Issue Number 1231 (Items 682_ 823 and MR 44 _ 50) (E-BLN 32 PAGES) 18 April 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
BLN 1232 is due on Saturday 2 May; all contributions must be received by 22 April.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
?? May 2015 Severn Valley Railway Engine House branch 1230 PS Notify
Sun 19/04/15 S&C Desiro Tracker PAY ON THE DAY AVAILABLE 1226 KA Open
Mon 20/04/15 West Somerset Railway 10.30 Railtour FULL (waiting list) 1224 RG FULL
Fri 1/05/15 Tyne & Wear Metro 13.00 visit to S. Gosforth control 1229 JC Open
Sat 2/05/15 Plymouth to Laira tour 12.00 Track with Class 08s 1229 AW Open
Sat 2/05/15 Paignton & Dartmouth 15.20 Track & traction railtour 1230 AW FULL
Sun 3/05/15 Moreton Park Railway 12.00 & 14.00 railtours 1224 SP FULL
Sun 3/05/15 Titley Junction Railway 11.00 Standard gauge railtour 1226 SP Open
8-10/05/15 Channel Islands Railway weekend 1213 KA FULL
Sat 23/05/15 Great Eastern Tracker 07.00 East Anglia Tracker railtour 1230 KA Open
Sun 7/06/15 Ketton Cement Branch Track & traction railtour event TBA GP Claimed
Thur 11/06/15 Snibston Museum 11.00 Colliery Railway farewell 1230 PS Open
Thur 11/06/15 Conducted walk Coalville area trackbed walk TBA TG Claimed
Sat 20/06/15 Signal Box Visits 09.15 Nairn - Huntly **NEW** 1231 NJ *OPEN*
Sat 27/06/15 Coventry area visits 10.30 Three minor railways 1231 SM *OPEN*
Sun 28/06/15 Kirkby-in-Ashfield Guided railway walk 1227 TG Open
Fri 10/07/15 Whitrope Siding railway Morning standard gauge railtour 1230 PS Notify
Fri 10/07/15 Saughtree station tour Late morning train rides 1230 PS Notify
Sun 12/07/15 EMU Tracker railtour South East of England TBA KA Claimed
Sat 25/07/15 Loco hauled tracker Carnforth - Cleethorpes TBA KA Claimed
Thur 30/07/15 Spa Valley Railway *NEW* 16.00 track tour 1231 GW *OPEN*
15-16/08/15 SVR signalling weekend Two day practical signals course 1224 NJ Notify
Sat 19/09/15 Scunthorpe AFRPS 10.30 All day railtour with food TBA PS Claimed
14-15/11/15 Ribble Steam Railway All line railbus railtour TBA JW Claimed
60th AGM weekend
York NRM and events in area TBA TBA Claimed
AW - Andrew Wilson, GP - Gary Pullan, GW, - Glen Wells, JC - John Cameron, JW - John Williamson, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones,
PS - Paul Stewart, RG - Robert Green, SM - Simon Mortimer, SP - Stephen Phillips, TG - Tom Gilby.
BLN 1231.682] Saturday 18 April: (short notice rare track): Epping and Ongar Railway diesel gala; a
very unusual booked departure (the only one of the day) http://goo.gl/6pyA4k on 205205 from North
Weald bay P3 at 09.50 to Epping Forest, returning behind 08483 to North Weald P2. The 12.10 from
Ongar runs through North Weald P1 (loop) to Epping Forest behind 47635 returning to North Weald
P2 at 13.05. At Queensway station on the LU Central line, the very rare facing crossover to P1 is in use.
Then take a TfL replacement bus to North Acton, or District Line to Ealing Broadway; for trains to
North Acton P2 country end, used only once weekly (07.05 SuO West Ruislip to Ealing Broadway).
683] Fixtures Secretary's Update: Firstly in the five months since the AGM 1,704 places have been
taken up on 48 Society fixtures; 'on track' for well over 60 fixtures in our 60th anniversary year!
Saturday 23 May Great Eastern Tracker: The news about our good friends and trusted partner
WCRC has been widely reported elsewhere so won’t be repeated here. As we stand, our bid is
progressing as expected and per press releases from Carnforth, WCRC will be seeking to honour
projects already committed. Places remain available for members and non-members on this
very special, loco-hauled railtour; booking form and details are on the Society website.
GW IV Tracker: Sad news on this one; I am afraid that this project has been deferred. FGW have
advised that there is a large amount of training being undertaken at the moment due to
infrastructure changes and they are also unable to release vehicles, particularly in the Thames
Valley, as their 'Turbos' are now going away for maintenance. Sorry folks.
Sunday 7 June: On a far brighter note, we are delighted to report that with the fantastic help of
member Gary Pullan we have a very rare industrial riding visit; an 'all available lines' tour of
the Ketton Cement Works branch; 2 x Class 08 with a brake van. There will be three separate
trips, a total of 99 places available. Full details will be provided soon but the trains are NOT yet
open for bookings. All proceeds will be donated to charities nominated by Hanson. Huge
demand is expected, and we are greatly indebted to Hanson and Rocks by Rail for their help.
Sunday 12 July: Save the date! Provisional EMU charity tour, various depots, sidings and rare
moves (a south eastern based TOC). More information soon, hopefully before the end of April.
Saturday July 25: Save the date too! Provisional loco hauled charter from Carnforth to
Cleethorpes with a very interesting place to visit both on the way there and on the way back.
684] IMPORTANT! Help us to help you. If you cannot supply an email address with a booking you
MUST please supply an SAE and a second if an initial acknowledgement is required. This is to reduce
the administrative burden on your very busy fixtures team and save their time.
685] Saturday 2 May UPDATE: (BLN 1230.609) The P&DSR full track tour filled very quickly with a long
waiting list; no more bookings please. Apologies if you missed out; options were explored to increase
capacity. A repeat may be possible, expressions of interest to [email protected] or write per BLN
1230. Places are still possibly available on the £5 haulage ride and certainly on the FGW trip. Expected
route of the latter: Plymouth station to Friary buffers, out via the Down Arrival Line back on the Up
Departure Line, through Laira Depot on Road No3, to the Stop Board on Down Goods and back to
Plymouth station. Traction 08644 and 08645, all subject to availability on the day (see BLN 1229.517).
686] Nairn - Huntly Signal Box visits, Saturday 20 June: 09.15 at Nairn station (trains from Inverness
and Dundee cross then with sleeper connection). It is hoped to visit Nairn which, unusually, has a
Westcad VDU and Key Token machine in the station building (also the redundant two boxes which one
signaller used to bicycle between!), Forres, Elgin, Keith and Huntly boxes. On the day charity donation
£25. Queries and bookings to Nick Jones [email protected] 07768631867 or (SAE) to
57, Blar Mhor Rd, Caol, Fort William, PH33 7HR. NB: Please confirm you have OR require a high Hi-Vis
jacket (also if any spares and how many). Also if you will come by car (and how many lifts you could
offer) or train. Sunday visits under investigation; ScotRail may run steam trains in the area both days.
BLN 1231.687] BLS Coventry Area visits, Saturday 27 June: The Three (In)Spires(rations) Tour!
(1): 10.30, Fairfield Lake & Smite Brook Railway, Pailton: An immaculately laid out strictly private
1,000 yd 7¼" gauge line in the owner’s estate approximately 10 miles from Coventry station (30
minutes by car) in the good company of the Coventry MES. A rendezvous point will be advised to
participants. If the weather is good the owner may fire up his steam yacht for our enjoyment on the
lake encircled by part of the railway, offering interesting photo opportunities. Left is Lakeside Halt,
right is the Orchard Railway (see below), drawing the Royal Coach out of the shed (Simon Mortimer).
(2): 13.30, Coventry Electric Railway Museum (CERM) near Coventry Airport: Standard gauge and 7¼"
lines. Rides confirmed with Spondon No1 and a brake van along the demonstration line into the
adjacent field. (Below: Ruston on crane and Spondon No1 at rear on a 'field trip' _ Simon Mortimer.)
A Hi-Vis jacket is required and an honorary day membership*. The recently extended miniature railway
(a loop near the entrance) will also be available for rides and all Museum exhibits can be viewed.
*IMPORTANT: the full name of each participant is required for day membership. Also advise if you
have a high Hi-Vis jacket (and how many spares) or if one is needed.
(3): Orchard Line Miniature Railway, Eastcote: To follow, an extensive, complex 7¼" gauge 800yd line,
fully colour light signalled (including route feathers) with some distinctive motive power, approx. 10
miles west of Coventry. It was once public; transport for putative fruit pickers, or even for those with
no immediate interest in gathering fruit and more in gathering track! A change in agricultural practices
and ownership means it is retained by a very select group of model engineers on a now private site.
For those who went c2006, the layout has changed appreciably with both additions and closures.
Cost of the whole day is £30 (BLS Members), non-members if space available, £40. Please apply
promptly by 1st class post, supply an email address (or SAE if not available) to our member Simon
Mortimer, 3 Stanway Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, CV5 6PH. Enclose a cheque payable to 'Branch Line
Society' or a card payment authority. Enquiries to Simon at [email protected] 07835 739940.
688] BLS Spa Valley Explorer, Thursday 30 July, 16.00: With some different lines from our 31 July 2014
railtour! Tunbridge Wells West: Run Round Loop, Yard lines (as available) and headshunt. West of the
station the temporary embankment landslip deviation should be in use. Groombridge: crosses the two
DEMUs in the loop 'wrong' direction; right hand line of Ashurst Spur carriage sidings line (ex-third side
of the triangle) and if possible the top of the Engineer's Siding. Groombridge crossover 'wrong
direction'. Eridge: Bay platform, end of line stub of track 'beyond buffer stops'. Then to East/West No2
siding outside Tunbridge Wells where arrival is expected to be in the yard, possibly No3 Road. Motive
power includes 73140 (and maybe something more exciting!) with brake vans or DEMU 1133. £25 per
person (or £31 with a Day Rover - purple timetable http://goo.gl/cXBal7 ). Bookings with cheque payee
'Branch Line Society' or CPA to Glen Wells, 48 Eastville Avenue, Rhyl, Denbighshire, LL18 3TN. Specify if
interested in footplate ride(s) at extra cost. Queries [email protected] or 01745 797902.
689] FIXTURES REPORTS, Visit to Imerys installations, 28 November 2014: (BLN 1226.220) (60/29)
Further to this report, our oldest fixtures organiser, local St. Austell member Maurice Dart, (who
recently celebrated his 83rd birthday while also still very busy compiling many books!) adds that before
the party visited Wheal Martyn (not Wheel Martin!) Museum and looked at the railway exhibits, there
was a visit to the Bojea branch terminus at Lansalson, where parts of a point remain buried, and they
viewed the flooded Lansalson clay pit. At Rocks Dryers the locos were P405D 'ISAAC' and P406D 'ALEX';
also the shunter previously at Blackpool was a 4wD rather than a 0-4-0. At Parkandillack several
participants inspected the exterior of the Beam engine. Maurice is hoping to arrange a couple more of
his interesting and popular days out in the area before too long.
690] 'Chasewater Track Chaser,' Sunday 8 March: (43 and 44/60) Fifty six participants reported to
Chasewater (Country) Park, now a far cry from the 'glory days' when the reservoir was the centre of a
network of grimy colliery railways, pits and spoil tips. It was built in 1797 to supply the Wyrley &
Essington Canal and subsequently the 160 mile Birmingham area canal network. Most present enjoyed
a (rather too) leisurely full English breakfast at Brownhills West included in the fare. Eventually our
railtour set off behind North British Locomotive 27876 'D2911' with Shark brakevan 993736, Riding
Van 544440 and WD brakevan 11022 masquerading as 'NCB Littleton No2.' The Riding Van was a grey
former Engineers' tool van with a centre table, good visibility, plenty of room and most importantly a
hot stove! Departing at midday from line 4, with involvement of blue HE6678 (ex-NCB Staffordshire)
from the end loading dock (0m 00ch), the tour ran through Brownhills West loop, then took the new
2014 alignment at the station throat. The double curve here has very recently been straightened to
make it easier and safer to shunt whilst allowing for a possible future headshunt and loop there. A fast
run was made through Norton Lakeside to Chasetown (Church Street) taking the station run round
loop to the end of line at 1m 66ch. The platform line was then traversed as far as the spring points at
the end of the run round loop would allow (these have an extremely strong spring and, last time it was
clipped, took three days to repair!). Then back to Chasewater Heaths station, where the party was
delighted to find that the three sidings normally completely blocked by motley rolling stock, that
looked when we had passed earlier as if they hadn't moved for many years, had been cleared onto the
running line back towards Brownhills by 08202. All three sidings were cautiously and thoroughly
traversed and then the tour returned to Chasewater Heaths platform (http://goo.gl/F0vMqy) for a
very welcome hot drink in the café, whilst the cleared rolling stock was returned to its home.
Back at Brownhills West, the 2'0" Chasewater Narrow Gauge Railway ran especially for the party (a
relatively rare event). Multiple trips were made 10 at a time in ex-NCB colliery manrider 003 with a 4-
wheeled 1960 built Ruston Hornsby (441424). These started from Hawthorn Halt; included the end of
line there, the steeply graded high level line to Pen Y Bryn, see http://goo.gl/OnaTyA and the pièce de
résistance low level line, not used by public trains, into the loco shed. During this time (and for most of
the day), participants were able to visit the interesting museum which focuses on local railway
artefacts, the Heritage Centre, workshops, loco shed and signal box. Of particular interest was a plan
kindly produced by our member and former Chasewater Chairman, David Bathurst. This was the
former Brownhills layout and showed how it relates to the current one after it was moved, much
extended and rebuilt to a higher standard for construction of the M6 Toll Road. Complimentary
refreshments were available at the station. Resuming on the standard gauge at Brownhills West, it
was the increasingly familiar and successful BLS-style pattern of a second locomotive (08202) clearing
out a line, the tour traversing it and then the stock being replaced. In this way, the tour covered the
yard headshunt to the buffers, back to the loco shed door, the four lines to the Heritage Centre Doors
(other than the very end of line 4 where the top of Brereton signal box was sitting on a well wagon. It
was visited in its previous location by a Society party on 24 July 2013.) Then the two workshop sidings
(lines 9 & 10) were similarly covered. Our train also completed the station platform (line 3); of
particular interest was its connection from there to the run round headshunt not normally used by
passenger carrying trains. Another superb day, the components all came together nicely at this very
friendly railway notable for unusually having so many young volunteers; always good to see.
BLN 1231.691] North Norfolk Railway (NNR) 'Wissington Wanderer' railtour: (45 and 46/60) On the
inauspicious Friday 13 of March, 25 participants (due to this party size strictly 'members only')
headed for the delightfully preserved Sheringham (NNR) station complete with classical BR Eastern
Region illuminated lamp shades and many other features. 24 participants left just after 11.00 from
the rare bay P3 in a very suitable vehicle, the ex-Wisbech and Upwell Tramway Bogie Composite No7
(60461 RRM32). This was similar to the one (No8) used in the 'Titfield Thunderbolt' film, which the
railway had faithfully re-enacted at a superb gala in June 2012. This lovely coach had great visibility
from the two balconies and most importantly is quite short! 'Toby the Tram Engine' was nowhere to
be seen, instead the tour was steam hauled by Hudswell Clarke 1700 'Wissington', a 1938 0-6-0 IC
Saddle Tank No5, which once worked on the Wissington Light Railway at the eponymous sugar factory
off the former Stoke Ferry branch. This agricultural railway used to run 18 miles out into the Fens.
(BLN 1231) (LEFT: View from the footplate,
of 'Wissington' the signalbox was indeed
switched out! With thanks to Malda Vek.)
With the P3 departure came the rarer left
hand line out of Sheringham NNR station
and then participants enjoyed the
undulating route, formerly double track in
one place, following the North Norfolk
coast in bright sun. The train took
the reversible Weybourne P2 and past
the platform at Kelling Heath Park to arrive
in the non-preferred Holt P2. There the
loco ran round and propelled the coach to
the buffer stops (37m 50ch), since July
1987 the western limit of this ex-M&GNR
line. Before 28 December 1964 it had
continued to Melton Constable (the 'Crewe
of Norfolk') and until 1959 from there to
Peterborough, Norwich and Yarmouth
Beach etc. The advantage of a short coach and locomotive became evident as the train easily cleared
the points enabling a run through P1 to the wagons in the headshunt (the Down Siding) past the signal
box. Again the points were cleared for the set back into Holt Yard to each of the two unballasted
sidings behind P1 in turn reaching the wagons, beneath the museum's wooden overall roof. The
Wissington Light Railway was also unballasted but the loco's axle load is only 8 tons.
The tour returned to P1 for a break whilst participants made for the elevated 3½"/5" North Norfolk
Model Engineering Club railway which ran two trains specially. There is an interesting moveable
double sector plate just outside the station (so four positions are possible; two crossing lines and
two straight on routes). Leaving the station, left hand running along the line and round the loop is
normal due to the configuration of the dual gauge track. The highlight was the two non-passenger
lines from 'Holt Minor' station west over the turntable and their two run off lines to the buffers;
miniature Class 08 and 66 haulage was enjoyed. Participants kept the staff talking until the 25th
participant (the organiser, our heavily delayed Fixtures Secretary) appeared, two hours late due to
problems on NR, just in time to do all the track and haulage here. On the way back to Weybourne,
the first two steep and sharply curving sidings off to the right were taken down to Bridge Road
Carriage sheds, where the doors had been opened for our visit.
Next a lunch stop at Weybourne with drinks, sandwiches, crisps and lovely homemade cake available.
Our members had the whole line to themselves for the day, so a 'run past' was carried out before
taking the yard headshunt, then Road 6 'PW Siding' (the furthest one from the running line and the
only one not covered on our extensive 15 June 2013 brakevan tour here) and Road 2, almost to the
shed door as it was clear. The train then ran along the normally unidirectional non-preferred P1 to the
overbridge. Weybourne (and Holt) signal boxes were switched out and we were shunting with a 'long
token' from Sheringham. To run through this loop would require all three boxes to be open.
Returning to Sheringham, the tour took the normal reversible line in front of the signal box into P1
where it waited whilst D3940 (08772) removed the coaches blocking P2 (which most of the party
joined for the haulage and the crossover). Very cleverly, they were shunted up to the back of our
tour train, which participants rejoined for the run east to the NR boundary (42m 67ch) to reverse and
then through P2 completing the East End run round loop. Next it was forward to the West End
headshunt and (after more coaches had been moved) another reversal to complete the West End run
round loop and terminate back where the tour had started in bay P3. Thus the main station layout,
normally blocked with numerous coaches, was covered efficiently. Participants were very grateful to
all at the NNR, the Engineers' Club and not least the inimitable Kev Adlam for the arrangements. All
agreed it was well worth the very long journeys for such a good day and with good weather. The NNR
volunteers enjoyed the day as much as our members and have invited the Society to return.
BLN 1231.692] Velocipede Rides: (60/47) On the morning of 4 April, 24 members turned up to see
some well known Society people riding a three-wheeled 'Buda Velocipede' (or Platelayers' tricycle).
This was up and down the extended 130yd very rare standard gauge line at Kidderminster Railway
Museum (KRM) in front of Wrangaton signal box adjacent to the SVR station. The resident brakevan
and wagon had kindly been moved to each end of the line and the gate opened to maximise the run.
Two flanged metal wheels of the vehicle (which takes one person) both sit on the left-hand rail and a
metal arm extends to a third balance wheel on the right-hand rail; most of the superstructure is
wooden. It is 'hand-propelled' in the sense that the rider moves a handlebar back and forward which
motion is transmitted to the wheels through a series of cogs. The velocipede has to be turned at the
end of each ride because it promptly derails with any reverse movement (as we saw!). Appearing
lightweight, 3 people are really needed to turn it due to the weight of the wheels and its width. This
was all great fun and good speeds were achieved; fortunately an effective brake was provided too! £65
was donated to our KRM friends; thanks to the curator David Postle for the excellent arrangements.
BELOW: A member tries his hand at riding a velocipede; Kidderminster Railway Museum is behind, the
Severn Valley Railway station is to the right. (Photo thanks to Dave Cromarty.)
BLN 1231.693] PSUL 2015 Donation: (BLN 1220 p451) As the choice of the compiler, Richard Maund,
the Society is pleased to have recently donated a further £500 in lieu of his royalties for the 2015
edition to the National Railway Museum (NRM) as last year to support their York Search Engine. This
will assist in making their collection more accessible for railway researchers by helping to maintain
opening hours and pay for extra cataloguing. A letter of gratitude has been received from the NRM
which also indicates that they hope to launch their 'on-line archive catalogue' later in the year.
694] URLs in e-BLN: These do not need to be 'cut and pasted' but should work with a simple 'click'. If
they are cut and pasted, do not include any punctuation or full stop; otherwise they will not function!
695] BLN Dispatch: Our volunteer Woking dispatch team who send out paper BLN and its insertions,
generally on a Thursday morning twice a month, are short of helpers again, particularly amongst local
members. They currently rely on the same few members who travel quite long distances. Anyone who
can assist, even just occasionally, please contact our Distribution Officer Dave Monger (back page). It is
a very good and enjoyable social occasion too. No previous experience is necessary!
696] BLN Envelopes: We have received occasional reports of BLN envelopes arriving at Members'
homes in a damaged condition and would appreciate notification if this has happened to you (to Paul
Stewart per back page email, text or letter please) to give an idea of the scale of the possible problem.
1231 HEAD LINES: Record of Openings and Closings
Above: A Haydock Race special at Ashton-in-Makerfield on 9 August 1975. The 11.35 from Oldham and
Rochdale (11.50) the fare was 75p return; Manchester Victoria and Bolton (50p return), via Wigan NW
(reverse) arriving at 13.15 and returning after the race meeting at 17.30. (Despite appearances water
troughs had not been installed for steam specials). Thanks to Ian Mortimer.
697] Haydock Branch Jct. - Ashton-in-Makerfield: (TRACKmaps Vol 4.p26C August 2013) NRU; the line
was originally part of the Great Central Railway St. Helens Central branch and is now accessed by a BR
1968 curve off the WCML. On 7 March 2015 the Pathfinder 'Lancashire Links' railtour remarkably
reached fairly dense vegetation near the end of line at 0m 53ch (SJ 5965 9867). A light engine proving
run had taken place the previous week. Beyond the present buffer stops, DMU passenger trains
(advertised in BLN), ran on Haydock Park race days to Ashton-in-Makerfield station until 5 July 1975;
there was oil and scrap traffic beyond. The Kelbit branch junction off this line at 0m 32ch is intact but
now has a permanent fence across at the NR boundary. Originally it was the line to Edge Green Colliery
(closed 1969) then it served Kelly's Bitumen (Kelbit) works. The extremely curvaceous branch was
amazingly included on the 21 September 1991 IME tour. By 2010 the works had closed and the site
was a rail served Hanson stone terminal. It was last used for inwards ballast from Penmaenmawr
quarry aggregate sidings (now CG) near the North Wales station of the same name. The stone was
taken on by road for various Metrolink extensions; some also went by train directly to Guide Bridge.
BLN 1231.698] Newport, Bird Port Rail Terminal (2m 19ch) - Uskmouth B (Fifoots) Power Station (3m
07ch) & private sidings beyond: (BLN 1211.931) ROG 9 March, inward coal/biomass traffic from
Portbury and now generating electricity again. The 393MW power station (closed in May 2014) was
purchased by new owners in December who plan to convert it to burn just biomass. Built in 1959, it is
the oldest and least efficient UK coal fired power station but also one of the cleanest with low Nitrous
Oxide burners, desulpherisation equipment, and can already take biomass as well as coal. Emissions
are considered to be close to Carbon Neutral! It does not extract water from the River Usk, or dump
waste water but uses treated sewage water; clean energy indeed! Metal traffic continues to Bird Port.
699] Emirates Greenwich Peninsula - Emirates Royal Docks: TCP 16- 22 March 2015 incl. for annual
planned maintenance work, passengers were redirected to LU, DLR, bus and river services. [TfL.]
700] Rother Valley Railway, Robertsbridge: (BLN 1211. 939) The new mainline connection was
complete by 20 March 2015; notification of commissioning/first use appreciated.
701] IOW, Ryde St. John's Road (excl) - Shanklin station (incl), and four intermediate stations: (BLN
1223.1860) ROP on Friday 20 March (a day early) after TCP since 12 January inclusive. The £2M of work
included installation of two high level steel retaining walls on the Down side at the unstable cutting
north of Sandown. One is at the base of the bank and has been inserted four metres into the ground
with a second at the top of the bank, nine metres deep. 4,000 tonnes of new granular fill material was
brought in to re-grade the slope and to help avoid a build-up of water behind the retaining walls, weep
holes and drainage was dug. Opportunistic normal track maintenance was carried out during the
daytime. Some signalling components, rails and sleepers were replaced and maintenance performed
at the sub-station. With reopening, the last train departure from Shanklin has been retimed later
(22.38) arriving Ryde Pier Head at 23.00 to better connect with the last Portsmouth catamaran sailing.
702] Annbank Jct. - Drongan Jct. - Killoch Washery: (BLN 1228.494) CG from 1 April 2015.
703] New Cumnock, Bank Jct. - (Greenburn Jct.) - Kier Mining Greenburn Open Cast Loading Point:
(BLN 1196.1518) CG from 1 April 2015, a 1m 75ch single track branch; the NR boundary (1m 30ch) is at
Boig Road level crossing. The first 55ch from Bank Jct. to the former Greenburn Jct. was originally part
of the G&SWR Knockshinnoch branch to Bank Colliery. The Greenburn branch proper was built with a
£3.9M grant; it is 1m 20ch from Greenburn Jct. to the end of line (NS 5745 1337) and the first test train
ran on 4 May 2004 with 'official opening' on 8 June 2004. The coal loading point is at (NS 5784 1345).
704] Butterwell Jct. - Potland Burn Disposal Point (4m 76ch*): CG from 1 April 2015, there is now no
traffic on this branch, including at the intermediate Butterwell Disposal Point. Part is the residual
section of the 'Butterwell Light Railway'. For more information see (BLN 1202.165). *Mileage from
Bedlington Jct. via Ashington. End of line: (NZ 2642 8955); Potland Burn loading pad: (NZ 2625 9008).
BLN 1231.705] Bescot Jct. - Rugeley Trent Valley (excl) & Bescot Stadium station and 8 intermediate
stations: TCP 3 to 7 April 2015 inclusive; Easter closure for electrification work (completion of which is
due in December 2017). Park Street Tunnel track was lowered, north of Walsall station (with rebuilding
of P1) also at Forest Lane, Canal Aqueduct (Wyrley & Essington Canal) and Bloxwich Road overbridges
all just north of Ryecroft Jct. The cost and difficulty of this used to be given as a reason for not
electrifying the line. The SO 06.38 PSUL Wolverhampton to Walsall was replaced by a special bus!
706] Watford North Jct. (17m 74ch): From 7 April 2015 completely OOU (and may not return to use).
707] Manchester Victoria East Jct. - Metrolink Victoria Millgate: From 7 April 2015 the Up Rochdale
Slow Line to Metrolink strategic connection, (north east of the station/tram stop) was plain lined at the
NR end. This had been carried out at the Metrolink end on 28/29 June 2014. (BLN 1213.1066)
708] Nottingham Express Transit,*The Forest - Wilkinson Street stops (excl) and 5 intermediate
stops: TCP 3 to 8 April inclusive over Easter for upgrading the tram tracks near Wilkinson Street Depot
ready for increased traffic due to the extensions. (*Rare crossover/middle line used to/from the south)
709] London Underground, Royal Oak station: TCP 11 April expected to 10 May (both inclusive) for
demolition and replacement of the platform staircase from the station entrance, the only access.
Tickets will not be issued and passengers are advised to take the bus to/from Paddington or Ladbroke
Grove stations. Circle / Hammersmith & City lines. (GWR mainline trains to and from London
Paddington (etc) called at Royal Oak until 1 October 1934.)
710] Reading, single track diveunder between Festival Line and the Down Relief/Up Relief: OP
Monday 13 April with the 05.15 from Southampton Central (reversing in Reading P3) to Manchester
Piccadilly, five further XC (and two evening FGW) trains were booked that day in the Down direction.
The first booked train in the Up direction was the 06.16 Leeds to Southampton Central (Reading P3
reverse) then seven XC trains. (BLN 1219 p436 of 18 October 2014 has a track plan.)
711] Moorfields station: (amends BLN 1230.622) TCP P3 (Wirral Line) 13 April now to 31 July 2015.
1231 Prospective Network and Train Service Changes (includes five new stations due to open)
712] Cranbrook station: (BLN 1159.456) OP expected Sunday 17 May 2015 (08.46 to Salisbury). A
£4.5M greenfield site single platform station (SX 9994 9549) between Whimple and Pinhoe (ex-LSWR)
with 19 Up and Down services SSuX; 14 SuO and 17 Up/18 Down SO, most to Waterloo or St. Davids.
713] Newcourt station: (BLN 1223.1858) OP expected Sunday 17 May 2015 (08.45 to Exmouth). A
£1.5M single platform station (SX 9609 9056) between Digby & Sowton and Topsham on the Exmouth
branch. A half-hourly service is provided to Exeter (and beyond) and Exmouth (hourly Winter Sundays).
714] Todmorden Viaduct Jct. (19m 30ch) - Stansfield Hall Jct. (30m 54ch) 'Todmorden West Curve':
(BLN 1226.234) ROP/OP is expected Sunday 17 May with the 08.18 Blackburn to Manchester Victoria
via Burnley Manchester Road and the 08.40 from Manchester Victoria to Blackburn. A 16.4ch single
track line controlled by Preston PSB. A 'VIP launch day' is scheduled for Tuesday 26 May.
715] Ebbw Vale Parkway (18m 25ch) - Ebbw Vale: (BLN 1219.1565) expected OP 'mid 2015'. A new
1½ mile £9M branch extension and a 6-car single brownfield site platform terminus with an hourly
Cardiff Central service (2-hourly on Sundays) and a new single car funicular railway 'up' to the town.
BLN 1231.716] Newport, Park Jct. - Gaer Jct.: 23 to 25 May, (Bank Holiday weekend) services between
Ebbw Vale and Cardiff are diverted to Newport, except the last two on Saturday and final one Monday.
717] Bermuda Park station: (BLN 1207.643) OP is expected in June of this two platform station (SP
3594 8932) between Nuneaton and Bedworth; currently an hourly Nuneaton to Coventry line service.
718] Coventry Arena station: (BLN 1219.1551) OP is expected in June of this two platform station
(SP344833) between Coventry and Bedworth served by the hourly Nuneaton to Coventry service.
719] Bicester South Jct. - Gavray Jct.: (BLN 1190.1076) Monday 3 August the new 45ch double track
'Bicester Chord' is due to be commissioned, partly on a gradient of 1:33, the permitted speed is
40mph. OP is expected on Saturday 5 September 2015.
720] East West Phase 1; Oxford Parkway - Bicester Town (inclusive): (BLN 1226.228) RO is expected
3 August (ROP due Saturday 5 September) 2015 initially for crew training. The former single line will be
upgraded to a high-speed double track line between the new Oxford Parkway station and Bicester
Town (but see next item) inclusive. The 'Up' and 'Down' designations will be exchanged, i.e. 'Up' will be
to Oxford. The former Route Boundary at 18m 40ch (Bicester Eastern Perimeter Road level crossing)
between the LNW(S) and Western route had already been relocated to 27m 73ch (Banbury Road
Ground Frame) and from 3 August will relocate further to 29m 25ch (64ch short of Oxford North Jct.).
721] Bicester Town station (TCP since 15 February 2014) is to be renamed Bicester Village on ROP,
with commencement of the new Chiltern Railways London Marylebone to Oxford Parkway service,
expected to start on the 5 September 2015. Whilst the Bicester Village shopping centre (where a large
proportion of the passengers will travel to) is adjacent to, south and west and the name might suit the
owners, the station is also adjacent to the area known as Langford Village to the east. In terms of
clarity of railway provision it is undesirable to imply that Bicester and Bicester Village are separate
entities as both Bicester North and Bicester Town equally serve the one town centre.
722] IÉ, Dublin, Islandbridge Jct. - Phoenix Park Tunnel - Glasnevin Jct.: ROP expected 'mid-2016'
after signalling work has been completed with new services from the Kildare direction to Grand Canal
Dock station south of Dublin Pearse. Off peak 1tph and 4tph during the peak hours.
1231 BLN GENERAL
723] No News Story: Unlikely to be reported in the media is the extensive Easter NR engineering work
that was all completed on time including the Bolton line, Manchester Victoria, Walsall, Liverpool St. to
Colchester/Southend Victoria, Watford Jct., Slough, Reading and major work on Southeastern services.
724] April 1st story: From that day the ORR, previously the 'Office of Rail Regulation' became the
'Office of Rail and Road' with the added responsibilities of monitoring the performance and efficiency
of the strategic road network. It will be interesting to see what proportion of road journeys are
actually late, the arrangements for claiming compensation and who will pay this!
725] E-BLN 1230: Attachments included e-BLN Pictorial with some original spectacular shots taken by
Stuart Mackenzie on the Forth Bridge also Lee Nash's latest railtour and event Diary. Also with kind
permission of our member Chris Parker, (Railway Ramblers area organiser for Wales) his illustrated
notes from their walk on Saturday 28 March including part of the Prestatyn to Dyserth branch. This
high quality, interesting, illustrated handout is typical of Chris's work and is sure to be of interest to
our members. For details of Railway Ramblers see http://goo.gl/Vz8ZD2 or BLN 1172 p 377.
BLN 1231.726] Quiz: Which NR line of significant length (over 10 miles as opposed to a curve or spur)
has an all year regular passenger service only timetabled to run on Sundays? Answer in next BLN.
727] Unusual Track:
Hazelhatch Bay: (BLN 1229.577) Hourly use is expected 2, 3, 16 & 23 May, 6 June, 4 July, 12 &
26 Sept., 3 & 31 Oct. and 7 & 14 Nov. Check http://goo.gl/ie8Wmv or +353 (0)1 8366222.
Stainforth Jct. - Applehurst - Skellow - Carcroft Jcts.: SuO 14 & 28 June 08.40 Hull to Sheffield.
Ilford Up Flyover Avoiding Line (BLN 1230.628) 05.40, 08.30 and 11.30 SSuX Southend Victoria
to London Liverpool St., use of this rare line depends on punctuality of conflicting trains (some
are freight) and is as far as the connection to the Up Electric line east of Manor Park station.
Another P0 has been reported, at Castle Hedingham main station on the doomed Colne Valley
Railway (BLN 1230.635) used by the 2008 built and subsequently extended 'Garden Railway'.
Now over 700m long this has a 1:50 gradient woodland loop (which does not operate in the
winter or after heavy rain). It runs alongside and close to the standard gauge line (usually 11.30
to 16.00 on standard gauge operating days). Wednesday 19 August is a Miniature Railway Gala.
728] Free Information: From 24 March NR were formally subject to the Freedom of Information Act
(FOI) provisions. In practice many have found that that since June 2012 NR have, if possible and to a
reasonable request, provided information voluntarily (and also stated that they were then exempt).
729] Ordnance Survey (OS) Maps: Further to the
curious case of two non-existent railway bridges shown
on the 1986 1:50,000 scale OS Landranger map 126
over the A5 Oswestry by-pass (BLN 1227.377), which
are actually level crossings, is the Littleport by-pass
(A10) north of that station. The Ely to Kings Lynn line
runs on level ground for mile after mile yet is depicted
on the 1986 Landranger map 143 as crossing the A10
remarkably on an overbridge (with no embankment
either side). Unsurprisingly, it is in fact another level
crossing. There is a different example of mis-mapping in
Scotland at Larkhall where the branch (ROP December
2005) actually ends at the platform buffer stops, before
a minor road (McNeil Street) on an embankment to the
south. However, Landranger map 64 (2010 revision)
shows the branch continuing another 11½ch under that
road with a long headshunt to (NS 7609 5096). There is a
footpath south of the station roughly on the course of
that non-existent railway, which goes under the road. Above left: Although not that 'sharp' perhaps
the strangest thing on an OS map your Editor has seen (negative contour lines come a close second)?
From the OS 7th Series 1 inch to a mile 1965/6 revision map sheet 156 showing the Severn Railway
Bridge. This was clearly amended between 26 October 1960 when the bridge was hit by two barges in
fog bringing down a couple of the 22 spans (a third came down in February 1961) and when it was
demolished starting in 1967. This took three years and until the bridge was damaged the second time
BR had even planned to repair it. The stations shown as CP (white spots) are: top middle Severn
Bridge, near the adjacent Severn Bridge Tunnel on the former Severn & Wye line from Lydney, then
crossing the bridge (mind the gap), Sharpness by the dock lines and on the branch from Berkeley Road
Jct. is Berkeley (bottom right). Occasional nuclear flask trains still run from the latter to Sellafield, with
Berkeley Power Station decommissioning; they run round just short of the junction for Sharpness
Docks. On this map some Dock lines, the Sharpness branch and the Gloucester to Lydney line (on the
west river bank) are 'marked' and the visits to Sharpness Docks are dated; there were no Quails then!
BLN 1231.730] Coal Traffic undermined: Since 1 April there has been a dramatic overall reduction in
power station coal traffic by rail (for six months at least), particularly long distance. This was due to
heavy stocking at power stations before the Carbon Tax rose. What coal is being carried is generally
over shorter distances and there are a few new local flows. For example Hunterston mostly supplies
Longannet (closing in March per BLN 1230) so there are now fewer coal trains on the G&SW and Settle
& Carlisle lines. Some wagon sets are even being stored although there are some extra Biomass trains.
731] Network Rail Bridges: (BLN 1219.1501) An Excel spreadsheet of ALL NR railway bridges, over
35,200 (!) including those maintained by third parties. Go to http://goo.gl/03NNa5 ignore the error
message but click 'Download the original attachment' top right (takes a while to load). Interestingly it
has the bridges on the closed branches to MoD Caerwent and from Gobowen to Nantmawr Quarry.
1231 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
732] Nottingham NET: Testing of the full length of the Clifton and Chilwell extensions continues. On 19
March a tram reached Clifton Park and Ride for the first time and similarly on 1 April Toton Park and
Ride. Passenger services are expected to start on both extensions by late June. A morning peak NET
enhanced timetable began on 16 March following introduction of five of the 22 new Citadis trams on
Line 1. From David Lane to Station Street stops this means a tram every 3-5 minutes, or an extra 200
seats per hour (the second frequency increase in less than 12 months). A similar evening peak 3-5
minute frequency is due to start between Station Street and Highbury Vale on 20 April. Trams will run
every 7-10 minutes to Hucknall and Phoenix Park. This has been done in preparation for opening of the
extensions. An unlimited NET day rover is only £3.70, generous small group discounts are available.
733] Nottingham to Lincoln: A recent rail replacement bus to Newark Castle left from Nottingham via
the former Melton Mowbray line (CA in 1967) route's bow girder bridge over the River Trent; since
taken over by the A6011 road. At Newark Castle connecting trains to Lincoln left from the Up platform
over the station east end crossover. This will be used regularly from 18 May by ECS changing
platforms; the hourly Matlock to Nottingham (formerly to Derby) service is being further extended to
Newark in the new timetable. The crossover is to be relocated 200yd eastwards as part of the
Lowdham to Newark (Nottingham North East) re-signalling scheme, completion of which is deferred
from November 2015 to summer 2016. The 1846 Grade II listed station building at Newark Castle is to
be returned to railway use around the end of August with a ticket office and a retail facility.
734] Staythorpe: From 30 March, also as part of the Nottingham North East Re-signalling Scheme, the
trailing crossover at 14m 14ch was removed and the OOU connection from the Down line into the
former Staythorpe Power Station sidings plain lined with removal of the associated ground signals.
735] GN & GE Joint Line: (BLN 1229.536) Name boards had been removed from signal boxes at least
south of the listed High Street box (exclusive) by 7 April. Maybe someone has been reading BLN?
1231 GREATER LONDON
736] Tottenham Court Road: (BLN 1225.156) Although TfL has always intended to retain 95% of the
distinctive tiling by Eduardo Paolozzi during the station renovation, it has now been agreed that the
designs at the former Oxford Street entrance, which were not to be retained, will be removed by
restoration experts and preserved safely for redisplay within the station.
BLN 1231.737] Brixton, Canterbury Road Jct. - Loughborough Jct.: (BLN 1218.1433) As noted in the
2015 PSUL, alternative paths over this line exist for certain overnight Thameslink services. A member
has supplied details of its last use by regular scheduled passenger services. The LC&DR/SE&CR
Moorgate Street to Clapham Junction (L&SWR side) service ceased on 7 June 1914 but an L&SWR
service (a much reduced remnant of their Richmond to Ludgate Hill service) remained until 3 April
1916. There was later a very short lived SE&CR Ludgate Hill to Brixton service from 4 October 1920 to 1
April 1921 only; presumably an ill-fated late attempt to regain traffic from trams? Then there was a
single unadvertised small hours staff trip from Ludgate Hill to Victoria and back to Loughborough
Junction (end date not known).
738] Putney: (BLN 1175.1531) The station rebuilding, expected to be finished in the summer, is over a
year behind schedule. The new lift shafts are of an austere design, finished as plain concrete tubes.
739] London Overground: (BLN 1148.1087) The proposed station, for which passive provision was
made at the time the line ROP, south of Surrey Quays at Surrey Canal Road, is to be built and called
New Bermondsey after a proposed development of that name. A new entrance is being constructed at
the north end of Shepherds Bush station to better access the Westfield shopping centre there
740] Kew Bridge: On 21 March the original Grade II listed station building with living accommodation
on the first floor was noted to have been extensively refurbished but remained boarded up. A planning
application is being submitted to re-use it for commercial purposes on the lower ground and ground
floors, with a first floor apartment. New homes would also be built in the yard behind the building and
the Down platform. The operational part of the station is being upgraded as part of Brentford Town
Football Club’s proposals for a new nearby stadium. Plans for this stadium include space for potential
platforms on the other two sides of the triangle for possible future services (Wikipedia).
741] Croydon Tramlink: (BLN 1227.344) The line will need to close between Dundonald Road and
Wimbledon for 15 weeks whilst the additional platform is constructed at the latter. Dates have not
been finalised yet but the work is likely to take place after the Wimbledon tennis fortnight which is 29
June to 12 July this year. On 31 March it was noted that some work had started on the new platform.
742] Crossrail: (BLN 1228.455) (1). Plumstead: The Transport Secretary has approved a Transport and
Works Act Order to construct dedicated maintenance and accommodation buildings and stabling
sidings connecting with the eastbound Crossrail line. The Order is required as these facilities were not
included in the 2008 Crossrail Act. It has been realised, since the original plans, that additional stabling
here will avoid ECS moves to and from Old Oak Common, enable longer engineering hours and allow
an earlier ramp up of services from Abbey Wood for the morning peak.
(2). Hayes & Harlington: (BLN 1224.39) Hillingdon Council has approved plans for the new building.
(3). Signalling: Signalling Solutions Ltd. has been awarded a £54M contract to design, manufacture,
supply, install, test and commission the signalling control system between Pudding Mill Lane Jct. and
Shenfield, using Alstom's Smartlock interlocking technology. Preliminary work is already underway and
the project is due for completion in late August 2018. The ultimate intention is that the moving block
signalling to be installed on the core section will also be used on the existing NR sections of line. The
Railway Observer reports that the core central section will be signalled from a new centre in Romford
with no fixed signals but lineside marker boards will be coded 'XR'.
1231 NORTHERN GENERAL
BLN 1231.743] TOC in focus - First TransPennine Express (TPE): The TPE brand was originally launched
in May 1989 by Northern Spirit and subsequently used by Arriva Trains Northern. The franchise began
on 1 February 2004 and has been extended by direct award from 31 January 2012 currently to 1 April
2016 with an option on a further 10 months. TPE, a partnership of FirstGroup (55%) and Keolis (45%),
was 2013 European Intercity Rail Operator of the Year and the first TOC to achieve a 5-star Recognised
for Excellence Status. Services are based on Manchester / Manchester Airport radiating to Edinburgh
and Glasgow via the WCML, also the branch to Windermere; Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool North,
Liverpool, Cleethorpes, Hull, Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Newcastle via intermediate major cities
in the north. Previously nearly all services used Manchester Piccadilly but a new route between
Liverpool Lime Street and Newcastle via Manchester Victoria began in May 2014. Until December 2013
the first Cleethorpes to Barton-on-Humber and return train was unusually a TPE class 185 unit. TPE
operate the first (05.46 SuX) Lancaster to Morecambe train which continues after reversing to
Windermere via the PSUL Bare Lane Jct. to Hest Bank Jct. curve. Their trains call at 105 stations of
which they manage 30; an interesting selection:
Arnside Grimsby Town Seamer
Barnetby Huddersfield Selby
Barrow-in-Furness Hull Stalybridge
Birchwood Kendal Staveley
Brough Malton Thirsk
Burneside Manchester Airport Thornaby
Carnforth Middlesbrough Ulverston
Cleethorpes Northallerton Warrington Central
Dewsbury Scarborough Windermere
Grange-over-Sands Scunthorpe Yarm
Unusually for TOCs these days, TPE has scheduled trains 24 hours a day 7 days a week. 336 weekday
services are operated (including 5tph now in each direction between Manchester and Leeds) and 300
on Sundays carrying an average of 70,000 passengers daily, a high proportion (60%) travel for leisure.
This is with 9 Class 170 and 51 Class 185 DMUs and 10 Class 350/4 EMUs. The Manchester Airport to
Blackpool North service will operate with 6 subcontracted Northern-staffed Class 156 DMUs, from 17
May due to five 170s being lost to Chiltern Railways (the other four are due to go in February 2016).
Some 'pay on the day' seats are available for our third TPE railtour on Sunday 19 April.
1231 NORTH EAST
BLN 1231.744] Tyne and Wear Metro: A member with a couple of days in Newcastle observed the
current pattern of platform usage at St. James and Airport terminals which are actually similar. At St.
James incoming trains take the facing crossover to the right (P1) preferred platform unless it is
occupied then they run straight into P2 returning over the trailing crossover. The latter does not seem
to be intended, even in peaks, and relies on services falling out of their 9 to 13 minute frequency; it
was observed to happen three times over two days due to service perturbations. On the approach to
Airport (rail not air!) the preferred platform is also right (P1) accessed by a facing crossover not far
beyond the preceding stop (Callerton Parkway) with approach control and then a single yellow with a
Position 4 feather, the unit returns directly. Here service frequencies are about 9-13 minutes and if this
remains the interval (or probably no less than 6-7 minutes between services), the unit will clear the
inbound line before the next is ready to crossover. If perturbations bunch services the following train
continues via the parallel northbound track into the left hand P2 regaining the outbound line via the
trailing crossover just outside the station. This was observed once in the two days but all the rails
looked very shiny. Our member would be interested to know if operations have always been like this.
745] Newton Aycliffe: (see map at BLN 1226.269). The new £82M Hitachi IEP train assembly plant at
Merchant Park was connected to the network (the 1825 vintage ex-Stockton and Darlington Railway
no less!) on 25 March. The 1km overhead electrified test track and 7km of sidings here are complete.
1231 NORTH WEST
BLN 1231.746] Manchester Victoria: After Easter (BLN 1226.240) overhead wires are now installed on
all four through lines. They are tied off on the station side of the Cheetham Hill Road bridge and there
are now some masts beyond. Signalling control was transferred to Manchester ROC (Ashburys):
Deal Street Jct. to Ordsall Lane Jct.
Manchester Victoria East to Windsor Bridge South Jcts. (Manch. North box closed at the latter)
Manchester Victoria West Jct. to Moston station.
Thorpes Bridge Jct. to NR/Metrolink Boundary beyond Dean Lane (Greater Manchester Waste).
Miles Platting Jct. to Baguley Fold Jct.
Phillips Park West Jct. to Brewery Jct.
Phillips Park West Jct. to Ashburys West Jct.
Baguley Fold Jct. to Phillips Park South Jct.
747] Metrolink: (1). Victoria: The second island platform will shortly be completed. Tram services will
then use the outer faces of the two platforms; the central reversible single line which has platform
faces both sides will be for 'emergencies' and special workings. (It will eventually be the terminus of
the Airport line service.) The attractive Portuguese paving setts are being re-laid in Balloon Street.
(2). Market Street: The platform has been rebuilt and has a temporary surface and shelters. A new
enlarged single shelter will be built shortly and the platform laid with York Stone blocks. This is for
increased passenger numbers during the St. Peter's Square Station closures (BLN 1228.461.1).
(3). Deansgate/Castlefield: The new Altrincham-bound platform is largely complete. Work has begun
on the new access points. Deansgate Station footbridge covering is being stripped for refurbishment.
(4).Second City Crossing (Phase One): The junction at Victoria has been installed, with four tracks to
Cross Street. About 70% of the outward track is laid, including St. Mary's Gate reversing stub. Work has
started on the inward track; both are visible at Exchange Square, the interim terminus but platform
work has not begun. An autumn opening date is rumoured (shuttle service to Shaw & Crompton bay).
(Phase Two) Work has been delayed as more bodies than anticipated require exhumation from the
site of the Unitarian Chapel burial ground in St. Peter's Square.
(5).St. Peter's Square: A reinforced concrete raft has been cast over the site of St. Peter's Church,
sealing off its crypt. This area, between the existing stop and St. Peter's House, is isolated, and track
laying has already started, most visible from the Oxford Street end.
748] Ordsall Chord: Following the Public Enquiry into the scheme, the Secretary of State for Transport
has finally granted a Transport and Works Act order allowing NR to build this £85M line, and
associated work (totalling £113M), part of the work to connect Manchester Piccadilly, Oxford Road
and Victoria, with completion expected in 2017. Two fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria
and Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester and a Victoria to Manchester Airport service are planned.
Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), the former Liverpool Road station is to lose its
main line connection. Last passenger use was our 'Power Hall Tracker' railtour of 3 November 2013.
749] Salford Central: According to the published plans, at some point west of Victoria the existing four
tracks will fan out to five, designated A to E. These will serve five platforms at Salford Central. Lines D
and E go to Salford Crescent as now. Lines A to C will head to the viaduct alongside the ring road and
fan out to four lines, two going to Ordsall Lane Jct. and Chat Moss and two to the new Ordsall
Chord. The NE end of Middlewood viaduct will be widened on its NW side as part of the Chord
works. So from Eccles to Victoria approaching Salford Central, the viaduct will be widened on its left
side. This enables two tracks to be moved nearer the line from Bolton, to enter Salford Central midway
between the present Bolton tracks and the present Chat Moss tracks (i.e. through the two redundant
platforms). The last of the three tracks between Middlewood Viaduct and Salford Central will be where
the present Liverpool-bound track is. This suggests that Salford Central could be used as an overspill
for Victoria and will be a useful interchange station in its own right. Our correspondent thought that
the two redundant platforms there could not be used for the Liverpool line because of the position of
the underbridges but this work appears to overcome that problem somehow.
BLN 1231.750] Port Salford: Proposals to develop the site have moved on after a report for Salford
City Council recommended approval of reserved matters for the first proposed warehouse. The
Council first gave the green light for the scheme, including 1.7Mft2 of distribution warehouses, a new
rail link, highways works, and a wharf, in 2009. However, the warehouses were only given outline
permission. Now applicant Peel Investments (North) has submitted details of reserved matters for a
'multi-modal freight interchange' on a 23.8 acre site on the western side of the Port Salford site.
751] Irlam: The 1893 built railway station house, once an 'eyesore', has been officially reopened
following a £2M restoration. It is the busiest unmanned station in Greater Manchester with over
240,000 passengers per year. The building was derelict for nearly 25 years. Salford Mayor Ian Stewart
said it had been 'totally transformed from an embarrassment to somewhere the whole community can
be really proud of'. The restoration has introduced a café, toilets, cycle hub and a 60-space car park.
752] Farnworth Tunnels: (BLN 1230.641-3) With apologies for the Editor's (and certainly not the Sub-
Editor's) directional confusion. The Down direction is in fact from Manchester (south east) to Bolton
(north west) through the smaller newer tunnel that is closing after the forthcoming work. The older,
larger 'Clammerclough tunnel' which is being re-bored and realigned for double electrified track is
currently the Up side. The present authorised maximum speeds through the tunnels are 50 mph
(down) and 75 mph (up). After the work it is proposed that 100 mph will be permitted on both lines
There is a video http://goo.gl/NWMIzL accompanied by some dreadful music. The town's main claim
to fame is that two participants in the 1966 World Cup final, (Kenneth Wolstenholme and Alan Ball),
separately attended Farnworth Grammar School which closed in 1982 and was demolished in 1988.
753] Buxton: This double track branch terminus is 25½ miles from Manchester Piccadilly; all arrivals
have to terminate in P2 (left platform on arrival) because the crossover to access P1 is trailing. This is
used in passenger service by P2 departures. Movements into P1 are thus all ECS shunts from P2 or the
Middle Road stabling siding. DMUs stable here overnight and the first five departures are booked from
the non-preferred P1 SSuX with four SO (all Sundays departures are booked from P2). The 18.29 SO
and 19.30 (SSuX) from Buxton are also booked from P1 and good bets to do this as there are two
preceding arrivals, so the first of these shunts across to P1 out of the way of the second. It is fairly easy
to see from the timetable when there are two arrivals before a departure so the next service leaves
from P1 (there is no permissive working).
P1 tends to be used at more civilized times of the day when there is a visiting special train, again these
have to arrive at P2 so a DMU departure at that time will be from P1 as may also be the case when the
special departs. This happened on 14 March with the UKRT 'Buxton Spring' railtour; quite a few
members doing P1 on a departing DMU. The Buxton branch is noticeable for how hard the DMUs have
to work running literally 'Up' the steep grades to the terminus which, at about 1,000 ft above sea level
is said to be England's Highest Market Town (a claim also made by Alston, which is actually higher).
Conversely trains use their brakes rather than their engines for much of the journey 'Down' the
branch. There have been significant problems on the branch with deep drifting snow at times but on a
nice day the views from the trains are recommended.
BLN 1231.754] Halton Curve: The North Cheshire Rail Users Group is planning their annual train over
this curve on Saturday 4 July from Chester calling at Helsby, Frodsham and Liverpool South Parkway. A
request has been made by the Group to Northern Rail to operate it through to Liverpool Lime Street.
1231 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
755] Soham - Ely: The previous plan for long loops at the Ely end was stopped because they were not
then needed. The Ely Standard recently reported progress on doubling (not redoubling as it has always
been single track) this five mile line instead. NR plans to start preliminary site work in 2017 with
construction mostly completed in 2018 during a six month line closure and commissioning 'by 2019'.
Middle Fen Drain bridge will be replaced. (The principal water course crossed is the River Great Ouse
just east of Ely Dock Jct.; Middle Fen Drain is 700m further towards Soham, but not named on current
1:50,000 OS maps.) Cambridgeshire C.C. continues to promote a station at Soham and the new works
will be compatible and permit more frequent passenger trains. The AGA Ipswich to Peterborough DMU
service is currently two-hourly. NR was to hold five local consultation meetings.
756] Shenfield: On 11 March, vegetation clearance was noted behind P5 ready for the new P6 work.
757] Croxley Rail Link: (BLN 1230.645) London Underground is to take over this project entirely.
758] Windsor & Eton Central: From 7 April all branch signals formerly controlled from Slough signal
panel (which closed) were covered OOU and progressively recovered. New 'T' prefix signals were
installed, covered over OOU before commissioning. One train working regulations with a train staff (a
metal token labelled Slough to Windsor) applied to the branch until further notice. The connections
between the East Loop and Bay (P1) lines at Slough were taken OOU pending recovery.
759] Slough: (BLN 1227.363) A member confirms that on 29 March a short section of track had been
removed from Slough bay P6 line (as was due to happen from 23 February) and an LED signal installed
in the 4-foot way for movements on the adjacent track. All other relevant trackwork was still in situ.
760] Maidenhead: By 25 March a new canopy had been erected on the Up Main and Down Relief
platforms around the existing lift. There was still scaffolding around the stairs and waiting room
buildings. Steelwork for a similar canopy at the London end, that is opposite the above, on the Up
Relief and loop platform was also in place.
761] Henley-on-Thames: From 7 to 11 April temporary working arrangements applied on this branch
with one train working regulations using a specially engraved train staff. This was retained by the
driver during internal shuttle working. All branch signals were covered over and taken out of use. Fixed
distant boards were provided on the approaches to Twyford and Henley-on-Thames.
762] Reading double: (BLN 1227.364) The reversal east of Reading station and calling there on the
second passage was observed again on 1 April (no fooling). This adds by one day to the information
that it continued from its January commencement (other than during the Harbury landslip alterations).
763] Welwyn Garden City - Hertford North: This 6½ mile single track branch opened on 1 March 1858
from Welwyn Junction station an interchange station with the GNR advertised to 1 September 1860,
(although Workmen's trains used it to 1923). The junction was to have been triangular but only the
sharp south curve was built. Timetabled passenger trains were withdrawn from the branch with effect
from 18 June 1951, the final passenger train was a railtour on 16 September 1961. As often the case
goods traffic dwindled progressively, the last ran on 12 November 1981, a Class 31 cleared empty
wagons from Norton Abrasives at Attimore Hall. On 7 March 2015, our correspondent set off on foot
along the Cole Green Way. With the passage of time it is getting more difficult to follow the trackbed
at the Welwyn end, due to urban development and industry. It really begins at the site of Attimore
Hall Halt, (TL 2552 1255) on the west side of the former level crossing, of which unsurprisingly nothing
remains. The halt, like Hatfield Hyde Halt (TL264118) ¾ mile further on OP in May 1905 with the start
of railmotor services but both CP 1 July 1905 as there were so few passengers! Cole Green Way is an
'approximation' of the branch in places. After Holwell Hyde level crossing it passes over the landfill site
above the level of the line, before dropping down onto the formation proper before the new A414
culvert, beyond which the footpath is firmly on the trackbed all the way to the edge of Hertford.
Through goods trains ran to Hertford North (Cowbridge) until 18 April 1966 when the connecting line
from Hertford East CA. Our Member recalls that the Holwell Hyde refuse tip was the last source of
freight traffic inward on the line before it closed past Attimore Hall on 23 May 1966. The line was used
for filming until the track was lifted in July 1967. At Cole Green station (TL285111) both passenger
platforms and a goods loading platform exist, but no buildings survive. Hertingfordbury: (TL 3103
1168) the station survives as a private residence 'The Old Station House', screened off by a high fence
along the platform edge. It has a nameplate with a representation of Class A1 4-6-2 No 60136 Alcazar,
a rather big loco for this line! At Hertford the trackbed path divides. Straight ahead, under a skew arch
(the Hertford Loop passes over on a viaduct) is a dead-end, short of the removed bridge over the River
Mimram, which flows into the River Lea or Lee further east. Beyond the overgrown embankment is NR
property, heavily fenced off on the final climb upwards to Hertford North station. The other path,
diverging east, is the exit to the town. (To be continued…..)
1231 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND - SOUTH.
BLN 1231.764] Uckfield - Lewes: The government is to provide £100k funding for another study into
reopening the line (CP 4 May 1969), according to a recent Budget announcement. The possibility of
restoring the former route to the south coast as an alternative to the Brighton line has been looked at
many times before but this funding suggests ministers remain open to the possibility. (Transport
Briefing) [Would the cost of all the studies by now have paid for the line to be built? – Ed.]
765] Pevensey & Westham - Polegate: (BLN 1228.473) The final passenger use of the direct line was
by the LCGB and Bulleid Pacific Preservation Society railtour of 4 January 1969 in both directions. Most
of the original formation is not actually obstructed but there have been some changes of levels since
closure. It is so closely encroached over for some of the way by more recent housing that exact
reinstatement would probably never get past residents’ objections. From the train this is most evident
at the west end. Presumably a potential new chord would be across fields further south.
766] East Kent Resignalling: Commissioning of the East Kent Resignalling was postponed from Easter.
This was too late to stop the extensive possession and resulting bus substitution proceeding, for what
work could be done. Control was to have transferred to Gillingham (East Kent Signalling Control
Centre) with Rochester, Gillingham and Rainham signal boxes abolished and Sittingbourne retained to
just control between Kemsley and Sheerness. No definite future date has been set for commissioning.
This may delay the new Rochester station because the existing panel box is in the way and prevents
completion of the new station and track layout (to be signalled by Gillingham SCC). The new Rainham
bay P0 also cannot be brought into use yet. The remaining 5 Medway Valley line signal boxes (Cuxton,
Aylesford, Maidstone West, East Farleigh and Wateringbury) are now reprieved until at least 2016.
767] Southampton Airport Parkway - Eastleigh: (BLN 1223.1906) The extension of the Up Slow back
towards Southampton Airport Parkway serving the Up platform at Eastleigh is reportedly to permit
crew changes on freight trains in the platform without the rear of the train still occupying other tracks.
On commissioning, a shortage of testers prevented one of the new signals being brought into full use,
though it can be used in emergency, and the purpose of the installation has therefore not yet been
achieved! On an early occasion when the new track was used, simultaneous setting of another route,
on the Down side, led to the interlocking shutting down, reportedly due to inadequate processing
capability for the new demands. This situation continues. (Modern Railways)
768] Winchfield: In the early hours of Tuesday 14 to 17 April, there was to be single line working on
the Up Slow (Hook to Basingstoke). After Fleet the 01.05 Waterloo to Basingstoke was to:
Cross from the Down Slow to the Down Fast at Winchfield and reverse there (signal Be5102).
Cross to the Up Fast then reverse on the Up Fast (signal Be5103).
Cross to the Up Slow then run through Winchfield and Hook to Basingstoke (in theory P1).
This only added seven minutes to the schedule of the final Waterloo departure of the (previous) day.
1231 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
BLN 1231.769] Gloucester Power Signal Box (PSB): On 14 March, thanks to Stuart Hicks, some
members joined an RCTS visit to this PSB (commissioned in 1967) which has some unusual features.
East of the station and south of the railway, it is adjacent to the Derby/Horton Road level crossing
which the signallers operate under direct vision! As with others of its time, it has a NX (entry/exit)
panel with buttons to set the start and end of each train move. The original display behind the panel
has been removed and replaced by VDU screens whilst the panel itself has various sections in different
shades of green where it has been altered many times over 48 years. There are three workstations; it
fringes with Thames Valley Signalling Control Centre (SCC) Didcot, South Wales SCC (Cardiff), Bristol
PSB also Norton Junction and Droitwich Spa manual boxes (the latter controlling to Stoke Works Jct. by
an acceptance lever). The three workstations are:
(1): Gloucester station and triangle area where there is scope for flexible reversible working.
(2): South to Newnham (Newport line); Charfield exclusive (Bristol line) and Sapperton (Swindon line).
(3): North, to Blackwell (top of the Lickey incline); ex-Western/London Midland Regional BR boundary.
Communication with Droitwich Spa is by traditional block bells, an unusual sound in a PSB. There are
three signallers on duty by day, two at night and on Sundays, working twelve hour shifts, so a meal
relief signaller is also provided. Gloucester controls level crossing barriers at Old Ends and Ley Man,
both south of the station, and several user worked crossings where people wanting to cross have to
phone in to seek permission to do so. North of Ashchurch is to transfer to the West Midlands SCC next
year and the rest of Gloucester's work will go to the Thames Valley SCC, possibly in about six years.
Signals are mostly three aspect with four aspect between Cheltenham and Gloucester and a little
beyond. The box unusually also operates a single distant semaphore signal at Norton Jct. east of
Worcester, very fortunately motorised as otherwise it would be a 24 mile lever wire pull!
770] Two 'Ws' are better than one? There has recently been a trial of using both tones of train horns
at level crossings between Kemble and Standish Jct. Two 'W' boards were provided (one above the
other) as a reminder to drivers. This was considered successful and will be rolled out across the
Western area where it is deemed useful. Chalford Crossing (97m 52ch) has reverted to a single
warning tone in both directions due to serious complaints about the noise from residents!
771] Moreton-in-Marsh: (BLN 1223.1897) Picture left: on 31 March
there were yellow notices stating that the 09.50 & 11.50 SSuX London
services start from (Down) P1 and for the 11.50 there was a member
of the station staff on the footbridge helpfully turning back anyone
crossing in anticipation of it being on P2. After 17 May timetable
change the services doing the crossover will be at 07.09 & 09.50 SSuX.
772] Portishead: The new station location has been chosen after public
consultation. North Somerset Council is expected to confirm it as the
corner of Quays Avenue and Harbour Road. Proposals to re-open the
station and line by spring 2019 are part of a £100M investment in the
area's railways. Originally CP 1964, the reopening is part of the MetroWest Phase 1 project, being
overseen by the West of England Partnership. The proposals for the planned station do not include a
level crossing. This has been refused by the ORR, as a risk to pedestrians that would potentially cause
traffic disruption but does take the station site some 600m further away from the town centre.
BLN 1231.773] Bristol Temple Meads: The overhead parcels gantry at the 'odd numbered platform'
end of the station was removed over Christmas 2014, revealing the station’s grandeur when
approached from the North. However, the unsightly grey bases were left on the ends of the platforms
until late March when work to remove them began. By 7 April, those on P1/3 & P5/7 had been
removed, with work on P9/11 actively progressing and P13/15 starting. When these are removed,
there will be a glorious window of opportunity for an uncluttered sight of Temple Meads station from
the north before electrification gantries start to appear. The Royal Mail building itself to the east, once
reached by that gantry, is being acquired by the City Council for redevelopment as part of the Arena on
the old Bath Road depot site and surrounding area within the Temple Meads Enterprise Zone. It is not
impossible that it might also be demolished before the wires appear giving a very temporary but also
very heritage view!
774] Bruton: (BLN 1230.652) The report that Bruton would have 'four through trains to London for the
first time' is not quite correct. SWT propose two trains each way leaving Yeovil Junction at 06.42 and
16.55 via Bruton arriving Waterloo 09.51 and 19.50. In the reverse departures will be from Waterloo at
10.20 and 12.50 via Bruton arriving Yeovil Junction at 13.09 and 15.43. SWT regularly operate from
Salisbury to Yeovil Junction via Westbury and Bruton to retain driver route knowledge.
775] The Swindon Panel Society: (BLN 1215.1262) The group has been advised by NR that it is 'highly
likely' that decommissioning will be deferred for a third time; a further date has not yet been set. The
new building at Didcot Railway Centre to accommodate the panel (the foundations were recently
completed and brick-laying is commencing) is due for completion by the end of this year. The delay
may be advantageous as it was thought that interim secure storage might have been necessary.
776] Weymouth: (BLN 1230.652) Following the final Weymouth ferry to the Channel Islands, and
Condor Express making its last journey; the new vessel, Condor Liberation, had a contretemps with St
Peter Port harbour side, Guernsey, on only its second day in service and had to go back to Poole for
repairs! Consequently Condor Express (which had been sold) was hastily returned to service on Good
Friday, 3 April, to move the large number of passengers. It made one return journey from the Channel
Islands to Poole with no refreshments or duty free available having been stripped of all consumables!
It was still in use on 4 April according to Jersey Harbour departures board. Passengers to the mainland
have been carried on Condor Clipper a freight vessel and Condor chartered MV Arrow to carry freight!
777] Par Harbour: According to a local correspondent there have been at least two clay trips down the
branch reported so far this year on 28 January and 4 February.
1231 WEST MIDLANDS
778] Hereford: (BLN 1206.542) The 'temporary' footbridge (present for over 15 months) at the north
end of the station has finally been removed. The original bridge 'temporarily' closed in November 2013
for four months which ended up as 16 months. It was in use again by the 1 April 2015 but the new lifts
were not as they were still 'undergoing testing'. Anyone arriving or departing P1&2 who could not
manage the stairs was advised to summon assistance by pressing a doorbell type button (which looked
as if it had come from a DIY store but certainly did the job) whereupon a member of staff would
accompany them over the 'barrow crossing' at the south end of the platforms. There cannot be that
many of these once common station features left now.
BLN 1231.779] Bromsgrove: (BLN 1207.636) Control of the 35 mile section of ex-Midland Railway main
line from Ashchurch (exclusive) to south of Five Ways was due to transfer from Gloucester and Saltley
PSBs to the West Midlands SCC from 2 November. This was to have been after a 54 hour 'wheels free'
period at the end of a 12½ day blockade through Bromsgrove for remodelling during October half-
term. Various factors has now delayed this to April 2016 but it is still intended to open the new station
using two (of the four) six-coach platforms with the existing infrastructure and signalling. The four
platforms (the inner two electrified) will not be needed until Cross-City EMUs extend here next year.
780] Caldon Low: (BLN 1229.567) The Lafarge/Holcim merger (Times and FT business pages) looks
unlikely and it is by no means certain that the divesting of Lafarge Tarmac will go ahead. Rail traffic at
Caldon Low is again uncertain and also requires relaying of the branch beyond Ipstones.
781] Midland Metro (1): City extension: On 23 March the concrete base for both lines was being laid
from Colmore Circus past No1 and No2 Snow Hill, along the £10M bridge over Great Charles St.
Queensway built in 2010/11, towards the existing line from Snow Hill. The single track section will
close when the extension is joined to the end of the existing double track section north of St. Pauls.
Towards New Street, there was unfilled double track on the curve at the Colmore Circus end. From
there to Temple Row double track was complete with a trailing crossover just before Bull St. stop.
Beyond, towards Grand Central around the curve into Corporation St. had been laid but not filled. The
tramway was complete along Corporation St. to just short of the junction with New St. From Grand
Central rail was being laid from the junction with New St. up as far as Fore St. There was work on the
concrete bases for both tracks down the hill from New St. to the sharp Stephenson St. curve, this
looked to be progressing very slowly as the steep gradient is challenging! Unfilled double track was in
situ on the curve. From the Burlington Hotel west to 'Grand Central' tram stop, double track including
a crossover was complete along Stephenson St. and towards Pinfold Street on the long 'headshunt' /
next extension, the latter unfilled. Centro has recently emailed that that they intend to open the 1.4km
extension by the end of this year rather than the March 2016 date advised previously by tram staff.
(2): Centenary Square extension: Preparation has started for the next extension beyond New Street
station (sorry Grand Central, where there is a very long headshunt!) to Centenary Square. There is
extensive work on moving utilities to the side of the road; what is involved has to be seen to be
appreciated. The route is up Pinfold Street which is quite steep then Paradise Circus Queensway to
Broad Street. Actual construction starts next year with opening in 2019 when a six minute frequency is
anticipated to Wolverhampton St. George's. A further extension along Broad Street to Five Ways and
Hagley Road, Edgbaston was funded in the 2014 Local Growth Deal and is expected to open in 2020.
(3): New stops: *Originally planned near to the existing Snow Hill stop, but omitted from the scheme.
Snow Hill (St. Chad's) (SP 0678 8751) Victoria Square (SP 0666 8681)
(*Snow Hill SP 0695 8731) Centenary Square (SP 0629 8674)
Bull Street (SP 0712 8712) Brindley Place (SP 0602 8649)
Corporation Street (SP 0710 8691) Five Ways (SP 0570 8615)
Grand Central (SP 0696 8674) Hagley Road (SP 0525 8602)
(4): Eastside extension: (BLN 1206.358) The initial route for this £127M route, agreed last year, runs
from the city centre, Bull Street stop (under construction) via Albert Street to the site of the HS2
station at Curzon Street. Last summer the funding was secured for a further 1.5km extension into
Digbeth. Of the two routes on offer 74% who responded in the public consultation chose the route
along New Canal Street and Meriden Street then turning left into High Street Deritend. It follows the
centre of the dual carriageway with a stop for Digbeth Coach Station and the Custard Factory (now a
shopping centre) at the corner of Milk Street, (hopefully passengers will not be dairy intolerant!) finally
turning left to the proposed Adderley Street terminus. The suggested opening date is 2023.
(5) Rare Moves: (map BLN 1225.176) From about 14.00 on 5 April, overhead line damage (sagging
wires due to support failure) in the Black Lake area resulted in Midland Metro operating shuttles from
Snow Hill to Dudley Street and Black Lake to St. Georges. Through passengers were required to walk
the 730yds on the public path alongside the track between the two. On 6 April trams were running
Snow Hill to Dudley Street, reversing, running wrong line and over West Bromwich Central crossover.
Trams from St. Georges were using the facing Wednesbury Parkway crossover to run wrong line to
Dudley Street and then reversing for normal running (but not via Wednesbury Parkway loop although
southbound trams were held outside the stop as northbound trams arrived and departed) back to St.
Georges. Black Lake crossover was not used, suggesting the damaged overhead wires might have been
on the Wednesbury Parkway to Black Lake line. Services were back to normal by 19.30 on 6 April.
Unusual short term event information like this can be rapidly advised by making a 'Gensheet' posting.
BLN 1231.782] Wolverhampton: A project to redevelop the station is to receive government funding
of £13.5M from the local transport and growth deal, after a recent visit by the Transport Secretary.
783] Washwood Heath: On 23 March a derailment damaged line side equipment with cancellation of
Birmingham to Nottingham and Leicester services; some ran to Coleshill Parkway. Long distance XC
trains ran via Lichfield TV. On 24 March, the fast lines were closed from Landor Street to Washwood
Heath East. Down services used the Down Derby Goods from Castle Bromwich Jct. to Landor St. Jct.
whilst the Up services were using the Up Derby Slow from Duddeston Jct. to Washwood Heath East Jct.
Normal service resumed on 25 March with a speed restriction over part of the Down main line.
1231 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
784] Catterick Camp Military Railway. In addition to several stretches of low embankments, two
major bridges remain on the railway (which closed in 1970). Near to Catterick Bridge there is a three
span girder bridge over the River Swale, the future of which seems secure now that it has become part
of a footpath and cycle way. The second bridge is a two span bridge over the A1 Catterick bypass,
constructed in the late 1950s. This shares its abutments with a bridge carrying the A6136 road. The A1
here is being upgraded from a two lane dual carriageway to three lane motorway standard. This will
result in the removal of the two span bridge which currently only carries a water pipe. The A6136 will
also be re-routed. Another bridge with a railway association which will disappear during the work will
be the A1 bridge over the former Richmond branch, just west of Catterick Bridge station.
785] Sheffield Supertram: On Easter Sunday a member visited, aware of engineering works around
Hillsborough but not through the city centre. All trams were operating between Meadowhall and
Halfway/Herdings Lane using the chord between Hyde Park and Sheffield Station/Sheffield Hallam
University. A replacement bus service was operating from Sheffield Station to the City Centre. Inbound
a PA announcement was made from the conductor regarding this. Automated announcements on the
tram suggested it would call at Fitzalan Square! The line over the bridge had red lights as a reminder of
the closure and full details had been given in advance on Supertram's website.
1231 ISLE OF MAN
786] Crosby: Improvements have been made to a public footpath on the Isle of Man to encourage
commuters to cycle to work. The three-mile heritage trail cycleway opens at the end of the month
between Crosby and Union Mills, villages between Peel and Douglas. Manx Infrastructure Minister
Phil Gawne said he hopes people will use it as 'a healthy way of commuting into Douglas'. The path is
on the former 11½ mile Douglas to Peel 3ft gauge steam operated line (which is all easily walkable).
Further improvements, including an extension towards the south of the island, would depend on
funding. Information is provided, telling the story of the old railway line. The trail was made from
about two tonnes of material taken from Peel Road (Douglas) during recent road works. Passenger
services between Douglas and Peel finished with effect from 7 September 1968, Union Mills and
Crosby were both original stations on the line which opened in 1873.
BLN 1231.787] Derry-Londonderry & Bellarena: (BLN 1206.550) Translink are advertising for civil
engineering consultancy services for design work in connection with relocation of the present
permanent way facilities, including two sidings, to a greenfield site adjacent to Bellarena station (20
miles away) and a new station at Derry-Londonderry. This is needed for an enhanced hourly service
and future passenger growth (without saying what that may be). Park and ride, bus/rail interchange
and staff facilities are to be included. Estimated construction cost is £9.3M for the station and £1.7M
for work at Bellarena. The exact location for the new station is not clear and may not have been
decided; finance is not in place, but it is likely the last 600m or so of the line will close. The original
Waterside station CP 24 March 1980; replaced by the present one 200m nearer the Craigavon bridge.
788] Portlaoise: (BLN 1230.662) Having traversed the North Kerry and Fenit lines our correspondent
achieved more rare track on his way home in June 1978. Firstly, the locomotive on the 17.10 from
Tralee was changed at Mallow to the then new 075, which took him to Portlaoise where he made good
use of his footplate pass to spend the evening shunting Portlaoise Permanent Way Yard on Metrovick
Co-Co 045 to Conniberry Jct. and towards Coolnamona Bord na Móna sidings, finishing back at
Portlaoise station. The following day his onward journey took in Kildare to Waterford where the
trackbed of the Waterford (South) to Grace Dieu Jct. line was walked and found to be quite overgrown.
789] Great Southern Trail/Foynes branch: This is a 'greenway' cycle and walking route following the
former North Kerry Railway (see map in BLN 1230.6610), ultimately intended to connect Limerick and
Tralee, 53 miles by the railway route. So far 22 miles has been opened on the central section between
Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale, including the Newcastle West 'reversal' and through the Barnagh Tunnel
mentioned in BLN 1230. It will be interesting to see how this fits in with plans to revive the Foynes
branch. (BLN 1230.660) The port is being developed but this is restricted by poor roads. Reopening the
railway would be cheaper and quicker than improving the roads. Potential rail traffic includes imported
biomass, general goods, timber and exported zinc ore from Tara Mines on the Navan branch. The
estimated €8M to re-open the line (work on Adare and Robertstown viaducts and level crossing
upgrades) compares with a €50m investment in the port including a €12.5M East Jetty extension.
790] Phoenix Park Tunnel: An Irish Times columnist took a cab ride on an empty train between
Heuston and Connolly to view the tunnel. He reports that, during building over two years starting in
1875, the remains of about 35 Vikings, mostly male warriors, were found, complete with swords,
shields and spears. The tunnel is well lit and has refuges every 10m on each side. Second World War
use included storage of food supplies (quite whether or how rail use continued is not explained).
791] Cork: (BLN 1206.594) The report into the collapse on 18 December 2013 of the platform canopy
over bays P1 and P2 includes a safety recommendation with consequences for the heritage elements
of structures. It was supported on 17 cast iron columns with a decorative feature at the base. 14 of the
columns fractured at this feature which analysis showed was a stress raiser and an inherent weak
point. The recommendation is that all cast iron structures on the Iarnród Éireann network should be
identified and a risk-based approach to their inspection be adopted.
792] Belfast - Dublin: Refurbishment of the 'Enterprise' sets for completion this year includes:
A significant overhaul of the train's mechanical systems.
Modern attractive new interiors and seating.
New 21st century livery.
Replacement of the Passenger Information System.
A new electronic passenger reservation system.
New CCTV system.
It is financed through the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU
Programmes Body (SEUPB), with support from the Ulster Department for Regional Development.
BLN 1231.793] Dublin Trackplan: Thanks to Martyn Brailsford. The existing Red and Green Lines
with the extension under construction north of St. Stephen's Green stop (and linking the two) to
Broombridge adjacent to the IÉ station there. Diagrammatic and not to scale (see BLN 1229.576).
BLN 1231.794] Thurles: The facing crossover providing access to the former beet factory sidings from
the Limerick Jct. direction was renewed on 1 November 2014 at a location nearer Thurles station.
795] Limerick Junction - Rosslare: From 1 to 4 December 2014 track was relaid near Cahir with buses
replacing the meagre train service. On 28 November the Down siding at Clonmel was reduced to
250m. (See also BLN 1221.1745.) Underbridges UB132 and UB133 have been renewed between
Waterford and Rosslare (!) and UB19 and UB 28 between Limerick and Waterford have been repaired.
Your Sub-Editor is unable to say whether these are on the section between Limerick Junction and
Rosslare Strand and would appreciate clarification. (This and the previous item: Journal of the IRRS.)
796] Waterford - New Ross: The New Ross Standard reports that local councils and local groups have
agreed with IÉ on the creation of a €3M cycling and walking route, known in Ireland as a Greenway, on
the course of the railway from 2.5km in the Macmine Jct. direction to 22km in the Waterford direction.
Timetables gave the New Ross to Waterford distance as 14 miles, or 22.5km
797] Edinburgh Suburban line: (BLN 1228.497) Use by route learning specials appears to have tailed
off. Though advice was relayed from a route learner that it was related to the Winchburgh tunnel
closure, a further (and certainly relevant) suggestion links it to renewal of Haymarket East Jct. in NR
CP5 (2014-9). Also required by CP5 in the immediate area is crossover renewal at the Mound Tunnel.
Route learners 09.11 Queen Street HL to Haymarket P0; 10.56 Haymarket to Edinburgh were running,
dated MSSuX until 27 March, Winchburgh - Dalmeny - Haymarket.
798] Winchburgh: (BLN 1226.241) http://goo.gl/6D5zHc has service alterations related to temporary
closure of the line through the tunnel between Saturday 13 June and Sunday 26 July. (A leaflet should
also be available.) It also includes related alterations from 30 May. Fife services are affected due to the
diversions via Dalmeny and Winchburgh Jcts. There is no indication of any extra Glasgow Central HL to
Edinburgh 'fast' service or anything that obviously calls for use of the Edinburgh suburban line.
799] Edinburgh Gateway: On 19 March work was well underway for the new station and with the new
signals to increase capacity over the Forth Bridge (BLNs 1228.498 and 1225.203 respectively). The
latter work is due for completion this summer and the station is due to open in December 2016.
800] Newton - Carmyle: Westburn Viaduct over the River Clyde, on this former Caledonian Railway
line, was ceremonially illuminated on 11 March as part of the International Year of Light and Legacy
Week, marking community achievements related to Glasgow’s highly successful 2014 Commonwealth
Games. The final design was by the pupils of three local schools. The 'bridge' is owned by Sustrans’
sister company Railway Paths Ltd. Route 75 of the National Cycle Network runs along the south bank
of the Clyde and, in the longer term, there is the potential to open it for both cycling and walking. A
contributor to http://goo.gl/WmpHCO recalls the line being used by diverted passenger trains in 1973,
when the line through Cambuslang was being lowered for electrification, and also offers the following
line CA dates: Westburn Jct. (south of the viaduct) - Kirkhill Jct. 1 August 1966; Carmyle Jct. - Westburn
BSC Steelworks (severing the line as a through route from the north) 30 May 1983; Newton - Westburn
BSC Steelworks 1 December 1989 (remaining 'branch' from the south).
801] Dundee & Newtyle: Opened in 1831, this was one of the earliest railways in Scotland providing
passenger facilities, with three rope-worked inclines in the Dundee area. Diversion at that end, via
Lochee and using locomotive propulsion, took place in about 1861. The route through the 330yd Law
tunnel was closed. A member draws attention to the fact that there is a possibility of the tunnel
(beneath the prominent hill above the city) opening to the public. See http://goo.gl/0gzCXl among
other optimistic observations: '..a full laser study of the tunnel (by the Highways Agency) .. shows it to
be in incredibly good nick and which they are prepared to share with us for the local public archive '.
BLN 1231.802] Milton of Campsie: The site of this former station (OP 5 July 1848 to 29 September
1951; CA 1966), on the North British Railway 'Campsie branch' north of Kirkintilloch, is now on a cycle /
walkway and has become a community garden. It appeared on BBC Scotland evening news in the run-
up to 'Red Nose Day' on 13 March. Parts of both platforms remain; the short tunnel at the east end of
the station has had the bore reduced in diameter, and has a 'Milton of Campsie' sign at its station end.
803] Free tickets: (BLN 1221.1750) The new (from 1 April) Abellio ScotRail operator marked the launch
of their 10 year franchise by offering £1M worth of free off-peak tickets online. Although available
from stations in Scotland they were for specific relatively short journeys; not from Stranraer to Wick
for example. It also wishes to create, in conjunction with buses and other travel operations, a single
Scotland-wide smartcard; the technology was to be launched from day one, borrowing from the
Glasgow Subway 'Bramble' smartcard system developed by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. The
target is for smartcards to account for 60% of ticket sales by the end of the franchise in 2025.
804] ScotRail's Scenic Scottish Steam Specials: (BLN 1221.1750) ScotRail's Website advertises the
following initial trips, in conjunction with the SRPS and Steam Dreams: 20 June Stirling to Inverness,
21st Inverness to Dunrobin Castle and Brora, 22nd Inverness to Stirling, 27th Carlisle to Glasgow Circular
tour, 5 September Polmont to Fort William. Bookings: http://goo.gl/bY8RNf or 01483 209888.
Future destinations include Tweedbank.
805] Borders Line: (BLN 1230.668) The structure http://goo.gl/JZfKCj shown on Abellio’s ScotRail
website is Leaderfoot (also known as Drygrange) viaduct over the River Tweed. It was threatened with
demolition in the 1980s but upgraded in 1986 from Grade B to A-listed and restored by Historic
Scotland between 1992-5. It has long since been non-operational and was on the line from Reston via
Duns to St. Boswells which CG (CA) Monday 19 July 1965. It is suggested that it was purloined to
support Abellio’s scenic aspirations (and why not?) and is just over 4 miles walk from Tweedbank.
There are to be three 'Golden Ticket' trains on 5 September starting from Tweedbank, Galashiels and
Stow http://goo.gl/TNBGSO each taking 160 local passengers for a free return trip over the whole line.
806] Serco Sleepers: (BLN 1228.491) The Scottish First Minister (now Nicola Sturgeon, in case you have
not been paying attention) was at Inverness on 23 March to officially open the 'Guest Service Centre'
(better than 'customers' then but whatever happened to 'passengers'?) provided as part of Serco's
takeover of the Caledonian Sleeper franchise, with its new 'White Stag' logo. She also named loco.
67004 'Cairn Gorm', previously carried by BR Class 60 60073. Pending availability of rebuilt Class 73/9
electro-diesels for the unwired sections of the route, Class 67s are being used with a 'Midnight Teal'
livery. The new 15 year franchise began on Tuesday 31 March.
807] Over different sleepers? A member asks if Caledonian and West Country sleeping services are the
most diverted passenger trains? Over Easter, the former was ploughing a regular rerouting furrow via
the ECML and Wembley Yard (reverse). Between Sunday 1 May and Friday 26 July, a total of 33 Class
67-hauled diversions (correct as at 23 March) is offered in Scotland alone. Summarised as via:
Auchengray, Shotts and Carmyle: 5 Down Glasgow and 3 Up; Carmyle, Shotts and Edinburgh Suburban:
5 Up Glasgow; Stirling: 1 Down Aberdeen and 1 Up; Ladybank and Perth: 9 Down Inverness and 9 Up. A
list is available at [email protected] or email your Sub-Ed per back page.
808] Wemyss Bay: (BLN 1227.403) A member took part in a one-off visit by the Friends of Wemyss Bay
station http://goo.gl/DV84r2 and was able to access the roof of this Grade A-listed building, thereby
adding to his list of notable station roofs copped! During the visit, the group was advised that P1
remains out of use, and P2 shortened, until August; due to lines of sight being affected by scaffolding
and so that station staff could see the length of the train for despatch. The 'Royal Scotsman' website
shows that train (07.46 from Bridge of Orchy) now running to Gourock on 3 May for a Rothesay sailing.
BLN 1231.809] Haymarket: The rare bay P0 has been noticeably extended at the buffer stop (east) end
after completion of the station upgrade, made possible by the closure of public access direct to P1 all
access is now via upper ticket gates. The upgrade has resulted in a very light and spacious concourse.
810] Class 170 moves: (BLN 1230.668) Only four were to go at the start of the franchise, two left for
Stewarts Lane via the ECML on 4 April; the other two were expected to follow shortly afterwards
811] Machynlleth: (BLN 1228.504) From 9 March the 09.30 ex-Aberystwyth was reduced to 2-cars; the
Pwllheli unit is still added at Machynlleth where it becomes a 4-car train to Birmingham International.
Below: Dean Forest RPS 'Monmouthshire Rambler' at the former Ebbw Vale Low Level terminus on 19
June 1971 looking north; thought to be the final passenger train (an RCTS tour visited on 8 May 1971).
Above: The same tour; looking south, the branch had been shortened 8ch when Ebbw Vale Low Level
goods CG(CA) in December 1969. Station standards for passenger alighting were obviously less
stringent 44 years ago than now! (Both pictures with thanks to Ian Mortimer.)
BLN 1231.812] Ebbw Vale Town: (BLN 1225.214) Grid reference for the new station is (SO 1715 0933),
which would appear to place it on the line of the former GWR Ebbw Vale Low Level branch from the
south, but at a different level. This GWR passenger terminus (SO 1683 0992) CP from 30 April 1962 and
CG (CA) in December 1969. [As the L&NWR branch terminus from the north (Beaufort on the Heads of
the Valleys Line) was Ebbw Vale High Level perhaps the new station ought to be 'Middle Level' then _
Ed?] Clearance of all former infrastructure in and around the steelworks area, and changes in vertical
levels, make it difficult to relate the new line and station to the old. Recent visits have confirmed that
the new line is substantially complete, except for some fencing, the station surfacing and lighting.
There is passive provision for a second platform. Clearance work has started for the £40M Ebbw Vale
Frequency Enhancement Scheme; double track will be reinstated from Crosskeys to Aberbeeg Jct., with
platforms at Newbridge and Llanhilleth. NR has indicated a target completion of early 2018 for this
project with a view to a half-hourly service alternating between Cardiff and Newport.
813] More from Aberdare: (BLN 1230.675) Exploring westward from Black Lion Crossing Halt (SN
9997 0215) our correspondent again noted the wider formation indicative of the line’s broad gauge
Vale of Neath Railway origin. The trackbed is for the most part a tarmac path leading to the Dare
Valley Country Park. Close to the site of Dare Jct., a short path leads to a surviving pillar base of Dare
Viaduct, closed in 1939 and demolished, along with the Gamlyn Viaduct to the north, in 1946/7, the
final survivors of Brunel’s great timber viaducts. Continuing west, the tarmac path reaches the
approximate end of the line, to Bwllfa Colliery near the village of Cwmdare, but since the whole area
has been landscaped to form the Country Park it is impossible now to pinpoint the exact terminus.
Returning via the parallel former Taff Vale Railway formation, Nantmelyn Platform can be identified,
close to a winding wheel and memorial marking the sometime Colliery of that name. The former
trackbed becomes more apparent from the site of Cwmdare level crossing, as far as an abutment of
the bridge which led across the Dare River to Gadlys Old Pit. Continuing, beyond a church, the site of
Gadlys Road Platform (SN 9995 0276) is lost; the path has been widened to form the new A4233 road.
814] Penarth Curve North Jct.: (BLN 1230.672) In the next phase of this work; from 20 April a new
fixed diamond crossing is due to be installed in the Down Penarth Curve line at 0m 47ch forming a
connection with the new Up Treforest Line. A new trailing connection will also be provided in the Up
Penarth Curve Line leading from the Up Treforest Line. These will be brought into use at a later stage.
1231 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR44] Crich Tramway Village, Derbyshire (MR p32) (BLN 1223.MR211): 2015 operation of horse tram
Sheffield 15 (built in 1874) is: Wednesday 13 & Tuesday 19 May, Wednesday 15 July, Tuesday 18 &
Thursday 20 August and Wednesday 16 September 11.00-16.00. Electric trams also run then as usual.
MR45] Private Miniature Railway, Coldstream: There is a private 5" gauge miniature railway at the
Walled Garden, Leitholm, Coldstream, TD12 4JT. http://goo.gl/nVfULn A Glasgow Herald property
magazine photograph shows a model HST power car hauling a sit-astride passenger vehicle. There is a
garden Open Day on Sunday 19 July, 14.00 to 17.00, but it is not known if rides will be given.
MR46] Severn Valley Railway, Shropshire (MR p6): According to a recent newsletter to shareholders,
SVR's General Manager, Nick Ralls, has been in negotiation with 'Rail Safety Solutions' (RSS), a
company which trains young people in permanent way maintenance through an apprenticeship
scheme, ready for them to apply for jobs with NR contractors. RSS needs track access on a daily basis
which is difficult for NR to provide. The SVR is leasing the Stourport spur trackbed to RSS, which is
completely separate from SVR operation, enabling them to lay track and take it up on the spur as
many times as they wish without affecting SVR services! In return RSS will train SVR permanent way
staff and validate and/or examine them as necessary. The contract provides that, given sufficient
notice, the SVR can on an occasional basis use the track laid for example at Steam Galas. It may be
possible that Bewdley Station operates as a country junction station again with trains arriving in the
Down direction from Kidderminster and the Spur at the same time. The SVR GM expects the lease for
this to be signed shortly. Maybe it will even end up with its own PSUL entry?
BLN 1231.MR47] Apedale Valley Light Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLN 1223.MR209): Owner and
operator of this 2ft gauge railway, the Moseley Railway Trust, is delighted to announce a double win at
the recent Heritage Railway Awards. Presented at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry on
7 February, these recognise achievement by Heritage Railways. The Trust was awarded the John Coiley
Award which recognises achievements in locomotive restoration, and was awarded to mark the
completion of the rebuild on a 1916 built Hudswell Clarke locomotive No1238. This was repatriated
from Ghana, where it had worked at a goldmine until a derailment in a downpour led to it falling into a
river, sadly killing its driver. The locomotive lay in the river for 48 years before being rediscovered and
eventually returned to the UK. It was then lovingly restored by a small team before being launched
back into traffic in 2014 at the Railway. The Moseley Railway Trust was also jointly awarded the
Heritage Railway Association Annual Award for Small Groups, sharing this award with Northern
Ireland’s Downpatrick & County Down Railway. The Trust won the Small Groups award in recognition
of the September 2014 Tracks to the Trenches event, which marked the centenary of the start of the
First World War. This much-praised event saw the Apedale site transformed into the Western Front for
the weekend, complete with replica trenches and a railway network to serve the troops on the front
line. The operating season at Apedale http://www.avlr.org.uk/ extends to Remembrance Sunday in
November. The annual railway Gala will be the Locos from Leeds event on 16 & 17 May.
MR48] National Coal Mining Museum, West Yorkshire (MR p25) (BLN 1198.MR237): A member made
an off-season mid-week visit here on Tuesday 10 March 2015 (his birthday!). Admission to the site is
free, as is on site car parking. The 2ft 6in gauge railway now seems to have a higher profile - the 2015
running dates are now: weekends from 21 March to 6 September, 4th May, daily 25 May to 29 May,
28 June (Miners' Gala Day) Tuesdays and Thursdays 20 July to 31 August; 11.00 to 15.00, except the
Gala Day, which is 10.30 to 15.30. Our reporter noted the railway had seen recent use and he was
informed by some helpful staff by the workshop/shed, it had been tested ready for the start of the
season. It runs from a single platform adjacent to the Visitor Centre to another simple platform at the
Hope Pit. There are no run-round loops. Near Hope Pit, a very short branch leads to a two road
shed/workshop. Nearby another, longer, branch leads down a fairly steep gradient to a tunnel under
the A642 road, some of which has been set up as a small demonstration drift mine. Our correspondent
was surprised to note a brand new short platform adjacent to the entrance to this tunnel and
wondered if the branch was being brought into use for passenger trains; despite being unfenced and
steeply graded. However, the previously mentioned staff informed him the plan was to run a Road
Train down to this platform (the track is set into a road here) and use this for alighting to visit the
demonstration mine. A notice adjacent to Hope Pit station stated fares were 50p single and £1 return.
Between 1990 and 2004 there was also a 2ft 3in gauge cable-worked 'Paddy Haulage Ride' on site.
This last ran in 2004, being taken out of use apparently due to the cost of a required new cable. The
track is still fully in-situ, although heavily rusted and partly overgrown. The winding house (where
passengers boarded and alighted) is still intact and contains the single passenger coach. Indeed, a
notice still advertises rides, without any times being filled in! The Museum can be easily reached by
bus from Wakefield Bus Station (stand 9) by Arriva Yorkshire 130 (hourly at xx.30) - alight immediately
outside the Museum, or Yorkshire Tiger 232 (hourly at xx.05) alight at the Reindeer Public House at
Overton and walk a short way back and then downhill to the Museum (5 minutes walk). Return times
xx.55 (130) and xx.33 (232). Check Sundays. Underground tours are available and there is an excellent
on site café as well as the usual shop.
BLN 1231.MR49] Longleat Railway, Wiltshire (MR p26) (BLN 1158.MR53): An out-of-season visit on 20
March 2015 found the 'Jungle Express' operating a half-hourly frequency, with unlimited free rides
once admission to the park has been paid. The only serviceable locomotive, red 0-6-0 diesel No7 Flynn
(Alan Keef 79/2007) was hauling seven yellow covered bogie carriages, one of them fully enclosed and
adapted for wheelchair users. Track layout is as shown in Kentrail Minor Railways Track Plans Vol 1 but
operation, on this date at least, was in the reverse direction to that indicated, ie outbound via the
main lake with its attractive cascade waterfall. The complex terminal layout is controlled, by full-size
signal levers and point rodding, from 'Longleat Junction Signal Box'. On arrival at the terminus, the loco
detaches to turn on the turntable and runs-round ready for the next trip. 'Stables Halt' was not in use.
There are trackside distance markers every 10m, in reverse to the direction of running, ie counting
downwards around the circuit. Advice from the train crew was that a second diesel locomotive is being
made ready for the main season, but that the park authorities will not allow return of steam traction.
Below: Map of the Glyn Valley Tramway, Chirk terminus is by NR station. ('Shropshire' on the right is
the Shropshire Union Canal); by Dan Crow © 2006 creative commons licence: http://goo.gl/tYrMw
MR50] Glyn Valley Tramway, Wrexham County Borough (BLN 1156.MR40): The Glyn Valley Tramway
Trust (GVTT) is on the verge of completing a deal, which will secure 300m of trackbed once used by the
Tramway.The section, known as 'Chirk Straight', is between Hand Lane Bridge (the road bridge over
the NR line at Chirk station) and Ty Ririd cutting. Under the agreement landowners, The Caravan Club
of Great Britain, will give the trust a 60-year lease (on a peppercorn rent basis) covering both the
section of trackbed and 'Tunnel Field', which adjoins the trackbed at Chirk. This will enable the Trust to
create access to its planned locomotive shed adjacent to Hand Lane Bridge on the Chirk Straight side.
Initial vegetation and tree clearance was undertaken about a year ago in the cutting adjacent to the
garden of the house named Ty Ririd. Clearance of growth from last summer is about to progress.
Although clearance work has created a line of sight between Ty Ririd cutting and Chirk Straight,
thousands of tons of earth dumped near the cutting end of the straight during the construction of
Chirk Industrial Estate needs to be bulldozed to restore the original trackbed line. The Trust secured
planning permission in February 2012 to rebuild a mile-long section of the old tramway from Chirk
station to Pontfaen, west of Ty Ririd cutting. With agreement reached for the first section of trackbed
the pace towards reviving a section of the long-lost line should now accelerate markedly. The focus
during 2015 will be on clearing the trackbed preparatory to track laying while also raising the public
profile of the revival project. The trust plans to restore the original tramway platform at Chirk, located
immediately behind the Down main line platform, and construct a station for the narrow gauge line
largely on the original location. A sign advertising the project is clearly visible from passing trains.
1231 OTHERS’ DOINGS:
This is provided as a service to members and details must be checked with the organisers.
BLN 1231.815] Thames Branches Day Ranger: One day of rail travel after 09.30 (SSuX) or when a
'Cheap Day Return' is valid (whichever is earlier) all day weekends and Bank Holidays. Paddington -
Reading - Tilehurst also Reading West, Winnersh and Greenford (NR); branches to Windsor & Eton
Central, Marlow and Henley-on-Thames. Not valid at any Heathrow stations or HSTs from Paddington
16.16-19.15. Adult £19, child £9.50, Railcards £12.55 including Network and HM Forces cards. (For
comparison the Tilehurst to Paddington off peak day return is £18.40) so a bargain for an extra 60p!
816] Tyne & Tees Day Ranger: One day of unlimited rail travel (Virgin Trains East Coast, Northern Rail,
TPE and Cross Country) not Grand Central; all weekends and Bank Holidays otherwise after 08.45*.
Morpeth to Darlington via ECML or Sunderland. Also to Hexham, Bishop Auckland, Saltburn, Whitby
and Northallerton (from Eaglescliffe via Yarm only). £21.50 adult, £10.75 child, railcards £14.20; *Two
Together after 09.30 SSuX (all day public hols.) Adult day return fare Whitby - Hexham is £27.10.
817] c2c Senior Day Rover: Age 65 and over, needs Passport or Driving Licence (railcard NOT
acceptable). Weekdays, NOT weekend or Bank Holidays. (1): £9 after 09.30 between all c2c stations
NOT within Travelcard area zones 1-6 between 16.00 and 18.59. (2): £5 after 09.30, for c2c stations
east of Dagenham Dock/ Barking (both excl.). 7 day advance 40% off tickets are also available for all.
818] Lampeter Museum: Old Porters' Lodge, Harford Square, SA48 7DT. Local railway exhibition (free
admission) commemorating the 50th anniversary of the last public passenger train leaving Lampeter on
22 February 1965. TuThSO, 10.00 to 16.00, email: [email protected] 01570 422769.
819] Institute of Railway Studies* Wednesday 20 May, National Railway Museum (NRM) 14.00-16.00,
free seminar open to all, but an advance ticket is required; see http://goo.gl/T95gFp for details.
*Founded 1995, and re-launched in October 2014, a partnership between the NRM and the University
of York. It undertakes joint research, shares expertise and training bringing a broader range of
disciplines to help understanding of railway studies. A Railway Studies Forum is being created to
strengthen academic research for staff and students. The Institute aims to be at the forefront of
academic study, widen the railway audience and develop a deeper understanding of the history of
British Railways. The University has awarded 12 PhDs, 40 Master's degrees, 3 Postgraduate Certificates
and 71 Graduate Certificates in Railway Studies. The Institute offers many opportunities for full and
part-time study at different levels http://goo.gl/uxCbYh which may interest our Members.
820] Rother Valley Railway, 23-25 May: the PSUL one mile section from Bodiam to Junction Road (a
former halt) is due to be used by 5 Kent and East Sussex Railway passenger trains over the three days
for details and timetables see http://goo.gl/7eaD25 or 01580 765155.
821] The Retro Lincolnshire Belle, 13 June: DRS Class 20s Crewe (05.45/22.30) and various stations,
incl. Reddish South, to Wakefield Kirkgate for Skegness, see: http://goo.gl/xXW7q6 0161 3309055.
822] DRS Annual Carlisle Kingmoor Charity Open Day, 18 July: 10.00-16.00 also to celebrate DRS's
20th anniversary. Look 'behind the scenes' etc. see: http://goo.gl/NmMkAD 01228 406600.
823P] The Bournemouth Flyer, Saturday 22 August: VT, DRS and Railway Magazine (RM), charity tour,
Chester (approx. 07.00), Crewe, Stafford, Tame Bridge P., Birmingham I., via Banbury and Reading
West Curve to Bournemouth (12.15) for the Air Festival. Two Class 37s expected, Class 57 on rear.
There is a possibility the train may be turned by taking Eastleigh Works Loop (through road) with the
Class 57 powering from there to Bournemouth. Adult £125, 1st Class (includes food); standard £85.
Bookings by Telephone bookings which open on 6 May; to find the number to ring keep an eye on:
http://goo.gl/jhT4gc or http://goo.gl/BnBeCy demand for seats is expected to be high.
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected]. 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected]; Subscribe: [email protected].
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected]. Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected].
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected].
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected]. 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected].
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected].
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected].
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected].
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected].
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected].
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected].
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected].
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected].
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected]. 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected]
or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947