Tuesday, 27 November 2012

North Wales Coast

57314 hauls Pendolino 390045 towards Conwy on a dismal 24th November 2012
The line from Chester along the North Wales Coast to Holyhead certainly ranks among my favorite railways. For long stretches it runs right alongside the Atlantic ocean offering wonderful sea views. Looking south the peaks of Snowdonia can be seen on a clear day. It also witnesses a string of historical sights from bridges to Castles. 

37605 is returning the North Wales RHTT to Crewe at
Penmaenmawr on 14th November 2008.
From a photography perspective there are many great locations from where the trains can be seen within the landscape with stunning backdrops of either the coasts, mountains or indeed passing the famous Conwy Castle.

A full Virgin set, 57304 hauls the afternoon train
back from Holyhead, 14th November 2008
The passenger service on the line is approximately hourly west of Llandudno Junction (with more frequent trains east of this point which serve Llandudno and/or Blaenau Ffestiniog. Local trains are formed of diesel units primarily from classes 158 and 175, calling at most stations on the route, including several request stops. In addition there are also intercity services provided by Virgin Trains. These are in the hands of class 221 'Super Voyager' units with the exception of one train each week where a class 57 hauls a 'Pendolino' along the coast. The Welsh Assembley Government train also runs one return trip each weekday from Holyhead to Cardiff.
A class 175 unit skirts Conwy Castle on 24th November 2012.

 Freight action on the North Wales Coast is very minimal.
Occasional stone traffic can originate from the quarry at Penmaenmawr (though this has ceased in recent years), there is also an approximately weekly nuclear flask train from Valley containing spent fuel rods from the power station at Wylfa.
Seasonally there a Rail Head Treatment train runs in the autumn- in recent years formed of class 37 locomotives, and more recently Network Rails fleet of 'class 97's used due to inter-working with the Cambrian line which requires their ERTMS system.
57314 in Arriva colours stands at Llandudno Junction with
the 14:38 Holyhead - Euston. 24th November 2012
 While the class 57's on the 'Pendolino drags' used to see exclusively Virgin liveried stock more recently Arriva liveried locos (sub leased by Virgin to work the Welsh Assembley train) have also turned up.
Sadly with the December 2012 timetable change this train is expected to cease to run loco hauled- bringing the end to another interesting working along the coast.

*Update*- Since writing this post it turns out that the photographed Pendolino drag on 24th November was actually the final working. Class 221 Voyagers are now booked on these services along with all other Virgin trains on the route.

97303 and 97304 have just past Conwy Castle and emerged from Stephenson's Tubular Bridge as they take the Welsh RHTT towards Crewe on 24th November 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Just a helpful note , its not the Atlantic ocean , its the Irish sea . Hope that's helpful . Good article