NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY :NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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17 April 2023
No shortage of TFW class 158s for 1L20, the 13:30 Aberystwyth to Birmingham International on 17 April. 158 828 formed the first leg to Machynlleth to join 158 823 to Shrewsbury where 158 835 strengthened the formation for the busy return service from International as 1D16 at 17:08. Picture at Upton Magna by Graham Breakwell.
Bahamas at large
It will take some time to sort out all the images of the recent steam specials! We'll have a 'extra' steam issue ready by Friday.
Class 230: opinions and operations
A journey by Dave Sallery
Checking Real Time Trains on 13 April, only one diagram was showing worked by 230 008 so theoretically a two-hourly service. So off we went to Hawarden where the 12:01 to Bidston was announced as cancelled. About 18 minutes later 230 008 went through non stop and empty stock. From that I deduced it was a way to make up time.
As the scrolling display on the platform alternated between saying no trains all week and the next one which was cancelled the only people inconvenienced were us! As I had deduced the return working was shown as running and turned up albeit about 13 late.
So after a quick check with the guard that the return service was going to run (!) off we set. I was quite impressed with the train and the overall finish is of a very high standard. It seemed quicker off the mark that a 150 and the climb up to Buckley was trouble free. We were in the rear carriage of three and the carriage was smooth and quiet.
Speaking to an ex-Vivarail man travelling on the train he explained that the outer two vehicles have traction motors only and the centre vehicle has the diesel engine but no powered wheels. Taking a ride in this vehicle later in the journey there was the faint sound of an engine underneath but it was hardly noticeable - none of the thrash of a 150.
We travelled from Hawarden to Wrexham Central, then to Bidston and back to Hawarden. As the acceleration is excellent I thought it a shame that the maximum speed was only 60mph as one had the feeling it could go a fair bit faster. So overall I thought it a great improvement on the existing stock and with a half-hourly service being promised I can see the line becoming popular once more.
Notes by Ian Henderson
On 14 April I had a ride on 230 010 Heswall to Bidston (above) and return. It arrived at Heswall at 10:25, due 10.19. Not bad timekeeping in terms of recent running. About 20 passengers, at a guess, on board - well under 10 on the return. A very friendly, welcoming cheerful, enthusiastic, female conductor. Comments: slow doors opening adds time to station dwell time, and is acceleration away from stops adequate?
Picture by George Jones.
No trains at all ran on the Borderlands line on Saturday 15 April, but on Sunday 16 April a full service operated, using 150 259 and 150 269. No replacement buses were scheduled. Monday 17 April sees a reversion to the two-hourly 230 (230 010) with replacement buses. (230 008 has run a couple of empty-stock trips). Keeping time still seems to be an issue: most tripa have run 12 minutes late, even after the 10:34 from Bidston was turned back at Wrexham General.
To add to the woes, two of the units were attacked by vandals, Images circulating on social media show the train units covered in graffiti across large portions of their exteriors. Images circulating on social media show the train units covered in graffiti across large portions of their exteriors.
230 010 at Wrexham Central. (George Jones).
Update, Tuesday 18 April: All trains cancelled.
TfW sources on the first train told Rail Business UK that there are still a number of minor issues to work through on the fleet. The recruitment of some ‘excellent former Vivarail people’ has given TfW the ‘benefit of their skills’, which will be particularly important in the procurement of parts needed to keep the trains in service. The maintenance plan is based on having just two [of the five] trains in service, increasing to three in the medium term. One option being evaluated would see a train used as a source of spares for the others; this unit would never enter passenger service.”
Cambrian Corner, 1986 - with Ken Robinson
I was fortunate recently to gain access to some of Nigel Hughes' (former professional photographer at Porthmadog) negatives - in this case those featuring the formal re-opening of Barmouth Bridge (Bont Y Bermo) to loco-hauled services. The date was 13 April 1986, and Nigel was fortunate enough to ride the 'press helicopter' to film the event. Here is a small selection of those photos which I thought might be of interest:
Six-car 150 units (believed to be 150 135, 150 122 and 150 145) seen at Morfa Mawddach having travelled from Machynlleth, carrying mostly locals and railway staff to Barmouth, followed by...
37 426 and 37 427 crossing 'Bont Y Bermo' on their way to the official ceremony at Barmouth, where 37427 would be named 'Bont Y Bermo'.
Councillor/Mayor Leslie Edwards unveiling a plaque on the station platform.
Staff, and others, stand in front of the nameplate on 37427 following the naming ceremony. They include: J. J. O'Brien, B.R. Joint Managing Director (back - sorry not sure which one); Merrick Roocroft, Area Manager (front left kneeling), and Len Humphreys, Cambrian Coast Line Manager (front right). Also present was 'Superted' - popular S4C cartoon character.
British Pullman in the North
Seen at Slutchers Lane, The stock from the annual Belmont Pullman London Victoria to Liverpool South Parkway 'Grand National' excursion, arriving at Warrington Arpley for servicing, having reversed at Latchford Sidings. 67 005 Queen's Messenger ...
... and Pullman-liveried 67 024 were in charge ...
... top and tailing the glamorous Pullman stock. This one is Ione [that's a capital i there], Built in 1928 as a First Class parlour car for the 'Queen of Scots' Pullman train. Pictures by David Hennessey.
Stabled in Warrington Arpley depot (Greg Mape).
Stephen Dennett's view
67 012 still in Chiltern Mainline livery arrives at Flint with 1W93 Cardiff Central to Holyhead loco hauled service. DVT 82201 was on the rear. Flint, 4 April
70 810 approaches Flint station with 6M33 Penmaenmawr Quarry to Longport Colas loaded stone. Flint, 4 April.
A double set of TfW Class 197s/0s arrive at Flint station with 1D38 Manchester Airport to Llandudno on 4 April. 197 006 was leading 197 002.
66 752 The Hoosier State comes through Penyffordd with 6V75, the morning Dee Marsh to Margam steel train. Taken at Penyffordd on 06 April.
230 010 on the first week of passenger hauled services by the Class 230 D-trains, arrives at Penyffordd ten minutes late with 2J52 Bidston to Wrexham Central, 6 April.
LSL Class 40, 40 013 (D213) Andania comes past Beeches Farm with 1Z23 Llandudno to Crewe private charter. Taken at Beeches Farm on 7 April.
66 706 Nene Valley comes through Penyffordd station on 7 April with 6M42 Avonmouth Hanson to Penyffordd Cement.
Avanti Voyager 221 118 comes past Beeches Farm with 1A50, the Holyhead to Crewe service, 7 April.
Arriving at Warrington Bank Quay station on 15 April for a driver exchange, a Liverpool Docks to Drax Biomass train, double headed with 60 076 Dunbar (owned by GBRf but sttiil in Colas colours ...
... piloting 60 026 Helvellyn. Pictures by David Hennessey.
66 416 catches the early morning sun as it passes Prestatyn at 07:13 on 11 April 2023 with 6Y60 00:28 Crewe Bas Hall S.S.M. to Crewe Basford Hall (via Bangor) heading back to Crewe, with 66 951 bringing up the rear (Ivor Bufton).
The process was repeated on 12 April: 66 570 passes Prestatyn at 08:23 on Tuesday 12th April 2023 with 6Y60 00:46 Crewe Bas Hall S.S.M. to Crewe Bas Hall S.S.M. (via Holyhead) heading back to Crewe, with 66 502 bringing up the rear.
Completing a 'Freightliner week' 66 532 passes Prestatyn 60 minutes early (07:51) on 16 April while working 6Y97 06:05 Gaerwen to Bescot Up Engineers Sidings after delivering new rails.
Passing Upton Magna between Wellington and Shrewsbury, 66 799 Modern Railways Diamond Jubilee, working 6M05 the 10:51h from Tinsley Yard to Coton Hill on 17 April. After loading in the “virtual quarry” the train heads to Wellingborough as 6F05 at 19:53 (Graham Breakwell).
A surprise visit to Shrewsbury on 14 April: 69 003 The Railway Observer double headed with 69 006 on 0Z69 the 08:33 Bescot Up Engineers Sidings to Shrewsbury round trip, returning at 10:12.
70 810 on the empties to Penmenmawr on 13 April passing Towyn (Gary Thomas)
Approaching Penmaenmawr (Greg Mape).
Ex-DRS 66 303 on the Junction slate empties, 17 April.
Looking Back: Plymouth Laira Open Day 1991 - with David Pool
In 1991 the end of locomotive haulage on the West of England lines was rapidly approaching, and as the main Depot for the Class 50s , Plymouth Laira marked the occasion by an Open Day on 15 September 1991. This was intended to be a popular event, so arrangements were made for visiting enthusiasts to travel there on double headed trains which would add to the interest. A large collection of locomotives would be assembled, including preserved and withdrawn stock.
My main interest would be to photograph some of the more unusual locomotives on the special trains, since I had been visiting Devon regularly and had a good number of shots of Western Region diesels. Photography at Open Days is always difficult if you are trying to avoid wandering spectators, especially if time is pressing. On the day before the event, I managed to get a shot of 50 015 Valiant, 55 015 Tulyar, 45 133 and 50 031 Hood outside the Depot, viewed from the adjacent main road.
Getting shots of the special trains on the following day would not be difficult, since there were so many locations between Exeter and Plymouth where I have never been disappointed with my shots. The need to find a gradient for steam effects was not necessary, but I chose to start at Aller Junction, just outside Newton Abbot, which is the start of the fearsome Dainton Bank. First to appear was the Hertfordshire Railtour The Plym Rose, 1Z98 from Paddington via Bristol, headed by 58 027 and 58 041.
Next was a British Rail excursion, also from Paddington via Bristol. Two Construction Sector locomotives 33 064 and 33 042 were the motive power, and the coaching stock was mostly Mk 2 Network South East. The passengers were clearly enjoying the sound of Class 33s attacking the gradient, and were adding to the noise level.
Moving on to Totnes, the next challenge is the Rattery Bank, which starts immediately after the station. 1Z18 was the Pathfinder Railtour, 04:40 from Manchester Piccadilly. Headed by 56 051 and 56 050 from Bristol, there were more heads and bodies visible at any open aperture.
The Pathfinder and Hertfordshire Railtours gave participants a bonus by including a visit to Plymouth Friary sidings, the station there having closed in 1958. The Pathfinder Railtour had also included a trip to Paignton behind two Class 37s, which then were attached to the rear from Newton Abbot to Plymouth. 37 673 and 37 671 then hauled the train to Plymouth Friary.
I left Plymouth Friary sidings and went to Laira to see what shots I could get before the event got even more crowded. The main line diesels were attracting all the attention, but a couple of 08s were being ignored. Having been named a few months earlier, 08 792 Plymouth was with 08 645.
Somehow I managed to get a shot of some Western diesels without spectators, although the cab of D 1062 looked rather crowded. Note the 84A shedplates on D 1062 Western Courier and D 1023 Western Fusilier, which surprisingly was the code for Laira depot between 1963 and 1973, having previously been the code for Wolverhampton.
I took some photos of the Mendip Class 59s on display, but they and all the Class 50s were locomotives I had photographed in service, and the Railtour locomotives were preparing to leave, so I moved to an overbridge at the exit to the Depot. 155 307 was working a shuttle between the Depot platform and North Road, and the crowds were beginning to disperse. The two Class 37s would be taking the Hertfordshire Railtour to Exeter, where the Class 56s would take it back to Paddington. The Pathfinder Railtour participants would enjoy the two Class 58s throughout the journey back to Manchester, due back 19 hours after they had originally left there!
Amman Valley, South Wales - remembered by Trefor Thompson
The photos by David Pool of the Amman Valley line in the recent Noticeboard
had me diving into the archives. I made two visits to this line in 2018. Trains ran, theoretically, once a week - usually on a Thursday. For once I struck it lucky and the train ran and the weather was fine. Of particular note is the seemingly phenomenal growth of trees and other vegetation since David's visit there 27 years previously.
Loco 66 063. Date 10 May 2018.
Arriving at the coal loading site and crossing Gwaun Cae Gurwen
Approaching the loading site. The train stayed for a couple of hours while
Loaded train returning and approaching Gwaen Cae Gurwen Colliery Crossing.
Crossing the A474 at Gwaen Cae Gurwen.
Glanamman signal box in some form of community use.
7 June 2018 - loco 66 111
Crossing the Amman and approaching Ammanford.
Arriving at Pantyffynnon.
Joining the Heart of Wales line at Pantyffynnon.
An RMR discovery - by Mark Hambly
A recent (and surprisingly uncontested) eBay purchase, it is a photograph by Smailes & Son of Rhyl dated 4 March 1932 sent to the Editor of the Flintshire Observer with the comment (quoting verbatim) "Dear Sir, We thought you would might like this photo for your Flintshire Observer", meaning, I imagine, "we'd welcome some free publicity for the start of the season"!
The full caption supplied with it is as follows:
GETTING READY FOR THE SEASON
Photo of a workman putting the finishing touches to one of the miniature Engines at Marine Lake Rhyl, in readiness for the coming season. These Engines carry thousands of visitors round the Marine Lake every year.
The loco is clearly MICHAEL. The picture provides an interesting contrast with David Pool's 20 August 2011 view first published in the 12 April 2021 Notice Board.
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