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20th January 2017

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Published by membersonly, 2018-03-27 03:08:30


20th January 2017

Issue Number 1273 (Items 131 - 224 &IssMueRN1u1m- bMeRr 11286)8 (E-BLN 46 PAGES) 21 Jan 2017


Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)

Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members;7a2n8i6n7te7rnational section is also available.
Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.

BLN 1274 is dated 4 Feb andSoaclilectoy.nStorcibieutyt.ions must be received by 25 Jan

Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
Sun 29/1/17 Leyland SME
09.30-11.30 'All Line' Track Tour 1270 KA OPEN

Sun 29/1/17 Burnley & Pendle MRS 12.00 Comprehensive railtour 1269 KA OPEN

Fri 17/2/17 10.00 Signal Box Visits Middlesbrough to Crag Hall etc. 1273 NJ *OPEN*

Sat 25/2/17 North Tyneside Steam Railway: 12.30-15.30 Track/Traction 1272 KA OPEN

Sun 12/3/17 Bodmin & Wenford Rly 12.15-16.30 Track & Traction 1273 KA *OPEN*

Sat 18/3/17 'Bound for Craigy', track and traction, VTEC King's Cross to 1273 JE *NOW*

..*NEW* Edinburgh East Coast HST railtour spectacular (see below) *OPEN*

Wed 19/4/17 Ashover Light Railway 14.00-17.00 Guided walk 1273 JC *OPEN*

Sat 22/4/17 Loco-hauled tour with rare track, Carnforth - Stafford - TBA TBA Claimed

…*NEW* Hooton long siding - Chester curve - Holyhead - Llandudno *NEW*

Sat 6/5/17 Scunthorpe Steel Wks 09.30-18.30 internal railtour TBA TBA Claimed

Sun 7/5/17 TPE Charity Railtour Save the date; Hull - Carlisle TBA TBA Claimed

10 to 15/5/17 Jordan Hejaz Railway booking form with e-BLN 1272 1272 IS OPEN

18 to 21/5/17 Long weekend - Dublin / Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA Notify

Thur 15/6/17 *NEW* DRS loco hauled mini-railtour around the Northwest TBA TBA Claimed

27 to 30/7/17 Scottish Minor Railways Long weekend of Scottish visits 1272 TV Notify

IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, TV-Terry Velvick.

131] Paper BLN Subscribers: .IMPORTANT. Dave Monger is no longer contactable by phone to
notify any missing paper BLNs or related problems (allow a few days please). Email Dave at
[email protected] instead or by post at: 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU.
Only if this is not possible please text Paul Stewart at 07790652351 or phone 01684 562862.

132] Fixtures Grid Key: 'OPEN' = open for immediate booking; please see the information in the BLN
number given for details, the person to book with or enquire of, and their contact details. 'NOTIFY' =
expressions of interest are requested to assess demand, or in advance of all details such as the cost
being finalised. Details will be sent out later to those who have notified, then definite bookings taken.
'ENQUIRE' = please ask the organiser as the fixture is nearly full or there are special circumstances.
'FULL' = fixture is fully booked often with a waiting list. 'CLAIMED' = provisional date for diary, not
open for bookings yet. This information is given in good faith to assist members but may change with
circumstances beyond our control. This is considered better than not giving dates until fixtures are
finalised. The status of fixtures may change after BLN is printed and e-BLN is always more up to date.

[BLN 1273]
133] BLS Teesside Signal Box Visits, Fri 17 Feb: .(Updating paper BLN 1273):. With thanks to our
member Nick Jones; Middlesbrough (10.00) to connect with the 09.58 arrival from Darlington (and
many long distance connections). Then visit as many of: Middlesbrough, Whitehouse (Cargo Fleet),
Grangetown, Redcar Central, Longbeck & Crag Hall signal boxes as possible and hopefully, Nunthorpe
on the return. £25 (min) charity donation on the day, orange vests needed - please advise if you have
one/spares, also if arriving by train/car (and lifts available). Email [email protected] or
write with an SAE (2 for an acknowledgement) to 57 Blar Mhor Road, Caol, Fort William, PH33 7HR.

134] Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Sun 12 Mar: (MR p6) (BLN 1223.1850) General Station, Bodmin,
PL31 1AQ, (SX073664). Our third visit to this lovely and very friendly 6m 14ch
standard gauge railway. If you were on either or both of the previous trips in Nov 2013 and Nov 2014
there will be extra track to help complete our coverage. A fourth trip is not likely in the foreseeable
future so come on this one while you can. Starting Bodmin Parkway at 12.15 (connection from Bristol
TM 08.28) and expected to finish 16.30. Max party 60; £20 BLS and PLEG members (£22 non-members)
including a hot Cornish pasty, stock list, detailed track map and souvenir ticket. Travelling in three
brake vans, with ex-BR Class 08444, Industrial P403D 'Denise' and (as part of 50th Anniversary of the
class) 50042. Real ale will be for sale on the train. Route, subject to availability, includes the full length
of the Refuge Sidings, Loco Shed No3 Road, Parkway Shed roads (including inside one), Parkway end
of line/run-round, Boscarne Jn end of line/run-round, Bodmin General run-round. Please apply to
Kev Adlam enclosing a cheque payee 'Branch Line Society' or CPA with email address or SAE.

135] Bound for Craigy, King's Cross - Edinburgh, depots, track and traction tour, Sat 18 Mar:
A booking form went out with BLN; the one with this e-BLN 1273 updates it and will be available on
our website. It details our spectacular HST charity railtour from King's Cross to Edinburgh in aid of
Railway Children. Run with VTEC, PLEG and the 125 Group, the railtour celebrates 40 years of HST
operation with four Class 08s and rare track, some never used by passenger trains. E-BLN readers
can download it but only need to print the booking form which can be black & white 'draft mode'.

136] Ashover Light Railway Part I, Wed 19 Apr: Thanks to our local member Neil Lewis, an interesting
guided afternoon circular country walk in the Ashover/Milltown area covering sections of trackbed
where possible. Meet 14.00 at Ashover (between Matlock and Clay Cross; limited bus services but a
more frequent one on the Matlock Road - details on request) to finish by about 17.00. Historical notes
with a map will be provided with more information in BLN 1274 on this 1' 11½" gauge, 7¼ mile railway
that operated from 1924 until 1950. Please advise if you can provide/require lifts from/to Alfreton (7½
miles) or Chesterfield (8 miles). Bookings John Cameron (to assess demand) - back page East Midlands.

137] BLN 2016 Index: Thanks to the compiler, Angus McDougall, and Mike McCabe (for proof reading),
this will be available soon, including the 196 extra items (numbered X.... for 'extra') that appeared only
in e-BLN. After the Jan 2016 survey of members, and as advised in BLN, in the Treasurer and Editors'
reports and agreed by the 2016 AGM, it will be distributed (when ready) electronically in a printable
format with e-BLN. Any member who only takes paper BLN can obtain a copy free, by sending a BLN
sized SAE to Andrew Murray at: Flat 7, The Hawthorns, Meadow Road, Hadleigh, SS7 2DP by 28 Feb.

138] Wanted... Your Unwanted Christmas Presents: Did you have a railway book from those well-
meaning relatives that you already have or is not really your area of interest? Don't despair, we can
help! We are always looking out for suitable, unusual and interesting prizes for our railtour charity
raffles. All prizes are donated (and even the books of tickets are funded by a member) so 100% of
the money collected goes to the good causes. A big thank you to our members over the last 12
months for generous donations of railway books, DVDs, rover tickets for preserved railways, boxes
of chocolates, bottles of Port and Whisky, BR MK 1 heating controls, original BR Gatwick Express
antimacassars, etc. Please contact Paul Stewart per back page - all contributions gratefully received.

ABOVE: Folkestone, Leas Cliff Railway. BELOW: The existing 'band brake' mechanism is the cause of
the railway closing. Although the band is much thicker than normally used elsewhere a second brake
mechanism is deemed necessary in case it breaks (!). The cost/logistics of this are the problem.

ABOVE: The pumps that recycle the water recovered when the carriages reach the bottom (all Terry
Begent). A 'Heritage Statement' with much history and extra information is an e-BLN extra download.

(Covers 'significant' route infrastructure changes past and proposed; openings and closures.)

139] Folkestone, Leas Cliff Railway 5' 10" gauge: (MR p34) (BLN 1251 MR29) The Grade II listed twin
track water balanced funicular, CP after last running Sun 6 Nov 2016 due to health & safety concerns.
35,395,844 passengers had been carried safely since OP 16 Sep 1885. A video

140] Powderhall Branch Jn (1m 70ch) - (Edinburgh Council) Powderhall Compaction Plant (2m 12ch):
(BLN 1253.613) CG unexpectedly late Nov 2016 (does anyone have a date of the last train please)?
The transfer station opened in 1985 and has been rail served since Nov 1989; initially the rubbish was
taken by rail to Kaimes Quarry siding (1¾ miles north of Kirknewton on the Haymarket to Carstairs
line) and more recently Oxwellmains for tipping. The new £150M Millerhill 'energy from waste'
incinerator (not rail served) is due to be commissioned at the end of 2018. The cranes at Powderhall
broke down at the end of Nov and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency raised concerns about
drainage. The investment required to reopen the terminal is 'substantial' so, until the incinerator is
completed, bin-lorries are taking waste to two privately-operated tips instead. The Powderhall site will
not be wasted; it is designated for building affordable housing. [Ex-North British Railway route.]

141] Midland Metro, Snow Hill stop: renamed St Chads (without any punctuation!) from 1 Jan 2017;
passengers for Snow Hill (NR) station are advised to change at Bull Street stop (as previously) 150m
away. [How about a suffix 'for Snow Hill station' then?] Passengers will be able to access the Snow Hill
station, Livery Street entrance from St Chads stop when a lift and stairs have been installed (due by
late Jan). This northern Snow Hill entrance is closed on Sundays and after 19.00 Mondays to Saturdays.

142] Tilbury Freightliner Terminal: This closed from Sat 7 Jan 2017; all ships and trains now use
London Gateway instead. The final outward multimodal train was on Fri 23 Dec 2016 to Bristol with
66537. All containers have been cleared but light engines still stable (to work London Gateway etc).

143] 'Acton Dive-Under Line' (per new name 21 Jan, was Acton Relief line): (BLN 1272.14) No booked
use, commissioned Tue 27 Dec 2016; used to avoid conflicts with freight trains. OP 16.00 2 Jan 2017;
the first passenger train (with a BLS Member) was the 15.42 Heathrow Express EMU from Heathrow
Airport Terminal 5 to Paddington. Updating BLN 1272: the flashing yellow signal on the London end of
P4 Ealing Broadway applies to (freight) trains to Acton Yard/Up Poplar line. Passenger trains routed via
the dive under can be deduced from the next signal - the No2 position 'feather' (right angle left) is lit.

144] Scunthorpe, Normanby Park Ground Frame (2m 11ch) - Dragonby (Vossloh Cogifer Ltd -
formerly VTS Track Technology): (BLN 1210.849) ROG 11 Jan 2017 with 66145 on the 08.59 from
Scunthorpe Trent Sidings, arriving 09.17, where the light engine returned at 10.02. It left two empty
'IFA' special tilting Kirow Switch & Crossing Transport Wagons and a third associated wagon at the new
rail served facility. The long narrow building runs north/south with two through tracks which can be
accessed from either end by new connections just beyond each extremity of Dragonby Sidings.

145] Cricklewood Aggregate Terminal: (BLN 1272.16) From 10 Feb 2017 (work starts on 23 Jan) the
former Cricklewood Recess Siding group (leading from the Cricklewood Down Reception Siding), OOU
since May 1996, will be returned to use as Cricklewood Aggregate Terminal with the Down Reception
Siding. The previously bagged OOU exit signal from the north end of the Reception Siding (5m 76ch)
WH 491 will be uncovered and re-commissioned. Routes from this signal are to:  Down Hendon
(main aspect)  Down Fast (main aspect)  Up Hendon (position light shunt moves only). There is no
south exit from the Down Reception Siding. Both Up Hendon & Down Hendon lines at Brent Curve Jn
will be available for bi-directional working /shunting. There are no train paths shown in the system yet.

146] Shenfield P4/P5 (incl) - reversible Southend Loop - Mountnessing Jn (21m 32ch): (BLN 1272.9)
ROP expected at 04.00 on Tue 2 May 2017 after TCP/TCA (except Engineer's trains) from 7 Nov 2016.
The TFL Rail Shenfield - Brentwood bus replacement is still scheduled until 31 May and Greater Anglia
has banned use of normally valid Brentwood - London tickets via Shenfield from 3 Jan until 31 May.

147] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered

BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]

1272.10-13 6/8 Dec 2016 TBA Seaford branch and various Southern services (BLN 1272)

1253.554/5 4 Jun 2016 13 Feb 17 (Barking) - South Tottenham - (Gospel Oak from 24 Sep 16)

1257.979 7 May 2016 18 Feb 17 Tottenham: South Jn - East Jn & West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn

1251.334 9 Feb 2016 31 Mar 17 (Carlisle) - (Armathwaite)

1266.1930 24 Mar 2017 31 Mar 17 (Chester) - (Wrexham General)

1266.1928 3 Jan 2017 29 May 17 ( +/- Birkenhead North) - Liverpool Loop - ( +/- Hamilton Sq)

1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work

1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn

(Includes national material, non-geographical or that covering multiple areas.)

148] New Year Puzzle: QUESTION: How many advertised services on NR tracks pass through their
original departure station again (after leaving) en route without visiting any other station more than
once? ANSWER: Since the train has to subsequently pass through the departure station, all terminals,
such as London Waterloo, Victoria and Glasgow Central (HL), are excluded. The Fife Circle trains stop at
more than one station twice so do not qualify either. However, the 15.20 (SuX) Blackburn to Clitheroe
runs via Todmorden, through Manchester Victoria, Bolton and back through Blackburn calling there a
second time at 17.24, before continuing to Clitheroe. The full journey is 73m 53ch and only takes
2½ hours! SSuX there is a 17.20 Blackburn to Blackburn just doing the circuit in the same direction too.

[BLN 1273]
149] Points & Slips: BLN 1272.17] on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway the 10½ mile post is
right under the bridge south of Hayles Abbey Halt; the halt is being reconstructed on its original site so
is at 10m 38ch (not 10m 40ch as shown in TRACKmaps Vol 3 p32A - Aug 2010). That assumes that
MP10½ is in its correct position and not just hiding from souvenir hunters! The mileage is actually from
the former Honeybourne East Loop Jn. Item 29] To remove any possible ambiguity, the 30 Dec
Bermondsey Dive Under (sic) commissioning was only the Down Slow line, but on 30 Dec (at least) it
was used by Down Fast (and Slow) Southern services. (The Down Fast line is now in its final position,
and not via the dive under.) The other three tracks that will eventually go through the Bermondsey
Dive Under will be used by Southeastern trains between New Cross and the Charing Cross platforms at
London Bridge. The final (2018) layout still leaves conflicting moves between trains on the Down Fast
and Up Thameslink trains, which would not be the case if the Down Fast went through the dive under
as well. However, with Thameslink running through London Bridge again, there will be fewer Southern
trains in and out of London Bridge, so perhaps most of them will use the Down Slow?! 41] In the table
Acton Main Line station will not have any GWR services (delete the '2' on the Off-Peak tph column).
In the London Paddington pictures in e-BLN the old P12 remains as P12 and its country end extension
(not then yet in use) over the trackbed of the former P13 is to be part of P12 also. The buffer stop end
was in use by short DMUs; the whole platform will be re-electrified with extension completion.
The all day (SuX) EMU service to Hayes & Harlington bay P5 has been using P11. Interestingly on
13 Jan RTT had P13 arrivals and departures (and different trains using P12!) even though the track in
the former P13 has been lifted and in the words of John Cleese in Monty Python 'It has ceased to be!'

150] Electrification - Shocking News: (BLN 1272.72) The presence or absence of electrification should
make no difference to the clearances between Bletchley and Oxford, as the group standard has been
to provide these for around 40 years even where 25kV electrification is unlikely. For example, the new
footbridges at New Cross and Orpington have sufficient clearance. One exception, though, was
Campden Tunnel between Moreton-in-Marsh and Honeybourne which, when the line was re-doubled
in 2011, was not provided with 25kV clearance. At a talk a couple of years ago, the project team was
asked why and the response was that it was not specified [It would have been a very expensive and
extensive job too - Ed.] Odd, since electrification clearances have been assumed since the 1970s.

At Newport (South Wales) some 18 new signal structures were too low and these now have to be
altered. It is also the case that not all standards are EU driven, nor that future changes are likely to
be easily agreed where the UK will, as a result, potentially build to a lesser specification. All over the
country, there are structures '25kV ready'. At least there were. Unfortunately, a new regulation was
introduced in 2015 and the UK failed to apply for derogation. In the 1960s, BR did extensive testing on
how far the overhead wire had to be from other objects to prevent electrical discharge. Finding that it
was unlikely even at a distance of two inches, they set the standard clearance at eight inches (200mm),
with lower clearances permitted in extenuating circumstances; these had applied since (until 2015).

Now, the Office of Rail and Road has said it will refuse to sign off electrification schemes not following
the new rules, even if they have already started. These increased clearance from 200mm to 370mm,
which means that bridges and tunnels altered many years ago will now need rebuilding, and some of
those rebuilt for current schemes need altering again. The footbridge at Bromsgrove had to be re-
planned as a result which helped delay the new station opening. It is one of the reasons why so many
electrification schemes are running late and over budget. Along with orders for bi-mode rolling stock,
it also gives the DfT an excuse to 'pause' schemes and parts of them. When the UK leaves the EU, the
rule could revert to what it was. [Perhaps DfT actually stands for 'Diesel for Trains'?]

151] National Fares Manual (NFM): (BLN 1240.1654) The fares in NFM26 apply from 2 Jan to 20 May
2017. Free downloads are available to your device, simple for any member who takes e-BLN. Register
at then, at select the last option of four for NFM26 files
and click 'download'.

[BLN 1273]
They arrive as a 25MB zipped file - click on the 324KB file called 'setup' to start the installation. Follow
the instructions to give all fares between every pair of NR stations, with details such as restrictions,
permitted break of journey etc. For the record, Wick to Penzance standard class is £233.70 single;
£248 via London (only) with the Tube; £341.20 first class - no fare shown via London!

152] Date for your next diary! Fri 13 - Sun 15 Jul 2018: Apedale Valley Light Railway (MR p23); after
the highly acclaimed 2014 and 2016 events, the final 'Tracks to the Trenches' WWI centenary event.

153] BLN PERIODIC QUIZ (2) - ANSWERS: (BLN 1272.30)
1: At Maiden Newton, Killin, Wellington (Salop) and Yelverton, the branch coaches were shunted by

.gravity (instead of the engine running round) before the train departed on the next branch service.

2: The Hemyock branch was too slow for electric dynamos to work; gas-lit ex-Barry coaches were used
.with short frames for the sharp curves. These were the last gas-lit BR coaches (withdrawn in 1962),
.replaced by short-frame, battery lit, BR-built Thompson coaches (recharged weekly at Exeter!).

3: In 1933 Driver W Gilbertson, Firemen J Jackson and T Blackett, and Fitter WC Woods looked after
.the 'Royal Scot' loco and train on its tour of Canada and USA to the 'Chicago Century of Progress
.Exposition'. This is noted on the plaque under preserved loco 6100's (originally 6152) nameplate.

4: 'A crook was rumbled over some money' on the Devon Valley Railway, between Kinross.Junction
.and Alloa; consecutive stations included Crook of Devon, Rumbling Bridge & Dollar - Stirling effort!

5: In 1933 a spur was built from the original Malmesbury branch near Kingsmead Siding to Little
.Somerford where the branch was diverted to (was Dauntsey), shortening it by about three miles.

6: At Stoke Works Junction Signal Box whistles indicated the number of banking 'units' required for
.the Lickey Incline. The information was forwarded to Bromsgrove South to prepare the locos - '1'
.for .a Jinty, '2' for two Jinties or Big Bertha (58100), etc. Later these were 94xx pannier tanks and a
9F 2-10-0 (regularly 92079). In between, LNER Beyer-Garratt 69999 was used on trial unsuccessfully.

7: Lewis Cubitt, Henry .Braddock, George Berkley and Edward .Wilson 'squared up' to each other on a
.standard British Monopoly Board. They are the respective designers of, King's Cross, Marylebone,
.Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street .stations (at the time the Monopoly board was devised).

8: Charlie came last at Newmarket because .he was BR's last shunting horse - whose .final furlong was
.at Newmarket station .goods yard in 1967.

9: Blackpool Central (South) BR Motive .Power Depot was '28A' at nationalisation, .later '24E'.

10: PICTURE BELOW RIGHT: Cinderford Town in 1964, branch terminus (CP Nov 1958, CG Aug 1967).

154]…. and Finally, Travelling on a Prayer:
Our Farnham who art in Hendon,
Harrow Road be Thy name.
Thy Kingston come; thy Wimbledon,
In Erith as it is in Headcorn,
Give us this day our daily Brent
And forgive us our Debdens
As we forgive those who Debden against us.
And lead us not into Temple station
But deliver us from Ealing,
For Thine is the Kinghorn,
The Purley and the Crawley,
For Iver and Iver.
(Lord's Prayer, later St John's Wood Prayer.)

(Covers: Derbyshire (except Buxton and the Hope Valley), Nottinghamshire,
Lincolnshire (includes South Humberside), Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Rutland.)

155] Althorpe: Participants travelling to our fixture with the Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation
Society at Scunthorpe Steelworks on 7 Jan may well have travelled over the impressive combined rail
and road King George V Bridge over the River Trent at Keadby, just north of Althorpe station.
The bridge celebrated its 100th anniversary on 21 May 2016. When it was 'opened', unsurprisingly by
King George V (literally or ceremonially?), its 3,000 ton lifting span was the heaviest bascule bridge in
Europe. It is a 'Scherzer' rolling lift type, raising the span by rolling on a track like a rocking chair base;
see an animation. The bridge was fixed into position in the late 1950s and has
been 'closed' since. It links the Isle of Axholme west of the River Trent with Scunthorpe to the east.

156] Lincolnshire Stations: As might be expected, Lincoln Central remains the county's busiest station,
with 1,753,856 passenger entries and exits documented in 2015/16 based on ticket sales; Grantham
was the second busiest at 1,308,536. Lincolnshire's quietest station was Havenhouse (until 1900 Croft
Bank) with 162 (down from 166 in 2014/15), the first station from Skegness at 3¼ miles. It has had just
one service each way morning and evening to Skegness and Nottingham and none on Sundays.

157] Barrow Crossings/Crossovers: (BLN 1272.29) There is a barrow crossing even on the Midland
Main Line at Market Harborough. It has locked gates opened by staff liaising with the Derby signaller,
who has to place approach signals at danger before passengers are escorted across - sometimes after
lengthy delays due to the rail traffic. It is due to be replaced by a footbridge and lifts in 2019 with the
remodelling scheme (BLN 1270.3041). Retford (low level) barrow crossing is still used, via the west end
platform ramps between P3 & 4. The gates are 'locked' with a carriage key operated mechanism.
A member of staff has to operate them and also the lift from P4 'up' to the high level 'Down' platform,
P1! This has metal roller shutters left closed when not in use, presumably to protect against vandalism.
At Sleaford and Spalding the on-board train crew (conductor/guard) can ask for re-platforming to the
main platform with level access via their control - so anyone who needs either crossover at Spalding….

158] Castle Donington: (BLN 1243.1911) Compulsory purchase orders are being issued for land
required for the East Midlands Gateway, a new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange north of East
Midlands Airport between Castle Donington and Kegworth. The project includes a rail freight terminal
suitable for 750m trains and will take three to three and half years to complete. About 7,000 direct
new jobs are expected to be created once it is operational. The new branch junction (SK 4625 2885)
will be near 'Hemington Hole' and facing Castle Donington. The 1.8 mile new branch to the terminal
curves southeast following the A50 round without crossing it (east of Lockington) then runs straight
and due south past Junction 24 of the M1. It is then west of the A453 to the end of line (SK 4723 2655).

159] Kegworth: The latest details of the preferred route for HS2 show changes to the plans for the
area. Before a tunnel under East Midlands Airport was planned. Instead (see below) HS2 will now run
south of the airport and the M1, with a crossing under the runway approach lights and a new bridge
over the A6 in between Junction 24 of the M1 and Kegworth 'village'. A HS2 viaduct over the A453 at
Ratcliffe Lane is also planned, along with a viaduct over The Green at Diseworth Brook flood plain.

160] Toton HS2 Hub: Two bodies are promoting employment and economic growth here. The DfT has
given the 'D2N2' Local Enterprise Partnership £625k for the 'East Midlands HS2 strategic board' to
refine its strategy due this summer. It promotes economic growth in Nottinghamshire (N2) and
Derbyshire (D2). There are about 40 members from businesses, local authorities etc. A separate joint
working group set up by Broxtowe and Erewash councils is overseeing a Toton masterplan, subject to
further public consultation. About 106 acres is suggested for a station economic development zone.

BELOW: (Plan with thanks to Tom Gilby.) The Castle Donnington to Sheet Stores Jn line is top left, the
new branch to East Midlands Gateway (logistics park) is a green solid line. The Green dotted line is the
latest route of HS2 (item 159 above). East Midlands Airport is bottom left; the motorway is the M1.

161] Attenborough: Anyone who does level crossings on foot should note that NR is considering
closing three crossings: Barratt's Lane No1, Long Lane (both public footpath crossings) and Nature

Reserve - a public user worked crossing with telephone. NR proposes a 'safer diversion route'.

A stepped/ramped footbridge has not been ruled out, but means buying nearby residential properties.

162] Chesterfield: (BLN 1272.35) The modern pictures of the Brampton branch in e-BLN with the new
footbridge were taken by local member Neil Lewis. The freight train pictured (with permission) was the
final such working in Mar 1993 (precise date anyone please?) from a DVD 'Diesels Around Sheffield'.
This is by local transport enthusiast Rodger Kaye of Terminus Productions.

163] China by Rail (中 国 铁 路) ? The first operation of an experimental service carrying containers
between China and the UK left Yiwu Xi station in eastern China's Zhejiang province on 1 Jan. The
service is being organised by Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment Co, which has offered a service from
China to Duisburg in Germany and Madrid in Spain since 2015. The 12,000km route (in no particular
order?) is via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France and the Channel Tunnel.
It is not actually a through train, as containers are transhipped to and from the former USSR's
1,520mm gauge rail network at the China/Kazakhstan and Belarus/Poland frontiers.

The inaugural demonstrator is expected to be followed by regular weekly trains for three or four
months to assess the market. The list price for delivering a 40ft High Cube container is 4,600 US Dollars
for the westbound journey. This is around half the price of air freight, while taking half the time of sea.
A lower price of 2,500 US Dollars is quoted for the 21-day return journey, due to lower demand
eastbound. The service is expected to be used by shippers of premium products such as automotive
parts, electronics and food.

The first train was initially shown as worked by DB Cargo through the Channel Tunnel and HS1, to
arrive at Barking Ripple Lane exchange sidings at 05.45 on 17 Jan. ('Railway Gazette') However,
another path later appeared for the morning of 17 Jan to Ripple Lane West Yard (arr 05.36) via
Maidstone East, with the HS1 path still in. A DB Cargo press release gave the final destination as their
London Eurohub (Barking). That terminal only seems to have previously had a few test car workings in
Jan 2016 (BLN 1250.225). ('Freightmaster Forum') It actually arrived there on Wed 18 Jan just after
13.00 (awaiting arrival of the media?) with 92015 at the head and 66136 at the rear, both locos
carrying special livery additions. A video of the arrival (10½ mins). Between
Dollands Moor and Ripple Lane Exchange Sidings it ran via HS1 in two portions one on the evening of
17th the second early morning of 18th). The containers were further transhipped at Duisburg as well on
to wagons approved for use in the Channel Tunnel, so four sets of wagons were actually used!

164] Crossrail: (BLN 1272.41) The flashing yellow signal on the end of Ealing Broadway P4 actually
applies to (freight) trains routed to Acton Yard or the Up Poplar line. Routeing via the Acton Dive-
Under (sic) line is indicated by a No2 'feather' (at right angles to the left) on signal. This is the next
signal beyond Ealing Broadway, visible from P4 London end. Trains with known suspension faults or on
low power must not be routed through the dive under. Freight trains and Class 332 Heathrow Express
EMUs are also barred. The OLE in West Ealing sidings went live on 2 Jan and the location is now known
as West Ealing Light Maintenance Depot. Members wishing to do the new Stockley East Flyover at a
cheaper fare than charged by Heathrow Express may like to know that Heathrow Connect services are
booked to use it on 4,5,12 Feb and 5,12 Mar. However, ticket machines at Heathrow T5 are unable to
give railcard discounts. Free travel is available to T2,3 station where the discounts can be obtained.

165] Euston: From 16 Jan Backing Out Road 1 was to be taken OOU, with the track, signalling and OLE,
(and from the already OOU Down Shed 1 & 2 lines), recovered. This is for future HS2 enabling works.

166] Wembley Question: A member on the final day (Sun 11 Sep 2016) of the GBRf 15 tour asked how
far/where it went at Wembley European Freight Operations Centre in the dark. Answer (with thanks
to our member Stuart Smith via 'Gensheet'): ●From the Down Slow at Harlesden Jn to the Down High
Level Goods and Railnet Jn. ●Railnet Reception & Departure Line No1. ●Up & Down High Level Goods
to MP 6.66. ●South Departure Line in full into Reception No1 (to MP 7.16). Detach 92042. Attach
66779 and 66715. ●Depart via South Arrival Line to MP 6.66. ●Then cross left to Up/Down High Level
Goods (to MP 1.62). ●Then cross back right to the Up Willesden Relief. Next question…...?

[BLN 1273]
167] Hall Farm Curve: The Mayor of London has rejected a petition requesting reinstatement of this
curve (from the former Hall Farm North Jn to Lea Bridge Jn) to allow trains to run from the Chingford
line to Stratford. It was used by passenger trains from Apr 1870 to Oct 1914 and CA 6 Nov 1967.
Reasons given for the rejection are that the forthcoming Angel Road to Stratford service will take up
all remaining platform capacity at Stratford. The cost of a new platform there is put at £400M (!), due
to acquisition of non-railway land and the need to bridge over existing rail infrastructure to reach the
site. He also says that any additional train services on the Chingford branch would have an adverse
impact on level crossing closure times at Highams Park. Suggested options to reach Stratford are to
use the Victoria Line from Walthamstow Central and change at Tottenham Hale or use the interchange
link between Hackney Downs and Hackney Central. Bad luck if you need that curve but anyone up for a
petition to reopen Coppermill Curve (Hall Farm South Jn - Coppermill South Jn) (OOU 1960) instead?

168] Hendon: Due to engineering work, from 08.40 to 10.45 on Sun 15 Jan Down EMT services were
due to cross to the non-electrified Down Hendon Line at West Hampstead North Jn and back to the
Down Fast at Brent Curve Jn. Up services were to take the also non-electrified Hendon Chord and
then the Up Hendon line to West Hampstead North Jn. Thameslink (EMU) services were to be
replaced by buses between St Albans City and Farringdon. In fact the diversions did not happen due to
work site fencing problems but the same diversion is booked between 08.40 and 10.45 on Sun 5 Feb.

169] Proposed Underground Tunnels: (BLN 1271.3158) The 1943 'Abercrombie Plan' contained much
emphasis on removing the Thames railway bridges, but much more for visual and aesthetic reasons
than in relation to South Bank land use. Cutting back the SER Charing Cross line to south of the river
was strongly advocated, as Hungerford bridge was seen as probably the biggest eyesore. A Ministry of
Information film from the time (32½ minutes) makes reference to removing
'ugly' railway bridges and doing away with viaducts to release land for other uses.

170] South Kentish Town: The disused Northern Line station (CP 5 Jun 1924) is now the venue for the
'Mission Breakout' escape room challenge. To quote the website Locked up
inside a room in the historic building, your team has 60 minutes to escape from the abandoned place
using your mind, good sense and teamwork to solve a series of puzzles, find the clues and manipulate
mysterious machines! Prices per player start from £20+VAT; but cheaper than a 'Hidden London' tour!

171] Whitton: (BLN 1262.1518) The station refurbishment was completed in Nov with commissioning
of the new footbridge and lifts.

X.5] Vossloh Voyager Railtour, Sat 7 Jan 2017: Some pictures from our latest railtour with South West
Trains that raised £14,500.88p for the Railway Benefit Fund (all by Geoff Plumb unless specified).

ABOVE, TOP DOWN: (1): Waterloo, the ECS (455732 & 455870) arriving in P19 from Wimbledon.
(2): Approaching Strawberry Hill Depot from the south, Shacklegate Jn is behind the photographer,
the Shepperton branch is off to the left and the line ahead to Strawberry Hill and Twickenham was
'possessed' by the Civil Engineer. Interestingly this resulted in 4tph running to/from Shepperton.
(3): 1Q79, the 10.30 NR Test Train from Tonbridge West Yard to Derby RTC, via half of Kent and
eventually the Midland Main Line (topped & tailed by 73962 'Dick Mabbutt' and 73964 'Jeanette').
Our tour is reversing at Clapham Junction. For details see (and more pictures).
(4): Kingston Bay, not a Caribbean holiday resort, although you might wonder from the passenger
information display, but the lengthy bay P1 (which did take 8-cars!). BLS Stewards (all of whom paid
the full fare as normal as did the organiser, Kev Adlam), SWT staff. On the far right is Jason Tetley,
Chief Executive of the Railway Benefit Fund who rolled his sleeves up all day and mucked in with
everyone else. He started the trip asking us what we do and why (explain that!) and ended up
becoming our newest Society member. Welcome to the Branch Line Society, Jason!
(5): The railtour ran through Wimbledon Park Depot (picture taken by Keith Usher of SWT).
(6): The stationary train awaits departure from Wimbledon Depot to the Up Fast (Stuart Hicks).
(7): Class 455 driver's controls (Stuart Hicks).

(Gloucestershire, Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, Lundy, Dorset and Cornwall.)
.IMPORTANT:. With immediate effect please send ALL South West contributions to the BLN Editor.

172] Bath Platform Perturbation: Despite cancellation of the electrification programme west of
Thingley Jn, work continues to ready the network for the introduction of Class 800 bimodal SET units.
At Bath Spa, work is needed to widen and lengthen both platforms to accommodate these new sets,
which will result in some changes to platform use from 8 to 23 April. From Mon 10 to Thur 13 April, all
trains use P2 and from Tue 18 to Fri 21 Apr they all use P1. There will be one HST an hour via Bath (the
other via Badminton), one Cardiff to Portsmouth service an hour, one local to Westbury or Weymouth
etc and a reduced SWT service. Rare crossovers will be available accordingly.

On weekends, Good Friday and Easter Monday, no trains call at Bath, buses replace most, and others
are diverted. Of note is an hourly Chippenham to Paddington service then.
has more details.

173] Gloucester Oddities: A correspondent notes a recent interesting article celebrating the unusual
commissions handled by the Gloucester Carriage & Wagon Works including
'Pioneer' - the unique 'Daddy Long Legs' gantry car used on Magnus Volk's electric railway between
Brighton and Rottingdean, which ran on rails which were underwater at high tide. The works opened
in 1860, initially building wagons and later expanding in to railway carriages. During the 20th century,
the works built several BR DMU classes, many types of EMU for London Transport and multiple units
for Australian and Canadian systems. The works made a considerable contribution to the war effort by
manufacturing Churchill tanks and pivoting sections for Mulberry Harbours. With cheap manufacturing
abroad increasingly prevalent from the 1960s, the works was renamed 'Gloucester Engineering
Company Ltd,' producing its final railway vehicles by 1968. Engineering finally ceased in 1986.

174] Pedestrian Progress at Barnstaple: (BLN 1270.3084) The former railway bridge over the River
Taw at Rock Park has now reopened for pedestrians following its long and sometimes controversial
refurbishment. The intention had been to retain access throughout the works, but monitoring of air
quality on the bridge indicated that grit blasting of the lead-based paintwork resulted in an unsafe
environment for the public (blast!). The new finish on the bridge is of a high quality and should remain
serviceable and attractive for some time. The bridge celebrates its 130th anniversary in 2017.

(Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Buxton and the Hope Valley)

175] Blackpool Tramway: (BLN 1272.56) A BLS member joined the Fri 30 Dec 2016 Fylde Tramway
Society annual Christmas tour on the day. The reason given for including the north end crossover to
Bispham centre road (southbound) was that the tram was being driven by a Driver Instructor who was
also passed on that crossover. There was plenty of space on the tour (our member comments that
they could have done with more support!). It is an annual event that covers other rare track as well -
watch and make a note of, Fri 29 Dec 2017 provisionally.

176] Boxing Clever in Liverpool*: (BLN 1271. 3147) Trains also ran on 26 Dec half-hourly from
Liverpool Central (09.05 to 18.35) to Hooton calling only at James Street, Birkenhead Central and
Rock Ferry. In the other direction they ran from 09.10 until 18.10. (*Liverpool is the capital of British
amateur boxing with a special exhibition at the City Museum even.)

177] Merseyrail: (BLN 1272.61) With the Liverpool Loop closure for track renewal, trains are turning
back in Birkenhead Central P1, as expected,and crossing from the Up Chester to the Down Chester via
the trailing crossover at 2m 39ch (not 1m 39ch as in BLN 1272). There is a possession board midway
along P2. The train lengths are given on the departure screens and, for those to whom it matters, the
rear of a six-car train on departure starts 16yd further back than a three-car train! The move is
controlled by ground signal 1759. On the first day of the loop closure (3 Jan), which lasts until 18 Jun,
Merseyrail gave out 5,000 free bacon or sausage baps (vegetarian option available) to passengers!

178] Metrolink: (BLN 1268.2164) Preliminary construction and utility diversion works for the Trafford
Park extension were due to start during the week commencing 9 Jan. A PDF leaflet giving details was
published, is available with the current e-BLN and includes a detailed route map of the new line.

179] Ordsall Chord: (BLN 1272.58) Between Sun 18 Dec and Mon 2 Jan about 700 engineers were on
site working on the longest and most complicated part of the project. During this 15-day period, the
existing railway between Eccles and Deansgate, Eccles and Manchester Victoria plus Deansgate and
Salford Crescent stations was remodelled ready to connect with the chord, with completion due by
Dec 2017. Other work included installing two new bridges, renovating Water Street bridge, widening

[BLN 1273]
Castlefield viaduct and modernising the Ordsall Lane layout. 250km of new signalling cables were
commissioned - described as one of the most complicated signalling jobs of the last 40 years in the
northwest. 3km of new overhead wiring, eight new sets of switches and crossings and 1km of new
track were installed. Special cranes lifted 500 tonnes of steel into place for the two new bridges.

The Ordsall Lane Jn area is now completely remodelled. The minimum required to do all the new
alignments are return journeys between Salford Crescent and Deansgate and Eccles and Manchester
Victoria, which also give excellent views of the work in progress. The demolition of the brick parapets
for a lengthy distance on each side has allowed the widening of Castlefield Viaduct between Ordsall
Lane Jn and Castlefield Jn to take place. Slewing has been done to take advantage of the extra area
available at the site of the future Water Street Jn (the Deansgate end of the new curve allowing direct
trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria); at one place the (new) Up Bolton is
on the trackbed of the (old) Down Bolton! More track remodelling is expected over Easter this year.

BELOW: Three pictures of recent dramatic progress on the Ordsall Curve (Ian Mortimer Jan 2017).

[BLN 1273]
180] Chorley: (LEFT) (BLN 1259.1212) From 6 Jan 2017 the
temporary Down platform was closed for demolition. The
original (reconstructed) Down platform reopened, realigned for
faster speeds with an operational length of 150m (up to 6-cars).
The altered Up platform operational length was extended back
to its original length of 143m.

181] Blackburn King Street: (BLN 1272.62) By 21 Dec 2016
(passing on a train), a second track had been laid on the outside
of the curve of the first; both tracks start about 40yd from the
points forming the loop at the start of the branch. They would
not (yet) extend onto the site as the bridge over Galligreaves St
is being replaced. At the Galligreaves St and Harrison St
junction, there is a board detailing the site management
structure with a couple of photographs taken from the security
CCTV. From adjacent roads and car parks, it was evident that
Civil Enabling Works were taking place.

The display also, helpfully, displays a timetable of the project's
key dates which are: ●Retaining wall installation Nov 2016 - Jan
2017. ●Bridge replacement Jan - Mar 2017. ●Civil enabling
works Nov 2016 - Jan 2017. ●Driver walkway installation Jan -
Feb 2017. ●Canopy installation Apr - May 2017. ●Mechanical
and electrical works Apr - Jul 2017. ●Entry into service Jul
2017.Another display gives more details: ●Number of weeks for
the project: 50. ● (Average) number of employees on Site: 60.
●Man hours per week: 550. ●Accident rate: 0. ●Daily working
hours 08.00 -16.30. It further states: As part of Network Rail's
£1bn+ Northern Programme investment, we are building a new
depot in Blackburn which will stable and maintain Northern
trains from autumn 2017.

(Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Bucks,

Oxfordshire, Berks, Hertfordshire & Essex)

182] Shippea Hill: (BLN 1272.74) A member visited the station
on the morning of Fri 30 Dec, unaware of the Christmas Eve
mass visitation, intending to walk the 8½ miles back to Ely along
the 'Hereward Way' (the first 2 miles are along the busy A1101 -
best choose a quiet day for this!). To his great amusement two
gentlemen with bikes also alighted. They denied any knowledge
of the BLS (as you do!) but said they had read about Shippea
Hill's dubious status in the local paper, and set out to cycle back
25 miles by road back to Cambridge (only 20¾ miles by rail)!
It is theoretically possible to walk on a Saturday morning to
Lakenheath where there is a 10.25 to Cambridge (no trains
Mondays to Fridays, one each way SO, four to Cambridge and
three to Norwich SuO - 2 more per week than Shippea Hill).
Whether the 8 miles is easily walkable along the fenland tracks
in the 3 hours available hasn't yet been tested!

183] Reedham (Norfolk): Part of the station is to be converted into a museum, to celebrate its past.
The first station OP 1 May 1844 and was replaced by the present one 300m due west on 1 Jun 1904.
The latter is undergoing refurbishment with its old waiting rooms turned into a visitor attraction.
Designed and created by station adopter Mike Warner, the museum will hold memorabilia from the
rail industry, as well as artefacts of the station's past. It is a work in progress, but so far we have
completed one room in terms of design and which we need to just finish putting things up, and then we
will start work in the second room, he said. Due to the historical nature of it being part of the first
railway line in Norfolk, we thought it would be great if we could create this museum for people's
interests. So far we have two thirds of the funding towards the project - it cost between £400 and £500
to do the first room and it will be quite similar to do the second. The refurbishment began in July 2016
and it is hoped that it will finish by the summer. The museum will include old station signs, pictures
and various other pieces. Mr Warner has said that there is an open invitation for anyone to donate
items to the museum that they may hold. He said: We would really like to add to this mini heritage
centre, so if anyone has any photographs or other memorabilia they would be happy to donate then we
would be extremely grateful. Abellio Greater Anglia (sic) have given us the time and space to refurbish
the station, we have had financial help from Wherry Lines and also help with building and the materials
from local builders and various other people who we would all wish to thank. (Eastern Daily Press)

184] Snettisham: (BLN 1242.1849) The correction (BLN 1243.1906) of our correspondent's report led
him to revisit in March 2016; the goods shed and station are indeed still there, but well hidden. He had
been confused by the modified road layout, due to construction of the Snettisham and Dersingham
bypass. Station Road, as a name, ends at the unadopted rough track leading to the former station and
goods shed. So far, logical. 'Station Road' then continues, now named Beach Road, a distance of
perhaps 45yd to the bypass (which has wiped out the railway alignment) but rerouted to create a
staggered junction. The station is a private residence, with an original awning on its frontage, looking
structurally unaltered from its railway days, but different from other Hunstanton branch stations.
The goods shed had a builder's sign 'development opportunity' at the entrance. It was unclear if the
goods shed would survive this. The Old Coal Yard is a cul-de-sac off Station Rd, but there is nothing left
of railway provenance, just new housing. The GER had three sidings on the Up side at Snettisham.

185] Cambridge North: (BLN 1271.3184) The new three platform station is due to open on schedule on
21 May after major construction work over Christmas. The footbridge, lift shafts, stairwells and main
station building were built last year, meaning the development is now 80% complete. NR's area
director for West Anglia, said: We used the Christmas period to link the new tracks and signalling
equipment to the existing infrastructure. There will be parking for 450 vehicles and 1,000 cycles.

186] Oxford: (BLN 1272.72) A correspondent's local 'spy' advised him some time ago that the new
Down Relief north of Oxford was not to go as far as Wolvercot Jn, nor was it to be reversible.
[This is true; the present extension of the Down Passenger Loop is part of accommodating 750m long
freight trains between Southampton and Birmingham. The long-term aspiration is for it to become
part of an independent route to the North Cotswold line but this is unfunded and would involve major
rebuilding of a significant overbridge. It is not clear if the present extension can be accommodated on
the existing Oxford Power Signal Box panel or if commissioning might have to await resignalling - Ed]

(Covers: Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham and Teesside.)
187] ICI Wilton branch: (BLN 1271.3166) NEXT PAGE: A track plan thanks to our member Rodger
Wilkinson; the thicker line was our internal railtour route…Transporting us back in time to 6 May 1989,
the tour notes written by the now BLN NE Regional Editor, Geoff Blyth in the 'present' tense with
additions. The Wilton rail network is the shape of a '3' with its vertical axis pointing northwest. The top
most arm is the BR link, joining the BR goods lines at Shell Jn (for the branch to Shell Teesport refinery
- CA early Dec 1984), 47ch east of Grangetown signal box. The BR/ICI boundary is under the British
Steel road and rail overbridge (where the 8 Oct 2016 Pathfinder tour reached), 21ch from Shell Jn.

BELOW: BLS Wilton tour; 6 May 1989, 'right click' mouse, rotate 90o clockwise and enlarge to full screen:

[BLN 1273]
The middle arm of the '3' represents the main part of the system. The top arm curves round and
1m 1ch from Shell Jn splits at Wilton Tip Ground Frame (GF), the location of the former signal box,
after passing over Eastgate Mount level crossing. The northernmost branch is the new coal discharge
line; the southernmost is the arrival line and the middle branch the departure line. At the western end
of the inward and outward sidings the line continues westwards, throwing off first the Cripple Sidings
and then the HMD (hexamethylene diamine) filling line. It terminates at (BR's) Cleveland Freightliner
terminal. The bottom arm, the chlorine line, runs around the eastern end of the works in a huge arc.

The tour (pictures e-BLN 1271) starts from the weighbridge at the western end of the inward sidings.
This is scheduled at 09.30, after the 09.25 departure of the light engine from the 08.54 Freightliner (BR
term) arrival. We depart west over 'Coal Access' open level crossing. The fuel oil sidings are on our left;
this marks the start of one train working. After passing over Northgate Road open level crossing, the
Cripple sidings are on our left. Although now OOU it is expected that the tour will traverse them (yes!).

We are now on the Western Line, with 'Boundary Rd North' right. The HMD line junction marks the
end of one train working. The HMD line is the left fork. The right fork, the Freightliner branch, is BR
property, separated from the rest of the BR network by ICI owned track. This branch is double track
with a gated level crossing over the Freightliner access road. We are due to cover both branches.

We return to the weighbridge, bear right into the sorting sidings and run parallel to the link line to BR,
to our left, then curve right. This takes us round the eastern side of the works on the Chlorine line.
A short branch, the Diluent Spur, diverges right from the lengthy straight section; we are likely to
cover this branch as far as the gate. Another 900 turn to the right brings the tour to the southernmost
portion of the network. The new Chlorine line diverges right; still under construction it is not likely to
be passable. We continue straight on to the old Chlorine line. All track is lifted except for that to No5
Depot, where the A4 locomotive 'Bittern' is being restored. The lunch break is at this depot headshunt.

After the break, we retrace our route to the sorting sidings and run on to the inward line. A reversal is
necessary, via the departure line, to reach Wilton Tip GF. A further reversal allows the tour access to
the Coal branch, where we run to the coal discharge plant. We return to Wilton Tip GF and take the
line towards Grangetown. We curve left and pass under the Lord McGowan Bridge, which carries the
A1085 'Trunk Road' (the actual name of the road, not just that it is a trunk road!).

The next overbridge carries the BSC Hot Metal Line. Regular hot metal traffic started on some date
after 12 Oct 1979. (In 1989) it conveys molten iron from Redcar blast furnace approximately 4 miles to
the Basic Oxygen Steelplant at Lackenby. The iron is carried in huge 16 axle torpedo ladle wagons,
82½ ft long weighing 704 tons laden. Needless to say, they are well outside the BR loading gauge and
must be among the largest rail vehicles in the world! A short lived connection from the BSC Lackenby
system joined us (left) at Coatham BSC GF. The next overbridge carries the other BSC line and marks
the BR/ICI boundary, where we must reverse and return to our starting point. ICI pipelines (on our
right), continue under the river and connect Wilton to the Seal Sands complex on the north bank.

188] Durham: The shorter Up P1 is being extended by 40m to accommodate all the carriages of the
longer 'Azuma' Super Express Trains to be introduced on the ECML by Virgin next year.

189] Darlington North Road: From 14 Jan, the Down/Up Goods Loop here, on part of the original
1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway, was temporarily taken OOU due to failure of longitudinal bridge
timbers. Remedial work is planned but is subject to a long-lead as bespoke components are required.
Access to the loop is possible from the North West (Bishop Auckland) end only by special arrangement.

190] Ferryhill: (BLN 1272.55) With the 9 May 1991 resignalling, the area (north of Northallerton about
MP 32½ to south of Chester-le-Street MP72) came under the control of what is now Tyneside IECC
(Integrated Electronic Control Centre). Ferryhill signal box (56m 73ch ECML mileage) was described as
'temporary' in the Signalling Notice, but remains over 25 years later just to control movements to/

from Norton West signal box (0m 33ch) via the Stillington branch with Absolute Block signalling over
the single 11m 15ch section. Tyneside IECC controls the Slow lines between Ferryhill South Jn and
Tursdale Jn, rather than Ferryhill box, which does not control any points, just three two-aspect colour
light signals in total: Down line F454(Yellow/Green), F452 (Red/Yellow) and Up line F453 (Red/Green)!

(Hampshire, Surrey, Kent, West Sussex, East Sussex and the Isle of Wight.)

No submissions received.

(Staffordshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.)

X.6] LEFT: (NR) Wrong type of trampoline on the lines -
between Nuneaton and Atherstone on Wed 11 Jan.
In strong winds at 10.50 the OLE breakers went for a
section on the Down Trent Valley Slow and would not
reset. The Down Slow was blocked to all traffic and the
Down Fast ran at caution (Up lines were not affected).

191] Henwick: (BLN 1255.827) The Up Refuge Siding
(121m 72ch) has been taken OOU pending renewal;
readers may take refuge from the fact that it has been
OOU for some time with the pointwork partly
removed. It could even take an HST and will become
the 'Henwick Turnback Facility'.

192] Vivarail Class 230: (BLN 1272.83) The stricken fire
damaged prototype DMU only made it by rail to
Coventry (rather than Tyseley) where, sadly, it was
subject to a graffiti attack. It was moved back to Long
Marston by road on 11 Jan for further investigation.
Meanwhile the public trials on the Coventry to
Nuneaton line have been cancelled as there is insufficient time before the new franchise starts in Oct.
Repairs include major rewiring and an initial examination has not revealed the cause of the fire.

193] Kenilworth: (BLN 1263.1644) The new station has been further delayed until Dec 2017 because
the required loop extension and signalling alterations will not have been completed until then.

194] Walsall: On 6 Jan, the
19.15 service to Birmingham via
Soho called at P2 as usual but,
instead of crossing immediately
to the Up fast, unusually stayed
on the Up slow to Pleck Jn to
cross over. This was due to the
imminent departure of a late
running Class 350 EMU on the
19.00 all stations via Aston.

X.7] LEFT: BLN 1273 Guess the
location (clue - the regional
section is correct). Answer in
e-BLN 1274. (Ian Mortimer with
head out of a window!)

195] Wolverhampton: (BLN 1269.2275)
Phase 1 of the station redevelopment
opened on 8 Jan. The previous road
access via Railway Drive closed to road
vehicles (it remains available to
pedestrians and cyclists can use it but
have to walk (!) and later (very, very,
much later?) it will accommodate the
Midland Metro extension). The new
vehicle entrance is off Corn Hill, with an
enlarged taxi rank, with it is claimed,
more space for motorists to drive round
(and round?) the one-way-system drop
off point (a local member is doubtful!).
The multistorey under construction
increases parking spaces from 450 to
800. Other exciting developments
include 10 ticket gates. The scheme is
now costed at £132M. TOP: The previous

entrance is now closed to road vehicles
and taxis (all Dave Cromarty mid-Jan
2017). ABOVE: The new 'drop off' / taxi
road access (from Cornhill), southeast of
the previous one on the same side of the
station. Bay P1 is to the right. The tower
block behind the station is the Victoria
Halls, some student accommodation for
Wolverhampton University. It is built on
the GWR trackbed northwest of the
former Low Level station. LEFT: Looking
towards Corn Hill with the station behind
the photographer and to the left. The
new, larger, multistorey car park is right.

196] Doncaster (1): A new 'Draughtsman Alehouse' is to open at the station in
a former P3B refreshment room that has been empty for 18 years. It is hoped that the bar, specialising
in Yorkshire real ales, will open in the spring. Work to restore the room, which can accommodate
60 people, and show off many of its original features, including the tiling, began in December.

197] Doncaster (2): (BLN 1272.97) When the area was remodelled and resignalled (1979-81) the East
Slow Line was intended to be reversible from Black Carr Jn to Doncaster station with bay P2 the normal
GN&GE Joint Line platform. Only the short section as far as Potteric Carr was so signalled; the rest to
the station was left as an Up line to save money. Just one more signal was required to complete it!

(Isle of Man Steam, Manx Electric/Snaefell Mountain Railways & Douglas Bay Horse Tramway only.)

198] Ramsey Plaza: (BLN 1251.408) By the first week of January, the MER car shed south of the stop
and Parsonage Rd level crossing (east side of the line) had been demolished and the land cleared.
The points, lines and associated equipment including the overheads have been removed. It is thought
that the site could be the temporary terminus during redevelopment work on the original stop.

199] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: Https:// is a Manx Electric Railway press release
with some very interesting points. Please consider signing this online petition.

200] Glasgow Central: (BLN 1251.428) Tracks will be relaid and a vintage carriage shunted into a low-
level platform (that is one of the two that closed 5 Oct 1964 and was not reopened on 5 Nov 1979 with
the Argyle line!). A recreated bookstall will display historic newspapers, with other features to include
shop fronts, old fashioned vending machines and gas effect lighting. Funding for the restoration, due
to start imminently, will come from revenue from the NR tours of the station, which have attracted
29,000 people in two years. (5/5 on trip advisor and highly recommended by fellow BLS members!).
For details and to book: also many pictures. A new staircase and lighting were
installed in 2015 for access, previously only possible by ladder. The underground line through the city
centre (OP 1896) was described as 'sombre, sulphurous and Plutonian' by C Hamilton Ellis in 1938.
Smoke from trains was so thick that in the gloom, knife wielding robbers cut handbags from the arms
of female passengers. The crimes led to the creation of a women's waiting room to improve safety.

The current Glasgow Central tours take visitors beneath the high level platforms to areas not normally
seen by the public, such as huge former coal and grain stores, and a temporary mortuary used in WWI.
The dead were carried off trains and left on rows of stretchers covered in Army blankets. Relatives had
the horrific task of finding and identifying them. Widows often had to resort to paying strangers
loitering on the streets outside to carry the stretchers for them. Some empty stretchers were stored at
the station as late as the 1950s, and a hunt is now on to find surviving examples for display. Trips onto
the station's 48,000 pane glass roof - one of the largest in Europe - are also to be revived as a separate
tour, with stunning views across the city. New artefacts keep coming to light, such as telegrams from
1919, a pack of Kensitas cigarettes from 1928, and newspapers from the 1940s. The tours began with
an 'Open Doors' weekend; at one point there were 7,600 people on the waiting list to go. Their success
is mostly due to the knowledge and enthusiasm of NR Duty Station Manager, senior guide Paul Lyons.

201] Invergarry: (BLN 153.621) A test run was made along the length of the long platform with Ruston
Hornsby diesel 'D88'on 28 Dec 2016, (2½ min video) on track laid in Mar 2015.
Progress will be noted on tidying up and surfacing the once heavily overgrown island platform.

202] Wemyss Bay: The ORR figures for 2015/16 passenger numbers on the branch make interesting
reading. There was a huge drop at Wemyss Bay itself, from 216,030 arrivals and departures in 2014/15
to 166,472. This was due to the Rothesay ferry being diverted to Gourock for half the year, suggesting
that about half of the station's users are travelling to and from Bute. With the rundown of IBM's

Spango Valley site, use of IBM 'Halt' has plummeted from 136,414 in 2010/11 to 22,016 in 2015/16.
The last IBM staff moved out in 2016, so that number will drop even further. There has been a healthy
growth in traffic at most other stations on the line, especially Inverkip, (up 66% since 2010/11).
This exceptional increase has almost certainly been caused by significant housing development in the
area. The exception is Wemyss Bay, where (2015/16 apart) passenger growth has been modest.
This is probably due to the area being popular for retirement, with less travel for work or education.

203] Longannet: Fife Council has commissioned consultation firm Capita to undertake a 'Strategic
Transport Pre-Appraisal' into a Dunfermline to Glasgow rail link with £30k of funding. The Scottish
Government has invested £2.7M in West Fife regeneration since Longannet Power Station closed on
24 Mar 2016. The only booked train (ThO 13.51 Raiths Farm to Hartlepool South Works) seldom runs.

204] Elgin - Forres - Nairn: (BLN 1272.105) When the electric token equipment is removed between
these boxes, a member wonders where signalbox-issued token equipment will still be used for
passenger trains on the NR network. Ormskirk to Rufford and Rufford to Midge Hall spring to mind.
All trains have to stop at the last named but it is not a timing point. Now a single line, it was once part
of the main line from Liverpool to Preston and Scotland. [Midge being the other link with Scotland?]

'All Our Yesterdays', 80 years ago, LMS Sectional Appendix (Scotland) 1937 (1):

205] Inverness: In the event of a passenger train being stopped on the Ness Viaduct after sunset or
during falling snow the guard must take steps to prevent any passengers from leaving the train.
[No central locking in 1937 then; a guard taking steps might actually encourage passengers to alight
and does this mean that it is fine for passengers to alight there in daylight when snow is not falling?]

206] Killiecrankie (1937): The outer Down home signal situated immediately south of the tunnel is to
prevent passenger trains entering the tunnel when stopped outside the station for crossing or other
purposes. This signal is painted yellow (!) and shows a yellow light at night. Freight trains or engines
engaged in shunting may pass this signal when necessary.

207] Rafford Bank (1937): (Between Forres and Dunphail). A telephone is provided in the ganger's hut
on Rafford Bank on the Up side, 4½ miles from Forres. The door of the hut is locked by the token for
the section and can be opened by placing the token in the special lock on the wall of hut, and pushing
the slide to its full extent. This releases the fastener and the door can be opened. To close and lock the
door the operation is reversed. Permanent way men also have an ordinary key which opens the door.
The telephone is connected with Dunphail and may be used by driver or fireman in case of mishap.
Rafford Bank Houses, 1½ miles further north are also connected with this telephone.

208] Perth (1937): When a train is stopped at Perth (north) ticket platform owing to Glasgow Road
bridge up home signal being at danger, the driver must not start away on the signal being taken off,
until he receives an 'All right' signal from the guard, who, before giving the signal, must see that no
passengers attempt to alight and that the carriage doors are secured. [Central locking has its uses…]

1273 WALES
(Includes Chester - Shrewsbury - Hereford - Newport, but flexibility is retained to place any item
in the most appropriate BLN section, e.g. Hereford/Shrewsbury LM services in the West Midlands.)

209] Tondu - Margam: (BLN 1272.111) Word had obviously got out about the rare temporary use of
the line to Margam (which NR want to 'mothball') for freight diversions on 8 and 15 Jan (although the
freights ran main line in the event on 15 Jan rather than being diverted). There were several
photographers on the bridge at Tondu waiting for a route learning loco. On 2 Jan 60066 arrived on
time from Margam via the Up Branch. There were at least four staff (and a video camera) in the cab
and the loco proceeded as booked into the Llynfi Goods Loop. It only went a short way in (running just
behind the trap points and ground signal to reverse). After allowing a Bridgend to Maesteg passenger
train past, it ran to Bridgend P3 (the rare Up bay) to reverse before immediately returning to Tondu.

ABOVE: 60066 arriving from Margam at Tondu on the 'Up Branch' (all Nick Jones 2 Jan 2017).

This time, to the photographer's surprise, it ventured onto the Down Garw Loop (although booked
into Llynfi loop again) stopping just short of the single-lever Ground Frame (GF), which is rumoured to
be unusable (and is, incidentally, on the Up side, opposite to that shown in TRACKmaps Aug 2010 ).

BELOW: A northbound passenger train to Maesteg passes the light engine which is sitting in the
reversible Llynfi Goods Loop, off to the right is the line to the Garw Loops (both reversible) and
'officially' OOU beyond 48ch. The shiny track off bottom right corner is the passenger line to Tondu
station (behind the photographer) and the rusty line to the left is the fourth route towards Margam.

MAP BELOW: One-inch 7th Series (1954), the open (red spot) station is Tondu, CP 22 Jun 1970 it ROP
28 Sep 1992 on the same site. Bottom border is the then double track line to Bridgend, clockwise are
the lines to Margam (bottom left corner), Maesteg then Cymmer Afan & Treherbert etc, Blaengarw
and Nantymoel (both branches) and bottom right the Llanharan line via Raglan/Wern Tarwr.

[BLN 1273]

ABOVE: Dead slow across Margam-end of the Branch Loop points returning from Tondu towards
Margam, and one of the signals (middle left) works even. Tondu has a loop on three of its four lines.
Is this a Terrence Cuneo painting in fact (bottom right - although it looks more like rat than a mouse)?!

The driver was not issued the key (attached to a wooden block and kept in Tondu box) to Garw GF but
the loco ran the length of the Down Loop stopping just short of the east points (set normal, i.e. for the
Up Loop). The loco then returned immediately to the Tondu end of the Down Garw Loop. A problem
with the motorised points at the Margam end of the Branch Loop (the third Tondu area loop note)
delayed departure; the loco was held in the Garw Loop while staff attended to them.

The Class 60 left Tondu at 12.18. RTT shows it back at Margam only 1 minute late at 12.05 -
remarkable! These manœuvres revealed various other problems with points, locks or detectors
preventing Tondu's fine collection of semaphore signals being fully operated; the driver had to be
talked past signals at danger.

BELOW: Looking north from Tondu station platform towards Maesteg, the key section of line where all
four routes merge briefly into one single track. Left in front of the signal box is the line from Margam.
The loco is on the Lynfi Loop (Maesteg line) and the line to the Gawr loops is off right in front of it.

BELOW TOP: North end of the Garw Valley Railway at Pontycymmer looking south towards Tondu; on
the left a new platform is under
construction. BELOW MIDDLE: The
Garw Valley Railway, Pontycymmer
looking north towards Blaengarw,
the new platform is to the right of
the building. Left, coming out of the
container, is the miniature railway.

LEFT: (Inset) detail of the miniature railway.
210] Garw Branch: Our member then went exploring. The farm
crossing (SS 9025 8460) is grassed over and evidently no train has
passed this way for many years. From here, the Garw loop end points
can be viewed and (just visible in the grass on the left) the GF lever.
Looking east from this point the track starts to disappear into the
undergrowth. Then (SS 9045 8470) the rails are buried under trees but
the fixed distant board is intact! Overgrown platforms can still be seen
at Brynmenyn station and the Garw branch continues in undergrowth;
the Ogmore Vale line now being a tarmaced cycle path.

ABOVE: Brymenyn Crossing looking towards Blaengarw.
BELOW: Brynmenyn, looking towards Tondu; Garw Branch Up Distant, there really is track on the right!

[BLN 1273]
On the Garw branch, gates and lights (surprisingly intact after all these years!) survive at Brynmenyn
LC and rails cross the road although the flangeways are filled in. Immediately east, the route crosses
the Garw River. The bridge girders remain but the rails and deck have been removed. Beyond the line
is in situ again but extremely overgrown and (presumably?) continues intact up to Pontycymmer.
The embankment of the former Raglan siding (once a through line to Llanharan, latterly a branch to
Raglan (Wern Tarw) Open Cast Disposal Point and finally CG 1978), diverges from the former Ogmore
Jn towards the Ogmore River. The bridge (SS 9039 8445) has gone but substantial abutments survive.
At Pontycymmer is the shed of the Garw Valley Railway Society (SS 9038 9123). Our member joined
this Society soon after the line closed (1997) but, having had no correspondence for several years,
assumed they had folded. Happily that does not seem to be the case and a platform is under
construction adjacent to the shed. Information he has now rejoined.

BELOW: The wide bridge abutments by the Ogmore River (Raglan/Llanharan) line.

211] Chester - Holyhead: (BLN 1272.116) To conclude the de-quadrification (quadrophobia?) review:
●Prestatyn to Rhyl No1: Lost its Up Slow on 16 Feb 1969 and the Down Slow 25 Mar 1990.
●Rhyl station: The Down Passenger Loop closed 11 Oct 1987 and the Up Fast on 28 Jan 1990.
●Rhyl No2 to Abergele: The Down Slow closed 14 Jan 1973; the Abergele to Foryd Up Slow went on
23 Apr 1967 (part was retained as an Up Platform Loop and siding) and Foryd to Rhyl on 31 May 1970.
● Up Main through Abergele: Closed 11 Dec 1988.
●Abergele to Llandulas: Both slow lines closed 14 Mar 1965.
●Onward to Colwyn Bay the line was always just two tracks, the section paralleling the A55
Expressway was diverted to a new alignment from 22 Jan 1984.
●Colwyn Bay No2 to Llandudno Junction No1: Slow lines closed 31 July 1967. All the quadrupling
between Chester and Llandudno Junction was done by the L&NWR between 1896 and 1915.

[BLN 1273]
212] Efail Fach (and more): (BLN 1272.114) Highway alterations in Tonmawr have over-run the site of
Tonmawr Halt; it had a short-lived Saturdays only advertised GWR service to Port Talbot, between
1922 and 1930. The former Port Talbot Railway (PTR) line between Blaenavon Jn and Efail Fach is hard
to explore today, being private land and thickly wooded. From Pontrhydyfen viaduct a public footpath
to Port Talbot begins by following the PTR trackbed and then crosses the Afan River at Cwmavon by a
former tramway bridge, built for a branch of the Oakwood Railway about 1841. It then switches to the
former Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway trackbed. Nothing remains of Cwmavon or Aberavon Town
stations, but the Grade II listed four-arch Velindre Bridge over the Afan, just north of Aberavon Town,
is worth a visit. The site of the latter is now a garage, beneath the M4 viaduct; ironically, this section of
motorway was of early construction, in order to bypass congestion caused by Aberavon Town's A48
level crossing, but by the time it opened (July 1966), the railway had then closed!

(Those meeting the criteria for Peter Scott's annual MR publication, except IOM electric, steam &
horse. Generally not British/Irish National Networks or the Local Authority Light Rail and Tramway
Systems. Pre-heritage (historical) items about Heritage Railways usually go in the regional sections.)

MR11] Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1209.196): On a sunny Sunday 11
December 2016 our roving reporter visited this railway. Santa Claus was in attendance, when 0-4-2ST
'Melior' (KS4219/1924) plus 4 bogie covered coaches formed the service from Sittingbourne Viaduct
to Kemsley Down and return. The ground level 5" gauge line at the latter had a notice stating 'Opening
2017'. The 2017 season is from Easter (4 running days) until 23/24 September (the end of season gala).

MR12] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR), Gloucestershire (MR p8): On Boxing Day, 26
December 2016 the railway was operating the 'Red' service with two steam hauled trains and a DMU.
Trains were well filled on this, a lovely bright sunny day; with a number of pre-booked coach parties
travelling as well. At work were GWR 2-8-0 2807 and GWR 4-6-0 7820 'Dinmore Manor' - both with
trains of seven BR MK1 coaches. These ran between Toddington and Cheltenham Race Course.
Shuttling between Winchcombe and Laverton was 3-car class 117 DMU W51360/W59510/W51405.

BELOW: Class 117 DMU rests at Toddington GWR, on a very sunny 26 Dec 2016 (Peter Scott).

[BLN 1273]
At Laverton trains stop at a stop board well short of where the former run-round loop (now lifted) was.
At Cheltenham Race Course P2 has now been fully rebuilt and was complete - except for the access
path down from the road overbridge - although access would be possible via the foot crossing near the
signalbox. A day rover ticket for adults was £16, which allowed unlimited all day riding.

MR13] Cambrian Heritage Railways (CHR) (Oswestry), Shropshire (MR p7) (BLN 1270.MR236):
To extend south under 'Gasworks' (B4579 Shrewsbury Road) bridge, with its present extra supports,
trackbed lowering and slewing of track is necessary. This is seen as too big a job for purely volunteer
labour, so a contractor has been commissioned. This firm was due to start on site before the end of
2016. However, work is expected to continue into the second half of 2017 before a stage is reached
where track can be relaid under the bridge. Continuity of track from 18m 61ch therefore won't be
achieved until early in the winter. Meanwhile volunteer work on refurbishment of track can leapfrog
the gap, and will begin in the spring. Although the single line is all in situ to the northern approach to
Weston Wharf, most of it needs relaying with much sleeper renewal therefore progress will not be
fast. That work is expected to take most of 2017, with a target of reaching Weston with a line able to
carry a train service during 2018. That will be a terminus for a while. At present there is a short gap in
track alongside the Wharf. While the in situ line resumes under Weston Lane bridge, within 200 yards
is the level crossing over the A483 Oswestry Bypass, which will need new lifting barrier arrangements.
(As a primary route - former trunk road, later national primary - there may be many more problems
too.) The CHR expects to extend to Llynclys, but only after several years.

MR14] Oswestry & District Narrow Gauge Railway Group, Shropshire (BLN 1264.1710): It has now
been reported that this group will now no longer be relinquishing their base at the former Cambrian
Railways goods depot at Weston Wharf, 1½ miles south of Oswestry. The eventual revival of CHR
trains will not require cessation of their workshop, mess room, running line and storage activities
other than clearing encroachments from the standard gauge trackbed. The use of the goods
warehouse (closed by BR as a public depot from 5 June 1961) as a fully equipped workshop is essential
to current Group activities.

Given the constraints on expansion imposed by the limited area of land available at Weston, there is a
proposal for a new narrow gauge heritage railway at Brymbo. This would include up to 1½ miles of old
alignment related to the closed (and now being redeveloped) steelworks site and associated collieries,
featuring a zig-zag and 1 in 40 gradient sections. Landowner negotiations are progressing and a
planning application is being drafted. The intention would be to gradually create an operating line and
to base larger items of the existing stock there, but over quite a few years, so the good news is that the
Weston workshop, 2ft gauge running line and some rolling stock will now remain a feature for the
foreseeable future.

MR15] Watford Miniature Railway, Hertfordshire (MR p18) (BLN 1267.MR207): For the second year
running, our roving reporter reports, trains did not operate on Christmas Day - probably due to the
weather - it was windy with drizzle. The indicated current fare is £1.50 per person.

MR16] Yorkshire Wolds Railway (YWR), East Riding of Yorkshire (MR p9) (BLN 1262.MR140): Updating
reports over the past 18 months, the very few visitors on Sunday 23 October 2016 were able to take
cab rides, sample the new ground level café, and patronise the shop and exhibition in the Mk1 BG.
The very short running line extension, of about 40 yards, is less well aligned and ballasted than the
original section, but is only seen as temporary because of the donation of much heavier rail from Drax
(BLN 1256.MR77). When extension further southwards takes place, the lighter ex-MOD rails will be
replaced, and stored for laying in future sidings.

BELOW: Yorkshire Wolds Railway - the short extension and proposed farm crossing beyond, (MR16),
are visible in this photo (Peter Scott 10 Jul 2016). [The headboard is not a specialty local biscuit - Ed.]

[BLN 1273]
The delay in extending is not actually down to any farm access requirements despite the gate across
the route just beyond the present end of steel, because the Railway's agreement with the Sledmere
Estate allows for a crossing over which trains would be permitted to pass on running days.
It is because, though continuation towards Wetwang has the general support of the Estate as
landowners, a tenant farmer has the next two fields under cultivation. When the current potato crop
has been lifted (during the first half of 2017) the Railway can begin laying track further, and has
enough material to do so well into the first field, as well as connecting the isolated track on which the
BG stands. The original line has long been ploughed out across these two fields as far as Green Lane
(half-way to Wetwang and limit of the first phase of the YWR revival as agreed with the Estate), but for
a next stage the original formation still exists so relaying would make faster progress.

Other aspects of expansion of the Railway in hand are construction of a passenger platform and the
acquisition of a brake van to increase riding capacity, and the obtaining of signalling equipment.
Quite a lot of this has been bought in competition with the scrap merchants by being part of a co-
operation of a half a dozen preservation societies. YWR thus has in store ground frames and locking
mechanisms, the prospective arrival of two genuine ex-ER signal boxes. A 1908 one from Hutton
Cranswick is available from the present owner, and one from Cave (between Broomfleet and Brough),
to be relocated at Green Lane, is reserved when released by planned NR resignalling. IRS bulletin 980
(Nov 2016) reports the railway had been donated two miles of 12" gauge track including a steam loco
from a private railway in Fimber. No reference was made to this during the correspondent's visit and
nothing further is known. 12" gauge is unusual, but may been linked with ex-Littlehampton steam
locos, which are thought to be in Lincolnshire - this is just a guess!

[BLN 1273]
MR17] Hayling Seaside Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1267.MR205): A visit was made to this
2ft gauge railway on Christmas Eve, 24 December 2016 - a cool blustery but bright day. At Beachlands,
the new platform was complete and has a small hut on it. It is directly connected to the original
platform, which was still being used by the trains. The shed building was still intact, with all doors shut.
At Eastoke Corner the new shed building was completed and track laying of its five roads was
underway. Three of the roads appeared to be complete, although it was not possible to see if any
stock had been moved there. A shop on the platform side of the building was open. There is also now a
platform canopy mounted on the side of the building. Trains appeared to be lightly loaded and the
final departure of the day was the 14.20 from Eastoke Corner to Beachlands. At Mengham Road all
trains used the northern line - as usual. In use was 0-4-0DH No3 'Jack' (AK23/1988) with three enclosed
bogie coaches. The loco ran round the train at either terminus.

ABOVE: Nocton Estate Railway - NGRS railtour at Wasp Nest, 15 May 1955 (Bill Woolhouse).
MR18] Nocton Estate Light Railway, Lincolnshire (BLN 1270.MR242 with map):
A member has kindly provided a 'thumb-nail' history of this fascinating railway. W. Dennis & Sons Ltd,
potato growers had farms in the Boston area at Kirton and Littleworth prior to WWI and had
experience of operating 2ft gauge railways on the 2,000 acre Littleworth estate. Post war the company
acquired an estate at Nocton on the arm of the fenland that ran towards Lincoln and converted the
tenant farmed estate to a single 8,000 acre potato farm. The Dennis family continued to develop the
estate until 1936 when they sold the business to Smiths Potato Crisps (1939) Ltd, their largest
customer (remember those small twists of blue paper that held the salt in each bag of crisps?).
The Great Northern & Great Eastern Joint line ran through the western end of the estate along the low
limestone Nocton Heath that formed the western boundary of the fen and, just south of Nocton &
Dunston station, an interchange siding was created on a loop covered by an agreement dated the
31 December 1920. Here Dennis created their operating centre, establishing offices, chitting sheds
(where cool and light causes seed potatoes to sprout), stores, workshop, locomotive shed, a feed mill
from 1936 and facilities for transshipping potatoes.

[BLN 1273]
In 1920 an initial narrow gauge line was laid along drain banks on the fen running east from the few
houses clustered at Wasps Nest and soon extended west to the base just south of Nocton & Dunston
Station. Eventually there were some 32 miles of permanent track with temporary track laid into fields
to move potatoes for planting and later lifting.

Running west from the base, a line ran west to Glebe Farm and east down the steep scarp slope to
Wasps Nest where essentially four roughly parallel lines ran towards the River Witham.
All interconnected, the northern line was extended to the Witham bank in 1927 when the sugar
factory at Bardney was built on the opposite bank close to Bardney station. The sugar beet, planted as
a rotation crop, was taken over the river on a gantry with a grab crane. Post WW2 the need to avoid
double handling of the potatoes led to roads being gradually built across the fen allowing lorries to
reach all the fields. The railway was used to build the roads and by the end of 1960 the network was
closed apart from a short length in and around the chitting house, which remained in use until 1969.

The track was mostly laid with ex-War Department Light Railway WWI 60cm track obtained from
Thos W Ward Ltd. Rolling stock came from the same source, including four wheeled flat wagons later
fitted with low bodies, two designs of bogie open wagons, bogie tank wagons for delivering water onto
the fen including the houses at Wasps Nest and a group of bogie ambulance vans. One bogie wagon
was later converted into a coach for shooting parties and occasional school parties and (in the 1950s)
railtours, travelling the system. About 10 locomotives were used over the operating period, mainly
petrol locomotives from Motor Rail of Bedford although two diesels were bought from Ruston &
Hornsby in Lincoln in 1932. Two steam locos were tried in the 1920s but with little success.
Train movements were managed by a traffic controller by telephone from the base with the location of
locos and wagons shown on a board with a plan of the system. Today little remains to be seen on the
still intensively farmed estate although a varied collection of rolling stock forms the core of the
Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway at Skegness (MR p20).

BELOW: Scunthorpe Anchor Sidings during our 17 Jan 2017 brakevan railtour (Andrew Murray).

[BLN 1273]
213] FIXTURES REPORT: Scunthorpe New Year Steel Tracker, Sat 7 Jan: If you were lucky enough to
have attended Ian Mortimer's remarkable AGM slide presentation in November, you would probably
have either reminisced about brake van tours to obscure branch lines and industrial locations or else
(like myself) wished that such things were still possible today. Well there is still one location which
does allow this type of activity so any opportunity to participate needs to be swiftly grasped and 62
other members were obviously of the same opinion meaning the event was fully booked in 14 days!
On a cold and foggy morning, the party gathered on the AFRPS platform for a prompt 09.30 departure
and the appeal of this visit was emphasised by the mix of people (young and old, male and female, low
and high membership numbers, multiple or first visits and so on). Departure was slightly delayed due
to a substitute loco being provided with better headlamps for the fog (which soon went anyway).
This turned out to be Hunslet 0-6-0 '58', preserved but still actively used at the works, a most
appropriate choice. The three brake vans were swiftly and evenly filled so off we headed, hopefully
being able to take advantage of the reduced works activity following the Christmas holiday period.
This was my fourth BLS trip here but the first of mine to start by heading off in an anti-clockwise
direction with the first port of call being the two blast furnace area approach lines near 'Anne' and
'Victoria' (all four of the furnaces being named after queens in case you didn't know), followed by the
nearby siding and loop line after multiple reversals. In fact in the course of the day there were 79 such
reversals (or 80 depending upon how you treat lunch stops!) so these will not be separately itemised!
There is a marked up map of the tour route as a download with e-BLN (it benefits from magnification).

ABOVE: The blast furnace high line (with more activity than during previous tours) Andrew Murray.

[BLN 1274]
The next locations were Caparo Merchant Bar Gate 15 by the Torpedo Repair bay and Gate 7 at the
Bar Mill, very unusually venturing part way into the building at each. Leaving the former, the loop line
was also covered by shunting some wagons out of the way giving a real working railway feel to things
(which it is of course). Back to the Furnace area again but this time the right hand line to 'Victoria's'
bottom (!) stopping short for obvious reasons - a hot metal suit would be mandatory to proceed
further (she may not be amused but the bottom line is that it was new track!). More reversals put us
on the unexpected outer track for the 'main line' run round to the Slab Yard area (I felt a crossover
coming on…). The reason however became clear at the said crossover - the inner line was reduced to
just ballast for a fair length undergoing maintenance, so one for another day.

The new loop by the Slab Yard was sadly occupied by wagons but the siding above (once part of the
through route) was taken to the buffers, so the slight disappointment was soon forgotten.
Shame those wagons were being loaded! The next section saw the Former Bloom and Billet Mill
(BBM) thoroughly investigated with the usual transit through the building (which used to be the only
time tours went inside a building I am informed). BBM1, BBM3 and BBM4 were taken to the entrance
as was the unnumbered west side access with both BBM2 lines taken part way in. The real highlights
though were BBM5 (right hand line), BBM6E and BBM6W inside right to the buffers. BBM6E seemed to
be real undiscovered territory stretching down beyond the entrance to BBM1 and much further than
the excellent map provided showed. All this within the first three hours of our 8-hour day here!

The lunch break would soon beckon but not until both Medium Section Mill 'C' entrances were taken
to just inside, the nearby siding to the buffers, a run through Mills Exchange Siding 13 (some visible
ex-Norwegian Di 8s creating a fair deal of interest), Siding 13 to the buffers and the un-named line to
the right to just beyond the loop and back (both sides being covered of course). Now it was 13.00, so
off to the AFRPS Shed via the inner line (thank you!) for the usual efficient and ample lunch stop in the
buffet car, included in the price of the trip, with time for photos (how many times did Alan Sheppard
have to carefully balance the headboard on '58'?) and a look around.

BELOW: Mills Exchange Sidings, with a train of iron ore on the embankment behind arriving from
Immingham on the Foreign Ore Branch. The Class 66 will return with a different rake of unloaded
wagons while the wagons are rotary tippled, the final such operation in the UK (Andrew Murray).

[BLN 1273]
ABOVE: Our tour train at the AFRPS Depot during the lunch break (Kev Adlam).

The second half kicked off with traversal of the outer shed road as far as the wagon followed by a trip
into the shed on road 2 as far as a wagon being worked on. Then it was off to the blast furnace area
again to visit the top end to the right of 'Mary' and 'Bess' (so now you know all four queens.
I could also educate you on what is carried in the different coloured pipes around the site if only I
could remember…). A stop on 65 Road allowed 'top & tail' Di 8s to pass on the adjacent track and it
was noted that there was also a pair behind us. Definitely a working railway!

Next was Steel Stockyard headshunt via siding D2. 'Anybody need D3?' asked the accommodating
AFRPS train crew and at least five people did, so off came '58' to run back and return via that line as
there was not quite enough room in the headshunt. Gravity allowed a few feet of unpowered mileage
(yardage?) but having come to a stop there was an unexpected slight roll back in the opposite
direction which will have pleased the directionality merchants. D3 duly completed (under power!) all
three Redbourn sidings were picked off with C2 both ways.

Trent Siding 5 and Anchor Exchange 11 (each in both directions and note that the AFRPS have to
accept what the DBC controller allocates here) completed the northern elements of the tour. With
light starting to fade it was time to head back South via Mills Exchange 12 where there was a pause.
A single Di 8 was seen to start moving and heading towards the train but sadly attached to the wagons
on Road 11 which were blocking our progress. Heading now for the final section by the BOS plant we
took Welfare loop and then the New Loop by the Slab Yard (the earlier wagons, now loaded, had
moved elsewhere thanks again!).

ABOVE: Pyrotechnics as a hot metal torpedo is cleared out while the tour passed by (Andrew Murray).
BELOW: Back at the AFRPS platform at the end of the tour (Andrew Murray 7 Jan 2017).

By now it was dark but that only made the moving hot metal (glow in the dark) torpedo trains look
even more impressive and the heat as we passed was much appreciated if only briefly. Despite the lack
of light, it was quite clear that something special was happening and we progressed right to the
buffers at the elevated end of the BOS plant line, perhaps the biggest scratch of the day (other than
for a few who had done it the week before…!). Alas, the tour totalling 34m 23ch was now over bar
covering the loop and headshunt at the AFRPS platform we had started from eight hours earlier.
Pictures by Andrew Murray (click on white arrow to follow the sequence).

A big thank you to everybody involved in the planning, operating and catering on this fixture which
certainly reached some parts that beers had never reached before! A substantial donation resulted to
support the good work of the AFRPS. If you missed out, why not try one of the 4-hour AFRPS steam-
hauled brake van tours at 11.00 from the AFRPS platform by donation on 28 Jan, 25 Feb, 25 Mar and
22 Apr. Advance booking is required [email protected] or 01652 657053. (Terry Cotter)

Postscript: After the fixture a good number of members caught the 18.19 Northern 'local' service from
Scunthorpe and, by special request, did the new Doncaster P0 to the buffer stops (thank you driver!).

Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring.……..1273 CONNECTIONS……….Details must be checked with the organisers.
(Items that may be of interest to our members that are generally not Branch Line Society activities.)

214] Westbury Power Box, Thur 26 Jan: Subject to final confirmation (including start time), although it
will be the middle of the day, the Thames Valley branch of the RCTS has arranged a visit. For any spare
places apply to our member Stuart Hicks at [email protected] (with BLS membership number).

X.8] Elsecar Heritage Railway, Guard's Van Rides: Every Sunday until 19 Mar at 12.00, 13.00 & 14.00
(MR p9) Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley, S74 8HJ (SK386998) Adults £5, Child
£2.50, includes a hot drink and the stove will be lit, advance booking not required.

X.9] Many Happy Returns From Greater Anglia: Mondays to Fridays off peak day returns over the
whole network (£10, £15 or £20 maximum), book by 3 Feb for travel until 3 Mar, available on line or
via the app. Examples: Cambridge - Norwich £10, Colchester - London £15 and Sheringham - London
£20; no further railcard discounts but up to two children can travel with each adult for £2 each.

215] Weardale Railway: (MR p9) Diesel running is planned before the Polar Express locos and coaches
move. One weekend with both Class 47s top & tail to Broken Banks (almost Bishop Auckland) rarely
covered as last year and, on a different weekend, the Class 31 alone, running round at Stanhope and
Wolsingham. Load nine InterCity Mk2 coaches for the 47s and five for the 31. The dates are likely to be
both in February; full catering at Stanhope and all trains have ETH. (Dates/booking details welcome.)

216] Arriva Wales Trains Club 55: (BLN 1264.1792) Now after 09.30 SSuX or all
weekends; on sale until 25 Feb (not to Cardiff on 11 Feb); return travel must be completed by 4 March.
Basic ATW (only) fare £26 (no Friday surcharge) - £1 discount for senior/disabled railcards. Journey
breaks allowed. Buy on line, from ticket offices or conductors (unstaffed stations). Add-ons (for start or
end of the journey only): Chiltern to London (£21) via Birmingham or Smethwick Galton Bridge, Cross
Country Cheltenham to Birmingham (£11.50), Hereford to Worcester FS or Crewe to Liverpool LS with
LM (both £6) and quite a few Manchester area Northern services (£2.50) but no longer Merseyrail.

217] ScotRail Club 50: £17, flat fare off-peak return (conditions apply) between any two stations in
Scotland (ScotRail only plus TPE for Lockerbie), book by 16 Mar, return within a month. Club 50
membership is required; £15 for 12 months for which an email address, bank card and a passport-style
photo are needed (can be taken or upload one from a suitable internet access device). Tickets from the
Club 50 website or station ticket offices. ScotRail Club 50 gives a 20% discount on line on all Off Peak
tickets all year between any two stations in Scotland (all operators) and ScotRail (only) Advance tickets
or 10% discount from ScotRail Telesales 0344 811 0141 or ticket offices. Also receive one free Club
50 cake and still/sparkling water or orange juice per journey (where the first class tray is available).

X.10] Guess the Location (1): ABOVE: (BLN 1272.X3) Class 76 (043) at Godley Junction, 21 May 1975
arriving with a coal train from the Woodhead line to Garston Dock (coal for export - LOL!). This was a
Manchester University Transport Society brake van trip from here to Garston Dock (Ian Mortimer).

X.11] BELOW: Mottram Yard pictured in July 1981, during a Class 76 cab ride from Penistone to
Godley Junction and back via the Woodhead route to do Mottram Yard which was on quite a
significant different alignment from the main running line (Ian Mortimer from his AGM presentation).

[BLN 1273]

218] S&C steam service trains, Feb 14-16: Appleby 08.30  12.16  15.07  18.41 

'The first timetabled ordinary main line Kirkby Stephen 08.46  12.01  15.23  18.26 
passenger steam trains in England for 50
years.' 60163 'Tornado' and coaches Garsdale 09.03  - --
replace some Northern DMUs, to publicise
and celebrate the forthcoming reopening Horton-in-Ribblesdale. 09.29  - --
11.12  16.15  17.37 
Settle 09.45  10*45  16.40  17.10 

Skipton 10.09 

of the line on 31 March and improve poor passenger loadings. All S&C service trains are standard class

only. NB: PROVISIONAL times are shown, see RTT (when paths appear), RAIL and Steam Railway

websites. (*Connection from Leeds 07.47.) Normal national tickets valid but reservations are advised.

219] S&C Reopening Special with Flying Scotsman, Fri 31 Mar: Oxenhope (approx 08.30) Haworth,

Keighley (K&WVR/NR connection both ways) and Skipton to Carlisle (three hour break) and return.
£220 via Keighley & Worth Valley Railway website or 01535 645214 between 09.30 and 16.30.

220] Pathfinder Tours, 'The Round Robin', Sat 1 Apr: Crewe (10.30/20.30), Stafford, Tame Bridge
Parkway, New Street (11.50/19.10) via Bromsgrove to Long Marston for a trip over the internal inner
railway loop (2+ miles) behind an internal loco (the 3½-mile outer loop is severed see BLN 1252.485,
with a track plan and aerial photo in e-BLN). Of note this is the first railtour to Long Marston since the
branch junction was moved from the east to west end of Honeybourne station in Aug 2011 with the
North Cotswold Line partial redoubling and the first to do Honeybourne trailing crossover. Returns via
Stourbridge Junction; numerous freight loops 01453 835414; from £69 adult.

221] Crich Tramway Village: (MR p32) Horse Tram Days, Sun 18 Jun & Sat 15 Jul. Previously with the
1874 Sheffield Horse Tram No15 operating every 10 minutes 11.00-13.00 and 14.00-16.00 from Town
End to the Bowes Lyon Bridge (£1 return, 50p child) but check. Sat 16 Sep: All available trams running.

222] The last first generation DMUs: It is understood that the Chiltern Heritage 'bubble cars' single
car DMUs may finish with the May timetable, if so the final public service operation could be Fri 19
May. Booked services (SSuX); Aylesbury to Princes Risborough: 06.55, 07.47, 08.49, 17.26 & 18.28
(and ECS at 16.39); Princes Risborough to Aylesbury: 07.20, 08.23, 09.16, 17.00, 18.06 & 19.30.
Of note, if you like rail travel, is a Chiltern only off peak day return for only £16.60 (railcard £10.95)
between Oxford and Aylesbury (or vice versa) even valid via London Marylebone which could be
used for the evening DMU services above as well as the reopened Oxford to Bicester South Jn line.

223] Statfold Barn Railway: 25 Mar, 6/7 May (miniature gala), 10 Jun, & 9 Sep: (MR p24) (SK241064)
(BLN 1267.MR209 - recent map). A very extensive, 3+ miles, multi-gauge (mainly 2') private railway.
A large collection of UK and overseas steam, diesel and electric locos. Enthusiasts' days with visiting
locos, an intensive service and many engines running. £10 per head, no pay on the day. Available to
age 10+ years, apply: (please read carefully) or for
the gala. Or send an SAE for a booking form to: Statfold Barn Railway, The Grain Store, Statfold Barn
Farm, Ashby Road, Tamworth, B79 0BU. There is a completely new tramway line which may operate.

X.12] STOP PRESS, Manchester Metrolink: There may be two crossovers in passenger use over this
weekend 21 and 22 Jan; one at Piccadilly and one at Moston. Note that at the latter stop the
crossover on the city side of the station could be used. This is due to work at Piccadilly and for the
Second City Crossing. Ashton trains are also due to terminate at Piccadilly again on Sunday 19 Feb.

X.13] Guess the Location (2): BELOW: (BLN 1272.X4) Maesteg (near Llynfi Junction), a Dean Forest
Railway Preservation Society tour (28 Apr 1973). The NCB steam special ran to Cwmdu platform and
back. This was a good choice as it closed before the other line here to St John's Colliery (Ian Mortimer).

224] Neville R Knight: (BLN 1272.130) Based in the Manchester area, Neville joined the Society in Jan
1956 and was a very keen and profuse contributor to BLN including news, articles on obscure lines as
well as reports of railtours and brakevan trips. In Jan 1958 he was co-opted onto the Committee as
North West Regional Secretary which resulting in him arranging many brakevan trips (some rather
extending the boundaries of the NW) such as to Whithorn, Garlieston (very choice), Hook Norton,
Minera, Minsterley, Coed Talon and Dyserth - each had a subsequent BLN report which he wrote
himself. A highlight was our 'Chesterton Railtour' in brake vans with the LCGB (NW) on 25 Apr 1964,
which included Pool Dam, Apedale, the Chesterton branch, the Pinnox branch, Kidsgrove Liverpool Road
and Burslem. A keen photographer, he was also the Society Photographic Secretary from Feb 1958 to
Dec 1963, in charge of our photograph collection, and gave illustrated presentations to railway groups.
Neville temporarily added Acting General Secretary to his portfolio from Jan to Sep 1959. He was then
Treasurer and Membership Secretary (when the posts were combined) between the 1964 and 1968
AGMs during which time the Society grew from 153 to 245 members. When the Society was founded in
1955 the subscription was 10 shillings (which is 50p now) and members joined/renewed for 12 months
from their enrolment date giving some income each month. However, problems could occur with late
renewals and it was Neville who introduced the system that has continued since with the same renewal
date for all. The 30 April was chosen as no other Society then used it (to help members' finances) and he
also brought in membership numbers to ease administration. The end of steam on BR persuaded him to
give up his BLS activities at the end of the 1960s. On relinquishing high office, Neville compiled a book
'Railways Round Manchester' with AC Gilbert, a pictorial survey in the 1950s, which was first published
in 1973. In the year 2000 his book 'British Miniature Railways', a photographic survey covering 112 lines,
was published. Neville was also a member of the Manchester Locomotive Society and as recently as
7 Dec 2016 attended their annual Christmas Social. He sadly passed away on Christmas Day.

Paper BLN problems: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] OR RING EDITOR.

SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec

NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
Branch Line Email Service: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
West Midlands: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
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North East England: Geoff Blyth, 26 Trafalgar Way, Queens Park, , CM12 0UT. [email protected]
Scotland: Mike McCabe, Lawrenceholme Barn, Oulton, WIGTON, CA7 0PH. NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: [email protected]
North West, Yorkshire, Humberside, & IOM: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, IOM, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
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