Issue Number 1240 (Items 1621 - 1722 & MR 137 - MR 148) (E-BLN 38 PAGES) 5 5 September 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
BLN 1241 is due on 19 September and all contributions must be received by 9 September.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
Fri 18/09/15 Cleethorpes Coast Rly. 10.30 Railtour and lunch 1238 KA Open
Fri 18/09/15 Pleasure Island Railway 14.30 Special opening and trips 1239 PS Notify
Fri 18/09/15 Mablethorpe Miniature 16.00 Special running (subject 1240 PS Notify
*NOW OPEN* Railway (see below) to weather & staff availability)
Sat 19/09/15 Scunthorpe Steelworks 10.30 All day railtour with lunch 1236 PS
Thur 1/10/15 LU signal cabins 10.00 Metropolitan line boxes 1237 PS
Sat 3 & Sun WSR steam footplate Various times: Bishops Lydeard 1240 RG *NEW*
to Allerford Bridge/triangle
4/10/15 rides with rare track
Sat 10/10/15 'First Devon & Exeter Paddington to Buckfastleigh & 1240 JE OPEN
**NEW** Explorer' HST railtour Heathfield branch lines 1240 DG *NEW*
Sun 11/10/15 Kent & East Sussex 08.30 Tenterden Town, DMU OPEN
*NOW OPEN* Railway railtour to Rolvenden *NEW*
Sun 11/10/15 Romney, Hythe & 13.15 Comprehensive railtour 1240 DG OPEN
*NOW OPEN* Dymchurch Railway
14 mile long 15" gauge railway *NEW*
Sat 17/10/15 Signal box visits No bookings or queries please TBA TBA Claimed
Fri 23/10/15 **Bo'ness & Kinneil Rly Standard & miniature gauge TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 24/10/15 **Ribble Steam Railway All line railbus tour 1238 JW Open
Sat 7/11/15 RBF Tracker railtour 08.00 NB: FIRST CLASS IS FULL 1239 KA Open
Fri 13/11/15 Claimed
*UPDATED* BLS 60th AGM at York South Yard & Miniature rides, TBA PS
National Railway Claimed
Sun 15/11/15 Museum and fixtures illustrated presentation, North
Yard rides, 19.00 our 60th AGM
60th AGM Tracker
Mainline railtour from York TBA KA
DG-Darren Garnon, JW-John Williamson, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, PS-Paul Stewart, RG-Robert Green.
**Timings will allow travel between these events and participation in both of them.
1621] North Lincolnshire Fixtures: (BLNs 1239.1519) To maximise the day out in the area, a third
fixture is now available on Friday 18 September to follow the special running at the 2' gauge 800yd
Pleasure Island Railway (now starting as soon as the morning visit to the Cleethorpes Coast Light
Railway is concluded). This is at the seafront Mablethorpe Miniature Railway, The Boulevard, Queen's
Park, LN12 2AD, (TF510847). It is subject to staff availability (not expected to be a problem) and the
weather; advice will be given on the day. Pay on the day; small charge. It will be assumed all those
booked for Pleasure Island will go (unless they advise otherwise) additional bookings to Paul Stewart.
1622] West Somerset Railway; 'One Good Turn Deserves Another', Sat 3 & Sun 4 Oct: Another unique
innovative type of fixture, steam footplate rides over the Norton Triangle for loco turning during the
steam gala http://goo.gl/AgfU9l weekend. Available to BLS members only, from Bishops Lydeard to
the end of line at Allerford Bridge via the Norton Triangle and return (approx 7 miles in total of the
footplate). The mainline connection can be covered on a different occasion by incoming steam/diesel
specials. Sat, six trips at approx 10.15, 11.15, 12.15, 14.15, 15.15 & 16:15; Sun five trips at approx
11.15, 12.15, 14.15, 15.15 & 16.15 on arrival of the train from Minehead. One person per trip. There is
no guarantee which locos will be used. Appropriate clothing required (no polyester outers), sturdy
footwear (no trainers) and a signed indemnity form. Cost £35 (regret no u16s) or £55 with Gala Day
Rover which need not be for the same day. Apply (first come basis before end of Sunday 13
September) by email to Robert Green [email protected] or (only if no email) 01643 703945,
stating day and time preferred. Payment instructions given by email/phone.
1623] 'First Devon and Exeter Explorer' HST Special Sat 10 Oct: We are honoured to have been asked
to assist GWR (the new franchise succeeding FGW on 20 September) in running a very unusual and
special charity railtour in aid of First Devon and Exeter Prostate Cancer Fund. The aim is to raise £20k
for a portable scanner. Timings are provisional and subject to NR validation with pick up and set down
at: London Paddington (07.15/20.39), Reading (07.42/20.08), Didcot Parkway (07.55/19.52), Swindon
(08.15/19.33), Bristol TM (08.52/18.50), Taunton (09.25/18.02) and Exeter St. David's (09.54/17.37);
through P6 requested both ways. Then Newton Abbot (through P1 requested), Totnes facing crossover
at 222m 33ch to P2 (reverse) and via the mainline South Devon Railway connection to Buckfastleigh
(11.15). Enjoy a break on the delightful South Devon Railway or this small market town with all its
amenities and attractions. Given the length of a HST the front should be well beyond the end of the
platform to clear the starting signal for return. There will be workshop tours and services operating on
the SDR. Departing at 11.25 the HST makes an extra optional return trip to Heathfield (12.44/12.55)
also for local people, returning to Buckfastleigh at 14.47. It then picks up all the passengers from the
main tour before departing at 15.02 to Heathfield again (16.22/16.42) then back to Paddington as per
outward route. This might be the farewell railtour (and is the first HST) to the mothballed Heathfield
branch which has had no booked traffic since the timber trains to Chirk were transferred to Exeter
Riverside on 3 April 2015 (BLN 1233.914). A comprehensive catering service will be available on board
including real ales and freshly cooked food from a Travelling Chef, with all proceeds going to charity.
Standard class fares from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads stations £75 and £50 from
Taunton or Exeter St. David's. There is a Buckfastleigh to Buckfastleigh return special fare of £25 which
will be donated to the South Devon Railway and the Devon Diesel Society. First class is not available
and no child discounts. Cheques payee 'Branch Line Society'. PLEASE NOTE PAYMENT BY CARD IS NOT
AVAILABLE ON THIS CHARTER (enquire if you are not able to send a cheque). Provide your name,
address, email and contact phone number. If no email supply an SAE, and a second if you require an
initial acknowledgment. All bookings to our member Jill Everitt, 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, Cheshire
CW9 8PT. Envelopes should be marked 'HST Special'. Booking queries [email protected] and general
queries to [email protected] NB: bookings will be acknowledged after 14 September.
1624] Kent & East Sussex Railway, Sun 11 Oct: 08.30 (approx) Tenterden Town Station, Station Road,
TN30 6HE. DMU special to Rolvenden where the KESR have constructed a new 4-road carriage shed.
Due to open in September it is not clear if any stock will be in situ but we expect to traverse at least 3
roads as available, (the best chance to do it before it fills up) and one (or more) of the loco shed roads
and more. Returning to Tenterden Town for all available lines; to include the non-platform loop,
complete platform line, 'Pullman Dock', headshunt and the Carriage and Wagon workshop No 1 & 2
road. The tour concludes at 11.50 enough time to transfer to Hythe for the RH&DR. £25 members;
(£30 non-members) includes a bacon butty and hot drink before departure. Bookings: see below.
1625] Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, Sun 11 Oct: 13.15 (approx) Hythe Station, CT21 6LD.
Explore the full length of this wonderful 15" gauge 14 mile railway to Dungeness. Our special train is
booked to cover some exceptionally rare track including Hythe non-preferred platform, middle shunt
road and turntable line and the Dungeness non-platform loop before returning to New Romney. Here
our diesel loco will be exchanged for a Permanent Way shunter and we expect to cover all available
lines including the bay platforms, roads up to (and possibly into) the PW depot and associated
headshunt siding, the loco works and the loco shed. One carriage siding and the turntable line may
feature too. This comprehensive tour returns about 18.00. £30 MEMBERS ONLY (LIMIT 32); includes a
takeaway hot drink voucher. Track plans, stock lists and souvenir tickets will be provided for both trips.
NB: Priority for those applying for BOTH fixtures. Bookings for each to Darren Garnon, 9 Burlington
Place, Kincraig Drive, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 3BH. NB it is important to send separate cheques (payee
'Branch Line Society') for each fixture or one CPA. Please supply an email address (or an SAE and
phone number if no email; two SAEs if immediate postal acknowledgement is required). Notify the
name and membership number of each applicant. Queries to [email protected]
1626] AGM Update: Further to the note with BLN 1239, the Mallard room at the National Railway
Museum (NRM) has been booked for our 60th anniversary AGM at 19.00 on Friday 13 November.
This is for information and not a formal notice. Supporting fixtures at the NRM have been arranged
during the day. There are no Society events on Saturday 14 November as so many members wish
to participate in the UKRT railtour that day (Doncaster pick up expected 10.20 and set down 17.55).
Arrangements are proceeding well for our TPE Tracker railtour from York on Sunday 15 November.
1627] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. at http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Goole south trailing crossover, 5 & 6 Sep: All day, both days, from P1 to Doncaster/Sheffield.
Dublin Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn - Glasnevin Jn, Sun 6 Sept: diverted 17.05 Connolly-Sligo.
Newport, Gaer Jn - Park Jn, Sun 6 Sep: After 13.30, the Ebbw Vale service runs via Newport.
Gloucester Bay P3, Sun 6 Sep: All day ATW services from (& possibly to) South Wales. This
includes the 14.36 (& two-hourly to 20.36) from Ebbw Vale Town (previous item).
Harpenden Jn, Down Slow to Up Slow trailing X/O, Sun 6 Sep: Up deps from P2: 06.13 - 08.17.
Paddock Wood Bay P3, Sun 6 Sep: In use all day by services to/from Strood.
Leigh-on-Sea, Sun 6 Sep: All day, trains from Fenchurch Street turn back in the middle P2.
Surbiton, Sun 6 Sep, Guildford line departure from P1: 08.32-12.32 & 09.00-16.00 each hour.
Worcester Park trailing X/O, Sun 6 Sep: Ewell West (P2) 07.20-16.20, half-hourly to Waterloo.
Edenbridge trailing X/O, Sun 6 Sep: P2 departures to Redhill 08.11 hourly to 22.11 and 23.15.
Billingshurst trailing X/O, Sun 6 Sep: P1 departures to Bognor Regis all day.
Strawberry Hill, 26 Sep & 3 Oct: 18.50 from Clapham Junction (P6) is booked to take the facing
crossover before the station to terminate in P2 then runs ECS to Strawberry Hill Depot.
Bolton P3 'connect line' to Down Bolton: SSuX to 2 Oct (Farnsworth Tunnel work) then NRU;
07.17 to Wigan North Western, 08.17 & hourly to 18.17 Kirkby, 19.17 & 21.17 Wigan Wallgate.
Kingswear P2: 'Torbay Express' SuO summer dated from Bristol TM (last one this year 13 Sep).
Goodrington Sands P2: (Up line) general policy is non-stop trains, such as the 'Torbay Express'
use this line; stopping trains (unless unusually crossing) use P1 with its better passenger access.
NIR, Portadown: P3 south end and crossover, 06.15 (SSuX) Portadown to Newry.
1628] FIXTURES REPORT: Severn Valley Railway (SVR) Signalling Weekend, 15 & 16 Aug: 102/60. The
SVR has been running signal experience weekend courses for the past ten years or so and for our 102nd
fixture in our 60th year, nine members attended Kidderminster Railway Museum for a programme
tailored to our supposed expertise. The signalman (or 'bobby' as they are still known) was from the
earliest days employed by the railway police department to control trains when railways were the
fastest thing on earth. Every line was deemed 'open' unless blocked in specific places and it was only
[BLN 1240.1628 - cont.]
through learning from a series of disasters, many of them fatal, that the philosophy was reversed so
that all track access is blocked then opened temporarily to allow a train to pass, then blocked after as
it is today. We were hosted by Dave Postle (Museum curator), Steve Tull and Dave Grainger who
discovered that our skill levels ranged from qualified signalmen on preserved railways down to (in the
writer's case), none. A safety briefing was followed by a tour of the yards at Kidderminster and a walk
along the line as far as the large new diesel depot (by the turntable) nearing completion and the
carriage sheds where the intricacies of compensators, facing-point locking and signal types were
explained. A public demonstration signal box, an impressive structure recovered from Wrangaton in
Devon, has been equipped with the frame from Bersham near Wrexham to a layout just pre-WW1.
Equipped with its own dedicated signals, it gave the group a hands-on impression of just how intense
signalling operations could be, even in a small country box. Participants then took a packed lunch in
the meeting room while learning that the museum curates some 200,000 photographs and 35,000
colour slides; it handles research enquiries from all over the world.
ABOVE left and right: Sunset at Bewdley South (all pictures in this section by Derek Wilkin.)
[BLN 1240.1628 - cont.]
The whole collection of documents, artefacts and pictures is entirely dependent on donations, grants
and a modest rent-income. It has outgrown the space available and events like these help to raise
funds for much-needed expansion (as did our 2014 AGM there). The first day concluded with a tour of
preserved signal equipment from many railways. A fish and chip supper fortified everyone for an
evening trip to Bewdley and training from signalmen in both its boxes during the twilight of a glorious
sunset… The next day, each participant was assigned one of the seven signal boxes for one-to-one
tuition under the experienced eye of its duty signalman. Setting a distant signal more than 1,000yd
away requires some pull on the lever! To exchange tokens at the trackside with an enormous steam
locomotive trundling past your ear calls for a steady nerve. With a full service operating, even the
experienced were tested. The Victorian polished-wood instruments were part of a simple (non
electronic!) system to show where trains were; and still effective today. When it was discovered that a
tree had fallen across the track, the S&T had to cut the power and revert to batteries whilst broken
cables were fixed and six bells (line blocked) were sounded. The staff worked carefully through their
procedures to recover lost time. The impressive weekend, complete with these unplanned surprises
was hosted by the serious and unfailingly friendly team at the SVR who made us welcome from the
outset and made it clear they wanted to see us again. (BELOW: Hampton Loade box looking south.)
1629] Rugby Fixtures, Sun 16 Aug: (BLN 1234.1029) 103 & 104/60. Our esteemed Minor Railways Editor
and his brother were amongst the 16 members who reported at 10.45 to the recently much extended
Rainsbrook Valley Railway http://goo.gl/z4hDCF home of the Rugby Model Engineering Society
founded in 1949. It was a bright and warm summer morning for our special train prior to normal public
running. This takes place on the third Sunday of each month from 14.00 to 17.00 until October; it is not
unusual to have 1,500 passengers in the three hours! After a very friendly welcome, drinks and biscuits,
the party boarded our special of three coaches (later increased to four as it was not modelled on Indian
[BLN 1240.1629 - cont.]
Railways) on the turntable line; the first move was across this to the loading line. The end of the siding
alongside the carriage shed was explored, formerly a through 'by-pass' line, followed by Road 1 to the
carriage shed doors and the line leading up to the traverser that served Roads 2 to 8. After taking the
connection to the main line the train made the three circuits of this extensive 7¼" layout required to run
through all three station platform lines. The site has been extended from 4.5 to 12 acres and the ground
level line from 1km to 1.34km, all laid to a very high standard. It is destined to be 2km when complete.
The run is currently a continuous circuit looped back on itself; the loops crossing each other at different
levels twice. The earthworks of the further extension loops and new second station had largely been
completed and much track was laid. A significant section of the original line covered on our July 2013
trip had been lifted between the two locations where the operational section of the extension loop now
joins it. In about 18 months the 1,500 visitors will have a choice of two different ground level rides and
the 3½"/5" elevated railway, which is also to be significantly changed and extended. One continuous
ride would make the waiting and riding time too long, especially for managing queue lengths, although
this will be possible via a new 'rare' connection. It was interesting to contrast the well established
woodland nature of the original railway (built from 1991 onwards) with the open wild grassland of the
extension area. With no other trains running, our group had very efficient comprehensive track cover
within 50 minutes. Another visit will be needed when the layout is complete. Meeting at Rugby's 4' 8½"
gauge station for 12.30, Tom Gilby kindly (by popular request) led a similar railway trackbed walk to 21
July 2013 (reported on p35 of BLN 1192) for 12 participants to various artefacts in the area. On the
Oxford canal they encountered 'CALLISTO' http://goo.gl/cLtp5Y perhaps the only working narrow boat
left that delivers coal and logs to canalside properties throughout the Midlands. Finishing at 15.45, some
returned to Rainsbrook for two circuits of the elevated railway and another ground level trip before
finishing at 17.00. There were then long queues for the six trains running, but everyone was happy!
[BLN 1240.1629 - cont.]
ABOVE: Unlike our party, the public detrains at the arrivals section of each platform, (behind the train,
before the P1 sign and barrier). Trains then draw forward empty to re-load where it is stopped above.
(Alan Sheppard). The miniature is unusually shown http://goo.gl/AkqgEh on the OS 1:50,000 map.
1240 HEAD LINES
1630] Point Pleasant Jn - East Putney: In 1968 BLN had a Members' Question and Answer Column….
From (BLN 107 of 12 June 1968, p6): Until 1962 some SR main line trains ran this way on summer
weekends as did a regular (unadvertised) Sunday excursion in 1963. Dates were requested of the last
use by regular and unadvertised trains. In reply, (BLN 108 foot of P4) advised that local services were
withdrawn from 5 May 1941, but trains probably ceased running from 17 October 1940 due to air-raid
damage to Durnsford Road power station. Certain Up Alton line trains used the line SO throughout the
year until 31 October 1959, then SO Summer dated services until 8 September 1962. An unadvertised
10.10 (SuO) Clapham Junction to Portsmouth Harbour excursion continued until September 1963.
A mere 47 years after that reply, a member has kindly advised: The 10.10 SuO Clapham Junction
excursion to Portsmouth Harbour was unadvertised in the public timetable, but locally advertised as a
regular excursion. It was last booked to run via the Point Pleasant Jn to East Putney route on Sunday
25 August 1963. Our member has not yet established when the post-WW2 use by Up Saturday Alton
trains started. Our member feels that Joe Brown's London Railway Atlas 4th Edition (p38) note on this
line is only partly correct. He questions the statement that some main line services using it until 1969.
There was no booked working timetable use after that Sunday excursion finished in 1963 (there may
have been reliefs, excursions and the odd railtour routed this way). However, from 8 May 1978,
regular unadvertised service began with the 23.24 Waterloo to Wimbledon (staff train), until that
ceased from 17 May 1993. Then from 28 November 1995 until 9 February 1996 the link was used for
engineering diversions. It regained public trains from 21 May 2001 when the 05.03 SuX Basingstoke to
Waterloo and 01.05 SSuX Waterloo to Southampton Central advertised services started using the
route (and it has been in 'PSUL' since.). There may be more to report in the year 2062!
1631] Billingham Jn - Belasis Lane - Phillips Siding Jn - Phillips (Greenergy) Imperial Petroleum
Refinery**: ROG 4 August 2014, a trial working, 17.37 (previous day) from Cardiff Docks, Greenergy
terminal, arriving at Belasis Lane 05.06. Since then there has been occasional traffic, though paths are
in the system SuX. Route learning specials began on 13 February 2014 (ex-Tyne Dock and return). The
line had CG 25 January 2012 (date of last revenue earning train, an abrupt closure with the bankruptcy
of Petroplus). **Original name, retained in railway terminology; in 2000 the refinery was bought by
Petroplus from ICI and the Phillips Petroleum Co. Refining ceased in 2009 and the site continued as a
terminal and storage facility. Greenergy acquired it in July 2012 and has since invested in the site.
1632] Tottenham South Jn - South Tottenham East Jn and South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters
Jn: Both TCP and the former section TCA from 15.51 on Monday 13 July to 04.35 on Thursday 23 July
2015 inclusive due to a cracked rail crossing which had to be replaced. The only affected passenger
train routed this way was the 05.31 (SO) PSUL Liverpool Street to Enfield Town on Saturday 18 July.
1633] Sheffield Supertram, Herdings Park (incl.) to Gleadless Townend (excl.) to Sheffield Station/
Sheffield Hallam University (excl.) and 8 intermediate stops: (BLN 1236.1226) ROP Tue 25 August
(four days earlier than planned) after TCP Mon 29 June 2015. 'Phase/Area 8' replacement of tram rails,
concluding this year's work. The next major closure is scheduled in 2018. (Also see Others' Doings.)
1634] Nottingham Express Transit (NET): A one-day unlimited (no peak restrictions) tram ticket is £4
or for £4.50 a 'Kangaroo ticket' includes unlimited tram, train (to Bullwell, Carlton & Beeston stations)
and bus (before midnight, not valid on night buses) travel within Greater Nottingham
[BLN 1240.1634 - cont.]
(BLN 1224.63) An updated NET track plan following a site visit, with thanks to Martyn Brailsford:
1635] Nottingham Station (excl.) - Clifton South (line 2): OP Tue 25 Aug 2015 and 12 new stops:
12.43km Nottingham Station (SK 5751 3922) already OP 27 July 2015 (BLN 1238.1425).
12.81km junction with the Toton Lane Line.
13.08km Queens Walk (SK 5719 3871).
13.55km Meadows Embankment (SK 5699 3830).
13.95km Wilford Village (SK 5685 3794).
15.15km Wilford Lane (SK 5683 3684).
15.92km Compton Acres (SK 5674 3607).
16.42km Ruddington Lane (SK 5669 3558). (Zero km point is Hucknall end of line)
17.53km Southchurch Drive (SK 5589 3514).
18.06km Rivergreen (SK 5560 3470).
18.45km Clifton Centre (SK 5545 3435).
19.26km Holy Trinity (SK 5518 3360).
19.72km Summerwood Lane (SK 5473 3359).
20.12km Clifton South (SK 5438 3353) a 'greenfield' Park & Ride (end of line 20.14km).
1636] NET; Nottingham Station (excl.) - Toton Lane (line 3): OP Tue 25 August 2015 and 15 new stops:
12.43km Nottingham Station (SK 5751 3922) already OP 27 July 2015 (BLN 1238.1425).
12.81km junction with the Clifton Line.
13.47km Meadows Way West (SK 5676 3877). (Zero km point is Hucknall end of line)
14.13km NG2 (SK 5620 3860).
15.07km Gregory Street (SK 5540 3882).
15.62km Queens Medical Centre (SK 5495 3866).
16.39km University of Nottingham (SK 5465 3806).
17.50km University Boulevard (SK 5372 3750).
18.20km Middle Street (SK 5327 3700).
18.75km Beeston Centre (SK 5289 3671).
19.36km Chilwell Road (SK 5252 3643).
19.62km High Road - Central College (SK 5232 3626).
20.27km Cator Lane (SK 5177 3641).
20.61km Bramcote Lane (SK 5145 3629).
21.10km Eskdale Drive (SK 5098 3614). ABOVE: Crossover north of NG2.
21.66km Inham Road (SK 5042 3606). (Martyn Brailsford)
22.40km Toton Lane (SK 4975 3593) a 'greenfield' Park & Ride (end of line 22.42km).
1637] Bristol, Lawrence Hill GF - Barrow (or Day's) Road Siding Branch: (BLN 1199.1719) TOOU from
31 July 2015. In practice, CG abruptly 24 June 2013 following pointwork damage from a derailment and
a section of rail was removed at the junction on 28 September 2013.
1638] Watford Junction, Down Fast Line (AC line) - Up DC Electric Line, a connection of strategic
importance: ROA from 16 August (TCA 6 May 2015). The third rail in the Down Fast was commissioned
on 23 August 2015 (dual electrification is at the London end of Watford Junction P6).
1639] Bermuda Park station: (BLN 1239.1532) This delayed new station did not open on Monday 17
August 2015, despite several reports in local newspapers just before then that it would!
1640] Tata Steel, Margam Abbey Works, 'P. Field Branch': (TRACKmaps 3, p23 Aug 2010) CG expected
in October 2015. There will be mothballing (again) of parts of Llanwern plant with cessation of the rail
slab traffic from Margam. Production may restart, as in the past, if market conditions improve.
1641] Ecclesbourne Valley Railway (EVR), Transport and Works Act Order: (MR p8) Granted by the
DfT on 19 August 2015 to allow the sale of the Duffield to Wirksworth line for a nominal £1 and the
permanent transfer of the statutory rights and obligations from NR to the EVR; similarly for the 166m
private siding at Wirksworth (from Lafarge Tarmac Cement & Lime Ltd.). The EVR are also authorised
to operate these railways and to sell or lease them with the consent of the Secretary of State for
Transport. Under the 1996 LR Order they previously leased the line from Railtrack then NR.
1642] Former Greatham Creek Branch (4m 18ch*) - Seal Sands Branch Jn (5m 01ch*) - End of line (5m
21ch*) and Seal Sands Branch Jn - Seal Sands (2m 42ch**): (BLN 1238.1455) 'Abandoned' from 29
August 2015 with removal of 14 level crossings and provision of a new stop block (4m 18ch*). This
leaves a 1m 07ch headshunt/siding north of Phillips Siding Jn (3m 25ch*). (*Miles from Billingham Jn,
**Miles from Seal Sands Branch Jn.) The former North Eastern Railway Greatham Creek branch OG
from Belasis Lane in 1901. The Seal Sands branch itself off this OG 21 June 1971; freight traffic ceased
around 2002; the last known train was Pathfinder Tours 'Tyne Tees Rambler' of 25 February 2012.
BELOW: (BLN 1238.1455) The typical Seal Sands branch vista (not a seal in sight and hardly National
Park potential). The line was laid at ground level on reclaimed land (on top of said sands, bordering the
River Tees) close to the spine road. This resulted in multiple level crossings; it never reached its full rail
freight potential. Just beyond the traditional triangular warning sign is the 10-15ft section where the
rails had been lifted, west of 'North/ South Crossing'* (0m 71ch from Seal Sands Jn); the one in view.
(*'North/South Access' on TRACKmaps). Hydrocyanic Acid was once carried by rail. (Alan Sheppard.)
1643] Manchester Metrolink; Deansgate Castlefield (excl.) - 'The Delta' North Jn/'The Delta' South
Jn: (BLN 1234.1043) Night ECS test trams ran from 25/26 August; ROP Friday 28 August 2015 (TCP
since Sunday 28 June). Phase 2 of St. Peter's Square stop (it remains closed) rebuilding which includes
single line working there for 10 months. The resited St. Peter's Square stop is due to OP autumn 2016.
1644] Manchester Metrolink, Harbour City - Broadway (north end of triangular junction), avoiding
MediaCityUK stop: (BLN 1235.1225) Remains TCP since 28 June 2015, now expected to autumn 2016
at least, except for 'ad hoc' use during service perturbations, and by first and last Eccles ECS trams.
1645] Northampton & Lamport Railway; Bridge 11 (4m 29ch) - Boughton Crossing (3m 78ch): ROP
Saturday 29 August. Special event for the railway's members only, 16.00 train to celebrate the 20th
anniversary of the N&LR. (CA 18 August 1981 after a final special DMU train on 15 August 1981.) A
trackplan http://goo.gl/gckQsJ with the extension on the left; © Peter Scott from our website pages.
1646] Edinburgh, Newcraighall North Jn - Tweedbank and 6 intermediate stations: Passenger trains
were authorised to run from Friday 4 September. OP is due Sunday 6 September 2015 with the 08.45
Tweedbank to Edinburgh and the 09.11 Edinburgh to Tweedbank. 'Up' is towards Tweedbank, New
stations and junctions (*single track to double track junction **double track to single track junction):
(4m 63ch) Newcraighall North Jn (16m 13ch) Tynehead Jn**
(25m 75ch) Galabank Jn*
(5m 02ch) Newcraighall South Jn* (26m 45ch) Stow
(28m 70ch) Bowshank tunnel (220yd)
(5m 64ch) Shawfair (29m 71ch) Bowland Jn**
(31m 60ch) Torwoodlee Tunnel (77yd)
(7m 11ch) Kings Gate Jn** UP (33m 22ch) Galashiels
(35m 34ch) Tweedbank
(8m 25ch) Eskbank DIRECTION
(9m 58ch) Newtongrange
(11m 77ch) Gorebridge
(12m 28ch) Fushiebridge Jn*
1647] Thameslink; Canal Tunnel Jn (2m 16ch*) - Belle Isle Jn (0m 57ch**): (The 'Down' direction.) Due
to be brought into use from 6 September 2015. The new double track 53ch 'Canal Tunnels' OHL
electrified line links Thameslink just north of St. Pancras International low level platforms A&B and the
ECML. There is a trailing X/O at the Belle Isle Jn end. Initial use will be by Hornsey Depot ECS workings.
(*Mileage from Moorgate via the former Farringdon Jn. **mileage from London King's Cross ECML.)
1648] Spa Valley Railway; Groombridge (excl.) - Eridge (incl): TCP 14 September to 22 October 2015
inclusive, due to weekend engineering work on the adjacent NR Uckfield line. ROP 23 October 2015.
1649] GCR (South); Swithland Sidings Up Goods Loop (SK 5632 1327) - Mountsorrel (Bond Lane)
(incl.) (SK 5723 1472): (updating BLN 1226.339) OP (public) is expected 24 October 2015 (special
event); steam shuttles from the terminus (a 1m 08ch single track branch) as far as the mainline
junction (see Others' Doings). Regular services/through trains from GCR stations are expected in 2016.
1650] Settle Jn - Carlisle, Petteril Bridge Jn and 10 intermediate stations: (BLN 1237.1335) The whole
Settle & Carlisle line is due to be TCP (TCA part at least) Friday 23 to Monday 27 October 2015
inclusive. This is for connection of Arcow Quarry Sidings at Helwith Bridge (MP 241¼) associated with
significant signalling modification. The rail replacement bus service between Skipton and Carlisle is
booked to take over 4 hours, twice as long as the train journey (but if anyone would like more, on 26th
the 18.15 Carlisle to Leeds bus takes 5 hours 25 minutes end to end). Unusually there are trains
running between Leeds and Long Preston (ECS to Settle Jn to turn back).
1651] Yeovil Jn - Pen Mill Jn: (BLN 1231.774) ROP expected Monday 14 December 2015, the 1m 43ch
single track link is to have regular (SuX) year round SWT passenger service (CP 29 November 1965).
1652] Scottish Power, Longannet Power Station; West Arrivals (4m 71ch)/East Arrivals (5m 32ch) -
Bunkers - West Departures (5m 32ch)/East Departures (5m 78ch): (BLN 1230.669) CG is anticipated
on/by 31 March 2016 when Longannet ceases generation. The few coal trains now arrive from (and
return to) the Stirling direction, the two other sides of the twin access triangles are NRU. It is Europe's
largest coal fired power station (but can burn biomass, sludge and gas with coal). It is the UK's second
largest power station (after Drax) with 4 x 600MW units and first generated in 1970. The station had
been due to operate until 2020. BELOW: Longannet Power station from the west, (press release) the
East Triangle is lower right. Due to its location, Scottish Power would have to pay a premium of £40M
per annum to be connected to the National Grid (the policy is designed to encourage electricity
generation nearer to where demand is; a similar power station in the South East of England would
receive a payment of £4M per year). It was also badly affected by the dramatic carbon tax rise in April.
1240 BLN GENERAL
1653] BLN standard abbreviations: For the benefit of our many recent new members and others:
1M = One Million (etc) LC = Level Crossing
AGM = Annual General Meeting LED = Light Emitting Diode (display/signal)
BLN = Branch Line News LU(L) = London Underground (Ltd.)
BLS = Branch Line Society m = metre or mile (according to context)
BR = British Rail(ways) MK1 = Mark 1 (coaches etc)
CA = Closed to All traffic MP = Milepost
CG = Closed to Goods (freight) traffic MR = Minor Railway
ch = chain (22yd, there are 80 in a mile) No = Number
CIS = Customer Information System NR = Network Rail
Co = Company NRU = Not Regularly Used (it is!)
CP = Closed to Passenger traffic OG = Opened to Goods (freight) traffic
CPA = Card Payment Authority (Debit/Credit) OHL = OverHead Line
DART = Dublin Area Rapid Transit OLE = Overhead Line Equipment
DfT = Department for Transport OP = Opened to Passenger traffic
DLR = Docklands Light Railway OOU = Out Of Use (but it is used!)
D(E)MU = Diesel (Electric) Multiple Unit p1 = Page 1 (etc)
e-BLN/E-BLN = Electronic Branch Line News P1 = Platform 1 (etc)
ECS = Empty Coaching Stock pa = Per Annum (i.e. annually)
EMU = Electric Multiple Unit P&P = Postage & Packing
GF = Ground Frame PIS = Passenger Information System
HS1 = High Speed Line 1 (etc) PSB = Power Signal Box
HST = High Speed Train (class 43) PSUL = Passenger Service over Unusual Lines
IÉ = Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) ROA = Reopened to all traffic
IECC = Integrated Electronic Control Centre ROC = Rail Operating Centre
Jn = Junction ROG = Reopened to Goods (freight) traffic
k = thousand ROP = Reopened to Passenger traffic
km = kilometre RTT = Real Train Times
[BLN 1240.1653 - cont.]
S&C = Switches and Crossings TfL = Transport For London
S&T = Signalling and Telecommunications TOC = Train Operating Company
SB = Signal Box, SP = Signal Post (on maps) TOOU = Temporarily Out of Use
SCC = Signalling Control Centre tph = trains/trams per hour (i.e. frequency)
SLW = Single Line Working UK = United Kingdom
TCA = Temporarily Closed, All traffic VDU = Visual Display Unit (screen)
TCG = Temporarily Closed to Goods traffic X/O = Crossover
TCP = Temporarily Closed to Passengers yd = yard/s (the 3 foot or 36 inch type)
Standard abbreviations will be used for the main pre-Grouping and pre-Nationalisation railway
companies as well as current TOCs where used in context. There is a now permanent abbreviation list
on the BLN page of our website http://goo.gl/GjQ12m that can be updated. Suggestion for additions
would be welcome. Days of the week in reference to train times and timetables:
M=Monday, T=Tuesday, W=Wednesday, Th=Thursday F=Friday, S=Saturday, Su=Sunday. O=Only and
X=Excepted. A train shown as SO runs Saturdays only; SSuX is Saturdays and Sundays excepted so the
train runs Mondays to Fridays only; 'weekdays' is ambiguous and may include Saturdays so is avoided.
TThX is Tuesdays and Thursdays excepted (runs other 5 days of the week; define in the shortest way.)
1654] National Fares Manual 22: (BLN 1234.1052) A free download is now available with revised fares
from 6 September 2015. The simple process to obtain this is as before. Most fares are unchanged since
the January 2015 general increase and a smaller number of changes in May. The main changes found
so far are moderate increases to some London Midland destinations. The Felixstowe to Fishguard
Harbour anytime first class return (no first class either end of the journey!) has fallen from £700.50 to
£528; it is wondered how well these sell! A surprise at King's Cross recently was that the standard
class anytime single to Wick at £165.50 was only £20 more than Edinburgh (first class anytime single to
Wick £239.50 and Edinburgh £217; compare the latter with Euston to Manchester at £235!). For the
record the Wick to Penzance anytime singles are £225 standard and £330 first class.
1655] Points and Slips: BLN 1239.1521] At Limerick Junction the reason a few through trains between
Limerick and the Dublin line reverse in the main platform (there is no direct bay Dublin line route) is
to provide connections for intermediate stations and particularly the Limerick Junction to Waterford
'service' of two trains each way SuX. Your editor recently watched a train to Waterford leave on time
from Limerick Junction and its delayed advertised connection from Dublin arrive 11 minutes later
(never mind, another train in 15 hours). He did not wait to see what happened next, wanting the train
to Limerick.Item 1522] BLN reports are generally anonymous; however, in response to queries, our
members Howard and Jill Everitt have kindly agreed to be named as the authors of the Challerange
branch trip report (and our thanks to both for an excellent and interesting report). During the on-train
commentary participants were informed that of the 261 Picasso units built, 60 are preserved and only
12 remained in France; in fact, there are 50 units in France. On the Reims Tramway, which opened in
2011, there is an interesting lengthy city centre section with no overhead wires for aesthetic reasons.
This uses a ground level third rail placed between the running rails, divided electrically into 10-metre
segments with 3-metre neutral sections between. Each tram has two shoes next to which are antennas
that send radio signals to energise the power rail segments as the tram passes over them. At any one
time, two consecutive segments under the tram will be live and it is said to be perfectly safe for people
and animals (although much more expensive and difficult to install than overhead wires). Performance
appears the same on both systems. The original such system was at Bordeaux which this was based
on. Finally, the tram cabs are the shape of a Champagne glass, as is appropriate to this area of France.
[BLN 1240.1655 - cont.]
Item 1529] The collision between the 20.10 Charing Cross to Ramsgate train and a herd of cows at
Godmersham (Ashford to Minster/Ramsgate line) on the evening of 26 July resulted in (reportedly)
the first derailment of a passenger carrying train for 8 years on NR (the previous one being the
Grayrigg accident of 23 February 2007). RTT showed a limited passenger train service between
Canterbury West and Ramsgate on the morning of 27 July. 1551] A member comments: There is no
reason why any electric train cannot coast through a dead area with the pantograph down. The very
appropriately named 'East Coast' had a project where trains could do this through areas where there
was an overhead line fault, with the pantograph down. He is not sure if this was implemented for
routine use. There are a number of places in mainland Europe where two different electrification
systems meet and the driver is required to lower one pantograph and raise another without stopping.
Item 1581] The new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the currently disused Hamworthy branch is
costing £780k which suggests significant commitment to maintaining rail access for Poole Harbour.
Item 1613] A correspondent considers that the Ebbw Vale Cableway will be very well used as there is
a college at the bottom and a McDonalds at the top! Perhaps it could be converted to 2-car gravity
working (empties up and loaded down!). 1620] Chiltern Railways run 500% more trains than stated
between Banbury and Oxford; the 23.58 Banbury (ex-Stratford-upon-Avon) to Oxford and 00.39 all
stations return runs five days a week, Mondays to Fridays south and Tuesdays to Saturdays north.
1656] Vivarail at Long Marston: 'Nothing recedes
like Success '. No, not an essay question to
discuss, but a very apt quotation seen on
Dorridge station Down waiting room window, en
route to Vivarail's demonstration of their 'new'
train http://goo.gl/AaqRjJ based on ex-
underground stock. Success soon fades and must
be constantly striven after; implement new ideas
and make them work.
Vivarail invited our Society with other industry
reps and trade groups to visit Long Marston for a
presentation of their first converted LU D78 carriage; two members were pleased to attend. The
courtesy coach from Warwick Parkway took them into Quinton Rail Technology Centre's premises at
former MOD Long Marston for the obligatory safety briefing, site induction and a welcome cuppa, in
Vivarail’s offices. Adrian Shooter CBE, previously Chiltern Railways Chairman and now head of Vivarail
Ltd., introduced his staff, on hand throughout to answer the many questions, and gave an illustrated
presentation. This highlighted the need for affordable but modern and cheap to operate DEMU stock
to replace Pacers and cover the likelihood of delayed electrification holding up planned DMU cascades.
With new District Line trains being delivered, their D78 stock is becoming redundant despite 'as new'
robust aluminium bodies (no rust) and bogies less than 10 years old. An environmentally sensitive
affordable solution to the DMU shortage is to convert the electric D78 stock to diesel traction for
branch line operation. Vivarail have contracted to buy all the Driving Motor cars and 70 trailers to
make 76 DEMUs of 2 or 3-cars. Two-thirds of the fleet is still running in London but the first vehicle
was acquired in January 2015 and many others are now at Long Marston. It is intended to have a 3-car
'Class 230' set ready by the end of 2015 for testing on NR. At present, one driving motor vehicle of
230001 is operational; another is nearly ready and work is progressing on the trailer. An operator is
lined up, unspecified but perhaps hinted at by illustrative 'Sheffield to Huddersfield' Tram Train Route
maps inside and mocked-up images showing 'Morecambe' as destination. These trains may well be the
future of some branch line operation. Amazingly, the first TOC passenger use may be by March 2016!
[BLN 1240.1656 - cont.]
All wiring is replaced, the bogies overhauled and a modular Ford diesel 'power pack' added under the
body. This is removable as an entity so that, should its electronic 'heartbeat' remotely report a fault
whilst in traffic, the whole pack can be replaced straightaway with a standby on return to depot. There
is an energy storage facility under the trailer, allowing this to be the first DEMU with regenerative
braking, enhancing the project's green credentials. Various seating options will be available (basic,
commuter/urban and country) but all have gangways, LED Passenger Information Systems and WiFi.
The basic unit is cheapest, similar to existing LU seating configuration, for peak commuting or major
event transport, with plenty of standing space. The other options will have their central doors
removed, therefore more seating and a lavatory unit added. All versions retain 'line of sight' views,
aiding passenger security, leaving windows as they are. Gangways between vehicles will be through
existing centre doors with rubber edging at each end that forms a seal acceptable to HMRI for use on
the move. To encourage standing passengers to 'move down the car, please', folding bike storage
areas are provided in the centre with charging points on the flat area above allowing the use of a
mobile devices at the height of those standing, and there is some luggage space behind. Tip-up seats
by the doorway can be used for those who wish to stay by their ordinary bikes or other large luggage.
The maximum speed is 60 mph. A number of comments were made that this might make pathing
difficult if operating services that include any significant main line running, e.g. at start or end of
journey, even if it is able to better times on the branches with improved acceleration between
stations. Vivarail identified concerns early on that Underground stock would not have sufficient crash-
worthiness to operate on NR. Car 7056 used in a crash test was undamaged after being propelled into
a cab-height metal tank full of water at 25mph to simulate a level crossing impact with a heavy road
vehicle. Damage was minor and the 'dummy' inside did not impact the windscreen, which remained
intact. Participants were shown a video of the collision from many angles. Although successful, cab
strengthening is being carried out on the production vehicles. 25mph is the speed advised by safety
organisations to allow computer modelling of the effect of collisions at other speeds.
The coach then took the visitors to the 'North Gate Platform' for a run in the one converted vehicle
around the 4km 'test track'. This platform was used on the more recent Long Marston Open Days.
Carrying only the set number, but believed ex-7508; 230001 was boarded and the train set off through
exchange siding 2 (recently reballasted) and the West Gate to the left-hand electrified line on the
'inner' loop and back for another run. Each 4km run took about 9 minutes. Riding was good and
surprisingly silent, despite jointed track, and quite swift over the straight electrified section. The lack of
any rear vehicle allowed excellent views and the Society's Photographer Designate videoed a run
https://goo.gl/UBcIjN It was noted that the triangular junction connection to the 'outer' loop is now
two storage sidings where nature has been allowed to grow unchecked and the tracks, presumably still
there, disappear into a tall jungle. A photo opportunity by the platform was then provided before a
visit to the Workshops to view the two vehicles being converted. Then it was back to the offices for a
generous lunch, before returning to Warwick Parkway (then the Society's Journalist Designate enjoyed
his first Class 68 to Birmingham Moor Street).
This is an innovative solution to providing modern reliable and affordable DEMUs, rather than
procuring small order new-build diesel units, inevitably more expensive to both construct and operate,
in a market place where electric trains are more prolific. The 'proof of the pudding' will be whether
these trains do as well in day-to-day service for 16 hours on poorer track, fully laden with standing
passengers in wet, or hot, weather. Early liaison with prospective customers, maintenance engineers,
and even the cleaners, identifies what the users want and gives this project an excellent chance of
success. See it for what it is and can be, not what it was, and it may be the DMU shortage solution.
[BLN 1240] exclusivity:
1657] Criss Cross Quiz - cont. (BLN 1239.1542) Regarding
Delete (3): Manton Jn - Stamford - Helpston Jn and Stamford (9) from the station list; EMT provide
two early morning (SuX) through Nottingham to Norwich services and of note (SSuX) a 21.05 through
train from Spalding (its final train of the day) to Nottingham which reverses at Peterborough. Then at
Nottingham it joins up with the 21.22 from Worksop and 22.37 (ECS) from Leicester to form a service/
cavalcade to Derby. The equivalent morning train, the 05.10 (SuX) ex-Nottingham forms the first arrival
at Spalding (06.53), but via Grantham and Peterborough. Pruior to recent upgrading, the Spalding to
Sleaford line used to close at 17.00 due to the then exceptional number of staffed level crossings.
Add (3): Syston East Jn - Syston South Jn, An additional line only served by XC (the EMT services all
take the Syston East to North curve). (14): Gloucester Yard Jn - Barnwood Jn, has only XC services.
1658] Seniors pay more for Virgin: Virgin Trains (i.e. West Coast) are imposing off peak restrictions for
railcard tickets after 6 September on Mondays to Fridays (except Bank holidays and as advertised after
Christmas). Previously and uniquely, they had been valid on peak trains. This easement started in 2000
when there were dramatic 'Anytime' fare increases. The company said that this brings them 'in line'
with the rest of the industry but results in big increases. A Manchester to London peak standard return
with a railcard increases from £53.80 to £217 (but is still 34% off the full fare of £329). The first off
peak Manchester Piccadilly to Euston train is the 09.35 and return is not allowed between 15.01 and
1240 CHANNEL ISLANDS
1659] Channel Islands Quiz: Thanks to Chris Totty (member 301) who set this for our visit in May.
(1): Which Channel Island was the first to have a railway, as we would know it?
(2): What was the gauge of that line?
(3): Which was the first station on the Jersey Western line to be closed?
(4): Name three of the standard gauge locomotives of the Jersey Western line.
(5): Similarly, name three of the locomotives of the Jersey Eastern line?
(6): What happened to the 'St. Aubin & La Moye Railway' in 1878?
(7): Which locomotive on the Jersey Western Line was exported to South Africa?
(8): Not including the answer to Q7, name three of the other locos of the narrow gauge Western line.
(9): What type of shop in St. Aubin had the 1936 fire that resulted in closure of the Western line?
(10): Why were all the coaches in St. Aubin station at the time of the 1936 fire?
(11): Where was the 'North Western Railway of Jersey' proposed to run from and to?
(12): Which two stations opened when Georgetown on the Jersey Eastern line closed?
(13): What was the original name of Fauvic station?
(14): What were the names of the two original terminal stations on the Jersey Eastern Railway?
(15): Which station on the Jersey Western Railway did not appear in the public timetable?
(16): Why were Millbrook and Bel Royal stations moved?
(17): What gauges did the German forces lay in the tunnel at St. Aubin and are still there?
(18): Where was the junction between the German lines to Corbiere and Ronez Quarry?
(19): When was St. Aubin's tunnel built?
(20): Which licence did Grouville station hold, and is rumoured that it still exists?
(21): Why did some of the passenger trains in Jersey fly a flag?
(22): What is the station hotel at St. Aubin now used for?
(23): Where were the passing loops of the Jersey Western Railway?
(24): Where were the passing loops of the Jersey Eastern Railway?
(25): Which railcar, converted to a flat bed, assisted with the demolition of the Jersey Western line?
[BLN 1240.1659 - cont.]
(26): Which other island within the Bailiwick of Jersey had a railway?
(27): Why was the Alderney Railway built?
(28): Who were the first official passengers on the Alderney Railway?
(29): What essential unique piece of equipment did Alderney locomotives carry?
(30): Name the locomotives of the Alderney Railway when it was run by the Home Office.
(31): What are the side tipping wagons in Alderney known as?
(32): What gauge did the German forces relay the Alderney Railway to?
(33): What mishap befell the Alderney locomotive No2 in the winter of 1911/1912?
(34): Where did the steam crane on Alderney come from?
(35): Name two of the Wickham cars on Alderney.
(36): What was the gauge of the former miniature railway on Alderney?
(37): Who built the first two Guernsey steam tram engines?
(38): In what year was the Guernsey Railway converted from steam to electric operation?
(39): What did the Guernsey Railway Company do from 1934 until 1980?
(40): Where was the Guernsey tram depot?
(41): Where did Guernsey trams numbered 16 and 17 come from?
(42): What was the livery of the Guernsey trams?
(43): What were the German sidings at l'Islet in Guernsey commonly called?
(44): Where did the German line terminate on the west coast of Guernsey?
(45): What project was the railway on Sark used for? (Answers in BLN 1241.)
1660] Jersey, 'Dynamite
Railway': (BLN 1233.906)
LEFT: A picture of the
bottom section of this well
steep incline with multiple
cable rollers in the track,
encountered during our 8
May visit to Corbière. To
everyone's great surprise
(including our single Jersey
member), it had recently
been relaid with new track
and was clearly in use with a
couple of secured new
trolleys at the top. Jersey
Water has kindly advised
that they use it to transport
large pieces of pumping
equipment between boats
and their Desalination Plant
in the former quarry. The
plant is, inaccessible other
than on foot (as our intrepid
(Picture by Kev Adlam)
1240 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
1661] Nottingham NET: There was an overhead problem on the Clifton route in early August so all
the trams (31 were out) ran to Beeston. A correspondent living within sight of the new line said that
they were every 2-3 minutes and he understood that the control centre was rather hectic that day! A
hurried media announcement at 15.30 on Monday 24 August stated that the new tram lines 2 & 3
would open to the general public the following morning at 06.00 hrs. This prevented travel on the
05.15 Radford Road to Toton Lane and 05.24 Radford Road to Clifton positioning services. The 06.02
from Toton Lane duly left on time completely full with 231 in charge followed by 209, 229, 236 and
219 at approx 15 min intervals. The 06.02 from Clifton was not covered (can't be in 2 places at once)
but 230 had the honour of being the first official tram followed by 225, 218 214 and 228 again at
approx 15 min intervals. Both new termini have a 'preferred' platform A, a 'non-preferred' platform B
opposite and an emergency platform C connected to platform A. Like Hucknall and Phoenix Park, the
timetable indicates that out of rush hour, platform A would only be in use but on the opening day the
11.22 and 11.42 from Toton Lane left at 11.25 and 11.45 from platform B with 236 and 219 in charge.
1662] Wymington/Sharnbrook: Significant axle box damage was discovered to a High Output Ballast
Train on the Down Fast line south of Wellingborough just before morning service on 20 August and
required a wheel skate to be brought in from Oxford to move it. This blocked the line from Bedford all
day and 19 Midland Main Line trains cancelled. Down trains crossed to the Wymington deviation
calling at Wellingborough P3. Ironically, the 04.45 Leicester to St. Pancras PSUL booked to take this
route ran Up Fast as a result!
1240 GREATER LONDON
1663] Thameslink: (BLN 1239.1556) (1) London Bridge: NR faces a possible £2M fine imposed by the
Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for failing to manage adequately the changes implemented at London
Bridge in January. The 'post mortem' report is revealing. The relocation of signalling to Three Bridges
ROC, layout changes, and the use of VDU screens rather than panels meant there were a large number
of wrong routings because there are now more bi-directional lines. The simulator, on which signallers
had received training on the new layout during the works, did not exactly reflect the layout and
timetable and did not simulate the types of problems faced by signallers in the first few days of
operation. Consequently, signallers found the new layout difficult to operate at first. Drivers were at
first driving slowly over an unfamiliar layout leading to a much slower service and, crucially, much
slower incident recovery. ORR considers that this unfamiliarity was predictable and should have been
factored into planning. The evening peak timetable created difficulties as it had no allowance for
recovery from delays or operating problems; a delay on one service would cause delays to accumulate
steadily elsewhere. Timetable modelling did not identify this and subsequent multiple adjustments
had to be made to the timetable. In the first week of operation, failures of newly-installed points
occurred on a daily basis, mostly at Bricklayers Arms Jn. The area also experienced failures of newly-
installed track circuits every day, including two failures on the first morning.
(2) London Bridge Area Remodelling: From 25 August a new location called Ewer Street Jn was
created at 1m 23ch between Waterloo East and Metropolitan Jn. A new trailing point was installed in
the Up Slow Line and a new facing point in the Down Slow Line. Over the Late Summer Bank Holiday
weekend the new crossovers were due to be completed, with trailing points in the Down Fast Line and
facing points in the Up Fast Line. Both crossovers are secured OOU pending commissioning at a later
date. Over the same weekend the Up and Down Charing Cross Lines were due to be slewed
northwards from the alignment of Lines 5 and 6 to the old alignment of Lines 3 and 4 from the country
side of London Bridge station (2m 5ch) to Blue Anchor (3m 31ch), connecting to the previous slew.
1664] Crossrail: (BLNs 1239.1546) The first signs of Crossrail at Ealing Broadway have appeared in the
form of a temporary ticket office on the forecourt and the closure of the useful takeaway café in the
[BLN 1240.1664 - cont.]
booking hall. Our local correspondent and the local community have been disappointed to discover
that the café was to close permanently on 28 August, as it seems NR is only interested in having
national chains like Starbucks or Upper Crust at the station. According to its exterior signage, the shop
is officially 'Café Express, T/A Lily Fast Foods, established 1934'. Our member has always been
intrigued by this date; does anyone know where the shop was first established and if Ealing
Broadway's GWR station had a similar shop or buffet back in the 1930s?
1665] Docklands Light Railway: (BLN 1227.345) From 23 August a new timetable was introduced,
including some frequency enhancements and changes to first and last train times, (last trains are up to
30mins earlier on some routes). Changes include an increased morning peak frequency between
Stratford and Canary Wharf/Lewisham. This is achieved by making all trains two-car units instead of
mainly three-car, but still gives an overall increase in capacity. The service between Stratford and
Canary Wharf is doubled to 12tph at weekends, as is the service between Bank and Lewisham from
19.30 to 22.30 SO. The previous Beckton to West Ham service is now cut back to between Beckton and
Canning Town, thus ending regular use of the crossover at West Ham.
1666] Paddington: (BLN 1238.1450) A station notice advises that by early 2016 the ticket office will
have 12 open-plan ticket counters (but how many will be staffed?), state-of-the-art self-service ticket
machines and a Brunel-inspired design. The last is of particular interest but with no artist's impression
what image does it conjure up?
1240 NORTH WEST
1667] Farnworth: (BLN 1237.1358) The temporary slew of the Down line to the Up Bolton formation
opened on 13 July (within the longer term single line working section for the tunnel work, ending on 2
October). It was restored to its former (and final) alignment from 31 August 2015. The slew facilitated
construction of a new Down platform at Farnworth station which was built within a month as a result.
1668] Warrington Central: The Station House has been completely refurbished as offices, is much
improved and being advertised for rent locally. See http://goo.gl/9sR5Fp pictures near the bottom.
1669] Darwen: (BLN 1234.1047) From 24 August the loop was lengthened each end by about a mile
and now extends from 19m 19ch to 21m 25ch. This will allow a half-hourly Bolton to Blackburn service.
1670] Manchester Airport: (BLN 1238.1459) P4 is complete and should be in use in the autumn.
1671] Electrification: Rebuilding of two bridges between Ashton and Stalybridge meant that the line
between Victoria and Stalybridge would be electrified by the end of 2016 (part of the original NW
triangle scheme). This is not part of the trans Pennine scheme, which is temporarily paused! According
to 'RAIL' No781 p17 Guide Bridge to Stalybridge will be electrified at the same time and a Grid Supply
point will be built to the East of Stalybridge. There is no mention of the Ashburys to Philips Park line.
1672] Metrolink: The scaffolding has finally been removed from the unique street-level Trafford Bar
building (formerly Old Trafford station). This has revealed a nice new roof but regrettably also removal
of the ornate ironwork with the word 'STATION'. Tram vehicles up to 3102 are in service and up to
3120 on order. The first 60 trams, 3001 to 3060, are the only ones able to run on the Altrincham line
because only they have the ATS (Automatic Tram Stop) equipment necessary to work on block-
signalled lines such as Brooklands to Altrincham. The Customer Information Screens (installed during
August 2009!) on Timperley, Navigation Road and Altrincham Metrolink platforms are apparently to
come into use in mid-December. The renovated Exhibition Footbridge between Deansgate-Castlefield
Metrolink stop and Deansgate station was reopened in its new, improved but open-air form in June.
1673] Manchester Victoria Metrolink: (BLN
1239.1560) (MAP LEFT) An investigation on 21
August by the GS and Editor found that the
route described and illustrated in e-BLN was
from Shudehill to Victoria (rather than the
other way round). It has been like this since
Victoria Metrolink stop ROP on 18 February
2015. Arriving from the present city line all
trams have to take the first diamond then, at
the moment, bear right to enter the middle
road (the one with platforms both sides; in
this direction of travel the right side is now in
use.) When the track layout and Second City
Crossing (2CC) are fully open, trams from
Shudehill will still cross thisfirst diamond but
will also be able to run into the outer (north
west) platform which is to be the preferred
route. The pointwork was double clipped to
provide fixed routes in and out of the stop
and no signalling was operational (nor any
point motors presumably.) All trams heading north currently run through the middle road; eventually
to be the terminus and reversing point for trams from the Airport line running via the 2CC.
1674] St.Peter's Square: From 28 August, with line reopening and single line working services are:
o Altrincham to Piccadilly to Etihad*, 12-minute frequency, double trams.
o Altrincham to Deansgate-Castlefield, 12-minute frequency, single trams.
o Bury to Piccadilly, 12-minute frequency, single trams.
o Bury to East Didsbury, 12-minute frequency double trams.
o Eccles to MediaCityUK to Piccadilly, 12-minute frequency, double trams.
o Rochdale to Ashton-Under-Lyne, 12-minute frequency, single and double trams.
o Manchester Airport to Cornbrook, 12-minute frequency, single and double trams.
*SuO to Piccadilly. Double trams on the Airport line are rare; tram stop PIS helpfully indicate double
trams as 'dbl' (for those wanting to do those well worth doing ends of lines!). It will be seen that there
is no through Altrincham to Bury service and the single line will have 30tph to fit in (15 each way).
Trams in passenger service operated on the new single line section through St. Peter's Square for the
first time on Friday 28 August. It is about 300m long, at least as long as the previous Victoria single line
and crosses three roads so can take a while to traverse. The operation is similar to the Victoria single
line working with manned huts at both ends and trams running through in convoys of two or three.
Each driver in a 'flight' is shown the single line token and the final one carries it through; as at Victoria
it looks like a giant clockwork key (no wind up!). At the north end this meant that, with double sets,
they were backing up nearly to Piccadilly Gardens. The new single line appears to run on what will
eventually be the outbound (to Cornbrook) track from Piccadilly. The crossover from the north end of
the single line to the inbound line (i.e. towards Market Street/Piccadilly) is at the junction of Nicholas
Street and Mosley Street. Continuing south, the single line is dead straight through St. Peter's Square,
so the men in huts each end can see each other. It makes a slight left and right kink as it crosses the
end of Oxford Street, continues along a new alignment on Lower Mosley Street (the original tracks
both now removed) and then kinks right onto the beginning of the ramp alongside G-Mex (formerly
Manchester Central). Here the single south end line divides at a single point to become double track.
[BLN 1240.1674 - cont.]
Heading south, just before the closed and now mainly demolished former St. Peter's Square stop a
new set of (trailing in this direction) points has been laid on the right with a short section of track from
the works area. On the first day, the arrangements seemed to be working remarkably smoothly. The
single tram Altrincham service terminating at Deansgate-Castlefield is using the middle platform. New
Metrolink maps at stops now show a dotted line between St. Peter's Square (though that stop is not
indicated, of course) with the words 'under construction' alongside; our member had not seen that
1240 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1675] Wolverton Works: (BLN 1229.557) The developer St. Modwen has now submitted an outline
planning application for the £100M mixed-use regeneration of the railway works site at Wolverton.
The proposals for the 40-acre site include up to 375 new homes, a heritage centre and extensive
landscaping, around 300,000ft2 of new commercial buildings, and a new discount foodstore. The plans
are due to be determined by Milton Keynes Council before the end of the year. St. Modwen state that
the proposals will support regeneration plans for Wolverton as a whole. The Planning Application
Summary additionally refers to demolition of all existing structures, except part of the lifting shop
building and the brick wall on Stratford Road which are to be partially demolished. (Property Week)
New premises are to be provided for Knorr-Bremse to allow the railway works to continue.
1676] Banbury: On 31 August as part of the 'Banbury re-signalling enabling works' a new facing
crossover was to be installed at 85m 42ch (Down Main) and 85m 47ch (Up Main) forming Banbury
Depot Jn (85m 48ch) between King's Sutton and Banbury; secured OOU until July 2016 commissioning.
1677] GWML Electrification: On 16 August on the Up (relief line side) there were masts and cross
supports almost all the way from Slough west to the river at Maidenhead and some beyond, but
almost nothing west of Maidenhead station to Reading (east) other than a few mast bases.
1678] Werrington Jn: On 20 August the 17.00 Edinburgh to King's Cross, experienced a de-wirement
on the Up Fast approaching Peterborough at 20.48. The driver reported that the pantograph was down
and would not raise declaring the train a failure at 21.10. King's Cross dispatched a 'Thunderbird' loco.
Several services were used to examine the OHL between Helpston and Werrington; the wires were
found to be down at Werrington Jn. Peterborough OHL staff arrived at 22.03 and confirmed the OLE
damage over seven headspans in a 1.2 mile area of the Down Fast, Up Fast and Up Slow lines.
The Thunderbird attached to the 17.00 and departed 00.32 (Thunderbirds are Go Slow!) the original
loco remained in situ on the Up Fast line. The 17.00 finally arrived at Peterborough at 00.36 and was
cancelled, passengers departing for King's Cross at 00.52. At 03.55, the failed loco was removed. It was
stated at 04.35 that the estimate for reopening the Up Slow line to all traction had slipped from 08.00
to 08.30. Therefore plans to introduce single line working for two southbound movements over the
Down Stamford to the Down Slow line were formulated. The (fortunately) electrified Down Stamford
was open for all northbound traffic. Some passengers were allowed to spend the night on a train at
King's Cross after refusing to move and unusual crossovers at Tallington were in use by some trains.
1679] Sundon Loop: (BLN 1239.1570) Commissioned from 9 August, the first train to use it was on
Saturday 29 August, 6X01, the 14.44 Toton North Yard to Luton Airport Parkway via Cricklewood. On
Saturday 19 September Hastings Diesels Ltd. 'The Leicestershire Bell' may become the first passenger
train to use the new loop (to be confirmed). The tour details are at (BLN 1238.1516). BELOW: Part of
the 1m 6ch Up Sundon Loop (left), after commissioning but prior to first use, looking south towards
Leagrave and St. Pancras. This is the electrification limit _ 500m south of Harlington Jn. (Robin Morel.)
[BLN 1240.1679 - cont.]
1680] Cambridge - King's Lynn: (BLN 1190.1094) The £44M, DfT-funded three platform Cambridge
Science Park station has been given planning permission by the City Council and is being built by NR.
Work is due to start in the autumn for opening with the 11 December 2016 timetable change, 3,000
passengers a day are anticipated initially. It is a factor in a plan to run 8-car EMUs to/from Ely and split
them there rather than at Cambridge to provide extra capacity. This will also simplify operations at
Cambridge and facilitate the two extra Thameslink trains per hour there (by January 2018). To extend
8-car workings to King's Lynn (where a half-hourly mostly 4-car service is intended) requires an OHL
power and track upgrade.
1240 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH
1681] Edenbridge Town - Uckfield: (BLN 1239.1534) It is hard to believe now that this line was to close
in the 1963 Beeching Report (and it nearly did). On 20 July NR announced details of works to extend
platforms from Edenbridge Town to Uckfield to 10 car length. Works compounds at some stations
were to be set up from August 2015 and platform by platform completion is scheduled for between
February and July 2016. Extensive line closures are planned for the work:
[BLN 1240.1681 - cont.]
August 2015 to May 2016, various weekend closures Hurst Green to Uckfield.
2 to 25 November, M-F, 09.20 to 16.40 Hurst Green to Uckfield.
4 January to 20 February 2016, (continuous) Crowborough to Uckfield.
29 February to 25 March, M-F 09.20 to 16.40 Hurst Green to Uckfield. Platform extensions:
Edenbridge Town: (both) 114m country end. Eridge: 100m at London end.
Hever: (both) 114m London end. Crowborough: (both) 87m at country end.
Cowden: 115m at London end. Buxted: 115m at London end.
Ashurst: (both) 114m at country end. Uckfield: 56m at London end.
1682] Uckfield - Lewes: (BLN 1186.1471) Brighton and Hove News reports further on the new study
with an announcement of funding. Advocates of the reopening are identified as The Brighton Main
Line 2 (BML2) campaign, a campaigner for which proposes a new tunnel at Ashcombe (a
neighbourhood well west of Lewes). Chancellor Osborne has now written to a local MP saying he
wants to go further and take the opportunity to look at rail links in Sussex more generally, including
the viability of a BML2. However this raises again upgrades to existing routes and 'consideration of the
Brighton Main Line corridor' with a re-examination of the DfT's feasibility study on BML2. Another MP,
this time Labour, says that the Chancellor's past statements referenced a previous planned study
which had never actually been carried out and in his view residents will be left short changed if it turns
into just another examination of the Lewes to Uckfield link which has been dismissed by DfT before.
1683] Thanet: (BLN 1239.1580) BELOW: Two 6" to the mile abutting maps of different vintage, below
show quite clearly (bottom right) where the SER passed under the LC&DR (TR 3497 7048). There was
also a curve into Margate Sands from the east off the LC&DR (not shown) used for passenger service
May to August 1864; it seems unlikely to have had goods traffic. At the top of the map is the actual
'sands' with Margate Sands (SER) station below. The LC&DR Margate (West) station, the predecessor
of the current station, is left. Note how far inland the Coastguard Station is (bottom middle).
[BLN 1240.1683 - cont.]
Interestingly the top left of the map shows part of the Isle of Thanet Tramway System (1901-37) as
two tracks below 'Hotel'; it disappears past the map sheet join as the right side of the map antedates
it. It ran from Westbrook (just off to the left of the map) to near the SER Ramsgate terminus (CP 1926).
At Ramsgate the plan at http://goo.gl/xUJlTr of the new 1926 Southern Railway station (the current
station) shows how it related to the previous SER lines there.
It is correct that the new, combined Margate goods depot opened, at least in part, from 2 July 1926. It
had been reported as under construction in March 1926 in the Southern Railway Magazine for March
1926 and replaced goods depots at both Margate West (ex-LC&DR) and Margate Sands (ex-SER). Its
access spur (reported in Railway Gazette for 2 July 1926, p5 as constructed 'a few years ago') from the
ex-LC&DR line was controlled by 'Margate B' box and OG 27 June 1926. It may alternatively have been
a case of signal control being upgraded from something more than just a connecting siding. However,
the former LC&DR goods depot had already been swept away to enlarge the road access to the
passenger station by the time of the opening in mid-1926 of the rebuilt West passenger station.
Initially, goods functions transferred to Sands (ex-SER) depot, then to the new Margate depot further
south. A Gray's The South Eastern &
Chatham Railways - A marriage of
convenience (Middleton, 1998) p121 says:
'It took until 1910 for the SECR to decide to
concentrate Margate goods facilities at
Sands (ex-SER) station.' So when, between
1910 and 1926, did the LC&DR Margate
goods depot actually close? Margate Sands
goods did not actually finally close until 20
December 1926, presumably retained July
to December 1926 during construction of
the new Margate Goods depot. LEFT: A 2½"
to the mile (1948) OS map showing the
'new' Margate Goods depot (marked as
'Roman Villa'!!) with a connecting line from
the LC&DR and a rather long headshunt
appropriately heading off southeast on the
original SER line towards Ramsgate (Town).
Margate East station is shown on the
middle right edge of the map, it CP in 1953.
At its closure, the 1926 goods facility had
been reduced to a coal depot only. The
final traffic movement was on Wednesday
1 November 1972 (BLN 214.186). See also
1684] Paddock Wood: When visited in June the station still exhibited several features of SE&CR or SER
origin, with barrel-roofed, serrated-edge platform canopies on both the Up and Down main platforms.
The red brick main station building on the Up side also has a small serrated-edge awning over the
entrance doorway. A modern NR footbridge with lifts has been installed at the London end of the
platforms. There is, though, one particular gem on the Up main platform, whose days appear to be
numbered. This is the large, angled, two-faced clock with Roman numerals and lettered 'S. E. R. Gillett
& Johnston, Croydon', but replaced by electronic modernity and is no longer working. It is rather
similar to that on the concourse at Charing Cross. The former Hawkhurst branch Up bay can be seen.
1685] Theale - Aldermaston: (BLN 1233.983) West Berkshire Council's planning committee has
approved proposals to replace Ufton Nervet level crossing with a bridge which will separate road and
rail traffic at the location which has experienced several incidents of deliberate misuse following the
collision between a train and a car in 2004 in which seven people died and 71 people were injured. In
addition to the 2004 incident there have been deaths at the crossing in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
This has prompted repeated calls for the level crossing to be removed and funding for a bridge has
been identified from that allocated for Great Western route modernisation. Construction of the new
bridge is expected to start in early 2016 and take about a year to complete.
1686] Netley Hospital Railway: The formation
adjacent to the junction has been built over but
the curve away from there can be followed via a
footpath bordering the small industrial estate on
the site of 'Hospital Platform'. This comes out at
the former Hound Rd; level crossing; buried
track remains both sides of the road. Making a
slight diversion along this road, first left towards
the police HQ, then first right to rejoin the actual
formation through a woody cutting, the route
can then be followed through to its end. The car
park is on the formation with buried single
lengths of rails forming the edge. Almost opposite the chapel is the most significant remaining feature,
most of the pointwork which led to the carriage shed. Not much has changed since Kingfisher
published Netley Hospital and its Railways by J R Fairman in 1984. ABOVE: Wounded soldiers train on
arrival at the Royal Victoria (Military) Hospital platform at Netley, about 1900 (with thanks to
Hampshire Record Office). These branches would usually be done in one direction only because, whilst
the infirm arrived on incoming 'ambulance trains', those who left generally did so in ones or twos (if
indeed they recovered, sadly many did not). It was generally the hospitals (and mental asylums) with
railway access and their own branches that were used as military hospitals in WW1 and to a lesser
extent in WW2. How many rail served hospitals and mental asylums were there and where were they?
The number of these may surprise.
[BLN 1240.1688 - cont.]
ABOVE: Extract from the 1962 OS 7th Series 1" to the mile map, the 'Royal Victoria Hospital' and its
single track ground level branch is shown, just east of Netley station. To the right is Hamble station
(then a 'Halt') and below it Hamble 'Aerodrome' and the former branch to Hamble (BP) Oil depot. This
was traversed as far as the second level crossing by our 'Hampshire' railtour of 22 March 1975
organised by Terry Velvick which also visited Marchwood exchange sidings, Quidhampton (from Wilton
Jn) near Salisbury, Tinkerpit, Ludgersahll, Tidworth ROAC and the end of line. Across Southampton
Water left is the former Hythe station (CP 1966) on the Fawley branch and the Hythe Pier Railway (see
also MR142 later in BLN about this).
1240 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
1687] Bath: The engineering work recently taking place in the area was in two parts. Firstly in Box
tunnel, all track was relaid (also lowered over the eastern third for electrification). Structural and
drainage surveys were also carried out. Secondly was Sydney Gardens track lowering, Dundas
aqueduct gauging work, Bathampton Jn remodelling and clearance work for Turbo DMUs operation.
1688] Dawlish: (BLN 1224.1914) NR has completed sea wall rebuilding, including strengthening and
cliff stabilisation work. In the final phase a new wall was built in front of the existing sea one between
Rockstone and Coastguard footbridges, with reconstruction and raising of the walkway to the higher
level of the sections on either side. For the first time the full length of the walkway from Dawlish
Warren to Teignmouth should be useable at high tide. NR says that it is continuing its work to secure
the future of the railway line between Exeter and Newton Abbot but no further details were given!
1689] St. Blazey: (BLN 1213.1108) On 27 July the Bodmin & Wenford Railway (B&WR) received a
request from West Coast Railways to carry out work on the DBS owned turntable. Reportedly, it had
not had any maintenance for years and is the only railway turntable in Devon and Cornwall. After
considerable negotiation B&WR staff were allowed on site from 31 July. They oiled and greased the
turntable, removed large amounts of vegetation and accumulated litter from its pit, also unblocking
the drains. On testing it was found to be in good condition, and on 2 August, 34067, Tangmere on the
Royal Duchy from Bristol TM to Par was successfully turned on it. A first for heritage railways?
1690] Bristol Temple Meads: It has been reported that the DfT specified 26m Hitachi 'Super Express
Trains' are too long for the sharp curves of some platforms. This is one reason behind the plan to build
new terminal platforms on the re-opened Brunel's old station extension (not actually built by Brunel;
but possibly Mathew Digby Wyatt or Francis Fox) which would be straight (one an extended P1; the
other possibly another P0). They would be more conveniently nearer the station entrance and increase
capacity. It is intended to operate 4tph between Bristol and London after electrification. However all
signalling control would need to be moved from Bristol PSB first which is in the way! There is already a
passenger signalled route from/to the Bath route with, perhaps surprisingly, booked trains. The 14.38
(SSuX) Westbury to Bristol Parkway and 08.38 (SO) Westbury to Gloucester reverse in Temple Meads
bay P1 and the 11.40 (SuO) from Frome terminates there. There may be similar problems at other
stations with curved platforms such as the west end of Paddington, Bath Spa, York and Newcastle.
1240 WEST MIDLANDS
1691] Birmingham New Street: The hoardings are coming down to reveal the new structure. One
member feels it looks 'superb' (who would have believed anyone would ever say anything remotely
like that about it?). On 21 August he used the Station Street exit and looked back to see the front of
the new John Lewis Store and the entrance stairs over which there was a lit up eye shaped panel which
was changing colour (shades of Big Brother?); it looked impressive. A 1970s BR press release (when BR
were proud of their rebuilt station!) is included with e-BLN. A member wonders if the current re-vamp
will have Birmingham's citizens in 50 years feeling they have a station 'befitting the Second City'.
BELOW: The Norton Bridge area scheme, showing new (orange) and removed tracks (light grey)
demonstrating the considerable simplification being achieved. See item 1696 below ('RailEngineer')
1692] Midland Metro: The last of the 16 (1999 vintage) T69 trams No16 'Gerwyn John' (a Metro
engineer) in original purple, red and yellow livery was withdrawn after working the 11.10 from St.
Georges to Snow Hill on 21 August. Some of these trams were recently noted stored at Long Marston.
On 25 August, except for a short section on the outbound line at the junction of Temple St. and Bull
St., double track had been laid and connected from No2 Snow Hill to the end of Stephenson St. The
support structure for the canopy over the Bull St. tram stop had been erected. After track laying
outside No1 and No2 Snow Hill, the lawn has been relaid obscuring all but the actual rails! A crossover
has been installed in Stephenson St. beyond the Grand Central terminus (track plan: BLN 1225.177).
1693] Cradley Heath: (BLN 1228.479 ) The new £1.9M bus/rail interchange opened on July 26, with a
new waiting area linking the bus and railway stations including toilets, seating and CCTV. The main
building has four connected bus stands, each with gates that open when a bus arrives. There are two
additional bus stands on a newly constructed island, replacing the previous stop on Forge Lane.
1694] Shrewsbury - Crewe: The signal box at Wem was demolished over the 14/15 August weekend
when the very awkward 4-way junction LC (said to be NR's 6th 'most misused') was temporarily closed
to road traffic. This and the signalling is now controlled from Cardiff SCC, 117 miles away. Prees box
has already been demolished. Harlescott, a north Shrewsbury suburb, was due to go on 22/23 August.
1695] Worcestershire Parkway: (BLN 1213.1118) Worcestershire County Council granted itself
planning permission for the new station on 25 August. A Cotswold Line ('high level') single platform,
with passive provision for a second one should this section of line be redoubled, will be built. In a
change of plan, two low level platforms are to be constructed at the same time on the Birmingham to
Gloucester/Bristol Cross Country served line, originally to be added at a later stage. Work is to start in
the spring and the £22M (increased from £17.1M last year) station is due to open in autumn 2017.
1696] Yarnfield Jn: (BLN 1233.933) New facing points were to be installed by 29 August at 2m 51ch in
the Up Norton Bridge line, OOU. These will be the connection to the future single track Norton Bridge
East Chord. Sleepers were to be provided clear of the points across the new track to protect the Up
Norton Bridge line, suggesting the chord is on a new alignment from current tracks. (Track plan above.)
1697] NOT Co-acting signals: Following the August Bank Holiday Stafford area resignalling, there are
two pairs of signals with the same identities (presumably by chance?). They are 'Stafford LS1301' and
'Trent Valley LS1301', controlled from Stafford Workstation in Rugby ROC and 'Stafford LS1303' and
'Trent Valley LS1303' controlled from the Trent Valley Workstation in Rugby SCC. To reduce the risk of
miscommunication staff have been instructed to refer to them as either 'Stafford' or 'Trent Valley'.
1698] Spray Train: Spray train movements were due to have ended by 24 August. Your Sub-Editor did
not notice any intended operation this year over lines without a regular service (to economise?). Years
ago these were an annual feature and a chance to do lines that had been missed when open to traffic.
1699] Kildare - Dublin, Grand Canal Dock: Work on upgrading the line through the Phoenix Park
Tunnel (a €13.7M project) was officially launched by the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport on 18
August. From autumn 2016 there should be through commuter services from Kildare to Connolly, Tara
Street, Pearse and Grand Canal Dock stations in the city centre (no mention of P10 at Heuston which
featured in the publicity picture). The intention is to provide an alternative for motorists who currently
commute into the city along the N7 corridor. According to IÉ, capacity constraints at Connolly are to be
removed by current resignalling works (Eurobalises are being installed). Interestingly the frequency of
DART services between Connolly, Grand Canal Dock (and beyond in both directions) is due to increase
from 4tph to 6tph each way next year too. The project includes cutting stabilisation, track renewals,
vegetation clearance, drainage improvements and signal relocation. The 692m Phoenix Park tunnel
upgrade includes masonry repair, lights, signs and telecoms.
The new diesel service (and existing diesel trains which currently terminate at Pearse and reverse ECS
south of the station thereby conflicting with tarisn heading towards Connolly) will continue via a
reversible single middle line to the middle platform at Grand Canal Dock (current P2 and becoming a
terminal). This will be a reduce conflicting movements between the increased service and the
increased DART service with cross platform interchange going north. Recently your Editor took the
[BLN 1240.1699 - cont.]
17.13 (SSuX) Pearse to Dundalk commuter train. Even though it was the holiday season, the platform
at Pearse was thronged. Interestingly commuters knew exactly where to stand in relation to the doors;
the train arrived just before departure time, loaded very quickly and was away on time. It was an 8 car
DMU, filling Pearce paltform and many from Tara Street and most joining at Connolly had to stand.
First stop was Rush & Lusk although it was quite empty by Dundalk at 18.37 from where it made a very
quick escape ECS to Drogheda.
The temporary fixed routings between Dublin Pearse and Grand Canal Dock (BLN 1236.1276) are part
of this project. Going south all trains have to veer left and run through the 'Down Loop' to P3 Grand
Canal Dock, and all trains going north similarly veer right via the Down Bray after P2, returning to the
usual Up Bray just before Pearse P1. The relevant sets of points (Quail Vol 6, February 2004 p1) have
been partially removed, so the routes cannot be varied. The line shown into Pearse P3 is lifted and the
'Straight Road' through Grand Canal Dock P1 is incomplete (It will eventually be the through Up Bray).
1700] Dublin Luas: (track plan BLN 1231.793) Luas Cross City contractor, 'Sisk Steconfer Joint Venture',
has begun the main track laying works on the 6km extension of the light rail network. This €368M
project will connect the Luas Red and Green lines. The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport was
at a ceremony to mark the milestone and reported that in 2014 there were an additional 2.1M
journeys overall on the existing Red and Green lines. 'The linking up of these two lines, through Luas
Cross City, is expected to yield up to 10 million more journeys each year. This will create a Luas
'network' for the first time which will add significantly to our public transport system.' The joint venture
is due to complete the contract in 2017. This includes the installation of overhead electrification,
building new stops and extending existing stops. The project also includes reinstating track in the
Broadstone railway cutting (ex-Midland Great Western Railway) and a new depot in Broombridge.
1701] National: IÉ is to benefit from an extra €60M allocated by government to the Ministry of
Transport, Tourism & Sport's 2015 public transport budget. The aim is to catch up with the backlog
resulting from the country's recession. Rolling stock maintenance has been allocated €29M, to
improve reliability and punctuality, 'enhancing the customer experience' and attracting more rail
passengers. The programme to reduce journey times on the Dublin to Cork route has been given €9M.
Buses have also been allocated €20M, and cycling €2M. Investment had fallen from a peak of €3bn
(1.6% of GDP) in 2008 to a historic low level of €850M (0.5% of GDP) in 2014. A resulting gap
developed between the finance that was available and what was needed to adequately maintain,
manage and renew existing infrastructure.
1702] Ballina branch: Due to the re-positioning of the friction buffer stops the Manulla Junction bay
platform track has been shortened by 2.30m and similarly at Ballina by 1.22m.
1703] Kilkenny: From 17 August until 5 September, an additional train, the 06.05 Waterford to
Heuston, will use the 'PSUL' Lavistown curve avoiding the station, but on Mondays to Fridays only
1240 ISLE OF MAN
1704] Snaefell Mountain Railway: Celebrations took place on Thursday 20 August for the 120th
anniversary of the 3' 6" gauge line. It carries passengers 5 miles between Laxey and Snaefell's summit;
at 2,034 ft, the island's highest peak. On a clear day there are views of Scotland, England, Wales,
Northern and Southern Ireland, on a bad day you cannot see the Isle of Man! Celebrations included a
specially commissioned piece of music, guided talks and tram tours. The 'cars' run off 550V DC OHL
with bow collectors. In winter, with no service, the exposed sections of overhead wire are removed to
avoid icing damage. There is also a third centre rail, part of the 'Fell Incline Railway System' used for
braking on the steep gradients.
1705] Diverted Sleepers: SuO 20 Sept to 4 Oct inclusive the Inverness to Euston departs 19.38 and
runs via Aberdeen. SuO 25 Oct and 1 Nov the 19.00 Fort William to Edinburgh is booked via Yoker. Sat
7 Nov the 04.50 Edinburgh to Fort William runs via Grahamston, Croy and Cowlairs North Jn; (Sat 14
Nov cancelled). Sun 8 Nov it is booked via Cowlairs North Jn and Falkirk High (cancelled Sun 15 Nov).
1706] Greenhill Upper Jn: From 30 August, as part of the Greenhill S&C Renewals programme, the Up
Goods Loop was due to be taken OOU pending removal. No120 and 123A/B points were to be clamped
in the Normal position. The Up Branch Goods Loop was also to be taken OOU.
1707] Anniesland: (BLN 1238.1494) The work includes a facing crossover at the station between the
Down and Up electric lines; the new chord from the Up line is 375m long to the point where it trails in
to the Maryhill single line and is very similar to the former alignment (CA from 14 October 1980). A
Class 60-hauled ballast on the branch recently provided a rare treat nocturnal for the locals!
1708] Bordersrail: (BLN 1239.1605) On 5 September buses replace trains between Newcraighall and
Edinburgh until about 15.15. Amendments on 9th to provide a royal path for the Queen's steam special
are: cancelled 10.54 & 13.54 ex-Edinburgh; 09.59, 10.28 & 14.59 ex-Tweedbank; terminating at
Gorebridge 11.25, 11.54 and 13.25 (from Edinburgh); starts at Gorebridge 11.28, 12.28 & 13.28 (from
Tweedbank). There are altered patterns of stops and journey times may be increased! Hopefully in the
first week of operation it will not be a case of 'start as you mean to go on' and locals will not be put off.
1709] Dalcross: (BLN 1225.195) HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and
Islands, is preparing to submit a detailed planning application for the new Inverness Airport station,
expected by the end of 2015. A consultation has been launched on the proposed development of a
new access road and provision of a 150 space car park with a drop off area, as well as a single station
platform. Before a detailed application is submitted, HITRANS needs to complete a business case and a
transport assessment as well as finalising a funding package. Half of the cost will be sought from the
Scottish Government, via the Scottish Stations Fund, with the rest from Highlands and Islands sources.
1710] Sunday Service: (BLN 1237.1390) Following an agreement between Abellio and ASLEF, the full
Sunday timetable was restored from 12 July. The 2.5% pay rise and £67.50 bonus per head for each
Sunday worked might have had something to do with it! Ways of making Sundays part of the normal
working week are to be investigated.
1711] Ruabon - Dolgellau: This former GWR secondary line is unusual in that two sections have
separately been restored; between Llangollen and Corwen East to standard gauge, and between Bala
(Penybont) and Llanuwchllyn as 1' 11½" gauge. The whole line is paralleled by the TrawsCambria T3
bus service of GHA Coaches, facilitating recent exploration of remains further west. Nothing could be
traced of Llys Halt, apart from a standard GWR-style crossing-keeper's house to the west of the level
crossing, now a private residence. The Halt was named after a neighbouring house known as Llys
Arthur. Garneddwen Halt followed and, unusually for a Halt, had two platforms and a passing loop.
Surviving mounds indicate the platforms, but the entrance path is lost in vegetation. At Drws-y-Nant
both platforms survive although the platform buildings have gone; the station house still stands, again
west of the crossing. Some quarter-mile of trackbed onward from here was lost to widening of the
A494 in 1999. The trackbed is private property through the site of Wnion Halt, where in any event
there is nothing to be seen. At Bontnewydd the only survivor is the station house, alongside the A494.
Dolserau Halt closed as early as 1951, leaving no trace; the narrow lane overbridge here has is infilled.
Dolgellau railway and station (Dolgelly until 12 September 1960 and once even sporting a 'Dolgelley'
sign), is now part of the town's 1979 by-pass.
1712] Barmouth (foot/cycle) Bridge: (BLN 1239. 1609) By way of background to this item, it should be
pointed out that until April 2013, a married couple lived in the toll house next to the viaduct and were
employed by Gwynedd Council to collect tolls from pedestrians and cyclists between Easter and
September. When they left their posts, they were not replaced, and the tolls were thus effectively
abolished, leaving the Council instead to find the full £30,800 annual charge to NR.
1713] Cambrian Lines: A reader queries the statement in a recent publication that only 12 miles of the
300 route miles operated by the Cambrian Railways was double track. Discounting 'passing loops', the
following should be counted as double track sections: Oswestry to Llanymynech (6mi 61ch), Buttington
to Forden (7m 10ch), Newtown to Moat Lane Jn (4m 79ch), Llanbadarn to Aberystwyth (1mi 03ch),
Afon Wen to Penychain (1m 39ch) and Pwllheli East to Pwllheli (0m 57ch). This totals 22m 9ch.
1714] Abercwmboi: (BLN1235.1189) The passing loop here could be used in the event of a delay to the
18.17 Tower Colliery to Aberthaw coal train, which is booked to wait at Mountain Ash from 19.15 to
19.39 to cross the 17.42 from Bridgend, itself due here from 19.30 to 19.33.
1715] Barry: Unusually, a UK Railtours train from London Paddington on Saturday 22 August took the
connection from Barry station (P3) onto the Barry Tourist Railway (BTR), running through to Gladstone
Bridge, Plymouth Road and Waterfront platforms. The DBS Class 66 locos top-and-tailing the train
were not permitted over Barry Island viaduct, for which they were replaced by BTR's own Class 73.
1240 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR137] Telford Steam Railway & Tramway, Shropshire (MR p7 & p32): A member has sent in some
amendments to previous published items on these lines. (BLN 1222.1776): The Phoenix Model
Engineering Society (5" gauge) only normally carries passengers on the last Sunday of the month, and
Bank Holidays, in months when the main railway itself is running.
Concerning (BLNs 1222.1783 & 1224.19): The 18" gauge Telford Steam Tram re-opened (as a complete
circuit) on Saturday 4 April (in a change to the original plans, no public service was advertised on Good
Friday 3 April). Despite predictions made by the railway staff during our AGM visit last year, the steam
tram actually now operates in an anti-clockwise direction (taking the stabling siding point in the facing
direction). It loads at the public entry, normally makes two circuits (so guaranteeing overlap with the
tram's starting position) and, on the second, stops at the side door of the Shed to let passengers
inspect the inside of the shed after which they are re-loaded for the (very!) short run back to the
loading point (it was hardly worth sitting down!).
Regarding (BLN 1230.621): The railway's previous passenger limit was 164m 28ch (not 164m 33ch). At
Lawley Village, neither of the connections between the run round loop and the running (platform) line
is yet laid (so all operations are with the loco at the south end). As presently set out, the access to the
loop from the platform line stop blocks end will be part way along the platform, and there will, indeed,
be a short dead-ended siding extension of the loop. Regarding the title of the tramway: BLN 1212
page 263, BLN 1222.1783, BLN 1224.19 and Minor Railways all call it Telford Steam Tramway [MR Ed:
actually MR calls it Telford Steam Tram] but BLN 1222.1776 called it Telford Town Tramway in
accordance with http://goo.gl/zva6qN its official website. The passenger carriage itself (on the off-side
only!) and the poster boards on the adjacent 'public facilities' all proudly show Telford Town
Tramway. This, of course, was from when it worked on the short-lived line of that name in Telford
Town Park, for which the Tram and coach were originally built and then operated by the former
Telford Development Corporation. [In summary perhaps The Telford Steam Tram operates at the
Telford Town Tramway which is now located at the Telford Steam Railway and hopefully everyone is
happy - Ed!]
MR138] Colne Valley Railway, Essex (MR p8) (BLN 1238.1428): The railway may not have to close and
move elsewhere. Australian businessman Chris Young, who owns the land, has now decided to grant a
one-year extension to the railway's lease and give the charity a chance to buy the land from him. Paul
Lemon, chairman of the railway, said 'We are grateful to Mr Young for agreeing to sell us this unique
section of the Colne Valley & Halsted Railway track bed and for the extension to our lease on the
present site. This sale should enable us to fully achieve our charity's main objective as well as remain
open to the public during the transition period whilst we reconfigure the site'. The purchase of the land
relies on an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund made by the CVR which has already passed stage
one approval. The £1.2M grant, applied for before the bad news in January, would also provide two
new buildings on the secured site; an interpretation centre and a skills centre.
MR139] Elsecar Heritage Railway, South Yorkshire (MR p9): (BLN 1226.MR15) A visit was made here
on Sunday 2 August 2015 to view progress on the extension to Cortonwood and, as trains only run at
13.15, 14.15 & 15.15, a ride was not taken on the existing length of track from Elsecar Heritage Centre
to Tingle Bridge Lane level crossing. It was not, at first, easy to locate the Cortonwood end of the line
at. The site of the former colliery is now a large retail park and a drive around Morrison's car park
(which is adjacent to the alignment) failed to find anything. However, a short walk south down the
Trans-Pennine Trail found the stop blocks and site of the proposed station (SE405015). The whole site,
which includes a large grassy area and some children's play equipment has been securely fenced off
and is inaccessible. The track ends in a simple stop block with no run-round loop, without a platform.
Inspection at the site of the two intermediate level crossings found the track to be fully laid, but
unballasted and requiring lifting, packing and alignment. At Smithy Bridge Lane (SE 4005 0120) it
appears an original track panel still in-situ in the road has been reused! There are no gates or other
crossing equipment on site. The road is a small quiet lane. At the busier Tingle Bridge Lane level
crossing which is close to the current limit of operations (SE 3946 0107), four ex-BR Western Region
style barrier machines have been installed along with an equipment room, clearly ex-NR. There are no
road lights yet, but the four barriers were noted near the station at the Heritage Centre. Obviously,
much work remains to be undertaken before this extension can open. Speaking to a volunteer later at
the Heritage Centre it was revealed before any more work is done more funding is required - the
original funds to prepare the trackbed, acquire and lay the track had run out. In fact, he said, some
people think they have abandoned the extension!
MR140] Aln Valley Railway, Northumberland (MR p9): The plan for re-opening the line, set out in an
appeal leaflet, is to apply for a Transport and Works Order in 2016, with the expectation that this will
be granted in 2018. It is intended to run to a temporary halt at Edenhill Bridge thought to be at (NU
2172 1146) from 2017. That appears possible without an Order, because it does not involve use of any
public road bridges. Re-opening to Alnmouth is planned for 2020, but this all depends on fund-raising
http://goo.gl/sFGGGg of £1.88M. (See picture of Alnwick Lionheart station and caption below.)
MR141] Belton House Miniature Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1234.MR75): The new revised,
and slightly extended, layout opened on the afternoon of Tuesday 7 July 2015 (source: Belton House
Adventure Playground Blog). A member visited on 15 August and reports the railway is now a dumb-
bell layout with two very tight turning circles at each end. The station, which is now situated in the
middle of the line, has a loop and a very nice four road loco shed attached. All points are sprung. The
fare is £1 per trip covering all running lines including the station loop (a charge is payable to enter the
grounds of the order of £10 per adult, National Trust members free). The train was formed of six
coaches and a Hymek loco named Robert. The old station has now been disconnected from the main
line and the far end has also been lifted. The ride is now around 70 yards longer, taking into account
the loops and shortenings at each end. All trains were very busy, and a new access has been built from
the car park over a new wooden bridge right to the station.
ABOVE: Alnwick Lionheart station looking northeast. The loco (top right) and brake van are at the end
of the depot headshunt. It is Barclay 1977 built, 0-6-0 Diesel Hydraulic No 6719 which had worked at
Whittle Colliery just 4½ miles south of here. They shuttled from the Lionheart station platform to the
right; this ride being included in the site admission. It was scheduled to operate half-hourly, but
actually ran 'as required'. The engine driving experience, with the Drewry diesel engine (apparently an
ex-BR class 04) ran up and down the track in front of the signalbox, from the other platform. There was
a £10 charge for this. The track with the yellow machine is to be the eventual passenger line, dropping
sharply down and turning through 90o, right (southeast) towards Alnmouth. Note that both of the
currently available rides cover track that will not be used by the eventual passenger services to
Alnmouth. (Greg Beecroft.)
MR142] Hythe Pier Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1217.MR152): Saturday 8 August 2015 saw our
roving reporter visiting here on a bright sunny day. The ferry between Southampton and the pier head
was Great Expectations, with the train being formed of No2 (BE16307 of 1917) and bogie coaches 1, 4
& 3, together with a 4 wheel luggage flat wagon. The 4 wheel tank wagon was at the pier head. At the
land end was No1 (BE16302 of 1917) in the adjacent siding and in the shed was the other bogie coach.
Earlier in the summer the ferry was out of action, so a bus was run between Southampton and Hythe.
MR143] Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1221.MR195): A visit was made
here by our roving reporter on Saturday 4 July 2015. With the 'Green' timetable in operation, the
11.10 from Hythe was hauled by No10 Doctor Syn with 12 bogie coaches. Diesel No.14 Captain Howey
was noted on the next arrival at Hythe, whilst No3 Southern Maid was in steam at New Romney. No7
Typhoon was passed at Romney Sands. From 5 October Dungeness station will close for a major
refurbishment but trains are still running at weekends and passengers will be able to alight or board.
MR144] Peatlands Park Railway, County Armagh (MR p26) (BLN 1236.1217): It has been reported the
railway operated throughout the 2014 season (June to the end of August); indeed the reporter
enjoyed a ride on it! The 'last ran' date should therefore be amended to late August 2014. Services are
not running this year, the web site stating the railway is 'Not in operation during 2015'.
MR145] Black Country Living Museum, West Midlands (BLN 1239.1527): A visit was made here on
Tuesday 4 August 2015 when Tram 34 started services about 12.45. Currently trams only run between
the Village (and Depot) and the Mine owing to track renewal continuing on the section onwards to the
main entrance (some more weeks of work was expected before it opens). [MR Ed: Tramways & Urban
Transit for September records the expected opening of the full line as 'by the end of the year'. Note
trolleybuses only run on Sundays, but vintage motor buses and coaches run at other times.]
MR146] Tamar Belle Heritage Centre, Bere Ferrers, Devon: 0-4-0DM HE 2642/1941 has been
numbered 3 and named A S Harris. A section of standard gauge track has been laid from the turntable
along the access road and into the engineering yard where it is proposed to erect a loco shed.
MR147] Ness Islands Railway, Highland (MR p28) (BLN 1195.MR210): During an 'Aquabash' around
the UK, a call was made at Invergordon; a good excuse to visit this 7¼" gauge railway in Inverness. 30
June found the line in operation for a school party, so a ride became available for our roving reporter
at a fare of £2. In use was 91001 Uncle Frank 4w-4wDH with sit-astride coaches CO1-CO4. Inside the
shed was Chrissy (ex Zebedee) 0-4-2T built in 2012 according to staff and a 4w flat wagon. A new
locomotive was expected from the Swanley New Barn Railway for delivery on 2 July 2015 with public
operation from 3rd. Another member visited on 22 August on which occasion the railway was running
12.00-16.00 with loco No14 Uncle John in a blue livery with yellow band and three sit astride coaches.
He observed over the winter that the line was altered slightly with the points that were near the
overbridge on the lower level being moved nearer the Kilvean station, thus increasing the ride length
by around 70yd. This new point is not sprung thus every departure from the station travels around the
first part of the circuit in a different direction; but all track is covered. The large loop over the ex-Ness
footbridge is now travelled in the opposite direction to that shown on the 11/08/02 KEG track plan.
MR148] North Somerset Railway Company (NSRC), Radstock, Somerset: (BLN 1227.373) Further plans
for a Heritage Railway in Radstock were put forward to Town Councillors on 20 July 2015, with a
presentation by local enthusiast, George Bailey, on behalf of the NSRC. The five Directors, who have
experience within the industry, particularly NR and First Group, say they have enough money behind
them for Rail Paths Limited and Sustrans to 'take them seriously'. The aim is to reintroduce, firstly as
Heritage Rail, an operation between Radstock and Frome, providing a 'platform' for the reintroduction
of a community partnership passenger railway, connecting with the national passenger network and
running through trains. The group will be asking for local opinion on whether or not this would be
used. At the meeting, Mr Bailey said: 'It is crucial that we hear from local people if they would use the
railway - for example, we could put on an extra train if it was felt that the bus services were
inadequate. But we need to be told what people want and to plan for it, otherwise we are just playing
trains and that will be extremely expensive'. Mr Bailey appealed to Radstock Town Council for its
future support and backing and said that they would be working in partnership with the Mendip
Traction and Rolling Stock Group to operate the service, which would be within national rail industry
standards in a safe, controlled environment. The initial phase of the operation will be Mells Road to
Mells, with preparatory work in the Radstock area to link up in 2017. Kilmersdon to Mells work is
planned for 2016, with Radstock to Flowers Farm Bridge from 2017 and the entire route to Frome by
2019. Mr Bailey said that Radstock to Kilmersdon would be particularly difficult, because the railway
line would need to be moved to the other side of the cyclepath, with a new cyclepath built. Cate Le
Grice-Mack (!), Norton Radstock Regeneration Company Chair, said: 'We have always wanted light rail
for leisure purposes in Radstock. It will be a very difficult process and we will continue to work closely
with Radstock Town Council on all matters, despite the fact that some of the members have been
vocally against our plans previously. This is all still in the early stages, as the railway would be included
in Area 3, which still has to be agreed by B&NES Council. By the autumn, we hope to be looking at the
environmental impact of the railway and will be having further discussions with Sustrans about how
[BLN 1240.MR148 - cont.]
these ideas could work. We are in talks with the college about how we could involve them in future,
including apprenticeship opportunities. Our plans for the Brunel Shed are to have a café, cycle repair
stop and, hopefully, a ticket office for the railway'.
1240 OTHERS' DOINGS:
A service to members; details must be checked with the organisers. Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. .
1716] Sheffield Supertram: 'To thank passengers for their patience during the engineering' works a
series of discounted fares (up to 21% off) was introduced from 29 August until the end of October. This
includes Tram only Dayrider tickets for £3. Some weekly and 28 days tickets are reduced including
bus/tram tickets. Supertram's 21st anniversary will be celebrated during October; the first event
announced is a 'behind the scenes' Depot Open Day at Nunnery Square (date to be announced).
1717] TPE Club 55: TPE trains only (for those aged over 55, proof of age is required) quota controlled.
Outward 14 Sept to 14 Nov, return within a month, anytime at weekends otherwise after 09.30.
Between any two stations in the north of England: £19 (£39 first class); Newcastle to Carlisle via
Manchester anyone? Including Scottish stations: £29 (£59 first). Senior, Disabled and Two Together
railcards (both must be over 55) extra 20% discount. Reservations available but are not compulsory.
1718] West Wiltshire Rail User Group, 21 Sept: 19.30, Railway Inn, Station Road Westbury, BA13
4HW. Doors open 19.00 and coffee served. Public Meeting 'Transport Focus' by Nina Howe (Transport
Focus's passenger manager). Finishes in time for the 21.40 train to Weymouth (and later services).
1719] Ticknall Tramway Festival, 19 to 27 Sept: (BLNS 1218 p403 & 1211 p238) A series of National
Trust (NT) organised themed walks and cycle rides. This celebrates completion of the new walking and
cycling path on the route of the 4' 2" gauge horse-drawn Ticknall Tramway through the Calke Abbey
estate in Derbyshire, including through the two 'cut and cover' tunnels. Of possible interest: Sat 19
Sept, 'Benjamin Outram and the Construction of the Tramway' led by John Walls (Industrial Historian)
13.30-16.00 and Wed 23 'Treading the Tramway' led by Rachel Hall (NT Archaeologist) 13.30-16.00.
Normal park admission prices apply (£3.20 adult, £1.60 children, £8 family, NT members free) but in
most cases (including the two detailed above) there is no extra charge for the event, advance booking
advised (sometimes essential). http://goo.gl/4F8LgB 01332 695310 to book.
1720] Blackpool Electric Tramway, 26 & 27 Sept: 130th anniversary weekend with ALL operational
heritage cars running (10.00 to 18.00 twenty minute frequency via the Little Bispham loop from
Pleasure Beach and a few runs to Fleetwood); stored (OOU) cars and engineering vehicles will be
available to view. Guided behind the scenes tours on the hour at both depots with a special heritage
service between Rigby Road and Starr Gate depots via North Pier, riding along Hopton Road and
through the wash plant at Starr Gate (believed to be a first for the general public). Vintage bus tours
available, £10 day pass covers heritage and normal trams, bus services and the evening illumination
tours. £5 extra for depot tours and trams between them. See: http://goo.gl/cqIP0n 01253 473001.
1721] Mountsorrel Branch Opening/Trial Weekend, 24 & 25 October: (BLNs 1195.1455 & 1238.1517)
The first (and only 2015) chance for the public to ride on this reinstated 1m 08ch former freight
branch. Steam shuttles 'top and tail' Saturday from 12.00 (Sunday 10.00) to 15.30 from Mountsorrel
Bond Lane station, up to, but not over, the GCR junction at Swithland (no alighting or joining) and
return. Refreshments available and guided tours of the new Heritage Centre (opens next year). Adult
£5, child £3 per return trip; advance booking when available is advisable or cash on the day. See
http://goo.gl/4w2Ci when updated 01509 632323. Regular passenger services are anticipated in
[BLN 1240.1721 - cont.]
2016, including through trains from and to other GCR stations the level depends on the outcome of
this 'trial weekend'. Arriva bus 126/127 Leicester - Loughborough - Coalville stops at Mountsorrel
Bond Lane (960yd walk to the station) and runs every 10 minutes SO, half-hourly SuO during the day.
BELOW: (From the publicly available planning application.) The proposed Heritage Centre branch,
sidings and intermediate 'Nunckley Hill Halt' on the Mountsorrel line, which actually continues past
Swithland Lane bridge to Bond Lane Halt terminus, off top right. (See BLN 1239.1517) The three
dashed lines over the map are overhead power cables. North is at the top of the map.
1722] 'London Railway Memorials' (LRM) Part 2, Fri 6 Nov: Don Kennedy is planning to repeat this
event (King's Cross 10.30 to Liverpool Street 17.00, with five other locations in between); a further
installment in his series of guided tours by rail, bus and on foot. BLS members visiting London for the
Society's 7 November RBF Tracker railtour (BLN 1239.1520) may like to consider this event too. No
charge, but donations will be invited; to be divided between appropriate charities, including, on
this occasion, the Railway Benefit Fund (the nominated charity for the railtour). Maximum party-size:
20; advance bookings only. Applications to [email protected] 63 Disraeli Road, London W5 5HS
020 8567 4397. ('LRM' Part 3 is scheduled for 11 November, with a repeat likely in early 2016.)
1240 E-BLN ADDENDA
Guess the location and caption competition (1) combined: It is unlikely that many people will have
travelled over this track extremity by train...! (Picture by Bill Davis who did so on foot.)
Caption competition (2): No prizes for guessing the location, but if the wittiest caption is really good
there might be something on offer. All entries to the Editor by 12 September please. (Geoff Plumb.)
Others' Doings Extra: London Transport Museum (LTM), Acton Depot open days: 26 & 27 Sept, 11.00
-17.00, tickets £10 & £8 (concessions) advance booking http://goo.gl/i3JCQn required (020 756
7298). Design Uncovered Open Weekend forming part of LTM's 'London by Design' season. At Acton
Museum Depot, find out how moquette seat covering is made, with a talk from award-winning
designer Harriet Wallace-Jones. See the original printing blocks used for the Johnston font, LT's iconic
typeface. Newly discovered objects will be on display, relating to Edward Johnston, the font's creator;
including an original leather-bound gift to Frank Pick, Chief Executive of LT in the 1930s. Archive film
screenings, expert talks about the vehicles and family tours and activities among the depot's 320,000
historical items. Explore the collection of heritage trains and buses, vintage posters, uniforms, photos
etc. The miniature railway is due to run. On 26 September only, there is a free shuttle bus from the
Acton Depot to Siemens Heathrow Express Depot a few miles away (Open 11.00 to 17.00, last entry
16.00). Here see the Heathrow Express trains and various 'behind the scenes' activities.
Special thanks: To Dave Cromarty for kindly volunteering for and carrying out the transformation of
'BLN' to 'e-BLN' for the last edition (1239) whilst the Editor was away on holiday at the vital time.
King's Cross, Hotel Curve: (e-BLN 1237/8 addenda) Although closed after the last passenger train from
Moorgate (widened lines) on Saturday, 6 November, 1976, the 'Hotel Curve' came back into temporary
use during the remodelling of the King's Cross throat that took place between Friday evening,
28 January and Monday morning, 4 April, 1977. Some suburban services terminated at York Road
platform, running ECS to/from Moorgate and restarting from King's Cross at what by then, had
become P4. There were two phases to it: first the west side then the east. The project was completed
on time despite the ritual cutting of the wrong cable on the first Monday morning! Unfortunately, our
correspondent cannot remember whether the widened lines were used for both phases or just
one. Rolling stock was class 31 hauled non-corridor coaches, the only permitted, along with Cravens
DMUs. Everything else was too long for the Hotel Curve and would have scraped the sides, something
known about from bitter experience! As mentioned in BLN 1238, the Down Moorgate platform was
originally No16. Like many large termini, King's Cross was originally built with just one Up arrival
platform and one Down departure platform; the space between was carriage sidings. Over the years
more platforms were added. Two (P3 & P9) were cut into their neighbours, leaving four short
platforms. At some stage, certainly before 1952, they were abolished and all main line platforms
became full length, leaving a gap in the numbering. After January 1969 (date unknown) renumbering
eliminated the gaps. P16 became p14. There was a P17/15 to the west of P16/14. Our correspondent
recalls it being used only once, when there was severe service disruption on a Sunday evening. To the
west of that was the Milk Dock. After the obvious traffic ceased it was used for loading and unloading
Motorail vans when these car-carrying trains were transferred from Holloway Car Loading Bay.
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Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected]
or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947