Day return to Valley

Friday 3rd December 2004

Mindful that the all stations across Anglesey loco-hauled stopper will be finishing soon, I boarded 1D65 (10:17 Crewe - Holyhead) at Bangor with a ticket to Valley, joining half a dozen or so railfans in the front coach. It soon became apparent why Arriva would want to switch this diagram over to units... approaching each stop, the guard waved either a red or a green flag out of the window to indicate to the driver whether or not someone wanted to alight, while the driver has also to watch out for passengers at the stops and figure out if they intend to travel, photograph the locomotive or are simply loitering. The front vehicle was the brake so the guard asked passengers to use the non centrally locked door which is normally barred to passengers, which caused a certain amount of confusion and delay.

I was the only passenger to alight at Valley, where two DRS 37s were at the far end of the triangle with the flasks.

A pair of 20s is more usual so I was very lucky to catch a day when 37s were in use. The footpath which crosses the triangle is still closed for Welsh Water works but I was able to photograph them from the back of the shopping centre, though a big zoom is necessary.

I strolled back to the station where the Euston to Holyhead Voyager glided past then a few minutes later 47 839 reappeared. I was the only passenger waiting to board and it felt very odd flagging down a six coach loco-hauled train as if it were a bus. The brake van was of course at the rear now, so it was unclear where to board and the door-unlocked lamps were not illuminated. I spotted the guard at the window of the second coach and boarded there.

The sandite was held for us at the mainline end of the Britannia Bridge single line section, and when we were safely past, I looked back and grabbed a shot. 37 682 is leading and 37 706 brings up the rear.

In an hour and a half I'd seen four 37s and enjoyed a fascinating ride behind a 47.

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