NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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22 October 2018
On 5 October, 323 235 negotiates Heald Green West Junction with the recently-introduced Crewe - Liverpool (reversing at Manchester Airport) service as an Icelandair Boeing 757 from Reykjavik comes in to land. The viewpoint is a new one, resulting from recent changes in road layout. Picture by Greg Mape.
On 21 October the 'Northern Belle' luxury train made a somewhat unheralded appearance on the Coast line, running from Stockport via Altrincham and Chester to Llandudno Junction and back, with the stock running empty from and to Carnforth. Greg Mape's picture above shows the train heading west through Abergele in damp weather. In the lead is 57 601 which has been turned out in matching livery and named Windsor Castle.
The train waited at Llandudno Junction for twenty minutes or so before returning; Greg Mape photographed the departure from Llandudno Junction behind 57 313. The train appears to have been a 'taster trip' of some kind.
Passing the closed Abergele signalbox, which like the box at Rhyl has been repainted as a last farewell by Network Rail (Roly High).
A trip to London - with Alan Crawshaw
Rowan and I travelled to London on 19 October. We'd hoped to photograph the flasks before taking the Virgin Voyager to Crewe but it was running late so we caught the earlier TfW and changed at Prestatyn where we photographed it passing the original station buildings 68 002 Intrepid and 68 018 Vigilant. The Rail Head Treatment Train followed but we were in transit by then.
Transpennine Express liveried 68 031 sat in a bay platform at Crewe, we had just enough time to photograph it before boarding a Pendolino to Birmingham New Street.
The short walk to Moor Street ended with the disappointing sight of a DMU on the loco-hauled 12:55 diagram so we returned for the 13:55 which produced a more palatable 68 015, seen at Marylebone. More comfortable trains and superior scenery yet this route isn't as popular as the 'LMS' alternative.
For the return on Saturday I took a detour to Manchester. After staying overnight, I was up early to catch a tram to Bury for the first train of the day. The headliners were Duchess of Sutherland and City of Wells but I prefer smaller engines on preserved lines and the one I'd primarily come to see and travel behind was former Lancashire and Yorkshire 52322, the only survivor of a class of 484, the L&Y's standard goods locomotive. It was a cold grey day, a contrast to Saturday's warm sunshine so not great for photography. It was better attended than last month's diesel gala but far from busy, apparently Friday and Saturday saw more travellers as well as better weather.
Great Western 2-8-0T 4270 departs from Ramsbottom.
Class 769 breaks cover - report by Ian Bowland
I visited the Great Central Railway's Autumn Steam Gala on 7h October and was interested to find what I thought was a Northern class 319 parked in the yard at Quorn. On my visits to Crewe I invariably travel in a 319 and to see one so far away from its patch was strange. When I got near to it, its number was showing it as a class 769, 769 434. This is the first of a planned series of conversions from being an EMU to being powered by 25kV, 750v DC or diesel power and is on the GCR for testing, MAN diesel engines having been fitted to the end coaches.
This picture shows how the equipment appears to have been shoehorned underneath. Eight conversions have been ordered by Northern,which will be followed by five for Transport for Wales, and 19 for Great Western which will be the only ones to have the DC third-rail option. The project has been running late; the Northern units should have been in service by now. What a
fascinating development, I just hope the ride and the noise inside has been improved!
Steam news - by Robert Meredith
British Railways Standard Class 7 number 70000 Britannia has just recently completed a general overhaul by Locomotive Services Limited at Crewe, following the overhaul undertaken running-in trials on the Severn Valley Railway. On 19 October 70000 returned to the main line once again with a light-engine test run from Kidderminster back to Locomotive Services at Crewe. It is pictured passing Chorlton on the down slow line coasting towards Crewe Basford Hall Junction with support coach and D1924 Crewe Diesel Depot.
Loaded test runs for the locomotive between Crewe - Chester - Shrewsbury - Telford - Stafford - Crewe are planned for October 23 and 24, but may be cancelled or altered.
Three Days in Wales - with Vince Chadwick
I recently made what is becoming an annual pilgrimage to Porthmadog to ride the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland railways, travelling Arriva Wales from Wilmslow, via Shrewsbury and Machynlleth on Tuesday 9 October, and up the Cambrian Coast on that wonderfully scenic line through
Towyn, Barmouth, and Harlech to Porthmadog. Above: The view from the Cambrian Coast train northbound at Friog.
I stayed two nights in Porthmadog, the 07:47 departure from Wilmslow getting me there about lunchtime in time to walk through the town to Harbour Station to buy my tickets for the two narrow gauge railway trips. I spent an afternoon on a return trip the length of the Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Double Fairlie locomotive 'David Lloyd George' was our loco, and very splendid she was, superbly turned out with gleaming brasswork and spotless paint. Above: Our David Lloyd George commences the climb of Dduallt Spiral.
Tanygrisiau. The passenger stock too is of a very high standard, and there is an efficient and friendly at-seat snack and drink service. It was a lovely afternoon, warm and reasonably sunny, with the train moderately busy despite being out of school holiday season.
Victorian re-enactors at Porthmadog. A trip on the Ffestiniog is always enjoyable and this was no exception; but far better was to come the next day.
Wednesday 10 October was forecast to be a stunner, and it was! Dawning bright and warm, the temperature rose to the mid 20s by early afternoon with a cloudless blue sky, the heat from the low autumn sun quite noticeable. This was my 'Welsh Highland' day, a return trip right across the
peninsula from Porthmadog, through Snowdonia, to Caernarfon and back on my favourite Welsh narrow gauge railway, and I could not have asked for better. I have seen this line in low cloud and rain, and in good weather too, with Snowden clearly visible, but I have never before seen it on a day as superb as today. I bagged a seat in the open-sided coach, which soon filled up. I was on the only possible return trip, leaving at 10:50 and arriving back in Porthmadog at 16:30, with a 1 hour 20 minute lunch break in Caernarfon.
Our loco was Garrett NG143, built in Manchester as late as 1958 and having spent its working life in South Africa, pictured climbing near Ffriod Uchef.
These splendid locos are ideal for this line, being powerful to haul long trains up the steep gradients, and their Garrett configuration allows them to negotiate the sharp curves of the line while their 2-6-2 + 2-6-2 wheel arrangement allows them to use their power without excessive slipping.
Once she hit the climb up though Nantmor NG143’s bark was most impressive, her chimney blasting a blizzard of brilliantly-sunlit golden leaves from the trees, especially as she occasionally ‘lost her feet’ in a brief flurry of slipping. The low sun brought out the best of the fabulous autumn tints, and the long shadows picked out the rugged landscape, especially through the picturesque Aberglaslyn pass.
Descending towards Llyn Cwellyn in glorious weather.
'Coaling' at Dinas.
A view of Caernarfon Castle you only get from the railway.
Amazing that this locomotive, which spent its working life in South Africa, was built as late as 1958.
The low autumn sun casts shadows (including mine!) across NG143 at Caernarfon.
The new WHR station at Caernarfon is still under construction. Good to see the trackbed to the tunnel remains clear.... Next stop Bangor?
She was hiding in a veil of cloud yesterday, but today Snowdon basks in glorious sunshine.
As we progress homeward, a look back to Llyn Cwellyn in mid afternoon autumn sun.
Being such a glorious day, I travelled both ways in the open sided coach, like this one seen on an opposite-direction train.
Our open sided coach was very popular in the exceptional weather.
Back at Porthmadog, with David Lloyd George about to shunt its Ffestiniog train into a station siding for overnight stabling.
The driver of David Lloyd George shunting the stock for night stabling at Porthmadog.
The amazing weather had brought out the customers, and the train was full. Indeed, on the return trip some passengers had to stand. Back at Porthmadog I sat in sunshine enjoying a pint of ‘Snowdonia’ outside Spooner’s Bar and contemplated my wonderful two days of Welsh narrow gauge, while watching the Ffestiniog Double Fairlie shunt its stock for overnight stabling into a
Next morning the 09:57 Arriva Wales train took me home along the Cambrian Coast (arriving Wilmslow 14:52). But what a difference a day makes! By Harlech we in heavy rain ... And next day, 12 October, all services on the FR, WHR, and Cambrian Coast were cancelled due forecast 70mph winds and heavy rain! Lucky or what?
Ffestiniog and WHR Victorian Weekend
Some images by our contributors taken during the Ffestiniog Railway 'Victorian weekend'. Jim Ikin attended on 6 October. Above, Taliesin arrives at Porthmadog with a short slate train.
Blanche and Lyd at Porthmadog.
Garratt 138 prepares to take the Welsh Highland train back to Caernarfon after being coaled and watered.
Merddin Emrys takes a long slate train out of Porthmadog.
Assembling a freight by two-man power.
From Lee Andrew Davies: Merddin Emrys on a freight train approaching Minffordd.
Princess on display outside the Old Engine Shed at Boston Lodge.
Merddin Emrys approaching Campbell's Platform on a mixed freight and slate train.
From Ian Pilkington: Prince approaches Pen Cob with the 14:05 Porthmadog-Minffordd on Saturday 6 October.
Taliesin heads the 15:55 Porthmadog-Blaenau along the Cob.
David Lloyd George climbs away from Dduallt with the 10:35 Porthmadog-Blaenau on Sunday 7 October.
Palmerston heads the 10:50 Porthmadog - Dduallt freight near Campbell's Platform.
Blanche and Lyd approach Campbell's Platform with the 15:05 Porthmadog-Blaenau.
Merddin Emrys on the Victorian train at Penrhyn.
From Dave Sallery: Spooner's boat receives the tablet at Minffordd after travelling by gravity from Tan y Bwlch. The writing roughly translates to 'neither one or the other'.
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