NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY :NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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13 February 2023
In fine spring weather, 66 784 Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, passes Towyn with empties to Llandudno Junction, 13 Febuary. Picture by Gary Thomas.
197 019, recently entered passenger service, departs Frodsham station on 6 February with 1F97, the 12:43 Chester to Liverpool Lime Street...
... and a few minutes later, 66 793 in 'Railfreight construction heritage' livery hurries through Frodsham station on 6 February with 6Z58, 08:40 Doncaster Down Decoy to Llandudno Junction empty slate wagons (Stephen Dennett).
Passing Llandudno Junction on 9 February, 60 021 Penyghent with Dolerite stone from Penmaenmawr quarry to Tuebrook Sidings (Garry Stroud).
60 021 comes past Bagillt footbridge ...
... and away (Stephen Dennett). On 10 February three of the Class 69 (rebuilt 56) locos were moved to Tuebrook sidings. Will we see them on the Coast?
Staffing problems earlier in the day on 9 February led to 1V96, 11:33 Holyhead-Cardiff starting at Bangor at 12:01 with two 153s in charge. Above, 153 909 leads 153 329 past Bagillt (Stephen Dennett). Experience shows that the information supplied to Real Time Trains cannot be relied upon to show correctly whether a train scheduled for loco working is actually loco-worked, or if it is, the number of the loco.
Normal loco-worked service was resumed on the 10 February. 67 017 leaves Flint station with 1V96. DVT 82229 was at the front (Stephen Dennett). That morning, a late departure of the northbound service from Cardiff had resulted in an arrival 19 minutes late at Holyhead; very quick work there enabled the train to depart for Cardiff just four minutes after arrival, so 1V96 was just three minutes late at Flint (Stephen Dennett).
197 006 arrives at Flint with 1H88 the 12:55 Llandudno Junction to Manchester Airport service, 10 February (Stephen Dennett). These services advertise a 'Trolley Service'. Has anyone used it?
Services were disrupted on 8 February by 175 008 suffering an underframe 'thermal incident' (not unknown in the early days of the class) near Rossett between Chester and Wrexham. Trains were diverted via Crewe, including the 06:48 Cardiff-Holyhead hauled by 67 017 which had already lost 20 minutes before Shrewsbury and finally reached Holyhead 53 minutes late (Gary Thomas).
During the disruption, 67 029 ran light on a 'test run' from Crewe to Chester and back . Gary Thomas photographed it against a backdrop of Tattenhall Marina.
Gary had been there to photograph a test run of Locomotive Services' re-creation of a Scotrail push-pull train using 47 712 Lady Diana Spencer. This was cancelled because of the fire, so Gary returned on 9 February to capture the smart-looking consist. Driving Trailer 9707 was leading ...
... and Lady Diana pushing. These trains were created in 1979 by Scotrail using Mk3 carriages, and a Mark 2f coach converted to a driving trailer. The idea was to provide an express service between Glasgow and Edinburgh, later to Aberdeen. Unfortunately, their use was challenged in 1984 when a bull which had strayed on to the line was struck by driving trailer 9706; the whole train became derailed and 13 people died. The surviving driving trailers were then provided with stronger obstacle deflectors.
Gary then moved to Upton Magna, near Shrewsbury, hoping that the train would have reversed ...
... but no such luck. When Scotrail got some Class 158s in 1990, the driving trailers were overhauled and lost their front gangway connection for use in East Anglia. Some are now in service with Network Rail.
An earlier test on 7 February ran from Crewe to Chester and back: in Ian Henderson's picture the driving trailer gleams in the sunshine at Chester. The obstacle deflector can be seen. In the background, a Northen Class 195 on the Chester-Leeds service.
Looking back: North Wales after the 37s - with Barrie Hughes
Holyhead -Birmingham still had some loco-hauled services after the demise of the well liked 37s. These images are from my first digital camera (Samsung Digimax 230) 2 MegaPixel so not as 'hi res' as recent shots I have sent. This used the chunky 8Mb so called 'Compact Flash' cards but they soon brought out 64Mb cards that could hold a decent days photography at a price!
Here are some views from July 2002, including some 37s elsewhere in Wales where Canton depot was still using them on regular Rhymney services and occasionally they were used on a variety of local services even after withdrawal from North Wales.
On 6 July 2002 47 727 in the long gone Res livery arrives at Chester with
the 14:02 Holyhead - Birmingham New Street ...
... and is later noted at Birmingham New Street.
On 23 July 2002 EWS 37 418 waits at Llandrindod with 1Z40, 17:45 to Rhymney - the return leg of an day excursion to the Royal Welsh Show at Builth Wells. [The train also ran on 22 and 24 July, hauled by 37 419. The route was via the rarely-used 'Hendy Loop' line, thus attracting some rail enthusiasts as well as the show-goers.]
On 26 July 2002 37 419 was allocated to a Cardiff - Fishguard service which
also returned to Rhymney as 1R38, apparently a regular working. At Fishguard Harbour station, some essential Permanent Way work is taking place after the driver complained about a dodgy run-round!
Class 197 opinions
David Jackson writes: 'I had my first trip in a 197 unit today, and was fairly impressed. First thought was that they're quite light and airy inside, but the seats, although comfortable are very upright and I'm not yet sure that I'd want to go too far in that position - bear in mind that I happily did Crewe to Swansea on the Heart of Wales line in a 153 unit. The acceleration is very good and the braking is equally good. 197019 was on the 1D37 12.25 Manchester Airport to Llandudno, bang on time into Frodsham (above), and on time at Chester, despite being held for several minutes on the Chester approach.'
Mike Stone writes: 'I travelled on one from Lime St to Runcorn - I'd planned to go to Chester but having had a door problem at South Parkway didn't fancy a recurrence at Helsby or somewhere. Do they really need Welsh announcements on that route? I wasn't impressed at the seat spacing with a pillar alongside the table - unless it's deliberate to dissuade single travellers from using them - WMR 196 manage to avoid it.'
Shrewsbury scene - By Graham Breakwell
Engineering work in the Machynlleth area took place in early February with three trains originating at Crewe Basford Hall. On 3 February 6C70, the 21:48 from Crewe to Talerddig was top and tailed, the Class 37 Group Working webpage states that 97 302 and 97 304 worked it.
On 4 Feb the same website records 97 303 on 6C71, the 20:43 from Crewe to Newtown. Shortly after, 97 302 and 37 405 are reported to be on 6C72, the 2146h from Crewe to Newtown. Speculation suggests though that 37 405 was on the rear of 6C70 on Friday but with the service running in darkness (and well after my bedtime!) I am not able to confirm, maybe other readers will have the answer.
On 5 Feb 6C70, the 08:45 from Newtown to Bescot definitely ran with 97302! The picture was taken on Sunday morning 5 February at Sutton Bridge Junction, proceeding to take the Shrewsbury avoiding line from English Bridge Junction to Abbey Foregate.
On 6 February 97303, 97304 and 37405 ran as OZ52, the 04:57 from Crewe Basford Hall to Coleham. The two 97s headed off to Derby RTC at 09:04 in readiness for a round trip over the Cambrian lines with the Network Rail test train scheduled for 8 February.
Staffordshire Branches Part 2 - feedback
David wrote in the last issue regarding the above image: 'I had recorded this as being at Milton, but I have been unable to identify the precise location on Google Maps today. '
From Andy Hyde: 'I Couldn’t help but check the location of David Pool’s photo taken between Endon and Stoke. The electricity pylons give the possible location away. Checking Google Maps and the OS maps I’m guessing it was the A53 New Leek Road overbridge. The factory looks like it’s now a housing estate and the Caldon Canal bridge is under the fourth coach. Google Maps/Street show a big growth in trees from David’s photo, although his photo does show signs of vegetation clearance perhaps for the passage of the special. I could name where the electricity pylon circuit runs from and to, but that’s getting rather too anoracky!'
From: Scott McGahey:
Funnily enough not long ago I had a conversation with someone else to help identify that location on a friends Flickr site, typically I can’t find it now.
David’s picture is indeed taken from the A53 road bridge over the railway. The canal bridge just visible in the shot under the 4th coach and the line of pylons crossing the railway confirm this. As David points out the area is much changed with the demised factory since replaced by housing.
Looking Back: Staffordshire branches part 3 - by David Pool
The Churnet Valley Railway was preparing to start passenger services in 1996. Visiting Froghall on 11 August 1996, I found “Jinty” 47383 was in steam, but the main attraction for me was North Staffordshire Railway No.1, the Battery Locomotive built in 1917 for use in the nearby Thomas Bolton’s Copper Works. It was withdrawn in 1963, and is part of the National Collection, now at Shildon. On the day of my visit it was on a very short demonstration freight train, with the assistance of 47383, but with a working speed of 10mph it was never going to be allowed to share the line with passenger trains. Unfortunately there was no sun at the time of its journey, but I have never seen any other photographs of No.1 moving.
Also with No.1 at Froghall was the preserved Tamworth Castle D7672, which had been withdrawn after several years as a celebrity locomotive featuring on Railtours.
D7672 had visited Chester on 30 March 1991 with the “Rat Requiem” of Hertfordshire Rail Tours, 1Z45 from Kings Cross to Holyhead. With an appropriate headboard and wreath, D7672 was working the tour between Leeds and Holyhead.
Back on the Churnet Valley Railway, in 2005 services were now running between Kingsley and Froghall and Leek Brook Junction, and on 13 July a notable visitor was the LNWR G2, 49395, the first of the class of 60 locomotives built at Crewe in 1921 and 1922, and the sole survivor. After a period at Blist’s Hill Heritage Site it was eventually restored to steam, and with memories of these locomotives on freights in South Liverpool in the 1950s it was another of those “not to be missed” occasions. The BR number was never displayed on the smokebox door of these locomotives, which was unusual for a whole class. 49395 was running round at Froghall.
Bradnop cutting was the scene of my difficulties photographing 71000 on the first train to Caldon Low in 2010, when the steam blanketed the train. I had better luck on 22 February 2014, when the CVR’s resident S160 6046 was double heading with ex LNER N7 69621. The latter visited the East Lancashire Railway in 1991, but is normally to be found at the East Anglian Railway Museum.
A stark contrast to the Caldon Low branch with its steep gradients is the line alongside the canal at Consall. Another visitor to the CVR on 22 February 2014 was the GWR Steam Railmotor No. 93, making its leisurely way from Froghall to Cheddleton.
On 18 April 2013 No.93 had been paired with its coach No.92 on the Llangollen Railway, and was photographed at Bonwm in scenery similar to that on the CVR.
The gradient of between 1 in 45 and 1 in 59 for five miles from Leek Brook Junction towards Ipstones is best visited early in the morning before the sun has moved round, and walking boots are useful to get to the best locations, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Peter Best’s S160 2253 Omaha from the Dartmouth Railway was a guest locomotive on 1 February 2020, joining the two other S160s 5197 and 6046 based on the CVR.
The maroon livery of 2253 goes well with the coaching stock and the eight coach train is being banked by 6046 on the rear. 2253 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1943, and sent to England where it operated from Neville Hill, Leeds, and then in France and Poland, eventually retuning to the UK to work on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. It does not seem to have been a favourite locomotive there, and was sold to Peter Best, but since then it has had further overhauls, and it was certainly working hard on the CVR. The steam behind the boiler is probably coming from the chime whistle as it approaches a farm crossing.
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