NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY :NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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28 November 2022
An autumnal scene at Cadnant Park Conwy, 22 November as 56 049 Spirit of Templecombe leads the Rail Head Treatment Train. Picture (during a break in the rain) by Gary Thomas. These operations will, if normal practice is followed, cease at the change to the new timetable at 12 December.
New timetable available - report by Mike Stone
The new Timetable booklets from 12 December are now available in pdf form and reflect what is in Real Time Trains, down to the 08:30 and 16:30 from Manchester and 12:49 from Cardiff (and Saturday trains) offering restaurant service available to First Class and TfW Business Class passengers (whatever that means). Many trains have reservation recommended symbol, but it's not explained.
Reflections from last week - by Peter Basterfield
En route to Holyhead for the Class 97 in the station, and crossing the A55 Cob, noticed the tide was in and the water was calm ! So how could I resist - so no rainbow for the Avanti this time , but compensation in the way of a reflection !
Followed by the 'WAG', 11:33 Holyhead - Cardiff with 67 012 ...
... and then the 3S71 railhead treatment train.
Chester and Crewe - visited by Martin Evans, 22 November
Colas Rail 37 254 Cardiff Canton in the bay platform at Chester, apparently on test, waiting to depart. This was one of the locos bought by Colas from preservation groups; it worked on the Spa Valley railway from 2008 to 2015.
56 049 and 97 304 John Tiley with the RHTT returning to Coleham via Crewe on the through line at Chester.
New build 197 008 stabled in Platform 8 at Crewe, presumably under test.
Vivarail in trouble
The latest chapter in the saga of the Class 230 trains, converted from redundant London Underground stock by a company called Vivarail, is that on 23 November the company filed a Notice of Intention to appoint Administrators. Their statement says "We will now be consulting with our customers and other stakeholders to try and drive the business forwards, but we must be realistic in that if we are unable to deliver a rescue package, Administration will unfortunately be inevitable." A worrying Christmas for the company's 70 staff.
Meanwhile, TfW's fleet of five Vivarail trains apprears to be teetering on the diving board of finally entering passenger service; a date of 23 January seems to be planned; we have no information on whether this will be affected by the above news.
RHTT Holyhead-Shrewsbury via Crewe at Hargrave, with Locos 97 302 and 56 049 on Friday 25 November (Dave Jepson).
Northenden Junction Signalbox looms over 60 044 Dowlow with Arpley - Tunstead stone empties, 28 November (Greg Mape).
The recent appearance of loco 67 020 with its side painted in a coat of what seems to be a thick black gloss has not not been admired by some. A Twitter conversation started by 'doublearrow.co.uk' includes some amusing comments including: 'They dip painted it in an old tin of Humbrol, should have added some thinners!' and 'Looks like one of my early model painting attempts'.
The crude clash with the TfW 'T' and the corrugations comes in for criticism/ it is noticeable that the locos in red and gray TfW livery do not have the 'T'. The picture above shows how the Swiss Railways approached the same problem.
The conversation also came up with an official drawing (possibly not the final one) for the coaches to make the best of the existing Grand Central livery.
Saturday Morning, Llandudno Junction, images by Greg Mape
It's 09:23 on 26 November at Llandudno Junction, and 175 106 and 175 103 forming the 08:16 from Holyhead are 40 miles into their 262 mile trek to Maesteg, via Cardiff, arriving at 14:12. 175 106 will be detached at Cardiff, to return north as 13:22 to Shrewsbury.
Arriving from Blaenau Ffestiniog at 09:42 , 150 217 working the Conwy Valley service for the day, will have a scheduled pause until departing for Llandudno at 10:06.
10:29 and the Rail Head Treatment Train makes its way into the station (high pressure jets turned off as with all stations, with 97 304 leading; Colas seem to be short of working 56s at present. The RHTT had, as usual, from Coleham depot in Shrewsbury 21:13 the previous day.
Its first job is to work to Machynlleth and back on the Cambrian line, for which class 97/3 locos are needed each end due to the signalling arrangements on that line. Returning to Coleham around 1am, where normally two 56s would replace the 97/3s, the train sets out again at 02:31. With a lunch break at Holyhead, the train finally arrives back at Coleham at 16:50. The full itinerary can be seen on this link.
This is the 09:28 Holyhead - Shrewsbury service departing at 10:33 formed of 158 831 and as seen on the rear, 153 836. It's strange to think that these units, dating only from 1989-92, as well as the even younger 195s, are to be replaced with Class 197s.
From Dave Sallery's archive
Class 25 locos were a familiar sight in North Wales in the 1980s. Here's one, 25 037, with the Up Speedlink service to Arpley, comprising mostly products from Anglesey Aluminium works, passing Mostyn, 2 July 1984.
25 058 and 25 249 display two cab versions in Chester yard, 2 October 1985. 25 058 was incolbed in a spectacular derailment on 22 October at Stoke-on-Trent, coming to rest hanging over a city street.
25 059, Up light engine, Prestatyn, 16 October 1984. This loco was bought for preservation in 1987 from a scrap dealer, and is still based on the Keighley and Worth Valley.
25 190 at Penmaenmawr with ballast wagons , 29 August 1985. At that time, before the track layout was altered, trains had to reverse into the yard. This loco, built in 1965, was one of the last to be withdrawn, in 1987.
The last examples of the class were withdrawn in 1987. Their life and times of the are chronicled in detail on the highly-recommended Derbysulzers website.
Looking back: Diesels 2010 part 1 - by David Pool
In 2010 one of the General Motors Class 59 locomotives was working Fiddlers Ferry coal trains. On 10 February 59 201 was at Arpley with the 6F78 Fiddlers Ferry to Liverpool Bulk Terminal, having just run round the EWS HTA Hopper Wagons at Latchford.
This had been the first Class 59 in the National Power fleet, and carried bells similar to those on 66 779 Evening Star. I first saw this locomotive when in entered service on trains to Drax, and on 6 September 1994 it has just passed under the East Coast Main Line at Heck Ings, with Eggborough Power Station chimney in the background. At that time there were many trains to Eggborough and Drax, and I was not able to identify any particular working.
The following day I returned to the district, where Whitley Bridge Junction was an excellent location for photographs. 59 201 was returning from Drax, and 56 135 was waiting to come off the branch from Eggborough Power Station.
56 135 Port of Tyne Authority looked very clean, and I have found that it was quite a celebrity, being the last Class 56 built at Crewe in 1984. A few days earlier it had been used on an A1A Charter “The Magnificent Seven” from Stafford to York, where it had taken over from Class 31s for the leg to Doncaster. This accounted for its condition!
The Class 70s were also to be seen on Fiddlers Ferry trains in 2010. Also on 10 February 2010 70 004 was on 6F02, 12:07 Ellesmere Port to Fiddlers Ferry, and is approaching Sankey Bridges. The Housing Developments in this area have now obstructed the view where previously it had been possible to see the Crosfield’s Transporter Bridge.
The weather on the next day was excellent for February, and I went to Keckwick to see 6F02 again. Freightliner 70 004 was still being used, and I was very satisfied with the shot. This must be one of the few locations which today is still relatively free from overgrown vegetation.
It was still sunny on 13 February, so I ventured to Diggle to photograph some First Trans Pennine units. Although the 185s were mostly in charge, the Hull trains were formed by Class 170s, partly due to weight restrictions between Selby and Hull. Eight Class 170s had been acquired from South West Trains, and 170 399 had come from Central Trains. First Trans Pennine 170 309 was on the 09:42 Manchester Piccadilly to Hull, this being the renumbered 170 399, one of the few two car Class 170s, which had originally been leased from Porterbrook to Central Trains.
While in service with Central Trains in 2003, 170 399 had a colourful “Birmingham” livery, pictured in the 18 April 2022 issue (repeated above).Today it is in the Chiltern Railways fleet, having been again renumbered, and is now 168 329.
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