Issue Number 1236 (Items 1205- 1305 and MR 91_MR107) (E-BLN 36 PAGES) 4 July 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
BLN 1237 is due on 18 July and all contributions must be received by 8 July.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
TBA 2015 Severn Valley Railway Highley, Engine House branch 1230 PS Notify
Fri 10/07/15 Whitrope Siding railway 09.00 Standard gauge railtour 1233 PS Open
Fri 10/07/15 Saughtree station tour Late morning train rides 1233 PS Open
Sun 12/07/15 Thameslink Tracker tour 11.50 Bedford - Herne Hill etc. 1234 KA Open
Sat 18/07/15 *NEW* ROC/IECC visits 10.30 Romford & Upminster 1236 PS OPEN
Sun 19/07/15 East Lancashire Railway Comprehensive railtour 1234 KA FULL
Thur 30/07/15 Spa Valley Railway 16.00 Track railtour 1231 GW Open
Sat 1/08/15 Signal Box Visits 09.30 Norfolk Broads area 1234 PS Enquire
Sat 8/08/15 25 mile French branch Whole Sud des Ardennes branch 1234 GB Enquire
Thur 13/08/15 South Wales Valleys Conducted service train tour 1232 KA FULL
15-16/08/15 SVR signalling weekend Two day practical signals course 1224 NJ FULL
Sun 16/08/15 Rainsbrook Valley Rly. 11.00 Comprehensive railtour 1234 PS Open
Sun 16/08/15 Conducted walk 12.30 Rugby area trackbed walk 1234 PS Open
Fri 4/09/15 Strathspey Railway 12.30 Track and traction tour 1236 KA OPEN
Sat 5/09/15 Caledonian Railway 10.30 Track and traction tour 1236 KA OPEN
Sun 6/09/15 Royal Deeside Railway 10.00 Track and traction tour 1236 KA OPEN
Mon 7/09/15 Rail/Sail & guided walk 09.56 Rothesay & Ettrick Bay 1236 GB NOTIFY
**NEW** from Glasgow Central tramway; Wemyss Bay station INTEREST
Sat 19/09/15 Scunthorpe Steelworks 10.30 All day railtour, with food 1236 PS OPEN
*NOW OPEN* Railway AFRPS Claimed
and drink during lunch break
Sun 11/10/15 East Kent Railway
Comprehensive railtour TBA DG
Sun 11/10/15 Romney H. & D. Railway Comprehensive railtour TBA DG Claimed
Sat 24/10/15 Ribble Steam Railway All line railbus railtour TBA JW Claimed
Fri 13-15/11/15 60th AGM weekend York NRM and events in area TBA TBA Claimed
DG-Darren Garnon, GW-Glen Wells, GB-Greg Beecroft, JW-John Williamson, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, PS-Paul Stewart.
1205] Romford ROC & Upminster IECC, Charity Event Sat, 18 July 10.30: With thanks to NR, our first
ever visit to a Rail Operating Centre, at Romford (one of 14 which will eventually cover all of NR), only
recently completed at a cost of £32M and opened with Anglia Control on 24 May. Party limit 10, led by
member Stuart Hicks, then 14.00 at Upminster for the Integrated Electronic Control Centre that
signals the Thameside (including Thames Gateway) and North London Routes and has c2c control.
Subject to demand, a second group of 10 will start at Upminster 10.30 and visit Romford at 14.00. £15
per head, pay on the day in cash, all proceeds to Railway Children. Please publicise and support this
very worthwhile event. Bookings and queries to Paul Stewart per back page; non-members welcome.
1206] BLS Scottish Weekend Fri 4 to Mon 7 Sept: With the fantastic support of PLEG, we are delighted
to announce a long weekend including very rare track and traction (details below). Prompt booking is
advised, first come first served, strictly BLS or PLEG members only (note that the Terms & Conditions
of both organisations apply). Normal public services to Tweedbank start on 6 September.
1207] Fri 4 Sept, The Strathspey Railway 12.30: The Aviemore layout is due to change with the
creation of a passing loop outside Speyside station (BLN 1224.11). We believe that some of the
requested very rare route has never been used by a passenger train. Locos requested: D2774, 08490,
27050 and 31327. Starting 12.30, the plan is that all locos will work on coaching stock, rather than
brakevans as we know that is important to some. We expect the Class 27 and Class 31 to make trips
along the line, one traversing the new extension to the end of line at the River Dulnain bridge (OP 16
July 2014). Other rare track is expected to include Boat of Garten yard and an Aviemore depot road
with the shunters. A single coach may be needed for some of the track with the party split into groups.
Please support the buffet of hot (bacon sandwiches etc.) and cold snacks. Finish is about 18.00.
1208] Sat 5 Sept, Caledonian Railway 10.30: Starting at Bridge of Dun, our three coach set will be
hauled by 26014 and 27024 to Brechin where there will be a 90 minute break with food for sale from a
special BBQ! In top 'n tail mode 08046 and Class 11 12093 will then run over the very rare Brechin
shed road. We are indebted to the Caledonian Railway for the special effort required to use the Class
11 on this very unusual line. The return to Bridge of Dun will feature the same two mainline diesels
with a bar on the train. Expected finish is about 13.30 with ample time to visit the delightful nearby
10¼" gauge Kerr's Miniature Railway (MR p27), DD11 2PT (NO629401) in Arbroath afterwards.
BELOW: Barclay no 1863 departs Brechin station to Bridge of Dun © Ross Inglis 2012.
1209] Sun 6 Sept, Royal Deeside Railway, 10.00: http://goo.gl/RpUhr4 Starting at Milton of Crathes,
our charter will cover as much track as possible with shunts to clear lines, including recently laid track.
03094 has been requested hauling the Battery Electric DMU. Any other available diesel loco will be on
the standard runs along this mile long line throughout the day. Ex-BR diesels expected to be on site by
then are 03094, and 03134 (currently under overhaul). We are due to finish about 11.00; there will
then be time to stay on site for the Diesel Gala. The fare includes a Day Rover but must be booked via
the Society to participate in the 'rare track' elements first thing. Alternatively, the 2ft gauge Alford
Valley Railway, 50 minutes away, is running and there is time to reach the Keith and Dufftown
Railway for a round DMU trip or travel to Edinburgh for the first day of public services to Tweedbank.
Fares UNTIL 31 July Strathspey Caledonian Royal Deeside WEEKEND
BLS/PLEG member £30 £25
Accompanied 5 -16 £15 £12.50 £25 £75
Accompanied child under 5 are free. Bookings AFTER 31 July will be subject to a premium (Strathspey
£8) and £5 each for Caledonian and Royal Deeside, with no weekend fare discount available. All
locomotives quoted are, of course, subject to availability. Comprehensive maps, stock lists and
souvenir tickets will be provided for all events. BOOKINGS and queries to Kev Adlam per back page. If
you do not have an email address please provide a large SAE and a second if an acknowledgment is
required. Cheques payee 'Branch Line Society' or a completed Card Payment Authority, downloadable
at http://goo.gl/Oje70q and from our website. Please provide the full name of all applicants.
1210] Mon 7 Sept, Wemyss Bay station and Rothesay & Ettrick Bay tramway: (BLN 1221. 1753)
ABOVE: On the 1923/34 OS 1" to the mile map Rothesay is bottom right, the tramway (once with 20
trams) ran north along the coastal A844 to and through Port Bannatyne, then cut west across the Isle
of Bute near the B857 to the rather remote Ettrick Bay (upper left) near the current tea room there. To
complete our Scottish weekend, catch the 09.56 from Glasgow Central to Wemyss Bay; see the recent
station renovation work (BLN 1231.808), archives and photographs held by the 'Friends of Wemyss
Bay Station'. Then a 35 minute ferry journey to the Isle of Bute for a 5 mile walk along (mostly) the
trackbed http://goo.gl/8LMZSP of the Rothesay & Ettrick Bay tramway. The former tram depot (now a
West Coast Motors depot) may be visited subject to agreement and the level of support. Return 17.30
from Rothesay (a different ship from the morning); 18.23 from Wemyss Bay to Glasgow (19.19) for the
19.40 to London Euston (connections Birmingham, Manchester etc). Notify interest to our guide, local
member Greg Beecroft [email protected] or write with SAE: 4 The Shores, Skelmorlie, PA17 5AZ.
1211] Scunthorpe Steeltracker railtour, Sat 19 Sept: Our second 2015 tour of this extensive industrial
railway, (in the words of one member 'totally un-spoilt by tourism') which works round the clock,
starts from the AFRPS platform (SE 9072 1086) on the A1029 Brigg Road, DN16 1TS at 10.30, finishing
approximately 16.30. Rail connections are anticipated from London, Norwich, Cardiff, Great Malvern,
Carlisle, Great Malvern etc. There are over 100 miles of standard gauge track. A unique experience in
the modern era at this interesting industrial location which helps to keep the AFRPS preserved loco
fleet running. Members £33, non-members £38 including hot drinks, a sandwich and cake in the lunch
break. It is hoped to be able to offer at least one additional fixture in the area the day before, Friday 18
Sept. Bookings, queries and requests for specific lines in advance only to Paul Stewart (back page).
1212] Unusual Track: These are anticipated but should be re-checked http://goo.gl/atct2m etc.
Plumstead trailing X/O: 4 & 5 Jul, shuttle to Dartford, X/O (east end) on departure from P1.
Wellingborough North Jn: 4 & 5 Jul, Up trains from 20.05 (Sat) ex-Nottingham and Down (from
20.26 ex-St. Pancras cross to/from the Up & Down Slow, and all day Sunday (see EM section).
Chelmsford: 5 Jul, Up departures from P2 at 07.52, twice an hour to 10.30 and after 21.58.
Brick House trailing X/O: 16 Aug, 08.42 & 09.43 Chelmsford to Ipswich and 09.11 to Clacton.
Arbour Lane X/O: 16 Aug, 06.54/07.24 Colchester, 07.17 Diss & 08.00 Norwich, to Chelmsford.
Banbury, north trailing X/O: (due to be removed with the 2016 resignalling) 19 & 26 July 09.35
& 10.16 to Birmingham Snow Hill. NB High risk as close to the end of the engineers' possession.
Stalybridge: SuO to 27 July Liverpool trains via Warrington Central use Bay P2; the 16.20 from
Liverpool is shown arriving P1 at 17.24, returning at 17.50 (information appreciated about this).
Stratford-upon-Avon P3: NRU, except SuO 19 July to 3 Sep (also shown for later dates but not
likely to happen), 13.26 from Worcester Foregate St. arrives 15.15 and returns at 15.29. P1 is
occupied by a Chiltern London train from 15.29 (or 15.24 WTT) to 15.38 and P2 by 'The
Shakespeare Express' steam train (which also has to run round) from 15.04 to 16.18.
Hartlepool Bay P1: Long term since the 17 May timetable change, (SuO) 11.05 & 17.15 from
Darlington returning at 12.05 & 18.00 respectively. Previously NRU since December 2010. RTT
shows that SuO to 28 June the morning train used P1 (bold platform number, so an automatic
update) and recessed there whilst other services used P2. The evening train only recesses in
Hartlepool for some 5 minutes, with no booked use of P2 then. RTT does not show P1 in bold
for this train, other than 31 May, suggesting it might have reversed in P2 on other dates. (RTT
shows 'P3' 17 & 24 May, not in bold, so unlikely to have been used; hardly surprising as there is
no platform face here nor access other than across the tracks! This suggests the schedule was
incorrectly set up for the first two weeks of the current timetable). Members wishing to cover
this elusive bay are thus advised to target the morning option!
Sellafield facing X/O south of station: The Down (west side) P3 takes 2 coaches, and east side
P1 takes 3. The Up line with two platform faces is bidirectional (the 'Down & Up Loop'). Trains
calling with more than 3 coaches use this line in both directions and the doors are opened on
P1, including (SSuX) loc hauled: 05.45, 11.38, 14.37 & 17.31 Barrow-in-Furness to Carlisle.
Piccadilly Line, Acton Town P4: 21.17 (SO) Ex-Heathrow via X/O each end of station (train 324).
Balbriggan X/O (IÉ): From 29 June SSuX the 17.55 (retimed 18.06) to Dublin Pearse, departs P2
formed by the 17.07 (SSux) ex-Connolly arr. P2 at 17.47 (no longer ECS to Mosney to reverse).
A summary of the current regular unusual Chiltern moves, with thanks to Chiltern Railways:
Princes Risborough P2 X/0 to Down Main: (SSuX) 18.50 & 19.49 Marylebone to Bicester North.
Bi-directional Bicester North to Princes Risborough: (SO) 06.29 Banbury to Marylebone, it did
indeed do this with your Editor and General Secretary on board recently.
Bi-directional Princes Risborough - Aynho Jn: 23.15 (SO) & 23.10 (SuO) Marylebone - Banbury.
Banbury, bay P4 dep.: 10.35 (SO) & 08.40 (SuO) to Marylebone (subject to engineering work).
Banbury, south departures from P1: (SX) 05.37, 07.44*, 08.07, 09.06, 13.13 & 20.43; (SO)
06.04, 09.25 & 20.03 and (SuO) 09.50 all to London Marylebone. [*Loco-hauled service.]
Banbury, north departures from P1: (SX) 06.05 and 18.09; (SO) 08.14; (SuO) 17.09.
Gerrards Cross, X/O into Down P1: 09.52 (SX) Marylebone to Gerrards Cross (arrives 10.27).
High Wycombe X/Os, Up direction overtaking move via P2: 10.55 (SO) Moor St. - Marylebone.
Hatton P3 to Down Dorridge line: (BLN 1234.1097) From 25 October the new Oxford Parkway
service is due to start and the above moves may change, then (SX) the 16.24 Marylebone to
Birmingham Snow Hill is held in P3 to allow the 17.15 from Marylebone to overtake via P2.
1213] FIXTURES REPORTS: Guernsey, 9 May: (67/60) Departing from Jersey on two separate flights
due to size of the party, the afternoon of Saturday 9 May saw the intrepid group relocate to Guernsey.
Public service buses were used to make the short journey from the airport to Sausmarez Manor, the
home of a 7¼" gauge miniature railway. This http://goo.gl/bC1ASQ is now the only railway on the
island, a 350yd circuit with a single depot spur. Traction was provided by Terry Leigh built 4-4wPH
(1989) 'Remus', hauling two sit-astride trucks. Everyone enjoyed at least two clockwise circuits from
Manor Station https://goo.gl/f0yyvx waving Guernsey flags (as you do), before the depot spur was
completed to the shed door, using hand propulsion. Afterwards, the party spent time talking with the
owner who had kindly provided wine, soft drinks and sandwiches. Our journey into St. Peter Port was
then completed, again by bus, in time to enjoy the 70th anniversary Liberation Celebrations and a
grand harbour firework display. BELOW: The second group, the tiny headboard is especially for flying!
1214] Snibston Farewell: (70 & 71/60) The sad news that the Colliery Railway (opened in 1836) and
Snibston Discovery Museum (opened in 1992) where it is situated, were to close from 1 August 2015
attracted 80 members to our visit on Thursday 11 June, a much larger party than ideal but no one was
turned away. We were extremely fortunate as, when closure was announced, it was anticipated that
the railway would not operate again (repairs were needed to a point and the final working loco whilst
staff were being laid off). Numerous phone calls and emails were required but, as visitor numbers
increased with the impending closure, our visit was finally agreed. The Museum opened at 10.00,
allowing members to enjoy a hot drink and/or bacon cob and view the many exhibits, including steam
locos and even jars of 'Coal Dust Jelly', before our special running started at 11.00. Hunslet 0-6-0DH
6289/1966, originally at Desford Colliery, was already coupled to coach TBCK S70576 in Snibston
Central platform, alongside the Museum. This coach was part of 4-CEP unit 1589 (originally 7178 built
at Eastleigh in 1960) and the 1980s refurbished style was very apparent, although the driving windows
and controls at each end were not standard NSE practice they do allow wonderful end views!
Our special train ran towards Coalville, Belvoir Road Halt, and slightly into the sand drag before the
buffers that protect the busy town centre road immediately beyond (formerly a level crossing when it
was the Snibston No2 Colliery branch, originally opened under the guidance of Robert Stephenson,
connecting to the Leicester and Swannington Railway, and latterly an NCB line until the colliery closed
in 1983). Then back through Snibston Central, the only station with a nameboard, and over the level
crossing by the main Museum entrance, turning sharply left through a right angle to the lengthy
headshunt (about 1,200 yd buffer to buffer) which is where the line ended in NCB days. One trip, at
least, was mere inches away from the buffers in an area that nature has reclaimed to such an extent
that the Elk Sculptures can no longer be seen from the train. Many were surprised to hear that the
public runs do not go here, beyond Snibston Central platform. (We were informed that the previous
passenger train was our 16 May 2011 tour with 15 participants!) At the south end, the public runs also
reverse at the stop board short of Belvoir Halt, which has no regular public access. Once a year on
carnival days, however, passengers have been allowed to board there and the train runs into the
platform. A short stretch of 2'6'' track was noted approaching the standard gauge loco shed, full of
locos and wagons whose appearance suggests they were fully unrestored! Behind these, leading into a
workshop, narrower gauge track (from NCB days) was set in concrete but with no rolling stock.
At this point, the standard gauge line splits and passenger services always use the right-hand loop
towards Belvoir Road. The very rare and very rusty left-hand loop was covered with a second loco and
coach run, accommodating all those who wished the extra track, but the intermediate crossover
between each side of the loop could not be used as it was too sharp for the coach. Many cab rides, 3
participants at a time, were provided to cover this and the shed branch right to the door and (despite
the railway only being booked to 13.00) were kindly continued. Booked school trips and the important
need for train crew to take lunch (on a very hot sunny day) briefly interrupted these but they ran again
afterwards throughout the afternoon until past 16.30. This allowed members to also enjoy an
excellent early afternoon guided tour of the Colliery buildings or just the loco shed to see its three
OOU inhabitants, two steam and one diesel, without missing the opportunity for a cab ride. A quarter
of the party had booked for the special lunch laid on and were very impressed with its quality, quantity
and value for money, allowing ample second helpings of roast meats and vegetables, followed by
creamy and/or chocolate cakes, with fresh tea/coffee. Others dined more frugally in the main café.
One member renewed his acquaintance with the mobile but now static 'Century Theatre', built nearby
in Hinckley and 'performed' at Keswick for many years, composed largely of three separable elements
on road wheels allowing such long distance moves. Everyone who did not have to rush off could do all
six elements to the day if they so wished. These were the extensive Museum buildings, including
various locomotives and other railway items, track tours on the coach, two course lunch, colliery
buildings guided tour, footplate rides, and the track bed walk all with plenty of photo opportunities.
As those on the guided walk of old railways round Coalville left to catch their bus, the rest off the
Colliery Tour were taking their cab rides. This was a visit that catered for many tastes and interests,
enjoyed all the more courtesy of the various guides, railway and otherwise, keen to share history and
local stories whilst ensuring very thorough track coverage. The Judicial Review into the closure is due
to be heard on 20/21 July but the Council are confident that their closure decision was properly made
and that the Museum will close on 1 August. It is to be hoped that those who take up residence in the
inevitable new housing on the site will appreciate the relevance of the Colliery buildings they look out
upon that are listed as an ancient monument and have had significant money spent on refurbishment.
Sadly the large purpose built museum building is expected to be demolished and the site cleared.
1215] Coalville area Trackbed Walk: (72/60) Fifteen members caught the Arriva service No9 bus for
Burton-on-Trent from outside the Colliery Museum, crossing the extant NR level crossing where the
remains of Swannington station platforms, (CP 1951) could be seen on the freight line from Leicester
towards Burton. A multitasking locum from Great Malvern led the fixture; guiding a BLS walk for the
first time and standing in for Tom Gilby who unfortunately could not be present. The group alighted
just beyond Swannington, close to where the Leicester and Swannington Railway tunnelled through
the hillside. This railway (engineered by Robert Stephenson) opened in 1832 soon becoming part of a
through route to Burton, leaving the walk's main target, the Swannington Incline, as a branch. The pits
at the Swannington end were worked out by as early as 1875 and the railway closed beyond the
branch to Calcutta Colliery just after the base of the incline.The Swannington Incline was originally
used to haul coal from the Swannington pits and Coleorton Railway up to the Leicester and
Swannington line, later part of the Midland Railway (which ran to Leicester West Bridge station). After
1877 coal was taken down the incline to supply Calcutta Pumping station, where large powerful
pumps prevented flooding of the Coalville area pits until it changed to electric power and the last train
(20 September 1947). The incline was then closed and partly filled in but has been restored locally and
is managed by the Swannington Heritage Trust http://goo.gl/FzQLnC with various interesting links (in
blue lower down that webpage). No trace of the tunnel mouth could be found, with much verdant,
lush growth in evidence but its cutting could be seen through hedgerows. A public footpath was taken
that crossed the trackbed in the cutting, allowing limited exploration either side before the summer
vegetation became impenetrable. Then via public footpaths, very well marked with fresh yellow
painted posts, the group walked to Jeffcoats Lane's intersection with the railway. New buildings on the
north side called 'The Sidings' and 'Station House' are on the trackbed there but there is a public
footpath to the south following the railway embankment. Old OS maps suggested the railway was in a
cutting but the embankment was at road level; a level crossing or maybe a change in road levels.
Unfortunately, a section of the old railway has been taken into private ownership in recent years and,
having reached that point, the party had to double back slightly and set off over fields via more public
footpaths to rejoin mid-incline. This diversion was interesting as it intersected the steep branch to
Calcutta Colliery just by its residual (listed) buildings still in commercial use. Nature has taken over the
formation entirely here so the party pressed on to Church Lane Bridge where steps lead down to the
incline. Members walked down to the foot of the incline to a short stretch on the level where the
supervision of the Swannington Heritage Trust ends. Beyond here had been previously fenced off (as
part of the same private ownership encountered earlier) but members could now walk further on an
established footpath to where the Calcutta Colliery branch went off, up to exterior fencing for new
houses. The tramroad to Califat Colliery was seen branching left just before, so an interesting area.
Then it was back up the 1:17 incline, noting its useful metallic information boards. The exposed
foundations of the engine house at the top of the incline were examined and about 75yd of track has
been relaid towards Spring Lane level crossing (but no trolley sadly!). A slightly shorter length of track
has also been relaid the other side before encountering a fence across the trackbed, probably
indicating the ownership of Stephenson College. Beyond here, the footpath runs over Snibston No3
colliery but access was possible towards the continuation of the railway. This was very overgrown so a
parallel route through the fields was taken to cross the A511 Stephenson Way. Some members sought
guidance from local wildfowl on the lake to find the expected tunnel under the railway at the Coalville
side of the A511. It was possible to scramble up to the railway formation above the tunnel and back to
the A511. In the other direction, the stop blocks at the top end of Mantle Lane Sidings were
accessible, actually part of the Swannington Railway with evidence of long disused sidings through the
now wooded area, including one cut through to form the onward access to Thornborough Road and on
to Mantle Lane and back past the starting bus stop. A fascinating insight into the history of the railway
and collieries in this area. One member
commented that it was a long while since he
had enjoyed a Society 'ramble' of this
nature, rather than a simple walk on
trackbed now a footpath, and trusted that,
in view of the very hot sunny weather,
everyone had remembered their sun cream!
RIGHT: From the 1950 7th Series 1" to the
mile OS map. The open station is Coalville
(which CP 7 September 1964). To its left and
below is Snibston No2 Colliery NCB branch,
now the Snibston Discovery Museum, south
of the then A50. Its railway now extends to
the B585 level crossing site. Swannington
station is shown (CP) west of the A447 level
crossing. The continuation of Mantle Lane
Sidings down the Swannington Incline runs
north west, as a 'mineral railway' then ends
with a sharp curve onto the branch running
North East to Calcutta Colliery (a pumping
station) to the top right. Califat Colliery,
served by the Coleorton Tramway (not
shown) was formerly level with and west of
the southern tunnel mouth of the Leicester
and Swannington continuation (shown as AS
'Old Rly') where it dives under the A447, on
the west side of that road near the disused
windmill shown on the map.
1216 ] Grantchester Woodland Railway, Cambridge, 14 June: (MR p13) (BLN 1230.679) KEG arranged
the 'Grantchester Gripper', an 'all-line' style visit to the Cambridge Model Engineers' Society (CMES)
line on the outskirts of the city, before public running (13.30 to 17.30 on the 2nd Sunday of each month
from May to October), courtesy of our BLS member Alan Absolom. At 12.00 a gathering* of BLS
members duly climbed aboard a special train initially formed of two coaches and an excellent replica
Southern Maunsell U-Class 2-6-0 '1618'. This was expertly driven by Edmond Brookes (CMES
Treasurer) starting as we meant to go on by immediately shunting back onto the turntable approach
road. A third coach was added here to make the rest of the trip a little less of a squeeze! The CMES
had planned a very efficient route and the normal running lines were swiftly covered to the trailing
point on the newer 2011 loop then setting back into the headshunt of the new turntable access road
and drawing forward to the turntable. Reversing this process brought the train to the first 'cut-off' line
never used in passenger service and locked OOU, but specially unlocked for this visit, which diverted
us back onto the 2011 extension. Indeed so unusual was this and some subsequent traversals that
various CMES members and their families gathered to watch and take pictures! After another circuit,
the train traversed the longer 'cut-off' linking Grantchester to Dingley Dell and then went on to cover
both platform loops throughout and drew forward along the Carriage Shed line until just before the
diamond crossing. With normal public running approaching, the CMES members assisted our further
traversals of the Carriage Shed and Steaming Bays branches by hand propelling some loose coaches.
To put the icing on the cake they then provided a small flat truck and simply let the party loose on all
10 (ten!) turntable roads including the sheds and loading line, off the 2011 loop. All this was achieved
within a very busy and enjoyable hour. A most efficient and rewarding visit for which the CMES were
thanked warmly and given a generous donation. *Readers are invited to submit (polite) suggestions
for the collective noun for a group Society members a 'turnout of BLS members' or a 'grice' perhaps?
ABOVE: The 14 June KEG special train (Grantchester Woodland Railway - Cambridge Model Engineers),
reverses into the headshunt from the (newer) turntable before rejoining the main 2011 extension
circuit via the connection left. The locomotive '1618' is a model of a SR 'U class' 2-6-0 (mogul)
designed by Richard Maunsell for passenger duties, in this case constructed and owned by its driver. It
was remarkably powerful with a load of 14 adults (??) including the photographer, Simon Mortimer.
1236 HEAD LINES
1217] Peatlands Park Railway, Dungannon, County Armagh (MR p26): CP; operation of this 1½ mile 3ft
gauge railway circuit (originally established in 1901, over 8 miles long, to move the cut and dried peat)
has been 'suspended until further notice', with last reported use on 29 September 2013. The public
rode on wooden seats in open wagons, which resembled the original ones used to carry peat.
1218] Southport Pier Tramway: (MR p32) (BLN 1211.MR91) CP 25 May 2015 as part of Council cost
cutting measures due to rising maintenance costs of both the tram and pier. 'TRAM NO LONGER IN
USE' notices were attached and it has remained immobile at the seaward end of the line since. The
tram has been replaced by a smaller 'land train' already owned by the Council. This 3,600ft line, on the
UK's second longest pier after Southend, OG 1863 to carry baggage with 3'6'' gauge track. It was
upgraded to cable and passenger operation in 1865, re-laid in 1893 and electrified in 1905. Southport
Corporation took it over in 1936 and converted it to 1'11½''gauge in 1950 for reopening after WW2,
when the track was moved to one side. The pier was closed as unsafe in 1998 but restored in 2002
when the track was converted back to 3'6'' and returned to the centre. It did not ROP until 1 August
2005 when the current battery powered tram which cost £300K was purchased new. The tramway TCP
9 July to 15 August 2013, for repair of cracks in the Pier's supporting columns. [Southport Corporation.]
1219] Leckwith Loop Jn - Leckwith Loop North Jn: Due to point damage at the latter TCA at 11.58 on
14 June until 10.56 on 23 June 2015 after repairs. DBS coal traffic to Aberthaw Power Station was
diverted via the Vale of Galmorgan line requiring ground staff at Aberthaw to assist with reversing.
1220] Bow Depot (Olympics) formerly Bow Midland: (BLN 1235.1130) On 16 June 2015 regular
inward gravel traffic commenced from Burngullow (ECC) with 20 MEA wagons tripped from there to
Exeter Riverside Yard in two portions due to the gradients, combining to Bow (11.58) and returning
from there at 17.41 with 66118 on the first train. Outward spoil traffic to Calvert has also continued.
1221] Eccles Road - Eccles Road Exchange Sidings - Johnston Logistics Freight Terminal (Snetterton):
Branch ROG Saturday 20 June, limestone for road building from Briggs Sidings (Hindlow) south of
Buxton with 66101 on the first train. The morning DBS 16 wagon train was split for unloading; a further
working arrived on 26 June. The number of trains is unspecified in the contact. The branch was
traversed by 'The Four Triangles' (Sat 9 May), the first public passenger train, with 574 passengers.
Charity Railtours who organised this spent about £1.5k on repairs and assisted with line clearance.
1222] Ex-Manchester Ship Canal Railway (MSCR), Ellesmere Port - Manisty Wharf (SJ 393786):
(BLN 1234.1044) CG after last train left at 01.10 on 22 June 2015, coal to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station.
1223] Denham Golf Club station: ROP Saturday 27 June 06.00 after TCP since Monday 16 March for
refurbishment, with new platforms. A connecting minibus was provided to Gerrards Cross.
1224] Sheffield Supertram, University of Sheffield/Hospitals - Fitzalan Square (both excl.) and 3
intermediate stops: (BLN 1234.1040) ROP 27 June (2 days early) after TCP since 2 June 2015; Phase7
or 'Area' 7 (as they are now referred to) replacement of tram rails project. There was single line
working between Fitzalan Square/Ponds Forge and the crossovers at Park Square Jn (for Meadowhall
trams) and Sheffield Station (for Halfway trams) respectively; i.e. the double track section over Park
Square bridge and up to Fitzalan Square was worked as two parallel single lines. Sheffield Station to
Fitzalan Square was worked by a token arrangement with temporary signs on the overhead line posts;
a wooden stick painted yellow at one end was used as a token between the crossovers and Fitzalan
Square and between Shalesmoor and University.
1225] Manchester Metrolink, MediaCityUK 'avoiding curve': (BLN 1234.1043) TCP from 28 June 2015
all trams to/from Eccles are booked to call and reverse at MediaCityUK during the St. Peter's Square
complete line closure. Eccles trams turn back in the middle platform at Deansgate-Castlefield whilst
Altrincham and East Didsbury services use the normal arrival and departure platforms and reverse ECS
beyond the stop over the original crossover used when services first ran to GMex back in 1992.
1226] Sheffield Supertram, Herdings Park (incl.) to Gleadless Townend (excl.) to Sheffield Station/
Sheffield Hallam University (excl.) and 8 intermiate stops: TCP Mon 29 June 2015; ROP expected 28
August 2015. 'Phase/Area 8' replacement of tram rails with trams running Halfway to Gleadless
Townend (ECS shunt) and Sheffield Station (crossover available in passenger service on departure) to
Malin Bridge. (Meadowhall to Middlewood is normal service during this period).
1227] Sheffield Supertram, Sheffield Station (incl.) to Fitzalan Square (excl.): TCP Mon 29 June 2015;
ROP expected Fri 3 July 2015. 'Area 8' replacement of tram rails project with trams as previous entry
but services from Malin Bridge run to Cricket Inn Road instead of Sheffield Station.
1228] London Tramlink, Wimbledon stop (P10 at the station) incl. - Dundonald Road stop (excl.): TCP
is expected from 13 July 2015 (after 'final service' in the tennis championships) for construction of a
second platform, joined to the present P10 and extended beyond the current Tramlink platform. It will
be reached by a new line bypassing the present platform line, similar to the LO Clapham Junction P1 &
2 arrangement and will allow the service to increase from 8 to 12tph. (ROP is expected 17 October.)
1229] National Railway Museum, York: The previous 7¼" gauge miniature railway CP after running on
31 August 2014. A longer more intricate and landscaped line is due to OP in the South Yard on 27 July
2015 offering a 1km ride over 750m of track and is included in our AGM visit. See http://goo.gl/RYGbqJ
1230] Sheffield Supertram, Gleadless Townend (incl.) to Birley Lane (excl.) also White Lane stop: TCP
Sun 2 to Sat 8 August and Sat 22 to Sun 23 August (both incl.); ROP expected Mon 24 August 2015.
'Area 8' replacement of tram rails project with trams as above but services from Halfway terminate at
Birley Lane (ECS shunt) instead of Gleadless Townend.
1236 BLN GENERAL
1231] BLS Class 68 Cab Ride: Thanks to our members James Garthwaite and Mark Collinson for their
very generous donation of £401 to Railway Children which won them the Marylebone to Birmingham
Chiltern Trains Class 68 cab ride. We look forward to reading the report! The following departures
from London Marylebone are booked to be loco hauled, all with class 68s, on the north (leading) end:
(SSuX) 08.45, 10.15, 10.45, 13.15, 16.47, 17.15, 18.15 & 18.47; SO 11.06, 17.06 & 18.06 also SuO 18.06.
1232] FREE Branch Line Travel (Quiz): Which destination does a return ticket from any NR station
(except for three) also allows four free branch line journeys? Which are the 3 excepted stations?
1233] GB Rail Times: 17May-13 December 2015 (Middleton Press) regardless of how purchased a free
NR supplement is available now by post. Email name and address to [email protected]
1234] HAFAS: Members using this for either British or Continental train times need to download the
new (14 June) version of at http://goo.gl/7uitqY from the Austrian Railways website. For those who
are wondering, HAFAS (said to be the 'leading timetable information system' for public transport)
drives internet journey planners, mobile applications, printed timetables and passenger information
systems for trains and buses. There are about 100 installations in 20 countries with over 500,000 stops
and 3M journeys. It calculates over 60M connections daily, taking planned and actual data from many
different sources into account. The company 'HaCon' was founded in Hannover in 1984 and now has
over 240 staff. Their HAFAS system _HA_con_F_ahrplan_A_uskunfts_S_ystem (German for HaCon
Timetable Information System) has been under development since 1986. SNCF, DB and SBB use it.
1235] Matters Arising: BLN 1234 item 1092]: Another reason for moving signal wires to the middle at
Worcester Shrub Hill station may be Railway Group Standard GI/RT7016 section 11.1.4, which forbids
blocking the platform recess with
cables etc. http://goo.gl/7lH2aI but of
course many platforms do already
have them there. Presumably, the
standard only applies to any new
platforms or new cables. A recent Rail
Safety and Standards Board study
http://goo.gl/4PzgVq investigated the
usefulness of the platform recess and
made some recommendations. An
alternative solution is used at Insch
station, where some signal wires
(which look very new) now unusually
run along the top of the back of the
Inverness (Down) P1, behind the
passengers and actually on the
opposite platform to the signal box!
(Pictured left, by Stephen Atkinson)
1236] BLN 1235: At the request of our
GWR friends, their 2015 Timetable
http://goo.gl/RurgTi and leaflet was
enclosed http://goo.gl/u80l0W 1128]
On the Llangollen Railway a member
confirms that the 17.00 train from
Llangollen ran through Carrog Down
Loop (left hand running for the
currently rare crossing moves) to Corwen as booked. When there is no crossing move, the reversible
Main line is used (through the north platform which has the signal box and main building). Item 1204]
SailRail Sale: These combined fares are often cheaper than the rail fare just to the port and even less
than the foot passenger ferry fare alone. For example Aberystwyth to Rosslare Harbour is £32 single
by SailRail, Fishguard to Rosslare is £33 one way for the ferry alone, Aberystwyth to Fishguard Harbour
by train is £64.50 single with advance tickets starting at £21. Due to the zonal fare structure that
seems to be based on counties rather than any rail geography, it costs £5 less from Aberystwyth to
Rosslare than from Shrewsbury for a rather longer journey and of course travelling via Shrewsbury!
SailRail is also available from any station or one of the ports in the Irish Republic to any NR station with
a double zonal (i.e. zones each side of the Irish Sea) pricing system.
In item 1146] The rail mounted summerhouse/shack was on display at this year's Chelsea Flower
Show. With the Editor's apologies, 1149] the Crossrail (not London Overground) operation is branded
'TfL Rail'. With thanks to an Eastleigh correspondent: 1142] Dismantling of the 5,000 tonne Battersea
gasholder for site redevelopment was covered as part of a short BBC2 series 'Demolition'. Due to the
close proximity of the railway, it had to be done with great care with 'cold cutting' and involved a small
purpose built crane on a temporary circular track on top on the holder. This was filled with air (rather
than mains gas!) and was gradually let down as demolition progressed. The last programme in this
series concerned the demolition of the floor/roof to make the new atrium at Birmingham New Street,
also requiring bespoke plant due to the floor's limited load bearing capacity. It is now possible to see
glimpses of the massive voluminous space being created here from some of the platform stairways
etc. The first programme incidentally covered removal of a disused railway bridge in the Wigan area.
1237] More OS Quirks: (BLN 1232.840) Both the 6th and 7th Series OS 1" to a mile maps of Newhaven
show 'Town' station and the infamous 'Marine' station, the latter as a 'principal' station even though it
only had/has one platform, but Newhaven Harbour station is not shown at all! The 1:50,000 (1989)
Landranger map shows all three correctly and each as a non-principal station. Perhaps the earlier
surveyors thought 'Harbour' and 'Marine' were two parts of the same station? The way the OS defined
a 'principal' station seemed a bit variable across the country, Eastbourne is one on the 6th Series but
had been demoted by 7th. On the 7th Series (1957) Sheet 95; Skipton, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley
Central and Manchester Road are given 'principal station' status. Perhaps less understandable is the
same applies to Bacup, Ramsbottom, Haslingden, Darwen and even Padiham! The latter CP (regular
services) in 1957 so is actually shown in white as a 'closed' station rather than red. It was downgraded
to a white 'spot' (non-principal) by the 1961 edition but the others remained 'principal'.
1238] PSUL 2015; UPDATE 2: Previous updates (BLN 1229.531) are not repeated. Minor retimings are
ignored. The latest version of PSUL is online http://goo.gl/ceD0On with summer and autumn changes.
p3: validity extended to Saturday 12 December 2015. Only alterations which apply between 17 May
and 12 December 2015 are included below.
p4: add: Toton Centre - Trent South Jn via High Level Goods Lines: Belmond British Pullman excursions
between Victoria and Chesterfield for Chatsworth House (delete them from the Trent East Jn - Toton
p4: Trent East Jn - Toton Centre: add 1V81 05.45 SO Sheffield - Reading until 5 September.
p6: Allington West Jn - Allington North Jn: add: Saturdays 25 July until 5 September:
1S01 07.53 Derby – Skegness; 1S02 11.40 Skegness – Derby; Sundays until 6 September: 2S09 09.00
Nottingham – Skegness; 2S14 12.27 Skegness – Nottingham; 2A58 16.22 Skegness - Derby.
p7: Earl's Court Jn - Kensington (Olympia) delete 06.06 SSuX & 06.25 SSuX from Kensington Olympia.
p7: Camden Road Central Jn - Copenhagen Jn: add: ¶ Sunday nights/Monday mornings until 26/27
July: 1S25 20.28 Euston – Aberdeen; 1S26 21.45 Euston - Glasgow Central; 1M11 21.44 Glasgow
Central – Euston; 1M16 20.26 Inverness - Euston.
p7: Pouparts Jn - Longhedge Jn: 1U09 01.35 Gatwick Airport – Victoria also runs Saturdays.
p8: Longhedge Jn - Stewarts Lane Jn - Battersea Pier Jn (central side): 1U09 01.35 Gatwick Airport –
Victoria also runs Saturdays.
p8: Brixton Jn - Canterbury Road Jn - Cambria Jn: amend: Mondays to Fridays 08.34 from Victoria is
also an 'exception'; Saturdays delete 05.34 from Victoria (series starts 06.34 instead) and delete 08.38
from Dartford (series ends at 08.08 instead)
p9: Metropolitan Jn - Cannon Street: add: Monday morning departures from Charing Cross:
2L82/2L86 00.18 and 2Y84 00.48.
p10: Barking Station Jn - Barking P7/8 (via T&H Lines): SSuX: add 2J02 06.46 and 2J14 20.48 Barking -
Gospel Oak, also 2J42 18.58 Barking - Upper Holloway; SO: delete 2J21 08.50, 2J33 10.20 and 2J77
15.50 Gospel Oak – Barking, also 2J30 10.03, 2J38 11.03 and 2J82 16.33 Barking – Gospel Oak.
p10: Chislehurst Jn - St Mary Cray Jn (via reversible Chatham loop): to read: SSuX 1G85 16.36, 1G89
17.30, 1G93 18.14 Cannon Street – Ramsgate; 1G91 17.52, 1G95 18.44 Cannon Street – Broadstairs;
1G95 07.03 Broadstairs - Cannon Street; 1G93 06.44 Dumpton Park - Cannon Street.
p10: St Mary Cray Jn - Chislehurst Jn (via up Chatham loop): to read: SSuX: 1G87 06.07 Faversham -
Cannon Street; 1G85 05.44 Gillingham - Cannon Street; 1G91 06.25 Broadstairs - Cannon St.
p11: King Edward Bridge South Jn - Gateshead High Level Bridge Jn: amend 1S49 11.25 SO Plymouth –
Dundee does not run until 12 September 2015 and 1E94 20.22 SuO Liverpool Lime Street – Newcastle
only runs until 14 June and again from 2 August 2015. Trains 'to Metrocentre and beyond' add 2M34
16.22 SSuX but delete 2N20 10.28 SO.
p12: Frodsham Jn - Halton Jn: service is: SO until 5 September: 2F80 07.53 Chester - Runcorn.
p12: Warrington Bank Quay - Walton Old Jn - Acton Grange Jn: delete 21.27 SO and 18.28 SuO
departures from Warrington BQ and delete 15.17 SSuX and 21.03 SuO arrivals there.
p12: Heald Green North Jn - South Jn: 1H99 22.30 Birmingham New St. - Manchester Piccadilly is SSuX.
p13: Philips Park West Jn - Ashburys Jn: 1E69 10.03 SuO Liverpool Lime Street – Newcastle is
susceptible to being altered to start from Manchester Piccadilly or diverted, thus not using this route;
these variations apply from 21 June until 26 July, and from 13 September 2015 onwards.
p13: [Harrowden Jn - ] Irchester South (site) - Souldrop (site) [ - Sharnbrook Jn] (via Up & Down Slow
(Wymington deviation) and Sharnbrook tunnel): add: 1D91 23.15 SSuX St. Pancras International -
Derby; delete 1P69 1636 SX Derby - St. Pancras International.
p14: add new entry from 7 April 2015: Reading station - Oxford Road Jn: To or from the Reading West
direction, P1,2,3,7 & 8 are accessible only by the Westbury Lines; P4,5,6 & 9 are not accessible; and
P10 to 15 are accessible only by the Feeder Lines. For planned platforming consult the PA03 working
timetable pages http://goo.gl/w4s035 that indicate which platform should be used. At Reading West,
with signal T2802 at the Up end of P2 showing a 'clear' aspect: no 'feather' indicates use of Up
Westbury line; 'feather' position 1 indicates use of Feeder lines (M for main, R for relief); 'feather'
position 2 indicates west curve (D for Down line, U for Up line).
p14: Reading East Main Jn, 8421 points - Reading Southern Jn (Reading Low Level line): 1O32 17.35
SuO Newcastle – Guildford also runs from 13 September until 25 October 2015.
p4: Reading New Jn - Reading Spur Jn (Reading Spur line): add 1O32 17.35 SuO Newcastle - Guildford
until 6 September and from 1 November, delete 1E44 12.14 Guildford - Newcastle after 14 June.
p15: [Crediton - ] site of Coleford Jn - Sampford Courtenay [ - Okehampton - Meldon Quarry]: service
is: SuO until 6 September: from St. James' Park (Exeter) to Okehampton at 2K02 09.01, 2K04 11.01,
2K08 14.27, 2K10 16.29; returning from Okehampton at 2J03 09.55, 2J05 11.58, 2J09 15.23, 2E27
17.59 (to Exeter St. Davids only). [NB: Funding is not guaranteed for this summer service in 2016 - Ed.]
p15: Westbury East Loop Jn - Hawkeridge Jn: 1C90 17.06 Paddington - Bristol Temple Meads may be
altered during August; add: ¶ SuO 21 June until 27 July: Trains between Bath Spa and Reading.
p18: Copley Hill East Jn - Copley Hill West Jn (Copley Hill chord): delete 2B31 20.21 SSuX from Leeds.
p18: Sheffield: Park Square triangle, east chord: add to late evening trams to Cricket Inn Road: 22.51
SuO, 23.11 SuO and 23.31 SuO (all from Halfway). The current Tram guide is dated March 2015.
p19: Aldwarke North Jn - Thrybergh Jn - Mexborough East Jn: add 1W34 10.41 SSuX Sheffield –
Bridlington; 1J35 20.57 SSuX Hull – Sheffield; 1J30 15.11 SSuX Bridlington - Sheffield.
p19: Milford Jn - Burton Salmon Jn (site) – Castleford: add: West Coast Railways' The Dalesman TThO
in summer; their Scarborough Spa Express traverses this section on York - York circular section of
journey (but only operates on three dates, in October). Also add: 1P03 02.52 SO York - Manchester
Airport; amend 1V46 06.19/06.20 SO York - Plymouth does not run until 12 September; 1E95 21.52
SuO Liverpool Lime Street - York only runs 21 June to 26 July.
p20: Kilkenny: Lavistown Sth. Jn - Lavistown Nth. Jn: add A518 16.15 FO Dublin Heuston - Waterford.
p21: Dalmeny Jn - Winchburgh Jn: add ¶ SuX 15 June until 25 July: half-hourly service Edinburgh to
Falkirk and Stirling (reversing at Dalmeny); ScotRail timetable https://goo.gl/bilCM6 (p33 onwards).
p21: Carmarthen Jn - Carmarthen Bridge Jn: add 2E18 08.14 SSuX Swansea - Fishguard Harbour.
p21: Leckwith Loop North Jn - Leckwith Loop South Jn (Leckwith Loop): add: 2V06 05.42 SSuX
Shrewsbury - Cardiff Central and 2L41 05.53 Cardiff Central – Maesteg. Also 2B08 07.10 SuO Cardiff
Central - Pembroke Dock from 17 May until 6 September.
p22: Aylesbury Vale Jn - Quainton Road: amend second date to read Monday 31 August.
1239] Signal Box Quiz: Which NR station on a single line with a passing loop has three signal boxes?
1236 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
1240] Northamptonshire SMJR stations: (E-BLN 1235.1138 map) Blisworth: (SP722545) New road
building has severed Station Road (now Station Close) from the main SMJR station site. Here can be
found a short terrace of railway workers' houses, not the standard LNWR variety but more 'Arts and
Crafts' style and prominently lettered 'SMJ 1914'. Could this be the last building where the former
SMJR is identified by name? In the nearby centre of the village of Tiffield, an old Local Authority road
sign still points to 'Blisworth Station 2½' despite it CP from 4 January 1960! Salcey Forest: (SP810537)
The single overgrown platform is surprisingly intact and can be photographed. It is situated about half
a mile west along a bridle path (SP 8173 5343) from the B526 but never had road access and was
remote from any housing. According to the book 'A History of the Stratford upon Avon and Midland
Junction Railway' (by R.C. Riley and Bill Simpson, Lamplight Publications p85) the station, provided
with 'substantial facilities', had just one regular daily train in the days of the passenger service. OP 1
December 1982, CP 31 March 1893, CG 1 July 1908; it is therefore not shown on the Railway Clearing
House map of 1911. According to the owner of Piddington station, Salcey Forest only issued 3 tickets
in its 4 months of passenger trains (probably all enthusiasts too!). The goods siding was lifted by 1915.
BELOW: The grand station built to serve Salcey Forest in the early 1960s (The SMJ Society). For 68 SMJ
pictures (including the derelict stored coaches in colour) http://goo.gl/8MEy5E (see foot of webpage).
Stoke Bruern: (BLN 1235.1138) The bridge at Stoke Bruern is numbered '158' and is 3m 25ch from
Towcester. Bridges on the Towcester to Ravenswood Jn line are numbered 149 to 172 and the
Engineer's Line Reference is SJT3. The line was 'temporarily' closed to through traffic, latterly banana
trains from Avonmouth Docks to Somerstown Goods (St. Pancras), from 30 June 1958 to build a new
overbridge for the M1 motorway then under construction. However, the line never reopened but was
used to store condemned coaches awaiting cutting up. (PS – did 'Banana Trains' carry slip coaches?).
1241] Ilkeston: (BLN 1230.633) Construction of the new station, initially given the go-ahead in 2013
but delayed by concerns over flooding and newt removal, will begin in September and should open
'next year' according to Derbyshire County Council. This followed the granting of the new planning
permission required following advice from the Environment Agency. To keep within the budget the
design for the new station, part funded by the Government's New Station Fund, had to be downsized
including shorter platforms. Current Leeds to Nottingham pocket timetables indicate that the station
will open during the currency of the timetable (i.e. before December 12) which it will not!
1242] Derby: The Derby Telegraph reports that the financial problems of Britain's supermarkets are
stalling plans to develop Derby's 'biggest eyesore', Friargate Goods Yard. The size of eight football
pitches, it has been derelict for nearly 50 years and owned by developers Clowes for more than 30. In
October 2011, planning permission was granted for 140 homes, offices, cafés and shops, which hinged
on turning the Grade II listed warehouse on the site into a supermarket (the latter now on hold).
Clowes is now working with Derby City Council on alternative plans involving the city centre's new
'housing zone' status. Being one of only 10 areas selected for the title means the council or private
sector companies can bid for cash from a £200M government pot to help with housing developments.
Another reason for the site not progressing over the decades was the delayed completion of Derby's
ring road (finally opened in 2011) which is needed for access. The authority has estimated that the
goods yard has the capacity for 500 homes and indicated it would be happy to look at any further
applications for the site or modifications to the current consent.
1243] Old Dalby Test Track: Furrer+Frey's Rigid Overhead Conductor Rail System (ROCS) has been
installed in the 1.2 km Stanton tunnel (ABOVE: from a recent company press release) on this line for
the first time in the UK, to test Hitachi IEP trains. ROCS uses a rigid bar rather than tensioned overhead
line, reducing the likelihood of dewirement or snapping. It can withstand a fire for over 30 min,
enough time to move a train out of the tunnel. Supported by drop tubes anchored to the tunnel roof,
the 'CR4' conductor rail profiles are supplied with interlocking joints for rapid installation. The
tensioned contact and catenary wires over the plain line track terminate at an anchor point each side
of the tunnel, and a special transition bar guides the pantograph onto the conductor rail. There are no
moving parts and no tensioning, so there is reduced risk compared to traditional OLE. Additionally the
ROCS needs much less maintenance and very importantly for tunnels, less clearance. It is being
considered for the Severn Tunnel electrification.
1244] Toton: Derby City Council (DCC) has dropped its opposition to the site becoming the East
Midlands HS2 station. Ever since the eastern leg of the £50bn 225mph HS2 project was first
announced, its location has been hotly debated (perhaps a type of 'reverse-Nimbyism' or 'Imbyism'
with several cities actively and keenly lobbying for HS2 terminals!?). Calls for a site closer to Derby,
such as Breaston, had been made but DCC has now agreed to go with the regional consensus of Toton
in Nottinghamshire. A final decision on the site is expected in September.
1236 GREATER LONDON
1245] Edgware Road: A member was successful recently in covering two rare moves. Train 201 at
00.33 to Barking left from P2 as shown in the WTT and on the station's last trains poster. This must be
for 'rusty rail' purposes as the normal P1 was unoccupied and the train was held outside the station to
wait for a westbound departure from P2. In the other direction, Circle Line train 174 at 00.56 from
Baker Street ran to P3. On this occasion, the usual P4 was occupied by ECS (not booked in the WTT).
1246] Harrow-on-the-Hill: The same member found that on two occasions train 431, the 10.45 ex-
Uxbridge, failed to make the unusual move into P6 from the Uxbridge line. However he was successful
on train 430, the 08.21 ex Uxbridge. Unlike the later service, this train is then booked to continue over
the southbound fast line, so seems to be a better bet. In the other direction, train 401, ex-Aldgate and
leaving Wembley Park at 09.33, ran from the northbound local line to P4 and then on to the
northbound local towards North Harrow. This is one of only three trains booked to make this move
and should be reliable as P3 is booked to be occupied by ECS at the time.
1247] London Overground (LO): (BLN 1235.1149) TfL have announced an order from Bombardier for
45 new trains to be introduced from 2018 of which 31 are for the services newly taken over from
Abellio Greater Anglia. As the same number of Class 315 and 317 have been taken over to run the
current services, this suggests little or no expansion of peak services is planned. Eight new 4-car units
are for the Gospel Oak to Barking service. This route should be electrified by 2017, so the new
electrification will initially only be used by freight trains. The remaining six units are to enhance
existing services, where there are plans to increase peak services on the North and West London lines.
The entire LO East and South London line fleet is now 5-car and good progress is being made with the
lengthening of the trains for the North and West London lines. However some additional cars will be
stored for a time, as trains on the Euston to Watford Junction service cannot be lengthened at present
due to power supply constraints north of Harrow & Wealdstone. This will be addressed when the
Metropolitan Line is extended to Watford Junction (Croxley Rail Link). The TfL press release only
mentions the length of the Gospel Oak-Barking trains, but reports elsewhere say they will all be 4-car
and that the six units for enhancements will go to the Euston to Watford Junction route, displacing the
existing Class 378s for lengthening and transfer. It is also reported that the order includes an option for
249 further cars to be used for train lengthening and possible future extensions of the LO network.
1248] Thameslink: (BLNs 1233.957 & 1200.30) From 04.00 on 22 June control of Up Goods Lines 1 & 2
was transferred from West Hampstead to Cricklewood Depot box. Although no longer named 'Up &
Down Goods Lines' they remain bi-directional. At the same time the new South Sidings were
commissioned, consisting of five through sidings each capable of stabling two of the forthcoming 12-
car Class 700 trains. In the North Sidings, the line nearest the main line is now the North Reception
Line and once again connects with the Up Slow Line to allow entrance and exit at the north end of the
depot. The remaining dead end sidings are renumbered 1-6 and are each able to stable one 8-car and
one 12-car Class 700 unit. In the meantime the site's facilities for replenishing water tanks, washing,
cleaning and stabling of trains will be used by the existing Thameslink stock.
1249] Wembley Stadium: From 6 July the Turnback Siding between the Up and Down Marylebone
lines north of the station is due to be extended by 45m (49yd).
1250] Beam Park: A station is to be built by 2019 to serve a new housing development of the same
name between Dagenham Dock and Rainham on the c2c line, a 20 minute journey from Fenchurch
Street. Construction will be partly funded by £9M from TfL's growth fund. (Rail Technology)
1251] Crossrail: (BLN 1235.1139) Among proposed amendments to the bill authorising construction of
HS2 is the construction of sidings to the west of the proposed Old Oak Common station, which could
facilitate a future connection between Crossrail and the West Coast Main Line. (Transport Briefing)
1236 NORTH EAST
1252] South Shields: The station could be relocated to a new combined Metro and bus station
transport interchange south of Keppel Street; this is the road under the bridge immediately south of
the present station so would shorten the passenger line. It is part of major transport improvements to
support regeneration of the area. South Tyneside Council and Muse Developments have begun a
public consultation on a £100M plan to remodel the town centre. Muse says extensive discussions
have taken place with Metro operator Nexus and bus operators about local transport investment.
1236 NORTH WEST
1253] Port of Liverpool: A new £100M biomass terminal planned for the Port of Liverpool will handle
up to 3M tonnes of wood pellets a year as part of the decarbonisation of Drax power station. They will
be shipped from North America; are a by-product (i.e. not grown specially) of the commercial forestry
and saw-milling industry and will provide Drax with a new, sustainable low carbon fuel. With changing
from coal Drax will reduce its Carbon Dioxide footprint by some 12M tonnes per year, equivalent to
removing 10% of the cars off the UK roads. The wood pellets will be transported by rail from Liverpool.
Construction company 'GRAHAM' will build the new biomass terminal, with a new rail loading facility
and storage capacity for 100,000 tonnes. It will create an additional 47 permanent jobs at the Port of
Liverpool, while construction of the facility and the supply chain will create up to a further 300 jobs.
Peel Ports have ambitious growth plans for the port, having already investing £300M to create 'the
UK's most centrally located deep water container terminal', known as 'Liverpool2'.
1254] Metrolink: (1) Proposed Orbital Route: Greater Manchester could get its own answer to the
London Overground's orbital route; several town hall bosses are pushing for Manchester's Metrolink
to run around the conurbation, starting to the east and south. Officers from Oldham and Tameside
councils have been working on initial proposals for a 'tram M60' over several months, with Stockport,
Trafford and Rochdale town halls also keen to get on board. The plan is rising up the agenda of the
region’s 'super council'. Leaders believe the current system taking people from outlying areas into
Manchester and back out again can be improved on. Stockport is already planning to run trams along
existing railway lines to link the area up to the Metrolink network, but the council's transport boss said
the region needs to be much 'bolder'.
(2) Trafford Park extension: The forthcoming Public Inquiry will be held at the Macdonald Manchester
Hotel, London Road, M1 2PG beginning at 10am on Tuesday 7 July and estimated to last 16 days over 4
weeks. A Pre-Inquiry Meeting was held on 12 May and http://goo.gl/c3WKUs gives details from it.
(3) St. Peter's Square closure: (No trams running from Sunday 28 June for 6 weeks.) From 29 June:
Altrincham to Deansgate-Castlefield: 12 minute service, double trams.
Altrincham to Cornbrook: Peak only 12 minute service, single trams.
Bury to Piccadilly: 6 minute service (07.00 - 20.00 SSuX, 09.00am - 20.00 SO) and 12 minutes at
all other times. Some double trams during the weekday peak.
East Didsbury to Deansgate-Castlefield: 12 minute service, double trams in the peak.
Eccles to Deansgate-Castlefield, all via MediaCityUK (reverse): 12 minute service, double trams.
Manchester Airport to Cornbrook: 12 minute service, single trams.
Rochdale town centre to Ashton-under-Lyne: 12 minute service, single trams.
1255] Oxenholme: From 5 July the Up main points of the emergency ground frame operated facing
crossover, south of the station at 18m 44ch, are due to be replaced with plain line.
1256] Skelmersdale. Lancashire County Council is pushing ahead with plans to connect Skelmersdale
town centre to the national rail network. It has established a £1M fund to begin a GRIP 3 study to
identify the best option for the project. In total this is expected to cost between £2.8M and £4M.
Lancashire is bidding for Government Growth Deal funding to deliver the project. Cllr. Fillis said: 'Our
ambition is for the proposed station in the town centre to provide direct access into Liverpool, with two
trains an hour and an hourly service to Manchester. The rail link is part of a wider proposal outlined in
our highways and transport masterplan for a wholesale reconfiguration of Skelmersdale's transport
network, and will be fully integrated with the bus network and easily accessible on foot or by cycle.'
1257] Rhysent Railway Rambles: (BLN 1235.1159) Our West Lancashire explorer then went to the
Fylde. At the re-opened Moss Side station, both platforms remain in full, though only one is in use, as
the line has been singled here, with the usual uninspiring metal shelter and no other buildings. At
Wrea Green, all trace of the station buildings and platforms have been removed from the side of the
now-single track. At Salwick better luck was had. Just 6 trains daily (SuX) call at the island platform (3
to Blackpool South and 3 to Colne with 2,222 passengers per year about one per train). A massive
ramp descends to a tiny, minimalist, shelter. Salwick No1 Signalbox continues in use; with its BR (LMR)
maroon enamelled nameboard and a terrace of good quality railway workers' houses line the original
approach road. Their design may owe more to the L&YR than to the LNWR. On the WCML, Barton &
Broughton station has minimal platform remains, but a particularly fine stone-built station house is
now a private residence. It appears to date from the building of this section of line as the Lancaster &
Preston Jn Railway, and features suggesting it is contemporary with the first Lancaster (Old) station.
Lastly 'gem of the day', Longridge (CP 31 May 1930, CG 6 November 1967 but road served since the
branch was severed 16 October 1967). The station building, complete with a generous platform
awning, partly glassed in, has been tastefully adapted as a tearoom (which was duly taken here by our
intrepid reporter). It is also Longridge Town Council's headquarters and abuts the rear end of the side
of the Towneley Arms Hotel. The station buildings have a blue plaque with a précis of its history,
erected by the Longridge Heritage Committee, and railway signs to be seen inside include an L&YR &
LNWR Joint Line trespass notice and, in the adjacent garden, a Preston & Longridge Railway (P&LR)
Boundary Post can be seen.
BELOW: Longridge station https://goo.gl/FIQUxe September 2007 before it became a tea room.
(Our reporter believes that by 1867 this line was jointly owned by the L&YR and the LNWR at 50%
each, and worked by the LNWR generally, whereas the Fylde lines were owned two thirds by the L&YR
and one third by the LNWR and predominantly worked by the L&YR). Given the integral structural
proximity to the Towneley Arms Hotel, it is not surprising that the P&LR bought the Hotel in 1870 and
a station building was constructed on its side in 1872. It is not listed in Oliver Carter's book on British
Railway Hotels (but that book has been found to have a few omissions). These buildings, well worth a
visit, were restored by 2010 with a £221k Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
1258] Rose Grove - Padiham: Coal-fired Padiham power station generated electricity from 1927 until
closure in March 1993 and rail traffic (which included quite a few BLS Brakevan trips) ended on the
branch from Rose Grove West Jn in December 1993 (presumably outwards surplus coal stock at the
end?). The 'Padiham Greenway' trackbed (more than 1½ miles) is now part of the Burnley to Padiham
'circular' cycle and walking route. A colour fold up glossy leaflet 16½ by 17½ inches is produced by
Lancashire County Council (LCC) with a detailed map, numbered staged points of interest including
explanatory text and numerous interesting old railway photos. Copies may be available at Burnley
Manchester Road station. It is rather better than the current on line version https://goo.gl/Z1BJFM
and may be an older edition. In February, plans were considered to extend the route along more of the
former double track 'Padiham Loop' line towards Great Harwood Jn (Blackburn) which section beyond
the power station CA 2 November 1964. (Normal passenger services were withdrawn from 2
December 1957 although excursions and dated summer holiday trains continued until 1963.) Sadly,
the owner of the route in the Martholme Viaduct area is totally opposed to the scheme. LCC has the
right of way and could challenge the landowner but the case could then be subject to an expensive
judicial review. Therefore the scheme is not currently being progressed.
1236 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1259] Chiltern Times: The latest draft version on the new 26 October timetable http://goo.gl/m0TJjt
now available including the new service from Marylebone to Bicester Village and Oxford Parkway.
1260] Chertsey: From 04.00 on Monday 29 June the ground frame and associated signalling north of
the station (i.e. the Virginia Water end) was due to be removed and the trailing crossover plain lined.
1261] Shelford - Haverhill: 'Railfuture East Anglia' and 'Rail Haverhill' are campaigning for reopening
(CP 6 Mach 1967) with intermediate stations at Sawston, Abington, Granta Park and Linton. Haverhill
(population 30,000) has bus services to Cambridge taking about 90 minutes for the 20 mile journey.
Cambridgeshire County Council shows a Cambridge to Haverhill link in its Local Transport Plan, with a
guided bus option to be considered as well as rail. [Some people never learn - Ed!]
1262] Crossover feast: On Sunday 30 August, single line working is booked for Up trains over the Down
Fast line between Cambridge Jn (Hitchin) and Stevenage North. Down trains will travel over the Down
Slow between Woolmer Green and Sandy North Jn. As a result, a variety of crossovers will be on offer.
All Up trains will use the Up Fast to Down Fast crossover at Hitchin North (32m 11ch) which was
formerly common in the Down direction. In addition, Thameslink and Hull Trains will use the crossover
from Up Slow to Up Fast at Cadwell (33m 42ch). At Stevenage North (27m 67ch), all through Up trains
will cross from the Down Fast to the Up Fast and use P2 at Stevenage (except for the 17.16 and 19.16
from Leeds which are booked through P1).
The first few Up Thameslink services from Kings Lynn/Cambridge will terminate at, and start back
from, Letchworth with ECS shunts. Beginning with the 08.55 from Cambridge they will terminate at
Hitchin P1 returning via the electrified Hitchin Up Yard No1 line. Some Down Thameslink services from
Kings Cross will terminate at Stevenage P4, returning via the Hertford Loop with no unusual track.
Thameslink Down trains to Peterborough will stay on the Down Slow, all other TOC's trains cross at
Sandy North (44m 63ch) to the Down Fast. NB: as always, the engineering work may finish early/late.
1263] Wymondham: From 6 July the trailing connection from the Up Siding (forming a loop around the
back of Up P2) into the Up Thetford line at 113m 60ch is due to be taken OOU until further notice.
1236 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH
1264] Ramsgate: On 30 May our correspondent,
on his first-ever expedition with Railway
Ramblers, went to the site of Ramsgate Harbour
station, (TR 3866 6488) now being totally
redeveloped, but more importantly the ex-
London Chatham & Dover Railway (LC&DR)
Ramsgate tunnel (TR 3879 6507) PICTURE LEFT.
(https://goo.gl/EHYfCf) Double track and 1,124yd
long it CA 1926, together with the 300yd branch
tunnel built in 1936 for the Ramsgate Tunnel
Railway's 2ft gauge line. The excellent escorted
walk covered the entire length of both tunnels.
The LC&DR tunnel is closed-in at the north portal
near Dumpton Park station, with chinks of light
coming through high up, viewed from the inside.
Outside, the trackbed is overgrown densely for
about 100yd at which point the operational 1926 SR alignment merges into the original LC&DR line
(TR391665), the erstwhile junction facing Margate. The tunnels themselves are bone dry, and were
used as emergency shelters during WW2 Apparently, some local families lived in the tunnels for up to
four years and the tunnel was actually their postal address 'for the duration'. Hard hats, heavy duty
footwear and powerful torches were de rigueur for this visit, and with good reason; there are a couple
of missing large drain lids at the side, with deep, open drains, so the centre path was strictly adhered
to. Various items of long-rusty detritus were encountered, notably some derelict dodgem cars near the
north portal! Under a ventilation shaft, a brick-built fireplace and tall chimney were noted, built to
provide forced ventilation and heating for those taking refuge in the tunnel in WW2.
1265] Never say never! Your correspondent has seen quite a few references in his recent reading (as
well as in much going back decades) to the former West, or Royal, curve at Slough. These all clearly
state that the route has never had a regular passenger service over it, and such he had therefore
believed for some fifty years. In fact the Great Western Railway Passenger Timetable for January to
April 1902 clearly shows three regular passenger trains using it. All were SuX, from Windsor at 12.55
and 4.35pm to Basingstoke with a solitary return service at 4.35pm from Basingstoke to Windsor. As
the service is not shown in the very extensive list of alterations from the previous timetable, it is safe
to assume it had started by 1901 at the latest. Editions of the Railway Magazine around that time also
comment on the service. It was in any event short-lived for neither the December 1895 nor April 1910
editions of Bradshaw refer to it, but it is yet further proof that to say 'never' is a dangerous thing.
1266] Windsor & Eton Central: (BLN 1235.1162) The temporary working arrangements on the branch
with a train staff continued after 15 June and are now due to end on Monday 6 July at 00.01. At Slough
the point work from the Up Relief line into former Up bay P6 was plain lined on Sunday 21 June.
1267] Charlton: From 6 July, as part of the Thameslink project the new turnback facility is due to be
commissioned which allows trains to start back towards Dartford in passenger service from the Up P1.
1236 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
1268] Portishead: (BLN 1231.771) A six week statutory consultation on the plans to reopen the branch
began on 22 June and will lead to the detailed design for a planning application due to be submitted in
spring 2016. Construction should begin in 2018 for train services to start in spring 2019. A local FGW
Conductor recently bemoaned this timetable slippage over the original reopening schedule as he had
very much hoped to work passenger trains to Portishead before he retired! Public exhibitions are
being held throughout July. Most of the required land is already owned by North Somerset Council or
NR. The project, part of the MetroWest Phase 1 scheme, involves the re-opening of 5km of disused
railway between Pill and Portishead with reopened stations at Pill (the previous site) and Portishead
Quays Avenue (not a previous station site). The current Portbury freight branch between Parson Street
Jn and Portbury Dock Jn will be upgraded with double tracking through Pill and resignalling to increase
capacity. Other associated changes include enhancement of Parson Street Jn, partial re-instatement of
the Down Relief line at Bedminster, an extra signal near Avonmouth station and the Bathampton
turn‐back crossover and signalling to allow trains to reverse at Bath off the main line.
1269] Okehampton: With the possible demise of the Dartmoor Sunday Rover ticket after this summer,
a member sampled the circular journey on 21 June, using the 11.01 from St. James Park. The service
runs from here in order to use the crossover at Exmouth Jn. He was surprised to find only a Class 153
in use but it was ample, having only 37 passengers on arrival in Okehampton. The majority boarded at
Exeter Central rather than St. Davids. A call was made at Sampford Courtenay but no one alighted or
boarded. At Okehampton, some took the Meldon train, or opted for lunch in the splendidly restored
station in Southern Railway style, whilst others cycled away and just five people chose the connecting
bus to Gunnislake station, a First Bus service number 187. The bus journey is included in the Sunday
Rover, which, although excellent value at £10, does not offer a railcard discount and is only valid on
FGW trains. Instead, a Devon Day Ranger at £6.60 was bought (also valid on Cross Country and South
Western Trains) with the intention of using the National Concessionary Pass for the bus journey. The
bus driver refused it, saying it has not been valid on the 187 since April 2014! The Sunday Gunnislake
branch service was worked by a 2 car Class 150 and business justified it, the line being well promoted
whereas not a single bit of publicity could be found in the tourist racks for the Dartmoor Sunday Rover.
1270] Exeter - Okehampton - Plymouth: A new report has found that the case for re-opening the
route is becoming 'irresistible'. It CP in May 1968 beyond Okehampton but the Campaign to Protect
Rural England (CPRE) has re-examined the strong case for the line's restoration. 'Rural Reconnections',
a 57 page detailed report http://goo.gl/env6Cu produced by research group Greengauge 21 found that
combining the benefits of a resilient diversionary route with those from linking up communities and
businesses currently cut off from the rail network hugely strengthen the argument for reopening the
line. Valuing these factors properly and taking better account of business losses when a network is
temporarily disrupted could have important implications for other line reopening candidates. The
report also emphasised that such reconnections work best when routes link effectively into the
national network, and reopened stations are made into sustainable travel hubs with good cycling and
bus connections. CPRE is already concerned that year-on-year funding cuts to rural buses means that
large parts of the countryside will be cut off from public transport by 2020.
1271] Helston Des Res: A bungalow 'Waverly' (per BR Western Region style totem above the door and
Post Office data base, but incorrectly 'Waverley' in the estate agent's details!) constructed around a
superbly refurbished 1882 railway carriage is on the market http://goo.gl/QYa5e4 (with interesting
pictures) for auction in August if not previously sold. The GWR carriage was moved in 1930 by
Elizabeth Richards, who lived there until she died in 1966. Master carpenter Charles Allen restored and
built a bungalow around it with help from his son-in-law, Jim Higgins. The antique carriage has two
bedrooms and a bathroom; whilst the rest of the bungalow has a kitchen, lounge, sunroom and
reception hall which is reminiscent of a railway station platform. Mr Higgins said it was a five-door
third-class carriage and retaining many original features. It had been 'in a right state' when Mr Allen
took on the project. The property, near Ashton West of Helston, appears to be a normal bungalow
from the outside and the estate agent said 'I have never seen anything like it, the quality of it is just
phenomenal and you can spend hours looking at the details, it is a railway enthusiast's dream'.
1236 WEST MIDLANDS
1272] HS2: The Transport Secretary announced during Parliamentary speech (presumably covered by
Parliamentary privilege?) that construction of the Birmingham to London line will begin in 2017. No
doubt this depends on approval of the required legislation which is proving problematical. Changes to
the route near Lichfield, which would mean the new railway passes under the A38, the WCML and the
South Staffordshire line rather than over them on viaducts have been included in updated plans from
the DfT for HS2 Phase 1. This avoids the need for two crossings of the Trent and Mersey Canal, which
had previously been of concern to local stakeholders, including the Canal and Rivers Trust
1273] Leamington Spa/Warwick Milverton? (BLN 1232.828) The extensive renamings of Milverton
should be treated with some caution (not to say scepticism). As Charles Clinker said in his 'Railways of
the West Midlands' (Stephenson Locomotive Society, 1954), p14: 'The numerous changes made in the
names of the LNWR stations at Warwick and Leamington provide one of the most remarkable
examples of station nomenclature in the country. Much of the difficulty in deciding the correct names
of the two stations seems to have been due to the railway company finding itself involved in a
domestic tug-of-war between the ancient county town and the contiguous place of resort. [The]
original L&B 'Leamington' station (situated at Milverton) has borne no less than nine names in 110
years [remember that this was written in 1954]; the later Leamington station at Avenue has been
known by six different names in 100 years.'
For example, at a time (1882) when the previous item credited the Milverton station with the name
'Milverton (for Warwick)', the LNWR's own public timetable for that summer has the same station in
different tables - all on p30 - as LEAMINGTON (MILVERTON), MILVERTON (for WARWICK) and
MILVERTON (WARWICK). However, of the no less than 18 references to 'Leamington' in the index, all
but one are for connecting services. In passing, one might note that the index adds to the fun by
showing 'Milverton - see Warwick' and 'Warwick - see Leamington' - a delicious circularity! The
relevant local service table (Leamington - Kenilworth - Coventry) uses 'Leamington Avenue' and
'Milverton (for Warwick)' respectively (which is what Clinker adopted and previously reported in BLN).
Faced with this degree of uncertainty a reference to the railway's working timetable is appropriate,
where fortunately there is no such equivocation. The July 1882 issue (which can be consulted at The
National Archives RAIL 946/9) uses 'Leamington Milverton' and 'Leamington Avenue' on both the
Rugby - Leamington and the Leamington - Nuneaton service pages (discounting that it manages to slip
'Milverton station, Leamington' into a footnote!). These are then arguably the official names at that
date, rather than Clinker's conclusions, and that it is necessary, likewise, to crosscheck with working
timetables of other periods the multiplicity of name changes that Clinker (followed by Michael Quick)
would otherwise have us adopt.
1274] Hereford Queries: On 15 July 1978 a member joined our 'Hereford Railtour' tour at the station
(P2) and believes the DMU then reached the buffer stops at what Quail terms 'Edgar Street Diesel
Sidings road 1' to the south. Given that the nearest part of Edgar Street is a mile away, he considers
the name is possibly wrong. It is termed 'Aylestone Hill' (the road on the overbridge south of the
station) in our BLS report and just 'Diesel Depot' in the Sectional Appendix and 'Hereford diesel
fuelling sidings' (which they have not been for many years now) in the Engineer's Line Reference. He is
certain that after reversal there the tour then went through Hereford station on the Down Relief (one
of the middle non-platform lines) as he remembers thinking this was unusual track for him as a native
of the city. On the remains of the Brecon Curve Jn to Red Hill Jn line, the front of the DMU just passed
the south side of the Whitecross Road bridge where at least one tour participant alighted to take a
photo (as you could in 1978!). This was termed 'Barton' in our report although some distance short of
the former Barton Yard. After reaching the gate at Henry Wiggins (the remains of the Barton Curve Jn
to Barr's Court Jn 'third side of the triangle'), the tour train stabled near the site of Moorfields station
to couple up with the RCTS 'Cider Rambler Railtour' which, also visited Bulmer's Depot that day.
In 1957/8 the correspondent remembers
departing Hereford north taking the 'Brecon
Curve' west then running south to Red Hill Jn
on a special train to Barry Island organised
for Church of England Sunday School
children. These trains were an annual event
that had started before WW2 but ceased by
the 1960s. He surmises that the stock for the
special had originated in South Wales and
rather than engage in a convoluted shunting
and (steam) engine turning manœuvre, it
departed that way from the arrival platform (P3) to turn the train round. He now realises that this was
probably his first experience of 'rare track'. On our 1978 tour a then elderly member described how he
had travelled on one of the Welsh rugby specials to Edinburgh in 1955 or 1957 that had used the Red
Hill Jn to Barrs Court Jn avoiding Hereford station*. Can any member provide further information
about the above railtours or special trains that may have used the 'avoiding line'? Six Bells Jn includes
the Ian Allan 'Daffodil Express' railtour on 18 May 1957 from Paddington; after Hereford station it took
the Brecon Curve Jn to Red Hill Jn line. Was the route ever used by summer Saturday holiday trains
etc.? [*Although going directly down the middle of Hereford city itself; the station is actually to the
northeast of the centre.]
1236 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
1275] Rotherham Tram Train: The first of seven vehicles ordered in 2013 for the Sheffield/Rotherham
tram-train pilot project is nearing completion at Vossloh España’s plant near Valencia, and is due to
arrive in the UK in November. South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) says the vehicles
will initially be used to increase peak capacity on the existing Sheffield Supertram network. One reason
for the ongoing tram rail replacement work on the system has been to accommodate them. Tram-train
services between Sheffield and Rotherham using a new 400m connection between Supertram and the
NR freight line at Meadowhall are now expected to start in early 2017. It is to be electrified at 750V DC
like the rest of Supertram and the vehicles' electrical equipment will also be suitable for future 25kV
50Hz main line power supplies. The £58M pilot project is being led by SYPTE in partnership with the
DfT, NR, Stagecoach Supertram and Northern Rail (responsible for selecting the Vossloh vehicles).
1276] Dublin Pearse - Grand Canal Dock: (BLNs 1221.1747 & 1231.722) Significant provisional stages
of the City Centre Resignalling project were to be commissioned on 21 June. This temporarily closes
the Up Main (shown in Quail, but dated February 2004, as Up Bray) between the Pearse end of Grand
Canal Dock P3 (in Quail Northbound) and the points on the approach to Pearse. P3 road is connected
to the Down Main (in Quail Down Bray) by a slew, trains to Pearse taking this road as far as the trailing
crossover before Pearse to regain the Up Main at Pearse P1. In the other direction, trains from Pearse
P2 to Grand Canal Dock take the facing crossover to the Down Loop returning to the Down Main at
Grand Canal Dock via the crossover exit from the loop. Boston Sidings will no longer be accessible,
though a 175m siding will exist before the temporary buffer stop in front of the hand worked points at
the Sidings entrance. In summary, this is a phase of the work with a temporary alignment.
1277] Skerries: The trailing crossover north of the station on the Dublin to Drogheda/Belfast line has
been removed. The Up loop is being retained and is still available in both directions but Down trains
now have to use the facing crossover south of Skerries station and run wrong line over the Up (Dublin)
line through P1 (which is reversibly signalled here) to access it. They then continue wrong line on the
Up to Balybriggan using the trailing cross over south of that station to regain the Down (Belfast) line.
1278] Mosney: The loop at 25m 66ch, six miles south of Dregheda, associated points and crossovers
were decommissioned on 27 June 2015. The points to and from it and the loop itself were removed
overnight (with the points plain lined). The crossovers are due to be plain lined overnight on 18/19
July. Mosney station OP in June 1948 to serve Butlin's Holiday Camp there and CP 16 September 2000
(when the camp closed) despite being shown as open on February 2004 Quail p16C. The loop was used
to recess Tara Mines trains and to reverse passenger trains that terminated at Balbriggan. (Some will
now run ESC to Drogheda but see 'Unusual Track'). Final use was on Friday 26 June by the 20.13 Pearse
to Drogheda which was looped here to allow the heavily delayed 19.00 Dublin to Belfast to overtake.
1236 ISLE OF MAN
1279] Does it count? Douglas Horse Tramway: (MR p32) (BLN 133.949) The IOM highways authority
has painted white lines on sections of the Douglas promenade walkway to show where the realigned
tramway is intended to run. It has been amended to allow for the concerns of those who wanted to
keep it off the walkway completely and further modifications are possible. One reason for the exercise
is to show how little space it occupies (the 3ft gauge track will be single with passing loop/s). Most of
us have walked track beds of closed lines; now is a chance to do one before it is built!
1280] Port Erin Line: It is understood that on Thursday 18 June the Final 'TT rail commuter service' was
steam hauled by No13. The rostered diesel, No21 had failed and it is believed that this is serious
enough to require either the locomotive, or at least its wheel sets, to go to the 'big island' (the UK
mainland!). It is indeed fortunate that the IOM has steam locomotives able to cover diesel failures!
1281] North Clyde: Noted on 17 June were the long out-of-use Rothesay Dock (BLN 1223.1932),
Bowling Dunglass refinery (BLN 1211.989) and Dumbarton Shipyard (where in the early 1980s there
was still a small amount of Speedlink traffic) branches which remain connected to the network, with
related signals, then disappear into the undergrowth. Craigendoran Down Yard also has a fair amount
of plant life, despite its proximity to the salty Clyde. A craft shop on Helensburgh 'esplanade' sported a
1933 LNER train and ferry timetable for Craigendoran Pier (railway taken OOU in 1973) in its window.
1282] West Highland lines: On 12 June the funeral took place in Caol (adjacent to Banavie) of Charles
Kennedy, former MP and Leader of the Liberal Democrats. He was a staunch supporter of the railway,
Honorary President of the Friends of the West Highland Lines http://goo.gl/GACA38 and played a
'major' (apologies for political irony) part in the campaign, won in 1995, to keep the London sleeper
service (which he used regularly); its future had been threatened by the Major privatisation. The day of
the funeral was marked by wreaths carried on both 'Jacobite' workings and the southbound sleeper
ABOVE LEFT: A wreath on the smokebox of Stanier 'Black Five' 44871 next to sister engine 45407 for
the two West Coast Railways 'Jacobite' trains to Mallaig in Fort William Yard. This is no longer used by
the residual freight traffic. ABOVE RIGHT: The southbound sleeper leaving Fort William on 12 June
carrying a wreath with 67004, passing the small oil terminal (once closed and later reopened) just
before Fort William Jn, perhaps one of the smallest such survivors. This can physically fit 12 tanks and
a loco, which is the normal train length. As are only 8 unloading pipes they have to be unloaded, then
shunted to put the other tanks next to the pipes. The oil trains typically run about every three weeks
depending on the time of year and fuel demand. They arrive from Grangemouth on a Tuesday and
return south on a Wednesday. The loco stables over Tuesday night in the fuel depot. The depot signs
and lorries are all branded 'Scottish Fuels' but it is owned by DCC PLC of Dublin. Imported Alumina
powder from North Blyth is the only other rail freight on the West Highland lines now. That normally
runs three times per week in special tanks. The Bauxite originates in South America is shipped to Larne
where it is processed to Alumina (Aluminum Oxide) then re-shipped to North Blyth (which also used to
supply nearby Lynemouth smelter now closed) for the rail journey to Fort William. The cost of
electricity (produced by hydroelectric power at Fort William) is the major economic factor in all this!
Unfortunately, West Highland freight trains are severely restricted in length by the short passing loops.
1283] Avoiding Inverness: On 22 June a member decided to try the 17.13 (SuX) Kyle of Lochalsh to
Elgin train, advertised as a through service in the timetable, station information systems and on train
displays. It was indeed and took the 'PSUL' Inverness avoiding line at Rose Street Jn to Welsh's Bridge
Jn before reversing beyond the latter to run into P3 ready for departure to Elgin at 20.04. This was all
performed remarkably swiftly including the driver changing ends. The conductor advised that it is a
generally reliable move (despite the previous experiences of others who have sometimes terminated
in P5 or P6 then a separate unit form the Elgin train from P3).
One suggestion is that the train runs to comply with an original act of parliament specifying 'one
through train daily towards Aberdeen' (if so presumably SuX!). There is no obvious evidence of such a
train in April 1910 Bradshaw and there was certainly plenty of ECS on both sides on Inverness station
on 22 June so the current through working does not appear to be necessary to provide a DMU for the
Elgin service. On Sunday 21 June 'Tornado' propelled 8 coaches out of P1 on ScotRail's 09.20 excursion
to Brora (reversing into P2 at 20.36 in the evening) thus traversing the avoiding line both ways. P1 & 2
are both straight and longer than P5 & 6 which have quite a curve. The line was also observed in use
over several days by various ECS trains. The short Inverness P7, quite a walk from the concourse, is
only normally used to stable ECS overnight.
1284] Edinburgh trams: (BLN 1223.1853) During week commencing 22 June, Edinburgh councillors
were due to discuss how to deal with proposals to extend the tramline that are being favourably
considered (not least because the utility diversion work has been largely completed and none of the
surplus trams has been sold or leased out). Options include extension to Newhaven, Ocean Terminal,
the foot (i.e. river end) of Leith Walk, or MacDonald Road (near the city end). Following a formal
consultation and review of funding options, a final decision will be made in the autumn. In the first
year of operation to 31 May, 4.92M passengers were carried, 370,000 (or 7.5%) above target. this map
shows the proposed extension under consideration as 'Phase 1a (never built).' https://goo.gl/LjSQjF
When building the York Place to Airport line, passive provision was made for the junction west of
Haymarket for the Granton line (Phase 1b) with installation of the undertrack concrete supporting.
1285] East Linton: (BLN 1224.105) The Rail Action Group East of Scotland is very concerned, as ScotRail
has told them that provision of a service for the reopened station (part of an enhanced Edinburgh to
Dunbar service from December 2016) has been put back for two years, due to Abellio not having the
rolling stock. The Scottish government IS committed to reopening the station and at Reston
1286] Borders railway: (BLN 1235.1187) To clarify, the proving train on Sunday 7 June had no booked
times between Shawfair/Tweedbank and return; automatic train reporting started from Monday 8th,
and intermediate times had been supplied. On 14 June the line was handed over to the NR/Abellio
'ScotRail Alliance', marking formal completion of the BAM Nuttall contract. The latter firm marked the
occasion at Stow station with teachers and pupils from the village Primary School. Our correspondent
advises that the 'normal' route learning program, with two trains operating, was due to start from
Monday 15 June; scrutiny of RealTime Trains between 19 and 26 June indicates that this has been the
case, with some cancellations noted on two days. Some days have an imbalance of Down and Up trains
with a working apparently stabling overnight at Tweedbank; as this is to be a traincrew depot, it is
understandable that one be available for static training.
The question was asked why 'stepping distance' checks between train and platforms were required for
the Class 170 on Sunday 7th, when the line has presumably been constructed knowing which stock is to
work on it. Having said that, Class 158s are to be the regular trains http://goo.gl/YHpPdS which has
been criticised in the media. The NR Borders Railway e-newsletter of 8 June confirmed that these
checks had been carried out at all stations on the line, quoting the purpose of the exercise was 'to
prove the route prior to driver training, to give the driver manager additional route knowledge and to
take platform stepping distances for a Class 170 diesel train'. With regard to route availability, scrutiny
of the online 'Rules of the Route' has data for the new line (reference SC164), but in the e-Sectional
Appendix (mid-June reissue), at the end of the document where clearances are recorded for each type
of stock/locomotive route-by-route, there is no mention of the Borders line yet. On, Saturday 19
September there is an SRPS charter from Tweedbank to Oban; will that need stepping distance checks?
1287] Trains and boats and plain tickets: There are interesting arrangements for through ticketing for
inclusive rail and ferry journeys within Scotland. ScotRail advertises 'Rail and Sail' tickets from any
station in Scotland to Armadale (Skye), Belfast, Brodick, Castlebay (Barra), Craignure (Mull), Dunoon,
Kirkwall, Lerwick, Lochboisdale (South Uist), Rothesay, Stornoway and Stromness via the appropriate
railhead. Travel to Kirkwall can be via Aberdeen or Thurso, but to Belfast only via Cairnryan, not Troon.
Fares include bus connections to Cairnryan (from Ayr) and Ullapool (from Inverness) and taxi between
Thurso and Scrabster. See https://goo.gl/FvGhGE and note that only some can be bought online.
Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) and Argyll Ferries only sell through ferry and rail tickets from Brodick,
Rothesay and Dunoon to Paisley and Glasgow (though staff at Rothesay say they can also issue tickets
to Port Glasgow!). The reason for this limitation appears to be that tickets issued by CalMac and Argyll
Ferries are printed on their blanks, not on standard National Rail ones. Only conductors and station
staff working on lines from Glasgow to Gourock, Wemyss Bay and Ardrossan need to be trained on this
unusual arrangement. There is no Railcard discount on these fares, except to Belfast where 16-25 and
Senior Railcards are accepted. Railcard holders may benefit by buying separate train and ship tickets.
1288] Late sleepers: On 22 June the 20.44 Inverness to Euston was cancelled as far as Edinburgh due
to the guard not turning up and no replacement being available who 'signed for the stock' (allegedly
there is a limited pool for Serco Caledonian Sleeper trains). Further south, a few hours later, having
been punctual, the 04.50 Edinburgh to Fort William of 23 June failed and was terminated at Crianlarich
160 minutes late, resulting in 37516 being dispatched north to work the 19.50 return. This 'blast from
the past' successfully took charge of the Fort William portion on some subsequent days. The Class 92s
working south of Edinburgh and Glasgow have not met with the approval of some drivers due to
unreliability, and the 1973 veteran 87002 has been used extensively (and run punctually has 37516).
1289] Cardiff Central: from 5 July, the Riverside Siding and Barry Spur with associated position light
signals are to be TOU pending recovery. The trailing connections in the Down Barry line (170m 30 &
33ch) will be secured in the normal position to allow train movements along the Down Barry line only.
1290] Ebbw Vale: (BLN 1234.1036) Several correspondents report finding the unstaffed Council-
funded 'inclined lift' connecting the new station with the town centre to be OOU. It is now supposed to
be available 07.00 to 19.00 every day; local speculation is that vandalism is causing the unreliability.
1291] Unstaffed stations - a caution/fine: Recent experience is that it is now in effect mandatory for
those without valid tickets embarking at unstaffed ATW stations to carry a debit or credit card and
purchase a ticket from the (card-only) vending machines prior to boarding their train, rather than
taking a chance on being able to buy one from the Guard. Swoops by revenue protection teams are
resulting in anyone found to be without a ticket being offered the choice of either paying the fare plus
£70 penalty, or facing Magistrates' Court prosecution. Any members with legal background is invited
to comment upon the legitimacy of this arrangement, which would seem seriously to discriminate
against those who, for whatever reason, do not have card facilities, or may have inadvertently left
their cards at home. Unlike Penalty Fare zones elsewhere, there is no mention of any right of appeal.
1292] No news is good news? For quite a few BLNs now there have only been items from the south of
the Principality. We would very much welcome suitable items from mid and north Wales too please!
1236 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR91] Foxfield Steam Railway & Miniature Railway, Staffordshire (MR p8 & p23) (BLN 1174.MR233):
With time to kill before a trip to the swimming baths in Stoke-on-Trent, the Fixtures Secretary and his
two little sidekicks headed off to the railway on Sunday 31 May, with the primary intention of riding on
the recently extended 7¼" gauge miniature railway. However, that line was not operating, so a trip
was made on the standard gauge line instead. Haydock Foundry 0-6-0WT (1874) 'Bellerophon' hauled
two ex-BR MK1 coaches to form the well-loaded 14.30 service to Dilhorne Park, and worked hard on
the gradients. On arrival at Dilhorne Park, the station was carrying 'Hanbury Halt' nameboards,
obviously linked to the costume drama 'Cranford'. After the 2 mile journey back, the museum was
visited and the 'Knotty Heritage Train' carriages were inspected. Use of these wooden bodied vehicles
is expected on 5 July, 2 August, 20 September and 4 October. A special 'miniature mayhem' event is
planned for the miniature railway on Sunday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday weekend. Non-
special event day fares are £8 adult, Concession £6.50, family £21 and £3.50 for under 16s.
MR92] Wensleydale Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9): Friday 29 May saw the first movements out of
the cattle dock at Aysgarth station on the newly laid short track there https://goo.gl/q3ihc1 a sign of
the hard work by the railway's Aysgarth group. It is intended in due course to open the station to the
public with an information centre and offer short rides, to promote the railway and progress its
connection back to Redmire. See https://goo.gl/BFk0p6 and http://goo.gl/Y0oQYs sites.
MR93] Scottish Vintage Bus Museum, Fife (MR p10) (BLN 1234.1056): A member visited this museum
at Lathalmond on Sunday 17 May, where the 'shed 47 group' held a running day on their standard
gauge line. He arrived at 10.00 and, after safety checks and a test run, rides began at 10.30 with one
brake van and a Hunslet 0-4-0DH loco (in yellow livery). The current public operation has recently
changed - the former passenger line that ran beside the Lothian shed has now been lifted and the line
runs away from that shed, through a small wooded section to terminate at the far end of the concrete
apron. There is another projected extension, over the next couple of years, of about another 100 yd to
the boundary fence. The volunteers were very friendly and a look around the shed was possible.
MR94] Paradise Railway, Cornwall (MR p14) (BLN 973.MR136): This 15" gauge railway runs in a circuit
of some 240yd in the grounds of Paradise Park in Hayle. On Thursday 14 May motive power was being
provided by 4wDM (L10180/1938).
MR95] Lappa Valley Railway, Cornwall (MR p13) (BLN 1221.MR192): On Sunday 17 May, the 15"
gauge main line was being worked by 0-6-4T Zebedee, with 0-6-0 'Muffin' undergoing overhaul in the
shed. 4wDM 'Arthur' (renamed from 'Albert') was spare on a rake of carriages. At East Wheal Rose 4w-
4DH 'Gladiator' was awaiting replacement parts. The 10¼" gauge 'Newlyn Branch Line' was worked by
Perkins 0-6-0DH 'Eric' with 4-4wDH 'Duke of Cornwall' spare in the shed, which was started up and
brought out for our reporter. The 7¼" gauge 'Woodland Railway' was worked by one APT Power Car
with the older HST Power Car inside the shed, which was brought out manually for our member. A
newly converted locomotive was expected from the Exmoor Steam Railway a week or so later.
MR96] Launceston Steam Railway, Cornwall (MR p13) (BLN 1202.MR19): This railway was visited on
Sunday 17 May. In the Museum Shed were: 0-4-0ST 'Velinheli', No89 2w-2VBT 'Perseverance' and two
4wDMs. In the bottom yard was Post Office Railway No38 with 0-4-0ST Dorothea inside the Worksop
shed. In the Tin shed was a 2w+2wDMR. Outside the shed in the top yard was one Motorail 4wDM and
pieces of scrapped Post Office Railway No42. In the storage shed were 0-4-0ST 'Covercoat', a 2-2wDMR
and a 2w-2wBER. Trains were being worked by 0-4-0ST 'Lilian'.
MR97] Moseley Industrial Narrow Gauge Tramway, Cornwall (MR p14) (BLN 1232.MR54): It has been
pointed out that the reference to 'lead mines' should be 'copper mines'; apologies to anyone 'misled'.
MR98] Wester Pickston Railway, Perth & Kinross (MR p28) (BLN 1050.MR160): This 5"/7¼" gauge line
is operated by the Scottish Model Engineering Trust and is located at Glenalmond near Methven.
There are only four public running days a year (2015 dates in 'Minor Railways' and see Others' Doings);
a member visited on Sunday 7 June to sample the new extension. He arrived at 11.30 to find on a
warm sunny day the car park already full, but the overflow was brought into use outside the site. The
track has had a very large extension, which opened on Sunday 5 April (the first running day of this
year) after a couple of years in the planning. The line is a still a circuit, but much extended, and is now
900yd long. Part of the original circuit and the station centre bypass line are no longer used. The train
leaves the station platform straight onto new track to the right, this bypasses the points into the yard
and turntable area. Part of the original circuit is then used, before the extension takes the train on a
circuit bent back on itself, before returning to the station using part of what was originally a long
siding. There is a further extension under construction that links the station area onto the current
extension - but this is a couple of years away as time and money allow. The trains were hauled by
three steam and one petrol locomotives and were well-loaded with a fare of £1.50 per trip. Multi-ride
tickets of four for £5 were also available. Also of interest is a 3½"/5" gauge elevated line - this is not
available for public use and was not running anyway. It was rescued from the Society's former site in
Cromwell Park, Perth and re-erected as a 150yd circuit. The Society now has a nice club house that was
offering light refreshments and also a model engineering display. It is well worth a visit.
MR99] Central Cliff Railway, Scarborough (MR p34) (BLN 1090.MR85): Still owned by a private
company (the 'Central Tramway Company') this standard gauge railway opened in August 1881 and
refers to itself as the 'Central Tramway'. On Tuesday 9 June it was running from 09.30 to 16.45 and
was to do so throughout June. Cars and buildings are all in a red and white livery. Fares are currently
80p for all, for a single journey (no returns). No tickets are issued and the money is collected at the
upper station, from where operations are also controlled.
MR100] North Cliff Railway, Scarborough (BLN 831.MR145): This 6ft 6in gauge railway closed in
September 1996. Nothing now remains of the tracks or stations - the whole site has been landscaped
MR101] St. Nicholas Cliff Railway, Scarborough (BLN 1132.MR47): This 7ft 6in gauge funicular railway
closed around September 2006. A visit on Monday 8 June found both tracks still in situ. The upper
station appears to have been rebuilt and is a now 'St. Nicholas Café', but the building cleverly includes
two cars, which appear to be parked in the station. Closer inspection reveals the cars to have new
bodies, which form part of café but the underframes appear to be original and still have their wheels
and axles in position. It is therefore possible to sit in the dummy cars and take refreshments! The
lower station, which was very minimal with a small office and gates for each track, is still fully intact. It
has also been converted to a café ('Aquarium Top Café') with tables in the small area between the end
of the tracks and entrance/exit gates. However, this has now closed.
MR102] South Cliff Railway, Scarborough (MR p34) (BLN 1126.MR255): This standard gauge railway
was the first cliff railway to open in this country, on 6 July 1875. It is now owned by Scarborough
Council. During the week commencing 8 June it was noticed to be in use and sampled on a number of
occasions. Tickets are issued and collected at the lower station with operation controlled from the
upper station. The cars are in a green and white livery. Fares: adult return £1.50, single £1 and child
return 80p, single 50p. Tickets are coloured roll type. During June the railway was in operation daily
from 09.30 - 22.30; one Saturday it was due to run 09.30 - 01.00, surely the longest day of any minor
railway! The reason for the long hours of operation are that it links the upper esplanade and its hotels
with the Spa Concert and Events Hall. It was amusing to note one day the times (chalked up outside
each station) were displayed as '09.30 - 22.30' at the upper station and '09.30 - 10.30'at the lower!
MR103] Oswestry & District Narrow Gauge Railway Group, Oswestry, Shropshire: The group was
formed in 2014 and is based at the former Cambrian Railways Goods Depot at Weston Wharf, Weston
Road, Weston, Morda, Oswestry, SY10 9ES. The group have a 2ft gauge railway, approximately 330yd,
long with a fleet of 27 locomotives, comprising steam, diesel, petrol and battery powered examples. As
yet there are no planned operating days, but visitors are advised to contact the Hon. Secretary, Mark
Edlington (01691 688552) to visit. Several comprehensive Society railtours ran on 1 April 2012.
MR104] China Clay Museum, Wheal Martyn, St Austell, Cornwall: A visit was made on Wednesday 13
May. 2ft 6in gauge 4wDM ex-Pentewan Dock & Sand Co. is plinthed in the Transport Yard alongside
some wagons, a rail mounted crane and the Lee Moor Tramway signal box from Torycombe Level
Crossing. Inside, protected from the elements, is 4ft 6in gauge 0-4-0ST 'Lee Moor No1' (P783/1899).
MR105] Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen, Cornwall: This site was visited on Saturday 9 May. All the battery
electric locos were seen on a (previously arranged) guided tour without which many of them would
not have been. Two carry external numbers, which do not relate to their actual numbers, therefore
identification is impossible. In the normally accessible buildings and area were locos numbered 80 and
59 and one which may be B3606C. In the unlit store shed nine locos were piled in a heap. Four more
locos (one partly dismantled) were in the securely locked charging house and one more was in the
normally accessible compressor house. A variable admission charge (£7.15 to £12) is payable here.
MR106] Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge, Cornwall: On Saturday 9 May, the 18" gauge 4wBE
loco ex-Geevor Mine remained on display, partly hidden by trees when entering. Access to view is free.
MR107] Levant Mine, Pendeen, Cornwall: A visit on Sunday 10 May found the 18" gauge 4wBE (CE
836068/1989) displayed on a section of track with wagons and other equipment above and behind the
mine buildings. It was visible from the access road.
1236 OTHERS' DOINGS:
A service to members and details must be checked with the organisers Please mention the Branch line Society when booking/enquiring.
1392] Alan Keef Ltd., Sat 19 Sept: Annual open day http://goo.gl/101idX is now postponed to 2016.
1293] Property Section: Llandaff station, the former ticket office http://goo.gl/viQj9o £120K, a single
storey red-brick structure over a Taff Valley Railway cutting with planning consent for office use, but
could be used as a house. Simon Mortimer who kindly sent the picture below feels it could make the
perfect holiday home with some TLC! Your Editor bought many a ticket there during his time in Cardiff.
1294] Halton Curve, North Cheshire Rail Users Group, Sat 4 July: The Northern Trains PSUL service
07.53 (SO) 23 May until 5 September from Chester to Runcorn (08.14) is extended to Liverpool South
Parkway calling additionally at Helsby (08.02) and Frodsham (08.07). Even if you have done Frodsham
Jn to Halton Jn spur before this is an interesting experience with almost a 'carnival' atmosphere on
board. A film crew are to make a video. There is no return road transport, Helsby and Frodsham
passengers can buy a ticket to Liverpool and return via Birkenhead or Chester or Huyton then
Warrington (BQ). Passengers may purchase a Chester to Widnes return, travel to Liverpool South
Parkway and return via Warrington (Cen.) walk to Bank Quay and return to Chester for £8.60. (No need
to alight at Widnes as long as the train calls.) A Cheshire Day Ranger (adult £22.50; railcard £14.85)
gives unlimited Saturday travel: West Kirby, New Brighton, Moorfields, Newton-le-Willows, Hadfield,
Manchester (Vic./Pic.), New Mills (Central), Buxton, Stoke, Whitchurch, Shotton (HL/LL) and Chester.
1295] Doves Nest Miniature Railway, 10 July: To complement our morning visit to the railways at
Whitrope and Saughtree (BLN 1233.901) on which places are available. Kentrail Enthusiast Group
16.00 visit to Doves Nest Group Management Training Centre, Old Corn Mill, Crosthwaite, LA8 8BS
approximately 6 miles from Oxenholme station; lifts can be arranged as necessary. This railtour, quite
possibly the first of its kind, is by special arrangement; there are normally no public rides and a repeat
is not envisaged. It nestles in the centre's grounds in a very rural location beside the millstream and
has an unusual layout, broadly end to end with triangles offering the chance to undertake training
tasks where shunting successfully in a team is the aim! £10 pay on the day to cover donations and
costs. Bookings and queries to Simon Mortimer [email protected] 07835 739940. Afterwards
participants might consider a half mile trackbed walk along part of the former Arnside to Hincaster Jn
line now a permissive gated footpath that appears to be an initiative by the local landowner. Park on
the formation (SD 5113 8376) just west of the Viva Road/White Cheryl Lane minor crossroads. Walk
north on the low embankment path, cleared of trees to a wider area (possibly the site of a few sidings)
to the former Hincaster Jn at the WCML. A footpath continues west of the WCML to Hincaster village .
1296] Wester Pickston Railway (MR p28) (See also MR98) On the right, 3 miles along College Road (off
the A85 in Methven), PH1 3RX (NN984283). Scottish Model Engineering Trust; Ground level 7¼" & 5"
line which is being extended into the 7 acre site. Public running 11.30 to 16.00 on 2 August and 13
September. Free parking http://goo.gl/qGSfpD Contact [email protected] or 01738 812479.
1297] London through to Minehead by steam: 25 July, 8,15 & 22 Aug and 19 Sep, Paddington 08.30
/22.15, stations to Newbury, change steam loco at Bishops Lydeard (13.00/18.25) then to Minehead
14.30/16.55. Standard class £89. The Railway Touring Company http://goo.gl/iI03zD 01553 661500.
1298] Fifield Private Railway, Sat 1 Aug: Deep Meadows, Ledger Road, Fifeld, SL6 2PD (SU 907766)
between Windsor and Maidenhead (off the B3024, four miles west of the former). Annual standard
gauge railway public rides as part of the local 'fun day' http://goo.gl/MjNal5 keep an eye on website.
1299] Derwent Valley Summer Evening Saver Returns: EMT after 16.30 (SuO) and 18.15 (SuX) until 6
September. £3 return between Derby and Matlock (normally £6) or intermediately; £4 from Long
Eaton and £6 from Nottingham (normally £9.20), Beeston or Attenborough (all in either direction).
1300] Statfold Barn Railway, Sat 12 Sept: Final 2015 enthusiasts open day, 16 to 18 engines running;
the layout has changed since our March 2014 visit (BLN 1207 p147). It has extensive complex 2ft and
3ft lines and a short (unused) standard gauge line. Tickets £10, cheques payable to 'Friends of Statfold
Barn Steam Trust' with an SAE to The Grain Store, Statfold Barn Farm, Ashby Road, Tamworth, B79
0BU. Strict 'no ticket, no entry', no pay on the day and no under 14s. 01827830871.
1301] Penrhyn Quarry Railway 19 & 20 Sept: (MR p29) Felin Fawr off the B4409 at Coed-y-Parc,
Bethesda, Gwynedd, LL57 4RY (SH699470) to St. Ann's Hill. A rare open weekend http://goo.gl/g6vtJ4
with rides to mark the 50th anniversary since the last loco was used in the slate quarry and the Felin
Fawr site was closed in 1965. Peripatetic miniature railway. Resident Penrhyn Ruston 26 and visiting
Barber 'Iowerth' named after a Penrhyn Quarry worker who helped source the parts to build the
vertical boiler steam loco in 2002; also AB 2067 'Marchlyn' and another ex-Penrhyn Quarry loco. About
¼ mile, 2' gauge line, Penrhyn Slate Quarries Ltd. £3 per person all inclusive. A vintage bus service will
run during the day to/from Port Penrhyn (by donation). Pictures http://goo.gl/3ZI4vO and history.
BELOW: The line at the site of the former workshop and foundary © Penryn Quarry Railway 2014.
1302] Forest of Dean Narrow Gauge Open Days 19 & 20 Sept: Lea Bailey (Gold Mine) Light Railway:
HR9 5TY (see extensive report in BLN 1213.MR114) 11.00 to 16.00, two locos running, no rides.
Hopewell Colliery Museum & Centre for Freemining: Lacinda Coalway, Coleford, L16 7EL. 10.00 to
16.00 working loco. Underground tours of this working mine are available. Clearwell Caves: near
Coleford GL16 8JR. 10.00 to 17.00 underground incline working (former Iron ore and ochre pigment
mine in natural caves), battery and Hunslet locos outside. Perrygrove Railway: Perrygrove Road,
Coleford, GL16 8QB Gala weekend 10.30 to 17.00 up to 10 locos working, visiting loco, normal prices.
1303] Exploring Britain's Lost Railways: By Julian Holland http://goo.gl/GMq3op now available at 'The
Works' for £4 (was £14.99), 304 pages 21cm x 14.8cm (published by Collins). Formerly known as 'The
Times Exploring Britain's Lost Railways' with 50 former railways; historical/modern photos and route
descriptions for walking and cycling. One member said 'A good read' (but an even better walk?).
1304] BAYWATCH 2015: From Kentrail Enthusiasts Group. Covers the entire British Isles, including the
National Networks, Metros, Trams and preserved standard gauge lines. 44 pages of concisely collated
information, colour coded to assist understanding. Much of interest for the macro and micro gricer
alike! New is 'Loops used as Bays' (pseudo-bays) detailing when the 'rare' end is used! Also updated
'X-Factor' with crossing place use and 'CSI' Connections of Strategic Importance that knit the network
together. £6 POST FREE from Sales Officer, Mark Gomm (below) or on our 12 July railtour.
1236 E-BLN ADDENDUM…. HEAD LINES EXTRA
(1):Foxton - Foxton Exchange Sidings - Barrington Run Round - Barrington Loading Pad: (BLN
1226.271) ROG Tuesday 30 June 2015 with the 03.49 train from Wembley, Willesden Euro Terminal
(possibly about time this location was renamed?). This arrived at the pad 07.49, the first load of 'inert
spoil waste' to partly fill in the former quarry for landscaping and reclamation. The empty wagons
returned at 11.22 (63 minutes early). This branch was on the now refurbished Barrington Light Railway
(with an extension towards the quarry). The mainline connection and centre road of the former
exchange sidings was traversed on 2 November 1991 by Badger Railtours 'The Fletton Avoider' tour
which also visited Ciba Geigy chemical works at Duxford and Barnwell Oil Depot. BELOW: Barrington
Exchange Sidings, recently refurbished, from the Foxton (south) end. Note checkrail on the right hand
rail of the sharp connection from NR (immediately on the London end of Foxton station behind
camera) and former cement work's chimney in the background to the right of centre. Iain Scotchman.
(2): Lincoln, Pelham Street Jn - Wrawby Jn: TCA from 14.20 on Tuesday 30 June 2015 due to the
significant derailment of the 10.39 Kingsbury to Humber Oil Refinery train formed of 22 'discharged'
TEA wagons on the Up Main line at Welton facing crossover (35m 71ch) blocking both lines. The
locomotive and first 9 wagons were able to proceed. A temporary access route is being constructed to
bring in a crane closure is expected to Sunday 12 July for recovery and repairs.
Guess the Location e-BLN 1235: (Below left) This was the London end of Clapham Junction station/
Yard taken from the footbridge. Even years ago it was unusual to see the lines so empty; perhaps they
had been cleared specially for a weed killing train? Right is a more recent view with the very end of P9
in view far right and the twin carriage washers in the middle background. Of note is the continuous
long lead to the left, crossing 7 tracks (one more than the lead west of Cardiff Central station).
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected]. 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected]; Subscribe: [email protected].
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected]. Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected].
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected].
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected]. 01782 769960 (daytime).
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or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947
1305] David William Hunter, 7 November 1946 - 26
May 2015: The sad death of our colleague and friend has already
been notified. David (or Dave) as he preferred to be called was born in a
Nursing Home in Woodford, Essex moving shortly to the family home in
Loughton where he lived all his life. His early education was at White
Bridge Infant School then The Brook Secondary Modern both in
Loughton. Dave took an early interest in transport, and probably by about
the age of 14 (circa1960) was travelling on the various routes of the
threatened London Transport trolleybus system. He was also keen to visit
the London railway stations in order to see the equally threatened steam
locomotives that were still in abundance at that time. Dave's other transport interest was in airplanes,
and he often visited Heathrow where he would marvel at the new VC10s then being introduced into
There was perhaps an inevitability that he would take a job involved in transport, and this duly came
to pass on 7 August 1962 when straight from school he joined British Railways as a messenger at St.
Pancras. Transfer to the clerical section followed in 1965 with a move to London Midland Region HQ at
Euston in the Divisional Manager's Office. Sometime about the late 70s/early 80s a further move this
time to BR HQ at 222 Marylebone Road found him dealing with the intricacies of Fares Manuals a job
which he took with him to the Waterloo Offices of the Southern Region. Dave later returned to Euston
being responsible for charter trains, not surprisingly a job he thoroughly enjoyed. This more or less
lead up to the period of Sectorisation within BR in 1987, and he was then with Trainload Construction
based at Paddington. Giving a possible insight into Dave's working practices, a former colleague writes:
- ''He was something of a wheeler dealer when it came to us hiring out our locos.''
He now had only the former Eastern Region to conquer which he duly achieved upon transfer to
Hamilton House where his responsibilities were freight trains working on the North London line.
Dave's final move was back to HQ (now of NR) working for the Track Access Billing team from which he
retired on 10 September 2010. Paradoxically, having spent his entire working life in London, his last
week was in Manchester where the team had been relocated.
He was able to pursue his passion for steam traction by using 'priv' tickets and therefore travelling on
such choice track as the Waverley and the Settle and Carlisle. More ambitious travel saw him see out
the last A4s on the Glasgow to Aberdeen 'three hour' expresses. This love of steam never left him, and
he would either visit preserved railways to sample their locos, or travel on main line steam charters
right up to this year.
Latterly, Dave took an interest in minor railways and was invited to join the Kentrail Enthusiasts Group,
where he held the 'onerous' task of membership secretary for many years, in reality not too difficult as
the KEG never had more than 9 members whose identity hardly ever changed! He attended many
visits including those in Ireland that often resulted in a late night in a pub followed by an early
start...and in the Channel Islands where after a night in an Irish Bar the group wandered the streets
trying to find the hotel (whose name had escaped them!) despite it being five stories high and quite
large, they did find it in the small hours as dawn was beginning to break! Dave was of course a Society
Committee Member for several years and a regular member at the BLN stuffing evenings formerly in
Godalming. His organising strength was to the fore when he produced all-line tram tours including
depot visits first on the West Midlands system on 5 August 2001 with a repeat visit on 21 April 2002
followed by another high quality visit to NET (Nottingham Trams) on 5 June 2005.
In latter years, Dave's interests had altered somewhat as he reverted to his old love of buses,
particularly vintage vehicles. He was a member of several societies that staged rallies on the public
road, and he was often rostered as a conductor on these runs, which could be in any part of the
country.Away from transport, he was a lifelong football fan, being a fellow supporter of Tottenham
Hotspur as well as admitting to a fondness for Leyton Orient. Dave was a music lover, particularly of
live bands and this shared passion conveniently brings us to the subject of public houses where most
of this live music was observed. Dave was a member of CAMRA and the writer of this and Dave
enjoyed many a pint over 25 years in venues in the Good Beer Guide, and all the better if they were
obscure and difficult to get to by public transport! The Society has lost a genuine, generous, kind
person, and a friend to many of us. He will be greatly missed. Funeral details are still pending, but will
be advised. AGW