NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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18 October 2021
Meeting at Shotton High Level, 16 October. Picture by Tim Rogers.
Changing Times - by Dave Sallery
Today, virtually all elements in this photo, except the track, have disappeared. 47 850 heads the 11.30 Euston - Holyhead past Rockcliffe Hall signalbox on 15 April 1991. In the background can be seen Connahs Quay power station closed in 1982 and demolished in 1994. The early BR pattern signalbox was built in 1951 to control coal movements to the then new power station. The coal came from Point of Air colliery at Talacre.
This signalbox was replaced in 1996 by a 'portacabin' structure due to construction of the new road bridge (opened 1998) across the Dee and a long tunnel was built to carry the railway under the road approaches to the bridge. Milepost 189 is now about 100m into the tunnel on the Chester side.
A new gas-fired power station has been built at Connahs Quay to the west of the original. Ironically the fuel for this still comes from Point of Air. The terminal there receives gas from a platform 15 miles out in the Irish Sea, it is then processed and sent to Connahs Quay. The new Rockcliffe Hall box was abolished on 26 March 2018.
47 850 was withdrawn on 24 October 1995. The loco had also carried the numbers D1744, 47 151 and 47 648.
The November issue of Today's Railways UK magazine includes a detailed article about the Transport for Wales, its fleet, operations and timetables. (There's also a description of what happens when there's a Norovirus outbreak on a railtour).
6 October (note: RHTT = Rail HeadTreatment Train)
RHTT passing Bagillt, 56 096 leading (Stephen Dennett).
Stephen Dennett's first sighting of new 3-car Class 197 101, which has joined the three 2-car sets at Crewe Arrive Traincare. All the other 197’s are still listed as “in production” on the ukraillog.co.uk website. (197 003 was delivered to Crewe on 1 October).
RHTT with 56 096 and 56 094 passing Conwy Castle on the return trip to Shrewsbury, 6 October (Gary Thomas).
Coleham depot, with 97 304 John Tiley ready to take the 21:20 RHTT to Machynlleth and back on 7 October. This leg has been running with only one loco so far and on 5 October was extended to Aberystwyth (Graham Breakwell).
A Network Rail Plain Line Pattern Recognition Train passes a foot crossing near Flint with 43 274 in leading. The livery is East Midlands Railway purple, applied to this one loco to mark the end of HST service on their routes. Its EMR loco has since been replaced by the diamond symbol of Colas Rail ...
... on the rear, 43 272, also now a Colas loco, while retaining its LNER livery.
56 094 on the rear of the RHTT (Stephen Dennett).
197 002 passing Colwyn Bay on a Chester - Llandudno Junction driver training run (Jack Bowley).
67 014 passing Colwyn Bay with 1V96 11:33 Holyhead - Cardiff (Jack Bowley)
56 094 flying solo on the RHTT, Colwyn Bay (Jack Bowley)
At Coleham, 56 094 draws up to 97 304 ready to reverse into the depot for replenishment of the RHTT tanks after returning from Craven Arms, the last leg of the circuit. After working the Machynlleth leg, the 97 is usually stabled in this siding south of Sutton Bridge.
57 078 returning through Colwyn Bay with a Rail Delivery Train (RDT) set; these sets are specially designed to carry several banks of new rail and then deliver them onto the track side, ready for installation at a later date. (Jack Bowley)
Passing Pensarn, returning to Crewe (Gary Thomas).
153 369 and 153 314 at Deganwy on Sunday 10 October working the 17:13 Llandudno Junction to Llandudno shuttle (Martin Evans).
Pulling into Shrewsbury, the 11:22 Cardiff to Holyhead with 67 017 up front ...
... and driving trailer 82216 in its Hope House / Tŷ Gobaith vinyl livery chosen by TfW staff. Hope House in Oswestry and Tŷ Gobaith in Groesynydd, Conwy are childrens' hospices.
66 570 did several runs along the coast recently, as seen at Flint on 11 October. Route learning/driver training for the Penmaenmawr freight flow or just for forthcoming engineering works? The latter, unfortunately. (Stephen Dennett)
37 116 passing Hope with an Ultrasonic Test Train, 3Q78 08:20 Derby RTC to Bidston Sidings (Tim Rogers).
The coach which has the ultrasonic equipment, 999606, has an interesting history. It was built as 62356, as the motor coach of a Southern Region '4-CIG' electric unit, no. 1850, built c. 1970. With four traction motors, it needed special heavy-duty bogies, which probably led to its choice to carry the Ultrasonic equipment.
Bagillt, with 67 015 propelling on 1W93 11:22 Cardiff Central to Holyhead ...
.... Driving Trailer 82229 carries information about how to stay alive if you fall in the water, on behalf of the RNLI.
56 084 leading with 56 096 on the rear of the RHTT passing Abergele (Greg Mape).
Graham Breakwell paid a visit to sidings at Donnington to answer our question about whether there are any more 197s there. Graham notes: 'I counted two 4-car and 4 two-car West Midlands Railway class 196s,
no sign of any 197s. I was gently stopped by security from photographing at the entrance to the Railfreight terminal but got this shot from the public road bridge.'
Cambrian in Lancashire - by Stephen Dennett
I went to the East Lancashire Railway Steam Gala on 15 October, and I thought I’d send a photo of 7820 Dinmore Manor because of the Cambrian Line connection and the appropriate headboard. 7820 was the last “Manor” to haul the Cambrian Coast Express in 1965. She covered over 420,000 miles when in regular service, even though she was one of the last batch of “Manors” built in 1950.
Looking back: Diesels 1996 Part 2 - by David Pool
The “Nightstar” concept of sleeper trains through the Channel Tunnel was in difficulty in 1996, with a plethora of problems such as the electric power requirements for the rakes of coaches and the advent of the budget airlines, all of which raised serious financial concerns for the project.
Trains had been proposed to run from Plymouth and Swansea over non electrified lines, and twelve Class 37/5 locomotives were modified for this service, which they would work in pairs. In 1996 the resulting Class 37/6 locomotives were not in general use, so Pathfinder Tours were pleased to get 37 601 and 37 603 for their Railtour 1Z37 on 13 July 1996 from Bristol to Doncaster.
The two 37/6s were photographed at Crewe, having worked the train from Bristol. Note the European Passenger Services logo and the Channel Tunnel roundels. In later years these twelve locomotives became part of the Direct Rail Services fleet, and today around half are in service with other operators.
The Class 201 “Hastings” Diesel Electric Multiple Unit was always a popular choice for Railtours, and on 17 August 1996 a tour was run to Chester from Hastings. Unit 1001 is between Chester North and West Junctions, and it may have used the triangle to turn, although I am not sure why this should have been necessary.
A dramatic sky behind Conwy Castle, but sunshine on Transrail 37 413 makes a pleasing shot as it crosses the Cob with 6F11, the 1103 Penmaenmawr to Arpley freight on 26 August 1996.
On the same day it was sunshine at Mochdre, as “Peak” D192 was hauling 1Z46, a Railtour form Swindon to Holyhead. Recently I passed this location on the A55, and was astonished at the growth of shrubbery alongside the track, with would now make any photography here impossible.
Looking through my 1996 images, I came across this shot of 60 057 passing under Bank Quay Station with a train from Fiddlers Ferry. The DMU alongside was interesting, and at the time I had listed it as a Class 108. The fleet numbers did not seem correct, so I did some research to discover that it was in fact a Class 114, numbered 977776 and 977775, previously the Automatic Train Protection Test Unit, but probably now being used as a Route Learner or Inspection Unit.
[Nick Roberts writes: This unit belonged to Transrail at the time and was indeed being used for road learning between Warrington and Rugby and the odd trip to Wigan Springs Branch for fuel and exams.]
Digging a little deeper, I found that I had photographed this Class 114 Unit in Peterborough on 27 August 1989, at which time it was in Royal Mail livery and working the 1321 Peterborough to Spalding, the cars being 54904 and 55929.
Having unearthed my slides from 1989, I noticed another unusual Unit in the same slide box. At that time I was more interested in locomotives, and had not bothered about Departmental vehicles. My records showed just “Lab Coach No.5, Chester, 25 July 1989”, so I investigated further. The car numbers were RDB 975090 and 975089, and they were originally Class 103 (Park Royal) cars 56162 and 50396, based for some years at Chester. In the Derby RTC days they were designated Track Recording Coaches.
Ballast workings were always of interest, although patience was always needed to get a photograph. On 27 December 1996 there must have been activity on Merseyrail, as 56 107 in LoadHaul livery had just run round its train at Hooton Long Siding, and was passing through the station. It was a welcome change to see a locomotive in other than Transrail or “Dutch” livery.
Llangollen Railway news
In preparation for the anticipated ballasting of the track at the new-build railway station, a permanent way train travelled to Corwen behind 08 diesel shunter 13256 on Monday 11 October 2021. This followed successful Fitness to Run exams on the four ballast wagons (Trouts and Dogfish) and a Shark brake van.
The train arrived at Corwen from Llangollen, whereupon the 08 ran round the train, engaged in some shunting activity and then proceeded to travel back to Bonwm where the ballast wagons and Shark brake van were parked and left adjacent to a supply of limestone ballast at the side of the track.
It is hoped the empty wagons will be filled by JCB digger in the coming days, once a number of logistical issues have been resolved. The loaded wagons will then be propelled to the Corwen station site, emptied, and the process repeated. The photographs show the arrival of the train into Corwen station and its subsequent departure to Bonwm. A tamping machine will be required to raise, pack, and align the track in due course, but it is possible additional ballast may have to be purchased before this work can be considered.
Pictures and text above by Peter Neve.
The Railway has a new website under delopment:
Llangollen DMU Scenes from 15 October by Martin Evans
The hybrid railcar set at Carrog arriving with the 11 am service from Llangollen - Class 104 50454 and Class 108 56223.
The Railcar set awaiting to depart Carrog with the 11:50 service to Llangollen ...
... and awaiting to depart Llangollen with 12:50 service to Carrog.
Our short holiday went well, visiting another island of locomotive working, the trains that currently shuttle between York and Scarborough. Curiously, the trains are not always the same way round. There is a servicing facility on the approach to Scarborough station, but it seems locos cannot service there overnight becuse neighbours have complained about the noise, so there are as-required light-engine moves to and from York (42 miles away) and empty stock runs to/from Longsight,
There is one loco-hauled weekday passenger working from Manchester Piccadilly to Scarborough, departing Piccadilly platform 3 at 15:29, and travelling via Guide Bridge and not the Ordsal chord and Manchester Victoria, calling at Stalybridge at 15:41. It seems that there is no way to predict which end the loco will be, however.
A version of the diagrams can be found on the Railtour info website.
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