NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY :NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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21 November 2022
45596 Bahamas seen passing Coleg Cambria on the outskirts of Wrexham, working from Bristol Temple Meads: picture by Mark Riley. More below!
153s on the Conwy Valley - report by Ken Robinson
Its good to see the new 197 units on Conwy Valley services, and, with this in mind I set off for Blaenau Ffestiniog on a sunny Saturday 19 November, only to find on Real Time Trains, just beforehand, that the services that day were being provided by 2 x 153 units! However, I had an appointment at Betws Y Coed, so a quick visit to Blaenau Ffestiniog station 'en route' was made to photograph the 153s:
Above, 153 318, with 153 914 behind, enter Blaenau Ffestinog station with the 10:20 from Llandudno.
153 914, with 153 318, depart with the slightly late running 11:35 to Llandudno. How rare is this type of working on the branch one wonders i.e. two 153 units?
Peter Basterfield's week
97 304 at Ty Croes, 14 November.
66 711 Sence loading the 6Z59 for Bescot Downside,as 197 004 leaves for Blaenau on the first day of service.
Llandygai Tunnel approach with 56 049 and Autumn Leaves!
A trip down to Tywyn on 17 November for the work relaying the loops. 97 304 up front ...
... and 97 302 sporting old number and 'CF' shed code in the grime!
Seen at Helsby on 16 November - by Stephen Dennett
47 812 leads the Northern Belle "Manchester Christmas Markets" excursion from Cardiff Central to Manchester Victoria through Helsby on 16 November...
... 57 314 "Conwy Castle" at the rear.
66 059 runs into Helsby station from the Ellesmere Port branch with 6F91 Ince and Elton Encirc Works to Arpley Sidings loaded sand.
66 706 Nene Valley with 6F22 Penmaenmawr Quarry to Tuebrook Sidings loaded stone.
TfW 153 323 at the rear of 1B12 Chester to Liverpool Lime Street as it leaves Helsby.
153 921 was at the front. A good name for the Chester - Liverpool Lime Street, via the Halton Curve, would be “Sprinter-City”, as it’s usually 153s on duty.
175 108 and 175 006 forming a five-car set leaving Helsby with ID34, the Manchester to Holyhead service.
GPV DR 98902 and DR 98952 on 3S06, the RTT Wigan L.I.P. circuit arrives at Helsby from the Ellesmere Port branch.
Stephen notes: 'There's always a friendly bunch of enthusiasts at Helsby, and updates for us from the signal box.'
150 270 spreads its wings - as seen by John Oates
Here's a reunion I wasn't expecting on 17 November after moving from Mobberley, Cheshire to mid-Wales. Northern's 150 270, one of two on hire to replace two TfW 150s damaged by fire was really stretching its legs. On Thursday 17 November its first leg of the day after leaving Canton was 1W48 06:35 Cardiff to Crewe via Chester, the Shrewsbury to Crewe line being closed to passenger trains during this day and the previous two. According to a staff member this was due to the platforms being measured up prior to the
introduction of the class 197s and class 67's and MkIVs. Here's 150 270
arriving in Shrewsbury ...
... complete with trolley service.
Later, departing Chester for Crewe, destination showing "TfW" and internally "Welcome to Transport for Wales".
Real Time Trains (RTT) shows 150 270 as having TfW livery - it hasn't. Real Time Trains has quite a few liveries showing incorrectly with some 175s still showing as in Arriva livery and some 153s in Stagecoach East Midlands livery whilst I hear they've all been in TfW livery for some time.
270's next run was 1V39 10:09 Crewe to Milford Haven via Chester. Arriving there at 16:40 (2 early), it then formed 1B64 17:11 to Cardiff Central, then 5B64 empty on to Canton depot. How many Northern 150s do that sort of mileage and fast running in a day? And all on time.
Later in Shrewsbury here's the notice of the diversions with the "Grand Central" MkIV set on another training run in platform 4 awaiting the road to Chester then Crewe with 67 025 at its head. The seats inside look rather
As always, many thanks to RTT for access to all this information.
Bumper steam selection
The 'Christmas Cheshireman' excursion on 19 November from Bristol to Chester had an unusual feature: 45596 Bahamas brought the train to Chester and 6233 Duchess of Sutherland on the return. Below is a selection of the photographs received.
Near Gobowen (Ian Pilkington)
Cefn Mawr viaduct (Dave Jepson).
Ruabon (Martin Evans).
Wrexham (George Jones).
Steaming past Chester Racecourse (Greg Mape).
Geoff Morris writes: Bahamas seen from the city walls on the last mile of its trip from Bristol. The cold weather produced a spectacular exhaust – something that isn’t seen much from steam specials here as they’re normally coasting towards the station. However it was a close run thing ...
...as the view was almost blocked by 197 101 heading towards Llandudno Junction on a crew training run as can be seen in the photo which shows 47 804 at the rear of the steam special with the 197 passing it.
Shunting the empty stock at Chester (Ian Pilkington).
Awaiting departure with support coach to Carnforth (Peter Cross).
Bahamas running as 5Z41 light engine from Chester to Carnforth Steamtown passing Helsby (Stephen Dennett).
6233 "Duchess of Sutherland" rests at Chester having arrived from Tyseley light engine ready to haul 1Z36, the second leg of "The Christmas Cheshireman" from Chester to Chepstow (Stephen Dennett).
6233 letting off steam (Peter Cross).
Royal nameplate (George Jones).
Headboard (George Jones). 6233, like some other heritage locomotives, if equipped to haul vacuum-braked coaches - the large pipe reaching above the footplate - and air braked modern stock which need two pipes.
Geoff Morris writes: 'The return leg headed by 46233 Duchess of Sutherland wasn’t due to leave until c.30 minutes after sunset but I walked from home to the Northgate Arena car park to watch and attempt a photo. The camera and lens were pushed beyond their sensible limits but the resulting photo was pretty good under the circumstances – the autumnal colours in the trees that now line the cutting have for once enhanced the picture.'
The train arrived at Wrexham just as the station platform was filling up with Wrexham FC fans off home after a 2-0 win over Aldershot, and now in darkness, 6233 slows as it arrives just after 5pm. I can probably say that these days, there would be more excitement if Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds were on the platform!
197 004 on a public service train approaching Tal-y-Cafn next to the river
Conwy on 18 November with a Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog service (Greg Mape)
150 262 tackles the hill at Buckley with 2J72 11:00 Bidston to Wrexham Central, 20 November (Tim Rogers).
Seen in Llandudno during the Christmas Market on 18 September, Evening Star John Fowler & Co. No.14862 of 1917 (Greg Mape).
New DVD available
John Wilkinson writes: 'British Rail Motive Power 1981-1999 Vol 10 DVD which has just been released. There is one chapter on the North West featuring Warrington in 1983 and Manchester Victoria 1982-88 and another chapter around Llandudno Junction, Conwy and Deganwy featuring Class 25, 31, 37, 40, 45 and 'Daisy' between 1982 and 1999'.
'Another chapter is a day trip from Inverness to The Kyle of Lochalsh on 27.4.84 behind 26 043. We took advantage of the Persil offer "Buy one rail ticket and get one free". With freshly laundered clothes we set off from Birmingham!
The DVD is available from Videoscene priced at £14.95 post free.
Looking back: Steam, Diesels and Electrics 2009 part 5 - by David Pool
A narrow gauge tram running on a building? Southport Pier is classified as a Grade II Listed Building, second only in length to Southend, being 1.1 km. Over the years there have been many different means of conveying visitors to the end of the Pier. The first electric tram on Southport Pier was unusual, running on 3ft 6 inch gauge track with DC electric power, then replaced by a 2ft gauge miniature railway when the DC supply network became unavailable after the Second World War.
Eventually the Pier lost its popularity and the structure deteriorated, leading to a proposal to demolish it in 1990. Fortunately it received funding to keep it open, and eventually the Heritage Lottery Fund provided a grant of £1.7 million for a major refurbishment. The project was completed in 2002, and in 2005 a battery powered two car articulated tram went into service, running on new 3ft 6 inch gauge track.
The new tram ran daily at half hour intervals, but running and maintenance costs were high and its weight began to cause problems with the Pier structure, all of which led to the closure of the tramway in 2015. Does anyone know what happened then to the tram? The two photographs were taken on 10 September 2009. The new bridge in the image carries the road alongside the pier, both of which cross the Marine Lake.
Some Class 507 and 508 Merseyrail units were receiving attention at Doncaster in 2009, and on 10 September 67 019 with unit 508 125 was working 5Z75, the 12:53 Birkenhead North to Doncaster, and photographed at Winwick.
On 19 September 2009 Pathfinder Tours ran “The Western Slater”, 1Z52 06:30 Didcot to Blaenau Ffestiniog, with D1015 Western Champion. The train is passing the disused Blaenau Ffestiniog North platform.
Two trains on the Ffestiniog Railway were provided for participants on the Railtour. The first was headed by Earl of Merioneth, the double Fairlie built in 1979 and whose angular appearance was not to everyone’s taste. It was eventually withdrawn in 2018, intended to be replaced by another new build locomotive, but it is possible that it may itself be rebuilt at some future date.
A campaign has been started in 2022 to open a new station “Holywell and Greenfield” on the site of the old station at Holywell Junction. On 3 October 2009 unit 175 005 was working the 10:44 Llandudno to Manchester, and at that time the track layout at the Junction is still visible, although the track has been lifted in the bay platform, which is obscured by the undergrowth.
The trains carrying imported coal from Manisty’s Wharf (Ellesmere Port) to Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station required the more powerful freight locomotives if double heading was to be avoided. On 18 December 2009 Freightliner 70 005 was on 6F02, the 1207 departure, and is passing through Frodsham, the platforms showing signs of a recent light snowfall.
On the Welsh Highland Railway there was no snow at Betws Garmon on 28 December 2009, but the cold weather ensured that the exhausts from K1 and Garratt 138 would produce a dramatic image. K1 is certainly trying hard!
Brian Jones sends us this images of the spray can mural in one of the shelters on Conwy Station, created by the pupils from Ysgol Aberconwy in partnership with the Conwy Valley & North West Wales Coast Community Railway Partnership.
Whatever you might think about the 'street art' style, if this stops people risking their lives by trespassing it's worth it.
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