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Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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22 August 2022
197 001 on 3D02 10:01 Llandudno Junction training run passes Gwrych Castle, 22 August. Picture by Greg Mape.
Loco Hauled (or not), and a D-Train - report by Stephen Dennett
66 720, seen on on the Penmaenmawr quarry run on 15 August, was named Wascosa in July after the wagon supplier of that name.
67 012 in Chiltern Livery arrives at Flint with the loco-hauled Holyhead to Cardiff Central service, 15 August. Compare and contrast the comfort of the loco-hauled Holyhead-Cardiff ...
... with the 5 hour journey time of the 150/153 combo in the opposite direction. ( Flying from Liverpool to Lanzarote is quicker ). 150 256 leads a Cardiff Central to Holyhead service at Flint station on 15 August. Also in the combo were 153 661 and 153 968.
The D-Train finally made another appearance this week. Over two years since they first ran on the Borderlands Line, and still no passengers carried! 230 007 on a training run from Birkenhead North depot on 16 August,seen at Penyffordd.
Another welcome change of loco on the “'Steel” this week, 66 750 having come overnight from Llanwern, is seen at Penyffordd on 16 August.
The nameplate Bristol Panel Signal Box in view as 66 750 rolls through Penyffordd station. This loco was originally built for mainland Europe in 2003.
We can confirm the news mentioned last time, about the GBRf acquisition of the former Fastline and DRS 66/3 fleet. All five locos are off to GBRf, and unlike any other 66 they have imported, will retain its original numbering sequence (every example to date has received a /7 number, but they've got 99 of them now so have run out!). I believe more imports are expected, but it is unconfirmed whether or not they'll continue the /3 series or start another sequence.
The train path from Wembley sidings to Holyhead Aluminium which had appeared for the last two weeks has apparently disappeared again. Something that has escaped us until now is that the Aluminium sidings are now to be known as Anglesey Rail Intermodal Freight Terminal (ARiFT). The storage of TransPennine coaches in 2018 was their first - and so far last - commission. it was said to be part of what has become 'Orthios Logistics Hub & Eco Park' (link here) but that company ceased to trade earlier this year.
The Welsh Conservative party are campaigning for a restart of the Valley - Cardiff air service, which did not recover from the Pandemic. They state that the weekday two out-and-back services carried 14,000 passengers per year, which works out at around 14 per flight.
Regular contributor Gary Thomas, currently on holiday in Mongolia, writes to tell us that there is a three-page article in September 2022's Rail Express magazine on his recent "Ffestiniog Round Robin" trip.
197 in the Conwy Valley
On 17 August three-car 197 102 ventured up to Blaenau Ffestiniog with a test run; Greg Mape was at Dolgarrog to watch.
As can be seen, the platform (rebuilt a storm a few years ago) is only long enough for two coaches; the train's 'selective door opening' system will deal with this, although it's likely that two-car trains will be normally be used on this line.. The platform could have been a little higher, perhaps (Greg Mape).
While at Dolgarrog, here is an artist's impression of what the river bridge will look like after the work shism always seems to be about to start: a walk/cycleway will be on a deck above the two water pipes which are the reason for the bridge. This will make access possible to the station from the village, the surfing centre, the Hilton hotel, and the preserved railway, - hopefully the path beyond the bridge can be improved as well.
Here's the view from the station on 17 August; the bridge remains closes and the path is slowly disappearing.
Shotton anniversary - recalled by David Rapson
This weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the reopening of Shotton Low Level station. Closed on 14 February 1966, the station was rebuilt and reopened on 21 August 1972. Here are some photographs to mark the event.
Above, Construction of the new station platforms is being undertaken as Class 40 231 passes on Saturday 8 July 1972 with the 08.45 Holyhead - Euston.
Almost seven years since reopening 40 032 passes on 5T43 13.50 Llandudno Junction - Manchester Victoria empty stock. 4 May 1979.
From a similar vantage point today on 17 August 2022, 67 012 hurries by atop the 11.33 Holyhead-Cardiff Central.
A look at recent events: July 22 - by David Pool
A Class 144 unit was running on the Cambrian Heritage Railways line on 2 July 2022, when passenger loadings were expected to be low. A footpath alongside the line at the Oswestry end gives some photographic opportunities, although rather head-on, while the line towards Weston Wharf is difficult with any Midday sun. 144 006 is ambling through the trees shortly after leaving Oswestry station. The destination of Llynclys is rather optimistic, unless you are prepared for a long walk!
Weston Wharf station is possibly the best location for photographs, but the stored rolling stock is not easily photographed. The passengers from 144 006 have left to explore the Brewery, and the train crew are taking the opportunity for a break.
After the problems during the Heatwave when Rheidol Railway’s No.60 did not make its inaugural run as advertised, I thought the following week would be a safer bet for photography. The weather forecast for 28 July was not too bad, so I left home early and headed for Aberystwyth. There would be only limited photographic opportunities at Aberystwyth, so I cut across to Capel Bangor to await the first train.
I was a little surprised that the train fireman had to go to the ground frames to set the points for the crossing loop, but with no station staff it was the obvious solution if the train had to go through on the left hand platform. The leaving shot of No.60 was nice, with some exhaust visible. I assumed that the signal on the far side of the crossing was not in use, and nothing would suddenly appear from Aberffrwd!
The minor roads in the Rheidol valley are not to be recommended if you are trying to overtake the train, so I carried on to the main road to Devil’s Bridge and awaited No.60’s arrival.
I wondered if No.60 would be taking water before it left, but after spending most of the time in the headshunt, it eventually ran round the train and prepared to depart. Meanwhile the Hunslet Margaret was busy giving “Driver Experiences”.
My final shot of the day was near Llanbadarn, at the bridge over the Afon Rheidol. No.60 was getting up speed as it approached, and there was some exhaust to add to the interest. The National Library of Wales is just visible over the first coach.
The 'Welsh Highland Railway 100' celebrations were not favoured with good weather, but the Sunday had the most optimistic forecast, and I was not disappointed. Having misjudged the time I needed to get from the new Caernarfon Bypass to Waenfawr, Russell was on its way to Betws Garmon when I caught up with it. The shot at Castell Cidwm was suffering from overgrown bushes, but at least the sun was out.
I hurried to Rhyd Ddu, since I wanted to photograph the train at Ffridd Isaf. I didn’t want to leave nu dog Jack in the car, but we came across cattle and sheep near the path, so he was kept on the lead as we scrambled through wet grass. The cloud was down on Snowdon, but I got some reasonable shots.
I had a couple of hours to spare before the next trains to Rhyd Ddu, so we had a very pleasant visit to the Glaslyn Osprey site, where ospreys were visible by telescope on both nests, with the high definition CCTV giving fascinating close up views of the Glaslyn birds feeding. The sun was out when we returned to Rhyd Ddu, and my aim was to get a shot of Russell on the curve with Snowdon summit in the picture, so a 35mm wide angle lens was needed.
Palmerston left Rhyd Ddu when Russell arrived, and I took the opportunity for my final shot with the village and Y Garn in the background.
( 'Looking Back' returns next week.)
Stuart Broome sends this interesting view showing what the approach to Holyhead looked like before the A555 was extended to the port. To the left are the remains of the facility for loading cattle brought by ship from Ireland. The resident Class 08 shunter can be seen in the distance. The now-closed tower footbridge built in 1991 - and since abandoned - can be seen on the right.
70 811 approaches Aisgill Summit with 6J37 Carlisle - Chirk logs on Wednesday 17 August (Ian Pilkington).
No trains due to strike action on 18 August, so Greg Mape photographed these Belugas at Broughton instead.
From Dave Sallery's archive
31 203 stabled in Rhyl Permanent Way sidings in August 1997.
37 420 The Scottish Hosteller and 37 415 on the Sunday evening double header at Rhosneigr, 3 May 1999.
47 841 leaving Holyhead on a Euston train, 3 March 1991.
37 421 entering Llandudno Jct with an up train, 10 September 1999.
Llangollen 26 - by Ken Robinson
I visited Carrog on Friday 19 August, having realised that the class 26 5310 was in action (no available steam loco) - a diesel-hauled service on a weekday is rather unusual (but not unique) on The Llangollen Railway. Above, the first train of the day - the 11:00 from Llangollen - enters Carrog.
By the time we got to Glyndyfrdwy, the sun was out! 5310 with the 11:50 from Carrog to Llangollen.
Cambrian Scenes, 17 August - by Greg Mape
Busy time on Tywyn Wharf, Talyllyn Railway.
The Darjeeling look on the Fairbourne Railway.
Barmouth bridge from Perhyn Point.
Barmouth bridge - Network Rail press release
Network Rail has confirmed the Grade II* listed viaduct will be open for busy October half term and Christmas period - with extra work planned to > secure the vital rail link's future for generations to come. The final stage of refurbishment - originally planned to take place in one go this autumn - will be split across the next two years, to reduce the impact on rail services, the community and local economy.
As well as upgrading the metallic elements of the Grade II* listed bridge and laying new track, the additional repairs will include strengthening work to the north abutments and further upgrades of some of the timber elements. These repairs weren't part of the original restoration plan but engineers working on the 154-year-old bridge during phases one and two found it to be in a much worse condition than originally anticipated. The work to refurbish the iconic railway structure is the biggest and most ambitious in its history.
We've carefully planned our work to avoid the busy summer season when tourism in Barmouth and the local area is at its height. We've also decided to take two shorter closures of the line this autumn, which means we can reopen the railway for the school half term and the Christmas period.
This autumn, the railway will be closed between Machynlleth and Pwllheli for five weeks from 8pm on Sunday 11 September to Saturday 15 October. It will then reopen for four weeks, including half term, and then close from 8pm on Sunday 13 November and reopen in time for the Christmas period on Saturday 10 December. Dates for working on the viaduct during 2023 are still being finalised.
Network Rail will be taking advantage of the autumn closure to deliver further major upgrades elsewhere along the Cambrian Line including laying new track at Felga Fach and Pwllheli Station. As well as the works at Barmouth, repairs will also be undertaken to seven other viaducts on the line; Dovey, Artro, Traeth Mawr, Leri and Cottage viaducts.
Network Rail has been working closely with Cadw, Gwynedd County Council, Transport for Wales and others over several years to develop plans to upgrade the bridge.
High quality replacement bus services will operate in place of trains and it's important to check before you travel.
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