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20th January 2018

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Published by membersonly, 2018-03-16 04:45:38

1297

20th January 2018

Issue Number 1297 (Items 103 - 194 &IssMueRN1u3m- bMeRr 12216)8(E-BLN 64 PAGES) 20 Jan 2018

BRANCH LINE NEWS

Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955

NEW WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk

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

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

……………… BLN 1298 is dated Sat 3 FebS;oCcoienttyr.iSbouctieiotyn.s must be received by 24 Jan

Date Event and details BLN Lead Status

12.00, Burnley & Pendle MRS, Thompson Park ALSO: 1295 JE *OPEN*
Sun 21/1/18 Notify for: 09.45 Haigh Hall miniature railway (see below) e1297 JE *OPEN*
1295 JE OPEN
Sun 25/2/18 08.30-14.30 Newcastle: Tyne & Wear Metro tour BELOW 1296 JE OPEN
e1296 JE Enquire
24-25/3/18 The Sussex Salopian track & traction tour to Bognor Regis 1296 JE *OPEN*
1290 IS OPEN
24/3/18 PM PM Bognor Regis, Hotham Park 12¼" gauge railway tour 

25/3/18 AM 08.00-10.00: Crewe Heritage Centre tour (see e-BLN 1296)

Sun 15/4/18 10.15-15.15: Crich VERY Comprehensive repeat tour

20-24/4/18 5 day tour: Finnish freight lines that might be finishing

Sat 28/4/18 *NEW* Save the day for another mainline Society Railtour TBA TBA Claimed
3 to 5/5/18 Island of Ireland Thur - Sat: FULL WITH A FULL WAITING LIST 1295 KA CLOSED

Sun 6/5/18 Dublin Irish Rail mainline tour - please notify further interest 1295 KA Notify

Sat 12/5/18 With '565 Railtours', WCR & Colas Class 37s UPDATE BELOW TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 2/6/18 PM: The Arlington Explorer Eastleigh Works track/traction 1297 JE *OPEN*

Thu 14/6/18 Pre-Peaks Trekker, DRS Class 37 with Stafford pick up TBA TBA Claimed

Sun 1/7/18 Ketton Cement Works, Rutland, all day track & traction event TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 21/7/18  Middlesbrough Goods, AV Dawson, (new) track & traction 1297 JE *OPEN*

Sun 5/8/18 *NEW* Standard gauge Scottish minor railway, save date TBA TBA Claimed
Mon 27 Aug Summer Scunthorpe Steeler tour No16 (Bank Holiday Mon) TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 27/10/18 PROVISIONAL 2018 AGM, films long weekend in Yorkshire TBA TBA Claimed

IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, TBA-To Be Advised,  = book online at branchline.uk

103] Haigh Hall Railway, Sun 21 Jan, 09.45: (15" gauge; 1 mile) Haigh Country Park, Wigan, WN2 1PE,
(SD 600 083), (MR p17) A private Society visit with thanks to Tim Wallis. Also Wigan & District Model
Engineering Society has a short 5" gauge track here; a quick visit and ride there may also be possible.
Depending on numbers, it may be necessary to arrange car-sharing as there is limited free car parking.
This event is available separately from Thompson Park (BLN 1297.1) just 45 minutes drive away. Book
on line but pay on the day in cash (Haigh Hall only): £5 members; £7 non-members. On the day
it should be possible to accommodate those who can't book online, just report there by 09.45 please.

X.6] Tyne & Wear Metro Tour, Sun 25 Feb: With thanks to our member John Cameron and Nexus
(Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Executive), a much requested railtour with sought after track has
kindly been arranged. Please give it your support and this might lead to further tour/s in future.
Details are being finalised but it leaves South Gosforth about 08.30 and the outline is: Pelaw sidings -
Regent Centre facing crossover and siding - South Gosforth - Stoneyhust (Road) siding - crossover -
South Gosforth P2 - Monkseaton crossover & loop - South Gosforth - Jesmond Jn - Manors P1 -
Stoddart Street Sidings - crossover - Manors P2 - St James (comfort break 11.15 - 11.55) - Longbenton
- South Gosforth - Pelaw Sidings - South Gosforth - Airport - Regent Centre about 14.30. BLS Members
only as limited to 128 places, £50 per head, £5 reduction for under 18s - must be accompanied.

Please book on our website (you must be logged in) for immediate confirmation and this greatly assists
your volunteer Committee. If you know of anyone who only takes paper BLN please advise them of the
tour and book for them (you will need their full name and membership number). Postal bookings with
cheque/CPA to Jill Everitt per back page with an email address or SAE (two for acknowledgement)

104] Bognor Regis, Hotham Park Railway, Sat 24 Mar, 14.15: (MR p25) SZ 939 995. During our railtour
break here, thanks to John Cameron and Kev Adlam, a special train has been arranged on this 900yd
12¼" gauge line https://goo.gl/BKepam near the mainline station (the railway is providing an escort
to navigate the shortest route). Includes short and long circuits, £3.50 per head, with Edmondson style
ticket, track plan and stocklist. Book on our website or by post to Jill Everitt (with email address/SAE).

105] The Crich Tramway Traverser, Sun 15 Apr: 10.15 - about 15.15, Crich Tramway Village, (MR p32)
nr Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5DP, (SK 345 549). Thanks to John Cameron, a much requested repeat of
our highly successful (very comprehensive) Oct 2016 visit to the National Tramway Village/Museum.
For a well illustrated full report go to our website 'Home' page and across to 'Fixtures Reports'; in the
top left box select '2016' and in the top right box 'Crich' or see BLN 1268.2130 dated 5 Nov 2016, also
https://goo.gl/0v0pjP . Our extensive tram tour during the five hour visit covers up to 11 depot roads,
the depot crossover both ways and POSSIBLY the depot centre siding and lengthy 26ft gauge traverser,
as last time, to ends of lines https://goo.gl/DUiGTM (video thanks to Jenny Williamson). Participants
can look round the depot, museum etc and ride on service trams for the rest of the day. The Café and
pub will be selling refreshments. A further repeat is unlikely. BLS members £21; under 18s - must be
accompanied £17; non-members £26. Online booking by you or another member on your behalf will
greatly help your volunteer committee - membership number/s and full name/s needed or cheques/
CPA to Jill Everitt (per back page). Queries: [email protected] or 07581 178759.

106] Sat 12 May: The plan for our 600+ miles charity trip with '565 Railtours' is (timings approximate):
Carnforth 05.45/22.58, and main stations to Stafford 08.33/20.18 (two Colas Class 37s after Crewe
08.00/20.52), Lichfield Chord, Castle Donington, Syston Curve to Peterborough, Bury St Edmunds to
Ipswich (rev). Running via Diss there is a Norwich break 14.10-16.10. Then the tour returns via the Ely
avoiding line, Leicester, Nuneaton, Canal Farm Jn and then down the WCML setting down as outward.

107] The Arlington Explorer, Sat 2 Jun 2018: Arlington Fleet Group
Ltd, Rail Works, Campbell Rd, Eastleigh, SO50 5AD. (850yd walk from
the station.) Built as a locomotive construction and heavy repair
factory in 1909, Eastleigh Works was for almost a century the heart of
railway engineering in the South of England. In partnership with the
BLS and PLEG, Arlington is delighted to announce that its first ever track and traction event is open for
bookings via our website. This will be a most unusual opportunity to enjoy a circular track exploration
journey around the site's rail connected facilities, riding on the recently refurbished BLS mess van
'Molly'. The charter is expected to visit the NR boundary, the extremity of the site at the River Itchen
end, the full length of the yard and return via the main workshop! 50 passengers per trip, four trips.

Subject to loco availability and confirmation nearer the event, (note 08567 is currently under repair),
the roster is: 14.00 trip Class 08 08879 + Gmdr 4wDH (KOF); 15.00 trip Class 08 08879 + Class 07
07007; 16.00 trip Class 08 08879 + Class 08 08567; 17.00 trip Class 08 08879 + Class 08 08567.
Advance booking only, £45 per head, all profits to CLIC Sargent. Subject to confirmation and loco
availability, trips last about 45 minutes. Trip requests can be made online when booking and will be
considered on a best endeavours basis. Note NO car parking facilities at the site. Book via our website
or post to Jill Everitt with a cheque/CPA 'Branch line Society', email address/SAE.

ABOVE: A general view of AV Dawson's yard, the hub of their railway system at Middlesbrough Goods
during our Sun 25 Jun 2017 railtours - our train can be seen in the background top right on branch that
crosses Depot Road level crossing to the North Sea Supply Base Wharf. (Nick Jones).
108] Middlesbrough Goods (Old Town Branch), Sat 21 Jul: (Report BLN 1287.1802) AV Dawson Ltd, a
true multimodal logistics provider offering freight logistics services by road, rail, land and sea is
delighted to announce that its second rail enthusiast diesel gala is now open for bookings via our
website. A further opportunity for members to visit the 100-acre Middlesbrough terminal, get up close
to the company's locos and enjoy a journey around the site's rail connected facilities. The highlight will
be 08774 (now away for repair) and, with huge thanks to Cobra Railfreight, 01567 'Elizabeth' (TH276v
4wDH of 1977), hauling our recently refurbished mess van 'Molly' for passenger rides. The charter is
expected to visit the purpose built Automotive Steel Terminal (approach road), Ayrton Dry Bulk

Terminal (unloading facility road), North Sea Supply
Base Wharf (inland road), Tees Riverside Intermodal
Park (inner road) and the NR boundary (Metz Bridge
outlet road). These are all different tracks to those
covered last year. Visitors will enjoy a short presentation
about the fascinating company, with the chance to
purchase light refreshments before an important safety
briefing. Advance booking only, £55 per head, profits to
AV Dawson nominated good causes. Subject to
confirmation, five trips each lasting 90 minutes
will operate, at 09.30, 11.00, 12.30, 14.00 & 15.30. Book
online (preferred) or by post to Jill Everitt per back page
as per previous item.

109] TRACKmaps, Vol 1 Scotland: (LEFT) Editor Martyn
Brailsford, 6th Edition, 26 pages, IOM, various Heritage
lines & Glasgow Subway, RRP £12.95. Fully revised and
updated since the last edition 10 years ago; index now
increased by 20% with much extra information. Subject
to a minimum order of 80 (expected): £11.50 including
P&P with a further discount if collected and paid for on
a railtour. Email interest to our Sales Officer, Mark
Gomm [email protected] or post a Cheque
or CPA (payee Branch Line Society) by 1 Feb please.

110] BLN Indexes: With thanks to our member Greg Beecroft, the 2017 Index is available with this
e-BLN on our website. A copy printed to order will be posted free to members who have already
supplied a BLN (A5) sized SAE for the 2016 Index. Any other member who wants one please send a
request/SAE before the end of Feb to: Andrew Murray, Flat 7, The Hawthorns, Meadow Rd,
Hadleigh, SS7 2DP. With particular apologies to the compiler, Angus McDougall, the 2016 Index
remains in the proof reading stage due to a lack of volunteers to assist with this.

1297 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]

111] Sheffield Supertram, Arena/Don Valley Stadium: 26 Nov 2017 renamed Arena/Olympic Legacy Park.

112] Hambleton East Jn - Hambleton North Jn: (BLN 1296.67) TCA in this direction on the afternoon of
23 Dec. A set of failed points in the facing crossover from the Up Hull to the Down Hull was plain lined
that evening. Trains affected: 12.04, 15.03, 16.10 & 17.16 from Hull also 20.49 Selby all to York SuX,
also 08.54, 13.17, 16.06, 17.25, 19.25 & 20.30 Hull to York SuO. The line ROA Sun 14 Jan 2018.

113] North Llanrwst (excl) - Blaenau Ffestiniog and 5 stations: (updating BLN 1296.21) TCP 24 Dec to
Fri 27 Dec 2017 (inclusive) for further urgent repairs to Ffestiniog Tunnel (originally planned to 1 Jan).

114] Aln Valley Railway, Alnwick Lionheart previous passenger limit - Bridge 6, temporary terminus
(Alnmouth - Alnwick branch*): OP/ROP Thu 28 Dec 2017, 11.00 'Mince Pie Special'. [*CP 29 Jan 1968]

NEXT PAGE TOP: An Aln Valley Railway test train on the original Alnmouth to Alnwick branch proper;
with Hudswell Clarke & Co 0-6-0T - Richboro' built 1917 for the Port of London Authority. (Ian Hughes)

NEXT PAGE LOWER: The brakes being tested at Woodburn Open Level Crossing. (Ian Hughes)

115] Epping Ongar Railway, Stonards Hill (9.0km) - 7.8km post (just before Coopersale Common
Bridge): (BLN 1296.12) TCA from, or before, Sat 30 Dec 2017 due to unfinished engineering works.



[BLN 1297]
116] TfL, Docklands Light Railway, Custom House stop: (BLN 1272.21) ROP Mon 8 Jan 2018 (was due
'late Dec 2017') with reduced stairs and lift access, after TCP 3 Feb 2017 for works on the adjacent new
Crossrail station. Work continues on the new mezzanine deck, station canopies and two additional
staircases to reduce overcrowding at busy times which is due to be finished by spring. The upgrade will
shorten walking routes between the DLR platforms and surrounding areas, and facilitates interchange
with the Elizabeth Line from December and new developments in and around the Royal Docks.

117] Blackfriars Jn - Metropolitan Jn: (BLN 1296.18) ROP (became available) Tue 2 Jan 2018 after TCP
20 Dec 2014. The first passenger carrying trains ran Tue 9 Jan 2018, 09.54 Bedford to Three Bridges
(waiting time on the Down Sussex Fast) and 12.29 return (waiting time on the Up Snow Hill).

118] Gospel Oak Jn/P3 - Woodgrange Park Jn also Barking Station Jn - Barking P1 and 10 stations:
(BLN 1296.17) On the morning of Thu 11 Jan loco 37608 hauled EMU 378211 from New Cross Gate
depot. The EMU made test runs between Gospel Oak and Temple Mills Loop under electric power (the
OHLE has been live on the whole route for a while) but not the South Tottenham to Woodgrange Park
section as the pre test train checks on the OHLE structure/wire heights etc could not be finished in the
time available. In the early hours of 12 Jan a test EMU ran between Woodgrange Park and Barking bay
P1 for the first time. On Sun 14 Jan the first freight (13.05 DRS Tesco Intermodal Daventry to Purfleet
Deep Water Terminal) passed Gospel Oak at 15.18. Between 16.00 (Sun) and 00.04 (Mon), numerous
ECS Class 172 DMU route proving/crew refreshing runs were made over the full passenger route. It
ROP (with Class 172 DMUs) on time Mon 15 Jan 2018 after TCP 18 Nov 2017 for electrification works.

119] Carlton Rd Jn - Junction Rd Jn; Harringay Park Jn - Harringay Jn and Tottenham South Jn - South
Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham W Jn - Seven Sisters Jn: ROA 14 Jan 2018 (TCA 18 Nov 2017).

120] Tottenham South Jn - South Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn:
(BLN 1276.518) Remains TCP (last ran 30 Apr 2016); ROP expected Sat 26 May 2018; the PSUL 05.30
(SO) Liverpool Street to Enfield Town has run via Silver Street since and is so timetabled until 19 May.

121] Gospel Oak (0m 20ch) Covered Way west end - Gospel Oak Jn (0m 00ch): CP Mon 18 May 2018,
the single PSUL 07.59 (SSuX) Woodgrange Park to Willesden Junction Low Level train ceases to run in
the new timetable when an all day 15-minute frequency service runs Gospel Oak - Barking.

122] Theale (excl) - Heywood Road Jn - Westbury (excl)/Fairwood Jn & 9 intermediate stations: TCP/
TCA in part at least, Mon-Thu: 12-15 Mar, 23-26 Apr, 4-7 Jun and further dates to be confirmed for
OHLE installation/electrification works. Trains from Reading turn round in Theale P3 on the Down/Up
Goods - this platform, reached via the London end facing crossover, is not shown on TRACKmaps Vol 3
p11A Aug 2010. Passenger trains are replaced by buses, including at Pewsey. Long distance services
run via Melksham where, because of the single line, some local trains are retimed and others replaced
by buses. This may seem odd but railway engineering staff normally work Mon-Thu (on their day jobs).
They take Fri and most of Sat off as rest days, before overnight possession working Sat night to Sun
morning, likely to be OHLE installation on Didcot to Thingley Jn/Cardiff. On 13 Jan there was evidence
of electrification work on all four tracks from Severn Tunnel Jn to Cardiff, including Bishton Flyover
and Newport through ('relief') lines, it is wondered how much use there will be by electric traction!

123] Three Bridges (excl) - Brighton (excl); Keymer Jn - Lewes Jn; Preston Park Jn - Hove Jn and eight
stations: TCP/A half terms: 20-28 Oct 2018 & 16-24 Feb 2019. This is to improve drainage and repair
leaks in Balcombe, Haywards Heath, Clayton & Patcham tunnels, replace or upgrade the signalling and
third rail power supply. Some track and points will be renewed with fencing replaced and improved.

1297 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]

NEXT PAGE TOP: The former Heddon Mill Crossing on the Barnstaple to Ilfracombe
branch showing that it was once a double track line. (Angus McDougall, 7 Aug 2000.)

124] All Our Yesterdays, 50 Years Ago, BLN 98 (dated 24 Jan 1968) paraphrased: Ainsdale Beach station
(SD 302 128) on the Southport CLC line has been demolished and the site of the railway is being bulldozed
away ready for the railway formation to be used as a road [as it is in 2018… Coastal Road and Marine Drive].

Rock Ferry: Re-building plans have been approved. The footbridge connecting the north platform ends is to
be demolished and the awnings and buildings removed from P1, 2 (ex-Birkenhead Woodside line platforms)
& 3 (now P1). Chester & Helsby DMUs will presumably be concentrated on P4 (now P2). The booking office
over P3 & 4 will be replaced with a new structure over P5 & 6 (used by Mersey Line electric trains - modern
bays P3 & 4). Liverpool Exchange: From 31 Dec the booking office at the bottom of P8 & 9 was closed,
facilities were concentrated on the office at the bottom of P5 & 6 with two windows only, one for electric
and one for non-electric services. Bootle Council wants passenger services (withdrawn 1951) restored on the
Bootle New Strand to Aintree line, to serve the new National Giro, due to come into use this year.

During December the Pottington Signalbox - Ilfracombe line was singled; the boxes at Pottington, Wrafton,
Braunton, Heddon Mill Crossing (ABOVE), Mortehoe & Woolacombe and Ilfracombe have been closed.
The line is now worked under 'One Engine in Steam' regulations between Barnstaple Town and Ilfracombe.
Lifting of the Perth to Crieff line would appear to have been completed about the middle of December
(1967). Greenock Princes Pier - The site of the station and pier has been demolished in preparation for
building a new container terminal. The signalbox has been demolished but the track is still in situ from the
bridge over the main Gourock - Greenock road up through the tunnel to the site of Cartsburn Jn. The direct
connection at Bow Junction between the four main Liverpool Street/Stratford lines and the Fenchurch Street
line has been removed. Access to the Fenchurch Street line is only via the reversible road towards Stratford.

Other news snippets: •Watford: The withdrawal of the Saturday Croxley Green service has now been
implemented. •Bletchley: Singling of the line to Bedford is expected to start shortly. •Ilkley: The girder
bridge over the main street close to the station, which was a prominent feature of the town, has been
removed. •Desford - Leicester West Bridge: The line has been lifted. •York: The final lines into the old
station, latterly used as sidings, were removed during 1966. New buildings to be Eastern Region
Headquarters are being built on the site. •Callander - Dunblane: Permission has been granted to lift the line.
•Leyland and Rose Grove stations close on Sundays from 1 Jan 1968. •Walkden: Lifting of the Down fast line
has begun west of the station. •Agecroft Shed is being demolished. •Denby Colliery is to close in February;
this will presumably mean the end of the Ripley branch (Little Eaton Jn - Marehay Crossing) [No! - opencast
coal traffic latterly ran until 16 Apr 1999]. •A new branch line is being built at Milford Haven to connect the
Gulf Oil's terminal (Herbrandston) with the main line. •Aynho Jn - Princes Risborough has been proposed for
singling [It was indeed, Bicester North had a train every two hours; its Up platform (loop) was then NRU!]

125] Welcome! To all our recent new and rejoined members, taking our membership to over 1,400.
A full list of BLN abbreviations is on our website 'Archive' page; put 'abbr' (or more) in 'search' box.

126] Website: ①Richard Maund's PSUL is available to anyone via our website. On the 'Home' page go
across the top to near the end 'More options…' then down to 'PSUL'. It includes an introduction and
explanation page, the 2018 PSUL (updated as necessary), past editions going back to summer 1963
(when some incredible lines were available), the history of PSUL and information about the rest of the
world. ②Ian Delgado's Unusual Track is now available to all logged in BLS members via our website
free of charge. On the 'Home' page go to 'More options…' then down to 'Unusual Track'. It lists
specific passenger trains in Britain scheduled to traverse unusual lines that are normally freight only,
little used platforms, plus lines, loops and crossovers not normally covered by most service trains and
difficult to identify routeing. There is a home page index, a diary of forthcoming unusual track etc.
All revised layout diagrams are now on our website, at 'More options…' go down to 'Track Diagrams'.

③'Visits to Scottish branch lines before their closure' is now available to logged in members with
21 of Angus McDougall's fascinating pictures dating from 1952 to 1982. On our 'Home' page go across
to 'BLN Pictorials' where it is the first one. Motive power includes pre-grouping Caledonian Railway
steam at Ballachulish in 1955; LMS and BR steam are represented, a railbus at Craigellachie, DMUs,
'Blue Train' EMUs and diesel locos. Locations include the very remote Lochskerrow, Stranraer Town,
Langholm, several pier stations, Darvel, Stonehouse (Lanarkshire), Renfrew Wharf, Tayport, Comrie,

Killin, Aberfeldy etc. .WANTED! Pictures for BLN Pictorial - please see guidelines on the same page.

127] Quiz: Which national network station with through lines does not have through passenger trains
but separate services that arrive and depart each end of the station? (Thanks to/blame Ian Delgado!)

128] Transport for the North (TfN): On 18 Dec the House of Lords approved regulations for TfN to
become what is described as 'the first new statutory sub-national transport body in England' [although
there is TfL of course.] It was considered by a House of Commons delegated legislation committee on
10 Jan and is on track to enable statutory status to be enacted for the 2018/19 financial year.

In Dec civic and business leaders from across the North of England agreed a draft Strategic Transport
Plan, for public consultation in early 2018, outlining the transport infrastructure needed to transform
the region's economy. The Government recently confirmed funding so that planned HS2 infrastructure
can accommodate the future needs of the 'Northern Powerhouse' Rail network. TfN will be working
with HS2 to ensure that the following requirements are recognised in the HS2 Phase 2b plans:

Leeds area junctions, for trains from Manchester, Sheffield and the Midlands to run via Leeds to
York, Teesside and the North East. This could release capacity for east Leeds local/commuter services.
Cheshire junctions to serve Liverpool via a new line, for services to run between Liverpool and
Manchester via the HS2 Manchester spur and potentially faster Liverpool - London HS2 services.
Manchester Piccadilly junctions which, with other interventions, would enable services from
Manchester Airport and Liverpool to use either an underground Northern Powerhouse Rail through
station or a surface turn-back station to continue east towards Leeds and the North East.
Sheffield a junction to the north at Clayton allowing trains through Sheffield to re-join HS2 to Leeds.

129] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1296.17] The Hoo Jn to Whitemoor departmental train is SX, so the
Harringay spur was open 27-29 Dec 2017. Although shown as cancelled online, the return
West Thurrock to Oxwellmains cement empty wagons did run as far as is known, so would have
passed through Carlton Road Jn to Junction Road Jn in the early hours of 29th and should have left
West Thurrock at 23.15 on 28th. A TOPS list posted at 09.00 on 29th shows 60096 on that train and one
posted the same time on 30th then shows a light engine move from Oxwellmains to Millerhill.
Tottenham South Jn to South Tottenham East Jn wasn't used at all in fact. A Leeds to London
Gateway Freightliner passed South Tottenham at 05.07 on 30th, so South Tottenham West Jn to
Seven Sisters Jn was temporarily reopened from 28 to 30 Dec. ●45] A member believes that tickets are
not available from stations within the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority area to

individually named Manchester City centre stations. ●77] The Vale of Glamorgan first out/ last in train
at Bridgend using P1 (rather than bay P1A) only apples SSuX. Saturdays the first train is booked out of
P1, but the last (an hour earlier than Mon-Fri presumably due to potential engineering work) arrives in
1A and returns in service. On Sundays there are just seven trains (every two hours), all using P1A. All
this is variable with frequent changes; some first trains run ECS via Barry to 1A, some are bus replaced.

1297 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron) [email protected]

ABOVE: On the currently single track between Corby and Kettering, late afternoon Thu 28 Dec 2017.
The new Down line (seen) is not yet in use and masts are now being erected. (All John Cameron)
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Kettering North Jn, from the Corby line. The Midland Main Line Down fast
(far right) and Up Fast are seen with the middle one of the three (long) bidirectional 40mph
crossovers. This one is between the Up Fast and the new Down Corby (not yet commissioned north of
the crossover - hence the sleeper across it).
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Approaching Kettering station. The new crossover which will allow running from
the Corby line in to P2 (for Corby to Kettering shuttles to turnback here) is middle left.



130] Kettering - Corby: From 26 Feb capacity is due to be increased by commissioning the extra track
between Kettering and Corby (re-quadrupling to Kettering North Jn then redoubling to Corby) which
includes resignalling with enhancements. New running lines: Going north, 72m 18ch to 73m 68ch will
be called 'Down Slow'; from 73m 68ch to 79m 68ch will be 'Down Corby'. From 73m 68ch to 79m 68ch,
the current 'Up & Down Corby' going south will become 'Up Corby'. The previously installed OOU
Down Slow between Kettering Station and Kettering North Jn and the Down Corby from Kettering
North Jn to Corby Station North Jn will be completed and brought into use.

Kettering North Jn and Kettering Station North Jn have previously been remodelled for the new fourth
track originating from the former Kettering Station Jn. At Kettering Station North Jn, a new facing
crossover between the Up Slow and Down Slow will allow trains from Corby to run into Kettering P2.

All four tracks between Kettering South Jn and North Jn through Kettering station are bidirectional -
bidirectional working incidentally extends south to Harrowden Jn (67m 00ch) and north to Kilby Bridge
Jn (93m 40ch). There are three bidirectional crossovers at Kettering North Jn with 40mph turnouts.

Corby line tracks are both unidirectional except through the single platform Corby station. Corby
North Jn will be renamed Corby Station South Jn (!). A new facing crossover here from the Down
Corby to Up Corby will allow Down trains to call at Corby. The new junction north of Corby station
(79m 65ch) will be named Corby Station North Jn. This is a new trailing crossover just north of where
the present single line becomes double track. There are extra signalling sections between Kettering
North Jn and Manton Jn. (The present double track north of Corby (79m 58ch) is now one signalling
section controlled beyond MP 78 by Manton Junction signal box.) It will be re-controlled, including the
Corby area, to the East Midlands Signalling Centre north to about MP 89½ (¾ mile south of Manton Jn).

On the Midland Main Line the area extends to 68m 70ch south of Kettering South Jn, the Kettering/
Wellingborough interlocking boundary, and north to 79m 45ch (the Market Harborough interface).

131] Cromford & High Peak Railway (C&HPR) - Going Over the Top: (BLN 1293.2347 with map) Angus
McDougall's article reminded a member of his one visit to the line. In 1964 he had just joined British
Railway's Eastleigh Engineering Society based at the Works there and duly received their summer
programme. The first visit, on Sat 2 May 1964, was to the C&HPR requiring an overnight journey to
Derby. He thinks the party (30-40 members of all grades) took the first train to Cromford headed by
73144 (steam) and walked through the town to The Greyhound Hotel for an early breakfast. Then it
was to Cromford shed and goods wharf for a brief talk about the railway and to meet the staff on duty.
The party was shown how the wagons were attached to the cable while the 'J94' busied itself shunting.

Our member had a new 8mm ciné camera that was put to good use. Then the highlight of the visit…

"Would we like to go up the incline in those empty wagons?" YES! was the unanimous group reply.

After clambering into two wagons, hand signals were exchanged and they were away. He has always
wondered how 'official' this was. Several members were managerial staff which perhaps helped, and in
1964 there was no Health and Safety as such, just trust in staff doing their everyday job. Reaching the
top of Sheep Pasture Incline they observed the winding engine in action as another set of wagons
'went over the top'. Then ex-LMS 47006 was coupled to the train for a ride to the foot of Middleton
Incline which had sadly CA 1 Jun 1963. However, they walked up the incline to inspect the still intact
steam winding engine. The weather had deteriorated so no ciné footage was made but improved as
they walked down the road to a convenient hostelry and a bus back to Cromford. Our member spent
the rest of the afternoon filming at the station before returning to Derby behind 25061.

NEXT PAGE TOP: Under the A6 roadbridge looking down from near the bottom of Sheep Pasture
Incline towards Cromford Wharf, the 'catch-pit' was behind the camera. 'J94' 68006 is waiting with
another train of wagons to take participants on the RCTS 'High Peak Railtour' passengers to High Peak
Junction to rejoin the main train; Sat 27 Jun 1964. (All pictures from our Official Society Photographer,
Geoff Plumb. https://goo.gl/i5XnyZ has more of Geoff's incredible photos on this amazing railway.)

NEXT PAGE TOP: Ex-LNER 'J94' Class 0-6-0ST No68006 at Cromford Wharf, the bottom of Sheep
Pasture Incline, before departing to meet the main train at High Peak Jn. The steepness of the incline
is apparent as the line disappears under the A6 roadbridge, the two tracks dividing as they skirt round
the catch-pit built after a spectacular runaway. A wagon was still in the catch-pit; Sat 27 Jun 1964.

NEXT PAGE LOWER: The top of Sheep Pasture Incline with the winding-house and summit. The old
steam winding-engine had been replaced by an electrically powered system and the incline was still in
use then, though the participants of the RCTS 'High Peak Railtour' had to walk down the incline. The
engine-house is still there today, though it is an empty shell and the trackbed is now well wooded as
part of the incredible 'High Peak Trail' footpath - virtually complete along the railway. Sat 27 Jun 1964





[BLN 1297]
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: From the Geoff Plumb Collection. Having walked up Sheep Pasture Incline, the
tour passengers of the MLS/SLS 'High Peak Railtour' on Sat 25 Apr 1953 prepare to board open wagons
for the first tour train of the day. This was hauled by 0-4-0ST No47000 from Sheep Pasture Top to the
foot of the Middleton Incline, followed by another walk up the incline to Middleton Top. The one road
engine shed can be seen beyond the wagons of the train and beyond that is the winding-engine house.
Photo taken by Geoff's father, Derek Plumb - Geoff was there age just four to the right of the engine.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Despite its ancient appearance, 0-4-0ST No.47007 was built in 1953, an
update of the original Kitson design to Stanier's requirements built in 1932. It is standing alongside the
remains of the one loco engine shed at Sheep Pasture on Sun 12 Aug 1962. The loco worked along the
level section (more or less!) to the bottom of the Middleton Incline, where rope-haulage took over.

ABOVE: On a different occasion, after participants had walked down Middleton Incline ex-LMS 0-4-0ST
No47006 had been waiting at the bottom with another set of wagons for a trip to Sheep Pasture, seen
there after the passengers had alighted. To the left Geoff Plumb's father, Derek is waiting to remove
the RCTS headboard from the engine, before walking (unlike our member's report above of his 1964
ride!) down Sheep Pasture Incline to Cromford Wharf, where another train of wagons was waiting.
The old loco tenders in the background provided the water supply along the line. Sat 27 Jun 1964
NEXT PAGE: From the footplate of 68012, fellow 'J94' 68079 is seen leading gingerly down the famous
1 in 14 (at steepest) gradient of the Hopton Incline with the RCTS 'High Peak Railtour' of Sat 27 Jun
1964, plenty of photographers have arrived in some interesting state of the art contemporary cars!
Hopton Incline was rope worked when opened but was latest 'eased' (!) for adhesion working.



132] Market Harborough: (BLN 1284.1371) The significant former Midland Railway goods shed on the
Up side was mostly demolished on Fri 18 Aug as part of the station redevelopment and 'straightening'.

133] Derby: (BLN 1296.32) In summary the Derby Goods lines are now OOU from L&NW Jn (0m 75ch)
to Derby North Jn (128m 02ch) with arrangements made to access Litchurch Lane and Etches Park.

From 15 Jan between Way & Works Jn and Spondon Crossing, 301b points were to be installed (OOU)
on the Down Main at 127m 78ch for a new trailing crossover, part of the Derby resignalling enabling
works. After commissioning in July it will allow bidirectional running between 127m 74ch and Derby
station on the Down Main. The Up line is already bidirectional beyond 128m 03ch to Derby station.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The dramatically changed scene east of Derby station (the former Carriage
Lines and Goods Lines), the site of future P6, looking north towards Chesterfield. The engineers' train is
on the Pilot Sidings (plural) even though there is only one! Ahead can be seen the way it now splits at
the overbridge to join the Up Goods (right) and Down Goods (left). (Both Ian Mitchell 12 Jan 2018.)

ABOVE: Looking south towards Nottingham (off left) and Birmingham (off right). At the end of the rake
of wagons (on the single Pilots Lines) left is the connection to/from '4 Shed', right is the Litchurch Lane
Temporary Connecting Line, that then splits right to Litchurch Lane and left to Etches Park Depot,
later joining the Up Main. Etches Park Depot still has a direct connection to/from the Up Main.

134] Elmton & Creswell Jn - Oxcroft Jn: (BLN 1296.27 & correcting BLN 1295.2494). To the Midland
Railway, this was the Clown (no 'e'*) Branch, built under their Midland Railway (Mansfield, & etc Lines)
Act, 28-9 Victoria cap 359 of 5 Jul 1865 (Staveley Branch Railway). Oxcroft Jn to Elmton & Creswell Jn
(former Station Jn) was 'mothballed' 2 Mar 1991 (unspecified BR records found by Dr John Gough).
It was discovered that the remaining traffic could be routed by other less steeply graded, but longer,
routes. The last railtour was Pathfinder's Bolsover Balladeer https://goo.gl/aCPL8g on Sun 1 Sep 1991.

ABOVE: The LMS 1946 public timetable for the line (with the summer dated SO Sutton Junction -
Blackpool North and return train included!). The main difference by 1954 was that the Chesterfield
to Elmton & Creswell service no longer ran on Saturdays. (With thanks to Richard Maund.)

The final local timetabled passenger service was a single Mon to Fri morning Chesterfield to Elmton &
Creswell trip and afternoon return, thought to be for the former Creswell Markland lower school. It is
recorded as being withdrawn from Mon 5 Jul 1954. However, a note without provenance in Clinker's
papers at Brunel University shows it continuing unadvertised to Fri 23 Jul 1954 inclusive. Local
evidence to support (or refute) the original date and this extension would be very welcome - there
must have been working timetable supplements or weekly notice items as the summer timetable had
started 14 Jun 1954. The trains were the remains of a more frequent pre-WWII weekday service
through to Mansfield. *The 'e' on Clowne - in railway parlance - was established as late as Jun 1951.

Final passenger use (leaving the line by the north facing Hall Lane Jn - Foxlow Jn link) was a summer
Saturday Radford - Blackpool service which last ran on Sat 18 Aug 1962 (the year before the first PSUL
was released). Such a service ran from summer 1946, although it is not known if it predated WW2.

The junction was taken OOU 4 Sep 1996 according to the then equivalent of the Weekly Operating
Notice (WON), when tablet working was withdrawn between Seymour Jn and Elmton & Creswell. The
line was severed (154m 10ch) immediately on the Elmton & Creswell side of Oxcroft Jn Ground Frame,
with a sleeper padlocked across the track, and was described as 'not normally in use'. Trains could only
run when authorised by the Railtrack Production Manger of LNE Zone. (Traffic through Clowne did not
last until autumn 2001 therefore). The intermediate tablet instrument at Oxcroft Jn was abolished.

'One train working with staff' was introduced between Seymour Jn and Oxcroft Disposal Point at the
west end; this line was re-named the 'Up & Down Oxcroft Branch'. Between Oxcroft Jn and Elmton &
Creswell, re-named the 'Clowne Single Line', was OOU from 4 Sep 1996. BLN 795.107 (8 Feb 1997)
reported that at Elmton & Creswell Jn the disused Oxcroft Jn line was (then) still intact. BLN 954.535
(20 Sep 2003) noted 'the junction of the Clowne branch at Elmton & Creswell had (by then) been
replaced with plain line, although the trailing crossover between the main lines was still in place.'

BELOW UPPER: Looking north towards Worksop from Elmton & Creswell P2 on 12 Nov 2009 with the
crossover that was removed in Dec 2017. The Clowne line used to diverge left in front of the signal box
and, as can be seen, its semaphore arm had been removed from the signal post on the left.
BELOW LOWER: There were plenty of white (spare) levers in the box. (Three pictures by Andy Overton
during an official visit on 12 Nov 2009.)



ABOVE: The Clowne single line is in front of the signalbox and clearly disconnected in 2009,
the photographer was on an official visit and no trains were signalled at the time.

It was this trailing crossover (No6) at Elmton & Creswell and its signalling that was removed from
17 Dec 2017. The Seymour Branch connections had been disconnected and physically removed for
some years - with their levers white ('spare') in the box and points no longer shown on the diagram.
This crossover was used by trains leaving the branch, as it was a single lead junction, but remained as a
crossover in its own right. It is rather confusing of the recent WON to call it 'junction connections'.

A member visited Elmton & Creswell Jn on 12 Nov 2009 and found the branch points and signalling
had been removed. There is no mention in a WON of formal removal of the junction points, so the
work may have been done without the required notification. Therefore it is not clear exactly when the
connections were removed (but between 8 Feb 1997 and 20 Sep 2003 as above).

An item (6 Feb 2006 WON) notes the removal of the signal on the Down for 'the previously abandoned
Clowne Branch...', but this abandonment does not seem to have been formally notified. There is a
Sectional Appendix table amendment around then with the relaying of No6 crossover; the line diagram
no longer showed the Clowne Branch connections, so they had presumably been removed informally
by then. 4 Sep 1996 cannot be the closure date of Oxcroft Jn - Elmton & Creswell, but rather the date
it became NRU (not regularly used). This is not the same as OOU (out of use) as traffic could run by
special permission. It seems that the line was never formally closed but regular goods traffic ceased
from 2 Mar 1991.

A member was privileged to travel on what he describes as the penultimate train between Oxcroft Jn
and Elmton & Creswell Jn on Fri 22 Apr 1994 (a light engine ran a few hours later). It was an Inspection
Special (loco and saloon only) 2Z01, the 07.20 Doncaster to Doncaster via Shirebrook. It was booked to
pass Oxcroft Jn at 08.15 and Elmton & Creswell Jn at 08.30. In reality time was kept until Elmton &
Creswell Jn where it stood on the branch for 11 minutes waiting a suitable path on the main line.

1297 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
135] Knightsbridge marches on: The station is to be redeveloped, in conjunction with Knightsbridge
Estate who own the property above, to give step-free access. The entrance on the corner of Sloane
Street and Brompton Road has been closed and a new modern entrance will open at 15 Brompton
Road in 2019. Another new entrance will open in 2020 at Hooper's Court, providing two 17-person
lifts. The new Hooper's Court entrance will be located just beyond the original 1906 station entrance
which still retains its ox blood facade. This step-free route will re-open some areas of the station that
were closed in the early 1930s when escalators were installed to replace the original lifts.

136] Crossrail: (BLN 1295.2498) ❶GWML: From 28 Dec, following the work over the Christmas
period, the new Westbourne Park Jn remained under construction along with the new Crossrail
Westbound Line on the old alignment of Line 6. The connection to Paddington New Yard and Marcon
siding became fully operational, although with limited standage available. An HST was noted stabled in
Royal Oak Carriage Loop 'A' (nearest the main lines) on 9 Jan.

From 10 Dec 2017, with the new timetable, stations from Acton Main Line to Taplow inclusive, except
Slough, were transferred to TfL Rail control. They have started to make their mark with new signage,
including at booking offices, revised car parking arrangements where these exist and new ticket
machines at some places. All TfL stations on this section have posters advising that they will be having
lifts, new booking offices, entrances and gate lines and there is now a ban on open containers of
alcohol. Most stations now have a variety of stopping marks: Square with white figures on blue for
Turbos and blue disc with white figures on a square white plate with yellow and black hatching border
for Class 387 EMUs. Posters are a mixture of GWR (such as timetables) and others. The remaining
permit to travel machines are now taped over. The following was noted in early Jan:

Hanwell: Most signs updated with new stick on signage. No platform extensions.

Southall: The London end platform extensions on all four lines are almost finished.

Hayes & Harlington: The London end platform ends are almost finished. Some parts have been
…….re-signed and GWR symbols are covered over on station nameboards.

West Drayton: The new footbridge and lifts are not yet in use; no platform extension work but the
…….(London end) signals have been moved. Signs are mostly done; the car park is now NCP managed.

Iver*: New signs and ticket machine, little else has changed and the Thames Trains trident symbols
…….remain in the waiting room windows! The footbridge has a raised parapet. The four platforms each
…….take 6 cars because of mirror positioning (although they appear to be long enough for 8).

Langley*: Three lifts and new gates to come. Some new signs and a ticket machine installed.

Slough*: The London end Up Relief extension remains incomplete. Nothing else is being changed.

Burnham*: Lift installed from the subway and a canopy extension is in progress at the London end
…….to cover it. Some signs are updated and a TfL service information white board has been provided.

Taplow*: A temporary scaffolding footbridge is still in use with stumps of the old bridge visible.
…….Some signs have been changed. There is a new ticket machine and a new car park operator.

Maidenhead* and Twyford*: No platform extensions (Maidenhead's already take 8 cars, but
…….signal positioning suggests possible London end extensions). [*Outside Greater London, of course.]

❷GEML: Pudding Mill Lane Jn and the associated turn back signals are due to be commissioned from
2 Feb as are the remodelled Gidea Park carriage sidings. The Centre Siding is to be renamed the
Turnback Line, Sidings 1-4 will be Stabling Lines 1-4 and the London end Shunt Spur the Overrun Spur.

137] Northern Line Extension: (BLN 1296.37) Wandsworth Council has approved plans for the station
at Battersea Power Station - in the London Borough of Wandsworth, and not actually Battersea!
(Local Guardian website). On New Year's Day the first test train ran over the new step plate junctions
for the north-bound and south-bound lines on the Kennington Loop. The cast iron tunnel segments
had to be removed and the track and concrete trackbed lifted to make way for the two new turnouts.

[BLN 1297]
138] Thameslink: (BLN 1296.35) Extensive operation of passenger trains between Blackfriars and
London Bridge is not expected until late Feb. Driver instructors need to learn the new route and train
the many drivers. It is envisaged that individual train routeing will be determined the previous day,
depending on whether the rostered driver is passed to work the new route. The 09.54 Bedford to
Three Bridges and 12.29 return, ran this way 9-12 Jan at least. On 11 Jan the 09.54 took the left most
line after Blackfriars Jn, the Down Snow Hill Spur as booked (the previous 'Carriage Reception line')
rather than the Down Snow Hill - middle line. The latter was the running line before closure for the
London Bridge works. Both these lines are now unidirectional but were bidirectional in the old layout.

139] Travelling to Kent by Mistake: A member has supplied this account of a journey during the
Christmas and New Year London Bridge blockade. On 31 Dec he travelled from Waterloo P22 on a
Southeastern service to Kent via Linford Street Flyover. A first for UK travel, all his previous journeys
from Waterloo International, as it was at the time, using this flyover had been on Eurostars, so for
immigration and customs purposes were in 'France'. His plan was to travel to Orpington, but as the
train ran towards Vauxhall he saw that the on-board PIS screen said the next stop was Sevenoaks,
which put him out of ticket. Passing through Denmark Hill without (and not as booked) a potential
stop to set down a pilotman, it came to a stand at Swanley to let a Thameslink stopper go in front to
Sevenoaks. His train followed the stopper and used the facing crossover from the Down Bat & Ball line
into Sevenoaks P3, new for him, just as an Up stopper via Orpington departed. Alighting from the train
with other passengers for Orpington to speak to the platform staff, he found that signalling problems
at Knockholt were the reason for the diversion. The next Orpington train would be some time, so he
returned on a Thameslink train. The helpful station man suggested a bus to Orpington from St Marys
Cray, which he had not thought of. Our member did catch a bus, but at Bromley South for home.

BELOW: London Waterloo P22, Sat 30 Dec 2017. The main indicator showed fast to Sevenoaks but the
platform screens had an Orpington call, although the next train was actually cancelled. (Stuart Hicks)

140] Victoria: The main entrance to the eastern forecourt reopened in late December following a
lengthy closure to allow work on a new entrance to the Underground station.

1297 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
141] Swalwell Jn: (BLN 1296.39) Those fortunate enough to ride on a coal train from Swalwell Coal
Disposal Point (NZ 204 606) will have done the trailing crossover. The branch CG 9 Jul 1987 as the site
was required to develop the Metrocentre. (Swalwell Jn to West Dunston Staiths also CG 9 Jul 1987.)
Three members were on the 10.40 from Metrocentre P1 to Carlisle on Sun 7 Jan which ran wrong line
to the trailing crossover at Swalwell Jn. The pilotman worked to/from Blaydon where, unusually, all
trains called. On Sundays there are two morning trains to Carlisle and an evening one to Metrocentre.

BELOW: The 11.40 Metrocentre to Carlisle on Swalwell Jn trailing crossover, Sun 7 Jan 2018. Ground
position signal GPS.5481 (bottom right) has already changed from white lights to red. (Alan Sheppard)

NEXT PAGE TOP: Swalwell Coal Disposal Point had a resident Class 08 seen here along with a visiting
Class 37 - this area is now part of the Metrocentre complex. (Angus McDougall 9 Apr 1974)

ABOVE: The junction of the Swalwell branch (bottom left of centre) on 9 Apr 1974 with the crossover
in the distance, looking east towards Newcastle. At this time this was a 'freight only' line also used for
occasional diversions and railtours (Newcastle to Carlisle passenger trains then ran north of the River
Tyne left background, to Blaydon, until they were diverted this way from 4 Oct 1982). The row of
chimneys in the right background was Dunston Power Station (which had an interesting internal
railway as did many power stations then). The area has all since been redeveloped. (Angus McDougall)



1297 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]

142] Fleetwood Branch: (BLN 1296.43) There is a 'rival' petition https://goo.gl/uGHZon to the one for
the line to be opened for heavy rail. It calls for the branch from Poulton to be used as a light rail route,
but does not suggest how it might connect with Blackpool Tramway or interchange with NR at Poulton.
https://goo.gl/jPzE3G is the heavy rail petition (with about 600 fewer signatures); both close on 1
June. Members can now make up their own mind whether to support one or both to assist the cause.

143] Manchester, Great Railway Northern Warehouse (Deansgate): This Grade II* listed building has
car parking on the upper three floors with restaurants, shops and a cinema below. It is now due to be
transformed with 142 luxury flats, and lower commercial space for shops and restaurants.

144] Liverpool Lime Street: (BLN 1296.47) PREVIOUS PAGE: Thanks to Martyn Brailsford and Gary
Jones, track plans of Lime Street station before the alterations began, the present layout and the final
30 July intended layout. The loss of the present P1 is interesting - is that for future retail development
(as seems likely) or future platform zero? Following a further temporary closure, commissioning of the
final layout with resignalling is from Mon 30 July, with closure of the notable signal box. Control will be
from Manchester ROC, Liverpool workstation. Contrary to previous reports Edge Hill box closes then as
well, with what looks like a re-control of the area without signalling alterations, to the ROC. This means
that the line from Lime Street to Huyton will then all be controlled from Manchester ROC.

There was an emergency station closure all day Sun 7 Jan to repair severe corrosion damage to OHLE
supports; impressively, normal service resumed next day. Merseyrail services were not affected.

145] Keswick: (BLN 1266.1961) In Dec Metcalfe Plant Hire of Penrith were engaged by the Lake District
National Park Authority to briefly open the eastern end of 'Big Tunnel' under the A66 Greta Viaduct
east of Keswick to explore the feasibility of fully excavating it. Re-opening the tunnel was one of the
most popular options to restore the Keswick to Threlkeld path from a public consultation last year.
Big Tunnel was backfilled with spoil when the A66 was built in the mid-1970s. Cedric Martindale of CKP
Railways plc and Lake District Special Planning Board officers had spoken to the original 1990s
A66 Greta Viaduct Contractors. They established that the tunnel had been 'carefully packed' to ensure
it remained intact and stable, to enable its re-use in future and to maximise stability of the road bridge
foundations. Drawings of the work carried out in the 1970s were shared with Capita by CKP Railways
plc to inform their studies for the Lake District National Park Authority. The excavation has since been
carefully refilled for safety and results will be evaluated. Just before Christmas, Highways England
awarded £2.5M towards the estimated £5.5M needed to fully restore the path. These funds are
intended to promote walking and cycling but work is being planned with a future railway in mind.

146] Preston Trams: In 2016 Preston City Council granted planning permission for a 1.2km pilot tram
line with a platform and shed at Deepdale (BLN 1270.3066 suggested it will be street running rather
than using the old Deepdale/Longridge branch). The facility will be used for demonstration rides and
staff training but not for paying customers. Construction begins in March after appointment of
contractor Eric Wright Civil Engineering. The deal with Preston Trampower Ltd, a privately-owned
company dedicated to develop light rail technology, also includes construction of the 5.6km
£25M Guild Line. A planning application for this is due to be submitted by Easter. Subject to this, and
securing private investment for the tram infrastructure rolling stock lease, Trampower estimates that
it could welcome its first passengers next year. [But note this Preston tram saga has been going on for
7½ years in BLN - Ed.] The line is due to have 12 stops, including Deepdale Shopping Park, Deepdale
Stadium and the University of Central Lancashire. Preston Corporation Tramways closed 15 Dec 1934.

147] Manchester Metrolink: From Sun 28 Jan (timetable change), Airport services are extended from
Deansgate-Castlefield via the Second City Crossing (SCC) to turnback regularly in Victoria stop centre
platform. This will be the first public use of the connections between the centre platform and the SCC.

[There is a track plan for logged in members on our website 'Archive' search 'LRT' see p2 and rotate.]

1297 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James) [email protected]

148] Claydon L&NE Jn - Bletchley: (BLN 1295.2521) In support of the details of diversions over this
section of line and route knowledge, a member confirms that Swindon traincrew had a couple of
regular workings in the 1970/80s: Bristol to Calvert containerised waste and, more importantly, Bristol
Parkway to Wolverton stone trains ran. The latter brought aggregates from the then Amey Roadstone
Construction Tytherington quarry to their Wolverton terminal. (It was not generally served from their
Whatley quarry near Westbury.) This would have meant Swindon crews were able to work the sleeper
referred to from Milton Keynes to Swindon in 1989. In the 1978 Western Region working timetable
these trains were (SSuX): •04.55 Bristol Parkway to Wolverton and •09.07 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford.

From then until about 1986, they had pairs of Class 37s with of 36 ARC liveried PGA aggregate hoppers.
After around 1986 Class 56s took over and he saw the working most mornings on his daily commute
from Milton Keynes to Birmingham. By 1990 the times had changed to (SSuX): •01.10 Bristol Parkway
to Wolverton •09.00 approx Wolverton to Tytherington. On Sun 22 Nov 1981 47547 worked 12.33
Manchester - Paddington, after New Street: Soho - Aston - Denbigh Hall - Oxford - Paddington.

[They don't do diversions like that anymore…!]. Back in 2018 new signs have recently appeared on the
'mothballed' section, eg near Moco Bridge 'Culvert OXD-51210' half mile west of Swanbourne station
as seen ABOVE. (Phil Marsh 26 Dec 2917) The Bicester to Claydon section has been devegetated.

149] Bedford - Bletchley (1): (BLN 1296.52) Bedford services can use bidirectional Bletchley P5 or P6;
P5 also gives access to/from the 8 carriage and 4 freight sidings. P6 was preferred but is only accessible
by narrow stairs and has very primitive facilities. The Rail Users Association chairman recently advised
your Editor that P6 is now only used when EMUs are going on/off the depot via P5 (15 a day, fewer on
Saturdays) - some start/finish at P5 in service (via Bletchley South Jn connections), the rest are ECS.

[BLN 1297]
Even when P6 is booked for the Bedford train, if there is a wheelchair etc then a call (from the train or
platform staff) to Rugby Signalling Control Centre usually results in the train being diverted to P5 which
has level access and far better facilities. Incidentally it accommodates 13 coaches rather than the six
on P6. Bedford trains are not being extended to Milton Keynes (4-car bay P2A was built specially for
them) as once intended due to the high WCML access charges, not justifiable for a one or two car
DMU. Ironically three 2-car Class 230 Vivarail D-trains are envisaged for the line, enough for a through
hourly Milton Keynes to Bedford service. No trains ran (as usual) 24-26, 31 Dec or 1 Jan. From 27 to 30
Dec one unit provided a two-hourly service starting from Bletchley 06.00 and finishing 21.38. BR once
ran a service every 90 minutes with one train but this required very tight turnarounds each end.

The chairman also advised that, in the absence of electrification, little work is now planned on the line
as part of East West Rail. Rather than reinstate the former triangular junction at Bedford St Johns,
through Oxford to/from Cambridge (ultimately) DMUs will reverse in/out of Bedford Midland instead.

150] Bedford - Bletchley (2): A member visited Ridgmont in Feb 2017 where the station has a tearoom
and small museum. A large Amazon warehouse (and industrial estate) nearby provides some regular
commuters for the line. On his visit the tearoom was 'closed for the day', booked for lunch by a bus
load of Japanese tourists, whose numerous and prolonged presence outside made photography of the
attractive half timbered 'Tudorbethan' building a challenge. However, the Up platform has a traditional
platform seat, with a cast iron nameplate set into the back rest, and painted in BR London Midland
Region maroon. Next, he walked to the site of Husborne Crawley Halt (CP 5 May 1941). As the crow
flies it is barely a half mile from Ridgmont. Unfortunately the M1/A421 interchange with slip roads and
roundabouts is in the way, mutilating the 'pastorale' his 1960 OS map suggested. A long circuitous
walk later, the site was marked by Crawley Crossing Café in an industrial estate; Bedford Road level
crossing has been replaced by a concrete bridge, adjacent to the site of the former crossing.

BELOW: Ridgmont in its neglected and dilapidated days. (Angus McDougall 21 Jul 2000).

Stewartby was originally Wootton Pillinge Halt,
temporarily closed from 1 Jan 1917 until 5 May
1919, renamed Wootton Pillinge 1 Jan 1928 and
Stewartby 8 Jul 1935. The village too was
renamed Stewartby after Sir Percy Malcolm
Stewart (Managing Director and Incorporator of
the London Brick Company - once reportedly the
largest brick company in the world) and his
father, Sir Halley Stewart (vice chairman).
Developed as a workers' model village its sign
bears a Stewart tartan, a little odd in rural
Bedfordshire. The station has staggered short
platforms either side of a level crossing. From
here it was just a mile walk to the level crossing
at the site of Wootton Broadmead Halt of
which nothing remains, (it also CP 5 May 1941). A relay cabin bears the name Wootton Broadmead
Level Crossing. ABOVE: 1946 6th Series one inch
map with the former Husborne Crawley Halt south
west of Ridgmont station, Bletchley is to the left,
Bedford is right. RIGHT: Another part of the same
map showing Wootton Broadmead Halt between
Kempston Hardwick (top right) and Stewartby
(formerly Wooton Pillinge) bottom left. The line
running parallel on the right is Midland Main Line -
note the different annotation for a multiple track
railway (for both lines) on the 6th map series.

151] Tilehurst - Goring & Streatley: Early
preparations are in hand to lengthen station
platforms which currently take seven Class 387
vehicles. The work is at the country end at
Pangbourne and the London end at Goring &
Streatley and Tilehurst. There is little more than
marked out areas with scaffolding poles although at
Goring, the platform ramps on the Down Main and
the island have been dug away.

152] Didcot: (BLN 1294.2413) The London end of
the Up Main P2 is being substantially raised and has
new coping stones and the yellow tactile block platform line behind.

X.7] BELOW: The new EMU map shows Newbury electrification as 'late (probably so!) 2019'. (Stuart Hicks)

X.8] ABOVE: Discharged tanks from Theale terminal to Robeston oil refinery at Didcot in mid-January.
The working changed from DBC to GBRf last summer reverting to DBC last autumn. (Peter Simmonds)

1297 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]

153] Bristol Parkway: (BLN 1295.2538) BELOW: thanks to Martyn Brailsford and Tim Wallis, is the new
layout as built. The amendments are in Stoke Gifford Down Yard, also a London end run off from the
Down Bristol Parkway Goods Loop and the connection is severed to the Up side Network Rail Depot
(ex-Royal Mail Depot). Stoke Gifford East Jn - Stoke Gifford No2 Jn is bidirectional through all four
platforms as is the adjacent Up Bristol Parkway Passenger Loop between Stoke Gifford East and West
Jns. The new P1 was used sporadically from commissioning on 31 Dec; trains using P1 were initially
shown online without a platform number, subsequently changing when the train had run.

[BLN 1297]
P1 is eventually generally intended to be used by through trains towards Bristol Temple Meads (not
yet shown as booked for P1 - again the number changes after a train runs), South Wales trains using
P2. Terminating / originating / reversing trains (from Bristol or South Wales) do so in P4. From 31 Dec
P2, 3 & 4 were extended at the London end - all four platforms now have an operating length of 306yd
X.9] Filton Abbey Wood …. What on 'Earth' is going on? (Plan BLN 1290.2006). Some of the work here
has been mystifying our local members. BELOW: Looking north towards South Wales/Bristol Parkway.
After first clearing it out, a bank is being built up again (on the left), where the fourth line is to be
reinstated; it will be interesting to see why …. (This and next picture both David Guy 5 Jan 2018.)

[BLN 1297]
NEXT PAGE UPPER: With bright afternoon sunlight glistening on the mud and puddles this shows
clearly where the new fourth track, platform and facilities are to be on the west side of the station.
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Just six days later and, after considerable progress, all is revealed! The site of the
new P4 and extra track is seen from existing P3. Under the footbridge (background middle right)
equipment and staff access slopes have been created (in both directions) with the temporary bank of
earth - the giveaway was that its support (above) is of a temporary nature. (This and next picture both
David Guy 11 Jan 2018)
THIRD PICTURE TOP OF FOLLOWING PAGE: North of Filton Abbey Wood it is now evident where the
fourth track will be with the permanent retaining wall taking shape and fencing above it.



X.10] Meldon Quarry: (BLN 1296.96) Taken Sep 1987 during a private trip on the resident Class 08.
BELOW: This stone crushing and loading equipment is now all demolished, Okehampton is to the left.
NEXT PAGE TOP: West of the quarry the line (once double track) used to extend onto Meldon Viaduct
as a headshunt, note the check rail. It was cut back when the viaduct was considered unsafe to take
the weight - but it is still possible to walk over it. Again Okehampton is to the left. (Both Ian Mortimer)

1297 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]

154] Ashford: Announcements at Staines say Ashford 'Middlesex' but the train displays (707 027)
correctly say Ashford 'Surrey'. Middlesex ceased to be a County in 1965 and a postal address in 1996.

155] Newbury: The Newbury Weekly News reports that the discovery of redundant and live cables and
part of a former platform wall has delayed the intended Feb completion of the new footbridge and
lifts. A planned three or four week complete closure of the route in around Mar seems to have
changed to a series of 4 day closures (in the week!) - see Head Lines. Intermediate station platform
lengthening is still needed unless Selective Door Opening is to be used instead. A member believes the
road overbridge at the west end of Theale station needs serious attention - it is one bridge that has yet
to have its parapets raised and overhead clearance looks tight even for previous regulations.

156] Bedwyn: Work is expected here to extend the reversing siding to take Class 802 Bimode IETs,
together with other associated changes prior to their service introduction in Jan 2019.

157] Southampton: (BLN 1295.2481/2) During the Christmas closure between Southampton Central
and Woolston/Southampton Airport Parkway, the junction track work between the four running lines
at Northam Jn through to St Denys Jn (excluding that route divergence) was all relaid. The curve round
to Southampton Tunnel was not relaid and will require major work soon.

158] Yarmouth IoW: (BLN 1295.2504) Another long-travelled London Underground carriage is that of
the Bakerloo line Leeds Forge Company trailer car which was taken to the Isle of Wight after a career
running from 1914 to 1928. The Isle of Wight County Press of 4 Aug 1928 reported its arrival at
Newport Quay, from where it was taken to a location near Yarmouth for use as a bungalow.

159] Uckfield: (BLN 1295.2531) Research suggests the last timetabled Uckfield train at Victoria was on
Fri 21 May 2004 (last weekday of timetable before it changed). The current Class 171 DMUs are not
passed to Victoria as the smoke extractors line up only with the exhausts of the previous DEMUs.
A Class 171 is believed to have reached Victoria P19 around 2006 at a time of service disruption.

160] Sutton Scotney: (Didcot Newbury & Southampton line) 27 houses are being built by Metis
Homes on a large site 'Old Station Park' extending to the west of the station towards the old A34.

1297 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]

161] Bromsgrove: From Sat 27 Jan, the overhead wires are due to be energised between Newton
overbridge 93, south of the station, and Barnt Green station overbridge 111. Cross City EMUs are due
to be extended from Barnt Green Jn in the new timetable on Sun 20 May, the first arrival being the
09.03 from New Street at 09.35 booked for Bromsgrove P3. It returns in service at 09.42 over the new
trailing crossover north of the station (repeating half-hourly); on other days there are mostly 3tph.

162] New Year, New Moves: (BLN 1295.2539) Following the recent Birmingham area resignalling:

◆Aston: Down trains can turnback in P1 then use the rare Aston South Jn crossover from the Down to
the Up Grand Junction track - ie arrive from Duddeston or Stechford then return to either line.

◆Perry Barr: Up trains (from Soho/Hamstead) can turnback in P1 then use the crossover at Perry Barr
South Jn in the rare direction from the Up to the Down Grand Junction track to return to either line.

◆Sandwell & Dudley: Up trains from Dudley Port can turnback in P1 then cross from the Up to Down
Stour via the rarely used Albion Jn (note: 'Jn' added with recent resignalling) crossover to return.

◆Smethwick Galton Bridge: Down trains from Smethwick Rolfe Street can turnback in P3 then cross
from the Down to Up Stour via Galton Jn crossover (used by trains from the Langley Green direction).

◆Smethwick Rolfe Street: Up trains from Galton Jn can turnback in P1 then use Galton Jn trailing
crossover in the rare direction (Up Stour to the Down Stour) to return towards Sandwell & Dudley.

◆Tipton: (This was available before resignalling.) Down direction trains from Dudley Port can turnback
in P2 then cross from the Down to Up Stour via the rarely used Watery Lane crossover to return.

◆Five Ways: (Previous resignalling phase) Up trains from University can turnback in P1 and cross from
the Up to Down Gloucester at Church Road Jn crossover (43m 46ch) to return. This was the trailing
crossover at the junction for Birmingham Central Goods (CG 6 Mar 1967; taken OOU 17 Dec 1967).
163] Bloxwich: As part of electrification, Willenhall Lane level crossing (2m 05ch) with full barriers,
controlled manually by the signaller via CCTV, and 27ch south of the station, was closed from 13 Jan
after recovery of the equipment. A (rare) minibus service will be provided for pedestrians, until a
footbridge is commissioned. Presumably the bridge cannot be installed until the crossing is removed?

BELOW: The Black Country? The site of the 'VLR Innovation Centre'; Dudley BR Freightliner depot (the
former station site), looking north. The containers were rather smaller in those days! The line used to
continue to Wolverhampton Low Level via Priestfield, but a significant headshunt then remained.
Round to the right beyond the signal box was the route to Walsall and Bescot Yard and once also to
Birmingham Snow Hill via Swan Village as well as Dudley Port High Level. Behind the camera the line
still went through Dudley Tunnel to Stourbridge Junction and at one time Old Hill. Passenger trains
to/from the Walsall line had to reverse in and out of the station. (Angus McDougall 27 Jan 1979.)

164] Dudley: (BLN 1268.2168) Plans for the 'Very Light Rail (VLR) Innovation Centre', that is said to
lead the world in the development of VLR technology, have been submitted by Dudley Council
partnering with the Warwick Manufacturing Group. The site in Castle Street near the Zoo was formerly
that of Dudley station (CP timetabled trains 6 Jul 1964) which once had six different passenger routes,
and was later the site of Dudley Freightliner Terminal. A pedestrian footbridge will link the building to
Tipton Rd, the future Brierley Hill Metro extension and car parking. Meeting rooms, laboratories,
teaching facilities, exhibition and conference space and a large engineering workshop are planned.

Research will investigate ways to reduce the weight and cost of railcars and track, providing a cheaper
alternative to heavy rail and traditional 'Metro' urban transport systems. The application is expected
to be determined in the spring. A separate application for a 2km double track test line with platforms
on the former Stourbridge to Walsall line, submitted to the Council's planning department at the end
of Oct, is pending. [We know of volunteers who would help with tests.] £18M was awarded to the
Council by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership towards the expected £29M project cost.

165] Watery Lane: On 10 Jan the Down Stour Goods line between Dudley Port and Tipton was
unusually occupied by the 22.41 Immingham Sorting Sidings to Wolverhampton Steel Terminal train.
This was due to (also unusually) another steel train, being shunted by a DBC Class 66 at the terminal.

166] Pershore: The town is the second largest (after Evesham) on the North Cotswold line between
Worcester and Oxford. There is now massive housing development within half a mile of the station
which itself is a mile from the town centre. It nearly closed in the early 1970s when the service was
down to one morning train to Worcester and one back in the evening. The existing service of 16 daily
trains to and 17 from London is a franchise commitment. Passenger growth was 3.2% from 100,690 in
2015/16 to 103,956 in 2016/17 - the highest percentage on the line. This is more impressive as there
are only 17 car parking spaces, despite efforts by NR and train operators to enlarge the car park over
the last 15 years. From Jan 2019 the line is planned to have an hourly, mostly Class 800 IET operated,
London to Worcester service. There are concerns, fuelled by a 'Modern Railways' article which quoted
the GWR Managing Director as saying that some calls may have to be taken out of the timetable to
allow for Worcestershire Parkway calls. This has been taken up with GWR by the Town Council and
the Cotswold Line Promotion Group. The latter have previously made no secret of their opposition to
Worcestershire Parkway station although this has moderated now construction is actually underway.

1297 YORKSHIRE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks) email addresses elsewhere

167] Scarborough Part 2: (BLN 1296.69) Gasworks signalbox was abolished Sun 30 May 1965, (Weekly
Operating Notice). All points connected with the main lines were dispensed with and the points in the
sidings were converted to hand operation. All signals were abolished except the three that were
transferred to Washbeck box control where there were also some associated alterations. Sat 6 Mar
1965 may well have been the day Gasworks box was actually last used as it could be switched out.

All Whitby trains had to reverse in/out of the station but were not permitted to propel more than two
coaches. The loco of longer trains had to run round at the station throat. Normally Londesborough
Road P1 road and the Middle Road were used but if P1 was occupied it was the main line instead.

The Whitby line CP 8 Mar 1965 and CA north of Gallows Close, which was retained for goods traffic. By
Feb 1983 the sidings to the west of the running line, serving the general goods depot, had been lifted,
although a single siding to the east of the line serving the coal concentration depot remained in use.
https://goo.gl/grtXuX is an interesting 1983 view looking south; the tunnel mouth is upper middle.

NEXT PAGE TOP: Gallows Close, looking south, was much quieter on 16 Aug 1978; the coal depot is on
the left. (Angus McDougall.) It CA at an unknown date by Dec 1984, possibly at the same time as York
Foss Islands on 6 Aug 1984 (BLN 471, p188.A), due to the withdrawal of unfitted 4-wheel coal wagons.
The site is now the inevitable car park and a Sainsburys supermarket. The former Northstead Carriage
Sidings (behind the camera) which were east of the Whitby line are now a public open space.

A 13 minute video https://goo.gl/XqkQ3y with interesting views of trains using Falsgrave tunnel and
Gallows Close. https://goo.gl/cmsQpS shows the 'Mallard' approaching Scarborough in July 1986.
The platform right of 'Mallard' is the former Londesborough Road station; the trackless platform lower
right is the former bay P1A and the course of the Whitby line was behind the fence.

In Dec 1970 gale force winds destroyed much of the station roof which covered P1, 2 and the car park,
so it was completely removed a month later. By the early 1980s, regular use of P6-9 had declined, so
Scarborough box closed 22 Oct 1984 with these platforms. The box was demolished and the track
lifted over the winter. The land they occupied is now used for car and coach parking, although the
overall roofs remain. From 6 Oct to 1 Nov 2010 the station was closed while new track and signalling
was installed. Falsgrave box was decommissioned on 7 Oct 2010 and the signal gantry removed. It was
later re-erected in a reduced form at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. It was Grade II
listed by English Heritage who claimed it was 'the very last cross-track semaphore signal gantry in use
on Britain's main line railways'. No doubt we will be advised if this is incorrect!

168] Scarborough holiday trains: (BLN 1296.69) These ran via York or Bridlington, except for a few via
Gilling (BLN 1285.1528). The route via York was straightforward but all the intermediate stations
except Malton and Seamer CP 22 Sep 1930 because they were not well situated and the local services
interfered with holiday traffic. This was the first (of many) such mass closures of local stations on a
main line. York to Malton (21m 12ch) was for quite a time the longest distance between two adjacent
passenger stations in this country. No doubt a member can reveal when this record was broken!

The Bridlington route was more interesting serving that resort (with its extra terminal platforms facing
south) and Filey Holiday Camp. Billy Butlin opened his first holiday camp at Skegness in 1936 and
Clacton followed in 1938. Construction at Filey started in 1939 but was interrupted by WWII.
Filey Holiday Camp station had two long island platforms and was on a ¾ mile long branch running
southeast off the Scarborough - Hull line between Hunmanby and Filey. There was a triangular
junction controlled by Royal Oak North, Royal Oak South and Filey Holiday Camp boxes. Both curves
and the branch were double track. It was opened https://goo.gl/jjDFLh by the LNER on 10 May 1947.

A 'road train' was provided via the subway from the station under the A165 road, taking the 'happy
campers' (and their luggage) to the camp. The branch was visited by the 'Whitby Moors' railtour on
6 Mar 1965, sadly the last day of operation of the Scarborough - Whitby and Malton - Grosmont lines.

ABOVE: Back in the days when a railtour gave people carte blanche to wander (safely of course) all
over the place … 6 Mar 1965. https://goo.gl/oZfKb2 The Stephenson Locomotive Society/Manchester
Locomotive Society Whitby Moors Tour. View along the branch from the platform end (Alan Brown).

The north curve towards Scarborough was the
more difficult to do as most trains ran from/to
the south. Your Regional Editor sallied forth in
Aug 1967 as he felt it was about time he did
the branch. day return from Middlesbrough to
Pontefract Baghill may not seem at first sight
the ideal way to do it but there was method in
his madness. There was a 40 minute back
connection at Baghill (11.14) into a very useful
Gloucester Eastgate to Scarborough train,
which reversed by running round at Filey
Holiday Camp giving four new curves in the
process. Comfortable connections at both
Scarborough and Leeds found him on the
17.25 Leeds to Goole to Pontefract Monkhill,
adding Methley Jn to Cutsyke Jn to his tally.

It was then a 45 minute stroll to Baghill for his
train back north. Sadly the train between the
two Pontefract stations (a Leeds Central to
Pontefract Baghill service) had ceased from 2 Nov 1964 without him doing it. ABOVE: 7th Series one
inch 1955 map (Filey holiday Camp station is shown as 'closed to passengers', true most of the time;
perhaps the surveyor didn't visit on a summer Saturday when the passenger trains actually ran!).

[BLN 1297]
LEFT: Filey Holiday Camp station 'Peak' 45002
runs round the 07.52 Leicester to Leicester
'circular' service on 29 Jun 1974. The 'land train' is
bottom right (Bernard Mills). By the 1975 season
the tracks to the right hand platforms had been
lifted and the layout simplified.

Your 10% younger BLN Editor planned the whole
of his two week July 1975 All Line Rover (£48
Second Class) around one of the few Summer
Saturday trains that used both curves (there were very few passengers - most came to the camp by
road coaches then). It was quite a few years before he did the 'main line' third side.

The last day of service was 17 Sep 1977 with 'official' CP 26 Nov 1977 (when it was decided not to run
services in 1978). The only other Butlins holiday camp to have its own branch was Ayr, on the former
Alloway Jn to Girvan line ROP 17 May 1947 to a resited Heads of Ayr station (which CP 16 Sep 1968).
Penychain station was 'For Pwllheli Holiday Camp'; Mosney, in Ireland, was at first for Butlin's camp.

South of Driffield there were two routes. Trains from/to the Leeds area used the direct line from Selby
(Barlby North Jn) via Market Weighton (pronounced 'Weeton'). This was straight and level between
Selby and Market Weighton but quite heavily engineered through the Yorkshire Wolds between there
and Driffield. The minor stations CP 20 Sep 1954 leaving a thin service of two trains each way for much
of the year. After the westbound evening train was withdrawn it was difficult for those outside the
area to do the line except during the summer. The only feasible train for a journey in Apr 1962 was
17.07 Leeds to Hull, from which detached a DMU for Bridlington at Selby. The only way to get back to
York and then north was to change at Driffield and again at Beverley for a train to York (arr 20.52) via
Market Weighton. Summer seasonal trains ran via Selby - Driffield until it CP 14 Jun 1965, just before
the summer season and also CA (except Market Weighton west to Holme Moor which CA 2 Aug 1965).

Trains from/to the south ran through the outskirts of Hull via Hessle Road - Cottingham South until
that CA 10 May 1965 before the 1965 summer season. Then all services not starting, ending or
reversing at Hull took the new Anlaby Road Jn - West Parade North Jn curve. The first ever PSUL
(summer 1963) shows it was used by: 08.30 SX Doncaster - Bridlington; 08.20 SO King's Cross - Filey
Holiday Camp; 08.50 SO Liverpool Exchange - Scarborough Londesborough Road; 07.20 SO
Woodhouse - Bridlington; 13.34 SO Bridlington - Woodhouse; 18.15 SX Bridlington - Doncaster;
19.20 Bridlington - Leeds City; 12.07 SO Filey Holiday Camp - King's Cross; 11.00 SO Scarborough
Londesborough Road - Liverpool Exchange. The Liverpool Exchange train might have been expected to
run via Selby and Leeds. However, it ran via Wakefield Kirkgate and Goole, with a stop for either a
crew or loco change at Rawcliffe Bridge Jn, just west of Goole, so had to use the other route.

169] Dearne Diversions: (BLN 1296.65) The BLN 1296 member diverted via 'Wath Curve' was lucky;
sadly this member didn't know about what was possibly the last railtour to traverse it: The RCTS 'South
Yorkshireman No5' tour https://goo.gl/tMLfE5 on 23 Oct 1965: Leeds Central - Holbeck High Level -
Laisterdyke - Bowling Jn - Low Moor - Heckmondwike Jn - Thornhill Jn - Thornhill Midland Jn - Horbury
Jn - Wakefield Kirkgate - Calder Bridge - Crofton West - Hare Park Jn - South Kirkby Jn - Moorthorpe -
Dearne Jn - Wath Jn - Aldam Jn - Stairfoot - Cudworth Yard South - Cudworth Yard North - Wrangbrook
Jn - Pickburn & Brodsworth - Lowfield Jn - Mexborough - Thrybergh Jn - Aldwarke Jn - Rotherham
Central - Attercliffe Jn - Darnall Jn - Woodhouse - Brancliffe East Jn - Shireoaks - Brancliffe East Jn -
Firbeck Jn 'A' - St Catherines Jn - Black Carr Sidings West - Yorkshire Main Colliery - Grimethorpe -
Crofton South - Crofton West - Calder Bridge - Turners Lane - Normanton - Castleford Central - Ledston
- Garforth - Cross Gates - Leeds City. Note the interesting visit to Wrangbrook Jn (Hull & Barnsley line).

To Barnsley To Leeds To York SWINTON, MEXBOROUGH
WATH NORTH
AND WATH-ON-DEARNE

Dearne Jn c. 1951 Not to scale

WATH CENTRAL N
Wath Central Jn

Mexborough Junctions Wath Road Jn

1 Mexborough No. 1 Mexborough West Jn
2 Mexborough No. 2
Swinton Jn 1 To
(now Mexborough East Jn) 2 Doncaster
3 Mexborough No. 3
3
Pre-Grouping line ownership MEXBOROUGH

Midland Railway SWINTON TOWN SWINTON CENTRAL
Great Central Railway

Swinton & Knottingley Joint (MR/NER)

Wath Curve Joint (MR/GCR/NER) To Sheffield Midland To Sheffield Victoria CSD

____________________________________________________________________________________

'Wath Curve' to Wath Central Jn wasn't the only line to diverge at Dearne Jn. (ABOVE: Plan thanks to

our member Dave Cromarty.) An equally interesting line diverged eastwards to Mexborough West Jn,

on the Barnsley - Doncaster line. This carried a poor SuX service between York and Sheffield Victoria,
which also used the Mexborough No1 - Mexborough No3 curve. In summer 1963, the only trains were:

•Northbound SuX: overnight Swindon - York (MX on this section), FO Dover Marine - Newcastle 'car
sleeper' (the predecessor of, from 1966, BR's Motorail), 08.17 Sheffield Victoria - York local and a
Bournemouth West - Newcastle (avoiding Sheffield SO); overnight Sat/Sun Swindon - York
•Southbound SuX: Newcastle - Bournemouth West (avoiding Sheffield SO); overnight York - Swindon.

Additionally there were summer Saturday services to/from Scarborough and Filey Holiday Camp.
The Newcastle (or sometimes just York) to Bournemouth West was an interesting train. When local
trains north of Nottingham Victoria on the Great Central (GCR) were withdrawn after 4 Mar 1963, it
was the only daylight passenger train over that route. [Marylebone to Sheffield (including the Master
Cutler), Manchester and Bradford (the South Yorkshireman) expresses ended 4 Jan 1960, apart from
an overnight Marylebone to Manchester and return]. For several months in winter 1961-62 it only ran
north of Banbury with an English Electric Type 3 (now Class 37) from York to Banbury and back.
When it ran to Bournemouth a Western Region loco worked it south of Banbury usually a 'Hall'.

A member travelling south back to university on this train on 15 Apr 1965 was disconcerted to find it
going straight ahead at Dearne Jn. He hastily tried to visualise the Pre-Grouping Atlas & Gazetteer in
his head to work out how on earth the train was going to reach Sheffield Victoria. Or was it going to
Sheffield Midland and then by some unknown route on to the GCR line? All was revealed a few
minutes later as the train diverged sharp left on a new gigantic scissors crossing and joined the GC line.

This was the then brand new Aldwarke Jn, of which he had no inkling; OG 7 Mar 1965; OP 5 Apr 1965,

only 10 days previously, when Dearne Jn - Mexborough West Jn CA. The Swinton Jn end of the curve
to Mexborough No1 was cut Sun 25 Jul 1965. Therefore on and from that date all trains ran via the

Aldwarke Jn NE - SW connection and the GCR line via Thrybergh Jn. Weekday trains booked to call at

Kilnhurst West and Swinton Town stations were diverted from 26 Jul to call at just Kilnhurst Central
instead. It is possible that this was 'illegal' as no closure proposal for the Swinton curve was made.

The Bournemouth and Swindon services were the only passenger trains via the Aldwarke Jn NW - SE
connection. Bournemouth West CP 4 Oct 1965 (but had replacement bus services from Branksome
after 2 Aug and from Bournemouth Central after 6 Sep 1965 then no trains). From 5 Sep 1966 the
Bournemouth train (which may have been extended to Poole with Bournemouth West OOU) ran via
Sheffield Midland and Birmingham; and the Swindon train was withdrawn. This ended timetabled
passenger trains north of Nottingham Victoria. The Bournemouth train then ran via Worcester as the
only available route between Birmingham New St and Oxford until Bordesley Jn - Small Heath South
Jn OP 6 Mar 1967 as part of the end of main line services at the old Birmingham Snow Hill (a two-
hourly semifast service began between Birmingham New Street and Paddington via Bordesley Jn and
High Wycombe). Euston to Birmingham electric services began and became the far faster main route.

170] Drax Power Station: (BLN 1296.25) The 'Times' of 10 Jan had a full page legal notice from Drax
Power Notice of Proposed Application for a Development Consent Order for the Drax Repower Project.
The present coal fired Units 5 & 6 (each 660MW) would be replaced by two 1,800MW combined cycle
gas turbine (CCGT)/open cycle units associated with two 100MW battery storage units, a total capacity
of 3,800MW. The original coal fired station was 3,960MW from six units. Biomass Units 1-3 are staying,
but Government funding was refused to convert Units 4-6 from coal to biomass so they are replacing
them with gas turbines, using the existing boiler and steam turbines, converting them to CCGTs. There
will be significantly less coal use and rail traffic, but use of coal has to cease by 2025 anyway. Biomass
traffic should not be affected and Drax Power would be able to generate a much larger proportion of
UK electricity as other coal-fired stations close down, up to 10% roughly, compared to 7% at present.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: (BLN 1296.66) Happy BLS members (never otherwise) at Doncaster bay P2;
Mon 18 Dec, just having arrived on the 11.54 EMT service from Lincoln, via Bessacarr Jn and Black Carr
Jn, the single Class 153 DMU seen right. On return to Lincoln it traversed the Up Gainsborough Slow.

ABOVE: Doncaster bay P2 seen from the London end. The unit formed the 13.01 back to Lincoln.
The buffer stops (right centre) of a second former bay platform are on the right. (Both Alan Sheppard)

1297 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]

171] Heritage railways: On 21 Dec the Commission for Railway Regulation (CRR) in the Irish Republic

released https://goo.gl/gP98LT its 2016 Railway Safety Performance Report. A heritage railway is

defined in Irish Legislation as a person who only operates train services or railway infrastructure of

historical or touristic interest. Eight self contained heritage railway operators are monitored and are

required to hold current and validated safety cases under the Railway Safety Act 2005 they are:

•Cavan & Leitrim Railway ‡ (last ran Aug 2014) •Tralee & Dingle Railway ‡ (last ran 2006)

•Difflin Lake Railway (MR p27) •West Clare Railway ‡ (MR p26) (last ran ????)

•Fintown Railway (MR p27) •Waterford & Suir Valley Railway (MR p27)

•Lartigue Monorail, Listowel •Stradbally Woodland Railway (MR p27)

‡ Railways reported as being non-operational in 2016 and without a Safety Management Certificate.
The West Clare Railway has not featured in BLN recently and their website has not been updated since
Apr 2016 (Twitter and Facebook do not help) - can anyone confirm the line's current status please?

One Heritage Railway accident occurred in 2016, on the Difflin Lake Railway, with a child sustaining
minor injuries. The Railway Accident Investigation Unit investigated. Over 60,000 passengers were
carried by the heritage sector during 2016; this one reportable accident is regarded as an overall
positive safety performance. All operational heritage railways were inspected by the CRR in 2016.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) ran trains over about 6,000 miles in 2016, felt to be
a high mileage, with no reportable accidents or injuries. There were four reported incidents which the
CRR are monitoring through quarterly Safety Management Review Meetings.
172] : Passenger numbers on the Green line extension have been high and, due to availability
issues of extra trams in the peaks, the peak frequency has been slightly reduced to improve reliability.
Overall 2017 passenger figures for the system were up 10.3% on 2016 with 37.6M passengers carried.

1297 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]

ABOVE: The current (north) end of the Douglas Bay Horse Tram before the Sea Terminal and on rare
track beyond the normal stopping point. This is 'William' (1HP) hauling our very comprehensive
railtour of 23 Sep 2016, kindly arranged by John and Jenny Williamson. (Chris Witt)
173] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (MR p32) (BLN 1293.2352) https://goo.gl/AmzwYX of 4 Jan 2018 is
a new application for planning permission to reconstruct and reposition highways and footways on
Loch and Harris Promenades, associated street furniture, upgrading and refurbishment the drainage
and statutory service infrastructure. It includes replacing the horse tramway double track with a single
track to the seaward side of the new highway alignment. There are some 45 documents and four show
track plans. At the Sea Terminal end, the proposed track ends just beyond the roundabout, on the
seaward side of the road, just before the current entrance/exit to the Bottleneck Car Park, with an
adjacent siding. In the section between the Sefton and the Empress, single track continues northwards
(with a couple of loops) almost to the Empress before double track resumes in the centre of the road.

This is much different from the layout we were led to expect - with double track to the War Memorial.
From reports within the local press and documents seen by your Regional Editor, it would seem that
the crossover from the road to the seaward side and from double to single track would actually be
north of the road junction at Broadway. However, what Tynwald actually voted for on 17 January last
year was twin tracks between Broadway and Summerhill renewed in the current location and a new
single tram track to be laid on the roadway between the Sea Terminal and the War Memorial. The new
proposal is for single tracks to continue north to Castle Mona Avenue, two streets north of Broadway.
This is a long way north of the War Memorial! As usual in the IOM nothing is ever easy… So if you
haven't done the present unique horse tramway, this year could be your last chance and there is so
much of railway (and other) interest to see and do on the Isle of Man.

1297 WALES (Paul Jeffries) [email protected]

174] Abergele: Reports on 30 December blamed service disruption on overhead electric wires despite
the nearest electrified tracks being some 55 miles away! It actually related to fallen telephone wires!

X.11] BELOW: (BLN 1296.9 & 11) Typical of the state of the Tondu-Margam line, under a T3 possession
since 13 Jul 2017, and the associated out of use Garw & Ogmore Loops. (Nick Jones 19 Dec 2017)

[BLN 1297]
175] Fishguard Harbour: This is the only passenger station in Wales served by Arriva Trains Wales
which does not have a passenger information screen. The NR boundary is 287m 52ch and the rest of
the line belongs to the Fishguard & Rosslare Railways and Harbour Co, now jointly owned by Irish Rail
and Stena Line Ports Ltd. Passenger trains normally stop at MP 288¼ midway along the single platform.
The station loop has been lifted but points remain each end. There is a 'temporary buffer stop' sleeper
across the track at the west end of the platform (288m 25ch) but it continues west with a trailing
siding to the harbour side, formerly the fuel siding, and finally disappears under gravel which forms a
lorry park. Last time our reporter saw the end of line it was at the point where the line turned north
onto the breakwater. There was a '35 Chain' sign before the track disappears of unclear significance.
The official end of line is 288m 36ch but once it continued to the limit of the breakwater (289m 06ch).
ABOVE: 7th Series 1952 map when Fishguard was classed as a 'Principal' station (well, it was in the
Principality…) and before the original Fishguard & Goodwick station had CP 3 Aug 1964. As can be
seen, the line extended on to the breakwater (later part of BR's Freightliner Terminal).

176] Cwmmawr: (BLN 1288.1887) The branch is now disconnected at Kidwelly Jn (233m 74ch) and
lifting of the former Burry Port & Gwendraeth Railway has started. The final train ran 29 Mar 1996.

177] Ebbw Vale ups & downs: (BLN 1295.2461) A member arrived at Ebbw Vale Town on Tue 12 Dec.
With some 9" of snow on the ground, he had no expectations of finding the Cableway operational.
However, the view from the station showed no coning-off of its lower entrance 200yd away, so he
made for it, delighted to see the carriage trundling down as he trudged through the snow, dodging the
college students' snowball fights. However, the electronic eye did not operate the external doors and
it returned empty to the upper stop. This was repeated a number of times, with the door from the
lobby to the carriage opening on arrival each time but without human presence.

A family with two heavily laden buggies arrived, tempted by the sight of the carriage operating, having
spoken to the College en route who thought the Council were testing to see if it could work. Up and
down went the carriage but the potential passengers remained locked out. Not to be defeated, the
male member of the family rang the Council, navigating the lengthy voice-activated menu (the
required option being the last one, of course) to be told that they did not know the Cableway was
moving and would report the failure to their engineers!

Potential passengers returned through the thick snow but, with time to kill before the next train back,
the member walked the long way to the top stop, past the Leisure Centre and the main road. From the
deep ruts in the packed snow, vehicles had driven to the top entrance but the doors were locked as
the carriage still went up and down, unattended. Another family arrived who saw it operating, and had
to retrace their steps to head down. Your member did likewise; via a steep road that would have been
impassable on foot had the snow turned to ice, wondering how the Council would defend a H&S
investigation if someone slipped down when the Cableway was clearly able to operate safely. The visit
confirmed it is operating again (date anyone?), and it is an important transport link for families and
students. 01495 355837 to check if it is running.

PS: Another member had been to Ebbw Vale three times to find the Cableway non-operational.
Once it had been closed awaiting a spare part from Sweden. He rang the number on Wed 10 Jan to be
told it was not running but would be the next day. The following day our member duly made the
pilgrimage and - fourth time lucky - did it. A security guard was 'riding shotgun' to prevent vandalism.

178] Llanhilleth: A correspondent visiting this station on the Ebbw Vale branch recently found the
second track in situ and fully ballasted, though clearly very rusty. Other than clearance of vegetation,
no work had started on construction of a second platform, (or at Newbridge) and there is no evidence
of any signalling work either. The Crosskeys Jn (7m 15ch) to Aberbeeg Jn (14m 23ch) redoubling seems
to have gone into suspended animation with no progress over the last two years or more - it is thought
due to escalating costs and diverting resources to other projects in South Wales. The double track ends
at Aberbeeg as it was envisaged that a branch to Abertillery would be reopened one day…

BELOW: 66011 on the Courtybella Loop (from Alexandra Dock Jn) running round in fog. (Rowland Pittard)

179] Courtybella loop: (BLN 1296.73) The Port Talbot slab trains ended 11 Jan but could run in future.
Although shown as 'Newport Waterloo loop' on TRACKmaps Vol 3 p21B, 'Courtybella Headshunt' on
the 19 Aug 2017 Sectional Appendix and ' Newport Courtybella Sidings' on Realtime Trains/OpenTrain
Times, the loop has always been correctly referred to by NR and in timetables as 'Courtybella Loop'.

It is a long loop able to accommodate at least 30 wagon trains and extends past the site of the former
Waterloo Jn to just beyond the site of the former Courtybella Jn (near the junction of Cardiff and
Mendalgief Roads). The stop block can be seen from Mendalgief Road (west side) and track is still in
position across the road at the site of Courtybella Crossing. The course of the railway (CA 26 Jan 1991)
which once ran to Newport Dock Street, latterly a Coal Concentration Depot, then becomes a car park.
So the loop extends east from Waterloo Jn which is now part of Alexandra Dock Jn Yard and uses the
whole of the former Waterloo loop but extends further and therefore is now correctly referred to as
Courtybella Loop. As well as reversing trains between Newport Docks and the west, it is used for
crossing trains and has been used when shunting Alexandra Dock yard to form long trains but this is
now very unusual. It would certainly be a very interesting location to visit on a railtour (hint).

BELOW: The Courtybella Loop line starts at Alexandra Dock Jn, middle left and helpfully labelled, then
runs alongside Cardiff Road to Mendalgief Road top right. East Mendalgief Jn, bottom right, is where
the line splits to serve the two sides of Newport Docks. The curve, bottom left from Ebbw Jn, going off
westward is to Park Jn and used by Cardiff Central to Ebbw Vale Town trains. Gaer Tunnel is north of
it on the line between Gaer Jn (Newport) and Park Jn towards Ebbw Vale.

ABOVE: Courtybella Loop headshunt with the stop blocks just behind the left hand gate ahead,
this is Mendalgief Road which used to be a level crossing. (Rowland Pittard)

180] Which Valley is which? (BLN 1296.78) The Cwmgwrach* branch is on the ex-GWR Vale of Neath
Railway, originally broad gauge and later double track to Aberdare crossing the valleys to Pontypool
Road. Onllwyn is on the ex-Neath & Brecon Railway (to Craig-y-Nos until 1981). [*Valley of the witch.]

181] Onllwyn: (BLN 1296.25) There is an unusual two catch point arrangement here, not shown on the
Sectional Appendix or TRACKmaps 2010. These do show 'Onllwyn Ground Frame' (GF) at 10m 11ch,
but there is another one about 15ch nearer to the Washery. Both GFs are unlocked by the branch train
staff, and each has a single lever controlling catch points to derail unauthorised Down movements.
This creates an 'airlock' between the two GFs so there is always at least one set of catch points set.

On 17 Dec 2017 as a train of empty wagons approached, a shunter arrived in his van and collected the
staff from the driver (actually a 'token-exchange', being swapped for what could well have been a
radio). He used it to unlock Onllwyn GF and reverse the catch-points allowing the train to proceed to
the section between the GFs; he then returned Onllwyn GF to 'normal' (catch point open). The shunter
took the staff from Onllwyn GF to unlock the second (un-named) GF - a complicated journey in his van.

With this one reversed, the train could then enter the Washery area. This GF was left reversed (with
the staff retained in it, of course) throughout the rest of the loading process. The train was drawn in
adjacent to the coal loading pad (Road 10 - TRACKmaps 2010 numbering), and loading began
immediately using two mechanical shovels. Meanwhile the loco ran round (via Road 5) then started
drawing the train forward a few wagons at a time as they were filled. From what could easily be seen
on the ground, Road 2 has now gone completely, but Google Maps suggests several other changes
relative to TRACKmaps 2010. After loading, the train left with 1,600 tonnes of coal for Immingham
Briquetting Works - said to be the most advanced smokeless fuel factory in Europe. There is a 1,600
tonne train of coal most Mondays (booked 14.03) to Scunthorpe usually worked by Freightliner.

182] More on Coal: (BLN 1296.25) At (Bristol) Avonmouth Bulk Terminal the imported coal for
Aberthaw Power Station is loaded at Silo1. At Gwaun-cae-Gurwen (GCG) trains consist of 40 MEA
wagons (double load) so carry 1,600 tonnes (rather than the 600 tonnes the online schedules suggest)
of coal twice a week. Between Burrows Sidings and Onllwyn they run in two segments. GCG and
Onllwyn are 8⅓ miles apart as the crow flies - but 42¼ miles by rail via Burrows Sidings! Immingham
Briquetting trains from Cwmbargoed are infrequent and the main traffic is seven or eight weekly
trains each with 1,600 tonnes of coal to Port Talbot Grange siding for the steel works, currently
worked by Freightliner. There is significant coal traffic by road from Onllwyn Washery to Port Talbot.

183] Trawsfynydd: (BLN 1288.1885) Local press reports indicate that the proposed Blaenau Ffestiniog
- Trawsfynydd Lake Halt restoration scheme is now in severe jeopardy. Clearance work has been
suspended since a bridge near Trawsfynydd Lake was damaged during operations in August, resulting
in a public footpath being closed on safety grounds. It was hoped that work could resume following a
NR investigation but instead the licence to carry out clearance work issued to Trawsfynydd Railway Co
was revoked. A 10 tonne digger may have been used whereas no machinery heavier than 5 tonnes had
been authorised. The Blaenau Ffestiniog & Trawsfynydd Railway Society, which provides volunteers,
feels that the Company should now step down and allow the Society to take the lead instead.

1297 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]

184] Altnabreac: (BLN 1296.87): Whatever the holes are for in the sleepers they have nothing to do
with electrification. [We knew really - it was tongue in cheek, honest - Ed!] Provision for third rail
requires longer sleepers with a group of four holes in one end, normally alternating from one side to
the other. Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate (part of the proposed line to Skelmersdale) was relaid several
years ago with such sleepers but awaits electrification, either downstairs or upstairs, probably in vain.

185] Edinburgh Trams: The new higher frequency timetable during 2017 helped increased passenger
numbers by 19%. 6.6M journeys were recorded in 2017, up more than 1M. Trams now run up to every
7 minutes every day of the week and trials are underway to double the peak frequency. For Edinburgh
Hogmanay celebrations (attended by 75,000 people) trams from the Airport terminated at West End
from 18.00 on 30 Dec until 09.30 on 1 Jan, departing over the trailing crossover in service. Trams ran
every 20 minutes ( free of charge) from midnight on 31 Dec to 05.00 on 1 Jan, with free overnight
parking at Ingliston Park & Ride. The final decision on the Leith extension is expected later in the year.

186] Stations Rewarded: Two Scottish stations were successful in the 2017 National Railway Heritage
Awards. Best entry overall went to NR Scotland for the Wemyss Bay restoration (BLN 1273.202).
The Volunteers award went to Yarrows Heritage Trust, for restoring Thrumster station (BLN 1206.564),
on the 13½ mile Wick & Lybster Light Railway (OP Jul 1903; CA Apr 1944 - did any member do it?).

1297 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]

MR12] Avon Valley Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p6): A visit was made to this railway, located on the
former Midland Railway Bristol to Bath Green Park line, on Boxing Day. Four 'Sherry & Mince Pie'
trains were booked to run at 11.00, 12.15, 13.30 & 14.45. The 11.00 was sampled and was moderately
filled on this cold and initially sunny day. Motive power was a green livered 0-6-0T - without name or
number - but presumably Chrz 4015 of 1954. The train was formed of five ex-BR Mk1 coaches,
including a kitchen car where the refreshments were prepared. These were served to passengers at
their seats and consisted of a sherry or orange juice, along with a mince pie or ginger bread biscuit.

The train ran from Bitton platform 1, first to Oldland Common where the locomotive ran-round,
before returning to platform 1 at Bitton. After a short stop, the train ran to Avon Riverside, where the
locomotive ran-round again and returned to Bitton platform 1, ready for the next departure. Platform
2 contained stabled coaches and two diesel shunters. The adult fare was £9; the Edmondson ticket was
titled 'Day Rover' but it was not clear if on this day unlimited riding (and drinking!) was permitted.

There is little spare siding space at Bitton - noted stabled were at least three steam tank locomotives,
two Class 31 diesels and a two-car Class 107 DMU. The adjacent café (open daily year round) was well
patronised, not just by those visiting the railway, but also the Bristol/Bath cycle route, which utilises
the former double track railway formation. To extend the railway beyond Avon Riverside towards
Bath, the cycle path would need moving to one side of the trackbed at great expense.

ABOVE: Pitsford & Brampton station, 47205 is positioned ready for 'Mine Pie' specials later in the day.
Note the footpath/cycle path to the left on this once double tracked route. (Peter Scott 31 Dec 2017)
MR13] Northampton & Lamport Railway, Northamptonshire (MR p7): This railway operates over a
section of the former LNWR line between Northampton and Market Harborough - closed to all traffic
Monday 17 August 1981. The current operating line runs either side of Pitsford & Brampton station
(4m 70ch) (closed to passengers 5 June 1950 & goods 1 June 1964). The northern end of the track is at
5m 42ch - just short of Bridge 14 (5m 43ch). To the south, passenger trains reverse at 4m 29ch - just
short of Bridge 11 (4m 31ch). Track is laid south to a new run-round loop at Boughton (4m 05ch) - with
the track ending at 3m 78ch - a little way short of the former Boughton Level Crossing (3m 75ch).
Opening of this section awaits work on Bridge 11 - but otherwise appears, apart from a little ballasting,
to be complete. The work on Bridge 11 is thought to be the lifting of track and waterproofing the
structure. Unlike the metal girder underline bridges to the north, this is of masonry construction.


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