NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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15 November 2021
The Dee Marsh to Margam steel wagons unusually double headed, by 66 075 and 66 200, seen at Penyffordd on 13 November. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.
Tornado in Cheshire
The "Cheshireman' excursion from Bristol to Chester on 13 November suffered a delay when its one-hour water stop at Hereford extended to three hours due an all-too-common 'fatality 'on the line ahead. The picture above is by Stephen Dennett, who notes: 'I was hoping to get some shots from the meadow below the viaduct at Chirk as it crossed from England into Wales. However, the long stop at Hereford meant I instead spent some time on the local footpaths and having lunch. I discovered the footpath that goes across the line just south of the viaduct, so this picture was taken, safely behind the fence, at that location as it finally appeared 130 minutes late.
Chirk station (Anthony Thomas).
At Pentre, having just left Chirk before the train crosses the viaduct over the valley heading towards Cefn Mawr (Anthony Thomas).
Balderton Crossing (Bob Greenhalgh).
Chester was finally reached at 15:09; Geoff Morris captured the train passing the canal lock on the approach to the City. The passengers were given extra time to explore Chester, and the departure south was 76 minutes after the planned 16:25. Unfortunately another long delay occured at the schedule water stop at Craven Arms. Reportedly this was due to lower water pressure from the source of the water. Arrival at Bristol was at 00:21, two hours later than planned. See also Richard Putley's article below.
What, no loco?
Something has gone wrong with the Holyhead - Cardiff loco-worked service All six trains ran as planned on Tuesday the 9 November, but the next day 1V91, the loco-worked 05:33 from Holyhead was terminated at Chester and went empty to Crewe, and the return 1W96 11:33 Cardiff - Holyhead was was 20 minutes late departing. On Thursday one of the two diagrams, starting from the 05:33, was loco-worked, the other a two-car 175. To give them their due 1W96 was swapped at the Junction on Thursday to make Fridays 1V91 a three car.
On Friday 12th 1W96, the 17:16 from Cardiff, was loco to Shrewsbury, the previous legs having been 153 303 with 153 918, where it swapped sets with 175 101 on 1V98, with everything else railcars. Again on 15 November, only one loco-worked set is in traffic. All this is happening at a time when Transport for Wales appears to have made a soft-introduction of the restaurant service. What's going on?
Bridge Bash with a difference
An usual incident occurred on 10 November. Quoting from the RNLI website:
The early morning wake-up signalled the first ever call-out for Flint's newest Lifeboat crew member Jay Jones.
Train movements were suspended during the rescue: passenger service began at 09:34, while the Margam - Dee Marsh freight was terminated at Shrewsbury and moved to Bescot.
A new history
There has been for some time a need for a comprehensive history of the North Wales line, and a very significant one has arrived on the market just in time for Christmas.
Author Philip Lloyd describes his book The Chester and Holyhead Railway; a New History as 'the culmination of a lifetime's interest in the line', and this is evident throughout its 276 pages.
This is a modern book, hardback on quality paper with many photographs, in colour when possible, including some by names well-known to our readers such as Dave Sallery and the late John Hobbs. The result of much research, this is a very readable history book, centred on people and events, without the technical details of locomotives or performance logs favoured by some other authors.
It's published by Pen & Sword at £30, or £27 if bought from the publisher's website. The book is also available there as a download in Kindle or ePub formats, at a lower price.
Saturday at Hereford - by Richard Putley
There were two steam specials due through Hereford on Saturday 13 November 2021. Firstly a Bristol to Chester excursion was due to be hauled by A1 60163 Tornado. It was due to stop in Hereford between< 09:25 and 10:35. Secondly, a Vintage Trains circular tour from Birmingham was due to arrive from the Shrewsbury direction at 11:00. Its passengers would then alight for a four hour visit to Hereford,
and the train would then continue south to Newport, returning via Chepstow, Gloucester and Worcester. Booked motive power was 6233 "Duchess of Sutherland".
In order to get to Hereford in time to see "Tornado" arrive, I caught the 08:45 from Great Malvern. It was on time and formed of a 3-car Class 172 DMU. At Ledbury we passed a couple of East Midlands Railways 170s on a Hereford to Birmingham service. Apparently there are four of these on loan to West Midlands Railways. Later on I photographed another one, 170 507 arriving from Birmingham and passing "Tornado". It returned on the 14:39 service to Birmingham, which I photographed entering the station from the diesel sidings to the south of the station.
But that's jumping ahead. "Tornado" arrived on time. On the back was West Coast Railways 57 314. Once I had photographed it arriving from the south end of Platform 3, I left the station and walked out to an overbridge to the North. It was from here I saw 170 507 arrive on the 08:50 Birmingham New Street to Hereford service.
But meanwhile up at Ludlow tragedy had struck! A Southbound service, formed by 158 827 struck a person with fatal consequences. As a result the line was closed for the next two hours. Tornado's train was held at Hereford while the Duchess was held at Craven Arms.
Eventually Tornado was allowed to proceed northwards and in due course 158 827 appeared. It was followed by a GWR IET which had come down from Paddington via Worcester. Eventually the Duchess appeared at 13:30. After the passengers alighted the Duchess ran into the Diesel Sidings to the south of Hereford station.
On the back was the Vintage Trains class 47, D1755.
The Vintage Trains tour was supposed to continue south at 15:00. But > despite the signalman setting the road the train remained in the sidings. By this time the light was going so I elected to catch the 15:39 back to Malvern. The special had still not come into the platform when the 15:39 left on time. Nevertheless I was pleased with the pictures I got.
From Dave Sallery's Archive
37 686, with a characteristic drooped nose, leaves Penmaenmawr with a short ballast train. 26 August 1994. There were no 'virtual quarries' at that time, the ballast would be heading for a particular work site.
31 455 Our Eli near Towyn on an up passenger working, 12 June 1993. The curious name was the nickname of loco driver Bill Baildon who died in 1992; it was the nickname of a comedy character played by Jimmy Jewel in the TV show 'Nearest and Dearest' - also a character in a routine on the stage by Jimmy James in the 1950s.
DVD for Christmas?
John Wilkinson writes to tell us that Vol. 8 of in the DVD series 'British Rail Motive Power 1981-1999' has just been released by Videoscene and includes a North Wales Chapter. A great Christmas stocking filler- although at the time of writing it doesn't appear on the Videoscene website.
Highlights with original sound include:-
47 444 at Roman Bridge on 3-8-83.
40 032 at Glan Conwy on 1-6-80.
47 407 & 25282 at Glan Conwy on 23-6-84.
20 903 & 20 902 at Machynlleth with Chipman's weed killer stock on 18-8-89.
40 163 on a freight at Llandudno Junction on 28-8-81.
plus plenty of 47s and 37s at various locations on the coast.
Looking back: Steam and Diesels 1998 - by David Pool
On 3 May 1998 ”The Conwy Climber” Railtour ran from Euston, the Standard Tank 80079 taking over from Crewe and running bunker first to Llandudno Junction. It is emerging from Blaenau Tunnel into the unmistakeable slate landscape. The completion date of 1879 is shown on the other end of the tunnel, but the plaque at the Blaenau end is not clear.
80079 was out again on the following day with another Railtour. I assume the train had started from Crewe, and the headboard “The Malvern Tank” suggests it was probably going to Hereford. The train has just left Wrenbury station. Note the banner signal on the left, which repeats the indication of the signal protecting the level crossing ahead. (dp34036).
The 0850 from Holyhead to Euston would normally be a Class 47 dragging a DVT and Mk 2 coaches, but on 30 May 1998 at Chester a Railfreight liveried 47 016 was on the front, with 47 810 and DVT 82113 behind. I think it is unlikely that 47 810 had failed, but I have no further information.
I moved on to the Chester Walls, and photographed the 09:35 Blackpool to Holyhead, which emerged from the tunnels with 158 758 leading. To my astonishment, there were seven more cars in tow, comprising a selection of DMUs. This combination would presumably have to return from Holyhead on the 13:23 to Stockport and Blackpool, so I went to Beeches Farm in the afternoon to see what appeared. Sure enough, the leading unit was Pacer 142 048, followed by a Class 150, a Single Unit 153, a Class 156 and finally the 158.
I never found out why such an unusual combination had been provided for this particular train, and would be most interested if anyone can provide an explanation. Since the 13:23 from Holyhead normally terminated at Stockport, I suppose it is possible that the train split there and part continued to Blackpool.
June 1998 saw much activity on the Wirral lines of Merseyrail, with track relaying on the line to West Kirby. Stations between Bidston and West Kirby are not often photographed, so I took the opportunity on 7 May when 37 685 and 37 069 with a train of spent ballast were passing through Leasowe, probably heading for Crewe via Wrexham.
A week later another pair of 37s, 37 521 and 37 883, were performing the same duties, on this occasion passing through Moreton. The EWS livery was now appearing, although almost any other livery was possible on these trains!
Photographs of the short tunnel at the end of the platforms at Conwy are not often seen, since the head-on shot requires a fairly wide angle lens and does not show much of the train. On 15 May 1998 the 13:23 from Holyhead to Stockport was 158 757, in the North Western Trains livery of dark blue with a gold star.
The distinctive building at the station at Waverton (closed in 1959) is the location of another photograph on that day, showing the 16:22 Bangor to Crewe with 37 065 in Mainline Blue livery. The late afternoon sun gives deep shadows, but illustrates well the interesting chimneys and façade of the building.
Llangollen news - by George Jones
Steam with 3802 was back in action at Llangollen on 14 November to bring down the curtain on the summer season. For Remembrance Sunday the loco ran with a wreath and 'The Remembrance' headboard. Above, 3802 running round ready to take out the 13:15 departure to Carrog on a sunlit autumnal day hauling four suburban coaches. Times were retimed to accommodate the Remembrance service in Llangollen
Service trains resume with Santa Specials from 4 December.
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