NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY :NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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23 October 2023
A touch of steam: 45596 Bahamas passing the site of Heaton Norris station, 21 October. Picture by Dave Jepson.
As briefly noted in the last issue, the Class 175 units are now 'off-lease' and will no longer operate for TfW. The last passenger movement (tell us if you know otherwise) were on Tuesday 17 October. 1W90 05:12 Cardiff to Holyhead was formed of 175 101 and 175 109 as far as Chester, from where 197 105 took over. Later in the day 175 101 and 109 were in the headshunt at the east end of Chester station. (Thanks to John Oates for this.)
It appears that they are to be stored at Crewe until further notice; there are rumours about transfer to new operators, but from what we read a lot of work would be needed before being passed on, after only 23 years' service. Did you take a nostalgic last ride and take a picture? We'd be pleased to hear from you. Will the new 197s be as pleasant to travel in, especially on long runs, than the 175s?
The past week saw very stormy weather in places. The Coast line was not affected, but on 20/21 October, nothing was able to run on the line to Crewe and Shrewsbury, although the Llandudno - Manchester Airport service was not affected. The Conwy Valley line didn't operate on 21 October, but was back the next day - operated for most of the day by a 3-car 197, 191 112, rather that the usual 2-car.
This was the scene at Shrewsbury station on Saturday 21 October with bus replacements to Chester, Machynlleth and Llanwrtyd Wells (Graham Breakwell).
On 21 October some services on the routes to Birmingham and Crewe and Cardiff were either cancelled or delayed. In the case of the 10:08 from Birmingham International, rolling stock in the wrong place saw 153 312 working with 158 831, leading to overcrowding, made worse with crowds of Derby County supporters coming for the match with Shrewsbury Town (Graham Breakwell).
Yes, we have Bahamas
45596 Bahamas passing Cheadle Hulme on 21 October with the 'Mancunian' excursion from London to Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria.
Stockport (Jim Ikin).
45596 crosses the river Irwell by the recently-built Ordsall Chord Bridge which allows trains to travel between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations (Greg Mape). 47 804 was on the other end of the train.
The return journey to London was planned to be via Stockport, but a tree fell on to the overhead wires, so it was diverted via the Styal line, frustrating a lot of people who were waiting to watch it pass.
150 259 passing the logs with 2M06 the 11.03 from Llanwrtwd Wells to Shrewsbury on 16 October, services not running to and from Swansea that day (Graham Breakwell).
1W19, the 12:49 Cardiff to Manchester Piccadilly near Shrewsbury on 16 October, with 67 010 propelling (Graham Breakwell).
In the middle road at Shrewsbury on Tuesday 17 October at around 10:40, was 66 594 on 6Q97 with 197 115 on delivery between barrier wagons from Donnington to Crewe. The leading driver's door on 115 had come open and the driver, with assistance, was trying to lock it shut, eventually succeeding...
Whilst this was in progress, 66 717 Good Old Boy came through platform 4 on
the steel train 6V75 Dee Marsh to Margam. (John Oates). The disruption caused by the steel train a few weeks ago just north of Church Stretton on the northbound was due to a coupling coming loose, connecting with the track and damaging sleepers, with a southbound train hitting the debris rupturing one of its fuel tanks
Two images taken on 22 October at Church Stretton of train 3S31, the 11:58 from Swindon Transfer to Worcester Shrub Hill Rail Head Treatment Trains which on Sundays runs via Shrewsbury. 67 023 is seen leading, with the sprayers on heading south ...
...with 67 027 “Stella” on the rear. This stretch of line from Shrewsbury to Craven Arms gets a second dose in the early hours of Monday morning when Coleham-based the RHTT covers the route ...
...With the trees changing colour the station’s welcome sign sums it all up (Graham Breakwell).
56 049 Robin of Templecombe and 56 078 on the RHTT at Holyhead on 19 October ...
... and making a smoky departure (Stuart Broome).
From Dave Sallery's archive
45 105 leaving Prestatyn on a down service, 7 August 1984.
45 125 on a Bangor train at Prestatyn, 15 August 1984.
45 139 with newly repainted stock in Regional Railways livery, Prestatyn, 20 April 1987.
45 136, 146, 125, 111, 126 and 148, Egginton Junction near Derby, 27 October 1990. 45 125 is preserved on the GCR, the others were all scrapped by MC Metals, Glasgow.
Looking back: The Leek and Rudyard Railway - by David Pool
The owner of this miniature railway has just decided to sell it as a going concern, including all the rolling stock, with an asking price of £495,000. The Churnet Valley Railway is making progress with its extension to Leek from the South, and the miniature railway uses 1.5 miles of the trackbed of the closed line which ran North from Leek towards Macclesfield. A 10.25 inch gauge line was built in 1985 with a station at the South end of Rudyard Lake, then gradually extended until 2003, when it reached the present terminus at Hunthouse Wood. Ownership of the miniature railway changed hands in 2000, when it became the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway, running until 2014 before it was again put up for sale.
At this time the railway which ran on the Isle of Mull comes into the story. This miniature railway had closed in 2011, and after several attempts to reopen it on the Scottish mainland, the rolling stock was stored, the steam locomotives eventually being kept at Rudyard. In 2015 the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway was sold, and the new owner also bought the assets of the Isle of Mull Railway, forming today’s Leek and Rudyard Railway.
My first visit to the Isle of Mull railway was on 20 September 1997, when the diesel Glen Auldyn (built in Mull by Bob Davies in 1986, but since rebuilt) was at Craignure terminus. The train went to Torosay, where the garden of Torosay Castle was open to the public. Torosay Castle, also known as Duart House, is not the same as Duart Castle, the imposing structure at Craignure seen from the Oban ferry.
Three locomotives in the shed at Torosay illustrated the difference in height which is possible for locomotives of 10.25 inch gauge. The diesel was based on a Class 26, and the blue steam locomotive was Waverley, photographed later at Rudyard Lake. The large green locomotive Lady of the Isles was built by Roger Marsh in 1981, and is now privately owned and does not appear to be running on any miniature railway open to the public.
On my return to Craignure on 20 May 2006, Victoria was in steam. This was built by Mouse Boiler Works for the Mull railway in 1993, and was the locomotive used on most trains. Three platforms would seldom be necessary, and the signal is presumably more of a landmark than having any railway function. Victoria is now also at Rudyard.
The Gala Day at Rudyard on 5 May 2014 featured four locomotives built at the Exmoor Steam Railway, Merlin, Excalibur, Pendragon and King Arthur. My dog Jack had a ride behind Merlin to Hunthouse Wood, the end of the line, before we walked back alongside Rudyard Lake.
At Lakeside the trains crossed, and Excalibur was accelerating away from the loop. Children and dogs were being kept under control, and the trains were not travelling at excessive speeds.
I returned to Rudyard on 21 September 2019 for a Gala, at which there were six locomotives operating, three of which had come from Mull. Leaving the main station at Rudyard Road were Edward VIII and Victoria. Edward VIII was built by H Bullock in 1936, and after running on many different railways has been at the Eastleigh Lakeside Railway since 2006. Its design seems to be a hybrid, having a GWR type boiler and an LMS chassis!
Following the lifting of Covid restrictions, the Gala day at Rudyard on 17 September 2022 was very well attended, with ten locomotives in steam including several visitors from other railways. The Mull locomotive Waverley, build by David Curwen in 1952, was now in green livery, and dwarfed by the collection of signs outside the shed.
Lady Jane Gray, built by Engineering at Bressingham in 1996 as a sister locomotive to Alan Bloom, was one of the stars of the Gala, having been out of the public view for some 20 years in storage. It was at Rudyard for the 2022 season, but has moved on since then and I assume is in private ownership.
The Leek and Rudyard Railway is operating until 5 November 2023, but there will be no Santa Specials this year. It is not clear whether there will be any trains between Christmas and the New Year, and it is to be hoped that the interest already shown in the sale will lead to a successful season in 2024.
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