It’s all Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe’s fault … No … it REALLY is! I knew of the All The Stations project but I hadn’t taken a lot of notice of it last year and being my usual ‘late to the party’ way in life I have been binge watching their YouTube channel over the past week. Many years ago when the wife (then girlfriend/fiancé) and I were young, free and childless, we planned to travel over every railway line in the UK (and in Austria had I been able to persuade her). This was, of course, in the days of class 37s on the Thurso, Wick and Kyle lines, class 47s through Aberdeen, 86/87 on the Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester routes, the Trans Pennine services were 47s, the Paddington to Oxford line and the Waterloo to Exeter were class 50s and 47s on the North Wales line. Now of course everything is DMUs or EMUs. Now thanks to Geoff and Vicky it’s sparked my interest in travelling the length and breadth of Britain.
Thankfully there are a few interesting trains (traction) still out there. One such line worth a trip due to the traction used is the line to Holyhead. Firstly it was a case of finding the class 67 diagrams for the line which I knew was on Rail Forums UK. For those not wanting to go to there site here are the diagrams:
Diagram 1 (known as the Premier Service).
1V91 Holyhead 05:34 – Chester 07:11a / 07:16d – Cardiff Central 09:58.
1W96 Cardiff Central 17:16 – Chester 19:57a / 20:02d – Holyhead 21:41.
Diagram 2 (known as the North Wales Commuter Train).
1D51 Crewe 07:11 – Chester 07:35
1H82 Chester 07:38 – Manchester Piccadilly 08:53
1D34 Manchester Piccadilly 09:53 – Chester 11:02a / 11:03d – Holyhead 12:36
1H89 Holyhead 13:05 – Chester 14:46a / 14:48d – Manchester Piccadilly 15:54
1D31 Manchester Piccadilly 16:50 – Chester 18:01a / 18:03d – Llandudno 19:04
1K96 Llandudno 19:34 – Chester 20:45a / 20:47d – Crewe 21:07
These are Monday to Friday with NO Saturday/Sunday services.
The usual coaching stock are formed like this:
82306, 12181, 12176 (set CF01).
82308, 12182, 12183, 12185, 12184 (set CF06).
Now on to the trip.
Leaving my home station no later than 7am means I can be in London Euston to catch one of two trains:
07:35 to Manchesater Picadilly (1H62) as far as Crewe or 08:10 to Holyhead (1D82) to Chester.
From Crewe I can spend a bit of time ‘spotting’ and taking some photos, not so much at Chester.
At Chester it will be 11:02 ex Manchester Piccadilly (1D34) to Holyhead affectionately nicknamed as the ‘Pauper WAG’ getting me in to Holyhead at 12:36.
What to do? Well I could just go straight to Chester/Crewe and then back to London but instead I have planned in Llandudno to ‘tick off’ the 3 mile 27 chain branch.
The cl.67 leaves at 13:05 to Manchester Piccadilly (1H89) and at 13:49 I will be at Llandudno Junction. Many years ago my Great Uncle Bill (William Abraham) was the Relief Area Manager there, and in the 1980s I visited the station with him on a family trip.
Now if the train is on time I stand a good chance of catching 13:52 from Manchester Airport to Llandudno (1D36) which gets me in at 14:03. Now if it is late, there is a 14:28 from the junction to Llandudno (2D70) which would leave me only 2 minutes to change and catch the 14:40. So I will be praying that the early of the two trains will be on time and that will give me about 25 minutes to have a look around the station and take a few photos.
The 14:40 Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly (1H90) gets me in Chester in time to get into Crewe for a train to London. I have a couple of options here (depending on trains being on time or delayed) meaning I can either go via Euston or to Milton Keynes Central and change there for a direct train to Selhurst.
Mileage would be about 545-29 (M-Ch) depending what route home I took and about 10 different trains.
All in all this would be a pretty good day out.