Visit to the Dean Forest Railway

Wednesday 15th February saw members of The North Wales Railway Circle take advantage of the Arriva Trains Wales Club 55 offer again. This offer by Arriva is very good value and Circle members have used it a great deal for Circle events as well as family trips out. On this occasion the destination was Lydney to visit the Dean Forest Railway

The first train of the day was the 06.02 departure from Bangor, this being the Holyhead to Cardiff service known as the “WAG”, hauled by 57313.  Seen here standing in Newport (Gwent) Station.

Members enjoyed a “main line” breakfast cooked by a chef on board and served at their tables. No disposable plates or plastic cutlery here, the real thing and at a reasonable price. Their destination on this train was Newport.

During the 40 minute wait at Newport station members were hoping to see some freight movement, they were not disappointed. Sightings of the tanker trains from Robeston near Milford Haven being among them.




West bound empty tanks headed by 60091 in DB livery runs through Newport Station on the down fast.




Entering Newport Station on the up east bound is 60071 Ribblehead Viaduct with a loaded tanker train.


The group continued their journey to Lydney with 150 unit 150254 on a service to Cheltenham via Chepstow enjoying good views of The Severn Estuary for a large part of the journey.


Lydney Junction station on the Dean Forest Railway is a few hundred yards from the mainline station, which formerly carried that name.  A number of diesel locomotives were stored in various stages of restoration on the other side of the level crossing from the station.




E6001 stands in a head shunt on the approach to Lidney Junction Station.




The only one of it's class in EWS livery 31466 stands behind Lidney Jcn signal box.


Circle members traveling on the day new in advance that, disappointingly, the planned steam service was to be suspended due to a frozen water supply.   The group waited in anticipation to see what the alternative motive power would be. A three car Class 108 Diesel Multiple Unit was a pleasant surprise, seen here entering Lydney Jcn. Station.


The group travelled the line to the terminus at Parkend which features a levelcrossing and signal box making a very nostalgic railway scene.  On the journey passengers were given an interesting commentry of locations and their history that could be seen from the train.


On arriving at Parkend the group made their way to a nearby public house for a pint or two.


The return journey was broken as the group alight at Norchard High Level Station.  Here there is a junction with a spur off to Norchard Low Level where sidings, work shops and a museum are located.


A view of Norchard Low Level from the high level platform.


Looking from the low level platform.  Numerous items of rollingstock and locos can be seen including a LMS brake van, in the foreground and a GWR auto trailer beyond the level crossing.


GWR 14xx class 0-4-2T 1450 in splendid condition stands in the shed out of the weather.


GWR 0-6-0 pannier tank 9681 hides from the weather under a tarpaulin out side the workshops.


Also seen in the workshop area is one of a number of diesel locos, this being a diesel hydraulic, D9555.


In the museum on sight is a an excellent working "Strowger" telephone exchange.

A fine example of the old "A B button" cash box telephone.  One first put the money in the slot and then dialed the number.  If the person answered at the other end one pressed button A and the cash would enter the cash box and one would be connected.  If there was no answer one pressed button B and received their cash back in the tray below.



Exchange line test equiment.


A "dolls eye" manual switch board.








This very impressive display included a number of period telephones.  One could pick up a telephone receiver and dial the number of one of the other telephones.  One could then watch the Strouger telephone exchange switching equipment operate (seen behind the glass panel in the above photo) and put one through to the telephone called.




In the low level 08 238 awaits the Parkend bound DMU in order to proceed with a works train to Lydney Junction.




Having enjoyed lunch in Lydney Town members of the group await the DMU to return to Lydney Junction.




Displaying the "Cat's Wiskers" on the front panel the DMU arrives at Lydney Town Station.




Back in Lydney Junction Station.


Members had time to watch the departure of the return working of 08 238 before making their way back to the main line station for their journey home.


Our thanks to all at the Dean Forest Railway A very pleasant day out.

(Photos: Brian Bollington)

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