23rd June 2001
Hertfordshire Rail Tours
North Wales Coast Merrymaker
|Locos Used||60078. 67028 & 67029|
1Z36 : Euston to Holyhead
1Z37 : Holyhead to Watford Junction [Euston]
|67028||London Euston - (via WCML, Northampton) - Crewe - Chester - Bangor - Holyhead|
|67028||Holyhead - Llanfair PG (1)|
|60078||Llanfair PG - Bangor - Chester - Crewe|
|67029||Crewe - (reverse of outward route) - Watford Junction (2)|
(1) 67028 failed due to computer software fault.
(2) Train, running some five hours late, terminated at Watford Junction due to engineering works.
67028 at Holyhead...before it failed!
Source & photo : Robert Frise (joined/left the train at Milton
(by Robert Frise)
The tour options were Llandudno Junction, Bangor for Caernarfon Castle or Welsh Highland Railway, or Holyhead. We joined the train at Milton Keynes and decided that as we had never been west of Bangor we had booked through to Holyhead.
The outward trip was uneventful and the vast majority of passengers alighted at Bangor (there were only two others remaining in our carriage). After an entertaining break in the maritime museum at Holyhead we duly presented ourselves at the station and left sharply at 16.30
It was a warm sunny day, the carriage windows were open and we were enjoying a delightful run through the Anglesey countryside, the smell of the roast leg of lamb was wafting through the carriages and making the journey even more enjoyable. I got up and went to the carriage window to take a photograph of Llanfairpwllgwyngyligogerychwyrydrobwillllantysiliogogogoch. On reaching the window the train began to brake rather erratically I noticed that the locomotive ground to a halt at a green signal and the driver was out using the phone, I thought this was a bad sign. After a few minutes the train moved forward slowly and the locomotive eventually came to a halt in Llanfair PG platform. The motors were now switched off, the train manager informed us that there were problems with the onboard computer. He said the driver had been told to re-boot and start up again, after a few minutes the motors sprang into life and we were on our way again, however we didn't get far the coaches came to a halt in the platform and the loco was declared a failure. Apparently there was a software fault which meant each time power was applied the brakes came on. We were told we could now leave the train we went in the Pringles gift shop and told them the train had broken down their response was its 17.30 and we are closing, and we were one of the few people that got served. They posted someone on the door to stop other passengers coming in. We called in a gift shop across the road and told the lady she stayed open till 19.00 and did a roaring trade, as did the fish & chip shop & pub.
A rescue locomotive was despatched from Warrington more than 100 miles away but 37886 failed before leaving Warrington.
60078 was then prepared and was despatched to rescue us, a couple of hours had passed and John Farrow had decided to move all Llandudno passengers to Bangor on the service train, and then move all dining passengers on the service train down from Llanfair PG, so the service of dinner could commence. The only problem was that single line working for other trains had been introduced around our stranded charter and several 175's had passed by on their way to Holyhead. These then had to return and the service train containing the railtour passengers was held at Menai bridge for nearly an hour. Two 175's that were coupled together that to Holyhead were split at Holyhead and worked back as two separate trains.
When the service train eventually arrived at Llanfair PG it was like a scene from a comedy film with all the people getting out, we eventually got on our way at 21.29. At Crewe 60078 rapidly removed 67028 and 67029 took the train forward to London departing at 23.45 the loco changeover was on of the fastest I have seen. With the train now running 5 hours late engineering work on the WCML meant it had to terminate at Watford Junction where the passengers had to continue their journey by buses and taxis. The problem of acquiring enough taxis so late meant the last didn't leave until 5.00 a.m. We left the train at Milton Keynes and gave a lift home to one of the stewards that lives near us the poor guy was so exhausted that he immediately fell asleep and had to be woken up when we arrived at his home.
I had always wanted to visit Llanfair PG but I had not bargained in staying there for 5 hours.
Timings (Booked Only)
(from Robert Frise)
|M.C||Location||Booked (out)||Booked (rtn)|
|5.65||Willesden WL Jn||08/10||21/44|
|11.30||Harrow & Wealdstone||08/16||21/34|
|17.35||Watford Junction||08.22a ~ 08.24d||21.22a ~ 21.24d|
|49.65||Milton Keynes Central||09.07a ~ 09.09d||20.53a ~ 20.55d|
|65.68||Northampton||09.29a ~ 09.36d||20.30a ~ 20.32d|
|112.39||Tamworth Low Level||10/18||19/31|
|118.50||Lichfield TV LL||10/22||19/27|
|158.43||Basford Hall Jn||11/09||18/47|
|160.27||Crewe||11.12a ~ 11.20d||18.38a ~ 18.41d|
|161.68||Crewe Steel Works||11/23||18/34|
|171.07||Beeston Castle & Tarporley||11/37||18/28|
|226.02||Llandudno Junction||12.40a ~ 12.42d||17.27a ~ 17.30d|
|241.18||Bangor||13.01a ~ 13.03d||16.59a ~ 17.10d|
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