Issue Number 1299 (Items 301 - 428 &IsMsuRe3N1u-mMbRer3912) 68 (E-BLN 61 PAGES) 24 Feb 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
……………… BLN 1400 is dated Sat 10 MaSor;ciceotyn.tSroibciuettiyo. ns must be received by Wed 28 Feb
301] Do we have your correct .POSTAL ADDRESS.? Even if you only subscribe to e-BLN please notify
Alan Welsh, our Membership Secretary, as above, if you have moved address since you renewed
your membership in 2017 (or if you are one of our many recent new members and have changed
address). We hope to post out Peter Scott's 30th Minor Railways (2018) guide with BLN 1301 for
Easter and a posted copy goes to all full members (including e-BLN subscribers). You can check your
address, email details etc at our website: Log in, cross to 'More options…' then down to 'My details'.
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
1298 JE OPEN
Sun 25/2/18 Morning, T&W Metro FULL; 16.50-17.30 Tanfield Railway
Thu 8/3/18 NEW: Signal Box visits, Abergele - Rockcliffe Hall: SEE BELOW 1299 NJ *OPEN*
24-25/3/18 The Sussex Salopian SUNDAY 25 MAR OPTION - SEE BELOW 1295 JE OPEN
24/3/18 PM PM Bognor Regis, Hotham Park 12¼" gauge railway tour 1296 JE OPEN
25/3/18 AM 08.00-10.00: Crewe Heritage Centre tour (see e-BLN 1296) e1296 JE Enquire
Sat 7/4/18 Late morning visit to 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Railway 1299 TV OPEN
Sun 15/4/18 09.45 (confirmed)-13.30: Crich VERY Comprehensive tour 1296 JE OPEN
20-24/4/18 5 day tour: Finnish freight lines that might be finishing 1290 IS OPEN
Sat 28/4/18 The Inverclyde First Aider, WCR Class 37 Crewe - Scotland 1299 JE *OPEN*
3 to 5/5/18 Island of Ireland Thur - Sat: FULL WITH A FULL WAITING LIST 1295 KA CLOSED
Sun 6/5/18 Dublin Irish Rail mainline tour - OPEN FOR BOOKINGS 1295 KA *OPEN*
Sat 12/5/18 The 565 Special - Take 2 with WCR & Colas Class 37s 1298 JE OPEN
Sat 2/6/18 PM: The Arlington Explorer Eastleigh Works track/traction 1297 JE Enquire
Sat 9/6/18 NEW: Save the date, track and traction event 2ft gauge line TBA TBA Claimed
TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 10/6/18 NEW: Save the date, mini-excursion with Chiltern Railways 1298 JE Enquire
Thu 14/6/18 The Nosey Peaker, DRS Cl 37s Stafford 08.30 - Crewe 17.00 TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 1/7/18 Ketton Cement Works, Rutland, all day track & traction event
Sat 21/7/18 Middlesbrough Goods, AV Dawson, (new) track & traction 1297 JE OPEN
Sun 5/8/18 Standard gauge Scottish minor railway, save date TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 25/8/18 NEW: Adrian Shooter's Beeches Light Railway Oxfordshire 1299 JE *OPEN*
IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, TV-Terry Velvick, = book online at branchline.uk
302] .SILENT CHARITY AUCTION: (A summary of e-BLN 1298) A VIP footplate ride experience
for two on an EMT HST. All proceeds to 'Railway Children'. Reserve £700. Exclusive offer
for BLS members! EMT is offering the chance to experience a VP185 powered (or MTU after May, or
both) HST footplate experience in exchange for a charitable donation to Railway Children (can be gift
aided). The winner and a friend or relative will be accompanied by a senior EMT operations
team member, your expert guide for the day as you enjoy a driver's eye experience in a HST cab at up
to 125mph. Normally something money can't buy … but for you it can, and with an added charitable
feel-good factor! How much is this once in a lifetime opportunity worth to you? The ultimate present
for a friend and an opportunity not to miss‽ Please be generous - it really could be you!
A mutually suitable date will be agreed with the winner, as will the format for the day regarding start
time, location and services to be covered. Previous charity footplate rides have included Nottingham -
London and return along the amazing Midland Mainline. Also an ECS, Derby Etches Park to Sheffield
via Beighton, then to St Pancras, on to Cricklewood Depot, back to St Pancras, Nottingham and to
Derby. EMT will make it bespoke for you (rare track at Etches Park - being remodelled - and/or
Cricklewood are possible). Bid by email to [email protected] with 'BLS Footplate
Ride' in the header. The email needs to state the amount bid, name, email and phone number. Bidders
must be over 18 and pay the Just Giving site after the auction. Well behaved Children over 8 may
participate but an adult must supervise. Details/requirements will be explained in full, applicants must
be able bodied to access the cab from ballast level. Closes midday Wednesday 28 February 2018.
The winner will be contacted directly. Details of the itinrary will also be shared in a future BLN.
X.21] North Wales Signal Box Visits, Thu 8 Mar, 10.00 at Llandudno Junction station: (See item 412)
Thanks to members Barney Clark and Nick Jones a chance to visit at least some of the boxes that close
26 Mar. Charitable donation £4 per box, max £32 if all eight are visited: Abergele, Rhyl (formerly No1),
Prestatyn, Talacre, Mostyn (closed 9 Jan 2017), Holywell Junction, Rockcliffe Hall and Tyn-Y-Morfa
crossing keepers hut west of Talacre. High viz vest and suitable footwear required, please advise if you
can provide lifts (and how many) or require one. The leader reserves the right to reduce the number of
cars to a minimum. Members only; limited numbers, notify Nick: [email protected]
303] 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Railway, Sat 7 April: (BLN 1288.MR168, picture e-BLN) Our well
known members Terry and Elizabeth Velvick have kindly arranged a Society visit to this 10¼" gauge
railway which only opened in March 2016 on the A339 Newbury Road, Headley, Hampshire, RG19 8JY,
(SU 509 635). The visit is expected to begin late morning, £4 per head (pay on the day cash only),
non-members welcome, charge for the railway and admission (the other childrens' activities not
included!), a considerable saving on the normal adult £9.95 admission. The café will be available to
purchase refreshments. Not available to book online; please send an A5 size SAE to Terry at 75 Castle
View Gardens, Westham, Pevensey, BN24 5HS .by 17 March.. BLS Fixtures Terms & Conditions apply.
304] BLS Finland tour 20-24 Apr: (BLN 1290.2000) This is viable and confirmed with the operator who
advises that they will run the tour as advertised subject to timetabling and engineering constraints.
These are currently being worked on, with coverage of additional private sidings etc and further details
will be announced later. They have permission to operate over all state-owned lines and the tour can
go ahead. Therefore flights, hotels and other travel arrangements can now be made, obviously with
pre-purchased travel insurance cover. If anyone else is interested, further bookings can be accepted.
X.22] The Sunday Salopian, Sun 25 Mar: Those who have booked on the Sat 25 Mar 'Sussex Salopian'
(places available) can travel at no extra charge. A 'Track & Traction' loco-hauled mini railtour with the
West Coast Railway Company (WCR) and '84G Railtours' (thanks to Tim Brawn). Crewe to Carnforth,
our 9-coach charter will be hauled by a West Coast Class 37. Fare between any two points: £25 BLS
members, £37 non-members. Timings (provisional) and route as validated by WCR and bid to NR:
Crewe PU 12.05 - Acton Grange Jn - Walton Old Jn - Warrington BQ P4 - Earlestown P4 - Bamfurlong
Down Goods Line - Wigan NW P5 - Preston SD P7 13.30 - Barton & Broughton Down Pass Loop -
Oubeck Down Goods Loop - Lancaster SD P5 (Up Passenger Loop 2) - Carnforth Up & Down Goods
Loop - Carnforth SD 15.05. Important for all bookings: please advise where you intend to join and
alight (this is for coach stewarding purposes and can be changed subsequently by notification). Book
via website (preferred) or ask someone to do this for you, they will need your full name/membership
number or to Jill Everitt per back page. Please supply an email address or SAE if paying by cheque.
305] The Inverclyde First Aider, Sat 28 Apr: (Previous page) a 9-coach Class 37 Track & Traction tour to
Scotland with WCR and St John Ambulance, interesting Baker and 'Quail' track so you will be able to
get some 'Red Cross(overs)'. An ETH Class 47 or 57 will assist as necessary. A buffet car will serve hot
food including breakfast rolls, drinks, snacks and light refreshments. At least two real ales are expected
to be available. First Class Plus passengers will benefit from complimentary morning tea/coffee with a
Danish pastry, and in the afternoon: tea/coffee, savoury of the day and a selection of fine cakes.
All proceeds from the raffle will be in 'aid' of St John Ambulance (some NW volunteers will join us).
Validated bid (to be confirmed including times): Crewe P5 (PU 05.29) - Down Slow - Down Helsby -
Warrington BQ P3 (PU 06.21) - Dn Main - Dallam Royal Mail Terminal P2 (rev) - Dallam Freight Yard
Road 1 (rev) - Dallam Royal Mail Terminal P1 - Bamfurlong Down Fast to Down Slow - Wigan Dn &
Up Pass Loop - Wigan NW P5 (PU 07.14) - Preston P7 (PU 07.35) - Penrith P3 (Dn Slow) - Upperby
Dn Gds - Upperby Jn - Carlisle P3 (PU 09.26) - Lockerbie UP Pass Loop - Carstairs - Shieldmuir Royal
Mail Terminal - Motherwell - Mossend Dn Reception - Coatbridge Dn Goods - Gartcosh - Springburn
P1 - Eastfield Loop (rev) - Springburn P2 - Down City Union - Shields Jn - Arkleston (Paisley) DGL -
Paisley Gilmour Street - Barassie DPL - Falkland DGL - Newton-on-Ayr (BREAK) - Mauchline Jn -
New Cumnock UGL - Mossband Jn Up Gds - Kingmoor Up Avoiding/Arrival - Up Avoiding - Up Goods
- Caldew Jn - Carlisle P1 (SD 18.41) - Tebay Up & Dn Gds - Carnforth No1 Up & Dn Gds - Preston P3
(SD 20.42) - Wigan NW P1 (SD 21.07) - Up Goods - Earlestown P5 - Warrington BQ (SD 21.52) - Up
Main - Acton Bridge Up Slow - Up Fast - Crewe Coal Yard UF to US - Crewe P5 (SD 22.24).
Standard Class £84; First Class Plus £134; First Class Plus at a table for two £144 (per person);
Non-members supplement £12, Under 18s (must be accompanied) deduct £5. Please support this
ambitious tour and book at our website, logged in, to receive members' discounts - this greatly assists
your volunteer committee, or ask someone to do it for you (they will need your membership number
and full name). Queries and postal bookings (with email address or SAE) to Jill Everitt (per back page).
306] The Fairview Fáilte, Sun 6 May: We are delighted to announce an exciting and unusual charter in
conjunction with Railway Children, operated by Irish Rail, traversing unusual lines in the Dublin and
surrounding area with a leg stretch break at Bray and a photo stop at Ballybrophy! Highlights include
the Ballybrophy connection, Fairview Up Carriage Sidings, Connolly Carriage Wash Line, Heuston P10
and Yard, the lengthy M3 Parkway headshunt (21ch past the station under the M3 motorway junction
on the ex-Midland Great Western Clonsilla to Navan line), Newcomen curve, loops, crossovers and
bidirectional running. The Society is indebted to David Franks, IR Chief Executive and Brian O'Meara,
Train Planning and Performance Manager for their dedication in progressing the project. We will have
a 3-car InterCity Railcar with power sockets at every seat, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and toilets.
All of the raffle proceeds will be donated to Railway Children. There will be a trolley service of drinks
and light refreshments. A souvenir map, ticket and tour brochure will be provided to all participants.
Timings/routing (below) are provisional. Participants should have appropriate travel documents and
travel insurance where required. £65 per head, under 18s (must be accompanied) £5/€6 reduction;
bookings preferred via our website (or please ask someone to do this for you - they will need your full
name and membership number). Fare €80 by cheque from a Euro account. Queries/postal bookings:
Jill Everitt, per back page (with email address/sae valid for posting from UK). (PICTURE: Irish Rail)
ROUTE, validated and bid by IR Operations Planning & Performance: Dublin Connolly P6 (PU 07.30)
- Dublin Pearse P1 - Grand Canal Dock P2 (PU/rev 07.50) - Pearse P2 - Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn -
Broombridge (PU 08.09) - Maynooth P1 (rev) - Clonsilla P2 (rev) - M3 Parkway P2 (rev) - Clonsilla
bay P3 (rev) - M3 Parkway P1 - M3 Parkway headshunt (rev) - M3 Parkway P2 - Clonsilla -
Newcomen Jn - Docklands P2 (rev) - Newcomen Jn - Signal DS108 (rev) - Docklands P1 (rev) -
Glasnevin Jn - Signal CW53 (rev) - Drumcondra - Connolly - Pearse Down Loop - Dun Laoghaire P3
(rev) - Signal DL32 (rev) - Dun Laoghaire P2 - Bray Middle Road - Bray Loop (rev) - Bray Bay P3
(rev; break) - Bray Loop (rev) - Connolly P5 - Fairview Up Carriage Sidings (rev) - Connolly Carriage
Wash Road - Connolly P1 (rev) - Drumcondra - Heuston P10 - Islandbridge Jn - Signal HN256 (rev) -
Heuston Yard No1 Road - Heuston P4 (rev) - Islandbridge Jn - Relief Line - Park West Dn Slow - Sallins
& Naas Up Loop - Kildare P2/Up Loop - Portarlington Dn Loop - Portlaoise Dn Loop - Ballybrophy P4
(rev) - Signal BY497/NGF3 (rev) - Ballybrophy P3 (rev) - Portlaoise Dn Loop - Portlaoise P1 -
Portarlington Up Loop - Hazelhatch & Celbridge bay P5 - Islandbridge Jn - Heuston P1 (SD 17.48).
307] Beeches Light Railway, Oxfordshire, Sat 25 Aug 12.00-16.00: 15 mins walk from Heyford station.
Thanks to Martyn Brailsford and the railway's owner, Adrian Shooter, we have been invited to visit his
delightful 1' 11⅝" gauge line - based on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). It only opens a few
times each year to selected railway societies etc and, although we will be sharing with others, Adrian is
happy to allow some rare moves. The main motive power is an original DHR steam loco, but a Post
Office Railway train should hopefully be running! A highly recommended barbeque is included, hot and
cold soft drinks in pleasant surroundings and a chance to view the interesting collection close up.
BLS Members only as it is limited to 50 places, £33, under 18s must be accompanied, no reductions.
Bookings close end of July (or when full). Please book (logged in) via our website and for others who do
not have website access (membership No and full name needed). Postal bookings with cheque/CPA to
Jill Everitt per back page with email address or SAE. Queries to Martyn at: [email protected]
308] *NEW* The Angus McDougall BLN Photographic Competition, keeping you in the picture:
Thanks to the generosity of our well known member, Angus McDougall, a former Society chairman
of 20 years there will be an annual BLN Pictorial competition with a cash prize (and fame for the
winner!). The pictures, which can be from anywhere in the world, will be judged (independently of
each other) by our Society Photographer, Geoff Plumb, your Editor and a different ordinary member
each year. We are keen to encourage more contributions; themed collections should be about 5 to
25 images with captions and an introductory paragraph. To see the previous pictures and guidelines
log in to our website, go along to 'BLN Pictorials' and click on 'guidelines for submission'.
309] London Underground Jan 2018 Microgricing Guide: Compiled by Martyn Brailsford, with line
diagrams and thanks to Bill Lynch for data extraction. Now available with e-BLN 1299 on our website.
1299 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
PLEASE USE OUR GENERIC EMAIL ADDRESSES (AS LINE ABOVE) FOR AUTO-FORWARDING
310] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1286.1609 18 Sep 17 16 Mar 18 Seaton Tramway, Riverside Loop south end - Seaton
1275.366 11 Nov 17 25 Mar 18 (Kirkham North Jn) - Blackpool North
1291.2113 14 Oct 17 30 Mar 18 Darlaston Jn - Walsall Pleck Jn (SO weekly PSUL EMU)
1298.208 27 Jan 18 Unknown (Limerick) (0m 56ch) - Sixmilebridge - (Ennis)
1298.214 12 May 18? 20 Aug 18? *(Aberdeen) - (Dyce) [Proposed] Revised start date (was 11th)
1286.1612 22 Jul 18 7 Oct 18 Derby station/associated lines - a series of partial closures
1297.123 20 Oct 18 28 Oct 18 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Lewes) (also 16 to 24 Feb 2019)
List is in chronological order of anticipated reopening unless there is a special reason to do otherwise.
ABOVE: 1961 One-inch 7th Series map. Middle left is Gosforth Depot (item 312 below & 362), the
'avoiding line' ran to the south then. Upper right are the various junctions/former junctions at Benton.
311] Benton South Jn (former Benton Quarry Jn*) - Benton Station Jn: CA Sun 4 Feb 1990, the double
track south to west curve. The facing connection of the (by then) single lead junction points in the
Down Main line near MP 4¼ (from Newcastle) was secured OOU pending removal. This curve was
latterly the only physical connection between BR and the Tyne & Wear Metro. It was also available for
BR freight services to Callerton ICI Sidings (explosives traffic) until Bank Foot Jn - Callerton ICI CA 6 Mar
1989. (Rowntrees Fawdon (Coxlodge) chocolate crumb factory had CG 28 Jul 1988 with the demise of
Speedlink.) This suggests that Bank Foot Jn - Benton South Jn (ex-Quarry Jn) was still in BR ownership
as at 6 Mar 1989. Does anyone have a closure and/or transfer date for this section please? [*Renamed
on/before Mon 6 Mar 1989; the other part of the former Benton Quarry Jn (for the south to east
curve to the Blyth & Tyne), slightly north, also became the still operational now Benton North Jn.]
312] Tyne & Wear Metro, Gosforth West Jn - Gosforth Depot bidirectional Avoiding Line (1.245km
long) - Gosforth East Jn: (north of the depot) now NRU. OP 26 Feb 1996 for a 05.36 (SSuX) Tynemouth
to Airport unidirectional through service for early flights. This was unsuccessful and withdrawn from
the 29 Dec 1997 timetable change (final train ran 24 Dec 1997 with the amended Christmas timetable).
The last diversionary use for normal services was thought to be over two weekends in May / early Jun
2007 (BLN 1046.626). It is no longer used for diversions as a proper service cannot be run due to the
low line speed and single track. The points at each end are not operated regularly and there is a risk
that their use may lead to delays from failure. The last passenger carrying train is believed to have
been Sun 31 May 2015, a Nexus special (BLN 1237.1355) - available to the public by application online
- celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first Metro cars (4001 & 4002) arriving on the test track.
313] Fawkham Jn - Southfleet Jn: (BLN 1256.877) 'Up & Down Waterloo Connection Lines' (6.03km
long). The only passenger diversions after CP (Eurostar trains) 1 Nov 2007 was 3 Jan 2011 - three Down
morning Southeastern 'Javelin' services. These St Pancras International to Faversham trains reversed
on HS1 at Southfleet Jn to Fawkham Jn and then reversed again at Swanley due to a fire at Higham.
314] Ebbw Vale Town, Lower - Upper Cableway stops: (BLN 1295.2461) TCP (with previously reported
CCTV cable fault) was Mar to Oct 2017; on repair it closed again for three days of annual maintenance!
315] Hunterston Jn - Hunterston High Level: (amending BLN 1285.1451) NRU, the last (GBRf) loaded
coal train left on Thur 6 (not Sat 8th) April 2017 at 19.33 for Drax Power Station (arriving there 06.30
next morning). The empty wagons had arrived at 16.48 from Port of Tyne where they had left at 09.34
that morning. The last tour was our 'BLS Hunterston Tracker' on 13 Oct 2012. Nuclear flask traffic (DRS)
continues to run most Fridays between Hunterston Low Level and Sellafield and ran Fri 16 Feb 2018.
316] Lairg Sidings Ground Frame (66m 6ch) - Lairg Oil Terminal: (BLN 1285.1462) On Wed 9 Aug 2017
the final inward oil train reached the terminal at 23.48 (it had left Grangemouth Ineos Refinery 12.54).
The last discharged oil wagons left for Grangemouth at 13.00 Thu 24 Aug 2017, arriving there at 22.28.
317] Fort William Oil Terminal: (BLN 1285.1462) The final inward oil train arrived on Wed 10 Sep 2017
at 20.20 (70 minutes early); it had left Grangemouth Ineos Refinery at 14.12. The discharged oil
wagons all returned to Grangemouth at 13.13 next day (Thu 11 Sep 2017), arriving there at 20.58.
318] Blackfriars Jn (0m 40ch/0m 63ch) - Metropolitan Jn (1m 31ch): (BLN 1229.18) An ECS test train
ran with EMU 700017 on Mon 1 Jan 2018 prior to ROP (ie available) Tue 2 Jan 2018 (TCP 20 Dec 2014).
319] Ffestiniog Railway, Porthmadog (excl) - Blaenau Ffestiniog (incl) and intermediate stations: No
passenger trains run 2 Jan to 23 Mar 2018, extended winter engineering period for work in the 'new'
294yd Moelwyn Tunnel. 400 tonnes of old ballast is being removed to Boston Lodge, 200 tonnes of
new ballast brought in (intensive freight working) with drainage work and the track is all being relaid.
320] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, Broadway extension: On Wed 24 Jan a ballast
train was the first the reach the new end of line (SP 0918 3867), over ¼ mile northeast of and past the
station. There are two parallel sidings with buffer stops using the former (double track) bed. It is just
before the overbridge taking the continuation of Springfield Lane over the cutting beyond the station.
321] Acton Dive-Under (5m 20ch - 4m 40ch): TCA Wed 24 Jan 2018 midday (last service 10.32 Didcot
to Paddington EMU). The driver noticed that part of the concrete block retaining wall had collapsed
and was touching the overhead. The affected wall was removed next day but further assessment was
needed. A similar problem was noticed on 26 Dec 2017 with crumbling and displaced blocks at the
country end of the dive-under. An 8m x 5m section of the wall was then removed and the route then
ROP 27 Dec at 14.18. It has been reported that a Road Rail Vehicle had caused damage to the walls.
322] Leeds, Whitehall Road Jn (185m 26ch) - Whitehall Road Yard: (BLN 1289.1911) On Wed 31 Jan
2018 a GBRf light engine (66724) route learning special from Doncaster Decoy Down Yard arrived at
13.25 (and tested the track circuits), returning at 14.20. It was said to be the first use for about 10-13
years of the yard which has been remodelled with just two sidings now for the new traffic. There are
paths (02.25 MSSuX & 03.56 SO) from Sat 3 Mar for inert waste trains to Scunthorpe Roxby Gullet.
323] Gidea Park Stabling Lines 1-4 (14m 03ch): (BLN 1297.136) Commissioned Mon 5 Feb* (not 2 Feb)
The first ECS test train arrived from Gidea Park on Mon 5 Feb 2018 at 18.32 with the first departure, to
Ilford EMU Depot, at 19.39. The simplified and renamed former 'Carriage Sidings' (TCA 27 Nov 2017)
were in full use from 12 Feb. (*Also date of commissioning of new points, new signals and associated
signalling alterations for Crossrail at Channelsea North Jn, Stratford station and Pudding Mill Lane.)
324] Whitlingham Jn - Acle/Berney Arms - Yarmouth (incl) & Reedham Jn - Oulton Broad North Jn &
11 stations: Norwich - Yarmouth/Lowestoft trains; TCP 10-18 Feb 2018 for resignalling & remodelling.
325] Portsmouth & Southsea P1 & 2 (excl) - Portsmouth Harbour (incl): TCA 12-16 Feb to replace the
142 year old Burnaby Rd underbridge (SU 6361 0008) (44m 77ch) with a new one weighing 88 tonnes.
326] Frodsham Jn - Halton Jn: TCA Sat 10 Feb 2018 (except Engineer's trains with access from the
Frodsham Jn end only) in connection with work to restore bidirectional working; 10 & 11 Feb were
possessions. From 19 Feb the 'Down Chester/Liverpool' was renamed the 'Frodsham Single'.
327] Alton branch, Holybourne Oil Sidings (47m 28ch): (BLN 1265.1814) Final train from Eastleigh Tue
13 Feb 2018; a Class 67 arrived 11.30 and left 16.06 for Eastleigh East Yd (18.02) with the stored tanks.
328] Kettering P3 & 4 (incl*) - Corby - Manton Jn: (BLN 1297.130) TCP/TCA Sat 17 to Sun 25 Feb 2018
(half term) for remodelling, redoubling and resignalling as described. *For weekends 17/18 & 24/25
Feb, Bedford (excl) - Wellingborough - Kettering - Market Harborough - Wigston North Jn: TCP/A.
PREVIOUS PAGE: Top: the old Kettering layout, that before the recent commissioning and the new
layout restoring four tracks, then Corby before and after the redoubling. (Thanks to Martyn Brailsford.)
Interestingly with the new layout/signalling seven trains an hour could run each way Kettering - Corby!
329] Stirling (excl) - Alloa (incl)/Alloa East Jn: TCP/A Sat 17 Mar - Sun 15 Apr: Four week electrification
works closure; also Stirling P6, 9, 10, Up Passenger Loop and Up Engineer's Sidings. Trains normally
using Stirling P6, 9 & 10 (very few use P10) divert to other platforms, particularly south bays 7 & 8.
330] Holytown Jn - Midcalder Jn & nine stations (Carfin - Livingston South): TCP/A from 20.30 Thur 29
Mar to Sun 9 Apr (Incl). An 11+ day Easter holiday closure for £3.5M platform lengthening and
widening at Livingston South with new stairs, ramps, lifts, lighting, CCTV, ticket machines, validators
and waiting shelters. [All in 11 days - really? - has someone has been watching 60 Minute Makeover‽]
OHLE work and connecting it at Midcalder Jn with further concrete foundations and masts is included.
Of note, Holytown is still served by 07.36 SSuX Carstairs to Garscadden & 17.00 Anderston to Carstairs
return commuter EMU services. The five stations Kirknewton - Slateford (both incl) are served by the
(SSuX) 07.05 Glasgow Central to North Berwick via Carstairs and the 17.56 North Berwick to Ayr return
plus the 23.14 (SuX) Edinburgh to Motherwell via Carstairs. Otherwise it's buses for all these stations.
331] Brighton, Volk's Electric Railway, Halfway (excl; already open) - Black Rock station (for Marina)
(incl): (BLN 1291.2115) (MR p16) ROP anticipated Good Fri 30 Mar 2018 (TCP for refurbishment after
running 4 Sep 2016), The 1 mile 'first public electric railway in the world' would be fully reopened then.
333] Newton Abbot East Jn (0m 14ch) - Heathfield (BLNs 1257.986 & 1298.269) The temporary OOU
status (saving business rates) of the branch from 0m 55ch (a temporary sleeper stop block) to the end
of line at 4m 07ch from 21 May 2016 until 28 Apr 2018 is to be extended for a further two years.
Access is maintained to Newton Abbot bay (former P9, later the Motorail dock). The final train (two
return trips) to Heathfield, a FGW HST, was our 'First Devon & Exeter Explorer' railtour of 10 Oct 2015.
332] Bristol Temple Meads: TCA Easter, Fri 30 Mar until Tue 3 Apr 2018 (both incl) for NR's (£130M)
largest ever resignalling project; 500 people commissioning 500 pieces of equipment. TCP/TCA are:
●Stoke Gifford No1 Jn/Patchway Jn - Bristol TM (incl) - Weston-super-Mare (excl) / Uphill Jn.
●Bristol East Jn / Dr Day's Jn - Bath Spa. ●Severn Beach - Narroways Jn. ●18 intermediate stations.
CrossCountry services terminate at Bristol Parkway and Taunton with coaches between. Cardiff to
Bristol TM (etc) services run through Bristol Parkway to/from Gloucester, Worcester Shrub Hill and
Great Malvern. The first Saturday Pilning train runs to Gloucester and the second to Great Malvern.
At Bath Spa nearly all trains from/to Westbury etc turnaround in P1 and Paddington services in P2.
334] North Blyth, Battleship Wharf Ground Frame (2m 51ch) - Battleship Wharf: The coal comes by
road from opencast sites at Shotton, Cramlington and Seaton Burn. They are due to close soon so rail
traffic is expected to cease but up to 4,000 tonnes daily has been sent out recently to Drax & Cottam
Power Stations and Port Talbot Steel Works. The last tour was 18 Jan 2014; UKRT 'The Old Battle Axe'.
335] Energetický a Průmyslový, Whitley Bridge Jn - Eggborough Power Station - Whitley Bridge Jn:
(BLN 1286.165) The Power Station is to close when its generation contract expires on 30 Sep 2018.
336] Hamworthy Jn - Hamworthy Quay: (BLN 124.239) It has been reported that stone traffic (from
Whatley Quarry) will finish, probably in April. (Previously ROG Wed 25 Jan 2017.) Some of the stone is
shipped to the Channel Islands and the contract has ended or will soon. The stone terminal, which is
east of the branch near the main line end, may be cleared for housing development. There is no other
traffic on the branch but empty trains run round at the old Hamworthy passenger station (117m 60ch).
337] Greenford West Jn - Greenford East Jn - Park Royal - Old Oak Common West Jn: CP expected
after running Fri 7 Dec 2018, also CA as a through route due to HS2 construction; the line may well not
reopen. From Mon 10 Dec 2018 the Chiltern SSuX PSUL services, 10.57 South Ruislip to Paddington
returning at 11.36 to High Wycombe run via Greenford South Jn and West Ealing (1m 28ch longer).
338] Greenford West Jn (8m 76ch) - Greenford LUL Bay Jn (8m 65ch): OP expected Mon 10 Dec 2018.
1299 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
339] E-BLN release emails: Due to the large number sent out and email group limits they are done in
batches, but all are sent within a few minutes of each other. If your email is delayed (compared with
others), this may be due to normal variations between email providers and the BLN distribution team
is not guilty! In any case, there is no requirement to wait for an email before looking at the website!
340] Spring News: Partly to reduce use of plastic bottles, NR is to trial a free drinking water fountain at
London Charing Cross in Mar then stream them out to the other 17 NR managed stations. These are:
❶Leeds, ❷Glasgow Central, ❸Edinburgh Waverley, ❹Manchester Piccadilly, ❺Liverpool Lime
Street, ❻Birmingham New Street, ❼Bristol Temple Meads, ❽Reading and London main stations at:
❾Euston, ❿St Pancras International ('NR High Speed Limited' for HS1), ⓫Liverpool Street,
⓬Paddington, ⓭King's Cross, ⓮London Bridge, ⓯Cannon Street, ⓰Waterloo, and ⓱Victoria.
Waterbeach, Virginia Water, Canada Water, Water Orton and Wateringbury do not qualify. Handel's
Water Music on the station piano or played by the Coldstream Guards anyone?
341] Choice Chiltern Crossovers: #High Wycombe South trailing X/O: Originating service to London.
#Princes Risborough: All Aylesbury shuttles use bay P1 except 06.05 (SSuX) ex-Aylesbury uses P2 as it
is then ECS to Beaconsfield. South Facing X/O (24m 15ch): Through Marylebone to Aylesbury via
Princes Risborough trains. (As a point of interest the (SSuX) 06.40 & 19.24 from Marylebone terminate
in P3 rather than P2 so the stock can shunt to P2 via Thame Siding to retain driver route knowledge.)
North Trailing X/O (24m 50ch): Sun 11 Mar until 12.00, Marylebone - Haddenham shuttles run via
Princes Risborough P2 to Haddenham P1 and back on the Down Main, via the X/O in both directions.
#Bicester North South facing X/O, Down Main to Up P2: (SSuX) 17.24, 18.47† & 22.43 ex-Marylebone
and 21.40 (SuO). North trailing X/O: P2 to Down Main (SSuX) 05.46 to Birmingham Snow Hill and 18.47
Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill (this trains also does Bicester North south facing X/O as well †).
#Banbury Down Banbury Loop facing X/O, P1 to Down Cherwell Valley: (SO) 06.00 & 08.14 Banbury to
Moor Street, 16.24 (SSuX) Marylebone to Snow Hill and 09.43 Marylebone to Stratford-upon-Avon.
#Oxford: All Chiltern trains are booked to use bay P1 or P2 (generally alternating) except those too
long for the bays: (all SSuX) P3: 06.25 from Bicester Village (loco hauled), 17.50 & 18.18 (loco-hauled)
ex-Marylebone. P4: (SSuX) 06.43, 07.17, 07.43, 19.28 & 20.00 (loco-hauled) to Marylebone. The 07.17
is booked Down Passenger Loop (DPL) to Oxford North Jn. After early July, with Oxford remodelling/
resignalling there will no longer be access towards Oxford Parkway from Oxford Down Passenger Loop.
Oxford North Jn to Oxford via Up Main (rather than Up Oxford Relief) to pass trains leaving Oxford:
(SSuX) 06.25 ex-Bicester Village, 07.40, 14.35 & 20.40; plus (SO) 07.40 & 17.06 all from Marylebone.
#Hatton: P3 - Down Dorridge: 16.24 (SSuX) Marylebone to Snow Hill (17.15 ex-Marylebone overtakes).
#Dorridge Up & Down Passenger Loop (P3), facing X/O before and trailing X/O after: 06.24‡ SSuX
Stourbridge Junction to Leamington Spa, overtaken by 06.38 Stourbridge Junction to Marylebone.
#Birmingham Snow Hill P1 dep via tunnel trailing X/O: 17.14‡ SSuX to Whitlocks End, 08.17‡ SO to
Dorridge, 18.12 SSuX to Marylebone & 22.15 SO to Banbury. P3 arrival via tunnel facing X/O: 07.11
SSuX and 18.10 SO from Marylebone also 08.57‡ SuO ex-Dorridge & 19.25‡ SSuX from Whitlocks End.
Facing X/O from Jewellery Quarter into P2: (SSuX) 08.02‡ from Worcester Foregate Street and 08.44‡
& 08.53‡ both from Stourbridge Junction (these three all use Snow Hill P2 to pass the Chiltern train
turning round from London in P3). Country end trailing X/O: NRU. (‡West Midlands Railway.)
342] BLN 1297 Quiz: (BLN 1299.219) Similar in layout to Ellesmere Port, but 10,500 miles away, is
Frankston, the outer limit of Melbourne electric suburban services in Victoria. The Stony Point branch
diesel railcar services arrive at, and leave in the opposite direction from, the same platform as electric
services several times a day. Unlike in the UK little space separates the two (just a white line on the
platform) but the railcars stop a little short of the sign and signals limit approach speeds of both lines.
Back in the UK, on the Guildford New Line ('New' as in 1885 but the name has stuck!) electrification
was initially from Surbiton to Claygate with a change to a steam train there for Effingham Junction
and Guildford. LSWR suburban electrification began in 1915, reaching Hampton Court 18 Jun 1916 and
Claygate 20 Nov 1916. WWI prevented extensions and due to its effects the Claygate electric services
were withdrawn in Jun 1919. On 12 Jul 1925, electric services began from Waterloo to Guildford (via
Claygate) and Effingham Junction (via Leatherhead), six return trains daily on each route (two SuO)!!
PREVIOUS PAGE: The 'thin white line' (on the platform). A 25 Jan 2018 photo, unfortunately not with
both trains in, showing just how close they can get. In practice, the diesel railcars stop a few yards
short of the sign. The EMU will depart away from the camera back to Melbourne. (Malcolm Simister)
BELOW TOP: Frankston; a Stony Creek train (not a railcar then) but no other train evident then.
BELOW LOWER: Looking the other way, note the signals. (Both Angus McDougall on 23 Oct 2005.)
343] Hope for the Hope Valley: On 13 Feb, after a long, expensive and protracted uphill struggle with
the planning system and the inevitable NIMBYs, NR was finally granted permission by the Secretary of
State for Transport for the Hope Valley Capacity works. The 'Bamford Package' is a new loop between
Bamford and Hathersage for overtaking, and the 'Dore Package' includes extending the Up & Down
Dore Curve at Dore West Jn (to hold 520m freight trains - originally envisaged as 640m but reduced by
NR to meet objections) and the much needed redoubling through Dore station. The existing platform
will be lengthened and a new platform built including a new footbridge with lifts and platform fittings.
Bamford Loop will be around 1,062m long (shorter than originally envisaged to reduce costs and help
meet objections) and requires Hathersage west foot crossing to be replaced with a footbridge. The line
through Dore was singled in Mar 1985 by cash strapped BR to save the cost of replacing the footbridge
(and a single track could handle the traffic on offer at the time). The result of the improvements is that
three fast trains an hour instead of two will be able to run in each direction between Manchester and
Sheffield plus an hourly local service (at present it is two-hourly) with the freight trains as well. Subject
to funding, work (originally to be completed in 2018) could start in 2019 and take up to three years.
344] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1295.2480] The closure of the District Line west of South Kensington from
24 to 30 Dec 2017 was for relaying three junctions at Earl's Court. Over 100 sleepers were replaced at
Wimbledon and Wimbledon Park also. Resignalling was carried out on part of the Circle Line which did
not run between Aldgate and Edgware Road via Victoria. ●BLN 1298.206] The 21 Jan landslip on the
Treherbert branch was where it runs between a large embankment on the Down side and the River
Rhondda on the Up side, about ¼ mile north of the former Cymmer Level Crossing Signal Box. ●210] At
Washwood Heath all the British American Railway Services locos and equipment had moved out by
early Jan, initially to Wolsingham depot on the Weardale line. Some small items, parts etc went to the
Doncaster depot. ●231] On the Catford Loop corrosion repairs have been completed to the Catford
Hill/South Circular Road underbridge (8m 07ch) with normal working from 06.20 on Mon 12 Feb.
●BLN 1298.243] Regarding TPE Class 350 EMU max speeds, a member clocked slightly over 110mph on
two runs between Carstairs and Lockerbie in Jun 2017. The schedules show 100mph up to 19 May
2018 then, in the new timetable, 110mph. This may be just catching up with the 'rail' situation. ●251]
The Corringham Light Railway CP 3 Mar 1952, timetabled passenger services ran between Coryton
and Corringham only using one side of the triangle (east to northwest) 1946 map (PREVIOUS PAGE).
The Thames Haven to Coryton side (south to east) was used by freight and later became part of the oil
refinery railway. The third side of the triangle (south to northwest) was reported in BLN Vol 3 No27
(Dec 1957) as, prior to closure, hidden in grass and only used for turning locos. For further information
about the area see 'The Corringham Light Railway - A New History' by Peter Kay (2008) and his book
'The Thameshaven Railway' (1999). The final refinery train was on 19 Dec 2008, bitumen to Llandarcy.
●BLN 1298.MR23] The BR Bluebell Line 'Sulky Service' from 7 Aug 1956 until 16 Mar 1958 consisted of
steam trains generally with one coach leaving Lewes for East Grinstead via Sheffield Park at 9.30 &
11.30am, 1.30 & 3.30pm, returning from East Grinstead at 10.29 am, 12.28, 2.28 and 4.28pm - which
were (presumably deliberately) timed to be no use to commuters or schoolchildren but they did run
seven days a week! There was, oddly, also an extra at 4.55pm from East Grinstead SSuO which ran
from Nov to Jan inclusive. It is not generally realised that these trains ran actually from/to Brighton.
1299 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron) [email protected]
345] Toton: Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has agreed with local agencies to develop plans to open
a NR (or equivalent) East Midlands Hub station at Toton 'in the 2020s', well before HS2 Phase 2b is due
to open in 2033. HS2 Ltd envisages an eight platform station; four for HS2 and four for 'classic' trains.
The latter could open before HS2 to facilitate development of the area (an 'innovation campus' -
offices and laboratories linked to areas of university research). There are also proposals to build four
garden villages nearby. NR and DB Cargo Toton depots would relocate to another East Midlands site.
East Midlands Councils and Midlands Connect continue to press the DfT for a Midland Main Line - HS2
link for the 2033 opening of Phase 2. Classic-compatible HS2 trains could link the East Midlands with
the north of England, particularly benefiting Leicester, which has few direct trains to/from the north.
346] Elmton & Creswell Jn - Oxcroft Jn: (BLN 1297.134). To clarify, it was Oxcroft Jn (154m 15ch)
towards the western end on the line which was actually plain-lined and taken OOU from 4 Sep 1996.
Following this the section of single line 'not normally in use' was Elmton & Creswell Jn (149m 37ch) to
the padlocked sleeper across the single track at 154m 10ch, immediately on the Elmton & Creswell
side of Oxcroft Jn Ground Frame. This section was then renamed the 'Clowne Single Line'.
PAGE BEFORE LAST - LOWER: Oxcroft Jn, Gound Frame and '0' mile post for the then Oxcroft Colliery
branch (off right) from our 'Master Collier' DMU tour https://goo.gl/fPbKdF 28 Oct 1972. This went to
the colliery and then straight on to Elmton & Creswell, compare with next picture. (Angus McDougall)
PREVIOUS PAGE: Oxcroft Jn 4 Mar 2006; our 'Peterborough Re-Re-Avoider' https://goo.gl/mmwsPL
tour diverges to the Oxcroft Disposal Point (ex-Oxcroft Colliery) branch where the internal loco shed
was at the end of line. The Clowne Single Line is ahead to Elmton & Creswell Jn. (Angus McDougall)
347] Leicester South Jn: As part of a project to increase line speed a new (trailing) 'half crossover' [new
name for a set of points??] was installed in the Up Fast (98m 64ch) on 19 Feb. The 'other half' is due to
follow on 26 Feb with new points in the Down Fast (98m 69ch) - both 'halves' are clipped OOU.
348] Bennerley: (BLN 1227.339) ABOVE: Gavin Gillespie. Sustrans has abandoned plans to restore and
open the Grade II* listed 1,452ft long, 61ft high, Bennerley Viaduct as a walking/cycling route as an
application for a large Heritage Lottery Fund grant was refused. Sustrans is not to reapply for a grant
due to the financial risk posed by the match funding requirement (£2M) and the resources needed for
the re-submission. Even if successful there would be further costs. The viaduct is not part of the
National Cycle Network, (itself now needing significant investment across the UK). Sustrans is now
'exploring a number of options for the future of the viaduct', working its owner, Railway Paths Limited.
349] Cleethorpes: TPE plans to build a new waiting shelter on P2/3 mainly for passengers waiting for
Barton-on-Humber trains and the three Saturdays only Sheffield services via Brigg. TPE mainly use P1
except some first and last services where the ECS comes off/returns to Cleethorpes depot via P3.
1299 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
350] Cricklewood: (BLN 1273.145) Barnet Council has granted planning permission for a new
aggregates terminal in the triangle on the Down side, now cleared of its former tenants. Three daily
trains SSuX of construction material are anticipated for building of 7,000-8,000 apartments in the area.
351] Off Central Line: (BLN 1298.219) The British Rail small hours through passenger trains mentioned
ran until the 39ch long Leyton Jn* (London Transport Executive) - Temple Mills East Jn CP 1 Jun 1970.
The final passenger trains (PSUL on our website has details) were 06.20 & 06.57 both SuO Liverpool
Street - Loughton; N SuX 02.26 Stratford - Epping; N SuX 03.11 Epping - Stratford; 05.05 & 05.35 both
SuO Epping - Liverpool St; 03.50 SuX Stratford - Loughton and N SuX 04.49 Loughton - Stratford.
(N = Not advertised in the public timetable; subject to alteration.) [*Leyton Jn - Temple Mills East Jn
CA 3 May 1971 after being little used since CP; the line was dismantled 29 Oct 1972.]
352] Charing Cross/Embankment: https://goo.gl/JY9aat details the complex history of these LUL stations.
353] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1298.235) A Class 378 EMU was used to test the OHLE during the
early hours of 7-9 Feb, with a Class 37 on standby at Upper Holloway in case of a failure.
354] Crossrail: (BLN 1298.232) The OHLE westwards from Pudding Mill Lane and Abbey Wood to the
east of Whitechapel was not energised in Nov as planned. An explosion in a transformer at Pudding
Mill Lane sub-station occurred on 11 Nov during initial energisation of the electrical equipment.
This was a design fault in a factory-built unit. Repairs have been completed but energisation was
delayed until 1 Feb. Tests took place in Jan with a Class 345 EMU operating on the Heathrow branch
under ETCS signalling. While these were considered successful, at that stage the on-train software was
not felt to be sufficiently reliable for passenger operation. If that remains the case, contingency
arrangements have been made for Heathrow Connect Class 360s to continue operating between
Paddington and Heathrow T4 from May. Class 345s would then take over the Paddington to Hayes &
Harlington trains from GWR, using 9-car units if Hayes & Harlington bay P5 is ready (7-car units if not).
A Class 345 has been tested at Old Dalby with the CBTC signalling to be used in the Crossrail core. Then
37608 moved the EMU to Stratford on the evening 16 Feb to test the new Crossrail signalling; the loco
returned to Derby RTC light engine on 19 Feb. From 12 Feb a trailing crossover between the Up Main
and Down Relief Lines at Ladbroke Grove Jn was commissioned, not yet available for electric traction.
355] Coasting with London Northwestern (sic): On 24 Jan the driver of the 09.54 from Birmingham
New St EMU 'freewheeled' his train 16 miles from Bushey to Euston after it lost power. It must have
had a good speed after the Watford Junction stop as RTT showed a Euston arrival one minute early!!
356] London Overground: (BLN 1285.1488) The Friday and Saturday night overnight services were to
be extended from Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington from the night of 23 to 24 Feb.
357] Pouparts Jn - Longhedge Jn: (BLN 1296.10 & 2018 PSUL) A repeat of the engineering work
between Herne Hill and Tulse Hill from 00.55 to 05.00 on 23-26 Jan is programmed for 24-27 Apr.
In Jan a number of early morning Thameslink trains were diverted over this route and the Train Plan
shows the same for the Apr dates. However there seems to be nothing to preclude them running via
London Bridge then, so the final use of this 'PSUL' diversionary route may well have been 26 Jan.
358] Thameslink: (BLN 1297.138) Services running between Blackfriars and East Croydon via London
Bridge increased considerably in number from 29 Jan. From 5 Feb they stopped at London Bridge but
without opening the doors. Unadvertised passenger stops there were introduced from 12 Feb.
359] Waterloo: (BLN 1298.230) P19 is not entirely OOU, it was operational on Sun 28 Jan when
engineering work was taking place elsewhere in the station. However it was OOU again the next day.
360] Wimbledon: On 6 Nov 2017 the rear bogie of the 'PSUL' 04.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo via East
Putney derailed on the connection between the Up Slow and Eastbound District Line. With BR
privatisation, the line from south of Putney Bridge to the bay platforms at Wimbledon transferred to
LUL ownership in 1994. A boundary was created part-way along the connection between the main
lines and the District Line. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch report reveals that the derailment
occurred because the track gauge had spread from 1,435mm to over 1,485mm; above 1,460mm
requires corrective action. NR and LUL track inspection staff were found to be working to different
boundary markers, with 120m track that may not have been inspected or maintained for many years!
1299 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
361] Tyne & Wear Metro: On 16 Jan Nexus started a £362M project to procure a new train fleet, due
to start entering service at the end of 2021. Nexus is contributing £25M and the Government £337M.
The 84 carriages (42 trains), will have longitudinal seats creating more space for wheelchairs, standing
room and luggage. It was stated that 'We will also future-proof them so that they have the capability
of serving more destinations on a wider network in the future.' The meaning of this was not explained.
As each new train arrives an old one will be withdrawn, expected to take two years from late 2021 for
the whole fleet. A new maintenance contract for the existing and new fleet will start during 2020.
362] South Gosforth: When the North Eastern Railway electrified the North Tyneside lines with third
rail in 1904 they built new car sheds just west of Walkergate station. However, in Aug 1918 these were
severely damaged by fire (and are now occupied by 'Universal Martial Arts' and 'Benfield Studios'!).
34 cars were completely destroyed and many others damaged. Services were maintained by a mixture
of steam and electric trains for some years and this led to the building of the new South Gosforth car
sheds in the early 1920s. These were north of the South Gosforth East Jn - South Gosforth West Jn
(as then named) line, which thus ran south of the depot and CA 14 Jun 1965. The present avoiding line
(NRU - Head Lines) is north of the depot. DMUs were stabled after their introduction on Tyneside and,
after third rail electrification was abandoned in 1967, the depot was just for DMUs until 11 Aug 1980.
There was a proposal at one stage to sell the land for housing and relocate the facilities. The present
depot is considered to be in the optimum location but 'not fit for purpose' for the new fleet. A new
maintenance depot is to be built on the existing site. Apparently, the new building will be south of the
existing one, with stabling sidings behind it - the reverse of the current layout. While South Gosforth
depot is being rebuilt there will be a temporary depot at Chillingham Road for 10 train sets. The only
vacant land is on the south side of Heaton depot, so Nexus will presumably lease this.
ABOVE: Marchey's House signal box. (Angus McDougall 17 Apr 1987.)
363] Lynemouth/North Blyth: (BLN 1298.238) The boxes on these branches are staffed but Marchey's
House signal box is intermittent (no trains are running); it is open if staff are available and not covering
other boxes. This improves security, enables equipment to be checked and maintains staff knowledge.
1299 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
364] Change of Address: Please use the email address above for all contributions to Graeme as .the.
.manx.net address is ending.. His new postal address is: Dolbryn, Penegoes, Machynlleth, SY20 8NN.
365] NW Ramblings: On Tue 30 Jan a member found that Lime Street old P9 was still closed but no
work had taken place. New P8 & 9 were in regular use. Future new P7 was occupied by a road/rail
vehicle with 6 Stobart Rail low height wagons (very small wheels) each side. The platform edging was
complete but workers were digging out behind and shovelling the material into the wagons. With the
platform signal not yet commissioned presumably such trains move under a possession? Old P7 was in
use by Virgin Trains. Old P6 has been extended out (ie widened) with completed new edgings
approximately aligned with removed Siding 'D' and the infamous 'kink' has gone! Work was going on
behind the edging but there was no track yet. Old P1-5 were active with Northern, EMT & TPE trains.
Siding 'B' was in situ. Rather unusually, a TPE Class 185 DMU was stabled at the buffer stops of P1, with
a departure board showing an imminent Northern departure - the (likely) Class 319 EMU yet to arrive.
Our member took the 10.29 Class 319 EMU to Preston where the approach was very slow and,
unusually, it stopped at the south end of P1b. Previously Lime Street EMUs had rapidly reversed in the
main part of P2. The reason was a 2-car DMU just in front, straddling P1b/1a (the 11.50 to Manchester
Victoria). Almost immediately, a terminating 4-car DMU arrived from Blackpool South at the north
end of P1a to form the 12.07 return (so three trains turning around at once in P1!). The Lime Street
train left a little late at 11.31. York trains were arriving in P2 then shunting, very appropriately, to the
Shunting Line (west of the station) and returning to P2 for departure. Hazel Grove services also arrived
in, and departed from P2. Manchester Airport service services seemed to be confined to P4-6.
The 12.07 Blackpool South service (a Class 150 & 142 DMU) was taken. All masts seemed to be in
place and all the OHLE except for a short stretch west of Tulketh Viaduct and on the approach to
Kirkham & Wesham. Signals (including those still controlled from Preston Power Signal Box) have been
replaced by ones with LEDs. Track Circuit Block applies on the Down Fylde to about 3m 50ch (signal
PN535) and starts on the Up at about 3m 70ch (signal PN 536) controlled from Preston PSB (PN) as
before, with some modifications for electrification (the boundary shown in TRACKmaps Aug 2013 is
too far east). Axle Counters are then used with control by Manchester Rail Operating Centre, Blackpool
Work Station ('BL' - as on the signal plates). Preston to Blackpool North (after 26 Mar) will have all
4-aspect signalling. The Blackpool South branch retains track circuits with two-aspect signals - all LEDs.
At Salwick the signal box has been demolished and there are now just the (renamed) Up and Down
Fylde lines. At Kirkham & Wesham, the layout and signal box has been swept away. Kirkham South Jn,
(7m 40ch) now 5ch further west than before, is where the Down Lytham diverges (40mph) left from
the Down Fylde into 9-car P1, the left island face looking to Blackpool. There is now a flashing yellow
signal sequence for diverging trains. P1 is bidirectional from/to Blackpool South. Preston to Blackpool
South trains can run through P1 (but not now via P1 to/from Blackpool North). Also trains from
Blackpool South can turnaround in P1 and then return to the branch (all on the Down Lytham line).
Middle 9-car P2 serves the Down Fylde but trains from the branch can also turnaround in it and return
to Blackpool South all via the Up Lytham (only). Additionally trains from Preston to Blackpool South
can run through P2 then take the Up Lytham line. The branch has been redoubled from the new
Kirkham North Jn (8m 27ch) [where the Up Lytham joins the Down Fylde] to new Kirkham West Jn
(8m 60ch). Here the both bidirectional Up Lytham and Down Lytham join to become the renamed
'Up & Down Lytham' single track. The Up Lytham is being electrified to recess an EMU if necessary.
There is a trailing crossover, the only one in the new layout, between Kirkham North Jn and the
station, for Blackpool South to Preston/Colne trains which will only be able to run via the Up Lytham
and the new 10-car P3 (serving the Up Fylde). P3 is also reversibly signalled and, with the crossover,
allows turnbacks from Blackpool North and Blackpool South. P3 was open on 30 Jan but building work
continued. It seems to extend out over the position of the former Up Fast with the new Up Fylde
roughly on the old Down Fast. The other Blackpool South train arrived in P3 as our member's arrived in
P1. The four former Engineer's Sidings west of Kirkham & Wesham are reduced to one, connected to
the Down Lytham and the former Kirkham Tip Sidings at Kirkham North Jn have been abolished.
On the Blackpool South branch itself, there is a new red/green aspect signal at the Preston end of
Lytham station where an Up 'OFF' indicator is installed, preceded by a yellow/green aspect signal on
the Preston side of Ansdell & Fairhaven. North of Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a fixed single yellow
with the red at the end of line. Blackpool South has acquired a red/green starter signal south of the
platform. It seems that a half-hourly service is now possible as far as Lytham and hourly beyond.
366] Unusual Services: On Sun 4 Feb the Class 350 EMU worked TPE 09.17 from Manchester Piccadilly
to Edinburgh unusually ran via Stockport and Wilmslow to Crewe (reverse) then north on the
West Coast Main Line to regain its normal route at Wigan NW. In the evening the 19.57 from
Edinburgh took the same route in reverse. Other TPE Anglo-Scottish services ran from/to Wigan NW
only with buses from/to Manchester. Other than being delivered new, our member does not recall any
other instances of TPE Class 350s being south of Ardwick or Golborne, certainly in passenger service.
Also on Sun 4 Feb with the Bolton and all other lines closed, Northern, to their credit, ran an unusual
hourly non-stop service between Manchester Victoria and Blackburn (booked 55 minutes; similar to
the normal Bolton stopping service) via Todmorden Curve then non-stop to Preston (1¼ hours - the
bus via Bolton took an hour more). Clitheroe services ran via Todmorden too, reversing at Blackburn.
367] Frodsham Jn - Halton Jn: As part of restoring bidirectional working to this single track 1m 54ch
line, there were complete weekend possessions on the main line at the Frodsham end over 10/11 and
17/18 Feb. Frodsham Junction Signal Box was temporarily closed (effectively) from Sat 10 until
Mon 19 Feb, with absolute block working maintained (12-18 Feb when trains ran) between Norton and
Helsby Junction boxes both ways. Signals and associated equipment were recovered and during the
closure no signalled access was possible to the Down Liverpool (ie to Halton Jn) or the Up Goods Loop.
On Mon 19 Feb the box reopened with a new signal panel and LED signal heads commissioned.
Absolute block working was reintroduced between Helsby Junction, Frodsham Junction and Norton
boxes. The Up Goods Loop was returned to use and the previously installed (BLN 1293.2318) new
trailing crossover (10m 72ch) between the Up Main and Down Main lines commissioned. The line to
Halton Jn is OOU to all but engineer's trains and is renamed the 'Frodsham Single'. The scheme cost is
now up to £18.75M. Liverpool - Chester services are due to begin Sun 9 Dec 2018 (new timetable).
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Subtitled: 'A cold wet January day in Manchester'. The frontage of Mayfield
station has seen better days but is set to be 'regenerated'. Far left can just be seen the overhead line
electrification out of Manchester Piccadilly station. (All Ian Mortimer 21 Jan 2018 unless specified.)
ABOVE: The former main entrance with some of the tour participants outside.
368] Manchester Mayfield tour: (BLN 1296.98) This London & North Western and Great Central Joint
station OP 8 Aug 1910, built with four passenger platforms, as an overflow for London Road (Piccadilly
from 12 Sep 1960) when the Styal line opened in 1909. Of note, at opening, local workers did not like
the extra 7 minutes walk to/from Mayfield compared with London Road; with so many trains it was
quite normal for them to travel home in their lunch hour (to Levenshulme etc) so the extra 14 minutes
was significant. By 1947 there were just 13-15 departures/arrivals (SuX) daily and additional summer
Saturday holiday trains. After increased use while London Road was rebuilt for electrification, Mayfield
CP 28 Aug 1960 after just 50 years and was disconnected from the main line. On 6 Jul 1970 it reopened
(with a simpler connection) as a secure Royal Mail parcels depot, including an overhead conveyor
bridge to Piccadilly. This rail traffic is thought to have ceased again in Apr 1987. Mayfield was taken
OOU 1 Nov 1987 with the junction disconnected and track removed from the station by Sep 1988.
Several proposals have been put forward for redevelopment, most of which involved demolishing the
station, but these have all fallen through so it largely survives. However, the entrance area was badly
damaged by fire in 2005 and most of the train shed roof was demolished in Mar 2013 due to safety
concerns. The site is owned by London and Continental Railways (L&CR), who inherited it from the
British Railways Board. An unusually innovative property development and regeneration company,
U+I, is now working with L&CR, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester on
proposals to redevelop a 24 acre site which includes a factory area south of the station. The plan
would largely retain the station buildings, with the massive undercroft (a bit like St Pancras). Part of
the site has already been used as a food and concert venue; there are various community gardens.
During the first three months of this year the developers are allowing access to the site with a series of
organised walks, and a member took part in one on 21 Jan. About 30 people assembled outside a
nearby pub on a really cold and wet Sunday lunchtime, viewing the outside of the station building.
Then the gates were unlocked, giving access to the cobble stone vehicle ramp along the north side of
the station. The first part of the walk involved an exploration of this wide ramp up to the elevated
platform area, where part of the overall roof structure survives. Some gaps between the platforms
have been filled in but much railway infrastructure is present, including four sets of hydraulic buffer
stops and a once common British Rail Universal Trolley Equipment ('BRUTE'). Unfortunately, the
station buildings have been fenced off as they are considered unsafe. This includes the impressive
station steps, which could just be glimpsed through a window. [On 10 Feb with at least 9 BLS members
plus their various friends and family in the group, there was a walk along P4 (the furthest south) too.]
Now thoroughly cold and wet, the party returned back down the ramp and out through the gate
before proceeding along the north and then east side of the building to the official site entrance.
After being allowed in by the security guard, we proceeded past the striking site management office
into the community garden area where, curiously, there were a series of suspended sculptures of life
size people, appropriately for Manchester holding umbrellas, although some umbrellas had fallen off!
Participants then passed through another locked gate which gave access to the station undercroft, the
most impressive feature of this being its massive size. Split into two areas, the larger one has been
used as a venue for various concerts arranged as part of the Manchester International Festival, each
one attended by 2,000 people. This part was previously used by the Royal Mail to load vans and lorries.
Parcels were brought down from platform level via a steep ramp constructed for 1970 on the south
side of the building which was used by electric vehicles hauling parcels trolleys. It was possible to view
some of the station building rooms at this level although not much of railway interest could be seen.
Some pictures of the station were shown. There is an unlikely survivor of the Royal Mail era, a typical
1970s petrol (or rather diesel) pump, used to refuel the road vehicles. (E-BLN has pictures of the tour.)
The visit lasted about 90 minutes and, with an entertaining and informative local professional guide,
Jonathan Schofield, was well worthwhile, especially as there are very few, if any, derelict station sites
of this size in the UK and this tour will no longer be possible soon when building works starts.
PREVIOUS PAGE: The imposing cobbled driveway up the left side of (the front of) Mayfield station.
The station is right and the south approach to Piccadilly station is left. (All Ian Mortimer 21 Jan 2018.)
The overriding impression is that Mayfield is much bigger than expected from views out of passing
trains. https://goo.gl/w4mp1r website has some interesting pictures/timetables etc over the years
(without endorsing any of the information). Extra tours (to BLN 1296) operate 3, 10 & 17 Mar 10.30;
4 Mar 12.30; 18 & 25 Mar 12.30; 24 Mar 13.00; £10 see https://goo.gl/22A5gQ for all dates/to book.
BELOW UPPER: Looking towards the buffer stops with Piccadilly station middle right. Mayfield P1 is
left with the inevitable buddleia in the trackbed. Vehicular access (right) was via the ramp previously
seen which rises on the other side of the wall then makes a 'U' turn behind the photographer at the
London end of the station. Ahead is the very small remaining section of the once very extensive roof.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Detail of the remaining section of roof which sadly leaks a little these days…
BELOW: The impressive high pressure water powered hydraulic buffers at the end of P1 (foreground),
P2 behind, then slightly to the left in the background P3 & P4. This area was once all roofed. Ahead is
the entrance to the 1970s covered ramp off left down to the undercroft from Royal Mail days.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: View from the almost gun like buffers down the lengthy platforms, P4 is to
the right and P3 is left. ABOVE: Looking back from the concourse end, left is the access for vehicles
(and boats!), P1 is just to the right. BELOW: Part of the concourse behind the buffers.
ABOVE: A small part of the huge undercroft, beneath the platforms.
BELOW: One of the many rooms off the undercroft (Ian Prince).
369] Warrington West: (BLN 1276.543) On 29 Jan there
was a sod cutting ceremony for the new station.
370] Stockport: On 1 Feb the power supply failed to P0,
1 & 2. Up trains did not stop as drivers could not see the
platforms properly even with temporary lights. Joining
Up passengers were sent via Piccadilly and those from
the north were directed to the 'next station south' (and
back. Though EMT might have balked at a non-stop
Piccadilly to Sheffield service then back to Stockport!
371] Gisburn: Costing £100k, NR is repairing the
attractive Grade II listed 157yd tunnel's ornamental
'turrets' by taking down parts as necessary and
rebuilding them with the existing stone. Both portals are
being repointed with lime mortar but the tunnel is
otherwise in good order. This is one of those totally
unnecessary very shallow 'tunnels', which should really
be a cutting, only built so the well-to-do Lister family
(and their horses of course) in Gisburne Hall would not
be 'affected' by the railway. (LEFT: Work on 1 Feb- NR.)
PREVIOUS PAGE UPPER: The western end of Gisburn tunnel (the rear of the eastern end can be seen),
18 Oct 2014. Copyright Ian Medcalf and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
372] Crewe: (BLN 1297.187) 'Icons of Steam', the trading name of Jeremy Hosking's 'Locomotive
Services Limited' with its railtour arm 'Saphos Trains' is based at Crewe Diesel Depot with an expanding
range of steam, diesel engines and coaches. In 2016 work started on a new two road shed taking 22 BR
64ft long Mk1 coaches with two 30ft inspection pits. The shed was finished during the middle of 2017.
373] Metrolink: (BLN 1298.248) When the recently extended services from Airport arrive at Victoria
middle line, passengers alight from the left of the tram giving cross platform connection to Bury and
Rochdale. Then the doors on the other side are opened for passengers to join the return service to
Airport. This makes sense so that all passengers wanting to go 'in bound' can wait on one platform.
On 10 Feb the connection from Victoria middle line to the Second City Crossing remained very rusty;
outbound the middle line connection is common to both routes so is done by the terminating services.
At Altrincham both Metrolink platforms have to be used to accommodate the new timetable with
longer turnarounds to improve reliability. P1 (right on arrival) is used by single trams from/to Piccadilly
and P2 (left) by generally double trams (that do almost reach the stops) from/to Bury and run 07.00 to
20.00 weekdays and 09.00 to 18.30 Saturdays but not on Sundays. P2 is not popular with passengers
being quite a walk to the entrance. Both crossovers and track permutations can be covered with an
arrival and departure at both platforms. Altrincham ticket office staff are in GMPTE 'livery' but issue
National Rail tickets too. On the Network Rail side, north of the station the Up Main is still OOU long
term due to a points failure, and is very rusty from 7m 62ch to 7m 30ch. Trains to Navigation Road are
still taking the facing crossover and bidirectional Down Main in the Up direction (BLN 1279.870).
BELOW: Altrincham, a single tram has just left P1 (left) for Piccadilly, right is a double tram near the
end of line, from and returning to, Bury. NR platforms 3 & 4 are far right. (Ian Mortimer 10 Feb 2018)
ABOVE: Double tram at Ashton-under-Lyne, your Editor is conversing with a member who 'rose' to the
occasion and made a special trip from Milton Keynes for this event. (Ian Mortimer 10 Feb 2018)
When Manchester City play at the Etihad Stadium, such as at 17.30 on 10 Feb (and possibly for other
major events), otherwise unusual double trams run to Ashton-under-Lyne and reach the end of 'Lyne'.
The Metrolink route map has been reincarnated quite a few times over the years with combinations of
all grey or colour coded lines with/without lettered or numbered flags. Meanwhile on 1 Feb the first
section of track was laid on the Trafford Park Extension (OP due 2020) near the future Parkway stop.
1299 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James) [email protected]
374] Watton-at-Stone reprieve: 167,752 passengers used the station in 2016/17. The new Thameslink
timetable is now being phased in over 18 months rather than six so one of the Cambridge to Brighton
services does not start until Dec. This means that bus substitution of the Hertford North to Stevenage
hourly services is now deferred from May until Dec. Stevenage Borough Council has been criticised for
the delay in agreeing plans for Stevenage station refurbishment. The original scheme had the new P5
completed by the end of 2018 but this may be deferred to Control Period 6, possibly as late as 2024.
375] Hitchin - Cambridge: From 19 Feb Shepreth (49m 67ch) Down platform country end was extended by
80m to 171m. Similarly Foxton (50m 77ch), Down platform country end was extended by 90m to 174m.
376] Cambridge: Greater Anglia has received an award (urban heritage category, National Railway
Heritage Awards) for the restoration of the station's façade in a £250k scheme including restoration of
32 roundels of the Coats of Arms of colleges and local dignitaries from the 1845 opening of the station.
377] King's Lynn - Fakenham and Hunstanton: A report to Norfolk county councillors recommends
spending £350k on a feasibility study into conversion of parts of these lines to 'an integrated cycling
and walking network'. It suggests investigating the cost, land ownership issues and the business case
for a scheme which would be 'a significant selling point for Norfolk' and help make the county a top
walking and cycling destination for leisure and tourism. Feasibility work would focus on three disused
railways, King's Lynn to Fakenham, King's Lynn to Hunstanton and Weaver's Way - a 61 mile route
owned in part by Norfolk County Council between Cromer and Great Yarmouth, including sections of
the former Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway.
There have been calls to reopen the King's Lynn to Hunstanton branch to ease congestion on the A149
and more than 3,000 have signed a petition since a campaign group was set up 12 months ago.
Much of the original track bed survives. Restoring the line would cost millions and NR says it would
require a sound business case. Elsewhere, the Melton Constable Trust is restoring bridges in the
Fakenham area with the help of a £59k lottery grant and hopes to eventually raise enough money to
buy and restore the track bed. (Eastern Daily Press)
378] Oulton Broad North Jn - Lowestoft: From 19 Feb a new OOU facing crossover was to be installed
from the Down Main (22m 64ch) to Up Main lines (22m 70ch). This is between the west end points
trailing from the sidings into the Up Main and the existing trailing crossover used by trains from the
Oulton Broad South direction. It will permit future bidirectional signalling from there to Lowestoft
station or access to any residual sidings if the existing slip in the Up Main is removed. A 50mph
(was 60mph) permanent speed restriction was to be imposed on the Up line (23m 58ch to 22m 16ch).
379] Bishops Stortford: A City IT worker who lost both legs after falling through the gap between train
and platform on his commute home is suing for almost £2M in damages. Matthew Robinson, 34,
slipped down a 'significant' gap at the station in Jan 2013 after accidentally leaving his £3,000 season
ticket on a Stansted Express. He walked along the platform trying to spot the missing pass but fell,
suffering life changing injuries to his legs which led to a double amputation leaving him wheelchair-
bound, according to the claim. Mr Robinson is now suing train operator Abellio Greater Anglia Ltd for
£1.9M in damages, claiming not enough was done to ensure safety at the station. He told the High
Court he had rarely heard 'mind the gap' warnings in nine years of commuting from Bishops Stortford,
adding: 'I knew there was a gap, but I wasn't aware at the time how significant it was.' CCTV captured
the moment a 'distressed' Mr Robinson walked alongside the train as it was leaving, trying in vain to
spot his season ticket inside. He then disappears down the gap between the train and platform.
Mr Robinson's barrister, Brian Cummins, said the platform for the Liverpool Street to Bishops Stortford
service is long and curved, leaving an 'excessive' gap in places. But Mr Robinson said he was 'unaware
it was as large as this'. Abellio is fighting the claim, arguing it had put in place adequate safety
measures including regular announcements, platform markings, and an on-board warning to
passengers to 'take care when departing'. Former area customer service manager, Kevin Walton, said
the company knew there was a 'sizeable gap' at Bishops Stortford, and the platform had been given a
two-out-of-five score for likelihood and severity of possible accidents in a risk assessment. But he told
the court: 'When you are doing those risk assessments, you don't envisage people interfering with
trains. In my experience, prior to Mr Robinson's unfortunate accident, I wasn't aware of anything that
led to serious injury. I had been based around Bishops Stortford for a lot of years.' Derek O'Sullivan QC,
for Abellio, suggested Mr Robinson was "completely distracted" at the time of the accident because of
his lost ticket. 'The fact remains that you went and walked up to a moving train and stood on the
platform edge as it was moving,' he said. The hearing continues. (Evening Standard)
380] Harwich Town: Greater Anglia has announced £500k of improvements. The canopy will be
replaced with a new wooden shelter. The orange sodium lights will be updated with brighter white low
energy LEDs, the platform resurfaced and platform edge coping stones/replaced, all by the summer.
381] Ipswich - Lowestoft: Following the closure of Waveney District Tourist Information Offices, a
Visitor Information Point (VIP) has been set up at the initiative of the Community Rail Partnership in a
vacant room at Lowestoft station. It is stocked with leaflets, timetables, maps and other items of
interest to visitors, with a few items for sale, helping to cover running costs. It opens for the 10.43
arrival from Ipswich and 10.52 from Norwich, usually closing at 15.00, catering for most day trippers
and holidaymakers. When the VIP is closed customers are directed to the town's library, open seven
days a week. VIPs have also been created in Beccles, Halesworth and Southwold. (Rail User Express)
382] Hertford: A proposal to turn the formation of the interesting disused railway connecting Hertford
North and Hertford East stations through Bengeo, a suburb of north Hertford, into a path for cyclists
and pedestrians gained hundreds of backers. County councillors are to discuss the idea, raised in a
petition from over 445 residents. The overgrown cuttings and bridges on the route are in place.
383] HS2 Colne Valley viaduct: HS2 Ltd has published outline concept images for the viaduct which will
inform development of its final design. The Colne Valley viaduct will run from the divergence of the
new line from Chiltern Railways' route about 2.5km east of Denham station in a curve northwest
before HS2 enters a tunnel. It will be one of the longest viaducts in the UK. The concept has been
developed around 14 key criteria, set by HS2 in consultation with the HS2 Independent Design Panel.
These include if the design fits the landscape, maintains views and landscape 'flow', is elegant and well
proportioned. The Colne Valley area through which HS2's route passes features a series of woods and
lakes developed when farming and quarrying ended. As well as the viaduct, the concept document
also explores ideas for extra elements such as transparent noise-reduction barriers with vertical lines,
visible to bats and wildfowl to reduce possible impacts, creating a slimmer side profile of the viaduct.
384] Kennet Bridge Loop (24m 33ch): From 15.00 Thu 1 Feb until 14.40 Wed 14 Feb, due to a points
failure, Twyford to Reading 'stopping' services including EMUs, except those crossing to the Down
Main at/before Twyford West, ran through the loop (the jointed track and slow speed gives it away).
1299 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
385] Bognor Regis: The £2.5M project to restore the terminal building and concourse is complete.
The new booking office is a free standing flat roofed box at the east end of the concourse adjacent to
the taxi drop-off area, but is appropriately styled and of fitting appearance. The newsagent's stall,
similarly free standing in front of the original barrier to the platform, was swept away early in the
works and not replaced. The now revealed iron and wood barrier, described as 'heritage', has been
restored, but the anti-climb spikes have had to be blunted. [A completely pointless exercise…]
The main building has a room for retail, labelled 'News' in large letters, a waiting room and a room for
a buffet where the original curved bay window on the west side of the concourse remains. This too
was a buffet but closed some years ago.
West Sussex County Council plans to use the full height largest room facing the concourse for small
businesses, possibly installing a mezzanine floor. However none of these rooms is yet in use.
The concourse has a much improved ambience with a new tiled floor across its full width. Station staff
report that local youths are now attracted to hang around there in the evenings, a problem for which a
remedy is being sought. You can see the station first hand during our 12 Mar 'Sussex Salopian' tour!
386] Guildford: A £25M upgrade of the station as part of a £150M regeneration scheme has been
approved by the Planning Inspectorate. (Reader beware; jargon warning - but there many facts ahead!
Regional Ed.) The project, which is being developed by Solum - the development partnership between
NR and Kier - involves transforming Guildford's station car park into a new 'Station Quarter'. It includes
a new station building and a much enhanced station environment with a station plaza containing retail
and a 'high quality public realm'. Planning Inspector David Morgan found that: '...this proposal offers
tangible benefits to the built environment around Guildford station. It also provides a significant
amount of market housing and a lesser number of viability-calibrated affordable units (Told you so -
Regional Ed.), in addition to an enhanced station facility. These are also very significant social benefits.
The proposals also bring forward a major development site with a mix of uses that will create
employment for those seeking work.' Solum has been working with Guildford Council for seven years.
The scheme has undergone significant planning changes but several local groups (inevitably) continue
to object. The agreed development delivers £25M of improvements to Guildford station: a new
building - a larger, double height ticket hall with a gate-line twice as long as now. The project allows for
anticipated passenger growth to 2035.
A new station plaza and new multi-storey car park are included with the same number of station
parking spaces but less walking to platforms. Separate pick-up/drop-off arrangements, an improved
taxi rank with shelter canopies with more secure station cycle storage are promised. The development
(438 new town centre apartments and commercial office space) will fund station improvements.
Solum is delivering Walthamstow and Twickenham regeneration projects with work starting soon at
Kingswood. Projects at Bishops Stortford and Redhill are in the pipeline.
387] Eastleigh - Fareham: (BLN 1277.647) In November local councils and NR completed a feasibility
study into a new station for the proposed 6,000 home garden village of Welborne west of Fareham,
indicating good usage. Potential sites have been identified along the line; the recommended option is
within the boundaries of Welborne itself. The new station could serve a population of over 20,000
people, being a new eye watering £80M two platform facility at the western edge of Welborne.
Fareham Borough Council wishes to ensure that no planning decisions could prejudice its future
delivery. Welborne developer Buckland Development Ltd has safeguarded an area of land for a
potential station. NR will discuss next steps with the developers and the council. (Southern Daily Echo)
1299 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
388] Tytherington: (BLN 1254.706) Pathfinder's 13 Jan 'Severn Aggregator tour ran on to the branch
the 'Incoming' loop line (as booked), just short of the end of line (0m 50ch) Yate Middle Jn headshunt.
However, future tours may reach much further as a member has reported that the former Grovesend
headshunt which runs from roughly 6m 03ch at the Grovesend overbridge to the Grovesend tunnel
portal at the A38 (6m 24ch) has been cleared of all vegetation (including substantial trees) for the first
time in many years. Stone traffic is expected to resume on the branch in July with the quarry
headshunt relaid and possibly lengthened. On Sun 4 Jun 2017 a trial 4,200 tonne loaded stone train
from Merehead Quarry to Acton ran via the branch - but not past the sleeper across it at 0m 50ch!
NEXT FULL PAGE: The very inviting headshunt at Tytherington is revealed. (Imgbb - 26 Sep 2017)
389] Henbury: (BLN 1271.3189) A new £9-10M single platform station is to be built east of the A4018
and with opening expected 2021 it will form a terminus of Metro West Phase 2. New platforms will
also be built at North Filton and Ashley Down. The former Henbury (CP 22 Nov 1964) station site was
rejected as it was deemed too expensive and offered no benefits over the proposed (cheaper) site.
390] Okehampton: (BLN 1290.2065) Plans to return all year rail services took a significant step forward
with the news that the Secretary of State for Transport has 'instructed' Great Western Railway (GWR)
'to prepare plans to introduce regular train services to Okehampton, with the objective of securing a
credible and costed plan for delivering an all-week, all-year train service …. as soon as reasonably
practicable'. As part of the proposals being developed, options for a second Okehampton station, east
of the town near the A30, are being considered by Devon County Council, the DfT and GWR. A council
commissioned feasibility study is looking at a variety of platform layouts for a 210 space parkway and
the required infrastructure improvements for the whole scheme. Access for freight trains and current
or future lease holder services is to be maintained. Track improvements will be needed to run regular
services (as opposed to the present limited summer Sunday service). An inspection has shown that
about a third of the track, suitable for light use, falls short of the standards required to run daily
services (initially probably 2-hourly). Next steps include more surveys with assessments of level
crossings, detailed track condition, earthworks, and GMS-R. It could be quite a wait for the first train…
391] Plymouth Electrification? The secretary of State for Transport has also announced a feasibility
study for partial electrification and track alignment work on the line between Totnes and Plymouth,
presumably to improve performance of IETs over the Devon banks. (Well if we must have bi-modes…)
392] Truro: NR has invited comments on its proposal to disconnect 'Cornwall Farmers Siding' from the
network as the site leaser no longer requires the moribund track. (Cornwall farmers only need apply?)
LEFT: The (current) very end of Tytherington
headshunt has not seen the light of day for many
years; will it see a railtour? (Imgbb - 26 Sep 2017)
393] The Gloucester Railway & Carriage
Company Ltd: This new company was formed in
2017 with ambitious plans to acquire the former
Horton Road motive power depot for a railway
museum and to service rolling stock. It met with
Gloucester City Council in early Feb to discuss
these aspirations, but the Council's priority is to
redevelop the land for residential use. The group
has an alternative location, not yet revealed, but
with potential development costs estimated to
be £2.5M less than at Horton Road. Fund raising
initiatives will commence shortly including a
proposed share offer.
394] Trams not taking an early Bath? Bath &
North East Somerset Council has received the
findings of a preliminary study in response to
calls from the public to look at the potential for a
city tram system. The study, by Atkins, says
'strategic evidence shows there is a demand for
public transport solutions in Bath'. It identifies
four corridors where more detailed analysis is
required, including costs and impacts on other
traffic movements, before a decision can be
made on the feasibility of a light rail system.
We know exactly where they are coming from -
it would be more potential business for the
Atkins Rail consultancy!
1299 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
395] Dudley: (BLN 1298.272) Birmingham Snow Hill trains used the LNWR side of the station. Some
very smart working was required as in the final timetable the arrival from Walsall at 18.01 had to shunt
to the Down LNWR to return at 18.05. The photo of Dudley signal box was in e-BLN 1297 not 1298. The
two pictures of the cleared former Freightliner Terminal site in e-BLN 1298 were thanks to Phil Dooley.
396] Not Hereford: Hereford Sidings No4 was to be put OOU and removed on Sun 18 Feb at Worcester SH.
397] Long Marston: A consortium set up by Transport Design International (TDI) has been awarded
£2.75M by the DfT to develop the next generation of Very Light Railway trains. [There seems to be a
lot of it about.] Over the next 18 months TDI will work with Wabtec, Cummins and Warwick University
designing and building a demonstrator vehicle suitable for segregated lines on short routes. Tests will
be at Long Marston Rail Technology Centre before trials on the West Midlands rail network in 2019.
1299 YORKSHIRE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks) email addresses elsewhere.
398] Scarborough Londesborough Road: (BLN 1296.69) Some members may not be aware that
'excursion' stations such as Londesborough Road were (at least in their final years) generally used by
timetabled trains only on summer Saturdays. The trains listed were 'dated' SO services. Seaside B&Bs
then had a rigid policy of only booking from one Saturday to the next, so trains using these stations on
other days would have been non-timetabled excursions. The closure (CP) date given of 25 Aug 1963,
a Sunday, was from Clinker's Register but is incorrect; it is not clear what it represents. There was no
Sunday service advertised in the summer 1963 BR North Eastern Region public timetable (which ran
until 8 Sep). The final timetabled public trains booked to use the station after 25 Aug 1963 were:
08.33 SO Nottingham Midland - Scarborough Londesborough Road, until Sat 31 Aug 1963.
08.32 SO Chesterfield Midland - Scarborough Londesborough Road, until Sat 7 Sep 1963.
14.35 SO Scarborough Londesborough Road - Nottingham Midland, until Sat 7 Sep 1963.
BLN 57 reported the station as closing from 4 Jul 1966 and also said: 'not used since 9 Sep 1963 - but
never legally closed'. The Mon 9 Sep 1963 date was probably an attempt to give an effective date but
was not really appropriate for a station with timetabled services on just 12 summer Saturdays a year.
'Never legally closed' implies that BR had not published a formal Transport Act 1962 Section 56 closure
proposal and was 'catching up' legally. On Sat 6 Mar 1965 the 'Whitby Moors' railtour (BLN 1298.168)
https://goo.gl/oZfKb2 stopped at Londesborough Road from 3.10pm to 3.20pm (information thanks
to a 'Lowe' numbered member) between Filey Holiday Camp and Whitby. Do any tour participants
remember if alighting was allowed, please, or was it just a crew change and/or pathing stop?
399] Aldwarke Jn - Woodburn Jn; don't get your skates on! An interesting effect of future tram-train
operation is that vehicles fitted with wheel skates are not permitted between Parkgate Jn (5m 59ch)
and Tinsley South Jn (2m 22ch) due to raised check rails (for the trams) at three sets of points.
If a vehicle needs recovery it must be done without a wheel skate. If free running of the affected axle is
prevented the movement must be at extreme caution. The affected line must then be inspected by a
competent track maintenance engineer before normal running resumes. Skates are used if the axle has
seized and won't turn (from severe wheel flats but also other causes). Class 33 locos with unmodified
lifeguards and independent full sized snow ploughs (except if ploughing!) are prohibited as well.
400] Selby/Goole - Hull: (BLN 1298.286) On the latest plans the 1891 Crabley Creek signal box is
retained but downgraded to a gate box (with slots on York ROC and signals protecting the level
crossing). This is because the original Railway Act specified that a manned crossing was to be retained
for the landowner's access. The 3 Apr commissioning is now expected to be deferred as the new
Ansaldo signalling system is reportedly unable to interface correctly with the level crossing systems.
1299 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
401] Mallow - Tralee: From 19 Feb until further notice Millstreet loop is OOU; trains cannot cross there.
402] Londonderry: (BLN 1298.288) P2 closure and start of work on the new station is now scheduled
for Apr but still requires planning permission and, as usual, objections are expected to Translink's plans
at the forthcoming planning enquiry. With regard to terminal platform overruns, Train Protection and
Warning System (TPWS) loops measure the speed of approaching trains approaching the buffers on
many NR lines and apply the brakes automatically if necessary. The additional overrun (otherwise
known as 'ultra-rare track') required at the new station suggests that no TPWS type system is in use.
1299 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
403] Laxey: Preparing for the Manx Electric Railway (MER) 125th Anniversary celebrations (1-8 Sep)
Horse Tram 1 and trammer (= horse) 'Douglas', were taken to Laxey stop on 29 Jan for a trial. This is
claimed to be the first time that a horse tram (with horse) has run at Laxey. It appears to have gone
well, but it will be some time before it is decided if this will be an Anniversary event. The tram seems
to have been restricted to the seaward track although a local BLS super sleuth spotted evidence that a
horse had been on the landward track (like checking rusty track for bird droppings?). There may be a
line-up of all the No1 trams at Laxey in Sep, (MER, Snaefell Mountain Railway (SMR), and Horse Tram).
404] Laxey, required new track poles apart: The trailing crossover outside the MER car sheds (south of
the stop) has been moved from between pole No343 and 344 to between pole No342 and 343.
ABOVE: Douglas (horse) and Tram 1 at Laxey, Manx Electric Railway, courtesy of Isle of Man Railways.
(29 Jan 2018, with special thanks also to Jenny Williamson.)
405] Snaefell Mountain Railway: It has been reported in the local press that the SMR is under a formal
prohibition notice with significant changes required and safe operation demonstrated, before
permission will be given by the Inspector of Railways to re-open. The Department of Infrastructure
said 'The department has engaged a range of specialist advisers and suppliers to determine what
changes can be made to the ….. trams to ensure their safety'. They confirm that the investigation
'remains ongoing'. It seems from this that the SMR is unlikely to re-open as planned on Fri 29 March.
1299 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
X.23] More West Highland Snow: (BLN 1298.X17) PREVIOUS PAGE: Corrour station entrance - a
platform name board can be seen behind the station sign. (All 22 Jan 2018 at Corrour by Nick Jones.)
BELOW UPPER: The locals round here certainly know how to have a good stag party...
BELOW: Well there was definitely a passing loop here last time …! NEXT PAGE UPPER: It is hard to
believe that this is a railway track - the station is middle background. MP 72 is from Craigendoran Jn.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Snowdrifts on the sidings (the running line is the other side of the buildings).
ABOVE: Train leaving Corrour for civilization (otherwise known as Glasgow Central).
406] Life at Longannet again: After months with no trains there was an interesting WCR ( West Coast
Railways (WCR) light engine working (shown as an 'Electric locomotive' - perhaps a bright spark's idea
of a joke?) operating under a WCR 'freight' code for the Civil Engineer on Tue 30 Jan at 09.16 from
Bo'ness Exchange Sidings. It ran via the Forth Bridge, Kirkcaldy, Thornton Curve, Dunfermline and past
Longannet to reverse in Alloa Loop (12.19/12.31). Return was as the outward route then, past Bo'ness
Jn, it went via Falkirk Grahamston and Cumbernauld to Motherwell and Carnforth (WCR). This may
have been a test/route knowledge working for the forthcoming SRPS Steam Trips (see 'Connections').
On Thu 8 Feb a yellow Colas operated Track Recording DMU ran from Edinburgh Slateford Depot at
04.45 directly via Dunfermline to reverse in Townhill Down Goods Loop. It passed Longannet at 06.05
and again at 07.16 on return from reversing at Stirling. The DMU continued via Ladybank to Perth New
Yard Civil Engineer's Sidings (152m 32ch) to reverse, returning to Slateford via Ladybank and Kirkcaldy.
X.24] NEXT PAGE (BOTH): Nick Jones is very good at being in the right place at the right time, quite by
chance of course. On Thu 25 Jan 2018 he arrived at Dundee P1 (Up platform as booked) on the 15.41
from Glasgow Queen Street to Aberdeen; Realtime Trains correctly showed the platform numbers
incidentally. In P4 (Down platform) was a short reliveried formation HST, 'Unadvertised Ordinary
passenger Service' from Aberdeen to Dundee and return. We assume, despite this designation, that is
doesn't actually carry any passengers although it was shown as making various stops on the way.
The HST is bathed with the very strange Dundee yellow platform light.
1299 WALES (Paul Jeffries) [email protected]
407] Welsh Government Concessionary Travel Scheme: This is available to residents of Wales over 60
and includes free train travel between Machynlleth and Pwllheli (Oct to Mar only except for school
trains) but not Aberystwyth. Now permitted throughout the year are Llandudno (all services) to
Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wrexham Central to Hawarden Bridge (the latter station
has three trains each way SuX but six SuO). Shrewsbury to Swansea (Oct to Mar only) via the Central
Wales / Heart of Wales (delete as preferred) line is a bit more complicated. Travel is allowed between
the 25 stations Knighton to Bynea both inclusive and to/from Llanelli, Gowerton & Swansea or
stations Bucknell to Shrewsbury inclusive; the latter section is in England, of course. Free travel is not
allowed just within England, or Llanelli - Swansea, or between these two groups of stations at either
end of the line. Finally, pass holders can have 34% off local fares in Cardiff and the Valleys, all year, all
day weekends, Bank Holidays and otherwise after 09.30. All these are 'funded to the end of Mar 2018'.
For residents of Wales approaching 60 the bad news is that the Welsh Government has recently been
consulting on 'improvements' to the scheme including increasing the eligibility age to match the UK
state retirement age! Disabled people and injured service veterans of all ages qualify; but it is
proposed to allow the disabled to have a companion (if needed) and certain 'volunteers' to travel free.
As an aside, almost as many 'free' journeys are now made on Welsh bus services as are paid for!
408] Cambrian Lines: As part of a £7.25M upgrade plan, work is scheduled to replace some 6km of
jointed track west of Newtown. This involves weekend closures 17-18 February and 10-11 March, the
rest of the work is being done late evening and overnight. A correspondent reports already being
impressed with the speed, comfort, wifi and timekeeping of Cambrian services (particularly compared
with the 1970s), and is especially pleased to commend the trolley service operating all the way to
Aberystwyth and back (even on the new services just from Shrewsbury). He found trains well loaded
even including (intermediately) on the coast line in winter. Interestingly it was mostly young people/
students on the Aberystwyth section with railcards and mostly over 60s on the coast (see next item).
409] Penhelig: (BLN 1295.2486) By 20 Jan the wooden single platform had gone and new wooden
beams for its glass reinforced plastic replacement were in place - the request stop came up normally
on the train information displays and announcements! The station is due to reopen on 30 Mar.
410] Courtybella Loop: (BLN 1298.289) It can be confirmed that the last traffic for Whiteheads was
inward reinforcing bar, on bogie bolster wagons from Cardiff (Allied Steel & Wire), lifted by mobile
crane over the fence on to waiting lorries. It was taken to the other end of the works for anti-corrosion
paint to be applied. When Whiteheads closed, this operation transferred to Llanwern. One reason for
installing double track and electric lighting was to facilitate reversal and run-round of coal trains from
Newport Docks to Aberthaw, a flow that later ran from Royal Portbury Dock Coal Terminal instead.
411] Ebbw Vale: (BLN 1297.178) NR has now spent 78% of the available budget on redoubling; there
are local fears that the suspension of the work is likely to be permanent. As reported, outstanding civil
engineering work includes remodelling, second platforms and footbridges, also signalling. The new
second track that has been laid requires complex signalling to permit a 3 tph service including 1tph to
a reopened Abertillery branch. A 2 tph service to Ebbw Vale would only require a loop at Llanhilleth.
A recent study has shown the Ebbw Vale passenger reopening has already been a tremendous success.
412] North Wales Coast: From Mon 26 Mar, after a weekend closure, the £50M Phase 1 resignalling is
due to be commissioned from Shotton (187m 40ch Down line/188m 58ch Up) to Llysfaen (217m 09ch)
about two miles before Colwyn Bay (where the box closed 2 Nov 1991). It interfaces with Llandudno
Junction. However the Phase 1 extension to Llandudno and the whole of Phase 2 (on to Holyhead) has
been cancelled (not just 'paused'). BLN has been advised that had NR been aware of this they would
have put in an additional Llandudno Junction panel and not recontrolled to Cardiff 187 miles away.
413] Two F or Not Two F…? (BLN 1298.290) ●Station nameboards: 'Y Fflint'. ●NR Sectional Appendix &
TRACKmaps: 'Fflint'. ●National online planner: 'Flint'. ●ATW paper/online timetable: 'Flint/Y Fflint'.
1299 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
MR31] Swanage Railway, Dorset (MR p6) (BLN 1292.2244): Some special through trains may run
between Swanage and Wareham in late 2018, but the full second year of the Railway's trial Wareham
service is now deferred until Easter 2019 due to the delay in the delivery of the class 117/121 DMUs.
It had been planned to run a 90 selected day trial service in 2018 using the Heritage DMUs, directly
operated by main line-qualified Swanage Railway drivers and guards. The extensive refurbishment,
overhaul and upgrade, to main line standards, by several specialist contractors has been challenging.
The two DMUs - a 'bubble' car class 121 and a three-coach class 117 - are being overhauled, restored
and upgraded by Arlington Fleet Group Ltd at Eastleigh works. They are being given new wheel-sets
and equipped with Network Rail compliant TPWS, OTMR, GSM-R wireless communications system and
central door locking so they can run on the main line into Wareham station. They are due to arrive
during the early summer of 2018 with intensive testing following. The Swanage Railway drivers and
guards that will operate the two trains also need to complete their training on the new units.
For the first year of the trial train service to Wareham, the Railway contracted West Coast Railways to
run the 60 selected day service on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays between
13 June and 3 September 2017. The drivers, guards, diesel locomotives and coaches needed to operate
the trains were all supplied by West Coast Railways. Just over 13,000 passengers were carried during
the summer of 2017, which compares well with the target figure of 12,000 passengers in the Purbeck
Community Rail Partnership business plan. Visual surveys indicated that up to 70% of passengers
travelling on last year's service arrived or departed from Wareham by a main line train, one of the trial
service's key objectives. The performance of the trial Wareham trains was said to be good - thanks to a
robust timetable, but despite the operational success of the trial, the service was operated at a
financial loss and the use of a contracted third party operator cannot be repeated in 2018.
MR32] Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, Oxfordshire (MR p7): Maidenhead station platform 5 canopy
has been removed by Network Rail as part of the Great Western electrification scheme and taken to
Wallingford station - it is due to be installed there later this year. It was erected at Maidenhead in the
1880s, but is thought to have been moved from another local station where it may have been installed
under the supervision of IK Brunel himself. Broad Gauge engines had certainly passed beneath it.
The restoration of the historic canopy is being undertaken by McCurdy's and is being financed by the
Railway Heritage Trust. Restoration work was to start in earnest on 29 January.
MR33] Cambrian Heritage Railways (Oswestry), Shropshire (MR p7): The Railway has been awarded a
£120,000 grant from Oswestry Town Council towards the capital cost of the Weston Wharf extension,
the aim is to extend the existing running line from Gas Works (Shrewsbury Road) Bridge (18m 61ch) to
Weston Wharf (19m 51ch). This would connect Oswestry town centre to a new Weston Wharf station,
next to Stonehouse Brewery and their visitor centre. Oswestry Mayor, Vince Hunt noted the support of
Shropshire Council in their commitment to repair the Shrewsbury Road Bridge, under which the track
has to be lowered. Railway Chairman Rob Williams commented: We are extremely grateful for the
support and vision of Oswestry Town Council in making this Grant. Although a significant sum, which
should see a basic railway delivered, we are still looking for further funding and support to enhance
and develop the final product. The Oswestry to Weston project is what we see as Phase 1, the ultimate
goal with the Heritage project is to extend further and link up with our other site at Llynclys South.
https://goo.gl/JTCJbo is a detailed illustrated and annotated map of the Cambrian Heritage Railways.
MR34] West Parley Miniature Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1162.MR94): This 7¼" gauge railway,
located at Plowmans Garden Centre, seems to have suffered a set-back. Its web site, when checked in
early February, carried this message: We regret to advise that owing to circumstances totally beyond
the Railway's control it will not be possible to run trains at Easter 2018 as previously advertised nor do
we expect to be able to run trains in the immediate future. As soon as plans currently being formulated
have been finalised this website will be updated as appropriate so please do check back soon.
The last trains ran for Santa in December 2017. Any further information would be welcome.
ABOVE: West Parley Miniature Railway - hopefully this railway has not permanently closed.
'Petunia waits in West Parley Central station. (Peter Scott 29 May 17)
MR35] Black Country Living Museum Tramway, West Midlands (MR p32) (BLN 1296.14 & MR1):
Dudley & Stourbridge No.5 has returned to service after a 5 year restoration project. The 32 seat tram
was built in 1919 and sold off as a garden shed on closure of most of the Black Country system.
The tram's second restoration, costing £120,000, was funded through donations and undertaken by
the Llangollen Railway. It was then completed by the Friends of the Black Country Living Museum and
the Black Country Living Museum Transport Group. Donated to the Museum in 1974 and originally
restored in 1980; it joins similar No34 and Wolverhampton District No49 in the operational fleet.
MR36] Crossness Pumping Station, Greater London (BLN 1269.MR232): Planning permission for a new
railway (18" gauge, 700 metres in length from the site entrance to the north engine shed a few yards
below the Bazalgette Beam Engine House) was granted last year by the London Borough of Bexley,
together with necessary approvals from site owners Thames Water. The railway is to be called the
Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge Railway. The line will now be built as a dual gauge 18"/2ft railway, with
completion due for January 2019, provided the £23,000 required for track materials can be raised.
2ft gauge locomotive 4wDH 'Busy Basil' was delivered to Crossness on 7 November 2017, followed five
days later by two coaches. This locomotive has had a varied history - being built by Severn Lamb in
1986 as Festival No2 for the Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival (as were the coaches), before moving to
the Bygone Village at Fleggburgh, Norfolk, 7km north east of Acle. It was later stored at Bewilderwood,
Hoveton, Norfolk, then at the 15" gauge Haigh Railway, Wigan, from where it was sent to Crossness.
X.25] Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Oxfordshire, (MR p7) With e-BLN and on our website
archive is a 24 page well illustrated brochure about the Railway's reconnection at Princes Risborough.
This is thanks to our members Phil Marsh and Andrew Taylor who are heavily involved with the line.
ABOVE: A recent picture of the new/reinstated Princes Risborough P4, which will be accessed from P3
(to the right). This gives easy step free access with Chiltern services in all three directions. The platform
just needs some grouting around the paving, signage and platform furniture - oh yes and the track!
The grey paving was done by contractors; otherwise it was all the work of the railway's volunteers.
The track should start appearing shortly! (Alan Jeffries and with thanks to Andrew Taylor.)
MR37] Lancashire Mining Museum, Astley Green, Greater Manchester: The Museum at the former
Astley Green Colliery now seems to go by the name 'Lancashire Mining Museum'. It is operated by the
Red Rose Steam Society. There has been a 2ft gauge railway for many years and your correspondent
remembers having (probably an unofficial) ride in 1997 over an 'E' line of 418 yards. The Society is now
bringing the railway up to passenger carrying standard and hopes to begin passenger operations in
2018. In January footings were being dug for a station platform, which from a photo on their Facebook
page, appears to be alongside the boundary fence on a run-round loop. The 'Astley Green Project Plan'
states: The Red Rose Steam Society has made progress on the relaying of approx 440 yards of train
track through the site. There is a further 400 yards of track to relay and ballast. The Society is working
on getting an engine running which will be able to provide rides along the site to the canal and back.
MR38] Penrhyn Quarry Railway (PQR), Gwynedd (MR p30) (BLN 1286.1593): A message explaining the
reason behind the closure of this railway was posted on its Facebook page on 24 December 2017:
Since Jonathan [Ball] passed away, the running of the railway became more difficult and required more
effort from our few volunteers. Over the years we were still working toward our goal of extending the
railway towards the quarry. Recently we helped in the sale of an item of rolling stock to an individual.
When the new owner came to pick up the item the original owner made the allegation that we had not
passed the money on, even though we had a signed receipt from the owner. The new owner had to
repay for the item. We felt that due to the position the original owner had over the railway it was the
final nail in the coffin, as things had started to become more constraining and difficult. It became clear
that we could not continue with the running of the railway. The following weekend we had a break in,
a significant amount of items were stolen including some of our paperwork and security recorder.
This reinforced to us that nothing could be done except vacate the site as quickly as we
could. Thankfully we managed to get most of the items out without too much hassle. There has been a
misconception of why the railway has closed, there are rumours circulating about finances and various
things. The railway itself has no money issues, the engineering company does have some debt but a
payment plan has been worked out with most of the creditors and will be paid off over the New Year.
We are keeping the support group open and we are continuing to strive towards our goal of a PQR.
There are a number of options open to us at the moment which we are exploring. This includes
significant lengths of track bed. We are also exploring the option of working within a railway to restore
our rolling stock ready for when we can have a line again.
MR39] Dean Forest Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p6) (BLN 1298.201): The railway's web site shows a
quite different timetable for 2018 compared to 2017 - Norchard Low Level now appears to be used on
'special event days' only. So it looks as though the last regularly booked public working (as opposed to
special events) over the Norchard Low Level - Middle Forge Jn section was on 26 November 2017.
BELOW: GWR 2-6-2T 5541 hauls the 12.05 to Parkend away from Lydney Junction with former
test train 'Iris' (DMU) in the background left. (Peter Scott 28 September 2016)
ABOVE: The line up' at the buffet on the tour. (Dicky Irvine)
414] RAILTOUR REPORT; The Christmas Brush, Sat 2 Dec 2017 by RJD: When first advertised I must
admit to having some concerns as to whether to book (312 did book!). Reading departure was less
than 10 minutes after the first service train arrived so not a realistic option; it was Hobson's choice -
stay overnight in Reading and walk to the station. The ECS arrived from West Coast Railway's Southall
depot a few minutes early. I for one appreciated this, as despite massive expansion (or maybe because
of it), Reading station really is an inhospitable place on a winter morning. Enough of this time wasting;
it's time to get down to action! NB: Many names/layouts have changed since Aug 2010 TRACKmaps!
We left on time at 07.45 from P12 eastbound, a less common move as this platform is mainly used by
westbound Thames Valley stopping services; all through platforms at Reading are now bidirectional.
The Up Relief line was gained via one of the many segments of Kennet Bridge Jn installed during the
station rebuild and expansion. It was now a case of waiting for events to unfold which they did thick
and fast. The recently installed track forming the new Maidenhead Loop (P5) from the west was next -
it is used by some stopping services to Paddington and on the day of the tour by terminating services
from Oxford. Then it was on to non-passenger track proper. The first of the day was the lengthy Slough
Goods Loop (19m 36ch to 18m 60ch) which, like many, has permissive working for freight trains,
immediately before the station and accessed off the Up Relief. This has been altered in recent times so
a 'new' layout as well. Soon after we were signalled into Dawley Up Goods loop (UGL) situated almost
entirely beneath the Heathrow Airport Jn complex. In another change the eastern exit stood in the
way of the new flyover so the loop has been shortened at the London end to accommodate the Up
Airport Relief. For the record, the Up Iver Loop at 15m 12ch is out of use due to the condition of track
as was evident. Next on the list was to be Hayes Up Goods Loop except it didn't happen. The reason
soon became clear as it was occupied by one of the many stone trains from Somerset which often run
six days a week, so an omission which caused some transient disappointment but that soon passed…
Reading P12 - Dn (Down) Relief (DR) - Kennet Bridge Jn (35m 15ch) - X/O - Up Relief (UR) - Maidenhead Loop - P5
- UR - Slough Goods Loop (GL) - Dawley UGL - Southall West Jn ladder (10m 06ch) - Up Brentford Loop (formerly
'Siding') - Southall East Jn ladder to UR - Hanwell Jn - Drayton Green Jn - Greenford South Jn - Greenford East Jn -
Up Wycombe - Dn/Up Wycombe - Old Oak Common West Jn - Reception Line 1 - Reception Line 2 (briefly) -
Old Oak Common East Jn - Carriage Line - X/O (Kensal Green 2m 26ch) - UR - X/O (Ladbroke Grove 1m 68ch) - DR -
Line 5 - last possible X/O (platform end) - Paddington P11 (rev) - Line 6 - Portobello Jn (1m 33ch) - Crossrail Depot
Line 1 - Crossrail Depot Line 2 (1m 66ch) - Scissors (Kensal Green East Jn) - Crossrail Depot Line 1 - Scissors (Grand
Canal Jn) - Engine & Carriage Line - Old Oak Common East Jn - Reception Line 1 - Old Oak Common West Jn -
Dn/Up Wycombe/Dn Wycombe - Greenford East Jn - Greenford West Jn (rev) - Greenford South Jn -
Drayton Green Jn - Hanwell Jn - DR - Southall West Jn - X/O (9m 79ch) - UR - Hayes Up GL - X/O at Heathrow
Airport Jn - DR - Langley East X/O - UR - Langley Up Loop - Dolphin Jn X/O - DR - X/O (18m 20ch) - UR - Slough P5 -
X/O - DR - Maidenhead East X/O - UR - Maidenhead P4 - X/O (24m 66ch) - DR - Twyford East X/O - UR - Twyford
P4 - Twyford West X/O - DR - Kennet Passenger Loop - Kennet Bridge Jn - Dn Main (DM) - Reading P8 -
Up Westbury - Dn Reading Festival Line - Reading High Level Jn - DR - Tilehurst East Jn - DM - Didcot East ladder -
DR - Didcot Parkway P3 - Relief - Foxhall Jn - Milton Siding MP 54½ (rev) - Foxhall Jn - Didcot GL - X/O - Didcot
Parkway P3 - DR - Didcot East X/O - Up Main (UM) - Moreton Cutting X/O - UR - Scours Lane Jn (37m 60ch) -
Up Reading Passenger Loop - (37m 40ch) - Reading West Jn - Up Reading West Curve - Oxford Road Jn -
Southcote Jn - Dn Westbury - Dn Towney Loop - Newbury Racecourse P3 - Newbury P1 - Dn Woodborough GL -
Heywood Road Jn - Westbury East Loop Jn - Westbury North Jn - Westbury P1 (rev) - first X/O - UM - Westbury
North Jn - Dn Trowbridge - X/O (109m 42ch) - Up Trowbridge - Hawkeridge Jn - Dn Trowbridge (change of line
direction) - Bradford Jn - Melksham Single (rev) - Bradford Jn - Up Trowbridge - Hawkeridge Jn - Up (east) Loop -
Westbury East Loop Jn - Heywood Road Jn - Up Woodborough GL - Hungerford Up Passenger Loop - Southcote Jn
- Oxford Road Jn - Dn Reading West Curve (transiently) - X/O - Up Reading West Curve - (0m 59ch) Reading Feeder
Relief - Caversham Road Jn - DR - DR Loop - Scissors X/O - Reading P14 - Reading East Jn - Reading Low Level Line -
Reading Southern Jn - Up Southern - Reading Spur Jn - Wokingham Jn - UM - X/O (28m 18ch) - Ascot P2 (DM) -
X/O (28m 66ch) - UM - Feltham Jn - Hounslow Jn - Old Kew Jn - Kew East Jn - South Acton Jn - Acton Wells Jn -
Acton Canal Wharf Jn - Neasden Jn - Neasden South Jn - Northolt Park Jn - Dn Northolt Loop - South Ruislip P3
(rev) - Dn & Up Greenford - Dn & Up Wycombe - Greenford West Jn - Greenford South Jn - Drayton Green Jn -
West Ealing Jn - UR - Acton Dive-Under Line - UR - Friars Jn - Reception Line No1 - Old Oak Common West Jn -
Reception Line No1 - Old Oak Common East Jn - Engine & Carriage Line - Scissors X/O (2m 32ch) - Crossrail Depot
Line 1 - Ladbroke Grove X/O (1m 68ch) - UR - DR - Line 4 - last possible X/Os - Paddington P11.
This was because at Southall West Jn (9m 70ch) we crossed from the Up Relief to the Down Main then
into the yard on the Up Brentford Loop (formerly the Up Brentford Siding) passing Southall station
'P0' (left) then back to the Up Relief via the Southall East Jn crossovers. Hanwell Up Goods Loop was
thus omitted but most participants would probably have preferred the route taken given the choice.
After stopping to pick up at Hanwell ('and Elthorne' according to the original Great Western Railway
(GWR) running in boards) it was onto the Greenford route via the Loop line between Hanwell Jn and
Drayton Green Jn, required by many, before veering right at Greenford South Jn to the former GWR
main line from High Wycombe at Greenford East Jn and into Paddington direct (well almost). In time
honoured BLS tradition our tour made a brief deviation onto Reception Line 1 off the 'Down/Up
Wycombe' then the Carriage Line, the Up Relief and Line 5 to Paddington P11 to pick up and reverse.
We departed on Line 6, which was then about to disappear in its previous form courtesy of Crossrail
Christmas engineering works (it did indeed). Making use of the versatile bidirectional signalling here
the tour switched to a new, indeed very new, layout at Portobello Jn (1m 33ch) where the previous
installations had been demolished to make way for Crossrail. The infrastructure here was pristine, only
commissioned a few days before (and refused during planning stages as it was not then in the
system!). We were the first ever passenger train to use the new 'Crossrail Depot Line 1' and 'Crossrail
Depot Line 2'. At Kensal Green East Jn we went left (2m 11ch) over the diamond crossover to Line 1
again passing the flyover line before joining it (Engine & Carriage Line) at the next diamond and then
Reception Line 1 at Old Oak Common East!
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: The tour was the first train on then recently commissioned Old Oak Crossrail
Reception Line looking east. PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The same line at Old Oak Mitre Bridge looking
west. The adjacent two lines were not yet commissioned. (Both Phil Marsh) BELOW: Hardly a Ground
Position Signal! - The approach to Hayes Up Goods Loop in the Down direction. (Simon Mortimer)
(RIGHT: Ticket by master 'ticketier' Jim Sellens.) Park Royal
and Greenford West Jn were next to reverse for the curve to
Greenford South Jn, then Drayton Green Jn and Hanwell Jn
(so cleverly covering that curve in both directions). The GW
main line was followed for a straightforward journey to
Reading with a couple of booked 'weaves' thrown in for
good measure. In the event there was even more. The stone
train at the Tarmac siding at Hayes had shunted clear of the
two adjacent loops so it was now possible to traverse the Hayes Up Goods Loop in the rarer Down
direction, then through Hayes & Harlington P4 to regain the Down Relief via the crossover within the
Heathrow Airport Jn complex (and complex it certainly is now!). During an earlier iteration of this
junction, this crossover was used by Heathrow Connect services but in the opposite direction off the
Up Airport line. This is shown in the current (Aug 2010) TRACKmaps but overtaken by changes.
BELOW: The leaning signal of Greenford. 47245 leading our tour along the Up & Down Loop from
Greenford South Jn to Greenford East Jn passing Signal GE67, Greenford East signal box's Up Starter
from the eastern chord towards West Ealing. Although used frequently by freight trains and ECS
moves, a passenger train over this side of the triangle is a rare. (All by Geoff Plumb unless specified)
NEXT PAGE UPPER: En route between Paddington and Greenford West Jn (where the tour reversed)
the Christmas Brush has just passed Greenford East Signal Box, between the former main line from
Paddington to the left, the western curve round to Greenford South Jn on the right and the bridge
carrying the LUL Central Line. After reversal, the western curve was taken for Hanwell.
NEXT PAGE TOP: BR Standard 'Britannia' Class 4-6-2 No70000 'Britannia' opens up now its 11 coach
train has cleared the junction at Greenford West having started from Ealing Broadway. This was the
'William Shakespeare Express' to Stratford-upon-Avon and return, seen from the old platforms of the
main line station at Greenford on Sun 20 Dec 1992.
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Greenford West Jn (after the Paddington reveral), the tour has reversed behind
signals GE41 & GE45. GE41 is the Up Main Home signal towards Paddington and GE45, the Up Home
Branch signal to Greenford South Jn. To the left in the undergrowth, on the ground is the remains of
the Up Siding which was previously part of the Up Loop through Greenford mainline station platforms,
long since closed. Incredibly the signal is the same one seen in the 1992 picture above with 'Britannia'!
PAGE AFTER (FULL PAGE): On route from Paddington to a reversal at Greenford West the tour passes
Greenford East's Signal GE50 to cross to the former Up Main Line before coming to a halt. Signal GE 50
is the Down Starter, the ground signal (GE13) controlled access to the Up Siding, now disconnected.