Issue Number 1288 (Items 1817 - 1899 I&ssMueRN1u6m1b-eMr 1R216780) (E-BLN 51 PAGES) 9 Sep 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
……………….BLN 1289 is dated Sat 23 SepS;ocCioetnyt.rSiobcuietitoy.ns must be received by 13 Sep
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Sat 9/9/17 SEE Greendale Rocket: Heartlands Park Sdg/Princess Royal Centre 1282 JE
NEXT PAGE . 87002 is expected to work PAY ON THE DAY AVAILABLE.
To be advised Saltmarshe - Ferriby, Melton Lane signal box visits 1286 NJ
Sun 10/9/17 Lunchtime visit Sandiway Miniature Railway followed by… 1286 JC OPEN
Sun 10/9/17 …Sandbach - Alsager railway afternoon walk 1286 JC OPEN
Fri 22/9/17 Swindon & Cricklade Railway 11.00 & 14.00 railtours 1286 KA FULL
Fri 22/9/17 Guided signal box visit at Liverpool Lime Street 1285 BC Enquire
Sat 23/9/17 Southeastern Metrolander; 07.30 - 20.00 with SE Trains 1283 JE OPEN
Sun 24/9/17 Llangollen Railway Class 08 track & traction brakevan trips 1288 KA *OPEN*
Thu 28/9/17 South Wales Valley new track Service Train Tracker III 1285 DC OPEN
Sat 30/9/17 Birmingham New Street PSB visits & possibly other boxes 1286 JE OPEN
7 & 8/10/17 Minor Railways weekend Beds, Bucks and Northampton 1286 JE OPEN
Sat 14/10/17 Statfold Barn Railway, Tamworth, BLS private railtour 1286 JE OPEN
Sat 21/10/17 Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester - tour with new track 1287 JE OPEN
Wed 25/10/17 Morning & afternoon guided Ashover Light Railway walks 1288 JC *OPEN*
17 to 19/11/17 AGM fixtures - Liverpool Area weekend UPDATE BLN 1286 TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 2/12/17 Virgin Trains Postponed until the 2018 Euston blockade TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 2/12/17 *NEW* Paddington - Westbury WCRC loco-hauled tour TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6/1/2018 Scunthorpe Steel Works railtour 09.30 until dark TBA TBA Claimed
BC-Barney Clark, DC-David Clark, JE-Jill Everitt, JC-John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, TBA-To Be Advised.
1817] Llangollen Shunter Shuttles, Sun 24 Sep: A joint fixture with PLEG; an unusual opportunity to
enjoy a brakevan ride behind 08195, part of the Diesel Day. Route: Llangollen station, past Goods
Jn ground frame to Pentre Carriage & Wagon Works gates. Then running via Fford Jn up the incline to
Llangollen Yard Diesel Road before returning to the station. The number of trips will be based on
demand. PLEASE BOOK QUICKLY TO ASSESS DEMAND £12 per head cheques payee 'Branch Line
Society' to Kev Adlam (back page); please confirm your email address or supply an SAE. BLS Terms &
Conditions apply. An intensive diesel service is planned https://goo.gl/RCS8FU with D1566/47449,
D5310/26010, D6940/37240 and a DMU. Day rovers: Adult £25, Senior £22, Child £16, Family £60.
X.128] Greendale Rocket Update, Sat 9 Sep: Pay on the day places are available; confirmed timings:
Burton-on-Trent 06.40/19.12; Tamworth 07.17/18.55; Birmingham New Street 09.17/17.39;
Birmingham International 09.50/17.09 & Milton Keynes Central 10.59/15.17. The route has been
amended: The Down Washwood Heath Through Siding has been declared unavailable for passenger
traffic so our tour is booked via the Down Derby Slow in full before reversing to do Heartlands Park
No6 Civil Engineers Siding. Our train runs via Northampton in both directions covering the through
line on the way out and the Down Goods on return. Kings Langley Loop is booked on the Up train
and Bletchley Up & Down Relief No2 on the Down, having covered (as booked) the No1 Relief line in
the morning. Princess Royal Distribution Centre will now be Roads 1 & 3 rather than 1 and 5, and
we are booked to cover all four arrival and departure roads through our operating sequence there.
1818] BLS Animal Tracker, Sat 7 Oct: Thanks to member Bill Davis, a day of all available track tours:
The Great Whipsnade Railway: (09.00) Dunstable, LU6 2LF, (TL 005 174). A 1½ mile long 2' 6" gauge
line, note the normal adult zoo admission is over £25. Caldecotte Miniature Railway: Milton Keynes
MES, The Windmill, Caldecotte Lake, MK7 8HP, (SP 887 355) a mixed 5"/7¼" gauge line. Lavendon
Narrow Gauge Railway: Harold Road, Lavendon, Olney, MK46 4HU, (SP 920 535), a 7¼" gauge private
railway. Total cost, including all the railtours, track not covered by public services, Whipsnade Zoo
admission and refreshments at Lavendon is only £28 (non-members £35) Bookings: see next item.
1819] Along Lilliput Lines, Sun 8 Oct: Another day of visits for miniature men, thanks to Bill Davis; all
available track tours: Gulliver's Railroad: (09.00) Gulliver's Land, Brickhill Street, Willen Lake, Milton
Keynes, MK15 0DT, (SP 872 399) a 600yd 15" gauge line, normal (advance) adult admission from
£15.95. Willen Miniature Railway: Willen Lakeside Park Brickhill Street, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DS.
7¼" gauge 600yd. Northampton Society of Model Engineers: Lower Delapré Park, Far Cotton,
Northampton, NN4 8AJ, (SP 756 593) 650yd of 5"/7¼" track. Total cost only £12 (non-members £15)
includes all tours and refreshments at Northampton SME. Bookings (separate cheques each day): Jill
Everitt (back page) NB: FOR BOTH DAYS: Please indicate if you can offer or require lifts (and number).
1820] Ashover Light Railway, Wed 25 Oct: Two
fascinating railway walks in the Ashover/ Clay Cross
areas, led by local member Neil Lewis and his young
team. (1): 10.00-13.00: Meet at Ashover station
(between Matlock and Clay Cross; limited bus
services, more frequent on the Matlock Rd - please
ask). By popular request, an enhanced repeat of
Neil's highly acclaimed 19 Apr walk for those who
missed it or would like to do it again. (BLN 1274.249
gives a history and plan of the 2ft gauge 7m 14ch
long Ashover Light Railway; BLN 1281.1102 has a
walk report). (2): 14.00-17.00: Starting at Clay Cross
(bus every 10 mins from Chesterfield town centre)
to cover the trackbed remains, location of the
former Clay Cross Company Works and start of the
narrow gauge railway. Return is via all eight former
Midland Railway 'pepper pots' above Clay Cross
tunnel. (LEFT: Neil Lewis; the next one is between
the trees in the background to the right) Maps/
further information provided on the day. Book via
John Cameron email: [email protected]
07581178759 (to assess demand); please state if
booking Part 1, Part 2 or both and if you can provide
or require lifts from/to Alfreton or Chesterfield.
1821] Sat 2 Dec: Our Virgin West Coast project has been moved to link in with a Euston blockade in
2018. Instead arrangements are in hand for a WCRC loco hauled railtour based on the Paddington -
Westbury axis focusing on unusual curves and loops with much to interest our track connoisseurs.
1288 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart)
1822] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1284.1363 19 Aug 17 15 Sep 17 *Westerleigh Jn - Wootton Bassett Jn
1284.1363 2 Sep 17 15 Sep 17 *(Filton Abbey Wood)/(Patchway) - (Yate)/Wootton Bassett Jn
1285.1465 30 Sep 17 ..9 Oct 17 Liverpool Lime St - (St Helens Central) / (St Helens Junction)
1285.1466 30 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 (Edge Hill) - (Liverpool South Parkway) stations
1288.1833 30 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 *(Liverpool South Parkway) - EMU route - (Hunts Cross)
1286.1608 17 Sep 17 22Oct 17 Barking P1 - Gospel Oak Jn (& possibly 27 Nov 17 - 14 Jan 18)
1276.500 7 Oct 17 16 Oct 17 Welsh's Bridge Jn (Inverness) - (Keith)
1281.1033 11 Jun 17 By Xmas 17 Midland Metro; Wolverhampton St George's - (Priestfield)
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1275.365 11 Nov 17 26 Jan 18 Fylde Jn (Preston) - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South
1275.366 11 Nov 17 18 Mar 18 Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool North
1286.1609 1 Oct 17 29 Mar 18 Seaton Tramway, Riverside Loop south end - Seaton
1286.1612 22 Jul 18 7 Oct 18 Derby station and associated lines (details awaited)
1823] Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, Milton Regis (Asda) Halt (0m 51ch): (BLN 1208.675)
(MR p19) Last used 23 Dec 2012, remainsTCP due to fire damage and more vandalism using crowbars.
1824] Ferrybridge Power Station Jn - Ferrybridge Power Station loop - Ferrybridge Power Station Jn:
(BLN 1272.37) The latest 'gen' is that although Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station closed 31 Mar 2016, rail
traffic is expected to continue long term after coal stocks (recently to Drax) are cleared. There has
been inward Flue Gas Desulphurisation Gypsum (FGDG) from Cottam and Drax and imported mined
Spanish Gypsum via (confusingly) Hull Coal Terminal, which has a new lease of life as a result. It is now
thought that little, if any, coal has been brought in to Ferrybridge 'C' recently for blending. Lafarge
Plasterboard (now Siniat) opened a large £35M factory near Ferrybridge 'C' in 2007 to use its FGDG.
1825] Brandon DBC Goods Yard: ROG 19 Jul 2017 (Off the Ely end of the Down Goods Loop on the
Norwich side of the station); stone traffic from Peak Forest for reconstruction of RAF Marham
runways. The 1,400 tonnes of stone was reportedly the first freight there for over 10 years - previous
traffic was limestone for Wissington Sugar Factory. Brandon Yard, loop and the remaining trailing
crossover (86m 25ch) were included in the 20 Aug 2012 resignalling scheme. The new (2012) east
trailing crossover (87m 16ch) remains OOU. RAF Marham is 15 miles northwest of Brandon, nearer to
Downham Market and King's Lynn. Brandon town is on the Up side of the line and the other two urban
areas are on the Marham side of their railway, so lorries making the final delivery avoid urban areas.
1826] Grain (38m 41ch) - Thamesport (39m 51ch): (BLN 1198.1646) ROG 10 Aug 2017; DBC worked,
11 wagons with 1,000 tonnes of steel coil from Margam for export to Europe by road; the empty
wagons returned on 11 Aug. It was the first train to use the 120,000ft2 specialist handling facility.
[Part of the former Port Victoria branch (CP 11 Jun 1951); the last (intermodal) freight ran 6 Nov 2013.]
1827] Ely West Jn - Ely West Curve - Ely North Jn: (BLN 1287.1723) TCA 14 Aug 2017 in this ('Up')
direction. Following the Ely West Jn derailment, the damaged crossover points (72m 39ch) were
temporarily plain lined with through freight trains etc in this direction diverted or reversing at Ely.
1828] Bolton (excl) - Lostock Jn - Euxton Jn / Crow Nest Jn and seven stations; also Bolton (excl) -
Windsor Bridge North Jn & 4 intermediate stations: (BLN 1283.1247) Remained TCP from Sat 12 Aug;
ROP (normal service) was expected Wed 6 Sep 2017. The Bolton remodelling and electrification work
finished on schedule to ROP 28 Aug but a burst large water main on 17 Aug caused serious damage at
Moses Gate. Part of the overbridge collapsed on to the line creating a hole in the road above. It has a
complex five-way junction and closure was expected for six weeks affecting seven bus routes. Major
bespoke repairs were required and rail replacement buses were unable to reach Moses Gate station.
Trains between Bolton and Clitheroe via Blackburn mostly continued (SSuX) during the closure. The
Victoria to Todmorden to Blackburn service was extended (SSuO) to Clitheroe, reversing at Blackburn.
ABOVE TOP: The immediate effect of the burst water main at Moses Gate on 17 Aug. (Network Rail)
LOWER LEFT & RIGHT: After removal of the retaining wall and part of the embankment (25 Aug).
1829] Kellingley Colliery Branch Jn (SE 5318 2334) - Kellingley Colliery (SE 5189 2364): (BLN 1272.19)
ROG Mon 21 Aug 2017, a ¾ mile UK Coal private branch; outward spoil traffic to clear the site. The
wagons left Doncaster Belmont yard 02.52, arrived 06.25 and left 09.25 for Killingholme after loading.
Initially one set of wagons makes two round trips SSuX. There are paths for two sets of wagons making
four round trips (and a few at weekends). The last freight traffic was coal to Drax on 24 Dec 2015.
1830] Immingham West Jn - Killingholme (2m 01ch) (BLN 1286.1355) ROG Mon 21 Aug 2017, inward
spoil from Kellingley Colliery (previous item). The first train arrived 12.20 and returned 15.44, after
unloading. Traffic began 4 months later than expected due to delays constructing the unloading pad.
The wagons are 'top & tailed' (no Killingholme run-round loop), stabling at Scunthorpe Freight Depot.
1831] Barking P1 - Gospel Oak Jn and 10 stations: TCP/TCA 17 Sep-22 Oct 2017; electrification work.
1832] Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre, Roundhouse Halt (incl) - Springwell Branch MP 150
(end of line): (MR p.8) (BLN 1281.1030) ROP Thu 21 Sep 2017 UK Railtours charter from London, then
Reopening Gala 09.00-17.00 from 22 to 24 Sep - with 'Flying Scotsman' all four days. (TCP 21 May 2016
for major refurbishment except TROP 29 & 30 May 2017, 'Rail Ale Festival' and for PLEG events.)
1833] Liverpool South Parkway* - Hunts Cross (both excl) via third rail electrified route: TCP 30 Sep
to 22 Oct 2017 during the Lime Street blockade for crowd control. [*All EMUs (mostly from Southport)
terminate in P5 and return in service over the trailing crossover at the Liverpool end of the station.]
1834] Liverpool South Parkway - Allerton (CLC) Jn - Hunts Cross (both excl): Local (Northern) services
are withdrawn (rail replacement buses) from 30 Sep until 22 Oct 2017 during the Lime Street blockade.
Hourly Liverpool South Parkway to Scarborough TPE and hourly Norwich EMT services continue to run.
A further Lime Street closure is expected in Apr 2018 (with project completion for the May timetable).
1835] Spalding (excl) - Sleaford East Jn and Sleaford West Jn - Pelham St Jn (Lincoln), also Ruskington
& Metheringham stations: TCP/TCA Sat 21 to Mon 23 Oct for replacement of the bridge over Vernatt's
Drain on the outskirts of Spalding. Sleaford South Jn - Sleaford North Jn (avoiding the station) is TCA.
1836] Gloucestershire Warwickshire (Steam) Railway, Buckland (6m 16ch) - Broadway (4m 73ch) &
Broadway station: (BLN 1287.1715) ROP, special event, expected Wed 21 Mar 2018 - special trains for
working volunteers, major shareholders and donors (also 22nd). ROP Good Friday 30 Mar 2018, (public
timetabled services) extending the line to almost 14 miles (until 4 Apr passes/vouchers are not valid).
1288 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart)
1837] Viaduct question: A recent quiz in 'The Times' asked which was the world's oldest surviving
railway viaduct? The Grade I listed Causey Arch near Stanley in County Durham (built 1725/26) is the
oldest surviving single arch railway bridge. It is 151 ft long with a span of 102ft and 80ft above Causey
Burn; it once carried 900 horse-drawn wagons of coal daily on the Tanfield Railway. The arch was
designed by Ralph Wood, a local stonemason, who was so afraid that his arch would collapse, after his
first attempt here did collapse, that sadly he committed suicide. However, it still stands today.
The railway on it fell out of use after Tanfield Colliery was destroyed by fire in 1739.
'The Times' claimed Laigh Milton viaduct (about five miles west of Kilmarnock over the River Irvine)
was the answer. Opened 1812 it has not been used by trains since 1846 although it is probably the
world's earliest surviving railway viaduct on a public railway and is now a footpath. In 1846 a second,
realigned wooden viaduct was built to ease a sharp curve. This was replaced in 1865 by the present
stone Irvine Viaduct which is still in use on the Kilmarnock to Troon line. The Transport Trust and
others give the Grade II* four arch Bassaleg viaduct over the River Ebbw, on the Machen branch, built
for the Rumney Railway in 1826, as the oldest in the world on a still operational railway.
Provenance of the Bassaleg viaduct (BELOW) is substantiated in D S M Barrie's Vol 15 of the 'Regional
History' series (2nd Ed, p88): 'The masonry viaduct by which the Old Rumney crossed over the River
Ebbw to join the line to Newport bears the date 1826, and the company's name … This is one of the
few substantial engineering relics of the tramroad age still in railway use'. The Old Rumney was the
Rumney Railway or 'tramroad'; in his book 'The Brecon & Merthyr Railway' (Oakwood OL13, revised by
Kidner, p35) he states that it was incorporated 20 May 1825, opening with horse traction the following
year. He goes on to say that the undertaking was reincorporated by Act of 1 Aug 1861, prior to its sale
to the Brecon & Merthyr Railway under powers of 28 Jul 1863, and OP 14 Jun 1865. Incidentally,
'Locomotives of the GWR' (RCTS, Part 10 p196) states that 'traders' locomotives were introduced
during the 1840s and, by 1856 at least, the company was purchasing its own'.
ABOVE: UK Railtours Thames-Taff railtour on Bassaleg Viaduct, 24 May 2011. (©Gareth James)
1838] Longest Franchises: Stagecoach operated the South Western franchise from 4 Feb 1996 until
19 Aug 2017, 21 years 6½ months. The only route change was incorporating Island Line, also run by
Stagecoach, in 2007. Running a franchised service, with no change in ownership, for that long will be a
challenge for anyone to equal. Virgin West Coast should reach at least 22 years, but Stagecoach has
had a 49% stake since 1998. Chiltern should make at least 25 years, but the original franchisee,
M40 Trains (renamed Laing Rail), was sold to Deutsche Bahn in 2008. No other company has surpassed
20 years. https://goo.gl/4mePtK has a full list; https://goo.gl/eXhY2v has post 2008 timetable codes.
First Group's takeover of the franchise had an impact at Newport (South Wales) on 27 Aug during rail
replacement with a bottle of (liquid replacement) water noted labelled 'South Western Railway'.
1839] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1286.1663] A member has pointed out that at Ascot the 'single aspect'
signals are actually 'single aperture'; they can display three different aspects (red, yellow and green).
●BLN 1287] The item between 1724 and 1725 about Kellingley and Killingholme should be '1724A'.
●1776] To clarify on the map that went with the 1953 railtour report, Leeds Central was the LNER
terminus (CP 1 May 1967) and Leeds City (LNWR & NER joint station) is the present through station.
●MR145] Incredibly, the Gwili Railway extension has a gradient post of 1 in 4267!! There are no
passenger facilities at Abergwili Junction station, just a rather wide platform on the west side. Fencing
and signage make it effectively impossible to access or leave the station on foot or by road vehicle.
Passengers can alight from a train there while the engine runs round. The headshunt south towards
Carmarthen stables about five wagons. NEXT PAGE TOP: Abergwili Junction Fri 25 Aug, the loco is in
the headshunt south of the new station running round with a familiar sillouette in the cab window.
Your Editor looks on recalling his first ever railtour of 9 December 1972 which went (very) north of
Carmarthen through here. NEXT PAGE LOWER: The loco runs by revealing that your GS, who needed
the track, was on board - apparently not working his passage. (Both Alex Stewart 25 Aug 2017.)
[1288: Points & Slips -continued:]
●X127] The picture was west of the site of the former Stockport Tiviot Dale station and the trackbed
there is not covered by the M60 (this cutting is still visible alongside the road). Originally the M56 and
now the M60 motorway cuts the line and obscures its course east of the station. The train would have
been 1,500V dc electrically hauled from Wath Yard to Brookfold (Godley Jn) via the Woodhead route.
1840] What Do Prizes Make? - Points: (Rob Miebs) I gained a Brucie Bonus on our 'Bubble & Squeak'
railtour on 29 Apr this year, by winning a 'Chiltern' day rover ticket in the raffle and looked at Realtime
Trains for Banbury to see if the re-aligned tracks serving P1 and 4 could be covered. Arriving into and
departing out of them was possible from/to the south, but not to the north. [This happens if the line is
closed south of Banbury as for CrossCountry services with the Oxford blockade at the end of July - Ed.]
The next idea was going to Oxford during the GWR blockade week to see what, if anything, was going
on. I opted for that week and 27 Jul, making no specific plans, other than drawing a sketch map of the
walking route between Bicester North and Bicester Village stations. Marylebone was left on the 09.40
to Birmingham; on arriving at Banbury there was a DMU for Marylebone waiting to depart from P1.
Catching that to Bicester North gave the realignment (through the former Banbury South signal box
site!) and the new southbound points (I know, should be switches) at Banbury South Jn (85m 72ch).
A walk from there to Bicester Village was my first visit to downtown Bicester. The pedestrianised Main
Street had shops, pubs and eateries as I would expect in a UK town but no evidence of the crowds of
people with a Yen, or a Yuan, for large paper carrier bags with arcane words on them. At Bicester
Village Oxford platform, there was two minutes to wait for the train. I could detect no layout changes
into Oxford and made a comfortable connection into the Marylebone train departing from the other
bay platform (as normally happens with them both using the single bidirectional 'Up Oxford Relief').
This was fast from Bicester Village to Marylebone for a relaxed inter-change to the 13.10 hauled by
68010 to Birmingham Moor Street. As it ran into P3 68014 was in P4 on a London train. As at Oxford,
I made a comfortable connection to return to Marylebone and back home. Had I made a specific plan
for my moves I am sure that Murphy would have happily intervened in thwarting connections.
1841] Stations with stature: (BLN 1287.1762) Bronze medals to our members who noted that 'Bobby'
a bronze statue of a small boy going on holiday was installed at Wemyss Bay station this year
(PREVIOUS PAGE ABOVE: - Greg Beecroft). The Harold Wilson statue in his home town of Huddersfield
is in St George's Square outside the station; costing £70k, it was unveiled in 1999. There has been a full
sized Isambard Kingdom Brunel bronze at Paddington since 1982; initially on the P1 end of the main
concourse at the top of the stairs to the Underground, it is now between P8 & 9. Actually on P1 can be
found a statue of Paddington Bear (actually clothed not bare) and the (original) GWR war memorial
has a large statue of a British WWI soldier. Sir Nigel Gresley (duckless) is at King's Cross and at
Liverpool Street is the well known Kindertransport bronze.
Philip Larkin was the Librarian at the University of Hull for 30 years from 1955 to his death in 1985,
although he described the city as 'a fishy dump'! One of his most famous poems, 'The Whitsun
Weddings', is about a journey from Hull Paragon to King's Cross, and the first line, 'That Whitsun, I was
late getting away...', is inscribed in a plaque at his feet. Another poem, 'Here', describes a journey in
the opposite direction. His statue has pride of place on Hull station concourse outside the Royal
Station Hotel, rear entrance, a former British Transport Hotel which he appears to be leaving and is
also the subject of a Larkin poem. All we need now is a station with a statue of a pianist…
1842] Early Railways: A 112 page 6.28MB study https://goo.gl/VWGEiq commissioned by Historic England.
1288 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron)
X.129] NEXT PAGE BELOW: 60059 on an Up tanker train from Lindsey Oil Refinery to Kingsbury
terminal approaching the site of Long Eaton Jn, on the Midland Main Line. (Chris Davis 1 Aug 2017)
1843] No fine, fee free, Nottingham drop off - that's fine: (BLN 1286.1624) The Queens Road station
drop off layby has been available for just 2 minutes at a time (with traffic enforcement cameras) since
Apr 2015 and over£24,000 was collected in fines in the first seven weeks from those overstaying their
welcome! To give the other side of the story, also since Apr 2015, 30 minutes free parking is allowed in
the station car park with reserved spaces on the ground floor; there is a direct convenient short cut
access ramp to adjacent P7 (and without automatic ticket gates). This is more generous than many
other station drop off arrangements which can become blocked by abusers. Anyone staying over 30
minutes for any reason only has to pay the normal fee at the ticket machines and not a punitive fine.
1288 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett)
1844] Royal Trains: (BLN 1285.1506) During the 16 & 17 Sep Reading closure for OLE commissioning,
on the Saturday afternoon 2tph each way run via Park Royal (the maximum capacity with the single
track sections and slow speeds) and Oxford Parkway. The Greenford to West Ealing shuttle operates
as normal. On the Sunday there is no Greenford service and the HSTs run via the Greenford loop.
1845] Crossrail: (BLN 1285.1486) https://goo.gl/FpV9t5 has various photos of the project. The final
Crossrail 'Open House' is Sat 16 Sep https://goo.gl/q6SCHP to see behind the hoardings at Canary
Wharf (ticket hall & platform), Whitechapel (guided), Farringdon (platform tour guided) and Liverpool
Street (ticket hall guided). A separate (free) ticket is needed for each visit but they may be full already.
X.130] Bermondsey Diveunder: https://goo.gl/phVH2H a three minute video clip of a cab ride from
the section of the diveunder commissioned on 2 Sep to Charing Cross (with no trains at the latter!).
FIRST PAGE BELOW: The new Bermondsey Diveunder looking west towards London Bridge station
and 'The Shard' showing how it avoids conflicts with the Thameslink lines passing above it. Bottom left
is a London Overground EMU from New Cross to the East London line and lower centre right is one
from the East London line to New Cross Gate. In front of it Silwood Stabling Sidings are prominent,
opened 14 Sep 2014, to accommodate the extended London Overground trains. (Network Rail)
SECOND PAGE BELOW: A close up of the diveunder (if viewing on a large screen move back from it
slightly). The 'new' Engine House Bridge Jn (item 1848 below) is bottom right. (Network Rail)
1846] (Good) 'Night Tube': (BLN 1269.2237) In the first year of operation of 24-hour services on Friday
and Saturday nights, nearly 8 million passenger journeys have been made. Participants in our Victoria
line overnight tour of 4-5 Aug noticed good numbers of passengers at some locations - the looks on
passengers' faces on the platform at 03.00 as a loaded train headed south from Brixton was priceless!
1847] Thameslink: (BLN 1287.1742) Following the 26 Aug to 2 Sep shutdown, control of the Charing
Cross lines between the country side of London Bridge station and the London side of New Cross
station was transferred from London Bridge to Three Bridges ROC. Changes to services during the
shutdown not previously reported in BLN included Hayes off-peak services reduced to half-hourly to
Cannon Street via Lewisham and two morning and evening peak trains Orpington to/from Blackfriars.
1848] Southern Engine House: (BLN 1287.1742) The new Engine House Bridge Jn (3m 75ch) is the
former Surrey Canal Jn (once for the Bricklayers Arms branch) where the (currently OOU) Southwark
Reversible line country end junction will be. This should not be confused with the former East London
Line Surrey Canal Jn (now named Canal Jn as indeed was the name of the 1950 signal cabin there
which closed 24 Mar 1995) where that line splits for New Cross and New Cross Gate
1849] Leigham Spur: Engineering work blocked the line through West Norwood on 20 Aug, resulting in
a very rare half hourly London Bridge - Victoria service via the PSUL Leigham spur between Tulse Hill
and Streatham Hill, which normally has just one train a day SSuX in that direction only. Checking on-
line showed numerous cancellations mid-afternoon with a gap of over two hours in departures from
Victoria but oddly for not as long from London Bridge, so this service was obviously interworked.
The 16.06 was caught from London Bridge P15, using the bidirectional flexibility here as it ran 'wrong
line' for most of the way towards South Bermondsey. The 4-car unit was busy despite many alighting
at Tulse Hill, so with no on-train announcement our correspondent was expecting puzzled looks on
arrival at Streatham Hill and a rush for the doors. This was not the case and the majority stayed put.
On the return 17.07 from Balham, again the driver remained silent at Streatham Hill and there was no
obvious panic detraining at Tulse Hill. Our member changed trains here and noted imminent services
then via the curve were cancelled; announcements blamed a temporary shortage of train crews.
The curve itself is jointed track and the carriages brushed vegetation in both directions. As the single
SSuX Down service was withdrawn on 29 Aug 2014, it may well be the first scheduled use since then.
It is also perhaps many years since the curve had such an intensive passenger service, as a search of
'Gensheet' and BLN found no reports of engineering work diversionary use as far back as 1995.
1850] Paddington: (BLN 1286.1636) OLE in P2 is due to be energised from 18 September.
1851] Waterloo: (BLN 1287.1714) (NEXT PAGE) Thanks to Martyn Brailsford and our local expert Geoff
Noakes, a few corrections and enhancements to the Waterloo plan. The International Jn single slip has
been retained in the layout; South Sidings are now shown on completion (work in progress) and P20
to 23 are shorter as are P18 & 19 which should have been shorter at the Concourse end to start with.
(BLN 1287.1740) The partial closure for remodelling did not go entirely to plan. On 15 Aug the 05.40
departure to Guildford ran into the side of the train of ballast wagons forming a safety barrier
(to protect the workforce - which it did) in P10. This was due to a temporary modification to the points
control system causing a set of points to be misaligned - the RAIB is investigating. As a result P11-13
were also closed for the remainder of that day and P11 remained closed on 16th. As planned, P11-14
were closed from 24th to 28th, but from about 16.30 on 28th the entire domestic side of the station was
closed to enable signal testing. The original plan was for the whole project to be completed by about
this time, with a contingency allowance added to give a handover time of 04.00 on 29th. However due
to issues with the signal testing the entire allowance and more was used up and final handover was at
06.45 on 29th. The level of resourcing for this franchise often means that major delays in the morning
cause disruption all day and this day was no exception, being made worse by several other incidents.
BELOW: P1-4 extensions left and new track; (P20-24 right). (Stuart Hicks 29 Aug 2017 taken from P5.)
ABOVE: Waterloo P21 on Thu 31 Aug, the 15.57 to Ramsgate via Linford Street Curve. (John Cameron)
The planned operation of some Southeastern trains to Waterloo on 29th did not happen and they were
diverted to Blackfriars instead. Subsequently they mostly used P21 until the diversions ended after Fri
1 Sep. P21 to 24 are now out of normal passenger use again for further work with regular use expected
from the Dec 2018 timetable change. However, P20 still has long term all day booked services SSuX.
An article worth reading https://goo.gl/H4wmzS on 'London Reconnections' reports that Waterloo
P1-4 were originally of 10-cars long. However the restricted station approaches required non-standard
points and crossings which became increasingly difficult to maintain. With 1984 resignalling, standard
track components were installed and the platforms shortened. In future the main line stopping
services will operate from P1-6, now all 10-car length. Additional stairs have been installed to link P1-4
to the Underground. Former International P20-24 are now 12-car length. Additional work undertaken
included the construction of a third access staircase at the country end of slow lines P7/8 at Vauxhall.
1852] LUL Line Connections: (BLN 1286.1631) Following the BLN item on signalling protection at
Finsbury Park, a member has asked about the usability of the various connections. Because of the
problems with the Jubilee Line resignalling, the project was descoped and the only inter-working with
other signalling systems is between Neasden and Wembley Park. This allows for trains on both the
Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines to go in and out of service at both ends of Neasden depot. There are
no longer any connections between the two lines at Finchley Road. No provision was made for an
interface with the Bakerloo Line signalling at Baker Street, which means moves over these connections
have to be made under a possession. At the other two 'inter-tube' connections at King's Cross
(Piccadilly-Northern) and Finsbury Park (Piccadilly - Victoria), the signalling systems do interface.
Ruislip depot is rather different in that the depot simply connects with both the Metropolitan and
Central Lines. However with the connections being widely separate there are no particular issues here
(the London Transport 'Jubilee Tour' ran through on 11 Sep 1983). At present the sub-surface 'S' Stock
is returning to Derby for retro-fitting of the new signalling equipment and is worked on and off LUL via
the connection from the depot to the NR Chiltern route (used by our 'Wycombe Wanderer' Chiltern
tour on 13 Aug 2016). It then runs to Neasden depot via the connection to the Metropolitan Line.
Ruislip depot only actually maintains passenger trains for the Central Line but is now the base for all
engineering trains. Individual engineering locomotives and plant are not necessarily equipped with all
signalling systems, but sufficient fittings are in place to allow trains to work on the various lines under
the appropriate signalling. Most passenger train maintenance work is now carried out at the depots.
However Acton Works continues to handle one-off and major projects. In particular it is currently
handling life-extension modifications to the Bakerloo Line 1972 Stock. BLN 1282.1152 also reported on
plans to build a new shop for work on the 'S' and Central Line 1992 Stock. However the Victoria Line
2009 Stock is too wide to run over the Piccadilly Line so cannot leave its own line by rail. All other stock
(apart from the Waterloo & City Line which is only accessible by crane at Waterloo) could do so,
although the Northern Line 1995 Stock would probably not be sent to Acton as it is not owned by LU.
1288 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth)
1853] Raising the bar: On 16 Aug the first IEP test run north of Newcastle left there at 12.00 arriving at
Dunbar shortly after 13.00, being met by a piper as it pulled in to the platform. It must have been the
pied piper as the IEP left four minutes later (!) for Doncaster. Squadron service begins next year.
1854] Pacers: The widely disliked Class 14x fleet in use by Northern has to be withdrawn by 1 Jan 2020
to meet new disability access laws. Northern has 214 Pacer carriages operating as 102 trains, more
than any other Train Operating Company. The first are due to go off-lease on 15 Sep 2018, and the last
ones on 12 Oct 2019. CAF is building 281 new carriages, diesel and electric, based on their Civity train;
the first should be delivered by Oct 2018. The DMUs will comprise 25 x 2-car and 30 x 3-car units, all
scheduled to enter service by Dec 2019. Reportedly the Pacers have been sold to Myanmar (Burma).
1855] Billingham: On 23 Mar Network Rail
announced that the Stockton to Greatham
resignalling, scheduled for Feb 2019, has
been deferred until 2023 at the earliest.
The boxes at Norton* South, West & East,
Norton-on-Tees, Billingham*, Greatham
and Belasis Lane (on the Port Clarence
branch) would close. They all control level
crossings except Norton South and Belasis
Lane. [*The Sectional Appendix suffixes
these boxes '-on-Tees', although this does
not appear on the name boards.] To save
maintenance and business rates all were to
be demolished, but a petition to preserve
Billingham attracted some 2,500 signatures.
The petitioners will prepare a plan for the
box to be listed and adapted for community
use. LEFT and BELOW: The very distinctive
Billingham box; potential signallers here
are presumably tested for acrophobia?
(27 Apr 2016 Press Release)
1288 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley)
1856] Closed Stations: The stone built former
main station building at Hest Bank between
Lancaster and Carnforth, is extant and in
commercial use on the Up side, prominently
named 'The Old Station'. The disused BR
(1958 London Midland Region) signalbox;
latterly just a gate box until this function was
transferred to Preston PSB on 10 Feb 2013
(report of our recent visit pending) is intact
on the Down side. Bolton-le-Sands is at a
minor level crossing down a back lane with
nothing left of the station.
A little further north, Burton & Holme an old
Westmorland County Council country road
sign in Burton village still points to 'Burton &
Holme Station' - it CP in 1950! (RIGHT: Angus
McDougall, 26 Oct 2015) The main station
building, now a private residence, is little
altered. The small stone built goods shed is in
the 'back garden' of the station near Station
Terrace, a row of three standard LNWR railway workers cottages. This 'off the beaten track' location is
well worth a visit. Milnthorpe platforms have long gone; the main building is a private residence
hemmed in by an industrial estate and lorries. All the buildings at Grayrigg have gone and there is an
electrical substation with a small 'Grayrigg' sign on its entrance gate.
Low Gill: The stone-built, one storey 'small but perfectly formed' building of the first station is a gem
and a remarkable survivor. It is a Lancaster & Carlisle Railway original on the dead-end minor road
leading to the second station. The first one CA 15 Sep 1861, on opening of its replacement about half a
mile to the north. Bradshaw for 1 Mar 1850 calls the first one Low Gill (Sedburgh). The second station
opened the same day along with the Ingleton line but nothing is left of it. The entrance was at the end
of the minor lane. Railway Terrace, a single row of quite commodious railway workers' houses, and a
small building that may have been a village school at this very isolated location are still there. One
house has a (probably bogus) BR (LMR) maroon double sausage Low Gill totem - there is no record that
the station ever had them. Nearby is the very impressive viaduct on the Ingleton LNWR branch, alas
fenced off and inaccessible. Further along the Ingleton branch is Waterside viaduct, whose main centre
span is steel but which appears to be devoid of decking.
Sedburgh station could not be seen due to padlocked high steel gates with long spikes, but it is
thought that agricultural buildings are on its site. Our member was told that Barbon station was totally
demolished some years ago. Middleton-on-Lune is a private residence behind high hedges and
Cypress Leylandii, with an upper quadrant semaphore signal on a post apparent in the front garden.
Kirby Lonsdale station is intact; when our member previously visited it was open as a tearoom but
appears to have now closed down.
1857] Victoria Metrolink: The weekly (Thursdays) Transport for Greater Manchester email update
(which incidentally had the Northern strike action in the 'Events' section!) advised that there would be
a Piccadilly to Victoria tram shuttle on Sun 3 Sep due to engineering work. This is very unusual and
created some excitement over the possible use of Victoria middle platform in service for reversals.
The actual situation was somewhat different, 10 trams per hour ran with passengers through to
Queens Road from where the bus replacement service to Bury started (the Metrolink engineering
page had buses to/from Victoria). What was slightly odd though was that the destination indicators on
the stops and the on tram announcements both had Victoria as the destination, but the front and side
indicators on the trams had Queens Road via Victoria. A member arrived at Victoria and the on tram
announcement just said to change. After he had alighted the destination blinds suddenly changed to
Queens Road (without the 'via' bit), but nothing appeared on the platform indicators. It was almost as
if it was a ghost service! Plenty of staff were around to direct passengers but it was all rather odd.
At Queens Road it was the expected ECS reversal on the trailing crossover (depot access) to the north.
1858] Crumpsall: The Metrolink stop is to be upgraded for easy transfer between Bury and the new
services that will turnback here to/from the new £350M Trafford Park line (due to open in 2020).
This will increase tram frequency at Crumpsall, Abraham Moss and Queens Road. Work includes a
new Crumpsall turnback facility and a 'larger' Manchester platform. There will be better access, a new
track level pedestrian crossing and improved stairs. The open design will improve safety, security and
the stop's environment. The first phase of works at Crumpsall has begun for completion in mid-2018
with removal of the old lift shaft, footbridge and disabled access ramp on the Manchester platform.
The Bury platform stairs will be upgraded. There is another phase before the Trafford Park line opens.
Questions: Will the trailing crossover north of the stop be retained or moved. Will the Manchester
platform be lengthened and/or widened and will Trafford Park trams run via the Second City Crossing?
1859] Settle & Carlisle Day Ranger: Does anyone know if this is still available? It seems to have gone
off the Northern and National Rail websites (the Cumbria Day Ranger does include Carlisle to Skipton).
1860]: Bolton: (BLN 1287.1749 & 1751) The new bus interchange OP 06.00 on Sun 3 Sep served by
buses previously using Moor Lane bus station. Reportedly electric trains will run between Manchester
and Bolton from the Dec timetable change. 12 Feb 2018 is the date suggested for all/most TPE Scottish
services to revert the Bolton route, picking up only northbound and setting down only southbound.
BELOW: The old and new Bolton track layouts (thanks to Martyn Brailsford). NOTE: Trains can only
arrive into P5 from the Manchester end but can continue or reverse and return in passenger service.
ABOVE: Maghull station looking south towards Liverpool on Sun 3 Sep. Due to industrial action a half-
hourly (with a gap at lunchtime) service terminated here from Liverpool Central. On departure it took
the trailing crossover south of the station, which can just be made out in the distance, in passenger
service. We did this crossover on the first of our recent series of Merseyrail tours. (John Cameron)
BELOW: Helsby, Mon 4 Sep 2017, a loaded train of sand originating from Middleton Towers (near
King's Lynn), returns to Warrington Arpley Sidings from Encirc Glass Works at Ince & Elton without
unloading. Running two hours early it is presumed that there was a problem at the terminal. Looking
southwest the Chester line is on the left and the line to Ellesmere Port and Hooton on the right. There
are four return passenger services daily (SuX) to Ellesmere Port (most from/to Helsby and a few
Warrington BQ) but none ran on 4 Sep due to industrial action. (Richard Putley)
1288 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James)
1861] Cambridge South: (BLN 1287.1757) The new station is envisaged as having four platforms with
East West Rail trains (eventually) calling. However, due to lack of available land, no car park is included
but Trumpington Park & Ride is nearby and shuttle buses are planned. A new, larger park & ride north
of the M11 may be recommended to cope with the increased demand from the station. Estimated use
of Cambridge South is 30,000 passengers daily including staff and patients for Addenbrooke's Hospital.
1862] Wherry Lines: NR has awarded Atkins a £29M contract to resignal from east of Whitlingham Jn,
currently controlled from Trowse Swing Bridge signal box, for completion in 'spring 2019'. This includes
design, construction, testing and commissioning, so some lengthy service suspensions can be expected
if this date is to be achieved. Control will be from Colchester Signalling Centre with closure of boxes at
Brundall, Cantley, Reedham Junction, Oulton Broad North, Lowestoft, Acle and Yarmouth Vauxhall.
Six level crossings will be upgraded (additional to the closure of four gate boxes); Somerleyton and
Reedham swing bridge boxes remain. Oulton Broad swing bridge on the East Suffolk Line is unaffected.
A preliminary for this work appears to be the taking out of use from 9 Sep of the Yarmouth Carriage
Sidings on the Down side and the Up Siding and Up Spur. The former is described as 'temporary' with
disconnection of the signalling, the latter (Up Siding and Up Spur) as pending removal, though it is not
clear if this is signalling or signalling and track. The carriage sidings have a large number of bushes and
small trees growing in them and are in any case unusable.
1863] Harwich branch: At Mistley the fine Grade II listed building is boarded up and looks the worse
for wear. When last visited about 7 years ago, it was in use as offices by the local Essex and South
Suffolk Community Rail Partnership. A foot crossing links the two platforms. A self-service ticket
machine has been recently installed; the 'permit to travel' machine remains but is OOU. The Down
loop west of the station in the eastbound line is still used occasionally by freight. At Wrabness a self-
service ticket machine has been recently installed and again the permit machine is OOU. The facing
and trailing emergency crossovers west of the station appear not to have been used recently.
At Harwich International station a new self-service ticket machine has been recently installed on P2/3.
The booking office (on the ground floor of the main building on P1, now the ferry and cruise terminal)
is proposed by Abellio for closure. This is perhaps surprising for a UK port of entry but indicative of the
heavily reduced status of the North Sea crossing. Trains to/from Liverpool St and Ipswich still run to
connect with scheduled sea crossings in addition to the hourly shuttle between Manningtree and
Harwich Town. 91,024 passengers are recorded for 2015/16 (down 27% from 124,867 in 1997/98).
There is very extensive long-term car parking at the station entrance, aimed at those travelling to
Holland for short stays - but little use was being made of this in mid-August.
At Dovercourt and Harwich Town all signs of the former freight/train ferry traffic have disappeared
although some signalling and disused track is still in place. Dovercourt (173,004 passengers in 2015/16)
remains staffed; both stations have self-service ticket machines, installed recently. There appears to
have been some Railway Heritage Trust activity at Harwich Town - an area full of interesting buildings -
but the general air at both is of decay, in stark contrast to the immaculate International station.
1864] Walton branch: At Kirby Cross the former substantial station building on the platform for
Walton has been demolished. The station retains two platforms and trains cross hourly SSuX; P2, on
the entrance side, is bidirectional and used towards Colchester when trains do not cross. Like other
stations in the area, a modern self-service ticket machine has been recently installed, (replacing a
permit to travel machine which had sufficed since de-staffing in the early 1990s). Frinton-on-Sea,
however, remains staffed and also has a self-service machine. The station building on the remaining
platform is in good repair; the disused trackless platform in the Walton direction is tidy and in good
repair. Destaffing is proposed at Walton-on- the-Naze (also at Thorpe-le-Soken, Alresford Essex and
Great Bentley). As seems to be the case generally in this area, Walton station is kept immaculate.
1865] Princes Risborough: About 100yd of track has been realigned in the South Sidings (on the Down
side before the station) as part of the work to create the London end of the new P4 run-round loop for
the Chinor & Princes Risborough Railway. The point formerly accessing Siding 1 has been rotated and
moved north to give future access to the loop from the south. Siding 1 is permanently disconnected
pending recovery (OOU since 22 Aug 2016 as deemed too close to the Down Main), Sidings 2 & 3 are in
use. The layout is new with track where there were once station buildings, in BR days P4 was a bay.
1288 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James)
1866] Brighton - Chichester: (BLN 1287.1763) Aldrington, Fishersgate and East Worthing are the only
stations built new with precast concrete components, although over time other stations have been
lengthened with them. Of the three, only East Worthing has had all of both platforms widened.
1867] Redbridge: Southampton City Council has rejected an application of early 2015 from NR to
return land at Redbridge Wharf Park to operational use. Two additional sidings were sought to take
775m (intermodal) trains where 520m is currently the length limit. This follows a strong campaign by
local residents against alleged noise and light pollution. The Council, however, is keen to see rail
capacity increased. [Residents might end up with extra shorter trains rather than fewer longer ones!]
1868] Hamworthy Goods: Both tracks are very rusty where the road entrance to Poole ferry terminal
crosses them (beyond the rail served stone terminal). West of this level crossing a 'six foot' chain link
mesh fence with barbed wire rakers crosses the tracks (the approach side from the main line). The east
side has plastic road type lane barriers across and, 50m further east, rubbish is heaped on the branch.
1288 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon)
1869] Get a GRIP: (BLN 1277.650) Wiltshire Council has announced two feasibility studies involving
Salisbury station and a new one at Wilton Parkway. The latter, only about five minutes by train from
Salisbury on the Westbury line, was first mooted in 2015 and has now reached GRIP* Stage 3 (of 8!) of
the railway investment process which selects the best option. Atkins has been commissioned to
produce a feasibility study examining how the station would interact with the adjacent park and ride
site and whether expansion of the site would better serve visitors to Salisbury. Wiltshire Council is also
examining proposals for more parking and a bus interchange at Salisbury station. Atkins is looking at
the options although these plans are currently embryonic and the priority is to enlist the support of
the local enterprise partnership and other stakeholders. *Governance for Railway Investment Projects.
1870] Bristol Portway: (BLN 1285.1615) Engineers from Bridgeway Consulting have began surveying
ground conditions for the new station adjacent to the existing Portway bus Park and Ride site on the
Severn Beach line. This information will be used to design the £2.63M station now due for completion
in 2020. Its exact location will be agreed after the investigation works and design development.
ABOVE: The new platform location is in red, looking east towards Bristol TM; (River Avon is top right).
The previous new station opened in the Bristol City region was Filton Abbey Wood on 11 Mar 1996.
1871] IEP: On 8 Aug local testing of the first purpose built Class 802 IEPs for Devon and Cornwall
began. A 5-car set ran between Bruton and Cogload Jn, and is based at Hitachi's new Stoke Gifford
depot (near Bristol Parkway) for further tests. Two more sets are due to arrive soon. The 36 Class 802s
designed to withstand the region's variable weather, including Dawlish coast sea spray, are due to
enter squadron service next year. ['GWR' and 'IEP' still don't seem to sit quite right together - Ed.]
1872] GWR ex-HSTs: Two power cars and 4 coaches went to Scotland at the end of Aug, dropping off
4 coaches at Doncaster for refurbishment. Some power cars had already been returned off-lease.
1288 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler)
1873] West Midlands Franchise: (BLN 1287.1768) The new franchise will be the first successful bid
involving a Japanese company, the Eastern Japan Railway Co (in partnership with Mitsui and Abellio).
Known as 'JR East' it runs the world's busiest station in Tokyo. Mitsui bought a 40% stake in the
established Greater Anglia franchise earlier this year. The Sunday Longbridge to Birmingham service is
due to increase from 2tph to four in Dec 2018 then six in May 2021. The Birmingham to Shrewsbury
new Sunday service is due to start in Dec 2018 with 1tph and a second hourly train from May 2021.
1874] Coventry Arena: (BLN 1287.1769) The station reportedly already no longer closes for football
matches (the normal timetable was certainly shown for recent football and rugby home matches).
1875] Midland Metro: It is reported that a large proportion of the track on the Grand Central
extension in Birmingham City Centre was installed incorrectly during the construction phase and has
had to be re-profiled as a result. This substantially reduces its life so it requires replacing during 2020
with a long closure period. National Express responsibility for the Metro ceases at the end of 2017.
1876] West Midlands & Chilterns: NR recently published its final Route Study plan with development
of the Midlands Rail Hub at the centre of Control Period 6 providing 10tph extra through Birmingham
by 2024. It adds that, if travel continues to grow, a multi-billion pound tunnel scheme may be required
to provide subterranean platforms at Birmingham New Street (as originally considered for Cross City
services with the most recent New Street redevelopment). The Midlands Rail Hub includes the
Bordesley Chord(s), to access Moor Street, with potential for new stations at Moseley, Kings Heath
and Hazelwell. Former platforms would be re-instated at Snow Hill and Moor Street and four tracks
through Water Orton. Presumably this involves re-instating the fourth span of the River Tame bridge
between Water Orton West Jn and Castle Bromwich Jn to extend the Down Derby Goods back to
Water Orton as well as extending the Up Derby Slow from Water Orton West Jn to Water Orton
station. Options are given which the government may consider to fund. Other possible improvements
include doubling between Leamington Spa and Coventry, improved services to Birmingham Airport,
upgrading the Worcester area and digital signalling to provide additional line capacity.
1288 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
1877] Hull: (BLN 1284.1379) Mention was made in the item on King George Dock Jn of Holderness
Drain North Signal Box. The Hull and Holderness Railway, a branch off the York & North Midland
Railway's Victoria Dock branch and running to Withernsea on the east coast, opened sometime
between 24 and 27 Jun 1854. On 1 Jun 1864 a direct north to east curve opened between the Victoria
Dock branch at Southcoates Jn and Craven Street Jn on the Withernsea branch, to enable the
passenger service to be diverted to the main, and more convenient, Hull Paragon station.
Around 1906 a new junction, 'Joint Dock Jn', was installed on the Withernsea branch where it crossed
the Holderness Drain waterway, to
provide rail access for construction of
the New Joint Dock (later King
George Dock). As part of this project
an entirely new route for the
Withernsea branch OA 1 Aug 1914, to
the north of the existing line,
between a location just north of
Craven St Jn and a location just east
of Joint Dock Jn, crossing Holderness
Drain on a separate bridge. This freed
up the original line to become purely
an NER goods route to the new dock.
After the dock was opened the
junction was abandoned.
The signal box controlling the lines at
the new dock was initially named
Joint Dock Junction as shown on the
1915 Railway Clearing House map
(LEFT). Therefore Joint Dock Junction
SB at Holderness Drain must have
been renamed then, presumably to
Holderness Drain North?
On 26 Jun 1914, King George V
visited Hull and formally opened the
Hull Joint Dock, which was
subsequently named King George
Dock in his honour. Presumably the
Joint Dock Jn SB in the dock area
was renamed King George Dock
Junction at about the same time.
The existence of two different boxes
each named 'Joint Dock Junction'
explains the error in the Cook &
Hoole Historical Maps, which place
'King George Dock Jn' at what is
actually Holderness Drain North!
The OS One-inch to the mile, 7th Series (fully revised 1951-52) and Six-inch England and Wales
(fully revised 1950) maps show a physical connection from Holderness Drain North SB to the
Withernsea branch. However, no such connection existed by this time. Holderness Drain North does
not appear in the entry for the Withernsea branch in the 1960 Sectional Appendix and the Cook &
Hoole 'Historical Maps' state that the connection was severed and removed. This absence of a
connection can be seen in contemporary photos (such as ABOVE LEFT). It could have been an
inadvertent error by OS, or even a deliberate one to aid detection of copyright infringement? Obscure
pieces of railway were a good choice for this as very few people would be aware of the error!
1878] Healey Mills: From 7 Aug various OOU points were plain lined and the associated signalling
removed. This did not affect the (tiny) remaining section of (theoretically) useable track here.
1288 IRELAND (Martin Baumann)
1879] Station Stamps: (LEFT: From
the Press Release) On 20 Jul the
Irish Post Office issued four €1
stamps each one featuring an
Iarnród Éireann station: Dublin
Heuston, Dundalk Clarke, Cork
Kent & Bagenalstown; Class 22000
'InterCity' railcars appear on the
latter two. To see or buy online:
1880] Green Line: (BLN 1286.1682) At St Stephen's Green and Brides Glen termini, off-peak
trams normally arrive into the right hand platform facing the end of line. Weekday peak frequencies
are such that both platforms are then used alternately and it is possible to cover both platforms at
each with the two routes in and out quite easily (ie straight and via the scissors crossovers before the
stops). St Stephen's Green scissors crossover will presumably become 'rare' when the line is extended
to Broombridge. Some trams (particularly in the peak) from St Stephen's Green turnback at Sandyford
middle platform, enabling its north end connections to be covered on arrival and departure. Those
entering or leaving service there from/to the depot have to use the middle or outbound platforms.
Brides Glen to Sandyford short workings normally use the connection from the inbound track to the
middle platform there (where trams would reverse if the line was closed by engineering work beyond).
1881] Cork line: As part of the line upgrade, on Sat 9 Sep further single line working with a revised
timetable is scheduled between Ballybrophy and Laois Traincare Depot with a handy handsignalman
to hand signal wrong direction movements back onto the normal direction line of traffic.
1882] IÉ Crisis: The 29 Aug 'Irish Independent' reported that Irish Rail has earmarked four routes that
may be axed if a serious shortfall in its funding is not met and warned that a pay rise sought for staff
would push it to the brink of insolvency this year. Options include closing routes with the largest state
subvention per journey. The Limerick to Ballybrophy route subsidy is €761.60 per passenger journey,
compared with €0.70 on the Dart. IÉ said that it could save €17.2M a year by shutting: Ballybrophy to
Limerick (€5M), Limerick Junction to Waterford (€5M), Ennis to Athenry (€2.8M) & Gorey to Rosslare
(€4.4M). It said line closures (that could be implemented as early as the beginning of 2018) are among
the options in a rail review by the company and the National Transport Authority if the Government
does not produce the required funding. The document also said that a 3.75% a year pay rise sought by
unions, and making it retrospective to 1 Jun 2016, would 'result in an immediate financial crisis'.
Irish Rail said if pay rises were not funded by extra productivity they would 'have a catastrophic
impact' on its financial situation. Irish Rail said that its accumulated losses since 2007 are €159M and
significant additional funding is required each year up to 2021, ranging from €90M to €158M a year.
1288 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley)
1883] Port Erin: This IOM Steam Railway outpost is worth a visit at about 8am as it then becomes a
'hive of activity'. The coaching set stabled overnight (usually four carriages) is coupled up to the small
4-wheel Simplex kept in the carriage shed for the specific purpose of shunting the coaching stock.
It hauls them out onto the main line then sets back into the main platform and is put away again until
the following day. (The train engine does the night time shunt.) So, to see and photograph this small
Simplex shunter, a window of opportunity exists for about 6 or 7 minutes each operating day at 8am.
BELOW: The Simplex shunter inside Port Erin Carriage Shed. (Graeme Jolley 1 Sep 2017)
1288 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe)
1884] Edinburgh Gateway: (BLN 1275.370) As originally envisaged, as well as Edinburgh to Fife trains
the station was to be served by Glasgow to Edinburgh trains via the new electrified Dalmeny Chord
(which was cancelled with descoping of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme to save
money). Its purpose was to access local businesses and Edinburgh Airport via the tram interchange
(a descoping of the original project which had an underground station at the airport served by tunnels
connecting with the surrounding lines). Recent figures show that the station (OP 11 Dec 2016) was
used by 134,655 passengers in the first eight months (some abstracted from other stations) against an
annual projection without the Dalmeny Chord of 500,000 to 600,000. Construction costs for Edinburgh
Gateway station (with the new tram stop) were estimated at £24M but came in at £41M - mainly due
to tram infrastructure works. Interestingly the station staff are paid for by Transport Scotland as the
station (first proposed in 2007) was oddly not included in the 2014 Abellio franchise agreement!
Two members drove to the new station on the morning of Mon 31 Jul to be greeted by a sign stating
'There is no parking at this station'. A drop off/pick up point is provided where a car had received a
ticket (of the parking not train type) for overstaying its welcome - some income at least. The nice lady
in the window marked 'Ticket Office' directed our members to the two gate line staff on duty to buy
tickets. Then, with one normal passenger, they joined the 07.44 over the Forth Bridge to Inverkeithing,
returning via a loco hauled service by breaking the journey at Dalmeny, then an impressive quite full
3x2 car Class 158 DMU from which about 50 people alighted at Gateway. Quite a few disappeared into
a private shuttle bus to a local office complex. It is a fine station but, with so few passengers, no shop
or refreshments are available. The station approach gives excellent views of Gogar tram depot though!
To be 'fare', through tickets are available from many stations to Edinburgh Airport via Gateway and
the tram (some are via Haymarket or bus services). Edinburgh to the Airport this way is only £4
anytime single (no railcard reductions available). The cost is £5.50 by tram throughout or £4.50 by
express bus. Maybe greater advertising of this excellent offer and facility would boost traffic.
X.131] BELOW: Edinburgh Trams, the original 'mock up' tram is used at the Airport as a lounge
and information kiosk - the real thing is middle right. (Kev Adlam 1 Sep 2017)
1288 WALES (Paul Jeffries)
1885] Blaenau Ffestiniog Central branch: (BLN 1287.1800)
On this archetypical antediluvian branch, of over 25 miles
long, 'Brynceiliog' should be 'Bryncelynog'; the halt was
always shown as 'Bryn-Celynog' by the Ordnance Survey like
the farm beside its approach path. A copy of the handbill
advertising its opening in 1939 has survived in the National
Archives, quite a rare distinction among GWR halts.
At Trawsfynydd Lake Halt (see map) about 20 years ago a
Railway Ramblers expedition battled through the foliage all
the way from Bala and found the platform intact. The
substantial remains have been revealed during recent
clearance operations by the Blaenau Ffestiniog &
Trawsfynydd Railway volunteers, see https://goo.gl/EpqxHZ
(dated 4 Aug 2017). As regards the line still being available
for freight or mineral traffic from the north in 1964, the
actual position was that Trawsfynydd and Festiniog (Llan
Ffestiniog) were officially retained as non-rail connected
depots (ie road served) after the branch CG 28 January
1961. It is understood that the line south of Trawsfynydd
nuclear flask terminal was also retained for possible military
traffic until it CA 4 May 1964. There had originally been an
intention that rail traffic to the two depots would resume
when the link between ex-LNW and GW lines at Blaenau
Ffestiniog was completed but the Beeching Report
intervened and no traffic passed.
A member who, incredibly, visited the sites on 28 Aug 2017
(!) confirms that the e-BLN photograph was Maentwrog
Road (see map) not Trawsfynydd station (its buildings are
on the west side), looking south with the power station in the background, not north. The line was
used by nuclear flask trains here. Your Editor's apologies to Julian James, the photographer, (who
supplied the correct caption originally), for this mix-up. On 1 Aug 2015 a Railway Ramblers expedition
found a 'weighing machine cabin' in Trawsfynydd goods yard still with its weighing machine intact. The
yard is used by an agricultural equipment supplier but permission to look round is usually readily given
to anyone showing genuine interest in its history when open which include Saturday mornings!
When the summer Sunday DMUs mentioned ran to Maentwrog Road (23 Jul - 10 Sep 1989), a specially
constructed wood platform on scaffolding was used north of the original station (the other side of the
now A470 road bridge) in its goods yard. This was funded by the Central Electricity Generating Board
part of a plan to encourage more power station visitors (a free connecting bus was even provided).
The platform was situated on top of the disused siding installed for explosives traffic via Speedlink
from Cooke's of Penrhyndeudraeth and previously ran via the Cambrian coast line. This traffic finished
in the late 1980s and the explosive works was later demolished. It was interesting to have domestic
coal for Blaenau Ffestiniog (North) goods yard, nuclear flasks and explosives on the same train! When
your Editor did the trip with a cab ride it was even a Class 24 loco. In 1990 the power station option
was dispensed with and the two return Sunday DMUs (15 Jul - 9 Sep) from Llandudno ran to the points
at Trawsfynydd nuclear flask siding, north of the lake halt; alighting was not permitted (no platform).
On Sun 19 Aug 1990 the DMU specials (sadly) stopped about 600yd short of the power station sidings
because beyond that location trees prevented further views of the power station itself. 'Fortunately
there were other drivers with an arboricultural interest' - a great quote from BLN 351 of 29 Nov 1990!
ABOVE TOP: Maentwrog Road looking north towards Blaenau Ffestiniog with mountains behind and
evidence of recent clearance work by the Blaenau Ffestiniog & Trawsfynydd Railway volunteers. The
explosives traffic siding and ground frame are left of the running line. Part of an overbridge can just be
seen to the right; the passenger station is behind the camera. (Both Angus McDougall 28 Aug 2017.)
ABOVE LOWER: The opposite direction towards Trawsfynydd and Bala, even with the recent track
clearance the single line can only just be seen. Maentwrog Road station is on the right with the slightly
sinister looking power station in the background; decommissioning, taking 92 years, is expected to be
completed by 2083! Compare with BLN 1287.1800 (where the power station is generating in 1964).
In 1950s the branch, like many others then, was deemed unremunerative. Surveys in 1956 and 1957
are interesting and found that the average daily numbers of passengers boarding/alighting were:
●Blaenau Ffestiniog 62/65 ●Trawsfynydd Lake Halt 1/1 ●Arenig 5/5
●Manod Halt 7/4 ●Trawsfynydd 28/24 ●Capel Celyn Halt 7/8
●Teigl Halt 5/5 ●Llafar Halt 2/2 ●Tyddyn Bridge Halt 4/6
●Festiniog 28/26 ●Bryncelynog Halt 2/2 ●Frongoch 18/15
●Maentwrog Road 8/6 ●Cwm Prysor Halt 3/3 ●Bala 65/58
BELOW: Trawsfynydd station (it really is this time!) looking towards Bala. There used to be a loop with
two platforms, the former goods yard is in the background top right. (Angus McDougall 28 Aug 2017)
1886] Pembrokeshire: A glance from the overbridge on the minor road between Letterston and
Trecwn confirms that the track is still in situ, but overgrown and black with rust on this moribund
branch (taken OOU 13 Feb 1995). The Waterston branch is also black rusted, whereas the Robeston
branch is very much still alive. A 2,800 tonne train delivers 2,000 tonnes of oil to Westerleigh, south of
Yate most days (SSuX), running via Gloucester. There are fewer, but still regular, 2,400 tonne trains to
Theale terminal (1,800 tonnes of oil) which are routed via the Severn Tunnel in both directions.
At Milford Haven the run-round loop, its points and ground frames have been removed this year
leaving just a single track; the end of line is still 286m 26ch from Paddington via Stroud and Gloucester.
The Pembroke Dock branch operates with No Signaller Key Token working either side of the loop at
Tenby, supervised by the Whitland signaller; the points at Tenby are powered and set for departure
when a key token is removed from the platform machine. There remain three 'Stop and Proceed' open
crossings beyond Manorbier, at Beavers Hill, Manorbier Newton, and Llanion. Work is in progress to
check clearances for IEPs on the branch (!). This is for the through summer dated Paddington trains,
currently HST operated (two Up and one Down) noted for reversing at both Swansea and Carmarthen.
One calls at all the branch stations - even the request stops - which is probably easier than trying to
work out if there are any passengers on such a long train. A puffin features on the destination label.
1887] Burry Port & Gwendraeth branch: Viewed from the road between Pontyates and Cwmmawr,
(last train 29 Mar 1996) one crossing gate remains at the former, but the other has been replaced by a
hoarding, with some encroachment onto the trackbed. Track remains in the roadway [and probably on
most of the branch - a group is hoping to reopen it for velocipede use (BLN 1262.1503) - Ed]. Half a
mile north, the crossing at Furnace Terrace still has both gates, track in the road, and warning signs for
motorists. The 'Stop - Open Crossing Gates' sign still stands north of the crossing, even though the
track has fifteen feet tall trees! Just south of Cwmmawr, the two open crossings remain in situ and
signed, although the former loading facilities at the terminus look to have been completely cleared.
ABOVE: Welcome to the BLN gardening section…. LEFT: The Trecwn branch looks remarkably clear
after 22 years of disuse. RIGHT: Part of the Cwmmawr branch OOU for over 21 years. (John Cowburn)
X.132] BELOW: The end of the line? Hertfordshire Railtours 'The Valley legend' on Sun 20 Jul 2017.
Possibly the final train to Tower coal loading point; the engine is at the stop blocks at the former
Hirwaun Ponds Halt (once serving an ordnance factory). Beyond the former double track line to Neath
CA 2 Oct 1967 as far as Glyn Neath. The actual opencast site is being landscaped. (Stephen Atkinson)
1888] Holyhead: On 31 Aug a member was surprised to find that P1 (the furthest west and normally
used by Virgin services) appeared to be, presumably temporarily, OOU with all trains using P2 & P3.
The loco-hauled 05.33 SSuX to Cardiff and 09.50 from Manchester Piccadilly and 13.05 (both SSuX)
back from Holyhead use P3 although shown as P2 online. Our 22 April railtour arrived at, and departed
from, P3. Online platform numbers cannot be relied on and do not go 'bold' after trains have departed.
1889] Taff Vale Locos: The extant Taff Vale steam locomotives are a Class 'O1' (TVR 28, GWR 450) on
the Gwili Railway and 'O2' (TVR 85, GWR 426) on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
X.133] ABOVE: (BLN 1287.1806) The first public running of the Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway at
the former Cynheidre Colliery sidings was on Sun 3 Sep 2017; the Society was represented. (Railway
Press Release) BELOW: A platform had been constructed for the rides. (Angus McDougall 3 Sep 2017)
ABOVE: Helston Railway, the recently (partially) re-opened Truthall Halt. (Rod Bryant 27 July 2017)
1288 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott)
MR161] Helston Railway, Cornwall (MR p6) (BLN 1285.1452) A dedicated member made the long trip
to Cornwall from London on 27 July, to sample the extension into the newly rebuilt Truthall Halt.
Arriving only a few minutes late in Camborne from GWR's 07.06 ex-Paddington, he caught the 12.40
bus to Crowntown (£6.30 return) for a short walk to the railway from the main road (he was quoted
£80 return for a taxi!). Arriving just before 13.30 he found the next train was at 14.00, which carried
only three passengers (the morning runs, reportedly, were all very busy). The train was formed of a
Ruston numbered 97649 and in BR blue livery, which propels a brake van (954353) named 'Daisy' all
the way to Truthall Halt platform. Here passengers can alight, but not leave the station yet - steps are
being built to allow access. The other loco is kept at Trevarno station, along with a road rail digger.
The 2-car DMU at Prospidnick is in use as a shop, waiting room and information centre. Also on site is
a steam loco 'William Murdoch' in a dismantled state at very end of line at Prospidnick. The next phase
is for the line to be extended north nearer the road at Prospidnick with a proper station building and
visitor centre. Our dutiful reporter caught the 16.09 bus back to Camborne to connect with the 17.06
to Exeter, then 19.55 Exeter to London Paddington arriving on time - a very long, but interesting day!
MR162] Bressingham Steam Museum, Norfolk (MR p8 & p21): This well-known steam museum is west
of Diss in Norfolk. On Saturday 12 August it held the East Anglia Garden Railway Show. Adult admission
was £14.75 giving unlimited riding and all five railways were offering passenger rides. On the Standard
Gauge Railway 0-6-0T 662 'Martello' (Brighton 1875) was at work with a flat wagon carrying concrete
sleepers and LMS brake 732294 for passenger accommodation. This line ran continuously from 11.00,
with a lunch break between 13.00 & 13.30.
The 2ft gauge Fen Railway passenger trains, four covered coaches, were being hauled half-hourly
(xx.00 & xx.30) by 0-4-0ST 'George Sholto' (HE994/1909). This line also had 0-4-0ST 'Gwynedd'
(HE316/1883) and 0-4-0ST 'Bevan' (Braithwaite/Bressingham /2009) on driver experience and a slate
goods train. The 15" gauge Waveney Valley Railway was running half-hourly (xx.00 & xx.30) with
trains headed by 2-6-2T 'St Christopher' (Exmoor SR 311/2001). Passenger stock was four coaches.
On the Garden Railway, which is 10¼" gauge, trains of three covered coaches were being worked by
0-4-0ST 'Alan Bloom' (P Gray/1995). Last, but not least and the reason for visiting on this day was the
5"/7¼" gauge Miniature Railway. This was having a rare passenger running day. Rides were available,
after a little persuading, behind 5" gauge GWR 4-6-0 'Torquay Manor' with one sit-astride coach.
Also in steam, and probably used for rides later, was 7¼" gauge GER 2-4-0 No.495 in blue livery.
This loco also had one sit-astride coach - both coaches are 7¼" gauge. The site was very busy by 13.00
and most railways had queues, with trains full before departure time.
MR163] Wensleydale Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9): Major improvements to Leyburn station are
to go ahead thanks to a £72,050 grant from the Richmondshire District Council. It has awarded a grant
from its economic growth fund towards the £100,000 railway's scheme, which includes a water tower
and water crane to service the steam locomotives and a run-round loop. The work will see the
installation of a viewing platform and footbridge with a signalbox and 'period' semaphore signalling
recovered from other stations. Councillor leader Yvonne Peacock said 'This is a very exciting scheme
for the district and one that we are delighted to be able to help make happen. It will create an
attraction for visitors and railway enthusiasts allowing more frequent services to be run, including park
and ride shuttle trains from Redmire to Leyburn to support local events.
This is exactly the type of scheme we are
looking to support through our growth
fund. It will bring in more visitors and
therefore more revenue to the district'.
Initial work has begun on the scheme which
should be completed for next season. With
the support of Network Rail the footbridge
has been recovered from Brigg station and
will be fully restored and installed with a
signalbox donated by supporters of the
Furness Railway. This is 'Vickers Machine
Gun Siding Signal Box' and controlled a siding where Vickers tested its guns (Eskmeals). The track work
and signals will be completed by volunteers while local contractors will restore and install the bridge,
signal box, water tower and platform.
PREVIOUS PAGE: The signal box (Ground Frame) on 18 Mar 1983 taken from the Cumbrian Coast line.
THIS PAGE ABOVE LEFT: On 31 Mar 1990 BLS brakevan tours were arranged of PEE (Proof and
Experimental Establishment) or MoD Vickers Gun Range internal railway, Eskmeals by our renown
member No1. In the little picture, background left, is 'Vickers Machine Gun Siding Signal Box'. There
were 53 participants in total including the repeats on 11 Aug 1990. (Both Angus McDougall).
M164] Bowes Railway, County Durham: An inspection between Blackham's Hill and Wrekenton on
18 July found it heavily overgrown. The railway has not run any passenger trains since 3 March 2013.
BELOW: The (very) overgrown section between Blackham's Hill and Wrekenton. (John Scott 18 Jul)
MR165] Baggeridge Miniature Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLN 1022.MR132): This 5"/7¼" gauge
railway is located in Baggeridge Country Park, Wombourne and an extension of 260 yards was opened
on 28 May 2017. A visit was made on Sunday 13 August - trains were in operation by 13.00 and were
well loaded throughout the afternoon with queues being reduced quickly. After leaving the station the
train goes through a newly constructed tunnel and returns past the loco sheds and onto the former
alignments with simple alterations, making a single journey cover all available lines, including the link
line that was previously never used in public running. An amazing amount of work has taken place
here and a long afternoon visit is a must for any enthusiast.
MR166] Welsh Highland Railway, Gwynedd (MR p30) (BLN 1276.MR43): The new station (building) at
Caernarfon has been delayed by around three months, so is now expected to open 'during' 2018, not
at the beginning of the season. Of course, this makes virtually no difference to train running - it just
means the temporary booking office etc across the road will remain in use longer. The delay has been
caused by a 70 year old 14 inch gas main (which it was thought ran down the adjacent roadway)
impinging on the site. Apparently, when the road layout was adjusted to open the old LNWR tunnel for
road traffic, the main was not relocated under the road - but the Gas Utility's drawings showed it had
been! The surveying company employed to scan the area for underground services didn't find it either.
MR167] Southwold Railway, Suffolk (BLN 1272.MR10): Volunteers have laid Southwold's first new
railway line in 88 years. The track and a new visitor centre are being built at the former Gas Works site
in Blyth Road, on the outskirts of Southwold, as part of a long-term project to reinstall the eight-mile
line, which once ran from Southwold to Halesworth. The first part of the visitors centre has already
been erected. The 3ft gauge track laid is not actually on the former alignment, but is parallel and close
to it. Apart from a recreation of part of the old line and a visitor centre, the site will also have a 7¼"
gauge passenger railway. The visitor centre - which will cost about £150,000 - will eventually have a
small café, a shop and a restoration shed. Members of the public will be able to watch volunteers
restoring rolling stock and steam engines. The site is currently only open to members of the owning
Trust, but there are hopes they will soon be able to hold an open day for members of the public to see
the project progress first-hand. Eventually, it is hoped, the railway will have stops at Wenhaston,
Blythburgh and Walberswick - but there has been much local opposition to reinstating the railway
over a number of years. Visit www.southwoldrailway.co.uk to find out more about the project.
BELOW: 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Railway, Steam outline 4-4-0 'General Shirley'
awaiting passengers in the Adventure Park. (Peter Scott 23 July 2017)
MR168] 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Railway, Hampshire: This 10¼" gauge railway opened in March
2016 and escaped notice until reported by a diligent member! 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park is located at
Headley, just south east of Newbury, but lies in Hampshire (SU 509 635). The entire railway came from
Thurleigh Farm, near Bedford (BLN 1175.MR240), which closed 27 September 2015. It was sold to 4
Kingdoms in October 2015 and first ran there on a short straight 'E' temporary track at Christmas 2015.
Following this the railway was laid as a permanent 'E' run of 300 yards. Sole motive power is steam
outline 4-4-0 locomotive No3 'General Shirley' (K J Hemingway/1972) (BLN 1286.MR139) - passenger
stock is three open coaches. 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park is designed for families with children between
2 and 10, but unlike other similar parks there is no problem with adult(s) only admission and a visit by
two members was made on Saturday 23 July. Admission for adults is £9.95 and the girl at reception
confirmed the railway was operational and pointed out where it could be found. The line is a simple 'E'
run and has no points, but is crossed by two footbridges. From a simple terminal station (with no
proper platform, but a fenced boarding area) it runs out past some animal pens in a hook shape to
terminate in a maize field - within which a maze was about to be constructed. Then passengers would
be able to alight and find their way out of the maze! 'General Shirley' and all three coaches were in use
and the train ran as soon as passengers wanted a ride. The driver seemed a little surprised by our two
members, but nevertheless gave them a ride and was interested to learn a little of the history of the
locomotive! Rides are free once the admission charge has been paid.
ABOVE: Riverside Miniature Railway, (item MR 170 below) with obviously much work still be done -
but passenger trains are running. (Peter Scott 12 August 2017)
MR169] Spa Valley Railway, Kent (MR p6) (BLN 1284.1442): The railway held a Diesel Gala between
Thursday 3 August and Sunday 6 August. Except on the Sunday, brake van rides were operated onto
the 'Ashurst Spur' from Groombridge station. These were sampled on the Saturday. Trains ran about
15-20 minutes late, but the trips commenced with a run at about 10.40. 0-4-0DM D2591 'Southerham'
propelled an ex-London Transport Railway brake van from Groombridge onto the right-hand of the
two spurs - stopping two coach lengths from the stop blocks due to two stabled DMU cars or coaches.
A quick reversal was made for the run back to Groombridge. Those with a Day Gala ticket (£25) could
travel on these trips free; for those just requiring a brake van ride, a (paper) ticket costing only £1 was
available from the ticket office (the reporter's was No4 - indicating most passengers were full gala
ticket holders). There was even a slot-in finger board provided at Groombridge showing 'Ashurst Spur'!
MR170] Riverside Miniature Railway, Cambridgeshire (BLN 1272.MR9): This brand new 5"/7¼" gauge
railway is located in Riverside Park at St Neots (TL 179 600) and opened Sunday 16 July 2017 - although
there had been some limited running on a temporary track from Easter 2017. Currently it is an 'E'
layout of about 150 yards - trains reverse out of the station for a short way, before reversing and
running through station non-stop, over a level crossing and part way round what will be a circuit of
some 310 metres. This is planned to be complete for the 2018 season, following which a second circuit
of 350 metres will be added to make a figure of eight. A visit on Saturday 12 August found trains being
operated by a Roanoke built 0-4-0DH locomotive on loan from the East Herts Miniature Railway with
three sit-astride coaches. Fares were 50p for all - this being an introductory fare until the line is
extended. The Park is a pleasant open area by the Great Ouse River and has a good café, with a car
park adjacent. It is the opposite end of the town to the East Coast Main Line St Neots station!
X.134] WANTED! The Weardale Railway needs a replacement for Witton-le-Wear level crossing east
gate to the specification BELOW. Please contact Ian Hughes [email protected] if you can help.
1890] FIXTURES REPORTS; Blackpool Line Signal Box Visits, 5 May 2017 Part 3: (By John Cowburn)
(BLN 1286.1703) The full report was available as an e-BLN 1286 download. https://goo.gl/RVee9Y and
https://goo.gl/f5Z21M link to Andrew Gardiner's pictures from earlier official visits. Back in the early
1980s there were two signal boxes between Poulton and Kirkham, Singleton which was normally open
and Weeton (between Singleton and Kirkham) which was opened only on the busiest summer or
illuminations Saturdays and bank holidays.
ABOVE: Blackpool North No2 signal box (the only one there now) and Carriage Sidings on 4 Sep from
the platform end. The sidings were unusually occupied in the day due to Northern industrial action.
This scene is to change dramatically this winter. NEXT PAGE: A detailed close up. (Both Rob Pritchard)
Each of these boxes unusually had two distant and two home signals on each line, in an arrangement
that your scribe seems to recall being locally referred to as 'double block'. Trawling the web in 2017,
it seems the term 'double block' was used to describe a way of working to keep fast trains two block
sections apart where distances between boxes were short, eg with double-headed class 50 hauled
expresses on parts of the WCML prior to re-signalling. However, the system at Weeton and Singleton,
in contrast, was a semaphore version of today's use of colour light Intermediate Block (IB) signals to
break up a section. This arrangement allowed a train to be accepted from the box in rear under normal
regulations, and the first distant and home to be cleared while the second home and distant (the latter
on the same post as the first home) remained at danger and caution respectively due to line
occupation ahead. This in turn allowed trains to approach at full speed giving a high line capacity on an
intensively worked absolute block worked railway; even then, at busy times trains would sometimes
be checked at most signals.
After first Weeton (closed 24 Jul 1993) and then Singleton (closed 13 Dec 1997) were abolished, colour
light IB signals were installed between Poulton and Kirkham to avoid a significant loss of line capacity.
In the Up direction, the two IB signals are controlled by levers 68 and 67 in Poulton No3 box, the latter
being the section signal for the absolute block worked section to Kirkham. Both boxes were observed
to use the IB sections to group bell codes and reduce the time spent at the block instruments; as long
as the sections ahead are clear, once the train has passed the box in the rear but before it reaches the
three-aspect signal which acts as the 'distant' for the final IB signal, it can be offered on, accepted and
train entering section sent and repeated in one long barrage of bells!
The inappropriately named Kirkham North Junction signal box is located at the west end of the
Kirkham station layout at the point of convergence of the former fast and slow lines from Preston and
the divergence of the closed direct line (CA 13 Feb 1967) to Blackpool Central and the still open but
now singled Blackpool South line. (Blackpool South to St Annes-on-the-Sea was singled 7 Mar 1982,
and from there to Kirkham & Wesham on 20 Nov 1983.) In recent years about a mile of the Blackpool
Central direct route gave access to the former Kirkham civil engineer's tip, which is still shown on the
box diagram, but now heavily overgrown and partly lifted. The box and frame are both of L&Y vintage
and date from 1903. Though not partitioned, the box now has a shortened frame; originally this had
105 levers but now only 30 to 88 remain, with gaps, including where 81 to 85 would have been. The
box is the only one on the line to retain an outside balcony, apparently replaced relatively recently.
In contrast to the signalling further west, all main signals here are colour lights, and the box also now
controls three IB signals at Bradkirk, Weeton and Preese Hall on the Down line to Poulton. Even with
these, the line still operates at capacity at certain times of the day and the signaller on duty remarked
that his personal record was 11 trains on his illuminated box diagram; others have apparently achieved
even more. The box controlled the fast lines avoiding the station until their abolition on 9 Apr 2017;
however, these were not much faster than the slow lines through the platforms as at the east end of
the station (Kirkham South Jn) the fast lines were the diverging route, while at the west end the slow
lines were the diverging route. This meant that that a non-stop train had to slow down anyway!
The box supervises the Blackpool South branch (officially the 'Up and Down Lytham') via a system of
one train working. A train going onto the single line occupies and clears three track circuits in order.
The interlocking then prevents any other train being signalled onto the line until the same three track
circuits have been occupied and cleared in the reverse order. The remainder of the branch is not track
circuited which means that the signaller has no visual indication of where the train is.
The branch passes close to the end of Blackpool Airport runway near Squires Gate station and, should
an incident occur, the airport control tower would contact the Kirkham signaller via the public
telephone network. To allow the signaller to be able to advise the approximate position of trains in the
area, drivers on the branch have to contact the signaller prior to departing St Annes in the Down
direction and Blackpool South in the Up. For a train to leave the branch, before clearing main running
signal 67, the signaller must also reverse the lever for ground disc 71, known as a 'running dummy'.
BELOW: On 4 Sep (a strike day) Northern ran Burnley Central and Manchester Airport services (Rob Pritchard).
ABOVE: Early morning at Cauldwell Depot, Bedford with another really great day in prospect
on both the weather and railtour fronts. (Ian Mortimer Sun 4 Jun 2017.)
1891] Class 319 Farewell / Cauldwell Depot Salute
Sun 4 Jun: I have to admit that I was looking forward
to working closely with Kev and the Branch Line
Society again, after the successful 'Thameslink
Tracker' in Jul 2015. With the imminent demise of
the Class 319 on Thameslink duties*, and Cauldwell
Depot that maintained them what better an
opportunity to go and look at how the Thameslink
route has been transformed, while scratching off
some unusual track, and raising money for important
charities? *The final service ran on 27 Aug; 15.06
Bedford to Brighton, returning 18.14 to reach Bedford at 20.59. Cauldwell Depot will remain and be
altered to accommodate 12-car Class 700 EMUs for stabling and cleaning. [Cue a future railtour - Ed?]
The night before the tour was dominated by another frightful terrorist attack (near London Bridge
station); more innocent victims were butchered in the name of extremism. This attack left an indelible
impression on me, and I felt it important to hold a one minute silence on the trip as a tribute to those
affected by these terrible events. My gratitude to the tour participants for observing this on the day.
Sun 4 Jun dawned sunny and warm. Our allocated EMU, 319425, had been painstakingly prepared by
Colin Harbord and his team at Cauldwell Depot, and even carried Network South East flashes on the
front end doors; a metaphorical doffing of the cap to the sector of BR that introduced these successful
trains dominating Thameslink services for 29 years. The planned naming of the unit 'Cauldwell Depot'
was unable to take place, unfortunately, as the vinyl nameplates did not arrive at the depot in time.
At 09.14, 5Z79 left Cauldwell Depot on a straight run to Luton to pick up participants. With all supplies
loaded, and passengers on board, the train departed from Luton at 09.40 as 1Z79 to London
St Pancras. However, as is standard for the BLS, the journey was to be anything other than 'direct.' For
the first few miles the train followed the Up Slow line until Cricklewood Depot North Jn, where it
diverted via the North Reception Road, Wash Road and a reversal on the Depot Exit Road into
Cricklewood South Sidings Road 2. The train was booked to reverse here; however, thanks to our
ever-helpful West Hampstead Local Operations Manager (LOM), Robin Morel, a surprise was in store
as the train continued to North End Sidings Road 4 stop blocks. This gave a close look at the new Class
700s, the nemesis of the Class 319s, with welcome additional 'red-lines' in the Bakers and TRACKmaps!
.Luton P1 St Albans City P1 .25m 02ch.
St Albans City P1 Cricklewood South End Depot Exit Road. 14m 54ch
Cricklewood South End Depot Exit Road Cricklewood North Siding No4 00m 75ch
Cricklewood North Siding No4 St Pancras International P4 05m 78ch
St Pancras International P4 St Albans Centre (turnback) Siding 19m 75ch
St Albans Centre (turnback) Siding Brighton P6 73m 37ch
Lewes East, Down Main line 08m 16ch
Lewes East, Down Main line East Croydon P4 39m 66ch
St Pancras Low Level PB 52m 43ch
Cricklewood North Siding No2 Cricklewood North Siding No2 58m 41ch
Cricklewood South, Down Hendon line Cricklewood South, Down Hendon line 01m 51ch
Luton P5 Luton P5 25m 58ch
Bedford P3 45m 26ch
BELOW: Cricklewood Depot North Siding No4; some of the BLS Team with GTR and NR staff. (Geoff Plumb)
Heading into London the train ran initially onto the Up Slow Line, and then, utilising more of the LOM's
knowledge of the area, unexpectedly through the bidirectional West Hampstead P2, very rarely used
in passenger service, so hopefully welcomed by all. Kentish Town P4, again not normally used in the
Up direction, was followed by Churchyard crossovers to reach St Pancras P4. The tour traversed
Carlton Road Jn to Kentish Town Jn four times on the day, each time on the bidirectional Down Slow!
After a break the EMU proceeded back to Kentish Town Jn as 1K80 where we crossed back over to the
Down Slow to St Albans, except for deviating via the very rare West Hampstead Down Carriage Loop
(notable for its rust and jointed track). This was its second passenger train; the first was our 2015
Thameslink tour! Reversal was in the highly sought after St Albans Centre Siding (used by terminating
Sutton Loop services ECS) and the tour transmogrified into 1Z81, the 12.47 to Brighton. The Up Slow
was taken to Cricklewood South Jn, where the layout was crossed to the Up Hendon (former Watling
Street Jn - no 'A5' locos about though), the point (!) where it, fortunately, acquires electrification.
Unfortunately, from here the tour was in the lap of the Gods. As well as the London Bridge terrorist
incident, there was a catastrophic signalling issue at Victoria Signalling Centre so the bi-directional
Blackfriars P2 reversal planned did not happen. Continuing on the booked route, slow road through
South London, the tour accessed the Down Quarry (then the fast line) via a fairly usual Down Slow to
Down Quarry Stoats Nest Jn move. For fans of noise, there was a real treat as the train ran on solid
greens all the way to Preston Park, and 319425's GEC motors were really making themselves heard!
This highlighted what this trip was all about - giving the 319s a really good send off, and showing the
Siemens 700s that the old guard weren't going down without a fight! This was a highlight of the day.
BELOW: The London end of the tour (note the small BLS headboard carried) at St Albans Centre
(turnback) Siding - the Country end of the train reached the buffer stops. (Geoff Plumb)
At Preston Park another highlight, as the first electric train with passengers to do the Brighton Down
Reception Road. Participants then enjoyed a two hour break in the sunshine (some did the new i360
rising vertical observation tower, the world's tallest), while the stock retired to Brighton Down Yard.
The Class 319 Farewell bade farewell to Brighton at 17.40 as 1Z82, notionally to London Bridge via
Lewes. However, with the London Bridge incident and a temporary, but no less catastrophic, loss of
signalling in Victoria SCC, we set off truly flying by the seat of our pants. At Lewes, very much rare
track for the class and, to the delight of those aboard, an unusual P5 through run was made, followed
by the trailing crossover beyond to reverse on the Down Main at LW58 signal. Heading off to Keymer
Jn, it was into the unknown. In the event the tour ran (as booked), via Haywards Heath P4, and the
slow lines from Balcombe Tunnel Jn to Redhill. Much merriment was caused when our EMU began to
overtake a Gatwick Express Class 387 on the up fast just north of Stoats Nest Jn! After an East Croydon
set down (some subsequently wished they had not alighted - see later), the EMU continued via Crystal
Palace and Herne Hill P2 (via the rare crossover from the Tulse Hill route) and to the Thameslink Core.
To compensate for the losses due to the South Side operational issues, the West Hampstead LOM
kindly arranged a run via the Down Hendon line behind West Hampstead P4 and then, due to very
early running, a bonus trip across to Cricklewood North Sidings Road 2, via Up Goods 1 and on the
way out, Up Goods 2. This was much welcome for all aboard; thanks to those involved in arranging it.
Reversing on the Up Hendon, the tour returned to Luton by the Fast Line, a very spirited run indeed -
with the holy grail of 100mph reached near Harpenden [but we won't harp on about it]. Not bad for a
unit stood down for a while! Despite being booked to terminate at Luton, after a few passenger
requests, the tour continued back to Bedford in service with some more fast running concluding an
excellent but somewhat emotional day. On arrival back at Bedford, there was a healthy warm aroma
coming from the traction motors of 319425! The tour raised the excellent sum of £3,395.84 for the
nominated charities. (By Matthew Dodd tour organiser, in a personal capacity, Train Services Manager
Govia Thameslink Railway, Great Northern Service Delivery Centre with additions by the BLN Editor.)
A full moves list for the Class 319 Farewell / Cauldwell Depot Salute will be included in BLN 1289.
1892] The Rothley Rodder, Sat 22 Jul: A visitor to the Great Central Railway (GCR) on his way home
enquired why three diesel shunters were being coupled to a rake of coaches in Loughborough Central
(HQ of the modern day Great Central Railway) P1. The purpose was explained to him and he departed
suitably impressed. For those of us booked on the special the purpose was clear: there were some
sections of track required by (unusually) almost all participants and, to add interest, three Class 08s
(one a fairly recent arrival) were to haul the coaching stock on the 'main line' element of the special.
This joint PLEG/BLS 'Track and Traction' event was excellent value at only £20 (with the offer to
purchase a GCR day rover for just £10 more - many bought one and had a full day and evening on the
railway). (BELOW: Another ticket masterpiece by Jim Sellens and the one with the previous report.)
Departure was on time at 18.00 (allowing some to visit Kingmoor DRS Depot open day earlier!). Locos
08907 and D3690 (formerly 08528) made light work of the nonstop journey to Rothley Brook passing
through Quorn & Woodhouse, Swithland Up Loop and Rothley P1. Rothley Brook is where the
eponymous watercourse flows beneath the railway. Here the train reversed and now hauled by 08694
(added to the stock at Loughborough Central) returned the short distance to Rothley P2 where this leg
of the tour terminated. Almost simultaneously the stock for
the Mountsorrel branch formed of three car Metropolitan
Cammell DMU vehicles 50266, 50321 and 51427 arrived at
P1 on the opposite face of the island platform. A rain shower
discouraged dilly dallying and participants moved quickly to
the DMU for the 'The Mountsorrel Railway' journey, for
many the highlight of the event.
ABOVE: Loughborough GCR, both ends of the 'mainline' part of the trip. (Via Kev Adlam 22 Jul 2017)
On time the DMU headed north from P1 (along the Up Main in the Down direction) to enter Swithland
Up Loop from the south end. It proceeded to the north end and, close to 97m 10ch, stopped to await
permission to enter the single track Mountsorrel Railway. The revised signalling which will permit
regular through is not yet in place, so special dispensation was needed for trains onto the branch;
there had already been two through trips from Rothley during the day.An indication of the tight curve
on the line was the provision of a check rail. After a pause at the Nunckley Hill ground frame (0m 68ch
from the junction with the GCR), it was onwards through Nunckley Hill station to Mountsorrel itself,
1m 10ch from the junction. Here in time honoured tradition the train went beyond the platform end -
well at least part of the leading vehicle did at least in the event - to stop before the sand drag.
BELOW: The junction end of Mountsorrel station with the 3-car DMU. (Jim Sellens)
Why reopen the Mountsorrel branch? Railway Vehicle Preservations (RVP Ltd) was formed in 1968 to
preserve interesting items of railway rolling stock for use on a 'steam railway'. They moved to the GCR
in 1981 gaining charitable status in 2002 and operate Rothley Carriage Works for the GCR. Now RVP's
charitable aims are to preserve LNER coaching stock from the period 1923-1950 and items of railway
postal history. Covered rather than open storage was deemed necessary but there were limited sites
for carriage sheds along the GCR. In 2005 RVP took on the lease of the disused Mountsorrel branch but
were unable to obtain planning permission to build on it. Permission was eventually given for the shed
since built on the Up side of Swithland Sidings. The Mountsorrel Railway rapidly took off, becoming a
community project constructed by volunteers with support from local businesses. It OP 23 Nov 2013
(special event) and 24 Oct 2015 (public trains) but not running onto the GCR. Nunckley Hill is its main
centre where there are recently laid sidings, rolling stock accommodation, museum and facilities.
Back on the trip, after the brief stop at Mountsorrel for photographs, the train began its return to
Loughborough Central via Rothley Brook. A straightforward journey you might think but there was a
small but important piece of track to be covered on the branch. For those in what was now the leading
DMU vehicle, there was the opportunity to enter the very rare track leading to the sand drag
protecting access to the Great Central Railway by the ground frame at 0m 07ch from the boundary.
After this manœuvre the DMU had to reverse 2ch back for the points to be reset to return to the GCR.
As the trip approached the GCR and Mountsorrel boundary, the steam hauled evening dining service,
possibly a little tardy in leaving its booked stop at Swithland reservoir, passed by, then stopped at
Rothley to pick up a passenger who reportedly had missed it [missing the 'starter' at Loughborough
Central but did they get their just desserts?]. Returning to Swithland Up Loop, the coaches and locos
for the return to Loughborough were on the Down Main, so more photographs while we waited for
permission to proceed. Once the line was clear the DMU was able to go to Rothley Brook and reverse
into Rothley P2. The loco hauled set itself now appeared at P1 for another swift cross platform change.
With 08694 in charge it departed from P1 to run briefly down the Up Main in the 'wrong' direction and
switch to the Down Main via the rare trailing crossover located adjacent to Swithland Sidings and
which, of necessity, had to be omitted from our otherwise comprehensive Jan 2013 fixture. Amazingly
the DMU simultaneously departed from P2 along the Down Main into the Down Swithland Loop, a rare
instance of unusual 'parallel' running on a heritage railway, although for only a short distance.
08694 took the train back towards Loughborough Central but assistance was needed from 08907 and
D3690 as the direct route into P1 was just too simple for a BLS tour. Instead, in search of the unusual
for which we are well known (and to uphold our reputation) there was a final flourish. The trip ran via
the Loughborough Down Loop alongside P2 to Shed Road 1. Here was the last reversal of the tour via
the trailing crossover north of the station and into P1 which the tour had left 2½ hours earlier.
Loughborough GCR P1 Rothley Brook (single line) 08907 & D3690 Top & Tail 08694 5m 10ch
Top & Tail D3690 & 08907 0m 23ch
Rothley Brook (single line) Rothley P2 08694 & 50321 & 51427 1m 70ch
& 50321 & 50266 & 08907 1m 03ch
Rothley P1 Mountsorrel End of Line 50266 & 50321 & 51427 0m 02ch
& 50321 & 50266 1m 09ch
Mountsorrel End of Line Swithland Jn Sand Drag 51427 & 50321 & 51427 0m 16ch
Top & Tail D3690 5m 01ch
Swithland Jn Sand Drag Clear of Sand Drag Points 50266 & D3690 0m 14ch
Clear of Sand Drag Points Rothley Brook (single line) 51427
Rothley Brook (single line) Rothley P2 50266
Rothley P1 Loughboro' Loco Shed Line 1. 08694
Loughboro' Loco Shed Line 1. Loughborough GCR P1 08907
BELOW: The end of the Mountsorrel branch under Bond Lane bridge. It once continued to the quarry
connecting with the former (Midland) branch to the Midland Main line. Large amounts of aggregate
are dispatched by rail from the (Down side) terminal south of Barrow upon Soar. (Iain Scotchman)
How does this anonymous member assess the tour? Well pretty darned good. Whether your interest is
track or haulage there was something on offer in this evening jaunt and if you combine the two then
you can't really ask for more. In summary another first class event from the Fixtures Team. Thank you
for your hard work which is much appreciated by those members who regularly participate in Society
events. Thanks also to the GCR and Mountsorrel Railway for all the arrangements, particularly for the
buffet on the main train and even a well stocked bar on the DMU. The 140 participants celebrated the
first day of through running on to the branch and the railways benefitted by over £3,600 with sales.
Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring….1288 CONNECTIONS (Paul Stewart)....All details must be checked.
1893] Charlotte's Real Jersey Ice Cream: The Meadows, Whitley, WF12 0NQ (SE 2175 1765) South of
Dewsbury, daily except Christmas Day 10.30-18.00 (BST) 17.00 (winter) no entrance fee. An ideal place
to take children/grandchildren for the 'Charlotte Express' train ride and ice cream etc 01924494491.
1894] Mountsorrel Branch 9 & 10 Sep: During the diesel gala a DMU is booked from Loughborough at
11.30 & 13.45, calling at Quorn & Woodhouse, to Mountsorrel end of line and return. First come first
served, gala runabout tickets only: Adult £18, Senior £16, Child £10, Family £25 (1A&3C)/£40 (2A&3C).
1895] West Wiltshire Rail Users Group, Tue 12 Sep, 19.30: Civic Centre, Warminster, 'South Western
Railway' with a senior representative from First Group, coffee from 19.00, finishes for 22.00 trains.
1896] Bloodwise 14-17 Sep: Nick Garnham, our volunteer Branch Line email service operator, is
taking part in a London to Paris cycle event for 'Bloodwise', formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma
research. Nick would be grateful for any donations https://goo.gl/my36bg which can be Gift Aided.
1897] Railweek 9-15 Oct: For young people at school, university or college, encouraging consideration
of a career in the rail industry and to help address the current skills shortage. Some events are also
available for parents and educators. https://goo.gl/YfwhbN has details. Events: 'Ask an employer' -
questions about a railway career, Siemens Rail Automation site visit Chippenham, GWR Reading Depot
Visit, Basford Hall Freightliner terminal visit, Three Bridges Depot Open Day (next item below) and
'Speed Networking' on a 1:1 basis; industry mentors at the Institute of Civil Engineering London.
1898] Three Bridges Depot Open Day, Sat 14 Oct, 10.00-17.00: A free event open to all (no under 3s)
celebrating the depot's second birthday, no booking required, last admission 16.00. A short walk from
Three Bridges station. The 1.4 mile long facility (one of the longest), home to the Class 700 Thameslink
EMUs, can stable 172 carriages. See the 'state-of-the-art' trains close up, walk beneath a train in the
maintenance pit, sit in a driver's cab, bogie removal demonstrations, driving simulator and see what's
involved in keeping the trains safe, reliable and comfortable for the public. Find out about rail industry
careers. No, buggies/pushchairs, under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. Disabled parking only
email: [email protected] to book or for wheelchair assistance. Flat comfortable shoes
are advised in view of the amount of walking (uneven surfaces and unavoidable stairs). Refreshments,
stalls, and entertainment for all the family supporting 'Mind' (Haringey) & St Catherine's Hospice.
1899] The Mayflower, Sun 15 Apr 2018: Charity Railtours redated to include the Sizewell branch
(last railtour Jul 2007). Ealing Broadway, Willesden Junction, Stratford, Liverpool Street then steam-
hauled by 61306 'Mayflower', Colchester, Sizewell, Griffin Wharf (buffer stops), Manningtree North
to East, Harwich Town, Parkeston Tip, Colchester, Liverpool Street, Reading Lane Jn - Navarino
Road Jn, Willesden Junction and Ealing Broadway. (Station calls underlined) a few Standard Class
tickets (only) are available from https://goo.gl/qLYkNJ at £84. Profits to Macmillan Cancer Support.
X.135] GWR Advance discount: A discount for holders of Senior, Disabled or HM forces railcards of
about 45% rather than the normal 34% is available for selected GWR Advance fares online only via
GWR, also with 250 Nectar Points. This is unlimited and applies for travel until 8 Dec. It is essential to
use www.gwr.com/senior1 which has further details. The advertising claims a 50% discount but it is
actually 16% extra applied to the normal 34% discount which is about about 45% - still worth having!