NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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4 October 2021
40 013 Andania operating as D213 running through Capenhurst with the Rock Ferry to Croes Newydd section of the 'Wirral Squirrel' (see below). The train was running a little late due to arriving late in Rock Ferry and being let out following a local service to Chester. Picture by Ken Davies.
Traveller's Note: The Conwy Valley line is closed for engineering work this week.
66 589 hauls another new 197 unit, 197 003 through Shrewsbury en route from store at Donnington to Crewe, 1 October.
How many of these are at Donnington, does anyone know? Picture by Graham Breakwell.
Passing through Shrewsbury on 1 October, regular loco 66 719 Metroland, with the Avonmouth Hanson Sidings to Penyffordd Cement.
66 120 passes Penyffordd at 10:38 on 1 October with the Dee Marsh - Margam steel wagons running an hour late due to the overnight northbound starting behind time from Llanwern and losing more time on the way (Stephen Dennett). However, by shortening the lay-over time at Hereford Margam was reached just three minutes late.
On 28 September Bob Greenhalgh was at Beeches Farm to capture the return working of 950 001, the sprinter-style measurement train working from Longsight depot (Manchester) to Chester via the 'Mid-Cheshire' line and on to Bangor, returning via Chester to Crewe. Interestingly, on the return trip the train, which was shown on Real Time Trains as Class 2 rather than usual class 3 for such trains, was held in Mostyn Goods Loop to allow an Avanti service to Crewe and a Class 197 on a test run to pass.
How many times has this loop been used? It was created as part of the 2018 Chester - Colwyn Bay re-signalling project, but apparently was not provided the the necessary safety equipment required for use by passenger-carrying trains. It was hoped that freight trains might return to Mostyn Dock, but the is little sign of that happening, although the loop might prove useful when the two planned new flows from Llandudno junction and Penmaenmawr finally start.
The autumn 'rail head treatment train' season has begun: Here's 56 094 passing Beeches Farm on 2 October with the high-pressure water jets clearing the few leaves that have fallen so far (Bob Greenhalgh). 56 094 is working singly and will have to run round its train at Holyhead; more usually 'top-and-tail' working ith two locos is the order of the day, which is why the locos get coated with muddy mess thrown up by the water jets.
As in previous years, the train is timed to start from Shrewsbury Coleham depot at 20:20 in the evening, and covers the Shrewsbury - Machynlleth line worked by Network Rail class 97/3 locos before Shrewsbury - Craven Arms lines before returning to Coleham, changing to Class 56 traction befre making a trip to Craven Arms and back, then to Wrexham, Bidston and back to Wrexham (04:20) and Shrewsbury (06:50) and Crewe (07:54 to 09:01 for staffing purposes) before heading to Chester (09:32) 10:26 to 11:14) and Holyhead (12:12) then back via Crewe to Shrewsbury (15:48) and Coleham depot.
67 008 at Llanfairfechan with the 11.33 Holyhead to Cardiff Central on Friday 1 October 2021 (Gary Thomas).
The Wirral Squirrel
The biggest rail event of the past week has undoubtedly been the Branch Line Society's 'Wirral Squirrel' charity railtour on 3 October which promised Class 40 haulage over a variety of lines in our area, some of them 'unusual'. Many thanks to everyone who has sent pictures. Above, awaiting departure at Crewe. The advertised itinerary was:
Crewe (10.30) - Liverpool Lime Street - Runcorn - Halton Chord (Frodsham Single) - Helsby - Ellesmere Port - Hooton - Rock Ferry P2 (reverse) - Chester Curve - Croes Newydd Up Goods Loop (reverse) - Bidston (reverse) - Croes Newydd Up Goods Loop (reverse) - Chester Dn & Up Main - Helsby - Warrington Bank Quay - Earlestown P4 - Lowton Jn - Ince Moss Chord - St Helens Central - Olive Mount Jn - Olive Mount Chord - Bootle Jn - Hall Road Wallside Siding (reverse) - Bootle Jn - Bootle Branch Jn - Liverpool Lime Street (reverse) - Crewe (20.45).Apologies in advance if we get the pictures in the wrong sequence! Unfortunately some of the lines - the Bootle branch and the Chester curve allowing direct running from the North Wales Line to the Merseyrail system - were found to be blocked by vegetation growth which could not be cleared in time.
Top and Tail working was essential due to alll the reversals, and it has been hoped to used two Class 40s, 40 013 and 40 145, but on the day 40 145 was "not available for traffic" according to the BLS website, and was replaced by Locomotive Services 47 853. However, we have been told that there was nothing wrong with the loco; this class was built in the steam-heating era, and was never (except for a short-lived experiment) provided with a facility to provide an electrical supply to the train for heating, lighting, and more recently safety door locking and controlled emission toilets. Locomotive Services have a coach fitted with a diesel generator to remedy this, and this was to be included in the train, but was found to be faulty, and could not be used, so a Class 47 fitted with electrical supply had to replace one of the 40s.
Contributor Gary Thomas travelled in the train and reports 'We kept really good time all day and the Saphos Trains carriages and Stewards were excellent.'
Liverpool Lime Street (Gary Thomas).
Hooton (John Watt)
D213 (40013) Andania leaving Chester at the rear of the train headed by 47 614 to Wrexham. The train reversed in the sidings - a very unusual move in itself - to replace the unavailable curve (Chris Morrison).
Wrexham General after reversal at Croes Newydd, heading for Bidston (George Jones).
D213 heads the Wrexham - Bidston leg, crossing the Dee at Hawarden Bridge (Chris Morrison).
Penyffordd (Stephen Dennett).
Bidston (Gary Thomas).
The menagerie of depot mascots includes a moose (?). LSL like to number their locos to match the livery and period, so 47 853 carries one of its earlier numbers, 47 614, but is this its 'real' number on the Network Rail database?
Penyffordd (Stephen Dennett)
47 614 thundering through Heswall. Unfortunately it crossed with 150 251 which was just leaving with the 13:33 Wrexham - Bidston service. Most of the photographers were 'bowled' by this clash.
47 614 heads through Shotton High Level (Chris Morrison).
Back at Wrexham, emerging from platform 3 with the scaffolding which has multiplied since last week's picture (George Jones).
Arrived at Liverpool on the return ...
... 47 853 ready to work the last leg back to Crewe (Gary Thomas).
From Dave Sallery's archive
66 603 on an up ballast from Penmaenmawr to Crewe virtual quarry, 4 June 2001. This was the first train operated by Freightliner following the change of contract from EWS. Hopefully a scene to be repeated in the near future.
37 425 passes Penmaenmawr on a Bangor - Crewe working, 18th August 1997. In the background a class 31 is waiting while its ballast train is loaded.
Looking back: Steam and Diesels part 1 - by David Pool
In 1996 trains between Llandudno and Manchester were not always hauled by a Class 37! On a dull New Year’s Day the 14:45 from Llandudno was 142 051 in Merseyrail yellow, approaching Llandudno Junction.
On 24 March 1996 the Llangollen Railway passenger trains were terminating at Glyndyfrdwy, while restoration at Carrog was nearing completion. The celebrity Class 03 (D2162) from Birkenhead had been acquired, and was on a works train at Carrog. The sleeper coach in the siding is being used for accommodation.
The Saturday morning tanks from Holyhead to Stanlow on 6 April 1996 had 31 112, with Transrail branding on the Civil Engineers “Dutch” livery. The locomotive has run round at Hooton, and is now on the electrified line to Ellesmere Port.
A heavyweight Class 37, 37 718, was required for the 6E05 15:29 Stanlow to Humber 102 tonne LPG tanks, and is passing through Frodsham on 13 April 1996. The Railfreight Metals branding on the locomotive is a little inappropriate.
The 09:24 from Holyhead to Llandudno Junction on 20 April 1996 comprised a pair of Class 153 single units in Regional Railways livery, 153 324 and 153 316. The disused sidings on the left would eventually become the end of the A55.
It was always tricky to get the whole of the Chain Bridge at Berwyn in the photograph without a wide angle lens, but from the other side of the main road on 5 May 1996 it was possible to get the picture I wanted, even though not much of Berwyn station building was visible. 24 081 was working the Diesel service, and trains were now running as far as Carrog.
It was a three train service on 5 May, and 7802 Foxcote Manor had a light load as it approached Carrog, photographed from the A5 after a short walk from Llidiart-y-Parc. The sheep seem unconcerned by the arrival of steam on this new stretch of line.
The other locomotive in steam on 5 May was 76079, which had six mostly matching Western Region Mk1 coaches. The train is alongside the River Dee near the Fisherman’s Crossing, approaching Glyndyfrdwy.
News from the Duke of Lancaster
It seems from recent press coverage that there is progress on bringing the grounded ex-BR ferry Duke of Lancaster back in to the 'hospitality sector' after Antony Rowley, the son of the owner, appears to have negotiated permission to hold events on the land around the boat, which were disallowed by the authorities on the grounds that the area is reached by a bridge under the North Wales Coast line which was said to be too low to pass emergency vehicles.
Already a 'fun day' has been held, and a Christmas Market is promised for 12 December. It's hoped that sufficient funds will be raised by such activities to begin preparing the ship itself for public use, starting with the upper decks.
It will be interesting to see what happens. The press seem to be convinced that the 'Duke' is a 'cruise ship', but its main role was as an overnight ferry to Northern Ireland. It did however, run cruises on occasions.
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