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19th September 2015

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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-14 01:30:47


19th September 2015

Issue Number 1241 (Items 1723 - 1803 & MR 149 - MR 159) (E-BLN 39 PAGES) 19 September 2015


Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)

Membership Enquiries: [email protected]

22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677

British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the

BLN 1242 is due on 3 October and all conStoricbieuttyi.ons must be received by 23 September.

Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
Thur 1/10/15 LU signal cabins 10.00 Metropolitan line boxes 1237 PS FULL
3 & 4/10/15 WSR footplate rides Various: rare track by steam 1240 RG Open
Sat 10/10/15 HST railtour with GWR Buckfastleigh & Heathfield lines 1240 JE Open
Sun 11/10/15 Kent & East Sussex Rly. 08.30 Tenterden, DMU railtour 1240 DG Open
Sun 11/10/15 Romney H&D Railway 13.15 Comprehensive railtour 1240 DG Open
Sat 17/10/15 Signal box visits No bookings or queries please TBA TBA Claimed

Fri 23/10/15 Bo'ness and Kinneil 10.00 Standard & miniature 1241 KA *NOW*
_.*OPEN* Railway (SEE BELOW) tours (prior to steam gala) _OPEN

Fri 23/10/15 Lathalmond, Scottish 16.45 standard gauge brakevan 1241 KA *NOW*
,,**NEW** Vintage Bus Museum
trip, ex- Royal Navy Depot _OPEN

Sat 24/10/15 Ribble Steam Railway 11.00 Railbus tour (SEE BELOW) 1238 JW Open

Sat 7/11/15 RBF Tracker railtour 08.00 NB: FIRST CLASS IS FULL 1239 KA Open

Fri 13/11/15 AGM fixtures, National South & North Yard, Miniature 1241 PS *NOW*

_.*OPEN* Railway Museum, York Rly. Illustrated talk with buffet _OPEN

Fri 13/11/15 AGM, **NOW OPEN 19.00 Branch Line Society 60th 1241 TW *NOW*
Annual General Meeting, York _OPEN

Sun 15/11/15 60th AGM Tracker Mainline railtour from York TBA KA Claimed

DG-Darren Garnon, JW-John Williamson, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, PS-Paul Stewart, RG-Robert Green, TW-Tim Wallis


19.00, Friday 13 November 2015, National Railway Museum, York:

1723] Notice is hereby given that this very special ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING [AGM] of the Society
will be held at the National Railway Museum [NRM], York, as above. Members are invited to attend
and celebrate 60 years of our Society's provision of unique services to railway enthusiasts, as well as
looking forward to further innovative opportunities. Friday evening has been unusually selected on
this occasion as the Society has received numerous representations that many members who wish to
attend the Society's Diamond Jubilee AGM would be unable to do so on the traditional Saturday,
because UK Railtours is now running a comprehensive railtour to Goole Docks and Dairycoates Stone
Terminal that day. This railtour is due to pick up and set down at Doncaster (10.20/17.55), entirely
compatible with staying in York between our AGM and our TPE Tracker railtour from York on Sunday
15 November (details to follow in a later BLN). It was considered, after careful deliberation, that this
decision will benefit the majority of members and we apologise to those for whom it does not.

[BLN 1241.1723 - cont.]
For those who pre-register, complimentary refreshments will be served during a limited break. It is
planned that the meeting will conclude by 22.00 but can continue later should business require it.
Members wishing to attend the AGM are thus requested to individually confirm their intention to the
General Secretary, preferably via e-mail to [email protected] or alternatively in writing to
the correspondence address below. To ensure that the NRM can accommodate all those likely to
attend, notification of intent must be received not later than Wednesday 4 November 2015.

Special souvenir tickets will be issued on the day when booked members register. Without this ticket,
available only to those notifying in advance, you will ONLY be able to access the meeting venue and
will not be entitled to catering. Should the capacity of the large joined Mallard and Rocket meeting
rooms be reached, members who do not advance register will regrettably be unable to attend.

The closing date for receipt of items for the AGM agenda, including nominations for all the Officers
listed in the Constitution plus 4 Committee Members per Standing Orders, and motions for debate,
each duly proposed and seconded, is Saturday 3 October 2015. At present, no vacancies are expected
nor have any motions been submitted. Any correspondence regarding these should be posted to Tim
Wallis, General Secretary, 10 Sandringham Road, STOKE GIFFORD, South Gloucestershire, BS34 8NP
to arrive by that date. Please enclose an SAE if an acknowledgement is required.

Following last year's successful experiment, Officers' Reports are scheduled to be circulated in advance
with BLN 1244 (publication date 1 November 2015), together with the draft 2014/15 Accounts,
allowing members to appreciate these ahead of the AGM. Officers will not read these reports out
verbatim at the Meeting but most anticipate being present and available to answer questions during
the relevant agenda items. Please bring these along to the AGM. No copies will be available on the day
to avoid wastage and unnecessary expense to your Society. Formal acknowledgment of Apologies for
Absence will only be given to those notified to the General Secretary in advance of the Meeting date.

A Final Notice for the AGM, with detailed agenda, will be issued to members with BLN 1243 (17
October 2015), which will also set out proposed subscription rates for 2015/16. Copies of the draft
2014 AGM Minutes were supplied with BLN 1223 (20 December 2014). Mark Gomm, your Sales
Officer, plans to provide a sales stand in the meeting room, which will be open for business for a short
period before the AGM and during designated breaks. Please contact Mark directly (see back page) as
soon as possible, and by Friday 30 October at the latest, if you wish him to bring (or specially order)
any particular items. The NRM's public areas will be available to members from 10.00 onwards. Fuller
access details will be provided in the Final Notice.

1724] AGM Fixtures, NRM, Friday 13 Nov: These are in four sections, all on the Friday only:

(1): NRM South Yard and new Miniature Railway, 11.00-12.30: All available South Yard track from the
Learning Platform to the extent of the NRM running line (NR boundary), including all four adjacent
sidings. Unfortunately the other side of the South Yard will still be covered by a temporary theatre tent
so will be unavailable for this event. Loco Class 02 D2860 with LNWR Saloon. New NRM Miniature
Railway: (BLN 1238.1421) All line tours, subject to risk assessment, to include the loading platform by-
pass line (normally locked OOU), through the carriage shed, through the engine shed to the long
branch to the car park area (part of the forme miniature railway now NRU) and the most difficult
section of all to do, the ECS line between the normal passenger unloading and loading platforms!

(2): NRM North Yard, 13.00-14.30: Comprehensive track coverage. From the preparation bay area to
the stop board adjacent to the Siemens depot. Included are all adjacent sidings in the North Yard
(which is nearly empty) and possibly into the triangle area of the Great Hall. Depending on the number
who book, there will be two or three round trips of the North Yard (so please book early). Each should
take about 30 minutes. Loco is Class 08 08911 with the Queen Mary brake van.

[BLN 1241.1724 - cont.]

(3): AGM Illustrated Presentation with interval Buffet, 15.00 - 17.45: 'The Life and times of a BR Area

Manager' with over 200 images by our member Gerald Daniels, former BR Area Manager at Surbiton

then Salisbury. This presentation, specially tailored to a BLS audience, has been very well received
elsewhere. There will a quality finger buffet in the interval to celebrate the Society's 60th anniversary:

 A selection of wraps, bagel and baguette sandwiches.

 Dale's pork leek and cranberry sausages with grain mustard mayonnaise.

 Red pepper and wasabi sushi rolls (v, GF).

 Prawn, leek and chive tart.

 Chicken and prosciutto ham roulade with thyme and garlic (GF).

 Mature cheddar cheese scone with tomato and basil chutney (v).

 Fruit kebabs with honey yoghurt (v, GF).

 Coffee and hazelnut meringues (v, GF). (v = vegetarian option, GF = Gluten Free)

 Freshly brewed coffee and tea.

A soft drink only cash-bar is anticipated; no alcohol is allowed due to the train rides afterwards.

(4): Great Hall Turntable, 18.00-19.00: This has to be after the public have left at 18.00.

Bookings: IMPORTANT: Please book early (to give an idea of the number of trips required) as we
would like to accommodate all those who wish to attend and it might not be possible to include last
minute bookings. £40 for the entire day including the talk and buffet, £30 for the riding fixtures only
(without talk and buffet), £20 for the 15.00 illustrated presentation with buffet only (no rides).
Members only initially. Cheques payee 'Branch line Society' or CPA and queries to Paul Stewart (per
back page). Please supply, preferably, an email address or an SAE (two SAEs if an acknowledgement is
required initally). Notifications for our 19.00 AGM to Tim Wallis as above. The usual trackplan,
souvenir tickets and (extensive) stock list are anticipated. Free admission to the NRM and its facilities
for exhibit viewing/spotting is available from 10.00. The NRM have confirmed that unfortunately, the
Road Train will not be running on 13 November. Daily running is 28 March to 1 November this year.

1725] 'First Devon and Exeter Explorer' HST Special, Sat 10 Oct: (BLN 1240.1623) The facing crossover
expected to be used by our HST charity railtour with GWR (formerly FGW) at Totnes is at 222m 33ch.
Ashburton Jn onto the South Devon Railway is at 222m 47ch. There will be many familiar faces and it is
expected to be a great day out for a very worthwhile cause. It has emerged that a HST tour with 43032
and 43140 ran to Buckfastleigh and Heathfield from Paddington on 26 April 1997.

1726] Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway, Fri 23 Oct: By popular request and prior to the
railway's steam gala weekend. At 09.00 the Bo'ness station café will be open for hot breakfast rolls
(£2.50) and a complimentary tea or coffee. At 10.00 participants will be escorted to the motive power
depot to board the 3-car Class 126 DMU using steps at the extreme end of the yard line northeast of
the Diesel Shed by the Scottish Railway Exhibition. Other rare track targets (subject to circumstances
on the day) include at Bo'ness: the full yard ladder, both platforms, the three headshunts, end of line
and the station run round loop. Also Birkhill and Manuel run round loops, the NR boundary link line
and headshunts. From 14.15 to 15.30 the 2,160-inch long 5/7¼" mixed gauge miniature railway
(behind Bo'ness station buildings near the car park) will be open for us, operated by our friends from
the Edinburgh Society of Model Engineers. This is so rare it does not qualify for Peter Scott's Minor
Railways book. Optional guided tours of the site and museum are included at no extra charge. NB:
There are toilets at Bo'ness only. Anticipated finish is by 16.00 in time for standard gauge brakevan
rides at Lathalmond (next item). Cost: £31 (non-members £36). Bookings and payment (cheque payee
Branch Line Society or CPA) to Kev Adlam per back page. Please provide an email address, or an SAE,
and a second SAE if an acknowledgement is required. The usual trackmap, souvenir ticket and stock list
(extensive!) will be provided. A Fish & Chip Evening Special operates at 19.30
(pre-payment required directly to the railway) with locally brewed ales on sale then.

[BLN 1241]
1727] Shed 47 Restoration Group, Scottish Vintage Bus Museum: Fri 23 Oct, 16.45 to 17.45 (MR p10)
(BLN 1236.MR93) Lathalmond, Dunfermline, Fife, KY12 0SJ (NT098922). After
Bo'ness, there is a confirmed BLS special diesel-hauled brakevan trip (before sunset) on this interesting
new standard gauge line at the former Royal Navy Stores Depot which the Society has not visited
before. It will cover all available track, not just the line used for public brakevan rides. Please note
there is a maximum capacity of 40 participants. Bookings to Kev Adlam as above; £11 (non members
£15). There will be plenty of time to travel to Preston (or stay the night somewhere en route) for…

1728] Ribble Ramble, Saturday 24 Oct: 11.00 Riverside station, Chain Caul Road, Preston, PR2 2XL.
(SD504294) A rare track diesel railbus charter with W&M E79960; booked to
cover all available Ribble Steam Railway track. Morning: provisionally, explore the exchange sidings
and towards Strand Road Level Crossing. After lunch (included in the cost) the layout at Riverside
station will be focused on. Space is still available but early booking is advised. A souvenir ticket,
detailed stock list and updated map will be provided. Cheque/CPAs (Branch Line Society) and enquiries
to John Williamson (back page). Please notify the names of all participants. £32 (£35 non-members.

1729] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. RTT and etc.
 Tremains Down Passenger Loop, (189m 28ch) Sat 19 Sep: 20.41 Ebbw Vale Town to Bridgend.
 Poole, London end facing X/O 113m 40ch to arrive P1, Sat 19 Sep: 05.30, 06.30, 08.05, hourly
(except 18.05) to 21.05 and 19.35 & 20.35 ex-Waterloo. (Similarly used regularly late at night.)
 Wareham, country end trailing X/O, Sun 20 Sep: 00.30, 07.45 & hourly to 23.45 to Weymouth.
 Ascot, London end facing X/O (28m 52ch), Sun 20 Sep: 15.39 & half-hourly to 22.30 to Ascot.
 Swanley Jn, Up Chatham Main - Up Chatham Fast, Sun 20 Sep: Dover to Cannon Street trains.
 Penarth Curve North Jn - South Jn, both directions Sun 27 Sep, 4 Oct & 1 Nov from 08.30 & 25
Oct (from 12.30): Barry Island/Bridgend-Ninian Park shuttles; buses connect at Grangetown etc.
 Reading P12 to Up Feeder Main, 1 Nov: 09.00 Paddington to Plymouth/St. Erth hourly to 20.00.
 Rhyl, London end facing X/O, 9-11 Nov (incl.): 22.52 New St. & 22.25 Chester to Rhyl on arrival.
 Beattock Up Passenger Loop (UPL), SO 14 & 21 Nov (11.37/11.45): 07.52 Aberdeen to King's X.
 Beattock Summit UPL, Sat 14 & 21 Nov (15.36/15.43): 14.41 Edinburgh to King's Cross.
 Bolton P3 to Blackburn line: (was NRU) During Farnworth Tunnel work 17.48 (SSuX) Bolton to
Blackburn (bay P3). It arrives as the 17.13 (SSuX) from Preston to Bolton so cannot use P1 there.
 Grimsby Docks Loop: 17.55 SO Barton-on-Humber - Cleethorpes (becomes NRU after 19 Dec).
 Kettering South Jn, Down Fast to Down Slow: 09.01 (SSuX) St. Pancras International to Corby.
 NET, Toton Lane: The (SO) 09.26 & 09.56 ex-Hucknall, returning at 10.38 & 11.08, use the non-
preferred Platform 'B' (left on arrival), also other times when service intervals are stepped up.
 NET, Clifton South: Left Platform 'A' is mainly used on arrival; Saturdays there is a 10.21 &
10.52 arrival and departure. Check NET Journey Planner for updates.
 NET, Hucknall: Two trams are booked here SO 10.18 -10.22 (other times see Journey Planner).
 NET, Phoenix Park: Two trams are booked 09.54, 10.01, 10.09, 10.31, 10.39 & 10.52. (These
examples are SO; use of both platforms at all four termini occurs during a frequency step up.)
 Northern Ireland, Bangor P1: (SO) 07.57 Bangor to Portadown and 20.15 Portadown to Bangor.
Special thanks to members Ian Delgado & Stephen
Ebbs for information used here (modified).

1730] FIXTURES REPORT: Romford & Upminster
visits, Sat 18 July: (90 & 91/60) All but one of a
group of 13 members assembled punctually on
Romford Up main platform and was met by our
host, Matthew Dickerson (NR's Anglia Operations
Manger) for the Society's first visit to a modern

[BLN 1241.1730 - cont.]
Railway Operating Centre (ROC). He escorted the group along the secure pathway to the brand new
£32M Romford ROC, (picture above, all images by Stuart Hicks) a little to the London side of the station.
Participants were shown round the building including the Command Centre, the London Overground
floor and the external balcony, overlooking the emergency supply area. Most of the building was vacant

except for the control floor (pictured above) which had recently moved from near Liverpool Street. Our
missing member from Derby showed up later having persuaded the station staff to make contact. The
ROC opened on 23/24 May and houses the Liverpool Street station announcer, the Abellio Greater
Anglia (AGA) customer information team and the 'control centre of the future' for Crossrail through
central London. It has two NR
train running controllers, two
customer information staff
covering West Anglia (WA) and
Great Eastern (GE), a duty train
crew supervisor, three AGA Train
Service Managers i.e. GE outer,
GE inner (to Ipswich) and WA; and
an Assistant Train Service
Manager whose job is to ensure
that units are on the right
diagrams. Members had plenty of
opportunity to talk to these staff,
and see the delay attribution
area (picture right) where low
level delays are allocated and
larger incidents are managed. The
electric supply control room is
due to move from nearby

[BLN 1241.1730 - cont.]
(Romford) in February and the c2c Integrated Electronic Control Centre (IECC) from Upminster in
October 2016. Also expected next October is a Thales Train Management System which is optimised to
manage the Public Performance Measure (PPM) rather than delay minutes.

Participants then caught the 13.41 LO service to reach
Upminster IECC, (picture left) where there have been
some changes since our first visit on 12 May 2012 (BLN
1163 p195). At the station, NR'S Greg Rutland took the
group to the box which opened in 1994. It controls the
whole of the London Tilbury & Southend (LT&S) system,
(picture below) Stratford (in the middle of the Liverpool
Street IECC area,) and the North London Line layout to
Camden Road. This is a difficult mix of heavy passenger traffic and long freight trains (including now at
Thames Gateway). The 'stock transfer line' at Highbury and Islington at the end of the East London Line
extension is physically connected but not signalled nor electrified (third rail or overhead) throughout
and has only been used once or twice during an engineers' possession. Apparently it would be a
complex and very expensive job for the IECC and New Cross Signalling Centre computers to
communicate! The party was told about the difficulties caused by very long freight trains coming off
the North London Line, then crossing the whole layout at Stratford before heading off to Barking; not
for the faint hearted. This has been alleviated by track improvements.

There are six work stations, two for the North London line and four self-contained ones for the LT&S;
three route stations (Fenchurch Street area, inner and outer) and one covering the 9 CCTV level
crossings (the least popular to work on - picture next page). It was noted that all the LT&S passenger
crossovers and connections are used at least weekly to check that they work properly! There are six
signallers and a shift manager on duty at all times. Also on site is a c2c train running manager. The
North London panels cover the Willesden area and the North London Line to Highbury (exclusive) with
the other covering Highbury to Stratford P1 & P2 and High Meads Jn. These are monitored with axle
counters and have Automatic Route Setting. The conversion to the Westinghouse Rail System
'WESTCAD IECC' format is due on 19 December this year. At Upminster there are unused work stations
ready for further expansion that is no longer happening. Thanks to Stuart Hicks for leading the group
and top all the helpful and friendly railway staff on the day. It is pleasing to report that £200 was raised
for Railway Children from participants in recognition of the facilities kindly provided by NR.

[BLN 1241]
1731] Valley Lines Tracker, Thur 13 Aug: 101/60. This new type of fixture allowed members to
experience the busy Cardiff Valleys commuter network on an average working day. Electrification is on
the cards, as the centrepiece of the planned 'South East Wales Metro' network, but for now the ever-
growing demand has to be met by ATW's current fleet of Class 142, 143, 150/2 and 153s.

Time Location P Notes Time Location P Notes

Dep 09.16 Cardiff Cen 6 Arr 14.50 Cardiff Cen 6
Arr 09.19 Cardiff Q. St 4
Dep 09.24 Cardiff Q. St 1 Queen Street P1 Dep 15.01 Cardiff Cen 6
Arr 09.28 Cardiff Bay _ Arr 15.50 Bargoed 1 CrossoverP1
Dep 09.30 Cardiff Bay _
Arr 09.34 Cardiff Q. St 1 Queen Street P1 Dep 16.01 Bargoed 2
Arr 16.18 Rhymney
Dep 16.27 Rhymney _

_ Tir-phil Loop &

Queen St. P2

Dep 09.41 Cardiff Q. St 2 Arr 17.29 Cardiff Cen 7

Arr 09.44 Cardiff Cen 7 Evening Peak Refreshment Break

Dep 09.56 Cardiff Cen 6 Queen Street P5 Dep 18.31 Cardiff Cen 7
Arr 18.46 Penarth _
Arr 10.30 Pontypridd 1 Bay platform Dep 18.47 Penarth _

Dep 10.35 Pontypridd 2 P2 Abercynon Arr 18.59 Cardiff Cen 6
Arr 11.06 Merthyr Tyd _
Dep 11.08 Merthyr Tyd _ Dep 19.01 Cardiff Cen 6
Arr 12.40 Barry Island _ New P3 at Barry
Dep 12.40 Barry Island _ Arr 19.23 Caerphilly 1 Bay platform

Dep 19.40 Caerphilly 1

Arr 13.10 Cardiff Cen 6 Arr 19.59 Cardiff Cen 7

Dep 13.21 Cardiff Cen 6 Dep 20.06 Cardiff Cen 7
Arr 13.43 Coryton Arr 20.19 Penarth _
Dep 13.45 Coryton _
Refreshment Break
_ Dep 21.20 Penarth _

Arr 14.24 Radyr 3 Up Treforest Cve

Dep 14.34 Radyr 3 Dn Treforest Cve Arr 21.38 Cardiff Cen 2 Up Barry Relief

Your Wales Sub-editor elected to forego the initial Cardiff Bay sortie, meeting the other 26 members
on P2 of the much-enlarged Queen Street station to join 150227 on 09.39 Bargoed to Penarth, for the
short hop to Cardiff Central station. The others had found an understanding train crew on 153367 for
their trip to the Bay and return into Queen Street's new bay P1 that, for some reason, needed to
proceed further in than most workings! This bay has no overhead cover and is notably further from the
steps than when the Bay shuttle formerly left from alongside the stairs on what is now P2. It will also
be too short for the suggested 4-car EMUs, although it is proposed to run Cardiff Bay trains through
(possibly to Coryton) with electrification. Nothing is finalised but one day bay P1 may have little or no
use! Central's new south side station buildings were observed to be almost complete, and construction
of P8 and its new buildings well advanced, although track connection and commissioning must await
later stages of the resignalling project. Members were also able to witness arrival of ATW's flagship
'Gerallt Gymro' working (aka 'Gerald'), behind 67002. Our immediate objective though was to join BLN
1731-cont:] Pacer combination 143616+142073 on the 09.25 Barry Island to Pontypridd. New
footbridges, including lifts, were noted under construction at Llandaf and Radyr stations, but the
busiest intermediate stops at this time of day were Cathays and Treforest, serving respectively Cardiff
University and the University of South Wales. Despite a two-minute signal stop at Pontypridd South Jn,
arrival in the new Pontypridd bay P3 at 10.28 was ahead of schedule, but frustratingly two car-lengths

[BLN 1241.1731 - cont.]
short of the buffer stops; it appears that coverage of those last tantalising yards must await the long-
promised introduction of six-car trains in the Valleys. The only route from the buffer stops to the ticket
gate exit is to walk back down the bay platform and across, so it is currently helpful for workings to
stop short as per the 2/4 car stop board. A timetable quirk at this time of day effects a changeover of a
2-car with a 4-car diagram, and participants were thus able to join 150229 for a rare Up departure
from P2, working to Merthyr Tydfil via the crossover north of Pontypridd Jn. Crossing a Down working
as booked at Merthyr Vale loop, the group then arrived at the shortened Merthyr Tydfil terminus at
11.03½, slightly ahead of the advertised time. The train was away again a minute late at 11.09, all the
way to Barry Island. Passing 66192, at Treforest on the 10.30 East Usk Yard to Tower Colliery (a large
opencast disposal site) empties reminded us that there is still railfreight in the Valleys.

Slight checks approaching both Queen Street and Central did not cause any significant delay, and the
greatest interest was to observe the revised layout at Barry, where trains for the Island must now use
the new/reinstated P3. The Barry Tourist Railway (with its new mainline connection from P3) was not
in operation, and the only steam interest of the day was thus the chassis and cab of 9F 92245 outside
the shed. For PPM reasons, advertised arrival times at ATW termini are always shown later than the
WTT requires, explaining the apparent anomaly of simultaneous arrival and departure times at Barry
Island; our actual times of 12.37½ and 12.40 were ½ early and 1 early respectively by the Working
Timetable (WTT), and reflect a very efficient turnaround by the crew. Interestingly at Wrexham Central
in the public timetable, trains leave 2 minutes before they are booked to arrive, suggesting a 58 minute
wait for the next one (that you are actually sitting on!). Our party finally decanted from 150229 at
Central (the train continued to Aberdare) after almost 2½ hours on board. It had, incidentally, been
given preference at Penarth Curve South Jn over EWS 66091 on the 10.54 Tower to Aberthaw coal
hoppers. The more nimble of the party found time to gather welcome refreshment from the Upper
Crust kiosk on P2 (and the really nimble from the Pumpkin on the concourse) before our next journey;
142010 working the 13.04 from Radyr to Coryton, where attractive flower beds demonstrate the
benefit of a local 'station adoption' project. Arrival at 13.41½ was a half-minute late by the WTT (not
due to the friendly crew ensuring the platform's full length was covered) and the train was away on
time at 13.45 back to Radyr. A two-minute signal stop waiting the road at Heath Jn had been recovered
by slick station work at Queen Street and Central, taking the newly-redoubled Up Treforest Curve to
Ninian Park. 'Gerald' was noted on shed at Canton, as was car 55722, separated from its Class 142
partner. Significant greenery in the four-foot suggested that the weedkiller train had not lately covered
the City Line, and passenger traffic was light on this journey. An obliging crew allowed the BLS
headboard to be placed on the unit for a photo during the turnround in Radyr P3 (14.21½ to 14.34).
After admiring the speed of progress on the station's new lifts and footbridge, the group returned via
the Down Treforest Curve. A two-minute signal stop on the Up Barry Relief at Cardiff West was
reflected in our 14.52 arrival at Central, whose facilities were again welcome whilst awaiting 2D50
14.47 Penarth to Bargoed. Our day having thus far run almost perfectly to time, it was a surprise to
find now a slight delay; the preceding Merthyr train left 6 late, and ours 5 late, formed of 142069
+143609, the latter named in honour of local celebrity Sir Tom Jones (not unusually!). Domestic
commitments sadly forced your Sub-Ed to alight at Llanishen, (2½ minutes late).

Suitably lightened, the train picked up all lost time and arrived at Bargoed, over the crossover into P1,
two minutes early. The party sampled the station shop and either the lifts or stairs to P2 to await the
16.01 to Rhymney. During the lull, our keen-eyed Fixtures Secretary was concerned at what many of
us had thought was just an oil spill on the track in P1. Kev photographed this and gave the details to
the friendly DSM who met our group on arrival at Rhymney, who was concerned that it might reflect a
track defect and arranged for an inspection. Unfortunately, despite yet more accommodating ATW
train crew, Kev's public spirit could not be rewarded with a run up the end of the platform as some
regular passengers had the audacity to have boarded! Leaving on time, the new Tir-phil loop was

[BLN 1241.1731 - cont.]
sampled, which would allow a half-hourly service (currently mostly hourly) beyond Bargoed, which
itself generally has 4tph to/from Cardiff. This has been held up by lack of rolling stock. Although the
loop has been in operation for some time, much work is still being done on the station itself. With a
break looming at Central, avoiding the evening rush hour out of Cardiff, some members took the
opportunity to leave at Queen Street instead, seeking refreshment and/or haulage opportunities.

The threatened heavy rain failed to land, despite leaden, grey skies, and members stayed dry (outside
at least) before meeting up for the 18.31 from Central to Penarth. However, 'emergency engineering
work at Bargoed' caused this to be shown late (starting from Rhymney) and everyone began to wonder
if Kev's public spiritedness might require some last minute changes. Fortunately, the delay proved
slight and this service was sampled to Penarth's single platform, where it was noticed that our 4 car
unit's stop board was further along than the 2 car limit, and back to Central where the rear unit was
detached. We continued in what had been the lead 142 to what was, for many, the highlight of the
day, Caerphilly's reinstated bay platform. Signalling no longer allows reversal in the Down platform, so
all services from Cardiff turning back must use this bay. Latterly, this had been the headshunt for
access to the coal depot until that closed which then allowed the Caerphilly Railway Society to extend
their tracks from the old Caerphilly Works (now part of the Harold Wilson Industrial Estate) almost to
the old bay. The 142 moved forward to the safe limit, greeted with applause. The driver understood
what we were after now and kindly offered to request Cogan DPL when the unit returned to Penarth.

Approaching Central, darkness was starting to set in but gave a remarkable view as the unit dropped
down the incline from Queen Street, with the yellow station lighting very effectively illuminating the
platform areas but little else. On arrival, 142076 coupled up to the waiting 150283, although the
numbers travelling to Penarth would have been adequately managed by our 142. This did require a
driver change and, with a TSR applying to Cogan DPL, the group were warned that it was unlikely this
could be covered. This proved correct but, having opted to go to Penarth earlier on this, rather than
wait at Central, the party were able to sample The Railway Hotel's hospitality, not surprisingly close to
Penarth station. After a very sociable break, participants returned to Penarth for the 21.20 to Cardiff,
which then forms the 21.55 through to Crewe. For those like Kev travelling to Crewe, it was pleasing to
see 150251 arrive to form this rather than a pacer. It was booked into P1 at Central via the amended
Up Barry Relief. How could members know they had done this, it was asked, now that it was nearly
dark? With one member's access to real time signalling layout occupancy, the 45o feathers at Penarth
Curve S Jn and running on the left hand line after, there was no doubt. The last section of targeted
track was achieved as the train took the ladder across to the Up Main. There was a last minute change
as it went into P2 at Central (booked P1), substituting one regular passenger route for another.

The group had been entertained on the way to Penarth by one member's slide show on his laptop of
shots he had taken in 1987. It was very interetsing to see what had changed. Merthyr Tydfil then still
had two platforms, the full length of the original station. Now it has one short platform at the edge of
the old station layout, replaced by a supermarket and car park. Rhymney, however, looks much the
same but rather tidier now with trees covering the mounds behind the carriage sidings. Cardiff Bay
was Cardiff Bute Road in 1987 and still had track on the eastern side of the platform, but very few
trains (now it is five an hour!) alongside where the Barry 10 had briefly sat. Much has changed
physically; perhaps more importantly, the service frequency and passenger take-up has hugely
improved. This indicates a progressive railway that provides the services passengers need and will use,
greatly aided by the helpfulness of the various ATW train crews met during a very successful and
enjoyable day.

Our collective thanks to our Committee member and ATW Assistant Train Planning Manager David
Clark for all his excellent work in planning the project. A most enjoyable, sociable and interesting day.
With e-BLN 1240 were notes on the routes thanks to Paul Jeffries.

[BLN 1241]
1732] Frimley Lodge Miniature Railway, (Frimley Flyer) Sat 22 Aug: Kentrail Enthusiasts Group visited
the railway in 1996 so the several changes and enhancements to the layout since made a revisit highly
desirable. Our hosts headed by Paul Naylor (the Chairman of the society who runs this delightful line
established in 1990) made everyone most welcome. After signing in on behalf of the whole group, the
organiser was briefed on what was possible and not possible. The latter did not amount to much and
by the time we had finished was even less! The party, mostly BLS members, fitted onto one train
hauled mainly by 'Ivor' (with a Reliant Robin engine but fortunately more than three wheels!) hauling
five sit in coaches which gave a very comfortable ride. From Frimley Lodge station the train made a
full sweep of the main loop, which to our surprise revealed a new station. Called Tom's Halt on the
ground but 'Santa's Grotto' on the railway's track plan, it even had a new loop to by-pass trains while
their passengers visited Santa in his adjacent grotto. This being summer no cheerful chappy nor grotto
was present! It had only been completed in June and was later a very pleasing addition to the
traversals. A broad plan of action had been formulated and, taking in the normal loops and platform
roads this covered non-passenger sections between the set down and pick up points (rather annoying
these) and crucially the pièce de résistance, the early return loop which never has passenger use. It
had been completely relocated since 1996 and had been tested with a special ECS movement prior to
our visit. On the day the link was duly covered, but required some assistance from the participants in
the end due to the sharp point curvature, a real 'first' and very choice track.

[BLN 1241.1732 - cont.]
(Picture above Simon Mortimer.) There followed a full traversal of all the carriage sidings which had
not been planned but the phrase 'we will give it a go!' came into play, and they did! Then 'Hector' (a
small blue loco more used to operating the permanent way tools train) coupled to the shed end of the
train. It operated in and out from that end as well as propelling into sidings near the station with
complete success. With 'Ivor' re-coupled, another circuit was made and, as a finale, 'Hector' again
backed on and drew everyone along the shed branch (downhill) before detraining to allow the ECS to
be taken back uphill! With literally just a few yards of track virtually inaccessible to people on a train
left, the party were delighted with the traversals achieved. Back at the station a group picture was
arranged with the train crew and everyone was smiling!

1733] BLS Stewards' Training Day,
Sat 22 Aug: Going beyond the call
of duty (missing a railtour over the
very rare main line connection
onto the Barry Tourist Railway
and the KEG railtour of the
Frimley Lodge Miniature Railway -
previous item), 15 would be BLS
Stewards made for the
Stephenson Railway Museum in
North Shields. Most had travelled
long distance, stayed the night
locally and made a round trip on
the 'Shields Ferry' the evening
before (significantly swelling the
passenger number on the 21.30
sailing from North Shields then,
rather to the surprise of the crew,
immediately returning, as we do!).
The Saturday began with a very
special presentation. Our
Chairman, John Williamson , himself a former Society Fixtures Secretary (1979 to 1983), had the
enjoyable task of presenting the current incumbent, the inimitable Kev Adlam with a full sized replica
locomotive headboard. Its background is in Caledonian Blue (a colour much admired by Mrs A.) with
"KEV ADLAM DIAMOND FIXTURES SECRETARY" in silver raised letters and a silver surround in BR East
Coast 'Flying Scotsman' style. Funded voluntarily by Committee members, the fixtures team and others
it was significantly oversubscribed. As John said at the presentation, it was to recognise the unstinting
time and herculean effort that Kev has invested in the fixtures programme during our 60th year and his
great support and encouragement of all his fellow organisers. Nothing is ever too much trouble for
him. ABOVE: In case anyone is in any doubt, our Chairman, John Williamson, is the one on the left
(compare with the picture with item 1743 later.)! (Images above and below, Jenny Williamson)

After bacon rolls and hot drinks, it was a study morning in the classroom with local resident, Ian
Hughes from Green Dragon Rail (safety health environment and fire risk management). Ian is a good
friend of the Society who has been crucial in our very successful and enjoyable South Tynedale and
Telford Steam Railway trips etc. During the morning he took us through our individual BLS coursework
books and, despite our obvious interest in railways, participants learnt much and in an interesting and
informative way that held attention. There were regular individual assessments during the morning to
check our knowledge as the training course was to the HSE approved level. Only those who passed
could proceed to the practical section and fortunately, thanks to Ian's expert tuition, everyone did.

[BLN 1241.1733 - cont.]
BELOW: ''Watch the birdie, Kev'' and now we know why they are called 'headboards'…

The group enjoyed a sociable, generous lunch and in the afternoon session had exclusive use of the
very friendly North Tyneside Steam Railway. Participants learnt what it was like to stand 4ft from a
moving train, hazard recognition and risk assessment, safe access, walking along the railway,
addressing a moving train, 'shepherding', boarding and alighting practice as well as general safety on
and near a railway. Visits by train to the loops and ends of line at Percy Main

[BLN 1241.1733 - cont.]
and Middle Engine Lane stations were fortunately a vital part of the course, (participants did not then
feel so bad about missing the other events the same day). After a very instructive and informative day,
15 HSE qualified BLS Stewards emerged clutching their 'Minor Railway Safety Passports' each with
their individual photograph. This will enhance the Society's ability (and reputation) in securing,
delivering and stewarding safer future fixtures for all our members and may even open a few more
ground frames for us. Some pictures of the day's events at website.

ABOVE: with its proud owner, Kev's new headboard has its first outing on 08915. Taken at Percy Main
station, the southern terminus of the North Tyneside Steam Railway on 22 August. Middle left, a Tyne
and Wear Metro train is just crossing the overbridge behind the rear coach. (Alan Sheppard.)


1734] Stafford, Universal Grinding Wheel Siding (133m 60ch): (BLN 1209.822) CA 29 August 2015 part
of the Stafford resignalling project; the junction point remains secured OOU pending recovery. The line
was NRU in recent years; the overhead catenary wire was removed from 27 April 2014. [Section of the
ex-Shropshire Union Line to Wellington via Newport, LMS after 1923; CP 7 September 1964.]

1735] Thameslink; Canal Tunnel Jn - Belle Isle Jn (BLN 1240.1647) From 6 September the signalling
was commissioned but it the line is available for non-electric traction only due to problems with a fixed
tunnel overhead and a neutral section. The OHL is to be energised later (initially for EMU ECS moves).

1736] Glasgow, Maryhill Park Jn - Anniesland Bay P3: (BLN 1239.1604) From 19 September 2015 new
points are due to be installed, secured OOU; part of the 'Anniesland connection project' to restore the
through Maryhill - Anniesland line. Commissioning of the link is due on 25 December 2015.

1737] Whitley Bridge Jn - Eggborough Power Station - Whitley Bridge Jn: CG/CA is anticipated on or
before 31 March 2016 with the closure of the 1,960MW power station that can supply 4% of the UK's
electricity. The owners, Czech Republic-based Energetický a průmyslový (who only bought the plant in
January) attribute this to the UK's high Carbon Tax and the Government ending a green tax break that
would have allowed conversion from coal (with biomass) to just biomass fuel. This would otherwise
cost £200M over three years. It was built between 1962 and 1970, first generating electricity in 1967.
(A reminder that the nearby Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station closes in March and Ironbridge 'B' this year.)

1738] Dunfermline, Charlestown Jn - Alloa Station Jn: (BLN 1240.1652) Closure of Longannet Power
Station in 2016 will mean the effective end of regular traffic. The only scheduled train not serving it is a
ThO 13.51 Raiths Farm to Hartlepool South empty wagon (pipes) train that rarely runs. The western
section from Stirling to Alloa and Kincardine ROG in 2008 after major refurbishment (the line has
recently been undergoing further extensive and expensive repairs due to problems with the original
work). During the week ending 11 September, Longannet incredibly received 25 loaded coal trains
from Hunterston High Level (including even four on a Saturday), totaling about 45,000 tonnes of coal!

1739] Clydeport, Hunterston Jn - Hunterston Low Level and Hunterston Jn - Hunterston High Level:
Peel Ports has started consultation with staff concerning the future of the terminals given the
significant drop in coal traffic, and is considering what else the port might be used for. There are
occasional nuclear fuel/waste trains at the flask loading gantry (Low Level) for Hunterston 'B' Power
Station. Hunterston Terminal opened in 1979 with a mile long jetty originally to take very large ships of
imported iron ore for British Steel's Ravenscraig steelworks. It can accommodate five trains at the
same time, has storage for 1M tonnes of coal and can handle up to 6.5M tonnes per year. The previous
Glasgow's General Terminus iron ore facilities on the River Clyde were unsuitable for large vessels.

[BLN 1241]
1740] Isle of Anglesey, Valley (260m 04ch) - Valley Direct Rail Services (DRS): Eventual closure of the
nuclear flask sidings is anticipated with the ending of electricity generation at Wylfa. The 490MW
'Reactor 1' is licensed to operate until 31 December 2015. 'Reactor 2' closed in 2012. It is the World's
last generating Magnox reactor, (and the World's oldest nuclear power station by construction date -
1963). The UK once had 12 Magnox power stations of which Wylfa was the largest and last to be built.
Outward rail flask traffic will continue during decommissioning; Magnox fuel rods are no longer
manufactured. The triangle part of Valley DRS sidings has been used for turning steam engines and
was traversed by the Society's Chester & Holyhead Railtour of 3 December 2000 with DMU 153358.

1741] Points and Slips: BLN 1239.1568] Near the end of this item 'Loughton' should be 'Leytonstone',
where the west end facing and east end trailing crossovers are booked to be traversed by train 2, the
05.33 ex White City. Calling at Leytonstone at 06.13 it weaves via P2 as a 'rusty rail working' mainly for
the benefit of the country end points. This was confirmed recently and indeed later our members on
the train were advised that the move happens with daily regularity, although having no normal traffic
pathing purpose. BLN 1240.1638] Amending BLN (but correct in e-BLN) at Watford Junction the AC/DC
connection was TCA from 6 May 2015 to 15 August 2015. 1652] Regarding the closure of Longannet
Power Station (which was not generating when passed late afternoon on both 3 and 7 September),
there are visibly large coal stocks which may have to be cleared by rail after closure, according to the
severity of next winter (and how strong the wind and sun are!). Didcot and Cockenzie power stations
managed to burn all their coal stocks. It certainly raises the question of how long there will be
incoming coal traffic at Longannet which interestingly is currently heavy (per item above).

Item 1653] BLN Abbreviations: the list (modified as necessary; any suggestions to the Editor please)
can now be found on the bottom of the 'Branch Line News' page of our website.
Item 1655] There have been a number of passenger train derailments on NR since the very serious
one at Grayrigg on 23 February 2007, including a minor one that some members may have been
involved in of a railtour at Windsor and Eton Riverside on 1 October 2009. Other derailments involved
landslips and weather related conditions; perhaps the most serious was on 6 June 2010 when the
18.20 Glasgow Queen Street to Oban hit a large bolder near Falls of Cruachan. The leading coach came
to rest on its side, supported by trees, on the mountain slope. 1664] At Ealing Broadway it is a
temporary NR office (within the existing building) that has appeared on the forecourt rather than a
temporary ticket office. The café referred to did 'CA' after 29 August. 1674] 'G-Mex (formerly
Manchester Central)' although the original correspondent was probably referring to the former
Manchester Central BR station, it has been pointed out that it is the exact opposite of the present
situation. The G-Mex centre was renamed back to Manchester Central in January 2007 but it took
Metrolink a long time to catch up with this and Northern Rail who manage Deansgate station even
longer! 1699] There is a good picture of the temporary slews north of Dublin, Grand Canal Dock
station in 'Railway Herald' 470 of 2 September 2015 p13 (middle). Item MR140] At Alnwick Lionheart
station, the Drewry shunter RSHD Works No8199 operating is not an ex-BR Class 04. It is an industrial
version (with a Gardner engine) that worked at Aberthaw Power station, then moved to Barlow Royal
Ordnance Depot (now part of Drax power station) and was donated to the Aln Valley Railway in 2009.

1742] 50 Years Ago, 'The Glazier' Brakevan Tour, Sat 25 Sept 1965: Following member No1's first tour
(BLN 1238.1439) his second was again for the Locomotive Club of Great Britain (LCGB) North West,
centred on the industrial town of St. Helens, renowned for its success as the market leader for glass
making. In the mid 20th century at its peak this industry employed more than 30,000 people here
compared with just over 1,000 today. The railtour was therefore named 'The Glazier' and had to be
limited to five brake vans due to the severe gradients; it was hauled by Fowler class 3F Jinty No47298.
[How about 10 brakevans double headed as 'The Double Glazier'? - Ed.] With thanks to Ian Mortimer,

[BLN 1241.1742 - cont.]
the tour map to follow the route and itinerary are being sent with e-BLN. Starting from St. Helens
Junction bay platform, the tour traversed both the goods and passenger lines (each on distinct and
separate alignments) to the junction with the Widnes line, just short of Robins Lane Halt. This OP 12
October 1936 and CP 26 September 1938 only a couple of years later. The tour ran to Ravenhead Jn
before veering left on to the Eccleston branch, stopping at Marsh's Crossing signal box for the first
photo stop. Immediately after the box, the line split, left to the United Glass factory branch and right
the steeply graded incline to the Triplex Safety Glass private sidings at Eccleston. The branch was 'one
engine in steam' with the token issued from Marsh's Crossing signal box. After three reversals, the train
returned to Ravenhead Jn for a further reversal and ran through St. Helens Shaw Street, renamed St.
Helens Central in 1987. At the delightfully named Pocket Nook Jn, the branch from Peasley Jn came in
from the right. Shortly after the junction, the previous Great Central Railway St. Helens Central line
crossed over; the station CP 3 March 1952 and CA 4 January 1965. The last rites for this line had been
given by a group of LCGB members on the final freight train to Lowton-St-Marys on 2 January 1965.
At Gerrards Bridge Jn the tour continued straight along the Rainford line CP 18 June 1951. Station sites
at Gerrards Bridge, Moss Bank and Crank (!) were seen before the tour reached Old Mill Lane, where
there was no trace of the former station site. Rail freight traffic was to Pilkington's sand washing plant.
Returning to Pocket Nook Jn the train took the left line to Peasley Jn. At Broadoak Jn it went left to
Marsh's Sidings, (formerly called Ashton Greens Jn), not to be confused with Marsh's Crossing visited
earlier in the day. The engine ran up to sleepers across the line (track lifted beyond) with the buffers
overhanging trackless ballast (as you did in 1965!). 47298 ran round for the last time and it was via
Sutton Oak Jn and the passenger lines through the diveunder back to St. Helens Junction bay platform.

ABOVE: 47298 back at St. Helens Junction bay platform. Front row left to right (1): John Williamson,
(2): Jim Slater (3): Unknown (4): Eric Doyle (5): Unknown (6): Ray Hardman (glasses) (7): Unknown (8):
Unknown Behind left to right (1): Eddie Bellass (2): Wally Gandy (glasses) (3): Unknown; can anyone
fill in the gaps? (Picture John Williamson)

[BLN 1241.1742 - cont.]
This was only the second time that No1 had drawn a map, and he feels that railtour cartography has
progressed considerably over 50 years! Our chairman, John Williamson was on the tour…how many
other members were? Regrettably it clashed with a 'farewell to steam' railtour in West Wales (visiting
Cross Hands, Cynheidre, Cwm Mawr, Colbren Jn, Llansamlet and Danygraig inter alia); clashes are
nothing new! Despite this, 'The Glazier' was a great success with 60 participants. The charge was £60,
payable on the day at St. Helens Junction booking office before the tour. The tour was advertised in the
'Other Societies' section of BLN 40 (8 September 1965) at 27s 6d, (£1.37½) no half fares, payable in
advance and worth nearly £24 now. Good credit control and a very healthy 37.5% profit margin! At just
over 15 miles it took more than 4 hours (booked times 10.10 to 14.00); definitely quality not quantity!

1743] 50 Years Ago, 'The Glazier' Brakevan Tour, Sat 25 Sept 1965, Musings of a Railtour Virgin: The
excellent recollections of Member No1 about his first and second railtour projects have prompted me
to reflect on how my own interest in our hobby was developing in 1965. I was then a sixth-former with
a growing interest in rail travel which, sadly, was not matched by available financial resources. I enjoyed
riding behind steam locos, but knew that their time was quickly running out. Passenger lines were
closing and I did what I could to take in those that were local to my home in South Lancashire. The
other area of developing interest centred on freight lines and the lines which would now be
categorised as 'PSULs'. Railtours looked a really attractive way to enjoy both track and haulage, but the
problem was that the cost of the tours that appealed to me, plus the cost of getting to them, was
prohibitive. I therefore travelled as economically as I could by service trains, and made some trips to
see railtours hauled by locos I would have loved to have ridden behind and charters heading to
destinations which I can only look back on with sadness because I never got there by train myself.
Member No1's 'Middleton Railtour' fell into that category. I had been to Middleton on the last
passenger service train, but other parts of the route were very attractive. As it was, I raised the fare to
get to Middleton Junction but not for the railtour and photographed what had been one of my local
regular engines, 42343, at it went to Middleton and back, then off to Chadderton Yard, and finally as it
headed off to Rochdale and Whitworth.

My low key travelling patterns meant that I was starting to find familiar faces with a similar mind set,
and making the acquaintance of some of the LCGB North West committee got me details of a tour
around St. Helens coming up in the September. It was a fairly short tour with some very choice track
and (most important) it was going to be affordable. My booking went in for my first railtour. For me,
Saturday 25 September 1965 was an exciting day. The morning started wet and miserable, but
fortunately the weather improved slowly and the day was bright by the time the tour got back to St.
Helens Junction. Brake van travel with a steam loco was a steep education curve in its own right for a
first-timer like me, but I rapidly learned to hang on for the coupling snatches and the desirability of
taking a few deep breaths before entering a tunnel! The day gave a ride over some exceptionally
interesting track, a chance to 'cab' 47298, and the opportunity to meet and chat to some really
interesting and informative people with the same interests, many of whom were destined to become
friends in the future. Thanks to the organisation and hard work of Member No1, I had a marvellous day
out and my first railtour was enough to get me seriously hooked. This was definitely the way to explore,
and the polite pressure on my parents to help me fund more railtour travel from time to time helped
me to visit more interesting railways. Who would have known in September 1965 that the schoolboy
would in 1967 join the Branch Line Society, would one day serve a spell as its Fixtures Secretary (1979
to 1983) and ultimately have the honour of being elected as Society Chairman. I still enjoy my railtours
in the congenial company of like-minded enthusiasts?

As you have gathered, I have a particular sentimental attachment for my first railtour! Sadly, trawling
back through 1965 has highlighted the missed opportunities which, with hindsight, might have been
retrieved. On a day trip to Lancaster and Morecambe with my dad, how did we manage to do Green
Ayre to Morecambe but miss Green Ayre to Castle? And why did we pass up Co-Bo haulage from

[BLN 1241.1743 - cont.]
Castle to Preston (a class I never achieved subsequently) in the hope of exciting steam on the following
service (which was a Black 5). Lessons in ''You can't do everything, but enjoy what you manage to do''.

(John Williamson, Member No491.)

1744] Spending a penny: NR has revealed that its toilet charges (30p to 50p a time) have raised a
£12.8M profit since 2012. Victoria [not Waterloo?] made the most, £2.3M over the past three years
and Euston was second at £1.8M. The 'bottom line' is that it is reinvested in passenger facilities

1745] Britain's most overcrowded trains (SSuX): The 2014 'nominal' data recently released by the DfT:

(1): 04.22 Glasgow Central to Manchester Airport (186% load, 164 above the capacity of 191).
(2): 16.00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh.
(3): 06.31 Reading to London Paddington.
(4): 07.57 London Heathrow to London Paddington. (A Heathrow Express service.)
(5): 07.02 Reading to London Paddington (164%, 381 passengers greater than capacity of 596).
(6): 06.35 Caterham to Victoria (central).
(7): 07.24 Brighton to Bedford (161% load, 1180 passengers with a capacity of 716).
(8): 18.00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh
(9): 07.32 Woking to London Waterloo (160% load, 442 passengers in excess of capacity of 738).
(10): 07.02 Woking to London Waterloo (shown as having 11 less passengers, but same capacity!).

Britain is always going to have a 'most overcrowded' train, in the same way as there will always be an
'oldest person' for example. The TPE entries now qualify, as the services run via Wigan due to journey
time. See for more information and what can (or cannot) be done about the
overcrowding and what is being done. Cheap advanced tickets e.g. Glasgow to Manchester for £20.20
(with reserved seat) can be booked on the TPE services but the quota and prices have been 'adjusted'.


1746] Nottingham NET: (BLN 1240.1661) Both Clifton South and Toton Lane stops actually have three
platforms. 'A' is the inbound buffer stop end (left side on arrival); 'B' the outbound (right side) and 'C'
a separate inbound platform at the Nottingham end. 'A' and 'C' are on the same line so trams turning
round in Platform 'C' (which is after the scissors on arrival) do not reach the end of line.

NET Phase 2 has included the construction of 17.5km of new line, a new tram stop at the redeveloped
Nottingham railway station, 27 other new stops, more than 2,000 free spaces at new 'greenfield'
(literally!) Park and Ride sites and a new tram and bus interchange in Beeston. Major structures built
include the 'Ningbo Friendship Bridge' across the A52 near the Queen's Medical Centre and the
'Karlsruhe Friendship Bridge', taking the tramway over Nottingham station.

1747] Roade Jn (SMJR) - Roade Jn (LNWR): (BLN 1239.1543) BELOW: This OS 2½" to the mile 1896
map shows the curve allowing direct running between Towcester (off to the bottom left) on the
Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway (SMJR) and Roade on the LNWR. As mentioned in e-
BLN 1239, it opened in 1891 and CA from 25 May 1917 and appears to be single track with a siding
along part of the outer side of the curve. Remains of the trackbed are shown on the 2½" to a mile OS
1956 map but, although it is still evident on Google Earth, there is nothing on the 1" to a mile 6th and
7th series.

The single track bridge over the WCML that was removed for electrification clearance on Sunday 28
August 1960 is seen east of the curve. The SMJR line continued east to Stoke Bruern and Salcey Forest
stations, then Ravenstone Wood Jn on the former Midland Railway Northampton to Bedford line.

[BLN 1241.1747 - cont.]

1748] HS2: (BLN 1184.643) A revised proposal for the rebuilding of Euston station will be submitted to
Parliament this month. The plan is now to build the new platforms for HS2 in two stages in order to
reduce disruption for passengers. Firstly, six new high speed platforms and a concourse will be
constructed to the west of the station to support the opening of HS2 Phase One in 2026. This will be
followed by the construction of five further high speed platforms and concourse on the west side of
the existing station to support the opening of Phase Two in 2033. Only 11 platforms will then remain
for WCML services compared to the 13 in the previous proposal.
1749] Cricklewood: A new long term contract for the transport of spoil to Calvert worked by GBRf
commenced operation on 8 September. (Freightmaster interactive.)
1750] Charing Cross Northern Line Loop: A fascinating account of this now flooded tunnel can be
found on the 'Ian Visits' website. The single track loop received Parliamentary
authorisation in June 1911 as part of the London Electric Railway Act. It ran in a loop and back up to
what is today's Embankment Station, where a single curved platform (with a 30yd connecting foot
tunnel to the equivalent Bakerloo line platform) was constructed and then back round to Charing Cross
again. Work began in October 1911 and the new station opened on 6 April 1914. In 1926 the Northern
Line was extended south to Kennington and the loop closed. The original single platform became the
through northbound platform (now Embankment), which is why it is has a
significant curve, but the south bound (new 1926) platform is straight - check next time you are there!
On 9 September 1940 the original closed tunnel was damaged by German bombs and flooded; it still is.
1751] Crossrail: (BLN 1231.742) The eventual site for the depot at Plumstead is currently being used as
a base for works trains for track laying and electrification work. It will close in 2017 allowing the
permanent depot to be constructed. Track has now been laid in the Connaught tunnel.

[BLN 1241]
1752] Docklands Light Railway: (BLN 1240.1665) The truncated service from Beckton reverses in low
level P2 at Canning Town, returning over the crossover to the east of the station.

1753] Greenford Signal Box: (BLN 1227.1337) On 26 August our member Stuart Hicks arranged a
further RCTS visit and BLS members were kindly included. The frame (as extended) originally had 76
levers, and is still impressive despite there now being about 20 spaces and 11 spares. Many signals are
now colour lights and most points are motor worked, although there are still fine GWR lower quadrant
splitting signals at Greenford West and East Jns, the former can be easily seen from the Central Line
platforms. The box has interfaces with Thames Valley SCC (south and east) and with Marylebone IECC
in the Northolt direction. There are no block bells, trains being indicated on the VDU train describer,
although this was not operating properly at the time of the visit. Interestingly the facing points where
the single bay platform line and the curve from Greenford West Jn join have a mechanical disc. It must
be regarded by drivers as a running signal, although essentially it indicates the lie of the points.

1754] Hanger Lane Jn slew: Over the 27/28 June the westbound District Line track to Ealing Broadway
was moved about 11ft to the right giving a smoother run round the curve. (Underground News)

1755] King's Cross, Hotel Curve: (e-BLN 1237/8 addenda) Although closed after the last passenger
train from Moorgate (widened lines) on Saturday 6 November 1976 (when there was a final railtour),
the 'Hotel Curve' came back into temporary use for ECS only during the remodelling of the King's Cross
throat that took place between Friday evening 28 January and Monday morning 4 April 1977. Some
suburban services terminated at York Road platform, running ECS to/from Moorgate and restarting
from King's Cross at what by then had become P14. There were two phases: first the west side then
the east. The project was completed on time despite the ritual cutting of the wrong cable on the first
Monday morning! Unfortunately, our correspondent cannot remember whether the widened lines
were used for both phases or just one. [The answer is probably just the first: Alan Jackson's book
London's Termini quotes a date of 4 March 1977 for the last public use of York Road and King's Cross
P14 and this is supported by NR's Kings Cross archive and several different reports on the 'LNER
Encyclopaedia' discussion forum.]

Rolling stock was class 31-hauled non-corridor coaches, the only permitted, along with Cravens DMUs.
Everything else was too long for the Hotel Curve and would have scraped the sides, something known
about from bitter experience! As mentioned in BLN 1238, the Down Moorgate platform was originally
P16. Like many large termini, King's Cross was originally built with just one Up arrival platform and one
Down departure platform; the space between was carriage sidings. Over the years more platforms
were added. Two (P3 and P9) were cut into their neighbours, leaving four short platforms. At some
stage, certainly before 1952, they were abolished and all main line platforms became full length,
leaving a gap in the numbering. From 1 May 1972 renumbering eliminated the gaps and P16 became
P14. There was a P17/15 to the west of P16/14. Our member recalls it being used only once, when
there was severe service disruption on a Sunday evening. To the west of that was the Milk Dock. After
the obvious traffic ceased it was used for loading and unloading Motorail vans when these car-carrying
trains were transferred from Holloway Car Loading Bay.

1756] LUL 24 hour Service: (BLN 1223.1887) Following two 24 hour (rather ironic!) strikes by unions
over pay and rostering issues, LUL have postponed introduction of the 'Night Tube' project until
negotiations have been successfully completed. The five lines involved were to have had new WTTs
from 6 September, which in some cases would have included daytime enhancements (now on 'hold').

1757] Weird Workplace: An account by those who work in one of the withdrawn tube stock cars on
the remains of the viaduct that led into Broad Street is at on the BBC website.

1758] Newton Aycliffe: David Cameron was amongst the guests at celebrations marking the opening
of Hitachi Rail's £82M rolling stock plant at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham on 3 September. The
plant will produce the Class 800/801 sets for the IEP Programme, and ScotRail AT200 commuter EMUs.

1759] Farnworth re-re-alignment (or 'Have I got slews for you?'): (BLN 1240.1667) It should be noted
that from 31 August the temporary slew of the Down Bolton line at Farnworth station, north of the
tunnel, was not restored to its original alignment. It is now adjacent to the new 109yd long Down
Farnworth station platform (for the Bolton direction) which has been built out considerably from the
original platform (still visible at the south end) over the original Down line. This is more so at the
Manchester (i.e. tunnel) end. It explains the need for the first temporary slew here to the Up line to
clear and access the new platform site whilst maintaining (non-stopping) train services. The new
platform allows for the final 100mph (fourth!) alignment from the forthcomimg realigned double track
Farnworth tunnel. The result is that there is now a third temporary variation of the reversible single
line to be done with a significant 'kink' between the new platform and the north end of the single track
smaller tunnel in use until the project is finished. It is best appreciated from the right side of a train
from Manchester to Bolton and explains the 30mph speed restriction here (15mph through the
current tunnel). Much other electrification work is evident along the line, particularly track lowering
work at bridges with others being rebuilt completely. This is why no weekend services are operating.

1760] The boring section of BLN: NR has confirmed the Farnworth Tunnel work (and the latest slew)
will continue past the intended completion date of 4 October, possibly until January. Despite extensive
boring ground surveys (150 test holes were made), on 14 August 35 tonnes of running sand poured
into the tunnel and another 100 tonnes on 27th all of which had to be removed by hand. This has
drastically slowed progress and required extensive specialist grouting. An interesting works compound
can be seen of the left over the tunnel travelling south on the A666, from Bolton towards the M61,
with its own short direct temporary road. A temporary speed restriction on the A666 allows a good
view and it was a hive of activity on the evening of 7 September with tunnel sections being unloaded
from lorries. A time-lapse video of the work up to 4 September.

1761] Blackpool: (BLN 1239.1563) Deutsche Bahn's subsidiary, Arriva's Alliance Rail Holdings has ORR
permission to run six trains daily each way between London and Blackpool as Great North Western
Railway (a sister company of Arriva owned Grand Central). 120 jobs will be created, and interestingly
Queen's Park (Alliance's preference) may be the London terminus rather than Euston due to the HS2
works at the latter. The calling pattern includes firm rights at Poulton-le-Fylde, Preston and Crewe
with contingent rights at Kirkham & Wesham, Lichfield Trent Valley, Tamworth, Nuneaton and Milton
Keynes Central. In the documentation the WCML is described as 'Europe's busiest mixed railway'.

1762] Liverpool: A new station is being considered for the former Archbishop Blanch School city centre
Mount Vernon Road site, close to the new Royal Hospital. An outline planning application is expected
before the end of the year. Separately, NR has confirmed that the temporary closure of Lime Street
station is being considered possibly in 2017 or 2018 for two months of improvement work. This
includes an additional platform, a better platform layout with greater flexibility, increased capacity and
provision for longer trains. Anyone who needs any existing track there has now been advised!

1763] Manchester Victoria Metrolink: (BLN 1240.1673 with track plan) Where the three Metrolink
tracks leave the tram stop towards the city and become four, there is a brick arch blocked by a sheet of
rusty steel with varying size holes drilled in it. A plaque to the side calls this the Soldier's Gate and
memorialises the many soldiers who marched through it during WW1, never to return. Another plaque
states that steel sheet represents the Western European WW1 theatre, the holes being the various
Commonwealth War Graves, the varying size of the holes representing the comparative numbers

[BLN 1241.1763 - cont.]
buried in each grave. Recently these four tracks appeared to be complete and surfaced, as does the
initial stretch of the new Second City Crossing along Corporation Street as far as Withy Grove. The rails
are also complete beyond here, through the site of the new intermediate Exchange Square stop as far
as Market Street, with a turn back crossover immediately south of the island platform. The latter is
rapidly taking shape and does seem to be of a very high standard with what looks like marble edgings
to the platform! No work seems to have started further down Cross Street towards St Peter's Square.

ABOVE: Settle and Carlisle line: Work in progress on the site of the new Arcow Quarry sidings, north of
Helwith Bridge. Completion is due by the end of October 2015 (BLN1240.1650). (Peter Dawson)

1764] Napsbury - St. Albans Abbey branch link: (BLN 1238.1416) The interesting line between the
Midland and LNWR shown on the (1945) 6th Series 1" to the mile (extract in e-BLN) as lifted and
labelled 'Old Railway' was not a WW2 construction, but was built (and removed) in the 19th century
and not revived. The rail mounted gun story may have been enshrined in local folklore or deliberate
propaganda which was quite common. It could even have been on the 7ch private siding (see below).
One member feels it seems to have been the product of one of those 'on-off' periods of harmonious
relations between the two companies and seems to have died again when the ardour cooled. Perhaps
summarised as: 'It seemed like a good idea at the time.' The line was properly authorised under the
Midland Railway (Extension to London) Act 1863, amended by Midland Railway (New Lines and
Additional Powers) Act 1864. It was inspected by Col. Rich on 1 Aug 1868 but was found not to be
acceptable for passenger use without some modifications, which were never implemented so it never
opened for passengers (nor for goods to the LNWR, although see below about traffic from the LNWR).
Minute No18824 (20 May 1873) of the MR Way & Works Committee, records: 'Read letter from Mr
Allport (the General Manager) stating that as the St. Albans Park Street Branch was not likely to be
used for traffic the rails & materials might be removed / Resolved / That Mr Campion (the Engineer) be
instructed to remove them as he requires them for other work'.
So the single track link had a short life with little if any use, the Railway Clearing House cancelled the
distances on 20 November 1891. It is possible, but very difficult to prove or disprove, that the line
might have been used to convey construction materials from the LNWR to the Midland for their
London extension to St. Pancras. However, lines built specially for construction purposes were
generally short spurs or curves and not authorised by Act of parliament which this was.
Therefore the 1945 OS map reproduced in e-BLN 1238 was correct in showing it as 'Old Railway'. It is
not shown on Colonel Cobb or the Pre-Grouping Atlas. The length, variously shown in MR distance

[BLN 1241.1764 - cont.]
diagrams, was 1m 21ch between Park Street Branch Jn (latterly controlled by Napsbury Station box)
and Park Street Jn (controlled by Park Street & Frogmore signal box) LNWR. It was sometimes wrongly
marked as 'Not laid' (it was laid but later removed). The first 7ch served a private siding from the
Midland main line end (Brown's in 1915) which siding (known by then as Silverster's siding) was
deleted by the December 1957 Handbook of Stations amendment leaflet NoL.3.

1765] Cambridge Science Park: (BLN 1240.1680) Cambridge City Council has approved a second
planning application for this new station at Chesterton. Approval was previously granted for a scheme
submitted by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) but, as NR have taken over as promoter a new
planning application was required. The latest scheme has been downgraded with the three platforms
reduced from 270m to 254m and canopy lengths halved from 80m to 40m. According to the planning
application, the reduced platform length 'is as a result of a change in rail strategy for the intercity
programme'. They are said to accommodate 12-car trains and have passive provision for future
extension. Train operator Abellio Greater Anglia objected to the planning application on various
grounds including the reduction in canopy length and the absence of easily accessible toilet and
waiting facilities from all platforms. DfT funded and developed by NR in partnership with CCC, the new
station will provide an alternative for commuters in north-east Cambridge, with an anticipated 3,000
daily journeys being made. It will have a landscaped 450 space car park, a 1,000 space cycle park and
be served by a non-guided section of the Cambridgeshire Busway, already under construction. Building
work is due to start this autumn with the new station expected to open in December 2016. Its name is
due to be announced later this year, with Cambridge Science Park and Cambridge North among the
options likely to be considered. (Transport Briefing)

1766] Langley: (BLN 1237.1371) Slough Borough Council has submitted a petition against the plan to
build a new Heathrow Express depot at Langley. The High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill
proposes relocating the depot at Old Oak Common to an area north east of Langley station as part of
HS2. At a full council meeting in July councillors voted to oppose the bill, believing the depot will have
a detrimental effect on residents and businesses. Members have also suggested the depot move could
have an effect on the Western Rail Access to Heathrow project. Issues during and after construction,
including road access, air quality and the loss of land earmarked for much-needed family housing have
been raised. The petition will be heard by the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill Select
Committee at a future date. (Transport Briefing)

1767] Chesham branch: On 12 and 13 September a train with steam locos Met No1 and L150 (with
Sarah Siddons, Jubilee coach 353, a 4-car Chesham set and a milk van) provided a passenger service:
Harrow-on-the-Hill at 11.01 to Chesham (11.41½/12.00), Watford P1 (12.30/13.10), Chesham (13.41½/
14.00), Watford P1 (14.30/15.10) and terminated at Harrow-on-the-Hill (16.41). ECS was from/to
Ruislip Depot (09.55/17.25), via Ruislip siding (between Ruislip and Ickenham). The normal Chesham
service (11.00 to 16.30) was diverted to Amersham with bus substitution between Chesham and

1768] Maidstone: With thanks to Stuart Hicks, BLS members were able to join SEG signal box visits on
22 July, commencing at Maidstone East. The present box opened on 8 April 1962 and is fitted with a
47 lever Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Style 'L' miniature lever power frame. It is one of
only two 'L' style lever frames still in service on NR, the other being Liverpool Lime Street. The box is a
BR Southern Region type 18 design. Of the 47 levers, 12 operate the points, 25 operate the coloured
light signals and there are two special levers, leaving 8 spare. The adjacent boxes were originally
Barming and Bearsted. The lever frame has an interesting history linked to a fire which burned out
Cannon Street signal box in the early hours of 5 April 1957. The same day, a 225 lever power frame in
store at Crewe was moved to the signal works at Wimbledon, where part of it was made into a 47
lever frame and installed in a temporary box to enable a limited service to be operated. The rest of the

[BLN 1241.1768 - cont.]
frame was used in the permanent replacement signal box after which the 47 lever frame was stored
until used at Maidstone East. An NX (entrance exit) panel was installed and came into operation on 18
December 1983 initially replacing West Malling and Wrotham signal boxes. On 14 April 1984 the panel
took control from Bearsted and Hollingbourne signal boxes and additionally on 28 April 1984 from
Lenham and Hothfield. As a result Maidstone East box controls from the boundary with Victoria Panel
at Kemsing in the west to the Ashford panel boundary in the east (from 12 December 1995, the
Ashford IECC). Maidstone East itself is still controlled by the miniature lever frame. Next year the box is
due to be abolished with control passing to the South Kent Regional Operations Centre at Ashford.

Maidstone West ('A') signal box was then visited. Designed and built by Evans, O'Donnell & Co (EOD)
for the South Eastern Railway and opened in 1899, replacing an 1892 box. It was fitted with a 115 lever
EOD tappet frame and was renamed 'Maidstone West' on 29 September 1929 on closure of Maidstone
West 'B' box. It is one of only two remaining examples of EOD's own design of signal box out of an
original 40, and is the less altered. The locking floor and operating floor are of timber construction,
clad in weatherboarding but are raised over a narrower base of yellow brick and supported on iron
brackets. The box is located on the side of a hill and is on a curve, therefore it is taller than usual to
improve vision. Interestingly, it is the point with a change of both mileage and the 'Up' and 'Down'
directions. South of the signal box, the distance from London is measured via Paddock Wood, and the
Up (to London) direction is southbound. From the signal box northwards, mileages are measured via
Strood and the northbound line is 'Up'. Just to the south of Maidstone West was a short branch over
the River Medway on the east to a station at Tovil. It CP 15 March 1943 and Tovil Goods CA 3 October
1977. On 3 August 1944, the signal box was severely damaged when a doodlebug (V1) landed nearby.
Seven people were killed, as well as two dray horses belonging to Fremlins, the Maidstone brewers.
The original lever frame and some block instruments including commutators and bells remain in use
although the majority of the 115 levers are no longer required. Maidstone West along with Cuxton,
Aylesford, East Farleigh and Wateringbury boxes are due to be abolished during 2016, with control
moving to Gillingham (North Kent Regional Operations Centre).

1769] New Romney (new) & Dungeness branches: (BLN 1227.368) A member has provided a copy of
the Southern Railway 4 July 1937 signalling instruction for the complete closure of the line between
Romney Jn (TR076192) and New Romney & Littlestone-on-Sea (TR073246), with replacement on that
date by a new line nearer the coast. It is hoped to send the document (which includes a signalling
diagram) out with e-BLN. Commissioning was from 23.15 on 3 July 'until completed' on Sunday 4 July
(so no hostage to fortune there!). The previous Romney Jn and the single line to a position ½ mile
short of New Romney station were abolished and replaced by a new 3¾ mile single line from new
junction points in the Dungeness branch 1½ miles from Dungeness station and running to join the
previous alignment ½ mile before New Romney. No mileage was given from Lydd Town (renamed
from 'Lydd') to the new junction. The new points retained the name Romney Jn and two new stations
were opened, firstly at Lydd-on-Sea (2m 57ch from Lydd Town), with a crossing loop and island
platform, and the second at Greatstone-on-Sea (4m 70ch), with a platform on the Up side of the line.
Lydd-on-Sea and New Romney booking offices had lever frames working the points and signals.
Dungeness station (TR088170) CP 4 July 1937 'in future, only to be served by freight trains'.

New Romney terminus had only a Down Home and an Up Starter signal, both on the Lydd side of the
loop points. It had separate siding access points which could only be reversed by the single line tablet
holder from a ground frame (GF) separate from the booking office lever frame. At the other stations,
the points were protected by the running signals conventionally. Romney Jn points were also released
(for Dungeness) and locally GF worked by key token, as were the pre-existing Ashenden's Siding (Up
side) and Littlestone-on-Sea Water Co Siding (Down side) respectively; (Lydd Town to Romney Jn).

[BLN 1241.1769 - cont.]
BELOW: An extract from OS 1'' to a mile 7th Series map (1954 revision) sheet 174 with a wealth of
railway information (thanks to Julian James for the high quality map scan). Top right, below the B2071
road, is New Romney & Littlestone-on-Sea standard gauge terminus, which did not alter with the July
1937 changes (and CA from 6 March 1967). The pre-1937 'Track of Old Railway' is shown clearly
heading south to the fromer Romney Jn. Perhaps 'Track' is rather an odd word to use in this context;
some maps have 'Course of Old Railway'. or just 'Old Railway' (item 1764, above).

[BLN 1241.1769 - cont.]
The 1937 Southern Railway costal route is evident with the then new intermediate stations; perhaps
the Southern Railway hoped they would develop as holiday resorts as had happened elsewhere with
the arrival of the railway. This was not always the case (Allhallows-on-Sea being a similar failure.) Then
it follows a sharp 180o curve, almost of Themelthorpe* proportions to rejoin the original line at the
new (with a small 'n') Romney Jn on the Dungeness branch. The 6th Series 1" map shows the latter
terminus station symbol coloured white, indicating a 'station closed to passengers'; that end of the
branch CA in the early 1950s but is walkable and wooden Dungeness platform remains can be found.
Part of this branch is now in use by nuclear flask trains for the still operational Dungeness 'B' Nuclear
Power Station (not built of course when the map was surveyed) and a further section of the former
branch trackbed is now the power station access road. The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
runs along the coast, its New Romney station was conveniently close for the former BR/SR terminus.
Note The Pilot Inn former station or The Pilot Halt (as it was reportedly then known as by the railway),
the one before Dungeness, is shown as 'closed to passengers'; in fact it was a phase when it was open.
There is a Society tour of this 15" gauge line on 11 October (BLN 1240.1625). Finally bottom left are
the two extensive west and east sections of the 2ft gauge MOD Lydd Gun Ranges Railway, targeted
for a railtour on 8 July 1978; the first ever BLS fixture organised by your Editor. A very 'bracing' ride it
was too! The system, now much reduced in scope, demonstrates the range of fixtures even 37 years
ago and fortunately well before the days of ''You've been fired.'' One of the bullet points in the details
sent out to participants by the organiser was advice not to touch any 'scrap metal' they might find!

(*see the 180o curving trackbed route shown east of Themelthorpe village at at
one time said to be the then sharpest curve on the BR main network.)

1770] Folkestone: (BLN 1215.1260) The Folkestone Harbour Company reopened their pier to the
public on 8 August following a £3.5M refurbishment. A visit earlier this year revealed that the
triangular area bounded by the south quay of the outer harbour and the rear of the disused Down
platform had been completely cleared and a large tarmac car park substituted. This was comfortably
full of the vehicles belonging to many of the huge crowd thronging the pier on the occasion of our
member's 15 August visit. The public are admitted to the lower deck of the pier, i.e. where the rail
lines were located and also to the outer upper deck that is accessed by way of steps adjacent to the
lighthouse at the seaward end. Only one set of rails partly survives, but a new concrete surface is laid
flush to rail top. Part of the surface at the inner seaward edge has been lifted (presumably to allow
structural work) and has revealed massive timber beams on which the trackwork would have been
borne. Interestingly this includes the trace of a crossover. The erstwhile stone passenger platform that
runs beneath the upper deck has had the wooden buildings on it refurbished. These are now food and
drink outlets and the 'party' atmosphere included street entertainers and modern music performers.
The whole ethos is of contemporary culture and artworks. As is well known, the Harbour Company is
not particularly heritage minded and no references to, or interpretations of, the railway or shipping
remains were seen. However, the ferry link-span piers and ramp foundations survive, as do the
dilapidated disused platforms and their rails. These and the branch still in situ to Folkestone Junction
are all weeds and rust. The pier is open weekends until the end of October with free entry: Fridays
17.00 - 22.00, Saturdays 09.00 - 22.00 and Sundays 09.00 - 19.00.

1771] Hawkhurst branch: (BLN 1240.1684) After visiting Paddock Wood, where branch trains once ran
to/from, our member took a taxi for a mini-tour to two station sites, locating them by a suitably old OS
map. Horsmonden station was well situated in the middle of the village, unlike others on this branch.
Its building, with a corrugated iron roof, is now the Old Station Garage; a rather uninspiring single
storey building. The tall gaunt station house is adjacent, similar in style to Cranbrook, and has been
extended at the back. There is nothing left of Goudhurst station (named Hope Mill until 1892) in a
vacant field north of the A262 a mile west of its village. At Hope Mill, across the road from the station
site, is a pub 'The Green Cross Inn, Goudhurst', whose sign sports an image of an SE&CR class C 0-6-0

[BLN 1241.1771 - cont.]
tender engine on a passenger train at the station. In February 1988 our correspondent had reached
Cranbrook and Hawkhurst by bus from Staplehurst station. Then at Cranbrook station (over two miles
from Cranbrook village and just west of Hartley), its main building was a private residence; the goods
shed and yard were in commercial use, both in good condition. Hawkhurst passenger station (a mile
north of the town) was demolished but had a timber yard. The goods shed, engine shed and signal box
were extant. The latter then had a large green BR(S) Hawkhurst board.

1772] Double-jointed stations? To many, enthusiasts and users, the GWR and GCR (latterly LNER)
Joint Railway from Northolt Jn through High Wycombe to Ashendon Jn is still 'The Joint Line' to this
day. Other lines retain similar nominal status. Aylesbury's position at the meeting of the GWR & LNER
Joint from Princes Risborough and the West Hampstead to Aylesbury Metropolitan & Great Central
Joint Railway* may have made it a 'Joint-Joint' station, possibly uniquely in our correspondent's view.
(*Title retained until railway nationalisation on 1 January 1948.) Aylesbury station was leased jointly to
the two joint railways from 1907!

1773] Yeovil Jn - Pen Mill Jn: (BLN 1240.1651) The new scheduled passenger services may only be
Monday to Fridays. Recently the 13 December 2015 timetable data base (so far) included the following
(all SSuX) 06.28 Yeovil Pen Mill to Yeovil Junction; 06.37 Yeovil Junction to Westbury and Salisbury;
13.31 Yeovil Junction to Yeovil Pen Mill and 13.43 Yeovil Pen Mill to Exeter St. David's.

1774] Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway: (BLN 1172.MR212) This was a 4' 6'' gauge horse-drawn 'Toll
Railway' with independent operators (open access 1800s style?), which mainly handled granite, some
china clay and peat. Most of it closed by the end of the 19th century and sections were incorporated
into the Yelverton to Princetown branch. Parts of the Lee Moor Tramway branch which continued
with china clay traffic, survived as late as 1960. See also website.

A member reports: Some distance after the extant stone milepost 4, and a deep curving cutting, the
wooden footbridge over Plym Bridge Road has been removed as it became unsafe due to 'weathering'
and was rotting away. To gain the next section of the route entails backtracking to a new road which
leads to Plym Bridge Road, ascending this to reach a flight of steps on the right and descending a steep
path through the woods to reach the northern abutment of the bridge. The route can be followed past
Higher Rumple and Rumple quarries where the site of an incline up from the quarry remains. After
another deep cutting comes a long right hand curve at the start of which a stream crosses the route,
which luckily has a raised section on the eastside to bypass the very soggy trackbed. Zig-Zag and
straight paths descend from the east side of the route to Rumple quarry, where the paths lead back to
Plym Bridge. This walk is quite strenuous but many stone sleeper blocks remain along the continuously
climbing route. Near Clearbrook the former railway wharf and stables remain.

1775] Ashburton, appeal for support: 'Friends of Ashburton Station' is a group
campaigning to safeguard the future of the site with its original Brunel style structure, the original
formation to Pear Tree Cross and the surviving railway infrastructure. Redevelopment is threatened
and they suggest the former station could, alternatively, be used for education and leisure activities
even a railway terminus again. Outline Planning Application 0441/15 for Brewery Meadow, Ashburton
(also known as 'Tuckers') has been submitted for 32 residential units, public parking and flood channel
works. Part of the application compromises the footprint of the former railway line and will stop any
future possible plans to re-instate Ashburton's Railway Station to link back with the South Devon
Railway at Buckfastleigh station. Any members who feel strongly about this can make comments by
25 September via email (enter and quote application number 0441/15) or by
post with this number: Planning, Dartmoor National Park Authority, Parke, Bovey Tracey, Devon, TQ13
9JQ. See for pictures, a map and more information.

[BLN 1241.1775 - cont.]

ABOVE: 2 October 1971, with the final closure of the Buckfastleigh to Ashburton line two days away,
BR Western Region ran two farewell excursions, advertised in BLN 185 of 15 September that year. One
was from Swansea (around £2 return) and the other from Paddington (£3 return, on which the Society
had a block booking). The branch had CG from 10 September 1962 but the then 'Dart Valley Railway'
(DVR) operated passenger trains from 5 April 1969. Beyond Buckfastleigh this was only (officially) for
movement of stock stored at Ashburton. LEFT: The return Swansea excursion awaits departure from
Ashburton with just 1420, a GWR 0-4-2 tank, as motive power back to Totnes. This train then recessed
at Buckfastleigh to allow the London excursion to pass. (Ian Mortimer.) RIGHT: The London train after
arrival at Ashburton. It was hauled by Brush Type 4 1660 (i.e. Class 47!) to Totnes but was not quite the
last train as the DVR ran a further one to clear rolling stock. The Buckfastleigh to Ashburton section of
the branch trackbed was required for A38 road 'improvements' (Dave Cromarty).

1776] Coventry Arena: When this new station opens it will initially be served by an hourly class 153
DMU in each direction with 75 seats. The nearby Ricoh Arena stadium has a capacity of 32,609 so
London Midland (LM) have indicated that the station will be closed for an hour after major events and
it was always planned to start the service with a single-carriage train. Signalling improvements (it was
resignalled not that long ago) and the new Coventry bay platform due in 2017 will allow two trains an
hour. There are plans for eventual electrification. The Coventry Telegraph has reported that LM are
exploring the possibility of charter trains with Wasps Rugby Club and Coventry City Council. A holding
area is nearing completion to cope with large numbers of travellers expected at stadium events.
1777] Norton Bridge: (BLN 1240.1696) Even though it Is not shown and despite the 8-feet palisade
fencing on either side of the railway, this station is not 'closed' (apparently) and the island platform is
included in the remodelling plans! It was TCP for the Christmas 2004 blockade when the footbridge
was removed. (BLN 987.106) speculated that: 'As this is the only means of accessing the island
platform… either an enormously expensive new bridge across four tracks (fully accessible) is to be
constructed, or bustitution is going on for a loooong time (sic), or a closure proposal can be expected…'
The middle one applies to this day.

The replacement bus services are shown in Table 67 (the index says 67A) and in Journey Planner.
Should it ever reopen it is difficult to see which trains would call, as the platform would be served by
the Up Fast and the Norton Bridge East Chord. The present Up Fast, which began as a 125mph line
when Pendolinos started running, has had its maximum speed reduced in stages, eventually to 90
mph. Currently a 70 mph temporary speed restriction applies.

[BLN 1241]
1778] NOT Co-acting signals cont.: (BLN 1240.1679) The LS prefix is 'Lichfield to Stafford' and all four
involved in the duplicate numbering are shunt (not main running) signals. The two at Lichfield TV:
LS1301 ('Trent Valley') authorises movements from the Up main platform (P2) northwards to the Up
sidings or to the Up Slow. LS1303 ('Trent Valley') gives egress from the Down Siding, north of the
station. These are both controlled from Rugby ROC, Trent Valley Work Station. The Stafford pair
(controlled by Rugby ROC, Stafford Workstation) are at Stafford South Jn. LS1301 ('Stafford') giving
egress to the north from the Arrival Siding No 1 and LS1303 ('Stafford') giving egress to the north from
Arrival Siding No2. Therefore, each workstation has a LS1301 and a LS1303. (We hope you are 'all clear'
on these signals now - Sub Ed.!).

1779] York & Newcastle: The stations are to be managed by NR rather than Virgin Trains East Coast.

1780] Hull: On 3 September Hull Trains announced a £68M order for five Hitachi DEMUs to enter
service in 2020, subject to the successful completion of negotiations with NR and ORR for a 10-year
track access extension agreement from 2019 when their current rights end. Each train would have 320
seats, compared to 266 on its existing fleet of Class 180 five-car DMUs. They would be capable of
running at up to 225 km/hour, subject to line speeds being increased from the current 200 km/hour.

1781] Limerick: Work has begun on a 'New Plaza' at the front of the station; completion is scheduled
for the end of 2015. A Starbucks is included for those who like to visit all these outlets.

1782] Rosslare Strand - Waterford: The itinerary published for the eight day 'Emerald Isle Express'
commencing 27 September states that on Day 2 the private heritage train is boarded at Dublin
Connolly 'then rail down Ireland's scenic east coast through Wicklow, Wexford and on to Waterford'.
Overnight stay is in Waterford Castle. On Day 3 it runs on from Waterford to Cork. It will be interesting
to see what actually happens (reports welcome) as previously this train has run ECS from Wexford via
Rosslare to Waterford with the passengers transferred by road coach including various visits en route.

1783] Mosney: (BLN 1238.1488) For the record, the first working timetable (WTT) calls at Mosney
were on Saturday 5 June 1948. It initially appeared in working timetables as Butlin's (Mosney) and did
not appear in public timetables until 2 June 1958 (as Mosney). More is pending on this station.

1784] Channel Islands Quiz Answers: (BLN 1240.1659) Again thanks to Chris Totty (301) on Jersey:
(1): Herm was the Channel Island that was the first to have a railway, as we would know it.
(2): This railway on Herm was 4' 5¾'' gauge.
(3): Peoples Park was the first station on the Jersey Western line to be closed.
(4): Haro Haro, Duke of Normandy, North Western and General Don were the original standard gauge
Jersey Western Railway locomotives.
(5): Caesarea, Calvados, Mont Orgueil, Carteret and North Western were Jersey Eastern Railway locos.
(6): The 'St. Aubin & La Moye Railway' went bankrupt in 1878 before it opened.
(7): La Moye was the (3' 6" gauge) Jersey Western Railway loco that was exported to South Africa.
(8): The other 3' 6" Western line locos: St. Helier, St. Aubin, Corbiere, St. Brelade & General Don.
(9): A butcher's shop fire in winter 1936 by St. Aubin station caused closure of the Jersey Western line.
(10): The coaches were all at St. Aubin station during the 1936 fire as the line only ran in the summer.
(11): The 'North Western Railway of Jersey' was proposed from Don Bridge/Don Farm to St. Peter.
(12): St. Lukes and Greve d'Azette opened when Georgetown closed on the Jersey Eastern line.
(13): Fauvic station was originally named Les Marais.
(14): Green Street and Gorey Common/Grouville were two original Jersey Eastern terminal stations.
(15): 'The Temporary' was the Jersey Western station not shown in the public timetable.

[BLN 1241.1784 - cont.]
(16): Millbrook and Bel Royal stations moved to allow Victoria Avenue to be built.
(17): The German forces laid 60cm and 100cm gauge track in St. Aubin tunnel and it is still there.
(18): The junction between the German lines to Corbiere and Ronez Quarry was at Pont Marquet.
(19): St. Aubin tunnel was built in 1898.
(20): Grouville station held a licence to run a café/tea shop, and that licence is rumoured to still exist.
(21): Passenger trains with a post box on board flew the Jersey flag.
(22): The station hotel at St. Aubin is now the Parish Hall of St. Brelade.
(23): The Jersey Western Railway passing loops were at Millbrook and Don Bridge.
(24): The Jersey Eastern Railway passing loops were at Pontac and Grouville.
(25): 'Normandy' railcar, converted to a flat bed, assisted with the demolition of the Jersey Western.
(26): Elizabeth Castle was the other island within the Bailiwick of Jersey that had a railway.
(27): The Alderney Railway was built to convey stone for the building of the breakwater and the forts.
(28): Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were the first official passengers on the Alderney Railway.
(29): A lifebelt was the essential unique piece of equipment carried by Alderney Railway locomotives.
(30): Molly and Molly 2 were the locos of the Alderney Railway when it was run by the Home Office.
(31): The Alderney side tipping wagons were and still are known as 'Yankees'.
(32): The German forces relaid the Alderney Railway to 100cm gauge.
(33): Alderney loco No2 fell off the end of the breakwater in the winter of 1911/12. (Track needed?)
(34): The Alderney steam crane came from Aden.
(35): Cadenza, Mary Lou, Shirley and George were the Wickham cars on Alderney.
(36): The former Alderney miniature railway was 7¼" gauge.
(37): Merryweather built the first two Guernsey steam tram engines.
(38): The Guernsey Railway converted from steam to electric operation in 1892.
(39): The Guernsey Railway Company ran the buses from 1934 until 1980.
(40): The Guernsey tram depot was at Hougue à la Perre or Grand Bouet.
(41): Guernsey trams numbered 16 and 17 came from Cardiff.
(42): The Guernsey tram livery was maroon and cream.
(43): The German sidings at L'Islet in Guernsey were commonly called Clapham Junction.
(44): The German line terminated at L'Eree on the west coast of Guernsey.
(45): The Sark railway was used for construction of Maseline Harbour.

1785] Braddan: The Commissioners here have spent £42k on the trackbed in the parish after carrying
out no work for 20 years. Snugborough car park provides easy access. The 11½ mile former Douglas to
Peel railway (final CP from 29 April 1969) has been a cyclists' and walkers' 'Heritage Trail' for many
years. Along the section from Union Mills to the TT access road, new gates and barriers have been
installed, the path has been resurfaced, encroaching vegetation cut back, and drainage improved.

1786] Oil's well that ends well? (BLN 1238.1492): What the 2½ mile Maxwelltown branch at Dumfries
lacked in distance is inversely proportional to what our Membership can tell us about it. Another also
had experience of the meetings held to try to revive oil traffic on the line.

In 2002, BP Oil Ltd. was the recipient of what was then the largest Freight Facilities Grant (FFG)
awarded by the Scottish Executive, to upgrade their Grangemouth oil refinery rail loading equipment
(now owned by Ineos). This was to enable rail traffic to remain viable and continue. There were block
trains to Dalston (Cumbria) SuX and aviation spirit to Linkswood and Prestwick. In addition, the
FFG provided funds to revive flows of heating oil/diesel to rail depots that had lost traffic, at Lairg, Fort
William and Maxwelltown and a completely new aviation spirit depot at Raiths Farm, Dyce, for
Aberdeen Airport.

[BLN 1241.1786 - cont.]
Lairg and Fort William terminals were relatively easy to reinstate but not Maxwelltown. As our
previous correspondent described, the trackbed had been transferred to BRB (Residuary) at the time
of privatisation. However, BP Oil had been awarded a FFG to enable more freight to be transferred
from road to rail, a policy strongly supported by the UK national government, the Scottish Executive,
and an objective of both the ORR and the then Strategic Rail Authority - what could possibly go wrong?
To BP, a company used to project management on a massive scale, the reopening of such a branch
seemed a fairly simple job, but they hadn't counted on rail bureaucracy of the time. BP had been
told by all parties that the growth in freight on rail was a 'good thing' and to be encouraged, so
imagine their incredulity, and later anger, that reopening of Maxwelltown seemed to be beyond the
wit of Railtrack and BRB (Residuary), with hefty dollops of 'not my responsibility, guv' from both.

So far as costs were concerned, the branch was then substantially complete with track, although some
renewal would be required. The connection still remained to the Railtrack network and was used as a
headshunt. The traffic was to be mostly one, occasionally two, trains per week of six to eight TTA 45
tonne tank cars. Maximum speed on the branch would have been 10 to 15 mph, so there was no need
for high levels of track maintenance and drivers would be 'driving on sight' in case of any obstruction
or trespass. As the Nith viaduct is listed, it had to be maintained anyway. The viaduct (like most
Victorian rail infrastructure built to last) still receives its inspection, at the taxpayer's expense. Our
contributor is of the opinion that any sane railway organisation would have been able to reinstate a 2½
mile branch within the FFG contribution from the Scottish Executive, leaving the minimal amount of
track maintenance for the low speed, low tonnage branch to be covered by the access charges.

After two years of arguing with Railtrack and BRB Residuary and faced with all the 'reasons' why the
reopening was not possible, BP gave up and decided that there were better things that their Transport
Department could spend their time on. Ironically, since then BRB Residuary, Railtrack, the SRA and the
ORR have all been reorganised out of existence or wound up, and BP (despite the Gulf of Mexico
disaster) is still with us as a major oil company. [It sounds like it was BP that was sadly being 'wound
up'; how different it might have been in BR days. Whatever happened to the Raiths Farm traffic? - Ed.]

1787] Hyndland East Jn: A points failure at this busy junction (fortunately less so on the Sabbath) at
19.00 hours on Sunday 6 September led to trains from Anniesland to Partick being diverted for about
an hour, via the single track curve between Hyndland North and West (reverse) Jns.

1788] Borders Railway: (BLN 1240.1646 & 1708) Route learning finished during week ending 29
August and public service started punctually on Sunday 6 September; 6-car DMUs were provided to
deal with the crowds travelling. The first was the 08.45 Tweedbank to Edinburgh in the Down direction
and the 09.11 from Edinburgh in the Up. Trains have generally run well with just a few cancellations; it
was noted that incidents of trains running a few minutes late tailed off during the first week. Official
opening by HM the Queen on Wednesday 9th saw rather more than the 'planned' alterations
/cancellations, (but no one seemed to mind). The helicopter of the Queen's Flight was delayed en
route from Balmoral due to having to work the air equivalent of Block Regulation 4e (Railwaymen's
rhyming clue 'During fog and falling snow, to the bothy we will go', OK, low cloud). Her special, hauled
by No60009 'Union of South Africa', was 43 minutes late starting awaiting passengers, necessitating
further revision of service trains. BELOW The locomotive circa 1965 at Glasgow St. Rollox (Balornock)
with the notorious Red Road Flats under construction behind; now being demolished (Rob Pritchard).

A member has asked if anyone has distances for the new alignments of the reopened route, as distinct
from those reopened on the original Waverley route closed in 1969. It should also be noted that there
are variations in the mileages (some quite significant) between the National Electronic Sectional
Appendix and the various Weekly Operating Notices. For consistency in BLN the mileages given in (BLN
1240.1646) were from the Sectional Appendix as usual.

[BLN 1241.1788 - cont.]

1789] Dundee: BLN 1215.1277): Balfour Beatty is poised to secure the contract for the station
redevelopment, with a bid of £28M. This was the lowest tender and highest quality score, but £7M
above the pre-tender estimate. Additional funding has been identified, and if councillors endorse the
contract award, work will start in the autumn and to take just over two years. Completion in time for
the opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum of Design (June 2018) is seen as critical its success.
1790] Glasgow Central LL: The Conservation Team at the famed Mitchell Library (a short walk from
Glasgow Charing Cross station) has been working on a collection of black and white photographs which
they have reboxed to preserve their condition and listed to allow access. They record the construction
of the Glasgow Central Railway in the 1890s. Built to give a Caledonian Railway link between the east
and west ends of the city, the construction of the railway was one of the most ambitious and
expensive railway engineering projects ever undertaken in the city.
It began in 1890, took six years to complete and was rarely straightforward. Busy streets with
tramlines had to be excavated with as little disruption as possible, buildings had to be underpinned
and sewers diverted [Sounds a familiar scenario with Cross Rail, Metrolink and Midland Metro works
etc?] Many of the photographs show tunnel construction and workers digging up Argyle Street. The
line CP 5 October 1964. However, 15 years later the middle section had a new lease of life as the
reopened Argyle Line, proving its worth not least in 2014 with the substantially enhanced Dalmarnock
Station at the east end of Glasgow to serve Commonwealth Games venues. There are 56 photographs
listed with information provided. The collections are located in Special Collections on Level 5 of the
Mitchell Library (Ref: 1,000,881).

1241 WALES
1791] Wrexham - Chester: (BLN 1238.1500) The 5m 38ch section between Rossett Jn (206m 48ch), 5
miles north of Wrexham (just beyond Rossett level crossing) and Chester, Saltney Jn (212m 06ch) is
expected to be operational as double track from Monday 16 November with line speed improvements.

1792] Dolgellau - Morfa Mawddach: (BLN1240.1711) Westwards from Dolgellau, the trackbed is easy
to explore as it is a public footpath (as Julia Bradbury found out). Penmaenpool station survives,
incorporated into the adjacent George III Hotel. Also here is a GWR 1936 signal box, now an RSPB
information centre, and a contemporary lower-quadrant semaphore signal. The toll bridge across the
Afon Mawddach was opened in 1878 as a private venture, but is believed to have been the work of
George Owen, chief engineer of the Cambrian Railways. A quarter of a mile further on, a private house
occupies the site of Penmaenpool loco shed. A corrugated-iron shed may have been a lamp-room, and
the foreman's cottage survives, now named Victoria Cottage. Everything has gone at Arthog, only ever
a wooden structure, although two iron bridges remain. At Morfa Mawddach (until 1960 Barmouth
Junction station) a single platform is still in use on the Cambrian Coast line (there were two). The two
former Dolgellau line platforms can still be found, along with a cattle dock, facing the station car park.

1793] Llangelynin: Readers may recall that this Cambrian Coast station between Llwyngwril and
Tonfanau closed abruptly from 26 October 1991 due to safety concerns about the lack of lighting. It is
now impossible to access the site on foot. The steep path from the A493 main road has partly been
removed and incorporated into adjacent farm land, with fences and a gate leaving the would-be visitor
in little doubt that they are not welcome! The platform site can be seen from the bottom end of the
cemetery behind St. Celynin's church but the wall is impassable. There has been a church here since
the 6th century, when the eponymous Saint sailed across from Ireland to bring Christianity to the area.

MR149] Uncle John's Railway, Essex (MR p17) (BLN 1211.MR86): The railway changed its name to
'Bangs Galore & Gunpowder Creek Railway' at the start of the 2015 season to give it more publicity.
The track now extends about 10yd past the shed; the loop beyond the shed (previously known as 'Log
Pile') has been removed and there is now a 'Woodhenge' nameboard on its site. Another line (curve)
has been laid from the shed, which joins in the direction of the extension. On 13 August 2015, the train
was formed of a 6-wheel battery locomotive and one coach. It hauls out and propels back to the
station. The railway usually operates on Sundays and mid-week (Wed and Thu) during school holidays.

MR150] Fenland Light Railway, Cambridgeshire (MR p13) (BLN 1226.MR16): A visit was made to this
7¼" gauge railway during the morning of a sunny 23 August. Despite a competing fair in nearby
Ramsey, business was fairly brisk and the trains before and after our reporter's family trip were full,
although his family had a special. The open day was advertised by 'A' boards on the main road through
Ramsey Mereside. The route consists of over 350yd of track in a double loop, with separate departure
and arrival platforms. Other than the loco and carriage sidings, the service covers all tracks and gives
several circuits before returning to the arrival platform. After passengers have disembarked, the train
backs out, continues round the loop and reverses into the departure platform to pick up. A wooden
signalbox is under construction and should be open next year; meanwhile temporary signalling is in
use. Two trains can reasonably be run at once but there was only one this day, formed of coaches 1 &
2 (four seats each) headed by 0-4-0 tender steam loco No002. On display were Castell Harlech (0-4-0
diesel) and a small green diesel No4 (also 0-4-0). There was also a 'G' gauge model railway running
inside the circuit; currently on a temporary display (that can be taken to exhibitions) but a large
permanent double track is under construction. Also under construction (for completion by end
October) is a short tunnel that will also be used for Halloween. Fare is £1 per person (paper tickets that
are punched before departure) and a variety of refreshments (hot and cold drinks and cakes), second
hand railway books and other items are available on site. Other operating days (10.00-17.00) this year
are 20 September; 18 and 31 October (the latter being Halloween, 14.00-20.00); 15 November (10.00-

[BLN 1241.MR150 - cont.]
15.00) and Santa specials (pre-booking required) on 6, 12, 13 & 19 December.
BELOW: A photo of the 2014 track plan on the group's notice board. The passenger route is from the
departure platform: 1-4-1-2-3-2-3-4 to the arrival platform covering all the circuit permutations. Then
the ECS backs out and reverses into the departure platform (Per BOTTOM PICTURE; both Stuart Hicks).

[BLN 1241]
MR151] Eastleigh Lakeside Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1224.MR4): Our roving reporter called
in here on Saturday 8 August, which was an ordinary operating day. Two trains were in operation and
hauling them were LMSR 4-6-2 Coronation (built by Ernest Dove in 1946) and 1908 4-4-2 Ernest Henry
Upton (built G&S Light Engineering Company in 1937). Both had a combination of 1st class closed and
2nd class open coaches. 3221 4w-4wBE (Eurostar) and D1994 0-4-0+0-4-0DH were outside the shed
area. A large signal gantry is provided for departures, but all other signals are colour lights; including
one inside the tunnel, which also acts as a carriage shed.

MR152] Cattle Country Miniature Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p17) (BLN 1194.MR196): A visit was
made to this 10¼" gauge railway on 16 August. Trains run on demand from 11.00 and on this day were
running in a clockwise direction with a red liveried locomotive and two coaches. The fare is £1.50 per
ride; a nice 10 minute circuit through the animal pens. The Oak Hill station branch is disconnected.

MR153] Mablethorpe Miniature Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1214.MR121): A member visited
the Lincolnshire seaside resort of Mablethorpe on Saturday 15 August to take in the 7¼" gauge railway
in Queens Park as well as the land train and sand train(!) In operation was No7 Lewis with two coaches
and a painted Thomas style face. Two laps were given for a fare of £1. The line has no pointwork; just a
simple circuit around the putting green in the quiet Queens Park. The train is kept in the shed/tunnel
when not operating. Our reporter comments that it is nice to see these classic seaside miniature
railways still running and doing a brisk trade. There is a Society visit to the railway on 19 September.

MR154] Norton Hill Light Railway, Norfolk (MR p21) (BLN 1068.MR106): This private 7¼" gauge line
opens to the public in aid of various charities on three weekends each year in July and August. On
Saturday 25 July a fete was held for 'Hunstanton Rotary'. Working were class 73 (2-8-2) 73.019 and
class 83 (0-8-2) 83.076, on a passenger and a freight train. The stock is based on Yugoslav narrow
gauge, with sit-in wagons and the coaches are really open wagons with carriage sides. Also present
were 0-4-4-0T Mallet No2 Kyra, built by Mike Schumann and based on a locomotive preserved at Banja
Luka; Angela M a quarry Hunslet and a 740 class BoBoD. The line is 60yd long, in the form of a balloon
loop, initially through open fields and then in woodland. There is a substantial viaduct, a tunnel, and
some severe gradients. Although no signalling is installed, there is a barrier controlled level crossing.
Admission to the site was £1, with £1.50 for a train ride. Norfolk Green route 10 bus runs every 20
minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays from Kings Lynn bus station.

MR155] Richmond Light Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1233.1021): Our correspondent made his first
visit here for the annual open day on Saturday 15 August. The siding at the far end of the circuit now
extends over a pond and runs to a new station alongside New Barn Road by the car park (field). The
extension and its station and run-round loop had only just been ballasted the previous Sunday - so was
the first time in passenger service. The new station is called 'New Barn Road'. Also present were
several traction engines, in steam and some meandering around, along with a steam car built about
ten years ago, which was giving occasional rides. Various food and drinks were available, including
local bitter and cider, and there was a small model railway display. A two train service was running,
consisting of Susan and two coaches (the first seating four with two small bench seats and the second
up to around 18 in three bays of 6 each) clockwise from the outer platform on the main circuit (usually
two circuits at a time), plus Jenny with coach No1 (seating around 16 in a goods wagon with central
doors and 4 longitudinal bench seats) and Motor Rail 12 which ran between the inner platform and
New Barn Road station platform at the entrance. Usually it ran anticlockwise to the branch junction
and then returned later (after Susan had done her trip), with some return trips doing an extra
clockwise circuit (to give the track at the far end of that loop!) before termination. 'One train in
movement' on the main circuit was adopted, radio controlled. The controller was standing near the
branch junction (whose sprung points were set for the branch, being trailed by Susan on her clockwise
trips) for most of the day. For a few circuits at lunchtime diesel No1 replaced Susan whilst she was

[BLN 1241.MR155 - cont.]
watered, and fuelled. Other locos were on display in the workshops or outside in sidings and loops.
BELOW: The French loco, when it moved briefly from the loop at New Barn platform where it spent
most of the day. Part of this 2ft gauge railway's main circuit is seen in the background. (Stuart Hicks)

MR156] Puxton Park Railway, Somerset (MR p23) (BLN 1193.MR190): A prospective visitor in August
2015 found the Park has (once again) a strict policy of no admission for single adult, adult only groups
or in fact anyone without a child.
MR157] Foxfield Miniature Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLNs 1236.MR91 & 1238.1513): Using a
Heart of England rover a member called in here on Sunday 9 August. This 7¼" gauge railway appears to
run every weekend. Although recently extended, work continues to provide a full circuit round the
small group of trees at the far end of the car park. The train will eventually go round the trees one and
a half times (on a double track with single diamond) before returning to the main station. The single
(presumably to be sprung) point has already been installed on the route up from the start. Fares were
£1 a head, under age 2 free.
MR158] National Railway Museum Miniature Railway, North Yorkshire (Supp 2) (BLN 1238.MR1421):
A senior member reports visiting this new 7¼" gauge line on 14 August, which only OP on 22 July 2015.
It is formed of a double loop, one inside the other, around 790yd long, in a nicely landscaped area. The
fare was £2.50 (museum entry free). The railway was running on demand, despite the rain, and our
member wasn't the only passenger. At the entrance desk he had been told it wouldn't be working in
the rain. [The railway advise they do run in rain; see fixtures section for our 13 November railtour.]

[BLN 1241]
MR159] Saltburn Cliff Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p34) (BLN 1138.MR94):
The railway was visited by the FS in August and he enjoyed a trip up and down each of the parallel
tracks for completeness. The water balance powered funicular railway first opened 28 June 1884,
replacing a previous vertical 'hoist'. Operated by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, it is open
weekends from mid March to October and daily during the peak season. Opening hours are 11.00 -
17.00, (18.00 in school holidays). Tickets are £1 single (adult), 50p (OAP and children age 3-16); whilst
under 3s and disabled persons travel free. The lift is 120ft high with 207ft of 4ft 2½in gauge track at a 1
in 1.4 gradient and can carry 12 people at a time. The journey takes under a minute. Each car has a
1,500 litre water tank. An electric pump, fitted in 1924 to replace a gas powered pump, is used to
return the water to the top. The cars are unnumbered, very smart and attractive even having some
stained glass decorated windows!


Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. AA service to members; details must be checked with the organisers.

*Please advise the Editor if you come up with a more apt title (particularly with railway connotations).

1794] Hidden London: London Transport Museum, a new series of disused station tours goes on sale
towards the end of this month; they are very good and sell out quickly. Down Street (November/
December), Aldwych (BLNs 1226.252 & 1227.332) (January/February 2016) and Charing Cross (disused
former Jubilee line area, March/April). See website and sign up for details.

1795] Blackpool Electric Tramway, 130th Anniversary, 26 & 27 Sept: (BLN 1240.1720) Advance
booking is now advised; ring Emma Tingle 01253 209521 (08.30 to 16.00 SSuX to book by card
payment). Special heritage service (£5 single) from Rigby Road to Starr Gate depots, riding along
Hopton Road, with a reversal (possibly North Pier), and through Starr Gate wash plant (believed to
be a first for the general public) to a set-down area that may be in the depot (to alight for a walking
tour). These trips may be fully booked by the day. Participants have to make their own way back as
the depot shuttle returns ECS. £10 unlimited day pass (buy on the day) covers all the heritage and
normal trams, the evening illuminated tours and the vintage bus services that are running too.

1796] Derelict Railway Enthusiasts Guild (*DREGs), Mon 28 Sept, 10.15 at London King's Cross for a
guided walk on the disused line to Highgate. Queries Paul Salveson [email protected] 07795
008691 (mob) or 01484 844846. * People who enjoy walking derelict railways and beer drinking.

1797] Pinewood Miniature Railway, (REMINDER) 4 Oct : 11.00 Pinewood Leisure Centre, RG30 3AQ
(SU838661) 2 miles from Wokingham station (lifts available on request). A Kentrail Enthusiasts Group
'all line' visit on the railway members' running day (no public riding). £10 pay on the day. Queries and
bookings to Simon Mortimer on [email protected] 07835 739940. (Also see BLN 1229.604.)

1798] More on Mountsorrel, 24 & 25 Oct: The 'official opening' of the branch is expected about 11.30
by Lord Faulkner, President of the Heritage Railway Association, at Mountsorrel Bond Lane station. The
first train is for invited VIPs. Advance booking is advised when updated or 01509
632323. Any spare tickets will be sold at the station (cash only) £5 adult, £3 child per return trip which
takes about 25 minutes. Four passenger trains are expected on the 24th, between 12.00 and 15.30, and
six on 25th, between 10.00 and 15.30, 'top and tailed' with steam locos. Tours of the new heritage
centre site (refreshments available) taking 15 minutes are scheduled every 15 minutes for those with
train tickets. There is limited parking at Bond Lane Mountsorrel and more at Rothley Community
Heritage Centre (see plan: e-BLN 1240.1721), Swithland Lane, a 400m walk from Mountsorrel Station.

1799] Sheffield Supertram: (BLN 1240.1716) The open day at Nunnery Square depot is on Sunday 25
October; the 21% reduction in some fares is part of the celebration of the tramways' 21st anniversary.

[BLN 1241]
1800] The South Western Centenary, 6 & 7 Feb 2016: A date for your diary, marking 100 years of third
rail electrification and 20 years of SWT, Britain's longest railway franchise. Provisional plans include an
exhibition of third rail stock and shuttle services based on Waterloo International station.

1801] 'The Wansbeck', Railway Touring Company, Sat 2 Apr 2016: Provisional re-date for this steam
hauled railtour from York which is expected to include Lynemouth Power Station (where railtours are
very unusual as is coal traffic) and Boulby branches. Check or 01553 661500.

1802] Central Scotland Rover: (3 days in 7) Valid from 09.15 SSuX (Two Together Railcard 09.30), and
anytime at weekends on Scotrail trains within the area defined by: Dunblane, Alloa, Markinch, North
Berwick, Carstairs, Larkhall, Partick and the Glasgow Subway. This includes all five Edinburgh to
Galsgow routes (via Carstairs, Shotts, Bathgate, Falkirk High and Grahamston). The Borders Railway to
Tweedbank is excluded (presumably now Newcraighall too which used to be included). It is still very
good value at £36.30 (Senior, Two Together, 16-25 and Disabled Railcards £24).

1803] Birmingham & District Atlas: Joe Brown is reportedly working on this with a view to publication
in summer 2016. Any information to [email protected] please. His London Atlas 4th
edition (BLN 1228.507) was described as 'the best railway atlas ever' by Barry Doe in Rail magazine.

Guess the (branch line) location: This might fox some, a standard gauge incline OOU. (Patrick Lawless)

[BLN 1241 ADDENDA - cont.]
Guess the Location (answer) e-BLN 1240:…

ABOVE LEFT: Some exceedingly rare track indeed, at the end of the Alderney Breakwater Railway,
although at least one engine has traversed it fully (see item 1884, answer 33 earlier in this BLN.) Only
one BLS trip is known to have ventured out onto the breakwater years ago. (Picture by Bill Davis who
did it on foot on 10 May this year during our Channel Islands long weekend.) A few members thought
it may have been the Holyhead Breakwater Railway, but that ran on a lower level shelf, on the land
side and thus was sheltered from the sea by the breakwater. ABOVE RIGHT: A different view of the
long curving Alderney Breakwater, also showing the lovely weather during our visit. The lower level on
the right was the equivalent of where the railway ran at Holyhead (Kev Adlam).

Birmingham New Street: Members who cannot be there in person for the opening of the new
concourse on Sunday 20 September and can't wait to see it can take a tour at a
plan of the new station concourse etc (allow a short time for it to load). On 15
September all ticket gates were in place and switched on, though left open, the staff being trained in
their use, so allow an extra five minutes to get in or out of there for a while (when they are operating).

Manchester, Ordsall curve: A member has a novel suggestion to retain rail access to Manchester's
Museum of Science and Industry after the Ordsall curve is built see for a video
demonstration. There might be some drawbacks to this plan however.

Thameslink Tracker tour: Another news item and charity cheque presentation.

Ex-BR Documents online: Our member who submitted this feels it is rather biased towards the rivet-
counting fraternity, but much of interest including the Euston 1960s rebuilding

Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected]. 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected].
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected]. Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected].
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected].
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected]. 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected].
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected].
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected].
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected].
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected].
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected].
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected].
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected].
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected].
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected]. 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected]
or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947

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