Issue Number 1272 (Items 1 - 130 &IsMsuRe N1 u- mMbRe1r 01)268(E-BLN 52 PAGES) 7 Jan 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members;7a2n8i6n7te7rnational section is also available.
Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1273 is dated 21 Jan andSoacliletcyo.nSotrciibeutyt.ions must be received by 11 Jan
1] Vossloh Voyager, Sat 14 Jan, booking form: BLN 1267 or https://goo.gl/SEPNRY on our website.
Arrangements for our Class 455 EMU charity railtour with SWT raising funds for the Railway Benefit
Fund are proceeding well. LATEST UPDATE 3 JAN: Waterloo P19 (08.40) - Windsor Reversible line -
Up Windsor (Queenstown P2) - Dn Windsor Slow - Clapham Yd - Clapham Yd Sdg (rev) - Clapham Yd
(rev) - Clapham Jn P6 - Point Pleasant Jn - Wimbledon P7 - Wimbledon West Dn Slow - New Malden
P4 - Dn Fast - Hampton Court P2 - Surbiton P1 - Wimbledon P5 - Wimbledon Park Carriage Sdg -
Wimbledon Park Depot Sdg (rev) - Carriage Sdg (rev) - Clapham Jn P7 - Clapham Yd 'A' - Up Main
Fast - Windsor Reversible - Waterloo P18 (12.21/43) - West Crossings - Dn Main Fast - Clapham Jn P9
- Shacklegate Jn - Strawberry Hill Depot (rev) - Kingston bay P1 (rev) - Shacklegate Jn sig F414 (rev) -
Shacklegate Jn trailing crossover- Wimbledon P5 - East Putney - Clapham Jn P4 - sig W1047 (rev) -
Clapham Jn P5 - Barnes P3 - Brentford - Windsor & Eton Riverside P1 (16.33/59) - Staines EMU
Sdg (rev) - Staines trailing X/O - Addlestone Jn - Weybridge P2 - Waterloo P12 (18.42). Pay on the
day is available; BLS members £65 non-members £77 (accompanied under 18s have a £5 discount).
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
Sat 14/1/17 Vossloh Voyager tour 08.40-18.42 London Waterloo 1267 JE OPEN
Sun 15/1/17 **NEW** Barrow Hill Roundabout II: Roads 1-11 railtour. 1272 MB *OPEN*
Sun 29/1/17 Leyland SME 09.30-11.30 'All Line' Track Tour 1270 KA OPEN
Sun 29/1/17 Burnley & Pendle MRS 12.00 Comprehensive railtour 1269 KA OPEN
Sat 25/2/17 North Tyneside Steam Railway: 12.30-15.30 Track/Traction 1272 KA *OPEN*
Sun 12/3/17 Bodmin & Wenford Rly Track & Traction - save the date TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 18/3/17 VTEC, King's Cross - Edinburgh, depots, track & traction, 1273 JE Claimed
Sun 7/5/17 TPE Charity Railtour SAVE THE DATE; Hull - Carlisle TBA TBA Claimed
10 to 15/5/17 Jordan Hejaz Railway booking form expected with e-BLN 1272 IS *OPEN*
18 to 21/5/17 Long weekend - Dublin / Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA Notify
27 to 30/7/17 Scottish Minor Railways Long weekend of Scottish visits 1272 TV NOTIFY
IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, MB-Martyn Brailsford, TBA-to be advised, TV-Terry Velvick.
2] BLN - THE START OF A NEW ERA! From this edition, paper BLN is now printed by Willow
Printing and Design Ltd of Newton-le-Willows (established in 1978), who have been doing our railtour
maps, itineraries etc for some time and are conveniently located next to our FS's office (work!?).
The change of printer has been prompted by the need to ensure long term continuity of production
and dispatch but there are other benefits. Members will notice the better quality white envelopes, the
improved paper and print (pictures in particular) and BLN now comes stapled (they are easy to
remove!). Additionally, all UK postal members now receive BLN by first class post at no extra charge.
From the next membership renewal (1 May 2017), the subscription rate for paper BLN reduces to that
of the present second class postage rate (but with first class dispatch) as agreed at our 2016 AGM.
The printing and dispatch process is now much simpler and completely outsourced to one company
with a proven track record providing long term continuity. This is in the absence of volunteers to help
and take over long term from our dispatch team of members who have done such a good job with our
previous printer for so many years. The new system also has benefits for your BLN editorial team.
.IMPORTANT:. For now, as before, if after a few days, you do not receive your BLN by post please still
notify Dave Monger (per back page), who will sort this out and not our new printer. Thank you.
3] BLS Barrow Hill Roundhouse Roundabout, Part II, Sun 15 Jan 11.00: (MR p8) Campbell Drive,
Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, S43 2PR https://goo.gl/d5C9mo (SK413755). Thanks to our very own
Martyn Brailsford, over two years after our last similar trip, an unrepeatable chance to ride on very
rare track (normally blocked with stock that is not moved) on an interesting 4-wheeled motorised
rail trolley or a Class 03 and brakevan. The Museum is closed to the public but, with building works
Roads 1-11 (of the 24 in the ex-BR Roundhouse) will be available for a one off special. Roads 2-6
(incl) have never been done before. £10 cash on the day (to Barrow Hill funds); advanced booking
only/queries email [email protected] or ring Paul Stewart (per back page)
advising name of all participants and email/phone number. Non-members welcome, subject to BLS
T&Cs. Please advise Paul if you require a lift from Chesterfield station (etc) or can provide any.
4] North Tyneside Steam Railway, Track & Traction 'Rarities Gala', Sat 25 Feb 12.30-15.30: (MR p9)
https://goo.gl/Ud8UVO Stephenson Railway Museum, Middle Engine Lane, North Shields, NE29 8DX.
(NZ 3226 6924). A day of unusual operations with PLEG featuring four sought after locos (replaces the
GWR local Bristol area tour mentioned at the AGM). Starts 12.30: ex-BR 08915 & 03078 cover the full
length of the normal operating line 'top & tail', using Mark 1 coaching stock. The private charter also
covers both run-round loops and Middle Engine Lane headshunt. Consett loco 10, an 0-6-0DM (1958),
and Siemens Bo-Bo WE (1909) then propel, alternating to cover the Middle Engine Lane sidings and
roads, including a special operation over the workshop pit road; finish expected 15.30. The museum
and its fascinating collection of exhibits will be open. The onsite café will serve a large range of hot and
cold drinks, hot breakfast rolls and sandwiches. It is hoped that local real ale will also be on sale.
Day Rover: £25; cheques payee 'Branch Line Society'. BLS T&Cs apply; advance bookings only to
Kev Adlam per back page with an email address or an SAE (two if an acknowledgement is required).
5] Jordan Hejaz Railway, 10-15 May: A booking form is available e-BLN; please return this ASAP to
confirm viability. For paper BLN readers, the Editor will provide a printed version on receipt of an SAE.
6] Scottish Minor Railways Thu 27 to Sun 30 Jul: (BLN 1227.3221) Our member No13, Terry Velvick, is
planning another long weekend, this time starting in and north of Inverness reaching Rogart (by train),
the Black Isle, the Ness Islands and possibly Loch Ness. On Sun 30 Jul, special steam running is planned
at the standard gauge Kingdom of Fife Railway Preservation Society, Kirkland Sidings, Leven Vale,
Leven, KY8 4RB (NO373007) before public running. Note that an hour, (38 miles) away, the Scottish
Model Engineering Trust at Wester Pickston Railway (BLN 1271.3220/9) has public rides that day from
11.30 to 16.00. Arrangements/dates are being finalised; other visit/s are under investigation.
Own transport is desirable between locations but the programme will attempt to cater for those using
public transport. Expressions of interest with an A5 SAE to Terry Velvick, 'Hatherton' 75 Castle View
Gardens, Westham, Pevensey, East Sussex, BN24 5HS or speak to Terry on our 14 Jan railtour.
7] PSUL 2017: With thanks to our member Richard Maund for his time consuming and hard work,
the latest edition with the Dec 2016 timetable changes is being sent out with this BLN. There is
much new information and many links. Electronic subscribers will receive it as two downloads that
can be saved and/or printed in A4 or A5 booklet format. Extra paper copies are £5 (post free) from
Dr Mark Gomm (back page) or on railtours. Https://goo.gl/ceD0On has past years/latest updates.
We are pleased to donate £500 to the National Railway Museum Search Engine in lieu of royalties.
1272 HEAD LINES
8] Hythe Pier Railway: (MR p18) (BLN 1268.2124) On 4 Oct a letter was issued by Hythe Ferry Ltd to its
staff warning of possible redundancies with a 90 day consultation period. At the meeting, the director
stressed that it is business as usual and that everything should remain normal while talking with other
operators and all avenues are explored. However, an early visit might be wise if you need the line.
9] Shenfield P4/P5 - reversible Southend Loop - Mountnessing Jn (21m 32ch): (BLN 1271.3176)
TCP/TCA (except Engineer's trains) 7 Nov 2016 until May 2017. (Shenfield P4 & 5 and the 'Up Electric'
and 'Down Electric' lines to Brentwood are also TCP from 23 Dec until 'late May' - BLN 1269.2260).
10] London, Falcon Jn - Clapham Junction (excl) P16 & 17: (Amends BLN 1271.3135) TCP from
Tue 6 Dec 2016 until further notice (ASLEF drivers overtime ban); Southern service to/from East
Croydon. A few London Overground services use Latchmere No1 Jn to/from Clapham Junction P17.
Southern are attempting to run a SuO Clapham Junction to Watford Junction service; on 11 Dec, only
two trains of the scheduled 33 ran, the 11.15 Clapham Junction to Watford Junction and 12.22 return.
11] Mitre Bridge Jn - Willesden West London Jn: (Amends BLN 1271.3137) From Tue 6 Dec 2016, until
further notice, reduced to SuO service and also as possible subject to cancellation (see previous item).
12] Bromley Jn - Birkbeck (incl) - Beckenham Junction (incl): TCP 8-18 Dec 2016 (incl) (ASLEF overtime
ban) and ongoing intermittently. (London Bridge - Crystal Palace - Beckenham Junction; normally SuX.)
13] Lewes, Southerham Jn - Seaford & four intermediate stations: From Tue 6 Dec 2016, until further
notice, reduced to a mostly SuO service and as possible; subject to cancellation (as above) due to the
ASLEF overtime ban. Most trains ran on Sat 17 Dec and Wed 28th but there were none on Sun 18 Dec.
14] Acton (West) Diveunder ('Acton relief' line): (BLN 1271.3156) Commissioned Tue 27 Dec 2016.
No booked use. Ealing Broadway P4 to Paddington passenger trains use it when needed to avoid
freight conflicts; it is not possible to predict this from RTT or the signalling before boarding a train!
15] Stockley North Viaduct - Stockley East Flyover - Up Airport: (BLN 1271.3156) OP Tue 27 Dec 2016.
16] Cricklewood Down Recess Siding: (BLN 1257.1000) ROG due Jan 2017 (previously CG/CA in 1996).
17] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, Hayles Abbey Halt (*10m 40ch): (SP 0469 3075) ROP is
expected https://goo.gl/HZv9B8 during 2017. An original style 2-coach platform at its former site,
southeast of the line. (OP 24 Sep 1928 when Hailes (with an 'i') Abbey museum opened, with six trains
a day in each direction - Honeybourne to Cheltenham Spa St James. The platforms of old wooden
sleepers were each side of the double track; CP 7 Mar 1960 with the other stations.) *Miles from
Honeybourne. The first train to call at the partially complete platform was a DMU on test in mid-Nov.
18] London Underground, Lancaster Gate station (Central Line): TCP 4 Jan 2017 to replace the two
30-year old lifts, each holding 50 people. (Previously TCP 3 Jul to 13 Nov 2006 for lift modernisation.)
19] Kellingley Colliery Branch Jn (SE 5318 2334) - Kellingley Colliery (SE 5189 2364): (BLN 1248.23)
ROG of this ¾ mile UK Coal private branch is expected with spoil trains to Killingholme to clear the site.
Paths for four round trips are shown SSuX from 9 Jan 2017, two on Saturdays and one outward Sunday
evenings. The last commercial freight traffic was the final outward coal train on 24 Dec 2015 to Drax.
20] Immingham Bulk Terminal (Coal) divergence - Killingholme: (BLN 1200.16) The 'Up Killingholme
Down' single line is expected to ROG, inwards spoil traffic (previous item) from Kellingley Colliery; long
term paths are shown in the system from 9 Jan 2017. The last tour was Pathfinders 'Chemical Coaster'
on 8 Dec 2001. [Former Great Central Railway, Barton & Immingham Light Railway, CP 17 Jun 1963.]
21] TfL, Docklands Light Railway, Custom House stop: TCP 3 Feb until late Dec 2017, redevelopment
for the opening of the adjoining Crossrail station in 2018. This includes taking down the existing
canopies and the installation of a new mezzanine deck above the platforms and two extra staircases.
22] Barking (excl) - Gospel Oak Bay P3 (incl) and 10 intermediate stations: (BLN 1253.554 & 555)
ROP/ROG is expected Mon 13 Feb 2017 (after TCA Barking - South Tottenham (both excl) 4 Jun 2016
and similarly South Tottenham - Gospel Oak Bay P3 (both incl) 24 Sep 2016, for electrification work).
23] Tottenham South Jn - South Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn:
(BLN 1257.979) ROP expected Sat 18 Feb 2017 (TCP after running on 30 Apr 2016 - previous entry).
Use by a single weekly 'PSUL' train; 05.30 SO Liverpool Street to Enfield Town EMU (no regular freight).
24] Settle & Carlisle line (S&C); Petteril Bridge Jn - Armathwaite (excl): (BLNs 1251.334 & 1260.1274)
ROP expected Fri 31 Mar 2017. (TCP at 06.14 on 9 Feb 2016 with Eden Brows landslip at 299m 70ch.)
25] S&C; Petteril Bridge Jn - Kirkby Thore, New Biggin British Gypsum: (BLN 1251.335) ROG expected
by/on Fri 31 Mar 2017; has continued to be used north and south of Eden Brows for Engineer's trains
to the worksite carrying materials including ballast, spoil and pipe work.
26] Lynemouth Power Station - Marchey's House Jn - West Sleekburn Jn and Marchey's House Jn -
Winning Crossing Jn: (BLN 1253.537) Both NRU (no regular use booked). The final incoming coal train
ran in April 2015; traffic ceased when the UK Government doubled the Carbon Tax. The last coal was
burnt on 22 Dec 2015. ROG is expected Oct 2017 with about 27 biomass trains a week, formed from 50
new purpose built high capacity wagons carrying about 37,000 tonnes a week and operated by GBRf
from the new Port of Tyne facility. Five paths are shown each way in the new timetable SSuX plus one
SO and an additional inward 'Q' path SSuX. (Marchey's House Jn - Winning Crossing Jn remains NRU.)
27] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1272 above 6/8 Dec 2016 TBA *Seaford branch and various Southern services as above
1253.554/5 4 Jun 2016 13 Feb 17 *(Barking) - South Tottenham - (Gospel Oak from 24 Sep 16)
1257.979 7 May 2016 18 Feb 17 *Tottenham: South Jn - East Jn & West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn
1251.334 9 Feb 2016 31 Mar 17 *(Carlisle) - (Armathwaite)
1266.1930 24 Mar 2017 31 Mar 17 (Chester) - (Wrexham General)
1266.1928 3 Jan 2017 29 May 17 *( +/- Birkenhead North) - Liverpool Loop - ( +/- Hamilton Sq)
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn
1272 BLN GENERAL
28] New Year Puzzle: How many advertised services on Network Rail tracks pass through their original
departure station again (after leaving) en route without visiting any other station more than once?
29] Points & Slips: BLN 1271.3152] Part of this was a load of cobblers; the City of Northampton is in
Massachusetts, whereas 'our' Northampton is a town as in 'Northampton Town Football Club' (back to
the Cobblers again). 3139] This was wrongly labeled as '3239'; on 30 Dec the new Bermondsey
Diveunder (as well as Down Slow trains), was being used by Down Fast Southern services (on the
Down Slow, the only part open so far), regaining the Fast via a crossover next to New Cross London
Over ground Depot. 3157] At Hayes & Harlington, the new London end crossover commissioned over
Christmas is facing rather than trailing, allowing an arrival from Paddington via the Down Relief in to
the lengthened bay P5. On return, trains take the Up Relief directly (picture below).
Item 3166] Further confirmation that the Wilton Branch NR boundary is as described comes from our
6 May 1989 ICI Wilton internal railtour which ran up to it (signal G747). There is a marked track plan
with the Six Bells Junction report.
Item 3170] Stratford-upon-Avon and Scunthorpe have barrow crossings with locked gates that staff
have keys for and there are reportedly quite a few on rural lines. Thorne South has a barrow crossing,
as advised on the 'National Rail' website, which also states: 'We do not recommend that you use it
without assistance' - the station is unstaffed! It is odd that the barrow crossing remains as there is a
massive ramped footbridge.
BELOW: The new facing crossover at the London end of Hayes & Harlington as on Christmas Eve, the
connection to the extended bay P5 is right, immediately beyond the underbridge (Stuart Hicks).
Item 3177] While the remarkably wide bridge that the Brill Tramway used to cross over the GWR
'Birmingham new main' line has gone, the wide brick abutments (SP 6733 1538) can be seen well from
trains or from the overbridge https://goo.gl/pn9mkG just south; (the southern mouth of the 191yd
Brill Tunnel is visible on the latter). The minor road passing, (once serving) the Brill Tramway terminus
is still known as 'Tram Hill' with 'Tramway Farm' opposite, 81 years after closure.
X.1] PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Actually Thorne North station barrow crossing where Up and Down
trains tend to arrive at the same time; there is an old style footbridge at the other end of the platforms
but no ramps etc. Anyone who needs to use the barrow crossing has to ask the guard to speak with
the station staff. The station is advertised as being staffed 07.00 to 14.00 Sundays excepted, one
wonders if, outside these hours, passengers requiring the crossing are expected to override to the next
suitable station and come back again to the other platform by train at no extra cost? Interestingly the
line is very straight with (normally) three different colour light signals being visible from this point.
ABOVE (THIS PAGE): The crossing with staff telephones (both Martin Crompton).
Item 3200] Rossington: The scrap metal witnessed by a reliable member being loaded on Wed 7 Dec is
a bit of a mystery as it was shown in the system as 'household rubbish' via Belmont Yard to Roxby Tip.
This should have been inert waste for capping a full section of the tip. Celsa Steel, Cardiff, have kindly
advised that no traffic has come from Rossington! 3222] 'DCR Rail' should have been 'DC Rail'.
30] BLN PERIODIC QUIZ (2): The stations/features referred to may be open, closed or abandoned.
1: On arrival of steam branch trains at Maiden Newton, Killin, Wellington (Salop) and Yelverton, what
.happened before the train departed on the next branch service?
2: Why were ex-Barry Railway coaches used on the Hemyock Branch and what replaced them?
3: What did Driver W Gilbertson, Firemen J Jackson and T Blackett, and Fitter WC Woods do in 1933?
4: On which country railway route was a
crook .rumbled over some money?
5: What 1933 constructed spur, shortened a
.branch line by about three miles?
6: Why did Up steam engines whistle at
.Stoke Works Junction Signal Box?
7: Where might Lewis Cubitt, Henry
.Braddock, George Berkley and Edward
.Wilson have 'squared up' to each other?
8: Why did Charlie come last at Newmarket?
9: Which BR Motive Power Depot was '28A'?
10: Where is this (PICTURE RIGHT) ?
31] Ian Allan: The publishing titles (but not the publishing imprint), the OPC imprint and ABC brand are
being sold to Crecy Books. The Ian Allan bookshops in Birmingham and London will continue.
1272 EAST MIDLANDS
32] RCTS North Derbyshire Railtour, 17 Jun 1961: (BLN 1271.3148) Thanks to Peter Martin of Railway
Ramblers and Bob Green, Secretary of the RCTS West Riding Branch, e-BLN has a download of the
railtour itinerary, timing sheet, report and of particular interest, the tour map. It confirms that NCB
lines were used at Markham and Williamthorpe Collieries to transfer between different BR lines.
A reminder that all you need to have e-BLN is an email address; it is free to all paper-BLN subscribers.
33] Coalville: The list of unusual trains that use this line grows. LU 'S' stock has run between Derby
Litchurch Lane and Melton (Old Dalby) Test Track as well as first generation Eurostar sets on their final
journey to Kingsbury for cutting up. Now it is Class 319 Thameslink EMUs from Cricklewood going off
lease. Only 25 sets are due to be in service after this month with a four-month gradual reduction by
April. They will be hauled to Long Marston for secure storage this way by the Rail Operations Group.
Perhaps there is an influential 'spotter' who lives somewhere along the Coalville line?
34] Nottingham: (1): A new bike shop, to encourage more people to commute to work by bike,
opened on 3 Dec at the station car park building in Queen's Road. It hires, sells and repairs bikes, as
well as managing the station's cycle hub. The owner has a shop at Sheffield station and runs its bike
store on behalf of East Midlands Trains. Cyclists can buy a £10 key fob providing 24 hour, seven day a
week cycle hub access. There is space for 140 bikes, with changing rooms, toilets and bike pumps.
Derby, Leicester, Kettering and Lincoln (below) have similar hubs. At Nottingham about 50 bikes
should be sold and hundreds rented out in the first year; repairs being the largest part of the business.
(2): Https://goo.gl/36Inlh is a 2 min 48 sec video (after the advert) with stills of Nottingham Victoria
between OP 24 May 1900 and CP 4 Sep 1967. It was opened and initially run by the Nottingham Joint
Station Committee (Great Central & Great Northern Railways who both served it) which was abolished
at grouping in 1923, when both companies were absorbed into the LNER. The Albert Edward Lambert
designed building was demolished by late 1967, except for the clock tower which is still part of the
Victoria Centre shopping complex. Https://goo.gl/PB6nLA is about Nottingham Midland (no adverts!).
35] Chesterfield: (BLN 1270.3046) The cycle path on the trackbed of the Brampton branch was
officially opened on 16 Sep 2016, although it had been available from the 13 Aug. ABOVE: 7th Series
one inch map (1952/60). The existing main line runs north south to the right, the rectangular 'principal'
station (red) is Chesterfield (Midland). Just south of it, the Brampton branch is the 'mineral line/siding'
heading off west then splitting into two (there used to be other branches). The 10¼" gauge Queen's
Park Miniature Railway (MR p14) now runs round the ornamental lake shown lower centre; it was
traversed by a BLS special (including the lengthy shed branch) on 31 May 2014. The centre white circle
(= station closed to passengers) just above and to the right of it was the quite separate Chesterfield
Market Place (CP 3 Dec 1951; CA 4 Mar 1957). This was the 'LD&EC' (Lancashire, Derbyshire & East
Coast Railway) later Great Central terminus. It and Sheffield were as close to Lancashire as the line
reached! Left of the Midland Railway top to bottom right corner is the former Manchester, Sheffield &
Lincolnshire Railway (later GCR) Chesterfield (Central) low level loop - the station, shown as a red
circle = open to passengers; CP 5 Mar 1963; CG 11 Sep 1967. Part of that route is now the Chesterfield
Inner Relief Road (OA 25 Jul 1985). Bottom right the main lines crossed at three different levels.
ABOVE & BELOW: A series of 'then' and 'now' pictures of the Brampton Branch in railway operational
days and the modern footpath/cycleway era, only a short walk from Chesterfield station (Neil Lewis).
BELOW - MIDDLE: Chesterfield Central (from the north) track lifting in Sep 1969 with pathognomonic
crooked spire of the Grade I listed Church of St Mary and All Saints behind (Angus McDougall).
BELOW - BOTTOM: The outside of Chesterfield Market Place in July 1970 (Angus McDougall).
36] Lincoln: (1): Fobbed off: A new cycle hub has opened on railway land between the station and
St Mary's Church, with an entrance from the short stay car park. Secure entrance is by a key fob
(£10 from the ticket office). This also gives access to Kettering, Leicester, Sheffield, Loughborough and
Nottingham cycle hubs. There are 192 two-tiered cycle spaces with enclosed storage and CCTV.
(2): Second City Crossing? (BLN 1271.3153) NR has submitted plans to build a second footbridge, this
time at Brayford Wharf East level crossing used by almost 7,000 vehicles, over 16,000 pedestrians and
about 140 freight and passenger trains daily. NR cite safety as a primary benefit of the new footbridge
and has released film of a pedestrian jumping the barriers and narrowly avoiding being hit by a train.
37] Clarborough Jn - Cottam Power Station: (BLN 1270.3031) Inward coal traffic has resumed (from
Battleship Wharf, North Blyth) after many months. Coal (presumably from the stockpile!) continues to
be transported to the closed Ferrybridge 'C' Power station for blending, then onward transport to
Fiddlers Ferry! There is inward limestone traffic from Dowlow Briggs Sidings and Pulverised Fuel Ash
out to Acton. The UK Quality Ash Association https://goo.gl/P4krUO may interest some readers.
38] Market Harborough: (BLN 1270.3041) At a 12 Nov exhibition in the town NR revealed that the
planned track straightening work has gone pear shaped. The curve through the station will still be
eased, with tracks slewed west to the former LNWR trackbed, but between Great Bowden Station Rd
and Main St overbridges the tracks will resume their current alignment. The 85mph curve further
north including the bridge over the ex-LNWR Rugby to Peterborough line would remain, (straightening
it for £20M saves 9 seconds!). With 85 mph curves at Little Bowden and Great Bowden, the station
line speed is expected to be 85 mph or less. The Down platform was extended north in the 1980s.
39] Newark Castle: (BLN 1271.3151) By 22 Dec the remaining portion of the former trailing crossover
had been plainlined and the new power operated trailing crossover was shiny. The level crossing
barriers appear to stay down for longer than they used to with local operation (this may be due to
modern interlocking safety standards). Some furniture and kitchen equipment was present at the café.
40] Scunthorpe not Fin(n)ished: British Steel has won a new contract to supply the Finnish Transport
Agency (FTA), on the 10th anniversary of the Rail and Section Mill opening. 5,500 tonnes of steel rails
will be delivered by Apr 2017; the sixth consecutive year that the FTA has used Scunthorpe products.
1272 GREATER LONDON
41] Crossrail: (BLN 1271.3157) (1) Service Levels: (BLN 1270.3051) The proposed service pattern on
the GWML is listed below. In the peaks 2tph will now turnback at West Drayton station in the rebuilt
Staines West branch platform, rather than at Hayes & Harlington as previously shown.
To/from Peak tph Off-Peak tph To/from Peak tph Off-Peak tph
Central London ..CR . GWR* ..CR.. GWR* Central London ..CR. GWR* ..CR.. GWR*
.Acton Main Line 04 - 4 2 .Iver 4- 2 -
.Ealing Broadway 10 2 8 2 .Langley 4- 4 -
.West Ealing 04 - 4 - .Slough 42 4 2
.Hanwell 04 - 4 - .Burnham 4- 2 -
.Southall 10 - 8 - .Taplow 4- 2 -
.Hayes & Harlington . 10 - 8 2 .Maidenhead…… 4 2 4 2
.Heathrow Airport 04 4# 4 4# .Twyford 22 2 2
.West Drayton 06 - 4 - .Reading 22 2 2
tph = trains per hour *Local services only; excludes fast trains #Heathrow Express.
(2) GWML: Paddington P1 & 2 electrification has been postponed. P12 has been de-wired temporarily
to assist with construction work. Signal SN206 on P4 at Ealing Broadway will show a flashing yellow if
the next signal in advance, SN202, is cleared for the diverging slower route to the Up Poplar (or yard)
i.e. for freight trains. However, if SN202 is at danger, SN206 will show a steady yellow aspect.
ABOVE: Paddington on 3 Jan 2017, left is the realigned P13 to join former P12 (now P13) which was
de-electrified, extended outwards and brought back into use on 4 Jan (both Iain Scotchman).
ABOVE: The all day (SuX) GWR Paddington to Hayes & Harlington 'Electrostar' suburban service began
3 Jan 2017; the first electric services from the recently extended P14. On 3 Jan 387133 & 132 with the
12.45 to Hayes & Harlington taking over the path of the Greenford service cut-back to West Ealing P5.
There are no booked passenger trains shown to use the Acton Relief (diveunder) in the WTT, it is used
when needed to avoid conflicts with freight workings. There is no way of knowing - until a No2 feather
is lit (or not) at signal SN202 - if the Acton Relief (diveunder) rather than the Up Relief will be taken.
The Guinness Book of Records may start a new section on the number of trips needed to do it!
Nearly 50 drivers have been trained to drive the Class 387s EMUs being used between Paddington and
Hayes & Harlington. As it looks likely that the West Ealing sidings electrification would not be
completed at the start of January, the agreement to use the Hitachi depot at North Pole has been
extended for another month. Two Class 387s have been moved to Reading depot for driver training
between there and Didcot Parkway.
(3) GEML: The layout of the future connection to the GEML at Pudding Mill Lane can be found on the
new Oct 2016 TRACKmaps Vol 2 p2E. The realignment of the Up Electric will be staged through a series
of track closures during the first half of 2017. Once these preparatory stages are complete an extended
track closure in mid-2017 will allow the track to be realigned around the portal structure to facilitate
the connection. At Ilford station work has started on platform extensions at the London end.
42] West Hampstead LU: The Jubilee Line reversing siding was available for emergency use only from
26 Dec until temporarily taken OOU from 5 Jan. This is for replacement of the pointwork as part of a
layout upgrade prior to becoming a regular reversal point when the Jubilee Line service is increased.
BELOW: 29 Dec 2016 was a cold and frosty day; EMU 315856 leaves Chadwell Heath Reversing Siding
ECS to head back to the Up platform - services were suspended beyond here (Stuart Hicks).
43] Piccadilly Line Micro-Gricing: (BLN 1258.1082) The previous guide was in Jun 2016. The latest WTT,
No57 is dated 4 Dec 2016. As well as FSO all-night running, Arnos Grove has booked P3 westbound arrivals
and P1 departures. Acton Town No75 crossover has daylight use; King's Cross crossover has lost its booked
service. There are enough detailed differences to warrant this updated guide (with thanks to Bill Lynch
again and for the next item). All running lines, crossovers, slips and platforms are currently in passenger
use throughout traffic hours except the following, for which the booked passenger service is given here.
Running numbers of trains which might be difficult to identify on the day are shown in [square brackets].
•Crossovers at Hyde Park Corner, Northfields east, Boston Manor, Hounslow Central, Hatton Cross
(both)*, Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 (trailing)*, South Harrow (both)* and Rayners Lane: ECS only.
•Cockfosters: P1 dep gaps: 23.35½ FO–03.55 SO; SuO 00.05–06.35.
P1 arr gaps: SO 01.00½–05.36½ (except 02.37–03.07); SuO 01.00½–06.25½ (except 02.07, 02.17, 02.47).
P2 dep gaps: SO 01.25–02.45, 03.45–05.14½; SuO 02.55–04.05.
P2 arr gaps: MTWThO 06.47–07.37½; SO 01.15½–05.46½ (except 03.47); SuO 01.15½–06.16.
P4 arr gaps: SSuX start–07.40½, 23.33½–close.
•Oakwood P2 departures via crossover: SSuX 05.38; SO 05.31½.
•Arnos Grove: Although the line curves west towards Cockfosters, 'eastbound' is towards Cockfosters!
P2(=P3) eastbound arrivals: SSuX all terminators (3+ tph) 07.01½–22.27½; MTWThO some 23.04½-23.53½
[221, 235, 333, 355]; FO some 22.44½–23.54 [220, 236, 151, 140, 135, 353]; TWThFO several 00.03½–
01.04 [256, 240, 332, 225, 362, 354, 245, 241, 253]; SO several 00.04–01.17 [136, 234, 143, 300, 144, 235,
244, 145], all terminators (2½–6tph) 08.21½–23.27, 20.40 , 23.51 , 23.54 ; SuO several
00.04–01.17 [136, 331, 130, 137, 245, 161, 250, 132], 08.01 , 08.06 , all terminators (3tph)
09.42½–20.46½ plus (fewer) 21.26½–22.43, several 23.00–23.44 [253, 351, 141, 323, 341, 310, 340, 303].
P3 westbound departures: SSuX gap 06.15–07.10, last 23.16 FX, last 23.15½ FO; SO 05.19½, 05.29½,
07.16, 07.33, 07.53, (3–6tph) 08.36–22.34½, 23.15½; SuO 04.55, 07.00, 07.10, 07.20, 07.30, 08.25½,
mainly 3tph 09.55–22.15. Departing trains must use the further crossover (No22) if a westbound train is
signalled into P4, but tend otherwise to use the nearer (less conflicting) one (No20).
P2 eastbound departures*: MTWThO 23.51½, 23.54; FO 22.45½, 22.48½, 23.52, 23.54½; TWThFO several
00.04–01.04½; SO several 00.04½–01.18, 20.41, 23.51½, 23.54½; SuO several 00.04½–01.18, 08.01½,
08.06½, several 23.00½–23.44½.
P3 westbound arrivals*: SuO 04.54½ .
P4 eastbound arrivals*: SuO 23.36 .
P1 westbound departures*: SuO 08.08.
•King's Cross crossover*: Engineers as required, reversing from Northern Line.
•Barons Court Siding:-
as westbound loop: Hammersmith arr TWThFO 00.05 ; SO 00.16 .
as east-to-west turnback: ECS only.
as long crossovers*: NRU.
•Hammersmith, connections to/from District Line: Engineers as required and District Line ECS; also
..all-day service when Piccadilly substitutes for suspended District to call at Chiswick Park etc, although
..between Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017 when remaining Piccadilly service could not access the outer
..District Line tracks, Stamford Brook (Eastbound) and Chiswick Park were not served.
•Acton Town: The Piccadilly Line mostly keeps to its own platforms (P2 and P3); here are the exceptions:-
P1 westbound arrivals via east crossover: all in next two entries except those starting at Acton Town.
P1 departures via Local Line towards South Ealing: SSuX 05.59H, 06.11H, 06.42H, 06.56½H, 07.00H,
08.27½N, 08.41H, all Northfield terminators (mainly 3tph) 08.43N–17.27N and 19.02½N–22.28½N (except
20.24N), 19.50H, 20.26½H, 20.44½H, 21.15H, 22.36H, 22.56H, 23.16H, 23.34NQ, 23.44N FO, 23.57H FO,
23.58½N FX, 24.00N FO; TWThFO 00.08½N, 00.32N, 00.42½N, 00.52N; SO 00.08½H, 00.24½N, 00.35½N,
00.43½N, 00.58½H, 05.48½H, 05.58½H, 07.01H, 07.21H, 07.41H, 08.00½H, all Northfield terminators
(3–6tph) 11.25N–23.06N, 13.36½H, 23.44N, 23.57H, 23.59½N; SuO 00.08½H, 00.12N, 00.21N, 00.34N,
00.43½N, 00.58½H, 06.58H, 07.07H, 07.37H, 07.57H, all Northfield terminators (3tph) 11.06N–19.25½N,
23.14½N, 23.34H, 23.49½H, 23.54N. (H = continues beyond Northfields; N = terminates at Northfields;
Q = not guaranteed to carry passengers.) (In next section A = starts at Acton Town.)
P1 departures towards Ealing Common (same track as District): SSuX 05.38½A, 06.34½A, 07.11½, 08.23½,
many 09.00½-11.28½, 16.19, 16.46, 17.16½, most 19.00–20.00½, 21.38½, 22.48½, 23.08½, 23.48½ FO;
TWThFO 00.29; SO 00.28, 05.36A, 06.15½A, 06.38½A, 07.08½A, 07.28½A, 07.48½A, 11.18½, 11.38½, all
12.25½-19.26½ (except 13.35½), 19.58½ and every 20 min (alternate trains, all to Uxbridge) until 22.18½;
SuO 00.28, 07.18½A, 07.48½A, 09.08½, 09.18½, 09.28½, 19.18½, all 19.58½ until 22.28½, 23.08½, 23.18.
P2 departures towards Ealing Common: Most, but principal gaps are: SSuX 10.18½–11.38½; SO 12.17–
19.37½ (except 13.35½); SuO 19.48½–22.38½.
P4 arrivals from Ealing Common direction (same track as District, all terminating): MTWThO 05.33½,
23.49½, 23.59½; TWThFO 00.09½, 00.29½, 00.45; FO 05.33½; SO all 00.09½–01.12, 05.52, all 06.19½–
07.09; SuO all 00.09½–01.12, 07.06½, all 07.49½–08.39½, 22.49½, 22.59½, 23.30; MO 00.19½.
P4 arrivals ex-Fast Line via No75 crossover (Acton Town west) (BLN 1271.3160): MTWThO 22.17 ; FO
22.17½ ; SO 05.36½ , 21.46½ , 22.56½ ; SuO 07.22 , 07.37 , 23.41½ .
P4 departures via east crossover: All those in previous entry and next entry not shown to terminate.
•Boston Manor departures via Local Line to Acton Town P4: MTWThO 23.47½ ; TWThFO 00.15N,
00.28½N; SO 00.09N, 00.19N, 00.31½N, 22.59 ; SuO 00.09N, 00.19N, 00.31½N. (N = to Northfields P4.)
•Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 P2 westbound arrivals via facing crossover*: TWThFO 01.20½ .
•Heathrow T4 departures via Heathrow T1, 2, 3 P1 (then trailing X/O): NRU, used if service is disrupted.
(Ruislip and Uxbridge are part of the Metropolitan Line, whose last (already superseded) guide was at BLN
1249.156 in Jan 2016.) *Recently used in service for planned engineering blockade turnbacks.
BLN 1272.44] Bakerloo Line Micro-Gricing: (BLN 1063.301) The last guide was in Apr 2008. The current
WTT No41 is dated 11 Dec 2016. All running lines, crossovers, slips and platforms are in passenger use all
day every day except the following, for which the complete booked passenger service is here listed:
• Baker Street connections with Jubilee Line, Queen's Park south slip, Willesden Junction*.crossovers
..(both ends) and Wembley Central* crossover: NRU (no regular use booked).
•Lambeth North* (both), Piccadilly Circus, Paddington* and Harrow & Wealdstone crossovers: ECS only.
•Kilburn High Road crossover: ECS only, both LU (Kilburn High Road P1 reversal) and LO (reversing there
..and at Queen's Park*). [*Recently used by LU or LO in service for planned engineering turnbacks.]
•Willesden Junction bay (P2): Too short for Bakerloo trains; LO (mainly ECS; PSUL has all passenger trains).
•Queen's Park northbound arrival at P2: SuO 00.35½  and occasionally as required (BLN 1269.2247!).
45] District Line: In a shutdown during and after Christmas, the facing crossover on the eastbound
approach to Earl's Court was replaced by a scissors crossover, allowing trains from the Wimbledon
branch to access P1, a partial return to flexibility that existed prior to the last resignalling in the 1960s!
This new route is due to be commissioned on 15
Jan. Initially it will not be a timetabled move and has
to be set up by the signaller, creating operational
flexibility especially useful at times of disruption.
In contrast, the ground frame-controlled trailing
crossover at East Putney was removed and plain
lined, losing another emergency reversal point.
BELOW: Earl's Court, much activity on 28 Dec 2016.
LEFT: Even the engineering trains were advertised!
(Both Stuart Hicks.)
46] Charing Cross LU: (BLN 1265.1832) Northern
Line 'Night Tube' services are not calling at this
station until July, when refurbishment of the
Northern Line ticket hall is completed.
47] Golders Green: (BLN 1270.3055) A member
confirms a P4 southbound departure on 10 Jun 2015
ran via No17 points. All the booked 14 Nov 2016
departures used this route (per LU 'Trackernet').
48] Wood Lane: TfL has applied for planning permission to redevelop 31 Hammersmith & City Line
viaduct arches between the station and the A3220 West Cross Route. In Phase 1 the closest 19 arches
to the station open in early 2018 in conjunction with an extension to the nearby Westfield shopping
centre. 13 will be for retail and commercial use, three will become new pedestrian access routes and
three will be used for storage and cycle parking. Phase 2 is planned to open in the early 2020s in line
with new residential developments. Seven arches will be for retail and workshop use, four will be used
for new pedestrian access routes and one for storage and cycle parking.
49] Queenstown Road: (BLN 1271.3156) From 27 Dec further crossovers (both initially OOU) were
installed between the Up Windsor Fast and Down Windsor Fast at 2m 63ch and between the Down
Windsor Slow and Down Windsor Fast at 2m 70ch.
50] Waterloo: (BLN 1270.3049) In preparation for the remodelling later this year, from 27 Dec the
South Siding, Engineers Sidings, No1 Down Siding and No2 Down Siding were taken OOU.
51] Thameslink: (BLN 1269.2245) In Nov the first Class 700 EMU successfully operated in the core
section under ATO/ETCS without driver interaction during an overnight possession. ('Railway Herald')
52] Lewisham: (BLN 1271.3155) The 29 Dec UKRT's 'Old Father Thames' railtour was diverted to avoid
the 1957 'temporary' bridge enabling it to reach Grain, although in the event the remedial bridge work
was completed on time over Christmas with the bridge available for freight on 27 Dec (some workings
continued to be diverted as NR could not guarantee the route until the New Year). The tour diversion
did the rare trailing crossover west of Swanley (twice!) after reversal in P2 there, Chislehurst, Up
Chatham Loop, the Chislehurst Reversible Chatham Loop and Lee Spur in both directions.
53] Willesden West London Jn: (BLN 1271.3137) The 05.54 SSuX Milton Keynes Central to Euston is
booked to cross from the Up Willesden Relief to the Up Slow, traversing four of the five reversible
crossovers. However, although booked to cross to the Up Willesden Relief at Sudbury Jn, RTT suggests
that it often stays on the Up Slow. The same appears to apply to the 19.54 SSuX Birmingham New
Street to Euston, booked to cross to the Up Fast at Willesden West London Jn.
1272 NORTH EAST
54] Service Improvements/Stillington line: TPE is to introduce phased changes to make use of NR
upgrades at the earliest opportunity. In the North East, hourly direct Newcastle to Manchester Airport
trains are planned for 2018 forming an extra Leeds to Newcastle hourly service. Northern's Customer
Report (Oct 2016) promises 'in the next few years' (from Dec 2019) 'Northern Connect' - a network of
12 enhanced, long distance routes linking major cities in the North, cutting journey times by up to
20%. This includes 'new fast services' from Middlesbrough to Durham, Newcastle and Carlisle.
No route details are given; the very diagrammatic map shows merely a direct line from Middlesbrough
to Newcastle with no intermediate locations! Clearly it won't run via the Durham coast (not fast by any
stretch of the imagination) and will presumably be a resurrection of through services via Darlington,
tried a few years ago. There are currently three SX and two SO early morning stopping services to
Newcastle via Darlington, about 10 minutes quicker than via the coast, and one SuO the other way.
Unfortunately, there is almost no chance of a direct service to Durham via Stockton, Stillington and
Ferryhill. Running via Darlington is two sides of a triangle but is probably quicker due to the restricted
speeds (40-50mph) on the direct line. Norton West and Ferryhill boxes would also need to be staffed.
Norton South box used to be switched out on Sundays as it does not control a level crossing. Since
North Shore box closed (7 Nov 1986), Norton South fringes Bowesfield so is presumably continuously
staffed. Ferryhill (formerly Ferryhill No2) survives as the Tyneside IECC fringe box; since 9 May 1991 it
has only controlled the slow lines between Tursdale Jn and Ferryhill South Jn and the Norton line.
It was due to close when the ECML Newcastle to Northallerton resignalling was planned. Retention of
the Stillington line was a late decision so there was no provision for controlling it from Tyneside IECC.
55] Hopefully the wagons were sealed? E-BLN 1268 included a download 'Memories of rail operations
at Billingham and Wilton, and histories of 08543 and 08702'. A trial run was mentioned moving
discharged 'HCN', Hydrocyanic Acid (Prussic Acid) railcars from ICI Billingham to BASF* Seal Sands, and
returning with loaded 'HCN' railcars. This could have happened to return tank wagons to ICI, although
it seems highly unlikely. The traffic was HCN from Haverton Hill sidings to the BASF (was Monsanto
and later, from 2008, INEOS**) plant at Seal Sands, where it was made into various products, and also
went to Grangemouth. These products were in turn supplied to plants at Seal Sands itself, Antwerp
(Belgium) and Ludwigshafen (Germany), and used in the production of acrylic and polyamide fibres for
clothing, carpets and plastics. (*'Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik' or in English: Baden Aniline and Soda
Factory; **INspec Ethylene OxideSpecialities (one word) originally; also 'Ineo' is Latin for a new
beginning, 'Eos' is the Greek goddess of dawn and 'neos' means something new and innovative.
So 'Ineos' represents the 'dawn of something new and innovative' - the things you learn from BLN!)
1272 NORTH WEST
56] Blackpool Tramway: (BLN 1271.3223) On 30 Dec the Fylde Tramway Society Christmas tour did
the southbound entry into Bispham (central) Loop, not normally available, and which we were unable
to cover on our 19 Nov tour. That Society https://goo.gl/41l3rx was founded in 1971 to help support
and retain the tramway (when its future was in doubt) and has about 500 members. There is a full
colour 24 page monthly magazine, monthly meetings and other visits/events. Adult membership £20,
see website or send an SAE to: Fylde Tramway Society, PO Box 1264, Blackpool, FY1 9EG for a leaflet.
A Freedom of information Act request has revealed that the option of extending the tramway along
Clifton Road to St John's Square to the shopping area and Winter Gardens was once considered. This
was dropped when the new bus station was cancelled with the trams just running to Blackpool North.
57] Paperless?… You must be joking! BELOW: A recent example of the latest state of the art on-train
ticket technology. The new Northern TOC portable machines introduced in early Dec are small and
lightweight but the tickets are massive about 20cm (8") long and 8cm (over 3") wide and that is just
the return half - the full ticket is twice as long! As the machine is so small, the paper roll probably
needs frequent changing and the issuing process was not fast.
To add insult to injury, the card payment system didn't work (inadequate signal) so our member had to
pay by cash, and the bar code square didn't operate the tickets barrier at Piccadilly as it is supposed to.
He was not impressed! Come back Thomas Edmondson - all is forgiven!
58] The biggest train crane: (BLN 1270.3063) The biggest (Liebherr) crane on crawler tracks in the UK,
which can lift 1,350 tonnes, will be in Manchester in mid-February to install the Ordsall Chord 'arches'.
These are lying flat on the ground. There is a 750 tonne capacity crane already installing the 'deck' and
both will be used together. The busy, extensive and dramatic worksite https://flic.kr/s/aHsk9R3hMF
can be appreciated well from trains between Deansgate and Salford Crescent also Victoria and Eccles
stations. Passenger trains are due to run on the 340m electrified double track chord from 10 Dec 2017.
>>A NR time lapse video (1min 12 sec) https://youtu.be/016WffI8pE0?t=2 of the Christmas works.<<
59] Emergency Weaving, Winning Winwick track: On Sat 3 Dec the 08.27 Wigan TMD to Crewe CS was
caught in displaced OHLE at Winwick Jn. The last Up service before the incident was the 05.50 Glasgow
Central to Euston via Birmingham and the last Down was the 07.16 Birmingham to Glasgow.
Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) trains ex-Chester turned back at Warrington BQ. Virgin Trains (VT) diverted
via Chat Moss and Stockport (the 06.52 Edinburgh to Euston via Birmingham was re-routed via the
Trent Valley as it was 85 minutes late at Stafford where it called). Through services later resumed via
Warrington BQ; the first was the late running 09.43 Euston to Glasgow via Birmingham. Down trains
went via P4, the Down Slow and the Down Earlestown at Winwick Jn. VT regained the Down Main at
Golborne Jn and ATW the Up Chat Moss. Up VT were routed off the WCML at Golborne Jn approaching
Winwick Jn on the Up Earlestown. From there trains operated 'Single Line Working' along the Down
Fast, called at P3, and crossed to the Up Main at Warrington South Jn. 7 VT and 10 ATW trains did this.
A very lucky informant on the 07.30 Euston to Glasgow Central advises our correspondent that they
were held before Warrington BQ (the first booked calling point) but it is not known how close to the
station. The train then returned back south along the Down Main in the Up direction to Weaver Jn.
The driver changed ends and crossed to the Up Main via Weaver Emergency Facing Crossover.
The driver then changed ends again and returned to Crewe. Our correspondent confirms that the
crossover was used and that he has never seen any other evidence of use since it was first installed.
From Crewe this train formed the late running 11.01 back to Euston via Birmingham. It called at
Stafford to pick up refugees off the 06.52 ex-Edinburgh (diverted via the Trent Valley). At Stafford the
door panels showed '1S42 Destination Glasgow Central. Next stop Wigan NW'. RTT showed the 07.30
Glasgow to Crewe as cancelled throughout. [Unable to cope with Weaver Emergency crossover - Ed?]
60] Carlisle: By 10 Dec the former Upperby Carriage Shed had been demolished apart from the 12yd
(newer brick) south end extension to the original building. The depot here was demolished in 2009.
61] Merseyrail: (BLN 1266.1928) A reminder: Birkenhead North (excl) - Liverpool Loop - Birkenhead
Central (excl) and Birkenhead Park, Conway Park, Birkenhead Hamilton Square, James Street stations
and Moorfields (P3), Liverpool Lime Street (deep level) & Liverpool Central (P3) are all TCP Tue 3 Jan
to Sun 12 Feb 2017 for Phase 1 Liverpool Loop Line renewal work (also applies 30 May to 18 Jun 2017).
This could be a bus rail-replacement fans Paradise (Street). New Brighton and West Kirkby services
terminate at Birkenhead North with an ECS shunt shown. Chester/Ellesmere Port services terminate
at Birkenhead Central where there is mostly an eight-minute turn around. RTT shows arrivals in P1 and
departures from P2 with no ECS move. However, on Sun 8 Jan Ellesmere Port trains start from P1 and
Chester from P2! This may be the way the reporting system is set (or not able to cope with this sort of
thing?). It is quite likely that trains will arrive at P1 and return in service over the trailing crossover at
1m 39ch (reports please). Hooton bay P1 is booked (Ellesmere Port shuttle) most of the day, SSuX.
62] Blackburn King Street: (BLN 1263.1628) On 8 Dec the original pointwork connecting the branch to
the Down Through Siding and the point at the start of the branch which formed a loop were in place.
There is then a 50yd gap (with a large mound of new ballast at the main line end) to a single line of
new track which bends northwest around the curve to the site of the new permanent DMU depot.
63] NW perambulations: Your Northern Editor had very few options to join our Rylstone Cowboy tour
on the 11 Dec. One of the few methods of getting off the windswept rock (IOM) was via a 15-seater
LET410 aircraft operated by Citywing to Blackpool International Airport. A few years ago this airport
boasted flights by several operators including Ryanair. On 15 Oct 2014 it closed and from 1 Dec 2014
flights re-commenced to Ronaldsway. The terminal had been refurbished in 2006 so it was a surprise
to find on this most recent visit that it had all been razed to the ground. (Actually in Feb 2016 ready for
redevelopment as an 'enterprise zone' and certainly one way to reduce costs such as business rates!)
Walking to Squires Gate station (for Blackpool International Airport) is now an interesting scramble
around the local 'Premier Inn' to reach the main road. Facilities at the airport are a temporary portable
building and nothing else. Squires Gate (for Blackpool International Airport) boasts a waiting shelter -
suitably inscribed by the local 'yoof' but does have the benefit of lighting - which the roadway to/from
the airport no longer has (or maybe it does but no one has paid the bill!). In equal parts the frustrating
but amazing part about all this was that the whole exercise of travelling from Ronaldsway (18.00) to
Carnforth (20.33) was an exercise in seamless travel at its very best! The flight took off and landed on
time, a 10 minute stroll to the windswept Squires Gate (for Blackpool International Airport) platform
gave a comfortable 15 minute wait for a train to Preston with a five minute connection to a Carnforth
train. How long it will be before anyone notices that Squires Gate (for Blackpool International Airport)
station really isn't any longer for 'Blackpool International airport' as there are now almost no flights?
64] Kendal: On 6 Dec a member was surprised to find TPE provided 'O2' WiFi awaiting a train after
doing the facing crossover into Lancaster P5 and the new route to the branch on the 10.29 ex-Preston.
65] Adlington: Victorian or Edwardian station pictures wanted, please respond to Graeme Jolley.
66] Rochdale: (BLN 1270.3063) Northern indicated at a meeting before Christmas that from Dec 2017
the Clitheroe to Manchester Victoria service will be extended to Rochdale bay P4. They are also
exploring extending the Blackburn to Todmorden to Manchester Victoria service on to the Airport.
67] Merseyrail: A £460M plan has been approved for a new fleet of longer and faster trains designed
especially for the network. Each, to be built by Swiss firm Stadler, will be able to carry 60% more
passengers. They will be faster than the current trains, the Southport to Hunts Cross journey could be
cut by up to nine minutes. They will allow Merseyrail to extend potentially to Wrexham, Skelmersdale
and Warrington. Improvements will reduce the gaps between the trains and platforms, and there will
be investment in Birkenhead North and Kirkdale depots. The new trains will be Driver Only Controlled.
The jobs of more than 200 guards will cease to exist saving £9M per year; more than 60 new on-board
customer service roles will be created. Very predictably the RMT has stated its opposition.
68] Liverpool: Great Howard St road overbridge has been removed over the former line from Edge Hill
via Victoria Tunnel and Waterloo tunnel to Liverpool Riverside https://goo.gl/r1MvAX station (CA
1971) used by passenger trains to connect with ocean liners. The bridge is being replaced for future
rail use to the 'Liverpool Waters' area. Waterloo tunnel mouth is visible until the bridge is replaced.
The Sandhills to Moorfields line now passes over the tunnel, also visible are the arches of the original
four-track Sandhills to Liverpool Exchange line. ABOVE: Looking north the two EMUs are actually on
the original double track viaduct Great Howard Street Goods station loop, which the BR Merseyrail
Northern Line joins onto off picture (right) to Moorfields; (Sandhills is off to the left). Behind is the
original four-track line to Liverpool Exchange terminus (CP/CA 1971). Bottom right hand corner is the
northern portal of Waterloo Tunnel (852yd), heading off southeast almost dead straight then quickly
followed by Victoria Tunnel (1m 947yd) to Edge Hill. They CG/CA Nov 1972 having been retained to
access Waterloo Goods. BELOW: 7th Series 1958/1961 edition, Liverpool Riverside is the station
(incorrectly) shown as CP - white spot - with a yellow arrow; note that the very end of this branch was
single track and the line curved sharply round. The light green arrow shows the bridge that has been
temporarily removed (as pictured below) and will be replaced preserving the trackbed formation.
69] Class 319 EMUs: Eight of Northern's 32 four-car fleet are to be converted to bi-modal operation,
possibly with extra batteries for 'wireless' working. The first is due to be completed in spring 2018.
Years ago we were told that an advantage of electrification was the lighter weight of more efficient
trains that did not need to carry diesel engines and tanks of fuel (and/or large batteries) around….
1272 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
70] Loughton: Since the last timetable issue in Aug 2016 a curious modification to regular service
pattern exists in that train '115' on Fridays only arrives ex-Northolt at 14.27 in P4 on the eastbound
side at Loughton. Monday to Thursdays the same train runs very conventionally into the usual middle
23 road (with P3 and P2 on either side) and Saturdays
goes to Newbury Park! So once a week at 14.35, the
return working of train '115' to Northolt offers a
chance to return over two crossovers to regain the
westbound line immediately to the south of Loughton.
This booked move seems consistent as your
correspondent has seen at least two separate reports
of this running, once even under conditions of service
perturbation and it duly ran again on a recent foray
from Loughton to the distant Buckhurst Hill, a round
trip taking something like 5 minutes! This is even more
remarkable in LU terms as it is a rare once weekly
working that does not happen in the small hours or
very late at night LEFT: At Loughton with the 14.35 FO
out of P4, indicated as 'Northolt 9 minutes'...! ABOVE:
Loughton P4 with train 115 now 'set' to return over
the crossover to the westbound line for Northolt.
ABOVE: Loughton P4 looking the other way; the trailing crossover about to be traversed. It must have
seemed rather odd doing a rare move like this when it wasn't dark or an extreme time of day.
BELOW: Last (not final yet) train from Watford Met! Train 470 awaits reversal for its last run (00.49) to
Rickmansworth and over the facing crossover there in to P2 (all pictures Simon Mortimer).
71] Watford - Rickmansworth: More to usual form, the unusual working here happens on the 00.49
ex-Watford! During the recent leaf fall timetable, the daily train '470' (ex-Baker Street via Watford)
runs ThFO into Rickmansworth P2, crucially over the facing crossover just south of the station.
On other days, the arrival platform is not so annotated, so it is assumed the stock is stabled on these
days in the sidings on the opposite side of the main lines. However, all this is subject to the timetable
revision after 23 Dec, so needs checking again, especially if arranging a late night foray!
On the morning (just!) of 17 Dec, '470' was boarded at Moor Park and duly travelled into Watford,
here it was heralded as a terminating train but once everyone had departed was acknowledged as the
00.49 to Rickmansworth (ABOVE). This did not result in much of a rush, but the two usual suspects
rejoined after photos and chatting to the driver as he changed ends; one gent who had remained
asleep throughout simply slumbered on. To the second, '470' departed into the night and after pausing
at Croxley duly squealed around the Watford East to North curve (which your correspondent thinks he
last traversed the other way in a Hastings Unit in 1986!) and after a few moments a diminutive Fog
Repeater yellow signal with a miniature position 4 feather suitably illuminated was passed. Soon a full
size version was passed and '470' lurched right into Rickmansworth P2 at 00.58. The driver perhaps
jubilantly hailed this as the end, for sure, but the sleeping gent slumbered on no doubt soon to be
awoken joyful to have reached Rickmansworth, unless he had wanted to travel to Harrow-on-the-Hill!
72] Oxford: (BLN 1269.2262 & 1271.3178)
LEFT: The previous descriptions of the new
line to Oxford Parkway can be better
understood thanks to Martyn Brailsford's
new plan. Bay P1 north end is near the
disused (in situ) double track swing bridge (a
scheduled ancient monument) that took the
LNWR line over the 'Sheepwash Channel' to
the former Oxford Rewley Road station.
The reason for the interim 'Stage 0' single
track layout is that it is the maximum that
can be signalled from the present 1973
Oxford PSB using the existing cables. This is
also why there is a restrictive layout north of
P1 & 2 where north departures conflict with
Up trains. When Oxford is resignalled the
more flexible layout will be commissioned
(and there is talk of a new P5). Oxford Canal
Jn is not 'pointless' but the two points are
clipped OOU as shown; trains slow to cross
the formation in both directions. At Oxford
North Jn the 64m 45ch mileage shown is
from Paddington via Didcot station; the
30m 09ch mileage is from Bletchley via
Verney Junction and Bicester Village.
At Oxford Parkway, there are plans to
enlarge the car park by taking over some of
the underused bus Park & Ride area. A clip
of the reopened line https://goo.gl/bJQEJP
(7¾ minutes). 'OB' on the Marylebone IECC
signal plates stands for 'Oxford to Bletchley'.
[BLN 1272.72 -cont.] Members who are visiting the
line might be interested to know that on certain longer
journeys the fares to Oxford and Parkway are the same
(for example Coventry, Birmingham, Malvern, Bristol
TM (but not Parkway) and are via Oxford. Oxford
to/from London tickets are valid to Paddington OR Marylebone (unless using a TOC specific advance
tickets of course) but Oxford Parkway to/from Paddington via Oxford needs two tickets to be bought!
Kidderminster (an example) and North Cotswold (Hereford - Hanborough inclusive) line passengers
with tickets to 'London Stations' can now change at Oxford for Marylebone at no extra cost.
The DfT has announced that East West Rail will not now be electrified. It was planned that freight
trains between Southampton and the north of England may have been routed this way as part of the
'electric spine'. Had this been known some years ago, the Oxford to Bicester project could have been
delivered earlier and at lower cost; it has the clearances and signalling required for electrification.
On 22 Dec a member on the 16.20 Oxford (P4) to Great Malvern was surprised to find his train
running side by side for over ¾ mile with the late running 16.18 all stations to Banbury from bay P2
both heading north. Fortunately, the Malvern train stayed on the Down Passenger Loop and stopped
at the end! Given the two minute headway, although not booked, this move could happen again.
There has been further work on the north extension to the Down Passenger Loop which had been in a
state of suspended animation for some considerable time. The new rails and sleepers (which had not
been welded or fully ballasted) have been lifted again over two sections and moved away.
Work appears to be taking place on the trackbed beneath; it is wondered if this extension (also shown
as dotted on Martyn's plan) can be commissioned before resignalling. The eventual plan is to create an
independent (North Cotswold route) running line to Wolvercot (sic) Jn.
BELOW: Oxford bay P1 (left) & 2 (right); Sun 18 Dec (this and the next picture by Stuart Hicks who was
on his way back from Germany (and what better route?) and reports that the trains were quite busy).
ABOVE: Looking north, the DMU just arrived (left) is the 09.35 from Marylebone; a good number also
alighted at Bicester Village - aren't the passengers young these days? (They used to say that about the
doctors and policemen!) The train on the right is about to leave for London. Note the remains of the
former P2/3 canopy support (left of the two DMUs) now only supporting the 'Right Away' indicator.
73] Blenheim & Woodstock: (OP 1890; CP/CA 1 Mar 1954) From the sublime to the ridiculous…The
main building of this short GWR branch terminus in Cotswold stone narrowly avoided demolition in
2010 and is now well kept offices. BELOW: The last day of service, 27 Feb 1954 (a push/pull autotrain).
ABOVE UPPER: Blenheim & Woodstock station in 1961 and ABOVE LOWER: On 22 Aug 2009 when it
was threatened with demolition for redevelopment (Steve Daniels) https://goo.gl/Wu0PKZ is a 2013
video (1min 54sec) showing how well the station buildings have since been restored.
74] Spicing up Shippea Hill: (BLN 1271.3141) A 2015 'Great British Bake Off' finalist served mince pies
at the station to boost passenger numbers. Ian Cumming offered one to any passenger alighting on
Christmas Eve, attracting 16 people to the least used national station in the 2015/16 financial year
with 12 'uses'. The mince pie fans had to find alternative means to get home or commit to a day in the
Fens. Mr Cumming, a travel photographer from Great Wilbraham in Cambridgeshire, made 38 mince
pies. He had encouraged people either to run or cycle back - or ask a 'nice person' to pick them up and
said: 'I think it has been a great success… everyone enjoyed themselves.' An early Cambridge to
Norwich train calls at 07.04 SSuX (07.25 SO) with a return train Saturdays only at 18.38 calling at 19.27.
75] Ely: (BLN 1269.2259) The original correspondent has corrected himself and now says that he was
mistaken and rail for the 13 new Southfarm Sidings came mainly from Peel Ports land at Sheerness,
especially from the steelworks site bought by Peel Ports to create more space to store imported cars.
76] Brentwood: On 18 Dec platform canopies at Brentwood had been partly removed in the middle,
presumably for lift installation. For the works towards Shenfield until May (BLN 1269.2260), temporary
buffer stops are to be provided on both Electric Lines at the country end of the station (P4 & 5).
77] Shenfield: Https://goo.gl/njAOjE is a nearly five-minute long video showing the Christmas works.
78] Say Cheese Please! Https://goo.gl/SHcZ2d Thanks to Ian Delgado's Unusual Track. On Sun 19 Mar
from 05.30 to 08.20, single line working is due to operate between Stilton Fen and Huntingdon on the
Down Main/Down Slow. This should result in the 05.07, 06.07 & 07.07 Peterborough to King's Cross
using the rare Stilton Fen Emergency Facing Crossover (70m 78ch) and, with a double-reversal, the
equally rare Huntingdon North Jn trailing crossover (59m 20ch) between the Down Fast and Up Main.
Note: This is the morning after our King's Cross to Edinburgh tour; members might consider stopping
in Peterborough afterwards (suggest await full tour route). Bookings open with the next BLN, 1273.
1272 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH
ABOVE: Dover Marine / Dover Western Docks
/ Dover Cruise Terminal 1 from the Western
Heights (and are worth exploring), 22 Dec 2016.
The former Lord Warden Hotel is in front.
79] Dover Western Docks: (BLN 1270.3119) On a visit to Dover Cruise Terminal 1 on 22 Dec, a lovely
day with steam loco 'Braunton' passing at 14.20, dressed as 'Lord Dowding' on a circular tour from
Victoria (out via Canterbury, back via Sandling), a member noted the changes that have occurred.
In Dec the Port of Dover won the NR Partnership Award at the National Railway Heritage Awards for
the extensive renovation of the former Dover Western Docks station, sympathetically converted since
its closure to rail traffic in 1994 into a cruise terminal (opened in 1996) by filling in the track beds up to
platform level. The seaward end wall is filled in and fitted with a café and security and boarding
arrangements for cruise ships. Otherwise the interior appears largely unaltered.
The main attraction inside the building was the ice rink towards the seawards end, which had a good
number of participants. A few food and drink stalls next to it had a fair bit of custom as well. Most
market tables had either not been reserved or the vendors had not bothered to turn up, although
English Heritage said that they were doing good business. The Cockles and Co bar, Olde Time Sweet
Shoppe and children's roundabout seemed to have minimal business. The Port of Dover information
stand was unstaffed but completed survey questionnaires left there suggested that some
(those expecting a Christmas market) were not very impressed. Upstairs (not signposted) was a normal
café for those boarding or returning to cruise ships, doing minimal business as no one went up unless
they wanted the toilets. The war memorials were visible. Towards the landward end were vintage car
and van (and one coach) exhibits from Dover Transport Museum, who appear to be renovating their
premises. Recommended to see the ex-station, or to use the ice rink; not as a Christmas market!
BELOW: Centre section of station and ice rink, from the upper area (through a rather dirty window).
[BLN 1272.79 cont.] ABOVE: The former departure platform looking towards the London end.
80] Robertsbridge: (BLN 1271.3131) LEFT: With the
usual thanks to Martyn Brailsford, a plan of the new
connection from NR to the Rother Valley Railway
(RVR) - the future Kent & East Sussex Railway
(K&ESR) extension. The RVR station is 'P4'; could it
be that the NR Down Siding (behind P2) might be a
potential P3, a bit like the arrangements at Matlock
and Cholsey? Note it (the south headshunt) is much
longer than the north one. At the (presently
separate) other end of the RVR, it has been
established that from 'zero' at Robertsbridge, the
current east end of track at Junction Road is at
2m 26ch; the OOU section (maintenance needed)
extends west to the K&ESR boundary at 3m 20ch
and Bodiam station (on the K&ESR) is at 3m 35ch.
81] Strood - Paddock Wood: (BLN 1267.2041) Up to
30 freight trains a day to and from Hoo Junction,
mostly for aggregates traffic, were diverted from
the Gravesend route to the Medway Valley Line
due to the Lewisham to Nunhead route freight
closure over the 'temporary' 1957 Lewisham Bridge
from 9 Oct until 26 Dec. Trains for Cliffe reversed at
Hoo Jn as did those north from East Peckham Tip
and Allington, which normally run to Hoo Jn then
Gravesend. Instead the latter returned south along
the Medway Valley. In London, there was extra
freight through Orpington and Bromley South to
the West London Line or to the Stewarts Lane
aggregates terminal. This was routed via Catford or
82] Folkestone Harbour: (BLN 1241.1770) Attempts to preserve the branch in its original condition and
eventually reinstate some kind of service, either light rail or tramway appears to have failed.
The viaduct spanning the harbour is now being converted into a garden with plants, trees and shrubs.
It is rumoured to be modelled on a similar high-level structure in New York! The old signal box at the
entrance to the station has been rather nicely restored however. Although the station is derelict (and a
mess), some restoration work is taking place as it adjoins the Harbour Arm - a new development of
restaurants and bars sited close to where the Boulogne ferry used to berth. What the plans are for the
famous 1:30 incline running up to the junction with the Folkestone to Dover line, only time will tell.
1272 WEST MIDLANDS
83] Vivarail Class 230: (BLN 1271.3196) Sadly the Coventry to Nuneaton line public trials from 5 Feb
have been postponed after a significant fire at 13.05 on Fri 30 Dec in one of the detachable engine
modules at the site of the new Kenilworth station. The fire was extinguished and the DMU returned to
Tyseley for investigation. Unsurprisingly, there was severe disruption through Kenilworth all afternoon.
84] Stafford No5: (BLN 1267.2073) By 12 Dec 2016 the signal box (north of the station on the Down
side and visited by the Society on 20 Jul & 19 Nov 2014) had been demolished with just bricks covering
where it had once stood. Two days later these had been cleared leaving just an area of bare earth.
85] Berkswell: The London Midland managed station on the Coventry to Birmingham line has been
adopted by the local community to make it more welcoming. The Berkswell Society tends the planters
throughout the year, bringing it into bloom with materials donated by the local Parish Council.
86] Worcester: Two new stations could be built; part of Worcestershire County Council's transport
plan. One a Park & Ride at Fernhill Heath north of Worcester CP 3 Apr 1965. The other proposal is at
Rushwick, close to the A4440 Worcester southern bypass, where the original halt also CP 3 Apr 1965.
In 1959 it had (SuX) 5 Down and 3 Up trains with nothing calling between 08.24 and 16.37!
X.2] BELOW: The 1838 Grade I listed Curzon Street terminus station entrance building , occasionally
open to the public, showing the site of the new HS2 terminus (Chris Davis 14 May 2016).
87] Hereford: (BLN 1263.1641) Since the 11 Dec timetable change the following trains are booked to
depart north from P1 via the trailing crossover north of the station that was upgraded for passenger
use from 20 Jun 2016: SSuX 07.32, 08.45, 09.39, 10.39, 12.39, 13.42, 15.39 & 17.39; SO 08.39, 09.39,
10.39, 12.39, 16.39 & 19.11*; SuO 10.05 & 20.05. All are London Midland services to Birmingham New
Street except * which is to Dorridge. There is one north departure a week from P2 at 22.39 SuO to
Worcester Shrub Hill. The 19.59 (SO) to New Street departs from bay P4, its only train of the week.
On 17 Dec, the 12.39 LM service to New Street departed north from P1 (which it had arrived in) as
booked. This surprised quite a few passengers but the announcements and screens were all correct.
An interesting consequence was that passengers on the 10.30 Manchester Piccadilly to Milford Haven
(due 12.34) were able to cross platform connect with the train despite their train being 11 minutes
late. Obviously the Birmingham train could not leave until the Milford Haven train had arrived!
ABOVE: 1949 one-inch 7th Series map of the Nantmawr branch, Oswestry is off to the top right.
88] Llanddu Jn - Nantmawr Quarry Sidings: (TRACKmaps Vol 4 p22B, Aug 2013) (BLNs 1145.949,
1153.106 & 1159.464) Part of this branch is the Heritage 'Tanat Valley Railway Light Railway' (MR p7).
Despite the Welsh-sounding names, and the line being on the Welsh side of Offa's Dyke, it is within
Shropshire. Whatever variants the railway used, the quarry was always Blodwel (one 'l' at the end).
Two questions were asked in BLN 1145.949 (but have not yet been answered correctly):
(A): The provenance of the date of '15 Feb 1992' as 'closure' for this section (BLN 717 page 317), about
which a query had been raised in BLN 750.30. It relates to the date the line was clipped OOU and
deleted from the Sectional Appendix and that is not disputed. However, the correspondent at
BLN 1153.106 managed to confuse matters because the clipping out in situ of the junction points was
actually undertaken on Sun 9 Feb 1992. Thur 13 Feb was the publication date of the Weekly Operating
Notice, which covered week commencing Sat 15 Feb, containing the advice of the consequent deletion
from the Sectional Appendix (the second correspondent was even mistaken in the days of the week!).
Both those dates are mentioned but neither is really the answer to the original query.
(B): The date when stone loadings from Blodwel Quarry were transferred from ARC's Llanddu Siding
(on the branch between Llanddu Jn and Nantmawr) to a chute on the original Tanat Valley line (part
of the Llynclys Jn to Llangynog branch) itself, adjacent to the quarry (the second correspondent failed
to provide an answer). It would have taken effect not later than when these two changes took place:
(1): A run-round loop was provided at Llanddu Jn, partly on the former Blodwell Jn goods depot siding
site. Previously, trains proceeding to and from the Nantmawr branch from Gobowen via Oswestry
transferred the train loco from one end of the train to the other by gravity shunting ; illustrated by:
https://goo.gl/frwuCB https://goo.gl/JxtXCb https://goo.gl/lNz3Ri https://goo.gl/a2dxw0 and
https://goo.gl/z1uicG A Feb 2013 photo of Llanddu Jn from the Nantmawr branch, looking towards
Blodwell Jn; the line from Gobowen trails in from the right https://goo.gl/BHp1j1 from Google.
(2): The connection 'from Nantmawr branch to Llanddu sidings' was secured OOU (this wording from
the weekly notice seems to mean that ARC's Llanddu Siding was not accessible after the date).
It has been established from the weekly notice that these both took effect on the same day. Therefore,
the answer to the query is that the new stone loading chute must have been in use from, or by,
Mon 2 Apr 1984. From that date, the Nantmawr branch could not have been used for loading, and was
no longer needed for train working (although it might have been used as a wagon or cripple storage
siding, until the Llanddu Jn points were finally clipped OOU on 9 Feb 1992). (To be continued….)
89] Midland Metro: (1): (BLN 1271.3197) Trams used the Grand Central crossover out of the arrivals
platform on 3 Dec as, due to staff shortage, only 10 trams (rather than the booked 11) were running.
(2): Some fares increases took place from 2 Jan but not affecting off-peak travel; the after 09.30 day
ticket (anytime at weekends) is still £5 and includes National Express buses. The cheapest way to do
the whole line is with a 'PLUSBUS' ticket for any one of the three areas the Metro passes through.
90] Chase Line: NR has confirmed that numerous old mine shafts discovered beneath the 15-mile
Walsall to Rugeley line has delayed electrification. The scheme was scheduled to 'go live' for testing in
Dec 2017 with faster, higher capacity passenger trains running from May 2018 (and releasing DMUs to
improve other services). Many overhead support bases have had to be redesigned because of the
shafts (mostly undocumented). Work is also needed on the overhead electrification equipment
interface at Walsall Pleck Jn, dating back to the1960s. The premature closure of Rugeley Power Station
has actually helped without the freight trains to run as well. In a now familiar theme the cost has risen
to £100M from the most recent figure of £76M (originally £30M!). Despite the setbacks, substantial
progress has been made in the last three years. The next significant part of the scheme involves closing
Bloxwich road level crossing, the only one on the line. A pedestrian bridge will be provided.
91] Norton Jn (Worcester): (BLN 1269.2274) A member confirms that the famous distant signal once
controlled by Gloucester PSB, and fortunately then motorised, was still in place on 10 Dec as seen from
the overbridge. A driver's 'memory card' for the Nov 2016 'Bromsgrove Corridor Resignalling' had it as
a semaphore (not a colour light) on both the video and the PDF file for the track and signalling diagram
(dated Jan 2016). The distant has no number against it and is 'on' in the video with the home signal
'off' so it could now be 'fixed'. The speed restriction through Abbotswood Jn is shown as 30 mph.
1272 SOUTH WEST
92] Somerset minefield: (BLN 1271.3191) Concerning the Taunton branch of the National Union of
Railwaymen's staunch local opposition to the West Somerset Railway in its earlier days (a comment
added to the SW Regional Editor's submission by your BLN Editor); a Crewe member has kindly pointed
out that some of its members were drivers on the Taunton to Minehead and other bus services in the
area even before the railway closed in 1971. Regarding 'preserved'/ 'heritage' railways operating daily
services throughout the year: When the Paignton to Kingswear branch CP 30 Oct 1972 by BR, a rather
limited service continued, initially operated by BR under charter and subsidised by Devon County
Council and Torbay Borough Council. The Dart Valley railway took over from 1 Jan 1973; however, the
service became seasonal after 8 Oct 1973. The 'Railway Inn' (BLN 1271.3190) is near Ashcott station
site (CP 7 Mar 1966 with the line). The latter seems to have been replaced with a modern dwelling.
1272 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
93] Hull: (E-BLN 1271.X195) Quite a few members were on the excellent 23 Sep 1978 'Humberside
Locomotive Preservation Group' 6-car DMU 'City of Hull' local railtour run by BR Eastern Region
https://goo.gl/cQs2Jp from Hull Paragon to Boothferry Park, King George Dock, Alexandra Dock,
Calvert Lane Coal Depot, Dairycoates West & Hull Central Goods (Manor House Street) - end of line -
Dairycoates West (for a 90 minute visit to the steam depot) - Hull. Quite a few participants escaped at
Central Goods through a hole in the fence (having done the track), not far to walk to Paragon for much
earlier trains home!
ABOVE: The 23 Sep 1978 tour at Hull Central Goods (CG 16 Aug 1982), unusually, local BR
management took steps to assist with alighting and reboarding. Normally you jumped down from a
railtour then for a wander round and climbed back via the guard or drivers compartments where there
were extra steps and grab rails (if you were lucky!) (Ian Mortimer).
The tour had been advertised in BLN 352 of 23 Aug 1978, cost £3.75 and took nearly six hours with
almost an hour spent at the former Hull & Barnsley Railway (H&BR) Alexandra Dock (reaching the
exchange sidings). At that time, there was just very occasional MoD explosives traffic by rail left which
transferred to Middlesbrough in Mar 1980, although a class 08 pilot loco still remained for some while
with nothing to do! During the break and wander round on the tour there, your then youthful and
keen Editor noticed a Wickham Trolley and discovered it was used for maintaining the dock lines -
in particular with its trailer for spraying weeds (presumably they had trouble with Dock Leaves?).
When it was evident that the dock lines would close (the BR branch from Bridges Jn CG by Jan 1983
and was lifted by Feb 1985), he applied to the then British Transport Docks Board (Hull) Permanent
Way Inspector for a BLS 'visit' in view of the great historical significance of it being a rare ex-H&BR line.
After a positive response, it was advertised in BLN 395 although only 6 of the 12 places were booked
and took place on 29 Jul 1980. The whole emphasis of the request had been on being able to observe
and photograph the Wickham Railcar actually working weed spraying; this was to make sure it was
running if possible. This worked and a demonstration of weed spraying (using just water) was even laid
on. It wasn't long before this developed, as had been hoped for, into a riding visit of some of the dock
lines in the Wickham.
On the same occasion 'on the day' (not pre-arranged) unofficial rides were also possible for some of
the party at North Gawber Colliery (quite a lengthy NCB branch) first thing, with Hull King George
Dock (another Class 08 pilot) and at Saltend BP reaching the end of line, both after the Alexandra Dock
trip. A great day out, of the type that was quite possible at the time due to the genuine interest and
kindness of many railway staff; which it is finally possible to document 36+ years after the event.
A second BLS visit to Alexandra Dock took place on 9 Dec 1980;
this time for a full party of 12 (word had got round after the last
'visit'). We were treated like old friends; there was no weed
killing demonstration merely a very comprehensive railtour.
The railcar held 6/7 passengers and a driver, so two (road) cars
followed it round the dock swapping participants over with
everyone covering all the track once, except the organiser who
stayed onboard to supervise of course! This included traversing
the long disused west side of the dock - not possible on the July
visit but since kindly been brought up to scratch for us by our
friendly P/Way gang (see 1951/1959 OS one-inch 7th map of
Alexandra Dock LEFT). The intermediate North Quay lines were
covered then the east side to the extremity and exchange
sidings (overlapping with the Aug 1978 railtour) and to the limit
of dock operation on the BR branch for those not on that tour.
It finished with the branch to the shed.
Participants were kindly presented with eight spare BR type 'Orange Jackets' by the dock P/Way staff
and the organiser suitably reciprocated with a railway themed calendar for the bothy, a bottle of
whisky and beer money (for later of course!) . It turned out that an extremely infrequent train of
explosives had run only the week before. It was just as well (for security and operational reasons) that
it was not during our visit. A third and final similar trip on 4 Jun 1981 ran with four spare places!
BELOW: The 9 Dec 1980 BLS tour, it is not clear what the participants were all looking at! (Angus McDougall).
ABOVE: ….and finally from Hull, (as it become the 2017 UK City of culture) occasional Sunday diversions
took place through Hessle Yard (here rather empty) in the 1970s/early 1980s (Ian Mortimer).
94] Selby Mine Up Sidings (Gascoigne Wood): From 18 Dec these private sidings could no longer be
accessed from the Hagg Lane (Hull) end from the Up Hull (5m 30ch); access is now only from the west.
95] Sheffield: The public station footbridge here has recently commissioned train information screens.
BELOW: Queensbury Tunnel north end, 6 Sep 1964 before the track was lifted (Angus McDougall).
96] Queensbury Tunnel: (BLN1268.2189) Dec 2016 'Rail News' reports that this 2,501yd tunnel is
under threat from Highways England Historical Railways Estate (successors to BRB Residuary). They
want to close access, insert 20m long concrete plugs in both entrances, backfill the ventilation shafts
and leave it to collapse. They say this will cost £3.5M and claim it would cost £35M to repair the
1½ mile tunnel so that it could become a footpath and cycleway. Railway Ramblers (who have
experience of these matters) feel that the latter figure is inflated and should at least be independently
verified; while the £3.5M suggests complete infilling, losing this valuable asset for ever. The Institute of
Civil Engineers has (politely as always) designated it an 'Historical Engineering Work'. It took four years
to build and was one of the first to use rock drilling machines (four times quicker than hand drills). The
first train was Oct 1878, passenger trains ceased April 1955, freight May 1956 with track lifted in 1964.
The tunnel is currently usable as a footpath and cycle track. The Queensbury Tunnel Society wants the
DfT to grant a stay of execution whilst stakeholders carry out an assessment of the tunnel's potential
and its associated challenges; they estimate the cost of proportionate repairs at this stage as £2.81M.
Please sign the petition at: https://goo.gl/8Z71Yr which has more information about the tunnel.
https://goo.gl/Q1mItZ shows what it is really like inside the tunnel.
97] Doncaster: (BLN 1271.3201) Bay P0 was commissioned on 4 Dec with the first train on 6 Dec.
The Thunderbird loco (67005) that day ran from the West Yard to Kirk Sandall to cross over, arriving in
P0 at 10.15. It returned at 10.23 via the new reversible 'W' route (the Down Thorne in the Up direction
to 0m 23ch) which allowed the late running 06.55 Edinburgh to King's Cross to simultaneously arrive in
P3 on flashing yellow signals. After this gauging test, the platform was re-blocked to finish resurfacing
The first passenger train was actually on Mon 12 Dec (not Sun 11th), the 06.50 from Scarborough via
Hull, arrived 09.31 and returned to Hull at 09.52. An 'official opening ceremony' took place at 11.30.
BELOW: P0, the 'official' opening ceremony (more pictures at e-BLN 1271.3201) (Martin Crompton).
(See TRACKmaps Vol 2 p17C Oct 2016.) From Tue 27 Dec the Down Loco/Up East Slow and Up East
Slow lines between Doncaster station and Loversall Carr Jn were renamed more simply the Up Slow.
The electrified Up Platform Loop was extended at the south end of Doncaster station, from a facing
connection (the former Carriage Sidings points) just south of the P2 points, following a new alignment
under Bridge 325. This extension joins up with the Up Slow line 220m north of Balby Bridge Tunnel.
A connection from the south end of the new Up Platform Loop extension to the new Doncaster South
Carriage Sidings No1 & 2 remains OOU. The Down Engine/Up Lincoln Line between Black Carr Jn and
Bessacarr Jn was renamed to the Up Lincoln. This intermediate phase does not yet provide a signalled
passenger route for trains from the joint line to reach Doncaster bay P2 as is ultimately intended.
98] Kirkstall Forge & Apperley Bridge: Yellow non-slip sleeper covers have been applied to 30 sleepers
before new 'Station Ahead Signs'. They are passive visual reminders; a trial to further reduce instances
of 'failure to call'. [Will there also be 'Yellow Sleeper Ahead Signs' 30 sleepers before them and……?]
On the subject of these two stations, the adult single fare between them is £1.60 for the four-minute
3½ mile journey with a train every hour in both directions all day Sundays. Mondays to Fridays this
journey is only possible from Kirkstall Forge to Apperley Bridge at 16.14 and 17.16 and not at all in the
other direction. Saturdays there are trains from Apperley Bridge at 07.10 and 08.10 returning at 16.14,
17.15 and 17.43. At other times passengers are advised to buy a ticket to Leeds and then a second
back to the 'other' station (£6.40 taking about 30 minutes), or Shipley (£5.30) or Guiseley (£11.40)!
In Scotland (where everything to do with railways seems to be rather better) a similar situation exists
in travelling between South Gyle and the new Edinburgh Gateway stations. They are 68ch apart with
through services in the peaks only, direct trains take 2 minutes and cost £2.90; however, this same fare
applies via Haymarket (the single fares added together would be £5.60!). Haymarket to South Gyle is
£2.90, but travel the extra 68ch to Edinburgh Gateway and it is £3.20, but the new station was £41M!
99] Lisahally: (E-BLN 1260.1336) A WWII military halt, 4½ miles from Londonderry on the existing main
line to Belfast opened 12 Apr 1942 serving a naval base and thought to have survived until the early
1950s. The loop there closed 17 Oct 1976 having last been used by a ballast train on Sun 26 Sep 1976.
100] Drogheda: The EU-funded refurbishment between Jan 2014 and Nov 2015 of the 536.5m long
Boyne Viaduct at Drogheda, formed of 3 wrought iron truss bridges and 15 masonry arches, won the
Historic Structures Restoration Award at the National Railway Heritage Awards (NRHA) at a ceremony
in Merchant Taylors' Hall in London on 7 Dec. The Awards, presented annually since 1979 in the UK,
and IÉ since the late 1990s, aim to encourage high standards of restoration of buildings, structures and
signalling installations and of their environmental care, thus promoting public recognition and
awareness of historic railway and tramway heritage and environment. IÉ was the lead partner for the
delivery of the refurbishment project which will now ensure the 'safe and efficient operation of the
railway line'. It is an icon of the town of Drogheda, and of Irish civil engineering. The project included:
• 4,500m2 of scaffolding. • 500m of new track.
• 1,800m2 of new deck waterproofing. • 850m3 of new railway ballast.
• 15,000m2 of new paint protection.
• New high-power LED lighting on the viaduct,
• 14,000 rivets replaced. co-funded by Louth County Council.
• 25,000kg of steel used in repairs. . (Iarnród.Éireann)
101] Malahide: An initiative launched by the Friends of Handforth Station, the DART management and
the tidy towns committee in Malahide is to twin the stations. The Friends of Handforth Station (noted
for the display of station signs from around the world) recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
They have been very successful in developing local community relationships with schools and interest
groups which is something that IÉ managers are keen to do. A meeting was arranged at Malahide for
the twinning proposal to be discussed and the local tidy towns committee is very enthusiastic about
promoting their village and railway station with Handforth. IÉ was represented at an anniversary
dinner in Handforth where the twinning proposal was publicly announced. The process of drawing up
bespoke station signage to be displayed at both Malahide and Handforth is in hand. A contingent of
the Malahide tidy towns committee is travelling to Handforth in the spring with IÉ representatives to
develop and enhance the twinning.
102] Kilmarnock, Long Lyes Sidings: These are not now as shown on TRACKmaps Vol 1 p3 - Dec 2007.
Northwest of the station with direct access from P1-3 at Kilmarnock Jn, a single track in front of the
signal box gives a short siding off to the left and then splits to form a long run-round loop. This is on
the route of the former double track Kilmarnock (No2 Jn) to Dalry (No3 Jn) line and beneath the first
overbridge (now the B7064, Western Road) to the headshunt buffer stops (NS 4178 3878). A local
member advises that this line was reinstated in autumn 2009, was in use in Jan 2010 (so is not shown
on some maps) and not documented in BLN at the time. NR had to buy back some of the trackbed.
The Dalry to Kilmarnock line CP (local trains) 18 Apr 1966 but a Glasgow to London sleeper continued
(in this direction only), calling at Paisley Gilmour Street, then Kilmarnock and Carlisle until the line
CA 22 Oct 1973, so it was very difficult to do in daylight unless there was an engineering diversion.
The Down line was retained, probably until 30 Dec 1973, but there is no evidence it was then used.
The first passenger carrying train since closure was on Sat 27 Aug 2016, UK Railtour's The Ayr Apparent
which reversed in Long Lyes Sidings with many BLS members on board and stopped short of the loop
end points that were not clipped. The loop is used by trains of empty coal wagons from the south to
Greenburn open cast disposal point (and return outward loaded coal trains) to run round as Bank Jn
(for the Greenburn branch) faces north. Construction of a direct third side of the triangle curve was
seriously considered for through running between Carlisle and Greenburn/Knockshinnoch via New
Cumnock but the land is boggy and the cost of drainage and building it would have been high. Before
Christmas two trains each with 1,500 tonnes of coal a day (SSuX) were running, one to West Burton 'A'
and the other to Ratcliffe Power Stations. Long Lyes is also used by a daily ECS DMU movement SSuX.
ABOVE: A train of empty coal wagons curves round for Greenburn Open Cast Disposal Point at Bank Jn
in mid-October; note the mounted tail lamp camera to the left of the rear of the train.
BELOW: Loading the wagons at Greenburn; rail traffic has now ceased again here (both Nick Jones).
ABOVE: 1953/55 one-inch 7th Series map of Kilmarnock. The double track line off bottom right is the
Glasgow & South Western Railway to Carlisle and the adjacent single track line is now the Riccarton
branch (once a through line towards Barassie). The present line to Barassie (now singled) goes off
middle bottom. The end of Long Lyes headshunt is marked with an orange cross on the former line to
Crosshouse (station open to passengers - where until 1965, a line went off to Irvine) and straight on to
Dalry. The latter was the original main line opened in 1843; the current Glasgow line (heading north,
left of centre on the top border) did not open until 1873 which is why the Dalry line has the better,
straighter alignment. The light green cross is the end of the Hillhead Colliery branch (CG 22 Feb 1966).
BELOW: On 27 Aug 2016 UKRT's 'The Ayr Apparent' tour from London Euston enters the sidings from
Kilmarnock station to the south but only for a short lie (honestly).
NEXT PAGE BELOW: The run-round loop north end where the tour stopped; the point into the head
shunt (left) was not clamped; on the right is the B7064, Western Road (both Greg Beecroft).
103] Anniesland: The Knightswood South Jn to Dawsholm Jn link here CP after Sat 6 Aug 2016 service,
on the reopening of Glasgow Queen Street High Level, but the restored link remains in use by ECS
workings. In the current timetable, the 11.35 (SSuX) & 20.52 (FSSux) Glasgow Queen Street High Level
to Eastfield run anticlockwise arriving 12.32 and 21.43 respectively. The route is Cowlairs South - West
- North Jns - Maryhill - Anniesland (P1) - Queen Street Low Level P9 (three minute stop) - Springburn -
Cowlairs West (second time) - Eastfield Holding Sidings. A 16.01 Eastfield (SSuX) to Queen Street HL
(16.55) performs the circuit clockwise passing through Queen Street LL P8. It is presumed that these
are to retain crew route knowledge and keep the link functioning for possible diversionary use.
104] Millerhill: (BLN 1252.509) From 17 Dec, to facilitate works in association with the building of the
new ScotRail Cleaning and Servicing facility, Millerhill Yard (Charlie, Davie, Eddie and Freddy 1 sidings)
and Millerhill Fueling Point Sidings points were to be secured OOU until further notice.
105] Signal Boxes: There are 10 (arguably 9½!) boxes scheduled to close during 2017 in three separate
schemes (after several years without Scottish closures). If you need to photograph them, act quickly!
(1): Greenhill Junction, Carmuirs East Junction, Larbert North and Grangemouth Junction.
(2): Nairn, Forres and Elgin (Inverness to Aberdeen upgrade).
(3): Dyce, Inverurie and Raith's Farm Shunter's Panel (upgrade with significant redoubling).
106] Levenmouth: (BLN 1246.261) This area comprises Leven, Methil, Kennoway and Windygates,
a total population of 37,000 and is now the largest urban area in Scotland without a train service.
It also boasts the largest distillery in Scotland (run by Diageo), with a nearby 150-acre bottling plant
generating 80 HGV movements a day. If the railway was re-opened, these could be transferred on to
two daily container trains. Leven (CP 6 Oct 1969) is still rail connected by the 5-mile mothballed Methil
branch. This OOU line is in the Sectional Appendix and NR infrastructure connected at Thornton North
Jn. The first mile was used until Jun 2015 for coal trains from Earlseat open cast loading point.
The Deputy Leader of Fife Council emphasised that the re-opening has the full support of the Council
who had committed £2M to development, including funding two feasibility studies. Scottish
Government statistics show that half of the area is ranked within the 20% most deprived areas of
Scotland and that 36% of its residents do not have access to a car. Feasibility studies show that the
re-opening would bring benefits comparable to the Borders Railway at a fraction of its cost.
The 'LevenMouth Rail Campaign' https://goo.gl/zN2kXU has attracted strong local support.
The next step is to seek Scottish Government commitment to this project.
107] Fort William (1): Tom-na-Faire depot
fuelling point was removed several years ago
therefore, until recently, nothing has been
fuelled on the West Highland (other than by
coal!). Since the Class 66+73 loco combination
has been used on the sleeper in the summer,
they sometimes refuel at Fort William Oil
Terminal (LEFT: Nick Jones). This may happen
daily for a week, then not at all for a week - so
is clearly planned, not just 'emergency use'.
The fuel comes in by rail (from Mossend by DB
Cargo every 2-3 weeks). It is unloaded, and
passes under the railway by pipes to the
storage tanks on the opposite side of the
railway. Unfortunately these pipes cannot be
used in reverse so, for the sleeper, fuel is
loaded into a road tanker, driven back across
(via the main road) to the terminal side; the two
locos fuel direct from the road tanker!
DMUs are diagrammed to Mallaig and back to
Eastfield or Corkerhill without needing to
refuel. Sometimes a unit low on fuel is swapped
at Fort William so that it can return south.
108] Fort William (2): There is good news for West Highland rail freight with plans announced to
create up to 600 jobs and invest £120M at the UK's last remaining aluminium smelter here.
This follows a £330M deal in Nov with Liberty House and Simec to take over the Rio Tinto site. Plans
include creating an aluminium wheel manufacturing facility with 300 new direct jobs and another 300
in the supply chain. Liberty said it aimed to protect the existing 170 jobs in Lochaber and expand metal
manufacturing and downstream engineering there. The purchase by Liberty and Simec (both members
of the GFG Alliance) includes the hydro power plants at Fort William and Kinlochleven and over
100,000 acres of land with the water catchment area, including Ben Nevis foothills. The Scottish
government is supporting the plans by guaranteeing the power purchases of the aluminium smelter.
109] Ballater: (BLN 1262.1564) The former station (gutted by fire in May 2015) is to receive £107k
from Historic Environment Scotland's building repair grants scheme. The award is to help with the
interior restoration of the Royal waiting room, and is in addition to £3M from Aberdeenshire Council.
110] Dalcross: (BLN 1256.946) The projected station for Inverness Airport has received £3.34M from
the Scottish Stations Fund towards the total £5.5M cost. Plans were submitted for the railway station
in Oct and these are expected to be presented at the local planning application committee in mid Jan.
111] Tondu - Margam Abbey Works East Jn: (BLN 1256.1042) Following route learning light engine
specials, freight diversions with 17 potential paths are scheduled on this very rarely used line for
Sun 8 Jan 2017. From Margam there are 11 paths, four to Llanwern Exchange Sidings and one each to
East Usk Birdport, Dee Marsh Reception Sidings, Middlesbrough Dawson Ayrton, Hartlepool BSC 20"
Mill, Carlisle New Yard, Corby BSC and one from Trostre Works to Tilbury International Rail Freight
Depot. In the other direction, there are five paths from Llanwern and one from Birdport, all to
Margam. Similarly 10 trains were actually diverted on 8 Jan and 11 trains in total on 15 Jan 2016.
NR is reported to be planning to mothball this infrequently used route (once used by diverted HSTs).
112] Aberthaw: (BLN 1271.3130) There is a long-term path for outward cement traffic 'as required'
02.50 MSSuX. It is 'as required' because the schedule has to be activated (rather than presumed to run
unless 'cancelled' by the operator). There are two identical paths to Hawkeridge Jn with Moorswater
and Westbury Lafarge (where the former cement works is now being demolished) as alternative
destinations. Moorswater is generally served Wednesdays with the empties returning Thursdays.
During the week of 12 Dec, a train of discharged cement tanks from Tunstead used the connection to
the Barry Tourist Railway for maintenance. They were shunted at the weekend by the resident
working steam loco! On 21 and 22 Dec, these wagons were moved as two trains via Cardiff Pengam
sidings to Aberthaw Cement. On Thur 22 Dec the loco returned with 19 loaded and empty tanks via
Pengam to the Barry Tourist Railway leaving room at Aberthaw for the arrival of the Moorswater train.
Aberthaw Cement has three sidings. The eastern one, adjacent to the warehouse, is used for loading.
The middle road is for stabling wagons and the western goes through the bottom door discharge
facility connecting with the middle road forming a loop. However, all arrivals are propelled into the
works from the Down Main with the chargeman operating the upgraded ground frame. The run round
move and shunt back takes about 20 minutes. Our member does not understand why trains cannot
push back onto the Down Main at Barry when leaving the switch siding, a procedure which used to
happen in MGR days with 28 or even 35 wagons, rather than having to go to Pengam and back.
113] Cardiff Central: (BLN 1270.3108) Over-running engineering work delayed reopening to lunchtime
on 29 Dec, with delays and cancellations for the rest of the day. P8 'opened' on 2 Jan (with the 11.15
from Barry Island and 11.46 return) and is the platform for Down Penarth, Barry Island and Vale of
Glamorgan services 06.00 to 20.00 (SuX). At other times, they use P7, except for a few Cardiff Central
starters: 06.36 to Penarth (P4), 06.56 Barry Island (P4 SX/P3 SO), and 12.55 SX to Barry Island (P4).
Although all are reversible, P6, 7 and 8 currently have no access to / from the Newport direction.
The 'Line A to E' names apply north to south from Newtown Jn crossovers to Leckwith Loop North Jn.
ABOVE: Cardiff Central P8; the 06.52 Aberdare to Barry Island, 3 Jan 2017, P7 is on the right (David Clark).
114] Isaf Failed! (BLN 1271.3216) With apologies to the original correspondent 'Efail Isaf' (in the item
titled 'Tonmawr') should be 'Efail Fach'. Efail Isaf was actually on the Barry Railway main line south of
Treforest some miles away. The correct rendition refers to the short-lived (?1914-24) colliers' halt at
4m 38ch on the Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company line (not the South Wales Mineral Railway
which was further up the hillside - as shown on the map in e-BLN). On 24 Nov 1960 at Pontrhydyfen a
runaway unfitted freight train hit a DMU on a Swansea to Barry Island service severely damaging both
trains and sadly killing the DMU driver and fireman of the freight train. Three passengers and the
driver of the freight were severely injured. Richard Burton, who was born there, was visiting his 'mam'
who lived close to the railway and ran along and up the embankment to help straight after the crash.
115] Bow Street: (BLN 1271.3219) Surprisingly (disappointingly) the local rail user group is reported to
be against the proposed reopening, on grounds firstly that it would jeopardise reliability of the current
timetable, and secondly that it would be difficult to check/issue tickets on the short journeys between
Borth, Bow Street and Aberystwyth. The franchise does cope with many such short journeys in South
Wales! [Sadly the Cotswold Line Promotion Group is similarly against Worcestershire Parkway - Ed.]
116] Chester & Holyhead Line: (BLN 1271.3215) West of Connahs Quay, quadruple track resumed at
Muspratts Siding box. Correcting BLN 1270.3112, it is now reported that the slow lines between here
and Bagillt were closed 20 Mar 1965 (with the Down Slow retained for some time as a siding from
Muspratts); onward to Holywell Junction, the Down Slow closed 14 Mar 1965 and the Up Slow
7 May 1967 (with part retained as an Up Goods and for connections into Courtaulds). Four tracks still
remain through Holywell as loops, whilst onward to Mostyn the Down Slow closed 27 Oct 1966 (with
part retained as a siding from Holywell) and Up Slow 29 Mar 1967. Between Mostyn and Prestatyn,
the Down Slow (with part retained as a 645yd siding) closed 19 Mar 1967 as far as a new Fast to Slow
crossover 180 yards east of Prestatyn, where a Down Passenger Loop was created (itself closed on
25 Oct 1992). The Up Slow closed 26 Mar 1967 but with parts at each end retained as sidings; that at
the Mostyn end was designated No1 siding, with the previous 1 to 4 renumbered 2 to 5.
117] Mostyn: (BLN 1269.3004) The signal box is due to close on 9 Jan, with all current points, signals
and Dock sidings taken out of use. The trailing Down Main to Up Main trailing crossover remains in situ
but is OOU. Removal of the box (between the running lines adjacent to the level crossing) allows the
tracks to be realigned for higher speed. A new bi-directional loop is being constructed on the Up side
with a run-round loop. This is likely to replace the nearby Holywell Junction Up and Down Loops.
118] Abergele & Pensarn: The final Down passenger train to call at the present P1 is to be the 19.34
Cardiff Central to Holyhead on Fri 6 Jan. The Down Passenger Loop and present Down P1 will be taken
OOU from Mon 9 Jan 2017 with the associated signalling. Up trains are unaffected but Down trains will
be unable to call at the station until Mon 13 Feb while the Down platform is widened out to the Down
Main line. During the closure, buses are provided to/from Rhyl. This is part of the North Wales Coast
Resignalling Phase 1. Ultimately the North Wales Coast lines will be controlled from Cardiff, South
Wales Signalling Centre (!) - Incredibly Holyhead will be over 234 miles away from its signal box!
1272 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR1] Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Cumbria (MR p14) (BLN 1176.MR4): Network Rail has granted
permission to build an extension to the Museum on land at Ravenglass station site, which had been
earmarked for the development. The project gained £488,700 of Heritage Lottery Funding in
September 2015, along with match-funding from the Cumbria Community Foundation, Fisheries Local
Action Group, Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation Society and Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
(R&ER). A new train-shed extension will double the existing Museum's footprint and allow its
collection of historic rolling stock to be displayed under cover for the first time. Accessible new
displays and interactive features will breathe life into the fascinating history of the nearly 150-year-old
railway affectionately known as La'al Ratty.
Accumulated over its long history, stretching back to 1873, the R&ER has thousands of items to display
in the exhibition space and research facilities that will become available. The Museum will also
catalogue and digitise its archive, making a wealth of material available for display and research for the
first time. This will allow it to tell more fully the unique story of the railway, its connections to iron ore
mining, granite quarrying, and its impact on life in Eskdale. A museum-standard temporary exhibition
space is to be created, to enable schools and special interest groups to stage their own displays.
This involvement with schools will be backed by the development of a first-class education
programme, so children can learn about the history of the railway and the part it has played in local
life and industry. Many historically important objects can now be restored, including parts of an 1875
3ft gauge saloon coach (one of the oldest surviving English narrow-gauge coaches), ICL No1 'Bunny'
(the railway's first petrol locomotive and holder of the line speed record) and several wagons from the
railway's granite quarrying past. The existing Museum will close to allow work to start, and re-open in
June 2017 in its new, extended form. The Railway's 'Train from Spain' 4-6-2 (Krauss 8457/1929), made
its first moves under steam for 84 years on 22 November 2016. The locomotive, originally built for the
Ibero-American Exposition in Seville, Spain, was acquired by the Railway in January 2016. It was
originally named 'Pinta' and was set aside in 1932. It will receive a new name and livery in due course.
MR2] Downpatrick & County Down Railway, County Down (MR p10): The Railway has taken delivery
of the distinctive old semaphore railway signals recovered from Castlerock station, which have been
replaced with colour lights as part of a £46M upgrade to the NIR (Translink) Londonderry line.
Somersault signals were used on the Northern Counties Committee railway lines, later part of the LMS,
in areas known to experience heavy snowfall and ice where the normal style of signal might become
frozen in their slotted posts. These types of signals were known as 'somersaults' because of their
atypical motion compared to other railway semaphore signals. Edward French, a signal fitter with the
(English) Great Northern Railway, came up with the design in the 1870s where a centrally balanced
signal arm pivoted away from the post. While the 'on' indication was no different in appearance from
that of previous semaphores, the arm in the 'off' position remained fully visible in an almost vertical
position and not obscured by the post.
Railway Chairman Robert Gardiner said: We are absolutely delighted to preserve these relics of the
Victorian era that had survived well into the 21st Century on the modern railway. These will be restored
and re-erected along our heritage line in County Down to continue to perform the task they were
designed to do, where members of the public can see them once again in action. We have been
working with Translink over the past number of years to secure the future of these semaphore signals,
and our thanks to them for all their enthusiasm and assistance in making this project happen.
MR3] Hastings Miniature Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1220.MR188): Our member visited this
10¼" gauge railway 'on spec' on Friday 4 November during a 'tourist' visit, at his wife's request, to
Hastings Old Town, prior to the Society's weekend of AGM activities. He was unaware of, or had
forgotten about, the line until it was mentioned by a National Trust volunteer the previous day. They
arrived and parked near the funfair/crazy golf etc, and found the 'far end' (from the depot) terminus of
the line; all seemed very quiet, which did not surprise him on a weekday, during school term time, at
that time of year. They nevertheless walked to the other (depot) end, to find three of the staff working
on their steam engine. He asked if there was any chance of a ride, and after some discussion, one of
them got out a model diesel loco, of their own build, after a class 47, driven from an open 'cockpit'.
While our correspondent's wife retired to a café near the funfair, he was given a splendid solitary ride
to the other end and back. At this point, with the forecast heavy rain threatening, the driver decided to
put that loco away and take out another, based broadly upon American 'long hood-short hood' design,
which had a closed cab; he asked if our reporter had time for another ride, which of course he had,
again in solitary splendour. By now the rain had set in, and the driver asked where his wife was; upon
being told he suggested he get back in, and he was given another run to the café!
[BLN 1272] ABOVE: Eastleigh Lakeside Railway 11 Dec 2016, 'Francis Henry Lloyd' arrives
…………… ….'wrong road' into Eastleigh Parkway bay platform (Peter Scott).
MR4] Eastleigh Lakeside Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLNs 1241.MR151 & 1268.2127): A visit was
made to this 7¼"/10¼" gauge railway on Sunday 11 December 2016 - not to visit Santa, although he
was resident in the main station building - but because his 'presence' (!) delivered some rare track!
Two trains were in operation. The 'Santa Special' was formed of 8 covered first class coaches. This ran
from Eastleigh Parkway station P2 as normal to Monks Brook Halt (non-stop) - but on return ran
direct back into P2 thereby using two sections of rare track near South Level Crossing (the 'straight on'
section just beyond where the return loop diverges and the facing crossover). This train was hauled
alternately by 10¼" gauge 4-6-2 No1002 'The Empress' and 10¼" gauge 2-4-2 No7 'Sandy River'.
For 'ordinary' passengers, a 'Shuttle Train' ran to and from at Eastleigh Parkway station bay P3.
It ran out via the usual route calling at Monks Brook Halt, where passengers could alight and use the
adjacent children's play area. This train returned to Eastleigh Parkway via the same 'rare track' route
and was formed of six coaches (two covered first class and four open second class) 'topped and tailed'
by 7¼" gauge 4-8-4 No3 'Francis Henry Lloyd' and 7¼" gauge 0-4-0 'Sanjo'. An adult return second class
ticket on the shuttle train was £3.50. Oddly, the 'Shuttle Trains' were noted to be much busier than the
'Santa Trains'! The spare open coaches were parked in a long line on the return loop opposite Eastleigh
Parkway station. The railway is a short walk from Southampton Airport Parkway station/Airport.
MR5] Apedale Valley Light Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLN 1255.MR71): Owners of the 2ft gauge
railway, the Moseley Railway Trust, have received a grant from the Co-Op Community Fund.
This Fund allows communities to support local good causes. Every time a Co-Op member buys Co-op
branded products and services - from buying a loaf of bread to planning a funeral - 1% of their spend
goes to a local cause.
The Trust will be using the money from the Community Fund to support the overhaul of a new coach.
This was acquired in 2015 from the Ffestiniog Railway, but needs extensive work to allow it to operate
at Apedale. The work includes overhaul of the running gear, a new braking system, a new electrical
system and a really good clean! It will be first fully-enclosed passenger vehicle to operate on the
railway. Phil Robinson, Chairman of the Trust, said We are really grateful to the Co-Op for their
support. Our customers have told us that they would like an enclosed coach for the journey, and
hopefully we can provide that for them. So, we need local people to register as Co-Op members and
select the Moseley Railway Trust as their Good Cause. The 2017 season starts on 1 April.
MR6] Black Country Living Museum, West Midlands (MR p32) (BLN 1266.1918): The Museum has
made a bid for £10M of Heritage Lottery Fund money for a redevelopment of the museum, including
extending the 3ft 6in gauge tramway (still temporarily OOU since early July 2016) into a circuit.
BELOW: Black Country Living Museum 14 Sep 2013 - Tram Car No34 heads for the
Depot (in the background) which is the current end of line (Peter Scott).
MR7] Heaton Park Tramway, Greater Manchester (MR p32) (BLN 1268.MR223): The tramway opens
for the 2017 season on Sunday 19 February, weather permitting. Special operating days include:
2 April (50 years of the Manchester Transport Museum Society), 9 April (Residents in local postcodes
travel free), 2 July (Tramtastic Day Out) and 3 September (Annual Trans Lancs Vehicle Show).
MR8] Beamish Tramway, County Durham (MR p32) (BLN 1257.MR95): Gateshead 10, currently out of
service, is currently undergoing a major overhaul in the museum's workshops. Some work is being
outsourced to the Ffestiniog Railway. The museum has received a £10.9M grant from the Heritage
Lottery Fund to enable it to create a 1950s themed area.
MR9] Riverside Park, St Neots, Cambridgeshire: https://goo.gl/gibQiF (no website). This 34 acre park
runs for almost 1¼ miles alongside the River Great Ouse, from the bridge near the Old Bridge Hotel to
Hartford Church. On 3 November 2016 the Riverside Miniature Railway Club were granted full
planning permission by Huntingdonshire District Council to construct a new 5"/7¼" gauge railway in
the park. They have already started work. The aim is to provide a community miniature railway for the
pleasure of residents and visitors to St Neots. Operated as a self sufficient, volunteer run, not for profit
attraction, it is hoped to provide an opportunity for the community to get involved. A temporary
railway operated during 2016 and opening of a 300m permanent track is planned for 2017.
MR10] Southwold Railway, Suffolk (BLN 1255.MR66): The railway has now acquired its first 3ft gauge
loco. This is 0-6-0ST 'Scaldwell', built by Peckett (Works No1316) in 1913 for the Lamport Ironstone
Company in Northamptonshire. It had been part of the collection at Amberley Museum in West Sussex
for many years, in an unrestored state. The Museum contacted the Southwold Railway Trust to see if it
would be interested in purchasing it. As Amberley concentrates on 2ft gauge, 'Scaldwell' did not fit
with the rest of the collection. It is remarkably complete, with almost all its fittings intact and even
comes with a spare set of unused wheels and axles. The Trust needs to first raise funds to transport
the loco to Suffolk where steps will be taken to stop further deterioration. It then plans to cosmetically
restore it for its new visitor centre at Southwold, with full restoration a longer-term objective.
119] FIXTURE REPORT: Southern Electric Group Eastleigh Area Signalling Centre (ASC), Sat 26 Nov:
(BLN 1266.2002) A group of 14, including BLS members, was welcomed by Paul Fleet, Local Operations
Manager. Originally the 1966 panel was in a room by the LSWR main line next to its current location.
The area expanded to three panels for which a new building was required in 1981 as the floor could
not take the weight! Eastleigh area was 'switched' from semaphores to colour light signals 50 years
ago (5 Nov 1966). A semaphore survives in a compound opposite the ASC for training.
BELOW: Eastleigh Area Signalling Centre, Basingstoke is off to the right and Brockenhurst to the left.
LEFT: Mount Pleasant level crossing is
operated by the box and is unusual in
being across four tracks, and is very busy
with trains (all pictures by Stuart Hicks).
Panel 1 is responsible for an area from
southwest of Worting Jn (interfaces with
Basingstoke ASC about milepost 52¼) to
just north of Eastleigh at 71m 37ch (Down
line) and 72m 06ch (Up) - the original
Panel. Eastleigh, Southampton station
areas and between to just east of
Fareham, the Botley and Chandlers Ford
lines are on Panel 2. Panel 3 controls the
Bournemouth main line to west of
Beaulieu Road (89m 40ch Up line and
83m 61ch on the Down line which fringes
Brockenhurst), Western Docks access and
the Salisbury line to past Romsey (where
it interfaces with Salisbury).
The Fawley branch from Totton West Jn and to Marchwood Military Port is controlled from
Marchwood, although the branch beyond is now NRU. On the Down side, north of Eastleigh station,
Eastleigh Ground Frame 'C' (73m 07ch) is a LSWR 1918 built hut with a 29 lever frame; a ground frame
controlled by a shunter. Releases are requested and given when trains want to pass between the
fiefdoms. The diagram still has the pre-1966 name of 'Eastleigh East yard GF'.
BELOW: Close up of the Fareham area, note the middle station 'bay'.
During the week, the ASC is operated by three Grade 7 signallers and a shift manager on an eight hour
shift pattern, with a fourth signaller during the day for meal relief. On Saturdays and Sundays, two 12
hour shifts are worked; there is considerably less traffic on Sundays.
As well as passenger services, freight passes to Southampton Eastern Docks. There is intermodal
traffic at Western Docks and car trains. Some of these also run to Eastern Docks where cars can be
stored. Millbrook Intermodal terminal west of Southampton is another freight traffic source. Virtually
all goes via Reading (this can be via Laverstock Loop at Salisbury) due to gauging, but a small
percentage is via Bath to Wentloog, between Newport and Cardiff.
The ASC had been due to close with control transferred to Basingstoke Rail Operations Centre during
2016 but that has been deferred until further notice. A £135 charity collection was made; thanks to
our member Stuart Hicks (SEG) for the arrangements and opening it to BLS members.
Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring.……..1272 CONNECTIONS……….Details must be checked with the organisers.
120] Buy a share of Bridgnorth station: 2.5M shares at £1 are available to support sympathetic
development of the heritage station that came close to demolition in July 1965. For detailed plans,
documents and the application form with many pictures see https://goo.gl/vGrrZU for a posted
copy 01562 757900. Phase I is a new large but discrete circa 1900 GWR style refreshment room
with refurbishment and internal alterations to the original Grade II listed stone station building.
The Railwayman's Arms pub will be reconfigured and enlarged into a storeroom to give more space.
The original booking hall/waiting room will be reinstated with a new shop and heritage display area.
Shareholder benefits (the value rises with future fares increase) start with a voucher for a one day
Third Class 'freedom of the Line' per year (100 shares); 400 gives four or four First Class with 800.
Unlimited travel (for the holder and up to accompanying three (varying) guests) starts at only 1,200
shares. See documents for the considerable benefits of greater holdings. Shares can be bought
jointly, transferred, bequeathed or sold privately. Further phases include a turntable (Kidderminster
has one already) with MPD track layout improvements, improved parking and new road access.
121] London Transport Museum, Patrons Circle: A group of individuals sharing the Museum's love of
London's unique transport and design heritage who are committed to the success of its heritage and
education work. Patrons enjoy exclusive vehicle rides and gain access to contemporary and heritage
transport experiences rarely seen or accessed by the public; a perfect 12-month gift. Benefits include:
●Disused Underground stations priority tours. ●Locomotive footplate and cab rides. ●Special and 'out
of hours' heritage rail and road vehicle experiences. ●Behind the scenes events and experiences with
partner museums. ●Free access to the Museum and depot open weekends. ●A personalised curator-
led tour of the Museum or depot. ●Invitations to exclusive major exhibition opening events. ●Museum
news and updates ●Acknowledgement at the Museum and in its annual yearbook (optional!).
Early 2017 includes: ●A private evening viewing of the Crown Jewels (avoids the conveyor belt!) then
drinks at 'Perkin Reveller' in Tower Wharf overlooking the Thames. ●Private viewing of the Northern
Line extension construction - Battersea Power Station, the new tunnels and station there and at Nine
Elms. ●Highgate station 'wilderness' tour; this was to have been part of the Northern Heights project
(opens to the general public in Aug and is fully booked). ●View the new build Gresley class P2 No2007
'Prince of Wales' at Darlington Loco Works. ●An overnight walk through Brunel's Thames tunnel (very
rare now part of London Overground). ●Heritage vehicle ride at the Cart Marking ceremony. ●Opening
reception of 'Prize for Illustration 2017'; Sounds of the City (100 winning artworks to view). For details:
https://goo.gl/dZw1eu or 02075657442; email [email protected] £2,000 per year with
a monthly payment option, can be gift aided by 25%. Note: 10% discount for a 3-year commitment.
122] The Bristol Docker, Sat 4 Mar: (BLN 1271.3226) This Pathfinder railtour has been re-dated from
28 Jan to be sure that current track work at Portbury Dock has been completed. (Details as before.)