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A Day Out At... 4: Newport

Ian Fowler

IAN FOWLER explains what there is to see at this busy Welsh station.

I did originally choose to name these features “Nerd’s Day Out” as that is what my great friend, former colleague and legend of this parish Nick Duxfield christened our regular six monthly outings (in our own time I hasten to add – the owners might be reading this..) where we’d basically spend a day out taking photos of trains and watching the world go by. HOWEVER, following a real life actual complaint about the title of the feature (I was frankly surprised that anyone was reading these musings), it has been re-named. Apologies if anyone was offended, I will report myself to the boss...

I’m concentrating on the contemporary scene rather than days gone before. I’ve got to also pay tribute to my dear old dad who diligently took me to a variety of locations as a small boy to watch the trains, even though his own interest was minimal at the time. He was even crazy enough to do an “all nighter” here in the 90s. So thanks, Dad.

I’d love others to be able to fill in the gaps for me, so please do email any of your own information on this location to us at rightlines@gaugemaster.co.uk so we can expand and update this feature in due course, selling the concept to a publisher for millions of dollars and not split it with Stuart!

GETTING THERE (From GM HQ at Ford)

By Rail
There are normally two direct services a day from Brighton on a weekday that serve Great Malvern and Bristol Temple Meads so you could use one of these services by first getting yourself to Barnham. Alternatively (and probably for the best) take one of the regular Southern services to either Fratton, Cosham or Fareham and change for a direct service to Newport. However, there are major improvement works taking place around Bath currently which has curtailed these services in the short term. Normal services resume in a couple of weeks! www.nationalrail.co.uk is your friend when it comes to checking the details.

By Road
Nice and easy – up Ford Road/A27/M27/M3/A34/M4. Beware of the toll at the Severn Crossing, £6.50 for a car but an eye watering £13.10 for a commercial which includes little Fiesta and Corsa vans. Ouch! The crumbs of comfort are that it is westbound only, that they finally now take credit/debit card payments and that the government has promised cheaper toll fees by 2018. And if a politician has said that, then it must be true!

LOCATION

National Rail Enquiries information on Newport

Newport is the third busiest station in Wales and has benefitted from a major refurbishment over the last decade or so with the construction of a brand new platform 4. Platform 1 is used for occasional trains to Cardiff Central but otherwise rarely used aside from passing freight trains. Platform 2 is used for stopping westbound trains to Cardiff Central, Swansea and Milford Haven. Platform 3 for eastbound services to London Paddington, Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham and Platform 4 for other eastbound services that might include Portsmouth Harbour, Taunton, Bristol and Bath. In summary, with most lines bi-directionally signalled you can expect to see things literally coming and going in all directions at Newport.

REALTIMETRAINS

It could be argued that this addictive website has taken all the surprise out of observing the real railway, but it is an absolute godsend when deciding when you should go home! It’s very mobile friendly too. Recommended!
www.realtimetrains.co.uk

WHAT CAN I SEE?

It is fair to say that Newport is “not what it was” when compared to days gone by. The stabling point opposite the station has gone and the freight traffic just isn’t as plentiful. However, it remains an interesting location with a variety of activity for the railway enthusiast to observe.

Arriva Trains (Wales), CrossCountry and First Great Western provide most of the passenger services.

Arriva’s Class 175 Coradia DMUs are responsible for the longer distance Carmarthen/Milford Haven/Cardiff Central to Manchester Piccadilly or Holyhead (via Hereford) services and returns. The Cheltenham Spa to Maesteg/Fishguard/Swansea (via Severn Tunnel Junction and Gloucester) services and returns can also be Class 175s as well as Class 150s or even Class 158s. The “Assembly Train” is probably the finest way to travel with Arriva as it features business class accommodation hauled by a Class 67 on a service that links North and South Wales.

CrossCountry have services that link Nottingham and Cardiff (via Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa, Birmingham New Street and Derby) usually worked by Class 170 Turbostar DMUs. Class 221s are represented on the Cardiff to Manchester Piccadilly (via Bristol Temple Meads, Cheltenham Spa, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton and Stockport) services.

First Great Western HSTs are responsible for the London Paddington to Cardiff Central/Swansea/Carmarthen/Pembroke Dock trains while Class 158s look after both the Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour/Brighton services (via Bristol Temple Meads, Westbury, Salisbury and Southampton) and Cardiff Central to Taunton/Weston Super Mare/Paington/Plymouth/Penzance services too. It’s not uncommon for Class 150s to deputise on these, and even Class 159s are occasionally hired in to supplement the fleet.

In terms of freight operation, the Steel industry still dominates with trains hauled by DB Schenker Class 66s serving famous “steel town” locations such as Port Talbot, Llanwern, Margam, Corby, Round Oak and Handsworth. The Freightliner terminal at Wentloog in Cardiff is becoming busier every year and is served by Freightliner Class 66s or Class 70s from a variety of locations. Imported coal from Avonmouth is also transported by rail to Aberthaw by DB Schenker Class 66s and my personal favourite working is the Theale to Robeston fuel train using the distinctive bogie tanks as this usually throws up a Class 60. There is also intermittent Automotive and Aggregate traffic, as well as Network Rail infrastructure trains.

MODELLING POTENTIAL

I think although the space required is quite large, Newport has the potential to be a great layout. You could use the tunnel to the west of the station and the station footbridge as scenic breaks which would also negate the need to replicate the long station platforms in full.

WHAT YOU COULD RUN

Here’s a list of Locomotives and Multiple Units currently available from RTR manufacturers that can be seen at Stafford. The really interesting bit is trying to find the appropriate coaches, wagons and buildings on our website so I’m going to leave that up to you!

Class 43

Hornby used to make the FGW power cars in OO which now go for silly money on eBay (other auction sites are available). They re-issued the coaches so surely the power cars will be in their 2016 range?

Class 43

Dapol 2D-019-002 First Great Western HST Train Pack - N Scale

Class 66

Class 43

Bachmann B32-981 Class 66 66416 Freightliner Powerhaul - OO Scale

Hornby R3345 Freightliner Class 66 - OO Scale

Dapol DAGM220 DB Schenker Class 66 001 Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-002 Freightliner Class 66 504 Powerhaul Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-002D Freightliner Class 66 504 Powerhaul Livery (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-003 EWS Class 66 200 Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-003D EWS Class 66 200 Diesel Locomotive (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-004 Freightliner Class 66 612 Unbranded Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-004D Freightliner Class 66 612 Unbranded (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-383A Class 66 66101 DB Schenker - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-384 Class 66 66209 EWS (Weathered) - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-385 Class 66 66546 Freightliner - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-396 Class 66 (Low Emission Variant) 66731 InterhubGB GBRf - N Scale

Class 67

Class 67

Hornby R3272 EWS Class 67 Royal Sovereign Claret - OO Scale

Hornby R3348 EWS Class 67 016 - OO Scale

Hornby R3349 EWS Class 67 024 - OO Scale

Hornby R3268 Arriva Train Wales Class 67 003 - OO Scale

Dapol 2D-010-003 Arriva Trains Wales Class 67 Train Pack- N Scale

Class 68

Not currently available but Dapol have the rights to produce the model in the future. I believe it’s been laser scanned.

Class 70

Class 70

Bachmann B31-588 Freightliner Class 70 005 Powerhaul Diesel Weathered - OO Scale

Bachmann B31-590 Class 70 70015 Freightliner (Air Intake Modifications) - OO Scale

Bachmann B31-591 Class 70 70805 Colas (Air Intake Modifications) - OO Scale

Graham Farish 371-635 Class 70 PowerHaul 70006 Freightliner - N Scale

Graham Farish 371-636 Class 70 PowerHaul 70003 Freightliner - N Scale

Class 150

Bachmann produced a really nice First Great Western Class 150 this year but it sold out fast. Hopefully they’ll do some more hint hint...

Class 150

Graham Farish 371-330 Class 150/1 150128 First Great Western - N Scale

Class 158

Again, made in the past by Bachmann and there must be a demand for a FGW version. Hopefully the boys from Barwell will oblige.

Class 170

Class 170

Bachmann 32-469 Class 170/5 2 Car DMU 170521 Cross Country Weathered - OO Scale

Class 175

Not made by anyone although some Rapido pictures currently doing the rounds really make you wonder if this might change soon...

Class 220

Not currently available – Bachmann, Graham Farish and Dapol have produced in the past though.

Class 221

Not currently available – Bachmann, Graham Farish and Dapol have produced in the past though.

MODEL SHOPS

Newport doesn’t have a specialist Model Railway Shop but you are spoiled in Cardiff with the very excellent Lord & Butler and Lendons catering for any model railway requirements and even the WHSmith in Cardiff City Centre having a specialist model department. A little way north is Western Valley Models – a good smaller store always happy to help.

SUMMARY

Newport is a good location, but freight wise can be patchy at times. However if DMUs are your thing, there’s a bit of variety here and it can turn up some oddities and very welcome unusual workings.

RATING

I’m giving Newport 3 British Rail Pork Pies out of 5.

BR PieBR PieBR PieBR PieBR Pie

Next time we head to the west of England, and Peterborough...

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