NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY :NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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08 May 2023
197 018 at Llandudno with the 13:19 to Blaenau Festiniog, 1 May (Stuart Broome). A patient spotter on this day at Llandudno could have chalked up 197 004, 006, 007, 009, 010, 013, 017, 018 and 021.
On 1 May, 66 755 Tony Berkeley OBE running late near Buckley with 6M76 23:10 Margam to Dee Marsh. Load 25 wagons (Tim Rogers).
66 761 Wensleydale Railway Association 25 Years 1990-2015 on 6Z58 08:38 Wellingborough to Llandudno Junction slate waste empties, passing Bagillt, 1 May (Tim Rogers)...
... and arriving at Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud).
The Emerald Explorer
Wednesday May 3 saw the initial leg of Steam Dreams (now part of the Locomotive Services group) 'Emerald Explorer' week-long rail holiday being formed of LSL Mk 3 stock for the initial transfer from London to Holyhead for the ferry to Dublin. 87 002 headed the formation from Euston to Crewe where it was replaced by Scotrail-liveried 47 712 Lady Diana Spencer for the run to Holyhead. This harked back to the days when class 47s on Mk 3 stock (+ DVT) were commonplace on the Coast. Geoff Morris chose to photograph it passing the racecourse at Chester in the hope that the complete formation would be visible and, although the tree growth alongside the viaduct is encroaching, there was just sufficient space to achieve this.
Rhyl (Tim Rogers).
Approaching Llandudno Junction ...
... on the rear, 82139 (Garry Stroud).
The late-running return working heading back to Crewe Heritage centre as it passes Pabo Lane, Llandudno Jcn, on its return working back to Crewe Heritage Centre (Garry Stroud).
Change at Crewe: a memory of 2002 - by Charlie Hulme
The date is Saturday 13 April 2002, and 47 732 Restormel has arrived at Crewe from Holyhead with the 13:35 Holyhead to London Euston, and is waiting for the shunter to uncouple it from the Driving Van Trailer in which the driver would control the train on the rest of its journey to London.
At the other end of Platform 11, 90 014 has appeared on the scene and coupled to power the train to Euston. Coach 6101 is of Mk2 type; Mark 3s had not ventured to Holyhead except in HST form.
I used to enjoy watching this operation, quite an unusual one by this time, booked to take from 15:46 to 16:10. Things Sometimes things differed - on 23 February 2002 47 789 Lindisfarne has arrived with an additional load in the the form of 47 757 Restitution whch had led the Crewe - Holyhead outbound. 47 757 being on test, and 47 789 was suffering a DSD (drivers safety device) fault.
86 260 Driver Wallace Oakes G.C. which had been waiting in Platform 10 was attached to the rear to 'push the train on its weary way to London' as we reported at the time.
Thanks to Sulzerpower's archive for assistance with this item.
Midland Pullman on the Coast
1 May saw the Locomotive Services tribute to the historic 'Midland Pullman ' train of the 1960s operate an excursion from Bournemouth to Llandudno.
Ivor Bufton photographed it near Prestatyn on the outward journey, with 43 055 leading 43 046 Geoff Drury. With its 'Nanking Blue' and whte livery, it certainly gives the right effect, and the coaches are comfortable First Class Mk3 vehicles. The outward leg ran very late as it was held outside the Severn Tunnel for about 90minutes while a problem in the tunnel was investigated.
Llandudno, was reached 58 minutes late (Stuart Broome).
Geoff Drury's contributions to Steam Preservation included purchasing 60019 Bittern and 60532 Blue Peter; both are now in the care of Mr Hosking, owner of Locomotive Services.
Geoff Drury's widow was on the train, and at Llandudno was invited to sit in the drivers seat of 43 046, which she did (Stuart Broome).
The return passing Llandudno Junction (Garry Stroud). It left Llandudno around 30 minutes late, probably a re-timing to allow passengers some more time at the resort following their hour-late arrival.
Mostyn (Tim Rogers).
Beches Farm (Stephen Dennett).
It had already recovered 15 minutes when Geoff Morris photographed it passing through Chester station. The class 158 in platform 3 had preceded it from Llandudno Junction and required the enthusiasts on platform to hastily rearrange their photo positions as the Pullman passed only a couple of minutes later.
Passing Beeston Castle (Greg Mape).
Near Church Stretton (Graham Breakwell). An attempt at the same idea was tried in 2006, the 'Blue Pullman' using Class 47s for power and Mk2 coaches, but the operator 'FM Rail' went into administration shortly afterwards, the operation sold to Cotswold Rail before disappearing into obscurity.
Friday 5 May, Penyffordd station. 66 755 Tony Berkeley OBE at the head of the Dee Marsh to Margam steel waits for a signal as 230 008 runs into the station (Bob Greenhalgh).
67 013 propelling train 1W93 11:25 Cardiff Central to Holyhead through Bagillt, 1 May (Tim Rogers).
On 3 May, 67 013 calls at Stockport with the 10:52 Cardiff - Manchester ...
... and heads out on to the viaduct as a Manchester - London Pendolino approaches on the Up Fast line.
More about the Ffestiniog Round Robin
Thanks to everyone who has written about our item in the last issue regarding the Round Robin. Gary Thomas refers us to an article written by him in the September 2022 Rail Express, describing his trip which started at Llandudno Junction on the 06:21 loco-hauled service, and travelling clockwise, with a two-hour break for Lunch at Blaenau Ffestiniog, arriving back 12 hours later. He explains that to do the one-way Ffestiniog section on the 'Mountain Spirit' or 'Quarryman' service you will need telephone the Ffestiniog Railway's booking office (01766 516000 we think) in advance and book a place.
There is a timetable on the website but you also need the Calendar page to check what trains run on your chosen day. There's no online booking for one-way journeys. On-train refreshments are no longer offered.
Blaenau Ffestiniog, 1 May 1986
Ken Robinson writes 'I was fortunate to have more of Nigel Hughes' photographs recently'. This time the naming of 47 645 Robert F. Fairlie at Blaenau Ffestiniog on 1 May 1986, just over 37 years ago! Here are two of the photos that I scanned from his negatives:
Following the naming ceremony, conducted by John Routly, Chairman of the Ffestiniog Railway; it had recently been re-named from 47 065 after being equipped with electric heating equipment for passenger and parcels work.
47 645 was 'posed' beside one of FfR's double engine, Earl of Merionith on the left, and a DMU on a Conwy Valley line service train on the right.
The train has come from, and returned to, Crewe as noted on the headboard. In 1990, the loco suffered a serious fire, and was scrapped. The name was give the ceremonial again in 1993, when applied to to North Wales passenger loco 37 422; the name lasted until November 2002. The loco is still in service, named Victorious.
From Dave Sallery's archive
A nice clean Class 101 on Machynlleth depot, 6 May 1984. In the background is single unit parcels car M55995. This was the only vehicle allowed across Barmouth bridge at the time following the discovery of damage to the wooden piers by marine worms.
Double chimney Castle 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe at Woodhams of Barry in 1966. Loco now preserved at Tyseley.
37 408 Loch Rannoch leaving Chester on an Up service, possibly the 17:10 Llandudno-Brimingham, 13 June 1996.
37 414 Cathays C&W Works 1846-1993 passing the long closed Waverton station on a Crewe service, 8 May 1996.
Looking back: Preserved Standard Gauge in South Wales - by David Pool
The Teifi Valley Railway was not the only organisation making use of the trackbed of the closed line from Carmarthen to Newcastle Emlyn. The Gwili Railway Preservation Company was set up in 1975, with the aim of operating a standard gauge railway from Abergwili Junction to Llanpumpsaint, but by then there was only one mile of track remaining at Bronwydd Arms, seven miles of track having already been lifted. I visited Bronwydd Arms on 20 October 1983, and found an assortment of rolling stock and locomotives, most in need of restoration. An example was the saddle tank Olwen, built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns in 1942 (No.7058) and used at Earley Power Station, near Reading.
Returning to the Gwili Railway on 13 September 1987, I found the trains being hauled by a Yorkshire diesel with the fictitious BR number D2875. Supplied to the Steetley Dolomite Works, Yorkshire 2779 (1960) was similar to the BR Class 02 locomotives. The scenery at Bronwydd was an attractive feature for passengers, and steady progress has since been made to extend the line in both directions, the most recent news being the completion of a new station at Abergwili Junction, on the outskirts of Carmarthen.
The following year I sought out the Blaenavon Railway, but on 3 July 1988 the weather was decidedly miserable. One advantage of the rain was that the steam effects from the Bagnall Brookfield (2615 of 1940) made a nice picture.as the train left Furnace Sidings near Big Pit and tackled the climb to Whistle Inn Halt.
The upper terminus at Whistle Inn Halt was somewhat deserted, apart from one man and his dog, and passengers were unlikely to want to alight and view the scenery.
Recent photographs of the line in sunshine show a thriving railway with a new station and plans for the future. On the edge of Bannau Brycheiniog, as we are now expected to call the Brecon Beacons, I trust the Railway will benefit from the tourism being encouraged. There are a number of steam and diesel locomotives at Blaenavon awaiting restoration on behalf of private owners. One steam locomotive in particular is of interest to me, Avonside 71515 (1914) Sir John. I photographed Sir John at Mountain Ash on 21 September 1972 in the NCB shed, out of use at the time but clearly being looked after.
Another locomotive at Blaenavon is a Class 37, 37023. This is also being restored, and was originally (D) 6723 when I photographed it at Kings Lynn in 1970. More recently it became more of a celebrity when it appeared in Mainline blue with the name Stratford MPD. It was at Warrington Arpley on 15 August 1997.
The legacy of Barry scrapyard has not been forgotten, but the focus has shifted to the line from Barry to Barry Island, the terminus of a line from Cardiff. The layout can be seen in my photograph taken on 10 May 1991, which shows unit 150 267 leaving Barry Island for Cardiff. Originally double tracked, only one track was being used, the other abandoned alongside.
The Vale of Glamorgan Railway Company had been formed in 1975 with the intention of operating trains on the Bute Road branch in Cardiff, which was under threat of closure, and began to acquire locomotives. In May 1991 they had two locomotives at Cardiff Butetown, 5227 and 6686, both obtained from Barry scrapyard.
With major developments planned for Butetown, an alternative site had to be found. The disused track to Barry Island was offered by Vale of Glamorgan Council, and with a lease and funding assistance the Barry Railway was operated by the Vale of Glamorgan Railway Company until 2007. In 2008 the lease was terminated and after a sealed bid tendering process a long term lease was given to Cambrian Transport, who would operate trains as the Barry Tourist Railway.
Locomotive 6686 was being restored on site, while trains were formed by a Class 101 DMU, or hauled by a Class 08 diesel or a Class 73 Electro-diesel. The Network Rail line from Barry Island is today operated by Transport for Wales, with an hourly service to Cardiff and Radyr, but the Barry Tourist Railway seems to have shut down since the Covid pandemic, and the only current railway publicity is for a short track at the Barry War Museum. I hope I am proved wrong, but I am not optimistic that any preserved railway will return to Barry Island.
Llangollen Railway Corwen Official Opening (Press release)
Volunteers and other project supporters are very excited to be able to celebrate the opening of the Llangollen Railway’s Corwen station on the 1st of June, with a formal opening event on Friday 2 June. Peter, Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill (Chairman of both Network Rail and the Heritage Railway Association) will be performing the station opening ceremony. The opening trains on the 2nd are scheduled to be worked by Kitson 0-4-0ST Austin 1 – one of the original Llangollen Railway steam fleet, top and tailed with visiting Austerity No 68067.
Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th will then be a two-day public gala event. An intensive public timetable will operate a 3-train service of steam, diesel and railcar workings (each train working two return trips to Corwen each day). Locomotives and railcars are expected to be drawn from Austerity 68067, Class 31 No 31271, Class 47 1566 and Classes 104, 108 & 109 DMU.
The forthcoming opening of Corwen station was raised at Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday 19 April, with Clwyd South MP Simon Davies asking for Rishi Sunak’s recognition of the railway’s volunteers' achievements in being able to open Corwen station in June and thanking the PM for the support of the Government Levelling-Up fund in helping to finance the Corwen station canopy. The Prime Minister offered his congratulations to the railway’s volunteers and highlighted that the Levelling Up grant for the station canopy also supported the local economy by being awarded to a local engineering business. He concluded his response by saying that he was looking forward to seeing the station open in the summer.
A range of attractions are planned in Corwen alongside show-casing the superb new station, including model railway layouts in the town community centre and museum. The Liverpool Model Railway Society will be exhibiting their layout 'Corwen' in the community centre and there is a 4mm scale model of sections of the Llangollen Railway in the museum.
Dapol and Rails of Sheffield will also be making an exciting announcement about a forthcoming new 4mm scale model that should be of great interest to both Llangollen Railway and GWR fans alike.
There will also be a display of heritage memorabilia in the Henry Robertson suite at Llangollen station across all 4 days of the event. A talk will be held on the evening of Thursday 1 June by renowned local archaeologist Fiona Gale MBE entitled 'Denbigh, Ruthin & Corwen Railway in the Vale of Clwyd' (Approximately 50 tickets at £5 each will be available). A vintage fire engine will also be on display at Llangollen station, with grateful thanks to Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service.
LR Trust Manager Tom Taylor says “We are all tremendously excited at the prospect of seeing Corwen station opened for its first public trains. This represents the culmination of many years of hard work by a small, but extremely dedicated team of volunteers. We are all very proud of what they have achieved through some very challenging circumstances. We are also very grateful to all those who have supported the project financially, including grants from the Welsh Assembly and UK Governments. Our local authorities and MPs have also supported us from the get-go. From the 3rd of June, all our services will be running to Corwen and we look forward to welcoming passengers, friends and volunteers to our superb new station as well as putting Corwen back on the railway map, where the town very much deserves to be”.
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