Issue Number 1244 (Items 1977 - 2055 & MR 181- MR 189) (E-BLN 37 PAGES) 1 November 2015
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 1245 is due on 14 November and all cSoonctieritbyu. tions must be received by 4 November.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
To be advised SVR short notice trip Highley, Engine House branch 1230 PS NOTIFY
Sat 7/11/15 RBF Tracker tour 08.00 PAY ON THE DAY AVAILABLE 1239 KA Open
Fri 13/11/15 AGM FIXTURES, NRM 11.00 South & North Yard rlys. 1241 PS Open
Fri 13/11/15 AGM ILLUSTRATED TALK 15.00 OPEN ONLY UNTIL 6 NOV 1241 PS (Open)
Fri 13/11/15 AGM REGISTRATION 19.00 OPEN ONLY UNTIL 4 NOV 1241 TW (Open)
Sun 15/11/15 BLS Tyne & Tees Tracker 09.15 Main line railtour ex-York 1242 KA *FULL*
Sat 5/12/15 Signal box visits see e- 10.15 Leamington Spa, Banbury 1244 NG OPEN
**NEW** BLN ADDENDA at back North and Banbury South boxes
Sun 6/12/15 All day non-mainline Date for your diary - some new TBA TBA Claimed
**NEW** fixture in the Midlands lines never previously covered
Sat 23/01/16 Main line tracker tour A date for your new 2016 diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 24/01/16 NRM Shildon, track and Morning event with PLEG to TBA TBA Provisional
**NEW** traction (Class 03/08) complement our Saturday tour
Sun 7/02/16 Main line Tracker tour Date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Fri 18/03/16 Heritage Railway visit Date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 7 - Mon 9 A weekend of rare track Almorchón-La Alhondiguilla 93km 1244 GB Please
..May 2016 in south west SPAIN Zafra-Jérez de los Caballeros 47km interest
..**NEW** based on Mérida Río Tinto preserved line 12-14km
GB - Geoff Blyth, KA-Kev Adlam, NG - Nick Garnham, PS-Paul Stewart, TW-Tim Wallis
1977] RBF Tracker railtour, Sat 7 Nov: Arrangements for this unusual charity tour (of interest to the
Baker and Micro Gricer alike) in aid of the Railway Benefit Fund are proceeding very well. Thanks to
Stephen Phillips, the geographical route map is being sent out with e-BLN. We are pleased to advise
that the train has been strengthened from 5 to 6 coaches, so 'pay on the day' will now be available.
A booking form went out with BLN 1239 or see http://goo.gl/mZZd4l our BLS website events page.
1978] AGM Reports: A 20-page supplement of officers' reports compiled by the General Secretary, Tim
Wallis, is enclosed. It also includes the Society's draft 2014/15 accounts. There is some important news
in the Chairman's report about a former member. Please bring the reports to the AGM where most
Committee members will be available to answer questions about them and any other matters.
What is the collective noun for a group of BLS Chairmen? Suggestions at the AGM please…!
1979] BLS 60th AGM Update, Fri 13 Nov, NRM York: Those members booked to attend Gerald Daniels's
talk please go to the Conference Centre, Mallard Room for a prompt 15.00 start. The buffet and hot
drinks will be available 16.00 to 16.30 and the talk finishes about 17.45. No further details about this
will be sent out. Further bookings must be received by Friday 6 Nov, and payments will then be non-
refundable (unless resold). On the day bookings cannot be accepted (enquire about cancellations). The
final date to pre-book for the AGM is Wednesday 4 November. Our founder, John Ling and no less
than SEVEN BLS CHAIRMEN all expect to be in attendance, so a well ordered AGM is anticipated! By
car: The museum is clearly signposted from all approaches to York and the NRM visitors' car park
(normally £9 per day) in Leeman Road is available free to Members, opposite the conference centre . A
code will be given on the day. The NRM opens to the public 10.00 - 17.00 and has catering facilities and
toilets. There is plenty to see and do. Members may leave luggage in the Conference Centre Mallard
Room, adjacent to the Great Hall, entirely at their own risk. This is 132 Leeman Road, York, YO26 4WT
(SE593520) where there is a drop off point. Through the entrance to the conference centre, the room
is straight ahead then to the left. It is about 10 minutes walk from the station via the west footbridge
exit over P10 & P11, along Leeman Road on the right. Reminder: 12.30 to 13.30: The Lancashire and
Yorkshire model railway/signalling school in the Warehouse (BLN 1243.1884) is available for viewing;
our member Bob Wright will be available to explain things. IMPORTANT: After the Museum closes to
the public (17.00), the only AGM access will be via the Conference Centre in Leeman Road.
1980] NRM, Shildon Sun 24 Jan: http://goo.gl/b943tb A provisional morning event is now being
scoped. In conjunction with our friends at PLEG we are hoping to explore some unusual sidings and the
normal running line with Class 08 08484 and Class 03 03090 locos. The date complements our mainline
tour the previous day. Further information to follow if/when the fixture is confirmed.
1981] BLS (Rama Sociedad Línea), 'The Extremadura Explorer,' SPAIN: Sat 7 - Mon 9 May 2016: See
map on next page and there is a brochure with the e-BLN downloads which includes interesting
information about the railways of Spain, which could be of interest to even for those who would not
consider coming on this tour. The Extremadura region is on the Portuguese border, 300 km southwest
of Madrid and 200 km north of Sevilla (Seville). It has two of the longest freight lines in Spain, of which
there are very few. The tour, based on Mérida, will encompass culture (World Heritage Site cities), the
two freight lines and a preserved line, virtually impossible to reach by public transport. Normally it
would not be possible to have special trains on both freight lines on successive days and we are
grateful to the AEAAF Assc. for making these arrangements for us. The BLS normal T&Cs apply.
Sat 7 May: Regional passenger train Mérida to Almorchón for special train on the 93 km branch to La
Alhondiguilla serving Pueblo Nuevo power station. Return to Mérida on the regional passenger train.
Sun 8 May: Regional passenger train from Mérida to Zafra for special train on the 47 km branch to
Jérez de los Caballeros. Then a bus into the town to sample 'Jamón ibérico' (Iberian ham) at the local
ham festival before catching the train back to Zafra. Return to Mérida on the regional passenger train.
Mon 9 May: Bus to the 'Parque Minero de Riotinto' for the 'Ferrocarril Minero', A 3'6'' gauge 12-14km
preserved line, the only remaining part of the once very extensive 300km Rio Tinto iron ore system.
Expressions of interest (to assess potential demand at this stage) and any enquiries to our member
Geoff Blyth at [email protected] . Advice on travelling, overnight stays, background, culture,
weather and add-ons is included in the tour brochure being sent out with this e-BLN. Why not make a
longer break of it with a holiday or even a 'proper holiday' exploring the railways of Spain?
BLS SPANISH TOUR MAP: (next page) Thanks to Mike Ball and Martyn Brailsford. Highlighted in yellow:
Almorchón to La Alhondiguilla (93km) is the branch starting top right heading south then southeast.
The Zafra to Jérez de los Caballeros (47km) branch line is upper centre on the left, heading west.
The Río Tinto preserved line (12-14km) is the isolated line in the lower left quadrant of the map
[BLN 1244.1981 -cont.] NB: Please click 'Rotate Clockwise' on your viewer to see this map properly.
1982] Unusual Track (1): Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Water Eaton Road Jn facing X/O (WCML 46m 25ch) - Bletchley P4 - Bletchley Relief No1, Sat 31
Oct/Sun 1 & 7/8 Nov: (SO) 21.54*, 22.34, 23.04 & 23.40, (SuO) 00.15 & 07.24 ex-Euston & 07.25
ex-Hemel Hempstead. *May use P5 and Bletchley Relief No2. NB: The possession is booked to
08.30. The Up Slow from Denbigh Hall South Jn to Bletchley P4 is effectively 'unidirectional'.
Bletchley P5 - Bletchley Relief 2 - Denbigh Hall South Jn: (SO) 05.31 to Birmingham New Street.
Bletchley P5 - WCML Up Slow: SSuX 05.38, 06.33, 07.14 & 07.39 / SO 06.10 & 07.10 to Euston.
Bletchey East Jn facing X/O: DMUs from Bedford to P6 (now the preferred platform with better
facilities and access). NB: P5 is used if anything is being shunted in or out of the carriage sidings.
1244 HEAD LINES
1983] Sutton Coldfield Goods: Correcting 'Branch Line Review No3' (Sept 1964) see also (BLN 80.p1 &
BLN 118.p2 of 26 April 1967 & 20 Nov 1968) CG (except coal) 10 August 1964 which also applied to
Four Oaks and Small Heath. Sutton Coldfield coal traffic ended 1 May 1967. The yard, the original
1862 branch terminus from Birmingham, west of Down P1, was also a Motorail terminal (Inverness /
Stirling 'Car-Sleeper' also to Edinburgh Princes St. and Glasgow Central.) It is now the station car park.
1984] North Llanrwst: Correcting (BLN 617.37B and BLN 618.p273 of 7 & 21 Sept 1989). This station
was renamed from 'Llanrwst' on Saturday 29 July 1989 on opening of the new Llanrwst station to the
south in the town centre. It was not called 'Llanrwst North' as reported in BLN, despite signs saying
'Gogledd Llanrwst North' (Gogledd is Welsh for North). The Great Britain national public timetable has
shown the original station as 'North Llanrwst' (with no Welsh version) since that date. Arriva Trains
Wales timetable booklet 4 gives 'North Llanrwst/Gogledd Llanrwst'. The station was considered for
closure on opening of the new station; the signal box retains its 'Llanrwst' nameboard. It has been
suggested that it is the only example of a BR opened station with a compass point prefix to the
location name (the rest are suffixed). Others such as East Garforth took the actual location name.
1985] Welton Oil Terminal (35m 74ch) between Lincoln and Market Rasen: (BLN 1237.1317) The local
train register shows the last outward train of crude oil as 11.34 on 16 May 2008. The points and signal
were retained, regularly maintained and tested until the derailment on 30 June 2015. Now, with no
pointwork, the subsidiary signal is disconnected and the two ground position light signals restricted to
show red. They have to be retained because of the interlocking with the main running signals.
1986] Liskeard Jn - Coombe Jn - Moorswater: (BLN 1180.357) CG inward cement traffic has ceased
again, the last documented train appears to have been on Wed 7 May 2013 from Westbury. The last
railtour, Pathfinders' The Hullaba-Looe ran on Sun 10 Feb 2013. [Ex-Liskeard & Caradon Railway/GWR.]
1987] Cambrian Heritage Railways, Oswestry: (MR p7) (BLN 1227.377) From Easter Saturday 19 April
2014 passenger brakevan trips were extended north along the platform track from the station building
to the end of the lengthy platform (SJ 2946 2993). There is then stored stock before the new Medical
Centre Level Crossing. After track relaying, from Saturday 1 August 2015 trips were further extended
south over Coney Green Level Crossing to Middleton Road bridge (SJ 2940 2946), a total run of 23ch.
They then ceased to run into 'Middleton Sidings' south of the station and west of the running line.
Two tracks are being refurbished from the Medical Centre Crossing north to Davis & Metcalfe Crossing
(2m 04ch from Gobowen South Ground Frame) passing under the old works footbridge where they
then single. It is planned to reinstate the former Oswestry station track layout with three roads. Work
continues (noted on an 11 July visit) extending the line a further 22ch south to the B4579, Shrewsbury
Road Bridge (SJ 29552897), possibly OP late 2016 depending on the weather and material supplies.
1988] Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway, Blaenavon High Level - Coed Avon: OP Friday 11 September
2015, a 'short' south extension (non-alighting) with the 11.30 from Furnace Sidings behind 5637
arriving 11.48 and departing 11.50 during the 'Steam in The South Wales Valleys Gala'. [ex-L&NWR.]
1989] Caledonian MacBrayne, Wemyss Bay - Rothesay (Isle of Bute) (BLN 1239.1602) TCA from 1
October 2015 for about 24 weeks for dredging also refurbishment of the pier, fendering and link span.
1990] Caledonian MacBrayne, Gourock - Rothesay: Temporary service from 1 October 2015 covering
the Wemyss Bay closure. Fares are reduced and passengers can use Western Ferries at Hunter's Quay
and the Rhubodach to Colintraive service with no increase in the ticket price (now is your chance!).
1991] London, Forest Gate Jn - Woodgrange Park Jn: Updating (BLN 1243.1894). TCP Friday 2 October
expected until at least Friday 11 December on Mondays to Fridays only (except 9-12 November), but
remains in use/available for weekend diversions from the London Tilbury & Southend line. This is due
to a temporary paperwork problem over class 357/3 EMU gauging. It is easier to divert the six evening
/early morning 'PSUL' services from Liverpool Street into Fenchurch Street than to avoid diagramming
them with 357/3 EMUs. Alternative units are used for engineering diversions into Liverpool Street.
1992] Barrow-in-Furness, Salthouse Jct. - Cavendish Dock: (BLN 1230.616) ROG 13 October 2015,
locos 66429 & 66434 with 20 x 90 tonne box wagons (mainly NR Falcons); aggregate traffic from
Burlington Slate Quarry at Kirkby-in-Furness, brought in by road. (A branch served the quarry until
1952.) It is taken by rail, ironically passing through Kirkby-in-Furness, to Sellafield then the low-level
nuclear waste repository at Drigg. DRS ran two trial trains at the end of September/early October. Rail
is used in preference to road transport due to the Sellafield 'Corporate Social Responsibility Policy' and
the poor roads from Kirkby to Drigg. Traffic may be short term and has been running TThO. Trains, 'top
& tailed' are loaded by digger on the Ramsden Dock branch, at Cavendish Dock Road level crossing
where there is a stockpile (SD 2072 6835), moving forward one wagon at a time. BELOW: 66301 on the
causeway between Cavendish Dock (to its right) and Ramsden Dock (left), Cavendish Dock Road is on
the left, with the level crossing off it just visible. (All pictures: Nick Jones Tuesday 20 October.)
ABOVE MIDDLE: From the other direction, Ramsden Dock is on the right, Cavendish Dock is left, the
black cross on the white background for the level crossing can be seen with the aggregate stockpile
and loading digger. This is near the former Buccleuch Jn and the NR/Associated British Ports boundary.
ABOVE BOTTOM: Looking in the opposite direction towards Salthouse Jn with the other locomotive.
Cavendish Dock is on the right. BELOW TOP: Loading the stone, one wagon at a time at the level
crossing; Cavendish Dock Road is right of the train, 66301 is the loco in view. BOTTOM LEFT: The
(currently disused) end of the branch at Ramsden Dock Nuclear Terminal (last freight traffic autumn
2013, the last train was Pathfinder Tours 'The Cumbrian Docker' of 21 March 2015). BOTTOM RIGHT:
Operating the ground frame at Salthouse Jn, 1¼ miles south of Barrow-in-Furness station.
1993] Prestonpans, Up Passenger Loop - Cockenzie Power Station ( ): (BLN 1242.
1872) From 17 October 2015 is 'temporarily' OOU. The final coal train from Hunterston actually ran on
9 March 2013. A video clip http://goo.gl/u91sdj of the chimneys and part of the power station being
blown up on 26 Sept. The two chimneys crashing into each other is very clever and dramatic.
1994] Ladbrooke Grove 'Down & Up Engine & Carriage Line' (2m 02ch*) - North Pole Depot: OP
Saturday 24 October 2015 with the 21.42 (Friday) ECS from Old Dalby, via Peterborough, Finsbury
Park, Willesden Junction, Acton Main Line, Southall (rev.) and Royal Oak Sidings (rev.) arriving North
Pole 02.54. The first GWR IEP (loco hauled) for testing and acceptance trials. (*Miles from Paddington.)
1995] Midland Metro, St. Paul's stop (excl.) - Upper Bull Street stop (SP 0713 8713) (incl.): (BLN
1243.1897) ROP/OP is due 6 December 2015; in a recent change of plan, running non-stop through the
new Snow Hill stop, which will open later (some panels will not have arrived in time and will need
fitting). Initially a small number of drivers will cover the St. Paul's to Upper Bull Street section working
in relay. No date has been fixed for Snow Hill OP or the rest of the extension to Grand Central. Some
training journeys may not operate during Birmingham's Christmas German Market as it is very busy.
1996] **Derby: CP permanently after the final passenger train on Saturday 12 December 2015.
1997] London Charing Cross/Cannon Street (both incl.) - North Kent East Jn - New Cross (excl.)/
Charlton (via Greenwich) and Waterloo East, London Bridge (through platforms only), Deptford,
Greenwich, Maze Hill & Westcombe Park stations: TCP 25 December 2015 to 3 January 2016 (incl.)
extended 10 day Christmas shut down for Thameslink work. New Cross has trains to/from Dalston
Junction, Hayes, Dartford via Blackheath and buses to Charlton via Greenwich. Blackfriars bays P3 & P4
will be exceptionally busy with diverted SE services. London Bridge terminal P10-P15 are unaffected.
1998] LU, Holland Park station (Central Line): TCP is expected 2 January until 16 August 2016 inclusive
to replace the two nearly 30 year old lifts. There is only one lift shaft and a 110 step spiral staircase,
too narrow for two-way traffic. By closing the station, the work can be completed quicker along with
other general modernisation work. Notting Hill Gate or Shepherd's Bush Tube stations are advised as
alternatives. Interestingly, passengers who pay a bus fare to access these stations will receive an
automated refund added to their Oyster or contactless payment cards.
1999] LU, Caledonian Road station (Piccadilly Line): TCP is expected from 4 January until mid-August
2016 to replace the two 30 year old lifts. Holloway Road Tube or Caledonian Road and Barnsbury
Overground stations are the alternatives. The lifts fail weekly on average and there is only one shaft.
[**Derby Halt on the Aosta to Pre St. Didier branch in the far northwest of Italy; it has been possible to
travel by train to the far South East in Puglia (the 'heel' of Italy) and our UK Derby members can relax.]
2000] Motherwell, *Dalzell Loop - Dalzell Plateworks: CG is expected with the anticipated closure of
this plate and rolling mill. The original Dalzell Steel and Iron Works opened in 1872. A daily (SuX) train
is booked at 01.15 (returning 22.45) from Tees New Yard via Edinburgh Millerhill and Shotts (Dalzell
09.11 /13.32) running three days a week recently and prone to diversion. (*Pronounced 'Dee'-'L.')
BELOW TOP: The 1960 vintage Amersham panel; Great Missenden (and Aylesbury) is left, Chalfont &
Latimer right with a Southbound train to London shown at the latter. There are also two trains at
Amersham (P1 & P2) and one on the Chesham branch. (All pictures in this section Andrew Gardiner.)
BELOW BOTTOM: Group photograph, on the steps of Rickmansworth Cabin at the north end of the
station, the former water tower behind lit up by the bright morning sunlight.
2001] FIXTURES REPORTS; Metropolitan Line signal cabins part 2, Thur 1 Oct: (112-115/60) On a
beautiful sunny day the group of 12 (one impressively travelling specially from Anthorn, North West
Cumbria) met at 10.00 at Amersham station in Sir John Betjeman's Metroland. Amersham signal cabin
https://goo.gl/yJOdbx opened during 1960 for the extension of Metropolitan electric services (track
energised from 2 Sept 1960). It has a route setting 'push-button & switch panel' which operates in a
similar way to a 'one control switch' panel i.e. a separate button or switch for each route. The buttons
operate routes for main/running signals and the switches operate routes for shunting/subsidiary
signals. Signal aspects are repeated on the control panel and on the diagram. The panel has two
sections; the left for the Amersham area and the right, a later addition, controlling Chalfont & Latimer
station (where the former Chesham bay P3 is disused) and the Chesham branch. At both locations
there is an 'interlocking machine room' which is in effect a slave Westinghouse Power Frame
pneumatically operating the levers based on the route selected by the signaller. As well as the Met,
the cabin controls Chiltern Aylesbury to Marylebone services in the area. A NR VDU Train Describer is
present in the cabin but train descriptions are converted automatically between the signalling systems.
ABOVE: Rickmansworth Frame, on the diagram this station is far left and Moor Park is off to the right.
The illuminated track is clear and a train can be seen approaching Watford (Met) P1, the double track
'PSUL' Watford North to East Jns curve can also be seen right of the five Rickmansworth South Sidings.
Rickmansworth cabin https://goo.gl/R6anis was next, opened in 1953 with a 47 lever Westinghouse
Power Frame and various other operating systems. The power frame operates in the conventional
manner with separate levers for points and signals. There is the facility for automatic working to be
introduced in the area controlled by the frame by the use of two king levers; one for the northbound
route and the other for the southbound route. The signal operator first clears the respective signals
and then reverses the king lever. Signals then reset automatically for successive trains without the
need to operate any levers. This was seen in operation on the northbound line but control has to be
returned to the signaller to deal with a terminating train (from the south via the London end facing
crossover into southbound P2).
[BLN 1244.2001 -cont.]
Watford (Met) station is controlled by a programming machine at Rickmansworth. This is housed
within the original cabinet which formerly contained plastic rolls with the sequence of trains for the
day. These were read by the machine which then set the routes accordingly and is now digital with
details of movements for several days. There is an override facility for any additional or cancelled
trains as the machine otherwise assumes that trains arrive and depart in a fixed sequence. Watford
South Jn (Met) is operated from Rickmansworth by a push-button panel as at Amersham. Finally, there
is a small switch panel to control the stabling sidings south of Rickmansworth station. It only operates
the points so care is needed before authorising drivers to depart and to ensure arriving trains are
signalled onto the correct siding. Amersham and Rickmansworth both have the electronic equivalent
of a train register book where the times of movements at key locations are recorded automatically.
Interestingly this system is only used at these two 'quieter' locations as it is deemed too time
consuming and impractical for busier signal cabins which still record times on special paper sheets!
BELOW: The 99 steps up to Harrow-on-the-Hill cabin gave the impression of the inside of a lighthouse.
Catching a fast Chiltern train, the group travelled to Harrow-on-the-Hill. https://goo.gl/t33enE
Taking breath after climbing the 99 steps from the platform up to the operating floor (very reminiscent
of a lighthouse spiral staircase), the group were able to view another (1948) Westinghouse Power
Frame. This operates very differently to Rickmansworth. The lower numbered end of the 95 lever
frame contains 'push & pull' route setting levers. These sit in a mid position until they are pushed
forward into normal or pulled into reverse at which point they will set the respective route. The higher
numbered end of the lever frame is in effect an interlocking machine room pneumatically moving the
required levers for the route selected. The route setting levers also drive two additional 'interlocking
machine room' (IMR) frames at Harrow North (44 levers) and Harrow South (33) subsidiary boxes.
[BLN 1244.2001 -cont.]
(BELOW: Part of Harrow-on-the-Hill frame, see link above for more pictures including route diagrams.)
There is also a push-button panel for Northwood IMR which normally operates in automatic mode
with routes set for straight running on the fast and local lines. Both Rickmansworth and Harrow-on-
the-Hill have London Transport style illuminated diagrams which are unusual as a lit section of track is
clear and an unlit section of track is occupied by a train. This takes a bit of getting used to. As with
Amersham, the cabin fringes NR's Marylebone IECC. Even outside the peak, the signal operator was
constantly occupied, which is why the traditional paper recording sheets were better suited to this
busy location. In the peak, there are two signallers. The 99 steps were easier in the 'Down' direction!
The final visit was Rayners Lane, https://goo.gl/xj5NNf which has three separate push button panels
on the same console for controlling Rayners Lane, Ruislip IMR and Uxbridge IMR. The push buttons
are recent additions and were previously switches of the type used on a telephone concentrator
(switchboard). The 'Rayners Lane' area controls the Metropolitan Line/Piccadilly Line junction and the
turnback siding. In some circumstances, the signaller can pre-select the next route before the current
movement has been completed. When it is safe to do so, the system will set this 'preselected route'.
This allows the signaller to move onto another task, which is useful at busy locations such as this with
up to 15 trains on the screens at once. Ruislip panel has a crossover and reversing siding for turning
back trains and is also the headshunt connection into Ruislip Depot on the Central Line. The signaller
also controls access to Uxbridge Depot, the station and its information system, advising passengers of
the first and second departures as well as platforms for the next Metropolitan and Piccadilly Line
trains. Piccadilly Line passengers can also be advised to catch a Metropolitan train and change at
Rayners Lane if necessary.
The signallers were very accommodating and keen to explain operations at their busy locations. After a
most interesting and enlightening morning, Liz was thanked for being an excellent host and the group
split up; some with shorter journeys than others. Special thanks to our member Rob Davidson too.
[BLN 1244.2001 -cont.]
(BELOW: Rayners Lane area panel for the Metropolitan/Piccadilly lines junction and turnback siding.)
2002] West Somerset Railway (WSR), Norton Triangle by steam, Sat 3 Oct: (116/60) After a
suggestion for steam trips around the triangle, footplate rides were arranged for BLS members on loco
turning manœuvres during the Autumn Steam Gala. Only four members applied but, unfortunately,
between the initial announcement and the event, doubt arose as to whether there would be time for
the loco to extend the run to the buffer stops at Allerford Bridge. As a result, two applicants decided
to withdraw but two, with notably low membership numbers, took a chance and each enjoyed
separate 7 mile footplate trips on 4936 Kinlet Hall and 7828 Odney Manor after the locos had arrived
at Bishops Lydeard (BL) with trains from Minehead. Our members were welcomed by the WSR
General Manager and introduced to the engine crews. There was a bonus on the morning trip when
4936 coupled up to 60163 Tornado for the run to Allerford Jn before making its own way to Allerford
Bridge buffers and then turning on the triangle. 4936 then coupled with 6960 Raveningham Hall for
the return to BL where, after taking water, Kinlet Hall ran through P1 and reversed on to the service
stock on P2. In the afternoon, 7828 managed a
similar trip without coupling to other locos. Thanks
are due to the WSR CME Andy Forster for allowing
exclusive BLS member access to these trips; to GM
Paul Conibeare for enabling them on the day; and
of course to the engine crews. Apologies to the
members who withdrew, assurances over the
complete trip were outside the organiser's control
and uncertainty remained until the day. Repeats
may be possible at next year's steam Gala. Thanks
also to our local member Robert Green for all the
negotiating and arrangements for this most
[BLN 1244.2002 -cont.]
BELOW: 4936 'Kinlet Hall' at Allerford Bridge buffer stops, part of the former GWR Taunton to
Barnstaple line, which was at one time double track here, hence the width of ballast. PREVIOUS PAGE
ABOVE: The same location with a happy BLS member - aren't they all?! (John Rennilson 3 Oct 2015.)
2003] KEG, Pinewood Miniature Railway, Sun 4 Oct (BLN 1229.604) In splendid autumn sunshine 13
BLS members converged on this 7¼" gauge 620yd railway near Wokingham, which started life in 1983
and has evolved since. Situated in the curtilage of Pinewood Leisure Centre (formerly the London Open
Air Sanatorium of 1901 and latterly the much expanded Pinewood Sanatorium in 1919 for TB patients),
the site remains well wooded and dotted with some original hospital buildings. Having introduced
ourselves, the party took seats on a battery electric hauled train and gave the driver an overview of
their requirements. A few rode on a steam hauled train to cover the main circuits. Setting off from
Pinewood Central P1 the public route was covered and repeated to take in the full length of P2. The
driver then called for the signalman to 'open up the station by-pass line' gaining the response 'I'll get
the spanner' and it was clear that rarer track was now in prospect! Arriving at the junction, said
signalman was just freeing the facing points and threw the lever to allow our train to become the first
passenger train ever to traverse this chord! More detailed traversals followed with the train shunting
back onto the long and very little used depot head shunt extremity. Our hosts hacked back brambles
and cleared other vegetation fouling the more distant parts of the long curving siding until the
locomotive could propel the train no further.
[BLN 1244.2003 -cont.]
About 20yd short and not to be thwarted, the rear coach was unpinned and hand propelled right to
the stops with participants swapping over to gain the last few panels (and a couple of nettle stings -
definitely a case of 'no pain, no gain!') as shown below in the first picture…
[BLN 1244.2003 -cont.]
A thorough traversal of the former terminal station (no longer in passenger use) and shed area
followed (PICTURE PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER). Then a coach was kindly made available to hand propel
into the coach sidings off the main circuit using 'people power', to where a new independent line from
the station is under construction. After more rides behind various locos, a group photo and donation,
there was an invitation to return to cover new sections planned and under construction. A very
enjoyable visit; thanks to Simon Mortimer for all the splendid arrangements and both pictures.
2004] Tenterden Town Tracker, Sun 11 Oct: (118/60) 35 participants gathered from about 08.00 at
this station in autumn sunshine. Impressively, quite a few had participated in our HST special from
Paddington to Buckfastleigh and Heathfield the previous day! Generous complimentary bacon rolls
and tea or coffee was available in the excellent station refreshment room. This, complete with art deco
interior, was moved here in 1986 from Maidstone, Palace Avenue, where it had been the Maidstone
and District Motor Services' waiting room at reputedly Britain's first purpose built bus station. At 08.30
prompt, the 2-car Class 108 DMU (M50971 & M51571, both Derby built in 1959/60) departed. There
was a driver each end for speedy reversals, in radio contact with each other as well as the person in
charge and a point clipper, both on the ground. From Tenterden Town (OP 1903), the first move was
to Rolvenden (OP 1900, originally 'Tenterden' and renamed in 1903 with the 1m 33ch extension up the
steep gradient to 'Town'.) The tour continued with coverage of the recently laid tracks into the large
and lengthy new carriage shed only completed in September. First, it was to the headshunt end of
line. This required very careful driving, as the buffers are literally perched on the edge of a steep drop
into a brook, and there is even a triangular road traffic type warning sign showing an engine falling
down a quay! BELOW: The DMU reaches the very end of the new Rolvenden Carriage Shed headshunt
(station behind photographer). The sign is actually attached to the buffer stops! Left is the Kent and
East Sussex Railway's line to Wittersham Road, and hopefully one day Robertsbridge. (Darren Garnon)
[BLN 1244.2004 -cont.]
After reversing, it was into the carriage shed (where three of the four lines were completely empty) to
road 1 stops. This was a truly historic moment, the first passenger train to enter the shed (and a first
for the crew). When it was 'officially opened' in September with a VIP audience they had to walk from
Rolvenden station as the trackwork was incomplete. In fact, the Operations Department had only
passed the track for trains to enter 48 hours before our tour! Two further reversals later, the tour
covered road 4, to three stabled carriages, the only vehicles inside (but it will not remain so empty for
long; therefore, such comprehensive coverage will be difficult in future). Then it was road 2 to the end
of line. The shed appears to have the 'National Buffer Stops Collection', each road having a different
design; one has three horizontal metal bars, another two, a third just one and the last is wooden!
Finally, road 3 to the end enabling study of the carriages in road 4, including a LNWR 6-wheel
Wolverton 1889 built inspection saloon. The train also covered the Carriage Shed headshunt loop (the
front coach overlapping on the end of line) and very cleverly, all four variations of the double slip - no
slipups on this trip. The new track is laid to a very high standard.
Things had gone so efficiently that we were 20 minutes early, so waited for the two service train steam
locos to vacate the depot. Participants were entertained by No30065 (US Army Corp of Engineers 1943
built and previously at Southampton Docks) and No76 'Norwegian' (ex-Norwegian State Railway, built
Nydquist and Holm 1919) being prepared and some shunting. Also seen in action was the unusual
Metropolitan-Vickers Diesel Electric Bo-Bo loco 'Ford' (of 1932), formerly at the Dagenham car plant,
which was taking tree felling equipment out along the line (and returned). When the locos had left for
Tenterden, our DMU traversed loco shed road 1, to a small loco's length short of the doors and road 2,
to stabled stock. The tiny headshunt to the platform south ramp was next (new for one driver who had
only worked on the line since 1975!). Rolvenden crossovers were covered with a double reversal; then
our tour was the first passenger train in over a year routed via the 'main' as service trains use the loop.
[BLN 1244.2004 -cont.]
(ABOVE: Virgin track! - The lengthy Rolvenden Carriage Shed
Roads 4 (left) to 1. To the right is the new Carriage shed access
road that leads onto the headshunt which has its own run round
loop. The point is in the 'main line' which is not normally used by
passenger trains now; they take the realigned 'loop' extreme
right next to the green hedge. Both these lines are now
reversible; previously they were unidirectional, as shown in
TRACKmaps vol.5 p13A November 2008. (Darren Garnon) (LEFT:
Detail of the connection from the K&ESR 'main line' via the
double slip in front of the new Carriage Shed - Darren Garnon.)
Back at Tenterden Town, the non-passenger run-round loop was
taken, passing a service train in the platform to the considerable
surprise of the 'normal' passengers, before reversing on the
lengthy headshunt. It is in a cutting (unusual for a light railway), part of the original extension to
Headcorn (OP 1905, CP/CA 1954). This traversal was abbreviated by the Pullman train stabled on the
line. Next the 'Pullman Dock' buffer stops were visited, behind the platform into the car park (where
there was a vintage car rally) at a distinctly higher level than the platform and running line.
The DMU waited here for the first service train to depart and then the Pullman train to move forward
into the platform. The next reversal was at the headshunt stop board. To follow was carriage & wagon
workshop road 1, to the doors; opened for participants to see class 14 D9504 and GWR railcar No20,
under restoration. Two more reversals took the DMU to road 2, to stabled stock. Then the pièce de
résistance; the very rarely authorised move to the headshunt derailer beyond the stop board at the
buffers of a stabled Class 25.
The railtour finished half an hour early, testament to the railway and its staff, particularly the train
guard and drivers, who worked very efficiently and enthusiastically to ensure as much track as possible
in the time available. Many participants commented on what a friendly and welcoming railway this
was. Grateful thanks to member Darren Garnon for his most enjoyable, superbly organised and
executed first BLS fixture (known as 'Kev Adlam style!'), hopefully the first of many more to come.
1244 BLN GENERAL
2005] Railstaff Awards 2015: We are delighted to report that our friend Tim Brawn, a TPE Control
Centre Manager and the mastermind behind our TPE Tracker railtours has won the 2015 national
'David Maidment Award for Charity'. Tim, a railwayman for 30 years has helped to organise the 'Three
Peaks Challenge' since it began and has participated since 2005; during this time the event has raised
£2M for Railway Children. Our three TPE railtours alone have raised over £70,000. The Society is
mentioned in the full report in the October edition of the railway industry's 'RailStaff' publication.
2006] Network Rail 2015 'Lines in the Landscape Award': This year's prestigious photography award
was won out of 500 entries by Robert France's image (and now a rare sight) of a loaded coal train
curving through the countryside http://goo.gl/xM4guc approaching a sunlit Ribblehead Viaduct.
2007] Railway Benefit Fund, charity Christmas cards: Details are in an e-BLN download and a leaflet
with the BLN 1245. They include a superb winter snow and steam shot donated by our very own BLS
official photographer Geoff Plumb and a dramatic shot of the Caledonian Sleeper with snow at the
Pass of Drumochter in twilight (below). Leaflets will be handed out on our 7 November RBF Tracker
railtour and orders taken for delivery. Only £2.95 for 10, others from £1.95 for 10, P&P as advertised.
[BLN 1244.2007 -cont.]
ABOVE LEFT: The Caledonian Sleeper at the Pass of Drumochter. RIGHT: Geoff Plumb's picture: GWR
'Hall' class 4-6-0s No4965 'Rood Ashton Hall' and 4936 'Kinlet Hall' double-heading 'The Flying Carpet'
special, 08.00 from Kidderminster to Paddington and return, with 10 coaches from the BN91 set. They
have just passed Fenny Compton at 10.05 on the very cold but sunny morning of Saturday 3 March
2001. Geoff will be on our RBF Tracker tour and says that he will be ordering some cards himself!
2008] Rail Express (RE): Issue 235 due of 19 November includes an article on '60 years of the BLS'. Our
January Merseyrail 750v Tracker and the May 'Laira Liaison' tour have had full Rail Express reviews.
2009] Virgin on the ridiculous West Coast Unfare: A member travelling from Birmingham to Crewe
recently discovered a choice of advance tickets was available. There were two LM services each for £7
(1st class £19) and in between them was a 20.15 Virgin West Coast train, advance ticket £35 (1st £79)
only valid on that service. He could have occupied a seat on that train for the standard off-peak single
of £25.60 (1st £31.10). Needless to say he did not. Even the anytime any train fare is only £30.70 or 1st
£38.40! A new Monopoly 'Chance' card idea, perhaps 'Advance to Crewe pay Richard Branson £35'!
2010] Points and Slips: BLN 1242.1849] at Heacham station, some at least of the former platform and
GER canopy is part of the present holiday accommodation ('BLN Pictorial' 1241 p13 photograph).
In BLN 1243.1887] The £7,850 raised the on 77 minute long 'FGW Laira Liaison' HST Class 08 powered
trundle of 2 May works out as £102 per minute; a member asks if this is another record? Travelling
home from this on the 14.00 Plymouth to Paddington HST, another member reports that not only did
it do the facing crossover at the London end of Newton Abbot P1 but also came off the Berks and
Hants under the flyover into Reading P15, then back over to the Up Main at Kennet Bridge Jn! 1905]
Penyfford should have been Penyffordd. 1895] The connection at the former Ordsall Lane No1 Jn to
Manchester Liverpool Road (MOSI) branch had indeed been plain lined by 19 October and the NR
section of the branch was completely lifted back to the NR boundary (about 15yd west of the gate
where there was a stop board). 1922] Mark Whitby's legal challenge to the proposed Ordsall Lane
Chord was dismissed on all counts by a judge on 14 October and leave to appeal was refused. 1923]
Blackpool Tramway track plan: 'Rosall' should be 'Rossall' at Rossall Square, School and Beach stops.
Item 1937] In 2003 The Kew Public Record Office merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission
to become The National Archives. The name 'Public Record Office' is no longer in official use, although
it may have been when our member looked at the document mentioned. 1945] At Exmouth, the
restored 1956 carriage 4039 was withdrawn by BR in July 1976 so had been 'The Carriage Café' for 39
years. Its move to The Lappa Valley Railway was due to the lease expiring and not being renewed as
the Exmouth Fun Park seafront site is being redeveloped. The Exmouth Model Railway here closed at
[BLN 1244.2010 -cont.]
the end of 2014. The 10¼" gauge 170yd Exmouth Express (MR p15), one of Britain's oldest seaside
railways is on the same site, so 2015 might be/have been its final season of operation. BELOW: Central
Manchester OS 1" to the mile 7th Series fully revised 1958-59 (although Piccadilly was actually 'London
road' before 12 September 1960!), with the then four main stations annotated. Exchange and Victoria
were linked by a continuous 731 yd platform, the longest in Britain. The Liverpool Road station (now
MOSI) branch is by the 'C' of 'Central Sta'; it is obviously before the Windsor Link days (OP 11 April
1988). Middle left, Ordsall Lane station is the 'white' spot (i.e. closed to passengers, in this case from 4
February 1957). The branch and siding complex right of the 'Victoria Sta' annotation is Oldham Road,
the original Manchester & Leeds Railway 1839 terminus (CP 1 January 1844); a goods terminal until the
early 1980s. The Midland Railway Ancoats Goods branch is beneath the 'Sta' in 'Piccadilly Sta'. North of
that station itself is (left) London Road Goods (LNWR) and right Ducie Street Goods (Great Central).
Left of Manchester Central Station itself was firstly the Cheshire Lines Committee Central Goods and
then the Great Northern Railway's Deansgate Goods depots. Other stations still open for passengers
are bottom right Ardwick (just about, two trains each way SSuX!). (The terminal sidings to its east were
the Great Central Ardwick Goods.) West of Piccadilly is Oxford Road then 'Knott Mill & Deansgate'
renamed 'Deansgate' from 3 May 1971. Southwest of Exchange is Salford (now Salford Central)
Re: Minor Railways section: With apologies to our Editor, Peter Scott who was not in any way at fault:
In BLN 1241.MR149] At the 'Bangs Galore & Gunpowder Creek Railway' (formerly 'Uncle John's
Railway') in Essex, the track now extends 100yd past the shed rather than 10yd. Similarly with MR154]
the Norton Hill Light Railway in Norfolk is 600yd not 60yd long. BLN 1242.MR160] On the East Kent
Railway: The adjacent National Rail station has been known as "Shepherds Well" [two words] - the
village is Shepherdswell [one word]. However, the platform signs now state "Shepherdswell", but
some signage, and the timetable, still state "Shepherds Well" - with one notice saying "Shepherd's
Well"! The 'Shepherds Wel' version was an inadvertent error - your BLN Editor apologies for these.
1244 EAST MIDLANDS
BLN 1243.1908] Grantham station:
ABOVE: A drawing for the stained
glass window of the 'Mallard' in P2
waiting room. LEFT: The window was
unveiled on 30 September and is well
worth seeing. Nottingham 'stained
glass artist' of 40 years, Mike Brown,
had been inspired by Mallard in 2013
displayed at the station for the 75th
anniversary of its 1938 steam speed
record (125.88 mph). (Press release.)
1244 GREATER LONDON
2011] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1221.1691) NR has awarded a contract to J Murphy & Sons for
electrification works. Initial work has started this month, with the main construction work scheduled
to be carried out between June 2016 and June 2017. In June NR listed the work to be carried out as:
Gospel Oak Jn to South Tottenham West Jn.
Gospel Oak bay P3.
Carlton Road Jn to Junction Road Jn.
Upper Holloway Reception Line.
Harringay Park Jn to Harringay Jn.
South Tottenham East Jn to Woodgrange Park Jn.
Barking Station Jn to Barking P1 buffer stops.
All crossovers between Gospel Oak Jn/Carlton Road Jn and Barking Station Jn.
However, on 16 September it was stated, in response to a Parliamentary Question, that electrification
of the spurs to Junction Road Jn and Harringay Jn was still being assessed. This also applies to the
Thames Haven and Tilbury Railport branches to their NR boundaries, part of the overall scheme.
2012] Camden Town: (BLN 1239.1549) TfL is consulting https://goo.gl/77Sah0 until 11 December on
plans for a second station entrance and additional interchange corridors between the platforms.
2013] Abbey Wood: (BLN 1243.1914, 1235.1139) NR began work on the new station on 14 October.
2014] LUL 24 Hour Service: (BLN 1241.1756) Agreement has still not been reached with the unions;
therefore, the 'Night Tube' operation will not be introduced this year and may not start until March or
April next year. However, all-night services will run as usual on New Year's Eve.
2015] Old Oak Common: From 19 Oct trailing crossover 8095 (Up-Down Engine Lines) was removed.
2016] Thameslink: (BLN 1243.1917) The crossover from the Up Fast to the Up Slow Lines between
Waterloo East and Ewer Street Jn was to be taken OOU and partly removed from 26 October.
2017] West India Quay: (BLN 1240.1665) From the introduction of the new DLR timetable on 23
August, all services between Bank and Lewisham have been routed via the line avoiding the station,
rather than just SSuX as previously. (Underground News)
2018] Hayes P5: The first use of Class 387s ( a pair) for GWR is expected to be from Hayes (Bay B5) at
07.48 to London Paddington on Monday 16 May 2016.
1244 NORTH EAST
2019] Redcar: (BLN 1243.1919) The South Bank Coke Ovens ceased production on 15 October, and
were allowed to cool down for the first time (when the plant ceased production in 2010 the coke
ovens were kept going and the coke sold), irreversible structural damage is expected. The blast furnace
(the second biggest in Europe) has also been shut down. BELOW: March 2007, the red hot coke is
being loaded into rail wagons for transporting to the quenching tower, a once common site in various
parts of the country. © Mick Garratt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence .
2020] This Item number was for our Spanish tour map in paper-BLN which had to be a centrefold.
1244 NORTH WEST
2021] Manchester Metrolink: (BLN 1243.1903) On 19 October track and overhead wires were more or
less complete on the Victoria to Exchange Square 'branch', but paving and finishing off was required.
Energizing and commissioning of the overhead line equipment was due to begin on 26th. Metrolink
are confident that the line will OP before Christmas http://goo.gl/LGUpM6 with (07.00 - 19.00) a 12
minute frequency shuttle to Shaw & Compton bay platform doubling the service on that section. It has
been 'fast tracked' (!) by European Regional Development Funding. The wires are tied off on the far
side of Market Street/St. Mary's Gate while the tracks terminate on the near side. A length of track had
previously been laid in Cross Street close to Albert Square and a second track has recently been
installed on the curve into Princess Street. The rest of the Second City Crossing to St. Peter's Square
(where work is ahead of schedule) is due to open in mid-2017 after a final blockade which Metrolink
hope will be of shorter duration than that in summer this year. The final go-ahead is expected shortly
for the new Metrolink line from Pomona on the Eccles line initially to the Trafford Centre through
Trafford Park. It is planned to operate a service to Crumpsall on the Bury line
1244 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
2022] Ipswich: A train of seven short wheelbase wagons of loco fuel ran from Lindsey refinery to
Ipswich Depot on 13 October. It is believed to have also run the previous week, when the DBS Ripple
Lane to Ipswich and return did not. The tanks now come direct from Lindsey worked by Freightliner.
2023] Bletchley: On Sunday 18 October for four weeks, due to track renewals here, the Down Slow
was due to be blocked from 22.30 Saturday to 08.30 Sunday through Bletchley station. Down services
cross to the Down Slow at Water Eaton Jn, then via Bletchley P4 and Relief 1 to Denbigh Hall South Jn.
The affected Saturday evening services (all LM) were five from Euston to Northampton. The Saturday
17 October evening use was by more trains than expected due to an incident at Harrow with many
services late reaching Bletchley after the Down Slow had been blocked. Some Virgin services did the
move. The 21.08 Euston to Northampton ran via Bletchley P5 and Relief 2 to allow a Down VT to pass
on Relief 1. Our member caught the Sunday 07.25 from Hemel Hempstead, the only other affected
Sunday service being the 07.24 Euston to Milton Keynes. Both successfully crossed from Down Slow to
Up Slow at Water Eaton Jn and served Bletchley P4. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and he did wonder
if the train would run bi-directionally over the Up Slow to Milton Keynes. However on viewing the
signal at the north end of the platform, it had its route indicator lit for Bletchley Relief 1 to Denbigh
Hall South Jn then regained the Down Slow. Additionally the Sectional Appendix dated 19 September
2015 shows the Up Slow as unidirectional from Denbigh Hall South Jn to the north end of Bletchley P4.
NR advises that this line can be used bi-directionally but not 'directly' from P4.
2024] Banbury: (BLN 1243.1935) Additional new track, north of Banbury, for the 'resignalling enabling
works' was to be installed on 26 October, secured OOU. A new Down Goods Loop turnout (86m 42ch)
will form a crossover for Down moves to the Down Main, north of the existing 15mph crossover and
beyond the crossover from the Down Main to the loop. New trap points further north (86m 50ch) in
the Down Goods Loop will protect against unintended Up direction movement towards Leamington.
2025] Chesham: A member explored this delightful nearly 4 mile Metropolitan Line branch for the first
time after our signal box visits on 1 October and was pleasantly surprised at both the rural scenery and
excellence of the service. SuX it starts with a 'PSUL' 05.12 to Watford (via Watford North to East Jn)
then half-hourly to Baker Street or Aldgate until 23.28 and later short workings to 00.51. The first
arrivals are at 05.46 and 06.16 from Rickmansworth then 06.47 from central London with the last at
01.18. Sunday service is still half-hourly (arrivals 07.44 to 00.15; departures 07.52 to 23.39). All trains
are 8-car S-stock sets that some members saw under construction during our 20 August 2014 Derby
Bombardier Works visit. Mid-afternoon a Class 153 unit would have been sufficient for the branch!
[BLN 1244.2025 -cont.]
Branch services are coordinated
with the two Underground and two
Chiltern trains per hour calling at
Amersham to provide a steady
pattern of intermediate calls
between the junction at Chalfont
and Latimer and Harrow-on-the-
Hill. Connections are made there
with faster services between
Aylesbury and Marylebone. Fares
are surprisingly reasonable with
'contactless' credit, debit or
'Oyster' cards. Oyster Cards can
have most National Railcards added
at any staffed LT booking office to
give the 34% discount. Cash fares
are very high in comparison. The track into the short bay P3 at Chalfont & Latimer is extremely rusty,
OOU since 11 December 2010 because it only takes 4-cars. (Replacing A-stock by S-stock eliminated 4-
car units; a bespoke 4-car set and perhaps a spare would have cost almost as much as two 8-car sets.)
Extending the bay would involve repositioning the branch crossover, resignalling and a change of trains
with extended journey times or demolition of the station buildings. Splitting the service between
Amersham and Chesham was chosen instead after a public consultation supported that option.
Amersham lost 2tph to each way but also has Chiltern's 2tph. Chesham patronage has increased by
50% since through trains have run, supporting the theory that previously some passengers chose
Amersham instead with its better
service. Amersham numbers have not
fallen, in fact continuing to rise.
Interestingly Chesham is four miles
from Chalfont & Latimer in
comparison Amersham is only two.
ABOVE: 10 Januaray 2015, S-stock at
Chesham © Peter licensed for reuse
under this Creative Commons Licence
LEFT: The Chesham branch train in
1960 just prior to electrification © Dr
Neil Clifton licensed for reuse under
this Creative Commons Licence.
1244 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH
2026] Three Bridges: (BLN 1237.1372) The new depot was opened by the Transport Secretary on 15
October. The first Class 700 train arrived on 31 July (already reported) but on 17 October when your
Sub-Editor passed no trains were visible. The depot includes a purpose-built driver training simulator.
2027] Margate: (BLN 1240.1683) The historical OS map printed with this item also shows, top right, a
long building parallel with, next to and just slightly to the east of the SER Margate Sands station. The
'Hall by the Sea' caption above relates to it. This was the terminus station on Marine Terrace built by
the LCDR in 1864 but never opened and was built for their local Ramsgate traffic. It connected into
their mainline in the Down direction by the curving embankment shown in the bottom right hand
corner of the map. In 1866 the building was in use as a music hall, then leased to Spiers and Pond, the
[BLN 1244.2027 -cont.]
well known sometime railway caterers. Later developments and different ownership incorporated the
approach embankment into the Italian section of the pleasure gardens that much later evolved into
the famed 'Dreamland' (next item). The 'Hall' was replaced by a similar purpose built structure in 1898.
See http://goo.gl/H3NG78 for numerous pictures (it certainly looks like a railway station) maps, and
more information about 'Hall by the Sea' and Dreamland, click on the thumbnails to enlarge
BELOW AND FOLLOWING PAGE: OS 1973 map with the unused railway embankment from the LCDR's
intended terminal station (top left) to their London to Ramsgate (latterly Harbour) line (by the Thanet
Steam Laundry). The area to its right became the Hall-by-The Sea Zoological gardens and later
'Dreamland' Amusement Park. The Goods Shed and lines to its left is the Margate Sands branch from
Ramsgate (and London via the SER route).2028] Margate: KentOnline reported that from 16 October
the public could finally ride on the Grade II* Listed Dreamland's 'Scenic Railway' again. 'It's been four
months since the amusement park's grand opening, and the iconic rollercoaster has been conspicuous
by its absence from the line-up of retro rides. When it became clear two weeks before opening the
park's main attraction would be delayed many expressed their frustration.' The delay was due to
finishing touches being made to the trains, and the wooden structure.
[BLN 1244.2027 -cont.]
Completion of the ride marks the
end of phase one in the £28M
revival project. Built in 1920, the
Scenic Railway was Britain's oldest
surviving rollercoaster and the
project to bring back the ride has
had its twists and turns. In
December last year, the wooden
attraction blew down in high
winds, having been ravaged by fire
in April 2008 and falling into
disrepair when the attraction
closed. The 15" gauge miniature
railway at Dreamland has not been
2029] Maidstone: (BLN 1241.1768)
Tovil Goods and Tovil passenger
station were entirely separate
locations. Tovil Goods, at the end
of a short branch on the east bank
of the River Medway, never had a
passenger service. Its main purpose
was to serve Reed's paper mills. It
never gained the fame it would
have achieved if the Kent and East
Sussex Railway had been able to utilise it, as hoped,
by way of an end-on junction, as part of their
planned Maidstone Extension line from Headcorn.
Tovil passenger station (CP 15 March 1943) was on
the Medway Valley line immediately on the East
Farleigh side of the divergence of the goods branch.
Incredibly close to Maidstone West, its main use
would have been for workers at the mills south of
the river. The River Medway was, and still is, crossed
by a footbridge here. The walk to the mills from
Maidstone West would have been long and
circuitous. Currently the original metal station
footbridge remains with a flat foot crossing. NR
intends replacing these, no doubt with one of their
unsightly huge ramp setups. This could be difficult as
housing is very close to each side.
RIGHT: Detail of the Tovil Goods branch, from the OS
6" to the mile 1960 published map. Maidstone West
passenger station is shown as 'Sta'; an independent
goods line runs from its goods yard to the branch.
Tovil passenger station was on the main line just
west of the divergence of the branch towards East
Farleigh. 'F.B.' is the footbridge referred to above.
2030] Ryde - Shanklin: (BLN 1239.1582) The IOW Council has enlisted the help of Christopher Garnett,
former chairman and chief executive of Great North Eastern Railways, to help it secure the future of
the Island Line service. The DfT said bidders for the next South Western rail franchise would be asked
to turn the line into a self-sustaining business. Campaigners had previously feared the service (that
loses £3M per year) would be dropped when the Stagecoach franchise ends in 2017. The council said
that Mr Garnett's expertise would help find a long-term solution for the line and he is offering his
services 'free of charge' and would 'act independently, seek out and collate the views of all
stakeholders and discuss with the government the needs of the island from the new franchise' to
ensure the island ‘does all it can to secure the long-term future of Island Line'.
2031] Dover: Dover Harbour Board is progressing plans for revival of Western Docks. Sadly, this does
not involve good news for rail followers. It consists of filling in an existing dock (Granville Dock) and the
outer basin along with other major works to provide extra berths and warehousing. These will not be
ro-ro berths; the docks will concentrate, according to publicity, on merchandise (mainly fruit,
especially bananas) and containers. The plans show no rail connection from the adjacent main line to
an area that once hosted the Edwardian boat train connection, for trans-Atlantic liners, onto the much
to be altered Prince of Wales's Pier, as well as the connections to the former Dover seafront railway to
the Eastern Docks. The now trackless ex Dover Marine/Western Docks station, currently a cruise liner
terminal, is unaffected. An opportunity to cater for possible rail freight and to address the often
bemoaned lack of rail access to the cruise terminal has apparently been missed.
2032] Plumpton: (BLN 1234.1080) NR has sent an apology letter to residents of Plumpton Green after
admitting that the level crossing providing access to the East Sussex village is likely to remain shut for
at least three months. On 25 September, work began on a £2M crossing upgrade with new signalling
scheduled for completion on 12 October. However, on 30 September Lewes District Council rejected
NR's planning application, resulting in work stopping. NR says it cannot proceed with installation of the
new level crossing without listed buildings consent to remove the old gates. However, the signalling
upgrade already carried out on site means NR is also unable to reinstate the crossing back to its
previous state and reopen the road. Instead, it must carry out a full safety risk assessment, currently
underway, which may identify additional mitigation works necessary before the road can safely
reopen. Meantime, vehicles wishing to cross the railway have long diversions. (Transport Briefing)
2033] Waterloo - Basingstoke: (BLN 1232.859) A member has provided a personal view of the 01.05
from Waterloo on Wednesday 14 October. The first thing he noticed was that this was, unusually, the
only train on the departure board (after the Strawberry Hill train had left). It called at Clapham
Junction P6, then set off down the Richmond line turning left through East Putney and the LU/NR
Wimbledon connection for a station call, then southwest. He was dozing and not paying much
attention (microgricers on this service are advised to stock up on strong coffee) but sometime before
Woking he woke and noticed the train was on the UP Slow. It remained on this until almost at
Basingstoke including stops at Woking, Farnborough and Fleet. Just before Basingstoke, the train
crossed to the Down Slow and went into the usual P1 at 02.57 to terminate. Passengers towards
Southampton changed to a replacement bus. On the Up Slow there is a 30mph restriction for trains
travelling in the Down direction and this was noticeable by our member on his journey.
2034] Southampton Airport Parkway - Eastleigh: (BLN 1242.1853) The new Up loop is still not yet
commissioned (in respect of signalling) and is not planned to be for a few weeks at least. However, it IS
in use! An Eastleigh member has regularly observed the running rails to be shiny. On a couple of
occasions over the last few months, he has seen Freightliner trains using it. On 8 October, coming
home earlier than usual, he watched 66221 hauling a long Freightliner train, presumed to be 4M99
16.57 SSuX Maritime Container Terminal to Trafford Park, leave the new loop and proceed 'Up Slow'
through Eastleigh. It must have been talked past the signal that has caused the commissioning issues.
1244 WEST MIDLANDS
2035] Kings Norton: On Sat 10 Oct, a member was on the 06.42 Birmingham New Street to Paignton
XC service to join our First Devon & Exeter Explorer HST railtour. Routed via Camp Hill as booked, the
Down Camp Hill to Down Fast connection was expected as usual at Kings Norton Jn. It actually crossed
a bit further on at the ladder between Kings Norton and Northfield (47m 53ch). In 15 years of fairly
frequent trips between Birmingham and Barnt Green, our member deems this quite rare! (Do we think
the FS can count this crossover; he was on the same train but did not realise until told afterwards?)
Your Editor (from Birmingham) has only travelled over the facing crossover from the Down Fast to
Down Slow beyond Kings Norton at Kings Norton Jn once. That was on 8 May 1978 on the 06.42 DMU
from University to Longbridge, the first ever train from University station. (Ticket number 00000 had
been purchased!) At Kings Norton Station Jn someone in Saltley Power box had forgotten that it (the
first Down Cross City train) should have been routed via the then new connection to P4 specially put
in. It was misrouted into P2 (the island platform used by the previously very sparse local service before
this date). Fortunately, the platform
gates were open and the stairs then
still intact so the intending
passengers were able to rush over
from P4 to join. The train then took
the facing crossover south of Kings
Norton to allow a call at the new
(outer) Northfield P4 and be the
first arrival at Longbridge. About 40
enthusiasts were on this first train,
most jumping on and off each
platform at the stops (!) and some
disappointment was felt at the time
at not doing the new connection at
2036] Barriers to travel: Ticket gates
are now operational at Birmingham
International, Coventry and further
afield at Crewe. At Crewe, a new
ticket office has recently opened.
PICTURE ABOVE: Crewe's new ticket office area, opened late September. (Kev Adlam October 2015)
2037] Midland Metro: (BLN 1243.1897) See Head Lines also. Before permanent closure from 25
October, at Birmingham Snow Hill terminal, the right hand track (on arrival) was clipped and scotched
OOU long term. The city extension track work is largely complete and includes a new country end (as
in 'Black Country'!) trailing crossover at Snow Hill St. Chad's, an addition to our previous track plan
(BLN 1225.177). This stop will be convenient for the Livery Street entrance at the north end of Snow
Hill (NR) station. The stops are progressing (other than Snow Hill) Bull Street platform canopy support
has been erected and the island platform paving is nearly finished. Corporation Street outbound
platform canopy support (near Cherry Street) is being erected and work has started on the platforms
at Grand Central. Masts are up along the route in Corporation Street and by Stephenson Street ramp.
2038] Rugby: A new Rugby Parkway station at Hillmorton was approved by Warwickshire County
Council (WCC) on 8 October off the A428 Crick Road, on vacant land between existing housing and the
Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT). It is on the WCML Northampton loop and will be
served by up to 3tph in each direction. Due for completion by December 2019, at a cost of £11M, it
includes two platforms, a connecting footbridge and a 260 space car park. There are to be up to 6,200
houses built at the former Daventry mast site over 15-20 years, potentially increasing Rugby's
population by 15,000. The station will allow workers to commute to the expanding DIRFT. WCC will
contribute £2M with £4.9M from the Government's New Stations Fund and £3.9M from the Coventry
& Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal. Work is scheduled to begin in May 2018.
1244 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
2039] Horton in Ribblesdale: (BLN 1240.1650) The final connection to the main line of the Arcow
Quarry sidings branch was due to take place in a 79 hour shut down of the whole Settle Jn to Carlisle,
Petteril Bridge Jn line from the end of service on Friday 23 October until the early hours of Tuesday 27
October. At the same time, signalling adjustments were to be made at Blea Moor for the connection
and associated train movements. ABOVE: Route of the new branch; the Settle (bottom) to Carlisle
(top) line is on the right, near MP241¼ just south of Horton-in-Ribblesdale and north of Helwith
Bridge. The layout and other available information suggests that empty wagons from the south will be
propelled into the branch and the loaded drawn out to run round in Blea Moor Up Goods Loop, so
crossing Ribblehead Viaduct twice. The branch will serve both Lafarge Tarmac Arcow (shown) and Dry
Rigg (half a mile south) Quarries in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This enables production to
continue and increase despite restrictions on the use of road transport. Five trains per week are
anticipated removing 16,000 road lorry journeys per year. Arcow Quarry Ground Frame will be
released from Settle Jn signal box. (Picture above from the public planning application documents.)
2040] Athlone East Jn - Mullingar: (BLN 1228.435) This item recorded that the final run of an
inspection car was believed to have been in August 2006. However, a correspondent witnessed the
progress of inspection car 721 on a later run on 16 August 2007. It travelled from Mullingar to Signal
AE415 on the Moate side of Moorings level crossing. It was decided to turn back there so as not to
disrupt road traffic. This level crossing is at 77m 29ch and Athlone East Jn is 35ch further on. The line
was heavily overgrown in places and permanent way staff accompanying the run had to get chainsaws
out a few times to clear fallen trees! This is believed to have been the final such working on the line.
An updated list of Irish railway closures is available to download with e-BLN.
2041] Muck, Eigg, Rùm and a Quiz Answer: Jura can be seen from EMUs between Ardrossan and West
Kilbride. Looking along the Sound* of Bute, between Bute and Arran, the Kintyre Peninsula is visible.
On a clear day the tops of the Paps of Jura are visible beyond (about 45 miles away); these are the
prominent rounded hills on that wild and lonely island, to which George Orwell (Eric Blair), who once
lived in Southwold, escaped to write his classic '1984'; unfortunately his stay there rather did for his
health. (*'Sound' is a geographical term for a stretch of seawater between islands, or mainland and
island; not in this case an antonym for the state of Mr. Orwell's health; he died of TB 1950 aged 46.)
BELOW: The Paps of Jura seen from the Sound of Bute. (Greg Beefcroft)
2042] Glasgow - Edinburgh: (BLN 1221.1751): There are already a substantial number of masts up, but
NR states that 'engineers will start to install overhead masts and power cables on the main Edinburgh-
Glasgow line this month' (Transport Briefing 7 October). In consequence, after 21.30 on Sundays
toThursdays between 5 October 2015 and 17 March 2016 some services into Glasgow Queen Street,
including the Edinburgh, Stirling, Alloa and Dundee trains, are using diversionary routes with extended
journey times. A limited number of stations will be served by replacement bus services. The alterations
do not apply from 11 December to 2 January.
2043] Shocking news from the Shotts line: Carillion construction firm has been selected by NR for a
number of contracts, including electrification of the Shotts line (Transport Briefing 14 October).
2044] Millerhill: (BLN 1184.689): NR had announced that, following completion of the Borders railway
project, Millerhill depot was to close with ballast operations being transferred to Carlisle. However,
following a campaign involving rail unions and politicians, the RMT Union announced on 24 September
that NR will open a Local Distribution Centre at Millerhill in June 2016; DBS will retain drivers and
ground staff in the interim. Millerhill has already been designated as a site for a new 'Edinburgh
Glasgow Improvement Programme' related EMU depot. On 30 September, loco 67030 moved a rake of
smashed up (sadly through vandalism, rather than operational causes one suspects) former Fife circle
coaches to Mossend via Shotts. (See the back page regarding a railtour of the Millerhill area.)
2045] Forth Bridge: (BLN 1234.1109): 'The' Forth Bridge (and its junior neighbour) were closed
between 17.00 and 17.30 approx. on Wednesday 7 October by Police request. A controlled explosion
was required to deal with demolition materials found, suspected to be from an old construction site;
during work for the new road bridge. Some Waverley departures were cancelled from 16.20.
2046] Sterling service? From the 13 December timetable change, Virgin East Coast is to run an 05.32
SSuX Stirling to King's Cross and 15.00 SSuX return. P6 is scheduled in both directions.
2047] Kinlochleven: Our member recently visited this remote village, about 10 miles east of the
former Ballachulish branch terminus. Most of the trackbed of the former 3ft gauge narrow-gauge
overhead electric 1660yd railway is easily walkable. Opened in 1907 and closed in 1960, at its peak
there were 4½ miles of track. It linked the former aluminium works (closed in 1996) with wharves on
Loch Leven. The attraction of Kinlochleven was cheap hydroelectric power. The railway seems to have
been used to transport bauxite east to the works and aluminium ingots back. The wharves can still be
found on the south side of Loch Leven (NN178618), though the timber extension to the southern
wharf has been partly demolished. A short section of trackbed from the wharf is heavily overgrown,
but it soon becomes accessible from a parallel, unsurfaced private road. The route climbs up towards
the village, passing below the reinforced concrete viaduct that carries the road from Glencoe. There is
an unsurfaced, informal path along the section that skirts round the south side of the village, behind
the dwellings in Foyers Road and a public car park. The track then crossed what is now a private car
park and ran through a short rock cutting to enter the works site, not publically accessible (NN187617).
It has been suggested that there was a works railway for construction of the Blackwater Dam for the
Kinlochleven hydro-electric scheme. However, an exhibition at the Visitor Centre in Kinlochleven says
that materials were transported by an aerial ropeway, which seems far more practical given the
distance and terrain. There may have been short sections of temporary railway at the dam site.
2048]: Linguistic twists: (BLN 1243.1906) Historically, railway companies (including those purely
Welsh) took a cavalier attitude to the Welsh language, often imposing Anglicised renditions in
choosing station names. Local preferences were eventually acknowledged in adopting Welsh spellings
at a few, such as Dolgelly becoming Dolgellau in 1960, and Llanelly to Llanelli in 1966. Interestingly
Portmadoc was renamed Porthmadog by BR in 1972 ahead of the town changing its name in 1974. A
more sustained campaign by the Welsh Language Society however led to a changed attitude from
1979, most particularly in formal adoption of a number of alterations with 12 May 1980 timetable, and
these still apply. As examples, on Table 130 the Welsh dipthong 'ff' which replaced 'f' in Trefforest and
Trefforest Estate, and the correct single consonant 'f' (which substitutes for the missing letter 'v' in the
Welsh alphabet) instead of Anglicised 'ff' in Llandaf, even though (ironically) local population usage in
each case still prefers the original railway version! There has, in any case, been no consistent approach
to the way that names are presented on the stations themselves; thus for example whilst Table 129
shows the 1980 rendition of Llangynllo, the station nameplates still use the Anglicised 'Llangunllo' (and
both Llangammarch and Llanwrtyd, despite the 1980 edict to the contrary, still retain the English
'Wells' suffix). Nowadays, most stations in Wales display both English and Welsh titles on nameplates
and/or in ATW local timetables. Readers are invited to submit any further examples of inconsistencies!
2049]: Steel & Coal Traffic: (BLN1243.1919) Additional to the former arrangements at Redcar iron ore
and coal are still delivered by ship directly at Port Talbot Tidal Harbour. The steelworks also usually
receives eight MGR trains of opencast coal per week at Port Talbot Grange, from Cwmbargoed. Celtic
Energy has recently mothballed their Selar opencast site, but operations at the nearby Nant Helen and
East Pit sites continue to send out coal through Onllwyn. Coal was never despatched to Redcar from
Tower Colliery, although Onllwyn did support the steel industry with a number of trains to Scunthorpe
[BLN 1244.2049 -cont.]
earlier this year. Bucking the national trend, Liberty Steelworks in Newport (the sometime Alphasteel
plant of BSC) is about to reopen after 2½ years out of action, and it is to be hoped that this may
generate rail traffic. Slab traffic between Margam and Llanwern is however expectedly soon to finish,
which will leave Margam P-field with no regular traffic (BLN 1240.1640).
1244 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR181] Isle of Wight Steam Railway (MR p6): This railway runs from Smallbrook Junction to Wootton
on part of the Ryde & Newport Railway opened in 1875. Closure came in 1966, but it was reopened
between Haven Street and Wootton in 1971 and from Smallbrook Junction to Haven Street in 1991.
The present Wootton station is just short of the previous station, being located on the eastern side of
a road overbridge due to poor ground conditions in the former cutting. Smallbrook Junction is one of
those rare stations with no external access, merely existing as an interchange between Island Line
(South Western Trains) and the Steam Railway. There was previously no station here, only a signal box,
indeed at one time not even a junction and then not all year! Smallbrook Junction (2m 14ch) has one
platform with a run-round loop and a headshunt north to 2m 08ch. The station has a small ticket office
and a toilet. The loop is controlled by a ground frame at the Haven Street end. A selection of Island
Line trains call only when the steam railway is running. Ashey (3m 71ch) is now only a request stop
with a grass covered platform on the Down (south) side, but once had two platforms and a passing
loop - these were removed in 1926 when the Southern Railway improved Haven Street station with a
longer island platform and new passing loop.
All the railway's facilities are concentrated at Haven Street (5m 36ch), which has a signal box (5m 33ch)
in part of the 1926 built station building. The Up loop is bi-directional; the Down loop is only available
in that direction. There is a two road Locomotive Shed & Workshop and a two road Carriage & Wagon
Workshop. The line then continues to Wootton (6m 73ch), which merely has one platform (Down side)
with a run-round loop. The line ends in a stop block (6m 75ch) just short of the former road over
bridge. The platform has recently been extended at the Haven Street end and the signal box has been
taken out of use. A ground frame now controls the run-round loop. A new base for the signal box has
been built into the platform extension and, in due course, the existing wooden box will be mounted on
this. A visit was made on a sunny Thursday 8 October 2015 when all trains were being hauled by No24
class 02 0-4-4T Calbourne. Passenger stock comprised four bogie compartment coaches (6349, 2416,
2403, 4168). Only three people (including your reporter) alighted from the 11.49 ex-Ryde Pier Head to
make the connection into the well-filled 12.17 to Wootton (two coaches were booked for a coach
party). This train was ridden to Wootton, where return to Haven Street was at 12.46. At Haven Street,
the opportunity was taken to visit the new (2014 opened) 'Train Story Discovery Centre'. This is formed
of a large modern style four road shed, with a one-road lean-to alongside, on the Downside west of
the station. Inside, two roads are separated by an island platform allowing viewing into the restored
locomotives, coaches and wagons on display. The other two roads contain some restored and
unrestored stock, including rescued coach bodies. The lean-to road is not accessible but seems to
contain more stock awaiting restoration. Outside, there is a grounded coach body, a former Holiday
Chalet from Thorness Bay. It is presented in the style of the 1950s and is well worth a look. The
Carriage & Wagon Workshop can be viewed, but the Locomotive Shed is 'off limits'. In the yard Class
03 D2059 and Army 235 (0-4-0DM) were undertaking some shunting. Return to Smallbrook Junction
was on the sparsely filled 15.40 ex Wootton. This time four people made the interchange to Island
Line; three going north and one south! Holders of BR 'Priv' tickets pay a quarter of the full ticket price -
for our reporter this was £3 for a return ticket (allowing riding all day) as opposed to £12!
MR182] Lavender Line, East Sussex (MR p6): The Sunday of the late August Bank Holiday weekend saw
our roving reporter at this location; based at Isfield station on the former Uckfield to Lewes LBSCR line
(CP from 4 May 1969, although trains ceased to run 24 February 1969 and thereafter buses covered
the service until closure). Brighton Bus 29 runs hourly from Brighton to Lewes and Uckfield through
Isfield. 0-6-0DH 422 Valiant (RH459517/1961) with a brake van was providing a half-hourly service
from Isfield (13m 48ch) to the far end of the line at Worth Halt (14m 37ch), which is just short of a
bridge over the River Uck (14m 40ch). Steam locomotive 0-6-0ST (HL3837/1934) has been partially
restored - this loco was new to Stewarts & Lloyds at Corby Steelworks and was later on static display at
the Mole Valley Leisure Centre, Leatherhead. It moved from there to the Lavender Line on 14 March
2011. The signal box (by the former level crossing at 13m 45ch) is a listed structure and visits are
available at all times when the railway is open. One lever operates a semaphore signal at the buffer
stop! There is still talk about NR reopening the Uckfield to Lewes line as an alternative to the Brighton
mainline. [On 27 September, your BLN Editor was advised that further extension of the Lavender Line,
involving expensive reinstating of two bridges over the River Uck north of the present line, was
pending the current review report into reopening as part of the national network (BLN 1238.1471).]
MR183] Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Derbyshire (MR p8): Steam Railway 446 (9 Oct 2015) reported
that the railway can now operate a two train service following the completion of Shottle passing loop.
The first two trains crossed there on Friday 25 September 2015 in preparation for the 'Multiple
Memories' DMU gala the following weekend, which had the most intensive timetable the Wirksworth
branch has ever seen. During two-train operation, when there is a Shottle crossing move, passengers
travelling from Shottle to Wirksworth have to travel via Duffield in the absence of a loop platform.
BELOW: 'Nantmawr No1827' on the Nantmawr branch in 2009 https://goo.gl/S3B5Dh ©Osrail.
MR184] Tanat Valley Light Railway (TVLR), Shropshire (MR p7): This preservation organisation is on
the Potteries Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway Nantmawr branch (which the TVLR Co Ltd purchased
from BRB Residuary on 19 August 2004 without involvement of the County Council), not on the former
TVLR proper which the branch joined at Llanddu Jn. There was a very enjoyable comprehensive DMU
Society railtour of this obscure 'middle of nowhere' country classical branch line on 1 April 2012. The
TVLR website is not maintained, showing trains as last running on Sunday 31 August 2014 (see later).
Its on-line contact and membership application pages are 'dead'. On Monday 24 August a visit found
that the railway appeared to have been shut up and looked in 'end of season condition'. The
associated public facilities ('The TVLR has leased approx 25 acres of adjoining land to turn into a
country park and railway attraction' http://goo.gl/j6rzgv as their webpage puts it) seemed to have had
no 'TLC' for quite some time and looked virtually abandoned. At level crossings, the flange-ways were
well filled, seemingly not having been used for some time. However, DMU and other rolling stock was
parked at the far end of the Nantmawr site (and showed some signs of having been attended to).
When contacted on 30 September the railway stated that they "will not be operating again this year"
as they prepare for the 150th anniversary of the line being built in 2016. Part of this is building a
platform and station to operate from. The TVLR is planning to open for next Easter, subject only to the
building work being complete on the station. The further good news is that a different 'medium', the
TVLR Facebook page (see it via the website address link above, which requires a Facebook account) is
very active with regular pictures and news about the project. It shows there was actually a 'Heritage
Open Day' with free '¼ mile' DMU rides on Saturday 12 September 2015 although there had been no
publicity for this on display at the railway on 24 August. Like many small friendly preservation groups,
volunteers are needed. A video clip https://goo.gl/L0CHfG of the line operating in 2013. As with all
small friendly groups like this, new members, volunteers and financial support are always welcome.
The Tanat Valley Light Railway Co Ltd, Croft Bank, Whitewell, Whitchurch, Shropshire, SY13 3AL.
Email [email protected] or 01948 781079.
MR185] Wat Tyler Miniature Railway, Essex (MR p17) (BLN 1190.MR145): A visit was made to this one
mile, 10¼" gauge miniature railway, located inside Wat Tyler Country Park at Pitsea, on a very wet
Bank Holiday Monday, 31 August. Unsurprisingly, the railway was not operating - but inspection of the
track near the park gate found the track to be of a 'brown rust' nature with no indication of any wheel
marks. Does any visitor know if this section is in regular use please? On the railway's web page (part of
the Park website) http://goo.gl/FXJh6G there is mention of GPS tracking being added to trains in
2014 to follow them on a map. Running times are given as weekends and school holidays throughout
the year: summer 12.00-17.00 and winter 11.30-15.30/16.00. Park Entrance is shown as a 'demand
only stop, not scheduled'. Appreciating the website may be out of date, does/did this mean that trains
only normally run/ran between 'Marina' terminus and 'Grand Central' (in which case, is the return loop
at the latter in use)? Alternatively, do/did they take the 2012 extension and the Park Entrance Loop
only calling at the platform there on request?
MR186] Bicton Woodland Railway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1034.MR11): This 18" gauge railway runs
within the grounds of Bicton Park Botanical Gardens at East Budleigh. On Tuesday 22 September,
steam outline 0-4-0DH Sir Walter Raleigh (Alan Keef 61/2000) was working the service of only four
trains daily. 4wDM Clinton (HE 2290/1941) was standing in the open. A shed visit was refused due to
'health & safety'. 4wDH Bicton (RH213839/1942, rebuilt Alan Keef 75R/2007) was presumably therein.
MR187] Southend Pier Railway, Essex (MR p17) (BLN 1181.MR48): This 3ft gauge railway runs for
2,180yd; virtually the full length of the world famous pier. It is single track with an intermediate
passing loop. Land End and Pier Head stations each have two platforms. The loop is only used when a
two-train service is operating, which appears to be comparatively rare (the MR Ed recalls being at
Canvey Island and watching two trains pass on the pier and then driving with great haste to Southend,
[BLN 1244.MR187 -cont.]
duly getting the loop - this was on a bank holiday). Our reporter visited on Friday 25 September after
being informed on the phone that a two-train service would be operating in conjunction with a
Waverley sailing. On arrival, he was informed that a two-train service would indeed be running.
However, this did not take place! The driver made it clear she was not keen to operate the extra train
for the sailing. Another employee stated the loop has been out of use all year due to weight issues -
but these had now been rectified. The sad fact was only about 60 people turned up for the sailing, the
other 900 were already on the boat from Margate and Whitstable, so there was very little extra traffic
on the pier. Despite this, our disappointed reporter had a ride on Train B Sir William Heygate (Severn
Lamb SE4/ 1986). He noted that both platforms at the pier head end are regularly used with the left
hand one at the land end the rarer. He shed a tear as he passed the very rusty centre passing loop.
BELOW: September 2010 view of Southend-on Sea from the South Station (Pierhead), train on the
right. © Oast House Archive and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence .
MR188] Faversham Miniature Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1143.MR138): Our roving reporter visited
this 9" gauge line (the only public railway of that gauge in the country) on Sunday 20 September to
cover the extension opened over 3 years ago! [The first passenger train carrying some well known
people was on Saturday 25 June 2011.] He walked from Faversham station taking around 30 minutes.
In operation was 0-4-0PH No6 English Electric with a three coach articulated open set. The fare for all
was £1.50 each for one complete circuit. Semaphore signals and a token were in use - this allows,
when required, a three-train service to run. A visit to the station signal box was gratefully accepted.
The railway is at Brogdale and this location holds a claim to fame. The highest temperature ever
officially recorded in the United Kingdom is 38.5o Celsius (101.3o Fahrenheit) on 10 August 2003 here.
Incredibly, our roving reporter was present on this day as well!
MR189] Heaton Park Tramway, Greater Manchester (MR p32) (BLN 1226.MR17): A three tram service
was in operation on Sunday 6 September, when our roving reporter attended - also visiting the
adjacent bus rally. Blackpool 619, Blackpool 623 and Manchester 765 were working a frequent service.
Blackpool 702 was outside the recently completed depot by the Lakeside café. Hull 96 was inside the
workshop adjacent to the original depot and was due to run in October. A road train was also working
in the park and boats were available for hire on the lake.
1244 OTHERS' OFFERS & OPPORTUNITIES
A service to members; Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. . ..Details must be checked with the organisers.
2050] East Yorkshire Round Robin: A one day circular tour in either direction, journey breaks allowed.
Weekends & Bank Holidays, otherwise after 08.45 (Two Together Railcards 09.30) on Virgin East Coast,
Hull Trains, Northern & TPE. York-Selby-Hull-Scarborough. Adult £23.50, Child £11.75, Railcard £15.50
2051] ATW Club 55: (BLN 1243.1968) Age 55+, proof of age required £24 return (£29 FO) £1 discount
for Senior or Disabled Railcard on any ATW off peak services, breaks allowed. Outward travel on date
of ticket, return within 8 days. Outward to 27 Feb 2016 (not 11 Dec to 2 Jan inc.), return by 5 March
(not 18 Dec to 2 Jan incl.) all weekends, otherwise after 09.00. No time restriction on the Cambrian,
Central Wales, Chester - Holyhead/Llandudno/Blaenau Ffestiniog, Bidston - Wrexham Central and lines
west of Neath. Not valid via or to Cardiff on 13 or 26 Feb. Add-ons: (to specific certain destinations, not
rover tickets!) Merseyrail £1.50, Northern Rail £2.50, Hereford to Worcester (LM) £6, XC Cheltenham
to Birmingham £11.50, Chiltern to Marylebone (plus LM connections Smethwick Galton Bridge to
Birmingham Moor Street) £21; not arriving London before 10.00, or departing 16.00-19.00 (SSuX).
2052] Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Behind the Scenes and Modeller's Day, Sat 21 Nov, 10.00 - 15.30:
A series of guided tours http://goo.gl/fXuT5V including the locomotive shed, workshop and station
buildings at Bodmin General. Also unusual access to various parts of the line itself, brakevan rides to
Bodmin Parkway (Class 08 hauled) for visits to the large carriage shed there. Cornish pasty lunch
included. Advanced booking necessary £22 only 60 places available; 01208 73555/73666 to book.
2053] Wolverhampton Art Gallery: Lichfield St., WV1 1DU (free admission) is showing a 1 hour 50
minute film 'Of time and the railway' by Robert Davies, three times daily (SuX), until 5 December.
Superbly shot from the driver's cab over 86 days between October 2013 and February 2015 and
combined into one journey, it reflects each season of the year on the Birmingham New Street to
Aberystwyth line. Details 01902 552055, the Museum is open 10.00 to 17.00 Mondays to Saturdays.
2054] UK Railtours, 'The Waverley', Wed 30 Dec: King's Cross (05.45/23.30) and selected stations to
Doncaster (08.05/21.05) of possible interest to members is the expected Monktonhall Jn - Millerhill
East Jn - Millerhill West Jn route to change the Class 90 for two Class 66s 'top and tail'. Then to
Tweedbank (non-preferred P2 expected) - Niddrie South Jn - Niddrie West Jn - Craiglockhart Jn -
Gorgie Jn - Haymarket Central Jn - Kings Cross. Adult from £99 http://goo.gl/Pj6AUN 01438 715050.
2055] Statfold Barn Railway open days, 9 April, 4 June & 10 Sept 2016: (MR p24) (SK241064) A very
extensive, over three miles, multi-gauge (mainly 2' & 2'6" with some dual gauge track) private railway.
A large collection of UK and overseas steam, diesel and electric locos. Enthusiasts' days feature visiting
locos and an intensive service with many engines running. £10 per head, no pay on the day. To apply
for tickets http://goo.gl/nJbnYO (please read all the instructions carefully). Alternatively, send SAE to
request a booking form to Statfold Barn Railway, The Grain Store, Statfold Barn Farm, Ashby Road,
Tamworth, B79 0BU. This year's changes were amazing, especially the demolition of the old station
and repositioning the turntable to access all platforms; it will be interesting to see what they do next!
See this amazing view http://binged.it/1WjpmIS and http://binged.it/1WjpwzL for the full run.
E-BLN ADDENDA 1244
E-BLN 1244: Guess the location, Members and photographer: Some of the faces have been identified
and sadly, a number of the Members shown here are no longer with us. Any information appreciated
(to the Editor please) and who was the mystery photographer? Needless to say, everyone looks so
much younger (the photographer, in his own words was certainly slimmer and with more 'on top').
Railway Rights of Way Updates]: Thanks to our members Rhys Ab Elis and Jerry Holmes, the latest set
of updates and amendments to our CD 'Railway Rights of Way' is due to be sent out during the first
week on November to all those on the emailing list. For anyone not on the list or who has changed
their email address, it and previous updates can be obtained from [email protected]
by email. Information on changes and additions for future amendments are also welcome to Jerry at
this email address or by post to Rhys at 'Mynydd Mawr,' 14 Rhes-Y-Twnnel, Casnewydd, Gwent, NP20
4BT. Copies of the CD are available at £10 post free from sales officer Mark Gomm, as below. It is a
reference list by UK County of walkable 'track paths' with map references of locations, previous
owners, dates and other useful information. Sections can be copied, 'pasted' and printed as required.
Payment can be made by cheque payable to the Branch line Society (not 'BLS') or CPA. Alternatively,
cards and cash can be accepted on our forthcoming railtours and at the York AGM sales stands.
http://goo.gl/WUKzsl - A geographical map of Nottingham NET on a street plan background.
http://goo.gl/ViBR74 - Pictures and information about unusual stations on the network.
[BLN 1244 ADDENDA -cont.]
Nostalgia Corner: A BR Parcels DMU at Manchester Piccadilly P10 in the 1970s (Ian Mortimer).
Geoff Plumb's Railway Photos: http://plumbloco.smugmug.com/ Some of the very many pictures
taken over the years by our BLS Official Photographer. The (current) latest additions include some
particularly interesting ones taken on a footplate trip to the new Oxford Parkway station.
STOP PRESS Signal Box Visits: With thanks to our member John Cowburn, arrangements have kindly
been made to visit Leamington Spa, Banbury North and South signal boxes on Saturday 5 December.
Starting 10.15 this will be in rotating small groups allowing as long as possible in each box. A charity
donation will apply and train travel between the two locations is being encouraged. BLS Members only
at this stage. Notifications and queries to Nick Garnham [email protected] (preferred)
or post (with SAE, two if an acknowledgement is required) to 82 Baron Court, PETERBOROUGH, PE4
7ZF. NB please specify if you would prefer to start at Leamington or Banbury or if no preference.
Advise if you have an orange high-viz vest, any spare and how many, or if you need to borrow one.
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected]. 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected].
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected]. Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected].
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected].
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected]. 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected].
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected].
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected].
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected].
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected].
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected].
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected].
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected].
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected].
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected]. 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected]
or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947