Issue Number 1269 (Items 2206 - 3016 & MR 226 - MRIs2s3u3e)N(uEm-BbLeNr 5126P8AGES) 19 Nov 2016
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1270 is dated 3 December; all contSroibcuiettiyo.ns must be received by 23 November
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
Sat 19/11/16 Fisherman's Friend Explorer 10.30 Blackpool Heritage Trams 1265 KA FULL
Sun 20/11/16 Penrhyn Railway 11.00 Comprehensive railtour 1266 JC OPEN
Sun 11/12/16 The Rylstone Cowboy 11.50 & 14.50 (option 'C' is full) 1265 KA OPEN
Mon 26/12/16 Boxing Day 10.00 private 10¼" railway in Worcestershire 1261 PS OPEN
Sat 7/1/17 Scunthorpe Steel Works (09.30 - dark) Extensive railtour 1265 PS FULL
Sat 14/1/17 Vossloh Voyager tour 08.40-18.42 London Waterloo 1267 JE OPEN
Sun 29/1/17 *NEW* Leyland MES 09.30-11.30 SEE CONNECTIONS 1270 KA OPEN
Sun 29/1/17 Burnley & Pendle MRS 12.00 Comprehensive railtour 1269 KA OPEN
Sun 12/3/17 Bodmin & Wenford Rly Track & traction save the date TBA TBA Claimed
10 to 15/5/17 Jordan Hejaz Railway *DETAILS NOW AVAIALBLE* 1270 IS *OPEN*
19 to 21/5/17 Annual long weekend - Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA Notify
IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, PS-Paul Stewart.
2206] Sales News: TRACKmaps Vol 2 Eastern NEW fully revised 2016 edition available 30 Nov; cover
price £15.95. The first 150 copies can be bought at a special discounted rate. To reserve then pay
for, and collect on the Rylstone or Vossloh Voyager tours or for postal delivery, please email Mark
Gomm ASAP (or write 1st class) per back page. IMPORTANT: Members only, (max 2 per member),
please advise your membership number The price including P&P out will be advised in BLN 1270.
2207] Fixtures Secretary's 2016 AGM Report: Our Shepherdswell AGM on 5 Nov was well attended
by 71 members and supplemented by three days of very successful and enjoyable comprehensive
fixtures arranged by Darren Garnon, including Ian Mortimer's fascinating and wide ranging
presentation 'Travelling on non-passenger lines in the 1970s and 80s other than by railtours', with his
top 10 such trips. This was enhanced by a superb quality buffet provided by the East Kent Railway.
At the AGM Kev Adlam gave a colourful, well illustrated wide ranging presentation of our 2015/16
fixtures at obscure locations interspersed with pictures of attractive young ladies assisting with fund
raising and selling refreshments on railtours, and some rather less attractive raffle ticket vendors!
All of the pictures and presentation are available as a download with this e-BLN.
Particularly dramatic was the marked track plan from our Northern Ireland Weekend (20-22 May) -
there may be three Society long weekend events in 2017. We have had 82 fixtures in the 12 months
since 1 Oct 2015 with nearly 5,000 participants. England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Northern
Ireland and the Republic have been visited. Gross fixtures turnover has exceeded £250k and line
gauges have ranged from 3½ inches to 26 feet. £117,518 has been given to good causes - the largest
donation was £17k to the Railway Benefit Fund.
These are not an extra charge to participants but often in lieu of hire or access charges or to allow
things to happen which would simply not otherwise take place. 22 members have been involved in
organising BLS fixtures, there are 24 stewards and 16 members perform a variety of additional duties
(some are in all three categories!). Future plans….
Mainline Tours 2017 (to be confirmed): 30 Apr: TPE Hull to Cumbria.
14 Jan: South Western Trains (Waterloo). XX May: Chiltern bubble car.
25 Feb: Great Western Railway (Bristol). 15 Jun: (Thur) DRS/Railway Children.
18 Mar: VTEC King's Cross to Edinburgh HST. XX Jul: Translink - Northern Ireland Railways.
Minor Railways 2017 (dates to be confirmed):
Jan: See grid above. Feb: Stephenson Railway Museum. Mar: Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway.
Apr: Welsh Highland Railway/Ffestiniog Railway and an Ashover Light Railway walk.
May: Republic of Ireland three day 'long weekend' (now open for notifications of interest).
Jun: North East industrial locations. Jul: Scottish Minor Railways, Downpatrick & County Down.
Also: Rudyard Lake, Southport Lakeside, Windmill Farm, Steeple Grange, a Preston walk, etc, etc.
2208] BLN: Following suggestions at our recent AGM, time sensitive material is, as far as possible,
at the beginning of BLN; 'Connections' remains at the back with occasional 'stop press' items.
2209] Thompson Park Railway, Sun 29 Jan, 12.00: Colne Road, Burnley, BB11 2AA, (SD844333).
(MR p19) The Society is delighted to have been invited to this interesting 1,000yd complex railway
operated by the Burnley and Pendle Miniature Railway Society https://goo.gl/qnBHkx for an 'all
available lines' visit. Starting at 12.00, tea and coffee will be provided in the clubhouse. Construction
began in 2001; the railway was extended in 2005 and 2013. Track coverage includes the 'not normally
used connection'. A variety of traction is expected at this lovely 7¼" gauge railway in a delightful park
setting. £11 adult BLS members. Bookings to Kev Adlam per back page (no need to email). There may
be two visits on the day if numbers require it and another fixture in the area is under investigation.
X.176] Jordan Railtour 10-15 May 2017: With thanks to our member Iain Scotchman and with the
support of the Locomotive Club of Great Britain, we are delighted to present details of this once in a
lifetime BLS five day railtour with many extras. It traverses the full length of Jordan from Al-Mafraq in
the north on the Hedjaz railway through Amman, Al-Qatrana and Ma'an to the Port of Aqaba Railway
in the south west to the Gulf of Aquaba (Red Sea). Iain has significant experience of travelling in
Jordan and there will be other familiar BLS faces on this unique trip. Expressions of interest are
requested as soon as possible to ensure viability - more details are available as an e-BLN download
(with map) or send an SAE and request to the BLN Editor - per back page - for a printed copy.
1269 HEAD LINES
2210] Rother Valley Railway; Bodiam station (excl) - Junction Road (2m 50ch) end of line: (TQ 77126
24287) Temporarily OOU (pending maintenance); last passenger trains 25 May 2015 (previously OP
special occasions only). West of Bodiam the Kent & East Sussex Railway has a headshunt to the Rother
Valley Railway boundary (3m 20ch) (TQ 7800 2490) who aim to reopen the line to Robertsbridge.
2211] Lackenby; Shell Jn - SITA Sembcorp UK Ltd, 'Wilton 11', Energy from Waste Incinerator,
(NZ 565 218): (BLN 1259.1185) Inward coal traffic on the Wilton branch ended in May 2014; the final
intermodal train ran 14 Nov 2014. The first recent train, a gauging test trip (empty) from Tees Yard, ran
27 May 2016 for compacted domestic waste traffic from Merseyside followed by route learning trains.
ROG Sun 4 Jun 2016, a partially loaded trial train. Commercial traffic began 17 Jun 2016. The £300M
contract to 2043 is about 444,000 tonnes of rail traffic annually; 41MW of electricity can be generated.
BELOW: South of Oswestry, 23 Aug 2016, looking at Gas Works Bridge; the 5 Nov extension includes
his section. Note footpath alongside the line which was originally double track (Major Ian Hughes).
2212] Cambrian Heritage Railways, Oswestry: (BLN 1265.MR176) (MR p7) ROP 5 Nov 2016* extended
further south from 18m 48ch to 18m 56ch (100yd short of Gas Works Bridge); on the 50th anniversary
of the last passenger train leaving Oswestry. (*Whitchurch to Welshpool CP 18 Jan 1965; Oswestry
station was intermediate and CP from 7 Nov 1966 - Gobowen service). The previous extension from
south of Middleton Road Bridge (18m 37ch) ROP 27 Aug 2016. Weston Wharf (19m 53ch) is the target.
2213] West Highland line; Glen Douglas Ground Frame - Glen Douglas MoD: ROG 8 Nov 2016, 22.02
(previous night) ex-Fenny Compton from MoD Kineton arr 09.10/dep 11.14 for Mossend, the first train
for four years. It carried ordnance for the two new aircraft carriers, which will load nearby. The sidings
have been re-laid and an internal loco provided. When the carriers are commissioned traffic should
increase. (There may also be traffic to Plymouth Ernesettle (Gunnislake branch) with the new frigates.)
2214] Gwili Railway; Bronwydd Arms (excl) - Abergwili Junction station: (BLN 1268.2109) A DMU for
Gwili Railway Preservation Society members/shareholders (AGM) runs at 10.00 on Sat 19 Nov 2016.
2215] Doncaster Carr Depot: On Sun 20 Nov the new Hitachi Rail Europe Depot on the Up side, south
of the station, mainly (but not exclusively) for Class 800 SETs, is due to open. It is on the site of the
former Carr Diesel Depot and will be the largest depot for the Intercity Express Programme. The main
north connection is from Sand Bank Jn (154m 47ch) on the Transfer Line to the depot boundary at
'Carr Depot North' (15m 26ch). Note that the line from here to Doncaster P1-3 (the Down Loco/Up
East Slow) is already reversibly signalled. The new depot has a secondary south connection from the
Transfer Line at about 154m 48ch. Both connections are electrified. There are new stop boards within
the depot 'NO NR DRIVER BEYOND THIS POINT' separate notices indicating the depot operations limit.
2216] Iarnród Éireann; Dublin Glasnevin Jn - Islandbridge Jn: (BLN 1265.1874) ROP expected 21 Nov
2016; SSuX timetabled commuter services between Grand Canal Dock and Hazelhatch & Celbridge
(first use of its bay platform, presumably, other than engineering work and disruption) or Newbridge.
2217] Oxford Parkway - Oxford North Jn: Commissioning for crew training is due Mon 21 Nov 2016;
ROP is expected Sun 11 Dec 2016 (TCP 15 Feb 2013 for upgrading) with Oxford station's new bay P1.
The first train is 07.43 from Oxford bay P1 and the first arrival 07.35 ex-Marylebone at 08.50 (bay P2).
2218] Edinburgh Trams; Edinburgh Gateway (10.62km): OP Sun 11 Dec 2016; a two platform stop
between Gyle Centre and Tram Depot (Staff Halt) next to the NR station also opening (BLN 1268.2110).
2219] Manchester, Eccles (excl) - Ordsall Lane Jn - Deal Street Jn and Salford Crescent (excl), Windsor
Bridge South Jn - Ordsall Lane Jn - Castlefield Jn: TCP/TCA 22 Dec to 2 Jan 2017 (both incl). Extended
Christmas shut down for Ordsall Lane Chord engineering work and resignalling. TPE Edinburgh to
Manchester services run via Chorley to Victoria; TPE Glasgow services start at Preston. ATW services
from Warrington BQ to Manchester Piccadilly/Airport terminate at Warrington BQ 18 Dec to 2 Jan.
2220] Winwick Jn - Earlestown South - East Jns: TCP 18 Dec - 2 Jan (incl) ATW service - previous entry.
2221] Chadwell Heath - Ingatestone/Billericay (all excl) and Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood,
Brentwood & Shenfield stations: (refines BLN 1261.1390) TCP 24 Dec-2 Jan 2017 (both incl) Crossrail
work (on 27 Dec CP from Bethnal Green East Jn). Norwich/Braintree services run to *Witham, Ipswich/
Clacton to *Ingatestone. *Buses are booked non-stop to/from Newbury Park Central Line station.
2222] Bow Jn - Gas Factory Jn: No passenger trains 25 Dec to 2 Jan 2017 (both incl) service.
2223] Romford (incl) - Upminster (excl) & Emerson Park station: TCP 24 Dec to 2 Jan (incl) see above.
2224] Cardiff Central - Newport, Gaer Jn: (Updates BLN 1268.2121) Now TCP 25 Dec until 3 Jan (incl).
2225] Low Moor station: (BLN 1254.715) OP now expected Sun 21 May 2017; between Bradford
Interchange and Halifax, the delay is due to the discovery of even more uncharted mine workings.
2226] Frodsham Jn - Halton Jn (Runcorn): Regular passenger services in both directions are due to
begin Sun 9 Dec 2018; currently one weekly summer Saturday dated northbound PSUL train only.
2227] Belfast, City Jn - Central Jn: The plan to redevelop Great Victoria Street (GVS) station as a
'strategic transport hub' diverting the Dublin 'Enterprise' services there from Belfast Central is
expected to result in the withdrawal of scheduled passenger services from the curve avoiding GVS.
1269 BLN GENERAL
2228] Staff display screens: (BLN 1268.2176) It has emerged that there are many examples of the staff
display screen reported at Gloucester. It may be that most staffed platforms have them somewhere,
or in an adjacent room. They may not be obvious because a door or cover can hide the screen.
On 3 Nov a member found one near Oxford Up platform exit labelled 'Staff Information'. It is the
'Control Centre of the Future' (CCF) screen seen during our signal box visits. The background colour of
each train reporting number is green, yellow or red indicating punctual, late or very late running. The
Oxford screen showed the lines from Kings Sutton to Didcot, the Worcester line to the Oxford PSB
boundary and to Oxford Parkway. Signals are shown as either red for stop or green for any 'proceed'
aspect (regardless of the number of signal aspects) except in the Oxford PSB area where the aspect is
not shown. There is a table in the corner of the screen 'Oxford CIS' (Customer Information System)
including scheduled and expected arrival time. It all seemed similar to that described at Gloucester.
A staff screen visible to the public can be found just inside King's Cross ticket barriers behind the main
line platforms. Totnes Up platform has one, covering Ivybridge to Starcross and the Paignton branch.
2229] Signal Boxes: Https://goo.gl/C9q2pD photos by Alan Bullimore during his railway career, signal
boxes in their context. Includes the Midlands, North West England, North Wales Coast, Blyth & Tyne,
East Anglia, East Coast Main Line, Great Central Railway (particularly recommended), Great Northern,
Hull to Scarborough, Lincolnshire (85 pictures), London North East, Whitby to Pickering and Scotland.
2230] Potting on? The Potter Group has sold its warehousing/transport operations (Potter Logistics) at
Droitwich, Knowsley, Ripon, Selby and York to logistics business WH Bowker. Knowsley (near Kirkby)
dispatches containerised compacted domestic waste from Merseyside to Wilton on Teesside by rail for
incineration; Selby (the former sugar factory site) has stone traffic from Peak Forest (Intermodal traffic
transferred to Rotherham Masborough from 11 Jul 2016). Potter's Ely site is unaffected by the sale.
2231] Platform Tickets: (BLN 1269.2161) A member recently spent the day collecting platform tickets
to add to his collection and while waiting for a train read this item in BLN. He comments that certain
TOCs such as East Coast have no facility to issue them. As far as he can see, most will still be able to sell
platform tickets and all but East Midlands charge the princely sum of 10p thus creating the anomaly at
St Pancras International that you can be charged 100% more for essentially the same product
depending on your choice of ticket office. Needless to say, he has examples of both as the station
name is shown differently! However, London Underground takes the award for the highest price at £1
each; one of the crosses that members of the Transport Ticket Society have to bear....... Our member
advises that many booking office staff are suspicious of attempted fraud when platform tickets are
requested so he always ensures that he has a selection with him to show his bona fide intentions.
BELOW: Lincoln High St; this perhaps rather futuristic looking pedestrian bridge OP 24 Jun 2016 (John Cameron).
ABOVE: Lincoln (Central) station from the bridge (item 2234 below), High Street box (closed) is left.
P5 is far right, the DMU is in P3. It shows how P3 & 4 are loops off the through lines. (John Cameron)
2232] Points & Slips: BLN 1268.2105] On 2 Nov the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway extension
https://goo.gl/ZUlfVL (click arrow) north of Laverton to Broadway reached Worcestershire (!) for the
first time since the line was closed by BR in 1976. There is another 60ch to reach Broadway and then a
further 8m 62ch to Warwickshire (!) - the county boundary is the road bridge over the railway before
Long Marston exchange sidings (SP 15+11 4693) on the former Honeybourne to Stratford-upon-Avon
line. The TCP section at Laverton is expected to ROP 4 Mar 2017 as a single track with Laverton Loop
removed and the points plain lined. Passenger trains last used it on 1 Jan 2016 (BLN 1249.MR12). Until
opening to Broadway in 2018 it will be worked by DMU or 'Top & Tail'. 2108] The first Eurostar
Class 373 for scrapping at Kingsbury travelled under its own 'steam' from Temple Mills to St Pancras
International. A working is expected every 3-4 weeks, the time it takes to cut a train up. Who ever
would have thought that the good citizens of Coalville would have Eurostars passing through?
Item 2125] In e-BLN the picture of the two Class 08 locos with a rainbow was taken after our 25 Sep
Wensleydale Railway trip rather than before. 2136] The 'Charleroi' Belgian tram trailer illustrated in
e-BLN 1267 came from the 'Pays de Charleroi' system, CP 1974. TEPC/STIC was totally independent of
the SNCV. Trailers 38, 41 and 42, all dating from 1915, were at one time at the County Donegal site.
Item 2152] In e-BLN Rod Miebs' picture of the 1957 'temporary' Hatherell Bridge at Lewisham was
taken from St Johns station rather than Lewisham. 2159] The Farnley landslip was bad but did not
quite slip enough to reach the Northwest section of BLN. The heading '1268 NORTH WEST' should be
below it rather than above, with your Editor's apologies for this slip - paper BLN had it correctly placed
in the '1268 NORTH EAST' section. 2167] The Felixstowe branch upgrade also includes plans to close
six level crossings and will increase capacity from 33 to 47 freight paths in 24 hours. Hourly passenger
trains run each way (18 SSuX; 17 SO & 10 SuO). 2193] The 11th Belmond owned vehicle mentioned in
Ireland was recently moved to Inchicore. It is MK3 Standard Open 7122 in IÉ livery but has had no work
done and retains the usual 72 seats.
1269 EAST MIDLANDS
2233] Swinderby: This station which recorded 15,022 passengers in 2014/15 has been improved to
encourage more people to commute to Lincoln and Newark. Lincolnshire County Council with Eagle &
Swinethorpe Parish Council have created free parking for 23 vehicles, with two accessible spaces.
It has solar powered lighting. Ramp access from the car park to the platforms has been installed and
storage provided for 20 bicycles. East Midlands Trains (EMT) has also improved the waiting facilities.
2234] Lincoln: (BLN 1260.1294) The new High Street level crossing pedestrian overbridge (picture
above) has had initial problems with the lifts often being out of order. When the barriers are lowered,
the vast majority of pedestrians still wait for them to open again, instead of using the bridge but they
probably want the unit/loco numbers!
2235] Electrifying News! Syston Road bridge (Cossington) was demolished over the 8/9 Oct weekend.
The replacement, with clearance for electrification, is being constructed in stages over Oct and Nov
weekend nights but the road is closed until Mar 17. Normanton-on-Soar, Bowleys Bridge and Sutton
Bonnington Station Rd Bridge were to have their spans replaced over 12-14 Nov weekend (line closed
Saturday night to Monday morning). EMT services from York, Leeds, Sheffield and Derby turned back
at East Midlands Parkway with buses to Nottingham/Leicester. Trains ran Derby to Nottingham (etc).
2236] Duckmanton Curve (Arkwright): This was
part of an optimistic junction complex installed
where the Great Central Railway (GCR) running
south to north (LEFT: 1938/51 six inches to the mile
map) crossed over the 'Lancashire, Derbyshire &
East Coast Railway' (actually built from Chesterfield
Market Place in the west to (almost) Lincoln
Central in the east). A reader asks when
Duckmanton South Jn to East Jn curve, allowing
through running between London Marylebone and
Lincoln, closed to passengers? A single passenger
service has been identified using the curve (unless
readers know of any others.) in Bradshaw's 1920
guide, but this had ceased by the Jul 1922 edition.
Note that the route was 'grade separated' with a
longer single track Down curve west of the GCR
main line and a shorter single track Up curve to its
east. Arkwright colliery is middle bottom, once
accessed from the north via Duckmanton North Jn (top) to East Jn to Arkwright Town Jn (lower right)
to reverse; and later from 2 Apr 1973 directly off the GCR until coal traffic ceased by 21 Feb 1985.
Apr 1910 Bradshaw shows a through weekday service each way between Marylebone and Lincoln.
Timings show the through carriages leaving Marylebone by the 3.15pm 'Restaurant Corridor Express',
booked non-stop to Sheffield Victoria but slipping a portion at Leicester Central for attachment to the
5.16pm to Cleethorpes, calling at Rothley and Quorn & Woodhouse on request 'to set down from
London', then at Loughborough Central, and detaching again on arrival at Nottingham Victoria at
5.48pm, to form an 6.00pm departure for Heath, Langwith Junction (renamed Shirebrook North in
1924) and all stations except Dukeries Junction High Level, reaching Lincoln at 7.58pm. The Up train
started from Lincoln at 8.10am, calling all stations (including Dukeries Junction, this way) to Langwith
Junction, then Heath and Nottingham Victoria, arriving 10.09. The through carriages here attached to
the 9.36am 'Breakfast & Luncheon Corridor Express' from Sheffield Victoria, leaving Nottingham at
10.30 and making seven intermediate stops, reaching Marylebone (via High Wycombe) at 1.30pm.
Duckmanton South Jn to Duckmanton East Jn closed to all traffic 2 Mar 1964 (per Angus McDougall).
ABOVE: A coal train leaving Arkwright Colliery in Mar 1975 looking south - this working carried a brake
van at each end. By then the colliery was directly connected to the former GCR main line which the
train is on. The background overbridge is the one immediately south of Duckmanton South Jn (map
above); the colliery is beyond that bridge on the left. The former Up line from Duckmanton East Jn
would have been behind the train and the Down line was to the right of the picture. The brick bridge
support (middle right) once carried that Down line over the railway. Arkwright Colliery was at the end
of an 8 mile branch (ex-GCR main line!) from Beighton Station Jn. On 23 Aug 1982 a new connection
was put in from Hall Lane Jn, near Barrow Hill and the line north to Beighton Station Jn closed. This
new spur was little used (but at least one member, a former freight guard at the then Barrow Hill BR
depot, did it by swapping his turn on a rare occasion it ran!). Can anyone else claim it? (Ian Mortimer).
1269 GREATER LONDON
2237] LUL 24 Hour Service: (BLN 1267.2043) The last line for now, the Piccadilly, starts on 19 Dec
between Cockfosters and Heathrow T5, with the usual ECS test operation the weekend before. This
may be an ambitious start date; the last weekend before Christmas is usually marred by passenger
fights and drunken behaviour! However role-playing of various scenarios will take place during the trial
weekend. Late-night card transactions analysed by Worldpay shows an 18% increase in business in
areas near the Central and Victoria Line stations in the first six weeks of the 'Night Tube'. ('City AM')
2238] Down Street: On the evening of 29 Sep a Piccadilly train held in the disused station because of a
signal failure at Hyde Park Corner was reversed via the siding and sent back eastbound. No doubt the
passengers were unimpressed by the opportunity to cover this very rare piece of track! ('Underground
News') The station can be visited on foot with a London Transport Museum 'Hidden London' tour.
2239] Northern Line Extension: (BLN 1254.668) Work started in September using excavators, not
Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs), to tunnel from shafts in Kennington Park (southbound line) and
Kennington Green (northbound) towards the Kennington loop, where step-plate junctions will be
constructed around the existing loop tunnel. The tunnels will take about three months to build and the
step-plate junctions around seven months, as much of the work has to be done by hand. TBMs will be
launched from the Battersea work site in early 2017 and are due to break through in late 2017 into the
Kennington shafts from the reverse sides of which stub tunnels will receive the TBMs. The shafts will
remain to provide ventilation, cooling and emergency access. ('Tunnels and Tunnelling' website)
2240] Waterloo: (1): Necropolis station: An interesting well illustrated article https://goo.gl/oYPOnM
with some newly discovered photographs taken both here and on the dead end Brookwood branch.
(2) Waterloo P1 to 9: (BLN 1264.670) From 5 to 28 Aug 2017 these will be under possession with the
former International P21-24 (but not 20), in temporary use. Note that P20-24 will be the Windsor Line
platforms after 2020, but each then shortened by 60m at the buffers end. The single approach track to
the five International platforms was fine for up to 5tph for Eurostar, but SWT is planning 20tph so a
double track approach and signalling is needed. P1 to 4 are to be lengthened to 10 cars. P5 & 6 will be
slightly realigned and shortened but still able to take 10 cars. The pair of scissors crossovers at the end
of P1 to 4 will be removed as they cannot be accommodated. This reduces flexibility and parallel
moves but there will be a 'spare' platform to compensate. During the closure P7 to 9 are required for
engineers' trains and materials ('Modern Railways'). (3): Retail development (BLN 1254.670) Planning
permission has been granted for 135,000ft2 of retail space on three floors, with a new mezzanine level
under the former International platforms. Several new western Waterloo entrances will also be built.
2241] Croydon Tramlink (1): At 06.13 on 9 Nov tram 2551 from New Addington derailed on the sharp
curve (which follows a straight section where 80km/h is permitted) approaching Sandilands Jn in
torrential rain and ended up on its side across the opposite track. Sadly this resulted in seven fatalities
(the first involving UK tram passengers since 1959 when two died in Glasgow) and over 50 injuries. An
RAIB statement said initial indications were that the tram was travelling at a significantly higher speed
than the 20km/h permitted. For some days after trams did not run over significant parts of the system
(other sections had a much reduced frequency) due to investigation, recovery and repair work.
2242] Croydon Tramlink (2): The trailing crossover between the curve out of Wellesley Road and
Dingwall Road shown on the track diagrams issued with e-BLN 1268 is clear of the curve. (PREVIOUS
PAGE ABOVE: Rod Miebs, 8 Nov 2016.) When there is no tram service round the Croydon town loop, a
spare tram normally stands in Wellesley Road just beyond the crossover. On these occasions Route 3
trams normally reverse in the centre road at East Croydon tram stop. Routes 1 and 2 run forward to
stop alongside the spare tram and then reverse over the manual crossover back to East Croydon tram
stop to go back east. Route 4 does not run.
2243] Waddon: (BLN 1268.2145) Wings on Rails, not a pop group jumping on the railtour bandwagon,
but a book by WJL Corser with some details of the branch. No1 National Aircraft Factory was built and
operated by Cubitt Construction, completed at the end of 1917, when Croydon Aerodrome, used for
test flying the aircraft, opened. The first aircraft was completed in June 1918. A short branch from the
LBSCR line north-west of the site ran south into the factory, crossing Stafford Road and the tram lines.
There were two sets of sidings in the factory, beside the sawmill and outside the metal shop. There
also appears to have been a small loco shed. Cubitts are known to have operated one locomotive at
the factory, but photographic evidence suggests there may have been at least one other. A short
tramway siding ran south into the factory from Stafford Road, terminating outside the canteen. The
factory became the National Aircraft Depot in 1919, disposing of unwanted aircraft. The railway was
lifted in 1924 and the site closed about then, being merged into Croydon Airport between the wars.
2244] Romford ROC: The first signalling control was transferred here from 7 Nov, with the Stratford,
Ilford and Romford areas taken over from Liverpool Street IECC. ('Freightmaster Interactive')
2245] Thameslink: (BLN 1268.2154) In a 52 hour Christmas possession and ready for start of traffic on
27 Dec, the Down Sussex Slow Line will be brought back into use from Line 9 at Spa Road Jn through
the Bermondsey diveunder to Bricklayers Arms Jn. A facing crossover between the Down Sussex Slow
and Down Sussex Fast on the country side of Bricklayers Arms Jn will also be commissioned and Line 8
between London Bridge and Spa Road Jn taken OOU. This will finally complete the remodelling of the
approaches from New Cross Gate and South Bermondsey to the terminal platforms at London Bridge
2246] Crossrail: (BLN 1268.2155) From 14 Nov a new point (OOU) was to be installed in the Carriage
Line between Ladbroke Grove and Kensal Green. This will eventually provide access to the new
Crossrail Depot Line 2. Also from 14 Nov, Hayes & Harlington bay P5 buffer stops were to be moved
back, the platform operational length increases by 22m to 177m. All day (SuX) use starts 3 Jan 2017.
2247] Queen's Park: (BLN 1268.2149.2) Your Northern Editor on his way to our Kent AGM 'Jolleys',
broke his journey (as you do!) to wander around the North London line for a much needed re-visit.
After an afternoon of entertainment, he ended up at Queen's Park waiting for a train, opened BLN
1268 and settled on this item. The Bakerloo was in all sorts of disarray due to electrical problems at
Stonebridge Park. At the very moment he was reading about train '225' arriving at P2 via the south end
facing crossover and the Down line so train '235' did exactly that - incredible! This proves these odd
moves are not just practiced at antisocial hours when fewest trains and passengers are about out of
academic interest but are useful for service disruption. Just out of petulance he took said train south!
1269 ISLE OF MAN
2248] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (BLN 1268.2157) On 1 Nov two local members came cross 'Robin'
https://youtu.be/k9h4d7epVO4?t=2 another new horse on his first training trip (trams had finished
running this season), a good sign for the future - video Jenny Williamson. The 'Friends' comprehensive
well illustrated latest newsletter https://goo.gl/CMJIeK also covers the 140th anniversary celebrations.
2249] Manx Electric Railway: Single line working came into operation on 27 Sep on the inside track
between Groudle and Onchan Head to allow 200m of track renewal to take place on the seaside line
between Hough Road and Harbour Road. After public services finished for the season on 30 Oct the
team moved to the junction of the A2 and A11 roads at the Liverpool Arms public house (Balladromma
Beg Halt) south of Baldrine, requiring closure of the A11 that runs via Groudle Glen station and the
coast to Douglas. Track has been relaid over and each side of the A11, but this is much more than just
a relay as a trench where the tracks were on the southern approach to the crossing appeared some 2m
deep. This could be drainage work; an ongoing problem further north approaching Baldrine. The
overhead power line over both tracks is currently being renewed where the A2 crosses the line nearby.
2250] Manx Steam Railway: Over 5/6 Nov weekend Ailsa Diesel No18 derailed on the points leading
from the headshunt to the run round loop on the northern most line at Douglas station buffer stops.
1269 NORTH EAST
2251] Sunderland…the Good Old Days: BR's South Dock shed, on the west side of the line where it
descends steeply in a cutting down to the river, was home to hospitable train crews. An official BLS
brake van trip ran on 5 Nov 1971 to Silksworth Colliery (NZ377541) - just in time as production ceased
the very next day! The site is now Silksworth Sports Complex. The branch ran northwest from Ryhope
station site. Also visited was Hylton Colliery (NZ366583) where mining ceased 12 July 1979, on a
branch west from Monkwearmouth north of the River Wear. The colliery is now Sunderland Enterprise
Park. The party of six members on the Silksworth trip was able to negotiate for the return journey to
run from Ryhope Grange Jn to Londonderry Jn via the double track Londonderry Lines, on the sea side
of, and independent from the main lines and a separate entity in the Sectional Appendix. These lines
were taken OOU in 1973 (date unknown), the 'official' date being between Dec 1973 and Mar 1974.
The former Londonderry Railway (owned by and named after the Marquis of that name) was a
separate company until absorbed by the NER in 1898. The Hylton Colliery branch was interesting as,
although a double track line, most of it, west of Wearmouth Colliery (now the site of the 'Stadium of
Light', home of Sunderland FC!), was worked as two separate single lines - one by BR and the other by
the NCB - each with its own single line staff.
After the 'official' trips, a small group made its way to Pallion station site on the branch from Hendon
Jn (south of the River Wear, some now part of the Tyne & Wear Metro South Hylton branch) and
obtained a ride quite easily on the trip working to Jobling's Glassworks. This was an interesting trip as
it required the train to reverse in Deptford Coal Siding, the property of a different company, and then
propel the train, with the brake van leading, into the glassworks warehouse. The train then returned to
South Dock via the Fawcett Street Jn to Hendon Jn line. Hendon Jn to Pallion was taken OOU 27 Nov
1984. Contemporary fixtures reports were suitably 'vague' in those days; the official Society report
ended "...then travelled by car to Pallion to examine the Deptford branch."!
2252] Queen of Scots: (BLN 1268.2190) A member used this Pullman sometimes in the 1950s when
living in Scotland. It then left King's Cross about noon and called at Leeds Central before running via
Harrogate and Ripon. He believes it continued to Falkirk High and Glasgow Queen Street. It was
comfortable, not crowded and he thinks that the Pullman supplement was just a few shillings.
X.177] Teesside, Wilton an extremely rare bit of track: … (BLN 1268.2125) BELOW (BOTH): 08903 has
been driven on to the low loader prior to being taken to Leeming Bar by road for our joint 25 Sep
fixture with PLEG; demonstrating some of the work involved with this. 08743 had to be transported
separately; of course, each had to be loaded and unloaded twice to stage the event. (Kev Adlam)
1269 NORTH WEST
2253] Manchester Liverpool Road: Four-tracking viaduct work is progressing (e-BLN 1268 picture); it
should eventually extend to Manchester Piccadilly East Jn but this stage is for the Ordsall Lane Chord.
2254] The Port of Manchester Railtour, Tue 12 Sep 1972 - by Charlie Hulme: I was collected after
work in Manchester by Graham Neve and we travelled in his car to Trafford Wharf on the Manchester
Ship Canal (MSC) to join a railtour of the docks railway system, which was in its final days before
closure. It was a most memorable evening, which however was seemingly not reported by the railway
media of the day. Although it was a Stephenson Locomotive Society/Manchester Locomotive Society
(MLS) occasion, the MLS Railtour Archive contains no record. It seems the customary 'Itinerary' was
not prepared, as the tour was arranged at short notice after an announcement that the dockside lines
would be closed from 29 Sep 1972. Ray Hardman, who was recruited to organise the bookings, recalls
meeting with Neville Fields and the MSC railway superintendent Bernard Valentine to plan the tour.
A notice (ABOVE), appeared in the Sep 1972 'MLS Circular', giving details of the proposed route and
the very reasonable fare of 80p. These details are reproduced on 'Six Bells Junction' website with the
comment 'Did it run?' - Yes, it definitely did! [However, due to the time scale, it did not make BLN.]
Arriving at Trafford Wharf for 18.00 we found, in a siding adjacent to Trafford Park Road, a train of
MSC 4w diesel D24, ten assorted BR 13-ton open wagons with ladders and two brake vans (BELOW:
Graham Neve). This seems to be the only one he took, as it was becoming dark, the riding of the
wagons was far from passenger standard, and there was no chance to alight. Probable route: Trafford
Wharf - Junction 'B' - Junction 'A' - (swing bridge over canal) - No8 Dock north side - No9 Dock south
side - Container Berth (No9 dock, north side) - Mode Wheel Workshops - Trafford Wharf.
There was a hope of some steam haulage, perhaps by the Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST (AB1964/29) which
shunted the Corn Products Company (CPC) sidings in Trafford Park. However, this did not happen,
reportedly because the loco was under repair, but my memory (possibly unreliable) is that in addition
to the published route we ventured into the Trafford Park network and down Trafford Park Road to
the gates of the CPC plant where we saw their loco, and one of the promised sections was not
covered. The itinerary included several reversals, which according to Graham's notes involved another
MSC diesel, D4. If any BLS member has, or can direct us to, more details, recollections or photographs
of the evening, especially a record of the route, please do forward them via the BLN Editor.
BELOW: 1 inch 7th Series map 1958/9, Docks 1-5 (Pomona Docks) are right, numbered north to south.
Salford Docks (6-9) are downstream further northwest. No9 Dock is the biggest one beneath the 'ORD'
in 'SALFORD', No8 is the shorter one beneath it off the turning basin, a 10th was planned but not built.
This map is from: https://goo.gl/AEufIE zoom in between 'SALFORD' and 'STRETTFORD' it is possible
to follow the MSC all the way (then on to the next map) https://goo.gl/VRjNtl to the west.
ABOVE: Manchester No9 Dock (top left) at the start of the 20th century; No8 Dock is right and the ship
canal is in the foreground. Hard to believe but MediaCityUK is now on the left (Public Domain). Rails
have returned https://goo.gl/Rjq4xx (open full screen) in the form of the Metrolink Eccles branch.
BELOW: Aerial view at a similar times showing some of the many miles of track (Public Domain).
Graham's notebook (in the MLS archive) has all the MSC locos we saw, to which I have added details
from 'Railways of the Manchester Ship Canal' by Don Thorpe. Locos are diesels except where noted:
MSC Tour: ●D9 0-6-0 HC D1253/1962 ●D1 Ashdown HC D1186/1959
●DH24 0-4-0 Sentinel ●4001 Alnwick Castle HC
●10227/1965 Docks, shunt ●D1075/1959
●D4 0-6-0 Hudswell Clarke (HC) ●D8 0-6-0 HC D1252/19623 ●DH23 Sentinel 10226/1965
●D1189/1960 ●DH26 Sentinel 10229/1965
Docks 2-3 ●D10 -0-6-0 HC D1254/1962
Docks, stabled ●D5 HC D1190/1960 ●32 Steam 0-6-0T HC680/1903
●4002 Arundel Castle 0-6-0 HC ●70 Steam 0-6-0T HC1464/1921
●D1076/1959 Mode Wheel shed/workshops
●D14 0-6-0 HC D1258/1962
●D2 0-6-0 HC D1187/1960
Several of the locos listed survived the closure, as there was still work in Trafford Park, Barton Dock
'Containerbase' and on the branch from the main line interchange at Eccles down to the Lancashire
Tar Distillers Weaste plant (closed 1994), for which some DH locos could work in multiple.
This was not the final tour to use MSC locos, there was the Manchester University Transport Society
'Manchester Navigator' on 22 Jun 1974 hauled by loco D11 which visited lines open at that time
including as far as Barton Aqueduct. The privately organised 'Manchester Navigator No2' (9 Sep 1978)
which made BLN, appears to have entered some of the surviving Trafford Park industrial sidings. Both
traversed MSC lines to Mode Wheel depot; and Trafford Park Estate was then worked by MSC locos.
The 1972 train was certainly the last to use any of the dockside lines in what is now Salford Quays.
The two steam locos 32 and 70 noted by Graham passed into preservation. Steam loco 31 is also
preserved; it was sold in 1967 to MLS member Richard Greenwood. Also in 1967, No67 was bought by
Dr J Gordon Blears and hauled two MSC tours in preservation with 'Pug' 51218 on 29 Oct 1967 and
14 Sep 1969. No67 left the MSC system originally to go to Haworth on the Worth Valley line before
Dr Blears (who sadly passed away in 2016) donated it to the Middleton Railway where it still is! Some
diesels have also survived in preservation, including 4001 and 4002, the two large DE 430 hp locos.
Interestingly, Graham also recorded the ships we saw: Herland (Norway); Newfoundland (Liverpool);
Khuzistan; Serbistan (inbound); Sibiu; Gillian Everard and City of Singapore. The two 'Stans' belonged
to the Strick Line, a subsidiary of P&O and a regular user of the MSC plying to and from the Persian
Gulf. City of Singapore was an Ellerman Lines steam-turbine cargo ship. The MV Gillian Everard was
operated at that time by Clydesdale Shipowners. Many years later, in 2001, under another name and
converted to a tanker, she was intercepted 60 nautical miles off Kuwait attempting to smuggle crude
oil from Iraq and sunk by NATO forces. Thanks to BLS member Ray Hardman for inspiring this article.
X.178A] Shaw & Crompton bay: Some double tram sets are running (so further than single trams) into
the bay platform and a member confirmed this with a visit on Mon 14 Nov. A reminder that passenger
information screens at stops indicate which services are doubles. Shaw & Crompton to East Didsbury
service 'H' operates SSuX 07.15-19.30 - but not with double trams Saturdays (runs 09.30-18.30).
According to the Metrolink web site the use of double trams on this service finishes on 23 Dec.
2255] Rochdale: (BLN 1258.1095) There was a ceremonial 'official' opening of the new Manchester
facing south bay P4 on Wed 2 Nov. On Mon 31 Oct, the 22.50 from Manchester Victoria to Blackburn
via Todmorden terminated at Rochdale due to engineering work. Posters advertised a bus onwards
although it was not shown on any of the screens and there was no bus and no staff on duty. However,
passengers did have the compensation of being the first to use the new bay on arrival at 23.09 and the
DMU returned from it to Victoria in the path of the last Up train from Blackburn at 23.26. In the new
timetable there are two booked trains a week on Saturday evenings only, a 22.26 (SO) from Victoria
arriving P4 at 22.47 then returning 23.00 and a 23.21 (SO) from Victoria arriving 23.41 which is then
ECS to Newton Heath depot. To cover the full new layout both an arrival and departure are needed.
The other trains that used to terminate at Rochdale were previously extended, mostly to Blackburn.
X.178B] Project Railway Honour:
Patriot: On Fri 11 Nov a member
went to Crewe to see the then
newly-named 66418 'Patriot' on
display in the rare bay P8 (ABOVE -
Sally Bramson). The loco was named
that morning in a private ceremony
at Basford Hall. Https://goo.gl/r4Jj1E
has more and eight pictures. It was
then moved then to Crewe station
for viewing by the general public
who were also allowed cab access.
The soldier who put forward the
naming idea (Corporal Gareth
Atkinson of 1st Battalion Mercian Regiment) was there as was the grandson of Private W Wood VC with
his grandfather's medals & citation and also representatives of 'The Unknown Warrior' group. At the
time the 'general public' consisted of our member, her husband and one train spotter!
2256] Preston: (BLN 1222.1803) A local member remains sceptical that trams will operate, although
concedes that the latest proposal is plausible. It is for a mile-long test track along the former Deepdale
Coal Concentration Depot branch; the original 1840 passenger terminus of the Preston & Longridge
Railway. It is for 'driver training and familiarisation with equipment' and seems to have the agreement
of NR and Lancashire County Council as no passengers will be carried (drat!). The application site
covers the disused line from Skeffington Rd to Deepdale St and Fletcher Rd in a southwest to northeast
direction. A report to Preston Council planning committee recommends Trampower Ltd's application
for approval (with conditions), including building of masts, overhead cables, a station platform and
tram shed. The shed is to accommodate the tram (possibly two) stored securely elsewhere in the city.
1269 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
X.178C] ABOVE: (BLN 1268.2165) Work in progress at Oulton Broad North station on 8 Jun 2016. The
useable part of the platform is being moved further east, away from the crossing so that the gates
don't need to be lowered (to road traffic) until the train is ready to depart. This is to reduce road
delays. The East Suffolk line goes off left to Ipswich via Beccles. Our keen readers will have noted that
this picture appeared in BLN 1264 'Pictorial'. Locomotive 68019 is on the Lowestoft train. (Nick Jones)
2257] Berney Arms folded: (BLN 1243.1927) Sadly the public house near the station between Great
Yarmouth and Reedham and said to only be accessible by train, boat or on foot, has closed again.
It only reopened in Jul 2015 after a 12 month closure with flood damage - the area is at or below sea
level. A change of use to a single dwelling planning application was refused in Sep 2015. An April video
shows it severely vandalised with broken windows, fixtures and fittings smashed up and extensive
internal damage from arson. It was up for auction on 9 Jun 2016 with 14 acres of land and various
extras (guide £140-160k 'requiring refurbishment throughout') but was withdrawn prior to the sale.
2258] Sheringham: (BLN 1264.1748) Cromer and Sheringham could miss out on improved services if a
new Broadlands Business Park station is built on the edge of Norwich, leaving them with the current
frequencies. Cromer Town Council is now asking to be involved with plans to take the project forward.
A Councillor said: The proposal seems to be too Norwich-centric. The line would be turned into a
commuter service from North Walsham to the city and we don't want that. At the end of the day we
want to see an improvement in the rail service to Cromer. North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC)
cabinet has recommended giving £15k towards a more detailed study looking at the Bittern Line as a
whole with increased frequencies to Sheringham. Preliminary research commissioned by Broadland
District Council (BDC) found that, after costs, the changes would bring benefits of £15.5M and attract
an estimated extra 190,000 passengers a year. It also identified a strong case for a half-hourly service
between Norwich and North Walsham. NNDC's cabinet recommendation followed an approach from
BDC for cash towards a technical study and an offer to join a Bittern Line Improvements Project Board.
2259] Ely: (BLN 1267.2062) Rail for the 13 new Southfarm Sidings for stock storage came from disused
Peel Ports sites, particularly the Manchester Ship Canal Railway Eastham branch at Ellesmere Port.
2260] Shenfield: (BLN 1267.2060) The Up and Down Electric lines are closed to TfL services from 3 Jan
until late May 2017 with 'frequent' replacement buses to/from Brentwood connecting with trains
instead. At Brentwood (still only to be served by TfL) all trains reverse in P4, returning to London over
the new trailing crossover carrying passengers and needing the service from Gidea Park to be reduced.
2261] Banbury: On 2 Nov the North Signal Box was still in situ with windows boarded up; literature
distributed during the public opening after decommissioning had suggested demolition in early Oct
2262] Oxford: (BLN 1263.1637) The new staff building appeared to be in use on 30 Oct but seemed to
need external cladding. The old building was in situ, presumably awaiting demolition so the platforms
could be extended beyond three cars. From 10 Nov work has been taking place round the clock, seven
days a week to finish bay P1 and lengthen bay P2 both to 6-cars by 11 Dec for the new Chiltern service.
Chiltern drivers are learning Oxford Parkway to Hinksey Yard, the latter for loco-hauled workings (too
long for the Oxford bays). From 11 Dec the SSuX 06.43, 07.20 07.44 & 20.00 from Oxford depart from
Down P4; all arrive ECS reversing at 'Hinksey Reception Lines' where there are new turnback facilities
and a driver's walkway. On departure to Marylebone these use Oxford North Jn Down Main to up
Main facing crossover in passenger service. The loco-hauled arrivals (SSuX) 06.43, 19.25, & 19.54 use
P3 then run ECS to Hinksey. The 18.54 SSuX arrival recesses ECS in Oxford Up & Down Passenger Loop
(also with new turnback facilities and a walkway) from 18.59 to 19.16 then returns to P3 to form the
19.20 to Marylebone. Also in the new timetable, stock still stables overnight at Banbury Road Sidings;
other ECS arrives from Banbury and Aylesbury (the latter via Princes Risborough reverse). Chiltern's
new Banbury Depot is delayed by badgers (very set in their ways) 'squatting' and rearing their young.
Heading south, the extent of work necessary at Oxford to permit any Chiltern service to access the
Cowley branch appears to make this a distant prospect (NR have already said that four tracking would
be needed to Kennington Jn). Proceeding north from bays P1 and P2 (and north from Up P3) onto the
reversible Up Oxford Relief conflicts with all moves into P3 over the toes to toes (adjacent trailing/
facing points) layout from the Up Main! The Up Oxford Relief runs on the east side to Oxford North Jn,
the two crossovers providing Up Main and Down Main access to/from the Bicester line.
Then the single line is the Down Bletchley slewing to become the Up Bletchley at the pointless Oxford
Canal Jn. North of Wolvercot Tunnel double track (both reversible) resumes at Woodstock Road Jn
(28m 45ch). Oxford Parkway follows. The crossover and points to Banbury Road sidings is 'Water
NOTE: The new layout as described and due to be commissioned from Mon 21 Nov 2016 is an interim
one, 'Oxford Phase 0'. Before electrification the whole Oxford area needs to be resignalled (Phase 1)
and the double track in situ from Oxford North Jn is not commissioned until Phase 2 for the East-West
Rail extension to Bletchley/Bedford/Milton Keynes. The original plan (downgraded in 2013 to contain
costs) was to reinstate an independent double track on the former L&NWR alignment to the far east.
Oxford PSB controls to 29m 25ch (the NR route and Sectional Appendix boundaries) with track circuits
(signals plated OX/OD) fringing Marylebone IECC with axle counters east of Woodstock Road Jn;
signals plated OB - Oxford to Bletchley. The (reversible) Up Oxford Relief theatre indicator is 'J' as in
(Down) 'Jericho' line, its former name! Bat boxes have been provided in the 145yd Wolvercot Tunnel
and a train treadle activated bat lighting system which only operates if needed (in certain lighting and
temperatures) - and you thought that bats were blind! A built in alarm alerts the signaller to any faults.
For those batty enough to want to see it in action, it is only switched on from Mar to Nov inclusive.
2263] Stevenage: (BLN 1266.1965) NR has decided not to add a fifth platform for the foreseeable
future. It was to have been included in the present island between P3 and P4. This means that when
the new GN metro timetable comes into force in 2018 there will be very limited capacity with far
fewer paths for Hertford loop services either to reverse in Stevenage P4 or run through to Letchworth
Garden City to lay over in the carriage sidings. Services between Hertford North and Stevenage will be
severely truncated or withdrawn altogether with bus replacements normal. The exact plan is unclear
at present but is causing quite a storm locally. The
Thameslink GN website makes no mention of it and
still appears to include a full Letchworth Garden City
to Moorgate service for 2018 as at present.
2264] Maidenhead: Over the 6 Nov weekend a new
connection was to be installed on the Up Relief line
west of here for moves to the new Maidenhead Loop
line. These points have been secured OOU.
1269 SOUTH WEST
2265] Exeter: Extensive track remodelling of the
Traction Maintenance Depot (adjacent to Exeter St
Davids station and visited by the joint Society/L&CI
29 Mar 2014 FWG Tracker III) is planned with GWR's
investment programme. This includes replacement of
the redundant goods facilities near the station with
new, modern depot buildings; DMU sidings will fan out
to the west of the site where the current structures are
sited. Before and after http://goo.gl/wQnCxK artist's
2266] Carry on Camping? (BLN 1268.2177) The Brunel
Holiday Park with its unusual camping accommodation
of former mainline coaching stock has been sold at
auction for £261K - considerably in excess of the guide
price of £125k to £175K.
2267] Langport to offer an oasis on the desert? Yet another group of formerly rail-served
communities in the south west appear to be seeking support to reconnect to the national network.
However, there appears to be some uncertainty about whether Somerton, Langport or a compromise
'parkway' type facility somewhere between these sizeable villages in Somerset is being considered.
A meeting between Somerset County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership, GWR and local district
councils indicated a strong positive view for a return of a station 'somewhere' on the line between
Taunton and Castle Cary - at 27¾ miles the longest stretch of railway west of Paddington without an
intermediate station. While all parties are keen to progress with assessing demand and building a case
for the station, this will require funding - the nearby Wellington proposal raising funds of around £40k
for this stage of consideration as an example. The County Council is unable to provide any funds at
present. Should a station return, it will be doing the job of three predecessors - Langport East (largely
serving the nearby Huish Episcopi) and Somerton, both CP 10 Sep 1962; CA Jul 1964 on the GWR line
between Taunton and Castle Cary, the third, Langport West on the Bristol & Exeter Railway's Taunton
to Yeovil line CP 15 Jun 1964.
2268] Ashton Gate - Extra Time: (BLN 1268.2174) A member travelled on the final football excursion
on Sat 16 Feb 1974 (per Michael Quick's closure date, not Sun 17 as in BLN 1268, but see below). Leeds
United were drawn away to Bristol City in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup. Leeds supporters had a bad
reputation at the time but it was still a surprise to see the train advertised to Ashton Gate.
Our contributor was thus able to wear his football fan, train timing and rare track hats for the trip!
With kick off at 14.30 the train, a Class 45 loco 45125 hauling 13 coaches, was scheduled to leave at
08.00 but went a full 3 minutes early. The route was via Cudworth, Sheffield (possible crew change),
Landor Street Jn (crew change), then non-stop via Camp Hill to Ashton Gate (12.14). There were no
facilities but the ground was close by, of course, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
A prompt return was made for the scheduled 16.45 departure but the stock was not present and the
platform continued to fill, no doubt presenting a Health and Safety nightmare by today's standards!
Suddenly, the ECS sped by without warning under the adjoining bridge heading towards Portishead
and an unknown run-round point. Eventually 45125 turned up and departure was 7 minutes late.
A crew change was made outside Bristol Temple Meads. The train lighting failed passing Gloucester,
with the rest of the journey in darkness. It was unexpectedly (no RTT then!) routed into Birmingham
New Street (crew change) then via Aston, Bescot, Walsall, Brownhills and Lichfield for a final crew
change at Derby, arriving in Leeds at 21.18 via Beighton and Cudworth. Already mentioned
(BLN 1265.1866) from 12-19 May 1984 were specials for the Rev Billy Graham's visit which seem to
have been Ashton Gate's final passenger trains of all.
1269 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH
2269] Aylesford: (BLN 1268.2152) 'Kent online' reports residents complaining about the time the level
crossing barriers are down due to diverted freight trains. The trigger points for these are positioned for
faster passenger trains and freight trains have been causing long traffic queues. Unfortunately for the
residents, the bridge at Lewisham may be barred to locomotives for several more weeks to come.
2270] A train with a view: Whatever one's views on the Class 700, the window width is a positive
feature. Many are wider than any other stock. Looking obliquely from a window seat this permits
a much longer view of adjacent tracks and lineside. The previously unobserved features are surprising.
1269 WEST MIDLANDS
2271] Midland Metro: The Grand Central extension (OP 30 May 2016) has increased passenger
number by over 15%. In Apr 451,134 were documented and in Sep (also with 30 days) 519,004
'City Hop' tickets (Grand Central to Jewellery Quarter or Priestfield to St Georges for £1 single or £2
return) have been particularly successful, sales rose from 4,850 to 19,628 in the same months. Smart
card payments introduced on the day that Grand Central opened accounted for 21.7% of payments in
Sep. Other new local return fares (e.g. Hawthorns to West Bromwich for £3) have helped the growth.
X.179 Malvern Wells: ABOVE: The NR measurement HST arrives from the Worcester direction. The
Down Goods Loop is right and MP 130 is bottom left (from London Paddington via Didcot station and
Oxford). These two semaphores were brand new in Aug. The one on the left was reduced in height and
is centre pivoted so as not to infringe the loading gauge either side. BELOW: 43062 powers away west.
In the Down Loop was 158 952 on the 07.23 from Warminster forming the 10.50 from Great Malvern
to Brighton but curtailed at Southampton by the Fareham blockade. (Richard Putley 25 Oct 2016)
2272] Right Place Right Time: On Sat 12 Nov a member who decided to 'get some therapy' and take a
322½ mile day scenic trip from Birmingham New Street to Pwllheli and back (£30.10p) on the 08.25
through train, only made it to 2½ miles, just past Soho North Jn. Ahead, in the other direction, the
05.30 Aberystwyth to Birmingham International train was being evacuated at Smethwick Rolfe Street
station due to a serious engine fire which closed the line in both directions for two hours. His train was
held but eventually returned 'wrong line' on the Down line then rather cautiously over the very rare
Soho North Jn trailing crossover to the Up. Unfortunately ATW crews do not sign Soho North to East
curve so it was back to New Street. The 2x2-car Class 158 DMU terminated in New Street P4c where it
just fitted. Had our member's train not passed Soho South Jn (the points of no return?) in the first
place it could have diverted via Bescot as many later services were. More unexpected new track on the
way home was the new (southbound) Bromsgrove Down loop (P4) which had only opened on 7 Nov.
2273] Stafford - Newport: A dedication service, attended by a local member, was held on 11 Nov for a
bench installed to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and soldiers who travelled
along the line to the battle. It is located on the Greenway 2.2 miles west of Gnosall towards Newport.
2274] Norton Jn: The famous distant semaphore signal on the approach from Worcester Shrub Hill
used to be controlled from Gloucester PSB (fortunately motorised as it would otherwise have been a
25 mile pull on the signal wire!). As part of the recent Five Ways to Ashchurch (north) resignalling, it is
now controlled locally from Norton Junction signal box itself.
2275] Wolverhampton: The City Council has approved the £120M station redevelopment plans from
the Wolverhampton Interchange Partnership with a larger concourse, ticket barriers, and an enhanced
ticket office (Birmingham New Street style). Neptune Developments and Balfour Beatty are building a
new station multi-storey car park, for completion by the end of Dec when station demolition can start.
1269 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
2276] Halifax: A third station platform (a reopening) in front of the '1855 building' and a new modern
bus and rail interchange is set to move a step closer. Calderdale Council's Economy and Investment
Panel has agreed a detailed feasibility study. The vision is to improve journeys, reduce travel times,
create a more attractive environment, improve links with key attractions and boost the local economy.
2277] Doncaster: (BLN 1263.1646) The first departure from the new bay P0 is now the 09.07 to Goole
on Sun 11 Dec with the first arrival at 10.47, the 09.43 from Hull. South of the station on the Down
side near Loversall Carr Jn, the Rossington branch from Rossington Colliery Jn (152m 12ch) was shiny
on 29 Oct. In recent weeks there has generally been a Wednesday only working to Doncaster Belmont
Yard (outward inert spoil). A new intermodal terminal is under construction at Rossington for traffic
that formerly ran to Selby, (Potters) and is temporarily now handled at Rotherham Masborough.
2278] Are you Humber Vague? (BLN 1263.1676) On Sat 29 Oct
numerous members were on the UK Railtour 'Humber Vogue' tour
to Hull Docks and Drax Power Station. In response to requests, all
will be clearer when the new Eastern TRACKmaps is out on 30 Nov
(see front page) the 'official' (red) line:
Hull Docks: Down line - Dock security gate - cross to Up line -
Up line siding - Up Line - Kingston Coal Terminal (OG 4 Oct 1992)
loading line - Headshunt to end of line - Loading line - crossover
left at scissors - Hedon Road sidings No5 (Biomass run round Loop)
- Up line - Dock security gate - Up line
Drax: Down Drax branch - Reception '1' - (FGD) (Flue Gas
Desulpherisation) Spur Jn - FGD siding 'H' - FGD headshunt end of
line (LEFT: With the hand point clamped and traffic cone in place,
the buffer stops are behind the photographer and were reached.) -
FGD siding 'H' - FGD Spur Jn - cross to reception '2' - FGD Spur Jn - Line 'D' - cross to By-Pass Line 'X' -
cross to Line 'E' (oil unloading) - slip back onto By-Pass Line 'X' - under A645 bridge - cross to Down
Drax branch - bidirectional line avoiding Cripple Siding Jn - cross to Up Drax branch. In the current (Sep
2006) TRACKmaps it is stated that Line 'D' and 'By-pass' are the same. This is no longer so, the turnout
for Lines 'A' to 'D' is nearer FGD Spur Jn than shown, per new TRACKmaps.
2279] Wensleydale Railway (WR): (BLN 1268.2125) Further information, based on a talk given a few
years ago by a WR official, has come to light since the itinerary (sent out with e-BLN 1268) was written
for our 25 Sep event with PLEG. Askrigg had an emergency train service during the severe winter of
1962/3 when local roads were blocked by snow. Redmire limestone traffic ceased after last running on
21 Dec 1992 because the overhead loading cable-way was life-expired and the quarries were almost
exhausted. BR put the line up for sale at £1.5M but there were no buyers. However the Army paid BR
£750k to bring it up to a sufficient standard to transport tanks to/from Catterick Camp. In 2007, the
WR was under contract to move army trains. They were difficult to operate, arrived very early in the
morning and paid only by the mileage run, so were not very profitable. Has this contract now expired?
A talk given some years ago by a senior member of the Railway Association sheds some interesting
light on their position and plans. By having a 99 year lease and remaining part of the national network,
the railway company was eligible for all five licenses from the Rail Regulator to operate both track and
trains. On transfer from BR to the WR, the line was effectively a 22 mile siding with no buildings or
signals, other than one fixed distant. The WR has a good working relationship with a company which
tests track maintenance equipment on it and installed Constable Burton loop as a training exercise.
X.180]: BELOW: Londonderry panel (24 Feb 1980 to 2 Nov 2016) on its last day (Martin Baumann).
LEFT: Coleraine Driver Ian Thompson (left) accepts the key token
from signalman Allwyn Lland for the final passenger train under this
system, the 19.33 Londonderry to Great Victoria Street 2 Nov 2016.
2280] South Wexford: (BLN 1263.1651) An inspection car was
scheduled to run east - west on 25 Oct.
2281] Coleraine - Londonderry: (BLN 1267.2085) From 21 Nov, all
trains to Coleraine should use Bellarena loop and those to
Londonderry the main line with revised timings for crossings, SSuX:
07.13 ex-Derry dep 07.35, Bellarena 07.59 (cross 06.05 ex-GVS),
Castlerock 08.08, Coleraine 08.16 then as before.
16.13 Derry-Coleraine dep 16.35, Bellarena 16.59 (cross 15.10 ex-
GVS), Castlerock 17.08, Coleraine 17.16.
17.55 Coleraine - Derry dep 17.43, Castlerock 17.50, Bellarena 17.58 (cross 17.33 ex Derry), Derry 18.25.
2283] Dart: IÉ is developing a truncated version of the DART expansion project to reduce the potential
€4.5bn cost in a bid to secure government approval to allow construction to begin in just over three
years' time. Less tunneling requiring passengers to change trains, is amongst the options being
considered. Originally proposed was an 8.6km tunnel from Inchicore to East Wall, with stations at
Inchicore, Heuston, Christchurch, St Stephen's Green, Pearse Street and Spencer Dock. Options are:
●Shortening the overall tunnel length by removing the section between Inchicore and Heuston.
Instead, additional running lines would be built above ground, Inchicore station could be dropped.
●Terminating the tunnel at Pearse station; connects with the existing Dart lines but reduces capacity.
●Connecting lines with passengers changing trains at Heuston for Hazelhatch and the Kildare line.
A full assessment of all options is being made by IÉ, looking at redesign options and the cost-benefits
of each. This will be provided to the National Transport Authority with a view to possibly proceeding to
a railway order (planning permission), with construction works to start in 2020.' (The Planner)
(Our apologies for the delay in some entries appearing here - this was due to various email problems.)
2284] Tweedbank: Funding for installation of toilets and a snack bar has been secured. It is hoped they
will be operational early next year. This is similar to Bathgate which is very successful. ScotRail own
the facilities but lease them to a local provider who is 'trained' to give rail service information.
2284] Haymarket: On 5 Oct due to a brake issue the 14.34 from Dundee terminated in P0 (Realtime
Trains showed P1) stopping in time! Frustrating for the correspondent watching who needed it!
2286] Edinburgh Gateway: (BLN 1268.2110) Between South Gyle and Dalmeny stations, the £41M
station (and associated tram stop) opens on 11 Dec, with direct trains to Perth, Dundee and Inverness,
as well as to Edinburgh and Fife. With South Gyle station the number of trains serving northwest
Edinburgh increases from four an hour to six. (They are indeed different trains, most call at one or the
other so a direct journey between the two will generally involve doubling back via a third station!)
There are 14 trains from Fife arriving at the two stations between 07.00 and 09.00 (with similar
evening returns), for commuters to Edinburgh Business Park. The new station has two 265m, 10-car
platforms and a 1,500m2 concourse. A step-free access bridge links the platforms and connects to the
new tram stop via lifts and escalators. An underpass beneath the A8 gives pedestrian access from the
nearby Gyle centre. South Gyle services will reduce from 4tph to 2tph, but with extra peak services.
2287] West Calder: As part of the electrification of the Glasgow to Edinburgh via Shotts line, the A71
overbridge needs to be rebuilt here. NR had proposed a temporary road diversion, but West Lothian
Council has refused planning permission for this due to 'significant adverse environmental effects' of
the project being disruptive to the school. This now means NR seeking full closure of the A71 for 16
weeks. A survey will assess if mining remediation work needs to be done under the bridge abutments,
to ensure the integrity of the structure. The whole project cannot now begin on schedule in Jan 2017.
2288] Arran Ferry: (BLN 1268.2195) Troon's attempts to grab the Arran ferry from Ardrossan has
featured in the local press and follows loss of the fast craft to Northern Ireland from Troon. Although
Ardrossan Harbour can be difficult to navigate during severe weather, Troon is not without problems
either. There is no rail connection at Troon harbour, but the really strong argument against the move
from Ardrossan is the longer passage time. Currently it is 55 minutes from Ardrossan to Brodick, but it
would probably be about 80-90 minutes from Troon (although Associated British Ports say that a new
faster ferry will be provided). That means the service would be less frequent, unless more vessels were
used, and that each vessel would lose at least one return trip daily. This loss of capacity is the last thing
that is needed, because the introduction of 'road equivalent tariff' fares has greatly increased traffic. It
used to cost over £70 return for a car and driver, but now it is less than £40. As a result, crossings are
often fully booked for vehicles well in advance. A longer passage time adds to operating costs, without
any likely increase in income. A second ship is under construction, so that there can be a two-ship
service throughout the year from Ardrossan, rather than just during the summer months.
2289] Robroyston: A new Park & Ride station (completion 'envisaged' by Mar 2019) is proposed west
of Stepps on the Cumbernauld to Springburn/Queen Street electrified line, also catering for future
demand from 1,600 planned new households. The Scottish Government has committed to 50% of the
current estimated costs (total over £7M), via the £30M Scottish Stations Fund - the first station to so
benefit. The rest is expected to come from the scheme's promoters Strathclyde Partnership for
Transport (SPT), Glasgow City Council, and private developers.
BELOW: 1953/55 one inch 7th Series map. Bank Jn is just northwest of New Cumnock and Polquhap
Summit is just off the map. The Greenburn branch (an ironic name for a coal open cast disposal point!)
is highlighted in pale green; it ROG 28 Jun 2004 from Greenburn Jn, ('North Boig on the map).
Greenburn as a location is marked on the upper left edge. This branch now ends before the minor
(yellow) road rather than after with the alignment at the end slightly more towards the River Nith but
is otherwise the same. On Mon 14 Nov, 6,400 tonnes of coal were dispatched by rail, two trains to
Ratcliffe and one to Drax. The closed section of the former Knockshinnoch (Castle Colliery) branch is
yellow. The original end of that line at Lanemark Colliery is along the bottom left (purple arrow).
2290] Knockshinnoch branch: (BLN 1232.881) A member visited the area recently. From the former
Connel Park level crossing, looking north, the rusty track ends approximately a chain north of the
crossing, at the NR boundary - as in Oct 2013 (BLN 1196.1518). This is 1m 30ch from Bank Jn
(northwest of New Cumnock) on this former Glasgow & South Western Railway branch - the final 34ch
to the latter end of line was once a Scottish Coal private siding. Although he didn't visit Greenburn Jn,
our member gathered that the points were removed and the junction plain lined in July 2014 so
presumably the above mentioned piece of track is 'isolated'. On the south side of Connel Park LC, a
pedestrian gate has been installed, giving access to the trackbed as a rough footpath which can be
followed to the end of the branch. The concrete footings for the demolished loader remain, with rails
embedded in the concrete. Ballast ends at (NS 6042 1211) the end line when it was an Open Cast
Disposal Point. The formation continues through fairly dense undergrowth for about a further 4ch,
(NS 6043 1211) perhaps shortened when the branch was completely relaid and a rapid loader installed
for the commencement of MGR operation in Aug 1985? The line, one of many colliery lines in the area,
once ran past Knockshinnoch Colliery (where electricity substations are being installed) west to
Lanemark Colliery (NS 583109). BELOW TOP: Connel Park Level Crossing; Bank Jn is to the right side of
the crossing and Knockshinnoch is to the left (all pictures by Nick Jones Oct 2016).
PREVIOUS PAGE, BOTTOM LEFT: Knockshinnoch,The end of the ballast (NS 6042 1211).
PREVIOUS PAGE, BOTTOM RIGHT: The end of the formation in recent years (NS 6043 1211).
ABOVE MIDDLE LEFT: The former loading bunker site looking south towards the end of line.
ABOVE MIDDLE RIGHT: The former Knockshinoch (Castle) Colliery site.
ABOVE BOTTOM LEFT: Towards Connel Park Level Crossing looking in the Bank Jn direction.
ABOVE BOTTOM RIGHT: Towards Bank Jn past the level crossing; end of the track (NR boundary).
2291] Glasgow Airport (lack of) link: (BLN 1246.2266) The latest proposals are (1) Relocate Paisley St
James station, with Personal Rapid Transport ('pods') to the airport. This is proposed by Junction 29
(Scotland) Ltd, which owns a 40 acre site off the M8 motorway, large enough to provide a park and
ride at the new station plus additional land for a mixed-use development. It would cost £70-£80M to
deliver over 12 months and would be built alongside the existing network. A 1.1 mile journey from the
airport would take four minutes. It uses proven technology and features small automated vehicles,
which can be different sizes, operating on a network of specially built lightweight guideways.
(2) The rival tram-train option, from Glasgow Central to the airport via Paisley, estimated at £144M
would offer a 16½ minute direct journey from Glasgow city centre, with estimated completion in 2025.
2292] Dumbarton Central: (BLN 1263.1602) P3 loop west end has no booked passenger use. Due to
engineering work, on Sun16 Oct 2016 all services from the west terminated in it and turned back via
the west facing crossover. Two BLS members and a friend boarded the 07.58 from Craigendoran and
after the Dalreoch 'position 4' feather (BELOW TOP LEFT: All Simon Mortimer) duly lurched across
right to the Down Helensburgh (BELOW TOP RIGHT) and into the Down Passenger Loop (BELOW
RIGHT MIDDLE), well along P3 to achieve good overlap with eastbound departures (BELOW BOTTOM)!
Three more members were spotted going the other way off the Dalmuir rail replacement bus!
2293] Aberdeen: Redevelopment around the station could lead to P8 & 9 reopening. 'The Station
Gateway' improving links between rail services, ferries, public transport and shopping centres, is part
of the 25-year city Masterplan. The concourse could move north and the taxis to South College St.
2294] Cairnie Junction: The Great North of Scotland Railway Association's Abstract No16 (Oct 1997)
says there was 'No official public access' (to what was essentially an exchange platform) - note the
careful qualifiers. See https://goo.gl/p56bdk (zoom bottom left) and https://goo.gl/5mPRBZ
(top left) which shows what looks suspiciously like a footpath from the southwest corner of the road
overbridge while https://goo.gl/41xndJ and https://goo.gl/XKfnpE suggest access from the east side
before the bridge. The staff must have had access, of course. Googling 'Cairnie Junction', may give you
this delightful clip https://goo.gl/hBxn21 but what it claims is Cairnie Junction is not - where is it?
2295] Banff: Retired train driver and engineer Bill Scatterty has proposed reinstating a heritage tourist
attraction railway on the north Aberdeenshire coast between Banff and Portsoy. The Tillynaught to
Banff branch CP 6 Jul 1964; CG/CA 6 May 1968 (the date the coast line through Portsoy CA). Much has
reverted to agricultural land, but some of the track bed still remains. The project is still in its very early
days, and an estimate of the cost for restoration to standard gauge has not yet been made. 'North-East
of Scotland Railway' are on the lookout for old engines, as well as volunteers to help out with the
scheme. Mr Scatterty is due to meet rail officials and politicians to (standard?) gauge interest in the
idea and has also discussed with the chair of the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership who was said to
be keen on the idea and would support 'in any way he could' (unlikely to be financially - Regional Ed).
2296] Cromarty & Dingwall Light Railway: Construction was well-advanced with completion expected
in 1916 when WWI broke out. Delays in securing land near the main line junction, at Conon Bridge,
resulted in the railway being built westwards from the Cromarty terminus. In 1915 the workmen were
directed by the War Office to build naval defences and in 1917 all track materials were requisitioned
for use in France. [This happened to various lines (and on 1 Jan 1917 more than 125 stations also
closed) including as examples, Buckie (Highland Railway) to Aultmore, Wyesham Jn to Whitecliff
Quarry in the Forest of Dean, Rowington Jn to Henley-in-Arden (goods), Titley Junction to Eardisley and
Bearley North Jn to Great Alne - the latter two like some others were subsequently reinstated.]
By 1915 earthworks extended for 12 miles from Cromarty, almost five miles of track had been laid and
a works train had been in operation. After the war valiant efforts were made to revive the railway, but
the great increase in the cost of labour and materials meant that sufficient funds were not available.
Sections of trackbed can still be made out https://goo.gl/ocf5rR particularly east of Jemimaville.
This must be one of the more substantial sections of railway to have been built, but never opened.
2297] Strathpeffer: The largest habitation (population 2,245 in 1861) between Dingwall and Kyle of
Lochalsh ended up being bypassed by the through line due to strong opposition from a determined
local, Sir William MacKenzie of Coul House. Instead it was served by a five mile branch which CP 1946,
CA 1951 and even once had a through sleeping carriage from London! Now the timber station building
is intact, occupied by the Highland Museum of Childhood, a tea room and a number of craft shops,
several of which are vacant. The station was acquired by Highland Council in 1980 and the museum
established in 1992. The museum trust purchased the station from the Council in 2009. Following a
survey in 2015, work has started on renovation of the platform canopy, but all that seems to have
been done so far is to erect a limited amount of scaffolding. The trackbed is intact and walkable all the
way to Fodderty Jn, (still a Radio Electronic Token exchange point where trains can be halted in the
middle of nowhere!); only a bed of nettles separates the walker from the Kyle line. A few fences have
to be negotiated on the way, but the trackbed has not been incorporated into adjacent fields.
The decks of two small underbridges have been removed. The deck on a third remains and there is an
attractive overbridge at Fodderty carrying a minor road. This is a stone, elliptical arch structure.
2298] Evanton: Ross & Cromarty Council is to discuss whether to seek funding for the re-opening of
the station (OP 23 May 1863 as 'Novar', renamed 1 Jun 1937; CP 13 Jun 1960). It is 24¾ miles from
Inverness between Dingwall and Alness (10 miles without a station). A local councillor states that
there would be demand by Inverness commuters, and people using it to access the many local walks.
2299] Dornoch: The former 7¾ mile branch terminal station (CA 13 Jun 1960), a timber structure with
slated roof, is currently used by a chiropractic clinic [no corny jokes please - don't be so callous].
The first half mile of trackbed is lost to building development and road widening, but thereafter it is
intact to Embo. A local history group advertised a walk along it on 8 Oct. The section through Embo is
now a road and a short part is a path further north. However, the remaining trackbed to Cambusavie
has been incorporated into fields with a few earthworks evident. A surprising survivor is a platelayer's
hut a short distance west of Skelbo. This is of brick, with a slated roof and steel window frame.
The design makes it most likely that it was built by the LMS. The local sheep seem to use it as a shelter.
The crossing cottage remains at Cambusavie and is lived in. Some extensions have been built on and it
has an attractive railway engine weather vane. Road widening has eliminated the trackbed across
The Mound, the branch junction. A stone abutment survives at the railway bridge over the River Fleet.
3000] Wick & Lybster Light Railway: The former Thrumster station has been attractively renovated,
complete with a reproduction name sign, and a short section of standard gauge track laid through the
single platform. The building houses an exhibition about the 13½ mile branch that ran south from Wick
along the coast. It is open from April to September, but the key may be available at other times on
application at the house next door (if anyone is at home!). Lybster station building also survives as
Lybster Golf Club clubhouse. The railway ran through what is now the golf course so the club emblem
is a silhouette of a steam locomotive, though it is unlikely that an 0-8-0 ever ran on the branch!
BELOW: A challenging bit of track - bring you own vehicle all the way to Caithness! The restored
station at Thrumster, the first on the former Wick & Lybster Light Railway. This is shown on this
nominally 1927/28 revision https://goo.gl/VvOG7m one inch to the mile map (zoom in and follow).
In April 1910 there were SuX trains from Lybster to Wick at 9.30am, 4.45pm and additionally SO at
6.15pm taking 50 minutes to do the 13½ mile branch. They returned from Wick at 11.00am, 5.00pm
and 7.20pm respectively so it was not an easy line to do the other way round except on a late Saturday
afternoon! Lybster was originally virtually inaccessible by road, the light railway opened 1 Jul 1903, it
CP 31 Dec 1922, TCA 3 Apr 1944 then never reopened. It was undermined by a new road connecting
Lybster with the south. Helmsdale to Lybster was 87 miles by rail via Georgemas Jn and Wick or just
22 miles by the new road!!
3001] Larbert: (BLN 1265.1878) The intended Nov commissioning of the Up Engineering Sidings, the
new Down Passenger Loop and replacement trailing crossover has now been postponed.
3002] Chester & Holyhead line: Into the 1960s, there was generous provision of quadruple tracks over
long stretches of the main line: west of Chester to Connahs Quay No1; between Muspratts Sidings box
and Llandulas; and from Colwyn Bay No1 to Llandudno Junction No2. Is any reader able to provide
dates at which these sections were reduced to the current double line please?
3003] Dyserth branch: (BLN 1253.616) A lottery grant of almost £1.1M has been approved for
refurbishment of Meliden goods shed. Work is due to start in summer 2017, with provision for a café,
space for artists, a cycle hire business, and allotments. The shed is beside the footpath and cycleway
on the branch formation. While in the area, visitors might care to note the first Prestatyn station,
CP 28 Feb 1897 in favour of a new station a short distance west. The building was fully refurbished a
few years ago and is now home to a small business, David J Jones Furniture Craftsmen.
3004] Mostyn: NR advise that work is to be carried out from 5 Nov 2016 to 27 Mar 2017 removing the
Port of Mostyn exchange sidings (199m 09ch), as part of the ongoing track work in the area. This must
be the only location in the TRACKmaps series that shows a ship! (TRACKmaps Vol 4 p36A, Aug 2013)
3005] Carmarthen - Aberystwyth: (BLN 1249.201) The Welsh Government's 2017/18 budget confirms
£300k toward a feasibility study into reinstating this 'missing link' in the Welsh railway network.
The project has at least one high-level supporter, in Leader of the Opposition (and rail enthusiast)
Jeremy Corbyn, who has mentioned its potential in a number of speeches, including his main speech at
this year's party conference! It is doubted that he would be enthusiastic about Virgin Trains running it!
3006] Swansea: (BLN 1224.113) Access was restored on 24 Oct from P3 and 4 to the Carriage Washer
Line and Maliphant Depot Bypass Road, previously accessible only from P1 and 2. Although the new
depot is controlled by Hitachi for the IEP Super Express Train, three HSTs stable each night for GWR.
3007] A railtour by any other name:... Insomniacs and nocturnal travellers by ferry from Rosslare will
be aware of the unusual track scheduled for GWR's 03.52 SSuX Swansea to London Paddington.
As noted in PSUL, the HST is the only booked passenger train routed between Margam East Jn and
Margam Moors Jn over the Ogmore Vale Extension line, and it is later booked via the Leckwith Loop
to Cardiff. On 2 to 4 November, travellers had the added bonus of being routed into Cardiff Central P6
then taking the rare east end facing crossover to the Up Relief, followed as far as Newport, Gaer Jn.
3008] 'Railway No8': (BLN 1268.2199) It is understood that, although never used, the Pontrhydyfen
branch was not formally abandoned until the GWR Act of Oct 1929. At the Pontrhydyfen end about
17ch of track was retained as a siding until 8 Apr1962. Regarding the 1,109yd Gyfylchi Tunnel on the
former South Wales Mineral Railway line, recent exploration reveals that the breeze block wall sealing
off the east end has been partially taken down. It is possible to venture as far as the summit within the
tunnel (at own risk and not endorsed as safe), but beyond here it is flooded; the Tonmawr end was
blocked by a roof-fall and landslip on 13 Jul 1947, and the tunnel never reopened.
1269 MINOR RAILWAYS
ABOVE: Isle of Wight Railway; the temporary platform, note totem, for the Diesel Gala brakevan trips
- the red brakevan can be seen upper right. (All pictures Michael Trower, Sat 1 Oct 16.) BELOW LEFT:
View east from the back of the brakevan at the temporary Goosefield Sidings platform. The left line is
the wheeldrop pit, then Goosefield Sidings 1 & 2 to the workshop with No3 running outside the
building, (right). BELOW RIGHT: At Griffins Sidings. A signal can just be seen (top middle of picture in
the distance) on the passenger running line, left of the 'Train Story' building. Wooton is to the left and
Haven Street station is right. There were many points to clip and the trips reached the buffer stops.
ABOVE: Round the corner from the temporary platform heading west, Haven Street island platform is
left - both faces are bidirectional, looking towards Smallbrook Jn. The brakevan trips starting from
Goosefield Sidings (right) were independent of the main running line; the connection between the
two is left of centre/bottom. E-BLN 1260.X88 has a picture of Griffins Sidings in the opposite direction.
MR226] Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Isle of Wight (MR p6): (BLN 1265.1903) A member visited the
railway on Saturday 1 October for the Diesel Gala. Brake van trips were operated over the spur, to the
Train Story exhibition. These started from a temporary platform just outside the C&W Workshop on
the line nearest to Havenstreet station. Named 'Goosefield East', this was constructed of pallets and
scaffolding, complete with totem! The rides went round past the Train Story exhibition and on to the
line, which has the fan of points for the Train Story building, and to the end of the line. The motive
power was advertised as either class 05 D2554 or Army 235. However, our reporter understands that,
although the Army loco did work on Friday afternoon, it was substituted by the class 05 at the end of
the day as people had come especially to have that for haulage, and was not going to work any other
brake van services over the weekend - certainly the class 05 did all the trips on Saturday.
MR227] Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Cumbria (MR p14) (BLN 1176.MR4): Operating on Lake
Windermere, is the steam launch 'Shamrock', kept in Wray Castle boathouse. The launch is owned by
the Shamrock Trust and operated and maintained by the Friends of Shamrock. Built in 1906, it was
converted to internal combustion power in 1948 and then restored to steam in 1976-1979. The
present boiler was once fitted to the railway's 'River Irt' loco, and was surplus when it was reboilered
about 1976. The boiler shell was shortened and the firebox rebuilt with the fire door in the right side.
A Society member visited the railway on 22 October during the annual RCTS Members Weekend, this
year at Grange-over-Sands. He noted the track layout at Ravenglass in the vicinity of the former
workshop, loading line and museum had been altered with a new workshop built after the serious fire.
BELOW: A winning picture! The powerful 125BHP loco 'Douglas Ferreira' - taken during our 16 April
2014 railtour of the delightful 15" gauge Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, part of a Society long
weekend in Cumbria. It was a winner in the Railway Benefit Fund 'Life of the Tracks' competition
(congratulations to Kev Adlam who submitted it). It is now their 2017 charity calendar picture for
August see https://goo.gl/BrYreM for all the winners. To order calendars, charity Christmas cards etc
see https://goo.gl/FfnCWd and support this worthy good cause.
MR228] Little Hoddy Railway, Cumbria: This 7¼" gauge railway once ran in the grounds of Port
Haverigg Holiday Village, near Millom. The Village was taken over by Hoseasons by July 2004 and the
railway was reported as being out of use by September 2006. A visit during September 2016 found the
track still intact but heavily overgrown.
MR229] Long Shop Museum, Leiston, Suffolk: (BLN 1256.MR85) Leiston Works Railway Trust has
detailed plans to rebuild the former Garratt Works branch from Leiston station to the former works
site off Main Street - part of which is now the Long Shop Museum. Currently, there is a very short
(40 yards, measured on Google) running line in the grounds of the Museum, although this is not on the
track bed of the original Works branch (nor cannot it be connected to it). A visit was made on Sunday
23 October to have a cab ride in 4WT 'Sirapite' (AP6158/1906), during the 'Final Fling' event. Admission
to the Museum was £8 for adults (normally £6.50). On arrival at around 11.30 'Sirapite' was noted to
be in its shed, but with steam being got up. The driver advised rides would commence around 12.00 -
'earlier than normal' (It is assumed 14.00 is the normal starting time as advised in BLN 1232).
In the event rides commenced just after 12.30. These started just outside the shed and ran to the end
of the line, back into the shed, back to the end of line and then returned to the start point. Three
people were taken at a time, sitting on a seat at the back of the cab, with the coal below your feet!
Rides are by donation. Your reporter was on the second trip. The loco was restored and is owned by
the Long Shop Museum and there is no other stock on site, although a brake van is apparently owned
by the Leiston Works Railway Trust. A short railway - but an interesting and historic site. Garratt's
celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1978, before closing 1980 (then on a site closer to Leiston station).
BELOW: Long Shop Museum, Leiston, 'Sirapite' giving cab rides over the short running line in the
museum grounds. Although a standard gauge loco it has a distinct 'broad gauge' look to it (Peter Scott
23 Oct 16).
MR230] Nocton Estate, Lincolnshire: One can discover information on narrow gauge railways in the
most odd places - as one member found out perusing a copy of the 'Shooting Times & Country
Magazine' for 11 November 2015 - during an enforced wait on Jury service. The Nocton estate shoot
and village of the same name in Lincolnshire has had a chequered history. Until the mid-1950s a
special train, pulled by a Simpson (sic - probably a Simplex) 20hp locomotive would, on a shoot day, be
waiting for the shooters at Nocton station. It would have a gamecart, some beaters' wagons and an
enclosed carriage for the shooters. The latter was about 18ft long with glass windows, lined with oak
panels and with 10 padded swivel seats. It had originally been designed to ferry high-ranking officers
up to the front in World War 1. There were only two rules: Don't miss the train because it left at 9am
sharp - if you missed the train you missed your day's shooting - and no shooting from the windows.
It took half an hour to reach the first drive, so a drink would be served to 'clear the eye'. In 1960 the
railway was finally abandoned as the farm roads were improved. Gauge was presumed to be 2ft.
MR231] Post Office Railway, Greater London (BLN 1251.MR36): Coaches for The Postal Museum's
new passenger trains started to arrive at Mount Pleasant in the last week in October. Constructed by
Severn Lamb, they were lowered in a semi-dismantled form into the tunnels through the original 100-
year old Mail Rail shaft. The trains will be assembled in the underground engineering depot at Mount
Pleasant, which originally served the old railway. The depot will form the start point for the new
passenger ride, as well as an exhibition and hire space, when the new Mail Rail attraction opens in
spring 2017. Severn Lamb has supplied two three-coach trains, one painted red, the other green.
Each set has driving positions and motorised bogies at both ends. Conceptually, the vehicles follow the
design of the original driverless trains, with 'tweaks' appropriate to modern passenger use. The floors
are lower to increase passenger comfort while travelling through the tunnels used by the old system
and glass doors/canopies are employed to provide passengers with a complete view of the old tunnels.
The trains, powered by diesel, are 16m long and 0.92m wide (so side by side seating will be a squash
for other than children and quite narrow gauge adults) and seat 32 people each.
Cabs are needed both end as the trains will run in opposite directions on consecutive trips. The route is
a tour of the depot (one side for trains and the other will be for large static exhibits including other
Mail Rail cars and other Post Office exhibits), out into the eastbound platform, where the train will
stop for a film show, continue around the east end loop round into the westbound platform for
another show, before returning into the depot. The trip will take around 16 minutes and an
approximately 10 minute frequency is envisaged with the two trains. Removal of the conductor rail
means that the driver and passenger accommodation does not have to be astride a central box as used
to the case.
MR232] Crossness Pumping Station, Abbey Wood, Greater London: The Pumping Station was built by
Sir Joseph Bazalgette as part of Victorian London's main sewage system. Officially opened by the
Prince of Wales in April 1865, the Beam Engine House is a Grade I Listed Industrial Building constructed
in the Romanesque style and features some of the most spectacular ornamental Victorian cast
ironwork to be found today. It also contains the four original pumping engines (although the cylinders
were upgraded in 1901), which are possibly the largest remaining rotative beam engines in the world,
with 52 ton flywheels and 47 ton beams. Although modern diesel engines were subsequently
introduced, the old beam engines remained in service until work on a new sewage treatment plant
commenced in 1956.
The Pumping Station is located within Thames Water's sewage treatment works and recently a
dedicated pedestrian walkway has been built, which provides a secure 550m route between the new
car park on the outside of the sewage plant, and the heritage site within. However, it is now planned
to construct an 18" gauge railway to link the car park to the Pumping Station. The planning application
seeks approval for the railway, which will be single track with passing loops and small timber stations
at each end. It is part of a wider Heritage Lottery funded scheme to restore more of the original
Pumping Station to working order and create a new museum on the site, to be known as 'The Great
Stink'. It is thought that the alignment of the proposed railway, by chance, happens to follow that of a
temporary railway which was built for the original treatment works construction.
BELOW: Hythe Ferry 'Great Expectations' reverses away from Southampton Town Pier (Peter Scott 14 Apr 2016).
BLN 1269.MR233] Hythe Pier Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLNs 1240.MR142 & 1268,.2124): It
seems this historic (the oldest operating Pier Railway in the world) 2ft gauge railway is under threat of
closure due to declining passenger numbers and the maintenance cost of the pier and train.
Residents fighting to save it are forming a charitable trust to ensure its future. Writing on the Hythe
Pier Train and Ferry Action Group Facebook page, Peter King said: Like many others there are lots of
personal reasons why the Pier, the Train and the Ferry have a special place in my heart. This issue is
one that has so many different aspects, the preservation of a piece of important local history, the
maintenance of a crucial local transport link serving the whole community and many others, the
opportunity to regenerate a strategic gateway to Hythe and the wider New Forest. The potential to
provide other services in the future. Perhaps most importantly here is a chance for this community to
demonstrate that we care and by working together we can make a difference.
Over 6,200 supporters of the service have signed a petition calling for the service to be saved.
White Horse Ferries have been running the service since the 1990s, with a £50,000 yearly subsidy
from Hampshire County Council. Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts has said Southampton
have no intention to subsidise the service. Society members may recall the loss of passengers using the
Ferry was one of reasons given by Hampshire County Council when it suspended plans to operate a
passenger service over the Fawley branch, with a new Hythe station. (The MR Ed took a trip on the
Ferry during a weekday afternoon in April when there were sadly only two other passengers on it!).
See final BLN item in 'connections' below and https://goo.gl/xtdHzh for how YOU can help…
3009] FIXTURES REPORTS, Southern Electric Group, Raynes Park Electrical Control Room, Mon 17
Aug: (BLN 1257.1049) The group, including BLS members, met at the station then took the short walk
to the Electrical Control Room, opened on 2 Oct 1955 as part of the 'Change of Frequency Scheme'. As
part of this Lewisham (18 Apr) and Selhurst (21 Aug) opened the same year. All three are housed in
low brick buildings containing a 27ft x 8ft mimic diagram showing track layouts and cable runs with
indicator keys and lamps to control the 33kV three phase supply fed from the National Grid and the
power supply. Raynes Park has 28 sub stations; the indicator lamps only light for faults. To minimise
750V DC supply 'ripple' each of the three AC phases is rectified separately by a silicon bridge rectifier.
The rotary converters used in the original electrification are not electric motors driving a generator as
sometimes thought. A rotary convertor is a synchronous motor driving a set of heavy-duty electrical
contacts. The motor spins in time with the AC frequency and causes the contacts to reverse the
connections to the load just at the point that the voltage is at zero. Consequently, the contacts do not
have to switch a large current, but they need to be able to carry a large current to supply the third rail.
The remote control system uses what was then standard 'General Post Office' telephone exchange
electro-mechanical equipment supplied by the General Electric Company and it still works! This is split
between two rooms at opposite ends of the building to maintain at least a partial supply in case one
fails. Likewise, although the control room can be one person operated, at least two have to be on duty.
Raynes Park controls Richmond to Gunnersbury, the Waterloo & City Line, Wimbledon Depot,
Waterloo to Egham, Leatherhead, Guildford via Oxshott/Epsom and the branches to Hampton Court,
Chessington South and Shepperton. Its functions are expected to be transferred to Basingstoke ROC
after 2020. Thanks to NR for allowing access to this little known area of the railway operation and to
Stuart Hicks for arranging it; a collection raised £55 for 'Reach' the local staff's nominated charity.
3010] North Staffs Signal Boxes, Thur 6 Oct: See https://goo.gl/RcyKsV for pictures. Six members, a
full party, visited all 8 boxes on the former North Staffordshire Railway (NSR) between North Stafford
Jn and Stoke Jn (convenient for our Cliffe Hopper railtour the next day which called at Stoke). Only two
at a time were allowed in each so visits were carefully staggered. Hilton Crossing with a steady flow of
road traffic across it is 420yd east of and within sight of Egginton Junction box. The metal hand
operated gates are locked from the single lever frame; the crossing keeper's hut is a small modern
portable cabin. Local bell-codes are used between crossing keepers and Egginton Junction signallers.
The box is just short of the west end of the former Egginton Junction station (CP 5 Mar 1962). Two
double track lines once left the Derby to Stoke line here. Firstly from the Derby direction and heading
south was the Great Northern Railway (GNR) spur that, at Dove Jn joined the NSR branch from
Marston Jn (further west from the Stoke direction) to Burton-on-Trent. To the north was the GNR line
to Derby Friargate, Nottingham and beyond, part of which was the Derby Research Centre Mickleover
test track until 9 Jul 1990 when Egginton ceased to be a junction. It is now a pleasant trackbed walk
taken on 19 Jul this year by a Society group of 21. The 1877 NSR Egginton Junction box is taller than
average with a brick base and wooden upper section, probably to give a clear view of the station and
both junctions. A good selection of pictures https://goo.gl/3jcQHQ etc. Changes include galvanised
steel access steps and UPVC window frames. It retains a verandah; instructions state that this is not to
be used under any circumstances! It fringes with the East Midlands Control Centre, (Derby). Trains
from Derby show on the Train Describer VDU and are then offered on to the next box….
Tutbury Crossing box is west of the road it protects with the staggered platforms of Tutbury & Hatton
station (ROP 3 Apr 1989) either side. It is within sight and very definite smell of a Nestlé Coffee factory.
It has also been modernised with galvanised steel steps and UPVC window frames; but the bolts
securing the wooden top half of the signal box to the brick base are prominent on the internal wooden
window sill. There is an orange painted but now empty box for detonators. The electric barriers have a
bell to warn road users when they will be lowered rather than the almost universal sirens elsewhere.
Further east is Scropton on a small road terminating at some houses just beyond the crossing; road
traffic is light. The metal crossing gates both hang on posts at the east end of the crossing and overlap
when across the railway. The box retains wooden steps and window frames. Its crossover is OOU and
the Up Main point has recently been plain lined. The bell code 1-2-1 train approaching is used, as at
some of the other boxes on the line, as many of the sections are too short to allow signals to be
cleared in time. Scropton like Sudbury, has more surviving NSR features than the other boxes visited.
BELOW A Derby to Crewe service passes Scropton (all pictures Nick Jones unless specified)
(The 'other') Sudbury 1885 signal
box with 25 levers has wooden steps
and is very close to the adjacent
semi-detached houses. (LEFT: Seen
on 10 Jun 2007 in the final months of
'Central Trains' © Copyright Alan Murray-
Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative
Commons Licence). A separate modern
toilet is at the bottom of the steps
between the signal box and a large
corrugated shed that was perhaps a
lamp hut or store. The group was
able to visit the locking room here.
Sudbury, like Scropton and Foley, has
a McKenzie & Holland 'Hook, Cam
and Soldier' frame. These are believed to be the only three of this type remaining in use on NR.
Uttoxeter, the largest and most recent (1981) box on the line, (between Pinfold level crossing and the
Down Goods Loop west of the station), is a standard BR London Midland Region design. It had a refit
five years ago and has UPVC window frames and radiators (metal!) rather than the original gas fires. It
controls several different crossings and has a motor assisted 40 lever frame.
BELOW: Some BLS signal box experts loitering with intent; … intent to visit Uttoxeter signal box.
Caverswall https://goo.gl/p5sAbO controls a long section and works several lifting barrier crossings
by CCTV monitoring, so annunciators frequently sound as trains approach them. The very rarely used
Up and Down goods loops are east of the box. The former was covered on our EMT 27 Feb tour. Most
of the 35 levers are in use and there were many lever collars on the shelf. Many boxes on this line have
original NSR lever collars (for display only - more modern ones are used). This is a long section and in
contrast to several of the other signal boxes trains are not offered on to the next signal box as soon as
they were received by Caverswall. There is a tail lamp camera at signal 29 on the Down Main at
The 1899 built Foley Crossing box (Longton) has had persistent vandalism problems; the windows are
covered with mesh, an outer steel door protects the UPVC inner door and the whole site is surrounded
by palisade fencing. The box has sunk at one end giving a noticeable slope to the floor. It is a block post
fringing with Stoke Signalling Control Centre and operates the pedestrian crossing gates sited to the
east. Here we were also able to see the locking room though much of the 37 lever frame is out of use.
ABOVE: Foley Crossing Box, a Derby to Crewe train which has just left Longton is approaching.
At short notice, an on the day bonus, permission was kindly given to visit the 1899 built LNWR Alrewas
box on the Lichfield to Wichnor Jn line (BELOW). Unfortunately, some became lost and never made it!
The box was repaired and refurbished after a fire on 23 Oct 2005 and now has a panel with individual
function switches to control the crossover and signals. There are two locally worked manual level
crossings and reminders hang on the block instrument to contact the crossing keepers. An emergency
replacement switch is used to hold the down distant signal at yellow.
As a first time signal box visitor our reporter was struck by the mix of 19th century 'technology' with
modern CCTV and computers and how every train movement is still recorded manually in the register.
It was also a revelation to see the mix of domestic and work furniture with comfy armchairs, once part
of someone's three piece suite, mixed with stools and desks that probably dated back to when the
boxes were built. The group were most grateful to Grant Burton, Local Operations Manager and the
signalers who were enthusiastic and made us most welcome. £150 was collected for Barnados as a
result of the visits. Finally, thanks to member Nick Jones for the organisation and help with the report.
Question: Why is this young member looking so apprehensive on a BLS fixture?.... see below…..
(For the record it really is her dad that she has her arm round.) - Duncan Finch 23 Oct 2016.
3011] Good Luck Lead Mine, Sun 23 Oct:
Following the excellent Crich Fixture
(BLN 1268.2130), a fully booked party of 20
members - the visit was not open to non-
members - met here at 15.00. The mine is
obscurely located off the A5012 at 'Via
Gellia', about 4 miles west of Cromford.
(Funny how the word 'obscure' features
quite a bit in our activities!) Parking is in a
main road layby but due to limited space
'smart' parking /car sharing was needed as
it was already occupied (ironically, by our
mine guides' cars - and good luck to them). It was then a steep uphill walk (separating the fit from the
unfit) to the entrance, where a small band of knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers were waiting.
ABOVE: The end of the line on the spoil heap tip, looking down at the parked cars. (Duncan Finch).
BELOW: The things some people will do for track… Alan has been Shepherded into a tiny tub and is
being pushed about by John Cameron underground in the Good Luck Vein. (Simon Mortimer).
ABOVE: One of our junior members, being less tubby, fits in the tub rather better (Simon Mortimer).
LEFT: The BLS Junior Members special on
the surface section - there really is track
there! (Simon Mortimer). Our party split
into two groups of 10, one went on the
mine tour while the other stayed to ride
the outside section of the 11" gauge
tramway. The vehicle was a single
4 wheeled truck just big enough for one
adult (or all three juniors present!) at a
time to squat in! A few route proving ECS
runs were wisely made to find any
'problems' on the line, which runs from the
mine entrance about 70yd or so out on the
spoil heap, perched high on a wooden
'staith' over a fairly steep drop down to the
road below! In the Mine's heyday this was
the waste line to dispose of unwanted
material. Another siding ran from a single
primitive point blade (BELOW: Duncan
Finch) about another 30yd to what must
have been the Lead ore sorting facility.
Despite the primitive nature of the roughly laid rails
and some vegetation/leaf mulch the line was fully
rideable so everyone managed to 'red pen' the track to
its extremities and wheelslip was not a problem. It took
at least two people to pull/push on each run. A good
photo opportunity was available at the end of line high
over the precipice! Interestingly, the truck had 'L Plates'
attached to the rear! The three juniors in particular
enjoyed multiple rides, and one member managed to
ride inside the mine entrance (BELOW: Duncan Finch)
and a short way towards the internal incline!
Once the other group had emerged from
the depths it was time to swap over. We
donned mandatory hard hats and lights
and entered the mine. The walk followed
the rails up the incline and onwards down
the main 'Good Luck Lead Vein' which was
remarkably narrow. The hard hats were
not just decorative, as headroom was VERY
limited in places! About halfway there was
a similar riding truck to that outside and,
with a bit of negotiation and pre-service
test runs all managed a short underground
trip in similar fashion to outside. There is
an extensive tunnel system (some only
accessible to caving and potholing experts)
on different levels and over half a mile of 11" gauge (one original branch with wooden track).The only
other rolling stock seen was a flatbed equipment truck inside. The internal temperature is a
surprisingly constant 8-10oC throughout the year. Some original mining artifacts are on display, such as
tools and miners leather shoes, all left when the mine was abandoned (It worked from c1830 to 1883,
in the 1920s and finally the mid 1940s during WWII). All in all a fascinating tour, participants came
away a great deal wiser about lead mining; very much a local Derbyshire 'cottage industry'.
Thanks to the 'Good Luck Mine Preservation Club' https://goo.gl/l6Dg2j who made us welcome and
allowed us to be the first passengers on the line in preservation! Also to our member John Cameron
organising what was certainly this member's most unusual fixture in his four years as a BLS Member! It
must also have been unusual to have three Junior Members on a fixture (accompanied by their dads).
BELOW: As the organiser of the fixture John Cameron has the honour (?) of the first trip onto the
'staith' on the mine spoil heap. This picture gives no idea of the rather dramatic view to be had from
here (as per first picture in this section above). Everything had been thoroughly tested by the mine
volunteers beforehand and more proving ECS runs were made on the day. (Simon Mortimer)
NEXT PAGE: An original plan based on the the mine records supplemented by a survey on our 23 Oct
visit, by, and with thanks to, our Society Cartographer Martyn Brailsford. The external outdoor section
of the railway covered by all participants is in red, the underground railway section is black. The 'Warl
Gate' branch still has original wooden track. Other passages without track are shown in blue; the
incline is 'down' to the mine. There are other passageways (without track) at different levels.
Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring.……..1269 CONNECTIONS……….Details must be checked with the organisers.
3012] West Somerset Railway (2016 fares): (MR p6) Worth checking in 2017. An adult one day rover is
£19 (£17 senior) or £36 for two consecutive days and remarkably £74 for seven consecutive days.
For young people (5-17) the prices are £9.50, £18 and £37 respectively. A Family Day Rover (2 Adults &
2 Young People) is £47. There is a 10% discount on Adult, Senior, Young Persons and Family one day
rovers (only) bought at least 7 days in advance on line or 01643 704996. Disabled passengers: 25%
discount off adult standard fares. No multiple discounts. For TA1, TA2, TA3, TA4, TA21, TA23 & TA24
post codes a Local Residents Railcard is £10 for two years with 25% discount off standard fares only.
3013] Hythe Pier Tramway Sponsor a Plank: (MR233 above) Help save this 2,100ft historic pier built in
1880 and undergoing a major restoration project. One metre of sustainable Ekki hardwood 9" wide is
£10 to buy and fit, 10p buys 1cm. £1 or more: name is entered in the 'Friends of the Pier' record book
(donations can be anonymous, there is no 'pier pressure'). £30 = 3m or £60 = 5m planking: name is
engraved on one of the planks or a solid brass plaque fixed to the pier. £90 sponsors 7m of plank, a
message up to 30 letters (including name) can be engraved on a new plank or a brass plaque affixed to
the pier a great gift idea; extra letters £2 each. Cheques 'Hythe Pier Restoration Fund' to c/o Hythe
Ferry Office, Prospect Place, Hythe, SO45 6AU (or cash at the Pier ticket office). State name, address,
telephone number name to be engraved/recorded and message. All contributions gratefully received.
3014] The Cotswold Line Promotion Group: This formed in March 1978 to safeguard, improve and
promote the 86½ mile Oxford to Hereford line when it had been mostly singled, all through London
trains were to be withdrawn and part closure was a distinct possibility. It is now the second biggest
such organisation in the UK. Rail and feeder bus services have been improved in frequency and
number (particularly Pershore which was down to one train daily SuX each way to/from Worcester).
Honeybourne station reopened in May 1981 and Hanborough has developed into a major railhead.
In 1993 Finstock and Combe were threatened with closure and reprieved. Partial redoubling
(20 miles) was achieved in 2011 and the infrastructure and facilities have generally been improved.
Links have developed with NR, GWR and London Midland; help (financial and volunteer) is given
with station facilities and floral displays and an annual charter train is run. The group is declining and
more members particularly younger ones (!) are needed. Only £4 adult per year, £3 senior, family
£5, corporate £10 and life £100 (£125 joint life; two at same address), includes a glossy colour A5
well illustrated 32 page 'Cotswold & Malvern Line News' three times a year. Membership Secretary:
Mrs L Clayton, New Haven, Greenway Road, Blockley, Moreton-in-Marsh GL55 9BQ.
3015] Ramsgate Tunnel (SE&CR): (BLN 1236.1264) An all weather attraction! A short film in the 150-
year-old rail tunnel (OP 1863 to 1926) is followed by a 1.25km, one hour guided tour of the purpose
built air raid shelters under the town, the UK's largest civilian network of wartime tunnels. Nov-Mar
Wed-Sun: 10.00, 12.00 & 14.00. Adult £6.50, senior £5, child 3-16 £4 https://goo.gl/0Rf6Jb 01843
588123. Also monthly railway tunnel tours (19.00-20.40) from tunnel mouth to Hereson Jn (£10.50,
over 14s only) which needs reasonable mobility (uneven floor) but these are limited and book quickly.
3016]: On the Level, an Appeal: The Institute of Railway Signal Engineers, Minor Railway Section has
a project: 'Training Requirements for Powered Level Crossings in the Minor Railway Sector'.
They are building a matrix of the types, location and numbers of powered minor railway crossings.
Contributions from anyone with specific knowledge of the locations of minor railway powered
crossings would be appreciated to [email protected] Major Ian Hughes the compiler (or post
to the Editor). It would be helpful to know the name of the railway, the location and type of crossing
and the type of circuits involved but any details would be appreciated. Thank you in advance
X.181] .STOP PRESS. Leyland Model Engineers, 09.30-11.30 Sun 29 Jan: Worden Park, Leyland, PR25 3BD,
(SD538209). Comprehensive BLS visit to the 900yd, 7¼" complex ground level and 3½/5" elevated line prior
to our 12.00 Burnley visit. £11 per head, bookings Kev Adlam (can be taken on our Blackpool Tram trip).
ABOVE: 08757 at Didcot taken from the station, Didcot Railway Centre behind and Didcot 'A' Power
Station behind that. The steam is coming from the latter rather than the former (James Smith 2012).
X.182] The Trawsfynydd & Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway Company: Aims to run trains again over this
delightful 5¼-mile branch; the last nuclear flask train ran on 10 Aug 1995. The final train of all was
Hertfordshire Railtours 'Trawsfynydd Lament' of 17 Oct 1998. The line CA 2 Nov 1998 and was
taken OOU on 28 Mar 1999. The disconnected track is still in situ. To support, or if you need the
line, http://www.traws-railway.co.uk/home/4592804748 membership is £20 adult, £15 child, £350
life. Postal address: The Signal Box, Maentwrog Road station, Gellilydan, Gwynedd, LL41 4RB. There is
now a Crowdfunding appeal which closes at 20.00 on 28 Nov to buy Loco 08757 for the branch. Full
details of the project at https://goo.gl/78j6Ea with a list of rewards available, if you need the track
and/or traction or just want to support this worthwhile cause. Please do give it maximum publicity.