Issue Number 1242 (Items 1804 - 1882 & MR 160 - MR 168) (E-BLN 38 PAGES) 3 October 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
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British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society
BLN 1243 is due on 17 October and all cSoonctieritbyu. tions must be received by 7 October.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
Sat 10/10/15 HST railtour with GWR Buckfastleigh & Heathfield lines 1240 JE Open
Sun 11/10/15 Kent & East Sussex Rly. 08.30 Tenterden, DMU railtour 1240 DG Open
Sun 11/10/15 Romney H&D Railway 13.15 Comprehensive railtour 1240 DG ENQUIRE
Sat 17/10/15 *OPEN* RTC Visit Derby *SEE BOTTOM OF BACK PAGE* 1242 PS NOTIFY
Fri 23/10/15 Bo'ness & Kinneil Rly 10.00 Standard/miniature tours 1241 KA Open
Fri 23/10/15 Lathalmond Museum Standard gauge brakevan rides 1241 KA Open
Sat 24/10/15 Ribble Steam Railway 11.00 Railbus tour 1238 JW Open
Sat 7/11/15 RBF Tracker railtour 08.00 NB: FIRST CLASS IS FULL 1239 KA Open
Fri 13/11/15 AGM FIXTURES, NRM South, North Yard and Miniature 1241 PS Open
Fri 13/11/15 AGM, REGISTRATION 19.00 BLS 60th AGM, York NRM 1241 TW Open
Sun 15/11/15 BLS Tyne & Tees 09.15 Mainline railtour from 1242 KA *NOW*
*NOW OPEN* Tracker TPE railtour York (SEE BOOKING FORM) 9OPEN
Sat 23/01/16 **NEW** all day fixture A date for your new 2016 diary TBA TBA Claimed
DG-Darren Garnon, JW-John Williamson, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ - Nick Jones, PS-Paul Stewart, TW-Tim Wallis
1804] First Devon and Exeter Explorer HST Special, Sat 10 Oct: Full details (BLN 1240.1623) and it
has now been confirmed that Sir Kenneth Grange will be travelling on the train! He was responsible
for the aerodynamics, interior layout and exterior styling of the nose cone of Class 43 HST power
cars and many other amazing designs. He will be autographing various items such as tour brochures
in return for charity donations. Card payments are now available on this railtour in the usual way.
1805] AGM Fixtures, Fri 13 Nov: As indicated in e-BLN, the NRM has confirmed that, regrettably, the
Road Train will not be running on 13 November. Daily running is 28 March to 1 November this year.
The fixtures are booking well and anyone who has only booked the riding fixtures can upgrade to the
full day for just £10 to see our member Gerald Daniels give his AGM illustrated talk. This is based on
his 'life as a proud railwayman 1954-1993', including a stint as Salisbury BR Area Manager from 1978
to 1988. Gerald, co-author of Passengers No More, is a well known enthusiast with many interesting
and amusing anecdotes. A quality buffet will be served (included in the price) in the interval; it will be a
great social occasion and a celebration of our 60th anniversary. Further information: (BLN 1241.1724).
1806] BLS Tyne & Tees Tracker, Sun 15 Nov: A booking form for this AGM Weekend mainline
charity railtour with TPE is enclosed; those who take e-BLN will need to print it off. The many
highlights include Crofton Depot and Middlesbrough West Dock. Limited capacity, so prompt
booking is advised. NB: There is no need to email the organiser - please just send the form in!
1807] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Bromley South, London end trailing X/O, Sat 3 Oct: London services turn round in P2.
Poole, London end facing X/O, Sat 3 Oct: many services from the east turn round in P1.
Royston, country end facing X/O, Sun 4 Oct: 05.35, 05.55, 06.35, 06.55 & 07.28 ex-Cambridge.
Beckenham Junction bay P4 - London end trailing X/O - Up Chatham Main, Sun 4 Oct: 07.10
and half-hourly to 23.10 then 23.22 & 23.52 departures from Beckenham Junction to Victoria.
Bournemouth London end trailing X/O, Sun 4 Oct: after 10.06 SWT deps east are from P3.
Bournemouth London end facing X/O, Sun 4 Oct: all 'CrossCountry' arrivals are into P2.
Fareham Bay P2 (NRU), Sun 4 Oct: GWR services from west turn round until 15.32 to Cardiff.
West Ruislip, country end trailing X/O & Gerrards Cross, country end facing X/O: 4 Oct: 08.20,
08.50, 09.21. 09.47 & 10.21 from West Ruislip P4 to Beaconsfield P1.
Oxford, Hinksey North Jn - Up & Down Passenger Loop - P1: All services from the south all day.
Par P3 - Up Main - country end trailing X/O, Sun 4 Oct: 13.10 & 22.26 from Par to Penzance.
Sandbach P3: 07.22 (SSuX) Crewe - Salford Crescent (a 3 x 2car 'Pacer' is booked to wait in P3
from 07.30 to 07.35 and be overtaken by the 04.35 Cardiff Central - Manchester Piccadilly).
Scunthorpe, London end trailing X/O, 07.22 (SSuX)/07.30 (SO) to Adwick departs from P1.
Waterloo P20: (SSuX) 16.35/18.35/19.20 to Reading, 18.05 Aldershot 16.12/17.42 ex-Reading.
Hatton P3 to Down Dorridge line: From 26 Oct the 16.24 (SX) Marylebone to Birmingham Snow
Hill is held in P3 (18.32/39) to allow the 17.15 Marylebone to Kidderminster to overtake via P2.
Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, Lakeside P1, 7 & 8 Nov: Thomas weekend brakevan trips;
rare platform and extended headshunt (not shown on TRACKmaps Aug 2013), 01539 531594.
ABOVE: The former Tunbridge Wells West station in August 1984, (CP from 8 July 1985) looking west
towards Eridge. The station building (right) is now a pub/restaurant, slightly east is the Spa Valley
Railway station alongside the former locomotive shed. This can just be glimpsed through the gap
underneath the rear of the platform canopy to the right; see also http://goo.gl/Sg3ycY (Ian Mortimer).
1808] FIXTURES REPORTS; Spa Valley Railway (SVR) Rambler, Thur 30 July: (93/60) On a pleasant
summer evening, 26 members met at Tunbridge Wells West station at 16.00. It was immediately
evident that the 7¼" gauge railway had been lifted and it emerged that our previous visit of 31 July
2014 had been its final day of operation! Our railtour stock consisted of Thumper coaches 60151 ex-
1133 and 60820 ex-1122 hauled by 73140 towards Eridge and vice-versa on return; departure was
from the run round loop line alongside the loco shed. The revised landslip deviation is still in use west
of the station; remedial work on the bank was progressing slowly and it is fortunate that it used to be a
double track formation, so able to accommodate the deviation. Groombridge Signal Box and signalling
has been commissioned since last year's railtour. After taking the loop there in the 'unusual' direction,
the train ran down the right hand side of the remains of the former curve towards Ashurst Jn (CA 6
January 1969), which line had been cleared to the stops especially for us; the 2014 trip had used the
left side. Meanwhile a service train had passed, so the tour was able to return to Groombridge and,
after reversal, on to Eridge. The NR/SVR boundary is crossed at MP28 then the site of the former
Birchden Jn (with the Oxted to Uckfield line). Next is Forge Farm level crossing (which has to be staffed
when the SVR runs) and Eridge. Here the running line was traversed to the buffer stops. On return to
the SVR platform, there was discussion among the train crew and station staff as to where the key to
the bay platform point clamp was. Clamp duly sorted, the bay was covered to its extremity. Returning
to Tunbridge Wells West the tour ended on shed road 4, participants alighting by assorted steps. As a
bonus Thumper 1317 ran along shed road 2 covering the headshunt and into the shed to put it away,
concluding at 18.15. This all complemented our 2014 tour nicely. Thanks are due to Glen Wells for the
arrangements and all the friendly SVR staff.
1809] BLS Norfolk Broads 'swinging' signal box visits, Sat 1 Aug: (94-99/60) 21 members met at 09.30
outside Norwich Thorpe station on a hot sunny day. After a safety briefing from host and guide, Local
Operations Manager Adrian Webb, the small convoy headed off to the nearby Trowse Swing Bridge.
https://goo.gl/6Q5SBf Hidden away, the box is accessed very obscurely through Colman's Factory (NR
do have running powers!) and, after being waved though Security (obviously as keen as mustard!), the
box was reached via an internal road which does not appear on any maps. There was some discussion
on the day about this access road and if it might have been on the course of a previous internal siding.
On opening in 1987, this was just a Bridge Box controlling the River Yare swing bridge on the Norwich
to London main line. As part of electrification and resignalling, a new single track bridge was
constructed. The previous bridge, the same design as Oulton Broad (visited later), was double track
and remained in use while the new bridge was constructed and tested alongside. It has an unusual
rigid overhead metal AC conductor rail (known as a 'bar conductor'), which we were able to view close
up, instead of overhead wires. The bridge is out of use to tall boats and can only be operated
manually, a rare event. River traffic is advised that it is unable to be opened by two red flags on the
roof of the box (as elsewhere). If a swing bridge is available to 'open' for river traffic, then one red flag
is flown. A double track replacement has been suggested for this single track rail bottleneck which
causes delays. For the options being considered see (BLN 1221.1708).
Around 1988 the Norwich area 'emergency panel' was moved to Trowse Swing Bridge box when
Colchester took over control of the area. This panel was first commissioned on 26 January 1986 (with
the area subsequently extended) in a temporary 'Norwich Box', just south of the station on the Up
side. If Colchester loses control of the Norwich area, the panel can be switched in and operated under
the supervision of a Colchester signaller. It cannot be operated as a 'block post' in its own right as
there is no telephone concentrator (railway jargon for a mini-switchboard). Some of the signallers in
the box use the panel display to help regulate conflicts at Whitlingham Jn, as they can see if any
services are delayed leaving Norwich. The final piece of the jigsaw is the Vaughan Harmon Modular
Control System VDU workstation, commissioned in 2000 to control Whitlingham Jn and the
Sheringham branch. It works track circuit block to fringe with Brundall and Colchester (Norwich Panel).
[BLN 1242.1809 - cont.]
The signaller sets routes using the entrance/exit principles either by using the tracker ball or the
keyboard. As well as supervising a CCTV crossing at Walpole, the box looks after several other
Automatic Half Barrier and user worked crossings. There is an old style gong on the wall above the
workstation which is the emergency alarm from Colchester. This was tested during our visit with 16
bells – 6 (obstruction danger!). It makes a pleasant change from the screech of the new style alarm
from Brundall Box, also tested during the visit, but there would be no mistaking which alarm is which!
After thanking the duty signaller, the group made for the rather isolated Somerleyton station for
Somerleyton Swing Bridge over the River Waveney. Prior to making our way to the box, via the
authorised walking route, Adrian took a line blockage. This procedure, repeated on returning to the
station, was required as a safety measure due to our group size and because the walking route was on
or near the running line. The box works absolute block to Reedham Swing Bridge and Oulton Broad
North boxes. The 1904 Great Eastern box has a 14 Lever McKenzie & Holland frame and the bridge
control equipment. The provision of outer home signals in both directions means the bridge can be
swung without the need to 'block (the line) back' to either of the adjacent boxes, unlike at Reedham
Swing Bridge. The Down signals (SB7 & SB8) are shown as having detonator placers but these are no
longer used as NR is unable to source detonators! In order to avoid delaying trains, the signaller is
instructed not to swing the bridge for river traffic after accepting a Down train from Reedham. BELOW:
The most remote location visited, only accessible by walking along the railway or by boat, note there
was a line possession and the bridge is open to river traffic anyway. The single red flag flying indicates
to river traffic that it can be opened if required. A double red flag indicates that a bridge cannot be
opened, for example unstaffed, stuck or broken down. (All pictures in this section: Andrew Gardiner.)
As it was the peak summer season river traffic was busy and the bridge was opened and closed several
times during the visit. This allowed members to observe proceedings from the signaller's perspective
on the operating floor and from a place of safety behind the box. The basement locking room (which
[BLN 1242.1809 - cont.]
also housed the two electric motors for the bridge) was also visited. To swing the bridge one motor
releases the wedges which keep the bridge fixed and at the right level for rail traffic; then it rises about
a foot and is finally swung by a cable pulling it. The process is reversed to close it to river traffic.
BELOW: Instructions (more complicated than might be imagined) for operation were on the wall of the
box. Picture (partly in shadow) by Andrew Gardiner for more see https://goo.gl/e73HZK website.
While the signaller usually keeps an eye out for boats, they can make contact by VHF radio. Wooden
advice boards attached to the box have been replaced by a screen-based system controlled from the
box using a laptop. These advise river traffic of when the bridge will open and for how long. In addition
to controlling the bridge, the box releases a ground frame for a trailing crossover just south of the
station. It is electrically released by Lever 5 but is rarely used (mainly during engineering work) and is
expected to be removed with resignalling.
BELOW: During a line possession, the BLS Orange Army returns after a successful invasion of the
normally tranquil and remote Somerleyton Swing Bridge box; a ¼-mile northwest of Somerleyton
station with no road access. The box and one of its semaphore signals is on the horizon round the
curve in the middle of the picture. The bottom of the Lowestoft (Down) P2 north end ramp is at the
foot of the picture. A relatively unusual feature nowadays is that passengers have to use the Barrow
Crossing shown to reach and exit the Norwich Up direction P1 (left). Despite the station's remoteness
it has a train every two hours to Norwich and Lowestoft although services do not stop on Sundays.
[BLN 1242.1809 - cont.]
Next was Lowestoft an 1885 Great Eastern box with a 61 Lever Saxby & Farmer Duplex frame installed
in 1905. It controls the three platform station, (P2-4 as P1 no longer has track) as well as a relatively
extensive, but heavily overgrown, set of sidings and works absolute block to Oulton Broad North.
Routing codes are added to the normal 'Is Line Clear' bell code to let the signaller at Oulton Broad
North know if the train being offered is for Ipswich or Norwich. While traffic is relatively light, this
feature is useful if the schedule is altered.
The box is extremely well kept, with a polite notice on the block shelf asking signallers to always make
use of the lever cloths provided. Other interesting features include the foot press electrical releases for
points and facing point lock levers, locked by track circuits. The signaller has to press them with his
foot when operating these levers. If the respective track circuit is free, then the lever will be released
electrically. While they need to be operated for point lever movements in both directions (i.e. normal
or reverse), they only need to be used for facing point levers when the points are being unlocked (i.e.
it is possible to reverse the lever and lock the points even if the respective track circuit is occupied).
Trains approaching the station are advised of their route by a theatre route indicator on the inner
home signal. This will display '2', '3' or '4' for the platforms or 'S' for the Sidings. While the indicator
itself is operated electrically, the levers are all mechanical. Prior to operating the lever for the signal
itself (lever 57 main arm or 38 calling on arm), the signaller will set the route and then pull the
respective route lever (53, 54, 55 or 56). The route is then proved by a combination of mechanical
interlocking in the box and mechanical detection outside on the ground. Adrian showed the group the
latter feature, which was clearly visible from a place of safety; a sort of Victorian mechanical
computer, with numerous wires and rods but safe, effective and had certainly stood the test of time.
While the distant signal is now fixed at caution (as it is defective), it was previously worked; relatively
unusual for a terminus because buffer stops are considered to be a signal at danger.
[BLN 1242.1809 - cont.]
Oulton Broad North was then visited. As well as the junction with the East Suffolk line, the box
controls the very busy A146 level crossing. Despite signallers doing their best to minimise delays to
road traffic, this is a hot topic locally and was challenging to members of our group trying to take
external pictures from the other side of the road! This 1908 Great Eastern Box was extended in 1928
when Oulton Broad North Junction Box was abolished. It has a 35 lever McKenzie & Holland frame and
works absolute block to Somerleyton Swing Bridge and Lowestoft. The former Radio Electronic Token
Block (RETB) working has now been replaced by track circuit block on the East Suffolk line where it
continues to work to Saxmundham, aided by a VDU train describer. As there are no slot arrangements
in either direction, it is in theory possible to have a 'Mexican standoff' as there are no controls
preventing both signallers setting a route onto the East Suffolk single line at the same time! While
there is no risk of collision as there are intermediate signals on the single line, the train from Lowestoft
would need to reverse if this issue was ever to arise! The Up line from Lowestoft is fully track circuited
despite being operated as an absolute block section. This feature allows the Oulton Broad North
signaller to send 'train out of section' to Lowestoft even if he has not seen the tail lamp; particularly
useful as East Suffolk trains do not pass the box (it is on the Norwich line west of the actual junction).
The box also controls Victoria Road Level Crossing by CCTV. Lever 20 electrically releases for Oulton
Broad Swing Bridge. Additionally slots are provided on the protecting signals 19 and 21.
After a short walk the group arrived at the penultimate location, Oulton Broad Swing Bridge 'opened'
(!) in 1907. It differs from Somerleyton, and Reedham, in that the bridge control cabin is on the Bridge
itself rather than in a riverbank signal box. This means the signaller actually 'swings' with the bridge
and, in the event of a (rare) failure, would be trapped and need rescuing by boat! It must be quite a
nerve wracking experience the first time the signaller operates it unsupervised. A separate signal box is
provided; a modern temporary cabin replacing the original signal box that was condemned in 2005.
[BLN 1242.1809 - cont.]
ABOVE: The previous 1907 vintage Oulton Broad Swing Bridge, the upper section was removed in 2005
as it became unsafe; the 10 lever frame went for preservation at the 7¼" gauge Barton House Railway,
Wroxham. The lower locking room remains but looks very odd with its flat roof. (Angus McDougall)
The bottom of the original box is now an equipment room. As it is now in effect the equivalent of a
'gate box' and not a block post, a release has to be provided by Oulton Broad North (rail traffic
permitting) before the bridge can be opened. In addition to this release, the signaller takes back the
slot on the two protecting signals using a small panel in the cabin. This then releases a mechanical
lever on a small ground frame which unlocks the bridge by withdrawing the bolts. It was demonstrated
to the group several times, as a release was taken to protect each group while they visited the bridge
control cabin. One group had the pleasure of being 'locked' in the Bridge Control Cabin to allow a train
to pass. Of note was the two-cylinder Tangye hydraulic pump to release and reposition the wedges
that fix the bridge in position when in its railway operating position, still using water as the medium.
Oulton Broad bridge swings much less frequently than Somerleyton and Reedham; the opening times
are co-ordinated with the Harbour Master (in fact they have to be booked 24 hours in advance).
During the winter the river is only open to traffic for a few hours daily, although the bridge is staffed as
the signaller might need to check the equipment if the train detection fails. Although the East Suffolk
line was mostly singled years ago, double track is retained on the bridge (the Down line disconnected)
to balance the weight. Entering the Bridge Control room is like stepping back in history into a museum
and it is easy to forget that this is an active operational location on a modern railway. This is
emphasised by the original LNER operating instructions on the wall which still apply. These also
confirm this bridge was the same design as the original Trowse bridge. See https://goo.gl/rV24RT
Final port of call (!) for the day, was Saxmundham box which dates from 1881. In 1986 the East Suffolk
line was rationalised and controlled by the RETB system from it. A small individual function switch
panel was also provided to control the Sizewell Branch connections. To increase line capacity, the East
Suffolk line (which came very close to being a Beeching closure) was re-signalled in 2012. A new
passing loop was provided at Beccles, allowing an hourly service which has resulted in 34% passenger
growth on the line in 12 months. The line is now controlled from Saxmundham using a miniature
electronic system, similar in operation to Trowse Swing Bridge. Track circuit block regulations apply
throughout, using axle counters. It fringes with Oulton Broad North and Colchester (Ipswich Panel).
The Sizewell branch is operated under train staff & ticket regulations with a divisible train staff. In
addition to the train staff section, there are two segments of it which can be unscrewed known as 'the
tickets'. If more than one train needs to run on the branch, in the same direction of travel, the first
driver is issued with segment 1 of the staff. He is also shown the main staff (and segment 2) which
proves to him that no train can be proceeding in the opposite direction. Stop boards exist at the end of
the branch and once the (complete) first train has arrived within the protection of the stop board, the
signaller will be advised accordingly. He can then repeat the process using segment 2 for a second
train. The last train to proceed in that direction will take the train staff itself (with or without the other
two segments attached accordingly). Once the whole train staff is at the end of the branch, trains can
then start to return to Saxmundham using the same process. This method of operation is relatively
rare, but not unique, on NR. In addition to operating two barrier crossings from the box, the signaller
supervises 26 user worked crossings and 23 automated crossings on the main line and two user
worked crossings on the Sizewell branch. The automated crossings are a mix of barrier and open
crossings, all locally monitored. The signaller will receive several hundred calls per shift, particularly
during the harvest, and is therefore kept very busy despite the standard train service being hourly in
each direction. After a most interesting day with superb weather in a lovely area, the group thanked
Adrian. In appreciation of the facilities kindly provided, £400 was donated by participants to the Isle of
Wight Steam Railway, Adrian's chosen good cause.
1810] Scunthorpe Steel Tracker Railtour, Sat 19 Sep: (111/60) On a warm sunny day 37½ members
(one was 11) rendezvoused for 10.30 at the very familiar Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation
Society (AFRPS) platform for a seven hour visit to Scunthorpe Steelworks and its incredible 100 mile
railway system. Some were on their first visit (so could only claim one piece of new track?) and as
always were really amazed by what they saw. The 1962 built RRM15 No1382 (Yorkshire Engine 2872)
0-6-0 Diesel Electric made its BLS tour debut having arrived from 'Rocks by Rail' (formerly spending 20
years languishing in a field). Travelling with three brakevans, initially round this massive site anti-
clockwise for a change, the tour initially covered some areas that were quiet:
South Melting Shop Running Road: Loop and siding (off blast furnace branch) to buffer stops.
Torpedo Repair Bay: Loop and lines '0' & 1 to buffers, 2 & 3 to shed door, 4 & 5 to rolling stock.
Caparo Merchant Bar, Gate 7 and Rod Mill Billet Stock Bay doors, branch siding, 14 & 15 loops.
Scrap Bay: Main and loop lines, Right Hand and Left Hand roads and East Bank (to wagons).
Branch between Billet Caster and Slab Bay: Both buffer stops, the loop and crossover (this
required a second visit later after the lines had been cleared). Both lines to the Billet Caster.
Medium Section Mill: Outside siding, along the east side of the building to the end of line.
Container Terminal area: Roads D3 and C3 to each stop block and road C2.
Anchor Exchange Sidings: Full extent of Roads 15 and 13 and beyond to the TATA limit.
*Rail Service Centre: 5 Bay, almost to the end of line; 6 Bay line to doors.
**Blast Furnace Area (North): Both lines and clear of points to cross between them.
Mills Exchange Sidings: No5 (end), through 8, 9 & 11, north X/O & line avoiding two north X/Os.
*While waiting for the single track Dawes Lane 'bottleneck' to clear at 15.00, the railway suddenly
came to life with a profusion of internal movements in all directions, more so than seen previously.
This included a Class 20 bringing some empty long rail wagons out of the Rail Service Centre, providing
a window of opportunity to visit 5 Bay line there while it was (unusually) empty. Afterwards the Class
20 returned with more rails for welding; it was strange to watch the long rails aboard bend as the train
took the curves.
** The north two of the four blast furnaces were shut down; known as 'The Four Queens' they are
(with year of first commissioning), from north to south: Queen Mary (1938), Queen Bess (1938),
Queen Anne (1954) and Queen Victoria (1954).
RRM15 expired by the Slab Bay late morning with a failed compressor belt but was ably rescued by No1
with only a 20 minute delay. The usual lunch break with sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks included in
the price was taken at the AFRPS depot, with a chance to view their rolling stock and have a leg
stretch. After 7 hours and 63 reversals (thanks for that information, Colin!) and much rare track, some
carrying passengers for the first time, participants felt they had enjoyed a very good day. AFRPS's
events appear on http://afrps.co.uk/ site.
1811] Sun 20 Sept, Kentrail Enthusiasts Group Visits; (1) Crewe & Weston Miniature Railway: Thanks
to the operator, Martin Green, 17 Society members visited this unusual 9½" gauge railway that has
been here for about 20 years. In the last couple of years it has been extended to Oak Tree Halt along
the tree line adjacent to the A500. Open for the occasional church fete, this section is not often used,
to keep the ride simple and avoid point changing when the public are queuing. The line has recent
motive power but coaches that date back to the British Empire Exhibition of 1924! Our host, ably
assisted by his son as roving pointsman, had already plotted out an efficient and thorough plan to
traverse every piece of the three legged layout and the three shed/yard roads. It was executed five
times carrying four at a time. The owners of the house and grounds also kindly provided the party with
tea, coffee and scones. A donation was made to church funds in appreciation of the facilities provided.
[BLN 1242.1811 - cont.]
ABOVE: Loco 'Bert' hauls the 1924 British Empire Exhibition vintage coaches along the shed branch at
the Crewe & Weston Miniature Railway, another 'Bert' watches from the platform (Simon Mortimer
and all in this item). BELOW: End of the rare Oak Tree Halt branch with Rod angling after a new line.
[BLN 1242.1811 - cont.]
(2) Sandiway Miniature Railway, Cheshire Model Engineers: (MR p13) (BLNs 183.MR77 & 1209.MR69)
Some 10 participants informally visited this 5"/7¼" gauge line, en route to (3) Penrhyn Quarry, for an
anticipated 'quick visit'. They were made most welcome but the loco, 'Rusty', was making an unhealthy
knocking sound needing investigation. A tray of teas appeared; then, while the bonnet was removed, it
was enquired if we could 'just trundle up the shed branch' using a spare coach. This was happily agreed
to; so 'people power' was used over the next half hour to traverse every shed road including the
loading line. By then 'Rusty' was revived and the operators wanted their coach back, although the train
did make one or two tours with a single coach before ours was ready to return to mainline service. A
full traversal of the circuit and new platform loop was achieved, so after 90 minutes the 'quick visit'
ended with a suitable donation and a promise to be back next year when more track should be laid.
BELOW: 'Limbo gricing' Sandiway Miniature shed branch, the bar is set high as on all good visits!
(4) Rhyl Miniature Railway, (Rheilffordd Fach y Rhyl)'Rhyl Rambler': (MR p29) (BLN 1186.MR106)
After visiting Penhryn (see MR 168 later), nine of the initial party of 20 [no staying power - Ed!] were
left to make a specially arranged visit to Britain's oldest miniature railway, opened in 1911 [and your
Editor's first miniature in 1959]. It has run ever since at the same location, with a hiatus from 1969 to
1978, is 15" gauge and clearly visible from the North Wales Coast mainline. The visit was courtesy of
the Chief Operating Officer, and fellow BLS member, Simon Townsend (who therefore needed no
briefing as to our 'requirements'!). The group convened at 17.00, after public running and about an
hour later than planned, due to earlier events and traffic issues. Swiftly climbing aboard a two coach
rake behind 'Joan', the original 1920 4-4-2 built by Albert Barnes and Co, eventually numbered 6
examples. Setting off from the usual platform inside the 2007 built station, the train drew forward to
propel back along the centre road, and then reverse along the workshop branch practically to the
doors. For this manœuvre Simon (T.) himself laid on the ground and kept the point lever hard over
with one foot! We then reversed out and took what for many was the highlight, the station by-pass
[BLN 1242.1811 - cont.]
line on the sea side of the main station shed. This had just had its occupying stock cleared to the
centre road by 'Clara' of 1961 vintage which originally ran at Dudley Zoo. Sweeping past the outside of
the station was most novel and a complete one mile loop of the lake ensued finishing up in the station
before a short shunt to be sure everyone had overlap. Despite keeping the whole staff here two hours
beyond their normal time, Simon was very happy to show us around the workshop and illustrate their
latest project. Everyone at the Rhyl Miniature was thanked for their patience, the excellent and
efficient operation. BELOW LEFT: The special is about to take the station by pass line round to the left.
BELOW RIGHT: Beyond the call of duty! Our member No2391, adopts a semi-recumbent position for
participants having done the line himself before! He is also a member of the 'Rhyl Steam Preservation
Trust', the registered charity that now operates the railway. BOTTOM PICTURE: On the loco shed line.
These Kentrail Enthusiast Group visits were kindly arranged by our member, Simon Mortimer, but
unfortunately were too short notice to be advertised in BLN. However, the 575 people who receive
'Branch Line' emails were notified in advance, on 10 September. Similarly, all those who take 'Branch
Line' were able to find out, on 22 September, details of the short notice (turn up on the day) free
public steam brakevan rides on the Barrington branch during the morning of Saturday 26 September.
A good number of our members were present as a result. To subscribe free, email (available to non-
members too) [email protected] from the address you wish to receive it.
1242 HEAD LINES
1812] Reading Great Western Railway to South Eastern Railway connections: (BLN 1206.524) The
1858 built Low Level Link (ROP 2 April 2013) first OP for regular services (rather than 'on request') in
July 1863*, reduced to summer-only from October 1866*. The through working of carriages over it 'by
prior arrangement only' continued until the turn of the 20th century. It was last specifically advertised
by the GWR in their January 1899 public timetable (the SE&CR was still mentioning it a year later).
After that, there was a general facility (Through Carriages to other lines) which provided that 'On
application to Mr T I Allen, Superintendent of the Line, Paddington Station, special arrangements can
be made for Family, Saloon, or other Carriages, to go through to Stations on other Lines.' [Stourbridge
Town to Looe anybody - Ed?] (*R H Clark's A Southern Region Chronology & Record 1803-1965 (1964))
The start of through passenger trains (as opposed to carriages) via the newer (1899) ground level
connection was actually on 1 July 1903 (running between Birkenhead and Kent) two years earlier than
quoted in BLN 1206, and continued to run until September 1939 (apart from 1 January 1917 until 10
July 1922). The SE&CR working timetable for July 1903 shows a 3.00pm departure from Reading GWR
(rather than the advertised 2.55pm) to Deal (rather than terminating at Dover Harbour). The 2.45pm
Reading arrival for the southbound train via 'Red Hill' was actually by slip carriages.
BELOW: The London end of Reading stations map revised 1909/10; the GWR station is top left and the
SE&CR terminus below it. The 1858 low level connection can be seen under the GWR main line to the
right (in the same position as that ROP 2 April 2013). The 1899 ground level connection runs from 'SB'
(signal box) above and left of the 'Engine Shed' across to join the low level link as 'SPs' (signal posts).
A related matter: 1 July 1905 (not 1 October) was the start of an additional through service between
the GWR and Kent; via Kensington Addison Road (where GWR vehicles joined those from the L&NWR)
and Herne Hill (where vehicles from the Midland were attached!); the GWR dropped out of this latter
arrangement in autumn 1908.
1813] IÉ, Tara Jn (30m75ch*) - Kingscourt (50m 43ch*): CG/CA after final train of Gypsum ran to
Castlemungret cement works (Limerick) on 30 October 2001; the final train movement was a
weedspray train on 7 June 2002 hauled by loco 175; the junction points were removed by November
2007. (*Mileage from the former Dublin Broadstone via Clonsilla; ex-Midland Great Western Railway.)
1814] Peatlands Park Railway (County Armagh): (BLN 1240 MR144) CP; last ran 15 September 2014.
1815] Watford Junction, Down Fast Line (AC line, 17m 20ch = 17m 43ch via DC line) - Up DC Electric
Line, a connection of strategic importance: (BLNs 1240.1638 & 1241.1741) ROA from 16 August 2015
(had TCA 6 May 2014, not 2015). The third rail in the Down Fast was commissioned on 23 August 2015
(dual electrification is at the London end of Watford Junction P6 from 17m 20ch to 17m 31ch).
1816] LU, Victoria Line, Seven Sisters (excl.) - Walthamstow Central (incl.) and Tottenham Hale &
Blackhorse Road stations: (BLN 1228.443) ROP 28 August 2015 (two days early) after TCP since 8th.
1817] Strathspey Rly., Dulnain Bridge passenger limit (NJ 0022 2418) - far end of bridge (93m 64ch)
(NJ 0027 2424): ROP Fri 4 Sept 2015, special event, BLS tour (first heritage passenger train on bridge).
1818] Royal Deeside Railway, Birkenbaud (15m 20ch, west passenger limit) - 14m 41ch: ROP Sunday
6 September 2015, special event, BLS railtour (the first passenger carrying train in preservation).
1819] Thoresby Colliery Jn - Thoresby Colliery: (BLN 1237.1329) CG after the final outward coal train
on 17 September 2015, the 16.00 to Cottam Power Station (see regional section). The final railtour,
UKRT's 'Yorkshire Byways' on 31 August reached the second overbridge (SK 6335 6741) on the branch.
1820] Glasgow, Maryhill Park Jn - Anniesland Bay P3: (BLN 1241.1736) The new points were installed
from 26 (rather than 19) September 2015, secured OOU. Commissioning is due on 25 December 2015.
1821] Bicester South Jn (8m 23ch) - Gavray Jn (19m 00ch) (Bicester Chord*) - Oxford Parkway station
(incl.) (27m 50ch): (BLN 1239.1531 & 1572) Line commissioned with full signalling from Monday 28
September 2015 (postponed from 14 September). (*52ch long between the two junctions mentioned.)
1822] Bicester South Jn - Gavray Jn (Bicester Chord) and Oxford Parkway station: OP is expected
Sunday 25 October 2015, with the 07.49 Oxford Parkway to Marylebone and 07.35 Marylebone to
Oxford Parkway. At the end of September, Advance (from £12 to Marylebone), Anytime (£30 single;
£59.80 return) and Off Peak (£27.20 return) tickets could be purchased online but not Travelcards. Of
note (SX) the 07.24 & 19.29 Oxford Parkway to Marylebone and 18.18 Marylebone to Oxford Parkway
are booked Class 68 loco workings. The minimal freight traffic (to MoD Bicester, with no stone traffic
to Banbury Road) had been handled via Claydon L&NE Jn recently with no use of the Bicester Chord.
1823] Gavray Jn (19m 00ch) - Oxford Parkway station (incl) (27m 50ch) and *Bicester Village & Islip
stations: ROP is expected Sunday 25 October 2015, per previous entry. (TCP since 15 February 2014
(BLN 1186.785) for redoubling and major upgrading). *Known as Bicester Town when TCP.
1824] Midland Metro, Birmingham, Snow Hill (incl.) - St. Paul's (excl.): Due to CP with the present
Snow Hill stop, beyond the end of the double track section, possibly as early as October 2015 (as still
suggested on the Metro website; little notice is likely to be provided). For 2-3 weeks Wolverhampton
trams are expected to terminate at St. Paul's using the 'country end' (!) trailing crossover on departure
in service. This is to connect the city centre extension to the existing line. Following this, services will
be extended over the new double track viaduct and up the ramp to the new Snow Hill stop.
1825] Weymouth (Incl.) - Dorchester West (excl.)/Dorchester South (excl.): TCP (TCA part at least) is
anticipated 01.00 Monday 14 December to 03.00 Friday 18 December 2015 for engineering work.
1242 BLN GENERAL
1826] Points and Slips: BLN 1241.1725] HST 43004 and 43192 visited Heathfield on 13 December 1997
on the Hertfordshire Railtours 'Teign-Taw Turkey'. 1734] Stafford, Universal Grinding Wheel Siding
itself has long being disused but was off the stub of the former Wellington line, which used to stable
empty merry-go-round coal train hoppers years ago, but was little used recently. 1742] In 'The Glazier'
brakevan trip report 'Gerrards Bridge' should have been 'Gerards Bridge' - fortunately Gerrard wasn't
cross about this. Incredibly, our Member No1 was age 19 when he arranged this and only 17 when he
had organised his first railtour on the Werneth incline (BLN 1238.1439)! Item 1745] The crowded part
of Britain's most overcrowded train, the 04.22 (SSuX) Glasgow Central to Manchester Airport, is only
the 27 minute section between Wigan North Western and Manchester Oxford Road. 1747] The
'Stratford-upon-Avon, Towcester & Midland Junction Railway' was correctly marked on the 1896 OS
map in BLN 1241; it opened in 1891 and became part of the Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction
Railway on amalgamation with three other local railways in 1909*/10**:
*The East & West Jn Railway, (Fenny Compton to Stratford-upon-Avon).
*The Evesham, Redditch & Stratford-upon-Avon Junction Railway, (Stratford to Broom Jn).
**The Northampton & Banbury Junction Railway, (Blisworth to Cockley Brake Jn).
Item 1755] Saturday 6 November 1976 was the last day of passenger trains from Finsbury Park to
Moorgate via City Widened Lines and Finsbury Park to Broad Street via Canonbury. The final GNR
section scheduled train, the 12.50 Moorgate to Hertford North, was actually cancelled, much to the
displeasure of those wishing to make the final journey. However they were accommodated on the
farewell RCTS 'Great Northern Suburban Railtour' (a class 31 and BR non-corridor stock), which also
went to Broad Street station. Final use of King's Cross Hotel Curve and York Road platform on Friday 4
March 1977 for temporary workings during remodelling of the main station has been confirmed from a
signalling notice. 1769] A fourth annotation used by Ordnance Survey on maps for an ex- railway route
is of course 'Dismantled Railway'. Item 1778] The final word regarding multiple LS1301 & LS1303
signals: A NR source has kindly confirmed that Rugby Signalling Control Centre (SCC) (rather than the
ROC) operates the Lichfield signals. Rugby ROC currently only has the new Stafford workstation which
went live over the August Bank Holiday, (this is why the duplicate numbering is not currently deemed
to be an issue.) The situation will be resolved before the SCC transfers to the ROC (which is not
expected to be for quite a while). It is understood that the Lichfield pair will be plated 'LS1301/LS1303
Lichfield' with the Stafford ones having a 'Stafford' suffix.
1827] Shed 47 Restoration Group: (BLN 1241.1727) This item advertising our 16.45 brakevan trip on
Friday 23 October, covering the public running line and additional rare track after our Bo'ness railtour
raised some queries and interest. The standard gauge line is within the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum
at Lathalmond near Dunfermline and has been reported in BLN (BLN 1236.MR93). This is a 42 acre
former Royal Naval Stores Depot with many large sheds to house the bus collection. In MoD days there
was an internal railway and one of the smaller sheds No47, where the group is based used to be the
locomotive shed. They have a brakevan, some items of rolling stock and industrial locomotives. So
nothing to do with Class 47s or 66s! The group was originally an offshoot of the Kingdom of Fife
Railway Preservation Society at Kirkland near Leven. For information about public brakevan trips and
further information see http://goo.gl/ffnYpt or 01383 623380 (Scottish Vintage Bus Museum).
1828] And Now for Something Completely Different…..How things have changed; 'A Birds Eye View':
Following more than a few prompts from a certain BLS committee member, I am sitting writing this
short perspective overlooking Arbroath Harbour with a nice glass of wine on a delightfully sunny
evening after a day's rail touring and in anticipation of a scrummy dinner. Life does not get much
better than this! Anyway; back to the railways. My interest started as a teenager during holiday visits
to Devon. Back in the day my boyfriend and I used to have days out on BR 'Merrymakers' or 'Round
Robins' for something different to do and to visit new places beyond the South East. These trips were
[BLN 1242.1828 - cont.]
excellent value at somewhere around £4 a pop (showing my age now) with return trips to destinations
in England, Wales or less often, but more exotic, Scotland. From these simple days out, we progressed
into spotting for hours on the end of platforms across the country with Crewe, Newton Abbot and the
Dawlish sea wall as probably our most visited early locations, especially as my favourite BR locos were
Westerns (Class 52s). We later joined Termini Enthusiasts, the London branch of the Railway
Enthusiasts Society Ltd (RESL). They specialised in train and coach based depot visits across the
country as a way of clearing the loco fleet for sight. Barrow Hill was (and thankfully still is) my favourite
depot. Not much chance of a Western around [two at least have visited in preservation -Ed.], although
I did score my last Deltic there; No16. There was another regular girl on RESL depot trips; from the
Yorkshire branch if I recall correctly. They were good fun, those coach trips, and visited depots or
stabling points, some long gone, that we couldn't easily reach by service train or without a car (such as
some of those in the coalfields).
The next increment was loco bashing and (pre-Baker Atlas) completing the BR timetable map. Rail
Rovers (good value and no time restrictions back then) became our 'holidays' with the next obvious
step being organised enthusiast trips. These were usually advertised in the railway press and allowed
us to grice rarer track. Lea Valley Railway Club, Thompson B1 Society and DAA being some of the
providers in those early days. Another excellent tour operator was the Monmouthshire Railway
Society. But even rarer track seemed to be available with an operation called the Branch Line Society
so we joined up and, goodness me, there was often another lady on their tours too and plenty of rare
track! Come railtour day, I was often greeted with a tap on the shoulder and 'Excuse me love, this is a
special train', a natural and helpful comment as I was usually the only female in sight. A sweet smile
and a 'Yes I know, thank you' was my response. Other than that I was pretty much ignored with worst
case ever having my lolling head used as a rest for a former BLS member's extended tummy while he
spoke with the member who shares my BLS membership number. Oh yes, I once managed to throw an
entire tray of buttered toast onto an unsuspecting passenger following a severe HST jolt somewhere
between King's Cross and Peterborough. The unintended target took it all in good spirit though, but it
hardly progressed the cause of the lady passenger. Nowadays maybe we could both sue NR for the
dodgy trackwork and Virgin Trains East Coast for not providing a secure container!
For me, things started to change, maybe about ten years ago with my first meeting with a man on a
Mercia Railtours charter in Belgium (where there was another lady gricer on board). At the end of a
long day he leaned over and said 'When I saw you I thought, oh no, not a bloody woman but you
haven't moaned all day'. Faint praise indeed but suppose I should be pleased he recognised firstly that
I was a woman and secondly I had actually pointed out a couple of Class 12s that he had nearly missed!
Come the Internet age there is so much more 'Gen' available than in the print only era. It was through
the wonders of the Web that we first discovered PLEG and their interesting combinations of visits and
shunter haulage. Wow, Lord McAlpine certainly has a train set in his garden (the Fawley Hill Light
Railway). Strangely enough, a PLEG visit was where we first encountered a certain future BLS General
Secretary, later promoted (?) to Fixtures Secretary!
More unexpectedly, men who I knew by sight started to nod, then actually speak to me, a hello
gathered momentum to become a comment about the trip. Things have now progressed to a state
where: (1): I was asked where we were at Scunthorpe Steelworks, the person assuming I would be able
to pinpoint exactly the one spot on the map. Under Mastermind style pressure as I was, I explained the
last three moves; he was impressed as he had overlooked one of them. (2): I was recently told by one
of my 'new' acquaintances 'Don't worry love, you'll soon get used to us!' Inevitably, apart from at the
top end and dinex tour circuits, neither of which hold much appeal for me, our hobby is still a male
dominated domain. However, it was encouraging to see a young lady at the controls of our Class 68
trip on the Fife Circle recently. I enjoy the fact that there always seems to be something new to do
within this fascinating and innocuous interest we share. In addition, the wide diversity of railway
[BLN 1242.1828 - cont.]
interest subject matter appeals, especially within the BLS, this is not a 'one size fits all' hobby. At the
time of writing we (I still have that same boyfriend who has now been my husband for many years) are
doing the Aberdeen Angus parts I, II & III coupled with a holiday to Scotland. With best wishes - a rail
enthusiast for well over thirty years, a BLS member (No1674D) for 31 years and now a 'Railtour Friend'
to many, hopefully. (Jill Everitt)
1242 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
1829] Nottingham - Grantham: Two more of the ever-decreasing number of ex-Great Northern
Railway signal boxes are to close soon as part of the 'East Notts Modular Signalling Programme'.
Bingham (a 1922 box) and Bottesford West Junction (dating from 1876) are both due to be abolished,
effectively after service ends on Friday 27 November. There is then a weekend line closure for
commissioning of new signalling between 123m 40ch and 109m 00ch from Monday 30th. The area is to
be controlled by extending the Netherfield Workstation area of the East Midlands Control Centre at
Derby. It will then fringe with the modern (2005) NR box at Allington Jn. Both Bingham and Bottesford
West Junction have lever frames and semaphore signals. They may be quickly demolished while there
is a line possession (then can be removed from NR's Uniform Business Rate asset base; the largest in
the country). The line names will change from Up and Down 'main' to Up and Down 'Grantham'
respectively; there is no trackwork involved other than these lines although Allington Jn has a trailing
crossover. Level crossings are being modified at Bingham, Aslockton, Orston Lane and Sewstern Lane.
1830] Nottingham NET: (1): Toton Lane: (BLN 1241.1729) On 5 September a member successfully
traversed non-preferred Platform 'B' (left side on arrival). This was on the (Saturday) 09.56 Hucknall
to Toton Lane, returning as the 11.08 Toton Lane to Hucknall. Another identified Saturday option is
the 09.26 from Hucknall, returning from Toton Lane at 10.38. Use of non-preferred platforms at all 4
NET termini has been observed when frequencies are stepped up (trams running a minute apart).
(2): Rare running: (Track plan BLN 1240.1634) The 'Robin Hood Marathon' on 27 September affected
trams from start of service until late afternoon. Hucknall and Phoenix Park trams terminated at
Royal Centre (passenger use of the trailing crossover there on departure). Services ex-Clifton South
terminated at Wilford Village; passenger use of the trailing crossover on departure south. Toton Lane
trams terminated at University Boulevard (ECS shunt via city end crossover beyond). Replacement
buses operated (passengers did not need to run to catch them, no 'snickering' please) but were also
affected by the Marathon road closures with some stops not served, and others only at certain times.
1831] Serious Crime at Thoresby Colliery Jn: (BLN 1237.1329) With thanks to a local 'special' member:
On 17 September, Nottinghamshire Police Officers in two Police cars attended here for the final coal
train to depart a deep mine in the East Midlands coalfield. The particulars taken down were:
Freightliner Heavy Haul 6B56, the 16.00 Thoresby Colliery to Cottam Power Station, left with 1,500
tonnes trailing load headed by 66617 and departing the Junction sidings 10 minutes early. Just a
handful of enthusiasts witnessed this final working. Coal stocks remain on site at Thoresby; some
recently coming in by road from Rufford! The colliery's coal preparation plant workers, who loaded the
train, were made redundant on Friday 18 September; this being the day when the pit shafts were used
for the final time. The last miner came up the shaft at about 07.30 in a kibble, after carrying out a final
test for dangerous gas at the pit bottom. ABOVE: The final coal train at Thoresby Colliery on 17
September 2015 (Howard Waite). BELOW: An extract from the 1958 revision, OS 7th Series 1" to the
Mile sheet 112 showing the old layout of the Thoresby Colliery branch east of Edwinstowe, in
Sherwood Forest. The 1m 27ch line had since been simplified for Merry-go-Round working with just a
single line over the weighbridge (and a short Cripple Wagon Siding to the south, trailing in before) then
continuing under the loading bunker into a headshunt. The two stations shown as open to passengers
(and then only summer Saturday holiday trains which last ran on 5 September 1964), are left
Edwinstowe and right Ollerton. Regular passenger services finished 60 years ago on 17 September
1955. Reopening has been proposed (BLN 1238.1446) as an addition to the 'Robin Hood Line'; Ollerton
would be the terminus of a Nottingham service (an extension of the trains that presently terminate in
Mansfield Woodhouse bay platform). The final 31 August tour, (UKRT) reached the second overbridge.
1832] East Midlands Trains: This franchise commenced on 11 November 2007 and was originally due
to conclude on 31 March 2015. It has now been further extended by direct award to 4 March 2018 for
which the Stagecoach Group will pay the Government a £150M premium. There is a possibility of a
further one-year extension. There are £13M of train and station improvements involved, £5M is from
EMT and £8M from the government.
1242 GREATER LONDON
1833] Thameslink: (BLN 1240.1663) DIAGRAM BELOW, special thanks to our member Ian Delgado (his
Unusual Track http://goo.gl/wwSbYv website). Over Christmas and New Year there will be a 10-day
blockade at London Bridge from Thursday 24 December 2015 to Monday 4 January 2016. During this
period, the Up and Down Charing Cross will be slewed. from east of London Bridge station, to route
the Charing Cross services on lines 3 and 4 through (but not using, at this stage) the new P7, P8 and P9
and over the new Borough Market Viaduct to the new Ewer Street Jn. The new crossovers there will
eventually become the start of the four-track formation into Charing Cross. The first track and
additional ballast for the new viaduct was delivered on the weekend of 12 and 13 September. Charing
Cross trains will be diverted over the new viaduct from 4 January, allowing track on the existing
viaduct to be relaid and realigned for future Thameslink services.
1834] Greenford Signal Box … the sequel: (BLN 1241.1753) In this report it was mentioned that the
VDU train describer was not working correctly at the time of the visit. Members might be interested to
know that a BLS member, also a NR S&T employee, visited the box the week after and corrected the
train describer, leaving it working fully! The current frame was commissioned in 1955 when the
signalling was rationalised and concentrated on Greenford East. During the last three years all
semaphore signals on the West Ealing lines have been replaced with colour lights (most are LED). The
main lines and east loop are still mostly GWR style lower quadrant signals. Points at either end of the
east loop have been motorised for many years, but the bay platform junction points were converted
about three years ago. The other points remain manually operated.
It is, indeed, unusual in being an 'island' of mechanical signalling (an 'oasis' in this member's eyes!);
sadly the semaphores remaining are due to be replaced by colour lights in due course. No29 signal (for
departing from the bay P2) was for many years a motor operated semaphore; apparently in case the
wire snapped and touched the LU live rail, 'livening up' the entire frame, but it is now a colour light. It
is usually a pleasure to visit the box, a world away from the normal daily joys of Solid State Interlocking
and Axle Counters!
1835] West Ealing: (BLNs 1238.1451 & 1241.1751) Work was underway over the weekend of 12 and
13 September to install the new Greenford line bay platform, behind P4 so presumably P5?
1836] Highbury & Islington: As part of work to replace the overbridge at Highbury Corner, the famous
Cock Tavern entrance to the station closed from 11 September until mid-December. Entry and exit will
be via the other entrance, where work will take place between February and May next year.
1837] London Maps: An updated geographic map http://goo.gl/UymlI4 of London railways. For an
updated geographical track layout http://goo.gl/d2u6hm which can be magnified to show the detail.
1838] LUL Investment: The European Union's European Investment Bank has granted TfL a £1bn
35 year loan. This will be used to support the rebuilding of Bank and Victoria stations and the track
renewal programme. At Victoria, tunnelling of the link between the new North ticket hall and the
existing South ticket hall was completed on 14 September.
1839] North Pole: (BLN 1233.958) The signalling allowing depot access was commissioned on 4 July.
1242 NORTH WEST
1840] More Manchester Metrolink maps: A service map http://goo.gl/WIDHtf with all the current
terminal points during the St. Peter's Square single line working. It does not show the services as
coloured lines, which previous maps have (probably for simplification), but will be easier to update as
the network expands and service patterns change. Displaying these route letters for the seven services
on tram destination screens and platform indicators would be a good and helpful idea. Oldham
Mumps should be shown as a bus interchange rather than Oldham Central. A geographical map:
http://goo.gl/AevKl6 including the future Second City Crossing and Trafford extension.
1841] Deansgate-Castlefield: (BLN 1240.643) During the St. Peter's Square single line working, through
trams are using the outer two platforms in each direction and terminating services (single trams from
Altrincham) reverse in the middle platform. The expansion and refurbishment work, as previously
described, has recently been completed. It has given the stop a 'green' look with a huge 'living wall'
with plants and flowers at the Deansgate end. Trams passing through the stop appear to move along a
bed of grass thanks to blocks of sedum planted between tracks, which are teeming with wildflowers.
The new platforms and surrounding stop area are paved with green slate while two new passenger
shelters cast shadows of leaves over the platforms, which are surrounded by extensive landscaping. All
very unexpected in central Manchester but an interesting effect. BELOW: The Mosley Street (north)
end of the St. Peter's Square single line working recently. (Angus McDougall)
1842] Smithy Bridge: By 17 September contractors had started to install passenger information
screens, CCTV, also help and emergency buttons; expected to take another nine weeks to complete.
Years ago, this would have been unimaginable at this wooden platform station (ROP 19 August 1985).
1843] Buxton - Matlock: A 2004 feasibility study into reopening to passengers of this outstandingly
scenic 18 mile line, which crosses the Peak District National Park, concluded it would require a high
level of investment and not be financially viable. Some has since been converted to walking/cycling
trails with the tunnels opened and electrically lit; the brilliant Monsal Trail (BLN 1151.1322). Buxton
(XYZ sidings - although there are actually two now!) to Buxton Jn is, of course, in use for freight traffic.
There were 'environmental impact' concerns over re-opening the line, particularly on local residents
(!), countryside users and nature conservation sites in the area as well as little appetite for using it as a
freight line for industry and little benefit for regional rail passengers.
Some people never give up and 10 years later, there has been another internet petition to Derbyshire
County Council to reconsider the case for reopening. It is claimed that the situation has changed now
that passenger numbers have more than doubled on the Matlock branch and rail travel has surged
generally. Unfortunately, only 2,860 signed the petition (target 5,000) which like the railway is closed.
1242 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1844] Shenfield - Chelmsford: (BLN 1215.1251) A correspondent observing the Up Line overhead
electrification confirms that it is now 2-strand rather than the former three, suggesting recent work
included wire replacement. There is still some 3-stranded wire between Shenfield and Bethnal Green
mainly on the electric or slow lines, the first to be electrified and at 1,500V DC (the same power supply
as Shenfield to Chelmsford). On the latter section, there were some very complicated electrical supply
structures which he had never seen before, but conversely also many rather odd simple structures!
There are numerous metal gantries for the 1,500V DC scheme where nowadays a single 'Mast' on both
sides of the line would be provided, each supporting the wire for one track. The original gantries
support the OLE for both tracks - hung from the 'cross' piece now with new suspension bars similar to
that used on the single masts. An important rewiring benefit is that there are automatic tensioners. In
the 1980s one explanation given for the wires coming down so frequently was that, in the absence of
tensioners, the wires would slacken with use and age and be hooked by a pantograph.
1845] Chippenham Jn - Ely Dock Jn: (BLN 1231.755) The Soham track doubling has been 'put on hold'
due to the increased cost of £35M because the project complexity is greater than originally thought.
The design and construction phase will not proceed. Attention has been drawn to NR now being
dependent on government funding but previously it was able to raise money on public bond markets.
ABOVE: The former M&GN station at 'Twenty' http://goo.gl/Q5ZnhA in February 2006, see below.
1846] Spalding - Bourne: (BLN 1224.75) Additional to the previous report, a trip to see whether
anything remains of the Midland & Great Northern Joint line (M&GN) between Spalding and Bourne
proved surprisingly fruitful. This was a railway through flat, sparsely populated fenland generating very
light passenger traffic, but considerable freight; mainly agricultural produce. It CP with most of the rest
of the M&GN from 2 March 1959 and CG from 5 April 1965. Travelling west from Spalding, the first
station was at North Drove where, to our correspondent's great surprise, the wooden goods shed still
stands, with the weighbridge. A planning notice suggested that work could soon begin on the shed.
Next is Counter Drain. Nothing remains of the station buildings, but the 1929 built gatehouse is still
occupied and, on the opposite side of the road from the station site, the bridge across the drain
remains in situ; this can easily be accessed and walked. Easiest of the station sites to locate is 'Twenty',
just off the road between Bourne and Spalding. Here the station building and one platform remain.
1847] Oxford: By 25 September, sleepers and rail had been laid on the previous base ballast along the
full length of the 1m 44ch extension to the Down Passenger Loop. This is from Oxford North Junction
(64m 33ch) to (65m 77ch), just south of Wolvercot Jn where a trailing point for the new line was laid
on 28 December 2013 and secured OOU. Track ballasting is now pending. Progress has been very slow
on this project; it was badly affected by the Oxford area flooding during the winter of 2013 and the
formation, significantly away from, and at a lower level than, the existing lines, has been complete for
some time. It mostly reinstates the previous Down Goods line, but now at a higher level and the aim is
eventually to have an 'independent' line between Oxford station and the Cotswold line.
1848] Felixstowe - Nuneaton: Writing in the broader context of the route west from Felixstowe, seven
MEPs in East Anglia and the Midlands are urging the European Commission to reconsider its decision
to refuse funding for a railfreight upgrade. The Commission has declined to support the scheme to
increase capacity between Felixstowe and the West Midlands, costing £300M. It had been asked to
provide £86M under the 'Trans-European Transport Network' programme, but ruled that the proposal
did not offer enough 'added value'. An earlier assessment by the Commission had concluded that the
scheme offered a 'highly positive economic result'. The proposed upgrade includes some double
tracking and the abolition of certain level crossings in line with industry policy. The additional capacity
would have allowed another 18 trains a day to run, removing an estimated 800,000 lorry journeys a
year from roads such as the A14. The U-turn has prompted the MEPs to write a letter of protest, in
which they call for transport commissioner Violeta Bulc to reverse the decision when the scheme is
eligible to be reconsidered in early 2016. The letter points out that the rules appear to favour schemes
crossing land frontiers, which puts the UK at a disadvantage. One of the MEPs, Conservative Vicky
Ford, said: 'We are not asking for special treatment, just a fair recognition of the UK's unique position
as an island nation. We hope this is just a miscalculation or a misjudgement that can soon be
reconsidered. Getting such massive volumes of freight off our busy roads and on to the railways has to
make sense. British taxpayers help fund the EU budget; we should get our fair share back.'
Writing in September 'Railnews', GB Railfreight managing director John Smith is critical of the lack of
capacity to Felixstowe, pointing out the port's rail complex can handle 48 trains daily, but the line from
Ipswich can only accommodate 36. He accepts that doubling of the Felixstowe branch may have to
wait until NR's next five-year funding period, which starts in 2019, but in the meantime he maintains
that other capacity enhancements are 'vital' to accommodate demand now and in the future.
1849] Hunstanton branch: (see BLN Pictorial 1241) A 27 July visit found that Dersingham station
survives remarkably complete. The station house, both platforms, complete with GER canopies and the
signal box, are all viewable from the public road at the site of the level crossing and well worth seeing.
The station site has been a builders merchant's yard since the line CP(CA) in May 1969. North of the
station level crossing, the trackbed is a public footpath. At Snettisham all trace of the station and
goods shed has gone, replaced by the A149 Dersingham and Snettisham bypass. This crosses the rail
[BLN 1242.1849 -cont.]
alignment at right angles where it turned west to return to the coast from its south to north route
through Dersingham. However all is not quite lost as, at the end of Station Road where it meets the
bypass, is 'The Granary' which must have been a major local customer of the GER. Inside there is a
small photo gallery of past scenes of Snettisham station. Heacham station, former junction for the line
to 'Wells-next-the-Sea', survives, in part available as a self-catering holiday let but in much altered
form and without either platform. It has a Mk1 coach (FK 13318), level crossing gate and an upper
quadrant semaphore signal. Urban development has obliterated all trace of the lines, including that to
1242 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH
1850] Strood: (BLN 1239.1578) Posters on display announce that from mid-August, 8 and 10 car Up
trains were to stop at the extremity of the north end extension of the Up and Up loop P2 & P3. The
driver's TV screens for 8/10-car trains have been taken out of service. This has the perverse effect that
all except the last two cars of 10, and last 4 of 12 car trains, are away from the fairly generous platform
shelter around the subway exit. Quite what passengers on a windy, cold wet day will think must be left
to the imagination […and just wait now the summer is over too!].
1851] Ramsgate: Southeastern TOC held an open day at Ramsgate Depot on 29 August for staff,
families and friends. There was plenty on offer including EMU cab visits and exploration of the
maintenance depot. It was commissioned in 2008 (replacing a 1959 facility which was part of the Kent
Coast Electrification Scheme). Classes 375, 376, 395, 465, and 466 were all present. Historic traction
was included, the eldest of these being a steam locomotive which was used during the construction of
the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway in 1926. Bulleid Light Pacific No34067 'Tangmere' gave cab
visits, and the main depot building housed Class 419 Motor Luggage Van No 9002 and 'Hastings' DEMU
1001 (hybrid). Margate-based Hornby Railways made an appearance, being located in an annexe to
the main depot building which housed components such as bogie wheels and EMU roof panels.
1852] Caught 'Out!' by catch points: On 17 September a member on foot saw that a 'CrossCountry'
'Voyager' had derailed just past the shunt signal on the depot exit road, in the sidings south of the
Down P1 & P2 but clear of the running lines. This probably happened at about 07.30 as a 'Voyager' is
serviced in the depot overnight to form the 08.01 from Winchester to Newcastle. He first saw this just
before 10.00 and it wasn't cleared until about 13.30 during his second walk past. Whilst watching at
10.00 a down Freightliner passed therefore the main line was not fouled, but several trains had been
cancelled that morning. Talking to a conductor the following day, he stated the driver had misread the
signal as clear and therefore had had a SPAD.
1853] Southampton Airport Parkway - Eastleigh: (BLN 1231.767) The new Up loop still appeared
unused when seen by your Sub-Editor on 14 September.
1854] Romsey: (BLN 1228.474) After nearly two years, the Friends of Romsey Signal Box re-opened the
box on Sunday 6 September with a VIP launch and many special guests. A two day event also attracted
181 visitors, a record for one of their Heritage Open Days.
1855] Basingstoke: (BLN 1229.559) In mid-September a member's stroll home from work to the 'South
Western Railway' building via the new Campus Access footbridge over the ex-LSWR main line revealed
that it is now completely open. There was nothing to hinder access to the wide footbridge, apart from
a tiny 'no public right of way' notice. Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council is freeholder of the 65 acre
business park and part funded the bridge. Looking inside the campus security fence, the three parallel
training railway tracks have no obvious rolling stock. Some short sections of third rail have been fitted.
1856] Swanage: The seafront footpath in the centre of Swanage incorporates remains of the 2' 6''
gauge tramway that led to and ran along the 1858 Old Pier, though the current path leads to the later
Steamer Pier. Close observation shows the embedded track to be palpably false, but it is still a
reminder of the track that was in use until the 1930s, latterly to bring fish to a store next to the track.
[BLN 1242.1856 - cont.]
BELOW: A recent view of the Swanage 'tramway' http://goo.gl/BwI8yE opened in 1858, like the pier
and was in use until the 1930s. Another picture https://goo.gl/TTZ1Mu (available to buy!).
ABOVE: Swanage sea front from the OS six inches to the mile 1886 survey when the tramway was at
its maximum extent from the end of the pier (right) to just below and left of the 'S' in 'Swanage' and a
branch inland to the fish store. Note the then L&SWR station top left and nearby 'Railway Hotel'.
1242 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
1857] A rose by any other name…? First Great Western was rebranded as 'Great Western Railway'
(GWR - but was not been taken over by the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway) on 21 September
to coincide with its direct award franchise extension to 30 March 2019. The company began operating
as 'Great Western Trains' on 4 February 1996, becoming 'First Great Western' in December 1998 and
acquired the rest of its present network of routes on 1 April 2006. GWR has a new green livery (but no
chocolate and cream), described by a member as 'very smart' and raised metal GWR logo in stainless
steel on some trains. The website is now www.gwr.com
1858] Bournemouth - Weymouth: On 7 September the disused Hamworthy signal box was being
demolished when observed behind plastic sheet hoardings. The roof and walls had been removed to
the level of the brickwork of the lower floor and the frame was standing disconnected within these
walls. Wool signal box has already been demolished with the site levelled and surfaced.
1859] Stoke Gifford: From 28 September between Stoke Gifford Jn No2 and Patchway Jn No2, Stoke
Gifford Inter City Express (IEP) Depot was brought into use. The trailing crossover (points 8729),
previously installed and secured OOU between the Down and Up Tunnel lines at Stoke Gifford Jn No 2,
was commissioned. The Up Tunnel line became bi-directional between points 8729A and Stoke Gifford
Junction No1. The facing connection (points 8730A), previously installed and secured OOU in the Down
Tunnel line, was brought into use to access the depot. The entry signals display indication letter 'E'.
SUMMARY: The new Stoke Gifford IEP depot has been connected to the Down Tunnel (Severn Tunnel)
line at 112m 11ch (half a mile west of Bristol Parkway station) with a trailing crossover to access the
Up line. Both Up & Down Tunnel lines are now reversible between Stoke Gifford No1 Jn and the depot.
1860] Yeovil Junction - Pen Mill Junction: (BLN 1241.1773) Realtime Trains (etc) now extends into the
next timetable; the new public services shown from the 12 December Timetable change are (all SSuX):
15.45 Yeovil Pen Mill to Junction (reverse) and Waterloo (18.21).
16.30, 18.33 & 21.30 Yeovil Pen Mill to Junction (arrive 16.36, 18.38 & 21.35 respectively).
13.50, 15.50 & 18.50 Waterloo to Yeovil Junction (reverse), to Pen Mill (16.23, 18.27 & 21.23).
16.48 Yeovil Junction to Pen Mill then Westbury (reverse), and Salisbury (18.17).
16.50 & 17.50 Waterloo to Yeovil Junction (reverse), Pen Mill and Westbury (20.05 & 21.19).
Frome, Bruton and Castle Cary have 3 through trains from Waterloo (SSuX) at 12.50 via Salisbury &
Westbury, with the 16.50 & 17.50 via Salisbury and Yeovil Junction, but no through trains to Waterloo!
1242 WEST MIDLANDS
1861] Birmingham New Street: (1) New Concourse: This opened to the public as planned on Sunday
20 September. The escalators and Grand Central Shopping Centre, with a new John Lewis Store above,
opened on 24th. A member reports that the concourse is bright, huge and very impressive, befitting a
city the size of Birmingham. The main entrance faces the Bull Ring, situated across the new plaza from
Smallbrook Queensway with entrances from Station St., Stephenson St. and Navigation St. Multiple
entrances are a key design factor to disperse crowds. Some quality outlets are open and a large set of
monitors shows departures; indeed, there are monitors everywhere! Numerous ticket barriers have
been installed leading to four colour coded zones from which escalators descend to the platforms.
However, a problem is that some platform exits do not allow transfers without passing through two
sets of barriers. The stairs from P3A for example are only to the barriers and transfer to, for example,
P10, requires exit and then entry through a different zone barrier. The concourse is fully operational
but work continues on the exterior where some reflective tiles on the west side were not yet in place.
A new walkway connects 'The Greenway' (the walkway to Moor Street) and the main station entrance
along the front of the station.
[BLN 1242.1861 - cont.]
Unfortunately below the very impressive concourse lies a relic from an age gone by where nothing
seems to have changed! The platforms are still extremely dirty, dingy and with much work still to be
done to get them smarter in appearance although NR claim that there are still a few months' work left
on platform refurbishment. The Navigation St. footbridge is open still but for platform transfers and
exit only. Entrance via this bridge is not allowed and staff are on hand to ensure this does not happen.
NR claims 3% of travel was formerly ticketless which seems a very low estimate, but should reduce.
(2) The East Dock Siding: This short line behind the east end of P12A, although technically unavailable
for many months is now formally OOU until further notice due to work to fill in the east void. There
used to be a similar West Dock Siding behind the west end of P12B. It was lifted in the early stages of
the New Street redevelopment scheme to make room for the Navigation St. footbridge P12 extension.
(3) Platform use: P5 has been taken OOU from September 27 until November 15 for refurbishment
work. P4A & P4B have been returned to service after similar treatment (Bay P4C was not closed).
(4) Taxi taxes? NR has shelved plans to charge taxi drivers more to use the upgraded station. The new
charges, announced two years ago, included a sliding annual fee for taxi drivers based on how
polluting their cars are; from £250 for the greenest rising to £1,000 for the most polluting vehicles. The
charges were due to be introduced on Sunday 20 September. However NR now says it will bring back
the original taxi rank charge, 40p per visit per vehicle, which was in place before the rebuilding of the
station started. Taxi drivers had threatened to boycott the station and pick up passengers outside; this
actually happened in similar circumstances when New Street was rebuilt in the 1960s.
1862] Great Malvern: (BLN 1239.1590) ABOVE: The station in July 2012 https://goo.gl/bC5kIf looking
north from the Worcester (Up) platform; the east side (Down) Hereford platform is on the right - see
below. The entrance to 'The Worm' (BLN 1239.1590) is in the far corner of that platform, under the
canopy in darkness. Behind the trees is St. James Girls School; the former Imperial (railway) Hotel. To
the right of the photographer, off the picture was the former bay platform used by Midland Railway
services to Ashchuch via Upton-upon-Severn and Tewkesbury (CA between Great Malvern, New
Midland Sidings and Upton-upon-Severn from 1 December 1952). Lady Foley's 'Victorian' Tea Room is
on the left further down the platform which has some interesting local railway photographs.
[BLN 1242.1862 - cont.]
From 10 September the Grade II Great Malvern station listing has been extended to include the east
side buildings on the Down (to Hereford) platform. This followed a request from the 'Friends of
Malvern's Railway' http://goo.gl/ESTVkN and a further site visit by Historic England on 9 July 2015. The
reasons for the amended listing given in the 10-page report are:
'Clarity': To include the station buildings on the eastern side of the railway line, which are also
of clear special interest and which should be listed at Grade II as well.
Architectural quality: The group of buildings, with their varied detailing, dramatic roofline and
distinctive wrought iron column capitals, have considerable architectural quality.
Group value: The station buildings have very strong group value with a group of related
structures connected to the railway; many, possibly all, were designed by EW Elmslie.
Intact survival: Despite some losses and fire damage in 1986, the buildings are largely intact.
1863] Midland Metro: On 22 September a Sub-Editorial check found that track laying for both inbound
and outbound lines was complete on the extension between Great Charles St. Bridge and the end of
the headshunt past the 'Grand Central' (New Street station) stop in Stephenson St. by the Ian Allan
Bookshop. Work is now focused on waterproofing the Lionel St. and Water St. bridges.
1242 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
1864] Scarborough: The famous Falsgrave signal gantry, decommissioned with resignalling in 2010,
has been moved to Grosmont station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), where a
commemorative plaque was unveiled in August. It has been integrated into the signalling there
(including for trains onto NR), which has been instrumental in increasing the summer NYMR Whitby
services. There was plenty of spare capacity in the Grosmont frame. Planning authorities are generally
very keen to see listed structures retained in an environment which reflects their original purpose.
BELOW LEFT: Falsgrave gantry being removed from Scarborough in 2010. RIGHT: At its new home, the
north end of Grosmont station, looking towards the Whitby line junction. (Both: NR Press Office)
1865] Wakefield Kirkgate. On 14 September the 1840 Grade II listed station, previously 'the UK's most
dilapidated station', was ceremonially 're-opened' after a £5.6M redevelopment begun in 2013.
1866] Whitby: In early September the run round sidings, just south of the station east of the branch,
were OOU and very rusty with a sleeper chained across the tracks beyond the access point.
1242 ISLE OF MAN
1867] Douglas Horse Tramway, (BLN 1237.1388): Proposals to relocate the tramway are proving
contentious. Douglas Borough Council has been advised that the IOM Government has received more
objections to the proposal to relocate the tramway onto the promenade walkway than any other
scheme. Councillors were discussing a planning application by the Department of Infrastructure, which
is in charge of plans to refurbish Douglas promenades. Proposals to create shared space for traffic and
pedestrians with the introduction of a single track tramway were not accepted and the original
proposal of tracks along the carriageway was also considered unacceptable. Further discussions are to
take place. Horse tram ticketing is now integrated into the 'Ticketer' web-based system. Conductors
use portable machines to read contactless 'Go cards' and for the sale of individual tickets.
1868] Curvaceous Sexy Railways? In Scotland, two of the locations where Pendolino investment gives
a good return are on the Down WCML from Crawford 'leftwards' and Abington 'rightwards'. A member
who has driven round them has been advised that these are the longest curves in Scotland, with
respective estimated mileages being 53m 75ch to 55m 70ch, and 56m 00ch to 57m 20ch. Your Sub-
Editor timed trains over this line for many years but did not know this - can anyone else confirm.
(Perhaps they should have Engineers' Reference letter 'BRA' which is actually the Braintree branch or
perhaps 'BUT' which is Bute Docks Branch which has the historical datum point of Long Dyke Jn!).
1869] Avoiding Inverness: (BLN 1236.1283) Currently the 17.13 (SuX) 'PSUL' Kyle of Lochalsh to Elgin
train is advertised as a through service via the Inverness station avoiding curve from Rose Street Jn to
Welsh's Bridge Jn. A member has researched when 'cross-Inverness' working really started; not just an
Inverness terminating train using the curve to reach the 'wrong' side platforms from those it would
normally use. In the days of loco-hauled trains, it was quite usual for services to run past the station in
either direction and propel back in so that the loco would not be emitting noise and fumes under the
roof, and longer trains would fit on the platforms. The 'Royal Scotsman' and BR InterCity's 'Cock o' the
North' cruise trains are discounted as they cannot be regarded as being within the 'closure' legislation.
Terminators: The final sleeper seems to have been from Glasgow, which ceased to use the curve from
16 May 1988. The 18.12 (SuX) Wick to Inverness [BLN 595 p288.21] ceased to do so from 6 February
1989. An 11.48 (SuX) Kyle to Inverness (a south platform terminator, not through to a destination
beyond Inverness) started on 26 September 1994, for one timetable period only, to 27 May 1995.
Through trains: A through Aberdeen to Thurso (SuX) round trip began 1 October 1990 but ceased
again from 8 July 1991. On 29 May 1995, a 15.22 (SuX) Aberdeen to Kyle began (not run during July
and August in the first years). From 28 May 2000, through (SuX) round trips from Glasgow to Kyle and
Edinburgh to Wick were added, but they disappeared from 12 June 2005, leaving (again) just the 15.23
(SuX) Aberdeen to Kyle. It continued to run until Saturday 10 June 2006 (no service during
summer 2006) resuming from 25 September 2006 until it was replaced as the only regular passenger
service round the curve by the current 17.13 (SuX) Kyle to Elgin from 14 December 2008.
Therefore, there is no 'long term' historical precedent, the existing service dating back only 20 years to
May 1995. However, ScotRail (and Transport Scotland) seem to recognise that to withdraw it now
would require the full closure process. The services are specified separately (but not as a through
train) in the ScotRail 'Service Level Commitment' (183 pages) and the 'ScotRail Franchise agreement'
April 2015 (a mere 674 pages to wade through).
1870] Kilmarnock: Recent station refurbishment has included provision of a traditional red telephone
box on P1 and five double sided brand new, but fully authentic in design and dimension, BR style
enamel signs. Their background colour is BR Eastern Region dark blue (which ScotRail uses) with white
BR style lettering and arrows rather than the former BR Scottish Region Caledonian (light) blue. An
original feature is the Glasgow & South Western Railway insignia featuring in the many roof support
brackets. Some of the refurbished station rooms are now in use for local community projects.
[BLN 1242.1870 - cont.]
ABOVE: Four of the new signs and the telephone box on P1 all looking very smart. BELOW: The
opposite direction; detail of the fifth sign and original G&SWR roof bracket insignia (right). (Neil White)
1871] Motherwell: (BLN 1225.209) On 16 September a signalling power failure at Motherwell SCC
meant there were no trains there between 09.59 and 15.31, then they ran with minimal delay, but not
to/from Hamilton Central until 19.07/19.16. From 12.20 to 16.44, trains ran between Newton and
Hamilton West. The 07.35 Newcastle to Glasgow Central was shown on RTT as terminating at Law Jn,
but where did it really? Did Shieldmuir perhaps have more passengers than previously in its history?
1872] And finally…another one bites the dust: The two landmark 500ft chimneys at Cockenzie Power
Station were due to be blown up at midday on Saturday 26 September followed by the turbine hall.
This was by the same firm that blew up Inverkip and Methil Power Stations. A raffle to determine who
would press the button raised £7,800 for local charities. The final coal train ran on 9 March 2013, the
month the plant ceased generating, but when completed in 1967 it was the UK's largest coal fired
power station. BELOW: The power station showing about one third of the 1150yd coal conveyer belt
system from the unloading sidings and stockpile off picture right https://goo.gl/XosvRW (Kim Traynor).
1873] Cardiff: Incredibly there are 20 passenger stations within the city boundaries, which extend to
Lisvane & Thornhill, Coryton, Radyr and Grangetown. With a population of 346,100 (2011 census),
does any other comparably sized UK city boast such a density of heavy-rail stations? Clarence Road, a
Cardiff terminus CP 16 March 1964 and no trace remains. The site and much of the branch formation
(adjacent to the west side of Dumballs Road) is now occupied by modern residential developments.
Parallel, but a little east, the current linear park marks the route of both the Glamorganshire Canal and
the Canal Co's own railway, which served a variety of commercial premises between the Sea Lock and
West Canal Wharf, in the city centre. The Canal Company and its railway were purchased by Cardiff
Corporation on 1 January 1944. The final section of the Canal closed 6 December 1951 when a steam
dredger inadvertently destroyed the sea lock gates; the railway survived until 23 February 1963.
1874] Cardiff Queen Street: In common with Newport and Treforest stations, Queen Street has
acquired enamel signs reading 'Alight Here for the University of South Wales'. While potentially
confusing, these diverse locations do reflect the geographical spread of this University, which is an
amalgamation of the former University of Glamorgan and University of Wales, Newport. Regarding the
first paragraph of our Valley Lines Tracker report (BLN 1241.1731), the Cardiff Bay branch has been
operated as a shuttle (Bay to Bay!) service independent of the rest of the Valleys network since ATW's
revised Valley Lines timetable of 11 December 2005. As can be seen from Table 130, this relies on a
precise 5-minute frequency of trains between Queen Street and Central, which (for reasons of signal
overlaps and conflicting-move headways) would be quite impossible with through trains from Cardiff
Bay crossing over the Down line to reach the Up side of Queen Street station. [The previous suggestion
of such through trains in 'Modern Railways' may well have been just political aspiration rather than
[BLN 1242.1874 - cont.]
railway reality!] Initially every 15 minutes, from 14 December 2008 the frequency of the Bay shuttle
was improved (SuX) to every 12 minutes. The 87 daily trains each way are a remarkable contrast to just
eight each way in the 1972/73 timetable, when the terminus was called Cardiff Bute Road, (renamed
Cardiff Bay on 26 September 1994). Now there is even a 12 minute Sunday service from 09.00 to 19.00
with 50 trains each way, despite most Valleys lines retaining their traditional 2-hourly Sunday service.
1875] New Video Game? A new variant of the ATW ticket machine has been launched at Barry Docks,
Pontypridd and Llanelli stations. Branded 'Video Assist', these machines incorporate a video screen
which allows any customer experiencing difficulty to speak face-to-face with a staff member at Cardiff
Central ticket office, who can guide the user through the transaction. Initially, this is only available
from 11.00 to 18.00 Mondays to Fridays, but it is hoped to expand this in the future. One armed ticket
1242 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR160] East Kent Railway (EKR), Kent (MR p6): The railway was surprisingly busy on 30 August;
perhaps the gloomy, but dry, weather had put people off the beach! A special service was operating
(this being the first day of a Miniature Railway Gala) with departures from Shepherdswell every 1¼
hours from 10.45 onwards. The 12.00 to Eythorne was formed of hybrid power-twin DMU M51562/
32556. On this day all trains were terminating in the platform at Eythorne and brake van rides were
available from the other side of the level crossing to Wigmore Lane (leaving a gap in coverage). These
were formed of 0-4-0DM Snowdown (JF4160002/1952) propelling ex-RNAD brake van 365 to Wigmore
Lane and hauling back. Boarding was via some simple steps; the level crossing gates were opened to
admit passengers to the lineside for boarding! The all day adult fare was £6, with the brake van rides
being variously advertised as £2 or £1. The guard of the arriving train said they were £2; but the
chalkboard at Eythorne station stated the amount was £1 and this was the fare charged on the van
although the specially printed ticket said £2. On arrival back the chalk board had been changed to £2!
The old EKR line towards Eastry can be walked from the former level crossing over Wigmore Lane in
Eythorne as far as the overgrown in situ platforms at Tilmanstone Colliery Halt. The 13.50 train from
Eythorne returned our reporter to Shepherdswell. The adjacent NR station has been known as
'Shepherds Well' [two words] - the village is 'Shepherdswell' [one word]. However, the platform signs
now state 'Shepherdswell', but some signage, and the timetable, still state 'Shepherds Wel' (one 'l'
intentional), with one notice saying 'Shepherd's Well'. (It's pleasing to hear he's in such good health!)
MR161] Knees Woodland Miniature Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1217.MR161): Despite the East Kent
Railway advertising Sunday 30 & Bank Holiday Monday 31 August as a 'Miniature Railway Gala', there
was no unusual activity on this 7¼" gauge railway. There was just one train in use formed of 4wPM
Planet and one sit-astride coach. The fare for all was £1 for which an 'Admission' roll thick paper ticket
was issued. The line is a balloon loop of 220yd. A cut-off curve had been completed in mid August
running behind the shed. Currently this is used only for turning the locomotive after each run. Next
year this curve should become part of the passenger ride. A new section is also planned over a small
pond on a bridge. The first train of the day ran just before 11.00 with [only] three miniature railway
enthusiasts [presumably, they have to be little to fit into some of the rolling stock at these railways?]!
MR162] Dean Forest Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p6): The disused station building at Griffithstown in
Pontypool is to be rebuilt as a key element in the planned extension of the railway from its current
terminus at Parkend through to Cinderford. The station building is to be dismantled stone-by-stone
and rebuilt near Beechenhurst Lodge Visitors Centre as part of the railway's ambitious extension plan
over the next ten years. Stuart Williams, the railway's Sales and Marketing Director, said: 'There are
still quite a few hurdles to cross but we don't see anything that can't be dealt with. We have had talks
with the relevant bodies including the county council highways department, the district council and the
Forestry Commission who are all very positive. Obviously funding the project will be a problem, but we
don't see that as being insurmountable and we will be looking at the grants available for the estimated
[BLN 1242.MR 162 - cont.]
£6-7M cost of the scheme'. Jason Shirley, the railway's civil engineering expert added: 'A GWR building
is appropriate for the setting and, aesthetically, it will merge into the forest surroundings beautifully.
The only remaining hurdle for us is to raise the £20k funding needed to take the building down, label it
and transport it the short distance to Gloucestershire'. BELOW: Panteg & Griffithstown station (CP 30
April 1962), the buildings, 'free to a good home' - the site is being cleared for new housing. (Steve Fay).
MR163] Royal Deeside Railway, Aberdeenshire (MR p10) (BLN 1218.MR165): A member forwards an
item from the Deeside Piper of 12 August, reporting a significant act of vandalism late on Monday 10
August. This involved smashing of numerous windows on a coach being renovated at the West Lodge
area, and the rear window on a locomotive due to go the Keith & Dufftown Railway on the 12th.
Estimated damage totals £10k to £15k; difficulty also arises from getting suitable replacements. It was
reported on our BLS visit there soon after, that locals were helping to fund repairs in various ways.
MR164] Royal Victoria Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1178.MR26): (BLN 1240.1686) Regarding
the Netley Hospital Railway; although this railway has long gone there is still a railway presence in the
form of the 10¼" gauge Royal Victoria Railway which runs from its main station 'Piccadilly' on a circuit
through largely a green tunnel. However, approaching 'Chapel' station, views across the park and
Southampton Water are possible. The twin depot buildings are located at Piccadilly at a slightly higher
level. Chapel station consists of a building and single platform with a by-pass line which is taken when
the station is not in use. Track is partly laid on a new route. Operation during the week (school
holidays) is usually by a 'Western' diesel and steam is normally been used on Sundays.
MR165] Happy Mount Park Express, Lancashire (MR p19) (BLN 1047.MR127) Happy Mount Park's
railway, a 10¼" gauge circuit of 200yd, opened in 1950 in a public park adjacent to Bare's seafront,
north of Morecambe. It is a basic circuit with just one station and a tunnel/shed. On Thursday 3
September, trains were available on demand (stand on the platform and attendant wanders over)
from around 10.00, formed of a streamlined diesel locomotive and two open bogie coaches. The fare is
now £1.50 for three circuits, with no tickets issued or other stock on site. In 1999, the fare was only
50p. Not quite 200% inflation, as that was for only two laps! The children's playground (also £1.50)
encircled by the railway was far more popular than the railway, which almost apologetically advises
that adults may travel with their children but, unlike the playground, must pay. Remains are still visible
of the slotted car track that used to run, parallel, inside the railway.
MR166] Hotham Park Miniature Railway, West Sussex (MR p25) (BLN 1214.MR124): The FS visited
this 12¼" gauge railway at Bognor Regis on August Bank Holiday Monday. Services were running from
11.30 to 16.00 and were operating two laps of the shorter inner circuit due to wet weather, as the
outer circuit features an incline. Traction was 2007 Alan Keef built 0-6-0DH steam outline Boris. The
loco is so named to reflect the home town BOgnor RegIS. Two green liveried semi-open coaches were
provided, named Pickle and Bumble Around. Two further vehicles are available, one of which is
suitable for disabled access. Fares were £2.50 adult, £2 child and an Edmondson style ticket was
issued. There is a three road shed located near the station. More about the railway can be found at
http://goo.gl/iIgy3t or 07860 795350. Normal operating season is April to October, Weekends, Bank
Holidays and School Holidays. The operator gave details of a new locomotive under construction, for
which details are shown on the website (a bogie diesel with a body apparently based on a BR Class 33).
BELOW RIGHT: Inner loop to right of the shed, the three depot roads into the shed and outer loop left.
BELOW LEFT: Boris on the railway (passengers joining the first coach are in a Pickle!). (Both Kev Adlam)
MR167] Craigtoun Miniature Railway, Fife (MR p28) (BLN 1141.MR185): Since the last report in 2011,
there have been various developments as noted on Sunday 6 September. Fife Council maintains the
grounds and assists with grants and investment, whilst the site and facilities are now run by 'The
Friends of Craigtoun Country Park'. There is now no admission charge to the park near St. Andrews in
which the railway operates and visitors pay per attraction. This requires a visit to the ticket office at
the other end from the car park but there is a free Massey Ferguson tractor ride (registration PB 3)
available every 15 minutes between the two. Having just missed it, our reporters set off on foot and
beat it easily to the ticket office. The tickets issued are basic 'ADMIT ONE' pre-printed paper roll and
collected when you are allowed through the entrance gate onto Craigtoun station platform. There is a
separate exit gate further down the same platform but usually no track is missed (see below)! The loco
is still steam-outline Rio Grande 2-8-0DH (Severn-Lamb R8 of 1976). However, the station is now the
opposite side of the 400yd circular 15" gauge layout, so it is adjacent to the ticket office rather than
the car park entrance. Its previous site is shown in Kentrail Enthusiast Groups (KEG's) 9-6-1997 track
plan as next to a 'shed' over the railway circuit itself, presumed for storing loco and coaches on the
circuit. That was replaced in winter 2014 by a pair of standard metal containers, smartly painted dark
green, forming a siding immediately alongside. It connects to the circuit via a new spring point, trailing
to the anti-clockwise running. The loco propels the coaches and itself ECS through the then facing
points into the container after the last departure at 16.45 Sundays and 17.15 other days. The standard
run is two circuits for £1.50 but can reduce to one if there are long queues. KEG's track plan shows an
earlier end to end alignment that operated to 1995. The circuit was created by effectively turning right
[BLN 1242.MR167 - cont.]
round the lake where the container siding now trails in and back to the starting point. The old route
cut directly across where visitors enter from the car park and this may partly explain the change to an
enclosed circuit round the lake. The old route, including its separate bridge, has largely become an
uphill footpath to where the old platform building remains, identifiable through a train motif and
platform level edging. KEG's track plan shows it as a straight line from the bridge to the platform but,
unless the building and its edging have been moved, it appears that the track would have notably bent
to the left after the bridge and then again right to enter the old platform.
ABOVE: Penrhyn Quarry Railway, Sybil Mary, takes water on at Felin Fawr run round line prior to
taking onboard some of our members. (All pictures Simon Mortimer)
MR168] Penrhyn Quarry Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLN 1190 p311): The railway, near Bethesda,
held a rare public open 'PQR 1965 Event' weekend on 19 & 20 September as advertised to BLS
Members in Others' Doings (BLN 1236.1301). Admission was £3 with all rides free thereafter. Located
at Coed-y-Parc near Bethesda, the running line starts from a simple slate platform, with a run-round
loop and continues for around 400yd under a footbridge to a small platform, just short of the missing
bridge over St. Ann's Hill. There is a short siding near this small platform, used for loco release and a
short loading line just north of the main platform. A short curving line leads to a two road shed south
of the platform.
[BLN 1242.MR168 -cont.]
ABOVE: Rear veiw leaving Felin Fawr station. BELOW: View from the footplate of Sybil Mary 'Right
Away' from St. Anns, the size of the flag seems to be inversely proportional to the gauge of the line!
[BLN 1242.MR168 -cont.]
On the Saturday a good number of BLS members were noted in attendance. This reporter travelled on
two trains: 0-4-0VBT Iorwerth (Charles & Barber/2008) hauled a single coach from the far south end of
the run-round loop, through the loop to the end of the line and propelled back to the same point. 0-4-
0T Marchlyn (Avonside 2067/1933) hauled two coaches from the main platform to the end of line,
where 0-4-0ST Sybil Mary was attached and hauled the train back to the main platform. Marchlyn
meanwhile moved into the loco release siding near the end of the line to await the next arrival. 4wDM
No.26 (RH221625/1943) was also occupying this siding, but not in use during the time our reporter
was there. Unrestored 0-4-0T Ogwen (Avonside 2066/1933) was on display near the shed. A short
temporary 5" gauge ground level line provided by the North Wales Model Engineering Society was
operating next to the main platform. (On the Sunday, other BLS members attended with Marchlyn &
Sybil Mary working just between the two platforms on the coaches, whilst Iorwerth worked
demonstration slate trains from the loco shed headshunt via the run-round loop). Marchlyn, Sybil
Mary and Ogwen all once worked on the original Penrhyn Railway; the first two were visitors from the
Statfold Barn Railway.
1242 OFFERS & OPPORTUNITIES
A service to members; Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. . ..details must be checked with the organisers.
1876] Canal Central Miniature Railway, Sat 31 Oct: (MR 2nd Supplement p22) (BLNs 1190.MR150 &
1239.MR126) Maesbury Marsh, 2 miles southeast of Oswestry, SY10 8JG, next to the Shropshire Union
Canal (SJ 3097 2491). Rare public 'Ghost running' of this 400yd, now 7¼", railway for Halloween. A new
line which OP 23 May 2015 on the trackbed of the former 10¼" gauge 'Very Light Railway'. Children £4,
adults free (!), but notifications to 07941 429980/01691 652168. Canal trips are also available!
1877] Industrial Railway Society, 17EL, New Edition: A guide and index listing every (15" gauge and
above) existing industrial and preserved locomotive in the British Isles and their usual location, by
region; 416 pages, 32 colour photos. £25.95 hardback, £20.95 soft cover, P&P 20% extra (UK free over
£60) or from sales stands. IRS members price £18 & £15 respectively. See http://goo.gl/TLCs4f orders
to Stuart Geeson, 24 Dulverton Rd., Melton Mowbray, LE13 0SF. Queries [email protected]
cheques payable to 'I.R.S.'; PayPal and BACS can be used. Special deals may be available on joining the
IRS. The IRS Yahoo email group https://goo.gl/9oz9NA is open to anyone.
1878] Peterborough, U3A Railways Studies Group: 14.00 to 16.00 at Peterborough & District Indoor
Bowling Centre, Burton Street, PE1 5HA. Non-members: one meeting trial 50p with tea/coffee. 15 Sep:
Peterborough Trams; A Distant Memory, Brendan Fox. 20 Oct: Locomotive Sheds in Peterborough; A
Social History, Peter Waszak. 17 Nov: 15 inches, Geoff Catlin. 15 Dec: Music about Railways, Graham
Stevenson. 19 Jan: Aspects of a Footplate Career, Bill Davies. 16 Feb: Railways of Leicester, John
Douglas. 15 Mar: Editing 'Railway Heritage', Brian Sharp. 19 April: Railway Tunnels, Brian Keegan. 17
May: Railways round the World, Jim Hogg. 21 Jun: Virgin Pendolinos, Ernest Warnham.
1879] Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society (BHESS): A unique Midland Railway 1870 completed Grade II
listed building. Now the only operational Roundhouse in Britain and the venue for some of our very
comprehensive and enjoyable track tours in recent years. BHESS was formed in 1989 to save the shed
from demolition. Closed by BR on 9 February 1991, it was listed and in December 1996 taken over by
Chesterfield Borough Council. After refurbishment, BHESS (having been granted a recurring
maintenance lease) opened it to the public in July 1998. A recent newsletter with further information
is being sent out with e-BLN and others http://goo.gl/mc31Z8 are available. The Society is always
looking for volunteers http://goo.gl/Skwme2 fundraisers and members to help with its work.
1880] Freedom of North East Rover: Centred on York and of possible interest with the AGM there.
Weekends & Bank Holidays, otherwise after 08.45 (Two Together Railcards 09.30) on Virgin East Coast,
Northern Rail, TPE and XC. Berwick-upon-Tweed, Newcastle, Carlisle, Leeds, Bradford (both stations)
Ilkley, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Sheffield, Retford, Gainsborough, Brigg, Cleethorpes. 4 days in 8: Adult
£94, Child £47, Railcards £62.05. 7 days: Adult £109, Child £54.50, railcards £71.95 (£10.28 per day).
1882] STOP PRESS: BLS signalling interest visit, Derby, Sat 17 Oct: 09.30, Signet Solutions Ltd at
the Derby Railway Technical Centre http://goo.gl/VvGyBV are delighted to extend a rare invitation
for BLS members to visit their specialist rail industry training facility. There will be hot drinks and
biscuits on arrival and the visit is due to conclude by 12.00. The company specialises in providing
training courses for: signalling design, testing, maintenance, Relay Interlocking, Solid State
Interlocking etc. Major Ian Hughes from our partner, 'Green Dragon Rail' will be on hand to guide
participants around the facility. A specialist cable-joining course is expected to be taking place on
the day and participants will be able to observe the skills in action. There is also some rather rare
standard gauge track to see!. A donation of £10 per participant will be collected on the day in aid of
the Soldiers, Sailors & Airmens Families Association (SSAFA). Important: advance booking is
essential please. Bookings: preferably email Paul Stewart at [email protected] or if no
email text 077906 52351 or ring 01684 562862.
E-BLN 1242 ADDENDA
LEFT: A certificate recently received from the
Llangollen railway in recognition of the
Society's donation following our Essex signal
box visits of 25 April 2015 (BLN 1235.1129).
Interestingly the new permanent station at
Corwen which will include a run round loop is
referred to as 'Corwen Central'. It will be on a
short west extension from the present
temporary wooden platform terminus which
is variously known as 'Dwyrain Corwen East'
or just 'Corwen' (BLN 1222.MR202). Our first
series of signal box visits (to the Kidderminster
line in October 2011) resulted in a similar
donation towards the extension past Carrog.
BLN 1242, Guess the location: Near the junction end of a former branch line to a cliff. Pictured from a
member's hotel room where he stayed for some of our recent signal box visits… (Stephen Atkinson)
[E-BLN 1242 ADDENDA -cont.]
Guess the location (e-BLN 1241 Addenda):
RIGHT: This foxed quite a few members, the
OOU standard gauge incline on the Foxfield
Railway (MR p8) between Blythe Bridge
(Caverswall Road station); Cash Heath Jn and
Blythe Bridge West. The later was the former
exchange sidings and mainline connection
(from when the branch was an NCB colliery
railway), with the Derby to Stoke-on-Trent
line. It has been covered by previous tours
(including some arranged by Ian Mortimer in
the late 1970s). (Patrick Lawless; looking
south from Blythe Bridge Road overbridge.)
http://goo.gl/AfdjoE A report about our Thameslink Tracker tour of Sunday 12 July and what
happened to the money raised, with pictures.
https://goo.gl/PLAL55 'Working on the steam railways in 1939' - vintage black and white film,
a completely different world (13 minutes 21 seconds, the advert can be skipped).
https://goo.gl/HtxNWO A most unusual land train, the guard dogs have to travel at the back.
http://goo.gl/7cdVQS An item with photographs about interesting UK railway tunnel mouths.
http://goo.gl/aTI5hd Access to the National Railway Museum (etc.) photographic collection.
E-BLN 1240 Caption Competition, LEFT:
'I thought that Advance Ticket seemed
rather too cheap!' (Winning entry.)
'St. Trinians Staff Outing.'
'The journey to kiss the buffers here is
more challenging than kissing the
Promotional shot for the BLS remake
of 'The Great Escape.'
'If you must know we are doing it for
the next BLS photo competition!'
'I told you it left at 18.02 not 8.02.'
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected]
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected]
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected]
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected]
or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947