Issue Number 1290 (Items 1996 - 2104 &IssMueRN1u8m6 b- eMrR1216984) (E-BLN 48 PAGES) 7 Oct 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
……………….BLN 1291 is dated Sat 21 OctS;oCcioetnyt.rSibocuietitoy.ns must be received by 11 Oct
1996] OUR NEW BLS WEBSITE: We are delighted, with particular thanks to Ian Delgado, to announce
a target launch date of Fri 20 Oct 2017 (after e-BLN 1291 comes out). The finishing touches are being
applied and tested, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, BLN 1291 should confirm that date.
Our new website is receiving much more than 'a bit of a facelift'. Online membership renewal and
booking fixtures means your printer and/or cheque book should see even less use in the future!
Not wanting to run before we have learnt to walk, it is intended to start online bookings with just one
fixture (the next Scunthorpe Steel Works tour planned for 6 Jan 2018) so that we can 'iron' out (!) any
wrinkles that might appear. The very few who do not have, or do not know someone with, access to
the internet can still send fixtures/railtour bookings in by post. Please continue to book all earlier
fixtures as now. Other immediate enhancements include logged in members being able to post
messages on a Society online forum, hosting PSUL and, in future, 'Unusual Track'.
Some features will only be available to members, not the least of which will be the much requested
online access to our document archive. This will enable you to view and download past copies of BLN,
BLNI or Pictorial. When we go live, all BLNs back to BLN 1184 (11 May 2013), and from Oct 1955 (No1)
to at least 1971 will be loaded, with our document archivist and our website officer continuing to
bridge the gap in time. You will need an individually allocated password to access the members'
section; details of the simple procedure to receive one will be given in BLN 1291. IMPORTANT NOTE:
This includes receiving e-BLN. As from BLN 1292 an email will be sent out to subscribers when a new
e-BLN is available for viewing on the website; to view or download it, go to our website and log in.
The present e-BLN distribution system continues for a while to give some 'overlap' between the two.
Another innovation is BLN, BLNI, BLN Pictorial, and some other documents, in 'flipbook' format as an
alternative to downloading a PDF file and then having to open it with Adobe Reader; those who have
'Railway Herald' will be familiar with this. https://goo.gl/GzsLGX is a sneak preview of this version of
the 'Atlas of Closed Lines in Italy' (with e-BLN 1289). This 183 page document, with at least five
double-page spreads, lends itself very well to flipbook viewing (even if you
have no interest in foreign railways, do look at the fascinating pictures). For
the best effect, view the document in full screen - click on the 'Enable Full
Screen' icon which looks like a broken square (LEFT) at the right end of the
grey taskbar icons across the top. Click on top/bottom right of page to turn it, double click to 'zoom'
or use the taskbar icons. Press the 'Esc' key to exit full screen or click the exit full screen icon ABOVE.
To access the member-only features, please make sure that we have your correct email address as
this will be required to log in. If necessary, email [email protected] our Membership
Secretary ASAP to update it. Paper-only BLN subscribers may, of course, access our website.
1997] 2017 AGM Update: Chris Totty's films, with an interval buffet, after our AGM on Sat 18 Nov include:
The Bluebell Railway in the 1960s (spot the somewhat younger BLS member!). 1968: IOM steam,
Manx Electric Railway & Horse Tramway. 1970: Northern Ireland DMUs, steam and CIE; also (nearly) all
of Scotland on a 7 day rover. Southern steam farewell. London Midland steam. Preserved railways.
Wandering around the UK over the years. If time, optional bonuses: Waverley Route &/or Jersey slides.
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
1288 JE OPEN
Sat 7/10/17 09.00 Great Whipsnade, Caldecotte & Lavendon Railways 1288 JE OPEN
1286 JE Enquire
Sun 8/10/17 09.00 Gulliver's, Willen and Northampton SME Railways 1287 JE OPEN
1288 JC OPEN
Sat 14/10/17 10.00 Statfold Barn Railway, Tamworth, BLS private tour
Sat 21/10/17 14.30 Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester - with new track
Wed 25/10/17 Morning & afternoon guided Ashover Light Railway walks
Fri 17/11/17 09.00 West Lancashire Light / 14.00 Windmill Farm Railway 1289 JE OPEN
Sat 18/11/17 08.30 Southport Lakeside Miniature Railway 1289 JE OPEN
Sat 18/11/17 13.00 Liverpool, Special & 2017 Annual General Meetings 1289 TW OPEN
Sat 18/11/17 17.00 - 19.30 (approx) Railway films presentation with buffet 1289 JE OPEN
Sun 19/11/17 09.30 - 18.30 Hooton: The Whitechapel Wayfarer railtour 1289 JE OPEN
Sat 2/12/17 07.30-19.30: The Christmas Brush, Reading - Paddington etc 1290 KA *OPEN*
Sat 6/1/2018 09.30 - dark: Scunthorpe Steel Works railtour with light lunch TBA TBA Claimed
End Apr 18? Potential 4 day tour of threatened lines in Finland (below) 1290 IS *OPEN*
3 to 6/5/18 Island of Ireland four day 'long weekend'; *NOT YET OPEN* TBA TBA Claimed
IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, TW-Tim Wallis, TBA-To Be Advised.
1998] Heaton Park Tramway, Sat 21 Oct, 14.30 to 16.30: (BLN 1281.MR88) Manchester, M25 2SW,
(SD 836 040) https://goo.gl/FdR5oY 1,250yd walk from Bowker Vale or 1,400yd from Heaton Park
Metrolink stops. With the only section of original UK tram track still in use (since 1905) in its original
alignment. All available lines, loops and depot roads on this recently extended standard gauge, very
friendly tramway. The Lakeside extension and Lakeside Depot have been added since our visit four
years ago on 7 Sep 2013. £20 Members; £25 Non-members. Bookings with cheques payee 'Branch line
Society' or CPA to: Jill Everitt (back page) with an e-mail address Queries: [email protected]
1999] Whitechapel Wayfarer Railtour, Sun 19 Nov: The proposed Hooton start is 09.30 but the
train can also be joined there (09.53/09.59) after the trip to Ellesmere Port (no rare track for EMUs)
or Rock Ferry P4 at 11.12. This gives train connections from the rest of Merseyrail and further afield.
2000] Proposed BLS 2018 Freight Line Rail Tour in Central/Northern Finland: During the July PTG
Southern Finland tour it was learnt that several lengthy freight lines in Central / Northern Finland are
threatened with closure, potentially within a year. The lines are: Kontiomäki to Ämmänsaari (92km),
164km of Jyväskylä to Haapajärvi and Seinäjoki to Kaskinen (112km). We have proposed a tour over
these and other nearby freight/passenger lines, tentatively for the last weekend in April 2018, route:
Day 1: Jyväskylä - Haapajärvi - Pyhäkumpu - Iisalmi.
Day 2: Iisalmi - Otanmäki - Talvivaara - Kajaani.
Day 3: Kajaani - Ämmänsaari - Kontiomäki - Oulu.
Day 4: Oulu - Raahe - Ykspihlaja - Alholma - Seinäjoki - Kaskinen - Seinäjoki.
(Map is thanks to Dave Cromarty.) Options are a DMU (Dm-7 railcar) or loco-hauled train. To progress
the project expressions of interest (no commitment at this stage) are invited in the tour as above, with
your preference for DMU or loco-hauled (the latter option has higher potential cost and operational
difficulties in accessing some locations). Please reply to [email protected] or post to:
102 Shenfield Place, Brentwood, CM15 9AJ by 25 Oct 2017. The more that go the cheaper it will be.
Proposed BLS/HMVY Finland Freight Lines tour, Spring 2018
Kolari Tour route : Passenger lines
Other lines : Passenger lines Freight lines
N Sketch map only : not to scale. Original mapping © Open Street Map contributors
Ylivieska Kajaani Kontiomäki RUSSIA
Vaasa Seinäjoki Kuopio Joensuu
Kaskinen Toijala To Vyartsilya
Turku Lahti To
CSD Hanko To Vyborg
2001] Finland - the finish: E-BLN has a well illustrated supplement about Finland. The Finnish railway
network (map above) is 5,919km, covering most of the country except the Arctic north. Having once
been part of the Russian Empire, the railways are built to the original Russian gauge of 1,524mm (5' 0")
as Russia subsequently dropped to 1,520mm. The broad gauge means that more space is available
than on standard gauge trains, so Finnish trains have a well deserved reputation for spaciousness and
comfort, all trains being run by the privatised national operator, VR. The country is sparsely populated,
so there are few intensive train services (with only some commuting around Helsinki) and 90% of lines
are single track. The scenery is dominated by the many lakes (shown on the map) and extensive
forests, though in the south it is much more open. There is considerable railway interest, with many
plinthed steam locos at stations, old wooden station buildings, relics of steam days and an active
preservation scene, with museums and heritage railways which organise rail events. The national
railway museum at Hyvinkää and the steam and diesel collections at Haapamäki are probably the best
known. Freight only lines comprise about 30% of the network (over 1,700km), and while a few see
regular heritage services in the peak summer months, the vast majority are railtour territory. Timber
and minerals are the main traffic, but lengthy lines mean high maintenance costs and it takes very little
to tip the balance between profit and loss. Several lines have closed recently. Passenger services are
also under scrutiny, with several lines under very definite threat of closure quite possibly within the
next year or so. There will be various familiar faces on our railtour including some well experienced in
foreign travel who have visited Finland before. Standard BLS booking Ts&Cs apply, however booked.
X.146] The Christmas Brush, Sat 2 Dec: A booking form is available with the e-BLN email for this year's
Society Christmas loco hauled tour from Reading (07.37 bid) to London Paddington (19.25 bid).
First Class Plus passengers will receive 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. Festive treats, plenty
of Christmas Quail and offerings from our Baker will available for all passengers! The tour includes a
fine selection of rare and requested lines between Bradford Jn, Theale, Reading and Paddington for
Macro and Microgricers alike, some very new. Class 47/0 and 47/7 expected with a great atmosphere.
1290 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart)
2002] Ebbw Vale Town, Lower - Upper Cableway stops: (BLN 1235.1131) TCP by 13 Jun 2017 (failed
CCTV monitoring telephone fibre cable). It is not allowed to run without CCTV; installation of a new
cable is awaited. Vandalism has closed the facility many times for short periods; it OP 10 Jun 2015.
2003] Spa Valley Railway, High Rocks (excl) - Eridge (P2 & 3 incl) and Groombridge station: TCP Mon
18 Sep due to a serious bridge strike on the metal girder Broom Lane bridge which has 9' 9" clearance.
During the closure trains ran between Tunbridge Wells West and High Rocks (1m 20ch) only. ROP Sun
1 Oct (a Thomas day; trains just to Groombridge). The first Eridge service is expected on Sat 14 Oct.
2004] Laxey, Snaefell Mountain Rly - Snaefell Summit & Bungalow stop: TCP 25 Sep 2017 - see 'IOM'.
2005] Water Street Jn - Deal Street Jn (Ordsall Chord lines): The 25kV overhead was live from 26 Sep.
The route was commissioned on Mon 2 October 2017. Both chords are bi-directionally signalled, train
detection is by axle counters. The Down Ordsall Chord runs from Water Street Jn (190m 07ch*) in the
Down Bolton line, to Irwell Street Jn (190m 34ch* = 30m 64ch†, change of mileage) in the Down Chat
Moss line. The Up Ordsall Chord runs from near Deal Street Jn (31m 12ch† = 0m 38ch‡) in the Down
Chat Moss line to Water Street Jn (190m 07ch*) in the Up Bolton line. The Down Chord is 27ch and the
Up Chord is 54ch long. The maximum permissible speed on either line is 30mph. [*Miles from London
Euston via Weedon and the Trent Valley. †Miles from Liverpool Lime Street via Chat Moss - note that
the connection to the Up Chord is 6ch beyond Deal Street Jn. ‡Distance from Manchester Victoria.]
OP is expected Sun 10 Dec 2017 with the 08.40 Manchester Victoria to Manchester Oxford Road
service in the Up direction and the 08.57 Manchester Oxford Road to Leeds in the Down direction.
2006] Forres (second) station: (BLN 1289.1975) The second (OP 3 Aug 1863) passenger station CP Sat
7 Oct 2017. The final train was due to leave at 23.44 on 6th, the 19.34 Edinburgh to Inverness via
Aberdeen. The closure was excluded from the application of section 30 of the Railways Act 2005 by a
Scottish Statutory Instrument of 5 Sep 2017, laid before the Scottish Parliament 7 Sep and coming into
force 17 Oct 2017. No business and regulatory impact assessment was prepared for these Regulations
as no impact upon business, charities or voluntary bodies was foreseen with the station relocation.
2007] Forres East Jn - Forres West Jn: CP/CA Sat 7 Oct 2017, the route via the second Forres station.
The new double track direct route (effectively a reinstatement of the former Forres 'avoiding line') is
due to ROA Tue 17 Oct 2017. It was severed as a through line 28 May 1967 (Forres West box closed).
2008] Forres (third) station: The new two platform station is due to OP Tue 17 Oct 2017 and is not at
the site of the first passenger station (OP 25 Mar 1858; CP 3 Aug 1863) but is further west on the
Forres East Jn to West Jn direct line. The first booked departure is at 06.20 which is the 05.54 Inverness
to Aberdeen and, in the Up direction, at 07.12 which is the 06.58 Elgin to Inverness.
2009] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1285.1465 30 Sep 17 ..9 Oct 17 *Liverpool Lime St - (St Helens Central) / (St Helens Junction)
1285.1466 30 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 *(Edge Hill) - (Liverpool South Parkway) stations
1288.1833 30 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 *(Liverpool South Parkway) - EMU route - (Hunts Cross)
1286.1608 17 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 *Barking P1 - Gospel Oak Jn
1276.500 x7 Oct 17 16 Oct 17 *Welsh's Bridge Jn (Inverness) - (Keith)
1288.1835 21 Oct 17 23 Oct 17 (Spalding) - Sleaford East Jn & Sleaford West Jn - Pelham St Jn
1281.1033 11 Jun 17 By Xmas 17 Midland Metro; Wolverhampton St George's - (Priestfield)
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 2 Jan 2018 *(London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1275.365 11 Nov 17 28 Jan 18 Fylde Jn (Preston) - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South
1275.366 11 Nov 17 18 Mar 18 Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool North
1286.1609 x1 Oct 17 29 Mar 18 Seaton Tramway, Riverside Loop south end - Seaton
1286.1612 22 Jul 18 x7 Oct 18 Derby station and associated lines (details awaited)
1290 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart)
2010] LMS 1930 Maps: A friend of Martyn Brailsford worked a summer vacation at 'The Farm' (*), in
Sheffield during BR days, when he helped to clear out the basement. He salvaged some original 1930s
LMS maps and they have been in his loft ever since. There is an index map, eight covering England,
Scotland & Wales, one for Ireland and one for the Continent. With thanks to Martyn we are making
scans available with e-BLN, two per edition (the index and No1, the Lake District & Lancashire are first).
(*) 'The Farm', once the residence of the Duke of Norfolk, was a large house in its own grounds
between Granville Rd and Norfolk Park Rd, near Sheffield Midland station, and became the local LMS
headquarters. BR used it prior to opening Sheaf House in 1965. 'The Farm' was demolished in 1967.
2011] Rings a Bell - the Encore: (BLN 1289.1916) The signaller at Malton (East until 1966) signal box,
20ch east of the station, rings the station bell, coded as follows: One ring for a train stopping going
towards Scarborough. Two rings for a stopping train going towards York. Three rings to signify
non-stop trains on the bi-directional Down Main going towards Scarborough. Up non-stop trains are
not rung as the Up Main line avoids the now single station platform there.
2012] Putting our Heads Together on Signalling: (BLN 1289.1918) The Hilton Jn two
headed distant is the colour light equivalent of a single semaphore home above a
semaphore splitting distant, a member feels. There was also a three headed colour light
distant 'ESN 34' (Ely Station North box, which closed 27 Apr 1992) on the Down side
approaching Ely North Jn. (LEFT: Angus McDougall, 2 Nov 1991.) From right to left,
looking north, the highest head was for Norwich, the middle for King's Lynn and the
lowest left for the Peterborough line. It seemed to survive until electrification and resignalling; there
was also a red aspect on the (three aspect) centre head; the other two being twin green/yellow
aspects. It was the starting signal for Ely Station North and also the splitting distant for Ely North Jn;
its position would fit this. Our member suspects there were more three headed signals and knows
from visits that Japan is full of multi-headed colour lights, though he never made the effort to get his
head properly around them!
Another member travelling by train to our Liverpool Lime Street signal box visits
on Fri 22 Sep spotted what he now knows (from BLN 1289 out the night before!)
to be Preliminary Route Indicators in two places: on the Down Lickey and at
Little Bridgeford Jn just north of Stafford. They advise drivers of how the route is
set at the next signal, examples are shown left and right.
2013] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1288.1835] Vernatt's Drain bridge on the northern outskirts of Spalding
(Sleaford line) is being demolished and a prefabricated one installed at a cost of £1.5M over five weeks
(2 Oct to 6 Nov) to allow heavier freight trains to run. The line only closes from 21 to 23 Oct inclusive.
●BLN 1289.1912] A BLS agent in the Ashington area on 20 Sep confirms that the Lynemouth lines
were all very heavily rusted (the last train of inward coal ran in Apr 2015 when the Carbon Tax was
doubled on coal). ●1920] In the paper BLN abbreviations section 'kilometer' should, of course, be
'kilometre' in two places. ●1933] The Crossrail website gave 14 Sep as the date for laying the final
section of new track rather than 15th. ●1943] Although Settle Jn to the former Wennington Jn site
(for Lancaster) is 15 miles, continuing to Carnforth Station Jn is 24½ miles - the longest Absolute Block
section in the country (and double track without any intermediate crossovers). ●1949] At Longcross
station on 5 Sep, the only public exit was on the south side of the line to the left (eastward) on an
unsurfaced path - shown on the modern map. The right-hand (westward) path was temporarily
blocked off and the guarded security gate [with security cameras?] to the film studios went straight
ahead. ●MR178] The three rail arrangement is common on funiculars, as mentioned at the Great
Orme Tramway in BLN 1289. It avoids the two cables touching or tangling.
●MR179] At the Llangollen Railway on Sun 25 Sep the first train of the day, the
09.45 DMU to Corwen East, called at Deeside Halt to set down the signaller who
then opened the box; it was a diesel gala with trains crossing. When the box is
switched out all the colour light signals are not illuminated (but a white light is in
each direction). The short single wooden platform is on the Down side and that
line is bidirectional when the box is switched out; the Up loop is unidirectional and
does not have a platform. When the line from Llangollen terminated here (1991 &
1992), the loop was used to run-round. There is a public footpath beneath the line
to the west. In response to questioning, the view of train staff was that they would
stop on request or if someone was on the platform. Though not in the timetable,
the Railway's website still describes it as a 'request stop'.
2014] The Railway Traveller's Handy Book, 1862: Synopsis: In the aftermath of
the 'Railway Mania' of the 1840s, Britain boasted an unrivalled network of train
services. While many people were amazed and excited by the prospect of
travelling by these technological marvels, as with all novelties others were nervous
or bewildered. This 'handy book', published in 1862, provided suggestions for
making the most of the journey. Offering advice about the best travelling costume,
the dangers involved in sitting on top of the carriages [even pre-OLE], how to
approach conversation with fellow passengers and, crucially, how to ensure that
your wife follows the strict timetable. It gives a charming and entertaining insight
into how the early railways were viewed by their Victorian passengers.
Cautionary Remarks: Against Looking Out of Windows: Some persons,
when travelling by railway, have a knack of continually thrusting their
heads out of the window. Nothing can be more dangerous, and
numerous are the accidents that have resulted in consequence.
The proper place for the head is inside, not outside the carriage, and so
long as it is kept there, the chances are that it will remain whole.
In Passing Through Tunnels: Male passengers have sometimes been
assaulted and robbed, and females insulted, in passing through tunnels.
In going through a tunnel, therefore, it is always as well to have the
hands and arms ready disposed for defence, so that in the event of an
attack, the assailant may be instantly beaten back. When The Carriage
is in Motion: Numerous accidents have arisen to railway travellers from
their folly in persisting to enter or leave a carriage while in motion. There
is an express law [and for stopping trains!] against this, and the
misdemeanor is punished by a fine of 40 shillings [£2, about £220 now].
184 pages with index, wise advice for every BLS member, the full book on line: https://goo.gl/j8zo3D
or Amazon have second hand reprints (2012) from £20.81. There are 77 sections including: Sending
Children and Females by Railway Unaccompanied. Branch Lines and Junctions. Treatment of
Unpleasant Travelling Companions [No comment!]. Peculiar Regulations and Characteristics of
Various Railways. Disposal of Ladies and Children. Whiling away the Time at Stopping Stations.
Travelling Costume. Materials for Comfort - Rug, Cap & Cushion. Sending Intimation of Safe
Arrival. Reaching across the Country and Out-of-the-way Places Supply of Etceteras (etc…!)
2015] Station Statues, a Moving Experience: (BLN 1289.1925) For those not brassed off hearing about
bronzes etc: Terence Cuneo was moved from Waterloo in Jul 2014 so as not to obstruct the new
access to P20-24. The statue is now at Brompton Barracks. The artist was a Sapper in WWII; the Royal
Engineers Mess houses the largest collection of original Cuneo art on one site. As a member of the
Cuneo Society, the Army commissioned 13 paintings by the artist, widely regarded as one of the
greatest military painters in the world (as well as engines and mice). Skegness: A Jolly Fisherman
is on the concourse (or should that be a Jolly Fishplateman?). Eastleigh: Charlotte Mary Yonge is on
a bench in the station forecourt, part of its redevelopment in 2015. She was the town's best selling
Victorian novelist and gave Eastleigh its modern spelling (in 1868).
1290 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron)
2016] Caverswall: On Sat 23 Sep the 'Liverpool Pullman' which, as we all know, is the 06.12 Skegness
to Liverpool Lime Street (…..a special operated by West Coast Railways) was booked to wait in the
Down Goods Loop from 09.46 to 09.58. Unsurprisingly it shot by 8 minutes early. Nothing was booked
to overtake it there anyway and both Caverswall Goods Loops are reportedly now OOU anyway.
2017] Midland Mainline (1): A freedom of information request to NR by the Leicester Mercury found
that £200M has been spent raising bridges in and around Leicestershire for electrification before the
project was abandoned by the government. NR revealed that bridges at Rushton, Pipewell, Kibworth,
Sileby, Newton Harcourt, Cossington, Normanton and Sutton Bonington cost about £2.5M each to
adjust (exact figures not supplied). Work on four of them was finished in 2015 and the rest earlier this
year. However, NR say that their life has been extended and larger freight trains can now use the line.
2018] Midland Mainline (2): The East Midland Rail Campaign claims that the new East Midlands rail
franchise consultation https://goo.gl/Sxm1bt proposes no more Intercity trains for Luton, Luton
Airport, Bedford, Wellingborough, Melton Mowbray or Oakham, and limited intercity services for
Beeston. It also proposes a reduced service calling at both Leicester and Kettering. This would make
intermediate journeys more difficult, https://goo.gl/1Q8gu1 has an online petition to consider signing
and more details. Many people have turned out at DfT sponsored meetings to protest about this.
ABOVE: Derby Friargate (Great Northern Railway) warehouse on 14 Jul 1996. (Angus McDougall)
2019] Derby Friargate: (BLN 1278.714) The Victorian Society, a national architectural charity, has
included The Great Northern Railway Warehouse here on its 2017 top-10 endangered buildings list.
Now in its 10th year, the list https://goo.gl/smzacN highlights the plight of endangered Victorian and
Edwardian buildings in England and Wales in the hope that increased publicity will help save them.
The warehouse, visited during our 19 Jul 2016 Friargate line walk, is part of the Friar Gate Goods Yard
and station complex. It has been derelict for 50 years. Recent drone footage shows that most of the
roof is now missing. It was built in 1877 by Kirk and Randall and was Grade II listed in 1986.
Planning permission was granted to Clowes (site owner for the past 30 years) in Oct 2011 for homes,
offices, cafés and shops connected with turning the warehouse into a supermarket. But a downturn in
the fortune of supermarkets put the plans on hold in 2015. The Derby Telegraph recently reported that
Clowes intends to sell roughly half of the 20 acre Friar Gate site, to facilitate its development, but
would not say if the Warehouse is in the half to be sold or retained by the company.
2020] Derby: Your Regional Editor, who had a flat next to Friargate station, was surprised to receive a
flyer from NR apologising in advance for the noise that will result from pilings being installed for new
signals at Derby station! Sadly, it turns out that this is not in connection with the reopening of the
Great Northern Railway through the city, but the remodelling of Derby (Midland) station. The piling
work is going to be very noisy indeed if it is expected to disturb residents 1⅓ miles away at Friar Gate!
2021] Chaddesden Sidings: From Fri 6 Oct a new run-round loop with a standage of 114yd was due to
be commissioned on the outside road siding.
2022] Harrowden: From 1 Oct, the Down & Up Slow line was to be slewed just south of Harrowden Jn
(66m 75ch to 66m 60ch) east by 3' 7" as part of re-quadrupling between Kettering and Sharnbrook Jn.
2023] Longton: Volunteers from the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership, with EMT, Tesco
and some Discovery Academy pupils gave the station a makeover on 12 Sep during a Community Day.
This involved painting, cleaning, litter picking and gardening resulting in the station looking much
improved. https://goo.gl/2DmuSg has more information about adopting an EMT station.
2024] Market Harborough: The outer siding (Up side) was taken OOU from 25 Sep, pending removal.
2025] Newark Castle: (BLN 1270.3039) 'Carriages', a Victorian style café, has opened in the station
building. As well as offering food and hot drinks, the staff there aim to turn it into a community hub.
Some National Citizen Service scheme volunteers lent a hand to help finish the new café that will offer
weekly meals to the homeless. Those who can afford it will be asked for £3; businesses have the
chance to contribute. The £½M project involved EMT, NR, the Railway Heritage Trust and others.
2026] Burton-on-Trent: A large-scale revamp of the town centre is planned with a station facelift.
2027] Keadby: https://goo.gl/KTwL9g is a fascinating 1933 Pathé news film (1min 43sec - skip the
advert) of the unusual 1916 opened Great Central Railway Scherzer rolling lift bridge that carried the
A18 road and the Doncaster to Scunthorpe railway over the River Trent. The 163ft long bascule was
electrically powered but has not lifted since 1956. The road was widened and the headroom increased
in 1960 when the bascule was fixed in position and the signal cabin removed from the bridge.
2028] Nottingham NET: There an increased tram frequency 5 to 7 Oct during the annual Goose Fair if
anyone cares to take a gander.
1290 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett)
2029] Royal Trains: (BLN 1288.1844) Over the weekend of 16/17 Sep a member sampled the diverted
trains via Park Royal. From experience and observation, it appears that Up trains took the complete
route to Old Oak Common but Down trains used the Greenford Loop on both Saturday afternoon and
Sunday. Greenford station was an ideal grandstand to watch the HSTs pass one way then the other at
roughly quarter hourly intervals. Unfortunately the actual OLE commissioning work at Reading was
cancelled, reportedly due to incomplete paperwork. However, a GWR driver on 'Freightmaster
Interactive' reported that this work was completed on the morning of Sun 24 Sep when services were
suspended again between Maidenhead and Theale/Didcot. This pattern of closure continues for a few
Sundays more, with South Wales HSTs diverted via Foxhall Jn to Oxford for Chiltern services forward.
2030] Waterloo: (BLN 1289.1939) Charter trains of stock with opening windows are barred from the
Up and Down Main Slow and Fast lines to/from P1 to 6 and the West Crossings due to restricted
clearances. In practice charters normally use P19. The South Siding is to be energised from 15 Oct.
2031] Crossrail: (BLN 1289.1741) From 25 Sep new pointwork clipped OOU was installed in the Up
Electric Line at Pudding Mill Lane, presumably to form the new connection to the Crossrail tunnel. The
new Up Electric alignment here is a little higher than the Down line. The Crossrail Act described it as:
'a railway (835m long) being a deviation of the Up Electric Line of the Great Eastern Main Line Railway,
commencing at junction with that railway at a point 130m north of the junction of Wrexham Road with
Baldock Street passing northeast and terminating by a junction with that railway at a point 135m
northwest of the junction of Warton Road with Bridgewater Road'.
On 22 Sep a member attempted the Acton Dive-Under using the trains suggested in BLN 1277.625.
The 14.44 from Ealing Broadway was running a few minutes late due to a preceding steam loco and
support coach and ran via the Up Relief as booked. However the 15.29 departure did run via the
diveunder, but was only given the required signal further down the line well after it had reached the
platform, so it was a bit of a scramble for our member to get on board. Curvature of the line means
that careful sighting is needed to ensure you are looking at the correct signal (go to P4, London end).
BELOW TOP: Looking towards Liverpool St, the Up Electric line (far left line) diversion round (south of)
Pudding Mill Lane Crossrail Portal and the new connection to the westbound Crossrail tunnel line
(bottom left corner). The Down (eastbound) tunnel line is next right, then the Down Electric. Far right
are: Up Main, Down Main, Up Temple Mills and Down temple Mills. (Iain Scotchman 28 Sep 2017)
BELOW LOWER: The west end of the deviation looking east towards Stratford. Far right the Docklands
Light Railway single track from Poplar splits into two for Pudding Mill Lane stop (middle right). An Up
Electric train to Liverpool Street is approaching, appropriately on the new Up Electric line, behind the
blue hoarding. The disconnected former Up Electric line is next left. (Iain Scotchman 28 Sep 2017)
X.147] ABOVE: Concrete sleeper and ballasted double track is being laid on the western entrance to
the Royal Oak Crossrail tunnel. Central OLE masts are being erected. (Stuart Hicks 3 Oct 2017)
2032] London Overground: TfL and Arriva Rail London are to review information provision, customer
service and staffing on stations. This will include a review of the role of ticket offices on a station-by-
station basis and upgrading ticket machines across the network. There are 'fears' that this will lead to
the closure of most if not all ticket offices, a move which TfL appear to be trying to portray as
improvement, as it did with the closure of LUL ticket offices. Unsurprisingly a decreasingly small
proportion of tickets are sold at ticket offices. LUL has said stations will be staffed when trains run.
2033] Piccadilly Line: Following the problems last autumn with wheel flats, a special timetable will
operate from 9 Oct to 21 Dec. The Metropolitan Line also has a special timetable (as usual) then.
Members wishing to make unusual moves previously listed in BLN on these two lines should check
https://goo.gl/aXuUSq to make sure that they still apply. Temporary 30mph speed restrictions will
apply between Cockfosters and Arnos Grove, Boston Manor and Hounslow West and North Ealing
and South Harrow, with end-to-end journey times up to five minutes longer. Two three-car units have
been temporarily converted to spread Sandite, one at each end of the line. Although this only accounts
for one full-length train, two fewer will be available for passenger service. These two factors result in a
slightly reduced peak service of 23tph through the central area and 8tph to Rayners Lane. A standard
off-peak service of 69 trains, giving 21tph through the central area, will operate, but with fewer trains
between Arnos Grove and Cockfosters and no Saturday afternoon enhancement. 'Night Tube' services
will alternately reverse at Arnos Grove and Cockfosters giving the latter a train every 20 minutes.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: South Harrow looking towards London, the trailing crossover (accessing South
Harrow Sidings left) is followed by the facing crossover at the start of the bend. NEXT PAGE LOWER:
South Harrow in the opposite direction with both trains bound for Cockfosters during points
replacement at Rayners Lane. (Both Simon Mortimer 24 Oct 2017 who comments: PS: There must be a
genius at work in TfL to ensure these works coincided with one of only two weekends a year the Acton
Works Miniature (just a few stops down the line) was running and after a recent extension!
2034] Rayners Lane/South Harrow: (BLN 1289.1937) The second weekend of work at Rayners Lane
enabled quite a few members to do the two crossovers at South Harrow, with a ten minute interval
service reversing in each platform alternately. Those sampling the new District Railway extension from
Park Royal to South Harrow in 1903 would have had plenty of opportunity to do the layout here, but
those who left it until after 1910 might have been thwarted by the onwards extension of the line to
the Uxbridge branch at Rayners Lane. After earlier experiments, Acton Town to South Harrow was the
first surface line of what is now LUL to be operated by electric traction (from opening); the Piccadilly
Line did not arrive at until 1933. It was in 1935 that the current South Harrow station opened, just
northwest of the original, a classic Holden design as on many inter-war Underground route extensions.
2035] Thameslink: (BLN 1288.1847) From 2 Oct two new trailing points and a new facing point were
installed (OOU) at 1m 35ch, 1m 38ch and 1m 42ch at Metropolitan Jn on the Down Charing Cross Line.
2036] Waterloo & City Line: From 9 Oct this line has its first new Working Timetable (WTT) for four
years. SSuX services start 15 minutes earlier, at 06.00 from Waterloo and 06.06 from Bank, and the
period of operation of peak services, when all five of the line's trains are used, is extended. Although
all trains normally use the same platform at Bank, this WTT incorporates use of each platform
alternately during the evening peak. This arrangement actually started in Feb 2015 to cope with
increased passenger loadings because of the partial closure of London Bridge NR station.
X.148] BELOW: A DLR service from Stratford passes the substantial brick structures once supporting
Bow North London Railway (CP 1944) station building (BLN 1281.1077 with plan). Bow Church DLR
stop entrance is background right on the other side of Bow Road. (Both Geoff Brockett 13 Aug 2017)
X.149] LOWER: Just along the road the station building from Bow Road GER (CP 1949) has survived as
a bookmaker. What are the odds of it ever reopening to passengers?
1290 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth)
2037] Tyne & Wear Metro: On Sun 8 Oct there are no morning trains between Tynemouth and Byker
due to OLE renewal. Departures are expected in passenger service from Tynemouth P2 north over the
trailing crossover towards Cullercoats. At least one crossover of the Manors east scissors is available
with single line working to/from Byker. The first trains to run normally are the 12.33 from Manors
towards Tynemouth and 12.40 from Tynemouth to St James. All day Sat 14 & Sun 15 Oct, there are no
trains between St James and Tynemouth for OLE renewal, with use of Tynemouth crossover again.
2038] The Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR): 2025 will be the 200th anniversary of the railway.
The Friends of the S&DR has been formed '…a group of people who care deeply about the railway
heritage of North East England and want to see the 1825 S&DR receive the recognition and protection
it deserves as the start of the modern railway network from which all modern passenger railways
across the world developed.'
They aim to work with statutory, non-statutory and voluntary bodies to identify, preserve, promote
and develop the S&DR as an educational, cultural and historic site of international significance
including its recreational, economic and tourism potential. Furthermore to recognise and raise the
worldwide profile and the importance of the S&DR, maximise its tourist potential, protect the route
from development which seeks to sever and destroy any part of the route and pursue National
Heritage Listing for England and World Heritage Status for the S&DR line.
161 railway related structures are on the National Heritage List in the North East. The only ones with a
Grade I listing are the High Level Bridge and Central Station at Newcastle and the Causey Arch.
It appears that an item named 'Remains of the Stockton & Darlington Railway' is being rescheduled.
This is the long closed section between High Etherley and Shildon, including the Brusselton Incline.
Some S&DR structures are already listed, including parts of this line, but the intention is to schedule
the entire section, including even parts disturbed by opencast mining as relics could be buried there.
In 1997 the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which administers World
Heritage Sites on behalf of UNESCO, initiated a yearlong study to consider the role of railway routes
and sites which might be considered for World Heritage status.
The test is a stiff one. The potential site must be of 'outstanding universal value … so exceptional as to
transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of
all humanity.' It must also pass tests of authenticity and integrity - integrity here meaning wholeness
and intactness. The results of the study, undertaken at the National Railway Museum in York to
consider potential railway sites around the world, with historical, cultural or other claims to be unique,
were duly reported to ICOMOS. Three sets of lines have since been awarded World Heritage status:
●●The Semmering route in Austria, built 1848-1854 and commonly considered the world's first true
mountain railway. ●●Part of the Rhaetian Railway between Switzerland and Italy, which 'represents
an exemplary railway development…' and ●●The Mountain Railways of India: Darjeeling Himalayan
Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka Shimla Railway.
Apart from all being mountain railways, it has become clear that continuity of railway operation, while
maintaining aesthetic appeal, is very important. The maintenance of cultural and economic
associations between the line and its communities is a paramount consideration. The potential
qualification of former rail routes now adopted for pedestrian or cycle purposes has yet to be tested.
Every ten years or so, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) invites nominations from
local authorities and other bodies for potential world heritage sites in England and Wales. The last
opportunity was in 2010, when surviving sites associated with the beginnings of wagonways and
railways, along with several of the earliest railway routes in the United Kingdom, were selected by a
committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Neil Cossons, former Director of the Science Museum and
then Chairman of English Heritage. These sites were based on a theme 'Birth of the Railway Age:
Genesis of Modern Transport' rather than being specifically geographic. The sites included were:
Causey Arch and the Tanfield Railway.
Wylam wagonway and George Stephenson's birthplace.
Stephenson locomotive works, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Stockton & Darlington Railway (Etherley to Darlington).
Liverpool Road Station site and approach tracks, Manchester.
[Any further suggestions about the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&MR) such as Sankey viaduct?].
Conclusion: This group of sites reflects the evolution of the railway from waggonways that moved coal
to the North East coast tidewater staithes to the successful application of the steam railway locos on
the S&DR in the 1820s and the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester in 1830. Both as a group and
individually, these are the most important early railway sites and structures in the world. From them
sprang the railway in its fully-fledged form, in which the track owner operated as an integrated system
the network and all that ran on it. This became world norm as did the gauge of 4ft 8½in (1,435mm),
virtually universal throughout Europe and North America, and found widely elsewhere. They represent
the transition of railway motive power from horse and gravity to the successful application of steam
locos. The monuments and earthworks that remain provide a link with the people who transformed
our world from an agrarian to an industrial, mobility-led economy in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Of course railway historians will argue forever about which was 'the world's first railway' and on what
criteria they should be judged, but the S&DR and L&MR are the lines which non-specialists have heard
of and which are likely to attract most support. With little notice to formulate the nomination, there
was insufficient time for local authorities to be approached and give their backing. The application was
submitted to the DCMS, in competition with 37 others, in Sep 2010 but rejected in March 2011.
On 16 Sep 2015 (the 190th anniversary of the day that Locomotion No1 was assembled on the line at
Heighington level crossing, after being transported in parts from the Stephenson factory in Newcastle)
an Adjournment Debate was held in Parliament in which the minister was pressed to help the S&DR
receive World Heritage status. She outlined the obstacles that such a proposal has to overcome and
said it would be 2019 at the earliest before it would be known if the S&DR was on the list of candidates
going forward to UNESCO. Representatives from Darlington and Stockton Borough with Durham
County Councils, the National Railway Museum and the Friends of the S&DR, have committed to work
together to plan activities and events to mark the 200th anniversary. So local authority backing can
now be taken as read. A second attempt will be made to obtain World Heritage status in 2025; the
Tees Valley will bid to become UK capital of culture then, with the S&DR as its focus.
2039] Saltburn: (BLN 1289.1941) The Zetland Hotel was a Stockton & Darlington Railway Hotel,
proposed by the railway's chairman in 1861 to encourage development of the new town which he
considered had great potential as a holiday resort! Opened 27 Jul 1863 it was sold off by British
Transport Hotels in 1976 and closed about 1984. Subsequently the hotel was converted into nine
luxury apartments known as 'The Zetland'. https://goo.gl/Ych1PE has more details and pictures.
1290 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley)
2040] Levenshulme: The station is on a side street off Albert Rd. This street was never named and
became known locally as 'The Street With No Name'. A sign with this on it is now attached to the
station; 12ft above the ground - the original sign was stolen being only 3ft off the ground. [The Street
With No Nameboard?] Additionally an old fashioned 'Levenshulme Station' sign was also put up by
'The Friends of Levenshulme Station' group. People visit the station to see and photograph both signs.
BELOW: Not the most photogenic station but used by 500,000 passengers per year. (John Cameron)
[BLN 1290] (ABOVE: Now we all know where Angus McDougall was on 8 Feb 2013…!)
2041] Liverpool: Peel Ports is planning to launch a new rail intermodal service. The company is in
advanced contract discussions with a rail provider and shippers, with the aim of running the first
services before the end of 2017. It is the first time Peel Ports has offered an integrated package, giving
shippers a seamless route to market, from quayside to any suitable rail served terminal.
2042] Skelmersdale: (BLNs 1263.1627 & 1275.397) Funding has been agreed to further develop a rail
link to the second largest town in the North West without one. Merseytravel is contributing up to
£765k and Lancashire County Council £4.32M. Kirkby would become a through station again with
extension of Merseyrail trains via a new Headbolt Lane station then Rainford and a new branch
(triangular junction?) to Skelmersdale town centre. This would become the new interchange between
Merseyrail and Northern services to Manchester via Wigan. The next step looks in detail at a potential
solution and develops a timetable leading to the track design and looking at the impact of a potential
Knowsley Industrial Park rail freight connection and surveys of land use, geology and land ownership.
2043] Maghull North: (BLN 1274.275) Construction of the new station (as previously described in BLN)
began during the third week in September. Maghull to Ormskirk is closed 27/28 Oct and 4/5 Nov with
trains departing south in service over Maghull trailing crossover which is included on our 19 Nov tour.
2044] Garston: A new Tarmac rail served depot has been opened at Freightliner's Garston terminal
receiving 300,000 tonnes of aggregates (=10,000 road trucks) a year for Merseyside and Cheshire.
2045] Manchester Collyhurst Street: The new waste transfer station has a licence to handle up to
300,000 tonnes per year it is accredited for assessing the 'tipping tax' (not for rubbish service either!).
The lower landfill tax rate for less polluting waste, which is what seems to be handled here, is currently
£2.70/tonne and the higher rate, for more polluting waste, is now £86.10/tonne. On Fri 29 Sep loco
09009 arrived on a low loader to shunt arriving/departing trains ending Class 66 'top & tail' working.
2046] Blackburn - Helifield: Recently there were bus substitutions early and very late on Sundays for
three weekends to allow renewal of a wooden overbridge at Billington (the Whalley side of Langho).
Our member is unsure if it is being replaced with a plastic bridge like the one just north of Clitheroe a
few years ago. This meant that the first three weeks of the winter Clitheroe to Hellifeld service (a line
that unusually has all year scheduled passenger trains on Sundays only - two return trips) were buses.
2047] Blackburn King Street: (BLN 1284.1359) The new £28M DMU depot was completed a month
ahead of schedule and has been handed over to NR by the contractors. A public open day is planned
(reports welcome). It should come into use in November for the 10 Dec timetable change.
2048] Rochdale: There were four cast iron replicas of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) coat
of arms on the railway bridge over Yorkshire St, Rochdale. It was demolished in the 1970s and they are
preserved in the Bury Transport Museum next to the East Lancashire Railway's Bolton Street station.
The L&YR stone crest is still in situ over the tunnel mouth at the former Oldham Werneth station.
2049] Greater Manchester: TfGM has announced £2.4M of improvements such as help points, CCTV
systems and public-address systems. The 26 stations (TfGM website says 25!) involved are Manchester
Victoria, Hall I' th' Wood, Ashburys, Hattersley, Ince, Strines, Glossop, Atherton, Hadfield, Bromley
Cross, Lostock, Appley Bridge, Bredbury, Flowery Field, Woodsmoor, Bryn, Moston, Dinting, Gorton,
Navigation Road, Godley, Hyde Central, Hag Fold, Glazebrook, Hyde North and Horwich Parkway.
2050] Metrolink: On 29 Sep the Greater Manchester Combined Authority agreed an average 5.93%
fares increase from 1 Jan, after the extended fares freeze during the network development work.
This includes an estimated 'catch up' rise of 4% (phased as 1.33% per year over 3 years as opted for by
78% of respondents to a survey) plus the annual RPI+1%. The cost of an off-peak day or weekend ticket
for 16-18 year olds with a 'get me there' card falls by 50%. Children age 5-16 year will pay 50% of the
adult fares across the board. Special event tickets, held at the same price since 2012, will rise from £3
to £4 with a new discounted special event ticket for 5-18 year olds at £2. The increase covers the costs
of borrowing secured to pay for the recent major tram network expansion programme. Metrolink
receives no public subsidy, so revenue from the increases pays for the rising network operating costs.
The actual price increase will vary between tickets and be available later in the year online.
2051] Liverpool South Parkway: From 30 Sep in connection with (and only during) the Liverpool Lime
Street blockades, the Down Slow P4 was extended at the south end to 293yd in total to allow 11-car
Class 390 trains to call. To facilitate Class 390 trains turning back from Allerton West Jn (at shunt signal
AN4/29) a 9/11 rear clear marker board was provided on the Down Slow line at 188m 37ch. Also
connected with this, Up direction signal AN5 (a fixed red with a Train Protection & Warning System
train stop sensor) on the Down Slow line (187m 74ch), was relocated 192yd further south from 17 Sep.
2052] St Helens Junction: From 2-9 Oct in connection with the Huyton engineering work, services on
the Down and Up Chat Moss lines from Earlestown station terminate at, and start back from, St Helens
Junction station. There is Single Line Working to a point of obstruction over the Up Chat Moss line
(Sankey Jn - St Helens Junction station). The Pilotman accompanies every train over the single line.
2053] St Helens Central: From 30 Sep to 9 Oct EMUs from Wigan NW and Preston turnback in Down
P2 during the Huyton (and start of the Lime Street) closures. Fortunately it was spotted in time that
the trailing crossover was not electrified and very recently it has been! EMUs depart north in service
from P2 over the trailing crossover on to the Up Main with ground signal SH11 (St Helens) cleared.
2054] Huyton: (BLN 1286.1645) From 9 Oct a fourth track with 25kV OLE, the Up Chat Moss Slow line,
is due to be provided between Roby Jn and Huyton Jn. The existing Up Chat Moss line will be renamed
as the Up Chat Moss Fast line. Train detection will be via axle counters, as for the other three tracks. At
Huyton Jn, the Up St Helens line will diverge from the new Up Chat Moss Slow line, with no access to
the Up St Helens line from the Up Chat Moss Fast line. A facing crossover will be provided between the
Up Chat Moss Slow and Up Chat Moss Fast lines, to enable trains on the Slow line to proceed towards
Earlestown. Roby P4 with an operational length of 109yd will be commissioned left of the new track
(in the direction of travel). Huyton will also have an additional P4 (also 109yd) left of the new track.
The turnback facility at Huyton P3 will be transferred to P4. At Roby Jn facing points will be provided in
the Up Chat Moss line at 4m 59ch. This re-quadrupling allows fast trains to overtake stopping trains.
2055] Lime Street: From 9 until 22 Oct temporary, bi-directional signalling will be introduced over the
Up Slow line between Edge Hill West Jn and Lime Street P1 &2. The existing connection between P1
and Siding 'A' will be recovered and a new connection provided between P1 & 2 between 193m 42ch
and 193m 45ch. This temporary working is available all day 15/16 Oct and approx 06.00 to 20.00 SSuX
with Northern services running from P1 & 2 to/from Manchester Victoria and Wigan NW/Preston.
A new facing connection will be installed (OOU) on the Up Slow line at 193m 01ch for commissioning
with the rest of the new Crown Street Jn, part of the Liverpool Lime Street final resignalling in Jul 2018.
2056] Liverpool St James: (BLN 1226.267) OP 2 Mar 1974; CP 1 Jan 1917 (with many other British
stations and lines that day), the two platforms (0m 62ch) of this former Cheshire Lines Committee
station can be glimpsed between Liverpool Central (high level) and Brunswick between Ashwell Street
and Stanhope Street. They are even shown on the latest TRACKmaps Vol 4 p40 - Aug 2013! Now closed
for over a century, there is a plan to reopen the station at the southwest point of Liverpool's 'Baltic
Triangle'. Business leaders say that it could bring more jobs and investment to the area. The Baltic
Triangle is a popular destination for visitors and growing, with the new Baltic Market bringing in the
crowds to the former Cains brewery just down the road from the station site.
2057] Gatebeck Tramway: (BLN 1289.1856) Milnthorpe station now 'hemmed in by an industrial
estate and lorries' is the former terminus of the Gatebeck Tramway. This connected the Gatebeck
Gunpowder Works to the owning family's (Wakefield) company wharf on the Lancaster Canal at
Crooklands and on to Milnthorpe station. Built 1875, OG 1876, the line CG/CA in 1936 when the
gunpowder works closed. The gauge was 3' 6" and it was horse-drawn throughout. Horses wore
copper shoes [did they plod?] to prevent sparks and this is no doubt why locos were never used. The
overall length was about 6½km. It extended south from the Gatebeck High Works (SO 548 862),
through Low Works, along the banks of the Peasey Beck and across fields to Crooklands where a short
spur entered Wakefield's Wharf (SO 533 836); it continued alongside the B6385 to Milnthorpe station.
Short branches also ran to Crooklands bobbin mill and to the Wigan Company Coal Yards on the Canal.
An interpretive board on the canal wharf gives an illustration of the layout at Crooklands. The course
of the tramway survives in many places as slight earthworks and engineering structures such as bridge
abutments (the north side abutment of the canal bridge being a good example). The primary course of
the tramway in the gunpowder works and to the south is visible as earthworks but this is mainly in a
private caravan site - the owner is usually co-operative. However, south of the minor road bridge at
SO 541 845 a very distinct part of the line is a public right of way. A short section of rail is visible on the
south kerb of the A65, outside a coal yard 40m south of the 'Crooklands Hotel', which is an excellent
venue to base exploration of this line. The whole tramway is clearly shown https://goo.gl/sNVtmT
(follow route) on the 'Old Maps' website www.old-maps.co.uk OS 1:2500 map of 1898 (and later).
1290 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James)
2058] Great Yarmouth: (BLN 1288.1862) P1 is to be taken out of use permanently from 21 / 22 Oct.
It now has one (reliable) train in and out SSuX the 18.40 from Norwich, arriving 19.12 and returning at
19.17. On Saturdays the 08.09, 10.36 & 20.40 ex-Norwich and return are booked for Yarmouth P1.
2059] East West Rail (EWR): (BLN 1287.1761) ●A high-level study has concluded there is a positive
economic and strategic case for improving the Eastern Section from Cambridge to Norwich/Ipswich
and beyond. Atkins' Conditional Outputs Statement, commissioned by the EWR Consortium, found
that the current rail demand is constrained by limited direct links and low service frequencies.
●A total of 1,787 people visited NR's consultation events on the Western Section of EWR during the
summer. The busiest event was at Winslow, with 327 visitors, while people were also able to respond
online and via a mobile phone app. Responding to the consultation, the Consortium told NR that it
'overwhelmingly supports delivery' of the Western Section, based on the current plan to upgrade the
line between Aylesbury and Claydon L&NE Jn, serving Aylesbury Vale Parkway and then via Winslow
with enhancements to the Marston Vale Line; and connecting Oxford to Bedford via Bletchley.
●Environmental ponds for newts are now being built in Oxfordshire as part of the scheme. The EWR
Alliance is creating the habitats near Launton, providing new luxury homes for the unavoidable Great
Crested Newts, planting hedgerows and vegetation. The work, which was subject to the planning
application process, marks the first 'construction' work of Phase 2 of the Western Section. It is carried
out ahead of the main construction to allow the new habitats as much time as possible to bed in.
2060] Helpston Helps Out: On Sat 23 Sep 91105, the loco on the 19.30 King's Cross to Bradford
Forster Square, lost its pantograph just before Tallington and eventually, after rescue, terminated at
Grantham at 02.05 (324 minutes late). An onward special train was provided at 02.30 to Leeds (03.35).
The wires were down on the Up Slow, Up Fast and Down Fast. As a result, all day Sunday the Down
Fast was not available to electric traction. These trains took the electrified Down Slow/Down Stamford
from Peterborough, crossing to the Down Slow at Helpston Jn, then ran via Tallington facing crossover
(84m 70ch) to regain the Down Fast. On the 12.03 from King's Cross the slow running resulted in a
10 minute late arrival at Leeds unusually at P9 (VTEC London trains mainly use P6 & 8).
After repairs normal working resumed at 04.30 on 25 Sep. 4,013 delay minutes affected 164 trains
with 20 partially cancelled. The Helpston connection was installed in 1971 so that the ECML could be
reduced ('rationalised' was the buzzword at the time) from four to three tracks north of Peterborough,
losing the Down Slow. It was subsequently electrified with, but is separate from, (fortunately on this
occasion) the ECML. Now in common use, at first it was quite a rare connection for passenger trains,
appearing in PSUL in 1981 - the few booked trains often stayed on the Down Fast to Tallington.
1290 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James)
BELOW: Croydon Tramlink Lloyd Park stop 29 Aug 2017; Wimbledon trams were turning back (sadly
an ECS shunt) due to an engineering closure on to New Addington from 26 Aug to 3 Sep. (Stuart Hicks)
NEXT PAGE TOP: Tram leaving the centre road at East Croydon for Lloyd Park. (Stuart Hicks 29 Aug)
2061] Reading Green Park: (BLN 1286.1614) On 27 Sep Reading Borough Council gave the go ahead
for the £16M new station on the Reading to Basingstoke line. It will have two platforms, a car park,
bus stops, taxi rank and cycle parking. The station will also benefit Reading FC and London Irish fans
heading to the Madejski Stadium. Tony Page, RBC's lead member for transport, said: 'The spend
approval for Green Park Station is an important landmark for this Council-led scheme and we hope to
be in a position to announce when work on the ground will start at some point over the Winter'.
2062] Bognor Regis: A 1,200 sq ft three bedroom bungalow built around two grounded carriages is for
sale for £500,000 at Pagham, 5km west of Bognor. The pair of Midland Railway carriages dating from
1885 have been restored. Disposed parallel to each other but around 2m apart, this space forms the
entrance and hall of the property so that what were two exterior sides of the compartment carriages
face each other. They are presented in MR livery and, being indoors, are protected from the weather.
In the 1930s more than 300 bungalows were created here from pairs of carriages, many as holiday
homes. The patio at the front has a ground level 'G' gauge model railway laid, though this appears
portable. The property is selling through Farndell Estate Agents. (Evening Standard Homes & Property)
2063] Theale: (BLN 1287.1760) On the 16/17 Sep weekend, during the Reading blockade, trains from
Taunton, Bedwyn and Newbury terminated at the 'temporary' Theale P3 on the Down/Up Goods
loop, over a mile from its western end and crossover. Replacement buses waited near the platform
gate for convenient interchange. On the 17th the 11.49 from Newbury left P1 there, called at Newbury
Racecourse P1 then crossed to the Up
line; returning from Theale P3 crossing
to Aldermaston P2.
LEFT: Theale P3 left of the goods loop
looking towards Reading note the
passenger (bottom right) in the shelter
on P1 would have a very long wait for
the next train with everything using
P3. Our 2 Dec 'Christmas Brush' tour,
now open for bookings, runs through
the loop. (Tom Gilby 17 Sep 2017)
2064] Pottering to Poole: (BLN 1289.1954) The recent Class 442 unit moves from Potter's at Ely to
Bournemouth Depot involved a run-round in the sidings at Poole. It is not clear at this stage if the
refurbishment work, including the proposed re-tractioning, will be done at Bournemouth.
1290 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon)
2065] Okehampton Parkway (BLN 1276.558) Groundworks for a 300 space car park have been carried
out on Devon County Council land for the new station which will be just two minutes from the A30.
This follows an election campaign pledge by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to
introduce a trial rail service between Okehampton and Exeter by the end of 2018. ABOVE: 'Coleford
Junction' (183m 69ch) is the site of that former junction; the Dartmoor Railway/NR Boundary is just
west (183m 79ch). There are two parallel NR lines to the physical junction (179m 32ch) at Crediton.
In 2010 Devon County Council stated that a new station at Okehampton East was 'necessary' and set
aside £250k for it. The least costly option was estimated by OkeRAIL at £1M with four return trains a
day with more elaborate designs costing up to £5M. The final station design has yet to be announced.
2066] Stoke Gifford - Filton Abbey Wood (BLN 1289.1952) The Down Stoke Gifford goods loop was
taken OOU from 16 Sep for construction of the new Bristol Parkway P1. A new trailing connection on
the Down Filton line was also installed but secured OOU. BELOW: Proposed Filton Abbey Wood
station layout. The new P4 and south P1-3 extensions are in grey, existing P1-3 are in black.
2067] Cr*p Signalling? A recent message on the GWR website alerted passengers to the unfortunate
predicament of the 21.37 Bristol Temple Meads to Avonmouth service...'Toilet facilities are not
available. This is due to a fault with the signalling equipment.' [Was the signalling 'down the pan'?]
1290 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler)
ABOVE: The London end of Worcester Shrub Hill P1, the disused platform right was one of two docks
latterly used by the daily newspaper and parcels train. At the end of the platform, left of Shrub Hill
signal box is the decapitated previous 'SH10' signal post, with the new signal to the left. The points at
the end of the platform are for the Long Siding off to the right, which will take a full length HST. This is
followed by the trailing crossover Up services take from P1. The Worcester Goods Lines are left; the
red signal in the distance is recently commissioned Up advanced starter 'SH13'. (David Guy, Sep 2017)
2068] Worcester…Your starter for 10 (coaches): (E-BLN 1289.X.142) Britain's 'newest' semaphore
signal 'SH10' was commissioned on 28 Sep when it was repositioned from the end of Worcester Shrub
Hill P1 on the right side (where the telephone remains) 51 yd closer to London on the left - just outside
Shrub Hill signal box - it will be a very short pull! The signal is a standard semaphore (rather than
centre pivot) with a disc for the Long Siding as before. This allows 10-car (2x5) Intercity Express Trains
to be fully platformed on the peak workings. After arrival from London Paddington the rear 5-car set
will detach ECS and berth in the 'Long Siding' (at the London end, Down side, just past the signal box)
with the front five coaches continuing to Hereford. Up peak train portions will join in P1
NEXT PAGE TOP: The also very recently commissioned new traditional (rather than an LED) two aspect
signal 'SH13' next to the post of its predecessor (a semaphore) - an HST for London Paddington is seen
the distance, looking towards Norton Junction from the rear of a Down train. (Nick Lander, Sep 2017)
LEFT: The new signal by the box. (David Guy)
In steam and diesel loco hauled days,
portions would commonly be taken off and
added at Shrub Hill; the old track layout and
signalling was designed for it. In recent
years pairs of 'Turbo' DMU sets have
sometimes been diagrammed from London
to split here, allowing the rear unit to form a
return working to Paddington. Back in 2017,
two 'OFF' indicators have been provided on
P1. The Worcester area is being gradually
'resignalled by stealth' (LEDs are appearing
as are new point rodding runs and signal
wires; some signals have been repositioned
with other semaphore signals refurbished).
The point 'rodders' are currently installing
brand new runs with better alignments in
the Worcester Tunnel Jn signal box area.
The next thing to go is the now unique 'lock and block' signalling (BLN 1257.1022) between Ledbury
and Malvern Wells in late October, which is being replaced by tokenless block as between Ledbury
and Hereford. The old instruments are going to the National Railway Museum at York.
The new Henwick turnback siding, under construction, will (in future, for a while) have Britain's newest
semaphore (as well as a fixed distant arm) to signal the new IETs out of the siding; with jointed track it
also has track circuiting right to the stop blocks. The relaid siding ('URS' on TRACKmaps Vol 3, p14A Aug
2010) will be accessed from Worcester Foregate Street P1 via the existing Henwick facing crossover.
It will allow Foregate Street terminating trains to recess (particularly some from London which now
have to terminate at Shrub Hill). The signal arm at Shrub Hill is brand new (as will be the one at
Henwick) using castings from recovered signals.
ABOVE: The Midland Metro extension, Five Ways station is bottom centre. (Midland Metro Alliance).
2069] Trent Valley Line: On Tue 19 Sep the 18.30 Euston to Glasgow Central was brought to a stand
near MP 89¾ on the Down Trent Valley Fast in response to an emergency broadcast initiated by the
18.20 Euston to Manchester Piccadilly due to trespassers in the Attleborough South Jn area.
The Down Trent Valley Fast is bi-directionally signalled and in the Up direction trains are routed to the
Down Trent Valley Slow at Brinklow Jn. It was decided that the 18.30 Euston to Glasgow would return
to Rugby. However the Down Trent Valley Slow was occupied between Brinklow Jn and High Oaks Jn
by the 19.13 Daventry DIRFT to Mossend Euroterminal intermodal service. This resulted in the
Glasgow train taking the Down Trent Valley Fast between Brinklow Jn and High Oaks Jn in the Up
direction. When Rugby P2 was reached it was announced that the Trent Valley route had reopened.
2070] Midland Metro: Work on the Edgbaston extension began in Birmingham on 5 Sep as two cranes
lifted the six tonne 'Iron Man' sculpture out of the ground at Victoria Square to mark the start of the
£149M Westside tram extension. It continues as a short extension from the Grand Central terminus to
Centenary Square onwards along Broad Street and through Five Ways to Hagley Road, Edgbaston. The
2km extension will have five new tram stops: Town Hall, Centenary Square, Brindley Place, Five Ways
and Edgbaston. Trams are expected to start running to Centenary Square in 2019/20 and to Edgbaston
by 2021. Parts of the route will be built without overhead lines with trams running on battery power.
2071] Coventry: (BLN 1288.1874) A correspondent waiting at the station on Sat 30 Sep noticed that
the 17.36 arrival from Nuneaton was full of 'Sky Blue' supporters. He inferred that, as reported in BLN
1288, despite notices at Coventry Arena station to the contrary, the station had not closed for an hour
after the Coventry City v Exeter City game. Two 153s coupled together were operating the line. A good
number of supporters boarded the Nuneaton bound return at 17.49 which may or may not have been
inside the hour depending on how much injury time had been played! Most alighted at Bedworth.
ABOVE: The first IET to visit Great Malvern (Hereford platform) Sun 1 Oct 2017. (John Beale)
2072] Albion Sidings: (BLN 1275.423) The facing connection to Albion Sidings in the Down Stour line at
5m 76ch was recovered on 24 Sep. The signal and associated 'OFF' indicator in the former oil terminal
sidings were bagged OOU pending recovery. In practice the sidings have been disconnected for years.
2073] Barnt Green Jn - Bromsgrove South Jn (4m 17ch): The overhead line equipment, catenary and
contact wire is being installed between 19 Sep and 30 Dec for later energisation.
1290 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
2074] Hatfield Colliery: The 'merry-go-round' coal loading bunker (final train 26 June 2015 to Drax PS)
was almost completely cut up and dismantled by 13 Sep although all the track still remained in place.
1290 IRELAND (Martin Baumann)
2075] Templepatrick: On 26 Sep the 18.10 ex-Belfast crossed the 25mins late 16.38 ex-Londonderry.
2076] Clongriffin: On 29 Sep the 15.00 Greystones to Malahide terminated here, returning in the path
of the 16.30 from Malahide. This is thought to be the first passenger use of the trailing crossover.
2077] Dublin - Cork: The upgrade work continues and there was single line working (SLW) over the
Down line between Ballybrophy and Laois Traincare Depot on Sat 23 Sep. A week later the SLW was
on the Up Line between Ballybrophy (67m 00ch) and Lisduff (72m 35ch). On Sat 7 Oct there is SLW
using the Down Line between Portarlington and Kildare. The last day of work this year is Sat 2 Nov.
2078] Portadown - Lisburn: Engineering work on 14/15 Oct results in bus substitutions for all services.
Cross border trains will terminate at Portadown but Belfast passengers will be bussed to/from Newry.
This is normal during such work, which Translink think is quicker than a bus from Portadown. On 28/29
Oct with more work (and at multiple IÉ locations), all cross border trains are completely bus replaced.
2079] Drogheda: A plaque was unveiled at McBride station 19 Sep to mark the Railway Heritage
Historic Structures Restoration Award that Irish Rail won for the restoration of the Boyne Viaduct.
The EU-funded refurbishment involved a new drainage system to capture and remove rainwater,
steelwork repairs to replace sections of the bridge's steel infrastructure and the relaying of trackwork
over the viaduct itself. The old paintwork was removed and replaced with a more suitable modern
protective paint system which will help to safeguard the viaduct over many years.
2080] Movember November: 'IÉ will be participating in Movember this year to raise awareness of the
importance of men looking after their health. We are asking staff members and customers all around the
country to join our team and grow moustaches to raise funds for men's health projects.' [Even women??]
1290 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley)
2081] Port Erin: (BLN 1288.1289) The buffer stops end of the platform and headshunt were taken OOU
from Mon 4 Sep for the rest of this season (the last day of operation is Sun 5 Nov). They are being
relaid on a new alignment further away from the platform which will then be extended out to the track
with the platform ramp extending to Station Road pavement [Microgricers will need to revisit!]. The
blue Simplex now releases the loco at each turn round shortly after the arrivals at 10.50, 12.50, 14.50
and 16.50. For the first three the coaches are shunted into the bay platform and Simplex haulage is
possible on request to the guard for those who want it. For the last train the Simplex puts the coaches
into the carriage shed. This also means that the 12.00, 14.00 and 16.00 departures leave from the bay.
Given the useable platform has been shortened, the Isle of Man brotherhood is not sure if this counts
as a TCP! The steam loco is still able to access the water tower and engine shed per e-BLN pictures.
2082] Snaefell Mountain Railway (SMR): (BLN 1287.1786) On 25 Sep the service was suspended until
further notice; car No6 returned off the mountain during the early afternoon and was the last car into
the Snaefell sheds at Laxey. The following announcement was made by IOM Transport Headquarters:
'Investigations carried out following the incident that occurred on the SMR on 4 Aug 2017 have
highlighted the challenges of operating heritage railway systems in a modern safety management
environment. The Department of Infrastructure has continued to work closely with the Health and
Safety at Work Inspectorate (H&SWI) to identify improvements as part of a comprehensive review.
While the work carried out to date has provided much reassurance, addressing all the issues
associated with operating heritage rolling stock has proved difficult. The Department has decided to
commit the skills and expertise of its IOM Railways engineering staff to dealing with these matters,
rather than to supporting day-to-day operations. As a result, all SMR passenger services have been
suspended with effect from today, Mon 25 Sep 2017. The decision has been taken by the Department
in partnership with the H&SWI and reflects the importance of passenger and staff safety. The
Department has confirmed that Manx Electric Railway and IOM Railways services remain unaffected.'
2083] Manx Electric Railway: Single line working took place over the last two weeks of Sep from
Onchan Head to Groudle initially but extended for the final three days to Ballameanagh. This was for
works being carried out on the overhead line at Groudle. Initially trams departed Derby Castle on the
landside line, reversing over the trailing crossover at Onchan Head to run wrong line from there to
Groudle or Ballameanagh. From 25 Sep trams departed wrong line (seaside) from Derby Castle to
Ballameanagh. The possession was given up on the 27 Sep when the works were completed.
1290 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe)
2084] Ayr - Inverness: (BLN 1289.1987) The 30 Sep SRPS railtour was routed via the Up Clydesdale line
between Shields Jn and Larkfield Jn in the morning - rather than the Up Though Terminus line ('Burma
Road') - and the Down Clydesdale in the evening. At Inverness passengers were allowed to stay on for
the stock shunt with 08523 from P1 to P2 via Milburn Jn to release the engines to run to the depot.
Anyone wanting to do this and reach Aviemore (a two minute connection there into the special to
Dulnain Bridge) had a problem as the 12.53 Inverness to Edinburgh was cancelled. The 08.32 from
Edinburgh was also cancelled and information at Aviemore was that this was because of an urgent
track safety inspection. Some made it by bus from Inverness for the 14.45 steam service to Broomhill.
2085] Stirling, Dunblane & Alloa: Electrification work was due to commence on 23 Sep 2017.
2086] Montrose: Costing over £4M the 440m, 16-span single track South Esk Viaduct (30m 02ch to
30m 23ch) is being refurbished over 16 months. Completed in 1883, the grade 'B' listed structure
designed by William Arrol, stands on 15 pairs of wrought iron piers above the River South Esk. It is to
be grit blasted, cleaned, repaired and repainted, section by section.
The bridge is one of UK's last major ones built in wrought iron with lattice girders. To provide the right
working environment in this exposed location and prevent air and river contamination, particularly
during grit blasting and painting, it is being 'encapsulated'. The bridge is being painted 'window grey',
the original colour of the viaduct, and is not expected to require significant maintenance for 25+ years.
X.150] Edinburgh Waverley: (BLN 1289.1971). ABOVE: Looking east, the former east end Motorail
Sidings (P5 & 6) are being lengthened to 275m to each take 10-Car IETs. BELOW: P5 & 6 looking west.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Artist's impression of the new west end P12, looking west, which is being extended
from 4-car length to take 8-cars (204m) for the Glasgow via Falkirk High line. (All NR press releases)
2087] Millerhill: As part of the Millerhill Depot Enhancement works, a block to electric traction is in
place from 30 Jul to 29 Oct on the Down Goods Line/East Arrival and Up Goods Line/East Departure
between Monktonhall Jn and Millerhill Yard, the Up Millerhill, Down Millerhill, Up & Down Main (Up
Millerhill Down), Millerhill Yard and (through) Sidings F4-F7. All lines/sidings at new EMU depot from
the new junction with the Up Millerhill (by Overbridge 8) to the buffer stops were energised on 17 Sep.
2088] Glasgow Queen Street: The next stage of rebuilding is taking place. Buildings being demolished
have had their services disconnected and interiors stripped out. Adjacent buildings are covered with a
protective layer behind scaffolding. PREVIOUS PAGE: Artist's impression of the new station. (NR)
1290 WALES (Paul Jeffries)
X.151] ABOVE: Lydney Crossing Ground frame, a gate box since 1969 (previously Lydney West signal
box dating from c1918) during our 7 Apr 2012 visit to the line. Beneath is a partly filled in disused road
subway formerly used when the gates were down and giving an unusual view of the box from
underneath. Closure of the box was imminent with crossing control transferred to South Wales
Signalling Centre. NEXT PAGE UPPER & LOWER: The box site in July 2017, revealing a hand painted
'mind your head' sign on the bridge beam. Lydney Station is to the left of the Harbour Rd level crossing
- shown. In all three pictures Gloucester is to the left and Newport to the right. (All Stephen Atkinson)
X.152] ABOVE: Torpantau, northern terminus of the Brecon Mountain Railway (MR p30). This 1' 11¾"
gauge line is completely level (for running round) at the station, having followed the track bed of the
Brecon and Merthyr line that is in a cutting here to the right of the station. (Stuart Hicks 31 Aug 2017)
2089] Heart of Wales Line: A new two day rover is due to be introduced, something to watch out for
2090] Cardiff Central: On Tue 26 Sep the 07.21 to Coryton (06.53 ex-Taffs Well) unusually departed
from P4 instead of P6 due to congestion and was 8 minutes late. It then took the new crossover (no
booked service) from P4 to the Up Llandaff line. Thanks to Martyn Brailsford a track plan of the Cardiff
Central and Queen Street area before/after the recent changes is included as a BLN A4 supplement.
2091] Marches Line: During the recent Bristol Parkway line closure the Bridgwater flask traffic (usually
with two Class 68 locos) were diverted via Shrewsbury and the Severn Tunnel. Coal has returned with
Portbury Coal Terminal to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station trains running SSuX, sometimes two daily.
2092] Next Franchise: On 29 Sep the Welsh Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, confirmed that final
tenders have been invited for the next Wales and Borders Rail Service, the Welsh Government's first.
He said: 'The new rail service will deliver a step-change in the quality of rail travel in Wales. Since
January 2017, officials and bidders have been discussing a range of innovative solutions to find those
which best meet the needs of people in Wales and the border regions. Rather than follow the
traditional model for procuring a rail service, with the issue of a set specification that companies bid
for, this approach has allowed new ideas to be explored and collaborative working relationships to be
developed - setting the tone for the new service.' The Welsh Government has committed to the
expectation that in view of service and passenger growth, more staff will be employed by the new
franchise not less. All heavy rail trains and metro services will require a second safety critical conductor
(guard) to operate. Over 90% of consultation respondents said that a second person was either quite
important or essential, something Age Cymru said was 'essential'. Disability Wales estimates that over
20% of the population is disabled in Wales.
Heavy rail infrastructure will remain with NR except for the Core Valley Lines where responsibility
would transfer to the Welsh Government through Transport for Wales (TFW) subject to an agreed
valuation of the assets between NR and the Welsh Government. Therefore the railway infrastructure
will remain in public ownership and affected employees will also remain in the public sector with NR or
TFW. In the event of any transfer to TFW pensions will be protected and there will be no changes to
conditions without the agreement of the trade unions. There are guarantees generally to trade unions
with reassurances over jobs security, conditions and pensions. Any new Rolling stock will be
maintained by skilled railway staff with the maximum number employed in Wales.
If future legislation allows, the Welsh Government's preference is for the heavy rail ownership and
operation of the Wales & Borders services to be part of a UK national integrated railway under public
ownership with responsibility and powers for passenger services and infrastructure to be sustainably
and comprehensively devolved to the Welsh Government.
1290 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott)
MR186] Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1273.MR18): This 2ft gauge
railway, located at Skegness Water Leisure Park, closed after the Sunday 17 September 2017 open day
for work on a 200 yard run-round loop extension to be carried out. It will allow two coaches to be used
on trains instead of one. On the same day the steam loco 'Jurassic' was withdrawn after its one day
trial to allow modifications to the saddle tank. It is anticipated that the line will reopen early in 2018.
There are longer term plans to build a second station.
MR187] Rhyl Miniature Railway, Denbighshire (MR p29) (BLN 1242.1811): Tuesday 29 August found
the service running 'on demand', using the fully-enclosed 12-seat battery-electric railcar. With the
floor below platform level, a degree of gymnastic suppleness is required to get in and out! The Central
station roof covers the platform line and three loop tracks, with another loop outside. As always, the
Marine Lake was circled (or should that be 'rectangled'?) in a clockwise direction. Adult fare is £3 for a
single circuit, with Edmondson card tickets There is no trace of the Halt, which old maps showed on
the west side. Barnes Atlantics 101 'Joan' and 105 'Michael' were stabled on the loop tracks, with 106
'Billy' an exhibit in the Museum, and Thomas-liveried diesel 'Clara' on the outside track. The Museum
also contains an interesting display of Bassett-Lowke, Marklin and Bing 0-gauge and 1-gauge models.
MR188] Mangapps Railway Museum, Essex (MR p8) (BLN 1218.MR163): This site held a gala over the
Bank Holiday Weekend 26 to 28 August, and a visit was made on the Monday. When our reporter
arrived 03089 and the Canadian caboose were running along the siding towards the main road as well
as out onto the running line. The view from the upper deck is wonderful, although it did little else that
day other than a return trip along the siding mid-afternoon. During the day other, advertised diesel
locos ran: 31430 with LTS 75033/250, D2325 with E43178 & 43264, 03081 with 51381, 47579 with
75033/250 and 31430 with E43178 and 43264. 75033/250 appear to be close to how they were when
withdrawn from service with LTS posters and maps. E43178 has no original seats or interior and
appears to have some former DMU seats. 43264 looks as withdrawn, as does Class 117 51381.
The other loco advertised to run was steam 8 'Fambridge' but this had run a hot box the day before
and was in light steam only for show. The range of exhibits in the museum continues to grow and
there is a fascinating collection of station name boards, trespass and other signs, signalling equipment,
engineering equipment, north American lamps, posters and a wide variety of other railway ephemera.
There are also a number of coaches and locos in the museum collection. Also visible were FK 13324;
shunters D2018 and '11104' and a number of industrial locos. As to London Underground rolling stock,
1030 is on public display (and boardable), there is a District Line vehicle 22624 just visible (not on
public display), and a vehicle awaiting sale, which may be 2044.
It is amazing what you can find on farms these days….. PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: 03089 and caboose at
Mangapps Farm. PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: 47579 and freight. ABOVE: D2325 with suburban stock.
(All 28 Aug 2017 Stuart Hicks.) BELOW: Propelling from Dunaskin platform Ayrshire, a lady guard is in
charge. The Chalmerston branch is far left. (Greg Beecroft 27 Aug 2017 and next picture below.)
ABOVE: NCB Ayrshire Area No10 and on the right fireless Shell No8 at Dunaskin.
MR189] Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group, East Ayrshire (MR p9) (BLN 1285.MR130): The Scottish
Industrial Railway Centre, operated by the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group, was visited on
27 August. It is at the site of the Dunaskin Iron Works, Waterside, near Dalmellington. The operating
line, over which rides are given, is only 25 chains long, but passengers are normally given two return
trips. The line is adjacent to the out of use Chalmerston branch and remains connected to it by a
crossover beyond the Network Rail boundary. There is a platform, with a small brick station master's
office and waiting room, where passengers board and alight. There is no platform and it is not possible
to leave the train at the end of the siding where it reverses. There is a short section of non-passenger
line between the platform and the engine shed, but other sidings are almost completely full of rolling
stock, much of which looks as if it would not easily move. The train was worked by NCB Ayrshire Area
No10, an Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST dating from 1947, which has been operating all services recently.
Apart from a short spell at Killoch in 1976/77, the loco has always worked at Waterside.
Passengers were conveyed in LMS goods brake van 296676, but sometimes an inspection saloon is
used. All of the operational locos at Dunaskin have a strong local connection, having been built by
Andrew Barclay at Kilmarnock or worked in the area. Shell No8, built by Andrew Barclay in 1928, is a
fireless 0-4-0 loco that shunted the oil sidings in Ardrossan. It is sometimes demonstrated on running
days, but not on this day. Two operational diesels are a Sentinel 0-4-0 built in 1959 that was the only
diesel loco to work at Waterside, but was later at Killoch, and an Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 built in 1941
that was latterly at the former Powfoot ordnance depot. NCB Fife Area No23 is an Andrew Barclay
steam loco built in 1949 and very similar to Ayrshire Area No2. It has been cosmetically restored and
may be the next to be returned to operating condition. Another Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST, displayed in
the museum, is Dalmellington Iron Company Limited No16, which dates from 1910. A significant
number of other steam and diesel locos and wagons are present at the site, but many would require
very extensive renovation before they could work again.
MR190] Ruislip Lido Railway, Greater London (MR p17) (BLN 1148.MR191): A visit was made to this
12" gauge railway on Sunday 23 July. The 12.00 from Woody Bay to Willow Lawn was hauled by Bo-Bo
diesel No9 'John Rennie' in maroon livery with a yellow band. Of interest is the fact that over the last
18 months a new section of double track has been installed between Wellington Junction and the
former passing loop at Eleanor's (a single platform station closed 1990). This eliminates a single line
section giving the opportunity to run additional trains. A new facing crossover at Wellington Junction
is padlocked out of use, but sometimes used during track maintenance days allowing trains to run
wrong direction into Woody Bay station. This realignment of both lines was opened on 28 April 2017.
ABOVE: Taw Valley Halt, looking north; train arrived from Hayes Knoll and about to run round.
MR191] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire (MR p6): A visit was made to this railway on the
afternoon of Bank Holiday, Sunday 27 August. Polish tank '3135' was running and our reporter just
caught the 13.56 southwards to Taw Valley Halt (said to be 'temporary'). The track bed curves south
west at this point and the formation onto their next station (Mouldon Hill), has also been ballasted. It
is off the original Midland & South Western Junction route heading to the GWR Gloucester to Swindon
line at the same level. (The railway is now waiting for some electricity wires to be raised before work
can proceed further and is meanwhile working on extending to Farfield Lane towards Cricklade.)
The loco ran round at the halt and set off north with the three coaches (FK 13233, 13303 once an FK
not now a saloon with what appear to be Mk2 seats but with plenty of pushchair accommodation, no
seats one half of one side, and BSK 35043). The train, as loco hauled, did not run north of Hayes Knoll,
where there was a break of 15 minutes, to peer into the shed and use the facilities. In the shed was
GWR Hall class 6984, which it is hoped will be running in 2019, although the tender is being hired out
shortly. Also inside the shed there were DEMU cars 60822 & 60669. D2022 & 60127 were at Blunsdon,
with Cross Country DMU 51104/51074 parked in a siding a little north. The 'Moonraker' lunch dining
set was in the siding and is out of use owing to a fault on one coach. Edmondson tickets are issued.
ABOVE: Looking south, the access footpath to the halt is left; straight on to the
buffer stops was the original Midland & South Western Junction Railway route
to Swindon Town, Ludgersall, Andover and etc. To the right is the headshunt
for locos running round and the future extension to Mouldon Hill station (in
Mouldon Hill Country Park), with sleepers across the line just round the bend.
BELOW: Hayes Knoll north end (loco shed left and works right) being relaid.
(All Stuart Hicks 27 Aug 2017) LEFT: From Swindon & Cricklade railway website.
X.153] ABOVE: (BLN 1282.MR 101) The OOU Scarborough St Nicholas Cliff Railway (MR 1236.MR101),
both cars at the top, now part of St Nicholas Café with sea views. A deck has been built over the lower
station, also part of the café. The railway-like Spa Bridge on the left actually carries a foot and
cyclepath. The Grand Scarborough Hotel is the imposing building to the right. (Kev Adlam 9 Sep 2017)
MR192] Alford Valley Railway, Aberdeenshire (MR p28) (BLN 1216.371): A visit was made to this 2ft
gauge railway on Sunday 27 August, in glorious sunshine. The 15.25 departure from Alford to
Haughton Park was worked by steam outline 0-4-0DH 'James Gordon' (Alan Keef 63 of 2001) in green
livery hauling two coaches. In recent years the golf course here has expanded to 18 holes and now
surrounds the track with the railway cutting through the greens - an amazing experience with golfers
halting play while the train passes! The loco runs-round at Haughton Park and waits for five minutes.
The train sampled was quite lightly loaded and, sadly, the adjacent Transport Museum had been
closed since the previous Wednesday due to a fatal accident inside the building.
MR193] Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Powys (MR p30) (BLN 1267.MR210): Saturday 2
September was a gala day, with enhanced train services and large crowds. 822 'The Earl', in BR unlined
black, hauled 2 ex-MAV and 2 ex-Zillertalbahn coaches. GWR green 823 'Countess' had the three
replica Pickering coaches plus, oddly, an open truck and goods brake van. Time constraints limited our
reporter to a short trip from Welshpool Raven Square/Y Trallwng Sqwar Gigfran to Castle Caereinion
and back, but the splendid acoustics of 822 working hard up Golfa bank made it well worth the rather
'steep' (!) £11 return fare. On display at Welshpool were steam locos 6 'Monarch' and 8 'Dougal', with
diesel No17. Timetable information indicated that 12 'Joan' and 'Superb' borrowed from the
Sittingbourne & Kemsley Railway were shuttling between Llanfair Caereinion and Cyfronydd.
MR194] Highland Light Railway, Perth & Kinross (BLN 1263.MR161): This 10¼" gauge railway is at Mill
of Logierait at Ballinluig, Pitlochry. It opened on 16 April 2011 and ran in conjunction with markets held
at the farm. It last ran for the public on 17 October 2015 and was damaged by storms and heavy
flooding over the winter of 2015/2016. Due to this, and personal problems of the owning family, it has
not run for the public in 2016 and 2017 (and is not currently insured to do so). The flood damage has
been repaired and the railway's website suggests reopening is possible. However, it did run for a BLS
visit (covered by the society's insurance policy) on 29 July 2017 with 4w-4wDH 'Spirit of Adventure'
steam outline as motive power. Also here is a 10¼" gauge 2w-2DH (built by Austin Moss in 1992 as a
15" gauge loco) and acquired from the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway in 2009. There are also two
2ft gauge locos: 4wDM (Alan Keef 5/1979) and 4wDM (RH283513/1949, rebuilt as DH Alan Keef
20R/1986). In addition to these are two 11½" gauge steam locos - an 0-4-0ST and a 0-4-0T - both in
poor condition. This is an unusual miniature gauge in this country, but is quite common in USA.
ABOVE: The back of Bury St Edmunds (Yard) signal box, showing (some) rear windows
with others blocked in, the mid-Suffolk line runs in front. (Nick Garnham 29 Jul 2017)
2093] FIXTURES REPORTS: Mid-Suffolk Signal Box Visits, 29 Jul 2017: Introduction: The single track
Chippenham Jn to Dullingham line has tokenless block. There is track circuit block signalling on the
double track lines. All trains in the area are described on flat screen monitors; reporting numbers of
approaching trains appear at the appropriate place on the track diagram screens. The only bell code
heard was 16 continuous beats on the Bury St Edmunds (BSE) emergency bell as it was the time of day
for testing it. Chippenham Junction and BSE have modern diagrams as normally found in power boxes.
BSE signal box retains a 'Bury St Edmunds Yard' name board (although renamed, officially losing the
'Yard' suffix when Elmswell box closed 11 Aug 1985) distinguishing it from Bury St Edmunds Junction.
The latter was abolished over the weekend of 7/8 Sep 1983 and originally controlled the junctions for
Thetford (CA 27 Jun 1960), Lavenham (CA 19 Apr 1965) and presumably latterly BSE Sugar Factory.
The Great Eastern Railway (GER) BSE box opened in 1888 and retains its McKenzie & Holland lever
frame now with the levers numbered 100, 101 and 1 to 51! All signals are colour light and the points
motorised so the only full size levers are among the 31 white painted spares. The box controls from
Colchester PSB's boundary west of Thurston to Kennett where Chippenham Junction takes over.
A box on the block shelf has the switches to release Kennett Redland (stone) Siding ground frame.
The former Kennett 1880 GER signal box was abolished 11 Nov 2011 and later moved by road to the
Colne Valley Railway. The signaller explained in detail the moves involved with the use of the ground
frame, the access of freight trains to the yard behind the signal box and the reversal of two daily ECS
workings that form passenger services starting from BSE. He also spoke about the disruption caused
when a rail grinder had worked with its equipment out of gauge and cut through the signalling cables!
The barrow crossing on the signal box diagram is no longer used. BSE box was Grade II listed in 2013
and unusually (as built) has glazing on all sides to allow a view over the yard at the rear of the box.
Access to Chippenham Junction signal box (ABOVE) was unusual in that we were asked to leave off
our high vis vests to avoid frightening the horses! Our cars joined some (horse) trainers' vehicles in a
wooded area, before two horses galloped by and we were able to pass through the gap in the railings
protecting their tracks, to find where the grass in the field had been flattened by signallers going on
and off duty at the box. The small GER signal box, thought to have been constructed in 1921, had its
area doubled in the 1980s by a flat roofed extension to its rear to accommodate modern signallers'
welfare facilities. The McKenzie & Holland frame has 16 levers two of which are spare. Signals are
colour lights but here the points and facing point locks are still mechanical. Like the other two boxes
visited it is open continuously and the train register showed that several Class 4 freights had passed
during the night. During our visit the 10.34 intermodal, Felixstowe to Hams Hall, passed 3 mins early.
Waiting outside the final box of the day at Dullingham brought to mind the Society's Port of Boston
Railtour on Sat 20 May 2000. The Hastings DMU from Bromley South halted here for 20 minutes while
a former fixtures secretary was in dispute with control over an alleged missed special stop order that
had left 50 members stranded at Cambridge. The signal box is an 1883 Great Eastern Railway structure
with an individual function switch panel installed in 1978. It still retains its manually operated wooden
level crossing gates! Is there anywhere else on NR where the signaller (not a crossing keeper) needs to
go outside to open level crossing gates with a key released by a switch on the signal box (not a gate
box) panel? Signal No2, the one that controls the single line to Cambridge, is released by a 'slot' from
Cambridge panel. The term 'slot' comes from the mechanical method used when it is necessary for
two signallers to act together before a signal will clear. Bidirectional P2 is used by nearly all trains at
Dullingham, (and is closer to the village). P1 and the 1m 02ch unidirectional Down Loop are only used
(SSuX) by the 07.44 Cambridge to Ipswich when it crosses the 06.54 (SSuX) in the other direction.
BSE and Chippenham Junction boxes are both grade 3 but Dullingham is a grade 2 post. Our thanks to
NR's Marston Stratton, who escorted the party of 13 to the three signal boxes and answered many
questions as well as the local operations manager, Heather Williams. Particular thanks also to our
member Nick Garnham for arranging and administering the excellent visits. It is pleasing to report that
£300 was donated to the Wood Green animal charity as a result of the fixtures. (Peter Humphries)
Pictures taken during the visits by Peter Humphries, TOP RIGHT: Bury St Edmunds;
BOTTOM RIGHT: Dullingham, the others are self-explanatory!!
1204] Sandiway Miniature Railway, Sun 10 Sep 13.00: 12
members and friends met at the home of the Mid Cheshire
Society of Model Engineers (MCSME) near Northwich, our
first visit to this site since they moved from their nearby
Pettypool site (which closed 30 Oct 2011). The group
received a very warm welcome, including drinks and
biscuits, during an initial workshop and carriage shed visit.
Before long 'Vivien', a 7¼" 0-4-0 narrow gauge saddle tank
arrived and participants rode round the 390yd mixed
5"/7¼" gauge ground level circuit which runs through the
delightful Sandiway Wood. The route was designed to avoid
certain trees; at one point an extra riding vehicle was
attached to accommodate some 'normal' passengers! Meanwhile a 5" gauge tank engine was steamed
up on the now complete 3½"/5" gauge raised track. This is very solidly built on numerous concrete
plinths with foundations connected by concrete segments all braced by metal work, and should last
many years. The elevated circuit (not in public operation) doesn't run often and like many such lines
the run was exhilarating. Two 'specials' gave the party a trip on the very rare ground level Woodside
station avoider, aapparently the first passenger train to run along it and over both sets of points.
(ABOVE: Woodside station with 'Vivien'; all pictures in these reports by John Cameron unless stated.)
In the workshop was an impressive and comprehensive collection of machine tools to work on locos up
to 7¼" gauge and traction engines up to 6" scale. Providing such a facility for their members is a credit
to the efforts of the MCSME. Those who wished could very comprehensively traverse the turntable
connection and various sidings, into the workshop, loading line and steaming bays by people power.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The 'under the counter' track and
specially adapted surfing vehicle kindly provided to do it
being demonstrated by a random member. (Glen Wells 10
Sep 2017). RIGHT: The rarely operated elevated line.
The MCSME even adapted a riding car for 'bench-surfing' (in
a horizontal position) the final bits of track to the extremity
beneath the workshop benches. Public trains run at this
very friendly railway Sunday afternoons 12.00 to 16.00 from
Easter until late October with fares by donation.
2095] Sandbach to Alsager trackbed walk, Sun 10 Sep,
15.30: After the railway visit seven members and friends
travelled by car to Ettiley Heath near Sandbach where two
more members were waiting at the start of the Wheelock
Rail Trail. This multi-user path follows the former North
Staffs Railway (NSR) line to Lawton Jn (to the east of the
current Alsager station). It OG 1852 as a branch from the
south to Ettiley Heath (Goods) on the southern outskirts
of Sandbach where it was extended to from 1866. A sparse
passenger service ran from Harecastle (now Kidsgrove
station) to Wheelock & Sandbach [was Sandbach
(Wheelock) from OP in 1893 until 1923], serving Lawton
(also OP 1893) and later Hassall Green (OP 1905). This
service was withdrawn in 1930 but goods traffic continued until the 1970s. Just after the start of the
walk the group found significant buildings remaining at Ettiley Heath Goods (CG 1965) (ABOVE LEFT)
and after about ¾ mile came to the site of Wheelock & Sandbach station.
The platforms (rebuilt) were visible but the station was in
such a narrow cutting that the building (which still survives,
along with two NSR houses) was at road level with quite a
steep climb up the embankment to reach it. (RIGHT: The
station building at Wheelock at street level, although much
changed, is still in use as a garage.) They were viewed
before continuing along the railway path for a short
distance onto an embankment where a bridge crosses
Dingle Brook. Underneath it and just above the brook is a
heavily engineered deck, known locally as the 'Dancing
Bridge'; the group took a short detour to view this and
speculate about the reason for its name. It looks like an
accommodation bridge over the stream under the line.
At Malkin's Bank the railway would have crossed what
is now a golf course and so an interesting deviation
was taken, following the rather wide Trent & Mersey
Canal (with its pairs of locks to cater for the former
high traffic levels) as far as Hassall Green. There, after
a brief stop to shelter from a heavy shower, the group
rejoined the course of the old railway at the former
Station Master's house by the onetime level crossing
and station (where it becomes the Salt Line Way) and
carried on under the M6 to the destination at Lawton
Heath End on the outskirts of Alsager.
ABOVE: 1953 OS 7th Series map, Sandbach and Eittiley Heath are top left, Alsager is bottom right.
The official walk ends here and the car drivers were kindly given a lift back to collect their vehicles by
John Cameron, while others retired to the local hostelry to enjoy a relaxing evening at the end of a
very pleasant afternoon. A couple of keen members later returned and were able to extend the walk
to the site of Lawton station on the clearly defined railway trackbed in use as a de facto path and
returned just as it was becoming dark. BELOW: Hassall Green station master's house, site of the
station and level crossing looking east (to the M6) in 1999 https://goo.gl/XUf7pA (Ben Brooksbank).
Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring….1290 CONNECTIONS (Paul Stewart)....All details must be checked.
X.154] Gwili Railway Autumn Gala, Sat 7 Oct: Footplate rides will operate in Bronwydd Arms loop
(Class 03 D2178) 10.30-12.00 and 13.20-1400. Intensive timetable and 'Pembrokeshire Portable Track'
club will be running a portable (3½"/5" gauge) passenger carrying track at the north end of the car
park. Rides will be available for a small charge, using both steam and battery electric locomotives.
2096] Coventry Electric Railway Museum FINAL open day, Sun 8 Oct; 10.30 to 16.30, Beer and Cider
Festival: (BLN 1238.1313 - report of our 27 Jun 2015 visit). The 7¼" gauge miniature (MR p25) will also
close (rides available but not the standard gauge). Rowley Road, Baginton, Coventry, CV3 4FR (SP 354
752) by the Midland Air Museum/ Coventry Airport. Free Parking and admission. Special shuttle bus
from Coventry station 10.12*/10.45/11.42*/12.30 /13.12*/14.52/15.52*/16.30 and 17.27*. Returns
at: 12.30*/13.15/14.15*/15.15*/16.15*/16.50*/17.50/ 8.20* and 19.20*. [*Also from (first set of
times) or to (second set) Coventry Transport Museum, Hales St.] The largest private electric traction
collection in the UK, reportedly homes have been found for the exhibits but they will be dispersed.
2097] Bluebell Deltic Gala, 6-8 Oct: (BLN 1287.1813) A 7¼" gauge Deltic will run at the Loco Yard.
2098] Mountsorrel Branch 21 & 22 Oct: DMU shuttle (not leaving the branch) approximately every 40
minutes 10.30 to 15.45, join/leave at Mountsorrel Bond Lane or Nunckley Hill; £5 Adult, £3 Child.
2099] Eastleigh Electric Control Room, Wed 25 Oct: Thanks to our member Stuart Hicks, an SEG visit,
possibly in two groups. Expressions of interest to Stuart [email protected] quoting your
BLS membership number or write to 2 Queen Anne's Gate, Caversham, Reading, RG4 5DU with an SAE.
2100] Arriva Trains Wales Club 55, until 1 Nov: £26 return off-Peak travel (after 09.30 SSuX all day
SSuO) for anyone age 55 and over from ticket offices, https://goo.gl/hHGicW or on trains only if it is
not possible to buy beforehand. Proof of age: passport, driving licence, Senior Railcard/birth certificate
required. Travel out on date of issue, return within 8 days. Supplements: Merseyrail £2.50, Northern
(certain destinations https://goo.gl/mkzDwJ see map) £2.50, London Midland Hereford - Worcester
£6, CrossCountry Cheltenham - Birmingham £11.50 or Chiltern £21 (via Smethwick Galton Bridge or
Birmingham New Street - Snow Hill), not arriving London before 10.00 or returning 16.00-19.00 SSuX.
£1 Senior/Disabled Railcard discount available; not valid via Cardiff on 28 Oct due to a sporting event.
2101] Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE), Sat 18 Nov 10.00-16.00: Minor Railways Section
free seminar 'New Technology Applied to Minor Railways' at the Kidderminster Railway Museum
(SVR station) with a free buffet lunch, max 100 delegates. BLS & PLEG members welcome, you do not
have to be an IRSE member or associated with a minor railway. Advanced booking is required, details:
https://goo.gl/UDy5cf (download) or send an SAE by post to Mike Tyrrell, 10 Portsmouth Wood Close,
Lindfield, RH16 2DQ. Offers to present technical papers or book trade stands are also welcome.
2102] Ravenglass Railway Museum: Mainline station, free admission donations welcome; 10.00-17.00
Feb to Oct half-terms (incl) and when the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (R&ER) is running thereafter.
The 150 year history of the R&ER, iron ore mining in Eskdale and Ravenglass (an historic Roman port).
11 permanent plus temporary themed exhibitions with 6,000 artefacts of all size and shape from locos
to beermats, and a photographic archive of 10,000+ images. Research enquiries are welcomed by
appointment. The Museum opened in 1978 to permanently display a collection of artefacts exhibited
at the R&ER centenary in 1976. It was originally in the former Furness Railway platform shelter on
Ravenglass main-line station. Between 2015 and 2017 the museum underwent a comprehensive
re-development with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Copeland Community Fund, Fisheries
Local Action Group, R&ER Preservation Society, Arts Council and R&ER Co. It has been redesigned
throughout and extended with a train shed allowing locomotives and rolling stock to be displayed.
The museum reopened 24 Jun 2017 so if you have not been since then you certainly need to….
X.155] Two for the price of one: ABOVE: Combined guess the location and caption competition. Clue:
the first time this had happened… Answers and any suitable captions in e-BLN 1291. (Simon Mortimer)
2103] R&ER Museum Special, Wed 25 Oct: Ride La'al Ratty as you would have in 1917; special round
trip to Dalegarth. Double-headed by the Museum's 1912 Bassett-Lowke Class 30 loco, 'Synolda' and
visiting brother 'Count Louis'. Ravenglass 10.50; Dalegarth 13.10. £18 Adult, £11 Child (5 - 15), under
5s free, £1.50 dogs. Limited numbers with special tickets purchased via website or 01229 717171.
2104] Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway: A delightful 6¾ mile 15" gauge railway with good facilities both
ends. Daily to 5 Nov and Dec (except 1, 4-8, 11-15, 24 & 25 Dec), 1&2 Jan; Then expected from second
weekend in Feb 2018; daily from late Mar - check website or 01229 717171. A through Northern day
return to Eskdale saves £4 Adult, £2 Child. 10% ticket discount with Cumbria railrangers/Round Robins.
X.156] BELOW: Neurath power station unloading facility, Germany, powered by burning lignite (a soft
'brown' coal with traces of plant structure, intermediate between bituminous coal and peat). (Anon)
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
Bookings Officer: Jill Everitt, 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, NORTHWICH, CW9 8PT. [email protected]
Chairman: John Williamson, Croit-e-Quill Road Laxey Isle of Man IM4 7JD. [email protected]
Paper BLN Problems: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] or text/ring Editor.
E-BLN problems, **PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS** [email protected]
East Midlands & fixtures: John Cameron, 10 Friar Gate Court, Friar Gate, DERBY, DE1 1HE. [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684562862 07790652351.
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8NP. [email protected]
MAPS: By permission of the National Library of Scotland http://maps.nls.uk/index.html
Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.