Number 1304 (Items 920 - 1005 & MR 80 - MR 92) (E-BLN 65 PAGES) 19 May 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
…..BLN 1305 is dated Saturday 2SoJcuientey;. Saollciceotyn.tributions by Wednesday 23 May please.
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Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Sat 2/6/18 PM: The Arlington Explorer PLACES AVAILABLE AGAIN Below JE *OPEN*
Sat 9/6/18 10.30-13.30 Great Bush Railway (2ft gauge) track/traction Below JE OPEN
Sat 9/6/18 14.30-16.30 Bentley Miniature Railway all line railtour Below JE OPEN
Sun 10/6/18 The Sopwith Camel with Chiltern Railways to Calvert Tip Below JE OPEN
Wed 13 Jun 18.00 Crewe Heritage Centre Class 37 photographic event 1301 JE OPEN
Thur 14 Jun The Nosey Peaker, Stafford 08.30 / Crewe 17.00 FULL 1298 JE FULL
Sun 1/7/18 Ketton Cement Works: POSSIBLE EXTRA TRIP - BELOW Below JE NOTIFY
11-12/7/18 Wed/Thur: BLS Cornwall Tracker: APPLY (WAITING LIST) 1302 JE Enquire
Sat 21/7/18 Middlesbrough Goods, AV Dawson, new track & traction 1297 JE OPEN
Thur 2 Aug 12.45 Spa Valley Railway afternoon rare track excursion 1301 JE OPEN
Sat 4/8/18 Provisional minor railway 'all liner' on the way to Invergarry TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 5/8/18 Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway standard gauge rides 1301 JE OPEN
Sat 25/8/18 09.30-10.30 Blenheim Park Railway (15" gauge) railtour 1300 JE OPEN
Sat 25/8/18 12.00-16.00 Beeches Light Railway APPLY (WAITING LIST) 1299 JE Enquire
Mon 27 Aug Summer Scunthorpe Steeler tour No16 (Bank Holiday Mon) TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 15/9/18 Save the date - loco hauled tour - multiple freight locations TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 13 Oct East to West Midlands Railtour with a very unusual first TBA TBA Claimed
26-28 Oct 18 Yorkshire weekend AGM, various fixtures & film show/buffet TBA TBA Claimed
16-19 May 19 **NEW** Island of Ireland IV - save the dates TBA TBA Claimed
JE-Jill Everitt, TBA-To Be Advised, = book online at branchline.uk
920] Railway Rights of Way: (See website under 'More options...') With thanks to Dave Cromarty and
Rhys ab Elis, these pages have now been updated to the end of Dec 2017. Please send all updates to:
[email protected] or to Rhys at 14 Rhes-Y-Twnnel, Casnewydd, Gwent, NP20 4BT.
921] Situations Vacant: (BLN 1302.665) With thanks for the
offers of assistance already received, some specific posts remain
available, most very straightforward. They do not require a
great deal of time/specialist knowledge, nor in most cases
specialist IT skills. Full instruction and guidance will be provided.
As a volunteer Society it is important that volunteers come
forward to assist please. In each case holiday and cross cover
can be provided. In the absence of further volunteers, some
activities will have to be scaled back and others contracted out.
●BLN: Regional Editors for Wales and/or East Midlands -
interesting and rewarding, please contact BLN Editor. For the
following please contact the General Secretary ASAP:
●Website BLN: Loading and releasing e-BLN and extra items,
creating 'AnyFlip' versions, saving backups and checking e-BLN
email message (composed by the Editor). ●Website Fixtures:
Loading and updating pages. ●Fixture Reports photo gallery &
BLN Pictorials: Under development - no special skills required.
●Webmaster administration: Full specialist skill set required: FTP, Webmail, cPanel, PHP, HTML, CSS,
●WorldPay: Familiarity with WorldPay's Business Manager and WorldPay interface (can be acquired).
922] .The Arlington Explorer, Sat 2 Jun: More places available. Arlington Fleet Group Ltd, Rail Works,
Campbell Rd, Eastleigh, SO50 5AD, (850yd from the station). A circular railtour with our refurbished mess
van Molly: NR boundary, River Itchen extremity, full length of the yard returning via the main workshop.
Subject to availability and confirmation, (08567 is under repair but should be available, however 08879 has
left the site and an interesting alternative is being sourced and intended for use on all trips): 14.00 trip
??+Gmdr 4wDH (KOF); 15.00 trip ??+07007; 16.00 trip (FULL) ??+08567; 17.00 trip ??+08567. Advance
booking only, £45 per head, all profits to CLIC Sargent. There is NO car parking on site. Please book via our
website or post to Jill Everitt with a cheque/CPA payee 'Branch line Society' and supply email address/SAE.
923] Great Bush Railway, Sat 9 Jun 10.30-13.30; ALL line, ALL traction event: (MR p16) Connects
with 09.07 London Bridge at *Buxted station (10.16). Tinkers Park, Hadlow Down, Heathfield, East
Sussex, TN22 4HS, (TQ 538 241). Private Society visit to the 2ft gauge, 550yd, Great Bush Railway
for all available tracks and all operational steam and internal combustion locos. Both Tinkers Lane
new platforms (not used during the annual Gala), the recently extended higher level loop over the
site of Organ Halt, the top two shed spurs, Bottom Field Shed spur, shed roads, run round loops &
sidings. £15 members; £20 non-members. *Please advise if you can give (and number)/would like a
lift from/to Buxted station on the Uckfield branch (3 miles). .Bentley Wildfowl Wanderer. Sat 9 Jun
14.30-16.30: (MR p16) Bentley Wildfowl/Motor Museum, Halland, Uckfield, BN8 5AF, (TQ 484 159).
6 miles from the Great Bush Railway, Lunch is available at the Café. The complex 7¼" gauge Bentley
Miniature Railway with a public run of one mile. Unusual track: Ringmer Jn East-West, which lost
passenger trains after the extension to Glyndebourne Wood Jn, with both the platform and bypass
lines plus the most recent Bentley East extension (newer inner platform loop). £10 members; £15
non-members. Book online (preferred please) for both fixtures or via Jill Everitt with email/SAE.
924] Virgin Trains East Coast: Those at our Liverpool AGM last year may recall hearing about a possible
tour to Scotland in early July. This has now been postponed due to the premature end of the franchise.
925] .The Sopwith Camel, Sun 10 Jun:. 3-car Location Trip 1 Trip 2 Trip 3 Trip 4 Trip 5
Chiltern DMU, in support of The Royal British Aylesbury 10.10↓ 13.10↓ 15.33↑ 15.40↓ 18.33↑
Legion. All day rover only £30 Members; £42
non-members; under 18s £15 discount and Quainton Road 10.35↓ 13.30↓ 15.10↑ 16.10↓ 18.10↑
must be accompanied. Join and leave at any
station/s. Includes Calvert Waste Recycling Calvert Waste 14.30↓ 14.50↑ ↓ ↑
Bicester Village. 17.12↓ 17.19↑
facility, each trip also uses Aylesbury North Goods Loop. Aylesbury 10.10 to Quainton Road 10.35, for
almost three hours at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre (BRC) event, marking the 100th anniversary
of the end of WWI. Standard gauge steam and miniature railway rides, café, shop and museum open.
You will need tickets (see next item) for this event from BRC or on the day. Then Quainton Road 13.30
to Calvert Waste Terminal; expecting the line nearer the mainline and, hopefully, also the shunt neck.
Next is Quainton Road and Aylesbury then through to Claydon L&NE Jn, to reverse to Bicester Village
(for both platforms and the very rare crossover) and back to Quainton Road and Aylesbury. This is
expected to be your final chance to cover Claydon L&NE Junction to Gavray Jn both ways before
closure (1 Sep) for East West Rail work. As usual please book via our website if possible or Jill Everitt.
926] .Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Sun 10 June, 10.30-17.00: The Royal British Legion (RBL) takes
over the site for their Centenary Celebrations (100 years since WWI ended) events all day. A Parade of
Standards, Act of Remembrance, RBL Riders, RBL Brass Band, Community Choir, Cadet Parades, Steam
Train Rides, miniature railway (£1 per person). Normal 'steam' ticket admission: Adult £11; Senior £10;
Child 5-15 £8; Family (2A & 4C) £32 some goes to RBL. Book: https://goo.gl/k1wJeC or pay on the day.
927] .Ketton Cement Works. Sun 1 Jul: (BLN 1303.813) Ketco Ave, Stamford, PE9 3SX. Due to this event
being so popular, a fourth 90 minute tour (£45 no discounts), possibly at 16.00, is under investigation.
This also covers the entire railway system, exchange sidings to the NR boundary close to the Oakham
to Stamford line and some track that it was not possible to cover on our June 2015 tours: Exchange
Sidings 1 & 4, the left loop north of the silo, and the sought after Axiom Rail (now DB Cargo) stub.
A peripatetic steam miniature railway will be used to transport participants to the specially built
platform. Please notify interest at our website or by post (no need to email as well) with an email
address or SAE to Jill Everitt per back page. Please do not book travel etc until it is open for bookings.
1304 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
928] Keith & Dufftown Railway, Towiemore Halt: (58m 15ch) (NJ 3948
4558) (BLN 13023.MR73) The location was used for freight off and on,
under at least three different names, probably since the line opened in
1862 (or soon after). OP (unadvertised) 9 Jun 1924 with an old van body as
a waiting shelter and not advertised until (apparently) June 1930 but it
didn't make 'Bradshaw' or the LNER public timetable until 5 Jul 1937! It CP
6 May 1968 with the line.
(LEFT: 1959 map) Platform refurbishment was completed for the 2015
season but the shelter was not. A trial DMU (ECS) first called at the rebuilt
platform 22 Mar 2015. ROP 3 Apr 2015 (Good Friday) but unadvertised at
first; a single platform on the Up side (to Keith) northwest of the line.
Despite there being no publicity the first two passengers caught the 12.15 Keith Town to Dufftown on
Sat 11 Apr 2015 and were given complimentary tickets. The halt has been open since except for a
'short period' in 2017, which the railway is unable to specify for refurbishment of the paltform
(photographic evidence shows that this was on/around 21 Apr 2017). The waiting room and store
were completed in 2017. From the 2018 season the request stop is included in the timetable
https://goo.gl/k9HQNm (bottom). Adult fares are only £11 return, £9 concession for a 20¼ mile trip.
929] Acton Dive-Under (5m 20ch - 4m 40ch): (BLN 1303.817) TCP/A again 00.05 Tue 24 Apr 2018 after
ROP 00.01 Wed 18 Apr (blocked to electric traction) with no evidence of any use during this period.
930] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens† Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1302.691 18 Sep 17 Unknown Seaton Tramway, (Riverside Loop) south end - Seaton
1302.699 02 Jun 18 30 Jul 18 Liverpool Lime Street (total & partial) details awaited
1300.441 0 4 Jun 18 0 8 Jun 18 (Theale)-Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (and five later periods)
1302.700 12 Jun 18 15 Jun 18 (Exeter St Davids) - Barnstaple/(Tiverton Parkway)
1298.214 12 May 18 20 Aug 18 *(Aberdeen) - (Dyce)
1286.1612 22 Jul 18 0 8 Oct 18 (Derby) station/associated lines - a series of partial closures
1297.123 20 Oct 18 29 Oct 18 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Lewes) (also 16 to 24 Feb 2019)
1302.702 27 Oct 18 19 Nov 18 Bristol East Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn; Filton Jn - Patchway Jn;
Feeder Bridge Jn - Dr Day's Jn & Narroways Hill Jn - (Clifton Down)
1304 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
931] EMT Cab Ride (1): (BLN 1299.302) (Keith Sykes.) One of the winners of our silent Railway Children
charity auction describes his day out with East Midlands Trains (EMT). On the morning of Thur 26 April
Sam and myself arrived at Derby Etches Park Depot at 6am to meet our host for the day Martin Ward,
EMT Head of Workforce Strategy. We were shown around the Train Crew Offices and advised that our
booked HST had been substituted by Meridian 222016. This would work 06.38 ECS Etches Park to
Sheffield. We left on time via the Pilot Sidings (although there is only one!) behind the future Derby P6
which is well under construction and took the Down Goods to St Mary's North Jn. This was following a
Class 158 DMU on 06.15 Etches Park to Ambergate ECS forming the 06.57 service back to Derby. At
Clay Cross North Jn we crossed onto the Down Erewash running via Beighton Jn and Woodhouse Jn
to arrive early at Nunnery Main Line Jn where we were held for 10 minutes waiting our path into
Sheffield. We arrived on time 07.32 into P8 to form 1C22 07.46 Sheffield to St Pancras International.
Coffee and pictures were taken and GBRf 66783 'The Flying Dustman' passed south light engine.
Leaving Sheffield this service calls at Chesterfield, Derby (driver relief); we then followed a stopping
service to, and called at, Long Eaton, with further stops at East Midlands Parkway and Loughborough.
The heavily loaded train (because it was a 5 car set on an 8 car diagram but better than cancelling it of
course) left Leicester two minutes late but a fast run resulted in a 2¾ minute early arrival at St Pancras
P4 at 10.03¼. The train is then booked as 10.18 ECS St Pancras to Cricklewood Depot a journey of
nearly 6 miles. From the Down Fast we crossed to the bidirectional Up & Down Slow at Dock Jn South
then on to the Down Slow at Carlton Road Jn to enter Cricklewood via the Depot Exit Road and the
Up & Down Goods 2 running on to North Reception Siding 2. The unit stabled until the evening peak.
Our next train was 11.27 Cricklewood Depot to St Pancras ECS, an HST with power cars 43049 and
43060 which was stabled on North Reception Siding 4. We left via the unidirectional Up Departure
Road and bidirectional Depot Exit Road then immediately crossed at Cricklewood South Jn to the
Up Fast ensuring a clear fast run into St Pancras P3 where it formed 12.15 to Nottingham. We were
shown around the extensive EMT Train Crew Facilities at the magnificent station and then had time for
lunch before joining the 13.15 to Nottingham HST with power car 43055 leading 43083.We left on
time but after being checked by a Thameslink service near Harpenden three minutes were lost to
Market Harborough, the first stop, followed by Leicester and East Midlands Parkway, actually arriving
Nottingham P6 a minute early at 14.54. After a quick station tour our final train was 2A46 15.20
Newark to Matlock with 156405 arriving into Derby P2 on time at 15.50. A thoroughly enjoyable 'once
in a lifetime' experience enhanced by the friendliness and consideration of Martin and all the staff we
had the pleasure of meeting on the day. The cab gives an excellent view of the route and the extensive
work in progress for requadrupling and electrification between Kettering and Bedford. Every driver
we met said that they preferred driving HSTs to Class 222 Meridians!
932] Have We Got More BRANCH LINE NEWS For You? (Fame at last.) This does not
refer to this being the fourth 32 page paper BLN in a row. BLN has now made it on to television,
featuring as the 'Guest Publication' in the satirical BBC1 News quiz on Fri 11 May at 21.00 and the
extended repeat on Mon 14 May at 22.45. It is available https://goo.gl/Xphpyn on BBC iPlayer
until 00.15 on 14 June and needs a sign in which is free. Try filling in the blanks:
1): When a driver had to free wheel his train for 16 miles after Bushey station astonishingly XXXXX!
2): If XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX the branch line News Team is not Guilty. (Answers in BLN 1305.)
933] My First 15 Years of Railtours: This is a new BLN Pictorial by Angus McDougall available to logged
in members on our website (5th along the top on homepage ribbon). The years are 1952-1966 and
most of the 25 photos are black and white you will know it's really special. Includes, Llandudno &
Colwyn Bay Electric Railway (CA 14 Mar 1956), Shipley Colliery, Three Horse Shoes Jn to Benwick
Goods (in open wagons!) branch near Whittlesea, Lasswade rubbish tip siding (Polton branch near
Edinburgh), Heanor South (GNR), Teversall East, Denbigh, Blaenavon Low Level (after closure!),
Leicester West Bridge, Facit, Barnoldswick Goods, Seaton, Reedness Jn, Tyne Commission Quay,
Alexandra Dock (Liverpool), Thornton (West Yorkshire), Market Drayton, Longmoor Military Railway
and Rowrah to mention some. The informative captions reveal many locations visited by the tours.
934] Charity Auction: (BLN 1302.388) With thanks to our well known member, West Coast Railway
Guard, railwayman & prominent member of the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Phil Marsh.
An unusual chance to win two pairs of tickets for the first passenger train from the new Princes
Risborough P4 later this year. Simply email your bid to Phil at [email protected] with
contact details by 16 June. ALL money raised goes to the railway's Project Risborough. NOTE:
Anyone interested in the present 'top & tail' running to what will be part of the future run-round
line should note it is only available until the end of May then closes for remodelling (until August).
ABOVE: Princes Risborough P4 looking north on Tue 8 May, Chinnor trains are still using the future
run round facility 'top & tailed' until the end of the month as seen on the left. It will subsequently be
cut to become a loco headshunt in front of the loco with a facing point accessing it from the end of the
platform. Right is a Chiltern train at P3. See previous item about a charity silent auction. (Phil Marsh)
935] Great Britain XI Tour steamed track: ●19 Apr, King's Cross - Scarborough: Holloway South Jn to
Finsbury Park via Goods; Coldham Lane Down Goods Loop & Sleaford Avoider. ●20 Apr, Scarborough -
Edinburgh Waverley: Malton Up Line; York Holgate Loop; Hellifield Down Goods Loop and Beattock
Summit Down Passenger Loop. ●21 Apr, Edinburgh - Inverness: Thornton Down Passenger Loop and
Kincraig Loop. ●22 Apr, Inverness - Kyle of Lochalsh and Return: Rose Street curve on return. ●23 Apr,
Inverness - Oxenholme: Moy Loop; Mossend North Jn - East Jn; Carstairs Up Passenger Loop; Beattock
Summit Up Passenger Loop; Lockerbie Up Passenger Loop and Plumpton Up Goods Loop. ●25 Apr,
Grange-over-Sands - Cardiff Central: Carnforth No1 Up & Down Goods Loop; Warrington BQ - Walton
Old Jn - Acton Grange Jn; Craven Arms Down Goods Loop & Hendy Jn - Briton Ferry Up Flying Loop Jn.
●26 Apr Cardiff Central - Swanage: Up Relief Gaer Jn - Severn Tunnel Jn; Up Pilning Loop; Bristol East
Depot (Down) Goods Loop; Yeovil Pen Mill - Yeovil Railway Centre - Yeovil Pen Mill and Worgret Jn -
Norden. ●27 Apr Swanage - Victoria: Norden - Worgret Jn; Southampton Up Goods Loop and Clapham
Junction P3 - Longhedge Jn - Stewarts Lane Jn - Grosvenor Bridge Jn. (With thanks to Geoff Brockett.)
936] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1302.MR64] There is good news about the interesting and steeply graded
standard gauge Fawley Hill Railway (MR p7) in Oxfordshire. Sir William McAlpine's widow has now
announced that it will all continue as before. There is an antiques event 1-3 June with public tickets
from £0 to £30 https://goo.gl/ZeBqq5 when the railway is advertised as running. ●BLN 1303.MR72]
The Hayling Seaside Railway and Fairbourne Railway are certainly unfenced - but are not unique in
this respect. Your BLN Editor would like to point out, with sincere apologies to Peter Scott, that the
information (from reliable sources) was added to our Minor Editor's reports just prior to publication
and not by our MR Editor.
●X.60] The temporary station https://goo.gl/Ppy2oD (interesting pictures) and information) near
Hyde Road Jn, Manchester to test the Docklands Light Railway unit was called Debdale Park rather
than Debden Park! One member even recognised himself driving in the picture of the unit passing
Reddish Depot! The trials lasted for three weeks during which there were five public days (14, 14, 20,
21 & 22 Mar 1987). Tickets were 50p Adult 25p senior and had to be purchased in advance but
included the bus journey from and back to Manchester Piccadilly.
Regarding the former Reddish Depot where the test trains ran to (but on the Fallowfield Loop), a
member advises that the Midland Pullman 'DMU' set (and its spare) was stabled and serviced there for
the Manchester Central to London St Pancras service via Peak Forest, Matlock and Leicester in the
early 1960s Walking over to the edge of Reddish (from Levenshulme) with his grandparents on a
Sunday afternoon was a regular part of his life in those days and I well remember being able to see the
Pullman sets. Presumably the Electric Depot was seen as a 'clean environment' and had the capacity.
●901] TBW is Temporary (not Total) Block Working in this item about Newport to Cardiff cable theft.
1304 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron) [email protected]
937] Sharnbrook Jn - Wellingborough North Jn: The Up & Down Slow (Sharnbrook Tunnel Goods Line)
or 'Wymington Deviation' PSUL route has been temporarily closed since Sat 24 March 2018 with track
completely removed over at least two of the bridges for repairs, strengthening and waterproofing.
It is due to reopen at 06.00 on Mon 18 June. Wellingborough P3 is therefore OOU (and has no booked
use in the new timetable). The route is being redoubled as part of the Bedford to Corby electrification.
938] Wellingborough North Jn: At 65m 27ch just north of the station this is reportedly being abolished
in the final layout with the Bedford to Kettering requadrupling. New crossovers are being installed
elsewhere. The 17.00 (SSuX) from St Pancras International to Corby and Sheffield (splits at Kettering),
at least, calls at Wellingborough P1, crosses to the Up & Down Slow at Wellingborough North Jn for
Kettering P2 and did so on Wed 9 May. This train no longer runs as such in the new 20 May timetable.
939] Corby: (BLN 1299.328 with trackplan) The Down Corby line that bypasses the present station
platform between Corby Station South Jn and Corby Station North Jn was not commissioned with the
new layout from 26 Feb 2018, indeed a significant discontinuity was noted in the track on 9 May.
It is understood that there is a gauging problem with the former Down platform (mostly in situ and
was used by the 'experimental' Corby to Kettering service from 13 Apr 1987 until it ceased 2 Jun
1990). More freight has been running via Corby since the line upgrade and resignalling to facilitate the
Market Harborough work. Just north of the station on the Up side the lengthy Corby Run Round
Sidings (the Sectional Appendix name is plural) is one siding facing south with 812yd standage and a
run round loop no longer used by freight. The headshunt point has not been greased recently.
There is regular Margam to Corby Tata Works freight (steel for the manufacture of tubes but it runs
direct from/to Manton Jn. Two trains are booked SSuX and one SO of which the morning one and the
return usually operate but not the afternoon or Saturday trains. Five terminating EMT services SSuX
and three SuO are conditionally booked to stable ECS in the sidings between turns for freight to pass.
This is uncommon as most freight runs at night. Trains wait in Corby platform between services unless
the 'cats eyes' are lit on the platform north signal. The main siding (but not the run round loop) is shiny
at the south end where the point is well maintained and a Meridian DMU was recently seen in it.
Note that this observed train was not picked up by the various online recording systems.
940] Gainsborough Central: (BLN 1303.826) A member wonders if the new terminating trains from
Sheffield after December will turn back in service via the crossover. The points are power operated
and therefore fitted with locking apparatus but the signal for the move, No7, is a disc so should not be
used for a passenger move. It is also not situated at the platform, making it hard or impossible to see
in fog by a train ready to depart. Our member suspects they may have to shunt out eastwards ECS and
then come back into the station on the Down line. They could do this onto the single line towards
Northorpe but then that box would always have to be staffed for trains it never sees. Alternatively
they could use the ground frame operated trailing crossover (74m 60ch) on the east side of the
station, installed to allow run round moves at Gainsborough without having to staff Northorpe box.
From 6 May, the station gained the honour of having NR's newest semaphore signal when GC22/TJ1
signal (on the Down Main) was replaced with a brand new one, 4.5m beyond its predecessor. This very
run down station is expected to be spruced up ready for the new hourly service in December.
941] Scropton: (BLN 1269.3010) The trailing crossover here (22m 56ch) between Tutbury & Hatton
and Uttoxeter stations was noted to be out of use and partially plain lined on our 6 Oct 2016 signal
box visits to Derby to Stoke-on-Trent line. This was confirmed to still be the case on 9 May 2018.
942] Derby: (BLN 1297.1330) The new P6 is largely complete; the far (east) side is designated as a
future P7. On 9 May the canopy support metalwork and stairs were being erected and match the style
of the existing platforms. Between 05.00 on Mon 3 Sep and 05.00 on Mon 8 Oct 2018, new and altered
signalling and infrastructure arrangements will be commissioned between Derby North Jn (excl) and
Chaddesden Sidings, Stenson Jn, and London Road Jn. The Chaddesden branch is to be redoubled.
943] Nottingham Tram tour Mon 7 May: On 30 April we were able to advise members of this short
notice Bank Holiday charity tour, which missed the BLN deadline, with a Branch Line Email, Website
BLS Forum, Facebook and Gensheet postings. A good number went. One local member booked at once
and travelled to Nottingham by Trentbarton Skylink, a very good bus service. He caught a NET tram to
Phoenix Park arriving perfectly at 08.57 for the 09.10 meeting time. The steed for the day was one of
the original batch of 15 for the 2004 opening of Line 1, In-Centro tram 214 'Dennis McCarthy MBE'.
He was a famous Radio Nottingham DJ and presenter, who died in Jan 1997. The tram was on the rarer
left hand platform (from the end of line) and 21 year old 'Driver Minder' Daniel Patterson welcomed
participants and checked tickets (£30). He has been driving since 2015, volunteers at Crich and,
incredibly, was Employee of the Year in the light rail sector's global 'Oscars' event in London in 2017!
BELOW: The ECS for the tour arrives at Phoenix Park. (All pictures by our local member Chris Davis.)
ABOVE: On the trailing crossover north of Nottingham Station seen through a mucky windscreen.
There were over 40 participants on the nicely presented tram, now 14 years old. Our tour followed the
09.22 departure at 09.24, a minute early. The first highlight was The Forest tram stop rare centre road
(which, due to leaf fall, had been problematic with the first of the Society's more recent tours). Then it
ran to Toton Lane terminus, right-hand platform for a 10 minute break. The tram reversed to traverse
University Boulevard crossover and at Beeston Interchange for the 'broken-down tram road'
(the long crossover). Then it was University Boulevard loop and Nottingham Station crossover before
Clifton South platform B. Participants enjoyed a half hour lunch break there, departing at 12.24 for the
crossover between Clifton and Ruddington Lane followed by Clifton Centre turnback. Next Wilkinson
Street Depot Road 4 North Sanding Shed was reached via the west side of the triangle there for an
interesting two hour depot tour. The only problem was the heat of the sun, on this extremely warm
day (bottles of water were provided). Departure was at 15.17, through the Washer and Road 10.
It was stop start, stop start, but not a long wait to return to the network, this time via the east side of
the triangle heading off for Bulwell followed by Highbury Vale crossovers. After a short journey up the
branch Phoenix Park was reached at 15.54. Our member returned home via the delayed 15.52 tram.
It was notable that many of the point changes had to be done manually on the tour. This was a highly
enjoyable excursion, on a lovely day, and well worth doing. The proceeds went to Forever Stars, the
neonatal death charity and Crich National Tramway Museum Society.
ABOVE: Tram shunter at Wilkinson Street Depot. NEXT PAGE TOP: The end of the line
(at the depot) for the former Station Street buffer stops, from when it was a terminus.
NEXT PAGE LOWER: NET Unimog (presumably an old one from the registration plate!).
ABOVE: Ultra rare track, the tour at Clifton South terminus.
BELOW: British Steel Scunthorpe 28 April 2018; track replacement near Bridge 44. (Brian Elliott)
944] Scunthorpe: British Steel has started constructing a new rail mill, for autumn commissioning, to
produce Zinoco-coated rails (designed and developed by British Steel with NR) up to 108m long and
welded rails of up to 216m. The longer sections with fewer welds are stronger and quicker to install.
The coated rails are suitable for very corrosive areas such as coastal railways, wet tunnels, level
crossings, mineral lines and salt pans. Coatings may wear off the rail head in normal service but
corrosion at the foot weakens the rail and hampers longitudinal adjustment at fastening positions.
British Steel is the only supplier in the world able to deliver corrosion-protected rail of this length. Over
the last 18 months longer test rails have been installed in tunnels near Bristol and in Fife culminating in
NR approval. Let's hope this will result in 'new track' at Scunthorpe Steel Works for us too. On that
subject, on Sat 28 April trackwork was being replaced near Bridge 44 on the Works railway system.
1304 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
945] Brockley: Lewisham Council is proposing to add high level platforms to serve the Nunhead -
Lewisham line, with the enlarged station potentially renamed Brockley Interchange. ('Railway Herald')
946] Jubilee Line Microgricing: Thanks to Bill Lynch. Since the last guide (BLN 1267.2044; Oct 2016),
stepping back of Train Operators at Stratford now applies most of the day instead of just peaks and
only uses P14/15. North Greenwich turnbacks are scaled back to 'extended peaks' only. In the core
section the peak service is now 30tph for about 2½ hours, achieved by reversing 4tph at West
Hampstead instead of Willesden Green or Wembley Park. https://goo.gl/MKNw3G the current WTT
No15, is dated 20 May 2018. Arriving train running numbers are shown below in [square brackets].
= Known recent use also to turn back in service during planned engineering blockades.
●Crossovers at Canary Wharf (both), London Bridge, Waterloo, Finchley Road, Neasden
..(trailing and facing), connections with Bakerloo Line, connection at Neasden with northbound
..Metropolitan Line, Charing Cross P4: No booked use (NRU - no regular use).
●Both crossovers at Stratford Depot 'west' end (numbers 9 & 6 points), Charing Cross P3, connection
..at Wembley Park with southbound Met Line and southernmost crossover at Stanmore: ECS only.
●North Greenwich P2 westbound arrivals .
●Neasden with southbound Metropolitan Line: staff trains and ECS only.
P13 dep: SSuX plenty until 07.21¾, several from 23.01; TWThFO 00.05; SO 00.14½, 00.24½, plenty
05.31½ - 07.57, several from 23.01; SuO 00.08, plenty 07.14¼ - 09.47¾, 19.43¾ - close.
P13 arr direct: MTWThO several until 07.15½ [365, 337, 357, 320, 330], several from 22.55 [306,
323, 372, 331, 325, 343, 316]; TWThFO 00.07 , 00.42½ ; FO several until 07.15½ [365, 352,
332, 320, 333], several from 22.55 [135, 357, 325, 141, 142, 143, 346]; SO 00.16½ , 00.28½
, 00.59 , 01.50¼ , 02.20¼ , 02.40¼ , 04.20¼ , several 06.10¼ - 07.50¾
[317, 312, 334, 162, 164, 307, 344, 155, 332, 302], several 23.03 - 23.57¾ [156, 157, 351, 303, 163,
165]; SuO 00.10 , 00.21½ , 00.59 , 01.16½ , every 40 min 02.00¼ - 06.00¼ [163,
150, 155, 161, 165, 153, 157], 07.20¼ , 07.38¼ , 07.52¼ , plenty 08.25½ - 09.41¾ [321,
313, 342, 326, 346, 357, 352, 355, 345], many 19.37½ - 23.47 [337, 351, 315, 355, 353, 325, 326, 331,
320, 305, 306, 310, 340, 345, 347, 357, 353, 355, 316, 317, 320, 331, 303, 305, 307, 342, 346]; MO
Arrivals at (Platform number) via facing crossover at Stratford Market Jn (Number 12 points):
TWThFO 00.10  (14), 00.15  (15), 00.17¼  (13), 00.30  (13), all 00.45¾  - 'M-
Th' close; SO 00.07  (13), 00.13  (15), 00.32½  (14), 00.42¾  (13), 01.10¾ 
(15), 02.00¼  (14), 02.30¼  (14), 02.50¼  (14), 03.50¼  (13), 04.00¼  (15),
04.30¼  (15); SuO 00.07¼  (14), 00.15  (13), 00.30  (13), 00.33  (15), 00.42¾
 (13), 00.53½  (15), 01.22¾  (14), every 40 min 02.10¼ - 06.10¼ [164, 152, 156, 162,
304, 344, 306] (14), 07.00¼  (15), 23.40¼  (14), 23.44½  (15), 23.51  (14), 23.55¼
 (15), 23.59½  (13); MO 00.04½  (14), 00.09½  (15), 00.15  (14), 00.19½ 
(15), 00.25  (13).
P2 east-to-west turnrounds: SSuX 4+ tph 06.45¾ - 11.38½, 14.46½ - 20.08.
P2 eastbound departures: SSuX 05.29½; TWThFO 00.37¼.
P1 dep: Gap SO 01.44 - 05.13½ except at 03.14; gap SuO 03.14 - 06.04.
P2 arr: Gap SO 01.19½ - 05.09½; gap SuO 02.49½ - 05.39½.
P2 dep: Gap SO 23.56¾ - SuO 01.44.
P3 dep: Gaps SuO 01.24 - 03.24, 05.44 - 06.54¾.
947] HS2: (BLN 1285.1487) NR is consulting on extending Euston Up Sidings I & 2 to stable 12-car Class
350 EMU sets and to extend Camden Carriage Sidings 6 & 8 to stable an additional Class 350 unit in
each. This is in advance of work to remove Euston P17 & 18 as part of HS2 enabling work. NR has also
released details of proposed changes in the Old Oak Common area to accommodate the space
required for the construction of the new HS2 and GWML stations on the site and enable the launch of
the HS2 tunnel boring machines. The current proposals, subject to final confirmation, are:
●21 Jul 2018: Disconnection of Depot Road S8.
●24 Dec 2018: Remaining GWR depot decommissioned and the Wycombe Single Line severed.
●24 Dec 2019: Decommissioning of the Heathrow Express depot and Reception Line 1.
948] Crossrail: (BLN 1302.722) From 5 May permissive working was authorised in West Ealing bay P5.
Over the May Day holiday weekend the staircase leading to P2 & 3 at Ealing Broadway was removed
to make way for a new footbridge and lifts. A temporary staircase will be installed and a new
footbridge has already been built at the London end of the station. From 7 May the signalling on the
Washer Bypass Line and the Back Line between Old Oak Common Grand Canal Jn and Crossrail Old
Oak Common depot was brought into use. From 8 May a new crossover was installed (OOU) between
the Up and Down Relief Lines between West Drayton and Iver - does anyone know where please?
Seven 7-car Class 345 EMUs are being transferred to Old Oak Common depot; initially 3 are needed for
the Hayes & Harlington shuttle from 20 May (two diagrams and a spare). Additionally ten 9-car units
are being transferred for testing and trial operation. The OHLE between Westbourne Park, including
the turnback sidings, and Whitechapel through the tunnel is scheduled to be energised from 21 May.
949] King's Cross: (BLN 1301.584) Signalling recontrol and track layout remodelling may be delayed
due to objections from within the rail industry. (NEXT PAGE: Before and after the 1977 remodelling.)
950] Pouparts Jn - Longhedge Jn: (BLN 1301.591) This route and the Canterbury Road curve were
used again by diverted Thameslink trains during the early hours of 24-27 Apr. With the full use of the
route via London Bridge from 20 May, this may well have been the final use of this diversionary route.
951] Thameslink: (BLN 1302.731) From 5 May part of London Bridge Area Signalling Centre (ASC) Panel
5 was re-controlled to Three Bridges Rail Operations Centre (ROC), Lewisham workstation:
ꚚNew Cross (excl) - School Jn (excl) on the Up & Down Kent Fasts and Up & Down Kent Slows.
ꚚSt Johns Jn - Blackheath station (excl) on the Up & Down North Kent.
ꚚNunhead (excl) - Lewisham on the Up & Down Lewisham.
ꚚTanners Hill Jn - Lewisham Vale Jn on the Up & Down Tanners Hill.
London Bridge ASC Panel 6 closed, with re-control to Three Bridges ROC Grove Park 'A' workstation:
ꚚSchool Jn - Hither Green Jn (excl) on the Up & Down Kent Fasts and Up & Down Kent Slows.
ꚚLewisham - Hayes on the Up & Down Mid Kent.
ꚚCourthill Loop Jn North - Courthill Loop Jn South on the Up & Down Courthill Loop.
ꚚParks Bridge Jn - Ladywell Jn on the Up & Down Ladywell Loop.
ꚚNew Beckenham Jn - Beckenham Junction (excl) on the Beckenham Spur.
All signal prefixes have been changed from 'L' to 'TL'. Although 5 May was the official changeover date
passenger trains were suspended from 5-7 May and the special Lee Spur service ran (BLN 1301.588).
A few Thameslink services on the new routes between Peterborough and Horsham, Luton and
Rainham and Luton and Orpington will not operate when the new timetable starts from 20 May.
They will be added progressively until a full service operates from 11 Jun.
X.61 = *980] PREVIOUS PAGE: Thanks to member John Brandon, the this shows the layout at London
King's Cross before and after the station had 'its throat cleared' in 1977. Some 42 years later Network
Rail hopes to remodel and enhance the layout again next year. (*Paper BLN number.)
952] Twickenham: (BLN 1292.2223) In a series of possessions between 28 Apr and 27 Jul, a 48m-long
concrete deck is being installed over the Up Passenger Loop, Up Main and Down Main from the
country end of the station to London Road bridge.
1304 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
953] Tod Point: (BLN 1292.2227) Regarding the South Gare breakwater, the North Eastern Railway
(NER) laid in sidings to take delivery of the 5M tons of slag required, controlled by Tod Point SB, which
closed 19 Jul 1970 when control was transferred to Grangetown. This 1853 map, 6" to the mile
https://goo.gl/UrRHMg shows the area before work began and how the railway to Redcar ran along
the bank of the River Tees. Comparison with modern maps shows just how much land was reclaimed.
Work commenced in Jan 1861 and by the end of the year about a mile of embankment had been
formed across the Bran Sands. However, almost all was then destroyed by a storm. Subsequent storms
also did a great deal of damage, greatly delaying the work, which was not completed until 1884.
During a gale in Oct 1880, almost 100yd of the concrete wall, which protected the slag deposited
between low and high water, was swept away. As the work neared the end, in deep water 2½ miles
from Tod Point, large concrete blocks were needed to resist the power of the sea. The semi-circular
extremity carrying the lighthouse is protected by a wall of concrete blocks weighing between 40 and
300 tons. The writer thinks it quite likely that, following its completion, the same navvies would have
gone on to construct the lengthy Redcar jetty, apparently the property of Redcar Iron Works (see
below), which ran due west for about a mile into the Tees estuary and had been built by the time of
the 1893 Ordnance Survey mapping of the area.
NER staff would have needed to access this remote location by train. A typical navvies' shantytown
was built here, which was probably just as bleak as the roughly contemporaneous ones on the Settle &
Carlisle line. Although no record has been found of an official halt in the 1860s it seems quite possible
that workmen may well have been allowed to get on and off trains unofficially.
Breakwater construction extended the coastline from Tod Point to the north-west and thus separated
the marshland from the sea, enabling its reclamation. This allowed the building of Coatham Iron Works
(Downey & Co) on the northwest side of the line, opened in 1873, and Redcar Iron Works (Walker
Maynard & Co) on the southeast side of the line, opened 1874. Construction work started about 1872
and it is likely that Tod Point Halt opened at this time as an unadvertised station for the construction
workers. BLN 1302.704 states that this station appeared in Bradshaw's Guide from Jan 1873 until
Dec 1873, labelled as a workmen's service. The new settlement of Warrenby (originally Warrenstown)
was established in 1873 to provide housing for workers at the new ironworks. There was then no need
for Tod Point station and it is suspected that it was included in Bradshaw by chance or even in error.
In 1914, Dorman Long & Co, the largest North of England steel producer, started construction of its
Redcar works on the site of Coatham Iron Works, but stretching further north. History does not seem
to record what became of Downey & Co! In Apr 1916 Dorman Long acquired Walker, Maynard & Co,
the owners of Redcar Iron Works. About then, the NER built a new Warrenby Halt for the men working
at the plants (BLN 1259.1217). In May 1916 the Board of Trade (BoT) requested a station inspection
and on 21 Jul 1916 Lt Col von Donop of the Royal Engineers recommended that the BoT sanction its
opening (NEXT PAGE BELOW). It appears then that the station OP probably in Aug 1916, well before
the new Redcar works opened in 1917. (…continued after next page.)
ABOVE: Clearly opening Warrenby Halt 1916 with rather a simpler matter than 98 years later at
Kenilworth! What might the situation be in another 98 years? (With thanks to Richard Maund.)
This is much earlier than 1920 given in Godfrey Croughton's Private and Untimetabled Railway Stations
and Michael Quick's Railway Passenger Stations in Great Britain: a Chronology but makes more sense
in terms of the works that it served. On 5 May 1969 it was renamed 'Warrenby' and CP 19 Jun 1978 on
the opening of British Steel Redcar, now one of our least well served stations.
954] Willington Wooden Waggonway: When investigating this (BLN 1302.735) your Regional Editor
found various websites listing the year of construction as either 1785 or 1795. As most gave 1795 and
this tied in with the gale in 1794, he took this as being the year. However, it is now established that
1785 is the correct year. The timbers taken from the ships wrecked in the 1794 gale were therefore
presumably used to relay (parts of) the waggonway. It seems very likely that wooden rails would not
last long. Unfortunately the line cannot be left in situ as the site is being redeveloped; otherwise it
would surely be included in the list of sites submitted for World Heritage Site status (BLN 1290.2038).
955] Hitachi Rail: The first TPE 19 'Nova 1' Class 802/2 train has left Japan. It is expected here by June
and like the Azumas, it probably arrives at Teesport with the bodies taken to Newton Aycliffe by road.
956] Northern plans: In the franchise commitments the Durham coast line is expected to be as now,
but trains (thought to be Class 156s) will run on a cyclic diagram Morpeth - Carlisle - Nunthorpe -
Metro Centre - Morpeth. Other projects that are progressing well include: Digital train project: on
train customer information displays updated from Control and performance data fed back from trains.
New conductor ticket machines and smart phones. More drivers; but there are still vacancies.
Whitby: New integrated travel centre. Arriva integrated tickets (Northern, CrossCountry, Grand
Central and buses). New ticket machines for stations (cards only) from which users can to talk to
customer services assistants. Ticket gates at Hartlepool, due for installation in September. Some
Nunthorpe trains extended to Whitby. An earlier morning commuter service from Whitby from 2019,
with an 05.xx service from Middlesbrough to form it. This applied when the branch had a two train
service; the early train from Whitby crossed the school train to Whitby at Battersby. Horden station:
Expected to open by 2021; Grand Central has applied to call. A Tees Community Rail Partnership is
planned for Sunderland - Nunthorpe and Bishop Auckland - Saltburn, with Northern leading.
However, the timetable path study for the Middlesbrough - Durham - Newcastle - Carlisle 'Northern
Connect' service (BLN 1300.466) has been delayed until October. Your Regional Editor has long had
doubts about the viability of services between Middlesbrough and Hartlepool due to the unhelpful
railway geography. There is a direct road between Middlesbrough and Billingham whereas the railway
goes round three sides of a square. However, a local contact assures him that, for a variety of reasons,
loadings have grown considerably in the last 10-15 years. More Hartlepudlian teenagers are using
them to go shopping In Middlesbrough and the extension of the Hexham - Middlesbrough service to
Nunthorpe has gained many more users for James Cook University Hospital station.
1304 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
957] Bootle (BLN 1303.842) The industrial loco mentioned is 'The Atlantic Avenue, 1998' Ruston 48DS
0-4-0 Diesel Shunter on the corner of Bankfield St and Derby Rd, near S Norton Regent Rd scrapyard.
958] Bamber Bridge: On Fri 11 May, due to a fault with the facing crossover just west of the station,
the 09.18 York to Blackpool North used it then ran through the Engineers Reception Line (2m 24ch to
1m 73ch). It then took the Down East Lancs line in the Up direction to regain the Up East Lancs line at
Lostock Hall Jn. Although not shown as such on TRACKmaps (Aug 2013) that section is bidirectionally
signalled. After waiting at Blackburn it left there 17 minutes late and was 30 minutes late by Preston.
This was the only train to do this as the offending points were then clamped in the 'normal' position.
959] Wigan: Network Rail is adapting Springs Branch yard for overnight stabling and maintenance of
24 electric and 8 diesel trains for Northern. It is due to be brought into use from December 2019.
960] Altrincham: (BLN 1299.378) Normal double track working on the lines to/from 7m 30ch where
the tracks single to Navigation Road had resumed by Mon 30 April following the repair of the points.
They had been out of use since late Oct 2016; all trains previously ran via the bidirectional Down Main.
961] Stockport - Stalybridge service doubled! (BLN 1302.740) As well as moving from Fridays to
Saturdays in the new timetable the service now starts from Stalybridge P2 at 08.46, runs to Stockport
bay P3A (the present train departs from through P3) where it waits for 35 minutes before returning at
09.45 to Stalybridge P2. They seem to be 'magic trains' that appear and disappear before/afterwards.
Thus the train service at Denton and Reddish South is increased by 100% and becomes bidirectional.
962] Blackpool: (BLN 1303.843) Although Blackpool South trains have been running to/from Colne, in
the new timetable each of the services is shown as running to/from Preston only except on Sundays
when they run through! On other days Blackpool South trains appear to arrive at Preston P2, then a
few minutes later a train mysteriously leaves from the same platform to Colne. Online planners will
not accept this as a connection whereas they may well still be through trains in practice. However, in
the opposite direction trains from Colne are shown as terminating in Preston south bay P3c then a few
minutes later a train leaves for Ormskirk (which now has an improved hourly timetable all day to be
fair). Sundays when there is no Ormskirk service the Colne trains are through to Blackpool South.
So where do the services from Ormskirk back to Preston go? It's obvious really and, from the platform
numbers and times, to … Blackpool South of course! So there seems to be a new hourly circular tour:
Blackpool South - Preston - Colne - Preston - Ormskirk - Preston - Blackpool South and repeat! This is
great for BLS members on rovers as an efficient way of covering several lines by staying on the same
train all day but may well confuse the public. It has certainly already confused online journey planners.
Specifically going from Blackpool South to Colne (or intermediately) they show that passengers have a
65 minute wait for a connection in Preston when they will likely be on a (secret) through train. This is
happening elsewhere in the Northern area (see North East section). So are there operational or other
benefits of this to outweigh the confusion, possibly loss of passengers and importing delays from
different lines? Is it the only way they could provide stock for the new hourly Ormskirk service?
In a similar vein three Sunday Leeds to Lancaster trains rapidly reverse at Lancaster then return to
Leeds but via Morecambe (not going back to Lancaster again). This is clearly planned so that Leeds to
Morecambe passengers can remain on board, but again denied by journey planners!
On Mon night 14 May the first electric train, a Virgin Pendolino, ran on the 17½ mile line from Preston
to Blackpool North https://goo.gl/ZuykVN (picture and a video don the page) which required 1,000
steel structures and 200,000m of electric wires. All the northern services (or at least those not
cancelled) since reopening had been DMUs.
963] Northern Strikes: It is understood that there is no 'official' Northern overtime ban (according to
who you talk to), but allegedly a failure by management to negotiate a rest day working agreement
with ASLEF. On actual strike days Northern
operate an hourly Manchester Piccadilly to
Alderley Edge service (but not on to Crewe).
It crosses from the Up to Down Wilmslow at
Alderley Edge North Jn, all terminate/start
back in Alderley Edge P1 fairly quickly. On
non-strike days the Alderley Edge hourly
terminators have a long layover and are
followed by a service to Crewe so reverse in
the sidings ECS.
LEFT: A Northern EMU turns back in Alderley
Edge P1. (John Cameron Wed 8 May 2018)
1304 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
964] Huntingdon: It might be too late by the time you read this but our Webmaster has found that the
one train a week to use Up Bay P1, the 09.34 (SO) semi-fast to King's Cross is withdrawn in the new
timetable after 19 May. It is only available for departures, all arrivals are ECS but permissive working is
allowed. The train in question ran ECS from Peterborough (08.54) arriving P1 at 09.18 after reversal
south of the station. It connected with the 09.08 from Peterborough to King's Cross (Huntingdon P2
09.22) which ran non-stop after Biggleswade. In the new timetable there is (hopefully!) a new 09.24
Thameslink service from Peterborough to Horsham instead calling at Huntingdon at 09.41.
965] Flying EMU extinct! The 20.10 (SSuX) London King's Cross to Peterborough is booked nonstop to
St Neots, running fast line all the way at 100mph taking 35½ minutes for the 51m 58ch, and average
start to stop speed of 87.3mph. European Timetable News believes this to be the fastest classic
100mph EMU service on conventional lines in Britain and possibly in Europe. However, from Mon 21
May the equivalent train in the new timetable, the 20.06 King's Cross to Peterborough arrives at
St Neots 20.47 with two stops (Stevenage & Biggleswade) taking 41 minutes averaging about 75 mph.
The 17.13 (SSuX) North Western Railway service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street takes
32½ minutes to cover 49m 65ch averaging just over 91 mph but uses 110mph rated Class 350 units.
966] Luton Airport: (BLN 1277.642) Work has started on the £225M Luton 'DART' (Direct Air-Rail
Transit) system linking the airport with Luton Airport Parkway station. It will be a double-shuttle, fully-
automated people-mover capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 2.1km route
will run between purpose-built stations at Bartlett Square and the airport terminal, crossing a new
gateway bridge over Airport Way. In peak time a service will leave each station every four minutes.
Journey times will be under four minutes and the scheme promoters claim that with rail connections
the system will allow people to travel between central London and the airport within 30 minutes
(Luton Airport Parkway to St Pancras International is now 23 minutes non-stop by EMT). The project
has full planning permission from Luton and Central Bedfordshire councils and is scheduled to be ready
for operation by spring 2021. It will create 500 construction jobs over 3 years, 30 apprenticeships, and
17 permanent positions. Markus Schrentewein, Doppelmayr Cable Car Chief Executive, added:
'Doppelmayr is excited to form another partnership in the UK. The Luton DART will be the second APM
UK system built by Doppelmayr after the Birmingham International Airport air-rail link.' The question
is will Lorraine Chase be invited to open it by smashing a bottle of Campari over one of the vehicles?
967] Upminster - Ockendon: On 21 Apr the driver of the 13.54 Fenchurch Street to Southend Central
reported a rough ride on this single line. As a result it was blocked and road transport arranged
between Ockendon and Grays and services were diverted via Rainham. The track alignment was found
to have been affected by clay shrinkage in the heat and a 20 mph speed restriction was imposed.
After a further examination the same day the restriction was eased to 40 mph for later track fettling.
968] Wolverton Works: (BLN 1286.1661) Historic England has announced that its application for a
Judicial Review Hearing in the High Court was granted on 4 Apr. Milton Keynes Council will be legally
challenged at a 23 May hearing over its approval last November at the third Planning hearing for the
demolition of the Wolverton Conservation Area. The previous two hearings had been struck from the
record after what was described by the Council as inconsistencies and procedural errors with
Objectors' submissions vanishing from the record without warning (including a very detailed one from
our member Phil Marsh). Historic England will make the case that the Council's decision was irrational
given the purpose of the Conservation Area designation in 2001 and affirmation in 2009.
969] Didcot - Wootton Bassett: From 26 May OHLE is due to be energised from the current limit of
electrification at Milton (54m 51ch) to Wantage Road: ●Down Main to 60m 08ch. ●Up Main and Up
Relief both to 60m 10ch. This includes: ●Didcot Up/Down Relief Line. ●Down Steventon Goods Loop.
From 8 June OHLE is due to be energised from the then limit of electrification at Wantage Road to
Wootton Bassett Junction: ●Up and Down Main Lines (83m 49ch). ●Up and Down Badminton Line
(83m 37ch). ●Up and Down Relief Lines at Wantage Road. ●Up Swindon Goods Loop. ●Up Swindon
Reception. ●Down Swindon Goods Line. ●Up Swindon Passenger Loop. ●Down Swindon Passenger
Loop. ●Swindon P1-4. ●Up and Down Kemble Lines to (77m 58ch). ●Up Wootton Bassett Goods Line.
●Up Swindon Relief Line. The restricted height overbridge at Steventon (BLN 1301.610) is included.
970] Sizewell branch: (BLN 1303.850) There is no 'staff machine' to take the staff 'out' of; it is not an
electrical system but just a staff without any mechanism. In train 'staff & ticket' working it is essential
that some kind of block working supplements the staff. The staff gives assurance that nothing is
coming the other way, it does not (unless complete with all sections) give an assurance in itself that a
train is not still in the section ahead travelling in the same direction (or stopped). Communication with
the end of the single line is essential, as described, to allow the signaller to receive confirmation from
each train dispatched that it has arrived at the far end before the next train is allowed to proceed.
1304 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
971] Ashford International: (BLN 1303.847) The first commercial Eurostar e320 train actually called
before 3 Apr, although unplanned. The booked Class 373 from St Pancras to Marne-La-Vallée failed at
St Pancras on 31 Mar. An e320 unit was substituted and the train left 90 minutes late, stopping at
Ebbsfleet, Ashford and Lille. Our member travelled on the train from Ebbsfleet to Disneyland.
972] West Worthing: The three sidings west of the station on the Up side are being recommissioned
for Class 700 stabling with target date 30 Apr. Most of the work was done during service suspension
from Preston Park and Brighton to Littlehampton on 22 and 23 Apr when running rails were renewed,
junctionwork cleared of weeds and refettled and (perhaps) signal testing achieved.
The road between No1 siding and the Up Brighton stacked with ballast bags after the work, is not likely
to be included. It has not been connected at the west end (per TRACKmaps) to the Up Brighton for
many years. However, Sidings 1-3 (in the asbestos clad shed that was removed some years ago), had
been recommissioned for Electrostar units but never used in earnest while CIGs and BIGs provided
services. The shed had a concrete floor and the running rails are bolted direct. All three roads take
12 cars, as does the middle siding, used with two reversals for siding access from the Down Brighton.
NR states that the sidings have been brought into use to stable Class 700 EMUs and the traction rails
have been re-charged. Also that no operational changes have been made to the sidings other than a
staff walkway up to the existing sidings apron and associated lighting, perhaps in the belief that they
were never out of use. All moves to the sidings require the awkwardly sited West Worthing level
crossing to be operated and remain closed to road traffic in entry moves while the driver changes
ends. Your Regional Editor secured a first class 700 run from London Bridge to Littlehampton on
27 Apr [should that be congratulations or commiserations?]. It was branded on platform describers as
Thameslink, instead of 'a Southern Service'. (Test runs had been going on for some time). As they are,
of course, fixed formation, 700s are not suitable for workings dividing or joining at Haywards Heath.
1304 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
X.62] Birmingham, Lifford Curve: On Bank Holiday Saturday 26 May (only) due to Proof House Jn
signalling work, Lifford West Jn - Lifford East Jn has what is possibly its best ever passenger service
in one day. There is an hourly (reduced frequency) train each way between Birmingham New Street
and Derby, also Nottingham and Stansted Airport all day, six trains an hour in total. The minimum
journey to cover the curve in both directions is between New Street and Coleshill Parkway.
973] Telford: (BLN 1298.275) Work continues on new footbridge piles and foundations. The steelwork of
part of one of the massive new ramps and the bridge towers supports are erected. (Picture in e-BLN 1303)
974] Birmingham: Transport planning for the 2022 Commonwealth Games has begun. West Midlands
Trains is working with Transport for West Midlands and Birmingham City Council. Several stations are
to be improved including rebuilding Perry Barr (serving the Athlete's Village and the existing Alexander
Stadium), major upgrade works at University (with 3.4M passenger in 2016-17 - more than Crewe!)
975] Kenilworth: On Mon 30 Apr 2018 the station finally reopened after 53 years, though when our
very local member arrived the temporary barriers were still across the entrance to the site so no-one
could access the 72 space car park. Parking is £2 per day, £1 at weekends, £7 for a weekly season, £26
a month or £250 per year. There was an impressive array of suited people in the ticket office where a
first day glitch meant cards could not be accepted [Not for the first time at a new station.] Reportedly
a British Rail London Midland maroon colour 'double sausage' Kenilworth sign above the ticket office
came from the previous station (CP 18 Jan 1965). It was a very cold morning so our member took the
chance to be the first to buy a coffee from the café - a little piece of railway history that would not
normally be reported. This third party retail unit sells tickets on commission and advance tickets can
be collected; there is also a ticket machine. West Midlands Railway manages the unstaffed station.
The space for a future second track and platform (the latter not built contrary to BLN 1303.818) is
obvious. In 2016 NR 'paused' extending Kenilworth Loop south past the station. Last month it was
announced that plans for a second track are back on but for 2027 completion with the opening of HS2!
A second local member duly arrived, and by now the platform was rather crowded, though a student
from Wolverhampton who came early to stake out his photographic location at the far end of the
109yd platform was a solitary figure. (BELOW: The totem from the original station - Simon Mortimer.)
ABOVE: Excitement mounts as the first service train (for Coventry) approaches and…
BELOW: …then stops at the new station. (Both Simon Mortimer)
The entire Kenilworth Town Council appeared to be present including the Lady Mayor, complete with
her chain of office, who along with a colleague was handing out 'Certificates of Achievement' for being
one of the first hundred passengers on the new service (PREVIOUS PAGE UPPER). These turned out to
be very popular! [Perhaps for our two members they should have been Certificates for the BLS Royal
Order of Getting Out of Bed early?] However, you didn't actually have to board a train to receive one
and filling in the name was a DIY job. The media was also present with some impressively big cameras,
but everybody seemed to have a camera and was busily snapping away. At one point the Mayor was
heard to say that they had actually found a commuter!
The ECS 05.25 from Birmingham New Street No1 Siding (between P5 &6) went through to Leamington
Spa at 05.54 right time; though our two members on the platform thought it might be late, as the
turnaround would have to be quick (it is actually booked to take 6 minutes).
The evening ECS runs back from Coventry. The first public service, single car 153365 left Leamington at
06.08 arriving Kenilworth 06.15 on time - had it not turned up our members would have been in the
Dog House. (Also how appropriate that Kenilworth should be served by a so-called 'Dog Box' even if it
wasn't going to Barking or the Isle of Dogs. A 2-car Class 172 DMU ex-Gospel Oak to Barking line is
anticipated later in 2017 with through trains between Nuneaton and Leamington if they can NUCKLE†
down to sorting this out.) About 12 alighted, then the mob boarded, rapidly filling the 75 seats so the
slightly late departure was full and standing. A sign saying 'Welcome back Kenilworth' was placed in
the driver's windscreen. [†Nuneaton Coventry, Kenilworth and Leamington Spa line.]
Mercifully, about 30 people did not join, including some of the media who obviously wanted to film
the departing train. Journey time to Coventry is only eight minutes and arrival in P4 was nearly three
minutes late. A surprising number of people left the train to find out what delights Coventry offered at
6.30am, so it was a three quarters full train that formed the 06.33 Coventry to Leamington; the first
southbound train to call at Kenilworth. The crossover from the Down Kenilworth to the Up Kenilworth
line from Coventry P4 has seen little use in recent years, so one member was pleased to do it again.
BELOW: The first passengers on the first train. (Simon Mortimer)
PREVIOUS PAGE UPPER: The first passenger train from Coventry to the reopened station, with
'Kenilworth' showing on the platform 4 Passenger Information Screen. (Simon Mortimer)
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Leaving Kenilworth for Leamington, the feather at the platform end is for a
Coventry train going in to the loop. The future second track and platform will be right. (Paul Griffin)
This train was booked to use the bidirectional Kenilworth loop but, as the freight that should have
been on the through line was 18 minutes late, it failed to do so resulting in a five minute early arrival
back at the new station. One member continued to Leamington Spa to do the new Foundry Wood Jn
crossover (106m 39ch) on return. This is not shown on Aug 2013 TRACKmaps and permits trains to the
Coventry line to access the Down Kenilworth line (the renamed Down (Branch) Coventry line) from bay
P4. Until 13 Nov 2017 the signalling did not allow a Coventry departure from Leamington P4 (once
passenger trains could only arrive in P4 and leave ECS). The other member, who it can now be revealed
was your International Editor enjoying a rare passportless UK outing, decided to make the 10 min drive
home instead and back to bed!
Realtime Trains shows the service departing Coventry P4 (except SSuX 22.43 from P3 formed by the
22.17 from Leamington). No crossover is involved with a P3 departure but it is rare directionality.
At Coventry, between arrival into and departure from P4, the train shunts ECS. At Leamington Spa P4
is used except for the 17.36 (SSuX) from Coventry and the 07.36 (SO) from Coventry. They both arrive
into Leamington P3 and shunt ECS to P2 to for the 18.00 and 08.00 respectively back to Coventry
BELOW: The first arrival from Kenilworth at Leamington Spa P4, the man holding the sign
(which was carried in the cab of the train) had painted it himself! (Simon Mortimer)
NEXT PAGE UPPER: The train has left for Leamington, but some are reluctant to go home,
well they had waited a very long time for the first train…. (Paul Griffin)
The reopening campaign was started by two local men in 2004. About 1,000 passengers used the
station on the first day. It has a 'traditional' building based on the previous one, selected in 2014 from
three options following public feedback. As a result of the new service a timetabled passenger service
is now booked to use Kenilworth Loop and cross a passenger train for the first time. This is the 22.17
SSuX Leamington to Coventry, passed by the 22.04 Birmingham New Street to Reading CrossCountry
service. A few others are booked to, less reliably, use the loop subject to freight service timekeeping
(some are 'conditional' paths) and, for no obvious reason, the 12.35 SO Coventry to Leamington.
976] On the Hop: From The National Archives, Kew, Document RAIL 250/468 GWR; GM Reports to
Traffic Committee, 28 Nov 1946: During the 1946 hop picking season about 18,000 passengers were
conveyed from the South Wales and Birmingham areas to the hop fields in Herefordshire and
Worcestershire, a total of 111 special trains being provided compared with 98 last year. These trains
were a feature of the Leominster Jn (on the Worcester - Malvern Line) - Bromyard - Leominster line.
977] Midland Metro: The first battery powered tram in public service ran on Friday 20 April. (Twitter)
1304 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
978] No Horsing about now: From 21 May the clipped and padlocked out of use, now non-interlocked
mechanical points (17m 07ch) at Gilberdyke Jn for the former Horse Dock Sidings are due to be
recovered and replaced with plain line.
979] West Yorkshire: A £32M station improvement programme has started, expected to increase
passenger numbers and promote employment. Car parks will be enlarged. South Elmsall is to have 50
more spaces, doubling capacity. Work will take place at Hebden Bridge, Normanton & Mytholmroyd.
980]: In e-BLN this item is in the Greater London section between items 951 & 952 (don't ask).
To Scarborough To Market Weighton
To Skelton Jn Layerthorpe Murton Lane Gas Works LAYERTHORPE
Harrogate Dunnington Halt &
YORK Osbaldwick FOSS ISLANDS
Dunnington (for Kexby)
York Pass. Goods
Chaloners Whin Jn N
To Selby Elvington
Foss Islands Goods
1 Leeman Road Jn Rowntree's works
2 Clifton Jn
3 Waterworks Jn Burton Wheldrake
4 York loco Lane Jn
5 York Goods
6 Former York station Cottingwith
(York & N. Mid. Rly)
York Yard North Thorganby
2 3 Layerthorpe KEY
4 Foss Islands Gds
York YORK DVLR line with dates
York Yard South 5 OA 19.7.1913 All
CP 1.9.1926 All
Skipwith CG 1.1.1965
Holgate Jn CG 18.5.1968
To York NER/LNER/BR
Cliff Common & other lines
To Market Weighton
To Cawood Selby
CSD To Doncaster To Goole DERWENT VALLEY LIGHT RAILWAY
and surrounding lines c. 1950.
Not to scale. Historical maps used by
permission of the Nat ional Library of
Scotland : http://maps.nls.uk/index.html
ABOVE: The Derwent Valley Light Railway York Layerthorpe passenger terminus back in use for
scheduled steam specials on 26 Jul 1977. BELOW: After arrival at Dunnington (4¼ miles) end of line;
beyond the buffer stops the railway once continued to Wheldrake and Cliffe Common. (Ian Mortimer)
981] Derwent Valley Light Railway (DVLR): (BLN 1298.279) The map on the page before last is thanks
to our member Dave Cromarty. This light railway, which remained independent at Grouping and
Nationalisation. It opened 21 Jul 1913 and passenger services (withdrawn from Wed 1 Sep 1926) were
always unprofitable. In Oct 1976 steam specials ran 4¼ miles between Layerthorpe and Dunnington in
conjunction with the National Railway Museum. There were summer steam specials from 1977 until
1979 when the passenger numbers declined and they stopped running.
On 9 & 16 Jan 1965 the last trains to traverse the entire 16 mile York, Layerthorpe to Cliff Common
line were run by the RCTS West Riding branch. Two Mk 1 coaches (unheated of course but no one
minded!) were hauled by 204 HP diesel D2111. Departure from Layerthorpe was scheduled for 10.30;
the actual time on 9 Jan was 10.35. A 10 minute photo stop was booked at each station other than
Dunnington Halt and Cottingwith, which were five minutes. The timings were quite easy, with Cliff
Common reached 13.00, 10 minutes early. Return was also 10 minutes early at 13.30. A special bus
was run between York station and Layerthorpe for participants.
During WWI, some trains diverted from the ECML ran between York and Selby via the DVLR and the
facing running connection to the North Eastern Railway at Cliff Common. Seaside excursions operated
between the wars to Scarborough via Layerthorpe and to Bridlington via Cliff Common. In view of the
first Beeching Report proposal to close the Selby to Driffield line in the 1960s, agreement was reached
with British Rail (BR) to exchange all freight traffic at Layerthorpe as an experiment. This reduced
unprofitable mileage such that freight ceased to be exchanged at Cliff Common about 1960 according
to the RCTS tour itinerary. Regular traffic ceased south of Skipwith in Nov 1961 (and therefore Cliff
Common DVLR CA); perhaps this was the date that freight ceased to be exchanged? Cliff Common (BR)
CP 20 Sep 1954 and CA 27 Jan 1964. Clinker's Register states that 'interchange was withdrawn' on
14 Jun 1965. This is a somewhat meaningless 'official' date, probably the expiry of the legal agreement
between BR and the DVLR, particularly as the railway had obtained an Abandonment Order (below) for
the section south of Wheldrake that was effective from 9 Feb 1965! Probably the final revenue
earning through train was 27 Sep 1963, the first day of the five day SLS/RCTS 'North Eastern Rail Tour',
which ran York - Foss Islands - Layerthorpe - Dunnington - Cliff Common - Barlby North Jn - Selby.
ABOVE: A typical DVLR freight in 1963 passes the only signal on the line at Wheldrake (David Mitchell).
60 years ago this week, on 17 May 1958 an organisation by the name of the Branch Line Society ran a
tour from York to Cliff Common and back. It was originally advertised from York BR station but sadly
new MoT (Ministry of Transport) regulations had come into force, preventing it running over the Foss
Islands branch. It therefore started from Layerthorpe. A very interesting loco hauled tour organised by
the Locomotive Club of Great Britain North West Branch ran on a rather foggy Sat 6 Jan 1973 through
to Dunnington, the terminus at that time. It took a convoluted route from the Leeds area through
Harrogate - Skelton Jn - York Yard North to arrive at York Yard South facing south. This was necessary
to access the Scarborough Goods Lines, the direct connection from York Yard South (Leeman Road Jn)
to the Scarborough line at Waterworks Jn, which crossed the ECML on the flat at the north end of York
station. It was probably the last passenger train to do this line, which may have been lifted the
following year. On the way back from Dunnington it shunted into Foss Islands Goods (in the dark)
'by local arrangement' - ie unofficially! Our own 'Ouse and Aire' tour of 24 Oct 1970 also covered the
Scarborough Goods Lines, arriving from the south via York Yard South and reversing at Poppleton on
the Harrogate line before running via York Yard South to Rowntrees Halt. It did not visit the DVLR.
On 25 June 1964 the Derwent Valley board decided to close the line south of Wheldrake to all traffic.
An application under the Transport Act 1962, Section 83 (Abandonment of Independent Railways) was
made to the Minister to abandon the line from 1 Jan 1965. As no objections had been received by the
cutoff date of 1 Dec 1964, the Minister made the abandonment order on 9 Feb 1965. The railway was
abandoned south of Elvington on 18 May 1969 then to Dunnington 30 Sep 1972. The last train had run
to Elvington on 22 Jun 1972 with the track lifted beyond Dunnington in the August and September.
To conclude the story, York, Layerthorpe to Dunnington was abandoned 1 Oct 1981 with cessation of
the grain traffic; the track dating back to the original Jul 1913 opening of the line also needed relaying!
A 30ch heritage line, part of the Yorkshire Museum of Farming (MR p9), ROP 23 Sep 1983. Foss Island
Jn (with the DVLR) to Layerthorpe Wayahead Fuels Siding CG 31 Dec 1988 along with Burton Lane Jn
to Foss Islands Goods - latterly there were four trains of fuel oil per month to the DVLR (then down
from 16 miles to 500yd). These were 'official dates' but BLN 605 (9 Mar 1989) records that additional
trains also ran on 18 and finally on 23 Jan 1989! The BR branch was lifted by June 1986. The former
operating company, Derwent Valley Holdings, became a London based property business, now
Derwent London, a property investment/development company owning 87 buildings worth £4.9bn!
PS: On 2 Apr 1984, your GS enjoyed a BLS brake-van tour with 08096 from Dringhouses Yard through
York station to Foss Islands, including the residual DVLR stub. This connected up his trip on a DVLR
farewell trip of 27 Sep 1981 with D2298 on Mk 1 coaches from Layerthorpe to Dunnington and return.
NEXT PAGE TOP: A 2 Apr 1984 brake van (organised courtesy of the then Assistant Area Manager at
York who was a friend of our present Treasurer!). From the van in a rather empty looking Foss Islands
Yard with strong evidence of previous sand traffic. (Ian Mortimer and next picture both 2 Apr 1984.)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Layerthorpe oil siding, then the final section of the DVLR; York Minster is middle
left. On the van veranda is the late, great, Doug Eacock - our Membership Secretary from 1983-1996.
982] Northallerton request: Does any member have access to BR North Eastern Region working
timetables from the early 1950s please? Our member Richard Maund has been researching the line
via Boroughbridge Road to determine the post-war date when it started to be used for passenger
trains: ●No such usage was booked in summer 1950. ●There was quite extensive use booked in
summer 1954, including even some Monday - Friday trains, not merely summer SO. Unfortunately,
that is as much as he can glean because Working Timetable (WTTs) for the other years are not in
archives to which he has access. Can any BLN reader either (a): Answer this question (giving the
source of their information), or (b): Point to accessible WTTs for summer 1951 and 1952 please?
1304 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
983] Londonderry: (BLN 1302.882) A potential legal challenge has been lodged against the recently
approved new £27M Transport Hub. Planning permission was granted for Translink's new facility at the
old Victorian era Waterside station at the 11 April meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council's
Planning Committee, which heard from those opposed to, and in favour of, the project. The meeting
was told that 41 letters of objection and a 2,900 signature petition had been lodged against the
proposals. Despite the objections, councillors voted in favour of the development. The council's Lead
Legal Services Officer, Philip Kingston, told the meeting he had been made aware that an application
had been made to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), in relation to the application. The
application was for a 'call-in', a procedure which allows contentious decisions to be reconsidered if
15% of councillors believe it was not properly reached or would adversely affect a section of the
community. This could lead to a legal opinion being sought on the matter. After clarity was sought on
the matter from the SDLP's John Boyle, Mr Kingston said that it would not affect councillors being able
to discuss and decide on the matter at the meeting. The DfI confirmed that it had 'received a request
on the 11 April to call in Translink's application and it was being considered. However, it was
announced on 3 May that the request had been refused. A local pressure group Into the West has
threatened to seek a judicial review of the planning decision.
984] Belfast: (BLN 1303.883) Although Translink stated Belfast Central would be renamed Lanyon
Place in September, (rather than in December), they are already referring to 'Belfast, Lanyon Place
[Central Station]' in their journey planner and the downloadable pdf timetables have been altered to
read '†Belfast, Lanyon Place' with a footnote '†Belfast Lanyon Place - formerly Central Station'. There
are big 'Central Railway Station' signs at the top of the tall building which will be a significant task to
change. On the Society's recent visit it was noted that Lanyon Place is a prominent name in the area.
985] Irish Rail: An inspection car ran from Waterford to Greystones via Rosslare Strand on 25 Apr.
Single Line Working was operated over the Up Line between Facing Crossover Points 865 at Laois
Traincare Depot and Trailing Crossover Points 755 at Ballybrophy on both Saturday 5 and 12 May.
At Sligo the turntable remains in situ with track on it but securely fenced off, the connectiins are lifted.
Up to four trains stable here overnight, the fifth departure (SSuX) is the first train from Dublin. The
former Sligo Quay branch (to the buffer stops at the first underbridge) is also used for stabling. After a
gap the rest of the branch is in situ to the container terminal with some rails even in the road beyond.
1304 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
986] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (MR p32) The IOM Department of Infrastructure has purchased
Summer Hill Stables from Douglas Borough Council for £600k and they will now be retained for their
original purpose. The planned temporary stables on the old Summerland complex will no longer be
required making that site more attractive to potential investors. Built in 1877 the stables have been in
use as such since. Douglas Borough Council retained ownership when the horse tramway operation
was transferred to IOM Transport. This was because a deal couldn't be reached for their continued use
so they were put on the market. Agreement was reached for use in the 2018 season but ownership
remained with the Council and they were still for sale despite pleas for them to be listed.
Despite increased patronage the tramway posted a 'loss' of almost £500k in 2017. However, it has
emerged that this includes capital expenditure (possibly the dilapidated tram shed, the trams and
horses). A significant amount is being spent on the trams and there are a few new horses, including
one described as a 'rescue horse' (Thunderbird?) and ticket machines have been purchased. Our local
members don't expect to ever see a proper breakdown of the figures but the future looks good now.
1304 WALES .NB: (Paul Stewart) covering. [email protected]
X.63] NEXT PAGE UPPER: Ystrad Mynach station 5 Apr 2018 the Down platform (to Cardiff), a DMU
heading up the Rhymney valley is about to call at the Up platform and a coal train from Cwmbargoed
to Port Talbot Grange (steel works) waits to cross to the Down main. (Nick Jones)
987] Cylla (Penallta Colliery) branch: (BLN 1213.1140) On 5 April, a member walked the length of this
former branch, latterly serving Penallta Colliery. It left the Rhymney Valley line at Ystrad Mynach
North Jn (just north of Ystrad Mynach station unsurprisingly). The junction was plain-lined long ago
and the branch track inside the current railway boundary lifted as far as the fence. On the branch side
of the fence, track re-commences immediately - although overgrown with the usual birch and
brambles. Catch points are still in situ (possibly additional to trap-points at the junction itself?). These
would derail any unauthorised traffic which might have run away down the steeply graded branch.
Hereabouts the formation widens for a presumed small yard, although only a single track survives. The
intact metal bridge over Pantycelyn Street near the start of the branch looks wide enough to have
carried 6 tracks although the bridge itself is now fenced off on both sides. North of this bridge, track
continues to (ST 143 948) from where rails have been 'lifted' (in a different sense, they were stolen!).
Concrete sleepers continue however, labelled '1973 BR'. Possibly the branch was singled and relaid
around this date? A bridge abutment on the west side (ST 143 949) marks the point where the ex-
GWR Penalltau Jn to Maesycwmmer Jn section of the Pontypool Road to Neath (Vale of Neath) line
crossed over the Cylla branch. On the east side, new houses have removed all trace of this GWR line.
Sleepers continue under the Penallta Road bridge.
LEFT: 1:25,000 OS 1951 map, bottom
left is the present Ystrad Mynach
station, the Rhymney line is the
lower one off to the right. The lower
line off to the left is the still
operational Cwm Bargoed Open Cast
Disposal Point branch. Top centre is
the end of the Penallta branch in the
valley with the zig-zag gaining height
to Penallta Colliery top left. There
was a further zig-zag within the
colliery. About (ST 144 952) on the
east side are the remains of a brick
building with concrete roof. A few
yards north, the sleepers end
abruptly and the trackbed then
becomes a properly surfaced path.
Presumably this is a modern-day
property boundary, although it is
unlikely to be the former National
Coal Board (NCB)/British Rail (BR)
boundary as railtours proceeded to
the end of the line and NCB locos are
not understood to have operated
here. Rounding a bend, the
formation widens, corresponding to
the former run-round loop. The
colliery (and main colliery sidings) were at (several) higher levels, necessitating a triple zig-zag descent
from them down to the branch. Recent housing occupies the intermediate levels between the former
branch and the pit head. However the headstocks and some of the buildings still survive at the upper
level. The branch formation continues to (ST 143 962), where it meets Pottery Road (on the level -
really!), the end of the line at Penrhiwfelin Goods siding, with the former Penrhiwfelin Halt.
Quick advises it was railmotor served for about 3 months (in 1910 or 1911).
The Cylla branch OG 1906, from Ystrad Mynach South Jn (13m 41ch from Cardiff East Dock).
The 'official' closure date from Ystrad Mynach North to 'Penrhiwfelin Goods' (ST 142 966; 15m7ch)
was 22 Nov 1998, though it was actually severed by 1995 after much track was stolen. The branch was
shown out of use in the Sectional Appendix from 22 Jul 1995, although no trains had passed for some
while. The last tour seems to have been Monmouthshire Railway Society's 16 Apr 1988 'Trelewis Bog'
30 years before our member's recent explorations. Railtours generally terminated near the end of the
branch, such that members wishing to travel the connections to the Colliery needed to make friends
with NCB and BR loco crews to complete the three zig-zags and achieve overlap, with BR loco working
to exchange sidings on the first 'zag'. The sinking of Penallta Colliery, the final Rhymney Valley deep
mine, began in 1905, the first coal was produced in 1908 and the last on 1 Nov 1991. There was a brief
resumption of rail traffic in Dec 1992 to clear coal stocks from the site.
NEXT PAGE TOP: https://goo.gl/fFKkWg Penrhiwfelin 13 Apr 1968, Warwickshire Railway Society,
South Wales Railtour No2. The rounding loop at the end of the branch looking north (middle right). The
link to Penallta colliery was to the left this side of the box. Penrhiwfelin Signal Box (which did lean like
that) was formerly called Melin Cylla Junction and had been reduced to a ground frame on 2 Sep 1963
(which is why it was boarded up). It was abolished 6 Oct 1971. (Angus McDougall 13 Apr 1968)
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER Penrhiwfelin (the
end of the branch) looking south (the end of
line is behind the photographer) showing
the British Rail worked first incline up
to the Penallta Colliery Exchange Sidings.
https://goo.gl/kEwTX2 has details of this
23 Oct 1982 'Rod Mill rattler' railtour.
LEFT: The (north) branch extremity on a
1919 OS 25 inch to the mile map clearly
showing the site of Penrhiwfelin Halt. The
signal box is marked 'S.B' lower left margin;
the Penallta Colliery branch is the furthest
left line at the bottom left corner of the
has a great deal of detail (zoom in).
'S.P. = Signal Post.'
THIS PAGE BELOW: A pair of Class 37s on
the Penallta Colliery line 17 Apr 1981, note
the trap points which were removed by the
time the next picture (previous page lower)
was taken in October 1982
ABOVE: Back in April 2018, looking north from Ystrad Mynach station platform. The Rhymney line is
off to the right and the Cylla/Penallta Colliery/Penrhiwfelin branch went straight off in the centre
between the two lots of fencing that can be seen. (Rest of pictures Nick Jones 5 Apr 2018.)
BELOW: The fence across the former branch with a train on the Rhymney line behind.
ABOVE: Not a design for an extremely difficult jigsaw puzzle but track in situ with trap points.
BELOW: The end of the rails.
ABOVE: West side bridge abutment (ST 143 949) where the ex-GWR Penalltau Jn - Maesycwmmer Jn
section of the Pontypool Road to Neath (Vale of Neath) line crossed over the Cylla branch.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Further along the branch past Penallta Road bridge, view south of the bridge.
NEXT PAGE LOWER: A former railway building at (ST 144 952).
SECOND PAGE UPPER: The end of the sleepers and start of the made up pathway.
SECOND PAGE LOWER: The made up path where there used to be two tracks on the branch.
PREVIOUS PAGE UPPER: The houses are on the former colliery sidings site and the zigzag path is on
route of the track bed; looking north.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Actually just east of, and beyond, the former end of line where the
continuation of the track bed path meets Pottery Road (middle right is where it crosses Nant Cylla -
'nant' means a brook in welsh). The Road, bridge & brook are on the map at the beginning of this item.
ABOVE: Penallta Headstocks and pit head buildings remain https://goo.gl/ncdu31 at the top level.
988] Rhondda Tunnel: (BLN 1303.905) An Eastleigh member has kindly advised that he managed to
cover the Treherbert to Bridgend line on 10 Sep 1966. Although not yet then a BLS member he had
somehow found out about the line's doubtful future. After 51+ years as well as the long tunnel his
main memory was seeing Landore based D9542 (Class 14) derailed after overrunning the trap point at
Blaengwynfi. Fortunately it and its train had been cleared enough to allow the normal service to run.
989] Port Talbot Up goods loop (UGL): (BLN 1302.794) From Mon 23 to Fri 27 Apr, the 11.10 & 15.10
ATW Swansea and 12.45 Llanelli to Cardiff services were booked to recess here after calling at
Port Talbot Parkway. This was for Swansea to Paddington HSTs to overtake. They were booked to run
early for the time required by electrification works between Newport and Severn Tunnel Jn then after
could pick up their normal paths to London. (All services were using the Relief lines from Newport to
Severn Tunnel Jn, with the Bishton Flyover and the Down line to its side, for work on the Main lines.)
One member on the 11.10 ex-Swansea was delighted on the approach to Port Talbot to hear the Train
Manager advise passengers that they could reach Bridgend and Cardiff quicker by changing at
Port Talbot as their train will be 'going in the sidings' to let the next service by. Some took this advice
but our Microgricing member remained but became concerned that the speed of departure was in
excess of the 15mph restriction to enter the loop. Both fortunately and unfortunately, then, the 11.10
stayed on the Up Main resulting in a lengthy wait at Pyle for its retimed departure thereby holding up
the following HST to Paddington. His train then used Up Stormy loop for the London service to pass
(11 minutes late as a result, with the 11.10 also delayed). The Train Manager suggested signaller error.
Of course, BLS Members are a determined lot. So undeterred he and, separately another, sampled the
12.45 ex-Llanelli and 15.10 ex-Swansea. Both were correctly routed from Port Talbot via the UGL for
the London HST to pass as booked. Port Talbot Parkway platform end signal showed a single flashing
yellow aspect and the next signal a steady single yellow (with the left hand feather illuminated) to
enter the loop. Of note, at Cardiff Central, terminating services from Paddington used P2 via line 'C' at
Long Dyke and the facing crossover installed Xmas 2017 at the western platform end. P3/4 at Newport
were out of use, with Down trains on P1 and Up on P2. Up services on departure took the little used
connection onto the through lines to the Up Relief on their way to Bishton Flyover.
990] Ebbw Electrification: (BLN 1303.898) Work moved to the Ebbw Jn area from 5 May; the Cardiff
Central - Ebbw Vale Town service was buses for the next two weeks (except Sat/Sun 12/13 May).
Down services through Newport used P1 and then the Down Relief. Up Services entered Newport P2
via the uncommon connection from the Up Relief after the right-hand tunnel, crossing to the Up Main
at Maindee West Jn. Paddington to Cardiff terminating services crossed outside Cardiff from the Up
Relief to the Down Main (some also to Up Main) at Long Dyke Jn, including the lengthy crossover from
Up Relief to Down Main. Services from Cardiff Central P1/P2 also used that crossover to the Up Relief.
BELOW: Electrification at Gaer Jn earlier this month during the temporary closure of the Main lines.
Round to the left is the line to Cardiff Central, the single line is to Park Jn on the Ebbw Vale branch.
The tracks behind the photographer lead to Newport station. (Nick Jones)
991] Do trains turn into pumpkins at 00.00 in Wales? ATW promoted rover tickets differ from others
on National Rail in that journeys must be completed by midnight each day. Other rovers including
parts of Wales are valid until 04.29 next morning, train services allowing (!) such as Freedom of Severn
& Solent, Coast & Peaks and All Line Rovers. ATW's rovers https://goo.gl/qqkexq has details: ▪Explore
Wales Pass (three versions: Wales; North & Mid-Wales; South Wales); ▪Explore Cambrian Ranger;
▪Ffestiniog Round Robin; ▪Heart of Wales Circular Day Ranger; ▪North Wales Rover; ▪Explore Cardiff &
Valleys. ▪Valleys Night Rider (but not all night!); ▪Explore West Wales Day Ranger; ▪Explore the Capital.
First issue a South Wales Bus & Rail Card which is not constrained by a midnight conclusion to travel!
992] Pace yourselves for no more 'leeks' in Wales: (For the convenience of those who did not see
e-BLN 1303.) Those who like riding about in 'Pacers' (and other such forms of torture) will be delighted
to hear that they are now expected to remain in service in the Principality long after they have gone
down the pan elsewhere. There may even be more Arriva-ing from Northern. However, to meet the
1 Jan 2020 European Union Persons of Reduced Mobility Technical Specification for Interoperability
Accessibility Specifications (take a breath) the toilets may be locked out of use. This would save £10M
on converting them which is not deemed worthwhile for their likely residual use. One plan is to have
more and improved toilets at stations. With the intended 'Metro' frequency in the Valleys to be at
least four trains per hour passengers would be able to take toilet breaks. At least that is the theory.
Is not locking the toilets out of use unnecessarily discrimination against able bodied passengers?
993] Shotton: The direct path between the high and low level platforms has been closed since 22 Jan.
(BELOW: The high level platforms looking towards Bidston - Ian Mitchell, 5 May 2018.) Passengers
changing between the North Wales Coast and Bidston-Wrexham lines have a longer walk between the
two stations via the Alexandra Street and Chester Road. The signs say this is to enable refurbishment
of the lower level station footbridge, but interestingly the footbridge itself was open on 5 May.
THE CORRIS RAILWAY
ABOVE: The Corris Railway and associated quarries at its full extent by 'Gwernol' (assumed - based on
copyright claims) https://goo.gl/MpsEpx with permission. The spots are former passenger stations
/halts (1883-1923). The current heritage service operates from Corris south to Maespoeth Junction.
994] The Corris Railway: (MR p29) By our now local member, BLS Committee member and BLN
Regional Editor, Graeme Jolley (also Corris Railway Hon Secretary). The Corris Railway was the first
narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales opening 1859 as a 2' 3" gauge gravity/horse-worked tramroad.
It carried slate from a network of local quarries to ships on the River Dovey southwest of Machynlleth
at Derwenlas. With the 1863 opening of the standard gauge Aberystwyth & Welsh Coast Railway
(which became part of the Cambrian Railways in 1865) from Moat Lane Jn (near Caersws) to initially
Borth, the Corris Railway was cut back to Machynlleth. Slate was then transshipped onto the standard
gauge there. Steam locos arrived at Corris in 1878 and passengers were carried from 1883 to 1930.
The Railway thrived near the end of the 19th Century, some years carrying over 80,000 passengers and
large tonnages of slate. It pioneered omnibus tours for its passengers. Traffic waned in the 20th century
and the Great Western Railway took it over in 1930 - largely for its bus services. The passenger service
was quickly withdrawn and a limited freight service ran until British Railways closed the loss making
railway without notice after the last train ran on 20 Aug 1948. Flooding of the River Dovey undermined
a railway embankment (a good excuse to close the railway) although the line was not breached.
The Aberllefenni (end of line) to Corris section was lifted in Nov 1948, this track and the remaining two
locos, wagons and the brake van were sold to the recently preserved Talyllyn Railway. By the end of
1950 track lifting had reached Machynlleth. Everything that could be scrapped was scrapped.
The track bed was disposed of and soon all that remained of the railway was a few of its buildings.
In 1966 what would become The Corris Railway Society was formed with the intention of preserving
as much of possible of the history and artifacts of the line. Initial progress was slow. The main part of
Corris station had been demolished and the station yard had become the village car park. To the north
of it properties had been extended across the line. South of the railway's engine shed at Maespoeth Jn
(south of Corris) the trackbed formation was destroyed. The shed at Maespoeth was used by the
Forestry Commission. In 1969 Corris station building which had housed the railway's road coaches and
motorbuses was purchased to display the many items of railway heritage collected by the Society, and
the first section of Corris Railway Museum opened the following year, enlarging as repairs were made
to this highly dilapidated building. The engine shed was acquired from the Forestry Commission in
1981. Later sections of the trackbed were purchased from various sources and by 1985 three quarters
of a mile of track had been laid linking Corris and Maespoeth. In view of the relatively rare 2' 3" gauge
all rolling stock and locos had to be built or adapted and it was not until 2002 that everything was in
place to allow the start of a regular public service. At first a diesel loco with a single carriage and brake
van was used. We now run an hourly Corris to Maespoeth seasonal service, weekends, bank holidays
and during the summer holiday period - check the timetable for dates, traction and special events.
The original Corris Railway had four steam locomotives but two had been scrapped by 1930. With the
surviving two in operation on the Talyllyn Railway the only way to re-introduce steam was to build a
new one. In 1995 a project to build a new steam engine based on the design of loco No4 (Kerr Stuart
0-4-2, 1921) was started. By 2005 this was complete and as No7 entered service.
All the infrastructure necessary to support an operational railway also had to be built. Maespoeth
shed did not have mains water or electricity when the railway took it over in 1981. We have since
reestablished well equipped workshops and were able to do the 10 year boiler lift on No7. We now
have three operational carriages, all built in house. We have also rebuilt and maintained our diesel
locos and wagons. A signal box has been built at Maespoeth on the site of the original signal cabin -
at its prime the Corris Railway was fully signalled - and most of the yard points have been connected
to its lever frame. The engine shed was built in 1878 to house the original three locos. While providing
a good basis for our engineering work it is not adequate to house our increasing fleet of locos and
carriages. In Feb 2006 work started to construct a 150ft two road carriage shed and workshop on part
of the field by the Maespoeth site. This was completed in 2009. The railway fully managed the project
in house, providing labour and skills to do much of the construction work including all the steelwork.
Now the Corris has an operational fleet of one steam engine, three diesels and one battery electric
loco. Work started in 2009 on a second new steam loco. This will be a modern reworking of the
original locos 1 & 3. The frames, boiler and driving wheels are complete. Funding is mostly by
subscription and activities by a small and dedicated group of members. Work proceeds as funds allow.
The only two surviving Corris Railway carriages were used as grounded outbuildings for over 30 years
so are in a very poor state. One has been rebuilt for operational use on the Talyllyn Railway. The other
has been imaginatively restored in our Museum to show its two working lives - first as a carriage and
later as a hen house! All the surviving material has been incorporated into this restoration. During its
peak at the end of the 19th Century the Corris Railway was owned by a tramway company, which
resulted in its original passenger stock consisting of short four wheeled carriages with balconies at
each end. These did not prove to be robust or comfortable enough to survive for long and in 1888 the
first bogie carriages started to arrive. Most of these were pairs of the original four wheelers shorn of
their balconies joined together on a new bogie underframe. A central entrance provided access to the
vehicle, on one side only in view of the very limited clearances. By the end of the century eight of the
resulting uniquely styled carriages were in service. Initially the Society built one reduced sized carriage
in the same style, which it placed on a four wheeled NCB manrider chassis.
As passenger traffic has grown four carriages to the original pattern are being built by volunteers in
house. These are constructed to modern safety standards and as a result the structural elements of
the frames and the chassis are all steel (but with a heritage appearance). Two are now in service.
Two major physical factors have limited our growth. The first is the very restrictive space at Corris.
This has resulted in limited car parking in a village which is already very short of parking; a separated
Museum and station with a tiny platform with space for only two and a half carriages and no run
round facility. The train has to propel out and we have a far from ideal situation. The original Corris
station was, by the standards of the narrow gauge in Wales, a grand affair with an overall roof, a
carriage shed and a signal cabin as well as the surviving coach house, harness room and parcels office -
now our shop and the museum. We are not going to be able to recreate anything on this scale;
however, we do have planning permission to construct a new station using our existing land.
The second limiting factor is the short [but very authentic and evocative - Ed] ¾ mile ride that we offer.
We give passengers a shed talk at Maespoeth but they are with us for just an hour, the train trip itself
taking less than a quarter of this time. In an area when many holidaymakers are regular visitors to
caravans and holiday homes we are aware that if visitors have travelled on the railway once we have
to offer something special to try to draw them back again. We have relied on our friendly enthusiasm
and regular developments in infrastructure, rolling stock etc to bring them back. This can only work to
a limited extent and the question that we are regularly asked is 'when are you going to extend?'
Some years after the line was closed the A487 trunk road was straightened just south of Maespoeth
removing a section of the railway's trackbed, a shelf beside and below the trunk road. With the help of
the local council and the road authority this shelf is extant below the break and we have outline
permission to extend the line for two miles beyond the existing railhead. A great deal of work will be
required to bring the trackbed up to modern usable standards, and other significant issues remain to
be resolved. This work can continue while we try to fill the gap with about a third of a mile of new
alignment. This will be a major piece of civil engineering, as it will require the building of a new high
and steep sided embankment between the A487 road and the River Dulas. We now own the land for
this embankment and have most of the necessary permissions to allow us to proceed…
The organisation of the railway and its volunteers has had to mature as the change from running
occasional working parties to running passenger carrying trains has taken effect. The Corris Railway
has also had to manage, like its larger sister railways in Wales, a move to a more carefully regulated
Society. As a relatively late-comer to this field with no existing infrastructure we have often been faced