Issue Number 1229 (Items 515_ 604 and MR 31 _ 38) (e-BLN 29 PAGES) 21 March 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
BLN 1230 is due on Saturday 4 April; all contributions must be received by 25 March.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
To be advised SVR signalling
Two day practical course 1224 NJ Notify
Sat 4/04/15 Standard gauge 10.30 Kidderminster 1229 PS NOW
NEW Velocipede ride Railway Museum track OPEN
Wed 8/04/15 Railway walk 18.00 - 21.00 Rugby 1225 TG Open
Fri 17/04/15 West Somerset Rly. 11.00 Brakevan tour 1224 RG FULL
Sun 19/04/15 S & C DesiroTracker Manchester - S&C line. 1226 KA OPEN
Mon 20/04/15 West Somerset Rly. FULL (WAITING LIST) 1224 RG Enquire
Sat 25/04/15 Signal Box Visits 09.00 Clacton & others 1225 PS Open
Mon 27/04/15 K&WV Railway Re-dated railtour 1207 KA FULL
Fri 1/05/15 Tyne & Wear Metro 13.00 Visit to control 1227 JC Open
Sat 2/05/15 Plymouth to Laira 12.00 with PLEG Cl 08 1229 AW NOW
Depot mini-tour track and traction event OPEN
Sun 3/05/15 Moreton Park Rly. 12.00 & 14.00 Tours 1224 SP FULL
Sun 3/05/15 Titley Junction Rly. Standard gauge tour 1226 SP Open
8-10/05/15 Channel Islands Railway weekend 1213 KA FULL
Thur 18/06/15 Pre-Peaks Trekker Crewe to WCML tour 1227 KA Cancelled
Sun 28/06/15 Kirkby-in-Ashfield Guided railway walk 1227 TG Open
14-15/11/15 60th AGM weekend York NRM and etc. TBA TBA Claimed
AW - Andrew Wilson, JC - John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones,
PS-Paul Stewart, RG-Robert Green, SP-Stephen Phillips, TG-Tom Gilby.
515] Kidderminster Railway Museum, Easter Saturday 4 April: 10.30 the first chance ever to travel over
the short but very rare standard gauge track here, in front of Wrangaton signal box, on the west side of
Kidderminster Town station. Motive power: Buda Velocipede. Pay on the day £2 in cash (all money going to
the Museum). Advance notification is required, bookings and queries to Paul Stewart (per back page). The
SVR are operating eight return services this day, the Railway Museum and the Engine House are open.
BLN 1229.516] Tyne & Wear Metro, South Gosforth Control Centre, Friday 1 May: Places are available for
this interesting guided tour which is rarely permitted and is timed to allow for return rail travel on the day
from far and wide including Penzance, Holyhead, Stranraer, Inverness, Ipswich, Eastbourne or Weymouth!
The single control room has a full sized signalling panel where two signallers cover the system. It includes a
'power control' for the overhead line equipment and all other Metro network requirements including
station lighting, ticket machines, fire alarms, PA systems etc. 'Customer Communications' is also based here
and has a wider remit than might appear. It includes monitoring nearly 600 CCTV cameras through some 12
screen displays with links to the local authorities and the '999' emergency services; responding to calls from
the Metro monitoring systems and passenger enquiry points on the stations. The visit is an ideal
opportunity to enjoy a day rover on the Tyne and Wear Metro (£6.90 all day including the peaks, also most
buses, trains as far as Sunderland and Blaydon and even on the Shields Ferry). Queries/bookings to member
John Cameron: [email protected] or post with SAE (two for an acknowledgment) to 10 Friar Gate
Court, Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1HE. We are hoping that a full party might lead on to more interesting Tyne
and Wear Metro fixtures in future.
517] BLS/PLEG Laira Depot charity event, Saturday 2 May: A very unusual opportunity worthy of maximum
publicity and support. Please read all this very carefully before booking. First Great Western have kindly
invited the Society and PLEG to participate in a charity railtour from Plymouth station to Laira depot riding
behind two of their shunters over rare track. This is to help their nominated charity http://goo.gl/dyGg3Z,
the 'Plymouth and District Mind Association'. NR is kindly waiving all track access charges. All staff are very
generously giving their time for free, every PLEG/BLS steward will be purchasing their own tickets (as
normal) to assist this very worthy mental health charity. Subject to availability, 2xClass 08 locomotives have
been requested Top 'n' Tail with a full HST set. The HST power cars are expected to provide ETS only. The
requested depot route, subject to availability is different from that previously covered by the excellent
FGW BLS/L&CI Tracker tours. Departs Plymouth 12.00, back 13:45 (to be confirmed). A significant number
of people will travel on the 06.00 Leeds to Plymouth train and we will endeavour to maintain this
connection as far as possible. Photographic opportunities will be available at Plymouth station before and
after the trip but there is no depot alighting; where toilets will be out of use and passengers may have to
remain seated. No smoking or alcohol is allowed anywhere on the train at any time. Fare for bookings
received before 24 April: adult £39; child 5-15 inclusive £9 (under 5s free) who must be accompanied by an
adult. To increase your donation just increase the cheque payment, and thank you very much for your kind
generosity. Bookings received after 24 April and the pay on the day (if available) £50 _ no reductions.
IMPORTANT: SUPPLY A TELEPHONE NUMBER AND IDEALLY AN E-MAIL ADDRESS PLEASE. If no email
please send a 1st class SAE and a second SAE if an initial acknowledgement is required. Also clearly state
your exact ticket requirements, and the names of all the members of your party, including the ages for any
child fares. If any child in your party might appear older than 15 please bring proof of age on the day.
Cheques payable to 'Andrew Wilson' (a PLEG organiser) with bookings to: 61 Tyersal Park, Tyersal,
Bradford 4, West Yorkshire, BD4 8EY. No card payments. PLEG’s ter s a d o ditio s apply to this event:
http://goo.gl/XMzJwO as do our own: http://goo.gl/TR1nWQ. Special conditions of booking: once a
booking is made no refunds will be entertained for any reason – the money will then be donated to the
nominated charity. In the highly unlikely event that the charter is cancelled all the cheques will be
destroyed and no other liabilities shall be incurred. Enquiries: [email protected].
518] Great Western Tracker IV, Saturday 30 May: Our friends at First Great Western, now they have
completed the planning for our new fixture on 2 May (above), are turning their attention to our requested
itinerary. Further updates on this exciting project will be provided in due course.
BLN 1229.519] Pre Peaks Trekker, Thursday 18 June: With apologies, unfortunately this project is not now
taking place. Due to workload, DRS are unable to provide the train crew for the additional 'rare track'
elements proposed in the North West. The train, a positioning move from Crewe to Euston for the annual
Railway Children 'Three Peaks by Rail' charter, will now operate ECS to minimise driver hours.
520] Exciting Projects on the Horizon: A number of projects for our Diamond Jubilee year are now coming
to fruition, and it is hoped they will mature sufficiently to open for bookings in the coming weeks. Projects
'on track', not yet shown in the grid above, include a mainline loco-hauled charter in May, passenger rides
at a highly sought after and fascinating industrial location in June, an EMU charter with a brand new TOC
relationship in July and also a mainline loco-hauled charter for July to a most unusual and sought after
location, particularly in the current climate. Meanwhile, the S&C Desiro Tracker on Sunday 19 April 2015, in
conjunction with FTPE, running out via the WCML and back by the Settle & Carlisle Line, is now booked to
use the Down Goods diveunder from Bamfurlong Jct. on the approach to Wigan North Western in the
morning and the Up Slow line after Wigan in the evening. Other enhancements are being finalised to add
even greater interest and value to this charity railtour. Places are available now the train has been
strengthened to six coaches; please come and also give it maximum publicity.
521] FIXTURES REPORTS, Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway: (34 & 35/60) On a cold but bright and
clear Friday 20 February, 31 members from far and wide gathered at Embsay station for an 'all available
lines' railtour using two brake vans with very welcome lit stoves and the 1952 vintage class 04 (11103 also
known as D2203) for haulage. On arrival, rather puzzlingly one van was labelled 'A' and the other 'B' but all
was soon revealed. Participants drew lots for their vehicle enabling a more even spread and some new
acquaintances to be made. A prompt 10.30 start was made from P1 to the Ash Pit line behind the Loco
Shed and Worksop. En route to Holywell Halt, where there was an impromptu photo opportunity, the train
set back into Skibeden siding (219m 30ch).
(A cold but enjoyable day at Bolton Abbey station P1, looking east, station buildings to the left _ Jim Sellens).
At Stoneacre loop the train waited while the crew opened the box (a rare event) so the train could run past
and back over the now rarely used and very rusty unidirectional loop line towards Embsay. Another photo
stop and interesting signal box visit also took place (there were quite a few of both all day). After
completing the loop the box was closed again with shutters down over the windows, just as if nothing had
happened. For many the highlight of the day was Draughton P.W. depot (21m 70ch) to the buffer stops;
the lengthy siding comes off the running line north-westerly at quite an angle. At the delightful Bolton
Abbey station, with its faithfully reconstructed wooden building, the tour covered to the end of line (216m
56ch), the long run round loop and, after shunting out the stock (and later replacing it), the two long sidings
and their south headshunt. These interesting movements were very reminiscent of activity at BR wagon
load depots prior to the 1980s. There is a definite plan to replace P2 here. By special arrangement the
Hambleton Valley Miniature Railway (7¼" gauge) was running for us, the very enthusiastic driver covering
just about every inch of track. Those who had visited last year noted there is now a new higher level
extension at the west end to access the workshop with closure of the former ground level line. There are
plans for yet another extension east (Ilkley here we come?), which will require an embankment made from
excavating the new standard gauge P2. The loop and east facing bay platform were covered at the main
Woodside station on the 7¼" behind Bolton Abbey's main station building as was the shed road there and,
after passing the former east end terminal station (NRU) off the running line, the significant 2013 extension
was taken. Thanks to the determination and resourcefulness of the driver, both sides of the current but
temporary terminal platform were traversed and even its sector plate at the far end! Sales of very welcome
hot drinks and a superb selection of homemade cakes were brisk at the Bolton Abbey refreshment room.
To the delight of the railway they almost sold out of cake. Returning to Embsay, the tour covered all four
east end Shed and Workshop lines to the north of the running line and the carriage shed lines to the south,
as far as possible. Then it was through P2 with a change of motive power to the 1958 built Andrew Barclay
0-4-0 440 ex-Meaford Power Station No1. Society trips in 1981 had haulage by the same locomotive at its
eponymous and long closed power station near Barlaston! The tour then traversed the short headhunt
west of P2 and to the end of line (220m 59ch) at Bow Bridge loop, where a DB Class 66 was seen returning
light engine from Rylstone Quarry (the engines exchanging greetings). Some present had traversed the now
lifted temporary connection to the quarry branch here on one of the three infamous Yorkshire Flying
Banger Skipton to Embsay shuttles of 8 August 1982. Yorkhams Meat Products sponsored them and
connection with the main network was made by slewing the branch track for the day! Returning via the
other side of the loop, the tour ran into Embsay reversible P1, back exactly where it had started some five
hours earlier. Participants were then given a demonstration of the 2'-0" gauge line at Embsay with a variety
of motive power and complex shunting. This was an excellent and unexpected encore to a most enjoyable
day at this very friendly railway. Thanks to our member Glen Wells for organising it all.
BLN 1229.522] Scunthorpe Steel Tracker, 28
February: (36/60) In recent years the Society has
operated quite a few fixtures with the Appleby
Frodingham Railway Preservation Society (AFRPS)
at Scunthorpe steel works, who must be uniquely
fortunate in having their infrastructure provided
and maintained for them, at present by Tata Steel.
In 2014 the BLS was the main donor to AFRPS funds
and demand for these BLS railtours, unique in the
modern era at Britain's largest private railway,
continues to be strong. A record 46 people joined
the latest one on 28 February starting at 10.30.
During the next six hours the brakevan trip covered 24 miles with the usual lunch break in the buffet car at
the AFRPS shed where sandwiches, cakes, crisps and drinks etc. were kindly provided. Loco 1 (the 1963
built Yorkshire Engine Company 0-6-0 2877) was used first, collecting the party on three brakevans from
Frodingham platform. At the AFRPS depot their Class 03, 03901 recently smartly painted in black (as part of
its re-engining; previously D2128) took over. Some of the locations visited or passed, in order:
1. AFRPS Depot Headshunt. 14. Rail Service Centre 5 Bay East.
2. Barclays Loop. 15. *Welding Plant No2 Road.
3. Heavy Plate Mill Entrance 22. 16. *Welding Plant No1 Road.
4. Winn's Siding No3. 17. Trent Sidings Low Yard No9.
5. Appleby Coke Ovens Line. 18. Trent Sidings West.
6. *Blast Furnace Area (north). 19. Trent Sidings High Yard No5.
7. Torpedo Repair Bay 5.
8. Torpedo Repair Bay Gate 15 line. 20. Container Terminal 'C'.
9. Lime Avenue Siding.
10. BOS - Basic Oxygen Steel - (making) Plant. 21. Anchor Exchange Sidings.
22. Mills Exchange Sidings No10.
11. *Blast Furnace Area (south).
12. CORUS Rail Sidings No3. 23. Bloom & Billet Mill.
13. Rail Service Centre 2 Bay East.
24. Slab Bay.
25. Bridge 44.
26. South Melting Shop.
*The first Society tour to reach these lines. A marked map (which needs magnification and looks good at A3
size) of the tour and a chronological detailed route list with distances is a supplement to e-BLN with thanks
to Martyn Brailsford and Andy Pullar. Anyone else who would like a copy please email the Editor or send an
A4 sized SAE. We are very fortunate to be able to run tours like this in the year 2015 and must remind
ourselves that the function of the railway is actually heavy industry rather than just to entertain us!
Participants are guests of the AFRPS and the steelworks. We hope to continue to run these fixtures a couple
of times a year if possible and providing there is sufficient demand. Watch the Fixtures Grid!
Our 28 February 2015 Scunthorpe Steel Tracker tour on Road 3 of Container Terminal 'C' (Alan Sheppard).
BLN 1229.523] London Underground (LU) Signal Cabin Visits Monday 2 March 2015: (37-41/60): Meeting
at 09.45, ten members had a most interesting and enjoyable day visiting a wide variety of London
Underground signal 'cabins'. Our very affable guide (chaperone?), Liz, was clearly well informed after 13
years in LU signalling. We started in the architecturally interesting Allsop Place offices behind Baker Street
station, and were surprised to see a Westinghouse 1960s style green 'domino' tiled track layout on the wall,
as found in many BR panel / power boxes of that era such as Swindon, Wolverhampton and Derby,
although it dates from 1986. This shows the trains (but has no control over) part of the Jubilee Line, the
northern part of which from Baker Street to Stanmore used to be a branch of the Bakerloo. It interfaces
with Harrow-on-the-Hill and goes to Tower Hill (exclusive) via Liverpool Street including the Aldgate
triangle. Route setting is mainly automatic. Our guide showed how trains were cancelled or diverted in that
da ’s ti eta le and then the computer did as instructed. Afterwards we went to the separate 1986 line
control office, where decisions are taken such as omitting intermediate calls between Baker Street and
Harrow to get a late train back into its proper path. GSMR is installed because of the Chiltern line to
Aylesbury. The new timetable is so intensive that if a train is more than a few minutes late, quick decisions
have to be made about short workings, cancellations and ECS moves etc. before trains back up _ then the
staff really earn their keep! It is hard to believe that at one time the 'King' lever would be thrown at Baker
Street off peak and the Met. was then operated as a self contained branch to the north!
Edgware Road: (District / H&C) was like nothing the party had seen before. The oldest cabin on LU, it has a
1926 vintage miniature 38 lever frame. Every signal and each set of points is controlled by its own 6” lo g
lever with indicators to confirm, just like on full size mechanical levers. There are four busy platforms and
the notorious Praed Street Jct. to control. The lone signalman was on the go all the time and even recording
all times in handwriting as the computer is too slow to cope with the intensive service! There is a 35 minute
meal break in the eight hour shift but it was hard to see how he could otherwise make a drink or answer a
call of nature. This was during 'normal' working; when something is amiss the phone/radio never stops! The
trains are right in front of the box which even has its own whistle, now used to remind resting drivers of a
green signal after changing ends. A complication is that there are many crew changes and terminating
services at Edgware Road. The signal box diagram seemed to be more or less all permanently lit with very
little unoccupied track and then only briefly. The general public on the latest modern trains passing by
would be amazed, as indeed our members were.
Then it was off to Hammersmith H&C terminus, where the group were impressed with the way the three
platforms had recently been extended at the buffer ends in keeping with the rest of this attractive GWR
style station to accommodate the now longer new trains, although you can spot the joins. There they saw
another (1951) Westinghouse miniature 35 lever frame with even dinkier levers, 4” high. Again the
signalman was continually busy at this three platform terminus, also with plenty of movements in and out
of the depot as well. The signaller has full control of the platforming and can override the train plan in this
respect. He manually operates the 'next train' indicator (which may explain why some regular passengers
look for the green signal!). Staff opinion was that the Circle now runs better operating out and back
between Hammersmith and Edgware Road via the south side of the Circle. In the days when it just went
round and round they regularly needed to 'step back' all the Circle Line trains if one was very late.
The party took the remarkably short walk to Hammersmith (Piccadilly and District Lines) then the Jubilee
from Westminster to reach Waterloo for the last visit to the Waterloo and City (W&C) control. This covers
signalling with a 2007 VDU based system, line management and service control. There is a back up 1993 NX
emergency control panel. The control room is hidden away off a secure car park to the high numbered side
of Waterloo station and difficult to find, although this meant the party noticed the intact bridge over
Waterloo Rd. that once carried the link line to Waterloo East (used from July 1865 to December 1867 and
removed 26 March 1911) - if only…! The 1m 56ch (passenger run 1m 46ch) double track W&C is isolated by
rail from the rest of the network so the carriages have to be craned in and out from above, although there
is a lift for components such as bogies. In the peaks all five trains operate and one runs every 2¾ minutes
from each end, carrying 800 passengers at a time (tidally to Bank in the morning and back to Waterloo in
the evening). There is a well practised passenger queuing system and it is one of the few railways that
requires 100% stock availability; when a unit is taken out for servicing every six months there are problems!
Off peak, with three trains running, the signalling is automatic and ensures a uniform headway, but the
party witnessed the controller having to change the normal off-peak platforming after the tripcock on one
unit operated half way along the right hand platform (P7) approaching Bank. This is the preferred platform
there for off peak operation as the train is slowing anyway on approach (and takes the crossover) with a
faster departure on the straight. At Waterloo P26 is purely for arrivals, so unusually there are no
advertisements on the trackside wall which looked very odd! The ECS then moves forward, reverses in
depot Road 5 off peak and loads in P25. This ex-SR/BR line now operates all day SuX. Drivers either love or
hate the W&C, but all W&C regular drivers (who volunteer for the job) refresh the Central Line by driving
on it every six months and vice versa. Thanks to our excellent LU guide and our member Rob Davidson for
facilitating these superb visits. As one of the participants said, the group was treated 'like royalty'; Rob was
the second very knowledgeable guide and also made sure no one got lost!
BLN 1229.524] Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, Friday 6 March: (42/60) 78 Society and PLEG members
enjoyed rare track and a private diesel running day here. The delightful Haverthwaite station café was open
throughout and provided an exceptional value all day meal deal for participants. The day started with
passengers joining a 10.00 2-car DMU trip in the middle of the shed, running out and through the east
tunnel then reversing on the headshunt just beyond (which actually extends almost to the 5¼ MP). A
further reversal was made at the end of Haverthwaite West Tunnel. A trip to Lakeside followed, where
both platforms were completed to the buffer stops. It was the first time the DMU had been into the left (on
arrival) rare platform and, exceeding expectations, it also ran to the end of the headshunt which is the
rarely used 'Thomas siding'. Much buffer kissing occurred! The Class 110 returned giving passengers superb
views of this very scenic, exactly three mile long Lake District single track line and equally superb views of
the inside of Haverthwaite shed! Visibility was better for there being no leaves on the trees. Next Class 20
20214 ran from the very rare grass-covered platform at Haverthwaite (not normally used by passengers
including prior to preservation) after a rather special key was used to open the gate! The LMS 'Class
11' operated the subsequent train, whilst the two final runs with each of the Class 03s ran with two coaches
rather than three. The fifth and final service of the day reversed in the tunnel and propelled into the non
preferred Haverthwaite platform in order to return the coaching stock to where they started from (and
complete the loop!). Cab rides were provided at Lakeside on each visit to complete the run round
crossover there. A wonderful day, both organisations were made very welcome by the exceptional team of
volunteers and staff at this very friendly railway.
1229 HEAD LINES: Record of Openings and Closings
525] Severn Valley Railway; Bewdley station (excl.) - MP140¼: (BLN 1224.26) ROA Tuesday 17 February
2015 (TCA after running on 4 January). The Elan Aqueduct work overran by three days during which initial
half-term passenger services operated Kidderminster - Bewdley and Bridgnorth - Hampton Loade only.
526] Coventry South Jct. / Small Heath South Jct - Leamington Spa Jct. - Fenny Compton Jct.: ROG 13
March 2015 (see next entry; no evidence has been found of earlier running of freight trains that week).
BLN 1229.527] Leamington Spa station - Banbury station (both excl.): (BLN 1228.437) ROA Thursday 12
March 2015 at 16.12 with a 50mph Temporary Speed Restriction, three weeks earlier than originally
anticipated. (TCA since 31 January due to the Harbury landslip). The first booked train was on Friday 13
March, the 00.20 ECS from Banbury to Birmingham Moor Street and the in the Up direction the 22.26
(Thursday) Halewood, Jaguar Cars to Southampton Eastern Docks. The 05.15 Birmingham Moor Street to
London Marylebone was the first Up passenger train and the 06.05 Banbury to Snow Hill the first Down
service. Amending BLN 1228, incredibly the line is normally used by some 50 freight and about 150 (rather
than 80) passenger trains a day (SSuX when there are fewer). Chiltern Railways advertise 44 down and 43
up trains; CrossCountry 32 each way. To view the sheer scale of the work while it is fresh (and still in
progress) the off-peak day return between the two stations is remarkably good value at £8.30 (£5.10 with
a railcard) for a total of nearly 40 miles of rail travel.
528] Coventry South Jct./Small Heath South Jct - Fenny Compton Jct.: ROG 13 March 2015 (as above).
529] Denham Golf Club station: TCP Monday 16 March expected to Friday 29 June 2015 (both inclusive) for
platform renewal work (a hole in one?). A minibus is provided to/from Gerrards Cross station instead.
1229 BLN GENERAL
530] E-BLN 1228: This had 13 colour pictures, including BLN Pictorial and e-BLNI also two supplements Lee
Nash's 'Diary' of forthcoming railtours, galas and other such events and Publicity Officer David Clark's
unique report on our Merseyrail tour. As agreed by members at the 2014 Kidderminster AGM from 1 May
anyone who takes paper BLN will be able to receive electronic BLN at no extra charge and the e-BLN
only subscription is being reduced compared to 2014/15. Members wishing to sample e-BLN until the
end of April free of charge please email the Editor notifying the email address to which you would
like it sent. E-BLN 1229 attachments (which may be sent separately due to the file sizes) include unusual
passenger moves on the ECML south of Doncaster (with some track layout diagrams) thanks to Ian Delgado
and also a marked map and mileage inventory of our 28 February Scunthorpe tour. For contrast, with
thanks to Rodger Wilkinson, is a 19 April 1992 map of the railway. BLN Pictorial 1229 has some 'views from
the Shard'. E-BLNI has seven illustrations etc. and e-BLNI 'extra' is about North American railways.
531] PSUL 2015 _ UPDATE 1: Minor retimings are ignored but the latest version of PSUL can always be
found on-line at http://tinyurl.com/psul-intro or at http://snipurl.com/psul-intro.
P6: Greenford (LUL) Bay Jct. - Northolt Jct. and Acton Main Line (Acton East/Poplar Jct.) - Acton Wells Jct.
- West London Jct.: February blockades were cancelled and the Virgin Trains 'replacement shuttle' services
will not run at Easter 2015 due to FGW (Reading) diversions taking up the paths south of Banbury.
P7: Earl's Court Jct. - Kensington (Olympia) [LU]: SSuX non-exhibition days: From Kensington (Olympia):
05.47, 05.59, 06.06, 06.15, 06.25, 06.45, 19.58 and 20.38. From High Street Kensington: 19.40 and 20.21.
P9: Westferry - Canary Wharf (via West India Down Viaduct line, avoiding North Quay Jct.) [DLR]: From
2 February 2015 this route applies all day SSuX (trains which do not call at West India Quay).
P13: Philips Park West Jct. - Ashburys Jct.: 1E69 10.03 SuO Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle is
susceptible to being altered to start from Manchester Piccadilly, thus not using this route; this variation
applied from 25 January until 3 May 2015, and expected to do so again from 21 June until the end of July.
P15: Norchard Low Level - Norchard, Middle Forge Jct. ground frame [Dean Forest Railway]: The only
regular train is now 10.00 from Norchard on Red, Green and Yellow dates; no regular terminating train.
P18: Sheffield: Park Square triangle, east chord [Stagecoach Supertram]: Enhanced daytime service will
operate during track relaying works 11 May until 3 June 2015.
P19: Milford Jct. - Burton Salmon Jct. (site) - Castleford, add: WCR, The Dalesman TThO in summer.
1229 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
BLN 1229.532] Retford: Due to ECML engineering work and consequential Joint Line (Lincoln) diversions,
Virgin Trains East Coast services left/leave Doncaster SO 7 to 21 March inclusive at about XX.55 at various
hours to Retford Down side (P2) where they terminate and return about 40 minutes later. This move takes
the Up Main to Down Main facing crossover at Retford North (138m 71ch) then the Down Slow line to P2.
The 10.05 SuO from Leeds (10.36 from Doncaster) was/is booked to do the same on 8 to 22 March
inclusive. On the subject of the new Virgin Trains East Coast TOC, their two letter ATOC code appears to be
a very memorable GR! Does this actually stand for anything? In comparison Grand Central is GC, Virgin
Trains (WCML) is VT, freight operators are a deliberately anonymous 'ZZ' but hopefully not asleep!
533] Spalding ECML Diversions: The Spalding Guardian reported that there would be a 'high risk of gridlock
on Saturdays' during the ECML closure and diversions due to the high number of trains passing through the
station and over the level crossing! Surprisingly 114 train paths in total are indeed scheduled on Saturday
28 March (but fewer on the previous Saturdays), up to seven an hour, although some are optional freights
(etc.) so the actual number running is likely to be less. The situation at Lincoln High Street level crossing
could be interesting with rather more trains booked. Normally Spalding has 22 passenger trains calling SO
(26 SSuX) and around eight optional freight paths SO, (20 SSuX). The local council even sought a guarantee
from NR that Vernatts Bridge, which is due to be replaced, could withstand the extra trains!
534] Spalding Platform 2: (BLN 1221.1689) A member recently visited the ticket office on P1 to buy a ticket
for the 08.57 train to Sleaford which (like the 13.03 SX) is one of only two departures from P2 when there is
another train due in P1. There is no Sunday service. The station staff asked routinely if he would be able to
manage the stairs to P2 and said that had he expressed concern the train would be re-platformed to P1
(Members might bear this in mind if they need the crossovers!). This would have delayed the working due
in the other direction; timings are now excessive (due to the fact that the timetable has not caught up with
the extensive track, signalling and line speed upgrade on the Joint Line). Typically 4 to 7 minutes are spent
standing in either direction awaiting time, so the clash may not be obvious in the timetable. Re-platforming
would also have necessitated passengers already on P2 crossing to P1. At Sleaford a poster notified the
temporary cessation of level access to Spalding P2 and the re-platforming of down trains where practicable.
Passengers having difficulty with stairs are required to make telephone advance arrangements before
travelling. The original suggestion was that passengers not able to manage the steps should board the train
at Sleaford station instead was not much use for someone travelling to Sleaford! This idea was subject to
heavy criticism in the local media and was soon changed. As indicated in BLN 1221, this is only a
'temporary' arrangement following removal of the north 'barrow crossing' as part of the upgrade (and the
general safety policy of abolishing such crossings).
535] Cross at Peterborough: On Saturday 14 March the 17.52 Liverpool Lime Street to Norwich (diverted
via Loughborough and Melton Mowbray) used P7 as booked, and so took the new facing crossover from
the Up Stamford to the Down Slow / Down Stamford [Unusual tracks reference: E16-04d]. The crossover is
not shown in the latest TRACKmaps (so see http://goo.gl/4vpXdd - Peterborough) and normally has no
booked passenger services. It is due to be used Sundays from 5 April to 10 May inclusive, and Saturdays 18
and 25 April, when Cross Country Birmingham to Stansted Airport services terminate at Peterborough. Not
all trains are affected, especially on 3 May so check first (eg RTT).
536] GN & GE Joint Line: A member on a diverted Hull Trains service of 28 February noted that the signal
box name boards south of Trent Jcts. were unusually still in situ on the abolished boxes after closure.
1229 GREATER LONDON
BLN 1229.537] East India Dock branch: On 15 February a member visited the sites of two branches off the
former North Woolwich line. This first one diverged at Canning Town South Jct. Squeezed between Bow
Creek and the start of Barking Road, the constraints of geography suggest that today about the first quarter
of a mile of the DLR from Canning Town towards East India station follows the GER East India Dock branch.
Just beyond the point where the DLR diverges away from that former goods branch can be found the
principal surviving piece of GER infrastructure; an impressive steel bridge, supported on two pairs of iron or
steel piers set in the river banks. The BRB Residuary code is partially obscured by graffiti but appears to
read CDY (or CBY) 5 57. The distance from Liverpool Street via the former west curve at Stratford is 5m
57ch, but what does CDY or CBY stand for? Unfortunately the bridge is firmly fenced off at both ends with
palisade steel fencing, there being a modern public footbridge over Bow Creek almost alongside it. The
apparent curvature on and off this bridge each end suggests this was one of the branches on which the GER
would have used its small fleet of 0-4-0ST and 0-4-0Ts (LNER Y4 and Y5). Beyond the bridge the trackbed is
within a security-fe ed o pou d for the lo al authorit ’s ehi les. A ri erside pa ed pu li footpath is
adjacent and veers on to what appears to be the trackbed where the line would have passed through
railway-sized archways in the former perimeter walls of East India Dock, crossing Leamouth Road at this
point. On 1919 GER maps the branch stops at the Pepper Warehouse with an arrow pointing to E. India Dk.,
so the tracks beyond were presumably the propert of the Port of Lo do Authorit PLA . The IRS’s
Industrial Railways & Locomotives of the County of London lists PLA locomotives as allocated to East and
West India Docks until 1914, implying that the GER took over the shunting thereafter. The London Railway
Atlas gives the closure of Blackwall Goods (Eastern Counties Railway) as 6 March 1967, presumably the
dock line closed at the same time. Today some of the Do k’s histori offi es ha e ee retai ed i e
usage and part of the Dock is still a water feature; most is being redeveloped.
538] Plaistow & West Ham Depot Goods branch: This was also visited on Sunday 15 February. A short
distance north of the DLR Star Lane stop (just before Stephenson Street bridge crosses the lines) a filled-in
railway bridge can be seen under Manor Road. This was the point of divergence of this branch. This bridge
has a steel roller shutter on its east side which was down. Notes for a 2009 Don Kennedy walk indicate that
it is used for self-storage. The rest of the branch has disappeared under an estate but the west to east
section of Cranberry Lane is on the alignment of the sidings. The branch CG 6 August 1984.
539] Thameslink: (BLN 1226.254) (1). Signalling: From 13.00 on 15 March signalling of the lines from south
of Kentish Town to St. Pancras High Level and Elephant & Castle was to transfer to Three Bridges Rail
Operating Centre. Control to St. Pancras and Farringdon was previously from West Hampstead PSB, and
south of Farringdon by Victoria Area Signalling Centre. Signalling was also to be commissioned on the (still
OOU) Up and Down Canal Tunnel Lines between Canal Jct. and Belle Isle Jct.
(2). London Bridge Area Remodelling: (BLN 1218.1455) The next set of changes is due to take place over
the Easter bank holiday. The Up and Down Charing Cross Lines will be slewed northwards between Blue
Anchor and New Cross on to the old alignment of Lines 3 and 4. The section of the Up Passenger Loop
between Blue Anchor and Spa Road will be taken out of use at the same time.
540] HS2: (BLN 1206.506) The BBC reported on 10 March that the Government has dropped the spur to
Heathrow, with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin quoted as saying that it will not be built as part of
either Phase 1 or Phase 2. The spur would have left the route by a triangular junction west of West Ruislip
station, where the line is intended to cross the Colne Valley on an above-ground section between two
tunnels. Campaigners want this section to be below ground as well to create one long tunnel and the case
for this is simplified by the loss of the spur.
BLN 1229.541] National Grid Tunnel Inspection Vehicles: An underground operation with a difference can
be found in the Elstree to St. Joh ’s Wood E tra High Voltage a le tu el. FATA Automation Ltd. supplied
a monorail system in the 20km, 3m diameter tunnel, which was commissioned in April 2004. The system
has four remote controlled cable inspection vehicles, which are battery operated and travel at speeds of up
to 2.5 metres/second on an 'I shaped' beam which is fixed to the crown of the tunnel. For maintenance or
evacuation purposes a vehicle and its associated trailer is capable of carrying up to five people and also
500kg of tools for a distance of up to 20km without recharging. The vehicles are designed to inspect the
cables within the tunnel remotely using infra-red cameras fitted to the vehicles. The control of the vehicles
is via leaky-feeder technology back to the Elstree and St. John’s Wood head houses, where control desks
fitted with TV monitors allow the operators to control the vehicles and view the condition of the cables.
Photographs and more details can be found at http://goo.gl/S5uFQw. An application for a Society
educational visit has been politely declined!
542] Old Oak Common: (BLN 1218.1454) Following the public consultation, TfL is recommending the
construction of two new stations on the existing London Overground routes (Option C in the previous
report). The next stage of work will include the consideration of funding options as part of the wider
development plans for the Old Oak Common and Park Royal areas, with further public consultation on the
scheme expected to take place in 2016.
543] Queens Road Peckham: A new station square, entrance and lift have opened at this station.
544] And one for the Tube? A report in the Standard describes a new bar called Cahoots on Kingly Court,
off Carnaby Street which opened on 5 March. It is fitted out as a post-WW2 Tube station with bunk beds,
carriages and sandbags left over from the blitz. According to one of the owners, they sought advice from
the London Transport Museum for the details and bought items from a 'bloke on the Isle of Man who has
made a career of selling old bits of Tube trains and stations'! See: http://goo.gl/PWYPdP.
1229 NORTH WEST
545] Metrolink: Yet another car ended up stuck on the Metrolink tracks in Wythenshawe. The hapless
motorist drove on to tracks near the Baguley stop of the Manchester Airport line at around 16.20 on 2
February. Fortunately the driver managed to get back on the road in a matter of minutes before any
disruption was caused. This is the 14th known incident where a car has become stuck on tram lines since 25
November. At a recent meeting of transport bosses, Peter Cushing, TfGM director for Metrolink, said that
his staff had made efforts to improve warning signs - but they cannot stop drivers making mistakes.
546] Northern Franchise: The DfT has published invitations to tender (ITT) for the new Northern and TPE
rail franchises. Bidders for the Northern franchise will be required to set out how they would phase out the
use of Pacer trains by ordering at least 120 new carriages. Controversial proposals to scale back services or
charge passengers more to pay for the new rolling stock have been dropped. The Northern ITT also sets out
how the future operator will be required to double the number of services on many routes in the area,
making use of additional capacity provided by the Northern Hub and electrification schemes, providing
more services for commuters and off-peak, including Sundays. Every train in the franchise area will be
modernised and at least £30M will be spent improving stations. There will also be a £13.8M Customer and
Communities Improvement Fund. For the longer distance TPE services, the government is looking for
additional capacity to be provided through train lengthening and extra services. Bidders will be asked to
consider options for new services such as Liverpool to Scotland, Crewe to Manchester Airport and
extending Newcastle services to Edinburgh. The DfT says that free Wi-Fi internet access will be available on
all trains by 2020 at the latest. Preferred bidders for the TPE franchise (First, Stagecoach and Keolis/Go-
Ahead) have until 28 May 2015 to submit their bids. For Northern, the bidders (Abellio, Arriva, Go-
Ahead/Keolis) have until 26 June 2015. Both franchises are due to begin in April 2016.
BLN 1229.547] Stalybridge bay P2: This is normally used by one passenger train a week, the famous 09.22
FO 'PSUL' from Stockport booked to arrive at 09.43. Recently a 09.19 SuO (until 22 March) has run to
Manchester Airport via Piccadilly. 21 June to 26 July SuO, P2 has hourly trains to/from Liverpool Lime St.
548] Northern Electrification 1: Northern Rail began operating electric services between Manchester
Airport, Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street on Thursday 5 March marking the completion of the second
phase of NR's North West electrification programme. The first electric services were the 06.16 Liverpool
Lime Street to Manchester Airport and the 07.35 return, worked by 319363.
549] Northern Electrification 2: Twelve North of England lines have been prioritised for electrification. The
Calder Valley and Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington Central lines are seen as the most urgent. A
cross-party group set up by the government to advise on rail investment has published a report
recommending which routes to improve first. These 'Tier One' lines should be considered in the next
funding cycle of 2019-2024, the task force said. They are:
1. Calder Valley line. 7. Selby - Hull.
2. Liverpool-Warrington Central-Manchester. 8. Sheffield - Doncaster / Wakefield Westgate.
3. Southport / Kirkby - Salford Crescent. 9. Bolton - Blackburn - Clitheroe.
4. Chester - Knutsford - Stockport. 10. Meadowhall - Leeds via Barnsley/Castleford
5. Northallerton - Middlesbrough. 11. Hazel Grove - Buxton.
6. Leeds - Harrogate - York. 12. Warrington - Helsby - Chester.
550] Todmorden curve (1): On 3 July 1841 the Manchester and Leeds Railway opened throughout with
completion of Summit Tunnel connecting Todmorden by rail with Rochdale and Manchester. Eight years
later a branch line opened from Todmorden to Burnley, single track and later doubled. Progress was slow
by the standards of those days; it took four years to complete. In 1862 the then 'third side' of the triangle
towards Yorkshire was built. This remained open after the Todmorden side of the triangle ('Todmorden
curve') was closed in the early 1970s. Burnley line services ran to Blackburn, Preston, Southport or
Blackpool. At times travelling from Rochdale to Preston via Todmorden was much quicker than through
Manchester. In Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway days passengers for Rochdale from the Belfast to
Fleetwood boat train could change at Burnley and Todmorden to arrive significantly earlier than via
Manchester. A Manchester to Yorkshire express formerly slipped coaches at Todmorden for Burnley (York
to Manchester expresses slipped coaches at Rochdale for Liverpool via Bury). Todmorden to Burnley
services and beyond started at Todmorden; there were then no through trains from Manchester and
Rochdale to Burnley that way. Through Manchester to Burnley trains ran from Victoria via Bolton, Darwen,
Blackburn and Accrington instead. There were intermediate stations at Stansfield Hall (Todmorden),
Cornholme, Portsmouth, Holme and Towneley but all are long closed. There is some pressure for a new
station at Cornholme or Portsmouth but it is not likely that there would be enough passengers to justify
this. From May for Rochdale passengers, travelling via Todmorden and Burnley to Blackpool could well be
faster, cheaper and less crowded journeys than going via Manchester Victoria.
551] Todmorden Curve (2): NW Electrification is cascading DMUs for strengthening trains and the new
service which is due to start on Sunday 17 May 2015. This runs between Blackburn, Todmorden and Salford
Crescent to/from Wigan Wallgate/Kirkby. Driver route learning began on 2 March.
1229 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1229.552] Greater Anglia franchise: The DfT has launched the competition to find a long term train
operator for the October 2016 East Anglia rail franchise slightly earlier than envisaged by their Rail
Executive's franchise schedule. Companies interested in running it will be shortlisted following a pre-
qualification stage and will then be invited to submit detailed proposals later in 2015. Bidders will be asked
to consider achieving the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce recommendations, including reducing the
London to Norwich journey to 90 minutes. Abellio Greater Anglia was awarded a two year contract from 5
February 2012. In 2014, following the collapse of the West Coast franchise procurement, a further two year
direct award was negotiated with Abellio until 16 October 2016. (Transport Briefing.)
553] Gorleston: (BLN 1227.357) A member confirms that the reason that the two sections of line were
never connected was that the Haven Bridge, built in 1854, over the River Yare was not strong enough to
take the trams. By the time construction of a new bridge was started in 1927, it was probable that the
decision to abandon the Gorleston section had already been taken and it closed in 1930. For more
information see Great Yarmouth Tramways, by David Mackley, published by Middleton Press (2003).
554] West Lynn: (BLN 1224.74) With reference to the M&GN bridge over the River Great Ouse at West
Lynn, the piers that are visible just to the south of the current Wisbech Road Bridge are those of the old
A47 main road which was closed in 1975 when the present dual carriageway bridge was opened! The
railway bridge was supported on four sets of piers (as was the old road bridge) but each individual pier
comprised five 18" diameter screw piles, the heads of the piles being braced together by cast-iron
distributing girders. When the bridge was demolished the piles were found to be as good as new despite BR
having used the weakness of the bridge as one of the main reasons for closing the line! For more details of
the bridge see A Short History of the M&GN, by Ronald H.Clark, published by Goose & Son (1967). The old
road bridge had four sets of single piers of a much greater diameter. The current A47 bridge occupies the
alignment of the railway line. This mistaking of the old road bridge remains for that of the railway is quite
common and is made in the Lost Lines East Anglia, by Nigel Welbourn, published by Ian Allan (2014). The
only thing not explained are the markings noted on the East abutment; these are either (a): an error by
BR/NR as to which bridge they actually owned, or (b): a wind up!
555] Oxfordshire Cotswold Line 'Halts': One member has written of his intrigue at a service that makes the
only call each way SSuX at some small stations on the route between Worcester and Oxford, timed for
Oxford commuters. As it is not a franchise requirement to run it on Saturday, FGW does not, except for
extra calls at Shipton. Your Sub-Editor has followed the 'unvarying' fortunes of this service since the 1970s
and suspects it is a candidate for the greatest longevity of a once-a-day train in each direction for some of
the stations. Over the years however Hanborough has had its service (and car park) increased considerably.
Our member tried it himself recently, joining the two car Turbo Class 165 unit with six
others at Kingham at 07.35. 11 joined at Shipton, 8 at Ascott-under-Wychwood, over 20 at Charlbury, 6 at
Finstock, 3 at Combe and about 40 at Hanborough. After this there were people standing who chose not to
take the empty places among the 2 + 3 seating. The call at Charlbury was extended by five minutes and the
driver informed the passengers that this was due to awaiting a train in the opposite direction. After
checking on Real Time Trains (RTT) the member realised it was actually a train in the same direction (but
ahead of his train) that was late, but the driver was acting reassuringly. RTT indicated that there are three
Up commuter trains in succession SSuX and that no train had entered the single line section beyond the
station at Charlbury Jct. until the one in front had cleared Wolvercot Jct. The signalling is track circuit block,
controlled from panels in Oxford and Ascott-under-Wychwood (the latter visited by a Society party in April
2013). It appears that the single track from Charlbury Jct. to Wolvercot Jct. is just one signalling section,
even when one train follows another in the same direction. NR intends to reinstate double track from
Charlbury to Wolvercot Jct. (and Evesham West Jct. to Norton Jct.) in 2019. The extra 07.30 HST to from
Charlbury to Paddington is relativity recent and was not running when the partial redoubling was planned.
The further redoubling may include installation of intermediate signals to allow catching up after
perturbation such as this, which had started with an earlier Down service leaving Oxford 15 minutes late.
The reinstatement of double track on the central sections of the Cotswold Line from 22 August 2011 was to
improve reliability as trains head towards Paddington athough the timetable has not actually changed
much since (but will do in May). On reopening after the work the signalling was not operational through
Honeybourne requiring pilotman working. At least one HST stopped at 'all stations and halts' (noting there
are no 'halts' as such on NR now) between Oxford and Hereford [An Inter-Village Express perhaps -Ed?].
BLN 1229.556] Busy Level Crossings: Barnes (Richmond line), White Hart, Sheen Lane and also North Sheen
level crossings are busier than that at Hampden Park (BLN 1228.472), with 16 tph (trains per hour) off-peak
and about 20 during the peak. The length of time that level crossings would be closed to road traffic was
one of the reasons why the 'Airtrack' scheme for trains between Waterloo and Heathrow via the Windsor
branch did not progress. Havant New Lane, Bedhampton and Charlton Lane level crossings also have 16tph.
There are 19 passenger tph and significant freight over the four-track Mount Pleasant level crossing,
between Southampton and St Denys. The odd number is because there is a two-hourly Cross Country
service from/to Derby and beyond in addition to the hourly Cross Country service from/to Manchester.
Northumberland Park, Brimsdown, Enfield Lock, Trinity Lane, Windmill Lane, Cadmore Lane, Slipe Lane and
Wharf Road level crossings (between Northumberland Park and Broxbourne) have 20tph, but not as much
freight as Mount Pleasant. Other such instances would be of interest.
557] Wolverton: 27 February BBC News reported that the Railway Works buildings are to be demolished
and replaced by retail development and 300 new homes on the 37 acre site. This very well illustrated
internet feature has current and historic views of the Works: http://goo.gl/3OAEWz. St. Modwen has
owned the land since the 1990s and indicated it would build new premises for Knorr-Bremse to ensure
survival of the works.
558] Hertford North - Stevenage: A correspondent reports that on a 26 February journey his train, the
10.48 from Moorgate, crossed north of Hertford North at Moleswood Jct. at some speed from Down to Up
line. Well south of Langley Jct. the train crossed back at speed to the Down line. (This usually means the
ERTMS testing unit is out on the Down line.) On this journey the train twice joins the Down Slow by means
of a diveunder and twice it leaves the Down Slow by flyover! The well designed junction layouts are being
used to advantage on a regular basis.
1229 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND - SOUTH
559] Basingstoke new track: (BLN 1219.1540) On 10 March a member managed to get onto and across the
new access footbridge to view the new NR and SWT Basingstoke Campus and training centre buildings
shown in a Basingstoke Gazette article: http://goo.gl/JVqQku. Despite what this says there are small easily
missed notices indicating 'no public right of way' at either end of the new bridge. It gives an outstanding
view of the LSWR main line cutting and although the upper half has a narrow grille fence, a one inch gap
around it allows reasonable viewing up and down the line. From the north side bridge landing area, three
newly laid standard gauge training tracks are visible, shown at the bottom of the picture in the link above,
going towards the low height trapezoidal building. These had been laid roughly parallel to the LSWR main
line, each about 100m long (the article says 140m) alongside each other. Each had a buffer stop at both
ends, six in total, which neatly line up. None of these lines extend into the low rise building at the London
end. The line to the north, nearest the multi-storey campus building, appeared to have a loading bank to
the NW corner (country end). At the London end of this line a crossover had been laid, with hand lever
operated points, to the middle line, facing from the London direction but trailing into the middle line. The
south-most line, closest to the main line cutting, was apparently not connected to the other two. The
seemingly complete main Campus Building is at an angle to the main line and these three new lines; all
appear parallel to Gresley Rd. to the north of the site.
BLN 1229.560] Chichester: The January Southern News reports on forthcoming improvements to the
forecourt with better segregation of incoming and outgoing traffic and cycle route changes to provide
pedestrians with a safer passage to the station car park. Apparently not included but desirable is a
smartening up and repaint of the exterior of the entrance hall, once a 1960s design triumph, but now
looking very shabby.
561] Lewes P5: On 1 March services between Plumpton and Lewes were replaced by buses whilst the road
overbridge across P1 and P2 was prepared behind sheeting for repainting (and possibly also for other work
elsewhere). These serve the London-bound tracks, the curiosity being that no trains were able to use
Brighton line P3 and P4 also. The entire Sunday service in both directions was using the bi-directional P5:
'Lewes - Sponsored by Platform 5 Publications? …and does the bus leave from Stand No5?' (Simon Mortimer.)
An anonymous member from Coventry considered his special journey to Lewes for this rather unusual
event well worth while! P5 is normally the province of the short workings from Brighton terminating at
Lewes (so the Eastbourne end of P5 is normally NRU!). P5 use included London services diverted to reverse
at Brighton, a relatively common occurrence. There may have been actual or intended work in P3 or P4 but
signalling restrictions are a more likely cause. For a long time trains passing through P3 and P4 have
observed a permanent 10mph speed restriction from either side of the station, apparently not related to
the track condition or restricted clearances on the reverse curves. It is likely that at this speed it is possible
for trains to enter P3 from Brighton whilst the road is set for trains to run between P1 and P2 and the
Eastbourne / Seaford direction, the overlap to fouling the double junction being very short. Conversely the
protection of P1 and P2 from the Eastbourne and Seaford direction may prevent a route clearing to P3 and
P4. The route into P5 from that direction diverges a little further away from the station.
A train (313215) to Ore making a rare country end departure from Lewes P5 (Simon Mortimer).
1229 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
BLN 1229.562] Gloucester: (BLN 1228.449) From 31 October to 12 December inclusive, weekend FGW
services between Paddington and South Wales are diverted via Gloucester and some are booked to use the
reversible Up Main through line, (most Up trains on Saturday and Sunday, and Down trains Sunday). The
non-platform Up Main through line normally has little passenger use. See: http://goo.gl/Imou1L
1229 WEST MIDLANDS
563] Birmingham New Street: The demolition work required to create the new Birmingham New Street
station concourse (due to open in September) has been completed. Over 6,000 tonnes of concrete from the
former Pallasades shopping centre has been removed from under the new atrium roof allowing natural
light into the concourse area. A bespoke JCB machine, known as 'the Mega Muncher' was used by
demolition firm Coleman & Co. to remove two floors. New structures will be hung from the atrium
steelwork to attach internal cladding. Since June 2009 a total of 20,000 tons of reinforced concrete has
been removed requiring 1,000 tonnes of supporting temporary steelwork. (Transport Briefing.)
BLN 1229.564] Worcester Shrub Hill: (BLN 1228.449) The 67 minute wait between arrival of the 17.28 from
Warminster here at 20.27 and its return to Bristol TM at 21.46 replaces it running to Great Malvern and
back in passenger service. It is not well patronised either way and is not a franchise commitment.
565] Midland Metro: A member visited Wednesbury Parkway on 4 March to observe which new trams
were in service. There were problems, northbound trams were terminating at Priestfield and reversing ECS
at the crossover beyond due to another broken down tram at The Royal. Nowadays these moves are
definitely empty sadly! At about 16.45 a tram came off Wednesbury depot into P3, picked up passengers
there and then set off northbound in service. At 16.58 another tram came off the depot through P3 non-
stop, reversed ECS just north of the stop to form a Birmingham service at 17.00 from P1.
566] Wolverhampton: The Pathfinder Tours evening train of Friday 6 March to Ironbridge Power Station
(where it may turn out to be the final railtour) unusually was shown on the system as a single run from
'Crewe to Crewe' as were all three of their tours that weekend. The outward route was via Rugeley where it
covered the link at North Jct. onto the Cannock line, NRU by passenger trains. Then there was much
evidence of bridge overhead clearance work for electrification. After Walsall approaching Wolverhampton
station, the crossover was taken at 1m 43ch; the tour then ran through P4 and unusually crossed to the
Down Wellington line. It had been booked to run through P2. Although reversible, Down departures from
P4 are very rare, particularly to the Shrewsbury line. An LM Birmingham to Shrewsbury train was making a
parallel arrival into P1 and there was a Virgin Trains Shrewsbury to Euston service waiting time in P3.
567] Caldon Low: The development of rail traffic out of Tarmac's Caldon Low quarry (the quarry's name
although Moorland & City Railway (M&CR) call it Cauldon Lowe) has been 'on hold' while the restraints
imposed by European competition regulators on the Lafarge/Holcim merger have been addressed. The
merged firm has had to dispose of their interests in Tarmac. First, they bought out Anglo-American (the
other part owner of Tarmac) which has enabled them to sell on the Tarmac business, for which a buyer has
recently been reported. This could/should enable resumption of M&CR's attempts to generate freight
traffic out of the quarry.
568] Endon: The CVR have taken a lease on the central section of the original station building, for use as a
tea room and delicatessen. After careful development in true railway style, 'The Station Kitchen' opened on
13 January. Low season opening times: 07.30 to 14.30 SSuX; 07.30 to 13.00 SO only and closed SuO.
569] Leek: Reconnect Leek is a realistic plan to sell land at Leekbrook for housing, a small station and
convenience store (subject to planning permission) generating finance to re-connect the town by rail
initially along one mile of the original trackbed to the Churnet Valley Railway (CVR) at Leekbrook Jct. Later
it could be rejoined to the national network via Endon and also even to Alton Towers. Tourist spend in Leek
due to the railway is predicted by consultants to increase annually by £95k from an extra 25,000 visitors
(we know who 1,000 of them might be!). Services will initially run between Leek and CVR stations then
eventually all routes on the M&CR/CVR 'network'. It is intended to reinstate the original Leekbrook Jct.
north curve allowing direct running from Leek to the Peak District fringe. After sale of the land a new
company, Reconnect Leek PLC, will take the project forward. M&CR will fund the company to cover the
costs of reinstating the line into Leek and shares will be available to the public. Leek station will be the new
M&CR and CVR headquarters. A North Staffordshire Railway museum is planned.
570] Leekbrook Junction: (BLN 1228.478) On 1 March a CVR official told a visiting member that the new
platform is for visits to the nearby signal box. These and use of the platform use are not yet authorised.
BLN 1229.571] Stafford to Newport: The Shropshire Star reported that there are currently proposals to
build to the west of Stafford over part of the former line to Newport. A Telford & Wrekin Councillor is trying
to persuade officials at Staffordshire CC not to allow the bid, which could threaten any hope of restoring
the route as a railway. He admits it could be a long time, if ever, before that dream became a reality, but
warned that any development on the route would make the prospect of rebuilding impossible. In an update
to the Marches Strategic Rail Group, of which he is a member, the Councillor said he had met Staffordshire
councillors who say they understand the problem and will take it on board. However the track bed is also
used by the A518 road between Donnington and Lilleshall and for a short distance just west of Church
Aston. It has also been occupied by an industrial estate close to the Newport bypass, just east of Newport
station. Reinstatement is not an impossible task, but it would be enormously expensive.
1229 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
572] Train stops play! Nostalgic football referee Kieron Lee blew time on an U15 Sunday league clash near
Barnsley to admire two railway locomotives as they passed by. Players and spectators were taken aback
by the unexpected pause, but rushed to the sidelines to see the 10-coach train. Sharon Baxter caught the
re arka le o e t o a era as her gra dso Ado ’s at h a e to a halt. She said: 'I was there
screa i g a d shouti g o the sideli es as you do a d all of a sudde , the ga e as stopped. I did t
know what was going on and then my husband David shouted to me to get my camera and I realised there
was a steam train coming. Everyone rushed to see the train and we all waved at the passengers on board,
ho a ed a k! It as a lo ely o e t. All the kids ere laughi g a d the the ref said ‘ight the trai s
gone, get back over here!' Kieron said: 'The game was underway and I could hear the sound of the steam
engines in the distance. I e e er see a orki g stea e gi e efore a d k e so ethi g special was
going to happen. I waited for a break in the game and then I blew the whistle. They are all 14 and 15-year-
old lads so they thought I was crackers but I thought, I am the ref, and I wanted to see the steam train, so
tough!' The train, West Coast Railway's 'The Tin Bath' from Preston to Sheffield with Black 5s (44871 and
45407) on 25 February, is due to run again on 1 November.
1229 ISLE OF MAN
573] IOM Railway Finances: The heritage railways are within reach of the target to cover half of their
running costs. That is the view of Director of Public Transport Ian Longworth (the man behind our excellent
5-day long weekend to the IOM railways in September 2013) as he confirmed that two further stations on
the Steam Railway will be unstaffed this year (Ballasalla and Port St. Mary) as part of measures to save
costs. The latter is one of the quieter stations and trains will generally cross at Castletown instead of
Ballasalla. The combined IOM railways lose about £2.3M a year, but it is estimated they contribute over
£11M a year to national income. In September 2014 Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne advised of a
reduction in taxpayers' support to 50% of running costs (a 15% cut in the £2.3M annual subsidy).
574] Laxey: Work continues; large parts of the station area have been paved including all the area between
the running lines and the ticket office/refreshment rooms. The improvement is very striking.
575] Douglas Horse Tramway, Douglas (MR p32) (BLN 1226.289): Although no formal announcement has
been made by Douglas Borough Council, the tramway has been included in the 2015 Heritage Railways
leaflet produced by the IOM Government. Running days are 11 May to 13 September inclusive. The
Promenade reconstruction scheme has been deferred until this autumn, to allow more consultation. This
unusual line is recommended to anyone who has not experienced it in its current form.
BLN 1229.576] Dublin LUAS: In mid-February a member rode on the Red Line from the evocatively named
'Red Cow Park & Ride' to Saggart on his return to Dublin Airport to see how the Belgard stop worked on a
weekday. He had last observed this move on a Sunday. Saggart and Tallaght bound trams both used the
outside platform in the direction of travel, as did the inbound trams to city centre in their direction of
travel. The centre platform therefore must only be used on Belgard to Saggart shuttles at weekends. The
crossovers at the country end are well used; however the crossover at the Dublin end from the centre
platform seemed to be un-used and rusty. He rode to 'The Point 'and arrived at the right hand platform in
direction of travel and had a quick look round at the centre platform which is used when service is at its
peak. The left hand platform track there was very rusty and probably has little if any traffic.
577] Hazelhatch - Sallins: On Saturday 28 February there was single line working over the Down line
between Hazelhatch and Sallins, entered by Up trains over the facing crossover east of Sallins Up Loop and
exited by the trailing crossover west of the end of the four-tracking. In conjunction with this, the bay
platform at Hazelhatch between Up Slow and Down Slow had its first ever booked use with an hourly
service from Dublin Heuston, thus easing path requirements over the section with single line working.
Similar work is due to take place on several weekends through to November 2015 between Hazelhatch and
Portlaoise, generally twice a month except once a month in June and July and not at all in August. IRRS
Journal No 175 (June 2011) has a signal diagram which is also at http://tinyurl.com/qgyuoot.
578] The Pilgrim's Progress? (TRACKmaps 6 p5A - November 2003) The 20m 63ch Youghal branch from
Glounthaune, Cobh Jct., east of Cork CP from 2 February 1963 (regular services) CG from 2 December 1974
but was retained for sugar beet traffic, which was heavy in the season, until 30 August 1982. The 'Six Bells
Junction' website ('the home of what is very likely the largest archive of railtour information anywhere on
the planet') report asks if the IRRS 'Seabreeze Excursion', a return trip from Cork with loco 126 on 6 July
1985, was the last passenger train? Not so but it was the final railtour! The branch ended with a locomotive
turntable capable of turning the older and shorter single-cab class 121 diesel locos which were only allowed
to run cab first. Three BLS members 'took a turn' in the cab on this train thus reaching the end of line:
(IRRS 'Seabreeze Excursion', 6 July 1985; loco 126 on the turntable at Youghal - Julian James)
This was second to nun (!) because the final passenger carrying train at Youghal was actually on Sunday 17
May 1987. Locomotive 052 hauled a 'Knock pilgrimage special' to (and returned from) Claremorris. These
pilgrimage specials were sometimes advertised in BLN (clean habits not required). They typically started at
06.30 from Youghal although fortunately in practice enthusiasts were usually allowed to travel out on the
ECS from Cork or vice versa in the evening (don't Knock it!). Also Youghal had a convenient through road
coach from London and Bristol via Pembroke and Rosslare at the time! The last passenger trains from
Midleton (before the line reopened for regular traffic on 30 July 2009) were two Gaelic Athletic Association
specials to Dublin and return on 17 March 1988. The final train movement between Youghal and Midleton
was on Friday 1 July 1988 which was the track lifting train hauled by 055. At this time the weeds were
taking over. Pictures: the final train arrives at Youghal (the turntable is behind the photographer) - Ken Fox.
579] North Kerry Line Part 2: (Cont. from BLN 1228.490) After arriving in Limerick station to reverse, by
10.30 the Wickham railcar with the party, including our very fortunate member, were heading out via the
carriage washing machine (fortunately switched off) to reverse at Limerick Check Cabin, named bilingually
'Cosg Cabhan Luimnighe', in the Irish script derived from that in the Book of Kells. The Wickham was now
bowling along towards Foynes, passing the then still busy but since closed line to Castle Mungret cement
factory which branch was opened as late as 1957, before pausing at Patrickswell. He believes this was to
pass a freight train from Foynes. On arrival at Ballingrane the Wickham diverged from the Foynes line. He
asked the engineer on board about the signalling arrangements from here to Tralee and received the
interesting response that 'we effectively disappear off the signalling system for the next 60 miles'.
The North Kerry line had CP in 1963, and the final freight traffic withered away in 1977. So this
Departmental Railcar 416A and the six on board were the first train over the line for some time. The
weedkilling train was to follow about three weeks later. The engineer had brought with him a voluminous
file, mostly containing correspondence with lineside dwellers, farmers, etc., who wanted CIÉ to make
i pro e e ts su h as ide i g o upatio rossi gs a d he as to e plai to the h CIÉ did ’t ha e
any money for this. Thus the party stopped at various isolated spots and there was a genuine purpose for
the trip. With no rail activity for a year, there was much long grass growing on the line, but no serious
obstructions. In some cases farmers had erected highly unofficial flimsy wire fencing across the track, in
order to guide li esto k a ross. The Wi kha did ’t stop for a of these; rather it as a ase of 'I declare
this railway well and truly open. Twang!' Presently the Wickham reversed at Newcastle West. The line
from the Limerick direction opened there in 1867 and from Tralee in 1880. Through trains had to reverse at
the station which had been built as two stations side-by-side 27m 30ch from Limerick and 43m 14ch from
Tralee. The 1967 North Kerry Line working timetable is tha ks to Julia Ja es. To e o ti ued…..!
BLN 1229.580] BTP no longer 'British'? Police Scotland (Scotland's single Civil force) is to take over
transport policing when the function is devolved (no date specified). BBC NEWS/Railscot 10 March. The
move means that the British Transport Police (BTP) will no longer operate as a separate force in Scotland.
BTP wanted to continue providing this service, with oversight by Holyrood instead of Westminster;
however the Scottish Justice Secretary has decided against this. Not everyone is happy with this, including
your Sub-Editor, with experience of the Civil's sometimes unhelpful attitude towards running a railway.
581] New EMUs: (BLN 1221.1750) Designs for the 70 Hitachi AT200 trains for ScotRail have been unveiled
(BBC NEWS) http://goo.gl/tPb9sz. The deal for the new 4-car EMUs due in service at the end of 2017 gives
the Scottish government the option to buy the full fleet after 25 years for £1, securing the carriages for use
in Scotland well beyond Abellio's contract, in what Transport Scotland has said is an industry-first.
582] Abellio news: Improvements at Aberdeen and Inverness stations (BBC NEWS), costing £2.5M and £2-
£3M respectively, have been announced. The end of 2018 was quoted for the refurbished HSTs being
introduced, subject to trains being released in time by the Great Western electrification programme.
583] Quintinshill: BLN . Ma , the e te ar of Britai ’s orst rail a a ide t, hi h
occurred here, is to be marked by a wreath-laying, with events including a march to what is described as
'Quintinshill siding'. This is part of the national World War One centenary commemoration programme.
584] Wind and weather: (BLN 1225.206/8/93): NR Scotland has a 'High Wind policy' which includes
instructions for electric train drivers in the event of them losing their Line Light Indication, which is
illuminated when power is available at the pantograph. This policy was in force from 18.00 Monday 9 to
23.59 Tuesday 10 March. However, the only mishap which crossed your Sub-Editor’s radar as the 14.41
Glasgow Queen Street to Inverness via Aberdeen unit 170432 which struck a tree between Keith and Elgin
incurring significant damage to the leading end. The Driver was able to return the train to Keith where it
was terminated (there were no injuries), and passengers transferred to the 18.22 Aberdeen to Inverness,
67 minutes late. Consequential delays ensued on the single lines.
585] Borderline train times: (BLN 1228.499) Tweedbank - Edinburgh passenger schedules are now available
at Open Train Times. See http://goo.gl/L4AEKV for example, 55 minutes for a full journey.
586] Carstairs Down Passenger Loop: (BLN 1212.999) A Member reports that, on 4 March the 13.30 Euston
to Glasgow Central ran via this loop, returning to the Down Main at 73m 64ch for no obvious reason. It did
not show up on Realtime Trains but five minutes was lost between Abington and Lanark Jct.
587] Aberdeen Waterloo: (BLN 1171.1267): A note on Facebook 7 March indicates that a class 67 (there is
one available off the Sleeper working) shunts here i.e. repositions empty and loaded tanks, on two days a
week, Wednesday and Friday (also per RTT). The block train runs most Saturdays and some Thursdays. It is
shown below on Saturday 14 February with 66100, shunting the Omya precipitated Calcium Carbonante
(slurry) loading point on the site of the former Great North Scotland Railway passenger station OP 1 April
1856, CP 4 November 1867. The cargo, a substitute for China Clay, is brought in by sea from Norway and
stored in tanks (right) for loading and is taken to Mossend Yard then Irvine Paper Mill. On the east side of
the layout (left) are two Aberdeen Harbour Board sidings set into a concrete apron with a crossover at the
far end for running round, installed in 2008 for possible container traffic which has not materialized. They
are now used to shunt the tank wagons. The branch once continued to the harbour in the background.
As the crow flies this is less than half a mile from Aberdeen station, but nearly four miles via Kitteybrewster
by rail. The next picture was taken the following day, Sunday 15 February 2015, on the Pathfinder Tours
Great North of Scotland Reviver railtour from Edinburgh with 66232 (leading) and 66086 at the rear and
shows the tour doing very well in the new Aberdeen Harbour Board sidings where it was the first ever
railtour. A large number of our members were on board. Both Waterloo pictures courtesy of Nick Jones.
It was also the first tour into Raith's Farm (freight) Terminal where it traversed the full length of No4 Siding,
the one furthest from the main line. The tour visited the end of line at Elgin East and Keith branch platform.
Below: The now very rarely used Keith branch platform formerly for Dufftown and the inland GNSR route
via Craigellachie (once the junction for the Speyside line to Aviemore) to Elgin East. The end of line (reached
by the tour) is now 53m 26ch from Aberdeen and on the right is the MP 53¼. (Kev Adlam)
Below: The same location at Keith looking in the opposite direction towards the buffer stops, beyond these
34ch of track has been lifted to the end of line at the Keith and Dufftown Railway. (Kev Adlam)
BLN 1229.588] GWR Halts: (BLN1225.210) Recent discussion serves as a reminder that Black Rock Halt was
in fact a pioneer, opening along with Llanbedr (under its original name, Talwrn Bach) on 9 July 1923 as the
first of what were to be at least 71 new public Halts opened in Wales by the GWR between the Grouping
and Nationalisation. Only seven survive today: Caldicot and Trefforest Estate in South Wales, also Penhelig,
Llanbedr, Ty Gwyn, Llandecwyn and Penychain on the Cambrian Coast. Black Rock (CP 13 August 1976),
Abertafol and Gogarth (14 May 1984), and Llangelynin (26 October 1991), also Undy (2 November 1964),
are closed Halts on lines still open, the rest lasted until withdrawal of passenger service over the relevant
line. Doubtless someone will be able to confirm the arithmetic, but those known to your Sub-editor are:
10 on the Cambrian Coast between Dovey Junction and Pwllheli
6 between Llangollen and Barmouth Junction (now Morfa Mawddach).
6 between Blaenau Ffestiniog (Central) and Bala.
1 between Moat Lane Junction and Machynlleth.
6 between Moat Lane Junction and Brecon.
4 between Brecon and Neath Riverside.
6 between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen.
3 between Clarbeston Road and Fishguard Harbour.
3 between Pontpool Road and Monmouth Troy.
5 between Monmouth Troy and Tintern.
21 scattered around South Wales, the last to open being Tyllwyn Halt on 29 November 1943. For
the record, one was added by BR in the pre-Beeching era: Hadnock Halt, between Monmouth and
Ross-on-Wye, which had only a short life (from 7 May 1951 to 5 January 1959).
(With acknowledgement to Mi hael Qui k s i alua le Chro ology for dates.)
589] Rare track: On Sunday 1 March Down Cardiff Central to Barry trains ran via a reversal at Ninian Park
station and the curve to Penarth Curve South Jct. On 8 March morning Ebbw Vale travellers were able to
cover the Gaer Jct. curve, with a reversal at Newport. Also on 8 March, Class 31, 31285 with cameras
formed the first train this year to Machen; the following day it traversed the OVE Margam to Tondu and on
10th visited Cwmgwrach as the second train there this year.
590] Route Study: Draft proposals for railway investment in Wales during CP 6 (2019-24) have been
published for public consultation, although none is yet funded of course. Much has already been heavily
trailed in media reports, such as the proposed major upgrade of Cardiff Central (journey numbers are
projected to escalate from 13M to 33M by 2043!). Other key features include modernisation and enhanced
line speeds between Crewe and Holyhead, with an enhanced Shotton interchange facility. Further platform
lengthening at Cardiff Valleys stations, coupled with network enhancements for the rail elements of the
Cardiff Capital City Metro are proposed. Also suggested are line speed upgrades on the relief lines between
Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff; level crossing closures in West Wales; longer trains on some services
between Cardiff and Manchester and improved line speeds and further capacity enhancements between
Wrexham - Chester also Wrexham - Bidston. The consultation closes on 9 June.
591] Llanelli West: The crossing box closed on 7 March; Llanelli West and East Crossings are now controlled
from Port Talbot and have obstacle detection equipment.
592] Cambrian Dyslexia: (BLN1228.501) With apologies from your Sub-Editor, the reference in this item to
the earlier spelling should be Aberystwith, not Aberistwith! Both are variations of Aberystwyth!
BLN 1229.593] Going for a Burton? Local Efail Fach residents are reported to be 'bemused and angry' over
a planning application to Neath Port Talbot Council to demolish a surviving former railway bridge, near to
the Richard Burton trail. Although the bridge is owned by the Historical Railways Estate of the Highways
Agency (the successor to the abolished BRB Residuary Ltd.), the planning application has apparently been
submitted without consultation by a neighbouring resident
1229 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR31] Tralee & Blennerville Steam Railway, Country Kerry (BLN 1203.MR27): This railway remains derelict
and closed, with its steam locomotive (5T) in pieces in its shed. The last passenger trains ran in September
2009. However, the Kerryman posted an item on its web site on 31 January 2015 (and also in its printed
edition a few days earlier) stating a group of railway enthusiasts were appealing to Kerry County Council to
allow them to use their expertise to help rescue the railway. Members of the Tralee-Blennerville Steam
Railway Group, which boasts over 400 members from across Ireland and even the UK, say they have put
together a recovery plan that is viable and could see the railway reopened sooner rather than later. One of
the group's members, Darragh Connolly from Roscrea, has prepared an extensive costing of the project and
he, along with fellow group members believe that with grant aid, local fundraising and council funding, the
railway could run again. He esti ates that a i itial fu d of et ee € k a d € k would go a long way to
that goal. Tralee businessman, Eddie Barrett, also a member of the group, said members are ready, willing
and able to get the project back on track. What they want now, however, is to sit down with the local
authority and outline their proposals and hopefully work together to get this project up and running once
more. He said 'There is a feeling of total frustration in the group as we have hundreds of volunteers who are
willing to do what it takes to make this work. An awful lot of work has gone into researching the cost of
restoring the engine and carriages and maintaining them and our view is that nothing here is
insurmountable if we just get the support'. Mr Barrett said that the re-opening of the railway would hugely
benefit Tralee and indeed the county, particularly if it is marketed in conjunction with nearby amenities
such as the Tralee Wetlands Centre, the Aquadome and Blennerville Windmill. A Kerry County Council
spokesman said: 'The Blennerville train project is something that the Council will be looking at and
considering the options available to them. However, funding of any such project remains an issue in the
economic climate'. The line was previously owned by the Town Council, but following some local
government reorganisation in Ireland, it is now owned by Kerry County Council
MR32] Stainmore Railway, Cumbria (MR p9) (BLN 1164. MR112): A NER water crane arrived at the railway
in October 2014 from the North Norfolk Railway. This was followed in January 2015 by a water tank and
fittings (handles and most of the pipework), which was gifted to the railway from the closed Wharram
station on the former Malton to Driffield line. Railway Director Mike Thompson said 'We are grateful to
Lord Middleton and the Birdsall Estates for their superb generosity. The donation of the tank will allow us to
provide a much needed water supply to our expanding loco operations'. The refurbished tank will sit on a
newly built brick structure, which will replicate the Wharram tower. The rebuilt tower will use recycled
bricks from the waiting room at Barras, further along the line. Despite being redundant for 50 years, the
tank was still taking a live water feed! The co-operation of Birdsall Estates in closing that feed and providing
a new water source for nearby houses was crucial to the removal being possible.
MR33] Llangollen Railway, Denbighshire (MR p9) (BLN 1220.1574): Corwen East station was 'officially'
opened on St David's Day, 1 March 2015. A special five coach train, which was topped and tailed by GWR
locomotives 3802 (leading to Corwen) and 5199, carried VIPs and guests from Llangollen to Corwen East for
the event. Officials unveiled the bi-lingual Corwen name board - the new station will be called Dwyrain
Corwen East and the enactment of a golden fishplate to the last panel of track. A ceremonial ribbon at the
gate to the station ramp was also cut before Llangollen Railway Trust Vice President Bill Shakespeare
delivered a short speech and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in front of the station building. The
Lla golle Sil er Ba d a d the Gl dŵr Male Voi e Choir pro ided usi a d so g a d e ers of the
Corwen community distributed complimentary miniature daffodils to guests.
BLN 1229.MR34] Cleveland Model Engineers, Durham (MR p16) (BLN 1079.MR235): This society owns and
operates a ground level 5"/7¼" gauge railway within the grounds of Tees Cottage Pumping Station in
Darlington. On the 23 May 2014 The Northern Echo web site reported that the Pumping Station had been
suddenly closed for the 'foreseeable future due to serious safety and structural issues'. Entry to the Station
was banned and all future events were cancelled. This would have meant the only operating date during
2014 was 20/21 April. However, it seems remedial work has been carried out and volunteers have been
allowed back on site to prepare the Pumping Station and grounds for reopening. This will not be at Easter,
but hopefully later in 2015. Keep a watch on www.teescottage.com.
MR35] Botany Bay Railway, Lancashire (MR p19) (BLN 1214.MR120): A member visited this 7¼" gauge
railway on Sunday 22 February 2015 and found it heavily overgrown. On asking at the Botany Bay enquiry
desk he was told it had not run during the 2014 season. BLN 1214 noted it was not running in May 2014,
but it was hoped to do so from July. Presumably this did not happen; the railway is probably now defunct.
MR36] Stapleford Miniature Railway, Leicestershire (MR p19) (BLN 1201.MR12): The Stapleford Steam &
Real Ale Festival (formerly called the June Steam Rally) will not take place in 2015 due to a decline in
trading conditions and an increase in overheads. Since the event began in 1995 it has raised £85K for the
LOROS Hospice. However, the Friends of the Stapleford Miniature Railway will still be supporting LOROS
with a new public event on 13 & 14 June. The event will have free admission and parking and there will be
refreshments available. Picnics will be welcomed. The three day August Bank Holiday Steam and Vintage
Rally event from 29-31 August (also supporting LOROS and organised by the Friends) is unaffected and
going ahead as usual.
MR37] Westby Miniature Railway Trust, Lancashire (MR p19) (BLN 1002.MR189): This 5"/7¼" gauge
railway runs in the grounds Maple Farm Nursery at Peel Hill Bridge near Blackpool. A visit on 5 July 2014
found it clearly out of use, but still intact and not too overgrown. The railway was operated by a local group
and not by the Nursery themselves. A telephone call to the Nursery in late February 2015 revealed that
most of the original group had sadly grown too elderly or had died, so the railway is currently inactive.
However, the Nursery owner stated a new individual is trying to get a group together to reopen the line,
and went on to say there might be some operation later this summer.
MR38] Teifi Valley Railway, Ceredigion (MR p29) (BLN 1216.MR149): Track work and relaying started on 8
February 2015. The miniature railway was running during the half-term holiday in February.
1229 OTHERS’ DOINGS:
This is provided as a service to members and details must be checked with the organisers.
594] Fancot Miniature Railway: 'Britain's last pub railway.' On 12 April 2014 a Society party had a very
enjoyable and comprehensive visit. Unfortunately all the motive power and rolling stock were destroyed in
a serious fire on 3 March 2015 (damaging and closing the pub). An appeal to raise £2,500 to restore the
railway has been launched. Details and pictures of the damage: http://goo.gl/zw5RKQ 07917756237.
BLN 1229.595] Snibston Colliery Railway: (MR p7) (BLN 1228.442) The standard gauge line expects to be
operating public rides on 31 March; 2, 6 & 9 April; 4, 26 & 28 May; 16, 23, 28 & 30 July before closure of
Snibston Discovery Centre with effect from 1 August 2015. Members are advised to check 01530 278444.
596] Lancashire Day Ranger: Unlimited rail travel for one day after 08.45 SSuX, all weekends and Bank
Holidays. The area is within 'Liverpool', Southport, Blackpool (North and South), Heysham Port, Silverdale,
Wennington, Clitheroe, Colne, Hebden Bridge - Manchester Victoria. Also Piccadilly to Liverpool via
Newton-le-Willows. A perfect ticket to do the new 'temporary' (to 2017) 3-track layout at Huyton to/from
the Wigan line, Todmorden curve (from 17 May) and experience the new Liverpool to Manchester electric
service. Valid on all services except Grand Central. Adult £22.50, child £11.25, railcard £14.85 (Senior, Two
Together* & Disabled), Family & Friends £14.85 adult, £4.30 child. * After 09.30 SSuX except Bank Holidays.
For comparison, the adult Manchester to Wennington day return is £20.90.
597] SWT £15 Off-peak Day Returns: SuMX to 4 April, between any two SWT stations (except west of
Salisbury or Bournemouth) also gives discounts on Hovertravel and Red Funnel IOW services. Available
from ticket offices, http://goo.gl/QoCLou or 0345 6000 650. No railcard discounts, 1st class available.
598] Peverels Orchard PRIVATE Miniature Railway, 10 May: Battisford Tye, near Stowmarket. A Kentrail
Enthusiast Group visit courtesy of Alan Absolom at 11.00. Set in private grounds detailed location
information will be supplied. An extensive previously 600 yd complex 7¼" gauge line that circles the
grounds of the owner's house but has been extended since past organised visits by KEG including new
loops. £10 pay on the day to cover donations and costs. Bookings/queries to Simon Mortimer at
[email protected] 07835 739940. The date is also the annual public operation of Langley School
Miniature Railway, Loddon, Norfolk from 10.00 to 16.00 approx. 45 miles away (see BLN 1228. MR24).
598a] (Stop Press), Swindon Panel Society, 9 May: 10.00 and 14.00 the final visits before it closes on 23
May (Spring Bank Holiday) for full details see http://goo.gl/Po4RyT. Register at: http://goo.gl/lshRSx .
599] Railtex 2015, Birmingham NEC, 12-14 May: Halls 3 &3A opens 10.00; 12th International Exhibition of
railway equipment, systems and services. Live product and on-track displays with two lengths of track laid.
Register free at: www.railtex.co.uk by 11 May or £20 'on the door' entrance fee.
600] GWR visit, 30 May: Friends of Malvern's Railways, 10.00 Toddington locomotive works visit then
Winchcombe carriage works, signal box and a lunch break. Steam train to Cheltenham Race Course then
DMU to Laverton. Approx. £29. Email David Gowan [email protected] or 01684 565707.
601] Ketton Cement Works, Stamford, 6 June: A charity open day is planned and the current intention is
to bring a saddle tank and brakevan from 'Rocks by Rail' and run a branch passenger shuttle. More details
in BLN when available but meantime please do not approach Ketton Cement Works directly.
602] Doves Nest Miniature Railway, 10 July: Thanks to Kentrail Enthusiast Group, 16.00 visit to Doves Nest
Group Management Training Centre, Old Corn Mill, Crosthwaite, LA8 8BS approximately 6 miles from
Oxenholme station; lifts can be arranged as necessary. The railtour will take place by special arrangement,
there are normally no public rides and KEG are indebted to Dave Moore the Chief Executive for this chance
to visit and ride on the line. It nestles in the centre's grounds in a very rural location beside the millstream
and has a slightly unusual layout, broadly end to end with triangles offering the chance to undertake
training tasks where shunting successfully in a team is the aim! £10 pay on the day to cover donations and
costs. Bookings and queries to Simon Mortimer [email protected], 07835 739940.
BLN 1229.603] Ballina and Westport Railtour, 28 July: The Irish Railway Record Society with RPSI Cravens
coaches and GM 071 locos requested throughout (possible loco changes at both termini). Provisionally
Dublin Connolly 07.50/19.10 (connection to Belfast 20.50), North Strand Jct. - Glasnevin Jct. - Island Bridge
Jct. Also the 2007 Ballina branch connection at the west end of Manulla Junction 'exchange platform',
which was previously at the Dublin end (BLNs 1216.1340 & 1220.1569). TRACKmaps 6 p11C (November
2003) shows the old layout. Booking form: http://goo.gl/yRlz2J or send SAE (UK stamp is fine) to Alan
Hyland, 48 Chalford Rd., Malahide, Co. Dublin for a form. £ or € , for o -members add an extra £1.50p
or € for da e ership. Closing date is 6 July. Dublin Connolly to Westport is 170 miles and the lovely
Ballina branch (which has been threatened with closure) is 20 miles long, both unusually have freight
traffic. A perfect introduction to the unique Irish railways and there are sure to be some familiar faces on
604] Pinewood Miniature Railway, 4 October: 11.00 Kentrail Enthusiast Group an 'all line' style visit at
Pinewood Leisure Centre RG30 3AQ (SU838661) approximately 2 miles from Wokingham station from
where lifts can be arranged. This is a members' running day with no public rides operating. Particular non-
passenger track elements like the station bypass line, access lines to the platform loops and the shed area
where there once was a station are the focus of the visit. The line runs for about ½ mile through woodland
having been developed since the early 1980s with further yard area changes around 2004 and a new
station was completed in 2011. £10 pay on the day which may well include some light refreshments.
Queries and bookings to Simon Mortimer on [email protected] 07835 739940.
E-BLN ONLY POSTSCRIPT: Did you like the pictures in this e-BLN?
(a). IF YOU DID LIKE THE PICTURES: please email some more suitable past or present images, maps etc. to
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news item in BLN. For advice on technical issues please contact Dave Cromarty. Contact emails are below.
(b). IF YOU DID NOT LIKE THE PICTURES: Please send some in you would like to see instead per (a).
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected], 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected]; Subscribe: [email protected].
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected]. Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected].
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected].
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected]. 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected].
S.E. England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected].
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected].
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected].
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected].
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected].
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected].
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected].
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected].
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected]. 01684 562862; 07790652351.
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or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947