© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
"Do you fancy a day out in north Wales?" my friend Steve
asked. "Dave and I were thinking of heading out that way on
Saturday. It might be the last weekend of the 37s"
I wasn't too worried about the 37s, though a day snapping
loco-hauled trains appealed, especially if we could combine
it with a look at the Welsh Highland "Sounds like a good idea -
we could nip over to Caernarfon when we've seen enough
First stop was Old Colwyn, high on the headland overlooking
Colwyn Bay, where we managed to get these pictures of a
Holyhead - Euston, 47-hauled, and the 37-hauled Holyhead -
We then moved on along the coast to Penmaenmawr, where a
nice shot can be obtained with the Great Orme in the
background. EWS-liveried 37 426 is seen on a Crewe - Bangor
Steve fancied some pictures at Malltraeth, on Anglesey, so we
headed on across the Menai Straights to the major road works on
the island, where Telford's road is being replaced by a new dual
carriageway. We escaped the works and drove south to the
viaduct, where the "may be 47 hauled" Euston - Holyhead was an
HST, and a rake of 150 and 153 units hurried through in the path
of the following Birmingham - Holyhead. Oh dear!
Suspecting a substitution, we drove back eastwards, pausing at
the famous Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantisilio-
gogogoch - Llanfair P G on weekdays - for a look and a snap. The
station was closed for some time, reopening immediately after
the disastrous fire on the Britannia Bridge. "There's a 37 at the
signals.....". Well, if it was our Birmingham - Holyhead, it was
well down now.
The signal box at Llanfair P G is a work of art! "It needs a train
to make the picture...". It got one - the returning 150 / 153
And so on to Dinas Junction, for a look at the WHR. Arriving
there shortly before the train, we managed a few snaps of the
magnificent ex-SAR NGG143, a 2-6-2 + 2-6-2 Beyer Garratt.
These superb machines were built in 1958, just three years
before the first "English Electric Type 3". We then returned to
Caernarfon for another shot or two - the loco is seen there
"How about a look at Llanberis?" "Sounds good". Steve had never
visited the Llanberis Lake Railway - just as well, as the Snowdon
Mountain Railway was effectively made inaccessible by a race.
I've a horrible suspicion that the runners had just run down, and
possibly up, Snowdon. I admire their fitness, but can't imagine
wanting to run up (or down) mountains. I'm not so sure about the
runners, but for me it would be defeating the object. Anyway....
In action on the LLR was "Thomas Bach", an attractive little
Hunslet quarry engine (849/04). It used to be named "Wild
Aster", but perhaps the younger generation prefer the idea of a
"little Thomas". The diminutive blue locomotive made an
attractive sight as it got underway with a train for the lake side
line. It was hard to believe that it is the same gauge as the
Garratt we had just seen in action a few miles away....
Time for home - but the sun was still shining, so we made one
final call on the main line, near Mostyn, where we managed two
more 37s - 429 seen westbound and, as the evening light warms
up, 426 eastbound - before leaving the line and heading
homeward. Another good day!
The North Wales Coast Railway
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
Llanberis Lake Railway