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7th December 2019

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Published by membersonly, 2019-12-05 17:47:53


7th December 2019

Number 1341 (Items 2884 - 3039 & MR 225 - MR 232) (E-BLN 92 PAGES) 7 Dec 2019


Respice in praeteritum futurumque
Published 24 times a year by the Branch Line Society; founded 1955.

Membership queries: Lisa Sheppard [email protected]
186 Anlaby Park Road South, Hull, HU4 7BU. 07873354464

British Isles news from members; an international section is available.
Opinions are not necessarily athvaoislaebolef .the Compilers or the Society.

BLN 1342 is dated Sat 21 Dec; contributions by Wed 11 Dec please…………..

2884] Paper BLN problems: These are very rare but in future please direct any non-delivery reports,
change of address or email etc to our new Membership Secretary Lisa Sheppard (as above). For any
queries over e-BLN access or the email cnieottyif.ySioncgieBtyL.N release, contact: [email protected]

2885] Branch Line Society Constitutional Review: Our 16 Nov 2019 (64th) Annual General Meeting at
Barrow Hill Engine House unanimously resolved that the Society will not become an Incorporated
Association. Those present instructed your Committee to look into updating our Constitution and
Standing Orders to be fit for purpose for an Unincorporated Association in the 21st Century. This is
expected to take two years to complete. To start the process, our current Constitution & Standing
Orders are going out to members as a supplement with this BLN and as a download with e-BLN. Your
Committee requests ideas from members about what the new version might/should contain. If any of
you have any suggestions please contact your Chairman, John Williamson, at [email protected]
or by post (postage rates are the same as for the UK) to: La Marguerite, Croit-e-Quill Road, Laxey, IOM,
IM4 7JD. All ideas, however radical, are welcome at this stage! Particularly desirable would be good
ideas for us to consider that you have picked up from the constitution of other similar Societies.

A related matter, members are respectfully reminded of Clause 2 of the Constitution: No member may
use the name of the Society for any private purpose, nor claim to represent the Society without the
authority of the Committee. If you contact the press with information supplied in BLN please make it
clear that you are not speaking on behalf of the Society. Additionally, opinions expressed in BLN are
not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society, as it states at the top of each and every BLN.

Date Event and details  = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status

Fri 13 Dec South Wales Signal Box visits, check with [email protected] *CHECK*

Sat 14 Dec BLS Men of Steel - farewell to British Steel Redcar station BELOW GB NOTIFY
Sat 4 Jan BLS Scunthorpe No20 Cold Steel Tracker WAITING LIST 1340 MG NOTIFY

Sun 26 Jan 10.08-17.08 Merseyrail low cost EMU charity railtour BELOW MG *OPEN*

Tue 28 Jan Madrid Circumnavigator; for all bookings and queries see:
7-9 Mar The Devonian Crompton London - Devon & connections BELOW MG *OPEN*

Sat 21 Mar RNLI Kernow Spring Funiculars - Padstow & The Lizard BELOW TBA Claimed

Sun 26 Apr Unusual London area railtour in planning - save the date TBA TBA Claimed

30/4 - 3/5 Four day Irish long weekend - save the dates TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 2 May All day 'stand alone' Dublin based BLS Irish Rail tour TBA TBA Claimed

21-31 May BLS railtour in northern Sweden; save the dates 1337 IS Claimed

Wed 3-5 Jun Tom's Comprehensive Kent Connector - NOTIFY INTEREST BELOW TG *OPEN*

26-28 June The Niedersachsen Explorer - UPDATE BELOW BELOW PG NOTIFY

GB = Geoff Blyth; IS = Iain Scotchman; MG = Mark Gomm; PG = Paul Griffin (all back page). TG = Tom Gilby (below).

2886] :The Bootle Brush; :Sun 8 Dec:, Space may be available - please check website. David Palmer's
Route Description & Historical Notes and Tim Wallis's raffle flyer are with e-BLN for participants to see.

2887] :BLS Men of Steel; :Sat 14 Dec UPDATE:, (BLN 1340.2759) We are expecting about 20 to travel
on the last train at 16.55 from Redcar Central to Redcar British Steel (or name vice versa!) and join the
final departure at 18.12. Latest notifications (to Geoff Blyth per back page) are from Somerset, Derby,
Shropshire, West Lancashire, Essex and even Redcar. Northern are aware and local media may attend.
Thanks to six generous members FREE REAL ALE IS AVAILABLE (complying with licensing regulations).

2888] :Scunthorpe Cold Steel Tracker No20 Sat 4 Jan:: (BLN 1340.2760) As usual this very popular
railtour filled very quickly but it is still worth joining the waiting list for priority booking in the event of
any cancellations or if we have an extra brakevan and can take more participants on the day.

2889] :The Merseyrail Underground & Overground Explorer, Sun 26 Jan:: We are delighted to be the
booking agent for this low cost, easy day out Merseyrail charity tour featuring 2 x 3-car EMUs which is
fundraising for Alder Hey Children's Charity, nominated by Merseyrail.

Birkenhead North has toilet facilities and a 630 space FREE car park. The Stock Interchange/Holding
Line, Sandhills Reversing Siding, Hunts Cross P2 and the less used platforms at New Brighton, West
Kirby and Birkenhead North are included. The tour covers seven lines between 10.08 and 17.08.
Adults £25.08; Under 18s (max TWO per adult) ONLY 1p. Please book via our website or ask someone
to do this for you; alternatively send a cheque (Payable to 'Branch Line Society') or CPA to Mark Gomm
per back page with an email address (for preference) or a BLN (A5) sized First Class stamped addressed
envelope. Provisional validated timings & route submitted to NR…

BELOW: A Society tour in West Kirby P1 with Siding 1 on the right. (Kev Adlam.)

Birkenhead North P1 (10.08 PU) - Lime Street P1 (10.21 PU) - Ellesmere Port (rev) - Hooton P1 (rev)
- Chester P7 (rev) - James St P2 - Stock Interchange/Holding Line - Liverpool Central - Hunts Cross P2
(rev) - Kirkby P1 (rev) - Sandhills Rev Sdg (rev) - Southport P2 (rev/break) - Sandhills Rev Sdg (rev) -
Ormskirk P1 (rev) - Liverpool Central (rev) - Stock Interchange/Holding Line - James St P2 - West
Kirby P2 (rev) - Birkenhead N Sig 577 (rev) - New Brighton P1 (rev) - Birkenhead N. P1 (5.08pm SD).

If booking for any or all of the following three days of railtours please make your choices carefully.
Due to the high workload for our volunteers (we have no paid staff) caused by alterations these will
require cancellation (with a 90% refund) and rebooking - subject to availability of seats. Thank you.

2890] :The Fenny Crompton; Sat 7 Mar:: An easy day out positioning move railtour operated by West
Coast Railways (WCR), with a WCR Class 33. A Class 47 on the rear provides train heating. A buffet car
service of drinks & refreshments will be available, with various hand pulled real ales. We are raising
funds for Help for Heroes, the leading Armed Forces Community charity. An early afternoon London
Paddington arrival allows plenty of time to enjoy a Saturday evening in London before the main event
on Sunday. Rare track highlights include the recently extended Down Fenny Compton Down Goods
Loop with crossovers before and afterwards and Bescot Up & Dn Through Siding (No1 road requested).

Provisional validated route & timings submitted to NR: Lancaster P4 (07.10 PU) - Preston P6 (07.39
PU) - Crewe P5 (08.43 PU) - Alsager Up & Dn Goods Loop - Hednesford - Walsall Up Fast - Bescot Up
& Dn Through Siding No1 - Birmingham International - Coventry P4 (11.43 PU) - Kenilworth -
Leamington (through) Up Main - Fenny Compton Dn Goods Loop - Banbury Up Loop - Aynho Jn
facing X/O - Down Bicester (Aynho Flyover) in Up direction - Bicester North P2 (13.31 PU) - Princes
Risborough Up Main - West Ruislip Up Loop - West Ealing - London Paddington P9 (15.22 SD).

Standard Class £33; First Class (with refreshments) £73 - at a table for two £83; U18s deduct £16.50,
must be adult accompanied; Non Member £12 extra. See 2889 to book. *SEE BELOW FOR 3-DAY FARE*

2891] :The Devonian Crompton; Sun 8 Mar:: Operated by WCR with just a pair of Class 33s at the
sharp end, hauled by 71A Locomotive Group's 33012 (with electric train heating) and a WCR Class 33,
departure is from Victoria returning to Waterloo, as we set out to cover classic Class 33 routes. A
buffet car service of drinks and refreshments will be available, including various hand pulled real ales.
Raising funds for Help for Heroes, our destination is the former Coleford Jn (Okehampton line), with a
few twists & turns and photo stops on the way! There is an optional 90-min break in Exeter instead.

Provisional validated route & timings: London Victoria P2 (09.31 PU) - Stewarts Lane Jn - Clapham
Junction - Balham - Streatham North Jn - Streatham South Jn - Wimbledon - Woking P4 (10.36 PU) -
Basingstoke P2 (11.19 PU) - Salisbury P3 (11.56 PU) - Tisbury Loop - Gillingham P1 - Yeovil Junction
P3 (photo stop/rev) - Yeovil Pen Mill (rev) - Yeovil Junction P2 - Chard Loop - Axminster P1 - Honiton
P1 (photo stop) - Exeter St Davids P3 (15.32 SD) - Crediton - site of Coleford Jn (rev) - Exeter St
Davids P3 (17.11 PU/rev) - Exeter Riverside Yard - Taunton - Weston-super-Mare - Bristol TM P5
(18.58 SD) - Bath - Westbury - Salisbury P2 (20.24 SD) - Basingstoke P3 (21.08 SD) - Woking P1
(21.40 SD) - Weybridge - Wimbledon - Clapham Junction - London Waterloo P19 (22.38).

Standard Class £89; First Class (with refreshments) £139 - at a table for two £154; U18s deduct £44.50,
must be adult accompanied. Non Member £12 extra. See 2889 to book. *SEE BELOW FOR 3-DAY FARE*

2892] :The Park Royal Parkinson; Mon 9 Mar:: A re-positioning move tour operated by WCR, with a
WCR Class 33. A Class 47 will be provided for train heating and reversals. A buffet car service of drinks
and refreshments will be available, including various hand pulled real ales. We are raising funds for
Help for Heroes. There is plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely morning in London before the journey
home. Rare track highlights include Royal Oak Siding, Old Oak Common Reception Line, Coventry
Carriage Sidings, Coventry North Yard and Sideway Loop. Provisional validated timings/route:

Paddington P1 (12.28 PU) - Royal Oak Siding - Old Oak Common Reception Line - Greenford South
Jn - Park Royal (rev) - Greenford West Jn - Princes Risborough P2 - Bicester North P1 (14.49 SD) -
Leamington (through) Down Main - Coventry P4 (rev) - Coventry Carriage Sidings (rev) - Coventry P4
(16.34 SD) - Coventry North Yard - Nuneaton - Stafford P3 (18.01 SD) - Sideway Loop - Stoke - Crewe
P1 (19.34 SD) - Warrington BQ P4 (20.08 SD) - Preston P3 (21.13 SD) - Lancaster P3 (21.40 SD).

Standard Class £43; First Class (with refreshments) £83 - at a table for two £93; U18s deduct £21.50,
must be adult accompanied; Non Member £12 extra. See 2889 to book. *SEE BELOW FOR 3-DAY FARE*

2893] :SPECIAL 3-DAY CROMPTON INCLUSIVE FARE; 7-9 Mar:: All three railtours: Standard Class £149;
First Class (includes refreshments on all three days) £239 - at a table for two per person £299; Under
18s deduct £74.50 but all must be adult accompanied; Non Member add £36 premium to these fares.

2894] :Kernow Spring Funiculars; :Sat 21 Mar:: (BLN 1340.2881 report; pictures in e-BLN) With thanks
to our member Mark Thomas, the first day of spring is reserved for our repeat visit to the interesting
non-public Funicular Railways at RNLI The Lizard (mainland Britain's most southerly railway) and
Padstow. Helston Railway is not running this day. Max party 16; watch website for bookings opening.

2895] :Tom's Comprehensive Kent Connector Wed 3 - Fri 5 Jun:: Our latest service train tracker covers
all available lines in Kent. Over 900 miles of rail travel in three days with some like-minded company.
It includes almost all lines, every possible crossover with rare moves and is a good social occasion, in
hopefully nice weather with plenty of daylight. Day 1 starts (using a 3-Day Kent Rover Ticket) at
Gravesend 10.49 (the 09.36 from Victoria connects) to conclude at Ramsgate/Margate for the first of
two nights' (inexpensive) stay. Day 3 ends at Sittingbourne 20.09. 'Commuting' from London and other
places is possible. The 3-day Off-peak (after 09.30) Kent Rover is only £45; accompanied children just
£5! Adult Railcard fare is £30 (some are only valid after 10.00). On Day 1 an hour's break at 19.00
(Margate/Ramsgate) gives time to book into your accommodation. The itinerary can be joined/left as
desired. Optional extras available before 09.30 (fares extra). Expressions of interest to assess viability
and any queries to Tom Gilby [email protected] or 69 Regent St, Barwell, Leicester, LE9 8GY.

2896] :The BLS Niedersachsen Explorer; Fri 26 to Sun 28 Jun, UPDATE:: (BLNs 1338.2521 & 1339.2647
with map) Our proposed northwest Germany tour attracted 80 expressions of interest; this high level
of response has encouraged us to declare it a runner. Our operators are also enthusiasts and, knowing
that the BLS is always keen to do as much track as possible, are working on extra track highlights.
Three more short branches are confirmed with longer lines under investigation. Once the route and
arrangements are known we intend to open bookings. Further notifications to Paul Griffin (back page).

1341 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]

2897] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= new/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations 'exclusive' if bracketed) bold = closed now

1338.2529 9 Dec 19 13 Dec 19 St Budeaux Jn - Gunnislake
1338.2630 22 Nov 19 15 Dec 19 *Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog (TCP 19.00 22 Nov 2019)
1341.3021 17 Nov 19 23 Dec 19 * Clarbeston Road Jn - Milford Haven
1338.2528 25 Dec 19 2 Jan 20 (Market Harborough)/Manton Jn - Corby - (Bedford)
1333.1883 16 Feb 19 Unknown Dolgarrog station (BLN 1338.2630); pictures e-BLN 1337
1331.1539 2 Jan 19 'end 2019' Mid Hants Railway; Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)
1325.655 20 Oct 18 17 Feb 20 Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
1338.2530 15 Feb 20 24 Feb 20 Blackheath Jn - Bexleyheath - Slade Green Jn/Crayford Creek Jn
1338.2531 15 Feb 20 24 Feb 20 (Truro) - Penzance [St Erth - St Ives status unknown as yet]
1330.1399 †4 Nov 18 Now 2020 Llangollen Rly, (Carrog) - Corwen East site [†last public train]

2898] Clarbeston Road Jn - Fishguard Harbour (incl) & Fishguard & Goodwick: (BLN 1340.2764/item
3020) ROP Fri 15 Nov after TCA 18.33 Thur 17 Oct 2019 for urgent tree felling following an accident.

2899] Cricklewood Aggregate Terminal (CAT) Sidings: (BLN 1340.2766) On Fri 15 Nov 2019 a test DBC
light engine ran from Hither Green (12.07), arriving 14.00 and departing 18.49; both north and south
connections were used. This was the first train since 7 May 1996 (then the Cricklewood recess siding).
The lines opened for traffic (Weekly Operating Notice) from Mon 25 Nov. A new signalled route from
WH443 signal (Down Hendon) was brought into use and also position light WH545 on the Up Hendon
to the Down Reception via 817 points. Gates (5m 38ch) are provided on the Down Reception line.

ABOVE: The 15 Nov test light engine. BELOW: The same line before renovation. (Robin Morel.)

ABOVE: During a possession on 5 Nov the clip is removed and the new point in the Down Hendon at
5m 24ch signed into use. Looking north, the new aggregate terminal is left. (Both Robin Morel.)

BELOW: The new Cricklewood Aggregate Terminal is extensive; looking north again with the
Midland Main Line on the right, which leaves just one question: When is the railtour?

ABOVE: (BLN 1340.2783) (TRACKmaps 4 p8B Dec 2018) Meanwhile on the other (Up) side of the line
the new end of line on Road 12 (the Shunt Neck) from 25 Oct 2019. The rest of this line over Jerich's
Private Level Crossing (seen here) and beyond was to be lifted. Looking north, the North Circular Road
is in the background. (Robin Morel, 25 Oct 2019.)

1341 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2900] Post Early for Christmas: At the time of writing it was not clear if there will be a Christmas postal
strike. If there is, and BLN 1342 (dated 21 Dec) is delayed, the paper BLN & BLNI 1342 versions can be
supplied as a PDF attachment by email; requests to [email protected] (your Editor).

2901] … and catch trains early all year: With the current unrealistic and naive political obsession that
all trains should run exactly on time, at St Pancras International East Midlands Railway has joined
LNER (at King's Cross) in closing train doors two minutes before departure time in an attempt to help
achieve this. At Paddington GWR services 'disappear' off the screen two minutes before departure,
but at Euston Virgin Trains (RIP) recently reduced their 'early doors' time from 2 min to 90 seconds.

2902] Fixtures Secretary: On the subject of post, please delete Kev Adlam's address in Crewe from
your address books. Postal correspondence can be sent to the Editor for scanning and forwarding.

2903] AGM: 79 members attended our Sat 16 Nov 2019 AGM at the very suitable Roundhouse venue,
Barrow Hill, the centrepiece of an excellent long weekend of fixtures in the area. The AGM resolved to
reduce the number of elected Committee posts from 5 to 4; see item 2885 regarding constitutional
review (do please respond!). Dave Monger stood down from the committee after 35 years' continuous
service - mainly as BLN Distribution Officer. This is unlikely ever to be exceeded and was recognised
with a presentation at Woking in 2014 for his 30th anniversary (BLN 1217 p381). Alan Welsh also stood
down after 17 years as Membership Secretary; our Chairman presented him with a unique artisan
created memento made of a piece of 50lb per yard rail (2ft gauge) used at ex-Royal Naval Armaments
Depot at Trecwn near Fishguard. The depot initially stored torpedoes and sea mines and the rail was
copper to reduce the risk of sparks. On the subject of bright sparks, Lisa Sheppard was elected as your
new Membership Secretary, her contact details will be at the top of the first page of each BLN.

The meeting voted to keep Membership Subscription Rates for 2020-21 unchanged for the fourth year
running and appointed Stephen Phillips as your new Independent Accounts Examiner. Your Fixtures
Secretary, Kev Adlam, gave an interesting audiovisual review (available in full as an e-BLN download).
It includes pictures of our riding vehicle 'Molly' before/after restoration and some fixtures/people.
Between 1 Oct 2018 and 30 Sep 2019, over £150,000 was donated to good causes by the Society as a
result of our activities (£647,000 Since 1 Apr 2012) - a remarkable figure for just under 2,000 members.
The single largest of £21,167 was Martin House Children's Hospice in Yorkshire. Plans for early 2020:

JAN: Scunthorpe AFRPS; Madrid with PTG; East Anglia. FEB: Bicester Depot Vintage Trains.
MAR: Devon branches with Class 33s; Aire Valley freight facilities. APR: Easter weekend multi
day event; Railtour in the London area. MAY: Island of Ireland 5 with Irish Rail tour; Northern
Sweden. JUN: North East freight facilities; North Germany. JUL: Summer Welsh Coast trip.

After the AGM Tim Shoveller kindly gave a very interesting presentation about his railway career. He
started as a volunteer porter at the age of 15 on the Mid Hants Railway at Alton and, after 25 years in
the industry, is now a senior NR Manager. Tim joined British Rail as a Guard at Guildford, progressing
through various posts to become Virgin Trains Business Development Director. In 2007 he became
Managing Director at East Midlands Trains, then South West Trains, and latterly Stagecoach Rail. He is
also a Fellow and Board Member of the Institution of Railway Operators and Chairman of RBF. Our
2020 AGM is potentially at the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, Bo'ness, at a similar time of year.

PREVIOUS PAGE: The new café at Barrow Hill Roundhouse
was our AGM venue. Taken from the Society's riding vehicle
'Molly' as over 50 members went by on our morning railtour.
In the glass, top left is the reflection of the Class 03 loco cab
with its black and yellow chevrons. Front left is your new
Membership Secretary, Lisa Sheppard. Sat with arms folded
is a former Chairman, Robert Green and right of him are
Jenny & John Williamson. (John Hampson, 16 Nov 2019.)

ABOVE: Our beloved Chairman, John Williamson (left)
presenting our 'retiring' Membership secretary, Alan Welsh
(who is not wearing a skullcap), with his memento, Dave
Monger looks on behind. (Kev Adlam.)

LEFT: A close up of the memento. (Alex Stewart.)

BELOW: The handover of power from our former to our
newly elected Membership Secretary. Lisa has that "What on
Earth have I let myself in for…?" look on her face but Alan W
is looking rather pleased with himself. (Alan Sheppard.)

[BLN 1341]

2904] Society ex-officio Equality Officer: By Trevor Cockram. The Branch Line Society is determined to
function equally for all our members. This means equality irrespective of disability, gender and age.
My role within the Society is to act as a focus for any equality issues. Where possible we make
reasonable adjustments to accommodate requirements. I can't affect the policies of third parties
including TOCs involved with our fixtures; but if there is an issue of this nature please let me know and
I will try to assist. If you would like to contact me please do email [email protected] or
speak to me on fixtures (I am the large guy in a wheelchair) or by post via your Editor per back page.

2905] TRACKmaps Book 5 Southern & TfL 4th Edition (Aug 2019): (Review/details BLN 1340.2771)
A reminder that your Sales Officer, Graeme Jolley, is now taking orders for BLS Members only at a
discounted price for dispatch during the first week of Dec, just £13 incl P&P. Please email him for a
special e-link to pay by card or post a cheque payee 'Branch Line Society' to Graeme (per back page
contact details). Alternatively you can email [email protected] but send no money - and
collect on our 8 Dec 'Bootle Brush' tour - only £11 (cash on the day preferred, right money please).

2906] Keeping up the pace: For members who like Pacers (both of you), in the new timetable they are
expected to congregate on the Rhymney branch and Northern Gainsborough Central/Lincoln services.

2907] My First Railway Memories (19): By Paul Jeffries, our previous Wales and The Marches BLN
Regional Editor. Growing up in 1950s Sheffield, my first love was the city's tram system, with the sad
realisation that these beautiful vehicles were being taken off the streets. In 1951 there were 48 route
miles of tramway but the last tram ran on 8 Oct 1960. As for train journeys, these were initially limited
to holidays, always to the east coast (Skegness or Scarborough), which meant early acquaintance with
Sheffield Victoria station, not least for the inevitable parental argument as to whether or not to fork
out the penny for the Wicker Lift, closed in 1983. My mother used to tease me that on one of my
earliest journeys, I ran in terror to the comfort of her skirts when our train arrived with the safety
valves blowing off! One memory that still prevails, incidentally, is the unique dusty musty scent of
compartments that would have been stored through the winter. [The 1963 Beeching Report revealed
that 6,000 coaches, nearly a third of the fleet, were used on 18 or fewer high peak occasions in
12 months at a cost of £3.4M (=£70M now), earning £0.5M, with 2,000 of them used 10 times or less.]

My real interest began in primary school, when I heard other boys talking about their hobby of
'trainspotting', helped by a much older boy next door passing on to me his London Midland 'abc'.
[Sorry, Paul, you can't count what he'd underlined.] Our nearest lineside opportunity was indeed the
Midland line, at Heeley station. Here began the true fascination of a lifetime, as I began to spend more
and more time there, convincing my parents of the evident educational value implicit in the 'namers'
of the Jubilee class (I could soon position every nation and province of the Empire), not to mention the
UK geographical knowledge picked up from exciting carriage boards such as 'Bristol - Newcastle'.

Acquisition of my first bicycle brought Millhouses Motive Power Depot (41C) into range, although
with only one door, it was very difficult to bunk. I remember plucking up courage one evening when
the buzz was that 'Clan Mackintosh' was inside, only to be chased off with dire threats. Well, there was
always dear old 40907 which lived, unused and unloved, on the 'back line' and became everyone's
playground. Extended parental consent allowed staying well into the evening to see the two 9F hauled
fast Down freights from, I think, Washwood Heath; does anyone recall why they were not routed on
the 'Old Road'? Eventually, enhanced pocket money and seemingly endless school holidays brought
within range of a 'Child Return' exotic new cops at the likes of Doncaster, York, Crewe, Derby, and a
personal favourite, Retford. A first 'Combined' and 'Locoshed Book' increased my understanding
greatly. With some foresight, about this time I also developed a fascination with timetables, eventually
acquiring all six regional British Rail public books (variably) sold at main stations.

I joined the Northern Railfans' Club, gaining legitimate access to works and sheds, often with massively
complex day-long itineraries, but, as for many of us, the arrival of the diesels slowly but surely killed
off interest in mere train spotting. I was thrilled, on leaving school, to be offered the post of
Accountancy Trainee with Eastern Region. My first months were a dream, farmed out to passenger,
parcels and goods depots, even to the wondrous new complex of Tinsley, and the brand new Sheffield
Freight Terminal at Brightside, to study costings and provide (very inexpert) advice to Head Office in
John Street, London. There followed the college part of the 'sandwich course', when I realised that
accountancy was not to be my forte. Booted off the course, I had the melancholy task of serving out
my year's contract on Head Office clerical work, much of which was angled at 'proving' (= fabricating)
evidence to justify yet another branch line closure.

Although my life and career then took a different direction for the next 40 years, my interest in
railways never flagged, as proved by the sheer weight of magazines in my loft: 'Railway Mag', 'Railway
World', 'Modern Railways' and 'Modern Tramway' all neatly stacked, doubtless never to be looked at
again. But a turning point, making good use of my knowledge, was my appointment in 1978 as
Secretary and Magazine Editor of the Glamorgan Rail Users' Federation, a user group for the South
Wales area. This gave me privileged (if often unattributed) access to inside information. Valleys
services reached a nadir at the time of the Radyr resignalling, about which I wrote a particularly
scathing article. To my chagrin, I was invited to the office of the General Manager of the Valley Lines
Train Operating Company (TOC), the late great Tom Clift; expecting a dressing down. Instead I was
offered a job as Timetable Planner, with an 'if you think you can do better …' then I promptly grabbed
off his hand! Especially as we discovered we were both devotees of Sheffield United FC.

For me, learning the ropes of train paths, unit diagrams, train crew diagrams, Short Term Planning and
the like came easily, and I could scarcely believe I was getting paid to do a job that I so loved - and with
the benefit of Privilege Tickets as well! For a newbie, Tom gave me a remarkably free rein, including
commandeering a Class 37 and coaches for occasional Sunday excursions to the likes of Tenby or
Paignton. My very own train set! Things changed however, when Valley Line ceased to be a separate
TOC and was merged into Wales & Borders, and while it was still a pleasure to work under the
excellent management now of Chris Gibb, my role was changed to one of a team leader, spending
more time in meetings than doing the actual train planning work that I loved. I remember endless
meetings at the time of the West Coast Modernisation, always dominated by Virgin people who didn't
seem to know or care that almost the entire timetable of Wales hinged on securing a slot for our
Manchester services to cross the West Coast Main Line at Crewe.

With the handover to Arriva in 2005, things became even more fraught, and it was in the end a relief
to be granted early voluntary retirement at age 58. But I have kept a toe in the door through my
involvement in the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association where, until ill health meant stepping aside
last year, I held the position of Regional Secretary, Wales & Western. From Jun 2010 to Feb 2018 I was,
of course, also BLN Regional Editor for Wales, and am still active in the Society when possible.

It was an immense privilege recently to present, on behalf of BLS [Paul joined in Nov 1977], the £12k
cheque to British Heart Foundation from our recent Pacer Farewell tour which I participated in.

Regrets, I've had a few: the grievous losses of Sheffield Victoria and the Great Central Marylebone
line, of the Waverley Line and the Somerset & Dorset. The demise of the first generation trams. 1968
and all that (the 'end' of steam). But also many delights: my first holiday in Cornwall, finding it still
almost the GWR in its pomp, all copper-capped, even down to the humble 45XXs. Evenings watching
the last main line steam at Waterloo (and yes, coinciding with that Kinks great eponymous song).
Finally, I suppose we each can think of our one most unforgettable rail journey. In my case, this has to
be my epic Toronto to Vancouver ride on 'The Canadian' last year which, besides the ever-memorable
scenery, brought me by chance into contact with the Argentinean lady who is now my partner.

One way and another, being a railway enthusiast brings the most unexpected consequences in life…

2908] BLN 1340.2772 Quiz Answers Part 3; TRUE or FALSE: With thanks to Angus McDougall.
❶Arisaig station is the furthest west in Great Britain. TRUE
❷The Waterford & Tramore Railway had no connection with any other line. TRUE
❸The [broad] track gauge in Portugal and Spain is the same as Russian track gauge. FALSE

In Portugal and Spain the broad gauge is 1,668mm (5ft 5⅔") but in Russia it is 1,520mm (5ft).
❹The country of Liechtenstein does not operate its own railways. TRUE Liechtenstein's one railway
……line, which runs between Austria and Switzerland, is operated by Austrian Federal Railways.
❺The last regularly timetabled British Rail steam hauled passenger train was on 5 Aug 1967. FALSE
….. It was Sun 18 Dec 1988 (Aberystwyth - Devils Bridge, Vale of Rheidol line) Santa Specials in the
……public timetable (but not in the working timetable, so they must have been Weekly Notice items).
……Before selling it, BR sought formal closure approval (otherwise they would have had to resume
……service if the new owners defaulted) - obtained on 28 Mar 1989. The line was sold to the owners of
……the Brecon Mountain Railway; their first advertised day was Sun 21 May 1989 (no Easter service).
……BR's 1988 Off-peak Return (most trains) was £5.50; in 1989 the 'normal' fare was £7, a 21.4% rise.
❻A tram route in Basel (Switzerland) crosses the border into Germany. TRUE
❼All non-single track railroads in the United States usually operate with right hand running. FALSE
…..The former Chicago & North Western Railway used left-hand running, which is perpetuated by its
…..successor, Union Pacific Railroad on the relevant lines.
❽The star of 'The Titfield Thunderbolt' film was Will Hay. FALSE (Stanley Holloway or perhaps 'Lion'.)
❾Political pressure caused the Minister of Transport to refuse the Mid Wales line closure proposal.
…..FALSE It closed to passengers from 31 Dec 1962; it applies to the Central Wales line reprieve.
❿Articulated passenger coaches were used on some London suburban services. TRUE

2909] BLN 1340.2773 Quiz, Answers Part 4 MULTIPLE CHOICE: Thanks to Angus McDougall.
①The Newcastle Emlyn branch (West Wales) ran from (c) Pencader.
②The first standard British Railways coach livery was (c) carmine and cream.
③In French Railways' former printed timetables, timings marked by 'car' indicated travel by (b) bus.
④A black painted lever in a BR mechanical signal box works (a) points.
⑤On the London Underground system Green Park was formerly known as (b) Dover Street.
⑥The 4-4-2 steam loco wheel arrangement is often called (b) Atlantic.
⑦Central, Midi and Nord are the names of stations in (a) Brussels.
⑧Most of the Heads of the Valleys line in South Wales was owned by (b) the LNWR.
⑨The bell code of six strokes in a BR mechanical signal box means (c) obstruction danger.
⑩Scenes on the original 'Brief Encounter' film, with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, were originally
……intended to be shot at (c) Watford Junction.
⑪Dublin Connolly station used to be named (c) Amiens Street.

2910] *NEW* BLS Eco-friendly Travel Mugs: These were on sale during our AGM and railtour. Just
20 remain and will be on sale on our 8 Dec 'Bootle Brush' railtour at £10. A brushed silver metal
container keeps your drinks hot (or cold). It is finished with red plastic and the Society's signal logo.

2911] Ultra-Microgricers take note: By 21 Nov on the Bluebell Railway 13 track panels had been relaid
on the embankment north of Horsted Keynes station past Leamland Jn (11m 09ch) and slued a foot to
the west. To gain the maximum new track, do remember to sit on the west side of the train.

2912] News from Australia? On Wed 27 Nov at 22.00, there was a major upgade to the system
(Darwin) that powers the National Rail Online Journey Planner. [Is 'Darwin' an acronym and if so for
what, Dynamic Analytical Reporting Web (based) Interactive Navigator came up online but with no
reference to railways?] Following this Darwin can use Global Positioning system data from trains.

[BLN 1341]
There were also 10 critical, 53 major and 295 minor bug fixes in this release. Darwin provides real time
arrival and departure predictions, platform numbers, delay estimates, as well as real time schedule
changes and cancellations. It powers all National Rail Enquiries and train operator customer real time
information tools, including websites, mobile apps and train station departure board screens.

2913] On Railway Hotels, Part 2: (BLN 1340.2776) This extensive article was hand written by our
member Rhys Ab Elis for 'Transmag' - the Mensa UK Transport Special interest group magazine and is
not available to the public. It is serialised in BLN for the benefit of our few members who have not yet
got round to taking the test to join Mensa. In 2003 I finally decided to track down all the remaining
ex-railway hotels in existence, photograph them and, where possible, stay at them. It has taken 15
years, but I have stayed at 68 and 'fed and watered' at another 10 which continue to function as pubs
and/or restaurants, but no longer provide overnight accommodation. In the 15 years, a couple have
closed such as the Furness Abbey (near Barrow-in-Furness, Furness Railway) and Ayr Station Hotel.

As reported in BLN the latter closed in 2010 and is at risk of demolition. It was sold to Malaysian based
interests and has become an unsafe structure, on which Network Rail has had to carry out emergency
shoring-up measures as it is integral with the station. This caused the cessation of all rail operations
southwards through Ayr station from 28 Aug until 18 Dec 2017, both to Girvan and Stranraer, and the
EMU carriage sidings. I stayed there in 2005 and, like several of the ex-railway hotels, it exuded an air
of slightly faded Edwardian grandeur. I was particularly taken with the Art Nouveau electric lift which
the Glasgow & South Western Railway installed in 1914 (it is a 'Category B' listed structure along with
the hotel and station, so could not, therefore, be modernised or altered without stringent controls).

My first 'planned' ex-railway hotel was at the
only former main line survivor providing
overnight accommodation still in Wales. This is
the Fishguard Bay Hotel, (LEFT) overlooking
Fishguard Harbour station. It started life as a
large country house called 'Wyncliff', and was
purchased in 1894 by the Fishguard & Rosslare
Railways & Harbour Co (FRRH). This was a legal
entity which still exists, created to own a mile of
railway in Wales, 109 miles of railway in Ireland,
the ferry operation between the two ports, and
to construct and run those two ports. (The FRRH
was a joint venture between the Great Western
Railway in Wales & England and the Great
Southern & Western Railway in Ireland.) From
1898 the hotel was managed by the GWR on
behalf of the FRRH. British Transport Hotel
operation ceased in 1950, and after some vicissitudes (including use as a hostel for oil industry
workers, based in the Milford Haven area), the freehold was acquired by local business interests in
1967 who eventually raised the money to restore it to its former glory. It has a great Edwardian
atmosphere with much polished wood. Next to the reception desk was a large, framed picture of the
Queen, surrounded by her numerous family.

The Queen in question was Victoria; slightly curious, as she died in 1901 and the hotel opened (with
the port, Harbour station and ferry service to Ireland) in 1906! The only annoyance was the presence
of an electronic 'security' gate blocking the direct path from Fishguard Harbour station. That means a
walk that could be 200 yards is, instead, two miles via the port exit - not good with luggage! One might
ask - whose 'security'? The FRRH today is owned by Stena in Wales (hence the station is non-NR and
allows smoking on the platform!) and Irish Rail in Ireland, so presumably Stena installed the gate.

2004 saw stays at three ex-railway hotels in England. A Cumbrian holiday in July included a stay at the
Furness Abbey Hotel, just outside Barrow-in-Furness, and the Keswick Hotel. ABOVE: 25" to the mile
1911 map showing the ruined abbey with the Furness Abbey Hotel above and the station to the right.
The line is Carnforth (off top) to Barrow (off bottom right), specifically between Dalton and Rhoose.

The Furness Abbey Hotel (BELOW) opened in 1845 and was leased by the Furness Railway from 1864.
It was actually built in the midst of the ruins of
the mediaeval abbey, and was adjacent to
Furness Abbey station (CP 25 Sep 1950 - Quick).

The hotel originally closed in 1938 and (after
providing army accommodation during WWII it is
believed) was mostly demolished in 1953-54
other than part of the north wing. The 'rump' of
the hotel later reopened as an inn with limited
overnight accommodation. It closed again
sometime after 2004.

The Keswick Hotel (RIGHT) was owned by the
Cockermouth, Keswick & Penrith Railway and
was adjacent to that company's station. It was
effectively the first big hotel in Keswick and
started tourism in the town. It is still a large and
splendidly appointed building and, since closure
of the railway station from 6 Mar 1972, has
annexed the station itself. Notable visitors to this
hotel have included HM the Queen in 1956 (if
she revisited now she might recognise the
wallpaper!). In 1895, one of her relations took
afternoon tea there - his Imperial Majesty Kaiser
Wilhelm II, guest of Lord Middleton. (Afternoon
tea is now a little less formal; wearing a
pickelhaube - look it up - is no longer necessary.)

In Oct 2004 I stayed at the Midland Hotel at Derby station. Opened in 1840, virtually as the first
railways reached Derby, it was purchased by the Midland Railway in 1862. The hotel was designed to
match the appearance of Derby station and other adjacent railway buildings, all in a red brick style. For
a century or so, all was harmonious architectural uniformity, until British Rail modernisation destroyed
the station. The historic Victorian station entrance and booking hall was (controversially at the time)
demolished in 1985 - unlikely to be allowed nowadays - and replaced with bland nothingness. The big
clock and Midland Railway wyvern were transferred on their own to the far end of the station car park,
looking peculiar and out of place. The hotel itself (now the Hallmark) has a homely, warm atmosphere.

By now, the railway hotel bug had well and truly bitten me. In Feb 2005 an 8-day Scottish Rail Rover
facilitated progression round eight of them in succession. In between photographing and staying at the
hotels, this was an opportunity to photograph many stations too. These included the Cairngorm
funicular line (it is only during the skiing season that passengers were allowed to alight at The Shieling,
the intermediate station, which gave superb photo opportunities in the deep snow). But back to the
hotels; first off was Gleneagles (which used to have its own standard gauge branch line). It is now an
AA five star luxury hotel in 850 acres with 232 rooms (26 are suites) and four separate golf courses.

I suspect that not many guests arrive by train these days. It is about a mile from Gleneagles station
and two miles from the Perthshire country town of Auchterarder (CP 11/6/1958). The hotel project
began as a private venture, which the Caledonian Railway (CR) took over, about 1909. Given the huge
scale of the hotel and its estate, construction of which was interrupted by WWI, it didn't open until
1924. Thus the CR, which had spent a fortune on the place, never made a penny from it as by the time
it had opened that Railway had ceased to exist, and was 'grouped' into the LMS. Until 1921, the station
was named Crieff Junction. Arriving here early on a Sunday afternoon, I located the telephone on the
now-trackless former Crieff branch platform. This is a direct line to the hotel that (by previous
arrangement when booking) sent the hotel's courtesy minibus to collect me.

Gleneagles is all you would expect it to be. Conversations with the staff will inform much historical
interest. The hotel had been booked the following July for a big international heads of governments
conference (including Tony Blair and George W Bush) which, predictably, meant the place would be
crawling with MI5, MI6, CIA etc. The staff, candidly, regarded these security types as an unmitigated
nuisance when they were carrying out the daily tasks of running the hotel. You eat well at Gleneagles.
Afternoon tea costs the same whether one nibbles tentatively at a couple of crustless cucumber
sandwiches or does full justice to one's personal 3-tier cake stand (with dinner to be accommodated
later as well). I arrived just a little too late to do the organised hotel tour, so explored on my own. Had
I arrived earlier still, horse riding (but not the iron variety) in the grounds would have been an option.
On reflection, being thrown by a horse on the first day of the holiday wouldn't have been very smart…

ABOVE: 1954 map with Gleneagles station, hotel and its significant freight branch (does anyone know
anything about it please?). Stirling is off the bottom, Perth top right; the single track line is to Crieff

Next day the hotel minibus conveyed me back to the station, for onward rail travel. The name of the
hotel has nothing to do with eagles, by the way. The CR shamelessly adopted the name from a small
estate called Glen Eagles on the south side of the railway, on which the OS map indicates the presence
of an ancient small church ('eaglais' in Gaelic). The Gaelic word for an eagle is 'iolaire'. The bilingual
station nameboards call the station name Gleann Eagas. Eagas does not feature in my An Comunn
Gaidhealach dictionary. I have previously drawn Network Rail's attention to this who deny that they
have got it wrong. A last verbal tale, although the CR helped themselves to the 'Gleneagles' name
without asking permission, it was allegedly a different matter when a guesthouse in Auchterarder
chose the name 'Beneagles' for their premises. The hotel allegedly promptly contacted their lawyers.

BELOW: Gleneagles Hotel - see e-BLN 1340.2276 also. (All pictures by Rhys Ab Elis.)

1341 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2914] Tibshelf: A member is trying to find the abolition date for Tibshelf Ground Frame (GF), which
wasn't recorded in the Weekly Operating Notice (WON). It was on the Erewash Valley Line [Tibshelf &
Blackwell Jn (137m 16ch) at Westhouses, accessing the 'Tibshelf & Teversall Line'. The final traffic was
from Silverhill Colliery (production ceased 16 Oct 1992). There is no record either of abandonment
and lifting of the Silverhill Colliery branch or the network connection (via the GF) at Tibshelf Branch
Jn. From analysis of the Railtrack-era WONs, the GF was shown in the Appendix page dated 1 Apr 2000
with the line only to be used with special authority - elsewhere this sometimes meant that a line had
gone! In the 2 Jun 2001 page, the line and GF had been deleted. All information gratefully appreciated.

2915] Spalding: Access for All work began on 3 Dec. It includes step free access to P2 (lifts), improved
footbridge lighting and extra CCTV across the station. More tactile paving is being installed. Currently if
anyone who can't manage the footbridge wants to join or leave a train from Peterborough at Spalding
it (if possible) calls at bidirectional P1 instead via the facing crossover before, and the trailing one after
the station. If this is not possible a taxi is provided (at no extra cost to passengers) to or from Sleaford.

2916] Northampton: Some 14,000 people work on Brackmills Industrial Estate. By a stroke of planning
genius, most are office workers, starting and finishing work at exactly the same times. Apparently, it
can take an hour to drive on or off the estate at peak times. Northampton Council has some ideas to
resolve this problem; all of which are based exclusively on the use of cars. The trackbed is still in place
to Northampton Castle station, some has been sold to West Northampton Development Corporation.

2917] Kettering: All four platforms are being extended. The original Grade II listed Midland Railway
platform canopies are being trimmed back to accommodate the overhead electrification. (The main
station and platform buildings are also listed.) However, the canopies will be refurbished and some
lost architectural details reinstated, based on historic original Midland Railway drawings of the station.

BELOW: Wingfield station building on 28 Apr 2012. (Angus McDougall.)

2918] Wingfield: The dilapidated station buildings have been rescued thanks to Derbyshire Historic
Buildings Trust, Amber Valley Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Council has compulsorily purchased them after over 30 years of concern about the deteriorating
condition of the Grade II* listed station, which is in urgent need of repair and conservation. On 10 Dec
the Trust will take ownership of the buildings and carry out essential work to save them for future
commercial and community use. Built in 1840, Wingfield station and parcels shed closed in 1967 and is
said to be one of the earliest stations built in England - possibly the world. It is also the last surviving
example of railway architect Francis Thompson's best work on the North Midland Railway. He was
commissioned by Robert Stephenson - son of George Stephenson - to design 24 stations on the Derby
to Leeds section of the North Midland Line. Wingfield is the only surviving example. The National
Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £137k development funding to Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust
to start the project and an application for a further grant to complete the work is planned.

1341 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
2919] Cricklewood: (BLN 1340.2783) An operating incident at 00.31 on 17 Nov led to Cricklewood Up
Departure Line closing, with no access to Fuel Road North and no access or egress from South Sidings
1-5. The second and fourth coaches of 700057 derailed; recovery involved splitting the normally fixed
set unit into three sections. This had never been attempted before; Rail Operations Group supplied the
locos for shunting. To keep the Fuel Road open, the Up Departure Line was made available for wrong
direction moves to/from the Depot Exit Road. All track was back in use after repair by 14.00 on 22nd.

BELOW: Three unusual pictures of the incident at Cricklewood. (Robin Morel, 17 Nov 2019.)

2920] Crossrail: (BLN 1340.2782) Construction of a new Ilford station building starts in early Jan.
The main entrance is then closed for most of 2020, with a temporary P1 entrance close to the junction
of Cranbrook Rd and Ilford Hill. NR is consulting on upgrading the power supply between Bow and
Shenfield to support the full Crossrail service. On 25 Nov TfL began passenger services on the
main line beyond Hayes & Harlington. Three trips in each peak run between Paddington and Reading
or Maidenhead. The first train was the 07.32 Reading to Paddington, calling at Twyford, Maidenhead,
Burnham, Slough, Langley, West Drayton, Hayes & Harlington, Southall and Ealing Broadway.

2921] Feltham: (BLN 1331.1578) NR is consulting on the next stage of the area resignalling project,
planned for Easter 2021 commissioning. It covers Richmond - Norbiton and the Shepperton branch to
Fulwell/Hampton to join with the previous resignalling. Control, and also of the Shepperton branch,
will move from Feltham Area Signalling Centre (ASC) to Basingstoke Rail Operating Centre, presumably
the first signalling to be controlled from the ROC(?). Train detection will change from track circuits to
axle counters. New crossovers at St Margarets and west of Twickenham will enable bidirectional
working on the Up and Down Main Lines through Twickenham. This will allow simultaneous Down
departures towards Strawberry Hill and Whitton. The rest of the programme, intended timetable:

Easter 2022: Virginia Water & Ascot area. Oct 2022: Windsor & Staines area. Aug 2023: Feltham -
Kew Bridge, with closure of Feltham ASC. Mar 2024: Wokingham signal box area.

2922] Heathrow 'Express' on the Cheap: On 8 Nov a member on his way to a gricing trip in Belgium
arrived at Paddington to find his 08.33 TfL Rail service was delayed. The inward working arrived 08.39,
and left 08.49, announced as non-stop to Heathrow. It left P12 almost simultaneously with the 08.47
to Hayes & Harlington from P11, but overtook it beyond Royal Oak. It then made slow progress to
Heathrow Central/T2&3, arriving at 09.16, a time of 27min against 28 if it had made its booked calls!

2923] LUL Sub-Surface Lines Resignalling: (BLN 1340.2791) Since the CBTC area was expanded from
2 Sep; there have been issues with software reliability on Metropolitan Line trains. Fixes are being
developed and software updates were/are scheduled for Nov 2019 and Jan 2020.
2924] Victoria Line Microgricing: (BLN 1340.2793) The previous guide was Jun 2017 (BLN 1282.1155).
The current Working Timetable 42 see is dated 16 Sep 2019 but its introduction
was postponed to 4 Nov. The headline is a widening of the peak periods and the only microgricing
consequence affects Seven Sisters P4 arrivals. The time of day format adopted here is
 = Known recent use also to turn back in service during planned engineering.

Brixton P2: gaps SO 00.48.55 - 05.36.20; SuO 00.49.10 - 07.07.20.
Crossovers at Victoria, Warren Street and Highbury & Islington: No booked use.

Finsbury Park, connections with Piccadilly Line: No booked use (different signalling systems).

Seven Sisters P4 arrivals: All northbound trains shown to terminate. SSuX 12 trains 09.45.20 -
11.37.00; MTWThO 14 trains 18.54.30 - 21.38.00, plenty 22.34.15 - close; FO 13 trains 18.54.30 -
20.48.30, 21.38.00, plenty 22.02.45 - 00.53.00SO; SO 6 trains 09.22.05 - 11.59.35, 7 trains 19.01.25 -
21.33.35, 22.32.05, plenty 22.56.50 - 00.53.05SuO; SuO 09.06.00, 10.23.30, 10.52.05, 11.43.50,
12.58.05, 14.34.55, 16.38.40, 5 trains 19.31.50 - 21.15.30, plenty 21.52.30 - close.

Seven Sisters P4 departures (despite 'arrivals only' signage!): SuX 05.26.00, 05.40.30, 05.57.15; SO
05.49.10, 06.06.25; SuO 07.17.25, 07.27.25. Northumberland Park branch: staff and ECS only.

2925] Mill Hill East: This station (13.38M passengers in 2017) has one platform, above road level. To
provide step free access, a lift shaft is being built outside the station with a bridge to the platform.

2926] Useful Euston Routeings: [Thanks to Gensheet; see to join.]
>Services leaving P1-5 towards Line 'X' are routed via the X/O that joins just beyond the P1/2 points.
>Services departing P6/7 towards Line 'X' use the first available crossover.
>Services departing from P8-11 to Line 'X' are required to go over at the last crossover at 0m 38ch.
On 9 Sep a member was on the 14.49 to Liverpool Lime St from P8 and took this route, per RTT. P9
departure would be as P8 and from P10/11 would involve other crossovers in the less usual direction.

Inward services can, and do, arrive via Line 'X' although it is not known if any regular services do this.
>P8-10 arrivals from Line 'D' or 'E' use the crossover at about 0m 21ch (beyond the end of P15).
>P11 arrivals from Line 'D' or 'E' use of the crossover at the end of P12. A member has observed this
many times. He travelled on the 12.01 Crewe to Euston on 9 Sep which was routed this way, per RTT.

>The Line 'E' to 'X' crossover (0m 60ch) is often done in the Down direction, but our well-travelled
member has only done it once in the Up direction. For the evening peak ECS moves from Camden
Carriage Sidings, the stock is often held on Line 'E' awaiting a Down departure to use this crossover.
In effect the ECS, by being held there rather than in the sidings, is a couple of minutes closer to Euston.

2927] Norwood Junction: (BLN 1331.1677) On the 30 Nov/1 Dec weekend the facing points (8m 35ch)
in the line from the Down Crystal Palace Spur to the Down Platform Loop (P6) north of the station
leading to the disused Reception Line were removed and plain lined. They have been secured out of
use for at least 10 years, are life expired and of a 'semi-redundant' design. Future maintenance and
repairs is likely to equal or exceed the cost of their removal. The Reception Line was left in situ.

2928] HS2: (BLN 1339.2666) Cross City Connect has proposed abandoning the Euston terminus and
instead continuing from Old Oak Common via an 18.6 mile tunnel under the capital. It would connect
directly with HS1 at Rainham, Essex, and have a new 'South Bank Central' underground station near
Waterloo. The plans have been developed by Mark Bostock, the former Arup engineer who plotted
the HS1 route. The savings (£7bn estimated) would come from dropping the Euston terminus and the
rail connection from that station to Old Oak Common. Mr Bostock, who has presented his proposals to
the Oakervee review, said the alternative scheme could be delivered at a cost of less than £10bn.

He said: The full saving to the HS2 budget would be £7bn-£8bn, but they have already incurred costs
and one would have to net those against it. But there is a possibility of a reduction in the total cost of
HS2, by not going through Euston, of just under 10%. The House of Lords' economic affairs committee
has also recommended dropping the Euston terminus from the first phase of HS2, to allow time for a
full assessment of the modifications required to allow Old Oak Common to operate as the … terminus.

Mr Bostock added that the plans were obvious, logical and doable in the private sector, but said he
would not press ahead with fundraising without the support of government that they would welcome
this private sector-led investment. Cross City Connect plans to fund the project through access charges
to train operators and passenger fares, albeit underwritten by the Government, as well as partnerships
with developers to build along the route. The company is not ruling out the use of other sources such
as the community infrastructure levy used to partially fund Crossrail. The scheme's promoters include
merchant bank Salamanca Group. Talks have also been held with leading property companies and
infrastructure funds. ('Daily Telegraph') West Midland Trains consider that the closure of Euston
P17/18 has adversely affected the timekeeping of LNwR services and is asking for their reopening.

1341 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
2929] Scarborough: (BLN 1319.2743) The new TPE depot is fully operational from 16 Dec, servicing
two Nova 3 sets overnight. It allows a later last arrival (23.31) and earlier first departure 05.34 here.

2930] South Yorkshire Flooding: A month's rain fell overnight on 7-8 Nov in the Peak District and parts
of South Yorkshire. There was severe flooding, the worst since 2007, around Sheffield and Rotherham,
and downstream along the River Don to Doncaster and beyond. Passengers were advised not to travel
to/from Sheffield on South Yorkshire routes. Sheffield - Doncaster (including via Rotherham Central,
where water reached platform height) and Sheffield - Goole were most affected. NR engineers had to
wait for the water levels to drop before they could carry out work to reopen these lines.

Some routes reopened after water was pumped away and track was inspected:

Todmorden - Hebden Bridge, Sheffield - Huddersfield and Sheffield - Leeds.

 Ilkley - Leeds/Bradford Forster Square reopened after a tree was removed from the line.

Sheffield - Gainsborough/Lincoln services resumed on Sat 9 Nov.

[BLN 1341]
The situation at various points on the rail network early on Fri 8 Nov after the deluge was as follows:

Moorthorpe: All lines blocked. 650V power cable disconnected. Permanent way fit for traffic; S&T on
site assessing timescales for reinstating the signalling.

Kiveton: Blocked until further notice. No estimate for reopening. Lines completely flooded.

Rotherham Central: All lines blocked. No estimate for reopening. NR teams worked all weekend to
restore services, pumping away millions of litres of water - but some lines were still affected.

Woodend: (Worksop area) All lines blocked until further notice; site inspection this morning.

Hampole: (Between Doncaster and South Elmsall.) Water levels had dropped below railhead but the
stability of an embankment needed assessing. Wakefield Westgate - Doncaster services suspended or
diverted. (An advantage of Azuma bimodes is that Leeds - London trains could still run via Hambleton.)

Penistone - Huddersfield: Line blocked. P'Way staff cab riding the route to assess for reopening.

Thrybergh Jn: Line blocked (Roundwood Chord). No estimate for reopening.

Conisbrough: Lines completely flooded, appropriately at Ferryboat LC. No estimate for reopening.

Lindsey Oil Refinery: Lines blocked until further
notice. Staff on site assessing. The earth walls (bund)
surrounding the refinery to contain any petrochemical
leak, fire or explosion also contained the flood water so
the site became a lake. Track circuits failed and a route
was clipped via the East Curve with oil trains, light
engines and discharged tanks running via the rare
Grimsby District Light Railway 8-11 Nov.

Dinnington Colliery - Maltby: Flowing floodwater
above railhead at Bridge 18. All traffic blocked and no
estimate for reopening, although nowadays there is
very little traffic booked, some days none at all.

Kirk Sandall Jn: All lines completely flooded. 650V
power cable disconnected near Bentley Jn. No estimate
for reopening. Northern services between Doncaster
and Scunthorpe were diverted during the morning via
Carcroft Jn - Skellow Jn - Stainforth Jn using the rare
Doncaster bay P7. However, this ceased by mid-
afternoon as rising river levels closed that route too.
TPE ran a Cleethorpes shuttle turning back at
Scunthorpe P2 (via the east end trailing crossover on
departure). For a while Northern services from
Doncaster also turned back in P1, using the west end
trailing crossover on departure!

Other than via Rotherham, South Yorkshire routes and
to Lincolnshire were reopened by 11 Nov, but safety
critical signalling testing meant fewer trains were able
to run, and at slower speeds than normal.

ABOVE: 37048 heading east past Thorpe Marsh Power Station (which is 'in steam') on 3 May 1989.
(Andy Overton, who comments: Happy days hanging around for hours in the freezing countryside pre-
Realtime Trains waiting for trains to turn up on that line - or not as the case may be!)

ABOVE: Flooding near Swinton on 8 Nov, the River Don is the one of the left.
The '15' speed restriction sign gives an idea of the water level.

BELOW: The very successful Rotherham Central Tram Train experiment is now all ready to move on
to the next phase - the Boat Train. (Both Network Rail, but not the captions.)

ABOVE: Also near Thorpe Marsh Power Station (in the background left), 56097 at
Booths Crossing near Skellow Jn at 10.46 on 9 Jul 1984. (Andy Overton)

BELOW: From the Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) journey planner - note the delightful
'runs not every day', 'Hint: Prolonged stop' and '2nd Class only'. (Geoff Blyth.)

2931] The most inconvenient journey? Your Regional Editor thought he would have some fun and
plan a journey between Teesside's two wooden spoon stations, Redcar British Steel (two trains each
way SuX) and Teesside Airport (a train SuO in one direction only). National Rail website advised that
no trains were available but Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) journey planner came to the rescue;
the Germans are a tough lot. Rather understated is their website comment 'hint, prolonged stop'.
They also call a spade a spade in Germany as our 'Standard Class' is referred to as 'Second Class'.

There are two options from British Steel to Teesside Airport: 16.58 (SO) to Allens West arr 17.23 for a
21hr 56min wait until 14.50 (SuO) to Teesside Airport 14.54. Alternatively a quicker option: 18.17 (SO)
ex-British Steel to Redcar Central 18.21/21.59, Allens West 22.34/14.50 (SuO) again reaching Teesside
Airport 14.54 taking just 20hr 37min with 3½ hours at Redcar and about five hours less at Allens West.

There is one option from Teesside Airport to British Steel. Leaving 14.54 (SuO), Dinsdale 14.58/22.04
to Redcar Central 22.37/07.54 (MO) to reach British Steel 07.57. This is the quickest journey at just
17hr 3min, averaging just under 1 mph with seven hours at Dinsdale and a night at Redcar Central. Is it
the most protracted journey in the country between two stations (15 miles apart) on the same line?

BELOW: Hawes station on 22 Nov 2019. (Major Ian Hughes TD.)

2932] Upper Wensleydale Railway: is a project to reopen the six mile Hawes
branch off the Settle & Carlisle line. It is hoped that a reinstated junction at Garsdale station would
allow through trains to/from Hawes with modern trains, similar to those on the national network.

Our Regional Ed did Northallerton to Hawes and would be delighted. The organisation is seeking
any assistance, financial donations and relevant skills and experience to start a feasibility study and
project planning. The route is remarkably clear of obstructions except at Garsdale where there are
NR's sidings. The original Up side separate platform which served the Hawes line is now a car park.

It must be emphasised that this is simply a long term aspiration at present. Even if sufficient money
could be raised and matters went smoothly, it would be quite some years before any rails might be
laid. Landowners would have to agree to sell their part of the trackbed (or a Transport & Works Act
Order acquired) and there would be the inevitable objections from those living near the line.

Askrigg - Hawes OG 1 Jun 1878, the final section of the North Eastern Railway (NER) Wensleydale line.
It OP 1 Oct 1878 from Leyburn to Hawes, together with the Midland Railway (MR) line from Garsdale
to Hawes (the only branch off the S&C) and a 20ch joint line linking the two there. The MR constructed
Hawes station but it was officially a joint station; both companies had maintenance responsibilities
and running powers. In practice the NER (and later the LNER) operated most of the passenger services,
with the MR section on to Garsdale being worked as an extension of the service from Northallerton.
However, there was one daily return MR service between Hawes and Hellifield.

Northallerton - Hawes CP 26 Apr 1954; Garsdale - Hawes CP/CA 16 Mar 1959, by which time there
was one weekday train each way (gricing was not easy in those days). Oddly enough Garsdale - Hawes
survived as a separate table in the British Railways North Eastern Region timetable (BELOW - Geoff
Blyth) even though it was isolated from the rest of the region and was 33 miles from Northallerton. At
least it was a round trip from Garsdale rather than from Hawes! [The Northern Cleethorpes - Barton-
on-Humber service is in a similar boat.] A Northallerton - Hawes emergency passenger service ran on
2 & 3 Jan 1962, when deep snow made all the local roads impassable (BLN 1324.540). Redmire -
Hawes CA 27 Apr 1964, following a farewell railtour on 25 Apr 1964.

[BLN 1341]
3033] Horsforth: (BLN 1340.2804) From 27 until 29 Dec inclusive the line to Armley Jn along with
Burley Park station is closed due to the extended Christmas closure of Leeds P1-5 for work on the new
P0. This includes trackwork (temporary alignments), testing the new signalling system and installing
OHLE. On each of the three days, up to three Northern services per hour from York via Harrogate and
intermediately are booked to turnback in Horsforth P1 using the trailing crossover north of the station
in passenger service on departure. Buses run to/from Leeds; the LNER Azuma services introduced on
5 Dec do not run between Leeds and Harrogate. At Leeds other services which normally use P1-5 will
use higher numbered platforms, except direct Leeds - Bradford Forster Square EMUs which do not
run. Work over Christmas on these platforms is one reason that Leeds is not having a passenger
service to Ilkley or Skipton this year on Boxing Day, unlike Bradford Forster Square (see item 2945).

2934] Pelaw - Sunderland: (BLN 1339.2679) The South Hylton Metro line is 18.5km long; 14km on the
heavy rail line between Pelaw and Sunderland and 4.5km along the south bank of the River Wear to
South Hylton - mostly the course of the former line to Durham via Fencehouses (it deviates at Pallion).

Existing Metro stock does not meet national rail industry crashworthiness standards, and was not
designed to because the Metro network was originally segregated from the national network.
However, with the 2002 opening of the Sunderland extension, Nexus successfully sought an operating
standards derogation to permit operation over the national rail network between Pelaw and South
Hylton. This requires Metro trains to be protected by 'double block' working (unlike Sheffield Tram
Trains). Unfortunately this noticeably reduces line capacity between Pelaw and Sunderland, which can
cause pathing problems.

An ex-PTE employee considers the best chance of resolving the timetabling issue of fitting Metro units
(max speed 50mph) in with heavy rail passenger/freight is for the new units, due to be ordered next
year, to have a higher max speed and be built to national rail industry crashworthiness standards.

Your Regional Ed posed this question to Nexus and received the following very helpful reply:

The technical specification Nexus has compiled for procurement of new rolling stock, allows tenderers
to propose a rolling stock design with a top operating speed of anywhere between 80kph and
100kph.This means that it is entirely possible that 80kph may be the maximum operating speed of the
new train fleet, noting that it is important for the propulsion system of the new fleet to be optimised for
quick acceleration and deceleration (rather than a high top speed), to deal with the relatively short
distances between the vast majority of Metro stations. However, Nexus has also specified Tram Train
crashworthiness (suitable for mainline running), which means that the new train fleet will be capable of
running across mainline infrastructure without any restrictions in this respect. It is also important to
note that crashworthiness of the existing Metro fleet is the main limiting factor which requires 'double
blocking' of signalling (keeping clear two sections, as mentioned in your email). Once the new train
fleet is introduced, Network Rail will have the option to remove the double block restriction of
signalling when Nexus' trains run across their infrastructure, which would free up capacity.

This is good news for improving the Durham Coast service, although the first units will not be delivered
until late 2021 and any rule relaxation could have to wait until the entire fleet is delivered. Nexus may
wish to use the new units on their high priority routes rather than the less well used South Hylton line.

2935] Newcastle - Middlesbrough: Under a Supplemental Track Access Agreement between Arriva
Rail North Limited and NR Infrastructure (NWR), new services for the May 2020 timetable change are
supported by NR 'on a contingent basis', expiring in 2021. These are for one SuX Middlesbrough to
Newcastle services via the Durham Coast and two in the opposite direction. These are some of the
Northern Connect services which were originally planned for the Dec 2019 timetable change.
The agreement states: Amend calling pattern ED01.13 for Newcastle - Middlesbrough via ECML/
Stillington service to add in Heworth, Sunderland, Seaham, Horden and Hartlepool as additional calls.

This suggests at least some of the new trains will run via the coast. The table of access rights appears
not to show the trains at all, so presumably there would be the same total number (SuX 11 trains
Newcastle - Middlesbrough, 10 in the opposite direction) and most of them would run via Stillington,
finally reopening Norton South - (Ferryhill) Tursdale Jn to regular passenger traffic (BLN 1335.2168).

2936] Bellingham/Rothbury: (BLN 1340.2800) It wasn't unusual for freight trains to run after a line's
official closing date to collect remaining wagons, as with these freight-only lines west of Morpeth.

Further to BLN 1340: Morpeth (excl) - Woodburn officially closed from Mon 3 Oct 1966. Strangely,
given the expectation that they would have been made redundant, the porter-signalmen at Scotsgap
and Woodburn still opened their respective signal boxes (per Train Register Book). This was despite
there being no trains that day, or on the Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thur 6 Oct the regular weekly
ThO freight did run, to collect wagons it is reasonable to assume. It left Morpeth 10.25 (the 24 hour
clock was now in use), passed Scotsgap 11.18 and shunted at Woodburn 12.27 to 13.25, arriving back
at Scotsgap 14.20, then went into section to Morpeth at 14.28. What happened next is a mystery.

The Train Register doesn't show a Morpeth arrival time, the train out of section (2-1), closing (7-5-5)
bell signals or even the time the porter-signalman signed off duty. He had obviously assumed that he
would be on duty the next day because he had made a premature entry on both the Down and Up
pages 'Friday 7th Oct'. As no doubt a force of habit, he also anticipated events showing '7-5-5 Wburn
16.00' when he had probably already locked up the signal box and gone home. It is thought that the
Woodburn Stationmaster (also in change of Scotsgap), who had signed the Train Register at a time not
shown, simply collected it as soon as the freight had left Scotsgap for Morpeth for the last ever time.

Despite the fact the freight trains only went as far as Woodburn from Tues 12 Nov 1963, the Scotsgap
porter-signalman still always insisted in describing the Woodburn freight as "Bell Gds" (Bellingham
Goods) in the Remarks column of the Register right to the bitter end. Old habits obviously died hard!

With e-BLN is a scan of the ticket letter for the 9 Nov 1966 'Wansbeck Wanderer' the final tour to
Bellingham and Rothbury with a picture of it at the latter. Participants could buy a 'detailed itinerary'
for one shilling (we do them free now) and photographic film was on sale. Participants were to respect
non smoking accommodation and refrain from using transistor radios or other noisy instruments.

2937] Grand Central: This open access operator, part of the Arriva (DB) group has been granted access
rights by the Office of Rail and Road to run an additional daily return train between Sunderland and
King's Cross until at least 2021 (and, incidentally, also new Blackpool - Euston services until 2026).

The company is sponsoring station renovations due to be completed in early 2020. ֍Sunderland:
Cosmetic refresh for the main concourse, decoration, new signage and new staff accommodation.
֍Hartlepool: New customer lounge with wireless charging points & breakfast bar style workstations.
֍Eaglescliffe & ֍Wakefield Kirkgate: New First and Standard class waiting rooms with solar panels
and rainwater harvesting. No details are given for Thirsk, Bradford Interchange, Brighouse or Mirfield.
However, 'other improvements' including car park expansion, electrical vehicle charging points, more
train cleaning services, shelter replacement and improved lighting may apply to these/other stations.

2938] Doncaster: (TRACKmaps 4 p17C Oct 2016) ①To increase capacity, NR proposes to create two
new roads in Doncaster LDC (Local Distribution Centre). The new Lead Spur Line runs from the key
road just above the hand point from No8 through road (north). It will be used as an additional loading
point for NR engineering work or maintenance for machines. New Road 15 will be located in the old
loading area at the side of Road 14 to either maintain DB Cargo wagons or stable Rail Delivery Trains.
It will provide access to both sides of wagons without having to block an adjacent line when working
on them. A user worked crossing will be provided to allow this access. There is no change to the
signalling; all moves to and from the new roads are controlled by the shunter. It is thought these are in
what is termed the Wood Yard near the bottom of the page in TRACKmaps 4 p17C Oct 2016.

[BLN 1341]
②The Doncaster Overhead Line Engineers need an overhead span for training purposes. The area at
the northeast end of Marshgate Sidings has been identified as an ideal location. These sidings are
accessed from the Thorne Slow line (TRACKmaps 4 p17C Oct 2016). The land is easily accessible by
road and has room for the engineers' cabins and an equipment lock-up. According to anecdotal
evidence, the northeast sidings (0, 7, 1 & 8) have been disused for about 10 years, becoming heavily
vegetated by brambles, buddleia, and birch trees. Buffer stops were installed on these sidings three
months ago at a distance that still allows train movements into the southeast sidings. The then
inaccessible northeast sidings beyond the buffer stops will be officially removed from the network.

2939] Tram Train: The service is reduced from three to two per hour until 13 Dec (confirmed from
'bitter experience' by a member) as Stadler is carrying out 'improvement modifications' to the Citylink
Tram Trains. This affects the four sets with Tram Train wheel profiles (of which three are required to

provide a full service) and those which run only
on the conventional Supertram network.
However, the vehicle sent for collision repairs to
CAF in Spain on 21 Feb (BLN 1324.552) has
arrived back after the best part of nine months
away. A new Tram Train timetable starts on 15
Dec, with a later last service all week. However,
there will be slightly fewer services before the
07.00 start of three per hour.
To encourage passengers to make use of later
services a new promotional ticket will be
introduced. Called the 'After 8' you don't have to
be minted to buy one at £2? The leaflet about
the Dec timetable refers to extra 'later services'
(although our member could see only one extra)
but does not mention that the basic Sunday
timetable is also reduced from three to two per
hour. Service intervals are irregular due to
Northern services at Rotherham Central. During
the day (3 trams/hour) they are 27, 12 & 21
mins; with two trams/hour they are 27 & 33
mins. Tram Trains appear on Realtime Trains
(etc) with booked timings and on the NR section
(including Parkgate) actual times.

LEFT: Tram Train poster. (Steve Chandler, 3 Dec.)

X.157] SheffieldTram Train 'After 8' Rover: Available until further notice from the new timetable
(15th Dec) with improved evening services. £2 unlimited travel on Tram Train and the whole of
Sheffield Supertram. Available every day from conductors only when boarding at Parkgate or
Rotherham Central only. You don't have to be minted to buy one!

2940] Bridlington: (BLN 1336.2313) Work is underway on the £2.5M Bridlington Station Plaza Scheme
at the north end of P7/8, by the old forecourt, and on the strip of land next to Station Approach.
Neither the website nor the project plan on the station door answer the question
about the future of disused excursion P7 & 8. Most of them remain, although increasingly overgrown
and not connected by the footbridge to the rest of the station; they never were, as excursion platforms
access was directly on/off the north end. Disconnected track exists on the southern part of P7/8 but
they are erased from the Sectional Appendix. Amazingly, each retains its semaphore starting signal.

ABOVE: Bridlington concourse looking towards the platforms, (Angus McDougall, 22 Oct 2016.)

ABOVE: Bridlington: ScotRail liveried Class 170 is in bay P6 on a train for Hull; through P4 (far left) &
P5 are on the left looking towards Scarborough. Disused excursion P7 is right with P8 the other side.
(James Beal, 30 Sep 2019.) BELOW: A similar but train-less view. (David Alexander, 13 Oct 2019.)

ABOVE: Bridlington P5 looking towards Hull, left to right are starter signals for P8, P7 & P6.
A wet day with water on the camera lens. (David Alexander, 13 Oct 2019.)

The present station dates from 1912. The refreshment room, dating from 1922, is still open and worth
a look in its own right. One platform/wall (P4) remains of the earlier 1892 station, designed by William
Bell - Chief Architect of the North Eastern Railway from Jan 1877 to the end of 1914. This delightful
and most interesting station is still noted for its attractive floral displays particularly in the summer.

2941] Tyne & Wear Metro: Nexus had been concerned that they would not be able to run services at
the current levels without significant extra cash. However, unusually, they have now revalued their
pension surplus, which could provide an extra £3.4M a year so reducing the need to use reserves.
Then a review of services would not be needed until 2021/22. Discussions are to continue behind the
scenes to secure more permanent funding, with central government likely to be asked for support.

However, this could be under threat as drivers represented by RMT and ASLEF have rejected a pay rise
of 15%(!) over two years, on top of the usual cost of living increase, offered In return for some changes
to working practices that will reduce the likelihood of trains being cancelled due to driver shortages.
The unions want more to reduce the pay gap with other drivers on similar systems elsewhere. Nexus is
losing staff and relies on overtime to maintain services. Drivers have also demanded improved terms
and conditions, including shorter shifts. It is reported that any industrial action may stop short of a
strike but would involve a ban on overtime working, which would still significantly affect services.

Single and Day tickets rise by 10p from 2 Jan but fares will be frozen for under 19s and also for 'Pop
Pay As You Go' smartcard holders. There will be a new family weekend ticket. Nexus points out that
their fares are some of the cheapest in the country and that the Metro is a non-profit making public
service that requires a Government subsidy to keep it running. However, one must wonder if fares
may need to rise significantly more to fund the drivers' pay rise and reduced working hours.

2942] 'White Rose': (BLN 1310.1685) West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee has
approved £2.611M to develop the final business case for this new station, between Cottingley and
Morley, and finalise costs. It is expected to cost about £22M and would serve White Rose office park
and the entertainment and shopping centre. Cottingley station, only 820yd away, would probably
close. A pre-planning consultation is underway and a major public consultation will take place in 2020.

1341 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
2943] Kirkdale: Depot alterations have been completed ready for the arrival of the 52 new 75mph
Class 777 trains for Merseyrail which will mainly be based here. The £21M upgrades included washing
and heavy maintenance facilities and additional stabling. Kirkdale is also the manufacturer Stadler's UK
HQ and the company is contracted to maintain the new 4-car articulated EMUs for 35 years. Each seats
182 articulate passengers and there is officially room for 302 more to stand. Birkenhead North depot
is also to be upgraded for overnight servicing and cleaning of the fleet. It is the main site for Class 507
& 508 EMU maintenance, also Stadler's responsibility. The total investment in Merseyrail is £460M.
2944] Metrolink: ❶Christmas is also Metrolink's busiest time of year; an extra 300,000 journeys are
made in Dec or 10,000 daily. From 23 Nov until 22 Dec on Fridays and Saturdays trams run later than
usual with last services from the City Centre after 01.30. 'TravelSafe' security staff are also on trams.
There are also more frequent evening services on some lines, but no trams will run on Christmas Day.

❷Since Aug over 11,000 people have responded to a survey to gauge opinion on, and shape plans for,
Greater Manchester's public transport between 18.00 and 06.00. Around 33% of the local workforce,
or 414,000 people, work at night (don't ask what they all do!). The results assist bids for Government
funding and powers needed to boost the night time economy and make Manchester a '24-hour city'.

❸Contactless payments reached one million journeys on 20 Nov, just four months after introduction.

❹Metrolink fares increase by an overall 2.2% average in the New Year. A few years ago, annual 6%
average rises were predicted to be needed. Half of all tickets increase by a maximum of 4% and some
travelcards by 10p. Single fares, concessionary and child fares are frozen. Cheaper 'early bird' weekday
(contactless only) fares will be charged for touching in before 07.00 at off-peak (after 09.30) rates to
encourage more to travel before the peak when there is significant overcrowding. A discounted
Carnet, initially only on the 'Get Me There' smartcards, will be introduced as 10 one-day travelcards, as
zonal peak or off-peak tickets for less regular travellers. Prices have yet to be set. Metrolink receives
no subsidy and covers all its operating costs as well as its significant capital repayment debts.

❺Shudehill: (BLN 133.1888) Additional shelters have been provided and new LED lighting installed.

❻Trafford Park: (BLN1340.2807) On Sun 17 Nov further track and signalling testing took place on the
new extension from Pomona as far as Wharfside emergency crossover. The main purpose was testing
the signalling equipment for the junction between the Trafford Park and Eccles lines at Pomona.

2945] ♪♫ On the second day of Christmas my true love (well, Northern) sent to me ♫ ♪: An hourly
local shuttle service using one train between Bolton and Salford Central. This is live in the system for
26 Dec from 08.00 to 18.00 and tickets can be booked. The most unlikely station to have a Boxing Day
service is little used Clifton station (280 passengers in 2017-18) which has an 08.17 to Salford Crescent
and 17.35 return!! Further north, Bradford Forster Square has an hourly service to Skipton and Ilkley.

2946] A very Mersey Christmas to one and all: On Boxing Day Merseyrail is running a half-hourly
service from about 09.00 to 19.00. It calls at selected stations only (so is rather faster than usual and
reduces the number of units/crew needed). Services run Southport - Liverpool South Parkway (P5,
trailing crossover on return), Kirkby and Ormskirk - Liverpool Central and to Hooton (P3 - with the
facing crossover on arrival), West Kirby & New Brighton. A Sunday service runs on New Year's Day.

2947] Rawtenstall - Bacup, a rather boring tale: (BLNs 1339.2694 & 1337.2451) Lancashire County
Council reopened Newchurch No1 & No2 Tunnels to pedestrians and cyclists on 7 Sep on this former
line after extensive refurbishment. NEXT PAGE TOP: 1:25,000 map (1954), Waterfoot station is far left.

The refurbishment included drainage work, waterproofing and installation of of lighting and a hard
surface. This development forms part of the East Lancashire Strategic Cycle Network. Both tunnels,
along with the River Irwell and the A681, pass through an attractive deep, narrow and curved gorge
known locally as 'The Glen' or alternatively 'The Thrutch'.

The single bores, dating from 1852, had latterly formed the Down line following doubling of the route
in 1881 at a time when local industry was booming and Rossendale was often referred to as 'The
Golden Valley'. The newer Up line was added through a continuous bore, Thrutch Tunnel, which unlike
the earlier tunnels, was curved. The line closed to passengers from 5 Dec 1966 and the track was lifted
by 1969. Thrutch Tunnel and Newchurch No1 Tunnel were subsequently blocked at both ends.

Newchurch No1 Tunnel, 160m long, is now approached from the west via a new footbridge over the
River Irwell. It was found to be in remarkably good condition when opened up and is noticeably drier
than the No2 Tunnel which is 380m long. The two tunnels are separated by an open 'balcony' section,
130m long, from which there is a blocked up adit which formerly gave access to the continuous
Thrutch Tunnel. When visited recently, the new route was already popular with walkers and cyclists.

NEXT: A series of recent pictures, west to east towards Bacup, by our local member John Hampson.

BELOW: The western portal of Newchurch No1 Tunnel and (blocked up) Thrutch Tunnel.

BELOW: The western (Rawtenstall end) portal of Newchurch No1 Tunnel.

BELOW: Emerging from the eastern (Bacup) portal of Newchurch No1 Tunnel is the 'balcony' then No2
Tunnel, the River Irwell is left and the continuous Thrutch Tunnel is hidden right (see earlier map.)

BELOW: The blocked up adit from the 'balcony' to Thrutch Tunnel.

BELOW: After the 'balcony' is the western portal of Newchurch No2 Tunnel.

BELOW: Inside Newchurch No2 Tunnel the stone lining at the base becomes brick for the roof arch.

ABOVE: The eastern (Bacup end) portal of Newchurch No2 Tunnel and (blocked up) Thrutch Tunnel.

2948] Wigan Wallgate: An hourly Kirkby shuttle runs from/to the middle bay two-faced P3 from
10.36 until 18.36 SuX (no Sunday service) currently. However, in the new timetable, from 16 Dec
they run through to/from Manchester Victoria again with no booked use of the middle platform.

2949] 'Crewe Time for Change': This was a NR presentation to The Chartered Institute of Logistics &
Transport. It outlined enhancements planned for HS2. Major engineering projects include:

Basford Hall renewals Crewe Steel Works Signal Box resignalling
Independent Lines signalling renewal Alsager Interlocking renewal
Crewe resignalling and remodelling Commissioning HS2 to Crewe
HS2 Southern Connection remodelling HS2 North Junction
Coal Yard and Winsford resignalling Possible new transfer deck for the station

Two proposals for HS2 at Crewe are: Proposal 'A+' would make use of the Manchester Independent

lines with a platform on the formation of the Chester Independent lines. Proposal 'C' allows retention
of the Manchester Independents for freight with a new platform north of P12. Other features include:

Retention of the existing Manchester lines to the Up HS2 connection.
New connection from the Down HS2 to the Manchester lines via a turnout and two diamonds.
New connection from the Down Fast to the Down HS2 (at the north end of Crewe P6).
New connection from the Up HS2 to the Up Fast.
New scissors crossover between the Up Fast and Crewe P1 line.
New turnout from the Manchester loop to Crewe P1 line.

This second proposal recognises the importance of Crewe as a staging point for freight from Scotland,
Manchester and Merseyside to the south. This is typically over 100 freight movements a day. There are
also 50 to 150 ad hoc/unplanned moves every 24 hours in the Crewe area. These result from:

•Shunt moves around Basford Hall depot •Diverted trains
•Movements between depots in the area •Stabled units and locomotives
•Unplanned moves •Line blockages

2950] Poulton to Fleetwood: During the election campaign Boris Johnson promised to spend £500M
reopening branch lines that closed in the Beeching cuts if he wins power. The 7-mile long out of use
Poulton to Fleetwood line is mentioned as being one of the first to reopen under the plans, potentially
serving a population of 57,000. [The line to Skelmersdale also in Lancashire is among those listed; it
would need only two miles of new track to connect it to existing lines to Liverpool and Manchester.]

The Preston & Wyre Joint Railway line from Preston to Fleetwood opened in 1840. Until 1848, when a
direct rail connection between Preston and Glasgow opened, it was part of the fastest route between
London and Glasgow. Trains ran to Fleetwood, where passengers transferred to a packet steamer to
Ardrossan. The 'North Euston Hotel', still a hotel today, (ABOVE: John Cameron,18 Sep 2019) was built
to accommodate passengers breaking their journey overnight in Fleetwood. Passengers can still travel
by boat from Fleetwood today. The Fleetwood - Knott End ferry is every 60 min (winter) when the tide
allows. This means the timetable is different each day. The ferry is on Baker's
Rail Atlas and originally linked Fleetwood with Knott End station, terminus of a branch from Garstang
(CP 31 Mar 1930). BELOW: Knott End station in Sept 1966 (it is no longer there); the Garstang bus is
the replacement for the branch passenger service. (Angus McDougall.) NEXT PAGE TOP: On the
afternoon of Fri 7 Apr 1978 your current Treasurer and Editor were on a Class 40 hauled brake van to

ICI Burn Naze on the Fleetwood branch.

Although there was no traffic beyond to
Fleetwood Power Station, then the end of
the branch, the crew kindly took them there
light engine. The power station had visitors
from all over the world to see the two
unusual seawater cooling towers, but few
arrived by train as the last passenger train
ran in 1970! [On 4 Nov 1980 the Society had
an internal railtour at the Power Station.]

ABOVE: This is Burn Naze South on 7 Apr 1978 after arrival back from the power station with the
goods train on the left. That morning our duo had been on a Class 37 hauled trip to Deepdale Coal
Depot, and a Class 47 to Courtaulds Red Scar Works (former Longridge branch). (Ian Mortimer.)

BELOW: Just slightly more up to date, on Sat 30 Nov 2019, the view from Knott End-on-Sea with the
ferry leaving for Fleetwood - the building on the left is the back of the North Euston Hotel.
Interestingly Knott End has a bus service to Poulton-le-Fylde every 30 min and Lancaster every 90 min,
the 13.45 from Fleetwood actually connected with both! (Ian Mortimer.)

ABOVE: The Fleetwood branch in 1958. Poulton-le-Fylde on the Blackpool North line is bottom centre.
Burn Naze is about half way along the branch. Fleetwood Power Station is marked with a purple spot.
The original Fleetwood terminus, the 'principal' station by the ferry, CP 18 Apr 1966 and the passenger
line was cut back to Wyre Dock station (which was then renamed Fleetwood). This truncated branch
CP from 1 Jun 1970. Top right the Knott End branch (CP 31 Mar 1930) trackbed is shown - dashed line.

2951] (little) Hope Valley: (BLN 1299.3434) NR's 'Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline Autumn 2019
Schemes Update' shows that this scheme, delayed from Control Period 5, (1 Apr 2014 - 30 Mar 2019)
to Control Period 6, has yet to be signed off by the Government. The scheme has passed Stage 2 of the
five stage Rail Enhancements Pipeline but now awaits a 'Decision to Deliver' from the Government.
Plans to upgrade the Hope Valley route went to public consultation in 2013 with plans scaled back in
2015. The required Transport & Works Act Order was finally granted in 2018 - is this time limited?

2952] Bolton - Wigan, even less hope: The Update (previous item) shows that electrification of this
line, previously part of the north west electrification programme, has yet to receive a 'Decision to
Develop' meaning government is still determining if it believes the project should go ahead or not.

2953] Barrow-in-Furness: The station was largely rebuilt in the 1950s follow extensive aerial bombing
damage in WWII. Today a small section of the former stone fabric of the building is retained. This holds
the memorial erected by the Furness Railway Company to commemorate employees who lost their
lives during WWI. Both the memorial and the stonework are visibly scarred by the bombing.

2954] Class 397 EMU: On Sat 30 Nov a 125mph TPE 'Nova 2' CAF manufactured 'Civity' Class 397 EMU
ran in public service for the first time on the 08.10 Manchester to Edinburgh. 12 x 5-car sets are being
built each with 272 Standard and 24 First Class seats. They will replace 10 x 4-car 110mph Class 350/4
EMUs between Manchester/Liverpool and Glasgow/Edinburgh via the West Coast Main Line.

2955] Manchester Piccadilly: On 9 & 10 Nov, the first Christmas Market weekend, 503,384 passengers
(total) were documented but may be exceeded nearer Christmas. The all-year daily average is 120,000.

2956] Cheadle Hulme: NR is rebuilding Hesketh Arms footbridge to maintain its reliability and safety.
It is closed to the public from 6 Dec until mid-Feb 2020, as is the railway all day every Sunday in Jan.
Mainline services are diverted via the Styal Line which is much busier than a normal Sunday as a result.
Interestingly Styal station, once with very sparse service, nowadays enjoys hourly calls all day Sundays.

BELOW: For those who have never been outside the station at Barrow. (John Cameron, 27 Oct 2019.)

THIS PAGE: Two views of Hesketh Arms footbridge - item 2956, above. (John Cameron, 30 Nov 2019.)

ABOVE: The Good Old Days, or at least May 1977, a 2ft gauge industrial train (note seats on rear
wagon) and a standard gauge pick up freight (with guard's van) at Gathurst station exchange sidings.
The 'tramway' ran above the River Douglas valley and the Leeds & Liverpool canal on a steel viaduct to
nearby ICI Shevington explosives factory. The M6 is in the background; looking northwest. There are
still remains of the narrow gauge line. (Ian Mortimer.) BELOW: Train on the viaduct heading to the
exchange sidings led by a man rider in 1978. NEXT PAGE TOP: Also 1978, view across to the factory.
(Both John Phillips.) NEXT PAGE LOWER: 25" to the mile 1907 map, Gathurst station is bottom middle,
'SP' = Signal post, 'SB' = Signal Box. The viaduct and full extent of the 2ft gauge tramway can be seen.

ABOVE: View from Parbold station towards Southport with 'STOP' boards on both lines. The lights in
the distance are where the canal bridge was being replaced. (All Simon Mortimer, 20 Nov 2019.)
BELOW: The 08.35 to Alderley Edge at P2 which arrived from Manchester Victoria. A feature here was
passengers waiting on the wrong (i.e. normal) platform and not quite believing it when they were told.

[BLN 1341]
ABOVE: Looking towards Wigan Wallgate from Parbold P2, the level crossing barriers are down and
the Mobile Operations Manager is clipping the facing point. Note the designation 'Parbold Cabin' and
that there are no signals for the crossover.

2957] Parbold: (BLN 1338.2526) Southport P4, 5 & 6 (incl) - Parbold (excl) was TCP Sat 16 until Wed 20
Nov 2019 to replace the Leeds & Liverpool Canal underbridge (27m 09ch) - the impressive crane
involved could be seen from the latter station. Most unusually, trains from Wigan Wallgate turned
back in Parbold P2 with special arrangements via the (un-signalled) trailing crossover on departure.

The Mobile Operations Manager waited until four minutes before departure when the Wigan end
barriers were lowered. He then checked the trailing points and then the facing points, subsequently
scotching and clamping these. There wasn't a controlling signal, but once all was in order he strolled to
the level crossing and gave the thumbs up to the driver, who then gave the thumbs up to the guard,
who, observing the time and clear platform, waved his baton at the driver and the train left.

Early evening on the 19 Nov, your Regional Editor travelled from Levenshulme to Parbold after work.
His off-peak return was £7.90; it would have been £11 to Gathurst or Appley Bridge, before Parbold.
This is because they are in Greater Manchester where the weekday evening peak restriction applies
(in both directions), so an Anytime return is needed. Luckily Parbold is just outside the boundary!

2958] Appleby: Due to significant structural issues with Appleby North Signal Box requiring urgent
attention, NR has temporarily closed the box from 18 Nov until 20 Dec. The signalling equipment is
signed out of use during the works. It is switched out of circuit allowing Kirkby Stephen box to work
absolute block to Kirkby Thore box (and vice versa). All main line points are secured out of use and all
main line signals under the control of Appleby North signal box are temporarily taken out of use.

X.158: BELOW: Manchester Piccadilly P14 with a train shown for St Helens Junction.

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