NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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28 March 2022
Clun Castle in Chester, 26 March. Picture by George Jones.
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland season starts - report by James Sinstadt
Saturday 26 March saw the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland railway services resume for 2022.This weekend just saw services running between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Next weekend sees services resume between Porthmadog and Caernarfon, with some days services just running from each terminus to Beddgelert. Above, 1992-built David Lloyd George, having just run round its train at Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog trains are named Mountain Prince and carry an appropriate headboard.
1893-built Blanche at Porthmadog, with one of the two 'Woodland Wanderer' services running that day, between Porthmadog and Tan-Y-Bwlch. As we head further into the summer, there are up to two departures each day to Blaenau Ffestiniog and five departures to Tan-Y-Bwlch.
Service information for the 2022 season can be found here.
Transport for Wales have been having trouble running all their loco-hauled diagrams each day, with frequent substitutions by other stock, but things appear to be improving. Mike Stone has been keeping track with the help of Real Time Trains:
Last week the best for a long time with only one DMU substitution and one running part of the way empty. An additional turn ran again on Saturday 19 March for the Rugby, but what appeared to be a 'maintenance' swap on Sunday did not run. Presumably as a result the set ran from Crewe on Monday to start 1W93 there.
67 017 was initially showing at Cardiff Canton but subsequently at Holyhead - however while compiling thus missive I spotted a 5V91 Holyhead - Crewe CS on Monday - no sign of a mk.4 set at Crewe apart from the Grand Central liveried set with 67 001, which never seems to move.
All of this is prompted by the 05:33 Holyhead - Cardiff on 24 March going empty stock throughout due to a 'fault on the train' according to journey check - I had planned to travel on it on the basis that they were presumably confident it would be manned, as 23 March's 17:16 from Holyhead ran empty from Shrewsbury to Holyhead.
In other news, The 08.05 from Holyhead is 'bustituted' as far as the Llandudno Junction this week, apparently to release a driver to shunt units being maintained at Holyhead while Machynlleth depot remains cut off by storm damage between Shrewsbury and Machynlleth
It has been suggested training for the Manchester - South Wales loco-hauled should have started this week but it doesn't seem to have happened.
The Chester Venturer of 26 March was an excursion run by Vintage Trains from their base at Tyseley near Birmingham to Chester and back, headed by 7029 Clun Castle. Stephen Dennett captured the train near Beeston Castle.
Promised Land Lane, Waverton (Jeff Albiston). 7029 was built by British Railways to a Great Western design, entering service in 1950. It has a 'double chimney', an idea from the latter days of the steam age, said to improve the steaming.
Arriving at Chester; the water-carrier parcels van behind the tender...
... and a look at 47 773 on the rear. In the past, Vintage Trains excursions have run without a diesel on the rear, but it does help with shunting operations. Pictures by George Jones.
The same day saw LMS Pacific 6233 Duchess of Sutherland re-created the glory days of the class by hauling a charter train from London Euston to Manchester, operated by West Coast Railways. Photographers were out in force; a member of the the step-ladder brigade was noted setting up his shot on a bridge at Heaton Norris over an hour before the train was due.
Above is a view of the return train on Stockport viaduct by Jim Ikin.
The 'Duchess Coronation' class are some of the largest steam locos; the boiler fittings were almost invisible to fit under the LMS company's bridges.
As mentioned in the last issue, Great Western Railway 0-6-2T 5619 moved to the Llangollen Railway on 23 March for use on passenger trains this summer. This picture of the loco on the inspection pit at Llangollen was kindly provided by the railway's Operations Manager Paul Reynolds. The class came about after 1923 when the GWR absorbed railways in South Wales which favoured the 0-6-2T configuration. 200 were built between 1924 and 1928. One of several preserved examples, 5619's normal home is the Telford Steam Railway.
60 076 Dunbar, still in Colas colours and with unofficial 'Tug' name Dunbar, passes Rhyl with empties for Penmaenmawr quarry, 28 March (Roly High).
... and Dwygyfylchi. Gary Thomas writes: 'I'm pleased you can make the shot of the 60 at both Pensarn and Dwygyfylchi, though some athletic sprinting was required on the "iron bridge" today to make it!'
The loaded train, 14:56 from Penmaenmawr, ran 44 minutes late. Loading such a long train in two hours (arrival was at 12:49) clearly needs some slick operation!
Sunshine Coast - pictures by Chris Morrison
Some pics from Wednesday 23 March, A lovely day. I was a bit lucky to get the 11:22 Cardiff Holyhead and 16:36 return with a 67 as it was a unit on a couple of days last week according to Real Time Trains.
DB liveried 67013 rolls over Conwy Cob with the 11:33 Holyhead - Cardiff.
The tide is in as Avanti voyager 221 107 passes Conwy Castle with the Holyhead - Crewe.
Transport for Wales liveried 67 025 propels the 11:22 Cardiff Central-Holhead past Llyn Maelog, Rhosneigr.
67025 heads the 16:36 Holyhead-Cardiff Central past Rhosneigr.
Cambrian Corner - by Ken Robinson
Three photos from a recent visit to Harlech where, as well as at Tywyn, most trains cross. Above, 158 819 entering Harlech station with the 09:34 Pwllheli-Machynlleth on 23 March.
158 824 approaching Harlech on the same date with the 08:52 Machynlleth-Pwllheli. These units are two out of six 158's which are 'marooned' east of Newtown at the moment. Three units are used on coast services; two on the Aberystwyth-Newtown services; and one 'spare'.
158 824 departing Harlech for Pwllheli.
The Cambrian 'mainline' is due to re-open in early April according to Network Rail, following recent storm damage. Let's hope this happens as there are several loco-hauled specials (Class 97 x 2) planned for this summer, starting with Pathfinder's tour to Pwllheli on Friday, 13 May.
In the last issue, Stephen Dennett in his contribution about the 'Cheshireman' railtour, commented that the man with a camera pole visible in his picture must have had difficulty in the strong wind.
The photographer in question was Terry Eyres, who has sent us the pictures he obtained despite the wind.
Testing - pictures by Stephen Dennett
The ex-LNER/EMR HSTs are now a welcome sight on the Network Rail Test Trains, this one at Flint being the long circuit from Derby to Crewe taking in Cheshire, North Wales and Merseyside.
43 299 heads through Flint station, 24 March.
43 257 on the rear.
Saturday 26 March saw some engineering workings along the coast, the first being with 70 801 with the 08:25 Crewe Basford Hall yard to Menai Bridge, seen above at Pensarn (Greg Mape).
Approaching Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud).
The second working of the day again had a class 70, but we don't have a picture of that as it was running about an hour late.
The third working of the day was the 14:43 Crewe Basford Hall yard to Menai Bridge with 66 523 as the motive power, see at Beeston (Stephen Dennett).
Approaching Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud)
Penmaenmawr station (Greg Mape).
37602 on the Cambrian
Andrew Royle writes: 'Further to your shot of 37 602 at Porthmadog on 20 August 2009. This was a Radio Survey train (RSC3) that was carrying out data collection, prior to the switch on of the new ERTMS signalling in 2011 (after which only the yellow class 97/3s would be allowed on the Cambrian). I was onboard at the time (as train manager) and 37 218 was providing haulage at the other end.'
Looking Back: Steam and Diesel 2002 part 3 - by David Pool
47 810 Porterbrook was built as D1924, later becoming 47 247 and then 47 655. On 10 April 2002 it was passing through Prestatyn with the 09:19 Holyhead to Euston, hauling DVT 82 115 and Mk3 Virgin coaches. It is currently operated by Locomotive Services Ltd, running as D1924 Crewe Diesel Depot.
On the same day the 11:51 Shrewsbury to Crewe service was a single unit, 153 312. This shot at Nantwich illustrates the growing use of Vinyl decorations, in this case a quotation from Dylan Thomas. The image of a red kite and the Heart of Wales web address is perhaps more understandable.
Yet more colour changes, as the Wales and Borders franchise introduced what I believe was the Alphaline silver livery with blue doors. 158 843 is passing through Pensarn on 13 April 2002 with the 07:10 Cardiff to Holyhead.
Looking through some slides of 2002, it was remarkable how much has changed at Mochdre. RES liveried 47 732 Restormel was on the 0800 Euston to Holyhead on 13 April, and the A55 seems relatively quiet. Today there would probably be nose to tail traffic on the A55, and the trains here would be hardly visible behind the massive growth of vegetation at this location.
I decided to look up the history of 47 732, which has had a particularly interesting life. I first photographed it in East Anglia on 19 June 1982, when it was working the 15:46 Norwich to Liverpool Street, and passing the Grain Store at Haughley Junction. It was then 47 580 County of Essex, one of the Stratford Class 47s with the usual silver roof. Whenever it went to Crewe for a major overhaul it reappeared with a blue roof, but on returning to Stratford the roof colour was soon changed.
After it was no longer needed by British Rail, it was sold to the Stratford 47 Group, who were seeking to restore a Stratford 47. In 2008 it regained its number 47 580 and its name County of Essex, and was given the blue Large Logo livery. It was main line registered, and was often seen on special trains. On 30 April 2011 it was on the rear of 1Z51, the 06:19 Preston to Fishguard Harbour railtour, the train locomotives being 37 638 and 37 194. It was photographed passing through Wrenbury.
A few years later it reverted to BR blue, although retaining the “silver“roof, which by now appeared to be more a light grey. Commemorating the Golden Jubilee of the introduction of the first Class 47, a Gala was held on the Mid Norfolk Railway in 2012, at which 47 580 County of Essex appeared in BR blue complete with Union Jack decorations. In this condition it visited the East Lancs Railway on 5 July 2014, and was photographed as it came down the “Ski Jump” at Bury.
The Vintage Trains railtour from Birmingham to Carlisle on 18 May 2002 is described on the Six Bells Junction website as having been looped at Carnforth on the return journey with a possible hot box fault on one of the two locomotives. Both 4965 Rood Aston Hall and 4936 Kinlet Hall appeared to be in fine fettle as the train passed Winwick, nicely backlit by the evening sun.
From Dave Sallery's archive
Crewe Gresty lane scrap line, 10 June 1995. 47 443 and 31 442 visible. Rapid arrival of the BT 'busies' prevented us getting all the loco numbers!
Former cross-country class 120 DMU in use as a parcels carrier at Crewe, 4 April 1987. Note the two guards compartments meaning this unit is made up from two others.
31 465 passes Mostyn on an up service, 2 August 1995.
Dublin Ferrylink - report by Bernard Allan
Many fellow readers of these pages who travel beyond the buffers at Holyhead to Dublin and further afield will have used the Ferrylink bus on occasion. Alas that service is no more. The route had resumed serving Stena Line sailings last August but was cancelled by Stena Line in Mid-September.
The Ferrylink was most useful as it provided an express link (only stopping at Connolly Station & Westmoreland Street in the city) to Heuston Station for inbound passengers travelling to provincial stations. The service accepted Sterling (as well as euro) and in its latter years Leap Card and online bookings were also options.
Mortons Coaches commenced operating a complimentary shuttle on behalf of Stena Line to/from Terminal 2 around 2008. When Dublin Bus route 53B (actually contracted by Irish Ferries rather than being a city bus route per se) ceased in March 2017 this operation began serving Irish Ferries (Terminal 1) too and Ferrylink branding was applied to it. On paper the route was numbered 153.
On 1st November last year Stena Line launched a shuttle bus between The Point and Terminal 2. Initially it departed from North Wall Avenue but was subsequently switched to nearby North Wall Quay then, on November 22nd, to the more convenient location of Connolly Station (beside the Luas tram stop). In January it began serving Irish Ferries (Terminal 1) and this month additional departures have been added to facilitate the seasonal Dublin Swift fast ferry sailings (Irish Ferries). Tickets for the service must be purchased from Stena Line or Irish Ferries and cannot be paid for onboard the bus (in the case of outbound passengers collecting tickets at the port a booking reference/confirmation e-mail can be shown). The adult single fare is €3/£3; to date I've only used the service in conjunction with Stena Line buying a ticket over the 'phone as part of a SailRail booking ex Dublin as well as purchasing from Guest Services onboard ship inbound to Dublin (a standard till receipt showing "bus" rather than a conventional ticket is issued).
As was always the case there is no bus connection off the 20.30 ex Holyhead or to the 02.15 Dublin-Holyhead Stena Line sailings. The shuttle is operated by Nolans Coaches and the timetables may be viewed on their website under the Services tab and there is also info on the Dublin Port page of the Stena Line site.
Dublin Bus public service obligation (PSO) route 53 continues to serve Terminal 1 as it has done since the route was amended to terminate there in April 2012. The current adult fare from the port to Talbot Street (or vice versa) is €2.15 in cash (coins only; change isn't given) or €1.60 with a Leap Card. The corresponding child fares are €1.10 and 80c.
There is also an adult €2.30 fare available on Leap Card which allows unlimited transfers on city bus services/DART or LUAS within 90 minutes of commencing the first journey (just tap on via the validator on the right hand side as you board each bus). Note that Mondays to Fridays inclusive all route 53s outbound to the port also serve O'Connell Street (stop reference 271 across the road from Easons Bookstore) around 7 minutes after their departure time from Talbot Street.
Coincidentally the 53's terminus on Talbot Street is outside the former Welsh Church (now an internet café)!
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