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European Railroad Discussion > My October

Date: 11/03/18 11:29
My October
Author: 86235

October in England and Wales has been remarkably mild and, except for the five days of Storm Callum, the 11th to 15th, remarkably dry as well. Callum dumped a months rainfall in a few days over our part of Wales, causing some significant flooding and consequent disruption to train services. That weekend also marked the end of the Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) franchise, the Welsh Government's new Transport for Wales (TfW) operation, a Keolis-Amey JV, took over from Sunday 14th. It was an inauspicious finish / start.

The two weeks preceding Callum were deceptively benign

1: Network Rail's test DMU 950 001 passing Highnam just south of Gloucester, heading down the Severnside line towards Newport in South Wales. It would tie up for the night in Bristol before going on to test a number of branches in the West Country and South and West Wales before returning to base at Burton upon Trent on Wednesday 3rd.

2: Taken from roughly the same location this is an ATW class 153, also known as a tin rocket or dogbox, on the 13:45 Cheltenham to Maesteg long distance local. Already the unit is unbranded as the ATW logos were being progressively removed in time for the franchise changeover in less than two weeks. In the background is the tower of Gloucester's medieval cathedral.

3: With the wooded slopes of the Forest of Dean in the background 66069 is on the 6V92 empty steel coil carriers from Corby in the English Midlands back to South Wales

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/18 00:57 by 86235.

Date: 11/03/18 11:41
Re: My October
Author: 86235

4: The advent of autumn, specifically the start of October, sees the appearance of Network Rail's Railhead Treatment Trains, fighting the leaf fall menace. Colas have one set based at Gloucester which does the Severnside line as far as Severn Tunnel Junction each morning. Motive power does change but to begin with Colas rostered a pair of 40 year old class 56s, here at Portskewett on Tuesday 2nd

5: I nipped over the Severn to Patchway on the outskirts of Bristol for another Colas working, empty cement tanks heading back to the cement works at Aberthaw in the Vale of Glamorgam. Electrification work continues, although energisation is still many months away. It's late and getting later.

6: To try and recover some credibility Network Rail's latest plan is to complete electrification to Bristol Parkway by Christmas. To that end the lines through Bristol Parkway were closed for three weeks from the middle of September. Cross Country (XC) trains were diverted which resulted in XC HSTs appearing on the South Wales mainline between Severn Tunnel Junction and Newport, where they reversed direction. This is the 07:00 Edinburgh to Exeter St Davids.

Date: 11/03/18 11:59
Re: My October
Author: 86235

7: Not too far from home at Pandy 67029 Royal Diamond on the 1V91 Gerald of Wales / Y Gerrallt Gymro from Holyhead to Cardiff. The only ATW train with first class and only one of two trains in the entire country with a restaurant car. Behind are the Black Mountains

8: Streaking through Abergavenny station at line speed 66526 Driver Steve Dunn (George) on the 4V20 from Fiddlers Ferry Power Station (FFPS) to East Usk Yard. Steve Dunn was the Freightliner driver killed at Great Heck in February 2001 when an errant motorist fell asleep at the wheel of his car, careered down an embankment off the freeway onto the ECML, was hit by a Newcastle to London express which derailed and ploughed into the path of an oncoming Freightliner coal train. George was his nickname.

9: This was unusual, a DBC machine on a Freightliner working. 66041 was a last minute substitution for a failure at Llanwern Steelworks in Newport. Freightliner had no substitute indigenous power and so a short term rental of 66041 was agreed, it was sent for from Alexandra Dock Junction Yard, just across Newport from the steelworks, and set off for Dee Marsh on the daily 6M86 somewhat late. You can see that the driver is wearing a Freightliner polo shirt.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/18 01:02 by 86235.

Date: 11/03/18 16:56
Re: My October
Author: 86235

10: Another shot of the 4V20 a couple of days later, 66526 Driver Steve Dunn (George) still at the helm
11: Along the River Severn 66424 on the Daventry to Cardiff Wentloog Tesco Express. 66424 was still on this daily out and back duty a month later. The autumn colours are very apparent
12: With the river filling as the tide turns an unbranded ATW 150 on the afternoon Gloucester to Fishguard working, a 175 mile, four hour, 21 stop odyssey across South and West Wales.

Date: 11/03/18 17:08
Re: My October
Author: 86235

13: On October 8th 66560 on 6M86 is on the Marches Line passing the small village of Little Mill between Pontypool and Abergavenny. You can see smoke from the brake blocks. Later in its journey 6M86 set off a detector at Hereford and was looped at Woofferton for almost five hours before being given permission to proceed.
14: Southern Railway rebuilt West Country Pacific 34046 Braunton (masquerading as 34052 Lord Dowding) and its support coach returning to its base at Crewe from an extended stay on the West Somerset Railway. It's passing Ponthir on the outskirts of Newport
15: Later the same day a loaded coal train bound for the steelworks at Port Talbot descending the Taf Bargod valley from the Ffos y fran washery at Cwmbargoed. This was the last decent day for a while, the outriders of Storm Callum arrived the following day.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/18 00:57 by 86235.

Date: 11/03/18 17:16
Re: My October
Author: 86235

16: I have Welsh class on a Thursday. After class I wandered over to Abergavenny station for a rain lashed picture of the regular afternoon stone empties to Moreton on Lugg
17: At the end of the following week I had an appointment in London. I had a few hours to spare before hand and revisited some of my old haunts on the North London line. GBRf's 4M23 is approaching Highbury and Islington behind 66731
18: On October 22nd I climbed to the top of Gelligaer Common for another shot of the Ffos y fran operation. The 6C93 leaves the washery exchange sidings at Cwmbargoed on the descent to the junction with the Rhymney mainline at Ystrad Mynach

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/18 01:06 by 86235.

Date: 11/03/18 17:41
Re: My October
Author: 86235

19: 66021 looks as though its just received its new DBC warpaint. It's passing Abergavenny on the 6B35 to Moreton on Lugg
20: The new order, one of two 175s which have been 'wrapped' in the new TfW livery passing Penperlleni. The sign on the left is a warning of an upcoming speed limit. Must admit I'm rather disappointed in this somewhat bland offering. I was expecting a livery which incorporated the colours in the national flag, red and green and included a stylised dragon motif somewhere.
21: Penperlleni has benefited from some trackside undergrowth clearance by Network Rail. This is the 6M86 again, carrying steel coil to the steelworks at Shotton

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/18 01:07 by 86235.

Date: 11/03/18 17:48
Re: My October
Author: 86235

Last bunch
22: Another shot of 4V20 from FFPS to East Usk Yard, this time emerging from Dinmore Tunnel in Herefordshire
23: A 175 dwarfed by its surroundings at Penperlleni. Although sunny it was exceedingly cold.
24: On October 30th 60011 on the TFO (Tuesday and friday Only) 6B41 empty oil tanks passing Portskewett along the Severn Estuary

Date: 11/03/18 17:59
Re: My October
Author: gaspeamtrak

Excellent as usual !!! Thank you for sharing !!! :):):)

Date: 11/03/18 18:19
Re: My October
Author: Milepost_130

Nice work.  Interesting images.  Thanks for sharing.

Date: 11/04/18 17:44
Re: My October
Author: cabsignaldrop

Excellent series of photos, that you for sharing.  Love the countryside, absolutely gorgeous!

Date: 11/04/18 20:47
Re: My October
Author: krm152

Outstanding photos and concise narratives.  You certainly had a great October.
Thanks for posting your photos.  Especially like the Class 66 units.

Date: 11/09/18 16:57
Re: My October
Author: inCHI

Excellent work!

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