NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY :NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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25 September 2023
GWR 0-6-0PT No. 7754 has made a much-awaited return at The Llangollen Railway, following a 15-plus year overhaul.The photo shows the 1930-built loco approaching Glyndyfrdwy on its first fully loaded test run, piloting 68067, on 23 September 2023, on the 15:30 service from Llangollen to Corwen. Picture by Ken Robinson.
Rhyl Miniature Railway Gala - report by Ian Pilkington
Following the superb restoration of Billie in the Dreamland Miniature Railway (Margate) livery, on 23 September four Atlantics built by Albert Barnes at Rhyl in the 1920s were in steam together for the first time in many years. Above, Billie & Joan.
Michael & Railway Queen (in Belle Vue Railway livery)
Michael & Railway Queen.
Billie & Joan.
A quadruple header approaches the station with the final train of the day.
777s at Chester - report by Geoff Morris
Merseyrail have now started to introduce the class 777 units to the Chester and Ellesmere Port lines - I believe that their the first use was on Chester services on Wednesday 13 September although I didn’t see any publicity about this nor their subsequent use on these services. On Saturday 23 September I decided to see if any were in operation. I started off at the Brook Lane bridge overlooking Chester depot where I didn’t stay long as the recently-new fencing here makes taking photos difficult without either a stepladder or very small lens. I photographed the 15:01 departure from Chester formed of 507 011 passing 197 001 and 175 108 standing in the depot sidings – a scene that soon will be history with the imminent departure of the 175s & 507s.
I then walked to the Bache station to wait for the remaining 5 units to appear – the 15 minute frequency to Chester means that 6 units cover the normal daytime diagram. The next two were formed of 507 002 & 508 117 but the following one was formed of 777 013 which carries an advertising livery. This was photographed heading to Chester (above) ...
... and then returning to Liverpool.
507028 formed the next diagram and was photographed about to leave for Liverpool – a '4 car Stop' board has added on top of the existing Stop board at the platform end and the apparent “ghost lady” on the cab side. The final unit turned out to be the
doyen of the class 777001 which was photographed arriving from Liverpool and later departing north over the Mill Lane bridge which shows evidence of a few vehicle bashes despite the warning notices etc.
Logs galore - report by Graham Breakwell
There were two appearances of the Aberystwyth-Chirk log trains on the week beginning on 19 September. On Tuesday 19 September 97 302 and 37 405 passing through Meole Village.
In the early hours of Wednesday 20th 97 303 and 97 302 took the empties to Aberystwyth, returning loaded on Friday 22 September. On arrival back at Sutton Bridge Junction the train was reversed into the headshunt and 97302 was replaced with 37405 for the move to Chirk, via a reversal at Chester.
97 302 and 97 303 passing through Belle Vue.
Passing the log train in the headshunt, 158 882 on 1J25, the 18:31 Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth.
37 405 and 97 303 preparing to head to Chirk.
From Dave Sallery's Archive
37 091 on an up test train near Prestatyn, 8 March 1988. This one off livery was a proposal for Freightliner.
37 057 on a down test train at Prestatyn, 18 March 1992. Note the air conditioned Mark 2D behind the loco. I was once asked in Rhyl if the 'secret' train was carrying the SAS to Northern Ireland! Of course I said yes.
37 107, up test train, again near Prestatyn, 16 June 1992.
37 238 in Llandudno Junction yard, again with the Mark 2 carriage, 13 February 1992.
Shrewsbury Observations 22 September - by Mark Hambly
Having had a meeting in Llanelli on Friday which finished early afternoon I decided to head home to Tamworth over the Central Wales line rather than via Newport and Cheltenham, having not travelled the full length of the line for almost 30 years.
That day marked the resumption of trains operating throughout over the Central Wales after the recent bustitutions for the works south of Shrewsbury. The 14:43 from Llanelli (1418 from Swansea) 2M10 was formed of single unit 153 323 and had a load factor of roughly 40% +/- 10% throughout as far as Craven Arms, from where it increased with folks heading into Shrewsbury for an evening out.
By my reckoning five passengers (including myself) and two cycles were on board throughout between Llanelli and Shrewsbury. Some of the request stops were indeed requested, either to pick up or set down, but others were passed through without stopping. While my train was formed of a single unit both of the southbound trains passed were formed of two car Class 150s, one of which (150 269) was in Northern livery. A planned crew swap with southbound 2V10 took place at Llandrindod.
At Craven Arms there were stop boards on both lines of the North & West just south of the Central Wales junction due to the works at Dinmore apparently having over-run. On approaching Shrewsbury the Aberystwyth-Chirk logs train was stationary between Sutton Bridge and Coleham, with 97 302 and 97 304 in charge. 37 405 was also present, as was a set of Rail Head Tratment Train.
Having just missed the 18:30 TfW departure for Birmingham International, which in any case was not a booked connection, I went forward on the 18: 40 West Midlands Railway service to New Street, formed of four car unit 196 110 which remained relatively lightly loaded throughout. While the 196s are now the established traction on the route the programming of the platform-facing on-board displays clearly still needs some attention, as the photograph shows.
Looking back: North East Steam part 2 - by David Pool
It was a busy morning for steam at Bridlington on 21 July 1962. Class K3 61962 was leaving at 10:47 with a special working to Halifax. The gantry has a range of GNR signals, with one solitary BR upper quadrant type on the left. A new class 37 is visible on the right. 61962 was withdrawn in December 1962.
Arriving at Bridlington a little later that morning was another K3, 61867, with the 10:26 Newcastle to Filey Holiday Camp. This was the largest of the Butlin’s Camps, and had its own station on a short branch making a triangular junction with the main line just North of Hunmanby. I have no record of the route taken by this train, but I assume it went via Bridlington to avoid having to reverse at Seamer if it had come from the line into Scarborough from the West. 61867 was withdrawn in November 1962, but the Holiday Camp station survived until 1977.
There was still a steam Station Pilot at Newcastle on 22 July 1964, a V3 67636 from Blaydon (52C) shed. The photograph was taken facing North from the end of a platform, and on the far left can be seen the corner of Newcastle Keep. The latter is part of the Castle buildings, and the view from the Keep is shown later. 67636 was withdrawn in November 1964.
The footbridge on the North side of Darlington station was a good location for photographs in the 1960s, although today it is now totally enclosed. The only disadvantage was that most Northbound passenger services would stop in the station, and could only be photographed after they had passed the footbridge, but freights would use the through lines outside the station. The first of the K1 class, 62001, was rejoining the main line with a long train of flat wagons on 1 August 1964.
The view from Newcastle Keep at 15:50 on 4 August 1964 is one of my favourite shots. My only regret is that I was not able to identify all the locos and units visible. A Tyneside Electric is leaving on the line to Manors, while a Class 108 unit may be arriving. A Class 40 is checked at signals, a V3 Station Pilot is in the distance and an 03 shunter is on the right. The track layout is fascinating – note the double slip in the centre of the shot, level with the end of one platform. Out of curiosity I looked at the image of the tracks today visible on Google Maps. Somehow the layout has been simplified such that there are now only four tracks at the narrowest part of the junction!
Returning to the footbridge at Darlington on 2 September 1964, an A3 was heading North light engine. 60085 Manna was from Heaton shed (52B), the name being that of a racehorse which won the 2000 Guineas and the Derby in 1925. Apparently the horse’s owner named it thinking it must have been Heaven sent! I was saddened to discover that 60085 had been withdrawn a few weeks later in October 1964.
Freights around the coast were still steam hauled by the Raven Q6 locomotives, It was just about possible to see the numbers under the grime, and it was 63349 approaching Billingham on 24 September 1964, making a memorable picture.
At Darlington the following day, A1 class 60128 Bongrace was heading the 14:35 Newcastle to York. The bay platforms were used by the units going to a variety of destinations such as Richmond, Saltburn and in the case of the unit pictured, West Hartlepool. Bongrace was a racehorse which won the Doncaster cup in 1926, being sired by the famous Spion Kop.
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