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6th January 2018

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Published by membersonly, 2018-03-16 04:42:34


6th January 2018

Issue Number 1296 (Items 1- 102 &IsMsuRe 1Nu- mMbRe1r21)2(6E8-BLN 60 PAGES) 6 Jan 2018


Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955


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 1297 is dated Sat 20 JanSo; cCieotnyt.rSiobcuiettioy.ns must be received by 10 Jan

Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
1291 JE FULL
Sat 6/1/2018 09.30 - dark: Railtour of Scunthorpe Steel Works (now full)
1295 JE OPEN
Sun 21/1/18 12.00, Burnley & Pendle MRS, Thompson Park NOW ALSO:
Notify for: 10.00 Haigh Hall miniature railway (see below)

Sun 25/2/18 Newcastle: Tyne & Wear Metro railtour (north side) TBA TBA Claimed

24-25/3/18 The Sussex Salopian track & traction tour (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, brakevan tour 1296 JE *OPEN*

Sun 15/4/18 10.15-15.15: Crich Tram Museum VERY Comprehensive tour 1296 JE *OPEN*

20-24/4/18 5 day tour: Finnish freight lines that might well be finishing 1290 IS OPEN

Sat 28/4/18 *NEW* Save the day for another mainline Society Railtour TBA TBA Claimed

3 to 6/5/18 Island of Ireland THURSDAY - SATURDAY IS FULL (SEE BELOW) 1295 KA BELOW

Sat 12/5/18 With '565 Railtours', West Coast traction & Colas Class 37s TBA TBA Claimed

Thu 14/6/18 Annual Pre-Peaks Trekker, Loco-hauled charity railtour TBA TBA Claimed

Sun 5/8/18 *NEW* Standard gauge Scottish minor railway, save the day TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 27/10/18 PROVISIONAL 2018 AGM long weekend events in Yorkshire TBA TBA Claimed

IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, TBA-To Be Advised,  = book online at

1] Thompson Park Railway, Sun 21 Jan 12.00: Colne Rd, Burnley, BB11 2AA, SD 844 333, (MR p19). We
are delighted to be invited back to this interesting 1,000yd complex 7¼" railway run by the Burnley &
Pendle Miniature Railway Society for an 'all available lines' visit, including,
since our last visit, new depot lines and the new platform loop. Tea and coffee will be provided from
12.00. Construction began in 2001; the railway extended in 2005 and 2013. The rare connection and
other non-passenger lines are included. Traction variety is expected. £11 adult BLS members, non-
members £15. Bookings via our website (preferred as this greatly assists your volunteer Committee)
with a card, or cheques by post to Jill Everitt with an email address or SAE. Additionally before this:

.NEW Haigh Hall Railway: (MR p17) Haigh Country Park, Haigh, Wigan, WN2 1PE, (SD 600 083) has
kindly agreed to a special Society private visit beforehand at 10.00. It is then about 45 minutes drive to
Thompson Park (above). The operator is aware of our interest in unusual track from our recent West
Lancashire Light Railway event and will investigate what can be covered in addition to the scenic and
significant one mile long circuit. The Wigan & District Model Engineering Society operates a short 5"
gauge track at Haigh Hall and a quick visit and ride there may also be possible on the day.

Depending on numbers, it may be necessary to arrange some car-sharing in view of the limited car
parking spaces. This visit is available separately from Thompson Park visit above. Please notify Jill
Everitt if you wish to attend Haigh Hall (this can be via the comments box if booking Thompson Park
online or by separate email). Pay on the day in cash (Haigh Hall only): £5 members; £7 non-members.

2] Bognor Regis, Hotham Park Railway, Sat 24 Mar, 14.15: (MR p25) SZ 939 995. During our railtour
break here (next item), with thanks to John Cameron and Kev Adlam, a special train has been arranged
for 44 participants on this 900yd 12¼" gauge line near the mainline station
(the railway is providing an escort to show the shortest route). Includes short and long circuits, it gives
an interesting view of the historic park and its attractions. £3.50 per head, first come first served,
includes Edmondson style ticket, track plan and stocklist. Book on our website (preferred) or by post to
Jill Everitt (with email address/SAE).

3] Crewe Heritage Centre, Sun 25 Mar 08.00 - 10.00: Vernon Way, Crewe, CW1 2D, (SJ 709 552), (MR
p8) Just a 15 min walk from Crewe station; limited free car parking. With thanks to Kev Adlam, during
our mainline tour break here, a Class 03 hauled brakevan tour. All available standard gauge lines at this
interesting location which opened 1987, particularly track not covered by Kev's 30 Oct 2011 & 21 Apr
2017 PLEG/BLS visits. Includes inside the Exhibition Hall and BOTH Boiler Shop roads which have never
seen a passenger train before. Strictly limited to 25 participants; £20 BLS members only. Book online
(preferred) or cheques payee 'Branch Line Society' to Jill Everitt with an email
address or an SAE please (two if an immediate acknowledgement is required).

4] The Sussex Salopian, Sat 24 - Sun 25 Mar 2018: A 'Track & Traction' loco-hauled railtour that is
more than a full day out with the West Coast Railway Company (WCR) and '84G‡ Railtours' (thanks
to Tim Brawn). Timings/route as validated by WCR and bid to NR: Carnforth PU P2 04.29 - Lancaster
PU P3 04.39 (Dn Passenger Loop) - Preston PU 05.04 - Crewe PU 06.08 - Gresty Green Through Sdg
(No1 Sdg on TRACKmaps Vol 4 p13 Aug 2013) - Shrewsbury Up Goods Loop - Shrewsbury PU 07.00 -
Wellington Up Through Line - Cosford Up Gds Loop - Oxley Up Gds Loop - Wolverhampton - Tame
Bridge Parkway PU 08.14 - Birmingham International P1 PU 08.50 - Rugby Up & Dn Through Siding
- Northampton Up Fast - .Watford Junction P9 PU 11.06. - Wembley European Freight Operations
Centre Road 5 - Wembley Yard South Jn - Willesden No7 - Acton Lane Reception Sdg (change loco) -
Kensington Olympia - Latchmere No1 Jn - Clapham Jn P17 - Streatham Common - Windmill Bridge Jn
(Dn Slow) - East Croydon P2 - South Croydon P4 - Redhill NEW P0 - Gatwick Airport P2 - Horsham -
Ford - Barnham P1 - Bognor Regis (break 14.15/15.20; see front page) - Barnham P1 (rev) - Fratton
P2 (rev) - Haslemere P2 - Guildford - Reading Spur Jn - Reading New Jn - Reading P7 - Reading West
(rev) - Down Reading West Curve - .Goring & Streatley SD 18.40. - Didcot East Jn - North Jn - Oxford
P4 - Banbury Depot Jn - Banbury (NEW) Dn Gds Loop (change loco) - Reservoir Jn - Leamington Spa
Dn Main - Kenilworth Loop - Birmingham International SD 20.52 - Birmingham New St SD 21.09 -
Tame Bridge Parkway SD 21.35 - Wolverhampton - Down Oxley Goods Loop - Cosford Dn Gds Loop
- Wellington Dn Through Line - Shrewsbury SD 22.42 - Gresty Green Dn Through Sdg (ex-'Through
Siding' & 'Down Salop Siding') - Crewe Dn Salop Gds Line - Crewe SD 23.35. Overnight stay (and see
previous item). Then (part of the tour): Sunday Crewe PU 12.05 - Acton Grange Jn - Walton Old Jn -
Warrington BQ P4 - Earlestown P4 - Bamfurlong Dn Gds Line - Wigan NW P5 - Preston SD P7 13.30 -
Barton & Broughton Down Pass Loop - Oubeck Dn Goods Loop - Lancaster SD P5 (Up Pass Loop 2) -
Carnforth Up & Down Goods Loop - Carnforth SD 15.05. [‡Shrewsbury WR shed 1949-60]

All timings and routing are provisional and subject to validation by Network Rail.

Traction: Our 9-coach charter will be hauled by a West Coast Class 37 to Acton Lane with a Class 47/57
at the rear (that will work small sections on the Southern). A WCR Class 33 then takes the majority of
the work until Banbury where the Class 37 returns. Now open for bookings with card payment via our
website (which would greatly assist your volunteer Society and gives immediate acknowledgement).

Alternatively send a cheque (banked on receipt), payee 'Branch Line Society' to Jill Everitt per back page. If
booking by post please supply full names and membership number of each person, with an email address

(This is important for coach stewarding purposes please and can be changed subsequently by notification.)
Paper booking forms are not being printed. Booking as a group assists in achieving seating preferences.

Fares: •Standard Class £85 BLS Members (note: all fares include all day Saturday and the Sunday section).
Fares: •First Class Plus with refreshments £133*. •First Class Plus table for two with refreshments £286*.
Fares: •Non BLS members add £12 per person. •Under 18s (must be accompanied) deduct £5.

There will be an on train charity raffle with attractive prizes from which all income will be donated to
Railway Children. A buffet car will serve hot food including breakfast rolls, drinks, snacks and light
refreshments. Real ales from Salopian Brewery are expected to be available for sale. *First Class Plus
passengers will additionally benefit from complimentary morning tea/coffee with a Danish pastry, and in
the afternoon, tea or coffee with savoury of the day and a selection of fine cakes.

X.1 .NEW The Crich Tramway Traverser, Sun 15 Apr: 10.15-15.30 (approx) Crich Tramway Village,
(MR p32) near Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5DP, (SK 345 549). With thanks to John Cameron, a much
requested repeat of our highly successful (and very comprehensive) Oct 2016 visit to the home of
the National Tramway Village and Museum at Crich. For a well illustrated full report go to our
website 'Home' page and across to 'Fixtures Reports'; in the top left box select '2016' and in the top
right box 'Crich' or see BLN 1268.2130 dated 5 Nov 2016 also . The extensive
tram tour during the five hour visit will cover up to 11 depot roads, the depot crossover in both
direction as well as POSSIBLE use of the depot centre siding and the lengthy approx 26ft gauge
traverser, as last time, to ends of lines (video thanks to Jenny Williamson).

Participants will be able to stay to look round the depot, museum and other attractions at Crich as
well riding on the service trams for the rest of the day. The Café and pub will be open and selling
refreshments. A further repeat is unlikely. BLS members £21; under 18s accompanied £17 (no
unaccompanied under 18s); non-members £26. Booking online greatly helps your volunteer
committee (or another member doing this for you - they will need your membership number and
full name) or cheques/CPAs to Jill Everitt. Queries [email protected] 07581178759.
This item was too late for paper BLN (please advise anyone you know who might be interested.)

5] Island of Ireland (Part 3) 3-5 May: (BLN 1295.2459) Coach and host capacity has now been reached
from expressions of interest for Thu 3 to Sat 5 May. Please advise Kev Adlam by email or post if you
wish to be added to the waiting list. Expressions of interest are open for the Sun 6 May Dublin railtour.

6] Website: logged in members can now check their details, including preferred
title (if it is recorded) just before your name. On the home page, go across the top blue bar to the right
end 'More options..' then right down to 'My details'. For changes or additions, email Alan Welsh
[email protected] please. Importantly, where applicable, the new membership
numbers are shown for Basic Category 'D' members which are required if booking them on fixtures.

8] Website 'Archive': (Home page fourth along the top.) Many useful documents including old BLNs
currently from Oct 1955 - Dec 1973 and from 11 May 2013 (the gap will be filled in time). To create a
list in date order, select 'BLN' in 'Category' top left; this box filters other choices too. To search for a
subject/location/item etc in BLN, you then need to download and save them all to your Desktop - for
example - (as whole years 1955 - 1973, then individual copies, they cannot be downloaded in one go
due to the file size). Next in Adobe Reader with any PDF document open, go to 'Edit' (2nd across top),
then near the bottom to 'Advanced Search' for 'All PDF Documents in…' Desktop (or wherever they
are saved). Try a specific word or two to find what you want; for example 'Waterloo' will bring up
many entries but 'Rattlebrook Tramway' will bring up a few. In 'Archive' the top right box searches
titles of documents; try 'Abbreviations' (which produce many queries), 'Constitution' or 'Terms'.

7] PSUL 2018: With many thanks to the compiler, our member Richard Maund, the paper version is
enclosed with this paper BLN. Extra copies £5 (incl P&P) with a CPA or cheque 'Branch Line Society'
from Mark Gomm (back page), or on a tour. The latest updated version is available on our website.

1296 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]

9] Tondu, Maesteg branch, Llynfi Goods Loop: OOU since 12 Apr 2017 due to track condition. This has
also prevented access to the Garw and Ogmore loops (all three are bidirectional), which provide a run-
round facility. Llynfi loop was in regular use in autumn 2016 for the RHTT train to cross an ECS working
(SX) from Maesteg to Cardiff Canton. This year the RHTT waits in Bridgend for the ECS to clear the
branch. The last train to use the loop was on 25 Jan 2017; 1Q06 with 37057, the 17.23 Whitland to
Cardiff Canton, which made a return Bridgend to Maesteg trip using the loop in both directions.

10] Pouparts Jn* - Longhedge Jn*- Stewarts Lane Jn - Battersea Pier Jn (central side): CP 21 May 2017
(regular passenger services). Until 20 May 2017 (SX) booked use was: 00.32 Victoria - Gatwick Airport/
01.35 return PSUL services (but prone to diversion via Battersea Park or to Victoria south eastern side).
Belmond and other excursions use the route intermittently. (*Part of a Bedford - Brighton overnight
service optional diversionary route, an alternative to using London Bridge during Thameslink works.)

11] Tondu Jn - Margam Abbey Works East Jn: (BLN 1285.1560) 'Ogmore Vale Extension' OOU since
13 Jul 2017 under a 'T3' possession due to excessive vegetation which was also obscuring the signals. It
was last used Sun 8 Jan 2017 for freight diversions, which were also the last trains to use the Garw and
Ogmore loops. Passenger trains, HSTs between Bridgend and Port Talbot, were last diverted via Tondu
(reverse) in Jan 1997. The most recent railtour was Pathfinder's 'Taffy Tug 2' on 24 Aug 2014. The UKRT
Sat 10 Mar 'Valley of the Witch' railtour is currently advertised to use the line from Tondu to Margam.

12] Epping Ongar Railway, Stonards Hill (9.0km*) - Epping Forest (9.4km*): (amends BLN 1293.2287)
TCP 4 Nov 2017 to further notice due to the disappearance of trackside signs on an unknown date on/
before 2 Nov. The Santa Specials on various dates 2-24 Dec ran to Stonards Hill from North Weald,
with (certain dates) a connecting Ongar service (other dates a bus). It is hoped new signs and upgraded
fixings will be available to run to 9.4km again next season (first booked service 10 Feb). [*From Ongar.]

13] Mossend East Jn - Mossend North Jn: ROP Mon 11 Dec 2017 for 21.00 (SuX) Manchester Airport to
Glasgow Central PSUL service. The curve had a regular very limited PSUL service until the final trains
were diverted via Motherwell from 6 Jul 1987. An hourly daytime pre-Christmas shopping Sunday
service (Glasgow Central - Shotts via Whifflet) started Sun 28 Nov 1999, last ran 23 Dec 2001, but was
restored from Christmas 2005 (first trip 27 Nov 2005). From 1999 to 2007 it was only advertised locally
but was included in the public timetable from 9 Dec 2007 until it last ran on Sun 19 Dec 2010. Since
then the stations concerned have had regular Sunday services. From 7 Jan until 1 Jun 2002 the curve
was used by a 'recovery timetable' service of one train: 23.13 SuX Glasgow Central to Livingston South.

14] Dudley, 'Black Country Living Museum' Tramway, Museum Entrance - Village: (BLN 1286.1591)
3' 6" gauge (MR p32) ROP Mon 18 Dec; TCP since 26 Jun 2017 (work on Dudley, Stourbridge & District
Tram No5 costing £120k). The museum aims to run trams at least 2-3 days per week 11.00-15.00 most
months of the year but the line closes from time to time for tram maintenance (check first).

15] Doncaster, Bessacarr Jn - Black Carr Jn: (updating BLN 1295.2467) ROP 11 Dec 2017 but first train
ran 13* Dec; timetabled for: 11.54 SSuX; 14.10 SO Lincoln - Doncaster & 13.01 SSuX; 14.10 SO return.

16] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, Broadway extension: On 23 Dec 2017 track was
completed to the station and the first (engineers') train ran - 73138 & D8137.
Public services begin Good Friday 30 Mar. Tickets can be purchased for Easter: £18 adult, £17 senior,
£8 child, £48 family (2A & 3C) and on the day. The 2018 timetable includes an
impressive hourly service between Cheltenham Race Course and Broadway (14 miles) on peak days.
The first special trains for working volunteers, major shareholders and donors only run 21 & 22 March.

17] Gospel Oak Jn - Woodgrange Park Jn: (BLN 1292.2195/6) TROG 27-30 Dec 2017; freight to/from
Barking. Harringay Park Jn - Harringay Jn: TROG 27-30 Dec; Hoo Jn to Whitemoor departmental trains.
Carlton Road Jn - Junction Road Jn TROG 28 Dec only for an Oxwellmains to West Thurrock cement
train. Tottenham South Jn - South Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn:
TROG 28 & 29 Dec for London Gateway to Leeds intermodal trains. These temporary reopenings (TCA
since 18.30 on 18 Nov) were due to work at Stratford and on to Camden Road (North London Line).

18] Blackfriars Jn (0m 40ch/0m 63ch) - Metropolitan Jn (1m 31ch): (BLN 1224.2400) ROP (ie available)
Tue 2 Jan 2018 (TCP 20 Dec 2014) but no train ais recorded as using it that day. Thameslink services via
London Bridge between Blackfriars and East Croydon not stopping intermediately; it is an alternative
path to via Elephant & Castle and Crystal Palace as explained in the back reference.

19] Metropolitan Jn - Cannon Street (P4-7): (BLN 1249.124) The Metropolitan Reversible Line RO Tue
2 Jan 2018 but is NRU initially. (Previously TCA 28 Nov 2016; NRU since 27 Aug 2016; CP 24 Dec 2015.)

20] West Ealing & Hanwell: (BLN 1295.2478) Both stations were also TCP 24 Dec 2017 to 1 Jan 2018.

21] North Llanrwst (excl) - Blaenau Ffestiniog and 5 stations: (BLN 1295.2462) TCP 24 Dec 2017 until
Mon 1 Jan 2018 (inclusive) for further urgent repairs to Ffestiniog Tunnel (no winter Sunday service).

22] Bicester, Gavray Jn (19m 00ch*) - Claydon L&NE Jn (12m 57ch*): Currently NRU; TCA is expected
1 Sep 2018 for East West Rail work. This may extend to Claydon Level Crossing (11m 18ch*), the end of
line. UKRT 'The Missing link' is due to traverse this line on 17 March. [*Miles from Bletchley Flyover Jn.]

23] Sheffield (Meadowhall) Tram Transfer Line (incl) - Tinsley North Jn, Rotherham Central stop &
Parkgate Jn - Parkgate (incl): OP (3tph) expected Sep 2018; infrastructure work is due for completion
on 6 May for testing, followed by driver training. Overhead wires are now in place over the whole line.

24] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]

1292.2195 18 Nov 17† 14 Jan 18 Barking P1 & Woodgrange Park Jn - Gospel Oak Jn/P3 †18.30
1292.2197 8 Jan 18 14 Jan 18 Newcastle King Edward Bridge & Norwood Jn - (Metrocentre)
1275.365 11 Nov 17 28 Jan 18 Fylde Jn (Preston) - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South
1275.366 11 Nov 17 25 Mar 18 Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool North
1286.1609 18 Sep 17 29 Mar 18 Seaton Tramway, Riverside Loop south end - Seaton
1291.2113 14 Oct 17 24 Mar 18 *Darlaston Jn - Walsall Pleck Jn (SO weekly PSUL EMU)
1286.1612 22 Jul 2018 7 Oct 18 Derby station/associated lines - a series of partial closures now

1296 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]

25] BLN, A Mine of Information: During the early December cold snap our remaining coal fired power
stations were working hard at times, contributing as much as 10GW = 1010 or ten billion Watts to peak
demand of up to 50GW, but at other times generation fell to zero. Regarding recent coal traffic by rail:

•Hunterston HL & LL: No traffic (some paths remain in the new timetable for imported coal); DRS
nuclear flask traffic continues at Low Level. •Killoch Open Cast Disposal (OCD): Recently almost daily
SSuX train (1,600 tonnes coal) to Eggborough PS. •Greenburn OCD: Occasional train to Drax. •North
Blyth (Battleship Wharf): Cottam PS (SSuX), Drax PS & Port Talbot (both less often). •Tyne Coal
Terminal: No coal traffic but there are regular biomass trains to Drax and some test coke traffic trains.

•Redcar Bulk Terminal: Four coal trains daily (SSuX), one each to Eggborough and Fiddlers Ferry PS
plus two to Drax. •Immingham Humber International Terminal: Two to Ratcliffe PS (SSuX) and two or
three to Drax. •Immingham Bulk (Coal) Terminal: Four 1,400 tonne trains (SSuX) with weekend
workings, around 30,000 tonnes per week, all to Scunthorpe Steel Works. •Portbury Coal Terminal:
Daily (SuSX) to Fiddlers Ferry. •Avonmouth Terminal: Two 1,800 tonne trains SSuX to Aberthaw PS.

ABOVE: Onllywn Washery on 17 Dec 2017, 66098 with empty wagons arrives at the loading pad. After
running round and loading (using two mechanical shovels) the coal was then taken to Immingham
Briquetting Works - said to be the most advanced smokeless fuel factory in Europe. (Nick Jones)
BELOW: The train being loaded. NEXT PAGE TOP: To the right of the picture below is the area where
containers are loaded with coal for the 'wagonload' rail traffic to Mossend. (All Nick Jones 17 Dec
2017). An item on the method of working at Onllywn and more pictures is planned for a future BLN.

[BLN 1296]
•Drax: The power station owners have announced that they are looking to convert two of the three
remaining coal fired units to gas; the other three 660MW units burn biomass. •West Burton 'A' PS:
No recent coal but SSuX daily Flyash train to Hope Cement Works. •Ferrybridge PS (closed): The
former large coal stocks have gone, but the loop is used for inwards gypsum traffic from Cottam PS
and Hull Docks (ironically the Coal Terminal) to supply the plasterboard factory. •Gwaun-cae-Gurwen
(GCG) OCD: A train with 600 tonnes of coal twice a week (generally TThO). •Onllwyn Washery:
Two 1,600 tonne trains per week to Immingham Briquetting Works (smokeless fuel). Inward coal from
GCG for preparation. True wagon load traffic continues to Mossend about every two weeks, using one
of two pairs of Full Container Load (FCL) wagons with four loaded coal containers per pair. The wagons
are conveyed on other services, including the Margam to Hardendale and return lime trains and on
'light engine' moves between Margam and Swansea Burrows sidings, also between Hardendale and
Carlisle New Yard. •Cwmbargoed OCD: Two trains (1,200 tonnes coal each) per week to Hope cement
works and a 1,600 tonne train to Immingham Briquetting. Aberthaw cannot burn Welsh coal now.

26] Passenger Number, Ups & Downs: On 1 Dec the ORR released the Apr 2016/2017 passenger
estimates for our 2,560 national stations. London Waterloo was the busiest for the 14th year running
with 99.4M passengers (up 0.25M); outside London Birmingham New Street was the busiest (42.4M)
followed by Glasgow Central (32.1M). Of greater interest to our readers, Barry Links had fewest (24)
although one train calls each way (SuX) - so 13 trains have to stop for each passenger who joins or
leaves and presumably its footbridge is the rarest! The station, OP 1851, is unstaffed with no facilities.
A local councillor said it is better used than the figures suggested, as many buy Carnoustie tickets
alight at Barry (then return from Carnoustie), and at least 12 passengers come off each evening train.

Tees-side Airport (30) does rather better in that three trains call for each passenger, although actually
most were in one group that made a special day return trip from Darlington (with picnic baskets) one
Sunday, each counted as two passengers. This is no longer possible with just a single weekly train now
calling, the 14.25 (SuO) Hartlepool to Darlington. Third from bottom was the recently reprieved Breich
with 48 - down from 138 in 2015/16, then British Steel Redcar 50 (down from 740), Kildonan 76 and
Reddish South 94 - although this is a creditable average of nearly 2 passengers per call! Next come:
Golf Street 104, Havenhouse 106, Buckenham 122, Elton & Orston 128 and Stanlow & Thornton 128.

[BLN 1296]
Following publicity over Shippea Hill being the least used station in 2015-16, numbers increased by
1,300% from 12 to 156 (2 trains call per passenger, although most passengers were on two trains!).
Also thanks to the efforts of locals, Coombe Junction Halt increased from 48 to 212 and Pilning from
46 to 230 - nearly two passengers per train call, but tickets are valid for return to Severn Beach.
This was despite Pilning losing its Down service from 10 Sep 2016 (or perhaps due to the publicity?).
As compensation, the Up service was doubled to two: 08.33 & 13.34 (both SO Cardiff to Taunton).

Others with less than 500 passengers (see if you know where they are exactly without checking) are:
Achanalt 424, Acklington 204, Altnabreac 356, Beasdale 312, Clifton 352, Culrain 272, Denton 144
(up from 74) or nearly 3 passengers per call, Duncraig 348, Kinbrace 464, Locheilside 372, Nethertown
412, Scotscalder 200, Sugar Loaf* 288, Thorpe Culvert 210 and Wressle 464 (but 912 the year before).
How many of these were BLS members is not recorded. *The only one in Wales with less than 500.

Three new stations OP 2016/17: Lea Bridge (May 2016) was way ahead of expectations with 315,000,
unlike Edinburgh Gateway (Dec) with 58,000; Kirkstall Forge (June) did well with 95,000 (as did nearby
Apperley Bridge only OP Dec 2015, growing from 96,000 in its first 6 months to 350,000). Bermuda
Park (20,000 up 743%) and Coventry Arena (87,000 up 625%), on the Coventry to Nuneaton line, both
OP Jan 2016 did well, although they were only actually open for 3 months of the 2015/16 year.

Other new 2015/16 stations showed good growth: Cranbrook from 20,000 to 90,000 and Ebbw Vale
Town 168,000 to 232,000 but Ebbw Vale Parkway dropped from 102,000 to 57,000 as a result.
The Tweedbank branch had very good growth as did Bicester Village (0.4M to 1.3M), Islip (10,500 to
20,600) and Oxford Parkway (275,000 to 810,000) but all (re)opened in autumn 2015.

Unsurprisingly, Clapham Junction led the field on interchanges (27.3M) with East Croydon next (6.5M)
then London Waterloo (6.1M) and Birmingham New Street (5.8M), but of note there were 3.9M at
Highbury & Islington and 3.8M at Lewisham. The Exeter to Dartmoor Summer Sunday service did well:
Okehampton had 5,926 passengers (3,086 the year before) - an average of 45 passengers for each of
the 136 trains that ran; Sampford Courtenay had 144. Other 'part timers' include Dunrobin Castle 882
and Falls of Cruachan which did not fall: 734 passengers were recorded in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.

How the service provided affects usage is well illustrated with very significant passenger losses at most
Southern served stations and at stations affected by Thameslink work. However, passenger figures
have rebounded upwards with restoration of Manchester to Blackburn (where passenger numbers
were up from 1.2M to 1.3M) via Bolton (itself up from 2.9M to 3.2M) services, with good growth on
the relatively new alternative service via Todmorden curve too. Buckshaw Parkway did particularly
well with 353,688 (up 16.4% in 12 months) as did Edge Hill (171,904 to 203,094) and Patricroft (49,468
to 73,596), both with new electric services. A similar dramatic effect occurred with electrification at
Carmyle (132,454 to 155,484) and Coatbridge Central (54,788 to 64,178). Settle & Carlisle passenger
numbers suffered badly with the Eden Brows landslip closure. The Oct 2016 Barmouth bridge fire
closure is thought to have caused a dip at some Cambrian Coast stations (closure was only six days).

The three month Glasgow Queen Street HL closure only caused numbers there to dip from 16.4M to
14.7M, the low level platforms handling more passengers - some stations temporarily had significant
extra numbers and others lost out. The drop at Barrow-upon-Soar (98,708 to 87,792) is attributed to
the bridge collapse which reduced access to the station. The Aberystwyth line did well though,
particularly at Caersws with the new peak hourly service. Finsbury Park (NR) was used by 7M rather
than 5.7M passenger with extra trains and Moorgate (NR) leapt from 8.8M to 10.8M with good
intermediate growth due to the improved 7-day services. The improved regular service from Ayr to
Stranraer paid dividends (even if the ORR thinks - as mentioned in the report - that Maybole has been
electrified - if only!). Refurbished Irlam station attracted 18.6% more passengers totalling 362,358.

The decline in the North Sea Oil industry has affected carryings between Inverness and Dundee;
Aberdeen numbers were significantly down by half a million to 3M.

Nationally the biggest losses have been at intermediate stations between Gospel Oak and Barking,
dropping between 62% and at worse (Woodgrange Park) 80% on the previous year due to
electrification work closures. Greenford to West Ealing has lost a significant number of passengers too
now trains no longer run to Paddington.

Dramatic growth at some airport stations reflects increased air travel and a switch to rail transport for
access: Gatwick Airport had 19.4M (18.0M in 2015/16), Stansted Airport 7.6M (6.0M), Birmingham
International 6.5M (5.8M), Luton Airport Parkway 3.8M (3.2M) & Prestwick Airport 117,870 (93,026).
Falling numbers at Sheerness 433,000 (404,000) and Queenborough 153,000 (123,000) have reversed.
Finally Wick 18,400 (19,800) continued its decline of recent years; similarly Thurso had 37,300 (38,400)
passengers and as expected IBM plummeted from 22,000 to 5,000 (BLN 1294.2434).

27] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1294.2450] Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway: The running line was extended
about 50yd past the foot crossing (previous end of operation) on 3 Dec. ●BLN 1295.2494] At Elmton &
Creswell it was the trailing crossover that was to be removed from 17 Dec; this was once the egress
from the Clown(e) line. Interesting information has come to light about the latter for a future BLN.

1296 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron) [email protected]

28] Nottingham NET: Like Midland Metro a 'short hop' single ticket is now available within the City
centre. It is £1 (a standard single is £1.70) and allows one single journey between any of these stops:
Nottingham Station, Lace Market, Old Market Square, Royal Centre and Nottingham Trent University.

29] Lincoln (1): (BLN 1293.2302) High St footbridge reopened 1 Dec after a two month repair closure.
The £12M bridge first opened in 2016; NR closed it due to water puddling on the bridge, poor paving
and to replace the handrails. All the slabs have been replaced and some of the cladding on the towers.
The closure forced pedestrians to wait at the crossing or use the lifts when the barriers were down.
NR staff helped people cross during busy periods. High St pedestrianisation work made matters worse.

30] Lincoln (2): EMT provided nearly 65,000 seats during the Lincoln Christmas Market, (7-10 Dec).
The special timetable included doubling the service on the Saturday, with over 25,000 seats available.

31] Skegness: 2,000 crocus bulbs have been planted by volunteers to welcome to the station - and
raise awareness of the work being done to eradicate polio. The purple crocuses represent the purple
dye used to mark the finger of a child to indicate they have received their life saving oral polio vaccine.

32] Derby: (BLN 1294.2390) (see TRACKmaps Vol 4 p4B Aug 2013) From Sun 3 Dec 2017 Derby station
carriage sidings were abolished and the associated points clipped and padlocked pending recovery.
Members reported just a pile of sleepers was left by 17 Dec. From Wed 27 Dec the Up and Down
Goods Lines between Derby Station North Jn and London Road Jn were abolished and recovered with
associated signalled routes disconnected. Top Yard Neck was OOU. The Loco Line was abolished and
recovered. The connection to 4 Shed (Fuel & Inspection line) from the current Loco Line was moved
66yd south towards 4 Shed.

New connections were provided (127m 61ch), to access 4 Shed and also (but OOU) at 127m 56ch to
access the current Pilot Line and OOU future Fuel and Inspection Line. A new single lead, Litchurch
Lane temporary connection was installed and commissioned connecting in to the Connecting line and
the Down Goods West, at London Road Jn. Temporary facing points will be installed and commissioned
(OOU) about 68yd from DY476 signal on the Pilot Line. The future Fuel and Inspection (F&I) Line will
be installed (OOU), parallel to and east of, the current Pilot Siding, connecting into the current F&I line.

Also from 27 Dec between London Road Jn and L&NW Jn, the Up & Down Goods West Lines were
abolished, pending upgrade to Passenger Lines (probably in July). Associated signalled routes were
disconnected. At L&NW Jn (0m 75ch) Points 702 a & b and 703 a & b were clipped and padlocked,
sleepers were placed across the Up and the Down (west) Goods Lines which will stay in situ but OOU.

In summary: the Derby Goods lines are OOU past the station from L&NW Jn (0m 75ch south of Derby)
to Derby North Jn (128m 02ch) with arrangements made to access Litchurch Lane and Etches Park.

From 8 Jan between Way & Works Jn and Spondon Crossing, 301a points will be installed (OOU) on the
Up Main at 127m 74ch for a new trailing crossover, part of the Derby resignalling enabling works.

33] Toton: 'East Midlands Councils', representing local councils at regional/national level, is helping
build the case for a direct link from the Midland Mainline between HS2 and its proposed station there.

34] Northampton Gateway: (BLN 1294.2391) Roxhill developers has started a further consultation, (with a map). Changes include a new rail served aggregates terminal.

1296 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
35] Thameslink: (BLN 1295.2506) From 23 Dec 09.00, London Bridge panels 3 and 4 were closed and
signalling control transferred to Three Bridge ROC. (The area was of course under an engineering
possession until the resumption of services on 2 Jan.) The Charing Cross (Charing Cross to New Cross)
lines are controlled by the Charing Cross workstation. The Cannon Street (London Bridge to New Cross)
and Greenwich (North Kent East Jn to Maze Hill) lines are controlled by Cannon Street 'B' workstation
with Borough Market Jn to Cannon Street P1-7 by the Cannon Street 'A' workstation.

36] New Cross Gate: (BLN 1295.2490) The overnight services from Dalston Junction on Friday and
Saturday nights terminates in P1 and therefore must return via the 'New Cross Gate Reversible' line.

37] Northern Line Extension: (BLN 1294.2401) The two new junctions in the Kennington Loop with the
branch to Battersea Power Station have been constructed from the Kennington shafts and are nearing
completion. A special timetable was in operation to allow the loop (used by ECS workings and the
occasional lucky gricer) to be closed from 00.30 on 23 Dec to 18.50 on 1 Jan, after which the service
was to be suspended between Kennington and Charing Cross for the rest of the day. During the closure
the new track and signalling was integrated with the existing line. ('Underground News')

38] Heathrow Disconnect: (BLN 1295.2479) On Boxing Day a member and his son, evidently 'short of
things to do', found 360205 on a free shuttle between T1&3 P2 and (probably unusually for a Class 360
Heathrow Connect EMU) T5 P4, using the bidirectional Up line. In fact there was no service to T4 all
day (or on 27 Dec), T4 passengers were advised to use LU Piccadilly line services via Hatton Cross free.

1296 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
39] Newcastle: (BLN 1295.2487) 19 sets of points are being replaced at Newcastle South Jn over nine
days between 6 and 14 Jan costing £8.6M. King Edward Bridge and P9-12 will be OOU during the work
with special signalling arrangements into/out of P2-8 for turnbacks from the east during the closure
with permissive working. This results in regular use of Newcastle East Jn slips by services reversing in
Central station. The plan: VTEC: Via the High level Bridge, southbound trains leave Edinburgh
15 minutes earlier; northbound trains run 15 minutes later from Newcastle. XC: Anglo-Scottish
trains via High Level Bridge. XC: Reading - Newcastle services run to Durham (ECS run to/from
Birtley Jn). Northern: Carlisle services run to Metro Centre (single Line working between Metro
Centre (most P1) and Swalwell Jn). TPE: Manchester Airport services run to York. TPE: Liverpool
services run to Darlington. GBRF: Freight diverted via High Level Bridge. DBC: Freight is
diverted over the Tyne Valley (via Low Fell Jn - Norwood Jn) or replaced by a road service (!). There is
an additional possession between Tursdale Jn and Ouston Crossovers from 12.15 Sat 13 Jan to 13.00
Sun 14 Jan for reballasting south of Durham, OHLE work, rerailing and resleepering in the Durham
area. Most services then turn back at Newcastle or Darlington respectively. Only the hourly VTEC Anglo
Scottish services are diverted via the Durham coast, extending their journeys by about an hour.

40] Tees-side Airport does a Pilning: The second least used national station (30 passengers in 2016/
2017) had a temporary 'spike' in 2015/16, when use soared by 238%, from 32 annually to 98, due to
enthusiasts and locals making a pilgrimage after publicity about its measly passenger numbers. The
reason it lost its weekly Down train in the recent timetable change is now evident. Down P2 and
the'unsafe' footbridge (it looks it too) are to be removed, as up to £6M is required to maintain them
over the next 5 years. The platform was used by participants on our Tyne & Tees Tracker, part of our
40th AGM weekend, with 185 151 at 15.26 on 15 Nov 2015 for a photo stop but the bridge was no go!

ABOVE: A fine selection of members, some in TPE livery, on the doomed platform. (Geoff Plumb)

Durham Tees Valley Airport has agreed for Northern to run just a 14.25 (SuO) Hartlepool to Darlington
service in the Up direction only. A summary of a recent airport statement: The existing airport 'rail
halt', a kilometre from the terminal building, is used by few people; its location is unsuitable for airport
passengers and surrounding housing or businesses. Since the early 1990s it has had a weekly service.

The airport is not currently pursuing full closure of the station, which would require support from
regional stakeholders and the relevant rail authorities. Their Masterplan includes a relocated station
delivered in partnership with our stakeholders and council shareholders and which we continue to
aspire to. In spite of these brave words the airport, owned by the Peel group, loses £2.5M per year;
passenger numbers fell 85% from 918K in 2006 to 132K in 2016. The local authority narrowly approved
plans to build 350 homes next to the terminal building in Mar 2017 (a final vote on this is pending).

41] Seaham: In January Vivarail is to open a plant at Spectrum Business Park (on the site of the former
Dawdon Colliery) to assemble power packs and wiring looms for 'D' Train units that use bodyshells and
bogies from withdrawn LU D78 stock. Not rail connected, it is south of Seaham station well to the east
of the Durham coast line. The site might expand to refurbishing bogies and other train parts.

42] Lynemouth: (BLN 1253.574) The power station ceased generating from coal on 22 Dec 2015 for
conversion to biomass with rail traffic due to start in spring 2017. However, a recent visit to Ashington
found only rusty tracks and no sign of any traffic. Conversion work is behind schedule and expected to
be complete by Easter. GB Railfreight will deliver over 37,000 tons of pellets from the Port of Tyne
each week, with up to 27 trains - the paths have been in the system for some time now. 50 new special
biomass wagons are being leased by GBRf. There will be two rakes of 24 wagons, each train carrying
1,680 tonnes - a wagon holds 70 tonnes compared with 53 tonnes for current biomass wagons.

1296 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
43] Would you like the Fleetwood branch to reopen? If so please sign and publicise this e-petition: 10,000 signatures for a Government response.
44] Live Wires in the Northwest: From 27 Dec the OHLE was to be live from Euxton Jn to Buckshaw
Parkway, Liverpool Lime Street P8 and Line 'X' to Copperas Hill (overbridge) and Fylde Jn to Salwick.

45] Ordsall Chords Day 1: (BLN 1295.2464/5) The first through train to Manchester Oxford Road from
the Calder Valley on Sun 10 Dec was 09.08 from Leeds. It was worked by recently refurbished 150142.
The train was well loaded and Northern Rail sold commemorative tickets at £5 return (the normal Off
Peak day return was £20.50!). Another correspondent decided against an early start in the snow from
Preston to be on the very first service train over the Ordsall Chord at 08.40 from Manchester Victoria
(which was quite full), but drove to Rochdale for a later train at 11.21 with the advantage of seeing the
precise route (of the several options available) taken both ways in the Manchester Victoria area.
ABOVE: Showing the new bidirectional chords and why they are such different lengths; the Up Chord is
57ch and the Down 29ch. The dotted line is the lifted branch to Manchester, Museum of Science and
Industry (ex-Liverpool Road station) visited by our 13 Nov 2013 railtour. (Thanks to Martyn Brailsford.)

The lady in the ticket office at Rochdale said it was not possible to have a ticket to Oxford Road on that
train as it was a 'special' for the opening on the first day. A special ticket priced £5 would be required
but she was not able to sell these. Eventually a £3.90 Senior Day Return was acquired to Manchester
'CTLZ' (Central Zone) and the correspondent took the precaution of arming himself with a (public)
timetable leaflet to be able to deal with any interesting conversations that might arise (they didn't).

The train duly arrived in the form of 2-car Pacer 142024 coupled to 2-car 150136 on the rear, the
latter in the new mainly white livery with additional Great North Rail Project branding on the corner of
the driver's cab. The route into Victoria was via the Up Rochdale Fast to Irwell Bridge Jn, then cross
left twice to Manchester Victoria P3. Here a number of Media Types and Management joined
(they don't do early starts either? - but for different reasons?) plus another BLS member/Gensheeter
from the Liverpool area. He confirmed he didn't have and hadn't been asked for any special ticket.
It was soon slowly round the Up Chord as Media Types clicked cameras and into Oxford Road Bay P5
almost to the buffers, as is necessary with a 4-car unit to get behind the signal for the return journey.

Media Types and Management then went away to the outer end of the bay for photos in front of
150136 with branding on cab corner to the fore. However, the Granada TV report subsequently
showed a short film (available on YouTube - 'Ordsall Chord opening') on the inbound journey with the
2-car Pacer definitely the star of the film at the front and the 150 in new livery on the rear - why could
they not find another unit in new livery for such an expensive and important project? The return
journey departed slightly late after photographers had finished and it was round the Chord again in
the opposite direction to Manchester Victoria P4, then crossing left at Irwell Bridge Jn and again at
Bromley St Jn for an uneventful ride back to Rochdale. Our correspondent left with the impression
that they are not good at getting details right for media events for openings etc; he recalls St Pancras
Low Level - the train left early; Bristol to Paddington IETs recently with a (non-optional) free shower
and this day the stock could have been better (or are we promoting Pacers ready for their next life?).

46] Metrolink: The Rail Accident Investigation Branch is investigating a minor low speed collision
between two trams on 10 Nov at St Peter's Square stop just before 08.30. The same thing happened at
the same stop at 13.30 on 22 Dec. Fortunately there were no serious injuries or damage to the trams.

47] Liverpool Lime Street: Alterations that were expected from 28 Dec following work over Christmas:
⊗Former P9 taken OOU and temporarily identified as 'Line Y' until July main commissioning (as P10).
⊗Ex-P8, OOU since 23 Oct 2017 re-numbered P9 and entered service, 295yd long. ⊗Points 317
installed on 23 Oct and secured towards the previous P9 now secured in the Normal position to access
the new P9. ⊗A new 171yd P8 entered service. Points LS41 secured in the Normal position on 23 Oct
were returned to service, accessing the new P8 and existing P7. ⊗New points 324 installed on the
approach to the new P8 secured in the Reverse position towards new P8. In July they will give access
to future P7. ⊗Future P7 will be identified as 'Line X' until introduced into service as part of the main
July commissioning. ⊗Existing P6 taken OOU. ⊗Points LS61 secured in the Normal position giving
access to P5 only. ⊗Siding 'D' between P5 & P6 recovered and the connection to P5 plain-lined.

An 'onLime' local member reports that he saw a 26 Dec NR picture showing all the track removed
between old P5 & 6. He was surprised because his train to York on 30th was scheduled from P6, as was
Pathfinder's 'Deltic Reprise' tour (twice) that afternoon. He doubted this, with the 12 car capacity of
P6; it would not be long enough for the tour train with two locos. If the track had been lifted, surely
they would straighten P6 before replacing the track, not replace it now only to remove it again later in
the year? However, all was revealed on arrival; P5 has been relaid and was open. P6 was lifted,
presumably for straightening. The other side of the station was far more interesting though. Old P7 is
still serving Virgin London trains, but old P9 was shut (presumably for resurfacing and possibly
relaying). Old P8, which had been closed since September, has reopened as new P9. It was later used
by the 'Deltic Reprise', twice, which just fitted into the new 295yd platform. Of greater interest, the
new platform opposite new P9 is open as new P8. The other new platform remains closed at present.

[BLN 1296]
BELOW: Liverpool Lime Street on 26 Dec 2017, between old P5 (left) and old P6 (right) - Network Rail.

X.2] BELOW: Blackpool North: Work in progress on 3 Jan 2018 looking towards Preston - Network Rail.

48] Blackpool Tramway extension: (BLN 1295.2515) The former Wilkinson's building, the site for the
new terminus, was a Fine Fare (first class?) supermarket built on the site of Blackpool North station's
former P1-6 taken OOU 7 Jan 1973 (photographed in Mar 1973 totally trackless and being demolished)
when the former 'excursion platforms' became the main station. The supermarket incorporated at
least one, probably more, L&NW or L&Y monograms on the building, presumably from the station.

49] Branson's Train in a bit of a Pickle: On 29 Dec your Northern Ed returned from Euston on the
19.30 service to Glasgow. With the latest electronic gismos at his fingertips, he switched on Realtime
Maps via the onboard WiFi to watch the progress of the train to his destination of Lancaster (for the
Morecambe connection and overnight IOM boat). The Pendolino departed P6 at 19.29¾ and ran
within plus or minus 30 seconds of each timing point to Basford Hall box where it was a minute early
and was checked by the train in front, a London to Holyhead voyager crossing from the Down Fast to
P11. This only slowed progress so that Crewe was passed exactly on time at 20.59¼ (Ok it is possible to
split hairs as the pass time was booked at 20.59 but 15 seconds out is pretty remarkable).

However, in front the maps showed the stately progress of 4S45 Daventry to Mossend intermodal
service. This had passed Crewe (Goods Lines) some 3 minutes late at 20.42 then steadily lost time to
be 9 late at Acton Grange Jn. Strangely it was kept on the main line all the way to Balshaw Jn, so the
Pendolino caught it by Acton Grange Jn and was checked before the Warrington booked stop. The
intermodal was again caught by Wigan, losing another minute. Worse was to come however… From
the maps, the Mossend train appeared to be slowing for the slow lines at Balshaw Lane Jn. The
Pendolino left Wigan like a rocket and was soon at line speed. A right time Preston was still possible…

As 4S45 left the main line at Balshaw Lane on to the Down Slow, and 1S06 reached maximum velocity,
so 1N72 appeared on the electronic map leaving Buckshaw Parkway some 7 minutes late and
wheezing its way towards Preston. The Gods (or line control) were not with 1S06 on 29 Dec. After a
blistering run, with all credit to the driver for the way time had been kept perfectly from Euston, 1N72
trundled out on to the main line in front (please don't mention connections…) and pottered up the
Down Fast to Preston oblivious of the sleek Pendolino it was holding up. 1S06 arrived at Preston 10½
minutes late, a pity as there had been a real chance of an on-time arrival before those last few miles.

A few years ago this would just have been an 8-minute late arrival without any real knowledge as to
why. The availability of maps with real time workings gives another dimension to our hobby. (For those
wondering - yes the connection was maintained at Lancaster into the Morecambe train. However, it is
a pity that there is no longer a night connection to Heysham as the journey has to be finished by Taxi.)

50] Heysham Port: (BLN 1295:2519) Just to clarify, the Skipton crew is actually booked through to
Heysham, so the train is effectively double manned front and back Lancaster - Morecambe, with the
Skipton crew along for the ride between Morecambe - Heysham. Your Northern Ed used the service on
27 Dec and can confirm this. The train staff advised that the train had been cancelled on occasions
recently due to crewing problems. There were about 30 passengers on board from the ferry, which
had been fully loaded leaving Douglas with 160 cars and a large number of passengers.

1296 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James) [email protected]
51] Didcot: (BLN 1295.2526) The energisation of the OHLE on the Down avoiding line was over about
¼ mile to just on the country side of the foot crossing shown on TRACKmaps. Photographic evidence
shows the last portal in the northerly direction being opposite the platforms on the adjacent tracks.

52] Bedford (1): (BLN 1294.2411) The reference here to double track giving way to single from the first
River Ouse bridge east of Bedford St Johns applies to the running line. A line was laid parallel and on
the north side for just under half a mile further east to Goldington Power Station, reached by turning
north east (TL 072 494), crossing the New Cut of the River Ouse to the power station reception sidings.
The power station was officially opened on 16 Aug 1957 and closed in Oct 1983. Bedford to Cambridge
CP 1 Jan 1968; St Johns (original) station to Goldington ground frame was taken out of use 6 Apr 1981
after traffic ceased in 1980, though unusually demolition of the power station did not begin until 1986.

X.3] ABOVE: The old Bedford St Johns (12 May 1984 its last day before closure) with the BR organised
'10 Counties Railtour' hauled variously by 2 x Class 20 locos, 2 x Class 25s and,
as here, 2 x Class 31s. The rusty line (OOU 6 Apr 1981) at the bottom was to Goldington Power Station
(behind the cameraman). The curve to Bedford Midland (to the right past the platform and once used
by coal and ash trains and for turning stock) was CA by 1984. It has been reported that, rather than
reinstate a triangular junction here, East West Rail trains to/from Cambridge will reverse in/out of
Bedford Midland and little work is to be carried out on the Bedford-Bletchley line. (Angus McDougall)

53] Bedford (2): The May 2018 EMT timetable removes peak stops (SSuX) at Bedford and Luton (but
not at Luton Airport Parkway) to accommodate the first phase of the increased Thameslink services.
For passengers between Bedford and the north, 'a fully accessible coach service will run hourly to
Wellingborough', season ticket users receiving a discount (Modern Railways). There is uproar locally.

54] East West Rail: (BLN 1295.2527) The proposed Sandy to Cambridge section at its eastern end
could pass just north of Royston where, 3km to the north, housing development is proposed at
Bassingbourn. In Mar 2016, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) was asked to consider how
to maximise the potential of the Cambridge - Milton Keynes - Oxford corridor as a "single, knowledge-
intensive cluster that competes on a global stage, protecting the area's high quality environment, and
securing the homes and jobs that the area needs" (!!). The NIC then suggested a new town north of
the village. Planners '5th Studio' have produced a 144-page report describing how a million homes
could be built by 2050. Initially a 1,095 acre (1.7 square miles) new town for 31,000 is suggested on
land between Bassingbourn and Wendy with a station. This assumes that East West Rail will be routed
via the current Bassingbourn Barracks site, despite plans for military service personnel to return in
2019. It suggests that MoD operations would need to be incorporated or provided on another site with
less development potential/value - eg Mildenhall in Suffolk - part of the consolidation of military sites.

55] Lowestoft: By Angus McDougall. In about the middle of WWII my father had to retire from the
Army, presumably because of his age, but then found that the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve would
give commissions to ex-Army officers, so he joined up again. As far as I know, he never went to sea or
possibly not even on to a ship, but spent the rest of the War in East Anglia, at a converted cotton mill
in Lowestoft Harbour, which had become 'HMS Mylodon', and later in a former boarding house at
Gorleston-on-Sea, which presumably also had a ship's name, though I don't believe I ever heard it.

ABOVE: Angus McDougall with his parents at Lowestoft (thought to be by an opportunistic commercial
photographer (remember them?) in 1946/1947, all other pictures in this item were taken by Angus).

As a consequence of this sojourn in Lowestoft we spent a family holiday (my parents, my sister and I)
in that town in the summer of 1944. By that time of the War various restrictions had been relaxed,
travel was permitted to such seaside resorts and holes had been cut in the barriers along the beach to
allow access to the sand and sea. Nevertheless the War continued and I can remember seeing an
enemy plane come down in the sea (some distance away) and the Air-Sea rescue craft going out to it.

My mother, sister and I travelled from Nottingham by train, and the route we took was more or less
the one available today: local train Nottingham to Grantham, East Coast main line express (I suppose),
Grantham to Peterborough North; Peterborough East to Norwich via March and Ely North Curve, and
then local Norwich Thorpe to Lowestoft Central. We walked (or rather, I seem to remember, ran)
from Peterborough North to Peterborough East and it seemed an awfully long way. At some point in
the journey (probably between Peterborough and Norwich) we were hauled by a 'Sandringham' Class
4-6-0; I think it was named 'Audley End', but I remember more clearly its Westinghouse pump.

This was not quite the first time I had ever encountered a locomotive fitted with air brakes, but it was
something quite different from most of my previous experience. Of course there were many on ex-GER
(Great Eastern Railway) lines at that time, and the pumps fitted were particularly noisy, as anyone who
visited Liverpool Street when Chingford and other suburban services were still steam-worked will
testify. During an early visit to Southend I had heard the air pump of a LTSR 4-4-2T at Thorpe Bay but
otherwise they were totally unknown to me until later travels in other parts of the country.

Lowestoft Central station had a gloomy overall roof and smelt very strongly of fish; one tends to forget
the unpleasant characteristic of those days when fish was conveyed usually by passenger train.
However, there were many fascinating railway features in Lowestoft, most of which I explored during
the many visits we made in each summer from 1944 to 1950, except 1945 for some reason not known
to me. At the south side of the station a track crossed the main road to reach the north side of the
outer harbour and the fishmarket; there was also a connection (rarely used, it seemed) to the north
quay from the 'Harbour Works', a civil engineers' depot (ABOVE) with interesting equipment, mobile
and otherwise. It was also served by a line from the sidings west of the station that ran along the side
of the street to reach them. The depot closed - at least to rail traffic - in April 1988.
A line continued eastwards beyond the fishmarket to a sand loading plant between the Waveney Dock
and the sea wall, presumably the most easterly point of the British railway system. It was known as
'Lowestoft Beach' according to the inscription on the wagons used and I suppose the sand was
removed by dredgers from the harbour (which was, of course, railway-owned); I imagine the sand was
only for railway use and not intended for any commercial purpose.

NEXT PAGE TOP: Steam crane working at Lowestoft Beach sand sidings. This traffic ceased in 1958.

Traffic on the harbour lines was moved either by road tractors fitted with large 'buffer beams' at front
and back or (more interestingly) by a Class 'Y1' 0-4-0 Sentinel vertical-boilered gear driven steam
locomotive. LNER No7772 was the regular engine, although another of the class languished at the end
of a siding in the Harbour Works just by the northern approach to the road swing bridge over the
waterway linking the outer and inner harbours. This (at any rate latterly) bore the number 7773,
clearly in the same sequence as the other and evidently one of the locomotives affected by the partial
renumbering of certain GER section engines in about 1944 (previous to that these 'Y1's had been
numbered in the 8400 series, I believe).

Traffic on the harbour lines was moved either by road tractors fitted with large 'buffer beams' at front
and back or (more interestingly) by a Class 'Y1' 0-4-0 Sentinel vertical-boilered gear driven steam
locomotive. LNER No7772 was the regular engine, although another of the class languished at the end
of a siding in the Harbour Works just by the northern approach to the road swing bridge over the
waterway linking the outer and inner harbours. This (at any rate latterly) bore the number 7773,
clearly in the same sequence as the other and evidently one of the locomotives affected by the partial
renumbering of certain GER section engines in about 1944 (previous to that these 'Y1's had been
numbered in the 8400 series, I believe).

BELOW: 1954 OS One-Inch 7th Series map - see if you know where the various locations are…

But there was a complication: I could find no reference to No7773 in my Ian Allan 'ABC' (almost the
only source of information about locomotives in those days) and much later I learned that its
renumbering had never been officially recorded. Under the LNER 1946 general renumbering scheme
the two 'Y1's were allocated 8130 and 8131. In 1948 7772 appeared with (ABOVE) BR(E) 8130 painted
on its side (presumably a local initiative) but 7773 still languished with its large shaded phantom
number in the Harbour Works.

I was amazed to learn, long after we ceased visiting Lowestoft for our holidays that it had been
removed, refurbished, numbered 68131 and transferred to the engineers' depot at Cambridge before
its eventual demise for scrap in 1963. Two more Sentinel locos (though of the two-speed Class 'Y3')
worked at the sleeper depot west of Lowestoft station alongside the Oulton Broad line.

In 1944 the Norfolk & Suffolk Joint line that followed the coast from Lowestoft to Yarmouth evidently
had little traffic, since a continuous line of stored vans occupied one track all the way from Lowestoft
North to, I think, Gorleston-on-Sea. I only observed this from our trips by bus to Yarmouth along the
nearby roads and I do not know therefore which track was used for traffic and whether trains reversed

over a crossover at one end of the section or a
temporary slue was installed (which seems
unlikely, actually). A chance to travel over this line
(which was singled with the stations destaffed
after 1962, and then closed on 4 May 1970) came
in (probably) 1948 or so, when we changed our
route from Nottingham. As far as I remember we
only travelled via Peterborough on the first
occasion; in the next few years we went as before
to Grantham, but then on a local train to Sleaford,
changing to catch the southbound York to
Yarmouth/Lowestoft train which ran via the Great
Northern/Great Eastern Joint line through
Spalding to March and then via the Ely Curve to
reverse at Norwich Thorpe. I seem to remember
this train, which split, I think, at Reedham, was
usually 'V2' 2-6-2 hauled west of Norwich.

However, in about 1948 my father (by that time a
civilian again) discovered the existence of a new
through train, from Chesterfield to Lowestoft,
which called at Nottingham Midland station at
about 10.40. It was a summer Saturday train and
its route was one almost all of which has now disappeared as railway: Nottingham - Melton Mowbray
- Saxby - Bourne - Spalding Avoiding Line - Sutton Bridge - South Lynn - Melton Constable - Yarmouth
Beach, with a reversal at this station to reach Lowestoft Central via the line over Breydon Swing
Bridge (this section closed 21 Sep 1953, the remainder of the route - except between Melton and
Saxby being closed between 1959 and 1969). I was fascinated to see such places as Twenty, Counter
Drain and Cuckoo Jn, and I remember one occasion at least when we had to wait at Clay Lake
signalbox, east of Spalding, for a westbound train to clear the single line.

I remember that our train was hauled by a '4F' 0-6-0 from Nottingham at least, but I do not know how
far that went - probably not beyond Bourne. Locos on the Midland & Great Northern section had
tablet catchers on the cabside or tender, to enable operation of the Whittaker automatic exchange
system and make non-stop running through token stations possible. Sometimes they did not work,
however, and trains had to stop for manual exchange. I distinctly remember on one occasion looking

out of a train somewhere near Saxby and
seeing the fireman attacking the equipment
with a hammer.

During at least one of our holidays at
Lowestoft I bought the local runabout ticket
(ABOVE TOP LEFT) and had a trip to Ipswich,
seeing some extremely antique single deck
trolleybuses (Ipswich was a trolleybus only
operation until May 1950).

An elderly ex-GER Class J65 0-6-0T was also
crossing Bridge St (LEFT) on its way to the
quayside lines and possibly Cliffe Quay Power
Station. Presumably to ease its passage
round sharp curves, the side rods had been
removed from the front pair of wheels.

I also managed a trip to Norwich with the same
ticket. Local trains (such as to Norwich and, I
suppose Yarmouth South Town) were often
hauled by ex GER 'J15' 0-6-0s, and one of these I
distinctly remember was 65462, which I believe
is now restored and running on the North
Norfolk Railway.

Although difficult to see, from the map (RIGHT)
on the other side, this ticket included the then
passenger lines from Beccles via Bungay to
Tivetshall (CP 5 Jan 1953) and Yarmouth South
Town (CP 2 Nov 1959) plus the Framlingham
(CP 1 Nov 1952) and Aldeburgh (CP 12 Sep 1966
and CA past Sizewell) branches - the latter looks
very odd without its end 'h' on the map!

Once visiting Yarmouth I managed a (very poor)
photograph of a double ended Sentinel 0-4-4-0T
Class 'Y10' locomotive running alongside the
street almost in the town centre, but north of
Town Hall Quay. The picture was taken from a
bus heading, I suppose, back to Lowestoft.
These engines (there were two) were originally
intended for the Wisbech and Upwell line, but
only apparently worked there for a few months.

BELOW: A Great Eastern Railway 'J15' 0-6-0 with an interesting number: 65432, at Colchester.

[BLN 1296]
There was a branch to a terminus at Lowestoft
South Side goods; a line on the south side of
the harbour from Oulton Broad South, not far
from our hotel and I believe I once saw a Class
'J15' 0-6-0 shunting there. It closed (at the
Lowestoft end anyway) on 6 Nov 1967.

LEFT: Aldeburgh branch terminus and not a
'Festival Line' in sight. The line CP 12 Sep 1966.
(Angus McDougall 28 Aug 1964)

Many years after these holidays I took part in several interesting Society 'brake van' trips (I am not
sure that any of them actually carried a brake van) in the area. One was to Norwich Victoria coal yard
in 1982 (the branch had closed 31 Jan 1966 beyond there to the goods station) and one was to Town
Hall Quay (closed 1 Jan 1976), from Yarmouth Vauxhall along the street mentioned earlier, though by
a small diesel locomotive. The third trip was from Oulton Broad South on the remaining section
(to Boulton and Paul's siding) of the Lowestoft South Side branch. Both of the last two were in 1969.

When I think about this fascinating area, one of my regrets in later years was that I never managed to
'do' the direct line from Beccles to Yarmouth South Town before it closed on 2 Nov 1959 (which
closure was largely to remove the need to maintain two swing bridges, at Aldeby and St Olaves).

THIS PAGE BELOW: Lowestoft South Side 19 May 1969; D2035 (withdrawn 15 Jun 1976 as 03035).

NEXT PAGE TOP: Norwich Victoria (ex-Yard box?) 25 May 1982 when it was a Coal Concentration
Depot. For more views of the coal depot see and the next 4 picture to the right.

NEXT PAGE LOWER: Yarmouth Town Hall Quay, the view from the locomotive (29 May 1969).

A postscript about buses will, I hope, not be out of place here. Services in the region were operated by
the Tilling company Eastern Counties, with routes to Yarmouth, Norwich, Oulton Broad, Kessingland
Beach and, I think, Beccles. There may have been some Bristols when we first visited Lowestoft,
though I cannot remember any. What I do remember is elderly Leyland Titan double deckers, with, as
I learnt later, slightly more modern bodies. I also recall a line of Tilling Stevens single deckers (a make
no longer in existence) outside Thorpe station at Norwich. Most, if not all, Eastern Counties buses did
not have roller blind indicators, but metal 'bible' plates. These were metal plates painted with service
number, destination and description of route, and they had a horizontal hinge, so that they could
display either end of the route. An additional plate was attached which read 'Relief Car', with two
black ovals, in which the conductor (presumably) could chalk the route number concerned.
Local services in Lowestoft were operated by the Corporation, with essentially only one route along
the north to south main road from 'North Boundary' (near North station) to Pakefield, with some slight
variations at each end. This had, I believe, been the one tram route until 1931.

On our first visit the buses were petrol engined AEC Regents with very angular piano fronted bodies.
Some of these had suffered war damage and one of these had had one upstairs window replaced with
a board and another with frosted glass. These buses also did not have roller blind indicators, but in this
case the destination and route number were displayed on small wooden boards (about 20cm by 10cm)
at front and rear. There was also a prewar Guy single decker (a very rare breed) which I saw outside
the garage (once the tram depot) in Rotterdam Road. Nearby was the bodybuilding factory of Eastern
Coachworks, which made bodies for Tilling Group buses.

BELOW: Eastern Counties Leyland 'TD1' VF8512 at Lowestoft station on a Yarmouth service.

Many (road) coaches provided excursions to the Broads and other desirable destinations, most started
from the harbour south pier. Some were Stars, a make I had never seen before and do not believe I
ever saw again, and there was a Gilford coach (a make once very popular but now totally disappeared)
which often stood outside our hotel, with a board leaning against it offering tempting trips.

56] King's Lynn: On 22 Dec HM The Queen and HRH
The Duke of Edinburgh arrived by service train on
completion of their now customary journey from
London King's Cross for Christmas at Sandringham.

RIGHT: A single to King's Lynn is HOW much … ‽‽

57] Wolverton: (BLN 1296.1661) Said to be the
oldest continuously operational railway works in the
world on the same site, the works were opened by
the London & Birmingham Railway in 1838 as it is
half way between the two. On 20 Dec permission
was granted to demolish Wolverton Works. This
includes all existing structures (except part of the
lifting shop building and the brick wall on Stratford
Road which are partially demolished). Development
permitted is the creation of a new employment
floorspace, up to 375 residential units, a foodstore, a community facility, hard and soft landscaping,
open space and public realm, amended site vehicular access including alterations to junctions and
pavements. has more details. Reportedly the Works has not received any new
contracts and existing ones mostly finish soon. Readers might like to draw their own conclusions.

BELOW: Wolverton Works from our Thames & Chiltern Rambler II which
included the Works traverser, headshunts and choice bits elsewhere. (Angus McDougall 31 May 1993)

1296 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]

58] Hamworthy Goods: (BLN 1288.1268) By 28 Nov the makeshift barriers across the branch at
Ferry Terminal or Yacht Club level crossing had been replaced by a yellow painted concrete block
both sides of the road, each the full width of two tracks and the six-foot way in between. To remove
them for passage of a train would need powered equipment. They do not affect the stone trains.

59] South Eastern franchise renewal: Between 26 Jun and 9 Aug 2017, Southeastern carried out a
public consultation exercise for a recast of the timetable in May 2018 chiefly built around the new
Thameslink Luton - Rainham service (BLN 1285.1471). According to the commentary: Southeastern
and the Department for Transport [were] working together… Among changes are improved journey
times to places such as Dartford and Gravesend with higher frequencies on some of the routes and at
several stations. Unfortunately, the mandatory timetabling requirements for bidders for the new
franchise show little evidence of this so called working together as many of the improvements have
been undone. New service patterns are required to be introduced no later than December 2022.
Our correspondent knows Southeastern's suburban routes and their timetables well but is having
great difficulty comprehending what the DfT is ordering! He wishes franchise bidders who have never
been through this before good luck. (9 documents, 970+ pages) has full details.

Just a few diktats will be mentioned. The previously threatened 'simplification' of services has been
imposed in part but at the expense of passenger convenience. It seems that the DfT expects less use of
the crossovers at the London end of Lewisham station. On the face of it, this is good for railway
operation but will see many hundreds (thousands?) of passengers changing trains there who currently
have through journeys. Trains will inevitably require longer dwell times for all the coming and going
and it is likely that both platforms and subway will become even more congested than now. According
to the Draft Route Study, Lewisham is the most overcrowded station on Network Rail's Kent route; this
is backed up by photographs. Obviously it will have to be rebuilt when (if) the Bakerloo Line reaches it
but that will not be until 2030 and it will be a building site for several years leading up to that. Among
the requirements are that off-peak trains from both the Hayes and Sidcup lines must serve Victoria
and Charing Cross - two West End termini, but none in the City (Cannon Street/ Blackfriars). Additional
peak services on the Sidcup line must serve Cannon Street but on the Hayes line, Charing Cross, so still
nothing to the City. Not mentioned, though, is that any services that run to Victoria can't be more than
8-cars while the Networkers are still in service due to platform lengths, lack of selective door operation
and the inability of passengers to alight from any units overhanging platforms. Platforms at Nunhead,
Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill could be extended with varying degrees of difficulty. Perhaps the 2022
deadline for the new timetable is when the DfT expects new rolling stock to be available with SDO?

From May 2018, there will be 4 stopping Thameslink trains an hour on the Catford loop making
8 between Nunhead and Cambria Jn when SE runs its new service. The former are already having to
run at 10/20 minute intervals to enable fast trains to run, including a Gillingham service that stops at
Denmark Hill but that now appears to have been expunged. As well as its use for both planned and
unplanned diversions, there are other trains that run via Catford to avoid the congested flat junction
at Herne Hill and it makes one wonder whether the DfT has the faintest idea of what it is commanding.

The extra Sidcup line trains from May 2018 omitting Lee, Mottingham and Albany Park to speed up
Dartford journeys must now have those stations inserted! On the main lines, an actual improvement is
increased off-peak services between London and Tonbridge from six to eight trains per hour; four
must call at Orpington, six at Sevenoaks and two at Hildenborough as now. The two extra trains are
required to run at least to Ashford but, other than Paddock Wood which must have 4 tph, the other
stations only need a minimum of 2 tph. Hastings services must be non-stop between London Bridge
and Tonbridge to improve overall journey times. Members should note that the Home Secretary
Amber Rudd's constituency is Hastings and Rye and that she has been lobbying for improved journey

times, hence the one 4-car train per day running limited stop to/from Cannon Street - dubbed by some
as the Amber Rudd Seaside Express. Her preferred solution is to run to/from St Pancras via HS1 and
Rye with Javelins although she seems not to have realised that this is some 23¼ miles longer than
Charing Cross direct and not very ecologically friendly. This service is not mentioned. The previous
attempts to remove Orpington and Sevenoaks stops from Hastings trains have not gone down well.

There are no improvements to speak of on the Chatham main line where it is implied that through
Sheerness services should cease with one train per week in one direction only required between
Rainham and Kemsley. (This also applies to SE trains calling at Clapham High Street and Wandsworth
Road; at present just one train, the 05.30 (SSuX) Victoria to Bromley South does in this direction only.)

The Medway Valley branch is required to make good connections with HS1 services at Strood and
2tph are specified, generally through to Tonbridge. However, one of these can be split at Maidstone
West if that improves connections at each end. Non-compliance means that the bid would be rejected
and there is generally little consultation allowed between the DfT and bidders. However, on the good
side, not one bid for the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise was compliant and none
was eliminated. As we also now know, the GTR timetable that will come into operation between May
2018 and Dec 2019 is different again from the bid so no one on South Eastern should panic. Yet!

The new franchise holder is required to adopt 'neutral branding' and develop a 'South Eastern brand'
(like ScotRail) that can be transferred to a future operator. By Sep 2020 first class will be removed from
all services. The closing date for bids is 14 Mar. The DfT expects to award the contract in Nov with the
new franchise beginning 1 April 2019 and ending in Mar 2027, or (optional DfT extension) Mar 2028.

60] Eynsford: From 21 Dec all loco hauled traffic was banned over bridge SBJ 534 at 20m 594yd here
due to significant structural corrosion. This is the metal bridge over the A225 just north of Eynsford
station (TQ 5356 6499). Intermodal traffic was diverted via Redhill but other freight traffic could be
routed via Orpington or Redhill. Traffic to Hothfield was diverted via Sevenoaks, running round at
Sevington (the normal route is Maidstone East with the run-round at Beachbrook Farm).Engineers
reported that, depending on obtaining material and possessions, work would take a week or two.

Overnight emergency possessions were used to weld over 30 plates to the structure; however, there
was little chance that all the work required would be completed in that timescale.
After the 20 Dec possession, three panels were reportedly welded to the bridge. The minimum work
required to be completed was cleaning of the corroded area, bolting plates into place then finally
welding them. It was agreed on 21 Dec for future possessions to be extended to cover the periods
20.00 on 21 Dec (Thur) to 05.30 (Fri) and 20.00 (Fri) to 14.00 (Sat). This enabled engineers to complete
enough strengthening work on the critical central girder for the bridge to be re-opened to traffic
(including freight up to RA7 clearance) with a speed restriction after 14.00 on 23 Dec.

Over Christmas the freight services (all DBC) affected by these possessions and the Redhill blockade
from 01.00 on 23 Dec and the Sevenoaks Tunnel blockade from 01.15 the same day were: FO 15.46
Barry Docks - Dollands Moor. FX 20.21 Ditton - Dollands Moor. SO 01.22 Dollands Moor - Ditton.
SO 09.11 Dollands Moor - Scunthorpe. SO 14.05 Daventry - Dollands Moor. SO 11.30 Ditton -
Dollands Moor. SuO 14.08 Dollands Moor - Daventry. WO 08.22 Dollands Moor - Daventry. Of note
20 freight services were diverted from Eynsford via Redhill from 06.00 on 21 Dec until 06.00 next day.

61] Bournemouth West: The station site has for many years been a small long stay car park for
coaches and cars at the buffer stop (Queen's Rd) end for about 70m. The area of waste land beyond
this towards the station throat and before passing under the A338 (with the Bournemouth depot
headshunt on the other side) has recently been cleared of growth. Your Regional Editor, expecting
another development of flats, had a look at the works on 8 Dec. In fact a permanent fence of
unclimbable steel paling in the same green used by NR was being installed to provide a rectangular
compound about 20m x 50m, one 50m side being parallel to, but about 3m away from the retaining
wall that formed the south side of the station site. Steel double gates, as yet incomplete, face the rear
of the car park. The compound has an earth floor with no signs to indicate purpose or ownership.

1296 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]

62] Midland Metro: From 2 Jan fares increased by 10p single and 20p return (child 5p and 10p) except
City Hop (£1) and Group Fares. The penalty charge for ticketless travel is to increase from £10 to £70.

63] Franchise: On 11 Dec the new West Midlands Railway launch took place at Snow Hill P2 at 12.00
with the first reliveried Class 172. A Class 350 in the new 'London Northwestern Railway' livery was at
Northampton at the same time. London Midland branding has mostly been removed or covered over.

1296 YORKSHIRE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks) email addresses elsewhere
64] Bolton-upon-Dearne: (BLN 1295.2544) The 'connection' between the removal of the redundant
facing crossover at the former Dearne Jn and the future Beighton Resignalling Scheme is that York ROC
signalling screen(s) will be modified regarding Dearne Jn when work is carried out on the latter there.

65] The Good Old Day: (BLN 1295.2544) This item mentioning Dearne Jn and 'Wath Curve' reminded a
member of Sun 31 Aug 1980. As a schoolboy after lunch he arrived at Doncaster to travel 7 miles to
Mexborough to visit his grandfather, boarded a Hull to Manchester DMU, but set off northwards! He
rushed to the guard's compartment to check it was the right train and was advised that it was being
diverted. (It was the weekend that Conisbrough interlocking was commissioned onto Sheffield PSB.)

Our member enjoyed a most extraordinary trip, the likes of which would not be contemplated today
where buses usually replace trains for engineering work. The Leeds line was taken to South Kirkby Jn,
(reverse) and up the curve to Moorthorpe, south to Dearne Jn, then Wath Curve to Wath Central Jn,
(reverse) and to Mexborough station where he detrained. It took the best part of an hour for what
was normally a 10 minute journey (great value too). At Mexborough the train reversed again and left
via the then ground frame-operated trailing crossover to resume its normal route on the Down line to
Sheffield (via Thrybergh Jn and Aldwarke Jns in those days of course). Our member suspects that
Wath Curve was possibly traversed at a later date than this by railtours before closure (?) but wonders
if this was the last normal passenger train use? Presumably the whole service was diverted that day,
although returning home later the signalling must have been signed in as the direct route was taken.
Sadly in those pre-electronic days this diversion was not mentioned (before or after) in the 1980 BLNs.
66] Doncaster: (BLN 1295.2467) On the first weekday of the new timetable, 11 Dec, the 11.54 from
Lincoln (P3) ran via the flyover to Doncaster P5 instead of the booked Bessacarr Jn to Black Carr Jn.

Next day it was cancelled due to a bridge strike
(we hadn't realised that they are in a trade
union) when an HGV wedged itself under the
Gainsborough Lea Road A156 overbridge. (LEFT:
Press Release) Subsequently it has mostly
(subject to the time keeping of Up freights on the
flyover and level crossings behaving
themselves…) run to P2 as booked (SSuX). On
Mon 18 Dec (after our Grand Farewell railtour)
there were six members on board as it took the
facing crossover at Bessacarr Jn then
the bidirectional Up Slow in the Down Direction
to bay P2 stop blocks. Arrival was six minutes
early due to the shorter simpler route than to P5.
On return it ran from P2 via the Doncaster Up
Passenger Loop and again, because of the
shorter more straightforward route, arrival at
Gainsborough Lea Road was six minutes early.
The cherry on the cake was the Up Gainsborough
Slow line at Lincoln on the approach to P4.

67] Hambleton: Since Christmas, due to a defect with Hambleton East Jn facing crossover, services
from Selby to York via the ECML have been diverted via Sherburn-in-Elmet adding about 9 minutes -
online schedules have been amended by short term variation. It continues until a unique replacement
section has been manufactured and fitted, which could take several months. Only the 12.04 & 17.16
(SSuX) and 13.17, 17.25 & 19.25 (SuO) Hull to York trains are affected - other trains run via Sherburn-
in-Elmet anyway. Southbound services booked via the ECML from York to Selby are also unaffected.
68] Leeds (BLN 1295.2545): There is a very good reason why the fairly new Leeds station roof was built
in a 'saw-tooth' shape, as at Blackfriars, the St Pancras northern extension and over London Bridge
platforms. All the glazing faces north. A clear undulating roof would repeat the mistake at Waterloo
International which became a giant greenhouse and, when the sun shines, the temperature shoots up.

ABOVE: Scarborough (28 Aug 2004). P1 is far left; P2 is the right side of the next platform, P3 is the
right side of the third platform, P4 is served by the adjacent track; P5 is far right. (Angus McDougall)
69] Scarborough Part 1: TPE has confirmed plans to provide new stabling and servicing facilities on the
site of the former Appleton Associates oil terminal, beyond the current carriage sidings and turntable.
Track work will take place between Jan and Apr 2018, outside the core charter train season. The new
facility will hold two trains each a Class 68 with five Mk5a coaches and is due to open in July, with the
new trains introduced in the autumn. This poses potential problems for charter train operators, using
the site at present. A secondary 'short loop' will be provided for a steam loco and support coach to run
round with TPE stock stabled, as the loco has to run round the support coach as well as its main train.
At present it is possible to run two sets of stock round here, which would be difficult in the future,
potentially limiting the number of trains that can be operated. As no changes to the station layout are
planned, the only access is via P1, which will need to be kept clear for the first and last TPE trains of
the day to access their stabling facility.

At present charter operators sometimes stable a train in the platform overnight so that staff can
prepare it for an early morning departure and this will not be possible when access is required by TPE.
There is a concern that the new facility may expand in the future, which might limit access further.
West Coast Railway Company plans to increase the number of charters originating at Scarborough, in
line with NR's policy of encouraging such operations over secondary routes, which is likely to involve
early morning departures and/or late evening arrivals.

GBRf stables the 'Royal Scotsman' in P1 when it visits Scarborough, as the passengers sleep on board;
it is not known how this will be dealt with. Network Change procedures are still outstanding as the
charter TOCs have all raised concerns about the new arrangements. TPE has not commented on the
operational issues but has stated that it supports the operation of charters to and from Scarborough.

The station OP 7 Jul 1845 with two platforms, roughly on the site of P2-5 now, with four tracks in
between, each track had a turntable at both platform ends. The goods yard was south of the platforms
with the goods shed next to the station building. As traffic increased changes came. Two excursion
platforms (now P1 & 2) were added in 1883/4, with two waiting rooms, a ticket office and allegedly
the longest station seat in the world. Sources give wildly differing lengths, but the Scarborough Railway
Society's 285ft (they should know) is exactly confirmed by Google Maps. It runs southwest from after
the platform canopy (TA 0378 8812) to end just before Belgrave Terrace overbridge (TA 0374 8805).

The overall roof was extended to cover these platforms and the station forecourt; two new pavilions
and a clock tower were added to the frontage. General goods traffic was gradually moved from the
station yard to Gallows Close (TA 034 882), just north of Falsgrave tunnel on the Whitby branch.
This was completed in June 1902, when the original goods shed became P6-8, with P9 outside the wall.
Trains for the Whitby and Forge Valley (Seamer - Pickering) lines tended to use these four short
platforms as they had fewer coaches. A problem was that most of Scarborough's platforms only held
6 coaches but P1 could take 13 coaches and P2 can take 10. The latter is still used by an EMT summer
Saturday dated Meridian return trip from London St Pancras: BELOW by Martin Adam (1987).

ABOVE: That famous seat on Scarborough P1 - (Dave Bevis 12 Sep 2009 )
BELOW: The length of the seat (over 400 children once sat on it together) can be appreciated from this
2015 view when it had been repainted, looking towards the buffer stops. (Scarborough News)

[BLN 1296]
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: 1950 7th Series map, Londesborough Road is shown: closed to passengers (white

spot) - perhaps it was surveyed in the winter when open for boats? The Whitby line is off top left with

Northstead Carriage Sidings to its left. It is interesting that the Romans had a station here too.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Londesborough Road, a Scarborough train runs through. (John Clarke 1964)

To ease operating pressure, the North Eastern Railway opened the unadvertised Washbeck Excursion
Station, on the north side of the line, on 8 June 1908 and also Northstead carriage sidings, alongside
the Whitby line north of Gallows Close - 10 tracks each holding up to 17 coaches and a reception line
for 35 coaches. The excursion station had a through platform for 14 carriages and a bay for 11. Trains
could disembark passengers at the through platform before heading directly to the carriage sidings.

Scarborough was renamed Scarborough Central in 1926; Washbeck Excursion Station was renamed
Scarborough Londesborough Road on 1 Jun 1933 and advertised in public timetables. Boats were
stored there in the winter! CP 25 Aug 1963 it was then used (but not much latterly) to stable coaches
until CA 4 Jul 1966. In summer 1962, booked use was: Arrivals: 09.39 Grantham/York; 11.53 Sheffield
Victoria; 12.28 Stalybridge/ Manchester Victoria; 12.38 Chesterfield Midland; 13.25 Leicester Central;
14.42 Liverpool Exchange. Departures: 09.40 Leicester London Road; 11.15 Liverpool Exchange; 14.35
Leicester Central. In summer 1963, its final season: Arrivals: 09.42 Grantham; 11.56 Sheffield Victoria;
12.33 Chesterfield Midland; 13:17 Nottingham Midland; 14.42 Liverpool Exchange. Departures: 09.40
Leicester London Road; 11.00 Liverpool Exchange; 14.35 Nottingham Midland.

As well as too many short platforms, Scarborough had what was probably a unique problem for a
major seaside resort. The Whitby branch, which emerged from Falsgrave tunnel at the end of P1,
faced towards York; all Whitby trains therefore had to reverse into and out of the station. They were
not permitted to propel if they exceeded two coaches and hence the loco had to run round at the
station throat. Normally Londesborough Road P1 road and the Middle Road were used but if there
was a train in the platform, the train had to occupy the main line. This was no doubt a nuisance but
became a major headache on summer Saturdays. As a result of the review carried out by the LNER in
the winter of 1933 into operating problems on the Scarborough - Whitby - Middlesbrough line, a new
platform was provided by summer 1934 for these trains clear of the main lines. Bay P1A, which could
hold five coaches, was cut out of the end of P1, and trains were permitted to propel into and out of it.
As passengers were now faced with a very long walk (over 300yd) along P1, public departure times
were set 3 minutes earlier than the working time.

From the south, the area was controlled by: ⌘Weaponess, a summer-only signal box closed 1939.

⌘Gasworks, closed probably after end of traffic on 6 Mar 1965 or 30 May 1965 - sources disagree.

⌘Washbeck 117 levers, closed 17 May 1970, which controlled the west end of Londesborough Road

station, access to Scarborough shed and the carriage sidings is the diagram

C1965. ⌘Falsgrave (120 levers) controlled the east end of Londesborough Road station, the junction

for the Whitby line and Scarborough P1 & 2. is the box diagram C1965.

⌘Scarborough (47 levers), which controlled P3-9 and goods sidings south of P9

(signal box diagram C1965). To be continued…

1296 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]

70] Green Line: (BLN 1295.2546) Off peak SSuX the line operates every 7½ minutes; alternate
trams run to Broombridge where both platforms are used in turn, so an arriving tram is not the next
departure. On 18 Dec your Regional Ed arrived at the right-hand platform on 4008, had time for a
photo and then departed on 5025 from the other one. NEXT PAGE TOP: The Irish Rail station is on the
right (Martin Baumann). Trams not running to Broombridge have Parnell as their destination and
traverse the bottom part of the triangle after O'Connell Upper stop. At Parnell the destination then
changes to Sandyford or Bride's Glen and trams continue in passenger service.

71] Dublin Pearse: Works to renew and replace the roof are due to begin in the second half of 2018.
Pearse station roof dates from the 1880s and is in poor condition with mesh netting protecting
passengers, staff and trains from chunks dropping off due to corrosion (as used to happen on the Forth
Bridge). Its replacement has been identified by Irish Rail as a crucial safety project.

The roof is not a protected [Listed] structure but the tender pre-qualification documents specified that
the external appearance and character of the structure should be maintained. The project is funded by
the National Transport Authority, and is expected to take two years. Most works will not disrupt rail
services and are planned to take place during the daytime to reduce impact on the surrounding areas,
IR expect the station to be closed for 13 weekends over the two-year period for round-the-clock works
with crane operation to lift in sections of the new structure. During these weekends, northside DART,
Maynooth and Drogheda services would operate to/from Connolly Station, with southside DART, and
Rosslare services to/from Grand Canal Dock. The first such weekend is expected to be in August 2018.

1296 WALES (Paul Jeffries) [email protected]
72] Magor: The local Action Group, with Monmouthshire County Council, now has Welsh Government
approval and £110k funding for a GRIP3 study in their campaign to reopen the station (CP 2 Nov 1964).
This includes performance, capacity, cost and topological surveys; it is due to be completed by April.

73] Newport: Slab trains ran during December from Port Talbot 'P Field Siding' to Newport Docks and
were unloaded at the extreme end of the South Dock branch. Locos ran round using the west loop
which has a stop block next to the dock entrance lock. It was previously used to load trains of imported
coal. The slab trains run-round to reverse in Waterloo Loop (a branch), east of Alexandra Dock Jn Yard.

74] Wentloog: Commissioned 29 Jun 2015, with bidirectional working from Pengam Sidings, the
Freight Terminal west entrance has been used regularly since 11 Dec 2017. Then Freightliner began
working traffic from Barry Docks (Dow Corning) through to Tilbury MWO and Southampton TThO.

75] Splott Jn: DBC's Splott run-round loop at the south end of Cardiff Tidal sidings has been removed.

76] Cardiff Central: The distinctive 1930s concrete water tower (Up side at the west end), once noted
for its giant daffodil decoration, is being decorated with images of scenes from the legendary Welsh
tales of the Mabinogion (now accepted by scholars as the earliest surviving examples of British prose).

77] Bridgend: The last Vale of Glamorgan train of the day terminates in P1 (not bay P1a) then returns
to Cardiff Canton ECS via the South Wales main line. The first train in the morning from Bridgend to
the Vale of Glamorgan line is from P1 (ECS arrives there from Canton via the South Wales main line).

78] Cwmgwrach: (BLN 1237.1329) This former Neath & Brecon Railway (now) branch ROG 7 Jul 2014
although there has been no recent traffic. It is 8m 03ch from Neath & Brecon Jn to the NR boundary at
the former Aberpergwm Colliery Jn; the end of line is another 32ch on and past the coal loading pad
with its run-round loop. Two members recently found the line to be clear of vegetation; the track was
extremely rusty but in very good condition with metal sleepers and well ballasted. UKRT are due to
traverse the branch on 10 Mar; the previous train seems to have been a track recorder on 17 Jan 2015.

79] Landore: The southern connection out of Landore Depot has been taken out of use, but this line is
often used to stable a HST, as was the case this Christmas. The catch point road to this exit has electric
red stop lights to enable the HST to be stabled over the out of use points.

1296 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
80] Edinburgh Waverley: A new facing crossover (150 points) was to be installed between P10 and P11
on 2 Jan, then clamped and padlocked out of use in the normal position until further notice.

81] EGIP: The 'Will it, won't it?' saga has finally ended! The first electric services ran via Falkirk High
(as finally planned) on Sun 10 Dec: the 08.30 Glasgow Queen St - Edinburgh (BELOW - Greg Beecroft)
and 08.30 in the opposite direction, each with 7 coaches (3-car plus 4-car Class 380 EMUs).

These were the first electric passenger trains at Queen Street high level. There was no ceremony, but
Alex Hynes, ScotRail MD, was on the train from Edinburgh. It was proposed to provide first class
accommodation in the Class 380s used on the E&G and at least one unit had some seats modified.
However, that idea was abandoned and from 10 Dec all E&G services are temporarily standard class
only. The Class 380s have been made available by taking some units off the Inverclyde lines and
substituting Class 314s. That was done a year ago, to allow for staff training. Class 380s will work the
service until the new Class 385s become available.

In the new timetable there are diagrams for two 7-car EMUs (380/0+380/1) via Falkirk High. They
depart on the hour from both Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street for most of the day. One works
until close of service and stables at Millerhill Depot. The other is empty from Queen Street to Shields
Depot, via Springburn, Hyndland (reverse) and Rutherglen, after working the 19.00 from Edinburgh.
Another pair of units run empty from Shields later in the evening and stable overnight at Queen Street.

82] SANOS (Scottish Accelerated National Operating Strategy) Project: From 27 Dec 2017 Greenhill,
Carmuirs East, Larbert North and Grangemouth Junction signal boxes were abolished with control
transferred to the two existing Cowlairs (1 & 2) Workstations at Edinburgh Signalling Control Centre
(ESCC). The workstations were renamed Cowlairs (1) and Cumbernauld (2). Greenhill Junction box
remains for an emergency panel and Larbert North for training - NR has a training centre at Larbert.
Greenhill Junction box closure means all the Edinburgh & Glasgow (E&G) line is controlled from ESCC.

83] The Jacobite: This steam train from Fort William ran during most of Dec for the first time. There
were six coaches (in summer seven). Apparently Santa met young passengers during the Mallaig break
(our reporter did not qualify!). On 5th Dec the train was about ¾ full but many dates were fully booked.

BELOW: The Jacobite at Fort William (note the special headboard and seasonal decorations).

ABOVE: At Glenfinnan returning from Mallaig, the fine signal box here is open on occasions and well
worth a visit (both by our Fort William correspondent Nick Jones 5 Dec 2017).

84] Shotts: NR is to begin further electrification work between Holytown Jn and Midcalder Jn after
awarding an £11.6M contract to Carillion Powerlines Ltd on 13 Dec. The £160M Shotts electrification
project is expected to be completed by Mar 2019 and includes platform reconstruction, renewals and
enhancements to lighting, new CCTV and customer information systems. Livingston South and the
recently reprieved Breich will be completely rebuilt with platforms extensions at Carfin, Shotts and
West Calder for longer trains. The station part of the work is expected to be completed in the autumn.

85] Strathclyde: The customary Boxing Day train service operated in the Glasgow area, although some
lines were closed for engineering work. There were 2tph from Glasgow Central to East Kilbride, Ayr
and Neilston, and hourly services to Kilmarnock, Ardrossan Harbour, Largs, Wemyss Bay, Gourock
and Paisley Canal. A two-hourly shuttle operated between Ayr and Girvan. Work at Rutherglen meant
no trains via Carmyle. South Lanarkshire services operated via Kirkhill, hourly to Lanark via Bellshill
and Motherwell, Motherwell via Mount Florida and Hamilton, and Larkhall via Maxwell Park.

The Lanark trains ran non-stop between Glasgow Central and Newton, out via Mount Florida and
returning via Maxwell Park. This resulted in 3tph each way via the Newton South Connecting Line.

Shotts was served by a two-hourly shuttle from Motherwell (where there was a 48 minute lay over).
This used the Up line between Mossend South Jn and Mossend East Jn in both directions, running ECS
to Benhar Jn to reverse. The only Queen Street trains were an hourly Anniesland service via Maryhill;
the low level line was closed. Trains ran half-hourly from Rutherglen to Milngavie and to Balloch via
Yoker, using the facing crossover at Rutherglen North Jn in service to reverse in Down P1. A half-
hourly service operated between Helensburgh Central and Partick via Singer with an ECS reversal at
Finnieston West Jn. A Garrowhill to Bathgate service ran with an ECS reversal in Shettleston Loop.

Trains started a few hours later than usual, but continued until late evening, except to Paisley Canal
(last departure from Glasgow Central 18.12). Afternoon trains to/from Glasgow were particularly busy.
This quite extensive Boxing Day service is a legacy of the days when Strathclyde Passenger Transport
Executive specified the train service.

ABOVE: The 12.35 Motherwell to Shotts service at Holytown on Boxing Day (Greg Beecroft).

Like most of England and Wales, Edinburgh is not favoured with any Boxing Day services. In contrast,
while England and Wales have a fairly comprehensive service on New Year's Day, ScotRail runs no
trains at all. Virgin Trains and East Coast, Cross Country and TPE run services to/from Scotland on
1 Jan, but not north of Edinburgh or between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

86] Connel Bridge: Once used by the Ballachulish (Glencoe) branch (CP/CA 28 Mar 1966) as well as the

A828. The bridge was closed after being hit by a lorry at about 13.30 on 20 Dec. (PREVIOUS PAGE

LOWER - Press Release) It re-opened later that day; meanwhile drivers faced a two-hour 90-mile
detour via Glencoe. School pupils crossed on foot. ABOVE: 1960 OS 7th Series map, Oban is off the

bottom, Crainlarich to the right and the delightful 27½ mile Ballachulish (Glencoe) branch is off the

top. The station north of the bridge was, appropriately, North Connel. Some branch trains ran to

Oban, running round at Connel Ferry station south of the bridge. BELOW: A Caledonian Railway 0-4-4T
No 55173 approaching North Connel station on a branch train to Ballachulish (Glencoe) coming off the

Connel bridge which was shared by road and rail. (Ian McDougall)

87] Altnabreac: At 12.40 on 27 Nov flood damage
due to a break in two clay pipes caused a landslide
and ballast wash out at 133m 25ch closing the line
between Forsinard and Altnabreac. Buses ran north
of Helmsdale while the damage was repaired. It
reopened on morning of 30 Nov.
LEFT/BELOW: The damaged embankment and flood
water from the broken pipes. The sleepers provided
ready for possible third / fourth rail electrification
of the Far North line are impressive. (Network Rail)

88] Georgemas Junction: Tesco is reportedly planning a trial rail freight service to the terminal in the
summer. If successful, other commercial operators may then use the Far North Line. The £3.1M
Georgemas railhead OG Jul 2012 for nuclear traffic from Dounreay to Sellafield but it is 'open access'.
Tesco's rail service now uses intermodal trains to Inverness then by road to its Wick and Thurso stores.

1296 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
MR1] Black Country Living Museum Tramway, West Midlands (MR p32) (BLN 1272.MR6): Some 100
yards of used track from Bilston Road on the Midland Metro (BLN 1294.2423), has been donated to
the Museum. This will be used for the proposed extension of the Tramway into the 1930s street.

NEXT PAGE TOP: Tram 34 approaches the Depot and present end of line
which ROP 18 December 2017 - see Head Lines. (Peter Scott 14 September 2013)

MR2] East Lancashire Railway, Greater Manchester (MR p8): The Railway's plans to restore and
enhance Rawtenstall station have been granted planning permission. The station has been outgrown
by the success of the Railway and is inadequate for current and future needs. It is intended that the
new buildings and features remain true to the site's original Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway heritage.
The volume of work to be undertaken means it will be phased, so that funding is available and
disruption minimised. Funding will be via public appeals and grant applications. Phase 1 will consist of
an 'L' shaped platform canopy to the existing buildings, while Phase 2 will involve construction of a
37 metre long fully accessible building in LYR style, containing a café, kitchen, activity room and tourist
information office. Phase 3 sees the extension of the platform canopy along the entire length of the
new building. In Phase 4 the existing 'Buffer Stops' bar will be extended, together with relocation of
toilet facilities. In Phase 5 the station forecourt will be remodelled to include improved landscaping,
cycle stand and picnic area. Subject to fund raising, Phase 1 could be complete by the end of 2018.

MR3] South Tynedale Railway (STR), Cumbria (MR p14) (BLN 1294.MR229): The Railway's 2017 AGM
report contained a piece about 'Completing the STR'. Work to acquire and negotiate access to land
along the 8 mile route between Slaggyford and Haltwhistle has continued for a number of years.
As at 31 March 2017, the South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society (STRPS) owns the listed
viaducts and adjacent land north of both Lambley and Alston Arches. Northumberland County Council
has formally agreed to a freehold transfer of the formation between Slaggyford and Rowfoot, and also
to transfer the freehold of the land currently held on long leasehold between Gilderdale and
Slaggyford. Sustrans/ Railway Paths Ltd (RPL) owns the stretch between Rowfoot and just south of the
A69 Haltwhistle bypass. Sustrans/RPL have formally offered to transfer the freehold for this section to
STRPS, when the footpath/cycleway has been realigned along the east side of the formation.

The Society also owns 5 acres of land, which used to be the South Goods Yard at Haltwhistle station.
Structural surveys along the route, supported by a £100,000 grant in 2014, found that sections of the
'South Tyne Trail' along the former Alston branch were in good condition, but parts were in a poor
state of maintenance and repair. Generally existing structures were in satisfactory condition, although
the Grade II listed Knar Burn Viaduct is in poor/very poor condition, needing remedial works within the
next 5 years. Since then the Environment Agency has commented that works are needed to conserve
the concrete apron under Alston Arches Viaduct. Time is passing, so a fresh Heritage Lottery Fund
application is planned to raise funds to repair, restore and renovate the South Tyne Trail, including the
structures either owned or coming into STRPS ownership, between Slaggyford and Haltwhistle, and to
prepare the formation so that track laying can begin when a Transport and Works Order is approved.

MR4] Steeple Grange Light Railway, Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1286.MR133): The July 2017 edition of
the Railway's 'Raretrack' newsletter reports that the Steeplehouse Quarry branch had not been in use
during the 2017 season. The Quarry, owned by the National Stone Centre, was leased in 2016 to the
Mount Cook Adventure Centre, who carry out high ropes and archery activities there, and have high
hopes to construct a zip wire terminus. Trains continued to operate into the Quarry during 2016, but
as a result of complications over the renewal of the Railway's wayleave to run into the Quarry, it was
decided not to operate branch trains during 2017. The November edition stated there had been no
progress to report and confirmed that no trains had operated over the branch during the 2017 season.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Steeple Grange Light Railway - 'Peggy' prepares to haul a train over the
currently out of use Steeplehouse Quarry branch. (Peter Scott 21 March 2008)

MR5] Lavender Line, East Sussex (MR p6): Our roving reporter visited this railway on Sunday 3
December, arriving via bus 29 (Lewes to Uckfield service). Two trains were providing the service: 0-6-0
'Empress' (WB3061/1954) with a 4w tank wagon and GWR brake van, alternating with 2-car DEMU
1133 (formed S60151 & S60820). The 5" gauge ground level miniature railway was not operating.

MR6] Volks Electric Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1291.2115): Part of the railway reopened on
14 October, with services crewed by members of the VERA support group. A service was provided
between Aquarium and Halfway using non-restored cars 7 & 8, daily until 29 October and over the
4/5 November weekend for the London to Brighton veteran car run. Santa specials ran at weekends in
December. Alan Keef Limited has been responsible for the refurbishment of cars 4, 6 & 10. Car 4 has
returned to Brighton, with work continuing on Cars 6 & 10. Car 9 is under restoration in Brighton.

MR7] Bangs Galore & Gunpowder Creek Railway, Essex (MR p16) (BLN 1241.MR149): This 7¼" gauge
railway runs inside the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey. At the start of the 2017 season
(February half-term) the line was 'completed', with a new northern terminus called Blue Lab North.
The railway is now a 320 yards 'E' layout.

MR8] Apedale Valley Light Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLN 1272.MR5): This 2ft gauge railway is
owned and operated by the Moseley Railway Trust. The Trust has now reached the end of another
successful season. Highlights of the year were many, but the Stanhope Gala in May was particularly
well received. A new event for 2017 was the Diesel Delights event in October. Of particular note is that
this event was conceived and planned by a small group of the Railway's younger members. During this
weekend, no fewer than 18 of the Railway's fleet of diesel and petrol locomotives had an outing on the
passenger train - a figure which puts many Diesel Gala events on standard gauge railways to shame!

2017 was the first time an event focused on the non-steam locomotives at Apedale had been run - but
it seems set to be a firm fixture in future years. The Diesel Delights weekend also saw three
locomotives visit Apedale from the West Lancashire Light Railway at Hesketh Bank - a Lister petrol
engine (which used to work at a tileworks near to Apedale), a Hunslet and a Motor Rail. This was part
of an 'exchange deal', which saw Apedale based Kerr Stuart 'Stanhope' return to Hesketh Bank for a
few weeks. The 2018 season at Apedale will see the usual array of special events, but the centrepiece
of the year will be the third 'Tracks to the Trenches' event, on 13-15 July 2018. These large and justly
popular events mark the WWI Centenary and the role that light railways played in that conflict.

The Trust would be pleased to hear from organisations interested in sponsorship opportunities at this
high-profile event, and also from potential exhibitors of items relevant to the 1914-18 period. Details
of the Trust and the Apedale Valley Light Railway can be found at or on Facebook.

MR9] Wirral Heritage Tramway, Merseyside (MR p32) (BLN 1253.MR53): The depot, workshop and
Museum at Taylor Street are to be closed to visitors for several months to allow for a major
refurbishment. This will create a much improved visitor attraction highlighting the value of the
Tramway and associated activities within the local area. After this year's Santa Specials, which were to
run on Saturdays 9 & 16 December, the Museum and Tramway were closed for the rest of last year to
enable work to get started. During January and February it is expected that a tram service will operate
just once a week, with services resuming on both Saturdays and Sundays from March. There will be no
access to the general public to the Museum at Taylor Street until at least May, when the work is
expected to be completed. Lifts will be installed to give full disabled access throughout the building, as
well as brand new toilets, a gift shop and café. There will be greatly improved viewing of many exhibits
by a number of walkways and energy efficient lighting is to be installed. A new entrance area will see
visitors come into the building through what are currently the grey shutters to the right of the tram
storage area.

[BLN 1296]
From there, they will pass through the original Mersey Ferry toll booths before being greeted by the
sight of the oldest surviving double-deck tram in the UK - horse car Birkenhead 7. The Tramway has
received this car, owned by Wirral Council, previously displayed in the Woodside Ferry terminal,
before being stored at Hooton Park. The tram was partly dismantled for its journey to the Tramway's
Pacific Road depot, but is likely to be reassembled and put on display at Taylor Street.

MR10] Welsh Highland Railway, Gwynedd (MR p30) (BLN 1292.MR212): A member visited this 2ft
gauge railway in the middle of September; not he reports, perhaps the best time to do so. He had been
told by Swiss sources that the Brienz Rothorn Bahn Railway was sending over one of its older type
steam locos to run on the Snowdon Mountain Railway during September, and by the time he found
that it wasn't able to come in 2017, he had already booked a ticket in the Pullman car on the railway,
and his hotel in Caernarfon for a few days. Our reporter caught the 10.15 from Caernarfon, hauled by
maroon Garrett No138. At Dinas a green diesel shunter 'Bill' was noted in the yard, and at Rhyd Ddu,
he passed the green diesel on a train of ex-SAR bogie gondola wagons. Finally, at Beddgelert, his train
crossed with the northbound service behind black Garrett No87. At Porthmadog, our reporter
observed the early afternoon Ffestiniog Railway departure behind Double Fairlie 'Merddin Emrys',
in between sampling some of the real ales in Spooner's Bar (the station buffet), which features in the
Good Beer Guide; one splendid treat it offers is a taster of 3 x ⅓ pints of their real ales. He selected the
three with the most untranslatable Welsh names! On the return Garrett No87 was passed southbound
at Rhyd Ddu, and he noted 'Upnor Castle' at Dinas, outside a shed. The weather was not too bad
(for North Wales) after he had passed the summit near Snowdon Ranger on the outward trip.

MR11] Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1291.MR202): 2nd December,
a Saturday, saw the first Santa trains of the season on this 2ft 6in gauge railway. In use was 0-4-2ST
'Leader' (KS926/1905) with four bogie coaches. 0-6-2T 'Superb' (WB2624/1940) was just in the loco
shed and may visit the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway again in 2018. 4wDH 'Barton Hall'
(HE6651/1965) was the standby locomotive. On the 5" gauge ground level line 4wBE 'Lilly' was outside
its shed with a lead to its batteries - but no trains were running.

MR12] Minor Railways Review of 2017: The MR Ed thought it might be instructive to give an overall
review of 2017. As for comings and goings, the 'headline' figures are quite typical of recent years: 10
deletions and 9 additions. For some years the total number of railways listed in Minor Railways has
been almost static at around 520. Taking the closures first - the majority have closed, not because the
railways were no longer viable, but because the site owners had other plans for the land (Pentney,
Exmouth & the Electric Railway Museum at Coventry). The loss of the recently opened Penrhyn
Quarry Railway has still not yet been clearly explained. Closure of the long standing 10¼" gauge
railway on the seafront at Exmouth is a sad loss and another nail in the coffin of the British seaside
miniature railway. The closure of the Edinburgh Model Engineers Newliston line (after 28 December)
was due to an entirely different and more positive reason; the Society is moving to a bigger better site.

Balancing the closures is the appearance of 9 new railways. The majority of these are of the smaller
gauges: 7¼" and 10¼". However, the opening (albeit of only a short section) of the historic standard
gauge Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway is a significant step forward. The growth of Statfold Barn as
an enthusiast Mecca continues with the opening of a 3ft gauge tramway (battery powered).
What must rate as a unique addition to Minor Railways is 'Mail Rail' - an opening of a small section of
the fully underground Post Office Railway to passengers. Not the first minor railway to be fully
underground, but certainly an unusual one. Here, readers may like to ponder which other minor
railway was fully underground and which is below sea level! As for the larger railways, both the
Swanage and Gwili Railways have opened new track. In Dorset, the Swanage Railway commenced
running regular trains to and from Wareham - although not operated by their locomotives and rolling
stock, or seven days a week in the season. After many years of effort, the Gwili opened their long
awaited extension south from Bronwydd Arms to Abergwili Junction on the outskirts of Carmarthen.

ABOVE: Pentney Light Railway - an atmospheric picture at this 7¼" gauge railway, now sadly closed.
Here locos get up steam around the turntable. (Peter Scott 9 Aug 2014) BELOW: Exmouth Miniature
Railway - This once steam operated historic railway sadly closed in 2017. (Peter Scott Collection)

As for 2018, we shall have to wait and see! Older readers may remember Minor Railways once had a
section titled 'Railways due to open during [the next year]'. It was dropped from the 10th edition
onwards, as generally those railways listed did not open and those, which did open, hadn't been
known about! However, Good Friday, 30 March sees the opening of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire
Steam Railway's significant Broadway extension. To balance that, the Llangollen Railway has delayed
opening to their new Corwen station until 2019. Happy minor railway travelling to all members!

89] Fixtures Reports: BLS Kennet Day Ranger Tracker, Wed 28 Jun 2017: Up to 19 members, most
arriving by train, with the exact number varying throughout the day, took part in our latest informal
day of rare track on service trains. The objective was to cover the bays and various routes into, and out
of the west end of Reading with the bays, loop and crossovers further west, at Newbury, using the
Kennet Day Ranger ticket. It was planned, researched and led by Tom Gilby (participants were very
grateful to him). To our surprise the price of the Kennet Day Ranger had recently been reduced from
£13.90 (railcard £9.15) to £12/£7.95! This good value ticket gives rail travel between Basingstoke,
Reading and Bedwyn on GWR & Cross Country trains after 09.30 (all weekends and Bank Holidays).

Most travelled about 240 miles with it. Extras were available to the Southern area before and after at
extra cost. Being summer it was mostly daylight and
there was the usual great BLS friendly atmosphere all
day. Earlier trips: 09.56 Reading P5 to Wokingham
back to P4 for 10.42, while some attempted the
scissors crossover out of P14 that didn't work. Later
trips: 21.42 Reading P6 to Wokingham via the
realigned Reading Southern Jn returning to P13a via
the Eastern Underpass Line or Up Relief/Flyover and
Festival Lines variations and/or 21.45‡ Reading to
Birmingham PSUL reversing at Foxhall Jn.

The core route: Reading P2 11.07 - Basingstoke P5 (11.32); P4 11.49 - Feeder Relief - Reading P12
(12.05); P3 12.20 - Basingstoke P1 (12.39); P4 12.49 - Reading P7b (13.05); P1 13.12 - Reading West
P1 (13.14); P2 13.27 - Reading P2 (13.30); P8 13.46 - Basingstoke P1 (14.08); P4 14.19 - Reading P8
(14.36); P7 14.48 - Bedwyn P1 (15.33); P2 15.40 - Newbury P2 (15.57); P3 (bay); 16.13 - Theale P1
(16.33); P2 16.56 - via Newbury Up P2† - Kintbury - P1 (17.40); P2 17.48 - Newbury P2 (17.53);
break* P3 18.53 - Theale P1 (19.07); P2 19.29 - Newbury Racecourse (P3) Down Loop - Newbury P1
(19.55); P2 19.57 - Thatcham P2 (20.06); P1 20.14 - Feeder Main - Reading P11 (20.33); P1 20.41 -
Reading West P1 (20.44); P2 20.57 - Oxford Road Jn X/Os to Feeder Main - Reading P12b (21.00); P1
21.07- Reading West P1 (21.10); P2 21.27 - Oxford Rd Jn X/Os to Feeder Main - Reading P12b 21.30.

The intense adventure began with the 11.07 to Basingstoke and everything going to plan. In order
Reading bays 2, 3 and 1 were done, along with Basingstoke bay P5 and it seemed as though everyone
was 'baying' for more. The bidirectional Reading Feeder Relief was taken by the 11.49 ex-Basingstoke.
During the day both crossovers were covered between Westbury Lane Jn and Oxford Road Jn. It was
interesting to see the Network SouthEast 'Bramley Bunker' tour (1 May 1987) details that Tom Gilby
kindly brought along. The only evidence from the train of the very extensive former MoD Bramley
Ammunition Depot railway is two MoD underbridges beneath the main line. The Society had a
comprehensive all day tour arranged by your Editor on perhaps the inappropriate date of 5 Nov 1980.

†This gave the facing and trailing crossovers before and after Newbury. It allowed a (connecting)
Paddington to Exeter HST to call at P1 and a DBC stone train to Theale to pass on the Up ('middle') line.

*Some went to Reading (P11b) for an alternative grazing break via Oxford Rd Jn facing crossovers and
the 'Feeder' Main, returning on the 19.21 train (from P12b!) that picked the rest up at Theale (19.29).
The day was planned around the evening train that uses Newbury Racecourse P3 (booked 9½ minute
wait) jockeying for places with the 19.03 Paddington to Plymouth train that took the line to Newbury.

Most had not been to Bedwyn on a terminating train before and our friendly driver was surprised that
so many were particularly interested in the facing crossover and turnback siding. He received a round
of applause! In Newbury Bay P3 the maximum '3 car stop' was reached despite being in a two car Class
165 DMU. In the afternoon an Up stone train was involved in a 'SPAD' approaching Reading on the
Feeder Relief and its protracted stay meant the Feeder Main (theatre indication 'M' at Reading West
Jn) had to be used by our three (!) further trips from Reading to Reading West. The rare Feeder Relief
to Feeder Main crossover (36m 68ch = 0m 59ch on Reading West Curve) and Feeder Main connection
to Reading P12 at Caversham Road Jn were unexpectedly done - twice as a result (every cloud has a
silver lining)! ‡Unfortunately, due to a broken rear windscreen this train did not reverse at Foxhall Jn!

Up until the end of the Newbury 'supper break', one participant's movements were common to the
rest of the party. When those he accompanied on the 18.53 from Newbury left it at Theale, to ensure
catching the train doing the Newbury Racecourse loop (which he had done a year or so earlier behind
'Earl of Mount Edgecombe' which stopped for water on a dining excursion), he stayed on to do the
Feeder Main, which was new to him, duly arriving at Reading P11. Following refreshment at the 'Three
Guineas', he took the 20.04 to Wokingham and then caught the 20.22 back, to do the Reading Spur.
He had, many years ago, travelled from a London end Reading bay platform onto the Southern line to
Waterloo. He doubts that the alignment off the GWR main line has changed, so that did both routes.

Our member then rejoined the main party for the two return trips to Reading West, before taking the
21.42 to Wokingham again, with hope of doing the Reading Low Level line, about which there was
some doubt, on analysis of 'Realtime Trains' data. At Wokingham he met another member with the
same aim, but further doubts arose because for each of the first four minutes, the screens showed the
expected arrival being delayed by another minute! However, the arrival was at the revised time, and
they boarded. By this time it was, of course, too dark to be certain of where they turned off the
Southern line, but when the train brushed past foliage, and they could then see a tunnel wall to their
immediate right (neither of which happened while on the Down Reading Spur!), they were fairly sure
they had succeeded! Confirmation came on emerging to see well lit office parking to the right; the
train then duly proceeded into P13, concluding an excellent day, even to a normally non-microgricer!

90] The Grand Farewell - A Grand Day Out, Sun 17 Dec: In August, myself and two others at Grand
Central (GC) started discussing a suitable send-off for the GC HST fleet, which was intended to retire
on 31 Dec 2017. A railtour was the obvious answer, and after contacting Kev Adlam work started to try

to achieve an attractive and achievable itinerary. After
various conversations with contacts across the industry,
and a number of meetings around the array of fine
hostelries in York poring over track maps, a seed of an idea
started to form. Before we knew it a rough route had been
formulated and many of the key areas identified and
scoped out before we sought approval to formally proceed.

After a nervous wait the good news was received, and
planning started in earnest. Version 17 of the route was
the one finally bid to NR, incorporating unusual lines - the
strangest routing decision being that the best way to reach
Bradford from Doncaster in a 'different' way was (obviously) via Stockport! Having received an offer
from NR, thanks to the outstanding support from GC train crew, preparations continued as the date
approached rather rapidly. The final days leading up to the event saw all sorts of little details thrashed
out, to the point where we were fairly comfortable with how the day would play out. However, we
were still rather nervous given that this was something new and incredibly complex for GC as a
business, with day jobs and service trains to keep running before and during the event!

NEXT PAGE UPPER: One of the special headboards made for the tour. (Geoff Plumb).

Before we knew it the date was Sat 16 Dec and the HST set for the tour arrived onto Heaton TMD in
the early afternoon. After a fuel top up and a trip through the wash plant 'GC02' was positioned in the
shed ready for preparation. Armed with copious amounts of cleaning materials, rags and silver spray
paint, work commenced to bring 43423 and 43480 up to top condition, along with the rake of coaches.
Several hours of furious spraying and polishing later, the orange stripes on both power cars were
gleaming, celebratory silver buffers were complete and the headboard had been test-fitted. With a bit
of time to spare, 43480 was also adorned with a '10 Year' celebratory vinyl, to mark the then imminent
10th birthday (on 18 Dec) of Grand Central's operation. Once darkness had descended, supplies were
loaded and arrangements made for the set to be stabled in a suitable road for the morning, it was time
to wash away the smell of HST and get an early night ahead of the following day's excitement.

BELOW: Early morning at Newcastle, a fine station, P4 east end awaiting departure. (Geoff Plumb)

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