Hi,



Our itinerary for this part:
Code:
TP = First TransPennine

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4/8/2009


Shrewsbury dep 8:24 Arriva Wales 158 -> Holyhead

Ruabon arr 8:55
Ruabon dep ~9:18 Bus 5 -> Llangollen

Llangollen arr ~9:33


Llangollen dep ~10:19 Bus 5 -> Corwen

Glyndyfrdwy arr ~10:30


Glyndyfrdwy dep ~12:20 Bus 5 -> Wrexham

Llangollen arr ~12:30


Llangollen dep ~13:15 Bus 5 -> Wrexham

Ruabon arr ~13:30
Ruabon dep 13:55 Arriva Wales 175 -> Holyhead

Chester arr 14:20
Chester dep 14:35 Virgin 221 -> London Euston

Crewe arr 14:54
Crewe dep 15:26 Arriva Wales 153 -> Shrewsbury

Wrenbury arr 15:41


Wrenbury dep 17:00 Arriva Wales 153 -> Crewe

Crewe arr 17:17
Crewe dep 17:29 Arriva Wales 175 -> Manchester

Manchester Piccadilly arr 18:15
Manchester Piccadilly dep 18:25 TP 185 -> York

York arr 19:55

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The videos for this part:






After a sufficiently long night full of relaxing sleep we left our hotel at 7:30 on a wonderful morning through the lovely centre of Shrewsbury. On the way we passed a Tudor house near our hotel where Henry VII stayed overnight while travelling in the year 1485. Well, if this area is good enough for a king, it can't be too shabby for us...
Shortly after passing the castle, the station was reached


Entry through platform barriers which don't pose such a problem for people with roundtrip passes in England as for example in Spain, because there is always someone attending nearby. As the first of several diesel locos within merely minutes we spotted the stabled 97301, formerly 37100, degraded to test the new ERTMS signalling system on the Cambrian lines from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli. We didn't like the view from this platform that much, so we decided to change to platform 3 where our train would depart anyway. Strangely, access to this platform was outside the barriers. But the guy at the barrier was obviously already used to it and asked us, with a wink: "Platform 3?"


The first Shrewsbury railway attraction: Semaphore signals as far as the eye can see. Obviously they are only replaced by light signals where absolutely necessary. The arriving class 158, however, would later prove to be of disadvantage to us


The second Shrewsbury railway attraction: What's the probability in a country, where only a handful of loco-hauled passenger trains still exist, that two of them from different companies and on different lines almost meet? Well, since the timetable change it is the case here: 8:06 - 8:07 Wrexham - London Marylebone Wrexham&Shropshire with class 67 + DVT and 8:08 - 8:10 Holyhead - Cardiff Arriva Trains Wales with class 57.
Class 67 from Wrexham came 5 minutes early on the line to Chester, satellite dish at the chimney and one of the chunky switchboxes removed





Overall, there are three semaphores behind each other to be seen here, just for this train


Now the before mentioned 158 came into play. Instead of clearing the platform for the Arriva Wales "Premier Service" Holyhead - Cardiff, something was being repaired.
So, the class 57 coming from Crewe took the same platform as the Wrexham&Shropshire train before, and not the nice inner tracks, although it was scheduled differently on the departure board


Not that bad, and I won't complain about the number of semaphore signals, but further left it would have been better. Another box removed


Our favourite 158 with the pretty station building


There was hardly any time to wait


As our train to Ruabon was already arriving in front of the nice, big southern signalbox of Shrewsbury


Only 9 minutes after the arrival of the class 57 we stepped on the train, that's called using time efficiently!


Shortly before reaching Ruabon we crossed the large Cefn Viaduct which we originally had planned as photo spot for the Great Britain II that day. Sadly, the route via Chester was diverted to Crewe last minute, so we had to find someplace else for the special which was supposed to be pulled by 6201 "Princess Elizabeth". At least a photo through the train window had to be taken, you can spot another sight in it: the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the longest and tallest aqueduct of Great Britain dating from 1805. It doesn't carry water pipes, but the navigable and nowadays quite popular Llangollen Canal, during the construction of which the engineers decided against a system of locks and built the aqueduct instead. That's why you can cross the valley of the River Dee almost 130 feet above ground in a boat.


From Ruabon we had to take a no. 5 bus to Llangollen (speak: http://www.raildata.info/zeug/Llangollen.mp3 ) into Dee Valley, sadly there is no railway line anymore. From the bridge built in the 14th century you can enjoy views of the lovely small town, the quite rapid stream ...


... and the station of the Llangollen Museum Railway Llangollen - Carrog, where the rake for the day was already waiting.

http://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk



All my combination skills with the online translator (which of course doesn't recognize the single words if you enter it like that) resulted in: "The licensed postcard shop at the bridge across the River Dee (Welsh: "Afon Dyfrdwy") in Llangollen"


OK, I am convinced!


No parking!!!!!


"Old" style ads at the museum terminal, although the railway to the left probably isn't located in Great Britain...


But the landscape is lovely here, too. Another bus no. 5, which explores the valley further than Llangollen in an hourly interval, had brought us to Glyndyfrdwy, meaning "Glen" or "Valley" of the Dee. We already have learned that Dyfrdwy means Dee.
The view into the valley was very nice here, and we found one of those British public footpaths consisting of an arrow pointing on to a meadow. In order to guess the further direction of the trail you sure have to be a Wild West tracker, especially if you don't know where it is supposed to lead. Still, we swung across the fence with full backpacks in good spirits. First we came across the not so pretty sight of a little lamb, freshly killed by predators. However, sheep seemed to breed like rabbits that time of the year, fresh lamb could be found on virtually every menu we saw, also the Easter lamb probably doesn't just originate from Christian symbolism.
So, we found a spot on the pasture and stayed there until after a while a shepherd boy came by - providing for the sheep in style by quad accompanied by his shepherd dog - who claimed that we shouldn't stand there because we would scare away the sheep. The path was supposed to run a little further uphill, and he pointed his finger to the exact spot where the herd of sheep was standing. So, we moved on to the next meadow - as we steered towards the peacefully grazing herd, it scathered of course in fear and terror, bleating wildly. And indeed, here in the corner there was another crossing of the fence, from here on you could even see something like a slight trail. At least this spot proved to be even better than our previous one, although we merely saw one sheep passing it over the rest of the waiting time.


After half an hour workhorse 6430 - GWR Class 6400 0-6-0PT (Swindon, built 1937) rolled by with the 11:00 from Llangollen towards Carrog


But first there was a stop scheduled at the station of Glyndyfrdwy, protected by semaphore signals


I explored the path a little further after the train had passed and found out that you get to a road just after a few yards, so we could have skipped the whole marching across pastures part. However, this road leads away from the station, so you wouldn't take it intuitively.
A "slightly" defective swing, squeaking with the wind, provided for a nice horror movie scene


The wind was very strong, almost as stormy as on the bridge of Saltash the day before, so we had constantly changing cloud formations.
A spotlight scene with the 11:50 from Carrog


6430 had to pull quite a bit into this direction. A sheep had also gone astray on this field


After the punctual passing of the train we caught the bus back to Llangollen.
Excellent, more characters close to the period as photo subjects...


Lunch break for the engine driver on the signalbox bench


20 minutes before departure the loco shunted around the train





After a watering stop


it was coupled to the train again


Departure, a minute early, at 12:59








Goodbye Llangollen Railway, we will gladly return, if there is a gala (or just like that)!


Back at the (nowadays) railway stop of Ruabon with pretty former station building, a southbound Arriva 158 was just arriving


Since the line Shrewsbury - Crewe, where we wanted to catch the Great Britain II, was only served every two hours by a local train, we had to get there in a little circle. First, we took an Arriva Wales 175 to Chester





From there we went by Virgin Voyager bringing us to Crewe after a few minutes ride. On the way we followed one of the very popular house boat canals. What I haven't seen before were big artificial lakes as harbours for the houseboats, one still under construction, another already in use.
At Crewe the single 153323 waited as local towards Shrewsbury for us. Inside, the smell of alcohol from some passengers had already eaten its way into the seat covers and/or heating system


As photo spot I had chosen Wrenbury, complete with signalbox, semaphore signals and a level crossing. As timeframe we had 1:20 h at our disposal, but, as promised, there won't be any delays anymore. In return there was another surprise approaching, who can guess it?























Once more 34067 "Tangmere", this time instead of the beautiful 6201 "Princess Elizabeth" and at high speed. But I can promise again: no more last minute loco changes!


Foto cloud or not? An express passing by to southern Wales





Soon, our class 153 returned


At the Virgin Trains station Crewe


One of the already known Arriva Wales 175s took us to Manchester Piccadilly. On the way, there were similarly lightly clad girls (too similar to be a coincidence) getting on at practically every station, which led us to following theories: a) there is an Easter costume festival going on in Great Britain unknown to the rest of Europe, or b) to be allowed to go out at night in Great Britain woman has to dress herself as slutty as possible, a few days later at Glasgow and Edinburgh we saw the same thing...


The wonderful trainshed of Manchester Piccadilly


Virgin Pendolino, Arriva Wales 175 and CrossCountry Voyager


A class 142 and our First TransPennine class 185 to York


Enter the a**hole of the trip, a Northern ticket inspector. He told us that they don't like us to take photos of their trains (did you see many Northern trains? ), because we could pose as tourists and smuggle bombs inside our backpacks into the trains. That's why we should stop taking pictures. Of course he didn't care about the backpacks or the pieces luggage about every other passenger on the platform had with her- or himself (maybe a good thing, as I carried the current issue of GEO (the main German geographic magazine) with the lead article "Mohammed" inside mine ;D). Again, our theories: a) he wanted to avoid unpleasant questions of passengers, as they weren't able to open up the DMU even five minutes before departure (unfortunately for him he had gotten to me, so he had to come off empty-handed with an even worse impression to the surrounding people), or b) he was simply frustrated as an old man in an underpaid job. During that and former trips it was noticable that especially Northern seems to employ socially disadvantaged persons, to phrase it politely. Which is not a bad thing, but then they could give them a job they manage to do properly. Some others we met were at least not unfriendly, just a little slow.
Two minutes before departure the DMU was finally opened and we could get comfortable inside, 185s even have sockets


After we had arrived at beautiful York station, which will be treated in a later part, we only had a short walk to the "York Alternative Bed&Breakfast". We were welcomed cordially and as we were the only guests of the house that night we also had the big bathroom to ourselves. After choosing what was about to be cooked for us next morning we took a nice good night drink consisting of drinking chocolate from organic farming.