and training began, but the Covid-19
situation has led the company to abandon the project.
309 623 at Crewe, 27 August 1997. Originally
built for services out of London Liverpool Street, when they
became redundant a small batch was transferred to Regional
Railways North West which used them on peak-time commuter
services, including a once-daily pair of trains between
Birmingham and Manchester. They lasted until 2000
before withdrawal and subsequent scrapping.
Cambrian Corner - with Graham Breakwell
97 304 John Tiley passing Frongoch between
Dovey Junction and Aberdyfi on the very pleasant
afternoon of 22 April, on an outing from Coleham to Tywyn to
pick up a tamper and pilot it back to Coleham.
158 822 passing Frongoch on the 1338 Pwllheli to
Machynlleth, also yesterday.
158 830 approaches Dovey Junction with the Pwllheli
portion of the 12:10 from Birmingham International.
Just visible to the left of the top of the unit is the
osprey nest and the Dyfi
Osprey Project CCTV cameras, live streaming Telyn and
Idris hatching their three eggs- network connection kindly
provided by by Network Rail.
Talyllyn Railway re-opening
The Talyllyn Railway is delighted to announce that it is now
able to make plans for the phased re-opening of the Railway
in its 70th anniversary year, following the Welsh
Government’s announcement of the careful relaxation of
regulations with respect to the Corona Virus Pandemic. The
daily public train service will re-commence on Saturday 1
May. All bookings must be made in advance through the Talyllyn website,
where full details may be found of the special Covid
safeguarding arrangements that have been made. To ensure
social distancing, intending travellers will be booking a
compartment that is exclusive to their group.
King’s Café at Wharf station is open from 9am until the
return of the last train and the Tea Rooms at Abergynolwyn
Station will be open from 10am until 3pm. The Talyllyn
Shop at Wharf Station is open with its usual opening hours
from 9am until 3 pm. Hot drinks and cake are available to
take-away from the shop. The Online
shop is also open with free UK deliveries for orders
A couple of errors crept in to the last issue. Firstly, the
Class 150 at Wrexham Central was arriving, not departing, as
shown by the red tail lights. 100% editorial error.
Perhaps more interestingly, the shunter loco in the
Llangollen auction sale is not a 'Class 13' as we claimed,
It is in fact a Class 08 350hp shunter, previously
numbered 08 195. Preservationists have re-instated the
number 13265 which is the number it would have carried back
in the early 1950s. At nationalisation, the few diesels that
existed on BR were allocated the series 10000 to 19999;
later this was replaced by shorter numbers prefixed by D.
This loco became D3265, but when the 'TOPS' system was
introduced there was a re-organisation of the numbering of
the various batches and it became 08 195.
We carelessly took the 'Type 13' in the auction website to
mean 'Class 13' which in fact were 08s coupled in pairs for
use at Tinsley Marshalling Yard.
(Regarding the railway's current predicament, this has been
drawn to the attention of First Minister Drakeford who
made positive noises about helping, assuming that
Labour win the election.)
The loco in question is seen in this 1999 view at Llangollen
by Barrie Hughes. The headboard is the one originally made
... the Central Wales Scenic Railtour which ran on a very
wet 31 October 1970, from Crewe to Crewe via Barry, stopping
for the scrapyard, the Vale of Glamorgan line, and the
Central Wales line. Does anyone have a record of the route
Bridgend to Llanelli?
Class 197 seats
As we thought, the class 197 seats which we illustrated last
time are the original design: the seats that are actually to
be fitted are a version of the 'Sophia' seats made by the
Fainsa company and illustrated
on their website.
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