Just before Christmas I took an afternoon off work to ride what was then expected to be one of the last loco-hauled services from North Wales to Manchester. As it happened, this working continued into the new year but by the time we planned our Easter trip to visit my parents in York its imminent demise was again predicted so we ensured our travel arrangements afforded us a second trip.
The idea was for me to work until 13:30 before meeting Christine and Rowan at the station for the 13:51 departure but a railgen message that 47 784 Condover Hall had replaced an ailing 37 401 Mary Queen of Scots sent me scurrying out to photograph the incoming working, the 10:07 Birmingham New Street to Holyhead, seen above drawing into platform 2. Despite the late start from Crewe caused by the engine change, it was only two minutes down.
Despite the short notice, a number of enthusiasts had boarded the train and jumped out to photograph this unique working.
47 784 passes Bangor signalbox for the final leg of its journey.
We board the 13:51 and are joined by Darren from the booking office, a keen 47 fan delighted that this working coincided with his day off. Four coaches don't provide much of a challenge to a 47 and we flew along, arriving at the few intermediate stations in plenty of time. There's only one stop between Bangor and Chester (Llandudno Junction) whence it's a rapid limited stop run to Manchester.
We bail out at Oxford Road to await the Liverpool to Scarborough service which will take us to York. This was a three car 158, bursting at the seams as usual.