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Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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16 January 2023
New and old at Chester, 12 January (Geoff Morris).
Manchester - Cardiff news
Having achieved three days of operation, the loco-worked diagram began as advertised and operated as planned, with three different locos in the three days, things went wrong on Thursday and Friday, when a single two-car substituted. Saturday saw a pair of 153s.
However, loco working resumed on Monday the 16th with 67 013 (with set HD05) starting five minutes late from Cardiff. The return run started on time and arrived at Cardiff 20 minutes late. We note that Real Time Trains have altered the indication of train length from five (which presumably included the driving trailer?) to four cars. The train returns to Manchester as the 18:55 from Cardiff, then empty stock to Crewe.
Stop press: Tuesday's offering is 150 270.
TfW ticket offer
Transport for Wales are offering, for a limited period, reduced fares for Advance tickets: details are on their website. An unusual condition of the offer is that your journey has be longer than 50 miles, harking back to British Rail's 'Saver' tickets of yore.
How we are expected to know such a distance is not given. Manchester Airport to Chester is 51 miles, for example, and Chester to Bangor 60 miles, Manchester Piccadilly to Shrewsbury 63 Miles.
Triple 197 - by Geoff Morris
Testing of the 197s continues with two or three sets being run in multiple. On 11 January I noted a 197/1+197/0 combination, while on 14 January I noted a rake of three 2-car units was working between Chester & Llandudno Junction, pictyred above: 197 012/02/019.
I believe that a 197/0+197/1 combination may be used on future services between South Wales and Manchester but I wonder how often we’ll see a triple set in public use.
Editor note: We have added a 197 page to our 'Trains' section. Is anyone keeping records of which units are working so that we can mark them on our list? Any help welcome.
66 734 Platinum Jubilee reverses in Llandudno Junction yard, after bringing in the 6Z58 limestone empties from Doncaster, 9 January (Garry Stroud).
66 780 The Cemex Express during loading at Penmaenmawr, with the return 6F22 stone to Tuebrook sidings, 9 January.
The Doncaster Down Decoy to Peak Forest empty stone wagons with 66 752 The Hoosier State passes Reddish South on Sunday 15 January.
Mayflower in steam
Star of the steam show this week is LNER B1 class 61306 Mayflower, fresh from overhaul. Martin Evans was at Ruabon to see it on a training run from Crewe to Shrewsbury. 37 688 was on the rear as insurance. (Note: these pictures might not be in chronlogical order.)
Balderton Crossing (Bob Greenhalgh).
Chester locks (Geoff Morris). Geoff notes: 'The B1s weren’t entirely strangers to North Wales as they appeared regularly on summer Saturdays with holiday trains from the Sheffield area to Llandudno. I saw my only Eastern Region steam loco in everyday use - 61315 - at Llandudno Junction on such a service when we holidayed in Llandudno in 1964.'..
... and here is such a train: On 4 August 1962, 61166 (B1 class) with the 11:15 Llandudno - Sheffield Midland (Load 10 coaches) between Shotton & Connah's Quay. Picture by Bevan Price from our 2 August 2021 issue.
Chester Locks, 12 January (Jeff Albiston)
Seen at Rossett before climbing Gresford bank (Jeff Albiston).
Local Guide John Whittingham is looking to organise an event on Chester station to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Official Opening of Chester Station which occurs on Tuesday 1 August. Some ideas might be:
Cutting of the Ribbon ceremony; Stalls in the station Concourse of the various Companies/Societies connected with the station; Possible steam train from Crewe to Chester with normal rail tickets valid, as as per Settle and Carlisle steam train event which attracted thousands of people; Chester City Brass Band to play at the Opening Ceremony, Transport for Wales maybe the Sponsor ?
Any other ideas are welcome apparently. A freight loco stabled in a bay platform for footplate visits, perhaps? Write to WHITTINGHAM50@hotmail.com.
Looking back: end of a era - By Barrie Hughes
Here is a set of photos I took on 12 June 1999 in the final year of Class 37
haulage on the North Wales coast. I was lucky enough to catch photogenic Transrail liveried 37675 working on the North Wales coast on a bright summer Saturday. Above, awaiting departure from Birmingham New Street.
After transfer to Toton at the end of 1998 this loco occasionally appeared on the North Wales Coast and on 9 June and 12 June 1999 hauled the diagram that started 1D99 with the 23:30 Birmingham New Street-Holyhead, coming on at Chester. The train then returned to Birmingham as 1G91 the 04:15 departure and back to Bangor as 1D62 the 08:07 departure from Birmingham. Next duty was 1G16 the 11:07 Bangor to Birmingham where I intercepted it as the 14:23 Birmingham - Holyhead and photographed it.
It was a great ride to Holyhead with some excellent 'thrash' from the front
end. A prompt turn round at Holyhead (The pictures capture the run-round operation) saw me take a ride back on 1G79 the 18:22 Holyhead-Stafford.
Pausing among the weeds ...
... and ready for departure.
The loco also worked the Coast the following day but then was transferred to other duties including charter services from July. After Rail Head Treatment duties the loco ended up stored at Margam where it was withdrawn on 8 August 2010 and cut up at EMR Kingsbury two months later.
I am grateful to the Class 37.co.uk website for the details.
From Dave Sallery's archive
37 427 Bont Y Bermo on Shrewsbury stabling point, 2 August 1986. In 1985-6, 31 Class 37 locos received a makeover at Crewe works to extend their life and provide power for regional passenger service. The majority went initially to the Scottish Highlands, while 37 426 - 37 431 were stationed at Cardiff. All received BR 'large logo' livery.
37 428 David Lloyd George at Shrewsbury, 20 January 1991. North Wales trains which became famous had not been envisaged as part of the 37/4 duties; that was to be operated by new-build Class 158 railcars. However they were diverted elsewhere, and it was decided in 1993 to bring back to some of the 37/4s which by then were in freight traffic, and the rest is history.
47 632 at Shrewsbury on a London train, 29 June 1989; the 'Westie Dog' is a memory of its earlier allocation to Scottish services.
The view from Severn Bridge junction signalbox, Shrewsbury, on a Sunday morning, 20 January 1991.
Looking Back: Steam and Diesels 2010 part 8 - with David Pool
Maybe it was advertised as a Steam Gala on the Llangollen Railway, but Diesels built at Swindon were acceptable! D9521 was arriving at Carrog with a demonstration freight on 12 September 2010, with 4953 Pitchford Hall in the siding.
4953 then took a train to Llangollen, and was entering Berwyn on the return journey.
Two years later I saw 4953 again, back on its base at the Epping Ongar Railway. I wanted a change from the usual shots in and around North Weald or Ongar, and one of the few overbridges was the Marconi Occupation Bridge at North Weald. The name comes from the Marconi Wireless Telegraphy Station which once was nearby. On 12 September 2012 there was just about enough gaps between the trees to get a shot of 4953, but there was no steam visible. It is hard to believe that this was once an electrified line on the London Underground system!
Just before my shot of 4953 at North Weald, I had been to Ongar Station, where D6729 (37 029) was on the rear of the train, with 4953 on the front.
Nine years earlier on 22 September 2001 the same view at Ongar had been particularly interesting. One of the Central Line tube trains was at the platform, but this was a withdrawn set, the line having closed seven years earlier. The main attraction, however, was the siding which had been regauged to 5ft, and contained four Finnish railway steam locomotives and some coaches. The leading locomotive was a Class Tr1 2-8-2, 1060. This locomotive may still be at Ongar, but with no plans to regauge the line a buyer was being sought recently, the other three locomotives having left for restoration elsewhere.
37 029 is certainly a survivor. After 31 years in service with BR, it has had almost as long with other owners. In BR days it operated throughout England and Scotland, finally based at Tinsley on freight duties, although spending its last few months at Inverness. In preservation it was often used for Special trains and Excursions, and on 12 May 2001 it was paired with 37 038 on the 0919 Liverpool Lime Street to Cardiff, photographed at Whitchurch and still in BR blue. This train was one of several specials organised that day by Regional Railways to Cardiff for the FA Cup final. Note the surviving headcode panels showing the correct code 1Z12.
Having visited the East Lancashire Railway and Keighley &Worth Valley Railway on several occasions in the 90s, 37 029 became one of the Direct Rail Services fleet in 2003. It was not usually on flask duties, these generally using DRS Class 20s or 37/6s, but was photographed light engine near Basford Hall on 11 May 2005.
Withdrawn from DRS stock in 2008, it moved to Barrow Hill for further restoration, and paid a visit to the Mid Norfolk Railway in 2010, where on 26 September it was working with another Class 37, 6737. The train is slowing for Garvestone Crossing, near Thuxton. Since then, it has returned to the Epping Ongar railway, rejoining 4953 Pitchford Hall.
Llangollen progress - report by George Jones
This past week at the Corwen extension site has seen Grosvenor Scaffolding (the same firm that constructed the Corwen East temporary platform) erect scaffolding which encases the platform waiting room and columns at the exit staircase in preparation for the scheduled erection of the canopy structure and roofing. The detail of the scaffolding and floor boarding shows the modern needs for railings and kick boards to ensure the safety of the construction workers during the erection process.
Scheduled for the week commencing 23 January, weather permitting, a mobile crane with a long reach will be brought into the car park to lift and position the 'A' frames onto the columns and their associated beams. These will provide the structure for the roofing which will cover the waiting room and staircase access during a week long exercise.
The exercise will no doubt attract a lot of attention but exclusion zones for spectators will be in place on both sides of the embankment whilst the work is in progress to provide this crowning glory for the new build station, due to open for trains later this year on a date to be announced.
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