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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-25 01:46:55


6th August 2016

Issue Number 1262 (Items 1474 - 1581 & MR 138 - MR 147) (E-BLN 55 PAGES) 6 August 2016


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 1263 is dated 20 August, all contSroicbiuettyio. ns must be received by 10 August.

Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
Sat 13/8/16 Wycombe Wanderer
Tracker railtour 1259 JE OPEN

Sat 20/8/16 Signal Box Visits, Harrogate - York ASK ABOUT A REPEAT 1260 NG Enquire

Sun 21/8/16 Afternoon Mountsorrel railway walk; a branch running day 1260 TG OPEN

Sun 28/8/16 Weston Wharf Railway Near Oswestry; morning railtour 1260 JC OPEN

Mon 29/8/16 A Tale of Two Ports Sunderland & Tyne Port branches 1259 KA OPEN

Sun 4/9/16 Derby RTC, 11.30-14.30 Signet Solutions conducted visit 1259 PS OPEN

Sat 10/9/16 Londonderry to Fintown and Difflin Lake Railways etc 1261 GB OPEN

Sat 10/9/16 Valley Line Tracker (2) Rare track by service trains 1261 DC OPEN

Sun 18/9/16 Fancott Miniature & Summerfield's Bedford MES railways 1262 BD *OPEN*

Fri 23/9/16 Douglas Horse Tramway tour, 11.25-14.00 (see below) 1262 GJ *OPEN*

Fri 30/9/16 13.00 Eastleigh Lakeside & Netley Royal Victoria Railways 1261 JE OPEN

Sun 2/10/16 Apedale Valley Railway 10.30 & 13.00 all line railtours 1261 JC OPEN

Fri 7/10/16 The Cliffe Hopper loco-hauled tour, Crewe (08.35/16.34) to 1262 KA NOW
…*NEW* Cliffe Vale & Rugeley Power station SEE BOOKING FORM

Fri 4/11/16 Epping Ongar Railway 08.30 Very comprehensive tour 1257 DG OPEN

Sat 5/11/16 East Kent Railway/AGM 08.30 Very comprehensive tour 1257 DG OPEN

Sat 5/11/16 Evening presentation by Ian Mortimer with interval buffet 1257 DG OPEN

Sun 6/11/16 Kent & East Sussex Rly 08.30 Extensive railtour 1257 DG OPEN

10-17/11/16 Jordan Hejaz Railway *UPDATE WITH E BLN 1261* 1250 IS OPEN

Mon 26/12/16 Boxing Day 10.00 private 10¼" railway in Worcestershire 1261 PS OPEN

BD-Bill Davis, DC-David Clark, DG-Darren Garnon, GJ-Graeme Jolley, GB-Geoff Blyth, IS-Iain Scotchman,
JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, NG-Nick Garnham, PS-Paul Stewart, TG-Tom Gilby.

1474] BLN 1261: The BLN team would like to apologise for the significantly late arrival of paper BLN
1261, due to a delay in delivery of the stamped addressed envelopes by our courier. We are very
grateful to Ronald Jackson for preparing a duplicate batch and to Alan Welsh for collecting them, also
to our Woking distribution team for an unscheduled dispatch session; all at very short notice. The
resulting 'spare' envelopes will make sure that there is always a batch in hand in future at Woking.

E-BLN was issued normally on Thur 21 Jul; anyone who takes paper BLN can also receive E-BLN free.

[BLN 1262]
1475] Wycombe Wanderer, Sat 13 Aug: There are some minor changes to the itinerary since the one
sent out with e-BLN 1261. The printed version on the day will be updated; the map is unaffected.
Space is available on the train if anyone else would like to participate. 9m 65ch: After Northolt Park
station the tour is now due to take the Down burrowing junction loop under the former GWR route
from Paddington. 77m 15ch: On the return trip from Oxford Parkway to Bicester Village we aim to be

the first tour to traverse the new Bicester MoD Depot run round loop layout. 78m 15ch: Due to the

signalling, the crossover north east of Bicester Village P1 is only available travelling towards Claydon
LNE Jn (not Gavray Jn), but as advertised all the other crossovers to Oxford Parkway are booked.

1476] Bedfordshire Miniatures, Sun 18 Sep: 11.30 All available track at The Fancott Public House,
Britain's only surviving pub railway (7¼" gauge), Fancott, Toddington, LU5 6HT (TL 0225 2784), nearest
station, Harlington. Includes the new station/shed layout, revised following a recent fire; £2 pay on the
day (no party limit). Bar food and real ale available, BLN 1208.p171 has a report of our last visit of 12
Apr 2014, before the fire. 14.00 Summerfields Miniature Railway, Summerfields Barns, Hammer Hill,
MK45 3BH. The Bedford Model Engineering Society's extensive, complex 7¼" gauge railway with a
variety of motive power. All available track tour, maximum party 30. Fare £5 pay on the day includes
tea/coffee and cake. Apply to Bill Davis at [email protected] with email address or by
post (with SAE) to 7 Orlando Close, Hitchin, SG4 9LF.07812 145464. Offers of, or requests for, lifts
(Harlington etc.) or longer distance appreciated, indicating how many you can take and from/to where.

[BLN 1262]
ABOVE, TOP LEFT & RIGHT: The 'broad gauge' traverser moving double deck Tram 18 on 30 July.
MIDDLE LEFT: It is moved to a different road and into the depot. Reading between the lines, it is hoped
that a demonstration of the traverser in operation may be possible during our 23 Sep visit. BOTTOM
MIDDLE RIGHT: A 1hp, automatic fuelling motive power unit 'Douglas' that runs on biofuel, with tram
43 at the end of track on the 'straight' line at Derby Castle on 29 July. (All pictures Jenny Williamson).
ABOVE BOTTOM: As a result of research and questioning of staff, our local sleuths are able to supply
some detail relating to the shed roads. The pillars between doors show traces of where they were
originally numbered, and it is still possible to make out the numbers. The through roads (known as 'live
roads') are numbered, and the others are not. The numbered pillars are consecutive, but between 2
and 3 there is a dead end track! On the picture, numbers have been added to the pillars in black as per
the painted over numbers, and for 'live tracks' on the doors (no numbers were painted on the doors).

1477] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, Fri 23 Sep: TWO PAGES ABOVE: A geographical map and,
available as download with this e-BLN is an A4 page track plan, details of all 51 tramcars that have
worked on the line and the 22 current Trammers (horses). These are thanks to Martyn Brailsford and
John & Jenny Williamson and the 'Friends of Douglas Bay Trams'. Https:// (the dress
rehearsal for 23 Sep? with a well known Society Officer lurking in the background) - Jenny Williamson.

No Built Builder Type as Built Seats Status Notes

1(i) 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon Winter Saloon 16/32 Scrapped, Converted to Double-Decker in 1884

Co, Birkenhead 1900

1(ii) 1913 G.C. Milnes, Voss & Co, Winter Saloon 30 In Service Built with steel chassis. Used for illuminated 'Santa Tram' until

Birkenhead 2015.

2 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon Double- 32/36 Scrapped,
Co, Birkenhead
Decker 1948

3 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon Double- 32/36 Scrapped,
Co, Birkenhead
Decker 1948

4 1882 Starbuck Car & Wagon Double- 32/34 Scrapped,
Co, Birkenhead
Decker 1949

5 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Double- 32/34 Scrapped,
Co, Birkenhead
Decker 1948

6 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Double- 32/34 Scrapped,
Co, Birkenhead
Decker 1949

7 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Ext'd Double- 36/42 Scrapped,

Co, Birkenhead Decker 1924

8 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Ext'd Double- 36/42 Scrapped,

Co, Birkenhead Decker 1949

9 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Open 32 Scrapped,
Co, Birkenhead Toastrack 1952

10 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Open 32/40 Scrapped, Lengthened in 1935
Co, Birkenhead
Toastrack 1983

11 1886 Starbuck Car & Wagon Open 32 Stored at Oldest surviving tramcar bought new for the Tramway.
Co, Birkenhead Toastrack

12 1888 Starbuck Car & Wagon Open 32 In Service Oldest surviving 'in service' tramcar bought new for Tramway.
Co, Birkenhead Toastrack Blue & Cream Livery

13 / 1883 Metropolitan Carriage Double- 42/44 On Display Acquired from South Shields Tramway in 1887.
14(ii) & Wagon Co, Saltley Decker Manx Re-numbered 14 in 1908


14(i) 1883 Metropolitan Carriage Double- 42/44 Scrapped, Acquired from South Shields Tramway in 1887. Damaged beyond
& Wagon Co, Saltley
Decker 1908 repair by rock fall at back of storage depot, 1908.

15 1883 Metropolitan Carriage Double- 42/44 Scrapped, Acquired from South Shields Tramway in 1887.
& Wagon Co, Saltley
Decker 1949

16 1883 Metropolitan Carriage Double- 42/44 Scrapped, Acquired from South Shields Tramway in 1887.
& Wagon Co, Saltley
Decker 1915

17 1883 Metropolitan Carriage Double- 42/28 Scrapped, Acquired from South Shields Tramway in 1887.
& Wagon Co, Saltley
Decker 1917 Converted to single-deck in 1903.

18 1883 Falcon Engine & Car Double- 42/28 In Service As 17 above, but originally built for a proposed Ramsgate &
Works, Loughborough Decker
Margate Horse Tramway. Re-built as double-decker in 1988.
Maroon & Gold 'Okells Falcon Brewery' Livery.

19 1889 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32 Scrapped,
Birkenhead Toastrack 1952

20 1889 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32 Scrapped,
Birkenhead Toastrack 1952

21 1890 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32/40 In Service Lengthened in 1936.
Birkenhead Toastrack

22 1890 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32 On Display Retractable canvas roof blinds fitted in 1908. Fixed canvas pitched
Birkenhead Toastrack Jurby roof fitted in 1920s. Converted to Shop Car in 1978.


23 1891 G.F MIlnes & Co, Open 32 Scrapped, Retractable canvas roof blings fitted in 1908. Fixed canvas pitched
Birkenhead Toastrack 1952 roof fitted in 1920s.

24 1891 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32 Scrapped, Retractable canvas roof blinds fitted in 1910. Fixed canvas pitched
Birkenhead Toastrack 1952 roof fitted in 1920s.

25 1891 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32 Scrapped,
Birkenhead Toastrack 1952

26 1891 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32 Scrapped,
Birkenhead Toastrack 1974

27 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co, Winter Saloon 24/30 In Service Glazed vestibules added by 1895.

28 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co, Winter Saloon 24/30 Stored at Glazed vestibules added by 1895.
Birkenhead Strathallan

29 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co, Winter Saloon 24/30 Stored at Glazed vestibules added by 1895.
Birkenhead Strathallan

30 1894 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32 Scrapped,
Birkenhead Toastrack 1952

31 1894 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32 Scrapped, Used as an Advertising & Training Car from 1977.
Birkenhead Toastrack 1987

32 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co, Sunshade 32 In Service Fitted with Glazed End Panels in 1967.

33 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co, Sunshade 32 Stored at Fitted with Glazed End Panels in 1968.
Birkenhead Strathallan

34 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co, Sunshade 32 Stored at Fitted with Glazed End Panels in 1967.
Birkenhead Strathallan

35 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co, Sunshade 32 Stored at Fitted with Glazed End Panels in 1968.
Birkenhead Home of


36 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co, Sunshade 32/40 In Service Fitted with Glazed End Panels and lengthened in 1908.

37 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co, Sunshade 32 Stored at Fitted with Glazed End Panels in 1968.
Birkenhead Strathallan

38 1902 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32/40 Stored at Lengthened in 1937.
Toastrack Strathallan

39 1902 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32/40 Stored at Lengthened in 1934.
Toastrack Strathallan

40 1902 G.F. Milnes & Co, Open 32/40 In Service Lengthened in 1939.
Birkenhead Toastrack

41 1905 G.C. Milnes, Voss & Co, Open 32/40 Scrapped, Lengthened in 1934.

Birkenhead Toastrack 1988

42 1905 G.C. Milnes, Voss & Co, Open 32/40 In Service Lengthened in 1938.

Birkenhead Toastrack

43 1907 United Electric Car Co, Bulkhead 40 In Service Originally fitted with canvas side blinds.
Bulkhead 40 In Service Originally fitted with canvas side blinds.
44 1907 United Electric Car Co, Bulkhead 'Royal Tram' since 1963. Red, Blue & White Livery.
40 In Service Originally fitted with canvas side blinds.
45 1908 G.C. Milnes, Voss & Co,
Birkenhead Bulkhead 40 Scrapped, Originally fitted with canvas side blinds. Displayed in Birkenhead

46 1909 G.C. Milnes, Voss & Co, 2001 from 1990.
Bulkhead 40 Stored at Originally fitted with canvas side blinds.
47 1911 G.C. Milnes, Voss & Co, Jurby Built with steel chassis.
48 1935 Vulcan Motor & Eng.
Co, Southport Convertible 27/34 Scrapped, Built with steel chassis & removable all-weather side screens.

49 1935 Vulcan Motor & Eng. 'Tomato Box' 1982
Co, Southport
Convertible 27/34 Stored at Built with steel chassis & removable all-weather side screens.
50 1935 Vulcan Motor & Eng.
Co, Southport 'Tomato Box' Private Site Owned & stored on island by Three Foot Gauge Society.

Convertible 27/34 Scrapped, Built with steel chassis & removable all-weather side screens.

'Tomato Box' 1982

[BLN 1262]

(ABOVE: Scenes at Derby Castle terminus and Tram Depot).

Also thanks to John and Jenny, bookings are now open for a BLS
charter to cover as much of the existing layout as is practicable on the
day including depot lines which have not been made available to us on
previous BLS visits. Note that the Sea Terminal to War Memorial (Villa
Marina above) route will be covered which will not operate in 2017
and 2018 and it is now hoped will re-open in 2019 over an entirely new

alignment. Derby Castle (provisionally 11.25) allowing bus connection
from flights arriving by 10.00 with a finish to permit departure as early
as the 15.00 boat to Liverpool or check in for planes taking off from
Ronaldsway after 16.30.

. Additional visit: . A reduced group rate admission of £4 per head

(pay on the day) is available for participants to the 'South Quay Halt'
Model Railway Exhibition. Only opened in late June this year as a
permanent model railway exhibition based in units on South Quay at
Douglas Harbour. It has 16 layouts of various gauges including riding an
'electric sit on railway' (with potential for participants to have a 'trip
out' - a very positive experience). Main tram tour: Members £25, non-
members £30. Cheques/CPAs 'Branch Line Society' with e-mail address
or SAE (two for an acknowledgement) to Graeme Jolley, per back page.
Example day trips (must be checked and are at participants' own risk,
judgment, insurance etc; some airlines are more reliable or more prone
to re-scheduling than others.)

BY BOAT: 02.15 Heysham - Douglas 05.45 19.00 Douglas - Heysham 22.30
FLIGHTS: 02.15 Heysham - Douglas 05.45 15.00 Douglas - Liverpool 17.45
08.15 Belfast - IOM 08.50 18.00 IOM - Belfast (CityWing) 18.40
08.55 Dublin - IOM 09.45 17.35 IOM - Dublin (AerLingus) 18.20
08.35 Liverpool - IOM 09.20 18.50 IOM - Liverpool (Flybe) 19.35
08.05 London Gatwick - IOM 09.20 20.45 IOM - London Gatwick (EasyJet) 22.00
08.40 Manchester - IOM 09.30 18.35 IOM - Manchester (Aer Arann) 19.30

More choice of sailings, flights and UK departure airports is available
for those staying on the IOM for longer than just one day. Connecting
buses (Routes 1, 1H & 2) and rail timetables via

01624 662525. Note: The Horse Tramway, the IOM Steam, Manx

[BLN 1262]
Electric and Snaefell Mountain Railways will all be operating around the time of our visit. The Great
Laxey Mine Railway runs 11.30-16.30 on Sat 24 Sep and the Groudle Glen Railway 11.00-16.30 on Sun
25 Sep. Jurby Transport Museum is open 10.00-16.00 on 24th & 25th. The half-mile Manx Steam &
Model Engineering Club 5"/7¼" Orchid Line runs (weather permitting) on Sun 25 at Curraghs Wildlife
Park, Ballaugh IM7 5EA (SC367943). The IOM has a good modern bus service to most parts of the
island without a car AND…...

1478] IOM 'Rovers': Https:// the best way to travel around the Island is by purchasing
a Go Explore card (the card is £2 then can be reloaded) valid for 1 (£16 adult), 3 (£32), 5 (£39) or 7
(£47) consecutive days. Unlimited travel on scheduled services of the Steam Railway, Manx Electric
Railway, Snaefell Mountain Railway and Douglas Horse Trams when operating plus Bus Vannin
services (half fare on Night Owl buses). Family and child versions are available and a 5-day Go Explore
Heritage card (adult £55) with the travel and admission to all Manx National Heritage attractions. Buy
the cards (no photo required) from Douglas Sea Terminal 'Welcome Centre', the airport information
desk, main stations or online. One-day paper tickets can be purchased on buses trains and trams

1479] The Cliffe Hopper, Fri 7 Oct: Help a little girl to be able to walk for the first time (see booking
form). Details should be enclosed of this unrepeatable loco-hauled mainline railtour from Crewe
(08.35/16.34) and Stoke-on-Trent (09.07/ 16.06) all in daylight. E-BLN subscribers need to print the
booking page please. The tour has to be in the week to include the 1½-mile long Rugeley Power
Station branch because there are no staff there at weekends. After the plant closed on 8 June, this line
is being temporarily retained to stable 'Chase line' electrification trains then will close. The only
previous tour was our 6 Jul 1991 'Donnington Farewell'. Thanks to Kev Adlam (who has made five
personal visits to the power station regarding the tour), our Cliffe Hopper is taking different routes in
and out, as well as to the end of line. It will be only the second passenger train to visit the Cliffe Vale
branch at Stoke and the Dudley Reversing Facility at Walsall Pleck Jn. The tour is the first booked over
the extended (August 2015) Stafford Up & Down Goods past the Royal Mail Terminal and the Norton
Bridge East Chord (including the new crossovers each end). A track plan thanks to Martyn Brailsford…

[BLN 1262] ABOVE: 1,050mm gauge Hedjaz Jordan Railway Nippon 4-6-2 No81 (No1609 of 1953?) at
the head of a goods train starting from a wayside station, thought to be Jurf al Darawish, north of
Ma'an with a northbound working to Amman. (Derek Plumb, June 1972, with thanks to Geoff Plumb)

.1480] Jordan Railtour, 10-15 Nov 2016: (BLN 1250.217 with map)Update 30 July: the booking form.

.with further details is now available as a download with this e-BLN; anyone wanting to book please.

.do so as soon as possible to ensure the tour is viable. There will be plenty of well known faces with.

.help and guidance for first time visitors to this fascinating country and railway. .

BELOW: Also from the Geoff Plumb Collection of original slides. Hedjaz Jordan Railway No53 (Jung
1955) oil-fired 2-8-2 on shed at Amman Loco Depot, Jordan, behind one of the 2-6-2Ts. The engines
saw occasional use at this time; the depot is now a museum! Summer 1972, Photo Derek Plumb.

1481]: Harlech (excl) - Pwllheli (incl): (BLN 1217.1355) The first scheduled (as opposed to special - 'Z'
headcode) passenger train was on the evening of Sun 31 Aug 2014 (after TCP since 3 Nov 2013 due to
damage to the old Pont Briwet viaduct). An eyewitness on the 16.07 Birmingham International to
Harlech service, reports that en route it was announced that the train would be extended to Pwllheli
carrying passengers (as opposed to running ECS). At Harlech it became the 21.18 to Pwllheli (running
as 2J23) arriving 21.02 so he was able to complete his journey by train (much quicker than the rail
replacement bus which also ran). The DMU stabled overnight in the platform (as normally booked) to
form the 06.29 departure on 1 Sep the first day of full normal public service. On 30 Aug 2014 (BLN
1216.1295) a special passenger train 2Z35, 09.34 Pwllheli to Harlech (arr 10.19) ran returning as the
10.28 to Pwllheli (arr 11.12) and back again at 11.30. 2016 UPDATE: It has emerged that fare-paying
passengers were carried on this train. Note that it did not rain on Sun 31 Aug.
BELOW: The plaque that was unveiled on the 'official' opening day. (Stephen Atkinson)

1482] Talsarnau - Penrhyndeudraeth & Llandecwyn (new) station: Amending (BLN 1217.1356) the
new Pont Briwet concrete viaduct, resited Llandecwyn station and associated re-alignment between
115m 40ch and 116m 22ch, OP Sat 30 Aug 2014 rather than Sun 31 Aug 2014 - see previous item.
1483] Stainmore Railway Company, Kirkby Stephen East, Eden Valley Railway bridge No3 west - east:
(BLN 1167.959) OP 19 Jun 2016 a 1ch east extension (increasing the length of the passenger run by 5%)
after repairs to the River Eden bridge see MR139. Operating days (10.30-16.30): 6 & 7, 14*, 21*, 27 &
28 Aug 2016 steam except *. [CP 22 Jan 1962, CG 1 Nov 1975 Merrygill Quarry stone; CA 26 Jun 1976.]
BELOW: OS One-Inch Map 7th Series 1950-55. Kirkby Stephen West is the current Settle & Carlisle line
station. The single track off lower middle left was to Tebay on the WCML. The one heading north (top
middle) went to Warcop (now the Eden Valley Railway there), Appleby East and Penrith. The double
track line top right was via 'Stainmore' to Barnard Castle and Darlington. Note Merrygill Quarry
(Hartley) which sent out stone by rail until 1975. The Stainmore Railway Company operates from the
well restored Kirkby Stephen East station east to the end of the River Eden bridge - well worth a visit.

[BLN 1262]

1484] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered

BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]

1261.1386 Sat 30 Jul Sun 7 Aug *Highbury & Islington, East London Line service - (Shadwell)

1252.444 Sat 30 Jul Sun 7 Aug (Bicester North)/(Oxford); Oxford from 3 Aug–(Leamington)

1256.886 Wed 3 Aug Sun 7 Aug (Hanborough) - Oxford; Oxford station is TCP for 5 days

1254.653 Sun 20 Mar Sun 7 Aug Glasgow Queen St - (Cowlairs West Jn) / (Sighthill West Jn)

1259.1190 Sat 6 Aug Wed 10 Aug (Droitwich Spa) - (Worcester Shrub Hill) direct route

1259.1192 Sat 6 Aug Wed 10 Aug (Galton Jn) - (Smethwick Jn)

1256.884 Sat 30 Jul Sun 14 Aug (Didcot)-(Oxford); from 3 Aug Oxford; from 8 Aug (Oxford)

1256.882 Sat 2 Jul Mid-Aug? *SPT Glasgow Subway (complete closure)

1258.1068 Sun 26 Jun Mon 29 Aug Metrolink, (Deansgate-Castlefield) - The Delta West/North

1258.1070 Sun 26 Jun Mon 29 Aug *Metrolink, MediaCityUK (excl after 1 Aug) - Eccles

1258.1072 Sat 27 Aug Thur 1 Sep Cannon Street - (Borough Market Jn)

1258.1072 Sat 27 Aug Thur 1 Sep (North Kent East Jn) - (Charlton Jn) via Greenwich

1255.783 Mon 12 Sep Fri 21 Oct (Filton Abbey Wood/Bristol Parkway) - (Severn Tunnel Jn)

1261.1388 Sun 11 Sep Sun 23 Oct *(Kettering North Jn) - (Manton Jn)

1255.784 Thu 3 Nov? Tue 22 Nov? (Antrim) - Londonderry and Coleraine - Portrush branch

1198.1659 15 Feb 2013 12 Dec 2016 (Oxford Parkway) - (Oxford) with new timetable

1248.79 24 Dec 2015 Autumn 2016 *(Folkestone Central) - (Dover Priory)

1261.1389 Sat 24 Dec Thur 29 Dec *London Paddington - (Slough)

1261.1390 Sat 24 Dec Tue 3 Jan * (Liverpool Street) - (Ingatestone) & Shenfield - (Billericay)

1257.979 Sat 7 May Feb 2017 Tottenham: South Jn - East Jn & West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn

1253.554/5 Sat 4 Jun Feb 2017 (Barking) - (South Tottenham) (Gospel Oak) from 24 Sep

1237.1360 28 Jun 2015 Early 2017? Third side of the triangle avoiding MediaCityUK

1251.334 9 Feb 2016 March 2017 (Carlisle) - (Armathwaite); to end March 2017 (provisional)

1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work

1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn

[BLN 1262]
1485] Selby Distribution Centre, Potter Logistics freight terminal; former Sugar Factory (29m 76ch):
Intermodal rail traffic has ceased; from 11 July the Felixstowe North terminal intermodal train has run
to Rotherham Masborough terminal instead. Inward aggregate traffic from Tunstead remains and
cement wagons for repair. The only known mainline railtour was our 'Trent Explorer' of 23 Apr 2011.

1486] Dumfries (incl) - Gretna Jn and Annan & Gretna Green stations: TCP/TCA 16 to 19 Jul 2016
(incl) for planned engineering work. See also next item.

1487] Dumfries (excl) - Kilmarnock (excl) and 4 intermediate stations: TCP/TCA 16 - 26 Jul 2016 (incl);
planned engineering work. The Greenburn branch (BLN 1255.767) which was dispatching coal trains
and New Cumnock, Crowbandsgate Disposal Point (also for open cast coal but no recent traffic) TCG.

1488] Mauchline Jn - Annbank Jn: TCG/TCA 16 - 26 Jul 2016 (incl) as a result of the previous item.

1489] Stirling (excl) - Alloa (incl): TCP/TCA 16 - 24 Jul 2016 (incl) for track and signalling work.

1490] Yarnfield Jn - Norton Bridge East Chord - Norton Bridge Jn: OP Fri 29 Jul 2016 with the 06.52
London Midland service from Crewe to Euston via Stoke-on-Trent. This reversible single-track line is
generally booked to be used southbound by LM services from Crewe via Stoke-on-Trent to Stafford P1
and then to the Trent Valley Line. Northbound (including the Down Fast to Up Fast crossover at Norton
Bridge Jn and the Up Norton Bridge to Down Norton Bridge Yarnfield Jn crossover) see 'Unusual Track'.

LEFT: '1U20' the 06.52 LM
Crewe to Euston via Stoke
and the Trent Valley line;
the first passenger train
to use the Norton Bridge
East Chord, 29 July (NR).

X.110] London Underground, Paddington P3 & P4 (Bakerloo line): ROP 1 Aug 2016 as planned after
TCP 2 Apr to construct a 165m passenger interchange tunnel connecting with the new Crossrail
platforms and life extension work on the Bakerloo escalators (replacing most of their components).

1491] Metrolink, Cornbrook (excl) - MediaCityUK (incl) & five intermediate stops: (BLN 1258.1071)
ROP 1 Aug after TCP 26 Jun 2016 (replacing rails). The rest of the Eccles branch remains TCP to 29 Aug.

1492] Cowlairs West Jn - Sighthill West Jn: CP after (diverted) service concluded on Sat 6 Aug 2016.

1493] Anniesland, Knightswood South Jn - Dawsholm Jn: CP after (diverted) service Sat 6 Aug 2016.

1494] Glasgow Queen Street (high level) - Cowlairs West Jn: (BLN 1254.653) ROP Sun 7 Aug after TCP
20 Mar 2016 for platform lengthening, layout remodelling, and replacement of tunnel concrete slab
track. This was a day earlier than planned for services to Anniesland (bay P3), Stirling/Dunblane/Alloa,
Edinburgh via Falkirk High and Oban/Fort William/Mallaig. Other services resumed on Mon 8 Aug. The
possession (also Cowlairs South Jn - Sighthill West Jn, 'Cowlairs Chord' below) ended 05.00 Sat 6 Aug.

1495] Cowlairs South Jn - Sighthill West Jn: ROP Mon 7 Aug (TCP 20 Mar 2016 with Queen St closure
above) as planned; Glasgow Queen Street high level to Falkirk Grahamston via Cumbernauld trains.

1496] Coatbridge Jn - Langloan Jn: CP after (diverted) service Sun 7 Aug (ROP since 20 Mar 2016).

1497] Strathclyde Passenger Transport, Glasgow Subway* (15 stations): (BLN 1256.882) TCP is now
extended and expected from 2 Jul to about 15 (was 1st) Aug 2016 (incl), due to problems removing the
old concrete and flooding from heavy rainfall. [*Referred to as 'Subway' rather than 'Underground'.]

1498] Pilning* station: On Sat 10 Sep 2016, the final Down train, the 15.41(SO) to Cardiff Central
(14.07 ex-Taunton) calls; see SW regional section. [*Pilning High Level from 9 Jul 1928 to 6 May 1968.]

ABOVE: Pilning station 2013; the Down platform is on the right. © Copyright Nigel Thompson licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

BLN 1262.1499] London, Liverpool Street (excl) - Ingatestone (excl) & Shenfield (incl) - Billericay
(excl): Amends (BLN 1261.1390): TCP is due 24 Dec to 2 Jan 2017 (incl) for Crossrail work at Shenfield.

1500] Unusual Track: Expected but should be re-checked etc.
 Midland Metro, St Paul's X/O: 6, 7 & 14 Aug all trams to W'hampton (SLW to/from Snow Hill).
 Foxfield Railway, Caverswall Road station: During 16 & 17 Jul Gala unusually both platforms
were in use. A 3-coach Mk1 rake departed from the northern of the two platforms, the rear
coach from completely inside the museum shed. This can be expected again on 24 & 25 Sep.
 Tyseley South trailing X/O (125m 50ch): 30/31 Jul & 7 Aug: All Down trains from Solihull run on
Up line all day (single line working north of Solihull due to track remodelling and replacement at
Dorridge). This crossover was used in the other direction by the 'London Midland Farewell 150'
railtour on 12 Nov 2011 on leaving Tyseley depot heading to Leamington Spa.
 Oxford Parkway P1: (SSux) 06.55 ex-Bicester Village & 10.05* ex-Marylebone; 07.28 & 11.13*
to Marylebone (also Bicester P1). *The 11.04 Banbury Road-Acton Yard freight reverses in P2.
 Norton Bridge East Chord northbound (& new X/O each end): Sat 27 Aug, 18.47 Bournemouth
& 22.31 Birmingham New St to Manchester Piccadilly. Sun 28 Aug, 09.12 Reading, 10.01 New
Street & 18.47 Bournemouth all to Manchester Piccadilly and 09.40 Northampton to Crewe.
 Ketton trailing X/O (6m 60ch): Sun 28 Aug & 4 Sep: Stamford, SLW on 'Up', all west departures.
 Glasgow, Hyndland North - West Jns, Sun 29 Oct: SRPS, Polmont, Falkirk High, Anniesland and
Dumbarton Central to Fort William and return steam. (NB: check; could run Queen Street LL).

1501] FIXTURES REPORTS, Glaschu* Service Train Tracker, Fri 10 Jun: At 04.45 on a damp and dull day
in the Pond Hotel Anniesland, my alarm went off, for a leisurely walk to the station, arriving just after
05.35 in plenty of time for the 05.58 to Falkirk Grahamston. Our party started to assemble; 12 keen
members doing the full day. 156501 arrived gingerly into bay P3 (ECS from Eastfield), with dust coming
from the wheelsets. The driver was on the phone, and the doors stayed shut. The headlights /marker
lights remained on. Something was amiss! The engines died, lights went out including the front ones,
and the AWS warning went off, before the engines restarted, suggesting a MCB (circuit breaker) re-set.
Red taillights lit we were allowed to board and the train finally left only 1 minute late.

[BLN 1262]
The first highlight was the rare Down to Up Springburn facing crossover (0m 04ch), just after Cowlairs
West Jn, arriving at Springburn P1; this train being its only booked passenger working. This happened
during the Glasgow Queen Street diversions (only) as Springburn P2 was then occupied by a reversing
EMU from Cumbernauld to Dumbarton. On departure, it was a right turn to Stepps arriving a few
minutes early. The group set off walking [what else from Stepps? - Ed] to try to find some coffee, and
discovered a Bannatyne gym that was open. Retracing our 'Stepps' back to the station, it was on to the
06.58 Cumbernauld to Dumbarton Central, departing 07.10 to arrive back at Springburn P2 a minute
late at 07.16. Some of the group found a nice little shop doing bacon cobs (let us not get into that
debate here!) and a coffee, for the substantial amount of £2.20! At this point, I would personally like
to thank Ian Delgado, for doing all the hard work sorting out the day's itinerary. I am sure that goes for
all the people on the day's little venture. While in 'thanking mode', I would like to mention Martyn
Brailsford for producing the excellent maps and Jim Sellens for his superb souvenir tickets.

Back at Springburn P1, it was 334014 on the 08.17 to Glasgow Queen St LL (07.59 Cumbernauld to
Dumbarton Central). This ran 'bang road' to just before Barnhill and then used the new crossover just
before the station to the Down Springburn. At Queen Street LL, there was just under 30 minutes to
transfer to P9. By departure time, all the participants had arrived. 170419 and 170477 rolled in with
the 09.01 Queen St LL to Edinburgh, which returned to Springburn, and at Cowlairs West Jn regained
its normal route. Croy was reached a minute early giving 8 minutes to cross to the other platform.
DMUs 170402 and 170429 arrived with the 09.28 back to Queen Street LL, (08.46 from Edinburgh),
following its booked route to Cowlairs East Jn and the single line Up & Down East Curve to Cowlairs
North Jn. At Maryhill Park Jn the train took the line towards Anniesland P3, but at Dawsholm Jn,
veered right on to the new link line (longer than anyone had expected and able to hold a 6-car DMU)
joining the Up Singer at Knightswood South Jn.

Back at Queen St there was 24 minutes before the train to Helensburgh Upper, hopefully through the
West Highland loop. 156496 arrived on the 10.22 to Oban. This made a long rather slow anticlockwise
circuit three-quarters the way round the Glasgow suburbs through Springburn (again!) to Cowlairs
West Jn then straight across the Up West Curve to Cowlairs North Jn. This time at Maryhill Park Jn it
was straight on to Knightswood North Jn joining the Down Singer. Unfortunately 6 minutes was lost at
Dalmuir and, you guessed it, the train was held at Craigendoran Jn for the southbound service, so did
not need to use the loop! This turned out to be the only failure of the day. Helensburgh Upper arrival
at 11.27 gave 26 minutes to walk the 1,200yd down the road to Helensburgh Central where P2 and P3
were in use but P1 showed very little evidence of recent use despite what on line systems show. The
group arrived at the terminus in time to catch the 11.53 EMU for Edinburgh to Dumbarton Central.

Here P3 came into regular use for EMUs turning back from Cumbernauld/Springburn at the start of the
diversions, this continues long term after they finish although the track west out of P3 was very rusty.
The 12.26 was caught from P3 to Springburn, (over the once rare trailing crossover east of the station)
as far as Partick. It was decided to go off plan and include the Glasgow Subway, ('Clockwork Orange').
A few even tried for all available haulages on the outer loop by alighting at each station and had
achieved this by St Georges Cross. At Buchanan Street the ScotRail operated bus was taken to Central
(free for rail ticket holders). It was late and participants were becoming a bit agitated as there was only
10 minutes to reach Central P5. There a party went ahead to warn the guard that a little time was
needed and top marks to the guard who tried to find seats on the packed service even though they
were at the front of the train. This was 170413, the 14.16 Glasgow Central to Inverness via
Rutherglen, Langloan Jn, Coatbridge Jn, and Cumbernauld. Arrival at Stirling was 4 minutes early,
(recovery time wisely built in to the temporary timetables!). The group crossed to P3 to return. It was
here that I learned that my last required 170, 170453 would be on the 19.10 to Aberdeen, but more of
this later. Then, 45 minutes later and 3 minutes late, participants were aboard 170405 on the 13.38
Aberdeen to Glasgow Central reached at 16.40 (6 down) via the reverse of the outward route.

[BLN 1262]
There was a leisurely 42 minutes to re-cross the city to Queen Street LL, on the free bus but this time
the other one working the service (what else would we expect?). The Queen Street HL remodelling and
platform lengthening work was seen through a special viewing window. Next from P8 was the 17.22 to
Dunblane with 170459. This ran to Anniesland, then took the new facing crossover for the new link to
Maryhill Park Jn, followed by Cowlairs North to East Jn; participants alighted at Bishopbriggs station.
Thankfully, arrival was 5 minutes early, giving 11 minutes to change platforms. An ex-Porterbrook
Leasing 'spot hire' set, 170393 was on the 17.23 ex-Stirling via Cowlairs East to West Jns, Springburn
and Bellgrove Jn, to Queen Street P8. This completed both inner and outer 'Balloon loops' used during
the engineering work and concluded the day's 'little outing'. I said my farewells, and met up with the
'better half' in a nearby Wetherspoons. She had agreed to join me for a trip on the 19.10 Central to
Aberdeen to Stirling for 170453. Return was on 170473 (17.30 Inverness to Glasgow Central), arriving
at 21.08. After treating my good Lady to a meal at 'Spoons' (I know how to give a Lady a good time), it
only left 320314 to return us to Anniesland and our digs, on the 22.22 Motherwell to Dalmuir. Some of
the participants were off early to Leadhills next morning for our Society visit (report: BLN 1260.1287).
*For budding linguists, 'Glaschu', Gaelic for Glasgow, means 'place of the green hollow' or 'dear green
place' derived from the Brythonic words 'glas' meaning 'green' and 'cau' meaning 'hollow'.

ABOVE: The 3D 'Easyfit Technology' includes a 'Pacer' but not overhead electrification! (Kev Adlam)

FROM: Turbo Prop tracker, Sat 2 Jul 2016 (mileages by Jim Sellens) TO: MILES

Manchester Airport P4 Warrington Central P1 26m 47ch

Warrington Central P1 Warrington Carriage Siding EOL 0m 44ch

Warrington Carriage Siding EOL Warrington Central Plat 2 0m 44ch

Warrington Central P2 Manchester Oxford Road P5 15m 64ch

Manchester Oxford Road P5 Trafford Park Turnback Siding 2m 25ch

Trafford Park Turnback Siding Manchester Oxford Road P1 2m 25ch

Manchester Oxford Road P1 Eccles Up Goods Loop 3m 68ch

Eccles Up Goods Loop Guide Bridge North Jn (site) Up line 11m 70ch

Guide Bridge North Jn (site), Up line Manchester Piccadilly P4 5m 37ch

Manchester Piccadilly P4 Manchester Airport P4 10m 20ch

FROM: Class 170 Farewell Tracker, Sun 3 Jul 2016 (mileages by Jim Sellens) TO: MILES

Manchester Airport P4 Manchester Piccadilly P1 10m 20ch
31m 34ch
Manchester Piccadilly P1 Buxton Up Relief Sidings Run Round Line 110m 3ch
0m 29ch
Buxton Up Relief Sidings Run Round Line Cleethorpes P3 0m 33ch
0m 24ch
Cleethorpes P3 (TRIP 1) Carriage Wash Line 0m 20ch
0m 20ch
Carriage Wash Line Cleethorpes P4 0m 24ch
0m 33ch
Cleethorpes P4 Fuel Point Line 0m 29ch
113m 10ch
Fuel Point Line Cleethorpes P3

Cleethorpes P3 (TRIP 2) Fuel Point Line

Fuel Point Line Cleethorpes P4

Cleethorpes P4 Carriage Wash Line

Carriage Wash Line Cleethorpes P3

Cleethorpes P3 Manchester Piccadilly P5

BLN 1262.1502] Class 170 Farewell Tracker Sun
3 Jul: This was our fifth charter with TPE; these

railtours have now raised a total of £115,000. A
slightly smaller group of non-'normal' passengers
re-assembled on Manchester Airport P4 where
the stock had stabled overnight following the
previous evening's trip (BLN 1261.1394). An
extra unit was added to give all three remaining

available TPE class 170 DMUs, an impressive 6-
car train. Some may have been heading west to
America, but tour participants were going the
opposite way to the far east (of England's) exotic
destination of......Cleethorpes (yet again!). The train left slightly early for an uneventful run to
Manchester Piccadilly P1, where most participants boarded. Plentiful supplies of food and drink were
also loaded. Again slightly early it was off towards Sheffield along the ex-Woodhead route to Guide

Bridge. At Guide Bridge East Jn the Up & Down Passenger Loop was taken, past the former Dewsnap
Sidings. Then through Hyde and Romiley to New Mills Central, in a very cramped position by the River
Goyt. At New Mills South Jn, with its Midland Railway (MR) signal box, the route was through the Up
Goods Loop before a final passenger pick up at Chinley, now just a single very wide island platform.

At Chinley North Jn, the train turned right continuing on to the MR's onetime main line to St Pancras.
This was unfamiliar territory for Class 170 units (with thanks to our GBRf driver conductor). Passing

through dramatic Peak District scenery, Peak Forest and Great Rocks quarries were reached. Several
locomotives were stabled and some industrial shunters were working on a Sunday morning. Leaving

[BLN 1262]
the former main line it was sharp right at the former Peak Forest Jn to the site of Buxton Jn through
more superb scenery, at its best on this lovely long sunny summer day. The stunning 8½ mile Monsal
Trail cannot be recommended too highly here, along the trackbed and through the (lit) tunnels from
the site of Millers Dale Jn (once the third point of the triangle here) east to just beyond Bakewell.

Buxton was soon reached, but not the station. Amending (BLN 1261.1414), our TPE Class 170 Farewell
reversed on the 'Engine Run Round Line' believed to be its first passenger train; at Buxton XYZ sidings
(X and Y being long disused). No one on board knew the origin of the 'XYZ' name. Can anyone assist?
NR's Sectional Appendix (28 May 2016) now designates 'Road Z' on which loco-hauled freight trains
(running between Dowlow/Hindlow and Peak Forest) reverse to run round as the 'Single Line Access
Road' with the 'Engine Run round Road' to the east. The other two overgrown sidings to the west are
'Holding Siding' in the middle (formerly 'Y') and the 'Buxton Down Train & Snowplough' line (was 'X').

Then it was back through Peak Forest Down & Up through Sidings to Chinley South Jn, turning right to
Chinley East Jn. The tour was now on the Hope Valley line with more beautiful Derbyshire scenery
(apart from Cowburn and Totley Tunnels!), before the single line at Dore. Here a wait for a Down train
as Dore West Jn to Dore Station Jn was singled by BR when traffic was declining (to save on pointwork
and the cost of a new footbridge at the station) but this is now a significant bottleneck planned to be
re-doubled as part of the 'Northern Hub' project.

It was all downhill to Sheffield, reaching an extensive area totally 'unspoiled by tourism' and the Down
Passenger Loop, to run through Up Station Siding No2 (one of the centre roads between P5 and 6).
The south end of this was a nice red mark on the map for most on board. Continuing through a gloomy
cutting and passing under the former 1,500V DC electrified Great Central Woodhead route, the train
emerged to pass the closed Attercliffe Road station. Beyond at Mill Race Jn it crossed over to the bi-
directional Up & Down Goods, then back out onto the main line to pass another closed station,
Brightside (not very bright either) followed by the 'money-extractor' (Meadowhall shopping centre).

A third closed station, Rotherham Masborough, is now little more than bare platforms. At Aldwarke
Jn the Roundwood Chord was taken and then Kilnhurst Up Goods Loop. One member commented
that he had traversed the loop more times than the main line. Mexborough soon followed, then
Cadeby Up Goods Loop. At Hexthorpe Jn it was right, then right again on to the Up Sheffield Goods
between Hexthorpe Sidings on the left and GBRf's Roberts Road Depot with its brand new Class 66/7s
on the right. Our beloved FS apologised for this 'mis-routeing', but no one was fooled! Passing the site
of the 'Hexthorpe Hole' it was onto Doncaster Two Way Goods No2 around the station. Was this the
first passenger train from Sheffield to Doncaster not passing through a platform line at either station?

North of Doncaster, the Cleethorpes line diverges to the right. However, this is the BLS, so the tour
went left. At Carcroft Jn, the sharp curve round to Skellow Jn was taken, then past the new Doncaster
North Chord on the left (now the principal route) noting the slower new realignment of the line we
were on. Thorpe Marsh Power Station (open 1959 to 1994) on the right has all but disappeared.

At Hatfield & Stainforth, the Up Slow was taken past the former Hatfield Main Colliery which was
being demolished, to join the Up Fast intermediately at 7m 16ch just beyond Stainforth East Ground
Frame. Our ever-resourceful FS had to resort to showing an aerial photo to have this very rare move
included! After crossing Keadby Bridge, (a fully operational sliding bridge which includes a public
footpath) over the Stainforth & Keadby Canal and King George V Bridge over the River Trent, it was
into Gunhouse Loop. This was unexpected by most on board. A short stop at that favourite haunt of
BLS industrial railway fans (especially one from Hull), Scunthorpe - no sign of tourism here either - saw
the tour proceed onto the Up Scunthorpe Goods, on the Up side, but then taking three crossovers to
continue over the Up Scunthorpe Goods on the Down side! Regaining the Up Main, Appleby (not the
Cumbrian one) was passed before crossing to the Down side again at Wrawby Jn on to the Down
Cleethorpes Goods. All the semaphore signals went at Christmas, replaced by plastic 'Airfix' type LEDs.

[BLN 1262] ABOVE: Cleethorpes Carriage Wash Siding end of line (second trip); 15.37 Sun 3 July, looking
to the station with the Grimsby line on the right. (Picture by train driver on behalf of Geoff Plumb.)

After a fast run to just short of Grimsby the facing crossover was taken through P2, an unusual move.
Then it was the single line and through the Up/Down Passenger Loop now with no booked passenger
use; the previous one train a week was very 'hit and miss'. For many it was the third traversal of this
loop in recent months (and one participant admitted he still needed the 'normal' route!). Arrival at
Cleethorpes P3 was a little late. The tour had almost managed to cross the Meridian Line to the
Eastern half of the World, more than those flying from Manchester Airport to America could boast!

Now how could we spend our time in Cleethorpes on a lovely sunny afternoon? Our doctor Editor
would frown upon chips and rock, so they will not be mentioned! What can be said is that there is
unusual track at 'Cleggy' (as colloquially known; presence of summer wine not tested but no Mk 1
Compo). A 2-car DMU was detached and ran two (almost) identical trips from P3 through the fuelling
point, back to the infamous, much sought after P4 (to within two carriage lengths of the buffers), and
back through the carriage wash to the buffers and P3. The second trip went further past the carriage
wash, but the first did more of P4. P4 was clearly unsuitable for (modern) normal passenger use now.

With everyone happy, fed and watered, it was time to head back from whence we came, but unusually
for the BLS, by a fairly direct route as TPE aimed for a fast run. The main line was taken (to the delight
of the participant who needed it) rather than the Grimsby Loop, and similarly to Hatfield & Stainforth.
At the grade separated Bentley Jn the tour avoided Doncaster station and ran to Hexthorpe Jn, then
via Swinton and Rotherham Masborough to Sheffield P8. This was achieved non-stop. After a brief
crew change and set down it was via the Hope Valley and the third side of the triangle at Chinley. After
passing through Hazel Grove 'bang road' (a fully signalled move) it was fast line at Edgeley Jn No1. The
tour crossed to the Slow line at Stockport No1 and then onto the Down Goods east of Stockport
station. The adjacent Down Main appeared to be little used. On Stockport Viaduct our train crossed to
the Down Fast for an uneventful run to Piccadilly P5, where the tour terminated. Tour tickets were
valid on a service back to Manchester Airport for those wanting to return. Thus ended another very
successful tour, covering everything expected and more, in sunshine throughout.

[BLN 1262] ABOVE: The 6-car TPE 'Class 170 Farewell Tracker' near Swinton. (Dave Cooper 31 Jul)

Thanks to Kev and TPE for making it happen and all concerned for the many hours of planning and the
enthusiasm shown including Bombardier (who sponsored one of the three units used on the Sunday),
Skytrack and NR. As usual there was a great atmosphere on board and our two trips, with 164
participants Saturday and 173 Sunday, raised a very impressive £16,275 for 'Prostate Cancer UK'
charity and 'Railway Children'. For more pictures of both of the tours and others.

Postscript: The final TPE Class 170 workings with 170303 and 170308 were on Friday 8 July the 16.26
Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport, then 19.55 to Sheffield (21.11) and ECS to Crofton Depot. 170302
went to Loughborough for refurbishment the following Monday. See also.

1503] Gwendraeth Valley Railway: (BLN 1261.MR137) Although this name has been adopted by the
new Velorail enterprise (as is their right and good luck to them in what they are attempting), the
'Gwendraeth Valleys Railways' (plural) was an entirely different railway to the west. It ran for only
about two miles from Kidwelly to Mynydd-y-Gareg Goods [Welsh for 'Mind The Gap'? - Ed] and
Colliery becoming part of the GWR with Grouping in 1923 and CA 29 Aug 1960. The Cwmmawr branch
referred to in BLN 1261 was the 'Burry Port & Gwendraeth Valley Railway' (singular and properly the
'Burry Port and Gwendreath Railway' due to a spelling mistake in the Act of Parliament creating the
railway!). It also became part of the GWR in 1922 and beyond Coedbach Washery CA 29 Sep 1996.
Cwmmawr to Pontyberem is 2¼ miles. [This was originally an extra item (X.102) in e-BLN 1261 only.]
See after next item for a map.

[BLN 1262]

1504] Victorious in the Railway Quiz: (BLN 1261.1395 Q11) A member considers there may have been
as many as 80 'Victoria' stations/stops in the British Isles (other members may not agree!)…

1) Barnstaple Victoria Road 40) Victoria Park (Belfast & County Down Rly)
2) Belfast Victoria Street, which became… 41) Victoria Park (Caledonian Railway)
3) Belfast Great Victoria Street (original) 42) Victoria Park (Crich Tramway)
4) Belfast Great Victoria Street (current) 43) Victoria Park (1st) Great Eastern Railway
5) Cork Victoria 44) Victoria Park (2nd) Great Eastern Railway
6) Cork Victoria Road 45) Victoria Park (1st) North London Railway
7) Kingston Victoria Pier (Dublin) 46) Victoria Park (2nd) North London Railway
8) Llandudno Victoria (Great Orme Tram) 47) Victoria Park, Whiteinch (Glasgow)
9) Llanelly Queen Victoria Road 48) Victoria Pier (Douglas Horse Tramway)

10) Londonderry Victoria Road 49) Victoria Pier (Hull Corporation Pier GCR)
11) London Victoria (LC&DR) 50) Victoria Road (Swansea & Mumbles)
12) London Victoria (Victoria & Pimlico) 51) Victoria Street (Blackpool tramway)
13) Manchester Victoria 52) Victoria Terrace (Portstewart Tramway)
14) Norwich Victoria 53) Londonderry Victoria Road*
15) Nottingham Victoria 54) Romford Victoria Road coal depot*
16) Port Victoria (Isle of Grain) 55) Royal Victoria Dock* (Port of London)
17) Royal Victoria (Docklands Light Railway) 56) Victoria Dock, Aberdeen*
18) Royal Victoria Hospital (Netley) 57) Victoria Dock, Dundee*
19) Royal Victoria Station (Gosport) 58) Victoria Dock (GWR London Docks)*
20) Ryde Victoria Pier (Ryde Pier Tramway) 59) Victoria Dock, Hartlepool*
21) Sheffield Victoria 60) Victoria Dock Jetty, Leith*
22) Southend Victoria 61) Victoria Dock Wharf, Leith*
23) St Budeaux Victoria Road 62) Victoria Harbour, Greenock*

24) Swansea Victoria 63) Victoria Quay, Cork*
25) Victoria (Dundee & Newtyle Railway) 64) Victoria Road Depots, Marsden
26) Victoria (GWR south of Ebbw Vale)
27) Victoria (London, District Line) (South shields & Marsden Railway)*
28) Victoria (London, Victoria Line) 65) Victoria Wharf Newport (Mon)*
29) Victoria (Manchester Metrolink) 66) Victoria Wharves & Pier, Cattewater*
30) Victoria Bridge (Castlederg & Victoria 67) Wolverhampton Victoria Basin*
68) Walthamstow Central (Victoria Line)**
Bridge Tramway) 69) Blackhorse Road (Victoria Line)**
31) Victoria Bridge Great Northern Railway 70) Tottenham Hale (Victoria Line)**
71) Seven Sisters (Victoria Line)**
(Ireland) 72) Finsbury Park (Victoria Line)**
32) Victoria Cross/Victoria Exhibition Halt 73) Kings Cross St Pancras (Victoria Line)**
74) Euston (Victoria Line)**
(Cork & Muskerry Light Railway) 75) Warren Street (Victoria Line)**
33) Victoria Dock - Custom House 76) Oxford Circus (Victoria Line)**
34) Victoria Dock (Hull)
35) Victoria Dock (Port of London Authority) 77) Green Park (Victoria Line)**
78) Vauxhall (Victoria Line)**
36) Victoria Dock Tidal Basin 79) Stockwell (Victoria Line)**
37) Victoria for Roche (GWR) 80) Brixton (Victoria Line)**
38) Victoria Park & Bow (Eastern Counties R.)
39) Victoria Park & Bow (London & Blackwell)

*Significant goods stations with a Stationmaster, Yardmaster or suchlike in charge.

**Our compiler suggests that separating tube stations into individual lines requires these Victoria Line
stations to be distinguished from adjacent underground or national stations with the same name
except Pimlico which is exclusive. The natural designation would be (Victoria Line) after the name.

ABOVE: OS One-Inch 7th Series map 1948. The Gwendraeth Valleys Railways, Kidwelly to Mynydd-y-
Gareg Good branch runs west to northeast shown as a 'mineral line'. The Burry Port & Gwendraeth
Valley Railway (track still in situ and planned for Velorail use) is the single line below and parallel to it
heading off to Cwmmawr top right. The (now lifted) single line to Burry Port heads south (here) left of
centre at the bottom. The Trimsaran branch off it runs left to right above the bottom of the map.

1505] Points & Slips: BLN 1259.1248] The 09.58 (SuX) Croy to Glasgow Queen Street (LL) was booked
via Maryhill rather than the scenic Maryland route (with thanks to the one person who commented!).
BLN 1261] Adding new meaning to the expression 'wrong number' with apologies, due to Editorial
dyscalculia, in paper BLN item '1283' should be renumbered '1383A' and the following item ('14XX') is
renumbered '1283B'. Similarly item '14176' should be '1417'. The second '1427' item should be 1428.
Finally, at the very top of the front page '1273' should be '1373'. Item 1392] Regarding the Hitchin area
walk report, to clarify, according to the current NR Sectional Appendix Cambridge Jn is the flat crossing
just north of Hitchin station for the Cambridge line. The junction for the 'Down Cambridge Flyover' is
Hitchin North Jn. However, Shepreth Branch Jn is, of course, at the Cambridge end of the line where
the King's Cross and Liverpool Street lines diverge. It was the junction for the Great Eastern Railway
branch to Shepreth (where an end-on junction was made with the Great Northern Railway).

Item 1393] After Gorton station on our Saturday evening 2 July Turbo Prop Tracker diverged right over
the facing points west of the station and over a fixed diamond in the Up Main (not a crossover), onto
the Down Goods, behind Ashburys Up platform. 1416] Carleton Crossing signal box between Poulton-
le-Fylde and Blackpool North is not a gate box. It is a block post controlling a level crossing. Item 1447]
Penyfford/Pen-y-Fford: Four 'ds' good, two 'ds' bad as George Orwell nearly said in 'Animal Farm'.

[BLN 1262]
Item 1452] Newport: The new Bridge Street overbridge, west of the station is due to be installed on 17
September. 1460] The L&CI trip at 'Rocks by Rail' (Rutland Railway Museum) is on 30 Aug as shown,

but this is a Tuesday not a Wednesday. 1398] Incredibly, a new shipment of coal arrived at Hunterston
(the first this year) in mid-July from Columbia in the 'Equator Prosper' which can carry 31,000 tonnes.
There is a significant coal stockpile still at Hunterston Low Level and coal trains continue to run.

1506] Three Peaks Challenge by Rail: At the end of item 1288 in BLN 1260 was an outline of the
special train's 1,257m 69ch schedule. This year, with our help, it raised almost £165,000 for 'Railway
Children', a total £2.4M for the charity since the event started in 2004. Departing Euston on Thursday

afternoon and returning about midnight on Saturday, the dates are chosen for maximum daylight. It
stops at Crewe to pick up more climbers on the way to Bangor for a coach transfer to Snowdon which
is climbed overnight, this year in rain and mist. Then the train runs to Ravenglass and passengers take
the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway for a 2-hour walk to reach Scafell Pike before a night on the train up
to Fort William to climb Ben Nevis. This year 39 teams entered and the fastest time was 13 hours, 3
minutes and 3 seconds to climb a total of 11,200ft achieved by a team from the Department for

Transport (!). The event is considered to be the equivalent of 3½ marathons but on difficult terrain
with very little sleep. Meals are provided on the all first class train with drinks, snacks and chocolate
for the climbs (all donated). First aiders and masseuses are available onboard. Participants receive:

 Train travel between the mountains  Food and drink on the train
 Transportation to/from the mountains  Challenge t-shirt
 Communications support on the climbs  Challenge medal

The next annual Three Peaks Challenge by Rail is 15-17 Jun 2017. It is open to teams of four, there is a

registration fee of £250 per team and a minimum sponsorship pledge of £3,500 is required to enter

(and a good level of fitness!). See and also for a report.

1507] Why do we need more BLS members? The campaign to increase our membership has now
met the 2016 Chairman's Challenge (of 1,000 members by the AGM) but continues. Even to stand
still, new members are required to replace those who sadly depart for the terminal sidings in the sky
(or the underground version) or do not renew their membership for whatever reason. A larger
membership base provides more eyes and ears; reporters sending in information for BLN and BLNI
and potential organisers and participants to support a varied and extensive fixtures programme. It
gives us a variety of talent and expertise to call on, more contacts, greater 'clout' (reputation) and
financial muscle enabling our small Society to run expensive commercial main line tours. New
members are new blood and the future of the Society and its management. While membership of
most voluntary societies is in decline or increasing in average age, we are very pleased to welcome
significant numbers of younger recruits. Please help this to continue and promote your society.

1508] Deeping St James: (BLN 1220.1592) NR demolished the signal box (named 'St James Deeping')
here in 2014 to make room for equipment required to replace the manual level crossing gates with
lifting barriers. Local residents were angered by the decision, arguing that the 1876 signal box was an
important part of the area's heritage. Volunteers launched a campaign to rebuild it as a heritage
centre, and the group secured a Government grant to purchase land slightly further along the railway
line from the box's original position. The local council has granted planning permission to begin re-
construction. Most of the work will be carried out by skilled volunteers, with hopes of opening the new
heritage centre within 12 months. Four windows have been completed by New College Stamford.

[BLN 1262]
1509] Kettering - Corby: NR and EMT are holding a public information event at Corby station on 15
Aug from 07.00 to 18.00 about the next phase of the £100M re-doubling project. Kettering to Manton
Jn is closed between 11 Sep and 23 Oct for bridge strengthening and electrification clearance work:

Glendon Iron Coys Bridge: Three arches carrying a private road; demolition and reconstruction.
Glendon Viaduct: A five-arch 138 year old brick viaduct over the River Ise that requires strengthening
and major brickwork repair. Scaffolding with weather shielding will be in place from July to January.

Barford's Bridge (A6003 southbound underbridge): Complete replacement of the single steel span
deck and refurbishment of the supports (reinforced concrete posts) increasing load carrying capacity.

Harpers Brook Viaduct: An 1879 built 12-arch brick viaduct requiring major strengthening; to be in-
filled with concrete. Major brickwork repairs, waterproofing and drainage is also being carried out.

Sheffield Bridge: A single arch brick underbridge; general masonry repairs adding strengthening bars.

1510] Lincoln (1): A planning application has been submitted for the 'Transport Hub' including:

A new bus station, Surface car park Revises roads and accesses
Multi-storey car park Residential apartments Landscaping public areas
Pedestrian footbridge* Offices Two 4-storey retail builds
*Over the station with platform access. The existing facilities will be demolished. Originally, the bus

bays were to adjoin Lincoln station's most northerly platform, P1, on the current railway car park (ex-

goods yard) but will be further north. Passengers will have to walk cross a busy main road on the level.

1511] Lincoln (2): (BLN 1252.453 with picture) The new High Street Footbridge was officially opened
on 24 Jun with lifts available from 4 Jul. The overbridge section parapet is only fully glazed on the
station (High Street) side. The stairways have glazed edges on the outer section with central handrails.
The West side of the overbridge section has metal parapets with glazed cut-outs at shoulder height.
Some red brickwork has been used to tidy up interfaces with residual structures.

1512] Nottingham NET: On 21 July the Clifton South to Phoenix Park line was severely disrupted after
tram 213 was hit by an ambulance at Wilford Lane. The tram was partly derailed, suffered front end
damage and a broken windscreen. It was later towed to Wilkinson Street depot on a wheel skate.

1513] Unusual LUL Workings (in daylight!): (BLN 1259.1206) An arrival by our consultant gricologist
and rustologist at Cockfosters just after 05.00 on 19 July and the purchase of a Zone 1-6 Travelcard
allowed the 05.20 to be taken to Oakwood. Here a brief wait was rewarded by the sight of train 340
arriving ECS from Arnos Grove into eastbound P2 (ABOVE: note how clearly the train number is very
helpfully shown). All other Oakwood starters start from westbound P1 having come from Cockfosters
depot. Consequently, at 05.28 the train (giving some 'normals' a slight moment of confusion) headed
west and immediately traversed the trailing crossover (pictured BELOW), its only booked passenger
use. A spur of the moment realisation that the next service booked off Arnos Grove (but not as before
coming into P2/3 (22 road) from Cockfosters) would be following them prompted a detrainment there
and almost on cue train 350 came from Arnos Grove sidings into the middle road.

Your correspondent's well known companion (AA) on these occasions engaged the crew during the
period when they changed ends (no oriental phrases required!) as to the 'system' of operation from
the middle road when heading westbound and which option would be chosen, as there are two
possible routes with no differentiating signal aspect. (Another such instance is at Uxbridge.) The most
immediate is over the facing crossover at the platform end, but trains can also run along 22 road and
take the trailing crossover at 27.47km which conflicts with any eastbound move through the station.
The simple, correct and unintentionally useless answer was it's up to the signalman, so in a nutshell
there is no way of telling almost to the moment just prior to departure by then looking at the point
blades! On this occasion train 350 took the longer route and crossed over at 27.47km.

[BLN 1262] ABOVE: The layout at the London end of Arnos Grove; the train is on the 'centre line'.
Much later in the day taking two of the frequent reversals here saw this repeated and then the next
one take the immediate facing crossover, no factors could be observed that would predict this. If
looking to do one in particular there is about five seconds from the points (not) changing,
announcement of departure and the doors closing to make a decision! Below might be helpful from
BLN 1053 (27 Oct 2007):

Arrival at Gloucester Road and heading upstairs allowed District line train 125 at nominally 06.47 but
actually running like the rest of the service about 5-7 minutes late, but perhaps crucially in order, to be
caught into Earl's Court P4. This used the facing crossover at 45.93km from the Westbound Main to
the Westbound Local; not a 'rare' move [Perhaps medium-rare?] but certainly not ordinary and exactly
as predicted in the WTT. There are several other services similarly booked, typically early morning.
Simply continuing to East Putney gave the new (former bay) alignment at Putney Bridge, the previous
Westbound alignment is now an isolated rusting track behind the platform (BLN 1258.1080).

ABOVE: Ealing Broadway, P9 on the left and P8 on the right. (All pictures Simon Mortimer 19 July)

Later Ealing Broadway P8 and P9 were traversed, the former one of the really regular all day platforms
here. P9 is a little less usual, probably because it is rather cut off from the rest of the station and
accessible only by a footbridge without lifts or on the level around the buffers and along a wooden
ramped walkway. Train 041 was taken out to Ealing Common where a few minutes later train 016 was
caught back into P9 all as per the working timetable and recent microgicing analysis (BLN 1258.1081).

[BLN 1262]
1514] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1255.802) After their LUL perambulations our members travelled to
Gospel Oak by London Overground to sample the current 4tph truncated service to South Tottenham.
It was notable for light loadings (the adjacent electric services were wedged!) and having the coolest
stock (Class 172 DMUs) in London on the hottest day of the year... bliss! The DMU's short run and
smattering of passengers gave this trip through north London an almost branch line feel, which with
buses onwards to Barking is what it has temporarily become. The route has had some electrification
works punctuated by masts for the wires but currently the wave of modernisation to come, changing
this from a bucolic backwater to electrified commuter route and freight corridor, is fairly sparse on this
section. Generous turnaround times at each end mean that, although the run time in each direction is
only 13 minutes, four of the eight units are needed to maintain the service! The South Tottenham
(ABOVE: Simon Mortimer 19 July) reversal is an ECS shunt, so there is no new track to be had. With
many TOCs around the country short of DMUs it seems a shame that this fleet of Class 172s will be laid
up from September to February when the line is completely closed. However, their interiors are quite
basic with no toilets.

1515] Crossrail: (BLN 1261.1402) (1) Abbey Wood: From 22 Aug the new Down P2 is expected to open
on the site of the original Up platform and form an island with new Up P1. The Down line will be
slewed across to the original Up formation, clearing the way for construction of the Crossrail platforms
and track. (2) Liverpool Street: Construction of the new (low level) platforms was completed in mid-
July, with over 500 pieces prefabricated in a Sheffield factory and lowered down the station's main
shaft. This was described as like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. All platforms between Paddington and
Woolwich are now complete except for Whitechapel. (3) Acton Diveunder: This was 'structurally
complete' by 22 July, is due to be commissioned at Christmas and open to passenger traffic next year.
(4) West Ealing: (BLN 1258.1087.3) As expected, the Greenford schedules shown to use bay P5 from 1
Aug were amended to run through to/from Paddington instead. Regular use of the bay is now shown
to begin on Mon 5 Sep with additional connecting Paddington to/from Hayes and Harlington services.

1516] Finsbury Park: (BLN 1251.355) The Wells Terrace entrance to the LUL station closed on 18 July.
A replacement western entrance is expected to open in 2019.

1517] Thameslink: (BLN 1261.1405) In the proposed future service pattern, Cambridge to Maidstone
East service (TL7) will be extended to and from Ashford International in the peaks and the Luton to
Rainham service (TL10) will run via Greenwich. It is also proposed that Southern services to Caterham
and Tattenham Corner will revert to splitting and joining at Purley to reduce the number of trains in
the Windmill Bridge area. Just to be clear, the weekday peak service through the central core is still
the intended 24tph in each direction. TL3, TL4 (both peak hours only) and TL7 (SuX) are not daily but
when they do run they are each 2tph. A schematic proposed service diagram is provided with e-BLN.

1518] Whitton: (BLN 1233.960) The station refurbishment continues. In mid-July the new booking
office, with three ticket machines, shop and accessible toilet was operational, but not the new
footbridge. There were temporary bridges to both platforms, all canopies and other platform level
buildings had been demolished and there were no seats.

1519] Paddington: (BLN 1261.1406) The P14 extension was postponed from 10 July (no new date set).

1520] Tyne & Wear Metro: The North East Combined Authority (NECA) has approved ambitious plans
to extend and expand the rail and Metro networks. The current £350M Metro investment programme,
due to conclude in 2021, includes track renewal and the refurbishment of the Metro cars. The new
plans are for £1bn over the next 20 years. This includes replacement of the current fleet, dating from
the 1980s (£300M) targeted for the early 2020s, upgrading the signalling (£100M), depot facilities
(£50M) and electrification (£100M) - a total of £550M. Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, has

[BLN 1262]
begun talks with the government about funding and will submit a detailed business case before the
end of this year. NECA's lead member for transport argues that the 'well-publicised problems' with
Metro reliability underline how essential a new fleet is. Although currently unfunded, NECA describes

a 'do-nothing' scenario for the T&W Metro fleet as 'not an option', it would ultimately result in closure.
Some of the proposals are relatively simple and could be achieved within five years, while others
would take far longer. The plans identify a network of disused or under-used routes that could
potentially benefit from new or better services, 'putting whole towns and communities back on the
national railway map' and creating new links into business parks as a result. Technological advances
mean a new fleet could also operate on lines beyond the current Metro system, opening the way for

expansion of local rail services and better integration…

Wearside Loop: The South Hylton line extended west towards Penshaw, (with a new NE to NW curve
north of the former station leading straight on to 'Victoria Bridge'). Then via the former Durham line,
and to connect with the Leamside line heading north, creating a circular route via Washington and
serving the new International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) near the Nissan car plant.
Leamside Line: Linking the existing Durham Belmont Park and Ride with Penshaw and the loop.
Ashington and business parks such as the Team Valley, Metro Centre, Cobalt and IAMP.
South Shields - Sunderland: The routes are only 3km apart in the Tyne Dock / Brockley Whins area.
They could possibly be linked using the Tyne Dock branch and the Boldon east curve.
Sunderland City Centre to Doxford Park: The former Hetton Colliery line (OG 18 Nov 1822, CG 10
Sep 1959) is older than the Stockton & Darlington. It was George Stephenson's first entirely new line
and the first railway designed to be operated without animal power. The line transported coal, but
not passengers, to the banks of the River Wear. Most is clear but two major roads have to be crossed.
South Tyneside dualling: The lengthy single-track section between Jarrow and Pelaw limits the
timetable and recovery after disruption. New stops cannot be built on this section at present.
Sunderland re-electrification: Nexus believes the best long-term approach is to convert the line to
25KV AC, making it easier and more cost effective for NR to manage. In 2002 Sunderland became the
first place in the UK where Metro, regional and national trains shared tracks. Extending south to
Horden and Peterlee would allow a Metro-style service. No mention is made of any new construction
to Peterlee (inland from Horden), so the latter would presumably be reopened as 'Peterlee Parkway'!

Past BLNs are littered with similar such T&W expansion plans and this is a long way off, would happen
in stages and needs considerable government funding. Transport budget 'devolution' and local political
will might just provide a catalyst this time.


1521] Langwathby: The award winning 'Brief Encounter Restaurant' opened 1996 in the Midland
Railway station buildings but closed at Christmas 2013; was put up for sale and lay empty. In August
2015 it reopened as The Station Café Wed to Sun 10.30-17.00 and is well
worth a visit. A friendly welcoming café for lunch or just a coffee & cake. We offer lots of vegetarian
dishes, traditional baking & some aromatic flavours from afar. It is 4.3 miles east of Penrith with
free parking and, since 27 Jun, passenger trains again. [email protected] 01768 881151.

BELOW: The Down side (to Carlisle) side station buildings with the café. (Visit Cumbria)

[BLN 1262]
1522] Leyland Business Park. (BLN 1260.1311) Work is proceeding on the temporary DMU stabling
facilities. Passing at speed over the Down Slow on the 9 July track had been removed from the loading
pad and as far as the trailing access points on the Down Slow which remained in situ. A short length
also remained on the head shunt up to the extant buffer stop. The workforce was on site, as were a
good number of temporary cabins and contractors' road vehicles on the north half of the concrete
loading pad. The south side was fenced off from the work with car-carrying road vehicles parked on it.

1523] Askam: A charming curiosity is that the locomotive stop board on the northbound platform at
this station (the first north of Barrow) means that the first coach comes to a rest at a part where the
surface is completely covered in grass which has been carefully mown short. The yellow vetch, which
also grows in the grass, has accustomed itself to flower on equally short stems, so the alighting
passenger steps down onto a nicely manicured colourful lawn. Is there any other NR platform where
this sort of little pleasantry occurs? [Off the national system and not far away your Editor can 'grass up'
the 'other' very rare green platform at Haverthwaite, used by participants during a BLS visit of course.]

1524] Blackburn (1): King Street Goods/Coal Concentration Depot: (BLN 1248.58) On 30 June heavy
earth moving equipment was again at work, piling up large broken slabs of concrete and soil at the
railway end of the site. All gates to the site were locked so conversation with the workers was not
possible but notices on the gates stated that the firm involved is 'Buckingham Group' a well known
railway contactor and also that NR would pursue cases of trespass.

Our member asked the station staff for information regarding the earth works and was advised that
these were associated with some further rail activity. On 16 May very detailed plans were received by the local council from NR for '…stabling depot facility with
associated services…' on the site. The interesting point is that they do not seem to be referred to as
'temporary' and have quite extensive facilities. A track and site plan dated 29 Apr
2016. However, there is no recent update and they were recommended for 'refusal of prior approval'
by the local planning officer under delegated powers. It may be that NR will not be pursuing this now
that work has started at Leyland?

1525] Blackburn (2): Possibly 'connected', on 25 July the junction with the Blackburn Down Through
Siding (Taylor Street Down Through Siding) was intact as was the first 80yd of track. Then track and
ballast had been removed as far as could be seen from a passing train. The formation awaited new
ballast, track and other railway infrastructure. NR refused it for our 11 Oct 2014 'Chord & Quay
Tracker' railtour due to the poor state of track. From the tour it looked little used in 2014.

1526] Cumbrian Coast: On 7 July the 11.38 Barrow to Carlisle (a Class 37 loco one end and a Driving
Brake Standard the other) very unusually arrived in Carlisle Bay P2. The loco and its four vehicles JUST
fitted in, the driver's window virtually under the exit signal, normally it stops half way down P1.

1527] Banbury: (BLN 1261.1422) The 1908 GWR Banbury South Signal box closed on Fri 29 July;
demolition began around 05.45 on the Saturday and was largely complete in three hours. By mid-
afternoon there was just a hole in the ground where the box had stood for 108 years. Resignalling was
past the point of no return! Banbury North signalled engineering trains until Sat night/Sun morning.

A correction regarding removal of the crossover between the Up Main and Up Goods is that the Up
Main facing points were still in place; only those on the Up Goods were removed. In early July on the
Up side, relaying took place with the Up Banbury Loop and the Up Banbury Platform (P4) line laid and
ballasted. This was as far as the new points where the two lines meet near the South signal box. After
this at mid July, the track was missing. There are two new sidings in the Stoneyard, (Reservoir Sidings 3
& 4), with just concrete sleepers in place. Brickwork was in place for the walls of the new through P4.

1528] Oxford: (BLN 1260.1284) Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) has drawn up a list of rail projects it
hopes to see delivered over the coming years. Its updated rail strategy calls for extra capacity between
Oxford and Didcot, new train services to Heathrow Airport, and upgrades to Oxford and Didcot
Parkway stations. At Oxford additional bay and through platforms and a new station building and
transport interchange are included. Also sought is an expansion of Culham station and the further
development of Didcot Parkway station, including a new multi-storey car park, northern entrance and
new station building. The document backs reopening to Cowley, with new stations serving the Oxford
Science and Business Parks. It supports further capacity and service enhancements on the Cotswold
line, including upgrades to stations, bus and cycle connections. Councillors also backed development
of a business case for a proposed new station in the Grove and Wantage area, assuming a future rail
service linking Bristol and Swindon to Oxford and beyond, and better integration of rail and strategic
bus and rapid transit networks as part of a Science Transit scheme. The Leader of OCC said 'Clearly the
council does not have direct responsibility for the rail industry but we do ….. to strongly stand up for
Oxfordshire when it comes to getting our share of national finances to deliver local improvements'.
1529] Colne Valley Railway: In a July 2015 visit to Castle Hedingham it was seen that the original
Colne Valley & Halstead Railway (CV&HR) stations from Sible & Castle Hedingham and Halstead have
been transported and re-erected facing each other. The former sports a station seat with the name set
into the back, also a replica dark blue totem. Halstead station, which incorporates some other pieces
too, has an older enamel nameboard, possibly CV&HR, and its museum possesses a BR (ER) dark blue
enamel nameboard from Yeldham. A Great Eastern origin, Second Class (TB) five compartment six-
wheel carriage body built at Stratford in 1880 (No 397) was on the 'Halstead' platform. The signal box is
a GER box from Cressing. At Yeldham both platforms exist but nothing else remains. The trackbed is a
public footpath through the platforms in the direction of Birdbrook. At Birdbrook the station
approach, alongside Station Villas, leads up to the black painted corrugated iron and timber goods
shed but other remains of the station have vanished under agricultural and industrial buildings.
1530] Ipswich: The final section of track outside Paul's Warehouse has been recently lifted, believed to
be Paul's Maltings on the Docks side of the level crossing beyond the former Ipswich Lower Yard level
crossing - where our 13 May 1989 'Orwell Docker' DMU tour ground to a halt on the tight curve.
1531] Cambridge North: (BLN 1256.914) On 23 July station construction, seen from a train, was well
under way both sides of the line. The almost complete platforms are of a substantial concrete build.
BELOW: Recent pictures of progress; LEFT: The lift shafts are complete. (NR Press release)

1532] Epping: The footbridge closed from 4 July until mid-Sep for strengthening and repainting. The
gate on Hillcrest Way will be opened all day. There is a parallel footbridge outside the gated area but it
is a longer way round for those LU microgricers on a tight schedule wanting to make a quick return!

1533] Reading Green Park: (BLN 1248.81) On 21 July Berkshire Local Transport Body 'awarded' a
further £3M towards the new station, (£6.4M was already agreed). Forecast use has increased since
the 2013 survey. More shelters and ticket facilities are planned. Construction work begins in October.

1534] Sheerness: (BLN 1221.1715) Through its Port of Sheerness operation Peel Ports have confirmed
that they are to build a new railhead, refurbish existing warehouse space and create a large 32-acre
car parking area. The demolition and disposal works are estimated at up to £4M with a specialist
contract worth up to £7M also out to tender to deal with contaminated land, including infill of Thames
Steel Works' cooling ponds. Works to create the large car park are worth up to £8M with £12M
expected to be spent on existing and new warehousing and £6M on new railhead infrastructure.

1535] Folkestone - Dover: (BLN 1255.818) Repairs are reportedly ahead of schedule and December
reopening has become the even vaguer 'autumn'. Autumnal weather may, of course, come into play.

1536] Hildenborough: Villagers have raised £2,600 to restore a gravestone for two local men killed in
an 1898 railway accident. George Upton (30) and James Goldsmith (19) were working on the track
when they were hit by an express from London at Hildenborough, Kent. Their foreman, James' father
George, witnessed the accident, remembered in the village for decades. Now a history society has
refurbished their headstone and installed a memorial plaque at the station. George Upton's great-
granddaughter Judith attended the ceremony. The story was passed down by my family. It was such a
tragic accident at the time and the whole community came together, she said. The original headstone
was paid for by parishioners, even though a lot of them were very low wage-earners. (BBC News)

1537] Fareham: (BLN 1245.2119) The new footbridge away from the canopies is inconveniently sited
where it would be little used, at the station end away from the entrance. Now the old footbridge
access has been blocked on the platforms by temporary metal fencing with signs showing that it is
'currently closed due to safety reasons'. Civil engineering contractors Osborne has a further sign on the
fence at one end. It is wondered if the wording indicates a possible intention to reopen the bridge?

1538] Alton: The footbridge is at risk despite agreement by NR that it should remain in place for up to
five years to allow the Friends of Alton Station to take it over. NR now say refurbishment required will
cost £750k with the cost of demolition set at £250k. The Friends have until the end of 2016 to raise the
difference to keep it in use. There is a petition on their website and facebook page. BELOW: The fine
1896 London & south Western Railway footbridge (Friends of Alton Station).

1539] Pilning: After the 12 Sep to 21 Oct Patchway/Severn Tunnel blockade for electrification work,
the station will have a 50% reduction in service and join Reddish South, Denton and Bordesley* in the
'once a week club'. With only 68 recorded passenger entrances and exits in 2014/15 Pilning is NR's
sixth least used passenger station and is having the 'Polesworth treatment'. The footbridge is to be
removed during the line closure as it has insufficient clearance for electrification and will not be
replaced. The then isolated Down P2 will close. Passengers wishing to alight from the Bristol direction
will have excellent value for money and be allowed to travel past to Severn Tunnel Junction, returning
to Pilning Up platform at no extra cost for the further 14 miles. Passengers wishing to join a Down train
can catch the remaining 08.32 (SO) to Taunton and double back at Patchway (seven free miles) or at
Filton Abbey Wood (10¼ miles free). Sadly no longer will the good citizens of Pilning be able to make
Saturday day return trips as far as Taunton by train. The station remains a boundary of the 'Heart of
Wessex Day Ranger' ticket. Of note during the actual closure, the rail replacement bus (usually an
empty taxi) makes two (SO) return bus trips from Bristol Parkway! [*Well used extra calls are made for
Birmingham City FC home matches; unfortunately, Pilning FC attracts little custom from rail travellers!]
1540] Cullompton: (BLN 1203.283) The prospect of the station (CP 5 Oct 1964) reopening is closer, as
Mid-Devon District Council, Taunton Deane District Council and the Town Councils from Wellington
and Cullompton have raised £100k to fund a feasibility study by the Devon & Somerset Metro Project
Group. This study will provide engineering designs to support future bids to central Government. The
town (population 23,000 in 2011) regularly has tailbacks to the M5 motorway in both the Bristol and
Exeter directions, and is to have 10,000 new homes built in the coming years. A peak-time journey of
45 minutes to Exeter by road could be reduced to 15 minutes by rail. Cullompton OP 1 May 1844 with
the Bristol & Exeter line and the platforms were moved back from the main lines when new loops
were constructed in 1931. Ironically, the former station site is an M5 service area! (BELOW: The site of
the station in 1984 (now a service area on the right) Ben Brooksbank and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons license.)

1541] Okehampton out of range: (BLN 1260.1324) A member has provided a reference for the Rowtor
Target railway and two other related systems which have operated in the area. The first (an 18in
gauge horse-worked tramway) was built somewhat further south near East Mill Tor prior to 1900, with
the locomotive worked Wickham Target Railway (on a site near to West Mill Tor) in use by 1942. Use
of the Rowtor site is thought to have ceased around 1987, with a revival in 2001. Its current
operational status is unknown; but a recent request for a visit resulted in a refusal due to the 'security
situation'. See the IRS's Industrial Railways & Locomotives of South Western England (2012) for more.

1542] Shrewsbury: (BLN 1256.932) By 7 July the Down Main had been relaid and the track circuits
restored but commissioning was pending as there was a stop sign at the south end. It is the middle
unidirectional through line between P3 and P4 with connections to the Chester and Crewe lines. The
line had been OOU and partially lifted since early 2014 at least (BLN 1206.545) for investigation of the
bowing station viaduct walls underneath. These have been strengthened with reinforced concrete and
the (disused) south end of P3 has been removed during the work. There used to be east side bays (P1
& P2) here used by Severn Valley services to Bridgnorth and beyond until Oct 1963. All that is needed
now is a couple of railtours to do the Shrewsbury Down Main towards Wrexham and Crewe (please)!

1543] Birmingham New Street: On 24 July P10 was closed for refurbishment work until 28 August and
P9 was re-opened. P8A was also shortened by 44m as was P11A by 80m. It is believed that P9 is the
final platform to be refurbished and all 12 platforms should be available for full use from 28 August.

1544] Coventry - Nuneaton: (BLN1240.1556) Vivarail has announced that the prototype Class 230 a
3-car DMU, converted from redundant LU 'D' stock, will be leased to a consortium led by the West
Midlands Combined Authority (and operated by London Midland initially for 12 months on this line).
The two driving cars retain their original layout but the centre car has a variety of seating and table
arrangements to seek public preferences and aid discussions with future operators. Vivarail will
maintain and analyse the train, to develop technical expertise before full production. The lease allows
capacity to be provided on the line quickly and a service to the Coventry Arena by train on match days.

BELOW: The new Bromsgrove station on opening day, 12 July, looking towards the bottom of the
Lickey incline and Birmingham at the old station with its footbridge. TOP OF NEXT PAGE: South of the
station, bottom left is the crossover (55m 57ch) at the end of the reversible section. The Down Goods
Loop is distant left and the Up Goods Loop (to P1) is far right. Remodelling at Bromsgrove with
resignalling of the line takes place during a 13-day engineering closure in October. (David Guy)

[BLN 1262]
1545] Bromsgrove: (BLN 1259.1189) After the new station OP on Tue 12 Jul work quickly started on
demolishing the old one; most of the wooden Down platform (OP 14 May 1990) was gone by 19 Jul.
Before this platform was built all services, (incredibly now, a grand total of six daily in 1984 SuX) used
the Birmingham (Up) platform in both directions. This practice dated from 21 Apr 1969 when the
Down Slow Line (which served the former Down platform) was taken OOU from Bromsgrove station to
Bromsgrove South. This 'rationalisation' was part of resignalling when the Gloucester Power Box area
was extended to Blackwell (the BR Western Region boundary). The Up line then became reversibly
worked (and still is) between 55m 20ch and 55m 57ch reached via the facing crossover at the bottom
of the Lickey Incline. The trailing crossover south of the station was used to regain the Down line. At
the new station at least two trains from Birmingham have used the facing crossover (55m 20ch) to
arrive and turn back in P1 (the west most) and at least one northbound through train has taken the 'Up
Goods Loop' to call at P1. At the end of July on line systems seemed to be still calibrated for the old
station as they should have shown Birmingham trains as calling at P2 and those heading south at P3
rather than P1 & P2. The new ticket office building and bike storage are circular like the wheels of a
bike, and the tactile paving is supposed to represent both the frame and a person on the bike. This is
not evident except from a helicopter! Track is now being laid in P4 on the east side of the new station.
Most electrification bases are in position to Barnt Green and there is a large work base near Blackwell.

1546] Hereford: On 27 July West Coast Railway's The Welsh Valley Explorer (Barrow-in-Furness 05.54/
23.59 - that is keen!) was booked to use, and wait in, the Down Relief Line (centre road) from 10.20 to
10.42 in Hereford station which it duly did. These lines very rarely have passenger trains. Return was
via Llandrindod Wells. Vintage Trains steam-hauled circular tours from Tyseley have stabled ECS on the
Up Relief during a Hereford break. Meanwhile, the two new starting signals at the north end of P1 & 2
at Hereford were commissioned on 20 June (BLN 1257.1025) and Bay P4 now has a terminal prognosis.

1547] Longport: The former Esso depot (16m 31ch) is being used to recycle railway ballast, brought in
by road! Granville Sidings south of Grange Jn (Etruria) are back into use, seemingly for maintenance of
wagons from the high output ballast cleaner, but appeared unused a few weeks ago.

[BLN 1262]
1548] Midland Metro: On 20 July a defective power
feeder cable melted (ABOVE - John Cameron) and

fell onto the overhead line equipment between
Dudley Street, Guns Village and Black Lake, causing
the power to cut out on this section of line, and
partially melt the overhead wires. No trams could
then operate between these two stops all day.
Those from Wolverhampton turned back at Black
Lake (LEFT: at Wednesbury Parkway - Kev Adlam)

(rare crossover in passenger use on return) and
those from Birmingham at West Bromwich Central
(rare crossover on return). The latter service was
infrequent and severely overcrowded at times
because only three trams were 'trapped' in the six-
mile section - but at least something ran. At West

Bromwich, a traffic cone in the track was an
improvised 'stop board'. A single tram shuttle
operated with single line working on the
Birmingham line between West Bromwich Central
and Dudley Street, Guns Village (1,430yd with two
intermediate stops). Passengers walked the 800yd
between Dudley Street, Guns Village and Black

Lane on the trackside footpath and for their efforts
were treated to impressive and dramatic close up
views of the damaged, melted overhead wires. Staff were in attendance at the crossovers in use and
control was by radio. Quite a few of our members were able to take in these unusual happenings as
the information had been posted on 'Gensheet' at 10.28 and some were in the area already for our
evening visit to the Rugeley Power Station Model Engineers Society. However, all services on the

Birmingham side of Black Lake finished three hours early well before 22.00 so that the power could be
turned off and repairs effected overnight. Passengers were then directed to the normal bus services.
[An 18-minute tram journey from Black Lake to Birmingham became a rather interesting 50-minute
bus tour - Ed!]

[BLN 1262] ABOVE: Leaving West Bromwich Central for Birmingham Grand Central. (John Cameron)

1549] Midlands Rail Hub: This is proposed by NR in the recent new West Midlands and Chilterns route
study proposals with a 90-day consultation period. It is part of plans for passengers to be able access
HS2 and 'commute across the region'. A 49% increase in rail travel is forecast over the next 7 years.
The routes currently generate over 50M passenger journeys annually, predicted to reach 100M by
2043. The study outlines the capacity challenges and options to improve future services for passengers
and freight. The options include the development of the Midlands Rail Hub, allow more train services
to run into central Birmingham (10 per hour) and improve connections between the East and West
Midlands. This could include new Bordesley chords for trains from the southwest, northeast and East
Midlands to access Birmingham Moor Street. There would be extra tracks through Water Orton. Also
proposed is an upgrade of Kings Norton station (reopening the central island platform) for interchange
between new local Camp Hill/Moor Street services and New Street trains. More platforms are planned
at Birmingham Snow Hill (reinstatement of P4 now it has been vacated by Midland Metro) and Moor
Street (new terminal P5 - actually original - & P6). By 2024, NR expects longer trains to Marylebone.
With the London terminus constrained, a new connection from the Chiltern line to the planned
HS2/Crossrail station at Old Oak Common in west London is proposed. The final version is due later
this year, to help identify proposals to be taken forward for further development.

1550] Kirkstall Forge: (BLN 1260.1333) How does this new station relate to the previous two here?

1551] Low Moor: The opening of the new £10.8M railway station for Low Moor, which has already
suffered a series of delays, had been put back to this summer after a 60m-deep mine shaft was
discovered under the site. Now the opening date has been deferred again to May next year, to allow
more surveys to take place. If more old mine workings are uncovered, work could be further delayed.

1552] Coleraine - Londonderry: (BLN 1235.1178) The November line closure is to commission and test
the new signalling and telecoms along the whole line and the new Bellarena passing loop. Only the
Down platform is currently in use. The project is on target and is due to be substantially complete by
31 December. The Rail Minister hopes that the long-promised better-timetabling and an hourly service
will start by the end of the year. Castlerock loop and somersault semaphore signals will be taken OOU.

1553] Dublin - CTC: (BLN 1256.942) Dublin Central Emergency Control Panel was to be commissioned
on 11 July, but was only to be switched in for operational trials. CTC Connolly remains the primary
control point for the Dublin Central interlocking.

1554] Harcourt Street: Morrissey's, an agent specialising in pubs and hotels, advertised the 'Old
Harcourt Street Station' for sale by public tender on 8 June. The property included at least three
entertainment venues over 2,625m2. As at 21 July, it remained unsold on their website.

1555] From the Horse's Mouth: (MR p12) (BLN 1261.1440) Two local members spent the morning of
20 July in the Tynwald public gallery to witness an interesting debate. The eight-part Department of
Infrastructure (DOI) Resolution regarding the Douglas Horse Tramways was approved with a significant
amendment. The Public Transport Division of the DOI will operate it for 2017 and 2018, but for each of
those two seasons the Tramway will be closed south of the War Memorial to the Sea Terminal while
road works take place on Loch Promenade. During that period, the business case for the continuation
of the Tramway will be evaluated. The approved amendment was that a new single line Tramway track
should be laid all the way from Derby Castle to the
Sea Terminal (originally worded as the 'War
Memorial'). The new 2016 operation by the IOM
Railways has resulted in the best season for a long
time; between 30 April and 3 July nearly 23,000
passengers were carried - an increase of 7,700 (52%)
compared with 2015. This has led to an increase in
cash revenue of 64% and operating costs have also
been significantly reduced. For details of John and
Jenny Williamsons' 23 Sep tour, see fixtures section.

1556] Foxdale branch: (RIGHT) Planning permission is being sought to divert part
of the A3 road temporarily onto part of the branch
(CP 2 Sep 1940; last train ran 26 Jan 1950) for up to 9
months, to allow 'Highway Improvement Works'.
The 2½-mile Foxdale branch is a lovely railway walk
to its junction at St John's and largely intact except
for an intermediate underbridge, ironically above
the A3! On Fri 13 Sep 2013 as part of our last IOM
weekend, 13 members walked 12½ miles along the
trackbed from Foxdale to St John's, where the
original Foxdale station was visited, then to Ballaugh
on the Ramsey line (which goes off top left of centre
- the 'Halt' shown was Peel Road). The Peel line is
top left corner and Douglas is off to the right. The
branch had an intermediate request stop 'Waterfall'
(not shown) which required passengers to operate a
semaphore signal on the platform to stop a train!

1557] West Highland line: The next generation Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) system came into
use on Sun 24 July between Craigendoran Jn, Fort William, Mallaig and Oban. It uses different radio
frequencies so the previous Transportable Token Units and RETB 'change channel boards' are obsolete.

1558] Cowlairs: From 8 August the SSuX 23.30 Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen St is booked from Lenzie
on the Down E&G (as normal). After Cowlairs West Jn it is shown on the Up line, implying use of the
facing crossover at 1m 64ch. However, there is no conflict with any other train to require this. The
crossover is used in the other direction by ECS returning to Eastfield depot - reports appreciated!

1559] Glasgow Central LL & Argyle Street: An instruction has been re-issued to rail staff to make it
clear that diesel traction can now (officially) be drawn through these stations. Previously this was not
allowed in either direction to avoid setting off the smoke alarms. Signallers used to have to, where
possible, regulate the relevant trains (mainly the Fort William sleeper) at Partick or Rutherglen so that
they could coast through clear signals (and the crew had to be reminded of this).

1560] Inverness: Plans are being drawn up for a new station about 1¾ miles east of the station on the
Aberdeen line serving Inverness Shopping Park, Stoneyfield Business Park and the University of the
Highlands & Islands campus. There are also proposals to build a prison here (will the station have a
captive market?). It would be on straight level track, and the costs depend on possible re-doubling.
Completion could be between 2019 and 2024. A planning application is expected in the next few
weeks; modelling shows it could become the second busiest Highland station within 50 years.

1561] Industrious Inaction: Almost all EMU services, which are covered by the Strathclyde Manning
Agreement, are unaffected by the many strikes. Only North Berwick has had a reduced service.
However, there is a reduced or no service on DMU served routes. The Caledonian Sleeper runs empty
to/from Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen on strike days as ScotRail provides the guards.

1562] Shotts line: NR is using the Foundry Road industrial site in Cleland as an electrification base for
the line. Years ago, electrification of the Shotts line was totally unimaginable and closure possible.

1563] HS3 NR's Scotland Route Study warns that Glasgow will need a third major city centre station in
less than 20 years for the extra-long HS2 trains unless Carstairs Jn is 'overhauled'. From 2033, the UK's
new high-speed trains are expected to be doubled in length from 200m to 400m. This is too long for
the Glasgow Central (the west of Scotland HS2 terminus) platforms or for Queen St. Expanding Central
HL to extend existing, or create new platforms, may require the demolition of some adjoining
buildings, so planners have been urged to consider all options including a new station.

Additionally Edinburgh Waverley, the east of Scotland HS2 terminus, should also undergo significant
and large-scale redevelopment, including the relocation of retail and passenger facilities away from
the main concourse to a new mezzanine level to free up concourse space for new and longer
platforms. Although there are currently no plans to extend HS2 further north than Manchester and
Leeds, HS2 trains would travel to Scotland via the West Coast Main Line.

As an alternative to this It is proposed that the 400m trains will split and join at Carstairs, half running
to/from Glasgow Central and the other half Edinburgh Waverley. (Déjà vu? - Regional Editor.) The
report adds that the Carstairs Jn layout cannot currently facilitate these activities (now we know why
BR had so many problems!) and that remodelling plans now focus on improving line speed to cut
journey times for WCML services. The plans will not enable HS2 services to split and join routinely.

1564] Ballater (1): (BLN 1233.1006) The listed former station building (latterly a tourist centre, retail
unit and restaurant) which was largely destroyed by fire in 2015, may be recreated in a £3M plan. The
Royal Waiting Room was partially salvaged, and the replica Royal Saloon was relatively undamaged.
They would be restored to the display, with the Visit Scotland information centre, public library and
restaurant. There would be a new exhibition space extending along the old platform and 'over the
tracks' (presumably 'trackbed'?), as railway sheds. A new public square is proposed in front of the

station, linking it to the nearby Victoria and Albert Halls and creating a destination point for the
'Deeside Way' (with nice maps to download). This generally follows the route of
the former 43-mile branch from Aberdeen. Subject to planning permission, it is hoped that work could
start in November, with the station and exhibition space expected to open late 2017. Ballater station
OP 17 Oct 1866 and CP 28 Feb 1966 (CA 19 Jul 1966). It underwent a complete refurbishment in 2001.

1565] Ballater (2): (BLN 1216.1349): 'Facebook' has a series of pictures one showing a Ballater street
named 'Old Line Road', where the proposed Braemar extension would have run. Track was never laid.
Another shows what turned out to be the final construction over the river Gairn, before she who was
'not amused' at Balmoral Castle (VR) effectively put a stop to the extension. The bridge abutments
were built but the girders never put in place. It now supports a single pipeline with an odd 'roof' cover.

1566] Fort William: Rio Tinto is considering options for its Lochaber operations. These include carrying
on under its ownership, working with a partner, or selling. The assets include the rail served aluminium
smelter which employs 150 people, a hydro-electric power station and a considerable amount of land.

X.111] Getting Cross Over an Edinburgh Tram: On Sun 17 Jul due to a parade, trams from the Airport
turned back at West End-Princes Street using the crossover on departure.

1262 WALES
1567] A Trip to Wales in 1961 - Part 1: Angus McDougall's account (BLN 1257.1043) prompts another
member to offer his more modest report of a similar visit in the summer of 1961. Being somewhat
naïve teenagers and having never previously made a trip lasting more than one day, my cousin and I
had not understood the importance of planning such journeys in advance! Therefore, our first sight of
a WR timetable, which we purchased at Shrewsbury, came as something of a shock. It had not
occurred to us that services in rural mid-Wales were not quite as frequent as in well populated parts of
North East England! We had decided to base ourselves in Aberystwyth, as being roughly in the centre
of Wales, thinking we could easily reach other parts from there. We were in for a rude awakening. A
slight complicating factor was that my aunt decided to come with us. As far as I can remember all my
journeys were behind steam apart from the DMUs to and from Middlesbrough and EMUs between
Crewe and Manchester. Unfortunately, I did not own a camera at the time so have no photos of my
own. My cousin is now deceased and I doubt that his pictures survive. I have elected to use the 24-
hour, rather than the 12-hour clock in use at the time, as it is more familiar to readers now.

Sun 13 Aug 1961: As my aunt and cousin were attending a summer school in Manchester, my travels
started on a rainy Sunday with the 09.36 Middlesbrough to Newcastle as far as Stockton, to connect
there (rather than at Eaglescliffe) into the Newcastle to Manchester Exchange service via the coast
line (Stockton). This gave new track in the form of Hartburn Jn to Eaglescliffe North. Also new was
Northallerton Low Gates to High Jn as my only previous journey had been on the 'Tees-Thames
Express' (Kings Cross to Saltburn), which was routed via the low level lines. As my journeys to and from
boarding school in Leicestershire involved use of the Midland line to Derby, the entire journey from
Church Fenton to Manchester via the Micklehurst Loop was new too.

Mon 14 Aug 1961: Our positioning move was the 10.37 local from Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe and
then the 12.15 to Shrewsbury. We had presumably been unable to reserve seats as we engaged the
assistance there of that long extinct species, a porter, to find us seats on the 'Cambrian Coast Express',
the 13.33 to Aberystwyth, with a Manor class 4-6-0 if I remember correctly. Amazingly, our porter
found three seats in a compartment and we settled back until our arrival in Aberystwyth at 16.15.

Tue 15 Aug 1961: As I had long owned a copy of LTC Rolt's book on the Talyllyn Railway, this was our
first port of call and our introduction to the unhelpful timetable on the coast line. BLS members would
no doubt consider our 12.35 start from Aberystwyth to Dovey Junction to be absurdly late, but the
previous service on a weekday was at 07.35 and we had a middle-aged aunt to consider. The 13.38
onwards took us to Towyn (as it was called in those days) at 14.03, ready for the 15.05 from Towyn

[BLN 1262]
Wharf to Abergynolwyn. The Nant Gwernol extension lay some years in the future (OP 22 May 1976)
and I have yet to visit it 55 years later. The connections worked better in the reverse direction: 17.00
Abergynolwyn to Towyn Wharf; 18.15 Towyn to Dovey Junction and 18.45 on to Aberystwyth.

Wed 16 Aug 1961: We had now been able to plan some serious track coverage and made a circular
journey via part of the Mid Wales line, which involved subjecting our unfortunate aunt to the 07.15
Aberystwyth to Carmarthen. Then the 10.20 Carmarthen to Llandilo (as it was then) and 11.17 to
Builth Road HL; a Swansea Victoria to Shrewsbury train, which was extended to Manchester Piccadilly
on Saturdays. 27 minutes was ample time to transfer to Builth Road LL and the 12.50 to Moat Lane
Junction. The 14.50 to Aberystwyth, arriving at 16.15 gave plenty of time to make a return trip on the
17.15 to Devil's Bridge, with 55 minutes at the terminus before arriving back at Aberystwyth at 20.10.

Thur 17 Aug 1961: We decided to head further north and again patronised the 12.35 to Dovey
Junction and the 13.38 onwards, this time to Morfa Mawddach, renamed from Barmouth Junction
only at the start of the 1960 summer timetable the previous year. The 14.41 to Ruabon took us to Bala
Junction, where we changed for Bala (a similar length branch to Stourbridge Town).

Being purely an interchange station with no public access, Bala Junction was not listed in the timetable
station bank. It was mentioned only as footnote 'G' against Bala, where we arrived at 16.02:
'Passengers to and from Bala change at Bala Junction by most of the trains', so we had no idea of our
booked times at the junction. The track of the branch to Blaenau Ffestiniog (Central) had already been
lifted north of Bala (CP 4 Jan 1960; CA 28 Jan 1961). Our departure 15 minutes later was once again
subject to footnote 'G' returning to Morfa Mawddach for the 17.45 to Dovey Junction and then the
18.45 to Aberystwyth.

[BLN 1262]

PREVIOUS PAGE: From Bala Junction footbridge looking west towards 'Dolgelley' in 1959. The then
Blaenau Ffestiniog (Central) branch is off right. A BR Standard Class 4MT 2-6-0 arrives with the 12.45
Pwllheli to Chester. © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
ABOVE: Bala Junction in 1962, the view westward, towards Dolgelley (now Dolgellau), also (to right)
Bala. © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Fri 18 Aug 1961: En route to Bala the previous day we had noticed a poster for the 'North Wales Radio
Land Cruise(s)', a train that started its day at Pwllheli at 10.10 and picked up at various stations along
the coast before heading to Rhyl. After a sojourn of 1½ hours it continued via Bangor and Afon Wen to
terminate at Barmouth (and presumably then worked back ECS to Pwllheli). This sounded very
interesting, as there was no line shown on our timetable map indicating how the train reached Rhyl! It
was before I had acquired the Ian Allan Pre-Grouping Atlas and Gazetteer and indeed before the
advent of the first PSUL in summer 1963. By great good fortune, my aunt had a friend who was a nun
at a convent in Rhyl, so heaven was clearly smiling on us and we had duly bought tickets, as our
Freedom of Wales rover tickets were not valid on the train. I have blessed that nun ever since!
The trip required us to take the 07.35 Aberystwyth to Dovey Junction then the 08.20 to Barmouth,
where we arrived at 09.21. We now had a 2 hour wait before departure at 11.25 of the Land Cruise to
Rhyl (arriving 13.58). A live 'radio' commentary was made in the open coaches (i.e. non-compartment).
En route to Bala Junction there were several mentions of our passing the childhood home of Mr
Antony Armstrong-Jones. He had married Princess Margaret the previous year, but had not then been
created the Earl of Snowdon. I was obviously hampered by not having a map and have no particular
memories of our journey from Corwen to Rhyl. By this time the Land Cruise and its opposite number,
which performed a clockwise circuit from Llandudno to Rhyl via Barmouth and Afon Wen, probably
constituted the only booked traffic between Corwen and Gwyddelwern, one station to the north?

[BLN 1262]
RIGHT: The 1959 season poster (reduced quality picture) included
a map, which would have been helpful, also the Llanberis branch
from Caernarvon and on Anglesey the Amlwch branch.

Corwen to Ruthin CP 2 Feb 1953 and regular freight ceased 2 Dec
1957 although private siding traffic, served from the north,
continued at Gwyddelwern after this date. Corwen to Ruthin and
Rhydymwyn (on the Chester via Mold line) to Denbigh CA 30 Apr
1962 on withdrawal of the Chester to Denbigh and Ruthin
passenger service. This withdrawal was delayed for some reason
as my summer 1961 BR London Midand Region timetable has a
note in Table 85 'The passenger service has been withdrawn. The
locality is served by 'buses* operated by Crosville Motor Services
Ltd', followed by 'Addendum: The train service between Chester
General and Ruthin will continue in operation throughout the
currency of this timetable and the stations shown to be closed will
remain open. For details of train services see page 806 at the back
of this timetable'.

Denbigh to Ruthin CA 1 Mar 1965; Rhyl, Foryd Jn to Denbigh CP
19 Sep 1955 and CA 1 Jan 1968. Excursion traffic continued
between Corwen and Rhyl until 8 Sep 1961, when the Land Cruise
trains ran for the last time. Therefore, our fortuitous trip was
exactly three weeks before the final working. (*Note the
apostrophe! Was 'omnibus' still in general usage then?)

Following our dutiful visit to the convent, the Land Cruise departed from Rhyl at 15.30 and deposited
us at Barmouth at 18.10. We had a somewhat lengthy wait for the 19.30 to Machynlleth and a good
connection there into the 20.46 to Aberystwyth, arriving at 21.30 - a somewhat lengthy day for a
middle-aged lady with no interest in railways, I think. On this section I remember seeing the branch
disappearing off to the left at Caernarvon (as it was in those days) but, unlike Angus, we did not know
where it went nor of the existence of the locally advertised service on the Llanberis branch. If we had
alighted at Caernarvon, we might have seen a poster or timetable somewhere on the station.

Subsequent to 1961, my misfortune with railways in North Wales continued. Later I knew that Ruabon
to Morfa Mawddach was due to close on 4 Jan 1965 (postponed from 23 Nov 1964 because of issues
with organising replacement bus services) and planned to cover my 'missing link' between Ruabon and
Corwen en route between home and university. However, fate (or rather the weather) took a hand;
several days of heavy rainfall led to severe flooding on 12 Dec 1964, which damaged the line in a
number of places. Services were restored fairly soon on the Ruabon to Llangollen and Bala to Morfa
Mawddach sections, but Llangollen to Bala Junction never reopened. In those pre-internet days it was
hard to obtain up to date information on a fluid (no pun intended!) situation and my understanding
was that the line was 'finished'. Indeed, I did not find out in time that closure was postponed again to
18 Jan 1965. So had I but known I could have covered at least Ruabon to Llangollen.

My only visit to Llangollen has been on Angus' coach tour of North Wales preserved lines in May 1981,
when nothing was running. The advice from experts is that I need to wait for the Llangollen Railway's
new permanent station at Corwen to open, whereupon I should achieve 'parallel overlap' with the line
from Rhyl, as the lines ran side by side for about ¼ mile to Corwen East Signal Box. (To be concluded….)

BELOW: Afonwen station (CP 7 Dec 1964) in July 1954; Ivatt Call '2' 46428 with the Land Cruise train.
After filling up with water it will head off to 'Caernavon' , Bangor and Rhyl. (Geoff Poole)

[BLN 1262]

1568] Valleys Manœuvres: In response to recent queries, it can be confirmed that the preferred Up
platform at Radyr is P3, there being a lower speed limit into P2, which necessitates a 'flashing' signal at
Llandaf when that route is set. Down trains starting from Ystrad Mynach leave from the Up platform,
via the south end crossovers. There is still an unusual move at Pontypridd mid-morning; the 09.25 ex-
Barry Island terminates in bay P1 to form the 10.39 return, and the 10.04 ex Merthyr terminates in P2
forming the 10.34 return, via the north end crossover (a 'set swap' between a 2-car and 4-car unit).
1569] Ely Valley Line: Some five miles of the railway right-of-way, between Coed Ely roundabout and
the west side of Tonypandy, has been obliterated by the A4119 road. Thus, no traces remain of the
stations at Coed Ely, Tonyrefail or Penygraig (CP 9 Jun 1958). However, beyond the end of the new
road the remainder of the branch can easily be followed as a footpath, leading toward the site of
Clydach Vale Colliery, now a country park. The junction of the A4119 and A4093 corresponds to the
former Gellyrhaidd Jn; the A4093 follows the old Hendreforgan branch, and passes a grey stone GWR
building, the former level crossing keeper's house for Gellyrhaidd Crossing, whose cast iron sign
adorns the gate of the house. A pile of rubble and earth marks the location of Hendreforgan station
(CP 22 Sep 1930, but believed later used by Tremains Factory trains); there is no public access here.

MR138] Barleylands Express, Essex (MR p16) (BLN 1197.MR227): This 7¼" gauge has closed. Prompted
by a report (from a visit in June 2016) that the stock had turned up at the Barnards Railway, a check
was made of the Barleylands web site and found no reference to the railway. A phone call brought the
information the railway had closed and the site was to be used for a 'new development'. In response
to questioning, it was stated the railway last ran around November 2015. Meantime our roving
reporter visited Barleylands for a Bus Rally on Sunday 26 June and, on checking the railway, found a
notice at the site stating 'closed for winter maintenance'. The track in the station area had been
removed and the area paved. The loco shed is now 'Function Room No3' with no track. The lifted track
panels were piled up off the track alignment.
MR139] Stainmore Railway, Cumbria (MR p9) (BLN 1164 MR112): Running from Kirkby Stephen East
station, this railway has added a one chain extension to its running track, the line now passes over
Bridge 3. Previously trains stopped just short of this structure, which has been refurbished. The
extension was brought into use on Sunday 19 June. On the new section, and just short of the bridge, is

[BLN 1262]

a new trailing connection, which will run back over Bridge 4 to serve a locomotive shed. During the
weekend of 9/10 July there was a 'Steam Gathering' event and a visit was made on the Saturday.
Trains started at 11.00 from the platform, outside the main station building, to Bridge 3. 'Top & tail' -
these were hauled out to Bridge 3 by 0-4-0 'F C Tingey' (P2084/1948) and hauled back by 0-4-0DM
'Elizabeth' (FH3958/1961). An all day adult train ticket is £3.50; site access is free. 'Driver for a Fiver'
was available from the bay platform out to the Footbridge, using 0-6-0DE Stanton No50 (YE2670/1958).

MR140] Yorkshire Wolds Railway, East Riding of Yorkshire (MR p9): (BLN 1238.MR125) On Sunday 10
July a visit was made to this short standard gauge railway to sample a cab ride over the 4 chains of
running line. In use was resident loco 0-4-0DH (GECT5576/1979). Cab rides are £1.50 and three rides
over the running line were provided for this. Since last year, the line has been extended by around 60
foot towards Wetwang. Further extension requires the crossing of a field access track which, the driver
stated, was causing some difficulty. A grounded van body is also new since this reporter last visited in
July 2015 from which tickets and tea/coffee can be purchased. Cab rides now operated (subject to
staffing) on all Sundays the site is open (May to the end of October, 11.00-17.00) from 13.00 to 17.00.

BELOW: The giraffes keep their heads down as Leviathan rounds the substantially engineered
new return loop at the South Lakes Railway (Dalton-in-Furness). (Peter Scott 5 Jul 2016)

[BLN 1262]
MR141] South Lakes Railway, Cumbria (MR p14) (BLN 1252.MR41): Running inside South Lakes Safari
Zoo at Dalton-in-Furness, this 7¼" gauge railway was visited on Tuesday 5 July. Trains started running a
little after 11.30, from Maki Restaurant station up through the Zoo to the new (2015) return loop. Here
they ran anti-clockwise around the loop, without stopping at Safari Zoo Central station. The driver later
explained, he only brought that station into use if the Ice Cream outlet was open on the platform - it
wasn't on this day! In use was steam loco 0-4-2 'Leviathan' (Thomas 2 design, built by Stewart Read of
Herefordshire in 2003) with four sit-astride coaches. The loco used the turntable and ran-round after
each trip at Maki Restaurant station. In the shed adjacent to Safari Zoo Central station, spare, were a
diesel loco and another two sit-astride coaches. The driver explained steam was only in use to allow a
new driver to gain some steam driving experience and the diesel would take over early afternoon. Zoo
entrance was £15.50 for adults, with a train ride another £1. The train fare is for one journey only and
it is therefore much cheaper to do the entire track when Safari Zoo Central station is not in use!

MR142] Crewe Heritage Centre, Cheshire (MR p8 & p13) (BLN 1233.MR61): During a visit on Saturday
2 July (not a special event), a surprise was to find the standard gauge line operating. Running from the
platform on demand was 03073 with BR brake van DB954536. At the far end, the former/normal
running track was blocked with stock, so the next line to the right (closer to Tesco) was used - stopping
short of some catch points. The 7¼" gauge railway was also operating, on demand, with a 4w Planet
style diesel and three sit-astride coaches. This ran over all three legs of the system: Midge Bridge -
Forge End - Crewe Old Works. Visitors were few; adult admission was £7 with rides free.

BELOW: 03073 on brake van rides at Crewe Heritage Centre (Peter Scott 02 Jul 2016).

[BLN 1262]
MR143] Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1253.MR46): North Devon Council has
approved the railway's application for 'Phase 2a' of the project to extend the line 4½ miles beyond
Blackmoor Gate to Wistlandpound Reservoir and convert a local pub, the Old Station House Inn into a
station, workshop and restaurant. The railway has set up the L&B Blackmoor Company PLC to carry out
the works at Blackmoor. Work on the extension could be underway in two years if the further five
applications are approved by Exmoor National Park (a decision is due in the autumn) the section
between the current end of the line at Killington Lane and Blackmoor is within the National Park.

MR144] Blenheim Park Railway, Oxfordshire (MR p22) (BLN 1184.MR84): A member visited this 15"
gauge railway on Sunday 10 July. £24.90 will gain you access to the wonderful Blenheim Palace,
birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The railway was running to full capacity every 30 minutes, hauled
by steam outline 0-6-0DH (AK94/2014) in maroon livery. The railway runs from the Palace to the
Pleasure Gardens; recently installed is a wooden tunnel on the main line opposite the loco shed - so
now the complete train is stabled in here when not in use. The spare locomotive (0-6-2DH AK39/1992)
was in the shed. Well worth the price of admission: there is some interesting railway footage of the
funeral train at Waterloo in the Churchill Rooms within the Palace. Also of interest are some more
modern pictures of our most recent former Prime Minister, who of course lives in nearby Witney.

MR145] East Cliff Railway, Bournemouth (MR p34) (BLN 1257.MR96): On 13 July a visit was made to
see the reconstruction works after this year's dramatic landslide, which by all accounts nearly took the
top station as well. Work is well under way to stabilise the cliffs, including new rock gabions and
securing the delicate rock face. The railway's two cars have been taken away for safe storage and the
bottom station has been demolished - just leaving part of the covered way to the bottom station
standing. The works will continue for this year at least - the whole site is fenced off, but good views of
the work in hand can be had from the beach.

MR146] Nantwich Methodist Church, Cheshire (BLN 1176.MR3): A visit was made to this short (75 yd)
7¼" gauge railway on Saturday 2 July. An 'E' layout, it runs along the south side of the Church. There
are 'stations' (without platforms) at each end - Whistleblower Cutting is adjacent to the church
entrance on Hospital Street, while Platform 7¼ is on the level crossing leading to the small Church car
park and adjacent to Morrison's car park. The line runs through a shed near to the Morrison end of the
line. In use was steam loco 0-6-0 'H C Pattman' (Kerr Stuart 'Haigh' class), propelling two sit-astride
coaches from Whistleblower Cutting to Platform 7¼ and hauling them back. In the shed, off the track,
was a small 4w battery electric (diesel outline) loco on charge. No fares are charged, but there was a
donation box at Whistleblower Cutting - where all passengers seem to board/alight. The line runs on
Saturdays all year (weather permitting) from 10.00 to at least 12.00. Inside the Church there is an
excellent café serving tea, coffee, lunches and cakes.

MR147] Cedarbarn Miniature Railway, Pickering, North Yorkshire: (BLN 1258.1155 with pictures in e-
BLN) A brand new railway! This 7¼" gauge line is located at the Cedarbarn Farm Shop and Café, just
east of Pickering on the A170. It is formed of a dumb-bell layout of 430yd in route length. Trains start
from a single platform station close to the Farm Shop, on a return loop, which the train travels round
in a clockwise direction. After passing over a level crossing with the path from the car park (with
warning lights and bell), trains run out past the 'pick your own' beds and through a tunnel/shed. Just
beyond this, there is a passing loop with spring points giving left-hand running. Trains then pass round
the other return loop, again in a clockwise direction. There are two short sidings by the station, which
mark the site of a proposed shed. Sole motive power is a battery-electric 'Warship' class locomotive in
maroon livery; un-named but numbered '821'. Manufactured in kit form, this was purchased from
Phoenix Models. Passenger stock is three sit-astride coaches in SR green livery. The railway opened to
passengers on Friday 1 July and a visit was made on Saturday 9 July. Despite it being a wet day the
train was in the station on arrival, with the driver sheltering in the ticket office building.

ABOVE: Cedarbarn Miniature Railway (Pickering), 821 at the station on a wet day (Peter Scott 9 Jul 2016)

However, he soon sold two tickets to our visiting members and duly wiped the seats dry! Rides are
£2.50 for all, with further rides at £1 each. A titled paper ticket is issued. The driver stated passengers
had been few on this wet day. The only other stock noted was one blue sit-astride coach (of a different
design) in one of the sidings by the station. In the future, it is possible visiting steam locomotives may
run as well (from the Ryedale Society at Gilling East) - hence the provision of a passing loop! There is a
good café on site, as well as the Farm Shop. A visit is fully recommended.


.Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking or enquiring. A service to members, details must be checked with the organisers.

1570] The Garden & Woodland Railway, Thame: (BLN 1259.1252) IMPORTANT NOTE: The item
about this private railway was in good faith but the owner wishes to be clear that visitors must pre-
book (groups preferred) via Ian Branch [email protected] and not just turn up please.

1571] Sowerby Bridge station, Jubilee Refreshment Rooms: Operated by two railway enthusiasts who
have re-created classical station refreshment rooms in part of the original 1876 forecourt Lancashire &
Yorkshire Railway station building; rail artefacts, food and drink (including real ales, Scotch Single
Malts, etc.) with regular events. See 01422 648285 Mobile: 07850 822590.

1572] Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways: Footplate rides (reports of track covered appreciated),
turn up on the day, were advertised at stations as follows: Porthmadog Harbour every Saturday 30 Jul
to 27 Aug, Blaenau Ffestiniog Sun 31 Jul and Caernarfon Sat 13 & 20 Aug. (Originally in e-BLN 1261.)

X.112] BELOW TOP: (BLN 1258.1161) The preserved 'Hastings' Unit approaches the NR/North Norfolk
Railway link at Sheringham Level Crossing with a railtour (unsurprisingly) from Hastings on Sat 23 July.
A good number of Society members were on the train, including some who had joined at Norwich.

BELOW BOTTOM: Sheringham is a quiet little place when not a great deal happens, so a train on a
level crossing attracts considerable attention. The Hastings unit made a return trip to Holt (rare P2)
and then there was time for a trip behind the two steam trains that were running. (All Ian Mortimer)

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