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Published by membersonly, 2019-04-25 18:07:52


25th April 2019

Number 1327 (Items 935 - 1115 & MR 58 - MR 69) (E-BLN 64 PAGES) 27 Apr 2019


…………… Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955

Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677

British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.

BLN 1328 is dated Sat 11 May; please send contributions by Wed 1 May.

935] Charity Raffle Prizes: Thank you for all the donations of prizes for our charity raffles (and books of
tickets even) from members, particularly those that 'money can't buy'. As the Fixtures Secretary is on
overtime organising our railtours, more cpieritzye. sSoocfiertya.ilway or general interest are always welcome to
replace stock. Please contact Paul Stewart or Tim Wallis (back page) about collection or with queries.

Date Event and details  = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status

Fri 26 Apr The Bo'ness Bonus (Bo'ness etc to Crewe single journey) 1326 MG OPEN

Sat 27 Apr The Gourock Growler; Track & Traction tour from Crewe 1326 MG OPEN

Sun 28 Apr The Sunday Shed (single journey Crewe to Polmont etc) 1326 MG OPEN

Sat 4 May K&ESR The Andrew Wilson (Brillo) Memorial; redated to 13 July 1322 MG OPEN

16 - 18 May Island of Ireland IV; first 3 days (can be booked separately) 1324 MG OPEN

Sun 19 May The Cork Stopper, rare track tour Cork to Tralee and back Below MG OPEN

Sat 1 Jun 11.15 Exbury Garden Railway comprehensive railtour Below MG OPEN

Sat 1 Jun 15.00 Royal Victoria Park Railway, all available lines Below MG OPEN

Sun 9 Jun The Sunday Yicker Crewe 09.30-19.10 NW Class 31/33 tour 1325 MG OPEN

Wed 12 Jun All day Liverpool Lime Street Saveaway Tracker (Tom Gilby) 1326 TG OPEN

Thur 13 Jun The Conwy Cat Track & Traction tour Crewe to Chester 1326 MG OPEN

7 and 8 Jul Sun & Mon; Devon service train tracker NOTIFY INTEREST 1326 MH Notify

Sat 13 Jul K&ESR The Andrew Wilson (Brillo) Memorial >NEW DATE< 1322 MG OPEN

Sat 20 Jul Class 37 hauled main line unusual routes railtour Below MG OPEN

Sat 27 Jul The return of Thunder Vac 50008 (D408), circular tour Below MG OPEN

Sun 28 Jul The Steel City Special, Sheffield Supertram WAITING LIST 1325 MG OPEN

26 - 28 Jul Society rare track tour in south Austria 1318 PG OPEN

Sat 10 Aug Save the date, loco hauled tour Crewe - Portsmouth (return) TBA TBA Claimed
Mon 26 Aug Scunthorpe Steeler No19 Railtour (Bank Holiday Monday) TBA TBA Claimed

6 - 8 Sep Save the dates; Society Track & Traction railtour in Norway TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 14 Sep Save the date; provisional track tour to East Anglia, re-dated TBA TBA Claimed

MG = Mark Gomm; MH = Mark Haggas; PG = Paul Griffin; TG = Tom Gilby; Contacts: See back page.

936] The Cork Stopper, Sun 19 May:: Members (and non-members) are encouraged to support our
second Irish Rail charity tour in aid of Railway Children. The 170 miles covers unusual lines in County
Cork and County Kerry; there is a lunch break in Tralee and photo stop at Mallow with options to
return to Dublin early. Highlights include the Cork station avoiding line, the remains of the former
Youghal branch east of Midleton (the very rarely used non-preferred P2 there and the non passenger
extension beyond P1), Killarney 'avoiding line', Cobh, Banteer and Rathmore Engineer's Sidings and
other crossovers/little used platforms, particularly the very rusty track of Tralee P2 (left on arrival).

The Tralee line passes through attractive, and at times remote, scenery; the loops are all bidirectional
so can be difficult to do on service trains. We are indebted to Jim Meade, Irish Rail Chief Executive and
Brian O'Meara, Train Planning & Performance Manager for their dedication in supporting this project.

Our train will be a Tokyu Car Corporation built Class 2600 DMU with a toilet and free Wi-Fi. As usual,
there will be an on-train raffle with 100% of the proceeds donated to Railway Children. It is hoped to
have a trolley service of drinks and light refreshments. A souvenir map, ticket and route guide will be
provided to all participants. The train is limited to a maximum of 130 participants, non-members
welcome. Provisional railtour route and timings, as bid, which have been validated by Irish Rail are:

Cork P4 (PU 08.40) - Midleton P2 (rev) - Sig CE491 (rev) - Midleton P1 - Midleton Siding , this is the
extension on the Youghal side of the station which deviates southward off the former branch, (rev) -
Cork P3 (rev) - Cobh P1 (rev) - Signal CE468 - Cobh Siding (rev) - Cork Loop (Station Avoiding Line) -
Mallow P1 (rev) - Banteer Siding (rev) - Signal T203 (rev) - Banteer Loop - Rathmore Dn Siding (rev)
- Signal TL226 (rev) - Rathmore (main platform) - Killarney Check (avoids station) - Farranfore Loop -
Tralee P2 (rev) (break 13.41/14.30) - Farranfore (main platform) - Killarney Check (rev) - Killarney P2
(rev) - Rathmore Loop - Banteer (main platform) - Mallow P3 (rev/SD 15.58) - Cork P5 (SD 16.44).

There are services to Dublin Heuston from Tralee (P1) at 13.45 (arrives Heuston 17.38), Mallow 16.49
(Dublin 18.52) and Cork 17.25 (Dublin 19.53). Participants are advised to have travel documents and
travel insurance as needed. Adult £65, U18s (must be accompanied) £32.50. Please book online or post
to Mark Gomm with membership number(s) if applicable, an email address or SAE and state joining/
alighting station. Please promote and support this tour, to make future similar railtours more likely.
Places are still available to book on the other three days of our Irish weekend (see BLN 1324.513-515).

937] :Exbury Eucryphia, Sat 1 Jun, 11.15:; (MR P18) Thanks to Rod Bryant, our comprehensive private
visit to the 12¼" gauge, 1¼ mile long, Exbury Steam Railway, Exbury Gardens, Beaulieu, Hampshire,
SO45 1AZ (SU 423 006) is confirmed for 11.15. The very rare station avoiding triangle and new 2018
deviation are included. All Adults £15 per head; U18 £7.50 must be adult accompanied (no surcharge
for non-members). This includes admission to the gardens and a shed visit. Bookings per 936 above.
Please advise if you can give lift/s (and number) from/to Brockenhurst station or if you would like one.

938] :Royal Runabout, Sat 1 Jun, 15.00: (MR p18) To follow Exbury, Rod Bryant has kindly arranged a
comprehensive 'all available lines' railtour including rare track, of the complex interesting 10¼" gauge
(public run 1,000yd) Royal Victoria Railway, Royal Victoria Park, Netley, SO31 5GA (SU 464 079) at
15.00. It is 5-10 mins walk from Netley station, signposted from the station car park and 20 miles
(44 mins by road) from Exbury. All Adults £10; U18 £5 must be adult accompanied (no non-member
surcharge). Booking as 936 above, please advise if you can give a lift from Exbury of if you need one.

939] :The Luca Pezzulo Express, Sat 20 Jul:: This rather special and unusual loco hauled tour, operated
by West Coast Railways, visits FOUR freight installations in the NR London North East zone and raises
funds for Martin House Hospice. This provides family led care for children with
life shortening conditions in a place where children, young people and their families can stay from
time to time along their journey, finding support, rest and practical help. Many of the team behind this
charter have personal connections with the hospice and are delighted to support them with this event.

A WCR Class 37 operates 'top & tail' formation with a Colas Rail Class 37. We are very grateful to Colas
Rail for all their support. Our Buffet Car will serve drinks, snacks and light refreshments while our First
Class Plus passengers enjoy an at seat service of complimentary light refreshments and hot drinks. Our
Real Ale bar will be serving a selection of real ales from the Mallinsons Brewing Company. A break and
photo stop has been requested in Hull. There will be a charity raffle and silent auction with highly
sought after/money can't buy prizes. Access to all freight facilities is, as usual, subject to availability
and operational matters on the day. Provisional times and route, validated by WCR and bid to NR Rail:

Lancaster P4 (PU 06.05) - Preston P5 (PU 06.33) - Bolton - Thorpes Bridge Jn DPL - Rochdale P1 (PU
07.44) - Healey Mills - Wakefield Kirkgate P1 (PU 09.14) (rev) - Wakefield Westgate - Wrenthorpe
Reception Sidings (rev) - Wakefield Westgate - Hemsworth Loop - Swinton - Tinsley South Jn -
Tinsley Shepcote Lane New Sidings (rev) - Woodburn Jn - Stocksbridge Works Liberty Steel (rev) -
Woodburn Jn - Rotherham Central - Moorthorpe - Hambleton East Jn - Barlby Loop - Brough - Hull
(lunch break) - OMYA Ferriby - Brough - Goole - Snaith - Sudforth Lane Sidings - Kellingley Colliery
(rev) - Sudforth Lane Sidings - Hensall - Drax Power Station - Knottingley West Jn - Wakefield
Kirkgate P3 (SD 19.11) - Heaton Lodge Jn - Milner Royd Jn - Rochdale P3 (SD 20.17) - Thorpes Bridge
Jn UPL - Salford Central P2 (SD 21.02) - Bolton - Preston P4 (SD 21.54) - Lancaster P2 (SD 22.21).

Bookings as 936 above. Members: First Class Plus £144 (Tables for 2 fully booked); Standard Class £89;
U18s (must be accompanied by an adult) £47 reduction all fares. Non-BLS members: £12 surcharge.

940] Information Sent to Fixture Participants: As well as final details, these may include track plans
(please carefully note any restrictions on use), stocklists and historical notes. They may be sent to all
who book online as electronic attachments with the e-ticket (as appropriate). Participants booking
by post only who do not have an e-mail address must supply AT LEAST AN A4 (C4) SIZE ENVELOPE
(32.4cm x 22.9cm) WITH A 'LARGE' LETTER FIRST CLASS STAMP (not 100 grams). Depending on the
adequacy of the SAE, paper copies of attachments are included. If you want only your fixture ticket
and details posted, a 23cm x 16cm (C5) envelope with a normal First Class stamp is fine. After some
events, primarily minor railways, 'marked up' track plans and stocklists (updated) may be produced.

If so, these are e-mailed for personal use only to those who received e-tickets. However, the Society
does not undertake to distribute any paper copies. All arrangements for this are personal between
participant and the producer of these. It is hoped that participants who benefit this way appreciate
the efforts made on their behalf and express their thanks accordingly. The Society wishes to thank
all those volunteers who devote extra effort to produce itineraries, track plans, stocklists etc.

1327 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
941] Head Lines & Fixtures Reports: These are deferred to catch up with many other items in what is
already a record breaking first 40 page paper BLN since it began in Oct 1955 (6 pages that month!).

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

BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive when bracketed) bold = closed now

1322.242 28 Sep 18 Unknown CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan
1326.918 16 Mar 19 Unknown Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog [ROP to Llanrwst by 2 Aug??]
1311.1736 15 Apr 19 23 Apr 19 *(Bidston) - West Kirby (Wrexham - Bidston not affected)
1323.380 31 Mar 19 6 May 19 Cromer Jn - West Runton - Sheringham (Network Rail)
1311.1736 27 Apr 19 6 May 19 *Bidston East Jn - New Brighton
1322.247 28 May 19 (Kettering) - Market Harborough - Wigston North Jn
1316.2303 3 Jun 19 Mid Hants Railway; Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)
1326.788 2 Jan 19 Late Jul 19 (Lisburn) - (Portadown)
1325.655 26 Jul 19 24 Aug 19 Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
20 Oct 18 Mar 2020 ?

1327 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
943] Welcome! To all our many new recruits; Society membership now exceeds 1,900. To assist you,
and existing members, there is a PDF of BLN abbreviations with e-BLN that will be retained on our
website document archive. Any member who would like a copy please email the Editor or those
without an email address can send an SAE for a paper copy. Members are reminded to please renew
your membership (if not already done) to retain membership benefits, including discounts on fixtures.

944] 'Nuff Said; NEXT PAGE TOP: from 'The Oldie' spring 2019: [Health & Safety note: Please do not try
this alone - there should be a second worker present in case of accident while working at height.]

945] My First Railway Memories (4): By Robert Green. The house I was born to backed on to Olton
station on the Great Western Railway (GWR) line south of Birmingham. My bedroom overlooked the
Birmingham end of the platforms and I still have the cast-iron letters O-L-T-O-N from a running in
board. I recall many trips to Snow Hill and further afield (including Minehead by GWR) from a young
age but my railway 'development' was from the age of 8½ in August 1950. My parents put me on a
Paddington train from Snow Hill (in the compartment next to the guard's) with a little case.

At Paddington, I knew what to do and, on my own, I walked forward, thanked the driver and fireman
of '6012' King Edward VI, crossed 'The Lawn', down the steps to Bakerloo Line southbound, tube to
Waterloo, 'Way Out' to Main Line Station and up the escalator. Here I was met by a family friend who
took me on to Portsmouth Harbour, the ferry to Gosport and a bus to Alverstoke. There, I enjoyed a
holiday at the National Children's Home, where the friend worked, and which included walking the
trackbed of the Lee-on-the-Solent Light Railway (closed to all traffic from 30 Sep 1935). This holiday
brought me some good Southern 'cops' and kindled my interest in railway routes.

Such 'treatment' of children would be frowned upon today . . . . ! The return trip was less eventful -
I was in the company of the friend all the way!

Haulage by '6012' proved prophetic as, some three years later, I achieved a place at the principal
School of that king's foundation - King Edward’s School, Birmingham. Here was a thriving Railway
(& Model Engineering) Society and my railway interest was enhanced further through extra-mural talks
by local speakers, including 'Cam' WA Camwell, a Birmingham bank manager, railway historian and
renowned railtour organiser. There were trips to MPDs in the busy areas such as London, Manchester,
South Wales, Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds and elsewhere, often using unusual routes. There were
informative visits to venues such as the 1948 Rugby Testing Station and shed, returning via the Rugby
to Leamington Spa line, CP 15 Jun 1959 (timetabled services) and a visit to Swindon 'A' Shop and shed
returning by way of Swindon Town (signal box visit) to Cheltenham Spa Lansdowne (CP 11 Sep 1961,
mostly). Some of these were organised by an earlier contributor to this column (Robert Darlaston,
BLN 1324.660), a part contemporary of mine and, like him, I also recall with affection the Birmingham
Tram system, especially the route to Rednal for days out on the Lickey Hills. My final school railway
event was a return brakevan trip, from Moreton-in-Marsh on the nine mile Shipston-on-Stour branch
a week before final closure (CP 8 Jul 1929; CA 2 May 1960). '78009' was in charge!

946] Signal Box Quiz II - Part 2: Thanks to Angus McDougall, name the location of these signal boxes

whose names give little or no clues as to where they were situated. All were in existence after 1960

(some still are) and the names are believed to be those shown on the box. (Answers in BLN 1328) ...

●Anglesea Sidings ●Dalry Junction ●Londonderry Junction

●Auckland Junction ●Eccles Crossing ●Melbourne Junction

●Bradford Junction ●Geneva ●Newcastle Crossing

●Buckingham Junction ●Hackney ●Sandbach Junction

●California Crossing ●Halifax Junction ●Waterloo Loop

●Copenhagen ●Leeds Junction ●Windsor Passing Siding

●Crewe Junction ●Lesmahagow Junction ●Wisbech Junction

947] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1324.526] On the Llangollen Railway Corwen extension, after raising part
of the money needed (£10k of £25k), some of the embankment before the new station was reinstated
over Easter using material from the former Ruthin line. Track laying from the railhead and the new
siding could follow in May. The website says the railway will 'not be running to Corwen until 1 July'.

●●BLN 1325.669]Transfer of signalling control from the Park Royal area to Greenford signal box took
place in the early hours of Sun 24 Feb 2019 (but was omitted from the weekly operating Notice at the
time; 2 Mar was actually the date it appeared in the WON as a 'New item work already carried out').

●●670] A member feels that the local objections to moving Victoria Coach Station to Royal Oak are
well-founded and the campaigners shouldn't be referred to as NIMBYs. It is a heavily trafficed area
with the Westway A40 close by and air pollution caused by traffic is becoming a big issue in London. If
indeed the land was gifted to the community then they have good reason to object, and a recent
London Bus Magazine also reports that Westminster Council has reservations about the scheme.

●●672] Angus McDougall's picture of Barking station in e-BLN was taken on 6 Apr 2015. ●●694] The
18.10 (SSuX) from London Euston to Wrexham General and Holyhead splits at Chester, not at Crewe.
●●764] The 'other' John Cameron, owner of A4 'Union of South Africa' 60009, has said that his loco is
being repaired, extending its boiler 'ticket' 12 months to Oct 2020. ●●BLN 1326.851] Wishful thinking
perhaps, but thanks to the member who pointed out that flooding of the Durham - Bishop Auckland
line would not affect train services as it closed to passenger in 1964 and all traffic in 1968! This should,
of course, have been the Darlington - Bishop Auckland line that was flooded. ●●822] Regarding the
components that were purloined from points at Engine Shed Jn which put the Goole Docks connection
out of use there, 'US' is short of 'Out of Service' (and you though BLN abbreviations were bad enough).

●●839] At Cheadle (Stockport, ex-Cheshire Lines Committee line) it was only the goods depot that was
renamed Cheadle North from 1 Jul 1950, not the passenger station. ●●922] With apologies, in our
'Looe Brush' tour report: [However, even at 90yd every two months, few of us would live long enough
to travel over it all.] was in the wrong place, it should have been at the end of the following paragraph.

●●915] Ian Delgado's UT Tracker website does not use the same data feed as Realtime Trains (etc) and
the electronic NR timetable. Instead UT Tracker uses a weekly data feed downloaded from the Rail
Delivery Group's website refreshed every Saturday at 06.00. Realtime Trains (and presumably the
electronic NR timetable) makes use of five feeds from NR's open data feed platform, including the Very
Short Term Plan schedules which effectively provide real time information. Accordingly, there is a
warning on the UT Tracker website that the user 'is advised to check any content of specific interest
against National Rail Enquiries or Realtime Trains, etc' for any last-minute changes to schedules.

●●925] Regarding Scotch Island Loop on the Weardale Railway, the west end points were reversed a
few months ago, RMS Lotec did the work and Green Dragon Rail's Locking fitter supervised the locking
alterations. Trains from Stanhope to Bishop Auckland can now run directly into the loop without
setting back. A member attended the 12-14 Apr diesel gala and confirms this was happening. However,
trains did also cross there during the 2018 Diesel Gala although this, of course, involved 'setting back'.

PREVIOUS PAGE: The 11.50 working from Stanhope to Bishop Auckland with 31285 at Scotch Island.
On the right 31465 passes on the bidirectional Up & Down Main with the 11.50 from Bishop Auckland
to Stanhope during the Weardale Railway Diesel Gala. (Andy Overton 21 Apr 2018.)

948] Minor Railways 2019; 31st Edition: A 36 page A5 booklet with card covers listing every known
Standard Gauge Railway, Narrow Gauge Railway, Miniature Railway (7¼" gauge and above of over
100yd), Tramway and Cliff Railway in the British Isles offering public rides. Information for each
railway (there are over 520) includes: the name, location, gauge, layout, length, OS grid reference &
telephone number. Thanks to Peter Scott for all his time and effort on this. Any full member who
has not yet received their copy by post please contact Dave Monger (back page). Extra copies £5
(P&P free), from Sales Officer Graeme Jolley (per back page); cheques payee 'Branch Line Society'. 'Minor Railways Online' is Peter Scott's website with online supplements,
latest news, publications for sale and much more. BLN MR references are now to the 2019 edition.

949] The Rise and Fall of... is a 19 second long interesting animation of the
development of Great Britain's railway network (click the white arrow to begin); best in full screen.

950] Defunct Heritage Railways: (BLN 1324.525) Thanks to Ian Mortimer and Phil Logie there is a new
BLN Pictorial (25 photos) for logged in members to see on our website. Some are very obscure, some
never had regular public services (but had Society visits); all but one did not make the 21st Century.
How many did you do and how many did you not even know about? (It is not a complete list.) Please
email BLN Pictorial pictures and captions to [email protected] (see website BLN Pictorial page).

951] British Power Signalling Register: compiled by our member Any Overton
and hosted by the Signalling Record Society (but available to all). This new version has been thoroughly
reviewed and updated, also with additional information (all explained in the 'alterations' document).
All contributions and observations are welcome. It is a complete spreadsheet listing of: All signalbox,
local control and ground switch panels of any kind utilising button or switch control, and VDU systems.
A complete listing of all associated interlocking. A complete listing of all power frames.

952] Tiny Intermediate Termini: (BLN 1326.828). A member has proposed other candidates:
●19.49 SuX Leeds to Ribblehead, where hardly anyone lives, and 21.45 return; nine minutes earlier at
...21.36, the 20.18 Carlisle to Leeds passes through but non-stop. This is no doubt the star candidate.
●15.03 (SSuX) Lancaster & 14.51 (SuO) Barrow turn back at Sellafield, where few live but many work.
●17.12 (SuX) Inverness to Ardgay and 19.28 return (population about 500 - may be more than Danby).
●Until extended to start from Oban, there was a morning Glasgow train from Arrochar & Tarbet.
●Talking of Oban, there is the 16.11 (SSuX) to Dalmally - a school train - and its 17.05 return.
●Bedwyn is probably the intermediate station with most passenger trains turning back throughout the, serving the smallest population (Great Bedwyn 1,353 but it is the railhead for a large area).

1327 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
953] Tiny Tumby Woodside, something fishy is going on: (BLN 1326.828) The short workings from
Lincoln to Tumby Woodside were run not for fishermen* but mainly for the benefit of personnel at
RAF Coningsby. For instance, in the 1963/64 timetable there were three each way on a weekday to,
Coningsby arr/dep: 1.04/1.30, 4.44/4.50 and SX 9.22/9.30pm. One arrived 11.02pm SO and returned
ECS. On Sundays there were 3.01/3.35pm and an 11.00pm arrival, returning ECS. Then to turnback
these trains used Coningsby crossover. However, there was no level crossing to staff there so, as an
economy measure, Coningsby Signal Box closed on 29 Jan 1969. These terminating trains then had to
run a further 2½ miles east to Tumby Woodside (virtually in the middle of nowhere) to cross over.
BLN 152 of 11 April 1970 noted that the station had entirely Great Northern somersault signals.

The retimed extra trains then served Tumby Woodside (population 246) at: 12.49/1.00, 4.44/4.55, SX
9.27/9.35pm and SO 11.07pm the latter returning ECS. By the time (Lincoln -) Greetwell Jn - Bellwater
Jn (- Firsby) CP 5 Oct 1970, the Sunday service had been withdrawn but the three terminators each

[BLN 1327]
weekday remained. A member travelled on one of these on more than one occasion. The line CA east
of Woodhall Jn headshunt on the same date but freight traffic continued between Lincoln and
Woodhall Junction (a station short of the junction) Goods - seed potatoes in season and no doubt coal
- and, with a reversal at Woodhall Jn itself, Horncastle (tractor fuel). It was cut back to Bardney (sugar
factory) on 5 Apr 1971 and taken out of use 5 Sep 1971. Before that, Horncastle was the BLS brake van
trip (on an actual freight working) most requested by Society members. Your NE Regional Editor, then
living in Nottingham, did it on 22 Dec 1969 and thinks that the society ran 22 trips. On his trip, it was
thought that the staff at Lincoln Holmes Yard had held back the one oil tank destined for Horncastle
to ensure there was traffic on this day and hence that the train would run beyond Woodhall Jn!
[*Our NE Regional Ed's memory was not entirely wrong as fishermen's specials ran in the late 1950s
and early 1960s to the line, in particular from Wadsley Bridge (Sheffield) to Woodhall Junction station,
calling at Gainsborough Lea Road, Saxilby, Lincoln, Washingborough, Five Mile House, Bardney,
Southrey and Stixwould; sometimes they were extended to Dogdyke, Langrick and Boston.]

ABOVE: 1959 one-inch 7th Series showing Coningsby (the RAF airfield is below) and Tumby Woodside.
They were on the direct Lincoln off top left, to Skegness line off middle right, (CP 5 Oct 1970 also CA
Woodhall Jn - Bellwater Jn, a very grim day for railway closures in Lincolnshire). Top left at Coningsby
Jn the line to Boston runs southeast (this section CP/CA 17 Jun 1963). Both of these lines were double
track; Woodhall Jn (for the Horncastle branch) is two miles northwest of the top left hand corner.
954] Franchise: The new East Midlands franchise has been awarded to Abellio East Midlands (AEM).
The Abellio group is wholly owned by the Dutch national rail operator Nederlande Spoorwegen. It is
the sixth UK franchise that Abellio is involved in (counting West Midlands and London Northwestern
Trains separately) and runs from 18 Aug 2019 until 21 Aug 2027 with a possible extension of up to two
years. Brand new trains will replace the whole intercity fleet (bring on the bimodes!). There will be an
80% increase in morning peak seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St Pancras. Note that the existing
HSTs are not Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant and clearly won't be by the 1 Jan 2020
deadline. It is reported that a derogation has been requested to allow their continued operation,
[could be interesting if this is refused] with clarification that power doors are not a DDA requirement.
AEM is to trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the main line and run zero-carbon pilots at six stations. Over
£17M will be invested in station facilities, including access improvements. There will be free Wifi on
trains and at stations, and new smart, flexible ticketing options, with better value for those who travel
regularly but less than 5 days a week. Improved ticket buying facilities include 9 newly staffed stations.

ABOVE: The new Gateway West Jn - towards Sheet Stores Jn - looking east at Ratcliffe Power Station.
BELOW: In the other direction is the new facing crossover. (Ian Mitchell; Sun 14 Apr 2019 & next two.)

THIS PAGE: Both pictures are looking towards Castle Donington, showing the new branch.

[BLN 1327]
955] Ollerton: (BLN 1289.1927) The Robin Hood Line might add another string to its bow. As part of its
new franchise, Abellio East Midlands is also required to submit a business case to the Secretary of
State for possible extension to Ollerton. Initial estimates are a cost of about £25M to provide a new
rail service with over £7½M on new buildings (and counting!). The project has strong local political
support with Mark Spencer, the Conservative MP for Sherwood, recently hosting a meeting for
stakeholders and politicians. He was confident that a passenger service could start within five years.

956] Electrification: Work has begun between Bedford Bromham Rd overbridge (50m 10ch) just north
of the station, Kettering North Jn and Corby Station North Jn (79m 60ch). Contact and aerial earth
wires for the new Overhead Line Equipment will be progressively installed between these locations, on
the Up Fast, Down Fast and Up/Down Slow lines. Indeed a member reports that by 13 April they were
already in place from Corby 2½ miles south to the site of the former Geddington station.

957] Wellingborough: South of the station, by 15 Apr on the Up & Down Slow line (the future Down
Slow with re-quadrupling) a new facing crossover (64m 23ch) along with a new trailing crossover just
to the north (64m 28ch) were installed. These are part of the future Wellingborough South Jn. North
of the station at Harrowden Jn new trailing points were installed in the Up/Down Slow (66m 55ch),
part of a new trailing crossover. The new trackwork is clipped and padlocked OOU until Jan 2020.

958] Kettering South Jn: From 15 Apr a new OOU trailing crossover was installed in the Up and Down
Slow line (71m 60ch); from Jan 2020 it will allow movements from Kettering P2 to the new Up Slow.

959] East Midlands Gateway: (BLN 1320.33 & above) Between Castle Donington and Sheet Stores Jn a
new set of out of use facing points was installed on 15 Apr in the Up Chellaston Line (122m 72ch). They
form part of a new facing crossover to the Down Chellaston line at the new Gateway West Jn, due to
be commissioned in May. The branch layout to SEGRO (Slough Estates Group) Logistics Terminal, East
Midlands Gateway (Kegworth) Freight Terminal, under construction, is as projected in TRACKmaps
Book 4, p13C (Dec 2018) except that there is a trap point at 0m 00ch (rather than a headshunt as
shown). There is no track yet on the underbridge over the road heading north from Lockington or the
embankment beyond it continuing south towards the logistics park. (Map e-BLN 1273.159.)

960] Gainsborough Lea Road: P2, a concrete structure, is breaking up and there has been settlement
of the platform and access ramp over the past 10 years. They are uneven and a trip hazard while the
ramp walls have fractured and moved. The platform edging is deteriorating and was cut back when the
gauge was enhanced here, increasing the stepping distance to trains. At a cost of about £3M, starting
work on 16 Apr, a new resited P2 is to be constructed nearer to MP 98, for commissioning in Aug 2019.

961] Gainsborough Central: (BLN 1318.2558) From 20 May there is a gross increase in passenger
services from six per week to 144! Since Mon 4 Oct 1993 the station has had three trains a week (SO)
each way - before there were three each way SuX. The new hourly local Sheffield passenger service
(originally due to start on 10 Dec 2018) runs from about 08.00 to 20.00 (SuX) - on Saturdays they are
part of the three trains to/from Cleethorpes. It will be the best service the station has ever had since it
opened in 1849! Meanwhile Lincoln to Sheffield trains (generally to Leeds via Barnsley) are speeded
up by missing out smaller stations, but still call at Gainsborough Lea Road - so the town will have two
trains per hour to/from Sheffield. Of note Gainsborough Central recorded a total of EIGHT passengers
over the whole of 2002/03, using the 336 trains that called (making it the joint least used station that
year with Barry Links). By 2017/18 that had increased to 970 (Gainsborough Lea Road had 159,670).

The new services have about 20 mins to turnaround at Gainsborough Central and it is understood that
NR has been given a six month dispensation to start Down passengers from Up P2 under the authority
of the ground disc, by when they must have provided a main signal or made alternative arrangements.
Originating trains to Sheffield will thus do the Retford end trailing crossover (74m 3ch) in service on
departure, adding microgicers to the numbers.

At the Barnetby end of the station the ground
frame (74m 60ch) and therefore the other
trailing crossover are believed to be OOU (so no
ECS shunts) but this has not been in the Weekly
Operating Notice or Sectional Appendix! The
station is to be spruced up as it is no oil painting;
in Jan 2014 'The Times' considered it to be the
worst station in the UK.

ABOVE: An old low-resolution picture of the
Retford end crossover at Gainsborough Central;
a time when there was freight traffic here.

LEFT: A more recent also low resolution picture
of the crossover and signal box from the station,
on the right the sidings have now gone.
(Both Gary Crompton.)

962] Scunthorpe Steel Works: (BLN 1323.490) The new through running line (see track plan on our
website) is a straight continuation south of the Furnace Road (where the existing line curves sharply
left) at the Former Bloom & Billet Mill ('former' as in previous rather than anything to do with forming
iron or steel). It passes over 'The Subway' (then, on a very gentle curve left, there is a new loop with
points each end installed but no track between them yet). The curve becomes sharper until it joins the
existing Soaker Side line at the Concast end of the BOS Yard. It opened to traffic on Thur 28 Mar when
the first train ran, and then the existing tracks each end were realigned and connected back a few days
later. The first AFRPS passenger carrying brakevan special (photo BLN 1326.X.36) was on Sat 30 Mar,
Alan Sheppard representing our Society. It is hoped to cover the new line and the realignments each
end on our Monday 26 August Bank Holiday railtour, which should open for bookings with BLN 1328.

963] Nuneaton, Upside Down: (BLN 1326.796) The platform-less 'middle line', between P5 & 6, rarely
used by passenger trains and missing from the National Rail website plan is the Up Relief (not Down).

964] Cotgrave Colliery Country Park: (BLN 1287.1735) On 9 Apr the new £250k cycle path opened. Its
main section links to Radcliffe-on-Trent, Holme Pierrepont, Grantham Canal path and the nearby
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Holme Pierrepont Skylarks reserve. The 'greenway' is on the route of
the former single track line from Rectory Jn (taken OOU 12 Dec 1996; the mine closed 16 Oct 1992).

965] Newark: Over the Aug Bank Holiday weekend work will take place at various East Coast Main Line
sites. This includes renewing the 'complex' trackwork at Newark, presumably the famous flat crossing
there? If so, as well as the ECML, this would clearly affect the Newark Castle to Lincoln line.

1327 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]

X.46] Angel Road station: (BLN 1314.2091) The station documented 32,939 passengers in 2017-18.
ABOVE: ORR closure ratification notice at Stratford station on 23 April 2019. (Iain Scotchman.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------

X.47] Blackpool Balloon, 26 Jan 2019, (BLN 1326.921) NEXT PAGE: marked up map by Martyn Brailsford.

ABOVE: London Euston, 1952 resignalling diagram at 'The Signal Box' gas

stro pub on the balcony at the station (see Item 970 later) - Don Kennedy.

[BLN 1327]

966] Acton Dive-Under: (BLN 1306.1158) This now seems to be a common route for trains on the Up
Relief. A correspondent travelled that way on 3 Apr after having been the only passenger on Chiltern's
South Ruislip to West Ealing service and observed that the preceding train had used it. Reminder:
Used as needed, no 'booked' use, wait on the London end of Ealing Broadway P4. The signal after P4
has No2 position feathers lit (right angle left/9 o'clock) if the next train is routed via the Dive-Under.

967] Clapham Junction: (BLN 1303.834) Plans to remodel and rebuild the station have been published
by consultant Mott MacDonald, contractor Laing O'Rourke and architect Hawkins Brown. The firms are
part of a working group called the London Stations Initiative set up following the DfT's guidance on
future market led proposals to support their aspiration to find new ways of investing in infrastructure.

It is proposed to straighten tracks and platforms to increase the throughput of trains and capacity
while improving accessibility and safety. The proposals rely on buying land to the south of the station
on which four new platforms could be built 'off grid' to keep costs down and minimise the need for
disruptive engineering possessions. This would enable track to be straightened without the station
losing capacity. Later stages would be coordinated with plans for Crossrail 2. ('Transport Briefing'.)

968] Crossrail: (BLN 1326.802) None of the new stations is finished. Bond Street and Paddington are
reported to be the furthest from completion. At the time of going to press a proposed new opening
date for the core section had still not been announced. The BBC has quoted a senior source associated
with the project as saying it is likely to be somewhere between spring 2020 and spring 2021!

969] East Croydon: (BLN 1317.2456) NR has bought the old Volkswagen and Royal Mail sites on the
east side of the station to provide extra space for the station rebuilding and remodelling.

970] Euston: A new 'Signal Box' pub/restaurant has opened on the balcony. It has an authentic 1952
signalling diagram for the 1952 resignalling of the station (which was superseded by the 1965 Power
Signal Box). Our member asks if the power signalling diagram there is the same size as the original - he
is sure members will know‽ The original 1965 PSB diagram is at Wembley Mainline Signalling Centre.

971] HS2: (BLN 1326.814) The Ibis hotel and National Temperance Hospital to the west of Euston
station have been demolished to make way for the HS2 platforms and concourse. The station was
closed over the four days of the Easter holiday, and is to be again over the three day May Day holiday
weekend, for the work listed in BLN 1326. A new outside entrance to the Underground station is being
built. Unusually, on Good Friday and Easter Monday, Virgin Trains and London Northwestern Railway
ran as far south as Harrow & Wealdstone. Virgin ECS ran empty to Wembley Intercity Depot to
reverse, with LNWR doing so at Wembley Central. There was an enhanced Bakerloo Line service to
Harrow & Wealdstone, with Virgin Trains ticket acceptance, but strangely only as far as Paddington!

NR's latest proposals for rebuilding the domestic part of Euston now indicate that an underground
concourse is the preferred option, with escalator links to LUL and Crossrail 2 (if built). A small number
of platforms on the eastern side would have to be rebuilt, but this approach avoids the hugely
disruptive and wholesale rebuilding of the entire platform layout. The blank station wall that currently
fronts Eversholt Street along the east side of the station would be replaced by retail units, the revenue
from which would help pay for the redevelopment. Construction work would not start until 2027, by
which time the first part of the HS2 side of the station should have opened. ('Transport Briefing')
From 22 Apr the OHLE at the north end of Willesden Euro Terminal was to be recovered.

972] King's Cross: (BLN 1319.2736) The partial closures for remodelling have been delayed by a year
and will now take place between Christmas 2020 and Mar 2021. ('Modern Railways'.) NR has given
advance notice that on 13/14 Jul old signalling cables will be removed from the disused bore of
Gasworks tunnels. This will result in a reduced service, as signalling will not be available in some of the
platforms. A website has been set up for the East Coast Upgrade.

973] New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: The first match was played on the evening of 3 Apr, with the
'Evening Standard' reporting overcrowding on Underground and national rail services before and after.
The new stadium seats 62,000 against 36,000 in the old one. The nearest station is White Hart Lane,
which will be served by an additional two trains per hour two hours before and after matches.
Queuing systems will be in place at Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale after matches.

974] Lea Valley: (BLN 1326.813) From 11 Mar Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park platforms
were renumbered to match those at the new Meridian Water station. P1 is saved for possible future
use, P2 is on the Lea Valley Reversible, P3 on the Up line and P4 on the Down line. ('Railway Observer'.)

975] LUL Sub-Surface Lines Resignalling: (BLN 1325.676) NR is consulting on a proposed network

change relating to the NR/LUL boundaries south of Harrow-on-the-Hill and at Mantles Wood (north of

Amersham). As the LUL CBTC system will use axle counters, there will be overlapping (NR track

circuit and LUL axle counter) detection on the approaches to the LUL owned and controlled area. A

fixed block colour light signalling system with trainstops for use by Chiltern trains will be retained over

the LUL section. Commissioning is expected in Jul 2021 (Harrow boundary) and May 2022 (Amersham).

976] St Paul's: (BLNs 1310.1642 & 1311.1741) Begun on 9 Aug 2018, refurbishment of the two main
escalators finished early with platforms open as normal from Mon 1 Apr, said to be 'half a month early'.

977] South Eastern Resignalling: (BLN 1326.808) From 22 Apr signalling control between Lewisham
and Eltham via the Bexleyheath lines and between Blackheath Jn and Woolwich Arsenal via Charlton
Jn was transferred from London Bridge Area Signalling Centre Panel 5 (closed) to Three Bridges ROC
Lewisham workstation. Control between North Kent East Jn and Charlton Jn via the Greenwich lines
was transferred from Three Bridges Cannon Street 'B' workstation, also to Lewisham workstation.

978] Toilet Charges: These were abolished at King's Cross and Liverpool Street from 1 Apr, following
Euston and Waterloo which were abolished in Mar. All 20 NR-managed stations are now free; 30p 'pay
before you go' still applies at Blackfriars and Marylebone, GTR and Chiltern managed respectively.

979] Transport for London Extensions: TfL estimates that nearly £20bn of funding will be required for

new routes and line extensions being developed for delivery over the next 20 years. The routes are:

 Bakerloo Line upgrade and extension of the line to Lewisham and potentially beyond.
 Northern Line: Battersea extension.
 Crossrail: Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet international extension.
 Docklands Light Railway: Thamesmead extension.
 Croydon Tramlink extension in Sutton.
 London Overground extension to Barking Riverside.
 Crossrail 2.

1327 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
980] Blyth and Tyne: (BLN 1314.2103) Northumberland County Council aims to submit the outline
business case for restoration of passenger services to the government by the end of 2019, with a
target of reopening in 2022. The next phase of the project will be delivered by a consortium on behalf
of Scape Group's Built Environment Consultancy framework. 'Scape' is a public sector organisation
dedicated to creating efficiency and social value via the built environment. With the strategic outline
business case now complete, the delivery team will develop the potential funding and delivery models.

A detailed outline business case will help attract the third party public and private sector funding
needed to accelerate delivery of the scheme. The detailed outline business case potentially will be
included in the North East Transforming Cities Fund submission - an initiative announced by
government last year that will allocate funding to upgrade public transport links in city regions. The
government is apparently strongly encouraging councils to lead rail schemes themselves, with its rail
enhancements pipeline process announced in 2018 supported by NR's 'Open for Business' initiative.

981] Castleford: Documenting 570,000 passengers a year, this barren single platform station is to be
improved, with a new waiting area, ticket machine, new seating and a 'Disabled' toilet. Car park layout
changes will provide easier pedestrian and cycle access with sheltered cycle parking. Refurbishment of
the subway underpass includes footway resurfacing, new wall cladding, lighting and CCTV to create a
better link between the station and residential areas south of the town centre. The £3.3M scheme is
funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund.

982] York (1): (BLN 1324.554) (33 seconds) click arrow bottom left, is a final walk
on 25 Jan over the confined previous footbridge over the Rive Ouse, alongside the Scarborough line. (3 min) is the bridge being replaced and (30 seconds) click
white arrow; the new wider bridge with a much better view of passing trains as can be seen.
983] York (2): The first station was a temporary structure opened 29 May 1839 by the York & North
Midland Railway, outside the city walls. The 'Railway King' George Hudson wanted to bring the railway
into the heart of York, which meant breaching the medieval city walls. The architect George Townsend
Andrews, responsible for many stations in Yorkshire and the North East in the 1840s, designed an
acceptable entry in the form of a Tudor arch. Andrews designed the station buildings but a delay in
agreeing the building design with the Great North of England Railway (GNER, who were joint owners of
the station) meant that it, the second (terminal) station, didn't open until 4 Jan 1841, the day the GNER
OG to Croft Jn (Darlington). It was superseded by the current through third station on 25 Jun 1877.

Archaeological work at the Hudson Quarter development, on Toft Green, has now unearthed the
remains of the 1841 terminal station. Structural evidence of the old station's platforms, train
turntables, auxiliary buildings and associated drainage systems were preserved amongst the piling and
foundation beams belonging to Hudson House. Working alongside the demolition contractors,
archaeologists oversaw the removal of modern built up layers until the archaeological level was
reached, allowing the remains of this historic railway to be recorded and mapped. An old turntable has
been excavated from the site and will be included in the new Hudson Quarter landscaping plans.

984] Halfway: At 19.20 on Thur 19 Apr a member noticed two trams at the terminus, very unusually.

985] Sheffield Supertram: The trailing crossover at the city end of Spring Lane stop is OOU long term.
In a recent Transport Focus independent survey of passengers, the new Tram Train achieved the
remarkable feat of a 100% passenger overall satisfaction rating. The Supertram system achieved a
mere 97%, like Blackpool trams; Manchester Metrolink had 89% and West Midlands Metro only 87%.

A member made a special round trip of 213 miles to Sheffield on Wed 10 Apr to do the Tram

Train, armed with a ticket (an absolute bargain, only £2.65 with a Senior Railcard). However

although the Passenger Information Displays (where provided) at tram stops on the system showed

normal running, there was a scrolling message below this to "ignore the message above, the Tram

Train is suspended until further notice passengers may use local buses or Northern train services with

their tickets". No reason was given and a tram conductor advised that they were not expected to run

at all that day. Our disappointed member set about re-exploring the Supertram network instead

(all included in the Plus Bus ticket with no time restrictions; a tram only Dayrider ticket is £4.20).

By midday the scrolling messages had changed and the Tram Trains were running but twice an hour
(not half hourly, of course) rather than three times an hour, as there were two in service rather than
the normal three. Unfortunately this special service was shown in addition to the normal three tram
service on the displays which caused some confusion and it was also common for them to immediately
follow a 'normal' tram as they were out of their usual pattern. Our member later learned that a faulty
support bracket had been found on a bogie during a routine inspection and all the Tram Trains had
been withdrawn for detailed checks by the manufacturer. Normal service resumed next day.

The Tram Trains are smart, modern and air conditioned, with big windows, comfortable seats even and
very good acceleration. Of note, the circuit breaker cabinet (with a glass door) visible in one of the
cabs had over 160 separate circuit breakers that could blow!
The connection between the Supertram network and the national rail system involves some extremely
tight curves, which are taken very gently. Tram Trains then run alongside the Down and Up Tinsley line
(on what would have been the Up line in double track days) for over a quarter of a mile before joining
it at Tinsley North Jn. Perhaps surprisingly the facing crossover at Rotherham Central Jn has been
electrified although it is believed there are no facilities for Tram trains to turn back in Rotherham
Central P3 ('low level' platform - that is 'low' as opposed to the 'normal level' heavy rail platform) on
the Down side. Even if they were wrongly signalled over the crossover going south, they wouldn't get
very far towards Holmes Jn! There were few passengers but it clearly wasn't a normal day and reports
are that the loadings are overall above their target. Also of note are the very high check rails at points -
to accommodate the tram wheel profile - even on sections where Tram Trains should not run, such as
straight on at Parkgate Jn!

When Cathedral - Rotherham Parkgate (referred to as just 'Parkgate') services started Thur 25 Oct

2018, tram-only Dayrider tickets were to be valid on it for a promotional period (to 29 Apr 2019 at

first). However, this has now been extended until 2 May 2020. advise their understanding is

that there is no such limit on the validity of PLUSBUS tickets. Tram Trains (like the Purple tram route

services from Herdings) do the facing crossover before Cathedral when arriving there to turnaround.

As well as the £4.20 adult tram-only Dayrider, a Family version is £9. A tram only Megarider (weekly
ticket) is £14. Single tickets are £1.80 between Parkgate, Rotherham Central and Arena (£3 return)
and £2.50 for all longer journeys. Trams have conductors who take only cash, although contactless
payment is expected to start in Aug 2019. There is a preloaded smart card 'Megarider Xtra' that can be
used on trams. English National Concessionary passes are valid for free travel on Supertram and
currently Tram Trains 09.30-23.00 (SSUX) and all day at weekends and bank holidays. South Yorkshire
pass holders (only) also have half fare on their local trains during the same times.

986] Danby & Battersby: (BLN 1326.828) Alan Williams of 'Modern Railways' fame gave a recent talk in
Scarborough, having some years ago bade farewell to Effingham Junction in favour of a village near
the former Scarborough to Whitby line. Apparently he said that Northern had made it known there
was spare time in the unit diagram when the 10.57 (SuX) from Hexham arrived at Nunthorpe and, as it
could not be accommodated there, asked where on the Whitby branch the authorities would like it to
run to, to kill time. Danby was the furthest east it could go in the time available, so that was agreed.
The 'Moors National Park Centre' is here (actually about a mile east of the station) which may have
also had some bearing. Meanwhile the good folk of Castleton village are unhappy that two trains run
through their station without stopping; you can't please everybody! It now seems that, from the Dec
2019 timetable (or maybe before), the train will turnaround at Castleton Moor instead. Danby goods
yard CG 2 Aug 1965 and it is thought that its signal box closed soon after.

The Danby train is reportedly as occasionally cancelled at Nunthorpe (presumably due to significant
late running although it would be interesting to know how it is then accommodated there - see above).
The evening train to/from Battersby also only runs due to the lack of a stabling facility at Nunthorpe.

A member travelled on the 'Danby express' on 9 Jun 2018. A few travelled to Battersby and 2 or 3 to
Danby. However the return service featured only our member and the crew. The guard asked his sole
passenger if he required the announcements as there were a lot of stations (24) through to Hexham!

Our member agreed that he could manage without! He doesn't recall anyone else joining the train
until Nunthorpe. On 25 Feb after visiting the delights of Battersby, another member joined the train
there, mainly to fill the time. Nobody alighted, only he boarded and there was one 'genuine' passenger
on the train for Danby (which documented a total of 6,810 passengers in 2017-18). He and a friend

were the only passengers south of Nunthorpe on the 17.17 to Battersby (from Hexham) and 17.44
return to Metrocentre in Dec 2018. The crew was most surprised to have any passengers on this
section. [Your Editor was once the only passenger on the 18.36 (SuX) Knottingley to Goole and 19.44
return, so he asked the conductor if that was usual; his reply: "This is about as exciting as it gets!"]
987] T&W Metro: To relay 1.6km of track between Gateshead Stadium and Felling, services were/will
be replaced by buses over three weekends as follows:
● 13/14 Apr, Monument - Hebburn/Brockley Whins: Trains from Sunderland would probably take the
Boldon East Jn facing crossover in service turning back in Brockley Whins P1. A railtour to Tyne Dock
from Sunderland (such as our 29 Aug 2016 'Tale of Two Ports') would do the same crossover. Less
likely, but still possible, is arrival into P2 from Sunderland with an ECS shunt over the Newcastle end
trailing crossover. (Reports welcome.) No rare track at Hebburn, as it is on a loop in the single line, but
there would be bidirectional use in/out of P1 or P2 on the shuttle to/from South Shields. Arrivals from
the north at Monument would turn back in P1, returning north in service over Prudhoe St crossover.
● 19-22 Apr (Easter), Gateshead Stadium - Hebburn/Brockley Whins: Trains from South Gosforth
turnback in Gateshead Stadium P1 and return north via the South Gosforth end trailing crossover.
● 4-6 May (Bank Holiday), Monument - Hebburn/Brockley Whins: As for 13/14 April.

988] Azumas: (BLN 1325.682) The new Class 800 trains are due to enter service on 15 May between
King's Cross and Leeds. The initial plan was for the HST diagram which starts and ends its day at Hull to
be the first, but that will now follow on. From 15 May one new train will be introduced each week,
other than the first week of the new timetable. Full introduction will enable more services to operate,
as the total LNER train fleet increases from 45 sets to 65. At present the Azumas are not allowed to run
in electric mode further north as they then interfere with the signalling. There seems to be a
difference between sources as to where this limit lies. One quoted north of York (BLN 1317.2471) but
'Railway Herald' states north of Doncaster, due to signalling issues north of Colton Jn - in which case it
would be more accurate to give Hambleton South Jn as the limit. 'Doncaster' seems more plausible
and indeed Eurobalises are being installed at Temple Hirst Jn (BLN 1323.412) and Hambleton South Jn
(BLN 1324.542). York was probably mentioned in a more general geographical sense as most people
would have no idea where Colton Jn is. 802001 has trial equipment aiming to reduce the magnetic
field around the train that causes the problem but there is no timescale from NR for changes to the
lineside equipment to allow tests of how this affects the signalling when running in electric mode.

989] Doncaster: Another new 25kV feed is to be installed at Potteric Carr (153m 57ch) on the Down
side of the ECML. Its main purpose is to provide traction power to the new Azuma Depot (the largest
one on the network) on the Up side and it will supply the ECML itself. Commissioning is due this year.

990] Northallerton: (BLN 1322.280) A member has found evidence from local newspapers that
Northallerton High Jn - Northallerton Low Jn (later East Jn), opened 3 Dec 1855 and not 1 Jan 1856.
The latter date would probably have been that of the line's first appearance in 'Bradshaw's Guide'.

991] A BLS Paragon of Virtue makes the Pace(r): A local member was sitting down to his evening meal
on 3 Apr when word reached him of an unusual move. 144012 was on 17.24 Sheffield to Scarborough,
and about to enter Hull Paragon (booked 18.57/19.04). In the finest BLS tradition, he abandoned his
meal in favour of Paragon [sounds like a geometric shape, how many sides?] where, to his surprise, the
unit was alone. 'Pacers' have reached Scarborough before, but they have been attached to Sprinters.
He notes that the 'Pacer' did remarkable work and sounded serviceable, generating plenty of 'thrash'.
This is apparently the first known solo 'Pacer' working to Scarborough since the summer of 2003.

992] Footpath hassle at Hessle: (pronounced 'Hezzle') A popular footpath on the River Humber bank
between Hessle and North Ferriby reopened on 25 Mar after NR engineers completed a temporary
flood defence system. It had been closed since Dec for NR to install additional rock armour to protect
the railway from coastal erosion. This was needed to stabilise ground movement which was detected
last year. NR will continue to monitor the area and is working on plans for a permanent solution.

993] Queensbury Tunnel: (BLN 1322.283) This was inundated by an estimated 6.6M gallons of water
after a pumping station at its southern end was shut down in Sep 2018. This followed Highways
England failing to pay the £50 annual rent for the land on which the equipment is sited! Instead of
negotiating the rent, it instructed contractors to pump the water 1½ miles to the north end and
discharge it into a nearby watercourse. This started at the beginning of Jan 2019 but the pump had to
be replaced twice and a series of pollution incidents were reported to the Environment Agency.
It appears that little or no pumping has taken place since then. Heavy rain then caused the floodwater
to return to its original level. The contractors' original task had been to strengthen the tunnel lining
ready to fill it in. This was costed at £560k but the flooding has now increased this to an estimated
£1.2-£1.4M. Work was supposed to be complete in March but this has now slipped to the end of May.

994] Alnwick - Coldstream: (BLN 1326.827) Only one bridge (No12) was washed out on 12 Aug 1948
between Kirknewton and Mindrum. Following the washout on the night of 25/26 Oct 1949 between
Ilderton and Wooler, freight trains between Kirknewton and Mindrum resumed Nov 1949 (unknown
date, but perhaps not so hasty) reconnecting Coldstream with Wooler after Bridge No12 was replaced.
The former Akeld station was once the home of Chris Donald (who spent a fortune on it) the former
editor of 'VIZ' magazine and a train spotter, the estate agents brochure is a download with e-BLN.

995] Rossington: From 6 Apr 2019 this branch with its run round loop and headshunt along the west
side of the East Coast Main Line was reclassified as a private siding. Engineer's Line Reference FWR2
then ceased to exist. The new NR boundary is at 151m 78ch (just north of the run round loop). The NR
section is still known as 'Rossington Colliery Branch' then it becomes 'Rossington Private Sidings'. Was
it a coincidence that this happened a week before our series of trips on the branch with 'Molly'?

996] Sheffield: On Sun 7 Apr, the south end of the station was closed. There was congestion due to
trains reversing (in both directions), to be diverted via Woodhouse Jn, Beighton Jn and the 'Old Road'
to/from Chesterfield. A 4-car DMU (11.24 Sheffield to Leeds) was placed in bay P4 on top of a Class
185. The 4-cars were too long to fit in, so passengers boarded via the platformed doors. The signalled
routes were probably locked by the over-length trains so it departed wrong road via the Up Main past
Nunnery Main Line Jn and over the trailing crossover to the Down Main. This is not an authorised
passenger route (controlled only by shunt signals, needing special permission), so a rare move indeed.

1327 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]

997] Buxton: (BLN 1326.848) LEFT: Before and
after plans thanks to Martyn Brailsford which
make this previous item about lengthening of
the reversing sidings easier to understand. As
can be seen two of the previous lines were out
of use (actually overgrown) and not connected

998] Carnforth: (BLN 1326.840) A keen
member took the bait offered in this item by
driving to Arnside on Sun 7 Apr for the 09.45
(09.05 ex-Barrow) to Carnforth and 10.20
return. At Arnside the train was announced as
the next train from P2 which differs from
TRACKmaps Book 4 p34A (Dec 2018) which
shows the platform for Carnforth as P1 (as does
National Rail website station plan but 'Live
Departures Board' on the same website gives it
as P2!). Realtime Trains (RTT) and the Sectional
Appendix sit on the fence and do not specify.

[BLN 1327]
There were no platform number signs. Silverdale also does not have any platform number signs but
there is no dispute online that P2 is for Carnforth and P1 Barrow. Silverdale has an example of that
species facing extinction: the traditional barrow crossing and in use, very appropriately, at the Barrow
end of the station but there was no 'carnforth crossing' at the other end.

The train (DMU 156463) to Carnforth did indeed take the rare facing crossover right just after passing
Carnforth Station Jn signal box immediately before the Wennington lines merge in, to P2. The guard
advised passengers for Lancaster to join the bus in the car park but a Blackpool Transport Single Deck
Bus No559 was at the bus stop on the road beyond and left empty. Several passengers transferred to
P1 for the 10.15 train to Lancaster (144006) from Leeds, which must be the better option. The bus is
really for passengers from Lancaster for the train back to Barrow at 10.20. The two Northern trains
both ran and to virtually right time on a Sunday, so an uneventful return to Arnside and drive home,
£2.40 worse off and 84 miles in car. This was a pleasant reminder of Sunday mornings in the 1970s
when you could find something to do most weeks - including one occasion when the first Lancaster to
Barrow train of the day took the Leeds line to Carnforth East Jn where it reversed taking the so called
'Carnforth avoiding line' (last train 12 Nov 1989) to Carnforth Furness & Midland Jn then Barrow!

999] Whitehaven: (BLN 1326.833) The rail haulage contract for the new Woodhouse Mine (a drift) has
reportedly been awarded to Freightliner; the route to Redcar Bulk Terminal is via Carlisle and the Tyne
Valley line. NR has allocated £6M to upgrade the railway; as between Whitehaven and Carlisle there
are long sections with metal sleepers, which will not be suitable for heavy coal trains.

1000] Blackpool North, crossing the 'i's and dotting the 't's : (BLN.2334) Our correspondent visited
the station on 2 Apr and noticed that the wrongly spelt no smoking signs: 'No smoking including
e-cigatettes' (sic) had been corrected by affixing a new sign on top of each old one. Power to the BLN!

1001] Garston: NR is rebuilding Church Road railway bridge (due to be visited on our 13 Jun tour) just
outside the intermodal terminal. The work includes removal and replacement of the bridge deck.

1002] Aintree: Merseyrail provided a train every 7½ minutes to/from the station during the Grand
National Festival from 4-6 Apr. It was done by all Kirkby trains running as a shuttle to/from Sandhills
where passengers changed. Additional trains ran to/from Town Geen and Aughton Park stations.

1003] The Penultimate Accolade: A colour photo of green Class 33, D6515 with a large Society
headboard prominent, at Southport station on our Sun 24 Mar, 'Ruby Vampire - The Second Bite'
railtour was PIC of the Week in the 10 April 'Southport Champion' free newspaper. The paper advised
Sandgrounders (inhabitants of Southport) that a conventional train of loco and coaches is extremely
rare on the Southport to Liverpool line, which this train went along after leaving Southport as far as
Bootle Jn where it went onto the freight only line to Olive Mount and to its destination of Crewe...

1004] Station improvements: NR is to make £1.38M worth of improvements to waiting areas, toilets
and passenger information systems at Cheadle Hulme, Heaton Chapel, Wilmslow, St Helens Central,
Wigan Wallgate and Glossop. It is part of a £15M package of customer benefits announced by the
government in December after last year's timetable change disruption to Northern and TPE services.

1005] Bolton: (BLN 1324.562) Timings of the Easter Pendolino diversions suggested 100mph running.

1006] Metrolink: A 'Pay as you go' contactless system begins across the network within months.
The 'touch in, touch out' scheme includes contactless Debit and Credit Cards as well as enabled smart
phones and watches. A 'comprehensive testing system' is said to have been a success. The system is
designed mostly for occasional Metrolink passengers, as discounts for regular commuters are available
with the anytime Travelcards. Transport for Greater Manchester said passengers will use the current
yellow card readers to 'touch in and out' on platforms, with the relevant fares calculated then debited
from their bank accounts at the end of the journey. Presumably daily capping at least would apply?

1007] Live news from Manchester Victoria: From 19.15 on Sun 21 Apr the new OHLE on the Up and
Down Rochdale Fast lines and the Up and Down Rochdale Slow lines from Manchester Victoria to 0m
49ch beyond Bromley Street Jn (0m 31ch) and Bay P1 & 2 were to be energised from 0m 09ch, the
previous limit. The infrastructure from Victoria (0m 00ch) to Metrolink's Collyhurst Tunnel (0m 55ch)
under the line is compatible with most rolling stock except Class 323 EMUs which generate excessive
interference. Meanwhile Improvements are planned for the station toilets, now free of charge to use.
Passenger waiting facilities are to be provided on P3, 4 & 5 (some passengers have long waits!).

1008] Wigan Pemberton Loop Line: Of interest if, unlike our member Kevin Driscoll (BLN 1226.790),
you did not do this line which CA 14 Jul 1969 and avoided Wigan Wallgate station (saving non-stop
trains 10 minutes). A link road is being built along part of it. OG 1 May 1889 for goods (passengers a
month later), the Pemberton Loop ran from Hindley (No3) in the east to Pemberton Jn in the west.
It helped the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway compete for through traffic even though the route was
longer and more steeply graded. There was intense competition for Manchester to Liverpool traffic.

In 1911 three railway companies each took 40 minutes. However the distances weren't all the same.
The LNWR was shortest at 31 miles, followed by the GCR (34 miles). The L&Y was proud that its trains
covered the 37 miles between towns in the same time as its rivals. Several collieries connected to the
line, with loops and sidings at Westwood Park, about half way along the loop, lasting until after WW2.

1009] St Bees: Station House is the former Furness Railway waiting room and toilets next to the signal
box and level crossing. Now a 2-double bed, 4-star holiday let property with land, for sale at around
£295k (includes contents, onward bookings and is even fitted with a 'RailCam').
has details and pictures with trains, less than a 'ballast throw' from the trains and just a few minutes
from the beach. Agent: Cumbrian Properties, 12 King Street, Whitehaven, CA28 7LA, 01946 313107.

1010] Halton Jn - Frodsham Jn: From 19 May TfW proposes to use mainly Class 150 DMUs on the new
service between Liverpool Lime Street and Chester via Runcorn with Class 158s and 175s as backups.

1011] The leaning tower box of Bamber Bridge: A steel girder structure looking like giant pieces of
Meccano has been built above the tracks and around the former signal box here, now the gate box, to
stabilise it until long term engineering work can be carried out. The line is signalled from Preston PSB.

1012] Cuddington: (BLN 1326.846) Despite signs warning passengers trespassing on the railway risk a
£1,000 fine, other adjacent signs say 'Stop - Look - Listen' before crossing the railway! Moreover, the
refurbished Class 150/156 DMUs now appearing on the line automatically announce: 'Passengers
wishing to use the foot crossing at the station should wait until the train has departed'. Amending BLN
1326, the line here opened for traffic in 1869 but Cuddington station itself OP 22 Jun 1870 (Quick).

1013] Ditton/Widnes: (BLN 1325.694) Paul Simon admitted he cannot recall if he wrote 'Homeward
Bound' about Widnes or Ditton; it is at the former that the plaque has been erected commemorating
it. Ditton is considered to be a part of Widnes and Alstom describe their Ditton facility as Widnes.

1327 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
1014] Bedford - Bletchley: The May timetable, due to be operated by three 'new' (well second hand
actually) Vivarail Class 230 DMUs, shows an extra return journey (SuX) with an earlier start Saturdays,
a later finish in the week and better evening services. On Tue 23 Apr the first 2-car unit 230004 began
passenger service on the 05.16 from Bletchley to Bedford. A Sunday service is due to start in 2021.

1015] Cromer: (BLN 1326.932) On Wed 27 Mar a member catching the 09.12 to Sheringham was
surprised to hear a Class 20 loco then bumped into the London Transport dark red liveried 20227 at the
station. That day it made seven return trips from Sheringham (North Norfolk Railway) on crew training
for the forthcoming through dining specials (top & tail, with steam westbound and diesel eastbound).

1016] Felixstowe: (BLN 1322.313 with track plan) NR is targeting Wed 29 May to commission the new
infrastructure on the branch. The crossover approaching Westerfield (from the Ipswich direction) is
signed for 40mph divergence and the junction to the branch at the other end of the station 35mph.

On the branch 35/50 is permissible over the newly named Felixstowe Single. Both Derby Road loop
roads are bidirectional with the normal direction of running left hand, the entry from the Felixstowe
end thus having a green aspect for divergence to the loop and a junction indicator for Up direction
entry to Down P2 (also at 50mph!). The Felixstowe Single thence to Trimley is signed for 60/75 and the
divergence at Gun Lane Jn to Trimley loop 40. Both roads are again bidirectional. The facing crossover
before Trimley and the trailing one after are both signalled for passenger train use in either direction.

ABOVE & BELOW: Felixstowe Beach station which CP 11 Sep 1967. (Angus McDougall; 29 Aug 1964.)

[BLN 1327]
However, the second (Up) platform continues to be marked as 'disused' and the track at the passenger
platform is named the Felixstowe Single. Beyond Trimley the divergence is known as the North Quay
line and signed for 20mph. The Felixstowe Single continues signed for 40mph. At Felixstowe Beach Jn
the divergence to Felixstowe Curve is signed for 30mph. 40mph continues to Felixstowe Town (sic)
where the Felixstowe Single ends. The Felixstowe Curve continues with differential speeds, 20mph
Down and 40mph Up to beyond the disused Felixstowe Beach platform. NR infrastructure continues
to Siding No1, Siding No2 and Creek Sidings. Back on the North Quay line speed reduces to 5mph for
the divergence to Port of Felixstowe North Freightliner Terminal, Oysterbed Road Siding 1 and
Oysterbed Road Siding 2 where NR infrastructure ends. Continuing at 20mph, powered points provide
the divergence (right) to Lines 4 to 1 of the Port of Felixstowe Central Freightliner Terminal. Beyond
handworked points provide the divergence to Lines 8 to 5 (from left to right in the direction of travel).

1017] Iver - West Drayton: The unidirectional electrified Up Iver Loop is closed to traffic due to poor
track condition and inadequate drainage (The Sectional Appendix shows it as 'temporarily' Out of Use -
BLN 1326.854). NR is to carry out work to return it to use (but not expected before May 2020) as the
loop is required for future timetables and service level increases. Towards London, a facing connection
from the Up Relief trails into it at 13m 51ch. Then it is in use as the bidirectional West Drayton Loop
that also provides access to/from the Colnbrook branch and West Drayton Lafarge Aggregate terminal.

1018] Crossrail: NR is to fit Eurobalises at all platforms where Crossrail services will operate to ensure
correct door side opening. The installation programme for Liverpool Street - Shenfield and Paddington
- Reading runs from Jun to Nov for implementation in Dec. P1-18 are included at Liverpool Street, P5,
P8, P9, P10 and P10A at Stratford, P1-P12 and P14 at Paddington plus P7- P15 at Reading.

1019] Luton Limbury Road: (BLN 1324.584) TRACKmaps Book 4 p9B (Dec 2018) shows a reduction to
three sidings from the five shown in the Aug 2013 edition. Of the three, Siding 3 is new and was finally
in use on 28 Mar by the 18.22 (27 Mar) from Peak Forest (Dove Holes). The train loaded to 22 wagons
of limestone which propelled into the site off the Up Slow. Cemex is the customer and up to three
services per week are planned. The new siding is parallel to the other two but not as close to them as
TRACKmaps Book 4 suggests. Limbury Road aggregate terminal (31m 57ch) is 1½ miles north of Luton;
Crescent Road Yard (29m 69ch) is just south of Luton station, also adjacent the Up Slow.

1020] Luton Crescent Road: Out of use long term (over 12 years) - Luton Up Sidings Ground Frame
(29m 69ch) has been authorised for refit and reinstatement. This will allow access to and from the Up
Slow and the electrified Carriage Siding at the south end of Crescent Road sidings, currently plain lined.

1021] Stevenage: (BLN 1324.585) The permissible speed entering the new London end bay P5 will be
15mph and on departure 40mph. The new platform will be on the west (or remote) side of the track.
The space to the Down Slow will be wider than a normal six-foot way.

1022] Class 319 Trimode (new Class 769): These will be based at Reading (reaching Gatwick Airport,
Basingstoke, Bourne End and Henley-on-Thames), enabling Class 165 and 166 Turbo DMUs to be
cascaded to the West of England to cater for growth and to help release Class 387 units for Heathrow
Express services. The Class 769 'trimode' to be used by GWR is a Class 319 EMU with diesel engines to
power the traction motors where AC overhead or DC third rail electricity is not taken. Routes:

 Reading - Gatwick (including Redhill Sidings and Gatwick Sidings).
 Reading - Basingstoke.
 Reading (depot and all of station area) to Swindon (for stabling if necessary).
 Reading - Maidenhead - Bourne End (they are too long to clear the Marlow branch junction).
 Twyford - Henley-on-Thames.

Platform extensions are required at Bramley, Mortimer, Sandhurst, Chilworth and Betchworth as the
trains do not have Selective Door Opening (SDO); the 80m long 4-car train is longer than the platforms.

Discussions continue as to whether fitting an SDO system would be more economic. Their use is also
subject to platform/train interface safety mechanisms being completed. Initial passenger use planned
from late Sep 2019 (possibly earlier) is on Reading - Gatwick, infiltrating on the fast services where the
Class 769 sectional running times, agreed with NR, show there is no great difference from the Turbos.

GWR has stated that the timetable through to at least May 2020 will be in diesel mode on this route,
although if use of DC infrastructure is authorised by NR, advantage may be taken earlier if journey
times meet the diesel times. The Dec 2019 timetable was bid with Class 769 diesel times for the whole
Reading - Redhill/Gatwick service (4 mins slower than the Turbos on local Reading - Redhill/Shalford
services). This will enable 769s to be used on all services. From May 2020 trimodes may be utilised on
Basingstoke, Henley and Bourne End services as well with timings consistent with their performance.

1023] Reading: (BLN 1324.587) The new Cow Lane pedestrian and cycle route opened on 15 Apr with
completion of the project on the two underbridges creating a new cycle path and footpath. Lorries and
double deck buses were already using the road for the first time, removing a notorious bottleneck.
1024] Brundall Jn - Reedham Swing Bridge: (BLN 1325.710) In paper BLN 1325 it should, of course, be
Cantley Signal Box downgraded to a Gate Box and Reedham Junction that was abolished from 1 Apr.

The presence of a level crossing is not taken into account when calculating the signal overlaps. For
example, prior to its downgrade to a gate box, Cantley SB could accept an Up train from Reedham
Junction SB provided the line was clear for 440 yards ahead of its Up Home signal (semaphore Distant
signal); the existence of Cantley's level crossing was irrelevant. Now that Cantley has become a gate
box, signal overlaps no longer apply at that location as the new Absolute Block section is Brundall
Junction SB to Reedham Swing Bridge SB. The Absolute Block regulations used to mention that a level
crossing is not considered to be an obstruction for the purposes of acceptance. The only possibility of a
purely gate box controlling 'more than one Home signal on each line on double track' would be if there
were two level crossings to protect in the vicinity. It is very unlikely there are now any examples.

From 1 Apr 1964 the double track line was singled between Holbeach West (controlled by Holbeach
East SB from five weeks before) and Clay Lake SB on the former Midland & Great Northern Joint line,
when Clay Lake SB was reduced to a gate box. However, the latter still controlled two Up Home signals;
the Up Outer Home protecting Cunningham's Drove crossing and the Up Inner Home protecting its
own crossing. Our member has not been able to trace other examples in existence around that time.

Back in 2019, it is worth saying that there are now standards which require a certain amount of
overlap between a stop signal and a level crossing (LC), and if such overlap is not obtainable then the
LC must be closed to road before a train can be allowed to approach. This is generally applicable to
Track Circuit Block lines though. It is to ensure that if a train passes the protecting signal at danger
then the crossing lights have time to flash and stop road traffic before the train enters the crossing.

So the second paragraph above is correct as far as acceptance purposes are concerned, but it seems
significant that NR retained Cantley Signal 21 (further away from the crossing) to protect it in the
Down direction and not the more logical Cantley 20 at the crossing. The pre-1 April interlocking with
the LC would have been on Signal No20 lever, not No21 lever. So retention of No21 to protect the LC
required interlocking alterations. It would be easier just to connect No21 signal to No20 lever to save
the expense and trouble of changing the interlocking - we are not sure which of these options was
used - but the point remains that there must have been a good reason for creating this extra work.

1025] Watford Junction ❶(BLN 1320.78) Extending bay P10 from 8 to 12 cars (from 165m length to
249m) will permit use by trains of 3 x 4-car Class 350 EMUs. ❷The toll marker which has stood for
many years adjacent to the WCML just south of Watford Junction has been moved to a public park
close to its original position (NEXT PAGE: WCML is middle right). ❸(BLN 1326.899): While P7 (Up Fast)
'ZZ' stop marker is at the extreme London end of the platform, that on P9 (Up Slow and not the usual
platform) is short of the 8-car marker which itself is short of the 12-car! Given that the Caledonian
Sleepers are the longest passenger trains in normal service on National Rail, this seems rather odd.

1027] Lowestoft: (BLN 1326.858) From 30 Mar the facing points in the Down line just before the signal

1026] Reading: (BLN 1324.586) Most platforms now have up to 10 zonal numbers attached flat to the
platform surface (5 on short west end bays such as P3) to show passengers where they should wait for
trains with reservations to join their allocated coaches. Bays have '1' nearest the buffer stops; most
through platforms have '1' at the London end (reversed on P7 to 9). GWR is providing these at other
stations as well. They look like thin carpet, stuck onto the platform. It will be interesting to see how
durable they are or if they become trip hazards. High speed services are shown by the platform zones
they stop in, with cycle spaces and disabled places identified, as well as showing the full order of train
coach lettering. On Up Class 387 EMU services, the position of disabled spaces is shown, along with
which zones the train will stop in. This applies to both the staff screens and the public systems.

On the 'down' side, by 22 Apr all information about lengths of trains, other than for IETs and Class 387
EMU services, had gone so HSTs - still in service to 18 May - and Turbos (for Bedwyn with a few Oxford
trains) creep in with no information about train length or direction on either the staff or CIS screens.
box, (approaching Lowestoft station) which lead via the single slip in the Up line to the sidings were
secured OOU, together with that slip. The connection in the sidings was removed.

1028] Ely: (BLN 1324.578) At the now closed Ely station north level crossing (70m 38ch), the road
decking, barriers and road lights were to be recovered on 20 Apr and new fences provided either side.
This required no alteration to the location of the associated signals.

1327 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
1029] Crossrail: The Government has indicated it is open to the widely supported planned extension of
Crossrail from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet. In a written ministerial statement, Housing Secretary James
Brokenshire confirmed funding as part of Government's response to the flagship Thames Estuary
Commission, expressing it as: 'Making £4.85M available for a study into options for delivering
transport enhancement from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet'. This support follows four years' campaigning
from the London Borough of Bexley and its partners in the C2E Campaign to undo the 2008 decision to
shorten Crossrail's southeast branch. Detailed feasibility, funding and viability work can now take place
on the scheme which would transform connectivity over 10 miles of under-used housing land on the
London/Kent border along the safeguarded route from Abbey Wood, including planning new homes
and employment sites. It will also be used to help attract major new investment into the area.

1030] Whitstable: This station has changed little over many years and has interesting and attractive
architectural features. There are three station buildings; that on the Up side at the extreme Faversham
end of the 12 coach platform has the booking office, large booking hall and toilets. All three are single
storey in red brick with heavy light coloured stone coping the length of the buildings above the brick.

The Down side buildings (now each in use as child nurseries entered from the non-platform side) also
have blue engineering brick lower courses. That at the Margate end may also have served as a goods
shed as original window and door openings suggest both passenger and goods use. The two Down side
buildings are not adjoining and the canopy runs along their front bridging the gap between the two,
extending further at the Margate end. On both Up and Down sides the canopies are held on riveted
lattice steel supports and are cantilevered from the line of the back wall or fence line without platform
columns. The steel lattice footbridge interrupts the canopy on each platform, passing through at gaps
and runs on both sides from outside the platforms, though gaps in the fences permit platform access.

1031] Virginia Water: By 7 Apr a new gate line building had been erected between the CLASP
(Consortium of Local Authorities Special Programme) booking office structure on the Up main P1 and
the new footbridge with one wide and three other gates. It has been observed staffed and in use
including that Sunday. The booking office platform entrance is now closed and blocked with a seat.

1032] West Worthing: (BLN 1325.720) Class 717s stored here peaked at three single units on 11 Mar
(there are only three available sidings capable of taking 12 cars, as 3 x '4CIG' or 'VEP' or 'CIG' and 'BIG'
but it may be that two Class 717 in each presents a problem); the security guard was still expectantly
pacing the site. Your Regional Editor passed Dollands Moor on 11 Apr and saw several more there.

[BLN 1327]
1033] Fratton: In an expansion of the facilities at the depot (partly to reduce stabling elsewhere) SWR
proposes to install controlled emission toilet equipment on two sidings opposite P3. This is between
the P3 track, which is the Down Main*, and the sidings relaid some years ago for freight that did not
materialise and on which fuelling alone was previously carried out. The outermost of these sidings, and
adjacent hard standing, will remain available for freight. The spur back towards Hilsea (to 43m 26ch on
TRACKmaps Book 5) will be brought up to standard for shunting or stabling a 12-car train. TRACKmaps
(Nov 2008) shows it as an electrified siding, though this is currently not the case. Conductor rail will be
installed. Construction is planned from Jun to Dec 2019. (*The running lines from P1 are in sequence:
Up Main, Down and Up Fratton and Down Main, though the latter has the appearance of a loop.)

1034] South Western timetable 19 May timetable changes:

>Portsmouth - Waterloo: Two more morning peak fast trains; extra evening peak service to Guildford
…and Haslemere. All fast Portsmouth ↔ Waterloo services call at Godalming (doubling its service).

>Reading - Waterloo: Two extra morning peak trains and one Ascot to Reading (two back in evening).

>Windsor & Hounslow: Extra morning peak trains to London; one extra evening Waterloo to Windsor.

>Waterloo - Ascot - Farnham: Two additional evening peak services out of the capital.

>Farnham ↔ Guildford: A new half-hourly service.

>Waterloo ↔ Salisbury and Waterloo ↔ Portsmouth: More services later in the evening.

>Salisbury - Basingstoke - Reading: From Sun 26 May a new hourly Sunday service with Class 158/159
…DMUs, 07.52 to 15.52 from Salisbury; 09.12 to 17.12 from Reading (two to Gillingham, one to Frome).

>Weymouth/Poole/Southampton ↔ Waterloo: Some additional services in both peaks.

>Yeovil - Waterloo: Extra weekday and weekend services calling at Castle Cary, Bruton and Frome.

>Chessington South: An additional evening service from Waterloo returning to Wimbledon.

>Waterloo ↔ Yeovil Junction ↔ Weymouth: The Saturday service runs throughout the timetable.

1035] Southampton - Redbridge: (BLN 1323.444) On 4 Apr the new more easterly entrance points to
the Down Docks Branch were in place, OOU, on the Down Loop Extension but with no track beyond as
the previous points on the Up Docks Branch are still in use and run to the Down Docks Branch.
Further towards Redbridge the components for the new scissors crossover were stacked on site
awaiting installation. The Maritime Freightliner Terminal tracks and the Depot Reception Sidings still
converge/diverge to the Arrival & Departure track at two points, toes to toes (contrary to BLN 1323).

1036] Ryde - Shanklin: (BLN 1326.863) At a recent Railfuture Wessex branch meeting, a verbal report
was given about progress in maintaining and upgrading the Island Line now SWR has taken over.

Firstly it seems that First MTR South Western Trains Ltd ('Trains' plural), trading as South Western
Railway, has a more positive attitude to the future of the line. It was reported that passenger numbers
have unfortunately stagnated in recent years. [During your BLN Editor's stay in June a few years ago
the trains were generally quiet all day, some only having one coach available for use. The stations are
not well situated and the 20/40 minute service is uneven. The far more frequent competing modern
double decker buses were busy serving places people wanted to go but were very slow in the traffic.]
Some salient future points/plans are reported here but may not all be new:

 NR has undertaken to refurbish Ryde Pier, including provision/reinstatement of a second platform.
 A full refurbishment of the Island line including track and signalling is planned in a 2020/21 winter shutdown. This work was planned for winter 2019/20 but it is seen as too late to do it now.
 Included in the shutdown is provision of a passing loop at Brading to allow a 30 minute service but
....facilities for a regular 20 minute service will be retained (at present it is 20/40 minutes alternating).
 Platforms will be raised to cater for the 'new' stock - see later.
 A connection to the IoW Steam Railway (IoWSR) will be provided at Smallbrook Junction, with
....signalling [no doubt at huge expense] to allow through running to/from Ryde St Johns.

[BLN 1327]
 Unfortunately no run-round facilities will be provided at Ryde St Johns, so the IoWSR will have to
....'top & tail' from Smallbrook Jn (estimate £800 per train extra limiting them so special galas only?).
 IoWSR services will use Ryde St Johns P1 for level access and it was indicated that the third rail
....power supply (for P1 only?) will be isolated when a steam train is in the station, but at the same
....time allowing passage of normal Island line train services through Ryde St Johns P2 was mentioned.
 'New' Island Line trains made up of retired 40 year old District Line stock as 2-car units. Five 2-car
....units are said to be the operational requirement plus another pair for spares, six 2-car units in total.
 Measurements have been made which indicate that Ryde Tunnel can accommodate this stock.

This is a very much more optimistic scenario than has been presented in some magazine reviews and is
almost certainly an unscoped, unestimated and unfunded project in most elements [unaffordable‽].

1037] Southampton Central: (BLN 1326.804) More information corrects the statement that the 528yd
Southampton Tunnel, east of the station, was originally a canal tunnel. The west end of the canal
tunnel was north of the railway but passed underneath it at an oblique angle less than 100yd from its
west end. In 1965 the civil engineers opened up a heading on the south side of the railway tunnel near
its centre and cleared a small portion of the canal tunnel at a lower level. This information is contained
in The Bankrupt Canal, Southampton Papers No5 by Edwin Welch, published in 1966. Plate 7 in this
publication shows a photograph of the heading looking from the railway tunnel to the canal tunnel.

The heading was only about three feet high by two feet wide. There is also a reference in the Railway
and Canal Historical Society Journal No164 (July 1996). This quotes the proceedings of the Hampshire
Field Club and Archaeological Society, Volume 33, (1976). A lengthy article is on this Society's website.

1038] Brockenhurst: The Southern Electric Group 'Live Rail' 287 reports that, on Wed 30 Jan, the 16.27
from Manchester failed near Brockenhurst. After about half an hour, it was able to recess in the Down
Loop Passenger Loop (P4), allowing following trains to pass. That required the 21.03 ex-Lymington and
21.18 return to use the Up Passenger Loop (P1) after it had been vacated by the 18.39 Waterloo to
Poole. The Manchester train continued to Bournemouth almost an hour late. Assuming that the train
failed before it reached Brockenhurst, it would have used the very rare London end of the Down Loop.

1039] Reading - Basingstoke: SWR plans to run Class 158 & 159 DMUs - part of its franchise obligations.

1327 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
1040] Barnstaple branch: After a recent arson attack at Eggesford the token exchange equipment was
destroyed. A 'C' & 'D' pattern transfer cartridge is required ASAP for the machines. If anyone can help
please contact David Gill [email protected] (NR S&T Technical Assistant) 07825258094.

1041] Portishead: (BLN 1319.2279) After 253 previous BLN mentions of the branch, the DfT has at last
approved further funding of £31.9M (as widely reported in the national press). The descoped £116M
proposal to reinstate rail passenger services is now fully funded. Other finance is from North Somerset
Council and the West of England Combined Authority. The scheme intends to reduce the chronic
congestion on the A369 and M5 due to commuting from Portishead (population over 25,000), known
locally as the 'UK's biggest car park' [not the M25 then?]. The scheme, rejected by central government
in summer 2018, was conceived in 2008 with the aim of providing half-hourly services to Bristol.
To cut the cost from £175M the scheme has been reduced to a slower hourly service with branch
stations at Portishead and Pill; trains will also serve Parson Street, Bedminster and Bristol Temple
Meads. It is estimated that the service will provide a £264M boost to the local economy over 10 years.

1042] Totnes: A short extension to Up platform country end looks complete but is fenced off. The new
footbridge is in use but the lifts are not yet available (passengers continue to use the road bridge).

1043] Falmouth: (BLN 1322.322) The Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the 28 Jan Penryn
derailment reveals that the loop points were lying in the mid position as the train ran over them.

1044] Bristol East Jn: (BLN 1325.727; before/after plan) A key remaining stage of the Bristol TM
resignalling project is remodelling the junction. This is expected to be during an 8 week blockade with
five phases of works beforehand. It is understood that three different possibilities for running (some)
services around the blockade are being considered and possibly combining it with the planned station
roof renewal. This involves a proposed 16-day closure of P1-6 over Christmas 2020 to erect scaffolding.

We are advised that under each plan the use of 'Rhubarb Curve' with reversal of some services on
Bristol East Depot Goods Loop is expected. Severn Beach services may run in a loop via Henbury and
some Paddington trains may run in a loop (Swindon - Bath - 'Rhubarb Curve' - Parkway - Swindon.)

1045] Bristol Temple Meads: Demolition of the former Royal Mail/GPO building at Cattle Market Road
by the station is almost complete. Opened in 1938, by 1952 about 75,000 items were handled daily by
'state of the art equipment'. The building was linked to the north end of the platforms by a covered
conveyor belt (a dreadful eyesore) since removed. Mail and parcel operations moved to Filton in 1997
and the building closed. Once cleared a new £300M University campus will be built on the site.

1046] Weston-super-Mare: Cardiff & Avonside Railway Soc report that the minor road ('Bleadon Hill')
bridge known as 'Devil's Bridge' (IK Brunel's highest single span brick built bridge) south of Uphill Jn
has received stone work maintenance checks and drainage improvement work. The Grade II structure
is the second widest of its type only exceeded by the Grade I listed double span Maidenhead Bridge
between Taplow and Maidenhead over the River Thames which was also designed by Brunel.

1047] Portway Park & Ride: (BLN 1312.1881) Planning permission has been granted to build the £2.23M
station between Avonmouth and Shirehampton; Bristol's first new station since Filton Abbey Wood
OP in 1996. NR has already carried out surveys, and now construction of the single 5-coach platform
north of the line can begin (for OP May 2020). It will have a ticket machine and 40 sheltered cycle
spaces. In case you were wondering about the very low budget for a modern station, there is a (bus)
Park & Ride car park already and no footbridge or complex access is required. Hopefully it will not be
'Bristol Portway' or passengers wanting Bristol Parkway might end up there by mistake (or vice versa).

1048] By Appointment to HM The Queen - purveyors of fine track: The West Somerset Railway (WSR)
hosted the Royal Train for an overnight stay by HM the Queen before her Thur 28 Mar Somerset visit.
Arriving in the small hours of Thursday morning, after leaving London Euston late the evening before,
the Royal Train ran onto WSR metals and then stabled securely, close to HM Royal Marine 40
Commando base at Norton Manor camp. It is not recorded if they took the Queen round the triangle
so that she could red pen it. In the morning she left on the train, passing Norton Fitzwarren Jn about
09.30 on the short journey to Castle Cary. It is the third time that the Minehead branch has had Royal
visitors stay overnight on the line. The Duke of Edinburgh visited in 2002 for the 50th anniversary of the
Lynton & Lynmouth flood disaster, and King George VI stayed near Norton Fitzwarren during WWII.

1049] West Somerset Railway (WSR): (BLN 1316.2361) GWR has announced a £60k grant from its
Customer & Communities Improvement Fund as a contribution towards commencing trial through
weekend passenger train services between Taunton and Minehead. No details are available yet.

1050] St Ives: (BLN 1310.1674) For 25 days, from Tue 7 until Fri 31 May inclusive, branch passenger
trains will run twice an hour all day, as usual, but only between Lelant Saltings (the current Park &
Ride station) and St Ives. The exceptions are the first and last trains of the day which still run from/to
Penzance as does (SuX) the second departure and third arrival at St Ives. With trains not having to run
to/from St Erth, there is extra time in the schedules so all services in both directions will call at Lelant
and Carbis Bay which, as a result, have a much better service than normal! A replacement bus service
is provided between St Erth and Lelant Saltings particularly for those with main line connections.

The arrangements are to allow work on St Erth Multimodal Transport Hub (a new Park & Ride facility,
with direct access to main line and St Ives services) replacing Lelant Saltings. It includes considerable
widening and lengthening of St Erth bay P3 which cannot cope with the large crowds joining and

alighting in the summer, many with push chairs. 5-car DMUs will then be able to run instead of the
present 4-car maximum. The 'siding' (at 'P4' on TRACKmaps Book 3 p11B - Jun 2018) will be removed
and P3 track slewed across. Anyone who has not done the present bay has until Mon 6 May to do it.

1051] HSTs - the End is Nigh! The final HST passenger Diagrams on Sat 18 May (subject to change):

06.57 PLY - PAD 07.29 EXD - PAD 06.45 BRI - SWA 06.50 PNZ - PAD
10.45 PAD - SWA 11.21 PAD - GMV 09.29 SWA - PAD 13.00 PAD - BRI
14.29 SWA - PAD 14.35 GMV - PAD 13.30 PAD - BRI 15.30 BRI - PAD
18.30 PAD - TAU 18.15 PAD - CNM 16.00 BRI - PAD 18.03 PAD - PLY
21.32 TAU - EXD 11X11X11X11X 18.22 PAD - HFD 11X11X11XXX

The plan is for the 18.03, 18.15, 18.22 and 18.30 departures all to be side by side in Paddington P1-4.
BRI = Bristol TM; CNM = Carmarthen; EXD = Exeter St Davids; GMV = Great Malvern; HFD = Hereford;
PAD = London Paddington; PLY = Plymouth; PNZ = Penzance; SWA = Swansea and TAU = Taunton.

On Sat 1 Jun GWR is running 'The Flying Banana' a charity farewell one day
lengthy HST tour which can be booked in sections or its entirety and included GWR connecting trains.

1327 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
1052] Rugeley Power Station: (BLN 1323.460) At 10.00 Fri 26 Apr a second controlled explosion is due
to precipitate demolition of the Unit 7 precipitators (40m long, 16m wide & 21.5m high) made of steel.

1053] Baddesley Colliery: (Closed Feb 1989 but washed coal from Coventry Colliery for a while after.)
Two videos (13 mins) best viewed in full screen with the sound on one is of 'Big
Bertha' the Garrett working on the branch in 1963 and the other about coal mining there in the 1980s.

1054] Washwood Heath Up Yard washed up: (BLN 1326.880) On 10 Apr contractors were at work
lifting the rest of the yard; however a couple of tracks at least on the main line side remained intact
throughout. It is suspected that they are retained to serve the HS2 ballast stockpile or 'virtual quarry'
(NR term) on the rest of the yard, assuming HS2 (funding now paused for 6 months) goes ahead.

1055] Birmingham Snow Hill: (BLN 1320.99) Despite the recent announcement of a third entrance to
the station, West Midlands Rail Executive did not submit a planning application until the end of March.
Once approved, work is expected to begin in early summer. St Chads stop (new name from 1 Jan 2017)
is to be re-renamed back to Snow Hill afterwards; TRACKmaps Book 4, p20 (Dec 2018) anticipated this!
At least there will be no discussion about whether Snow Hill needs an apostrophe in its name!

1056] Chase Line: With electrification the overall line speed has been raised to 60mph, significantly
accelerating services. A short 50mph restriction (45mph freight) at Landywood station is due to the
recent discovery of a culvert in poor condition (but all passenger trains now stop anyway). Hednesford
station also has a Down direction 50mph restriction, the alignment between track and platform edge is
unsuitable for higher speeds which would require extensive work but again all passenger trains call.

At Walsall extensive work to OHLE, track and/or platform would be required for Class 390 Pendolinos
to clear P3 but an electrified route for occasional diversions is available via P1. At Walsall Pleck Jn the
non-electrified trailing crossover between the Up Walsall Slow and Down Walsall Slow is to be taken
OOU for two years. This is to prevent an EMU from being wrongly signalled over it which would cause
a dewirement; it would apparently cost £100,000 to electrify! PAS Comments: It would be very difficult
for an EMU to be wrongly routed over this crossover with normal working; the signalled routes
available would require the driver to change ends and reverse to use it! Secondly it puts the (virtually
disused) Dudley Run Round Facility out of use too (without special arrangements) as trains can only
arrive into and depart from the Up Dudley Siding. The loco then uses the headshunt towards the
former Bescot Curve Jn then the Down Dudley Run Round and the aforementioned non-electrified
crossover to run round. A light engine would probably be able to use the electrified trailing crossover

north of P1 & 2 to run round, but the non-electrified crossover has to be used by trains, after running
round, to depart north to the Down Walsall Slow (the Up Walsall Slow is unidirectional in the other
direction). There must be many places where a signalling error can send a train off an electrified track!

1057] Great Malvern: (BLN 1323.509) Lady Foley's Tea Room, which recently faced closure due to a
proposed rent increase of up to 300%, has been saved after its proprietor and NR reached a six-year
agreement over rent. Public pressure and common sense have prevailed; it is well worth a visit.

1058] Ironbridge ❶Due to the condition of the Albert Edward Viaduct (160m 34ch to 29ch) over the
River Severn, the Up & Down Ironbridge single line from 160m 34ch to the NR boundary (160m 29ch),
the Power Station side of the bridge, has been out of use from 6 Apr until further notice. This means
no outward rail traffic from demolition of the power station. ❷On Sun 9 Jun, Vintage Trains (Britain's
newest Train Operating Company) is running a trip from Dorridge to Cosford for the annual air show.
During the layover it makes two return trips from Wellington at 13.30 (full) and 15.30 along the branch
(believed to be as far as Coalbrookdale) top & tailed by 'Clun Castle' and a Class 47 loco. This is very
surprising as the previous train (a 16 May 2016 inspection train) was three years ago! The trains are
advertised as the 'last steam from Ironbridge'. Society members who have signed up to our email
news service were advised on 11 Apr. The branch is to be 'mothballed' from the next day Mon 10 Jun.

1059] Colwall: (BLN 1326.881, picture in e-BLN) The fully refurbished reinstated footbridge has now
undergone remedial work to the scuffs and scratches and looks very smart in original GWR colours.

1060] West Midlands Metro: ①The possibility of extending the new Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line
on to Stourbridge has been mooted. TfWM has started a feasibility study to investigate the most
suitable mode of transport to link the two towns. Heavy and light rail are under consideration along
with a less ambitious bus link which, given the serious traffic issues in the area, looks to be a non-
starter. ②Five Ways underpass closes to all traffic for track laying from 3 Jun until 2021 (when trams
to Edgbaston are due to begin). It is part of the Western Extension Phase 2; Phase 1 Grand Central to
Centenary Square is due to open later this year. There will be vehicle restrictions on parts of Broad St.
Five Ways roundabout (six roads!) will be open in all directions; longer journey times are expected!

1061] Birmingham Heartlands Park & Saltley Trading Estate: (BLN 1324.604) An investigator recently
noted a dip in Church Rd (running between Washwood Heath and Aston) where the overbridge carried
the east to southwest spur from the LNWR Stechford - Aston line (map BLN 1324) down to the Saltley
Works of what was then the Metropolitan Railway Carriage &Wagon Co. The bridge has long gone, but
some blue brick abutment remains can still be seen. This spur dated from the opening of the LNWR
line in 1882. Our correspondent agrees with the previous conclusion that there is no documentary or
cartographical evidence of a direct link from the LNWR line to the Washwood Heath Works. The spur is
shown on Joe Brown's excellent 2016 'Birmingham & West Midlands Railway Atlas' (p31 C2 & p40 A6).
Interestingly this also shows what appears to be a single track independent line (possibly a through
siding) north, under the LNWR, alongside the Midland line to what is now the Heartlands Park site.

Washwood Heath Works (called 'New Works' in the 1929 Railway Clearing House Handbook of
Stations) was built for the Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Co between 1911 and 1912 while Saltley
Works was established in 1845 by Joseph Wright and continued in operation with a rail connection
also to the Midland Railway Derby to Birmingham main line, right through to its closure on 6 Jul 1962.
It seems likely that the spur from the LNWR line was also in regular use up to then but closed on or
around the same date. The large Saltley Trading Estate is still extant on the site of the former Saltley
Works with many of the original buildings still in situ converted to new uses. There is no trace of the
myriad of internal rail links in use when the works was open.

1327 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
1062] Dungannon - Coalisland: Closed to all traffic from 15 Feb 1965. The last train seems to have run
on 24 Oct 1964. Can any member confirm if this is correct please?

1063] Limerick Junction: The new Down through P4 is rapidly taking shape; the accessible footbridge
linking it to the rest of the station was installed overnight on 10/11 Apr. It remains to be seen if some
of the present Limerick line connections (which are just a few minutes, but are made) will be changed.

1064] West Awake: The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) ran this railtour from Connolly
to Ballina and Westport on 13 Apr raising funds to overhaul their diesel locos. It was reportedly the
first time a pair of Class 071 locos had operated west of Portarlington and only the second time Class
071s had worked in multiple. The Society was well represented and apart from the rare connection to
the Ballina branch at Manulla Junction (only normally used by ECS and freight workings) it traversed
Claremorris Up P1 in the Down direction on the outward run and the Down P2 in the Up direction
returning to Dublin. In the morning the train ran via Geashill Loop and both outward and return took
Clara Loop. Athlone P1 was used in both directions and Clonydonnin Loop was included on the return.

1065] All the Stations - Ireland: This may interest members who 'collect' stations. In 2017 Vicki Pipe
and Geoff Marshall visited all 2,563 national stations in Great Britain producing a series of You Tube
videos and a book as a result. Now they are visiting the 198 stations in Northern Ireland and the
Republic as well as the 67 LUAS tram stops (which they did in about 5 hours);
has details and video diaries as well as separate alphabetical lists of NR and IR stations plus LUAS stops.

1066] Cork: The station has joined the list of stations with a piano - any suggestions for 'tracks' to play?

1067] An Inspector Calls: Possibly the most inspected line on the planet, and proving that inspectors
can be bidirectional, the South Wexford Line was due to host another inspection car on Wed 24 Apr.
It was booked to run from Kildare to Waterford on 23rd then Waterford to Greystones the day after.

1068] RPSI: The Whitehead (RPSI) to Dublin steam working on 9 May is due to use the Up to Down
crossover at the north end of Lisburn station to call at P2 (from 10.20 to 10.50) then the Down to Up
south crossover. At the same time the 10.15 Portadown to Bangor should use the Dublin end facing
crossover from the Down Main to Lisburn P3. At Whitehead Railway Museum internal steam train
rides are scheduled for 25 May, 29 Jun and all Saturdays in Jul & Aug. It is about half a mile walk to the
Museum from the seaward side of Whitehead (NIR) station. The RPSI website states: 'Connections
from the Dublin direction may be made at Belfast Central [quite right!] station'. Rides 12.00-16.00
'every 15 minutes or so' (£2.50 Adult, £2 Child). The museum and Edwardian Tea Room will be open.

1069] Sligo: ❶The steeply graded 'mothballed' branch down to Sligo Quay Yard may reopen later this
year for timber traffic to Waterford (for the 'Medite' building materials factory). It CG 11 Dec 2008
when the twice weekly timber trains ceased; the branch was used for ECS stabling until CA 5 Mar 2010
beyond 440yd - a stop block on the single track before Finisklin Road underbridge. The track is intact
beyond. Timber trains currently run from Westport and Ballina to Waterford but a large amount
comes from forests around Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal (over 60 miles from the rail loading terminals).

❷There are aspirations to run an hourly Dublin - Sligo passenger service but this requires more
rolling stock. A formal order for 41 intermediate Class 22000 (Intercity) cars has not yet been placed.
[There are also aspirations for two-hourly services to Westport and extra trains on the Rosslare line.]

1327 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
1070] Groudle Glen Railway: (MR p12) This 2ft gauge 1,000yd railway will have two new locos this
summer, 'Brown Bear' and 'Otter'. 'Otter' has been built at the North Bay Railway engineering works in
Darlington and is one of two locos constructed by them based upon the historic locomotive 'SIPAT'
design by Bagnalls of Stafford; the first was 'Georgina' which entered service on Scarborough North
Bay Railway in 2016. Construction work on 'Otter' started then with the view to finding a buyer who
failed to materialise. In 2013 Groudle Glen Railway launched an appeal to build a replica of their other
original Bagnall steam locomotive, 'Polar Bear' of 1905 (the original is at Amberley Museum, Sussex).
The 'Build Brown Bear' appeal has been successful; she is in the final assembly stages and is expected
to have her inauguration to the railway during the 2019 IOM Heritage Transport Festival in July.

1071] Horse Tramway: (BLN 1326.895) The first new rails have been installed between Summer Hill
Stables and Strathallan terminus providing the first visible signs that trams will indeed be running
once again in the near future. However, it was hard to see how the track would be ready for horse
trams at the advertised start of season on 25 Apr. Two sections of old track remain for the 2019
season, by Broadway, where it is intended to deviate off to the seaward side of the road, and at Derby
Castle. Indeed, horse tram tests were not due to start until 25 Apr followed by staff and horse training
before public services can begin. Subject to Promenade works the season extends until Sun 3 Nov.
Planning consent has been granted for erection of the temporary marquee to store trams, which
stipulates that the site has to be returned to its original state by 1 Apr 2020. No work has yet been
started and extensions to the existing track will be needed before trams can access the marquee.
1072] MER: (BLN 1326.897) The double track over Glen Roy Viaduct at Laxey is now open normally.

1327 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]

ABOVE: Dyce and its signal box (with the Scottish Saltire flag flying; trains cross here)
looking east towards Aberdeen. (Angus McDougall 24 Aug 1986.)

1073] Inverurie & Dyce: NR's Redundant Assets Team has put the signal boxes at these locations up
for tender. Bids need to be in by 24 and 26 May respectively; winners are responsible for the costs of
dismantling and transport. There is to be an open day at each in early May for potential bidders.
1074] Rutherglen: (BLN 1325.756) During the Sunday diversions (from 31 Mar until 28 Apr) via the
Newton South Connecting Line, 1,700 yards of track and OHLE are being replaced at Rutherglen.
1075] Glasgow Airport: Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken has branded hopes for a tram train
from Central station to the Airport as 'dead', saying the plans fell apart under scrutiny. A Personal
Rapid Transit pod link between the Airport and Paisley Gilmour Street revealed in Jan, is now the most
likely option. Glasgow Labour leader Frank McAveety said that plan had been described as a 'toy town
solution' during a full council meeting. But Ms Aitken said that the pods would link to the rail network.

[BLN 1327]
A report by rail consultants Jacobs in a study for Transport Scotland concluded that there would be a
negative impact of a direct rail link between Central Station and the Airport (as originally intended) on
journey times from Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Inverclyde. Capacity issues at Central station were also a
barrier with no room for another four to six services an hour (the extra platforms originally built for
the Airport services are used for increased frequency on other lines). Additionally, fewer people could
be attracted to a pod system because it involves changing at Paisley. The pod project is expected to
cost about £138M but within the same timescale (by 2025) as the tram train line would be. It is also
feared that the pod may not have as much of an impact on congestion on the M8 if fewer passenger
choose to use it than a direct link. A recent report to the City Region Cabinet found the number of
passengers expected to use a shuttle to Paisley was 1.16M a year compared to 1.36M for tram train to
Glasgow. Another factor must be that it was not possible to re-quadruple Paisley to Shields Jn.

One member feels that latest 'Pod to Paisley' is taking the 'pea'. Who wants to travel to or from an
airport, probably with heavy luggage, with a change en route, when a more convenient, direct quick
alternative is available? All proposals need to be compared with the present modern bus service which
runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week every 10 minutes in the day and hourly overnight. Direct along the
M8 right into the city centre just seven miles away, often in 15 minutes picking up and setting down in
the hotel/office area at Charing Cross, near Central station, outside Queen Street station, terminating
and starting at Buchanan bus station. Almost all of the day the traffic flows freely on the motorway,
though mandatory variable speed limits and better signage would improve matters.

Realistically, the bus is also much more convenient for anyone wishing to travel beyond Glasgow city
centre from Queen Street or Buchanan bus station, than any form of railed transport that deposits
passengers in the platforms furthest from the main entrance and the taxi rank at Glasgow Central.

There are lifts to the platforms at Paisley Gilmour Street station, but not with the capacity to deal with
air passengers en masse. Putting escalators into this listed building would be quite an undertaking.
Also the latest project does not appear to be making any provision for additional carriages on trains
between Paisley and Glasgow. The demand for transport between the airport and Paisley town centre
is indicated by the only bus service not being direct, but detouring via housing estates full of speed
bumps. The operator is also reducing this service from every 15 mins to half-hourly.

If the arboreal theory of money supply applied, there could be a useful rapid transit system from the
airport to the city centre via Renfrew town centre (badly in need of better connectivity), Braehead
(regional shopping centre), Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (huge, replacing several others a few
years ago) and Govan. There is also the wider social question as to whether the large sum of money
needed for an airport link could be better spent on improved public transport elsewhere.

1076] Borders Railway: Scottish Secretary David Mundell has confirmed his government's support for
a feasibility study on extending the line to Hawick, Newcastleton and Carlisle, in a letter to MP John
Lamont. It matches the Scottish Government's commitment to extending the route; the recent Borders
Transport Corridor Study gave two potential routes. A full feasibility study will now look in detail at the
costs and benefits, impact on businesses, jobs, tourism and potential for moving freight off the roads.

1077] Thornhill: is a 20 minute video of this 1943 London Midland & Scottish
Railway Air-Raid Precautions design signal box on the ex-Glasgow & South Western Railway's Glasgow
to Carlisle main line between Sanquhar and Dumfries. Filmed on 10 Oct 2014 it is part of the National
Railway Museum's FARSAP (Film Archive of Railway Signalling and People) project, on the Signalling
Record Society website. It was party filmed and edited by our Welsh Scottish member, Nick Jones.

NEXT PAGE TOP: Thornhill Signal Box on 18 Jul 1993. (Angus McDougall.)

1078] Tay Bridge: All walkways under the structure are in poor condition and closed to further notice.

1079] Peterhead Prison Railway: The regular loss of ships in North Sea storms during the 19th century
led the government to decide to build a harbour of refuge at Peterhead. Massive granite breakwaters
would largely enclose the bay. It was to be quarried locally and carried to the harbour site on a railway.
The Peterhead Harbour of Refuge Act, 1886 authorised the Admiralty to carry out all necessary work
on the harbour, including building and operating the railway. It was standard gauge, about 2½ miles
long, from Stirling Hill quarry, inland from Boddam, to the Admiralty construction yard in Peterhead.

It was estimated that the harbour would take 25 years to build, though it took much longer [maybe
Crossrail isn't doing so badly?]. There was expected to be difficulty in obtaining labour locally; most of
the population was profitably employed in fishing, whaling and farming. Therefore, it was decided to
use convict labour, requiring a prison to be built in Peterhead. That was located next to the Admiralty
construction yard and opened in 1888. Designed to accommodate 208 prisoners, it regularly held far
more. Some prisoners were employed breaking the granite at the quarry, and they were taken to and
from their work on the railway. Although the line was operated by the Admiralty, it became known as
the Peterhead Prison Railway. It is said to be the first publicly-operated passenger railway in the UK.

A report in The Locomotive Magazine, 1900, said: Although the total length of the line is but two and a
half miles yet the whole works are of the most elaborate construction. Heavy flat-bottomed rails
weighing about 72lb per yard and spiked to the sleepers in the ordinary way form the permanent way
which is firmly and compactly ballasted with granite. The line contains some engineering works of a fair
size, including a massive viaduct of several spans of granite, masonry, a steel girder bridge across the
turnpike road, two masonry overbridges and heavy cuttings and embankments. In general equipment,
too, this railway is fully equal to a trunk line, being provided with a complete signalling system,
all trains being worked on the absolute block from three cabins in contact with each other.

The prison line was the first railway at Boddam; the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR) branch
did not open until 1897. It is odd that this did not extend to Peterhead, but was built as cheaply as
possible. More passenger traffic might have been attracted if the line had run to Peterhead, but freight

would have been more important and that would have mostly been via Aberdeen. However, the GNSR
seemed to specialise in branch terminals that were not far apart, notably Banff and Macduff, although
a particularly large and expensive spectacular viaduct would have been needed to connect those two.

The prison railway was extended at Peterhead in about 1910, to facilitate construction of the north
breakwater. There were four steam locomotives, all tank engines. Three were supplied by Hunslet in
1892. The fourth came from Newcastle in 1896, so probably from Robert Stephenson & Co. This
suggests that the railway was not in full use until 1892. The carriages in which the prisoners travelled
were especially secure, being four-wheelers with six compartments each taking up to six men. There
were no windows, except in the carriage doors. A train normally comprised three carriages, together
with a Warders' van in which the Principal Officer travelled with three others. The officers travelling on
the trains were equipped with rifles, bayonets and swords, and there is no record of any escapes.

There was a wagon in which any Admiralty staff or other authorised visitors might travel; it is not clear
if this was the Warders' van or a separate vehicle. The first train ran from the Admiralty yard at 7.15am
and returned from the quarry at 11.00am. Blasting was undertaken at the quarry while the men were
back at the prison having their midday meal. The train bringing the men back to the quarry left the
Admiralty yard at 1.00pm and returned at 5.00pm. Timings may have varied over the years, and
probably during the winter. It is unlikely work would have been undertaken at the quarry during hours
of darkness. The men would load twenty wagons with granite each day. Prison labour was used to
maintain the track, presumably with some of the more trustworthy men being allocated to this task.

Construction of the breakwaters was not completed until 1956!! The railway was reported as still
carrying prisoners in 1949, but was dismantled by the Admiralty between 1950 and 1958. The locos
were broken up, but two of the carriages used to convey the prisoners have survived.
One is at the Peterhead Prison Museum, together with a gunpowder wagon, and the other is at Maud
Railway Museum. Internally, they are different from the original description. There is a centre door in
each side, with a caged area that looks capable of taking 12-15 men at each end of the coach.

The quarry is still in operation, and a heavily overgrown railway cutting leads down from it. A granite
road bridge still stands near Boddam (NK 121 418) and the trackbed can be seen for a short distance
north of that. Otherwise, road improvements and redevelopment have obscured the line. The original
Peterhead Prison closed in 2013 and is now a museum. It has been replaced by HMP & YOI Grampian
on an adjacent site. The Harbour of Refuge has turned out to be an invaluable base for servicing the
North Sea oil and gas industry. has more details with photos of the line running
and remains. Of note prisons were not shown of OS maps at that time (a 'white' area) but it is on the
7th Series One-Inch survey which shows the railway well too. In strict confidence, did anyone do it‽

1080] Edinburgh Waverley: ❶Use of the station has more than doubled over the last ten years from
10M to more than 24M; estimates suggest that it will more than double again to 49M by 2048. Early
work has been completed on a future strategy and there has been public consultation at the station, at
Haymarket and online. A resulting 'masterplan' is expected in Sep 2019 to guide phased investment.
❷From 28 Apr, as part of Edinburgh Waverley Station Capacity Project, new switches and crossings
(150 points) with OHLE and track circuiting is to be commissioned, between P10 & P11 at Edinburgh
IECC Workstation 3. The new crossover at the west end of the platforms is facing arriving into P11
from the west or leaving P10 to the west per TRACKmaps Book 1, p11A, Nov 2017 (thank you Martyn).

1081] Inside Central Station: (BLN 1324.636) The BBC Scotland series, compared very favourably with
Channel 5's sensationalist Paddington 24/7. It featured Glasgow Central's 'Piano Garden', a dedicated
area on the concourse with an artificial lawn, (not so) low fence and an apparently well maintained
and well used (though not necessarily well played) upright piano. Presumably this has been added
since the BLN 2017 'survey' (BLN 1293.2349 and many earlier items). It is definitely in a class of its own
as a station piano location! The Piano Garden is sponsored by a local piano dealer! The positive and
relaxed attitude of the staff probably has everything to do with the nature of the programme.

1082] Cockenzie: (BLN 1244.1993) The former Power Station branch is shown in the latest Sectional
Appendix (20 Feb 2016) as 'Power Station & Sidings temporarily OOU'. However, the connection off
Prestonpans Up Passenger Loop ends shortly after the points in a buffer stop under the road
overbridge, there is no railway beyond now. [As the Sectional Appendix shows it - just the NR part
without the sidings but, rather than being OOU, nothing actually exists anymore and the short buffer
stopped spur is not reflected in the diagram.] The last train left on 9 Mar 2013, given that the power
station has been demolished for two years now its OOU status is hardly temporary! However, at the
other end of the same loop the former Civil Engineer's Sidings are correctly shown as OOU.

1083] Inverness: ScotRail plans to set up a temporary wash facility on the Harbour Branch stabling
road from 1 Jul until 31 Dec 2019 to clean the undercarriages of classic HSTs (until retention toilets are
fitted) before every maintenance exam. The branch is also used to stable the Sleeper from 09.00 to
11.00 daily, so this would be at about 14.00. The plan is to wash the complete (short) rake within three
hours before moving it to the depot for maintenance. The Harbour branch was previously a temporary
fuelling point so has some drainage infrastructure, water and diesel supplies in place. ScotRail needs
the drainage trays refitted then plans to set up mobile pressure washers after, within days. Due to the
length of the HSTs the current Inverness wash road isn't an option (as it only takes 1½ coaches and it
would take 2-3 days to split a HST set). Ten HSTs are required to maintain the current service.

1084] Shotts Line: The first electric passenger service was on Easter Sat 20 Apr, the 22.45 (Friday)
Lowland Sleeper from King's Cross to Glasgow Central, passing Shotts at 06.20 (so no 'Shotts in the
dark' then). Regular Class 390 'Pendolino' ECS workings are due to start running from Glasgow
Polmadie Depot as the 06.53 (ThFO) to Edinburgh (08.36) in this direction only via Shotts from 2 May.
On Tue 23 Apr the 07.15 Glasgow Central to Edinburgh and 08.57 return was Class 385 EMU 385019.

PREVIOUS PAGE & LEFT: The 10.16 all stations (except
Breich) to Edinburgh via Shotts at Glasgow Central P1; -
the 08.58 from Edinburgh. (Greg Beecroft 24 Apr 2019.)
Who would have thought? The Shotts line was proposed
for complete closure in the Beeching Report, and services
at their worse were every 90 minutes with most running
to Motherwell/Hamilton rather than Glasgow.

1085] Caledonian Sleeper: On 10 Apr a press special of
Mk 5 sleeping cars ran, top & tail by 73969 & 73971:
●09.33 Polmadie - Glasgow Central. ●09.57 Glasgow
Central - Edinburgh. ●11.41 Edinburgh - Edinburgh via
the suburban line. ●13.44 Edinburgh - Townhill Down
Goods Loop. ●14.35 Townhill Down Goods Loop -
Glasgow Central. ●16.32 Glasgow Central - Polmadie.
The train was heavier than a single 73/9 would haul, so
time was lost. It is not known which parts of the journey
conveyed members of the press and media.

1086] Highland Main Line: Perth - Inverness was closed from Sat 23 until Mon 25 Mar inclusive, trains
being replaced by buses. This was for remodelling at Aviemore, commissioning new signalling there
and at Pitlochry along with platform extensions at the latter. The £57M work included restoration of
Pitlochry station's decorative features such as the Victorian water fountain and benches. The whole
project will help deliver an hourly service, with average journey times reduced by around 10 mins and
enable potential earlier and later first and last trains to run with the overall reduced signalling costs.

Fri 22 Mar was the final day of operation for Pitlochry and Aviemore boxes, control passing to Stanley
Junction, Pitlochry Workstation and Inverness, Highland Workstation respectively from 26 Mar.
Aviemore Down Refuge Siding/Engineer's siding remains OOU until 5 May (from 5 Nov 2018). A keen
member visited Aviemore that afternoon for a 'last look', although it was hard to take a clean shot of
the box, (NEXT PAGE) with plant all around. The new LED Up Starting signals were lying down south of
the platforms; the Down Starters were upright on the platforms (bagged). A ballast train was stabled in
the Strathspey Railway P3 top & tailed by 66539 & 66511.The Strathspey also benefitted from various
redundant pointwork which had been passed over the fence from the NR side. The bidirectional
'Highland Single' passes through P1 [is that where the whisky bar is situated?], it is 697m which could
take 108 (!) Standard Length Units of 6.4m. The lengthened Aviemore Loop, the same length, and now
bidirectional, runs through P2. Both lines are 40mph restricted in both directions which keeps freight
moving. The Strathspey Railway link has been upgraded to a passenger standard running connection.

At Pitlochry later that afternoon, platform extension work appeared complete and the new signals
fixed (vertical) but bagged. In the evening, three northbound Short Term Plan infrastructure trains
passed although frustratingly, the live reporting on Realtime Trains etc stopped working a couple of
hours before the end. The final passenger service to be signalled by Pitlochry box was the Inverness to
Euston sleeper where it crossed the last of the three infrastructure trains (Millerhill to Dalwhinnie).
Either of them could possibly claim to be the 'last train' - the infrastructure moved off first but, being a
longer train and with slower acceleration, it was also the last to clear the respective starting signal!

Unlike Aviemore, the new starting signals at Pitlochry are close to the middle of the platforms; the
'overlap' is thus mostly made up of platformed track. So, although the platforms have been lengthened
significantly, the usable length may be no longer than before. [This was determined as the most cost
effective solution rather than lengthening the loop.] The big advantage of the new signalling is
simultaneous arrivals. However the new set up will apparently reduce the effective length of the loops.

This won't be a problem for the regular Scotrail DMU's, but moves such as the sleeper crossing an
infrastructure train - as described above - might not be possible in future here although there are
other longer loops and some double track. Previously P1 to Perth was the Up line and P2 for Inverness
the Down, both unidirectional. Now both are bidirectional, P1 track is the 'Highland Single' [named
after a malt?] and P2 is now the Pitlochry Loop. This loop takes 182m (28 x 6.4m Standard Length Units
- SLUs) in the Down direction and 209m in the Up (32 SLUs), both lines are 40mph in both directions.
Dunkeld Box is now in the unusual situation of interfacing with the same signal box (Stanley Junction)
in both directions. Edge Hill can go one better - interfacing with Manchester ROC in three directions.

BELOW: A Perth to Inverness ECS working heads north at Aviemore. (All Nick Jones Fri 22 Mar 2019.)

ABOVE: 66433 arrives at Aviemore from Inverness on an intermodal working to Mossend; the small
signal on the gantry (for the Down Refuge/Engineer's Siding) is covered over (as the line is out of use).
To the right an Engineer's train waits on the Strathspey Railway. BELOW: The train continues south.

ABOVE: Aviemore, Stathspey Railway platform (P3) and loop.
BELOW: Redundant track deposited to the east of the Stathspey Railway, looking south.

ABOVE: Pitlochry Signal Box looking south. BELOW: A rear view of the box.

ABOVE: Old and new (bagged, with feather left for the P2 loop ahead)
Down Home Starters at Pitlochry looking north towards Inverness.

BELOW: Platforms extensions looking north (the signal box is past the shelter on the left).

ABOVE: Pitlochry station looking north, the two final semaphore signalled trains. Left is the Millerhill
to Dalwhinnie infrastructure train with, right, the Up Highland Sleeper arriving into P1. The P2
extension can be seen beyond the signal box fenced off. BELOW: The infrastructure train, the last to
depart with semaphore signalling, heads north. The platform extensions can be seen, particularly the
one on the Up side (right). The loop has not been altered but the area has all been resignalled.

1327 WALES & THE MARCHES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
1087] Newport: Electrification work at Cardiff resulted in services turning back here from 31 Mar
(02.00) until 1 Apr (05.00) (and at Easter for the Severn Tunnel Closure). Platform sharing was allowed;
it is not normally permitted at Newport when an HST or IET already occupies a platform. However
'self-dispatch' (by the train guard) was suspended and a dispatcher appointed for each platform.

1088] Cardiff Valleys: (BLN 1324.629) The Core Valley Lines asset transfer from NR to TfW is on
schedule but the Welsh Government has realised that a possible 'no deal B**x*t' could result in DfT
staff resources (and finance) being diverted from it. Transport Minister Ken Skates has written to Chris
Grayling, his Westminster counterpart, seeking an urgent guarantee that, this close to the end of the
process, it will continue to be a priority for the UK government. He is concerned that not only will the
transfer programme otherwise be at risk, but also the deliverability of the South Wales Metro as
contractually programmed, because delays could threaten the availability of £159M European
Regional Development Funding. However, UK Government financial guarantees are expected to stand.

1089] Cardiff Central: On Good Friday 19 & Sat 20 Apr P3 & 4 were closed for works with Newport to
Swansea (etc) trains using P2 in the Down direction (all eight platforms here are now bidirectional).

1090] Investment proposals: NR has announced its plans for CP6, the 5 year period which began on
(appropriately?) 1 Apr. The proposed expenditure of £2bn represents a 28% increase compared with
CP5 (2014-9) and includes over 1,000 local schemes, most notably:
¶ Barmouth Bridge: 'Renewal' (£22M); in the past threatened with (line) closure on occasions.
¶ Port Talbot: Phase 2 of resignalling - the expected completion date is currently Sep 2023.
¶ Sudbrook: Installation of new more energy efficient pumps at the Severn Tunnel Pumping Station.
¶ Swansea: Major track renewals and replacement of buffer stops (hopefully not causing any friction).

Overall, £135M is to be invested in West Wales signalling improvements, £176M in track renewal and
refurbishment and £27.7M in improving 'extreme weather resilience'.

1091] Rolling Stock: NR recently accepted a Vehicle Change for the introduction of Class 769 (trimode
conversions from Class 319 AC/DC EMUs with diesel engines added, also known as '319 Flex') for the
Cardiff to Rhymney service. On 20 Mar it issued a further Vehicle Change Notice proposing that this
should be extended to Penarth from the May 2019 timetable change or later (place your bets).
The first five units are to operate peak Rhymney to Cardiff services. Four more units follow, then all
nine will run on Rhymney to Penarth diagrams all day, thereby reducing the worst overcrowding.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, 37418 has arrived at Canton Depot for crew training. Those
bemoaning the loss of the Cumbrian Coast Class 37s with push-pull sets of Mark II coaches can expect
to relive the experience (but hopefully not the unreliability) on the Rhymney line until the 769s take
over. The 07.24 & 07.45 Rhymney to Cardiff Central and 17.01 & 17.31 return SSuX are anticipated
with Colas Rail 37418 & 37421 and the ex-Cumbrian Coast coach sets. Wisely, a third 37 is expected to
act as 'Thunderbird'. No doubt the stock will find favour in connection with rugby internationals etc.

1092] Briton Ferry: (BLN 1324.627 with 'before' and 'after' track plans) A stop block has now been
placed at the east end of the former Down Through Siding creating a long siding. There are two stop
blocks at the west end of the run round facility with all connections to the main line now removed.

1093] Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen (GCG): (BLN 1326.917) A member visiting the site was advised by a staff
member that even though coal cutting has ceased, trains are expected to continue running for 'up to
12 months' to clear the stockpile. [Time for a 'farewell' railtour or two.] Open cast coal mining by Celtic
Energy at East Pit began on a small scale in autumn 2008 when their operations at Parc Slip (between
Tondu and Margam) ended. The previously mothballed GCG branch from Pantyffynnon was brought
back into use on 12 Jan 2009. After driver training runs the first coal train left on 16 Jan 2009 to
Onllwyn for washing (42m 23ch by rail or 8m 31ch as the crow flies - problem is it would require quite
a few crows to carry 600 tonnes of unwashed coal). They were to become daily but at first alternated
with trains clearing Parc Slip stockpile. In recent years traffic has diminished. (Railfuture Rail Wales.)

1094] Conwy Valley: (BLN 1326.918) Detailed inspections have established that 6 miles of trackbed,
two stations and 8 miles of track require 'significant repair'. Not surprisingly, the target dates for
completion have slipped back dramatically; NR now hopes to reopen Llandudno Jn to Llanrwst before
the National Eisteddfod at Llanrwst begins in what it regards as 'early summer' - actually 2 Aug!
By this time, of course, many drivers will require their route knowledge of the branch refreshing.

1095] Chepstow - Monmouth: (BLN 1325.760) Our member visited on 26 and 27 Feb 2019. A sloping
retaining wall with dummy arches is all that marks the site of Chepstow East, an early temporary
station which CP/CA 19 Jul 1852 on completion of the River Wye Bridge. No traces remain of the halts
at Tutshill Halt (1934-1959 near the site of Chepstow East) and Beachley Junction (unadvertised). The
track, on the original Wye Valley Railway (GWR from 1905) to Tintern Quarry was mostly in situ in Feb
2019 but he believes that Tidenham station was obliterated by the construction of a run round loop
for quarry traffic in about 1980; Netherhope Halt has also vanished. Both portals of Tidenham Tunnel
(length variously quoted as 1,188 or 1,190yd) are heavily gated complete with spikes at the south and
razor wire at the north but beyond here the trackbed is a permissive path owned by Railway Paths Ltd.

There is no trace of the halt at Tintern Quarry but the loading bank remains. Tintern Tunnel is firmly
secured by palisade fencing but the footpath continues along the trackbed of the Tintern Wireworks
branch, including its impressive bridge over the River Wye, to the site of the former level crossing in
the village. The Monmouth line bridge north of the tunnel has long gone but the delightful Tintern
station and signal box are a café and visitor centre during the summer. Items of
rolling stock are on an isolated length of standard gauge track and a 7¼" miniature steam worked line
runs on the original trackbed. It was fully covered (in pouring rain) on a Society visit of Sun 4 Aug 2013.

North from here the Wye Valley line is an official footpath for ¾ mile to the infilled overbridge at the
site of Brockweir Halt, an overgrown jungle. It is then private land to the site of Whitebrook Halt.
Along this section there is again no trace of Llandogo Halt, a late addition in 1927 despite serving the
second largest intermediate village (after Tintern). The present landowner has installed CCTV.

BELOW: Tintern station on 30 Nov 1986. (Angus McDougall.)
The derelict passenger and goods buildings at St Briavels are extant and adjacent to the main road but

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