Specials at Chester
In the late 1970s, many more special workings passed through Chester than ran along the North Wales coast line. As well as being at the end of an approved steam route from Shrewsbury, farewell tours for both Class 44 and 52 passed through before working up Gresford bank to Wrexham and Shrewsbury.
A Western on the North Wales Coast main line! Well not quite. D1023 Western Fusilier leaves Chester on the Shrewsbury line whilst working the return leg of the RPPR Western Memorial railtour from London to Crewe and Chester on the 29th January 1977. The daylight has almost gone, with a very low sun providing extreme contrast. This was one of the many specials that ran in the last weeks of service of the Westerns - they had just 4 weeks left when this picture was taken. This was probably the only visit of a Western to Chester in the 1970s, but they had been regular visitors in the early 60s on Paddington-Birkenhead trains via the ex-GWR route. In 2003, preserved D1015 Western Champion became the first class 52 to run along the North Wales coast, when it reached Penmaenmawr. In 2008, the same loco worked all the way to Holyhead. D1023 is also still in existence - as part of the National Collection of the NRM.
Sir Nigel Gresley approaches Chester from Shrewsbury with the Western Jubilee railtour from London Paddington to London Euston via Newport and Chester. 4498 worked from Shrewsbury to Chester - 3 other steam locos had worked the stages from Newport. Sir Nigel had worked out from Chester on the Midland Jubilee which ran the route in the opposite direction. The tours ran again on the 8th October.
44008 shunts past Chester No 4 signal box whilst working the Class 44 Farewell railtour on Saturday 21st January 1978 from Crewe to Nottingham. The shunt is necessary because 24133 had been attached between the Peak and the train to provide steam heat between Crewe and Chester, and was now being removed.
25161 moves along the centre road at Chester with the Buzby Special on the 5th July 1978. This was an exhibition train for Post Office Telecommunications, for whom Buzby, a fat yellow bird, was the advertising icon of the time, and privatisation, let alone British Telecom, BT, O2 and even Consignia, was not even thought of except in the plans of the H.M. Government's opposition.