Jack drifts down towards Leadhills station © 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 diesels" 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 - Crewe. 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 working. 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 rake. 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 taking water. "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! Links: The North Wales Coast Railway Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways Llanberis Lake Railway 37 at Colwyn Bay Those sprinters again - Llanfair PG 37 425 at Llanfair PG 37 426 near Mostyn 37 426 Penmaenmawr 37 429 near Mostyn NGG143 takes water at Caernarfon NGG143 at Dinas Holyhead - Euston at Colwyn Bay Tomas Bach at Llanberis Sprinters at Malltraeth