NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY :NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
|Home | Notice Board | Travel Info | Calendar | History | Route Guide | The Trains | For Railfans | Links | Contact
05 June 2023
70 812 passes Talacre on 31 May with stone for Longport. Picture by Gary Thomas.
197 015 passes Bagillt on 1 June with 1H89 Holyhead to Manchester Airport. It was losing time (15 mins late at Bagillt) and got to Chester 18 minutes down. It was terminated there 'due to a problem with the traction equipment'.
70 812 passes Bagillt with 6M33 Penmaenmawr Quarry
to Longport loaded stone, 9 minutes late due to having to
proceed slowly behind the 197.
On 31 May, 70 816 crosses the Roodee Viaduct at Chester with a load of logs for Chirk (Gary Thomas).
150 259 works 1W92 09:22 Cardiff Central to Holyhead passing Sandycroft on 29 May (Tim Rogers).
230 009 approaches Penyffordd on its way to Wrexham, 31 May. Picture by Gary Thomas who notes: (I've seen a memo saying they're suffering from pollen issues!'
Another visit by the 'Midland Pullman', this time from Berwick-on-Tweed to Llandudno on 1 June, see above at Heslby (Greg Mape).
and returning past Ffynongroew on the return (Gary Thomas).
On 5 June, 66 767 King's Cross PSB 1971-2021 passes Rhyl with empties for slate waste to be loaded at Llandudno Junction (Gary Thomas).
A visit to Holyhead on 31 May by Stuart Broome found just three 175s in the sidings, suggesting that progress is being made in process of making them less flammable...
... on the other hand, three Voyagers were present: 105, 109 and 102. This was a strike day for English companies.
Locos cannot now run round in Platform One due to a sleeper chained across the rails.
Recent vegetation clearance work at Llandudno Jcn has resulted in better photo opportunities on the east and west ends of platform 4,together with the yard itself receiving the same treatment enabling better signal visibility. Three views by Garry Stroud taken on Monday 29 May. Above, 66 797 approaches the east end of platform 4 at Llandudno Junction with the 4D59 slate waste empties from Wellingborough. The view now is unobstructed as far as Queens Rd bridge in the distance.
The yard is shown here with 66 797 running round the empty wagons, where now a clear view is obtained towards the signal in the distance.
The western end of platform 4 shows, in the foreground, where trees have been cut down, with 158 823 departing with the 1D13 11:08 Birmingham New Street to Holyhead service.
We are saddened to hear of the recent death, after a short illness, of Ian Macer-Wright, a long-time contributor to our 'Cambrian Corner' from his hillside viewpoint (like the one above) or down on the sands to record the work done on Barmouth bridge. He was caretaker/driver at the Arthog Outdoor Education Centre, a post he had held since 2006. A volunteer on the Llangollen Railway, he was a keen member of Team Corwen and the Diesel Group. He'll be missed.
The elusive 97 301
Rail magazine reports that Network Rail ex-class 37 loco 97 301, one of the four NR locomotives fitted with the ERTMS signalling system used on the Cambrian Lines, is withdrawn from service, having rarely, if ever, used on Cambrian trains. Apparently it had been fitted in 2013 with a system from Hitachi, the other three locos (and the 158s) having Ansaldo equipment, and there must have been compatibility problems, although it was said to have been passed for operation. 97 301 was used on other Network Rail work, although it seems to have been out of action recently.
Penyffordd, 2015 (Bob Greenhalgh).
It was taken to Derby on 2 May to donate parts to 97 303, and is now stored on the Peak Rail site at Rowsley. Built in 1962 as D6800, later changed to 37 100, it had a spell working in France in 1999-2000 and became 97 301 in 2008. These locos are needed for excursion trains, haulage of track machines, track measurement duties and the recently-inaugurated timber trains from Aberystwyth.
Two West Coast Railways 37s were also fitted with another version of the system, but they have never been used on the Cambrian lines.
Corwen opening specials
The Llangollen Railway ran three steam-hauled "opening
specials" for members and other supporters between
Llangollen and Corwen on Thursday 1 June, ahead of the
formal official opening on Friday 2 June. Trains were
formed of four BR Mk1 suburban coaches and a GWR
inspection saloon. Above, the first train returns to
Llangollen (George Jones)
Above: The 13:00 departure from Llangollen (Ian
Trains were worked by two Leeds-built industrial locomotives; Kitson 0-6-0ST (5459 of 1932) Austin 1 which worked the first passenger train of the preservation era at Llangollen back in 1981, and Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST (1752 of 1943) built to the Hunslet 'Austerity' design and currently running as ex-BR Class J94 68067 but perhaps known as Bold Colliery's Robert which was one of the stars of the Rocket 150 celebrations in 1980. It is on loan from the Great Central Railway for the season.
Mark Hambly captured The two locos watering while
running-round at Corwen after working the 15:10 from
Llangollen (re-timed on the day to 15:30 and actually left
at 15:50), plus two views of the poster for the opening
weekend displayed at Llangollen station.
George Jones writes: 'Following 1 June's excitement it was the turn on 2 June of the great and the good to see the new station. I chose to go to the end of the line for a picture of the two locos in the head shunt at Green Lane. The end of an era.'
Stephen Dennett writes:' I travelled on the first public steam service from Llangollen to the new Corwen station and back on Saturday 3 June, seen abobe after arriving at Corwen.
'It was lovely weather and there were lots of passengers on all the services (railcars and Class 31 31 271 also in action). Corwen Station is really impressive, and a great credit to the hard work of all involved, especially with the interruption of COVID, and the financial problems for the railway. It must be really satisfying to see it finally open. I can see the advantages of parking at Corwen, and travelling into Llangollen, which does get really busy in the tourist season.'
A trip to Corwen - by Richard Putley
I travelled to Llangollen on Sunday 4 June, arriving at about 11:00
and saw 68067 at Llangollen Goods Junction with a set of BR Mk1s. But no sooner had I bought a ticket than they announced all services were suspended due to "a signalling issue". I returned to the Booking Office and got a refund on my ticket. I sat down on the platform and decided to think about what else I could do. But then they announced: "The next train to depart from Platform 2 will be the 12:30 to Corwen!". Returning to the Booking Office again, I made my way over the footbridge to Platform 2.
By now 31 271 had coupled onto the set of maroon suburban coaches, which had been strengthened with the addition of a GWR Observation Car. The train in fact departed at 12:07! (I think this set should have been the 10:30). Heading down the line, we passed 68067 at Llangollen Goods Junction. I noticed that we appeared to pass the Starting Signal at Danger; presumably the driver had been authorised to do this. (I later found out they'd introduced Pilotman Working between Llangollen Goods Junction and Glynyfrdwy.
We headed on down the line and in due course came to Corwen. I watched 31< 271 run round. As no one seemed to know when the next train (if any) would be, I got back on the train. But on arrival at Carrog, 68067 was waiting in the other platform. So I decided to get off at Carrog and await 68067 on its return trip. I bought a few items from the 80072 Sales Coach.
On boarding 68067's train I found I had to stand. But meanwhile a 4-car DMU arrived from Llangollen with Class 104 Power Car 50454 in all blue leading; the other 3 vehicles were in green. They include the Class 109 set with Trailer Car 56171 at the far end.
I got off at Glyndyfrwdwy and waited there for the DMU. By contrast to 68067's train, there were plenty of spare seats and I was able to get one in 56171 close to the front. Happy days. We departed as soon as the Pilotman had got off 31 271 (I photographed the driver collecting the token for the section to Carrog) and boarded 56171.
Heading back south I paused at Craven Arms to find the new footbridge that has been erected just north of the Level Crossing. As I had been driving > down the A49 from Shrewsbury I was surprised to see a Class 67 and Mk4 set heading North (I think this was 1W60, 15:55 Cardiff Central to Shrewsbury) . But no sooner had I got on the footbridge than 67 010 appeared heading south!
I think it was 5V18 15:30 Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff Canton empty stock. So this was a nice bonus to end the day.
Some good news is that the pipe bridge over the Conwy near Dolgarrog station, which carries water supply but had been used by locals until it was closed on January 2021 has been re-opened with a proper walkway. This opens the way from the station to the surfing and other attractions, including a hotel, at the old aluminium works site, but the ¾ mile long path may need some attention.
From Dave Sallery's archive
Up and down Brighton fasts cross at Battersea Park in June 2011. All these units, including some which were recently refurbished, have now been scrapped except for a single Driving Trailer Standard which has been saved for preservation.
175s in First North Western livery pass at Warrington in 2007.
'Northern Electrics' at Liverpool Lime Street in 2019. Most of Northern's 319's have since been sidelined.
A line up of 156s at Liverpool Lime Street in 2011.
Looking back: Buxton lime part 2, 1988 - by David Pool
There were previously two stations at Chapel-en-le-Frith, Central on the line between Chinley and Peak Forest , and South on the line between Whaley Bridge and Dove Holes. The latter is still open for passenger traffic to Buxton. Chapel -en-le-Frith Central was closed in 1967, but of course the line is used by the Tunstead freights as shown in my shot of 37 679 and 37 680 with a train of covered hoppers taken on 28 May 1988. The lane in the foreground goes to the South station (now just Chapel-en-le-Frith). The Central station would have been in the distance on the far right of the image.
A more familiar location for photographs is Great Rocks Junction, with Tunstead Works in the background. The shot of 37 677 and 37 688 with 6F42, the Tunstead to Oakleigh ICI hoppers, was taken on the same day from the footpath between Great Rocks Junction and Peak Forest, part of which has recently been closed due to an unsafe bridge, but is now open again.
Some of the freights from Tunstead travel in the opposite direction. Trains to Hindlow take the line through Wyedale to Buxton, where they reverse, climbing through Harpur Hill on the sole remaining section of the Cromford and High Peak Railway to Hindlow. On 16 June 1988 37 687 and 37 380 were nearing their destination, with Harpur Hill in the far distance.
The locomotives used for shunting at Tunstead were somewhat overlooked by the Class 37 followers, but were worth noting. Thomas Hill of Rotherham rebuilt locomotives for industrial use, and two diesel hydraulic chain driven locomotives (Thomas Hill 284V and 289V, ICI RS 243 and RS 244) were acquired by ICI Mond Division at Tunstead in 1979, having been converted from Fowler diesels. RS 244 was photographed on 18 June 1988 carrying the name Harry Townley, who had retired as the Chief Development Engineer at ICI Buxton. He was the Works Engineer when an Avonside steam locomotive was converted into the Rolls Royce powered diesel RS 8, now preserved. It is intended to illustrate this unusual locomotive in a later contribution to this website.
A more conventional locomotive was SCW/1/10 Nidderdale, also photographed on 18 June 1988, which was a Sentinel, Works No, S10149 (1964), probably more suitable for the heavier duties at the site.
6F42 on 18 June featured 37 676 and 37 677, approaching Great Rocks Junction signal cabin. When I first visited this location I had expected the Northbound trains to be on the tracks on the right, but the main line exiting the Tunstead site is further round the bend beyond the rear of the train.
Saturdays in August 1988 were interesting, as the Tunstead to Oakleigh trains were diverted between New Mills South Junction and Northenden Junction, running through Romiley, Guide Bridge and Stockport. On 20 August 47 487 in Intercity Swallow livery was passing the Waste Depot at Northenden.
A week later I was at Romiley, when the train was hauled by 47 050. Can anyone clarify why these trains were not hauled by the usual pairs of 37s ? The use of 47 487 had been especially unexpected on a freight train.
In the last issue, David Pool asked if anyone could offer details of the train seen at Peak Forest cutting, which seemed to be attracting the attention of enthusiasts. Several people mentioned that the wagons were HCV 'Covhops' (which were built a year after the date of the picture) and not the CBA type which had air brakes and could not work with this loco. Manchester Locomotive Society colleague Ted Buckley sent an interesting detailed reply which we include below with his permission.
By the date of the photo, Saturday 27 April 1968, 48319 was allocated to Heaton Mersey, a shed which closed its doors exactly one week later, on Saturday 4 May, along with Stockport Edgeley, Speke Jct, and Edge Hill. These closures heralded the end of steam in the Stockport area, and certainly on my local line, the ex-LNW Lymm line to Warrington Arpley. (However, steam locos, based at Newton Heath and other sheds, could be seen at Stockport for a few more weeks.)
I was at home adjacent to the railway at Dunham Massey on 27th April, and, of my 16 observations that day, just 5 were of diesels, the other 11 consisting of 8 class 8Fs, 2 class 9Fs, and 1 Black 5. I did not see 48319, so if she was heading for Runcorn with her rake of Covhops, she must have travelled via Northwich and on to the WCML at Hartford Jct, then taking the Liverpool line at Weaver Jct. Perhaps the destination was in fact Northwich?
I logged 92218 that day, heading up the Manchester Rail Travel Society / Severn Valley Railway Society North West Tour. This actually passed through Peak Forest, so could that have been the true object of the assembled throng? See this Six Bells Junction entry.
It may be that this was indeed the last Covhops working out of Peak Forest, but steam remained active right up until the following Saturday, so I would have thought it was simply one of the last. On that final Saturday 4 May, my observations at home in Dunham totalled 23 sightings, of which 15 were steam, and just 8 were diesels. Incidentally, on that day, I saw 48319 coupled with 48170 heading east back towards Heaton Mersey light engine at 11:02. 48170 had worked towards Warrington on a loaded coal train at 07:59 so I suspect 48319 had done likewise earlier on. They would have been heading back to 9F, but 48170 actually put in a repeat performance later that day, heading west on a loaded coal train at 16:19, returning east light engine at 17:58. This was a Stockport Edgeley engine at the time.
Both locos had a one-month stay of execution, as 48170 went to Patricroft, and 48319 went to Bolton. Both were duly withdrawn when both sheds closed their doors at the end of June 1968.