Issue Number 1278 (Items 679 - 808 &IssMueRN5u4m- bMeRr 16206)8 (E-BLN 53 PAGES) 1 Apr 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members;7a2n8i6n7te7rnational section is also available.
Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1279 is dated Sat 22 Apr; .mind the 3Sowceieetyk. gSoacpi.etcyo. ntributions must be received by Wed 12 Apr
679] YOUR 2017/18 MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL: The form is being posted to all members (including
those who just take e-BLN); the final time that you will be asked to renew on paper (card or cheque
can be used); future renewals will be possible online. Please note the new categories. Although due
on 1 May, early renewal will assist your volunteer Committee; the Society's main net income source
is subscriptions. We are pleased to have your support and membership during the coming year, and
are always delighted to welcome new members as we continue to expand. It is also hoped that as
many as possible will try e-BLN (free with a paper BLN subscription or only £12 for 24 editions on its
own). E-BLN includes e-BLN International and 'print your own' options in A5 booklet or A4 format.
These are identical to paper BLN/BLNI. The enhanced e-BLN (also printable) has many pictures,
maps, plans and extra material. Comments and suggestions about your Society and the way it is run
can be submitted with the form. Benefits of BLS membership: 24 BLNs per year, advance notice of
fixtures and initial priority (some 'members only'), valuable discounts, usually £12 for railtours and
on some publications (the new Eastern TRACKmaps and Jeff Vinter's Railway Gazetteer for example).
All full Members receive PSUL annually (electronically with e-BLN) and a free copy of Minor Railways
worth £5. The Membership Secretary's contact details are on the masthead of EVERY BLN (above).
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
Bubble & Squeak Tracker, Class 121 limited capacity FULL 1277 KA FULL
Wed 19/4/17 Ashover Light Railway 14.00-17.00 Guided walk 1273 JC OPEN
Sat 22/4/17 Y Triongl Gogledd Cymru, loco-hauled railtour to Holyhead 1274 KA OPEN
Fri 5/5/17 Signal Box Visits Blackpool North line *NEW* 1278 BC *OPEN*
Sat 6/5/17 Scunthorpe Steel Wks 09.30-18.30 internal railtour 1275 PS2 ENQUIRE
Sun 7/5/17 The Vallum Hadriani Tracker, 09.00 *UPDATE BELOW* 1277 JE OPEN
Sun 14/5/17 Moreton Park Railway 11.00 Track & Traction Tour 1276 SP OPEN
Sun 14/5/17 Titley Junction Railway Afternoon Track & Traction 1276 SP OPEN
10 to 15/5/17 Jordan Hejaz Railway Tour confirmed see BLN 1276 1272 IS OPEN
18 to 21/5/17 Long weekend - Dublin / Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA Notify
Sat 3/6/17 Preston trackbed walk 11.20 Bamber Bridge *NEW* 1278 PS1 *OPEN*
Sun 4/6/17 EMU Railtour *NEW* Track tour, date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Wed 14/6/17 Rudyard Lake Railway 10.30 Track tour - new layout 1276 JC OPEN
Wed 14/6/17 5½ mile Trackbed Walk 17.30 after Rudyard Lake Railway 1277 JC OPEN
Thur 15/6/17 07.30 Stafford, DRS loco hauled tour; Lime Street 15.45 1278 KA *OPEN*
Sun 25/6/17 Middlesbrough Goods, AV Dawson track & traction TBA TBA Claimed
Mon 26/6/17 Guided Signal Box visits Northeast England *NEW* TBA TBA Claimed
Wed 28/6/17 Kennet Service Train Tracker, guided group day out 1275 TG OPEN
1272 TV Notify
27 to 30/7/17 Scottish Minor Railways Thursday to Sunday visits TBA TBA Claimed
Fri 4/8/17 Northumberland Nocturnal Navigator 23.59 - 05.30
Sat 9/9/17 Burton-on-Trent to North London, two Class 37s and AC TBA TBA Claimed
*SAVE DATE* traction, very rare freight lines with a 'royal' flavour! *NEW*
17-19/11/17 AGM - Liverpool Area Long weekend with railtour TBA TBA Claimed
BC Barnaby Clark, IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, JC-John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, PS1-Paul Steane,
PS2-Paul Stewart, SP-Stephen Phillips, TV-Terry Velvick, TG-Tom Gilby.
680] BLN Abbreviations: The list https://goo.gl/AGrCIU is on our website and with this e-BLN 1278.
681] BLS Card Payment Authority (CPA): Our 'generic' website CPA https://goo.gl/eNydhz has been
updated (the previous short link no longer works); please note that Card Verification Values (the three
or four figures on the back) are no longer required for mail order under the latest industry standards.
682] Blackpool North - Preston signal box visits, Fri 5 May: With thanks to our member Barney Clark,
meet Blackpool North station 10.00. The intended itinerary is Blackpool North No2, Carleton Crossing,
Poulton No3, Kirkham North Junction and Salwick boxes, then Preston PSB. BLS Members only limited
numbers; a charity donation of £25 per head (cash on the day) applies for Barnardo's, NR's nominated
charity. High-vis orange jacket required, please advise if you are able to provide lift/s (and how many)
or if you need one; it may be necessary to regulate the number of cars. Bookings/queries to Barney at
[email protected] (note underscore) or 1 Onslow Rd, Richmond,TW10 6QH with two SAEs.
683] The Vallum Hadriani Tracker, Sun 7 May: After the NR planning process, there are route changes
(below) particularly at Carlisle where we have been unable to obtain gauge clearance to run a Class
185 through to Currock Jn. We now run direct from Stockton Cut Jn to Hartburn Jn, the rarer side of
the triangle and, in response to requests, through bidirectional Sunderland P2 in the unusual direction.
A booking form https://goo.gl/e1cwvF was with BLN 1277 and is on our website (Enquire re 1st Class).
Manchester Piccadilly P12 (PU 09.00) - Stalybridge P3 - Diggle Down Pass Loop - Huddersfield
(PU 09.35) - Dewsbury Dn Main - Leeds P16 (PU 09.56) - Church Fenton - Dn Normanton - York - Loco
Line - Skelton Bridge Jn - Dn Slow - Northallerton Tunnel - Stockton Cut Jn - Hartburn Jn - Dn Cliff House
Loop - Sunderland P2 - Dn Pelaw Goods Loop - St James' Bridge Jn - Up Sunderland - High Level Bridge Jn
- Newcastle P7 - Ouston Crossover (rev) - Low Fell Single - Hexham Middle Road - Wetheral (photo stop
14.10-14.15) - Carlisle P6 (rev) - Shunt Neck (RM) - Through Road 'B' - Kingmoor (RM) - Kingmoor Up
Pass Loop - Wall Siding - High Wapping Siding (rev) - Carlisle P1 (rev) - Plumpton Up Goods Loop -
Eden Valley Goods Loop - Tebay Up & Dn Goods Loop - Grayrigg Up Goods Loop - Oxenholme Up Goods
Loop (recently extended) - Carnforth Up Passenger Loop - Lancaster Up Main - Preston Up & Dn Goods
Loop P7 -Wigan NW P4 (SD 18.05) - Wigan Up Goods - Eccles - Manchester Piccadilly (SD 18.46).
684] BLS Preston area Walk, Sat 3 Jun: With thanks our member Paul Steane. Bamber Bridge station
11.20. Connections from Blackpool South 10.21 (Preston 11.04) and incredibly also Colne 10.21
(Blackburn 11.05). A Saturday allows train travel from many places. A fascinating guided summer walk
(7 miles in total) from Bamber Bridge to Preston station (for a break) along the the course of the
Lancaster Canal Tram Road (1803-1860s). After the break the East Lancashire Railway and West
Lancashire Railway at Whitehouse Jn and Middleforth, to the location of the original West Lancashire
Preston Fishergate Hill terminus; finishing at Preston station. A hand-drawn map and historical notes
will be provided to all participants. No charge but advance booking required with Paul Steane by e-mail
to [email protected] or write with SAE at 44 Whalley Close, Timperley, Altrincham, WA15 6TP.
685] The Cat & Dock, Thu 15 Jun: A loco hauled tour raising funds for Railway Children, operated by
Direct Rail Services (DRS), traversing unusual lines in the North West, with a break in Ormskirk. Four
First Class open coaches will be available, hauled by a Class 68 and a Class 66/3 or Class 66/4 top 'n tail,
subject to availability. There will be a limited buffet service of hot & cold drinks and light snacks.
Note that the train terminates in Liverpool. It is the intention of DRS to allocate a Class 66 locomotive
that has not previously worked a passenger train. Provisional route and timings validated by DRS and bid
to NR: Stafford (PU 07.30) - Norton Bridge East Chord (rare direction and X/Os both ends) - Stone -
Stoke-on-Trent - Cliffe Vale Down Goods - Kidsgrove - Alsager Up & Down Goods Loop - Crewe P12 (PU
08.15/rev) - Down Salop Siding (rev) - Down Salop Independent - Down Manchester Independent -
Sandbach - Middlewich - Hartford CLC Jn - Acton Grange - Down Helsby - Warrington Bank Quay P4 - X/O
to Down Fast - Earlestown P4 - Wigan Up & Down Passenger Loop - X/O to Wigan NW P5 - Skew Bridge
Jn Down Goods - Preston RES (rev) - Ormskirk (rev/break 12.15-12.35) - Preston Dock (rev) - X/O to Up
Fast - Wigan NW - St Helens Central - Thatto Heath Down Goods Loop - Liverpool (SD 15.45).
Booking form with E-BLN and on our website or just send a cheque/CPA. BLS members all First Class
(includes a complimentary drink) £66; non-BLS members £78, under 18s (must always be accompanied)
£5 reduction. Bookings with an e-mail address (OR SAE, two for confirmation) to Kev Adlam, back page.
686] From Your Fixtures Secretary, Ethics and the Social Economy - Our Policy: We continue as a
Society to achieve great things by putting together the 'social economy' needs of the train operating
companies and our desire to explore unusual lines. On almost every occasion when we run a TOC
based charity charter, we incur no cost for the train, fuel or the train crew, which delivers substantial
savings (and the benefit of no financial risk) to the Society whilst optimising donations to the good
causes mutually agreed with the TOC. Having a robust and well trained steward team is often part of
the SMS (Safety Management System) we agree in the many months of planning that happens before
an event. Rest assured, despite sacrificing significant amounts of their time to help the Society grow
and prosper, all stewards pay the full fare per the booking form. This is a policy the Fixtures Secretary
and his team regards as immensely important. The Society does incur costs delivering these projects,
such as printing the excellent TRACKmaps we now enjoy, tour brochures, souvenir decals (which do
generate more income), souvenir tickets and card processing costs. These are deducted at cost, with
no mark up, to benefit the good causes as much as possible. We are very proud of our fund raising
work on TOC based charters, which helps open many new doors/ground frames for the Society and
has delivered significant amounts of new track to members, but firmly believe in minimising the cost of
projects and optimising the revenue to those that need it most. Similarly 100% of the money collected
for our raffles goes to the good cause/s, all prizes are donated (thank you to the increasing number of
members who do this, more are always welcome); a member even buys and donates all the tickets.
687] BLN South West: Darren Garnon has kindly volunteered to take over as SW Regional Editor from
BLN 1279 after the three week Easter gap. Please send all contributions to Darren, per back page, with
immediate effect. His area includes Gloucestershire, Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, Lundy, Dorset
and Cornwall. Many thanks to our GS, Tim Wallis, for his excellent work providing interim locum cover.
688] Minor Railways booklet 2017: As a membership benefit, we are pleased to post a copy of our
BLN Minor Railways Editor, Peter Scott's, new 2017 edition (his 29th annual publication) to all full
members with this BLN in time for Easter (including e-BLN only subscribers). Subtitled 'A complete
list of all standard gauge, narrow gauge, miniature, cliff railways and tramways in the British Isles
offering public rides' - there are over 520! Any full member who has not received it along with a
membership renewal form by mid-April, please contact Dave Monger per back page. Please note:
All references to Minor Railways from next BLN (1279) will be to the new 2017 edition. Additional
copies £5 (includes P&P) when available from our Sales Officer Mark Gomm (back page); cheques
payee 'Branch Line Society'. For latest information see https://goo.gl/4wnyXf ' Minor Railways
online' Peter Scott's website with online supplements, news, publications for sale and much more.
ABOVE: The scene at East Somerset Jn on the morning of 21 Mar. The Merehead branch is off to the
right, the main line to Bruton & Taunton is straight ahead; Frome & Westbury are behind (NR).
1278 HEAD LINES
689] Frome station (excl)/Clink Road Jn - Castle Cary (excl) - Cogload Jns (Taunton) & Bruton station:
TCP 18.00 Mon 20 Mar to Fri 24 Mar 2017 (incl) freight train derailment at East Somerset Jn (Witham).
690] Appleby (excl) - Armathwaite station (incl) also Langwathby and Lazonby & Kirkoswald stations:
(BLN 1266.1917) TCP Wed 22 Mar 2017 'to prepare for reopening' and enable route learning specials.
This freed up staff and a DMU for route learning and ended the single line passenger train working.
691] Petteril Bridge Jn (Carlisle) - Armathwaite (excl): The Eden Brows landslip blockade ended at
12.00 on Thu 23 Mar 2017 (after TCP/TCA at 06.14 on 9 Feb 2016). The chained sleepers between Low
House Crossing and Drybeck Viaduct at 298m 31ch were due to be removed at 06.00. The first train
was 1Q82 also that day, a NR Colas operated track testing train (37025, 4 testing coaches and 37116)
from Carlisle High Wapping sidings at 15.10, reversing at Appleby (16.01/16.07) reaching Carlisle 16.45
(see NW section). The Up line at Eden Brows had been closed since Fri 29 Jan 2016. Northern route
learning specials began 24 Mar (6/7 return trips Appleby to Carlisle daily) and were booked until 30th.
692] Petteril Bridge Jn (Carlisle) - Appleby (excl) and 3 stations: ROP was expected Fri 31 Mar 2017;
with the first passenger train the 05.50 Carlisle to Leeds and the first Down train the 05.29 from Leeds.
The fully booked Flying Scotsman reopening special (£220 per head) was expected to leave Oxenhope
about 08.30 for the Settle & Carlisle line, returning early evening after a three hour break in Carlisle.
693] Farington Jn - Lostock Hall Jn (BLN 1260.1266): NRU after 9 Feb 2016; but shiny 25 Mar 2017.
694] Low Moor: (BLN 1276.571) The station (CP 14 Jun 1965) ROP Sun 2 Apr 2017, unusually earlier
than was (latterly) expected. The first Up service is the 08.00 Grand Central train (Bradford Exchange
to King's Cross); the first Down is the 08.52 to York from Halifax. The schedules show generally hourly
calls by Selby or Leeds to Huddersfield via Brighouse trains and from Huddersfield via Brighouse to
Leeds in the other direction. All Grand Central trains stop (to Bradford Interchange and London King's
Cross). On Sundays Low Moor is generally served by these and Northern's Leeds to Halifax shuttle.
There are 36 trains SuO, 43 on SO and 44 SSuX; Manchester services do not stop (change at Halifax).
695] Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog and nine stations: (BLN 1277.604) ROP due Mon 10 Apr. TCP
(except 27 Feb) after the 08.35 from Blaenau Ffestiniog ran Thur 23 Feb; unstable cutting 18m 40ch.
696] South Tynedale Railway, Lintley Halt (excl) (NY68755108) - Slaggyford station (NY67595239):
(MR p14) (BLN 1265.MR178 & E-BLN 1277.X.40) ROP expected Fri 26 May 2017 ('official opening'
according to a local press report - no public services yet shown website or using the extension after). A
1¼ mile extension north on the trackbed of the standard gauge Alston branch (CP/CA 3 May 1976 BR).
X.44] ABOVE: 'It does not much get closer to the end of line than this…!'
UK Railtours train at Heysham Port on Sat 18 Mar 2017 (Martin Baumman).
1278 BLN GENERAL
697] Points & Slips: ● BLN 1274.241] Ilkeston GNR was 'Ilkeston North' after 1 Jul 1950. ●249] On the
2ft gauge Ashover Light Railway map Clay Cross & Egstow station was by the main line (as shown)
near the north end of Clay Cross Tunnel (not shown). The standard gauge main line Clay Cross station
(also not shown), which had four platforms, was significantly further north off the map at a lower level.
Stretton was the former passenger interchange (the narrow and standard gauge stations adjacent).
●BLN 1275.350] In the item on our Kennet Service Train Tracker on Wed 28 Jun the Reading Down
Feeder Relief, should have been just the Reading Feeder Relief. It is bidirectional although the normal
use is 'Down' towards Reading West. The adjacent (east side) track is just the 'Reading Feeder Main'
also bidirectional, but the normal use is in the Up direction. This results in the interesting situation of a
double track line with (usually) right hand running. ●1277.671] SWT's £14 offer was advance singles
booked up to midnight the day before travel, not returns and did not apply west of Yeovil Junction.
698] Bound for Craigy, Sat 18 Mar: Some spare copies of the bumper 40 page tour brochure for this
record breaking 800+ mile trip are available which include David Palmer's itinerary, Stephen Phillips'
map and information about the Class 08s etc. Please send a BLN (A5) size SAE with a cheque for only
£5 per copy (all going to Railway Children), payee 'Branch Line Society' to Kev Adlam - per back page.
699] E-BLN Pictorial: Our member, Nick Jones, has kindly provided pictures taken 10-20 Sep 2016 in
the 'China Clay' area of Cornwall. Various freight workings are shown in Realtime Trains (RTT) etc.
In practice there is normally only one loco and crew working in the whole of Cornwall. Once the first
freight of the day has run (and shows in RTT) it is fairly easy to track down where it is actually running.
Another happy coincidence is that it is (just!) possible to drive from Lostwithiel to Goonbarrow in less
time than the train takes (less mileage by road, but plenty of narrow Cornish lanes!). Jerry Holmes has
kindly compiled this selection of 35 full page pictures, with a map at the end thanks to Dave Cromarty.
Our Class 442 Farewell tour brochure/map is also available with e-BLN amongst other items.
700] Via Rugby Perhaps? Following the win with the recent BLN item on FA Cup Finals, much has been
written in the railway press about trains bringing Wales fans for the Five Nations Rugby Matches (now
Six, with Italy) in their droves to Edinburgh but nothing about Scotland fans travelling away. On Sat 19
Mar 1955 England beat Scotland at Twickenham 9-6. A member travelled as a child on a 'Ruggex'
special train from Edinburgh via the Waverley route (which he remembers well [lucky him! - Ed.]), to
Carlisle to pick up fans in the Borders but is trying to work out the route after. Maybe to Euston,
St Pancras or more likely Marylebone similar or identical to the 'Starlight Specials' - any ideas please?
On Sat 13 Feb 1960 our member travelled to Cardiff on a special where Wales beat Scotland 8-0. It was
again via the Waverley route but was there an engine change at Carlisle, West Coast Main Line to
Crewe (for another change), Shrewsbury and Hereford? This is what happened in 1964 for which he
has his full records including motive power which was A1 to/from Carlisle, Britannia to Crewe, another
to/from Cardiff and 46238 'City of Carlisle' from Crewe to Carlisle on the Saturday night/Sunday
morning return. In both cases the trains left early evening on the Friday (18 Mar 1955 and 12 Feb
1960) returning mid evening Saturday and arriving back in Scotland Sunday morning. The moral of this
story is it is important to keep detailed track and traction records for your children/grandchildren/
nephews and nieces etc, just in case! Our member certainly didn't travel at over 2,100mph unlike.…
701] Euston - Manchester: https://goo.gl/kOTRie is a time lapse video, about 160 miles in 4½ mins.
702] BLS Neasden Depot Visit, 18 Mar 1989: A participating member has mislaid his track plan. The
25 participants arrived on an ECS working then had an internal tour, mainly covering the engineers'
sidings, with a battery loco and coach, but his written notes do not make it clear what was done.
A marked track plan would be very much appreciated. Three photos in e-BLN show the train in the
engineers' sidings on the north west side of the depot, the second in the non-electrified high level
sidings, and the third, nearby, shows an unusual dual loading gauge for both surface and tube stock.
703] Non-Electrification: A Commons Committee of Public Accounts report into the GW electrification
raises doubts about the ability of the DfT and NR to manage similar projects in future. These include
the Midland Main Line and Trans Pennine Routes. It says that future electrification schemes should
only go ahead if 'worthwhile benefits to passengers could not be achieved otherwise at a lower cost.'
704] PSUL 2017 – UPDATE 2 704]
The previous update was in BLN 1275; those details are not repeated below. Minor retimings
of a few minutes either way are ignored but the fully detailed latest version of PSUL can
always be found on-line via http://tinyurl.com/psul-intro or http://snipurl.com/psul-intro
Page 8: Seven Sisters Junction - South Tottenham West Junction and South
Tottenham East Junction - Tottenham South Junction: diversion via Stoke Newington
will continue until the route through South Tottenham is re-electrified.
Page 10: Darlington South Junction - North Junction (via main lines outside station):
most northbound non-stop TPE trains run via platform 4, so entry to read:
Mondays to Fridays: 1P52 17.03 Manchester Airport – Newcastle; 1E01 05.40 Edinburgh
- King's Cross; Saturdays: no service; Sundays: 1E98 12.20 Edinburgh - King's Cross;
1E19 11.47 Aberdeen – King's Cross; 1F92 16.43 Newcastle – Liverpool Lime Street.
Page 21: Moor Road (Leeds) station - Balm Road loop [Middleton Railway]: 2017 dates:
29, 30 July, 16 and 17 September.
705] 'The Couple Now Standing on P3 will be Calling at Every Station…': With the help of the Rail
Delivery Group, Geoff Marshall (a video producer and transport blogger) and Vicki Pipe (a museum
education professional) are aiming to 'travel to ALL 2,560 national railway stations in Britain' (quote).
https://goo.gl/vxHVtW They expect that this should take about three months during the spring and
summer and are making an online documentary film. Crowdfunding has raised £35k (target £28.8k) to
support the project which aims to produce a snapshot of today's ever-changing railways for posterity.
Before anyone asks, their rules are that they do have to arrive at OR leave each station on a scheduled
train timetabled to stop. At request stops, as long as the train they are on is able to stop (if requested),
they will count it as visited even if no one joins or alights. London Overground (but not Underground),
the IOW (including Smallbrook Junction) and 'difficult' stations such as Pilning, Reddish South, Denton
and Teesside Airport are included. 'Abandoned' stations (e.g. Norton Bridge, Barlaston, Wedgwood
and Newhaven Marine) are not. Rail replacement bus services are allowed (Liverpool is scheduled
after the loop has reopened) and non-rail transport such as taxi, buses and lifts from friends are
permitted to make connections, which helps to visit more awkward stations such as New Clee.
Geoff has twice (from 2004-2006 and 2013-2015) been the Guinness World Record Holder for
travelling around the entire London Underground network in the fastest time but his latest project is
not against the clock. Three new stations should open during their trip (Ilkeston, Cambridge North
and Low Moor) but Portishead must wait for a rematch no earlier than 2021 … (see SW item below).
706] New Chords of Note: Some may have spotted the increasing numbers of station pianos provided
for anyone to play. St Pancras has had some for a while; at first there were three uprights, but more
recently just two - the key fact being that one was formerly owned by Elton John. They are positioned
on the lower concourse - the former close to the escalators up to the Midland Main Line platforms.
The other was 'noted' recently to have a faulty middle F! Marylebone now sports an upright, but many
notes are OOU. Suitably matching its status as 'City of Culture' and raising the tone, Hull Paragon
boasts a concourse grand piano near P1&2. Travelling through Leeds station last year to face the
music, the unmistakable chords of a piano could be heard in the reopened 1930s concourse - an
upright is located near McDonald's (it's a takeaway one). Newcastle had an upright in the covered
area outside the station front, as have Sheffield and Chesterfield. Why do they all seem to be on the
east of the UK? Are other stations pitching in or have they managed to stave them off?
1278 EAST MIDLANDS
707] Killingholme: (BLN 1277.613) The new limit of rail operation is reported to be at 'West Haven
Marshes', about 400m past Bridge 1A so 2m 04ch (TA 1652 1964), 2m 08ch from Immingham West Jn.
708] Longport: The Grade II listed station building, disused for some years, is to be transformed into a
Hindu temple. The Tamil Welfare Organisation has planning permission https://goo.gl/QIiq71 for a
change of use to a place of worship with community rooms. It will open from 8am to 10pm for prayers,
coffee mornings, meetings and study days for language and fine arts. Perhaps they could face east
towards Derby three times a day and pray for the trains to run on time? [This is not the April fool - Ed.]
709] Wellingborough: A new road bridge is being built just north of the station (part of the Stanton
Cross development) with Midland Road extended over it past the station. (NEXT PAGE UPPER: Don
Kennedy 4 Mar 2017) The station car park is to be repositioned and later a new additional station
entrance will be built on the east side.
710] Delay Charity: EMT Passengers claiming for journeys delayed by 30 minutes or more via their
website now have the option to donate the money to the company's nominated charity (currently
Railway Children) https://goo.gl/0Mtsyj or to claim the payment themselves as before.
711] Long Eaton: NR is to renovate Station St footbridge. It will be temporarily removed for cleaning,
strengthening and painting between 21 Apr and 29 Jun. Pedestrians will have to use the adjacent level
crossing or another route. Before anyone reaches for their keypad, this was by the second Long Eaton
station (1863-1967 RIP) between Trent Jn and Toton Jn near the centre of the town. The first Long
Eaton (1851-1862) was 500yd further north and the present station (southwest of the town) was
Sawley Junction prior to 1968. It will be interesting to see if clearance for electrification is provided.
712] Derby Victoria: Jacob Rivers VC of the Sherwood Foresters was awarded the Victoria Cross
posthumously after twice reaching enemy lines and hurling bombs towards them at Neuve Chappelle
in France. His actions allowed his battalion to escape after becoming outflanked by the enemy.
Unfortunately he was killed on the second occasion. A permanent way worker of the Midland Railway,
private Jacob Rivers was one of only seven railwaymen to be awarded the VC. His medal can be seen at
the Sherwood Foresters museum in Nottingham. On 12 Mar a plaque (ABOVE: John Cameron) was
unveiled in his honour at Derby station P1 with members of his family and representatives of The
Railway Heritage Trust and EMT present. A series of brass plaques on the same wall of Derby P1,
relocated from Derby Works, commemorates workers of different shops of the Works who died in
WWI. They are all well worth seeing. BELOW: How many notice the Derby P1 plaques? (John Cameron)
713] Derby - Crewe: The North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership has appointed a Community
Rail Partnership Officer and London Midland is now part of the organisation. LM is providing extra
funding, allowing the partnership to expand its activities and possibly the area it covers in the future.
714] Derby: (BLN 1271.3222) New University student accommodation is being built east of Friargate
Bridge, on the site of the railway viaduct. It is rumoured that there will be development of some type
on the Friargate station site itself, the other side of the bridge. This might be supported by the recent
appearance of a new security fence and surfacing of the approach road from Friar Gate to this site.
BELOW: Derby Friargate former passenger entrance (the platforms were up behind the wall) with the
new surfacing on the approach road. See also https://goo.gl/EUgcfj (John Cameron 22 Mar 2017).
715] Nottingham - Lincoln/Grantham: (BLN 1277.615) Unlike the Monday to Saturday services, which
are generally between Matlock - Newark Castle and Leicester - Lincoln, the Sunday service is split into
separate Lincoln - Nottingham and Nottingham - Matlock sections. BLN 1277 should have said that
the 08.47 SuO from Lincoln to Nottingham calls and reverses at Newark Northgate then again at
Newark Crossing East Jn to call at Newark Castle; the single fare between the two stations is £2.50.
The Nottingham to Grantham Sunday service is also improved in the new 21 May timetable with extra
Nottingham departures at 08.15, 09.15*, 10.00 & 11.15* and from Grantham at 09.00, 10.01*, 10.45 &
12.01* all call at Bingham only. (*Winter - summer dated trains already run close to these times.)
716] NET: A 'Stories on the Trams' competition involved local school children writing six-word stories/
sound bites exploring Nottinghamness. The best featured on special tram handrail-hangers. Customers
were asked to pick an overall winner from a shortlist of six by 31 Mar https://goo.gl/FUJAxl 'Born here,
living here, loving here' and 'Trams bring stories everywhere they go' are examples. Our local Regional
Editor wonders if his 'Done the crossovers at The Forest' counts as a story (now, finally, non-fiction!)?
717] Broadmarsh NET: Part of the 'Midlands Engine Strategy' (see next item) is a £10M Broadmarsh
bus station and car park redevelopment in Nottingham City Centre. It includes a new NET tram stop.
1278 MIDLANDS GENERAL
718] Midlands Engine: No, this is not a version of the Midland Railway small engine policy, but a new
government quango announced on 9 Mar; collaboration between the public sector and businesses.
The government allocated £392M in the Budget to the Midlands from the Local Growth Fund to boost
productivity, attract inward investment, increase connectivity and build regional tourism over the next
15 years. Over the next three years the 'Midlands Connect' section will use £17M of the funding to
plan and design priority schemes for public transport and road congestion reduction. It will draw up
the business cases for a rolling 25 year programme of transport infrastructure investment.
Key early priorities may include connecting public transport with Toton HS2 Hub (the former sidings
and surrounding land are also to be developed for housing and business). Secondly, improving
transport links between East and West Midlands (speeding up Nottingham to Birmingham services for
example), and a Midlands Rail Hub, helping provide as many as 85,000 seats daily which is up to
10 extra trains an hour through Birmingham city centre. Snow Hill P4 ex-Midland Metro would reopen
for heavy rail (as it was originally) and also the disused 'other' side of Moor Street island P4 as P5. The
latter is associated with a new curve for trains from Kings Norton via Camp Hill to access Moor Street.
In 2002 when the station was refurbished; the ever positive and forward looking Chiltern Railways,
erected a sign on P1 directing passengers over the footbridge for Platforms 2-5 (the latter trackless)!
1278 GREATER LONDON
719] LUL Micro-Gricing a bit of a grind: On Sun 2, 9 & 23 Apr, a rail-grinding machine will be stabled in
Kennington siding; Train 17, 06.54 ex-High Barnet, is booked to be extended to Stockwell to reverse
from 07.38 to 07.42. In the timetable notice it is booked to depart north from P3 over the crossover in
passenger service, although there is always the possibility that staff on the day won't adhere to this!
720] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1277.623) Platform extensions are generally complete but not yet in
use. Woodgrange Park has automatic barriers and they are being installed at Wanstead Park.
Extra platform shelters have been installed at several stations and at Gospel Oak the bay P3 buffers
have been moved slightly east closer to the junction. For most of the route masts have been erected,
usually with spans and droppers, but the only parts wired are the connection to the main line at
Gospel Oak (32ch see TRACKmaps Vol 2 p1A Oct 2016), and the stretch into Barking P1 bay. There is a
section east of Leytonstone Midland Road and another between Wanstead Park and Woodgrange
Park where most masts are still to be erected, but bases have been fixed on to the viaduct sidewalls.
Masts are a collection of single sided posts, larger ones to span both tracks from one side (particularly
on viaduct sections), and fuller double-sided spans. Most are relatively modest, attractive structures
although some (as on the GWR electrification) are very heavily engineered. New mast bases are in situ
next to the existing masts on the OLE run-off at Woodgrange Park and masts have been erected on
Harringay curve. The line's user group's latest bulletin reports that the main problems have been
delayed delivery of OLE design work, much of which was incorrect, there being a 25% failure rate in
the mast designs. The late delivery of OLE structure parts from Italy, combined with a 14-week wait for
redesigned parts, also slowed progress. As at 16 Mar, 134 OLE masts and 712 sets of spans and/or
droppers were still to be installed. A final closure plan to allow work to be completed is expected by
the end of April. On re-opening numerous faults were affecting station equipment and some of these
have still not been fixed. The late evening service frequency increases from 2 to 3tph from December.
ABOVE: Camden Road bidirectional P2 awaiting the driver to change ends for a west departure.
721] Camden Road: Our 12 Mar Class 442 Farewell tour was very conveniently timed for a prior run to
Ebbsfleet in the morning for the facing crossover into P5 and then in the evening for Camden Road
West Jn trailing crossover, thus bracketing the tour with rare track! Four members travelled hot foot
from Victoria by Underground to Camden Town, for a short walk to Camden Road station. Here the
staff asked where they wanted to go and then stressed how important it was to go to P2 not P1 -
excellent! 378217 ex-Richmond, was waiting in P2 and afforded a couple of night shots with the critical
crossover just off the end of the platform glinting gently in the technical daylight. As departure time
approached the signal changed and displayed 'N', presumably for the North London Line and at 21.05
they glided out into the night, veered left over the crossover and two minutes later arrived at Kentish
Town West. One continued to a hotel near Wembley and the other three took the closely-timed
chance to return to Camden Road where the staff were a bit surprised to see them, particularly as one
had to show a staff pass and so could hardly have been forgotten from about 15 minutes before!
BELOW: P2 again with a green signal and route indication 'N' for the 21.06 to Richmond. It left in the
unusual west direction over Camden Road Jn trailing crossover. We wonder if the 'Kentish Town West
or bust!' title of this submission referred to the lack of facilities! (Sun 12 Mar, both Simon Mortimer).
722] Crossrail 2: (BLN 1271.3154) TfL was due to present a Strategic Outline Business Case for Crossrail
2 to the DfT Business Investment Commercial Committee on 20 March, with the Secretary of State for
Transport's response expected by the end of May. TfL has split the Crossrail 2 programme into three
phases; development, pre-delivery and delivery. The development phase comprises activity required
to submit a hybrid bill before the end of 2019. TfL says the decisions to defer the public consultation
and the award of design contracts until May 2017 have condensed the hybrid bill preparation to a
24 month duration that, while challenging, remains deliverable. Preparations have been made to
ensure a prompt start to the development phase. Design contracts are being tendered and plans are
being made for the next round of public consultation to start immediately if the Secretary of State
gives the go ahead for the project to proceed. ('Transport Briefing')
723] Is Your (Train) Journey Really Necessary Continued…: (BLN 1246.2196) TfL has expanded its
'walking maps' (despite modern technology they don't!) https://goo.gl/xigj4g to show walking times
and numbers of steps between LU, DLR and national rail stations in Zones 1-3.
724] Hall Farm Curve: (BLN 1276.517) A correspondent suggests that the football specials our member
remembers were probably for Tottenham Hotspur games and actually operated over the Coppermill
(north) curve from Hall Farm South Jn to Coppermill South Jn which OP 4 (Joe Brown has 1) Aug 1885,
CP 6 Sep 1926 and CG 11 Jun 1960. 'The Railway to Walthamstow & Chingford' published by the
Walthamstow Antiquarian Society in 1970 says that these ran to Northumberland Park and operated
for Saturday afternoon matches until the end of steam, which was in Nov 1960. In view of the closure
date for the curve, they presumably operated until the end of the 1959/60 football season?
ABOVE: 7th Series 1" map 1952/62, under the 'W' in 'Walthamstow' the junctions (top left - the most
NW then clockwise): Copper Mill North Jn, immediately southeast is Copper Mill South Jn with the
'Copper Mill Curve' round to Hall Farm South Jn, then (most northeast) Hall Farm North Jn. Then it is
'Hall Farm Curve' round to the solitary Lea Bridge Jn. Clapton Jn is the solitary one to the southwest.
725] Thameslink: (BLN 1277.624) From 20 Mar a new facing point was installed on the Down Charing
Cross Line between Blue Anchor and North Kent East Jn at 4m 17ch. This forms a crossover (OOU) with
the previously installed point between the Up Cannon Street and Down Charing Cross lines here.
726] Happy Christmas! On 24 Dec 1959 after a full day of services, including trains to Leeds at 15.25,
15.40, 15.50 & 15.59, mainline trains were booked from King's Cross after 17.50 and *Christmas Day:
17.55 Leeds 18.45 Hull 20.10 Doncaster 22.30 Edinburgh 23.45 Newcastle
18.10 Leeds 18.55 Cleethorpes 20.20 Edinburgh 22.44 Leeds 10.50 *Leeds/Hull
18.17 Peterb'ough 19.21 Peterb'ough 21.45 Aberdeen 22.55 Leeds 11.45 *Glasgow
18.25 Hull 19.30 Aberdeen 22.15 Aberdeen 23.20 Edinburgh 16.55 *Newcastle
18.35 Doncaster 19.45 Aberdeen 22.20 Newcastle 23.35 Edinburgh 23.45 *Newcastle
727] Junction Road: A letter in the 16 Mar 'Camden New Journal' from the Barking - Gospel Oak Rail
User Group reminds of their ongoing campaign to re-open Junction Road station, CP 3 May 1943.
It is near Tufnell Park station and would make connection to the Northern Line (lost when the service
was diverted away from Kentish Town).
1278 NORTH EAST
728] Middlesbrough: (BLN 1276.532) the first GB Railfreight train at AV Dawson on the Old Town
Middlesbrough Goods branch for 'Sirius Minerals' arrived from Hexthorpe Yard at 04.15 Fri 10 March.
It brought aggregate from Thrislington quarry for site preparation for the £2.2bn project formerly
known as 'York Potash', a new potash mine south of Whitby (BLN 1250.255) which will not be rail
served. It is taken there by road. In July the DfT approved a 'development consent order' for Teesside
harbour. This is a new berth east of Tees Dock, ship loading facilities and a conveyor belt to the
company's materials handling facility at Wilton. The other main rail flows at Middlesbrough Goods:
●Automotive steel coil from Port Talbot three trains a week, onward by road to Nissan and others in
the northeast. ●Potash from Cleveland Potash Boulby mine, two trains daily (SuX) then on by road to
various UK destinations. ●Dust/aggregate from Teesport Tarmac by road, then by rail to Leeds Hunslet
East Tilcon in a weekly train. Two of our members observed this working (pictures BLN 1276.534) at
Middlesbrough Goods on 16 Feb, the day before our Teesside signal box visits. AV Dawson can load
aggregate directly from the quayside onto trains although this does not currently occur.
729] Ferryhill: (TRACKmaps Vol 2 P20C Oct 2016) The former Kelloe Bank Foot/Garmondsway line
now ends at buffer stops at the end of Thrislington quarry rounding loop (57m 66ch from York); the
ground frame now replaced by handpoints. Although NR proposed official abandonment beyond here
in Feb 2012, it appears that it had already been largely lifted well before then, presumably unofficially.
Thrislington quarry (BLN 1247.2323) produces aggregate and Dolomite, a mixed calcium/magnesium
carbonate. One use is burning it to make magnesium oxide, an important refractory material for lining
blast furnaces, kilns and incinerators. Until 2004 Dolomite was taken to the former Steetley Magnesite
works at Cemetery North Jn, Hartlepool, and this used to be the only regular traffic over the Norton
north curve. This works was opened in 1937 to extract magnesium salts (largely the chloride and
sulphate) from sea water. Production increased greatly in WWII because it was the only such site in
the country. The works, sold in 1997 and again in 2002, closed down in 2005 and is now demolished.
Thrislington Dolomite used to go to Port Talbot by rail. Redcar blast furnace closing in 2015 led to a
dramatic traffic loss and the quarry line did not look much used on 19 Mar. However, it is now sending
aggregate to AV Dawson for the Sirius Minerals potash mine construction (Whitby - previous item).
730] Grangetown/Tees Dock: The expectation that the iron ore being sent by rail from Redcar Ore
Terminal to Scunthorpe is imported (BLN 1276.534) is now thought to be incorrect. The Redcar Bulk
Terminal 'Linked In' site https://goo.gl/oTRMya makes no mention of such imports, so it seems more
likely that it is surplus stock left after Redcar (not Lackenby!) blast furnace closed in Oct 2015. Local
information is that imported limestone is also being sent from Redcar Mineral Terminal to Margam.
The 'Linked In' page mentions 'granulated blast furnace slag' imported from various worldwide
locations, with photographs of trains being loaded at Redcar Ore Terminal. Reported limestone traffic
to Scunthorpe is actually pulverised fly ash and blast furnace slag, the latter (a valuable commodity)
both imported and from the former Redcar blast furnace. It is used in the cement industry (SCM -
supplementary cementitious materials) and it is possible that the closure of Redcar and reduced
production at Scunthorpe with the demise of the plate mill may have resulted in a supply shortage.
731] NER Junction Signal Boxes: Angus McDougall's fascinating account of the final day of the M&GNR
(BLN 1250.267) caused much envy on the part of your NE Regional Editor who was aware of the
closure at the time. However, being only 12 years old and living in Middlesbrough (or more likely shut
away at boarding school), any thought of doing the lines was out of the question. The mention of
South Lynn Single Line Junction signal box reminds him of the Midland Railway's (MR) profligate use
of the word 'Junction' on its boxes - in stark contrast with the North Eastern Railway's positively
Scrooge-like attitude. He remembers scouring his then shiny new (now very old and battered) Ian Allan
Pre-Grouping Atlas and Gazetteer in vain for Marley Jn near Keighley, the location of a photo in
'Trains Illustrated'. He was not aware at the time of the MR's habit of naming each end of goods loops
as a 'junction'. The one remaining example of this is Langham Junction (Oakham). On most railways
'X Jn' is a junction at 'X', but on the NER it appears commonly to have been a junction for (the line to)
'X'. Nearly all NER junction boxes at 'X' were named simply 'X' without any 'Junction' suffix.
Railway historians may discuss whether the definitive name is given by the nameboard on the box, the
name on the diagram above the lever frame or the name in the Sectional Appendix but that is outside
the scope of this item. The NER used the word 'Junction' extensively in the context of civil engineering
publications, but only a small number of signal boxes carried the word 'Junction' (or an appropriate
abbreviation) on the nameboard. This series (continuing over several BLNs) is about these boxes but
does not claim to be a complete list; members may know of others (please advise). All are now closed.
732] Amble Junction: (NZ220983)
This signal box, about 68ch north of
Chevington, was on an overhead
structure spanning the main line, as
at Hexham and Wylam. It controlled
the divergence of the Amble branch
(OG 5 Sep 1849, OP 2 Jun 1879,
CP 7 Jul 1930, CA 6 Oct 1969). The
box closed in 1933 and Chevington
box assumed control, the Up Slow
north of Chevington then becoming
the branch. It was destroyed by fire in
Aug 1937, possibly due to a spark
from an engine passing underneath.
LEFT: Amble Junction signal box (on
the ECML) with an Up train
approaching. The branch line right
ambled off to.… (The John Hardy
Collection www.fusilier.co.uk 2008-13©)
733] Riverside Junction: (Byker) (NZ266648) This controlled the west end divergence of the Riverside
loop branch, (OA 1 May 1879, CP 23 Jul 1973*, CA in stages from 1978, OOU 31 Mar 1988) paralleling
the Newcastle to North Shields line to its south between this junction and Percy Main. From a cut off
picture the word 'Junction' appeared to be the lower word on the nameboard. The box can be seen on
the left of the first picture near the bottom of https://goo.gl/DAzPVB which also has a map and 1950
timetable. To be continued…
BELOW: 1958/61 OS one-inch map; Riverside Junction was middle left (Byker station is the 'white
spot' CP 4 Apr 1954), as can be seen, the Riverside Loop followed the River Tyne and rejoined the
Newcastle to Tynemouth line before Percy Main (top right). If anyone has any recollections of
travelling on this line and/or pictures we would be very pleased to receive them to record in BLN.
*This item (previous page) reminds your BLN Editor of his 1973 BR 14 day 'All Line Rover' ticket - £37
(now worth £410!) second class which had probably taken longer than 14 days to meticulously plan
from paper timetables and supplements. (Services were considerably less frequent and reliable then; a
Plan 'B' was always advisable.) On arrival at Newcastle for the very first time on 9 Jul 1973, the closure
notices (with the date announced) were displayed for the 6½ mile long Riverside Loop service which
was infrequent, peak hours only and awkward - some trains only did part of the line. It would have
been a wait of about 4 hours for the first one. He decided to let it go, stick to plan and went to
Haltwhistle to do the delightful 13 mile Alston branch (also for the first time and under threat of
closure). This decision he later regretted as he was able to make another four return trips to Alston in
BR days before the branch CP/CA 3 May 1976. Three of these trips were on one day two weeks before
closure; the strengthened 4-car DMU was packed. The guard refused to charge him for his final trip!
734] Bardon Mill: (BLN 1277.629) In a late change the signal box and all the signals remain in use as
before (so it is mostly 'switched out'); the closure and removal has been delayed indefinitely.
735] Sunderland: From 10 Mar Ryhope Grange (Jn) No1 & No2 Sidings have been signed back into use,
as has about 100m of both sidings No3 and No4 but with the remainder still temporarily OOU. They are
located on the west side of the main line, between it and the former Wellfield line. It enables the
No1 & No2 Sidings to be used again for running round (requiring propelling in the Down direction).
736] Darlington: The original Great North of England Railway engine shed, a grade II Listed Building
dating from 1840/41, lies on the east side of the ECML, just south of the former Stockton & Darlington
(S&D) flat crossing. A large amount of vegetation has been cleared just to the east of it, revealing the
former alignments of the S to E and N to E curves. However this will be short-lived as the shed is to be
part of a small housing development, which will obscure both curves and the S&D alignment itself.
1278 NORTH WEST
737] Reddish South: Unusually, it is possible to make a day return trip from this station on Sat 15 Jul
(07.40/20.40) when 'The Retro Welsh Dragon' railtour to Cardiff and Swansea calls - haulage is two
DRS Class 37s. Similarly on Bank Holiday Mon 29 Aug 'The Retro Edinburgh Festival Express' calls (06.20
/22.10) - DRS Class 68 requested. See Retro Railtours website https://goo.gl/8kzf6Q 01613309055.
X.45] Manchester, Trafford Park Industrial Estate: (BLN 1276.546) The BLN 1276 item with pictures of
the Barton Dock Rd to Containerbase line now lifted prompted requests for pictures of the lines when
operational. ABOVE: Two MSC locos on Trafford Park Rd with coal for CPC - Corn Products Co (now
Cargill, this factory is still open, making starches and sweeteners) in Jun 1976. (All by Ian Mortimer.)
BELOW: CPC still used steam then to shunt wagons into its work; seen here in the exchange loop
outside the works Jun 1976. There were notices up that smoking was not allowed in the works!
ABOVE: A train of state of the art (?!) wagons crossing Ashburton Rd on the British Steel Works (BSC)
branch in Nov 1978. BELOW: The same train with the loco running round alongside the BSC works.
ABOVE: View from loco on short branch to Petrofina, off the BSC line (the train crew were friendly!).
738] Fiddlers Ferry: (BLN 1254.654) This 1,989MW power station (enough to supply 2M homes) has
secured contracts until 2019. Scottish & Southern Energy employs 160 there compared with 213 last
year. Its 656ft chimney is the 50th tallest structure in the UK. Limestone comes in by rail from Tunstead
as well as coal from the closed Ferrybridge 'C' power station and, until recently, Hunterston High Level.
739] Ordsall Chord: (BLN 1277.635) To complete the scheme NR needs to replace sections of Chapel
Street bridge in Salford, to strengthen New Bailey Street bridge and to remodel tracks through Salford
Central. New signalling and overhead line equipment has to be fitted. On certain dates Manchester
Victoria services will be affected by the work and shuttle buses operate to/from Salford stations.
740] Poulton: Following work from Mon 20 & 27 Mar, part of the Blackpool North line electrification:
The disused Poulton-le-Fylde Jn was to be taken OOU and secured for later recovery with associated
signals abolished and recovered. The trailing crossover between the Up Main and Down Main lines was
to be taken OOU and secured for recovery; the Down Main line inner home signal arm applicable to
the Down Goods line (Signal PT14) abolished and recovered. Signalling equipment and points on the
Burn Naze branch (CG Apr 1999) were to be taken OOU for later recovery. The former Up Main line
connection to the Burn Naze branch (points PT40) and the Up-line point end of the former trailing
crossover between the Up Main and Down Main lines were to be recovered. Note that between these
recovered points the Up Main was to be slewed across (left) towards the OOU Burn Naze branch.
741] Bolton: (BLN 1265.1846) From 27 Mar, between Moses Gate Jn and Bolton station, the Down
Passenger Loop, Burnden Jn Sidings and the Up Passenger Loop were all to be taken OOU. Track,
signals and associated signage are to be recovered by May. This will allow the track to be realigned
ready for installation of electrification masts and the reinstatement of Bolton P5 (on the Down side).
742] Greater Manchester: Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has submitted its 'Case for
Change' bid to DfT to secure a multi-million pound investment and regional accountability by bringing
rail stations under local control. The detailed business case recommends the wholesale transfer of
local station ownership and management from NR and train operators to TfGM as the best way for the
stations to realise their full potential. There are plans for long-term investment to enable local stations
to become community hubs with better transport integration, improve access to jobs and local
facilities; acting as catalysts for local regeneration and social enterprises. 94 stations could transfer to
local custodianship in the next two to three years followed by Manchester Piccadilly, Victoria and
Oxford Road. This would stimulate significant economic investment in local communities and spread
economic benefits more widely across the region which has a target of an extra 227,000 homes by
2035. However, the Government has rejected similar ideas in the West Midlands and London.
743] Blackburn: (BLN 1276.544) A visit to the new King Street DMU Depot site on Mon 6 Mar showed
that the bridge over Galligreaves Street had been replaced and seems to be on a slightly different
alignment. The last 50 yards of track for Service Sidings Nos4 to 6 was also complete with buffer stops.
744] Excursion to Blackpool: The 23 Mar inspection train (Head Lines), the first train on the reinstated
S&C Eden Brows line had a long trip after returning to Carlisle P1. Next was the Cumbrian Coast line
including the Barrow avoider in the dark to Ulverston (reverse) - rare trailing crossover, to run back
through Barrow to Askam (rev) for another crossover. Return was via Barrow again to reverse in one
of the Carnforth Up & Down Goods Loops for Windermere (23.42/23.52). Carnforth Up Passenger
Loop was sampled and a side trip made to Morecambe via the PSUL north curve, returning direct to
Lancaster then taking in the Up Goods Loop. Oubeck Goods Loop was next on the way to Chorley,
Bolton and Manchester Victoria to Brewery Jn Down Passenger Loop (rev). Blackpool North was
finally reached 04.47 (64 min early). The train left for Derby RTC at 14.27 via an equally devious route!
1278 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
745] Cheesed off at Huntingdon: Don was not found but Up side Bay P1 (able to take eight coaches)
was shiny when four members had plenty of time to examine it on Sun 19 Mar after arriving
42 minutes early on the 06.09 from Peterborough. Like the 05.09 and 07.09 departures this had been
scheduled to take the facing crossover at Stilton Fen, run in the Up direction on the Down Main to
Huntingdon P3 to reverse and make a second reversal at Huntingdon North Jn back to the Up Main P2
(BLN 1272.78). At Peterborough the driver (a DOO train but please keep this to yourself) kindly
announced that the engineering work had finished early so the normal route would be taken - allowing
a well known fifth member to jump ship before departure and go home to work on our new website….
A normal passenger asked if hot drinks were available (Sunday 06.20 at Huntingdon… no chance!).
On Sun 26 Mar the moves did happen at least on the 05.07 ex-Peterborough (impressive dedication
with the clocks changing, but losing an hour may have helped by reducing the total possession time?).
Huntingdon bay P1 still has one weekly 09.33 (SO) passenger departure to King's Cross. The booked
ECS (shown as a Class 365 EMU) leaves Peterborough 08.54 and after a shunt arrives P1 at 09.18.
Interestingly it apparently then transmogrifies in the bay to a Class 317 EMU before departure (and we
thought they were trying to get rid of them!). Another train leaving Peterborough at 09.09 gives a nine
minute connection with it. This latter service runs non-stop from Biggleswade to King's Cross while the
Huntingdon starter goes on to make 12 intermediate stops before reaching London.
746] Felixstowe branch: (BLN 1270.3072) The NR Felixstowe Branch Line Improvements - Level
Crossings Closure Order was submitted on 6 Mar. Objections or other representations about the
proposals in the application may be sent to the Secretary of State for Transport to be received on or
before 19 Apr 2017 stating the grounds of the objection or other representation.
747] Swanupmanship at Berkhamsted: On 14 Mar at 21.50, the driver of LM service 2Y24 reported
that a swan had landed on the Up Slow line in front of the train as it was stopped at the station.
The Mobile Operations Manager was sent to the site to assist. The 19.35 Birmingham Lawley Street to
London Gateway and 19.18 Warrington to Willesden 'Postal' were both trapped behind. At 22.15, the
swan had been removed from the line by the driver of 2Y24 to restore normal working. The swan was
eventually placed in its usual surroundings at 00.04. […and all he wanted was a single to Swansea.]
748] Harlow Town: In 1959-60 the station was 'modernised', enlarged and renamed from 'Burnt Mill'
for the new town but now looks distinctly tatty as do most of that era (even though it is Grade II
listed). Four platforms replaced two. Clinker suggests that Burnt Mill was west of Harlow Town, but
map evidence does not support this. The name lives on, in Burnt Mill Lock, (River Stort Navigation)
which can be seen and photographed from the adjacent covered footbridge of Harlow Town station.
749] Roydon, the modest GER station building survives on the Down platform west of the level
crossing. There is a new station building on the Up platform east of the level crossing.
750] Stockley Bridge Jn - Maidenhead: OLE on all four tracks was due to be energised from 26 Mar.
751] Reading - Maidenhead: (BLN 1277.640) By 20 Mar the OLE at Reading station was: P1 & 2 (but
not 3) and 7 & 9 were wired (8 was done earlier) and also 15 (13 & 14 were done over Christmas).
P12 was underway (catenary wire but not the contact wire in place). Wires extended towards Reading
West outside the station on the Down B&H, towards the flyover but not very far at the London end.
Between Reading and the current live limit at Maidenhead (MP25) there has been progress (in the Up
direction from Reading): ●Approx MP 34½, wires start on Up and Down Mains. ●MP 33¾, Up Main
stops but continue on the Down. ●MP 33, Up and Down Main and Down Relief all have wires (but not
the Up Relief). ●MP 32½, Down Main and Relief wires stop, but OLE continues on Up Main to about
MP 31¾ (through Twyford West connections). Then there is a big gap through Twyford to: ●MP 28¾
wires start on Up and Down Mains. ●MP 27¼ Down Main stops; OLE continues on Up Main. ●MP 26½
starts again on Down Main, then Up and Down Relief are also wired (so all four tracks). ●MP 25¾ all
stop just east of that milepost; presumably forming a gap with the live wires extending close to MP 25.
BELOW: New electrification overhead at Reading 21 Mar, P7 is right and P8 to the left (Colin Duff).
No work has been done on raising parapets on the bridge in Sonning Cutting or on the listed bridge at
Ruscombe (third of three east of Twyford station). At Twyford, there are no masts for any run off to
Henley and Maidenhead Crossrail sidings are not yet wired. Wires seem to be put up in ¾ mile lengths.
752] Chelmsford transformed: On 27 Feb the City Council granted NR planning permission to build a
new auto transformer feeder station. This diverts part of footpath 24 at Boreham, from (TL 7473 1019)
and in a southerly direction west of the existing tracks for 174m to (TL 7476 1002) north of the railway.
It deviates to an alternative route, runs south east on the existing track for 127m (TL 7478 1003) and
then south west for 28m to the same point of termination. Oddly, when the new A12 alignment was
built nearby, the footpath was cut in two with no way of crossing the tracks or carriageways!
753] Croxley: (BLN 1276.547) LUL director of strategy and service development is quoted as saying
that a detailed review of the true cost of the Metropolitan Line extension has shown a need to double
the funding commitment we have already made, requiring more than an additional £50M that we are
unable to provide. Critics of projects costing more than authorised would need better than a
statement implying previous costings lacked truth and that review in detail produces a figure that is
itself an underestimate. He continues: This does not mean the project has been cancelled and we
remain open to helping assist the DfT in finding an alternative funding package for the project, or
alternative schemes that may be more affordable. This, in turn, shows a three-fold distancing from the
scheme; LU are not in any case the body that might decide to cancel and 'remaining open' implies a
passivity on active works, even if in a planning stage, that jeopardises timescales and costs.
754] Leighton Buzzard - Dunstable: Stanbridgeford station (SP970230) now 'Stanbridgeford House' is
a private residence a mile south of the village. East the trackbed is a very good footpath to Dunstable
North. After 620yd the Totternhoe Cement Works branch diverged right, southeast, where the new
A505 now crosses, half a mile before Dunstable North. The first 225yd of trackbed or so west is lost to
agriculture. Then to 440yd before Grovebury Crossing it is taken by the new A505 road. There is a
grass verge, but it is a horrible walk, due to traffic, particularly HGVs. From where the A505 curves
away from the trackbed southwest, the next 440yd heading northwest to Grovebury Crossing is
landscaped for house building which will obliterate everything. Grovebury crossing keeper's house is a
well kept residence about a quarter of a mile from the Leighton Buzzard Railway's Pages Park station.
755] Aylesbury - Princes Risborough: (BLN 1274.283) Chiltern Railways operate some peak services
(evenings now in daylight) with heritage bubble cars, 121020 and 121034, now the final such mainline
services in the UK. At the end of the current Dec to May timetable, these will now be withdrawn from
service, which makes the final day of operation Fri 19 May. For anyone interested in travelling on or
seeing these DMUs before they are withdrawn, the following SSuX services are booked to be operated
by one: 06.05 ex-Aylesbury, 07.20 Princes Risborough, 07.47 Aylesbury, 08.23 Princes Risborough,
08.49 Aylesbury and 09.16 Princes Risborough. Then: 16.39 ex-Aylesbury (ECS working), 17.00 Princes
Risborough, 17.26 Aylesbury, 18.06 Princes Risborough, 18.28 Aylesbury & 19.30 Princes Risborough.
'Porthmadog' has been displayed as a destination and incredibly even 'Aylesbury' at times.
1278 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH
756] Rochester: (BLN 1258.1123) On 20 Mar at the closed Rochester station both (outer) platforms on
the loops had new nosings, new surfacing, painted yellow lines and yellow tubular post and rail fences
at the minimum platform width for use by personnel. The fences are curved following the platform
edges. The rest of the platforms towards the main lines have not been resurfaced and the nosings on
both main lines are replaced with the concrete referred to in BLN 1258 not conforming to height and
alignment suitable for alighting or boarding. This explains why the platforms were left in situ though.
757] Channel Tunnel: Work has begun on a £500M scheme to install a one gigawatt direct current
interconnector linking the electricity markets of Britain and France through the tunnel (DC is unusual).
It will provide enough electricity for more than 1.65M homes, increasing the Anglo-French exchange
capacity by half, and enhance the security of supply for industrial and business consumers.
Siemens is constructing the converter stations in both UK and France. A joint venture of Balfour Beatty
and Prysmian Group is fabricating and installing the DC cables inside the tunnel and the UK
underground AC cables. Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE) has the contract for the French
underground AC cables. The 69km interconnector links the RTE substation at Les Mandarins, France,
with the National Grid substation west of Sellindge. Cables will be located in the Channel Tunnel's
north rail tunnel where utilities, including cooling equipment, are installed. The 'ElecLink' is described
as the world's first installation of a High Voltage Direct Current interconnector in a live rail tunnel
environment. (Transport Briefing.) The present (1986 installed) high voltage DC UK - France
interconnectors run on the sea bed. At times there will be single line working in the South Tunnel with
use of the rail connections between the two Channel Tunnels (mainly at night but same lighting level!).
758] Ham Street: Foundations for a £2.8M new footbridge are under construction. This replaces a
temporary scaffold footbridge and is all thanks to a near miss on 18 Jun 2014 involving a local teenage
schoolgirl leaving an Up train (to Ashford) using the barrow crossing contrary to signed instruction
while a Down train was entering the other platform. Passenger trains are only scheduled to meet here
(on the double track Appledore to Ashford section) five times a week in total at 06.22 SSuX.
The bridge will have lifts and the walkway at the northeast end of P2 is being extended by about 5m to
provide unobstructed level access to the lift. The revised legal route of the public right of way (PROW)
will be via the stairs and footbridge only. The lifts will be available for passengers and the public to use,
but do not form part of the legally defined route. The official accessible route for station users will be
via the station car park with step free access to P1 then via the lift and footbridge to P2. The existing
PROW will not be fully accessible due, in part, to a set of steps on the south eastern side of the station,
beyond the station curtilage. NR is looking to improve the non-compliant access within the station
boundary leading to the PROW. The barrow crossing previously provided an accessible route between
the two platforms but the platform ramps leading to it were excessively steep and did not comply with
current design standards. Completion of the footbridge and lifts is expected by July.
759] Kent: NR has published options for SE London and Kent routes to address short term capacity
issues and provide solutions for a 30 year horizon. The purpose of this route study is to provide choices
for organisations who may wish to invest in the railway, including but not limited to the DfT. Interested
parties (which could be you!) have three months to comment (see p76 of the link below) on the draft
document; a final version is due out later this year. Possible Control Period 6 (by 2024) options include:
Lengthening high speed, South London metro and Kent commuter peak trains to 12-cars as possible.
Platform extensions for longer trains.
Cannon Street: A new stabling siding to allow for an extra train in the high peak hour (08.00-09.00).
Lewisham, Peckham Rye & Denmark Hill: Crowd relief work 'improving the passenger experience'.
A new HS1 link to the Marshlink route for faster trains to Hastings/Rye. Electrification or bi-mode
trains could be included. (New third rail electrification is now generally considered too dangerous.)
New signalling systems, including traffic management technology, to maximise performance on busy
sections with constrained capacity, such as Orpington to London.
Longer term proposals recommended in the Kent Area Route Study https://goo.gl/lNS6oO include:
Charing Cross: Rebuilding for more and longer trains, (extending the platforms across the Thames?).
Victoria: Additional tracks on the route for more frequent and longer trains to terminate there.
Ebbsfleet International: a new southern link via Fawkham to the Bromley South route stations.
Faversham to Ashford, new rail link; this route is poorly-served by road.
1278 SOUTH WEST
Please send all contributions to our new Regional Editor (from BLN 1279): Darren Garnon,
3 Reader Drive, Marden, Tonbridge, Kent, TN12 9FD [email protected]
760] An Introduction to Darren Garnon: My interest in railways perhaps stems from my grandfather,
who was a freight guard for GWR (the original incarnation, and later, BR). We rarely spoke about the
railway; perhaps he was embarrassed as I later discovered he had been the guard of a very seriously
derailed freight train. I grew up in Buckinghamshire in the early 1970s and could see the railway line
from my bedroom window, spending hours counting the Class 115 DMUs backwards and forwards
between Marylebone and High Wycombe.
The highlights of the day would include the one daily (SuX) service from Birmingham New Street to
Paddington (with a Class 47) which returned in the evening at 17.42. My paper round (The Evening
News) was geared to pass Denham railway station at 18.01, the passing time of the service. I rarely
saw the Up train which left High Wycombe about 09.00 though as I would be in school. Other
highlights were the freight to Chinnor cement works (with a Class 31) and Thame oil depot (a Class 33)
- the latter often ran on Saturday mornings.
My choice of school was 'fixed' by my desire to obtain a free school season ticket. My first excursion
was a Merrymaker mystery tour from High Wycombe to Ely and Cambridge. Aged about 12, I travelled
alone! I remember traversing the Bletchley flyover and the slow progress over jointed track before
that point; only later would I realise how fortunate I had been. The Bedford St Johns (previous station)
to Cambridge via Sandy direct line had closed 1 Jan 1968 so the route beyond Bletchley is not clear.
However, I enjoyed the trip so much I booked onto the next one (to Aberystwyth) and was hooked.
So I became a spotter. I was clearly unfashionable though, preferring class 47s to any of the more
exotic classes. This continued until I moved to Lincolnshire in my mid teens. Then, despite the variety
of traction passing through on the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line, my interest waned.
Fast forward some 30 years and I was amazed to discover that some of my schoolboy engines
remained active on the network. My interest rekindled, since 2008 I have been busy filling as many
gaps in my books as time allows. My first track tour was 19 Jul 2009, our 'South Yorks & Mid Notts' to
Welbeck and Thoresby collieries. Not booked for the track, but as two Class 47s were advertised!
A week later I had invested in a full set of 'Quails', and so my transition to a 'track man' was complete.
Today, I try to balance my full time job working in the charity sector with my UK track and traction
ambitions. I am also a regular visitor to Eastern Europe. Even my daily commute (from mid-Kent to
central London) has generated track opportunities including extremely rare crossovers and unusual
bi-directional working - perhaps I am the happiest commuter in London when the service falls apart?
Within the Society I have previously acted as our Accounts Examiner and am a member of the fixtures
stewarding team. I have never failed to be impressed by our members' collective knowledge of railway
affairs and so I am delighted to help harness that intellect in my new role of SW area Regional Editor.
I start as a novice, so please do share as much southwest regional information with me as you can.
761] Keep your arms in, please: 8 Mar 2017 saw the very occasional service from Crewe Coal Sidings
(DRS) to Devonport Dockyard which conveys a security coach with armed guards (and incidentally fuel
for nuclear submarines originating from Sellafield). It left at 06.13 via Sutton Park, Camp Hill, recessing
in Bristol Parkway DGL 11.13-11.40, then Highbridge and Tiverton Loops, passing Keyham at 15.28.
The following day it formed the 10.04 to Penzance. Year ago, your correspondent recalls this train
recessed alongside Bristol Parkway and the armed guards appeared somewhat wary of the unbelieving
stares from commuters! If it's the only way to do the Devonport Dockyard branch how do we sign up?
762] Alderney: The NatWest bank here closes in June. A Wickham trolley in an outbuilding was viewed
during our Channel Islands tour on Sun 10 May 2015, (BELOW: Kev Adlam) apparently it is security
against a defaulted loan! It is ex-BR B28W, 3, PWM3954 (Mary Lou) a 2w-2 PMR (Petrol Mechanical
Railcar) built by D. Wickham Wks No6939 of 1955; a Type 27A Mk lll Gang Trolley. Does anyone know
what will happen to it?
763] Portishead: (BLN 1274.293) The projected costs for MetroWest Phase I (the Portishead branch
being the main component) have trebled from £58M to £145-£175M. Reopening is now not expected
before 2021 at best, and only then if extra funding is made available. On 17 Mar the West of England
Joint Transport Board agreed to proceed but in three stages. Consideration of funding/project delivery
will be at the next Joint Transport Decision Making meeting and the Joint West of England Committee:
Stage One: Half-hourly services on the Severn Beach line and to Keynsham and Bath Spa.
Stage Two: An 'initial' service to Portishead; slower hourly trains instead of half-hourly.
Stage Three: Half-hourly trains on the Portishead branch 'at a later date'.
The planned half-hourly service requires 50 mph running which is now judged to require realignment
of the whole line, with significant engineering and environmental problems. The existing track is
alongside cliff faces and the River Avon, limiting access for heavy machinery to carry out necessary
widening of cuttings and embankments, also work on bridges, tunnels and retaining walls. The level
crossing on Winterstoke Road into the Ashton Vale trading estate would close, requiring a new access
road into the estate and associated land purchase and other costs. The Avon Gorge is protected as a
Site of Special and Scientific Interest and is a Conservation Area, which restricts what work is carried
out and how it is done. Extremely rare Whitebeam trees are only found in the Gorge with naturally the
inevitable great crested newts, bats, reptiles and other protected species [no doubt in large numbers].
Perhaps as an economy, the intermediate station at Pill could use tablet token signalling?
764] Exeter: NR has submitted a planning application for a £40M GWR train depot in Exeter for
completion in mid-2019. This would expand the existing Olds View Depot train maintenance facility by
St Davids station to allow more DMUs (cascaded from electrification), with extra seats and more
frequent services in Devon and Cornwall, modern servicing, cleaning and maintenance facilities.
765] Bristol Airport LRT: (BLN 1277.652) Our ever eagle-eyed reader/s (including Dan Dare?) of course
spotted that FL (Air Loop) is an anagram of 'April Fool' and that http://goo.gl/a01p17 the inactive
consultation hyperlink has 01ap17 slightly jumbled. Nonetheless, it is only the suggestion for an LRT to
be circular in nature that is not under consideration (yet?) to improve public transport to the Airport.
766] Okeydokey at Okehampton? (BLN 1276.558) The 18 Mar 'Spring Special' HST from Okehampton
to Paddington, to promote a permanent service, is reported as the first train to London originating
from there since CP 1972, although there have been a goodly number of incoming charters. The HST
was sold out and the platform was crowded as the ECS arrived. Unfortunately it suffered severe
wheelflats on departure due to poor railhead conditions (non-NR track). Unlike in BLN the online
reporting was regrettably sensationalized, suggesting a serious accident instead of common wheelslip.
The Okehampton Times reported 'the engine slid down a bank'; The Plymouth Herald 'Historic train
journey scrapped as engine slips off rails'! The reality was more mundane. The HST set was replaced at
St Davids and passengers transferred to the set booked for the 09.18 Paignton to Paddington service,
resulting in nothing worse than a 36 minute late arrival into Paddington and slightly fewer seats.
767] Carry on Camping! (BLN 1268.2177) The landmark 'Brunel Camping Coach Park' in Beach Road,
Dawlish, was sold by auction on 3 Nov 2016 for £261k after a bidding war (guide price £125k - £175k).
The park, set up by GWR in 1935, houses 8 coaches converted to chalet-style holiday accommodation,
all named after UK cities. The 0.83 acre site closed after the 2016 season. The new owners indicate
that the camping coaches will be available in their present state for the 2017 season (Apr to Sep) to be
followed by a major refurbishment prior to 2018. Each carriage sleeps 6 to 8 people, with kitchen and
shower, and prices range from £365 (6-berth 'PLYMOUTH') to £660 (the other seven 8-berth coaches)
per week, depending upon time of year. Bring your own towels; especially if Barbara Windsor!
768] Wessex Walks: From May to Oct 2017, public guided walks are being provided from stations on
the Bristol - Weymouth route. There is no need to book (but bring suitable clothing, footwear, food
and drink!). The first walks are below; see https://goo.gl/DcUJ8p Ideal options with a Freedom of
Severn & Solent Rover (£71.20 adult £35.60 child for 8-in-15 day option; Railcard £46.95 adult).
DATE WALK MILES RETURN
Sat 20 May Castle Cary to Bruton via Knaps Hollow 6 Train
Wed 24 May Weymouth to Isle of Portland (interesting and partly on trackbed) 8 Bus
Wed 31 May Keynsham to Willsbridge Mill, Upton Cheney and River Avon 8 N/A
Sat 3 June Avoncliff to Bath via Limpley Stoke Valley, Kennet & Avon Canal Train
Wed 7 June Bath to Kennet & Avon Canal, classical Bath, tea near the Abbey 8-9 N/A
Sat 10 June Bath: bus to Lansdown Park & Ride; to Keynsham via North Stoke 6 Train
Thu 15 June Oldfield Park 'Two Tunnels' to Bath via Midford (S&DR) K&A Canal 8-9 Train
Wed 21 June Upwey to Weymouth via Sutton Poyntz and Osmington 10 Train
769] Westbury - Bruton: On Mon 20 Mar 2017, seven vehicles on the fully laden 7Z15 (DBC) 17.05
Merehead to Acton Yard derailed on the branch (not loop) points at East Somerset Jn (Witham), two
were lying on their side away from, but still blocking, the Up and Down Main lines. The first 21 wagons
were later moved to Westbury. NR built access roads to reach the site allowing unloading of the 98
tonnes of aggregate from each derailed wagon before the 75 tonne capacity Kirow rail crane brought
in from Wigan could lift six of them, the other being rerailed conventionally. A three foot extension to
the embankment was required to allow the crane to be used. The rear unaffected wagons were
returned to Merehead by a Yeoman's shunter. The damaged part of the loop could then be relaid.
The route was closed with Paddington to West Country services diverted via Swindon and Bristol TM
(with use of the through lines) or, if stopping intermediately, Westbury (rev) or Hawkeridge Curve.
Weymouth GWR services generally ran to/from Frome and Bristol (etc) trains to/from Castle Cary,
with road transport between. In recognition of the longer time that road transport takes, road services
from Castle Cary ran to Westbury as they would not make the connections at Frome, also Westbury
has more services to Bristol. (Pictures. including the cranes are all NR press releases.)
On Tue 21 Mar, there was only one unit shuttling between Castle Cary and Weymouth so every other
service was replaced by road transport running Frome to Weymouth and Weymouth to Westbury,
calling at main stations only. Passengers to, and particularly from, the smaller request stations were
advised to use existing local bus services if available or press the help point information button for
assistance. Coaches were advertised from Frome and Taunton. The cause of the derailment has still to
be determined by the RAIB. The line ROP for start of Saturday service and it has to be said that this was
a very efficient operation by Network Rail and all involved considering the nature of the derailment,
the inaccessibility of the location and the amount of work required.
1278 WEST MIDLANDS
X.46] BELOW: The North Cotswold line approaching Norton Jn on the canted (here) single track from
Evesham, Monday 27 Mar. The unit had left Long Marston at 17.24, where it had been repainted, and
arrived at Bristol St Phillips Marsh Depot 19.56 (via a reversal in Worcester Shrub Hill P1). The outward
working had arrived Long Marston at 16.18 with 153368 for similar treatment (Phil Blann). The
outward train https://goo.gl/BMwCif on the Long Marston branch. https://goo.gl/Qakq12 and
https://goo.gl/G9eVbS are at the depot; https://goo.gl/FTFZW5 is on the branch at Honeybourne.
770] Kenilworth: (BLN 1277.655) Installation of the new points was re-scheduled from 6 to 27 March.
771] Long Marston: (BLN 1272.83) Vivarail has started testing a new battery powered demonstrator
vehicle (converted from redundant LU 'D' stock), at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre here, and are
gathering the data to analyse range and performance. Powered by two battery modules, development
has taken place with Strukton and Valence and the results so far are very encouraging. Work only
began at the beginning of this year. The Class 230 fire investigation has now been concluded and
modifications have been made which it is hoped will gain NR approval for main line running. However
as previously reported, the train will not be used between Nuneaton, Coventry and Leamington Spa.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: At Long Marston following the fire the 'Vivarail' prototype DMU in a new
livery - as they said 'not quite a silver lining but a green and grey one'. ABOVE: The smart interior of
the middle car with the more accessible toilet beyond. (Vivarail press releases 28 Mar 2017.)
772] Telford: (BLN 1274.300) The new station footbridge with lifts to the platforms is to be glass sided.
It straddles the railway, the A442 and Rampart Way and is in two parts, with the narrower section
effectively acting as a concourse for the station. (The artist's impression is impressive - Regional Ed.).
BELOW: Impression of the new bridge, Telford Central station is right (Network Rail press release).
X.47] ABOVE: The Droitwich end of Worcester Shrub Hill station; a Tyseley to Bristol measurement
train on the Up Through line (via the yard). The curve off left is to Foregate Street (Phil Blann 22 Mar).
BELOW: Looking in the other direction, towards Oxford/Cheltenham, behind the station (east side) but
taken from the end of Shrub Hill P2. 'Hereford Sidings' are to the right of the train (Phil Blann 22 Mar).
773] Barnt Green - Bromsgrove: By Saturday 25 March the Lickey Incline had been subject to extreme
devegetation, considerably opening up fine views west and the first electrification masts were in situ.
774] Bridlington: Passengers for Scarborough from P4, the northern most platform, who cannot use
the station footbridge due to a wheelchair, pushchair or heavy luggage etc now have to allow at least
20 minutes before departure time. Previously they just used the barrow crossing supervised by station
staff but signs have now appeared about the new rule. When Bridlington is unstaffed people wanting
to alight at P4 (from Hull etc) who cannot use the footbridge must now travel to Bempton and a taxi is
provided back at no extra expense to them. Needless to say the local press was negative and critical
but local 'experts' offered ideas to help. These included exempting the location from the rule (said to
be the 'simplest solution'), providing lifts (the vertical type not car), bidirectional signalling for P5 (the
other through platform) - ironically P4 is bidirectional, or moving the barrow crossing behind the signal
(it is in front but a red signal on its own would not protect against SPADs). No suggestions were made
about the likely cost of any of these or who would pay.
Due to the single line north to Hunmanby, passenger trains in either direction are booked into P4 and
P5 at similar times to each other. The 20 minutes is not arbitrary but comes from the length of the
signalling sections to give signallers sufficient notice that the barrow crossing needs to be used. The
problem is that people turning up at the last minute for trains are often in a hurry, trains are
approaching from both directions when station staff also have other other tasks and the risk is then
highest. The much maligned NR is however, developing a more flexible safe method of working the
crossing. No doubt the local press would be the first to complain if there was an accident at the
crossing and point the finger. [See 'Ham Street' item in SE(S).]
775] Closing a bridge to open a railway: At 19.20 on 14 Mar Goole swing bridge failed to close after a
'swing'. Both lines were blocked and staff were on site at 20.00 and awaited the passage of another
vessel before attempting remediation. The 18.50 Hexthorpe Sidings to Hull was initially held at Thorne
Jn but was on the move 62 minutes late. The railway reopened at 20.34 when the bridge was closed!
776] East Coast Main Line: On Sun 23 Apr, St George's Day, to celebrate the heritage and future of the
ECML, four trains spanning four generations will travel side by side, in the same direction.
This is connected with the 'Tour de Yorkshire' bike race that starts from Bridlington on 28 Apr. It will be
a 'once in a lifetime opportunity' to see the world famous 'Flying Scotsman' travel alongside two trains
from Virgin Trains' current refurbished fleet - an HST and an InterCity225 (Class 91) - with a new 'Virgin
Azuma' (Class 800). The four trains will travel together for several miles north of York from Tollerton to
showcase the past, present and future of rail travel. The historic event is organised by Virgin Trains,
'Welcome to Yorkshire', NR and the NRM. More details will be released in April although there are
concerns about the mystical effect 'Flying Scotsman' can have on some (otherwise normal) people's
behaviour. All four ECML tracks have unidirectional signalling here and unusually no other trains are
booked from 20.00 Saturday until 10.00 Sunday so presumably the line is under a possession.
777] An Apology: (E-BLN 1277.X38) With the Editor's sincere and profuse apologies, the photo of
the fire engine in e-BLN 1277 was taken in Belgium in 2014 and not Ireland as incorrectly captioned.
778] Hazelhatch - Sallins: Single Line Working will be introduced when required over the Up Line
between crossover points 812 at Hazelhatch and crossover points 815 at Sallins on Sat 1 Apr.
779] Dundalk: On 13 Mar Loco 228 failed with a brake fault on the 18.50 Dublin to Belfast at Dundalk.
It proved impossible to move the train forward or backwards and the 20.50 Dublin to Belfast (loco 209)
was initially held in Drogheda until 22.02. Then it was routed to Dundalk Down loop, back to the Up
(to Dublin) main, then forward to the Up platform to pick up and set down passengers. The 20.50 then
departed for Dublin along the Up road before again reversing and heading northwards via the south
trailing crossover and the Down loop. It arrived in Belfast 68 minutes late. (Due to track rationalisation
there is now no south end Dundalk crossover for a Down train to access the Up platform.)
780] Bangor Buffers: On 21 Mar, the P3 stop board, 'about a chain from the buffers', was moved
'6m nearer to the buffers' (great quotes!). The one on P2, the same distance at P3, was not altered.
781] Baton down the Hazelhatches: Irish Rail have introduced train dispatch batons at Dublin
Connolly, Tara Street, Pearse and Heuston stations as well as Cork, Limerick Junction, Limerick and
Thurles. NIR have used them for some time but only at Belfast Central, Belfast GVS, and Coleraine.
782] Claremorris - Collooney: This line CP 17 June 1963 and sporadic passenger trains ran until 1975.
The last is believed to have been a Sligo to Claremorris Knock special 17 Aug 1975. The final freight ran
30 Oct 1975 with official closure a few days later on 3 Nov 1975. On 30 Nov 1981 an inspection car
from Claremorris to Collooney and back was the last known movement to traverse the whole line. The
final movement on 24 Sep 1988 was loco 052 with coaches 1460 & 1935 from Claremorris to Kiltimagh
returning light engine. That station has now beome a heritage centre including these two coaches.
783] Bus Strikes and not Bridges Either: The higher than usual number of passengers expected to use
Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) Intercity services on Fri 24 Mar (due to a Bus Éireann strike) were faced with
significant disruption due to picketing associated with that dispute even though IÉ was not a party.
Where some IÉ staff did not cross picket lines there were limited services: Dublin to Cork, Dublin to
Limerick, Dublin to Galway, Dublin to Sligo, Dublin to Waterford and Dublin to Rosslare. Initially there
were no services on: Cork Commuter routes, Limerick to Limerick Junction, Waterford to Limerick
Junction, Limerick to Galway, Limerick via Nenagh to Ballybrophy and Tralee to Mallow. The DART,
Dublin Commuter, Westport & Belfast routes were not affected. However Cork Depot soon returned
to work because their action was unofficial/illegal as it is not a shared location with the local bus
depot. On Sat 25 Mar the bus strike continued but the railways were then all operating normally.
785] Inverness Airport (Dalcross): (BLN 1272.10) Highland Council's planning committee has approved
plans for the 568ft platform station, expected to be complete by Dec and open to passengers before
the end of next year. There will be a 150 space car park and a shuttle bus to the airport. It is estimated
that annual line 'ridership' will increase from 160,000 to 400,000 by 2050 because of the new station.
For each £1 spent on the project, the surrounding area should receive £3.60 in benefits. As well as
travellers using the airport, it will provide transport links for the new town of Tornagrain (where work
has already begun on the first of 5,000 houses) eventually due to have a population of about 10,000.
The station will also be part of plans for the 500 acre Inverness Airport Business Park, a business/
research and development park/hotel/conference centre. A half-hourly service between Inverness and
Elgin and also Inverurie and Aberdeen is proposed; with alternate trains running hourly along the
whole line. Within 50 years Dalcross could overtake Elgin to become the second busiest station in the
north, after Inverness. However Ardersier and Petty Community Council said that while it was fully
supportive of a railway station at Inverness Airport, it had significant concerns over the closure of
Petty level crossing, criticising the lack of local consultation. Assurances of a separate order, which
would require objectors' views to be heard in a public inquiry or official hearing, were given.
The previous Dalcross Station, near the closure-threatened level crossing, CP 1965. HITRANS began
planning the station in 2005, and is already looking to build a second platform and a loop at Dalcross.
786] Kilmarnock: (BLNs 1242.1870 - with pictures & 1258.1144) Kilmarnock Station Railway Heritage
Trust has invested about £500k in vacant buildings at the station. This has been enabled by a grant
from the Stations Community Regeneration Fund, funding from the Railway Heritage Trust and East
Ayrshire Council's Renewable Energy Fund. The station has already had seven disused rooms made
accessible to various community groups, following work in 1998. Facilities provided include café, book
and gift shops, plus archive rooms for the Glasgow & South Western Railway Association ('G&SWR' -
the Good and Safe Wee Railway!). The latest accommodation is at street level and is to include offices,
complementary and art therapy rooms, a bike workshop and locker/shower rooms.
784] Larbert North: (BLN 1269.3001) The Up Sidings with Headshunt, the Down Passenger Loop and
the crossover between the Up and Down Main were all brought into use from 12 Mar.
787] Shandon: Re-opening of the station (OP 1894; CP1964) on the West Highland line (NS 251 881) is
in the plan for the expansion of HM Naval Base Clyde. The MoD and community partners are working
together to improve transport links for the base and the wider Helensburgh and Lomond community.
The single-track Shandon Station Rd still branches off the A814 just to the south of Faslane, but now it
only leads to residential properties.
788] Welsh Coal: (BLN 1276.584) The final train of Welsh coal (1,600 tonnes) to Aberthaw Power
Station ran on 15 Mar 2017 leaving Cwmbargoed at 18.45 with 66511; the empties had arrived from
Aberthaw for loading at 16.25. This was also the last Freightliner worked coal train in the Valleys.
Cwmbargoed has permission to work until 2022 to complete coal extraction; then another two years
are allowed for site restoration. DBC operated trains continue from there to Port Talbot Grange (steel
works) and Earles (Hope Cement Works). As predicted the Tower Open Cast Disposal Point branch
remains in use (for another couple of months to clear stocks); a train carrying 1,200 tonnes of coal ran
to Earles sidings on Thur 9 Mar. Cwmbargoed also sends coal to Earles which is eventually expected to
be supplied from Killoch (already dispatching coal by rail to Penyffordd and Ketton Cement Works).
Note that Aberthaw has also recently been receiving imported coal from Avonmouth Silos by rail.
789] Cynghordy: A year-long project has recently been completed to clean, refurbish and strengthen
the 305m viaduct. Work has been in a style and with materials appropriate to its Grade II* listing.
790] Abergele & Pensarn: (BLN 1272.118) The newly-widened Down P2 opened on Mon 12 Mar
(an overrun from 12 Feb). The Down Passenger Loop has been removed with extension of the platform
out to align with the Down Main, using a base of polystyrene blocks. (See it from our 22 Apr railtour…)
BELOW: Mid-Feb (when the Down platform was originally due to reopen)
looking towards Rhyl with the Irish Sea on the left (Nick Jones).
ABOVE: The Colwyn Bay end of the station, the magnification exaggerates the platform curve (Nick Jones).
BELOW: Abergele & Pensarn with extended platform, the 'join' is right of the line of lamps (NR).
791] Cardiff Central: (BLN 1275.457) The peculiarities of Rugby Union fixture planning led once again
to a 74,000 crowd descending on Cardiff Central station from 22.00 on 10 Mar, following the Wales v
Ireland international. Despite the late hour, ATW and GWR managed to disperse significant numbers.
The 22.15 Paddington to Swansea, heavily delayed from London, did not make its booked connection
for the Rosslare ferry, but fortunately a 22.38 relief from Cardiff Central would have done so. A 22.15
extra to Holyhead however was not booked to connect into the night sailing to Dublin. Other extra
trains on the main line included one to Swindon, four to Bristol Temple Meads, two to Cheltenham
Spa, one to Shrewsbury, two to Newport, one to Carmarthen, two to Swansea, and one to Bridgend via
Pencoed. In the Valleys, there was an extra train to each of Ebbw Vale Town, Rhymney, Treherbert,
Coryton, Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil, and Bridgend via Barry. Also the last Pontypridd train was extended
to Treherbert, and the late evening Caerphilly and Ystrad Mynach terminators ran on to Rhymney.
792] Port Penrhyn: (BLN 1277.669) By way of (possibly) a final word on this topic, it may be of interest
to record that Penrhyn Siding signal box, at the branch junction, was reduced to a ground frame from
23 Aug 1954, under the control of Bethesda Junction box which itself closed 1 Aug 1965.
793] Llanelli: Planning permission and Listed Building Consent has been granted for the derelict Grade
II listed historic Llanelli (Albert Road) goods shed building and offices (dating from 1875) to be adapted
for 'business start-ups, a community café, heritage area with a real locomotive in situ, arts rehearsal
and workshop space, video-making facilities, exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, training and work
opportunities and community garden'. A Trust has been set up, to raising the projected cost of £2.6M.
794] Port Dinorwic: The station building still stands. Half a mile to the north, at Port Siding box (closed
23 Jun 1965), was the junction for a branch to the port (CG 31 Oct 1961). The first quarter mile is a
public footpath; where the line passed beneath the A487 it is fenced off, with steps up to the road.
Then the trackbed continues through the garden of a house and then the yard of a marine engineering
company named Higham's. From here, the line is lost beneath modern holiday homes, blocking sight
of the former Padarn Railway tunnel exit. From there its line appears after descending the incline from
Penscoins engine house. Further on, the course of the two lines is a road: Hen Gei Llechi (Old Slate
Yard) for a quarter mile. Nothing of historical interest remains at the dock, a yachting marina.
795] Cardiff Bay: (BLN 1265.1894) Bute Road station until 1994. A planning application has been
submitted by ABA Holdings Ltd in respect of the long-empty Grade II* listed former Taff Vale Railway
office building. This proposes removal of the modern east-side canopy (installed during the Butetown
Historic Railway Society's tenure), and erection of a modern 3-storey block there, interconnected with
the listed building. Change of use is also sought, to include offices, retail space and 'live/work units'.
It is claimed that high levels of glazing will 'maintain visibility of the station and respect its integrity'.
1278 MINOR RAILWAYS - MR references are still to the 2016 (28th) Edition.
MR54] Chasewater Railway, Staffordshire (MR p7): The railway held an 'Industrial Gala' over the
weekend of 18/19 March. A visit was made on the Saturday - a gloomy if mostly dry day. An intensive
timetable was in operation with passenger and goods trains - and some rare track was available.
Operating over the full line from Brownhills West to Chasetown (Church Street) and return was a
three coach passenger train, which ran every 1hr 15mins. A trip on the 10.30 from Brownhills West
and return from Chasetown (Church Street) at 10.55 was sampled - hauled both ways by D2911
0-4-0DH (NBQ27876/1959). These trains both used platform 3 at Brownhills West - the normal (main
platform). The rare track was covered by the short workings from Brownhills West to Chasewater
Heaths and return. The 11.55 from Brownhills West departed from platform 3 behind D2911 and
arrived in the bay platform (2) at Chasewater Heaths. The consist was an open wagon, a cattle wagon
and a rare LNER ballast/riding van DE44440, which was the passenger accommodation.The 12.40
return from the bay platform at Chasewater Heaths was hauled by class 08 D3429 (Crewe/1958) -
with the same consist - and ran into the run-round loop at Brownhills West and to the very end of the
line in platform 4 (although it carries no signage).
ABOVE: Chasewater Railway, Class 08 D3429 has arrived in Brownhills West P4 via the run-round loop
during the 'Industrial Gala' on a passenger working from Chasewater Heaths. (Peter Scott 18 Mar 2017)
[Anyone up for some power lifting - BLN Ed?]
Later this train was shunted, empty, to platform 3 for its next working. Also working were steam
locomotives: 'Colin McAndrew' 0-4-0ST (AB1223/1911), 'Teddy' 0-4-0ST (P2012/1941) and 'Rosyth No1'
0-4-0ST (AB1385/1914). An adult day rover ticket was £9.95, with no reductions. The 2ft gauge railway
at Brownhills West was not in operation - it was locked up and deserted (BLN 1251.MR32). Did anyone
find it to be running or hear of this in 2015/16?
MR55] Cambrian Heritage Railways (Oswestry), Shropshire (MR p7): (BLN 1270.MR236) In a letter
dated 28 February (published on 1 March), the Department of Transport confirmed that the Secretary
of State had decided to transfer the 'Gobowen and Blodwel railway branch' to Cambrian Heritage
Railways Ltd' (CHRL). The transfer was from Network Rail Infrastructure Limited. In the section titled
'Background to and aims of the Order application' the letter notes:
The railway between Gobowen and Blodwel was closed to passenger services in 1966 but remained in
use until 1988 for freight traffic serving a stone quarry in Blodwel. After that, the railway was
'mothballed' with the tracks retained for possible future freight traffic to the quarry. In 2008 Shropshire
County Council acquired from NR the land on which the railway is situated. In 2009 CHRL was
established by agreement between the Cambrian Railway Society Limited (CRSL) and the Cambrian
Railways Trust (CRT) as a separate entity to bring forward the revival of the railway. In 2014 Shropshire
Council leased the railway land to CHRL for a period of 50 years.
BELOW: Progress on Oswesty signal box 19 Oct 2016 (Ian Hughes).
ABOVE: Oswestry north of the station looking
towards Gobowen from the Medical Centre Level
Crossing towards the Davies & Metcalfe Level
Crossing (Ian Hughes Sep 2016). LEFT: The line
northwards to Gobowen past the second level
crossing (Ian Hughes Sep 2016).
The proposed Order would pave the way for the
restoration of the railway for public use as a
community and heritage railway. CHRL intends to
restore the railway to operational use in stages as
funding becomes available. CHRL referred in the
Order application and its representations to local
support for its long term proposals on the grounds
that restoring the railway would assist in the
development of Oswestry as a tourist destination,
would preserve the unique railway heritage of
Oswestry, and may provide a sustainable transport option for accessing the local Orthopaedic Hospital.
The Order would also release NR from the statutory obligations relating to land over which it no longer
carries out any operations and in which it no longer has any legal interest.
Under the section for level crossings, the letter states With regard to the concerns raised by the ORR,
CHRL said it had presented indicative designs for the crossings of the A5 and A483 without level
crossings to the ORR who had said that such a solution would be satisfactory. Given this, it would seem
that full reopening of the line is many years away. https://goo.gl/9DMfRg is the complete letter.
MR56] Exbury Gardens Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1195.MR207): The 12¼" gauge railway and
gardens opened for the 2017 season on Monday 20 March. The new extension (effectively 'pushing
out' the return loop in the main gardens) is due to open on 11 April. The new route deviates round the
North Lake, which opens up a whole new area that the public has never seen before including a
dragonfly pond and a halt for passengers to alight and see the wildlife on the pond.
X.48] Leander Architectural: (BELOW): Near Dove Holes station (Buxton branch) and 1,100ft above
sea level on Wed 29 March. This was billed as the final open day at this 2ft gauge railway; rides were
available on the Simplex Motor Rail '9543' and by velocipede. An Industrial Railway Society (IRS) event
kindly made available to BLS members (a good number attended) with thanks to our member Steve
Liversey (BLN 1275.470). Some IRS members described this as 'the UK's last working industrial narrow
gauge line' (unless anyone knows otherwise). The company mainly casts finishes and paints metal
plaques, signs, maps war memorials and architectural metal work including loco names and builder's
plates, and all the National Trust 'Omega' signs made since 1936. They have fabricated and assembled
rolling stock for the Moseley Railway trust (Apedale Valley Light Railway). The owner Ted McAvoy is
selling his business to retire and the locos and stock are all moving away. (Picture: Ian Mitchell)
A message from our member Steve Liversey: 'I would like to thank the 15 BLS members who attended
and helped us to raise £315 for Ted's Nephew who suffers from Down's Syndrome. We were
particularly pleased as Ted McCoy's son had participated in a boxing tournament the previous
weekend which had raised £700 and we hoped to make it up to £1,000 which was achieved. Over 60
people attended this open day which exceeded our expectations. My friend Andrew Waldron (of the
IRS) was instrumental in organising the event, although he used the IRS data base to send out
invitations he also invited a number of other railway societies. For his next fund raising venture he is
working on a visit to the Tanat Valley Railway in June when it is hoped that the Monorail system
previously at Blaenau Ffestiniog will be in use' (see item MR60 below…).'
X.49] Peak Forest Tramway: (BELOW): By way of contrast, also near Dove Holes with stone sleeper
blocks. This 4' 2" gauge line operated from 1796 until the last train ran in 1922 (Ian Mitchell 29 Mar).
MR57] Lakeshore Railroad, Tyne & Wear (MR p24) (BLN 1146.MR169): This railway claims to be the
only public 9½" gauge steam railway*. It was opened in April 1972 and takes the form of a 555 yard
circuit around the lake in South Marine Park, which is adjacent to the promenade in South Shields.
A visit was made on Saturday 25 February, following our Society event at the North Tyneside Steam
Railway across the river in North Shields. The team at the Lakeshore Railroad was extremely friendly
and helpful and a very enjoyable visit was had. 2-6-2 'Adiela' (c1939, rebuilt 1976) was in steam
hauling a train of three open bogie coaches. 4wPH Lister lookalike 'Rockclimber' (built 2011) was also
in use, hauling two bogie coaches. The trip round the lake takes a few minutes and runs through
wooded areas as well as across more open areas of the park. The station has two roads with an island
platform and a water tower. There are working semaphore signals that are used to designate which
platform the points are set for as the train approaches the station. The railway's third locomotive,
4-6-2 'Mountaineer' (built 1968) is currently undergoing a full service and was not seen. The railway is
open every weekend, weather permitting, and also School Holidays from February to November and
daily from mid-May to mid-September. Operating times vary depending on the time of year; spring
11.00-17.00, summer 10.30-18.00, autumn 11.30-17.00 and winter 11.30-dusk. The fare is £1.50 per
person. Under 3s ride free of charge. There is a café at the station where the trains can be watched
from one's table whilst enjoying refreshments. A gala is planned for the weekend of 24-26 June,
featuring a visiting locomotive (from the also 9½" gauge Downs Railway at Colwall) and an intensive
timetable. The gala celebrates the railway's 45th anniversary and also Adiela's birthday. Further details
on the railway's Facebook page and website www.lakeshorerailroad.co.uk or 0191 4547761.
[*Hall Leys Miniature Railway, Matlock MR p14 is also the unusual 9½" gauge with public running- Ed]
MR58] Welsh Highland Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29): Caernarfon (BLN 1274.MR22) A member
attended a Supporters' event last October where Paul Lewin, the F&WHR General Manager, explained
the sewer at Caernarfon is in fact being diverted to run under the WHR's track. Its previous course
takes it beneath the site of the new station building; removing the track is considered to be very much
the lesser of two evils should access to it be required in future! Also according to the unofficial, but
generally reliable, WHR website www.isengard.co.uk the pipe running down the wall below Segontium
Terrace is not that which is being diverted but the main sewer from a manhole in the roadway just
short of the tunnel mouth to a point by the old car park entrance. The pipe down the wall will remain -
unfortunately, as it makes the track alignment through the station awkward: it is in fact just an
overflow for times of extreme weather. There will be a new connection with the diverted drain.
Hafod Ruffydd: (BLN1275.MR36) The station was at (SH572499). Volume 2 of James Boyd's 'Festiniog
Railway' history (Oakwood Press 1962) has WHR station diagrams on the rear endpapers though no
source is quoted. However, the Hafod Ruffydd diagram does show a shelter and goods siding on the
east side of the line and north of the level crossing. The siding faces north and extends between the
shelter and the running line. Glanyrafon: (BLN1274.MR22) the quarry weighhouse was at (SH573540).
MR59] Rother Valley Railway, East Sussex: (BLN 1272.80) The railway announced on 16 March that its
application to restore the Northbridge Street to Junction Road part of the Robertsbridge to Bodiam
Reconnection Project had been approved unanimously by the Rother District Council (RDC) Planning
Committee. The reconnection is included in RDC Plan Policy EM8 and RVR has already made significant
progress on the scheme and meeting the three criteria laid down for continuing RDC support:
(1): At the Eastern end, RVR has rebuilt the section of the railway from Bodiam to Junction Road so
Kent & East Sussex Railway was able to start running occasional passenger trains in 2011.
(2): At Robertsbridge the RVR has purchased further land since 2006 and is building a heritage style
terminus station for Kent & East Sussex Railway allowing it to run passenger trains in 2013.
(3): Reconnecting the Rother Valley Railway and the Network Rail main line - formally opened by Sir
Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail on 6 December 2016.
ABOVE: Rother Valley Railway 'Terrier' 32670 heads a train (from the Tenterden direction) on the
opening day, 21 Sep 2013. That weekend has been the only passenger operation here so far, the NR
line is left looking towards London with Robertsbridge stations behind the cameraman. (Peter Scott)
The RVR is aware that in spite of overwhelming support for this restoration scheme, there are local
people who have expressed concerns about level crossings and excessive parking in Robertsbridge
itself. Their fears will be addressed as the scheme progresses and it is to be hoped that the economic
benefits of the scheme will become apparent. The remaining landowners have additionally expressed
concern and RVR fully appreciates that a railway crossing their farms represents some disruption. RVR
has met with the three landowners and will continue to engage with them with a view to acquiring the
original trackbed by agreement. Next steps are to complete construction of the toilet block at
'Robertsbridge Junction' station and to prepare for the Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to
provide the statutory powers to build and operate the railway. When complete the line will be
operated by Kent & East Sussex Railway using its staff, rolling stock, and procedures.
MR60] Tanat Valley Light Railway, Shropshire (MR p7): The Nantmawr Visitor Centre and the Tanat
Valley Light Railway is now home to a unique monorail collection and it is hoped that some of the
equipment can be set up to eventually give passenger rides. The owner, Richard Morris, has loaned the
collection to the Visitor Centre with a view to it becoming a permanent home. Visitor Centre trustee
and rail enthusiast Mark Hignett is now hoping to have a section up and running by Easter. Mark said:
Sixteen years ago I had an email out of the blue asking whether I was interested on taking on Richard
Morris' collection, but for one reason or another it never happened. Then in June last year, I was asked
again whether I was still interested and of course I said yes. Richard Morris had a whole yard at his
house in Blaenau Ffestiniog filled with monorail equipment and containers. Mark had to move
everything, and all the rubbish on site, within six weeks. He and a group of volunteers from the Tanat
Valley Light Railway funded the move and made 17 trips in 10 days to Richard's house to pick up the
collection. Mark is now appealing for volunteers to help with the ambitious project to have a
demonstration track up and running by spring. He added: We need people to help with everything from
painting to track laying to carpentry. You don't need to be an expert to help - it's one all the family can
get involved with. Then, hopefully, by the Heritage Open Days [7-10 September 2017] we will be able
to put on passenger rides. Anyone interested in helping see https://goo.gl/alQsX4 or 01948781079.
ABOVE: London Victoria, the old and the new; 442408 (left P14) parked next to 387211.
1278 FIXTURES REPORT: 796] Southern/BLS
Class 442 farewell, Sun 12 Mar 2017 Review 1:
Taking 270 participants, this was the final run
for the Gatwick Express Class 442 'Wessex'
electrics as latterly operated between Victoria
and Gatwick. The latest carriage side branding
of just 'Express' since 2012 recognises that the
service extended to Brighton/Eastbourne. The
last public service was Fri 10 Mar, but Class
442s EMUs continue to run ECS (as was seen at
Eastbourne on 20 Mar) to keep them 'warm'.
This was the third 'farewell' train on the
Gatwick Express route. In May 1984 Class 73 hauled mark 2F coaches with Class 489 Goods Luggage
Van dominated the route until the introduction of class 460 Juniper EMUs from 1999 [perhaps running
via Berrylands?]. Due to the unit's unreliability, the 73 hauled sets plodded on until 2005 with the 460s
remaining on the service until 2012. The 442s started on the Gatwick Express in 2008. To cater for the
luggage space demand on the airport services the units underwent extensive modification but this
frequently fell short when a train full of holiday makers with several suitcases each used them.
A good selection of pictures from the day https://goo.gl/2YfC8e (at WNXX pictures). The 442's claim to
fame is that it set the 108 mph speed record for a third rail EMU on 11 Apr 1988. There are four trains an
hour between Gatwick and Victoria with two extended to Brighton.
Our Southern Class 442 Farewell tour saw two 5-car units, 442402 and 442408 bow out in style and
highlighted three objectives. The first gave Southern an opportunity to pay tribute to the class with a
farewell tour. The second gave enthusiasts an opportunity to travel on an Express branded 442 for the
last time covering regular routes, some lines for the first time with the units, and some rare track.
Finally and most importantly it gave the opportunity to raise money for two very worthy charities.
Firstly 'Embrace' (Eastbourne) for special needs and disabled children; promoting inclusion, improving
life skills and opportunities through clubs, outreach and advocacy. Secondly Keech Hospice, a Luton
based charity providing care for adults and children with life-limiting and terminal illnesses.
The day started at a very respectable 10.30, so few had to get up in the 'middle of the night', as seems
to be the norm for most tours these days. It was also a godsend for the many that had also travelled
on the previous day's Pathfinder Waste Train tour to North West England providing up to 17 hours of
railtouring. [Of course, the really keen were on our North Norfolk Railway tour on the Friday too.]
Departing Victoria P14 at 10.30 the train travelled to Clapham Junction via the Battersea Reversible.
This line sees the occasional passenger train, most notably railtours (particularly steam-hauled) and
during engineering works. There was a scheduled Victoria to Tunbridge Wells service via the Chatham
lines out of Victoria that ran via Stewarts Lane and Pouparts Jn but now runs from London Bridge.
Continuing through Crystal Palace station, Beckenham Junction bay P1 was reached half an hour or so
after leaving Victoria - the first (and last) visit by a 442! After a leisurely turn around it retraced its
tracks back towards Victoria taking in Streatham Hill South Sidings, the first sidings of the day.
BELOW: Beckenham Junction P1 at the buffers (all Neil Greenwood unless othewise specified).
ABOVE: Three Bridges depot from the station looking south both sides of the layout were covered.
Back at Victoria and, after a short break, the run to Brighton followed the traditional 'Gatex' route.
The second lot of rare track was to be the first passenger train at Three Bridges Depot, (through Down
No1 Siding). Govia Thameslink Railway and Siemens' new purpose built facility opened in Oct 2015.
It services/maintains the new Class 700 Thameslink units. Three Bridges Signalling Centre reminded
some participants of an excellent Society visit there on 30 Apr last year; the ROC is on the Up side.
After a swift run Down to Brighton the two units were split with 442408 running ECS into P8 for the
afternoon. A real treat was having a very smart 73202 attached to 442402 to provide motive power
(diesel when leading) for a run around the Brighton/Preston Park/Hove triangle. In true BLS spirit it
wasn't quite as straightforward as this though! Leaving Brighton P7 the tour crossed over onto the
Up Main and set off for Preston Park. Just before the station we turned left onto the Up Loop and ran
to the end of Preston Park Carriage Sidings Line 1. A reversal put us onto the Cliftonville Spur before
we rolled into Hove Yard No6 Carriage Siding and the furthest one from the running line (nice one!)
Hove Yard stables the stock but the Gatwick Express services generally use Brighton P4 and P5.
There is no direct route to these platforms from the West Branch route, therefore the ECS has to run
on the Cliftonville Spur in to Preston Park P1 for a reversal into the appropriate platform at Brighton
station. However, we were able to use the West Branch as we pulled into P2 on return to Brighton.
Now with the 73 on the back we continued into Lovers Walk Depot using the West Carriage Road
running very close to the exterior wall of the depot itself. With a reversal completed at Preston Park
again, we made the very short run back to Brighton P7. Due to late running of our train on the
Brighton moves, our two hour break became a 90 minute break. For most this was plenty of time to
get fed (but not fed up) and 'watered'. A quick trip to the Volk's Railway found it non-operational due
to a £1.65M restoration programme [If only people would read BLN - Ed.]. It is due to ROP in summer.
In 10 car formation with an unusual departure towards London from Brighton P8 (the most easterly)
with its quaint wooden platform, the day was far from being over. It was to Victoria via Three Bridges
No1 Up Reception Road. On to Gatwick, where 442410 and 442419 were observed stabled in the yard,
then East Croydon. Here we took the Up London Bridge Slow, used by the local stopping trains to
London Bridge. That came to an end at Norwood Fork Jn where we forked off left to travel over the
Fork Arrival Road, somewhat rare track for a passenger carrying train. On to London Bridge via
New Cross Gate and then the former No1 Up Carriage Siding, (now the New Cross Up Sussex Loop). It
was dark by this time, but with a big team effort and helpful commentary we plotted our way through
the complicated track work to London Bridge and for the rest of the tour (especially at Stewarts Lane).
BELOW: Someone had kindly made a special effort for us at BrightonABOVE
ABOVE: At Brighton someone had made a special effort for our special….
BELOW: The winner of the auction for the Southern 442 Farewell commemorative headboard (not the
BLS headboard!) is congratulated by Kev Adlam on board the tour (the train was still carrying the
headboard at the time...). The winning bid of £1,044.20 went to the two charities (Geoff Plumb).
After a short break the next leg took us to Victoria again via a reversal at East Croydon; a first for many
on the train was taking the new Bermondsey Diveunder, (OP 27 Dec 2016). The massive multi-million
pound Thameslink project around London Bridge is largely to untangle the routes into and out of the
station ultimately to make the journey through the area simpler, quicker and greatly increase capacity.
Another highlight of the day was the run into the approach of Stewarts Lane Depot, navigating the
mass of lines out of Victoria to alongside Wandsworth Road station via the Battersea Reversible and
Chatham Reversible where the tour (very appropriately) reversed back, underneath the lines into
Waterloo, for yet another reversal onto the Washer Road. Following all this was made a lot easier with
the assistance of a commentary on the exact route taken via the train PA; in fact there had been an
interesting and useful commentary all day. A swift turn around had us back in Victoria nearly half an
hour ahead of schedule at a very respectable 20.45!
A big 'pat on the back' to those in Southern, Network Rail and our Society who put the very interesting
and enjoyable railtour together and made sure that it ran so well on the day. Considering the tour was
first advertised only 10 days before it ran, it was truly remarkable to have 270 participants (with,
pleasingly, many young people and 442 fans) and raise a significant sum for charity. (Neil Greenwood)
Thanks to the indefatigable Martyn Brailsford; for those with good eyesight or a good magnifying glass:
797] Victoria P14 - Line F (0m.28ch) - Dn Brighton Slow - Battersea Pier Jn - Battersea Reversible - Longhedge Jn -
Dn Battersea - Pouparts Jn - Dn Brighton Fast - Clapham Jn - Dn Brighton Fast - Balham - Balham Jn X/O - Slow Lines -
Dn Crystal Palace - Leigham Jn - West Norwood Jn - Crystal Palace Tunnel Jn - Bromley Dn Jn - Birkbeck - Beckenham Jn
P1 (rev) - Birkbeck - Bromley Up Jn - Crystal Palace Tunnel Jn - West Norwood Jn - Leigham Jn - Streatham Hill - Up Sdgs
West - No2 - Carriage Wash - Balham Jn X/O - Up Brighton Fast - Clapham Jn - Up Brighton Fast - Line H (0m 28ch) -
X/O at scissor - Victoria P14 (rev) - Line G (0m 28ch) - Dn Brighton Fast - Clapham Jn - Balham - Streatham Common -
Dn Victoria Fast - Selhurst - East Croydon P3 - Dn Fast - Stoats Nest Jn - Dn Quarry - Gatwick Airport P7 - Three Bridges
- Three Bridges Dn Siding No1 - Dn Fast - Balcombe Tunnel Jn - Haywards Heath P2 - Keymer Jn - Preston Park P3 -
Dn Main - Montpelier Jn - 2nd scissor X/O - Dn East Branch - X/O - Brighton P7 (rev) - first crossover - Dn East Branch -
first scissor - Dn Main, first X/O - Up Main - Preston Park Jn X/O - Up Loop - Preston Park P1 - Preston Park CS No1(rev) -
Preston Park Jn X/O - Up Main then Dn Cilftonville Spur - Hove Jn (straight on, not Up West Branch) - Hove Carriage Sdg
No6 (rev) - Up West Branch - Brighton P2 (rev) - West Carriage Road - Carriage Road North - Up Loop - Preston Park P1
(rev) - Preston Park Jn X/Os - Dn Main - Montpelier Jn - 2nd scissor X/O - Dn East Branch - X/O - Brighton P7 (rev) BREAK
Brighton P8 - Up Main (one available route) - Preston Park Jn - Preston Park P2 - Keymer Jn - Haywards Heath P3 -
Balcombe Tunnel Jn - Up Slow - Three Bridges Up Sdg No1 - 2nd set of X/Os at depot end - Up Slow - Three Bridges P2 -
Up Fast - Tinsley Green Jn - Up Loop - Gatwick Airport P1 - Up Fast - Horley - Up Quarry - Up Fast - East Croydon P2 -
Windmill Bridge Jn X/Os - Up Slow - Cottage Jn - Up London Bridge Slow - Norwood Fork Jn X/Os - Fork Arrival -
Norwood Jn P3 - Up London Bridge Fast - New Cross Gate P4 - X/Os - Up Sussex Loop - Bricklayers Arms Jn X/Os -
Sussex Reversible - No10 Reversible - Abbey Street Jn X/O - No9 Reversible - Line C - London Bridge P 10 (rev) - Line C -
No9 Reversible - Dn Sussex Slow - Bricklayers Arms Jn - Dn Sussex Fast - New Cross Gate P3 - Dn London Bridge Fast -
Norwood Fork Jn X/O - Dn London Bridge Slow - East Croydon P5 (rev) - Windmill Bridge Jn X/O - Up Slow - Up Victoria
Slow - Selhurst Jn (9m.43ch) X/O - Up Victoria Fast - Streatham Common - Balham Jn - Clapham Junction P12 -
Up Brighton Fast - Battersea Park Jn - Brighton Reversible (0m.32ch) - Line H (0.28) - Victoria P15 (rev) - Line F (0.28) -
Dn Brighton Slow - Battersea Pier Jn - Battersea Reversible - Dn Stewarts Lane - Stewart Lane Jn - Factory Jn - Chatham
Reversible behind Wandsworth Road station (rev) - Factory Jn - Up Stewarts Lane - Stewarts Lane Jn - Battersea
Reversible towards Battersea Pier Jn (approx 1m.18ch) (rev) - Battersea Reversible - Up Stewarts Lane - Stewarts Lane
Jn - Washer Road toward Carriage Sheds (1m.49ch) (rev) - Washer Road - Stewarts Lane Jn - Up Stewarts Lane -
X/O - Battersea Reversible; cross back at 1m.23ch - Up Stewarts Lane - Up Chatham Slow - Line D - Victoria P7!
798] Southern/BLS Class 442 farewell, Sun 12 Mar 2017 Review 2: (By Matthew Dodd) Plastic Pigs,
Wessies - call them what you will, but the charismatic Class 442 units have certainly added interest to
the Brighton Main Line over the last 8+ years. Southern and Gatwick Express originally used all
24 units, but the rundown of the class began last year with the introduction of the new Class 387/2
EMUs for Gatwick Express. Thanks to Jim Sellens for the mileages (BELOW) and souvenir tickets.
London Victoria P14 Beckenham Junction P1 2402 11m 62ch
Beckenham Junction P1 London Victoria P14 2402 11m 47ch
London Victoria P14 Brighton P7 2402+2408 50m 50ch
Brighton P7 Preston Park Siding No1 73202+2402 1m 46ch
Preston Park Siding No1 Hove Yard Siding No6 2402+73202 1m 75ch
Hove Yard Siding No6 Brighton P2 73202+2402 1m 51ch
Brighton P2 Preston Park P1 2402+73202 1m 26ch
Preston Park P1 Brighton P7 73202+2402 1m 26ch
Brighton P8 London Bridge P10 2402+2408 50m 43ch
London Bridge P10 East Croydon P5 2408+2402 10m 22ch
East Croydon P5 London Victoria P15 2402+2408 10m 31ch
London Victoria P15 Wandsworth Road Chatham line (reverse) 1m 77ch
Wandsworth Road Chatham line Stewarts Lane Jn, Battersea (reverse) 2402 0m 64ch
Stewarts Lane Jn, Battersea Stewarts Lane Depot Wash Road 2402 0m 27ch
Stewarts Lane Depot Wash Road London Victoria P7 2402 1m 43ch
The last booked Class 442 Gatwick Express was in the early hours of Sat 17 Sep 2016; since then the six
remaining units have been focused between London Bridge and Eastbourne/Brighton on peak trains.
However, with Class 377s being made available from Thameslink duties and the desire to remove the
need to keep a pool of spares for just six units, it was announced that the Class 442s would finish all
Southern passenger work in March 2017. The final passenger working was Fri 10 Mar 2017 with 1B46,
the 17.57 London Bridge to Brighton, with units 2410 & 2413. That would surely have been that, had it
not been for the enthusiasm of some staff in Three Bridges Railway Operations Centre, ably led by
Track Section Manager Anthony Yandell and Network Rail guru Ben Haslam who, in just four weeks,
remarkably put together an ambitious farewell tour which occurred on Sun 12 Mar using units 2402 &
2408, with the Stewarts Lane 'pet' loco 73202.
ABOVE: Antony Yandell (left) and Matthew Dodd of GoVia Thameslink Railway (Southern) were
responsible for much of the planning that went into the running of the BLS 'Southern Class 442
Farewell' tour and are here holding a commemorative cake made especially for the occasion.
Both the tour and the cake went down very well! (Geoff Plumb).
At 10.07, the ECS arrived at London Victoria from Stewarts Lane with a Passenger Information Screen
message: 'Southern Class 442 Farewell December 2008 - March 2017.' The tour kicked off with 2402
running as a 5-Car formation on 1Z42 10.30 from P14. This leg was a real exploitation of route
clearance, (requiring traversal of Crystal Palace P2 at 5mph) and the first passenger visit for the class
to Beckenham Junction. It also provided a trip around the back of Stewarts Lane depot - a route
occasionally used for Gatwick Express overnight diversions. It was quite surreal to see a mainline
express unit rubbing shoulders with Croydon Tramlink units at Beckenham Junction - certainly very
different from the usual Class 455s found on the route! The tour headed back to Victoria, running
through Streatham Hill Up Sidings and crossing up slow to up fast at Balham to add extra interest.
2402 and 2408 then were paired up again (repaired?) and headed off to Brighton at 12.32 as 1Z44.
The usual run was broken up by a trip through the new Three Bridges Down Thameslink Sidings,
a much sought after addition to everyone's Baker and TRACKmaps! At Brighton P7 the EMUs were
re-split; 2408 shunting for display in P8, and 73202 was attached to 2402 for the next part.
ABOVE: Brighton P7, 73202 couples up to 442402 to depart for Preston Park, Hove and Lovers Walk
Depot. 442408 is on P8 (behind and out of view). Far left a well know steward shepherds passengers.
This was much welcomed by most on board as the loco very rarely works passenger trains now. For all
those wondering, 73202 worked solo on diesel power and in multiple with 2402 on third rail power.
The combination then set off as 1Z45 for Brighton West Side via Preston Park Sidings Road 1 and
Hove Yard, Road 6. Much work had been done to leave Road 6 in Hove Yard free as the 23 May 2010
Class 442 'Ruby Rover' tour had previously visited Road 5. Back at Brighton station it was off to….
Brighton via Preston Park again, taking in Lovers Walk Depot West Carriage Road. A break at the
seaside town followed although sadly the weather was not conducive to ice creams on the beach!
With 2402 and 2408 re-coupled, the tour left Brighton for London Bridge - mimicking the final peak
hour workings for the class. At Three Bridges, the tour ran through the Up Thameslink Depot giving
passengers a chance to view the new facility for maintaining the Siemens Class 700 EMUs now being
introduced on Thameslink. At Norwood Fork Jn, the train diverted again to travel along the Selhurst
Depot Fork Arrival - much desired by those on board as previous tours had not traversed these roads
entirely. However the diversions were not quite over for this leg, as at New Cross, the Up Sussex Loop
was travelled over - despite the signalling offering the Up Main! Fortunately, staff on board caught this
in time and were able to advise the driver to challenge the route; it was reset [Thank you for that!]!