Issue Number 1243 (Items 1883 - 1976 & MR 168 - MR 180) (E-BLN 38 PAGES) 17 October 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society
BLN 1244 will be dated Sunday 1 November anSdocaileltcyo. ntributions must be received by 21 October.
BLN 60th ANNIVERSARY: OCTOBER 1955 - OCTOBER 2015
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
To be advised SVR short notice trip Highley, Engine House branch 1230 PS NOTIFY
Sat 17/10/15 Signalling type visit RTC Derby see back of BLN 1242 1242 PS FULL
Fri 23/10/15 Bo'ness & Kinneil Rly 10.00 Standard/miniature tours 1241 KA Open
Fri 23/10/15 Lathalmond Museum Standard gauge brakevan rides 1241 KA Open
Sat 24/10/15 Ribble Steam Railway 11.00 Railbus Ribble Ramble 1238 JW Open
Sat 7/11/15 RBF Tracker railtour 08.00 NB: FIRST CLASS IS FULL 1239 KA Open
Fri 13/11/15 AGM FIXTURES, NRM 11.00 South & North Yard rlys. 1241 PS Open
Fri 13/11/15 AGM ILLUSTARTED TALK 15.00 Gerald Daniels; and buffet 1241 PS Open
Fri 13/11/15 AGM, REGISTRATION 19.00 BLS 60th AGM, York NRM 1241 TW Open
Sun 15/11/15 BLS Tyne & Tees Tracker 09.15 Mainline railtour ex-York 1242 KA *FULL*
Sat 23/01/16 Main line tracker tour A date for your new 2016 diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 7/02/16 Main line tracker tour *NEW* date for your 2016 diary TBA TBA Claimed
Fri 18/03/16 Heritage railway visit * NEW* Standard gauge railtour TBA TBA Claimed
JW-John Williamson, KA-Kev Adlam, PS-Paul Stewart, TW-Tim Wallis
--------------------------------------------------- October 1955 - BLN No1*: ---------------------------------------------------
1883] The Polmont to Bo'ness branch was to close to passenger traffic (it did from 7 May 1956). On
the Glasgow to Edinburgh via Bathgate line stations beyond Airdrie were to close to passenger traffic
(enacted from 9 January 1956) but through passenger trains were to continue in the summer at least.
Perth to Ladybank: closed to passenger traffic from 19 September 1955. Unusual Track 1955 style:
Glenburnie Jn to St. Fort: Perth to Dundee trains were diverted along this line on Sundays 31 July and
7 August 1955 due to engineering work on the Tay Viaduct. Watford Junction to St. Albans Abbey:
Improved passenger services had been provided during the summer timetable by two 'Associated
Commercial Vehicles' 3-car lightweight diesel units with a resulting upsurge in passenger numbers. A
preliminary Society meeting was held at J.F. Ling's Stourbridge house on 24 September, to discuss
arrangements for the inaugural meeting of the Branch Line Society. The latter was held in Birmingham
on Saturday 26 November 1955. *BLNs 1-100 were monthly, October 1955 to January 1964, then twice
monthly starting with No1 again, (three BLNs were actually produced in January 1964, one on the old
system and two on the new) so this (BLN 1243) is actually the 1,343rd BLN
1884] BLS 60th AGM Update, Fri 13 Nov 19.00, NRM York: The second (final) notice with agenda
and the Treasurer's recommendations for our 2016/17 subscription rates (and fully approved by the
Committee) are enclosed. These contain some very good news for members; please bring them to
the AGM where they will be voted on. The draft 2014/15 Society accounts, the Treasurer's Report
and Accounts Examiner's report will follow in BLN 1244 as previously notified. Reminder: The final
date to notify the the General Secretary (see BLN 1241.1723) of AGM attendance is Wed 4 Nov.
Members may turn up on the day without booking (subject to capacity, which is not expected to be
a problem) but will not then be entitled to refreshments during the break. The NRM opens to the
public at 10.00 with free admission, which is when the AGM venue, the Mallard Room in the
Conference Centre, will be available to store members' luggage (entirely at owners' risk). An
additional attraction will be the original Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway School of Signalling model
railway, at the end of 'the Warehouse', open for viewing as a static exhibit (not operating but well
worth seeing) until 17.00. (PICTURE BELOW: Makiety kolejowe) According to the Guinness Book of
Records it is the World's oldest working model railway and has been used to train signallers for over
100 years. With authentic period signalling instruments, it is used by NR as the only one of its kind!
There is also 'NRM Central' (a full size 12-lever frame) and five video screens showing York IECC in
real time. Bob Wright, a new BLS member who is a volunteer from the group, is expected to be on
hand to chat to interested members from 12.30 to 13.30 between the South and North Yard
fixtures. See http://goo.gl/UxZgS2 also. Our railtour on Sunday 15 November with TPE is now full.
1885] Unusual Track (1): Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Skipton, Country end trailing X/O to P3, Sat 17 Oct: 09.52, 11.24, 13.55, 18.23 & 21.40 arrivals.
Springburn bay P3, Sun 18 Oct: 09.01 hourly to 23.01 from Partick returning 10.27 to 23.27.
Hooton Bay P1, Sun 18 Oct: Chester & Ellesmere Port arrivals/departures all day (08.00-23.57).
Kilburn High Road, Country end trailing X/O, Sun 18 Oct: All day Queen's Park (P4) to Euston.
Rochester, London End trailing X/O, Sun 18 Oct: All trains to London Victoria (depart from P4).
Midland Metro, St. Paul's X/O: Wolverhampton departures 25 October to approx 7 December.
[BLN 1243.1885 - cont.]
Oxford, Hinksey North Jn - Up & Down Passenger Loop - P1, (SuO) 29 Nov, 6 & 13 Dec: All
GWR & XC trains from the south (terminate/turn back P1 with no trains running to/from north).
Dumfries from P1 via London end trailing X/O: (SuX) 04.58, 06.17, 07.45 (07.43 SO) and 17.07
plus (SO) 11.02, 13.10 & 16.02; (SuO) 13.00, 15.01 & 19.01 all to Carlisle (a few to Newcastle)
Tweedbank P2 (non-preferred platform): 22.54 (SSuX), 23.55 (SO) & 23.11 (SuO) ex-Edinburgh,
05.20 (SSuX), 06.29 (SO) & 09.45 (SuO) ex-Tweedbank and generally railtours/steam specials.
NIR, Translink, Bangor P1: The 08.47 and 16.17 to Portadown no longer use P1 at Bangor.
1886] Unusual Track (2): This website http://goo.gl/atct2m which has been fully updates, lists specific
UK passenger trains scheduled to traverse unusual sections of track normally freight only, little used
platforms, lines, loops and crossovers which are not normally covered by the majority of the service
trains, seven days a week. It is searchable and a very useful resource. There is currently no charge or
subscription fee for anyone using the site, although the author, our member Ian Delgado, invests
considerable time and effort in it. Anyone who has found this site useful, please show your
appreciation by making a donation to Ian's chosen charity, Railway Children, via the site specific link:
http://goo.gl/wOfPDG . Thank you to those few who have generously donated so far; Railway Children
(therefore children on the street) will always benefit from more contributions, no matter how small.
ABOVE: 08644 waiting to leave Plymouth P6 for Laira Depot on 2 May 2015. (Craig Kinsey)
1887] FIXTURES REPORTS; 'The FGW Laira Liaison' Sat 2 May: (57/60) After a good number had begun
the day with special morning operation on the Plym Valley Railway, an incredible 198 participants
travelled to Plymouth for this joint BLS/PLEG (Preserved Locomotive Enthusiasts Group) track and
traction charity trip. This was a real 'win-win-win' event, raising £7,850 for the 'Plymouth and District
Mind Association' http://goo.gl/dyGg3Z mental health charity. NR kindly waived track access charges,
all staff (including our member local FGW, now GWR, driver Stuart Smith) generously gave their time
free and, as usual, all BLS/PLEG Stewards purchased their own tickets. The departure time of 12.00 at
Plymouth maximised rail connections (even available from Bradford and York as a day trip) and saw
the unusual sight of an 8+2 HST (the power cars just to power the train's electrical systems) with Laira
Depot class 08s 08644 and 08645 working at each end. Then followed a 7¼-mile trundle to Laira Depot
and back in time to catch the 14.00 departure to Paddington (see later). The route included some track
[BLN 1243.1887 - cont.]
not previously covered on our recent 'FGW Tracker' railtours. Departing east, at Lipson Jn the usual
right hand line of the curve was taken to Mount Gould Jn (the other line being, rather unusually,
unidirectional in the opposite direction between Speedway Jn and Lipson Jn). Then, bypassing the
carriage washer and taking the 'Down Arrival' line, the buffer stops were reached short of Plymouth
Friary overbridge. (PICTURE BELOW: Peter Dawson 2 May 2015.) Return was along the 'Up Departure'
line then via Laira Depot Through Siding No3 to Laira Jn and the Down goods line where the train
reversed. Return to Plymouth station was directly along the Down Main. Some pictures of this unusual
event http://goo.gl/7TP9OO and other relevant information. The atmosphere on board was great and
when the FS suggested that the Editor went
down the train selling spare copies of the newly
released 2015 'Minor Railways' to the non-BLS
members aboard, they ran out requiring a
reprint! A big thank you to all involved for this
outstanding and unusual trip, particularly
FGW/GWR, NR and PLEG's Fixtures Secretary,
our member, Andrew 'Brillo' Wilson for the
major task of administering this event (and the
next trip later in the day...).
1888] 'The Paignton Pink Panther Potter', Sat 2
May: (58/60) A large number of 'Laira
Liaisoners' caught the 14.00 Plymouth to
Paddington HST which was having problems and
left late. However, thanks to the FGW
conductor and 'Control', the connection at
Newton Abbot for Paignton was made, facilitated by the HST unusually running into P1 over the west
end facing crossover for a speedy cross platform interchange to the Pacer units! The 'normal' HST
passengers should be grateful for the London end trailing crossover on departure too! At Paignton 95
passengers departed at 15.20 in two Tourist Open Second Class coaches on this 'track and traction'
tour in conjunction with PLEG, using ex-BR Class 03 D2192 and Class 08 D3014. The tour was a
breakthrough and thought to be the first detailed track tour of the Dartmouth Steam Railway (DSR).
Even though it did not run far beyond Churston, 9¼ miles were covered in total! It began by propelling
back to the end of line at Paignton Queens Park station, and then through the run round loop. The
DSR then uses NR infrastructure (with running powers from 222m 21ch to 27ch) over their side of NR's
Paignton South Level Crossing. The train then ran behind the now rarely used Goodrington P2 to the
buffer stops of Cliff Park Siding, the furthest south (or should that be west as it was GWR territory?)
extremity of the various still extensive carriage sidings. Also covered in this area was the adjacent first
and third of the 'Happy Valley Sidings' (as the name might suggest at a lower level than the main line)
into their respective headshunts, including the (Kingswear) end of line at 223m 06ch and the 'Tanners
Road Headshunt' (222m 60ch) at the Paignton end. The manœuvers included 3 of the 4 routes over
the double slip that end. The passengers were certainly very happy with all this. The layout is
significantly different from that shown in TRACKmaps 3 p7C (August 2010). A set down was made at
Goodrington Sands P2, covering the bidirectional loop here, for those who had just wanted the rare
haulage and an earlier finish.
Then it was off to Churston P1 (where in 1972 BR left just a single track through line on closure of the
branch) to cross the service train. Next was a reversal on the single line beyond the loop back through
P2 and onto the stub of the former Brixham branch. This is the Churston Yard Access Line, then over
the turntable to the buffers of its middle run-off line, followed by the single slip to the Long Siding up
to stabled stock. The single-track off the Up side was next, through the door inside the Maintenance
Depot to parked stock but this was not the finale! This superb railtour ended in Paignton Queens Park
[BLN 1243.1888 - cont.]
south side shed road with alighting onto the adjacent platform. It is pleasing to report that £1,355 was
donated to the railway as a result of the fixture. See http://goo.gl/yWCGnv for an up to date trackplan,
some pictures and more information. Thanks are due to the DSR for all the excellent arrangements.
BELOW: D2192 at P2 at Churston. (Craig Kinsey 2 May 2015)
1889] Nairn to Huntly, BLS Signal Box Visits, Sat 20 Jun: (73-79/60) On the midsummer weekend with
maximum daylight and pleasant weather, a group of 10 met at Nairn at 09.15, some travelling on the
trains which crossed at the station then. Participants were welcomed, and given a short safety briefing
by Local Operations Manager Alex Campbell. Until April 2000, Nairn was famous for the use of a
bicycle by the signalmen to travel between the three signalling locations. These were a platform office
with the token instruments, (a block post since the line opened in 1856), as well as the east and west
signal boxes (BLN 1237.1342 with pictures in e-BLN). This was once a quite common practice on the
Highland Railway. Since resignalling, most passenger services use the northern (former eastbound)
platform in both directions, which has the main buildings on it. The southern one is now used by
Aberdeen bound services if crossing another train (as when our group arrived). Although both signal
boxes ('Grade B' listed buildings) are closed, they each retain their lever frames and remain in good
condition after renovation in 2012. Signalling is all now based in the platform office which has the
unusual combination of a Westcad (WESTinghouse Control And Display) VDU terminal and a Key Token
Instrument! The key token working is east to Forres, and the Westcad controls the station area and
appropriately west on the single line to interface with Inverness Signalling Centre. The party visited
both redundant boxes, the platform office and sampled the excellent 'Coffee Station' there.
Forres (formerly 'Forres East' signal box) was next, once a triangular junction with the line to Boat of
Garten and Aviemore, the other end of which is now the Strathspey Railway. There was also a dead
straight east to west 'station avoiding line', latterly the goods depot accessed from the east end but
now all OOU. The existing passenger line sharply curves towards the town and back again with the
station (reduced to a single platform) situated on this tight curve. Key token working is used at this
1896 box in both directions with a 24 lever McKenzie & Holland frame and semaphore signalling. An
unusual (passenger-unfriendly!) feature here is that the loop is just east of the station. The box also
works a level crossing (now with lifting barriers) but the remains of the gate-wheel are still visible at
the west end of the lever frame. The route of the former avoiding line is still visible and this is likely to
return to operational use in a few years if the station is re-sited as planned by NR and the Scottish
Government (BLN 1237.1325 & 1338) as part of the Inverness to Aberdeen line upgrade. The key token
instrument towards Elgin is fitted with a 'token magazine' apparatus. If unbalanced workings result in
[BLN 1243.1889 - cont.]
an excess of tokens at one end of the section, some can be transferred to the magazine (in which they
are securely locked) and taken by road to the other end to refill to the other token instrument.
(BELOW: From OS 1" to the mile, sheet 28 Nairn & Cromarty (1926/7 revision). Why is Forres station
on such a sharp curve? Nairn and Inverness are to the west, Elgin and Aberdeen east. The straight
avoiding line is shown as a 'mineral line', the original (1858) Forres passenger station was at its east
end, close to the 'p' in 'Greeshop'. It is the proposed new station site. The line heading off southeast is
the original 1863 'Inverness & Perth Junction' line (CP 18 October 1965), from 1865 a constituent of
the Highland line, the building of which led to the resiting of the station to its current location. The
later 'direct' and present Aviemore to Inverness route opened in stages between 1892 and 1898.
Elgin is the end of key token working on the Inverness to Aberdeen route. The line beyond (to Keith) is
worked by Scottish Region Tokenless Block (now known by NR as 'Scotland Route Tokenless Block').
This 26-lever frame signal box was installed by BR in 1951 as 'Elgin West', second hand from the
former Mosstowie station where it had been since 1902. It holds the staff (actually a small key) for the
Burghead branch, although this has not been used since the year 2000 (BLN 1237.1325). The party did
not visit Alves Jn but was told that the points there have recently been renewed and there is the
possibility of traffic returning to Roseisle distillery. The extensive but little used sidings at Elgin East are
accessed via a ground frame beyond P1, released from the box and allowing trains to be 'shut in'.
Keith (once Keith Junction, as evidenced by its 'KJ' code) took the group from Highland to Great North
of Scotland Railway territory. It was the junction for the Dufftown branch, (the heritage Keith &
Dufftown Railway, now disconnected from the main line). A small NR stub into Keith branch platform
remains. This is believed to be the shortest branch or section now worked by train staff (or token) on
NR (BLN 1238.1337). Remarkably few of the 40 levers at Keith are spare as it has a fully signalled loop
(both lines are bidirectional), goods yard, sidings and the bay platform; the latter are all little used.
Huntly with 25 levers was the final box of the day. A weird quirk of geography means that the line runs
NORTHEAST to Inverness and SOUTHWEST to Aberdeen (check your map) which confused several
participants on first entering the box. Both station lines are bidirectional but the Loop Line (P1) is
favoured because of easier access to the town. When two trains are crossing, the signaller can adjust
the choice of platform if requested by Scotrail. If one train has a disabled passenger wishing to board
[BLN 1243.1889 - cont.]
or alight, then that train will use P2. After a group photo, a collection was made and £285 donated to
Glenfinnan Station Museum. NR donated the same amount to CLIC Sargent by 'match-funding'. Most
of the party then left and one carload visited the Keith & Dufftown Railway for a heritage DMU ride.
BELOW: Group picture in front of the very smart Huntly signal box at the east end of the station loop.
Unsurprisingly it is exactly 40m 40ch from Aberdeen! (Alex Campbell June 2015)
LEFT: One that got away! Bridport
branch train leaving (away from the
cameraman) Maiden Newton. The
singled Weymouth to Yeovil Pen
Mill (then on to Bristol) line is right.
BELOW: Bridport, terminus of the
9¼ mile branch (CP 5 May 1975)
that once extended two miles
beyond the buffer stops to
'Bridport East Street' and 'Bridport
West Bay' stations (they CP 22 Sept
1930). (Ian Mortimer)
------------------------------------------------- October 1965 - BLN 42 & 43: ------------------------------------------------
1890] We welcomed new member (161) Mr. Richard Maund compiler of the 'List of Passenger Train
Services Over Unusual Lines'. Local passenger services between Crewe and Shrewsbury were refused
for withdrawal by the Minister of Transport (MoT), Nantwich, Prees, Wem, Wrenbury and Yorton
stations remained open. The MoT's refusal to close the line between Ryde St. Johns Road and
Shanklin meant that the 1922-23 London Tube 'Standard' stock originally earmarked for the Pier Head
to St. John's Road shuttle service had to be augmented as there were only two sets (in Micheldever
goods shed. Looe to Liskeard, St. Ives to St. Erth and Bridport to Maiden Newton were all proposed
for closure from 3 October 1966 (at least they gave plenty of notice!). Refused for closure: Romford to
Upminster. Stations to close 6 December 1965: Auchinleck, New Cumnock, Sanquhar and Gretna
Green (all subsequently ROP but others did not). After, Kirkconnel was the only passenger station
between Kilmarnock and Dumfries (60½ miles) until Auchinleck ROP 14 May 1984.
1891] The Great Glen, Glenfinnan station, Museum & signal box, Sun 21 June: (80 & 81/60) A select
few met at Inverness station at 09.30 for a road tour beginning by travelling down the much rarer east
side of Loch Ness and visiting numerous sites along the fascinating former Invergarry & Fort Augustus
Railway (I&FAR). Many have the wrong idea about this archetypical branch which was actually heavily
engineered and intended to become the
North British Railway double track Glasgow to
Inverness main line. It would have been the
shortest and fastest route from Glasgow (160
miles compared with 207 at the time) had it
been completed beyond Fort Augustus. The
branch managed to successfully avoid what
little population there was between the
junction at Spean Bridge and Fort Augustus by
taking the unpopulated east side of the Great
Glen. The Highland Railway also proposed a
line between Inverness and Fort Augustus to
block a North British extension but did not
need (nor could afford) three routes to
Inverness and both railway companies agreed
not to build the line!
LEFT: From the 1928 OS 1" to a mile 'Popular
Edition' of Scotland (sheet 42). The line was
CP at the time and someone has made a
crude attempt to incorrectly colour Fort
Augustus station in red (open) on the original
map! It shows the final section of the pier
branch (to 'Old Pier') as lifted at this time.
[BLN 1243.1891 - cont.]
Locations visited included Fort Augustus station site, where some platform edging remains, the former
Caledonian Canal swing bridge and the piers of the River Oich viaduct in the town. A trip in a rubber
tyred vehicle was made to the end of the former Fort Augustus pier branch (which had a summer only
passenger service connecting with steamers from just 1903 to 1906 and cost almost as much to build
as the rest of the line). The station house is intact, now a B&B business. The main branch trackbed (in
June in the process of conversion into a high quality, well cleared and well drained cycle path, part of
'The Great Glen Way') was walked for 4½ miles from the former Aberchalder station, through the
line's only tunnel, to Invergarry. Extensive use of concrete was noted, in a sympathetic way as the line
did not open until 1903. In April 1910 the 24 mile branch was quite difficult to do; an 8.30am (SuX)
departure from Fort Augustus to Spean Bridge (9.25/10.25am) arrived back at 11.20. Additionally
TuWFO, there was a return working at 2.30pm; MThSO it ran at 7.15pm! The line CP from 31 October
1911 to 1 August 1913 then it was subsidised by Inverness County Council. Final CP was 1 December
1933. A weekly coal train continued SO with Naval traffic during WW2; final CG was 1 January 1947.
This lovely track bed walk in superb countryside with views of Loch Oich and the Caledonian Canal is
thoroughly recommended. At Invergarry the lengthy island platform (built to take the royal train,
which it did twice) has been cleared and 400yd of track laid as part of a plan to create a railway
museum here. The remains of a passenger subway were investigated at the south end. Participants
walked to the abutment of the Gloy viaduct then drove to Spean Bridge station (where the I&FAR
joined the West Highland line). The former signal box here has recently been renovated, but NR is still
looking for someone to take it on for a modern-day use. The station building has become 'The Old
Station Restaurant', specialising in fine Highland dining. The group finally reached Glenfinnan Station
Museum. This was viewed and refreshment taken in the static buffet car (ex-Mk 1 TSO 3767). Turns
were taken at operating the signal box lever frame which has recently been restored with a
demonstration simulation. The fully loaded 'Jacobite' steam train was seen returning from Mallaig to
Fort Wiliam and later two Scotrail DMUs crossed at Glenfinnan, not bad for a Sunday afternoon.
Returning to Fort William via various locations of railway interest the party dispersed. Two enjoyed a
scenic (18.15 'Citylink' service) coach trip back to Inverness through the Great Glen. Thanks to our local
Fort William member, Nick Jones, for two very interesting and enjoyable days in this really lovely part
of the country.
1243 HEAD LINES (2015)
1892] Butterwell Disposal Point - Potland Burn Disposal Point (4m 76ch*): ROG possibly from 18 May
2015, open cast coal traffic to Ratcliffe Power station generally up to four trains a week. Part is the
residual section of the 'Butterwell Light Railway'. (BLN 1202.165). *Mileage from Bedlington Jn via
Ashington. Potland Burn loading pad: (NZ 2625 9008), End of line: (NZ 2642 8955).
1893] Dudley, 'Black Country Living Museum Tramway, Racecourse Colliery' - Museum Entrance:
(BLN 1239.1527) ROP fully Saturday 29 August 2015, after Phase 2 of track replacement works on this
3'6" gauge 525yd long line. (TCP after last running on 24 November 2013 due to state of track etc.)
1894] London, Forest Gate Jn - Woodgrange Park Jn: TCP after Friday 2 October service until service
on Saturday 10 October 2015, due to temporary gauging problems with Class 357/3 EMUs.
1895] Manchester, Ordsall Lane Jn - Museum of Science & Industry (ex-Liverpool Road station): (BLN
1193.1324) CA expected Sunday 18 October 2015 with removal of the Up Bolton Line points along with
the associated signalling. This connection has been extremely rarely used; the final railtour (possibly
the final train) was our Power Hall Tracker of Sunday 6 November 2013 (report in BLN 1198 p.458).
1896] London Underground, Hanger Lane Jn - Ealing Broadway (incl.), District Line P7, 8 & 9:TCP is
scheduled 24 October to 1 November 2015 inclusive for complete relaying and realignment of Hanger
Lane Jn. District Line trains are running to Richmond only. Over the weekends of 24/25 October and 31
October/1 November the Piccadilly line is also closed from Acton Town (excl.) to Rayners Lane Jn.
1897] Midland Metro, Birmingham Snow Hill (incl.) - St. Paul's stops (excl.): From 25 October 2015,
due to CA as far as the slew with the city extension; TCP beyond that until about 6 December. The
extension is being connected to the existing line and during the temporary closure, trams will use St.
Paul's trailing crossover on departure to Wolverhampton. With reopening trams will be extended to
the new Snow Hill Livery Street stop in St. Chads (SP 0678 8751) and inconvenient for interchange.
BELOW: A very rare sight in recent years of two trams (old and new) at Birmingham Snow Hill looking
south to the end of line. Equally unusual is the use of the right hand line (by No20). This stop, OP 30
May 1999 with the Midland Metro to Wolverhampton St. George's, closes permanently from Sunday
25 October along with the single track section towards St. Paul's. At some point in the future, Snow Hill
station P4 is intended to be reinstated, reducing rare crossover use there. (Press release 7 April 2014)
1898] Scunthorpe, Trent Jn - Normanby Park Ground Frame (2m 11ch) - Roxby Gullet (4m 20ch): (BLN
1216.1286) ROG is expected in November possibly 5th; a three-year contract for inward capping soil
from London, Old Oak Common and Rossington Colliery for areas of the tip that are full. DBS Route
learning light engines ran from Anchor Sidings to Roxby on 28 September and 5 October. The branch
single line staff has been returned to the shunters' cabin and track maintenance has re-commenced.
1899] , Liverpool Bulk Terminal (Gladstone Dock): CG expected December 2015 with the
cessation of imported biomass for Ironbridge Power Station. The terminal opened in 1993, requires
significant investment and is expected to revert to the Peel Ports Group in March 2016.
1900] Madeley Jn - , Ironbridge 'B' Power Station: CG (All) expected in December (4m 35ch ex-
GWR single track branch) with closure of the power station (this has to be before 1 January), recently
3-4 daily trains (1-2 Sundays) of imported biomass have been running from Liverpool Bulk Terminal.
1901] Cannon Street ('South Jn') - 'in/out Cannon St. Line' - Metropolitan Jn (B): (BLN 1242.1833
track plan) This 25ch SER built curve is to CP after service on 12 December 2015, i.e. departures from
Charing Cross at 23.45, 23.52, 00.02, 00.15 (SuX), 00.18, 00.22 and 00.48 (the final train on Sunday 13
December to Orpington). These all reverse in Cannon Street station and there is no passenger service
in the other direction. The route will be unavailable from 24 December 2015, the start of the London
Bridge Christmas blockade, and these services are unlikely to resume in future. (See Greater London
section for more information and next entry.)
1902] Charing Cross - Cannon Street & Blackfriars Jn - London Bridge: (BLN 1242.1833 plan) TCA as
through routes from 24 December 2015 as a consequence of the next phase of Thameslink.
1903] Manchester Metrolink, Victoria (excl.) - Exchange Square (incl.): OP expected December; the
northern section of the 'Second City Crossing'. Some trams will run to Shaw & Crompton bay platform.
1904] Sheffield, Tinsley Chord (incl.) - Rotherham, Parkgate Retail Park: (BLN 1236.1275) Tram Train
OP now deferred to 2017 because NR are still awaiting approval to build the £1.83M (164yd) Tinsley
Chord. The Transport and Works Order application was submitted on 31 March along with 20 very
detailed supporting documents. The chord starts as a double track connection (SK 3962 9112) with the
existing Meadowhall Supertram line immediately after it crosses the Rover Don. Under the M1/A631
double viaduct (SK 3967 9118), the tracks single and this joins the NR line to Rotherham Central (SK
(BELOW: Tinsley Tram Train Chord, tracks shown in red, from NR public and press release documents.)
1243 BLN GENERAL (2015)
1905] Falling Coal: The price of coal continues to fall, as does the amount carried by rail. Since the UK
power station coal Carbon Tax was doubled on 1 April, during April, May and June this year coal traffic
declined by 61% compared with 12 months before in terms of tonne-km. This resulted in, and fully
accounted for a drop of 17.7% in total rail freight traffic over 12 months. Crowbansgate Coal Terminal
(New Cumnock) is the only Scottish open cast coal site now dispatching rail traffic. Customers include
Ketton, Hope and Penyfford (Padeswood) cement works who do not have to pay the 'Carbon Tax' as
such but have agreed targets to reduce Carbon emission (achieving a 25% cut in 5 years and so,
ironically, further depressing the demand for coal with increased use of alternative energy sources).
1906] Points and Slips: BLN 1241] There are numerous references to 'Treforest' in connection with
our Valley Lines Tracker but a member has correctly pointed out that the station was actually renamed
to the Welsh version 'Trefforest' from 12 May 1980 timetable change when 19 station names were
amended to a more Welsh version (BLN 392 p65). Similarly Treforest Estate station became Trefforest
Estate. For example Clynderwen became Clunderwen and Pontardulais became Pontarddulais with an
extra 'd'. Interestingly the 'Treforest mistake' has occurred in 24 different BLNs on 50 occasions since
1980 but was spelt correctly with 'ff' on 19 occasions in 11 BLNs! There was also use of double-f in
'Trefforest' before 1980 and TRACKmaps spells the eponymous curve with one 'f' but backs both
horses at the two stations! NR's Sectional Appendix has two at the stations but only one at the curve
(actually in Cardiff, with two 'fs' of course, between Penarth Curve North Jn and Radyr Branch Jn).
Interestingly, other than at the station, the local village, businesses and the educational campus all
seem to use the single 'f' version of the name. It should be pointed out that our Wales Sub-Editor, of
course, used the double-f version in his itinerary and historical notes for the tour.
Regarding BLN 1242.1809] Special thanks to Essex member John King for making our East Anglia signal
box visits happen from Norwich on 1 August. 1833] The London Bridge to Waterloo East track plan
applies from Monday 4 January 2016 rather than 5th as shown; the text is correct. 1826] The LCGB
'Werneth incline railtour' of 5 January 1963 (in the middle of a dreadful very severe icy cold winter)
was actually arranged by Wally Gandy, a former BLS Officer, but it was the first tour that member No1
participated in. No1 was 17 when he first started organising fixtures initially to steam sheds and works.
Item 1836] A minor cock up here, 'the famous Cock Tavern' should be 'The Famous Cock Tavern'. 1839]
We are grateful to the 'Railway Observer' for the information that the Hitachi IEP North Pole Depot
access signalling was commissioned on 4 July. 1849] At Snettisham another correspondent did find
and photograph the former goods shed (and the former station building) earlier this year. BELOW
LEFT: On the King's Lynn to Hunstanton branch between Dersingham and Heacham, Snettisham station
buildings. RIGHT: The former goods shed. (Angus McDougall 2015)
[BLN 1243.1906 - cont.]
Item 1852] Caught out in a trap? The location of the Voyager derailment was Eastleigh Depot; it has
been suggested that 'catch points' should have been referred to as 'trap points'. Trap points are facing
and 'trap' a train that goes too far and can be set not to trap a train if it has the road to proceed. Catch
points are trailing and 'catch' a train that runs backwards on a gradient from the days of unfitted
freights with brakevans where the rear of the train may break off. They were often just on one rail
rather than both. The latter, obsolete with the end of loose-coupled freight, were often spring worked
and had to be clipped up for a wrong direction move. The names are often interchanged (technically
incorrectly) with some regional and former railway company preferences for one name over the other.
1907] A little bird told me: (BLN 1224.18) Our Twitter account @BLSGeneralSec now has over 500
followers (and one leader) see https://goo.gl/Q7tMWQ there is https://goo.gl/5KDwqX as well.
1243 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS (2015)
1908] Grantham: On 30 September a stained glass window of the 'Mallard' in P2 waiting room was
unveiled. Nottingham 'stained glass artist' of 40 years, Mike Brown, had been inspired by the loco in
2013; displayed at the station for the 75th anniversary of its 1938 steam speed record (125.88 mph).
1909] Nottingham: The GPS derived geographical maps (thanks to our member David Bickell) of the
NET extensions on the OS map background, used with permission and sent out with e-BLN 1242 were
1:25,000 scale, originally printed at 1:29,412 (as stated along the top). They show that both Clifton and
Toton Lane termini were true 'greenfield' sites (in the middle of fields!). South of the River Trent, the
Clifton line follows the former Great Central Railway closely for 1½ miles from Coronation Avenue (SK
5700 3773) to the A52, Clifton Boulevard (SK 5667 3534) then veers east before Ruddington. North of
the River Trent, parts of 'The Meadows' estate extend over the former trackbed so it was unavailable.
1910] Ilkeston: (BLNs 1226.244 & 1230.633) The new station enabling works began in September.
These include setting up site also investigating and treating old mine workings. If work proceeds to
plan, main construction begins in November taking about seven months, with the station opening next
summer. It is to have Northern Rail Leeds to Nottingham and EMT Liverpool to Norwich services.
1911] Castle Donington: (BLN 1210.895) Developer Roxhill still wish to build a branch line to a new
freight terminal with warehousing on a 250 acre site adjacent to six million square feet of existing
warehouses north of East Midlands Airport. The planning application will be determined by the
Secretary of State for Transport rather than locally due to the national significance of the proposed
East Midlands Gateway Rail Freight Interchange. The Planning Inspectorate completed examination
of the plans in July and had until 12 October to put its findings and recommendation to Central
Government. Nearby, the rail link into the massive 'Marks & Spencer' warehousing on the site of the
former Castle Donington Power station still shows no sign of use. (See BLN 1153.101, January 2012.)
1243 GREATER LONDON (2015)
1912] Bromley-by-Bow: (BLN 1239.1548) Track rationalisation has begun here in advance of the Sub-
Surface Lines resignalling. The trailing crossover here was due to be removed over the weekend of 10
and 11 October. The one booked train to use it, which ran empty from Barking sidings and performed
an empty shunt to form the 06.16 SuO to Upminster, now runs empty from Barking via the through
siding at West Ham to start there in the eastbound platform.
1913] Cricklewood Sidings: (BLN 1238.1454) The barrier across the North Reception Line was removed
on 5 October and it is now available for arrivals from the Up Slow and departures to the Down Slow
Lines. It is intended that East Midland Trains will use North Sidings 2, 3 & 4 with Thameslink using
North Sidings 5 & 6 and South Siding. North Siding 1 is for crippled rolling stock and miscellaneous use.
BELOW, TOP: Cricklewood Sidings north, before the track barrier removal. The former Carriage Siding
No1 (north end), now the North Reception Line, is connected to the slow lines. With the new south
side siding complex signed into use and they are all awaiting our custom! (Robin Morel 6 Oct 2015)
[BLN 1243.1913 - cont.]
BELOW: The new control panel at Cricklewood Depot showing the new layout. (Kev Adlam May 2015)
1914] Crossrail: (BLN 1233.950) In September Canary Wharf Group completed construction of Canary
Wharf station and handed over the ticket hall and platform levels to Crossrail Ltd. for fitting out.
1915] Crystal Palace: (BLN 1215 p351) The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway have been granted
planning permission to reinstate a gate and handrails on the Southwark (station) side of the ornate
subway under the A212 that connected the former High Level station with the Crystal Palace. The
Palace was destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936; the station CP on 20 September 1954 and was
demolished in 1961. The Friends are currently raising funds for the scheme, which will allow safe
pedestrian access to the subway. To donate see https://goo.gl/r5VXx0 and for more information.
1916] Lillie Bridge Depot: Following various track remodelling works, from 11 July lines 1-13 were all
electrified and in use. (London Railway Record)
1917] Thameslink: (BLN 1242.1833) As can be seen from the post-New Year track layout, the route
between Cannon Street and Blackfriars will be completely isolated from the other lines in the
Metropolitan Jn area. This means that the late trains from Charing Cross at the close of service will no
longer be able to run via Cannon Street or call at London Bridge. Although the track and signalling
alterations do not take place until the Christmas/New Year holiday blockade, changes to trains will
occur from the December timetable revision. The last train to use Metropolitan Jn to Stoney Street Jn
(also known as Cannon Street South Jn) will be the 00.48 Charing Cross to Orpington on Sunday 13
December; thereafter the route will be CP again. At the same time, the timing point for Charing Cross
trains will be altered from Metropolitan Jn to Ewer Street Jn. From Tuesday 15 December 00.15 T-FO
Charing Cross to Tonbridge reverts to running via New Beckenham. It is not shown in the database on
Saturday mornings but this may be an error. One quirk in the present timetable that will disappear is
Up Charing Cross trains shown using the Up Passenger Loop at London Bridge which is not, of course,
available. However, the signalling panel in London Bridge PSB has been 'fooled' into thinking that it still
exists! The last passenger train departures before the blockade is taken on 24 December are 19.45
Charing Cross to Hastings and 19.50 Cannon Street to Orpington. There is ECS from Cannon Street at
19.53. Unlike previous holiday blocks, there seem to be no trains berthed in either terminus; the 04.57
Cannon Street to Dartford on Monday 4 January 2016 does not yet have an inwards working.
When services resume after the holiday period signalling of the route between east of London Bridge
station and Charing Cross will be transferred from London Bridge PSB to Three Bridges ROC, with
signals re-plated 'TL'. Changes to the signalling will be made on the section between Charing Cross and
Ewer Street Jn and the tracks here will be renamed from Down Slow to Down Charing Cross Slow etc.
In the past there has sometimes been a shuttle service between Charing Cross and Cannon Street at
weekends, to allow engineering work on the Charing Cross lines in the Borough Market area. However,
it is far from likely that this will happen again when a direct link between the two termini is reinstated.
By January 2018, when the Thameslink work is complete, there will be four tracks on two separate
viaducts at Borough Market, so most engineering work should be possible with just two lines closed.
Any shuttle between Charing Cross and Cannon Street would have to be scheduled to cross the more
intensively used Thameslink route on the flat. [Members have been advised!]
1918] Twickenham: (BLN 1203.272) Work to upgrade the station seems to be taking longer than
planned. However the first phase of improvements was finished in time for the Rugby World Cup, with
platform improvements, a new footbridge and toilets, additional CCTV and more information screens.
1243 NORTH EAST (2015)
1919] Redcar: Iron and steel production at the Redcar plant was 'paused' on 18 September by its
owners, Thai company Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI). On 28 September, it was announced that the
plant was to be mothballed and SSI went into liquidation on 2 October. There will be surprisingly little
effect on external rail traffic. Iron ore and coal were delivered by ship directly, the only steelworks in
[BLN 1243.1919 - cont.]
this country where this was possible. All the steel was taken to Tees Dock via the internal rail link for
shipment to SSI's rolling mills in Thailand. The internal rail operations associated with the steel plant
have ceased, in particular the transport of molten iron in torpedo ladle wagons (so called because of
their shape) to the Lackenby BOS (Basic Oxygen Steelmaking) plant. Tata Steel sold the steel plant to
SSI in 2011, but retained ownership of the Lackenby Beam Mill, which is supplied with steel from
Scunthorpe. The internal network at Lackenby, the connection to NR at Beam Mill Jn and the rail link
to Tees Dock will therefore remain in use. The branch from NR to Redcar Ore Terminal closed when
Consett works closed in 1980 but that to the Coal Terminal is still open. It was used to bring in coal
from Tower Colliery in South Wales for Redcar South Bank Coke Ovens (which have also closed and
been 'mothballed') and has been used to import foreign coal for power stations in the Aire valley. The
latter rail traffic is in decline as power stations close or convert to biomass but the power station at the
Redcar site is continuing to generate.
Hardendale (off the WCML near Shap) and Rylstone (on the Grassington branch from Skipton) quarries
supplied limestone to Lackenby by rail but also send rail traffic to other locations such as Margam (Port
Talbot), Leeds Hunslet and Hull Dairycoates. Thrislington quarry near Ferryhill in County Durham
supplied Dolomite to Lackenby but has continued to dispatch outwards rail traffic to Port Talbot for
steel making and Leeds Hunslet for the construction industry. Hargreaves Services, based in Durham,
have been left with about £14M worth of coal and coke stocks on their hands after the Lackenby
closure. They are currently maintaining their Redcar Coke Ovens in case iron and steel production
restarts. Hargreaves will lose business with the closure of Eggborough Power station and Liverpool
Bulk Handling Terminal as well as the general severe down turn in the coal industry.
---------------------------------------------- October 1975 - BLNs 283 & 284: ----------------------------------------------
1920] The branch from Ordsall Lane No1 to Manchester, Liverpool Road Goods (now the Museum of
Science and Industry) CG from 8 September 1975 (NR probably wish it had remained CA and see Head
Lines in this BLN). Gloucester Eastgate station (ex-MR) was scheduled to CP (CA) from 1 December
1975 (and did so with the line north to Horton Road Jn); services were diverted to Gloucester Central
(still open!). The line south to Tuffley Jn closed earlier on 6 October. Nearby Stonehouse station was
given another 'temporary reprieve', it had been due to close from 1 October 1975; the Parish Council
agreed to pay BR £13k towards the cost of refurbishing it and keeping services going. Sunday services
were introduced and a 'massive campaign' was undertaken to promote the station locally - it seems to
have worked! Heysham to Morecambe CP 6 October 1975. Sheringham (M&GNR) to Weybourne ROP
13 July 1975 (North Norfolk Railway). In Ireland, goods trains still ran from Sligo (SSuX) at 10.20 to
Claremorris (14.45); in the other direction departure was at 12.10 arriving Sligo 16.40. These trains
crossed at Swinford. The North Kerry Line (see map BLN 1230.661) had a MWFO goods train from
Limerick at 12.45 (due back 16.45) to Newcastle West (13.58/14.30). From Tralee MWFO there was a
10.15 (back 14.00) to Abbeyfeale (12.05/12.25). Newcastle West to Abbeyfeale was OOU. Hastings to
Charing Cross: 'It is not only tea that is brewing on the Hastings direct line but trouble as well. Militant
commuters have been angered by Travellers Fare [Remember them?] withdrawing all the teapots from
the buffet cars. One can no longer "be Mother" with chinaware. All that is now available is tea poured
for one in plastic imitation cups by the man in the Gilbert and Sullivan costume behind the bar.'
BELOW: The ex-Midland Railway Gloucester Eastgate station looking north towards Tuffley Jn and
Cheltenham Spa, not long before closure in 1975 with a southbound 10-coach class 47 hauled service.
Of note the red Post Office trolley and blue 'BRUTEs'. The latter, 'British Rail Universal Trolley
Equipment' for parcels etc; both were once a common feature of main line stations. Those with good
eyesight might make out the light blue flared trousers! There used to be a very long wooden enclosed
footbridge (extremely noisy if people ran!) to the former GWR Gloucester Central station, a
continuation off to the left of the footbridge shown. (Ian Mortimer)
1243 NORTH WEST (2015)
1921] Manchester Victoria: The rebuilt station has been ceremonially 'opened' after refurbishment
costing £44M. It had come bottom of the list of stations in its category in the 2009 'Better Stations
Report' prepared for the DfT by Sir Peter Hall and Chris Green. This recorded that Victoria had scored
only 32% in user satisfaction surveys, the lowest of all. It has now gained a new innovative roof built
of curving steel ribs and two more tram platforms. The station is also a key component in the plans
for Manchester to become a 'Northern Hub' at the heart of the region's rail network.
1922] Ordsall Chord: (BLN 1238.1460) At the end of September Mark Whitby's counsel presented his
client's case at London's Royal Courts of Justice against the Secretary of State for Transport. Counsel
for the Secretary of State for Communities and local government and NR were also present. His
argument is that the decision making process behind the route adopted was flawed and due
consideration was not given to 'Option 15' created by Mr Whitby a past president of the Institute of
Civil Engineers and ex-NR consultant. Option 15 is £20M dearer than the route chosen but would
bypass the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry Grade I and Grade II listed buildings; including
avoiding the complete demolition of two Grade II listed bridges. He also said Option 15 was too quickly
dismissed by the planning inspector at the Public Enquiry on the basis that it would hold back the
regeneration of the Middlewood Locks in Salford. He argued that this should not have been a key
consideration at that stage of the process. The court heard that option 15 would cause engineering
problems, more disruption to passengers, extra expense as well as preventing developers from
bringing residential and commercial buildings to the Middlewood Locks site. On 24 September,
judgment was reserved. The case has delayed the Ordsall Lane Chord and increased costs already.
1923] Blackpool Tramway: (BLN 1241.1795) Next page, a track plan, with thanks to Martyn Brailsford.
The connections shown between Pleasant Street at North Pier are for the extension to Blackpool North
station, approved, funded and due to open in 2018 (BLN 1209.797). The stops are used by the 11¼
mile 'Light Rapid Transit' (LRT) trams. The underlined stops have nearby Heritage tram stops (distinctly
separate to avoid confusion with the LRT); 'Pleasure Beach' is a Heritage only stop on the loops there.
For the 26 & 27 September 130th Anniversary Weekend, a good number of varied Heritage trams,
including double-deckers (now unusual on tramways) were working over the full length of the line,
which in itself is unusual, with many BLS members evident. Some sections of tracks are only used by
the Heritage services and several have some extremely tight curves.
[BLN 1243.1923 - cont.]
Rare track available by Heritage Trams on 26 & 27 September 130th Anniversary Weeked included:
Fleetwood: The outer loop.
Thornton Gate: Crossover (one tram each morning turned back).
Little Bispham: Complete turnback loop, used clockwise as left hand running.
Bispham: Middle reversal siding and south end crossovers (bottom right of plan above).
[BLN 1243.1923 - cont.]
*Central Pier: Trailing crossover to south (for reversal out of and into Rigby Road Depot).
*Rigby Road Depot: From outside Depot gates, both sides of double track section.
Pleasure Beach: Inner and outer loops (for anyone able to wait in the ECS tram queue!).
*Starr Gate Depot: Arrivals platform round loop, through tram wash and north exit.
Starr Gate: Arrival platform to reversing point on loop back through departure platform.
*On the pre-booked (fully booked) shuttles from Rigby Road Heritage Tram Depot (included a walking
tour of parts of the depot) to Starr Gate LRT Depot for walking tour (or stay on to complete the loop!)
1924] Rose Grove: (BLN 1233.966) Station improvements are now well underway including a new
waiting shelter, seating, information screens, a passenger 'help point', CCTV, a ticket machine
improved signage and information. Some large trees are being removed from the island platform.
1925] Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership: This very active organisation (who kindly provide us
with a copy of their magazine) won the Overall Winner prize at the Community Rail Awards, held in the
Riviera International Centre, Torquay (see South Western Section). It is the first time in the history of
the awards that a Community Rail Partnership alone has taken this top accolade.
----------------------------------------------- BLNs 523 & 524 October 1985: -----------------------------------------------
1926] (Altrincham) Skelton Jn to Latchford (Warrington) ex-CLC, CG (CA) 8 July 1985. On the Tyne &
Wear Metro Pelaw and Kingston Park stops OP 15 September. BR indicated its intention to remove
Beccles station loop resulting in some increased journey times, but then postponed this for six months
(it was later removed and subsequently reinstated on 30 November 2012 to allow an hourly service).
The Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society (TWERPS!) asked for 90 days' delay in the
line (CP 6 July 1985) being dismantled. On 26 October a Monmouthshire Railway Society 6-car DMU
railtour did not go to Bristol, Wapping Wharf (due to staff shortages), Westerleigh Sidings (poor track)
or Avonside Wharf (clearance problems) or travel between Filton Jn and Parkway or Filton Jn and
Patchway (pathing problems). Instead, it ran to Sudbrook, Caerwent, Tytherington, Gloucester Docks,
and Portishead all of which are currently closed. Additionally Cardiff Tidal Sidings, Llanwern Steel
Works (Up service line), Sharpness, Hallen Marsh Jn, St. Philips Marsh, to North Filton platform and
Patchway were covered (all that booked in 10 hours, although the tour ran late). Third rail
electrification had been extended from Rock Ferry to Hooton, connecting with DMUs running through
between Chester (Hooton reverse) and Helsby. Cardenden (then the terminus of a sparse passenger
service from Edinburgh via Cowdenbeath, there were no 'Fife Circle' trains) had just two arrivals in the
morning and one in the evening. Perth to Ladybank had two lightly used return passenger trains daily.
1243 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (2015)
1927] Rail replacement walk: Over the weekends of 26/27 September and 3/4 October, due to
engineering work, there were no trains serving Berney Arms station, no replacement road or boat
transport was provided, passengers were expected to walk but did not have to purchase a ticket!
(Officially access is only on foot or by boat.) On a nice day, it is a lovely two hour walk from Yarmouth
and less from Reedham. The station (a request stop where one train door is opened) has its best
service on Sundays with four trains in each direction, the rest of the week there are two trains daily to
Yarmouth and one to Norwich. A ticket easement used to allow passengers to travel to Norwich via
Yarmouth and vice versa. On a 'Crookham Travel' 'Rail Ale Ramble' of 7 September 2009 run by our
member Gerald Daniels, 64 passengers alighted! The Berney Arms Public House (where on production
of a valid rail ticket to the station a 10% discount was once given on the food bill) was closed for nearly
12 months due to flooding but reopened at the end of July. Is the food discount still available?
BELOW: OS 1" to the mile 7th series, from sheets 126 & 137 (1960/54). The very remote Berney Arms
station is near the centre. The 'principal station' top right is the still open ex-GER Yarmouth (Vauxhall)
since 1989 'Great Yarmouth'. The other 'principal station' beneath it is Yarmouth South Town CP/CA 4
[BLN 1243.1927 - cont.]
May 1970 along with the former 'Norfolk & Suffolk Joint Railway' heading due south following the
coast to Lowestoft via Gorleston. The double track line from South Town heading southwest through
Belton (shown as closed to passengers) was a former GER main line (CP 2 November 1959) which
joined the existing East Suffolk line at Beccles and had through London trains. The double track line
round the northwestern side of Yarmouth was ex-M&GNR, connecting Yarmouth Beach with the
Lowestoft line and CP 21 September 1953 (Caistor Road Jn - North Gorleston Jn) when major repair
work was required to Breydon Viaduct (shown on map). The straight, single track ground level line
through Berney Arms runs southwest to Reedham (bottom left corner) where earthworks for the
'possible' third side of the triangle is shown (BLN 1226.245). Visited by a Society group on 30 June
2012, Reedham Swing Bridge is marked just south of the river. Finally, the single track line along the
top of the map, is the current Great Yarmouth to Norwich line via Acle.
BELOW LEFT: Berney Arms, a normal day, the shelter has since gone. (Credits: https://goo.gl/DdP2Lb)
RIGHT: On 7 September 2009 (see above), 64 passengers wait to join the train to Norwich. The station
opened with the line in 1844 and had 1,510 passengers recorded for 2013/14 (almost an average of
one per train that will stop on request in the 12 months.) Access is by the lineside cinder footpath to
the left from the platform slope, crossing the line. The off peak day return from Cambridge is £17.70
(£11.70 with a railcard), the same as Yarmouth. Due to the sparse service, long distance travel is
permitted via Yarmouth or Reedham. The diminutive former signal box is now at Mangapps Farm. At
one time the local postman travelled by train to deliver to the pub, one house and a windmill!
[BLN 1243.1927 - cont.]
1928] Oxford Parkway: (BLN 1242.1822) On Sunday 25 October, the first day of operation, loco hauled
services are booked to depart from Marylebone at 10.35 and 14.05 returning from Oxford Parkway at
11.45 and 15.15. The ribbon cutting ceremony is the following day. The station has 39 passenger
departures SSuX between 05.42 and 23.21 and 36 arrivals (07.19 to 00.17 next day). On Saturdays
there are 33 departures (two an hour 06.18 to 22.15) and 34 arrivals (07.07 to 23.34) with 28
departures (07.49 to 22.15, two an hour) and 29 arrivals (08.45 to 00.27 next day) on Sundays even.
1929] Wisbech branch: (BLN 1233.973) The DfT has now listed re-opening of the 'Wisbech to March
line' as a 'specific project' within its invitation to tender for the 2016 East Anglia franchise. This
document invites the three shortlisted rail operators, Abellio East Anglia Limited (a joint venture
between Abellio and Stagecoach), First East Anglia Ltd and National Express East Anglia Trains Ltd, to
submit their bids for the franchise by December. The document also includes plans for 180 additional
weekly services, many of which will be to link stations in Cambridgeshire. MP Steve Barclay has
welcomed the news. He said: 'It is something I have been working hard on behind the scenes with
ministers over the summer to ensure that Wisbech was included by name in the Invitation to Tender.
We met with the bidders in the summer and we will look to have further meetings with them now the
document has been issued. In parallel, I am also lobbying hard on the issue of an early and late night
service from the Fenland stations – especially March and Whittlesey – to Cambridge and Stansted.'
(Fenland Citizen) The 'Norwich in 90' (minutes not mph!) also features in the invitation to tender.
1930] Wolferton: (BLN 1222.1811) A recent visitor to this well-preserved station on the former King's
Lynn to Hunstanton branch, reports that although a private residence, 80% of the station is accessible
to the public with a small museum on site. Accompanying the superbly maintained offices are the fully
restored signal box, level crossing gates, the goods yard and matching station housing for the
stationmaster and other staff. There are short lengths of double track in place next to the signal box.
The station housing and station buildings are all in half-timbered 'Tudorbethan' style, the main Up side
building having a clock tower and working clock. There are many GER and LNER accoutrements so
lettered, from the fire buckets to poster frames. Postcard views of the station in its past glories, and
replica platform tickets, are available free. Signs unusually also indicate 'photography welcomed'. The
Prince of Wales' feathers, surrounded by garter, surmount the main Down entrance. The owner was in
the little museum. Signs on display in there include a running-in board from Hunstanton, a tangerine
BR totem from South Elmsall and a signal box nameboard from Theddlethorpe. Direct public transport
is infrequent, around three buses a day from King's Lynn to Wolferton village or there is a high
frequency bus service between King's Lynn and Hunstanton to a stop a mile east, creatively called
'Sandringham' in the middle of a forest. This is presumably part of the Sandringham estate and is two
miles west of Sandringham House; nearer roadside houses are called 'Cat's Bottom' (could be worse!).
1931] Norwich: The covered carriage truck used to transport the body of executed WWI nurse Edith
Cavell has been on show in her home county for the first time. Ms Cavell was shot by a German firing
squad on 12 October 1915. After the war her body was bought back to England on a destroyer and
transported by train to London. The carriage, known as the 'Cavell Van', was displayed on tracks
outside 'The Forum' in Norwich until 17 October and visitors could sit inside it. The nurse was born
near Norwich in Swardeston and the arrival of the railway carriage is one of many events marking the
centenary of her death, at 49-years-old. She was executed for aiding the passage of about 200 British
and Allied soldiers from Belgium to The Netherlands. After her body was returned to England, a service
was held at Westminster Abbey before she was buried at Norwich Cathedral. The carriage is usually
kept at the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum in Tenterden where it is normally on show.
1932] Ely: 'Pelco' is seeking planning permission for five factories to convert straw into pellets to burn
in power stations. One is for Potter Group's terminal at Queen Adelaide, Ely. As biomass is less dense
than coal for each coal train there needs to be one and a half trains of biomass, though it is probable
wagons used for coal, can be adapted (they need waterproof covering lids). The Ely output is likely to
go to Drax though a further application is for a district heating power station at Generation Park,
Norwich behind Crown Point depot. The current source of pellets is mainly the USA. (railwatch)
1933] Cambridge: Rebuilding of the ticket hall has started, apparently over a year late. Queues for
tickets often stretch into the street, especially at weekends, and clog up the entrance. Work on the
station square is also starting, with a hotel and cycle park; the latter will be the largest in England.
1934] Wivenhoe: The 21 September East Anglian Daily Times reported a fire destroyed the Grade II
listed goods shed on Sunday 20 September. It dates back to 1902 when an older 1836 structure was
re-built; also following a fire. Community groups had hoped to turn the building into an auditorium,
with planning permission granted in 2004, and then later a cultural heritage hub for Wivenhoe. The
large cost of renovating the building, an estimated £750k, proved too much to get these projects off
the ground. Ian Endean, town mayor, said he was open to suggestions about the future of the site,
though added that 'anything has to be better than a pile of rubble'. Ian Reed, trustee at the East
Anglian Railway Museum, said: 'The museum was interested in acquiring the building 10 years ago,
when the roof covering had come off but the timbers were reasonably sound, with a view to
dismantling and relocating it to the museum. As the building was listed it needed consent to move it
and eventually we abandoned our interest. The museum would be interested in reclaiming the bricks if
the current owners were willing though I suspect in the end it will be flattened and one more of the few
remaining GER Goods Sheds in virtually original layout will have disappeared. It is a shame it has to end
this way but it just shows listing a building is often not the best way to see it have a future.' Andy
Savage, executive director at the Railway Heritage Trust, added 'I am sad as it looks like we have lost a
building, though it is not the most serious loss we could have had'. In 1981 and probably later, it was
used by Whitworths the fruiterers, for non-railway purpose. It is not clear when they stopped using it.
It retained the goods shed raised platform so that boxes could be pushed in and out of vans.
1935] Banbury: (BLN 1240.1676) In addition to the new facing crossover installed at the end of August,
a new trailing crossover was to be installed immediately north from 12 October for Up direction moves
from Down P1 and P2. This runs from 85m 49ch (Up Main) to 85m 54ch (Down Main), secured OOU
until commissioning in July 2016. It is part of the Banbury resignalling enabling works.
1936] Hanborough: In return for planning permission to build up to 150 homes in the village, CEG
property developer has offered to give land for an extra 400-space car park on the Down side of the
line (there are now 48 spaces on the Up side) and contribute to a station upgrade. A waiting room,
shop and more ticket machines are included. The locals are in favour of the upgrade but not the extra
traffic from the car park or houses! Annual passenger use has doubled in the last five years to 201,000.
1937] Aylesbury Joint station: (BLN 1241.1772) In 1916 the GWR was anxious to ensure that its
proportion of any costs incurred in improving the station reflected the then relative proportion of its
company's usage, which had diminished considerably once the Met started running its trains there.
What appears to be a background briefing note is in a GWR 1916 Secretarial memo at Kew Public
Record Office (document ref: RAIL 252/437) : 'This station was constructed as the joint property of the
Wycombe Rly Co and the Aylesbury & Buckingham (A&B) Rly Co … In 1890 the Met Co acquired the A &
B Rly & in 1894 commenced to run their Baker Street trains into the joint station, having in the
meantime terminated them at a temporary platform on land adjoining the joint station. In 1906 the
interests of the Met Co in the A&B Rly and the portion of the Met Rly between Aylesbury & Harrow
were transferred to the Metropolitan & Gt. Central Joint Committee and in 1907 those of the GW Co in
the railway between Princes Risborough & Aylesbury were vested in the GW & GC Committee.'
A related matter: The 'Met & Great Central Joint' management was carried out over alternate periods
of five years by the two co-owners, starting with the Metropolitan Railway from August 1905.
1938] Cambridge - St. Ives: (BLN 1237.1367) Cambridgeshire County Council and BAM Nuttall have
agreed a six month programme to investigate problems with the guided busway. The county council
has agreed to postpone legal action against BAM pending the outcome of survey work. The council has
long claimed that BAM failed to construct the busway to the required standard, leaving the local
authority with a significant maintenance liability. Concerns centre on the movement of the
foundations and the joints between concrete guideway beams. The investigation will include testing
guideway components both on-site and in laboratories, a series of surveys to monitor movements of
the beams and foundations and a complete walkover survey of the busway. (Transport Briefing)
1939] East West Rail: (BLN 1238.1464) Transport Briefing asks whether the start of consultation on
East West Rail means it 'will escape the axe'. NR has held the first period of public consultation on the
western section. A series of public exhibitions took place between 21 September and 16 October
focusing on what NR refers to as the 'second phase' of East West Rail. The first phase was the upgrade
of the route between Oxford and Bicester. This scheme was enhanced to allow for the second phase
from Bicester to Bletchley, Milton Keynes and Bedford also with electrification. Aylesbury Vale
Parkway services would be extended to the new route with a Marylebone to Milton Keynes service.
The latest plans for the scheme include construction of a new station at Winslow, two new platforms
at Bletchley station, 18 new overbridges and 22 new subways or footbridges. NR intends to make
changes to 97 crossings providing alternatives on what will become a busy passenger and freight
route. Also included are station works at Bletchley, Ridgmont, Monks Risborough, Aylesbury Vale
Parkway, Little Kimble, Bedford (Midland) and Woburn Sands. Passing loops are planned at Newton
Longville, Steeple Claydon and at the Calvert Waste Facility. A second round of consultation is due to
be carried out in spring 2016 then NR intends to apply for a Transport & Works Act giving statutory
powers to build the scheme. The launch of the consultation suggests NR expects the project to survive
NR Chairman Peter Hendy's review of the scheme's affordability.
1940] Bedford - Cambridge: (BLN 1238.1464) Meanwhile on the eastern section, East West Rail
apparently consider the 'Sandy' route as a broad corridor deviating from the previous route and not
necessarily specifically via Sandy. Railfuture East Anglia favours an alignment in this corridor, providing
a balance between directness and helping to solve Cambridgeshire's poor connectivity to the west of
the county. The Hitchin route is considered less preferable as it is not so direct, would need major
upgrading and would not add any new areas of Cambridgeshire to the rail network. For both options,
entry to Cambridge is likely to be from the south and needs to take account of calls for a new station
at Addenbrooke's Hospital.
1243 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH (2015)
1941] Pevensey & Westham: The signal box, at the west end of the Down platform built over the
platform ramp, had been demolished by 2 October when your Sub-Editor travelled from this station.
1942] Bournemouth: The Borough Council wants to improve transportation and the look of the streets
and public spaces in the Lansdowne area. Proposals include a cycle hire scheme, trams or a guided bus
route between the station and town centre. The authority said it also wanted to create modern
landmarks and an events space to make the area a 'more vibrant, enterprising and dynamic place'. A
public consultation on the proposed redevelopment ran until 28 September (BBC News). South West
Trains also report that a 'new, inviting and accessible forecourt' is being delivered at the station by
Bournemouth Borough Council in partnership with themselves and the DfT.
1243 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND (2015)
1943] A railtour by any other name…: (BLN 1235.1203) Two special trains were recently operated by
GWR as hosts of the 2015 'Community Rail Festival' at Torquay. On 30 September 153325 & 153333, in
Community Rail livery, ran from there to Kingswear and return. On 2 October 150238 left Torquay at
09.06, reversing in Newton Abbot P1 then ran through to Bere Alston, buffer stops past the platform.
After a quick turnround it went to Okehampton (12.45/13.19) and at Laira Jn via No3 Through Carriage
Siding (used by our 2 May Class 08 powered HST) to reverse 6ft before Plymouth Friary overbridge
buffer stops. Then it was via Mount Gould Jn to Speedway Jn and the 'Down/Up Goods' curve to
return to Laira Jn and through to Heathfield. Reversing at Newton Abbot, Exeter St. David's was
reached at 17.58 after nearly nine hours. The two hour Bere Alston to Okehampton trip would have
taken about half an hour via the direct route through Tavistock (North) before it CA 6 May 1968!
1944] Blandford Forum: Work has
started on repairs to the two landmark
Langton Meadows isolated brick flood
arches, (PICTURE RIGHT, Blackmore Vale
Magazine) formerly carrying the (here)
double track Somerset & Dorset Railway
(CP 7 March 1966, CG 6 January 1967,
track removed October 1970). The
adjacent railway bridge, over the River
Stour, and the embankment the other
end, have long since gone. The Blandford
Railway Arches Trust has campaigned for
repairs and carried out voluntary work to look after one of the last railway structures in the town. They
were given the go-ahead by Blandford Forum Town Council (which leases the arches from North
Dorset District Council) for a programme of repair and re-generation. Phase 1, the reconstruction of
the north wall and eastern parapet, is being funded by the Town Council, which had money set aside
for their repair or demolition. Phase 2 will be to make the structure more accessible and develop a
programme of events to maintain and support it in the future.
1945] Exmouth: The Carriage Café on the seafront, a restored 1956 railway carriage (4039), closed at
the end of September after 50 years. On 29th it was moved by road to the Lappa Valley Steam Railway.
1946] Wilton Parkway: Valley News reported that Wilton may have a £5.5M new parkway station on
the Salisbury to Bristol line immediately beyond the divergence of the Exeter line. Wilton Town Council
and TransWilts are in discussion with SWT and other stakeholders to develop the business case. The
journey time to Salisbury is 5 minutes and the station would be only 6 miles from Stonehenge.
Opening could be in 2019 and the station would have two platforms capable of taking 6 coach trains. It
would be fully accessible by lifts and footbridge directly from the existing 420 space park and ride site.
1947] Yeovil Junction to Pen Mill: (BLN 1242.1860) The 16.50 & 17.50 (all train times SX) Waterloo to
Yeovil Junction run to Westbury as stated but then continue at 20.11 & 21.24 respectively to Salisbury
arriving 20.42 & 22.08! Frome, Bruton and Castle Cary do have a through train to Waterloo at 16.48
from Yeovil Junction via Westbury to Salisbury where it changes head code (not picked up on RTT) and
the 16.24 ex-Exeter St. David's couples onto the rear to form the 18.27 to Waterloo (19.50).
1243 WEST MIDLANDS (2015)
1948] Ipstones branch: (BLN 1206.MR42) The Churnet Valley Railway (CVR) 2014 Chairman's Report
notes that, following a successful appeal, all the track (but not the trackbed) between Leekbrook Jn
boundary gate and the buffer stops at Ipstones is now owned by the CVR. The planning application has
been submitted to develop the Leekbrook triangle which is owned by Moorlands & City Railway.
1949] Midland Metro: On the city centre extension, the first overhead catenary eyebolt fixings to
buildings have been installed at Colmore Square. The use of poles is being avoided where possible.
1950] Walsall: On 7 October clearance work began for 'Park Street Tunnel' electrification, immediately
north of the station. The roof cross support beams are to be replaced with smaller cross section ones
that will not hang so low. The trackbed cannot be lowered due to the flooding risk (once notorious at
the station). The complexity and expense of this work Is one reason why electrification was cancelled
north of Walsall in the 1960s.
1243 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE (2015)
1951] Late arrivals: Apperley Bridge station OP is expected in November; Kirkstall Forge in January.
1243 IRELAND (2015)
1952] Lisduff: (Between Ballybrophy & Templemore) On 12 October a new 'Machine Siding' was to be
brought into use at the Cork end of the 'Short Siding'. It is 120m from buffers to fouling point.
1953] Limerick Junction - Waterford: Quite by chance
in late July two members met on the same train (there
are only two daily in each direction SuX). It was a
surprise that it was a IÉ 22000 'InterCity Railcars'. Their
diagrams are now integrated with the Waterford to
Dublin service because the suburban DMUs have been
withdrawn from Waterford. There are still sections of
jointed track east of Cahir but most of the line is
continuously welded rail. At Carrick-on-Suir a Nairn-like
'cycling signalman' was seen in action. The signal cabin
is on the middle of the former Down platform and the
signalman rides a bike to operate the level crossing
gates at the Limerick end of the station (about 270yds
each way). There is just a single track through the Up
platform now with a block post but the semaphore
signalling and wires have been renewed. It is wondered
how often two trains are ever on the line in the same
direction close enough to require this! (LEFT: The driver
holding the electric train staff at Carrick-on-Suir.) There
are a number of staffed level crossings some with co-
acting distant signals and one with colour light distants.
At Waterford the single platform in use (bay P5) has been much lengthened since July 2014 and takes
at least 6-cars. PICTURE BELOW: 'On Yer Bike' a cycling signalman takes to his wheels (just visible
behind the signal box steps) to open the station level crossing gate for road traffic; the trackless
former Down platform is seen. (All pictures in this item by Nick Jones July 2015.)
[BLN 1243.1953 - cont.]
[BLN 1243.1953 - cont.]
ABOVE: Waterford station looking east showing the recent extension to 'the platform' (bay P5), the
only one now in use, with the 09.45 from Limerick Junction after its arrival at 11.26. Reinstatement of
former bay P6 (right) is being considered. Note the full platform black metal black railing fence (left)
prevents public access to the edge of former through P3 & P4. There is now just a single goods line
running through directly out of Waterford goods yard (with hand points) to Belview Container
Terminal 2m 40ch east of the station. This is the remaining operational section of the line to Rosslare
Strand. The grey metalwork on the left supports the closed Waterford Central Signal Box that spans
the former three tracks; the signalling was damaged in a serious rock fall in 2013 and never repaired.
BELOW: The platform (which used to take 4 coaches) looking west towards Dublin/Limerick Junction,
the signal box support is on the right and beyond the overbridge, left of the line is the River Suir.
1954] Dublin Airport: On 29 September the minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport announced that
construction of the 16.5km light rail line, with 14 stops (6 underground) connecting St. Stephen's
Green to Swords via O'Connell Street, Mater Hospital, Dublin City University and Dublin Airport had
been approved. The estimated cost is €2.432bn and is additional to current transport funding. Journey
time will be 19 minutes from Airport to O'Connell Street and 31 minutes from Swords Estuary. Work
on the new DART Metro North line is due to begin in 2021 and should be completed by 2026 or 2027.
[BLN 1243.1954 - cont.]
It differs from the postponed 2010 plan by having less tunnelling, shorter platforms, a surface route at
Swords (rather than elevated) and one rather than two stops in O'Connell Street. Vehicles 60m long
would run up to every two minutes, 30M passengers are anticipated annually. A future south cross
Dublin extension might be possible. In 2014 almost 22M passengers used the airport, 36% travelled by
bus, 33% by car and 22% by taxi. In addition, 15,700 people travel daily to work at the airport site.
1955] Dublin Connolly: From 28 September to 31 January 2016 works are taking place to install a new
lift located at the south end of P6 & 7. During construction, a protective hoarding was to be erected
around the worksite. As a result the operational lengths of P6 & 7 are reduced by 20.7m and 20.0m
respectively. The operational length throughout the construction is 204m for P6 and 202m for P7.
1956] Dublin Heuston: (BLN 1240.1699) The new cross-Dublin commuter services between Kildare and
Grand Dock next year via Phoenix Park and Connolly will not be calling at Heuston P10 as the layout
and signalling only allow trains to call in the opposite direction. This is despite the publicity photos for
the new service showing an InterCity 2200 at the platform! When P10 was used to relieve the main
Heuston during engineering work, it was only ever for departures and it is not well situated.
1957] Portlaoise rare track: On 29 September a 'five piece' railcar was booked to operate from
Heuston at 08.05 into Laois train care depot for a visit of the IÉ Board to the depot. Road 10, the heavy
maintenance road was the destination and return was due at 14.10. The first two cars were authorised
to enter the maintenance building. [There has to be some advantages to being on the IÉ Board!]
1958] More on Mosney: (BLN 1238.1488) Further information shows that the correspondent was only
2 minutes out regarding his December 2000 trip! The outward Dublin Pearse to Mosney train was
14.52 (rather than 14.50), booked to be 7 Cravens coaches and due Mosney 15.53. It was due to return
at 16.08 (as stated) to Connolly. That same timetable also contained a Sunday turn-back working at
Mosney. The 08.50 (SuO) Connolly ran non-stop to Mosney returning as a 10.30 Mosney to Connolly
stopper. Until summer 2000, it had been served only from late May until late August each year (which
the winter 2000/01 working and Inter-city public timetables had envisaged for 2001); all calls had been
scheduled to cease after 29 August 2000 (and not operate again until 19 May 2001).
That was the position intended in the winter 2000/01 suburban public timetable, i.e. no service at
Mosney. The above-mentioned trains were intended to be empty north of Balbriggan, being the only
trains shown as calling at Mosney at the starting date of the winter 2000/1 working timetable. For a
'closure' date to the 'normal' general public at Mosney an effective date of 30 August 2000 (last trains
Tuesday 29 August) would have had to be used. In this context, the two turn-backs do not count - and
such workings continued to use Mosney. (IÉ eventially categorised them as ECS in their 2005 working
timetables!) The final two were deleted by working timetable supplement with effect from 29 June
2015. Incidentally, the 17.53 Drogheda to Connolly (mentioned previously) is a red herring; It was not
booked to call at Mosney in the winter 2000 working timetable, although used the loop. It was shown
as departing 17.55, and ran non-stop. The December 2000 station closure information is incorrect.
This article about Butlin Mosney https://goo.gl/BipYuH says the holiday camp was leased by the Irish
government for five years in December 2000 ('Bygone Butlins' http://goo.gl/rRWc4D has its dates
wrong) to house asylum-seekers. A year-round off-peak local train service was provided, by stops in
regular services. The Irish Times report http://goo.gl/6iqBwC confirmed that train services would serve
Mosney for the inhabitants from Monday 15 January 2001. Although initially shown in the winter
public timetable as re-appearing from 19 May 2001, the summer-only service obviously disappeared
from public timetables issued after the turn of the year 2000/01. The asylum seekers' service ran until
withdrawn from 31 December 2001 (IRRS Journal No147, p229). In that these were public services -
whether or not advertised in IÉ suburban timetables - that date represents Mosney station's actual CP
date. It can also be added as 'closed as seasonal station 30 Aug 2000' (at which date no-one knew it
would be a closing date!), 'reopened as (un-)advertised all-year station 15 Jan 2001'.
1959] Rosslare Strand - Waterford: (BLN 1241.1782) Finalised at the last minute, on 28 September the
South Wexford line (CP/CA 18 September 2010) was traversed by the 'Emerald Isle Express' ECS.
Passengers were transferred by road and the train crew operated the level crossings. BELOW: The ECS
at the west end of Wellingtonbridge station with its island platform, loop (both sides reversible) and
signal cabin. The former sugar beet loading siding is to the left of the train - RPSI.
1960] Rosslare: Additional government funding has been made available to support marketing activity
to attract tourists to points of entry to Ireland outside of Dublin. Rosslare Europort and IÉ are working
to put together a proposal for a marketing campaign in Britain to meet this requirement by generating
additional tourist traffic through Rosslare. This is also supported by Wexford County Council and other
local authorities who are considering other potential funding options to supplement the government's
contribution. Maybe they could start by extending the railway back to the ferry terminal and actually
providing a train service that properly connects with all the boats in both directions! (BLN 1235.1179).
1961] Cork: From 21 September Cork Loop, at the rear of the platforms on the Quay side, was closed
to traffic and disconnected, to remain closed until 6 December. This was to facilitate the construction
of a passenger subway as part of a project to construct a new transport interchange. For the duration
of the closure, two buffer stops were to be positioned at either end of the closed portion of line. Cork
Maintenance Depot and adjacent sidings became inaccessible by rail. Also from 27 September the
catch points at the Dublin end of Cork Loop were to be permanently disconnected, removed and
replaced with plain line along the normal lie of the points. The associated run off and sand drag were
to be removed. Signal CK784 that controls movements from P5 towards Dublin was to be moved to a
new position 2.4m closer to the platform.
----------------------------------------------- BLNs 763 & 764 October 1995: -----------------------------------------------
1962] Birmingham Snow Hill to Smethwick Jn ROP (regular services) 25 September 1995 along with
Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns and Smethwick Galton Bridge stations. The latter included the low
level platforms on the New Street to Wolverhampton line. Tytherington Quarry branch ROG 25
September 1995 ('unmothballed' as BLN put it). Old Oak Common signal box closed from 30 May with
the Paddington area resignalling. Near Rotheram, It was reported that the Silverwood Colliery branch,
'must not be used until further notice due to theft of track on the branch'. Arrangements were
announced for the Society's 40th anniversary; a Birmingham AGM on 4 November with fixtures on the
Severn Valley and Chasewater Railways as well as a railtour running into Derby and York works.
Lydney Junction to St. Mary's Halt (renamed from Lakeside) ROP 2 June, the first reopened section of
the modern Dean Forest Railway; similarly Shepherdswell to Eythorne ROP on 24 June 1995 (East Kent
Railway). The Severn Beach Branch was reduced to being worked by a single coach Class 153 unit
during peak hours, turning round at Avonmouth; initially there were no services to Severn Beach, then
bus connections appeared in a supplement. On 14 August 1995 the line between Stratford Low Level
and North Woolwich was brought back into use for non-passenger trains. The Up & Down Silvertown
Goods line (Silvertown Tramway) remained OOU 'for the time being'. On 29 July 1995 the
Hertfordshire Railtours 'Honey Monster' traversed Long Marston Depot and the Kineton Military
Railway. The Bridgnorth Cliff Railway return fare was 30p (in 2015 it is £1.20).
1243 SCOTLAND (2015)
1963] Muck, Eigg, Rùm and a Quiz: There are fine views of these Inner Hebridean 'small islands' from
the train to Mallaig, but where is it possible to see a Hebridean island from an electric train?
1964] Situations Vacant: ScotRail is recruiting up to 100 drivers for timetable expansion and with
Sundays becoming regular shifts (BLN 1240.1710). Posts are at Inverness, Aberdeen, Perth, Stirling,
Helensburgh, Yoker, Gourock, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bathgate, Ayr and Tweedbank (!) - Hawick next?
1965] Greenhill: (BLN 1240.1706) The Up Goods loop and Up Branch Goods loop were actually
removed permanently from Monday 12 October, part of the Greenhill S&C Renewals programme.
1966] Dundee - Broughty Ferry: A long-welded rail train was derailed fouling both Down and Up lines
in the cutting between Dock Street tunnel and Camperdown Level Crossing at about 02.20 on Monday
28 September. The train was wholly on the Up line, with loco 56078 at the north end. Included in track
damage was the facing crossover (59m 66ch) from the Down line north of the tunnel (the trailing
crossover is closer to Camperdown). Rerailing and track repairs were completed for start of service on
Thursday 1 October. The train had been due to clear the possession and go forward to Arbroath to
stable, returning again on the Monday night; unloading of the train had to take place prior to rerailing.
1967] Borders Railway: (BLN 1241.1788): After 46 years of long hard campaigning, the Northern end
of the famous Waverley route reopened on Sunday 6 September when 158701/16/27 worked the
08.45 Tweedbank to Waverley, departing from preferred P1 having arrived ECS earlier in the morning.
158718/12/14 were stabled in P2 to form the 09.45 train; RTT shows it leaving from P1 as with all
subsequent departures. The first Southbound departure from Waverley was at 09.11 formed by
170414/58; the former now in an all over green livery, proclaiming the arrival of the Borders Railway,
and with representations of tourist attractions in the area (including the Forth Bridge). It arrived at
Tweedbank 4 minutes late at 10.12 and this slightly late running was a feature of the opening day's
arrivals despite the class 158s particularly seemingly having enough power. Scrutiny of RTT over the
subsequent week indicated that this lateness generally tailed off within a few days. Galashiels is the
principal town on the line but former railway land had been used for roads and supermarkets, leaving
only room for a single platform. BELOW: Galashiels Station https://goo.gl/wBLCjn (Walter Baxter).
[BLN 1243.1967 -cont.]
This contrasts with Tweedbank and its two full-length terminal platforms which although in the middle
of nowhere with no toilet or refreshment facilities, does serve as a railhead with free parking. On 6
September, Borders Council staff were out in force and there were special free buses to various
locations. Another reporter noted trains generally very busy; his journey on the 15.11 from Edinburgh
with 158718/12/14 had standing passengers for the first few stations then emptying; some folk joined
at Galashiels. The 16.45 return was delayed by 18 minutes due to a signalling problem at Craigentinny.
Various critical media reports comment on severe overcrowding in the subsequent week when trains
were running in most cases with two cars and averaging 150 passengers per trip; 'Could this not have
been anticipated?' etc. Sometimes passengers were being left behind even on leaving Tweedbank!
Other adverse comments related to heavy delay after a points failure, and staff attempting to deal
with drunk passengers.
Our SE England & Ireland Sub-Editor travelled to Tweedbank on Friday, 25 September and reported
amazing vistas from a line which has a most interesting alignment and profile. He does not think that
the much criticised single line structures will jeopardise any future extensions or growth as long as a
half-hourly service is adequate. There are a number of locations where the line had to move to a new
single track formation and there are many encroachments on the previous formation which would
have made retention of double track costly beyond all merit. Four trains were sampled, three being
single 158s and the fourth two 158s; this (off-peak) arrived Waverley about half full but passengers
regarded it as 'crowded', though apart from small groups of people known to each other, the aisle
seats remained unoccupied. The mileposts replicate previous BR style concrete wedge shaped blocks
i.e. yellow rectangles in pairs at 45 degrees to the line and thus 90 degrees to each other and appear
to be plastic. On 1 October, our online 'Branch Line' email Editor also had a go at coming from the
deep south to Tweedbank and, having caught the 11.54 from Edinburgh got as far as King's Gate Jn.
(the double to single junction south of Shawfair). Due to a 'signalling failure', the train was eventually
turned back to Newcraighall (for a bus replacement, calling again at Shawfair).
[BLN 1243.1967 -cont.]
This did at least give a wrong direction
movement over the Up Borders line,
which is only signalled for trains in that
direction. The train returned to
Edinburgh where it was advertised as
forming the 13.25 to Newcraighall, as
were the 13.54 and 14.24. Our member
made it through to Tweedbank on
board a very full 14.54 which arrived
there 4 minutes late. The journey home
to Peterborough meant return on that
unit (the last possible connection) so
time for a couple of photos and jump
back on the train. A 13½ hour day out
for 3 minutes at Tweedbank! Abbotsford House, home of Sir Walter Scott and 20 minute walk from
the terminus has had an upsurge in visitor numbers since the railway opened. Money has already been
allocated for an assessment of extending the line to Hawick, with interest beyond (BLN 1235.1187).
ABOVE: A busy Tweedbank scene, the first departure for several hours, P1 looking south to the end of
line. BELOW: Looking north towards Edinburgh, the non-preferred P2; Her Majesty the Queen has red
penned it in her Quail for steam haulage. (Nick Garnham 1 October 2015 during his three minute visit.)
1243 WALES (2015)
1968] Fare deals: ATW has not offered the usual Club 55 facility this autumn, so far [possibly because
of the Rugby World Cup; to sign up for advance notification of offers http://goo.gl/Aos8yv ]. A member
recently exploited three different fare-saving opportunities arising from the plethora of stations within
Cardiff (BLN 1242.1873). Firstly, he discovered that the Super Off-Peak Return fare from Manningtree
to Coryton is the same as to Cardiff Central, so was able to fit in a 'free' trip on the Coryton branch,
commencing his return journey the same day as the outward journey and breaking it for a stay of
several nights in Cardiff; all perfectly legitimate! Secondly, he asked at Cardiff Central for a return
[BLN 1243.1968 -cont.]
from Ninian Park to Ebbw Vale Town, choosing to forfeit the Ninian Park to Central portion of the
outward journey but making the full return journey so as to 'collect' the station and finish at a nearby
attraction. Then Cardiff Central also sold him a Cardiff Bay to Merthyr Tydfil return, valid via Fairwater
and therefore for joining outward at Central. All return fares on the Valley Lines are 'Anytime Day
Returns', which allow unlimited breaks of journey on both outward and return. They cost less than the
price of a Valley Lines Day Explorer, with the advantages of railcard discounts and no time restrictions.
1969] City Line: Although not obvious from the ATW route diagram (shades of the 320m walk from
Bayswater to Queensway!), termini of the nearly-circular City Line service at Coryton and Radyr are
only 1.3 km apart as the crow flies, or 2.3 km via the rather mud-prone footpaths skirting the nearby
hospital. To beat the train on its 17.8 km, 42 min journey (but good value at £2.70 single, the same as
the Cardiff fare from either terminus) you need only walk at an undemanding 3.3 km per hour! There
is also 'the scenic route' from Coryton station northward along the disused trackbed to the blockage of
the modern Longwood Drive embankment. Just beyond can be found surviving abutments of the
bridge where the Cardiff Railway crossed the Glamorganshire Canal. Then return by the towpath
alongside what is virtually the only section of the canal still in (very shallow) water, via Middle Lock
(42) to Forest Lock (43). From here, a short path leads to the trackbed of the former Melingriffith &
Pentyrch industrial railway, along the east bank of the Taff, and then to Radyr station.
1970] Penarth Curves: Engineering possessions west of Cardiff Central result in occasional scheduled
use on Sundays of the direct Penarth Curve North to South Junctions curve. Depending on the extent
of the possessions, this can be either to maintain through diagrams between the Barry line and Taff
Vale lines, or to reverse via Ninian Park crossover. Neither Grangetown nor Ninian Park stations offer
easy city centre access, and on 1 November, for instance, connecting buses for Cardiff Central will
meet trains at Cogan station.
1971] Llandeilo: A public meeting was held at the Civic Hall on the 5 October to discuss proposals for a
'hub' at the station. This would be a small, transportable building, made in Wales, and designed for use
at rural and unstaffed stations where original buildings no longer exist. It is intended to bring life back
to the station area with new opportunities for local business and community use.
---------------------------------------------- BLNs 1002 & 1003 October 2005: ---------------------------------------------
1972] Wirksworth to Ravenstor: OP 1 September 2005. Denham - Seer Green CA 30 June and
Denham to Beaconsfield CA 2 July 2005, a consequence of the Tesco 'tunnel' collapse at Gerrard's
Cross. An ECS Virgin CrossCountry 20.09 FO Cardiff Central to Bristol Barton Hill was routed, for crew
knowledge retention, via the Henbury Loop and Avonmouth reversing at Bristol TM. Lafarge Cement
UK's Hope Works open day on 17 & 18 September 2005 included train rides over part of the internal
layout and branch; a 3 mile, 45 minute round trip. At Stockport on 20 September the track serving the
new platform was fully in place, and it really was signed with the number '0'! Track was expected to be
reinstated and commissioned soon over the Bletchley flyover and towards Swanbourne. This was for
trains to reverse clear of the main line to and from the planned virtual quarry at Forders Siding near
Stewartby. TfL had made Transport & Work Order applications to extend the DLR by 5km to Stratford
International. The application said that the former Silverlink TOC's application to withdraw services
between Channelsea Jn, Stratford and North Woolwich would be published later. This confirmed the
proposal to replace Silverlink with the DLR from Canning Town to Stratford and on to Stratford
International by 2009, diverting Silverlink Richmond services to new platforms to the north and west of
the existing Stratford P11 & P12. Work was progressing on the DLR extensions to King George V and
Woolwich Arsenal. The first train to reach Long Marston in five years was 66531 bringing empty Virgin
Stock for storage on 16 September. 12082 took the stock from the exchange sidings into the secure
storage area. From 12 December 2005, Virgin's services between Stafford (etc) and Bromsgrove (etc)
were to be re-routed via Camp Hill instead of Selly Oak to avoid reversal in Birmingham New Street.
1243 MINOR RAILWAYS (2015)
MR169] Mid Norfolk Railway, Norfolk (MR p8): A ride on this railway on Wednesday 9 September
from Wymondham nearly didn't happen! Sometime on Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning a car
endeavoured to travel in a straight line over the B1135 overbridge (TG054052) south of the former
Hardingham station demolishing the brick parapets and landing on the track. Fortunately hard work by
all concerned had the line clear for the 10.30 ex-Dereham forming the 11.30 back from Wymondham.
MR170] Aln Valley Railway, Northumberland (MR p9): (BLN 1240.MR 140 with picture) A member
visited on Saturday, 19 September, whilst on a short holiday in Northumberland, which included
Edinburgh to Tweedbank and back (!). The Aln Valley website suggested running on Saturday & Sunday
19 and 20 September in connection with a motor-cycle show, but it turned out this was only on the
Sunday. He regarded this as a benefit, because the Saturday was very quiet, and he felt able to ask the
staff about doing more than the planned public run from P1 to the east headshunt. The points had,
however, been locked and the public train of their ex-NCB Barclay loco plus brake van could not do
more. Nevertheless, he was told that if he paid for a driver experience ticket, he could go on their
Drewry, Drax, conveniently parked on P2, with points set for the west headshunt; of course, he did!
MR171] Apedale Valley Light Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLN 1233.MR67): The Moseley Railway
Trust is pleased to confirm that May 2016 will see another 'Tracks to the Trenches' railway gala.
Following the award-winning 2014 event, the 2016 gala will once again mark the vital role which
railways played during WWI. 2016 is the centenary of one of the key events in military history - the
Battle of the Somme. This battle, although far from decisive, could be regarded as a turning point in
the conflict. It could not have been fought without the logistical support provided by narrow gauge
railways. Used by all combatants, these railways moved supplies and troops up the front lines and into
areas where it was too dangerous for full-size trains to operate. The star attraction at the 2016 event is
hoped to be the public debut of the iconic Hunslet 4-6-0T steam locomotive - War Department No303.
Hunslet number 1215, this loco will celebrate its centenary in 2016. This locomotive - unique in the UK,
and one of the key machines used by the British War Department Light Railways - was repatriated
from Australia in 2005, and has been rebuilt by the War Office Locomotive Trust. Hunslet 1215 will be
joined by other locomotives & vehicles from WWI from the Trust's own collection and visiting from
other railways. There will be a considerable presence of other WWI military themed attractions,
including re-enactor groups who will use the replica Trench system that the Trust has constructed at
Apedale. The Trench is, of course, served by its own 2ft gauge railway - the Trench Tramway. Tracks to
the Trenches 2016 will be open 12.00-17.30 on Friday 13 May and 10.30-17.30 on Saturday & Sunday
14 & 15 May 2016. Admission prices Adult £9, Child £4, Family (2+2) £20.
MR172] Cattle Country Miniature Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p17) (BLN 1241.MR152): Sadly, the
10¼" gauge railway suffered a serious derailment shortly before 14.00 on 17 August 2015. Paramedics
treated nine people (one adult and eight children) at the scene with injuries varying from nettle stings
to abrasions. One person was taken to Vale Community Hospital in Dursley for further treatment. A
statement published by Cattle Country reads 'We have all been deeply shocked by this incident and the
stress that it caused. We are thankful that there were no serious injuries, but it is the worst thing to
have happened here in 25 years. We will not re-open the train unless we are confident that such an
incident cannot ever happen again'. An investigation into the incident has been carried out by a
railway expert from the Health and Safety Executive. When checked on Friday 2 October, Cattle
Country's web site stated (for the coming weekend opening): 'Sorry, no Mini train rides'.
MR173] Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway (H&KWR), Greater London (MR p17) (BLN
1224.MR3): Sunday 16 August saw our roving reporter attend the 'Diesel Day', with 4wDHs
HE9338/1994 and Spelthorne HE 9357/1994 traversing the circuit three times with a bogie covered
coach, for the sum of £2 for all classes. Steam locomotive 0-4-0ST Darent (AB984/1903) was outside its
container shed with the motion being lubricated. 4wPH Hounslow (SPL No1 of 2008) was with other
stock on the water pumping side of the road flyover. Under the flyover was a Motorail frame (MR4023
[BLN 1243.MR173 -cont.]
of 1926) along with a new 4w coach and various V skips and flat wagons. The track is formed of flat
bottom rails on concrete sleepers. A fixed distant signal is positioned on the approach to the station. A
permanent building is under construction for a ticket office and staff accommodation. BELOW: Part of
the present circuit with the associated Kempton Steam Museum, home of the World's largest working
triple expansion steam engine, in the background and well worth a visit. (H&KWR)
MR174] Paultons Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1165.MR127): This 15" gauge railway operates
around a circuit of 700yd inside Paultons Theme Park at Ower near Romsey. A visit on Thursday 3
September found well-loaded trains running as required. Motive power is a blue liveried Severn-Lamb
steam outline 2-8-0 locomotive. Our reporter noted no change to the track layout as depicted on the
latest KEG track plan of the railway. A late admission ticket is available for £21 after 15.00 (normal
price on the gate is £28). There is a shuttle bus from Romsey and Southampton Central to the park.
MR175] Pleasure Beach Express, Lancashire (MR p19) (BLN 1092.MR104): A visit on Tuesday 22
September 2015 found 4-6-4DH 4473 Carol Jean (Hudswell Clarke D579/1933) at work with a set of
five open green coaches and one covered red coach - running at 20 minute intervals (roughly xx.00,
xx.20 & xx.40) from Pleasure Central station. Stabled in the bay platform there was 4-6-2DH 6200
Geoffrey Thompson OBE (Hudswell Clarke D586/1935) with a set of five red open coaches and one red
covered coach. The other two locomotives 4-6-2DH 4472 Mary Louise (Hudswell Clarke D578/1933)
and 4wDM Barbie (Alan Keef 7/1982) were in the sheds/workshop adjacent to Central station. The
other station, once called 'Starr Gate' is now named 'Burger King'! Admission to Pleasure Beach, once
free, is now £6 for a day pass - but this does include 'free' riding on the railway! Therefore, no tickets
are checked on the railway. The track layout had not changed since our reporter's last visit in 2007.
MR176] St. Annes Miniature Railway, Lancashire (MR p19) (BLN 1169.MR176): It was surprising, when
visiting St. Annes on a mid-week day in late September (Tuesday 22), to find this railway running. The
driver stated normally it would be weekends only operation by this time of year, but since the weather
forecast was good (and it was nice and sunny) they had decided to run. However, passengers were few
- our correspondent shared the train with only a man and his child - and this was the only working
noted during his 45 minute visit there. The 10¼" gauge line is laid out in an irregular oblong around a
golf course on the seafront, to the south of the pier. Trains run around this 680yd circuit in
anticlockwise direction. There is one station at the northern corner of the circuit, close to where a
level crossing provides foot access to the golf course. On the side of the circuit adjacent to the seafront
there is a tunnel/shed with a one-road locomotive shed alongside. In use was locomotive 2-8-0DH
Harry's Dream (Austin Moss/2005) with five open coaches, all in a blue livery. The driver stated 4w-
4PH St. Annes Express (Severn-Lamb/1973) was in the loco shed awaiting repair. The fare was all for
one circuit was £1.80 (£7 family 2+2), with no tickets being issued.
MR177] Twycross Zoo Miniature Railway, Leicestershire (MR p19) (BLN 1183.MR72): A visit here on
Thursday 27 August found the 10¼" gauge railway OOU. Our correspondent was told that it had run a
couple of times in 2014 before a major failure. Following some repairs it ran at Easter this year, only
for it to fail again. The locomotive was locked in the shed, but the coaches were not seen. The line was
very overgrown and the station was devoid of names and all signage had been removed. In mid
September the Zoo Guest Services, when asked by email, stated that the railway was not running due
to a 'breakdown with the loco pump', and spares parts for such a 'unique' engine are not easily
obtainable. However, more positively they ended by saying 'The engineers are working as quickly as
they can to rectify the problem and we hope to have train running again as soon as possible'.
MR178] Valley International Park Railway, South Lanarkshire (MR p28) (BLN 1169.MR177): This 2ft
gauge railway has not operated in 2015 - confirmed by a telephone call on 2 September 2015 to the
Park's phone number. The web site address on the Minor Railways Online web site no longer works.
The Carluke Gazette reported as far back as 16 February 2014 that the Park had gone into
administration - that is the site owner's as opposed to the individual businesses on site, like the
railway. Does anyone have anymore up to date information please?
MR179] Steam Train Express, Tayto Park, Ashbourne, County Meath: A new railway opened in this
Theme Park & Zoo on Friday 1 May 2015. It is formed of a 2ft gauge, 490yd long circuit. The railway
was installed by Severn-Lamb and uses their rolling stock. They delivered the locomotive and three
coaches on 20 March 2015. The loco is a 'Texan' class, steam outline USA style 4-4-0DH (works number
SL15982 2015), with a 4w-4wDH powered tender. So, despite the railway's title, it has no steam
power! For more details see www.taytopark.ie the Park's web site.
MR180] The Strawberry Line, Somerset: Grandparental duties on 25 September took our member to
the Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park, at Keynsham. Within the park is a very complicated 5"
gauge railway called The Strawberry Line, which offers a quite extensive 6-minute journey, with a
running line stated to measure 946yd. The format approximates to a dumb-bell layout, with extensive
'double track' section, but incorporating also an additional third loop within, such that (via two
diamond crossings) the train arrives back at the station facing the opposite direction. There is an
extensive canopied station building entitled 'Green Park', housing a model railway layout, and a replica
signal box controlling colour light signalling, including many ground signals for shunting moves. A five-
road marshalling yard provides an unusual feature, and there is a four-road shed leading off a
turntable and engine yard. Operation was 'on demand', with a scale Class 47 diesel hauling two (very
over-scale) sit-astride coaches. There is a charge of £2.50 per ride, over and above the cost of park
admission, but it is an interesting visit and a good example of what is possible on such a narrow gauge.
1243 OFFERS & OPPORTUNITIES (2015)
A service to members; Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. . ..Details must be checked with the organisers.
1973] KEG Track Plans of Minor Railways, Vol 3 - Northern England: £9, Peter Scott's completely
updated and digitally drawn track plan book is expected to be available soon from our Sales Officer,
Mark Gomm. Also on the RBF Tracker tour of 7 November and at the AGM. It covers Tyne & Wear,
Northumberland, Cumbria, Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire,
Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. Volume 1 (Southern England) and Volume 2 (Midlands
& Eastern England) will also be available. Contact Mark (below) regarding postal orders.
1974] Institute of Railway Signalling Engineers, Kidderminster Railway Museum, Sat 7 Nov 10.00-
17.00: BLS members are invited to attend this free (sponsored) seminar including lunch, with 100
places. Concentrating on the management and implementation of major projects on Minor Railways it
includes the presentation of the 'Minor Railway volunteer S&T Technician of the Year' award. For
details and an application form see http://goo.gl/HzjiIM or 02078081180 (London office).
1975] Severn Valley Railway (SVR) add on: Anytime
or Off-Peak return, from Chiltern & London Midland
stations (not Kidderminster NR as the origin) to
Bridgnorth for the normal Kidderminster fare plus
£15 adult and £10 child supplement. Only available
from ticket offices and on train conductors. Railcard
discounts apply to the mainline portion of the fare.
The outward ticket is collected by the SVR ticket
inspectors on the train to claim their portion of the
revenue; the return ticket is a SVR Day Rover. Not
available for special events ('Orange Days' on the SVR
timetable: galas, Peppa Pig, 1940s weekends, visit of Tornado etc). The Kidderminster (SVR) fare is £19
adult, £17 senior, £12.50 child. SVR Advance: adult £17.50, senior £15.50, child £11.50 but a booking
fee of £1.75 (per order) applies.
--------------------------------------------- October 2075 - BLNs 2682 & 2683: --------------------------------------------
1976] Chiltern Railway's extension to Carlisle Village Parkway OP 6 October 2075; it is controlled from
Marylebone where new platforms 41 and 42 were commissioned on the same date. On HS75, trial
running has finally begun between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh with an end to end journey time of
15 minutes. Opening was delayed for some years due to local action taken against alleged visual
intrusion by the virtual tunnel mouths under the dried-up remains of the various Lochs en route which
had succumbed to global warming. Continued lack of new rolling stock on the Greater Westerner
Railway ensured that the High Speed Train, albeit now converted to monorail magnetic propulsion,
saw out its 100th anniversary in front-line passenger service. This month the Society's time machine
will be visiting the railways of Brecon in 1961 - applications for places should be thought-waved to the
Fixtures Secretary Logan Adlam between 20.30 and 21.30 only SSuX. Finally, the BLS welcomed its
20,000th member with a free First Class ticket on our 120th anniversary tour of the Heritage Heathrow
Airport PODS, including the recently reopened Staines West branch laid partly along the route of the
UK's final operational motorway, a non-preserved section of the long abandoned former M25.
E-BLN 1243 ADDENDA] Guess the location e-BLN 1242: (Picture top right next page) 'Near the
junction end of a former branch line to a cliff. Pictured from a member's hotel room where he stayed
for some of our recent signal box visits.' Quite a few members seem to have stayed at the 'Pentahotel'
Ipswich overlooking the Cliff Quay branch, which once extended to the coal fired Cliff Quay Power
Station (generating ceased 1985). This shows the section between Ipswich Upper and Lower Yards, the
last train ran on 16 Nov 2006, it was TOU in Aug 2007 and the Sectional Appendix caught up 7
February 2009. Ipswich Upper Yard to Ranelagh Road LC was retained as a very rarely used headshunt.
E-BLN 1243 ADDENDA - cont.]: (Pictures Stephen Atkinson). Top left: The 'Pentahotel' adjacent to the
south side of the former LC marked by the green metal fence. Top right: Hotel window view towards
Ipswich Lower Yard, the bridge (left) is over the River Orwell. Bottom left: The other side of the former
Ranelagh Road LC (track removed from the road) looking towards Ipswich Upper Yard. The boarded up
brick building on the left is the disused gate box. Bottom right: View north to Ipswich Upper Yard.
BLN 1242.1809] An Apology: Ian Smith not Angus McDougall took the picture of the former Oulton
Swing Bridge signal box in the last BLN. Angus did also kindly submit a picture (below) of the old box
but their names were transposed on the files. Seen from the west, the swing bridge and Lake Lothing
are off the picture to the right. The access route is via the public footpath shown under the railway.
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684 562862 or 07790652351
(Other contact details per e-BLN 1242) Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947