NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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12 September 2022
Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with the Royal Train at Llandudno, 27 April 2010. Picture by Stéphanie Durrant.
Note: the next update will be on the evening of Tuesday 20 September.
Pathfinder on the Cambrian
Richard Putley travelled on the Pathfinder Tours Cardiff - Pwllheli railtour to on 9 September. This is his report, followed by a selection of images by lineside contributors.
With the sad news the previous day of the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II, like most people, I was in a sombre mood as the day dawned. Having driven to Leominster to join this tour, I got there in time to see 67 025 head North with the 06:45 Cardiff to Holyhead service.
The tour arrived on time at 08:37, also hauled by a 67, in this case 67 005 Queen's Messenger, one of the two designated Royal Train locos. It was carrying a wreath in remembrance of Her Majesty.
67 005 hauled the tour as far as Shrewsbury, where I photographed it in platform 3. We had to all get off while it took the stock to Coton Hill Yard.
About 45 minutes later 97 304 John Tiley brought the stock into Platform 7, with sister loco 97 302 on the back.
Once I rejoined the train, I noticed Freightliner 66594 hauling brand new TfW DMU 197 007 through on the adjacent Up Main Line, as usualt sandwiched by redundant hopper wagons for braking purporses I believe this was 6Q96 Crewe Basford Hall to Donnington (Salop). Quite a day for unusual trains as we had also passed at Colas HST at Church Stretton.
So we set off for Pwllheli. We were able to photograph the tour at Machynlleth (above).
I chose to get off at Porthmadog and photographed 97 302 on the back there.
On the return leg, the two 97/3s were both on the front, with 97 304 leading; we were able to photograph them at Barmouth.
After departing from there, the train came to halt on the middle of Barmouth Bridge. We then observed a minute's silence in memory of HM Elizabeth II. I think this is the only time I've been on a train which stopped in the middle of Barmouth Bridge. Peter Watts, founder of Pathfinder Tours, also paid tribute to the Cambrian Coast Line Action Group. Back in the early 1970s they successfully campaigned against the planned closure of the Cambrian. They ran a special in November 1972 to take people to a demonstration in London against the proposed closure.
(In the infamous 1968 BR Network for Development, the Cambrian Coast line was one of the 10% of the Network shown in grey, which meant its future was "under review". The bulk of the Network was shown in black, indicating its future was secure. Of the other grey lines, those north of Inverness and Mallaig to Fort William are still with us but the lines to Minehead, Ilfracombe and Swanage all closed in the 1970s. )
After a largely uneventful run back to Shrewsbury - the 97/3s made light work of the climb to Talerdigg Summit - 67 020 took over for the rest of the run back to Cardiff. So ended an enjoyable day. I gather thanks are due to Transport for Wales for cancelling the 10:29 Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth services and providing a bus for its passengers so we could run in its path in the morning. [The bus arrived at Aberystwyth a few minutes before the 11:21 train departure from Shrewsbury].
Meole Brace, approaching Shrewsbury (Graham Breakwell).
Passing Meole Village after reversal and loco change at Shrewsbury (Graham Breakwell).
Appraching Barmouth Bridge (Ian Wright).
Barmouth bridge (Kate Jones).
Barmouth Harbour, 15 minutes late (Barrie Hughes).
Afon Wen, approaching journey's end (Ken Robinson).
On the return at Harlech, bang on time (Ken Robinson). Departure from Pwllheli was at 16:23, arrival at Cardiff Central nine minutes late at 00:40.
Seen at Beeches Farm, 9 September- by Stephen Dennett
37 884 Cepheus comes past Beeches Farm with OB23, another light engine run from Holyhead to Crewe South Yard. Cepheus is a constellation in the far northern sky.
158 837 with IV98 Holyhead to Cardiff Central: 2 car 158 on a journey of almost five hours. [We hear that one of the loaned Northern Class 150s, with 3+2 seating, was used on one of these jouneys recently.]
The now usual combo of shabby HSTs on the Crewe-Derby test train. 43 290 leads 1Q21, the Network Rail test train, past Beeches Farm. The “Beluga” took off into a clear blue sky just as I arrived, which was an added bonus.
Snowdon Mountain difficulties
It has been reported in the Railway Magazine and other publications that the Battery/Diesel hybrid locomotives (with added 'passenger pods') bought for this line and numbered 14 and 15 will not now be "put into service" according to the railway's spokesperson. One report suggests they have gone back to the manufacturers, Clayton Equipment.
David Pool's picture shows no. 15 at Llanberis in September 2020, yet to receive the name Moel Eilio.
Considering the very enthusiastic reports given by the SMR when they arrived in July 2020 regarding their efficiency, and the £1.1 million cost involved, there must be good reason why this situation has arisen. No doubt we shall get the story eventually, but SMR seem to be reluctant to say anything more. It was claimed that the charging of the batteries on the downhill run would potentially railway's carbon emissions by up to 98% compared to the railway's existing diesel locos. One rumour suggests this is not working as expected.
For more about the railway and a picture of no. 15 Glaslyn, see our 28 September 2020 issue. Does anyone know whether they ever entered passenger service?
46115 Scots Guardsman passes the rural station of Strines on a Liverpool - Scarborough excursion on 10 September (Greg Mape)
Scots Guardsman receives attention from the Loco Crew after arriving at Scarborough with the Railway Touring Company's 'Coast to Coast Express' from Liverpool Lime Street via Manchester Victoria, Sheffield and York (Roly High).
Vintage Trains 'Mersey Explorer’ of 10th September hauled by 7029 Clun Castle included a rare steam-hauled crossing of the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes over the 1868 Ethelfleda or Britannia viaduct. The road bridge next to the railway viaduct (now called The Silver Jubilee bridge) was opened in 1961 and replaced one of four Transporter bridges in the UK; this one was subsequently demolished.
7029 has just passed the castellated north portal of the lattice spans over the river and Manchester Ship Canal heading for Liverpool, speed restrictions and a warm day meant only a haze of exhaust.
7029 passing Winsford with the return working, complete with a wreath on the front of the loco (Greg Mape).
The safety valves are lifting as the Castle climbs on to the viaduct with the return train; at Wigg Island the sound of the Castle carried clearly across the river.
Scott McGahey writes: 'This is one I took, a few weeks, back of the final Fellsman of the season. Seeing a similar shot to this recently reminded me to record the scene with steam before the now closed Fiddlers Ferry power station is demolished (And to kick myself for the number of occasions I've passed this by in better conditions). The site will be redeveloped but I expect warehouses and light industrial units will depend on white van man rather than the rail connection.'
'Times change: in 1964 when construction started the end of steam power on the railway was in sight, now it's the generation of electricity from coal fired stations that's threatened.'
Looking back: Steam and Diesels 2007 part 2 - by David Pool
The 14:32 Bidston to Wrexham diesel unit on 31 March 2007 was one which had come from Wessex Trains. 150 230 The Tamar Kingfisher is approaching Neston.
The Tamar is of course the river which separates Devon and Cornwall. I like the cameo of one man and his dog which appears on coach 52230.
Before 150 230 became one of the Wessex Trains fleet, it had been in Regional Railways livery. On 1 May 1994 it was working the 10:00 Cardiff to Paignton, and photographed at Dawlish. It is easy to understand why the low level section of the Sea Wall was a problem. If there was a particularly high tide the walkway was risky, and certainly to be avoided if the sea was rough. This section has now been rebuilt as part of the Network Rail sea defences at Dawlish. [ Today it is in the TfW fleet, having recently gained the red and grey livery.]
The footbridge off the A547 Abergele Road half way between Abergele and Llanddulas is not very popular with photographers, possibly because the view towards Pensarn is obstructed by a power cable, but the view west is no problem. On 4 April 2007 Freightliner 66 511 is on 6K22, the 11:13 Penmaenmawr to Crewe.
A Railtour on 7 April 2007 from Paddington to Llandudno used a couple of Class 47s, and is approaching Ruabon. 47 839 Pegasus is in Riviera Trains blue, while D1916 (47 812) in two tone green was on the rear. D1916 survives today with West Coast Railways, but 47 839 was scrapped in 2013.
The Railway Touring Company’s Railour “The Great Britain” featured 71000 Duke of Gloucester on the third day’s leg from Bristol to Preston on 8 April 2007, running as 1Z43. The late afternoon sun made photography difficult when it was leaving Chester, but the backlit shot and steam effects gave a pleasing picture.
Great Western at Landore - by Mike Williams
In the 5 September edition, there was a photo taken in 2000 of 47 815 with its Abertawe Landore nameplate, with reference made that it now carried the name Great Western.
It has indeed been renamed and not only that, it was back at Landore depot earlier this month for stabling before and after a Northern Belle working to Torquay and Paignton. It was sporting a fresh new look as well, having just been repainted into two-tone Brunswick green.
The picture (above) shows it at its former home depot of Landore, having just arrived back with the Northern Belle stock on 1 September. Also in the photo are former LNER, Grand Central liveried DVT 82227 and 67 029 Royal Diamond, the 67 having been named by HM the Queen and Prince Philip in 2007, to mark their Diamond Wedding anniversary.
This picture, from Wednesday 31 August, shows 47 815 having just arrived on the rear of the Northern Belle empty stock move from Carnforth. Staff are busy loading up the train in readiness for the following day's excursion.
Both pictures are at Landore depot, taken from a position of safety and with all relevant permissions. It does help being the Depot Manager though!
Bob Greenhalgh braved heavy rain to bring us this view of 37 884 on the route-learning run on 9 September. We still lack information as to the reason for this activity.
The previous day, 8 Seprember, the weather was fair for Gary Thomas to catch the 'heavyweight' 37 at Deganwy; the Llandudno branch was covered as well as the Holyhead line.
The three 97/3s stabled at Coleham depot, 1 September; vegetation is becoming a problem at this viewpoint (Graham Breakwell).
Transport for Wales 'Tram-Train' 398 004 at Braunschweig Hbf on 12 September, possibly en route to Berlin for the InnoTrans exhibition in Berlin as no transit stickers or UIC numbers in the window, and it was passed later when en route to Magdeburg.
Set 398 004 is formed as follows: Coach A 999054 end, Coach C 999154 Middle, Coach B 999254 end. More of Mark's pictures.
Greg Mape was at Mobberley station on 9 September to witness the passage of a Freightliner 'monster train' of empty wagons from Wembley to Tunstead quarry. was on the front end ...
... and 66 513 with a rake of hopper wagons coupled behind, as the train passed 70 004 on a Northenden to Runcorn waste train.
Llangollen Diesel Gala - report by Barrie Hughes
On Sunday 4 September the Class 47 D1566 was on the 4-coach mixed bag Mk1 set ... .
... and 26 010 on the red 'suburban set'. Above, the 26 arrives at Carrog in platform 2 with the suburban set passing the 47 in platform 1.
31 271 hauled four loaded ballast wagons top and tailed by 'shark' ballast train brake vans and the Sunshine Coach providing limited passenger accommodation.
The Mk1 rake consisted of a 'blood and custard' 1st/2nd corridor composite, a chocolate and cream 1st/2nd corridor composite, a chocolate and cream standard class open coach and a maroon brake/corridor coach. None of the toilets were working. The LR had struggled to get four of the Trust's Mk1s fit to run and this explains the late release of the timetable.
This was the first time since the Trust took over that a three-train service had been operated. On the basis of the Diesel Gala's success the date of next year’s gala has been set for 16-17 September 2023 when visiting traction may be invited. All the Mk1s owned by the insolvent PLC had been sold off during the 'fire sale' liquidation. The Trust has several additional Mk1s nearing restoration at the Pentrefelin coach works and may be able to form a decent length rake in future.
Coast scenes - by Gary Thomas
66 769 passes Conwy Castle with a loaded train from Penmaenmawr, 2 September.
Also on 2 September, 66 777 departs with a loaded slate waste train.
Two vews from the old 'Hotel 70 degrees' site in Old Colwyn on 30 August. Above, the loaded Penmaemawr stone ...
... and 67 012 on the mid-day Holyhead - Cardiff.
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