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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-05 01:57:27

1226

7th February 2015

Issue Number 1226 (Items 216 _ 310 and MR 14 _ 18) (e-BLN 24 PAGES) 7 February 2015

BRANCH LINE NEWS

Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Website: www.branchline.org.uk

Membership Enquiries: [email protected]

22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, EPSOM, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677

British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.

Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.

BLN 1227 is due on Saturday 21 February; all contributions must be received by 11 February.

Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
To be advised SVR signalling NJ Notify
Fri 20/02/15 Embsay Railway Two day practical course 1224 GW Enquire
Sat 28/02/15 Scunthorpe Steel PS FULL
Fri 6/03/15 Lakeside & H. Rly. Brakevan trip almost full 1224 KA Open
Sat 7/03/15 Nene Valley GW Deferred
10.30 Brakevan tour 1219

10.00 Tour & traction 1224

Two gauge trip 1224

Sun 8/03/15 Chasewater Rly. 10.00 Brakevan tour 1224 PS Open

Fri 13/03/15 North Norfolk Rly. 11.00 Brakevan tour 1224 KA FULL

Wed 8/4/15 Railway walk 18.00 - 21.00 Rugby 1225 TG Open

Fri 17/04/15 West Somerset Rly. 11.00 Brakevan tour 1224 RG FULL

Sun 19/04/15 'S & C Desiro NW - S Scotland - S&C 1226 KA NOW
NOW OPEN Tracker', railtour
booking form enclosed OPEN

Mon 20/04/15 West Somerset Rly. 11.00 Brakevan tour 1224 RG Open

Sat 25/04/15 Signal Box Visits 09.00 Clacton & others 1225 PS Open

Mon 27/04/15 K&WV Railway Re-dated railtour 1207 KA FULL

Sun 3/5/15 Moreton Park Rly. 12.00 & 14.00 Tours 1224 SP Open

Sun 3/5/15 Titley Junction Standard gauge tour 1226 SP NOW
NOW OPEN railway Herefordshire OPEN

8-10/05/15 Channel Islands Railway weekend 1213 KA FULL
14-15/11/15 TBA TBA Claimed
60th AGM Weekend Date for your diary

GW-Glen Wells, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, PS-Paul Stewart, RG-Robert Green, SP-Stephen Phillips, TG-Tom Gilby.

216] Nene Valley Railway, 7 March: (BLN 1224.5) Due to severely limited motive power on the Ferry
Meadows Railway (which they need to run their normal passenger services) and also requests from
participants, this repeat fixture has been deferred to 2016. Those booked have been notified directly.

217] BLN Supplements: A booking form for our 19 April S & C Desiro Tracker TPE tour is enclosed (e-
BLN subscribers will need to print it off); accommodation is limited so prompt application is advised.
Also the 24 page 2014 BLN Index (those who take e-BLN will receive it as an attachment) with thanks
to Angus McDougall for compiling it. With e-BLN 1225 was Ian Delgado's summary of 'Unusual Track'

booked to be used by service trains between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone which it is
hoped will be the first in an occasional series. The electronic version of PSUL 2015 was also included
and the historical / itinerary notes / route map for our Merseyrail railtour of 18 January. Thanks to
Richard Maund, David Palmer and Stephen Phillips for these respectively. All are available (email the
Editor.)

BLN 1226.218] Moreton Park
Railway, Sunday 3 May: (BLN
1224.9) Our 9th visit to the former
Moreton-on-Lugg Royal Army
Ordnance Corps military railway.
The depot, one of the first built by
the Americans (in 1942) stored
surplus materials (including the
decorations from the 1969
investiture of the Prince of Wales!)
and was used for the SAS to 'train'
on old railway stock - once
Merseyside EMU carriages. It
closed in the late 1990s. Our 12.00
train is full, but space may remain
on the 14.00 tour. It is intended
that haulage will be by D2302 and
D2578 with 03 145 in reserve but
photographable, as available on
the day (each loco to be used for
part of each trip). Outward stone
trains run for Tarmac most days
(including some Sunday evenings;
Saturdays rarely) to a range of
destinations including Radlett,
Hayes & Harlington, Hothfield
(near Ashford), Elstow (Bedford)
and for staging at Toton and
Southall. About 200,000 tonnes
annually, comes in by road from
Gore Quarry (ironically close to
the former Dolyhir station, CG
from Kington from 9 June 1958)
on the New Radnor branch (CG
beyond Dolyhir 31 December
1951). Sand and gravel is
extracted from the northern part
of the Moreton Park site itself
where there were formerly 62
Nissen huts. This local extraction is
due to end in 2018.

219] Titley Junction Railway, the Kingfisher Line, Sunday 3 May: (http://goo.gl/YlRN74.) HR5 3RX,
(SO328581). At nearly ¾ mile this is Herefordshire's longest standard gauge heritage railway. Two
trains will operate at about 11.00 and 14.30/15.00 to complement our Moreton Park visits (above at

14.00 and 12.00 respectively), with additional trains in between for anyone not going to Moreton Park.
The railways are 23 miles apart (allow at least 45 minutes). It is intended to run one train using Class
03 D2158 and another using other diesel(s) as available, with a d.m.u. trailer and/or brake vans as
stock. The famous Titley homemade cakes and drinks will be available to purchase and possibly fresh
sandwiches. The vintage bus will be on show to photograph. There is plenty to see at this remote
delightful well-restored former junction station of four rural routes. Pay on the day (cost to be
advised); bookings (essential) and queries to Stephen Phillips. Please specify names of all participants
and whether you are a BLS member (non-members welcome):
[email protected] (preferred) or write (with SAE) to 'The Lakes Cottage,' Whitestone, Hereford.
HR1 3NE; 01432 850572. All bookings will be confirmed (please phone and enquire if this is not
received).

BLN 1226.220] FIXTURES REPORTS, Visit to Imerys installations, 28 November 2014: (60/29) The
party of 28 met at St. Austell station for a 09.00 start with a JC Coaches vehicle. At the last minute,
Imerys had imposed a party limit of 15 on all visits to the Par and Fowey Harbours area. Ours would
also be the last 'large' party to visit the other locations we did. The day had to be radically changed so
the bus went to Wheal Martin Museum, much enlarged in the last few years. The group were treated
to a guided tour and various interesting video information films by Ivor Bowditch of Imerys Minerals
then had time to view the exhibits. There is much to see in the museum and a further lengthier visit is
recommended. Back on the coach, it was past Gunheath (with a brief stop) and Higher Moor to
Littlejohns Quarry where participants alighted to gaze down into a massive hole, a hive of activity with
monitors spraying high pressure water jets to dislodge china clay particles from the rock. These are
transported to the 'dries' (or dryers) by pipeline with the water, hence reducing use of rail transport in
recent years. Lorries and dump trucks were being driven around in all directions. Sand and gravel is
reclaimed for use in the building industry. Next it was past Roche Rocks and Carbis Wharf (which has
been tastefully converted to holiday flats) and Wheal Rose kilns, Bugle to the rail served Rocks Dryers,
the largest of its type in the World. Here loco P205 was seen under repair and P206 was shunting
wagons being loaded with china clay by JCB. Adjacent Goonbarrow Jct. signal box and its semaphores
for the Newquay branch loop here were photographed. Next was Stenalees to explore the cutting and
north entrance to Goonbarrow (Stenalees) Tunnel which was extremely wet. Then it was lunch at the
Sawles Arms, Carthew with some of the party exploring the nearby former Carbean siding trackbed.
After a drink and pasty the group were taken to the disused Blackpool Sidings (Burngullow Jct.) and
looked at the derelict track work and once state of the art buildings. The 0-4-0 shunter dumped there
last year had since moved to Bodmin. Back on the coach it was past Foxhole Village to Drinnick Mill
and Nanpean Wharf (where two members present had travelled to on our Cornish Clayliner railtour of
13 September 1987). Leaving the coach, participants viewed the disused track and buildings. Next was
Treviscoe/Kernick where the group were allowed inside the loading area and saw the large linhays
containing various grades of china clay. It was not particularly wet or sticky to everyone's surprise.
Meledor Mill/Collins was the next port of call where a disused water wheel and rails where noted. At
Parkandillack/Trelavour the group alighted to inspect the track and buildings. A heat and power
incinerator is being built nearby and could easily be rail served from the branch. Then again back past
Littlejohns Pit Tip, Gunheath to Wheel Martin Museum where Ivor left. The final call was a
supermarket car park in St Austell to view the remains of the Pentewan Railway terminus clay cellars
and the commemorative plaque. We finished at 16.45 at St Austell station after a very interesting and
enjoyable day with just slight disappointment about missing two venues. The party were grateful to
local member Maurice Dart for his major part in the arrangements.

221] Wolverhampton & Saltley PSBs, 30 July & 19 November 2014: (60/19 & 20) (BLN 1225.134) After
Stafford signal boxes the parties travelled by train to Wolverhampton PSB, staffed by two signallers,
opened in 1965 and more or less complete in terms of its control area (see BLN 1208.746). In smaller
groups they visited the operating floor, which is relatively small, but bright and airy with picture

windows at the front looking out on to the south end of the adjacent station platforms. The 'NX'
entrance-exit panel controls the Stafford line as far as Penkridge (fringing with Stafford No4 box) and
the Birmingham line to Dudley Port (fringing with New Street PSB). On the Shrewsbury line, it controls
to just beyond Oxley Jct. where the Oxley Chord converges, fringing with the Oxley workstation of the
West Midlands Signalling Centre (WMSC). Finally, on the 'Grand Junction' line towards Bescot, the box
now fringes with the WMSC Bescot workstation beyond Portobello Jct. level crossing. Wolverhampton
area re-signalling is now programmed for the 2015 May Day bank holiday weekend (2nd to 4th). Whilst
it controls a small area in comparison to later powerboxes, this is densely trafficked with busy
junctions at Bushbury and at each end of Wolverhampton station. During one visit, the challenge of
fitting in a light engine movement to the steel terminal, without delaying passenger services, was
clearly demonstrated. The 19 November party also went on to Saltley PSB: This is well positioned at
the rail exit of Lawley Street Container Terminal, adjacent to the Landor St. Jct. on the Water Orton
line, and is a typical power signalling structure of the late sixties / early seventies, in this case 1969.
The large operating floor has a 'NX' entrance-exit panel curving around the rear in flat sections. There
are relatively small windows in each aspect of both front corners, which give an excellent view of
passing trains, but without the picture windows provided in earlier power boxes such as
Wolverhampton. The original control area stretched from Kings Heath (Camp Hill Line) and Church
Road Jct. (near Five Ways) to Blackwell (the former BR Western / London Midland regional boundary
on the Birmingham to Bromsgrove line) including the Redditch branch. It also reached Tamworth (high
level), Nuneaton Abbey Jct., Sutton Park, Birmingham Moor Street (later the reopened Snow Hill),
Leamington Spa/Bearley Jct. and Hall Green (later Shirley) on the North Warwickshire line. In its
heyday, the box was manned by four signallers, a meal break relief and a signalling manager, but it is
now a shadow of its former self and no longer even controls the trains which pass its windows! Only a
small part of the left hand end of the panel actually remains in use, the rest being blank which,
coupled with the lack of natural light from the small windows, gives the operating floor a slightly
ghostly feel.

Saltley now controls Blackwell (fringe with Gloucester PSB) to Five Ways (fringe with Birmingham New
Street PSB) the third side of the Lifford Triangle, and a little way along the Camp Hill line to Kings
Heath, where it fringes with the Washwood Heath workstation of the WMSC. This signalling is mostly
more recent for Cross City electrification and is not yet 'life expired'. Finally, by way of a small Atkins
panel tacked on to the left hand end of the main panel recently, (since 1 September 2014) Saltley PSB
has control of the new signals on the Redditch branch, including its new lengthy dynamic loop. The
box is now covered by one signaller from the WMSC in rotation. Although the control area is now
small, it is busy and regulating decisions are made more complex by the fact that only the slow lines
between Kings Norton and Longbridge are electrified. Trains are only actively controlled through each
of the junctions, with the plain lines in between them provided with fully automatic signalling; even so
the afternoon shift signaller, who has worked the box since 1991, was kept almost continuously on his
feet at the panel throughout the visit. Indeed, a 'meal break relief' signaller is still provided for Saltley
from the WMSC. Blackwell is located just over the top of the 1 in 37 Lickey incline; freights over 1,000
tonnes are still banked up the incline and apparently now generally auto-uncouple on the move. If the
banking loco has to return down the bank, it is able to cross over under the supervision of Gloucester
PSB but if continuing towards Birmingham will come to a stand at the first of Saltley’s signals. If the
banker fails to detach, the train has to be 'put inside' and brought to a stand on the slow lines, for the
train loco driver to be made aware and arrangements made to detach the banker. Over the past six
years control areas have been progressively transferred to the WMSC, beginning with the Snow Hill
area in February 2008, Water Orton in November 2013 and Washwood Heath in April 2014. On current
plans, the final area will transfer across to WMSC as the Kings Norton workstation in October/
November 2015 after which the lights will be turned out for the last time. Participants were interested
to see a rare nuclear flask train from Berkeley to Crewe (for Sellafield) signalled through Saltley's area,

Up slow line through Northfield (they try to keep them moving) and in due course ran past the box
heading off for Sutton Park hauled by a pair of DRS Class 37s. Also interesting to observe was a
completely fully loaded very lengthy intermodal train joining up its two sections then departing from
Lawley Street terminal right outside the box - very impressive!

BLN 1226.222] BLS 750V Tracker Tour: (60/33) Departing Hooton two and a half hours late was never
on the Fixtures Secretary’s 'to do' list on Sunday 18 January 2015, but raising a huge amount for
charity whilst covering some rare 'Baker' and 'Quail' level track certainly was! Merseyrail (MR)
announced subsequently at a prestigious partner event that they had raised £105k for the
Clatterbridge Cancer Charity their 2014 charity of the year, and were delighted to confirm the role of
the Society in contributing £20k.

A very unusual weather combination with freezing rain the night before the charter had led to
formation of ice on the conductor rail, and units across the network were struggling to draw power as
a result. This is a very rare occurrence to this extent. With services at a standstill, rail replacement bus
services were instigated. Without replaying the entire morning’s complex events, eventually our stock
(first and last 507001 and 508143) passed through Hooton on their way non-stop to Chester on an ad
hoc route proving diagram, coupled to four other units, making a rather unique and impressive 18-car
set (see video link with e-BLN Pictorial 1225)! Soon they returned to Hooton having cleared the line,
and our train was detached. Trade at the Hooton 'M to Go' combined travel centre and shop (a MR
feature) was described as ''buoyant'', whilst our special day out received the blessing of local Railway
Mission Chaplin Paul Holloway as he delivered an emotional address explaining his own connection
with the charity. Once underway, with the train dispatched by MR Engineering Director Mike Roe and
Clatterbridge Chief Executive Andrew Cannell, we picked up the remaining passengers at James Street
P2 before reversing in the very rarely used Stabling Siding adjacent to the Stock Interchange Line and
made our way to West Kirby Siding 1. A platform call was then made to pick up catering supplies and
volunteers from Barclays Bank and Clatterbridge who served delightful refreshments (donated free by
MR) for the majority of the day; all income added to the fund raising total. Participants could view the
recently refurbished 'mini' BLS headboards that were kindly painted and polished to a very high
standard especially by MR engineering staff for the Society. After a quick visit to Birkenhead North No7
Road to reverse (and to receive a new windscreen wiper!) we made our way to New Brighton Siding
1&2, one only made possible on the day by Control dispatching its occupant, a spare unit, round the
Liverpool Loop during our visit! With sale of souvenirs and raffle tickets well underway, a journey over
the highly sought after Stock Interchange Line into Liverpool Central turnback siding was undertaken,
with routing at Central carefully managed throughout the day to ensure all rare track was covered.

Not all of MR's 1,200 staff will have been on a passenger train through Kirkdale depot wash road on
their way to No25 road stop blocks (inside the depot building) but over 280 tour participants enjoyed
this as their next move. For safety, the team of onboard Stewards had to ensure all the windows were
closed and apply a bit of gentle pressure, as the force of the washer is known to open them. The units
looked immaculate again ready for their upcoming reversal and photo opportunity at Aintree;
although it was noticeable how well presented they were at Hooton in the morning as the fleet
maintenance team had hand cleaned them the previous day. Industrial locomotive enthusiasts were
treated to a rare sight at Kirkdale of Niteq 4wBE B226 (2006), a small 'Tug' used primarily for shunting
the wheel lathe. This had been moved into a visible position by special arrangement, with thanks to
the depot team. After Aintree and passing through Kirkdale depot again behind P2 (also giving two
crossovers!), our train reversed in Sandhills Reversing Siding and made its way promptly to Southport
where all three DC platforms were covered, as was Southport No10 siding, Wall Siding and Birkdale
No1 siding. It had been planned to visit Birkdale No2 siding as well but the points would not
operate. Birkdale No3 road was unavailable due to track condition. At Southport station, MR received
a 'giant cheque' from the Society payable to Clatterbridge, whilst participants enjoyed complimentary

hot drinks (filter coffee too!) courtesy of the TOC. A fast run down the coastal route followed as we
made our way wrong line through Liverpool Central to reverse and complete the Liverpool South
Parkway crossover, before heading back to Hooton with a little visit to Rock Ferry P2 on the way. This
deviation provided a rather unusual move and a rare crossover south of the station. Finally, with 104m
68ch under its belt, the BLS 750V Tracker arrived at Hooton P3 via the facing crossover half a minute
early due to very slick operation by MR staff throughout the day! The Fixtures Secretary would like to
put on record his immense thanks for everyone involved in the project, in the planning and
implementation phases, both at MR and in the Society. Most of all, huge thanks are due to the
passengers whose generosity and kindness resulted in a remarkable £20k donation to a very worthy
cause. Finally participants would particularly like to thank Kev Adlam for his considerable time and
Trojan efforts well before the tour and on the day to ensure such an enjoyable, comprehensive and
successful event; the mood on board was great. E-BLN Pictorial 1226 is a special tour souvenir edition.
A few spare BLS 750V Tracker brochures, maps, window decals and souvenir Edmondson card tickets
are available for a donation to Clatterbridge. A set is £10 including P&P. Please forward a cheque
payable to 'Branch Line Society' with your address to the Fixtures Secretary (per back page). An
interesting 1hr 26min Merseyrail Driver Route Learning Video cab ride: http://goo.gl/40Sii0 which
shows, amongst many other things: bidirectional running, Sandhills reversing siding, Kirkdale depot,
Southport area, Birkenhead depot, Liverpool Central P2 to James Street via the Stock Line Interchange
line, Liverpool Central reversing siding, etc.

1226 HEAD LINES: Record of Openings and Closings
BLN 1226.223] 'Waterside branch'; Chalmerston Open Cast Loading Point (54m 29ch) - Dalrymple Jct.
(43m 53ch): (BLNs 1213.1061 & 1211.929) The last regular coal trains ran in October 2010 with two
final ones on 9 & 10 July 2012 to clear remaining coal stocks; these were loaded to 75% capacity due
to the Dalrymple Viaduct weight restriction. Ayrshire Railways Preservation Group still have a
connection (to the now 'mothballed' branch) previously used for occasional stock transfer from their
Minnivey to Dunaskin sites.

224] Annbank Jct. - Drongan Jct. - Killoch Washery: (BLN 1188.963 and correcting BLN 1213.1061)
ROG 1 April 2014 with 66510 taking coal to Drax (the previous outward coal train had run on 20 June
2013). Coal traffic from Killoch has typically been two or three trains a week recently.

225] Barry Island; Barry Yacht Club (Jacksons Bay) Boatyard (ST 1217 6670) - West Breakwater
Lighthouse (ST 1251 6654): (BLN 1166 p257) CA by 16 August 2014; (standard gauge ex-GWR;
operational length 325yds) on the west breakwater. It had been retained for occasional movement of
the Yacht Club starter's hut on a four-wheel rail chassis for race meetings. This has now disintegrated
but may be repaired. The line featured original GWR chairs and was ridden (hand propelled) by Society
parties on 20 May 2012 and the L&CI on 8 June 2013. (http://goo.gl/Q0bKO2.) It was once connected
to the national network at Caisson Branch Jct. (near Woodham's Scrapyard) by a flat crossing over the
Barry Pier branch.

226] Tulse Hill South Jct. - Leigham Jct. (Down Leigham Spur): CP after running on 22 August 2014 due
to work at London Bridge, one PSUL train the 16.01(SSuX) Streatham Hill to London Bridge (see item
below also).

227] Battersea Pier Jct. (Central side) - Stewarts Lane Jct. - Longhedge Jct. - Pouparts Jct.: (PSUL 2015
p8) OP/ROP (regular public use) from 1 September 2014; the 00.32 SSuX Victoria (P14) to Gatwick
Airport and the 01.35 SuX Gatwick Airport to Victoria (P13). Note: they are subject to variation, both
planned and 'on the day' for example using Victoria Eastern side or running via Battersea Park. In
recent years former VSOE (now Belmond) regular excursions have run between Pouparts, Longhedge
and Stewarts Lane Jcts. However, they then use the grade-separated Eastern side double track links to
Grosvenor Bridge Jct., rather than the Central side single track link to Battersea Pier Jct. From 5

January 2015, Pouparts Jct. to Longhedge Jct. is also part of the Thameslink potential nocturnal
diversionary route to avoid London Bridge including the 'Brixton Spur' Canterbury Road Jct. to
Loughborough Jct. (BLN 1218.1433).

BLN 1226.228] Bicester Central Ordnance Depot (COD) Gates (20m 00ch) - 27m 40ch (20ch west of
Banbury Road GF), both exclusive: (BLN 1210.856) remains TCA (from 2 June 2014) but from 22
December 2014 the temporary stop blocks were moved at the Bicester COD end from 20m 00ch to
19m 70ch and at Banbury Road Sidings from 27m 40ch to 27m 25ch. COD military container trains
continue to operate via Aylesbury and Claydon L&NE Jct.; stone trains for Banbury Road terminal
continue to operate via Oxford.

229] Oxford, Banbury Road Stone Terminal: From 22 December 2014 this has been accessed by a new
connection in the single line at 27m 40ch (previously at 27m 60ch) the ground frame at 27m 54ch was
taken OOU. This is adjacent to the site of the new Oxford Parkway station presently under
construction.

230] Leigham Jct. - Tulse Hill South Jct.: (Up Leigham Spur) ROP 5 January 2015, on re-opening of
London Bridge terminal platforms, one PSUL train the 10.01 (SSuX) London Bridge to Streatham Hill
(see item above).

231] Chelmsford Lower Yard: (BLN 1223.1862) ROG 6 January 2015, first inward stone train from
Acton Yard and return empties operated by GBRf for London Aggregates. DBS previously ran this traffic
to Parkeston Quay but that location is now used by the High Output Ballast Cleaner now operating on
the Norwich to Stowmarket line. Two sidings with a handpoint were relayed in December, adjacent to
the foot of the embankment. This was one of the freight terminals taken back into NR ownership on 31
October 2014 and is connected to the ‘south’ end of the Up & Down Passenger Loop on the country
end (Down side) of Chelmsford station. Brett Aggregates had planning permission refused by Essex
County Council in November 2013 for a rail served concrete batching plant here (and their November
2014 appeal failed) but planning permission remains in force from 2012 for aggregate transfer and
storage at the yard.

232] Ashchurch, War Department GF - Ashchurch Defence Storage & Distribution: (BLN 1216.1300)
CG by 16 January 2015. The two remaining internal locomotives (MOD 01523 & 01542) have been
removed by road to the Marchwood Military Railway. Latterly goods trains (from Didcot) had become
infrequent and shorter, sometimes only one wagon. Does anyone have a final train date? [Approx. 1
mile of ex-Midland Railway (ends at SO 9381 3428) formerly to Barnt Green via Evesham/Redditch CP
17 June 1963.]

233] Saxmundham Jct. - Leiston (Sizewell Power Station): (BLN 1216.1289) On 26 January 6L70, the
first flask train since 6 August 2014 (00.50 from Crewe Coal Yard) arrived mid-morning, 20305 leading
37609.

1226 Prospective Network and Train Service Changes
234] Todmorden Viaduct Jct. (19m 30ch) - Stansfield Hall Jct. (30m 54ch) (Todmorden West Curve):
(BLN 1210.855) Bidirectional working is due to be commissioned from 9 February (was Down line
only), following which Northern hope to start crew training for the new Blackburn to Manchester
Victoria via Burnley Manchester Road and Todmorden service, due to start in May (if there are any
DMUs available!).

235] York, Waterworks Jct. - Seamer West Jct. (& Malton station): TCP due 14 to 22 February 2015
inclusive (half term) for redecking of the 140 year old Scarborough Bridge over the River Ouse at 0m
15ch near York station and 'about' 20 other projects (all costing £2M). There will be replacement

hourly 'fast' and 'stopping' coach services between York and Scarborough. At York P2 and P4 will be
under possession.

BLN 1226.236] Manchester Metrolink, Victoria tramstop: (BLN 1204.346). ROP is expected on or by
18 February 2015, after TCP since 21 February 2014 for reconstruction and enhancing the layout;
initially for services from Bury and Rochdale, then from 21 February 2015 for through services to
Shudehill (and beyond).

237] Manchester Metrolink; Crumpsall (exclusive)/Central Park (exclusive) - 'The Delta' West &
South Jcts. and four intermediate tram stops: TCP is due Saturday 14 February (as a consequence of
the previous entry), during half term; a shuttle operates between Bury and Crumpsall also between
Rochdale Town Centre and Central Park. Crossovers at both stops should be available. Other services
operate to Piccadilly (Airport services run to and from Cornbrook as usual). Crumpsall/Central Park -
Victoria (incl.) & four intermediate stops: ROP due on or before 18 February. Victoria (exclusive) -'The
Delta' West & South Jcts. & two intermediate stops: ROP is expected on or before 21 February.

238] Sheffield Supertram track replacement stage III: (BLN 1217.1357) The 2015 work schedule:
Phase 5: Infirmary Road - Hillsborough tram stops (inclusive): 30 March to 10 May (all dates
inclusive).
Phase 6: Cathedral - Castle Square stops (inclusive): 11 May to 28 June.
Phase 7: Granville Road/Sheffield District College - White Lane stops and Herdings Park branch: 29
June to 30 August. Embedded track is 500% dearer to replace than ballasted and can only be done if it
is warm enough for the polymer to set; 22km of rail is being replaced by 2024 costing £32M; 9km had
been completed previously.

239] Mountsorrel (Bond Lane) (SK 5723 1466) - Mountsorrel Halt (SK 5724 1476) OP of the final
extension is expected in May 2015 completing the line beyond Bond Lane overbridge to the new halt,
when the Mountsorrel branch should also OP for the general public. For a detailed summary see (BLN
1195.1455).

240] Manchester Victoria & Salford Central stations and Windsor Bridge South Jct. / Ordsall Lane Jct.
- Deal Street Jcts. - Miles Platting Jct. - Moston / Ashton-under-Lyne stations (exclusive) / Phillips
Park West Jct. - Ashburys West Jct.: TCP is expected 3 to 7 April 2015 inclusive (Easter) for structural
work related to Victoria station refurbishment. Calder Valley services are to terminate at Rochdale or
Moston; Huddersfield trains at Stalybridge or Ashton-under-Lyne and from the west at Oxford Road or
Piccadilly.

241] Winchburgh Jct. - Newbridge Jct.: (BLN 1221.1751) TCA 13 June to 26 July 2015 (both inclusive) is
booked for electrification work in the 371yd Winchburgh Tunnel; mast piling began in November.
Some trains are diverted Winchburgh Jct. / Haymarket West Jct. via Dalmeny (rev), a PSUL route. There
is also booked use of Inverkeithing UPL by the SuX 09.21 Glenrothes and 11.00 and 16.00 Perth, all to
Edinburgh.

1226 BLN GENERAL
242] Auld Long Syne? (BLN 1225.138) With thanks to our Skelmorlie correspondent, the longest single
word in a Scottish station name was Cunninghamhead (between Dalry and Kilmarnock, originally
opened as 'Stewarton', CP from 1 January 1955) with 14 letters. The longest at extant stations, all with
13 letters, appear to be Achnashellach, Chatelherault, Inverkeithing, Scotstounhill and Pollokshields
(East & West). At least 10 Scottish closed stations had 13 letter names. Anyone fancy taking on Welsh
closed stations?

BLN 1226.243] Kill-Miles: The national railway system is to be measured in metres and km following a
directive by the European Railway Agency. This is already the case on the Cambrian lines (although the
Sectional Appendix still shows miles and yards), London Underground, the Docklands Light Railway and
tram systems generally. It is part of the adoption of the European Rail Traffic Management System.
During the changeover period (which could last to 2030), when lines will be reposted, rule books
rewritten etc, speeds and distances will have to be calculated in both systems which some fear may
lead to confusion and potential risk. In 2012 the DfT applied for an 'opt out' from the metrication
directive but this was refused. It means 10,072 route miles of track becomes 16,209km which sounds
more! (1km = 1,000m or about 5/8 mile. To convert miles to km (approximately) divide by 5 and
multiply by 8 or vice versa.)

244] BLN 1225 Additions: (item 160) Ilkeston Town
branch: (Map adapted from the Midland Railway System
Maps by Peter Kay, licensed under Public Domain). The
north curve, (Ilkeston West Jct. to Bennerley Jct.) reached
the Erewash Valley line via a separate single line running
a good ¾ mile north alongside and to its west; reportedly
CA 7 September 1941, RO 5 May 1946 and CA 10 April
1949. Until 1901 the curve joined the main line at
Ilkeston North Curve Jct. south of Bennerley Jct. The ¾
mile Ilkeston Town branch itself was not well used (even
though some trains used to run through via both curves
reversing in the station) as the GNR Ilkeston North
station was on their Nottingham to Derby line.
(134): Stafford No4 signal box is a BR London Midland
Region type 15 and Stafford No5 a type 14. Slotting
usually means that more than one signalbox is needed to
control one signal. It was very common in mechanical
signalling (when boxes might be very close together), and
may still apply in some places (eg Stockport?). In that
situation, the slotting mechanism was often a set of
interlocking balance weights on the signal post. (157): A
tramway ran from Nottingham to Ripley via the proposed new NET 4th line route from 1913 to 1932.
The Ripley Rattler was, by reputation, the most dangerous tramcar service in the British Isles due to
the length of its route and the gradients it negotiated! It was the subject of D.H. Lawrence's short story
'Tickets Please!' and later became a trolleybus route which closed in 1953. (186): Lowestoft Southside
was the name of the extremity of the goods branch from Oulton Broad South Jct. according to Clinker
(CG 6 November 1967); Colonel Cobb gives 'Lowestoft Harbour' as an alternative name. On 2 May 1969
there was a Society brakevan trip (fare 5 shillings = 25p) on the 13.05 working from Lowestoft Central
to Southside, and return, which was then open as far as Boulton & Paul's Siding (that CG 31 December
1972).

245] BLN 1225.185 Alterations (1) Reedham: Despite the 'information' about the third side of the
triangle, no Lowestoft to Yarmouth through services are shown in Bradshaw's Guides for July 1857,
January 1858 and August 1858, available on line (e.g. http://goo.gl/o1XkTs ). This was even after the
direct Beccles to Yarmouth line opened in 1859 (http://goo.gl/qa4J7s) and no connections are given
even. The first GER attempt at a Lowestoft to Yarmouth passenger service seems to have been in 1872,
via the Haddiscoe east curve. The 1884 OS Survey (the earliest available on-line, http://goo.gl/hFJPYO)
shows the curve without track (later editions do state Abandoned Railway but was it actually laid?).
The GER's 25 December 1919 Diagrammatic Map of System (a detailed Operating Department track
layout plan reprinted by the GER Society in 1986) gives no hint of a curve or any relevant pointwork.

The curve was definitely not there in 1920 so would have had to be rebuilt for the replacement of
Haddiscoe Swing Bridge in 1926, with pointwork and signalling, which seems unlikely with the cost and
other diversionary routes available (unless anyone knows otherwise and can check contemporary
railway journals, signalling records and Railway Inspectorate reports). The speculation about use in
WW2 can be no more than that (there were so many alternative routes already available) and there is
no hint of such connection in the series of articles on the wartime works that were undertaken which
appeared in Railway Gazette from 7 September 1945 onwards, subsequently abridged in Railway
Magazine of March and May 1946. Perhaps the Reedham curve was built (if it ever was really built?)
with the Lowestoft branch in 1847 merely for turning engines of the new Reedham to Lowestoft
branch trains?

BLN 1226.246] e-BLN Pictorial 1225 Alterations (2) Pontypridd's new Bay: Despite (BLN 1211.992)
two readers have kindly been in contact to point out that the new 6-car bay P3 is the former down
main platform (ex-P6) which doesn't appear to have been narrowed and is not a former bay that has
been extended. There was an inset bay in the south end of this platform, retained for a while after the
rest of that side of the island was taken OOU. There has been modification of the brickwork along the
length of this platform. The 05.18 (SuX) to Barry Island starts from the new bay having arrived ECS.
Although not shown as such on Realtime Trains (etc), the more civilized use is by the 09.25 SuX Barry
Island (09.56 Cardiff Central) terminating at Pontypridd at 10.30 and returning as the 10.39 SuX to
Barry Island, after making a cross-platform interchange into and out of a Merthyr train. The two later
terminating arrivals at Pontypridd (12.41 and 18.42 both SuX) do not use the bay but run ECS to
Stormstown loop then return in service from Abercynon (to leave freight paths on the Aberdare line
for coal traffic). The late evening terminating arrival at Pontypridd is reported to run in to P2 to couple
up to another late arrival and return to Cardiff ECS. The picture was actually taken on 31 December
2014 (there being no trains on 1 January per BLN 1224.109) and just behind where the photographer
was standing was formerly a GWR backing signal. Ex-P6 (when a Down platform) was used by all
through services until the infamous condemnation in 1970 of the bridge shown in the photo. In the
late 1960s the mid-morning to mid-afternoon Down Merthyr and Rhondda trains used to couple up
here for the trip to Cardiff. Return services used to divide on the Up side (then P1). To the right of the
stop boards used to be two sidings; the Pooley van was a regular occupant.

247] UK's Military Railways: (BLN 1216.1283) It has been reported that St. Modwen, owners of the
former Long Marston Royal Engineers Central Engineering Park, has changed its plans for the site and
applied for planning permission to build 300 holiday cottages on the area presently occupied by the 3½
mile railway circuit, road loading ramp and east side yard, leaving only the exchange sidings for railway
use. The planning application also cancels the previously granted planning consent for a (military)
heritage railway and museum. The voluntary group Long Marston Military Railway is now awaiting the
outcome of the Strategic Defence Review of Defence Rail & Container Services, presently nearing
completion, to see which MoD railheads will remain in use and which ones are abandoned. The
Military Railfest 2015, celebrating 100 years of the Royal Engineers, which had been due to take place
at Long Marston from 6 to 10 May is rescheduled for the Nene Valley Railway on 9 & 10 May. Bicester
(Graven Hill) where the MOD internal railway closed after operation on 12 March 2014 has been
subsumed in the Bicester Garden City proposal. Marchwood Military Port is being sold in 2015 (BLN
1202.168), probably to Associated British Ports. Ashchurch: rail traffic has ceased (see Head Lines) and
the Depot is due to close with its vehicle repair shop likely to be moving to Donnington (which has no
internal railway now). Ludgershall is said to be 'all but moribund' but may be a suitable site for a
military heritage railway and museum (and see BLN 1221. 1721). Longtown had been due to close this
year but a local press report in October 2013 suggested a possible rethink - does anyone have an
update (and about Eastriggs)?

BLN 1226.248] English Heritage's Top 10 Great English stations: (BLN 1225.176) http://goo.gl/30gDsb:
1. London Paddington, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's trainshed. The first real railway cathedral.
2. Newcastle Central, Doric style 600ft façade and a curved three arched glass and iron trainshed.
3. Windsor & Eton Riverside, A Tudor-style royal station with a stone-faced frontage.
4. Carlisle Citadel, in local red sandstone, designed 1847 for seven different railway companies. A five-
bay, buttressed porte-cochère with an ecclesiastical-looking clock tower.
5. Huddersfield, a classical Corinthian portico; the building is Grade I listed.
6. Monkwearmouth, Sunderland (CP 6 March 1967) Grade II* listed an Ionic portico flanked by wings
with Greek Doric columns and Tuscan pilasters. A small railway museum see http://goo.gl/S2l3yb.
7. Battle, (East Sussex) considered one of the finest Gothic style small stations in the country.
8. Wolferton, (Norfolk) Tudor style serving the Royal Family's nearby Sandringham estate.
9. Great Malvern, French Gothic style, brightly decorated platform awning supports with mouldings.
10. St. Pancras, in 1868 the largest man-made span in the World, 243ft wide with 2 acres of glass.

249] The ones that got away: (http://goo.gl/qta26i) English Heritage's 'Lost' stations:

1. Birmingham Snow Hill, a fine 1912 Edwardian building with 12 platforms, demolished in 1977.

2. Newmarket, (original) the 1848 façade had 8 pairs of Ionic columns with large plinths and finials, CG

1967 it was demolished in 1980, despite being listed. The site is now a housing development.

3. Euston, Doric 'Arch' demolished 1961 (similar to that still at Birmingham Curzon Street).
4. Portishead, a Modernist concrete station CP and demolished in 1964 _ barely 10 years old.

5. Mundesley (Norfolk), a large extravagant Arts & Crafts style station CP and demolished in 1964.

6. Hastings, built 1931 in minimalist Modernist style for electrification, demolished and rebuilt 2004.

7. Birmingham New Street, the LNWR trainshed roof was badly damaged in the war and demolished.

8. Wakefield Westgate, unusual Art Nouveau and Gothic 97ft clock tower demolished late 1960s.

9. Nottingham Victoria, 1900 GCR station with Jacobethan and Baroque motifs and Dutch gable ends

CP September 1967 and demolished. The surviving clock tower looks odd in the shopping centre.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
250] ....and Finally, Poetry Corner: By 'Trailer Second', with permission (apologies to W H Auden_Night Mail)

1) This is the Voyager crossing the Border 3) In the farm she passes no one wakes

Standing room only, unless you pre-order All long gone to euro milk lakes

Seating for the rich, corridors for the poor Dawn freshens but the toilet’s full

The shop has sold out, the buffet no more Snarling toward the urban sprawl

Revving up Beattock, claiming to be green Scotland, independent nation

The wires above her, no pan to be seen Soon an end to this vibration

Birds turn their heads, as she approaches Past rough estates and fast food chains

Stare from the bushes, at her paltry 5 coaches Dodging the stones from those with no brains

2) Cars in the fast lane can’t keep pace 4) Call centres, offices, low cost homes
Have comfortable seats and a lot more grace Tattooed teenagers with tweeting phones
Thro’ heather and weather but not fallen leaves Once steel and coal and engineering
With approval ratings that no-one believes Graffiti, flats and multi screening
Shovelling carbon over her shoulder Trainspotting here is not what it seems
Nox, particulates, benzene, sulphur But fuels the crime to pay for dreams
Her weight fatigues the railway line In the dark glens beside pale green sea lochs
She’s ten minutes late but that’s on time Men read their e-mails

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1226 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
251] Nottingham NET: On 24 January all the northbound trams were travelling through the rare centre
platform at The Forest tram stop. Signal FOP1 had a bin liner tied up round its head and was OOU. The

track through the normal outer northbound platform was rusty despite the departure screens still
showing northbound departures from there with the centre road monitor remaining blank as usual. The
locals seemed to expect trams on the centre road. This was the only section of track at The Forest
missed out on our first NET tour of 30 October 2005 (http://goo.gl/gIFncB) due, believe it or not, to
leaves jamming the points! NET has subsequently confirmed that essential point maintenance work has
been taking place so they had been fixed for the centre platform. Points failure is the probable cause of
this situation which continued on 31 January but may be resolved at any time. By then the centre road
monitor was showing departures, with a message on the outer platform monitor advising passengers
that departures were from the centre road.

1226 GREATER LONDON

BLN 1226.252] Grade I Rare Track: (BLN 1220 p468) A
member on a recent London Transport Museum tour of
the former Piccadilly Line Aldwych branch terminus
station was intrigued to find that when opened (as
'Strand') on 30 November 1907 there were actually two
separate platforms in separate tunnels. The 'other'
eastern platform (on the left on arrival from Holborn)
was not used by passenger trains after 1914 and has no
'suicide pit' as they were not provided then, but part of
its original track and now the oldest LU track, is intact
but isolated. It has wooden sleepers, unusual square
insulators on the positive and negative rails and is
Grade I listed (unlike the rest of the station which is
only Grade II!). Aldwych had the shortest platforms on
the system at 250ft and only about half of the platform
at the buffer stop end was ever tiled for the shuttle that
ran on the double track to Holborn station (with
occasional through trains to Finsbury Park after theatre
shows until October 1908); see plan (left) with
acknowledgement to David Kane. There used to be two
branch platforms at Holborn but the west side bay
platform (left on approach) was taken OOU in August
1917. The surviving, disused Aldywch platform is
between the two current Holborn Piccadilly Line
platforms and led to the through connection to the
northbound line. Our member also learned what should perhaps have been obvious, that at LU stations
the positive rail is the one furthest from the platform! Originally three large lift shafts (each taking two
lifts) were provided but only one was fitted out (so two lifts were provided instead of the planned six).
They were a hexagonal shape and could take 45 passengers each; the booking office was closed by 1922
and then the lift attendant sold tickets. Escalators were never installed and the branch was considered for
closure in 1923 and 1929. The tour, which is strongly recommended, includes viewing these lifts, one of
the two run off tunnels beyond the platform (where there is a buffer stop) and parts of the station never
completed or used - a second set of stairs and tunnel access still in original rough concrete. A claim to
fame is that it was the first station on the Underground to be closed on Sundays (from 8 April 1917). From
June 1958 the branch operated in rush hours only and CP from 3 October 1994. The lifts then needed
replacement which could not be justified for a line carrying an average of 450 passengers per day (and
losing £150k per year, £2.73 per passenger, equivalent to £5 now). A modern but heritage style ticket
office and automatic ticket barriers were installed, but they were only used for about five years before
closure. The train latterly ran every nine minutes, the journey taking one minute; with the need to use the

lift it was quicker for anyone who had just missed one to walk the 900yds to Holborn! The station was
renamed 'Aldwych' in May 1915 to avoid confusion with 'Charing Cross Strand' station which became
'Strand' (then 'Charing Cross' in 1979) - maybe 'White Elephant & Castle' would have been an appropriate
name for Aldwych? As the lifts do not work, anyone contemplating this tour needs to be able to walk 160
steps down and back up the wide tread spiral staircase, although there is no rush! LT Museum has plans
for limited tours at other Underground stations later this year with priority booking for those signed up to
receive the museum newsletter. Sign up at: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/.

Above: Aldwych station (with thanks to David Kane) also showing the sections that were not fully
completed and were never used, including four lifts, a separate lift exit route to tunnels and stairs down
to both platforms. Also shown are the 'run off' tunnels (right), the spiral staircase and barriers that
marked the section of the platforms that were tiled and in use.

BLN 1226.253] Crossrail: (BLN 1225.151)

1. Signalling: The Independent on-line of 11 January carried a slightly alarmist piece suggesting that it may
be difficult to create interfaces between the moving block signalling to be employed on the core (tunnel)
section and the conventional NR signalling on the GW and GE main lines. It quotes project chairman Terry
Morgan as saying a mitigation plan is being put in place with reduced train services. They are due to run
through from the GWML in December 2018, with the final link to the GEML in May 2019.

2. Abbey Wood Branch: On 25 January it was noted that track laying has started on the section parallel to
the North Kent Line. Ground clearance has taken place to allow the latter to be realigned southwards to
serve the Crossrail island platform to be built at Abbey Wood

3. Stockley Viaduct: The plan on the next page is 'Stage K' on completion in December 2016, with thanks
to Martyn Brailsford. For those not familiar with this project, Stockley West Flyover opened at the end of
last year over all four tracks of the GWML and also Stockley North Viaduct, which runs alongside the
GWML and connects the West Flyover to the relief (Crossrail) lines before Hayes and Harlington. By
Christmas 2016 there will be a Stockley East Flyover, crossing back over the relief lines to join the North
Viaduct to the Up Main Line. When that opens the original Stockley Flyover, built in the late 1990s, will
connect from the Down Relief and the Up Main so normally there will be no need for the Heathrow lines
to be used bi-directionally.

BLN 1226.254] Thameslink: (BLN 1225.155) The Southern service cancellations from London Bridge are to
continue; various timing adjustments to peak services were introduced on 19 January and more from
26th.

255] Wimbledon West Jct.: (BLN 1225.150) During the engineering possessions a train service was
maintained between Epsom and Raynes Park, reversing in Raynes Park P1 and returning to Epsom via the
emergency ground frame controlled crossover where the two lines converge just south of Raynes Park.

256] Hammersmith & City Line: The new S7 trains were finally cleared to run in passenger service to
Upminster from 16 January, resulting in the start of the withdrawal programme for the D Stock on the
District Line. From the evening of Sunday 1 February two H&C trains were scheduled to run through to
Upminster in passenger service for overnight maintenance at the depot. There are now through trains
between Hammersmith (H&C) and Upminster, although it is unlikely that the platform train describers
will be able to cope with this at the outer ends of the journeys! Details (train number in brackets) are:
Ex-Upminster: SSuX 06.10 (237), 06.37 (242), SO 05.34 (236), 05.45 (237), SuO 06.25 (205), 06.48 (210).
Ex-Hamm'smith: SSuX 22.56 (236), 23.17 (240), SO 22.56 (243), 23.51 (205), SuO 21.26 (245), 22.46 (236).

257] Liverpool Street: (BLN 1224.45) A member who knows the station well comments on the expansion
plans: (1): How would the new P0 in the shopping area be inserted? Presumably by knocking a hole in the
retaining wall at P1 country end, hence the shortening. It seems a lot of costly work for only one platform.
(2): He is surprised they can fit as many as three new platforms between P10 and P11.
(3): The additional terminal station to the north would be on the formation of the Bishopsgate line, TCP 5
December 1964 due to a serious fire at Bishopsgate Goods but never reopened. This line diverged on the
south side of the Electric Lines at Bethnal Green West and crossed over the main lines to the north side.
This bridge can’t be replaced as its site is partly occupied by the later East London Line (ELL) flyover.
Therefore a new connection would be needed just west of the ELL flyover and a ramp built up to the
height of the former Bishopsgate line, as the main lines are in a cutting by this point descending en route
to Liverpool Street. This means the new terminal station would be connected to the Suburban Lines
rather than the Electric Lines as in the past. The study mentions that it would be for West Anglia services.

258] The view from the Shard: This gives a better than 'Quail'-like view of the latest London Bridge /
Thameslink layout and the work in progress; better because it is possible to observe easily the new layout
in action while watching the N Gauge-like trains (which appear to move very slowly) running; as many as

14 at once. Cannon Street and Waterloo East can be observed, also Fenchurch Street and its neighbouring
DLR. The four new double crossovers on the approach to the new London Bridge Southern terminal
platforms are particularly interesting, now controlled from Three Bridges, with no connection to the
through lines still controlled by London Bridge PSB. The new double track viaduct west of London Bridge
which will be used by Charing Cross services and space for realignment of the existing lines (to be used by
Thameslink) is also evident. The 69th floor 360o observatory has step-free access and gives views of up to
40 miles. Steps are then available to the partly open air 72nd floor at 800ft (244m). The Shard has 87
storeys and at 1,014ft (309m) is currently still the tallest building in the European Union; it gives a
different perspective on London, in particular how prominent (and winding) the River Thames is. Our
member considered the £24.95 advance ticket to be good value (£29.95 on the day if available) and
recommends the experience. See: http://goo.gl/aKyrOS or 0844 499 7111

1226 NORTH WEST
BLN 1226.259] Manchester Airport: (BLN 1221.1680) From 9 February (when the station is due to ROP)
the new 220yd (201m) P4 is scheduled to be brought into use with a new facing crossover at 0m 32ch
(points 2212 A & B) between the Up and Down Airport lines, to allow trains to access and terminate in
P4. Realtime Trains on 2 February showed no booked use, but from May more ATW North Wales /
Manchester Piccadilly services are being extended to/from the Airport station.

260] Metrolink; Tram-train extensions? The 22 January Manchester Evening News detailed proposals in a
joint report by Stockport Council and TfGM. They consider a tram-train system (similar to the Sheffield to
Rotherham route) between Manchester, Stockport, Marple, an orbital route including Reddish, Cheadle
and Gatley to Manchester Airport, extending the East Didsbury line to Stockport and to Hazel Grove.

261] Greater Manchester (GM): Transport chiefs have called on the government not to let new Northern
and TPE rail franchises without provision for TfGM to take over the running of stations. The majority of
GM's 97 rail stations remained fundamentally unchanged since built with 52 of them currently classed as
'not fully accessible'. An invitation to tender for the Northern and TPE franchises is due to be published in
the near future. TfGM has had detailed discussions with the DfT to ensure it might be able to take over
management of the stations when the franchise winners are announced later this year. GM is to secure
new powers, responsibilities and budget controls through a devolution agreement with government. The
two developments could create an opportunity to change the way stations are managed. GM stations are
now managed by train operating companies on a short term basis, or by NR. TfGM is proposing local
management with long-term leases that would make it easier to finance enhancement schemes.

262] Cumbrian Coast: From the May timetable change locomotive hauled trains are to return between
Carlisle and Barrow six days a week. The plan is to have a DRS Class 37 and 4 carriage trains with driving
trailers operated on behalf of Northern as there are overcrowding problems north of Sellafield. From
Carlisle there should be at least one service arriving at Sellafield before 07.00 for the morning shift. This is
also part of the complicated plan to cover for the loss of the TPE Class 170 DMUs in May (BLN 1225.183)

263] Wilmslow: During the Airport line closure Northern's xx14 services from Manchester Piccadilly ran in
to P2. On returning at xx44 they took the unusual facing crossover at Styal Jct., north of the station.

264] 'New' Trains for the North? The first London Underground D78 train to be withdrawn from service
(see Greater London section) has been delivered to Vivarail at Long Marston, under its programme to
convert them into diesel trains for Northern and other routes. In December it was reported that Vivarail
had reached a deal with TfL to acquire 150 driving motor cars and about 300 vehicles of ex-District Line
stock, with plans to form 75 units of two, three or potentially four-car trains.......!

BLN 1226.265] NW Electrification: This is a summary from various sources with precise details
unconfirmed. Driver training on the Class 319 EMUs for Manchester Victoria and Wigan crews is to start
'shortly'; Liverpool crews are already training on the Crewe line. Some Northern drivers have been
training at Bedford. NR expects to have electrification complete between Liverpool and Manchester /
Wigan routes by 14 February. From Autumn 319s are due operate a Liverpool to Preston service,
passengers changing there for Blackpool until it is electrified. Six units 319361 - 65/80 have come for
driver training and 62/4/5 have been refurbished at Wolverton, while 61/63 and 80 have gone to
Wolverton for this. EMUs 319368 /72/79 and 82 are due next. The first 15 units for Northern are for 12 or
(perhaps) 13 diagrams covering Liverpool to Victoria / Airport / Warrington BQ / Wigan NW / Preston.
Another following 14 units are for Manchester to Preston and Blackpool, (24 diagrams in total).

266] Hope Valley: NR has revised part of the Northern Hub programme to deliver three rather than four
fast tph between Manchester and Sheffield. In November 2013 NR publicly consulted on plans to upgrade
the line includuding a 1km 'overtaking loop' near Grindleford and improvements at Dore and Totley. They
now say that while Grindleford is the optimum location for a new loop to allow four fast tph hour,
timetable constraints mean it would not be possible to space these services evenly. A review of the
scheme has developed revised proposals for a new stretch of track east of Bamford which would be
easier to build than the one at Grindleford and does not affect any ancient woodland. It is a new loop
alongside the existing railway between the station and Jaggers Lane in Hathersage. At Dore the line will
be redoubled and the second platform reinstated. NR says the new plan allows capacity for more local
stopping services. A Transport and Works Act Order from the Secretary of State for Transport will be
required to build the new track and it is anticipated that an application will be submitted in summer,
following further public consultation. Subject to consent, work could complete by the end of 2018.

267] Liverpool St. James: A plan to re-open the derelict station will be considered by Merseyrail next
financial year after growing calls from local business leaders that it would help rejuvenate the city
centre's south side. Its potential importance was highlighted in a 2012 Liverpool Council regeneration
blueprint and would be crucial to helping the Baltic Triangle revival. With the regeneration of that area
resulting in crowd-pulling new ventures such as 'Camp and Furnace' and North Liverpool Academy's life
sciences school, demand for better transport links is increasing. The report says St. James, between
Central and Brunswick stations on Merseyrail's Northern Line, was built in 1872 but the last services
departed in December 1916. It continues 'It is believed the closure followed a tragic accident involving a
World War I troop train'. Does anyone know more?

268] Blackpool Trams: The heritage trams are running again in 2015, the 130th year of the tramway; a
recent release on the Blackpool Trams website has timetable details. There are three services depending
on the time of year and if the illuminations are switched on. An interesting aspect is a wine and dine
tram………….! Full details at http://goo.gl/cqIP0n. Rare track is possible too (e.g. the Little Bispham Loop).
On Facebook Blackpool Trams are advertising for volunteers to operate the extra services!

1226 NORTH EAST
269] Heighington: (BLN 1222.1801) The sketch below shows 'before' and 'after' the three-stage layout
changes previously reported in BLN. The remaining semaphore signals have been removed and replaced
by colour lights controlled from a new panel in the c1872 Heighington signal box which has replaced the
1906 McKenzie and Holland 11-lever frame. The new Hitachi Test track appears to be on part of the
former Down line. After singling between Hopetown Jct. and Heighington in the early 1970s (part of the
Darlington re-signalling scheme), a long siding was left south of Heighington. This was once part up line
and was used to hold exhibits after the 'Stockton & Darlington Railway 150th Anniversary Cavalcade' in
1975. This siding has now been removed. The new running line south of Heighington Jct. is not on the
alignment of the previous Up line, but slightly to the east for most of its length. This is presumably to
increase clearances between the running line and the test track. As a result, overbridge 12 has had to be

demolished. This was a stone bridge which could well have
dated back to the 1825 opening of the line. On 11 January
there were no signs of electrification work on the test track.
It was not possible to see what progress had been made
with installing track inside the new Hitachi works. The
passenger service on the Bishop Auckland branch is not
good, basically every two hours from Darlington.

1226 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
BLN 1226.270] Up Sundon Loop: (BLN 1222/1815) This new
non-electrified 1905yd (1747m) unidirectional loop with a
40mph speed restriction off the Up Slow line between
Harlington and Leagrave stations (and associated signalling)
is due to be commissioned from 9 February. It is mainly
intended for use by loaded stone trains heading south and
extends from 37m 00ch (Harlington Jct.) to 35m 48ch
(Sundon Jct.).

271] Royston: On 17 December the late running 08.52
King's Cross to Cambridge was routed into Up P1 to enable
the 09.14 King’s Cross to Cambridge non-stop to overtake.
According to local sources this is an occasional procedure if
the semi-fast is running late. Our member did get two rare
crossovers as a result.

272] Barrington Light Railway: (BLN 1209.807) A local source reports that stone traffic has temporarily
resumed at Hitchin Yard operated by DC Rail. The first train, 56312 with 22 wagons of ballast originating
from Shap, ran on Tuesday 13 January at 04.10 from Chaddesden Sidings arriving at Hitchin Engineers
Yard (on the Down side) 07.53. Unloading seems to have been in the non-electrified siding behind P1, on
the Up side. The south connection of this line into the Up Slow was recently noted to be very rusty. (There
was previous ballast traffic here from Peak Forest in 2007.) The original intention had been to run the
ballast trains directly into Barrington (BLN 1215.1253) over the disused connection at Foxton, but the
track was deemed too poor so the stone is coming by road from Hitchin instead. It has been reported that
three trains of stone are scheduled running at roughly weekly intervals. The empty wagons returned to
Chaddesden from the Up Yard at 12.39 on 14 January. On 17 December it was noted that some people
wearing hi-vis jackets were present on the Barrington Light Railway close to the junction at Foxton. Our
correspondent couldn’t see what they were actually doing, but they did not appear to be doing any
substantive work and may have been carrying out an inspection. On 24 January the branch track was in
situ as far as could be seen from a passing train (there are reports of it being lifted for relaying further
on).

273] Lowestoft - Great Yarmouth: In early September our correspondent visited station sites etc., along
this Norfolk & Suffolk Joint line (an ex GER & M&GN Joint Railway Joint Railway!). Formerly double track,
it was singled in the 1960s after initially being upgraded when the direct Beccles to Yarmouth South Town
line CP in 1959. The expected holiday traffic failed to materialise and Lowestoft Coke Ovens Jct. to
Yarmouth South Town CP (CA) from 4 May 1970. Lowestoft North (TM546948): Once there was an
adjacent Lowestoft Corporation Tramways route but all has now vanished under modern housing along,
appropriately, 'Beeching Drive'! South of there part of the trackbed through a cutting has been converted
into a footpath and cyclepath, its southern limit intersecting with a public footpath crossing at (TM
536935), south of which point the trackbed has vanished under modern industry. Corton: (TM 5404
9708) in contrast yielded the gem of the day's visit. The main station building survives, complete with its
platform canopy, and both platforms, filled in to full height to accommodate the owner’s lawn. A polite

request to the owner, who was in his garden, to photograph the station met with a friendly response. The
station master’s house is beyond the station but well hidden amid trees. A pair of GER employees'
cottages completes this site, all of which is rather hidden down an anonymous gravelled private drive off
Station Road. Although a joint line, Corton station suggests that the GER took care of the construction of
the stations, as the style closely resembles the contemporary new-build GER stations, such as Barkingside
or Fairlop which also opened in 1903. Hopton-on-Sea: (TG 5285 0007) the Edwardian Tudorbethan
station house, in similar style to Corton's, is a private residence behind high hedges, but the station has
vanished under many bungalows. It once had a holiday camping coach. Gorleston-on-Sea: (TG525034)
Now said to be one of the largest places in the UK without a station. A pub called The Tramway was
encountered with an electric tramcar on its inn sign. According to The Directory of British Tram Depots a
4'-8'' gauge tram route ran between Gorleston and Yarmouth (South Town) operated by the East Suffolk
Tramway Co., inaugurated with horse traction on 25 March 1875. It was purchased by the Yarmouth &
Gorleston Tramways Co. in 1878, converted to 3'-6'' gauge in 1882, then acquired by Great Yarmouth
Corporation on 12 March 1905 with electric traction from 3 July that year. It closed in favour of buses on
25 September 1930. The depot stood hereabouts until demolition in 1974. The map suggests the
tramway may have continued south past the Tramway pub, perhaps ½ mile to Gorleston-on-Sea station.
This has vanished under the Gorleston bypass, but the Edwardian Tudorbethan Station Hotel stands atop
the cutting, with a faded original painted sign on brickwork advertising good stabling, motors and
carriages. South of this site the wide trackbed becomes parkland; there were double track running lines
and four parallel sidings in the goods yard. One of these may have been used for coaching stock stabling,
as Gorleston once had its own summer Saturday expresses to/from Liverpool Street, including 'Holiday
Camp Expresses' and in July 1951 at least an 11.01 SO service to London via Lowestoft as well. A footpath
/ cyclepath continues south along the trackbed, under a blue-brick overbridge, between bungalows on an
approximation of the trackbed alignment, to the totally vanished site of Gorleston Links ('Halt' until 6
May 1968 ) (TG 5262 0191) in Links Road. South of here is private land.

BLN 1226.274] Now two types of train 'flats' are possible? The first battery-powered train to run on
Britain's railways in more than half a century is working the Harwich branch in passenger service from 12
January to 12 February inclusive. Note it is booked FSSuX to work from the 11.03 from Manningtree to
the 14.28 from Harwich Town (both inclusive) and may work 'pantograph down' in one direction only.
This follows successful trials by Bombardier at Derby and Old Dalby test tracks last year. The modified
Electrostar train (379013) is also known as an 'Independently Powered Electric Multiple Unit' (IPEMU). At
the end of the trial it returns to Derby to have the batteries and associated equipment removed. NR and
partners including Bombardier, Abellio Greater Anglia and the DfT, which is co-funding the project
through the Future Railway innovation programme, believe hybrid or battery-powered trains could bridge
gaps between electrified parts of the rail network. Modern Railways has a photograph of the unit at
Mistley and comments that teething problems necessitated some use with the pantograph up! On 20
January it operated like that; according to the driver because the weather was too cold for the batteries!
See http://goo.gl/ki47ZA which includes four video clips.

275] Reading: (BLN 1225.188) (1) Viaduct/Elevated Line: (See http://goo.gl/4vpXdd 'Reading planed' or
BLN 1219. p436 trackplan.) This opened as scheduled on Sunday 4 January with an empty HST test train at
07.19 from Paddington to Swindon. The first (Down) passenger working being the 08.00 Paddington to
Penzance, at 08.38 from Reading P9; the first Up train, the 07.45 Bristol to Paddington crossed it a few
minutes later. XC trains and a few FGW services also use the first section of the Festival line open to High
Level Jct. The first train was honoured with Mark Hopwood (FGW MD) and invited guests, including the
Reading East MP, Rob Wilson, various railway journalists and representatives from local TV stations and at
least one of our prominent local members along with a selection of Balfour Beatty staff. One of the latter
mentioned why one pier had scaffolding round it. In late December it was decided to replace the pad on
which the bearing sits by jacking it up (as it is not quite straight) so it should last the planned 75 years!

(2) Platforms: P3 reopened on 4 January for reversing Didcot to Bournemouth trains (north to Oxford was
closed that day). The new starting signal for P3 is unusually at ground level (see picture below). Most long
distance services to the west of England seem to use P8 off peak, with P7 used for Newbury and Bedwyn
and peak departures. This includes P8 being used by most Up west of England services. Note that the full
length of P8 has been restored. Until Easter only P1-3, 7 and 8 can access Reading West directly.
Overrunning engineering works on the morning of Sunday 25 January blocked this route and the 10.37 to
Basingstoke left from P13B, reversing to access the Reading West Curve. XC services heading to or from
Basingstoke mostly use P3 and the country ends of P7 and 8. Newcastle trains reversing at Reading still
mostly use P14B. Other work undertaken included tidying up the country end of P8 to P11, including the
new links between the Up west of England line dive-under and P10 (via a crossover between the P11
entrance track back to P10).
(3) Further Grade Separation: When the former Relief (latterly used as Main) lines were lifted after
Christmas, major excavations took place to prepare the formation for the two tracks heading under the
viaduct towards the London direction (one to the Up Main via P12 and the other to the Relief Lines via
P14 or P15, mostly for freights, see plan in BLN 1219). Work has continued there to prepare the formation
for the new tracks. Passing across the viaduct now shows that the section of this route south of it towards
Reading West is now substantially complete with track being laid.

Above: The new 4-aspect starting signal for P3 is unusually at ground level (Picture by Stuart Hicks).
(4) Slough Resignalling: The Easter blockade will be from Didcot and Reading West to Hayes because
Slough panel is being closed and control transferred to Didcot, Thames Valley Signalling Centre. Realtime
Trains shows services from Reading bays P1-6 only, with FGW services from the West of England to
London diverted via Woking to Waterloo P11. There is an enhanced (4tph) service to Waterloo via Staines
SuX. FGW staff will be at Basingstoke and Waterloo to despatch their trains as SWT staff are no longer
trained on slam door stock! FGW services from Bristol and Wales to Paddington are diverted via Foxhall
Curve (avoiding Didcot), Banbury (reverse) and Park Royal.

BLN 1226.276] Goring and Streatley: P1 has been refurbished to allow 6-car trains to stop there from 4
January 2015. Also a new footbridge with lifts will be constructed by summer 2015 for electrification
clearance.

1226 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND - SOUTH
277] Gatwick Airport: A special meeting of the local West Sussex County Council on 19 January voted to
oppose further expansion, approving 20 pages of suggested improvements. This followed local opposition
to the environmental impact and infrastructure implications of a second runway. (http://goo.gl/60SQpu.)

1226 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
278] Bristol Parkway: From 31 January the Up Spur line was due to be temporarily OOU until 20 March.
279] Barrow Road Branch: (BLN 1199.1719) In a recent Weekly Operating Notice the former Avon CC
refuse transfer sidings near Lawrence Hill, trailing into the Up Filton line, were temporarily taken OOU
from 31 January. A sleeper stop block and red light were provided at signal B509 on the sidings side of the
junction controlled by Lawrence Hill Ground Frame which has been temporarily disconnected. The
junction was actually plain-lined on 28 September 2013, a case of the paperwork catching up with the
situation on the ground? It was one of the terminals taken back into NR ownership from 31 October 2014.
280] Bath West: From 31 January the former Avon CC refuse disposal sidings leading off the Down Goods
Loop were temporarily taken OOU. A sleeper stop block and red light was provided on the sidings side of
the connection controlled from Bath West Ground Frame at 107m 55ch.

281] Par to Lostwithiel: The Cornwall Railway website reports that the failure of DBS locomotive 66176
on 6G08, the 16.29 Goonbarrow china clay working to Fowey whilst climbing Treverrin bank on 26
January caused a stir. Single line working was instituted between Par and Lostwithiel over the Down Main
around the failed train. Assistance was provided by the only other 'big' loco in the County, FGW's 57603
which was the diagrammed 1A40 Night Riviera sleeping car train loco. The class 57 ran to Par and the

failed train was drawn back to St. Blazey yard, a very unusual working, struggling to keep the loaded CDAs
and the dead 66 on the move round the sharp curve from Par. The class 57 then returned to Penzance to
work the Up Sleeper leaving there just 43 minutes late (and subsequently arrived on time at Paddington).
57603 is here seen above with the failed train coming into St. Blazey Yard (with thanks to Craig Mundy).

BLN 1226.282] Falmouth: (BLN 1225.193) Weekend engineering work on 24 and 25 January caused
suspension of services between the Town and Docks stations (no replacement transport, passengers were
advised to walk - did they need to buy a ticket for this?!). A visit the day after found the line from just
south of Falmouth Town to the buffer stops at Falmouth Docks had all been re-laid with new material and
all connections to the loop (and Falmouth Docks lines) removed. The Sectional Appendix has been
updated.

1226 WEST MIDLANDS
283] Shrewsbury - Bridgnorth: A member has kindly supplied links which show October 2014 footage of
the trackbed condition between the two towns. Part 1, Shrewsbury, Berrington, Cressage and Buildwas:
http://goo.gl/T2i9BQ. Part 2: http://goo.gl/v1FCuy, Ironbridge, Jackfield, Coalport and Bridgnorth.

284] Midland Metro: (BLN 1224.20) Wolverhampton St. George’s terminus TCP from 6 September 2014
and remains so, with no re-opening date yet (March is unofficially suggested). St. George's island platform
is being lengthened to take two new (longer) trams each side and the track to 'The Royal' is also being
relaid. As the service cannot operate like Manchester’s with two trams coupled, the justification is to
shunt failed trams. The proposed extension to Wolverhampton Railway Station is (as correctly shown in
BLN 1225.177) a branch beginning just after the Wishbone Bridge over the Ring Road, sometimes
incorrectly reported as an extension from St. George’s. If built the service pattern has yet to be revealed.
The extremes suggested range from two an hour to all trams during shopping hours running to St.
George’s, with none then to the railway station! Trams currently run from 'The Royal' to Birmingham
Snow Hill, but no timetable has been published. Even the large timetable sheet displayed at 'The Royal'
still shows the pre-September timetable through to St. George’s, as does the website of nxbus (National
Express), the operator. This is also on Network West Midlands (Centro) website, along with one showing
trams only as far as Priestfield, both marked 'Current'! Trams from Birmingham actually wait at Priestfield
for about 5 minutes. National Express explained that a tram cannot proceed onto the street running
section until the previous tram has left The Royal to ensure the stop is clear (only one two-car tram can
be accommodated beyond the new crossover), as it would not be safe to stop it on Bilston Road. Even
Centro’s Journey Planner does not recognise 'The Royal', offering a variety of pubs. Inputting
'Wolverhampton The Royal' which is not the tram stop’s name, finds it but only offers bus services. 'The
Royal' was a former Hospital here (CP = Closed to Patients 1997)!

285] Midland Metro (2): Your sub editor recently noticed that work has begun on the trackbed (away
from the running line) for the double track before and on the new £10M viaduct installed in 2011, over
Great Charles Street where the City Centre extension will branch off the current route.

286] Dudley Port: On 21 January a complete loss of signalling caused huge disruption between Dudley
Port and Sandwell & Dudley. The 07.30 ATW Aberystwyth to Birmingham service was brought to a stand
at the former station. After almost an hour, the train returned to Wolverhampton where it was
terminated (to form a Down service). On leaving Dudley Port the train was routed via the Watery Lane Up
Goods Loop (in the Down direction) to access the crossover at the north end to the Down Main.

287] Redditch: A faded sign at the bottom of Unicorn Hill gives directions to 'Station Parcels' many years
after parcels facilities were withdrawn. In fact, were they ever available at the present (1992) station? Its
immediate predecessor was on the opposite side of the road where the bus station now is.

1226 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE

BLN 1226.288] Elland: The 30-year campaign for a new £10M station has taken a significant step forward.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport committee has carried out a detailed study into
proposals for over 50 expanded or new stations. In West Yorkshire, Elland and East Leeds Parkway are to
be progressed.

1226 ISLE OF MAN
289] Douglas Horse Tramway: (MR p32) (BLN 1224.92) In 2014 there were 61,877 passenger journeys
over the 18 weeks of operation, 3.6% more passengers than in 2013. With proposals for the Promenade
reconstruction not having been finalised, there is still speculation over whether it will be possible to
operate a service during 2015. The Isle of Man government is still in discussion with Douglas Borough
Council over its final form and exactly where the tram tracks will be relocated; if work does not
commence over the summer period it would still be possible to use the existing street tracks. However,
the government insists this would be a decision for the Borough Council to make. British Trams Online (20
December) reports that designs have to be finalised, presented to Tynwald then formal planning
permission is required. All this will take some months so they suggest work will not start until the autumn.

1226 IRELAND
290] Lisburn - Antrim: Ballinderry (5m 29ch) and Crumlin (10m 74ch) loops were lifted and the points
replaced by plain track on 17 January 2015. These were shown as 'loop to be removed' as long ago as the
February 2004 Quail, which also shows this single line route as 'CLOSED except for emergency diversions'.

1226 SCOTLAND
291] Franchising: A summary of powers which could be devolved from Westminster to Holyrood includes
allowing public sector operators to run franchises. Wales has a similar arrangement. (Metro 23 January.)

292] Wemyss Bay: (BLN 1219.1503) P1, on the seaward side at Wemyss Bay, was taken OOU from 19
January; P2 was temporarily shortened from Sunday 18; each applies until 27 April. Both platforms are
normally used. Interestingly, the first Royal Scotsman tour of the year includes an overnight in Wemyss
Bay on 26 April. Realtime Trains shows it, the 07.46 from Bridge of Orchy, arriving in P1 at 12.06.

293] West Highland weather damage: (BLN 1225.207) Bridge of Orchy signal box has been restored to
the vertical (the long term prognosis is unknown) and Banavie LC barrier was repaired after about a week.

294] Haymarket P0: (BLN 1216.1342) Real Time Trains shows P0 booked for three extra passenger
departures to Glasgow Queen Street High Level (RBS Six Nations rugby Scotland v. Wales) on Sunday 15
February at 17.23, 17.49 & 18.25. ECS for the first is from Waverley; the other two from Queen Street.

295] Forth Bridge: (BLN 1204.400) Final design work (from outline designs already developed) for the
visitor centre and viewing platform has been awarded to Arup. It is hoped that build-ready designs will be
available in mid-2015 for submission to local authorities; two local firms will be involved.

296] Borders pie in the sky: (BLN 1224.102) A local councillor has said that a 'halt' should be provided at
Heriot because villagers, who have had to put up with considerable disruption 'deserve it', and he is
unaware of any reason why the future programming of the timetable could not allow a stop…!

297] Borders line: New NR TIPLOCs (timing point location codes) are in their computer systems:

NCRASJN: Newcraighall South Jct. (timing point) TYNHJN: Tynehead Jct. (timing point)

SHWFAIR: Shawfair (new station) GLBKJN: Galabank Jct. (timing point)

KGSGJN: King’s Gate Jct. (timing point) STOW: Stow (new station)

ESKBANK: Eskbank (new station) BWLDJN: Bowland Jct. (timing point)

NWTGRNG: Newtongrange (new station) GALASLS: Galashiels (new station)

GOREBRG: Gorebridge (new station) TWDB244: Tweedbank Signal 244 (timing point)

FUSHBJN: Fushiebridge Jct. (timing point) TWDBANK: Tweedbank (new station)

1226 WALES
BLN 1226.298] Old Offers: (BLN 1225.213) The Valleys Senior Railcard was actually withdrawn from 1
January, but has been reinstated (http://goo.gl/yvF56p) after protests; it is now valid for Cardiff arrivals
after 09.29 any day (e.g. the 09.15 ex-Maesteg). The 'bus pass' deal is valid after 09.30 from the
originating station.

299] Longest name: (BLN 1225.138) Opinion in Wales is that our longest station name is actually Rhoose
Cardiff International Airport. An alternative suggestion of Cathays Cardiff University and Civic Centre is
dismissed as only the first word appears in bold on the station nameplates, and the single word is all that
appears in timetables. [The original item was about the longest single word in a station name - ED!]

300] Machynlleth: Construction of the new footbridge (with lifts) here means that from 2 February to 31
October 2015 the useable length of the Up platform was reduced by 78m at the western end, and it will
not be possible to accommodate six-car trains (are there any?). The Down platform was reduced by 35m.

301] Stone trains: GBRf took over the working of the Bardon Hill group trains at the start of the year, and
this has seen an increase in the number using Pengam Reception Sidings for stabling. Reported workings
have included destinations of Neath Abbey Wharf, Avonmouth, Colnbrook, Angerstein Wharf, Shrewsbury
Coton Hill and Theale. The last Freightliner stone train ran on 22 December 2014 from Neath Abbey
Wharf to Pengam, going forward the following day to Angerstein Wharf.

302] Rare track: Freight train diversions via Tondu took place on 11 and 18 January, with trains being run
round using the surviving stub of the former Garw branch line and loop. There were 10 on 11th and 13 on
18 January; this is the reason the very rarely used Tondu to Margam line is retained. There is no Sunday
passenger service on the Maesteg branch which must assist the operation. On 17 January a NR track
recording train ran from Alexandra Dock Jct. via Swansea Burrows Sidings to Onllwyn and Cwmgwrach,
the first time a train had been to Cwmgwrach since the line was nominally reopened on 7 July 2014.

303] Rare unit working: (BLN 1224.109) Prior to the New Year's Day shutdown, an ECS working took a
142+143+153 combination to Rhymney Sidings. The 153 coupled to a 150 ready to form the 07.45 from
Rhymney on 2 January; the first time a 153 has been recorded there. Class 153 single-car units (prohibited
north of Radyr) are regularly seen on the Cardiff Bay branch and the Coryton / Radyr 'City Line'.

1226 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR14] Epping Ongar Railway, Essex (MR p8): The railway's 2015 Spring Diesel Gala is to be held over the
weekend of 18 and 19 April. From the home fleet both 03s are now healthy and should see their place
restored in the line up. 31 438, 37 029, 47 635 and DEMU 205 205 will all also be available. New addition
to the fleet, Peak 45 132, is still undergoing restoration, but running during the autumn gala is a
possibility. Evening trains, extensive running, heritage buses, beer and non-stop trains all feature again
and the possibility of offering Brake Van rides in the overhauled Shark and a Fish & Chip train [shark
again?-ED!] on Saturday night are being investigated. In addition, subject to works and approvals being
completed in time, it is hoped to be able to use the full length of the line for the first time ever at the
Diesel Gala giving the locos over 6 miles of running and exposure to the steepest part of the line - at 1 in
57!

MR15] Elsecar Heritage Railway, South Yorkshire (MR p9) (BLN 1213.1080): A private charter on Sunday
11 January 2015 used ex-BP Hunslet diesel Louise and a GWR Toad brake van. The stove was lit in the
brake van providing much needed comfort and before departure a complimentary hot drink was
provided. The trip started out from the platform and ran 'normal route' to the current operational limit,
just short of Tingle Bridge Lane level crossing (72ch). A photo stop was made here and progress was
observed on the Cortonwood extension where ballast laying is the next priority. Back at Elsecar, three
sidings were traversed as far as possible, including into the loco shed. Then part of the run-round loop

was covered before returning to the platform and terminating. A guided tour was given including the loco
shed, rolling stock, sidings and a special unveiling of progress on the restoration of an ex-Hull & Barnsley
Railway brake third coach body (which had subsequently also worked on the Neath and Brecon line).
Delightful tickets were provided as a souvenir of the day. There is plenty of scope for a Society visit at this
friendly railway after the extension opens. There is also much of interest to see at the adjacent Elsecar
Heritage Centre (open 10.00 to 17.00 SX with free admission) at the former Earl Fitzwilliam's Colliery and
Ironworks Workshops (NCB area workshops since 1947 until their closure and now most of the buildings
are listed).This railway uses part of the line that once served the 1795 sunk Elsecar New (!) Colliery and
the workshops. The final working mine there, Elsecar Main, ceased production on 28 October 1983.
Below is the Heritage Railway's passenger station at Elsecar on 11 Januaray 2015 (by Jim Sellens).

BLN 1226.MR16] Fenland Light Railway, Cambridgeshire (Supp 3) (BLN 1221.MR197): As part of his
responsible parenting (ongoing annual) 'meet Santa' programme, a member decided to visit this new
(resited) railway - despite it being 90 miles from home! So his family reported at 11.30 on 13 December
for their booked, and as it turned out, exclusive use of the 11.40 departure from Frosty's Halt - also
known as Mereside Drove. On arrival the surprised greeting was "you have come a long way; how did you
know about us?" So he pointed out he had previously visited their nearby former line and found out
about the new one from their website, then produced the track plan. Santa just kept on giving: leaving
Frosty's Halt the train ran to North Pole station (equipped with shipping container to accommodate Santa
and Elf). This is situated on part of the main outer circuit not normally used in passenger service as it is
bypassed by the connections to the inner circuit, so the line has a 'PSU(M)L' in the 'Santa' category and
not the first! Here Santa was engaged in a conversation by his 4¾ year old visitor so detailed in content he
probably had to lie down afterwards. Innocent questions like 'what do you want for Xmas?' meeting with
such specific and lengthy responses that the Elf was probably looking for a notepad! Anyway,

recommencing from North Pole the train then traversed the station bypass line (also normally non-
passenger) and then went on to do the inner circuit connections omitting only the section of the inner
circuit between the connections as this had not had its signalling commissioned (but did operate on their
1 January running day). So all available routes done, present from Santa in hand and replete with mince
pie and fruit punch back in the café, the lunch time break was used to discuss future plans with the
Secretary of the line. It is intended to expand the sidings nearest the road and provide steaming bays and
loading lines so then the carriage sidings will gain their purpose fully. The line received a £9,990 Lottery
grant allowing the rapid progress to date but another is planned and this could be used for several
expansion plans. The very section currently not commissioned on the inner circuit already has passive
provision in the fence line to accommodate a platform for the picnic ground and possibly allow a separate
train to run exclusively on the inner circuit. Slightly more distant (2-3 years) an extension is planned to run
off the outer circuit into the adjacent field away from the road some several hundred yards forming a
loop and returning; all this is on land owned by the current enthusiastic landlord and so only needs
money and effort! The line will be controlled from a signal box, which is just currently a hole in the
ground, but given the enthusiasm and evident work rate so far will likely be fully operational later this
year! Overall an excellent line with enthusiastic people wanting to do more and well worth a visit. See:
http://goo.gl/Q2dpfa.

BLN 1226.MR17] Heaton Park Tramway, Greater Manchester (MR p32) (BLN 1214.MR126): The tramway
is open at weekends over the winter, except during periods of very poor weather. A winter work
programme is underway with tram Stockport 5 moving from Lakeside depot to Middleton Road depot for
assessment and repairs in the hope it can be returned to service in the summer. Lakeside depot now
holds mostly ex-Blackpool cars, plus Manchester 765, which along with Blackpool 619 is the first choice
for service use.

MR18] Clifton Rocks Railway, Bristol (BLN 1119 p204): Participants in our October 2011 Bristol AGM visits
will recall that the preservation trust does not intend to restore a working railway here, preferring to
emphasise the subsequent wartime usage of the tunnels. Considerable further work has nevertheless
been done on restoration of the 'top station', from where the surviving uppermost section of the four-
track line can be viewed. As the site is actually owned by the adjacent Avon Gorge Hotel, public access is
limited, and this year's open days will be 12 April, 17 May, and 12-13 September, between 10.00 and
16.00. Children under 14 are not permitted. The Trust has recreated a sign that stood outside the top
station entrance over 120 years ago. It is based on a recently discovered postcard of the scene shortly
after it opened in 1893. Maggie Shapland, from the Clifton Rocks Railway Trust, said it was 'another step'
towards the site's preservation. 'We just had this awfully rotten board which said 'no car parking'. It was
tied on with rope and it had been like that for three or four years, because we were not allowed to do any
significant work. We have a postcard which shows a very ornate board over the top of the entrance. But
the earlier postcards we had don't actually show that. It just shows the Clifton Rocks Railway archway, so
we thought that would be great to actually put back'. The £3k sign was made by Dorothea Restorations,
(Bristol), commissioned by the Trust and paid for by money from open days, group trips and donations.

1226 OTHERS’ DOINGS:

This is provided as a service to members and details must be checked with the organisers.

304] London Railway Memorials, Part 1, Saturday 28 February: (BLN 1223.1942) Our member, local
railway historian and guide of repute, Don Kennedy will kindly be repeating this event Euston 10.00 to
Waterloo 17.00. Bookings / queries to Don: [email protected] 020 8567 4397.

305] 11 April: (1): The Wight & Sussex Express: From the non-electrified Hooton P0 (dep 05.30 arr 00.15),
'Chester Curve' Shrewsbury, Bescot, 'Soho Curve' (expected), via Kidderminster, to Portsmouth /
Chichester, http://goo.gl/DfjVab. 08448 503137. Incredibly on the same date: (2): Great Western
Express, also from the non-electrified Hooton P0 same route to Worcester SH then Stroud, Foxhall Jct. -
Didcot North Jct. to Oxford; return via Evesham see: http://goo.gl/l0zaec. 01244 678070.

BLN 1226. 306] Ffestiniog Round Robin: A one day circular tour, available on any train anytime in either
direction from stations between Crewe, Chester, Shrewsbury, Porthmadog or Crewe, Chester, Llandudno
Junction and Blaenau Festiniog. Includes a single journey (not return) on the Ffestiniog Railway. Travel
out via the North Wales Coast and the Conway Valley line, returning via the Cambrian Coast line and
Shrewsbury or the other way round. Free extensions are also available from Holyhead, Pwllheli or
Aberystwyth to access the circular route. £32 adults from any station on the tour or North Wales; also
£37 with extension from Birmingham, Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool, Bidston or intermediately to
Shrewsbury, Chester or Crewe. Railcards: Two Together (after 09.30 on SSuX), Disabled, Senior and 16-25
no restriction, £21.10 and £24.40 respectively. Family and child tickets are available. They are notoriously
difficult to find on ticket machines; the 'destination' needs to be entered as 'Ffestiniog'!

307] Dartmouth Steam Railway: (MR p6) http://goo.gl/TrGsxq 01803 555872 'Footplate & Brake Van
Experiences' (11 April to 31 October, not August). For a description of the latter see (BLN 1218.MR 162);
the former covers the ends of lines and run round loops at Kingswear and Paignton Queens Road stations.

308] Railway For Sail? 1½ miles of 7¼ in gauge track, 13 carriages, six steam engines, four diesels, three
stations, two signal boxes, a footbridge also wagons, a café and engine shed _ asking price £350k (reduced
if fewer assets are required). The Rudyard Lake Steam Railway (MR p23) Staffordshire, on the section of
the former Leek to Macclesfield line that CA from 15 June 1964, attracts 40,000 visitors annually, has a
few part-time staff and some 25 volunteers. It has more Facebook 'likes' than any conventional UK
railway and a 2014 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. See: www.rlsr.org/Sale.htm or 08447 011888.

309] Derbyshire Wayfarer: An advance purchase scratch card day rover (self-validated on the day of
travel) for rail (not before 09.00 SSuX except Bank Holidays) and unlimited bus travel (with extensions) in
Derbyshire also direct journeys between there and the centre of Sheffield, Burton-upon-Trent, Uttoxeter,
Leek and Macclesfield. £12 adult (includes a child under 16), £22 up to 2 adults and 3 children and a very
good over 60 rate of £6 (also Gold Card or England National Concessionary Travel Scheme pass holders).
Add on to Nottingham or Beeston stations: £16.50 (concession £8.25); no group ticket. Rail routes: Derby
to Uttoxeter, Burton-upon-Trent, Matlock, Long Eaton and Sheffield thence to New Mills Central / Langley
Mill. Also Buxton - New Mills Newtown and Shirebrook - Whitwell. Buy from staffed stations, many travel
outlets, 01629 536735 or by post but not ticket machines or on trains. See: http://goo.gl/0GTrNx. Any
unused pre-purchased tickets expiring at the end of 2014 can be exchanged for new ones by posting them
(with sae) to The Public Transport Unit, Derbyshire County Council, County Hall. Matlock, DE4 3AG.

310] Ride Cornwall: One day ranger after 09.00 SSuX, (also 08:14 Plymouth to Penzance, 08:40 Plymouth
to Gunnislake and 08:33 Liskeard to Looe) anytime weekends and Bank Holidays. Validity: Plymouth to
Penzance, Gunnislake, Looe, Newquay, Falmouth and St. Ives also First Kernow and Western Greyhound
bus services. £10 adult, railcard £8.30 (two-together only available after 09.30 SSuX), family £20 (2A &3C).

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


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