Issue Number 1259 (Items 1166 - 1257 & MR 107 - MR 115) (E-BLN 45 PAGES) 18 June 2016
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 the Society.
BLN 1260 is dated 9 July, NB .mind the 3 week Sgoacpie..tyA. ll contributions must be received by 29 June.
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
Thur 23/6/16 Achilles Heel Trekker 11.12 Crewe-Wembley Central 1256 KA *OPEN*
*SEE BELOW* EXTRA COACH ADDED (14.21) more details below…
1256 BD OPEN
Fri 24/6/16 Guided railway walk 10.30-13.00 Hitchin station 1256 GW OPEN
1255 KA OPEN
24-25/6/16 Docklands Explorer 22.00 Friday - 07.32 Saturday 1255 KA OPEN
1257 JC OPEN
Sat 2/7/16 Turbo Prop Tracker 18.10-22.12 Manchester area 1257 JC OPEN
1258 JC OPEN
Sun 3/7/16 TPE Class 170 farewell 09.25-18.24 to Cleethorpes 1256 GW OPEN
1259 JE *OPEN*
Tue 19/7/16 Derby Roundhouse 14.00 Conducted tour & bus to:
Tue 19/7/16 Egginton Junction to Derby Friargate GNR walk then:
Tue 19/7/16 DC Rail control visit Derby Friargate, to follow walk
Thur 4/8/16 Spa Valley Explorer III 13.30 Brakevan railtour
Sat 13/8/16 Wycombe Wanderer Railtour
Bank Holiday *NEW* A Tale of Two Crewe 06.15 - York 09.30 -Ports 1259 KA *NOW*
Mon 29/8/16 Ports loco hauled tour of Sunderland & Tyne branches *OPEN*
Sat 3/9/16 *NEW* Derby RTC visit 09.30 Signet Solutions visit 1 1259 PS *OPEN*
Sun 4/9/16 *NEW* Derby RTC visit 11.30 Signet Solutions visit 2 1259 PS *OPEN*
Sun 18/9/16 Summerfields Miniature Railways (Bedford MES); Fancott TBA BD Planned
..**NEW** Miniature Railway visit under investigation (both MR p12) *NEW*
Fri 30/9/16 Eastleigh Lakeside/Netley Royal Victoria Railways - below 1258 JE Planned
BLS 61st AGM weekend Kent area, long weekend 1257 DG OPEN
10-17/11/16 Jordan Hejaz Railway Provisional new date (enhanced) 1250 IS OPEN
BD-Bill Davis, DG-Darren Garnon, GW-Glen Wells, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, PS-Paul Stewart.
1166] Eastleigh Lakeside & Netley Royal Victoria Railways, Fri 30 Sep: (BLN 1258.1059) The day
before the IOW Railway Diesel Gala. 'All available lines' tour at each (can be booked separately).
Expressions of interest (no obligation) and request for lifts ASAP; by 30 June please to assess viability
to [email protected] or (with SAE please) to 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, Northwich, CW9 8PT.
1167] 'Station to Station' Charity Auction: (BLN 1258.1157) A brand new boxed 4-car fine detail
OO Gauge Hornby Hitachi 395 'Javelin' EMU; the final one from the manufacturer and now out of
stock. All money raised goes to HM the Queen's 90th birthday charity. '…..by far the best Southern
EMU produced by Hornby to date, for which grateful thanks' (The Southern Electric Group). Was
£132 new. Please email or post bids (min £100) to Kev Adlam (back page) by midnight on 30 June.
ABOVE: The prize in our latest charity auction, no longer available new from Hornby. (Chris Leech)
1168] Achilles Heel Trekker, Thur 23 Jun: UPDATE/TIMINGS: Now available are 42 EXTRA SEATS on
this DRS operated single trip raising money for Railway Children. Class 68 haulage booked: Crewe (P12)
11.12 routed via Nuneaton Up Relief (first passenger use), Rugby Up Goods Loop, Northampton
Reception Line, the crossover at Bletchley Flyover North Jn, Bletchley Relief No2, Bletchley P5 to the
Up Slow at Bletchley South Jn and additionally now Kings Langley Up Goods Loop. It is extended to
terminate at Wembley Central (14.21) then runs ECS to Euston ('Three Peaks by Rail' charity train).
£40; non-members £52 all first class, (includes a free hot drink). Cheques to Kev Adlam per back page.
1169] TPE Turbo Prop Tracker & Class 170 Farewell tours 2 & 3 Jul: The FS is delighted to advise
that conductor arrangements have been made for our Sunday railtour to run to Buxton via Great
Rocks. A few standard class seats remain on these unrepeatable Saturday evening and Sunday trips.
As for most tours to help members' cash flow, cheques/cards are processed about a week before.
1170] 'Wycombe Wanderer' Sat 13 Aug: Expected to fill quickly, a booking
form for this attractive railtour with some notable 'firsts' (track not previously
covered by passenger services) is enclosed. E-BLN subscribers need to print it please. It includes the
new Bicester South Jn to Oxford Parkway line during the current 'window of opportunity' before
extension to Oxford. NB: There is now a visit to Finmere on Sun 14 Aug (details in 'Connections').
.1171] A Tale of Two Ports, Bank Holiday Mon 29 Aug:. .Details and a booking form for our special
traditional loco-hauled railtour are enclosed (e-BLN subscribers need to print it please). Members
often ask for loco-hauled tours, this features two GBRf Class 66/7s, two significant, very rare branch
lines and more. The Ryhope Grange Jn to the Port of Sunderland branch was last railtoured in June
2001; come and see the new refurbished layout. The tour is booked to proceed beyond the NR
boundary (1m 53ch) reached by our 12 Aug 2000 'Durham Coast Railtour'. Also the Port of Tyne
branch, including both sides of the Boldon triangle and again booked beyond the NR boundary (1m
26ch) reached by recent tours. As recently reported in BLN (pictures in e-BLN), the layout is changing.
Please give the tour maximum publicity and fill the nearly 500 seats so we may continue to run more
in future. >>NB: there is no need to email Kev to save a place, please just send the completed
booking form and payment!<< In this case payments will be processed about two weeks beforehand.
1172] BLS Derby visits, Sat 3 Sep 09.30 and Sun 4 Sep 11.30: Thanks to Andy Knight, Signet
Solutions at Derby Railway Technical Centre http://goo.gl/VvGyBV is delighted to extend a rare
invitation to visit their specialist rail industry training facility. With hot drinks and biscuits on arrival,
the visits are due to conclude by 12.30 Saturday and 14.30 Sunday. The company specialises in
training courses for: signalling design, testing, maintenance, Relay Interlocking and Solid State
Interlocking, etc. Major Ian Hughes from our partner, 'Green Dragon Rail', will show participants
around the facility. A Minor Railway technical workshop is taking place (see connections). There is
some rare standard gauge track to see! For a detailed report of last year's short notice visit, see BLN
1245.2082 (pictures in e-BLN), also available by email request to
the Editor. A donation of £10 per participant will be collected on
the day for www.rnrmc.org.uk the Royal Navy & Royal Marines
Charity (the main Royal Navy charity) supporting sailors, marines
and their families for life. Important: Limit 12 per day, advise date
preference (or if no preference) bookings queries to Paul Stewart.
1173] Unusual Track: Expected but not guaranteed, should be re-checked http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
NET, Royal Centre trailing crossover: Sat 18 Jun 08.30 to 11.00 on departure north (cycle race).
AGM Weekend: Fri 4 Nov: 05.31 (Train 210) Barking to Mile End (approx 05.50) via West Ham
'Pocket' middle siding. (Train 002) approx 06.02 Mile End to Epping (06.33) facing X/O south &
north of Leytonstone (P2). Epping has a bacon roll van before our bus leaves for North Weald!
1174] BLN Abbreviations: The list is available at http://goo.gl/GjQ12m If any member would like to
assist in updating it, please contact the Editor. When space in BLN allows reminders will be given.
ABOVE: Inside the very atmospheric London Underground Whitechapel Signal Cabin during our visit
of 10 May. This is regarded as a 'pre-retirement' post by the signaller who is 'interested' in the old
clock, far left, when the cabin closes with resignalling. It still works reliably and is used when recording
the passing train times. See report below (Peter Humphries and photos in the main report below).
1259 HEAD LINES
1175] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: * = New
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed)
1256.883 Sat 18 Jun Wed 22 Jun (Hereford) Shelwick Jn - (Great Malvern) [Bold = CP now]
1257.985 Sat 21 May End of Jul Dublin LUAS (Jervis) - Connolly / The Point
1256.882 Sat 2 Jul Sun 31 Jul SPT Glasgow Underground (complete closure)
1252.444 Sat 30 Jul Sun 7 Aug (Bicester North)/(Oxford); from 3 Aug Oxford - (Leamington)
1256.886 Wed 3 Aug Sun 7 Aug (Hanborough) - Oxford; Oxford station is TCP for 5 days
1254.653 Sun 20 Mar Sun 7 Aug Glasgow Queen St - (Cowlairs West Jn) / (Sighthill West Jn)
1258.1071 Sun 26 Jun Early Aug *Metrolink, (Cornbrook) - MediaCityUK
1256.884 Sat 30 Jul Sun 14 Aug (Didcot) - (Oxford); from 3 Aug Oxford; from 8 Aug (Oxford)
1258.1068 Sun 26 Jun Mon 29 Aug *Metrolink, (Deansgate-Castlefield) - The Delta West/North
1258.1070 Sun 26 Jun Mon 29 Aug *Metrolink, MediaCityUK (excl after early Aug) - Eccles
1258.1072 Sat 27 Aug Thur 1 Sep *Cannon Street - (Borough Market Jn)
1258.1072 Sat 27 Aug Thur 1 Sep *(North East Kent Jn) - (Charlton Jn) via Greenwich
1255.783 Mon 12 Sep Fri 21 Oct (Patchway) - (Severn Tunnel Jn)
1255.784 Thu 3 Nov? Tue 22 Nov? (Antrim) - Londonderry and Coleraine - Portrush branch
1198.1659 15 Feb 2013 12 Dec 2016 (Oxford Parkway) - (Oxford) - ROP date to be confirmed
1248.79 24 Dec 2015 Dec 2016 (Folkestone Central) - (Dover Priory)
1257.979 Sat 7 May Feb 2017 *Tottenham: South-East Jns & West Jn-Seven Sisters Jn
1253.554/5 Sat 4 Jun Feb 2017 (Barking) - (South Tottenham) *(Gospel Oak) from 24 Sep
1237.1360 28 Jun 2015 Early 2017? *Third side of the triangle avoiding MediaCityUK
1251.334 9 Feb 2016 Late 2017? (Carlisle) - (Appleby / Lazonby & Kirkoswald); still slipping
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn
1176] IÉ, Dublin Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn: ROP (timetabled trains) 21 Jan 2013; a new PSUL. The
08.04 (SSuX) Connolly to Maynooth (non-stop) is booked and used it on 7 June. This might be to retain
crew route knowledge. The same train used the route until early 2008 (possibly March 2008).The
07.15 Maynooth to Connolly via Drumcondra forms the 08.04 so uses a rare facing crossover into P7.
1177] Walsall, Pleck Jn - site of Bescot Curve Jn: (BLN 1213.1075) NRU since the final train of empty
coal wagons from Rugeley 'B' Power Station was reversed between 23.37 and 00.13 on 28/29 Apr 2016
en route to York South Yard. The 49ch reversing facility was commissioned on 20 Jul 2014.
1178] Midland Metro, Snow Hill tram stop (SP 0680 8749) 19.30km: (BLN 1258.1065) OP Tue 31 May
2016, postponed from 30 May due to 'passenger access problems'. The Wolverhampton end trailing
crossover is clipped OOU. On 30 May the stop was mentioned in announcements on trams but they
ran through without calling, leaving passengers on the platforms. The new timetables, issued tickets,
publicity (including on trams and at the stop) and the stop nameboards all refer to it as 'Snow Hill' with
no mention of 'St Chads'. It does not provide convenient access to Snow Hill station (Bull Street,
Jewellery Quarter or The Hawthorns are the advised interchange stops with NR stations).
1179] Kirkby Thore (281m 47ch) - Lazonby & Kirkoswald: RO at least since 30 May (any earlier??) for
five daily (SSuX) ECS workings from, and returning to, Appleby to maintain train crew route knowledge.
1180] Helsby, West Cheshire Jn - Encirc (formerly Quinn) Glass: (BLN 1234.1044) OG 1 Jun 2016; a
test train of bottom unloading sand wagons from Middleton Towers arrived that morning returning to
Arpley Sidings at 13.30. The new private siding branches off the start (SJ 4758 7560) of the retained
but OOU branch to 'CF Fertilisers' (previously Kemira, UK and originally Shellstar Fertilisers). The new
single line runs northwest moving away from the Down Hooton line then west paralleling it, becoming
twin track in the terminal. It ends just before an internal road (SJ 4639 7588) at the glass works. The
rail terminal, originally due to OG in November 2011, was a planning consent requirement when Quinn
Glass obtained retrospective permission in 2009 for the plant (actually constructed in 2005!).
BLN 1259.1181] Appleby (excl)-Lazonby & Kirkoswald (incl) & Langwathby: (BLN 1251.334) TROP 2-5
Jun 2016 (incl) temporary passenger service during part of Appleby Horse Fair - see regional section.
1182] Yarnfield Jn - Norton Bridge East Chord: (BLN 1254.644) Commissioning of this reversible single
track (on the former Up Fast alignment) was postponed from 31 May 2016. London Midland services
from Stone to the Trent Valley continued to use the flyover and cross north of Stafford station to P1.
1183] Ellesmere Port (west) - Ellesmere Port Docks (BLN 1223.1222) Remained in use in early June at
least for incoming sand to Encirc Glass Works in addition to the new private siding (previous item). The
terminal used may depend on the availability of bottom unloading sand wagons. Imported coal traffic
ceased at Manisty Wharf after last running 22 Jun 2015 but the branch is used by sand trains to run
round. Captain Edward Manisty was the engineer in charge of digging this section of the Manchester
Ship Canal (MSC). Much of the spoil was dumped on the adjacent marshes and the resulting mound
became known as 'Mount Manisty'; still used as a navigation marker by ships. Even when/if the sand
traffic ceases completely here, further car traffic is possible to/from Barking Eurohub (BLN 1250.225).
1184] Kirkby (Merseyside), Knowsley Rail Loading Transfer Station (BLN 1258.1108) ROG Sat 3 Jun
2016, first trial and staff training run. The wagons with 66152 from Tees Yard (09.54) arrived at 15.20
and after partial loading with 1,000 tonnes of compacted rubbish, the 2,000 tonne train left at 20.17.
(Site of the former Knowsley Freight Terminal between Rainford and Kirkby at 28m 28ch.)
1185] Lackenby, Shell Jn - Wilton Branch: (BLN 1258.1108) ROG Sun 4 Jun 2016, (previous item) the
trial train arrived 03.31 with waste for incineration at the new SITA 'energy from waste' facility (NZ 564
218). The £300M contract to 2043 http://goo.gl/jK2jzF is about 444,000 tonnes of rail traffic annually.
1186] Ryhope Grange Jn - Hendon Branch (to Port of Sunderland): (BLN 1227.320) ROG 7 Jun 2016,
first commercial traffic (run by DBC formerly DBS); 18 empty MBA wagons from Tees Yard ran as far as
Londonderry Sidings (1m 07ch) at 06.51 with loco 66152. After loading (on the branch) 1,200 tonnes
of scrap metal from Ward Brothers Steel, which is adjacent to the line, it left at 18.00 for Cardiff Tidal
Sidings. Weekly trains are expected, increasing to twice and even three times weekly by August. There
is the possibility of imported scrap metal by ship from Romania to the port being dispatched by rail.
1187] ENGIE, Rugeley 'B' Power station: (BLN 1258.1078) Ceased generating and closed 8 Jun 2016;
the site is expected to be cleared by summer 2019. The final freight working with 1,250 tonnes of coal
was 09.50 from Portbury Coal Terminal on 28 Apr arriving 18.55. The empty wagons left for York South
Yard at 23.04. The power station sidings are being used for secure storage of electrification trains for
the 'Chase Line' line to Walsall and the branch remains in use. OHL support piling work is in progress.
1188] Kirkstall Forge: OP expected Sun 19 Jun 2016 with the 08.31 Leeds to Bradford Forster Square
(calling 08.37) and 09.01 return (calling 09.19). The two-platform 'Park & Ride' station is on the Armley
Jn to Apperley Jn line at 199m 25ch. P1, on the Up Shipley Main, and P2, on the Down Shipley main,
are both 100m long. The service is hourly SuO Bradford FS to Leeds; other days it is served mainly by
Leeds to Ilkley trains. (The nearby original Kirkstall Forge station OP 1 July 1860 and CP 31 July 1905.)
1189] Bromsgrove station: (BLN 138.1413 & e-BLN 1258.X73 with picture) The present unstaffed
station (55m 30ch) is due to CP after service on Tue 21 Jun with the new staffed one (55m 45ch), 15ch
further south, OP Wed 22 Jun 2016. The two centre main line platforms, both 155m long, will be in
use. P1 (OOU) is on the Up Goods, gauged for passenger use, P2 (to Birmingham) is on the Up Main, P3
(ex-Birmingham) is on the Down Main. Future P4 on the far Down (east) side is presently trackless.
14 June UPDATE: there is a local press report that this has now further deferred until the 'summer'.
1190] Worcester Tunnel Jn - Shrub Hill Jn: TCP 6 to 10 Aug 2016 for electrical rewiring of Worcester
Tunnel Junction Signal box. TCA except ECS movements (Shrub Hill station to/from Worcester Depot).
1191] Worcester Tunnel Jn - Wyld's Lane Jn (via Worcester Goods Lines/Shrub Hill station): TCG 6 to
10 Aug 2016 as per previous item. South Wales freight traffic is unusually diverted via Great Malvern.
(For example: Margam Yard to Round Oak steel and Handsworth to Cardiff Tidal Sidings scrap traffic.)
BLN 1259.1192] Galton Jn-Smethwick Jn: TCP 6-10 Aug 2016 due to above (CrossCountry PSUL trains).
1193] FIXTURES REPORTS, LU District Line Cabins, 10 May: 11 members met at the much changed
Whitechapel station, where considerable Crossrail building work was in progress. Our group was led
on a short walk through the streets to a plain unmarked door in a long, large plain wall! The door gave
access to Whitechapel signal cabin https://goo.gl/0APSKp (14 photos) with its 1951 Westinghouse 47
miniature lever frame and an illuminated diagram flanked by metal cased train describers (see pictures
above). The approach of trains is indicated on the describers by a one or two letter code being shown.
The destination codes seen during our visit were for Upminster (U), Barking (B), Barking sidings (Bs),
Hammersmith (ML), Richmond (R), Wimbledon (W) and Ealing Broadway (E). The diagram shows the
now reduced layout of basic double track with a crossover each end signalled to allow a reversing train
to depart from its arrival platform. There are no 'rusty rail' workings. In practice, the crossovers are
rarely used. As at other boxes like this previously visited, all the track circuits shown on the diagram
are illuminated with diffuse white light except when occupied and, in one case, when there was an
indication fault! The signal aspects are also displayed.
Most levers in the middle of the frame are spare as the box also used to control St Mary's Jn (for the
former west to south 'St Mary's Curve', CA Dec 2007, onto what was the East London Line, now part of
London Overground), as well as lifted loops and sidings in the station. The signalman passed round
several photographs and diagrams of the box's earlier equipment and track layout. On the wall is a
clock in a fine wooden case and the signalman's only task for most of our visit was to enter the arrival
and departure times of trains on paper on a clipboard. This was because there are two king levers, one
for each direction, that when reversed allow the signalling to work automatically. He did however put
a king lever back to normal and work the signals manually to prevent a train running early!
The next visit was to Barking, (ABOVE) https://goo.gl/x7uEUg (22 photos) a 1960 installation that
controls from Bromley-by-Bow to Dagenham East using a console with arrays of illuminated push
switches. Every signal that is not an automatic signal has a controlling switch for each of its routes
therefore most of the switches show red. A pre-selected route (i.e. chosen before the previous train
has cleared) makes the buttons show orange. When the route is cleared and has been set up, they
then change to green.
Trains are shown by an array of red lights on the diagram and the train describers for approaching
trains use the same codes as Whitechapel but displayed as large letters on a VDU. Terminating trains
described as 'Bs' (Barking Sidings), 6tph, unload in the station before going to siding 22 or 23 to
reverse. When asked about using the other sidings instead, the signalman replied that he could but he
would have to alter the sheet! Here again there is a clipboard and paper for times to be entered. The
sheet lists the trains in scheduled order and specifies the siding number for the terminating trains. The
signalman relies on this for turning the trains out of the bay and sidings in the correct order between
through services from Upminster. The bay platform was used every 20 minutes and, though the rest of
the route was set up, the bay exit signal No7 was not cleared until departure time to prevent trains
leaving early. The NR connection (not a signalled route) can only be used in an engineering possession.
Finally Upminster https://goo.gl/Au9qgH (10 photos) was visited where
the building, shared with other railway functions, bears an external sign
'Underground Signal Box' (ABOVE LEFT) although not underground!. It
opened in 1958 and does not control the depot, so has a smaller push button console than Barking
(ABOVE MIDDLE, with BLS biscuits for the signallers). During the visit all three LU platforms were in
use and there were times when they were all occupied with trains being despatched punctually at five
minute intervals. As at Barking, stations shown on the diagram have a small describer beneath
showing the next westbound and eastbound platform departures, using the same destination codes as
at Whitechapel (ABOVE RIGHT). Thanks to our member Rob Davidson and LU's Liz Massingham, who
accompanied us and arranged the visits, and the three signallers who willingly answered all our
questions. A stimulating worthwhile visit to this most interesting part of the Underground operation.
1259 BLN GENERAL
1194] NR Sectional Appendix: A member writes that this is produced to keep recipients up to date
with NR infrastructure changes and associated Local Instructions. However, the London North Eastern
Route area publication (available on line) has not removed pages of some 'closed' lines in the recent
three-monthly update of its Periodical Operating Notice (PON). Examples of trackless lines shown:
Barrow Hill North Jn/Foxlow Jn - Seymour Jn - Bolsover/Oxcroft Disposal Point. (Even more bizarrely
in the recent latest edition of the PON, the pages for these former lines have been reissued to show
the signalling control transferred from Sheffield PSB to York ROC, Rotherham Workstation!)
Clipstone East Jn/Clipstone West Jn - Clipstone Colliery/Rufford Colliery/Bilsthorpe Colliery.
Firbeck Jn - Harworth Colliery. The reason given for this situation is that Network Change approval
has to be first obtained from the Freight Operating Companies before official closure, which in these
cases has yet to be achieved. [To be fair they are shown as OOU in the document. NR is rightly
obliged to consult with stakeholders regarding proposed network changes and some of the track had
been removed by scrap metal thieves. In theory they could be reinstated if required for use - Ed]
1195] Points & Slips: BLN 1249.137] For the record, Gort station was TCP from 6 to 17 Dec and 31 Dec
2015 to 16 Jan 2016 due to flooding (along with the other intermediate stations between Athenry and
Ennis as documented. BLN 1258.1069) On the Metrolink Eccles branch, although not timetabled to be
used, the curve avoiding MediaCityUK is still used as needed during service disruptions etc as noted
previously. 1140] Perhaps subtitled It's all Irish to me! Regarding the temporary LUAS tram crossover
east of Jervis stop in Dublin, 'Kletterweiche' actually and sensibly means 'climbing points'. ('KLETTERN'
does mean climb but 'WEICHE' is German for points, not 'soft' which is a similar word 'WEICH'.)
Item 1077] Govia Thameslink Railway sadly discontinued their Thameslink and Great Northern
timetable books from the May timetable change. All they issue now are small pocket timetables for
each line, which brings them 'in line' with Southern. Abellio Greater Anglia cover their own services in
three chunky timetable booklets available at their station leaflet racks. 'Mainline & Southend' covers
London to Norwich via Ipswich and the branches as far as Harwich. 'West Anglia' covers London to Ely
and the loops and branches as far as Stansted Airport. 'Regional' covers everything else, i.e. north of
Ipswich and Cambridge. Table PDFs can be found on their website. 1087.3] Commissioning of West
Ealing bay P5 was further delayed from 5 Jun and was due from 12th.
THIS PAGE: The new Luas tram temporary crossover east of Jervis - sadly only used by ECS workings (Turgison).
BLN 1259.1195] Points & Slips -cont: Re BLN 1258.1096.1] One result of the Metrolink TCP through St
Peter's Square from 25 Jun is an all day service at Exchange Square (from/to Rochdale Town Centre),
as it will have when it becomes a through route next year. 1096.2] The Grade II* listed St Peter's
Square Cenotaph was removed Jan 2014 and repositioned in September that year.
1196] Railway Quiz Answers: (BLN 1258.1075) These have been held over due space considerations
1259 GREATER LONDON
1197] No Bull: (BLN 1258.1079) The final section of rail at Upmister P5 at the buffer stops (east end) is
bullhead. The AC Romford EMU has to run to the end of the line each journey to fit on the platform.
1198] Crossrail: (BLN 1258.1087) (1) Abbey Wood: From 6 June a facing crossover was installed OOU
between 12m 10ch and 12m 13ch between here and Belvedere. (2) Heathrow Branch: To clarify the
position for those members who still need to do the new Stockley West Flyover and North Viaduct,
this is currently the normal route for Heathrow Connect services in both directions. The original
viaduct is used by Up Heathrow Express trains, but these will be routed over the North Viaduct and
the East Flyover when that opens in December (track diagram BLN 1226.253). The original viaduct will
then be used by Down Heathrow Connect (and later Crossrail) services. Meanwhile the ORR has ruled
that Heathrow Airport Ltd will not be allowed to recoup the historical costs of constructing the
Heathrow spur from Crossrail train operator MTR. However, Crossrail track access agreements for the
Heathrow spur and access to the stations have yet to be agreed. Both MTR and TfL are pushing for
these to be settled as soon as possible, as planning for the May 2018 timetable starts in March 2017.
(3) Industrial Archaeology: Http://goo.gl/qgbScQ Remains of a steam-powered broad gauge turntable
and Brunel's engineering workshops were discovered during track laying in Paddington New Yard.
1199] Hornsey: (BLN 1258.1084) Also from 31 May, the points (4m 57ch) from Depot Reception Roads
1 to 2 were commissioned. These are of limited use as they are blocked to electric traction 'currently'!
1200] Liverpool Street LUL: The Old Broad Street ticket hall entrance is closed from 4 June to late
August for refurbishment.
1201] Twickenham: (BLN 1243.1918) Both bays P1 & P2 remain OOU. Does any member know if it is
still the intention to reinstate P2 for additional services for events at the stadium? On 30 Apr during
our Feltham signal box visit, the three through platforms were sufficient for a major event there.
1202] Brentford Branch: Hounslow Council plans to reopen this nearly three-mile branch to
passengers by 2020, with a station in Transport Avenue, Brentford. They also have a long-term plan to
connect this station with the existing Brentford station. The council also wants to connect Hounslow
station with the future station at Old Oak Common. It says it could fund these schemes itself by
borrowing the money and paying it off using the increased business rates the links would generate and
is now trying to persuade TfL to fund further feasibility studies. (Get West London website)
1203] District Line: (BLN 1258.1081) The 00.00½ from Hammersmith via Edgware Road is booked to
use West Ham siding ('Pocket') as an eastbound loop (West Ham arr 00.47½) [205 MSuX, 206 SuO].
1204] Metropolitan Line: (BLN 1249.156) Harrow-on-the-Hill P5 to Fast Line: From the new WTT
dated 15 May, the 09.46 departure has altered by about a minute and is booked to run through P6. An
extensive (but not 100%) WTT perusal had found no replacement/s, so the move seems to be 'NRU'.
1205] Piccadilly Line: It is believed that No75 crossover at Acton Town has been defective for several
months. As a result trains 317 and 324 are likely to take the normal route through P3 at present.
1206] Unusual LUL Workings: (BLN 1254.667) Our LU Consultant Micogricologist and his companion
successfully completed two moves on 31 May. (1): Aldgate P1 Slip to Inner Rail: Train 213 (the 04.38
ex- Hammersmith) arrived Aldgate P1 on time at 05.13 and prepared to reverse and, even for this
hour, a surprising 20+ people shuffled off and slightly fewer boarded. The operator ambled leisurely
down the train and at 05.18 sharp it departed on the day's only passenger traversal of the slip to the
Inner Rail, possibly the briefest piece of passenger track on the whole of TfL? [No slip-ups there - Ed.]
BLN 1259.1206]- cont: (2): Baker Street Southbound Crossover to P2: This appears to be restricted to
two workings (SSuX at least), train 401 the 05.44 ex-Rickmansworth and 446 at 05.38 ex-Finchley
Road. The former was intended to be sampled but at 06.17 when it was due at Finchley Road, train
441 arrived instead also for Baker Street. With no time to check the running order they jumped on and
gloom descended as it was running three minutes late and seemed to be destined for Baker Street P4.
However, luck prevailed as an earlier train (also running out of course) occupied P4. Train 441 ran into
P2 over the critical crossover! In this case, the pathing seemed to stick to the time and not the train
booked to do it, but whatever the out of course running, it certainly produced the desired result!
1207] And Finally … CrossAle: Proposed new LU lines http://goo.gl/F4QTal linking favourite pubs.
1259 EAST MIDLANDS
1208] Coalville: Transport consultants, commissioned by Leicestershire CC, have examined the case for
running passenger trains along the 31-mile Leicester to Burton, 'Ivanhoe Line' and concluded it could
cost £175M to upgrade the track. The existing freight line has a 45 mph line speed. The report said the
£5.6M per mile cost is not good value for money and a £4M annual public subsidy would be needed as
well. Leicestershire CC said it would be unable to attract DfT funding; there is no realistic prospect that
NR would fund it or that money could be secured as part of the HS2 project.
1209] Newark Castle: Two new replica square style gas lamps painted Maroon have been installed on
the P1 station building. On its platform side a replica maroon 'Newark Castle' Totem sign has been
added 9ft above platform level. A franchised ticket sales office has opened at the western end of the
station building. There are passenger toilets but the main former waiting room area remains empty.
1210] Tuxford RIDC: Third rail is being laid at Boughton Jn (formerly the Bevercotes branch junction).
1211] Toton Lane: On 31 May a tree fell on NET between Cator Lane and the College, deforming the
overhead wire. Four trams were trapped at the country end and ran a shuttle service from Cator Lane
city bound platform to Toton Lane. Most of the day trams were cancelled to Nottingham University.
1259 NORTH WEST
1212] Chorley: (BLN 1258.1098) From 20 June Down P1 (to Preston) is due to be taken OOU, replaced
by a new temporary platform of the same length at 22m 14ch (178m nearer to Bolton). A notice board
'New Station Ahead' will be provided 200m before it on overbridge No 57. Chorley Ground Frame at
22m 24ch will become OOU· A new OOU Down to Up trailing crossover will be provided at 24m 24ch,
1213] Settle & Carlisle: (BLN 1251.334) ECS DMU moves north of Appleby to Lazonby & Kirkoswald
have been taking place for 'several weeks' for route refreshing (does anyone have a starting date
please? perhaps 30 May?). This section TROP for the busiest part of the annual Appleby Horse Fair,
Thur 2 to Sun 5 June (can anyone confirm 2nd as they were 'class 5' i.e. ECS on the system?). About
30,000 visitors clog up Appleby's roads (particularly with horses drawn vehicles!); buses to/from
Carlisle did not serve Appleby then. Instead, the buses connected at Kirkby Stephen and Langwathby.
Saturday's train departures from Lazonby & Kirkoswald were at 09.36, 12.03, 14.34, 16.31 and 18.19
and Sunday's 13.09, 15.27 and 17.13. ECS workings continued on/after 5 June with buses serving
Appleby again. There is a 'fast' Carlisle bus and a 'slow' one for intermediate stops. Those members
keen on rail replacement buses might like the 18.14 SSuX Carlisle 'fast' bus to Appleby (19.29) shown
to connect instantaneously with a 19.29 stopping bus to Leeds (23.33). Of note it serves Hawes (20.42)
but not Dent (unsuitable road access) and is booked to run until 9 December (the timetable change).
Two members en route home from our fixtures near Aberdeen decided to break their journey and
investigate on the Sun 5 June. They were very lucky indeed to catch the 13.09 because it left Lazonby
& Kirkoswald within a minute of them arriving at 12.53 (the crew said it had been retimed!). There was
single line pilotman working from Kirkby Thore on the Down line (reduced speed in the Up direction)
using the trailing crossover there to reach the Up line. This is preferred to using Culgaith emergency
crossover as it is fully signalled and interlocked, so does not require point clips or hand signalling.
As well as the landslip at Eden Brows, repair work has also been taking place on the closed section
between Baron Wood No1 & No2 Tunnels due to another landslide. When this is completed, it is
expected that passenger trains will resume north of Appleby (where DMUs are being stabled) to
Armathwaite. During the closure NR has been carrying out other opportunistic work, including long
stretches of new fencing, repairing sink holes at Kirkby Thore and embankment stabilisation work.
It was a glorious sunny day, the Settle and Carlisle at its best; sadly passenger numbers are down by
75% due to the landslip (and public perception is that the line is 'closed'). At Settle Mark Rand, (chair
of 'The Friends of the Settle - Carlisle Line') whom our two members had met before on our 19 April
2015 TPE railtour of the line, made them most welcome. Mark and his wife famously live in the award
winning converted water tower there, featured on TV. At times the public is welcome to visit and walk
round the grounds to see it (a sign is hung on the gatepost when it is open). It is well worth a visit;
additionally the signal box is open most Saturdays 10.00 to 16.00. Impressively, Settle ticket office was
staffed (by Northern) at 15.00 on a Sunday and the S&C Friends shop was open; they also had a buffet
trolley on the train from Appleby. All stations are smart with well kept, very attractive floral displays.
BELOW: A great place to settle down; a 2016 picture of the converted water tower (Mark Rand).
1214] Warrington BQ: On 21 May a member discovered that the 05.49 (SSux) from P1 to Ellesmere
Port was routed via Walton Old Jn. The driver confirmed that this was its normal route, as does RTT.
1215] Manchester Victoria: The station was renamed 'Victoria Wood' for an hour on 4 June; a charity
event for that comedienne who died recently. There is a petition for the change to be permanent and
for a statue of her to be placed on the concourse. Were tickets issued with 'Victoria Wood' on?
1216] Halton Curve: (BLN 1256.904) The summer dated (21 May to 10 Sep 2016) PSUL, the 07.53 (SO)
Chester to Runcorn (08.14) is booked non-stop via the currently unidirectional Halton Curve. On
Saturday 16 July 'Northern' with North Cheshire Rail User Group has kindly arranged for this train to
call additionally at Helsby (08.02), Frodsham (08.06) departing Runcorn 08.17 and be extended to
Liverpool South Parkway (08.25). The Group is hopeful that an hourly service in each direction will be
running over the line by the end of 2018. Their web site www.ncrug.org.uk features a 'Halton Curve
Video' showing it before recent extensive de-vegetation opened the line up for photography.
X.81] Oxenholme: (BLN 1258.1101) Recent views all taken by our member Andrew Martin. BELOW:
Looking south from the station. On the right, through the single gap in the bridge is the new
connection from the Down Goods Loop, beyond the bridge, (now the 'Down Windermere') to
Oxenholme P3. The P3 connection to/from the Down Main is bottom right to top left.
ABOVE TOP: Looking north from the B6254 overbridge just south of Oxenholme station, the new
'Down Windermere' is far left (unballasted) on the west side of the layout to P3, the Windermere
branch with a Class 185 DMU. The Down Main (P2) is in the middle and Up Main (P1) is right.
ABOVE LOWER: Looking south from the bridge, left is the Up Goods Loop with its new faster 25mph
approach, then Up Main, Down Main and right the new Down Windermere, which also acts as a Down
Loop (via the 25mph crossover seen), the far right line is to P3. A siding is in the background (right).
BELOW: The electrification mast limit (Windermere branch) looking north; far right is Oxenholme P2.
1259 NORTH EAST
1217] Redcar British Steel: (BLN 1257.991) A member noted the name discrepancy between that used,
on the station nameboards, tickets and the Sectional Appendix. The latter calls it 'British Steel Redcar'.
Your Regional Editor was unaware of a name change. Perhaps others with an interest in renamings can
work out when it happened. The station, not actually in Redcar, opened as British Steel Redcar on 19
Jun 1978 with the deviation between Tod Point and Coatham, west of Redcar. It replaced the
unadvertised Warrenby Halt (RIGHT from http://goo.gl/9Xu821 ) a wooden structure (NZ 573248),
with gas lighting further northwest on the old route just east of Tod Point Signal Box. The NER opened
the halt in 1916/17 to serve the original
Dorman Long & Co Redcar steelworks. It was
renamed 'Warrenby' on 5 May 1969. Tod
Point station (NZ 57035 24298) was in this
area from the 1850s to 1873, probably built
for the construction of the South Gare
breakwater from 1859 to 1884. A settlement
founded at Warrenby in 1873 was mainly for
men working in the new ironworks who
could then walk to work rather than travel
The 1978 deviation moved the line further south and shortened it by 56ch, releasing land for the then
new, much larger, British Steel Redcar works which closed last October. British Steel Redcar originally
had an hourly passenger service but mainly served Steel House, the British Steel offices to the south,
between the railway and the A1085 road. It was not so convenient for the works itself. This probably
accounts for the train times latterly, arriving at 08.04 from Middlesbrough and returning at 16.46.
Since the bankruptcy of Sahaviriya Steel Industries (UK) and the closure of Redcar works, one imagines
that the offices have closed and the station, not being public, probably has no passengers whatsoever.
Has this situation ever occurred before in this country? Members can still tread a platform of
Warrenby Halt as one of them was reused at Newton Dale Halt on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
1218] Seal Sands: (BLN 1238.1455) The branch connection across the road at Monsanto/BASF Siding Jn
(1m 40ch) was removed and tarred over more than a decade ago, after the hydrocyanic acid traffic
from Haverton Hill ceased. This was done to end liabilities for safety provision (presumably the level
crossing) and reduce business rates. NR could also then terminate the ground lease (BLN 1233.912)
inherited from BR, as the land is owned by PD Ports (the successor to the Tees and Hartlepool Port
Authority). The works sidings were lifted last July (as pictured in e-BLN 1455). Despite the change of
mind on lifting the Seal Sands branch itself, this makes future rail traffic here less likely.
1259 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1219] Long Melford - Bury St Edmunds: At Lavenham station site a very recent housing development
called 'The Halt' has obliterated the station. It can be seen from the trackbed through the adjacent
overbridge. Cockfield station is still in place. The main station building, single storey in red brick, sits
on an almost intact platform. The windows were sheeted over in black plastic when seen in Aug 2015,
suggesting renovation work. The trackbed between the platforms is a well-manicured lawn, but the
second platform is obscured by tree growth. All can be well viewed from the adjacent footbridge.
Welnetham appears to have gone, though a stretch of trackbed is a public footpath called the 'Great
Welnetham Line Walk'. Bury East Gate (CP/CA 1 May 1909) is thought to have vanished under a road.
1220] Hitchin (Midland): Among the pre-grouping buildings here is the former Midland Railway
weighbridge office (with weighbridge, although it is not known if it still functions). The building is in a
local conservation area and NR is now aware of this. To assist in its possible listing (giving further
protection), is anyone aware of any other examples other than Long Marton on the S&C?
1221] March - Wisbech East - Magdalen Road: (BLN 1255.815) The missed chance to traverse this line
recalls the trains routed this way and via March West Jn to March Whitemoor Jn, the west curve
avoiding March station. In 1966 there was a 09.20 SuO summer dated service that way from Stamford
(Peterborough North 09.45) to Hunstanton, returning at 18.35. It ended after running on 11 Sep 1966.
1222] Reading to Didcot, a Live Report: Energisation of the Up and Down Main Lines overhead line
equipment between Scours Lane Jn (37m 63ch) west of Reading and Milton Jn (54m 51ch) west of
Didcot had been planned for 28 May but is now rescheduled for 22.30 on Sat 2 July. Also postponed,
the overhead on the Up and Down Relief lines from Scours Lane Jn (37m 63ch) to Moreton Cutting Jn
(51m 20ch) should be live from 22.30 on Sat 16 July.
1223] Maidenhead: (BLN 1254.691) Formation and trackwork for P5 extension were complete and the
route was in use when seen on 26 May. The platform has yet to be extended.
1224] Banbury: (BLN 1252.470) NR has confirmed that Banbury North Box is to be demolished on 8
October; a 10 week postponement so that it can be opened as a temporary visitor centre. Over 500
people had joined a Facebook group demanding that the box be saved and turned into an education
centre for railway enthusiasts. However, they only raised £17.5k of the £160k needed to save the box.
Banbury South Box is to be demolished on 30 July for the Down Relief to be realigned over its site.
1225] Suffolk … on the level: The 'Diss Express' reports on the possible closure of up to 30 level
crossings, none is on 'A' or 'B' roads. NR is to hold three local consultation meetings.
1226] Mid-Suffolk Light Railway (MSLR): In Aug 2015 just one building of the GER Haughley Junction
station survived, on the Up side, an office for a local business. The MSLR station site is an adjacent
industrial location, securely fenced and gated. At Gipping (Goods) there is nothing to see. The trackbed
has unsurprisingly gone back to agriculture. When our correspondent walked the MSLR route in March
1992, it could still be identified from Brockford & Wetheringsett to Haughley Jn. Now Mendlesham
station site (Old Station Road) is in industrial use with nothing to see. At Brockford & Wetheringsett
the MSLR heritage railway is close to the original station. Station House a private residence, with some
new structures in the MSLR style corrugated steel buildings, appears to be on the original station site.
ABOVE: Brockford heritage station on 5 May 2010 (Ashley Dace http://goo.gl/ShRCLT )
1227] Brockford MSLR heritage station: This http://goo.gl/xdlr9m is on the trackbed a few yards to
the east of the original station, behind a large agricultural building. The superbly restored station has
the original corrugated steel Mendlesham station building and corrugated steel huts from Brockford &
Wetheringsett and Wilby. The train service runs between Brockford and 'Dovebrook' a new station
about half a mile east. Edmondson card tickets are issued, 'Brockford to Aspall', the intended ultimate
destination. Ex-Wissington Light Railway, 0-6-0 ST Hudswell Clarke 1700 'Wissington' of 1938, was
working a vintage train of two ex-GER 4-wheel coaches built in 1875 and 1876, restored in MSLR livery,
as was a newly restored horsebox in a siding. In the on-site museum are station nameboards from
Kenton and Wilby, in the unique ornate style used by the original MSLR. The museum also has a
Haughley Junction GER signal box nameboard. Our correspondent believes two other MSLR station
buildings may be found at the Mangapps Railway Museum, in a similar style to Mendlesham.
1259 SOUTH EAST – SOUTH
1228] Chatham Dockyard branch: (BLN 1228.436) Visible from the north side of the main line east of
Gillingham, the first single jointed rail has been taken out of the chairs each side of this OOU branch.
However, it was resignalled in the recent East Kent scheme. Further along a new ASDA supermarket
access road cuts through the embankment. Medway Council is interested in the greenway potential of
the route, to prevent it from becoming a derelict eyesore and to access a university and two schools.
Our member advises that Sustrans may be able to assist with its 'Safe Routes to Schools' project.
1229] Heathrow: Surrey County Council has commissioned Arup to write a report to examine the
possibility of a new rail link to Heathrow from the south. About 9,000 Surrey residents work at the
airport. This is expected to be published this summer, and discussions are taking place about the key
areas it should cover. On 26 May the BBC reported on the £200M tunnelled Windsor Link Railway.
1230] Just plane trainspotting? (BLN 1258.1121) A member flying an aircraft on 26 May confirms that
a Eurostar 373 train was stabled on the Southfleet Jn to Fawkham Jn 'branch' as it is now.
1259 SOUTH WEST
1231] GWR Fares & Reservations: GWR has made alterations https://goo.gl/4GptQX to carrying
cycles on trains and to penalty fares, simplifying arrangements. From 17 May, free cycle reservations
are required on GWR operated HST services. These will guarantee a space to cyclists booking in
advance via station ticket offices or 0345 7000 125, when buying or after purchasing a ticket. This
does not affect local services (already restricted to two cycles per service; although this appears rarely
enforced) or the carriage of folded bicycles. From 23 May the 'buy before you board' ticket policy was
extended to all parts of the GWR network, except for stations and routes where purchasing facilities
are not available before boarding. E.g. the Cornish branches are, designated 'buy on board' routes.
1232] 'Modal Shift' for GW Electrics: With the electrification delays on the GWML, the Transport
Secretary has approved that the Class 801 SET EMUs for the line be delivered as bi-mode rather than
solely electric sets. They can be converted to pure EMUs later. The original plan was for a fleet of 21 x
9-car electric sets, supplemented by 36 x 5-car bi-mode Class 800 sets operating from 2017/18. The
units, built primarily by Hitachi at Newton Aycliffe, will replace HSTs on the GWML.
1233] Thingley thing: Weekly Operating Notices advise that reversible signalling was due to be
restored between Thingley Jn and Bathampton Jn on the GWML from 13 June.
1259 WEST MIDLANDS
ABOVE: Norton Bridge several layouts ago; 2 Aug 1937 from the footbridge looking south towards
Stafford, the fast line island platform is on the left and slow line island is to the right (ER Morten).
1234] Norton Bridge: (BLN 1256.936) The Up Fast rerouting from the east to west side of the island
platform reminds a member that he is interested in when the 'other' Norton Bridge island platform
between the Up and Down Slow lines closed. In summer 1956 all stoppers were shown as 'fast' lines.
The previous remodelled layout was commissioned over the weekend of 7/8 Oct 1961, along with
resignalling for electrification. The then new Norton Bridge PSB opened on the latter date with the
'new' island platform. This was the former Fast lines island with new platform buildings accessed by a
new long concrete footbridge (since removed) from the west side of the WCML. This island was served
only by trains going to/from the Stone direction. While the Up Fast from Crewe would allow trains
from there to call at Norton Bridge, the west platform face was served by the 'Up & Down Recess' line
which led (only) to the Down line to Stone. Thus anyone who has called at Norton Bridge on a Down
train will have done this recess (now the route of the new Up Fast from Crewe). Presumably, Stafford
to Crewe local trains must have ceased calling when the Slow line platform closed.
1235] Wolverhampton - Walsall: (BLN 1258.1063/64) From the May timetable change, NR had
planned to put a 'Blocked to Electric Traction' order on the Darlaston Jn to Pleck Jn line for 12 months.
This was to set up a new neutral section and feeder for the Walsall to Rugeley electrification. As the
06.38 (SO) Wolverhampton to Walsall is a Class 323 EMU, it was timetabled to run via the Soho Loop
instead, leaving at 06.38 and taking 30 minutes instead of 12 directly. The Service Level Agreement
only specifies a direct service with no maximum journey time but the change is still a 'withdrawal of
passenger service' between Darlaston Jn and Pleck Jn. At Walsall it forms the 07.31 to Wolverhampton
via Birmingham New Street. However, just before the timetable change NR withdrew the possession.
From September, the train will be booked via Darlaston Jn again and is likely to go this way with STP
timings before then (as booked on 10 September); LM wishes to retain their drivers' route knowledge.
1236] Midland Metro: (BLN 1258.1965) (1): The line has never covered its costs in the 17 years since it
opened and the operator, National Express, has lost about £34M since 1999. Although around 85M
journeys have been made since 1999; eight million passengers were expected annually, but there are
actually about five million. Passenger numbers have increased by almost a third since the Bull Street
extension opened (but did drop before due to the temporary service curtailment at St Paul's), so hopes
are high with the further extension to Grand Central.
(2): Contactless credit and debit cards are now accepted to buy paper tickets from the conductors (!).
A West Midlands 'Swift Card' gives about a 10-11% discount on the cash fares on local trams and buses
and can work as a season ticket, paper tickets are still issued with it. Swift Cards are expected to be
extended to local trains.
(3): The Midland Metro is included in the Birmingham 'Plus Bus' ticket area as far as the M6 Motorway
and a £1 single, £2 return 'City Hop' fare is available between Grand Central and Jewellery Quarter or
(4): To stimulate traffic, the Midland Metro website now lists 22 'Great Places to Visit by tram'. The
highlight must be Sandwell New Square Shopping Centre! (5): Corporation Street stop has no shelter
on the inbound platforms as it is probably assumed that no 'normal' passengers would make the very
short journey round the corner to Grand Central, until the line is extended to Centenary Square.
1237] Docklands Light Railway (London!): Thanks to our Society Cartographer, Martyn Brailsford, an
original centrefold, pull out track plan of the present system, which we are railtouring on 24/25 June (a
few places still remain, see BLN 1258.1056). There is one level crossing, in Beckton depot. LU also has a
level crossing, at Neasden depot and used to have another north of North Weald station on the Epping
to Ongar line until that closed in 1994. (The plan is here due to paper-BLN formatting requirements.)
1238] Droitwich Spa: (BLN 1258.1133) The trailing crossover was in ECS use as described but trains
were reversing on the Down Main rather than in the loop, despite completion of the walking route for
drivers to change end alongside it. One point rod was not connected which may have been a factor.
1239] Malvern Wells (MW): (BLN 1257.1022) In a further Phase of the area signalling life extension
programme (semaphores until 2025 at least) between 17 June and 4 July there are to be alterations to,
and renewals of, the signalling and track layout. The trailing Up Main to Down Main crossover is being
replaced 320m nearer to Great Malvern station (about half way along the Down Goods Loop). The Up
Refuge (Engineers) Siding is to be removed. Of note, Down Goods Loop signal MW33 is being renewed
and moved 30m nearer to Worcester. It will have the honour of being NR's newest semaphore signal!
To add to the variety a new Up Main signal (a two aspect LED), 'MW5', will be located at 129m 50ch.
Your local Editor wonders if the Malvern Civic Society would approve of plastic LED signals?
1240] Hereford: (BLN 1257.1025) From 20 June control of the points for the trailing crossover (from
Up to Down Main) is due to be removed from Brecon Curve Ground frame (50m 44ch). The points are
to be converted to power operation and controlled from Hereford signal box. Two new three aspect
LED signals will be commissioned, one at the north end of P1 and the other similarly on P2. Departing
north from P1 or P2 the aforementioned crossover will, of course, be facing for passenger trains to the
Up Main. Although there is no evidence of imminent changes to Hereford platforming, anyone wanting
bay P4 had better get their (wheel) skates on! Its only booked, but reliable, departure is 20.00 SO to
Birmingham New St. However due to engineering work this is not due to run until 9 July. NB it may be
less reliable (due to ATW services being replaced by buses) until 23 July when there is a full service.
1241] Shrewsbury: (BLN 1256.932) The River Severn bridge repairs at the station (the brickwork is
bowing) began on Sat 11 June when P4 became a temporary north facing bay for the weekend. ATW
weekend services are replaced by buses between Shrewsbury and Newport until 17 July (with more
work elsewhere on the line). Weekend platform space at Shrewsbury is restricted and some trains are
shortened. The exact condition of the bridge will not be known until the work starts. RTT suggests that
P3 will now mostly be available as a through route during the work except at weekends. Regarding the
report on our Severn Bridge Junction Signal Box visit of 9 April, it is the fully reversible P4 that is bi-
directionally signalled by 'acceptance levers' with Crewe Junction box rather than P3. P3 is available
for passenger arrivals and departures at its south end but only departures north to Wrexham.
1242] Dublin: (BLNs 1256.942 & 1257.1028) On Tuesday 7 June resignalling from north of Tara Street
to Sandymount was to be commissioned with LED colour light signals except some ground level single
lens searchlight LEDs. Signalling into P1 at Grand Canal Dock was also to be commissioned, though the
platform is not yet in use. It is a bay on the Boston Sidings (Up) side and currently ends at temporary
buffers just short of a fixed red running signal for future extension as a loop towards Lansdowne Road.
Signalling into the two Boston Sidings was also to be commissioned with the sidings also not in use.
There is a temporary buffer stop which remains on the Through Siding approaching the Boston Sidings.
Access to P3 and to the Boston Sidings is via separate crossovers trailing into the bi-directionally
signalled Up Main. The bi-directional Down Loop between Pearse and Grand Canal Dock is in use.
There are now seven crossovers between the Up and Down Main between Tara Street and Lansdowne
Road. The signalling is stated to have been optimised for EMU and DMU commuter traffic and all light
engine, loco hauled and push-pull movements are prohibited between Connolly and Sandymount,
other than as special or emergency movements restricted to a maximum speed of 20mph.
1243] South Wexford line: (BLN 1258.1138) Apart from the weed spray train not being scheduled to
traverse the line, it is understood that a Wexford to Waterford ECS working due to operate in mid-June
will not now take that route as no traffic is currently permitted to cross the Barrow bridge. Reasons
have not been given. The ECS was for a 'Steam Dreams' tour and will now run via Dublin and Athy.
Station Forecast Recorded 1259 SCOTLAND
Tweedbank 18,978 183,918 1244] Borders Railway: Passenger usage figures for the six
Galashiels 20,567 104,593 months since it opened on 6 Sep 2015 have been announced,
Stow 5,129 24,365 the total is 22% above the forecast (see left). However, the
Gorebridge 79,014 39,400 figures for individual stations vary considerably. Generally, the
Newtongrange 46,449 50,480 further out from Edinburgh a station is, the better it seems to
Eskbank 114,568 65,672 have done (implying that the additional journeys are also for
Shawfair 54,298 9,398 longer distances than predicted). *Newcraighall figures also
Newcraighall* *11,344 include Brunstane.
Waverley** 228,156 205,203 1245] Port Elphinstone: (15m 16ch) In February all sidings
Total 568,024 694,373 were still connected but very overgrown. The ground frame
used to be released by a lever in Inverurie signal box. The connection was officially taken OOU on 3
Apr 2001 (BLN 770.90 has 31 Oct 1995) but traffic may have ceased before. In BLN freight traffic was
last reported here during Oct 1991. During the coming year or so, about 16 miles of the main line is
due to be re-doubled, extending from the north end of Aberdeen Hutcheon Street Tunnel to
Inverurie. The short section through Aberdeen Schoolhill and Hutcheon Street Tunnels will remain
single. Port Elphinstone should be plain-lined and all sidings etc recovered.
1246] Boat of Kintore: (12m 78ch) With redoubling here, full barriers (MCB-OD) will replace the AHB.
ABOVE, BOTTOM RIGHT: Boat of Kintore level crossing with half barriers, the other
three views are the sidings at Port Elphinstone. (All Nick Jones, February 2016)
BLN 1259.1247] Dyce: The station buildings were destroyed by fire on 22 Nov and the site was cleared
by 17 April. There was an award winning chippy, but fishing around the remains found it had had its
chips! ABOVE: Dyce 17 Apr 2016, the tall signal box at the Aberdeen end of P2 is visible upper right.
1248] Glasgow: (BLN 1256.866) Below is thanks to Ian Delgado http://unusualtrack.co.uk/UT.htm and
his 'Unusual Track' website. It is a suggested itinerary to complete all the current diversions in one day,
with a few extras thrown in. This can be any day, Sundays excepted, until 6 August. There are several
hotels along the Great Western Road 10 to 15 minutes walk from Anniesland station; one that is
recommended is the Glasgow Pond hotel. Unusual Track references are given in square parentheses.
05.58 Anniesland - Springburn - Stepps (06.30): Facing crossover from Down to Up Springburn at
Cowlairs West Jn. [Sc07-01c]. (To reduce the waiting time at Stepps, stay on to Cumbernauld,
(06.44) and return on the 06.58 Cumbernauld to Anniesland, which is the 07.10 from Stepps).
07.10 Stepps - Springburn P2 (07.16): Down Stepps to Springburn P2 facing X/O [Sc07-03c].
….(A hot drink and/or breakfast is available at the Deli Licious coffee shop just outside the station.)
08.22 Springburn P1- Glasgow Queen St LL (08.34): Trailing X/O north of Barnhill station [Sc07-03d].
09.01 Glasgow Queen St LL - Croy P1 (09.22): Up Springburn to Springburn P1 [Sc07-03a] and
Sighthill West Jn to Cowlairs West Jn [Sc07-01b].
09.28 Croy P2 - Glasgow Queen St LL (09.58): Cowlairs East Jn to Cowlairs North Jn [Sc07-01a] and
Maryland to Anniesland P1 [Sc07-04f] OR 09.57 from Croy covers the same track (Queen St 10.28),
then the 11.05 to Dumbarton Central P3 (11.43) but later option misses the West Highland Loop.
10.22 Glasgow Queen St LL-Helensburgh Upper (1124): Maryhill to Westerton [Sc07-04a], and West
Highland Loop at Craigendoran Jn [Sc06-03a]. Walk to Helensburgh Central (10/15 mins downhill).
11.53 Helensburgh Central - Dumbarton Central P1 (12.08).
12.26 Dumbarton Central P3 - Partick (12.58): Dumbarton Central P3 and crossover [Sc06-04a].
13.05 Partick - Glasgow Central LL (13.12) OR 13.25 from Partick to Central (13.31).
14.15 Glasgow Central HL - Stirling (15.07): Langloan Jn to Coatbridge Jn [Sc08-03a].
15.44 Stirling-Glasgow Central HL (16.34): Coatbridge Jn to Langloan Jn [Sc08-03b]. Walk Queen St.
17.22 Glasgow Queen St LL - Bishopbriggs (17.51) Anniesland P2 facing X/O, chord to Maryhill
[Sc07-04g] and Cowlairs North Jn to Cowlairs East Jn [Sc07-01a].
17.57 or 18.29 Bishopbriggs - Glasgow Queen St LL (18.20): Cowlairs West Jn to Sighthill West Jn
[Sc07-01b] and connection from Springburn P2 to Down Springburn [Sc07-03b].
Saturdays: Strathclyde TPE Daytripper (£11.50, no railcard discounts) covers it all, a wide area, buses
and the subway, except Glasgow to Stirling day return (£8.10). In the week, the Daytripper is valid after
09.00; requiring an Anniesland to Springburn single, Springburn to Stepps/Cumbernauld return, and a
Springburn to Glasgow single. The 07.13 (SSuX) Kirkcaldy to Haymarket P0 is also available until 6 Aug.
ABOVE: View from the front of the 3.46pm DMU about to leave Senghenydd, looking south on 17 Aug 1962.
1249] A Trip to Wales in 1962 - Part 3 (of 3), by Angus McDougall: (Continued from BLN 1258.1151)…
Fri 17 Aug 1962 (cont): From Newport High Street I took an 'Intercity' diesel unit along the main line
to Cardiff General (now Central) past places with such delectable names as St Mellons East, St
Mellons West, Rumney River Bridge, and Long Dyke Junction. From General I made my way to Bute
Road station; my notes do not indicate my method of travel; possibly I just walked! I would certainly
have been interested in looking at the single deck trolleybus route along Bute Street, but I do not think
I travelled on it. The 3.46 to Senghenydd was my aim, which was a diesel multiple unit. This also
formed the 4.45 return working which I took to Caerphilly. An earlier trip (in 1959) had taken me as far
as Aber Junction on my way to Bargoed, so only the branch itself was new track. The former Barry
Railway connection referred to previously crossed over the Senghenydd branch near Penyrheol, but
even less remained in evidence there.
My next train was the 5.19 from Caerphilly to Ystrad Mynach, a 6-car diesel unit. Here I alighted and
was pleased to see 0-6-2T No5655 standing at the head of the 5.42 to Dowlais Cae Harris in the side
platform on the branch connection climbing up from Ystrad Mynach South to Penalltau Junction.
Some trains (this may have been one) ran through from the south, but these movements were
unadvertised (workman's) trains which I thought I probably would not be permitted to travel on. Their
existence was later revealed to me by the notes on 'Passenger Services over Unusual Lines', published
by the Stephenson Locomotive Society in their Journal from 1963 onwards, but then, as now, owing
much to the expertise and intimate knowledge of railway geography and operations of Richard Maund.
[BLN 1259] ABOVE: Ystrad Mynach, the branch platforms with a train for Dowlais Cae Harris, 17 Aug 1962.
The train joined the Pontypool Road to Neath line at Penalltau Junction and probably made
connections with services on that line at Nelson & Llancaiach. I noted the stub of the onetime Taff
Vale Railway (TVR) branch from Pontypridd (Pont Shon Norton) just to the east of the station here.
The final section of this branch, beyond Nelson (Glam) TVR station was always freight only and
survived the passenger section to the south by about twenty or more years. West of Nelson GWR my
train took the steeply graded branch past the splendidly named Ffaldcaiach signalbox and then high
on the valley side above the branch serving Ocean Colliery. The branch was double track but south of
Bedlinog single line working (with token) was in use because a landslide had rendered the outer track
unsafe. The summit was at Cwmbargoed, a bleak place, now well known as the present terminus of
the branch and an opencast coal loading point. It is not far from Fochriw on the B&M line, which I had
passed through only a few hours earlier. From there the line ran steeply downhill, with remains of the
LNWR Dowlais Top to Cwmbargoed branch (finally closed after several closures and reopenings by
Dowlais Junction box, on the approach to Cae Harris, was the prosaic modern name for the former
Zig-Zag Lines Junction where the connections towards Dowlais ironworks went off down the hillside
by a zig-zag arrangement of reversals. Also here was the Furnace Tops branch, later used for access to
Cae Harris and the GKN (Guest Keen & Nettlefolds) steelworks beyond when subsidence caused
closure of the direct (and one time passenger) line east of the junction. Dowlais Cae Harris was a small
undistinguished terminal station with its building on the main Dowlais to Merthyr road. A level
crossing alongside to the west took the private GKN line to their steelworks on the north side. Further
up the hill to the east was the site of the LNWR station at Dowlais High Street, its course crossing the
road by a high arched bridge, as I remember. I caught a bus from somewhere near here (I do not now
recall who was the operator; possibly Gelligaer UDC) to Rhymney. From there my last journey of the
day was the 7.10 to Cardiff, another diesel unit, this time towing a bogie van, rather unusually. My
notes do not provide information about where I alighted in the city; either Queen Street or General,
This was the first of two nights I was to spend in Cardiff; very often in those days I stayed at the Central
Hotel, which was just to the east of General station and about as close to the railway as it was possible
for a building to be. I remember seeing (and no doubt hearing) a 'Hall' 4-6-0 passing within a few feet
of a window at the end of a corridor. As you might imagine an overnight stay was hardly a quiet and
ABOVE: Warwickshire Railway Society South Wales Railtour No2 at Cwmbargoed, 13 Apr 1968.
Sat 18 Aug 1962: The next morning, Saturday, I found my way to Clarence Road station; this was not
far from Bute Road, and indeed not very far from General, and I presume that I walked there, although
as with Bute Road, it was served by trolleybuses. The station itself was a neat modern single platform
affair, which I believe had replaced a war damaged structure. I caught the 8.25 train, a 3-car diesel unit
bound for Cadoxton via Penarth. But I alighted at the 'Riverside' platforms at General, so referred to
because they once formed the separate Riverside station. It was my intention to catch the 8.31 to
Merthyr (three minutes after my booked arrival), and consequently had no opportunity to 'do' the
main line connection. Those who get overexcited at the thought of 'linking up' or 'overlap' will be
pleased to know that eventually I was able to do just that on our 22 Oct 1983 'Double Dragon' railtour.
But this was many years later; I was now heading for Hirwaun, which involved a change of trains (and
stations) at Quakers Yard. I have always found plenty of interest on the old TVR main line, and on this
occasion I had the advantage of good observation from a diesel multiple unit. North of Queen Street
the quaintly named modern Crockherbtown signalbox was still to be seen, but the one time shuttle to
Maindy and Woodville Road Halts had ceased on 15 Sep 1958, and Cathays locomotive shed had
become a diesel depot in the same year. The withdrawal of this inner suburban passenger service
(which had a rather odd pattern of stopping trains, since the halts were only accessible from the Up or
northbound line) was vaguely scandalous. In early 1958, the then Western Region of British Railways
made substantial cuts in many secondary, local and branch line services but in no case (to the best of
my knowledge) withdrew any service completely. This enabled a proposal for closure to proceed
through the proper channels in a more leisurely manner later in the year, with only a small number of
valid objections because of the paucity of trains. We have, of course, seen similar examples of such
action in more recent years, although sometimes a single train remaining may survive for some years
(for example, Stockport to Stalybridge).
The amazing building of Castell Coch was visible to the east as we proceeded north of Radyr, but I was
more interested in trying to see signs of the Cardiff Railway line beyond Coryton Halt which had been
resurrected from a derelict state after the war to serve the new colliery and coking plant at Nantgarw.
I had seen a photograph of an 0-6-2T heading a coal train through the weeds on this section, which
was replaced by a new connection north of Taffs Well opened on 16 June 1952. Needless to say I was
able to spot nothing of interest.
A more railway-related landmark was the massive Walnut Tree Viaduct, which crossed the valley here
on a series of girders resting on tall brick piers. Like the Llanbradach viaduct mentioned earlier, this
was part of the Barry Railway's attempts to capture the South Wales coal traffic, but, unlike it, this one
had survived. It eventually succumbed on 18 Dec 1967 when the dolomite works (visible on the hillside
on the west side of the valley) closed; the line onward to Tynycaeau closed 31 Mar 1963, after the
signal box at Tynycaeau was damaged by fire. The line beyond the dolomite works was retained to the
site of the burnt signalbox for rounding purposes.
ABOVE: Walnut Tree viaduct, from train on Taff Valley Railway line, 13 Apr 1968.
Another railway relic I have several times looked for in vain on this section was the TVR Llantrisant
branch which diverged somewhere near Maesmawr signal box until it was replaced by a connection
from the Barry Railway line at Tonteg on 5 May 1930. This TVR branch itself had replaced an earlier
line in 1863 which went off even further south. Several other lines or courses of lines joined my route
near Treforest (now Trefforest): first was the Barry Railway line coming down the hillside, with that
company's line to Trehafod via Pontypridd Graig presumably alongside and higher up. Then the
remains of the Cardiff Railway viaduct over the river Taff were clearly visible on the right hand side.
This represented another amazing piece of railway history; the railway was built all the way from
Cardiff and a junction with the TVR constructed in 1909, but no revenue earning traffic ever used the
connection, owing to the kind of dispute so frequent in the early and middle days of railways.
Passenger trains ran to Rhydyfelin Low Level Halt, on the east bank of the river until 20 July 1931
when the service was cut back to Coryton Halt, although as we have noted part of the southern
section of the line saw traffic again later. At 'PC&N Junction', (as in the 'Pontypridd, Caerphilly &
Newport Railway') the Alexandra (Newport and South Wales) Docks and Railway line came in also
across the river; this line lost its passenger service on 17 Sep 1956 but was still available for freight at
this time. There were further junctions north of Pontypridd, where a triangular arrangement led to the
branch up the Rhondda valley (to Porth and Treherbert). The other end of the former TVR Nelson
branch (seen on the previous day at Nelson) was visible at Pont Shon Norton and the Ynysybwl and
Lady Windsor Colliery branches joined at Stormstown south of Abercynon, both freight only. A steep
climb beyond Abercynon (replacing a rope worked incline in the early days of the TVR) brought me to
Quakers Yard Low Level.
ABOVE: A very different world! Quakers Yard High Level: train to Hirwaun approaching, 18 Aug 1962.
My train from Quakers Yard High Level station ('Adjoins Low Level station' as the timetable note put
it) to Hirwaun was hauled by 0-6-0PT No3682 and left at 9.36. At the west end of this station there was
once a junction leading to the Quakers Yard and Merthyr Joint line up the west side of the valley to
Merthyr. This end of the line had closed on 12 Feb 1951, largely because of damage to the viaduct at
the junction from mining subsidence. The alarmingly buckled arches of this viaduct were still visible
from my train as it ran on to the single line through the tunnel to Mountain Ash Cardiff Road.
This GWR line which formed part of the Pontypool Road to Neath route ran roughly parallel with the
TVR branch as far as Aberdare. Both branches closed to passengers in 1964, but rearrangements from
30 July 1973 provided a connection between the two lines near Abercwmboi; largely to give direct
access from the south to Tower Colliery at Hirwaun but also to remove the level crossing over the TVR
line west of the Low Level station. Passenger services were later started over this realigned branch
from Abercynon. Beyond Aberdare was a very complicated arrangement of railways which I never
managed to sort out on the ground; now there is just a single line beyond the sole remaining station.
Some sort of connection between the lines existed at Gadlys Junction, and there was a steeply graded
branch from the TVR to Bwllfa Dare, as well that railway's extension to Mill Street Halt.
At the fascinatingly named Gelli Tarw Junction, the line from Merthyr (my next destination) came in
from the right but on the left were traces of a far more interesting branch. This was the GWR
Cwmamman branch (closed on 1 Sep 1939) which was notable for running over the last Brunel style
timber viaducts in Britain. The timber viaducts in the West of England have always attracted mention
in the railway magazines, and replacement of the last one, Collingwood Viaduct on the Falmouth
branch in 1936 or so, was well documented, but in contrast very little has been written about the
viaducts in this rather obscure part of South Wales.
[BLN 1259] ABOVE: Merthyr train at Hirwaun ('Hirwain' on the 1923 RCH map above), 18 Aug 1962.
I changed at Hirwaun (my train went on to Neath) and caught the 11.10 to Merthyr which consisted of
auto trailer no W242W (one of the newer ones) propelled by 0-6-0PT No6433. The single line
connecting branch had two intermediate stations but only one crossing loop, not at either station but
at Werfa Loop signal box, and a long tunnel. It joined the B&M line from Pontsticill Junction (and also
the QY&M branch from Quakers Yard, mentioned earlier) at Rhydycar Junction, on the west side of
the valley from Merthyr.
I took the conventional route south of Merthyr by means of the 11.00, a 6-car diesel unit to
Pontypridd, joining my outward route at Quakers Yard Low Level. Another 6-car unit (at 11.36) took
me from there to Porth, where I joined the 12.28 for Maerdy. The route from Pontypridd passed the
top end of the original Barry Railway line from Tonteg at Trehafod; this last section of the through line
was closed on 4 June 1956, having ceased to carry passenger trains on 5 May 1930. I also noted the
branch to Coedcae Colliery going off at the oddly named (to the non-Welsh eye) Eirw Branch Junction
signal box. I admired the large signal boxes grandly named 'Rhondda Fach Jc North Signal Box' and
'Rhondda Fach Jc South Signal Box' (replaced 29 Mar 1981 by a small cabin simply called 'Porth', the
last new mechanical signal box built by British Rail) and the 3-car unit battled its way up the fearsome
grades in the Rhondda Fach (little Rhondda) valley.
BELOW: The train from Hirwaun at Merthyr, (High Street) 18 Aug 1962; the present station is on part of the site.
[BLN 1259] ABOVE: Rhondda Fach Jc South Signal Box. (All photos Angus McDougall unless specified.)
BELOW: Porth Signal Box in March 1981. (Adrian Putley and see http://goo.gl/ur3uVI )
Single track began beyond the last station, Ferndale, at Maerdy Junction, where there had once been
a locomotive shed; only the traces of the engine pits still survived. I travelled in the front coach, and
since the door to the driver's compartment was open had the benefit of comments from him during
my journey, particularly when we chased a deranged sheep along the track. It seems that the local
sheep found lying in between the rails much warmer than sleeping on the surrounding land and this
had been known to cause problems for the first train of the day. The single passenger platform at the
terminus was alongside the extension of the branch leading some distance further up the valley to
Mardy Colliery, which of course survived until 1986 (there were three colour pictures of this branch in
e-BLN 1247). I returned on the 12.28 which ran through to Pontypridd.
ABOVE: Maerdy, branch terminus, the train from Porth, 18 Aug 1962 (See also BLN 1248.X4 picture).
I now headed for Cardiff General, but via the ex-Barry Railway line and St Fagans; the 1.40 train was
provided by a 3-car diesel unit. The connection to the ex-BR line was taken at Treforest Junction and
the site of the 1930 rearrangements described earlier was noted at Tonteg Junction; passenger
services over the line towards Llantrisant had ceased on 31 Mar 1952. We were now on the Barry
Railway main line, constructed to carry coal from a junction with the TVR at Trehafod to the new docks
at Barry. In keeping with this main line status, several of the stations had a four track layout, with
platforms only on the outer loops: Efail Isaf and Creigiau were examples of these. At Tynycaeau North
signal box the line from Penrhos Junction over Walnut Tree Viaduct came in from the north east, and
we diverged on the opposite side onto the curve passing under the line to Barry and joining the GWR
South Wales main line to the west of St Fagans station. Rather to my regret my train did not use the
Leckwith connection, a spur dating from 29 Nov 1931 linking the main line with the parallel TVR freight
line from Radyr, and it was to be some years before a railtour took me that way.
BELOW: Efail Isaf station and signalbox, from the train, 19 Aug 1962.
The 2.26 from Cardiff General (another 6-car diesel unit) carried me to Barry by the direct route
through Dinas Powis; this left the TVR Penarth line at Cogan Junction, where both (medium sized
GWR) and old (large TVR) signal boxes still stood. At Cadoxton, the Barry Railway line from Pontypridd
curved round to join us, and, just by a long footbridge crossing these sidings and the curve was a fine
signal with home and distant somersault arms on twin posts, one for each direction if I remember
correctly. Beyond there by Barry Docks station the former Dock Office is still a landmark, but
Woodham Bros scrapyard in the dock area to the south of the former locomotive shed and works had
not yet been established. Although steam locomotive withdrawals were quite frequent in 1962, there
were not yet the dumps and scrapyards full of derelict motive power that appeared later on.
My journey continued westwards on the 2.55 to Bridgend, a 2-car diesel unit. Like the ex-Barry
Railway main line between Pontypridd and Cadoxton, this route was laid out with a four track layout at
many of the stations. Aberthaw was one of these and historical OS maps confirm that the former TVR
station lay at a lower level and on the sea side of it, although I have never managed to identify clearly
any remains. The TVR branch which formed an extension of the branch from Pontypridd to Llantrisant
was closed to all traffic south of Cowbridge on 1 Nov 1932, although apparently the track remained in
position until 1940. Its course ran through what later became the Aberthaw cement works on the
north side of the curve beyond the BR station, and some evidence of it could be seen there.
BELOW: 1898 six-inch map showing Aberthaw Taff Vale Railway low-level terminus and the high-level
…………Vale of Glamorgan Railway through station. Both were later part of the (original) GWR.
ABOVE: Bridgend, the 3.54 to Abergwynfi 18 Aug 1962; the west end of this platform is now rare bay P3.
The Barry to Bridgend line lost its passenger services on 15 June 1964, together with very many other
lines all over the country, but was after that used quite frequently for diversions away from the main
line through Llantrisant, and has now reopened for timetabled services. There was a direct connection
around Bridgend to the Tondu line on the north side of the town via Coity Goods which went off at
Cowbridge Road Junction, until recently still the site of a signal box (the connection closed at this end
on 15 June 1964). My next train was on the Tondu line, the 3.54 to Cymmer Afan, hauled by 2-6-2T No
4144, which started from the east side platform at Bridgend. Coity Junction (see RCH map above)
marked the north end of the Bridgend station avoiding line referred to earlier in this paragraph, and
there were branches on each side at Tondu.North of Maesteg Castle Street the former Port Talbot
Railway line crossed high overhead, and some signals were visible.These were controlled from North's
Collieries signal box and remained long after that box had closed on 31 Aug 1964 and when the short
section of line remaining was only used by NCB coal trains (which ignored the signals!).
RIGHT: Maesteg, former
Port Talbot Railway with
NCB train, 12 Mar 1970.
[BLN 1259] ABOVE: Cymmer Afan, looking towards Blaengwynfi. The Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway
trackbed is on the left and the new connection to GWR Abergwynfi branch is right, 18 Aug 1962.
ABOVE: Cymmer Afan, the ex-GWR platforms, old and new signalboxes and the spectacular viaduct carrying
the link to the South Wales Mineral Railway beyond (map above and http://goo.gl/vSftja ) 18 Aug 1962.
Cymmer Afan has always been a favourite place of mine. My first visit was over the Rhondda and
Swansea Bay Railway (RSB) line from Treherbert in 1959 and I had not been back since that line east of
the station closed on 13 June 1960. On this visit I noted the new signal box (a 'plywood wonder', later
moved to Bargoed, where it was in use until 9 Sep 2013) and I took a photograph showing the
connection laid in 1960 from the former RSB side of the station to the GWR Abergwynfi branch
alignment. This photograph achieved what I hope might be thought of as fame when it appeared on
the cover of the BLS publication, 'A Guide to Closed Railways' in 1977. Other points of interest here
were the massive viaduct crossing the valley and carrying the connection from the Maesteg direction
to the South Wales Mineral Railway (SWMR) station at Cymmer Corrwg and the SWMR itself, at that
time still being used by an unadvertised workmen's passenger service to and from North Rhondda, as
well as by coal trains. At the time of my 1962 visit, the lines to north and south still retained passenger
services (to Neath via Aberavon and to Treherbert) but there was no train to Neath until 6.00 and my
records indicate that I caught a bus! The service in any case did not survive much longer and was
withdrawn on 3 December. The bus, I think, was a Bristol single decker belonging to United Welsh (an
operator which has now disappeared) and ran via the Pelenna valley near the former Tonmawr
Junction, an area of great railway interest which I have never really explored. I arrived in Neath in time
to catch the 6.00 from General station to Aberdare High Level. The motive power for this train was 0-
6-0PT No4668 and it used the curve from Neath West to Neath Junction, closed 15 Aug 1966 (although
losing its passenger trains on 15 June 1964). One
train a day heading in this direction started from
Neath Riverside on the line from Jersey Marine;
this was a school train at 4.20 in the afternoon.
RIGHT: Neath Riverside with a train
…. …to Brecon on 28 Sep 1959.
This was not my first journey over the western end of the line to Pontypool Road, but it was probably
my last trip over the section through Rhigos, since the whole line lost its passenger service on 15 June
1964 and this summit segment closed completely on 2 Oct 1967. My train was piloted over the steep
bits from Glyn Neath (where there was a locomotive shed) to Hirwaun by 2-8-0T No4282; rather a
strange combination of engines. BELOW: Glyn Neath locomotive shed (station left), 28 Sep 1959.
At Hirwaun Pond Halt (BLN 1257.990) an unadvertised station served the industrial estate which had
replaced the government establishment there, and this is now the terminus of the line from the east,
since there is a pad for loading coal from local opencast sites near the former Tower Colliery. At the
west end of Hirwaun station the private railway from Penderyn Quarry came in; I do not remember
spotting it on this occasion, but I certainly later had a ride on this quite lengthy private line. I left the
train at Aberdare High Level and walked the short distance to the ex-TVR Low Level station. Here I
caught the 7.00 to Abercynon, a 3-car diesel unit, passing Abercwmboi coking plant and various
collieries. The last section, from Pontcynon Junction signal box was single track. I then returned to
Cardiff for my second night there on the 7.24, a 6-car diesel unit.
Sun 19 Aug 1962: The next day was Sunday and the timetable had presented me with a dilemma. The
train service over several of the remaining lines of interest was so poor that I was faced with a choice
between going to Porthcawl and then (with a bit of luck) from Pontypridd to Barry Island or going
across Walnut Tree Viaduct on the one passenger train of the week, also to Barry Island. The second
choice meant getting to Rhymney by 12.00 noon or to Llanbradach by 12.44 (and, I suppose, to any of
the intermediate stations between those times). This was certainly possible but it would involve
starting from Cardiff General at 8.21 and then waiting at Llanbradach for 3 hours or at Rhymney for 2
hours, not the most exciting prospect. The next train to Rhymney was at 3.13 pm!
I thought perhaps I would get across the viaduct in the future (I did not, of course) and that maybe the
other combination had the edge, so I caught the 10.45 from Cardiff General to Porthcawl, with 2-6-2T
No4137 at the head. The route was along the South Wales main line as far as Pyle; here the branch
from Tondu to Porthcawl ran underneath the main line, but a connection permitted through running
from the east. Before the Second World War the GWR had intended to improve the Porthcawl branch,
and some of the planned work was actually carried out. This included some doubling of the track and a
west facing curve to permit through trains from Neath and Swansea was built. By 1962 this curve
(from Pyle West Junction to Heol-y-Sheet Crossing, where double track ended) carried three or four
trains each way on weekdays and one or two on Sundays.
ABOVE: Porthcawl, after arrival of the train from Cardiff, Sun 19 Aug 1962 (note semaphore signals).
It seems that I must have been able to study a bus timetable beforehand, because when I reached
Porthcawl (at 11.43), I knew that a bus for Pontypridd would leave there in a very few minutes, and I
ran round the buffer stop end of the platforms to leave the station, taking a quick photograph of my
train on the way. I caught the bus (with some puffing and panting); it was a single decker, I think,
owned by Western Welsh, and it deposited me in Pontypridd in plenty of time for the 1.45 train to
Barry Island. This was hauled by 0-6-2T No5677 and took the ex-Barry Railway route of the previous
day as far as Tynycaeau North signal box, where the line I would have used had I made the other
choice came in from the left. This was the signal box that was damaged by fire on 31 Mar 1963, thus
preventing me ever doing any of these lines again. The branch to St Fagans that I had traversed on the
previous day was closed on 10 Sep 1962 (only a few weeks after my visit). The ex-Barry Railway route
crossed over the South Wales main line and received a connection from it at Drope Junction before
joining the line from Cardiff at Cadoxton. My train continued beyond Barry round the causeway to
Barry Island, where I saw (and photographed) a very fine specimen of a Barry Railway somersault
signal at the east end of the station. Track continued beyond to carriage sidings and a single line
dropping down towards a tunnel; this ran to Barry Pier, a station which provided connections with
P & A Campbell's steamers to Ilfracombe and other places in the Bristol Channel during the season.
I eventually, on 13 Apr 1968, went there on a railtour; the last scheduled passenger train ran on 11 Oct
1971 and official closure was on 5 May 1975.
My final journey before heading for home was the 3.40 from Barry Island to Cardiff General, a 6-car
diesel unit. This ran via Penarth, diverging from the direct route via Dinas Powis at Biglis Junction
(controlled in 1962 from Cadoxton South). This indirect service was later curtailed at Penarth from
both ends. The passenger lines at Penarth faced one another across two stopblocks, although there
was a parallel through freight line for traffic to the cement works beyond the station to the south. This
slightly strange arrangement seemed to be favoured about this time with similar systems being put in
at Kirkby and Ormskirk on Merseyside, although there was no connection at all between the two lines
at the former place and only an emergency link at the latter. Passenger service south of Penarth was
withdrawn altogether on 6 May 1968 and traffic to the cement works ceased on 13 Oct 1969. After a
railtour on 4 May 1968 a group of us were having a meal in a restaurant near Cardiff General station
when one person present revealed that he had never travelled over the Penarth to Cadoxton section,
but although this was the last evening of the service he decided that eating had higher priority!
ABOVE: Barry Island, looking toward Barry Pier, with TVR somersault signal, 19 August 1962.
The 5.40 from Cardiff General to Hereford was the first stage in my return north; this was a 6-car
diesel unit heading for Birmingham Snow Hill. It ran via Newport and Pontypool Road. I changed at
Hereford and used the northern section of the North and West line to Shrewsbury, where I stayed the
night. The next day a diesel multiple unit (the 9.08) from Shrewsbury to Birmingham Snow Hill
through Wellington and Wolverhampton Low Level led me to a Bristol to York train (hauled by diesel
locomotive NoD37) from New Street to Derby Midland, following the Midland route, itself full of
interest, through Tamworth and Burton-on-Trent. The last lap, like the first, was from Derby to
Nottingham (for lunch), after 1,532 miles in eight days (slightly under a half of this was new to me).
1259 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR107] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire (MR p6): The Railway's 2-car 'Thumper' unit, 3D
DEMU 1302, valued at more than £100,000, was very badly damaged by fire during the evening of 20
May. The driving trailer car (60901) was virtually destroyed, with the driving motor car (60127)
receiving some damage. The unit was stabled near the Hayes Knoll end of the line when the fire was
discovered late in the afternoon. 'It [the driving trailer] is completely beyond repair' said a heartbroken
trustee Dave Peacey. 'We don't know when the fire started. I would imagine it had been burning most
of the day so how nobody spotted it I don't know. As far as I'm aware there are only three of these left
in the country. It is a very rare train. The most depressing thing was that volunteers had spent January
and February completely refurbishing it'. Three box wagons containing electrical equipment were also
destroyed. Mr Peacey said it appeared the blaze might have started in the wagons and spread to the
3D unit. A spokesman for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire service said the alarm was raised just before 18.00.
BELOW: Happier times, 1302 climbs to cross the River Ray, south of Blunsdon (Peter Scott 26 Mar 2011).
MR108] Barry Tourist Railway, Vale of Glamorgan (MR p9): BLN readers may be interested to know
that Barry Island station is now home to the 'Barry War Museum', a small but interesting display of
WWI and WWII militaria, including a reconstructed Anderson Shelter and recreated WWI Trench
section. Operating dates for the rest of this season are 12 June, then Saturdays and Sundays 30 July to
4 September, plus August Bank Holiday; there is a special 'Wartime Weekend' theme on 3/4
September. As last year, there will also be special park-and-ride service in operation on 5 November.
MR109] Eynsford Light Railway, Kent: Society members visited this 2ft gauge railway on 21 May, as
members of a Narrow Gauge Railway Society organised party. This rather charming private line is laid
in the grounds of the owner's house on a sloping hillside overlooking the ex-SE&C line from Swanley to
Otford and Sevenoaks. The station is close to the house and the line goes out in two directions. To the
south it passes stables and then curves round to run up the edge of a field to a loop and buffer stops
by the entrance to the property; at this point is above and parallel to the NR line. To the north, it is
rather more singular; the line descends by means of two zigzag reversals, to end amid trees in the
middle of the hillside. At the second reversal, there is a manure pile, and at the lower terminus logs for
domestic use are stored. There is a loop at the station, and a number of sidings. One is by the stables
for dung loading. By the station there is a long siding up to a loco shed and workshop, two into a
carriage shed and one which runs up a steep incline to end by the house for log delivery. This siding is
accessed by the most basic of points; two pieces of track bolted to the running line with one of the
siding rails climbing up sharply to lie on top the opposite running rail! There is also one running back
down the hill to a splay of three short stubs above the second reversal point (and the dung heap!).
The owner told the party that the line had three functions: first to transport manure from the stables
to the manure pile, secondly to carry cut logs up to the house and thirdly to 'play trains'! Two
locomotives were in use, both Simplex 0-4-0 industrial diesels. One had been on the line for some
years and the second had recently arrived from a Cumbrian peat bog railway, via the Bredgar &
Wormshill Light Railway. Two short coaches were available, one for each Simplex, working in opposite
directions from the station, timed so that the loco on the northerly route, which had run round at the
northern terminus, could run round via the station loop, before the train on the zigzag returned. The
visiting party divided and did a number of runs in both directions, and there was then a demonstration
of goods workings, from dung siding to dung heap, and of a log wagon up to the side of the house over
the 'bolt-it-together' point! One of our members upheld BLS traditions by obtaining permission to
stand on the loco's 'manriding position' to travel nearly to the buffers at the north terminus and round
the loop, and then over the station loop! Unfortunately, he was unable to repeat the exercise on the
two longer sidings because of the degree of incline and the need for one of the operators to stand on
the loco. It was also too steep on either of these sidings to use a coach for the party at large.
MR110] Great Central Railway, Leicestershire (MR p7): Charnwood Borough Council has agreed to
take ownership of the bridge that is being built over the Midland Mainline at Loughborough and then
lease it back to Great Central Railway over a 100 year contract. The Council says that without its
involvement in the massive 'Bridging the Gap' project, NR would not let it go ahead. Councillors have
raised concerns that if Great Central Railway (GCR) goes into administration, taxpayers could be forced
to pick up the bill. However, the local authority says it is building clauses into the contract that will
ensure that this does not happen. As part of the contract, the Council wants to create a fund, which
will see the local authority receiving additional rental income from GCR to cover projected costs of
maintaining and repairing the proposed bridge. It also wants to ensure that an adequate sum of
money is available from the disposal of the company's assets to provide the maintenance or removal
of the bridge in the event that GCR is taken into administration. The Council says that GCR cannot,
without the support of a competent and permanent partner, meet the requirements of NR to permit
the construction of the essential bridge. A report prepared for the Council cabinet said NR is not
comfortable in entering into agreement with GCR as there can be no assurances as to the long-term
viability of the railway company. If it ceased trading the bridge maintenance cost would fall upon NR.
The report for cabinet states that to maintain the bridge over its 120-year life span will cost around
£305,000. The Council says the project is expected to result in an additional 272,600 visitors per year
with £3.3M spent on local goods and services. It is also expected to draw people to Loughborough's
Heritage Quarter and attract visitors to the Grand Union Canal and Taylor's Bell Foundry.
MR111] East Lancashire Railway, Greater Manchester (MR p8): The railway announced on 9 May that
a deal to build a new, unmanned, station in Burrs Country Park had been finalised. The railway has
entered into a partnership agreement with local Bury company Cheetham Hill Construction. They have
been hugely instrumental in helping make the whole project affordable. Plans for a new station were
first discussed as far back as 2004 and the railway was to start work on site in early June to construct a
five-coach platform; taking around 8 weeks. A Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway style shelter will also be
built. Bury Council and the Caravan Club have both made significant financial contributions, supported
by a further contribution from the 'Friends of Burrs'. The construction of the station will make it
possible for visitors to Burrs to arrive by train for the first time and allow holidaymakers staying at the
Caravan Park to access the railway right on their doorstep. Work was to start on 30 May.
MR112] Fenland Light Railway, Cambridgeshire (MR p13) (BLN 1241.MR150): A visit was made to this
7¼" gauge railway on Sunday 22 May. Running started at 10.00 and our reporter arrived a little after
10.30 on this, a nice sunny and warm day. One train was in service and this was formed of steam
locomotive 0-4-0 'FLR 002' with three sit-in coaches. Satisfyingly, the train covers all the running track
during its run, from the departure platform back to the arrival platform at 'Mereside Drove' station.
This entails passing around the complex layout four times. Fares are £1 for all, for which a titled roll
paper ticket is issued. Tea, coffee and cakes are available at very reasonable prices. The location is
rather remote and is probably impossible to reach by public transport on a Sunday (or indeed any
day!). Passenger trains run all year on at least one Sunday a month (two most of the summer months)
from 10.00 to 16.00 or 17.00 depending on the time of the year. BELOW: 002 on 16 May (Peter Scott).
MR113] Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, Norfolk (MR p21) (BLN 1230.MR41): This 4 mile long line
advertises itself as the 'longest 10¼" narrow gauge steam railway in the world'. It also features two
unique Garratt locomotives Norfolk Hero and Norfolk Heroine, especially built for the railway in 1986
and 2011 respectively. Four members attended the Gala on Saturday 23 April, when a Day Rover ticket
was £12. Rides on unusual track at Wells, with a donation of £2, were made by diesel Weasel, which
covered every bit of rare track including parts of the shed. Unfortunately, numbers of people visiting
were low due to very mixed weather. Most trains over the full line were double headed. Harvester (the
other diesel) worked the 14.45 departure to Walsingham, double-headed, but failed on the return.
MR114] Heaton Park Tramway, Greater Manchester (MR p32) (BLN 1244.MR189): Despite their
website showing no trams running, a member made a visit here on Bank Holiday Monday 29 May to
find a two tram service operating frequently. The trams laid over at the Lakeside; therefore it was
possible to traverse both platform lines there. In use were trams 619 and 96, which were well
patronised. The weather was sunny with lots of people in the park. There was an event going on at the
middle tram stop with children's activities. In addition to the tramway the Heaton Hopper land train
was in operation taking visitors from the main car park/visitor centre to the Lakeside tramway stop.
The operators explained that the land train loco was in fact a aeroplane tug unit built by Douglas
Equipment company of Cheltenham - very old but also very reliable!
MR115] Fenn Bell Miniature Railway, Kent: This is a new 7¼" gauge railway, located in the grounds of
the Fenn Bell Inn near St Mary Hoo; between Allhallows-on-Sea and Rochester. The railway officially
opened on 28 May, during a 'Family Fun Day' held at the Inn, after retrospective planning permission
was obtained the previous day for a miniature railway and zoo from Medway Council. The railway has
been under construction for several months, and whilst a few test runs have taken place (the first such
workings being reported as taking place on 23 April), this was the first official day of operation. The
railway will eventually form a balloon loop of around 370yd, commencing at a two-road station, and is
about one third completed. Trains will run around the loop twice, as a triangle junction is also being
built, along with a second station at the far end of the loop. Trains were operating from a temporary
station for the opening day. Trains were 'top and tailed' by two steam locomotives on hire from the
Barnards Miniature Railway, near West Horndon in Essex. The zoo is also still being built, and is not
fully open, pending a zoo licence being obtained in addition to the planning permission now obtained.
Eventually the miniature railway will pass alongside some of the zoo animals. The railway has agreed
to hire a Mardyke Deltic loco for operation on the railway once the full circuit is completed. In the
meantime, three carriages are on loan, built by Mardyke and originally operated at the Strand
Miniature Railway at Gillingham in Kent. The railway will not run on a regular basis whilst building work
is taking place, but special events (which may include Halloween and Santa Specials) will operate. From
next year the railway will run more regularly. It can be reached by Arriva '191' bus from Rochester and
Chatham. The Fenn Bell Inn also does excellent beer and food!
.Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking or enquiring.. A service to members, details must be checked with the organisers.
1250] Mapping Britain's Lost Branch Lines by Paul Atterbury: A nostalgic look at our branch lines in
old maps and photographs, including many interesting station views. Hardback 256 pages (262 x
242mm) published by David & Charles (2013) - recommended. Cover price £25, but available new at
'The Works' for £7 (£2.80 UK P&P). See website http://goo.gl/JOhgVI or 0121 3136050.
1251] The Garden & Woodland Railway: An extensive complex 7¼" gauge private railway off Queen's
Road, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3NQ (SP 7159 0550) which shows well on Google Earth. It is next to the
Tennis Club, down a 100m drive opposite Kings Road. Now has public opening from 14.00 on 19 Jun,
17 Jul, 17 Aug, 4 Sep and 9 Oct (subject to change). Queries [email protected] (Ian Branch).
1252] Settle & Carlisle Line: With the long-term landslip closure north of Appleby passenger traffic
has reportedly dropped by 75%. To stimulate demand a new S&C Day Rail Ranger is available Leeds
/Bradford and all intermediate stations to Carlisle with no time restrictions. Only £15 adult (railcard
£9.90, including Dalesrail Card; Two Together after 09.30) and £7.50 child. NB: Available from ticket
offices/train conductors only; not online or machines. Please visit/publicise the line and this offer.
1253] LT Museum, Regent Street, 3 Jul 12.00-18.00 free: Part of the London Transport Museum
'Designology' exhibition which opened on 20 May. There is also a new permanent gallery 'London by
Design' featuring important milestones in London's transport 150 years of design heritage. The free
Regent Street event includes heritage buses, a 1920 Tube carriage, transport maps and posters, a
uniform fashion show, 'behind the scenes' with contactless payment and speculates on future designs
in 2040. Various other regular events https://goo.gl/IbGibd continue around London until December.
1254] Bartlemas Farm Private Railway, Sun 13 Jul: High Street, Pavenham, MK43 7PF (SP 9944 5558)
north of Bedford. 'Jazz in the Gardens' from 14.15. Richard Leach's excellent Jazz & Swing Band from
Worcestershire. Tickets £13 (child £5), includes a cream tea, from Roger Whilding 01234 828788 or
Derek Bliss 01234 823821. Bring a rug or picnic chairs. Licensed cash bar. The 9½in gauge railway
which shows well on Google Earth will be giving steam rides across the lawns. Partners may even agree
to attend! The railway has annual public running as part of Pavenham Open Gardens charity event in
June each year (Sun 12 Jun this year as advised by Branch Line email). Watch the village's diary online.
X.82] Bletchley Relief Line No2, Sun 17 Jul: For those unable to do this on our Achilles Heel Trekker
(see item 1168 above for full details of enhanced route and timings), London Midland is running a rare
hourly Sunday service between Bedford and Bletchley for the Bedford River Festival. Some trains run
to/from Milton Keynes very rare bay P2a via Bletchley Relief No2 line between Denbigh Hall South Jn
and Bletchley P5 where they reverse in each direction. (In the southbound direction, this includes the
Bletchley Flyover North Jn trailing crossover). From Milton Keynes Central to Bletchley (and Bedford)
at 14.47, 15.47 and 16.47. From Bletchley to Milton Keynes Central (from Bedford) at 15.35, 16.35,
17.35 and 18.35. Stock is 2 x Class 153 and 1 x 2-car Class 150 on the two diagrams. The event is part of
the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership's http://goo.gl/CACslD ongoing efforts to promote and
develop the line; purchasing tickets from Milton Keynes to Bedford (£7.90 return Adult, £5.20 Railcard,
£2.00 PRIV) would be appreciated to allow such an event to happen again. Sunday services
http://goo.gl/QBaZY8 are also very unusual now on the line. Please spread the word...
1255] Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway, steam loco weekend 30/31 Jul 10.00-17.00: See BLN 1260.
1256] Finmere Station (CP 4 Mar 1963; CG 5 Oct 1964), Sat 13 & Sun 14 Aug, 12.00 to 17.00: Thanks
to Chris Green, a gala at this private site, home of the Network SouthEast Railway Society on the
former Great Central Railway main line between Calvert and Brackley Central (CA 5 Sep 1966). Here it
crosses the A4421 (SP 629 313), near Buckingham, Oxfordshire, MK18 4AZ, 1¼ miles southwest of
Finmere itself. A new museum, items of rolling stock with standard gauge track and running loco
73130. The site is at risk of obliteration by HS2. The Sunday complements our Chiltern railtour. No pay
on the day. Send cheque ('Network SouthEast Railway Society') for £10 per adult (under 16s are £5)
with an A5 (BLN size) SAE stating day required to: NSERS Events, c/o 41 Highfield Road, Ipswich,
Suffolk, IP1 6DD. See http://www.nsers.org/ bookings close 30 July or when full (max 150 per day).
1257] Independent Yorkshireman, Sat 3 Sep: (BLN1258.1164) Crewe Independent Lines charity
railtour. BOOKINGS ARE BY PHONE ONLY: 01507 529529 (08.30- 19.00 SSuX and 08.30-12.30 SO).
X.83] Guess the Location BLN 1258: (BLN 1258.X79)
LEFT: This location was famously the largest place in
Great Britain without a TESCO (lucky them). In the
absence of a suitable site, the locals thought that they
had escaped until the plan was hatched of building
resulting in the 'Covered Way' seen here. Gerrard was
not very pleased when this partially collapsed during
construction on 30 June 2005, closing the line until 20
August 2005. In true Chiltern style, it is built to
accommodate four tracks if necessary! Note the
bidirectional signalling for trains to turnback in P1
(right) which signal has a feather for a crossover not
shown on TRACKmaps (Aug 2010). There is also a turn
back siding with a second crossover at the country end
of the station (behind photographer). Those with
particularly good eyesight will have spotted the
Chiltern DMU through the tunnel. Gerrards Cross
London end (Kev Adlam May 2016).
X.84] West Somerset Railway event, Sun 19 Jun: See https://goo.gl/vNu9sL for details and booking.
CONTACTS: No changes from recent BLNs; The Editor would be pleased to advise or forward any messages.
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX [email protected] 01684562862 / 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex, RH14 0TD 01403 752837 [email protected] or
[email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.