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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-06 01:53:42


3rd June 2017

Issue Number 1282 (Items 1116 - 1234Is&suMe RNu8m9 b- eMr R1216081) (E-BLN 53 PAGES) 3 June 2017


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

Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members;7a2n8i6n7te7rnational section is also available.
Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.

BLN 1283 is dated Sat 24 June (*NB 3-WEEK GSAoPci*e)t;y.cSoonctieritby.utions must be received by Wed 14 June.

Date Event Details BLN Lead Status

Sun 4/6/17 Class 319 Farewell Luton 09.40 PAY ON THE DAY AVAILABLE 1281 JE OPEN

Wed 14/6/17 Rudyard Lake Railway 10.30 Track tour - new layout 1276 JC OPEN

Wed 14/6/17 5½ mile trackbed walk 17.30 after Rudyard Lake Railway 1277 JC OPEN

Thur 15/6/17 Cat & Dock Railtour 07.30 Stafford to Lime Street 15.45 1278 KA FULL

Sat 17/6/17 The Anglian Chauffeured Shacker; Ely 06.45 - 17.00 1281 JC OPEN

Sun 25/6/17 Middlesbrough Goods, BLS/PLEG track and traction events 1279 JE FULL

Mon 26/6/17 Guided Signal Box visits North east England POSTPONED TBA TBA Claimed

Wed 28/6/17 Kennet Service Train Tracker, guided group day out 1275 TG OPEN

Sat 15/7/17 The Pickering Paxman; Derby - Whitby & Pickering HST 1282 KA OPEN

Sat 22/7/17 18.00 - 20.30 Loughborough (Great Central Railway) to 1282 AW *OPEN*

….*NEW* Mountsorrel and return; track & traction tour with PLEG *NEW*

27 to 30/7/17 Scottish Minor Railways See BLN 1280.931 (Terry Velvick) 1272 TV Enquire

Fri 4-5/8/17 Northumberland (Park) Nocturnal Navigator 23.59 - 05.30 1279 KA OPEN

Sat 2/9/17 The 565 Special, NW England - SW Wales Update BLN 1281 1280 KA OPEN

Sat 9/9/17 … The Greendale Rocket, Heartlands Park (Met-Cam) and 1282 JE OPEN
†Stonebridge Park Royal Mail Terminal; track & traction

Fri 22/9/17 Swindon & Cricklade Railway 12.00 Track & traction tour TBA TBA Claimed

7 & 8/10/17 BLS Animal tracker: Minor Railway weekend Beds & Bucks TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 14/10/17 Statfold Barn Railway, Tamworth, BLS private railtour TBA TBA Claimed

17-19/11/17 AGM fixtures - Liverpool Area, long weekend with railtour TBA TBA Claimed

AW-Andrew Wilson, JE-Jill Everitt, JC-John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, TG-Tom Gilby. (†Princess Royal Distribution Centre)

1116] The Pickering Paxman, Sat 15 Jul: A booking form for our HST charity tour with East Midlands
Trains is included with this BLN and e-BLN. It was also with e-BLN 1281 (being finalised on the day that
came out), and is on our website. Starting from Derby and in daylight throughout, it includes the
whole of the lovely Esk Valley Line to Whitby and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Pickering
unusually on a HST. Also in the tour are Chesterfield P3 to the Dronfield line, Thornaby Down Goods,
Battersby Loop (end of line expected), Whitby P2, Grosmont NYMR connection, Northallerton
Up Longlands loop, Selby Canal Curve, Doncaster Down Hexthorpe Goods line, Heeley Up Passenger
Loop and from the Dronfield line to the Chesterfield Up Barrow Hill line. The £69 standard class
(BLS/125 Group) fare is very good value; a round trip between Whitby and Pickering alone is £29.

ABOVE: 43082 on Neville Hill Hill Depot turntable at Leeds (Darren J Ward).

1117] Card Payments: Please DO give the extra numbers on the back again with card payments.

X.71 *NEW* The Rothley Rodder, Sat 22 Jul 2017: A booking form is available as a download with
this e-BLN for our evening track & traction tour with PLEG from Loughborough, Great Central Railway.
Details were not finalised in time for paper BLN so please advise anyone you know who does not take
e-BLN (which is always more up to date) about the tour. Starting at 18.00 and returning 20.30 it
includes Swithland Up Goods Loop, the much sought after Mountsorrel Branch mainline connection
and the end of line at Bond Lane station. Back at Swithland is the Up Main to Down Main crossover,
then Loughborough Down Loop and Shed Road No1. Motive power includes 08907, 08528 & 08694.

1118] The Greendale Rocket, Sat 9 Sep: Our first track and traction loco-hauled railtour with the
Rail Operations Group. A booking form is available with BLN and to download with e-BLN. It is believed
to be the first to Birmingham Heartlands Park (former Metropolitan Cammell works) which is to be
demolished for the new HS2 depot. Starting from Burton-upon-Trent, highlights include Elford Down
Loop, Kingsbury to Whitacre in both directions, Hams Hall Euroterminal Departure/Run-Round Line
loop (the one furthest from the main line) with the associated crossovers before and after (thought to
be another first). Also included is the Down Derby Goods, Washwood Heath Through Sidings and
reversing neck, Saltley Down Goods Loop, Rugby Up Northampton line to Hillmorton Jn then the
Weedon line, Denbigh Hall South Jn, Bletchley Relief Line No1, Tring P4 (Up passenger services
normally run through P2/P5), Kilburn Up & Down Goods Loop, Stonebridge Park Royal Mail Terminal
(Princess Royal Distribution Centre) Roads 1 & 5, Willesden Down Carriage Line, Rugby Up Coventry
Flyover (in the Down direction with the associated crossovers) and after New St, the Up Derby Slow.

1119] E-BLN - a reminder: Electronic subscribers who would like to look at (or print out) just the paper
version of e-BLN (or e-BLNI) without the extra pictures, maps etc can do so by going to the bottom of
the email. 'Print your own' versions of paper BLN are available each time in A5 booklet and A4 formats.

1120] BLN Index 2016: (BLN 1277.598) We apologise for the continuing delay in releasing this; proof
reading is taking much longer than expected with the lack of volunteers to help, it will be issued as
soon as possible. 2016 is likely to be the final BLN index in the absence of any volunteers to assist.


1121] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered

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

1281.1052 30 May 17 18 Jun 17 *(Birkenhead North) - Liverpool Loop - (Hamilton Square)
1281.1031 5 Jun 17 25 Jun 17 *Limerick - (Ennis), (Birdhill) and (Limerick Junction) etc
1274.243 8 Jul 17 16 Jul 17 Wootton Bassett Jn - Bathampton Jn/Bradford South Jn
1281.1034 8 Jul 17 30 Jul 17 *Miles Platting Jn - Ashton-under-Lyne - Stalybridge Jn
1281.1035 25 Aug 17 28 Aug 17 *(Redcar Central) - Saltburn [also Boulby branch - freight]
1276.500 7 Oct 17 16 Oct 17 Welsh's Bridge Jn (Inverness) - (Keith)
1281.1033 11 Jun 17 By Xmas 17 *Midland Metro; Wolverhampton St George's - (Priestfield)

1275.365 11 Nov 17 26 Jan 18 Fylde Jn (Preston) - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South
1275.366 11 Nov 17 18 Mar 18 Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool North
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn

1122] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, Derby Castle - Sea Terminal: (MR p32) (BLN 1281.1088) TCP (and
horses!) 10 to 23 May 2017 (incl) due to the horses experiencing a 'flu like illness' (see item 1204 also).

1123] Waterford & Suir Valley Railway (3ft gauge), (Waterford) Bilberry station (incl) (S 5884 1349) -
Gracedieu Jn: The first passenger use of the station was by our BLS trip on Sat 20 May 2017. It was
expected to be available for general passenger use shortly thereafter; occasional special trains for pre-
booked parties only (23 due this year). Operations are based at Kilmeaden station at the west end of
the line, the normal hourly service runs to Carriganore; SO extended to Gracedieu Jn (S575138) site by
the River Suir road bridge toll plaza. At Gracedieu Jn the then 5' 3" gauge line took the river bridge to
Waterford (North) now Plunkett station; a branch south of the river to Waterford South (S590133)
terminus CP 31 Jan 1908 and finally CA Sep 1976. The new Bilberry extension runs on part of this line.
ABOVE: A man on a mission; our beloved Fixtures Secretary strides along the new Bilberry platform on
the afternoon of Sat 20 May. Right is the River Suir; Waterford is behind the photographer. Part of the
railway bridge (really amazing pictures and information) that carried the line
from Mallow via Fermoy - latterly a freight branch to Ballinacourty - over the other side of the River to
Waterford (North) is middle right. Behind the bush the middle span was removed to allow taller ships
through. The concrete tower (left) is one of the two supporting the suspension bridge (wires not
visible) of the N25 Waterford bypass. (All pictures in this section by Richard Maund on 20 May 2017.)

ABOVE: Bilberry station on the former Waterford South branch, 'the calm before the storm', or in the
words of the photographer 'minus eejits' (look it up). There is no loop as the loco remains at the
Waterford end. When propelling the guard (who can sound a warning horn and apply the brakes)
keeps a look out from the front and is in radio contact with the driver. The driver also has a monitor
screen in the cab (interestingly visible to those on the coach veranda that end) to see the line ahead by
camera. Left is Waterford Greenway (BLN 1275.903), a spectacular 3m wide high quality 46km off-
road cycling and walking trail along the former 5' 3" gauge line to Dungarvan. The final section opened
on 25 Mar 2017, 50 years after the passenger service ended and the first 10km follows the Waterford
& Suir Valley Railway. Again on the right in the background is the bypass bridge with the old railway
bridge in front (giving the appearance of being underneath it on the left - the next span right was
removed). After our 34 members had boarded the train it ran forward to this end of line then back the
10km to Kilmeadan, through the loop past the station to the shed at the other end of the line.

[BLN 1282]
ABOVE: Our special agent had earlier photographed the ECS approaching Bilberry for the charter train.
Of interest, no fence is required between the railway (which is 3ft gauge) and the 'Greenway' to the
right and note the impressive two tone horn on the rear. The camera previously mentioned can be
seen on the rear roof next to the light for night running. The track on the extension was very rusty.

LEFT: The end of line at the new
Bilberry station (and the end of the
Greenway) showing why extension
further into Waterford would be
difficult, even though the local
authority is keen on the idea. There
is now a significant car park on the
former trackbed followed by the
Bilberry Road overbridge parapet in
front of the new housing seen in the
background. BELOW: The former
Waterford (south) Foundry site on
Bilberry road, the last source of
revenue earning traffic on the
branch (this ended about 1974).

BELOW: Waterford South station site inside the gates looking towards Bilberry station. The old
alignment headed towards the new houses (this side of the river) which are partly built on it in front of
the suspension bridge tower in the background. A well known member from Quinton with a footplate
pass managed to traverse the branch after traffic had ceased and before it was severed in Sep 1976.

[BLN 1282]
1124] Dartmoor Railway, Okehampton - Meldon Viaduct: TCP 20 & 21 May 2017 due to an electrical
fault with DEMU 'Thumper' 1132. Services now run between 10.15 - 16.35 from Okehampton P2 and
10.45 - 17.05 from Meldon SSuO until 10 Sep, also Mon 28 Aug. Connections from/to Exeter SuO.

1125] Cambridge North station: (BLN 1279.879) OP Sun 21 May 2017 (57m 75ch from Liverpool St via
Clapton) with two through platforms and a bay (P3) each taking 12-cars. P2 (Down Main) is reversible.
The first train was the 08.54 to Norwich; the 09.44 to Liverpool Street was the first Up and first to
depart from P3. There are 53 services SuO, 112 SuO and 139 SSuX, 1M passengers are expected a year.

1126] Manchester Victoria (incl) to: (1) Rochdale (excl) and three stations; (2) Salford Central (excl);
(3) Ordsall Lane Jn & (4) Stalybridge Jn (and Ashton-under-Lyne station) also Todmorden Viaduct Jn -
Stansfield Hall Jn: TCP after 22.30 on 22 until 29 May 2017 after the terrorist bomb near the station
(which also caused structural damage requiring repair). Through freight was diverted. Huddersfield
trains ran to Stalybridge, Calder Valley services to Rochdale, Clitheroe had a shuttle to/from Blackburn.
TPE Liverpool to Newcastle via Victoria trains ran between Piccadilly and Newcastle. (See item 1165).
On Sun 28 May Northern were allowed to move some ECS DMUs that were stranded at the station.

1127] Manchester Metrolink, Queens Road / Monsall - Victoria (incl) - St Peter's Square (excl) via
both routes including: Exchange Square, Shude Hill & Market Street (both incl) and Market Street -
Piccadilly Gardens (excl): TCP (also ECS movements) after 22.30 on 22 until 29 May 2017 (item above).
At Queens Road arriving trams from Bury took the facing crossover (the depot access) in service to
terminate at then return from the northbound platform. Monsall was an ECS shunt past the platform.
East Didsbury services ran to Piccadilly, Altrincham trams ran to Piccadilly and Etihad Campus only.

1128] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, Laverton: (BLN 1281.1032) A volunteer here
advises that the extension which OP Sat 27 May is 1m 12ch north of the previous stop board as far as
6m 16ch (from Honeybourne East Loop) from where Broadway goods shed is visible! This board had,
after 1 Jan and by 5 Mar 2016, been moved 20ch south towards Toddington to lift Laverton Loop.
Trains now run 72ch further north of the former Laverton Loop stop board towards Broadway.

1129] Merseyrail, Birkenhead North (excl) - Birkenhead Central (excl) via the 'Liverpool Loop' and 7
intermediate stations: TCP (ongoing for the 'loop') Tue 30 May (revised from Mon 29) until Sun 18 Jun
2017 (incl). Phase 3 of the Liverpool Loop track replacement. Services are half-hourly New Brighton
and West Kirby to Birkenhead North (ECS shunt) with 4tph Birkenhead Central (trailing crossover in
service on departure) to Chester (mostly connections at Hooton bay P1 to/from Ellesmere Port check).

1130] Swanage Railway, Norden (*5m 40ch) excl - Worgret Jn (*9m 77ch): (MR p6; BLN 1270.MR240)
ROP Tue 13 Jun 2017 (CP 3 Jan 1972 by BR); the first public service is 14.23 (then 16.23) Swanage to
Wareham returning 15.15/17.17 (two earlier working are for guests). The 'trial' public service runs on
60 days over the next two years. This year MFX until Sun 3 Sep, Swanage: 10.23, 12.23, 14.23 & 16.23
returning from Wareham: 11.15, 13.15, 15.15 & 17.15 using West Coast engines and crews 'top & tail'.
Re: BLN 1281.115, the two Swanage Railway Heritage DMUs will not be ready until 2018. Return fares,
11 miles each way taking about 45 minutes: Adult £15, Child (5-15) £10, Family up to 2A and 3C £42;
Singles and seat reservations available, 33% discount with residents card. [*Miles from Swanage EOL.]

1131] Gwilli Railway, Bronwydd Arms (excl) - Abergwili Junction station (incl): (BLN 1271.3148) ROP
Sun 2 Jul 2017, public services (private ceremony the day before); extends the line from 2½ to 4 miles.

1132] (Banbury) Aynho Jn - Wolvercot Jn, Heyford & Tackley stations: TCP 22 until 28 July 2017 (incl).

1133] Oxford (excl) - Didcot North Jn - Didcot East Jn/Didcot West Curve Jn - Foxhall Jn/Chester Line
Jn (Didcot) & 3 intermediate stations: TCP 22 Jul - 30 Jul 2017 (incl) for electrification and other works.

1134] Tame Bridge Parkway (excl) - Rugeley TV P1 (only) & 8 intermediate stations also Darlaston Jn
- Pleck Jn (SO PSUL once weekly train): TCP/TCA Sun 13 until Mon 21 Aug (incl) - electrification works.

1135] Walsall (excl) - Rugeley TV P1 (only) & 6 intermediate stations: TCP/TCA north of Walsall of the
'Chase Line' continues after 21 Aug and, in total, is from Sun 13 until Fri 25 Aug 2017 (incl).

1136] South Tynedale Railway, Lintley Halt (exclusive) - Slaggyford station (incl): (BLN 1281.1029)
The railway expects the 1½ mile extension to ROP Tue 18 Jul 2017 with a private event the day before.

1137] 3/4 June Microgricing: Thanks to our member Stephen Ebbs who kindly posts on 'Gensheet'
most weeks (sign up: ). All must be checked and are not guaranteed, of course.

Springburn: (SuO) Bay P4 hourly 09.20/27 until 23.20/27 from/to Partick. No use of bay P3 shown.
Hambleton South Curve: King's Cross to Leeds and Skipton in both directions all day.
Diss: (SuO) Services to Norwich start from P2.
Shenfield: (SO) Hourly 06.50 to 20.50 Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria services booked via P1.
Stratford: (SO) Four trains per hour all day departing from P5 to Chadwell Heath.
Reading: (SuO) The 11.13 and hourly until 21.13 from London Paddington terminate in P10.
Battle: (SuO) 09.14 and half-hourly until 23.14 to Hastings via the country-end trailing crossover.

1138] Steamed track, from rare to well done; Loops and Unusual Lines Traversed by Great Britain 'X'
Tour: Interesting track on steam tours can be due to water stops, pathing and gauging requirements.

 29 Apr, London King's Cross - Edinburgh Waverley: ●Peterborough to Helpston Jn via the Down
Stamford Line and spur to ECML Down Slow. ●Babworth Loop (Down Slow beyond Retford P2).
●Newcastle to Heaton North Jn via Up/Down Slow Line and Down Goods Loop. ●Morpeth Jn to Morpeth
North Jn via Down Slow Line. ●Berwick-upon-Tweed Down Goods Loop (!) ● Drem Down Passenger Loop.
 30 Apr, Edinburgh Waverley - Inverness: ●Thornton North Down Passenger Loop. ●Reversal in Dundee
P1. ●Perth: shunt from P1 to P7 via Down Main at Perth.
 1 May, Inverness - Kyle of Lochalsh & return: ●Inverness station avoider (Rose Street curve) both ways.
 2 May, Inverness - Glasgow Central: ●Perth P7. ●Stirling P9 (from Highland line) and Up Passenger
Loop. ●Gartsherrie South Jn via Up Slow Line to Coatbridge Central. ●Coatbridge Jn to Langloan Jn.
 3 May, Glasgow Queen Street - Fort William and return: ●Craigendoran Loop in each direction.
 4 May, Glasgow Central - Oxenholme: ●Carstairs Up Passenger Loop. ●Abington Up Passenger Loop.
●Lockerbie Up Passenger Loop. ●Kingmoor Up Passenger Loop. ●Eden Valley Up Goods Loop.
 5 May, Grange-over-Sands - Bristol Temple Meads: ●Warrington Bank Quay to Acton Grange Jn via the
Up Helsby Line. ●Craven Arms Down Goods Loop. ●Hereford Down Relief Line (through road). ●Maindee
North Jn to East Jn and Up Relief Line to Severn Tunnel Junction.
 6 May, Bristol Temple Meads - Penzance: ●Tiverton Jn Down Passenger Loop.
 7 May Penzance - London Paddington: ●Steventon to Didcot Parkway via Relief Line.

1139] Fine Vintage Track: On Sat 13 May, the 'East Midlands Rambler' operated by West Coast
Railways for Vintage Trains required frequent water stops and was limited to 45mph with twin pannier
tanks. It included Tyseley Warwick Road platform - Tyseley Yard Line - Down Tyseley Through Siding -
Down Bordesley - Bordesley Jn - St Andrews Jn - Landor Street Jn - Up Derby Slow - Water Orton West
Jn - Nuneaton, crossover from Up Arley to Down Arley before Midland Yard Jn - Nuneaton P6 in the
rare direction (water stop while all other trains used P7 both ways) - Down & Up Hinckley - Up Hinckley
(0m 20ch) - Coalville - Burton-upon-Trent.

Return was Coalville (rarer in this Up direction) - Whitacre Down & Up Goods Lines (due to a fault all
trains were using this in the Down direction; until this happened the tour had been booked to use it in
the Up direction too) - Water Orton Down Whitacre - Water Orton West Jn - Up Derby Slow (Down
direction) - Landor Street Jn - St Andrews Jn - Bordesley Jn - Up Bordesley - Tyseley Up Through Siding -
Tyseley Yard Line - Tyseley Warwick Road platform.

1040] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1280.965] In the picture of Kirkby Stephen Jn NER signal box the train was
heading west to Tebay. ●BLN 1281.1030] On Thu 18 May 2017 a UK Railtours HST also ran through to
Barrow Hill from London St Pancras. ●1047] With thanks to a York member who wrote in specially; the
memoirs* of George Hardy (1825-1917), manager of the Londonderry Railway (Sunderland), record
that it was taken over by the North Eastern Railway on and from 7 Oct 1900 (rather than July that
year). *Published 1973 by Goose & Son (Norwich). ●1062] The North Wales Coast Mileages were
kindly provided by the Railway Performance Society. ●1064] Taffs Well crossover, now used by the
06.31 (SuX) from Cardiff Central in passenger service and once part of Walnut Tree Jn, is facing.
Item ●1066] Congratulations to the one member who spotted and kindly reported that Pilning (HL)
station OP 1 Dec 1896 rather than 1996. ●1072] The last use of 'D' Stock in normal LUL service was Fri
21 Apr, not Thu 27 Apr. Another member travelling on the Sun 7 May tour confirms that it did do the
new crossover at Earl's Court. ●1103] Amending the marked map supplied with e-BLN of our 6 May
Scunthorpe Steel Works railtour, at the Iron Pits all four lines were covered as far as safely possible.

1141] Jordan Titbits: By text from a participant: ''The BLS/LCGB Jordanian Hejaz Railway tour was
excellent. It joined up track for me at the north end with the 2009 Railway Touring Company Syria and
Jordan tour and at the south end (Aqaba Port) with the SS Canberra's final circumnavigation. So I have
joined Damascus to Sydney etc via Aqaba Port by rail and sea. I now have a personal interest in the
Syrian peace process; I would hope to see (one day...) restoration of the Taurus Express (Istanbul to
Damascus) to join up Thurso and Aqaba Port by rail. We had a photostop at Batn-El-Ghul (= Belly of
the Devil) in huge, arid, former volcanic scenery (it looked like Death Valley, USA), at the junction of
the old line to Madinah and walked a few yards of that (it was 40o Celsius!)." Rhys Ab Elis.

ABOVE FIRST & UPPER: Two pictures via Goeff Blyth taken by a German friend of his on our recent
Jordan trip with the LCGB. There was also a Hungarian and an Israeli on board. Geoff (Member 315)
cannot remember a BLS main line steam tour in his 49 years of membership! When was the last one?
ABOVE LOWER: Near the end of the recent BLS/LCGB Jordan railtour at Aqaba Port (Iain Scotchman).

1142] Scunthorpe, Roxby: (BLN 1243.1898) Currently DBC runs a train of inert spoil for capping the full
section of the tip most Thursday mornings. It originates Wednesday afternoons from the site of
Rossington Colliery which is being reclaimed and is staged at Doncaster Belmont Yard. GBRF plan to
run waste trains from Manchester Collyhurst Street (a new siding has been laid at Miles Platting, the
old Tarmac site) to Roxby starting in July. Initially there should be one train per week, building up to
five. Until services increase the method of working on the branch with a single line staff will remain

1143] The World's Oldest Surviving Railway Tunnel? In 1793 Benjamin Outram (1764-1805) built
Fritchley Tunnel in Derbyshire as part of the Butterley Gangroad tramway. It is now recorded by the
Guinness Book of Records as the oldest surviving railway tunnel in the world. English Heritage
(now Historic England) and the Department of Media, Culture and Sport have listed it as a 'Scheduled
Ancient Monument'. Just 50m north is the associated Grade II listed Tramway embankment.

The Butterley Gangroad line was originally a plateway built to allow horse-drawn wagons, carrying
limestone to the Cromford Canal from quarries near Crich, to pass under a road junction in Fritchley.
The 22.6m long tunnel is built of sandstone blocks with vertical sides and a round-arched roof 3m high.
Though modest, it is highly significant; Benjamin Outram played an influential part in the development
of railways. He was one of the first to recognise their potential as a national transport system and
advocate common standards so that different sections of the lines could operate together.

At first, the wagons moved through the tunnel by gravity or were horse drawn, but in 1813 William
Brunton, a Scottish engineer at the nearby Butterley Ironworks, experimented with a 'walking steam
locomotive'. This - a machine with legs that propelled the locomotive engine forward by alternately
lifting and pressing against the ground - led to the line being upgraded and realigned in the 1840s.
The railway closed in 1933, and by 1989 both ends of the tunnel had been buried, making it
inaccessible until archaeologists exposed and recorded it in 2013. has more
text, a map and pictures (including the unusual 'walking locomotive') of the line.

1144] Grantham: In the new timetable there are an 11 'extra Virgin' (not olive oil powered either) SO
services, part of the ECML Leeds to King's Cross service increasing to half-hourly all day. 23,000 extra
seats are available every Saturday at £12 (£7.90 railcard) each way between Grantham and London.

1145] Skegness (1): The Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership is helping to launch a national
campaign to encourage people to explore scenic parts of Britain by rail. A blog, social media channels
and new website are being launched by the Association of Community Rail
Partnerships (ACRP). They offer inspiration and information to help tourists and day-trippers plan visits
to 'epic' landscapes, coastal scenes, historic sites and picturesque areas by train, particularly on
'Britain's wonderful community rail routes'. The Poacher Line team joined the ACRP at King's Cross
station to promote Scenic Rail Britain and highlight the attractions of exploring Lincolnshire by rail.

1146] Skegness (2): A station adopter has been recognised by EMT for her hard work and dedication in
keeping passengers informed and the station surroundings bright and welcoming in all weathers (even
during the orthodontists' convention when it is 'so bracing' that the teeth chatter). Carolyn Sharp has
attended the station every weekend for the past nine years to help provide passenger information and
advice on local transport. She also reports passenger numbers which helps the train planners. Her local
knowledge and insight is invaluable and station staff have commended her commitment to Skegness.
She has two friends who have become local celebrities - her dogs Rupert and Charlie are part of the
station team and provide a friendly welcome to customers/passengers (delete as preferred). The dogs
have been presented with special branded EMT blue collars and leads which they wear when on duty.

X.72] The Ashover Light Railway: (BLN 1281.1102) More pictures from our Society walk of 19 Apr.
ABOVE: Bridge supports remain some 70 years after closure. BELOW: Fallgate Halt with Member
2750A (Archie Lewis) for scale, its shelter is now as a store, note the track section. (All Ian Mortimer).

ABOVE: More Ashover Light Railway track at Milltown Quarry near Fallgate; with people for scale.

1147] Skegness (3): (BLN 1211.972) P2 to P7 still have track and permissive working is available.
National Rail's Stations Made Easy shows P2 & 7 as 'no longer in use'. Platform numbers do not show
on RTT etc but National Rail live arrivals/departures now shows the platforms correctly. In mid-May P5
was unusually used due points problems. There are reports that it was also in use at the end of May as
some holidaymakers put their luggage by the left hand doorway departing from P4 (the usual platform
with the basic hourly service) and it fell out on the platform when the doors were next opened! From
22 Jul to 9 Sep there is an additional (SO) HST in the station 10.31-11.40 from Derby when a regular
service arrives (11.00) from, and returns (11.15) to, Nottingham. Until 10 Sep at least, there are SuO
Skegness arrivals ex-Nottingham at 13.20 & 14.00 which return at 14.10 & 15.15 so, unless permissive
working is used, opportunities to do more than one platform. (See 'Connections' for a HST tour 1 Jul.)

1148] Matlock branch: In the new timetable the first Sunday morning service from Derby is two hours
earlier than previously at 07.56 (Matlock 08.30/38) which then runs through to Nottingham. Also, the
previous 16.23 (SuO) Nottingham to Derby now continues to Matlock (17.30/42) returning to
Nottingham. On Sundays throughout the year there are now nine return trains on the Derwent Valley
Line, broadly two hourly from Derby between 07.56 and 21.55 with an extra round trip at 16.56.

1149] Derby (BLN 1279.841) Derby City Council has approved NR's plans for changes to the station.

1150] Train into Work: East Midlands Trains has started a new work placement scheme helping
military personnel in the last year of their service make the transition to civilian life. It includes time on
EMT trains, stations and operation centres as well as career guidance with application, interview and
CV workshops. 'The Train into Work' placements include shadowing station managers, dispatchers,
gateline and ticket office staff and those working on Passenger Assist for disabled passengers.

1151] East London: (BLN 1281.1077) The plan appeared thanks to Dave Cromarty was kindly reviewed
by Geoff Brockett. A senior member feels that location '30' (shown as West India Bank signal box) is
either West India Docks Sidings box or Millwall Bank signal box, per the Signalling Record Society
Register. New Inn Yard (mentioned) was a box on the North London Railway out of Broad Street.

1152] Acton Works: By December 2018 a new workshop with four rail-connected maintenance roads
will be constructed on the site of existing sidings. These will be used for heavy maintenance on the
Sub-Surface 'S' Stock and major overhauls of the Central Line 1992 Stock. To accommodate reduced
Central Line train availability, there will be a reversion to past practice, with the Hainault to Woodford
section operated by a shuttle service of short trains from April 2019. ('Underground News')

1153] Metropolitan Line Microgricing - the sequel: (BLN 1281.1071) Although Swiss Cottage etc
trailing crossovers were correctly listed as booked for ECS only, a member can confirm that Rayners
Lane, Northwood and Rickmansworth are used in times of disruption. In his 23 years at Baker Street
Signalling Centre Swiss Cottage crossover was used 3 or 4 times to turn back a train with passengers
on (so a long wait for that one!). This only happens when there is a serious shutdown at Baker Street
and a train has left Finchley Road; to save a long delay in the tunnels trains are reversed back north.
The signals there are running signals and not shunt signals so can be used by passenger trains.

1154] Hammersmith & City Line Microgricing: The previous guide was May 2016 (BLN 1257.997).
The current WTT 35; see is dated 21 May 2017. This guide (below) covers west
of Aldgate East (excl) and Aldgate (incl), but includes use of that section by Circle and Met Line trains;
the rest of the H&C and Circle Lines are in the District Line guide. Arriving train running numbers are
shown in [square brackets]. Further thanks to our member Bill Lynch who has clearly been very busy!

•Aldgate P1 to inner rail via slip: SuX 05.18.

•Liverpool Street crossover: No booked use (NRU).

•P3: MX arr 00.02½ [202 SuMX, 203 SuO] (23.28 SSuX ex-Hammersmith)  ECS; SuO arr 07.09 [213]
(06.55 ex-Baker Street P3)  dep 07.14, arr 23.51½ [272] (23.16 ex-Hammersmith)  dep 00.00½ MO.
•P4: SuO arr 24.00 [273] (23.26 ex-Hammersmith)  dep 00.10½ MO.
•Trailing crossover: ECS only.
•Facing crossover: All arrivals at P3 and P4.

•Farringdon crossover: ECS only.

•King's Cross St Pancras:
Facing crossover: SuX 05.14½ [200 SSuX, 217 SO] (04.49½ ex-Goldhawk Road).
Trailing crossover: ECS only.
•Baker Street crossover: ECS only.

•Edgware Road: Through trains use P1 and P4 so as to leave P2 and P3 free for east-to-west turnbacks.
Thus the only uses of the east ends of P2 and P3 are:-
•P2 to east: MX 00.42½; SuO 06.37; MO 00.13½.
•P3 from east: SuO 00.53½ [205], 07.05½ [211].
•P3 to east: ECS only.

•Paddington new crossover: NRU pending resignalling (BLN 1255.798).
•Royal Oak crossover: NRU.
 Known recent use also to turn back in service during planned engineering blockades.

1155] Victoria Line Microgricing: The previous guide was May 2016 (BLN 1257.996). The current WTT 41 is
dated 21 May and can be downloaded as above. By pleasing coincidence it is at least the third consecutive
issue compiled by a lady called Victoria! The time-of-day format is:

•Brixton P2: gaps SO 00.48.55 - 05.36.20; SuO 00.49.10 - 07.07.20.
•Crossovers at Victoria, Warren Street & Highbury & Islington: NRU [BOOK OUR 4 AUG TOUR!]

•Finsbury Park connections with Piccadilly Line: NRU (possessions only - signalling incompatibility).

•Seven Sisters P4 arrivals: all northbound trains shown to terminate. SSuX 08.53.35, 09.20.20, 9 trains
09.41.40 until 10.41.20, 18.22.50; MTWThO 10 trains 18.47.55 until 20.23.55, 21.22.15, plenty 22.43.20
until close; FO 10 trains 18.49.20 until 20.23.55, 22.02.45, plenty 22.43.20 until 00.53.05 SO; SO 09.22.05,
10.00.20, 10.16.05, 11.14.35, 11.43.50, 11.59.35, 19.01.20, 19.19.25, 19.35.25, 19.52.25, 20.21.35,
20.44.05, 21.33.35, 22.32.05, plenty 22.56.50 to 00.53.05 SuO; SuO 09.06.00, 10.23.30, 10.52.05, 11.43.50,
12.58.05, 13.54.25, 14.34.55, 15.08.40, 16.38.40, 20.30.20, 20.52.50, 21.15.35, plenty 22.02.35 until close.

•Seven Sisters P4 departures (despite the 'arrivals only' signage!): SSuX 05.26.00, 05.40.30, 05.57.15; SO
05.49.10, 06.06.25; SuO 07.17.25, 07.27.25.

•Northumberland Park branch: staff and ECS workings only [INCLUDED ON OUR 4 AUG RAILTOUR!]
 Known recent use also to turn back in service during planned engineering blockades.

1156] Piccadilly Line Microgricing: It seems the only reason for the new Piccadilly Line WTT (No 58; 21
May) is that the District Line, whose trains impinge, also changes then. So, despite the reissue, all the
rarest Piccadilly track, which does not see at least much-of-the-day use by Piccadilly or District trains,
retains at least all its booked usage as listed in BLN 1272.43, with the same running numbers.

1157] Bakerloo Line Microgricing: (BLN 1272.44] Although 21 May saw a new WTT (No42), its only
impact on the micro-gricer is that the SuO 00.35½ arrival at Queen's Park P2 is now numbered [207]!

1158] Blackfriars: (BLN 1281.1076) From 22 May a new OOU crossover was installed between the
station and Blackfriars Jn joining the Down Holborn Slow and Up Snow Hill Lines. The Up and Down
Blackfriars Spur Lines, Train Road (Goods) & Carriage Reception Lines were taken OOU for remodelling.

1159] Crossrail: (BLN 1281.1074) On 26 May a High Court judge heard a judicial review applied for by

Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL), challenging the ORR's decision to refuse permission to levy a charge on

Crossrail trains using the Heathrow branch to recover historic construction costs. The ORR stated that

such a charge would amount to £597 per train, (HAL quoted £460). It would be in addition to track and

station access charges. 'The Times' reports that contingency plans have been drawn up to terminate

trains short of the airport if the court rules in favour

To Durham To Leamside of HAL. However, the judge rejected all the points of
the claim and refused a right of appeal. The airport

Coxhoe (WH) N company may still apply to the Court of Appeal.

From 21 May Acton Main Line Up Main P2 was taken

OOU until further notice. It has had little recent use.

Unless their air bags are deflated or secondary

suspension has failed, Class 387 EMUs are now

allowed in all Paddington platforms except P6. They

To Castle Eden are prohibited from various GWML loops/sidings.
and Hartlepool


To Byers Green Coxhoe Jn 1160] NER Signal Boxes named 'Junction' cont;
& Bp. Auckland Coxhoe Junction: (NZ302337) LEFT: With thanks to
Dave Cromarty for the plan. This elevated box was

about a mile north of the former Ferryhill station,

Coxhoe Jn over the Slow lines and was most unusual. Not only
did it control two entirely separate Coxhoe Jns but

they were at different levels! At ground level was the

Ferryhill Coxhoe (WH) = West Hetton branch divergence
(OG 16 Jan 1834; line severed Jun 1984, previously

OOU for some years), running NE from the ECML

Slow lines (the original Clarence Railway lines), which

To Norton became the Leamside lines north at Tursdale Jn.

To Darlington CSD

The original branch to Byers Green (west of Ferryhill; OG 31 Mar 1837) diverged from the Clarence
Railway lines a little further south and was crossed on the flat by the later Newcastle & Darlington Jn
Railway (OG 15 Apr 1844, OP 19 Jun 1844), now part of the ECML. A line which OA 19 Oct 1873,
replaced this crossing, climbing from the former Ferryhill No1 Signal Box by the east side of the
Clarence Railway lines over the ECML. At the high level, Coxhoe Junction SB controlled the divergence
of the line (OA 19 Oct 1873, CP 9 Jun 1952) to Castle Eden and Hartlepool to the east, and that west to
Byers Green and Bishop Auckland (CP 31 Mar 1952 east of Spennymoor; CA 2 May 1966). The line
east, latterly to Kelloe Bank Foot, is now lifted north of Thrislington quarry loop (BLN 1278.728).

1161] Micklefield Jn: (BLN 1279.833) After the Easter relaying and remodelling
the 70mph restriction from Leeds towards York has been eased to 80mph; from York to Leeds it is
90mph for the Up and Down Hull lines are 70mph. P2 at Micklefield station has also been lengthened.

1162] Newcastle Toon: (BLN 1278.706) A member with a musical bent has confirmed that the station
still has a piano, next to the main entrance, in the Portico erected by the North Eastern Railway in
1860. It is an upright, apparently manufactured in the City by Alderson & Brentnall - according to its
branding on the underside of the lid. However, this company was only a dealer. The piano seems to be
owned by The Rotary Club of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and has a large sign on it saying 'Play a Tune for
the Toon' and inviting players to text a donation of £3 to them. It does not say how long you can play
for each donation! It seems in good shape and sounds beautiful when well played - especially in the
early evening when the Portico area is quiet - the sounds echoes around nicely. Another member
found a piano with a professional pianist playing it at Birmingham Airport departures hall recently.

1163] Newton Aycliffe: Hitachi has begun manufacture at Kasado (Japan) of the bodyshells for the 65
Class 800 Azuma trains scheduled to enter service on the East Coast Main Line next year. UK build
work at Newton Aycliffe will begin this summer. The new fleet will provide an extra 12,200 seats.
Faster journeys will make possible direct services to new destinations such as Middlesbrough, as well
as a large increase in through services from London to places such as Bradford, Harrogate and Lincoln.

1164] Manchester Metrolink: is a detailed trackplan including Trafford Centre.

1165] Victoria: Timekeeping suffered with the 7 day station closure following the terrorist bomb on
Mon 22 May. On Thur 25th: Stalybridge: Huddersfield services started P3. Wigan Wallgate: Kirkby
services started from bay P3. Trains from Kirkby ran into P2 continuing to Salford Central. An ECS shunt
was required to P3 for the Kirkby service. Salford Crescent: Some Wigan Wallgate to Salford Central
via Atherton services were routed via P2.  Salford Central: Wigan Wallgate trains started from P1.
Oxford Road: Up arrivals to P1 and Down departures from P3 were described as 'safe bets'. P1 was
used by services from Lime Street in the afternoon with some from Blackpool North before and after.

1166] Blackpool again! (BLN 1281.1053) On Sun 23 Apr a member took the first train from Preston to
Blackpool North, stopping off about ¾ hour at Poulton-le-Fylde. That station is having a sympathetic
refurbishment, and at the east end of the island platform sports a Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway
(L&YR) style running in board, in capital letters. A walk to Tithebarn Park gave access to a section of
the mostly overgrown 'Poulton Curve' between Poulton NO4 Jn and NO5 Jn which recreated a direct
link between Fleetwood and Blackpool North. The vestigial wooden stumps of both platforms of the
appropriately named Poulton Curve Halt (OP Feb 1909; CP Jul 1952) were found. (It is perhaps
surprising that the linear jungle of the curve has not been incorporated into the park). Other features
of Poulton-le-Fylde station are the large, traditional Down platform L&YR style clock, and the platform
level station buildings which generally follow late L&YR styling. At street level the station has a touch
of the Arts & Crafts movement about it. Our member adds that it is a nice station. All passenger trains
stop except the 18.47 (SSuX) Blackburn to Blackpool North that is booked to stop only at Preston!
The Fleetwood line junction was taken out in Mar; adjacent is Poulton No 3 Signalbox, now with uPVC
windows, but otherwise photogenic. It closes along with all the others on the line on 11 Nov.

ABOVE: the fine street level station building at Poulton-le-Fylde (Angus McDougall, 9 Aug 2011).

BELOW: 'Come in No3 your time is up' (well it will be in November). Poulton-le-Fylde Jn in May 1991.
Bottom left the road overbridge parapet partly hides the Blackpool North line off left, Preston is to the
bottom right. Right of the signal box the Burn Naze line still had freight traffic then. (Angus McDougall)

At Blackpool North: North Pier (North) tram stop was visited and £5 lavished on a day rover (online it
is £4.50), then our member visited and photographed all 36 required tram stops between Fleetwood
(Victoria Street) and Starr Gate, including three heritage tram stops, as well. Only the heritage trams
serve the stop on the Pleasure Beach turning loop. (A separate £3.50 return ticket is required for the
heritage trams.) Our member saw 14 (travelling on 13) of the modern trams, but still needs to see the
two hiding in Starr Gate Depot. The latter resembles Fort Knox as all the glass panels are reflective.

Until the tramway is extended along Talbot Road to Blackpool North station, the shortest interchange
with NR is from Burlington Road West tram stop to Blackpool Pleasure Beach station (OP 12 Aug 1987
at the dreadful cost of £52,000) on the Blackpool South branch, a walk of less than 200yd. This is
essentially on the site of Burlington Road Halt (OP Oct 1913, TCA Nov 1939, CA (permanent) Jan 1949).

1167] Bolton: (BLN 1278.741) The final two steel spans of the 100m long 'skylink' pedestrian bridge at
the new interchange (spans three and four connect to the bus station) were hoisted into place on the
night of 8/9 May requiring a 750-tonne crane. Bay P2 is OOU from Tue 30 May until Sat 12 Aug for
electrification work. Also from 30 May the Down Bolton line between the station and Moses Gate Jn
was due to be slewed out by up to half a track-width towards the track bed of the Down Passenger
Loop which was lifted. In the Down Bolton Line the OOU connection to the Down Passenger Loop at
Moses Gate Jn was recovered. New OOU trailing points were installed (9m 74ch) to form a future
connection with the Up Bolton line, as will new trailing points installed OOU (10m 18ch) in the line.

1168] Buckshaw Parkway: From 31 May Buckshaw Emergency Ground Frame (24m 24ch) was to be
recovered, with the associated trailing crossover at the Bolton end of the station then controlled from
Preston Power Signal Box instead. The site will be renamed Buckshaw Parkway Jn.

1169] Metrolink: Manchester tram services were suspended for six hours on Sun 14 May after a major
communication system failure. Control room staff were unable to track the location of trams which led
to an automatic shutdown to minimise safety risks. A full service was restored next morning. TfGM
said it believed the failure had been caused by a component attached to the Metrolink control
network sending out spurious communications; it was not an issue Metrolink has experienced before.

1170] Shenfield: (BLN 1281.1058) The new layout (track plan: BLN 1280.973) has resolved the greatest
bugbear with the previous one where a Down train to Southend Victoria via the Southend Loop
diveunder conflicted with Up Shenfield Metro departures from P4. In the days when our member was
commuting, Down Southend trains in the rush hour were routed roughly alternately via P4 and the
diveunder then via the direct connection from P3. For some reason trains via P4 coincided with Up
departures from P4. As the Down Main/Down Electric crossover was well to the west of Shenfield one
would have expected the Southend train to be crossed over to the Down Electric immediately then
wait for P4 to be vacated. However, priority was always given to the P4 departure, which resulted in
the Southend train waiting on the Down Main for several minutes, delaying all the services behind it.

This issue was raised on our Liverpool Street Integrated Electronic Control Centre visit a few years ago,
but the response seemed to be that the local service to Shenfield had to keep to time. Down Southend
trains via P4 provided cross platform interchange with others using P3. En route to our Jordan tour on
his first journey after the new layout was commissioned, your correspondent was slightly surprised to
note that the direct connection from P3 was very shiny. On his way home, the 17.45 Liverpool St to
Southend on 16 May was held outside Shenfield, presumably by the late running 17.40 to Colchester
Town, and then used P3. As P4 was totally clear it seems perverse that it was not routed that way.

1171] Hadleigh: On an Aug 2016 visit to the 7¼ mile branch (CP 29 Feb 1932, CA 19 Apr 1965) Bentley
station building survives on the GER Main Line Down side abutting remains of the Down platform,
north of the level crossing. It is a private residence, painted pink. On the Up side there are remains of a
loading bank in the goods yard, with Station House, a substantial private residence, painted cream.
Bentley Jn was just north of the station; the branch ran alongside the Down Main line for about a mile.

[BLN 1282]
On the branch itself, the crossing keeper's ornate brick built cottage at Church Road in Bentley village
is a private residence. It has architectural features similar to those of the surviving stations at Raydon
Wood and Hadleigh. Continuing along the trackbed, which is private and for which land owner's
permission was obtained for all such included in this walk, a standard LNER concrete platelayers' hut
was passed before reaching the site of Capel station (village Capel St Mary). All trace of the station has
gone, though a couple of red brick cottages nearby may have been railway housing. A garage occupies
the station site with an outsize pseudo-BR(ER) style dark blue totem proclaiming 'Capel Station Garage'
and facing the A12. It seems scarcely believable now that the Hadleigh branch crossed the A12 by a
level crossing; has pictures. The train crew operated the gates latterly; getting
them open and closed must have been a hazardous task although the A12 was rather quieter in 1965!

Our correspondent had to make a deviation of about one mile each way to cross safely. More private
trackbed leads to Raydon Wood station. This two storey structure is behind high gates and palisade
fencing, so good photos are not currently possible. It is understood that conversion to a holiday let was
in hand. The tiny hamlet of Raydon is two miles away. From here to Hadleigh the trackbed is an official
footpath called 'The Railway Walk'. Hadleigh station still exists as a well maintained private residence
with ornate GER canopy over the front entrance in a cul-de-sac of modern housing called Station Yard.

Topographically the branch is interesting through having a straight alignment throughout from the
curve connecting to the main line to about a mile before Hadleigh. The OS map shows the formation
for a third side of a triangle at the main line permitting direct access from the Ipswich direction.
Colonel Cobb's atlas suggests that it opened in 1847 (with the rest of the branch) and 'closed by 1904'.

1172] Maidenhead: (BLN 1281.1060) The Stabling Lines were commissioned from 22 May.

1173] Aylesbury - Princes Risborough: (BLN 1280.975) A member sampled the Chiltern Bubble car on
Thu 11 May (17.00 from Risboro'). Both cabs still had our 'Bubble & Squeak' railtour window decals in
situ! Return from Aylesbury had every seat filled, with even a few normal passengers as well! Staff
were surprised how full the train was. D1842 was on show, stabled south of the station in the Chinnor
& Risboro' siding. Other than the 13.19 from Aylesbury and return, the extra trains (BLN 1281.1115) all
ran on Fri 19 May, the final day, and the two Class 121s ran 'together'. Large crowds came; standby
road coaches had been hired in for 'normal' passengers and additional ones were required on the day!

1174] Hadley Wood: Work is underway creating step free access to northbound P4 on the Down Slow.

1175] Reading: (BLN 1280.977) More energisation is scheduled on 17 June: Down Main Line and Up
Main Line, Reading West Jn (37m 14ch) to Scours Lane Jn (37m 63ch) and Down Relief Line, Reading
West Jn 37m 0ch to 37m 14ch.

X.73] Cambridge North: NEXT PAGE: The station façade - more holes than Blackburn, Lancashire?
Its silvery cladding is actually based on the computer model 'Game of Life', created by mathematician
John Conway while he was a lecturer at Cambridge University. The large car park - out of shot to the
left - with a capacity of 450 cars was hardly bursting at the seams with only 50 cars parked there on
the morning of Wed 24 May 2017 (but not bad only three days after opening). The off-peak charge of
£8 (£5 for the first three months and £3 at weekends) is hardly likely to encourage use but is
comparable with the charges at Cambridge station and the new station did cost £50M to build.

Similarly there was still a plenty of room to park a bike - off to the right - with only 100 or so of the
1,000 spaces (all under cover) in use. It is a little known fact that 39% of the population of Cambridge
cycle at least three times a week (we aim to inform our readers) but 30,000 students live there. This is
double the percentage for regular cycling of the next highest location - the Iles of Scilly and compares
with the more typical average for England of 4.4%! The new Cambridge North station is also served by
a £1M (non-guided) extension to the guided busway. (All pictures by Ian Delgado on 24 May 2017.)

BELOW: Even 4-car units draw to the full length of bay P3 (all three platforms can take 12-cars) - the
station exit is in the distance. 317506 waits depart on the 11.15 to Liverpool Street. There are hourly
services from P3 to both Kings Cross and Liverpool Street, (on Sundays just to Liverpool Street).

ABOVE TOP: The view from the north end of P3 looking towards Ely (the through lines are on the right)
- there is still a fair amount of track (to do!) before the buffer stops. In the background, 66181 is
waiting to leave Chesterton Junction Yard with the 12.36 to Mountsorrel (discharged aggregate
wagons); it will shortly draw forward alongside the station to run round its train before departure.
ABOVE LOWER: From the enclosed footbridge looking south towards Cambridge. From right to left:
the Reception line into Chesterton Jn Yard, the run-round line, P3 line (all these have new ballast) then
the Down main and Up main lines.


1176] Fawley: (BLN 1280.1011) On Sat 13 May the very smart six-car heritage Hastings green DEMU
operated 'The Fawley Forester' from Hastings to Southampton (ABOVE) via Basingstoke (originally to
be ECS). It then made three return trips to Fawley; the operation was very 'slick' and excellent value at
£12 return. The second from Southampton Central P1 crossed to the Down Slow on departure. At
Totton East Jn it took the Up & Down Fawley. At Marchwood the train went via the right hand side of
the loop on both the outward and return legs. On return at 83m 24ch it took the Up & Down Fawley
and before Southampton crossed Up Slow to P4. (All pictures by Tim Whelan 13 May 2017.)
The third return trip departed P4 and took the Goods Loop at Totton East Jn. At Marchwood it was
routed via the left hand side on both the outward and return legs and thus completed both sides of
the bidirectional loop in each direction. At 83m 24ch the Up & Down Fawley was taken. All three trips
stopped at the 'Stop. Await Shunter's Instructions' board protecting the gates to Fawley Oil Refinery.
There were locals on board including families. Likewise it attracted much interest at the level crossings
and lineside properties from car drivers, families and householders alike. The trips marked the 10th
anniversary of the local 'Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership' and were also to promote possible
ways of reopening the branch to passengers. A member heard someone say that one idea was to
extend the Swindon to Westbury service via Salisbury, Chandlers Ford, Southampton Central then to
the Fawley branch. One reason for this is to give Swindon (population over 200,000), Chippenham and
Westbury a direct through rail link to a local airport (Southampton Airport Parkway) without changing.

ABOVE: Fawley refinery gate, perhaps a caption competition? How about "Sorry mate, we haven't let
a railtour in since 23 April 1978 and we aren't going to start today…!" BELOW: Southampton again.

1177] Chatham (1): A member's journey home on a St Pancras to Sittingbourne High Speed train late
in the evening of 8 May was unusually interrupted by an emergency stop at 22.32 leaving Fort Pitt
Tunnel with the first coach (which he was in) just on the platform at Chatham. All passengers had to
leave the train through this carriage as the driver had seen someone in the tunnel. The emergency
services attended and located the person at 23.00 unhurt in a tunnel recess. The person stated that
they had intended to commit suicide, but had been unable to carry out the intention. Traction current
was restored at 23.09. Despite the nasty shock, the driver was able to continue. After the delay of only
about 40 minutes he drove to the usual platform stopping position. 1178] Chatham (2): Following the
incident above, our member was able to take the same seat but was effectively at the other end of the
platform! So knowing BLN likes to stimulate thought and discussion on these sorts of things he
wonders if anybody else has been able to complete a scheduled end to end journey on a normal
service train using the same seat but having to leave the train for an ECS move meaning it was not
possible to rejoin at the original alighting point. This is not the only time he has done this, as in Feb
2014 he had to leave a Sittingbourne to Victoria train at the old Rochester station P2 (issues on the
viaduct beyond) then cross by the subway to P4 while the train shunted ECS between the platforms
before heading wrong line to Sole Street and using the crossover there to regain the Up.

1179] Dorking: A 240 space cycle hub has been provided funded by the DfT Cycle-rail fund and Surrey CC.

1180] Kemp Town: (BLN 1280.984) A member was lucky enough to travel on one of the trains from
Brighton on 26 Jun 1971, but checking through his archives he has two tickets, both standard
Edmondson. A red one numbered 0636 Brighton to Kemp Town and back, the other blue 0074 Kemp
Town to Brighton and back but otherwise identical. This was a bit of a mystery, why two tickets?
Could passengers join at Kemp Town? They state, 'valid only on train timed on reverse and back to
Kemp Town by first train' (or Brighton as the case may be), although actually no time is shown.
Possibly he bought an extra ticket just as a souvenir but that still does not answer the question.
Three years later on 6 Jul 1974 there was a Brighton Station Open Day, again for Woking Homes.
A special train was arranged 'Conveyable over Freight Lines in Brighton Top and Lower Yards' for the
princely sum of 20p. Again with a standard Edmondson (No 0322) and it appears to be just the one run.
Our reporter cannot remember what formed the train but it was presumably a standard SR DEMU.

1181] Filton Abbey Wood aqua grice: (BLN 1281.1068) Your correspondent felt obliged to sample the
temporary walking route from the car park on a very wet 17 May. The engineers constructing the
walkway from Nutfield Grove to join the existing ramp have done an excellent job of creating a level
walkway suspended above the ground beneath. Unfortunately they appear to have forgotten to
provide drainage in the impervious surfacing and the whole length was under water!

1182] Pilning: (BLN 1276.561) Recently the embankment has been dug into in various places perhaps
indicating a wish to extract the internally combusting sections. On 17 May, the heavy rain resulted in
massive plumes of steam along the embankment, so what is left is still combusting internally.

1183] Bristol Parkway: NR is currently undertaking work on the GW Main Line in and around the
station to increase capacity, due for completion in Aug 2017. This next phase includes stabilisation of
the railway embankment next to the Filton line, the Filton East Curve, by soil nailing (installing
reinforced bars into the embankment and grouting them into place). Work is also scheduled to carry
out bridge repairs and reinforcement at Bristol Road/Hatchet Road bridge with associated track work.

1184] Rovers Return One suspects a guardian angel is looking after BLS members intending to take
part on the Kennet Day Ranger Service Train Tracker on 28 June (BLN 1275.350). GWR has taken the
opportunity to vary the prices of many of their rover tickets with some substantial increases affecting
favourites such as the Freedom of the South West 8 days in 15 (up from £112 to £139; railcard £91.75)
and the Freedom of Severn and Solent 3 days in 7 (up from £46 to £59; railcard £38.95). They are still
exceptional value for what they allow. However, those requiring the Kennet Day Ranger ticket will be
pleased to learn that the price has been reduced from £13.90 to a mere £12 (railcard only £7.95)!

1185] Severn Beach: GWR is to launch a smart card on the Severn Beach line as part of a pilot which
could see combined rail and bus travel in a single ticket offered across Bristol. The card, known as
'Touch' enables adults and children to add weekly and other season tickets. If successful, the initiative
could form part of a wider integrated scheme including MetroWest and local bus services. Prior to
launching the scheme, GWR will have to install platform validators at Severn Beach line stations as well
as improvements (including additional gates) to the ticket gates at Bristol Temple Meads

1186] Bristol's Big Tickets: Following the recent rebuilding of the ticket gates at Temple Meads station
with scanners, the new 'mega' size tickets encountered elsewhere have been trialled on trains by GWR
from 8 May to the bemusement of passengers. These incorporate a QR code to be scanned at ticket
gates but are some five times as large as previously and will no longer fit in ticket wallets, pockets etc.
without much folding. As these are not swallowed by ticket gates they result, as elsewhere, in paper
strewn outside stations. Where used on seasons or other multi-day tickets, it is difficult to see how the
thin paper will survive, particularly flexi tickets that require filling in date boxes! GWR stated that 40%
of the new ticket issuing devices can only print this style but that it is the new industry style, producing
less waste (!??) and allowing easier moves through ticket gates. Your correspondent remembers
a recent trip to Leeds, where passengers holding these tickets were directed to an automatic ticket
gate held open under a 'Northern new ticket' banner and tickets were manually inspected!

1187] Old Fossil at Bristol Parkway: Not your GS (but he has reached a wrinkly age) but that of an
ancient squid's hooklet from some 250M years ago, before the age of dinosaurs. It is a belemnite, the
first sea lily and squid from the British Triassic period. The remains were unearthed near the station.

1188] Ashchurch: The station sits on the main line between Bristol and Birmingham and has a rich
past, being the junction for two branches, one to Evesham, Redditch and onward to Barnt Green, so
better described as a loop and the other to Tewkesbury and Malvern. These two lines were joined by
a direct line over the main line north of the station that was difficult to do. Reopened in 1997 after
26 years of closure, with 91,000 passengers in 2015/16 (up 4.1% in 12 months), Ashchurch even has a
through HST to (but not from) Paddington at 05.44 (SSuX). The station is promoted by The Ashchurch,
Tewkesbury and District Rail Promotion Group. The group proposes increased capacity through an
extension of the Down Goods Loop to join sidings behind the station and upgrading it to bi-directional
passenger standards. They are also suggesting a third platform. The proposals are gaining support,
with the local authority and rail operators alike keen to see the additional capacity introduced.

1189] Ashchurch MoD: (BLN 1216.232) A new contract for GB Railfreight, lasting perhaps 10 years, to
haul trains from a railfreight facility at the MoD Ashchurch site is quoted in May 'Railway Magazine'.

1190] Dartmoor Railway: On Sundays (but not Saturdays as the local paper advised) until 10 Sep GWR
is again running a regular Exeter St James' Park - Okehampton service (for a shuttle to/from Meldon).

1191] Gunnislake: From the new timetable GWR has increased the summer Sunday service from five
to six return trips with a new 20.01 (SuO) from Plymouth (Gunnislake 20.47/20.50). Throughout the
year five round Sunday trips run from Plymouth between 09.20 and 17.41 - unbelievable years ago.

1192] St Germans: Stay in one of four restored carriages next to the main line.
They include a slip coach saloon built for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, a brake van and a TPO.

LEFT & BELOW TOP: The travelling
post office at St Germans station

PAGE: The Victorian slip coach.

(All: Media Centre; Kernow Dream
Photographer with permission.)

1193] Bristol Airport: (BLN 1278.785) Demonstrating that 'many a true word is said in jest'; bosses
here (really) are looking to improve public transport. An option reported in the 'Bristol Post' is a train*
station (sic) to connect with the city centre. No details are given whether this would be on the existing
main line or a separate branch or loop. Other options are a tramway, extending Metrobus or the A38
dual carriageway. [*Censored - Ed.]

1194] Cross City Line: LM has announced that all 26 of their Class 323 EMUs, which mainly operate on
the Lichfield to Redditch route (and less so Wolverhampton/Walsall), are being sent to Manchester to
be re-tractioned. This is expected to improve their performance and reliability and will take one week
per unit, leaving the fleet one train short until December. On the Cross City line the LM timetable
(and posters) do specify which trains are three or six car (useful for extremity microgricing such as at
Four Oaks bay P3). Passenger counts have been used to determine which trains will be temporarily
reduced. The busiest will be the 07.50 Lichfield to Longbridge and the 17.16 Four Oaks to Redditch.
An unusual Cl 323 working is the 07.19 (SSuX) Wolverhampton to Four Oaks, a through service shown
on passenger information screens etc which runs through New Street P1; there is no through return!

1195] Aston: On 15 May at 11.40 West Midlands Police reported to NR that a 500m cordon had been
set up around Priory Road in Aston due to an unexploded WW2 bomb discovered in the area; this
included the railway. Cross City and Walsall services via Aston were suspended until further notice.

A NR Mobile Operations Manager arrived at 12.21 and was advised that the bomb was a German
WWII 250kg bomb discovered during excavation work on a building site. The bomb disposal unit
arrived at 12.40 and after assessing the situation indicated that a blast wall would need to be built
around the bomb which was completed on 16 May. A controlled explosion at 15.35 successfully
destroyed the device (long gone are the days when they could be defused). The railway was examined
after the explosion to determine any impact on the infrastructure with authority granted to run
normal train services at 17.03. All lines and stations were re-opened to through services at 18.04.

During the closure Cross City service was suspended between New Street and Lichfield Trent Valley.
A truncated service ran between New Street (mostly reversing in P12) and Redditch. All Walsall and
Rugeley TV services ran via the Soho Loop. An hourly shuttle using a trapped EMU ran between
Lichfield City and Sutton Coldfield on 16 May with an ECS shunt via Wylde Green crossover. (Sadly the
ultra-rare trailing crossover between Aston and Gravelly Hill - not even done by members with many
combined years of commuting on the line - was in the exclusion zone.) By chance also on 16 May a
further WWII unexploded bomb caused disruption at Caerphilly (it was of course, dealt with carefully).

1196] Whitacre: All Down trains between Nuneaton and Coleshill Parkway ran via the (bidirectional)
Down Arley Goods Loop for at least a couple of weeks in May due to signalling issues. On 15 May the
Down main was showing signs of rust. By 24 May the main line was available at least for overtaking
purposes where needed, however then the goods loop was still being used for most trains.

1197] Skipton: From 13 May permissive working is allowed on the Down Shipley Slow so that a light
engine can proceed towards a freight train that has arrived from the Rylstone branch. This is only
permitted if the train engine has not been released from its train, and the run-round procedure has
not commenced. If a train arriving from Rylstone Quarry is in a 'Top & Tail' formation, the rear engine
may only be detached and signalled if the leading train engine has not been detached from its train.

1198] Dublin (1): (BLN 1280.999) The member reporting on his 2016 Irish travels was wrong about
past tram usage of Grafton St, which extends between College Green, in front of Trinity College, to the
corner of St Stephen's Green next to the current LUAS Green Line terminus. The short section of
Grafton St as far as Nassau St did have 5' 3" gauge tracks, which then continued left into Nassau St,
reaching St Stephen's Green via Dawson St - exactly the same routing as used by the new LUAS Cross-
City route. The narrow and non pedestrianised longer portion of Grafton Street from Nassau Street to
St Stephen's Green never had trams. The LUAS tram track gauge is standard 4' 8½" (termed 1,435mm).

1199] Dublin (2): In late May, the Green Line LUAS extension from St Stephens Green north through
the city centre to Broadstone (then on to Broombridge station) was advancing well. Some members
walked as far north as Broadstone and the track was all in place along with masts etc. Signs indicated
that the temporary track fillers had recently been removed and that cyclists in particular therefore
need to take care, although some of the wires erected were temporary. There was quite a bit of work
to be done tidying up the adjacent road way, pavements etc but plenty of workmen were in evidence.

At Broadstone, the line crosses the main road, continues west in front of the old railway station and
then curves sharply under a bridge that leads to the bus depot on the old station area. Posters there
say that the new wall below the old station frontage will be clad with new natural stone materials with
original stone from the old harbour incorporated into it. The design includes a railing designed to
increase visibility of the old building. There is a lot of work still to be done hereabouts. According to
posters, opening is planned for the 'autumn'. (The Light Rail Transit Association suggests December.)

1200] Thurles - Clonmel: (BLN 1281.1085) CIÉ's only railbus, 2508, was converted from a 34-seater
road bus TP17 with an AEC Regal engine, originally part of the Dublin United Tramways Co road vehicle
fleet and built in 1933. IRRS Journal No13 (Autumn 1953) p159 reports that the 'first railbus has been
completed'. The date when it was put into service on the Thurles to Clonmel branch appears to be
unrecorded, but the twice daily passenger service (as now provided between Waterford and Limerick
Junction!) is indicated as being railbus worked in the Working Timetable (WTT) from 28 Jun 1954.
Before the railbus, the line had had just one passenger train, Up from Clonmel in the morning and
Down from Thurles in the evening. The final WTT showing railbus designation is dated 17 Sep 1956.

According to the Irish Railfans News (IRN), Jul 1961, 2508 was withdrawn from service on the Thurles
to Clonmel line in 1956. IRN News (Apr 1966) stated that it had run only 'spasmodically' up to 1956,

being too small on most days for the Down evening service. In the WTT of 24 Jun 1957, the schedule is
unchanged, but there is no identification of railbus working. However, the 16 Sep 1957 WTT shows
'Loco J', in other words a mixed traffic 0-6-0, again on the same schedule. Steam continued to be
indicated in the WTTs up to and including that of 15 Sep 1958, but the 15 Jun 1959 issue has the
service marked 'DT', (diesel train) for AEC railcars, with some acceleration of the schedule. Additional
railcars had become available after the closure of the Harcourt Street line from 1 January that year.

Our member's recollection is that these trains were always short; just two power cars without an
intermediate trailer, and were therefore quite lively. They ran to and from Ballybrophy to connect
with services between Dublin and Limerick via Nenagh (the main route then!). In the 12 Jun 1961
WTT, the Up morning and Down evening trains are shown as starting from, and running to, Waterford,
and this continued until the withdrawal of passenger service with effect from 9 Sep 1963.

The railbus traversed the Cork City Railway in Nov 1954, en route to the former Cork, Bandon & South
Coast Railway Rocksavage workshops, for repair (IRRS Journal No166, Jun 2008, p298). According to
IRRS Journal No28 (spring 1961, p19) 2508 was, in 1960, stored at a timber shed near Waterford West
signal cabin. Its ultimate demise does not appear to have recorded, but Jul 1961 IRN, reported it had
been moved from Waterford to Inchicore. Jan 1962 IRN states that it was 'scheduled for scrapping'.

1201] Malahide: (BLN 1281.1084) Use of the crossovers by southbound trains to run via P2, including
sometimes the Enterprise, is not uncommon, but creates significant delay for the crossing-over train
(as for our BLS party on the 20.41 Portadown to Dublin Connolly on Fri 19 May, but they didn't mind!).
The working timetable has an entry for 'Malahide Quarry', an electrified trailing siding on the Down
side just south of the station, into which DART trains can be shunted back after arriving at Malahide,
to keep both platform lines clear. However, there seem to be no services currently scheduled to use
the siding although it is not completely rusty. (A member noticed an EMU shunted in it on Sat 6 May.)

1202] Double crossed - again: (BLN 1281.1084) On Sat 20 May, Single Line Working was in place
between Portlaoise and Portarlington on the Down road affecting Up trains. The route was: Up line to
just outside Portlaoise, crossover 626 (Up to Down Line), crossover 627 (Down Line to Portlaoise
Station Loop), crossover 628 (Portlaoise station Loop to Portlaoise Down Platform 2), Down Line to
Portarlington Down Platform 2, crossover 846 (Down Line to Up Line at the Dublin end of the station).

1203] Limerick: (BLN 1281.1031) On Sun 4 Jun 2017 at about 22.30, Limerick Check Signal Cabin and
Limerick Station Signal Cabin (note not signal boxes in Ireland) are to close. Signalling equipment
(signals, points, track circuits and other equipment) controlled from them will be taken OOU pending
commissioning of the Limerick Resignalling Project. This includes the new Limerick Electronic Control
Point due to be in use from Mon 26 Jun. Between 5 and 25 Jun (both inclusive) bus transfers apply for
services between Limerick and Limerick Junction, Ennis (Sixmilebridge has a reduced service by bus)
and Birdhill. All lines remain live, with test and maintenance trains operating. The public has been
advised that user-operated level crossings should be operated correctly and safely at all times. As well
as complete resignalling there will be remodelling at Limerick station with straightening of P3, other
minor works in the area and maintenance to the Shannon railway bridge on the Ennis Line.

1204] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (BLN 1281.1088) After receiving confirmation from the vets/horse
doctors that services could resume, a phased re-introduction began on 24 May with a 09.00 departure
from Derby Castle and 09.20 from the sea terminal. During the day only five horses were available,
therefore an hourly service operated with each horse only doing one round trip (normally two).
On 25 May the service increased to half-hourly and was expected to return to normal over a few days.

1205] Manx Electric Railway: (BLN 1269.2249) By 26 May the Onchan Head track work was almost
complete and reopening of the 'sea side' line was imminent. Both tracks are needed for the 15 minute
frequency service between Douglas and Laxey that ran for the 'TT' festival starting on Sat 27 May.

X.74] BELOW: A 'stock' picture of a plaque on the wall of the old Yorkshire Bank branch at Fitzalan
Square/Ponds Forge tram stop (outbound platform), Sheffield, kindly 'shared' by Kev Adlam (16 May).

1206] NR = Not (always) Reliable? (BLN 1281.1092) The information about Edinburgh Waverley being
Scotland's busiest station came from the NR website. However, ORR official figures give the number of
passengers for 2015/16 as 21.7M which is easily exceeded by Glasgow Central with 30M. The latter is
shown as the second busiest station nationally outside London after Birmingham New Street (39M).
By comparison Glasgow Queen Street is attributed 16.4M passengers and Haymarket station 2.6M.

1207] Glasgow Central: The 06.12 from Wemyss Bay is booked to use Glasgow Central P9 as the EMU
then forms the 07.17 Cathcart Circle service. The scheduled route is via Line 6, on the Ayrshire side.
On 16 May, services were badly disrupted by an overhead line problem at Newton. The 06.12 crossed
to Line 4 at Bridge Street and used P8. The lengthy crossovers between the Ayrshire and WCML at
Bridge Street Jn are not normally used by passenger trains, not even the Ayr to Edinburgh services.

1208] Glasgow Central - Kilmarnock: From 21 May, Kennishead, Priesthill & Darnley, and Nitshill
stations each have 12 hourly services in both directions on Sundays, one is to/from Dumfries.

1209] Perth: Serco Caledonian Sleeper has applied for permission to transform a semi-disused Grade
'A' listed building on P4. Glasgow-based IDP Architects has been appointed to draw up designs for the
rundown property and an application for listed building consent has been submitted to Perth & Kinross
Council. The proposal is to provide facilities for first class passengers using Caledonian Sleeper services
(first class passenger facilities would have been good!) Caledonian Sleeper staff accommodation is
included with a new first class lounge, wet rooms, meeting rooms, a training room, auditorium, prep
area and mock-up room. The ground floor is currently NR offices and the first floor empty rooms.

The proposal is separate to the local authority's long-standing bid to create a new 'integrated transport
hub', with the nearby bus station. Such is the deterioration of the bus station that it has been likened
to a 1950s eastern European housing estate. The council has been urged to progress plans on the
transport hub as part of its bid for UK City of Culture status in 2021.

1210] Highland Main Line: Transport Scotland has appointed WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff to produce a
business case for improvements between Perth and Inverness as part of Highland Main Line Upgrade
Phase 2. Indications are that this will involve improvements at Pitlochry and Aviemore enabling trains
to arrive simultaneously in both directions and increase crossing loop capacity. Objectives are a cut in
journey times of about 10 minutes and an hourly service by 2025, with more efficient freight working.
The cost is expected to be up to £250M and work is due to start in 2018 for March 2019 completion.
The ultimate aim is a fastest journey time of 2hr 45mins between Inverness and Edinburgh by 2025.

1211] When empty return to Tain? This station will receive a new lease of life when local chef Graham
Rooney opens a gastro-pub and family restaurant in its disused building. 'Platform 1864' (the year it
was built) restaurant was partly funded by Transport Scotland's Station Community Regeneration Fund
(£210k) and the Railway Heritage Trust (£105k). Opened by the Inverness & Aberdeen Junction Railway
in 1864 Tain station became part of the Highland Railway in 1865. It once employed up to 30 staff, but
the Grade 'B' Listed building ceased to be used by passengers in Jun 1991. It has been disused since
but weather tight. It will be interesting to see what 'starters' and 'mains' the new restaurant will have!

There is a curious new service on the Far North line in the summer timetable, which may have
something to do with the above. Previously, the DMU that worked the 23.33 FSO Inverness to Tain
returned to Inverness ECS. Now it forms the 00.48 SSuO to Muir of Ord, calling at Invergordon and
Dingwall. It then runs ECS from Muir of Ord, as Inverness station is closed by the time it is there. Muir
of Ord was a temporary terminus after the Ness Viaduct collapsed, but otherwise it is most unusual, if
not unknown, for a passenger train to terminate there. [Fortrose branch passenger trains? - Ed.]

1212] Fewer lines between Inverurie and Forres: The telegraph pole line run from Inverurie to Forres
is being dismantled and replaced by a new ground level cable as part of the route modernisation.
There was a time when lineside telegraph poles were seen throughout the UK rail network, but the

66 miles from Inverurie to Forres was the last run of any length. There are already significant gaps
where poles have been dewired or removed entirely. Of what is left, the most impressive section is
north of Insch, with perhaps as many as 12 wires, so most of the poles still have their four crossbars
with two pairs of insulators. Elsewhere, some poles have been bodged over the years - on sections
with only four wires, quite a lot of posts have been reduced to a single crossbar. Fortunately, the
National Railway Museum had the route comprehensively photographed several years ago.

Is anyone aware of telegraph poles with wires in use elsewhere in NR? A few years ago there were
some in Lincolnshire, but the wires have gone from the poles round Sleaford and it is clear from
'Google Earth' that the former Firsby to Bellwater Junction section is wireless (not literally) and
poleless. Some preserved lines have 'decorative' short sections, but the Kent & East Sussex Railway
has a fully functioning traditional pole run between Tenterden Town and Bodiam (10¼ miles).

1282 WALES
1213] Swansea: From 14 May, installation of new friction buffer stops effectively shortened P1 & 2 by
7.5m. Red lights between the rails mark a stopping point 2.5m before the stops are reached.

1214] ♫ Ar Hyd y Nos; ♪ (All Through the Night): ♫ Following the European Champions' League Final
in Cardiff on the evening of 3 June, it is intended to run an intensive all-night service. In a massive
crowd-shifting operation, Cardiff Central will have booked departures for London Paddington every
15 minutes from 23.00 until 04.00 (P4), every 15 minutes to Newport from 23.00 until 04.45 (P0),
every 20 minutes to Swansea from 23.20 until 04.40 (P7), every 30 minutes to Gloucester from 23.10
until 03.40 (P2), and every 30 minutes to Hereford from 23.05 to 03.05 (P1), supplemented by
additional trains to Bristol Temple Meads (last departure 02.05) and to Birmingham New Street
(last at 00.24). Valleys services, on the other hand, are severely depleted; after around 19.00, the only
services in operation will be shuttles to Pontypridd and Caerphilly, starting and finishing at Cardiff
Bay, plus a half-hourly Barry Island train, running via Central P8. There will be some onward
connections from Pontypridd and Caerphilly, but no services for the Maesteg, Ebbw Vale, Penarth,
Coryton and City Lines. E-BLN has the full schedule as a download with ECS workings - fascinating stuff.

1215] Llangefni: (BLN 1280.1003) Further to mention of Llangefni station, it should be noted that a
local group known as the Anglesey Central Railway is seeking reopening of the whole of the 17-mile
Amlwch branch. Granted a licence by Network Rail in 2012 to work on the line, volunteers have
already cleared miles of track, with work currently focused on sections at Llangwyllog and Amlwch.
It is not yet clear how the recent Welsh Government announcement may impact on this project.

1216] Holyhead: As is immediately evident at the station, track in the disused former P3 was laid in
concrete-slab formation. Is anyone able to explain when and why, of the four platforms, this was the
one to be abolished, with the less convenient P4 (outside the overall roof) retained? That platform
(and its associated Ground Frame) was officially renumbered 'P3' on 6 Oct 1991, but a correspondent
had already reported finding the old P3 disconnected on 21 Jul 1988. The station as a whole was
transformed around 1989-91, with demolition of the western trainshed, which had covered P1, and
erection of a new terminal building.


X.75]: Alston: BELOW TOP: Things are happening on the South Tynedale Railway (MR p14)…..looking
towards the end of line. The recently constructed second platform is on the right and the new overall
roof is taking shape - ironically there was one here until the mid-1960s (both Ian Hughes 26 May).

BELOW LOWER: The lovely Grade II listed station building has recently been renovated and extended
to increase the size of the café and improve other facilities….. Haltwhistle here we come?




Lodge Farm Park Railway, Lodge Farm Park, Main Road, Romford

7¼" B 345yds TQ520893 ♣ Apr-Oct: 1st Sunday

(New line officially opened 17/04/17)


Statfold Barn Tramway, Tamworth, Staffordshire

3' 0"/4' 8½" E 540yds Battery SK242065 Open days see - page 24

(New line opened 25/03/17)


17 Acton Miniature Railway Amend length: 180yds
…… ….(Extension to Ealing End fully opened 22/04/17)

24 Stafford Model Engineers Amend layout to: C. Amend length to: 590yds
……… (Extension complete by 03/05/15)

BELOW: Brockwell Park Miniature Railway, (7¼" gauge) Herne Hill, (MR p7) (David Guy 21 May 2017).

[BLN 1282]
MR90] Bowes Railway, County Durham: Although open days are being held again, and 2 April saw a
locomotive in steam (Barclay No22 0-4-0ST), passenger carrying trains have yet to run again here.

MR91] Poole Park Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1274.MR23): Poole Borough Council announced on
25 April that the charity Friends of Poole Park had successfully tendered for the new lease of the
railway. It said the group offered the best opportunity to modernise the 10¼" gauge railway. Chris
Bullen, who took over the railway in 2004, said he was 'devastated' his bid has been unsuccessful.
Mr Bullen said the railway needed expensive safety improvements, including a new bridge and work to
move lamp posts and trees, which were too close to the track. Donors pledged more than £2,300 in an
online fundraising page to allow Mr Bullen to replace the track. He said that money would now be
given to three charities. Poole Borough Council said the Friends of Poole Park would invest in new
track and develop the station and engine shed. It is due to reopen in time for the summer holidays.

MR92] Post Office Railway, Greater London (BLN1277.MR53): It has been announced that the railway
is to open during July. Tickets are to go on sale during June. See:

MR93] Merseyside Live Steam & Model Engineers, Merseyside (MR p20) (BLN 1275.MR34):
Three members visited Calderstones Park, Allerton, on a gloriously sunny Sunday 23 April, enjoying tea
and ice creams before the railway at the park began running. The website
shows Sunday operation from around 14.00 to 16.00 throughout the year. Running started slightly
before 14.00 with RES-liveried Class 47 47846 'Thor' providing rides on the elevated line (3½"/5" dual
gauge; layout described as like a Russian doll). The ground-level railway (5"/7¼"dual simple circular
loop within the elevated line but shorter and not just following the elevated route) was not in use.
On this occasion the operator of the steam locomotive generally used for that was busy elsewhere.

Business was brisk at this friendly railway. The Council does not allow fares to be charged for railways
that operate in their parks, so payment is by donation. Planning permission was granted by Liverpool
City Council on 14 February for Redrow Homes to build houses on the edge of the park by Harthill
Road, where this railway operates and work is expected to start shortly. The railway will then, subject
to planning permission, relocate elsewhere in the park, so members are encouraged to visit soon to
sample the existing layout and site. The group expects to know by July if relocation is required during
2017. If you cannot make Sundays, MES members generally meet on Wednesday afternoons and may
be able to provide a ride if asked nicely! (Our AGM is scheduled for Liverpool in November; a visit here,
and to Royden Park with extra track, is being investigated (farewell to old layout or hello to the new?).

MR94] Royden Park Miniature Railway, Merseyside (MR p20) (BLN 1263.MR157) The three members
continued on to sample this railway operated by the Wirral Model Engineers on Sundays all year, from
13.00 to 16.00. Advertised as not operating in the rain, the glorious weather ensured trains were
running and busy. Again the railway cannot charge for rides and donations are encouraged. (Santa
Specials are an exception as the charge is for the gift not the ride). The average received is only 20p,
so please be generous when you visit! On the 7¼" ground level track, four trainsets were in use so that
all four platform roads (three actual platforms) were operational at the terminus. On return, locos run
onto a turntable and then via a separate run-round line to reverse back onto their designated coaches.

Trains are generally two coaches, each holding two sets of two seats, so eight passengers per train,
each with different coloured coaches to help 'gateline volunteers' direct passengers to the next
suitable train, taking account of the group's size. Live steam (7 'Tinker' 0-4-4T) and internal combustion
('Royden' Roanoke 0-4-0DH) locos were sampled. The parallel running described previously was
deliberately provided wherever possible on 'the field' where the line loops round itself, via a diamond
and 'line of sight' running. As the previous train cleared the diamond and waited, the following service
rattled across alongside for the parallel operation. Departure from the left-hand platform is via the
'unidirectional loop' (with the carriage shed branch feed) to avoid conflict with terminating services.

[BLN 1282]
Reception was very friendly and requests for specific platform departures readily provided within the
queuing system. A guided tour of the carriage shed was provided - locos are taken home by owners at
end of operation. The coaches are propelled onto the approach road and their brakes automatically
applied when the loco leaves them there. The brakes are then released by a hand-held controller and
the coaches rolled inside the shed. The bodies are then lifted off their bogies by a 'fork-lift' and stacked
vertically. This lifting device is on wheels, with a fixed guide rail on one side only. The bogies are run to
the end of line onto a sector plate for storage. The railway layout ensures even wear on the wheelsets
(separately numbered from the coaches) these are used in sequence rather than a fixed allocation.

The elevated section is nearby but entirely separate and has been fully relaid on the existing structures
in the past 18 months with a rail for 7¼"operation - an unusual gauge for elevated railways. Two locos
were in use, each hauling one sit-astride coach, limiting capacity, but the speed of travel kept the
queue size manageable. Live steam GWR Pannier 5711 was in use with 638 1384 'Royden Line',
a battery powered Class 37/55 lookalike; its fleet number is the Railway's phone number! Setting down
can be short of the departure point, especially if the other set is being loaded, but staying aboard for
the overlap was readily allowed by the friendly volunteers. Car parking in the park is currently free but
charging is a Wirral future budget option which may then reduce business for the railways.

MR95] Dean Forest Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p6): The standard timetable published in the 2017
brochure (widely distributed and available) does not apply. A revised standard timetable now appears
on the website and shows the first departure (WX) of the day (11.10) from Norchard to Parkend
(not to Lydney Junction). Although, visitors may find the stock in the Low Level Platform on arrival, this
is shunted ECS to High Level before starting service. On red Wednesdays only, the additional DMU
service does normally depart (10.35)/arrive (15.23) at the Low Level Platform. The 10.00 Norchard to
Lydney Junction has now been withdrawn from the DFR's 'standard' timetable for the remainder of the
season and reference to that train is to be deleted from paper PSUL. The originally published timetable
was unsustainable for the available steam engine crews resulting in the decision to change despite the
issue of brochures. This continues for the rest of the 2017 season for the standard timetable.

MR96] Blackpool North Pier Tramway, Lancashire (BLN 1184.MR88): A visit was made on Good Friday,
14 April to see the former 3ft gauge North Pier Tramway and the replacement Land Train from Canada.
Arriving about 11.00 - the whole Pier looks very tired and rundown - the new Wattman Mini Express
was stabled at the far end with 4 coaches. It was purchased last year and runs on the former Tramway
route, which has been boarded over for the Land Train to run on. The fare is £1 per trip and the Land
Train has a sound unit and smoke unit fitted; from a distance it could be mistaken for the real thing.

MR97] Foxfield Railway, Staffordshire (MR p8): 'Steam Railway' 466 (21 April) reported that the
railway is renewing efforts (ongoing since at least 2004) to reopen the Dilhorne Park - Foxfield Colliery
section to passengers (the last public running was in 1982). In addition to signalling and interlocking
work, a significant amount of paperwork and training will be needed before passenger trains can
operate. A railway director said that it was 'too soon' to say when reopening will take place.

MR98] North Bay Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p22) (BLN 1268.MR212): On Sunday 7 May, 4-6-2
'Triton' (Hudswell-Clarke D573 of 1932) was working trains supplemented in the afternoon by
'Georgina' - the new steam loco in smart green livery. The first train was at 10.30 and was almost fully
loaded. The railway is in a lovely setting and very atmospheric of a bygone era. As normal, the staff
here were very friendly and knowledgeable. The fare was £3.90 return. The 'Water Chute Railway',
passes above the miniature. The chute station has just been granted Grade II listing status; such is the
rarity and historical importance of the building. The car is manually set off down by the operator,
winched back to the station then released for another ride and splashdown - an amazing experience!

BELOW: North Bay Railway, 'Triton' passes under the Water Chute 'Railway' (Rod Bryant 7 May 2017).

ABOVE: Scarborough South Cliff Railway, view from the lower station Rod Bryant (7 May 2017).

MR99] Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway, South Lanarkshire (MR p29) (BLN 1260.1279): The railway
has at last, after trying for 20 years, secured a lease of the former standard gauge railway trackbed
allowing it to extend beyond Glengonnar Halt towards Wanlockhead - a distance stated to be 400m.
The lease will enable construction of a new terminus, to be named Wanlockhead East, at a location
immediately east of the road serving the National Air Traffic Services facility. The station will have a
single 35m long platform with footpath access to the road, a run-round loop and a 20m headshunt
parallel to the access pathway. The station site is on a 1 in 20 gradient, so will need levelling. Planning
permission is likely to be needed, so discussions will take place with Dumfries & Galloway Council.

On gaining permission, construction of the extension is expected to be undertaken in three 12-month
phases, dependent on funding. Phase 1 will be trackbed preparation, Phase 2 will include earthworks,
levelling at the station site and a start on tracklaying. Phase 3 sees the completion of tracklaying,
finishing the station and tamping of the extension. This remote railway survives on a limited income.

MR100] Beamish - The Living Museum of the North, County Durham (MR p9, 16 & 32): A visit was
made on Saturday 8 April to the Great North Steam Fair, which is held here each year.
Traffic congestion around the entrance led to around two mile tailbacks. Our reporter arrived at 12.00
and two cars behind him were let in then the main gates closed. The £19 admission charge is really
good value as this allows unlimited access for a year. The Tramway was only running in a clockwise
direction because of severe crowds in the Town and the need to run safely - this Saturday is the only
day this happens throughout the season. The Beamish Model Engineers were operating the
Cog (Rack) Railway (included during our 2013 AGM there) with the maximum three passengers at a
time. Advertised as 'The World's First 7¼" Gauge Cog Railway' and 'England's Only Cog railway'.

The wait for a ride was 75 minutes - but it is very impressive. The ground level line was operating with
no waiting! The Standard Gauge Railway was operating with 0-4-0ST 'Bon Accord' (Barclay 807/1897)
with one observation coach - trains were well filled all day. The Narrow Gauge Railway and Standard
Gauge Colliery Railway were operating demonstration only trains, with no public riding allowed.

MR101] Scarborough Cliff Railways, North Yorkshire (MR p34): There are now only two working Cliff
Railways in the town and these were visited on Sunday 7 May. A ride was taken on the Central Cliff
Railway (or Tramway as it is known officially) (BLN 1236.MR99) in the smart red cars with a fare of 90p
each way. The cars were in constant use with excellent views across the bay. The South Cliff Railway
(BLN 1236.MR102) is the country's oldest and was in constant use. A ride was taken on the north and
south cars, the fare being £1.60 return. The cars are in a green and white livery, albeit in a slightly
faded condition. St Nicholas Cliff Railway (BLN 1236.MR101) - is the only preserved cliff railway in the
country! The cars have been converted into a static tea room - located at the top station - firmly
secured to the tracks, a very unusual and good use of redundant equipment. The bottom station has
had a deck built over the tracks, so you can take your afternoon tea at either former station!

1217] FIXTURES REPORTS, Bubble & Squeak Tracker, Sun 9 Apr: [Abridged version, by Dave Hayward
Member 2140.] My 'maiden' report concentrates
on my personal enjoyment on these trips which
clean rusty rails. Our train was Chiltern Railways'
(CR) 121034, one of the last two remaining Class
121 units then in regular main line service (which
ceased after 19 May 2017). 121034 stood in the
platform at Aylesbury photogenically resplendent,
our guard dressed in a well presented 1950's - 60's
BR style uniform. BELOW: At Aylesbury P1 before
departure in the morning (Geoff Plumb 9 Apr).

1Z20 left punctually to head directly onto the single line towards Princes Risborough, through the well
maintained stations of Little Kimble and Monks Risborough. At Princes Risborough we passed non-
stop through P2 south and, superbly, through Down P1 at Gerrards Cross in the Up direction.

Maintaining a good speed, the 'old girl' was slowed by 'double yellows' near Denham Golf Club to
arrive, right time, in West Ruislip P4 Up Platform Loop, to allow faster service trains past our 70 mph
restricted 'Bubble car'. Then we had a good run straight into Marylebone P3, busy even for a Sunday
morning with that modern, definitive London cosmopolitan buzz. The CR staff were smart in
appearance and well represented; the public admired 034 as they passed by. The station manager and
a relative joined for the ride as far as South Ruislip. The full route (thanks to Martyn Brailsford):

Aylesbury P1 - Princes Risborough P2 - Up Main - High Wycombe P3 - Up Main Gerrards Cross P2 - Up Main - West
Ruislip P4 (Up Passenger Loop) - Northolt Jn - Up Marylebone/Main - Neasden Station Jn - Up Main - Marylebone P3
(Rev) - Down (Dn) Main - Neasden South Jn - Dn Main/Marylebone - Northolt Park Jn - Dn Loop - Northolt Jn - Dn Main -
Gerrards Cross P1 - Dn Main - High Wycombe P1 (Rev) - X/O to Up Main (Rev) - X/O to Dn Main - Saunderton - X/O to
Up Main - Princes Risborough P2 (Up & Dn Platform) - X/O to Dn Main - Bicester South Jn - Dn Bicester South West
Chord - Gavray Jn - Bicester Depot Run Round - Up Bletchley - Oxford Parkway P1 - Up Bletchley - Oxford Canal Jn -
Dn Bletchley - Oxford North Jn - Up Main - Oxford P1 (Rev) - Oxford Dn Carriage Sdg No1 (Rev) - Oxford P2 (Rev) -
Dn Passenger Loop - Oxford North Jn - Dn Bletchley - Oxford Canal Jn - Up Bletchley - Woodstock Road Jn - Dn Bletchley
- Bicester Depot West Jn - Bicester Depot Goods Loop - Bicester P1 - X/O to Dn Bletchley - Claydon L&NE Jn - Up Goods
Loop - 'Stop' Gate (12m 00ch) EOL (Rev) - Dn & Up Main - Claydon L&NE Jn - Aylesbury Vale Single - Quainton Road -
Aylesbury N Goods Loop - Aylesbury P3 - Carriage Sdg No4 (Rev) - Aylesbury P3 - Carriage Sdg No5 (Rev) - Aylesbury P2.

Those standing near windows heard the engines' throaty roar as they pushed now 1Z34 up the
significant gradient through St John's Wood and Hampstead tunnels. This was followed by a very
spirited and entertaining run to South Ruislip for a pathing stop where our guests left. Next was
High Wycombe P1 for another pathing respite. We reversed and moved over to Signal ME641 on the
Up Main, reversing again back onto the Down Main and headed northwards towards Bicester. Then at
Princes Risborough, there was another weave from Down Main to Up Main for 'wrong line' running
through P2 before regaining the Down line.

Then towards the Bicester area where we left the GWR New Line at the recently installed Bicester
South Jn, quickly passing along the new chord to Gavray Jn on the LNWR route once from Oxford
Rewley Road to Cambridge. Next Bicester Village, formerly Bicester Town before slowing for the next
'looping' in Bicester MoD Goods Loop run-round, (ABOVE): Right is the depot. Those with excellent
eyesight will see Up and Down Chiltern DMUs in the background behind the train (Geoff Plumb).

The connection from the current loop into the depot showed significant recent use, despite internal
movements now being by road. There were once direct passenger trains from inside the depot to
London Euston and Oxford Rewley Road, the latter hauled by WD locomotives with Royal Engineer
crews. Moving out of the loop we headed towards Oxford Parkway and into P1 at Oxford, before
reversing into Road 1 of the Oxford Down Carriage Siding and then back into P2.

Now 1Z65, the DMU retraced its tracks to Bicester Depot loop, crossing Bicester West Jn to enter the
actual loop, thus covering both its tracks. Then through Bicester Village 'wrong line'. Leaving the
Village (shades of No6?), we crossed Gavray Jn again to the Up line onto the 'virtually disused' line
towards Bletchley to meet the Aylesbury line (curve from the former Calvert Jn) at Claydon L&NE Jn.
As we headed into the run-round loop there, our driver took us to the fence at the end of the line
(12m 00ch from Bletchley; it is 'mothballed' beyond), to a spontaneous round of applause from the 65
participants! Then a reversal and left turn to the Aylesbury line and past Calvert Waste Transfer site.

BELOW, ALL AT Claydon Gates, (1) TOP: The east end of the run-round loop head shunt, just before
12m 00ch from Bletchley (to the right and 'mothballed'), the future East West Rail (Geoff Plumb).

(2): The same location from the train looking towards Bletchley (John Zabernick).

(3): From the other DMU cab, a sheepish picture looking back at Claydon loop (John Zabernick).

(4) BOTTOM: Chiltern staff; Kev Adlam and Shaun the sheep - (who was really in charge and has done
more rail trips than most people have had hot lamb dinners) MP 12 in glorious sunshine (Geoff Plumb).

ABOVE: A different occasion, in Claydon Up Goods Loop looking west (Geoff Plumb 24 Jul 2013).

Aylesbury P1 London Marylebone P3 43m 16ch Next, arrival at Quainton Road
27m 68ch station for the Buckinghamshire
London Marylebone P3 High Wycombe Bay P1 00m 24ch Railway Centre where we were
38m 79ch welcomed with brake van trips
High Wycombe Bay P1 High Wycombe Up Main 00m 39ch on the 'eastern' demonstration
00m 39ch track, hauled appropriately by
High Wycombe Up Main Oxford P1 19m 15ch ex-CR Wembley Depot 'Scaz',
06m 23ch including sections each end not
Oxford P1 Oxford Down Carr Sdg No1 Apx 60ch used on the normal public runs.
06m 39ch The more adventurous members
Oxford Down Carr Sdg No1 Oxford P2 00m 27ch even managed an impromptu
00m 27ch rare route trip on the Model
Oxford P2 Claydon Jn EOL 00m 31ch Engineers' miniature railway!

Claydon Jn EOL Quainton Road

Buckinghamshire Rly Centre (east line) round trip 01585

Quainton Road Aylesbury Up Carr Sdg No4

Aylesbury Up Carr Sdg No4 Aylesbury P3

Aylesbury P3 Aylesbury Dn Carr Sdg No5

Aylesbury Dn Carr Sdg No5 Aylesbury P2

The mileage above and souvenir ticket are thanks to Jim Sellens who also looks after Shaun the Sheep.

ABOVE: At Quainton Road station looking south towards Aylesbury (Malcolm Ranieri via Trevor Daw).
BELOW: Quainton Road (where the station CP 4 Mar 1963); the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre east
running line brakevan trip looking south towards Aylesbury. Right is the west line. (John Zabernik).

We left here at 17.00 to continue south along the Aylesbury line, passing by Aylesbury Parkway
station and through Aylesbury North Goods Loop before entering Aylesbury P3. The initial move was
to Carriage Siding 4, back into P3 then Siding 5, our final unusual track before terminating in P2,
thereby visiting all three platforms. Thanks to Kev & Co for a very interesting and enjoyable day, good
track, good stock and good company, raising £1,151.75 for Railway Children and £2,303.49 each to
Brake (the road safety charity) and Bowel Cancer UK. This was a very good result with only 65 on board
(although fully booked of course). The 'Bubble & Squeak' was a fitting farewell to Heritage DMU use in
non-heritage railway operation. For the record the Aylesbury to Quainton Road Bank Holiday Monday
shuttle on 1 May ran with a Chiltern Heritage DMU for the last time (see item 1173 also).
1218] Moreton Park and Titley Junction Railways, Sun 14 May: Even though this was our 10th visit to
the railway at Moreton-on-Lugg (between Hereford and Leominster) there were a total of 50
participants. It was a particular honour to have our Founding Member, John Ling, in attendance for the
usual comprehensive railtour. The locos used were 03 145 and D2578 (D2302 posed for photographs).
BLN 1266.218 (7 Feb 2015) had a plan of this interesting 1m 22ch branch and the associated lines.
In 1942 the former Moreton-on-Lugg Royal Army Ordnance Corps Depot was one of the first built by
the Americans and stored surplus materials (including the decorations from the 1969 investiture of the
Prince of Wales!). It was used for the SAS to 'train' on old railway stock - once former Merseyside EMU
carriages. 40 members had a visit to the railway in its MoD incarnation on 15 Mar 1981, arranged by
your Editor. The depot and railway closed in the late 1990s. Now there is usually at least one outward
stone train for Tarmac daily, sometimes two and they can even run at weekends. Destinations include
Radlett, Hayes & Harlington, Elstow (near Bedford), Hothfield (near Ashford) and Acton. The aggregate
(200,000 tonnes per year) comes in by road from Gore Quarry (ironically by the former Dolyhir station,
CG from Kington 9 Jun 1958) on the New Radnor branch (CG past Dolyhir 31 Dec 1951). The D2578
Locomotive Group is based at Moreton Park with access to all the lines up to the NR boundary.

ABOVE: More works of art by Jim Sellens; there is a competition to guess how many tickets he prints in 2017!
53 participants met for 14.00 where once four rural railways also met at Titley Junction, our 5th visit to
The Kingfisher Line which, at ¾ mile, is Herefordshire's longest standard gauge heritage railway. D2158
(03 158), initially hauled DMU car W51412, with the green (ex-Droitwich Underwoods Coal Depot) loco
on a brake van, later replaced by the Class 03. The Thomas Hill blue loco hauled the Lomac on the two
'siding shuttles' with the usual comprehensive cover. Of note, since our previous visits the carriages
had been moved off the two platform roads so these were available right up to the buffer stops for the
first time; the sleeping car is now in the dock and the observation saloon has gone. The comprehensive
visit was enhanced by the famous Titley homemade cakes and drinks at this delightful rural location.
Many thanks to our local member 657, Stephen Phillips, for the excellent arrangements at both
railways. Some fine pictures of the previous May 2015 visit to the locations.

Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring. .1282 CONNECTIONS… .Details must be checked with the organisers.

1219] Free to a Good Home: BLNs/BLS publications 1980s/90s mint condition; buyer collects (Wensleydale) (3-4
plastic bags) or pays postage. Graham Thompson [email protected] 01969 663727 (10-13 or after 20 Jun)

1220] Stamp of approval for railways: On 17 May Guernsey Post issued 'Alderney Scenes' a set of six
stamps; naturally the railway featured (on the 80p stamp) to view or buy.
1221] PROPERTY SECTION, Torre: The Grade II listed GWR 1921 disused signal box (once with 42
levers) on the Newton Abbot end of the Up platform is for sale by auction at Saltash on Thur 15 Jun.
Guide price £85-£115k with planning permission to convert into three floor holiday accommodation.
See or contact Clive Emson Auctioneers 01392 366555 and for viewings

1222] Will you be in Brighton on Sun 4 Jun with 2½ hours to spare? Visit British

Airways i360, West Pier, Seafront, King's Rd, BN1 2LN. From Rod Bryant's Unusual Transport Systems
Guide! The World's tallest moving observation tower rising 450ft, opened last year; 360o views up to
26 miles. 1,500yd from the station, walk straight down to the seafront, turn right 470yd, you can't miss
it! The fully accessible vertical cable car departs every 30 mins with up to 200 people, each 'flight' lasts
about 25 mins (with boarding/disembarking). Arrive 20 mins before flight time (10 mins for Priority
tickets) for security. £16 Adult; £8 Child (4-15); Senior/Student £13.50; Priority (includes a guide book)
£26. Online 10% advance discount see: or 03337 720 360 (SSuX 09.00-17.30).

ABOVE: View south out to sea; British Airways i360 from Regency Square, Brighton (Press Release).

X.76] Rhiwbach Tramway, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Railway Ramblers Walk 12/17 Jun: Our members Chris
Parker is Railway Ramblers (Wales) Walks Area Coordinator and has kindly invited BLS members to join
him (for full details see below). Thanks also to Chris for allowing his interesting and well illustrated
history of the Rhiwbach Tramway (with map) to be distributed as a download with e-BLN.

Date Monday 12 and/or Saturday 17 June 2017.
Walk Title Blaenau circular featuring Rhiwbach Tramway , North Wales.
Meeting Point Main car park (opposite railway station); the walk starting point.
Meeting Time 10.30
OS Map No. Explorer OL18: Landranger maps 115 and 124.
Grid Reference SH 702 459
Finishing Point As above.
Miles 6 – 7 miles but with steep inclines; over 1,000ft of ascent.
Description A spectacular circular walk east of Blaenau reaching 1,750ft above sea level via tramway
inclines, quarry haul roads and a public footpath passing both active and abandoned
Walk Leader(s) slate workings. Panoramic views and abundant industrial archaeology. **Please treat
Contact Details this as a moderate to strenuous hill walk and ensure you are sufficiently fit if you
Lunch intend to take part - there are no easy 'escape routes'! Walking poles/sticks advised**
Transport (If conditions are unexpectedly unsuitable at Blaenau on the day, an impromptu version
Arrangements of the 'Five Valleys Tour' would be possible instead for anyone interested; this would
require those leaving cars at Blaenau to catch the 18.08 X1 bus or 19.23 train back to
Pre-Booking there from Llandudno Jn in the evening - journey time for either is just under 1 hour.)
Essential? Chris Parker
Chris Parker01691 656145 07962 519189 [email protected]
Packed lunch required.
Walk expected to finish by 18.00 but this doesn't fit well with the limited public
transport. Buses arrive from Porthmadog (service 1B) at 10.15 and Llandudno via Betws-
y-Coed (service X1) at 10.25. Trains depart for Llandudno 17.36 or 20.24. 1B bus departs
for Porthmadog 17.35 or 19.10 as does Ffestiniog Railway at 17.20 (on 17 June only).
Otherwise car sharing or taxis are the best options. Chris Parker can offer lifts from
Gobowen, Llangollen, Bala etc but would welcome other assistance.
Yes state preferred date; the walk is very weather dependent and liable to short notice
cancellation/postponement; advise whether you require/can offer lifts and where from.

X.77] UK Railtours, The Liverpool Docker, Sat 24 Jun: Extra seats now available (was fully booked).
Reading (06.50/22.30) - Slough (07.15/22.05) - Ealing Broadway (07.40/21.35) - Watford Junction
(08.25/20.50) - Milton Keynes (09.00/20.35) - Rugby (09.40/19.40) - Stafford (10.25/18.55) - Crewe
Down Fast Independent - Down Liverpool Independent - Walton Old Jn - Arpley Grid Iron Jn South -
- 'The Hole' (subject to operational conditions on the day) - Earlestown P3 - Olive Mount Jn -
Edge Lane Jn - Liverpool Port new Biomass Terminal (first tour) - Seaforth Branch (both subject to
circumstances on the day, hopefully track never done by a passenger train before) - Bootle Branch Jn -
Wapping Siding (rev) - Ditton East Jn - Fiddlers Ferry Power Station signal box - Latchford (rev) -
Acton Grange Jn - Stafford etc. From £89.50 Standard Class or 01438 715050

1223] Charity HST, Sat 1 Jul: Derbyshire Children's Holiday Centre & Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. Derby
(06.45/21.20), Duffield (06.55/21.08), Chesterfield P3 - reverse (07.41/20.29), Nottingham (08.24/19.50) to
Skegness (10.27/21.20). First Class £80 (adults only!); Standard £40, Child £20. Groups: one free ticket per
10 booked. Standard buffet/meals available in 1st; bookings, Jo Beck [email protected] 01332424345.

1224] Moorland PRIVATE Miniature Railway, Suns 4 Jun, 2 Jul, 6 Aug & 3 Sep: (SE 975996) Moorland
House, Staintondale, YO13 OEW nine miles north of Scarborough, a lovely National Park location with
sea views. Alan William's (a Modern Railways columnist) interesting 7¼" gauge railway; charity open
days. 14.00-17.30 rides, cream teas, tombola & plant sales; meet the man himself. Look for the kites!

1225] Stapleford Park Miniature Railway: (MR p20) Stapleford Park, near Melton Mowbray, LE14 2SF,
(SK 812183); 10¼" gauge, 2 miles long, public running twice a year to support local hospice. 10-11 Jun
'Models & Miniatures Weekend'; £3 car park plus £3 per train trip. 'Open weekend': 26-28 Aug (Bank
Holiday) Adult £3, Child £3, (under 5 free). In both cases trains start at 10.00 and run 'until teatime'.

1226] Kirkby Green PRIVATE Light Railway, Sat 22 Jul 10.30 to 16.00: Water Mill Farm, Scopwick,
Lincs, LN4 3PE, (MR p20) (TF 090580). Admission by donation; charity open day free rides, 'over two
miles' of 10¼"gauge track in three circuits. Also until Sep last Sun of the month (Mon 28 in Aug).

1227] Mountsorrel Branch, Sat 22 & Sun 23 Jul: (BLN 1279.MR64) Next DMU trips (& see front page).

1228] Great Welland Railway 28-30 July 08.00-
20.00 (16.00 Sun): (SO 8020 4088) to (SO 8042
4064). Woodside Farm, Welland, Malvern,
WR13 6NG. Welland Steam & Country Rally is worth visiting, the only
chance to ride this standard gauge steam line.
Demonstration narrow gauge lines expected
and a steam crane. Pay on the day or in
advance via website £12 adult, £10 senior/child
(11-16, under 11 free). We had an excellent
visit in 2014 (two standard and two narrow
gauge lines. LEFT: The standard gauge steam
crane line is explored by a BLS party in 2014 -
the lady driver had come from Dundee! (Anon)

1229] Fifield PRIVATE Railway Sat 5 Aug, 13.30-18.00: Deep Meadows, Ledger Road, Fifield, SL6 2NX,
(SU 907766) between Windsor and Maidenhead (off the B3024, four miles west of the former). Annual
public rides at this standard gauge railway as part of the local charity 'fun day'.

1230] Richmond PRIVATE Light Railway, Sat 19 Aug, 11.00-16.00: (TQ 809462). Charity Summer
Steam Fair for Kent Air Ambulance / Riding for the Disabled. Four working steam engines, traction
engines, vintage tractors, children's games; food and drink available. £10 adult; £5 child in advance
only no pay on the day. Please send an SAE with cheque payee 'J Martin' to: (RLR), Richmond Farm,
New Barn Rd, Hawkenbury, Kent, TN12 0EE. Queries [email protected] For anyone who has
not visited since 2014, there is a significant branch with a bridge over a pond to 'New Barn Halt'.

1231] Acton LT Museum Depot, 23 & 24 Sep, 11.00-17.00: (MR p17) (BLN 1281.MR83) Open days,
visit the interesting Museum and Depot, ride the Acton Miniature Railway extension (OP 22 Apr 17).
NB: £12 (concessions £10) as mentioned in BLN 1281 but this covers both days

1232] (Great) Glass Elevator Funicular, Manchester: (Unusual Transport Systems 2017 p14; BLN 939.
MR29) Urbis Building, National Football Museum Cathedral Gardens, M4 3BG,
(SJ 840988) by Exchange Square Metrolink stop,0161 8709275. Whatever your inclinations are about
the nature of this transport system, admission to the museum (set in a spectacular interesting glass
building) and rides are free. The run is about 140ft long at an angle of 45o, 'up' to the 4th floor (the 5th &
6th are a restaurant, not part of the museum, accessed by a 90o lift). The single car and counterbalance
weight are cable worked with a static electric motor at the top. The car has wheels on the inclined flat
surface and horizontal guide wheels rather than flanges. It is used by the general public to the museum
3rd floor but the 'rare section' to the 4th requires a member of staff with a special key. This was kindly
arranged on the spot without any problem (in return for a suitable donation into the museum 'bucket')
for your FS, Treasurer and Editor with a bemused family from Australia who happened to be in the
right place at the right time. An interest in football is not mandatory; Charlie and Pete think it's great!

BELOW: View of the Manchester Elevator Funicular and 'track' (both pictures Ian Mortimer Dec 2016).

Click to View FlipBook Version