Number 1311 (Items 1715 - 1819 & MR 159 - MR 167) (E-BLN 55 PAGES) 1 Sep 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1312 is dated Sat 15 Sep;Spolceieatsye. Ssoecniedtya.ll contributions in by Wed 5 Sep. ………
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Sat 8 Sep 10.30 Minor Railways in Hertfordshire & Essex Day 1 1308 JE OPEN
Sun 9 Sep 10.30 Minor Railways in Essex & Hertfordshire Day 2 1308 JE OPEN
Sat 29 Sep 13.00 Coate Water Railway, North Wilts MES, Swindon 1307 JE OPEN
Sun 30 Sep 10.00. 11.00, 12.00 & 13.00: Ribblesdale Cement Works 1308 JE OPEN
Fri 12 Oct 10.15 Bangor, Anglesey Boxes - FULL & FULL WAITING LIST 1310 BC FULL
Thu 18 Oct 09.42 Derby New Track Tracker using Derbyshire Wayfarer Below TG *OPEN*
Sun 21 Oct 12.00 Andover Model Engineers all line style visit 1307 JE OPEN
Fri 26 Oct 10.30 Kirklees Light Railway all available lines railtour Below JE *OPEN*
Fri 26 Oct 15.30 National Coal Mining Museum (England) Mine TrainBelow JE *OPEN*
Fri 26 Oct Possible evening West Yorkshire Service Train Tracker TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 27 Oct 09.00 Middleton Railway tour with the Dartmouth branch Below JE *OPEN*
Sat 27 Oct 12.00-15.00 Annual General Meeting - please book online Below JE *OPEN*
Sat 27 Oct 15.00-16.00 Middleton Railway 'Behind the Scenes' tour Below JE *OPEN*
Sat 27 Oct 16.30 Railway Film Presentation with Fish & Chip supper Below JE *OPEN*
Sun 28 Oct 10.20 The Ruby Shoesday Merseyrail Charity Railtour Below JE *OPEN*
Wed 31 Oct Chesterfield Roundabout, half term conducted railway walk Below NL *OPEN*
Sun 4 Nov Save the date mainline railtour in northwest of England TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 17 Nov East-West Midlands Railtour with an extremely unusual first TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 8 Dec *NEW* Save the date, NW England Track & Traction event TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 5 Jan 09.30 Scunthorpe Steel Works Railtour No17, save the date TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 24 Feb Save the date for a railtour in the north of England TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 13 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church & Willaston Railways TBA TBA Claimed
BC=Barney Clark, JE=Jill Everitt, NL=Neil Lewis, TBA=To Be Announced, TG=Tom Gilby, = book online at branchline.uk
1715] .Derby New Track Tracker, Thur 18 Oct; Derby 09.42 until 21.22: (with options to finish earlier).
Thanks to Tom Gilby, who will lead the group. All available new track with a Derbyshire Wayfarer (next
item) day ranger, sure to be an enjoyable and sociable day out. https://goo.gl/wbp1Zy the new track
plan, was with BLN 1308. All the extensive new lines are planned (except P7 - no booked use) including
the scissors, by three trips to Long Eaton, two to Burton, three to Sheffield and one to Matlock with
breaks. Also, to lift your day, the Heights of Abraham Cable Car (special non-alighting fare may be
possible), or Tutbury as an alternative. Meet Derby P3A 09.30. Members only; must be booked with
Tom (for number regulation) [email protected] or post with an SAE to 69 Regent Street,
Barwell, Leicester, LE9 8GY. IMPORTANT: Please cancel if you decide not to go so someone else can!
1716] Derbyshire Wayfarer: £13 Adult (with optional free child under 16!); £6.50 age 60+, Child under
16, Gold Card Holder or English National Concessionary Travel Scheme pass holder. £23.50 Group of up
to 2A & 3C. A dog may replace a child! Valid on most Derbyshire buses all day. Trains all day Sat, Sun
and Bank Holiday Mons, otherwise after 09.00. All operators on these sections only: ●Buxton - New
Mills Newtown (¾ mile to 'Central'), ●Sheffield to: New Mills Central/Ilkeston via Alfreton/Derby via
Belper, ●Shirebrook - Whitwell and ●Derby - Matlock/Long Eaton/Burton-on-Trent/Uttoxeter. Buy
on the day from staffed stations or in advance (scratchcards) from many outlets; NOT available on
trains. Gives discounts at many tourist attractions such as £3 off at Crich National Tramway Museum.
1717] .AGM, fixtures, talk/buffet & railtour, Fri 26 to Sun 28 Oct: Our 2018 Annual General Meeting
(AGM) will be at the Middleton Railway, Leeds, as detailed below on Sat 27 Oct. It is supplemented by
comprehensive fixtures the day before at the Kirklees Light Railway and the National Coal Mining
Museum for England. Then there is a private Middleton Railway charter before the AGM with one
section likely to close after our trip and not available on recent charters! After the AGM an evening
Film Show includes a Fish & Chips Supper at the Middleton Railway. On Sun 28 Oct we have arranged
with our Merseyrail friends for an EMU tour from Hooton, compatible with service trains from Leeds
to Liverpool Saturday night, or Sunday morning for those stopping in the Leeds area (see below).
Bookings can now be made online for any or all of these fixtures, which greatly assists your volunteer
Committee. Bookings for the AGM should also be made online, or apologies given, as a 'Fixture' which
will, as usual, receive immediate online acknowledgment. If you are unable to access the website, or
cannot liaise with a member who can book for you, postal bookings can be made to Jill Everitt (per
back page) with the name, membership number, email address or an SAE for each fixture booked.
(A composite CPA/cheque can be sent if you fully detail which fixtures and for whom you are booking,
including membership number/s and name/s.) All under-18s must be accompanied by an adult and all
bookings, including non-members (where available), are subject to strict adherence to Branch Line
Society terms and conditions. You do not have to go to the meeting to participate in the fixtures!
AGM Weekend Fixtures, Friday 26 October 2018
1718] .Kirklees Light Railway. 10.30-15.00: https://goo.gl/qKAC9k Park Mill Way, Clayton West,
Huddersfield, HD8 9XJ; (MR p26) (BLN 1268.MR225). With thanks to Gary Lonsdale, all available lines
private running with diesel traction (No8 'Jay' at least) on this delightful 15" gauge line, opened in 1991
on almost the entire Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's Clayton West branch, built as a double track
main line, a public run of 3¼ miles; £22 members only. (The elevated miniature railway is not available
and may have been removed by the time of our visit.) There is a large free car park. The Café will
provide various refreshments, included in fare, from 10.00. Yorkshire tea, filter coffee and locally
baked, biscuits on arrival; a soup/sandwich lunch (choice of fresh locally baked 'breadcake' with half
cheese and half ham, served with either homemade soup or seasonal salad and Yorkshire Crisps; tea or
coffee and choice of cake) and, on departure, tea, coffee and juice with fresh scones and butter.
1719] .National Coal Mining Museum for England, 15.30-16.15: (MR p26) https://goo.gl/hVCcLn
Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, Wakefield, WF4 4RH; (BLN 927.MR146). A 2' 6" gauge, 480yd
(public run) line. Thanks to Kev Adlam, private running, important note: this is weather permitting, all
available track on the Mine Train hauled by the 1989 Clayton battery locomotive; £11 members only.
1720] .West Yorkshire Service Train Tracker. Mark Haggas is investigating options for unusual routes,
crossovers, platforms and stations on service trains during the evening. Details will be provided later.
AGM Weekend Fixtures, Saturday 27 October
1721] .Middleton Railway Charter, 09.00-11.40: https://goo.gl/3zZL4f Moor Road, Hunslet, Leeds,
LS10 2JQ; (MR p9) (BLN 1265.1821). Thanks to Kev Adlam, private running, all available lines including
a very rare and final chance to travel over the Dartmouth Branch. 'top & tail' with diesels HC D577
'Mary' HC D577/1932 0-4-0DM and HC D1373/1965 0-6-0 'MD&HB 45'. £27 members only, includes a
bacon or sausage roll and coffee/ tea, vegetarian option on request, and also a guided Workshop and
Museum tour at 15.00.
1722] BRANCH LINE SOCIETY, 63rd ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Saturday 27 October 2018, 12.00-15.00
Engine House, Middleton Railway, Moor Rd, Hunslet, Leeds, LS10 2JQ.
Notice is hereby given that the Society's 2018 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) will be held at the
Engine House, Middleton Railway, Moor Road, Hunslet, Leeds, LS10 2JQ, commencing at 12.00.
Members are invited to attend, express their views on issues discussed, which may include an
important resolution sponsored by your Committee, celebrate our wide provision of unique railway
infrastructure-related services and look forward to further such opportunities in the future.
For those who pre-register, complimentary tea/coffee and cake will be served in the Café at a
convenient point during the AGM. Members will no doubt welcome details from Kev Adlam of the
Society's extensive future programme of varied events. It is planned that the meeting will conclude by
15.00 but can continue later if necessary. Members wishing to attend the AGM are requested to
individually confirm their intention. This is best done online (without charge; no credit or debit card
required!), via the Fixtures section of our Website, which allows an option to attend or send your
apologies. Otherwise, please notify by email to [email protected] or write to Jill
Everitt, 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, NORTHWICH, CW9 8PT (with SAE if an acknowledgment is required).
To ensure that all those likely to attend can be accommodated, notification of intent must be received
no later than Monday 22 October 2018. Special souvenir tickets will be issued on the day when booked
members register. Without this pre-booked ticket, you will ONLY be able to access the meeting venue
and will not be entitled to the complimentary catering. Should the Fire Certificate capacity of the very
large Engine House be reached, members who do not pre-register will regrettably be unable to attend.
The closing date for receipt of items for the AGM agenda, including nominations for all the Officers
listed in the Constitution (on our website or by post from the General Secretary with an SAE), plus five
Committee Members per Standing Orders and any motions for debate, each proposed and seconded,
is Saturday 6 October 2018. There are no vacancies this year but other nominations are welcomed.
Any correspondence about these should be emailed to [email protected] Tim Wallis,
General Secretary, or write to him at 10 Sandringham Rd, STOKE GIFFORD, BS34 8NP to arrive by
Saturday 6 October 2018. Please enclose an SAE if a written acknowledgement is required. Officers'
Reports are due to be circulated in advance with BLN 1313 (dated 29 September 2018), together with
the draft 2017/18 Accounts, allowing members to appreciate these ahead of the AGM. Officers will not
read out their reports at the Meeting but most anticipate being present and available to answer
questions during the relevant agenda items. Please bring all these papers along to the AGM as no
copies will be provided on the day to avoid wastage and unnecessary expense to your Society.
A Final AGM Notice, with the detailed agenda, will be issued to members with BLN 1314 (13 October
2018), which will also set out proposed subscription rates for 2018/19. Copies of the draft 2017 AGM
Minutes are intended to be supplied by BLN 1314. Mark Gomm, your Sales Officer, plans to provide a
sales stand in the meeting room, open for a short period before the AGM and during designated
breaks. Please contact Mark (per back page) ASAP, and by Monday 22 October at the latest, if you wish
him to bring (or order) any items. Full AGM access details will be provided in the Final Notice.
1723] .Middleton Railway 'Behind the Scenes''.15.00-16.00: A guided tour of the Railway's Workshop
and Museum, free of charge for all participants on the earlier railtour. This is timed to allow travel on
the 18.04, or earlier train, from Leeds to Liverpool for Sunday's railtour (below) for those not staying
for the evening Film Show and meal (which also then offers a train to Liverpool from Leeds at 20.34).
1724] .Film Presentation & Supper..16.30: Chris Totty, our well known member (since early 1968) is
travelling from Jersey to present 'Part 2' of his films after our AGM. This supplements the superb
selection Chris showed last year featuring BLS railtours, other UK tours and a 1968 Isle of Man holiday.
This year features travel covering most of the UK from when Chris acquired his first 8mm cine camera
in 1967 until 1973. DVDs of French/German steam and Belgian trams are also available if time permits!
Includes a plated service of fish, chips and mushy peas with a hot drink in the Café. Members only £11
to cover the cost of food. The presentation should finish by 19.30, allowing plenty of time to catch the
20.34 to Liverpool for the following day's railtour (see below). Access to this tour will also be possible
from the first train from Leeds to Liverpool on Sunday for those opting to stay overnight in Yorkshire.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Our previous 19 Nov 2017 Merseyrail AGM railtour at Southport. (Kev Adlam)
1725] AGM Weekend, Sun 28 Oct .The Ruby Shoesday Merseyrail Charity Railtour,. Hooton 10.20 to
19.02: Thanks to our Merseyrail friends, a low cost leisurely day complimenting our recent tours, with
pick-ups at Hooton (10.21) and Liverpool Lime Street Low Level (10.51) and set downs at Liverpool
Central Low Level (18.07) and Hooton (19.02). It includes James Street Stabling Siding, New Brighton
Wall Siding, West Kirkby No2 Siding, Southport No9 Siding, Birkdale No3 Siding, Rock Ferry P4 (bay
platform), Hunts Cross P2, Hoylake crossover, the Down Southport in the Up direction from Leeds
Street Jn and the customary visits to Birkenhead North Depot (No5 Road requested) and Kirkdale
Depot. On the day surprises are possible! Profits go to the Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes
charity, supported by Merseyrail. As usual there will be comfort breaks throughout the day.
The full route in detail, as bid to Network Rail: Hooton P2 (PU) 10.20 - Lime Street Low Level (PU) -
James Street (rev) - James Street Stabling Siding (rev) - James Street P2 - West Kirby No2 Siding (rev) -
Hoylake (rev) - Hoylake (rev) [crossover in both directions] - Birkenhead North EMU Depot No5 Road
(rev) - New Brighton Wall Siding (rev) - New Brighton Signal 606 (rev) - New Brighton P2 (rev) - Stock
Interchange Line - Hunts Cross P2 (rev) [normally DMU served and rare for an EMU] - Sandhills -
Kirkdale EMU Depot - Walton Jn (rev) - Sandhills Reversing Siding (rev!) - Southport P3 (break/rev) -
Southport No9 Siding (rev) - Southport P2 (rev) - Southport Signal 112 (rev) - Birkdale No3 Siding (rev) -
Southport Signal 112 (rev) - Southport P3 (rev) - Sandhills - Dn Southport (Up direction) - Liverpool
Central Reversing Siding (rev!) - Liverpool Central Low Level (SD) - Stock Interchange Line - Rock Ferry
P3 [P4 was done on our 2017 railtour] - (rev) - Rock Ferry Signal 722 (rev) - Hooton P3 (SD) 19.02.
Members just £59, Under 18s £29.50 (must be accompanied by an adult); non-BLS members £71
Under 18 £41.50. Full route details on our website. To save work please book on line if possible (or ask
someone to do this for you - they will need your name and membership number) or by post with a
cheque or CPA, supplying an email address or SAE, to Jill Everitt our Bookings Officer, per back page.
1726] .Chesterfield Roundabout. Wed 31 Oct 10.00: (BLN 1310.1621) ABOVE: 1952 1:25,000 map.
A relaxing walk around Chesterfield environs viewing the current Midland line and the remains of the
LD&EC and the GCR railways. We will also walk the former alignments of the Brampton branch and
Hyde's Sidings, and visit the sites of the original Midland station and the former Central and Market
Place stations. Chesterfield's Horns Bridge area, the site of a modern and often difficult roundabout to
negotiate, was the site of three major railways built on three different levels (see map). The built
infrastructure needed to accommodate the railways, two rivers, footpaths and two major roads as well
as other local services. Thankfully there are still some remains which provide a clue to its former glory.
Following a lunch break there will be an optional (pay on the day) visit to the town's parish church, St
Marys and All Saints, famously known as the Crooked Spire. Take your pick from a number of different
tales as to why the spire is both twisted and leaning - from the marriage of a virgin in the church to the
use of unseasoned timber and heavy lead? During the church tower tour we'll have unprecedented
views across the town, former and current railways. Maps and further information will be distributed
prior to the walk. For bookings (direct to Neil
please) and more information see BLN 1310.1621.
LEFT: Chesterfield Market Place (former LD&EC
station) concourse. NEXT PAGE UPPER: The front.
(Both Angus McDougall 19 Jul 1970). This building
was used by Charles Credland Ltd, paint and
wallpaper firm, until its demolition in Apr 1973.
1311 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1727] Wimbledon P5 (Up Slow) - Wimbledon North Jn (Eastbound District Line), NR/LUL strategic
connection: (BLN 1299.360) TCP/TCA in this direction only after derailment of the 04.54 Basingstoke
to Waterloo booked via East Putney PSUL on Mon 6 Nov 2017‡. Due to confusion about the NR/LUL
boundary location, about 120m of track may not have been inspected or maintained since 1994!
The closure resulted in the diversion of South Western Railway East Putney PSULs in this direction only
via Earlsfield. ROP/A Tue 12 Jun 2018 with the 22.54 (Mon) Basingstoke to Waterloo. All workings
(and PSULs) from the Westbound District Line to Wimbledon P5&7 were unaffected and ECS workings
were able to continue to/from Wimbledon Park Sidings, but with access via Point Pleasant Jn only.
[‡Described in the system as 'Cancelled at Wimbledon' (Mishap - Train Operating Company) en route!]
1728] Wolverhampton Steel Terminal: (BLN 1310.1678) Renamed Wolverhampton Logistics Centre
Fri 23 Nov 2017, at a special ceremony marking the start of building work on the new warehouse and
remodelling. DBC's private passenger train ran from Doncaster (09.16/16.58) for invited guests and the
Press to the terminal (11.41/13.59), formerly known as Wolverhampton Walsall Street Steel Terminal.
1729] Energetický a Průmyslový, Whitley Bridge Jn - Eggborough Power Station - Whitley Bridge Jn:
(BLN 1299.335) The last railtour was 26 Mar 2016 Pathfinder Tours 'Generating Finale'. The final coal
train (04.45 from Redcar Bulk Terminal) ran Tue 20 Mar 2018, arriving 07.36 with the empty wagons
leaving 10.00 to return to the Bulk Terminal at 12.38. Built between 1962 and 1970 with four 500MW
coal fired units, generation began in 1967. Eggborough last generated 23 Mar 2018 and closes 30 Sep.
1730] Harrowden Jn - Up & Down Slow - Wellingborough North Jn - Wellingborough P3 - Wymington
Deviation through Sharnbrook tunnel - Sharnbrook Jn, (BLN 1306.1146) AMENDMENT: TCP/A from
Sun 25 Mar 2018, last passenger train ran Thur 22 Mar, 07.36 Derby to St Pancras. The last through
freight ran on Sat 24 Mar (several trains), but access to/from Wellingborough Up Sidings (was Neilsons
Sidings) was then available via Wellingborough North Jn. The closure was for bridge strengthening and
waterproofing, part of the Sharnbrook Jn to Kettering re-quadrupling and electrification. Track was
temporarily removed over at least two bridges. ROA Mon 6 Aug when several freight trains ran that
way but the first passenger use was Mon 13 Aug, 22.00 St Pancras to Nottingham. Note that, with the
considerable amount of work in progress, the booked PSULs have often run main line since instead.
1731] Honeybourne, Stratford Line Jn - Long Marston: TCA at 12.01 Mon 13 Aug due to multiple track
quality issues. ROA after essential repairs, with a 5mph restriction, Thu 23 Aug 2018 (13.09 with DMUs
165126 & 123 to Reading Depot). The branch had been busy and quite a few workings were cancelled.
1732] Tottenham South Jn - South Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn:
(BLNs 1297.120 & 1305.1041) ROP Sat 18 Aug 2018 (TCP since last service on 30 Apr 2016). This PSUL
has a weekly unidirectional EMU, 05.30 (SO) Liverpool St - Enfield Town to maintain route knowledge.
1733] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1310.1627 23 Aug 18 3 Sep 18 *NET, (Wilkinson Street) - (The Forest), both separate routes
1309.1499 22 Jul 18 3 Sep 18 (Derby) - Stenson Jn and (Tutbury & Hatton) - North Stafford Jn
1308.1393 25 Aug 18 3 Sep 18 Euxton Jn/Crow Nest Jn/(Blackburn) - Windsor Bridge North Jn
1305.1022 25 Aug 18 3 Sep 18 Supertram: (Gleadless Townend)-Halfway/Gleadless-Herdings Pk.
1305.1022 10 Sep 18 15 Sep 18 Sheffield Supertram: Donetsk Way - Halfway
1309.1505 25 Aug 18 8 Oct 18 Ambergate Jn - Matlock with Belper & Duffield stations
1309.1498 22 Jul 18 8 Oct 18 (Lichfield Trent Valley High Level) - Wichnor Jn (PSUL route)
1309.1503 1 Sep 18 8 Oct 18 *Chesterfield South Jn - Ambergate Jn - (Derby)
1308.1394 15 Sep 18 8 Oct 18 Bristol Parkway-(Patchway)/(Filton Abbey Wood)/(Yate)/(Swindon)
1300.441 8 Oct 18 12 Oct 18 *(Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (and 1 later period)
1302.702 27 Oct 18 19 Nov 18 Bristol East Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn; Filton Jn - Patchway Jn;
Feeder Bridge Jn - Dr Day's Jn & Narroways Hill Jn - (Clifton Down)
1300.441 19 Nov 18 23 Nov 18 *(Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (last significant closure)
1299.337 10 Dec 18 Greenford West Jn - Greenford East Jn - Park Royal - Old Oak Common West CP
1297.123 16 Feb 19 24 Feb 19 *(Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Hove)/(Lewes)
1736] Merseyrail: Re-modelling of 100 platforms and track realignment at 58 stations is required to
accommodate Merseyrail's new train fleet, on order, which have sliding steps. Ramps will no longer
be needed for wheelchair users and the gap is reduced between platforms and trains. Replacement
bus services will be provided as necessary. A summary of the full planned closure programme:
>Phase 1: 20 to 28 Oct, Walton Jn - Ormskirk (excl; DMUs continue) with 8 other stations TCP.
>Phase 2: 29 Oct to 9 Nov, Aintree (excl) - Ormskirk (excl; DMUs continue) and 5 stations TCP.
>Phase 2: 12 Nov to 16 Dec, Bank Hall station TCP with trains running through non-stop.
>Phase 3: 24 Dec to 1 Jan 2019, Wirral Loop line with 3 stations TCP; presumably not James Street?
>Phase 4: 5 to 13 Jan, Walton Jn - Kirkby (excl; DMUs unaffected) and two stations TCP.
>Phase 5: 19 to 27 Jan, Liverpool Central (excl) - Hunts Cross & 5 stations (excl; DMUs run) TCP.
>Phase 5: Additionally Liverpool Central (low level) itself is TCP 19, 20, 26 & 27 Jan (reports suggest
>Phase 5: services from/to the north may reverse at Moorfields using the bidirectional signalling).
>Phase 6: 2 to 10 Feb, Blundellsands & Crosby (excl) - Southport (excl; DMUs run) & 7 stations TCP.
>Phase 6: 11 to 24 Feb, Sandhills Jn - Freshfield (excl) and 7 stations TCP.
>Phase 7: 2 to 22 Mar, Rock Ferry (excl) - Hooton (excl) and 6 stations TCP.
>Phase 7: 25 Mar to 2 Apr, Hooton (excl) to Chester (excl) and 2 stations TCP.
>Phase 8: 7 to 14 Apr, Bidston East Jn - West Kirby and 6 stations TCP (NO DMUs to/from Bidston)
>Phase 8: 15 to 22 Apr, Bidston (DMUs at least run to Bidston) - West Kirby and 5 stations TCP.
>Phase 9: 27 Apr to 5 May, Bidston East Jn - New Brighton and two stations TCP.
>Phase 10: 27 Apr to 15 Jun, Overpool station work (remains open but with journey changes).
>Phase 11: 11 May to 15 Jun, Green Lane station work (remains open but with journey changes).
NB: It is not possible to confirm most of these details and dates until the timetable is amended.
1734] Chesterfield South Jn - Down and Up Main - Clay Cross North Jn - Ambergate Jn - Derby (excl):
(BLN 1309.1503) UPDATE: This route (to Derby P7) remained in passenger use (until Fri 31 Aug 2018)
by just a couple of very late evening Sheffield to Derby passenger trains in that (Up) direction only.
Then TCP/A Sat 1 Sep to Sun 7 Oct. From 3 Sep they run via the Erewash Valley route. CrossCountry
long distance services (2 trains per hour) reverse at Derby, running via Toton to/from Chesterfield.
1735] Connel Ferry (excl) - Oban (incl): TCP Sat 6 to Wed 10 Oct, local half-term, for engineering work.
1737] Bicester, east of Gavray Jn (18m 60ch*) - west of Claydon L&NE Jn (13m 33ch*): (BLN 1296.22)
NRU; TCA is now expected from Sat 20 Oct 2018 before track lifting for East West Rail Phase 2 upgrade
work, including new HS2 underbridges. Our Sun 10 Jun 2018 'Sopwith Camel' trips are thought to have
the final trains on the line. Reopening is expected 1 Sep 2022. [*Miles from Bletchley Flyover Jn.]
1738] Angel Road: (BLN 1308.1406) A Railways Act 2005, Section 29(7)(a) notice was published in 'The
Times' of 22 Aug 2018. NR proposes to close the station with the opening of the new Meridian Water
station 634yd to the south on or after Sun 19 May 2019 (timetable change). They are both between
Northumberland Park and Ponders End stations. NR considers this offers better value for money than
keeping both open which would increase operating costs, reduce track capacity and increase journey
times on the West Anglia Main Line. Supporting documentation is on the DfT website or free by post
and the last day for representations is 21 Nov 2018. Anyone who 'does' stations and hasn't, take note…
1311 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1739] BLS Website Enhancement: With thanks to IBSE (Interessengemeinschaft zur Bereisung von
Straßenbahn - und Eisenbahnstrecken eV!) and our members Paul Steane and Ian Delgado. For a
trial period until Jan 2019 initially, all logged in BLS members can access the IBSE Special Trains Liste
via our website branchline.uk homepage. Previously this required IBSE membership and password.
Go along the top banner to 'More Options…' then down to 'IBSE Liste'. IMPORTANT: The link will
expire after a few hours to prevent copying/forwarding. To access it always go via our Homepage.
The Liste does not yet display well on some small devices. Unless your foreign language skills are
particularly good you may want to click the 'Translate this page' option top right, though this is not
offered by all browsers. The Liste is a 'List of Special Trains on Lines Without Passenger Services†'
(regularly updated) with some diversions included. There are sections for Germany and the rest of
Europe. Click on the links for details of each train's operator (website, contact e-mail, address etc.)
A wealth of information, obscure/sparse services is on EGTRE, the Enthusiasts Guide to Travelling
the Railways of Europe https://www.egtre.info/wiki/Main_Page [†Abbreviations etc are explained.]
1740] Ashton Park Railway: Ashton Court, Bristol, BS8 3PX (MR p23) (BLNs 874.MR87 & 1310.1708)
Until BLN 1310 this railway had not been mentioned in BLN for 18 years. The 530yd ground level
5"/7¼" and elevated 3½"/5" railway in the grounds of the Ashton Court Estate, accessed via Clifton
Lodge Gate, is under threat of closure by the end of 2018 after some 45 years of operation. Bristol City
Council is reviewing its lease, which is judged to be unremunerative and other uses appear preferred.
https://goo.gl/89jpU1 has details of how YOU can help to keep the railway open and a simple online
petition. The Council has confirmed they are looking at new income generating opportunities as the
miniature railway generates very little money but current options being discussed include continuing to
run the railway at Ashton Court using a new business model, or looking at opportunities to move the
railway to other Bristol parks. This demonstrates yet again a common theme of the transitory nature
of many miniature railways that do not have ownership of the land they operate on.
Operated by Bristol Society of Model & Experimental Engineers, this railway has limited public running
12.00-17.00. Remaining dates for 2018 are: Sun 9 Sep (Diesel & Electric Gala), Sun 23 Sep, Sun 7/14
Oct and pre-bookable Santa Specials Sun 2 Dec. Rides for all ages are 90p or 5 for £4 and 10 for £8.
https://goo.gl/k4kLwc is the current track layout. When visited some 30 years ago, your reporter
sampled the elevated railway first, noting the ground level operation included two runs so would give
overlap. However, it was so popular that after the elevated run, ground level runs were cut to a single
loop, with set down and pick up at separate points and then rigorously enforced 'Bressingham style'.
1741] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1306.1180] According to their advertisement in 'The Times' of 13 Jul 1850,
the original straight direct alignment of the Preston & Wyre Railway from Preston to Fleetwood, and
Poulton (-le-Fylde was not added until 1957) station, was to open Thur 16 July 1840 (not 15th as was
shown) - bad luck for any gricers who turned up the day before.
1742] Fairbourne Railway: (MR p29) The Society had extremely comprehensive tours of this (mostly)
12¼" gauge line, now with a 2¾ mile public run, in Mar 2012 and Jul 2013. Participants will recall that
we had to arrange, at considerable expense, for a JCB to dig out the sand from the cuttings on the then
disused west 'seaside' part of the return loop through the sand dunes to Barmouth Ferry station.
(See map.) The cuttings then rapidly refilled. The final train was in Jul 2013 and all trains use the east
(inland) side of the return loop in both directions and run round at the station. On 21 Jul 2018 it was
noticed that the points in the running line to access this east side of the return loop have been
removed and plain lined, with a short section of both rails removed (the sleepers remain) before a
buffer stop. At Barmouth Ferry the running line now ends at a new realigned headshunt northwest of
the station with buffer stops (SH 6169 1506). This end of the east side of the loop is also disconnected
but the rest of it remains (preserving the right of way) deeply buried under sand in places, of course.
The situation is well shown on the new Wales & Western Book 3, 6th Edition p33F (Jun 2018), available
for £10 including P&P, or £10 collected on a railtour, from Mark Gomm, our Sales Officer (back page).
Fairbourne village is on reclaimed land and may be lost to rising sea levels - visit while you still can!
●BLN 1309.1523] Commissioning of the new Communications-Based Train Control between Latimer
Road and Hammersmith is further postponed; more news if/when it happens. ●1623] In practice since
4 Jun the Sunday train to/from Heysham Port has been withdrawn each week (although generally has
otherwise run and did run Sun 26 Aug). This has been due to the Northern rest day working dispute.
●1624] Pedantically, the box at Groombridge, at date of closure, was 'Groombridge' (no 'Jn' suffix) -
and the CP 6 Jan 1969 date was also closure to all booked traffic on the original spur to Ashurst Jn.
●1628] It wasn't thought necessary (by the then-compiler) to add the line through Park Royal
to PSUL until 7 May 1973 when a further service reduction left just one round trip. This was 07.20 SSuX
Birmingham New Street to Paddington and 17.40 return; SO the equivalent trains ran via Greenford
to West Ealing instead of Park Royal. ●1642] With apologies to our London Editor (not responsible for
this); St Paul's LUL station is exit-only during Night Tube hours, 00.30-05.00 from 9 Aug 2018 until Apr
2019 (with one 'up' escalator only running) and both platforms are open then. Presumably the risk of
trips/falls descending 99 steps is greater at that time of night and directly proportional to the levels of
alcohol and tiredness! ●1630] At Aston Signalling Centre, Birmingham, while 'Automatic Route
Setting' (ARS) wasn't quite the appropriate description, it is certainly possible to automatically set the
entire route and trains run along it automatically, rather than just setting a signal to automatic. This
was described by the Local Operations Manager and Signaller as a 'simple' form of ARS. This is without
the automatic computerised timetable and monitoring of systems and trains - it certainly doesn't meet
the full technical definition of modern ARS given in BLN 1310. 1672] At Pilning the (second station)
opened 1 Dec 1886, of course rather than
1986 (with thanks to the one member who
commented). Pilning Jn - Avonmouth (partly
on the site of the New Passage line of 1863 to
1886) OG 5 Feb 1900; OP 9 July 1928 (a new
Pilning Low Level Halt on the site of the
former 1863-1886 Pilning station).
1742] Golf Quiz: (BLN 1310.1629) LEFT: The
former 'Tee Dee Marsh Triangle' which was by
Shotton Steel Works on the Wrexham to
Bidston line had a stopping place with 'Golf'
in the name at every junction - of 'course' it
was. They were not all open at the same time
and did not appear in the public timetables.
In relation to the triangle:
●Top: Birkenhead Jn Golf Platform.
(or should that be Bunkerhead Jn?)
●Right: Chester Jn Golf Platform.
●Bottom: Chester Golf Club Halt.
(Chester Golf Club Halt is not shown; the 'Halt' seen south of the triangle is actually Hawarden Bridge,
still open today as a poorly served station.) 'Putting' you in the picture, (Shot)ton High and Low Level
are bottom left; middle right is Welsh Road Halt (renamed Sealand in 1931).You would have a
'fairway' to go to find another junction anywhere with 'links' like this between the associated stations.
1311 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
1744] Hopeful at Hope: A weekend open day is
planned in 2019 during the annual Cement Works
shutdown, scheduled for September (date to be
fixed). Incoming rail traffic now includes coal (from
Cwmbargoed mostly) and Pulverised Fuel Ash (eg
from West Burton Power Station). There is cement
traffic to locations such as Walsall, Dewsbury, Leeds,
Dagenham & Theale. LEFT: 1960 map of the branch.
1745] Derby: (BLN 1310.1622) The line to Sheet
Stores Jn and Trent South Jn ROP Mon 20 Aug 2018
(per BLN 1309.1504) with London services resuming,
rather than Sun 19th. From 27 Aug to 3 Sep trains
have been authorised to travel between Way &
Works Jn and the new Service Platform (P7) via the
.(NEW). Derby Pilot Siding/Line. The new name is
'singular' recognising that there is only one and all
our 'High Flyers' who did the previous version before
27 Aug now need to do it again! Reportedly P7 at
Derby will not normally be used by passenger trains
after full commissioning due to signalling overlaps.
Until 1 Sep inclusive hand signalling continues over the (new) Pilot Line (now part of the final layout).
There are no passenger trains at all at Derby on Sun 2 Sep (the only day this happens during the entire
project) for commissioning and testing of the new south end signalling. From Mon 3 of particular
interest, trains from Crewe reverse in P1 so must use the trailing crossover at the site of London Road
Jn, this has no obvious use from Oct 3. London trains reverse in new P6 (rather than P7, the Service
Platform, as they had been doing up to then). A good number of trains from the south reverse in P3
and P4 (including CrossCountry Birmingham - Nottingham serving Derby again and Birmingham -
Sheffield diverted via Toton). Newark services are generally booked to turnback in P5 and there
appears to be sporadic use of P2 (such as by the 07.50 SSuX Derby to Southampton Central).
Also from Mon 3 Sep, between Sawley Crossing (121m 39ch) (excl) - Stretton (145m 31ch); Ambergate
Jn - Matlock; Derby station - Stenson Jn (excl) and Melbourne Jn - Sinfin: Derby Power Signal Box is
due to be abolished, with the area re-signalled and control transferring to a new 'Derby Workstation'
at the East Midlands Control Centre. Derby Station North Jn to Stretton and Ambergate Jn to Matlock
will be under continuous possession until 8 Oct 2018 (with no passenger trains running).
1311 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
1746] Aldwych: (BLN 1295.2503) The unit kept at Aldwych for filming was sent to Northfields depot
for maintenance on 20 Jun, a rare use of the branch connection at Holborn ('Underground News').
The former through branch P5 is intended to form a new Piccadilly Line concourse severing the
junction. Aldwych has now reopened for the excellent 'Hidden London' tours - see 'Connections'.
1747] Crossrail: (BLN 1310.1636) A development agreement has been signed between TfL and HB
Reavis for a 138,000ft2 mixed use scheme above Farringdon platforms on the corner of Farringdon Rd
and Cowcross St. There will be ground floor and basement retail space, with 7 floors of offices above.
X.119] THIS PAGE: Work in progress at the former Waterloo International Platforms (taken in each
direction from the open public access midway along P19). (Stuart Hicks 21 Aug 2018)
1748] Feltham: The station is to be upgraded in work to be completed in Dec 2019. The platforms will
be lengthened, presumably to accommodate ten-car trains, and an additional entrance up to P1 is to
provide step-free access and improved interchange with local buses. Feltham West level crossing will
be closed in Mar 2019, with the existing ramped footbridge replaced by a pedestrian and cycle bridge.
1749] Heathrow: Terminal 1 at the Airport (opened in May 1968) closed after use on 29 Jun 2015.
Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3 LUL station was officially renamed Heathrow Terminals 2&3 effective from
20 May 2018, although the pocket Underground maps have used that name since Jan 2016. However
the station has not been re-signed and train diagrams and enamel station lists on westbound Piccadilly
Line platforms retain the old name. On 14 Jun no names were visible on the National Rail platforms.
1750] HS2: (BLN 1306.1169) Revised decommissioning dates at Old Oak Common are now:
●9 Dec 2018: Disconnection of Depot Road S8 and decommissioning of the remaining GWR depot.
●5 Jan 2019: Disconnection of Reception Line 2.
At Euston changes will be made with the May 2019 timetable change, the most significant are:
●Removal of P18.
●Removal of OHLE in P17, which will become 'HS2 Construction Siding 1'.
●Repositioning of P11 starting signal to allow operation of 12-car Class 350 formations.
1751] Lea Valley: (BLN 1308.1406) Track-laying on the new track between Lea Bridge and Meridian
Water/Angel Road was 80% complete in mid-August.
1752] Paddington: There is a plan to remove the OOU buffer stops on P11/12, subject to listed
building consent, to widen the concourse here and improve passenger flow. They were built by
Ransome & Napier around 1916 and any organisation interested in acquiring them should contact Ian
Wheaton, Network Rail Town Planner (Western) [email protected] The buffers serve
little purpose now as new ones have been erected in front of them. ('HRA News').
BELOW: Some 'old buffers' at Paddington P11 & 12. (Both Stuart Hicks 22 Aug 2018)
ABOVE: The newer, more modern buffers and the now exceptionally rare track beyond them.
1753] Victoria: At Britain's second busiest mainline passenger station (almost 80M passenger per year)
NR staff, along with employees of Southeastern, Southern and Gatwick Express, have swapped their
individual company uniforms in favour of a new 'Team Victoria' outfit. It features a logo of Queen
Victoria in silhouette. All staff are now trained to assist every passenger regardless of the service they
are using, improvements have been made to information systems and more seats have been provided.
A dramatic 13% increase in passenger satisfaction with the station in 12 months is attributed to this.
1754] King's Cross: (BLN 1308.1407) Someone with a sense of history seems to have allocated the
headcodes used for Caledonian Sleeper services diverted to King's Cross recently due to the relaying of
North Wembley Jn. 1S66, 1S70, 1S72, 1E35, 1E39 and 1E43 were all used for East Coast Anglo-Scottish
sleeper services there before they were concentrated on the WCML and Euston in 1988.
1311 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
1755] CrossCountry (XC): 'Coastliners' a Rail User Group (RUG) representing users/friends of the
Durham Coast railway line has responded to the DfT XC franchise consultation. This BLN Editor's précis
is thanks to information from their chairman Peter Walker. It all began, unwittingly, in Gateshead in
Nov 2015; Transport Focus held a meeting on 'Connectivity', with emphasis on the North-East.
A speaker from XC clearly thought that, by calling at Newcastle, Durham and Darlington, their trains
served the North East. A Coastliners' RUG member firmly and promptly put him right! Neither then nor
now has anyone on the Durham Coast (Sunderland, Hartlepool & Stockton) or in Teesside (Redcar,
Middlesbrough, Thornaby or Yarm) ever had the chance to catch a XC train at their local station.
Contrary to common belief, the total population of these towns is nearly 0.75M: Sunderland 200,000,
Hartlepool 90,000, Stockton 190,000 (Billingham, Thornaby, Eaglescliffe and Yarm), Middlesbrough
130,000 with 100,000 at least in Redcar, Saltburn and environs. Compare this with the main ECML
towns: Morpeth, Alnmouth/Alnwick, and Berwick-upon-Tweed - 37,000, or 81,000 with Cramlington.
So it has been heartening to find that others, including Tees Valley Combined Authority transport
officers and Sunderland transport planners, share the RUG's view that it is time to do something about
this. The DfT held a public consultation on the nature/scope of the next franchise to be met by bidders
for XC from late 2019. Coastliners set out their suggestions in full, centred on the DfT question of if
there is still a need for two XC trains per hour each way between York and Newcastle.
The answers are, briefly, 'yes', but they do not have to follow exactly the same route. The RUG has
long considered the ECML to be, in practice, four-tracked not just to Northallerton but north to
Ferryhill. All four tracks run side by side from just north of York, but at Northallerton the two slow
lines veer to the east, for Eaglescliffe and Stockton-on-Tees, and then run via Stillington (goods only at
present) to link up again with the fast lines north of Ferryhill at Tursdale Jn. The group thinks that the
'second' XC train, now terminating at Newcastle, should not only call at Northallerton itself but run
along the Durham Coast line via Stockton, Hartlepool and Sunderland similar to Grand Central's open
access services from London - rather than simply take the (main) line of least resistance via Darlington.
Only by agreeing to some radical re-thinking on these lines, literally, will a future XC operator be able
to justifiably claim that XC services, at last, do - serve 'the North East'. The RUG awaits developments!
X.120] Stockton & Darlington Railway; PREVIOUS PAGE: (and why not?) Apr 1845 timetable - in case
you were wondering what they ran then - with thanks to Richard Maund. It complements Holmes'
compilation published in 1975 (and Durham County Library Local History Publication No9 - 'The
Stockton & Darlington Railway' by McDougall; no, not that one - C A McDougall).
1756] Tyne & Wear Metro: Services were suspended between Newcastle Airport and Regent Centre
on the evening of 13 Aug after an 88 year old woman drove her car on to the line at Kingston Park. She
was heading towards Bank Foot station before she stopped at the platform. Emergency services were
called at around 20.30; police and Metro engineers assessed the situation before moving the car and
letting trains run again. The level crossing and track were checked for any damage before services
resumed at around 21.15. One person tweeted: 'Is this the first test run of the new Metro stock?' She
was given a verbal caution but no further action will be taken.
1757] East Coast Main Line: As the Prime Minister held a Cabinet meeting on 25 Jul in the North East
for the first time, the Government confirmed (code for a re-announcement, or not 'new' money) up to
£780M expenditure on the ECML, spun as part of a commitment to the Northern Powerhouse. It is
expected to be part of NR's Control Period 6 five year settlement. The Prime Minister's office said that
the money will be used for ECML upgrades from 2019, for completion in the early 2020s. The work will
result in significant improvements to platforms, tracks, signals and junctions. However this
announcement does not seem to include capacity upgrades previously promised between York and
Newcastle seen as vital to realising the full potential of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
1758] Hartlepool: (BLN 1306.1177) The proposal to take the Hartlepool Docks branch 'Out of Use' has
received an objection. The Network Change is therefore in abeyance at present.
1759] Azuma trains: Hitachi has begun assembling Azuma trains at its factory in Newton Aycliffe.
Following construction of the initial sets in Japan, now being tested in the UK, production has moved
to the County Durham facility. They are expected to begin carrying passengers later this year along the
ECML between London and Yorkshire and serve Scotland from 2019.
1311 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
Please send any postal items for forwarding to Paul Stewart, BLN Editor, per back page
1760] Workington: Station improvements have seen something of an LMS theme and atmosphere
return to the station, with red and cream painting and door signs on the Barrow platform and a black
and white running-in board on the Carlisle platform. Well tended planters and hanging baskets were
proudly in evidence on both platforms and the whole scene was complemented by the surviving
station signal box Workington No3, its semaphore signals and, of course, the loco hauled trains.
1761] Ravenglass: The restored ex-Furness Railway (circa 1874 vintage) signal box, owned by the
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, was open to the public on 16 Aug. The frame was installed in 2000
and is not original but second hand possibly from somewhere on the Southern region of BR (?) as it is a
'knee' frame. BELOW: The fine signal box has a commanding position. (Angus McDougall 2 May 2005)
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Taken through a window with some reflection. (Angus McDougall 21 Mar 2015)
1762] Rolling/Laughing Stock: The introduction of pacer units in the 1980s is seen by many as a vital
factor in the survival of many of our branch lines. The Northern Class 144 DMUs are reportedly in the
front line for withdrawal as new units become available. Talking of which, a brand new Northern 3-car
EMU CAF 331001, just out of its box, was in the Downhill Sidings at Edge Hill on Thur 9 Aug.
1763] Plumpton: At 09.08 on 13 Aug permanent way staff reported that the facing points on the Up
West Coast Main Line to the Up Goods Loop at Plumpton had failed an inspection. This resulted in a
ban to facing moves in the normal position meaning that all south bound traffic from Carlisle had to
run via the loop (such hardship). A grinding team was required to rectify the defect; however, the
Carlisle team was 'grounded' as they had been working overnight, so a team from Preston attended at
13.18, completing work by 14.49. 157 trains were delayed by a total of 923 minutes between them.
1764] Stockport: (BLN 1310.1649) A good number of members can bear witness that on Sun 26 Aug
until 17.00, the Virgin Trains shuttle from Birmingham International via Birmingham New Street,
Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield did indeed terminate in Stockport P3
(not a route Virgin normally runs through trains on, of course).There was single line Pilotman working
from Edgeley No2 Jn on the Down Fast in to P3, back out, then across the ultra rare electrified trailing
crossover at that junction to the Up Fast. Other than BLS members, passenger numbers were light.
Due to the need for Pilotman working this is not the sort of crossover that could be done on a railtour.
1765] Buxton: NR is investing £18M to lengthen the 'XYZ Sidings' (all two of them!) to 430m. This will
allow longer freight trains of up to 26 wagons (currently 18) to run round when reversing between
Hindlow/Dowlow and Peak Forest. The extension runs through a former council-run waste facility
which will be made safe and landscaped. New drainage totalling 1,822m will make the sidings better
able to cope with heavy rain (it is Buxton…). The existing public footbridge will be extended and better
lights fitted to limit the impact of lighting on nearby residents. The Buxton sidings project began in
Mar 2018 and is expected to be complete in Apr 2019. There is no disruption to passenger or freight
services but a railtour will certainly be required after! The scheme is one of a number at various
locations to allow longer freight trains to operate between the Peak District and the south of England.
1311 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
1766] Wolvercote North Jn: (BLN 1219.1536) On 23 Aug a member observed a new sign at the old
'Wolvercot Jn' with Wolvercote North Jn proudly displayed! No Wolvercote South Jn sign has been
erected. The community around the junction was shown as Woolvercoot on an 1887 OS Map then
Wolvercot (1889) and Wolvercote from 1937 to the current day. The GWR had a Wolvercot Halt and
the LNWR's Bletchley Line at Woolvercot, later Wolvercote, Halt (Quick's Chronology).
Wolvercot Jn has been seemingly named such for a long time but the 9 Jul 2018 Sectional Appendix
produced new Wolvercote South Jn (Up Cherwell Valley to Up Oxford Relief) and Wolvercote North Jn
(for Banbury/ Worcester). However, this was only the Didcot to Heyford diagram; the Wolvercot Jn to
Norton Jn diagram (9 Jul 2018) header was unchanged as was the junction name! [Can't get the staff.]
1767] Oxford 1: (Old/new trackplan with BLN 1307 https://goo.gl/UNBCfD ) One of the many reasons
for the recent Oxford remodelling and resignalling was to run longer Southampton intermodal trains
than the former Oxford Down Passenger Loop could take. The end result is very effective, although
not quite what some anticipated. Generally all northbound passenger trains from Oxford now leave P4
faster, straight on to the new Down Oxford Relief which is unidirectional beyond the Down Carriage
Sidings and incidentally has no access to Oxford North Jn. The new Oxford P4 north end signal then
just shows a 'proceed' aspect. It is still possible, as before, to take the facing crossover to the Down
Main, (a theatre indication at the signal) but the crossover is 25mph restricted (8-car HSTs or 9-car IETs
would take a while to clear it and release P4). This crossover does give access to Oxford North Jn from
P4 and the Oxford Parkway line. Beyond 63m 77ch the Down Oxford Relief becomes 90mph.
The Down Oxford Relief is significantly west of the other three running lines (the latter are all now
bidirectional) and it is at a distinctly lower level in places. Mostly a reinstated line and incorporating
the former Down Passenger Loop, it was raised from a much lower level. Following the serious
flooding in Jan 2014 the (then incomplete) new track was lifted again and its level raised further.
Regarding freight trains, they now actually stay on the Down Main through Oxford where they can be
held, (instead of being looped) so no longer have to cross and conflict with the heavy passenger train
flow as they did previously. Looping a lengthy freight train takes considerable time with the speed
restricted access and egress points and some loops are speed restricted due to poorer track as well.
Therefore the new layout allows passenger and longer freight trains to proceed faster and more
efficiently and makes it easy for us to do the interesting Down Oxford Relief (!) on a passenger train.
1768] Oxford 2: On Sat 25 Aug, after our excellent fixtures at Blenheim Park Railway and The Beeches
Light Railway a group of members joined the 16.15 HST at Hanborough to Oxford. They were then
disappointed at first to find that the 16.42 Oxford to Marylebone was a 'planned cancellation', as was
its inward working (due to the very heavy traffic between Birmingham and London from the Euston
closure and an event at Wembley) - all other trains ran. However, there was plenty to see and do with
many trains, much new trackwork and bidirectional signalling to admire and try to understand.
Fortunately the cancellation worked to their advantage. The 17.11 to Marylebone ran from Oxford P2
via the new Oxford Bay Approach line, then on to the Up Oxford Relief in the Down direction to
Oxford North Jn and the Down Bletchley to Oxford Parkway P2. Return at 17.27 from P1 was on the
Up Bletchley with its new track to the left past Oxford Canal Jn (it is surprising how far east this track
diverges) to the Up Oxford Relief at Oxford North Jn then the Oxford Bay Approach back to P2. With
time to kill before the next Hanborough train it was round to the other bay, P1, for the 17.41 back to
Parkway (17.48) as before. Interestingly their 18.02 return to Oxford crossed right at Oxford North Jn
to the Up Oxford line and waited at the signal until the 18.07 (on time) from P2 had cleared the line.
Our members' DMU then crossed left back to the Up Oxford Relief and, at the cutting edge of gricing,
took the new scissors crossover (north of P2/3 as pictured in e-BLN 1310), crossing left to arrive 18.10.
This was five minutes early on the public timetable (WTT on time) despite the signal stop, which seems
to be 'booked' from the timings. In the previous layout a Marylebone train could not leave a bay until
the arrival was in the other bay, but with the new flexibility various moves are possible. Our members
were delighted to return to Hanborough on the 18.23 HST via Down Oxford Relief (see previous item).
A regular North Cotswold Line traveller also had a recent interesting experience where their on time
HST to Paddington crossed right at Oxford North Jn from the Up Oxford to the Down Oxford (in the
Up direction) then at Oxford Station North Jn returned to the Up Oxford Relief to call at P3 as booked.
The reason was a late running Chiltern train from Marylebone making a parallel arrival to one of the
bays to their left. In the previous layout one of these two trains (both slow moving ready for a stop and
one 8 coaches long) would have had to wait, increasing the delays. In the new layout it is also possible
to depart in passenger service from P4 and cross at Oxford South Jn (63m 27ch) by a new trailing
crossover to the Up Oxford (new name) towards Didcot (although nothing is booked to do this).
On 25 Aug trains south from P3 were observed to continue straight on the Up Oxford Relief (new
name here) with its 75mph (Up direction) pointwork at the south end. It has subsumed the former
Up & Down Passenger Loop here so now extends from Wolvercot/e South Jn through P3 to Hinksey
North. Interestingly (heading south) the section from where the Oxford Bay Approach line diverges
left into the bays (used by most Chiltern trains) to the trailing crossover from the Up Oxford joins from
the right looked distinctly less well used. It is still possible to leave P3 south and immediately cross
right to the Up Oxford but that facing turnout is 30mph restricted. An extremely long Birmingham to
Southampton car train was held on the Up Oxford line for a couple of passenger trains until its slot.
The changes at Oxford are dramatic and impressive. All four lines south of the station are signalled
bidirectionally now. On Sun 26 Aug the 16.34 London Paddington to Great Malvern, crossed from the
Down Oxford to the Up Oxford at Hinksey North Jn then immediately back to the Down Oxford over
Oxford Station South Jn new trailing crossover - the reason was unclear and it did not register in
online. This crossover (and the signalling) also allow an Up passenger departure from Oxford P4 in the
other direction. The new layout is in the new TRACKmaps Book 3 (as is Banbury and Long Marston).
1769] Taplow: (BLN 1307.1301) By 21 Aug the old temporary footbridge towards the London end of
the station had been dismantled and removed. The other temporary footbridge was still in place
1770] Reading - Didcot: (BLN 1065.1363) Platform extensions on 18 Aug: ●Tilehurst: Little progress.
●Pangbourne: Country end of Down Relief has brickwork surface almost complete, but still fenced off.
●Goring: Down Main and centre island - concrete panels largely in place. Down Main less advanced (all
London end). ●Cholsey: Down Main and centre island - concrete panels largely in place at country end.
1771] Didcot - Swindon (BLN 1310.1663) NR is to appeal against the rejection by White Horse District
Council of its application to demolish and rebuild Steventon High St (B4017) overbridge (56m 38ch)
with clearances adequate for electric trains to operate at full line speed (125mph). The application was
first made in 2014 and rejected after 6 deferrals for NR to respond to further information or
clarification. The alternatives of speed reduction or diesel traction have been covered in BLN and
obviously involve run time penalty and possible loss of paths. Railway Herald now puts the penalty at
1½ minutes which jeopardises presentation of trains at junctions and makes introduction of additional
paths difficult, should they be required.The appeal will be lodged with the Planning Inspectorate in
September, the Inspector deciding whether the appeal takes the form of written representations, a
hearing or a full enquiry, which may take 18 months. Your Regional Editor considers the whole saga as
a shameful illustration of the triumph of localism over common sense, at unbounded cost ultimately to
the tax payer. There is no intrinsic value in attracting people to visit the bridge, and the locals probably
wouldn't like it if there was. To be clear the wires are in place under the bridge and may be used at a
maximum of 60mph - indeed ECS Class 387 EMUs will do so to/from Swindon Cocklebury Sidings.
1311 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon)
1772] Bimodal Power Switchovers: Class 80x IETs
introduced on the Great Western mainline will
regularly switch between electric and diesel mode of
operation as they move between electrified and non-
electrified lines (there are plenty of the latter and
rather fewer than intended of the former!). Swindon
will be one such location, where trains diverge for
Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa. The transition
between electric and diesel traction is normally an
automated sequence, triggered from a yellow
'Eurobalise' on sleepers in the four foot. (LEFT - Press
Release). NR has applied to install several of these at
Swindon with the rather the complicated associated
lineside signage. A related matter is that recently no less than seven IETs have been running in diesel
mode only due to damaged or missing pantographs! (ABOVE: Some new trackside signs to spot…)
1773] Bridgeworks: Cardiff & Avonside Railway Soc reports that the 'old' Patchway station footbridge
has been removed. Meanwhile at Stapleton Road the new rail underbridge (replacing the original
'weak' 1888 built steel girder structure removed in summer 2017) is in place ready for requadrupling.
1774] Tytherington (BLN 1302.757) The slow renaissance of the branch (OOU since 15 Sep 2013)
continues with confirmation from NR that the proposed introduction of approach speed controls to
the Northmead Lane User worked level crossing have been approved and works will now proceed.
1775] A sting in the tail: On 13 Aug a track circuit on the Up Kemble line at Sapperton failed to occupy
for the passage of 07.08 Worcester Shrub Hill to London Paddington. Restricted access working was
introduced between the relevant signals. The driver carried out an inspection of the wheelsets with no
fault found. S&T staff arrived on site at 09.50 and commenced testing. Normal working was resumed
at 13.25 after a hornets' nest had been removed...
1311 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
1776] West Worthing: (BLN 1304.972) Since a significant and damaging graffiti incident, there has
been little use by Class 700 stock - or anything else - of the three recently reopened stabling sidings.
X.121] Jersey: A local member at Saint Helier Harbour recently found this photo (ABOVE - Chris Totty)
on the wall of some building works. It's interesting as it shows the routes of the German railway lines
round the Harbour in 1945. Starting with the lower side of the lower Harbour the two semicircles are
the remains of the German lines. Off these are more joining the two harbours with the route to the
west going off the top of the picture. It does look as though the track had been lifted but our member
was unable to tell if the German locos were on the harbour side still. We had a look around the area
on Chris's conducted tour during our superb May 2015 Channel Island long weekend of fixtures.
1777] Redbridge: Unusually this Southampton area station has no departure indicator (unlike all
stations in Wales!) or ticket machine. It does, uncommonly, have a modern permit to travel machine.
1311 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
1778] Shrewsbury: (TRACKmaps Book 3, p31A) Heading north on the Crewe line the half mile long
Up Goods Loop on the right (32m 01ch to 31m 46ch) would appear to have a good prognosis as it has
recently been fully relaid with metal sleepers and reballasted to a high standard. On the opposite side
of the line, the Down Siding, Liverpool Siding and Shrewsbury New Yard are all moribund.
1779] Birch Coppice: UK Railtours 'Walsall Concerto' tour traversed the branch on 11 Aug. It used
Kingsbury Branch Siding 1 then Birch Coppice Arrival line 1 reaching the level crossing right across the
throat of the intermodal terminal exchange sidings. The track was reportedly too poor to proceed any
further in to the headshunt on the route of the former Birch Coppice Colliery branch (which once
extended to the A5 road). Work was being carried out by NR at Kingsbury to relay No1 Oil Siding which
accesses the Oil Terminal and carries some of Britain's heaviest trains (from Lindsey Oil Refinery).
1780] Oxley Depot: (BLN 1309.1567) Most signals (prefixed 'OS') are controlled from the West
Midlands Signalling Centre for the majority of the depot lines. However, the Maintenance Shed depot
protection is controlled from a local panel within the south end of the shed building. (This matches the
June 2014 line resignalling scheme plan.) When the Service Centre was built on Road 12 there were
some slight changes to the internal signalling system. Ground position light signals (prefixed 'CS' for
Carriage Shed) were added, protecting the level crossing at the entrance (east end) to the main
Carriage Shed, and across Road 12 controlled from a separate internal panel adjacent to that crossing.
1781] Duddeston: (BLN 1310.1681) A member travelling from Lichfield TV to Birmingham NS noted
the layout near Aston South Jn, where the goods lines began to Duddeston is indeed similar to before,
except that the goods line connections have been totally removed. (Parts of the junctions had been
removed over time with bits plain lined.) There is then a two track panel gap to the disused goods
lines. He believes the last time this junction was used was when the wagon works closed in 1993.
Some of the new signals installed over the May Bank Holiday sit in the four foot of the Up Vauxhall
Goods along with speed restriction signs in the jointed track, which is still in situ, very rusty and
overgrown in places on both goods lines. It looks as if work has now started on the new Duddeston
Cross City EMU Depot as the land is being cleared. Because of the recent embankment slip and trees
damaging the OHLE near University, trains were terminating at New Street. The train that our member
caught from Lichfield crossed over at Proof House Jn onto the Down Stour then into New Street P8A,
a move he had never done before in that direction despite living in Lichfield for 50 odd years and using
the trains to Birmingham quite often, even traversing the goods lines in the 70s (as our Editor did).
1782] Bishop's Castle branch: The Bishop's Castle Railway Society has begun work on the weighbridge
building with plans to turn it into a community hub for public use. Built in 1865, the building in the
timber yard of Charles Ransford & Sons was formerly the railway offices and a weighbridge facility.
It is the last surviving railway artefact at the terminus. Plans have been made to preserve the
weighbridge mechanism and restore the building as near to its original state as possible. A new roof,
windows and doors will be included, along with repairs to the brickwork and fencing around the site.
PREVIOUS PAGE: Barthlowmew's 1920 Half inch to the mile map. Craven Arms & Stokesay station had
five routes! ●Bishop's Castle via Lydham Heath (reverse) top left; ●Shrewsbury (top border right
corner); ●Much Wenlock/Buildwas Junction via Wenlock Edge (right border top corner); ●Hereford
and Newport (bottom border near right corner) and to its left: ●The Central/Heart of Wales Line.
The group plans to have mains water, electricity and a toilet facility installed for public use. The total
cost of the renovation is estimated to be £100k. Negotiations for a lease have already been agreed for
the Railway Society and they have applied for an £80k grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the
further £20k targeted from smaller charitable grants and fundraising. The obscure branch opened in
1865 linking Bishop's Castle to Craven Arms. In 1867 it went into receivership which lasted for
69 years and 2 months (is this some sort of record?) until operations were suspended in 1935. As well
as Bishop's Castle weighbridge, the station houses at Plowden, Eaton and Horderley are occupied,
and parts of the route can still be seen from the A489 between Bishop's Castle and Craven Arms. If the
grant application is successful, the aim is to complete the renovations by autumn 2019.
The 2018 free admission Heritage Open Days (6-9 & 13-16 Sep), https://goo.gl/Ci2hFn includes this
weighbridge, various stations on the branch and other items not normally available to see. Nearby the
Tanat Valley Railway at Nantmawr has free rides on the monorail (but not the standard gauge line).
ABOVE: (Item 1783 below) 1959/61 map showing the Coventry Loop Line to the east of the city. Top
centre is Three Spires Jn on the Nuneaton line; Humber Road Jn is near the bottom, right of centre on
the Rugby line. The 'Halt' bottom left is now Canley station (with level crossing) towards Birmingham.
1783] Coventry: A project to re-open Coventry Loop Line as part of the Charterhouse Heritage Park
plans is progressing. The double track freight only line OG 1914 allowing trains to avoid Coventry
station and served goods stations at Bell Green and Gosford Green along with many industrial private
sidings. The land around the line has now been bought by the conservation group Historic Coventry
Trust. They aim to re-open the southern three-quarter mile section (but wait for it…) as a countryside
walk and cycle route, part of a 70-acre Heritage Park which is being created around the 14th century
Charterhouse off London Road in the city centre. After five years negotiating with private owners the
deal is expected to be completed imminently. At the south end (Humber Road Jn, facing London) the
disused line started next to Robert Stephenson's 1838 Sherbourne Viaduct, on the Rugby line east of
Coventry station. This junction was removed 7 Nov 1963 for main line electrification and resignalling.
The residual Gosford Green Goods two track head shunt with buffer stops could be seen from passing
trains. Four young (now rather older) members reached those stops on a Class 25 loco in the 1970s.
As a branch from the north (Three Spires Jn, on the Coventry to Nuneaton line, to Gosford Green),
traffic dwindled on this once very busy line which was double track to the end and it CG Sep 1981.
The final nail in the coffin was traffic finishing at the Chrysler Container and Car Terminal at Gosford
Green with the end of the Talbot Linwood (near Paisley) container trains. The track was removed
between Feb 1982 and Sep 1984 with much of the route becoming part of the A444 Phoenix Way.
£150K is needed to develop the walk/cycle route which does not include the NR owned bridge over
Terry Rd, although the trust is working on plans to restore the bridge and incorporate it into the walk.
1784] West Midlands Metro: (BLN 1310.1677) Transport for the West Midlands is tendering for 18
new additional trams with an option to purchase up to 32 in future, all able to run powered by
batteries. They are for the forthcoming extensions. The 'design, development and deliver' contract is
expected to be awarded around May 2019 with the first new trams operational by summer 2021.
1785] Bromsgrove: (BLN 1310.1618) For those of you hoping to see the Bromsgrove layout in the new
Western & Wales TRACKmaps 6th Edition, it hasn't been forgotten but will be in the Midlands & North
West 4th Edition (compiled by a certain Martyn Brailsford) instead. This is because NR moved the area
boundary south from Blackwell Summit (at the top of the Lickey Incline) to just north of Ashchurch
with resignalling and recontrol to the West Midlands Signalling centre in 2016. [Also removed from the
new Western & Wales book are connecting lines to other regions such at the Chiltern line to Banbury
and Southern to Yeovil Junction - but the whole of Wales is now included to more than compensate!]
NEXT PAGE: With thanks to Martyn and our member who suggested this, showing the dramatic 2016
changes to the Bromsgrove layout. The Up Sidings were the former oil terminal (the ground requiring
considerable decontamination work). In the new layout the Up Bromsgrove Loop (south) headshunt is
used for the Lickey banker. All platforms are electrified from the north, Birmingham EMUs normally
turnback in P3, occasionally P2, and can do so in P1. Despite earlier reports (BLN 1310.1677), the
pocket/online West Midlands Trains timetables (with booked train formations on the Cross City Line)
clearly show that many of the workings are 3-cars. 6-cars were specified during testing - including
stopping on the Lickey incline, dropping a pantograph and checking it would run on just one‽
1787] University: On Tue 14 Aug and overnight into 15th, two trees fell onto the line, damaging the
OHLE. An assessment found that the cause was a significant landslip of the embankment, north of
University station towards Five Ways. Engineers removed both trees, cut back other vegetation,
stabilised the embankment, repaired the damaged overhead power lines and completed their safety
inspections. The line reopened just after 21.00 on 15 August (diesel trains) with EMUs re-starting on
16th. The embankment was saturated due to a water leak, a survey of the land nearby revealed earth
movement and further trees were cut back. A watchman was put in place pending full repair work to
the embankment. DMU services diverted via Camp Hill and, if anything, arrived early at New Street!
1786] Darlaston: The West Midlands Combined Authority has purchased a seven acre site at Bentley
Point for the construction of this new railway station. This progresses plans to restore regular
passenger services on the direct Wolverhampton to Walsall line, with new stations at Darlaston and
Willenhall. They are expected to cost about £18M in total and could be open by 2021. Later they
would be served by a Birmingham - Bescot - Wolverhampton (possibly also Shrewsbury) service too.
1311 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
1788] Sheffield Tram Train - keeping it simple: In response to a consultation; on the Tinsley Chord the
'OLE Control Boundary' was renamed the 'OLE Responsibility Boundary' (0m 20ch south of Tinsley
North Jn) from 25 Aug to cover the OLE infrastructure operated by NR staff but electrically fed from
Sheffield Supertram OLE infrastructure. The location of the boundary and design of the infrastructure
remains unchanged. This is not to be confused with the 'Change of Operational Rules Boundary'
(0m 12ch), the first heading towards Supertram or the 'Route Boundary' (0m 14ch), the middle one!
1789] Hebden Bridge: With 'Access For All UK' programme funding, NR is to install lifts to both
platforms and resurface the walkway at the front of the station. There will also be track and signalling
upgrades following work to extend the platforms ready for new, longer trains.
1790] The Selby Coalfield/Gascoigne Wood: The Harworth Group, which specialises in land and
property regeneration in the North and Midlands, has applied for outline planning permission to
convert the former Gascoigne Wood Yard into a rail connected hub. The 274 acre site includes
Sherburn Railfreight Terminal. Close to the A1(M) and M62 it can handle trains up to 450m long and
W10 loading gauge. It is on the Leeds - Selby line east of where it crosses over the York - Pontefract -
Sheffield line. Before closure in 1959 it mainly marshalled wagons destined for Hull and Goole Docks.
After the 1973 oil crisis, the Labour Government and National Coal Board (NCB) launched an ambitious
expansion of coal production, based on maximising income from indigenous coal reserves. It included
continued closure of older pits and investment in new capacity; Selby Coalfield was a major element
of the plan. Exploratory drilling had taken place in the area in the 1960s and later detailed exploration
showed that a northern extension of the 'Barnsley Seam' was present with an estimated 600M tonnes
of coal in the seam and reserves of 2,000M. Open cast mining was unacceptable so the coal was to be
extracted underground. Planning permission was granted in 1976. As part of the deal, the NCB paid for
the £63M (1980-83, worth about £230M now) diversion of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) between
Selby (Barlby North Jn) and York (Chaloners Whin Jn) to avoid having to leave reserves to prevent
subsidence. This was a considerable bonus for British Rail because, at no cost to them, it removed for
East Coast traffic the headache of the unimprovable 40 mph restriction over Selby swing bridge.
Hambleton East Jn - Colton Jn OA 16 May 1983 for York to Hull services. The former main line was
taken out of use 25 Sep 1983 for engineers to install the new Temple Hirst Jn, ECML services running
via Shaftholme Jn - Askern - Knottingley in the intervening period. No formal closure process was
required because this was included in the Act of Parliament authorising construction of the new line.
It was formally handed over in a ceremony at Temple Hirst on 29 Sep and commissioned on 2 Oct, so
Temple Hirst Jn - Hambleton North Jn OA 3 Oct 1983. (The writer isn't sure when the first service used
Hambleton West Jn - South Jn curve - any ideas please?) This was the first purpose-built high-speed
line in the UK although it was limited to 60mph until May 1984, while the track formation bedded in.
Selby Coalfield had five pits: Wistow, North Selby, Riccall, Stillingfleet, and Whitemoor; all coal went
by underground conveyors to the surface at Gascoigne Wood. Shafts for the pits were first sunk in the
late 1970s, and in 1983 Wistow, the first mine, began production. Output steadily rose from 1984 to
1994 peaking at 12M tonnes a year in 1993/4. Nearly all the coal went by 'Merry Go Round' (MGR)
trains to large power stations at Ferrybridge, Eggborough, and especially Drax - the biggest in the UK.
With the privatisation of British Coal In 1995 the Selby coalfield was acquired by RJB Mining. However,
geological problems meant some coal seams were never mined. Whitemoor was merged with Riccall
in 1996 and North Selby with Stillingfleet in 1997. By 2000 production was only 4.4M tonnes.
Between 1995 and 1999, the operation turned from being profitable to loss-making; the virtually fixed
costs of the single exit-point at Gascoigne Wood meant that the mine became less profitable as
production declined. In 2002 it was announced that the coalfield would close in 2003/4. Mining ended
in 2004 at Wistow (May), Stillingfleet (July), and Riccall (October).
1791] Doncaster Sheffield Airport. (BLN 1302.772) Over 90% of respondents in a recent survey
https://goo.gl/dyt9q9 expressed strong support for a station (envisaged as early as 2024) on a loop off
the ECML line to serve the airport. A Masterplan being worked up details the possible development of
'The UK's best small Airport' forecasting 7M passengers and 70,000 tonnes of freight per year by 2037.
1792] York IECC: (BLN 1310.1682) This actually dates from 1989 when it opened, controlling the
ECML. In 2000-02 it took over the area formerly controlled by Leeds Power Signal Box/Church Fenton
etc and additional workstations were opened. At this time the existing 1989 workstations were
replaced by the newer modern desk-style workstations, rather than the original IECC 'pod' style units.
However, it is important to understand what 'new workstations', means. All that was replaced were
the desks themselves - basically IT desktop peripherals in the form of screens/trackerball etc. The
actual IECC operating system, consisting of the computer hardware cubicles and IECC software (the
actual 1989 computer system was not replaced and is still working to this day). The 2000-02 work, of
course, introduced extra new IECC hardware cubicles from then to be used with the new workstations
for Church Fenton/Leeds etc. This is why the British Power Signalling Register records the workstation
operating system. It is the bespoke computer cubicles which are the actual 'system' and which are the
real kit rather than the mouse/keyboard desks which can be replaced as and when necessary.
1793] TPE: Hitachi is building 19 Nova 1 Class 802 bi-mode trains for TPE; a 5-car set has 161 more
seats than a 3-car Class 185 DMU. Two can run in multiple. Digital cab signalling is provided and they
can do up to 140mph in electric mode and 125mph on diesel. Testing has begun between Doncaster
(from the new depot) and Darlington. Test routes are be expanded to the north and Scotland. From
2019 they will run in service from Manchester/Liverpool to Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
1311 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
1794] Limerick & Cork: Driver shortages at the two depots have resulted in some bus replacement of
trains on local services (the Nenagh, Midleton and Cobh lines in particular) and anyone travelling
should consult the Irish Rail website first. It is said that there may be 'reluctance' to work overtime.
1795] South Wexford Line: (BLN 1310.1694) On Tue 21 Aug Track Recording Car '700' was recorded
operating from Waterford to Rosslare Europort before heading towards Dublin via an overnight stop
at Enniscorthy. (Was this additional to, or a deferment of, the 15 Aug run mentioned in BLN 1310?)
1796] Dun Laoghaire: The final 49 page report into the causes of the 13 Sep 2017 derailment of an
EMU here can be read at https://goo.gl/G4JyUR and includes some track and signalling diagrams.
1797] Pelletstown: Planning permission has been granted for this new station between Broombridge
and Ashtown on the Dublin to Maynooth line. Construction is to start in 2019 for opening in 2021.
1798] Belfast L*ny*n Pl*ce: (BLN 1304.984) Translink has now removed the Belfast Central station
signs and replaced them with the name they are imposing on the station. 2.8 M passengers used it in
2017/18. The change of name is supposed to be 'in September'. Does anyone have a date please?
It along with the 'transformed' station frontage is costing £1M to make it more 'welcoming and
passenger friendly'. Sir Charles Lanyon, an English Victorian architect did much work in Belfast
1799] Monkstown Jn - Greenisland: The line
from Monkstown Jn on the Bleach Green Jn -
Antrim line to Greenisland on the Bleach Green
Jn to Larne branch, forming the top part of the
triangular junction, was 'officially' closed from
1 Oct 1963. The last timetabled passenger train
was Sat 9 Sep 1961. The final movement before
closure was 28 Sep 1963, by the Royal Belfast
Academical Institution railtour hauled by 4-4-0
'174' and 2-6-4T '4' (the latter now preserved)
with a photo stop on the line - LEFT: Joe Cassells.
Monkstown Jn was severed in Jun 1966, some
track was removed from the line during 1975
and it was severed at the Greenisland end from
11 Aug 1985. A remaining siding at Greenisland (in awful condition) was used by our 27 May 1990
Ulster Enterprise II tour (BELOW - Angus Mcdougall). Originally trains from Belfast York Road
(terminus) to Londonderry reversed at Greenisland (previously Carrickfergus Junction). The present
direct line opened from Bleach Green Jn to Monkstown Jn on 22 Jan 1934. This also explains why the
mileage to Londonderry is via Greenisland (reverse), changing at the former Monkstown Jn.
1800] Rosslare: (BLN 1310.1707) There is a village named Rosslare Harbour in southeast Ireland and
there used to be a station of the same name - neither had a train ticket machine! However, there is
now a ticket machine at Rosslare Europort station, which there certainly was not last time your BLN
Editor was there a few years ago (and confirmed by the guard at the time when a hand written ticket
was issued on the train). Last October another member caught the overnight ferry from Fishguard and
was waiting at the platform on a cold dark wet rainy morning trying to avoid the party of young men
who had clearly been on the Guinness all night. He couldn't find the ticket machine but about 10 to 15
minutes before departure there was much clattering and a roller shutter automatically rose and a light
came on to reveal said ticket machine which was hiding in a black metal 'locker'! It is even mentioned
on Wikipedia. (Rosslare Harbour station was renamed Rosslare Europort from 20 May 1996.)
1311 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
1801] Ramsey Plaza: (BLNs 1280.937 & 1281.1087) With thanks to a 'couple' of well known IOM
members, an update on the current situation at the Manx Electric Railway terminus which, regrettably,
is another Manx can of worms. The 'temporary' station (17m 62ch) south of Parsonage Rd crossing was
built because of the alleged track condition at the 'old' station (17m 67ch) - where the last passenger
trams ran on Sunday 30 October 2016 - and concern that trams in passenger service should not use it.
However, Its tracks are not completely out of use, because there are still unbalanced traffic flows for
special events (particularly during motor bike racing) so trams have to recess before later returning
south and the only place for this is in the 'old' station. The 'temporary' arrangement is better described
as 'long term', but whether the 'old' station will ultimately be reconstructed is another matter.
To make things even more confusing, normal service trams terminate and run round their trailer at the
'temporary' station and depart from there, but all the substantive station facilities (Station Master's
office, booking office and toilets) are still functional in the original station building across the road.
In general on the IOM it is relatively common for all sorts of plans to be floated and receive media
prominence only for them to drift into the background when they are not pursued with any urgency.
The Ramsey 'Transport Interchange' is/was a 'nice to have' for which money was never formally
allocated, but which, it is also believed, has never been formally abandoned. It remains a possibility
that it will be resurrected but at the moment no one is progressing it. Meanwhile the tram crews
continue to do battle with the gradients on the run round at the new temporary/permanent terminus.
1802] Manx Electric Railway: On Fri 6 Jul there was single line working between Dhoon Quarry, Pole
559 and Glen Mona, Pole 617, which continued. The landward side rail was being relaid between Poles
602 and 608. It is through that other work in the same section may account for the ongoing closure.
X.122] Guess the
location and the
people! (RIGHT) by
Clue they only had
⅔ of a seat each so
clearly one wasn't
BLN 1312 will have
all the answers and
why three people
were sharing two
ABOVE: Work in progress, looking south at Pole 608, from the front of Tram 1. (6 Jul 2018)
ABOVE: The unconventional driver's seat on Manx Electric Railway Tram 1. (All Jenny Williamson)
NEXT PAGE BELOW: Laxey, Tram 1 with trailer and Tram 2 behind in the siding.
1311 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
1803] Ayr: (BLN 1305.1098) From Tue 28 Aug concerns about the state of the Ayr Station Hotel
resulted in extension of the exclusion zone in place. Contractors identified crumbling and exposed roof
areas presenting a significant and immediate danger to people and places around the station.
Through P3 & P4 were taken out of use so all trains have had to use Bay P1 & P2. This resulted in
suspension of services to Girvan and Stranraer. Townhead Sidings cannot be used so there is also a
reduced service between Ayr and Glasgow with no trains between Kilmarnock and Ayr. The National
Rail website (at 30 Aug) indicates this is expected to continue until 1 Oct at least.
South Ayrshire Council, who served a 'Dangerous Building Notice' in March had contractors in during
the weekend of 10/11 Aug for urgent safety works. These involve using a crane, lighting, cutting and
drilling equipment to remove unsafe materials from the roof and installing an exterior protective net
system. Demolition at an estimated cost of £3M looks likely, while refurbishment would cost at least
£10M. In June the hotel changed hands again, when it was purchased by 'experienced hoteliers' from
Malaysia for an undisclosed fee from fellow countryman, Eng Huat Ung who paid £750K for it in 2010.
A local member visited Ayr on the afternoon of 28 Aug. Not only are the through lines blocked near
the mid-point of P3&4, but bay P1&2 have been cut back, so trains stop short of the hotel building.
A scaffolding bridge has been erected behind the new temporary stop blocks of P1&2, so passengers
and staff can walk between platforms without going close to the hotel. Timber fences prevent
passengers straying too close to it (pictures next page).
THIS PAGE: Ayr station on Tue 28 Aug from our local on the spot reporter, Greg Beecroft.
As a result of these works, all platforms were available for use, but the maximum train length that can
be accommodated in any of them is four coaches. That may be adequate for much of the day, but not
at peak times and not this coming weekend (1 & 2 Sep) when the Scottish International Airshow is
taking place with the Red Arrows at Ayr and 100,000 people are expected. ScotRail is positively
discouraging people from taking the train to Ayr at the weekend. There were seven coaches in
Kilwinning car park early in the afternoon, presumably to cover the reduced train capacity, but only
two remained a couple of hours later. Pailsey passengers were being encouraged to use Inverclyde
trains and Kilwinning passengers those from Ardrossan and Largs.
Entrances to the station remain open on P1 (where the temporary ticket office is located) and P4.
Replacement coach services (to Kilmarnock and Stranraer) have been using the car park adjacent to
the P4 entrance. Since May vegetation has been removed from the hotel. Several scaffolding towers
have been erected against the building, bearing banners promoting 'CPMS', the contractor that
undertakes much maintenance work to stations in Scotland.
The local paper is reporting (to be confirmed) that Ayr station may close completely after the weekend
air show with trains turning back at Newton-on Ayr or Prestwick (but at the time of writing on 30 Aug,
the latest advice was that this will not in fact be happening, at least yet).
1311 WALES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
Edrychwch i'r gorffennol, y presennol a'r dyfodol
1804] Llanelli: (TRACKmaps Book 3, p24A, Jun 2018) All the Llandeilo Jn Down side is effectively OOU/
moribund, including the Down Goods Loop, Reception Line and sidings. On that TRACKmaps page a
reminder that the Teifi Valley Railway now only extends from Henlan to 200 yards west of Forest Halt.
1805] The Aberystwyth Flyer: On Tue 21 Aug the 15.37 Pwllheli to Machynlleth train terminated in
Down P2, as booked, at 17.55. Onward passengers crossed to P1 for the 18.00 2-car DMU following
from Aberystwyth to Birmingham International with plenty of seats available. Throughout the journey
on the Cambrian Coast the conductor had advised passengers for Borth and Aberystwyth to stay on
the train and emphasised NOT to change at Dovey Junction. The reason for this became evident as the
unit then formed the 18.01 (SuX) non-stop Machynlleth to Aberystwyth service taking 26 minutes
(29 minutes SO) for the 20½ miles (compared with up to 39 minutes if crossing an Up train at Dovey
Junction). This seems to be unique in the current timetable. Therefore, although it changes its
reporting number and is not advertised as such, it is effectively a through train from Pwllheli to
Aberystwyth. (It forms an extra hourly service from there, the 18.32 to Shrewsbury). Also of interest,
Borth passengers were told to stay on to Aberystwyth and return with the train as the quickest way to
reach their destination (it was!). The consequence of this is that anyone who enjoys rail travel can do
Dovey Junction to Borth on this train via Machynlleth and Aberystwyth which is 32¾ miles and nearly
an hour of entertainment for only £3.60 (railcard £2.40) instead of the normal 8¼ miles, 9 minutes!
It was pleasingly surprising how busy nearly all the request stops (and other stations) were on the
Cambrian Coast line in the summer school holidays (as indeed the ones on the Blaenau Ffestiniog
branch had been that morning). Finally, although the coast train was 10 minutes late at one point, the
conductor reassured passengers they would make the Shrewsbury (etc) service as he was working it!
1806] Abergavenny: South of the first trailing crossover the Up Goods Loop (23m 32ch) is clipped out
of use. It is not to be confused with the DBS/Engineer's sidings - a double loop on the Up side - north of
this crossover. These rejoin the Up Main after the second trailing crossover south of the station.
1807] Investment: Cancellation of Cardiff-Swansea electrification in Jul 2017 led to the Welsh
government commissioning a study led by Prof Mark Berry of Cardiff University to establish the
strategic and economic case for investment in Wales' rail infrastructure. A summary report was
published on 12 Jul. It makes no reference to the new Wales & Borders franchise proposals and partly
overlaps with them but concludes that a programme of investment in rail in Wales is required to
support a stronger, inclusive and more equitable economy, delivering prosperity for all by connecting
people, communities and businesses to jobs, services and markets. By its method of calculation,
compared with other parts of the UK, Wales has been underfunded by over £1bn during 2011-16* and
identifies 4 key areas for investment to help redress the balance:
N Wales main line (NWML): Speed improvements, resignalling and electrification enabling journey times
of less than 60 minutes Holyhead - Chester and Llandudno - Crewe. Frequency doubling Holyhead - Cardiff,
Birmingham & London, also to Manchester Airport; at least 1tph North Wales Coast/Wrexham - Liverpool.
Wrexham - Bidston: Full operational integration with Merseyrail enabling 4tph (trains per hour); reduced
journey times to central Liverpool; upgrade to Shotton station to improve interchange with NWML.
Improved bus links/Park & Ride at a new Deeside Industrial Park station and unspecified existing ones.
South Wales main line (SWML) - Line speed improvements Severn Tunnel Jn-Swansea and beyond (with
consideration of electrification and more capacity); services operating on a balanced fast/stopping service
pattern (4tph from Cardiff - London and 2tph from Swansea; 4tph Bristol TM - Cardiff with 2tph through to
Swansea); new stations at Magor, Llanwern, Cardiff Parkway, Rover Way, Miskin/M4 Junction 34, Brackla,
Cockett and St Clears; enhanced transport interchange at Llansamlet making use of its proximity to the M4.
Swansea Bay Urban Area: SWML investment as above and use of tram-trains to enable reduced journey
times between key population centres including Neath, Port Talbot, Swansea, Llanelli, Carmarthen,
Pembroke and Milford Haven. Increased local station frequencies on the main line between Carmarthen
and Port Talbot, on the Central/Heart of Wales line (presumably southern end only) and 'across SW Wales'.
As might be expected, the report is thin on detail but states that work will continue to develop and consult
on these enhancements to the rail network which the UK Government must make if it is to fulfil its promise
to rebalance the UK economy. It will be completed over the summer and made available to NR and the DfT.
Recent pronouncements by Ken Skates, Welsh Government Transport Secretary, are fully supportive.
*In the interests of presenting a balanced picture ATW receives around £1bn year 'support' for rail
services (called 'subsidies' in BR days), 26.3p per passenger km which is the largest for any TOC.
1808] Wrexham: Wales Transport Secretary Ken Skates has announced that Transport for Wales will
receive £0.5M to invest in the area, largely to complete the Wrexham North Jn upgrade development
work as a priority project. It is said this will allow trains to pass through the single line section to
Rossett more quickly, helping to enable increased service frequency. The money will also be used to
consider improvements to signalling and associated infrastructure as well as level crossings in the area.
Your Regional Editor's guess is that this translates into planning one higher speed turnout at Wrexham
North Jn and the consequent relocation of (recently modernised!) signalling. It makes any prospect of
redoubling from Wrexham to the single track A483 underbridge seem more remote [it is probably
unaffordable]. Level crossings north of Wrexham saw improvements during the Rossett - Saltney Jn
redoubling, so Croes Newydd with its heavy road usage seems the likeliest candidate this time.
1810] Usk: (BLN 1307.1336) The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Heritage Group made a
superb job of recreating Hayles Abbey Halt (where all trains now call on request not just DMUs.)
It now has approval to recover the weigh house from Usk goods yard to rebuild at Winchcombe. Initial
surveying and foliage removal have already taken place. Although Winchcombe's original GWR brick
weigh house is still in situ the group believes that Usk's will fit well as it is built of the same pinkish
sandstone as the former Monmouth Troy station building there. It is to be located next to the barrow
crossing at the northern end of P2. The area is to be landscaped and opened to visitors.
The group intends to present it as a goods or coal merchant's office, with a few period items around it
and possibly a short platform with some goods vehicles parked in it. The remaining weighbridge
mechanism will also be recovered although there are no firm plans for it. Usk, despite CA in Sep 1965,
has been a happy hunting ground as the goods crane now at Toddington and the Hayles Abbey Halt
platform shelter both came from there. Thoughts are now turning to whether the goods shed, of
similar brick built design to those on the Cheltenham to Honeybourne line, might also be available….
1809] Farewell Arriva Trains Wales: A sign of the now rapidly approaching Mon 14 October change of
franchise is the removal of ATW branding from stock. By 29 Aug branded stock was in the minority.
1811] Bridge strikes: Although a tremendous national problem, it seems these are particularly
prevalent in Wales and its borders where there was a recent spell of 8 bridge strikes in 7 days with 128
since Apr 2017. The UK figure is around 1,800 per year, not all by HGVs of course (the 'odd' boat is
included). Sadly 34% of HGV stopped by police in a recent survey didn't know their vehicle height!
To combat this NR has recently launched a 'Lorries can't limbo' campaign aimed at HGV professional
drivers and others who drive high-sided vehicles. Focused on 'the four Es': Education of drivers and
employers, Engineering and signage, Enablement technology in HGV cabs, and the Enforcement of
penalties, it https://goo.gl/w1UrRr has been developed with haulage industry partners. It includes a
toolkit which offers advice on educating drivers about the impact of strikes. [Making them, or their
insurers, pay all the compensation for delays and the damage might have the desired effect - Ed.]
1812] Light at the end of the tunnels? (BLN 1306.1239) The Welsh Government has allocated £250k to
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to develop plans to reopen Rhondda and Merthyr (known as Abernant)
Tunnels (for pedestrians and cyclists of course) in partnership with the other organisations involved.
The funding is part of £10.36M of Active Travel grants across Wales. The council leader commented:
This package will be split to support the progression of both of these projects in undertaking a more
detailed inspection and analysis of the work necessary to make the reopening of both tunnels a reality.
It will allow …. further reviews on the viability of both schemes and, providing the reports find that
there are no major issues, will inform bids for more significant funding from a range of potential
funders to be taken forward in the next financial year. Both projects are still in their infancy, of course,
and there is still a considerable amount of work left to do before we are in sight of the finishing line.
1813] ATW and RTT split the difference at Whitland: The 14.30 SuO Manchester Piccadilly to Milford
Haven calls at Whitland (Working Timetable) 20.27½/20.32½, Public 20.26/20.30). A connecting
service for Pembroke Dock starts from there at 20.37 (the only departure from the bay P3*) and
RTT shows its ECS working: Carmarthen dep 19.58, Whitland arr 20.15. All well and good so far, but
then RTT also contradicts this by describing the first as '14.30 Manchester Piccadilly to Milford Haven
and Pembroke Dock' and the connection as '14.30 Manchester Piccadilly to Pembroke Dock', stating
that they divide at Whitland. Crewe staff are evidently RTT disciples as on 12 Aug both automated and
live announcements there referred to the split, only for the CIS screens to take things to their illogical
conclusion by showing the train as being formed of two coaches, with the front two for Milford Haven
and the rear two for Pembroke Dock! [This happens on Birmingham to Aberystwyth/Pwllheli services
at times.] Your BLN Ed thinks it probably was intended to run 4-cars from Manchester, splitting at
Whitland (the Pembroke train is shown as departing P2 not P3) but ATW has temporary stock
shortages for various reasons. The ECS move from Carmarthen is also dated (SuO 20 May until 9 Sep
2018). [*The only Whitland bay P3 arrival is/was 08.35 SO (5 May to 8 Sep 2018) ex-Pembroke Dock.]
1311 MINOR RAILWAYS 'SCOTTISH SPECIAL' (Peter Scott) [email protected]
.FINAL REMINDER:. Peter's personal 'Tesco' email address is ending; please use the above address.
MR159] Keith & Dufftown Railway, Moray (MR p10) (BLN 1304.928): Dubbed 'The Whisky Line' and
opened as a heritage railway on 3 June 2000 (Dufftown - Drummuir)/18 August 2001 (Drummuir -
Keith Town). The railway operates DMU passenger services between Dufftown and Keith Town
stations on the former Great North of Scotland Railway line between Keith and Elgin via Craigellachie
(closed to passengers from 6 May 1968). Train services and the railway's headquarters are at Dufftown
station (64m 00ch), which has a single platform. The line continues a short distance to serve a one-
road shed, ending on the far side of the shed at 64m 06ch. In the other direction there is a loop on the
down side, ending at 63m 60ch, serving two headshunts. There is also a short siding on the Up side.
ABOVE: Keith & Dufftown Railway - 56224/53628 'Spirit of Speyside' has arrived at Keith Town station
with the 16.00 departure from Dufftown. (BLN Reporter 27 Jul 2018)
Drummuir (59m 46ch) retains a lengthy platform and has a basic shelter. Trains call at Towiemore Halt
(58m 15ch) on request.The siding (now truncated) that once served Strathmill Distillery is still
connected to the running line, via a ground frame at 54m 17ch. The unusual split level Keith Town
station (53m 66ch) is the current terminus and has only a single platform with no run-round loop. The
end of track is 53m 50ch. On Network Rail property it starts again 24ch later at 53m 26ch and then
serves a (now out of use) platform at Keith (53m 19ch). The actual junction is at 53m 05ch/30m 40ch.
On a sunny Friday 27 July, services were being operated by class 108 2-car DMU 'Spirit of Speyside'
(56224/53628) and a trip was taken on the 16.00 from Dufftown and 16.50 return from Keith. Both
journeys were lightly loaded. The other 2-car class 108 DMU, 51568/52053 'Spirit of Banffshire', was
on the short Dufftown Up side siding. The spare DMU trailer 56491 was in the long siding towards
Drummuir. The apparently out of use Class 140 2-car unit was parked in the siding off the loop towards
the station. Refreshments are available at Dufftown in the Sidings Café - a coach in the siding behind
the station platform. The adult return fare was £11, for which a green Edmondson ticket was issued.
There are hopes that services could be extended to Keith National Rail station, using the branch
platform. This would have the advantage of allowing Charters/Railtours to run on and off the railway.
MR160] Lathalmond Railway Museum, Fife (MR p10) (BLNs 1280.MR81 & 1286.1592): The Museum,
operated by the Shed 47 Group, is located in the grounds of the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum and
encompasses a standard gauge passenger railway and the new West of Fife Munitions Railway.
The Vintage Bus Museum is based on the site within some of the buildings of the former Lathalmond
Naval Stores Depot. The two road Shed 47 is the original loco shed for the internal railway system and
is now the Shed 47 Group workshop and locomotive shed. The standard gauge running line now
commences at a permanent station (opened in 2018) - Lathalmond Halt - on a short spur by Shed 47.
Previously, passengers boarded and alighted by some steps outside the shed. Trains then run past
Shed 47 and alongside the large 'Lothian Shed', over a level crossing, past another shed and terminate
at the site boundary (approx 15ch), beyond which is the embankment of the closed North British
goods line to Lethans & Gask. Trains no longer run to the buffer stop by the Bus Display Shed.
On Railway Running Days, with no special event at the Vintage Bus Museum, passenger trains also
cover the other leg (approx 3ch) - part is the original running line - further away from the Lothian Shed.
The 2ft gauge West of Fife Munitions Railway opened to passengers Sunday 20 May 2018 and is an 'E'
run of 280 yards at present from a simple short platform across the road from Lathalmond Halt. Trains
run down the other side of Sheds 16 & 17 (there is a one road shed on the back of Shed 17) and
terminate at the old site entrance gates. Here a trailing point indicates the future planned extension
along the other side of Gask Burn and on higher ground above the Bus Museum back towards the main
entrance. A visit was made late afternoon of Sunday 29 July; a 'VW Route 90' event was taking place.
However, with advance arrangements made with the Shed 47 Group to ensure they would still be
running when the reporter arrived, there was no need to pay the Bus Museum entrance fee. On the
standard gauge line 0-4-0DH D2650 (HE9045/1980) was running with brake van DB953544. This was
on demand along the normal running line nearest the Lothian Shed, but with very few visitors by this
time, a request to cover the other line was granted with apparent pleasure - as it was something
'different to do'! On the 2ft gauge 4wDH 'Sandra' (AK47/1994) ran on demand with an open coach.
Rides on both railways were by donation (suggested £2 for adults). Our reporter, grateful for the
guided tour and special arrangements, made a suitable donation to the Shed 47 Group's funds.
Both railways normally run from 11.00 during Bus Museum special events, finishing between 16.00
and 17.00; depending how many prospective passengers are still around. On the Railway Running days
(the fourth Sunday of the month May to October, except when a special event takes place on the fifth
Sunday in July and September) trains run on both railways from 12.00 to 16.00.
BELOW: Lathalmond Railway Museum - D2650 pulls away from the new station platform
with a brake van trip. (BLN reporter 29 Jul 2018)
MR161] Kerr's Miniature Railway, Angus (MR p28) (BLNs 1206.MR46 & 1308.1487): This historic
railway started life as a 7¼" gauge line in 1935, but was regauged to 10¼" in 1938. It was founded by
Matthew Kerr and is still owned by the same family - now the mother and son team of Jill and John
Kerr. The railway runs in an 'E' layout for 350 yards in West Links Park, parallel to Network Rail's
Dundee - Aberdeen line, and on the seafront in the south of Arbroath town. At the north east end is
West Links station boasting three platforms and the line's headquarters. Here, there is a three road
carriage shed and a three road locomotive shed served by a turntable, with adjacent workshop.
Although not strictly necessary, the station has a footbridge. About half-way down the line is a tunnel,
while at the south western terminus is the one platform Hospitalfield Halt, which has a run-round loop
with a turntable. There is no public access here. On a beautiful sunny Friday 27 July our reporter
arrived in time for the first train, not long after the official start time of 11.00. This departed from the
rare platform 3, but returned to normal platform 1. Trains thereafter used platform 1. These were
worked by Class 25 look-alike 25179 'Loch Lee' (M Eastwood/1992) in West Coast Railways maroon
livery, which hauled out, and propelled back, two open bogie coaches. Fares were £2 for all - but no
tickets were issued. Other locomotives: 0-6-0 3007 'Firefly' (H Bullock/1936), steam outline 4-4-2PM
9872 'Auld Reekie' (W Jennings/1935) and 4-4wPM 25 081 'Elliot' (M Eastwood/1981) were on display
on the turntable and outside the shed. Trains normally run daily 11.00 to 16.00 during the summer
Scottish School Holiday period and weekends from April to September. The proposed extension, for
which planning permission has been granted, is currently on hold.
BELOW: Kerr's Miniature Railway - 25179 'Loch Lee' at West Links station. (BLN Reporter 27 Jul 2018)
MR162] Ness Islands Railway, Highland (MR p28) (BLN 1306.MR113): Located on Whin Island, next to
the River Ness, on the western outskirts of Inverness, this 870 yard long 7¼" gauge railway is formed of
a dumb-bell folded over on itself with a single track section through its only station 'Kilvean'. Adjacent
to the station is a three road shed, while a container acts as another (two road) shed alongside the
south side of the line. The railway was established by the late Ian Young in 1983 and opened on
31 March 1984. The track was re-routed in 1989 to incorporate a superb 140ft span iron bridge, built
in about 1837, which once formed a footbridge nearby over the River Ness. Sadly, Ian passed away on
24 April 2018. Although the railway is still for sale (BLN 1303.918), it is being operated by his family
and volunteers. Normal running times are Easter to the end of October at weekends and daily in the
Scottish summer school holidays - 11.00 to 16.30 (weather permitting).
A visit on a damp, following overnight rain, but mainly dry Saturday 28 July found the railway locked
up and unstaffed at 11.30. A telephone call to the number on the web site gained the information that
'someone may turn up after lunch, if it stays dry'. At 13.15, when all seemed lost, a car suddenly
arrived and three volunteers had the railway running in around 15 minutes! At work was 4-4wPH 98
'Uncle Frank' (built by Roger Greatrex) with four sit-stride coaches. The fare for all over 4 years of age
is £2.50, for which a titled roll ticket is issued (our reporter's was No00017!). Tickets are sold on the
train, but the station has a small hut selling gifts, including a postcard of the railway. The line can be
easily reached by a pleasant walk alongside the River Ness - about 40 minutes from Inverness station.
MR163] Wester Pickston Railway, Perth & Kinross (MR p28) (BLNs 1236.MR98 & 1305.1010 - track
plan): This complex and extensive 5"/7¼" gauge railway is owned and operated by the Scottish Model
Engineering Trust (formerly the Perth Model Engineers). It is near Methven, west of Perth. The railway
was opened as a basic circuit of 350 yards on 10 July 2005. A subsequent extension, taking the length
up to 900 yards (and still operated as a circuit), opened on 5 April 2015. The final extension opened on
1 April 2018, giving a route length of around 1,500 yards on which two different routes are operated
from the one station - 'Pickston North'. On a rather wet Sunday 29 July, running started at 10.55, just
before the official start time of 11.00, with petrol or battery electric motive power. By about 11.30
there were at least 4 or 5 trains running - all well-loaded. Later trains were also steam hauled. All
passenger trains commence their journey at Pickston North station, where there is a single long
platform - split into boarding and alighting sections. Uniquely, in this reporter's experience, is that the
passengers decide the routing of trains!
On his first run some passengers at the head of the queue had selected 'tunnel' - thereby covering the
new 2018 extension and passing the (non-passenger) Ducks End station in a clockwise direction.
Therefore, for his next trip our reporter immediately requested 'not tunnel' - a request that was
accepted without question. This train ran via part of the original 2005 circuit and then via Ducks End in
the other direction. There are extensive new steaming bays and a loco shed under construction, while
a club house was serving light refreshments. The fare for one trip was £2, but four tickets can be
obtained for £7. These are over-sized Edmondson titled card tickets - clipped before departure.
Despite the wet weather, this was an excellent visit, with the site very busy. Public running is just four
days a year: in 2018 Sundays 1 April, 27 May, 29 July & 26 August. Similar dates applied in previously.
MR164] Craigtoun Miniature Railway, Fife (MR p28) (BLN 1246.MR202): This 15" gauge railway, a
circuit of 400 yards, is located in Craigtoun Country Park, just west of St Andrews. From the 2013
season all the attractions and facilities in the Park (including the Railway) have been operated by the
Friends of Craigtoun Park. The line is a simple circuit around a lake, with one station on the north side
and a single road shed on the south side. On the sunny Monday morning of 30 July the first train of the
day was sampled at 10.25. It could have departed earlier had any passengers turned up!
NEXT PAGE TOP: Craigtoun Miniature Railway - Severn Lamb Rio Grande R8/1976
approaches the station. (BLN Reporter 30 Jul 2108)
However, it ran with just two passengers - plus, of course, driver and guard. Entrance to the Park is
free and it is open all year (the attractions are seasonal). To use the various attractions it is necessary
to purchase ride tickets from the Park Office. One ticket is needed for the railway at a cost of £1.50 for
all, which gives one clockwise circuit. The untitled 'Admit One' ticket is collected by the driver or guard
prior to departure. In use was 278 Rio Grande steam outline 2-8-0PH (Severn Lamb R8/1976) with one
open and one covered coach - all in red and black livery. The tender carries the statement:
'Refurbished and Maintained by Cairnsmill Caravan Park'. The Park's website suggests the Railway has
been newly refurbished for the 2018 season. The Railway and other attractions operate at weekends
from Mid April to the end of September and daily during the Scottish School Holidays, 10.00 to 17.00.
MR165] Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway, Falkirk (MR p10): A visit was made here on Saturday 14 July. The
adult fare is £10, with a pound off for concessions and an Edmondson type ticket is issued. A £2 add on
secures entry to the on-site impressive Museum of Scottish Railways, where normal admission is £5.
Locomotive No1 (ex-Coltness Iron Company Neilson Reid 0-6-0T, 5710/1902) in light blue 'Thomas'
livery (thankfully without the face etc) and four Mk1 coaches, including a buffet, made up the 10.45
departure from Bo'ness. However, on reaching Kinneil Halt the loco was declared a failure with a hot
motion bearing. The guard dealt with the situation well and kept everyone informed. 37703 eventually
appeared from Bo'ness and drew the whole train back there. After fitters' examination it was decided
to continue with the steam loco on the now slightly delayed 12.10 departure for Manuel. Surprisingly,
given the hot weather and the steep pull up to Manuel, no further problems occurred, until on the
return a long stop was made, again at Kinneil Halt, with a reoccurrence of the hot bearing. After a
suitable 'cooling off period', Bo'ness was reached at 13.45, some 31 minutes late. Undoubtedly, the
decision to persevere with No1 was at least partly influenced by the number of families 'wanting only a
steam engine'. The 14.10 was diesel hauled and it was announced that the final 15.35 would also be.
MR166] Fife Heritage Railway, Fife (MR p10): This railway is operated by the Kingdom of Fife Railway
Preservation Society (KFRPS), which was incorporated in 1992 to formalise a group of volunteers
known as the Fife Railway Preservation Group. They were the band of volunteers who owned the
rolling stock used at the nearby former Lochty Private Railway (closed 1 September 1991, having
opened on 23 June 1968; a museum and private railway on the last mile of the former 14 mile Lochty
mineral branch). After leaving Lochty the KFRPS did not own any premises suitable for the storage of
the Lochty fleet, so an arrangement was made with Methil Power Station. While this transporting took
place, a large variety of locations were surveyed to house the collection, including Lochore Meadows,
Crail Aerodrome, Bowhill Colliery, and even the disused Kilconquhar Castle railway station.
However, in 2001 the former 21 acre British Rail Kirkland Yard was acquired. After extensive work
landscaping and track laying, Kirkland Yard was ready, and the stock at Methil Power Station moved
there in 2003. The site first opened to the public in 2008 and passenger rides commenced on
11 September 2012. There is now a 32ch long passenger running line from a platform ('Kirkland')
outside a two road shed, through the former Yard (which is now lush woodland), to a point near the
former yard headshunt - a location called 'Haughhouse Hall'. On a very wet Sunday 29 July, trains were
running every 20 minutes from 11.00 to 15.00 (except 13.00). These were hauled by 0-4-0ST 'Forth'
(AB1890/1926) in a smart maroon livery lettered 'The Wemyss Coal Co LD No10'. Passengers travelled
either in an ex-Norwegian coach (No5010) fitted with ex-BR Mk1 seats or Shark brake van DB993875.
The loco hauled the train from Kirkland station to Haughhouse Hall and propelled back. An all-day
adult ticket was £6, for which an attractive green card ticket was issued and clipped on each trip
(except when the reporter travelled in the brake van, to which the ticket inspector could not gain
access!). The out of use and overgrown Network Rail line from Thornton North Jn is only visible near
Haughhouse Hall, where it was crossed by a footbridge, which has been removed and is lying nearby.
This path crosses the heritage railway running line; trains reverse a few chains west of the crossing.
MR167] Caledonian Railway, Angus (MR p10) (BLN 1251.324): Sunday 15 July saw a morning visit to
this railway at Brechin station, with its imposing grand stone terminal buildings and extensive ornate
glass front entrance awning. Barclay 0-4-0ST (1863/1926) in black livery with yellow 'CR' lettering was
in charge of a Mk1 TSO, a Mk2 BFK and a 4-wheeled van, forming the 11.00 train to Bridge of Dun.
The gentle ride through fields of varying grain crops was extremely pleasant and the game of 'spot the
disused trackbeds' was played. The first, leading off on the left leaving Brechin, towards Forfar and
Edzell was not discernible and no doubt lies within housing more recent than its 1964 closure. But the
second, the embankment of the left hand side trailing (closed 1917) connection from Forfar/Edzell
was clearly visible, as was that of the embankment of the Stanley Junction/Forfar former double track
mainline trailing in on the right on the approach to Bridge of Dun. This is another impressive large
station with the railway's main workshops and a number of 'stored' steam and diesel locos, plus a
good buffet open in a Mk2 coach. Classic coach tours to Montrose connect here with the train.
The train fare for a day return ticket was £8 (£7 Seniors), with a Day Rover at £15/£13. A white
computerised large ticket was issued. Sundays here are marketed as 'Steam Sundays' with Saturdays
as 'Diesel Saturdays'. Nevertheless, D5314 (26 014) was actively shunting at Brechin.
X.123] Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway (CPR): (MR p7) (BLN 1310.1626 & 1665) All pictures by
Bill Davis. Some Society members were among invited guests on Wed 15 Aug 2018. at the 'official'
opening of Princes Risborough P4. A special well filled train ('The Watlington Flyer') left Marylebone at
09.24; actually shown online as running to 'Princes Risborough Civil Engineer's Sidings' (very polite
too)! It consisted of 165035 and arrived at P3 promptly at 10.30 to pick up (including some of our
members) then ran through to Chinnor station. Guests were treated to champagne and canapés
before boarding the CPR special (bearing the headboard 'Watlington Flyer'). This consisted of MK1
stock (BSK W35337, TSO 4902, RMB 1845 and TSO W4584) hauled by Class 20 D8059, piloted by GWR
prairie 5526 and departed Chinnor at 11.29, arriving Princes Risborough P4 at 11.47
ABOVE: The Chiltern special from London Marylebone arrives at Princes Risborough P3.
There they were greeted by music from a local folk group (Aunt Sally's Delight). Coffee and pastries
were served en-route. The official opening was performed by Lady Judy McAlpine (widow of the Late
Sir William, a prominent patron of the line) who cut a ribbon between Princes Risborough P3 and P4
(BELOW). The special then returned to Chinnor at 13.20 arriving there at 13.40, hauled by 5526, with
D8059 'top & tail'. Presumable this was the formation for the other three trains that day, one for more
invited guests and the two later ones for the (pre-booked) general public in the afternoon.
ABOVE: The Chiltern special at Chinnor, looking east towards Princes Risborough. BELOW: A couple of
'Watlington Flyer' steam hauled non-stop public runs (pre-booked) were made between Chinnor and
Princes Risborough. The Chiltern Class 165 DMU later returned to Princes Risborough P4 (NEXT PAGE
TOP) then stabled in the sidings south of the station before leaving at 16.37 for Marylebone which was
reached at 17.21, an excellent and highly successful day. NEXT PAGE LOWER: A rare photo of our
Society Photographer Geoff Plumb in the middle of the trio at the bottom of the footbridge stairs.
X.124] Fifield PRIVATE Railway Sat 28 Jul: (BLN 1306.1251).
Our member Michael Trower went to the Fifield Fun Day,
had a ride on the train and kindly sent in a series of pictures.
He wasn't the only BLS member present as the photos
show… The ride went from the platform (by the siding on
the map in BLN 1306) with the loco leading down to the
point of the 'teardrop', propelled round the loop back to the
apex, then hauled round the loop back to the platform, so
trains were always anti-clockwise round the loop. The fare
was £3.50 adult.
LEFT: Every railway enthusiast should have a plant pot like
this in their garden (on the platform at Fifield Central).
BELOW: Our Membership Secretary, Alan Welsh, holds on
to the side of the wagon. Right of the signal post (seated
with glasses) is our Committee Member, Dave Monger.