Issue Number 1287 (Items 1712 - 1816 I&ssMueRN1u4m6b-eMr 1R216680) (E-BLN 54 PAGES) 26 Aug 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded
Website: www19.b5r5an) chline.org.uk
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from memb7e2r8s6;7a7n international section is also
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
……………….BLN 1288 is dated Sat 9 Sep;SCocoienttyr.ibSouctiieotny.s must be received by 30 Aug
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Monday? TBA Saltmarshe - Ferriby, Melton Lane signal box visits 1286 NJ OPEN
Sat 2/9/17 OPEN
Sun 3/9/17 The 565 Special, NW England - SW Wales UPDATE BELOW 1280 KA OPEN
Sat 9/9/17 OPEN
Wolverhampton MES 11.00 & Staffordshire MES 14.00 1286 SM
Greendale Rocket; Heartlands Park SIDINGS/PRDC etc 1282 JE
Sun 10/9/17 Lunchtime visit Sandiway Miniature Railway followed by… 1286 JC OPEN
Sun 10/9/17 …Sandbach - Alsager railway afternoon walk 1286 JC OPEN
Fri 22/9/17 Swindon & Cricklade Railway 11.00 & 14.00 railtours 1286 KA OPEN
Fri 22/9/17 Guided signal box visit at Liverpool Lime Street 1285 BC Enquire
Sat 23/9/17 Southeastern Metrolander; 07.30 - 20.00 with SE Trains 1283 JE OPEN
Thu 28/9/17 South Wales Valley new track Service Train Tracker III 1285 DC OPEN
Sat 30/9/17 Birmingham New Street PSB visits & possibly other boxes 1286 JE OPEN
7 & 8/10/17 Minor Railways weekend Beds, Bucks and Northampton 1286 JE OPEN
Sat 14/10/17 Statfold Barn Railway, Tamworth, BLS private railtour 1286 JE OPEN
Sat 21/10/17 Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester - tour with new track 1287 JE *OPEN*
Wed 25/10/17 Morning & afternoon guided Ashover Light Railway walks TBA TBA Claimed
17 to 19/11/17 AGM fixtures - Liverpool Area weekend UPDATE BLN 1286 TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 2/12/17 Virgin Trains - save the date in your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6/1/2018 Scunthorpe Steel Works railtour 09.30 until dark TBA TBA Claimed
BC-Barney Clark, DC-David Clark, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, SM-Simon Mortimer.
1712] E-BLN Distribution: As part of the migration process for our new website (with improved online
BLN access) we will shortly be changing the email address used to distribute e-BLN. If you use email
filters, whitelists, authorised senders or suchlike you may need to add [email protected] to your
local settings. If that means nothing to you then please don't worry as you are probably not using any
such options. When the new website is launched you will be able to access BLN via a secure login
giving direct access to the latest issue and an online search facility for previous issues. We will no
longer need to send out individual download links for every file and you will not need to keep emails to
access those files in future. BLN access will be available online (eventually going back to 1955) at all
times even when the odd email gets accidentally deleted or goes astray as may happen from time to
time. Further details will be provided when timescales are confirmed and our new website goes live.
1713] The 565 Special, 2 Sep, UPDATE: First Class Dining is full, there are a few seats left in First Class
Plus and some Standard Class seats. Booking form with BLN 1280 (or website) and update in BLN 1281.
1714] Heaton Park Tramway, Sat 21 Oct, 14.30-16.30: (BLN 1281.MR88) Manchester, M25 2SW,
(MR p32) (SD 836 040) https://goo.gl/FdR5oY 1,250yd from Bowker Vale; 1,400yd from Heaton Park
tram stops. All available lines, loops and depot roads on this recently extended standard gauge very
friendly tramway. The Lakeside extension and Lakeside Depot have been added since our last visit of
7 Sep 2013, four years ago. It is recognised as having the only (200yd) section of original tram track
still in use (since 1905) in its original alignment. £20 Members; £25 Non-members. Bookings with
cheques payee 'Branch line Society' or CPA to: Jill Everitt (back page) with an e-mail address Queries:
[email protected] (PREVIOUS PAGE: Rare track in the depot - Howard Everitt 2 Apr 2017.)
1287 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart)
1715] Gloucester Warwickshire (Steam) Railway: Since the northern limit of passenger services past
Laverton was extended to 6m 16ch on Sat 27 May 2017, the railway timetable refers to it as 'Buckland'
(the next village) rather than Laverton. The DMU service here is still announced as 'Laverton' on the
day and the train blind also shows 'Laverton'. Broadway is 4m 73ch; Laverton loop was 7m 00ch.
1716] Port of Tilbury, Bulk Materials Rail Terminal* (BLN 1285.1503) ROG 8 Aug 2017; a train of
recycled glass left at 12.43 for Ince & Elton, Encirc Glass. This is anticipated to be the first of a regular
flow of such traffic. (*Previously the intermodal - Freightliner - depot; last train 23 Dec 2016.)
1717] Marchwood (86m 10ch) - Esso Fawley Oil Refinery (92m 12ch): (BLN 1286.1599) The last DB
Cargo light engine movement was 9 Aug 2017 from Eastleigh East yard at 06.19 arriving Fawley 07.14.
It left 09.09 removing the final discharged oil tanks and reached Bescot Yard 16.15 (for Long Marston).
1718] Tyne & Wear Metro, South Gosforth (excl) - Four Lanes End (excl until 11 Aug) & Longbenton:
TCP 31 Jul - 2 Sep 2017 (next entry); Four Lanes End trailing crossover was used arriving from the east.
1719] T&W Metro, Four Lanes End (incl) - Shiremoor (excl) & three stops: TCP 11 Aug to 2 Sep 2017.
Shiremoor trailing crossover should be in passenger use arriving from the east (check may be buses at
weekends). This £20M scheme, part of the £350M upgrade, includes track relaying between South
Gosforth and Shiremoor, work at Northumberland Park stop, embankment strengthening and (costing
£5.5M) replacing the wrought iron Killingworth Road underbridge at Gosforth with a wider steel one.
1720] Mid-Norfolk Railway, Bridge 1701 (MP 14¼) (TF991175) - Black Water Bridge 1704 (TF991192)
(MP 15¼): (BLN 1237.1323) ROP 12 Aug 2017, special event only, for railway members and donors.
Contrary to reports elsewhere it was not the first MNR train past Hoe (Hall Road) Level Crossing
(13m 61ch) but was the first to travel 1m 04ch further north than the 4 Jul 2015 MNR AGM special.
The train crossed Worthing (Hoe Rd) Crossing (15m 16ch) (TF 991191) stopping at Black Water Bridge
¾ mile before North Elmham station. The buffer stops there is the operational limit of the MNR under
their 2001 Transport & Work Act Order. To support the extension please sponsor sleeper/s - £42 each.
1721] Rugeley North Jn - Ryecroft Jn; Walsall Freight Terminal - Pleck Jn - Darlaston Jn / Bescot Jn:
TCG / TCA 13 to 28 Aug 2017 (incl) for electrification work. Cement and aggregate trains served Walsall
Freight Terminal via Sutton Park and Ryecroft Jn (the only trains using that line during this period).
1722] Ely North Jn - Peterborough (excl) also Manea, March & Whittlesea stations: TCP 14 to 20 Aug
(incl) following derailment of 10 wagons of the 11.18 GBRf Felixstowe South to Doncaster Railport
intermodal working with 66713 at Ely West Jn 14.20 badly damaging a quarter of a mile of track.
1723] Ely North - West Curve - Ely West Jn; Ely North - March West Jn/March East Jn: TCA as above.
1724] (Rotherham) Parkgate Jn (5m 59ch/0m.00ch) - Parkgate tram stop (5m 73ch/0m 14ch):
Commissioning was due Mon 21 Aug with signalling. Axle counters now cover betwen Tinsley North Jn
(2m 61ch) and Aldwarke New Site Jn (6m 39ch). New counters were commissioned north of 4m 20ch
on the Up Tinsley and 3m 20ch on the Down Tinsley lines controlled by York ROC. The Parkgate branch
past 5m 71ch (0m 12ch from Parkgate Jn) is worked by 'line of site', including the stabling headshunt.
1724A] Kellingley Colliery and Killingholme: ROG Mon 21 Aug 2017 (delayed completing unloading
pad at the latter) the first commercial traffic (inert spoil) left Kellingley 09.25, arr Killingholme 12.20.
1725] London Tramlink, Lloyd Park (excl) [ECS shunt expected] - New Addington (incl) and 5 other
stops: TCP expected 22.30 Fri 25 Aug to Sun 3 Sep (incl) for track replacement in the Gravel Hill area.
1726] The Forest - Old Market Square (both excl) and 3 other stops: TCP 26-30 Aug (incl).
Middle platform use from/to the north is likely at the former (ECS shunt at Old Market Square). A track
section south of The Forest is being replaced at the junction of Mount Hooton Rd and Bentinck Rd.
1727] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1283.1247 12 Aug 17 27 Aug 17 Euxton Jn/Crow Nest Jn - (Bolton) - Windsor Bridge N Jn
1286.1595/6 5 Aug 17 28 Aug 17 *New Malden Jn - (Kingston) & Motspur Park Jn - Chessington
1282.1135 13 Aug 17 28 Aug 17 *(Walsall) - (Rugeley Trent Valley)
1285.1463 26 Aug 17 .2 Sep 17 *Charing Cross, mainline - Waterloo East - (London Bridge)
1284.1363 19 Aug 17 15 Sep 17 *Westerleigh Jn - Wootton Bassett Jn
1284.1363 2 Sep 17 15 Sep 17 (Filton Abbey Wood)/(Patchway) - (Yate)/Wootton Bassett Jn
1285.1465 30 Sep 17 ..9 Oct 17 Liverpool Lime St - (St Helens Central)/(St Helens Junction)
1285.1466 30 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 (Edge Hill) - (Liverpool South Parkway) stations
1286.1608 17 Sep 17? 22Oct 17? *Barking P1 - Gospel Oak Jn (& possibly 27 Nov 17 - 14 Jan 18)
1276.500 7 Oct 17 16 Oct 17 Welsh's Bridge Jn (Inverness) - (Keith)
1281.1033 11 Jun 17 By Xmas 17 Midland Metro; Wolverhampton St George's - (Priestfield)
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1275.365 11 Nov 17 26 Jan 18 Fylde Jn (Preston) - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South
1275.366 11 Nov 17 18 Mar 18 Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool North
1287 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart)
1728] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1268.MR222] The situation at Snibston (Coalville) remains as described,
except that track still extends north of Snibston Central station and across the Entrance Road level
crossing, being lifted beyond it to the end of line near the Elk Sculptures (the ex-REXCO plant site).
Otherwise the railway is intact but very rusty indeed. The buffer stop at the north end of Snibston
Central platform is the one lifted from the end of line (still attached to track!) just placed on top of the
line there. The edge of the platform is securely fenced off as it is part of the walking route from the car
park to the still operational 'Century Theatre'. Its ticket office is in the former colliery buildings.
●BLN 1285.1445] The winning bid in our Diamond Jubilee Headboard Charity Auction raised a pleasing
£330 for the Chairman's nominated charity, the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway Preservation Society.
●1614] Bow Street station, north of Aberystwyth, is a 'reopening' (the original CP 14 Jun 1965), but
the new station will be a short distance south of the original which is now occupied by a builder's
merchant. ●1619] The un-named (grey) 'Roman Road' on the e-BLN map to Holme-next-the-Sea is the
46 mile Peddars Way. It is believed to be an ancient way which extended south to the vicinity of
Thetford that was upgraded and extended by the Romans. ●1690] Regarding the 1921 passenger
closure of the Solway Viaduct line, there is a Caledonian Company minute of 23 Aug 1921 in which the
General Manager reported that passenger service had been withdrawn 20 May 1921. This was initially
due to fuel shortage because of the miners' strike, and it was never reopened because of condition of
the viaduct. The 'official' date of 1 Sep 1921 almost certainly stems from the board approval of the
minute. The claim by Edgar & Sinton in The Solway Junction Railway (Oakwood, 1990), of some
subsequent limited passenger reopening (apparently on the basis of local hearsay) is thus discounted.
●1626] In addition to Grantham and Newark North Gate the ticket gates at Durham were removed at
the end of June. There are reports that the gates at Peterborough are to go. ●1633] For the benefit of
those who take paper BLN only, the coal trains that once reversed at Rayners Lane were to South
Harrow Gas Works (London Rail Atlas 4th Edition p23.1B). Https://goo.gl/stQMF1 has some more
information about that branch (CG 4 Apr 1954), including pictures and signalling arrangements - the
first (non-gasworks) part of the concrete access viaduct survives - see online picture. ●1650] All the
various photos of Manchester Central were taken by Ian Mortimer. ●1688] There is no catenary on
the Manx Electric Railway, it is all simple single tramway wire. ●1702] 'O' dear… Taff Vale Railway
locos mentioned were thought to be Class 'O1' (with a letter 'O') rather than '01' (a number '0').
1729] Speed Restrictions Preserved: (BLN 1285.1514) This sets out the general position in relation to
the regulatory requirements imposed on standard gauge preserved/heritage lines operating passenger
services. Where there is no requirement (permanent or temporary) for a lower limit at any particular
location, the maximum speed limit is normally 25mph. Some lines have track which is maintained to a
standard in respect of which a higher maximum speed for passenger trains could, theoretically, be
authorised (as on the Okehampton line), for which far more onerous regulatory standards apply.
Some railways which stick to the normal 25mph limit for their passenger trains do, however, have
authority to operate non-passenger carrying trains at speeds higher than 25mph in specified
circumstances. For example, both the Severn Valley Railway and the Great Central Railway have from
time to time provided facilities, outside their normal passenger operating hours, for other TOCs' rolling
stock and locomotive owners and manufacturers to carry out testing runs at speeds higher than
25mph. The GCR also has clearance to run its Travelling Post Office (TPO) demonstration trains (which
do not carry passengers) at speeds higher than 25mph through Quorn and Woodhouse as part of their
normal operating timetable. This is necessary as 25mph is too slow for the satisfactory operation of
the TPO pick-up and drop-off equipment there and is subject to a more rigorous set of safety rules to
ensure visitor safety while the TPO passes through.
1730] Buffer Puffering 14.0, 28/29 Jul 2017: From a member who managed to stay awake all night;
this overnight Pathfinder tour included: ●Eastleigh P3, Down Slow in the Up direction to the Down
Fast at the first X/O with a 30mph restriction (not the second at 72m 46ch with a 15mph restriction).
●Eastleigh North Jn (Allbrook) X/O to the Up Fast. ●Waller's Ash Up Passenger Loop. ●Up Slow to Up
Fast at 47m 74ch to Basingstoke P3. ●Slough Up Goods Loop. ●Hanwell Bridge Down Goods Loop.
●Acton Dive-Under. ●Colchester P2 to Up & Down Avoiding line. ●Sudbury branch connections.
●Down arrival and an Up departure at Marks Tey Up Passenger Loop. ●Up Main via X/O (38m 34ch) to
Braintree branch. ●Facing X/O 20m 50ch to Shenfield Country Jn to P5. ●Southend Victoria No1 Down
Carriage Siding (South). ●Wickford P3 to Southminster branch. ●Romford P2 to/from the Upminster
branch. ●Ilford Up Passenger Avoiding line. ●Up Channelsea Loop to Carpenters Road North Jn.
●Camden Road West Jn - Camden Jn. ●Down arrival/up departure at Kilburn Up & Down Goods Loop.
1731] PSUL 2017 – UPDATE 4 (with thanks to Richard Maund.) 18XX]
The previous updates were in BLN 1275, 1278 and 1283; those changes (and any changes that
have been overtaken) are not repeated below. Minor retimings of a few minutes either way are
ignored, the latest version of PSUL can always be found on-line via http://tinyurl.com/psul-intro
or via http://snipurl.com/psul-intro
Page 5: Allington West Junction - Allington North Junction: Add on Saturdays until
9 September 2017: N 1S04 12.35 Skegness - Nottingham.
Page 11: Wigan Station Junction: The link between North Western station (P1, 2 and 3)
and Ince is used by a few Northern trains between Manchester and Wigan North Western
(some calling at Bolton, some not). TransPennine Express services no longer run this way.
Page 11: Golborne Junction - Lowton Junction - Parkside Junction: TransPennine
Express services between Manchester and Glasgow or Edinburgh use this route unless
diverted for engineering work – but will cease to do so when the Chorley route is electrified.
Page 12: Langley Junction (Up) - Langley South Jn (via Up Hertford spur): a much
reduced (or even no) service is expected to apply north of Watton-at-Stone from May 2018.
Page 14: Bristol Dr. Days Jn - Feeder Bridge Jn: Will be used by trains diverted from the
direct Swindon - Bristol Parkway route, calling at Patchway instead of Bristol Parkway, en
route to or from South Wales from 19 August until 15 September 2017 - see GWR publicity.
ABOVE: The extended loop line (left) at Scunthorpe Steel Works; the Caparo Merchant Bar is top right
(a rolling mill not the workforce's social club). BELOW: Some of the new connections have not been
laid in yet; this shows that Junctions 212/213 (due to be removed) still exist. (Brian Elliott 29 Jul 2017).
1287 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron)
1732] Scunthorpe, steel yourself for this… On Sat 29 Jul the afternoon Appleby Frodingham Railway
Preservation Society (AFRPS) brake van tour round the steel works railway traversed the new line
(based on the extended Loop 15). Some connections had not yet been laid and junctions 212/213 still
existed. Even Glenn Britcliffe, the works rail traffic operations manager and AFRPS leading light, said
that it was the first time he had been on the line. It was noted that Mr Sheppard was not on the train!
The tour also went up the incline to the High Lines (probably the first time in a couple of years that our
member had been up there). Glenn also told him that trips to the high level headshunt beyond the
Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant - done on several recent trips - are no longer available; the
reversal point is back to where it was. Earlier in the day he had a mega-failure on the DMU tour.
Two people said that they needed to get back to Scunthorpe for a specified time to catch a bus (what's
that, then?). During the lunch stop at the shed a Norwegian Di-8 8.716 arrived from the Central
Engineering Workshop direction. He was too busy photographing it to notice the two of them climb on
board into the cab. They had a (taxi) cab ride back to the Frodingham platform. Aaaaaghhhh!
1733] No Lincoln uprising: (BLN 1280.958) NR has appealed to the Secretary of State to overturn
Lincoln City Council's refusal of planning permission (due to the lack of lifts) for the new Brayford
Wharf East footbridge over the railway. NR is asking the Government to rule on the application as it
was submitted without lifts. It states that disabled users will soon be able to cross the railway when
the barriers are down by using the lifts on the High Street footbridge - especially as a new footpath
connecting Brayford Wharf East and the High Street through Wigford Yard will be created. NR has also
promised that lifts could be added if money became available. [Could the council sponsor them‽]
1734] Lincoln lifts: Stamp End Bridge over the River Witham, east of Pelham Street Jn was replaced by
NR from 3 to 13 Aug when the Market Rasen line was TCA (BLN 1286.1606). Designed by John Fowler
and built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in 1848, it is the oldest Iron Box Girder
Bridge in Britain and possibly the World, predating those at Saltash and Menai. Partially reconstructed
in 1903, it was further strengthened in 1948. A 1,200 tonne capacity mobile crane (one of the largest
in the world) with a 107m jib removed four 60m long spans (weighing 290 tonnes in total) in 36 hours.
A new pre-constructed bridge (8 new decks weighing 640 tonnes) was lowered into place in the £7M
project. Part of the old bridge is listed, so the box girders will be refurbished and refitted to maintain
some of the structure's heritage. The new bridge was made in Scotland and assembled on site.
1735] Cotgrave: A horse/cycle/foot path is proposed on the disused 3km Cotgrave colliery branch
trackbed (now used informally) between Cotgrave Country Park and the Radcliffe-on-Trent and Holme
Pierrepont areas. Resurfacing, access ramps and fencing are planned where needed. Holme Lane
overbridge would be replaced by ramps (there is concern this could prevent a future light railway).
1736] A case of choosing the Skegness train that best suits: An unusual poster at Nottingham station:
'East Midlands Trains will be operating an additional service [it's an HST] from Nottingham to Skegness
on all Saturdays from 22nd July to 9th September, with the exception of 26th August. They will run as
follows: Nottingham (dep) 09.43; Grantham (dep) 10.21; Sleaford (dep) 10.53; Boston (dep) 11.24;
Skegness (arr) 12.02 This service will go via Grantham and take a longer time to get to Skegness than
the 09.55 service from Nottingham. We advise passengers with large suitcases to use the additional
09.43 service for a more comfortable journey and other passengers to use the faster 09.55 service.'
1737] Derby: The 2017 Association of Community Rail Partnerships Awards will be held on Thu 5 Oct at
the Roundhouse where EMT will showcase Derby to visitors with a special train naming [Power Car
rather than train?] and events to demonstrate their extensive support of community rail in the region.
A significant number of different EMT sponsored projected have been nominated for awards
1738] Long Eaton: Anti-HS2 protestors have erected a large helium balloon in Nottingham Road.
It demonstrates the height of the proposed viaduct at 17m, excluding OLE (but it is good to hear that
HS2 may still be electrified!). HS2 Ltd says it will work with communities as the design develops.
1287 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett)
X.123] Paddington: ABOVE/BELOW: Mon 21 Aug, P2 is being refettled by 20 of the 'Orange Army'
after the 11.57 to Penzance had derailed the day before on departure when the track spread under it.
With P2 closed (it ROP the following day) Bedwyn services turned back at Reading. (Stuart Hicks)
1739] Northern Line Extension: ABOVE: A
geographical plan of the line with tunnels.
1740] Waterloo: (BLN 1286.1594 - and the
new track diagram) P20 to 23 tracks had
already been permanently shortened by
about 60m (to enlarge the concourse) when
they temporarily ROP 5 Aug. (LEFT - Michael
Trower 8 Aug 2017) P24, the furthest west,
retains its full length due to the roof support
(although trains stopped there at the same
point as on the other platforms). The final
Waterloo International Eurostar movement
was an ECS to Temple Mills depot via
Fawkham Jn, Southfleet Jn and Singlewell Up
Loop (reverse) at 22.09 on 14 Nov 2007.
P21-24 have had no traffic use (as opposed
to engineer's use) since then and were taken
OOU on 24 Dec 2015 for track layout
remodelling and the first stage of conversion
for domestic use. New signalling for P1-9
(and the approaches) is due to be
commissioned at 04.00 on Tue 29 Aug.
1741] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1286.1634) The line's user group reports that Crouch Hill road bridge
will not need to be lifted to accommodate OLE at present, although this will have to be done at some
time in the future. Blackhorse Road lifts are still not working, as NR's standard passenger alarm system
cannot communicate with the LU station control room! Cancellations and delays caused by the line's
DMUs are at a higher level than before the shutdown, the most common faults being with the external
CCTV equipment, retro-fitted in 2014 so that guards could be dispensed with.
A Transport & Works Act Order to construct the Barking Riverside branch, described in BLN 1248.51,
has been granted. Construction is now expected to start in summer 2018, with the service beginning in
late 2021. The order also provides for the remodelling of Ripple Lane Yard. Some concern has been
expressed that a future extension under the Thames would be in tunnel and would require demolition
of part of the viaduct on which the branch will be built. However TfL consider that, should part of the
viaduct be demolished after any cross river extension had been brought into operation, the costs of
construction would have served the purpose of enabling additional homes to be delivered at Barking
Riverside at least 10 years earlier than any extended scheme would be likely to happen.
1742] Thameslink TIPLOC Unlocked: (BLN 1284.1376) From the 10 Dec timetable a new 'TIPLOC',
timing point 'EHBJN' - Engine House Bridge Jn is on the London side of North Kent East Jn. It is only in
the Up schedules at present, with one or two exceptions the times are as for North Kent East Jn.
1743] Lea Valley: (BLN 1275.384) Trains will be diverted via Seven Sisters every weekend from 2 Sep
until 3 Dec to enable NR to carry out preparatory work for the installation of a third track between
Angel Road and Lea Bridge. Work includes: ●Strengthening the River Lea rail bridge near Tottenham
Hale for the new track. ●Installing foundations for new overhead line structures for the third track.
●Installing foundations for the new island platform and footbridge at Tottenham Hale station and the
new island platform at Northumberland Park. ●Track renewal near Lea Bridge station.
1287 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth)
1744] Pilmoor again! (BLN 1286.1707) The row of cottages on the east side of the ECML south of
Pilmoor, which lay semi-derelict for years has been renovated. However the GNER plaque has recently
disappeared. It has emerged that the London to Ampleforth College specials ran via the Raskelf
(south) curve until it was TOOU in 1955 (rather than until 1953), then subsequently reversed at
Pilmoor. The Husthwaite Gate freight on 5 Aug 1964 was possibly the last one delivering coal.
On 7 Aug 1964 the freight pick up went there again collecting a mineral wagon with Husthwaite Gate's
rubbish which it proceeded to leave in the Down platform line at Coxwold for the two staff there to
deposit rubbish in. Our local member Charles Allenby witnessed this, but it wasn't commercial traffic.
1745] Haltwhistle: There are Heritage Open Days on 8 & 9 Sep. The Tyne Valley Community Rail
Partnership https://goo.gl/esMZo2 will open the 1855 booking hall (with its Edmondson ticket
furnishings), which it leases. Thomas Edmondson devised this new type of ticket while he was station
master at Milton - later Brampton (Cumbria) - on this line. The disused Grade ll listed 1901 signal box is
open, thanks to NR and Northern Rail, one of the BBC's 'top ten' boxes. There will be guided walks to
Alston Arches viaduct, which used to carry that branch across the Tyne - and may do so again one day!
NEXT PAGE: Haltwhistle, the Old Booking Hall (Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership Press Release).
1746] Horden Peterlee: (BLN 1286.1614) The earlier back reference should have been BLN 1267.2052.
The original station was at the southeastern end (NZ 448 408) of this former mining village between
Hartlepool and Seaham; CP 4 May 1964; CA 6 Sep 1965. The new (parkway) station will be further
north at South East View, north of the narrow overbridge. The remaining £6.15M will be funded by
Durham County Council and the North East Combined Authority via the national Local Growth Fund.
1747] Yarm: Has the shortest station nameboards that are supported by two freestanding posts.
Any other signs of a similar size are fixed centrally to a lamp post, but the addition of the company
logo at Yarm meant modern NR requirements deemed they were too heavy for that.
1287 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley)
1748] Farington Jn - Lostock Hall Jn: Use has reduced since a set of points were damaged at Farington
Jn on 27 Jul. Clitheroe to Avonmouth cement trains have run 'top & tailed', reversing at Preston with
other freight diverted via the WCML. Some 'Cumbrian Mountain Expresses' have still used the line.
1749] Bolton: (BLN 1286.1651) https://goo.gl/xKeoM4 (pictures) With line closures on Sat 12 Aug it
was possible to do Wigan Wallgate to Golborne Jn via the PSUL connection at Wigan NW and also
Wigan Wallgate bay P3 to Kirkby both ways, each hourly. The Southport to Wallgate short workings
reversed on the Manchester side of Wallgate, presumably using the crossover to the PSUL as they
returned fairly quickly (there is no access to Wallgate bay from the Southport line). On Fri 11 Aug a
member took a last (for now) normal Horwich Parkway to Manchester service and then to Clitheroe
via Bolton P1 both ways. The other line from Bolton P3 (to the Clitheroe line) was shiny and not
heavily rusted as it has been at times in the past. [Since 22 May at least the 09.03 SSuX Manchester
Victoria to Clitheroe has used Bolton P3.] On 11 Aug reinstated P5 had track laid almost throughout.
New connections from P4 (in use) & P5 merge and join to the Down line at the north end but at the
south end P5 was not yet connected. The old P3 to P4 connection was mostly in situ but severed both
ends; its north connection probably had to go to make space for the new connection from P4 & 5.
1750] Bolton bolt-on: Our member returned on 14 Aug to try the (SSuX) Bolton to Clitheroe service;
the only passenger trains at Bolton during the 12 to 27 Aug closure. Bolton P3 was open at the north
end just as far as the coffee shop, the remainder of P3 and the rest of the station were fenced off.
Trains from / to Clitheroe used the once rusty connection from P3 (work was taking place on P1 and its
track). When our member returned south back to Bolton, just before Bromley Cross the conductor
announced that doors would open on the right also at Hall I 'th' Wood. All trains were using the Down
Darwen line in both directions between 13m 75ch and Astley Bridge Jn (11m 66ch), with hand flagging
over The Oaks Crossing. That part of Manchester Piccadilly panel was OOU with the Bolton work.
1751] Ordsall Lane Jn - Euxton Jn: Since 23 Jul overhead wires (OOU) are being progressively installed
between the electrification limit north of Ordsall Lane Jn (190m 54ch), Bolton and Euxton Jn.
They were due to be energised between Euxton Jn and Buckshaw Parkway on 20 Aug. From 29 Aug:
All mainline signals between Clifton and Burnden Jn are to be renewed with changes to permissible
speeds made between Kearsley and Bolton stations in both directions. All assets on the OOU Up
Passenger Loop (near Burnden Jn) will be recovered. The track layout between Burnden Jn and Bolton
will be remodelled, with Bolton P5 line brought into use, and bay P2 brought back into use. All existing
signalling will be recovered, with new signalling and new speeds. All mainline signals between Bolton
and Chorley will be renewed. Changes to permissible speeds will be made between Bolton and
Chorley. Blackrod station crossover (17m 34ch) becomes Blackrod Jn, with a 20mph permitted speed.
1752] Blackburn: A 'Lancashire Telegraph' article on the partial opening of Northern's new King Street
DMU depot this month puts the cost at £28M, three times that originally expected. Full opening is in
May 2018 when it will employ 100 staff, 30 transferring from Manchester. There is mention of using
Vivarail ex-'D' Stock DMUs on the Blackpool South to Colne service. The article also reports that
Northern will move into new offices in the transformed Cathedral Square, the former tram/bus station
site outside Blackburn station and that it is proposed to spend £2M on Blackburn station itself.
1753] HS2 Goes West: The proposed route has now been moved away from West Gorton and centred
on Ardwick. The original would have required demolition of a local primary school and at least
40 houses; the new route needs office buildings and a church to be demolished.
1754] Ploughing through the buffers (BLN 1286.1643) A member opines that the use at terminal
platforms of (automatic) announcements and displays of the form: 'The next train at Platform X does
not stop here' when all they mean is 'Do not board' is neither new nor confined to Manchester
Piccadilly. It was reported in BLN 977.415 in 2004, (Piccadilly P2) and also applied routinely at Ipswich.
1755] Carlisle: A planning application has been submitted for a 'stabilisation method' and outline work
schedule (structural guidance) for Phase 1 of the two storey building fronting the train shed in London
Road. A separate application is to follow from McDonalds for the rest of the site frontage and sidings,
including road access and improvements. The Carlisle 'Railway City' Heritage Group hopes that the
shed can be used as part of the City's railway heritage as few railway buildings are left following recent
demolitions. The supporting documents contain a number of interesting plans, elevations and
photographs which clearly illustrate the level of decay in the disused building.
1756] Avoiding avoiding the Barrow Avoider: For trains to use the Barrow-in Furness avoider from
Dalton Jn to Park South Jn the signal boxes at both junctions need to be operational. Park South Jn
box controls a level crossing so has to be staffed whenever the line is open, but Dalton Jn box can be
switched out which it almost invariably is at weekends. Operators sometimes advertise their steam
trains to use the line at weekends but in practice this rarely happens; a weekday is a much better bet.
1287 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James)
1757] Cambridge: (BLN 1275.401) At Cambridge Biomedical Campus in early Aug, Transport Secretary
Mr Grayling discussed plans for an adjacent Cambridge South station near Addenbrooke's Hospital.
He has lent his support to the scheme, reportedly convinced of the need for a new station in the south
of the city. Planned development for the biomedical campus will result in more commuter traffic.
Campaigners have been calling for a new Cambridge South station to ease the burden on roads, and to
provide a better rail connection. A local councillor, chairman of the economy and environment
committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said that Mr Grayling also expressed enthusiasm for the
East West Rail link. A new Cambridge South station (mentioned in Jul 1993 BLN!) would be pushed
through far quicker than that at Cambridge North, which took 30 years of campaigning and political
wrangling. The councillor added that NR was being very cooperative, including possible four tracking.
1758] Haverhill: Plans to reinstate the Haverhill to Cambridge line (CA 6 Mar 1967 from Shelford Jn)
have made progress in July after a meeting at Westminster. Matt Hancock, the MP for Haverhill met
with James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authorities, MPs Heidi Allen
and Lucy Frazer, councillors and other interested parties. Mr Palmer said a feasibility study will report
by Christmas. Mr Hancock said: 'This is very much at its earliest stages, but there is much enthusiasm
from all parties. There is clearly a need for a light railway, and there is excellent leadership in Mayor
James Palmer'. [MP's knowledge of what constitutes a 'light' railway may be lacking - Regional Editor.]
1759] Oxford: (BLN 1286.1658) Since the recent relaying in the engineering blockade the bidirectional
Down & Up Passenger Loop south of the station, accessed directly from Up P3, is now passed for
60mph in the Up direction of travel, increasing to 75mph through the points to the Up Main. For Down
trains, 55mph is the maximum. The loop is just over half a mile long and now the preferred route for
trains heading south. The crossover to the Up Main immediately south of the station remains but is
restricted to 30mph for diverging moves and so is now the 'rare' route, unless the loop is occupied.
1760] Reading: (BLN 1285.1506) The OLE energisation scheduled on 16 Sep during the long possession
is from Maidenhead to Scours Lane Jn and includes: Up Main and Down Main. Up Relief & Down
Relief both Reading West Jn (37m14ch) to Maidenhead (25m 00ch). Kennet Bridge Loop. Reading
station P1-3 & 7 to 15. Reading Traincare Depot Connections 'C' (36m 71ch) & 'E' (36m 12ch). Up
relief connection to the Up Passenger Loop (36m 34ch). Down Reading Festival Feeder (36m 21ch to
26m 79ch). Reading West Curve (Up 37m 12ch; Down 37m 22ch both to 0m 67ch). Reading Feeder
Relief (36m 25ch to 36m 63ch). Reading Feeder Main (36m 19ch to 36m 63ch). Up Westbury line
36m 21ch to 36m 68ch. Down Westbury line 35m 62ch to 36m 58ch. Twyford station P1 to 4.
1761] East West Rail OLE goes West: Local papers report that plans to electrify East West Rail have
been scrapped. They say that the DfT has told NR to remove electrification from the project's scope.
1287 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James)
1762] Woking: Five larger than life statues have been temporarily installed in Woking town centre.
The one outside the station, a disheveled man in black coat and grey T-shirt, is by sculptor Sean Henry.
Can you add to this list of stations with bronze statues: Bessy Braddock & Ken Dodd at Liverpool
Lime Street, Harold Wilson at Huddersfield, Lord Tweedsmuir (John Buchan) at Perth, Ruswarp
(a dog) at Garsdale, Sir John Betjeman at St Pancras International, three passengers at Brixton….?
1763] Chichester - Havant: Platform widening has been completed at the stations on this line that are
of precast concrete slab construction (not the original platforms of earth or rubble infill behind a
masonry wall): *indicates one short length widened, **more than one; †most of length widened.
Fishbourne: Down†, Up (info awaited). Bosham: An original station. Nutbourne: Down**, Up*.
Southbourne: Down**, Up**. Emsworth: An original station. Warblington: Down†, Up†.
1764] Wareham: (BLN 1182.1130) The Swanage trains with the Class 33/37s and TC are just like the
old days (well the 33 is) on the Bournemouth to Weymouth service before electrification. On 6 Aug
they were hauled by 33025/D6515 and LU 4TC (with 'Swanage Railway' headboards and Headcode 98 -
of course). Some trains run into Wareham Up P1 (then depart over the Country End trailing crossover)
if Down South Western services are late - when this happened the Swanage connection did wait.
The new Wareham London End facing X/O (replacing the trailing one) is clipped and padlocked OOU.
1287 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon)
1765] South West Trains: Good news for SWT annual season ticket holders wanting to travel to the
South West. South Western Railway (SWR), the new First Group franchise holder whose operations
commenced on 20 Aug 2017 and extend to 18 Aug 2024, has agreed to honour the six free weekend
day rover tickets issued annually to SWT annual season ticket holders for the 'foreseeable future'.
Each ticket is valid for one day after 10.00 Friday, all weekend (or Bank Holiday Mondays). The annual
season ticket for Ryde Esplanade to St Johns Road is £176; does anyone know of anything cheaper?
1766] North Somerset Railway: Encouraged by progress achieved at the Swanage Railway, the latest
initiative from the railway to realise their vision of restoring trains between Frome and Radstock
involves negotiations with Railway Paths (a charity which owns and manages paths along former
railways) to create a shared vision for the future of 'Colliers Way' cycle path which runs between
Radstock and Great Elm (near Frome). The Group intends to apply for a Transport and Works order
providing mutually acceptable terms can be agreed. Of note, the North Somerset Railway has
converted to a CIC (Community Interest Company) to accentuate its commitment to the community in
helping to mitigate the area's growing transport issues. The railway calls for local residents to write to
their MP or local councillors stating their rationale for their support of the railway's reinstatement.
1287 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler)
1767] Stratford-upon-Avon - Honeybourne: The re-instatement of the line is omitted from the
Worcestershire Draft Rail Investment Strategy. The omission is odd as Worcestershire County Council
(WCC) commissioned the strategy and had been a vocal supporter of the idea. The council is also due
to lead and co-fund a £10,000 economic impact study into re-instating the six-mile route. It has stated
that it will honour the agreement to lead that study to be completed by the end of August.
The cost will be shared between Stratford and West Oxfordshire district councils, Worcestershire,
Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire county councils the GWR and London Midland train operators.
The rail user groups Stratford Rail Transport and Cotswold Line Promotion Group will also contribute.
WCC said that re-instating the line would need to be the responsibility of Warwickshire County Council
because most of the line was within its boundary and the wider benefits to Worcestershire were
'limited'. The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group said that the apparent change in the rail investment
strategy appears 'inexplicable'. It is pushing for a GRIP4 detailed design option study which itself could
cost up to £1M. 'SLC Rail', the authors of the strategy, tested several new projects and chose four to
progress with much higher economic benefit. The tests showed that an hourly service from Worcester
to Birmingham via Honeybourne would only generate an additional £1M of economic benefit per year.
1768] West Midlands Franchise: The DfT has announced that the new operator from 10 Dec 2017 until
Mar 2026 will be West Midlands Trains (a joint venture by Abellio, the Japan East Railway Co, and
Mitsui & Co Ltd) which will replace London Midland. Branded as the 'West Midlands Railway', benefits
include: 100 new coaches (with 'Metro Style' standing!) for the 'Cross City' line and 80 new coaches
for the Snow Hill and other diesel services. A new maintenance and stabling depot at Duddeston.
Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury service increases to 2tph off-peak with a new hourly Sunday service
(there are no LM trains on Sundays at present). Birmingham to Rugeley via the Chase Line increased
to 2tph off-peak again. A Crewe to Birmingham via Stoke-on-Trent hourly service, running through
to London via Coventry (providing through trains to Birmingham from Alsager, Kidsgrove and Stone
but retaining their through London services). The present Crewe to Euston via Stoke and the Trent
Valley services would run direct to Stafford, enabling 8-car EMUs to be run (these cannot call at Stone).
Does anyone know if train services are to be restored to Barlaston and/or Wedgwood stations?
Cross City Line extended Longbridge to Bromsgrove and doubling of Longbridge to Birmingham
Sunday services to 4tph. Hourly Leamington to Coventry trains serving the new Kenilworth station.
A new service of two direct Walsall to London trains in the morning and evening peak (presumably
via Aston to Stechford). Stourbridge Junction to Snow Hill increases from two to 6tph on Sundays (!)
1769] Coventry Arena: Coventry City and Wasps supporters will be able to use this station on (initially)
Saturday match days from Dec 2018 with the change in the operating franchise. A lack of capacity on
the current service (one or two single car 153s) with space for 75/150 people means an hourly service
on the line and therefore trains immediately after major events at the nearby Ricoh Arena do not stop
at the station due to safety concerns over overcrowding. West Midlands Railways has pledged to triple
Saturday capacity from Dec 2018 to allow the service to run after matches. The plan is to increase the
Nuneaton to Coventry service to half-hourly plus hourly Leamington to Nuneaton trains calling at
Kenilworth. Extra trains on other days other would be subject to agreement with the Arena operators.
X.124] BELOW: The Duchess of Sutherland in the evening sun passing the overbridge near Croome
Court between Worcester Shrub Hill (arriving there via Evesham) and Cheltenham Spa. It returned to
London Victoria via Kemble, Reading, Ascot and the Hounslow loop. (Rob Pritchard 17 Aug 2017)
1770] Kidderminster: A modern
£4.3M glass fronted station is to be
built with intended completion in
summer 2019; it is twice the size of
the existing 1968 built basic
building. Facilities include a new
café or shop, toilets, indoor seating
and waiting areas with redesign of
the approach, a pedestrian crossing,
taxi area and bus stops. With 1.6M
passengers a year (and expected to
increase) the station is the second
busiest in Worcestershire after
Worcester Foregate Street (2.3M). The scheme is lead by the County Council. A £13-14M scheme to
redevelop the station in the style of the Severn Valley Railway station a few years ago was cancelled.
Your Editor remembers arriving on one of the terminating all stations hourly services from New Street,
a 3-car first generation DMU, at about 15.00 in summer 1970 and being the only passenger - just four
passenger trains a day ran south of Kidderminster then. (ABOVE LEFT: Press Release)
X.125] Norton Bridge: (BLN 1286.1669) (ABOVE) A train stops at the out of use island platform; the
11.02 LM Crewe to Euston, held at a signal on Norton Bridge East Chord (Peter Zemroch 5 Aug 2017).
1771] Leek: Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has authorised the submission of a planning
application to re-instate the railway from Leekbrook to Leek (Cornhill) and to negotiate an agreement
to lease the track-bed, owned by the council, to the Churnet Valley Railway Trust (not the Moorland &
City Railway note) for construction, operation and management of the line. The district council is
contributing £22k from the Moorlands Partnership Board to preparing a full planning application; £5k
towards reinstating Leekbrook Station, (estimated to cost £25k - what a bargain) and £4k towards the
cost of repairs to Cheddleton Station, estimated also at about £25k. Leek CP 4 Jan 1965; CG 3 Jul 1970.
1287 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
1772] Settle Up or Settle down? On 3 Aug, the new Upside waiting shelter was officially opened by
Douglas Hodgins, FoSCL Chairman and Andy Savage of the Railway Heritage Trust which provided
much of the finance. The original station buildings are locked when staff are on not on duty early and
late weekdays and Sundays. The new shelter (normally to be unlocked) has been designed to blend in
with the original Midland Railway architecture and is painted in British Rail London Midland colours.
A similar shelter on Appleby Down platform is due to be completed by the end of the year.
1773] Ripon ripe for reopening? (BLN 1274.307). The City Council has agreed the terms of a feasibility
study into reopening the railway. The study will now be put out to tender and the outcome should be
known by Christmas. There is opposition from some of Littlethorpe Parish Council, where six houses
have been built on the trackbed, who say there is no need for a railway reinstatement and it is a waste
of money - a 'vanity project'. Now where have we heard that before? It would be relatively easy to
deviate to avoid the houses but there would no doubt be opposition to a railway even remotely near.
ABOVE: A Cinder Track display board - it certainly won't take you to Cinderford,
Cinderhill, Cinderbarrow or Cindery Island. (Richard Maund 5 Aug 2017).
1774] Scarborough - Whitby: Sustrans plans to take over management of the 'Cinder track' (named
after the material this ex-NER line was laid on), the 23½ mile trackbed of the former Whitby line from
Scarborough Borough Council. It includes the massive spectacular 13-span 120ft tall Larpool Viaduct
over the River Esk just west of Whitby. Whitby to Robin Hood's Bay is described as one of the greatest
railway walks in the UK. Maintenance and drainage have been neglected in recent years due to
financial pressures. Sustrans wishes to install a sealed surface (asphalt or bitumen macadam) and
widen the track to 3m in places, with a 1m tree and shrub free verge either side, creating a sort of
'cycle motorway'. 450 trees are due to be removed between Robin Hood's Bay and Ravenscar alone
and objectors claim that wildlife will be 'obliterated'. Many local people are opposed to this; over
3,500 signed a petition and have been accused of 'Nimbyism'. The question is whether the track is
intended for use by all, including walkers (with/without dogs), 'leisure' (ie slow) cyclists and horse
riders, or by more serious cyclists (presumably Sustrans favours the latter). A decision is due in Sep.
1775] Yorkshire Coast Day Ranger: One day of unlimited rail travel (NO TIME RESTRICTIONS) on
Northern trains between Hull, Bridlington and Scarborough plus Arriva buses route 93/X93 between
Scarborough and Whitby. Perfect for the walk described in the previous item. £20.50 adult, £10.25
child, Family £41; Two Together (after 09.30 Mon - Fri, except Bank Holiday Mons), Senior, Disabled &
16-25 Railcard: £13.55. From stations or conductors. Hull to Scarborough Anytime Return is £18.20,
Off-peak £15.20, railcards £12.00 and £10.15. The Scarborough PLUSBUS extends north to Ravenscar.
SLS/MLS West Riding Railtour 6.9.53 Guiseley Key to numbered locations
Sketch map of lines around the tour N Esholt Jn 1 Geldard Jn 10 Dewsbury Jn
route. Industrial and other minor lines,
minor stations and some junction 2 Leeds Jn 11 Dewsbury West Jn
names have been omitted.
Yeadon 3 Canal Jn 12 Headfield Jn
Pre-grouping owners (joint lines 4 Whitehall Jn 13 Dewsbury East Jn
shown with colours of each owner): 5 Hunslet Lane Goods 14 Runtlings Lane Jn
Apperley 6 Wortley West Jn 15 Cleckheaton Jn
E&W Yorkshire Union Bridge Jn 7 Wortley South Jn 16 Spen Valley Jn
Great Northern Shipley & Idle 8 Farnley Jn 17 Midland Jn
Lancashire & Yorkshire Windhill
London & North Western Shipley 9 Holbeck South Jn
Midland Historical maps used by permission of the National Library
of Scotland : http://maps.nls.uk/index.html
North Eastern Railway Bramley
Stations (pass. & goods) Cross Gates Jn
Closed lines Bramley
Tour route Idle Goods BRADFORD 1 LEEDS Neville Cross Gates
Station names Bowling Jn City Hill Jn
Junction names Exchange Forster Sq. Quarry Gap 6 9
Laisterdyke Pudsey 4 5 Hunslet East (Goods)
St.Dunstans 8 23
Horton Park Jn Dudley Hill Farnley
Queensbury Bowling Jn Stourton
Holmfield Low Moor Adwalton Jn Low Robin Hood Rothwell
Pellon Wyke Jn Top MORLEY Ardsley Jn
CLECKHEATON BIRSTALL Tingley
Milner Batley West Jn Lofthouse Lofthouse South
Royd Jn Dryclough Jn
Heckmondwike Jn DEWSBURY WRENTHORPE
Brighouse Wellington Central Chickenley Goose Hill Jn
Greetland Anchor Pit Jn Bradley Wood Jn Road Market Place Heath West
Savile Town WAKEFIELD
Lodge Jn Goods 12 14 Westgate Kirkgate
10 16 13 17 Ossett
Bradley Jn Mirfield 15 11
Stainland & Holywell Green
1776] My First Railtour: https://goo.gl/t33E11 (Ronald Jackson, Assistant Distribution Officer; the
rotatable marked map above is thanks to Dave Cromarty.) On 6 Sep 1953 the Stephenson Locomotive
Society (NW) and Manchester Locomotive Society ran a 105 mile West Riding Railtour, much 'freight
only'. There were 215 passengers; https://goo.gl/i28kCv has a very detailed account and photos.
The train of four coaches started from the short platform in the former Midland part of Leeds City
station, with the prototype Great Northern Railway (GN) 0-6-2T No69430 of Leeds, Copley Hill shed
(LNER Class N1), a class which was normally confined to GN routes from Leeds Central. It was a straight
run to Guiseley to run round and along the Yeadon (goods) branch with just a few sidings, devoid of
stock. Back to Guiseley then at Shipley the tour shunted back on the rarely-used (in 1953!) connection
to Shipley & Windhill GN station, which at that time had a daily freight working from Ardsley yard.
Next it was via Quarry Gap Jn (a line with four daily freights and even one on Saturdays then); at Idle
station water was taken and here we could observe the entrance to the famous Idle Working Men's
Club! We threaded the approach to Laisterdyke and down past Hammerton Street shed to the triangle
controlled by St Dunstans station box (Bradford), situated at an apex with platforms on the GN lines
from Bradford Exchange to Halifax and Laisterdyke. The route had been set for the normal route to
Bradford Exchange and the tour ground to a halt to allow the box to reset it round the rare third side
of the triangle direct to the Halifax line. We eventually passed through the 1,057yd Clayton tunnel
then took the east to south junction side of the Queensbury triangle (which had pairs of platforms
each side) in to the now infamous 2,501yd Queensbury tunnel (BLN 1268.2189) to Holmfield Jn.
This was for the 2½ mile Halifax St Pauls branch with its 819yd long Wheatley tunnel. Since there
were no run round facilities, the loco did so at Pellon station cutting and backed the train into the west
side of St Pauls island platform. Timetabled services ended 1 Jan 1917 but excursions ran until 1939.
The tour returned to Laisterdyke and took the Pudsey loop to Bramley and then Wortley West Jn to
Wortley South Jn round the back of Copley Hill shed direct on the GN main line to Beeston Jn. Here
the GN line from Hunslet East GN goods joined and then the branch to Tingley diverged up the side of
the cutting (a flying junction) which we took and which had no regular use. (It was on this line that the
posts had arms with the gradient measured in two places of decimals - I still have one such post!)
At Tingley we branched again to Batley, (GN) - the east side. On this line our tour was the final train
past Woodkirk to Batley, which had CG 6 Jul 1953, two months earlier. At Batley the train shunted to
take the line through Ossett via Chickenley Heath (where water was taken). Here large crowds had
come to the site of the station with flags and buntings as it was the first passenger train for some time.
Ossett was the regular route from Bradford and Halifax with through portions (and from Dewsbury) to
Wakefield for King's Cross. The tour almost immediately took the north side of the then extensive
Wrenthorpe yard to Lofthouse. At Lofthouse North Jn it was on to the East & West Yorkshire Union
Railway, through Robin Hood then Rothwell where there had been stations. Timetabled passenger
service from Stourton Junction to Robin Hood started 4 Jan 1904 and only lasted eight months.
Sunday trains were withdrawn in Aug 1904 and passenger services ended completely on 30 Sep 1904
(excursions continued), mainly due to electric tramway competition. We joined the Midland main line
at Stourton as far as Engine Shed Jn by Holbeck shed and then ran to Whitehall Jn where the train
diverged direct to Farnley Jn, then only a freight line! It was then through the 3,369yd Morley tunnel
to stop again at Batley, this time on the LNWR side, 39 mins late. The two mile Birstall Lower branch
was the final one of the day; because I was in the last coach as it backed in, I was able to put my feet
on the vestige of the platform. By this time it was almost dark and the railtour returned to Leeds.
1287 IRELAND (Martin Baumann)
1777] Carrick-on-Suir: (BLN 1268.1678) Since 25 Nov 2013 this has been another single line block post
without passing (or siding) facilities. The box was retained to operate the level crossing (after stripping
out all pointwork) so it was decided not to incur the extra cost of linking the two token instruments.
The chances of two trains following in the same
direction actually requiring the extra shorter
sections at Carrick-on-Suir are very remote
indeed! The box is also interesting in having an
'Annett's Key' interlock between the Key Token
instrument and the 'Entering section' Home
signal (as at Clonmel, where the loop remains,
and presumably elsewhere on the Limerick
Junction to Waterford line). It requires the key
to unlock the Home signal lever enabling it to
be pulled thus protecting against 'Abermule'
style disasters - though that is hardly likely now
without a passing loop.
The key normally resides in the fitting/lock on
the right hand side of the token instrument. All
the examples our member has seen previously
have an electric interlock (plunger release on
the relevant signal). This system does not
require electricity (except of course on the
token instrument circuit for the electric train
staff working to Waterford West and Clonmel!
LEFT: Carrick-on-Suir signal frame and cabin.
BELOW: The cabin diagram (simplicity in itself)
taken at a photo stop there on the RPSI tour of
7 May 2017. (Both Chris Yewlett)
1778] Limerick Junction: It is almost 50 years since the Kyle crossing points to Milltown crossing
points, Limerick Junction Loop (station) avoiding line PSUL was brought into use. Irish Railfans News of
Jan 1968 reported: 'The new Dublin to Limerick direct curve, which can accommodate 2 locos,
60 wagons and a brake van clear of the main lines, was brought into use, for goods trains only, on
16 Oct 1967. Owing to a delay over the delivery of electric signalling equipment, the points have to be
worked by hand, and all trains are accompanied by a hand signalman. There are no signals in use apart
from fixed red lights at each end to mark the fouling points. For the present only the Up and Down
Dublin / Limerick goods trains use the loop regularly, but others may do so if the station is congested.'
Apr 1968: 'At Limerick Junction the first phase of the signalling for the new Dublin to Limerick direct
curve was introduced on 24 Mar 1968. It comprises the power operated facing crossover at MP 106¼
and the loop points and trap points, as well as the following signals: Down Distant (jointly for Limerick
Junction North and Kyle Crossing), Down Homes (two), Up Main Starter and Up Starter from Loop.
All are three-aspect, including the distant which has two yellow and one green aspect. A single yellow
will indicate that the Down (outer) Home is on, while a double yellow signifies that the outer Home is
off but that the inner signal is at danger. This is the first such signal in Ireland.'
Oct 1968: 'The signalling for the new loop was completed on 30 Jun 1968; the line became available
for all types of trains. Normally the guards are required to operate the subsidiary Electric Train Staff
instrument at Milltown Crossing when trains enter or leave the Limerick Junction/Dromkeen single-line
section via the loop (with a 10mph speed restriction). Exceptions are made, for the 21.55 Dublin to
Limerick and 23.45 Limerick to Dublin goods trains, and also for passenger trains, when a man is sent
from Limerick Junction for the purpose. A passenger train on 30 Jul attracted newspaper publicity as
'the first ever non-stop Dublin to Limerick train'. It was an 11.40 special from Dublin for air passengers
diverted due to fog. Sun 21 Jul 1968, saw the first rostered passenger workings on the loop, a Gaelic
Athletic Association (football) special from Templemore to Limerick and back, and the 10.05 regular
Limerick-Dublin train was diverted via the loop as there were eight specials from Cork to Limerick.'
BLN 115 (9 Oct 1968) p1 reported regular scheduled passenger services from 16 Sep 1968 with a new
08.30 Limerick to Dublin Heuston train and 18.45 return; Nenagh was once the main line! In 2017
there are two trains each way SSuX and six each way SuO (see PSUL). BLN 115 also reported that from
2 Sep 1968 Portrush to Coleraine was to open all year (previously it was summer operation only)!
1779] Point of (out of) order: On 16 Aug the 17.15 Dublin Connolly to Longford departed P2, ran via
Clontarf Road Up P1 (rev) to Connolly P7 (rev) and Drumcondra due to a points failure at Connolly.
1780] Greenisland Greenway: Initial funding has been agreed to turn a '2.7km' section of the former
Greenisland to Monkstown line (rail traffic ceased 11 Sep 1961, 'official' CA 1 Oct 1963; 1m 62ch or
2.86km) line into a 'Greenway'. No timescale for the work has been mentioned so far and the trackbed
will have to be acquired from the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company.
1781] Waterford - Rosslare Strand: On 15 Aug the line was (yet) again traversed by an Inspection Car.
1782] Intercity Services: Irish Rail plans envisage reduced journey times on key intercity routes, with
Dublin to Cork in 2 hours and to Belfast in 90 min. The latter will be extremely difficult to achieve due
to the difficultly of pathing express services in both the Dublin and Belfast areas and a lack of urgency,
perhaps in part due to budget constraints, from Translink in removing temporary speed restrictions.
1783] Dublin Airport: Irish Rail would like to build a branch from a junction near Clongriffin to Dublin
Airport, although adding to the congestion of the already very busy Howth Jn to Connolly section.
The Irish Government favours a revival of the cancelled 'Metro North' underground line to the airport.
1784] On the level: Between Mon 21 and Fri 25 Aug 2017, control of the following level crossings was
scheduled to transfer to Athlone Crossing Control Centre without change to existing signalling:
• Rahans Level Crossing (XX067) between Manulla Junction and Ballina.
• Smuttanagh Level Crossing (XM235) between Claremorris and Manulla Junction.
• Cloonconnor Level Crossing (XM202) between Ballyhaunis and Claremorris.
1287 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley)
1785] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (BLN 1286.1688) While the horse power is normally one there has
been an increased incidence of 'double-heading' of the double-decker this year. The 'preferred pair' of
'Douglas' and 'William' have been seen achieving two horse power on both public and charter trips.
(This double heading by the two motive power units is unusually side by side rather than head to tail!)
ABOVE: Williams & Douglas double head the double deck tram; No44 is left. (Jenny Williamson 28 Jul 2017)
1786] Snaefell Mountain Railway: On 4 Aug Tram No2 was involved in an incident when it ran away
after leaving the summit towards Bungalow with 40 passengers on board. The tram eventually stopped
after crossing the A18 mountain road past Bungalow. A review of services over the next few days saw
GPS implemented to regulate speeds at 8mph rather than the previous 12mph, with no suspension of
the service, although service intervals fluctuated while all the trams were checked. The cause of the
runaway appears related to two separate (but allied) items. Firstly the 1970's rheostatic electric brake
has recently proved problematic and secondly adjustments have been necessary on the Fell brake
system to take into account wear and tear. The service was back to full strength by Mon 14 Aug,
although on 16 Aug the service was suspended at 13.40 after wind speeds rose above 50mph.
1787] IOM Steam Railway: The railway has remained on a basic two engine timetable for most of Aug
due to the non-availability of steam locos and Diesel No21 is still OOU, its bogies still residing in the UK.
1287 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe)
1788] Highland freight: (BLN 1285.1460) Since BR days, there had been oil traffic to Connel Ferry,
Lairg and Fort William. Connel Ferry depot OG 1968 and rail traffic ceased in 1993; that for the other
two destinations ran until 28 Mar (Fort William) and 1 Apr 2017 (Lairg) but then transferred to road.
However, after intervention by The Highlands & Islands Transport Partnership it has now returned to
rail for a nine week trial, operated by COLAS instead of DBC with Class 56 locos. Later Class 37s were
expected to take over. Of the first paths, 00.10 Grangemouth Ineos to Lairg Fri 30 Jun and 08.10 SO
return did not run. The 14.20 Grangemouth to Fort William on Sun 2 Jul and 13.31 return Mon 3 Jul
ran with 56302. The Facebook thread which accompanies this information mentions that COLAS loco
66850 was RETB-fitted last year. There is talk of the North Blyth to Fort William alumina traffic going
by sea. Perhaps more tenuous is a suggestion of decommissioned oil rigs coming to Stromeferry, on
the Kyle of Lochalsh line, by sea for breaking up, then scrap by rail to Fort William. Your correspondent
remembers the Howard Doris oil platform fabrication yard (operational from 1975-87 and a source of
rail traffic) at Kishorn, Stromeferry; coming upon it by train one winter's night, it loomed brightly up
out of the empty darkness, looking like the HQ of the evil SPECTRE organisation in a James Bond film!
There is a distinct possibility of timber traffic from Kinbrace, initially loaded on the running line at
night with siding/s in future. Pipe traffic to Georgemas Junction is very infrequent now; there may be
some trains in 2018, nuclear waste traffic from Dounreay decommissioning runs roughly monthly.
1789] Oban: (BLN 1286.1689) A member wonders if the ground staff takes a radio for unlocking and
relocking the ground frame (via Banavie control), then hands it over to guard/driver once the frame is
locked. For the platform shunt, the ground staff must just walk back/ride back with the radio.
1790] Inverness: The only booked use of P7 is by the 19.28 (SuX) from Ardgay arriving 20.57 to form
the 21.06 back to Tain (as confirmed by various members during our recent Scottish Minor Railway
visits organised by Terry Velvick). It happens, even though P5 & 6 are available, because the Virgin
Trains East Coast HST from King's Cross (Inverness arrival 20.04) is due to be in the fuelling road from
20.48 until 21.41. The signalling overlap then blocks access to P5 & P6. Able to take 5 coaches, P7 is
the shortest at Inverness and quite a walk/run from the concourse (it looks as though it was once
longer). There are no facilities whatsoever and it is reached by an independent bidirectional line from
Rose Street Jn of about 14ch to the buffers; trains also scrape the vegetation bidirectionally! Its trains
have to use the Down side of the fully reversible loop from Rose Street Jn to the Ness Viaduct in both
directions. If the London HST is significantly late the train from Ardgay/to Tain uses P5 or P6 instead.
1791] TIPLOC Tip Off: 'CRGDWHL' is a new Timing Point Location (TIPLOC) in the schedules from the
10 Dec timetable change for Craigendoran West Highland Loop. Previously the loop was not
specifically identifiable in schedules. Trains using the loop were simply specified as Craigendoran Jn.
1792] North Queensferry - a bit of a grind… (BLN 1285.1544) Unfortunately, the Forth Hub Café at the
station closed due to lack of trade. The accommodation is now occupied by a coffee-grinding business.
1793] EGIP: A new date of 3 Sep 2017 has been announced for OLE energisation for: Glasgow Queen
Street to Newbridge Jn, including: Greenhill Upper Jn to Greenhill Lower Jn; Up & down Perth lines
around Greenhill Lower Jn; Up & Down Grahamston and Up north loop at Polmont Jn; and Eastfield
carriage servicing and maintenance depot. The new Millerhill EMU Depot OLE is due to be energised
from 17 Sep and Cumbernauld station (existing OLE to the north) to Greenhill Lower Jn from 15 Oct.
1794] Perth: On 29 Jul the 18.28 (SO) from Perth to Stirling departed from bay P6, as booked. This was
formed from the 16.35 Edinburgh to Perth, which surprised the station staff by arriving at its booked
P6 while they were waiting on P5 with a ramp and a wheelchair. The conductor considered it to be the
most reliable use of P6 all week; P6 doesn't have a passenger information system on the platform.
For one BLS member on board it was his fifth attempt at doing P6. Arrival at Stirling is in P3 at 18.59
followed by an ECS shunt at 19.02 to bay P7 (19.16) there. The DMU then leaves P7 ECS at 19.41 for
bay P10 (19.51) from where it forms a portion of the 20.21 Stirling to Glasgow Queen Street.
ABOVE TOP: To paraphrase our late, great, Scottish member Roy Hamilton: 'It can be done'… John
Cameron is successful on his 5th attempt to do Perth bay P6 even looking slightly pleased to board the
18.28 (SO) to Stirling. A King's Cross to Inverness HST is in P7 to the left. (Paul Stewart 29 Jul 2017)
LOWER: A train in Perth P6, note lack of seating, information display etc. (John Cameron 29 Jul 2017)
Most trains booked to use Perth P6 are reportedly (and quite a few have been observed) switched to
P5 or P3 as a platform alteration, sometimes quite late. Also on Sat 29 Jul the Royal Scotsman was
observed on the 16.08 from Kingussie to Dundee. It ran through Perth P4 with its passengers to Perth
Down Loop then propelled back to the buffer stops of P3 - the section with the wooden platform (had
it just run into P3, it would not have fitted behind the signal). The passengers must have been
delighted as they were in the observation car at the buffer stop end! They then had two hours in Perth
before the train departed for Perth Down Loop again (presumably the single engine then ran round)
and on to Dundee via Perth P2. As a result of the Royal Scotsman occupying P3, the 20.02 (SO) to
Edinburgh unusually left from the buffer stops of its booked P6 (normally it would have been switched
to P3) - it can't use the preferred bay P5 as there is a 20.01 arrival there from Edinburgh.
1287 WALES (Paul Jeffries)
1795] Machen: (BLN 1286.1700) In the early 1980s there were generally one or two trains a day in the
week, sometimes three and one or two SO (the last train past Machen to Bedwas was 23 Mar 1985).
Living near a quarry was not a problem; John and Jenny Williamson's house backed on to the north
end of the sidings at a slightly lower level. The offices and loading area were to the south east and the
working quarry moved away progressively further east over the years so the blasting [and occasional
swearing perhaps?] was not obtrusive. Most of the action happened while they were out at work.
1796] Abergavenny: In a worrying incident at 18.06 on 28 Jul, electricity cables became detached from
the station footbridge and were snagged by the loco of the 17.16 Cardiff Central to Holyhead, causing
the signal box to lose power. All lines were immediately blocked and, with live cables lying on the
Down platform, the station was evacuated. Minor injuries were reported, and BT Police attended the
scene. The train was halted at Hereford for inspection but, with no evident damage, was allowed to
proceed. The 15.30 Manchester Piccadilly to Carmarthen, however, was trapped on the approach to
Abergavenny, and reversed to Tram Inn where it crossed to the Up line and returned to Hereford. The
cabling was made safe, and signalling restored using standby power at 20.23. After removal of debris,
the Up line reopened under caution at 21.08 and the Down at 22.00, with normal working from 23.05.
1797] Rhondda Tunnel: Using a £100,000 Welsh Government grant, the Rhondda Tunnel Society
reports that initial survey work commenced on 19 Jul. Expected to take two weeks, the work was
undertaken by specialist contractors Hammond ECS Ltd, and involved removal of a concrete 'plug'.
1798] Cardiff Central: From 28 Aug to 1 Sep, 11/16 of the services from Maesteg are booked to arrive
at, and 11/17 depart to Maesteg from P0. P0 Down departures and Up arrivals were impossible before
resignalling, and remain quite rare. The 10.16 from Maesteg is also then booked to run via Ninian Park.
1799] Cardiff Bay: (BLN 1265.1894) Following abortive previous applications, ABA Holdings Ltd has
secured planning consent to convert the derelict Grade II-listed station building for commercial and
retail use. This has been allowed despite objections to the disfiguring impact of it being linked to a new
4-storey concrete and glass extension on the site of the former Butetown Historic Railway platform.
(A member who visited the latter recently described it as 'an unsightly mess'.)
1800] Blaenau Festiniog (Central) GWR branch: Filling the 'gap' between coverage in BLNs 1284.1430,
1285.1559 and 1286.1695-96, the site of Brynceiliog Halt is a long and unrewarding walk from the
main road, with no trace of the structure now remaining. The original footpath to Llafar Halt appears
to have been absorbed into adjoining fields; access is possible via a different path and a climb to the
trackbed near the bridge over the Afon Llafar, but again no remains are to be found.
At Trawsfynydd the station,
however, does survive, as a
private residence, with its
two platforms linked by
lawn; there is a good view
from the bridge between
the passenger station and
the military platform. The
station house also survives,
as does a weighing machine
cabin in the yard. TOP: The
station in 1964, before the
track was lifted, looking
north, the nuclear power
station is generating in the
background. This section was not used by the nuclear flask trains (Julian James). ABOVE LEFT: A rare
picture of Trawsfynydd Camp (also known as Trawsfynydd Military) station, after track lifting, serving
the artillery range. The line was reportedly available for freight or military traffic from the north but
none passed and it was lifted back to Trawsfynydd Lake Halt - for nuclear flask traffic. (Julian James)
The two long platforms of Trawsfynydd Camp (military) station, between the station and Trawsfynydd
station, also remain in situ, at a slightly higher level than the main line, and there is also a surviving
blue brick cabin by the access road. Nothing remains of Trawsfynydd Lake Halt but, almost concealed
within the jungle, the current end of the tracks and buffer stop can be found. Maentwrog Road station
is fully intact, with the station and the station house in private occupancy, and some evidence of
clearance work north of the goods shed. A temporary wooden platform was, incidentally, installed a
little further north of here for special passenger services which were operated in 1989…
1287 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott)
MR146] Poole Park Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1284.MR120): The railway reopened on Saturday
22 July 2017 - now being operated by the Friends of Poole Park. Motive power currently is a blue
liveried steam outline locomotive named 'Princess Swee'Pea' and numbered 1201 - on loan from the
Hastings Miniature Railway. The track and some coaches were purchased from the previous operator.
MR147] MINOR RAILWAYS – 29th EDITION – 2017 M R14 6]………….
SUPPLEMENT No.2 © Peter Scott August 2017
Riverside Miniature Railway, Riverside Park, St Neots
5"/7¼" E 150yds TL179600 01480 217037
(New line opened 16/07/17)
Kingsbridge & District Light Railway, The Quay, Kingsbridge
5"/7¼" E 260yds SX736440 07885 227000
(New line opened 28/05/17)
Honeybrook Railway, Honeybrook Family Farm & Riverside Park, Wimborne Minster
10¼" E 250yds SU007029 ♠ 01202 881120
(New line opened 08/04/17)
4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Railway, Headley, Newbury
10¼" E 300yds SU509635 ♠ 01635 269678
(New line opened 03/2016)
6 Helston Railway Amend length to: 1.00 (Extension to Truthall Halt opened 16/03/17).
Amend to: 07901 977597
6 Swanage Railway Amend length to: 9.77 (Worgret Junction extension opened 13/06/17)
7 Gloucestershire Warwickshire (Steam) Railway Amend length to: 12.52 (Extension
…… towards Broadway, beyond Laverton opened 27/05/17)
9 Weardale Railway Amend to: 07719 757755
9 Gwili Steam Railway Amend length to: 4.04 (Abergwili Junction extension opened 02/07/17)
10 Scottish Vintage Bus Museum Amend length to: 0.18 (Correction: originally 0.12,
extended to 0.18 as of 11/06/17)
17 Sutton Hall Railway Amend to: 07719 275421
18 Wellington Country Park Railway Amend gauge to 12¼" (Regauged from 7¼" and
19 Burnley & Pendle MRS Amend layout to: C (Correction)
20 Evergreens Miniature Railway Delete entry (Line closed. Last ran 29/07/17)
23 Taunton Model Engineers Delete entry (Line closed. Last ran 08/07/17)
23 Baggeridge Miniature Railway Amend length to: 580yds (Extension opened 28/05/17)
30 Penrhyn Quarry Railway Delete entry (Line closed. Last ran 24/06/17)
MR148] Mid Wales Model Engineers, Powys (MR p30) (BLN 1043.MR89): This society has a ground
level 5"/7¼" gauge line in Back Lane Park in Newtown. The small society caters for a wide range of
member's interests, but unfortunately is going through a bad patch. This year it has lost a number of
members, most of who were interested in running the railway. This, with the personal circumstances
of other members, has left them without sufficient volunteers to run the railway safely. Therefore, the
railway is currently closed and is not known when running might restart. Additionally, a major overhaul
of the club locomotive has been started, which has now become protracted and incomplete, again due
to lack of staff. The society hopes to resolve their difficulties and eventually restart operation.
MR149] Evergreens Miniature Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1285.MR122): Despite the list of
open days (up to 1 January 2018) on their web site, the final public open day was on Saturday 29 July
2017 and the 5"/7¼" gauge railway is now closed. Two BLS members visited on the final day.
There was a good turnout of local people and up to 10 locos operating. Track lifting (for storage)
commenced the following day and was completed for all gauges by Wednesday 2 August. The future
operating dates on their website, unfortunately, only reflected a failure to keep this up-to-date.
The railway has reportedly had offers of alternative sites and it is hoped that one proves suitable.
MR150] Alan Keef Limited, Herefordshire (MR p18) (BLN 1267.MR204): There will not be a 2017 Open
Day, due to the company's work commitments (NB: this differs from MR p18). The next one is in 2018.
MR151] Peak Rail, Derbyshire (MR p8): A member visited this railway during the afternoon of 20 July -
the last day of his Heart of England rover - and took the 14.00 service north from Matlock. Green
livered 'Peak' diesel 44008 'Penyghent' looked good at the south end of a 6-coach rake as it arrived
into Matlock, with an industrial steam loco at the north end, which had to work quite hard on the
northbound run. The formation (from the north) was (SO with tables altered) 5235, 26043/25, 9404,
1970 and M7828. Two coach parties arrived for the 14.46 return train south; the beautifully restored
LMS vehicle and the seating part of the restaurant car were both laid for a group salad lunch.
There were otherwise not many passengers about (but enough to make it worthwhile running) on this
cloudy Wednesday afternoon before the local school holidays. Matlock ticketing (and probably Darley
Dale too) was undertaken on the train; the guard issued credit card size card tickets. Rowsley has a
booking office in the main building. South of Darley Dale several shunter locos were east of the line.
ABOVE: East Lancashire Railway - Class 47 1842 (47 192), visiting from the Crewe Heritage Centre,
arrives at Rawtenstall during the Railway's summer diesel gala. (Peter Scott 8 July 2017)
MR152] East Lancashire Railway, Greater Manchester (MR p8): On Tuesday 25 July the Railway
celebrated the 30th anniversary of the first train on the then newly-preserved railway. 0-6-0T steam
locomotive 'Gothenburg' (HC680/1903) reprised its appearance on the first train by bringing a train of
dignitaries into Bury Bolton Street station where Sir William McAlpine unveiled a plaque. Sadly, the
celebrations were marred by two teenage vandals causing £30,000 damage to coaches in Buckley
Wells Carriage Sidings between 20 and 25 July. About 40 carriage windows were smashed and graffiti
daubed. Also paint was thrown onto a locomotive. A 13-year-old boy and two girls aged 13 and 14
have been charged with criminal damage, Greater Manchester Police stated.
MR153] North Yorkshire Moors Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9): The railway has received a Stage 1
approval for a £4.6M Heritage Lottery Fund bid. This will go towards a programme of improvement
works costed at £9.2M. As well as the renewal of two wrought iron bridges immediately to the south
of Goathland station, it includes a carriage shed housing up to 40 coaches to be built between
New Bridge and Pickering. The latter will be welcome, especially following the vandalism on 23 July of
8 LNER teak coaches, stabled at Pickering. Windows were smashed and the internal lights, furniture
and fixings ruined. A trip on 20 Aug revealed most windows (but not the interiors) had been repaired.
ABOVE: 37 264 setting back the stock of a terminating train into the sidings at Pickering.
The set includes some of the recently vandalised LNER teak coaches. (Peter Scott 6 July 2015)
MR154] Gwili Steam Railway, (LEFT: On a
1" 1952 map, extremities marked in pink),
Carmarthenshire (MR p9) (BLN 1285.1569):
A visit on the very wet afternoon of Sunday
6 August found the steam locomotive out
of action, with a 3-car Class 117 DMU
substituting. The 7¼" gauge miniature
railway at Llwyfan Cerrig was also not
running because the then four round trips
timetable did not allow enough time for a
ride there. This timetable in operation bore
no resemblance to the scant information
then on the website, which had not been
updated to show the Abergwili extension
[but has been since - it is a volunteer led
The booking clerk advised that operating
four trains had proved over-optimistic, and
they would revert to three per day from
Monday 7 August, with departures from
Bronwydd Arms at 11.00, 13.00 and 15.00.
This is daily until 7 Sep then selected dates
(per website) until 12 November.
The working timetable schedule shows:
Bronwydd Arms dep 00.00, Llwyfan Cerrig
00.09 to 00.10, Danycoed 00.15 to 00.25,
Llwyfan Cerrig 00.30 to 01.00, then non-
stop (except for token exchange at
Bronwydd Arms signal box) to Abergwili Junction 01.25 to 01.35, and back at Bronwydd Arms 01.45.
It has to be said that a 105-minute 8m 08ch round trip may prove tedious to the casual visitor! The
Llwyfan Cerrig stop allows time to ride the Miniature Railway and see the interesting Royal Mail
display in coach M80371, historic coaches under restoration and the cosmetically restored Taff Vale
0-6-2T No28. At Bronwydd Arms there is a small museum (predominantly relating to signalling),
opportunity to visit the signal box itself and the tea room in the grounded bodies of former GWR 1883
Brown Marshall composite coaches 31 and 52. The website is clear that there is no public access from
Abergwili Junction platform and all train rides depart/arrive from Bronwydd Arms station. It is also
not possible (due mainly to the River Gwili) to join/leave a train at Llwyfan Cerrig station or at
Danycoed Halt terminus, other than to break a journey. This must be an unusual situation being only
able to join a train at one stop (of four) in one direction only! The Adult day rover is £11, Senior £10,
Dining, Welsh Elevenses and Strawberry Cream Teas are available. 7 Oct is the Gala and Beer Festival.
Website: https://goo.gl/2Zrczr 01267238213.
MR155] Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1279.MR249): New build 2-4-2 loco 'Lyn'
was steamed for the first time on 4 July at the Ross-on-Wye works of Alan Keef Ltd (an appropriate
date - Independence Day - as the loco is a replica of the original L&B American Baldwin design).
On the same day Exmoor National Park Authority approved the Local Plan, which supports the
reinstatement of the railway and also ensures the former trackbed and infrastructure is protected
from further development. However, the railway has still not yet been granted planning permission by
the National Park to reinstate the line between the current terminus at Killington Lane and Blackmoor
station. It is hoped that approval will be given at the Authority's next meeting on 5 September.
MR156] Fenn Bell Miniature Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1281.MR84): This relatively new 7¼" gauge
railway runs at the Fenn Bell Inn at St Mary Hoo near Rochester. Arriving at 13.00 on Saturday 15 July,
our reporter found the train was not running due to a shower around 11.00 - apparently it will not now
operate if it has been raining until the rails dry out! He waited until 14.00 when it was fortunately
decided to operate. Two platforms are now in use at the main station, but this day the one used was
the newer of the two, only opened the previous Saturday. The original (normal) platform had stock
and a steam loco stabled in it. The departure from the new (further) platform includes a flat crossing
onto the main loop. The ride is two loops then the train propels back into the platform of departure.
ABOVE: A train sets out for a trip around the line from new platform. (Rod Bryant 15 July 2017).
MR157] Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1212.MR103): A correspondent
visited this 15" gauge, 2,130 yards long railway on 25 July, which has seven steam and five diesel or
petrol locos. Just one steam locomotive was in operation: 2-8-0 6284 modelled on a LNER 04 - built by
Terry Turner, Ray Crome & Roger Loxley, completed at Doncaster in 2009. The main station, Kingsway
is located just behind the Leisure Centre and has two platforms, with just one in normal use. At the
other end of the line is Humberston North Sea Lane - a single platform where the loco runs round. The
middle station, Lakeside is interesting, with a café and the Signal Box Inn subtitled 'The Smallest Pub
on the Planet' selling a selection of real ales. Spare rolling stock is stored on the tracks, adjoining the
café. The wall of the toilets is adorned with a splendid BR style sign displaying 'British Railways
Attercliffe Goods Depot' (see next page). Outside the station there is a tiny 'signal box' (ex-Sutton
Miniature Railway, Sutton Coldfield) controlling the car park level crossing operated by a simple two
button open/close. BELOW: Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, Kingsway station; the land train to
Cleethorpes station is middle left. NEXT PAGE UPPER: At Lakeside station. NEXT PAGE LOWER:
Humberstone Road station, the southern terminus; 6284 running round. (Phil Dooley 25 July 2017)
LEFT: Lakeside station (Cleethorpes
Coast Light Railway) the 'signal box'
and level crossing to the south.
MR158] Craigiemains Garden
Centre Railway, South Ayrshire (MR
p28) (BLN 1191.MR160): This 10¼"
gauge line, a simple elongated
circuit with a short pseudo-tunnel
and a trailing connection to a two
road stock shed was visited on
Wednesday 19 July. Boarding is
from a wooden platform. In use was
6w-6wPH 'Western' (Class 52) type,
'Ayr Princess' in blue livery (Severn
Lamb 1968; a David Curwen design),
supplied new to the Ayr Miniature Railway - pulling two semi open bogie carriages. The fare was £2,
payable at the Garden Centre's main till, with the ticket being a plastic strip that was collected by the
driver. Being a fairly quiet time the driver (otherwise engaged on Garden Centre duties) was
summoned by tannoy and seemed to enjoy the three anti-clockwise laps as much as our reporter did!
MR159] Agnew Park Miniature Railway, Dumfries & Galloway (MR p28) (BLN 1192.MR171): This 7¼"
gauge, Council run, railway is in Agnew Park on the seafront in Stranraer. On Wednesday 19 July, with
wet weather, our reporter didn't hold out much hope of this line being open. However, with school
holidays being somewhat earlier in Scotland, it was and the all lady staff were most welcoming of their
one passenger. The fare was £1.99 with a paper ticket issued. It is an interesting little line that runs
entirely within the park and is essentially a very odd shaped circuit of about half a mile long.
The ride commences at the ticket office and stock shed (accessed by the one point on the railway and
a turntable into the four road shed) running fairly straight and parallel with the park's lake to its left. It
then takes a 90 degree left turn along another straight before encircling a children's playground and
retracing its steps parallel to the outward track. Reversal at the end of the ride at the ticket office is by
way of a return loop. Where the track is set in concrete at crossings and in the vicinity of the ticket
office there is a third rail that would at one time have given a 5" gauge track. In use was the line's
6wPH locomotive in blue livery (built by Roger Greatrex in 1997) hauling one sit astride bogie coach.
MR160] Hythe Pier Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1283.MR103): The takeover from White Horse
Ferries does not include ownership of Hythe Pier and the railway plus its equipment. Apparently, there
are moves (proceeding well) for acquisition of the pier and equipment by some sort of Community
Interest Company set up, or being set up, by a consortium of Hythe residents. The former 'Great
Expectations', reliveried and renamed as 'Hythe Scene' was working the ferry service on 26 June.
The standby vessel, to be renamed from 'Ossian of Staffa', latterly working in Scotland, has a certificate
for 70 passengers. 'Hythe Scene' is a catamaran certificated for 162 passengers. The ferry service was
observed on 4 July. A single boat maintained the service with a journey time of 11-12 minutes and a
3-4 minute turn-round, so it can just maintain a half hour headway. The 18-20 minutes trip time
mentioned in BLN 1212.MR103 includes the rail journey along the pier. Accompanying cycles are extra.
1801] FIXTURES REPORTS; Blackpool Line Signal Box Visits, 5 May 2017 Part 2: (By John Cowburn)
(BLN 1286.1703) The full report was available as an e-BLN 1286 download. https://goo.gl/RVee9Y and
https://goo.gl/f5Z21M link to Andrew Gardiner's pictures from an earlier official visits to the boxes.
Despite its name, Carleton Crossing signal box is a block post which happens to control an adjacent
barrier level crossing. It is a very small L&NWR box, with a twelve lever L&Y frame, both dated 1924.
Only four levers remain in use, a home and distant semaphore in each direction, which means that
there are no 'station limits'. There is no gate release lever, as the home signals are released by the
'crossing clear' button on the barrier control pedestal (as well as 'Line Clear' on the block). The Down
distant, underneath and slotted with Poulton No3's section signal, is electrically worked but the
Up distant is mechanical, an inverted v-shaped 'pull plate' being provided on the end of the frame to
allow the signaller to apply enough force to clear it. The distance to the signal means that the signaller
typically has to adjust the tension in the signal wire several times per day as temperatures rise and fall.
Unusually the box has a non-illuminated track diagram; track circuits are provided but their occupation
is shown on 'banner repeater style' indicators on the block shelf. Trains are signalled under normal
absolute block working in the Up direction but in the Down direction, due to the short length of the
section, rather than waiting to receive 'train entering section' from Poulton No3, they are offered on to
Blackpool North No2 when an annunciator indicates the arrival of the train in Poulton platform.
Next was Poulton No3 signal box (there were once five boxes here), an L&Y box dating from 1896
which is located in the 'V' of the former junction between the Blackpool North and the Fleetwood
routes, west of the attractive station. As well as controlling the junction (the signaller reminded us that
originally the Fleetwood line was the 'main' line and the later route to Blackpool the 'branch'), the box
was at the end of the fast lines (CA 9 Dec 1973) which were both located south of the platform lines.
The Fleetwood line was cut back from Wyre Dock Jn to Burn Naze from 14 Jul 1970 and even this has
been OOU for many years (the last freight train was in Apr 1999) and is now rusted black. A few weeks
prior to the visit, the junction was plain lined, though passive provision for later reconnection will
apparently be included in the re-signalling. Thus the substantial box, still with an increasingly unusual
wooden staircase, is now reduced to controlling the Up and Down lines with not even a crossover.
The box has an 1896 L&Y 74 lever frame, with a few levers missing and many now white (spare), two
of which are locked in the 'reversed' position. There are also a small number of 'interlocking levers'
which are painted white at the top and either red or black at the bottom depending on their former
use. Of the signals still in use, most are mechanical semaphores with two homes and a starter on the
Down and a home and starter on the Up. The Up distant, as at Carleton Crossing, is a mechanically
worked semaphore. The clearing point is thus 440 yards beyond the Up Main Home which in turn
means that Poulton cannot send 'train out of section' to Carleton until trains have departed from the
station. Lever 74 for the distant is also provided with a 'pull plate' to assist the signaller. (To be cont…)
1802] Middlesbrough Goods (Old Town) branch; Dawson's Duo: (by Nick Jones) Sunday 25 June 2017
dawned bright and sunny - a perfect day for our track and traction tour with PLEG of the extensive rail
freight facilities at AV Dawson's Middlesbrough Goods complex (an unusual facility these days).
This describes the 11.00 tour (the second of five
identical (they were too!) runs during the day
which carried 200 people in total, raising a very
creditable £6,800 for good causes nominated by
the company). First on the agenda was a welcome
cuppa after, in many cases, long journeys and a
fine array of home-made cakes were sold in by
37th Middlesbrough St John's Rainbows and
Brownies. Charlie Nettle, Head of Marketing and
Business Development at Dawson's, then gave a
safety briefing and a short presentation about the
company's history and current activities. This family-owned business was formed in 1938 by Arthur
Vernon Dawson and is now run by his grandson Gary. The company with about 125 employees offers
warehousing as well as logistics services by sea, road and of course rail; annual turnover is £25M.
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: The view north
from the Metz (road) overbridge; the
Intermodal and Ayrton Terminals are
round to the left, door '6' is the rail
access to the massive Automotive
Steel Storage Terminal and door '5' is
road access. The wagons (top right)
are in the yard and the tour train is
behind them in the background on
the River Tees Quay branch.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Joining the
train in Dawson's Automotive Steel
Storage Terminal (at the end of line!).
ABOVE: Tea, Coffee and cakes (which went like hot cakes and were frequently replenished) in the
offices above the Automotive Steel Terminal - visible through the rear window. (All three: Nick Jones)
We then walked down stairs to the Automotive Steel Storage Terminal to board our railtour formed
of ex-ferry wagon 'Molly' (see next item) recently acquired from the Wensleydale Railway, brought in
specially by road and 'topped & tailed' by 08600 in Dawson's distinctive red house livery and 08598 in
Potter Group yellow. This massive building was opened in 2015 and provides over 100,000 square feet
of storage in a perfectly controlled environment (temperature and humidity) for highly specialised
automotive steel. This is achieved with mostly 'green energy' including geothermal heating.
The terminal is served by three trains a week from Margam (from Port Talbot Steel Plant). Unlike other
Dawson's traffic, this does not normally require use of their 08 shunters. The train loco (generally a
DB Cargo 66) runs round in the yard and propels the whole train into the shed. Ours was not the first
passenger train to occupy the shed, Pathfinder Tours' Tees & Durham Freighter ran in on 8 Oct 2016.
Our tours departed from the buffer stops; reversed at 21 points (see marked track diagram thanks to
Martyn Brailsford) and descended over the Forty Foot Road Crossing under the eagle-eye of acting
crossing-keeper for the day (Martyn Brailsford!), over the weighbridge and into the Ayrton Terminal.
ABOVE: Entering Ayrton Terminal (left), Forty Foot Road level crossing is on the right.
'Molly' is very smart in Dawson's Livery including the company crest. (Nick Jones)
We took the northernmost (Tank Loading) line and resident Dawson's driver David Johnson kindly took
us right to the buffers! Although there has been no tank traffic of late, this line was used recently for
storing redundant JIA Polybulk wagons. Ayrton Terminal is the area of the Dawson's site that is most
intensively used by rail traffic currently, with multiple inbound loads of potash and polyhalite each day
(even Saturdays) from Boulby mine for road distribution. These trains are hauled to the goods yard
(the grid of sidings) by the main line loco - normally in rakes of about 10 wagons.
These are taken 3 or 4 at a time down to Ayrton Terminal by one of Dawson's 08's and propelled
through the discharge shed (an undertrack unloading facility). No freight traffic was operating on the
day of our five charters, being a Sunday. Non-runner 08774 'Arthur Vernon Dawson' was stabled on
the discharge road, allowing everyone on the train to have a decent view of it. Back up to 22 points,
another reversal took the tour to the Intermodal Terminal. This is primarily for containers but recent
uses have included inbound construction materials for the new Woodsmith Potash Mine near Whitby,
and storage for scrap JIAs. The Class 08 shunters are also sometimes stabled here between jobs.
THIS PAGE BELOW: At the buffer stops of the intermodal terminal. (Ian Mortimer).
NEXT PAGE: The train stationary at the NR boundary (behind the camera), looking north. Behind train
manger Kev's hard hat, in the background is the bridge carrying 'Metz Bridge Road' (!); Middlesbrough
Goods is the other side. Mr Chad is bottom left: 'Wot no run through to Tees Yard?' (Nick Jones).
Decimal Mileage thanks to Paul Illingworth (total 4¼ miles per trip) Next was a run under the
08598. Automotive Steel Terminal No21 Points 0.36 Metz Bridge, right up to the
08600 No21 Points NR boundary (at MP 19 from
Ayrton Terminal Tank Road 0.56 Darlington) before another
08598 Ayrton Terminal Tank Road No22 Points 0.54 reversal and the last branch
08600 No22 Points
Tees Riverside Intermodal Park. 0.25
08598 Tees Riverside Intermodal Park. Metz Bridge (NR Limit) 0.51 of the tour, the North Sea
08600 Metz Bridge (NR Limit) North Sea Supply Base 0.88 Supply Base Wharf. This runs
No6 Points 0.73 on the quayside serving five
08598 North Sea Supply Base 0.41 ship berths on the River Tees.
08600 No6 Points Automotive Steel Terminal
Again, driver Dave obliged by leading us as far along the branch as possible, only giving up where the
track disappeared into the gravel! The last rail freight traffic on this branch had been pipe traffic
18 months previously. Our tours were almost certainly the first ever passenger trains to run north of
Depot Road level crossing since the line opened in December 1830. The intervening period of 186½
years may constitute a world record for the length of time between a line opening and seeing its first
passenger train and it was considered to be the highlight of this excellent tour by many! The trains
were also a great surprise to some of the locals out for a Sunday cycle or walk. The Dent's Wharf
branch was not traversed; it was blocked and OOU, as could clearly be seen passing its junction.
BELOW: Crossing Depot Road Level Crossing which was very quiet on a Sunday; stewards (mostly out
of picture) stopped the traffic including some very surprised locals out for a jog/cycle. (Nick Jones)
NEXT PAGE UPPER: The River Tees and quay looking east with the famous Middlesbrough
Transporter Bridge in the background; from the tour at the end of line. (Ian Mortimer)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: The River Tees Quay. (Geoff Plumb) https://goo.gl/jbqpy8
has more of Geoff's pictures of our 25 Jun tours at AV Dawson.
ABOVE: The River Tees Quay; the end of line
at the North Sea Supply Base Wharf and into
the gravel. The previous three pictures were
all taken at the same location in different
directions. (Nick Jones)
LEFT: The junction for the OOU Dent's Wharf
Branch, which goes off right through the
large roller door; looking north towards the
River Tees. There were some large chunks of
metal on this line as well as the buildings.
The line off left is to the River Quay (North
Sea Supply base Wharf) and was included in
the tours. Depot Road Level crossing is
behind the photographer. (Nick Jones)
NEXT PAGE TOP: Ayrton tank unloading
facility & warehouse section. (Ian Mortimer)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: An optical illusion as a
tour passes through the Goods Yard;
- despite appearances it is not hauling the
JGA wagons! (Nick Jones)
LEFT: Fri 5 May 1989;
our first AV Dawson
trip was on a working
day. (Ian Mortimer)
After a final reversal at
6 points, we returned
to the Automotive
Steel shed again to
the fun was not yet
over. There were more runs of the train and many of us took the opportunity to photograph them
from various public locations. Dawson's also kindly invited us to walk around the Ayrton Terminal so
that the unloading facility could be viewed close up, along with 08774 specially moved to where it
could be seen from the tour and on foot (the remains of 08912 were also on view).
A massive thank you must go to Kev who, as always, had put many hours of hard work into the
meticulous planning (it showed) with numerous site meetings and also his hard-working group of
stewards. Special mention of the Dawson's staff who pulled out all the stops to give us a highly
interesting and enjoyable tour with a fascinating glimpse into this very successful railway and freight
facility. It is quite incredible and a tribute to all involved that an event like this can be staged in 2017.
https://goo.gl/P1ckSN is a report with a video and pictures from the local press. This E-BLN has
historical notes about the fascinating complex area by Geoff Blyth (who once lived in Middlesbrough)
with maps by Dave Cromarty and an unmarked track diagram by Martin Brailsford.
BELOW: A tour arrives back in the massive Automotive Steel Storage Terminal. (Nick Jones)
ABOVE: The 'line up' of stewards (or should that be an identity parade?) from the Society and PLEG.
All had arrived for 08.30 and stayed all day on rotating duties. (Geoff Plumb)
1803] Molly Joins the BLS… The Society has become a Rolling Stock Owner, acquiring a 4-wheel 20 ton
non-ventilated ex-Ferry Van B786968 'Molly' originally with sliding doors (NEXT PAGE: David Faulkner).
Her debut was on our 25 Jun AV Dawson tours. The van was built for BR in 1961 by the Pressed Steel
Company, 46ft long over buffers. In BR ownership she was converted at Lowestoft into a mess van
with a door, emergency exit, and two windows each side. The van had been on the Wensleydale
Railway (WR1117) OOU for some
time and will hopefully come in
handy on many future occasions.
Although unlikely ever to run on
the main line, it is perfectly sound
and can cope with curves of
radius as small as 2½ch, making it
ideal for the type of remote lines
our members love to explore!
LEFT: Another picture taken here
on our 1989 visit. (Ian Mortimer)
BELOW: 'Molly' in undercoat
while still at the Wensleydale
Railway. (Kev Adlam)
A small team of BLS volunteers (thank you) led by Kev Adlam carried out restoration work on the van
for our 25 Jun event, including rubbing down and filling the exterior and painting in the splendid
Dawson's red. The interior was thoroughly cleaned and couplings were attended to. Internally, there
are 14 seats with room for rather more standing. At one end is space for a guard/stewards and a
cupboard to store equipment such as point clips, fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. The van is based at
Barrow Hill and it is hoped that she can be used in 2018 for a re-run of the tours at AV Dawson's
(the original date was heavily oversubscribed) as well as some other interesting fixtures…
ABOVE: Inside 'Molly' on the 11.00
railtour. (Nick Jones)
LEFT: Our previous Fri 5 May 1989
Middlesbrough Goods, AV Dawson
trip was in a far less luxurious ferry
wagon. (Ian Mortimer)
On 13 Aug in 22 'volunteer hours'
the kitchen sink, cupboard, steel
toilet cubicle, the rest of the bed
frame, shower, damaged heaters,
some of the gas pipework, taps
from cold water tank and
wipeboard were all removed. The
Yale locks were removed ready for
new keys to be cut, holes in floor
were replaced with steel plate and the sole bar was painted black gloss on all four sides including the
buffer beams (and looks much better for it!). Additionally a temporary repair was made to the inner
door handle and the roof was inspected for integrity. The next big task is to paint inside and there will
be some filling and prep work to do, and remove the old lino flooring before sourcing a new floor.
The Society is grateful to the Wensleydale Railway, Barrow Hill Roundhouse and Reid Freight Services,
specialising in rail vehicle movements by road, who moved the van.