NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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25 April 2022
67 015 on the lunchtime Cardiff train passing Conwy Castle, 25 April. Picture by Gary Thomas.
Thanks to all for the contributions. Some items have been held over until next week due to lack of time. - Charlie
Transport for Wales have announced that from the 15 May timetable change, the 'normal' timetable will return, with an all-day service to Manchester Airport among other improvements. They also say - rather tentatively - that the new Class 197 trains will enter public service.
On the freight side, we understand that the points connecting Llandudno Junction sidings with the former goods yard have been re-instated, so it can't be long until the promised slate waste trains (brought by road from Penrhyn quarry) to Earle's sidings in the Hope Valley begin operating, although there does not appear to be a path in the timetable at present. Elsewhere, on 29 April there's a trial train from Chirk to Aberystwyth with a view to loading logs there.
On 20-21 April a Network Rail Ultrasonic Test Train powered by 37 175 covered most of the Coast line and branches, working Crewe - Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury - Cosford (reverse) - Shrewsbury - Wrexham - Chester (reverse) - Llandudno Junction - Llandudno (Reverse) - Llandudno Junction (reverse) - Bangor (overnight stay, reverse) - Llandudno Junction - Blaenau Ffestiniog (reverse) - Llandudno Junction (reverse) - Chester - Warrington Bank Quay (reverse) - Chester (reverse) - Crewe. The number of reversals makes the driving trailer and essential tool. But why not cover Anglesey?
In delightful Spring weather, the train passes Deganwy on the return from Llandudno ...
... with driving trailer 9701 on the rear ...
.... and shortly afterwards, at 12:26, viewed from the Llandudno Junction flyover (Gary Thomas).
Early next morning, return from Bangor crossing Conwy Cob ...
... and overtaking an Arriva bus approaching Llandudno Junction (Gary Thomas).
Arriving at Blaenau Ffestiniog ...
... and awaiting the return journey (Ken Robinson).
Heading east past Pensarn (Gary Thomas).
Beeches Farm (Bob Greenhalgh).
Helsby (Stephen Dennett).
More scruffy HSTs
21 April also saw a Plain Line Pattern Recognition train ventured Down the Coast with two ex-LNER locos : 43 299 on the front ...
... and 43 290 on the rear. Gary Thomas photographed it passing Dwygyfylchi.
Some trains on 23 April heading for the weekend engineering work. Above, 66420 passes Beeches Farm with a load of new ballast (Stephen Dennett).
Bagillt, with Freightliner low emission 66 594 NYK Spirit of Kyoto ...
... and a load of concrete sleepers (Stephen Dennett).
Some views of the engineering trains alongside the A55 road between Colwyn Bay and Mochdre on 24 April. Above, 56 078 with a load of new 'track panels'.
70 810 on the middle.
The Bala Lake Railway is 50 years old this year, and will be celebrating in style with several events during the year to mark the occasion, starting on 30 April.
The first rails for the nascent railway, built on part of the trackbed of the Ruabon - Barmouth line, were laid in May 1972 and by August the first train was carrying passengers. The first event corresponds with the weekend in 1972 when the first track was laid, and will see the launch of a new book Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid – Y 50 Mlynedd Cyntaf / Bala Lake Railway – The First 50 Years 1972 – 2022.
Full information on the railway website or download an information sheet.
Caroline on the Cambrian
Inspection saloon "Caroline" 975025, led by double headed 37s, took a party of railway managers from Shrewsbury to Porthmadog and back on 22 April.
The train is seen above at Machynlleth on the outward journey, with appropriately named 97 302 Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways paired with "Highland Rail" 37418 An Commun Gaidhealach, complete with Inverness shed sticker - both nicely turned out. Pictures by Graham Breakwelll.
The view from the Cregennan Lakes (Ian Wright).
Approaching Barmouth (Kate Jones)
Penrhyndeudraeth (Ken Robinson).
Porthmadog (Ken Robinson). 37 418, currently part of the Colas fleet, which we suppose was there to provide electrical supply for the coach, has no equipment for the ERTMS signalling, so some complicated shunting was required before the train could return. Ken Robinson's picture shows the train ready for departure.
Barmouth (Kate Jones).
The carriage started life as part of one of the narrow-bodied units built for a Southern Region line which had a sub-standard tunnel width (see also Class 33/2 locos). The origin of the name is obscure. Picture by Graham Breakwell.
Looking back: Diesels 2003 - by David Pool
Only two Class 92 locomotives (92 001 and 92 031) were repainted in the EWS maroon and gold livery. At Winwick on 11 March 2003 92 031 Institute of Logistics and Transport was working 4M63, 08:10 Mossend to Arpley, with the usual logs for Chirk. I was pleased to note that that the distinctive Channel Tunnel roundels had been retained. This locomotive is currently stored in DB livery at Crewe.
Fragonset 47 355 Avocet is approaching Basford Hall Junction on 13 March 2003. This was the only locomotive carrying the second Fragonset livery, which was intended for freight duties on which train heating was not needed. It is also stored, in this case at Carnforth.
The other Avocet is 89 001, the unique Class 89 built at Crewe in 1987. A friend at Crewe let me know when it was due to come out on test, so on 5 August 1987 I went to Crewe, hoping to see it. I don’t remember exactly where I got my photos as the locomotive moved between Flag Lane and the Station – it would have been from a publically accessible location or a Station platform.
I managed to see it in 1989 at Kings Cross, where it was being used on trains to Peterborough, having been named Avocet by Margaret Thatcher earlier that year. After several owners, it was acquired by GNER and on 2 August 1997 it was working the 08:10 Kings Cross to Leeds at Outwood.
It was on display at Doncaster Plant Works in 2003, and eventually bought by Electric Traction Ltd, with restoration starting at Barrow Hill aided by volunteers from the AC Locomotive Group. The latest news is that Locomotive Services at Crewe are to complete the restoration and intend to run it on the main line for a five year period.
On 17 March 2003 150 282 was leaving Wrexham with the 09:25 Chester to Birmingham. The colourful advertising livery is branded Valley Lines, which was the title of the services in the Cardiff area between 1996 and 2001. I am not sure who was the operator of the Chester to Birmingham services in 2003, but I assume the vinyls were retained for publicity purposes.
I later went to Crewe Basford Hall Junction (Casey Lane), where I was lucky to see the elusive 86 501 on an unidentified Freightliner. This locomotive had been re-geared for freight operations, with the aim of seeing if a single re-geared locomotive could replace the usual pair of Class 86/6 locomotives. It eventually reverted to the 86/6 specification, becoming 86 608.
Ince and Elton is one of the least used stations in the UK, and not often seen in photographs. On 2 April 2003 there must have been some vegetation clearance, and the platforms are visible in the distance as 6E40 the 15:20 Stanlow to Humber is being hauled by 66 604, comprising a rake of twelve bogie pressure tanks. My understanding is that these tanks would be empty, since the Humber Refinery sent the full tanks of propylene gas to Stanlow.
The evening train from Manchester (Piccadilly) to Holyhead in 2003 was still loco-hauled, and on 7 April the 17:19 departure comprised a Class 47 and four ex-First Great Western Mk 2 coaches. 47 746 The Bobby has just left Helsby, photographed from the disused Helsby Junction to Mouldsworth line. Unfortunately this location is no longer accessible. The name “The Bobby” was that given to Signalmen in the early years of railways, when they were officially called Railway Policemen.
From Dave Sallery's archive
31 455 and 31 465 on a Crewe - Holyhead working leaving Prestatyn, 22 November 1994. The second coach still awaits repainting from its livery of 'Network South East with the red line painted blue, to the full Regional Railways scheme.
31 276 on an up train at Bagillt, 16 May 1992. These coal sector locos were usually occupied on nuclear flask trains.
37 116 Sister Dora in its unique Transrail livery approaching Rhyl on the 14:53 Crewe to Bangor working, during its one day on the North Wales passenger duty, 8 June 1996. Note the summer -only hired Riviera Trains carriage. There's an interesting article about the loco name here. Today 37 116 works for Colas.
A Joyce Clock - by Tony Robinson