DAY ONE - 20th May 2000

It is a seemingly (and somewhat disturbingly) short period of time since First North Western ran two charter trains to commemorate the passing of class 37 diesel haulage on its network. The 37/4's had provided some spectacular and varied entertainment over the years, particularly along the North Wales Coast, working to and from a variety of points including Manchester, Birmingham, Llandudno and Holyhead. These journeys were pure magic to the enthusiasts who frequented the services albeit sometimes to the detriment of "normal" passengers, especially those who dared to enter the leading coach. I have many happy memories of travelling in the somewhat dilapidated, yet much missed, mark II coaches as they rattled along the coast, windows open so as to allow that wonderful "growl" to be savoured. Sadly such ventures are now confined to history books.

The two tours were organised by First North Western and supported by Railway Magazine. However, the events were also heavily promoted by Charlie Hulme who had long been revealing he delights of coastal travel via his dedicated web site. So it was to Charlie that I am indebted for his work in advertising the events otherwise I would probably have missed them.

Images of both tours are to be found elsewhere on my site but I just felt that the ten year anniversary was a good reason to revisit what went on over those two memorable days. Today there is much improved image processing software and web space is more available to allow better portrayal so here goes but do remember that ten years ago the digital camera was very much in its infancy..

 Day one and 37029 led 37379 "Ipswich WRD Quality Approved" into platform 12 at Crewe complete with headboard.

 Waiting for the off and North Wales.

 Having arrived at Llandudno Junction the train waited for DRS liveried 37608 and 37612 to attach to the rear in preparation for the run along the Llandudno branch and Llandudno itself.

 Llandudno station,

 The two DRS locomotives now took over as train engines for the run up to Bleanau Ffestiniog.


 Bleanau Ffestiniog station and more inclement weather.

 The two engines detached and ran forward onto the headshunt and the subsequent run round. Note the Ffestiniog Railway works train on the right.

 As the 37's ran round, the classic Conwy Valley climate can be seen.

 608 paused at the Junction before the gallop across Anglesey.....

.....with 612 tucked in behind.

 It was then a case of straight through to Holyhead.

 The first two 37's were waiting just outside the station.

 In the sidings at Holyhead was old friend on the coast 37420 "The Scottish Hosteller".
Sadly 420 is no more having been cut up in early 2008.

 Arrival at Chester and enough time to leave the train to take a few shots.

 In the siding on thunderbird duty was 47705 "Guy Fawkes", part of Mr Waterman's fleet. This engine metamorphosised as 57303 "ALAN TRACY", part of the Virgin thunderbird fleet and has been used on the coast on the Pendolino drags.

 From Chester the train took the Altrincham line to Skelton Junction where it branched off for Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly, Earlestown, Warrington and finally Crewe. This flowers in the rain shot shows that the headboard didn't exactly survive the somewhat vicious weather.